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Neocon think tanks rat John Bolton -- a cowardish chickenhawk who pretend to be reckless and bloodthirsty imperialist (leaving to other to die in unleashed wars)

Appointment of this war criminal, remnant from the neocon clique of Bush II administration,  which unleashed Iraq war, means that Trump can can have a tattoo on his forehead -- I am Sheldon Adelson stooge.

News "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Recommended Links Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Putin-did-it fiasco Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Neoconservatism Obama: a yet another Neocon
Fake news hysteria in US MSM as a method of uppressing dissent against neoliberalism and militarism Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?  Conversion of Democratic Party into War Party and Hillary Clinton policy toward Russia Color revolutions Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative Deception as an art form Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Conspiracy theory label as a subtle form of censorship
 Diplomacy by deception US and British media are servants of security apparatus  The Deep State Predator state  Hillary as a pathological liar  Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Noble Lie Doublespeak  
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Cold War II Demonization of Putin Machiavellism Mayberry Machiavellians Neocons Credibility Scam Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons Nation under attack meme
Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neocons Credibility Scam Leo Strauss and the Neocons Neoliberalism and Christianity  Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

John Robert Bolton (born November 20, 1948) is an American attorney, political commentator, Republican consultant, government official and former diplomat who for over a year somehow served as the 27th National Security Advisor of the United States (April 9, 2018 -- Sep 10, 2019). The appointment of this remnant from Bush II neocon  clique, the person who was intumental in unleahing  Iraq war (and as such a war criminal)  mean that Trump can have a tattoo on his forehead -- I am Sheldon Adelson stooge.

Bolton served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006 as a recess appointee by President George W. Bush. He resigned at the end of his recess appointment in December 2006 because he was unlikely to win confirmation from the Senate, which the Democratic Party had gained control of at the time.

Bolton is a former senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Fox News Channel commentator. He was a foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Bolton has been involved with numerous conservative organizations, including the anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute, where he served as the organization Chairman until March 2018.

Bolton is a foreign policy hawk and is an advocate for regime change in Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea. He has also repeatedly called for the termination of the Iran nuclear deal. He was an advocate of the Iraq War and continues to support the decision to invade Iraq. He has continuously supported military action and regime change in Syria, Libya, and Iran.

His political views have been described as American nationalist, conservative, and "neoconservative". Bolton rejects the last term and uses the term "pro-American" instead.

Bio trivia

Bolton was born on November 20, 1948, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Virginia Clara "Ginny" (née Godfrey), a housewife, and Edward Jackson "Jack" Bolton, a Baltimore City fireman. He grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Yale Heights and won a scholarship to the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland, graduating in 1966. He also ran the school's Students For Goldwater campaign in 1964.

Bolton attended Yale University, earning a B.A. and graduating summa cum laude in 1970. He was a member of the Yale Political Union. He attended Yale Law School from 1971 to 1974, where he shared classes with his friend Clarence Thomas, earning a J.D. in 1974. In 1972, Bolton was a summer intern for Vice President Spiro Agnew. He was hired for the position by David Keene.

Vietnam War

Bolton was a supporter of the Vietnam War, but purposely avoided military service in Vietnam. During the 1969 Vietnam War draft lottery, Bolton drew number 185. (Draft numbers were assigned by birth date.) As a result of the Johnson and Nixon administrations' decisions to rely largely on the draft rather than on the reserve forces, joining a Guard or Reserve unit became a way to avoid service in the Vietnam War, although 42 Army Reserve units were called up with 35 of them deployed to Vietnam shortly after the Tet offensive in 1968–69. Before graduating from Yale in 1970, Bolton enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard rather than wait to find out if his draft number would be called. (The highest number called to military service was 195.) He saw active duty for 18 weeks of training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from July to November 1970. After serving in the National Guard for four years, he served in the United States Army Reserve until the end of his enlistment two years later.

Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman alleged that Bolton played a role in encouraging the inclusion of statement that British Intelligence had determined Iraq attempted to procure yellowcake uranium from Niger in Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address. These statements were claimed by critics of the President to be partly based on documents found to be forged. Waxman's allegations could not be confirmed as they were based on classified documents.

Deceptions as the  method to advance his goals

Bolton stated in June 2004 congressional testimony that Iran was lying about enriched uranium contamination: "Another unmistakable indicator of Iran's intentions is the pattern of repeatedly lying to ... the IAEA ... when evidence of uranium enriched to 36 percent was found, it attributed this to contamination from imported centrifuge parts." However, later isotope analysis supported Iran's explanation of foreign contamination for most of the observed enriched uranium. At their August 2005 meeting the IAEA's Board of Governors concluded: "Based on the information currently available to the Agency, the results of that analysis tend, on balance, to support Iran's statement about the foreign origin of most of the observed highly enriched uranium contamination."

Bolton has often been accused of attempting to pressure the intelligence community to endorse his views. According to former coworkers, Bolton withheld information that ran counter to his goals from Secretary of State Colin Powell on multiple occasions, and from Powell's successor Condoleezza Rice on at least one occasion
 

John Bolton Is a Bloodthirsty Imperialist Who Must Be Stopped

April 9, one John R. Bolton is scheduled to take the place of H.R. McMaster as President Trump’s National Security Advisor — a position that doesn’t require congressional confirmation. No, this isn’t the long-haired crooner who once released a mediocre rendition of “When a Man Loves a Woman”; you’re thinking of Michael Bolton. This Bolton served a relatively obscure post in the George W. Bush administration (Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security), yet proved highly influential in the administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 (a decision he still seems proud of). As a reminder, this American military aggression in Iraq resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, cost American taxpayers more than $2 trillion, and led to the formation of ISIS.

In addition to his unrepentant Iraq War nostalgia, Bolton has a passionate desire to bomb and invade both Iran and North Korea in order to implement the American brand of regime change that has worked so well in the past. He also pals around with anti-Muslim bigots, and his history of “undermining international cooperative institutions such as the United Nations” exemplifies his dangerous nationalistic tendencies.

The mustachioed madman in question has lately spent much of his free time as a Fox News pundit and a traveling fanboy for a cult-like Iranian terrorist organization known as the Mujahedeen Khalq (or “MEK”). This Persian posse, which was formed in the 1960s, is known for killing American civilians during the 1979 Iranian Revolution, forging an alliance with Saddam Hussein, and its likely involvement in the assassinations of four Iranian scientists in recent years. After massive lobbying and PR efforts, the MEK was removed from the U.S. State Department’s terror list in 2012. The group has high hopes for overthrowing and replacing the current Iranian government, theoretically with the assistance of Western warlords like Bolton himself.

The fanatical interventionist views of Mr. Bolton have remained remarkably consistent for decades. The man is like the goddamn Bernie Sanders of American imperialism. In 1966, he even wrote an editorial for his school newspaper entitled “No Peace in Vietnam,” in which he expressed skepicism toward (in his view) naïve calls for an end to the violence in Southeast Asia. Bolton has always looked fondly upon war, as long as he didn’t have to fight in one. “I confess that I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asia rice paddy,” the chickenhawk later explained.

As if John Bolton’s obsession with mass murder isn’t bad enough, the guy is also a known bully and mafioso wannabe. In a recent episode of Deconstructed, former assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman discussed Bolton’s tendency to “emotionally abuse” his staff, and former director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons José Bustani recounted an ominous and chilling personal encounter with the statesman in question:

“I had convinced them, Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi, to join in the organization, which meant that inspections should take place 30 days after their cities are at the convention. […] [Bolton] showed up in The Hague, and he came to my office, and he said, ‘Cheney wants you out. You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with the decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.’ […] I said, ‘Well, I’m not ready to do that. I have no reason to do that. Secretary of State Colin Powell has written me a letter praising my mandate so far, so I cannot understand why is it that I have to leave the organization?’ And he said, ‘You have to be ready to face the consequences, because we know where your kids live.’” (For more context, listen to the full interview here.)

That’s right; the incoming advisor is so deeply haunted by the prospects for peaceful solutions that he’s willing to threaten the family of a prominent diplomat in attempt to quash them. I hate to say it, folks, but this John Bolton character might be a prime example of a proverbial “bad hombre.”

John R. Bolton has an extensive political resume that includes past positions in the Reagan and Bush administrations and a stint as a U.N. ambassador; he is certainly qualified for the National Security Advisor position. However, he’s also an unhinged lunatic who intimidates and threatens people, abhors peaceful diplomacy, and advocates military action as a first resort. His barbaric neoconservatism reduces the global population to a Brzezinskian “grand chessboard” beholden to the whims of American primacy. The man makes me ashamed of my own mustache, for Christ’s sake!

As a famous cinematic hippie once said, “This aggression will not stand, man!” We need to band together with anti-war conservatives, libertarians, hell, even other species (I’m lookin’ at you, lemurs!), and keep this monster at bay by any means possible. With U.S.-Russia tensions escalating and the Doomsday Clock set at two minutes before midnight, cock-blocking the imperialistic ambitions of this ferocious thug may very well be a prerequisite to the survival of the human race and life on Earth as we know it.


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Old News ;-)

[Aug 09, 2020] NYT as an amplifier for the mislabeled US 'Intelligence' Agencies rumor and baseless claims about foreign interferences in US elections

The first and the most important fact that there will no elections in November -- both candidates represent the same oligarchy, just slightly different factions of it.
Look like NYT is controlled by Bolton faction of CIA. They really want to overturn the results of 2020 elections and using Russia as a bogeyman is a perfect opportunity to achieve this goal.
Neocons understand very well that it is MIC who better their bread, so amplifying rumors the simplify getting additional budget money for intelligence agencies (which are a part of MIC) is always the most desirable goal.
Notable quotes:
"... But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr. ..."
"... The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process." ..."
"... But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections? ..."
"... But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn? ..."
"... Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence. ..."
"... Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China? ..."
"... If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them? ..."
"... Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget. ..."
"... Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose. ..."
Aug 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.

The New York Times sensationally headlines:

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the 'Russia Continues Interfering' statement:

Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from "officials briefed on the intelligence" - i.e. Democratic congress members - about Russia but have nothing to back it up.

When one reads the statement by Evanina one finds nothing in it about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections. Here is the only 'evidence' that is noted:

For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television.

After a request from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, a Ukrainian parliamentarian published Ukrainian evidence of Biden's very real interference in the Ukraine. Also: Some guest of a Russian TV show had an opinion. How is either of those two items 'evidence' of Russian interference in U.S. elections?

The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process."

But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections?

As a recent piece in Foreign Affairs noted :

The mainstream view in the U.S. media and government holds that the Kremlin is waging a long-haul campaign to undermine and destabilize American democracy. Putin wants to see the United States burn, and contentious elections offer a ready-made opportunity to fan the flames.

But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn?

Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence.

Even the NYT writers have to admit that there is nothing there:

The release on Friday was short on specifics, ...

and

Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

How do 'intelligence' agencies know Russian, Chinese or Iranian 'intentions'. Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China?

If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them?

Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget.

Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose.

Posted by b on August 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

[Aug 08, 2020] -No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams-- Iran FM -

Aug 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams": Iran FM


by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 22:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

"There's no difference between John Bolton, Brian Hook or Elliott Abrams," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet with the hashtag #BankruptUSPolicy on Friday.

"When U.S. policy concerns Iran, American officials have been biting off more than they can chew. This applies to Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump and their successors," Mousavi added.

Indeed in perhaps one of the greatest symbols or representations of the contradictions and absurdity inherent in US foreign policy of the past few decades, and a supreme irony that can't be emphasized enough: the new US envoy to Iran who will oversee Pompeo's 'maximum pressure' campaign remains the most publicly visible face of the 1980's Iran-Contra affair .

Elliott Abrams has been named to the position after Brian Hook stepping down. This means the man who will continue to push for the extension of a UN arms embargo against Iran once himself was deeply involved in illegally selling weapons to Iran and covering it up .

Most famously, or we should say infamously, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 following years of the Iran-Contra scandal engulfing the Reagan administration; however, he was also pardoned by outgoing president George H.W. Bush at around the same time.

"Pardoned by George H.W. Bush in 1992, Abrams was a pivotal figure in the foreign-policy scandal that shook the Reagan administration, lying to Congress about his knowledge of the plot to covertly sell weapons to the Khomeini government and use the proceeds to illegally fund the right-wing Contras rebel group in Nicaragua ," NY Mag reviews.

Some are noting this heightens the chances that Washington could get dragged into a war involving Israel and Iran.

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Recall too that Abrams has been Trump's point man for ousting Maduro from Venezuela, and it appears he'll remain in the post of special envoy for Venezuela as well.

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The Grayzone journalist, Anya Parampil, who has frequently reported from Venezuela, alleged this week that Abrams will "try and destroy Venezuela and Iran at the same time".

me name=

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Wild Bill Steamcock , 14 hours ago

Abrams is a disgrace. This Administration should be dying in it's own shame bringing this swine back into government.

He's a leach. He's about lining his own pockets. He can't even own a .22 single shot, yet he's shaping international policy.

This country is dead. And the fact Trump has democrat and zionist Kushner as advisor, bringing in guys like Bolton and Abrams, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster and that Ukranian pet goblin of his, in not firing Comey et. al day 1 means he's not the answer. Face it.

And to be fair, it doesn't matter anymore who is POTUS. It hasn't really mattered in quite some time. The Plan rolls along.

Kinskian , 15 hours ago

Trump is a clumsy and transparent Zionist stooge.

PT , 14 hours ago

Gotta admit, if you're going to have a Zionist stooge then you are better off having a clumsy and transparent one.

Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

Elliott Abrams is a moron. He's been running the exact same stupid coup strategy for decades, and can't conceive of a world where the enemy has worked out how to defeat that.

Venezuela was set to be US foreign policies most embarrassing failure--but maybe Iran will be worse.

Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

Let's predict what Abrams will attempt:

Running out of the US/UK embassies, Abrams will attempt to identify a potential alternative leader who is corrupt and controllable. They'll throw political support behind this false leader, and try and find enough military to support him. Then, protests in the streets, and the small faction of the military--supported by foreign forces--will attempt to establish control.

Counter: China and Russia will import anti-coup specialists. Individuals in the Iranian military will pretend to be on board claiming to have thousands at call, and when the false leader gives the call, they won't answer. All the conspirators will be caught out on the street, and have to flee to embassies for political asylum. Like what happened in Venezuela recently, and Turkey in 2016. This will allow Iran to do a purge of all the real threats (remembering that Iran has the death penalty for sedition), and give them enough justification to end diplomatic missions in the country that are being used as launch pads.

[Jul 30, 2020] Bolton is a typical crazy neocon who wants to dominate the world

Jul 30, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Pseudo D 3.0 out of 5 stars , June 24, 2020

superhawk

Ambassador John Bolton hinted that he doesn't like being called a hawk, since foreign policy labels are simplistic.

But first of all, he labeled libertarian Sen. Rand Paul an isolationist, rather than say, a non- interventionist. And after nearly 500 pages (all but the epilogue), what you will absorb is absolutely the worldview of a geopolitical hawk. He is not technically a neoconservative (like, say, Paul Wolfowitz) because the latter were more focused on nation building and spreading democracy. Bolton sees what he's promoting as defense, but it requires a constant offense.

Bolton is very bright, as Jim Baker noted decades ago, and very well-read, even endorsing his fellow Baltimorean and my teacher Steve Vicchio's book on Lincoln's faith. But his intelligence is all put into an ideological reading of situations. As Aristotle would put it, the problem is not lack of theoretical wisdom, but the deficiency in practical wisdom and prudential judgment. Certainly there are bad actors in the world, and vigilance is required. But when is aggressive action called for, and when is it better to go with diplomacy? In this book, I find few cases of such restraint. For Bolton, it seems that the goal of peace and security requires the constant threat of war and presence on every continent. All this intervention around the world requires troops, soldiers, real men and women and their lives and those of their families, requiring lots of sacrifice. At times, his theorizing seems distant from these realities on the ground.

So Bolton is critical of the "axis of adults" in the Trump administration, the "generals", but not Kelly and not much on his predecessor McMaster, much less the eccentric Flynn. So his beef is with Mattis, another fine student of history. Bolton says he went by the rules, as James Baker had said that Bush 41 was "the one who got the votes". He tried to influence Trump within the rules, while Mattis, Tillerson and Haley pursued their own foreign policy. I'm sure that Mattis was sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but I would trust his prudential judgment above that of the equally bright Bolton, because of his life experience, being the one on the ground and knowing what war is like.

When Bolton was considered for secretary state right after the 2016 election, I said, well I don't care for the guy, but at least I've heard of him and we know what we're dealing with. His opponent in GOP foreign policy is the libertarian and non-interventionist Sen. Rand Paul. What does Bolton say about the big players in the Trump administration? Nikki Haley is dismissed as a lightweight who was posing for her political future. Well, that's basically what Trump, "the one that got the votes", put her there for. But it's interesting that Bolton is so anti-Haley, when she was for Rubio and the more hawkish platform.

Tillerson's successor Mike Pompeo had sort of a love-hate relationship with Bolton.

Steve Mnuchin is the epitome of the globalist establishment, along with Javanka. Jared Kushner is dismissed as no Kissinger, but when it comes to China, his soft stance is blamed on Kissinger! While Bolton didn't testify in the impeachment, Fiona Hill is mentioned only with respect in this book.

Everybody's flaw, from Bolton's point of view, is being less belligerent than Bolton. (Even in the Bush administration, the only name I can think of would be Michael Ledeen). He even defends the concept of Middle Eastern "endless wars" on the grounds that we didn't start them and can't dictate when they end. Obama was a dove, but in 2016 the GOP marked a shift, with Trump, Paul, Ben Carson and even Ted Cruz opposing the "invade every country on earth" philosophy that this book promotes. It's true that Trump is not an ideologue and thinks in terms of individual transactions. But the movement I see is a dialectic of alternating between aggression and diplomacy, or as he sees it, friendly relationship among leaders.

Bolton is a superhawk on North Korea and Iran throughout, while China and Russia are our hostile rivals. Other matters are Syria, Iraq and ISIS, Venezuela, Afghanistan and finally Ukraine, which by the end of the book I had almost forgotten. If Bolton is dovish anywhere, it's on the Saudis, the rivals with Iran in the Sunni-Shiite dispute chronicled recently in the book "Black Wave".

You can learn a lot from this book, but just keep in mind that it's filtered through the mind of a strong ideologue, so other people's faults are seen through that lens. But he has great knowledge of the details of policy. Bolton would like to be an inter-generational guru like Henry Kissinger or Dean Acheson, but both parties have turned away from the "endless wars" philosophy.

If you are looking for anti-Trump material, I don't really see the point of investing this time and intellectual effort. The more sensational parts have been reported-the exchanges involving Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un, and to a lesser extent Erdogan. As most reviewers have said, it's about 100 pages too long, but Bolton is looking for a scholarly work like Kissinger's Diplomacy or World Order, and this is the one that he hopes people will read.

C Wm (Andy) Anderson

Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America

#1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER 3.0 out of 5 stars Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020 Verified Purchase Two reviewers did better at explaining why this book is not rated by me as a must-read. Linda Galella and gammyjill. Bolton laid out some truly explosive allegations but let his own ego cloud his message.

John Bolton, on some fundamental level, is a brilliant, dedicated conservative intent on improving the future of the country he and I love. THAT similarity is probably the only point we share.

I wanted to love this book, because I knew it would be jam-packed with juicy tidbits that justify me derision of the biggest failure ever to assume the office of POTUS. Instead, quite early on, I realized the reason Trump became President was the enormous ineptitude of those otherwise brilliant people who, in short, simply felt that somebody opposing those the person they despise, on principle, was better for America than the other guy or gal.

Throughout this book, Bolton reminds us of Trump's inability to focus attention on the information provided by his handlers. Yes, Trump is naive and intellectually lazy. Yes, so, too, are many of those aiding and abetting Mr. Trump. But, yes, Mr. Bolton also suffers from gross naïveté, and, is just plain foolish. His ego led him to join the Trump Administration, as he admits in "The Room Where It Happened."

Bolton's greatest error, however, was in refusing to tell the country what he chose to sell to the public through this book.

The writing is, mechanically, quite good. But, Bolton comes across as thinking he is the only person of intelligence. That becomes clear by page two, and never changes, except for his insight that he was wrong about Trump.

Unfortunately, Bolton also was wrong about Bolton.

Whoa. Hold on. Just about everyone in both political parties is no better than Bolton. A few exceptions would be Former governor John Kasick and Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Oh, and former Vice President Joe Biden, I believe. Yet, to be honest, I need to see him prove me right. I would hate to make the same mistake regarding Biden as Bolton did regarding Trump.

Americans need to take a good, hard look at how we are governed and at those whom we support.

BOTTOM LINE

Writing quality, passable. But don't expect to gain a great deal of new knowledge.

Three stars out of five.

[Jul 11, 2020] Pounding to nothing - Patrick Porter - The Critic Magazine

Jul 11, 2020 | thecritic.co.uk

Pounding to nothing

Patrick Porter reviews The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, by John Bolton ARTILLERY ROW BOOKS 4 July, 2020

By

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P resident Donald Trump's third National Security Advisor opens his memoir with this quote from the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo: 'Hard Pounding, this, gentlemen. Let's see who will pound the longest.' And pound for pound, that's the (nearly) 500 page memoir in a nutshell. Unremitting pounding is both the theme and the style. As John Bolton urged the White House to take a 'harder line" on Iran and North Korea, Trump's chief of staff "urged me to keep pounding away in public, which I assured him I would.' China 'pounded away during my tenure, sensing weakness at the top.' As with Bolton's mission, so too with America's statecraft, that must 'keep moving and keep firing, like a big grey battleship.'

From his infamous unsubtle moustache to his bellicosity, Bolton traffics on a self-image of straight shooter who sprints towards gunfire. He does not set out to offer a meditation on a complex inner life. This image is also slightly misleading. For all the barrage, Bolton turns out to be a more conflicted figure, especially when his supporting fire is most called upon.

The Room Where it Happened is Bolton's account of his part in the power struggles within Trump's almost medieval court, his attempt to steer the executive branch towards the right course, unmasked supremacy everywhere, and his failure and disillusion with Trump's chaotic, self-serving and showbiz-driven presidency.

The room where it happened: A White House memoir, by John Bolton

The memoir itself is a non-trivial political event. Other reviewers have assailed it for being turgid. Bolton, though, has at least done the state some service by habitually recording and recounting every meeting. This is an important record of an important eighteen months packed with the escalating brinksmanship with Iran, an impeachment inquest, the return of great power competition and a fierce struggle to control the policy levers in Washington itself. For that detail, especially when contrasted with the exhausting melodrama of the era, Bolton deserves a little credit. The Trump administration's determined effort to suppress it on the grounds of classified information suggests there is substance to Bolton's allegations of corruption and turmoil at the heart of government.

It is also, though, a work of self-vindication. Bolton's life is an adversarial one. A former attorney, he became a policy advocate and a Republican Party institution, consistently taking the hardest of lines. He was ever drawn to aggressive combatants – like Hillary Clinton, in his formative years he supported Barry Goldwater. He interned for Vice-President Spiro Agnew, the "number one hawk." As a measure of Bolton's faith that war works and that co-existence with "rogue states" is impossible, he advocated attacking a heavily (and nuclear)-armed North Korea in 2018, an adversary that lies in artillery range of Seoul and thousands of Americans as effective hostages, and offered up a best-case scenario in doing so.

Bolton brought to government a world view that was dug-in and entrenched. For Bolton, the world is hostile, and to survive America must be strong (wielding and brandishing overwhelming force) at all times. Enemy regimes cannot be bargained with or even co-existed with on anything less than maximalist terms dictated by Washington. The US never gives an inch, and must demand everything. And if those regimes do not capitulate, America must topple or destroy them: Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea, and must combat them on multiple fronts at once. In doing so, America itself must remain unfettered with an absolutely free hand, not nodding even hypocritically to law or custom or bargaining.

If Bolton's thoughts add up to anything, it is a general hostility, if not to talking, certainly to diplomacy – the art of giving coherence and shape to different instruments and activities, above all through compromise and a recognition of limits. The final straw for Bolton was Trump's cancelling an airstrike on Iran after it shot down a drone. An odd hill to die on, given the graver acts of corruption he as witness alleges, but fitting that the failure to pull the trigger for him was Trump's most shocking misdemeanour.

What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster

This worldview is as personal as it is geopolitical. Importantly for Bolton, in the end he fights alone, bravely against the herd. He fights against other courtiers, even fellow hawks, who Bolton treats with dismissive contempt – Nikki Haley, Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, or James Mattis who like Bolton, champions strategic commitments and views Iran as a dangerous enemy, but is more selective about when to reach for the gun. The press is little more than an "hysterical" crowd. Allies like South Korea, who must live as neighbours with one of the regimes Bolton earmarks for execution, and who try conciliatory diplomacy occasionally, earn slight regard. Critics, opponents or those who disagree are 'lazy,' 'howling' or 'feckless.'

For a lengthy work that distils a lifetime's experience, it is remarkably thin regarding the big questions of security, power and order. The hostile world for him contains few real limits other than failures of will. He embraces every rivalry and every commitment, but explanations are few and banal. 'While foreign policy labels are unhelpful except to the intellectually lazy,' he says, 'if pressed, I like to say my policy was "pro-American".' Who is lazy, here?

The purpose of foreign policy, too, is largely absent. Armed supremacy abroad, and power-maximisation, seems to be the end in itself, regardless of what is has wrought at home. This makes his disdain for Trump's authoritarian ways especially obtuse: what does he think made possible an imperial presidency in the first place?

There's little room for principled or reasonable disagreement. What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster, in a town where horse-trading and agility matter. Unintentionally, it is a warning to anyone who seeks to be effective as well as right, and to those of us who debate these questions.

The most provocative part of the book comes at the end, and points to a man more conflicted than his self-image of the straight shooter. Bolton issues an extended, uneasy defence of his decision not to appear as a witness before the House impeachment inquiry against a president he believed to be corrupt. Having celebrated the need to "pound away" with inexhaustible energy, it turned out his ammunition was low. 'I was content to bide my time. I believed throughout, as the line in Hamilton goes, that "I am not throwing away my shot".' Drawing on a characteristic claim to certainty, 'it would have made no significant difference in the Senate outcome.' How can he know this? And even if the odds were long, was there not – for once – a compelling basis in civic virtue to be that relentless grey battleship, pounding away? He now hopes "history" will remember Trump as a one-term president. History needs willing agents.

Other reviews have honed in on Bolton's decision to delay his revelations for a book pay-day. But consider another theme – the war-hawk who is in fact torn and agonised around combat when it comes to himself. It echoes his retrospective rationale for not fighting in Vietnam, a war he supported, and (as he has recorded) the detailed efforts he made to avoid service in that tragic theatre after being drafted. It was, he decided, bound to fail given that the anti-war Democrats would undermine the cause, a justification he later sheepishly regretted.

So twice the advocate of forceful confrontation refused the call to show up, generously awarding to himself a rationale for non-intervention that relieves him of commitment. He refuses to extend that same exonerating, prudential logic to his country, when it debates whether to wade in to conflict abroad. Neither does he extend it to other Americans who think the nation, like Bolton, might be better off sometimes holding its fire, biding its time, dividing its enemies, and keeping its powder dry.

Given that Bolton failed in the end to attend the "room where it happened", his title is unwittingly ironic. In his favour, Bolton's testy defence of his absence at least suggests something. In contrast with the front cover of another forthcoming, Trump-era memoir , he retains a modest capacity for embarrassment.

[Jul 06, 2020] Bolton Changes Tune- Now Refuses To Answer 'Russian Bounties' Questions After Stoking The 'Scandal' -

Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

By middle of last week we observed of the Russian bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan story that "at this point this non-story looks to be dead by the weekend as it's already unraveled."

Indeed by Thursday and Friday, as more Congressional leaders received closed door intelligence briefings on the allegations which originated with an anonymously sourced NY Times report claiming Trump supposedly ignored the Russian op to target Americans, the very Democrat and Republican lawmakers previously hyping it as a 'major scandal' went conspicuously silent .

Recall too that John Bolton, busy with a media blitz promoting his book, emerged to strongly suggest he had personal knowledge that Trump was briefed on the matter . The former national security adviser called the Trump denial of being briefed "remarkable". Well, look who is now appearing to sing a different tune. A week ago Bolton was all too wiling to voluntarily say Trump had "likely" been briefed and that was a big scandal. The whole story was indeed dead by the weekend:

NOW PLAYING

Other reports said Bolton has been telling people he had personally briefed the president :

Former national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues that he personally briefed President Donald Trump about intelligence that Russia offered Afghan militants bounties to kill American troops , U.S. officials told the Associated Press .

Bolton briefed Trump on the matter in March of 2019, according to the report, a year earlier than previously reported by The New York Times . The information was also included in at least one presidential Daily Brief, according to the AP, CNN and The Times . The AP earlier reported that it was also included in a second presidential Daily Brief earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O'Brien discussed the matter with Trump.

His Sunday refusal to even address the question - again after he was all too willing to speak to the issue a week ago when it was driving headlines - speaks volumes.

Via The Daily Mail

Now that even The Washington Post awkwardly walked back the substance of much of its reporting on the 'Russian bounties' story, Bolton has conveniently gone silent .


[Jul 06, 2020] US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous - The Grayzone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer. ..."
"... That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped. ..."
"... They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable. ..."
"... And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. ..."
"... the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do. ..."
"... What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real. ..."
"... just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. ..."
"... And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate. ..."
"... This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | thegrayzone.com

US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous

Max Blumenthal breaks down the "Russian bounty" story's flaws and how it aims to prolong the war in Afghanistan -- and uses Russiagate tactics to continue pushing the Democratic Party to the right

Multiple US media outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, are claiming that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, and that President Trump has taken no action.

Others are contesting that claim. "Officials said there was disagreement among intelligence officials about the strength of the evidence about the suspected Russian plot," the New York Times reports. "Notably, the National Security Agency, which specializes in hacking and electronic surveillance, has been more skeptical."

"The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War," Blumenthal says.

Guest: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone and author of several books, including his latest "The Management of Savagery."

TRANSCRIPT

AARON MATÉ: Welcome to Pushback, I'm Aaron Maté. There is a new supposed Trump-Russia bombshell. The New York Times and other outlets reporting that Russia has been paying bounties to Afghan militants to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. Trump and the White House were allegedly briefed on this information but have taken no action.

Now, the story has obvious holes, like many other Russiagate bombshells. It is sourced to anonymous intelligence officials. The New York Times says that the claim comes from Afghan detainees. And it also has some logical holes. The Taliban have been fighting the US and Afghanistan for nearly two decades and never needed Russian payments before to kill the Americans that they were fighting; [this] amongst other questions are raised about this story. But that has not stopped the usual chorus from whipping up a frenzy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Vladimir Putin is offering bounties for the scalps of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Not only offering, offering money [to] the people who kill Americans, but some of the bounties that Putin has offered have been collected, meaning the Russians at least believe that their offering cash to kill Americans has actually worked to get some Americans killed.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin. He had has [sic] this information according to The Times, and yet he offered to host Putin in the United States and sought to invite Russia to rejoin the G7. He's in his entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale.

CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER: I was not briefed on the Russian military intelligence, but it shows that we need in this coming defense bill, which we're debating this week, tough sanctions against Russia, which thus far Mitch McConnell has resisted.

Joining me now is Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery . Max, welcome to Pushback. What is your reaction to this story?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, it just feels like so many other episodes that we've witnessed over the past three or four years, where American intelligence officials basically plant a story in one outlet, The New York Times , which functions as the media wing of the Central Intelligence Agency. Then no reporting takes place whatsoever, but six reporters, or three to six reporters are assigned to the piece to make it look like it was some last-minute scramble to confirm this bombshell story. And then the story is confirmed again by The Washington Post because their reporters, their three to six reporters in, you know, capitals around the world with different beats spoke to the same intelligence officials, or they were furnished different officials who fed them the same story. And, of course, the story advances a narrative that the United States is under siege by Russia and that we have to escalate against Russia just ahead of another peace summit or some kind of international dialogue.

This has sort of been the general framework for these Russiagate bombshells, and of course they can there's always an anti-Trump angle. And because, you know, liberal pundits and the, you know, Democratic Party operatives see this as a means to undermine Trump as the election heats up. They don't care if it's true or not. They don't care what the consequences are. They're just gonna completely roll with it. And it's really changed, I think, not just US foreign policy, but it's changed the Democratic Party in an almost irreversible way, to have these constant "quote-unquote" bombshells that are really generated by the Central Intelligence Agency and by other US intelligence operations in order to turn up the heat to crank up the Cold War, to use these different media organs which no longer believe in reporting, which see Operation Mockingbird as a kind of blueprint for how to do journalism, to turn them into keys on the CIA's Mighty Wurlitzer. That's what happened here.

AARON MATÉ: What do you make of the logic of this story? This idea that the Taliban would need Russian money to kill Americans when the Taliban's been fighting the US for nearly two decades now. And the sourcing for the story, the same old playbook: anonymous intelligence officials who are citing vague claims about apparently what was said by Afghan detainees.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: This story has, as I said, it relies on zero reporting. The only source is anonymous American intelligence officials. And I tweeted out a clip of a former CIA operations officer who managed the CIA's operation in Angola, when the US was actually fighting on the side of apartheid South Africa against a Marxist government that was backed up by Cuban troops. His name was John Stockwell. And Stockwell talked about how one-third of his covert operations staff were propagandists, and that they would feed imaginary stories about Cuban barbarism that were completely false to reporters who were either CIA assets directly or who were just unwitting dupes who would hang on a line waiting for American intelligence officials to feed them stories. And one out of every five stories was completely false, as Stockwell said. We could play some of that clip now; it's pretty remarkable to watch it in light of this latest fake bombshell.

JOHN STOCKWELL: Another thing is to disseminate propaganda to influence people's minds, and this is a major function of the CIA. And unfortunately, of course, it overlaps into the gathering of information. You, you have contact with a journalist, you will give him true stories, you'll get information from him, you'll also give him false stories.

OFF-CAMERA REPORTER: Can you do this with responsible reporters?

JOHN STOCKWELL: Yes, the Church Committee brought it out in 1975. And then Woodward and Bernstein put an article in Rolling Stone a couple of years later. Four hundred journalists cooperating with the CIA, including some of the biggest names in the business.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: So, basically, I mean, you get the flavor of what someone who was in the CIA at the height of the Cold War I mean, he did the same thing in Vietnam. And the playbook is absolutely the same today. These this story was dumped on Friday in The New York Times by "quote-unquote" American intelligence officials, as a breakthrough had been made in Afghan peace talks and a conference was finally set for Doha, Qatar, that would involve the Taliban, which had been seizing massive amounts of territory.

Now, it's my understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the Taliban had been fighting one of the most epic examples of an occupying army in modern history, just absolutely chewing away at one of the most powerful militaries in human history in their country for the last 19 years, without bounties from Vladimir Putin or private-hotdog-salesman-and-Saint-Petersburg-troll-farm-owner Yevgeny Prigozhin , who always comes up in these stories. It's always the hotdog guy who's doing everything bad from, like, you know, fake Facebook ads to poisoning Sergei Skripal or whatever.

But I just don't see where the Taliban needs encouragement from Putin to do that. It's their country. They want the US out and they have succeeded in seizing large amounts of territory. Donald Trump has come into office with a pledge to remove US troops from Afghanistan and ink this deal. And along comes this story as the peace process begins to advance.

And what is the end-result? We haven't gotten into the domestic politics yet, but the end-result is you have supposedly progressive senators like Chris Murphy of Connecticut attacking Trump for not fighting Russia in Afghanistan. I mean, they want a straight-up proxy war for not escalating. You have Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, someone who's aligned with the Democratic Party, who supported the war in Iraq and, you know, supports just endless war, demanding that the US turn up the heat not just in Afghanistan but in Syria. So, you know, the escalatory rhetoric is at a fever pitch right now, and it's obviously going to impact that peace conference.

Let's remember that three days before Trump's summit with Putin was when Mueller chose to release the indictment of the GRU agents for supposedly hacking the DNC servers. Let's remember that a day before the UN the United Nations Geneva peace talks opened on Syria in 2014 was when US intelligence chose to feed these shady Caesar photos, supposedly showing industrial slaughter of Syrian prisoners, to The New York Times in an investigation that had been funded by Qatar. Like, so many shady intelligence dumps have taken place ahead of peace summits to disrupt them, because the US doesn't feel like it has enough skin in the game or it just simply doesn't want peace in these areas.

So, that's what happened here. That's really, I think, the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer.

That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped.

THE LINCOLN PROJECT AD: Now we know Vladimir Putin pays a bounty for the murder of American soldiers. Donald Trump knows, too, and does nothing. Putin pays the Taliban cash to slaughter our men and women in uniform and Trump is silent, weak, controlled. Instead of condemnation he insists Russia be treated as our equal.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, maybe they're just really good editors and brilliant politicians who work overtime. They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable.

And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. They're always out there doing the hard work. Who are they? Well, Steve Schmidt is a former campaign manager for John McCain 2008. And you look at the various personnel affiliated with it, they're all McCain former McCain aides or people who worked on the Jeb and George W. Bush campaigns, going back to Texas and Florida. This is sort of the corporate wing of the Republican Party, the white-glove-country-club-patrician Republicans who are very pro-war, who hate Donald Trump.

And by doing this, by them really taking the lead on this attack, as you pointed out, Aaron, number one, they are sucking the oxygen out of the more progressive anti-Trump initiatives that are taking place, including in the streets of American cities. They're taking the wind out of anti-Trump more progressive anti-Trump critiques. For example, I think it's actually more powerful to attack Trump over the fact that he used, basically, chemical weapons on American peaceful protesters to do a fascistic photo-op. I don't know why there wasn't some call for congressional investigations on that. And they are getting skin in the game on the Biden campaign. It really feels to me like this Lincoln campaign operation, this moderate Republican operation which is also sort of a venue for neocons, will have more influence after events like this than the Bernie Sanders campaign, which has an enormous amount of delegates.

So, that's what I think the domestic repercussion is. It's just this constant it's the constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base that's moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War that only serves, you know, people who are associated with the national security state who need to justify their paycheck and the budget of the institutions that employ them.

AARON MATÉ: Let's assume for a second that the allegation is true, although, you know, you've laid out some of the reasons why it's not. Can you talk about the history here, starting with Afghanistan, something you cover a lot in your book, The Management of Savagery, where the US aim was to kill Russians, going right on through to Syria, where just recently the US envoy for the coalition against ISIS, James Jeffery, who handles Syria, said that his job now is to basically put the Russians in a quagmire in Syria.

JAMES JEFFREY: This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, I mean, it feels like a giant act of psychological and political projection to accuse Russia of using an Islamist militia in Afghanistan as a proxy against the US to bleed the US into leaving, because that's been the US playbook in Central Asia and the Middle East since at least 1979. I just tweeted a photo of Dan Rather in Afghanistan, just crossing the Pakistani border and going to meet with some of the Mujahideen in 1980. Dan Rather was panned in The New York in The Washington Post by Tom Toles [Tom Shales], who was the media critic at the time, as "Gunga Dan," because he was so gung-ho for the Afghan mujahideen. In his reports he would complain about how weak their weaponry was, you know, how they needed more how they needed more funding. I mean, you could call it bounties, but it was really just CIA funding.

DAN RATHER: These are the best weapons you have, huh? They only have about twenty rounds for this?

TRANSLATOR: That's all. They have twenty rounds. Yes, and they know that these are all old weapons and they really aren't up to doing anything to the Russian weaponry that's around. But that's all they have, and this is why they want help. And he is saying that America seems to be asleep. It doesn't seem to realize that if Afghanistan goes and the Russians go over to the Gulf, that in a very short time it's going to be the turn of the United States as well.

DAN RATHER: But I'm sure he knows that in Vietnam we got our fingers burned. Indeed, we got our whole hands burned when we tried to help in this kind of situation.

TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: Your hands were burned in Vietnam, but if you don't agree to help us, if you don't ally yourself with us, then all of you, your whole body will be burnt eventually, because there is no one in the world who can really fight and resist as well as the as much and as well as the Afghans are.

DAN RATHER: But no American mother wants to send her son to Afghanistan.

TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: We don't need anybody's soldiers here to help us, but we are being constantly accused that the Americans are helping us with weapons. What we need, actually, are the American weapons. We don't need or want American soldiers. We can do the fighting ourselves.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: And a year or several months before, the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do.

And then with the introduction of the Stinger missile, the Afghan mujahideen, hailed as freedom fighters in Washington, were able to destroy Russian supply lines, exact a heavy toll, and forced the Red Army to leave in retreat. They helped create what's considered the Soviet Union's Vietnam.

So that was really but the blueprint for what Russian for what Russia is being accused of now, and that same model was transferred over to Syria. It was also actually proposed for Iraq in the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Then Senate Foreign Relations chair Jesse Helms actually said that the Afghan mujahideen should be our model for supporting the Iraqi resistance. So, this kind of proxy war was always on the table. Then the US did it in Syria, when one out of every $13 in the CIA budget went to arm the so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria, who we later found out were 31 flavors of jihadi, who were aligned with al-Qaeda's local affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and helped give rise to ISIS. Michael Morell, I tweeted some video of him on Charlie Rose back in, I think, 2016. He's the former acting director for the CIA, longtime deputy director. He said, you know, the reason that we're in Syria, what we should be doing is causing Iran and Russia, the two allies of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, to pay a heavy price.

MICHAEL MORELL: We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price. The other thing

CHARLIE ROSE: We make them pay the price by killing killing Russians?

MICHAEL MORELL: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: And killing Iranians.

MICHAEL MORELL: Yes, covertly. You don't tell the world about it, right? You don't stand up at the Pentagon and say we did this, right? But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real.

AARON MATÉ: Let me read Dan Rather's tweet, because it's so it speaks to just how pervasive Russiagate culture is now. People have learned absolutely nothing from it.

Rather says, "Reporters are trained to look for patterns that are suspicious, and time and again one stands out with Donald Trump. Why is he so slavishly devoted to Putin? There is a spectrum of possible answers ranging from craven to treasonous. One day I hope and suspect we will find out."

It's like he forgot, perhaps, that Robert Mueller and his team spent three years investigating this very issue and came up with absolutely nothing. But the narrative has taken hold, and it's, as you talked about before, it's been the narrative we've been presented as the vehicle for understanding and opposing Donald Trump, so it cannot be questioned. And now it's like it's a matter of, what else is there to find out about Trump and Russia after Robert Mueller and the US intelligence agencies looked for everything they could and found nothing? They're still presented as if it's some kind of mystery that has to be unraveled.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: And it was after, like, a week of just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. Then Dick Cheney was welcomed into the resistance, you know, because he said, "Wear a mask." I mean, you know, his mask was strangely not spattered with the blood of Iraqi children. But, you know, it was just amazing like that. Of course, it was the Lincoln project who hijacked the minds of the resistance, but basically people who used to work on Cheney's campaign said, "Dick Cheney, welcome to the resistance." I mean, that was remarkable. And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate.

CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, just a few years ago, maybe it was two years ago, before Bolton was brought into the Trump NSC, he was considered just an absolute marginal crank who was a contributor to Fox News. He'd been forgotten. He was widely hated by Democrats. Now here he is as a sage voice to tell us how dangerous this moment is. And, you know, he's not being even brought on just to promote his book; he's being brought on as just a sober-minded foreign policy expert on Meet the Press . That's where we're at right now.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and when his critique of Trump is basically that Trump was not hawkish enough. Bolton's most the biggest critique Bolton has of Trump is, as he writes about in his book, is when Trump declined to bomb Iran after Iran shot down a drone over its territory. And Bolton said that to him was the most irrational thing he's ever seen a president do.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, Bolton was mad that Trump confused body bags with missiles, because he said Trump thought that there would be 150 dead Iranians, and I said, "No, Donald, you're confused. It will be 150 missiles that we're firing into Iran." Like that's better! Like, "Oh, okay, that makes everything all right," that we fire a hundred missiles for one drone and maybe that wouldn't that kill possibly more than 150 people?

Well, in Bolton's world this was just another stupid move by Trump. If Bolton were, I mean, just, just watch all the interviews with Bolton. Watch him on The View where the only pushback he received was from Meghan McCain complaining that he ripped off a Hamilton song for his book The Room Where It Happened , and she asked, "Don't you have any apology to offer to Hamilton fans?" That was the pushback that Bolton received. Just watch all of these interviews with Bolton and try to find the pushback. It's not there. This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller.

AARON MATÉ: And inevitably the only long-term consequence that I can see here is ultimately helping Trump, because, if history is a pattern, these Russiagate supposed bombshells always either go nowhere or they get debunked. So, if this one gets forcefully debunked, because I think it's quite possible, because Trump has said that he was never briefed on this and they'll have to prove that he's lying, you know. It should be easy to do. Someone could come out and say that. If they can't prove that he's lying, then this one, I think, will blow up in their face. And all they will have done is, at a time when Trump is vulnerable over the pandemic with over a hundred thousand people dead on his watch, all these people did was ultimately try to bring the focus back to the same thing that failed for basically the entirety of Trump's presidency, which is Russiagate and Trump's supposed―and non-existent in reality―subservience to Vladimir Putin.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: But have you ever really confronted one of your liberal friends who maybe doesn't follow these stories as closely as you do? You know, well-intentioned liberal friend who just has this sense that Russia controls Trump, and asked them to really defend that and provide the receipts and really explain where the Trump administration has just handed the store to Russia? Because what we've seen is unprecedented since the height of the Cold War, an unprecedented deterioration of US-Russia relations with new sanctions on Russia every few months. You ask them to do that. They can't do it. It's just a sense they get, it's a feeling they get. And that's because these bombshells drop, they get reported on the front pages under banners of papers that declare that "democracy dies in darkness," whose brand is something that everybody trusts, The New York Times , The Washington Post , Woodward and Bernstein, and everybody repeats the story again and again and again. And then, if and when it gets debunked, discredited or just sort of disappears, a few days later everybody forgets about it. And those people who are not just, like, 24/7 media consumers but critical-minded media consumers, they're left with that sense that Russia actually controls us and that we must do something to escalate with Russia. So, that's the point of these: by the time the disinformation is discredited, the damage has already been done. And that same tactic was employed against Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, to the point where so many people were left with the sense that he must be an antisemite, although not one allegation was ever proven.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and now to the point where, in the Labour Party―we should touch on this for a second―where you had a Labour Party member retweet an article recently that mentioned some criticism of Israel and for that she was expelled from her position in the shadow cabinet.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, well, you know, as a Jew I was really threatened by that retweet [laughter]. I don't know about you.

I mean, this is Rebecca Long Bailey. She's one of the few Corbynites left in a high position in Labour who hasn't been effectively burned at the stake for being a, you know, Jew hater who wants to throw us all in gas chambers because she retweets an interview with some celebrity I'd never heard of before, who didn't even say anything that extreme. But it really shows how the Thought Police have taken control of the Labour Party through Sir Keir Starmer, who is someone who has deep links to the national security state through the Crown Prosecution Service, which he used to head, where he was involved in the prosecution of Julian Assange. And he has worked with The Times of London, which is a, you know, favorite paper of the national security state and the MI5 in the UK, for planting stories against Jeremy Corbyn. He was intimately involved in that campaign, and now he's at the head of the Labour Party for a very good reason. I really would recommend everyone watching this, if you're interested more in who Keir Starmer really is, read "Five Questions for [New Labour Leader] Sir Keir Starmer" by Matt Kennard at The Grayzone. It really lays it out and shows you what's happening.

We're just in this kind of hyper-managed atmosphere, where everything feels so much more controlled than it's ever been. And even though every sane rational person that I know seems to understand what's happening, they feel like they're not allowed to say it, at least not in any official capacity.

AARON MATÉ: From the US to Britain, everything is being co-opted. In the US it's, you know, genuine resistance to Trump, in opposition to Trump, it gets co-opted by the right. Same thing in Britain. People get manipulated into believing that Jeremy Corbyn, this lifelong anti-racist is somehow an antisemite. It's all in the service of the same agenda, and I have to say we're one of the few outlets that are pushing back on it. Everyone else is getting swept up on it and it's a scary time.

We're gonna wrap. Max, your final comment.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, yeah, we're pushing back. And I saw today Mint Press [News], which is another outlet that has pushed back, their Twitter account was just briefly removed for no reason, without explanation. Ollie Vargas, who's an independent journalist who's doing some of the most important work in the English language from Bolivia, reporting on the post-coup landscape and the repressive environment that's been created by the junta installed with US help under Jeanine Áñez, his account has been taken away on Twitter. The social media platforms are basically under the control of the national security state. There's been a merger between the national security state and Silicon Valley, and the space for these kinds of discussions is rapidly shrinking. So, I think, you know, it's more important than ever to support alternative media and also to really have a clear understanding of what's taking place. I'm really worried there just won't be any space for us to have these conversations in the near future.

AARON MATÉ: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery , thanks a lot.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Thanks for having me.

[Jul 03, 2020] Podcast- Empire Has No Clothes, Episode 9, Foreign Policy Dissent Is Patriotic by DANIEL LARISON

Bolton is just "yet another MIC puppet", who has complete vacuum in his head as for morality and decency. In other words he is a typical Washington psychopath. Like many sociopaths he is a compulsive liar, undeniable careerist and self-promoter.
Jul 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

This week on Empire Has No Clothes, we spoke with Elizabeth Shackelford, a former Foreign Service Officer and author of The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age . Kelley Vlahos, Matt Purple and I talked about demoralization in the department, the reasons for her resignation, U.S. policy in South Sudan and Africa, and the need for greater accountability in our foreign policy. We also covered John Bolton's new book, his outdated foreign policy views, and whether anything he says can be trusted.

Listen to the episode in the player below, or click the links beneath it to subscribe using your favorite podcast app. If you like what you hear, please give us a rating or review on iTunes or Stitcher, which will really help us climb the rankings, allowing more people to find the show.

[Jul 01, 2020] Three Glaring Problems with the Russian Taliban Bounty Story by Barbara Boland

Highly recommended!
This is an attempt to move Trump in the direction of more harsher politics toward Russia. So not Bolton's but Obama ears are protruding above this dirty provocation.
Notable quotes:
"... According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action. ..."
"... Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee. ..."
"... "Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false. ..."
"... This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe. ..."
"... The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves. ..."
"... Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway). ..."
"... Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they? ..."
"... Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country. ..."
"... As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time. ..."
"... the idea is stupid. Russia doesn't need to do anything to motivate Afghans to want to boot the invaders out of their country, and would want to attract negative attention in doing so. ..."
"... Contrast with the CIA motivations for this absurd narrative. Chuck Schumer famously commented that the intelligence agencies had ways of getting back at you, and it looks like you took the bait, hook, line and sinker. ..."
"... And a fourth CIA goal: it undermines Trump's relationship with the military. ..."
"... Having failed in its Russia "collusion" and "Russia stole the election" campaigns to oust Trump, this is just the latest effort by the Deep State and mass media to use unhinged Russophobia to try to boost Biden and damage Trump. ..."
"... The contemporary left hate Russia , because Russia is carving out it own sphere of influence and keeping the Americans out, because it saved Assad from the western backed sunni head choppers (that the left cheered on, as they killed native Orthodox, and Catholic Christians). The Contempary left hate Russia because it cracks down on LGBT propaganda, banned porn hub, and return property to the Church , which the leftist Bolsheviks stole, the Contempaty left hate Russia because it cracked down on it western backed oligarchs who plundered Russia in the 90's. ..."
Jul 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bombshell report published by The New York Times Friday alleges that Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops. Obscured by an extremely bungled White House press response, there are at least three serious flaws with the reporting.

