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Neoconservatism

Neocons are attack dogs of neoliberalism and lobbyists for MIC:  "national security parasites".

"Being  a neoconservative should receive at least as much vitriolic societal rejection as being a Ku Klux Klan member or a child molester" Caitlin Johnstone

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." ~Sun Tzu

News American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Recommended Links Wolfowitz Doctrine American Exceptionalism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA
Blob attacks Trump: Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukraingate Adam Schiff Witch Hunt Nancy Pelosi impeachment gambit Was Eric Ciaramella a part of Obama/Brennan "Trump Task force" ? Alexander Vindman role in Ukrainegate House Democrats attempt to backstab Barr and derail his investigation into the origin of Russiagate
New American Militarism "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Demonization of Putin Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-Russian hysteria
The Great Democratic Party Betrayal: Pro-War Democrats as Vichy Left War is Racket Predator state Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Obama: a yet another Neocon National Socialism and Military Keysianism
James Burnham -- renegade Trotskyite and American Machiavelli Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Noble Lie Neocons Credibility Scam Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nation under attack meme
Ciaramella as potential fake whistleblower, the sacrificial pawn for Brennan Blob attackes Trum: Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukraingate Robert Kagan Bill Kristol Samantha Power Susan Rice
Eastern European Diaspora influence on the USA foreign policy Max Boot Madeleine Albright Alexander Vindman role in Ukrainegate Alexandra Chalupa role in fueling Russiagate  
Media-Military-Industrial Complex National Security State / Surveillance State Senator McCain Conservatives Without Conscience  Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime Merkel as Soft Cop in Neocon Offensive on Eastern Europe and Russia
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Machiavellism Mayberry Machiavellians Power abroad rests on justice and decency at home
Leo Strauss and the Neocons Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Two Party System as polyarchy Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Krauthammer
Color revolutions Neoliberal Compradors and lumpenelite From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Russian White Revolution of 2011-2012 PNAC  
The Deep State War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Media domination strategy Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Bureaucratic avoidance of responsibility Bureaucratic Collectivism
Fighting Russophobia Neo-fascism Anti-Americanism Torture Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Neoconservatism, an introduction

Years ago, whilst this reactionary putsch was still in it's infancy,
 my mom would listen to the "news" on the local CBS affiliate,
and many times I heard her gasp and say, referring to the "reporters"
jabbering, "My God, they're a bunch of dopes!"

The dopes areascendant; stupid, scared, violent-minded, and very well-paid.

Comment from Veteran NBC-MSNBC Journalist Blasts Network in Resignation

Neoconservatives, which like Bolsheviks in the past are mostly Jewish intellectuals, are frequently described as ideologues with pro-Israel and anti-Russian bent, but the truth is that they are far more interested in gaining access to money and power. Most of them are useless smacks with degree in journalism or history and they would starve if not fed by military industrial complex. Being a lobbyist of military industrial complex is the only job they can get. Add to that that most of them are personal cowards and chicken hawks and you get the picture: they are just bottom-feeders. "National security parasites" is a very apt definition for this category of people.

The ideology of Neoconservatism was explicitly formulated in Wolfowitz Doctrine which contains the key postulates of Neoconservatism in foreign policy. They can be summarized as "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge". That partially explains unprecedented level of military expenses of the USA since 1991 (after the dissolution of the USSR) when, effectively, the USA has not external enemies and those money can be used to improve well being of common people in the USA. But neoliberal elite engage in building global neoliberal empire rules from Washington and that empire needed the dominant military force to protect and  expand it .  From other  point of view that was an attempt of the US MIC to preserve its position acquired during the Cold War, if necessary by inventing or creating a new threats.  Neocons just happen perfectly suit the role of lobbyists of MIC interest in Washington  and thus were financially and politically supported by MIC.

Large part of neocons consist of so-called "elite-wannabes," often well-educated and highly capable, who has been denied access to elite positions and who decided to use warmongering backdoor to get there.

Proselytizing their own brand of global regime change is just a mean to sustain the access to funds and political power.  They know perfectly well which side of the bread is buttered and by whom.   We can suspect that for many of them (Max Boot is a good example here) access to money from MIC and Israel lobby is the primary driving force. Often they are viewed as Likud lobby in the USA:  "The definition of a neocon is somebody who has great difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of Israel, on the one hand, and the strategic interests of the United States on the other. Israel wants bedlam in Syria, and they’ve got it." ( Israel lobby in the United States - Wikipedia ):

The formal component of the Israel lobby consists of organized lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks all lobbies and PACs, describes the ‘background’ of those ‘Pro-Israel’ as, “A nationwide network of local political action committees, generally named after the region their donors come from, supplies much of the pro-Israel money in US politics. Additional funds also come from individuals who bundle contributions to candidates favored by the PACs. The donors' unified goal is to build stronger US-Israel relations and to support Israel in its negotiations and armed conflicts with its Arab neighbors.”[24]

According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups:

... ... ...

A summary of pro-Israel campaign donations for the period of 1990–2008 collected by Center for Responsive Politics indicates current totals and a general increase in proportional donations to the US Republican party since 1996.[46] The Center for Responsive Politics' 1990–2006 data shows that "pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990."[47] In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (1990–2006) period.[48] In 2006, 60% of the Democratic Party’s fundraising and 25% of that for the Republican Party's fundraising came from Jewish-funded PACs. According to a Washington Post estimate, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for as much as 60% of money raised from private sources.[49]

... ... ...

AIPAC does not give donations directly to candidates, but those who donate to AIPAC are often important political contributors in their own right. In addition, AIPAC helps connect donors with candidates, especially to the network of pro-Israel political action committees. AIPAC president Howard Friedman says “AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israel’s predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a ‘position paper’ on their views of the US-Israel relationship – so it’s clear where they stand on the subject.”[43]

.... ... ...

Mearsheimer and Walt state that “pro-Israel figures have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of US support for the Jewish state.”[50]

When strategic interests of Israeli (for example remaking of the Middle East so that Israel can exercise dominant power in this region; which includes fragmentation of several existing states) deviate from the strategic interests of the USA (which mostly are interested in uninterruptable supply of cheap oil) neocons do betray the USA national interests with ease. The US-Israel relationship significantly damages the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. They also were serving as propagandists and influencers for all recent Middle East military adventures and regime change efforts.  Recently that was the case in Syria: in no way Assad government represented a threat to the USA interests. Still the pressure of "likudniks" was such that the USA engaged in the "regime change" efforts.

But in reality they should be viewed more like lobbing group of MIC then lobbing group of Israel. As well as transnational corporations interested in opening new markets. But recently facts that Israel spend large sums on money on trying to influence the USA politicians came to light and to this extent one gets impression that the tail is wagging the dog. 

They should probably be viewed as the lobbying and propaganda arm of military industrial complex. Is both Republican and Democratic Party position themselves as a "War Party" they represent an important political force on the USA political landscape.  The fact that some of staunch neocons  such  as Max Boot recently defected to Democratic Party just confirm the fact that in forign policy there is only one party in the usa -- the neocon party. 

And there is not much conservative in neocon ideology -- it is basically a revamped Trotskyism, if not neo-fascism. Just look at Nuland's fraternization with Ukrainian far right nationalists despite her Jewish roots (and despite the fact that this movement was hell-bent on killing Jewish people during WWII and served as capos in concentration camps). This was not accidental; this was a conscious political choice -- they are birds of the feather.

Ideologically they are a more militant flavor of neoliberals ("neoliberals with the gun", so to speak). They also are more openly statist, then a typical neoliberal. But their neo-Trotskyites roots are mostly demonstrated in foreign policy (they do not have a coherent domestic policy; but generally their views in this area are more aligned with the  Democratic Party than Republican Party views). 

All-in-all, we will essentially view them as lobbyists of MIC, "neoliberals with a gun".


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[Jan 22, 2020] The Comey-Lynch Plausible Deniability Game – OffGuardian

Jan 22, 2020 | off-guardian.org

As the structure and form of institutions continue to breakdown offering new perspectives and unexpected revelations, it is fitting that former FBI Director James Comey continues to be scrutinized regarding his behavior on multiple aspects of the HRC email scandal, Russiagate and other adjacent activities.

Still under a dark cloud is the lack of a satisfactory explanation for Comey's unprecedented decision to usurp the announcement (away from AG Loretta Lynch) that HRC would not be prosecuted for her mishandling of classified material as Secretary of State. Related to that decision, the DOJ is currently reported to be investigating whether Comey, who has a history of leaking 'sensitive' data, also leaked a classified Russian intel document to reporters in 2017.

To better understand the depth of Comey's malfeasance, it is worth nothing that the IG Report "Investigation of Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey's Disclosure of Sensitive Investigative Information and Handling of Certain Memoranda" of August 2019 determined that Comey willfully violated FBI rules and policies and was in violation of his Employment Agreement as he leaked 'sensitive' information including his personal communications with President Trump. The Report concluded that:

Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example "

And:

We have previously faulted Comey for acting unilaterally and inconsistent with Department policy. Comey's unauthorized disclosure of sensitive law enforcement information about the Flynn investigation merits similar criticism."

The Report's conclusions were forwarded to the DOJ which declined to prosecute Comey.

Fast forward to the current DOJ investigation which again questions Comey's penchant for the disclosure of "sensitive" information while opening a Pandora Box of unexpected proportions.

According to the Washington Post, in 2016, the Dutch secret services obtained a Russian intel document which contained a copy of an email in which then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz assured Leonard Bernardo of the Soros Open Society Foundation that Attorney General Loretta Lynch would not prosecute HRC for use of her personal server for classified government documents.

In the email, DWS also informed Benardo that Amanda Renteria, Clinton's National Political Director, had spoken with Lynch who offered further assurance that the FBI investigation "would not go too far."

While the document was forwarded to the FBI, it was dismissed as an unreliable Russian propaganda effort to influence the outcome of the HRC investigation.

As the FBI claimed the Russian document had no "investigative value," the Washington Post found that

Comey's defenders still insist that there is reason to believe the document is legitimate and that it rightly played a major role in the director's thinking."

Even in denial of its veracity, the document was taken seriously enough for Comey to use its existence as an excuse for making his extraordinary announcement, according to the Washington Post, "on his own, without Justice Department involvement" or informing the Attorney General that he was closing the case and that HRC would not be criminally prosecuted.

Comey's announcement came days after Lynch met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix and days before HRC was to be interviewed by the FBI and days before Comey made his shocking announcement.

June 29th Lynch – Bill Clinton meeting on tarmac in Phoenix; July 2nd FBI interview with HRC; July 5th Comey announced 'no prosecution'

Existence of the email provided the perfect foil for Lynch to avoid having to make and announce the decision as if it were on her own volition.

Allegedly, Comey decided to move forward with the announcement which was intended to prove that the no-prosecution decision had been made without any bias or interference.

If, so the thinking goes, Lynch had made and announced the decision after her meeting with Bill, she would have been accused of corruption or having been compromised and that a deal had been cut in HRCs favor. IG Horowitz found that Comey displayed a "troubling lack of direct substantive communication with AG Lorretta Lynch."

In other words, it was Lynch's responsibility, as Attorney General, to retain sole authority over a decision of such national significance and be willing take the heat, whatever the outcome. One wonders if Lynch ever protested to Comey that, without her approval, he usurped her job and made a highly controversial decision that the entire country was watching.

Where were the women libbers when a man on a lower rung of the totem pole, seized a significant function away from its rightful superior authority which, in this case, was a black female.

In other words, Comey saved Lynch's butt from charges of corruption by skillfully appropriating the announcement which otherwise would have been problematic for her to defend after having been caught publicly meeting with the defendant's husband.

Does anything about this strike you as credible?

Not surprisingly as the email was dismissed, the Bureau never pursued routine investigative tools that would have been second-nature in any such top-level investigation.

The FBI, as it dismissed the email as a fake, did not conduct a forensic exam to verify the document's origin just as the FBI never subpoenaed the DNC server to conduct a forensic exam to determine the source of the Wikileaks emails.

While all the parties involved denied that any of them ever knew each other, the Bureau apparently never confirmed that or pursued obtaining a copy of the email from any of the parties and, most importantly, the Bureau never interviewed any of the parties

In May, 2017, President Trump fired Comey as "no longer able to effectively lead the Bureau."

Here's one version of how this scam could have played out. It's called plausible deniability and is used routinely to shield a high level public office from public accountability. It is an old political trick and most of the public remains blind to how easy it is to manipulate public opinion.

Here's how it works: public official #1 is protected from 'knowing' the truth about a certain political reality and since #1 is never informed, they can honestly say "I didn't know" "No one told me" "We never talked about it" "it came as a surprise to me."

The invocation of plausible deniability is intentionally set up to allow an event to occur and yet prevent #1 from 'knowing' the facts thereby being publicly and legally immune from accountability since no hard evidence exists proving that #1 had any foreknowledge of the matter at hand.

Since The Big Bottom Line was protecting HRC from prosecution and Comey alleged that he had not discussed the matter with Lynch, he did the AG a huge favor and she owes Comey a Big One as does HRC. After Comey bit the bullet and saved Lynch from criticism that might have ruined her career, Lynch was free to play the plausible deniability game:

Golly Gee, since I might be accused of favoritism toward HRC after the meeting with Bill which coincidentally led to a favorable decision for his wife, it was best for Comey to announce the decision thereby avoiding any claim of bias or favoritism. I had no idea the charges against HRC would be dismissed.

See how that works?

To sum up: with the FBI blowing off the DWS email as a fraud and without Comey stepping up and bailing out the AG and HRC, it would have looked bad, the deal would have been questioned, everyone wondering but this way, with plausible deniability in play, everyone is cool..right?

Renee Parsons is a student of the Quantum Field. She has been a member of the ACLU's Florida State Board of Directors and President of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member in the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31.

[Jan 22, 2020] The End Of US Military Dominance Unintended Consequences Forge A Multipolar World Order

Notable quotes:
"... The decision to invade Afghanistan following the events of September 11, 2001, while declaring an "axis of evil" to be confronted that included nuclear-armed North Korea and budding regional hegemon Iran, can be said to be the reason for many of the most significant strategic problems besetting the U.S.. ..."
"... The U.S. often prefers to disguise its medium- to long-term objectives by focusing on supposedly more immediate and short-term threats. Thus, the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and its deployment of the Aegis Combat System (both sea- and land-based) as part of the NATO missile defense system, was explained as being for the purposes of defending European allies from the threat of Iranian ballistic missiles. ..."
"... As was immediately clear to most independent analysts as well as to President Putin , the deployment of such offensive systems are only for the purposes of nullifying the Russian Federation's nuclear-deterrence capability . Obama and Trump faithfully followed in the steps of George W. Bush in placing ABM systems on Russia's borders, including in Romania and Poland. ..."
"... There is no defense against such Russian systems as the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which serves to restore the deterrence doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD), which in turn serves to ensure that nuclear weapons can never be employed so long as this "balance of terror" exists. Moscow is thus able to ensure peace through strength by showing that it is capable of inflicting a devastating second strike with regard regard for Washington's vaunted ABM systems. ..."
"... In addition to the continued economic and military pressure placed on Iran, one of the most immediate consequences of the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, better known as the Iran nuclear deal) has been Tehran being forced to examine all options. Although the country's leaders and political figures have always claimed that they do not want to develop a nuclear weapon, stating that it is prohibited by Islamic law, I should think that their best course of action would be to follow Pyongyang's example and acquire a nuclear deterrent to protect themselves from U.S. aggression. ..."
"... Once again, Washington has ended up shooting itself in the foot by inadvertently encouraging one of its geopolitical opponents to behave in the opposite manner intended. Instead of stopping nuclear proliferation in the region, the U.S., by scuppering of the JCPOA, has only encouraged the prospect of nuclear proliferation. ..."
"... Trump's short-sightedness in withdrawing from the JCPOA is reminiscent of George W. Bush's withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. By triggering necessary responses from Moscow and Tehran, Washington's actions have only ended up leaving it at a disadvantage in certain critical areas relative to its competitors. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Starting from the presidency of George W. Bush to that of Trump, the U.S. has made some missteps that not only reduce its influence in strategic regions of the world but also its ability to project power and thus impose its will on those unwilling to genuflect appropriately .

Some examples from the recent past will suffice to show how a series of strategic errors have only accelerated the U.S.'s hegemonic decline.

ABM + INF = Hypersonic Supremacy

The decision to invade Afghanistan following the events of September 11, 2001, while declaring an "axis of evil" to be confronted that included nuclear-armed North Korea and budding regional hegemon Iran, can be said to be the reason for many of the most significant strategic problems besetting the U.S..

The U.S. often prefers to disguise its medium- to long-term objectives by focusing on supposedly more immediate and short-term threats. Thus, the U.S.'s withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and its deployment of the Aegis Combat System (both sea- and land-based) as part of the NATO missile defense system, was explained as being for the purposes of defending European allies from the threat of Iranian ballistic missiles. This argument held little water as the Iranians had neither the capability nor intent to launch such missiles.

As was immediately clear to most independent analysts as well as to President Putin , the deployment of such offensive systems are only for the purposes of nullifying the Russian Federation's nuclear-deterrence capability . Obama and Trump faithfully followed in the steps of George W. Bush in placing ABM systems on Russia's borders, including in Romania and Poland.

Following from Trump's momentous decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), it is also likely that the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) will also be abandoned, creating more global insecurity with regard to nuclear proliferation.

Moscow was forced to pull out all stops to develop new weapons that would restore the strategic balance, Putin revealing to the world in a speech in 2018 the introduction of hypersonic weapons and other technological breakthroughs that would serve to disabuse Washington of its first-strike fantasies.

Even as Washington's propaganda refuses to acknowledge the tectonic shifts on the global chessboard occasioned by these technological breakthroughs, sober military assessments acknowledge that the game has fundamentally changed.

There is no defense against such Russian systems as the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which serves to restore the deterrence doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD), which in turn serves to ensure that nuclear weapons can never be employed so long as this "balance of terror" exists. Moscow is thus able to ensure peace through strength by showing that it is capable of inflicting a devastating second strike with regard regard for Washington's vaunted ABM systems.

In addition to ensuring its nuclear second-strike capability, Russia has been forced to develop the most advanced ABM system in the world to fend off Washington's aggression. This ABM system is integrated into a defensive network that includes the Pantsir, Tor, Buk, S-400 and shortly the devastating S-500 and A-235 missile systems. This combined system is designed to intercept ICBMs as well as any future U.S. hypersonic weapons

The wars of aggression prosecuted by George W. Bush, Obama and Trump have only ended up leaving the U.S. in a position of nuclear inferiority vis-a-vis Russia and China. Moscow has obviously shared some of its technological innovations with its strategic partner, allowing Beijing to also have hypersonic weapons together with ABM systems like the Russian S-400.

No JCPOA? Here Comes Nuclear Iran

In addition to the continued economic and military pressure placed on Iran, one of the most immediate consequences of the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, better known as the Iran nuclear deal) has been Tehran being forced to examine all options. Although the country's leaders and political figures have always claimed that they do not want to develop a nuclear weapon, stating that it is prohibited by Islamic law, I should think that their best course of action would be to follow Pyongyang's example and acquire a nuclear deterrent to protect themselves from U.S. aggression.

While this suggestion of mine may not correspond with the intentions of leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the protection North Korea enjoys from U.S. aggression as a result of its deterrence capacity may oblige the Iranian leadership to carefully consider the pros and cons of following suit, perhaps choosing to adopt the Israeli stance of nuclear ambiguity or nuclear opacity, where the possession of nuclear weapons is neither confirmed nor denied. While a world free of nuclear weapons would be ideal, their deterrence value cannot be denied, as North Korea's experience attests.

While Iran does not want war, any pursuit of a nuclear arsenal may guarantee a conflagration in the Middle East. But I have long maintained that the risk of a nuclear war (once nuclear weapons have been acquired) does not exist , with them having a stabilizing rather than destabilizing effect, particularly in a multipolar environment.

Once again, Washington has ended up shooting itself in the foot by inadvertently encouraging one of its geopolitical opponents to behave in the opposite manner intended. Instead of stopping nuclear proliferation in the region, the U.S., by scuppering of the JCPOA, has only encouraged the prospect of nuclear proliferation.

Trump's short-sightedness in withdrawing from the JCPOA is reminiscent of George W. Bush's withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. By triggering necessary responses from Moscow and Tehran, Washington's actions have only ended up leaving it at a disadvantage in certain critical areas relative to its competitors.

The death of Soleimani punctures the myth of the U.S. invincibility

I wrote a couple of articles in the wake of General Soleimani's death that examined the incident and then considered the profound ramifications of the event in the region.

What seems evident is that Washington appears incapable of appreciating the consequences of its reckless actions. Killing Soleimani was bound to invite an Iranian response; and even if we assume that Trump was not looking for war (I explained why some months ago), it was obvious to any observer that there would be a response from Iran to the U.S.'s terrorist actions.

The response came a few nights later where, for the first time since the Second World War, a U.S. military base was subjected to a rain of missiles (22 missiles each with a 700kg payload). Tehran thereby showed that it possessed the necessary technical, operational and strategic means to obliterate thousands of U.S. and allied personnel within the space of a few minutes if it so wished, with the U.S. would be powerless to stop it.

U.S. Patriot air-defense systems yet again failed to do their job, reprising their failure to defend Saudi oil and gas facilities against a missile attack conducted by Houthis a few months ago.

We thus have confirmation, within the space of a few months, of the inability of the U.S. to protect its troops or allies from Houthi, Hezbollah and Iranian missiles. Trump and his generals would have been reluctant to respond to the Iranian missile attack knowing that any Iranian response would bring about uncontrollable regional conflagration that would devastate U.S. bases as well as oil infrastructure and such cities of U.S. allies as Tel Aviv, Haifa and Dubai.

After demonstrating to the world that U.S. allies in the region are defenseless against missile attacks from even the likes of the Houthis, Iran drove home the point by conducting surgical strikes on two U.S. bases that only highlights the disconnect between the perception of U.S. military invincibility and the reality that would come in the form of a multilayered missile conflict.

Conclusion

Washington's diplomatic and military decisions in recent years have only brought about a world world that is more hostile to Washington and less inclined to accept its diktats, often being driven instead to acquire the military means to counter Washington's bullying. Even as the U.S. remains the paramount military power, its ineptitude has resulted in Russia and China surpassing it in some critical areas, such that the U.S. has no chance of defending itself against a nuclear second strike, with even Iran having the means to successfully retaliate against the U.S. in the region.

As I continue to say, Washington's power largely rests on perception management helped by the make-believe world of Hollywood. The recent missile attacks by Houthis on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities and the Iranian missile attack a few days ago on U.S. military bases in Iraq (none of which were intercepted) are like Toto drawing back the curtain to reveal Washington's military vulnerability. No amount of entreaties by Washington to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain will help.

The more aggressive the U.S. becomes, the more it reveals its tactical, operational and strategic limits, which in turn only serves to accelerate its loss of hegemony.

If the U.S. could deliver a nuclear first strike without having to worry about a retaliatory second strike thanks to its ABM systems, then its quest for perpetual unipolarity could possibly be realistic. But Washington's peer competitors have shown that they have the means to defend themselves against a nuclear first strike by being able to deliver an unstoppable second strike, thereby communicating that the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) is here to stay. With that, Washington's efforts to maintain its status as uncontested global hegemon are futile.

In a region vital to U.S. interests , Washington does not have the operational capacity to stand in the way of Syria's liberation. When it has attempted to directly impose its will militarily, it has seen as many as 80% of its cruise missiles knocked down or deflected , once again highlighting the divergence between Washington's Hollywood propaganda and the harsh military reality.

The actions of George W. Bush, Obama and Trump have only served to inadvertently accelerate the world's transition away from a unipolar world to a multipolar one. As Trump follows in the steps of his predecessors by being aggressive towards Iran, he only serves to weaken the U.S. global position and strengthen that of his opponents.


Big Sky Country , 1 hour ago link

Up to the election of our current President, I agree that we were bullying for the personal gain of a few and our military was being used as a mercenary force. The current administration is working on getting us out of long term conflicts. What do you think "drain the swamp" means? It is a huge undertaking and need to understand what the "deep state" is all about and their goals.

The death of Soleimani was needed and made the world a safer place. Dr. Janda / Freedom Operation has had several very intriguing presentations on this issue. It is my firm belief that there is a worldwide coalition to make the world a better and safer place. If you want to know about the "deep state" try watching: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cYZ8dUgPuU

Roacheforque , 2 hours ago link

All mostly true, but the constant drone of this type of article gets old, as the comments below attest. We really don't need more forensic analysis by the SCF, what we need is an answer to America's dollar Imperialism problem. But we'll never get it, just as England never got an answer to it's pound Imperialism problem.

I like Tulsi Gabbard, but she can never truly reveal the magnitude of the dollar Imperialism behind her "stop these endless wars" sloganism. Besides, she doesn't have the billions required to mount any real successful campaign. Only billionaires like Bloomberg need apply these days.

The Truth is that NO ONE will stand up to Wall Street and it's system of global dollar corporatism (from which Bloomberg acquired his billions, and to which the USG is bound). It's suicide to speak the truth to the masses. The dollar must die of its own disease.

Trump is America's Chemo. The cure nearly as bad as the cancer, but the makers of it have a vested interest in its acceptance.

messystateofaffairs , 3 hours ago link

General Bonespur murders a genuine military man from the comfort of his golf course. America is still dangerous, Pinky might be tired but the (((Brain))) is working feverishly on solutions for the jaded .

msamour , 2 hours ago link

There has been a perception in the last 25 years that the US could win a nuclear war. This perception is extremely dangerous as it invites the US armed forces to commit atrocities and think they can get away with it (they are for now). The world opinion has turned, but the citizens of the United States of America are not listening.

If the US keeps going down the path they are currently on, they are ensuring that war will eventually reach its coast.

Jazzman , 4 hours ago link

To challenge the US Empire the new Multipolar World is focused on a two-pronged strategy:

1. Nullifying the US nuclear first strike (at will) as part of the current US military doctrine - accomplished (for a decade maybe).
2. Outmaneuvering the US petrodollar in trade, the tool to control the global fossil fuel resources on the planet - in progress.

What makes 2.) decisive is that the petrodollar as reserve currency is the key to recycle the US federal budget deficit via foreign investment in U.S. Treasury Bonds (IOUs) by the central banks, thus enabling the global military presence and power projection of the US military empire.

rtb61 , 4 hours ago link

All their little plots and schemes failed, as corrupt arsehole after corrupt arsehole stole the funding from those plots and schemes to fill their own pockets. They also put the most corrupt individuals they could find into power, so as much as possible could be stolen and voila, everywhere they went, everything collapsed, every single time.

Totally and utterly ludicrous decades, of not punishing failure after failure has resulted in nothing but more failure, like, surprise, surprise, surprise.

Routine failures have forced other nation to go multipolar or just rush straight to global economic collapse as a result of out of control US corruption. Russia and China did not outsmart the USA, the USA did it entirely to itself by not prosecuting corruption at high levels, even when it failed time and time again, focusing more on how much they could steal, then on bringing what ever plot or scheme to a successful conclusion.

Falcon49 , 4 hours ago link

The use of the terms "Unintended Consequences", shortsightedness, mistakes, stupidity, or ignorance provides the avenue to transfer or divert the blame. It excuses it away as bad decisions so that the truth and those responsible are never really exposed and held accountable. The fact is, these actions were not mistakes or acts of shortsightedness...they were deliberate and planned and the so-called "unintended consequences" were actually intended and part of their plan. Looking back and linking the elites favorite process to drive change (problem, reaction, solution)...one can quickly make the connection to many of the so-called "unintended consequences" as they are very predictable results their actions. It becomes very clear that much of what has occurred over the last few decades has been deliberate with planned/intended outcomes.

mike_1010 , 6 hours ago link

I think the biggest advantage USA used to have was that they claimed to stand for Freedom and Democracy. And for a time, many people believed them. That's partly why the USSR fell apart, and for a time USA had a lot of goodwill among ordinary Russians.

But US political leaders squandered this goodwill when they used NATO to attack Yugoslavia against Russia's objections and expanded NATO towards Russia's borders. This has been long forgotten in USA. But many ordinary Russians still seethe about these events. This was the turning point for them that motivated them to support Putin and his rebuilding of Russia's military.

When you have goodwill among your potential competitors, then they don't have much motivation to increase their capabilities against you. This was the situation USA was in after the USSR fell apart. But USA squandered all of this goodwill and motivated the Russians to do what they did.

And now, USA under Trump has done something like this with China. USA used to have a lot of goodwill among the ordinary Chinese. But now this is gone as a result of US tariffs, sanctions, and its support for separatism in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Now, the Chinese will be as motivated as the Russians to do their best at promoting their interests at the expense of USA. And together with Russia, they have enough people and enough natural resources to do more than well against USA and its allies.

I think USA could've maintained a lot more influence around the world through goodwill with ordinary people, than through sanctions, threats, and military attacks. If USA had left Iraq under Saddam Hussein alone, then Iran wouldn't have had much influence in there. And if USA had left Iran alone, then the young people there might've already rebelled against their strict Islamic rule and made their government more friendly with USA.

Doing nothing, except business and trade, would've left USA in a much better position, than the one USA is in now.

Now USA is bankrupting itself with unsustainable military spending and still falling behind its competitors. USA might still have the biggest economy in the world in US Dollar terms. But this doesn't take into account the cost of living and purchasing parity. With purchasing parity taken into account, China now has a bigger economy than that of USA. Because internally, they can manufacture and buy a lot more for the same amount of money than USA can. A lot of US military spending is on salaries, pensions, and healthcare of its personnel. While such costs in Russia and China are comparatively small. They are spending most of their money on improving and building their military technology. That's why in the long run, USA will probably fall behind even more.

abodasho , 4 hours ago link

The Anglos in the U.S. are not from there and are imposters who are claiming characteristics and a culture that doesn't belong to them. They're using it as a way to hide from scrutiny, so you blame "Americans", when its really them. That's why there's such a huge disconnect between stated values and actions. The values belong to another group of people, TRUE Americans, while the actions belong to Anglos, who have a history of aggressive and forced, irrational violence upon innocents.

mike_1010 , 3 hours ago link

It's true that ordinary people are often different from their government, including in Russia, in China, in Iran, in USA, and even in Nazi Germany in the past.

But the people in such a situation are usually powerless and unable to influence their government. So, their difference is irrelevant in the way their government behaves and alienates people around the world.

USA is nominally a democracy, where the government is controlled by the people. But in reality, the people are only a ceremonial figurehead, and the real power is a small minority of rich companies and individuals, who fund election campaigns of politicians.

That's why for example most Americans want to have universal healthcare, just like all other developed countries have. But most elected politicians from both major parties won't even consider this idea, because their financial donors are against it. And if the people are powerless even within their own country, then outside with foreigners, they have even less influence.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/28/most-americans-now-support-medicare-for-all-and-free-college-tuition.html

MalteseFalcon , 2 hours ago link

The USA completely squandered their "soft" power.

nuerocaster , 7 hours ago link

Anyone interested in the real story?

1. Nation Building? It worked with Germany and Japan, rinse and repeat. So what if it's comparing apples to antimatter?

2. US won the Cold War? So make the same types of moves made during Reagan adm? The real reason the Soviet Empire collapsed was because it was a money losing empire while the US was a money making empire. Just review the money pits they invested in.

3. Corruption? That was your grandfather's time. The US has been restructured. Crime Syndicate and Feudal templates are the closest. Stagnation and decline economically and technologically are inevitable.

4. Evaluating the competition is problematic. However perhaps the most backward and regressive elements in this society are branding themselves as progressive and getting away with it. That can't work.

[Jan 22, 2020] How Our Economic Warfare Brings the World to Heel

Jan 22, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How Our Economic Warfare Brings the World to Heel

Unprecedented hubris is drawing a global blowback that will leave America in a very dangerous place. Sorin Alb/Shutterstock

January 2, 2020

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12:01 am

Doug Bandow Economic sanctions are an important foreign policy tool going back to America's founding. President Thomas Jefferson banned trade with Great Britain and France, which left U.S. seamen unemployed while failing to prevent military conflict with both.

Economic warfare tends to be equally ineffective today. The Trump administration made Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and North Korea special sanctions targets. So this strategy has failed in every case. In fact, "maximum pressure" on both Iran, which has become more threatening, and North Korea, which appears to be preparing a tougher military response, has dramatically backfired.

The big difference between then and now is Washington's shift from primary to secondary sanctions. Trade embargoes, such as first applied to Cuba in 1960, once only prevented Americans from dealing with the target state. Today Washington attempts to conscript the entire world to fight its economic wars.

This shift was heralded by the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which extended Cuban penalties to foreign companies, a highly controversial move at the time. Sudan was another early target of secondary sanctions, which barred anyone who used the U.S. financial system from dealing with Khartoum. Europeans and others grumbled about Washington's arrogance, but were not willing to confront the globe's unipower over such minor markets.

However, sanctions have become much bigger business in Washington. One form is a mix of legislative and executive initiatives applied against governments in disfavor. There were five countries under sanction when George W. Bush took office in 2001. The Office of Foreign Assets Control currently lists penalties against the Balkans, Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Nicaragua, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine-Russia, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. In addition are special programs: countering America's adversaries, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, cyber warfare, foreign election interference, Global Magnitsky, Magnitsky, proliferation, diamond trade, and transnational crime.

Among today's more notable targets are Cuba for being communist, Venezuela for being crazy communist, Iran for having once sought nuclear weapons and currently challenging Saudi and U.S. regional hegemony, Russia for beating up on Ukraine and meddling in America's 2016 election, Syria for opposing Israel and brutally suppressing U.S.-supported insurgents, and North Korea for developing nuclear weapons. Once on Washington's naughty list, countries rarely get off.