The article alleges that GRU, a top-secret unit of Russian military intelligence, offered the bounty in payment for every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, and that at least one member of the U.S. military was alleged to have been killed in exchange for the bounties. According to the paper, U.S. intelligence concluded months ago that the Russian unit involved in the bounties was also linked to poisonings, assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe. The Times reports that United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan came to this conclusion about Russian bounties some time in 2019.

According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action.

Immediately after the news broke Friday, the Trump administration denied the report -- or rather, they denied that the President was briefed, depending on which of the frenetic, contradictory White House responses you read.

Traditionally, the President of the United States receives unconfirmed, and sometimes even raw intelligence, in the President's Daily Brief, or PDB. Trump notoriously does not read his PDB, according to reports.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement Saturday night that neither Trump nor Vice President Pence "were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday."

On Sunday night, Trump tweeted that not only was he not told about the alleged intelligence, but that it was not credible."Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP" Pence, Trump wrote Sunday night on Twitter.

Ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Trump was probably claiming ignorance in order to justify his administration's lack of response.

"He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it," said Bolton.

Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee.

The explanations for what exactly happened, and who was briefed, continued to shift Monday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany followed Trump's blanket denial with a statement that the intelligence concerning Russian bounty information was "unconfirmed." She didn't say the intelligence wasn't credible, like Trump had said the day before, only that there was "no consensus" and that the "veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated," which happens to almost completely match the Sunday night statement from the White House's National Security Council.

Instead of saying that the sources for the Russian bounty story were not credible and the story was false, or likely false, McEnany then said that Trump had "not been briefed on the matter."

"He was not personally briefed on the matter," she said. "That is all I can share with you today."

It's difficult to see how the White House thought McEnany's statement would help, and a bungled press response like this is communications malpractice, according to sources who spoke to The American Conservative.

Let's take a deeper dive into some of the problems with the reporting here:

1. Anonymous U.S. and Taliban sources?

The Times article repeatedly cites unnamed "American intelligence officials." The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal articles "confirming" the original Times story merely restate the allegations of the anonymous officials, along with caveats like "if true" or "if confirmed."

Furthermore, the unnamed intelligence sources who spoke with the Times say that their assessment is based "on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals."

That's a red flag, said John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that captured senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. "When you capture a prisoner, and you're interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear," he said in an interview with The American Conservative . "There's no evidence here, there's no proof."

"Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false.

Kiriakou believes that the sources behind the report hold important clues on how the government viewed its credibility.

"We don't know who the source is for this. We don't know if they've been vetted, polygraphed; were they a walk-in; were they a captured prisoner?"

If the sources were suspect, as they appear to be here, then Trump would not have been briefed on this at all.

With this story, it's important to start at the "intelligence collection," said Kiriakou. "This information appeared in the [CIA World Intelligence Review] Wire, which goes to hundreds of people inside the government, mostly at the State Department and the Pentagon. The most sensitive information isn't put in the Wire; it goes only in the PDB."

"If this was from a single source intelligence, it wouldn't have been briefed to Trump. It's not vetted, and it's not important enough. If you caught a Russian who said this, for example, that would make it important enough. But some Taliban detainees saying it to an interrogator, that does not rise to the threshold."

2. What purpose would bounties serve?

Everyone and their mother knows Trump wants to pull the troops out of Afghanistan, said Kiriakou.

"He ran on it and he has said it hundreds of times," he said. "So why would the Russians bother putting a bounty on U.S. troops if we're about to leave Afghanistan shortly anyway?"

That's leaving aside Russia's own experience with the futility of Afghanistan campaigns, learned during its grueling 9-year war there in the 1980s.

If this bounty campaign is real, it would not appear to be very effective, as only eight U.S. military members were killed in Afghanistan in 2020. The New York Times could not verify that even one U.S. military member was killed due to an alleged Russian bounty.

The Taliban denies it accepted bounties from Russian intelligence.

"These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless -- our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told The New York Times . "That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don't attack them."

The Russian Embassy in the United States called the reporting "fake news."

While the Russians are ruthless, "it's hard to fathom what their motivations could be" here, said Paul Pillar, an academic and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, in an interview with The American Conservative. "What would they be retaliating for? Some use of force in Syria recently? I don't know. I can't string together a particular sequence that makes sense at this time. I'm not saying that to cast doubt on reports the Russians were doing this sort of thing."

3. Why is this story being leaked now?

According to U.S. officials quoted by the AP, top officials in the White House "were aware of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans" in early 2019. So why is this story just coming out now?

This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe.

The NYT story serves to bolster the narrative that Trump sides with Russia, and against our intelligence community estimates and our own soldiers lives.

The stories "are likely to remain indelible in the minds of credulous Americans -- which seems to have been the main objective," writes McGovern. "There [Trump] goes again -- not believing our 'intelligence community; siding, rather, with Putin.'"

"I don't believe this story and I think it was leaked to embarrass the President," said Kiriakou. "Trump is on the ropes in the polls; Biden is ahead in all the battleground states."

If these anonymous sources had spoken up during the impeachment hearings, their statements could have changed history.

But the timing here, "kicking a man when he is down, is extremely like the Washington establishment. A leaked story like this now, embarrasses and weakens Trump," he said. "It was obvious that Trump would blow the media response, which he did."

The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves.

Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill , UK Spectator , and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .


Tomonthebeach 9 hours ago • edited

Caitlin Johnstone was the first journalist to question this NYT expose' several days ago in her blog. After looking into it, I had to agree with her that the story was junk reporting by a news source eager to stick it to Trump for his daily insults. NYT must love the irony of a "fake news" story catching fire and burning Trump politically. After all, paying people to kill their own enemies? That is a "tip," not a bounty. It is more of an intel footnote than the game-changer in international relations as asserted by Speaker Pelosi on TV as she grabbed her pearls beneath her stylish COVID mask.

I was surprised that Ms. Boland could not think of any motivation for leaking the story right now given recent grousing on the Hill about Trump's inviting Putin to G7 over the objections of Merkel and several other NATO heads of state. I even posted a congratulatory message in Defense One yesterday to the US Intel community for mission accomplished.

Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway).

Connecticut Farmer Tomonthebeach 3 hours ago

That "bounty" story never passed the smell test, even to my admittedly untrained nose. My real problem is that it's a story in the first place, given that Trump campaigned on a platform that included bringing the boys home from sand hills like Afghanistan; yet here we are, four years later, and we're still there.

Lavinia 6 hours ago

Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they?

Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country.

This whole story is completely ridiculous. Totally bogus.

Wally 5 hours ago

As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time.

Of course people are trying to kill US military in Afghanistan. If I lived in Afghanistan, I'd probably hate them too. And let's not forget that just a few weeks ago the 82nd airborne was ready to kill American civilians in DC. The military is our enemy too!

If you are in the US military today, please quit.

https://www.washingtonpost....

Don't ever forget how they lied to us.

Feral Finster 4 hours ago

Moreover, the idea is stupid. Russia doesn't need to do anything to motivate Afghans to want to boot the invaders out of their country, and would want to attract negative attention in doing so.

The purported bounty program doesn't help Russia, but the anonymous narrative does conveniently serve several CIA purposes:
1. It makes it harder to leave Afghanistan.
2. It keeps the cold war with Russia going along.
3. It damages Trump (whose relationship with the CIA is testy at best).

Then there's the question of how this supposed intelligence was gathered. The CIA tortures people, and there's no reason to believe that this was any different.

Feral Finster Sidney Caesar 2 hours ago

1. Russia wants a stable Afghanistan. Not a base for jihadis.

2. The idea that Russia has to encourage Afghans to kill Invaders is a hoot. They don't ever do that on their own.

3. Not only do Afghans traditionally need no motivation to kill infidel foreign Invaders, but Russia would have to be incredibly stupid to bring more American enmity on itself.

Contrast with the CIA motivations for this absurd narrative. Chuck Schumer famously commented that the intelligence agencies had ways of getting back at you, and it looks like you took the bait, hook, line and sinker.

Either that, or you're just cynical. You'll espouse anything, however absurd and full of lies, as long as it damages Trump.

I detest Trump, but I am not a list.

Wally Feral Finster 3 hours ago

I don't have a clue if this bounty story is correct, but I can imagine plenty of reasons why the Russians would do it. It's easy enough to believe it or believe it was cooked up by CIA as you suggest.

Feral Finster Feral Finster 2 hours ago

And a fourth CIA goal: it undermines Trump's relationship with the military.

FND 4 hours ago

There will be one of these BS blockbusters every few weeks until the election. There are legions of buried-in democrat political appointees that will continue to feed the DNC press. It will be non-stop. The DNC press is shredding the 1st amendment.

former-vet FND 2 hours ago

Not shredding the First Amendment, just shining light on the pitfalls of a right to freedom of speech. There are others ramifications to free speech we consider social goods.

Kent FND 2 hours ago

These aren't buried-in democrats. These people could care less which political party the President is a member of. They only care that the President does what they say. Political parties are just to bamboozle the rubes. They are the real power.

Connecticut Farmer 4 hours ago

"U.S. Intelligence"-lol--a contradiction in terms. Just repeat three times: "George 'Slam Dunk' Tenet."

Sidney Caesar Connecticut Farmer 3 hours ago

Tenet knew his role- he said what his superiors wanted to hear: https://www.motherjones.com... The Iraq debacle was a top-down con job.

Stephen R Gould 3 hours ago • edited

The best defence that the WSJ and Fox News could muster was that the story wasn't confirmed as the NSA didn't have the same confidence in the assessment as the CIA. "Is there anything else to which you would wish to draw my attention?" "To the curious incident of the denial from the White House", "There was no denial from the White House". "That was the curious incident".

I note that Fox News had buried the story "below the scroll" on their home page - if they had though the story was fake, the headlines would be screaming at MSM.

maxsnafu 3 hours ago

I was suspicious when I saw it originated in Walter Duranty's newspaper.

The Derp State 3 hours ago

"What if Obama...." #4,267

former-vet 2 hours ago • edited

Pravda was a far more honest and objective news source than The New York Times is. I say that as someone who read both for long periods of time. The Times is on par with the National Enquirer for credibility, with the latter at least being less propagandistic and agenda-driven.

SatirevFlesti 2 hours ago

Having failed in its Russia "collusion" and "Russia stole the election" campaigns to oust Trump, this is just the latest effort by the Deep State and mass media to use unhinged Russophobia to try to boost Biden and damage Trump.

The extent to which the contemporary Left is driven by a level of Russophobia unseen even by the most stalwart anti-Communists on the Right during the Cold War is truly something to behold. I think at bottom it comes down to not liking Putin or Russia because they refuse to get on board with the Left's social agenda.

James SatirevFlesti 2 hours ago • edited

The contemporary left hate Russia , because Russia is carving out it own sphere of influence and keeping the Americans out, because it saved Assad from the western backed sunni head choppers (that the left cheered on, as they killed native Orthodox, and Catholic Christians). The Contempary left hate Russia because it cracks down on LGBT propaganda, banned porn hub, and return property to the Church , which the leftist Bolsheviks stole, the Contempaty left hate Russia because it cracked down on it western backed oligarchs who plundered Russia in the 90's.

The Contempary left wants Russia to be Woke, Broke, Godless, and Gay.

The democrats are now the cheerleaders of the warfare -welfare state,, the marriage between the neolibs-neocons under the Democrat party to ensure that President Trump is defeated by the invade the world, invite the world crowd.

WilliamRD TheSnark 44 minutes ago

"The Trumpies are right in that this was obviously a leak by the intel community designed to hurt Trump. But what do you expect...he has spent 4 years insulting and belittling them. They are going to get their pound of flesh."

Intel community was behind an attempted coup of Trump. He has good reason not to trust them and insulting is only natural. Hopefully John Durham will indict several of them

Kent an hour ago

I honestly don't find "unnamed officials", the CIA, the NSA, the NYT, John Bolton, or President Trump to be credible sources.

Sidney Caesar Kent an hour ago • edited

I've found myself to be the only honest and trustworthy person- everyone should just listen to me.

WilliamRD 42 minutes ago • edited

Montage: Mainstream Media Hype About Russia Collusion https://twitter.com/ggreenw...

WilliamRD 36 minutes ago

Russiagate's Last Gasp https://consortiumnews.com/...

phreethink 20 minutes ago • edited

Interesting take. I certainly take anything anyone publishes based on anonymous sources with a big grain of salt, especially when it comes from the NYT...

[Jul 01, 2020] Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

Highly recommended!
Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

No Friend Of The Devil , says:

Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

...They suffer from god-complexes, since they do not believe in God, they feel an obligation to act as God, and decide the fates of over 7 billion people, who would obviously be better off if the PICs were sent to the Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants!

[Jun 23, 2020] John Bolton's Mission was to Destroy Donald Trump's Detente with North Korea

Jun 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Bolton, of course, dismissed the entire concept of diplomacy from the very start. He never bought into the notion that North Korean officials could be talked to sensibly because they were, well, insane. Bolton's version of North Korea diplomacy was to tighten the economic screws, brandish the U.S. military, and wait until one of two things happened: 1) the Kim regime surrendered its entire nuclear weapons program like Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, or 2) the Kim regime continued to spur Washington's demands, in which the White House would have no option but to use U.S. military force. Bolton's record is analogous to a stereotypical linebacker on an obscene amount of steroids -- smash your opponent to pieces and don't think twice about it. Top Beauty Surgeon Says "Forget Facelifts, This at Home Tip is My #1 Wrinkle Red Del Mar Laboratories Dr: This May Be the Best CBD Ever for Arthritis, Aching Joints & Inflammation Mirror News Online Enlarged Prostate Gone - Just Do This Before Bed (Watch) Newhealthylife 3 Ways Your Cat Asks for Help Dr. Marty The content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view our Privacy Policy and your opt out options here . Got it, thanks! Remove Content Link?

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The only problem: North Korea isn't some helpless punter with string bean arms and a lanky midsection. It's a nuclear weapons state fiercely proud of its independence and sovereignty, constantly on guard for the slightest threat from a foreign power, and cognizant of its weakened position relative to its neighbors. This is one of the prime reasons Bolton's obsession with the Libya-style North Korea deal, in which Pyongyang would theoretically discard its entire nuclear apparatus and allow U.S. weapons inspectors to take custody of its nuclear warheads before flying them back to the U.S. for destruction, was unworkable from the start. The Libya-model trumpeted by Bolton was a politically correct way of demanding Pyongyang's total surrender -- an extremely naive goal if there ever was one. When one remembers the fate of Qaddafi 8 years after he traded sanctions relief for his weapons of mass destruction -- the dictator was assaulted and humiliated before being executed in the desert -- even the word "Libya" is treated by the Kim dynasty as a threat to its existence. As Paul Pillar wrote in these pages more than two years ago, "Libya's experience does indeed weigh heavily on the thinking of North Korean officials, who have taken explicit notice of that experience, as a disincentive to reaching any deals with the United States about dismantling weapons programs."

One can certainly take issue with Trump's North Korea policy. Two years of personal diplomacy with Kim Jong-un have yet to result in the denuclearization Washington seeks (denuclearization is more of a slogan than a realistic objective at this point, anyway). But Trump's strategy aside, Bolton's alternative was worse. The president knew his former national security adviser's public insistence on the Libya model was dangerously inept. He had to walk back Bolton's comments weeks later to ensure the North Koreans didn't pull out of diplomacy before it got off the ground. Trump hasn't forgotten about the experience; on June 18, Trump tweeted that "Bolton's dumbest of all statements set us back very badly with North Korea, even now. I asked him, "what the hell were you thinking?"

[Jun 23, 2020] Chickenhawk B olton May Be a Beast, But He's Washington's Creature by Richard Hanania

Personally he is a bully and as such a coward: he can attack only a weaker opponent. His new book shows that however discredited and intellectually thin his foreign policy views are, they always rise to the top. To Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton's hawkishness is combined with an equally striking lack of originality. It is possible to be an unorthodox or partisan hawk, as we see in populists who want to get out of the Middle East but ramp up pressure on China, or Democrats who have a particular obsession with Russia. Bolton takes the most belligerent position on every issue without regards for partisanship or popularity, a level of consistency that would almost be honorable if it wasn't so frightening. No alliance or commitment is ever questioned, and neither, for that matter, is any rivalry. ..."
"... Bolton lacks any intellectual tradition or popular support base that he can call his own. Domestic political concerns are almost completely missing from his book, although we learn that he follows "Adam Smith on economics, Edmund Burke on society," is happy with Trump's judicial appointments, and favors legal, but not illegal, immigration. Other than these GOP clichés, there is virtually no commentary or concern about the state of American society or its trajectory. Unlike those who worry about how global empire affects the United States at home, to Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad. While Bolton's views have been called "nationalist" because he doesn't care about multilateralism, nation-building, or international law, I have never seen a nationalist that gives so little thought to his nation. ..."
"... Bolton recounts how his two top aides, Charles Kupperman and Mira Ricardel, had extensive experience working for Boeing. Patrick Shanahan similarly became acting Secretary of Defense after spending thirty years at that company, until he was replaced by Mark Esper, a Raytheon lobbyist. Why working for a company that manufactures aircraft and weapons prepares one for a job in foreign policy, the establishment has never felt the need to explain, any more than it needs to explain continuing Cold War-era military commitments three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The most important question raised by the career of John Bolton is how someone with his views has been able to achieve so much power. While Bolton gets much worse press and always goes a step too far even for most of the foreign policy establishment, in other ways he is all too typical. Take James Mattis, a foil for Bolton throughout much of the first half of the book. Although more popular in the media, the "warrior monk" slow-walked and obstructed attempts by the president to pull out of the Middle East, and after a career supporting many of the same wars and commitments as Bolton, now makes big bucks in the private sector, profiting off of his time in government. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, 592 pages

The release of John Bolton's book today has become a Washington cultural event, because he is, by all measures, Washington's creature.

Those who dislike the Trump administration have been pleased to find in The Room Where It Happened confirmation in much of what they already believed about the Ukraine scandal and the president's lack of capacity for the job. Some accusations in the book, such as the story about Trump seeking reelection help from China through American farm purchases, are new, and in an alternative universe could have formed the basis of a different, or if Bolton had his way, more comprehensive, impeachment inquiry.

While Bolton's book has been found politically useful by the president's detractors, the work is also important as a first-hand account from the top of the executive branch over a 19-month period, from April 2018 to September 2019. It also, mostly inadvertently, reveals much about official Washington, the incentive structures that politicians face, and the kind of person that is likely to succeed in that system. Bolton may be a biased self-promoter, but he is nonetheless a credible source, as his stories mostly involve conversations with other people who are free to eventually tell their own side. Moreover, the John Bolton of The Room Where It Happened is no different from the man we know from his three-decade career as a government official and public personality. No surprises here.

There are three ways to understand John Bolton. In increasing order of importance, they are intellectually, psychologically, and politically -- that is, as someone who is both a product of and antagonist to the foreign-policy establishment -- in many ways typical, and in others a detested outlier.

On the first of these, there simply isn't much there. Bolton takes the most hawkish position on every issue. He wants war with North Korea and Iran, and if he can't have that, he'll settle for destroying their economies and sabotaging any attempts by Trump to reach a deal with either country. He takes the maximalist positions on great powers like China and Russia, and third world states that pose no plausible threat like Cuba and Venezuela. At one point, he brags about State reversing "Obama's absurd conclusion that Cuban baseball was somehow independent of its government, thus in turn allowing Treasury to revoke the license allowing Major League Baseball to traffic in Cuban players." How this helps Americans or Cubans is left unexplained.

Bolton's hawkishness is combined with an equally striking lack of originality. It is possible to be an unorthodox or partisan hawk, as we see in populists who want to get out of the Middle East but ramp up pressure on China, or Democrats who have a particular obsession with Russia. Bolton takes the most belligerent position on every issue without regards for partisanship or popularity, a level of consistency that would almost be honorable if it wasn't so frightening. No alliance or commitment is ever questioned, and neither, for that matter, is any rivalry.

Anyone who picks up Bolton's over 500-page memoir hoping to find serious reflection on the philosophical basis of American foreign policy will be disappointed. The chapters are broken up by topic area, most beginning with a short background explainer on Bolton's views of the issue. In the chapter on Venezuela, we are told that overthrowing the government of that country is important because of "its Cuba connection and the openings it afforded Russia, China, and Iran." The continuing occupation of Afghanistan is necessary for preventing terrorists from establishing a base, and, in an argument I had not heard anywhere before, for "remaining vigilant against the nuclear-weapons programs in Iran on the west and Pakistan on the east." Iran needs to be deterred, though from what we are never told.

Bolton lacks any intellectual tradition or popular support base that he can call his own. Domestic political concerns are almost completely missing from his book, although we learn that he follows "Adam Smith on economics, Edmund Burke on society," is happy with Trump's judicial appointments, and favors legal, but not illegal, immigration. Other than these GOP clichés, there is virtually no commentary or concern about the state of American society or its trajectory. Unlike those who worry about how global empire affects the United States at home, to Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad. While Bolton's views have been called "nationalist" because he doesn't care about multilateralism, nation-building, or international law, I have never seen a nationalist that gives so little thought to his nation.

The more time one spends reading Bolton, the more one comes to the conclusion that the guy just likes to fight. In addition to seeking out and escalating foreign policy conflicts, he seems to relish going to war with the media and the rest of the Washington bureaucracy. His book begins with a quote from the Duke of Wellington rallying his troops at Waterloo: "Hard pounding, this, gentlemen. Let's see who will pound the longest." The back cover quotes the epilogue on his fight with the Trump administration, responding "game on" to attempts to stop publication. He takes a mischievous pride in recounting attacks from the media or foreign governments, such as when he was honored to hear that North Korea worried about his influence over the President. Bolton is too busy enjoying the fight, and as will be seen below, profiting from it, to reflect too carefully on what it's all for.

Bolton could be ignored if he were simply an odd figure without much power. Yet the man has been at the pinnacle of the GOP establishment for thirty years, serving appointed roles in every Republican president since Reagan. The story of how he got his job in the Trump administration is telling. According to Bolton's account, he was courted throughout the transition process and the early days of the administration by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, ironic considering the reputation of the former as a populist opposed to forever wars and the latter as a more liberal figure within the White House. Happy with his life outside government, Bolton would accept a position no lower than Secretary of State or National Security Advisor. Explaining his reluctance to enter government in a lower capacity, Bolton provides a list of his commitments at the time, including "Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Fox News contributor; a regular on the speaking circuit; of counsel at a major law firm; member of corporate boards; senior advisor to a global private-equity firm."

Clearly, being an advocate for policies that can destroy the lives of millions abroad, and a complete lack of experience in business, have proved no hindrance to Bolton's success in corporate America.

Bolton recounts how his two top aides, Charles Kupperman and Mira Ricardel, had extensive experience working for Boeing. Patrick Shanahan similarly became acting Secretary of Defense after spending thirty years at that company, until he was replaced by Mark Esper, a Raytheon lobbyist. Why working for a company that manufactures aircraft and weapons prepares one for a job in foreign policy, the establishment has never felt the need to explain, any more than it needs to explain continuing Cold War-era military commitments three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ricardel resigned after a dispute over preparations for the First Lady's trip to Africa, an example of how too often in the Trump administration, nepotism and self-interest have been the only checks on bad policy or even greater corruption ("Melania's people are on the warpath," Trump is quoted as saying). Another is when Trump, according to Bolton, was less than vigorous in pursing destructive Iranian sanctions due to personal relationships with the leaders of China and Turkey. At the 2019 G7 summit, when Pompeo and Bolton try to get Benjamin Netanyahu to reach out to Trump to talk him out of meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, Jared prevents his call from going through on the grounds that a foreign government shouldn't be telling the President of the United States who to meet with.

The most important question raised by the career of John Bolton is how someone with his views has been able to achieve so much power. While Bolton gets much worse press and always goes a step too far even for most of the foreign policy establishment, in other ways he is all too typical. Take James Mattis, a foil for Bolton throughout much of the first half of the book. Although more popular in the media, the "warrior monk" slow-walked and obstructed attempts by the president to pull out of the Middle East, and after a career supporting many of the same wars and commitments as Bolton, now makes big bucks in the private sector, profiting off of his time in government.

In the coverage of Bolton, this is what should not be lost. The former National Security Advisor is the product of a system with its own internal logic. Largely discredited and intellectually hollow, and without broad popular support, it persists in its practices and beliefs because it has been extremely profitable for those involved. The most extreme hawks are simply symptoms of larger problems, with the flamboyant Bolton being much more like mainstream members of the foreign policy establishment than either side would like to admit.

Richard Hanania is a research fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

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[Jun 23, 2020] John Bolton Tells How Iran Hawks Set Up Trump's Syrian Kurdish Disaster

Notable quotes:
"... Bolton's account sheds light on how it happened: hawks in the administration, including Bolton himself, wanted U.S. forces in Syria fighting Russia and Iran. They saw the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS as a distraction -- and let the Turkish-Kurdish conflict fester until it spiralled out of control. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

The drama eventually ended with President Donald Trump pulling U.S. peacekeepers out of Syria -- and then sending them back in . One hundred thousand Syrian civilians were displaced by an advancing Turkish army, and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces turned to Russia for help. But U.S. forces never fully withdrew -- they are still stuck in Syria defending oil wells .

Bolton's account sheds light on how it happened: hawks in the administration, including Bolton himself, wanted U.S. forces in Syria fighting Russia and Iran. They saw the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS as a distraction -- and let the Turkish-Kurdish conflict fester until it spiralled out of control.

Pompeo issued a statement on Thursday night denouncing Bolton's entire book as "a number of lies, fully-spun half-truths, and outright falsehoods."

[Jun 22, 2020] MoA community discussion of Bolton book

Notable quotes:
"... let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda. ..."
"... Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years. ..."
"... Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons. ..."
"... The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children. ..."
Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

pretzelattack , Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda.

Duncan Idaho , Jun 17 2020 22:03 utc | 15

Only with Late Stage Capitalism could we have a vicious war criminal write a book criticizing a psychopathic sociopath.
Anonymous , Jun 17 2020 22:06 utc | 16
The political establishment in Canada appeared dismayed at the prospect of Bolton as National Security Adviser. See these interviews with Hill + Knowlton strategies Vice-chairman, Peter Donolo, from 2018:

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/there-s-risk-trump-s-actions-are-driving-the-u-s-into-a-recession-peter-donolo~1342264
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/trade-wars-easy-to-start-not-so-easy-to-finish-peter-donolo~1365104

So Bolton gets in, Meng Wangzhou is detained in Vancouver on the US request (that's another story), and in time, Canada appoints a new Ambassador to China - Mr. Dominic Barton.

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

Then Bolton gets fired. 'Nuff said. Just to let everyone know that Bolton is well and truly hated, as a government official, in certain circles.

AntiSpin , Jun 17 2020 22:07 utc | 17
@ pretzelattack | Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years.

Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children.

Jpc , Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18
Why was he appointment made in the first place anyone,?
Ian2 , Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
Jpc | Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18:

My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.

james , Jun 17 2020 23:13 utc | 20
let the lobbyists with the most money win... that's what defines the usa system, leadership and decision making process... no one in their right mind would support this doofus..
Jen , Jun 17 2020 23:40 utc | 21
At least the one saving grace about John Bolton's memoir is that it might be a tad closer to reality than Christopher Steele's infamous dossier and might prove valuable as a source of evidence in a court of law. Maybe Yosemite Sam himself should start quaking in his boots.
jen , Jun 17 2020 23:42 utc | 22
Jpc @ 18, Ian2 @ 19:

Personal interest on DJT's part? :-)

JC , Jun 17 2020 23:43 utc | 23
Posted by: Tower | Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

This is the most intelligent post so far.

Yes why not? If Obama awarded the Noble prize even before he begins serving his first term I can't see why Bolton not nominated now. America is a joke, not a banana republic. It deserves Obama, Trump, Bolton or Biden another stoopid joker.

Stoopid president elected by stoopid citizens

Don Bacon , Jun 17 2020 23:44 utc | 24
@ Jpc
When faced with Trump's behavior of employing warmongers, including several generals, some observers opined that Trump wanted people with contrasting opinions so that he could consider them and then say "no." He did more with Bolton eventually, sending him to Mongolia while he (Trump) went to Singapore (or somewhere over there).
A User , Jun 17 2020 23:47 utc | 25
re Ian2 | Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
who hazarded : My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.
Not at all, if you go back to the earliest days of the orangeman's prezdency, you will see Trump resisted the efforts by Mercer & the zionist casino owner to give Bolton a gig.
He knew that shrub had problems with the boasts of Bolton and as his reputation was as an arsehole who sounded his own trumpet at his boss's expense orangeman refused for a long time. Trump believes the trump prezdency is about trump no one else.
Thing was at the time he was running for the prez gig trump was on his uppers, making a few dollars from his tv show, plus licensing other people's buildings by selling his name to be stuck on them. trump tower azerbnajan etc.
He put virtually none of his own money into the 'race' so when he won the people who had put up the dosh had power over him.
Bolton has always been an arse kisser to any zionist cause he suspects he can claw a penny outta, so he used the extreme loony end of the totally looney zionist spectrum to hook him (Bolton) up with a gig by pushing for him with trump.

It was always gonna end the way it did as Bolton is forever briefing the media against anyone who tried to resist his murderous fantasies. Trump is never gonna argue for any scheme that doesn't have lotsa dollars for him in it so he had plenty of run ins with Bolton who then went to his media mates & told tales.
When bolton was appointed orangey's stakes were at a really low ebb among DC warmongers, so he reluctantly took him on then spent the next 18 months getting rid of the grubby parasite.

div> Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit , Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit | Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Kristan hinton , Jun 18 2020 0:46 utc | 27
Real History: Candidate Trump praised Bolton and named him as THE number one Foreign Policy expert he (Trump) respected.

Imagine the mustachioed Mister Potatoe (sic) Head and zany highjinks!

Bolton and one of his first wives were regulars at Plato's Retreat for wife swapping orgies. The wife was not real keen on the behavior, but she allegedly found herself verbally and physically abused for objecting.

DannyC , Jun 18 2020 1:17 utc | 28
Trump is at fault for hiring him to appease the Zionist lobby. We all knew the guy was a warmonger and a scumbag. It's not a surprise. Trump surrounds himself with the worst people
jadan , Jun 18 2020 1:30 utc | 29
Did John Bolton put his personal interests above the will of congress in an attempt to extort the Ukrainian government? You're making a false equivalence. You seem to have a soft spot for Trump. Bolton is an in-your-face son of a bitch, but Trump, Trump is just human garbage.
Kay Fabe , Jun 18 2020 2:27 utc | 30
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got. Just a distraction. Trumps outrage just meant help Bolton sell some books. Lol. People are so easy to fool.

I still think Bolton managing the operations as COG in Cheneys old bunker. Coming out for a vacation while next phase is planned

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 2:56 utc | 31
Kay Fabe @Jun18 2:27 #29
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got.

You underestimate the craftiness of this kayfabe.

The tiff with Bolton makes Trump look like a peace-loving moderate so that he's acceptable to Independent voters.

!!

Den lille abe , Jun 18 2020 3:03 utc | 32
Bolton is just another American arsehole. Nothing new. When they do not get their way, the y always turn on their superiors, or those in charge. Bolton is just another "Anhänger" personal gain is what motivates him.
He should have been a blot on his parents bedsheets or at least a forced abortion, but unfortunately that did not happen...
Piotr Berman , Jun 18 2020 3:53 utc | 33
The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him (Trump) and his voters.

Posted by: bob sykes | Jun 17 2020 20:55 utc | 11

Trump thwarted Trump. Before he got elected, Trump mentioned his admiration of Bolton more than once. Voters of Trump elected a liar and an incoherent person -- at time, incomprehensible, a nice bonus. But it is worth noticing that Trump never liked being binded by agreement, like, say, an agreement to pay money back to creditors, or whatever international agreement would restrict USA from doing what they damn please.

Superficially, it is mysterious why Trump made an impression that he wants to negotiate with North Korea with some agreement at the end. Was he forced to make a mockery from the negotiation by someone sticking knife to his back?

Some may remember that Trump promised to abolish Affordable Care Act and replace it with "something marvelous". The latest version is that he will start thinking about it again after re-election. If you believe that...

Granted, Trump is more sane than Bolton, but just a bit, unlike Bolton he has some moments of lucidity.

In conclusion, I would advocate to vote for Biden. If you need a reason, that would be that Biden never tweets, or if he does, it is forgettable before the typing is done. Unlike the hideous Trumpian productions.

jason , Jun 18 2020 3:55 utc | 34
"men fit to be shaved," Tiberius, on Bolton and Friedman.

he is the best & brightest we have. when a dreadful mouth is called for. his insights into the Trump WH are probably as deep as his knowledge of VZ, Iran, Cuba, etc. he's a useful idiot, a willing fool. like Trump, he's the verbal equivalent of the cops on the street, in foreign "policy." another abusive father figure

reading the imperial steak turds - an American form of reading the tea leaves or goat livers or chicken flight or celestial what have you. an emperor craps out a big hairy one like Bolton and the priests and hierophants and lawyers and scribes come for a long, close up inspection and fact-gathering smell of another steaming pile of gmo-corn-and-downer-cow-fed, colon cancer causing, Kansas feed-lot raised, grade A Murkin BEEF. guess what they in their wisdom find? Trump stinks.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 4:20 utc | 35
Scotch Bingeington @ 6 -- "Take a look at his face. It's obvious to me that even John Bolton does not enjoy being John Bolton. That mouth, it's drooping to an absurd degree. Comparable to Merkel's face, come to think of it.

At last, someone who notices physionomy!

That face drips with false modesty, kind of trying to make his face say, "... look at harmless old me..."

That walrus bushiness points at an attempt to hide, to camouflage his true thoughts, his malevolence.

That pretended stoop, with one hand clutching a sheaf of briefing papers, emulating the posture of deferential court clerks, speaks to a lifetime of a snake in the grass "fighting" from below for things important to himself.

But those of us who have been around the block a couple times will know to watch our backs around this type. Poisoned-tipped daggers are their fave weapons, and your backs are their fave "battle space". LOL

This statement by Jeffrey Sachs may as well also describe America's leadership crisis: "At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite."

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 5:29 utc | 36
GeorgeV @ 8 -- "It's like standing on a street corner watching two prostitutes calling each other a whore! How low has the US sunk."

And the US "leadeship" sends these types out to lecture other peoples on "values"? on how to become "normal nations"? on how to "contain" old civilisations such as Iran, Russia, China?

It is axiomatic that the stupid do not know they are stupid. Same goes for morals. The immoral do not know they are immoral. Or, perhaps, as Phat Pomp-arse shows, they know they are immoral, but do not care. Which makes one rightly guess that people like Bolt-On and him must be depraved.

Yes, it may take centuries before the leadership in this depraved Exceptionally Indispensable Nation to become truly normal again.

snake , Jun 18 2020 5:38 utc | 37
Of course, Trump actually campaigned to leave Afghanistan and Syria, and he was elected to do so. The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him and his voters. by: bob sykes 11

I wondered about He King claims that Trump actually attempted to do those awful things, . .. , I looked for evidence to prove the claim.. I asked just about every librarian I could find to please show me evidence that confirms the deep state over rode Mr. Trump's actual attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan and Syria. thus far, no confirming or supporting facts have been produced. to support such a claim. Mr. Trump could easily have tweeted to his supporters something to the effect that the damn military, CIA, homeland security, state department, foreign service, federal reserve, women's underwear association and smiley Joe's hamburger stand in fact every militant in the USA governed America were holding hands, locked in a conspiracy to block President Trumps attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan or Syria.. If Mr. Trump has asked for those things, they would have happened. The next day there would have been parties in the streets as the militant agency heads began rolling as Mr. Trump fired them each and everyone.. No firings happened, the party providers were disappointed, no troops, USA contractors or privatization pirates left any foreign place.. as far as I can tell. 500 + military bases still remain in Europe none have been abandoned.. and one was added in Israel. BTW i heard that Mr. Trump managed to get 17 trillion dollars into the hands of many who are contractors or suppliers to those foreign operations. I can't say I am against Trump, but i can ask you to show me some evidence to prove your claim.

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 5:50 utc | 38
snake @Jun18 5:38 #36

As always, watch what they do, not what they say.

Trump is the Republican Obama. A faux populist 'insider' who pretends to be an 'outsider'.

Trump was selected to be the nationalist President that meets the challenge from Russia and China. And serves all the usual interests while doing so.

Americans fools keep electing these establishment stooges and then wonder why nothing seems to get any better.

!!

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:25 utc | 39
Sack cartoon: Trump's 'swamp'

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-trump-s-swamp/401964365/

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-the-swamp/420668223/

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:39 utc | 40
Trump searches for new slogan as he abandons Keep America Great amid George Floyd and covid turmoil

The president has taken to inserting the term 'Transition to Greatness' into his remarks. His 2016 slogan was 'Make America Great Again'. After election he polled audiences on whether to go with 'Keep America Great'. He told CPAC this year and said at the State of the Union 'The Best is Yet to Come'. Tweaks come as he trails Biden in new NBC and CNN polls, as the nation struggles with the coronavirus and protests over police violence.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8398993/Donald-Trump-searches-new-slogan-amid-cratering-polls-against-Joe-Biden.html

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:44 utc | 41
Rudy W. Giuliani @RudyGiuliani

Ukrainian police seize $6 Million in bribes paid to kill the new case into crooked Burisma.

This money is a Followup to the multi-millions in bribes Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and President Poroshenko earned to leverage their offices to kill the original case.

All covered up!

https://twitter.com/RudyGiuliani/status/1273298170966159366

Ghost Ship , Jun 18 2020 7:28 utc | 42
Christian J. Chuba @ 3
goals that you consider important are different from personal interests.

What personal interests has Trump actually advanced during his time as president. Leaving out the fake allegations, I'm hard put to think of any. If you look at Trump's actual behaviour rather than his bullshit or the bullshit aimed at him, I'm also hard put to think of anything illegal he's done while in office that wasn't done by previous administrations.
Mao , Jun 18 2020 7:41 utc | 43
US President Donald Trump sought help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election, "pleading" with the Chinese president to boost imports of American agricultural products, according to a new book by former national security adviser John Bolton. The accusations were included in an excerpt from The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, which is set to be released on June 23. Bolton also wrote that Trump demonstrated other "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour", including privately expressing support for China's mass interment of Uygur Muslims and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.*This video has been updated to fix a spelling mistake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agk61kyDS1k

Yeah, Right , Jun 18 2020 8:35 utc | 44
@42 Mao I'm struggling to see how "pleading" with any country for it to purchase more US goods is "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" from a US President.

Pleading to Xi for China to give, say, Israel preferential access to markets, sure.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 9:56 utc | 45
The Saker takes an interesting look at this "spontaneous or popular" revolt taking place in America

https://thesaker.is/what-kind-of-popular-revolution-is-this/#comments

Mao , Jun 18 2020 10:35 utc | 46
The Saker:

I have lived in the United States for a total of 24 years and I have witnessed many crises over this long period, but what is taking place today is truly unique and much more serious than any previous crisis I can recall. And to explain my point, I would like to begin by saying what I believe the riots we are seeing taking place in hundreds of US cities are not about. They are not about:

* Racism or "White privilege"
* Police violence
* Social alienation and despair
* Poverty
* Trump
* The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
* The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of "cause" and "pretext". And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

https://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-systemic-collapse-of-the-us-society-has-begun/

Steve , Jun 18 2020 10:57 utc | 47
The only time I'd be interested in anything Bolton had to say is if he were saying it from the docket at The Hague
Matt , Jun 18 2020 11:40 utc | 48
Don't really want to take sides between those two odious characters, but I think there's a difference in what the paper is saying.

One is about someone pursuing policy goals they favour, the other "personal interest". From what I have seen so far, Bolton's main definition of Trump's "personal interest" is his chances for re-election (rather than any personal business interest).

I think Bolton was happy for Trump to pursue the policy goals he favoured, at least when they coincided with Bolton's!

Tadlak Davidovitsh , Jun 18 2020 12:04 utc | 49
In modern Italy, mentioning Jupiter (Jove) and the ox (Bove) in the same sentence usually implies a demand that the two be treated the same.
450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:07 utc | 50
How many people have cashed in on Trump so far? Countless numbers of them. An ocean of them. Scathing books about Trump is one way to cash in on thr Trump effect, and the authors, many of whom don't even write the book themselves, get promoted and their books promoted in the mainstream media and elsewhere.

There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to Trump. We know everything there is to know about Trump. Some of us knew everything there was to know about him before he became POTUS. And yet, there he is, sitting like the Cheshire Cat in the Oval Office, untouchable and beyond reproach. Meanwhile, even more scathing books are in the pipeline because there's money, so much money, to be made don't you know.

Bolton is a shitbird every bit as much as Trump is and in fact an argument can be made Bolton is even worse and even more dangerous than Trump because if Bolton had his druthers, Iran would be a failed state right about now and America would be bogged down in a senseless money-making (for the defense contractors owned by the extractive wealthy elite) quagmire in Iran just as it was in Iraq and still is in Afghanistan.

Colbert is all into the Bolton book because he and his staff managed to secure an interview with Bolton. Bolton, of course, has agreed to this because it's a great way to promote his book to the likes of Cher who is the perfect example of the demographic Colbert caters to with his show. Some of the commercials during Colbert's show last night? One was an Old Navy commercial where they bragged about how they're giving to the poor. The family they used for the commercial, the recipients of this beneficence, was a black family. Biden is proud of Old Navy because don't you know, poor and black are one and the same. In otherwords, there are no poor people except black people. No, that's not racist. Not at all. Also, another commercial during Colbert's show was for the reopening of Las Vegas amidst the spreading pandemic. This is immediately after a segment where Colbert is decrying Republican governors for opening southern states too early. The hypocritical irony is so stark, you can cut it with a chainsaw.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:24 utc | 51
Mao @ 45 quoting The Saker -- ".... the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society."

And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

In my 50 years of studying American society, I have learned to watch what US leaders do, not what they preach. More profitable is to look at what declassified US documents tell us about the truth, not what the presstitudes of the day pretend to dish up. Also, what other world leaders might, in a candid moment, tell us about America.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52
@50
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem. Afterall, a system that allows for creeping entrenched endemic corruption, is a crappy system. It's the system that's the root of this and it's not just isolated to the United States. It's civilization itself that's the root and what enabled civilization -- the spirit in our genes as Reg asserts.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:47 utc | 53
@4
I'm fully expecting the Dem "left" to try and praise the monsterous Bolton for "going against Trump", as they did with war criminal Mad Dog Matis and Bush. Bolton has to be one of the most evil mass murders on the face of the Earth. The world will be an infinitely better place when he and his ilk like Netanyahu, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Chertoff..etc finally go back to hell.

I agree. They would, because they already have and continue to do so, coddle and provide apologia for any and all monsters who decry Trump. Hell, I'm convinced they would clamor for Derek Chauvin's exoneration if he vocally decried Trump. Chauvin would make the rounds on the media circuit excoriating Trump and telling the world, contritely of course, that it was Trump who made him do it and now he sees the error of his ways. He'd be on Morning Joe and Chris Cuomo's and Don Lemon's shows not to mention Ari Melber and Anderson Cooper and Lawrence O'Donnell. The conservatives and their networks, who have provided apologia for Chauvin thus far, would now be his worst enemy. Colbert and Kimmel would have him on and guffawing with him asking him how it felt to choke the life out of someone, laughing all the way so long as he hates Trump and tells the world how much he hates Trump.

This world is an insane asylum, especially America. All under the banner and aegis of progress. And to think, humanity wants to export this madness to space and the universe at large. Any intelligent life that would ever make its way to Planet Earth, if ever, would be well-advised to exterminate the species human before it spread its poison to the universe at large. Not that that is possible, but just in case the .000000000001% chance of that does miraculously manifest.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:48 utc | 54
Mao @ 42

Concerning Trump "pleading" with Xi, it is only right for a leader to request others to buy more US farm produce. We have only Bolton's word that the request was a plea. We also have only Bolton's word that the request / plea was to seek "help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election". Too early to believe Bolton. Wait till we see the meeting transcripts.

Bolton also alleged that Trump exhibited "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" concerning the Uygurs. Again, only Bolton's word. Even so, saying it is "unacceptable behavior" presumes that China does wrong to incarcerate Uygurs. If not, ie, China either does not incarcerate them, or if China has good moral grounds to do so, then Bolton is wrong to disagree with his boss for uttering the right sentiment. Judging by how the anglo-zios shout about China's "crime", I tend to think the opposite just might be the truth, and that says that Bolton is simply mudslinging to sell books; score brownie points with the anglo-zios, virtue-signalling for his next gig.

Sabine , Jun 18 2020 12:56 utc | 55
so is Trump or Biden the Yeltsin of the US? And who is gonna be the US version of Putin? Mr. Cotton from Arkansas?
vk , Jun 18 2020 13:00 utc | 56
The American people must decide if Trump is anti-China or Xi's bff. He can't be both at the same time.
murgen23 , Jun 18 2020 13:04 utc | 57
I don't see a contradiction with both sentences.

NYT writes Bolton direct US policy to fit his own political agenda,
while Bolton emphasizes Trump direct US policy in the way that pocket him most money.

Politician Bolton is consistent with his politician job (like it or not), Trump is corrupted.

This is how I understand.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 13:14 utc | 58
@56, I would argue that if one person could be both at the same time, that one person would be Donald Trump. He's already proven, like Chauncey Gardner, he can walk on water. Seriously, that excellent movie, Being There , starring the incomparable Peter Sellers, was about Donald Trump's ascension to the Oval Office.

There Are No Limits Except The Limits We Invent And Impose

augusto , Jun 18 2020 13:44 utc | 59
Using this 'quod licet jovi ...' the author apparently knows quite a bit of Latin, the dead language!
But seriously, the nomination of Bolton who had always behaved like 2nd rate advisor, a 3rd rate mcarthist cold warrior was a surprise to me. Such a short sighted heavily biased person could be, yes, chosen a Minister or advisor in a banana Republic but was picked up by the United states.
One can only conclude such a choice was driven by very specific interests of the deep state.They needed a bulldog and got it for one year and half and threw the stinky perro soon as the job was done.
BM , Jun 18 2020 14:05 utc | 60
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.
I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem.
Posted by: 450.org | Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52

The primary cause of corrupt leadership is corrupt and corruption-accepting population.

Without a population that is fundamentally corrupt and immoral, corrupt leadership is unstable. Conversely - and this is important to recognise as the same phenomenon - democracy cannot exist if the population accepts and takes for granted corruption, as the two are mutually exclusive. In other words if you root out the corrupt leadership without dealing with the mentality of the population, the corruption will quickly come back and any democratic experiment will collapse very quickly.

There is one important qualifier - an overwhelming external influence (since WWII always the USA, either directly or as secondary effect) can leverage latent corruption so that it becomes more exaggerated than it normally would be.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 14:48 utc | 61
What is clear from only this account of the crucial role of big money foundations behind protest groups such as Black lives Matter is that there is a far more complex agenda driving the protests now destabilizing cities across America. The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest.

https://m.journal-neo.org/2020/06/16/america-s-own-color-revolution/

michael888 , Jun 18 2020 15:53 utc | 62
Bolton pretended to be President, screwing up negotiations with his Libya Model talk, threatening Venezuela (and anywhere generally) and directing fleets all over the world (including Britain's to capture that Iranian oil tanker). Vindman revered "Ambassador" Bolton because he was keeping the Ukraine corruption in Americans (and Ukrainian Americans') hands, and daring the Russians to "start" WWIII. Bolton might have been a bit more bearable if he had ever been elected, but was happy to see him go. Trump seemed mystified by him.
juliania , Jun 18 2020 16:29 utc | 63
b has presented us (knowingly or not, but I wouldn't put it past him) with the Socratic question of the presumed identity between the morality of the State and personal morality, as best encountered in Plato's dialogue, 'The Republic' ['Politeia' in the Greek] That dialogue begins by examining personal morality, but changes to an examination of what would bring into being a perfect state. In doing the latter, however, it is how to create public spirited persons, in the best sense, which is the actual concern, and the conversation ranges far and wide, becoming more and more complex.

I've always thought that to consider the perfect state had to be an impossibility if the individual, the person him or herself isn't up to the task - and that is the point of the Politeia enterprise. Like the ongoing relay race on horseback that is happening at the same time in the Piraeus, the passing of the argument one person to another that happens in the dialogue demonstrates that what is most crucial for the state as well as for the individual is personal integrity.

I take as an example the message of Saker's essay, linked by Down South and commented on above by others. Saker is pointing out that the protests have been seized upon by the anti-Trumpists who have been disrupting things from the beginning of his administration. But he also says:

"My personal feeling is that Trump is too weak and too much of a coward to fight his political enemies"

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The discussion of different kinds of states, which we often have here pursued, or the discussion of what makes a person able to function in one or another state? I don't think Plato was saying that Greece had it made, that Greece needed to throw its weight around more to be great. He's pointing out that it had lost greatness, the same way every empire loses when it forgets that individual spark that is in a single person, his virtue. And the sad thing is it all comes down to the education of our young people in the values, the virtues that apply both to his own personal life and to the life of the state.

At its heart, the protests which are beginning, only beginning, and which are peaceful, may be politeia vs. republic, the 'polis' itself against 'things political'. A new and true enlightenment, multipolar.

karlof1 , Jun 18 2020 16:39 utc | 64
BM @60--

Corruption's been a fact of life in North America ever since it was "discovered." Bernard Bailyn captured it quite well in his The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century , that is during the very first stages of plantation, with most corruption taking place in Old England then exported to the West. Even the Founders were corrupt, although they didn't see themselves as such. Isn't Adam & Eve's corruption detailed in Genesis merely an indicator of a general human trait that needs to be managed via culture? That human culture has generally failed to contain and discipline corruption speaks volumes about both. John Dos Passos in his opus USA noted that everyone everywhere was on the "hustle"--from the hobo to the banker. "Every child gots to have its own" are some of the truest lyrics ever written. Will humanity ever transcend this major failure in its nature?

Allen Edmundson , Jun 18 2020 23:30 utc | 65
Who is behind the claim that China is imprisoning vast numbers of Uighurs in concentration camps and what evidence has been presented? See the Greyzone for its recent report on this.

Edmundson

Jpc , Jun 18 2020 23:39 utc | 66
Thanks to all of you for your insights on Bolton.
I still don't see anything to explain why he got a second gig in the Whitehouse.
Or anything that he did that enhanced US security long term.
And another guy who dodged active service.
Strange angry dude,!
Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 19 2020 14:47 utc | 67
Pat Lang believes that Bolton has breached a law requiring US Officials with access to Top Secret Stuff to submit personal memoirs for scrutiny before publishing. Col Lang is awaiting similar approval for a memoir of his own and thinks Bolton didn't bother waiting for the Official OK.
There's a diverse range of comments. Most commentators like the idea of Bolton being tossed in the slammer. Others speculate that as a Swamp Creature, Bolton will escape prosecution. It's interesting that no-one has asked to see the publisher's copy of the USG's signed & dated Approval To Publish document, relevant to Bolton's book.
arby , Jun 19 2020 19:34 utc | 68
Jut a little thread on Bolton and his book.

It is amazing the way these clowns sit around and talk about countries and people as if they were so much dirt. The arrogance and power is disgusting.

link

[Jun 22, 2020] Does John Bolton deserves a Nobel peace Price? In our perverted world why not.

Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tower , Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

It's just about time. John Bolton deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. At this point, why not?

JC , Jun 17 2020 23:43 utc | 23

Posted by: Tower | Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

This is the most intelligent post so far.

Yes why not? If Obama awarded the Noble prize even before he begins serving his first term I can't see why Bolton not nominated now. America is a joke, not a banana republic. It deserves Obama, Trump, Bolton or Biden another stoopid joker.

Stoopid president elected by stoopid citizens

[Jun 21, 2020] Leaker fell victim of the leak: The neocon-warhawk may not see a penny for his book as the PDf was leaked online

MIC eventually will pay this neocon prostitute for services, anyway
Jun 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
As Ben Garrison recent noted, in an interview Bolton stated that it was OK for the government agencies to lie to the American people if national security is at stake. And it always seems to be at stake for dominant men who want secrecy and power. Bolton is a dangerous liar and his anti-Trump screed cannot be trusted.

It's time to slam the book shut on Bolton.

[Jun 21, 2020] Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'.

Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

[Jun 19, 2020] Bolton should be arrested and charged with any of a number of possible crimes

Jun 19, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Security screening of manuscripts I t is the law in the United States that those who have had legal access to the secrets of the government must submit private manuscripts for removal of such secrets BEFORE they are published or even presented to a potential publisher. Every department of government has an office charged with such work.

I know this process well because my memoir "Tattoo" has been in the hands of the appropriate Defense Department office for nigh on six months. The book is long, and I was so unlucky as to have DoD shut down its auxiliary services during my wait. I have thought of withdrawing it from screening but, surprisingly, the screeners tell me it has some worth for those who will come after. So, I will wait.

All this applies to John Bolton, a career State Department man whose adult life has been soaked in government secrets. I first noticed Bolton as a glowering presence at briefings I gave to selected State Department people with regard to national command authority projects I was running. His attitude was consistent. If the idea was not his, it was simply wrong.

Bolton's "kiss and tell" book about Trump is IMO as much caused by wounded ego as a desire to make money. He submitted the book for security review to DoD and the CIA. Why not State? Ah, Pompeo would tear it to pieces. Bolton evidently grew impatient with the pace of clearance and decided to go ahead with publication without clearance

To do this is a felony. The release of the book today completes the elements of proof for the crime.

Bolton should be arrested and charged with any of a number of possible crimes. pl


Jack , 18 June 2020 at 11:56 AM

Sir,

Let's see what Trump does with Bolton now that he has committed a felony.

My bet is that other than crying on Twitter, he'll not do much. His previous actions/inactions on these matters show weakness.

In any case bitching on Twitter makes him look like an executive with poor hiring judgement as he was the one that hired him. Just like he hired Mattis and Kelly as well as Rosenstein and Wray.

Barbara Ann , 18 June 2020 at 12:03 PM
Bolton being successfully charged with violations associated with his sour grapes hit piece memoir is analogous to Al Capone finally going down for tax evasion. But if that's the way it goes I will not be sad.

Re "Tattoo", your Memorial Day "Ap Bu Nho" extract alone makes "some worth" an amusingly ludicrous understatement. I wish you luck with the censors & very much look forward to one day reading "Tattoo".

eakens , 18 June 2020 at 12:05 PM
Who can we rely on to uphold the rule of law anymore? It's starting to appear we are living in a failed state.
Artemesia , 18 June 2020 at 01:22 PM
AIS

He was a convert to the neocon faith early in life and all else was mischief.

Posted by: turcopolier | 18 June 2020 at 12:21 PM

"He was a convert - - -"
I was going to ask what went wrong with Bolton: was he dropped on his head as an infant? No father in the home? The Dulles brothers spent their childhoods being harangued by their bible-thumping Calvinist grandfather (reports Kinzer in his useful bio on the brothers).

In Jeff Engel's book about the decision-making behind G H W Bush's decision to wage war against Saddam re Kuwait, he recounts that an argument by Brent Scowcroft was significant, AND that "Scowcroft, who was very short," confronted taller-than-average Bush while knees-to-knees in an airplane.
Bolton is shorter than the average American male. Does he have 'short-person' compulsion to compensate?

People psychologize Trump constantly, usually from ignorance and malice. But something is very wrong with Bolton. Pompeo as well. What is it?
"What huge imago made a psychopathic god?" (Auden, Sept. 1939)

Polish Janitor , 18 June 2020 at 04:11 PM
Col Lang,

#1 I read this WaPo article that argued because the recent DOJ's lawsuit against the release of the book is based on "prior restraint on speech before it occurs", meaning the Trump administration cannot censor speech before it happens, therefore there is no 1st amendment breach against the Trump admin by Bolton. As the court elaborated in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, prior restraints are "the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights" and "one of the most extraordinary remedies known to our jurisprudence."

#2 Bolton took all of his notes containing classified intelligence with him after he was fired and nobody took an issue. How is that possible?

#3 The Wapo article says his manuscript was reviewed for four months by one Ellen Knight, an official (doesn't mention which department) responsible for reviewing publishing material and she gave it the green light for publication on April 27th.

#4 During a press conference, Bill Barr gave an unusual take on Bolton's book as if he was giving publicity to the book. He said he had never seen a book being written on Trump with such pace and in such quick time and that it had a lot of sensitive information and stuff. It sounded really odd what Bill Barr said. I dunno maybe I am reading to much between the lines...

#5 With regards to Pompeo, back in September during a press conference at the State, when asked by a reporter about Bolton's firing I specifically remember watching him on TV giving a big meaningful chuckle and a smile... it was revealed later that they clearly did not get along with each other and Pompeo had complained on numerous times that Bolton as NSA, who does not have executive authorities, had been doing a lot of policy stuff and running his own show in shadow.

On a final note, I don't think Bolton is a neocon in the mold of Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Kagan, Kristol etc...There is this long piece by New Yorker published last year that really gets into detail of how and why Bolton is not a neocon, but adheres to a more hawkish Jacksonian nationalism approach rather than the liberal idealism of arch neocons I mentioned above. However, he does have quite similar F.P. views with neocon oldies such as Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Jeane Kirkpatrick.

JohnH , 18 June 2020 at 04:39 PM
If Bolton does NOT get the book thrown at him, it will be pretty good evidence of the existence of the Deep State allowing those it favors to write their own rules. Of course, we already knew that after Clapper lied with impunity to Wyden when he was under oath.
TV , 18 June 2020 at 04:49 PM
He'll never be prosecuted and neither will Comey, Clapper and the rest of the swamp scum.
Strozk (lower on the food chain) might be the human sacrifice (with a sentence of "community service") but no one of any significance (or "royal" title) is ever prosecuted in the swamp.
Trump has tried, but his miserable lack of hiring experience and skill has not made a dent
Polish Janitor , 18 June 2020 at 04:53 PM
Artemisia,

I feel like I have a few words to say about Bolton if I may,

IMHO Bolton's view of the world is very dark and extremely Hobbesian. He is no slouch by any stretch of imagination, in fact he is extremely knowledgeable and masterful when it comes to policy-making and that basically how things are done in D.C. He has made a brand for himself as the most hawkish national security expert in all of America in my opinion. Honestly I cannot think of anyone else who espouses more hawkishness and zero diplomacy than Bolton, ever... maybe Tom Cotton or Liz Cheney but still not close. This is the reason why Trump hired him. In fact Trump did not want to hire him as the top brass in first place, citing his mustache as one reason that would not look good on TV and wanted to give him 2nd tier jobs at the State or as NSA early on, but Bolton refused. Trump, wanted to hire Bolton's "brand" not his policies or hawkishness to intimidate Nkorea, Iran, and China to force them come into making deals with him and him personally.

IMO Trump found out after the first Kim summit that Bolton was
such an ambitious and counterproductive foreign policy maker and one-man-team that if he allowed Bolton to get his way, there would be world war III (Trump's own words) and his most important promise to keep America out of forever wars which was his wining platform over neocons such as Hilary, Jeb and Rubio during 2016 election would disappear into thin air.

So, Trump found ways to check Bolton and keep him out of the loop in sensitive and crucial moments by Mattis, Kelly, Joe Dunford, Pompeo and even Melania (in the case of getting rid of Bolton's close confidant and neocon Mira Ricardel when she called for bombing Iranian forces back in September 2018 in respone to several rockets by iraqi militias hitting the ground close to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad), and even sent him to Mongolia last year on a goose chase to make an embarrassing example of him for undermining him (i.e. Trump's) authority in the case of sitting down with the Taliban in Camp David to discuss military pullout from Afghanistan back in Sep. whereas at the same time Pompeo was smart enough to tow the same line as Trump and survive.

I few years ago I came across this interesting but odd piece by B on the Moon of Alabama on Bolton. I honestly dunno what to make of it.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2006/02/a_glasshouse_in.html

ked , 18 June 2020 at 05:11 PM
The book is already released in the hundreds. It will be on-line soon enough regardless of the niceties of Barr's attempt to slam shut the barn door, or what the legal system does with Bolton going fwd.
Those close to Trump know his emotional state must be appeased or they will soon be departing - unless there's a DNA match.
Reaction to it will be a test of one's ability to distinguish Bolton from the events he describes & their veracity. Is there anything of Trump's statements & acts (released so far) that surprises anyone... that rings untrue?
Those ideologically (or religiously) dependent upon the Trump Phenomenon for validating their core beliefs will demonstrate how creative true believers can be when attached to a personality.
A.I.S. , 18 June 2020 at 05:34 PM
For what its worth I am looking forward to buying it, should scratch that Peter Scholl Latour itch.

Another thing is that I just dont get the Neocons.
Their politics are bad both from a Machieavellian (dilutes US forces, creates enemies, considerably restricts creative ways in which US power could be employed) and from a moral (obviously) point of view. I also dont get their power, stupid/evil tends to be competed out. Heck, even if they are stupid/evil but very good at beurocratic backbiting stuff, they are still supposedly disadvantadged against skilled beurocratic backbiters that arent stupid/evil (or at least only evil and not stupid).
Is it internal cohesion or a much higher degree of ruthlessness that maintains their position?

PB , 18 June 2020 at 07:05 PM
I've for many years thought that the Bolton problem was best solved with a speedy trial and a swift execution, with remains thrown overboard somewhere in the Indian ocean.
turcopolier , 18 June 2020 at 07:13 PM
polish janitor

He signed an oath to safeguard the secrecy of the information when "read on" for it and another such when he was "read off." The 1st Amendment does not come into it at all

[Jun 18, 2020] Poor Johnny! What's sadder than being a crook, but an ineffective one? I think that's what he is. He may be infamous enough to be a household name, but he never really managed to make a career. Hardly ever did he stay on a job for more than 2 years

Jun 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

John , Jun 17 2020 19:24 utc | 4

I'm fully expecting the Dem "left" to try and praise the monsterous Bolton for "going against Trump", as they did with war criminal Mad Dog Matis and Bush. Bolton has to be one of the most evil mass murders on the face of the Earth. The world will be an infinitely better place when he and his ilk like Netanyahu, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Chertoff..etc finally go back to hell.

karlof1 , Jun 17 2020 19:33 utc | 5

Bolton deserves having a parasite named after him, if that.
Scotch Bingeington , Jun 17 2020 19:57 utc | 6
Poor Johnny! What's sadder than being a crook, but an ineffective one? I think that's what he is. He may be infamous enough to be a household name, but he never really managed to make a career. Hardly ever did he stay on a job for more than 2 years, before his fellow crooks deemed him unfit for his position, again and again. Says a lot.

I hope they will confiscate his book on some flimsy pretext, only to lose the piles of copies in storage, so they cannot possibly be released to bookstores again. Maybe some mice will make use of it to furnish their nests?

Take a look at his face. It's obvious to me that even John Bolton does not enjoy being John Bolton. That mouth, it's drooping to an absurd degree. Comparable to Merkel's face, come to think of it.

GeorgeV , Jun 17 2020 20:25 utc | 8
John Bolton's tell all book about his tenure with the Trump administration is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle burned. It is a fitting description of the leadership of the US government and it's capitol city as a den of backstabbing, corkscrewing and double dealing vipers. It's like standing on a street corner watching two prostitutes calling each other a whore! How low has the US sunk.
bob sykes , Jun 17 2020 20:55 utc | 11
Of course, Trump actually campaigned to leave Afghanistan and Syria, and he was elected to do so. The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him and his voters.
uncle tungsten , Jun 17 2020 21:00 utc | 12
karlof1 #5
Blastocystis hominis could be renamed easily enough. It is a pain in the gut and arse.

I will not bother to read any more on Bolton the man is beneath contempt. b has said more than enough.

Tower , Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13
It's just about time. John Bolton deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. At this point, why not?
pretzelattack , Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14
let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda.
Duncan Idaho , Jun 17 2020 22:03 utc | 15
Only with Late Stage Capitalism could we have a vicious war criminal write a book criticizing a psychopathic sociopath.
Anonymous , Jun 17 2020 22:06 utc | 16
The political establishment in Canada appeared dismayed at the prospect of Bolton as National Security Adviser. See these interviews with Hill + Knowlton strategies Vice-chairman, Peter Donolo, from 2018:

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/there-s-risk-trump-s-actions-are-driving-the-u-s-into-a-recession-peter-donolo~1342264
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/trade-wars-easy-to-start-not-so-easy-to-finish-peter-donolo~1365104

So Bolton gets in, Meng Wangzhou is detained in Vancouver on the US request (that's another story), and in time, Canada appoints a new Ambassador to China - Mr. Dominic Barton.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_Barton
Then Bolton gets fired. 'Nuff said. Just to let everyone know that Bolton is well and truly hated, as a government official, in certain circles.

AntiSpin , Jun 17 2020 22:07 utc | 17
@ pretzelattack | Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years.

Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children.

james , Jun 17 2020 23:13 utc | 20
let the lobbyists with the most money win... that's what defines the usa system, leadership and decision making process... no one in their right mind would support this doofus..
Jen , Jun 17 2020 23:40 utc | 21
At least the one saving grace about John Bolton's memoir is that it might be a tad closer to reality than Christopher Steele's infamous dossier and might prove valuable as a source of evidence in a court of law. Maybe Yosemite Sam himself should start quaking in his boots.
Don Bacon , Jun 17 2020 23:44 utc | 24
@ Jpc
When faced with Trump's behavior of employing warmongers, including several generals, some observers opined that Trump wanted people with contrasting opinions so that he could consider them and then say "no." He did more with Bolton eventually, sending him to Mongolia while he (Trump) went to Singapore (or somewhere over there).
A User , Jun 17 2020 23:47 utc | 25
re Ian2 | Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
who hazarded : My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.
Not at all, if you go back to the earliest days of the orangeman's prezdency, you will see Trump resisted the efforts by Mercer & the zionist casino owner to give Bolton a gig.
He knew that shrub had problems with the boasts of Bolton and as his reputation was as an arsehole who sounded his own trumpet at his boss's expense orangeman refused for a long time. Trump believes the trump prezdency is about trump no one else.
Thing was at the time he was running for the prez gig trump was on his uppers, making a few dollars from his tv show, plus licensing other people's buildings by selling his name to be stuck on them. trump tower azerbnajan etc.
He put virtually none of his own money into the 'race' so when he won the people who had put up the dosh had power over him.
Bolton has always been an arse kisser to any zionist cause he suspects he can claw a penny outta, so he used the extreme loony end of the totally looney zionist spectrum to hook him (Bolton) up with a gig by pushing for him with trump.

It was always gonna end the way it did as Bolton is forever briefing the media against anyone who tried to resist his murderous fantasies. Trump is never gonna argue for any scheme that doesn't have lotsa dollars for him in it so he had plenty of run ins with Bolton who then went to his media mates & told tales.
When bolton was appointed orangey's stakes were at a really low ebb among DC warmongers, so he reluctantly took him on then spent the next 18 months getting rid of the grubby parasite.

Kristan hinton , Jun 18 2020 0:46 utc | 26
Real History: Candidate Trump praised Bolton and named him as THE number one Foreign Policy expert he (Trump) respected.

Imagine the mustachioed Mister Potatoe (sic) Head and zany highjinks!

Bolton and one of his first wives were regulars at Plato's Retreat for wife swapping orgies. The wife was not real keen on the behavior, but she allegedly found herself verbally and physically abused for objecting.

DannyC , Jun 18 2020 1:17 utc | 27
Trump is at fault for hiring him to appease the Zionist lobby. We all knew the guy was a warmonger and a scumbag. It's not a surprise. Trump surrounds himself with the worst people

[Jun 17, 2020] Collusion with China, wanting to stay in office forever Leaked Bolton book excerpts cash in on anti-Trump frenzy

If we view Bolton as Adelson puppet, such a behaviour clearly does not make much sense. Or this is a single from Israel lobby to Trump "moor did his duty, moor can go"?
Notable quotes:
"... "a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons." ..."
"... "in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked," ..."
"... "The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept," ..."
"... "bombshells" ..."
"... "exactly the right thing to do." ..."
"... "systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China." ..."
"... "Panda Hugger." ..."
"... The mustachioed warhawk had served as Trump's national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019. While the exact reason for his firing was never revealed, Trump has since commented that Bolton was interfering with his peace initiatives and had "never seen a war he didn't like." ..."
"... Indeed, the "most irrational thing" Bolton accuses Trump of was to refuse to bomb Iran in June 2019, according to the New York Times excerpt. ..."
"... "soft on China" ..."
"... As for Trump supporters, many were indifferent about Bolton's betrayal, noting that Trump hired the neocon in the first place and kept him on for over a year, while ditching the faithful General Michael Flynn after less than two weeks on the job, following a FBI ambush and a Washington Post hit job. ..."
Jun 17, 2020 | www.rt.com
Former national security adviser John Bolton has leaked excerpts of his book to major newspapers, accusing President Donald Trump of colluding with leaders in China and Turkey, and obstruction of justice "as a way of life." Facing a DOJ lawsuit seeking to block the publication of his memoir for containing classified information, Bolton decided to go to the press, leaking parts of the book to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Breaking News: John Bolton says in his new book that the House should have investigated President Trump for potentially impeachable actions beyond Ukraine https://t.co/8lpd4xAzYu

-- The New York Times (@nytimes) June 17, 2020

Bolton famously refused to testify before the Democrat-led impeachment proceedings against Trump over his alleged abuse of power regarding Ukraine, but now claims that they should have expanded the probe to "a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons."

He accuses Trump of wanting to "in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked," bringing up companies in China and Turkey as examples, according to the Times. "The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept," the Times quotes him as saying.

One of the Bolton "bombshells" is that he sought China's purchase of US soybeans in order to get re-elected, during trade negotiations with President Xi Jinping.

SOYBEAN DIPLOMACY: The WSJ has published an excerpt of @AmbJohnBolton 's forthcoming book, revealing Trump-Xi conversation and how the American president pleaded his Chinese counterpart to buy U.S. soybeans so he could win farm states in the 2020 presidential elections | #OATT pic.twitter.com/XKAogLCCtN

-- Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) June 17, 2020

An excerpt in the Wall Street Journal has Trump telling Xi that – alleged – concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang province were "exactly the right thing to do." It also alleges that Trump did Xi a favor by relaxing US sanctions on ZTE, a Chinese telecom company.

WSJ excerpt of Bolton book has Trump & China bombshells. Trump told Xi building concentration camps for Muslims "was exactly the right thing to do." Trump pleaded w/ Xi to help him w/ re-election by making US farm product buys. And Trump helped Xi w/ ZTE. https://t.co/4CSflQQqcL

-- Edward Wong (@ewong) June 17, 2020

This comes as Trump signed into law the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, which mandates US sanctions against Chinese officials over "systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China."

Another excerpt has Bolton referring to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as a "Panda Hugger."

According to Bolton, Trump told Xi to "go ahead with building the camps" for imprisoned Uighurs.

-- Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) June 17, 2020

As another proof of Trump's perfidy, Bolton writes that the president told Xi that he would like to stay in office beyond the two terms the US Constitution would allow him. Bolton's one-time colleague Dinesh D'Souza commented that Bolton was unable to recognize a clear joke.

Really? This is it? John Bolton's smoking gun? Trump has been jokingly putting out memes about this for four years. This conversation, if it occurred at all, seems obviously jocular. Bolton, however, whom I knew quite well from AEI, doesn't have a jocular bone in his body pic.twitter.com/Qe8sXCAT58

-- Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) June 17, 2020

Trump has on more than one occasion shared a meme showing him staying in power forever, triggering Democrats into denouncing him as an aspiring dictator. Apparently, Bolton thought the same.

According to John Bolton posting this meme was an impeachable offense https://t.co/q2BHlfVTEu

-- Will Chamberlain 🇺🇸 (@willchamberlain) June 17, 2020

The mustachioed warhawk had served as Trump's national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019. While the exact reason for his firing was never revealed, Trump has since commented that Bolton was interfering with his peace initiatives and had "never seen a war he didn't like."

Indeed, the "most irrational thing" Bolton accuses Trump of was to refuse to bomb Iran in June 2019, according to the New York Times excerpt.

Pretty telling that the episode which pissed off Bolton the most during his tenure was Trump calling off airstrikes which would have killed dozens of Iranian soldiers in June 2019 https://t.co/ruFSInj2Mu pic.twitter.com/5zO7UrxMTM

-- Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) June 17, 2020

Arguing that Trump is being "soft on China" and colluding with Xi also happens to be a Democratic Party strategy for the 2020 presidential election, outlined in April and reported by Axios.

While Democrats and the mainstream media welcomed Bolton's bombshells as validating their position on Trump, he is unlikely to become a #Resistance hero, simply because they still remember he refused to say these things under oath during the impeachment hearings, when they – in theory – could have bolstered their case for getting Trump out of office.

As for Trump supporters, many were indifferent about Bolton's betrayal, noting that Trump hired the neocon in the first place and kept him on for over a year, while ditching the faithful General Michael Flynn after less than two weeks on the job, following a FBI ambush and a Washington Post hit job.

Do I care that Bolton is stabbing Trump in the back? Not at all. General Flynn was NSA and Trump made his choices. Being outraged on behalf of a 70+ year old man who makes poor choices is well beyond my job description.

-- Blue Flu Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 17, 2020

[May 07, 2020] Bolton and the culture of corruption and intimidation

May 07, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sam 12123 , says: Show Comment May 6, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT

The OPCW is claimed to be an independent agency but we know that it suppressed the results of its own engineers when it reported that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged chemical attack in Douma. The former head of the agency has publicly asserted that when John Bolton demanded that he step down, he added, "We know where your children live." The US has a history of corruption and intimidation. Any investigation would result in finding China responsible just as Russia was found to be responsible for the airliner that was shot down over Ukraine.

[Apr 01, 2020] For just $27K USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment

Apr 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Mar 31 2020 17:22 utc | 151

Given some time and currency, I guess Morocco would offer more value for money if you want some exotic customs and landscapes. If you have more money, you could spend them on a carbon-free cruise with stunning vistas and off-the-beaten route: North Pole on board of nuclear-powered ice breaker! It is wise to have swimming costume (a pool is on board, heated, I presume) and sensible apparel -- enough for normal winter (in Moscow). The number of places is below 150, with a little hospital on board too. In the latest ads I read about discounts, but the deal was that you can pay in rubbles with prices below the rubble plunged by 25%, still, for 27 k USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment (like mommy walrus taking care of youngsters), polar bears, seals, and landscapes of Franz Josef Land. Helicopter rides included. You can also take a plunge into the arctic water -- with safety precautions .

[Mar 19, 2020] US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 18 2020 18:28 utc | 53

This might soon become the global rallying cry :

"USA is the greatest enemy of humanity - I hope they will pay for that:

"US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak"

The situation has now gone well beyond immorality and into the realm of EVIL--an EVIL that's Bipartisan, shared by Ds and Rs alike.


bevin , Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 54

Miss Lacy and Arby both draw our attention to the obscenity of the US using this crisis in order to put pressure on governments that it dislikes by cutting off medicine and other resources.

Among the places where people are currently dying in large numbers because Washington chooses that they should are Cuba-under an oil embargo-, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Iran.

Those who cannot bring themselves to believe that government could be so evil as to deploy a virus as a weapon to weaken another state, only have to look at what is happening today: Venezuela desperately needs funds, much of its foreign exchange having been seized illegally by the US and its satellites, in order to weather the pandemic.

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

farm ecologist , Mar 18 2020 19:40 utc | 67
Re., IMF refuses emergency funds to Venezuela

Posted by: arby | Mar 18 2020 14:32 utc | 11
Posted by: Miss Lacy | Mar 18 2020 18:15 utc | 50
Posted by: bevin | Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 55

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

Although many argue that the foreign policies of the US government don't really reflect the views and desires of ordinary citizens, the comments in the Fox News report on this story suggest otherwise (caveat - be prepared to be appalled).

https://www.foxnews.com/world/venezuela-asks-imf-for-massive-emergency-loan-to-fight-coronavirus


[Mar 01, 2020] That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory

Notable quotes:
"... The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump. ..."
"... The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA. ..."
"... What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot. ..."
"... People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path. ..."
"... The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset. ..."
"... Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone. ..."
Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

First , the whistleblower was ruled out as a possible witness -- this was essentially done behind the scenes, and in reality can be called a Deep State operation, though one exposed to some extent by Rand Paul. This has nothing to do with protecting the whistleblower or upholding the whistleblower statute, but instead with the fact that the whistleblower was a CIA plant in the White House.

That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory. Furthermore, for some time before the impeachment proceedings began, the whistleblower had been coordinating his efforts to undermine Trump with the head of the House Intelligence Committee, who happens to be Adam Schiff. It is possible that the connections with Schiff go even further or deeper. Obviously the Democrats do not want these things exposed.

... ... ...

In this regard, there was a very special moment on January 29, when Chief Justice John Roberts refused to allow the reading of a question from Sen. Rand Paul that identified the alleged whistleblower. Paul then held a press conference in which he read his question.

The question was directed at Adam Schiff, who claims not to have communicated with the whistleblower, despite much evidence to the contrary. (Further details can be read at here .) A propos of what I was just saying, Paul is described in the Politico article as "a longtime antagonist of Republican leaders." Excellent, good on you, Rand Paul.

Whether this was a case of unintended consequences or not, one could say that this episode fed into the case against calling witnesses -- certainly the Democrats should not have been allowed to call witnesses if the Republicans could not call the whistleblower. But clearly this point is completely lost on those working in terms of the moving line of bullshit.

One would think that Democrats would be happy with a Republican Senator who antagonizes leaders of his own party, but of course Rand Paul's effort only led to further "outrage" on the part of Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump.

However, you see, there is a complementary purpose at work here, too. The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA.

The only way these machinations can be combatted is to pull the curtain back further -- but the Republicans do not want this any more than the Democrats do, with a few possible exceptions such as Rand Paul. (As the Politico article states, Paul was chastised publicly by McConnell for submitting his question in the first place, and for criticizing Roberts in the press conference.)

What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot.

... ... ...

Now we are at a moment when "the Left" is recognizing the role that the CIA and the rest of the "intelligence community" is played in the impeachment nonsense. This "Left" was already on board for the "impeachment process" itself, perhaps at moments with caveats about "not leaving everything up to the Democrats," "not just relying on the Democrats," but still accepting their assigned role as cheerleaders and self-important internet commentators. (And, sure, maybe that's all I am, too -- but the inability to distinguish form from content is one of the main problems of the existing Left.)

Now, though, people on the Left are trying to get comfortable with, and trying to explain to themselves how they can get comfortable with, the obvious role of the "intelligence community" (with, in my view, the CIA in the leading role, but of course I'm not privy to the inner workings of this scene) in the impeachment process and other efforts to take down Trump's presidency.

People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path.

They might think about the "help" that the CIA gave to the military in Bolivia to remove Evo Morales from office. They might think about the picture of Donald Trump that they find necessary to paint to justify what they are willing to swallow to remove him from office. They might think about the fact that ordinary Democrats are fine with this role for the CIA, and that Adam Schiff and others routinely offer the criticism/condemnation of Donald Trump that he doesn't accept the findings of the CIA or the rest of the intelligence agencies at face value.

The moment for the Left, what calls itself and thinks of itself as that, to break with this lunacy has passed some time ago, but let us take this moment, of "accepting the help of the CIA, because Trump," as truly marking a point of no return.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset.

paul ,

Trump, Sanders and Corbyn were all in their own way agents of creative destruction. Trump tapped into the popular discontent of millions of Americans who realised that the system no longer even pretended to work in their interests, and were not prepared to be diverted down the Identity Politics Rabbit Hole.

The Deep State was outraged that he had disrupted their programme by stealing Clinton's seat in the game of Musical Chairs. Being the most corrupt, dishonest and mendacious political candidate in all US history (despite some pretty stiff opposition) was supposed to be outweighed by her having a vagina. The Deplorables failed to sign up for the programme.

Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone.

For all his pandering to Adelson and the Zionist Mafia, for all his Gives to Netanyahu, Trump has failed to deliver on the Big Ticket Items. Syria was supposed to have been invaded by now, with Hillary cackling demonically over Assad's death as she did over Gaddafi, and rapidly moving on to the main event with Iran. They will not forgive him for this.

They realise they are under severe time pressure. It took them a century to gain their stranglehold over America, and this is a wasting asset. America is in terminal decline, and may soon be unable to fulfil its ordained role as dumb goy muscle serving Zionist interests. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a replacement host.

George Mc ,

Haven't you just agreed with him here?

He thinks the left died in the 1960s, over a half century ago. It's pretty simple to identify a leftist: anti-imperialist/ anti-capitalist. The Democrats are imperialists. People who vote for the Democrats and Republicans are imperialists. This article is a confused mess, that's my whole point;)

If the Democrats and Republicans (and those who vote for them) are imperialists (which they are) then the left are indeed dead – at least as far as political representation goes.

Koba ,

He's sent more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan he staged several coups in Latin America and wanted to take out the dprk and thier nukes and wants to bomb Iran! Winding down?!

sharon marlowe ,

First, an attempted assassination-by-drone on President Maduro of Venezuela happened. Then Trump dropped the largest conventional bomb on Afghanistan, with a mile-wide radius. Then Trump named Juan Guido as the new President of Venezuela in an overt coup. Then he bombed Syria over a fake chemical weapons claim. He bombed it before even an investigation was launched. Then the Trump regime orchestrated a military coup in Bolivia. Then he claimed that he was pulling out of Syria, but instead sent U.S. troops to take over Syrian oil fields. trump then assassinated Gen. Solemeni. Then he claimed that he will leave Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government asked the U.S. to leave, and Trump rejected the request. The Trump regime has tried orchestrating a coup in Iran, and a coup in Hong Kong. He expelled Russian diplomats en masse for the Skripal incident in England, before an investigation. He has sanctioned Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela. He has bombed Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Those are the things I'm aware of, but what else Trump has done in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America you can research if you wish. And now, the claim of leaving Afghanistan is as ridiculous as when he claimed to be leaving Syria and Iraq.

Dungroanin ,

Yeah yeah and 'he' gave Maduro 7 days to let their kid takeover in Venezuela! And built a wall. And got rid of obamacare and started a nuke war with Rocketman and and and ...

sharon marlowe ,

There were at least nine people killed when Trump bombed Douma.

Only a psychopath would kill people because one of its spy drones was shot down. You don't get points for considering killing people for it and then changing your mind.

People should get over Hillary and pay attention to what Trump has been doing. Why even mention what Hillary would have done in Syria, then proceed to be an apologist for what Trump has done around the world in just three years? Trump has been quite a prolific imperialist in such a short time. A second term could well put him above Bush and Obama as the 21st century's most horrible leaders on earth.

Dungroanin ,

...If you think that the potus is the omnipotent ruler of everything he certainly seems to be having some problems with his minions in the CIA, NSA, FBI..State Dept etc.

Savorywill ,

Yes, what you say is right. However, he did warn both the Syrian and Russian military of the attack in the first instance, so no casualties, and in the second attack, he announced that the missiles had been launched before they hit the target, again resulting in no casualties. When the US drone was shot down by an Iranian missile, he considered retaliation. But, when advised of likely casualties, he called it off saying that human lives are more valuable than the cost of the drone. Yes, he did authorize the assassination of the Iranian general, and that was very bad. His claims that the general had organized the placement of roadside bombs that had killed US soldiers rings rather hollow, considering those shouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place.

I am definitely not stating that he is perfect and doesn't do objectionable things. And he has authorized US forces to control the oil wells, which is against international law, but at least US soldiers are not actively engaged in fighting the Syrian government, something Hillary set in motion. However, the military does comprise a huge percentage of the US economy and there have to be reasons, and enemies, to justify its existence, so his situation as president must be very difficult, not a job I would want, that is for sure.

The potus is best described (by Assad actually) as a CEO of a board of directors appointed by the shareholders who collectively determine their OWN interests.

Your gaslighting ain't succeeding round here – Regime! So desperate, so so sad 🤣

[Feb 29, 2020] Rand Paul says he will oppose John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani for Secretary of State

Notable quotes:
"... "Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president," ..."
"... "It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | rare.us

Senator Rand Paul said Tuesday in an op-ed for Rare that he would oppose President-elect Donald Trump's rumored selection of former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as Secretary of State.

"Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president,"

Paul wrote citing U.S. interventions in Iraq and Libya that Trump has criticized but that Bolton strongly advocated.

Reports since have indicated that former New York City mayor and loyal Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani is being considered for the post.

The Washington Post's David Weigel reports , "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a newly reelected member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this morning that he was inclined to oppose either former U.N. ambassador John Bolton or former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani if they were nominated for secretary of state."

"It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was a big lesson," Paul told the Post. "Trump said that a thousand times. It would be a huge mistake for him to give over his foreign policy to someone who [supported the war]. I mean, you could not find more unrepentant advocates of regime change."

Related: Rand Paul: Will Donald Trump betray voters by hiring John Bolton?

[Feb 25, 2020] How John Bolton and a Phony Script Brought Us to the Brink of War by Scott Ritter

Bolton is a typical "Full Spectrum Dominance" hawk, a breed of chickenhawks that recently proliferated in Washinton corridors of power and which are fed by MIC.
Notable quotes:
"... the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie. ..."
"... The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists. ..."
"... The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed. ..."
"... This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President Trump's decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani back in January took the United States to the brink of war with Iran.

Trump and his advisors contend that Soleimani's death was necessary to protect American lives, pointing to a continuum of events that began on December 27, when a rocket attack on an American base in Iraq killed a civilian translator. That in turn prompted U.S. airstrikes against a pro-Iranian militia, Khati'ab Hezbollah, which America blamed for the attack. Khati'ab Hezbollah then stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in protest. This reportedly triggered the assassination of Soleimani and a subsequent Iranian retaliatory missile strike on an American base in Iraq. The logic of this continuum appears consistent except for one important fact -- it is all predicated on a lie.

On the night of December 27, a pickup truck modified to carry a launchpad capable of firing 36 107mm Russian-made rockets was used in an attack on a U.S. military compound located at the K-1 Airbase in Iraq's Kirkuk Province. A total of 20 rockets were loaded onto the vehicle, but only 14 were fired. Some of the rockets struck an ammunition dump on the base, setting off a series of secondary explosions. When the smoke and dust cleared, a civilian interpreter was dead and several other personnel , including four American servicemen and two Iraqi military, were wounded. The attack appeared timed to disrupt a major Iraqi military operation targeting insurgents affiliated with ISIS.

The area around K-1 is populated by Sunni Arabs, and has long been considered a bastion of ISIS ideology, even if the organization itself was declared defeated inside Iraq back in 2017 by then-prime minister Haider al Abadi. The Iraqi counterterrorism forces based at K-1 consider the area around the base an ISIS sanctuary so dangerous that they only enter in large numbers.

For their part, the Iraqis had been warning their U.S. counterparts for more than a month that ISIS was planning attacks on K-1. One such report, delivered on November 6, using intelligence dating back to October, was quite specific: "ISIS terrorists have endeavored to target K-1 base in Kirkuk district by indirect fire (Katyusha rockets)."

Another report, dated December 25, warned that ISIS was attempting to seize territory to the northeast of K-1. The Iraqis were so concerned that on December 27, the day of the attack, they requested that the U.S. keep functional its tethered aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTSD) -- a high-tech reconnaissance balloon equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and communications in support of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Instead, the U.S. took the PTSD down for maintenance, allowing the attackers to approach unobserved.

The Iraqi military officials at K-1 immediately suspected ISIS as the culprit behind the attack. Their logic was twofold. First, ISIS had been engaged in nearly daily attacks in the area for over a year, launching rockets, firing small arms, and planting roadside bombs. Second, according to the Iraqis , "The villages near here are Turkmen and Arab. There is sympathy with Daesh [i.e., ISIS] there."

As transparent as the Iraqis had been with the U.S. about their belief that ISIS was behind the attack, the U.S. was equally opaque with the Iraqis regarding whom it believed was the culprit. The U.S. took custody of the rocket launcher, all surviving ordnance, and all warhead fragments from the scene.

U.S. intelligence analysts viewed the attack on K-1 as part of a continuum of attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq since early November 2019. The first attack took place on November 9, against the joint U.S.-Iraqi base at Qayarrah , and was very similar to the one that occurred against K-1 -- some 31 107mm rockets were fired from a pickup truck modified to carry a rocket launchpad. As with K-1, the forces located in Qayarrah were engaged in ongoing operations targeting ISIS, and the territory around the base was considered sympathetic to ISIS. The Iraqi government attributed the attack to unspecified "terrorist" groups.

The U.S., however, attributed the attacks to Khati'ab Hezbollah, a Shia militia incorporated with the Popular Mobilization Organization (PMO), a pro-Iranian umbrella organization that had been incorporated into the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The PMO blamed the U.S. for a series of drone strikes against its facilities throughout the summer of 2019. The feeling among the American analysts was that the PMO attacked the bases as a form of retaliation.

The U.S. launched a series of airstrikes against Khati'ab Hezbollah bases and command posts in Iraq and Syria on December 29, near the Iraqi city of al-Qaim. These attacks were carried out unilaterally, without any effort to coordinate with America's Iraqi counterparts or seek approval from the Iraqi government.

Khati'ab Hezbollah units had seized al-Qaim from ISIS in November 2017, and then crossed into Syria, where they defeated ISIS fighters dug in around the Syrian town of al-Bukamal. They were continuing to secure this strategic border crossing when they were bombed on December 29.

Left unsaid by the U.S. was the fact that the al-Bukamal-al Qaim border crossing was seen as a crucial "land bridge," connecting Iran with Syria via Iraq. Throughout the summer of 2019, the U.S. had been watching as Iranian engineers, working with Khati'ab Hezbollah, constructed a sprawling base that straddled both Iraq and Syria. It was this base, and not Khati'ab Hezbollah per se, that was the reason for the American airstrike. The objective in this attack was to degrade Iranian capability in the region; the K-1 attack was just an excuse, one based on the lie that Khati'ab Hezbollah, and not ISIS, had carried it out.

The U.S. had long condemned what it called Iran's "malign intentions" when it came to its activities in Iraq and Syria. But there is a world of difference between employing tools of diplomacy to counter Iranian regional actions and going kinetic. One of the reasons the U.S. has been able to justify attacking Iranian-affiliated targets, such as the al-Bukamal-al-Qaim complex and Qassem Soleimani, is that the Iranian entity associated with both -- the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC -- has been designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and as such military attacks against it are seen as an extension of the ongoing war on terror. Yet the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie.

The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists.

The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed.

After the Pentagon "informally" requested that the NSC change the memoranda to accurately reflect its position, and were denied, the issue was bumped up to Undersecretary of Defense John Rood. He then formally requested that the memoranda be corrected. Such a request was unprecedented in recent memory, a former official noted. Regardless, the NSC did not budge, and the original memoranda remained as the official records of the meetings in question.

President Trump designated the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in April 2018.

This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. The rocket attack against K-1 was attributed to an Iranian proxy -- Khati'ab Hezbollah -- even though there was reason to believe the attack was carried out by ISIS. This was a cover so IRGC-affiliated facilities in al-Bakumal and al-Qaim, which had nothing to do with the attack, could be bombed. Everything to do with Iran's alleged "malign intent." The U.S. embassy was then attacked. Soleimani killed. The American base at al-Assad was bombarded by Iranian missiles. America and Iran were on the brink of war.

All because of a lie.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, most recently, Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (2018).

[Feb 25, 2020] A Worthless 'New Deal' from the Iran Hawks

So Menendez survived as MIC stooge. Nice.
Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it.
Notable quotes:
"... And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

10:03 am

Daniel Larison Two Iran hawks from the Senate, Bob Menendez and Lindse Graham, are proposing a "new deal" that is guaranteed to be a non-starter with Iran:

Essentially, their idea is that the United States would offer a new nuclear deal to both Iran and the gulf states at the same time. The first part would be an agreement to ensure that Iran and the gulf states have access to nuclear fuel for civilian energy purposes, guaranteed by the international community in perpetuity. In exchange, both Iran and the gulf states would swear off nuclear fuel enrichment inside their own countries forever.

Iran is never going to accept any agreement that requires them to give up domestic enrichment. As far as they are concerned, they are entitled to this under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they regard it as a matter of their national rights that they keep it. Insisting on "zero enrichment" is what made it impossible to reach an agreement with Iran for the better part of a decade, and it was only when the Obama administration understood this and compromised to allow Iran to enrich under tight restrictions that the negotiations could move forward. Demanding "zero enrichment" today in 2020 amounts to rejecting that compromise and returning to a bankrupt approach that drove Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges. As a proposal for negotiations, it is dead on arrival, and Menendez and Graham must know that. Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it. They want to make a bogus offer in the hopes that it will be rejected so that they can use the rejection to justify more aggressive measures.

The identity of the authors of the plan is a giveaway that the offer is not a serious diplomatic proposal. Graham is one of the most incorrigible hard-liners on Iran, and Menendez is probably the most hawkish Democratic senator in office today. Among other things, Menendez has been a booster of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), the deranged cult of Iranian exiles that has been buying the support of American politicians and officials for years. Graham has never seen a diplomatic agreement that he didn't want to destroy. When hard-liners talk about making a "deal," they always mean that they want to demand the other side's surrender.

Another giveaway that this is not a serious proposal is the fact that they want this imaginary agreement submitted as a treaty:

That final deal would be designated as a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate, to give Iran confidence that a new president won't just pull out (like President Trump did on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal).

This is silly for many reasons. The Senate doesn't ratify treaties nowadays, so any "new deal" submitted as a treaty would never be ratified. As the current president has shown, it doesn't matter if a treaty has been ratified by the Senate. Presidents can and do withdraw from ratified treaties if they want to, and the fact that it is a ratified treaty doesn't prevent them from doing this. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was ratified 88-2 in 1972. Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty just last year. The INF Treaty had been ratified with a 93-5 vote. The hawkish complaint that the JCPOA wasn't submitted as a treaty was, as usual, made in bad faith. There was no chance that the JCPOA would have been ratified, and even if it had been that ratification would not have protected it from being tossed aside by Trump. Insisting on making any new agreement a treaty is just another way of announcing that they have no interest in a diplomatic solution.

Menendez and Graham want to make the obstacles to diplomacy so great that negotiations between the U.S. and Iran can't resume. It isn't a serious proposal, and it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Feral Finster 5 hours ago

And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more?

[Feb 02, 2020] The most interesting issue is the role of NSC in this impeachment story

Highly recommended!
Edited for clarity
Notable quotes:
"... Currently they can wrap themselves into constitution defenders flag and be pretty safe from any criticism. Because charges that Schiff brought to the floor are bogus, and probably were created out of thin air by NSC plotters. Senators on both sides understand this, creating a classic Kabuki theater environment. ..."
"... In any case, it is clear that Trump is just a marionette of more powerful forces behind him, and his impeachment does not means much, if those forces are untouchable. Impeachment Kabuki theatre is an attempt of restoration of NSC (read neocons) favored foreign policy from which Trump slightly deviated. ..."
Feb 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 2, 2020 10:40 pm

Far more interesting issue is the role of NSC in this impeachment story.

Potential whistleblower (actually CIA informant) was from NSC as were Fiona Hill, Alex Vindman and a couple of other major Ukrainegate players.

In this NSC coup d'état against the President or what ? About earlier role of NSC see

https://off-guardian.org/2020/02/01/secret-wars-forgotten-betrayals-global-tyranny-who-is-really-in-charge-of-the-u-s-military/

As for "evil republican senators", they would be viewed as evil by electorate if and only only if actual crimes of Trump regime like Douma false flag, Suleimani assassination (actually here Trump was set up By Bolton and Pompeo) and other were discussed.

Currently they can wrap themselves into constitution defenders flag and be pretty safe from any criticism. Because charges that Schiff brought to the floor are bogus, and probably were created out of thin air by NSC plotters. Senators on both sides understand this, creating a classic Kabuki theater environment.

Both sides are afraid to discuss real issues, real Trump regime crimes.

Schiff proved to be patently inept in this whole story even taking into account limitations put by Kabuki theater on him, and in case of Trump acquittal *which is "highly probable" borrowing May government terminology in Skripals case :-) to resign would be a honest thing for him to do.

Assuming that he has some honestly left. Which is highly doubtful with statements like:

"The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there so we don't have to fight Russia here."

And

"More than 15,000 Ukrainians have died fighting Russian forces and their proxies. 15,000."

Actually it was the USA interference in Ukraine (aka Nulandgate) that killed 15K Ukrainians, mainly Donbas residents and badly trained recruits of the Ukrainian army sent to fight them, as well as volunteers of paramilitary "death squads" like Asov battalion financed by oligarch Igor Kolomyskiy

In any case, it is clear that Trump is just a marionette of more powerful forces behind him, and his impeachment does not means much, if those forces are untouchable. Impeachment Kabuki theatre is an attempt of restoration of NSC (read neocons) favored foreign policy from which Trump slightly deviated.

[Feb 01, 2020] The Real John Bolton - CounterPunch.org

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post, ..."
"... Bolton targeted every arms control and disarmament agreement over the past several decades, and played a major role in abrogating two of the most significant ones. As an arms control official in the Bush administration, he lobbied successfully for the abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972. As soon as he joined the Trump administration, he went after the Intermediate-Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was abrogated in 2018. He criticized the Nunn-Lugar agreement in the 1990s, which played a key role in the denuclearization of former Soviet republics, and maligned the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as well as the Iran nuclear accord. He helped to derail the Biological Weapons Conference in Geneva in 2001. ..."
Feb 01, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

It isn't enough for the corporate media to praise John Bolton for his timely manuscript that confirms Donald Trump's explicit linkage between military aid to Ukraine and investigations into his political foe Joe Biden. As a result, the media have made John Bolton a "man of principle," according to the Washington Post, and a fearless infighter for the "sovereignty of the United States." Writing in the Post , Kathleen Parker notes that Bolton isn't motivated by the money he will earn from his book (in the neighborhood of $2 million), but that he is far more interested in "saving his legacy." Perhaps this is a good time to examine that legacy.

Bolton, who used student deferments and service in the Maryland National Guard to avoid serving in Vietnam, is a classic Chicken Hawk. He supported the Vietnam War and continues to support the war in Iraq. Bolton endorsed preemptive military strikes in North Korea and Iran in recent years, and lobbied for regime change in Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. When George W. Bush declared an "axis of evil" in 2002 consisting of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, Bolton added an equally bizarre axis of Cuba, Libya, and Syria.

When Bolton occupied official positions at the Department of State and the United Nations, he regularly ignored assessments of the intelligence community in order to make false arguments regarding weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Cuba and Syria in order to promote the use of force. When serving as President Bush's Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Disarmament, Bolton ran his own intelligence program, issuing white papers on WMD that lacked support within the intelligence community. He used his own reports to testify to congressional committees in 2002 in effort to justify the use of military force against Iraq.

Bolton presented misinformation to the Congress on a Cuban biological weapons program. When the Central Intelligence Agency challenged the accuracy of Bolton's information in 2003, he was forced to cancel a similar briefing on Syria. In a briefing to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2005, the former chief of intelligence at the Department of State, Carl Ford, referred to Bolton as a "serial abuser" in his efforts to pressure intelligence analysts. Ford testified that he had "never seen anybody quite like Secretary Bolton in terms of the way he abuses his power and authority with little people."

The hearings in 2005 included a statement from a whistleblower, a former contractor at the Agency for International Development, who accused Bolton of using inflammatory language and even throwing objects at her. The whistleblower told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff that Bolton made derogatory remarks about her sexual orientation and weight among other improprieties. The critical testimony against Bolton meant that the Republican-led Foreign Relations Committee couldn't confirm his appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. President Bush made Bolton a recess appointment, which he later regretted.

The United Nations, after all, was an ironic assignment for Bolton, who has been a strong critic of the UN and most international organizations throughout his career because they infringed on the "sovereignty of the United States." In 1994, he stated there was no such thing as the United Nations, but there is an international community that "can be led by the only real power left in the world," the United States. Bolton stated that the "Secretariat Building in New York has 38 stories," and that if it "lost ten stories, it wouldn't make any difference."

Bolton said the "happiest moment" in his political career was when the United States pulled out of the International Criminal Court. Years later, he told the Federalist Society that Bush's withdrawal from the UN's Rome Statute, which created the ICC, was "one of my proudest achievements."

Bolton targeted every arms control and disarmament agreement over the past several decades, and played a major role in abrogating two of the most significant ones. As an arms control official in the Bush administration, he lobbied successfully for the abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972. As soon as he joined the Trump administration, he went after the Intermediate-Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was abrogated in 2018. He criticized the Nunn-Lugar agreement in the 1990s, which played a key role in the denuclearization of former Soviet republics, and maligned the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as well as the Iran nuclear accord. He helped to derail the Biological Weapons Conference in Geneva in 2001.

U.S. efforts at diplomatic reconciliation have drawn Bolton's ire. The two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian situation as well as Richard Nixon's one-China policy have been particular targets. He is also a frequent critic of the European Union, and a passionate supporter of Brexit. From 2013 to 2018, he was the chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a well-known anti-Muslim organization. He was the director of the Project for the New American Century, which led the campaign for the use of force against Iraq. The fact that he was a protege of former senator Jesse Helms should come as no surprise.

It is useful to have Bolton's testimony at the climactic moment in the current impeachment trial, but it should't blind us to his deceit and disinformation over his thirty years of opposition to U.S. international diplomacy. As an assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, he fought against reparations to Japanese-Americans who had been held in internment camps during World War II. Two secretaries of state, Colin Powell and Condi Rice, have accused Bolton with holding back important information on important international issues, and Bolton did his best to sabotage Powell's efforts to pursue negotiations with North Korea. Bolton had a hand in the disinformation campaign against Iraq in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of 2003. The legacy of John Bolton is well established; his manuscript will not alter this legacy. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Melvin Goodman Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism . and A Whistleblower at the CIA . His most recent book is "American Carnage: The Wars of Donald Trump" (Opus Publishing), and he is the author of the forthcoming "The Dangerous National Security State" (2020)." Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org .