The second penalty tier affects agencies, companies, and people who have offended someone in Washington for doing something considered evil, inappropriate, or simply inconvenient. Individual miscreants often are easy to dislike. Penalizing a few dubious characters or enterprises creates less opposition than sanctioning a country.

However, some targets merely offended congressional priorities. For instance, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act Congress authorized sanctions against Western companies, most notably the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying venture Allseas Group, involved in the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project. GOP Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson threatened Allseas: "continuing to do the work -- for even a single day after the president signs the sanctions legislation -- would expose your company to crushing and potentially fatal legal and economic sanctions."

Penalizing what OFAC calls "Specially Designated Nationals" and "blocked persons" has become Washington sport. Their number hit 8000 last year. The Economist noted that the Trump administration alone added 3100 names during its first three years, almost as many as George W. Bush included in eight years. Today's target list runs an incredible 1358 pages.

The process has run wildly out of control. Policymakers' first response to a person, organization, or government doing something of which they disapprove now seems to be to impose sanctions -- on anyone or anything on earth dealing with the target. Unfortunately, reliance on economic warfare, and sanctions traditionally are treated as an act of war, has greatly inflated U.S. officials' geopolitical ambitions. Once they accepted that the world was a messy, imperfect place. Today they intervene in the slightest foreign controversy. Even allies and friends, most notably Europe, Japan, South Korea, and India, are threatened with economic warfare unless they accept Washington's self-serving priorities and mind-numbing fantasies.

At the same time the utility of sanctions is falling. Unilateral penalties usually fail, which enrages advocates, who respond by escalating sanctions, again without success. Of course, embargoes and bans often inflict substantial economic pain, which sometimes lead proponents to claim victory. However, the cost is supposed to be the means to another end. Yet the Trump administration has failed everywhere: Cuba maintains communist party rule, Iran has grown more truculent, North Korea has refused to disarm, Russia has not given back Crimea, and Venezuela has not defenestrated Nicolas Maduro.

Much the same goes for penalties applied to individuals, firms, and other entities. Those targeted often are hurt, and most of them deserve to be hurt. But they usually persist in their behavior or others replace them. What dictator has been deposed, policy has been changed, threat has been countered, or wrong has been righted as a result of economic warfare? There is little evidence that U.S. sanctions achieve much of anything, other than encourage sanctimonious moral preening.

Noted the Economist , "If they do not change behavior, sanctions risk becoming less a tool of coercion than an expensive and rather arbitrary extraterritorial form of punishment." One that some day might be turned against Americans.

Contra apparent assumptions in Washington, it is not easy to turn countries into America's image. Raw nationalism usually triumphs. Americans should reflect on how they would react if the situation was reversed. No one wants to comply with unpopular foreign dictates.

In fact, economic warfare often exacerbates underlying conflicts. Rather than negotiate with Washington from a position of weakness, Iran has threatened maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf, shut down Saudi oil exports, and loosed affiliates and irregulars on American and allied forces. Russia has challenged against multiple Washington policy priorities. Cuba has shifted power to the post-revolutionary generation and extended its authority private businesses as the Trump administration's policies have stymied growth and undermined entrepreneurs.

The almost endless expansion of sanctions also punishes American firms and foreign companies active in America. Compliance is costly. Violating one rule, even inadvertently, is even more so. Chary companies preemptively forego legal business in a process called "de-risking."

Even humanitarian traffic suffers: Who wants to risk an expensive mistake in handling relatively low value transactions? Such effects might not bother smug U.S. policymakers, but should weigh heavily on the rest of us.

Perhaps most important, Washington's overreliance on secondary sanctions is building resistance to American financial dominance. Warned Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in 2016: "The more we condition use of the dollar and our financial system on adherence to U.S. foreign policy, the more the risk of migration to other currencies and other financial systems in the medium-term grows."

Overthrowing the almighty dollar will be no mean feat. Nevertheless, arrogant U.S. attempts to regulate the globe have united much of the world, including Europe, Russia, and China, against American extraterritoriality. Noted attorney Bruce Zagaris, Washington is "inadvertently mobilizing a club of countries and international organizations, including U.S. allies, to develop ways to circumvent U.S. sanctions."

Merchant ships and oil tankers turn off transponders. Vessels transfer cargoes at sea. Firms arrange cash and barter deals. Major powers such as China aid and abet violations and dare Washington to wreck much larger bilateral economic relationships. The European Union passed "Blocking Legislation" to allow recovery of damages from U.S. sanctions and limit Europeans' compliance with such rules. The EU also developed a barter facility, known as Instex, to allow trade with Iran without reliance on U.S. financial institution.

Russia has pushed to de-dollarize international payments and worked with China to settle bilateral trade in rubles and renminbi. Foreign central banks have increased their purchases of gold. At the recent Islamic summit Malaysia proposed using gold and barter for trade to thwart future sanctions. Venezuela has been selling gold for euros. These measures do not as yet threaten America's predominant financial role but foreshadow likely future changes.

Indeed, Washington's attack on plans by Germany to import natural gas from Russia might ignite something much greater. Berlin is not just an incidental victim of U.S. policy. Rather, Germany is the target. Complained Foreign Minister Heiko Maas "European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the U.S." Alas, Congress thinks differently.

However, Europeans are ever less willing to accept this kind of indignity. Washington is penalizing even close allies for no obvious purpose other than demonstrating its power. In Nord Stream 2's case, Gazprom likely will complete the project if necessary. Germany's Deputy Foreign Minister Niels Annen argued that "Europe needs new instruments to be able to defend itself from licentious extraterritorial sanctions."

Commercial penalties have a role to play in foreign policy, but economic warfare is warfare. It can trigger real conflicts -- consider Imperial Japan's response to the Roosevelt administration's cut-off of oil exports. And economic warfare can kill innocents. When UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright was asked about the deaths of a half million Iraqi babies from U.S. sanctions, her response was chilling: "We think the price is worth it." Yet most of the time economic war fails, especially if a unilateral effort by one power applied against the rest of the world.

Washington policymakers need to relearn the meaning of humility. Incompetent and arrogant sanctions policies hurt Americans as well as others. Unfortunately, the resulting blowback will only increase.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire.


Fran Macadam 21 days ago

Under the official Full Spectrum Dominance policy of national security, the goal is that all other nations will be satrapies under U.S. jurisdiction. There are both punishments for using the U.S. dollar, and punishments for not using it.
Cesar Jeopardy MattMusson 20 days ago
I'm afraid it will be the U.S. that suffers. Other countries will no longer subordinate their interests to those of the U.S. I think the U.S. will have to fight all future wars, and accept all blow-back, on her own.
Gary Sellars 21 days ago
It's a waste of time trying to appeal to the commonsense of the Washington Elites. They are too arrogant and sociopathic to care, and lack anything that remotely resembles a moral compass.
Markus 21 days ago
Sanctions are ineffective because the effects don't fall on those making decisions that are adverse to the US. After fifty years of sanctions, Fidel died in bed in great comfort. Sanctions on top of the crazy Juche policies make life hard for the ordinary North Korean, but Kim doesn't appear to have lost any weight. Our officials pat themselves on the back for their militancy without checking for effectiveness.
Disqus10021 20 days ago
Would it be correct to say that the US embargo on oil exports to Japan in August 1941 led to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a few months later (Dec. 7)? Was FDR trying to provoke a war with Japan at the time?
Comment-1 Disqus10021 20 days ago
Discuss 10021. Yes. I used to study East Asia and even reading standard collections of articles, on the article announcing the embargo of steel and oil, and from British controlled territories in East Asia, one's reaction would be, "This means war." (In like, Pres. Carter said if Saudi Arabia refused to sell oil to the US we would invade and take over oil fields.) Se our reaction was similar to that of Japan, though we would blame them and us doing the same would be good. The US military assessment was, I have forgotten exactly, but that Japan would be without heat, power, lighting, factories closed (no oil or steel) and they would be on the point of starvation within, I have forgotten, 9 months to 1 1/2 years. So they "had to do something".. Their war plan was not to invade the US but start a surprise war and strike quickly hoping to get forward bases in the Pacific and we would need to negotiate and turn on the spigot. Japanese assessment was if they did not achieve this by the end of 1942 they were finished. Interestingly, Hitler's assessment of Germany's war was if they had not defeated USSR and gone after United Kingdom by the end of 1942, they, also, were finished. If I recall the report, Eleanor Roosevelt had told on US writer the day the attack occurred, something like, "We thought they were going to attack, but we thought it would be in the Philippines, not Hawaii."
ask zippy Comment-1 19 days ago
So the sanctions had nothing to do with the invasion of French Indo-China? Who taught the class, Noam Chomsky
Robert Levine 20 days ago
Sanctions are now a form of virtue-signaling for both the right and the left.
BillSamuel 18 days ago
The hubris is overwhelming. All empires fall, and the USA certainly seems headed for a fall. However, we still have a choice. We could reject empire, stop all our illegal foreign wars, close all our foreign military bases, drastically reduce our military budget (it is NOT a "defense" budget; it is an offense military budget), end our campaigns of economic sanctions, and stop being the Big Bully of the world. The result would be to free enormous resources for our own country which ranks behind almost all other affluent nations - and sometimes many not-so-affluent nations - in almost all indicators of ecnomic and social well being. Replacing the military sector of our economy with civilian alternatives would be a big boon. Weapons are notable for not continuing in the economic cycle as civilian products do. There are many more jobs per dollars spent in the civilian sector than the military sector. Empire is killing our country even as it is killing other countries.
Gary Sellars BillSamuel 17 days ago • edited
Agreed, but the elites make BILLIONS from Empire & the associated militarism. Psychopaths don't care about the damage they inflict on others, even their own countrymen, and they won't willingly surrender the machinery that generates their wealth and privilege.

[Jan 22, 2020] The plans to nuke USSR were being drawn prior to the Trinity test. Levine's essay buttresses this quite well, though essentially in background

Jan 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Walter , Jan 22 2020 14:30 utc | 100

William Gruff | Jan 22 2020 13:48 utc | 98

That's right. I used to know the guys at Gannet in a major US city. Nice people, but not technically aware, and politically-philosophically innocent. Naifs. Put on nice parties where they chatted about their pasts in foreign places entirely unaware of the objective and obvious exploitation going on right before their eyes.

I might add that the engineering students dread, as a rule, English 1-A, and do, generally, quite poorly. (My wife used to teach that class)

The result is a nice antipodal bar-bell shaped arrangement whereby neither group sees reality, but only a simulacrum of one part or another.

In this regard, Yasha Levine > " Weaponizing Fascism for Democracy: The Beginning " Begins in the DP camps...

I've said before that the plans to nuke USSR were being drawn prior to the Trinity test. Levine's essay buttresses this quite well, though essentially in background...he says nothing about the bomb. He doen't have to...

[Jan 21, 2020] Money Talks, Bullshit Walks on Cable News by Paul Street

Oct 30, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Is it any wonder that the nation's "liberal" cable news stations CNN and MSNBC can barely contain their disdain for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and even (to a lesser degree) for that of Elizabeth Warren while they promote the nauseating center-right candidacies of the bewildered racist and corporatist Joe Biden, the sinister neoliberal corporate-militarist Pete Butiggieg and even the marginal Wall Street "moderates" Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris? Next time you click on these stations, keep a pen and paper handy to write down the names of the corporations that pay for their broadcast content with big money commercial purchases.

I did that at various times of day on three separate occasions last week. Here are the companies I found buying ads at CNN and MSDNC:

American Advisors Group (AAG), the top lender the American reverse mortgage industry (with Tom Selleck telling seniors to trust him that reverse mortgages are not a rip off)

United Health Care, for-profit "managed health care company" with 300,000 employers and an annual revenue of $226 billion, ranked sixth on the 2019 Fortune 500.

Menards, the nation's third largest home improvement chain, with revenue over $10 billion in 2017.

CHANITX, a drug to get off cigarettes ("slow Turkey") sold by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, 65th on the Fortune 500.

Tom Steyer (billionaire for president)

Lincoln Financial, 187 th on the Fortune 500, an American holding company that controls multiple insurance and investment management businesses.

Liberty Mutual, an insurance company with more than 50,000 employees in more than 900 locations and ranked 68 th on the Fortune 500 two years ago.

Allstate Insurance: 79 th on the Fortune 500, with more than 45,000 employees.

INFINITI Suburban Utility Vehicle (new price ranging from 37K to 60K), produced by Nissan, the sixth largest auto-making corporation in the world.

RCN (annual revenue of $636 million) WiFi for business

Jaguar Elite luxury autos.

Porsche luxury autos, selling new models priced at $115,000, $145,000, and $163,00, and $294,000.

Mercedes Benz luxury auto, including an SRL-Class model that starts at $498,000

Capital Group, one of the world's oldest and biggest investment management firms, with $1.87 trillion in assets under its control.

Otezla, a plaque psoriasis drug, developed by the New Jersey drug company Celgene and owned by Amgene, a leading California-based biotechnology firm with total assets of $78 billion.

Trelegy, a CPD drug produced by the British company GSK, the world's seventh leading pharmaceutical corporation, with the fourth largest capitalization of any company on the London Stock Exchange.

HunterDouglass – elite windows made by a Dutch multinational corporation with more than 23,000 employees and locations in more than 70 countries.

Humira – drug for Crohn's disease and other ailments, manufactured by Abbvie, with 28,000 global employees and total assets of $59 billion.

Primateme Mist – for breathing, produced by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.

Glucerna – drug for diabetes, produced by Abbot Laboratories, an American medical company with more than 100,00 employees and total assets of $67 billion.

Prevagen – a controversial drug for brain health produced by Quincy Bioscience

DISCOVER Credit Card, the third largest credit card brand in the U.S., with total assets of $92 billion.

Fidelity Investments, an American multinational financial services corporation with more than 50,000 employees and an operating income of $5.3 billion.

Cadillac XT-6 high-end SUV, starting at $53K, made by General Motors (no. 10 on the Fortune 500 for total revenue), which makes automobiles in 37 countries, employees 173,000 persons, and has total assets $227 billion.

Comfort Inn, owned by Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, franchising 7,005 properties in 41 countries and territories.

Audible/Amazon – books on tape from the world's biggest mega-corporation Amazon, ranked fifth on the Fortune 500, with 647,000 employees and total assets of $163 billion.

Ring Home Security, owned by Amazon

Coventry Health Insurance, no. 168 on the Fortune 500

SANDALS Resorts International, with 16 elite resort properties in the Caribbean.

Cigna Medicare Advantage, owned by the national health insurer Cigna, no. 229 on the Fortune 500

SoFi Finance, an online personal finance company that provides student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.

Ameriprise Finance, an investment services firm, no. 240 on F500.

It's not for nothing that bit Fortune 500 firms are represented in my anecdotal sponsor list above. Last summer, SQAD MediaCosts reported that a 30-second commercial during CNN's prime-time lineup (Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon), cost between $7,000 and $12,000. The price has certainly gone up significantly now that Trumpeachment is bringing in new eyeballs.

The three most prominent and recurrent advertising streams appear (anecdotally) to come from Big Pharma (the leading drug companies), insurance (health insurance above all), and finance (investment services/wealth management). These giant concentrated corporate and industry sectors are naturally opposed to the financial regulation and anti-trust policy that Senator Warren says she wants to advance. Amazon can hardly be expected to back the big-tech break-up that Warren advocates.

Big corporate lenders certainly have no interest in making college tuition free, a Sanders promise that would slash a major profit source for finance capital.

The big health insurance firms are naturally opposed both to the Single Payer national health insurance plan that Sanders puts at the top of his platform and to the milder version of Medicare for All that Warren says she backs. Warren and especially Sanders pledge to remove the parasitic, highly expensive profit motive from health insurance and to make publicly funded quality and affordable health care a human right in the U.S. The corporate insurance mafia is existentially opposed to such human decency.

Both of the "progressive Democratic candidates" (a description that fits Sanders far better than it does Warren) loudly promise to slash drug costs, something Pfizer, Abbvie, Amgene, Amphastar, and Abbot Labs can hardly be expected to relish.

None of the big companies buying advertising time on CNN and MSNBC have any interest in the progressive taxation and restored union organizing and collective bargaining rights that Sanders advocates.

The big financial services firms paying for media content on "liberal" cable news stations primarily serve affluent clients, many if not most of whom are likely to oppose increased taxes on the well off.

The resort, tourism, luxury car, and business travel firms that buy commercials on these networks are hardly about to back policies leading to the real or potential reduction of discretionary income enjoyed by upper middle class and rich people.

So, gosh, who do these corporate and financial interests favor in the 2020 presidential election? Neoliberal Corporatists like Joe Biden, Pete Butiggieg, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, of course. Dutifully obedient to the preferences and commands of the nation's unelected dictatorship of money, these insipid corporate Democrats loyally claim that Sanders and Warren want to viciously "tax the middle class" to pay for supposedly unaffordable excesses like Medicare for All and the existentially necessary Green New Deal.

In reality, Single Payer and giant green jobs programs and more that We the People need and want are eminently affordable if the United States follows Sanders' counsel by adequately and progressively taxing its absurdly wealthy over-class (the top tenth of the upper 1% than owns more than 90% of U.S. wealth) and its giant, surplus-saturated corporations and financial institutions. At the same time, as Warren keeps trying to explain, the cost savings for ordinary Americans will be enormous with the profits system taken out of health insurance.

Sanders reminds voters that there's no way to calculate the cost savings of keeping livable ecology alive for future generations. The climate catastrophe is a grave existential threat to the whole species.

These are basic arguments of elementary social, environmental, and democratic decency that the investors and managers behind and atop big corporations buying commercials on CNN and MSNBC don't want heard. As a result, CNN and MSDNC "debate" moderators and talking heads persist in purveying the, well, fake news, that Sanders doesn't know how to pay Single Payer, free public college, and a Green New Deal.

It's not for nothing that CNN and MSNBC have promoted the hapless Biden over and above Sanders and Warren – this notwithstanding the former Vice President's ever more obvious and embarrassing inadequacy as a candidate.

It's not for nothing that MSNBC and CNN have habitually warned against the supposed "socialist" menace posed by the highly popular Sanders (a New Deal progressive at leftmost) while refusing to properly describe Trump's White House and his dedicated base as pro-fascists. MSDNC has even get a weekly segment to the silver-spooned multi-millionaire advertising executive Donny Deutsch after he said the following on the network last winter:

"I find Donald Trump reprehensible as a human being, but a socialist candidate is more dangerous to this company, country, as far as the strength and well-being of the country, than Donald Trump. I would vote for Donald Trump, a despicable human being I will be so distraught to the point that that could even come out of my mouth, if we have a socialist [Democratic presidential candidate or president] because that will take our country so down, and we are not Denmark. I love Denmark, but that's not who we are. And if you love who we are and all the great things that still have to have binders put on the side. Please step away from the socialism."

It's not for nothing that the liberal cable networks go out of their way to deny Sanders remotely appropriate broadcast time. Or that they habitually and absurdly frame Single Payer health insurance not as the great civilizing social and human rights victory it would be (the long-overdue cost-slashing de-commodification of health care coverage combined with the provision of health care for all regardless of social status and class) but rather as a dangerous and authoritarian assault on Americans' existing (and unmentionably inadequate and over-expensive) health insurance.

Dare we mention that the lords of capital who pay for cable news salaries and content are heavily invested in the fossil fuels and in the relentless economic growth that are pushing the planet rapidly towards environmental tipping points that gravely endanger prospects for a decent and organized human existence in coming decades?

It's not for nothing that the progressive measures advanced by Sanders and supported by most Americans are regularly treated as "unrealistic," "irresponsible," "too radical," "too idealistic," "impractical," and "too expensive."

It's for nothing that Sanders is commonly left out of the liberal cable networks' campaign coverage and "horse race" discussions even as he enjoys the highest approval rating among all the candidates in the running.

With their preferred centrist candidate Joe Biden having performed in a predictably poor and buffoonish fashion (Biden was a terrible, gaffe-prone politician well before his brains started coming out of his ears) falling back into something like a three-way tie with the liberal Warren and the populist progressive Sanders, the liberal cable talking heads and debate moderators have naturally tried to boost "moderate" neoliberal-corporatist "second" and "third tier" Democratic presidential candidates like Butiggieg, Klobuchar and the surprisingly weak Kamala Harris. It's not for nothing that these and other marginal corporate candidates (e.g. Beto O'Rourke) get outsized attention on "liberal" cable stations regardless of their tiny support bases. Even if they can't win, these small-time contenders take constant neoliberal jabs at Sanders and even at the more clearly corporate-co-optable Warren (who proudly describes herself as "capitalist in my bones").

Thanks to Harris's curiously weak showing, Biden's dotard-like absurdity, and the likely non-viability of Butiggieg (the U.S. is not yet primed for two men and a baby in the White House), the not-so liberal cable channels are now joining the New Yok Times and Washington Post in gently floating the possibility of a dark-horse neoliberal Democratic Party newcomer (Michael Bloomberg, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Sherrod Brown, and maybe even Hillary Clinton herself) to fill Joke Biden's Goldman-and Citigroup-approved shoes in the coming primary and Caucus battles with "radical socialist" Bernie and (not-so) "left" Warren.

So what if running an establishment Obama-Clinton-Citigroup-Council on Foreign Relations Democrat in 2020 will de-mobilize much of the nation's progressive electoral base, helping the malignant white nationalist monster Donald Trump get a second term?

As the old working-class slogan says, "money talks and bullshit walks."

"Follow the money" is the longstanding mantra in campaign finance research and criminal prosecution. It should also apply to our understanding of the dominant media's political news content. U.S. media managers are employed by giant corporations (MSNBC is a division of Comcast NBC Universal, no. 71 on the Fortune 500 and CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting, no, 68 on the Fortune 500) that are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the wealthy capitalist interests that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. As Noam Chomsky has noted, large corporations are not only the major producers of the United States' mass commercial media. They are also that media's top market, something that deepens the captivity of nation's supposedly democratic and independent media to big capital:

"The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public the very idea of advertiser reliance radically distorts the concept of free media. If you think about what the commercial media are, no matter what, they are businesses. And a business produces something for a market. The producers in this case, almost without exception, are major corporations. The market is other businesses – advertisers. The product that is presented to the market is readers (or viewers), so these are basically major corporations providing audiences to other businesses, and that significantly shapes the nature of the institution."

At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate affluent folks – the people who hire pricey investment advisors, go to Caribbean resorts and buy Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes and count for an ever-rising share of U.S. consumer purchases. It is those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers.

Money talks, bullshit talks on "liberal" cable news, as in the legal and party and elections systems and indeed across all of society.

Watch the wannabe fascist strongman Trump walk to a second term with no small help from a "liberal" corporate media whose primary goal is serving corporate sponsors and its own bottom line, not serving social justice, environmental sanity, and democracy – or even helping Democrats win elections.

[Jan 21, 2020] Tucker Carlson Warns 'Mistake' To Assume Trump Victory In November

Notable quotes:
"... RealClearPolitics ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The president base is clarly more narrow then in 2016: he used anti-war repiblicansand independents aswell as "Anybody but Hillary" voters (large part of Sanders votrs). Part of military is now Tulsi supported and probalywill not vote at all, at least they will not vote for Trump.

Fox News 's Tucker Carlson on Monday warned Republicans not to get complacent, and that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could wind up taking "many thousands " of votes from President Trump if he is able to secure the Democratic nomination, according to The Hill 's Joe Concha.

"A year from today, we'll be hosting this show from the National Mall as the next president of the United States takes the oath of office," said Carlson, adding "Will that president be Donald Trump? As of tonight, Republicans in Washington feel confident it will be."

https://youtu.be/3eR1Pm7ANLw

"The official economic numbers are strong. The Democratic primaries are a freak show -- elderly socialists accusing each other of thoughtcrimes. Republicans are starting to think victory is assured. That's a mistake ," said Carlson. "America remains as divided as it was three years ago. No matter what happens, nobody's going to win this election in a national landslide. Those don't happen anymore. Trump could lose. Will he? That depends on what he runs on. "

Carlson then showed numbers for Trump on the economy that show while the main indicators are strong, there are some other numbers that should concern the president. He pointed to a Pew Research study that shows just 31 percent of Americans say the economy is helping them and their families, and just 32 percent say they believe the current economy helps the middle class.

Carlson then pivoted to Sanders's potential appeal to certain voter groups and said Republicans need a plan to battle that appeal.

" Bernie Sanders may get the Democratic nomination ," Carlson said. " If he does, every Republican in Washington will spend the next 10 months reminding you that socialism doesn't work , and never has. They'll be right, obviously," Carlson explained. - The Hill

So what's Bernie's appeal?

Recall that a not-insignificant Sanders supporters voted for Trump out of disgust following revelations that Hillary Clinton and the DNC conspirted to rig the 2016 primary against him.

According to Carlson, however, "if Sanders pledges to forgive student loans, he'll still win many thousands of voters who went for Donald Trump last time. Debt is crushing an entire generation of Americans. Republicans need a plan to make it better, or they'll be left behind."

"They're conservative in the most basic sense: They love their families above all," the host concluded. "They distrust radical theories of anything because they know that when the world turns upside down, ordinary people get hurt. They don't want to burn it down. They just want things to get better. The candidate who promises to make them better -- incrementally, but tangibly -- will be inaugurated president a year from today."

According to a RealClearPolitics average of seven (oh so reliable) polls, Sanders would take Trump if he gets the nomination. Tags Politics


MANvsMACHINE , 3 minutes ago link

Bernie doesn't have a ******* chance once he has to debate Trump. Trump will pull every straggly hair from Bernie's nearly bald head.

Mustafa Kemal , 2 minutes ago link

I disagree. Trump hasnt had to debate someone with character and intelligence before.

Boogity , 6 minutes ago link

Carlson is right. The overwhelming majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck with many working two jobs to make ends meet. The economy sucks for the working and middle class. Facts are stubborn things.

[Jan 21, 2020] Those neocon crazies still dream about Full Spectrum Dominance

Jan 21, 2020 | news.yahoo.com

Michael Peck , The National Interest January 20, 2020

... The Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile has been a favorite tool of U.S. foreign policy and warfighting for 30 years

[Jan 21, 2020] US Officials Admit Covert Tech Program Is Fueling Iran Protests

Notable quotes:
"... Image source: Zuma Press/DW.com ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... "We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools that helped in [last week's] protest ," ..."
"... they were actively assisting in organizing recent protests ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

US Officials Admit Covert Tech Program Is Fueling Iran Protests by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/20/2020 - 21:55 0 SHARES

After major protests hit multiple cities across Iran in November following a drastic government slash in gasoline subsidies which quickly turned anti-regime, broad internet outages were reported -- some lasting as long as a week or more nationwide -- following Tehran authorities ordering the blockage of external access.

And during smaller January protests over downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, more widespread internet outages were reported recently, likely as Iranian security services fear protest "crackdown" videos would fuel outrage in western media , and after months ago Mike Pompeo expressly urged Iranians in the streets to send the State Department damning videos that would implicate Tehran's leaders and police.

But now Washington appears to have initiated the "Syria option" inside Iran: covertly fueling and driving "popular protests " to eventually create conditions for large-scale confrontation on the ground geared toward regime change.

Image source: Zuma Press/DW.com

Financial Times reports Washington's 'covert' efforts are now increasing, and are more out in the open :

US government-funded technology companies have recorded an increase in the use of circumvention software in Iran in recent weeks after boosting efforts to help Iranian anti-regime protesters thwart internet censorship and use secure mobile messaging .

The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America's policy of "maximum pressure" over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 -- at the time the largest in almost a decade -- Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world .

Similar efforts had long been in place with anti-Assad groups prior to the outbreak of conflict in Syria in 2011, WikiLeaks cables previously revealed.

The US State Department is now openly boasting it's enacted this program for Iran , which includes "providing apps, servers and other technology to help people communicate, visit banned websites, install anti-tracking software and navigate data shutdowns," according to FT .

Confirmed: Drop in internet connectivity registered at #Sharif University, Tehran from 11:50 UTC where students are protesting for colleagues and alumni killed on flight #PS752 ; national connectivity remains stable despite sporadic disruptions on third day of #Iran protests📉 pic.twitter.com/LjaNNd4Ut2

-- NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) January 13, 2020

And dangerously, many Iranians may not even realize they could be in some instances relying on such US-funded countermeasures to circumvent domestic internet blockages:

"Many Iranians rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) that receive US funding or are beamed in with US support , not knowing they are relying on Washington-backed tools."

Iran is on occasion known to round of citizen-journalists and accuse them of being CIA assets -- thus the State Department's open boasting about its program, which is further connected to a broader $65.5 million "Internet Freedom program" in troubled spots throughout the world -- could only serve to increase this trend.

"We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools that helped in [last week's] protest ," one US state department official told the FT. "We are able to sponsor VPNs -- and that allows Iranians to use the internet."

So there it is: US officials explicitly admitting they were actively assisting in organizing recent protests which followed Soleimani's killing and the Ukrainian airliner shoot down.

I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos, and information documenting the regime's crackdown on protestors. The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses. https://t.co/korr5p0woA

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2019

At least one circumvention software is actually identified in the report as being produced by Canada-based Psiphon, which receives American government funds. Of course the company sees its role more as facilitating "free flow of information" and less as essentially a willing asset in pursuing covert regime change in Tehran.

Interestingly, the revelation comes just as other US-funded propaganda campaigns related to Iran are coming to light:

One of the most viral videos about Iran last week -- and a reason #IraniansDetestSoleimani was trending -- was made by a lobbyist who had worked for a militia group in Libya https://t.co/fN7v6Vztyo

-- BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 17, 2020

All of this suggests neocons in Washington could be a big step closer to fulfilling their long-term dream of seeing US-sponsored regime change come to Iran -- a policy plan which goes back to at least the 1990's and was given greater impetus and urgency under the Bush administration.


VodkaInKrakow , 6 hours ago link

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" - Wm. Casey, former Director of the CIA under President (and Iranian arms dealer) Ronald Reagan(R).

So, when does Trump send ISIS to Iran? Oh, MEK is already there.

I remember when Trump supporters pointed out how Hillary supported a coup in Honduras. Well, Trump has Bolivia.

Then Obama created ISIS. Well, ISIS has been around since about 2000. And Trump signed NDAA's that sent money to "freedom fighters" in Syria.. .guess who...

Obama is a loser in Afghanistan and so are the Generals. Well, there was Bush. And now? Trump... going on 4 years of losing in Afghanistan with his own Generals.

Hillary and Libya. Trump and Libya.

Obama and NK? Trump and NK.

Obama and Venezuela? Trump and Venezuela. And what threat does Venezuela pose to The US? No one can answer that question.

Trump says "no more wars", is engaged in wars and trying to start one with Iran.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME.

The Program is complete...

QABubba , 9 hours ago link

And are the protesters in Iran getting a paycheck too?
Those in the Ukraine did. Those in Libya did. Those in Syria did.

Put's the lie to indigenous protest.

Son of Captain Nemo , 10 hours ago link

"The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America's policy of "maximum pressure" over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 -- at the time the largest in almost a decade -- Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world ."...

VOA LIVE$...

Sure wish somebody in our government could have alerted Bobby McIIlvaine ( https://www.ae911truth.org/get-involved/bobby-mcilvaine-act ) with "emergency" internet services to his phone nearly 18 1/2 years ago to what his own government was about to do to him before he went into the office that day along with the other 2,976 victims?!!!

One thing I'll say for the American government since the banker bailouts, they "don't hide what they are doing" when it comes to subverting governments for looting purposes ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o )!... At least the Iranian leadership knows what is coming before it happens these days!...

Davidduke2000 , 15 hours ago link

The Iranian people are not stupid to commit suicide , they have seen the us handy work in 1953 when Iran had the first democracy in the middle east to be bamboozled by the cia who removed their elected prime minister and installed the shah.

of course some university students want a sexual revolution like in the us are revolting but they are a handful and they are being subdued .

mark1955 , 13 hours ago link

Agree 100%!

The Iranian people lived through CIA/MOSSAD style "Democracy" from 1953-1980 and will fight "Tooth and nail" not to return to those Horrific days of the Shah!

MARDUKTA , 15 hours ago link

BEHIND IT ALL:

https://truthernews.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/10-reasons-why-switzerland-is-home-to-the-cia-central-intelligence-agency/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Thinking123 , 18 hours ago link

Yes, this is what US government has been doing all over the world "Wars and Regime Changes".. Bowing down to Israel to accomplish "The Greater Israel Project". : https://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

STR88 , 18 hours ago link

How naive do you have to be to think the US is just giving out free internet for the sake of the Iranian people? even after they've done the same thing all throughout the middle east to cause mass riots and civil unrest.

The last thing you will ever get from the US government is the truth.

[Jan 21, 2020] The first term of the Trump administration has revealed that the US war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus, not by President administration. Trump is simply a puppet.

Notable quotes:
"... Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda? ..."
"... Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Originally from: Opinion - The Angry Arab US Violated Unspoken Rule of Engagement with Iran

As'ad AbuKhalil analyzes the Trump administration's decision

to escalate hostilities with Iran and its regional allies.

By As`ad AbuKhalil

January 21, 2020 " Information Clearing House " - S omething big and unprecedented has happened in the Middle East after the assassination of one of Iran's top commanders, Qasim Suleimani.