[Feb 01, 2020] Bolton's mustache is trying to impeach his face: Trump tweets 'game over' after Bolton, Schiff videos resurface

Feb 01, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Matthew Rand , 22 hours ago

Bolton's mustache is trying to impeach his face.

G Blizzard , 1 day ago

Well, if his credibility is done, Michael Bolton can always go back to singing.


Curt Stolpe
, 1 day ago

"We can't beat him so we have to impeach him" no truer words were ever spoken. Too bad they couldn't come up with a reason. I think November will be a Democrat Slaughter.

IJJ , 1 day ago

Bolton & Schiff - Bozo 1 and Bozo 2 😂


MoralHi
, 1 day ago

That old man Bolton would sell his Gandma to sell his book !

[Jan 31, 2020] Tucker John Bolton has always been a snake

Bolton was appointed by Adelson.
Jan 27, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Bolton's tell-all book leaks during Senate trial. #FoxNews


Yamaha Venture , 3 days ago

Mitt Romney is a joke.

Michael Harvey , 2 days ago

John Bolton wants war everywhere to line his pockets with money.

Stephen C , 1 day ago

The "right" gets the left, but doesn't agree with them. The "left" doesn't understand the "right".

Citizen Se7en , 2 days ago

"Bolton's resignation was one of the highlights of the president's first term." Truer words have never been spoken.

Jack Albright , 2 days ago

This story is also called "the scorpion and the frog".

Ragnar Lothbrok , 3 days ago

John Bolton should be given a helmet and a gun and sent to the next war. Let's see how he likes it.

Stratchona , 1 day ago

Trump.." I don't know John Bolton,never met him,don't know what he does."

Jaret Glenn , 2 days ago

Time to investigate Romney's son working for the oil company in the Ukraine.

Regan Orr , 2 days ago

Romney's Holy Underwear is Cutting off the Blood Supply to his Deep St Brain!

Marjo , 2 days ago (edited)

I never liked Bolton. I sensed he was out for himself, at anyone's expense. War monger too. He had many people fooled.

Shara Kirkby , 3 days ago

Bolton wants war anywhere and forever!

David Dorrell , 1 day ago (edited)

Frickin' Globalist peckerwoods. John Bolton and his pal, Mitt Romney.

Olivier Bolton , 2 days ago

Bolton wanted war so he got the boot...the fact he brings out his book now just looks like vengean$$

Max Liftoff , 2 days ago

2:30 Because Bolton never served in the military he truly passionately loved war :)) LMAO Tucker nailed it.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , 1 day ago

The left's championing of John Bolton is further proof that TDS has made their minds turn to sludge.

j abe , 3 days ago

Can someone expaine to me how mit romney is still geting votes from ppl

Mark Whitley , 2 days ago

Bolton is a war mongering narcissist that wanted his war, didn't get it, & is now acting like a spoilt child that didn't get his way & is laying on the floor kicking & screaming!

Tim Fronimos , 2 days ago

Regarding John Bolton's book, is this the first book that he's colored. just curious

newuserandhiscrew 22 , 2 days ago

Everyone: Bolton: "take me in oh tender woman, take me in for heaven's sake"

Brittany Ward , 1 day ago

I can't fathom that people actually believe everything the media says!

[Jan 31, 2020] Trump excoriates Bolton in tweets this morning

Highly recommended!
Trump is lying. Bolton was appointed by Adelson and Trump can't refuse Adelson protégé.
Jan 31, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Trump excoriates Bolton in tweets this morning:
"For a guy who couldn't get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn't get approved for anything since, 'begged' me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying 'Don't do it, sir,' takes the job, mistakenly says 'Libyan Model' on T.V., and ... many more mistakes of judgement [sic], gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?"

IMO, Trump is a fantastic POTUS for this day and age, but he wasn't on his A game when he brought Bolton onboard. He should have known better and, was, apparently, warned. Maybe Trump thought he could control him and use him as a threatening pit bull. Mistake. Bolton is greedy as well as vindictive.

Posted by: Eric Newhill | 29 January 2020 at 09:30 AM

[Jan 21, 2020] The Middle East Strategic "Balance" Shredded -- Strategic Culture

Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

The U.S. was having some success with turning protest messaging against Iran – until, that is – its killing and wounding of so many Iraqi security force members last week (Ketaib Hizbullah is a part of Iraq's armed forces).

Escalation of maximum-pressure was one thing (Iran was confident of weathering that); but assassinating such a senior official on his state duties, was quite something else. We have not observed a state assassinating a most senior official of another state before.

And the manner of its doing, was unprecedented too. Soleimani was officially visiting Iraq. He arrived openly as a VIP guest from Syria, and was met on the tarmac by an equally senior Iraqi official, Al-Muhandis, who was assassinated also, (together with seven others). It was all open. General Soleimani regularly used his mobile phone as he argued that as a senior state official, if he were to be assassinated by another state, it would only be as an act of war.

This act, performed at the international airport of Baghdad, constitutes not just the sundering of red lines, but a humiliation inflicted on Iraq – its government and people. It will upend Iraq's strategic positioning. The erstwhile Iraqi attempt at balancing between Washington and Iran will be swept away by Trump's hubristic trampling on the country's sovereignty. It may well mark the beginning of the end of the U.S. presence in Iraq (and therefore Syria, too), and ultimately, of America's footprint in the Middle East.

Trump may earn easy plaudits now for his "We're America, Bitch!", as one senior White House official defined the Trump foreign policy doctrine; but the doubts – and unforeseen consequences soon may come home to roost.

Why did he do it? If no one really wanted 'war', why did Trump escalate and smash up all the crockery? He has had an easy run (so far) towards re-election, so why play the always unpredictable 'wild card' of a yet another Mid-East conflict?

Was it that he wanted to show 'no Benghazi'; no U.S. embassy siege 'on my watch' – unlike Obama's handling of that situation? Was he persuaded that these assassinations would play well to his constituency (Israeli and Evangelical)? Or was he offered this option baldly by the Netanyahu faction in Washington? Maybe.

Some in Israel are worried about a three or four front war reaching Israel. Senior Israeli officials recently have been speculating about the likelihood of regional conflict occurring within the coming months. Israel's PM however, is fighting for his political life, and has requested immunity from prosecution on three indictments – pleading that this was his legal right, and that it was needed for him to "continue to lead Israel" for the sake of its future. Effectively, Netanyahu has nothing to lose from escalating tensions with Iran -- but much to gain.

Opposition Israeli political and military leaders have warned that the PM needs 'war' with Iran -- effectively to underscore the country's 'need' for his continued leadership. And for technical reasons in the Israeli parliament, his plea is unlikely to be settled before the March general elections. Netanyahu thus may still have some time to wind up the case for his continued tenure of the premiership.

One prime factor in the Israeli caution towards Iran rests not so much on the waywardness of Netanyahu, but on the inconstancy of President Trump: Can it be guaranteed that the U.S. will back Israel unreservedly -- were it to again to become enmeshed in a Mid-East war? The Israeli and Gulf answer seemingly is 'no'. The import of this assessment is significant. Trump now is seen by some in Israel – and by some insiders in Washington – as a threat to Israel's future security vis à vis Iran. Was Trump aware of this? Was this act a gamble to guarantee no slippage in that vital constituency in the lead up to the U.S. elections? We do not know.

So we arrive at three final questions: How far will Iran absorb this new escalation? Will Iran confine its retaliation to within Iraq? Or will the U.S. cross another 'red line' by striking inside Iran itself, in any subsequent tit for tat?

Is it deliberate (or is it political autism) that makes Secretary Pompeo term all the Iraqi Hash'd a-Sha'abi forces – whether or not part of official Iraqi forces – as "Iran-led"? The term seems to be used as a laissez-passer to attack all the many Hash'd a-Sha'abi units on the grounds that, being "Iran-linked", they therefore count as 'terrorist forces'. This formulation gives rise to the false sequitur that all other Iraqis would somehow approve of the killings. This would be laughable, if it were not so serious. The Hash'd forces led the war against ISIS and are esteemed by the vast majority of Iraqis. And Soleimani was on the ground at the front line, with those Iraqi forces.

These forces are not Iranian 'proxies'. They are Iraqi nationalists who share a common Shi'a identity with their co-religionists in Iran, and across the region. They share a common zeitgeist, they see politics similarly, but they are no puppets (we write from direct experience).

But what this formulation does do is to invite a widening conflict: Many Iraqis will be outraged by the U.S. attacks on fellow Iraqis and will revenge them. Pompeo (falsely) will then blame Iran. Is that Pompeo's purpose: casus belli?

But where is the off-ramp? Iran will respond Is this affair simply set to escalate from limited military exchanges and from thence, to escalate until what? We understand that this was not addressed in Washington before the President's decision was made. There are no real U.S. channels of communication (other than low level) with Iran; nor is there a plan for the next days. Nor an obvious exit. Is Trump relying on gut instinct again?

[Jan 21, 2020] The Many Matryoska Dolls to America's Way of Imagining Iran -- Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... The Open Society and its Enemies ..."
"... "Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption ..."
"... "The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption. ..."
"... "Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak. ..."
"... "Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo. ..."
"... In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis. ..."
"... Coping with Crumbling States ..."
"... Clean Break ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

lastair Crooke January 20, 2020 © Photo: Flickr / DonkeyHotey On the 17 September 1656, Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant Puritan, who had won a civil war, and had the English king beheaded in public, railed against England's enemies. There was, he told Parliament that day, an axis of evil abroad in the world. And this axis – led by Catholic Spain – was, at root, the problem of a people that had placed themselves at the service of 'evil'. This 'evil', and the servitude that it beget, was the evil of a religion – Catholicism – that refused the English peoples' desire for simple liberties: " [an evil] that put men under restraint under which there was no freedom and under which, there could be 'no liberty of individual consciousness'".

That was how the English protestant leader saw Catholic Spain in 1656. And it is very close to how key orientations in the U.S. sees Iran today : The evil of religion – of Shi'ism – subjecting (they believe) Iranians to repression, and to serfdom. In Europe, this ideological struggle against the 'evil' of an imposed religious community (the Holy 'Roman' Axis, then) brought Europe to 'near-Armageddon', with the worst affected parts of Europe seeing their population decimated by up to 60% during the conflict.

Is this faction in the U.S. now intent on invoking a new, near-Armageddon – on this occasion, in the Middle East – in order, like Cromwell, to destroy the religious 'community known' as the Shi'a Resistance Axis, seen to stretch across the region, in order to preserve the Jewish "peoples' desire for simple liberties"?

Of course, today's leaders of this ideological faction are no longer Puritan Protestants (though the Christian Evangelicals are at one with Cromwell's 'Old Testament' literalism and prophesy). No, its lead ideologues are the neo-conservatives, who have leveraged Karl Popper's hugely influential The Open Society and its Enemies – a seminal treatise, which to a large extent, has shaped how many Americans imagine their 'world'. Popper's was history understood as a series of attempts, by the forces of reaction, to smother an open society with the weapons of traditional religion and traditional culture:

Marx and Russia were cast as the archetypal reactionary threat to open societies. This construct was taken up by Reagan, and re-connected to the Christian apocalyptic tradition (hence the neo-conservative coalition with Evangelists yearning for Redemption , and with liberal interventionists, yearning for a secular millenarianism). All concur that Iran is reactionary, and furthermore, the posit, poses a grave threat to Israel's self-proclaimed 'open society'.

The point here is that there is little point in arguing with these people that Iran poses no threat to the U.S. (which is obvious) – for the 'project' is ideological through and through. It has to be understood by these lights. Popper's purpose was to propose that only liberal globalism would bring about a "growing measure of humane and enlightened life" and a free and open society – period.

All this is but the outer Matryoshka – a suitable public rhetoric, a painted image – that can be used to encase the secret, inner dolls. Eli Lake, writing in Bloomberg , however, gives away the next doll:

"Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption

"The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption.

"Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak.

"Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo.

In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis.

So there it is – David Wurmser is the 'doll' within: no military invasion, but just a strategy to blow apart the Iranian Republic. Wurmser, Eli Lake reveals, has quietly been advising Bolton and the Trump Administration all along. This was the neo-con, who in 1996, compiled Coping with Crumbling States (which flowed on from the infamous Clean Break policy strategy paper, written for Netanyahu, as a blueprint for destructing Israel's enemies). Both these papers advocated the overthrow of the Secular-Arab nationalist states – excoriated both as "crumbling relics of the 'evil' USSR" (using Popperian language, of course) – and inherently hostile to Israel (the real message).

Well ( big surprise ), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to 'implode' and destroy Iran. And his insight? "A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani"; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran's domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government.

Eli Lake seems, in his Bloomberg piece, to think that the Wurmser strategy has worked. Really? The problem here is that narratives in Washington are so far apart from the reality that exists on the ground – they simply do not touch at any point. Millions attended Soleimani's cortege. His killing gave a renewed cohesion to Iran. Little more than a dribble have protested.

Now let us unpack the next 'doll': Trump bought into Wurmser's 'play', albeit, with Trump subsequently admitting that he did the assassination under intense pressure from Republican Senators. Maybe he believed the patently absurd narrative that Iranians would 'be dancing in the street' at Soleimani's killing. In any event, Trump is not known, exactly, for admitting his mistakes. Rather, when something is portrayed as his error, the President adopts the full 'salesman' persona: trying to convince his base that the murder was no error, but a great strategic success – "They like us", Trump claimed of protestors in Iran.

Tom Luongo has observed : "Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week, and it's clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Republicans hold the Senate, simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place. It is [occurring because it offers] the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the D.C. Swamp." Ah, so here we arrive at another inner Matryoshka.

This is Luongo's point: Impeachment was the leverage to drive open a wedge between Republican neo-conservatives in the Senate – and Trump. And now the Pelosi pressure on Republican Senators is escalating . The Establishment threw cold water over Trump's assertion of imminent attack, as justification for murdering Soleimani, and Trump responds by painting himself further into a corner on Iran – by going the full salesman 'monte'.

On the campaign trail, the President goes way over-the-top, calling Soleimani a "son of a b -- -", who killed 'thousands' and furthermore was responsible for every U.S. veteran who lost a limb in Iraq. And he then conjures up a fantasy picture of protesters pouring onto the streets of Tehran, tearing down images of Soleimani, and screaming abuse at the Iranian leadership.

It is nonsense. There are no mass protests (there have been a few hundred students protesting at one main Tehran University). But Trump has dived in pretty deep, now threatening the Euro-Three signatories to the JCPOA, that unless they brand Iran as having defaulted on JCPOA at the UNSC disputes mechanism, he will slap an eye-watering 25% tariff on their automobiles.

So, how will Trump avoid plunging in even deeper to conflict if – and when – Americans die in Iraq or Syria at the hands of militia – and when Pompeo or Lindsay Graham will claim, baldly, 'Iran's proxies did it'? Sending emollient faxes to the Swiss to pass to Tehran will not do. Tehran will not read them, or believe them, even if they did.

It all reeks of stage-management; a set up: a very clever stage-management, designed to end with the U.S. crossing Iran's 'red line', by striking at a target within Iranian territory. Here, finally, we arrive at the innermost doll.

Cui bono ? Some Senators who never liked Trump, and would prefer Pence as President; the Democrats, who would prefer to run their candidate against Pence in November, rather than Trump. But also, as someone who once worked with Wurmser observed tartly: when you hear that name (Wurmser), immediately you think Netanyahu, his intimate associate.

Matryoshka herself?

[Jan 10, 2020] Pompeo Goes Full Neocon The National Interest

Jan 10, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

November 18, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Americas Tags: Mike Pompeo Donald Trump Foreign Policy Iran Sanctions Pompeo Goes Full Neocon

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pivots back from America First.

by Matthew Petti Follow Matthew Petti on Twitter L ,

https://lockerdome.com/lad/12130885885741670?pubid=ld-12130885885741670-935&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=duckduckgo.com&width=896

[Jan 09, 2020] GOP's Mike Lee Blasts Intel Briefers For Telling Senators They Can't Debate War Authorization

Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com,

After the Trump Administration's 75-minute briefing to the US Senate on the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was deeply critical , calling it the worst briefing he'd gotten in his nine years in the Senate.

Saying the administration's briefers offered little on the legal or practical justification for the attack, Sen. Lee particularly took umbrage at them warning the Senators that they must not debate the War Powers authorization for a war with Iran .

Republican Senator Mike Lee with Sen. Rand Paul. Image via ABC/Reuters

Those giving the briefing objected to the very idea of the Senate discussing the matter publicly, saying it would "embolden Iran." Sen. Lee noted that this is a power Constitutionally reserved explicitly for the legislature.

"For them to tell us ... for us to debate and discuss these things on the Senate floor would somehow weaken the American cause and embolden Iran in any other actions, I find very insulting ," Lee said, who did not specify to reporters on Capitol Hill which briefer made the assertion.

"It is not acceptable for officials within the executive branch of government -- I don't care if they're with the CIA, the Department of Defense or otherwise -- to come in and tell us that we can't debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran, " Lee added. -- ABC

Not only did Lee express annoyance that there was no pushback from any of the briefers on telling the Senate not to debate something legally in their purview, but he said that while he'd had problems with the language of Sen. Tim Kaine's (D-VA) resolution, he has now decided that he will support the resolution, on condition of some amendments.

*


Boogity , 11 minutes ago link

Senator Lee just got cut off from Uncle Shlomo's slush fund.

IUDAEA_DELENDA_EST , 12 minutes ago link

The CIA works hard.

But for whom?

It is most certainly not The Republic.

SpeechFreedom , 33 minutes ago link

Trump The Zionist Whore!

"Trump is too stupid, or willfully ignorant to know that Soleimani was at the forefront of the US led coalition to eradicate ISIS from Northern Iraq in March 2015.

Soleimani also, as a commander of the Iranian Quds Force, was part of the American-led coalition under US General Tommy Franks fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in the October 2001 Battle of Herat .

Moreover, Soleimani worked to protect Eastern Christians against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, and empowered them to defend themselves as best they could.

As for the flunkie at State, Pompeo put up a clip of a few Iraqis celebrating the death of Soleimani while parroting Trump's own lies that Iranians "hated and feared him."

However, Pompass didn't show the millions mourning Soleimani in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, including the minorities in Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

That's not "hate and fear," that's "honor and respect."

Most Americans never heard of Soleimani -- a soft-spoken man of high refinement -- until his murder last week. Now they're clamoring as if Trump had slain the devil himself."

When World?

Have you not had enough of the *** monstrosity Yet?

Scipio Africanuz , 1 hour ago link

Seems the dam has burst, the [Trump] personality cult is crumbling, and the purveyors of unprovoked aggression are reeling..

So where are the Americans to back up the courageous and retake their congress from the grip of blackmailers and threat issuers?

Perhaps they are gearing up...

[Jan 08, 2020] Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge?

Highly recommended!
Iran has incentives to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
Notable quotes:
"... Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ". ..."
"... Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey). ..."
"... These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper. ..."
"... As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump" ..."
"... I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have? ..."
"... The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking. ..."
"... Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ..."
"... Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. ..."
"... We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.

Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl


Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PM

Whatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.
confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AM
Vegetius,

re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "

Are you sure? I am not.

Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".

A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.

Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).

These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.

Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~

(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.

Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.

IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).

confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
Vegetius,

as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a6e60efd3bde0befbcb8b0a95a42bf4c2624e017/57_296_5123_3074/master/5123.jpg?width=1920&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=1958b9e7cf24d7a3a7b024845de08f7e

As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"

https://cdn.mdr.de/nachrichten/mdraktuell-golan-hoehen-trump-hights-100-resimage_v-variantSmall24x9_w-704.jpg?version=0964

I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard ly work of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.

Kushner is probably getting hard and hard ly supported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.

Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?

The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.

The rest of the nation will follow.

prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
jonst

We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL

Matt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
I agree with your reply 100%

these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,

Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"

Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.

How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.

Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.

PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpg

2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
nuff Sed

It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.

Nuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.

Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.

Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.

scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AM
Forts are stationary.
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239251

https://www.timesofisrael.com/haifa-municipal-workers-block-refinery-access-for-2nd-day/

These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
nuff sed

I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
Yeah, right

It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.

To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.

Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.

Isn't that correct?

So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?

Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.

johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something.

Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?

The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Yeah Right

The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.

But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.

Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
Stueee

A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
Nuff Sed

Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Lars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.

The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
CK

The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.

CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AM
lars

We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.

prawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
prawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.
Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AM
Looks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AM
I doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.
Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

[Nov 26, 2019] Support for Restraint Is on the Rise by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... 38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall. ..."
"... The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention: ..."
"... With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons ..."
"... There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

he Eurasia Group Foundation's new survey of public opinion on U.S. foreign policy finds that support for greater restraint continues to rise:

Americans favor a less aggressive foreign policy. The findings are consistent across a number of foreign policy issues, and across generations and party lines.

The 2019 survey results show that most Americans support a more restrained foreign policy, and it also shows an increase in that support since last year. There is very little support for continuing the war in Afghanistan indefinitely, there is virtually no appetite for war with Iran, and there is a decline in support for a hawkish sort of American exceptionalism. There is still very little support for unilateral U.S. intervention for ostensibly humanitarian reasons, and support for non-intervention has increased slightly:

In 2018, 45 percent of Americans chose restraint as their first choice. In 2019, that has increased to 47 percent. Only 19 percent opt for a U.S.-led military response and 34 percent favor a multilateral, UN-led approach to stop humanitarian abuses overseas.

38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall.

The report's working definition of American exceptionalism is a useful one: "American exceptionalism is the belief that the foreign policy of the United States should be unconstrained by the parochial interests or international rules which govern other countries." This is not the only definition one might use, but it gets at the heart of what a lot of hawks really mean when they use this phrase. While most Americans still say they subscribe to American exceptionalism either because of what the U.S. represents or what it has done, there is less support for these views than before. Among the youngest respondents (age 18-29), there is now a clear majority that rejects this idea.

The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention:

A strong majority of both Republicans and Democrats continue to seek a diplomatic resolution involving either sanctions or the resumption of nuclear negotiations. This year, there was an increase in the number of respondents across party lines who would want negotiations to resume even if Iran is a nuclear power in the short term, and a bipartisan increase in those who believe outright that Iran has the right to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself. So while Republicans might be more likely than Democrats to believe Iran threatens peace in the Middle East, voters in neither party are eager to take a belligerent stand against it.

With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons, and it isn't doing that. It may be that the failure of the "maximum pressure" campaign has also weakened support for sanctions. Support for the sanctions option dropped by almost 10 points overall and plunged by more than 20 points among Republicans. In 2018, respondents were evenly split between war and sanctions on one side or negotiations and non-intervention on the other. This year, support for diplomacy and non-intervention in response to this imaginary nuclear weapons program has grown to make up almost 60% of the total. If most Americans favor diplomacy and non-intervention in this improbable scenario, it is safe to assume that there is even more support for those options with the real Iranian government that isn't pursuing nuclear weapons.

There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening.

[Nov 23, 2019] Fiona Hill a rabid neocon promoting UK foreign policy within the USA government, a book writer of Luke Harding mold, was appointed by Trump in 2017 when Russiagate was in full broom

This is another remnant for Bush neocon team, a protégé of Bolton. Trump probably voluntarily appointed this rabid neocon, a chickenhawk who would shine in Hillary State Department. Interestingly she came from working class background. So much about Marx theory of class struggle. Brown, David (March 4, 2017). "Miner's daughter tipped as Trump adviser on Russia" . The Times. She also illustrate level pf corruption of academic science, because she got PhD in history from Harvard in 1998 under Richard Pipes, Akira Iriye, and Roman Szporluk. But at least this was history, not languages like in case of Ciaramella.
Such appointment by Trump is difficult to describe with normal words as he understood what he is buying. So he is himself to blame for his current troubles and his inability to behave in a diplomatic way when there was important to him question about role of CrowdStrike in 2016 election and creation of Russiagate witch hunt.
There is something in the USA that creates conditions for producing rabid female neocons, some elevator that brings ruthless female careerists with sharp elbows them to the establishment. She sounds like a person to the right of Madeline Albright, which is an achievement
With such books It is unclear whether she is different from Max Boot. She buys official Skripal story like hook and sinker. The list of her book looks like produced in UK by Luke Harding
Being miner daughter raised in poverty we can also talk about betrayal of her class and upbringing.
This also rises wisdom of appointing emigrants to the Administration and the extent they pursue policies beneficial for their native countries.
Nov 23, 2019 | en.wikipedia.org

Impeachment testimony

On October 14, 2019, responding to a subpoena , Hill testified in a closed-door deposition for ten hours before special committees of the United States Congress as part of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump . [9] [10] [11]

Testimony to the House Intelligence Committee by Hill and David Holmes, November 21, 2019 , C-SPAN

She testified in public before the same body on November 21, 2019. [12] While being questioned by Steve Castor , the counsel for the House Intelligence Committee's Republican minority, Hill commented on Gordon Sondland 's involvement in the Ukraine matter: "It struck me when (Wednesday), when you put up on the screen Ambassador Sondland's emails, and who was on these emails, and he said these are the people who need to know, that he was absolutely right," she said. "Because he was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security foreign policy. And those two things had just diverged." [13] In response to a question from that committee's chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff , Hill stated: "The Russians' interests are frankly to delegitimize our entire presidency. The goal of the Russians [in 2016] was really to put whoever became the president -- by trying to tip their hands on one side of the scale -- under a cloud." [

Hill's books include:

[Oct 15, 2019] Bolton Opposed Ukraine Investigations; Called Giuliani A Hand Grenade

Oct 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Bolton Opposed Ukraine Investigations; Called Giuliani "A Hand Grenade" by Tyler Durden Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:25 0 SHARES

Former national security adviser John Bolton was 'so alarmed' by efforts to encourage Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and 2016 election meddling that he told an aide, Fiona Hill, to alert White House lawyers, according to the New York Times .

On Monday, Hill told House investigators that Bolton got into a heated confrontation on July 10 with Trump's EU ambassador, Gordon D. Sondland, who was working with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Democrats. Hill said that Bolton told her to notify the top attorney for the National Security Council about the 'rogue' effort by Sondland, Giuliani and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

"I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up," Bolton apparently told Hill to tell the lawyers.

It was not the first time Mr. Bolton expressed grave concerns to Ms. Hill about the campaign being run by Mr. Giuliani. " Giuliani's a hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up, " Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as saying during an earlier conversation.

The testimony revealed in a powerful way just how divisive Mr. Giuliani's efforts to extract damaging information about Democrats from Ukraine on President Trump's behalf were within the White House. Ms. Hill, the senior director for European and Russian affairs, testified that Mr. Giuliani and his allies circumvented the usual national security process to run their own foreign policy efforts, leaving the president's official advisers aware of the rogue operation yet powerless to stop it. - NYT

When Hill confronted Sondland, he told her that he was 'in charge' of Ukraine, "a moment she compared to Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr.'s declaration that he was in charge after the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt, according to those who heard the testimony," according to the Times.

Hill says she asked Sondland on whose authority he was in charge of Ukraine, to which he replied 'the president.' She would later leave her post shortly before a July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president which is currently at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Times also notes that "House Democrats widened their net in the fast-paced inquiry by summoning Michael McKinley, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who abruptly resigned last week, to testify Wednesday."

Career diplomats have expressed outrage at the unceremonious removal of Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch from Ukraine after she came under attack by Mr. Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr. and two associates who have since been arrested on charges of campaign violations.

The interviews indicated that House Democrats were proceeding full tilt with their inquiry despite the administration's declaration last week that it would refuse to cooperate with what it called an invalid and unconstitutional impeachment effort. - NYT

Three other Trump admin officials are scheduled to speak with House investigators this week, including Sondland - who is now set to appear on Thursday. On Tuesday, deputy assistant secretary of state George Kent will testify, while on Friday, Laura K. Cooper - a a deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia policy, will speak with lawmakers as well.


Et Tu Brute , 20 minutes ago link

Why are we still even hearing from that human excrement?

janus , 22 minutes ago link

Looks like we have our whistleblower. My only question is, how does one whistle with such a bristly moustache draping their hairlip?

So now we have Mr. Neocon and Mr. Liddle Kidz conjugating as the strangest of bedfellows? How will this play to their respective bases? Are we to assume these people think this nations top law enforcement agent (POTUS) is to abdicate his duties therewith just because the criminal is (at least according to our two tiered justice system) supposed to be beyond reproach?

Mr. Bolton, bright and determined as he is, has hitched his wagon to mad mare galloping full tilt over a precipice.

Looking for a return of uranium one to the headlines soon. In due time we will stich this Russia/Ukraine narrative back together from a patchwork of facts. You traitors are fucked...royally fucked...and you know it.

So, Mr bolton, explain to us in simple terms how you appraise America's security and her related interests. Your camp is in eclipse.

John Bolton:

"I was appauled...just flabbergasted...that the president was concerned that our intelligence apparatus was politicized to the extent that its highest echelons were arrayed in an attempt to subvert a lawful and legitimate election. Never mind that six other nations were tasked with abetting this treasonous plot...this is an outrage!!! The whole point of intelligence agencies is to skirt the law with impunity, and once we (the unelected permanent breacracy) tell one of our minions like Biden or Hillary that they're permanently immune from prosecution, we can't have some earnest pact of Patriots running around demanding law and order."

What a sorry bunch of cretians.

We were so close...so close...to losing it all. But since the enemy is making clear we're playing zero sum, we're going to end up with everything.

Brace yourself, California. If I were you, I'd study the legal framework of Reconstruction. Your plight will be of a kind. Your state has been engaged in a systematic attempt to overthrow the government. Your leaders will be appointed for a generation after this all comes out. Don't look to Beijing to save you...they kinda have their hands full.

Janus

Treavor , 17 minutes ago link

He is a criminal involved in Ukraine weapons deals the yal get the piece that is why they are mad lost $$$$$$

Mimir , 2 minutes ago link

Clearly a criminal among criminals.

MrAToZ , 26 minutes ago link

Deep state arms skim meister Bolton. Never enough bodies for this "patroit."

Infinityx2 , 26 minutes ago link

So, I guess Bolton is no longer collecting free money like Hunter Biden was. I get it now how all these politicians have kids overseas and open foreign corporations which our tax money goes in to by way of cutting deals overseas public officials to line their pockets with our money. This how they get into government poor and become very rich! Giuliani is pointing this fact out to the public with Trump and the swamp HATES IT!

The public now knows how these corrupt PUBLIC OFFICIALS in America have been fleecing the tax payers. This is a major hit on the swamp.

Trump & Giuliani we're behind you thank you for showing us how the swamp has been ******* us for all these years.

One-Hung-Lo , 30 minutes ago link

Bolton should have never been allowed to enter the White House and I am not sure about Giuliani either as I kinda feel like he is borderline senile.

moe_reeves , 32 minutes ago link

If Biden is guilty, Giuliani is not.

frankthecrank , 34 minutes ago link

Understand that the reason Schitt head won't allow public hearings is because the former Ambassador to Ukraine--Volker, shot this whole **** fest down when he testified. There is no "there" there.

Bolton and the others are crying because of Trump's pull out. The left jumped on the war bandwagon under Billary a long time ago. Necons work both parties.

John_Coltrane , 37 minutes ago link

If Bolton dislikes Guiliani that's the best endorsement of Rudy I can imagine. Bolton is a complete warmongering traitor who, like McShitstain, desires a nice case of brain cancer.

Go Rudy, expose the corrupt Demonrats! We deplorables love human hand grenades. That's why we elected the Donald, and you apparently are the perfect lawyer for our great God emperor.

Archeofuturist , 15 minutes ago link

You can bet that the piggies are squealing because it's more than just the Dems who are neck deep in the ****. Lotta funky stuff went down in Ukraine.

Buster84 , 55 minutes ago link

Sounds like Bolton may have some dirty laundry he is wanting to cover up.

AnnimaTday , 50 minutes ago link

"Schiff simply does not have the gravitas that a weighty procedure such as impeachment requires," Biggs wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News. "He has repeatedly shown incredibly poor judgment. He has persistently and consistently demonstrated that he has such a tremendous bias and animus against Trump that he will say anything and accept any proffer of even bogus evidence to try to remove the president from office."

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/125-house-republicans-co-sponsor-resolution-to-censure-schiff-over-parody-reading-of-trump-zelensky-call

[Sep 18, 2019] Iran is a coherent nation with long history and proved ability to defend itslef even at the cost of enormous sacrifices. One hopes that the Pentagon can understand that any attack on Iran coalition will be met with a coordinated and unreserved response by Iran and all its allies.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Sep 18 2019 2:54 utc | 80

@b - "Iran has thereby plausible deniability when attacks like the recent one on Abquiq happen. That Iran supplied drones with 1,500 kilometer reach to its allies in Yemen means that its allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq and elsewhere have access to similar means."

I read the Tyler Rogoway WarZone article you linked to, and it was the first time I'd seen the concept that Iran "has built a plausible deniability environment" for itself, but I think Rogoway is missing a serious point. If Iran has such deniability, I don't think this exists by contrivance. I think the truth of the situation has created such plausible deniability, if in fact such a thing even exists, or if such a thing is even desired by Iran or any of its allies.

I would like to offer a more nuanced view of the relationship between Iran and its allies. Specifically regarding your view that Iran's allies are "willing to act on Iran's behalf should the need arise."

I get the impression that it's more a case that all these allies see themselves in the same existential position, and have developed, and are continuing to refine, an "all for one and one for all" approach to the regional security of all the sovereign allies.

Sharmine Narwani explained this very thing in her recent interview with Ross Ashcroft, where she said that if one of the allies is attacked by the US or Israel, all of the allies will join in immediately and without reservation, because for each of them it is the same existential threat:
What's the real plan with Iran?

And the interview you link to by Nader Talebzadeh with IRGC General Amir Ali Hajizadeh concludes with the general's statement that "...in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen; now Muslims are all a coalition standing next to each other".
How likely is the possibility of a military conflict between Iran and the US?

~~

I'm not trying to split hairs here, but it strikes me as important to note that these countries have moved on from being isolated, and are in fact in a coalition, albeit still coalescing. Their militaries have trained together and established joint command centers in recent times.

As the general explained, when the threat of attack by the US seemed imminent - at the time Iran downed the drone - Iran was fully prepared to attack and destroy several US bases. One hopes that the Pentagon can understand that any attack on one of these members of the coalition will be met with a coordinated and unreserved response by all allies.

Given such a geopolitical situation now throughout the region, the concept of Iran's having "plausible deniability" for other countries to act on its behalf seems too narrow a view. And this is why all the fevered discussion about who "owns" the Houthi strike is missing the main strategic point that the whole region "owns" it - and why it is sufficient that the Houthi did in fact act alone, but not alone, because none of these forces is now alone. It is, one gathers, a brotherly coalition that has formed and is becoming yet stronger

So it need not be the case that everything flows from Iran, or revolves around Iran. The whole region is now the steel trap not to step on.

donkeytale , Sep 18 2019 3:16 utc | 81

Grieved @ 80

Excellent point very well stated.

[Sep 18, 2019] Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge?

Iran has incentives to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.

Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl


Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PM

Whatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.
confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AM
Vegetius,
re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "

Are you sure? I am not.

Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".

A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.

Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).

These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.

Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~

(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.

Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.

IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).

confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
Vegetius,
as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a6e60efd3bde0befbcb8b0a95a42bf4c2624e017/57_296_5123_3074/master/5123.jpg?width=1920&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=1958b9e7cf24d7a3a7b024845de08f7e

As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel ocupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"

https://cdn.mdr.de/nachrichten/mdraktuell-golan-hoehen-trump-hights-100-resimage_v-variantSmall24x9_w-704.jpg?version=0964

I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard ly work of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.

Kushner is probably getting hard and hard ly supported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.

Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?

The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.

The rest of the nation will follow.

prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
jonst

We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL

Matt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
I agree with your reply 100%

Iranophobia goes back to 1979,

Russophobia goes back to at least 1917 if not further, especially in the UK,

Sinophobia for the US reaches back to the mid to late 1800's

these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,

Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"

Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.

How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.

Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.

PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpg

2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
nuff Sed

It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.

Nuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.

Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.

Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.

scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AM
Forts are stationary.
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239251

https://www.timesofisrael.com/haifa-municipal-workers-block-refinery-access-for-2nd-day/

These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
nuff sed

I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
Yeah, right

It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.

To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.

Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.

Isn't that correct?

So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?

Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.

johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something.

Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?

The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Yeah Right

The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.

But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.

Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
Stueee

A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
Nuff Sed

Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Lars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.

The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
CK

The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.

CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AM
lars

We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.

prawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
prawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.
Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AM
Looks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AM
I doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.
Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

[Sep 18, 2019] Here is an article that looks at how American voters feel about Donald Trump's approach to Iran

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Sep 17 2019 19:58 utc | 5

Here is an article that looks at how American voters feel about Donald Trump's approach to Iran:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/07/main-street-america-and-another-war-in.html

Should the warrior who currently inhabits the position of Secretary of State use his influence to persuade Donald Trump to enter what would likely be a very lengthy war of attrition in Iran, it may prove to be a very costly move for the Republican Party in November of 2020 given the level of support for such actions among Main Street Americans.

[Sep 17, 2019] The Costs of Trump's Economic War on Iran Keep Growing by Daniel Larison

Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom Paul Pillar comments on the attack on the Saudi oil facility at Abqaiq, and he connects it to the administration's dangerous, failing "maximum pressure" campaign:

Iranian leaders have been explicit in warning that if Iran could not export its oil, then other Persian Gulf producers would not be able to either. Was anyone in the Trump administration listening?

To borrow another formulation from Pompeo's tweet, there is no evidence that in the absence of the administration's economic warfare against Iran, Iran would do anything like attack the Abqaiq facility or have any incentive to conduct such an attack. If Iran did do the attack, then it was a direct and unsurprising result of the administration's policy of unrelenting hostility and of inflicting economic pain with no apparent end.

The Trump administration's economic war on Iran has not achieved anything except to destabilize the region further and impoverish the Iranian people. It is the cause of the current crisis with Iran, and were it not for this economic war we can reasonably assume that there would have been no attacks on tankers, pipelines, and possibly oil facilities in the last few months. As Pillar notes, the administration has shown Iran unrelenting hostility, and they have continued to apply one set of sanctions after another, and then the administration pretends that its own actions have not created the present mess. A smart administration would start lifting sanctions, but then a smart administration would never have imposed them in the first place.

Under no circumstances should the U.S. increase its involvement in Yemen and do more to devastate that country, as this former admiral has suggested that we do in an interview with Foreign Policy . The U.S. should have ended our involvement in the war on Yemen long ago. It is an ongoing disgrace that the administration continues to support and arm the governments that have been destroying and starving Yemen. Our involvement in the war is already unauthorized and illegal, and directly launching attacks alongside the Saudi coalition would make things even worse.

Deescalating tensions with Iran is the only sane way forward, so of course the only thing being seriously considered right now in Washington is a possible attack on Iran. It can't be stressed enough that the U.S. has no justification, legal or otherwise, to launch an attack on Iran. Not only is the U.S. not obliged to come to the defense of Saudi Arabia, but our government is bound by the U.N. Charter that prohibits using force against another state except in self-defense. No one can seriously claim that a U.S. strike on Iran right now would be anything other than an illegal attack in clear violation of international law.

Sid Finster 5 hours ago

The only sane thing MBS can do is to declare defeat and withdraw from Yemen, tout suite .

The problem is that there is no way for him to do so without humiliation. Shame and honor are paramount in Saudi society, and MBS has just gotten a very nasty and very public punch in the nose. Anything less than brutal escalation, and his honor and prestige will be seriously damaged.

The Saudi tyrants are stuck in Yemen so deep, that they have little choice but to keep doubling down.

[Sep 16, 2019] This Wasn't How Trump's War on Iran Was Supposed to Go by David C. Hendrickson

Sep 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The U.S. thought it was cleverly choking the regime, but now it's clear that 'maximum pressure' goes both ways.

• The Saturday attack on Saudi oil facilities, which took 5.7 million barrels of oil per day offline, is the escalation that wasn't supposed to happen. Now that it has happened, we enter perilous new terrain.

America has blamed Iran and hinted at some sort of retaliation . Iran has denied responsibility, while the Houthis gladly take it. There are conflicting reports of where the missiles or drones were launched from, which we will learn more about in the coming days.

In the meantime, Trump is in a tight spot of his own making, with neither escalation nor retrenchment looking to be attractive options.

It is still uncertain when Saudi Aramco can get everything back on line. The attack showed sophistication. Critical nodes were hit. If the facilities are quickly repaired, that lessens the gravity of this event. The Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s showed the resiliency of oil installations, as Iraqi bombers pounded Kharg Island, where Iran exported much of its oil, yet the Iranians managed to keep the exports flowing. This suggests that a war of attrition today would be possible without major disruptions, though the impact of new technologies of attack and resistance makes any guess hazardous.

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If past crises are any indication, a sustained loss of 5.7 million barrels per day, over five percent of world oil consumption, would likely quadruple oil prices. Strategic petroleum reserves can cover this to a certain extent: the U.S. system can pump 4.4 million barrels per day. But it would exhaust its reserves in 150 days at that pace. We do not know whether more strikes will be forthcoming or whether such efforts can be successfully suppressed with airpower or invigorated defenses. All we can say is that the great game has advanced to a new stage.

From the beginning, escalation has seemed the likely consequence of the Trump administration's decision to asphyxiate the Iranian regime by cutting off its ability to export oil. This was a declaration of economic war. That is the polite term, as it is an action every international lawyer on the planet, back in the day when these things mattered, would have called an act of war without any precious qualifiers.

It turns out that there may be some street cred to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's assertion that if Iran isn't allowed to export oil, others will face obstacles too. Tit for tat. Got a quid? Here's a quo. The funny thing is that any significant threat to Saudi capacity creates a pressing need to get Iran's spare capacity onto the world market. As to which side now has more leverage, in a position to squeeze harder, that's a tough question. Putting it nicely, the Iranians can, if their will is stout, impose huge costs on the United States and the world economy. They would only consider that if pressed extremely hard, yet the United States has been pressing them extremely hard for over a year now.

Remember that the purpose of America's economic war on Iran was to force Iran to submit to 12 demands issued by Pharaoh Mike Pompeo in his edict delivered on May 21, 2018. It was really disappointing that Pompeo didn't raise the obvious thirteenth demand and insist that the embargo would not be lifted until an American regent was appointed in Tehran, taking the Islamic Revolution under neoliberal guidance until circumstances changed, after which Iranian democracy would be restored to its former lack of glory. That was implied, to be sure, but we didn't get much straight talk from Mr. Pompeo on that point.

This ultimatum was reminiscent of the demands that the Austro-Hungarians made on the Serbs on a certain date in 1914. Make them as extreme as you can, said the inspired diplomatists looking for war. World reaction was then unfavorable. Winston Churchill, in charge of Britain's navy, called it "the most insolent document of its kind ever devised." The resemblance to Pompeo's ultimatums hardly shows the imminence of a 1914-like crisis today, but there is a certain arrogance to both the U.S. warmongers and Austro-Hungarians. The Austrians got the war they were looking for; the neocons may yet get theirs.

Trump's renunciation of the Iran nuclear deal is mostly about Israel and its perceived security requirements. Not only must Iran not have a single nuclear weapon, it must not have the theoretical capability to produce a weapon, were the Iranians to break from their pledges under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the JCPOA. This imposes a requirement on the Islamic Republic that no other medium-sized power has had to endure. That the Iranians are bearers of an ancient civilization makes the humiliation all the more painful. Those 12 demands were not designed to produce a settlement; they were designed to produce a crisis, as they now have done. Regime change lies back of them -- that or simply the immiseration of another Muslim country.

American policy toward Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has recently been mostly about arms sales. People say all the time that the oil companies are the heavyweights in this drama. In fact, they are secondary. What has driven events in the recent past is the military-industrial complex salivating over the sales of high-priced and high-tech U.S. armaments to sheikdoms with money to burn. The MIC plunderers, like the Hollywood moguls, understand that you simply must have the foreign market to make the big profits. Politicians see such sales as a way of making our own arms purchases remotely affordable and thereby politically palatable. For these reasons, foreign arms sales to reprehensible characters is Washington's go-to move, a win-win for the plutocrats and the praetorians.

The United States acted under no prompting of national interest in so aiding and abetting the Saudi war in Yemen, but its hankering after all those lucrative contracts was just too much temptation. When the flesh is weak, as it seems to be in Washington, burning flesh is not a problem. Trump saw it as a great business deal and had no compunctions about the human fallout in Yemen. The Democrats -- a certain Democrat, especially -- did what was once said of Austrian Queen Maria Theresa after the Partition of Poland in 1772: "She wept, but she took."

The president may have outsmarted himself this time. He got rid of National Security Adviser John Bolton because he didn't like Bolton's across-the-board hawkish recommendations, but he signed on to the very big change in U.S. policy towards Iran that Bolton had recommended. Trump thought he was in control of the escalation. But when you declare your intention to asphyxiate another country, you've committed an act of war. Retaliation from the other side usually follows in some form or fashion. You can then advance to your ruin or retreat in ignominy.

Trump has threatened retaliation, but he surely does not want a big war with Iran. His supporters definitely do not want a war with Iran. Americans in general are opposed to a war with Iran. Mysteriously, however, the U.S. declaration of war on Iran in fact -- though not, of course, in name, heaven forbid -- escaped notice by the commentariat this past year. The swamp's seismograph doesn't record a reading when we violate the rules, but when the other guy does, it's 7.8 on the Richter Scale.

The whole drama, in a nutshell, is just the old-fashioned hubris of the imperial power, issuing its edicts, and genuinely surprised when it encounters resistance, even though such resistance confirms for the wunderkinds their view of the enemy's malevolence.

Is Trump trapped? That is the question of the hour. He faces strong pressure to do something in retaliation, but that something may aggravate the oil shock and imperil his re-election. As he dwells on that possibility, he will probably look for ways to back down. He will try to get out of the trap set by the U.S. economic war on Iran without abandoning the economic war on Iran. But that probably won't work; that was Iran's message over the weekend. Were he to abandon the economic war, however, he would get a ton of flak from both sides of the aisle in Congress. The commentators would scream "appeasement!" In Washington lobby-land, we'd be back to 1938 in a flash.

Does the president have the gumption to resist that tired line? I hope so.

David Hendrickson teaches history at Colorado College and is the author of Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition.

[Sep 16, 2019] The continual plundering and looting of Iranian resources

Sep 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

camfree , 26 minutes ago link

Bibi is desperate for war with Iran to avoid election defeat and prison and Bolton is fired/resigns only to predict "Iranian deception" on the way out the door.

Insurrexion , 33 minutes ago link

Zeroes,

Re: $100/Bl Oil...

Today, Brent climbed as much as 12% towards $70 per barrel and the US crude oil rose 10% to nearly $61. Historically, Brent crude oil reached an all time high of 147.50 in July of 2008. Remember what happened next?

Qui Bono?

Who suffers?

Iraq, Libya, Venezuela and Iran are a mess and cannot produce to make a difference.

This will be the catalyst for the economic downturn.

attah-boy-Luther , 39 minutes ago link

Trumptards locked and loaded....sigh and now this:

https://www.henrymakow.com/2019/09/disgrace-canadas-theft-of-ir.html

So the continual plundering and looting of Iranian resources never ceases to amaze me.

[Sep 13, 2019] The Sacking of John Bolton by Binoy Kampmark

The key question is why Trump hired Bolton in the first place, not why he was sucked...
This guy is a reckless imperialist, staunch neocon and a war criminal. No person who promoted or voted in the Congress for Iraq war can held government or elected position. They are compromised for the rest of their miserable lifes.
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

"Every time the president, or Pompeo, or anyone in the [Trump] administration came up with an idea, they had to face Dr No."

– Cliff Kupchan, Chairman of the Eurasia Group, The Washington Post , Sep 11, 2011.

[Sep 11, 2019] Better late than never Bolton's firing gives Trump a chance to heed his instincts Ron Paul

This is a bit like rearranging the chairs on the deck of Titanic.
The problem is we do not know who pressed Trump to appoint Bolton., Rumors were that it was Abelson. In this case nothing changed.
The other problem with making Bolton firing a significant move is the presence in White House other neocon warmongers. So one less doe not change the picture. For example Pompeo remains and he is no less warmongering neocon, MIC stooge, and no less subservant to Israel then Bolton.
Notable quotes:
"... Firing National Security Advisor John Bolton gives US President Donald Trump a chance to move foreign policy in a more peaceful direction – as long as he's not replaced with another hawk, former congressman Ron Paul told RT ..."
"... Bolton has "been a monkey-wrench in Donald Trump's policies of trying to back away from some of these conflicts around the world," Paul observed on Tuesday ..."
"... "Every time I think Trump is making progress, Bolton butts in and ruins it," Paul added. Negotiations with Afghanistan and talks with North Korea and Iran have reportedly been scuttled by his aggressive tendencies, with Pyongyang declaring him a "defective human product." ..."
"... "A lot of people here didn't even want his appointment, because he was only able to take a position that did not require Senate approval," Paul said, suggesting that perhaps the "Deep State" pressure had forced the president to keep Bolton around long past his sell-by date. ..."
"... As for whether Bolton's departure would change the White House's policy line significantly, though, Paul was less certain. "I don't think it will change a whole lot," he said, pointing out that "we have no idea" who will replace Bolton. Trump said he would make an announcement next week. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.rt.com

Firing National Security Advisor John Bolton gives US President Donald Trump a chance to move foreign policy in a more peaceful direction – as long as he's not replaced with another hawk, former congressman Ron Paul told RT.

Bolton has "been a monkey-wrench in Donald Trump's policies of trying to back away from some of these conflicts around the world," Paul observed on Tuesday, after news of Bolton's dismissal from the White House. Also on rt.com Bolton out: Trump ditches hawkish adviser he kept for 18 months despite 'disagreements'

"Every time I think Trump is making progress, Bolton butts in and ruins it," Paul added. Negotiations with Afghanistan and talks with North Korea and Iran have reportedly been scuttled by his aggressive tendencies, with Pyongyang declaring him a "defective human product."

Foreign leaders weren't the only ones who had a problem with Trump's notoriously belligerent advisor, either.

"A lot of people here didn't even want his appointment, because he was only able to take a position that did not require Senate approval," Paul said, suggesting that perhaps the "Deep State" pressure had forced the president to keep Bolton around long past his sell-by date.

While the uber-hawk's firing came "later than it should be," Paul hoped it would clear the way for Trump to follow through on the America First, end-the-wars promises that won him so much support in 2016. "Those of us who would like less intervention, we're very happy with it."

Also on rt.com War and whiskers: Freshly-resigned John Bolton gets meme-roasting

As for whether Bolton's departure would change the White House's policy line significantly, though, Paul was less certain. "I don't think it will change a whole lot," he said, pointing out that "we have no idea" who will replace Bolton. Trump said he would make an announcement next week.