The U.S. has long assumed that assassinations of major figures in the Iranian "resistance-axis" in the Middle East would bring risk to the U.S. military-intelligence presence in the Middle East. Western and Arab media reported that the U.S. had prevented Israel in the past from killing Suleimani. But with the top commander's death, the Trump administration seems to think a key barrier to U.S. military operations in the Middle East has been removed.

The U.S. and Israel had noticed that Hizbullah and Iran did not retaliate against previous assassinations by Israel (or the U.S.) that took place in Syria (of Imad Mughniyyah, Jihad Mughniyyah, Samir Quntar); or for other attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese commanders in Syria.

The U.S. thus assumed that this assassination would not bring repercussions or harm to U.S. interests. Iranian reluctance to retaliate has only increased the willingness of Israel and the U.S. to violate the unspoken rules of engagement with Iran in the Arab East.

For many years Israel did perpetrate various assassinations against Iranian scientists and officers in Syria during the on-going war. But Israel and the U.S. avoided targeting leaders or commanders of Iran. During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the U.S. and Iran collided directly and indirectly, but avoided engaging in assassinations for fear that this would unleash a series of tit-for-tat.

But the Trump administration has become known for not playing by the book, and for operating often according to the whims and impulses of President Donald Trump.

Different Level of Escalation

The decision to strike at Baghdad airport, however, was a different level of escalation. In addition to killing Suleimani it also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a key leader of Hashd forces in Iraq. Like Suleimani, al-Muhandis was known for waging the long fight against ISIS. (Despite this, the U.S. media only give credit to the U.S. and its clients who barely lifted a finger in the fight against ISIS.)

On the surface of it, the strike was uncharacteristic of Trump. Here is a man who pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Middle East turmoil -- turmoil for which the U.S and Israel bear the primary responsibility. And yet he seems willing to order a strike that will guarantee intensification of the conflict in the region, and even the deployment of more U.S. forces.

Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda?

Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media

The first term of the Trump administration has revealed the extent to which the U.S. war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus. There is not much a president -- even a popular president like Barack Obama in his second term -- can do to change the course of empire. It is not that Obama wanted to end U.S. wars in the region, but Trump has tried to retreat from Middle East conflicts and yet he has been unable due to pressures not only from the military-intelligence apparatus but also from their war advocates in the U.S. Congress and Western media, D.C. think tanks and the human-rights industry. The pressures to preserve the war agenda is too powerful on a U.S. president for it to cease in the foreseeable future. But Trump has managed to start fewer new wars than his predecessors -- until this strike.

Trump's Obama Obsession

Trump in his foreign policy is obsessed with the legacy and image of Obama. He decided to violate the Iran nuclear agreement (which carried the weight of international law after its adoption by the UN Security Council) largely because he wanted to prove that he is tougher than Obama, and also because he wanted an international agreement that carries his imprint. Just as Trump relishes putting his name on buildings, hotels, and casinos he wants to put his name on international agreements. His decision, to strike at a convoy carrying perhaps the second most important person in Iran was presumably attached to an intelligence assessment that calculated that Iran is too weakened and too fatigued to strike back directly at the U.S.

Iran faced difficult choices in response to the assassination of Suleimani. On the one hand, Iran would appear weak and vulnerable if it did not retaliate and that would only invite more direct U.S. and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets.

On the other hand, the decision to respond in a large-scale attack on U.S. military or diplomatic targets in the Middle East would invite an immediate massive U.S. strike inside Iran. Such an attack has been on the books; the U.S military (and Israel, of course) have been waiting for the right moment for the U.S. to destroy key strategic sites inside Iran.

Furthermore, there is no question that the cruel U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran have made life difficult for the Iranian people and have limited the choices of the government, and weakened its political legitimacy, especially in the face of vast Gulf-Western attempts to exploit internal dissent and divisions inside Iran. (Not that dissent inside Iran is not real, and not that repression by the regime is not real).

Nonetheless, if the Iranian regime were to open an all-out war against the U.S., this would certainly cause great harm and damage to U.S. and Israeli interests.

Iran Sending Messages

In the last year, however, Iran successfully sent messages to Gulf regimes (through attacks on oil shipping in the Gulf, for which Iran did not claim responsibility, nor did it take responsibility for the pin-point attack on ARAMCO oil installations) that any future conflict would not spare their territories.

That quickly reversed the policy orientations of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which suddenly became weary of confrontation with Iran, and both are now negotiating (openly and secretively) with the Iranian government. Ironically, both the UAE and Saudi regimes -- which constituted a lobby for war against Iran in Western capitals -- are also eager to distance themselves from U.S. military action against Iran . And Kuwait quickly denied that the U.S. used its territory in the U.S. attack on Baghdad airport, while Qatar dispatched its foreign minister to Iran (officially to offer condolences over the death of Suleimani, but presumably also to distance itself and its territory from the U.S. attack).

The Iranian response was very measured and very specific. It was purposefully intended to avoid causing U.S. casualties; it was intended more as a message of Iranian missile capabilities and their pin point accuracy. And that message was not lost on Israel.

Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, sent a more strident message. He basically implied that it would be left to Iran's allies to engineer military responses. He also declared a war on the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, although he was at pains to stress that U.S. civilians are to be spared in any attack or retaliation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6yyC897UliI

Supporters of the Iran resistance axis have been quite angry in the wake of the assassination. The status of Suleimani in his camp is similar to the status of Nasrallah although Nasrallah -- due to his charisma and to his performance and the performance of his party in the July 2006 war -- may have attained a higher status.

It would be easy for the Trump administration to ignite a Middle East war by provoking Iran once again, and wrongly assuming that there are no limits to Iranian caution and self-restraint. But if the U.S. (and Israel with it or behind it) were to start a Middle East war, it will spread far wider and last far longer than the last war in Iraq, which the U.S. is yet to complete.

As'ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the "Historical Dictionary of Lebanon" (1998), "Bin Laden, Islam and America's New War on Terrorism (2002), and "The Battle for Saudi Arabia" (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhal

This article was originally published by " Consortium News " -

[Jan 21, 2020] Given that the US military has known capabilities to alter or mask IFF transponder signals, as does the Israeli regime, it is entirely possible that this tragedy, which led some protesters to blame the Iranian government, may have been deliberately caused by the US in collusion with its Zionist ally in hopes of triggering their goal of regime change

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Smith , Jan 21 2020 18:53 utc | 36

An update for Flight 752 storey from Press TV:

"The accidental and most regrettable downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS-752, may involve more than human error under incredibly tense conditions. With the plane's IFF transponder switched off, the Tor missile defense system, which had reverted to manual operation because of an unknown source jamming communications, would have automatically identified the plane as "hostile". The Iranian missile operator, unable to contact higher-ups for verification due to the disrupted communications and given the high level of alert, had little basis to question the hostile tag applied by Tor to the aircraft.

Given that the US military has known capabilities to alter or mask IFF transponder signals, as does the Israeli regime, it is entirely possible that this tragedy, which led some protesters to blame the Iranian government, may have been deliberately caused by the US in collusion with its Zionist ally in hopes of triggering their goal of regime change.

While no clear evidence of tampering with the transponder has surfaced as yet, it is known that the 737-800, whose registration or "tail number" was UR-PSR, was photographed at the Israeli entity's Ben Gurion Airport five times since March of 2017, the last time being on October 18, 2019 at approximately 2:40 in the afternoon."


ADKC , Jan 21 2020 19:02 utc | 38

According to Reuters, Iran have confirmed that two Tor missiles were fired at PS752.

Iran Seeks Help Reading Downed Planes Black Boxes in New Standoff

PavewayIV , Jan 21 2020 19:39 utc | 45
Smith@36 - PressTV: "..With the plane's IFF transponder switched off,..."

Civilian aircraft have ATC SSR radar transponders, not military IFF transponders.

IFF aircraft interrogations are ALWAYS military only and ALWAYS encrypted. Their only job, if used by the TOR, is to confirm that a radar target was an Iranian military aircraft. PS752 1) couldn't understand encrypted TOR IFF interrogations, 2) wouldn't be able to provide encrypted replies to any TOR IFF interrogations, and 3) would still be considered "not an Iranian military aircraft" by the TOR. PS752's transponder would need a military IFF encoder/decoder which it does not have.

Likewise, TORs and their acquisition radars DO NOT have civilian ATC SSR radar capabilities to identify civilian aircraft. They do NOT interrogate civilian aircraft for ID, altitude, GPS or any other information, nor do they listen for civilian aircraft ADS-B broadcasts which also provide that information.

Surveillance radars higher up in the air defense network may have civilian aircraft ID capability and can assign appropriate IDs to radar targets BEFORE they appear on the TORs radar screen, but that requires a good data link to the network. That encrypted data link (also used for voice communications) was down at the time, and any ID information that may have been assigned by higher layers of the Iranian AD network wouldn't have appeared on the TOR or been considered by its classification and targeting software.

Sorry - I don't know how else to explain this. PressTV doesn't understand the distinction, nor does it understand the TORs capabilities.

Hausmeister , Jan 21 2020 22:26 utc | 58
"Sorry - I don't know how else to explain this. PressTV doesn't understand the distinction, nor does it understand the TORs capabilities."

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 21 2020 19:39 utc | 45

But 7 civilian planes had passed that area before. How to explain that?

/div> schroedingersrat 11 hours ago remove Share link Copy Key Architect of 2003 Iraq War Is Now a Key Architect of Trump Iran Policy

https://theintercept.com/2020/01/16/david-wurmser-iran-suleimani-iraq-war/

schroedingersrat 11 hours ago remove Share link Copy Key Architect of 2003 Iraq War Is Now a Key Architect of Trump Iran Policy

https://theintercept.com/2020/01/16/david-wurmser-iran-suleimani-iraq-war/ /div

[Jan 21, 2020] Maybe we should put sanctions on Pompeo

Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Old and grumpy , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm GMT

Maybe we should put sanctions on Pompeo. He could use the diet. Maybe raiding his pantry would feed Iraqi for a couple months. He is truly perfect spokesman American empire. Sadistic, bloated, and corrupt.
Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Old and grumpy Trump also needs to have food sanctions placed on him. His body is being oppressed and is crying out for (diet) regime change.

[Jan 21, 2020] Now with Warren blunder Trump might be able to wipe the floor with her but not only called her "Pocahontas" but also "Bernie backstabber": betrayl of her "friend" Bernie is unforgivable

She made a blunder. That's for sure. but still Warren is a better candidate then Trump.
The shell game between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders has transmogrified. The brutal, post-debate exchange between the duo has the progressive left fearing repeat business from '04: it happened at just the wrong time, only weeks ahead of the first primaries.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
sounds very much like it, in a kind of ham-fisted, virtue-signaling way -- "Sometimes I fear the American people are still too bigoted to vote for a woman," or something like that. Yet every Clinton staffer was muttering the same thing under her breath at 3 a.m. on November 9, 2016.

What's more, Mrs. Warren never denied that Mr. Sanders only ran in the last election cycle because she declined to do so. Nor can anyone forget how vigorously he campaigned for Mrs. Clinton, even after she and the DNC rigged the primary against him. If Mrs. Warren and her surrogates at CNN are claiming that Bernie meant that a person with two X chromosomes is biologically incapable of serving as president, they're lying through their teeth.

This is how Liz treats her "friend" Bernie -- and when he denies that absurd smear, she refuses to shake his hand and accuses him of calling her a liar on national television. Then, of course, the #MeToo brigades line up to castigate him for having the temerity to defend himself -- further evidence, of course, of his sexism. I mean, like, Bernie is, like, literally Weinstein.

Then there's the "Latinx" thing, which is the absolute summit of progressive elites' disconnect with ordinary Americans. In case you didn't know, Mrs. Warren has been roundly panned for referring to Hispanics by this weird neologism, which was invented by her comrades in the ivory tower as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina . The thing is, Spanish is a gendered language. What's more, a poll by the left-wing market research group Think Now found that just 2 percent of Hispanics call themselves "Latinx." (In fact, most prefer the conventional "Hispanic," which is now verboten on the Left because it hearkens back to Christopher Columbus's discovery of La Española .)

So here comes Professor Warren -- white as Wonder Bread, the mattress in her Cambridge townhouse stuffed with 12 million big ones -- trying to rewrite the Spanish language because she thinks it's sexist. How she's made it this far in the primary is absolutely mind-boggling. She doesn't care about Hispanics, much less their culture. Like every employee of the modern education system, she's only interested in processing American citizens into gluten-free offal tubes of political correctness.

Of course, if one of her primary opponents or a cable news "Democratic strategist" (whatever that is) dared to say as much, they'd be hung, drawn, and quartered. Partisan Democrats have trained themselves not to think in such terms. That might not matter much if Mrs. Warren was facing Mitt Romney or John McCain in the general. But she's not. If she wins the primary, she'll be up against Donald Trump. And if you don't think he'll say all of this -- and a whole lot more -- you should apply for a job at CNN.


Very Funny Mr. President a day ago

... running against Mrs. Warren would be a walk in the park

Your imaginary Trump anti-Warren schtick might have worked in 2016, but boy does it come off as unfunny and stale in 2020. He's done too much damage. Not funny anymore. I voted for Trump. After all his betrayals, Warren could rip him to pieces just by standing next to him without saying a word. Her WASP reserve and Okie roots might even seem refreshing after our four-year long cesspool shower with this New York City creep.

Up North Very Funny Mr. President 11 hours ago • edited
Didn't vote for Trump, or Clinton for that matter, cast a protest Libertarian vote. In my red state it hardly matters, but the electoral college is another story. But observed long ago that indeed Warren is just what the author says, a too politically correct north east liberal who would be demolished in the presidential election against Trump. Only Biden or Klobuchar has a chance to unseat the orange man, or maybe better yet a Biden - Klobuchar ticket.
Great CoB Up North 6 hours ago
I've sometimes voted red and sometimes blue, but a Trump Vs Biden contest might well make me bored and disappointed enough to join you going libertarian.
cka2nd Up North 4 hours ago
If the Dems want to lose, Biden and Klobuchar would be a quick ticket to doing so. Warren would get the job done not much slower, unless she pivoted away from social issues.

To quote Phyllis Schlafly's advice to conservatives and the GOP, what the Dems need is "A choice, not an echo." Sanders is the closest the Dems have of offering the voters a real choice, and is the best option to defeat Trump. The D establishment will still pull out all the stops to try to block him, of course, because even they and their big donors would prefer a second Trump term over a New Deal liberal with a socialist gloss, but they may not succeed this time.

Lloyd Conway cka2nd 3 hours ago
Bernie and Tulsi are the most honest and interesting of the Democratic field, even though their politics generally aren't mine. Nonetheless, I wish them well, because they appear to say what they actually think, as opposed to whatever their operatives have focus-group tested.
Mediaistheenemy Up North 4 hours ago
Biden's corruption will come out in the general. We could write up articles of impeachment now. After all, Biden, did actually bribe the Ukraine. He said so himself. On video.
Great CoB Very Funny Mr. President 6 hours ago
I think Trump's unfortunately stronger now than he was in 2016. Clinton's attacks on him were painting him as an apocalyptic candidate who would bring America crashing down. By serving as president for 4 years with a mostly booming economy, Trump's proven them wrong. The corporate media will continue their hysterical attacks on him though, and that will boost his support. I think Hillary Clinton was more dislikeable back then than Warren is now, but Warren is probably even more out of touch. The others might also lose, but she really as a terrible candidate.
Mediaistheenemy Very Funny Mr. President 4 hours ago
What damage has Trump done, as opposed to the damage the media/Dems/deepstate's RESPONSE to Trump has done?
Trump has reduced illegal immigration with the expected subsequent increases in employment and wages, saved taxpayer 1 TRILLION dollars by withdrawing from the Paris accord, killed 2 leading terrorists (finally showing Iran that we aren't their bakshi boys), cut taxes, stood up for gun rights, reduced harmful governmental regulation, and appointed judges that will follow the law instead of feelings and popular culture.
He is also exposing the deep underbelly of the corrupt government in Washington, especially the coup organized between Obama, Hillary, the DNC, Brennan, Comey, Clapper and the hyperpartisan acts of the FBI, CIA, DOJ, IRS and now the GAO (unless you believe that the "non-partisan" GAO released their report which claimed Trump violated the law by holding up Ukranian funds for a few months within the same fiscal year on the same day Nancy forwarded the articles of impeachment by some amazing coincidence).
The problem isn't Trump. The problem is the liars opposing the existential threat Trump poses to the elitists who despise America.
John D 21 hours ago
Three years of Trump has made "academic elitist" look pretty appealing.
Mediaistheenemy John D 4 hours ago
To whom?
New Pres Please 19 hours ago
"For all my reservations about Mr. Trump -- his lagging commitment to
protectionism, his shafting of Amy Coney Barrett, his deportation of
Iraqi Christians, his burgeoning hawkishness, his total lack of
decorum -- he's infinitely preferable to anyone the Democrats could
nominate."

You gloss over a few dozen other failures, most of them bigger than anything you mention here (immigration, infrastructure, more mass surveillance and privacy violations by govt and corporations than even Obama).

Mediaistheenemy New Pres Please 4 hours ago
You realize that the progress Trump has made on immigration is why unemployment is down and wages are up, right?
Most Americans think that's a good thing.
Democrats, not so much.
Ray Woodcock 17 hours ago
I think I disliked the last thing I saw by Davis. Whatever. This one is better. Not perfect -- some of it is out of touch -- but he makes a case. And, sad to say, I concur with his prediction for the election, with or without Warren.
Maybe 14 hours ago
I'm starting to like her. I thought she handled herself well at the last debate. "Presidential". It's been quite a while since we had a real president. Too long.
cka2nd Maybe 4 hours ago
Forgive me, but Democratic voters put way too much store in presidents being Presidential. And they spent way too much time talking about Bush's verbal gaffes and Trump's disgusting personality to get Gore, Kerry or H. Clinton elected.
Angelo Bonilla 11 hours ago • edited
I am Hispanic and don't know anybody that call himself by that silly term "Latinx".
Connecticut Farmer Angelo Bonilla 9 hours ago
As the author wrote, it was invented by academics. One problem with the Democrat Party is that it is teeming with Professor Kingsfield types who are as much connected with the rest of the population as I am with aborigines.
Kevin Burke 10 hours ago
Finally someone said what most people think. Love the imagined Trump comments to Warren..."Relax. Put on a nice sweater, have a cup of tea, grade some papers." As i read those I heard Trump's unique way of speech and was laughing out loud. BTW...Tulsi Gabbard is such an attractive candidate...heard her interviewed on Tucker Carlson and I think could present a real challenge to Trump if she ever rose up to face him in a debate. It's curious someone like Warren shoots to the top, while she remains in the back of the line.
Mediaistheenemy Kevin Burke 3 hours ago
The media deliberately shut her down, just like they are shutting down Bernie. The DNC also doesn't like her (possibly because she resigned as cochair and is critical of Hillary) and seems to have chosen their debate criteria -which surveys they accept-in order to shut her out. I liked her up until she objected to taking out Soleimani-a known terrorist in the middle of a war zone planning attacks on US assets.
Sorry, Trump was spot on in this attack. Tulsi was completely wrong. However, she is honest, experienced, knowledgeable and not psychotic, a refreshing change from the other Dem Presidential candidates. If you haven't figured out yet that CNN is basically the media arm of Warren's campaign, you haven't been paying attention. That is how Warren continues to poll reasonably well.
wakeupmorons 10 hours ago • edited
These arguments amaze me. "Since your candidate is too school marmy, or elitist, or (insert usual democrat insult here), you're giving the electorate no choice but to vote for the most corrupt, openly racist, sexist, psychologically lying, dangerously mentally deranged imbecile in the country".

Because rather than an educated person who maybe comes off as an elitist, we'd rather have a disgusting deplorable who no sane parent would allow in the same room with their daughter.

Lol, and yet writers like this don't even realize the insanity of what they're saying, which is basically "that bagel is 2 days old, so I have choice but to eat this steaming pile of dog crap instead".

Connecticut Farmer wakeupmorons 8 hours ago
"Because rather than an educated person who maybe comes off as an elitist, we'd rather have a disgusting deplorable who no sane parent would allow in the same room with their daughter."

No need for the ad hominem, you are overstating your case. Remember, Trump is "educated" too. And a card-carrying member of the elite. Leave us not kid ourselves, they're all "elites" of one stripe or another. It only matters which stripe we prefer, meaning of course whether they are saying what we want to hear. Of all of the candidates, the only one who does not come off as an "elite" is Tulsi Gabbard, an intelligent woman who is arguably the most interesting of all the candidates--in part because of her active military service. I'd even throw in Andrew Yang, a friendly, engaging person who didn't seem to have an ax to grind. It matters not. Yang is out of the picture and Gabbard has as much of a crack at the Democratic nomination in 2020 as Rand Paul had at the Republican nomination in 2016--essentially zero.

wakeupmorons Connecticut Farmer 8 hours ago
Lol trump is educated too? You've lose all credibility with such comical false equivalencies.

Trump is an absolute imbecile who has failed up his entire life thanks to daddy's endless fortune. If he we born Donald Smith he'd be pumping gas in Jersey, or in jail as a low life con man.

David Naas wakeupmorons 7 hours ago
While I find myself shocked to be found defending anything Trumpean, in all fairness, he is a college grad-u-ate (shades of Lily Tomlin). The value, depth, or scope of his degree may be in question, but he does possess a sheep-skin, and hence must be considered "educated". If one wants to demean his "education" because of his personality, one must also demean a rather broad segment of college grad-u-ates as well.
Connecticut Farmer wakeupmorons 7 hours ago
He graduated from Penn's Wharton School of Business, ergo he is educated. Because a person doesn't hold the same political beliefs as another doesn't mean they can't be "educated." Liz Warren may not hold the same political beliefs as I, but I cannot argue that she isn't educated.
wakeupmorons Connecticut Farmer 6 hours ago
Lol wow, well I'd say it's hilarious that anyone can be so naive to actually think a compete imbecile like trump, who so clearly has never read a book in his life, actually earned his way into college; let alone actually studied and earned a degree.....but then I remember this country is obviously filled with people this remarkable gullible and stupid, as this walking SNL sketch is actually President.
cka2nd wakeupmorons 4 hours ago
I actually think you are spot on in your assessment of what Trump would have become if he wasn't born to money, but you really are behaving like exactly that kind of Democratic voter who gets more exorcised by Trump's personal faults than by his policy ones, the kind of Democrats who couldn't get Al Gore, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton elected.
Mediaistheenemy cka2nd 3 hours ago
Really. You think someone that managed to become President of the United States with no political or military experience would have failed at life if he hadn't had a wealthy father. You really believe that. You don't think any of Trump's success and accomplishments are due to his ambition, drive, energy, determination, executive skills, ruthlessness or media savvy. It was all due to his having a rich father.
Fascinating.
wakeupmorons Mediaistheenemy 3 hours ago • edited
Trump has had no success. He's failed at everything he's ever done. You obviously just know nothing about his actual life, and believe the made up reality TV bullshit.

The only thing he's good at is playing a rich successful man on TV to really, really, stupid, unread, unworldly, naive people....well that and giving racists white nationalists, the billionaire owner class, sexists, bigots, and deplorables, a political home.

cka2nd Mediaistheenemy 2 hours ago
I think Trump is and would have been, sans his father's wealth, one hell of a con man. And I hope to God that he would have ended up in jail for it rather than running a private equity fund, but the latter would have been just as likely.

However, I should have made that distinction in my original comment. No, I do not think that Trump would have ended up a gas station attendant.

wakeupmorons cka2nd 2 hours ago • edited
It's very hard for me to understand how anyone could be so, shall we say sheltered, that they couldn't see him coming a mile away and laugh their ass off.

He's so bad, so transparent with his obvious lies and self aggrandizing, so clearly ignorant and unread and trying to fake it, he's literally like a cartoon's funny over the top version of an idiot con man. I'll never understand how anyone could ever be fooled by it.

In fact sometimes I think 90% of his base isn't fooled, they know he's a joke, but they just don't care. He gives them the white nationalist hate and rhetoric they want, makes "liberals cry", and that all they care about.

It's a lot easier for me to believe THAT then so many people can actually be so stupid and gullible.

wakeupmorons cka2nd 2 hours ago
Say what? What policies? The trillion dollar hand out to the richest corporations in the world, double the deficit? His mind blowing disastrous foreign policy decisions that have done nothing but empowered Russia, Iran and North Korea while destabilizing western alliances? The trade wars that have cost fairness and others billions (forcing taxpayers to bail them out with tens of millions of dollars)? The xenophobia, separating and caging children? Stoking violence and hate and anger among his white nationalist base? His attacks on women reproductive rights? His attacks on all of our democratic institutions, from our free press to our intelligence agencies and congressional oversights?

A pathologically lying racist sexist self serving criminal is enough to disqualify this miscreant from being dog catcher, let alone president. But his policies are even worse.

CrossTieWalker wakeupmorons 2 hours ago
You don't seem to know that the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school, or what the Wharton School of Business actually is. Imbeciles do not graduate from the Wharton School.
Mediaistheenemy wakeupmorons 3 hours ago
You think Trump won the US Presidency as his first elected office by being an imbecile?
Interesting "analysis".
wakeupmorons Mediaistheenemy 3 hours ago
Lol, trump is an imbecile, that's not even debatable. What amazes the rest of the entire civilized world outside of the batshit fringe 20% of Americans who make up the Republican voting base is how anyone could possible be conned by such a cartoonish idiot wanna be con man.

It's truly something sane people can't even begin to wrap their heads around.

Tony55398 9 hours ago
Pocahontas speak with forked tongue.
Lloyd Conway 9 hours ago
The Dowager Countess (Downton Abbey, for the un-initiated) nailed her type. In referring to her do-gooder cousin Mrs. Isobel Crawley, she said: "Some people run on greed, lust, even love. She runs on indignation." That sums up Warren perfectly.
I'll take it one step further. I bought one of her books, on the 'two-income trap' and how middle-class families go to the wall to get into good school districts for their children. She and her co-author make some valid points, but the book is replete with cliches about men abandoning their families and similar leftist tropes. If that's the best Harvard Law Warren has to offer, she's not as sharp as she thinks she is, and a bully like Trump will school her fast.
David Naas Lloyd Conway 7 hours ago
Perhaps he would use "Harvard Law Liz" as an epithet?
Lloyd Conway David Naas 3 hours ago • edited
Maybe. Perhaps she'll coin 'Wharton Hog' for the POTUS - or try correcting his English during one of the debates.
Stephen Gould 8 hours ago
Evidently Mr Davis dislikes Warren because of her personal style - but all of Trump's substantive (or even, substance...) issues are acceptable. How shallow of him.
Mediaistheenemy Stephen Gould 3 hours ago
I think he also dislikes her fundamental dishonesty and completely unworkable policies, but I may be projecting.
Stephen Gould Mediaistheenemy 2 hours ago
But those he did not mention in his article. And surely nobody thinks that Warren is more dishonest than Trump?
Tim 7 hours ago
I can't say the two of us exactly line up on everything. But, like Wow: "gluten-free offal tubes of political correctness." Now that's funny! Wish I'd thought of it.
Osse 7 hours ago • edited
I liked Warren until this attempt to stab Bernie in the back plus that childish refusal to shake his hand on national TV. I still don't dislike her, but that was embarrassing. She definitely has character flaws.

But this piece goes over the top. It's Trumpian. Warren certainly has flaws but if you are going to judge a politician by their character, in what universe would Trump come out on top?

Mediaistheenemy Osse 3 hours ago
Better than Warren.
The problem with affirmative action is when you abuse it, as Warren did, you actually rob a genuine minority from a genuine disadvantaged background of their chance.
Warren deliberately misrepresented herself as a Native American, solely for career advancement, and then abandoned her fake identity once she got tenure at Harvard. There was another woman who was an actual minority that had a teaching appointment at Harvard, but Warren beat her out, using her false claims of minority heritage to overcome her competition's actual minority status.
Trump competes on his own.
wakeupmorons Osse 2 hours ago
There what's funny about these arguments. They're basically saying, "your candidate has some flaws, she's very school marmy, and thinks she knows everything."

"Therefore, OBVIOUSLY people have no choice but to instead vote for the raging imbecile, the pathologically lying, corrupt to his core, racist, morally bankrupt, sexist imbecile with the literal temperament of of an emotionally troubled 10 year old."

Lol, and they're serious!

David Naas 7 hours ago
What unpleasant memories Mister Davis has elicited - - - i once had a schoolmarm like that. (Shudder)

It is, however, disturbing that Davis has almost captured the style of Trumptweets. The give-away is a shade more literacy and better grammar in Davis' offerings.

But what of the possibility, as suggested above, that Trump loses to Biden or (Generic Democratic candidate)?

As I tell my liberal friends, the country survived eight years of Priapic Bill, eight years of Dubya and Dubyaer, eight years of BHO, and after four years of Trump is yet standing, however drunkenly.

I think, contra many alarmists, the Republic is much stronger than the average pundit or combox warrior gives it credit.

And, who knows? Maybe the outrage pornography we get from Tweeting birdies will grow stale and passe, and people will yearn for more civil discourse? (Not likely, but one never knows.)

Night King 7 hours ago
I think she's already died and been reincarnated as Greta Thunberg.
Liam781 7 hours ago • edited
Someone hasn't lived that long in Massachusetts, it would seem. "Massachusettsian" is not the word the writer is looking for. It's "Bay Stater".

Likewise, for Connecticut residents, use "Nutmegger" rather than some (always wrong) derivative of the state name.

Michael Warren Davis Liam781 6 hours ago
I refuse to use "Bay Stater" for the same reason I dislike being called "Mike": nicknames are irritating, unless they're outlandish, like "Beanie" or "Boko" or "Buttigieg."

Massachusetts is a beautiful name -- slow and smooth, like the Merrimack. "Massachusettsian" adds a little skip at the end, as the river crashes into the Atlantic at Newburyport. It's the perfect demonym.

Speaking of, I was born and spent the first 18 years of my life in Massachusetts -- about 10 minutes outside Newburyport, where my great-great-something grandparents lived when the Revolution broke out. I don't know how much further back the family tree goes in Mass., but probably further than yours.

Liam781 Michael Warren Davis 5 hours ago • edited
Good luck with that utter nonsense word, then. Bay Stater is not a nickname - it's the longstanding term (and, for some reason, the Massachusetts General Court also blessed it legislatively), from long before my folk lived in New England since the mid-19th century (Connecticut and Massachusetts - hence my reference to Nutmeggers, as my parents made quite clear to us that there were no such things as Connecticutters or Massachusetters or the like and not to go around sounding like fools using the like.)

https://malegislature.gov/L...

Of course, I'd like to recover the old usage of the Eastern States to refer to New England. Right now, its sole prominent residue is the Big E in Springfield....

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran, Trump, and the neoliberal/neoconservative compact by Bill Martin

Notable quotes:
"... In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6). ..."
"... This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take. ..."
"... So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better! ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Let's be clear, there is a difference between substituting geopolitical power calculations for a universal perspective on the good of humanity, and, on the other hand, recognizing that the existing layout of the world has to be taken into account in attempts to open up a true politics. (My larger perspective on the problem of "opening" is presented in the long essay, "The Fourth Hypothesis," at counterpunch.org.)

Personally, I find the geopolitical analyses of George Friedman very much worthwhile to consider, especially when he is looking at things long-range, as in his books The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade. The latter was published at the beginning of 2012, and so we are coming to the close of the ten-year period that Friedman discusses.

One of the major arguments that Friedman makes in The Next Decade is that the United States will have to reach some sort of accommodation with Iran and its regional ambitions. The key to this, Friedman argues, is to bring about some kind of balance of power again, such as existed before Iraq was torn apart.

This is the key in general to continued U.S. hegemony in the world, in Friedman's view -- regional balances that keep regional powers tied up and unable to rise on the world stage. (An especially interesting example here is that Friedman says that Poland will be built up as a bulwark between Russia and Germany.)

In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6).

This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take.

(As the founder, CEO, and "Chief Intelligence Officer" of Stratfor, Friedman aimed to provide "non-ideological" strategic intelligence. My understanding of "non-ideological" is that the analysis was not formulated to suit the agendas of the two mainstream political parties in the U.S. However, my sense is that Friedman does believe that U.S. global hegemony is on the whole good for the world.)

In his book that came out before The Next Decade (2011), The Next 100 Years (2009), Friedman makes the case that the U.S. will not be seriously challenged globally for decades to come -- in fact, all the way until about 2080!

Just to give a different spin to something I said earlier, and that I've tried to emphasize in my articles since March 2016: questions of mere power are not questions of politics. Geopolitics is not politics, either -- in my terminology, it is "anti-politics."

For my part, I am not interested in supporting U.S. hegemony, not in the present and not in the future, and for the most part not in the past, either.

For the moment, let us simply say that the historical periods of the U.S. that are more supportable -- because they make some contribution, however flawed, to the greater, universal, human project -- are either from before the U.S. entered the road of seeking to compete with other "great powers" on the world stage, or quite apart from this road.

In my view, the end of U.S. global hegemony and, for that matter, the end of any "great nation-state" global hegemony, is a condition sine qua non of a human future that is just and sustainable. So, again, the brilliance that George Friedman often brings to geopolitical analysis is to be understood in terms of a coldly-realistic perspective, not a warmly-normative one.)

Of course, this continued U.S. hegemony depends on certain "wise" courses of action being taken by U.S. leaders (Friedman doesn't really get into the question of what might be behind these leaders), including a "subtle" approach to the aforementioned questions of Israel and Iran.

Obviously, anything associated with Donald Trump is not going to be overly subtle! On the other hand, here we are almost at the end of Friedman's decade, so perhaps the time for subtlety has passed, and the U.S. is compelled to be a bit heavy-handed if there is to be any chance of extricating itself from the endless quagmire.