[Sep 11, 2019] The Guardian view on John Bolton: good riddance, but the problem is his boss

Notable quotes:
"... However satisfying it may be to see him leave, whoever is picked to succeed him may not be much of an improvement. No one should cheer the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of this administration. Its boss revels in divisions and factionalism among his staff, which allows him to continue governing by his whims, kneejerk reactions and vanity. ..."
"... It is more likely that he was fired because he dented his boss's ego than because his advice was so bad: Mr Trump liked Mr Bolton's bellicose style when he saw it on Fox News, not when it clashed with his own intentions. ..."
"... The national security adviser may have been the most ferocious of the voices urging Mr Trump to turn up the pressure on Iran, but he was certainly not alone . Mr Bolton's presence in the White House was frightening. But its continued occupation by the man who hired him is much more so. ..."
"... As far as Pompeo's "moderation" goes, don't expect anything moderate. But general mailiciousness and opportunism aside, as an evangelical he'll certainly get along perfectly with Pence. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

confusedponderer , 11 September 2019 at 07:11 AM

There is an nice article about his "Being fired by Don Donald / Nope, actually I quit myself" story:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/10/the-guardian-view-on-john-bolton-good-riddance-but-the-problem-is-his-boss

The Guardian view on John Bolton: good riddance, but the problem is his boss

Many will rightly celebrate the departure of the US national security adviser. But however welcome the news, it reflects the deeper problems with this administration

...

However satisfying it may be to see him leave, whoever is picked to succeed him may not be much of an improvement. No one should cheer the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of this administration. Its boss revels in divisions and factionalism among his staff, which allows him to continue governing by his whims, kneejerk reactions and vanity.

It is neither normal nor desirable for the national security adviser to be excluded from meetings about Afghanistan – even if it is a relief, when the individual concerned is (or was) Mr Bolton. It is more likely that he was fired because he dented his boss's ego than because his advice was so bad: Mr Trump liked Mr Bolton's bellicose style when he saw it on Fox News, not when it clashed with his own intentions.

The national security adviser may have been the most ferocious of the voices urging Mr Trump to turn up the pressure on Iran, but he was certainly not alone . Mr Bolton's presence in the White House was frightening. But its continued occupation by the man who hired him is much more so.

I read that the main drivers of getting him kicked or retire himself were Mnuchin and Pompeo, both afflicted by that nasty goofy smile disease. I am always happy when I see Mnuchin's hands on the table, eliminating one explanation for the smile.

There is that reported sentence about Bolton - that there is no problem for which war was not his solution. I read about similar sentence about Pompeo - that he has an IR seeker for Donald's ass.

That written, good riddance indeed. Likely, if Bolton had his way, the US would likely be at war with North Korea and Iran.

When I studied I was at the UNFCCC for a time during Bush Jr. presidency and talked about what Bolton did at the UN with my superior, a 20 year UN veteran.

A 'malicious saboteur arsonist' is a polite summary of what he did there directly and indirectly, and with given his flirt with MEK and regime change in Iran he has likely not changed at all.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/world/middleeast/john-bolton-regime-change-iran.html

As far as Pompeo's "moderation" goes, don't expect anything moderate. But general mailiciousness and opportunism aside, as an evangelical he'll certainly get along perfectly with Pence.

[Sep 11, 2019] Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor

Sep 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

catherine , 10 September 2019 at 08:48 PM

I don't usually find much value at the Atlantic but this article (written before Trump even fired Bolton) about Trump's FP timeline (and flip flops) and Bolton who was acting like he was President is very, very good.
It will allow Trump loyalist to more easily support Trump and give everyone else a tad bit of hope that Trump really won't go bonkers and start any wars.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/trump-tries-to-fix-his-foreign-policy-without-bolton/593284/

different clue , 11 September 2019 at 01:08 AM
Since President Trump appears to talk about things and stuff with Tucker Carlson, perhaps he should ask Tucker Carlson to spend a week thinking . . . and then offer the President some names and the reasoning for offering those names.

If the President asks the same Establishment who gave him Bolton, he will just be handed another Bolton. "Establishment" include Pence, who certainly supported Bolton's outlook on things and would certainly recommend another "Bolton" figure if asked. Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor.

confusedponderer said in reply to different clue... , 11 September 2019 at 09:10 AM
different clue,
re "Let us hope Pence is not consulted on Bolton's successor."

Understandable point of view but then, Trump still is Trump. He can just by himself and beyond advice easily find suboptimal solutions of his own.

Today I read that Richard Grenell was mentioned as a potential sucessor.

As far as that goes, go for it. Many people here will be happy when he "who always only sais what the Whitehouse sais" is finally gone.

And with Trump's biggest military budget in the world he can just continue the arms sale pitches that are and were such a substantial part of his job as a US ambassador in Germany.

That said, they were that after blathering a lot about that we should increase our military budget by 2%, 4%, 6% or 10%, buy US arms, now, and of course the blathering about Northstream 1 & 2 and "slavedom to russian oil & gas" and rather buy US frack gas of course.

He could then also take a side job for the fracking industry in that context. And buy frack gas and arms company stocks. Opportunities, opportunities ...

[Sep 10, 2019] Is John Bolton's Time Up

Notable quotes:
"... But Bolton coupled the Fox and AEI sinecures with gnarlier associations -- for one, the Gatestone Institute, a, let's say Islam-hostile outfit, associated with the secretive, influential Mercer billionaires. ..."
"... Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't. ..."
"... It doesn't matter whether Bolton's "time is up" or not, because his departure wouldn't change anything. If he goes, Trump will replace him with some equally slimy neocon interventionist. ..."
"... It won't end until we muck out the White House next year. Dumping Trump is Job One. ..."
"... Oh. Yes. You want to get rid of Trump's partially neocon administration, so that you could replace it with your own, entirely neocon one. Wake me up when the DNC starts allowing people like Tulsi Gabbard to get nominated. But they won't. So your party will just repeat its merry salsa on the same set of rakes as in 2016. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

No major politician, not even Barack Obama, excoriated the Iraq war more fiercely than did Trump during the primaries. He did this in front of a scion of the house of Bush and in the deep red state of South Carolina. He nevertheless went on to win that primary, the Republican nomination and the presidency on that antiwar message.

And so, to see Bolton ascend to the commanding heights of the Trump White House shocked many from the time it was first rumored. "I shudder to think what would happen if we had a failed presidency," Scott McConnell, TAC' s founding editor, said in late 2016 at our foreign policy conference, held, opportunely, during the presidential transition. "I mean, John Bolton?"

At the time, Bolton was a candidate for secretary of state, a consideration scuttled in no small part because of the opposition of Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul. As McConnell wrote in November of that year: "Most of the upper-middle-level officials who plotted the Iraq War have retreated quietly into private life, but Bolton has kept their flame alive." Bolton had already been passed over for NSA, losing out early to the doomed Michael Flynn. Rex Tillerson beat him for secretary of state. Bolton was then passed over for the role of Tillerson's deputy. When Flynn flamed out of the White House the following February, Trump chose a general he didn't know at all, H.R. McMaster, to replace him.

Bolton had been trying to make a comeback since late 2006, after failing to hold his job as U.N. ambassador (he had only been a recess appointment). His landing spots including a Fox News contributorship and a post at the vaunted American Enterprise Institute. Even in the early days of the Trump administration, Bolton was around, and accessible. I remember seeing him multiple times in Washington's Connecticut Avenue corridor, decked out in the seersucker he notoriously favors during the summer months. Paired with the familiar mustache, the man is the Mark Twain of regime change.

But Bolton coupled the Fox and AEI sinecures with gnarlier associations -- for one, the Gatestone Institute, a, let's say Islam-hostile outfit, associated with the secretive, influential Mercer billionaires. He also struck a ferocious alliance with the Center for Security Policy, helmed by the infamous Frank Gaffney, and gave paid remarks to the National Council for the Resistance of Iran, the lynchpin organization of the People's Mujahideen of Iran, or MEK. The latter two associations have imbued the spirit of this White House, with Gaffney now one of the most underrated power players in Washington, and the MEK's "peaceful" regime change mantra all but the official line of the administration.

More than any of these gigs, Bolton benefited from two associations that greased the wheels for his joining the Trump administration.

The first was Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist. If you want to understand the administration's Iran policy under Bolton to date, look no further than a piece by the then-retired diplomat in conservative mainstay National Review in August 2017, days after Bannon's departure from the White House: "How to Get Out of the Iran Deal." Bolton wrote the piece at Bannon's urging. Even out of the administration, the former Breitbart honcho was an influential figure.

"We must explain the grave threat to the U.S. and our allies, particularly Israel," said Bolton. "The [Iran Deal's] vague and ambiguous wording; its manifest imbalance in Iran's direction; Iran's significant violations; and its continued, indeed, increasingly, unacceptable conduct at the strategic level internationally demonstrate convincingly that [the Iran deal] is not in the national-security interests of the United States."

Then Bolton, as I documented , embarked on a campaign of a media saturation to make a TV-happy president proud. By May Day the next year, he would have a job, a big one, and one that Senator Paul couldn't deny him: national security advisor. That wasn't the whole story, of course. Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy. If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object.

So will Trump finally do it? Other than White House chief of staff, a position Mick Mulvaney has filled in an acting capacity for the entire calendar year, national security advisor is the easiest, most senior role to change horses.

A bombshell Washington Post story lays out the dire truth: Bolton is so distrusted on the president's central prerogatives, for instance Afghanistan, that he's not even allowed to see sensitive plans unsupervised.

Bolton has also come into conflict with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to three senior State Department officials. Pompeo is the consummate politician. Though an inveterate hawk, the putative Trump successor does not want to be the Paul Wolfowitz of the Iran war. Bolton is a bureaucratic arsonist, agnostic on the necessity of two of the institutions he served in -- Foggy Bottom and the United Nations. Pompeo, say those around him, is keen to be beloved, or at least tolerated, by career officials in his department, in contrast with Bolton and even Tillerson.

The real danger Bolton poses is to the twin gambit Trump hopes to pull off ahead of, perhaps just ahead of, next November -- a detente deal with China to calm the markets and ending the war in Afghanistan. Over the weekend, the president announced a scuttled meeting with the Taliban at Camp David, which would have been an historic, stunning summit. Bolton was reportedly instrumental in quashing the meet. Still, there is a lot of time between now and next autumn, and the cancellation is likely the latest iteration of the president's showman diplomacy.

Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane.

Bolton seems to be following the well-worn trajectory of dumped Trump deputies. Jeff Sessions, a proto-Trump and the first senator to endorse the mogul, became attorney general and ideological incubator of the new Right's agenda only to become persona non grata in the administration. The formal execution came later. Bannon followed a less dramatic, but no less explosive ebb and flow. James Mattis walked on water until he didn't.

And Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't.

Curt Mills is senior writer


Laurelite a day ago
"Pompeo is the consummate politician."

You confuse "politician" and "liar" here, whereas he is "consummate" at neither politics nor lying. His politicking has been as botched as his diplomacy; his lying has been prodigious but transparent.

Taras77 a day ago
Bolton has been on the way out now for how many months? I will believe this welcome news when I see his sorry ___ out the door.
I think much of America and the world will feel the same way.
Bordentown a day ago
It doesn't matter whether Bolton's "time is up" or not, because his departure wouldn't change anything. If he goes, Trump will replace him with some equally slimy neocon interventionist.

It won't end until we muck out the White House next year. Dumping Trump is Job One.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) Bordentown 19 hours ago • edited
Oh. Yes. You want to get rid of Trump's partially neocon administration, so that you could replace it with your own, entirely neocon one. Wake me up when the DNC starts allowing people like Tulsi Gabbard to get nominated. But they won't. So your party will just repeat its merry salsa on the same set of rakes as in 2016.

[Sep 10, 2019] Trump Fires John Bolton After Disagreeing Strongly With His Suggestions

Trump whole administration is just a bunch of rabid neocons who will be perfectly at home (and some were) in Bush II administration. So firing of Bolton while a step in the right direction is too little, too late.
Notable quotes:
"... Whatever the reason for Bolton's departure, this means one less warmongering neocon is left in the DC swamp, and is a prudent and long overdue move by Trump, one which even Trump's liberals enemies will have no choice but to applaud. ..."
"... Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane. ..."
"... War-mongering Ziocons - 0; Peace-loving Humanity - 1 ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

While there was some feverish speculation as to what an impromptu presser at 1:30pm with US Secretary of State Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and National Security Adviser Bolton would deliver, that was quickly swept aside moments later when Trump unexpectedly announced that he had effectively fired Bolton as National Security Advisor, tweeting that he informed John Bolton "last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House" after " disagreeing strongly with many of his suggestions. "

... ... ...

Whatever the reason for Bolton's departure, this means one less warmongering neocon is left in the DC swamp, and is a prudent and long overdue move by Trump, one which even Trump's liberals enemies will have no choice but to applaud.

While we await more details on this strike by Trump against the military-industrial complex-enabling Deep State, here is a fitting closer from Curt Mills via the American Conservative:

Ending America's longest war would be a welcome rebuttal to Democrats who will, day in and day out, charge that Trump is a fraud. But to do so, he will likely need a national security advisor more in sync with the vision. Among them: Tucker Carlson favorite Douglas Macgregor, Stephen Biegun, the runner-up previously, or the hawkish, but relatively pragmatic retired General Jack Keane.

Bolton seems to be following the well-worn trajectory of dumped Trump deputies. Jeff Sessions, a proto-Trump and the first senator to endorse the mogul, became attorney general and ideological incubator of the new Right's agenda only to become persona non grata in the administration. The formal execution came later. Bannon followed a less dramatic, but no less explosive ebb and flow. James Mattis walked on water until he didn't.

And Bolton appeared the leading light of a neoconservative revival, of sorts, until he didn't.

White Nat , 9 minutes ago link

War-mongering Ziocons - 0; Peace-loving Humanity - 1

[Sep 10, 2019] Bolton mioght be consistent and sincere. But he remains a rabid warmonger, who serves Israeli interests.

Notable quotes:
"... Yeah, consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does? ..."
"... Personally, I'm not interested in trying to starve Iran into submission or attack it on behalf of Israel. And I would be interested in actually pursuing a meaningful attempt to resolve the Korea issue. Bolton is not only on the wrong side of these issues, he is in general the principal malign force pushing foreign policy insanity in this administration (as opposed to Adelson et all pushing policy insanity from outside the administration.) ..."
"... Heinrich Himmler also was consistent and sincere. By your logic, that must mean that Himmler was a credit to the Nazi regime. ..."
"... You can't serve a president well if you're constantly at odds with him. The Commander-in-Chief has to have his or her own mind about things, advisors are there to advise. If you want to do one thing but you're being counseled to do otherwise, what purpose does such a relationship serve? ..."
"... It was clearly Adelson and his ilk who got Bolton hired in the first place when Trump had initially been unimpressed. In "Fire and Fury," Steve Bannon allegedly says that Trump didn't think Bolton looked the part of NSA. And it's even more significant that Adelson and others of a similar cast--e.g., Safra Catz, the dual-national CEO of Oracle-- engineered a whispering campaign against McMaster that paved the way for what was effectively his firing. ..."
"... Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy ..."
"... Besides, it's not like Bolton was a military man, he openly acknowledges that he didn't want to go and 'die on some rice paddy' in Vietnam. But, he's willing to send other people's kids to fight and die in some pointless show of geopolitical power, If he goes, good riddance. ..."
"... Israel and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia drive Trump's Iran policy, and Pompeo is their messenger. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Steve Smith EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago • edited

"I have to think that NSA Bolton actually believes what he advocates."

There are and have been lots of people who believe what they advocate--Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Robespierre, and the Neoconservatives in general among them.

Yeah, consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does?

Personally, I'm not interested in trying to starve Iran into submission or attack it on behalf of Israel. And I would be interested in actually pursuing a meaningful attempt to resolve the Korea issue. Bolton is not only on the wrong side of these issues, he is in general the principal malign force pushing foreign policy insanity in this administration (as opposed to Adelson et all pushing policy insanity from outside the administration.)

Sorry, but Bolton's "service" sure ain't appreciated by me!

Sid Finster EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago
"He's consistent and sincere!" in that cause of evil, yes.

Heinrich Himmler also was consistent and sincere. By your logic, that must mean that Himmler was a credit to the Nazi regime.

Steve Smith Sid Finster 19 hours ago
We are obviously thinking along the same lines.
EliteCommInc. Sid Finster 8 hours ago
Hyperbole much I see. If you want to honestly assess someone, you might want to avoid that tact. To my knowledge NSA Bolton is not building concentration camps to send undesirables to an early grave.

I would be curious what you know about what his agenda is or why.

EdMan EliteCommInc. 18 hours ago
You can't serve a president well if you're constantly at odds with him. The Commander-in-Chief has to have his or her own mind about things, advisors are there to advise. If you want to do one thing but you're being counseled to do otherwise, what purpose does such a relationship serve?

Bolton was the wrong man for the job.

gdpbull 20 hours ago • edited
Nah, they (Bolton and all the neocons) are celebrating the death of another American soldier killed in a suicide attack just prior to a planned peace summit with the Taliban. The Taliban and the neocons are two sides that deserve each other, but at the cost of many innocents.

Its easy to depose any third world government with our military, but one cannot eradicate an ideology with today's humanitarian standards. So we should just leave and tell the Taliban they can even take power in Afghanistan again, but if they harbor any groups that want to attack our country, we'll be back. It only takes a month or so to depose a third world government. Then we leave again. We can do this over and over again and it'll be way cheaper than leaving troops there and many fewer casualties.

The Rocket Man gdpbull 15 hours ago
I don't think Bolton will be in there for the rest of Trump's presidency. Presidential appointments rarely ever last through the whole administration. Now I'm not when he goes cause anyone's guess is as good as mine. And will policy actually change for the better or remain the same?
Sid Finster 19 hours ago
" If only the Tsar knew how wicked his advisers are! "

We've been hearing of Bolton's imminent demise since the time Trump appointed the unindicted criminal, and to a position that isn't subject to Congressional advice and consent.

Bolton is still in office, still making policy, still stovepiping "intelligence" to Trump, still plotting away like Grima Wormtongue.

If Trump wasn't so close to Bolton, why was he in regular contact with the man before appointing him, and why does he allow Bolton to control what information Trump gets?

And if you read the latest news, it seems that the occupation of Afghanistan isn't going anywhere either. Bolton wins again, but some writers at TAC keep holding out hope for Trump.

Steve Smith 19 hours ago
"If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object."

Well, isn't that nice? Trump's decision on whether to keep or fire his national security advisor depends on the whim of the hideous, Israel-uber-alles ideologue Adelson. That sure makes me feel good. (And by the way, Curt Mills, this is called burying the lede.)

Of course it's only logical. It was clearly Adelson and his ilk who got Bolton hired in the first place when Trump had initially been unimpressed. In "Fire and Fury," Steve Bannon allegedly says that Trump didn't think Bolton looked the part of NSA. And it's even more significant that Adelson and others of a similar cast--e.g., Safra Catz, the dual-national CEO of Oracle-- engineered a whispering campaign against McMaster that paved the way for what was effectively his firing.

This piece misses what's important about the Trump administration's foreign/security policy saga and reduces it to a mere matter of personalities and petty politics. File this under the heading of discretion being the better part of valor.

Countee Cullen 18 hours ago
"Bolton's ace in the hole was Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has helped drive Trump's Israel policy. If Trump finally moves against Bolton, it will likely be because Adelson failed to strenuously object."

So -- Ilhan Omar was right??? I thought she was a vile anti-Semite echoing an ancient slur!!

Carl Jacobson 8 hours ago
If Bolton does leave, I won't be sorry to see him go. Bolton's Hawkish opinions are dangerous to the US' economic health.

Want to go into a deep Recession? Start another long-term foreign war that goes on for decades - and do it on credit, AGAIN.

Besides, it's not like Bolton was a military man, he openly acknowledges that he didn't want to go and 'die on some rice paddy' in Vietnam. But, he's willing to send other people's kids to fight and die in some pointless show of geopolitical power, If he goes, good riddance.

Into Night 6 hours ago
The photo accompanying the article sums it up. Pompeo flanked by an American flag, and both of them dwarfed by a huge projection of the flag of Israel.

Israel and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia drive Trump's Iran policy, and Pompeo is their messenger.

[Sep 10, 2019] Consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does?

Sep 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Steve Smith EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago • edited

"I have to think that NSA Bolton actually believes what he advocates."

There are and have been lots of people who believe what they advocate--Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Robespierre, and the Neoconservatives in general among them.

Yeah, consistency may be nice, but what about the actual substance of what Bolton believes and does?

... ... ...

Sid Finster EliteCommInc. 19 hours ago
"He's consistent and sincere!" in that cause of evil, yes.

Heinrich Himmler also was a. consistent. and sincere. By your logic, that must mean that Himmler was a credit to the Nazi regime.

[Sep 10, 2019] With Iran the USA repeating mistakes it made with North Koria

Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Harry Law , Sep 9 2019 23:21 utc | 15

G W Bush was responsible for North Korea developing nuclear weapons, the North Koreans did a deal whereby the US would supply several light water reactors and 500,000 tons of oil per year in exchange for NK not pursuing its nuclear program, the US accused the Koreans of cheating [with no proof] and cancelled the agreement, thinking that sanctions and military pressure would force Korea to capitulate. North Korea then decided to go nuclear. That same US mistake is happening again with Iran, US hubris is on full display,but this time Iran has the 'arc of resistance. on its side plus Russia and China. Trump will not go back to the JCPOA it is not in his nature, the only thing we can hope for is a Trump defeat at the next election, and hope an adult wins.

SteveK9 , Sep 9 2019 23:47 utc | 16

Harry Law #15. Harry, have you seen the people running for the Democratic nomination? Hope is not a word I would use. Gabbard at least wants peace, but she will not be allowed to win the nomination (she is too young in any case). And if by some miracle she were to be nominated and win, she would not be allowed to carry out her own goals for peace. She would be defeated or failing that, killed. As would anyone who really went up against the most powerful political party in America, the War Party.

[Sep 09, 2019] Are Iran sanctions effective?

Sep 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

... ... ...

PATRICK COCKBURN: I'm a bit doubtful about it. They have done a certain amount, this offer of a $15 billion credit line, to make up for the loss of Iranian oil revenue It was a French idea originally, but they are asking Iran to step right back into the old nuclear deal, but the Iranians are not likely to do that while they're subject to US sanctions. US sanctions and the sanctioning of European companies or banks that deal with Iran, basically means that Iran is facing an economic siege.

So these are maneuvers. The Iranians want to show they're being kind of moderate. They want to preserve this deal as they do. At the same time, they don't want to look as though they're pushovers, that sanctions are squeezing them to death, and they've got no alternative but to give up. This would be to surrender to what Trump calls the policy of maximum pressure. I think we're a long way from any real agreement on this. It's still escalating. GREG WILPERT: Iran also just recently announced that it is releasing seven of the 23 crew members it is holding of a Swedish-owned, but British-registered tanker that Iran had seized last July. Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized that tanker in retaliation for the British seizing an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar in early July, but the Iranian tanker has now been released. Now, how do you see the situation of these tankers evolving? Could such seizures of oil tankers eventually lead to an escalation and to even war?

PATRICK COCKBURN: Yes, they could. This is sort of a game of chicken. As you said, it started off on the 4th of July when the British rather melodramatically dropped 30 Royal Marine commandos on the deck of this vessel saying, "It was heading for Syria. This had nothing to do with sanctions on Iran, but was a breach of sanctions on Syria imposed by the EU." This never sounded right because it's a peculiar moment for Britain to suddenly put such energy into enforcing EU sanctions, when we all know that Britain is trying to leave the EU at the moment. There's a great political crisis here in Britain about this. This looked as though it was on the initiative of Washington. Then, as was inevitable, the Iranians retaliated against British-flagged vessels in the Gulf. There was an escalation that seems to have died down at the moment.

As I see it, the Iranian policy is to maintain pressure by sort of pinprick attacks. There were some small mines placed on oil tankers of the United Arab Emirates. Then when we had the shooting down of the American drone, a whole series of events to show that they're not frightened, that they can retaliate, but not bring it up to the level of war. That's sort of the way the Iranians often react to this sort of thing, with some covert military measures and to create an atmosphere of crisis, but not bring a war about.

Of course, once you start doing this, it could slip over the edge of the cliff at any moment. The Iranians did a sort of mirror image of the British takeover of their tanker when they took over the British tanker crew, which are just being released, as you mentioned. They dropped 30 commandos on the deck. There was a British Naval vessel not so far away, not far enough to stop this, but let's say that Naval vessel had been closer. Would they have opened fire on a helicopter dropping these 30 Iranian commandos on the boat? That would have brought us – would have been a war, and could have very rapidly escalated. We're always on, as I said, the edge of the cliff in the Gulf with each side sort of daring the other to go further.

PATRICK COCKBURN: Well, it's falling apart by inches, but there's still quite a long way to go on that. I think the one thing that has emerged is that the US, Trump and Iran, don't want war. At one time, the US was calling on – some of its senior officials were calling for a regime change. How far do they really believe this? When Trump decided not to retaliate for the drone being shot down, that shows that he wants to rely on sanctions on this sort of very intense economic siege of Iran, but I don't think the Iranians are going to come running. Once they know there isn't going to be an all-out war, they'll try to sustain these sanctions, and the situation isn't quite as desperate as it looks. Obviously, they're suffering a lot. On the other hand, they're not isolated. China and Russia give them a measure of support.

The EU, rather pathetically, says it's trying to maintain the nuclear deal of 2015, but it's rather underlining the political and military weakness of the EU that they haven't been able to do much about it. Big companies are too frightened of US sanctions against them if they have any relations with Iran. So the Europeans aren't coming well out of it. Obviously, their relations with Trump are pretty frosty. They also probably don't think it's worth a really big crisis between the EU, the European states, and America on this issue, but they are looking pretty feeble at the moment.


Tom Pfotzer , September 8, 2019 at 8:28 am

There's one thing that continues to puzzle me about the sanctions.

My understanding of these sanctions is that they are designed to prevent the Iranians from importing certain goods from Western countries, and prevent export of and payments for Iranian goods to Western countries.

Why are these sanctions effective?

Iran has demonstrated that they can manufacture. They have open trading relations with Russian and China, which gives them access to materials and manufactures they might not be able to source within Iran.

They can trade oil for goods, and that oil can readily be absorbed by China or re-packaged and sold by Russia if it chose to. Both Russia and China are highly motivated to bypass the SWIFT payments system.

Both Russia and China have a roughly analagous situation re: trade with the West, and they have been coping with it for over a decade in the case of Russia, somewhat less for China.

Why isn't Iran re-directing external purchasing toward domestic sources, and using that pressure as a means to build their internal economic capacity?

What am I missing?

ambrit , September 8, 2019 at 10:29 am

My two cents worth.
Alas, this is now a sort of, kind of, globalized economic system. Even prior to the 'Neo-Liberal Dispensation,' the world had international trade in raw materials and some manufactured goods. As a side effect of this, internal national development of all sorts of materials and merchandise languished. Why build an expensive factory or mine to get something when you could buy it cheaper overseas? Where your idea has merit is in 'national security' goods production. The things that make a country 'safe' should be sourced, if at all possible, at home, where supply can be protected and controlled.

The second point I'd like to stress is how that oil is paid for and delivered. If I read aright, most Persian oil is shipped to the end user. Thus, control of the seaways and vessles plying same is crucial. That's why these somewhat symbolic oil tanker 'grabs' are important. This demonstrates to the world at large one's ability to control the trans-shipment of oil, from anywhere, to anywhere. The seizure of the oil transit ships was a message to the entire oil using world: "We can shut down your economy whenever we want." As Lambert sometimes quotes from Frank Herbert: "The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it."

The replacement of the SWIFT system would free the world from American economic thuggery. When oil is finally priced, in significant amounts anyway, in something other than American dollars, then will the world economy begin to regain equitability.

Tom Pfotzer , September 8, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Of course if the option of trade is available, it's in everyone's interest to trade, under the "caparative advantage" principle which underlies the dogma of free trade.

However, there isn't free trade for Iran, China, Russia, N. Korea, etc. So, they have to improvise. Some countries, like China, are re-directing trade inwards. If Google won't license the Android OS to Huawei, for example, Huawei makes their own smart phone OS.

So the question becomes "why hasn't Iran instituted a crash program to build Iran-based companies to enable Iran to substitute Iran-manufactured/sourced products for ones formerly obtained abroad?

Russia and China have both done this very successfully, and there are many economic as well as "security" reasons to do it.

With respect to the "selling oil to end-users .vs. to brokers" the end-user would probably prefer to buy direct from the source, to cut out the middle-man's fee. I don't see how that presents an obstacle to buying Iran's oil.

Lastly, if it's a question of whether or not the oil can be delivered, the rest of the world won't side with the U.S. if we seize cargoes on the high seas. That's what the fiasco with the Grace 1 demonstrated. Furthermore, the sales contract could simply specify that the goods are to be picked up dockside @ Iran, transferring the transport risk to the buyer (e.g. China, for ex). Nobody is going to hijack a Chinese oil freighter.

Please rebut / add your 2c.

Lastly

ambrit , September 8, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Another farthings worth of comment.
For the last point, I see two possibilities. First, the Neocons in Washington may not care what the rest of the world thinks, under the (fallacious) assumption that America IS the world. Second, the 'disruptions' of oil sea transport can be carried out by "arms length" third parties, viz. the recent spate of tanker 'minings' in the Persian Gulf being 'sourced' to dissident elements within the Arab world. So, some "Somali Pirates" would be the obvious choice for 'hijackings' of Chinese flagged tankers, or "Yemeni Pirates," or "Baluch Pirates," etc. etc.
In reference to other points you raise, there is a lag time in the implementation of industrial policy. During WW2, America already had heavy industry available for war production. The lag time was determined by the length of time needed for retooling of those extant factories. When there is no extant heavy industry plant available, the lag time becomes much longer. Having worked in commercial construction during my life, I attest that planning, preparing for, and building industrial capacity, takes years. Iran could well be in the middle of an industrial building phase right now. Add to the usual worries attendant to industrial construction the worry of some outside hostile actor coming over and bombing your shiny new factory back to rubble and you have added a new layer of complexity to the endeavour. Air defense for industrial base has not usually been part of an average country's economic planning regime.
One reason I can think of as to why Russia and China have embarked on an "internalization" program way in advance of, say, Iran's is that the two former State Socialist countries have weathered nearly a centuries worth of hostility, both rhetorical and military, emanating from the West. Their latest 'internalization' programs could be the result of several generations worth of institutional memory residing within the nomenklaturas of the two states.
Iran, on the other hand, has had an up and down relationship with the West.
At one time, a client state of the West, at another, in a fiercely nationalistic confrontation with the West, in both regimes, a trading partner with the West as far as oil goes.
The promise of present day Iran for the world in general is that it is finally trying to forge an independent self-identity. Someone in power in the West must realize that, if Iran slips the leash of the West, then other countries will follow. Nothing less than Western Hegemony is at stake.

drumlin woodchuckles , September 8, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Or if oil is progressively transcended and deleted from more and more of the world's energy portfolio.
That would give those who "don't need oil anymore" some new post-petro freedom of action.

ambrit , September 8, 2019 at 5:57 pm

One area where oil will be needed for the foreseeable future is in the lubrication of moving parts. I have yet to see a true "Buckey Ball" lubricant on the market.

Odysseus , September 8, 2019 at 11:17 pm

+1

jefemt , September 8, 2019 at 9:14 am

Good question. No answers here, but another observation and question:

While I don't endorse it, what about the legitimacy of Nation-states to pursue their best interest, and the implied hubris/ arrogance that counters with actions and policy precluding that autonomy? The Great Game ™?

Cuba blockades. They have done pretty well, despite nearly 70 years of very harsh blockade. Look how much the US has punished the least amongst the Cuban human beings, some for their entire life

Venezuela?

North Korea and Iran aspire to have the ultimate WMD. Why does the US get to have the say? My measuring stick senses that the US hardly holds the moral high ground.

Then, the counter-point that we have never tried in the recent history of man–global cooperation and no more war. The image of our earth floating in space, the big blue marble, akin to a Star Trek enterprise ship, with all of the war-ing beyond-memory enemies all on board. Give every deck and wing some nukes. Avail them with the information on how to conserve and create renewable energy, to grow and put food by, to access clean drinking water, modest but efficient shelter, and access to books, education, and the arts. Awareness of ecology, full life cycle of plants, animals, and man-made products. The experiment that we must ever allow. Sharing.

The whole thing makes my head spin.

synoia , September 8, 2019 at 11:20 am

Iran must import, and to pay fpr imports must export oil.

The US prevents trade by sanctioning any bank who finances trade with Iran in dolllars.

Oregoncharles , September 8, 2019 at 2:13 pm

The big question in my mind is, why does the rest of the world allow that sort of bullying, or more to the point, allow themselves to be vulnerable to it? Somebody's been careless. We now see both Russia and China taking steps to be more autarkic, and even the EU waking up to the danger. It may be they just haven't had time to develop new institutions.

Haydar Khan , September 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm

They are working on it.

https://www.juancole.com/2019/09/defies-investment-troops.html

drumlin woodchuckles , September 8, 2019 at 5:47 pm

The rest-of-the-world could straight-up GIVE Iran the survival-critical things that Iran would otherwise have to import. The rest of the world could do that in return for Iran staying in the agreement till the next American election. This would give everyone time to see if America would elect a pro-deal-ante Democrat to the Presidency.

( This would require the rest of the world to actually be willing to give Iran that kind of c"cold-war-support" aid till the American election. It would also require the IranGov to be willing to stay in the agreement until the American election results shake out. It would need a lot of people to be willing to take a lot of slow long-term chances. Would everyone involved be willing to do that in a harmonized way?)

drumlin woodchuckles , September 8, 2019 at 5:42 pm

The EU LeaderLords have no bravery and no taste for conflict with the TrumpAdmin. Not only will they not lift a fear-quivering finger to save the accords, they will not even buy and donate to Iran the goods and services Iran would need to survive until the next American election.

It is too bad that Rouhani ( and his boss the Supreme Leader Khamenei) cannot have a remote long-distance Vulcan mind-meld with the DemParty nominee-wannabes in this country. Because if they could have such a remote long-distance Vulcan mind-meld, here is what they might well decide. Every DemParty nominee-wannabe would PROMise ( and MEAN IT) to take America right back into the JCPOA if elected, and to rescind every re-sanction that the TrumpAdmin imposed. And Rouhani ( at Supreme Leaders's direction) would agree to keep Iran "in" the JCPOA till the winner of the American Presidential election were announced. Maybe such a remote mind-meld agreement openly and overtly stated might raise the chances of a DemParty victory and lower the chances of an Iran-America war.

[Sep 07, 2019] US Sanctions Are Designed to Kill

Sep 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 05, 2019 at 05:34 PM

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/us-sanctions-are-designed-to-kill

September 1, 2019

US Sanctions Are Designed to Kill
By Kevin Cashman and Cavan Kharrazian

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently visited the Group of Seven (G7) at the invitation of French president Emmanuel Macron, in what was seen as an overture to the Trump administration to negotiate over sanctions that have plagued the Iranian economy. Back in 2018, after months of increasingly hostile rhetoric, the US government withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or "Iran Deal," and imposed a "maximum pressure" campaign that included unilateral, economy-wide sanctions. The Iran Deal was an agreement that provided Iran relief from existing sanctions in exchange for limits on its enrichment of uranium, among other concessions. These sanctions hampered trade between the European Union, whose leaders have sought to salvage the Iran Deal.

When President Trump reimposed sanctions in November 2018, it cut off Iran's oil exports and access to the international financial system. At the time, he announced that Iran could comply with new US demands or face "economic isolation." Additional US sanctions issued since then have specifically targeted a thousand individuals and entities with the goal of reducing Iran's oil revenues to "zero." More recently, Trump said that although "[Iran's] economy is crashing...it's very easy to straighten [it] out or it's very easy for us to make it a lot worse."

And so, according to Trump himself, the United States has the power to solve -- or exacerbate -- Iran's current economic problems. What is left unsaid, including by much of the media, is that sanctions that "crash" the economy are an attack on the country's civilian population and create widespread human misery. Indeed, they appear to be contributing to widespread shortages of medicine and medical equipment, particularly affecting cancer patients. In Venezuela, which is under a similar US sanctions regime, there have been similar effects, with more than 40,000 people estimated to have died from 2017 to 2018 due to the "collective punishment" inflicted on them.

Yet other statements from US administration officials often contend that sanctions have negligible economic or social effects on the general population of Iran. For example, the US State Department's special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, recently denied that US sanctions on Iran affect the availability of medicine and agricultural products. In this argument, Hook divorces the connection between the economic damage caused by sanctions in Iran and the lack of basic necessities like medicine and food, preferring to instead lay blame on the Iranian government, not what the Trump administration calls "targeted" sanctions.

Are the sanctions causing Iran's economic problems, or simply a way to punish individual actors? Answering this question requires an examination of the impact sanctions have on Iran's economy and the mechanisms by which sanctions work -- two important areas of inquiry that seldom receive attention in the US press.

Sanctions are severely impacting Iran's oil production

Looking at Iran's oil sector, which has been directly targeted by the sanctions regime, is a good way to get a sense of how the sanctions have affected the country's economy, which remains dependent on the production and export of oil, according to a number of indicators. For example, around 70 percent of Iran's merchandise exports consists of fuel. Although this dependence on oil production has decreased over the last decade, in large part due to government efforts to diversify the economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in March 2018 (before the announcement of the resumption of US sanctions) that oil revenues accounted for nearly 40 percent of government revenues in fiscal year 2016–17, and projected a similar number for fiscal year 2017–18 (assuming, then, that there would be no new sanctions). Clearly, a large reduction in Iran's oil production would pose significant challenges to its ability to provide services to its people, as well as maintain essential imports including some foreign-produced medicines and other healthcare and life-saving goods.

Unsurprisingly, Iran's oil production moves very much in tandem with the enactment and repeal of broad sanctions over time (see the figure below). US sanctions in 2010 affected investment in Iran's oil infrastructure and prohibited some international transactions. Then, in early 2012, the United States and the European Union banned oil imports from Iran and froze its central bank assets. Shortly thereafter, oil production plummeted and reached its nadir in late 2012. After the Iran Deal was enacted in early 2016 and US and EU sanctions were repealed, Iran's oil production rapidly recovered to 2007 levels. This level of production was maintained until the announcement by the Trump administration in May 2018 that the United States was withdrawing from the Iran Deal. Since May 2018, Iran's oil production has fallen precipitously; it is down by over 40 percent over the last year. Waivers the United States issued to purchasers of Iranian oil have expired over the last few months, eliminating one of the remaining factors that put upward pressure on production.

[Graph]

To get a sense of the size of these impacts, it's useful to compare what they would look like in the US economy. If applied to the United States, they would be comparable to a budget reduction of $521 billion or 16 percent in 2018. However, this would also represent about 85 percent of nonmilitary discretionary spending. While the United States would be able to borrow or create money to fill this deficit, Iran has much less capacity to do either without triggering more economic difficulties.

Broader economic impacts are also visible. The IMF lowered growth projections for Iran due to the "crippling effect of tighter US sanctions" in its July update. Based on this projection, it is estimated that the economy will contract by 9.3 percent in 2019. This is a downward revision from a previous projection in April of a decline of 6.0 percent. (Before the sanctions, the economy was projected to grow by 4.0 percent.) Other indicators also worsened after the reimposition of sanctions: the unemployment rate is estimated to be 25 percent; inflation has risen to 80 percent; and the currency has lost over half its value.

Sanctions are exacerbating social problems

The main mechanism by which oil production has fallen is the same mechanism that prevents Iran from importing food and medicine: Iran cannot find buyers for its oil on the open market, just like it cannot buy food or medicine on the open market. In effect, it is cut off from the US-dominated international financial system.

Uniquely, the United States exerts broad control over international banking transactions. One way is via the SWIFT and CHIPS systems, which handle the vast majority of those transactions. The SWIFT system, which provides a common communication system for banks, is controlled by US banks, which own the majority of the system and have officials on its board. On top of that, despite not being located in the United States, SWIFT makes all of the system's data available to the US government, even if those transactions do not involve the United States. The CHIPS system, which provides communication as well as settlement functions, is governed by US law, has many US banks as owners, and is directly overseen by US authorities. These systems rely on a network of correspondent banks -- which link banks that might not have relationships with one another -- to complete transactions. The apex of the correspondent system is the New York Federal Reserve Bank, under the control of US banking authorities, which also serves as a lender of last resort to other central banks.

A system designed in this way ensures that banks with no relationship with each other still can transact in a common currency (dollars) via a common bank (the New York Fed) in an agreed-upon framework (SWIFT and CHIPS). However, it also means that the United States has disproportionate power over transactions. Formally, the United States government, via the Office of Foreign Assets Control, can prohibit transactions involving Iran to pass through systems and banks in which it has jurisdiction. More informally, the US government can pressure SWIFT, other central banks, correspondent banks, and even specific firms to adopt policies of refusing to do business with Iran. Since these players fear retribution from US authorities (e.g., being sanctioned themselves), they are usually unwilling to take the risk of doing business with Iran unless they have no other business that might involve the United States or financial entities that can be pressured by the United States.

Because the international banking system is designed in this way, US sanctions on the Iranian economy effectively mean that not only can Iran not easily sell oil on the open market, it cannot easily buy food or medicine either, even if the latter are nominally exempt, as Hook says. This is because sanctioned Iranian banks and officials are ultimately involved in these transactions in the same way that they are with oil, often by virtue of the position they hold in the Iranian banking system. It is telling that hours after an October 2018 ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering the United States to "remove any impediments" that affect the importation of medicine, food, and civil aviation products (including impediments to payments and other transfers of funds related to these products), the US withdrew from the treaty that formed the basis of the ruling, instead of complying with it. Unsurprisingly, efforts at importing food and medicine via the technical exemptions that do exist often fail. It appears that the technical exemptions are used more to deflect criticism of sanctions overall than to actually permit the importation of food and medicine.

But on top of these issues, even if food and medicine were, in reality, exempt from the sanctions regime, the "crippling effect" on Iran's economy would impact the Iranians' financial ability to acquire food and medicine anyway. Iran would have fewer resources to devote to domestic food and medicine production, and many fewer resources to import the same products.

Adapting to US sanctions

It is surprisingly difficult to bypass this financial system because it is so entrenched, although it is not impossible. For example, countries might set up a bilateral or multilateral system to carry out transactions in their own currencies and settle accounts in a currency other than the dollar. Iran could negotiate bilateral trades with India: in exchange for oil, Iran would accept rupees, and then use those rupees to purchase Indian products. The downsides are that mechanisms would be needed to support these transactions (i.e., establishing parallel payment and banking functions). In addition, Iran would need to find a use for the rupees it received in exchange for oil, usually by buying Indian goods (this is because it would be difficult to exchange rupees for other currencies on the open market due to the sanctions).

One promising new multilateral mechanism, dubbed INSTEX, would allow trade between EU countries and Iran without relying on direct transfer of funds or the use of the US-dominated financial system. While in its beginning stage it will only deal with humanitarian trade, INSTEX's model could potentially create a new path to buy Iranian oil. It is telling, however, that EU countries set up an entirely different financial mechanism to use for humanitarian trade, rather than risk drawing the ire of the United States by using established channels.

Yet these alternative mechanisms are not immune from US influence either. In recent cases where countries have announced intentions to develop alternative trade arrangements, the United States has applied political pressure to nip them in the bud. This involves overt economic threats as well as rhetoric urging countries like India to refrain from using a "narrow bilateral lens" in economic trade.

In the meantime, Iran is able to sell some oil to countries such as China, Russia, and India; either to pay back debt or because some banks in these countries do not have a significant business that can be impacted by US retaliation. It also has had some success in covertly transferring oil to buyers, but this does not always escape US control. Similarly, Iran is able to maintain imports of some items, like bananas, outside of the established financial system primarily due to the experience and ingenuity of importers, although usually at lower volumes.

It should be clear that the US is uniquely positioned to choke off imports and exports from a targeted country using sanctions, with deep, negative consequences for that country's economy as well as severe constraints on its government's ability to address economic problems.

In Iran's case, US sanctions mean that production of oil -- a vital export -- is in free fall, unemployment is on the rise, and record inflation due to scarce imports has made it harder for everyday Iranians to buy basic goods and access life-saving medicine. Recent reports have detailed harrowing stories of hospitals running out of crucial cancer medicines and patients struggling to afford or even find their prescriptions. As in Venezuela and other targeted countries, US sanctions undoubtedly have a human toll associated with them, which will only grow as time goes on. This human impact is one of the main reasons that experts in international law argue unilateral sanctions are illegal under the United Nations Charter and international human rights law.

While Iran has been exploring alternative ways of exporting and importing goods, it's unclear what more it could do absent relief from sanctions. Even so, US officials will typically place responsibility for the social and economic problems resulting from the sanctions on the Iranian government, as Hook does. But Trump's comments are more revealing. Sanctions only work because they cause suffering in the first place. In effect, the United States is risking -- and sometimes ending -- the lives of thousands of Iranians with the hope that the Iranian government acquiesces to its demands or is replaced by a more compliant government. That the United States could carry out such a strategy in the first place should raise serious questions among concerned US citizens and within the international community, especially among those who respect international law.

[Sep 04, 2019] Israel's Many Wars by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Pat Buchanan continues to be one of the few publicly visible political analysts currently active who dares to tell it like it is when it comes to Israel's power in America. His article last week "Will Israel's War Become America's War" as always gets to the heart of the problem, i.e. that the completely contrived "special relationship" with Israel could easily lead the United States into another totally unnecessary war or even a series of wars in the Middle East.

Pat starts with "President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a war. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu." He observes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing re-election on September 17 th , and though most polls indicate that he will win, the opposition to him is strong based on his personal corruption and his pandering to the country's most extreme right-wing parties. So Bibi is concerned that he might lose and even go to jail and there is nothing like a little war to make a leader look strong and righteous, so he is lashing out at all his neighbors in hopes that one or more of them will be drawn into what would be for Israel, given its massive military superiority, a manageable confrontation.

Buchanan sums up Netanyahu's recent escalation, writing that on "Saturday, Israel launched a night attack on a village south of Damascus to abort what Israel claims was a plot by Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed outside the media offices of Hezbollah in Beirut. Israel then attacked a base camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in north Lebanon. Monday, Israel admitted to a strike on Iranian-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. And Israel does not deny responsibility for last month's attacks on munitions dumps and bases of pro-Iran militias [also] in Iraq. Israel has also confirmed that, during Syria's civil war, it conducted hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian militias and ammunition depots to prevent the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon."

So, Israel has staged literally hundreds of attacks against targets in Lebanon, Syria and now Iraq while it is also at the same time shooting scores of unarmed demonstrators inside Gaza every Friday. Netanyahu has also threatened both perennial foe Iran and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. As the Jewish state is not at war with any of those countries it is engaging in war crimes. Both Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force are vowing revenge.

Pat Buchanan goes on to make the case that Netanyahu is willy-nilly pulling the United States into a situation from which there is no exit. Indeed, one might well conclude that the trap has already been sprung as the Trump Administration is reflexively blaming Israel's actions on Iran. The Jewish state's escalation produced a telephone call to Bibi by American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promising that the United States would unconditionally support Israel. Vice President Mike Pence also joined in , boasting of a "great conversation" with Netanyahu and tweeting that "The United State fully supports Israel's right to defend itself from imminent threats. Under President @realDonaldTrump, America will always stand with Israel!"

So, if a war in the Middle East does begin one can count on a number of developments in Washington, all of which favor Netanyahu. As Pompeo and Pence have made clear, the Trump Administration already accepts that whatever Israel does is fully justified and there are even reports that the White House will endorse Israeli annexation of all the illegal settlements on the West Bank at some point either before or immediately after the upcoming Knesset election to help Bibi. And don't look for any dissent from even the most extreme views developing inside the White House or the State Department. The president has completely surrendered to the Israel Lobby while National Security Adviser John Bolton, Pence and Pompeo are all outspoken supporters of war with Iran. And nearly all the important government posts dealing with the Middle East are staffed by Jewish Zionists, to include the president's son-in-law and two Donald Trump lawyers. The most recent addition to that sorry line-up is Peter Berkowitz, who has been appointed head of the Policy Planning Staff at State. Berkowitz studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is co-founder and director of the "Israel Program on Constitutional Government."

And Congress would also be singing the "amen" chorus in support of U.S. intervention to help the country it has ridiculously but nevertheless repeatedly described as America's "best friend and closest ally." The occupied mainstream media would echo that line, as would the millions of Christian Zionists and every one of the more than 600 American Jewish organizations that in one way, shape or form support Israel.

Buchanan warns that the U.S. could find itself in real trouble, particularly given the attacks on Iraq, where Washington still has 5,000 troops, hugely outnumbered by the local pro-Iranian militias. And American aircraft carriers could find themselves vulnerable if they dare to enter the Straits of Hormuz or Persian Gulf, where they would be in range of the Iranian batteries of anti-ship missiles. He concludes that a war for Israel that goes badly could cost Trump the election in 2020, asking " have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?"

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .


Bragadocious , says: September 3, 2019 at 1:33 am GMT

The president has completely surrendered to the Israel Lobby while National Security Adviser John Bolton

To be fair, Trump never promised to curb Israeli aggression during his campaign. He promised to back them and that's what he's doing. So this suggestion that "he's letting us all down" is just silly. Now, on other stuff, yeah, you can make a case. And let's be real, if Jeb Bush or Bernie Sanders or Hillary were in office they'd be backing "our ally in the Middle East" too.
Lot , says: September 3, 2019 at 2:00 am GMT
Iran is involved in four different civil wars: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Yet Jihadi Phil wants to blame Israel for mideast instability!
anon [328] Disclaimer , says: September 3, 2019 at 2:47 am GMT
@Lot Iran was invited by Syrian legit gov. Lebanon was prevented from total rout by Hezbollah from the actions of the evil Zionist .Hezbollah sought and received help to confront evil Zionist. Who ever asked the Jews to show up in ME anywhere in the ME? Who? Yemen is a war that ahs been fought by Houthis . Houthis has been there for centuries They are fighting a war instigated by Israeli vassal Saudi . Iraq has been turned into dust by Jew run USA attack It is slowly coming to life.

Now don't read the script from the middle Start from the beginning . Start from the beginning ad be ready for the end . End will not be written by devious Jewish country .

renfro , says: September 3, 2019 at 3:34 am GMT
Firing Giraldi was the American Conserative's lose.

Consider this article:

Two Cheers for Israel
They're having children and defending their culture without apology. The West could learn a thing or two.

By Scott McConnell
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/two-cheers-for-israel/

"'But there is an even more important reason to give two cheers for Israel and to think of it, despite its excesses, as exemplary: Israel is nationalist."'

Maybe McConnell is paid to praise Israel or maybe he just your typical simple minded tunnel vision conservative. I gotta say my kind of conservative values, or maybe they should be called traditional values will likely stay the same but what wont stay the same is my voting for any of these conservative stupids.
I'm a registered Independent voter independent because I believed Americans should be independent of 'political parties' and not follow them like sheep, but vote for the closest thing they can get to a candidate of good character, some brains and a sense of fairness for the people. I voted for the actual America first GOP presidents, the elder Bush I and Nixon, otoh I also voted for the Dem America first presidents Kennedy and Carter.

Independent voters like myself make up 37% of registered voters in the US .that makes both the dems and repubs 'minority parties' ..neither of them can win without us.
Independent voters got to be independent because they paid more attention to the big picture and issues in politics overall than the followers of the parties .most of them are more 'traditional', including objecting to US entanglement with foreign nations. .the exact opposite of current GOP conservatism.
So it is absolute nitwittery to try and attract traditional voters by championing Israel as a model for US nationalism. Israel gives nationalism a bad name. It is asking us to step in a pile of steaming cow shit to pattern the US after Israel.

Kirt , says: September 3, 2019 at 4:50 am GMT
A lot of these Israeli provocations are, as noted, Netanyahu electioneering. Hence, they are likely to stop or be diminished (the Gaza border massacres excepted) if Bibi either wins the election and can form a new government or loses and is driven from power with the opposition forming a new government. Worst case scenario is a continuation of the present situation with Bibi unable to form a government and having to fight yet another election. This would result in still further Israeli escalation until finally Iran or Hezbollah retaliates and the US is dragged in. Or he might just formally annex the West Bank and drive out the Palestinians to the applause of Trump and his supporters.

There are other dangers as well, especially the collapse of Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a result of their defeat in Yemen. The US is sending 5,000 troops to SA just in time to defend the House of Saud from a possible overthrow or to fight on behalf of one part of that sociopathic family against another part.

Sean , says: September 3, 2019 at 5:43 am GMT

"President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a war. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu." He observes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing re-election on September 17th, and though most polls indicate that he will win, the opposition to him is strong based on his personal corruption and his pandering to the country's most extreme right-wing parties. So Bibi is concerned that he might lose and even go to jail and there is nothing like a little war to make a leader look strong and righteous, so he is lashing out at all his neighbors in hopes that one or more of them will be drawn into what would be for Israel, given its massive military superiority, a manageable confrontation.

It's a good analysis, but a little different to the subjugation of US interests to Israeli ones that is normally talked about inasmuch Netanyahu personal advantage is the key factor. I don't think many people in Israel would approve of Netanyahu doing something so obvious as getting Israel into an inconclusive war just before an election. Especially as the war is one that might bring the US in but would be unlikely to motive the US to destroy the Iranian regime, wiche had time to make their facilities (nuclear) too duplicated and dispersed for airstrikes to work.

The Palestinians are the ones Israelis are happy to get tough with, even the supposedly leftist Ehud Barak has said the Palestinians of Gaza must be deterred more. Talk of war with Iran is just that, it really is, unless they do something stupid.

For Israel, getting the US to totally crush Iran would be great, but that will require America to be provoked by Iran, which is something they are loath to do. Iran is not going to fight a war they cannot possibly hope to win if they can help it, and they have said there will not be one. I don't think Bolton is any influence on Trump, and Pompeo is a never-Trumper turned Trump boot licker rather that a force in the administration in his own right.

He concludes that a war for Israel that goes badly could cost Trump the election in 2020, asking " have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?"

Trump never loses sight of his own self interest. A war before the Israeli election is not going to help Trump win reelection, and he did say recently he was open to talks with Iran, which left a distraught Netanyahu unsuccessfully trying to get through to Trump and gave Ehud Barack one of his few opportunities to criticise the utility for Israel of Netanyahu's relationship with Trump.

Sean O'Farrell , says: September 3, 2019 at 6:01 am GMT
@Biff The U.S. military should more aptly be called the Israeli Foreign Legion.

[Sep 02, 2019] CounterPunch

Notable quotes:
"... As for the Israelis, they don't want the man who thinks he might be "King of Israel" talking to the Hitlerite Persians. They suddenly sprayed Iran's local Middle East proxies with drone-fired rockets – in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – just in case the wretched, financially broken and inflation-doomed Iranians were tempted to chat to the crackpot in the White House. But the Israelis wasted their ammunition. Rouhani is not mad. America has to drop its sanctions against Iran if Trump wants to talk, he said. ..."
"... And when Rouhani made it clear that he was not interested in "photo-ops" – an obvious allusion to the pictures of Trump and Little Rocket Man – what did the po-faced Washington Post ..."
"... Indeed, had Ahmadinejad's further political ambitions not been firmly crushed by his country's "supreme leader", Ayatollah Khamenei, we might just have witnessed a meeting between two of the world's leading political nutcases. Ahmadinejad, it may be recalled, was the Iranian who claimed that a holy cloud was suspended over his head for 20 minutes when he addressed the United Nations in New York. Now that is a phenomenon which Trump may also have experienced – although at least he had the good sense not to tell us of it. ..."
"... In the first eight months after Rouhani became president in 2013, the Iranian state hanged at least 537 people. In January of 2014, he had, according to a report in the Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat ..."
"... When the shah of Iran wanted to acquire nuclear technology in 1974, according to documents in the US National Security Archive, he said that Iran had an "inalienable right" to the nuclear cycle and that it would not accept obligations "dictated by the nuclear-have nations". ..."
"... In theory, what Macron is trying to do, if Le Monde ..."
"... But what Macron is really doing – which is what almost every EU leader is doing – is trying to preserve the peace of the Middle East long enough for the Americans to elect a serious, intelligent, boring and moderately honest political leader to replace the mentally unbalanced and very dangerous current holder of the highest office in the US. ..."
"... Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared. ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

September 2, 2019 The Crazed, Rogue Leader is in Washington Not Tehran by Robert Fisk

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

History in the Middle East is unkind to us westerners. Just when we thought we were the good guys and the Iranians were the bad guys, here comes the ghostly, hopeless possibility of a Trump-Rouhani summit to remind us that the apparent lunatic is the US president and the rational, sane leader who is supposed to talk to him is the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran . All these shenanigans are fantasy, of course – like the "imminent" war between America and Iran – of which more later.

As for the Israelis, they don't want the man who thinks he might be "King of Israel" talking to the Hitlerite Persians. They suddenly sprayed Iran's local Middle East proxies with drone-fired rockets – in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – just in case the wretched, financially broken and inflation-doomed Iranians were tempted to chat to the crackpot in the White House. But the Israelis wasted their ammunition. Rouhani is not mad. America has to drop its sanctions against Iran if Trump wants to talk, he said.

It still amazes me that we have to take all this stuff at face value. No sooner had Trump waffled on about Rouhani being "the great negotiator" than we saw all the White House correspondents dutifully taking this nonsense down in their notebooks – as if the American president was presidential, as if the old dream-bag was real, as if what he was saying had the slightest bearing on reality.

And when Rouhani made it clear that he was not interested in "photo-ops" – an obvious allusion to the pictures of Trump and Little Rocket Man – what did the po-faced Washington Post tell us in its subsequent report? Why, that Rouhani had "dashed hopes of a potential meeting with his US counterpart". Ye Gods! What "hopes" do they still have in their homegrown crackpot president after these two and a half years of his threats and lies and racism? Have they learned nothing?

It's as if – for the American media – Trump is unhinged in Washington but a Kissinger the moment he lands in Biarritz (or London or Riyadh or Panmunjom or a Scottish golf course, or perhaps, one day, Greenland). And Rouhani – who may be a "great negotiator" but is also a very ruthless man – is therefore supposed to play the role of Iran's previous president, the raving, crazed, Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Indeed, had Ahmadinejad's further political ambitions not been firmly crushed by his country's "supreme leader", Ayatollah Khamenei, we might just have witnessed a meeting between two of the world's leading political nutcases. Ahmadinejad, it may be recalled, was the Iranian who claimed that a holy cloud was suspended over his head for 20 minutes when he addressed the United Nations in New York. Now that is a phenomenon which Trump may also have experienced – although at least he had the good sense not to tell us of it.

Ahmadinejad, you may also remember, was the president whose claim to have won the 2009 presidential elections brought millions of protestors onto the streets of Iranian cities until they were brutalised and imprisoned into submission. His cheeky smile, chipmunk eyes and Spanish armada beard could not persuade Iranians that the "alternative facts" of his presidential victory were real.

Everyone knew that Ahmadinejad would never be given a finger on any nuclear button – many doubted if he knew the difference between nuclear physics and electricity – but he provided at the time a hate figure to rival Gaddafi or any other of the ravers of the Middle East.

But now Trump wears Ahmadinejad's international mantle of insanity and the Iranian presidential seat is today held by a far more pragmatic individual. For let's not be romantic about Hassan Rouhani . Back in 1999, when he was a humble deputy chief of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Rouhani condemned pro-democracy demonstrators as " muhareb " and " mofsad " (corrupt on earth) – opponents of the Islamic Republic, whose punishment would be death.

In the first eight months after Rouhani became president in 2013, the Iranian state hanged at least 537 people. In January of 2014, he had, according to a report in the Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat , visited Ahwaz to deal with "a number of sensitive files" left untouched by Ahmadinejad. These included Hashem Shaabani and Hadi Rashedi – both human rights activists in the minority Arab community in southwest Iran – who had been condemned to death for "waging war on God", "spreading corruption on earth" and "questioning the principle of velayat-e faqih" (guardianship of the jurist).

Shaabani's poetry, in both Persian and Arabic, was famous; he was a founder of an institute which encouraged Arabic literature and culture among Iranians. Rouhani signed off on the executions; Shaabani and Rashedi were hanged in a still-unidentified prison.

But it is Rouhani's negotiating skill which has apparently impressed Trump, who also has little time for minorities. And when you recall that one of Trump's Republican predecessors in the White House, Ronald Reagan, arranged for the Israelis to deliver missiles to Iran in 1985 in return for the release of US hostages in Beirut, you can see why Trump might think it strange that Rouhani would turn down a meeting with him. After all, during the Iran-Contra affair the then Iranian speaker of parliament, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was deeply involved in the enterprise.

But even if Rouhani was fool enough to flirt with Trump's offer – which he was not – his fate would have been similar to the poet Shaabani's if he had dared to talk to the US president without the full restoration of the nuclear treaty.

It doesn't take much spreading of "corruption on earth" in Iran – let alone disavowing the views of the Supreme Leader Khamanei – to catapult a learned cleric into prison. Having learned from his foreign minister in Biarritz what the American deal was supposed to be, Rouhani wisely did not touch it. The US had broken the nuclear treaty and reimposed sanctions – so Trump would have to rejoin the treaty signatories and lift sanctions for any hope of a meeting with the president of the Islamic Republic.

Of course, the Iranians will no more go to war with America than America will go to war with Iran. We all know that – except for those who blast us all with "brink-of-war" scenarios in the Gulf. We've been through Iranian ship-minings in 1987 without declarations of war. Besides, what's so new about an Iran insisting on its "sovereign" right to peaceful nuclear power?

When the shah of Iran wanted to acquire nuclear technology in 1974, according to documents in the US National Security Archive, he said that Iran had an "inalienable right" to the nuclear cycle and that it would not accept obligations "dictated by the nuclear-have nations".

Which is pretty much what Iran did accept in the nuclear agreement which Trump tore up on behalf of the United States. And I still have a clipping from The Times of November 1972, in which my then colleague David Housego was reporting from Tehran that the shah had declared that Iran's defensive frontiers extended beyond the Persian Gulf into the Indian Ocean!

In five years, the shah calculated, his arms build-up would make Iran the largest military power in the Middle East. The shah ruled with torture and executions, was crazed about the dangers of communism, and power-mad to the extent of celebrating his empire's rule in 1971 with what he called "the biggest party on earth" in the ruins of Persepolis. How Trump would love to have been there.

Well, Macron may be able to turn himself into the "Great G7 Intermediary", although all others who have tangled with Iran have been brought low by the experience. Think poor old Jimmy Carter, destroyed by the hostage-takers at the US embassy in Tehran. Think Reagan, almost brought low by Irangate. Think Colonel Oliver North. Or envoy Robert McFarlane. Or Terry Waite. Or Barack Obama, for that matter, his Iranian policy torn up by Trump.

In theory, what Macron is trying to do, if Le Monde has got it right, is persuade Trump to allow Iran's principal petroleum importers to continue buying oil from the Islamic Republic. This includes Turkey, China, Japan, India and South Korea. In return, Iran would itself return to the original nuclear agreement. That's the message Macron sent back to Tehran with Iran's foreign minister, who airbussed into Biarritz for his briefest of meetings with the French president.

But what Macron is really doing – which is what almost every EU leader is doing – is trying to preserve the peace of the Middle East long enough for the Americans to elect a serious, intelligent, boring and moderately honest political leader to replace the mentally unbalanced and very dangerous current holder of the highest office in the US.

Well, good luck to the Americans. For at present, they are confronting not the lunatic rogue state which Messers Bolton and Pompeo have nightmared up for Trump, but a nation governed by bravely defiant, ruthless, and – yes – devious men. For Iranians understand America far better than Americans will ever understand Iran.

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared.

[Aug 28, 2019] Iranian foreign minister tells Euronews about his discussion with Macron

Aug 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

FSD , Aug 26 2019 19:14 utc | 128

Will Trump's intimations about meeting with Rouhani win the footrace? His competitor? Israel's determination to get the Mideast theater of WW3 started in earnest. Racking up two declarations of war in as many days (Lebanon and Iraq) ain't too shabby a head-start. The game is to deprive Trump of the initiative. The Israelis are smelling capitulation and a fresh outbreak of post-JCPOA yakking. The time is now. Trump had better get with the program. He still has a chance to look like Presidential Instigator. Failing that, he'll just have to be dragged in unceremoniously and then scramble post facto to look like Instigator. It's a PR dilemma. His military's already there, poised for action. This may be the first war to launch right over the head -and better judgement- of JCS Head Dunsford himself. False flag momentum is a funny thing. The time couldn't be riper for war to get a jump on cooler heads.

After all, War has its own thoughts on the matter and will only let human beings dither for so long before taking the helm and asserting its own predilections:

"Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came." --Lincoln Second Inagural


karlof1 , Aug 26 2019 20:36 utc | 133

Magnier on Nuttyahoo's escalating provocations encapsulates the most recent series of events, although he doesn't attempt to link the actions to the upcoming elections. Hezbollah threatened direct retaliation against Occupied Palestine; Iraq chose to blame the Outlaw US Empire; Syria remained silent; the G-7 said nothing. The recent proposal by Iran to refurbish one pipeline and build another to Syria's coastline would certainly become a Zionist target. So, for the project to have the proper security, Occupied Palestine needs to be liberated. Nasrallah isn't known as a bluffer, while Nuttyahoo's prone to be too aggressive. Do the Zionists see the current situation as possibly the final time they have some sort of an advantage as Magnier seems to imply and attack since they know the Outlaw US Empire won't?
Sasha , Aug 26 2019 22:05 utc | 141
Iranian foreign minister tells Euronews about his discussion with Macron.

Sets the record straight...

Vasco da Gama , Aug 26 2019 23:02 utc | 143
@141

Iran for Multilateralism and Rule of Law, trusting themselves to abide by JCPOA, even if, as defined as failing, an invitation to Europeans to decide not be tempted by the US to remove themselves from their only future, and an appeal to the US to honour the responsibility of their veto sit on the UNSC where the lengthiest document was signed.

...

Good link Sasha.

[Aug 03, 2019] Looks like the> US withdrawal from the JCPOA with Iran might have been co-ordinated with the western European signatories

Aug 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Aug 3 2019 10:55 utc | 72

BTW, it has become very clear to me that the US withdrawal from the JCPOA with Iran was co-ordinated with the western European signatories (France, United Kingdom, Germany and EU) so that "maximum pressure" can be maintained on Iran while F/UK/DE/EU do nothing to honour their commitments at the same time making it appear that it's Iran in breach rather than the US/F/UK/DE/EU. Iran is aware of this and taking action to ensure its preservation . War is coming and F/UY/DE/EU will be involved on the side of the Great Satan.

[Jul 23, 2019] Did John Bolton Light the Fuse of the UK-Iranian Tanker Crisis

Notable quotes:
"... Contrary to the official rationale, the detention of the Iranian tanker was not consistent with the 2012 EU regulation on sanctions against the Assad government in Syria. The EU Council regulation in question specifies in Article 35 that the sanctions were to apply only within the territory of EU member states, to a national or business entity or onboard an aircraft or vessel "under the jurisdiction of a member state." ..."
"... The notice required the Gibraltar government to detain any such ship for at least 72 hours if it entered "British Gibraltar Territorial Waters." Significantly, however, the video statement by Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo on July 4 explaining the seizure of the Grace 1 made no such claim and avoided any mention of the precise location of the ship when it was seized. ..."
"... There is a good reason why the chief minister chose not to draw attention to the issue of the ship's location: it is virtually impossible that the ship was in British Gibraltar territorial waters at any time before being boarded. The UK claims territorial waters of three nautical miles from its coast, whereas the Strait of Gibraltar is 7.5 nautical miles wide at its narrowest point. That would make the limit of UK territory just north of the middle of the Strait. ..."
"... But international straits must have clearly defined and separated shipping lanes going in different directions. The Grace 1 was in the shipping lane heading east toward the Mediterranean, which is south of the lane for ships heading west toward the Atlantic and thus clearly closer to the coast of Morocco than to the coast of Gibraltar, as can be seen from this live view of typical ship traffic through the strait . So it is quite implausible that the Grace 1 strayed out of its shipping lane into British territorial waters at any time before it was boarded. ..."
"... Such a move clearly violates the global treaty governing the issue -- the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea . Articles 37 through 44 of that agreement, ratified by 167 states, including the UK and the European Union, establish a "regime of transit passage" for international straits like the Strait of Gibraltar that guarantees freedom of navigation for merchant ships. The rules of that regime explicitly forbid states bordering the strait from interfering with the transit passage of a merchant ship, with very narrowly defined exceptions. ..."
"... The evidence indicates, moreover, that the UK's actions were part of a broader scheme coordinated with the Trump administration to tighten pressure on Iran's economy by reducing Iran's ability to export goods. ..."
"... On July 19, Reuters London correspondent Guy Falconbridge reported , "[S]everal diplomatic sources said the United States asked the UK to seize the vessel." ..."
"... Detailed evidence of Bolton deep involvement in the British plan to seize the Iranian tanker has surfaced in reporting on the withdrawal of Panamanian flag status for the Grace 1. ..."
"... The role of Panama's National Security Council signaled Bolton's hand, since he would have been the point of contact with that body. The result of his maneuvering was to leave the Grace 1 without the protection of flag status necessary to sail or visit a port in the middle of its journey. This in conjunction with the British seizure of the ship was yet another episode in the extraordinary American effort to deprive Iran of the most basic sovereign right to participate in the global economy. ..."
"... Back in 2013 2013 there was a rumour afoot that Edward Snowden, who at the time was stuck in the Moscow airport, trapped there by the sudden cancellation mid-flight of his US passport, was going spirited away by the President of Bolivia Evo Morales aboard his private jet. So what the US apparently was lean on it European allies to stop him. This they duly and dutifully did. Spain, France, and others denied overflight rights to the Bolivian jet, forcing it to turn back and land in Austria. There was even a report that once on the ground, the Spanish ambassador to Austria showed up and asked the Bolivian president if he might come out to the plain for a coffee--and presumably to have a poke around to see he could catch Snowden in the act of vanishing into the cargo hold. ..."
"... The rumor turned out to be completely false, but it was the Europeans who wound up with the egg on their face. Not to mention the ones who broke international law. ..."
"... Bolton persuaded the British to play along with the stupid US "maximum pressure" strategy, regardless of its illegality. (Maybe the British government thought that it would placate Trump after Ambassadorgate.) And then of course Pompeo threw them under the bus. It's getting hard to be a US ally (except for Saudi Arabia and Israel.) ..."
"... Spain lodged a formal complaint about the action, because it considers the sea around Gibraltar to be part of its international waters, "We are studying the circumstances and looking at how this affects our sovereignty," Josep Borell, Spain's acting foreign minister, said. So Gibraltar or Spanish waters? Gibraltar – Territorial Waters (1 pg): ..."
"... Worse than the bad behavior of Bolton, and the poodle behavior of Britain, is the utter failure of our press to provide us a skeptical eye and honest look at events. They've been mere stenographers and megaphones for power doing wrong. ..."
"... And this just in. A UK government official has just stated, related to the Iranian tanker stopped near Gibraltar, the UK will not be part of Trump's 'maximum pressure' gambit on Iran. We shall see if Boris Johnson is for or against that policy. ..."
"... John Bolton, war criminal. ..."
"... John Bolton has been desperate for a war with Iran for decades. This is just another escalation in his desperate attempt to get one. He's the classic neocon chicken hawk who is bravely ready to risk and sacrifice other people's lives at the drop of a hat. ..."
"... Since UK is abusing its control of Gibraltar by behaving like a thug, maybe it is better for the international community to support an independent state of Gibraltar, or at least let Spain has it. It will be better for world peace. ..."
"... While I agree with the gist of the article, remember that Bolton has no authority except that which is given to him. So stop blaming Bolton. Blame Trump. ..."
"... The provocations will go on and on until Iran shoots back and then Wash. will get the war it's been trying to start for some time now to pay back all those campaign donors who will profit from another war. ..."
"... The MIC needs constant wars to use up munitions so new ones can be manufactured. It's really just about business and politicians working together for mutual benefit to keep those contributions coming in. With all the other issues facing America, a war with Iran will just add to the end of the USA which is coming faster than you think. ..."
Jul 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Did John Bolton Light the Fuse of the UK-Iranian Tanker Crisis? Evidence suggests he pressured the Brits to seize an Iranian ship. Why? More war. By Gareth Porter July 23, 2019

While Iran's seizure of a British tanker near the Strait of Hormuz on Friday was a clear response to the British capture of an Iranian tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4, both the UK and U.S. governments are insisting that Iran's operation was illegal while the British acted legally.

The facts surrounding the British detention of the Iranian ship, however, suggest that, like the Iranian detention of the British ship, it was an illegal interference with freedom of navigation through an international strait. And even more importantly, evidence indicates that the British move was part of a bigger scheme coordinated by National Security Advisor John Bolton.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the Iran seizure of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero "unacceptable" and insisted that it is "essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region."

But the British denied Iran that same freedom of navigation through the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4.

The rationale for detaining the Iranian vessel and its crew was that it was delivering oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. This was never questioned by Western news media. But a closer look reveals that the UK had no legal right to enforce those sanctions against that ship, and that it was a blatant violation of the clearly defined global rules that govern the passage of merchant ships through international straits.

The evidence also reveals that Bolton was actively involved in targeting the Grace 1 from the time it began its journey in May as part of the broader Trump administration campaign of "maximum pressure" on Iran.

Contrary to the official rationale, the detention of the Iranian tanker was not consistent with the 2012 EU regulation on sanctions against the Assad government in Syria. The EU Council regulation in question specifies in Article 35 that the sanctions were to apply only within the territory of EU member states, to a national or business entity or onboard an aircraft or vessel "under the jurisdiction of a member state."

The UK government planned to claim that the Iranian ship was under British "jurisdiction" when it was passing through the Strait of Gibraltar to justify its seizure as legally consistent with the EU regulation. A maritime news outlet has reported that on July 3, the day before the seizure of the ship, the Gibraltar government, which has no control over its internal security or foreign affairs, issued a regulation to provide what it would claim as a legal pretext for the operation. The regulation gave the "chief minister" of the British the power to detain any ship if there were "reasonable grounds" to "suspect" that it had been or even that it was even "likely" to be in breach of EU regulations.

The notice required the Gibraltar government to detain any such ship for at least 72 hours if it entered "British Gibraltar Territorial Waters." Significantly, however, the video statement by Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo on July 4 explaining the seizure of the Grace 1 made no such claim and avoided any mention of the precise location of the ship when it was seized.

There is a good reason why the chief minister chose not to draw attention to the issue of the ship's location: it is virtually impossible that the ship was in British Gibraltar territorial waters at any time before being boarded. The UK claims territorial waters of three nautical miles from its coast, whereas the Strait of Gibraltar is 7.5 nautical miles wide at its narrowest point. That would make the limit of UK territory just north of the middle of the Strait.

But international straits must have clearly defined and separated shipping lanes going in different directions. The Grace 1 was in the shipping lane heading east toward the Mediterranean, which is south of the lane for ships heading west toward the Atlantic and thus clearly closer to the coast of Morocco than to the coast of Gibraltar, as can be seen from this live view of typical ship traffic through the strait . So it is quite implausible that the Grace 1 strayed out of its shipping lane into British territorial waters at any time before it was boarded.

But even if the ship had done so, that would not have given the UK "jurisdiction" over the Grace 1 and allowed it to legally seize the ship. Such a move clearly violates the global treaty governing the issue -- the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea . Articles 37 through 44 of that agreement, ratified by 167 states, including the UK and the European Union, establish a "regime of transit passage" for international straits like the Strait of Gibraltar that guarantees freedom of navigation for merchant ships. The rules of that regime explicitly forbid states bordering the strait from interfering with the transit passage of a merchant ship, with very narrowly defined exceptions.

These articles allow coastal states to adopt regulations relating to safety of navigation, pollution control, prevention of fishing, and "loading or unloading any commodity in contravention of customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations" of bordering states -- but for no other reason. The British seizure and detention of the Grace 1 was clearly not related to any of these concerns and thus a violation of the treaty.

The evidence indicates, moreover, that the UK's actions were part of a broader scheme coordinated with the Trump administration to tighten pressure on Iran's economy by reducing Iran's ability to export goods.

The statement by Gibraltar's chief minister said the decision to seize the ship was taken after the receipt of "information" that provided "reasonable grounds" for suspicion that it was carrying oil destined for Syria's Banyas refinery. That suggested the intelligence had come from a government that neither he nor the British wished to reveal.

BBC defense correspondent Jonathan Beale reported: "[I]t appears the intelligence came from the United States." Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell commented on July 4 that the British seizure had followed "a demand from the United States to the UK." On July 19, Reuters London correspondent Guy Falconbridge reported , "[S]everal diplomatic sources said the United States asked the UK to seize the vessel."

Detailed evidence of Bolton deep involvement in the British plan to seize the Iranian tanker has surfaced in reporting on the withdrawal of Panamanian flag status for the Grace 1.

Panama was the flag state for many of the Iranian-owned vessels carrying various items exported by Iran. But when the Trump administration reinstated economic sanctions against Iran in October 2018, it included prohibitions on industry services such as insurance and reinsurance. This decision was accompanied by political pressure on Panama to withdraw Panamanian flag status from 59 Iranian vessels, many of which were owned by Iranian state-affiliated companies. Without such flag status, the Iranian-owned vessels could not get insurance for shipments by freighter.

That move was aimed at discouraging ports, canal operators, and private firms from allowing Iranian tankers to use their facilities. The State Department's Brian Hook, who is in charge of the sanctions, warned those entities last November that the Trump administration believed they would be responsible for the costs of an accident involving a self-insured Iranian tanker.

But the Grace 1 was special case, because it still had Panamanian flag status when it began its long journey around the Southern tip of Africa on the way to the Mediterranean. That trip began in late May, according to Automatic Identification System data cited by Riviera Maritime Media . It was no coincidence that the Panamanian Maritime Authority delisted the Grace 1 on May 29 -- just as the ship was beginning its journey. That decision came immediately after Panama's National Security Council issued an alert claiming that the Iranian-owned tanker "may be participating in terrorism financing in supporting the destabilization activities of some regimes led by terrorist groups."

The Panamanian body did not cite any evidence that the Grace 1 had ever been linked to terrorism.

The role of Panama's National Security Council signaled Bolton's hand, since he would have been the point of contact with that body. The result of his maneuvering was to leave the Grace 1 without the protection of flag status necessary to sail or visit a port in the middle of its journey. This in conjunction with the British seizure of the ship was yet another episode in the extraordinary American effort to deprive Iran of the most basic sovereign right to participate in the global economy.

Now that Iran has detained a British ship in order to force the UK to release the Grace 1, the British Foreign Ministry will claim that its seizure of the Iranian ship was entirely legitimate. The actual facts, however, put that charge under serious suspicion.

Gareth Porter is an investigative reporter and regular contributor to The American Conservative . He is also the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.


john 17 hours ago

Honestly the Brits are such idiots, we lied them into a war once. They knew we were lying and went for it anyway. Now the are falling for it again. Maybe it is May's parting gift to Boris?
kouroi 17 hours ago
Same EU legislation only forbids Syria exporting oil and not EU entities selling to Syria (albeit with some additional paperwork). However, it doesn't forbid other non-EU states to sell oil to Syria. They are not behaving like the US. And this is also not UN sanctioned. In fact, UK is also acting against the spirit of JPCOA towards Iran. Speak about Perfidious Albion (others would say US lapdog).
Stephen54321 15 hours ago • edited
This story has certain familiar elements to it.

Back in 2013 2013 there was a rumour afoot that Edward Snowden, who at the time was stuck in the Moscow airport, trapped there by the sudden cancellation mid-flight of his US passport, was going spirited away by the President of Bolivia Evo Morales aboard his private jet. So what the US apparently was lean on it European allies to stop him. This they duly and dutifully did. Spain, France, and others denied overflight rights to the Bolivian jet, forcing it to turn back and land in Austria. There was even a report that once on the ground, the Spanish ambassador to Austria showed up and asked the Bolivian president if he might come out to the plain for a coffee--and presumably to have a poke around to see he could catch Snowden in the act of vanishing into the cargo hold.

The rumor turned out to be completely false, but it was the Europeans who wound up with the egg on their face. Not to mention the ones who broke international law.

Now we find that once again a European country had (apparently) gone out on a limb for the US--and wound up with egg on its face for trying to show its loyalty to the US in an all-too-slavish fashion by doing America's dirty work.

When will they learn?

Geoff Arnold 15 hours ago
Bolton persuaded the British to play along with the stupid US "maximum pressure" strategy, regardless of its illegality. (Maybe the British government thought that it would placate Trump after Ambassadorgate.) And then of course Pompeo threw them under the bus. It's getting hard to be a US ally (except for Saudi Arabia and Israel.)
cka2nd 14 hours ago
Does the British establishment have any self-respect at all, or do they really enjoy playing lapdog for the USA?
JPH 11 hours ago • edited
The very fact that the UK tried to present its hijack of Iran Oil as an implementation of EU sanctions dovetail well with Bolton's objective of creating another of those "international coalitions" without a UN mandate engaging in 'Crimes of Aggression".

The total lack of support from the EU for this UK hijack signals another defeat to both the UK and the neocons of America.

chris chuba 10 hours ago
Too bad there isn't an international version of the ACLU to argue Iran's legal case before the EU body. What typically happens is that Iran will refuse to send representation because that would in effect, acknowledge their authority. The EU will have a Kangaroo court and enter a vacant decision. This has happened numerous times in the U.S.

Would anyone in the U.S. or EU recognize an Iranian court making similar claims? Speaking of which, the entire point of UN treaties and international law is to prevent individual countries from passing special purpose legislation targeting specific countries. Why couldn't Iran pass a law sanctioning EU vessels that tried to use their territorial waters, what is so special about the EU, because it is an acronym?

britbob 9 hours ago
Spain lodged a formal complaint about the action, because it considers the sea around Gibraltar to be part of its international waters, "We are studying the circumstances and looking at how this affects our sovereignty," Josep Borell, Spain's acting foreign minister, said. So Gibraltar or Spanish waters? Gibraltar – Territorial Waters (1 pg): https://www.academia.edu/30...
Mark Thomason 8 hours ago
Worse than the bad behavior of Bolton, and the poodle behavior of Britain, is the utter failure of our press to provide us a skeptical eye and honest look at events. They've been mere stenographers and megaphones for power doing wrong.
JeffK from PA 5 hours ago
Fake News! Fake News! Fake News! <sarcasm off="">

Thanks for the investigative reporting. Trump has lied almost 11,000 times, so I think nobody expects the truth from The Trump Administration anytime soon. Especially if it goes against the narrative.

JeffK from PA 5 hours ago
And this just in. A UK government official has just stated, related to the Iranian tanker stopped near Gibraltar, the UK will not be part of Trump's 'maximum pressure' gambit on Iran. We shall see if Boris Johnson is for or against that policy.
EmpireLoyalist 4 hours ago
Job number one for Johnson - even before Brexit - must be to purge the neo-con globalists and anybody under their influence from Government.
Fran Macadam 4 hours ago
John Bolton, war criminal.
HenionJD Fran Macadam 2 hours ago
To be considered as such he would have to actually have been involved in a war. Give him a few more weeks and your charge will be valid.
Sid Finster 3 hours ago
OK, so why did the Brits go along with it? Are they so stupid as to not figure out that Iran might respond in kind, or did the Brits not also want war?
LFC 3 hours ago
John Bolton has been desperate for a war with Iran for decades. This is just another escalation in his desperate attempt to get one. He's the classic neocon chicken hawk who is bravely ready to risk and sacrifice other people's lives at the drop of a hat.
david 3 hours ago
Since UK is abusing its control of Gibraltar by behaving like a thug, maybe it is better for the international community to support an independent state of Gibraltar, or at least let Spain has it. It will be better for world peace.
Sid Finster 2 hours ago
While I agree with the gist of the article, remember that Bolton has no authority except that which is given to him. So stop blaming Bolton. Blame Trump.
Zsuzsi Kruska 2 hours ago
The provocations will go on and on until Iran shoots back and then Wash. will get the war it's been trying to start for some time now to pay back all those campaign donors who will profit from another war.

The MIC needs constant wars to use up munitions so new ones can be manufactured. It's really just about business and politicians working together for mutual benefit to keep those contributions coming in. With all the other issues facing America, a war with Iran will just add to the end of the USA which is coming faster than you think.

[Jul 21, 2019] Trump, election and GB provocation against Iran tanker

The key problem for Trump is reaction of China and Russia... If Russia supports Iran the USA attack onIran might well be the second Vietnam and KSA will probably seize to exit.
Notable quotes:
"... The bottom-line is this -- if Trump launches military strikes against Iranian military targets it is very likely he will ignite a series of events that will escalate beyond his control, expose him as a paper tiger full of empty bellicose threats and risk a war with other countries, including Russia and China. ..."
"... The "War" class in Washington and the media are exhorting tough action and doing all within their power to portray Iran as an imminent threat to the West. The mantra, "the must be stopped," is being repeated ad nauseam in all of the media echo changers. President Trump, regrettably, is ignorant of military history and devoid of strategic intelligence when it comes to employing military force. He reminds me of Lyndon Johnson during the early stages of the Vietnam War -- i.e., being exhorted to take action, increase forces and not back down rather than lose face on the international front. ..."
"... it is more likely the Brits intended this as a provocation, in coordination with some members of Trump's team, that would bait the Iranians to respond in similar fashion. Iran has taken the bait and given the Brits what Iran sees as a dose of its own medicine. ..."
"... There is a dangerous delusion within the Trump National Security team. They believe we are so dominant that Iran will not dare fight us. I prefer to rely on the sage counsel of Colonel Patrick Lang -- the Iranians are not afraid to fight us and, if backed into a corner, will do so. ..."
"... The tanker is too big to use the Suez canal and too big to discharge oil in a Syrian port. It was possibly going to a Mediterranean port, but Iran will not back-down to the UK. ..."
"... As the Saudi's appear to be losing their war with Yemen, the UAE has announced that they are not desirous of being in the middle of any US-Iran conflict. Qatar is doing a huge nat gas deal with Iran. ..."
"... A 50% reduction in oil & LNG output for greater than 3 months would crush already weakening Asian economies who are the manufactured products supply chain for most of the world and in particular the US. Will voters in Ohio, Wisconsin & Michigan cheer Trump's military strikes on Teheran when prices at Walmart double? ..."
"... I have no faith in Donald Trump when it comes to Israeli's interests. Embassy moved to Jerusalem check, Golan Heights check. Deal of the Century by his Anti-Christ Son-In-Law check. Not sure if that is a joke or not. ..."
"... "Trump's advisers have a demented obsession with Iran. They've been spoiling for a fight with Iran for decades. They have no idea how destructive it would be. It would make Iraq look like a tea party." ..."
"... Yes. A demented obsession that is not in US interests. Is it really in Saudi and Israeli interests when they may be hurt too? ..."
"... The same idiots running the show seem to believe that American oil and gas fracking makes it impervious to the loss of Middle Eastern oil (in fact, a secret motivation might be to save American frackers economically), but they forget that oil is a fungible commodity and always flows to the highest bidder. They could try of ban oil exports, but the Europe and Japan's economies would be utterly toast as there would be virtually no oil available to them, especially if Russia backed Iran and cut them off. ..."
"... Rather than blaming this on the media, neocons or the Pentagon, put the blame where it lies - with President Trump. Trump campaigned on tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement which he did once he was elected. The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran which are meant to inflict serious hardship on the Iranian people. Trump hired Bolton and Pompeo - both hawks from previous administrations. Trump is attempting to enforce the sanctions. Is there anyone else to blame but Trump? ..."
"... The use of the golden rule suggests problems with your logic. Would we sit still, for example, if Russia and/or China started fostering guerrilla movements in South America? Of course not. We would actively intervene in support of what we see as our local security imperatives. That appears to me to be all Iran is doing in its region. ..."
"... If the Gulf oilfields in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are heavily rocketed and put out of commission along with tanker loading docks and pipeline infrastructure, there won't be any oil to ship out of the Gulf anyway. ..."
"... The primary damage from a war with Iran will be economic. Oil flowing through the Staits will come to a halt and that will hit China, Japan and the rest of Asia very hard and their buying power will decrease significantly hurting our exports. Even though the U.S is self-sufficient in oil if oil prices hit $100+ on the world market look for the U.S. oil companies to increase their prices to approach the world price driving gas prices into the $5.00+/gallon range. Trump will undoubtably prohibit U.S oil exports but the damage to the economies world wide will still negatively impact the U.S. ..."
"... Post Scriptum: Signs of a dying paradigm as the western elite have gone into total sclerotic mode. Dangerous as a rabid dog. ..."
Jul 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Donald Trump appears to be on the verge of doing what the "Never Trumpers" could not--destroy his Presidency and make re-election impossible. It all boils down to whether or not he decides to launch military strikes on Iran. The bottom-line is this -- if Trump launches military strikes against Iranian military targets it is very likely he will ignite a series of events that will escalate beyond his control, expose him as a paper tiger full of empty bellicose threats and risk a war with other countries, including Russia and China.

The "War" class in Washington and the media are exhorting tough action and doing all within their power to portray Iran as an imminent threat to the West. The mantra, "the must be stopped," is being repeated ad nauseam in all of the media echo changers. President Trump, regrettably, is ignorant of military history and devoid of strategic intelligence when it comes to employing military force. He reminds me of Lyndon Johnson during the early stages of the Vietnam War -- i.e., being exhorted to take action, increase forces and not back down rather than lose face on the international front.

The media is busy pushing the lie that Iran launched an unprovoked "attack" on a British flagged ship. They ignore the British action two weeks ago, when the British Navy seized an Iranian flagged tanker heading to Syria. Britain justifies its action as just keeping the sanction regime in place. But it is more likely the Brits intended this as a provocation, in coordination with some members of Trump's team, that would bait the Iranians to respond in similar fashion. Iran has taken the bait and given the Brits what Iran sees as a dose of its own medicine.

There is a dangerous delusion within the Trump National Security team. They believe we are so dominant that Iran will not dare fight us. I prefer to rely on the sage counsel of Colonel Patrick Lang -- the Iranians are not afraid to fight us and, if backed into a corner, will do so.

I see at least four possible scenarios for this current situation. If you can think of others please add in the comments section.

... ... ...


Fred ,

"two weeks ago, when the British Navy seized an Iranian flagged tanker"

Via Associated Press:

Royal Marines took part in the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker by Gibraltar, a British overseas territory off the southern coast of Spain. Officials there initially said the July 4 seizure happened on orders from the U.S." .......

It gets even better than on orders from the U.S.
"Britain has said it would release the vessel, which was carrying more than 2 million barrels of Iranian crude, if Iran could prove it was not breaching EU sanctions"

We are supposed to believe that Syria is importing oil on ships which sail through the Straights of Gibraltar rather than getting oil from, say, Russia! or going from Iran (it is Iranian oil, so they say) through the Suez Canal? What did they do, sail around the continent of Africa to stage this?

So the brilliant minds at GCHQ that brought us Christopher Steele and the dossier have decided that they really, really, need to get rid of the Orange Man and they don't care how many Iranian or American lives it takes. I wonder just how many people the man not in the news, Jeffrey Epstein, had the dirty goods on and just which government was behind his operation.

Стивен said in reply to Fred ... ,
The tanker is too big to use the Suez canal and too big to discharge oil in a Syrian port. It was possibly going to a Mediterranean port, but Iran will not back-down to the UK.
Fred -> Стивен... ,
Stephen,

Thanks for the comment. I did a bit more research. It seems strange to me that Iran would use a ship to large for the canal to make such a shipment to Syria, if indeed that was where it was heading.

The Twisted Genius , 20 July 2019 at 08:10 PM
Larry, your intel about the JCS not advising caution is most disheartening. I wouldn't be surprised if the warmongers surrounding Trump are also telling him that his rally attending base is all for taking it to the raghead terrorists. That may not be far off. Sure those who support Trump for his professed aversion to adventurism will be appalled at war with Iran, but his more rabid base may follow him anywhere. Trump has no ideological need for war, but he does have a psychological need for adoration. That's not a good situation.
blue peacock said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 21 July 2019 at 10:09 AM
"...his rally attending base is all for taking it to the raghead terrorists.."

TTG

I have seen private surveys commissioned by a deep pocketed hedge fund of working class folks in the mid-west & the south. When the consequences of a military confrontation with Iran are described the overwhelming majority oppose it.

Larry is spot on. Trump will lose his re-election bid if he kowtows to Bibi & MbS. The short-term financial & economic effects would crush his base and the half-life of jingoism after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, & Syria will be rather short. Trump will be blamed by the "right" for cocking up teaching Iran a lesson and demonized by the "left "for getting us into another ME quagmire.

J -> The Twisted Genius ... , 21 July 2019 at 10:09 AM
How does one wake POTUS Trump to the reality that his NEOCONS and Israel Firsters in his Cabinet will destroy his Presidency if he doesn't jettison them out the door.
eakens , 20 July 2019 at 10:22 PM
There is an effort underway to undermine Israeli influence in the US, and I think the calculus might be to use the exact thing Israelis want most (war with Iran) to do that. I think the resurrection of the Epstein case is also part of that effort. Thus, war with Iran is inevitable.
Artemesia said in reply to eakens... , 21 July 2019 at 07:41 AM
"There is an effort underway to undermine Israeli influence in the US"

Is it an organized effort? Where do I sign up?

Rick Wiles heads TruNews, a Christian evangelical network. He's been outspoken in his criticism of zionism, calls out Christian zionists, and deplores that "the US has been taken over by zionists." To be sure, ADL has labeled Wiles an "antisemite." If TruNews survives, it may be part of game-changing.

Only from TruNews did I learn about HR1837, US-Israel united cyber command, "an alliance to direct energy space weapons"
https://www.trunews.com/stream/united-zionist-cyber-command-congress-forges-us-israel-alliance-in-direct-energy-space-weapons

"The Squad" mouthing rhetoric is weak tea to counteract Israeli's deep penetration of US military and other key institutions.

Petrel , 20 July 2019 at 11:00 PM
"From what I am hearing from knowledgeable sources [is that] no one on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at DOD are advising caution."

We should probably ignore the notion that the Joint Chiefs are bullish about a war with Iran -- the situation in the area is terrible for us and the Joint Chiefs know it.

For example, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan have military understandings with Iran and the former is now installing advanced S-400 Russian missiles to defend itself from us. Furthermore, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbajian and Armenia will not allow transit of war materiel or aircraft en-route to Iran. So how does the US project anything into that country?

Then again, US Central Command is located in Iran friendly Quatar, which merely hosts us and could require us to leave. How come? Wouldn't you know it, Quatar is developing a massive gas reserve with Iran in the Gulf, is now very, very friendly with big-brother Turkey and presently negotiating with Russia for S-400 missiles -- clearly against us.

Well, what about our Navy?

Alas, recent improvements in missiles have rendered our deep water Navy a liability -- not that the narrow Persian Gulf / Sea of Oman is deep in any case. (President Trump learned about our Navy's vulnerability to missile attack last year as the Pentagon quickly pulled our three carrier group force from Korea and parked those impressive ships on the south coast of Australia! )

Then there is Iran's near east client / ally Hezbollah, which has made clear that any bombing of Iran, a huge country, would trigger heavy missile attack on postage-stamp Israel.

The Neocons may have managed to silence public Pentagon doubts, but President Trump is clearly attempting to avoid military adventures. "No, the Iran downed drone was old and not that expensive." "The UK captured an Iranian tanker and the Iranians have reciprocated. The two should sit down and work the situation out."

JamesT , 20 July 2019 at 11:00 PM
I believe that Iran is going to want to avoid war if they can. Their program of adding precision guidance to Hezbollah missiles in Lebanon means that the longer they postpone war, the better for them. If they get to a point where they have 10,000 precision guided missiles in Lebanon then the next Israel-Lebanon war will force Israel into a humiliating defeat.

Eighty percent of Israel's water comes from water desalination plants - and then there are electricity generation plants, sewage treatment plants, and numerous other infrastructure targets that can be hit. Israeli civilians are soft and will cry uncle as soon as their air conditioning cuts out.

The neocons know that time is not on their side.

Castellio said in reply to JamesT ... , 21 July 2019 at 12:30 AM
It's your last line which is the most worrying.

Why not, then, have the Americans initiate the deed now... destroy Iran and Lebanon, and then, with France, the UK, Germany, Canada et al. spend billions to rebuild Israel, with the Palestinians being sent to Jordan (if not worse).

Israel has gambled on a broader war several times in the past, and they believe (despite the fiasco in Lebanon) that each was a win.

What do you do, when "time is not on your side?".

smoke , 20 July 2019 at 11:37 PM
When did this group, leading the charge overseas in D.C. for the past 20 years, once get it right, as far as assumptions and expectations of military necessities or outcomes? I am beginning to think this creating a greater danger out of a lesser mess is a feature, not a defect. If so, why? To what end? Or is the policy process that broken?
Fred -> smoke... , 20 July 2019 at 11:37 PM
Smoke,

Saddam ain't around any more, neither is Muammar Gaddafi. The neocons take those as great victories since the sacred state of Israel is safe from those two.

ted richard , 21 July 2019 at 06:50 AM
imo a war with iran is theatre and will not take place.

should iran be attacked imo you can kiss the UAE goodbye as well as most if not all of the Saudi oil infrastructre along the gulf. i would also expect a massive direct bombardment of israeli cities and other important targets from hezbollah starting with the massive ammonia storage system in haifa whose destruction would annihilate that entire region. all of useful israel is in the middle to upper third of the country closest to lebanon and easy reach for all of hezbollahs missiles.

the persian gulf upon the start of the war becomes the hotel california for any warship within. none would likely escape. and the coup de gra for iran is whether they have the ballistic missile reach and or can gain access to russian long range bombers fitted with kalibr or better cruise missiles able to smash diego garcia absolutely critical american relaestate in the indian ocean.

trump imo is not crazy and can read a map as well as anyone with help from his REAL pentagon military professionals.

we have not even gotten to what happens to all those oil and interest rate derivatives far out of the money right now in somewhat normal times. if war starts they go from notional to real fast and the western financial system implodes even with a force majeure declaration

my vote is no war.

Error404 , 21 July 2019 at 07:46 AM
An Iran war would indeed most probably kill off Trump's chance of re-election. The almost inevitable spike in the price of oil which it would bring about would have two implications:

1/ ROTW xUS manufacturing is already in recession, with services close to joining it in many countries. The US is clearly slowing down and appears headed on the same course. The global economy is in no shape to withstand even a relatively short-lived surge in oil prices.

2/ There is no knowing what lurks out there in the oil derivatives market, but the banking system - particularly the European banking system - is far too fragile to sustain another bout of counterparty risk aversion along the lines of 2007/08. (And amongst the trillions of gross derivatives exposure, one has to wonder just how many US and other banks are sitting across from Deutsche Bank oil positions and happily netting off the counterparty risk.)

Regretably, from my side of the Atlantic the US looks like a traditional imperial power, addicted to war and conquest and with a significant proportion of the population fetishizing (probably not a real verb) all things military. Whether Trump can be truly damaged by extending the 'forever war' to Iran depends very much on how it goes - and I doubt he has the knowledge required to think through all the plausible scenarios. We can be a lot more confident that carrying the blame for an unnecessary recession into the election campaign has a solid chance of sinking him.

Fred -> Error404... , 21 July 2019 at 11:00 AM
Error404,

Just what good has the past two decades of "war and conquest" done for America, whether flyover country, Jussie Smollett's "Maga Country" section of Chicago or the homeless encampments of Seattle, LA or Portland?

CK , 21 July 2019 at 09:59 AM
As the Saudi's appear to be losing their war with Yemen, the UAE has announced that they are not desirous of being in the middle of any US-Iran conflict. Qatar is doing a huge nat gas deal with Iran.

Bolton is heading to Japan to "mediate" the current economic disagreements between Japan and S. Korea.
Pompeo is declaring that the Iranian Ballistic Missile program is suddenly on the table. It would appear that the whole Iranian atomic bomb thing was smoke and mirrors and hasbara.

There is a deal available, preparation for making the deal will involve political kabuki, grand posturing, the beating of drums without rhythm and the flooding of the Old American Infotainment outlets with much wailing and whining about "the only democracy in the MENA."

A deal will eventuate that allows both the USA and Iran to move on, about a week before the 2020 presidential election. Or maybe not.

blue peacock , 21 July 2019 at 10:23 AM
I have a question for those of you well versed with Iranian military capability. What are the capabilities of Iranian ballistic missiles in terms of range, precision and payload lethality?

As Col. Lang has noted in the transition to war, before the US Navy gets its ducks in a row, that is the window of opportunity that Iran has to strike back. What damage could they inflict on oil & gas infrastructure including LNG, port & pipelines across UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

A 50% reduction in oil & LNG output for greater than 3 months would crush already weakening Asian economies who are the manufactured products supply chain for most of the world and in particular the US. Will voters in Ohio, Wisconsin & Michigan cheer Trump's military strikes on Teheran when prices at Walmart double?

blue peacock , 21 July 2019 at 10:53 AM
All

As Larry notes "..President Trump, regrettably, is ignorant of military history and devoid of strategic intelligence when it comes to employing military force.." , but I believe he has good political instincts and as his Reality TV/Twitter presidency shows he has an excellent sense of how it plays both in the MSM and social media. He must know that while the "shock & awe" and "boom-boom" videos may give him an instant boost the stock market that he has rested his presidency on may not soar but in fact plummet. And he can't blame Jay Powell for that.

He must also instinctually know that November 2020 is a year away and a lot can go wrong as it is economically and in financial markets since he's been harping at the Fed to lower rates in supposedly the best economy evah. Uncertainty spikes volatility and the credit markets are already stressed particularly in offshore eurodollar funding which is an order of magnitude larger than mortgage credit markets were in 2007.

Maybe Rand Paul is his counter to the ziocon fifth column? I don't think he's that foolish to pull the trigger on Iran and sink his presidency when the Deep State & NeverTrumpers are out for his blood. He must know he'll lose immunity from legal jeopardy when he's no longer POTUS.

walrus -> blue peacock... , 21 July 2019 at 04:00 PM
As Col. Lang has repeatedly observed, the decisions to go to war do not necessarily follow economic, nor domestic political logic. It is therefore better to speculate on the players state of mind rather than looking at the aforesaid rational drivers like economics and votes.