However, there's a certain fly, a rather large one, in the ointment that seems to have eluded Friedman's calculations: "the rise of China."

It isn't that Friedman avoids the China question, not at all; Friedman argues, however, that by 2020 China will not only not be contending with the United States to have the largest economy in the world, but instead that China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.

Certainly I know from study, and many conversations with people in China, this was a real concern going into the 2010s and in the first half of the decade.

The chapter dealing with all this in The Next 100 Years (Ch. 5) is titled, "China 2020: Paper Tiger," the latter term being one that Chairman Mao used regarding U.S. imperialism. Friedman writes of another "figure like Mao emerg[ing] to close the country off from the outside, [to] equalize the wealth -- or poverty " (p.7).

Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy, I certainly believe anything can happen in social matters, but it seems as though President Xi Jinping and the current leadership of the Communist Party of China have, at least for the time being, managed to head off fragmentation at the pass, so to speak.

Friedman argued that the "pass" that China especially had to deal with is unsustainable growth rates; but it appears that China has accomplished this, by purposely slowing its economy down.

One of the things that Friedman is especially helpful with, in his larger geopolitical analysis, is understanding the role that naval power plays in sustaining U.S. hegemony. (In global terms, such power is what keeps the neoliberal "free market" running, and this power is far from free.)

*

... ... ...

Two of the best supporters of Trump's stated agenda are Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton. Neither of them pull any punches on this issue when it comes to Republicans, and both of them go some distance beyond Trump in stating an explicitly anti-war agenda.

They perhaps do not entirely fit the mold of leftist anti-imperialism as it existed from the 1890s through the Sixties (as in the political decade, perhaps 1964-1974 or so) and 1970s, but they do in fact fit this mold vastly better than almost any major figure of the Democratic Party, with the possible exceptions of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang. (But none of them has gone as far as Trump on this question!)

Certainly Elizabeth Warren is no exception, and at the moment of this writing she has made the crucial turn toward sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. That is her job, in my view, and part of it is to seem close to Bernie's positions (whatever their defects, which I'll discuss elsewhere), at least the ones that are more directly "economic," while winking at the ruling class.

There are a few things Carlson and Hilton say on the Iran situation and the Middle East in general that I don't agree with. But in the main I think both are right on where these issues are concerned.

As I've quoted Carlson a number of times previously, and as I also want to put forward Hilton as an important voice for a politics subservient to neither the liberal nor the conservative establishments, here let me quote what Hilton said in the midst of the Iran crisis, on January 5, 2020:

The best thing America can do to put the Middle East on a path that leads to more democracy, less terrorism, human rights and economic growth is to get the hell out of there while showing an absolute crystal clear determination to defend American interests with force whenever they are threatened.

That doesn't mean not doing anything, it means intervening only in ways that help America.

It means responding only to attacks on Americans disproportionately as a deterrent, just as we saw this week and it means finally accepting that it's not our job to fix the Middle East from afar.

The only part of this I take exception to is the "intervening only in ways that help America"-bit -- that opens the door to exactly the kinds of problems that Hilton wants the U.S. to avoid, besides the (to me, more important) fact that it is just morally wrong to think it is acceptable to intervene if it is in one's "interests."

My guess is that Hilton thinks that there is some built-in utilitarian or pragmatic calculus that means the morally-problematic interventions will not occur. I do not see where this has ever worked, but more importantly, this is where philosophy is important, theoretical work and abstract thinking are important.

It used to be that the Left was pretty good at this sort of thing, and there were some thoughtful conservatives who weren't bad, either. (A decent number of the latter, significantly, come from the Catholic intellectual tradition.) Now there are still a few of the latter, and there are ordinary people who are "thoughtful conservatives" in their "unschooled way" -- which is often better! -- but the Left has sold its intellectual soul along with its political soul.

That's a story for elsewhere (I have told parts of it in previous articles in this series); the point here is that the utilitarianism and "pragmatism" of merely calculating interests is not nearly going to cut it. (I have partly gone into this here because Hilton also advocates "pragmatism" in his very worthwhile book, Positive Populism -- it is the "affirmative" other side to Tucker Carlson's critical, "negative" expose, Ship of Fools.)

The wonderful philosophical pragmatism of William James is another matter; this is important because James, along with his friend Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), were leading figures of the Anti-Imperialist League back in the 1890s, when the U.S. establishment was beating the drums loudly to get into the race with Europeans for colonies.

They were for never getting "in" -- and of course they were not successful, which is why "get the hell out" is as important as anything people can say today.

What an insane world when the U.S. president says this and the political establishment opposes him, and "progressives" and "the Left" join in with the denunciations!

It has often been argued that the major utilitarian philosophers, from Bentham and Mill to Peter Singer, have implicit principles that go beyond the utilitarian calculus; I agree with this, and I think this is true of Steve Hilton as well.

In this light, allow me to quote a little more from the important statement he made on his Fox News Channel program, "The Next Revolution," on January 5; all of this is stuff I entirely agree with, and that expresses some very good principles:

The West's involvement in the Middle East has been a disaster from the start and finally, with President Trump, America is in a position to bring it to an end. We don't need their oil and we don't need their problems.

Finally, we have a U.S. president who gets that and wants to get out. There are no prospects for Middle East peace as long as we are there.

We're never going to defeat the ideology of Islamist terror as long as these countries are basket cases and one of the reasons they are basket cases is that our preposterous foreign policy establishment with monumental arrogance have treated the middle east like some chess game played out in the board rooms in Washington and London.

– [foxnews.com, transcribed by Yael Halon]

So then there is the usual tittering about this and that regarding Carlson and Hilton from liberal and progressive Democrats and leftists who support the Democrats, and it seems to me that there is one major reason why there is this foolish tittering: It is because these liberals and leftists really don't care about, for example, the destruction of Libya, or the murder of Berta Caceres.

Or, maybe they do care, but they have convinced themselves that these things have to swept under the rug in the name of defeating the pure evil of Trump. What this amounts to, in the "nationalist" discourse, is that Trump is some kind of nationalist (as he has said numerous times), perhaps of an "isolationist" sort, while the Democrats are in fact what can be called "nationalists of the neoliberal/neoconservative compact."

My liberal and leftist friends (some of them Maoists and post-Maoists and Trotskyists or some other kinds of Marxists or purported radicals -- feminists or antifa or whatever) just cannot see, it simply appears to be completely beyond the realm of their imaginations, that the latter kind of nationalism is much worse and qualitatively worse than what Trump represents, and it completely lacks the substantial good elements of Trump's agenda.

But hey, don't worry my liberal and leftist friends, it is hard to imagine that Joe Biden's "return to normalcy" won't happen at some point -- it will take not only an immense movement to even have a chance of things working out otherwise, but a movement that likes of which is beyond everyone's imagination at this point -- a movement of a revolutionary politics that remains to be invented, as all real politics are, by the masses.

Liberals and leftists have little to worry about here, they're okay with a Deep State society with a bullshit-democratic veneer and a neoliberal world order; this set-up doesn't really affect them all that much, not negatively at any rate, and the deplorables can just go to hell.

*

The Left I grew up with was the Sixties Left, and they used to be a great source of historical memory, and of anti-imperialism, civil rights, and ordinary working-people empowerment.

The current Left, and whatever array of Democratic-Party supporters, have received their marching orders, finally, from commander Pelosi (in reality, something more like a lieutenant), so the two weeks or so of "immense concern" about Iran has given way again to the extraordinarily-important and solemn work of impeachment.

But then, impeachment is about derailing the three main aspects of Trump's agenda, so you see how that works. Indeed, perhaps the way this is working is that Trump did in fact head off, whatever one thinks of the methods, a war with Iran (at this time! – and I do think this is but a temporary respite), or more accurately, a war between Iran and Israel that the U.S. would almost certainly be sucked into immediately.

So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better!

Bill Martin is a philosopher and musician, retired from DePaul University. He is completing a book with the title, "The Trump Clarification: Disruption at the Edge of the System (toward a theory)." His most recent albums are "Raga Chaturanga" (Bill Martin + Zugzwang; Avant-Bass 3) and "Emptiness, Garden: String Quartets nos. 1 and 2 (Ryokucha Bass Guitar Quartet; Avant-Bass 4). He lives in Salina, Kansas, and plays bass guitar with The Radicles.


Dungroanin ,

I have read through finally. And comments too.

My opinion is Bill Martin is on the ball except for one personage- Hilton. If he is Camerons Hilton and architect of the Brexit referendum – for which he is rewarded with a 'seat at the table' of the crumbling Empire. The Strafor man too is just as complicit in the Empires wickedness.

But I'll let Bill off with that because he mentioned the Anti-Imperialist Mark Twain – always a joy to be reminded of Americas Dickens.

On Trump – he didn't use the Nuclear codes 10 minutes after getting them as warned by EVERYONE. Nor start a war with RocketMan, or Russia in Syria, or in Ukraine or with the Chinese using the proxy Uighars, or push through with attempted Bay of Pigs in Venezuela or just now Hong Kong. The Wall is not built and the ineffectual ripoff Obamacare version of a NHS is still there.
Judge by deeds not words.

Soleimani aside – He may have stopped the drive for war. Trumps direct contact with fellow world leaders HAS largely bypassed the war mongering State Department and also the Trillion dollar tax free Foundations set up last century to deliver the world Empire, that has so abused the American peoples and environment. He probably wasn't able to stop Bolivia.
The appointments of various players were not necessarily in his hands as Assad identified- the modern potus is merely a CEO/Chair of a board of directors who are put into place by the special interests who pour billions, 10's of billions into getting their politicians elected. They determine 'National Interests'. All he can do is accept their appointment and give them enough rope to hang themselves – which most have done!
These are that fight clubs rules.

On the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – after 20 full years of working towards cohesion- they have succeeded. Iran is due to become a full member – once it is free of UN sanctions, which is why Trump was forced into pulling the treaty with them, so that technicality could stop that membership. China is not having it nor is Russia – Putins clear statement re the 'international rules' not being mandatory for them dovetails with the US position of Exceptionality. Checkmate.

As for the Old Robber Baron Banker Pirates idea that they should be allowed a Maritime Empire as consolation- ha ha ha, pull the other one.

The ancient sea trading routes from Africa to China were active for thousands of years before the Europeans turned up and used unequal power to disrupt and pillage at their hearts content.

What made that possible was of course explained in the brilliant Guns, Germs and Steel.

These ancients have ALL these and are equal or advanced in all else including Space, Comms and AI. A navy is not so vital when even nuclear subs are visible from low orbit satellites except in the deepest trenches – not a safe place to hide for months and also pretty crowded with all the other subs trying to hide there. As for Aircraft carrier groups – just build an island! Diego Garcia has a rival.

Double Checkmate.

The Empire is Dead. Long live the Empire.

Dungroanin ,

And this is hilarious about potus turning the tables on the brass who tried to drag him into the 'tank'.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-betrayal-of-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html

'Grab the damn fainting couch. Trump told the assembled military leaders who had presided over a military stalemate in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS as "losers." Not a one of them had the balls to stand up, tell him to his face he was wrong and offer their resignation. Nope. They preferred to endure such abuse in order to keep their jobs. Pathetic.

This excerpt in the Washington Post tells the reader more about the corruption of the Deep State and their mindset than it does about Trump's so-called mental state. Trump acted no differently in front of these senior officers and diplomats than he did on the campaign trail. He was honest. That is something the liars in Washington cannot stomach. '

Rhys Jaggar ,

I am not an expert on US Constitutional Law, but is there any legal mechanism for a US President to hold a Referendum in the way that the UK held a 'Brexit Referendum' and Scotland held an 'Independence Referendum'?

How would a US Referendum in 'Getting the hell out of the Middle East, bringing our boys and girls home before the year is out' play out, I wonder?

That takes the argument away from arch hawks like Bolton et al and puts it firmly in the ambit of Joe Schmo of Main Street, Oshkosh

wardropper ,

Great idea.
Main problem is that most Americans are brought up to think their government is separate from themselves, and should not be seriously criticized.
By "criticized", I mean, taken to task in a way which actually puts them on a playing field where they are confronted by real people.
Shouting insults at the government from the rooftops is simply greeted with indulgent smiles from the guilty elite.

Richard Le Sarc ,

George Friedman is a bog standard Zionist, therefore, out of fear, a virulent Sinophobe, because the Zionists will never control China as they do the Western slave regimes. China surpassed the USA as the world' s largest economy in 2014, on the PPP calculus that the CIA,IMF and just about everyone uses. It' s growing three times as fast as the USA, too. The chance of China fragmenting by 2020 is minuscule, certainly far less than that of the USA. The Chinese have almost totally eliminated poverty, and will raise the living standard of all to a ' middle income' by 2049. It is, however, the genocidal policy of the USA, on which it expend billions EVERY year, to do its diabolical worst to attempt to foment and foster such a hideous fate inside China, by supporting vermin like the Hong Kong fascist thugs, the Uighur salafist terrorist butchers, the medieval theocrats of the Dalai clique and separatist movements in Inner Mongolia, ' Manchuria', Taiwan, even Guandong and Guangxi. It takes a real Western thug to look forward to the ghastly suffering that these villainous ambitions would unleash.

Antonym ,

In RlS's nut shell: China can annex area but Israel: no way!

Dungroanin ,

Which area is China looking to annex?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Ant is a pathological Zionist liar, but you can see his loyalty to ' Eretz Yisrael' , ' ..from the Nile to the Euphrates', and ' cleansed' of non-Jews, can' t you.

alsdkjf ,

I'm surprised that this author can even remember the counter culture of the 60s given his Trump love.

Yet more Trumpism from Off Guardian. One doesn't have to buy into the politics of post DLC corporate owned DNC to know Trump for what he is. A fascist.

It's just amazing this Trump "left". Pathetic.

Antonym ,

Trump .. better than HRC but the guy is totally hypnotized by the level of the New York stock exchanges: even his foreign policy is improvised around that. He simply thinks higher is a proof of better forgetting that 90% of Americans don't own serious quantity of stock and that levels are manipulated by big players and the FED. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

Look at his dealing with China: tough as much as the US stock market stays benign in the short term. Same for Iran etc.

Sure, he is crippled by Pelosi & the FBI / CIA, but he is also by his own stock dependent mind. Might be the reason he is still alive ???

alsdkjf ,

Trump crippled by the CIA? Trump?

I mean the fascist jerk appointed ex CIA torture loving Pompeo to replace swamp creature oil tycoon as Secretary of State, no?

He appointed torture queen within the CIA to become CIA Director, no?

He went to the CIA headquarters on day one of his Administration to lavish praise, no?

He took on ex CIA Director Woolsey as advisor on foreign policy during his campaign, no?

I tell ya that Trump is a real adversary of the CIA!

Gall ,

Roger that. Trump appoints a dominatrix as DCI. Only a masochist or a sadist would Dream of Gina..you know the head of the torture squad under Bush. Otherwise nice girl. PompAss is a total clown but a dangerous one who even makes John Bolton look sane. Now that's scary!

This guy is Hilary Clinton in drag. The only thing missing is the evil triumphalist cackle after whacking Soleimani. Maybe it wasn't recorded.

So much for "draining the swamp". The Whitehouse has become an even bigger swamp.

Antonym ,

Forgot about John Brennan ex- CIA head or James Clapper ex-DNI honcho?
John Brennan On 'All Roads With Trump Lead To Putin' | The Last Word | MSNBC
They practically too Trump hostage in his first year.

one ,

my take from this article:
There are, among the murderers and assassins in Washington, a couple of characters who appear to have 2% of human DNA.
They author may confirm.

two ,

"israel is right in the cen "
sorry, the muderous regime israel has repeatedly proven, it's never never right . please avoid this usage.

three ,

There are 53 or 54 'I's in the article, including his partner's Is. The author may confirm.

Dungroanin ,

Phew!

That is a lot of words mate. Fingers must be sore. I won't comment more until trying to re-read again except quote this:

"Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy,.."

I must say i had a wtf moment at that point see ya later.

paul ,

The idea that Trump's recent actions in the Middle East were part of some incredibly cunning plan to avoid war with Iran, strikes me as somewhat implausible, to put it (very) charitably.

Even Hitler didn't want war. He wanted to achieve his objectives without fighting. When that didn't work, war was Plan B. Trump probably has very little actual control over foreign policy. He is surrounded by people who have been plotting and scheming against him from long before he was elected. He heads a chaotic and dysfunctional administration of billionaires, chancers, grifters, conmen, superannuated generals, religious nut jobs, swamp creatures, halfwits and outright criminals, lurching from one crisis and one fiasco to the next. Some of these people like Bolton were foisted upon him by Adelson and various other backers and wire pullers, but that is not to absolve Trump of personal responsibility.

Competing agencies which are a law unto themselves have been free to pursue their own turf wars at the expense of anything remotely resembling a rational and coherent strategy. So have quite low level bureaucrats, formulating and implementing their own policies with little regard for the White House. In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department went their own way, each supporting competing and mutually antagonistic factions and terrorist groups. Agreements that were reached with Russia over Syria, for example, were deliberately sabotaged by Ashton Carter in 24 hours. Likewise, Bolton did everything he could to wreck Trump's delicate negotiations with N. Korea.

paul ,

Seen in this light, US policy (or the absence of any coherent policy) is more understandable. What passes for US leadership is the worst in its history, even given a very low bar. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, delusional, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. The only positive thing that can be said is that the alternative (Clinton) would probably have been even worse, if that is possible.

That may also be the key to understanding the current situation. For all his pandering to Israel, Trump is more of a self serving unprincipled opportunist than a true Neocon/ Zionist believer in the mould of Pence, Bolton and Pompeo. For that reason he is not trusted by the Zionist Power Elite. He is too much of a loose cannon. They will take all his Gives, like Jerusalem and the JCPOA, but without any gratitude.

It has taken them a century of plotting, scheming and manoeuvring to achieve their political, financial, and media stranglehold over the US. but America is a wasting asset and they are under time pressure. It is visibly declining and losing its influence. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a similar host. Who else is going to give Israel billions a year in tribute, unlimited free weaponry and diplomatic cover? Russia? Are Chinese troops "happy to die for Israel" asUS ones are (according to their general)?

paul ,

And they are way behind schedule. Assad was supposed to be dead by now, and Syria another defenceless failed state, broken up into feuding little cantons, with Israel expanding into the south of the country. The main event, the war with Iran, should have started lond ago.

That is the reason for the impeachment circus. This is not intended to be resolved one way or the other. It is intended to drag on indefinitely, for months and years, to distract and weaken Trump and make it possible to extract what they want. One of the reasons Trump agreed to the murder of Soleimani and his Iraqi opposite number was to appease some Republican senators like Graham whose support is essential to survive impeachment. They were the ones who wanted it, along with Bolton and Netanyahu.

paul ,

It is instructive that all the main players in the impeachment circus are Jews, under Sanhedrin Chief Priests Schiff and Nadler, apart from a few token goys thrown in to make up the numbers. That even goes for those defending Trump.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Don' t forget that Lebanon up to the Litani is the patrimony of the Jewish tribes of Asher and Naphtali, and, as Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said on Israeli TV a few years ago, ' Damascus belongs to the Jews'.

bevin ,

" China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior."

This is not Bill, but Bill's mate the Stratcor geopolitical theorist for hire.

What is happening in the world is that the only empire the globe, as a whole, has ever seen- the pirate kingdom that the Dutch, then the British and finally the US, leveraged out of the plunder and conquest of America -the maritime empire, of sea routes and navies is under challenge by a revival of the Eurasian proto-empires that preceded it and drove its merchants and princes on the Atlantic coast, to sea.

We know who the neo-liberals are the current iteration of the gloomy philosophies of the Scots Enlightenment, (Cobbett's 'Scotch Feelosophy') utilitarianism in its crudest form and the principles of necessary inequalities, from the Austrian School back to the various crude racisms which became characteristic of the C19th.
The neo-cons are the latest expression of the maritime powers' fear of Eurasia and its interior lines of communication. Besides which the importance of navies and of maritime agility crumble.
Bill mentions that China has not got much of a navy. I'm not so sure about that, but isn't it becoming clear that navies-except to shipyards, prostitutes and arms contractors- are no longer of sovereign importance? There must be missile commanders in China drooling over the prospect of catching a US Fleet in all its glory within 500 miles of the mainland. Not to mention on the east coast of the Persian Gulf.
The neo-cons are the last in a long line of strategists, ideologists and, for the most part, mercenary publicists defying the logic of Halford Mackinder's geo-strategy for a lot more than a penny a line. And what they urge, is all that they can without crossing the line from deceitfulness to complete dishonesty: chaos and destabilisation within Eurasia, surrounding Russia, subverting Sinkiang and Tibet, employing sectarian guerrillas, fabricating nationalists and nationalisms.. recreate the land piracy, the raiding and the ethnic explosions that drove trade from the land to the sea and crippled the Qing empire.
The clash is between war, necessary to the Maritime Empire and Peace, vital to the consolidation and flowering of Eurasia.

As to Israel, and perhaps we can go into this later: it looms much larger in the US imagination (and the imaginations the 'west' borrows from the US) than anywhere else. It is a tiny sliver of a country. Far from being an elephant in any room, it is simply a highly perfumed lapdog which also serves as its master's ventriloquist's dummy. Its danger lies in the fact that after decades of neglect by its idiotic self indulgent masters, it has become an openly fascist regime, which was definitely not meant to happen, and, misled by its own exotic theories of race, has come to believe that it can do what it wants. It can't-and this is one reason why Bill misjudges the reasoning behind the Soleimani killing- but it likes to act, or rather threaten to act, as if it could.

(By the way-note to morons across the web-Bill's partner quotes Adorno and writes about him too: cue rants about Cultural Marxism.)

Hugh O'Neill ,

Thanks, Bevin. The article was so long, I had quite forgotten that he laid too much emphasis on the Stratcor Unspeakable. Clever he may be, but not much use without a moral compass. Talking of geo-strategists, you will doubtless be aware of the work of A.T. Mahan whose blueprint for acquisition of inspired Teddy Roosevelt and leaders throughout Europe, Russia, Japan.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Friedman is a snake oil peddler. He tells the ruling psychopaths what they want to hear, like ' China crumbling', their favourite wet-dream.

bevin ,

I agree about Mahan's importance. He understood what lay behind the Empire on which the sun never set but he had enough brains to have been able to realise that current conditions make those fleets obsolete. In fact the Germans in the last War realised that too- their strategy was Eurasian, it broke down over the small matter of devouring the USSR. The expiry date on the tin of Empire has been obvious for a long time- there is simply too much money to be made by ignoring it.
Russia has always been the problem, either real (very occasionally) or latent for the Dutch/British/US Empire because it is just so clear that the quickest and most efficient communications between Shanghai and Lisbon do not go through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal, or round the cape . Russia never had to do a thing to earn the enmity of the Empire, simply existing was a challenge. And that remains the case- for centuries the Empire denounced the Russians because of the Autocracy, then it was the anarchism of the Bolsheviks, then it was the autocracy again, this time featuring Stalin, then it was the chaos of the oligarchs and now we are back with the Tsar/Stalin Putin.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Phenomenal diagnosis, Bevin. However, one suspects that there is still too much profit to be made by the MIC in pursuing useless strategies. I imagine Mahan turning in his grave in his final geo-strategic twist.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-Zionist hubris will get Israel into a whole world of sorrow.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain't.

Any article with mention of mother-'Tucker' Carlson is one that is pure propagandistic tripe in the extreme. Off-G is a UK blog yet this Americanism & worn out aged propaganda still prevails in the minds of US centric myopics writ large across all states in the disunity equally divided from cities to rural towns all.

MOU

johny conspiranoid ,

"More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain'"
Is this even a sentence?

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

It was a sentence when I was smoking marijuana yesterday, Johnny C. Today it is still a sentence IMHO, but you transcribed it incorrectly, and forgot the end of the sentence.

NOTE: When I smoke marijuana I am allowed to write uncoordinated sentences. These are the rules in CANADA. If you don't like it write to your local politician and complain bitterly.

MOU

Charlotte Russe ,

Bush, Obama, and Clinton are despicable. In fact, they're particularly disgusting, inasmuch, as they were much more "cognizant" than Trump of how their actions would lead to very specific insidious consequences. In addition, they were more able to cleverly conceal their malevolent deeds from the public. And that's why Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office–he won because of public disgust for lying politicians.

However, Trump is "dangerous" because he's a "misinformed idiot," and as such is extremely malleable. Of course, ignorance is no excuse when the future of humanity is on the line

In any event, Trump is often not aware of the outcome of his actions. And when you're surrounded and misinformed by warmongering neoconservative nutcases, especially ones who donated to your campaign chances are you'll do stupid things. And that's what they're counting on.

alsdkfj ,

Trump is some virtuous example of a truth teller? Trump?

The biggest liar to every occupy the White House and that is saying a lot.

Swamp Monster fascist Trump. So much to love, right?

He could murder one of your friends and you'd still apologize for him, is my guess.

Hugh O'Neill ,

It was a long read, but I got there. In essence, I agreed with 99%, but I hesitate to share too much praise for Trump's qualities as a Human Being – though he may be marginally more Human than the entire US body politic. I was walking our new puppy yesterday when he did his usual attempt to leap all over other walkers. I pleaded their forgiveness and explained that his big heart was in inverse proportion to his small brain. It occurred to me later that the opposite would be pure evil i.e. a small heart but big brain. Capitalism as is now infects the Human Experiment, has reduced both brains and hearts: propagandists believe their own lies, and too few trust their own instincts and innate compassion, ground down by the relentless distractions of lies and 'entertainment' (at least the Romas gave you free bread!).
I get the impression that Trump's world view hasn't altered much since he was about 11 years old. I do not intend to insult all eleven-year-olds, but his naivety is not a redeeming feature of his spoilt brat bully personality. He has swallowed hook, line and sinker every John Wayne cowboy movie and thinks the world can be divided into good guys and bad guys depending on what colour hat they wear. In the days of Black & White TV, it was either black or white. The world seemed so much simpler aged 11 .(1966).

Dungroanin ,

Yet I have yet to see one photo of Trump with a gun or in uniform.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The Duck learned to dress appropriately for business, I'll give him that. As a New York Real Estate scion you will never see him dress otherwise. Protocol in business is a contemporary business suit. No other manner of dress is allowed for the executive class in North America or UK.

[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 21, 2020] At the start of a new decade, Merkel seems to be on the wrong side of history

Neoliberals are mostly neocons and neocons are mostly neoliberals. They can't understand the importance of Brexit and the first real crack in neoliberal globalization facade.
She really was on the wrong side of history: a tragedy for a politician. EU crumles with the end of her political career which was devoted to straightening EU and neoliberalism, as well as serving as the USA vassal. While she was sucessful in extracting benefits for Germany multinationals she increased Germany dependency (and subservience) on the USA. She also will be remembered for her handing of Greece crisis.
Notable quotes:
"... The UK's departure will continue to hang over Brussels and Berlin -- the countdown for a trade deal will coincide with Germany's presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. ..."
"... Brexit is a "wake-up call" for the EU. Europe must, she says, respond by upping its game, becoming "attractive, innovative, creative, a good place for research and education . . . Competition can then be very productive." This is why the EU must continue to reform, completing the digital single market, progressing with banking union -- a plan to centralise the supervision and crisis management of European banks -- and advancing capital markets union to integrate Europe's fragmented equity and debt markets. ..."
"... its defence budget has increased by 40 per cent since 2015, which is "a huge step from Germany's perspective". ..."
"... Ms Merkel will doubtless be remembered for two bold moves that changed Germany -- ordering the closure of its nuclear power stations after the Fukushima disaster of 2011, and keeping the country's borders open at the height of the 2015 refugee crisis. That decision was her most controversial, and there are some in Germany who still won't forgive her for it. But officials say Germany survived the influx, and has integrated the more than 1m migrants who arrived in 2015-16. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.ft.com

It's a grim winter's day in Berlin, and the political climate matches the weather. Everywhere Angela Merkel looks there are storm clouds, as the values she has upheld all her career come under sustained attack. At the start of a new decade, Europe's premier stateswoman suddenly seems to be on the wrong side of history.Shortly, the UK will leave the EU. A volatile US president is snubbing allies and going it alone in the Middle East. Vladimir Putin is changing the Russian constitution and meddling in Libya and sub-Saharan Africa. Trade tensions continue, threatening the open borders and globalised value chains that are the cornerstones of Germany's prosperity.

Ms Merkel, a former physicist renowned for her imperturbable, rational manner is a politician programmed for compromise. But today she faces an uncompromising world where liberal principles have been shoved aside by the law of the jungle.

Her solution is to double down on Europe, Germany's anchor. "I see the European Union as our life insurance," she says. "Germany is far too small to exert geopolitical influence on its own, and that's why we need to make use of all the benefits of the single market."

Speaking in the chancellery's Small Cabinet Room, an imposing wood-panelled hall overlooking Berlin's Tiergarten park, Ms Merkel does not come across as under pressure. She is calm, if somewhat cagey, weighing every word and seldom displaying emotion.

But the message she conveys in a rare interview is nonetheless urgent. In the twilight of her career -- her fourth and final term ends in 2021 -- Ms Merkel is determined to preserve and defend multilateralism, a concept that in the age of Trump, Brexit and a resurgent Russia has never seemed so embattled. This is the "firm conviction" that guides her: the pursuit of "the best win-win situations . . . when partnerships of benefit to both sides are put into practice worldwide". She admits that this idea is coming "under increasing pressure". The system of supranational institutions like the EU and United Nations were, she says, "essentially a lesson learnt from the second world war, and the preceding decades". Now, with so few witnesses of the war still alive, the importance of that lesson is fading.

Of course President Donald Trump is right that bodies like the World Trade Organization and the UN require reform. "There is no doubt whatsoever about any of that," she says. "But I do not call the world's multilateral structure into question. "Germany has been the great beneficiary of Nato, an enlarged EU and globalisation. Free trade has opened up vast new markets for its world-class cars, machines and chemicals. Sheltered under the US nuclear umbrella, Germany has barely spared a thought for its own security. But the rise of "Me First" nationalism threatens to leave it economically and politically unmoored. In this sense, Europe is existential for German interests, as well as its identity.

Ms Merkel therefore wants to strengthen the EU -- an institution that she, perhaps more than any other living politician, has come to personify. She steered Europe through the eurozone debt crisis, albeit somewhat tardily: she held Europe together as it imposed sanctions on Russia over the annexation of Crimea; she maintained unity in response to the trauma of Brexit.

The UK's departure will continue to hang over Brussels and Berlin -- the countdown for a trade deal will coincide with Germany's presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. Berlin worries a post-Brexit UK that reserves the right to diverge from EU rules on goods, workers' rights, taxes and environmental standards could create a serious economic competitor on its doorstep. But Ms Merkel remains a cautious optimist. Brexit is a "wake-up call" for the EU. Europe must, she says, respond by upping its game, becoming "attractive, innovative, creative, a good place for research and education . . . Competition can then be very productive." This is why the EU must continue to reform, completing the digital single market, progressing with banking union -- a plan to centralise the supervision and crisis management of European banks -- and advancing capital markets union to integrate Europe's fragmented equity and debt markets.

In what sounds like a new European industrial policy, Ms Merkel also says the EU should identify the technological capabilities it lacks and move fast to fill in the gaps. "I believe that chips should be manufactured in the European Union, that Europe should have its own hyperscalers and that it should be possible to produce battery cells," she says. It must also have the confidence to set the new global digital standards. She cites the example of the General Data Protection Regulation, which supporters see as a gold standard for privacy and proof that the EU can become a rulemaker, rather than a rule taker, when it comes to the digital economy. Europe can offer an alternative to the US and Chinese approach to data. "I firmly believe that personal data does not belong to the state or to companies," she says. "It must be ensured that the individual has sovereignty over their own data and can decide with whom and for what purpose they share it."

The continent's scale and diversity also make it hard to reach a consensus on reform. Europe is deeply split: the migration crisis of 2015 opened up a chasm between the liberal west and countries like Viktor Orban's Hungary which has not healed. Even close allies like Germany and France have occasionally locked horns: Berlin's cool response to Emmanuel Macron's reform initiatives back in 2017 triggered anger in Paris, while the French president's unilateral overture to Mr Putin last year provoked irritation in Berlin. And when it comes to reform of the eurozone, divisions still exist between fiscally challenged southern Europeans and the fiscally orthodox new Hanseatic League of northern countries.

Ms Merkel remains to a degree hostage to German public opinion. Germany, she admits, is still "slightly hesitant" on banking union, "because our principle is that everyone first needs to reduce the risks in their own country today before we can mutualise the risks". And capital markets union might require member states to seek closer alignment on things like insolvency law. These divisions pale in comparison to the gulf between Europe and the US under president Donald Trump. Germany has become the administration's favourite punching bag, lambasted for its relatively low defence spending, big current account surplus and imports of Russian gas. German business dreads Mr Trump making good on his threat to impose tariffs on European cars.

It is painful for Ms Merkel, whose career took off after unification. In an interview last year she described how, while coming of age in communist East Germany, she yearned to make a classic American road trip: "See the Rocky Mountains, drive around and listen to Bruce Springsteen -- that was my dream," she told Der Spiegel.

The poor chemistry between Ms Merkel and Mr Trump has been widely reported. But are the latest tensions in the German-US relationship just personal -- or is there more to it? "I think it has structural causes," she says. For years now, Europe and Germany have been slipping down the US's list of priorities.

"There's been a shift," she says. "President Obama already spoke about the Asian century, as seen from the US perspective. This also means that Europe is no longer, so to say, at the centre of world events."She adds: "The United States' focus on Europe is declining -- that will be the case under any president."The answer? "We in Europe, and especially in Germany, need to take on more responsibility."

Germany has vowed to meet the Nato target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence by the start of the 2030s. Ms Merkel admits that for those alliance members which have already reached the 2 per cent goal, "naturally this is not enough". But there's no denying Germany has made substantial progress on the issue: its defence budget has increased by 40 per cent since 2015, which is "a huge step from Germany's perspective".

Ms Merkel insists the transatlantic relationship "remains crucial for me, particularly as regards fundamental questions concerning values and interests in the world". Yet Europe should also develop its own military capability. There may be regions outside Nato's primary focus where "Europe must -- if necessary -- be prepared to get involved. I see Africa as one example," she says.

Defence is hardly the sole bone of contention with the US. Trade is a constant irritation. Berlin watched with alarm as the US and China descended into a bitter trade war in 2018: it still fears becoming collateral damage.

"Can the European Union come under pressure between America and China? That can happen, but we can also try to prevent it. "Germany has few illusions about China. German officials and businesspeople are just as incensed as their US counterparts by China's theft of intellectual property, its unfair investment practices, state-sponsored cyber-hacking and human rights abuses in regions like Xinjiang.

Once seen as a strategic partner, China is increasingly viewed in Berlin as a systemic rival. But Berlin has no intention of emulating the US policy of "decoupling" -- cutting its diplomatic, commercial and financial ties with China. Instead, Ms Merkel has staunchly defended Berlin's close relationship with Beijing. She says she would "advise against regarding China as a threat simply because it is economically successful".

"As was the case in Germany, [China's] rise is largely based on hard work, creativity and technical skills," she says. Of course there is a need to "ensure that trade relations are fair". China's economic strength and geopolitical ambitions mean it is a rival to the US and Europe. But the question is: "Do we in Germany and Europe want to dismantle all interconnected global supply chains . . . because of this economic competition?" She adds: "In my opinion, complete isolation from China cannot be the answer."Her plea for dialogue and co-operation has set her on a collision course with some in her own party.

China hawks in her Christian Democratic Union share US mistrust of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment group, fearing it could be used by Beijing to conduct cyber espionage or sabotage. Ms Merkel has pursued a more conciliatory line. Germany should tighten its security requirements towards all telecoms providers and diversify suppliers "so that we never make ourselves dependent on one firm" in 5G. But "I think it is wrong to simply exclude someone per se," she says.

The rise of China has triggered concern over Germany's future competitiveness. And that economic "angst" finds echoes in the febrile politics of Ms Merkel's fourth term. Her "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats is wracked by squabbling. The populist Alternative for Germany is now established in all 16 of the country's regional parliaments. A battle has broken out for the post-Merkel succession, with a crop of CDU heavy-hitters auditioning for the top job.

Many in the political elite worry about waning international influence in the final months of the Merkel era.While she remains one of the country's most popular politicians, Germans are asking what her legacy will be. For many of her predecessors, that question is easy to answer: Konrad Adenauer anchored postwar Germany in the west; Willy Brandt ushered in detente with the Soviet Union; Helmut Kohl was the architect of German reunification. So how will Ms Merkel be remembered?

Vladimir Putin: liberalism has 'outlived its purpose'

She brushes away the question. "I don't think about my role in history -- I do my job." But what about critics who say the Merkel era was mere durchwurschteln -- muddling through? That word, she says, in a rare flash of irritation, "isn't part of my vocabulary". Despite her reputation for gradualism and caution, Ms Merkel will doubtless be remembered for two bold moves that changed Germany -- ordering the closure of its nuclear power stations after the Fukushima disaster of 2011, and keeping the country's borders open at the height of the 2015 refugee crisis. That decision was her most controversial, and there are some in Germany who still won't forgive her for it. But officials say Germany survived the influx, and has integrated the more than 1m migrants who arrived in 2015-16.

She prefers to single out less visible changes. Germany is much more engaged in the world: just look, she says, at the Bundeswehr missions in Africa and Afghanistan. During the Kohl era, even the idea of dispatching a ship to the Adriatic to observe the war in Yugoslavia was controversial. She also mentions efforts to end the war in Ukraine, its role in the Iran nuclear deal, its assumption of ever more "diplomatic, and increasingly also military responsibility". "It may become more in future, but we are certainly on the right path," she says.

The Merkel era has been defined by crisis but thanks to her stewardship most Germans have rarely had it so good. The problem is the world expects even more of a powerful, prosperous Germany and its next chancellor.Letter in response to this article:At last, I understand Brexit's real purpose / From John Beadsmoore, Great Wilbraham, Cambs, UK

[Jan 21, 2020] The Geopolitics Of Epistemological Warfare From Babylon To Neocon

Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Geopolitics Of Epistemological Warfare: From Babylon To Neocon by Tyler Durden Tue, 01/21/2020 - 00:00 0 SHARES

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

I think any sane human being can agree that while war was never a good idea, war in the 21st century is an absolutely intolerable one. The problem we currently face is that many of the forces driving world events towards an all-out war of "Mutually Assured Annihilation" are anything but sane.

While I'm obviously referring here to a certain category of people who fall under a particularly virulent strain of imperial thinking which can be labelled "neo-conservative" and while many of these disturbing figures honestly believe that a total war of annihilation is a risk worth taking in order to achieve their goals of total global hegemony, I would like to make one subtle yet very important distinction which is often overlooked.

What is this distinction?

Under the broad umbrella of "neo-conservative" one should properly differentiate those who really believe in their ideology and are trapped under the invisible cage of its unexamined assumptions vs. that smaller yet more important segment that created and manages the ideology from the top. I brushed on this grouping in a recent 3 part study called Origins of the Deep State and Myth of the Jewish Conspiracy .

To re-state my meaning: This group doesn't necessarily believe in the ideological group they manage any more than a parent believes in that tooth fairy which they promote in order to achieve certain behavioral patterns in their children.

While belief in the tooth fairy is slightly less destructive than belief in a misanthropic neocon worldview of a Bolton, Pompeo or Cheney, the analogy is useful to communicate the point.

Cult Managers: Ancient Babylon and Now

Modern ideology-shapers serve the same role as those ancient high priests of Babylon, Persia and Rome who managed the many cults and countless pagan mystery religions recorded throughout the ages. It is well documented that any cult could comfortably exist under Rome's control, as long as said cult denied any claim to objective truthfulness- making the rise of Abrahamic monotheistic faiths more than a little antagonistic to empire.

Did the high priests necessarily BELIEVE in those dogmas which they created and managed?

Hell no.

Was it politically necessary to create them?

Of course.

Why?

Because an Empire, like everything in the world, exist as a whole with parts but since they deny any principle of natural law (justice, love, goodness, etc) , empires are merely a sum of parts and their rules of organization can be nothing but zero sum. Each cultish group may coexist as an echo chamber alongside other groups sacrificing to whatever deity they wish without judgement of moral right or wrong bounded only by a common blind faith in their group's beliefs- but nothing universal about justice, creative reason, or human nature is otherwise permitted. Here the a-moral "peace" of "equilibrium" can be achieved by an oligarchy which wishes to lord over the slaves. Whether we are dealing with Caesar Augustus, Lord Metternich's Congress of Vienna, Aldous Huxley, Sir Henry Kissinger, or Leo Strauss (father of modern neo-conservativism), "Peace" can never be anything more than a mathematical "balancing of parts".

Now it is a good moment to ask: What does this phenomenon look like in our modern age?

To answer this, let us leap over a couple of millennia and take a look at something a bit more personal: Adam Smith and the doctrine of free trade.

Smith at Her Majesty's Service

Do Smith's modern followers sincerely believe in the "self-regulating forces of the free market"?

Sure they do.

Did Adam Smith actually believe in his own system?

Whether he did or not, according to recent research conducted by historian Jeffrey Steinberg, Smith received his commission to compose his seminal book Wealth of Nations (published 1776) while riding with Lord Shelburne himself in a carriage ride from Edinburgh to London in 1763. The date 1776 is not a coincidence as this was the same Lord Shelburne who essentially managed the British Empire during the American Revolution and who always despised all colonial aspirations to use protective tariffs, emit productive credit or channel said credit towards internal improvements as Benjamin Franklin had championed in his 1729 Necessity of Paper Currency and Colonial Script.

Why develop Industry, asked Smith, when the new "Law" of "absolute advantage" demanded that everyone just do what they are good at for the best price possible? America has a lot of land, so they should stick with agriculture and slave-driven cotton. Britain had a lot of industry (don't ask how that happened because it wasn't through free trade), so they should stick with that! India had advanced textiles, but Britain had to destroy that so that India could then have a lot of opium fields so she could do that which China could then smoke to death under the watch of British Gunships. "Free Trade" demanded it so.

Let's look at another example: Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection

A Not-too-Natural Selection

Darwin's theory published in his Origins of Species (1859) was based on the assumption that all changes in the biosphere are driven by "laws" of "survival of the fittest" within an assumed closed ecosystem of diminishing returns. Just as Smith asserted that an "invisible hand" brought creative order to the chaos of unregulated vice and self-interest, Darwin asserted that creative order on the large scale evolution of species could be explained by chaotic mutations on the micro level beyond a wall that no power of reason, free will or God could pass.

Did Charles Darwin believe his system? Probably.

But how about Thomas Huxley (aka: "Darwin's Bulldog") whose efforts to destroy all competing theories which included "purpose", "meaning", or "design" were crushed and ridiculed into obscurity? Huxley himself was on record saying he did not believe in Darwin's system. So why was this theory promoted by forces (like Huxley's X Club ) who recognized its many flaws? Well, here again it helps to refer to Darwin's own account of his discovery from his autobiography where he wrote:

"In October 1838, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on, from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result would be the formation of a new species. Here then, I had at last got a theory by which to work".

Malthus's 'Dismal Science'

And here we have it! Reverend Thomas Malthus (the cold hearted "Man of God" who taught economics at the British East India Company's Haileybury College) provided the very foundation upon which Darwin's system stood! Thomas Huxley and the other "high priests" of Huxley's X Club were always Malthusian (even before there was Malthus) since empires have always been more focused on monopolizing the finite resources of an age, rather than encouraging creative discoveries and new inventions which would bring new resources into being- overcoming nature's "limits to growth" (a dis-equilibrium not to be tolerated). Whether Malthus actually believed in the system which bears his name, as generations of his adherents sincerely do, remains to be seen. However his own awareness of the needed extermination of the "unfit" by the Ubermenschen of the British Aristocracy preceded Social Darwinism by a full century when he coldly called for the encouragement of the plague and other "natural forms of destruction" to cull the herd of the unfit in his Essay on the Principle of Population ( 1799):

"We should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague."

A little later, Malthus even argued for the early extermination of poor babies who were of low value to society when he said:

"I should propose a regulation to be made, declaring that no child born from any marriage taking place after the expiration of a year from the date of the law, and no illegitimate child born two years from the same date, should ever be entitled to parish assistance The infant is, comparatively speaking, of little value to society, as others will immediately supply its place."

The neo-Malthusian revivalists such as Princes Bernhardt, Philip Mountbatten and Huxley's own grandson Sir Julian who birthed the misanthropic deformity today called the Green New Deal were not ignorant to this tradition. The disastrous effect of this worldview upon races deemed "unfit" in the global south should also not be ignored. It is no coincidence that those three neo-Malthusian oligarchs founded the World Wildlife Fund, 1001 Nature Trust and Club of Rome which imposed a technological apartheid upon the third world over the bodies of countless statesmen during the Cold War.

The Danger of Creative Thought to an Empire

Encouraging creative thought and cooperation among diverse nations, linguistic, religious and ethnic groups tends to result in new uncontrolled systems of potential as humanity increases its capacity to sustain itself while imperial systems lose their ability to parasitically drain their host. In Lincoln's great 1859 speech , the martyred leader stood up against this Malthusian paradigm endemic of the British Empire when he said:

"All creation is a mine, and every man, a miner. The whole earth, and all within it, upon it, and round about it, including himself, in his physical, moral, and intellectual nature, and his susceptibilities, are the infinitely various "leads" from which, man, from the first, was to dig out his destiny Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship. This improvement, he effects by Discoveries, and Inventions."

Lincoln's economic commitments to protective tariffs, state credit (greenbacks) and internal improvements are inextricably linked to this view of man also shared by the earlier Ben Franklin.

Today, the positive paradigm which Lincoln died to defend is most clearly represented by the leaders of such nations as Russia and China- both of whom have come out repeatedly attacking the post-truth neo-liberal order and also the win-lose philosophy of Hobbesian geopolitics. The folly of America's new dance with impeachment and the neocon hand shaping Trump's disastrous foreign policy agenda is tied to the oligarchy's absolute fear of losing America to a new Eurasian partnership which Trump has promoted repeatedly since entering office in 2017.

Xi Jinping and Putin have not only responded to this obsolete system by creating an alternative system of win-win cooperation driven by unbounded scientific and technological progress but they have also managed to expose the Achilles heal of the empire. These statesmen have demonstrated a clear recognition that those ideologies ranging from neo-liberalism to neo-conservativism are entirely unsustainable, and defeatable (but not militarily) . Xi expressed this insight most clearly during his recent trip to Greece.

Even though leaders like Putin and Xi understand this, citizens of the west will continue to be woefully unequipped to either make sense of these chaotic systems of belief, extract them from their own hearts if they are so contaminated or resist them effectively, without understanding that those who fabricated and manage these belief structures never truly believed in them.

Neoconservative founding fathers such as Leo Strauss, Sir Henry Kissinger and Sir Bernard Lewis absolutely never believed in the ideologies their cultish golems like Bolton, Cheney or Kristol have adhered to so religiously. Their belief was only that the sum-of-parts called humanity must ultimately be governed by a Hobbesian Leviathan (aka: a new globalized Roman Empire), and that Leviathan could only be created in response to an intolerably painful period of chaos which their twisted tooth fairies would usher into this world.

[Jan 21, 2020] Goldstein 2.0 ISIS has a new big bad leader

Notable quotes:
"... For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil. ..."
"... There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil.

There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way.

Or, hell, maybe we'll return to the hits of the 90s and early 2000s, and Islamic jihadists will get back to work in Chechnya.

Whatever happens, ISIS are back baby. And that means that some way, somehow, Mr al-Salbi is about to make the foreign policy goals of the United States much easier.

That's what Goldsteins are for.

harry law ,

.... The US have used Islamic state against both Syria and Iraq, [the enemy of my enemy is my friend].

There can be no doubt that the US are going to use Islamic state to disrupt Iraq, just as they had no qualms about watching [from satellites and spotter aircraft] Islamic state travel 100's of kilometres from Syria to Northern Iraq [Mosul] across the desert, whipping up tons of dust in their Toyota jeeps to put pressure on the Iraqi government. Also as they watched on with equanimity when the Islamic state transported thousands of tanker loads of oil from Syria to Turkey, that is until the Russians bombed those convoys, the US must think everyone is as stupid as they are. If the Iraqis don't drive the US out using all means including violence, they deserve to be slaves.

"Sergey Lavrov earlier called the US-led coalition's refusal to combat al-Nusra "absolutely unacceptable."

"Iraqi security expert Kazim al-Haaj said "US Army troops are preparing and training the ISIL militants in al-Qadaf and Wadi al-Houran regions of Al-Anbar province with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks and restarting insecurity in Iraq." https://stephenlendman.org/2020/01/trump-regime-shifting-isis-terrorists-from-syria-to-iraq/

[Jan 21, 2020] Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jan 20 2020 22:07 utc | 45

BJD @ 39:

Russia's Lavrov, Iran's Zarif discuss Soleimani killing: statement

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone on Friday to discuss the killing of Iran's military chief Qassem Soleimani, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law."


Likklemore , Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Well, today Moscow Warns Iran Against Reckless Steps as Tehran Threatens to Quit Non-Proliferation Treaty
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said that Tehran continues to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the European powers' claims about Iran violating the deal were unfounded.

Moscow warns Tehran against making 'reckless steps' to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said. He added that Russia urges Iran to comply with its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, giving those who oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) further reasons for escalation is "counterproductive".

Is there a friend anywhere? Kim or Khan of Pakistan to ship one in.
Alternative, Moscow could declare its nuclear capabilities are extended to Iran. Just can't leave Iran hanging on a twig.

Bubbles , Jan 20 2020 22:29 utc | 53

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Maybe it's because trump has a history with Russian mobsters and money laundering?


Or maybe it's just smart to say that? What's to be gained by setting off man child trump and spurring yet another temper tantrum via twitter?

trump did lotsa bidnezz with the International cabal that plundered Russia after the disillusion of the USSR. They stole from the Russian people, and laundered their ill begotten gains with chumps, like trump.

[Jan 21, 2020] Possession of a core ethnicity doesn't invariably guarantee stability or even constitute a nation

Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 18, 2020 at 5:19 pm GMT

@anonymous

The US depends upon continuation of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Were that to be lost the US likely would descend into chaos without end. When the USSR came apart it was eventually able to downsize into the Russian state. We don't have that here; there is no core ethnicity with it's own territory left anymore, it's just a jumble. For the US it's a matter of survival.

Possession of a core ethnicity doesn't invariably guarantee stability or even constitute a nation and I don't believe this is why Russia survives as a nation today. Russia itself is a country with a great many nationalities, and there are almost as many Asian as European faces in the country. Furthermore, the Ukraine was part of the USSR, has what you term a core ethnicity, and yet has descended into chaos without end since the collapse of the USSR. Clearly, a nation consists of something other than ethnic identity, language or even religion.

The 19th century French historian Ernest Renan in a famous lecture at the time "What is a Nation" stated: "A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle A nation is therefore a large-scale solidarity, constituted by the feeling of the sacrifices that one has made in the past and of those that one is prepared to make in the future. It presupposes a past; it is summarized, however, in the present by a tangible fact, namely, consent, the clearly expressed desire to continue a common life .

"Man is a slave neither of his race nor his language, nor of his religion, nor of the course of rivers nor of the direction taken by mountain chains. A large aggregate of men, healthy in mind and warm of heart, creates the kind of moral conscience which we call a nation."

A nation is an organic entity not dependent on a common language, religion or bounded by geography. Whether or not a nation or nations survive the collapse of the American Empire will depend on the willingness of the people to live together with a shared collective memory of the past. Renan makes the point that national traumas are more unifying than national triumphs. The chaos that will surely follow the Empire's collapse will become part of the shared trauma, out of which a new nation or nations will arise, if the people so will.

https://web.archive.org/web/20110827065548/http://www.cooper.edu/humanities/core

EliteCommInc. , says: Show Comment January 18, 2020 at 11:02 pm GMT
"I see you have successfully internalized The Cuck's Credo."

I won;t speak to the explication of what nationhood is as described. But clearly skin color is not a cohesive enough glue. The white colonists comprised of varying ethnic cultures went to war against whites in great britain. And by all indications of history the whites in Europe spent more than 1800 years killing each other in country and out --

So any claim that whiteness is a cohesive glue or embodies a cohesive glue cementing nationality is thoroughly rejected by history. That anyone contends it against the evidence is peculiar.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment January 18, 2020 at 11:09 pm GMT
@Weston Waroda

The 19th century French historian Ernest Renan in a famous lecture at the time "What is a Nation" stated: "A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle

Why was the lecture famous? Was it because Renan decided to redefine nation?
https://www.etymonline.com/word/nation

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 19, 2020 at 12:32 am GMT
@Daniel.I Oh, are you ever missing the point. What Renan wrote elsewhere, "that which makes a nation is the willingness of its members to live together," (ce qui fait une nation c'est la volunté de ses membres de vivre ensemble) cuts both ways. It not only expains why Russia successfully transitioned the fall of the USSR, while the Ukraine has not yet: the Russians chose to live together. It also explains why nationalists like you continue to choose by your own volition to identify as American despite your pissing and moaning. You and the Russians and the Ukrainians are making your own volitional choices about the nation you choose to be a member of. Those choices multiplied by the millions of inhabitants demonstrate how this is an organic process. Furthermore, Renan wrote well before the current idea of globalism had developed any traction, and he is writing from observation of history as a historian. He had no globalist agenda to promote. I have read quite a lot of what the hard right nationalists have had to say in their comments on the Unz Review, and frankly, the arguments are unconvincing. I would suggest reading the Renan lecture I posted the link to, it clears up the mess and shows a third way between you and the globalists, the way of how things really come down. It shows reality.
Oscar Peterson , says: Show Comment January 19, 2020 at 1:55 am GMT
@EliteCommInc.

So any claim that whiteness is a cohesive glue or embodies a cohesive glue cementing nationality is thoroughly rejected by history. That anyone contends it against the evidence is peculiar.

No matter what the core identity of a society, there will be at least episodic internal violence. But that doesn't mean that people don't need identity.

What identity, in your view, should the people focusing on whiteness as symbolic of their sense of belonging, be adopting?

It's obvious that being "an American" is becoming less and less psychologically satisfying. So what is the answer?

Daniel.I , says: Show Comment January 19, 2020 at 9:56 am GMT
@Weston Waroda I am Eastern European living in my homeland.
So I can see right through your ZOG-manufactured bullshit.
Daniel.I , says: Show Comment January 19, 2020 at 10:01 am GMT
@EliteCommInc. You have no idea how satisfying it is to watch the Anglo – after having forced liberalism down the throat of everyone else – finding himself on the receiving end of it.

Keep celebrating your own dissolution, cuck.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 6:36 am GMT
@Polemos The nation in Renan's thinking transcends consideration of the one and the many through a kind of political metaphysic: the nation is spiritual, the nation is a mystery. The national myth of shared trauma creates a past while organic human volition results in a spiritual recognition of both the individual and others as participants in this mystery, this nation, this Gestalt . Charles de Gaulle touched this in his benediction "vive la France eternelle," as did Ronald Reagan with the metaphor from the Gospels, "a city on a hill."
Wizard of Oz , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 6:53 am GMT
@Daniel.I I get the general use by Americans to use "liberal" for what the rest of the Anglophone countries would probably call "left wing" (although I think Americans also say "neo liberalism" mraning something quite different). But I struggle to understand what you mean by "liberalism". Derived from which lot of Anglos? Thrust down throats by which lot of Anglos? I would like to learn more from you about the ideology or philosophy or political movement you are referring to.

As a prompt to leap out of a narrowly based view I note that the main conservative right of centre party which often forms Australian governments is the Liberal Party.

Vojkan , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 8:07 am GMT
@Weston Waroda "A nation is an organic entity not dependent on a common language, religion or bounded by geography."

Is it to say that the German, the English, the Swede, the Polish, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Czech, the Slovak, the Italian, the Greek, the Hungarian, the Romanian, the Bulgarian, the Portuguese, the Irish, the various nations that emerged from the former Yugoslavia or the USSR are not organic entities but only the Belgian are? Is it to say that African states with borders drawn across ethnicities by colonial powers are nations? Today's France is proof of the contrary to your statement and Renan's theory. You are the one disconnected from reality as your idea of what constitutes a nation is a pure abstract disproven by empirical evidence.

Miro23 , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 9:02 am GMT
@Weston Waroda

Renan makes the point that national traumas are more unifying than national triumphs.

It's interesting that the places that the Empire has been unable to control are often ex-Communist (Russia, China, Eastern Europe) which experienced national trauma, but were also outside of the Zio-Glob Empire in its critical post 1945 growth period (the map of US overseas bases).

Also, Imperial institutions like NATO are looking irrelevant. European leaders may well wonder why they're necessary. In 1945, the US was the world's leading industrial economy/ international creditor with a legitimate reserve currency – now not so much – with the US clinging onto power using violence, threats and sanctions and generally alienating everyone.

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 2:14 pm GMT
Israel is a very successful example of a strongly ethnocentric state that has its endless internal squabbles between the various groups within that identity, but yet remain fairly united against potential threats from outsiders (i.e., the"others"). This most definitely applies to the critical matter of immigration.

Wisely, they do not easily accept immigrants, except those who are proven to be of their own ilk, and they are currently exploring, via internal public dialog, whether their already relatively stringent standards are not restrictive enough. (See here: https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/6-out-of-7-immigrants-to-Israel-not-Jewish-611842 )

They know they will be internally weakened, displaced, and ultimately, replaced if they do otherwise. They 'see the writing on the wall'.

Jews are not stupid people. It would seem equally wise for the US, Canada, and the European states to emulate their example, preserving their shared heritages and commonalities, which provide strength and unity in the face of adversities and against foreign enemies, both abroad and domestically.

What is sauce for the (jewish) goose is sauce for the (goyim) ganders .

[Jan 21, 2020] $6.4 Trillion And Counting - How The Military-Industrial Complex Hijacked The War On Terror by Eric Margolis

Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Ike Was Right!

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society."

General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961

Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.

Illustrating Ike's prescient warning, Brown University's respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called 'wars on terror' in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.

The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that's a very conservative estimate.

Most of this money has been quietly added to the US national debt of over $23 trillion. Wars on credit hide the true cost and pain from the public.

As General Eisenhower warned, military spending has engulfed the nation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/CWiIYW_fBfY

A trillion annual military budget represents just about half the world's military expenditures. The Pentagon, which I've visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.

The combined US intelligence budget of some $80 billion is larger than Russia's total military budget of $63 billion. US troops, warplanes and naval vessels are stationed around the globe, including, most lately, across Africa. And yet every day the media trumpets new 'threats' to the US. Trump is sending more troops to the Mideast while claiming he wants to reduce America's powerful military footprint there. Our military is always in search of new missions. These operations generate promotions and pay raises, new equipment and a reason for being.

Back in the day, the Republican Party of General Eisenhower was a centrist conservative's party with a broad world view, dedicated to lower taxes and somewhat smaller government. It was led by the Rockefellers and educated Easterners with a broad world view and respect for tradition.

Today's Republican Party is a collection of rural interests from flyover country, handmaidens of the military industrial complex and, most important, militant evangelical Christians who see the world through the spectrum of the Old Testament. Israel's far right has come to dominate American evangelists by selling them a bill of goods about the End of Days and the Messiah's return. Many of these rubes see Trump as a quasi-religious figure.

Mix the religious cultists – about 25% of the US population – with the farm and Israel lobbies and the mighty military industrial complex and no wonder the United States has veered off into the deep waters of irrationality and crusading ardor. The US can still afford such bizarre behavior thanks to its riches, magic green dollar, endless supply of credit and a poorly educated, apathetic public too besotted by sports and TV sitcoms to understand what's going on abroad.

All the war party needs is a steady supply of foreign villains (preferably Muslims) who can be occasionally bombed back to the early Islamic age. Americans have largely forgotten George W. Bush's lurid claims that Iraqi drones of death were poised to shower poisons on the sleeping nation. Even the Soviets never ventured so deep into the sea of absurdity.

The military industrial complex does not care to endanger its gold-plated F-35 stealth aircraft and $13 billion apiece aircraft carriers in a real war against real powers. Instead, the war party likes little wars against weak opponents who can barely shoot back. State-run TV networks thrill to such minor scraps with fancy headlines and martial music. Think of the glorious little wars against Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya. Iran looks next.

The more I listen to his words, the more I like Ike.

[Jan 21, 2020] Bernie Sanders Walks Straight Into the Russiagate Trap

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

Daniel Lazare January 20, 2020 © Photo: Wikimedia The New York Times caused a mini-commotion last week with a front-page story suggesting that Russian intelligence had hacked a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma Holdings in order to get dirt on Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win re-election.

But the article was flimsy even by Russiagate standards, and so certain questions inevitably arise. What was it really about? Who's behind it? Who's the real target?

Here's a quick answer. It was about boosting Joe Biden, and its real target was his chief rival, Bernie Sanders. And poor, inept Bernie walked straight into the trap.

The article was flimsy because rather than saying straight out that Russian intelligence hacked Burisma, the company notorious for hiring Biden's son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month job, reporters Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg had to rely on unnamed "security experts" to say it for them. While suggesting that the hackers were looking for dirt, they didn't quite say that as well. Instead, they admitted that "it is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for."

So we have no idea what they were up to, if anything at all. But the Times then quoted "experts" to the effect that "the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens – the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment." Since Trump and the Russians are seeking the same information, they must be in cahoots, which is what Democrats have been saying from the moment Trump took office. Given the lack of evidence, this was meaningless as well.

But then came the kicker: two full paragraphs in which a Biden campaign spokesman was permitted to expound on the notion that the Russians hacked Burisma because Biden is the candidate that they and Trump fear the most.

"Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the vice president," the spokesman, Andrew Bates, said. "Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections."

If Biden is the number-one threat, then Sanders is not, presumably because the Times sees him as soft on Moscow. If so, it means that he could be in for the same neo-McCarthyism that antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard encountered last October when Hillary Clinton blasted her as "the favorite of the Russians." Gabbard had the good sense to blast her right back.

"Thank you @Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know – it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine ."

If only Sanders did the same. But instead he put out a statement filled with the usual anti-Russian clichés:

"The 2020 election is likely to be the most consequential election in modern American history, and I am alarmed by new reports that Russia recently hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment trial, as well as Russia's plans to once again meddle in our elections and in our democracy. After our intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, including with thousands of paid ads on Facebook, the New York Times now reports that Russia likely represents the biggest threat of election meddle in 2020, including through disinformation campaigns, promoting hatred, hacking into voting systems, and by exploiting the political divisions sewn [sic] by Donald Trump ."

And so on for another 250 words. Not only did the statement put him in bed with the intelligence agencies, but it makes him party to the big lie that the Kremlin was responsible for putting Trump over the top in 2016.

Let's get one thing straight. Yes, Russian intelligence may have hacked the Democratic National Committee. But cybersecurity was so lax that others may have been rummaging about as well. (CrowdStrike, the company called in to investigate the hack, says it found not one but two cyber-intruders.) Notwithstanding the Mueller report, all the available evidence indicates that Russia did not then pass along thousands of DNC emails that Wikileaks published in July 2016. (Julian Assange's statement six months later that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party" remains uncontroverted.) Similarly, there's no evidence that the Kremlin had anything to do with the $45,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased by a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency – Robert Mueller's 2018 indictment of the IRA was completely silent on the subject of a Kremlin connection – and no evidence that the ads, which were politically all over the map, had a remotely significant impact on the 2016 election.

All the rest is a classic CIA disinformation campaign aimed at drumming up anti-Russian hysteria and delegitimizing anyone who fails to go along. And now Bernie Sanders is trying to cover his derrière by hopping on board.

It won't work. Sanders will find himself having to take one loyalty oath after another as the anti-Russia campaign flares anew. But it will never be enough, and he'll only wind up looking tired and weak. Voters will opt for the supposedly more formidable Biden, who will end up as a bug splat on the windshield of Donald Trump's speeding election campaign. With impeachment no longer an issue, he'll be free to behave as dictatorially as he wishes as he settles into his second term.

After inveighing against billionaire's wars, he'll find himself ensnared by the same billionaire war machine. The trouble with Sanders is that he thinks he can win by playing by the rules. But he can't because the rules are stacked against him. He'd know that if his outlook was more radical. His problem is not that he's too much of a socialist. Rather, it's that he's not enough.

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:06 utc | 3

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the EU-3 poodles in Germany, Britain and France with a 25% tariff on their car exports to the U.S. unless they end their role in the JCPOA deal.

In their usual gutlessness the Europeans gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five day decision period after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UN Security Council. The reference to the UNSC would then lead to an automatic reactivation or "snapback" of those UN sanction against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed.

Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if any of the European countries escalates the issue to the UNSC:

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by European states to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPOA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8, 2018 when the US withdrew from the deal.

He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, August 26 and November 2018 to the then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPOA.

However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the European Union before it began reducing its commitments in May 8, 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif.

Iran's top diplomat said that the country's five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans' measure to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council may be followed by Tehran's decision to leave NPT as stated in President Hassan Rouhani's May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal.

He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPOA restore their obligations under the deal.

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU. Cooke has piece at Strategic Culture on Wurmser who may be the strategist behind Trump admin moves on Iran. Adds to this piece by b.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/20/many-matryoska-dolls-america-way-imagining-iran/
"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."

Overall, the strategy looks to be aimed at weakening and disrupting Iran and removing its allies in the region from the game before US strikes begin.

The downing of the Uki plane and Trump Pompeo immediately saying they were with the Iranian people would fit very well into this strategy though it is not mentioned by Crooke.


Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:14 utc | 4

And in Syria, US territory is becoming more defined. US intends to keep control of both Dier Ezzor and Hasakah oilfields along the Iraq border. Iraq Kurdistan is a secure base for the US and as well as being on Iran's border gives access through Hasakah province to the Syrian oilfields.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-forces-block-syrian-russian-troops-from-access-to-key-highway-photos/
vk , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 5
The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

We shouldn't humanize entire nations when analyzing geopolitics.

The Europeans are simply aware of the objective fact they are de facto occupied countries thanks to the many de facto American bases scattered around Western and Central Europe (Germany being the country with the most American bases in the world). They obey the USA for the simple fact they are occupied by the USA.

That's why some neocarolingians/European nationalists mainly from Germany, France and the Benelux (e.g. Macron, Juncker) avidly defend the creation of an European Army. You don't need to be a geopolitics genius to infer the grave consequences such move would have to the European peoples' welfare.

As long as NATO exists, Western Europe will remain firmly in American hands.

Besides, there's also the ideological factor.