Who knows what is being whispered in Trumps ear?

Noregs gard , 21 July 2019 at 10:57 AM
http://resistancenewsunfiltered.blogspot.com/
here you will find many of Nasrallah`s speeches and tv appearances with english subtitles..
Harlan Easley , 21 July 2019 at 11:46 AM
I have no faith in Donald Trump when it comes to Israeli's interests. Embassy moved to Jerusalem check, Golan Heights check. Deal of the Century by his Anti-Christ Son-In-Law check. Not sure if that is a joke or not.

Israeli wants Iran destroyed and their ability to pressure US Presidents to do their bidding all the way back to President Truman is 100% success. Trump so cravenly promotes the Zionist interest that I see no reason he will not pursue regime change in Iran to its logical conclusion.

The plan is ultimately Greater Israeli and the leaders of Iran are well aware of this.

Many comments say that Israeli will be badly damaged by any regional war. Why do you believe Israeli is just going to take the blows? Analysis is not advocacy as Col. Lang says.

My fear is the ultimate weapons of mass destruction are introduced into the Middle East.

Jack , 21 July 2019 at 11:48 AM
"Trump's advisers have a demented obsession with Iran. They've been spoiling for a fight with Iran for decades. They have no idea how destructive it would be. It would make Iraq look like a tea party."

@Tom_Slater_ on Sky https://t.co/A50M6bghj8


https://twitter.com/spikedonline/status/1152926344466063360?s=19

Yes. A demented obsession that is not in US interests. Is it really in Saudi and Israeli interests when they may be hurt too?

Flavius , 21 July 2019 at 12:01 PM
Option 1 - Diplomatic solution: The UK will do what it must do, ie what the US allows it to do. The GB Imperial project is no more and the UK is riding along somewhere in the wake of the Imperial City. Whatever influence it exerts on power there is by flattery or deception (Steele dossier.) Trump slapped the UK Ambassador out of Washington as if he were a fly. Moreover, the UK alone carries no stick to wield against Iran. Iran is no Falklands.

Options 2 thru 4 - some degree of military attack on Iran: as you point out, the return on investment for any kind of attack on Iran is highly unpredictable. It depends entirely on how Iran chooses to respond and whether it decides to roll the dice, go all in, and endure the onslaught, and inflict what damage it can where it can, which it very well may. Does anyone in Washington have an intel based fix on Iran's intentions when attacked? I doubt it.

Not a single intervention in the last 18 years, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya resulted in the anticipated outcome. Do they have rear view mirrors in Washington?

My weakly held expectation, especially now with the passing of a few days, is that Washington will decide to temporize and tell the UK to accept the humiliation, in effect kicking the can down the road. Everyone will know it is only doing what it has been told to do.

Of course they will announce more face saving sanctions. The Donald will hope that he will be able to gut it out to 2020 without having to make a decision that could blow him up, and likely would - but who knows? Iran will hope to gut it out to 2020 and in the interim pray to God that some Democrat floats back down to earth with some issues, like the Donald once espoused, that will be used to beat the Donald and send him and his family back to the upper East Side.

With the escalation game fully in play, it's going to be a close call.

GeneO , 21 July 2019 at 01:06 PM
LJ -

I find it a bit hard to believe that leaders like Dunford, Selva, Milley, Richardson, and the others on the Joint Chiefs are not advising caution. Milley, the next Chairman, for sure has advised caution at his recent Senate hearing. Dunford has only pushed for an international coalition Task Force to guard ships transiting the Strait. Selva and Richardson appear to be more worried about China.

Let us all hope that your knowledgeable sources are wrong.

The real danger is if Fred Fleitz gets to be DNI. If that happens be prepared for another scam like the Office of Special Plans a la Wolfowicz and Feith. Probably Bolton and/or PomPom already have one hiding in the basement ready to go.

GeneO , 21 July 2019 at 01:48 PM
Iran's FM Zarif made a peaceful impression during Fareed Zakaria's interview. But all the headlines focus on his one statement: "Start a war with Iran and we will end it" . Although those were NOT his words, what he said was "We will never start a war,...But we will defend ourselves, and anybody who starts a war with Iran will not be the one who ends it."

The question is whether he speaks for the hardliners.

Karl Kolchak , 21 July 2019 at 03:12 PM
You forgot to mention what will happen to the world economy if the Strait of Hormuz is closed to all shipping by Iranian missiles an mines. Stock marks would collapse and a deep recession if not depression would ensue quickly.

The same idiots running the show seem to believe that American oil and gas fracking makes it impervious to the loss of Middle Eastern oil (in fact, a secret motivation might be to save American frackers economically), but they forget that oil is a fungible commodity and always flows to the highest bidder. They could try of ban oil exports, but the Europe and Japan's economies would be utterly toast as there would be virtually no oil available to them, especially if Russia backed Iran and cut them off.

turcopolier , 21 July 2019 at 03:29 PM
Karl Kolchak

the strait would not stay closed long, ut there would be considerable economic damage while it is.

Tom Wonacott , 21 July 2019 at 03:36 PM
Rather than blaming this on the media, neocons or the Pentagon, put the blame where it lies - with President Trump. Trump campaigned on tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement which he did once he was elected. The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran which are meant to inflict serious hardship on the Iranian people. Trump hired Bolton and Pompeo - both hawks from previous administrations. Trump is attempting to enforce the sanctions. Is there anyone else to blame but Trump?

The scenario proposed by Moon of Alabama seems to be coming to fruition as an Iranian strategy to counter the sanctions - imposing hardships on the world economy by attacking western and Arab interests in the Middle East, but stopping short of a provocation which will require a military response ( https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/iran-decided-to-put-maximum-pressure-on-trump-here-is-how-it-will-do-it.html). Iran is not going to go quietly into the night.

Iran is also not entirely innocent in the affairs of the Middle East. Israel believes with some evidence that Iran is building forward bases in Syria - an unacceptable condition for Israel considering the thousands of missiles owned by Hezbollah and the ballistic missile testing by Iran. Iran is also supplying weapons directly to Hezbollah (as they always have). In addition, Iran is supplying weapons and (likely) ballistic missile technology to the Houthis. The Houthis have used ballistic missiles to attack the Saudis. Yemen is on the border of Saudi Arabia - and a (Shia) Houthi government is unacceptable to the Saudis. The Trump administration tore up the nuclear agreement because of the destabilizing political agenda of Iran (to US interests).

Trump campaigned on a more isolationist foreign policy so option 1 is still the most likely possibility for the moment (IMO).

walrus -> Tom Wonacott... , 21 July 2019 at 04:12 PM
The use of the golden rule suggests problems with your logic. Would we sit still, for example, if Russia and/or China started fostering guerrilla movements in South America? Of course not. We would actively intervene in support of what we see as our local security imperatives. That appears to me to be all Iran is doing in its region.
ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to Tom Wonacott... , 21 July 2019 at 06:57 PM
Your third paragraph is a stretch. Iran's actions that you describe are realistic (in the strategic sense of the word) responses to Israel's overt hostility, overwhelming superiority in air power and its possession of scores of nuclear weapons.
Antoinetta III , 21 July 2019 at 05:54 PM
I'm wondering if in case of war, Iran would need to "close the Gulf" at all.

If the Gulf oilfields in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are heavily rocketed and put out of commission along with tanker loading docks and pipeline infrastructure, there won't be any oil to ship out of the Gulf anyway.

Except Iran's own oil, of course.

Antoinetta III

jdledell , 21 July 2019 at 06:25 PM
The primary damage from a war with Iran will be economic. Oil flowing through the Staits will come to a halt and that will hit China, Japan and the rest of Asia very hard and their buying power will decrease significantly hurting our exports. Even though the U.S is self-sufficient in oil if oil prices hit $100+ on the world market look for the U.S. oil companies to increase their prices to approach the world price driving gas prices into the $5.00+/gallon range. Trump will undoubtably prohibit U.S oil exports but the damage to the economies world wide will still negatively impact the U.S.

Insurance on oil vessels will become almost impossible to get. The U.S will have to indemnify ship owners and I suspect many will not trust the U.S. to come through with the money for claims. Trump has a history of this and thus many ships will stay in port.

A war with Iran will not be won or lost militarily, but economically. Iran is 4 times the size of Iraq and has 3 times the population and I simply do not think we can successfully occupy the country. That being the case, I don't think the U.S can permanently prevent sabatoge in the Staits - meaning an oil induced recession will linger world wide for many years.

In a word - SNAFU

falcemartello , 21 July 2019 at 08:41 PM
UNO: increased false flag incident instigated by the anglo-zionist

DUE:Increased takfiri movements in Idlib and provocatiev attacks InnAleppo ,Hama Dara and Dier Ezurr as the Syrian Arab Army is consolidating around Northern Hama and Around Idlib .

TRE: More tanker siezures by the Nato cohorts and portraying Iran as breachoing the JCPCOA treaty. Nevr mentioning the breach of contract from the western alliance from Pax-Americana and its Western European vassals

Quattro Russia and China will be either utilised as middle men or further labelled as agressors and Iranian?Syrian?Yemeni apologist.

Post Scriptum: Signs of a dying paradigm as the western elite have gone into total sclerotic mode. Dangerous as a rabid dog.

[Jul 21, 2019] As Trump Backs Down, the Pips Squeak -- Strategic Culture

Jul 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Last week it was all fire and brimstone. The US was threatening more sanctions on Iran, the Brits were seizing oil tankers and Iran was violating the JCPOA.

This week things look different all of a sudden. An oil tanker goes dark while passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the story fails to get any real traction and the US allows Iranian Foreign Minister, recently sanctioned, to do his job at the United Nations.

Trump then holds a cabinet meeting where he reiterates that "We're not looking for regime change. We want them out of Yemen."

I thought National Security Advisor John Bolton said the US would apply pressure until "the pips squeak."

Where the pips are squeaking is on the Arabian Peninsula, not across the Persian Gulf in Bandar Abbas. Specifically, I'm talking about the United Arab Emirates. The UAE sent a delegation to Tehran recently that coincided with its partial withdrawal of troops from Yemen.

That meeting, according to Elijah Magnier , focused on Emirates realizing they are in the middle of this conflict, up to their skyscrapers.

"The UAE would like to avoid seeing their country transformed into a battlefield between the US and Iran in case of war, particularly if Trump is re-elected. The Emirates officials noted that the US did not respond to Iran's retaliation in the Gulf and in particularly when the US drone was downed. This indicates that Iran is prepared for confrontation and will implement its explicit menace, to hit any country from which the US carries out their attacks on Iran. We want to be out of all this ", an Emirates official told his Iranian counterpart in Tehran.

Iran promised to talk to the Yemeni officials to avoid hitting targets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as long as the UAE pulls out its forces from the Yemen and stops this useless war. Saudi Crown Prime Mohammad Bin Salman is finding himself without his main Emirates ally, caught in a war that is unwinnable for the Saudi regime. The Yemeni Houthis have taken the initiative, hitting several Saudi strategic targets. Saudi Arabia has no realistic objectives and seems to have lost the appetite to continue the war in Yemen.

So, with the Houthis successfully striking major targets inside Saudi Arabia and the UAE abruptly pulling forces out, the war in Yemen has reached a critical juncture. Remember, the Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill withdrawing support for the war back in March, which the White House had to veto in support of its fading hopes for its Israeli/Palestinian deal pushed by Jared Kushner.

But things have changed significantly since then as that deal has been indefinitely postponed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing a second election this fall after he failed to secure a stable coalition.

After that there was the failed economic conference in Bahrain in June where Kushner revealed the economic part of the plan to a half-empty room where only the backers of the plan showed any real support.

And that's the important part of this story, because it was Kushner's plan which was the impetus for all of this insane anti-Iran belligerence in the first place. Uniting the Gulf states around a security pact leveraging the U.S/Israeli/Saudi alliance was part of what was supposed to pressure the Palestinians to the bargaining table.

By placing maximum economic sanctions on both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran while continuing to foment chaos in Syria was supposed to force Israel's enemies to fold under the pressure which would, in turn, see the Palestinians surrender to the will of Kushner and Bibi.

The problem is, it didn't work. And now Trump is left holding the bag on this idiotic policy which culminated in an obvious provocation when Iran shot down a $220 million Global Hawk surveillance drone, nearly sparking a wider war.

But what it did was expose the US and not Iran as the cause of the current problems.

Since then Trump finally had to stand up and be the grown-up in the room, such as he is, and put an end to this madness.

The UAE understood the potential for Iran's asymmetric response to US belligerence. The Saudis cannot win the war in Yemen that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began. The fallout from this war has been to push Qatar out of the orbit of the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, cutting deals with Iran over developing the massive North Pars gas field and pipelines to Europe.

And now the UAE has realized it is facing an existential threat to its future in any confrontation between Iran and the US

What's telling is that Trump is making Yemen the issue to negotiate down rather than Iran's nuclear ambitions. Because it was never about the nuclear program. It was always about Iran's ballistic missile program.

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have us believe that for the first time Iran's missile program is on the negotiating table. I have no idea if that's actually true, but it's a dead giveaway that it's what the US is after.

The main reason why Trump and Netanyahu are so angry about the JCPOA is the mutual outsourcing of the nuclear ballistic missile program by Iran and North Korea. North Korea was working on the warhead while Iran worked on the ballistic missile.

Trump tweeted about this nearly two years ago, confirming this link. I wrote about it when he did this. Nearly everything I said about North Korea in the blog post is now applicable to Iran. This was why he hated the JCPOA, it didn't actually stop the development of Iran and North Korea into nuclear states.

But tearing up the deal was the wrong approach to solving the problem. Stop pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons to the region, as Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pointed out recently, is the problem . By doing this he took both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping off his side of the table.

Now he stands isolated with only the provocateurs – Israel, the U.K., Saudi Arabia – trying to goad him forward into doing something he doesn't want to do. And all of those provocations that have occurred in the past month have failed to move either Trump or the Iranians. They've learned patience, possibly from Putin. Call it geopolitical rope-a-dope, if you will.

I said last month that the key to solving Iran's nuclear ambitions was solving the relationship with North Korea. Trump, smartly, went there, doing what only he could do , talk with DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-Un and reiterate his sincere desire to end proliferation of nuclear weapons.

He can get Iran to the table but he's going to have to give up something. So, now framing the negotiations with Iran around their demands we stop arming the Saudis is politically feasible.

Trump can't, at this point, back down directly with Iran. Yemen is deeply unpopular here and ending our support of it would be a boon to Trump politically. Trading that for some sanctions relief would be a good first step to solving the mess he's in and build some trust.

Firing John Bolton, which looks more likely every day, would be another.

He's already turning a blind eye to Iranian exports to China, and presumably, other places. I think the Brits are acting independently trying to create havoc and burnish Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's resume as Prime Minister against Boris Johnson. That's why they hijacked the oil tanker.

But all the little distractions are nothing but poison pills to keep from discussing the real issues. Trump just cut through all that. So did Iran. Let's hope they stay focused.

[Jul 20, 2019] On Iran, Why Not Rand

Notable quotes:
"... Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at ..."
"... , and a frequent contributor to ..."
"... That TAC columnists continue to hold out hope that Trump will revert to his 2016 form astounds me. ..."
"... It's like watching Obama cultists convince themselves that The Real Obama®, the hopey changey guy from 2008, will finally put in an appearance, even as he betrays them over and over again. ..."
Jul 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

If there is any direct communication between American and Iranian officials, it is hidden from public view. All of this has made Senator Rand Paul's initiative to open dialogue with Tehran urgent, necessary, and prudent.

According to a July 17 story in Politico , Paul recently pitched himself to President Trump as a possible presidential emissary to the Iranians -- someone who could sit down with Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and begin a conversation on the issues that have nearly resulted in military conflict. Trump apparently accepted Paul's pitch while the two were on the golf course last weekend. His decision, while not yet confirmed by the White House, suggests that Trump is slowly beginning to recognize the deficiencies of the maximum pressure policy that National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and outside counsels like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Mark Dubowitz have peddled for years. Far from forcing Tehran's surrender, economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation have yielded more Iranian aggression. Iran is now a wounded animal backed into a corner, ready to fight rather than submit. The chances of a clash have increased substantially.

In a town filled with tough talkers who see foreign policy as an extension of domestic politics, Rand Paul is one of those strange creatures who is willing to throw himself in front of a bus for the sake of preventing a war. His foes (of which there are many, from Bill Kristol and Lindsey Graham to Marco Rubio and Liz Cheney) use the lazy isolationist epitaph to paint him as a gadfly on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But at his core, Paul is neither a gadfly nor an isolationist. The junior senator from Kentucky is a non-interventionist who has the audacity to search for diplomatic solutions before doing what most of his colleagues on Capitol Hill would have long preferred -- involuntarily reaching for more punitive options.

This isn't the first time Paul has tried to create space for dialogue with a U.S. adversary. Last year, when so much as talking to a Russian was universally frowned upon by the political class, Paul flew to Moscow and delivered a letter on behalf of President Trump to Russian parliamentarians. A month later, he introduced an amendment that would have lifted travel restrictions on Russian lawmakers if Moscow did the same for their American counterparts. The amendment was a small and reasonable gesture that removed largely symbolic sanctions in order to encourage Americans and Russians to familiarize themselves with each other. It was lambasted in committee and killed .

Paul's latest initiative with Iran could run into the same brick wall. The fact that the arrangement was leaked to the media is an indication that somebody in the Trump administration is totally opposed to the idea and wants to bury any potential conversations with the Iranians before they begin. One can almost picture John Bolton, holed up in the White House basement, hearing the news and frantically ordering his minions on the National Security Council to expose it in the press.

There are also practical questions that need to be answered. With Zarif only in New York for another few days, does Paul have the time for a one-on-one meeting? Would the Iranians be interested in meeting with the senator, even if he does have the president's ear? Or is Khamenei, still seething over the administration's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and watching his government's oil exports disappear, dead set on banning any contact with the Americans for as long as Trump remains in the Oval Office?

It's Not Too Late for Trump to Ignore Bolton and Get Iran Right Is America Ready for John Bolton's War With Iran?

Organizing a backchannel with the Iranians could be difficult, in large measure because it will be fought tooth-and-nail by the usual suspects. But Rand Paul's potential role as an envoy should be pursued. After all, it isn't like the hawks have such a great track record.

Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at Reuters , and a frequent contributor to The American Conservative.


Sid Finster2 days ago • edited

That TAC columnists continue to hold out hope that Trump will revert to his 2016 form astounds me.

It's like watching Obama cultists convince themselves that The Real Obama®, the hopey changey guy from 2008, will finally put in an appearance, even as he betrays them over and over again.

Sid Finster2 days ago • edited
That TAC columnists continue to hold out hope that Trump will revert to his 2016 form astounds me.

It's like watching Obama cultists convince themselves that The Real Obama®, the hopey changey guy from 2008, will finally put in an appearance, even as he betrays them over and over again.

dbriz Sid Finster2 days ago
Your pessimism is certainly warranted and frequently seconded by Larison and others at TAC. Agreed. But, what choice do we have but to encourage proposals like this one and recognize that Trump, as infuriatingly inconsistent as he has been, needs to be encouraged when he does something sensible.

Rand at least seems to have his ear, no small feat.

Sid Finster dbriz2 days ago
I am not saying that such moves, if they come to pass, should not be encouraged.

But let's see if anything comes of it, or if the Boltons, Pompeos and Haspels of this world make sure that Rand fails and then chant "But we have to go to war because we tried so hard we tried everything ZOMG war war war!"

bbkingfish2 days ago
The best reason I can think of to choose to send someone other than Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran is that Paul was NOT one of the seven WPP senators who didn't sign Tom Cotton's odious open letter to Iran trying to put the kibosh on the Obama nuke deal with Iran.

Maybe try Corker, or Alexander or Murkowski...someone whom the Iranians might have some reason to trust.

I seriously doubt that Rand Paul has a whit more credibility in Tehran than Trump does, and why would he?. I can't think of a single reason why Iran should trust him.

Fayez Abedaziz2 days ago
Good and very to the point made in this article about the hawks, these neo-cons, these war lovers, not having a good track record.
They have a record of death and destruction and they could care less about people suffering.
Just why do they want America to continue attacking and threaten and make war on numerous nations?
Why...
Sid Finster Fayez Abedaziza day ago
Because most Americans have the memory and attention span of a mosquito.

[Jul 18, 2019] The more "effective" the sanctions, the closer to war

Jul 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

elkern , Jul 17 2019 16:08 utc | 31

Trailer Trash is exactly right about brittle supply chains. To "maximize Shareholder value" (the Prime Directive from Wall Street), corporations are maximizing (not optimizing) efficiency, at the expense of long-term priorities.

Summer Diaz is sorta right about what I might describe as US cultural/political obesity, but I don't look forward to living here after the shit hits the fan. There are lotsa crazy bastards with guns. We'll see real race war, starvation, all 4 Horsemen.

Re questions about Israel's fate in Marandi's scenario: I think it's smart that he/they don't talk about retaliation against Israel. Everybody knows that Iran has the ability to really hurt Israel (sans Nukes, they probably can't obliterate it); but this threat is much better left unsaid, just hanging in the air. Threatening Israel would be bad PR, decreasing chances that EU, Russia, & China can talk the US back from the brink of WWIII. And making sure Israel knows they're in danger - without bragging about it - gets (non-crazy) Zionists in USA to help prevent all-out war!

It's OK for Iran to talk about the threat to KSA, UAE, etc, because everybody hates them anyway, and cutting off the world's energy supply is their Doomsday Bomb. They need to remind the world that if the US attacks Iran, everybody loses.


karlof1 , Jul 17 2019 16:23 utc | 32

Three main antagonists have aimed at post-revolution Iran: The Outlaw US Empire, Occupied Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, the latter being the most recent and vulnerable, while the first two have already waged varying degrees of war with the Empire's Economic War having existed for 40+ years. The Levant's former Colonial powers--Turkey, France, UK--are feeble, and in Turkey's case is allied with Iran while being spurned by NATO and EU. Lurking in the background are Russia and China's designs for Eurasian Integration which only the Outlaw US Empire seeks to prevent as such integration benefits Saudi Arabia, Occupied Palestine, France and UK. Thus the only entity that might benefit from non-hybrid war with Iran is the Outlaw US Empire--Occupied Palestine's interests actually lie with becoming part of an Integrated Eurasia not in trying to impede it. And the same goes for the other nations occupying the Arabian Peninsula--but they all need to come to their senses by deeply examining their actual long term interests as Qatar seems to have done in its rapprochement with Iran.

But, just how would a non-hybrid conflict with Iran benefit the Outlaw US Empire if it consumes its regional allies? Would it bring more riches or create greater debt atop the human cost? Most analysts have pointed to the Empire's vulnerability upon the trashing of the current global economic structure. Indeed, the only visible benefit might accrue from slowing Eurasian Integration. Then there's the highly negative result to the Empire's global credibility which is already scrapping rock bottom and the likely end of Dollar Hegemony and the Free Lunch it's lived on for the past 70+ years. But what about the fulfillment of the Christian Rapture Myth? Sorry, but there should be no need to answer that fantastical, magical, thinking. Not a very good balance sheet is it as liabilities seem to vastly outweigh assets. Unfortunately, such logic is ignored by ideologues drunk on magical thinking. And these results don't take into consideration an escalation into global nuclear conflict that's in nobody's interest.

But as noted, Trump's up a tree and keeps climbing higher onto ever thinner, more precarious branches. Iran offered him a chance to climb down if he removes illegal sanctions and returns to JCPOA, which Pompeo promptly replied to with a lie that Iran would negotiate on its ballistic missiles, thus giving the overall goal away.

So, Trump can't/won't climb down and non-hybrid conflict would do great damage to Outlaw US Empire interests, which is where we were at July's beginning.

goldhoarder , Jul 17 2019 16:41 utc | 33
Iran will respond to a limited military strike with a massive and disproportionate counterstrike targeting both the aggressor and its enablers.
Which will be the green light for an even more violent & disproportionate counterstrike on Iran. Make no mistake - there are plenty of gung-ho Washington & Tel Aviv power brokers who want to trash Iran. And they will do it, given the chance. The above scenario is precisely what the war gods are hoping for.

I don't know about that. The US and Israel would really be opening up a can of worms. Any over reaction by the USA and Israel gives Russia, India, and China a precedent to follow. China might it easy to settle their difficulties with Taiwan. Kiev might go up in a mushroom cloud. The USA isn't the only country in the world with problems. If they don't play by the rules it just leads to more rule breakers.

arata , Jul 17 2019 16:47 utc | 34
An Alternate Scenario
There is a saying in Persian language called "Namad Maali" translates as "feltman massag", it means slow killing.
This proverb is very often used in contemporary Persian language but most of the people do not know the actual origin of the proverb.
There is an interesting legend behind it. Holagu Khan, a Mongol ruler, the grandson of Chengiz Khan conquered Baghdad on year 1258, and captured the Caliph Al-Mo'tasam, the last Caliph of Abbasid dynasty. Holagu decided to execute the Caliph and finish the 500 years Muslim caliphate.
Many statesmen begged him to hold on. They told him that the caliph is legitimate successor of prophet Mohammad. Caliphate is the pillar of the world, if you remove this pillar there will be sun eclipse, thunder storm and total darkness. Holagu, with his shamanistic believes fearing sky revenge was yielding, but he consulted his prime minister a Persian mullah, Nasir al-Din Tusi. Nasir told him do not worry, these are total nonsense, all of our great Shai twelve imams were direct descendants of prophet Mohammad, they were inherently innocent, while Abbasid are not direct descendants of prophet. See that our imams, eleven out of twelve, were martyred, there was no sun eclipse, no thunder storm, no darkness of the world.
Holagu was bold enough to carry out the execution. Other statesmen brought forward a group of astrologists who searched through their horoscopes and studied signs of stars and concluded that all the signs are catastrophic, if a drop of caliph's blood drops on earth, there will be a devastating thunder storm, rain of bloods pours down from sky and end of world ...
Holagu consulted Nasi again. Nasir being a great humorist, told him not worry, we can devise a pretty easy solution for your peace of mind, send the caliph to hot bath of feltman workshop, order to be wrapped in felt, they will give him a hot water bath with soap, they will roll him slowly over and over, as they are crafting a felt, his life will be ended peacefully in massage, without a drop of blood, meanwhile I will assign one of my intelligent apprentice who is familiar with sky ways ( Nasir was a great mathematician and Astronomer, he founded a famous observatory, he was inventor of trigonometry), to sit on the roof top of the feltman workshop, he will monitor any changes on sky if there is a minor change, he will signal to the feltman to release the caliph.
President Vladimir Khan has been giving warnings to Ayatollah do not burn JCPOA, do not close Strait of Hurmoz. Ayatollah is telling him do not worry we are giving a feltman massage. Just tell Xi khan do not lean his back against the wall street pillar, clean up your hands from future fund casino, the pillars are collapsing slowly.



jason , Jul 17 2019 17:13 utc | 35
the US and its allies are bluffing. don't get caught up in wars and rumors of it. the only way it was going to happen was if syria and iraq fell and both of them didn't.

when it didn't. they resort back to the usual MO, look busy.

OutOfThinAir , Jul 17 2019 17:31 utc | 36
A reminder from Iran that they can hit back.

Hopefully folks who can influence power have been reading the Guns of August.

Possible miscalculations are everywhere and the parties are no strangers to false flags and proxy actors.

So I'm crossing my fingers for strong back channel communications.

I'm not expecting outright major war. Perhaps a skirmish or two, but a negotiated deal is still the most likely outcome.

c1ue , Jul 17 2019 17:56 utc | 37
@C I eh? #14
I don't see China as the same situation as Russia.
The Russians who have largely supported Putin despite economic ill-effects from sanctions are, at best, 1 generation removed from 1991-1996 post-Soviet collapse privation. They remember the bad times and how to get through them.
The mainland Chinese today are 2 generation removed from the famines in the 50s and 60s, and furthermore there is a largely generational break due to the Cultural Revolution.
I don't see China collapsing, but I also don't see the mainstream population taking a oil-starvation induced economic collapse well at all, because the deal is social repression if the economy and standards of living continue to improve.
The difference is French cheese and EU fruits and vegetables - luxury goods vs. oil = energy = everything.
Uncle Jon , Jul 17 2019 17:57 utc | 38
There seems to be misconception about Kuwait, in particular.

Kuwaitis are fed up with the Saudis and are more Iranophile than anything. They see who is a true regional power.

Recently, I happen to be invited to a diplomatic function, welcoming a new Kuwaiti ambassador (Not in US). There were several businessmen associates of the new ambassador at that function. In an impromptu conversation, they professed their love for anything Iranian or Persian, from culture and history to food and the people, and their disdain for the Saudis and their ruling family.

In fact, one of them, much to my shock, uttered the circulating rumor that the ruling family in SA are actually Jews. He said everyone in the region knows about this open secret but afraid to talk about. That was a revelation for me coming from a Kuwaiti since I never did pay attention to those rumors.

I think in the event of a regional conflict, Kuwait will be spared by Iran. What would happen to the ruling family will be another story.

james , Jul 17 2019 18:04 utc | 39
thanks Seyed Mohammad Marandi.. i agree with your headline...

the usa is not agreement friendly.. everything is on their terms only... they rip up contracts when a new president doesn't like it, and make endless demands of others under threat, just like bullies do. they sanction countries and don't mind killing, starving and subjecting people in faraway lands to their ongoing and desperate means of domination.. nothing about the usa is friendly... they spend all their money on the military not just because it works so well for wall st and the corporations but because they think they can continue to bully everyone and anyone indefinitely.. they get support from the obvious suspects and all the other colonies of the usa - europe, canada and etc - turn a type of blind eye to it all, fearful they might be next if they step out of line.. thus, all these chattel countries fail in line with the usa regime sanctions...

basically, the prognosis isn't good.. none of the colonies are capable of speaking up to the usa regime, largely because they lack strong leadership and independence of thought in all this... we continue to slip towards ww3 and at present all the observing countries sit on their hands waiting for the next shoe to drop.. that is where we are at present with regard the ramp up to war on iran...

Harry Law , Jul 17 2019 21:24 utc | 60
The Gulf states know they would be in the front lines in any conflict, Saudi and UAE infrastructure destruction would mean Kings, Princes and Emir's scurrying from their destroyed countries because of their inability to sell oil and feed their people, as one Iranian General said.. the US bases in the region are not threats, "they are targets". Its true Iran has an army of 500,000, they also have millions of military aged men who would form militias and have the reputation of taking their shrouds with them into battle.
I think a major miscalculation by Trump, initiating this kind of scenario is unlikely, those other whack jobs Pence, Pompeo and Bolton are a cause for concern, just hear this nutcase Lindsey Graham threatening the Europeans....
"The United States should sanction "to the ground" European countries that continue to trade with Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal and refuse to join America's pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic, says top Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
"I will tell the Europeans, 'If you want to side with the Iranians, be my guest, but you won't use an American bank or do business with the American economy,'" Graham said".
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/16/601067/US-Graham-Trump-Iran-JCPOA-EU-sanction-to-ground
William Herschel , Jul 17 2019 21:39 utc | 61
Punitive sanctions against nations with a powerful military establishment have an incredibly poor track record. Germany after WWI. Japan prior to Pearl Harbor. And one might add Russia today. The more "effective" the sanctions, the closer to war.

But, of course, military planners in the U.S. and Israel have already picked out the targets for nuclear strikes during the very first wave of attacks on Iran. It will be nuclear first, ask questions later. Heil Trump has already said he will use nuclear weapons: "obliterate". But will even that work? I doubt it. Iran must expect nuclear attacks in the first wave. Yes, their urban populations will be destroyed, but their military? I doubt it.

Formerly T-Bear , Jul 17 2019 21:54 utc | 62
@ Harry Law | Jul 17 2019 21:24 utc | 60

The folks who now are called Iranian once fought the most militaristic society ever - the Spartans. There is likely a memory of that conflict still, and the lessons learned. They face a military that no longer remembers Vietnam or its lessons. Sanctions are an act of war, not military war but war against another who have been made into enemies nonetheless. Be mightily careful who you make your enemy, one sage reminds that you become like them. Look at those the U.S. has made enemy: Hitler and National Socialism; Mussolini and Fascism; Stalin and State Authoritarianism; Franco and Military Repression; and the list continues substantially, and then look at the U.S. in a distortion free mirror and what does one see?

Maracatu , Jul 17 2019 22:00 utc | 63
Taking into consideration the novel Rand Paul intervention, the likely way forward is this, and I'm sure it is what Putin (the master negotiator) has in mind: Trump blundered badly by throwing out the JCPOA, but he needs a way out that allows him to save face and even turn it into a partial "win". On the world stage (ie. for the public) it needs to look like Trump accedes to reinstate the JCPOA IN EXCHANGE for Iran withdrawing from Syria! This will not only save the nuclear deal, thereby reducing tensions, but it will force Israel to back down and shut up. Israel can't complain and Trump can sell it as an achievement of his, "without having to go to war". The US, of course will have to give Iran, Syria and Russia something in exchange: Iran and Russia ultimately bolstered their forces in Syria in order to save Assad. All things considered, Assad has won the war, so the reason for the bolstered Iranian and Russian presence no longer applies. What the US must agree to is to suspend its efforts to overthrow Assad (which Trump has been trying to do via the withdrawal of US troops in northern Syria), thereby returning the country to the status quo ante. The wild card in all of this, however, is Turkey's presence in Syria. Perhaps China can lend a helping hand on that issue?
Yeah, Right , Jul 17 2019 22:14 utc | 64
@35 "when it didn't. they resort back to the usual MO, look busy."

I agree with that comment, though I will add that for this Administration "looking busy" has a Keystone Cops look about it.

I mean, let's be real here: Norman Schwarzkopf did not make a single move against Iraq until he had well over 500,000 GI's at his command, and Tommy Franks was not willing to restart the Crash Boom Bang until he had built up his army to just shy of 500,000 soldiers.

And Iraq then was nowhere near as formidable as Iran is now.

Where are the troop buildups? Where is the CENTCOM army?
Nowhere. And no sign of it happening.

There is a real possibility that Bolton might get his way and start his dinky little war, only to find that the USA loses a great big war before he even manages to get out of bed.

CENTCOM is not ready for war, nowhere close to it, and for that reason alone Iran is correct to tell the USA that if Trump launches a "limited strike" then their response will be "it's on, baby".

Beibdnn. , Jul 17 2019 22:51 utc | 67
@ William Herschel 61. If the U.S. or anyone else uses any type of Nuclear weapons against Iran, a declared ally of Russia, it will result in an immediate and full scale Nuclear retaliation. This is a recent statement made by Vladimir Putin. Pompeo, Bolton et all are well aware of this. The U.S. might talk of using tactical nukes but despite their Hubris, even the most pro war in the Pentagon know what the results of that type of planned anihilation will have on the U.S. mainland. People like Lindsey Graham are merely empty vessels making a lot of noise.
karlof1 , Jul 17 2019 23:14 utc | 69
Why would Iran allow any Western nation to save face through negotiations or otherwise? Khamenei yesterday tweeted several statements that were later posted to his website:

"At this meeting, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran stressed that Western governments' arrogant behavior is the main obstacle in establishing ties and maintained: Western governments' major vice is their arrogance. If they face a weak government, their arrogance will be effective. But if that country knows the truth about them and resists, the Western governments will be defeated.

"Referring to problems rising between Iran and the European partners of the JCPOA, Ayatollah Khamenei said: Now, in the matters between us and the Europeans, the problems persist, because of their arrogance.

"The Leader of the Islamic Revolution highlighted Iran's commitment to the JCPOA -- also known as the Iran Deal -- and criticized European dignitaries of the deal for breaching it, saying: As stated by our Foreign Minister, who works hard, Europe has had eleven commitments, none of which it has met. The Foreign Minister, despite his diplomatic considerations, is clearly stating that. But what did we do? We acted based on our commitments, and even beyond that.

"Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that Iran continued to stay within the JCPOA despite the fact that the EU partners of the JCPOA as well as the British government violated the international plan of action and yet demanded Iran to stay with its promises: Now that we have started to reduce our commitments, they step forward. They are very insolent, and they have not abided by their eleven commitments. We have just started to reduce some of our commitments, and this process will surely continue."

The hypothetical suggestion Zarif made in his interview with NBC News was just that--hypothetical--as it had to spell out again for the apparently illiterate, deaf or both SoS Pompeo and BigLie Media presstitutes.

In his arrogance, Trump climbed up the tree he's now stuck within; and as I've pointed out again and again, Iran isn't going to help him in his climb down--they'll be no face saving for the arrogant Western nations. I mean, how clear can the Iranians make that?! They quite well understand the very real interests at stake I put forth in my comment @32. And the Turks on their own have upped the stakes with Erdogan assuring :

"that his country is prepared to leave NATO during a meeting with Russian Deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

"'I met twice with Turkish President Recep Erdogan and he told me personally that Turkey was willing to withdraw from NATO,' Zhirinovsky wrote."

Trump seems desperate for a way to climb down from his tree. Controversial Kentucky Senator Rand Paul apparently volunteered his services as an emissary to Iran , which Trump okayed but Paul's office is being mum about. As noted, Iran isn't going to talk unless tangible, visible concessions are made prior to any talks occurring--concessions Zarif and Rouhani have already stated as the minimum required: Ending all illegal sanctions and return to JCPOA.

Uncle Jon , Jul 17 2019 23:38 utc | 72
@karlof1 69

Iran just announced that they would be open to talk about ballistic missiles when US stops selling arms in the Middle East.

You have to hand it to the Iranians. In the one-up-manship game, they are a formidable opponent. Obviously, there is less than zero chance that would ever happen, but they are super smart in driving the message of US arrogance home. I am happy to see they don't take any shit from the Empire.

Master negotiators at work.

[Jul 05, 2019] Bolton Isn't Quitting by DANIEL LARISON

Jul 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Tom Wright makes some good observations about Trump's foreign policy here, but I think he underestimates Bolton's determination to cling to power:

It's hard to see how Bolton can stay. Trump has long known that Bolton wanted war more than he does. He sidelined him on North Korea and overruled him on Iran. For his part, Bolton has privately attacked Pompeo, long a Trump favorite, as falling captive to the State Department bureaucracy and has predicted that the North Korea policy will fail.

Bolton has given an unusually large number of interviews to reporters and has been rewarded with positive profiles lauding his influence and bureaucratic prowess. Those of us who predicted that he would cling to the post of national security adviser, as it would be the last job he'd ever get, may have been wrong. In fact, Bolton looks and sounds as if he is preparing to exit on his own terms. Better that than being sent on a never-ending tour of the world's most obscure places. For Bolton, leaving because he's too tough for Trump is the perfect way to save face. Otherwise, he may be remembered as the man who presided over one of the weakest national security teams in modern American history and someone whose myopic obsessions -- like international treaties or communism in Venezuela -- meant the United States lost precious time in preparing for the national security challenges of the future.

Bolton has been allowed to drive Iran policy to the brink of war, and I can't believe that he would voluntarily leave the position he has when he still has a chance of getting the war with Iran that he has been seeking for years. It is true that Bolton was sent to Mongolia to keep him out of sight during the president's visit with Kim at the DMZ, but where is the proof that Trump has abandoned the maximalist demands that Bolton has long insisted on? On Iran, Trump is still reciting hawkish talking points, sanctioning anything that moves, and occasionally making more deranged threats against the entire country. Unless Trump decides to get rid of Bolton, I don't see why Bolton would want to leave. He gets to set policy on the issue he has obsessed over for decades, and he gets to pursue a policy of regime change in all but name. Bolton will probably be happy to let Pompeo have all the "credit" for North Korea policy, since there is none to be had, and he'll keep stoking the Iran obsession that has already done so much harm to the Iranian people and brought the U.S. dangerously close to a war it has no reason to fight.

Banishing Bolton to Mongolia was briefly entertaining for those of us that can't stand the National Security Advisor, but it doesn't mean very much if administration policies aren't changing. Since Bolton is the one running the policy "process," it seems unlikely that there will be any real change as long as he is there. For whatever reason, Trump doesn't seem willing to fire him. Maybe that's because he doesn't want to offend Sheldon Adelson, a known Bolton supporter and big Trump donor, or maybe it's because he enjoys having Bolton as a lightning rod to take some of the criticism, or maybe it's because their militaristic worldviews aren't as dissimilar as many people assume. It doesn't really matter why Trump won't rid himself of Bolton. What matters is that Bolton is supposedly "humiliated" again and again by Trump actions or statements, and then Bolton gets back to promoting his own agenda no matter what the president does.

For that matter, Bolton's absence from the DMZ meeting may have been exactly what he wanted. Graeme Wood suggested as much just the other day:

Carlson has inserted himself into the frame of this bizarre and impromptu diplomatic trip, and that is exactly where the Boltonites want him: forever associated with a handshake that will be recorded as a new low in the annals of presidential gullibility.

Many observers have assumed that Bolton won't be able to stay in the administration at different points over the last several months. When Trump claimed that he didn't want regime change in Iran, that was supposed to be a break with Bolton. The only hitch is that Bolton maintains this same fiction that they aren't trying to bring down the Iranian government when they obviously are. The second summit with North Korea and the possibility of some initial agreement caused similar speculation that Bolton's influence was waning, and then he managed to wreck the Hanoi summit by getting Trump to make demands that he and everyone else must have known were unacceptable to the North Koreans. Every time it seems that Bolton's maximalism is giving way to something else, Bolton gets the last laugh.

Demolishing the architecture of arms control has been one of Bolton's main ambitions throughout his career. He has already done quite a bit of damage, but I assume he will want to make sure that New START dies. Bolton likely will "be remembered as the man who presided over one of the weakest national security teams in modern American history and someone whose myopic obsessions -- like international treaties or communism in Venezuela -- meant the United States lost precious time in preparing for the national security challenges of the future," but as long as he has the chance to pursue those obsessions and advance his agenda I don't think he's going to give it up. He is an abysmal National Security Advisor, a fanatic, and a menace to this country, and I would love it if he did resign, but I just don't see it. I doubt that Bolton cares about "saving face" as much as he does inflicting as much damage as he can while he has the opportunity. The only thing that Bolton believes in quitting is a successful diplomatic agreement that advances U.S. interests. That is why it is necessary for the president to replace him, because I don't see any other way that he is going to leave.

Lily Sandoz6 hours ago

Bolton quitting? Heck! He's just getting started. Britain, on orders from Bolton, detained an Panamanian flagged supertanker heading to Syria with Iranian oil. Spanish officials said the Grace 1, was seized by British patrol ships off Gibraltar, and boarded by Royal Marines and detained on Wash.'s orders.

Bolton's power is becoming unlimited because Trump and the rest of the gov. is doing nothing to stop his agenda, which most of Wash., must share, of starting a war with Iran, N. Korea, or anywhere else he can stir up trouble.

It's so obvious Wash. wants Iran to fire the first shot in order to go to war and make political donors like Sheldon Adelson happy, as well as Netanyahu who has more to say about US foreign policy than the American people who just want to stop the wars and concentrate on the issues and problems here at home.

After all, it's OUR MONEY going to finance all the atrocities abroad that the war industry and other countries benefit from. Unbelievable stuff going on in Wash. and seems everyday it gets worse and more absurd.

[Jun 29, 2019] John Bolton is that you? on ZH? cooool, maybe pompeo will show up later?

Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

LaugherNYC , 2 hours ago link

You gotta love the SCI. This shallowly-disguised Russian propaganda arm writes in the most charming awkward idiomatic English, bouncing from a "false neutral" tone to a jingoistic Amercia-phobic argot to produce its hit pieces.

Russian propaganda acts like Claude Raines in "Casablanca" : "i am shocked, shocked to discover (geopolitics) going on here!" Geeeee, Europe and the US are in a struggle to avoid Europe relying on Russia for strategic necessities like fuel, even if it imposes costs on European consumers. If you have a dangerous disease, and your pharmacist is known for cutting off their customers' vital drugs to extort them, you might consider using another provider who not only doesn't cut off supplies, but also provides the police department that protects you from your pharmacist's thugs who are known to invade customers' homes using the profits from their own business.

The US provides the protective umbrella that limits Putin's adventurism. Russia cuts of Ukraine's gas supplies in winter to force them into submission. Gasprom is effectively an arm of the Russian military, weaponizing Russia's only product as a geopolitical taser. Sure, it costs more to transport LNG across the Atlantic and convert it back to gas, but the profits from that business are routinely funneled back to Europe in the form of US trade, contributions to NATO, and the provision of the nuclear umbrella that protects Europeans from the man who has publicly lamented the fall of the Soviet Union, called for the return of the former SSRs, and violated the IRM treaty to place nuclear capable intermediate-range missiles and cruise missiles within range of Europe and boasted about his new hypersonic weapons' theoretic capability to decapitate NATO and American decision-making within a few minutes of launch.

... ... ...

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Oh, for pity's sake, Laugher. Everything...absolutely everything you attribute to Russia in your post can be said of the U.S. I'm not much of a Wiki fan, but for expediency, here's their view on military bases.

The establishment of military bases abroad enables a country to project power , e.g. to conduct expeditionary warfare , and thereby influence events abroad. Depending on their size and infrastructure, they can be used as staging areas or for logistical, communications and intelligence support. Many conflicts throughout modern history have resulted in overseas military bases being established in large numbers by world powers and the existence of bases abroad has served countries having them in achieving political and military goals.

And this link will provide you with countries worldwide and their bases.

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

Note that Russia, in this particular list, has eight bases all contiguous to Russia. The U.S. has 36 listed here with none of them contiguous to the U.S.' borders.

[Jun 28, 2019] Bolton Gets Ready to Kill New START by Daniel Larison

Jun 27, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
If Bolton gets his way, New START is not long for this world :

At the same time, the administration has signaled in recent days that it plans to let the New Start treaty, negotiated by Barack Obama, expire in February 2021 rather than renew it for another five years. John R. Bolton, the president's national security adviser, who met with his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, in Jerusalem this week, said before leaving Washington that "there's no decision, but I think it's unlikely" the treaty would be renewed.

Mr. Bolton, a longtime skeptic of arms control agreements, said that New Start was flawed because it did not cover short-range tactical nuclear weapons or new Russian delivery systems. "So to extend for five years and not take these new delivery system threats into account would be malpractice," he told The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative outlet.

Like all of his complaints about arms control agreements, Bolton's criticisms of New START are made in bad faith. Opponents of New START have long pretended that they oppose the treaty because it did not cover everything imaginable, including tactical nuclear weapons, but this has always been an excuse for them to reject a treaty that they have never wanted ratified in the first place. If the concern about negotiating a treaty that covered tactical nuclear weapons were genuine, the smart thing to do would be to extend New START and then begin negotiations for a more comprehensive arms control agreement. Faulting New START for failing to include things that are by definition not going to be included in a strategic arms reduction treaty gives the game away. This is what die-hard opponents of the treaty have been doing for almost ten years, and they do it because they want to dismantle the last vestiges of arms control. The proposal to include China as part of a new treaty is another tell that the Trump administration just wants the treaty to die.

The article concludes:

Some experts suspect talk of a three-way accord is merely a feint to get rid of the New Start treaty. "If a trilateral deal is meant as a substitute or prerequisite for extending New Start, it is a poison pill, no ifs, ands or buts," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "If the president is seeking a trilateral deal as a follow-on to New Start, that's a different thing."

Knowing Bolton, it has to be a poison pill. Just as Bolton is ideologically opposed to making any deal with Iran, he is ideologically opposed to any arms control agreement that places limits on the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The "flaws" he identifies aren't really flaws that he wants to fix (and they may not be flaws at all), but excuses for trashing the agreement. He will make noises about how the current deal or treaty doesn't go far enough, but the truth is that he doesn't want any agreements to exist. In Bolton's worldview, nonproliferation and arms control agreements either give the other government too much or hamper the U.S. too much, and so he wants to destroy them all. He has had a lot of success at killing agreements and treaties that have been in the U.S. interest. Bolton has had a hand in blowing up the Agreed Framework with North Korea, abandoning the ABM Treaty, killing the INF Treaty, and reneging on the JCPOA. Unless the president can be persuaded to ignore or fire Bolton, New START will be his next victim.

If New START dies, it will be a loss for both the U.S. and Russia, it will make the world less secure, and it will make U.S.-Russian relations even worse. The stability that these treaties have provided has been important for U.S. security for almost fifty years. New START is the last of the treaties that constrain the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, and when it is gone there will be nothing to replace it for a long time. The collapse of arms control almost certainly means that the top two nuclear weapons states will expand their arsenals and put us back on the path of an insane and unwinnable arms race. Killing New START is irrational and purely destructive, and it needs to be opposed.


Taras77 a day ago

bolton is opposed to any treaty, to any agreement, whereby the other side can expect to obtain equally favorable terms-he wants the other side on their knees permanently without any expectation of compromise by the empire.
Sid Finster a day ago
I wonder how long it will take for Trump to finally figure out that Bolton and Pompeo regard him as expendable.

Whether Trump wins or loses in 2020 will not matter, as long as the neocons get what they want.

Tony 9 hours ago
John Bolton will not be satisfied until he has got us all killed.
He is an extremely dangerous man.

[Jun 28, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard vs Bolton

Highly recommended!
Jun 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

Chris Mallory , says: June 28, 2019 at 2:04 am GMT

Miss Gabbard just served two tours in the ME, one as enlisted in the HI National Guard.

Brave Mr. Bolton kept the dirty communists from endangering the US supply of Chesapeake crab while serving in the Maryland Guard. Rumor also has it that he helped Tompall Glaser write the song Streets of Baltimore. Some say they saw Mr. Bolton single handily defending Memorial Stadium from a combined VC/NVA attack during an Orioles game. The Cubans would have conquered the Pimlico Race Course if not for the combat skill of PFC Bolton.

[Jun 27, 2019] 'The Ugly Americans' From Kermit Roosevelt to John Bolton Iran Al Jazeera

Highly recommended!
Jun 27, 2019 | www.aljazeera.com

Sixty-six years later, I am witnessing how another "Ugly American" is walking in the footsteps of Roosevelt. His name is John Bolton, a chief advocate of the disastrous US invasion of Iraq, a nefarious Islamophobe, and former chairman of the far-right anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute. This infamous institution is known for spreading lies about Muslims - claiming there is a looming "jihadist takeover" that can lead to a "Great White Death" - to incite hatred against them and intimidate, silence, and alienate them.

In his diabolical plans to wage war on Iran, Bolton is taking a page from Roosevelt's playbook. Just as the CIA operative used venal Iranian politicians and fake news to incite against the democratically elected Iranian government, today his successor, the US national security adviser, is seeking to spread misinformation on a massive scale and set up a false flag operation with the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a militant terrorist organisation. Meanwhile, he has also pressed forward with debilitating sanctions that are further worsening the economic crisis in the country and making the lives of ordinary Iranians unbearable.

... ... ...

Bolton is the dreadful residue of the pure violence and wanton cruelty that drive Zionist Christian zealots in their crusades against Muslims. He is the embodiment of the basest and most racist roots of American imperialism.