Many Europeans still see today the USA as their "most illustrious child", their continuation as the Western Civilization's center. New York is the new Paris+London. They see themselves as the dwarf countries they really are and rationalize that, ultimately, it is better to live under the hegemony of another Western nation than under the hegemony of the "yellows" (i.e. Chinese) or the "slavics" (i.e. Russia). They really see themselves as a true North Atlantic family, which share the same race and the same cultural values.

These Atlanticists are specially numerous in the UK, which is not surprising, given its geographic location and the fact that it was indeed the country that founded the USA.

Walter , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 6
Of course Iran and what happens in Iraq are joined at the hip...

Professor Maranadi>

"Seyed Mohammad Marandi
@s_m_marandi
·
10m
Many believe an economic crisis lies ahead of the US & the timing of the crash will determine the fate of Trump's re-election bid. However, another threat looms. If the US fails to swiftly comply with Iraqi demands to end the occupation, the resistance will become very violent."

and in Germany?

USA warnen: "Unmittelbar bevorstehender Angriff auf US-Militärs in Deutschland". RT/D

"Pulling back" may suit the Clowns, but agreement requires more than that if there's to be no child.

The Clowns are not contract capable. The only "deal" is for the imperial forces to leave the ME... the only deal is action....Of one sort or another. The clowns imagine a glorious victory over smoking ruins.

Careful what ya' wish fer, fellas...

erik , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 7
Fatwa or not, Iran must have the bomb, for the same reason NoKo had to build it. It's the only way to lance the boil and move on from under the incessant threats from the United States. We won't let up, even if it takes 100 years, and they have to know this. They do have the engineering know how to do it; now they must, but they will have to be discrete and stockpile enough 90% U235, then fiddle around with the details involved in assembling a staged device with enough yield so it's understood by all. I expect this whole process will now move forward.
bjd , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 8
Iran should finally make haste with:
a. developing nukes
b. the asymmetric warfare as we move into election season


tucenz , Jan 20 2020 19:25 utc | 9
So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?
Guy THORNTON , Jan 20 2020 19:28 utc | 10
One is reminded of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia in 1914: "As the German ambassador to Vienna reported to his government on July 14, the [note] to Serbia is being composed so that the possibility of its being accepted is practically excluded." As Churchill wrote at the time: "it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it, or that any acceptance, however abject, would satisfy the aggressor."

Uncle Sam is fooling nobody.

SteveK9 , Jan 20 2020 19:31 utc | 11
Many people refer to the European countries as 'occupied' (vk) and that is the reason they submit to American policy. I don't believe that is the case. The number of troops is far too small to 'occupy' a country that was resisting an occupation. Those troops were there as a 'trigger' to initiate a conflict with the Soviet Union if it invaded Europe. These days they are just there as some kind of vestigial legacy, and don't really mean anything. The US exercises its control over the EU and elsewhere through its control of international finance and trade. This system benefits the elite of those countries that are part of the 'empire', so has substantial support from influential people inside those countries. Unless and until there is some groundswell of support among the peoples of those countries to change that system, they will continue to be an obedient part of the US empire.

It's not even clear that resistance isn't futile. Those countries that want to maintain independence like Russia, China, Iran, Turkey (?), India (?) also have a strong internal attraction to Western 'culture'. As much as some denigrate that culture as shallow, materialistic, and worthless, it seems to have a very universal attraction around the World, particularly among the young. There are a lot of people everywhere that would like to be a part of a global empire, with a hedonistic Western-style culture. Sad, but true.

Abe , Jan 20 2020 19:32 utc | 12
I tend to agree with comments here saying Iran needs to make bomb.

North Korea proved that truth 100%. No amount of agreements or "guarantees" with usual lying suspects will provide security to Iran - only hard cold nuclear deterrence will.

This time, now, Iran has enough conventional & asymmetrical firepower to deter its enemies long enough for it to develop nukes (few years?).

It already has proven means to deliver warheads, now it needs them.

time2wakeup , Jan 20 2020 19:50 utc | 13
I strongly concur with several other commentators here. Iran should immediately commence enriching uranium to weapons grade levels and assemble at least 10-20 nuclear warheads ASAP if they ever hope to remain an intact, non-US/Israeli dominated country.

The US understands ONLY raw power and who it perceives has it (Israel, North Korea..etc.), and who doesn't (Libya, Syria, Iraq..etc.).

The NPT "Treaty" is nothing more than a cabal of nuclear armed countries attempting to cartel who's allowed to posses a nuclear weapons arsenal and all the rest of the world countries that's ultimately at their mercy.

Cornelius von Hamb , Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?"

For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms. It's easy to look at the lawless rogue US regime and forget this, but: some countries actually do try to have some semblance of abiding by and respecting treaties and the rule of law.

Nemesiscalling , Jan 20 2020 20:01 utc | 15
@2 Nemo

I am always taken aback when people compare unsavory characters to members of the primate family. Please do not engage in "zoomorphism." And I am dead fucking serious. Animals do not deserve to be denigrated in such a way. Keep your insults grounded in the human sphere.

lgfocus , Jan 20 2020 20:02 utc | 16
PIERACCINI has a very good article on Strategic Culture on what is happening to The Evil Empires dominance
The End of U.S. Military Dominance: Unintended Consequences Forge a Multipolar World Order
lysias , Jan 20 2020 20:03 utc | 17
The U.S. has already used that tactic of insisting on concessions known to be unacceptable to the other side with the intention of causing war at least twice: to Japan in 1941 and to Yugoslavia before the Kosovo War.
goldhoarder , Jan 20 2020 20:08 utc | 18
Does Iran really need a nuke? They have proven they can hit a US base and Saudi oil infrastructure. It is believed they already have.... or at least have the capability of mining the Strait of Hormuz. If the global financial elite can't get oil out of the gulf... what happens to the global economy? My guess is it would implode. Isn't this the real and only reason the US hasn't bombed Iran back to the stone age yet? They already have deterrence. The US claims about restoring deterrence was just the projection of sociopaths and psychopaths.
tucenz , Jan 20 2020 20:12 utc | 19
re:Cornelius von Hamb | Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms."

Iran says it won't develop nuclear weapons (anti Islamic), so what steps could they possibly be not wanting to rule out?

Virgile , Jan 20 2020 20:17 utc | 20
The state of the JCPOA today bears a lot on Trump's negotiations with North Korea.
Kim Un Jung has be spooked by Bolton comparing North Korea's fate to Libya and by the ease with which US withdrew from the JCPOA. Negotiations have halted.
Trump needs to show that he is serious with deals that he guaranties will be binding the partners more seriously than the flawed JCPOA.
Iran has only one choice: Press Europe to take a stand against the USA, (which will probably not happen) then pull out officially from the JCPOA that has become a liability with no advantages and calls for re-negotiation. Trump will certainly jump in and will try to get the best deal possible by squeezing Iran on its regional role. Yet he can't have too excessive demands as he wants to make a similar deal with North Korea.
Iran could ask for withholding sanctions during negotiations. It could take years to finalize the deal. In the meantime the regional situation could change greatly
That seems to be the only path for Iran.
Laguerre , Jan 20 2020 20:27 utc | 21
According to what is said here, the US is still afraid of attacking Iran, and is going for internal disruption, and sanctions. So what's new? It's been the same policy for forty years. The fact that Trump doesn't like long-term wars, and will only go for a big bang without consequences, is neither here nor there.

Rouhani and his team, including Zarif, seem to me pretty bright, and capable of coping with the politics. Relighting nuclear refinement is essentially a political move.

jared , Jan 20 2020 20:30 utc | 22
Again, find it hard to believe that they are in fact such quisling sycophants to the US.
Suspect they rely on Trump to provide cover for the fact that they (like him) are beholden to higher powers.
winston2 , Jan 20 2020 20:35 utc | 23
The USE of WMDs is haram.
Words mean things B, much as the PC police have twisted their meanings,and even fatwas can be reversed.
The frantic efforts to corral the USSRs nukes were never anything like 100% effective,500+ warheads and tonnes of
plutonium were NEVER accounted for from the KNOWN inventory,who knows what the unknown inventory was ?
Generals of Rocket Forces had to eat,and there were willing buyers for their only wares.
A CIA assessment I was made privy to,the old boys network for an opinion from outside, claimed the Iranians did not have the ability to keep those warheads in working order,which begs a question,how many ?
I told my old schoolmate they were wrong in their assessment, they've had the capability since the Shahs nuclear program.I know Iran very well,worked and lived there ,during the Shah times.

[Jan 20, 2020] Fake Investigations... Designed To Fool by Bryce Buchanan

Highly recommended!
Money quote: "The Deep State and the media appear to believe that we are fooled by these fraudulent investigations. We are not fooled. We are tired of the lies and the arrogance."
Notable quotes:
"... For the Deep State, hiding and destroying evidence of guilt is standard operating procedure. They simply report a "glitch" that destroyed the key evidence and that's the end of it. Or, they simply redact the portions of the record that would expose the truth. To my memory, no one ever suffers any consequences for this. Even now, Director Wray and others are tenaciously withholding evidence. ..."
"... When Anthony Weiner's laptop was found to contain over 340,000 Hillary emails in a file named "insurance", the FBI did not rejoice about finally getting the 'lost' email. No, they hid the discovery for weeks until a New York agent threatened to go public. Then, quite miraculously, Peter Strzok found a way to very quickly examine 340,000 messages and found that there was nothing at all that was incriminating. No rational person would believe that. ..."
"... The dirty cops are so confident in their ability to deceive the public that they just announced that the FISA court reforms will be managed by David Kris. Kris has been a defender of FBI misconduct and he attacked Devin Nunes for telling the truth about the FISA court. They don't even care about the appearance of fairness. They do what they want. ..."
"... Because there was nothing, and because it was known from the start that, " there is no big there, there ", the Mueller Team used several irrelevant legal actions to prolong the belief that they were closing in on Trump. Mueller arranged for their media partner, CNN, to film the early morning swat team raid on 67 year old Roger Stone's home. It was very dramatic and very un-necessary. Also, some small-time Russian troll farms were indicted so that the word "Russia" could fill the news, prolonging the desired myth. One of the indicted firms did not even exist. The others did not appear to favor any one candidate and much of their activity was after the election ..."
"... Mueller led a 40 million dollar investigation looking for a crime. That effort failed at finding any collusion, but it did play a role in the Democrats winning a majority in the House of Representatives. That then enabled another investigation of an imaginary crime for political purposes. A scripted hearsay 'whistleblower' submitted lies that allowed Adam Schiff to continue his own campaign of lies. You know the rest of the story. Trump is being falsely charged for doing what Biden bragged about doing. ..."
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Bryce Buchanan via The Burning Platform blog,

Many government officials with long entrenched power are unwilling to give up any of that power. In their minds, they have a right to control our lives as they see fit, with complete indifference to our wishes. To avoid rebellion, they need to hide this fact as much as possible. They want the citizens to believe the lie that we are a nation of laws with equal justice under the law. To advance this lie, they have staged many theatrical productions that they call "investigations". They try to give us the impression that they want to expose the facts and punish wrongdoing.

Most of the big 'investigations' in the news in recent years have not been at all what they pretended to be. The sham investigations of Hillary's email, or the Clinton Foundation, or Weiner's laptop, or Uranium One, or Mueller's witch hunt, or Huber's big nothing, or the IG's whitewash, or the Schiff-Pelosi charades, have all been premeditated deceptions.

There are three types of investigations that call for different deceptions by the Deep State.
  1. The first type is the rare honest investigation . Examples would be the attempt to find the truth about Fast and Furious (Obama's gunrunning operation), or the IRS scandal (Obama's weaponizing of government). In response to real investigations, the criminals do two things lie and hide evidence. Key evidence, even if it is under subpoena, just disappears. In the IRS case, Lois Lerner's relevant email and the email of 6 others involved in the scheme was just "lost". The IRS "worked tirelessly" to find the email, but hard drives had been destroyed and back-up drives were missing, so the subpoenaed evidence could not be provided.

    For the Deep State, hiding and destroying evidence of guilt is standard operating procedure. They simply report a "glitch" that destroyed the key evidence and that's the end of it. Or, they simply redact the portions of the record that would expose the truth. To my memory, no one ever suffers any consequences for this. Even now, Director Wray and others are tenaciously withholding evidence.

  2. The second type of 'investigation' is when the Deep State pretends to investigate the Deep State . In these 'investigations' the outcome is known in advance, but the script calls for pretending, sometimes for years, that it an honest investigation is underway.

    There was nothing about the Hillary investigations that had anything to do with finding facts. The purpose from the beginning was exoneration. Key witnesses were given immunity and many were allowed to attend each other's interviews. There were no early morning swat team raids to gather evidence. Evidence was destroyed with no consequences.

    When Anthony Weiner's laptop was found to contain over 340,000 Hillary emails in a file named "insurance", the FBI did not rejoice about finally getting the 'lost' email. No, they hid the discovery for weeks until a New York agent threatened to go public. Then, quite miraculously, Peter Strzok found a way to very quickly examine 340,000 messages and found that there was nothing at all that was incriminating. No rational person would believe that.

    The dirty cops are so comfortable about getting away with lies like this that Huber can announce that he found no corruption, when it is readily apparent that he did not interview key witnesses . He even turned away whistleblowers who wanted to submit evidence. A real investigator, Charles Ortel, could have given Huber a long list of Clinton Foundation crimes . Like the Weiner laptop fake investigation, you don't find crimes if you don't really look for them.

    The dirty cops are so confident in their ability to deceive the public that they just announced that the FISA court reforms will be managed by David Kris. Kris has been a defender of FBI misconduct and he attacked Devin Nunes for telling the truth about the FISA court. They don't even care about the appearance of fairness. They do what they want.

    IG investigations have proven to be flimsy exonerations of Deep State criminality. Any honest observer can see that there was a carefully organized plan by top officials to control the outcome of the Presidential election. This corrupt plan involved lying to the FISA court, illegal surveillance and unmasking of citizens and conspiring with media partners to make sure lies were widely circulated to voters. The government conspirators and the majority of the media were functioning as nothing more than a branch of Hillary's campaign. That's a lot of power aimed at destroying Trump.

    To an IG investigator, this monumental scandal was presented to us as nothing to be very concerned about. Yes, a few minor rules were inadvertently broken and there did appear to be some bias, but there was no reason at all to think that bias effected any actions. If the agencies involved make a training video and set aside a day for a training meeting, then that should satisfy us completely.

  3. The third type of investigation involves investigating an imaginary crime for political reasons . The Mueller investigation and the impeachment investigation are two examples of this. Probably as a justification for illegal surveillance they were already doing, the conspirators pretended that there was powerful evidence that Trump was colluding with Putin to win the election. Lies about this issue propelled the country into 3 years of stories about nothing stories and investigations about something that never happened. Never in the history of nothing has nothing been so thoroughly covered.

    Because there was nothing, and because it was known from the start that, " there is no big there, there ", the Mueller Team used several irrelevant legal actions to prolong the belief that they were closing in on Trump. Mueller arranged for their media partner, CNN, to film the early morning swat team raid on 67 year old Roger Stone's home. It was very dramatic and very un-necessary. Also, some small-time Russian troll farms were indicted so that the word "Russia" could fill the news, prolonging the desired myth. One of the indicted firms did not even exist. The others did not appear to favor any one candidate and much of their activity was after the election .

    Mueller led a 40 million dollar investigation looking for a crime. That effort failed at finding any collusion, but it did play a role in the Democrats winning a majority in the House of Representatives. That then enabled another investigation of an imaginary crime for political purposes. A scripted hearsay 'whistleblower' submitted lies that allowed Adam Schiff to continue his own campaign of lies. You know the rest of the story. Trump is being falsely charged for doing what Biden bragged about doing.

The Deep State and the media appear to believe that we are fooled by these fraudulent investigations. We are not fooled. We are tired of the lies and the arrogance.

We are increasingly angry that there is a double standard of justice in this country. There is a protected class of people who are not prosecuted for their crimes. This needs to end.


insanelysane , 9 minutes ago link

The sheeple are easily led including the opposition sheeple. Two quick examples:

1. In the email scandal, Hillary was guilty, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of violating the FOIA by conducting all State Department business via a personal email She was guilty. Yet her team, listen up sheeple, her team made it about whether or not classified information was transmitted. This is a gray area which could be defended. She knew she was guilty of the FOIA violation because it was the whole reason the server was set up in the first place. Yet she got away with it because everyone focused on the classifications of emails which was a gray area.

2. In the Weiner / Abedin laptop matter, it is and was illegal for any of these emails to be on a personal computer. Again, guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet again everyone focused on what was in the emails and not the fact that just possessing the emails was illegal. So the FBI was able to say nothing new here and let it drop. If another group such as the US Marshals was in charge of this investigation, Weiner / Abedin would have been fully charged with possessing these emails. They would have been pressured to reveal why it was named Insurance and have been asked to cut a deal.

DonGenaro , 10 minutes ago link

Assange rots in jail, and Maxwell walks free, while Trump is busy pleasuring every Zionist in sight

East Indian , 23 minutes ago link

A comment in 'The Gateway Pundit':

"Andy McCabe admits lying to the FBI and nothing happens. The FBI lies to Gen. Flynn and he faces jail time. Justice in Deep State America."

- reader ricocat1

hardmedicine , 38 minutes ago link

his name was Seth Rich!

hoffstetter , 40 minutes ago link

The purpose of show trials is to fool those that don't pay attention. There are millions of US citizens that get their news from their neighbor or a narrow set of information that is disseminated by media that parrot their providers verbatim without challenge. Such people are quite regularly fooled and some vote.

buckboy , 57 minutes ago link

We, the People are free to bitch and moan.

marlin2009 , 1 hour ago link

The double standard justice system in America is appalling and even worse than communists. Americans really don’t have any credit to criticize communist countries. The ruling class is no better than them.

The media and ruling classes have tried decades to brainwashed the mass to believe that the less or even not corrupted.

Deep Snorkeler , 1 hour ago link

Trump's Non-Crimes

Trump University Fraud: Trump paid fine

Trump Taj Mahal Casino Money Laundering: Trump paid fine

Trump Foundation Fraud: Trump paid fine

Trump Campaign Law Violations: pending

Trump Obstruction:

Trump Abuse of Power:

Trump...

Old Hippie Patriot , 1 hour ago link

They could have never pulled off the JFK assassination had the internet existed back in 1963. Time for the Epstein *********** to be posted on the internet. Even the asleep would realize the unimaginable evil that has been controlling this world for millenia.

HANGTHEOWL , 1 hour ago link

I am not sure about that,,we have the net now,,and although there are many of us that pay attention and figure out their crimes and hoax's,,,,they still get away with them,,,,,,NASA still gets 59 million a day to fake the space program,,,

monty42 , 1 hour ago link

Why not? They pulled off 9/11. And what do we have? The same as with the JFK murder. People still arguing over how it was done, and ignoring the obvious, historically established now, of who benefited and why. Grassy knoll, 2nd shooter, or directed energy weapons or explosives, internet or not, still chasing the tail.

HANGTHEOWL , 57 minutes ago link

True, they murdered 3,000 of us on 9-11,,right on TV, using plainly obvious controlled demolitions, and to date they have still gotten away with it...

[Jan 20, 2020] The Iraqis want American out, and one day American will leave.

Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Ko , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm GMT

American interests are to protect oil companies, and fight the inevtible douche (british definition) American's will feel once the dollar is deflated. In a lesser way, wars and interventions are indeed to protect americans – from a massive, sudden, econimic depression of the likes the world has never seen. China and the rest of the world no American empire is going to retract. I only hope we have a sensible leader who can parlay Ameria's role in the world to become a partner in the BRI – ion some way.

The Asia Pivot was never destined to be anything but bluster. Asia is lost, the Asian nations will satellite around China. Southeast Asia is even more lost, Cambodia mioght as well fly the Chinese flag, Thailand will pretend, as it always has, to never have been colonized. Well, Thailand was/is a dog of a nation that's laid down on its back for every nation advancing on it's border.

Myanmar just signed on to the BRI and has given China its derired dams. It's already full of Chinese. The only thing holding China back in Myanmar is the amount of money it has to give spoon to the military, generals, cronies,etc. China already owns almost all of Manadaly and thousands of square milies surrounding Mandalay. It has gas and oil fields in a warm water where those pesky Bengali Jihadis once tried to dominate.
https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-china-sign-dozens-deals-bri-projects-cooperation-xis-visit.html

Indial too has bought into Myanmar.
https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/india-many-reasons-engage-myanmar.html

So, it's no wonder Iraq is the last stop of the retreat from the Middle East. The Chinese are moving forward with only the Saudis standing in the way. And who the hell really likes the House of Saud? They're doomed soon, and good riddence. The Iraqis want American out, and one day American will leave.

[Jan 20, 2020] Some people, in the US, still do not understand why Iranian people do not "love" America...If you had around 100.000 casualties by nerve gas that was sold by the US and his poodles (forget other western countries, you know who is "the boss" in the game) full aligned with Iraq,

Jan 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DFC , Jan 20 2020 20:36 utc | 25

b said:

"During the Iran-Iraq war Iraq's Saddam Hussein ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian front lines and cities. Ten thousand Iranians died of those and many more were wounded by them"

Nope, in fact the estimate body count is much higher:

"According to a 2002 article in the Star-Ledger, 20,000 Iranian combatants and combat medics were killed on the spot by nerve gas." (this was only a part, there were also many civilians killed)

"In a declassified 1991 report, the CIA estimated that Iran had suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq's use of several chemical weapons,[10] though current estimates are more than 100,000"

"Reporter Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post stated that Reagan's administration was well aware that the materials sold to Iraq would be used to manufacture chemical weapons for use in the war against Iran"
"According to Reagan's foreign policy, every attempt to save Iraq was necessary and legal.[4]"

All of this is in the wikipedia, hardly a "hardcore iranian trolls" web:

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

Some people, in the US, still do not understand why Iranian people do not "love" America...If you had around 100.000 casualties by nerve gas that was sold by the US and his poodles (forget other western countries, you know who is "the boss" in the game) full aligned with Iraq, and then you attack Iran with sanctions and threats again and again, and at the peak of hypocrisy in 2003 USA invaded Iraq "to counter the threat of WMD" (sold by the US)...What do you think of the US if you are an Iranian were living all your live under the "Damocles sword" of the threats and sactions of the Empire?

DFC , Jan 20 2020 22:27 utc | 52

@ Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2020 21:48 utc | 38

Let me see if I understand your point:

First US give permissions in September 1980 (if not encouraged) to Saddam to invade Iran, to finish the new Islamic regime that was seen as an enemy by Washington; and then when Iranians, at a huge costs, retaliates and turn the tide, then the US thought it was justified to supply Iraq with the chemicals (the "dual-use" technology) to make huge amounts of nerve gases and support the use against Iranian soldiers (with some unavoidable thousands of "collateral damages"), and also helping them with intelligence, satellite imagery and etc...Is that your point?

Do you think US would have permitted Iraq attacks Iran if the Shah was governing Iran? Do you think all the US did is justified? Do you think the people of Iran has no reasons for not "loving" America?

[Jan 20, 2020] Important clarification about MadCow disease

Jan 15, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

DC_rez , January 16, 2020 at 16:08

Are you insinuating Rachel Maddow is a journalist?

[Jan 20, 2020] The American Evil Empire is the threat. The Eurotrash nations are irrelevant. They are America-appeasing shits, who only provide a "multilateral" skirt for the United States to hide behind

Jan 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ak74 , Jan 20 2020 22:32 utc | 54

The American Evil Empire is the threat.

The Eurotrash nations are irrelevant. They are America-appeasing shits, who only provide a "multilateral" skirt for the United States to hide behind.

Neutralize the America Menace--and you won't have to give a damn what the Euro poodles think, do, or believe.

[Jan 20, 2020] The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted.

Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

zard , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm GMT

The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted. It is totally a Masonic land where money is God and the decent people are exploited and oppressed. Free speech and democracy are only kosher if the issue is something like Pooper-Scooper Enforcement Officer with no real money or power involved, unless of course there is an impressive uniform which goes with the position.

The brainwashed masses are presently transfixed to their TV's watching the theatre of the fake-impeachment pageant unfold, dutifully believing it is all real. All the performers strut about keeping to their carefully-scripted lines. Like the establishment-hatched fake Russia-bashing campaign, it is all theater. With the impeachment drama intended the polarize the entire nation, the people are once-again being caresully herded into their red and blue stalls in ensure nothing really populist, and not controlled by the establishment cabal running things, gets off of the ground. the entire performance will be so carefully choreographed, on a pro and anti Trump basis that it will also ensure that whomever the ruling cabal anoints will be chosen for the top puppet job.

Like in the US midterm elections in 2018, issues involving US foreign policy were mum. In the coming presidential election, Americans will see no real difference in the leading contenders' position regarding foreign affairs, which most Americans in any case now believe should be left to the military and the agencies who know best how to protect and advance their interests. Once again, any real discussion or debate on foreign policy during the coming election campaign will be taboo, and with the careful censorship of the alternate media, and with no real protest from the American people, who in fact become willing accomplices to any further unjust wars and atrocities their so-called "free" nation commits.

Americans are brought up on Hollywood imagery, life-styles and fantasy. The corporate media and entertainment industry is so pervasive that most of the people cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality, and as result of their constantly-fed addiction, they now demand more and more theatre and even wars to satisfy their cravings. A false-flag attack, 9/11, on their own people coming from their diabolical "owners", results in being no more than a thrilling performance to make life seem more real. If there was any reality to the people they would long ago have arrested the thousands of insider perps involved, (especially deep-state ones in and out of the US), and long ago they would hung everyone of them.

[Jan 20, 2020] Trump s erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: not agreement capable

Jan 14, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?

Yves Smith Post author, January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone?

Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?

Boomka, January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am

somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/26-years-on-russia-set-to-repay-all-soviet-unions-foreign-debt

"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.

It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.

drumlin woodchuckles, January 14, 2020 at 7:09 pm

In Syria, the Department of Defense was supporting one group of pet jihadis. The CIA was supporting a different group of pet jihadis.

At times the two groups of pet jihadis were actively fighting each other. I am not sure how the DoD and CIA felt about their respective pet jihadis fighting each other. However they felt, they kept right on arming and supporting their respective groups ...

[Jan 19, 2020] The anti-China conservative faction which Trump represents is screwing up the Pax Americana and petrodollar recycling into Treasury Bonds, by destroying the monetary scam they set up to control the world

Notable quotes:
"... The "movement conservatives" leader was Barry Goldwater who Trump's dad was a big supporter of, and Trump was raised in and among AND represents that faction of elite power. ..."
"... The LIEO or Rules Based Order is based on being closely allied with European elites against Russia to contain the Middle East and Central Asia (Iran and Afghanistan) based on Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard theory. ..."
"... The 1950's triangle of power was superseded by the oligarch's counter revolution that led to supranational trade institutions. Democracies were relegated to a secondary status and run by technocrats for the benefit of oligarchs until Donald Trump. He is a nationalist plutocrat; admittedly a lower level one, a NY casino owner who went bankrupt. Mike Bloomberg represents the other side, a globalist billionaire. Elizabeth Warren is a top level technocrat but no politician. ..."
"... The endless wars are fought to make a profit for the plutocracy and destabilize nations to make foreign corporate exploitation possible. That was why Hunter Biden was in Ukraine. The conflicts are not meant to be won. ..."
"... He makes stupid mistakes. Through the barrage of propaganda, reports of shell shocked troops, destroyed buildings and 11 concussion causalities from Iran's missile attack made it into the news. The military must be pissed. The aura of invincibility is gone. ..."
"... Donald Trump should be removed by the 25th amendment before he mistakenly triggers the Apocalypse. Except the 1% politician VP, Mike Pence, believes that the End of Time is God's Will and necessary for his Ascension. ..."
"... The power triangle theory is less in line with the facts than a simple duality: Wall Street & the MIC, you have to advance interests of both or you're out. ..."
"... Second, the 'meeting in the Tank' sounds like complete b.s. designed to sell books ..."
"... And the 'rules-based international order' rings very false as something that would be said with a straight face by real MIC insiders, which those generals are. ..."
"... Not only sick of wars, his mobster approach to foreign policy and allies is an embarrassment to RINO and Independents. ..."
"... Humanity is in a civilization war about public/private finance being fought by proxies and character actors like Trump. Maybe after this war is over, and if we survive, we can all communicate about the social contract directly instead of through proxy fronts. Do you want to live in a sharing/caring world or a selfish/competitive one?....socialism or barbarism? ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Jan 17 2020 19:26 utc | 7

That Power Elite theory which was written in the 50s by C.W. Mills is incomplete for today because in the 60s there was a split among the power elite between the new "movement conservatives" and the old eastern bank establishment. The conservatives were more focused on the pacific region and containing China, and the liberal establishment were more focused on Europe and containing Russia.

The "movement conservatives" leader was Barry Goldwater who Trump's dad was a big supporter of, and Trump was raised in and among AND represents that faction of elite power. In fact he is the 1st president from that faction of the elites to hold the oval office, many people thought Reagan was, but he was brought under the control of George Bush and the liberal elites after taking office after he was injured by a Bush related person. The different agendas of the the two factions are out in the open today with one being focused on anti-Russia and the other being focused on anti-China. It has been like that since the 1960s.

The anti-China conservative faction which Trump represents (and which unleashed the VietNam War) is screwing up the "rules based order" aka "Liberal International Economic Order" aka Pax Americana which was set up after WWII at Bretton Woods and then altered in the 1970s with the creation of the petrodollar and petrodollar recycling into Treasury Bonds, by destroying the monetary scam they set up to control the world

It needed the cooperation of the elites of Europe and elsewhere, which Trump and his faction doesn't care about -- they only care about short term profits on Wall St.

The LIEO or Rules Based Order is based on being closely allied with European elites against Russia to contain the Middle East and Central Asia (Iran and Afghanistan) based on Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard theory. China trade is important for them, Russia is their main enemy. ( War of the Worlds: The New Class ). Trump and his movement conservative faction is ruining their world order for their own short term gain on Wall St.


VietnamVet , Jan 17 2020 22:34 utc | 44
The 1950's triangle of power was superseded by the oligarch's counter revolution that led to supranational trade institutions. Democracies were relegated to a secondary status and run by technocrats for the benefit of oligarchs until Donald Trump. He is a nationalist plutocrat; admittedly a lower level one, a NY casino owner who went bankrupt. Mike Bloomberg represents the other side, a globalist billionaire. Elizabeth Warren is a top level technocrat but no politician.

The endless wars are fought to make a profit for the plutocracy and destabilize nations to make foreign corporate exploitation possible. That was why Hunter Biden was in Ukraine. The conflicts are not meant to be won.

Donald Trump is way for over his head and getting old. His competent staff are in jail or fired. Apparently no one told him about the thousands of ballistic missiles that can destroy the Gulf States' oil facilities at will and make the buildup for the invasion of Iran impossible. He makes stupid mistakes. Through the barrage of propaganda, reports of shell shocked troops, destroyed buildings and 11 concussion causalities from Iran's missile attack made it into the news. The military must be pissed. The aura of invincibility is gone.

Donald Trump should be removed by the 25th amendment before he mistakenly triggers the Apocalypse. Except the 1% politician VP, Mike Pence, believes that the End of Time is God's Will and necessary for his Ascension.

fairleft , Jan 18 2020 1:21 utc | 81
The power triangle theory is less in line with the facts than a simple duality: Wall Street & the MIC, you have to advance interests of both or you're out.

Second, the 'meeting in the Tank' sounds like complete b.s. designed to sell books, with an obvious sales strategy, as b said, of pleasuring both the pro/anti Trump sides of the book-buying bourgeoisie.

And the 'rules-based international order' rings very false as something that would be said with a straight face by real MIC insiders, which those generals are.

Finally, whether Trump ridiculed the generals or not, that's a sideshow to entertain the rubes. Trump's always been on side with the big picture Neocon approach essential to the MIC. Their global dominance or chaos approach is essential to keeping military budgets gigantic until 'forever'. True that Trump whined about endless wars as a 2016 campaign strategy, but he was either b.s.-ing or at the time didn't get that they are part of the overall Neocon approach he backs.

Passer by , Jan 17 2020 22:04 utc | 35

Not a very good analysis by b because this does not explain why 90 % of US corporate media is hostile to Trump. This does not happen without significant elite support.

That Trump is backed by the military faction is something i have been saying often. But there are forces within the government faction that dislike him, for example the CIA.

As for the corporate faction, it is not true that free money made them supportive of Trump. Rather the faction is divided - between the globalist corporate faction, relying on globalisation, including most tech companies, and US nationalist faction, such as local US businesses, big oil, shale gas, etc.

Another point - jews have large influence within the US, and 80 % voted against Trump regardless of his Israeli support. They again voted 80 % Dem in 2018. Having 80 % of US jews against you means encountering significant resistance.

Demographically speaking, most women, jews, muslims, latinos, asians, afroamericans, lgbt people, young people, etc. are strongly against him so i think that he will lose. Unless for some reason they do not vote.

Even if he somehow wins again, this will lead to civil war like situation and extreme polarisation in the US.

A P , Jan 17 2020 19:33 utc | 9

The US military, the various factions within the Deep State, political and corporate cabals has the attitude of a spoiled 3-year-old: If I can't have it, I'll break it so it is of little use to others.

Unfortunately, breaking other countries is just fine for the MIC... arms sales all around and chaos to impede non-military commerce with other major power centers like Russia or China.

Trump is the product of a dysfunctional family, a "greed is good" trust-fund social circle and a sociopathic US bully/gun culture.

The fact "bone spurs" Trump weaseled out of the draft will also not play well with the generals, let alone the grunts who suffer most from endless POTUS idiocy (not limited to Trump, see Prince Bush/Bandar the 2nd)

All the more proof that most Western "democracies" would be better served with a lottery to choose their Congressional and POTUS chair-warmers. Joe Sixpack could do a better job. A 200-lb sack of flour would do better than any POTUS since Kennedy.

Walter , Jan 17 2020 23:25 utc | 56

@ wagelaborer | Jan 17 2020 19:04 utc | 3

your: "Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it."

May be, I think is, true in one sense. But Trump is far from the sole agent capable of starting a war. War, as opposed to simple murder, involve 2 or more parties. Whatever the intentions, the recent murders by drone in Baghdad hav,e it seems, brought Iran to consider war exists now...and they have a nifty MAGA policy. On Press TV today they hosted an expert who called for the execution of several exceptional American leaders...sounds like war to me.

(Make America Go Away)

The system is so screwy and peopled by such uneducated and delusional people that it's quite simple that they would do some stupid that that caused a war. Looks like war to me. I await the horrors.

Decaying empires usually start wars that bring about their rapid ruin. Does it matter how they do this?

............

The thesis of the triangle of elite factions is fascinating.

Walter recalls that JFK got the reports from Vietnam that said we were winning, while at the same time Johnson got the true story. And also what happened then with the "correction" of 1963 (their words) and the immediate change of war policy. Can't help an old guy from remembering old folly. And noting that history repeats as farce.

The Iran affair is liable to coordinate with NATO. Lavrov spoke to the NATO preparations today @ TASS...

Some say Trumpie screwed up the schedule, which goes hot in April as a showdown with the Roooskies. I take that with a grain of salt. But I think the sources I've seen might be right. They say that if Barbarossa had not been delayed, the nazis woulda won in Russia. Screwups can be very important.

I can't see any way the US won't use atomic bangers. But maybe...

Likklemore , Jan 17 2020 21:50 utc | 29

@ wagelaborer 3

Good points. I endorse. However the USD have been weaponized, is being sidelined and will be shunned U.S. dollar: Russia, China, EU are motivated to shift from

@ juiliana 22

I posted an article by Shedlock essentially saying all it will take is 3 states to flip and Trump loses: Trump will be easily defeated in 2020 perhaps by a landslide.

Not only sick of wars, his mobster approach to foreign policy and allies is an embarrassment to RINO and Independents.

psychohistorian , Jan 17 2020 19:52 utc | 11

I agree with wagelaborer in comment #3 and worth a repeat of most of it

"Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it.

US foreign policy is not run by White House puppets.

The US trash-talked Saddam Hussein and starved Iraqis for 14 years, but didn't actually invade until he started trading oil in Euros.

The US trash-talked Ghaddafi for decades, and even launched missiles which killed his child in the 80s, but didn't destroy Libya until Ghaddafi decided to sell oil in dinars.

The US has trash-talked and sanctioned Iran for decades, but it was the threat of Iran and Saudi Arabia making peace that pushed them to assassinate General Soleimani, as he arrived at the airport on that diplomatic mission.

If Iran and Saudi Arabia make peace, and the Saudis drop the petro-dollar, the US Empire crumbles. It doesn't matter at all who is in the White House at the time, the Empire will never allow that."

Humanity is in a civilization war about public/private finance being fought by proxies and character actors like Trump. Maybe after this war is over, and if we survive, we can all communicate about the social contract directly instead of through proxy fronts. Do you want to live in a sharing/caring world or a selfish/competitive one?....socialism or barbarism?

[Jan 19, 2020] Pompeo idea of deterence means "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America".

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo omitted a crucial part of this sentence: "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America". ..."
"... a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence. ..."
"... No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen. ..."
"... But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us." ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 5:40 utc | 84

"...deterrence to protect America."

Pompeo omitted a crucial part of this sentence: "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America".

While this might be obvious to us, the narrative that US foreign policy is about protecting citizens, values and apple pie from 'bad guys' -- and indeed that the militaries of all Western countries are benign police forces preventing ISIS from burning your old Eagles albums and other violations of 'freedom' -- is such a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence.

It always seemed strange to me that the post-ww2 cinematic template for war-movies, and by extension the basic plot of all reporting of western military activity in the media, always represented the enemy as evil precisely because they use militaries in an instrumental way (i.e for the purpose they were designed). The Germans, or for that matter the Persians in 300 , or any baddies in war films, seek to extend and protect their interests (real or imagined) by deploying armed forces.

The good guys are always identifiable through this idea of 'deterrence': "hey man, all we want is just to live and let live, but you pushed us so we pushed back." Then one stirs in a little 'preemptive deterrence': you looked like you were going to push so we acted. If we 'accidentally' go too far, it's because there is a deranged C-in-C: Hitler, or Xerxes, or some other naughty boy who can be the fall-guy, scapegoat, etc.

To get serious we need to go back a very long way, to, say, the Iliad , which, like all Greek (and Roman) literature, assumes as a premise (and it's tragedy) that the warrior's basic function is to kill, pillage, rape and occasionally protect others from the same. But mostly take by force .

No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen.

But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us."

Just once.

[Jan 19, 2020] Warmonger Cotton Accuses Antiwar Think Tank of Anti-Semitism by Sheldon Richman

Notable quotes:
"... Coming to Palestine ..."
Jan 17, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
If you wonder what the post-Trump Republican Party will look like, take a glimpse at Tom Cotton, one of the US senators from Arkansas (where I live). Cotton has waged a relentless campaign for war against Iran and has supported every horror produced by the US foreign-policy establishment for the last 20 years. He makes other American hawks look like pacifists. Cotton once said that his only criticism of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where people are held indefinitely without charge or trial, is that too many beds are empty.

Typical of take-no-prisoners warmongers, Cotton savages critics of the pro-war policy that has characterized US foreign policy in the 21st century. No baseless charge is beneath him. He recently attacked the Quincy Institute in the course of remarks about anti-Semitism. (You can see what's coming.) According to Jewish Insider , Cotton said that anti-Semitism "festers in Washington think tanks like the Quincy Institute, an isolationist blame America first money pit for so-called 'scholars' who've written that American foreign policy could be fixed if only it were rid of the malign influence of Jewish money."

This is worse than a series of malicious lies – every word is false. In fact, it's an attempt to incite hostility toward and even disruption of one of the bright spots on the mostly desolate foreign-policy-analysis landscape.

The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (QI) started last year with money from, among others, the Charles Koch Foundation and George Soros's Open Society Foundations. Its officers and staff include respected and sober foreign-policy analysts and journalists such as Andrew Bacevich, Trita Parsi, Jim Lobe, and Eli Clifton. Also associated with the institute are the well-credentialed foreign-policy authorities John Mearsheimer, Paul Pillar, Gary Sick, Stephen Walt, and Lawrence Wilkerson. This is indeed a distinguished team of foreign-policy "realists" who are heroically resisting America's endless-war-as-first-resort policy.

Named for John Quincy Adams – who as secretary of state famously declared that "America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy" – QI "promotes ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace." The QI website goes on to state:

The US military exists to defend the people and territory of the United States, not to act as a global police force. The United States should reject preventive wars and military intervention to overthrow regimes that do not threaten the United States. Wars of these kinds not only are counterproductive; they are wrong in principle.

It then goes on to indict the current foreign-policy establishment:

The foreign policy of the United States has become detached from any defensible conception of US interests and from a decent respect for the rights and dignity of humankind. Political leaders have increasingly deployed the military in a costly, counterproductive, and indiscriminate manner, normalizing war and treating armed dominance as an end in itself.

Moreover, much of the foreign policy community in Washington has succumbed to intellectual lethargy and dysfunction. It suppresses or avoids serious debate and fails to hold policymakers and commentators accountable for disastrous policies. It has forfeited the confidence of the American public. The result is a foreign policy that undermines American interests and tramples on American values while sacrificing the stores of influence that the United States had earned.

This may not be pure libertarian foreign policy ("US interests" is too slippery a term for my taste), but compared to what passes for foreign-policy thinking these days, it's pretty damn good.

So why is Tom Cotton so upset? It should be obvious. QI opposes the easy-war policy of the last 20 years. Of course Cotton is upset. Take away war, and he's got nothing in his toolbox. He certainly doesn't want to see the public turn antiwar before he's had a shot at high office, say, secretary of state, secretary of defense, CIA director, or even the presidency.

Cotton's charges against QI are wrong on every count.

QI is not isolationist as long as it supports trade with the world and diplomacy as the preferred method of resolving conflicts.

It's not a blame-America-first outfit because the object of its critique is not America or Americans, but the imperial war-loving elite of the American political establishment. Cotton is part of that elite, but that does not entitle him to identify the mass of Americans with his lethal policy preferences.

It's not a money pit. As you can see, QI boasts an eminent lineup thinkers and writers. So the money is obviously well-spent on badly needed analysis. QI should have been set up long ago. Cotton shows his pettiness by putting the word scholars in sarcasm quotes. He should aspire to such scholarship as Bacevich, Parsi, et al. have produced.

But where Cotton really shows his agenda is his absurd claim that anti-Semitism "festers" in QI (and other think tanks – which ones?).

Cotton here is performing that worn-out trick that, alas, still has some life in it: conflating criticism of Israel and its American lobby with people who are Jewish (and who may well oppose how the Israeli state mistreats the Palestinians). I'm sure he knows better: this is demagogy and not ignorance.

On its face, the proposition that virtually anyone who criticizes Israel's conduct toward the Palestinians and its Arab and Iranian neighbors probably hates Jews as Jews is patently ridiculous. Any clear-thinking person dismisses that claim out of hand.

Undoubtedly Cotton has in mind primarily Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of The Israel Lobby and Foreign Policy , published in 2008. (It began as an essay in The London Review of Books .) In that work, Walt and Mearsheimer reasonably attribute the lion's share of influence on US policy in the Middle East to the Israel lobby, "a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively works to move US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction." They add, "[I]t is certainly not a cabal or conspiracy that 'controls' US foreign policy. It is simply a powerful interest group, made up of both Jews and gentiles, whose acknowledged purpose is to press Israel's case within the United States and influence American foreign policy in ways that its members believe will benefit the Jewish state."

This is hardly controversial stuff, although reasonable people can disagree over whether the lobby was decisive in any given case.

But does anyone doubt that American champions of Israel work overtime and spend a lot of money to advance what they see as Israel's interests? If so, see this and my book Coming to Palestine . (Many non-Zionist Jews disagree with them about those interests.) Organizations like AIPAC often boast about their influence. That they sincerely believe Israel's interests coincide with America's interests is beside the point. (I won't address that dubious contention here.) That influence, which supports massive annual military aid to Israel, has helped to facilitate the oppression of the Palestinians, wars against Lebanon, and attacks on Syria, Iraq, and Iran. It has also provoked hostility to America and vengeful terrorism against Americans. (For example, the 9/11 attacks as acknowledged by the government's commission .) Pro-Israel American political and military officials acknowledge this.

Cotton need not wonder why the lobby has succeeded so often since he himself is using the anti-Semitism canard to inhibit Israel's critics. No one wants to be condemned as anti-Semite (or as any other kind of bigot), so we can easily imagine prominent people in the past withholding criticism of Israel for fear of being thought anti-Jewish. (It's Israel and its champions, not Israel's critics, who insist that Israel is the state of all Jews, no matter where else they may be citizens.) Thankfully, despite the efforts of Cotton, Kenneth Marcus, Bari Weiss , Bret Stephens, and others, the invidious conflation has lost much of its force. More than ever, people understand that to oppose the entangling alliance with Israel and to express solidarity with the long-suffering Palestinians do not constitute bigotry against Jews.

Can Cotton produce any evidence that anyone at QI believes that pro-Israel Jewish Americans should be barred from lobbying and making political donations or that such an obvious violation of liberty would fix American foreign policy? Of course not. There is no evidence. Moreover, I'm sure the QI realists understand that other interests also propel the pro-war US foreign policy, including glory-seeking politicians and generals and the profit-craving military-industrial complex.

Those who reflexively and slanderously tar Israel's critics as anti-Semites seem not to realize that the worthy effort to eliminate real anti-Semitism is undermined by their efforts to immunize Israel and its American champions from good-faith criticism.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is Coming to Palestine . Reposted from The Libertarian Institute .

[Jan 19, 2020] Gangsternomics in directing the course of Iraq's future economic and political development

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 5:20 utc | 83

@ Peter AU1 78

Tom Luongo, who frequently cites b, has coined a new word for Trump's and his minions tactics. Tom asks:

Does Gangsternomics Meet its End in the Iraqi Desert?

In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian IRGC General Qassem Soleimani a lot of questions hung in the air. The big one was, in my mind, "Why now?"

There are a lot of angles to answer that question. Many of them were supplied by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi who tried to let the world know through official (and unofficial) channels of the extent of the pressure he was under by the U.S.

In short, President Trump was engaged in months of what can best be described as gangsternomics in directing the course of Iraq's future economic and political development.[/]

Iraq's importance goes much farther than just protecting the petrodollar to the U.S. It is the fulcrum now on which the entire U.S. defense against Eurasian integration rests. The entire region is slipping out of the grasp of the U.S.

And this started with Russia moving into Syria in 2015 successfully. We are downstream of this as it has blown open the playbook and revealed it for how ugly it is.

Trump's crude gangster tactics in Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia and to a lesser extent in Syria cannot be hidden behind the false veil of moral preening and virtue signaling about bringing democracy to these benighted places.[/]

What began in Syria with Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and China standing up together and saying, "No," continues today in Iraq. To this point Iran has been the major actor. Tomorrow it will be Russia, China and India.

And that is what is ultimately at stake here, the ability of the U.S. to employ gangsternomics in the Middle East and make it stick.[.]

By the time Trump is done threatening people over S-400's and pipelines the entire world will be happy to trade in yuan and/or rubles rather than dollars.[.]

full article here

[Jan 19, 2020] The USA is in the middle east and is fighting a war with Iran due to three factors: Full Spectrum Dominance, oil, and Isreal

Jan 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

TheSnark a day ago

The general gist of this article is on target, but I feel some of the details are off.

First off, Iran does want to be a region hegemon, they have wanted that for 5,000 years. But they only succeeded, and then only temporarily, when the opposition was weak. Today they are opposed by Israel, which is far stronger them Iran militarily, and by the Saudis, who are far richer. Those two can contain Iran by themselves with little US support.

Secondly, Iran getting nuclear weapons is a problem. If they do, next will be the Turks and Saudis, then the Egyptians and then who know who else. Having several nuclear powers in an unstable part of the world is a bad thing in general, and when (not if, but when) one of those state collapses like Iran did in 1979 or the USSR did in 1989, the risk of loose nukes floating around is far too real. Better nobody has them (I am not a particular friend or foe of Israel, but I trust them more than the Arab states on this score).

But our aggressive policy and troop deployments give the Iranians every incentive to build nukes. Their previous incentive was to counter Saddam Hussien's Iraq, but we graciously eliminated threat. But then we provided them with our own incentive to nuclearize. Very dumb.

Clyde Schechter TheSnark a day ago
I don't fully agree that Iran having nuclear weapons would be a problem for us. To the extent that any country's having them is a problem, sure. But Iran lacks the means to deliver such a weapon to US territory, and their regime, which has, for better or for worse, been rather stable over 40 years, has, notwithstanding aggressive rhetoric, been pragmatic: they know the awful consequences that would come from unleashing a nuclear attack on us. They wouldn't even think of it. Even attacking Israel, something within their capabilities, would certainly unleash nuclear retaliation and mutually assured destruction. The mullahs are not into that.

I think that nuclear non-proliferation became a dead letter when Pakistan and India acquired nuclear weapons and the world shrugged. Pakistan has one of the least stable governments around, having frequent coups, an intelligence service brimming with religious and ideological fanatics, and a history of repeated wars with neighboring India. If ever a red line should have been drawn, that was it. But nothing was done, barely anything was even said. From that point on, nobody really has any basis to complain if Iran (or any of the other countries you mention) goes nuclear.

Worse, US foreign policy is almost perfectly designed to maximize nuclear proliferation around the world. We have clearly and repeatedly sent the message to all nations that nuclear weapons are the only deterrent to US aggression, and that giving up your nuclear weapons (or agreeing not to make them, as Iran did) is suicidal. The world already knows that the US is a lawless, rogue nation, and that its treaty promises are not worth the paper they are written on. You really have to question the sanity of any government that has the resources to develop nukes and isn't doing that.

Tom Riddle Clyde Schechter 16 hours ago

to the extent that any country's having them is a problem, sure.

This is a pretty big "but", though? Nuclear proliferation is a huge danger and it's why a country like Germany without a huge middle east presence or danger of getting attacked with Iranian nuclear weapons would so forcefully back the JCPOA.

The existence and success of the JCPOA should be indictivative of the correct method to fight proliferation and the importance of doing so. To the degree that the US should be involved with the affairs of the Middle East, it should be done through the State Department (or what's left of it when the Republicans are finished with it).

As for Pakistan's nukes means "nobody really has any basis to complain if Iran (or any of the other countries you mention) goes nuclear." IR doesn't run on moral consitency. We should complain about countries that start up nuclear programs, but we should also complain about how the US's action have made nuclear proliferation more likely and not less. I'd rather not the US give up on non-proliferation just because Pakistan has the bomb. We just need to pretending our military can find solutions to political problems.

AlexanderHistory X Clyde Schechter 8 hours ago
It's not relevant that they can't strike America. They have the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to Israel, which is all that matters to the people in charge of this country.
Steve Naidamast AlexanderHistory X 7 hours ago
And Iran does not even need nuclear weapons to completely destroy the Israeli state. They have more than enough conventional missiles to do the job. And such anti-missile defense systems such as the Patriot and Iron Dome implementations have both been shown to be completely

inadequate against the type of missile onslaught Iran could deliver against Israel...

Clyde Schechter AlexanderHistory X 4 hours ago
Yes, Iran could strike Israel with a nuke. Or, as Steve Naidamast has pointed out in his response to you, they could obliterate Israel with conventional ballistics as well. In 40 years, they haven't done that. And they know that Israel would respond in kind, or with nuclear weapons, and they would be destroyed. So they will not do that.

In any case, while it is true that the people running the country view the defense of Israel as our responsibility, even as a top priority. In my opinion, and I think many readers here agree, that is precisely the problem. There is no reason we should commit to the defense of Israel: its existence and well being is not relevant to the defense of the United States. In fact, our unconditional support of everything Israel does, no matter how blatantly wrong it may be, is one of the things that fuels anti-American hatred around the world and motivates terrorists. Pulling away from our connection to Israel would be one of the best things we could do to enhance our national security.

Steve Naidamast a day ago
The US is in the Mid East for Israel's interests and Israel's interests only. This article completely ignores this reality and tries to obfuscate it with a lot of air over how another analyst views the situation there.

Had the US not recognized partition in 1947/1948 and then the subsequent state of Israel, much of the violence in the Mid East would have never occurred in the first place. This combined with assassination of the Iranian head of state in 1953 (over the move to nationalize Iranian oil and thus pushing out the British and Dutch oil industry) by Eisenhower only served to seriously complicate the matters in this region.

Iran would have most likely never had felt the need to develop nuclear weapons if the United States had simply just left well enough alone.

Unfortunately, the United States with few exception has never had anything but dim light bulbs in the presidency. Even Truman's senior military leaders, Mid East Foreign Service policy experts, and Secretary of State Marshall all warned him of the consequences of recognizing an Israel state and they were all correct...

AlexanderHistory X Steve Naidamast 8 hours ago
You are correct. All of this nonsense makes me question how much of a conspiracy theory ZOG is.
kouroi 16 hours ago
Mr Larison,

You know it, I know it, and pretty much everyone lurking around knows it: The US is in the ME for very basic things that insure its primacy:
- the control of the oil flow;
- the control of the way that oil is being transaction-ed, must be US dollars. The flow of dollars, especially the excess dollars needs to be controlled and be returned back to fund US deficit - which of course US has no intention of repaying (external creditors only), and the Feds, which are private bodies of financiers which benefit tremendously from controlling the world's reserve currency, understand this;
- Oiled ME countries must be run by autocracies in fear of revolutions so they need US support;
- Nationalist movements and republicanism are to be killed and persecuted;
- While a nuclear Iran might pose a threat to Israel, like India/Pakistan, US/Russia, it would be all MAD, so not much to worry about.

US will stay in the ME as long as it will take to insure its primacy. And they will kill any external or internal threats to this primacy.

Furthermore, there is a stirred appetite in the US and what its elites stand for. Look at TPP, at the proposed treaty on services, etc. The intention is to privatize everything in the world and have it in the hands of some, few. Thus State Owned Enterprises are to be shunned and ultimately appropriated. This is all what TPP was about, this is all what the trade war with China is about, and this is all the upset with Russia and Putin is about.

It is a very simple equation, that had the US population (military/intelligence) harnessed to be the slave drivers of the rest of the world, while they themselves think they are free, and liberators. This is the content of the red pill.

Not much different than the story told in the "Against the Grain A Deep History of Earlier States" by James C. Scott
https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lse...

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 9 hours ago • edited
And how can it be the other way if there are only two parties making decisions, and both of them are committed as hell to staying bogged down in the Middle East whatever the cost even to American troops and America's own economy , not to even mention the poor peoples of that region? Just the latest example: Democrats received a totally free and unprovoked electoral gift from Trump in the form of his administration committing an unmitigated idiocy regarding Iran (which, probably, resulted in dead American soldiers, not only wounded ones, given that even those wounded were concealed in the beginning). A real, not clownish cause for an impeachment investigation, against which Republican senators would have a very hard time looking honest and non-partisan in defending the president. A dream for any half-literate opposition political strategist in an election year. Their actions? They didn't think even for a minute that maybe - just maybe - they should not squander that gift. Instead they threw it - a real (and their last) opportunity to look solid in trying to impeach Trump - down the drain, industriously flushed the closet and kept on digging some clownish personalities from Ukraine, who are not even Ukrainian residents due to living in the US for years. You know how it looks like? The Democratic Party's neolib bosses (also known as the Republican Party's neocon bosses) called the DNC and said: keep on playing in your political sandbox, babies, but don't even dare to pester the POTUS on those issues that further our policies.

To say that I'm eager to read a reply from that miserable partisan hack which shall have a cheek to claim that either of the American institutional parties is not controlled by neocons/neolibs after all this is to say nothing.

AlexanderHistory X 8 hours ago
There are too many Jews and Christian Zionists involved with America's foreign policy, who are happy to sacrifice America's well being for the sake of israel.
Until that changes, which I can't see how it will while America exists in its current form, we are doomed to continue wasting blood and treasure in the region. It's tragic really, that this nations elite doesn't care much for America, but only what America can do to further their interests abroad.
ZOG is considered to be a conspiracy theory. These days, I'm not so sure it is.
Disqus10021 AlexanderHistory X 6 hours ago
At least part of the blame should go to the religious conservatives on the US Supreme Court which, with its Citizens United decision in 2010, opened the floodgates for large scale campaign contributions in Federal elections. The five Catholic conservatives voted in favor of Citizens United. The three Jewish members of the court along with the sole liberal Catholic (a woman) voted against it.

If you happened to watch candidate Trump's address to the 2016 AIPAC convention on TV (which I did), you might recall that he promised to be the best president that Israel ever had. It reminds me of that old Chinese proverb "Be careful what you wish for." Trump appears to be more popular in Israel than in the US.

Being on the Supreme Court means that you never have to say that you are sorry.

Osse 4 hours ago
I couldn't read the article because I don't subscribe to the WSJ, but I was wondering what he meant by solving the Israel- Palestine conflict. I don't think we should " solve" it by supplying the Israelis with weapons and almost unlimited support. We have been pretending to be an honest broker for decades and we aren't. I doubt we could be. A President Sanders might try, but I doubt he would succeed. He would have enough battles to fight on both domestic policy and ( hopefully) pulling back from our endless interventions to put too much effort into the I- P conflict. Most of the other possible Presidents would probably just be Israel's lapdog, as usual.

I think the US government should pull back from Israel. Have relations, but don't treat them like they are the 51st state. In theory I wish we could be an honest broker, but it hasn't happened so far.

Steve Naidamast 3 hours ago
I have to say that the style of comments being posted as they regard Israel demonstrate that a tide may be changing. I have noticed a slow but increasing negative response by serious commenters on several sites not only toward the US commitment to Israel also to Israeli policies and military capabilities as not being what everyone has promoted them to being.

This could be indicative of a sea change in US opinion, isolating most US politicians...

[Jan 19, 2020] Back in the day when Iran was a pariah state in 1988 (under full embargo from USA and the USSR), they almost sunk the frigate Samuel B Roberts with a very old WWI mine

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DFC , Jan 19 2020 11:40 utc | 110

@ Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Jan 19 2020 9:14 utc | 98

You are right one of the pillars of the Iranian asymmetric strategy to counter the USN is using thousands of mines in the Strait of Hormuz and beyond, and probably also around the US bases inside the Persian Gulf.

Back in the day when Iran was a pariah state in 1988 (under full embargo from USA and the USSR), they almost sunk the frigate Samuel B Roberts with a very old WWI mine:

https://news.usni.org/2015/05/22/the-day-frigate-samuel-b-roberts-was-mined

But forget it, they have now thousands of modern mines of Russian, Chinese, north Koreans origin and inverse engineered Iranian mines, even better than those.

To try to clear the mines with wooden minesweepers in the Strait of Hormuz is a joke; to clear the mines they have to move sloooowly and they will be sitting ducks to the Iranian coastal defenses in this narrow pass; good luck using slow moving helicopters also, and using hi-tech subs drones taking one by one will take months or years to clear them, if not detected and destroyed before.

As in the case of the missiles threat, USN has no good solutions to the massive minelaying in the Strait of Hormuz, and without massive resupply of the troops inside the Persian Gulf by sea (of weapons, men, spare parts, evacuate wounded, etc...) they do not have a good prospect to continue the war after few weeks; remember that the Iranians missiles have the capacity to destroy all the airstrips of the US air bases in ME and cut dry the use of them for bombing Iran and re-supply (trying to re-suppy a complete army only with helicopters is not an option)

The iranians even do not need high-tech supersonic anti-ship missiles to close the Strait of Hormuz, but they need them to maintain the US air carriers far enough from the iranians eastern shores that their air wings will sit iddle inside the carriers (the operational range of the F15, F16, F18 is around 700-800 Km), so they cannot support the troops in the opposite side of the Persian Gulf, and even the SCG cannot use their cruise missiles (range 1700 Km) against the western part of Iran where their missile force is allocated pounding the US bases all around the Gulf

For US the only remained option would be to use long range bombers and cruise missiles from subs, but they do not have enough of them to stop the rain of missiles and really destroy the command and control centers, especially if they have not destroyed the huge multilayered aerial defense Iran has (that seems to be much better than the american one)

The US then could think to use nukes, and then call a draft, but I do not recommend it, it is better to ask for a truce

[Jan 19, 2020] Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington

Jan 19, 2020 | www.politico.eu

Ellie Geranmayeh is a senior policy fellow and deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She specializes in European foreign policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers and sanctions policy.

... ... ...

The response from Tehran could be immediate or more long term, ranging from military action in the region to cyber attacks inside the U.S. and heavy political pushback. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned that there would not be war with the U.S. and Iran has so far acted in a calculated and rational fashion to Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign. If this position holds, Tehran will attempt to manage the risk of direct conflict, continuing to deploy asymmetric tactics to undermine U.S. interests, albeit with the red lines now redrawn.

The gravity and scale of Iranian compliance will be influenced by the recent escalation with the U.S.

The extensive U.S. military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan means the U.S. is likely to bear the brunt of retaliation. Iran has deep ties to both state and non-state actors across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Yemen that can be utilized to inflict pain on America. Soleimani's death has already triggered a new decline in the Trump administration's relations with Baghdad that may extend to Kabul, and is also likely to heat up the long debate inside Tehran over how far to push U.S. military forces out of neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

... ... ...

If Tehran takes drastic steps on the nuclear file, it could mark the total collapse of the agreement.

... ... ...

In the space of six months, the U.S. and Iran have gone from targeting drones, oil installations and bases, to killing personnel. It is still unclear how and when Iran will choose to respond to Soleimani's assassination. But the new commander of the Quds Force -- appointed within 12 hours of Soleimani's death -- will no doubt be eager to demonstrate his willingness to exact revenge against America.

When that happens, neither the Middle East nor Europe will be isolated from the blowback.

[Jan 19, 2020] The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 10:57 utc | 104

The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq. Trump in so many ways represents the bad ruler Gilgamesh who is poorly advised in his conquest by Enkidu (Pompeo) and they brutally slay the guardian of the forest to steal the precious timber. Then they murder the sacred bull of heaven (Soleimani and al-Muhandis) for prowess and nothing more. This slaughter of the sacred bull enrages the gods and they slay Enkidu which breaks Gilgamesh heart. etc etc. (drastically simplified and likely contested).

This tale is deeply known throughout the lands of the Middle East in all manner of old and modern iterations.

Trump is so unwise and devoid of subtlety that he has ended any chance of salvation in that land and has started every chance of retribution on a scale he could not conceive. His assault on all culture and sacred leaders is bonded to the deepest sense of existential being that any further aggression will simply escalate the payback. The USA urgently needs some cooler heads to intervene but they are not yet impacting on him. Indeed Trump is so eager to pat himself on the back with his adrenalin rush of murdering other leaders that it is disgusting.

[Jan 19, 2020] ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

michael888 , Jan 19 2020 13:19 utc | 114

Almost all of the "terrorism" affecting the West has been Wahabbi Salafist Sunni driven. Iran, despite their religious head, is a more modern sectarian nation than Saudi Arabia. ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed. It is time to align with Iran and the Shia for a change. They also have oil! Would send a nice message to our "allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

Sasha , Jan 19 2020 13:23 utc | 115

Trump has given signals of opposition to the wisdom of the use of jihadi proxies,

@Posted by: BM | Jan 19 2020 11:09 utc | 107

Really?

Revealed: US moves IS leaders to Al-Anbar, Iraq

After only a week or so after this heinous crime, we are assisting already to a new campaign on whitewashing Trump at each of the US military blogs...SST at the head...as always...but following the rest...be it a editorial level, be it at commentariat level...

What part of Trump admitting he personally ordered the murder you have not understood?

What part of Soleimani and Al Muhandis being the main strategic heads of real anti-IS front have you not understood?

[Jan 19, 2020] They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14

What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15

I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?

[Jan 19, 2020] The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

The Trump administration sees the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.

The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an 'imminent threat' has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that 'it doesn't really matter' if there was such a threat or not.

In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by U.S. foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on U.S. targets.

In his speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.

The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example , makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear:

On the 3rd of this month, we took one of the world's deadliest terrorists off the battlefield for good.
...
But I want to lay this out in context of what we've been trying to do. There is a bigger strategy to this.

President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic. In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so.
...
And let's be honest. For decades, U.S. administrations of both political parties never did enough against Iran to get the deterrence that is necessary to keep us all safe.
...
So what did we do? We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence.
...
Qasem Soleimani discovered our resolve to defend American lives.
...
We have re-established deterrence, but we know it's not everlasting, that risk remains. We are determined not to lose that deterrence. In all cases, we have to do this.
...
We saw, not just in Iran, but in other places, too, where American deterrence was weak. We watched Russia's 2014 occupation of the Crimea and support for aggression against Ukraine because deterrence had been undermined. We have resumed lethal support to the Ukrainian military.

China's island building, too, in the South China Sea, and its brazen attempts to coerce American allies undermined deterrence. The Trump administration has ramped up naval exercises in the South China Sea, alongside our allies and friends and partners throughout the region.

You saw, too, Russia ignored a treaty. We withdrew from the INF with the unanimous support of our NATO allies because there was only one party complying with a two-party agreement. We think this, again, restores credibility and deterrence to protect America.

This understanding of 'deterrence' seems to be vague and incomplete. A longer piece I am working on will further delve deeper into that issue. But an important point is that deterrence works in both directions.

Iran responded with a missile strike on U.S. bases in Iraq. The missiles hit the targets they were aimed at . This was a warning that any further U.S. action would cause serious U.S. casualties. That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action. Iran also declared that it will expel the U.S. from the Middle East. How is Iran deterred when it openly declares that it will take on such a project?

Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounds as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might.

Russia and China already had no doubts that the U.S. is immoral and willing to commit war crimes. And while 'western' media avoid that characterization for the assassination of Soleimani there is no doubt that it was one.

In a letter to the New York Times the now 100 years old chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, Benjamin B. Ferencz, warned of the larger effects of such deeds when he writes :

The administration recently announced that, on orders of the president, the United States had "taken out" (which really means "murdered") an important military leader of a country with which we were not at war. As a Harvard Law School graduate who has written extensively on the subject, I view such immoral action as a clear violation of national and international law.

The public is entitled to know the truth. The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are all being bypassed. In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger unless we change the hearts and minds of those who seem to prefer war to law.

The killing of a Soleimani will also only have a short term effect when it comes to general deterrence. It was a onetime shot to which others will react. Groups and people who work against 'U.S. interests' will now do so less publicly. Countries will seek asymmetric advantages to prevent such U.S. action against themselves. By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicated.