The regime he serves is the most naked and vulgar face of brutish power, lacking any semblance of legitimacy - a bullying coward flexing its military muscles. At its helm is an arrogant mercantile president, who - faced with the possibility of an impeachment - has no qualms about using the war machine at his disposal to regain political relevance and line his pockets.

But the world must know Americans are not all ugly, they are not all rabid imperialists - Boltons and Roosevelts. What about those countless noble Americans - the sons and daughters of the original nations that graced this land, of the African slaves who were brought to this land in chains, of the millions after millions of immigrants who came to these shores in desperation or hope from the four corners of the earth? Do they not have a claim on this land too - to redefine it and bring it back to the bosom of humanity?

[Jun 27, 2019] For a man who did whatever he could to avoid fighting in a war, Bolton certainly seems to love the concept.

Jun 27, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

Sally Snyder , June 27, 2019 at 08:18

Here is an interesting look at John Bolton's Three State Solution for the Middle East:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/02/john-boltons-three-state-middle-east.html

For a man who did whatever he could to avoid fighting in a war, he certainly seems to love the concept.

[Jun 27, 2019] What Will It Take to Get Bolton Fired by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Just as Obama turned out to be a slightly more articulate version of Dubya, Trump has turned out to be a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya. ..."
"... Bolton is a neo-con, neo-cons are Trotskyites. They believe in an eternal revolution. Bolton believes in eternal war. ..."
"... Sid, the natural conclusion is that the 'deep state' is real, and for the most part runs the country. Whoever is President is less important than the goals of the American elite, most importantly the 'War Party' (the MIC and the IC) and Wall Street, but including Health Care. A side party of equal importance is the Israel Lobby. What happens in America is pretty much what the leaders of those groups want. ..."
"... Trump is too weak to push back on Bolton. He likes bluster. If starting a war will make Trump look macho, he very well might start one. Bolton wants war, Trump may let us stumble into one. ..."
"... "What will it take to get Bolton fired?" One phone call from Israel. Then again, one phone call from Israel would also stop Trump from firing him, and there's no reason to suspect that Bibi is anything other than ecstatic over Bolton's performance. ..."
"... Find out who "told" Donald Trump he HAD to hire Bolton (and Pompeo and others as well) and you'll probably learn the identity of the real puppet master pulling the strings in the "Deep State." It's simply impossible to believe Trump – who ran for president on a platform of "non-interventionism" – appointed this guy on his own volition. ..."
"... The headline asks, "What Will It Take to Get Bolton Fired?" This is a great question. If he CAN'T be fired, this tells us who is really running our country. Another question along the same lines: What will it take to get America to cease its support of Saudi Arabia? ..."
"... The petodollar makes these wars possible; it also defends or preserves the Status Quo, which makes so many of our elite ultra wealthy and powerful. Our carte blanche support of Saudi Arabia is telling us something important just like Trump's appointment of Bolton told us something important. ..."
May 07, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
For someone "not playing along," Trump has obediently given Bolton and the Iran hawks practically everything they have wanted so far. He has gone much further in laying the groundwork for war with Iran than any of his predecessors, and the only reason that many people seem confident that he won't order an attack is their mistaken belief that he is a non-interventionist when all of the evidence tells us that he is no such thing. Trump presumably doesn't want to start a multi-year, extremely expensive war that could also throw the economy into a recession, but then every president that launches an illegal war of choice assumes that the war would be much easier and take less time than it does. No one ever knowingly opts for a bloody debacle. The absurdly optimistic hawkish expectations of a quick and easy triumph are always dashed on the rocks of reality, but for some reason political leaders believe these expectations every time because "this time it's different." There will come a point where Bolton will tell Trump that attacking Iran (or Venezuela) is the only way to "win," and Trump will probably listen to him just as he has listened to him on all of these issues up until now.

There is no question that Bolton should lose his job. Even if you aren't an opponent of Trump, you should be unhappy with the way Bolton has been operating for the last year. He has made a point of sabotaging administration policies he doesn't like, resisting decisions he doesn't agree with, and effectively reversing policy changes while pretending to be carrying out the president's wishes. His mismanagement of the policy process is a bad joke, and the reason he runs the National Security Council this way is so that he can stop views and information that don't suit his agenda from reaching the president. But Trump pays little or no attention to any of this, and as long as Bolton remains loyal in public and a yes-man in person he is likely safe in his job. If Bolton gets his wish and the U.S. starts a war with Iran, he may not be in that job for much longer, but the damage will have already been done. Instead of counting on Trump to toss Bolton overboard, Congress and the public need to make absolutely clear that war with Iran and Venezuela is unacceptable and Trump will be destroying his presidency if he goes down that path in either country.

Sid Finster says: May 7, 2019 at 10:53 am

Obama entered office in 2008 promising to close Guantanamo and end the stupid wars.

Not only did Obama fail to end a single war, he gave us new and stupider wars in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine, to name but three. Guantanamo is still open.

Just as Obama turned out to be a slightly more articulate version of Dubya, Trump has turned out to be a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya.

Kouros says: May 7, 2019 at 11:26 am

The banality of Evil, eh?!

No One Listens says: May 7, 2019 at 1:37 pm

" some reason political leaders believe these expectations every time because "this time it's different."

Like communists, political leaders think 'this time we'll get it right. Bolton is a neo-con, neo-cons are Trotskyites. They believe in an eternal revolution. Bolton believes in eternal war.

EarlyBird says: May 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm

As much of a disaster for American institutions Trump has been, I believe he does not want to go to war. The times are a'changin'. Average Americans have figured out that these wars are self-defeating nonsense. Trump knows that, and doesn't want to alienate the middle American types who support him and would go to war.

But he does want to sound and look tough, hence Bolton. The problem is that while Trump may believe he's just blustering, reneging on the nuclear deal, cranking back brutal sanctions and sending US flotillas to the Strait of Hormuz looks and feels like war to the Iranians.

We could stumble into a very big and ugly war like America stumbled into the ugly era of Trump. And Trump is the absolute last person I would want to serve as a commander in chief during war time.

SteveK9 says: May 7, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Sid, the natural conclusion is that the 'deep state' is real, and for the most part runs the country. Whoever is President is less important than the goals of the American elite, most importantly the 'War Party' (the MIC and the IC) and Wall Street, but including Health Care. A side party of equal importance is the Israel Lobby. What happens in America is pretty much what the leaders of those groups want.

Zgler says: May 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Trump is too weak to push back on Bolton. He likes bluster. If starting a war will make Trump look macho, he very well might start one. Bolton wants war, Trump may let us stumble into one.

Sid Finster says: May 7, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Of course the "Deep State", the "permanent government" the "Borg" or whatever you want to call it is real.

Every winning candidate since arguably Bush 1.0 ("kinder gentler nation") ran for office as a non-interventionist. Even Dubya promised a humbler foreign policy in 2000.

Once inaugurated, each candidate morphed into a foaming-at-the-mouth hawk.

I don't pretend to know how the process works, or even if it is the same for every president, but the results speak for themselves. I suspect without evidence that it is something like what we saw in "Yes, Minister".

Whine Merchant says: May 7, 2019 at 5:18 pm

The neo-cons are busy studying the Israeli playbook of declaring themselves surrounded and launching a preemptive strike. Pompeo's view is that the occupation of Iraq is/was so difficult because the US isn't as ruthlessly efficient as the IDF in the West Bank and allowed Iraq some self-governance.He won't allow that in the conquered Iran.

Step 1: send a doctored telegram to Kaiser Trump and leak it to the press.
Step 2: Get the GOP Senate to pass the "Gulf of Hormuz" declaration.
Step 3: sink a ship, perhaps one called USS Maine or USS Liberty.

Good night

Oleg Gark says: May 7, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Trump would fire Bolton in a heartbeat, but Adelson won't let him.

Oscar Peterson says: May 7, 2019 at 7:43 pm

"What Will It Take to Get Bolton Fired?"

The first question is "What did it take to get Bolton hired?"

The answer to the author's question is that making Trump look bad (in a way that Trump recognizes) is what will get Bolton fired. But like Dick Cheney, Bolton has a very good sense of what a Richelieu needs to do to seem loyal and obedient to an idiot king. Rummy appended Bible verses to schemes that he wanted Bush to approve. Bolton does something similar, no doubt.

Westerbrook says: May 7, 2019 at 8:50 pm

"What will it take to get Bolton fired?" One phone call from Israel. Then again, one phone call from Israel would also stop Trump from firing him, and there's no reason to suspect that Bibi is anything other than ecstatic over Bolton's performance.

The mammoth "donations" from Adelson et al to Trump and the corrupt Republicans have paid off royally for Israel. With Trump and Bolton in the White House, Israel barely even needs a foreign ministry, a treasury, or a military anymore. Uncle Sam does it all for free.

Uncle Billy says: May 7, 2019 at 9:44 pm

Bolton needs a rabies shot. The man is a rabid neocon.

Deacon Blue says: May 8, 2019 at 9:40 am

Find out who "told" Donald Trump he HAD to hire Bolton (and Pompeo and others as well) and you'll probably learn the identity of the real puppet master pulling the strings in the "Deep State." It's simply impossible to believe Trump – who ran for president on a platform of "non-interventionism" – appointed this guy on his own volition.

Also, if it was so important to appoint Bolton, why would this be the case?

I think it's because – in the minds of those pulling the strings – it's crucial to them that America does the things Bolton wants to do.

That is, Bolton wasn't named National Security Advisor to do nothing.

Lessons?

1) Trump's not calling the important shots here.

2) Better buckle up your chinstrap.

Deacon Blue says: May 8, 2019 at 10:08 am

The headline asks, "What Will It Take to Get Bolton Fired?" This is a great question. If he CAN'T be fired, this tells us who is really running our country. Another question along the same lines: What will it take to get America to cease its support of Saudi Arabia?

We know the answer to this one. NOTHING. Consider that

The answer (Saudi Arabia can do whatever it wants with no risk of incurring the wrath of America) begs the question: Why is "letting Saudi Arabia do whatever it wants" so important to America?

This answer, I believe, has everything to do with the vital role the petrodollar plays in maintaining the Status Quo.

If the Deep State is calling the shots, what is most important to the Deep State?

Answer: Protecting the U.S. dollar (fiat) printing press. Absent this printing press and the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, none of our current wars and future wars would even be possible.

And the fact we are willing to wage these wars sends a vital message to the nations of the world: We WILL use our military against anyone who threatens the Status Quo.

The petodollar makes these wars possible; it also defends or preserves the Status Quo, which makes so many of our elite ultra wealthy and powerful. Our carte blanche support of Saudi Arabia is telling us something important just like Trump's appointment of Bolton told us something important.

TheSnark says: May 8, 2019 at 12:04 pm

The only way people like Bolton get fired is the same way Bannon got dumped. It is when Trump sees on Fox News that they are getting more press coverage than him.

Tony says: May 9, 2019 at 8:13 am

The post of national security advisor needs to be subject to Senate confirmation.

Henry Kissinger in the Nixon administration and Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Carter administration were both more powerful/influential than the respective secretaries of state, William Rogers and Cyrus Vance.

The Senate needs to assert itself and ensure that national security advisors are appointed in the same way as secretaries of state. This would help to a certain extent.

[Jun 27, 2019] US sanctions against Iran amount to an act of war

Jun 27, 2019 | www.wsws.org

Scott Randall21 hours ago • edited

"...as Stratfor, put it, "Trump, fearing a much bigger escalation, got cold feet."

One is reminded of the scene from Oliver Stone's JFK (1991), a General in the Joint Chiefs comments disparagingly about Kennedy for keeping his finger "on the chicken switch" with regard to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Lyndon Johnson in the White House with Henry Cabot Lodge in 1963 declares: "Gentlemen, I want you to know I'm not going to let Vietnam go the way China did. I'm personally committed. I'm not going to take one soldier out of there 'til they know we mean business in Asia (he pauses) You just get me elected, and I'll give you your damned war ."

animalogica day ago
Another question exists: should the US resist the allure of military action against Iran, what can Iran do?
US sanctions against Iran amount to an act of war. Iran can bust sanctions up to some point -- but for how long? Will Iran suffer half a million dead children & elderly people as Iraq did in the 90's ? SHOULD Iran have to suffer such a criminally imposed loss of life?
Where is the way out of this insanity?
Iran won't negotiate with the US for the very good reason that the US clearly wants to sterilize Iranian sovereignty (ie the US won't accept ANY Iranian missiles -- that is, Iran has no right to self defense).
Sad to say, Trump does not need to launch military action against Iran, merely continue to economically terrorise Iran until it has NO choice but to initiate military action against its tormentors.
Ahson3 days ago
Trump being a demented fool that he is now says this:

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

This shows the deep divisions within the imperialist elites on what to do about Iran. They don't have a real plan. Just making it up as they go along.

Ahson3 days ago
The war on Iran will continue till kingdom come, until it falls. Its clear as day that both Russia and China back their Iranian allies against US provocations. China hasn't flinched under US threats to embargo Iranian crude, and continues to purchase it, and Russia has an oil swap agreement with Iran, where it buys Iranian oil and sells it as Russian on the international market. This must be a severe irritation to the imperialists in Washington and London as it renders their Iran sanctions regime practically toothless.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/...

Nobody should be surprised when the next US provocation unfolds, yet again taking us to the brink of disaster.

Ahson3 days ago • edited
Iranian fishermen are finding parts of the CIA drone exposing the lie that the drone was in 'international airspace':

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

Ahson3 days ago • edited
The imperialists are not backing down in their quest for subduing Iran. Seems like the idea here is to put as many large ships in harms way as possible....and provoke Iran to attack one of these......This will ensure the probability of miscalculation and/ or accidents becomes almost unavoidable. There must be regime change in Tehran, on the road to Beijing and Moscow:

https://sputniknews.com/mil...

John Upton • 3 days ago
Iran has every right to defend itself from US imperialisms constant violence, as is the case with China and Russia. It is also pleasing to see the almighty war machine get a bloody nose.

But we should never lose sight of the fact that it is always the working class that suffers the most in terms of death, injuries and destitution.
End all wars!
End production for profit and the Nation state upon which it is built!

John Upton • 3 days ago
America's history demonstrates that loss of (foreign) life is of little concern to those in power.
The Manhattan Project was established, and mightily financed because of reasonably well established fears that Nazi Germany was on track to build its own A-bombs.
With the defeat of Germany that fear was gone. Nevertheless, knowing full well that Imperial Japan had no such program, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were vapourised. A clear demonstration that they, atomic weapons, WMD, worked and a warning to the Soviet Union that it too could be annihilated.
Robert Oppenheimer and others refused to take part in building an H-bomb for class and humane reasons. This fell on Truman's deaf ears.
American Imperialism is indifferent to death and destruction of billions.
As WSWS has stated, Trumps announcement that the loss of 150 Iranian lives is the the reason he pulled backs so much bilge.
FireintheHead3 days ago • edited
Trump is in a catch 22. When push has come to shove , he simply cannot sell another war to the US working class, and he knows it , and he's been well and truly spooked by the Iranian response.

All the US garbage of itself as ''victim'', all the 'good cop bad cop' routines are wearing thin. Nobody is buying it anymore , especially from a gangster.

Perhaps a predicted massive spike in global temperatures will clear out the collective cobwebs further.

Gracchus3 days ago
Good point about the possibility of Iran sinking a carrier. The Chinese have developed advanced anti-ship weapons that, if the results of a RAND corporation war game can be believed, will be able to neutralize carriers. This highlights the fact that, whatever the salesmen of advanced weaponry might say, it will not win wars alone. All of the smart weapons in the world have not ended the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan in the favour of American imperialism.

We can see an historical precedent in the British development of the dreadnought, the modern battleship, in the arms race that preceded WWI. Dreadnoughts were supposed to be the decisive super weapons of the day, but the British and German battle fleets remained in their moorings for most of the war for fear that these expensive ships would fall prey to torpedos. The sinking of the HMS Formidable in 1915 is a case in point. The only major engagement between dreadnoughts was at Jutland and it was inconclusive.

For all of the contemporary bluster about super weapons and the fetishism of smart bombs and cyber weapons, they will not decisively win a war alone. As in the world wars of the last century, the bourgeoisie will be forced to mobilize society for a war. This will mean bringing the working class - against its will - into the maelstrom.

Gracchus3 days ago • edited
Yet again the WSWS demonstrates the incredible foresight and clarity of Marxist analysis. I would like to extend my thanks to Comrade Andre and the editors of the WSWS for their indefatigable efforts to impart Marxist consciousness to the masses. For all of the naysayers who have attacked the WSWS as "sectarian" or as not involved in "practical work," need we point to anything other than the WSWSs explanation of the connection between eruption of American imperialism and the decline of the productive forces of that nation state? That analysis has placed the WSWS in the position of being better prepared politically for the consequences of war than the imperialists, as the latest farce in the Middle East demonstrates.

A quote from Trotsky will further emphasize my point:

"We will not concede this banner to the masters of falsehood! If our generation happens to be too weak to establish Socialism over the earth, we will hand the spotless banner down to our children. The struggle which is in the offing transcends by far the importance of individuals, factions and parties. It is the struggle for the future of all mankind."

The spotless banner is in good hands.

Robert Seaborne Gracchus3 days ago
thank you Gracchus,
for your inspiring comment, I couldn't agree more with it.
dmorista3 days ago • edited
The official story, as usual, is a bunch of hooey. Trump wouldn't bat an eye over the death of 150 Iranians. In addition to the worries about losing an aircraft carrier: the military high command probably let him know that the much vaunted, and outlandishly expensive, force of F-35s, will quickly lose its effectiveness if exposed to probing by the high tech radars the Russians have developed, and that are used in conjunction with at least the S-400 antiaircraft and antimissile defense system. So the question is, if the stealth advantage of the F-35 is only good for a limited time, is this particular geostrategic confrontation worth using up that particular asset??

Then there is the whole question of whether the Iranians would close the Straits of Hormuz in response to a major air raid on their nuclear facilities; this leads to some much more important issues. Despite the blathering about "international waters" and "freedom of navigation" the facts are that the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles wide. So all the water in them is either in Iranian territory to the north or Omani to the south. They would be entirely within their rights, as elucidated in the International Law of the Sea, to close the straits after some sort of military strike against them (for what that is worth, which is something at least as far as public opinion outside of the U.S. is concerned). The Iranians have stated that if and when they close the straits they will announce it publicly, no subterfuge or secret operations will be involved.

Since nearly 30% of the World's oil moves through those straits cutting them off will cause an immediate spike in oil prices. Prices of $100 - $300 a barrel would be reached within a few days. If the Straits of Hormuz were closed for a longer period we could easily see prices rise to $1,000 a barrel according to Goldman Sachs projections (see Escobar article cited below). Anything over $150 a barrel would trigger an economic, industrial, and financial crisis of immense proportions around the world. The financial and speculative house of cards, that the ruling classes of the U.S.-led Finance Capital Bloc depends on for their dominance of world capital and markets, would likely come tumbling down. The amount of derivatives that are swirling about the planet and that are traded and created constantly is estimated to be from $1.2 - $2.5 Quadrillion. That's right from $1,200 - $2,500 Trillion or $1,200,000 - $2,500,000 Billion {remember Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, who once said "a billion here and a billion there and first thing you know, You're talking BIG MONEY!!} (See "World Derivatives Market Estimated As Big As $1.2 Quadrillion Notional, as Banks Fight Efforts to Rein It In", March 26, 2013, Yves Smith, "Naked Capitalism", at < https://www.nakedcapitalism... >, and "Iran Goes for 'Maximum Counter-pressure' ", June 21, 2019, Pepe Escobar, "Strategic Culture Foundation", at < https://www.strategic-cultu... >, and "Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb", Aug 24, 2015, Stephen Lendman, Global Research, at
< https://www.globalresearch.... >). Just like during the 2007 - 2008 crisis the various elements of shadow banking, and speculation would collapse. Remember that total world production of and trade in actual products is only about about $70 - $80 Trillion, or perhaps less than 1/31st the size of the Global Derivatives markets.

All the world's elite capitalists, be they Western or Asian or from elsewhere, maintain homes in numerous places. One reason for this is so they have somewhere to go, if they need to flee from environmental and/or socioeconomic disaster and the resultant chaos in their primary place of residence. As we move ever deeper into this extremely severe and ongoing Crisis of Capitalism, these issues will continue to become more acute.

So we can rest assured that; in addition to the crazed war-mongers Bolton and Pompeo (and their supporters and backers) whispering in Trump's ear to "go ahead and attack the Iranians"; and in addition to the somewhat more sober counsel of General Dunford and other members of the top military command; that titans of finance capital were undoubtedly on the phone warning "Bone-Spur Don" that his digs in Manhattan and Florida might not be entirely safe if the worst were to happen in response to a military strike. The absurd story of Don worrying about 150 Iranians is so ludicrous that it did not even pass the smell test with the corporate controlled media for very long.

Irandle dmorista2 days ago
Oil reached $147 a barrel in 2007-08. That caused the so-called Great Recession.

As WSWS has pointed out there are few if any US options left but war.

Charlotte Ruse3 days ago
"Thirty years of endless war have created a veritable cult of militarism within the American ruling elite, whose guiding assumption seems to be that wars can be waged without drastic global consequences, including for the United States itself."

The military/security surveillance state is a trillion dollar enterprise that instigates conflicts to expand its profits. Militarism works hand-in-hand with the neoliberal corporatists who deploy the military to secure natural resources, wage slaves, and geostrategic hegemony. It should be noted, that the US imperialist agenda left unhindered after the dissolution of the Soviet Union only intensified.

However, in order for the US ruling class to achieve the "ultimate goal" of unilateral hegemony in the Middle East the military must confront Iran a powerful sizable country with economic and political ties to China and Russia. This is the dilemma confronting the warmongering psychopaths
who are influenced by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

A significant military attack against Iran will NOT go unanswered and if the Iranian Military destroys a US warship and kills hundreds of sailors it would unleash another major war in the Middle East igniting the entire region and possibly leading to a world war.

What should traumatize the US population and awaken them from their hypnotic warmongering stupur created by propaganda proliferated on FOX, MSNBC, and CNN is that the United States came within minutes of launching a war whose military consequences it had NOT seriously examined.

John Hudson3 days ago
There's a rumour going around that in preparation for the strike the US launched a massive cyber attack on Iran's air defence - and failed.
Ahson John Hudson3 days ago
Its no rumor:

https://sputniknews.com/mid...

Sebouh803 days ago
In light of these dangerous events it is obvious that a faction of the American ruling class circles including Trump were not prepared to face the consequences of a strike against Iran. That is precisely why Trump aborted the mission last Friday. Just yesterday Trump himself admitted for the first time that if it was up to John Bolton then we would be fighting the whole world. Today Pompeo has been sent to Middle East to broaden his alliance with Gulf Monarchical regimes most notably Saudi Arabia and UAE. It is aimed to prepare the ground for possible confrontation with Iran.
kurumba Sebouh802 days ago
Trump's comment re Bolton that the US "would fight the whole world" sums up what the US is really about. Take it from me, The US hates virtually every country save one: Israel. Illegal US Sanctions regimes now extend to almost 50% of the world's population. The US does not even like the advanced countries such as Europe and Japan. They tolerate them because of diplomatic support and large investment and trade ties. Outside that they have no affinity or connection. Until we all realise the true nature of The US and its exclusive cultural mindset [NFL, NBA, MLB etc etc], populations will merely continue to enable the US to attack and sanction everybody and anyone of their demented choosing. The tragedy is that if the other countries became united and were committed to ending this US terror by eg dumping the US Dollar as international reserve currency and sanctioning all US corporations, the US would face severe turmoil and its reign of endless terror brought to a sudden end.
Popart 20153 days ago • edited
"The strikes were called off at the last moment, amid deep divisions at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon over the consequences -- military, diplomatic and political -- of what would likely be the single most dangerous and reckless action of the entire Trump presidency."

I believe things simple didn't go as planned as an airplane was threatened to be taken down. Bolton was in Israel after that to most likely assure Netanyahu that a new attack would be conducted, Bolton Warned Iran Not to 'Mistake U.S. Prudence and Discretion for Weakness'...

https://www.nytimes.com/201...

Ahson3 days ago • edited
There needs to be a correction in the article on the older Raad system not having been used but instead the newer, 'Third of Khordad' system which brought down the MQ-4C Triton. Pictures/ Info on the Third of Khordad reveals that it is in effect an Iranian version of the Soviet Buk-M2 of the MH-17 downing fame which the western backed Kiev junta used from its hand me down Soviet weapons arsenal, to shoot down the ill fated Malaysian Airliner over the Ukraine. The system also is stark evidence of the close defense relationship between the Russians and the Iranians, confirming the suspicions in the west that whatever weaponry Putin transfers to Syria or Iraq is by default also available to Iran.
Andy Niklaus3 days ago
Great Perspective again to build antiwar movement in the global workingclass!
Ahson3 days ago • edited
Not to be outdone by his failure to bring Iran to its knees, Trump ordered a massive cyber attack on Iran's missile batteries and its command and control centers after rescinding the military order to physically attack Iran for downing the drone. The Iranians today announced the failure of this desperate US cyber attack:

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

This is in addition to the CIA placing an agent within the Iranian oil ministry for conducting sabotage. She has been arrested and faces the death penalty for espionage:

https://www.tasnimnews.com/...

The deep State in the US will not stop trying to subdue Iran until it capitulates. Iran must fall to Washington in order for the US to effectively counter and sabotage both Putin's Eurasian Integration and president Xi's BRI projects.

imaduwa3 days ago
Trump's alterration at this moment can be due to Iran's internal coherence against American imperialism. With santions being reinforced, one can anticipate more and more impovershment and quality of life geting lower unabated to the point that the basis for internal coherence gets eroded substantially. We saw working class uprisings in Iran recently and leadership accused imperialist as rabble-rousers to find a way out.That is why we need building SEP/IYSSE in Iran to hatch revolutionary force in Iran for Iran to join the peer in the rest of the world. Morsi in Egypt was overthrown by Sisi with the backing of US imperialism headed by Obama at that time. So is the imperialism and it will continue to work to weaken Iran as a force successfully confronting imperialism in the middle east currently. Let us therefore empower international working class to empower it to overthrow imperialism on one hand and Stalinism on the other hand. Russia too depend largely on its arms sale to maintain its economy. But human needs, not wepons, but basic needs including clean environment. Long live the socialist revolution in Iran and internationally. Death to imperialism. Thank you comrade Andre Damon.
jet1685 • 3 days ago
"The strikes were called off at the last moment, amid deep divisions at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon over the consequences -- military, diplomatic and political -- of what would likely be the single most dangerous and reckless action of the entire Trump presidency."
Economically it would be Armageddon. Although some think America does not rely on Mideast oil, the world economy does and America is a part of that despite what nationalists dream. Bolton is making threats from Israel and clearly some believe they stand to gain from war but militarily too it would be Armageddon. The Pentagon would answer the sinking of a carrier by nuking Iran to preserve American "credibility" i.e. fear. China and Russia would have to react, China at least to keep its oil supplied. India pushed against China could add more mushroom clouds not to mention Pakistan. Israel itself with Tel Aviv bombarded from Lebanon and maybe invaded unable to stop this might nuke Lebanon and maybe Tehran if any of it remains and Damascus besides. Just as ww1 started because military train timetables had to be followed there are nukewar plans in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing that won't take long. So world workers need to start our plan before others begin. Preemptive general strikes, antiwar and socialist revolutionary agitation and propaganda within imperialist rank and files and human blockades of war material networks should happen at an early date like now. Now also WikiLeaks should put out whatever it hasn't while people exist to read it. The rich are determined to kill Assange anyway and full wartime censorship is not far off.
erroll jet16853 days ago • edited
Some people have speculated that if the U.S. does attack Iran then Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia's oil fields which will then send oil prices skyrocketing to $130 dollars a barrel. The article also notes that:

"While Trump's foreign policy team -- headed by National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- 'unanimously' supported the attack, General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 'cautioned about the possible repercussions of a strike, warning that it could endanger American forces,' the Times wrote."

Apparently the good general cannot get too worked up at the sight of thousands and thousands of Iranian children, women, and old men who would be slaughtered and grievously wounded by U.S. bombs and the water supply which would be contaminated when those bombs would land at a nuclear power plant. But these horrific actions by the United States are of no consequence because, as Madeline Albright observed on a television a few decades ago, the deaths of a half million Iraqi children by the U.S. was worth it. It would appear that the lives of foreigners are of little consequence to those who are in power. Threatening to start a war against another country for the most specious of reasons is simply another reason why a malignant narcissist like Trump needs to be removed from office as quickly as possible. Or perhaps Trump believes that the best way to improve his low poll numbers is to start dropping 500 lb. bombs on a country which does not in any remote way pose a threat to the United States.

"Almost all propaganda is designed to create fear. Heads of governments and their officials know that a frightened people is easier to govern, will forfeit rights it would otherwise defend, is less likely to demand a better life, and will agree to millions and millions being spent on 'Defense'."-John Boynton Priestly [1894-1984], English writer

"Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god."-Jean Rostand [1894-1977], French philosopher and biologist

лидия3 days ago
When a FOX-news man is the most sane voice in USA foreign policy (regarding aggression against Iran and Venezuela) - it is the real madness!
лидия3 days ago
After Hezballah had booted Zionist colonizers out of Lebanon, Zionist apartheid had lost its image of "invincibility".
Now even ghetto Gaza is fighting back.
Irandle3 days ago
Spies? What is that in reference to?
Gerry Murphy Irandle3 days ago • edited
The CIA payrolled press whores like CNN's Christiane Amanpour for example a prime warmonger and there are countless others embedded in every western media source.
Ahson Gerry Murphy3 days ago
Ironically, Amanpour is Iranian background, an avowed revolution hater and a devoted Iranian Pahlavi monarchist. She's on the record for saying that she wants to see the Shah's exiled son back on the throne in Iran, serving US imperialism for the 'benefit of the Iranian nation'.
The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago
The sinking of an aircraft carrier, especially one as well known as the USS Lincoln, would have been one of the biggest PR disasters for both Trump and the military. It probably would have sparked demands from the people to know how, despite pouring trillions of dollars into the mouths of greedy defense contractors for decades, a supposedly inferior military could so easily take down one of our ships.
piet The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago
Khrushchev once said of the Sverdlov class cruisers built in the early 1950's that their only practical purpose was as targets for anti ship missile training because of how outdated they where considering they where armed with guns.

Maybe the anti-ship missile now stands at the point where it can make carriers obsolete similar to how the battleship was made obsolete by the carrier.

Robert Buell Jr piet3 days ago
There are some who argue that surface navies became obsolete in the 1950's with the advent of long range missiles. For many years now, China has been helping to build up Iranian area defences...

https://www.mei.edu/publica...

Ahson The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago • edited
Cold war weapons are unsuitable for countering Iran's asymmetric warfare doctrine. A dozen or two highly advanced US warships are no match for a thousand missile boats and thousands of Iranian anti-ship missiles in the narrow confines of the shallow gulf.
Corwin Haught3 days ago • edited
Minutes or hours, or Trump never signed on to them, as the accounts from different US media outlets and Trump have differed at several points. Fog of war indeed.

[Jun 27, 2019] Dem candidates has roundly criticized Trump for his approach to Iran. Many of the leading candidates said last week's military confrontation spawned from a crisis of the president's own making, precipitated by his withdrawal from that landmark accord.

That's good line of attack on Trump. People do not want yet another war and they are against overinflated military expenditures. and Trump essentially behaves like a rabid subservant to Israel neocon in those area. So he might share the Hillary destiny in 2020
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon , Jun 27, 2019 12:15:59 AM | 106
The Dem debaters want the failed JCPOA back, except one wants a more punitive one. So it's Obama/Trump redux with all of them, worthless people. We're less safe with Iranians . . .under the bed!

McClatchy

Klobuchar said that Trump's strategy on Iran had "made us less safe," after debate moderators took note of increased military tensions in the Strait of Hormuz last week. Washington has accused Iran of targeting shipping vessels, and Tehran acknowledged it shot down an unmanned U.S. drone on Thursday, nearly prompting Trump to order a retaliatory military strike. The 2015 nuclear deal "was imperfect, but it was a good deal for that moment," Klobuchar stated, characterizing the agreement's "sunset periods" – caps on Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of fissile material set to expire five to 10 years from the next inauguration– as a potential point of renegotiation.

The Democratic field has roundly criticized Trump for his approach to Iran. Many of the leading candidates said last week's military confrontation spawned from a crisis of the president's own making, precipitated by his withdrawal from that landmark accord.

But up until now, the Democratic candidates have not specified how they would salvage a deal that continues to fray – and that may collapse completely under the weight of steadily broadening U.S. sanctions by the time a new president could be sworn in.

Few Democrats had thus far hedged over adopting the agreement entirely should they win the presidency even if the deal survives that long. Leading candidates have characterized the nuclear agreement as "imperfect" and in need of "strengthening," suggesting subtle distinctions within the field over the potential conditions of U.S. re-entry into a pact. . . here


I've got a deal for them to salvage, get off your GD pedestals and say hello to the real world! . . .There, I feel better now.

[Jun 27, 2019] Short US-Iran war 'an illusion', Zarif tells Trump USA News Al Jazeera

Jun 27, 2019 | www.aljazeera.com

Iran's foreign minister has dismissed US President Donald Trump 's claim that a war between their countries would be short-lived, as Washington sought NATO's help to build an anti-Tehran coalition.

"'Short war' with Iran is an illusion," Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter on Thursday, a day after Trump said he did not want a war with Iran but warned that if fighting did break out, it "wouldn't last very long".

Tehran has accused the United States of "economic terrorism" and "psychological warfare" over the Trump administration's application of punishing sanctions after the US president last year unilaterally withdrew Washington from an historic nuclear deal with world powers. Under the 2015 agreement, Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

In his Twitter post, Zarif said the reimposed and tightened US sanctions "aren't an alternative to war - they are war".

[Jun 27, 2019] Iran Hawks Want to Create an Even Bigger Crisis by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Iran hawks want to force Iran out of the deal to give them a pretext for conflict. These waivers are their latest target because without them other governments may be leery of cooperating on the nuclear projects that give Iran an incentive to remain in the deal. Iran has very few reasons to remain in the deal at this point, and canceling the waivers would likely be the last straw. This is what Bolton and his allies have been working towards all along. When the waivers came up for renewal this spring, the administration extended them, but now there is a real danger that they won't do that again. The last time this came up, Jarrett Blanc explained why extending the waivers is the obviously correct thing to do: ..."
"... Canceling the waivers would be another escalation by the Trump administration, and it would almost certainly prompt Iranian countermoves to further reduce or end their compliance with the deal. The Iran hawks in the administration may think they want a bigger crisis with Iran, but they may not like it when they get one. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Politico reports that the most rabid Iran hawks in the Senate and inside the administration are pushing to cancel the remaining waivers that enable international cooperation on civilian nuclear projects in Iran. Their explicit goal is to destroy the last pieces of the deal that the U.S. hasn't directly attacked yet.

The report has some interesting details, but the framing of the debate is awful:

Proponents of the nuclear deal have argued that the international nuclear projects facilitated by the waivers help give the U.S. greater visibility and intelligence into Iranian activities; critics say they give an international stamp of approval to Iran's illicit activities.

This is a great example of how ostensibly "neutral" reporting favors the side acting and arguing in bad faith. What "illicit activities" are supported by these waivers? There aren't any. The report makes it sound as if there are two equally valid, competing positions, but one of them is completely false. The hawks' objections to them have nothing to do with opposition to "illicit activities" and everything to do with their hatred for the deal. The activities that the waivers facilitate are endorsed by the JCPOA and a U.N. Security Council resolution.

They cannot be illicit because they are entirely consistent with Iran's obligations and international law. The U.S. has been providing these waivers up until now because of the obvious nonproliferation benefits that everyone derives from the deal, and the people that want to end the waivers are doing so because they don't care about nonproliferation.

Iran hawks want to force Iran out of the deal to give them a pretext for conflict. These waivers are their latest target because without them other governments may be leery of cooperating on the nuclear projects that give Iran an incentive to remain in the deal. Iran has very few reasons to remain in the deal at this point, and canceling the waivers would likely be the last straw. This is what Bolton and his allies have been working towards all along. When the waivers came up for renewal this spring, the administration extended them, but now there is a real danger that they won't do that again. The last time this came up, Jarrett Blanc explained why extending the waivers is the obviously correct thing to do:

Failing to renew the waivers would be indefensible. The fact that there is even an internal debate is illuminating: At least some Trump advisors want a crisis with Iran, and the sooner the better.

Withdrawing waivers for civil nuclear cooperation may sound less aggressive than steps like the overhyped Guard Corps designation, but it is one of the most dangerous steps the administration has left, threatening the international nuclear cooperation that is Iran's only remaining practical benefit from the deal.

Canceling the waivers would be another escalation by the Trump administration, and it would almost certainly prompt Iranian countermoves to further reduce or end their compliance with the deal. The Iran hawks in the administration may think they want a bigger crisis with Iran, but they may not like it when they get one.

[Jun 27, 2019] Iranian viewpoit in MoA blog

Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Capt. Abdul Hassan , Jun 26, 2019 8:10:38 PM | 79

You Americans are for the most part cluelss.

Very few Americans have any realisation at all (certainly non that I have spoken to below the rank of Army Colonel or Navy Captain anyway) that a war with Iran will leave 100s of thousands if not millions of Americans dead, many capital ships at the bottom of the Gulf and the Med (think hard about how that will happen in the Med), and the US a broken 3rd world nation, if the states even stay together to maintain a 'US'.

You need to realise that the middle east (to include Cyprus and Turkey) will be cut off to you. No resupply, no support, no evac. There will be no troops left in the middle east to bring home after a few days of fighting exhaust all ammp and supplies and all positions are then overun or destroyed.

Every last troop in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan will be wiped out, and there will be no way at all of deploying any more troops (think why).

The shock to the weak American Psyche will be amplified by assymetrical spec ops / gorrilla warefare in every US city.

To begin with there will be gas station fires and power line cuts in every US town and city, followed by bridge collpases, interstate highway failures, railroad failures and then destruction, food and medical warehouse fires, forest fires, container port sabotage, cell phone and radio tower destruction, water mains destruction, sewage mains destruction, and of course contamination of water reservoirs - all of which are very simple and easy assymetrical attacks that can be rolled out nationwide by only by a few hundred well trained individuals (already well embedded).

Add these simple WW2 partisan style acts to other acts of sabotage against fire, ambulance, and police infrastruture (again, all very simple and easy assymetrical attacks) and the worst elements of your own society will continue and further amplify the conflageration.

The cities will implode and feed upon themselves, and when the carnage reaches a platau, or simply a stage that invites escalation, then the next phase begins - think MANPADS at every airport to bring down all relief flights and national guard units, ATGMs and HMG against military and police units, snipers against any opertunistic target - anywhere at any time.

There are further steps which I wont describe lest it give certain people ideas, but in the space of just 2 weeks the entire US could brought to its knees and made to realise that every nation on the earth, except the us, hates war and tries to avoid it.

If the US people think they can nuke Iran, kill millions more muslims, and then go back to watching the ball game they should think again.

The Iranians (and Russians and Chinese too) have been planning for a war with the US for decades.

The Iranians know full well that their cities will be nuked, but the Iranians believe the US is the embodyment of Satan (and they have lots of evidence to suggest this is indeed true) so they will fight without regard to life, to pain and to massive losses.

They, and there allies will utterly wipe out ever last US military unit in the middle east and bring the Continental US to its knees in ways few can yet imagine.

Yes, Iran will be glass, but the US will be ashes, or at least no longer a us - as much a victim of its own complexity and ignorance as any missiles or explosives used by Iranian spec ops.

A war with Iran will be the last war the US ever fights. It may 'win' but at what cost.


Don Bacon , Jun 26, 2019 9:34:15 PM | 86

@ Capt. Abdul Hassan 76
Thank you for that, very insighful, perhaps a little over the top, but right on.
Sunny Runny Burger , Jun 27, 2019 10:59:29 AM | 139
Don Bacon I think you're right and in addition the amendment won't matter because the exceptions are so encompassing nearly anything goes.

I'm going to crosspost the scenario (all I posted was the scenario, not the stuff afterwards):

1. US false flags in Iranian vicinity.
2. US military deaths due to provoked Iranian action.
3. US limited strikes.
4. US false flag Iranian dirty bomb in US city using surplus enriched material bought from Iran.
5. US submits evidence of Iranian nuclear attack in UNSC.
6. US attacks Iran using nuclear weapons.

A few (?) didn't buy 1 but the US got stuck on 2 so far and might get stuck on 3 as well.

How can one make 4 fail except to talk about it so people have a chance to think of it as a possibility when it happens?

5 is for "perception" and narrative, it doesn't matter if the UNSC doesn't agree with what the US says or the entire world ridicules the US or if the entire world starts marching like they "magically" and "spontaneously" did before the Iraq war (what was that about? Controlled opposition galore?).

Russia and China are repeatedly telling the US (and everybody else) what 6 will mean.

[Jun 25, 2019] Tulsi on Iraq war and Trump administration and some interesting information about Bolton

With minor comment editions for clarity...
Looks like Bolton is dyed-in-the-wool imperialist. He believes the United States can do what wants without regard to international law, treaties or the роlitical commitments of previous administrations.
Notable quotes:
"... Israel is an Anglo American aircraft carrier to control the Eastern Mediterranean ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.unz.com

J. Gutierrez says: June 24, 2019 at 5:37 pm GMT 300 Words

...Look at this man's video and remember he is a pervert, warmonger and a coward!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hs35O_TBbbU

Ma Laoshi , says: June 24, 2019 at 11:56 pm GMT

@J. Gutierrez

...Zionists know what they want, are willing to work together towards their goals, and put their money where their mouth is. In contrast, for a few pennies the goyim will renounce any principle they pretend to cherish, and go on happily proclaiming the opposite even if a short while down the road it'll get their own children killed.

The real sad part about this notion of the goy as a mere beast in human form is maybe not that it got codified for eternity in the Talmud, but rather that there may be some truth to it? Another way of saying this is raising the question whether the goyim deserve better, given what we see around us.

Saka Arya , says: June 25, 2019 at 7:02 am GMT
@Malla

Israel is an Anglo American aircraft carrier to control the Eastern Mediterranean and prevent a Turko Egyptian and possibly Persian invasion of Greece & the West

[Jun 25, 2019] Trump may be in too deep to avoid war with Iran by Patrick Cockburn

Notable quotes:
"... But if a ground war is ruled out, then Iran is engaged in the sort of limited conflict in which it has long experience. A senior Iraqi official once said to me that the Iranians "have a PhD" in this type of part political, part military warfare. They are tactics that have worked well for Tehran in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria over the past 40 years. The Iranians have many pressure points against the US, and above all against its Saudi and Emirati allies in the Gulf. ..."
"... Saddam Hussein sought to throttle Iran's oil exports and Iran tried to do the same to Iraq. The US and its allies weighed in openly on Saddam Hussein's side – an episode swiftly forgotten by them after the Iraqi leader invaded Kuwait in 1990. From 1987 on, re-registered Kuwaiti tankers were being escorted through the Gulf by US warships. There were US airstrikes against Iranian ships and shore facilities, culminating in the accidental but very avoidable shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner with 290 passengers on board by the USS Vincennes in 1988. Iran was forced to sue for peace in its war with Iraq. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.unz.com

But the dilemma for Trump is at a deeper level. His sanctions against Iran, reimposed after he withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, are devastating the Iranian economy. The US Treasury is a more lethal international power than the Pentagon. The EU and other countries have stuck with the deal, but they have in practice come to tolerate the economic blockade of Iran.

Iran was left with no choice but to escalate the conflict. It wants to make sure that the US, the European and Asian powers, and US regional allies Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, feel some pain. Tehran never expected much from the EU states, which are still signed up to the 2015 nuclear deal, and has found its low expectations are being fulfilled.

A fundamental misunderstanding of the US-Iran confrontation is shared by many commentators. It may seem self-evident that the US has an interest in using its vast military superiority over Iran to get what it wants. But after the failure of the US ground forces to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention Somalia, no US leader can start a land war in the Middle East without endangering their political survival at home.

Trump took this lesson to heart long before he became president. He is a genuine isolationist in the American tradition. The Democrats and much of the US media have portrayed Trump as a warmonger, though he has yet to start a war. His national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo issue bloodcurdling threats against Iran, but Trump evidently views such bellicose rhetoric as simply one more way of ramping up the pressure on Iran.

But if a ground war is ruled out, then Iran is engaged in the sort of limited conflict in which it has long experience. A senior Iraqi official once said to me that the Iranians "have a PhD" in this type of part political, part military warfare. They are tactics that have worked well for Tehran in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria over the past 40 years. The Iranians have many pressure points against the US, and above all against its Saudi and Emirati allies in the Gulf.

The Iranians could overplay their hand: Trump is an isolationist, but he is also a populist national leader who claims in his first campaign rallies for the next presidential election to "have made America great again". Such boasts make it difficult to not retaliate against Iran, a country he has demonised as the source of all the troubles in the Middle East.

One US military option looks superficially attractive but conceals many pitfalls. This is to try to carry out operations along the lines of the limited military conflict between the US and Iran called the "tanker war". This was part of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and the US came out the winner.

Saddam Hussein sought to throttle Iran's oil exports and Iran tried to do the same to Iraq. The US and its allies weighed in openly on Saddam Hussein's side – an episode swiftly forgotten by them after the Iraqi leader invaded Kuwait in 1990. From 1987 on, re-registered Kuwaiti tankers were being escorted through the Gulf by US warships. There were US airstrikes against Iranian ships and shore facilities, culminating in the accidental but very avoidable shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner with 290 passengers on board by the USS Vincennes in 1988. Iran was forced to sue for peace in its war with Iraq.

Some retired American generals speak about staging a repeat of the tanker war today but circumstances have changed. Iran's main opponent in 1988 was Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Iran was well on its way to losing the war, in which there was only one front


Pat Kittle , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:01 am GMT

Patrick Cockburn:

Patrick Clawson tells us whose really calling the shots for war with Iran:

-- ( https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=israel+lobby+submarine+patrick+clawson&view=detail&mid=4881C02C42F22ED6F6164881C02C42F22ED6F616&FORM=VIRE ]

(Hint: It's not Saudi Arabia & the UAE.)

Cheers!
-- Patrick Kittle

Carlton Meyer , says: Website June 24, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT
"Trump took this lesson to heart long before he became president. He is a genuine isolationist in the American tradition."

Mr. Cockburn does not understand the meaning of isolationist. Trump has been pro-empire since the day he took office.

I have better stuff in my blog:

June 22, 2019 – Iran

People familiar with US military history know what just happened off Iran. American aircraft and drones have violated Iranian airspace every week for years, either by accident or because American officers like to screw with them, especially when lots of high-level American officials want war with Iran. Complaints were filed and ignored, so the Iranians shot one down. Note there is no international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. Half belongs to Iran and the other to UAE and Oman. It is an international waterway, so all ships have the right to transit, but aircraft require permission from one of these nations.

The American people are clueless about this stuff since most only know what our warmongering media tells them, as Jimmy Dore explains in this video. I was shocked and pleased that President Trump saw through this ruse and bravely did nothing. If we bomb Iran they will hit back, maybe openly with a missile barrage, or covertly using Shia militias in Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. The USA has tens of thousands of soldiers and contractors all over the Arab world. I'm sure local teams have spent years scouting targets and preparing to attack after a green light from Tehran. Trump wisely cancelled this chaos, at least until after his reelection.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MYhvOgN707k?feature=oembed

Robert Dolan , says: June 24, 2019 at 5:26 am GMT
"National security?"

Whose national security?

Iran is no threat to the United States.

We have no right to impose a "regime change" on Iran, no matter how much Israel
wants us to do so.

Israel should fight its' own wars.

We've had enough

Ma Laoshi , says: June 24, 2019 at 9:14 am GMT
"He is a genuine isolationist" Oh please; Mr. Cockburn, you're old enough to have heard of projection. There is nothing genuine about Trump's public persona, except for his greed and egotism. He's a world-class grifter and charlatan–i.e., still not to be underestimated. His calculation will probably be "Can I get re-elected without jumping into the breach? Then that's fine too. If the polls look awful, I'll roll the dice and be a War-Time President like Dubya."

At least, Mr. Cockburn understands that the "crippling sanctions" (the way Americans are always proud of those show that they're just knee-capping mafiosi) are leaving Iran no choice but to fight back. So the decision may not be in Donald's hands; he may be smarter than his media caricature, and yet not as smart as he thought.

Sally Snyder , says: June 24, 2019 at 11:53 am GMT
Here is a article that takes a detailed look at Iran's military capabilities:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/irans-military-strength-2019-edition.html

Once American servicemen start dying for this rather nebulous cause, it will be the reaction of American voters that will ultimately determine the extent and duration of yet another Middle East military, nation re-engineering "adventure".

EliteCommInc. , says: June 24, 2019 at 4:32 pm GMT
"Note there is no international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. Half belongs to Iran and the other to UAE and Oman. It is an international waterway, so all ships have the right to transit, but aircraft require permission from one of these nations."

You might want to examine the UNCLOS agreement. It's created some sticky issues in the South China Seas and in the straight in question, Iran and Oman are leaning very heavily on that the policy. In their view it is for use exclusively for noncombatant enterprise as part of their claim as territorial waters, they have a say in its use.

[Jun 25, 2019] Should Iran acquire nuclear bomb as a self-defense against attack of the USA

Jun 25, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Dr. Ip , June 24, 2019 at 03:53

Pakistan is nuclear, pal.
Israel is nuclear, pal.
India is nuclear, pal.
North Korea is nuclear, pal.
Nobody attacks their territory these days, pal.
But Iran chose a long time ago not to go nuclear, pal.
The American Mullahs want their oil money back and so have issued yet another fatwah through their Supreme Leader.

KiwiAntz , June 24, 2019 at 04:08

Old Geezer are you familiar with the term"Mutual Assured Destruction"? Any Nuclear attack will be met with a Nuclear response by the Country attacked! This isn't 1945 where America could nuke Japan & get away with it? It's 2019 & alot of Nations have the Nukes to deter US Nuclear attacks? That's MAD in a nutshell!

Zhu , June 24, 2019 at 06:03

Who says Iran is going nuclear, Gezzer? If he usual liars.

AnneR , June 24, 2019 at 09:31

So *what* if the Iranians developed nuclear weapons? (Not that they are going to – as they have stated over and over again. But then they are not as bloodthirsty as Anglo-Americans always seem to be.)

Frankly, if they had done so, the US-IS-UK would be a lot less eager to bomb their country into smithereens – all for the benefit of their more westerly neighbor (the middle country above). NK understands this. Unfortunately, Qaddafi didn't.

And again – I repeat: which nation state is it that *has* used such weapons: twice? Only one. (Not to mention that same country's eager use of depleted uranium – far from its shores, of course – in bullets and shells.) Charming.

heathroi , June 24, 2019 at 09:45

is that you, John?

Steve in DC , June 24, 2019 at 09:47

Iran should go nuclear. The US doesn't f#%* with countries that have the bomb. The sooner Iran can thwart Washington the better off the world will be. Washington will have to get another hobbyhorse.