Posted by b on January 18, 2020 at 19:28 UTC | Permalink


james , Jan 18 2020 19:52 utc | 1

next page " "And let's be honest." anyone who starts off with those words - run the other way when they say that.. pomparse is a real embarrassment to the usa on the world stage at this point... there is no international law that the usa will not completely bypass / lie / or obfuscate to push its uni-polar exceptional agenda at this point.. anyone paying any attention can see this clearly.
Soleimani's Ghost , Jan 18 2020 19:53 utc | 2
In terms of deterrence re Iran, these people don't seem to know much about the role of martyrdom in Shi'ism
lysias , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 3
Pompeo speaks as though he wants to provoke an assassination attempt on himself.
chet380 , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 4
If push comes to shove, the Iranians are well aware that the US would, by its bombing and missiles that the Iranians cannot completely withstand, cause many deaths and massive destruction to its cities and infrastructure ... BUT the Americans are very much aware that the Iranian response would be devastating -- all US ME military assets would come under massive fire resulting in many deaths; all Gulf State oil infrastructure would be destroyed; Tel Aviv and Riyadh would be attacked; the Strait of Hormuz would be blocked, and on and on.

It seems highly unlikely that the US would take such a risk -- let us call it Mutual Assured Destructiveness

exiled off mainstree , Jan 18 2020 20:00 utc | 5
It is interesting that the commentary closes with a letter by Benjamin Ferencz, perhaps the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor. As he indicates, the assassination is a war crime, and, in my view, even the threat of such an assassination is a serious breach of international law. Regimes following such a policy have gone rogue, and cabinet ministers making such a pronouncement that the assassination was carried out as a deterrent are, in effect, confessing to war crimes. In future the reach of the offending regime may be much less than it is now, and, if that occurs, the rogue minister better be careful if he travels outside of his home country.
1 , Jan 18 2020 20:02 utc | 6
Thanks B, for your continued articles that are never mentioned elsewhere. I completely agree with your assessment. War used to have rules. Any american army brass or higher ups in USA, Britain, Israel and allies will have to keep looking over their shoulder when they leave their own country. Israel already cancelled trips to Saudi Arabia over security concerns. The gloves are off and targeted assignation will hit allies of USA. The president family are fair game, People who sponsor the the orange prophet of misery, Pompous Pompeoo, Esper or any general will have a very paranoid time knowing that the rules of war that once protected them from targeted assignation no longer apply. After all if america can do this, what's stopping their adversaries from doing the same.
ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 20:05 utc | 7
Benjamin B. Ferencz, his touted Harvard Law School pedigree Nuremberg Trial experience have precisely ZERO persuasive value.

Ferencz was one of the most vicious and manipulative of the Nuremberg prosecutors. In a BBC interview he stated boldly that he threatened to kill detainees or their families unless they confessed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=jmFg_ZkKo8M

Interviewer: "In previous interviews you've described how in gathering testimonies you did resort to duress, for instance, lining up villagers and threatening to shoot them if they lied. Such methods now would amount to witness harassment of the most extreme order.

Ferencz: Perhaps it would. but it's only because the people who make allegations don't understand what war is about -- bring a room of 20 people together -- this is an actual case -- and say I want you all to write out what happened, what your role was, what others did. Anybody who lies will be shot.
"Oh, how can you do a thing like that!" You're threatening them, it's torture! What am I going to tell 'em? That you won't get your patty-cake tonight? ' Please be honest, please confess that you're a murderer. Please do that, I don't want to have to ____ you of anything.'
What are you talking about? There's a war going on! They will kill you if they could. They were killing some of their buddies before. So what am I going to do? I didn't shoot them. But I threatened to , and that's the only weapon I had. And if that be torture, then call me a torturer."

Moreover, Rabbi Stephen Wise, one of the key instigators of World War II and US involvement in it, recorded a Personal Letter he sent to his wife / daughter (probably) shortly after Germany's surrender. The Rabbi wrote that he and Nahum Goldmann had lunch with Justice Robert Jackson, and that

"Justice [Robert] Jackson. . . .has grand and spacious ideas on the Nuremberg trials in mid-October, with Weizmann, Goldmann or S.S.W. [Stephen S. Wise] as Jewish witnesses to present the Jewish Case –not permitted as Amicus Curiae!

In itself it becomes the greatest trial in history, with what Jackson calls its broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition.
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

If Ferencz has an ounce of integrity, he will condemn as "aggressive war-making" every person who voted for an illegal war against Iraq, and every person involved in imposing sanctions on Iran -- themselves acts of "aggressive war."

But he won't because he doesn't.

Piotr Berman , Jan 18 2020 20:06 utc | 8
"By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate."

USA is not exactly the sole economic superpower, but as long as the allies, EU, NATO, major allies in Asia and Latin America, behave like poodles, USA pretty much controls what is "normal". After Obama campaigns of murder by drone, now Trump raises it to a higher level, and Europe, the most critical link in the web of alliances, applauds (UK) or accepts and cooperates. That can be a useful clarification for US establishment.

So the bottom line is that while it is hard to show constructive goals achieved by raising murder policies to a more brazen level, nothing changes for the worse. Allies tolerate irrationality, cruelty etc. and to some extend, join the fun.

William Gruff , Jan 18 2020 20:07 utc | 9
Pompeo: "In all cases, we have to do this."

In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that.

America disconnected from reality years ago. I rather doubt they could even find their way back if they were to somehow return to their senses.

Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:13 utc | 10
IMO, from what I understand of Shia mentality, after immoral assassination of general Soleimani the only thing can prevent a violent revenge against US military or political staff would be a Fatwa by a grand ayatollah to nullify a fatwa by any junior Ayatollah authorizing (sanctioning) specific action. It was an incalculably caster F* mistake that can last for a generation at least.
John Dowser , Jan 18 2020 20:16 utc | 11
"t̶h̶e̶ U̶.̶S̶.̶ Israel and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate"

Not if the purpose was more pressure by complication. The goal then to create a pretext: a pressure cooker which will cause military exchange or, especially after some limited violent exchange, increasing internal strife inside Iran which can't afford more war.

The conditions for this tactic would be clear: containing all the likely fall-out of the above unraveling, namely:

- contain China with the trade war no one can win but will make it near impossible for China to deal with Iran, Iraq and Syria.
- increased containment Palestine and Lebanon by Israel. Make very move there seem way too expensive for especially Hezbollah.
- prevent any kind of weapon transport or technology transfer to Lebanon which could break above containment.
- vastly improved border security and travel limitations
- increasing War on T̶e̶r̶r̶o̶r̶ Blow Back related powers for Homeland Security, NSA etc.

Russia is seen as less of a problem as any potential military support would be simply too costly and too little gain for Putin.

And make no mistake, Trump is fully ready to display nuclear might the moment Iran would demonstrate their own remarkable advances. And he would make it very clear that the US is willing. The new policy of deterrence is very simple and yet horrible: examples have to be made to demonstrate that "all options are still on the table". If he wants to keep declining America great but not have expensive wars and yet force others to still follow American lead: there's only one cold logical solution to that.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:19 utc | 12
The glaring fact of the matter is that the us president and his accomplices useld false allegations as an excuse to murder these men. They also did so in a cowardly manner, under a false invitation to negotiate (and, Yes I do believe that).
In my country, when a person orders someone to murder someone else in exchange for compensation (in this case salaries), the police call it murder for hire.
Paul Damascene , Jan 18 2020 20:20 utc | 13
Deterrence and decapitation strikes ...

Idle speculation on my part, but I am not alone in wondering if the Soleimani assassination accelerated Putin's restructuring agenda. (I'm not suggesting it was generated or even influenced in substance by the strike, just that the timing may have been.) Given the power of the President in Russia, as the CIA itself very well understands, there is perhaps no more tempting target for an overt military assassination strike than President Putin.

Of course, deterrence of rational actors is precisely what would prevent this, but I imagine Russian strategic thinkers have wondered whether or for how long the US remains a rational actor. Moreover, this would be the sort of thing that a fanatical faction could pull off. In some Strangelovean bunker somewhere, there may be those who would actually welcome a last gasp of large-scale warfare before the Eurasian Heartland is lost and the Petrodollar-fueled global finance empire, nominally sheltered in the US, dies away.

Creative destruction ... a last chance to shuffle the cards, and perhaps reset a losing game to zero.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14
What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.
Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15
I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:25 utc | 16
"This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything."
james , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17
yeah - mafia tactics as offered by trump /pompeo and etc is exactly what it is... and when Benjamin B. Ferencz calls it what it is, apologists show up to can ferencz @ 7.. so what will persuade you chasmark?? do i need to send a hit man over to your place?
Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

nietzsche1510 , Jan 18 2020 20:29 utc | 19
all this rhetoric says the obvious: the USA wants to destroy physically the Near East (Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, etc). either he destroys the whole region or he cannot be reelected or better he gets impeached in the Senate.
Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:49 utc | 22

Should have add to my earlier comment (10) , the missile attack on American bases on Iraq was Iran's military/ government response for killing General Soleimani, by no means was the Shia' response since that would need a Fatwa and not necessary by an Iranian cleric or even by Iranian Shia. Is now a religious matter for all believers.
El Cid , Jan 18 2020 20:51 utc | 23
Sooner or later, Saudi Arabia will make peace with Iran. It will improve relations with Russia and China, and will reduce ties with Israel. Soon, Turkey will be completely out of Syria, and Idlib will be entirely liberated. The US, in Iraq, will slowly be drained of vitality with a death of a thousand cuts. Medium range missile production in conjunction with Russian S-300 air defense will will spread throughout the Middle East, and Israel's air force will be neutralized. Then the pipeline from Iran to Syria will be completed.
Willy2 , Jan 18 2020 21:17 utc | 24
- I think that EVERYONE who is involved in the Middle East will think twice before one makes a (provocative) move. Tensions will remain high. But some people may (and will) do (deliberately) something (provocative) that will ratchet up tensions even more. With the intent of ratcheting tensions higher.
- There was someone who said that in 2020 World War III would start. For a long time I thought this person was nuts. But now I am not so sure anymore that this person was nuts.
- There were also people who said that we were "sleepwalking" into WW III, something along the lines of what happened before WW I. These persons were talking about a war between the US (+ NATO) and Russia. But now I think that if a war would break out that then not only Russia but also China and Iran are going to be part of that war. No, I am not sure anymore that this going to end well.

- I also think that everyone haas become (more) cautious. And that an act of A-symmetric warfare has become (more) unlikely.

psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

cirsium , Jan 18 2020 21:26 utc | 26
@William Gruff, 9
"In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that."

Maybe that's because
"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer." D H Lawrence

Zee , Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27
The most depressing thing about the assassination's aftermath is that Western Europe's leaders are as bad as America's - "It's the economy, stupid!" So, a threat to their auto manufacturers is a threat to jobs, and one has to consider the next election. They were already controlled thanks to the NSA's eavesdropping on their cell phones, a threat to individual politicians - no need for them to worry about physical elimination, then; Trump threatened via economics their parties' chances of reelection, meaning they have support for knuckling under. China, Russia and Iran are on their own - China was still working on its economic might, Russia was still working on building a strong political foundation, and Iran already has its hands full with internal and external threats. The fence-sitters (India, smaller Asian and African countries) will sit on the sidelines, working to improve their own economies and waiting to see who looks more powerful before joining one side or the other to break down or uphold the international norms and laws it took centuries to build. Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
cdvision , Jan 18 2020 21:33 utc | 28
Be careful what you wish for Mr Pompeo, the sword has 2 edges. I don't think turning the other cheek is in the Shia lexicon.
Curtis , Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29
Trailer Trash 20
The only reason I wouldn't be surprised at big media calling Soleimani's murder an "assassination" is how the media politics is played by party. Since the media tends to lean left, they want to be thorns in Trump's side. Neither party is against war; they want to be the instigators to get the glory (while shifting/limiting blame). Amid the media's stories on this were the talking points of Trump going too far by DEMs in congress.
Recall Libya. The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
blues , Jan 18 2020 21:39 utc | 30
Maybe I stupidly posted this in the wrong thread?

Trump is simply a third-rate Godfather type gangster, with a touch of the charm and a lot of the baggage. I think his murder of General Qassem Soleimani was not something he would have done if he had any choice. It was a very stupid move, and Trump is just not that stupid. I really think this was demanded by the 'churnitalists'. These churnitalists are probably the psychos of the predatory arm of the CIA, and their billionaire allies.

See, it all works like this:

These churnitalists (who supposedly provide us with 'protection', or 'security') are the real rulers (because everybody who defies them ends up dead). Now just ask your self: How does rulership actually really work? It's really kind of simple. The only actual way to establish rulership over other people is to prove, again and again, that you can force them to do stupid things, for absolutely no reason. This is called 'people-churning', and all you have to do is just keep churning out low-class 'history' by constantly forcing the weaker ones to do stupid things. Again and again. This happens constantly in a churnitalist gangster society. Even in schools and legislatures, and so on. Haven't you noticed it yet?

Ron , Jan 18 2020 21:41 utc | 31
Kali 15

Ten reasons why the US is the Beast of Revelation

james , Jan 18 2020 21:44 utc | 32
@ 24 willy2... i have been talking about war in 2020 for some time based off the astrology..i have mentioned it in passing here at moa a few times in the past couple of years.. see my comments in this skyscript link from june 2015..
ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35
@31 Ron

There are 2 beasts, the first is either America or NATO, or basically "The Empire" or The Neocon Oligarchy--all work well but America is a bit too broad since there are many good people in America. The second beast whose number is 666, is Trump. Search: Trump 666 and be amazed.

And of course The Pièce de résistance

les7 , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 36
Gruff @ 9

So sadly but profoundly true

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

Lurker in the Dark , Jan 18 2020 22:09 utc | 41
b: Usage or typo alert - about 2/3 of the way through your piece.
Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounce as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might...

The English language expression is "out of bounds" as in, of course, outside the bounding lines defining a field of play.

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?
Clueless Joe , Jan 18 2020 23:28 utc | 45
That's one of the good aspect of Trump administration, in the long run. With these psychos openly plagiarizing Grand Moff Tarkin ("Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."), it will be pretty had for any sane and sensible observer not to come to the conclusion that, deep down, the USA *is* an Evil Empire that has to be fought and brought down - and thankfully, this time, one saner Obama-like presidency, if it ever happens after Trump, won't be enough to change that perception.
Sunny Runny Burger , Jan 18 2020 23:47 utc | 46
I can only guess what Toynbee would think of the US now, it certainly looks like suicide to me and if the US actually had any friends left they would be busy trying to talk the US out of it. From this point of view the relative silence speaks loudly and says something quite different than at least some people think.

US NATO "allies" haven't exactly been enthusiastic. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking the UK came closest with Johnson's "not crying" remark, everything else seems to be tortured statements walking on eggshells. 2nd biggest NATO member Turkey cooperates with Iran and plenty of others in NATO have wanted and worked towards normal relations despite differences, some more publicly than others. It might not have amounted to anything but that's my impression at least.

Any support for war against Iran is microscopic. Against Russia? Except for the rarest of the worst of fools not a chance. Against China? People would have trouble comprehending the question itself due to how absurd the notion is.

ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 23:56 utc | 47
Dick | Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44

"Is it just me" who makes the argument reductio ad Hitlerum?

No, it's you and every other moron who gets his history from teevee and Hollywood.

If the compulsion to resort to WWII analogies is too compelling to overcome, flip the script:

US and Britain 'won' the war in Germany by deliberately firebombing civilian targets, over and over and over and over again.
United States Dept. of Interior records in detail how Standard Oil engineers, USAF, Jewish architects, and Jewish Hollywood studio set designers constructed and practiced creating firestorms with the stated goal of killing working class German civilians, including "infants in cribs."

In a discussion of his book, The Fire, Jörg Friedrich emphasized that Allied bombers dropped leaflets telling the Germans they were about to kill that their only recourse was to overthrow their government -- to topple or kill Hitler: the "greatest generation" killed civilians as "deterrents" to Wehrmacht's defensive actions against Allied invasion.

Since at least 1995 US tactics against Iran have been similar: Ed Royce spelled them out: US will sanction Iranian citizens in an effort to make life so miserable for them that they will riot and overthrow their government.

So yes, it IS "just like the Nazis" -- US-zionists are running a similar playbook as that used to prostrate Germany.
And Iraq.
And Libya.
And Syria.

Notice that wrt Syria, having reduced that ancient place to rubble, much like Allies reduced Germany's cultural heritage to rubble, US 'diplomats' are steadfastly refusing to allow Syria access to resources with which to finance its reconstruction, and are also blocking any other country's attempt to aid Syria in reconstruction: Destroying Syria was 'hi-tech eminent domain,' and now USA intends to be the only entity to finance and rebuild Syria -- or else US will continue the destruction of Syria.

Most Americans think Marshall plan was an act more generous than Jesus Christ on the cross, but in fact it was a cynical strategy to completely dominate Germany in saecula saeculorum. (US LOANED the money, and far more-- about 2.5 X more-- was committed to England -- relatively undamaged -- than to Germany, where 70% of infrastructure was rubble.)
You won't learn that from the Hollywood version of WWII.

Roberto , Jan 18 2020 23:58 utc | 48
the Nuremberg trials:

Was Nuremebrg trial a fair trial? Not, it was not. It was very unfair.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:10 utc | 49
I recall RT reported on December 31. 19 Trump warned

LINK

"This is not a Warning, it is a Threat," Trump declared in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, adding that Iran will "pay a very BIG PRICE" for the embassy siege earlier in the day."

They sure did. So who is next?

Yesterday Trump warned the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khameni:

'Be very careful with your words': Trump warns Iran's Khamenei after ayatollah delivers fiery sermon slamming 'American clowns'

US President Donald Trump has warned the supreme leader of Iran to watch his language, following a heated sermon in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slammed American leaders as "clowns."
Leading a prayer in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasted that Iran had the "spirit to slap an arrogant, aggressive global power" in its retaliation to the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, which he said struck a "serious blow" to Washington's "dignity" – triggering a response from the US president.

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump tweeted. "Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!"

In his sermon, Khamenei blasted "American clowns," who he said "lie in utter viciousness that they stand with the Iranian people," referring to recent comments by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

How dare he?


Pft , Jan 19 2020 0:28 utc | 50
Lets face it, assassinations are not a new thing. It became more organized with Lord Palmerstons gangs of thugs in the mid 19th century (one of which took out Lincoln) . Since the end of WWII the global mafia jumped across the pond and assassinations have been covert actions arranged by the CIA , with operations having a high degree of plausible deniability. But most higher ups had a pretty good idea who was behind it . Trumps just continued this but like Bush and Obama have made clear its their right to do so against terrorists . Of course the definition of terrorist has become rather broad. Trump recently said he authorized the hit because he said bad things about America. Maybe saying bad things about Trump can get you labelled the same. Watch out for those drones barflies.

So basically the main change is they no longer care about plausible deniability . They are proud to admit it. And nobody seems to care enough to express any outrage. Name any countries leader who has except in muted terms. Europe, Russia, China, etc everyone quiet as a mouse. China so outraged they signed a trade deal giving them nothing. UN? Might as well move it to Cuba , Iran or Venezuela for all the clout it has.

So you know, maybe the deterrence is working. Terrorism works both ways. The world seems terrorized and hardly anyone in the US dares criticize Trumps action without saying the general was evil and deserved it. Its not just drones they fear as financial terrorism (sanctions, denied access to USD) works quite well also (except in Irans case).

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 51
james | Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17

The argument is correct.
(Although the mafia label bespeaks a limited frame of reference and it's inappropriate in any event -- crime families do not have the reach or power of state assassination squads.)

Ferencz does not have the moral standing to make the argument.
It's like granting Ted Bundy credibility for criticizing police brutality.

mcohen , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 52
What a story.
Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:32 utc | 53
Posted by: Kali | Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35

The beast rises from the bottomless pit, it is written in the book you quoted!
How do you suggest a mere mortal and retard like trump does that?
The murcanized xtianity eschatology you have been reading is stupid and in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM Orthodox(Orthodox=Christian)

"ORTHODOXESCHATOLOGYdotBLOGSPOTdotCOM"
"orthodoxinfoDOTcom"
"preteristarchiveDOTcom"
You will find info that is not xtian but Christian @ those blogs..
The last one is a library with ancient and old texts about Christianity!
If you search "THEOSIS THE TRUE PURPOSE OF HUMAN LIFE" on orthodoxinfo you will also find a book WELL worth reading if you are/want to be Christian.

Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway

"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."

Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:36 utc | 54
Kali @35
i messed up and hit post b4 i pasted this..
"'The beast that thou didst see: it was, and it is not; and it is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go away to destruction, and wonder shall those dwelling upon the earth, whose names have not been written upon the scroll of the life from the foundation of the world, beholding the beast that was, and is not, although it is."
Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway
BLP , Jan 19 2020 0:40 utc | 55

several additions if i may:

first speculation. however it happened, "deep state" power or factions now have a jacket
on Trump. he can't disown what happened. Brennan and Stephen Schwarzman are safe.
the Money and the MIC get what they want. Trump's agenda of converting the common good
to corporate profit is acceptable. they can use Trump to defeat Sanders.

it's quite possible American power is unimpressed by the Russia-China alliance which has
just revealed it's limitations. i think this link has already run on this site:
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/05/fragmentation-in-the-axis-of-resistance-led-to-soleimanis-death/.

here's a welcome dose of realism from the Holy Russia Neverland to substantiate this view:
https://thesaker.is/battle-of-the-ages-to-stop-eurasian-integration/
3 comments from India by Anaam esp this one: Anaam on January 17, 2020 · at 10:32 am EST/EDT

and lastly this outlier from ibm.com. a new, more powerful battery made from sea water.
charges in 5 min. in California this means electricity off your roof for everything including
your car plus a surplus for export. how soon? doesn't say. oil dependent economies
want to know. and we won't need the "petro" for the petrodollar.
https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2019/12/heavy-metal-free-battery/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56
The truth of it is Trump murdered General Soleimani because the general was very effective in defeating ISIS - the U.S. created and funded - terrorists in Syria and Iraq. The neocons were none too pleased.

Release Jan.18 2020 21st centurywire audio Interview with Dr. Mohammad Marandi, Tehran University

America's Miscalculation with Iran

LINK

@ ChasMark 7 - not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?

How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips. Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?

How about the U.S. waterboarding and torturing Muslims at Gitmo? 19 years on with NO TRIALS!!! That's OK, right?

karlof1 , Jan 19 2020 0:58 utc | 57
As far as b's premise goes, he's proven it IMO. Looks like the CIA made the next move in Lebanon. IMO, Asia plus Russia & Belarus hold the geoeconomic and geopolitical deterrence cards. The Financial Parasite continues hollowing out what remains of US industry and retail helped along by Trump's Trade War. I presented the fundamental economic info and arguments on the prior threads, so I don't have anything to add.
pretzelattack , Jan 19 2020 1:08 utc | 58
the price of fake freedom is remaining ever vigilant to prevent peace breaking out. trump's as much a warmonger as any of them (which is to say impeachment won't make a bit of difference).
Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 1:27 utc | 59
F. William Engdahl asks,

Unintended Consequences: Did Trump just give the Middle East to China and Russia?

[Before] the US assassination of Soleimani, there were numerous back-channel efforts for détente in the costly wars that have raged across the region since the US-instigated Arab Spring between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran and Iraq. Russia and China have both in different ways been playing a key role in changing the geopolitical tensions. At this juncture the credibility of Washington as any honest partner is effectively zero if not minus.

[.] The US president just tweeted his support for renewed anti-government Iran protests, in Farsi. We are clearly in for some very nasty trouble in the Middle East as Washington tries to deal with the unintended consequences of its recent Middle East actions.[.]

Run home as fast as you can. In this election year, an observation; 10% of companies are losing money but thanks to the Feds, the Markets are making ATH ...all time highs. On main street Joe and Jane are in a well of hurt "it's the economy, stupid."

Copeland , Jan 19 2020 1:28 utc | 60
There is nothing ambiguous about Pompeo's statement. It is evidence of a profound psychotic break. It is a megalomaniac delusion of godlike power, a deterance not attainable on a human scale. "In all cases, we have to do this."

The masters of the universe will kill those who do not comply. The projection of their psychic power to intimidate the world goes well beyond Iraq and Iran, brushing aside all the little insubstantial nations that are constantly underfoot. Russia and China are to take heed now, it is they too who must sleep with one eye open. The deterrence necessary to keep us all safe means to go ahead and challenge those islands China built in the South China Sea.

The smiling villains do not accept that Crimea is part of Russia. Pompeo compares Soleimani to bin Laden. There are so many departures from reality in the speech amidst all the levity that it seems like someone has opened the doors of the Asylum.

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 1:50 utc | 61
Likklemore | Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56

Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted.

"not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?"
Neither.

"How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips."

U can't fool all of the people all of the time. I wasn't fooled by Ferencz's claim to righteousness based on Harvard when his Nuremberg activities were outrageous and the Nuremberg set-up itself was that of a kangaroo court.

"Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?"

Trump's war crimes are indefensible; the Nuremberg trials were not about "bringing Nazis to justice," they involved, as Rabbi Wise said, a largely Jewish exercise in revenge. If Nuremberg were about "justice," Wise himself would have been in the dock along with FDR (post mortem), Churchill, Stalin, and Truman + + +
If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

But that does not make the Nuremberg trials the model of justice: they were not: as Rabbi Stephen Wise wrote to his family, months before the trials began, they were set up by FDR's man Robert Jackson as a

" broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition. [in which]
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

Ferencz's co-ethnics participated in the creation of the kangaroo court that Ferencz himself utilized more to vent his spleen than to establish international models of justice.

That is why the so-called Nuremberg principles have not and cannot be properly applied to the war crimes committed by Bush (I and II), by Clinton (Bill & Hill), Obama, Trump -- not to mention FDR, Truman & Churchill.

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless: if they were effective bodies for meting justice, even the sanctions on Iran would be subject to judgment under United Nations Charter, along with Victoria Kagan Nuland's subversion of Ukraine and every other 'color revolution' US has engaged in: the UN Charter proscribes interference in the internal affairs of member states.

ak74 , Jan 19 2020 2:13 utc | 62
In the Orwellian value system of America, Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak for America's brazen war crimes, wars of aggression, and shredding of international law.

America is a mafia nation masquerading as a democracy.

And Donald Trump is a two-bit New York mafioso don in charge of this America Mafia state.

JC , Jan 19 2020 2:29 utc | 63
@El Cid 23

Hey you missed out Israel - "will be completely out of Palestine and return Golan Height to Syria"

Wishfool thinking !

james , Jan 19 2020 2:31 utc | 64
@51 chasmark.... thanks.. got it.. i don't much much of anything about the man..
Dr. George W Oprisko , Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
To ChasMark........

You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

So.........

You won't mind............ will you.............

IF someone chooses to put a hellfire missile up your ASS!!

INDY

Idland , Jan 19 2020 3:01 utc | 66
Just monitor any of Pompeo's HD presentations. Look for blink rate and eye micro movements, (saccades).Real evidence of lizard brain psycopathy.
Circe , Jan 19 2020 3:03 utc | 67
Trump recounts minute by minute details of Soleimani assassination at a fundraiser held at his Florida resort. Cause that's what normal people do; brag about murdering someone. I'll bet his fat cat Zionist friends emptied their coffers. SICK.

trump-brags-killed-2-for-price-of-1

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:09 utc | 68
ak74 @62: Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak ...

Exactly. And we might add:

"America First" means America is the Empire's Fist;

"Stand with the people of " is 'New World Order' psyop;

"Economic sanctions" is the economic part of hybrid warfare;

"War on terror" is the war on ALL enemies of the empire via terrorist destabilization;

"Russiagate" is McCarthyist war on dissent;

"Trump" is the latest dear leader whose flaws are blessings and whose 'gut instinct' is God's will. We know this because his fake enemies (like the Democrats, "fake news", and ISIS) always fail when they confront him.


!!
V , Jan 19 2020 3:12 utc | 69 Dr. George W Oprisko | Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

Are you sure you actually read Chasmark @ 61?
Nowhere does he; You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!
What Chasmark did, was to post the truth of the Nuremberg Trials.
They were an out and out sham...
You definitely need to up your reading comprehension and or, your knowledge of history...

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:22 utc | 70
And the other countries of the world whine, but do nothing. I'm afraid they've become as shallow and self-absorbed as most Americans, afraid to confront the world's bully.

Torches and pitchforks are needed, and we get marches. I'm afraid the depravity has to get worse before direct action is taken.

I only hope to live long enough to see the debacle that is inevitable, even if takes me with it.

Justice and truth demand a reckoning..

Sounds dark, I know, but these are very dark days.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 3:26 utc | 71
@ ChasMark 61 in reply to mine @ 56

Among some of very good points you made, I take issue:

"Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted."

Perhaps you should re-read my comment vs what you posited. Look to Gitmo; is it any different to your critique of Nuremberg where there was a trial, albeit with deficiencies, vs holding and torturing prisoners over 18 years without a trial? that was my point.

You continue to offer up Rabbi Wise who proffered the Nuremberg trials were [.] "a largely Jewish exercise in revenge"

I may add, they are also continuing to take out their revenge on Palestinians who had nothing to do with events in Germany. The once oppressed have become oppressors.

If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

Don't expect justice from Congress they are all too busy at the money trough to recognize war crimes.
War crimes are prosecuted by the ICC which the US and Israel do not recognize. US is not a state party; have threatened, denied visas and barred entry to ICC investigators of war crimes

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless:

Toothless! Perhaps but
Don't tell that to Africans or Slobodan Milosevic while ELITES residing on that sliver of the "occupied lands of Palestine" continue to roam free. Oh wait, they are the chosen ones who rule the world!

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:31 utc | 72
@71 said in part; "The once oppressed have become oppressors."

A succinct description of the Israelis..

fundas , Jan 19 2020 3:39 utc | 73
Pompeo's speech may just be an attempt to reduce the cost of a future false flag assassination that could be blamed on one of the enemies. If the enemy does what we do, no need for an all out war. There will be a range of response options including just firing a few missiles. Cost of war with the chosen enemy may be too high or the timing just not right.
snake , Jan 19 2020 3:41 utc | 74
William Gruff @ 9 Expressions of <=reality-disconnected human behavior=> describes victim response to rules, enforcement behaviors and media products that bathe the differentiation space that allows to produce human automatons. An examination of the forces at work inside of the nation state container (differentiation space) will likely reveal private and external forces that produce in these public containers, reality-disconnected human responders (human behavior is a function of its environment; all learning is a result of personal experience). No one can learn from another, but everyone can learn from the behaviors of that other.

The physical environment is nature's doing, but the non physical environment is man's doing. We can organize content as a product of the physical environment ( we build a home) or as a product of the virtual environment (we produce a movie).

Conscious physical man is a highly differentiated product of both environments. A person growing up in the jungles of Belize, will not learn to operate a sled designed to operate in snow, and a person in the cold north will not learn to survive in the topical jungles of the Amazon. Experience is the only teacher, human expression is the experience modified product of sets of expressed genes. Experience in both the physical environment and the virtual environment contribute to the human response to the challenges of life. The virtual environment is about knowledge, habit, privilege, opportunity and a host of other non physical components. see Law, Moral attitudes, and behavioral change, p. 243 ref and to be clear behavior has three components. ref 7

What is this virtual space (environment) that allows differentiated humans to be manufactured from genetic material in to adult automatons. How are these automatons programmed? Since is it rarely possible to modify the physical space; most human differentiation occurs in virtual space. How many such digital spaces are there? virtual content means<= the verbal and non verbal (ref.12) discourse that engages interactively with the mind (conscious and unconsciousness). Environments can be natural or manufactured. Environment then is the container space. The contents of the manufactured environment are psycho-econo-socio-metically designed, media engineered, sets of media products. Each nation state supports a different set of contents within its container space. The order, arrangement and time of environments presented controls the mental behaviors of the media connected humans who reside within the container space environment.

The content of each nation state in the system is a set of environment variables operative in each human container. Two hundred and six different container spaces (the global nation state system=NSS) divides and separates the 8 billion humans in the world. Human differentiation is a product of the 206 different container environments. Your observation that "Pompeo is a psycho"; expresses the real problem for humanity; its leaders are the products of the physical and virtual content of the host nation state within the system of nation states. Each nation state is led by a few. I say to solve this always war condition it is necessary to control the humans that occupy the positions in the nation states or to eliminate the nation state system, and find some better way to address human need for governance.


1. VR empathy
2. self regulation in response to?
3. developing ideas into simulated experiences
4. regulated behavior
5. modify behavior
6. understanding conditions where regulation succeeds or fails to change underlying attitudes.
7. behavior has three components
8. drivers of behavior
9. basic-behavior-components/
10. learning to respond appropriately
11. genetic variables impacting responsive behavior
12. Communication is actually a constant flow of nonverbal and verbal details

The container space supports 24/7 digital presentations. humans animate the human containers, and the human containers constitution the nation states.

Pompeo is a victim of nation state programming, the question is, which nation state programmed him?

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:45 utc | 75
That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action.

Is USA really 'deterred' or just didn't want war at this time? USA is 'deterred' if the Iranian response actually stopped them in some way.

But they took Iran's 'slap' and RESPONDED (though not militarily) with more sanctions and even tried to turn the attack to their advantage by saying (initially) that Iran missed on purpose ( as I explained here ) and conducting Electronic Warfare/Info War that may have contributed to Iran's mistaken downing of a commercial airliner.

And, as bar patrons know only too well, Pompeo has refused to negotiate a USA exit from Iraq, saying that "USA is a force for good in the Middle East".

IMO USA wants to put on UN sanctions (now in progress) and, when war comes, USA will portray it as entirely Iran's fault. The claim will be that Iran is "lashing out" due to "sanctions imposed by the world community" .

!!

tjfxh , Jan 19 2020 3:54 utc | 76
Why does anyone gives either the president or US officials credence regarding what they say, especially Secretary Pompeo, not to mention POTUS? Taking Pompeo at this word and responding to it strikes me as a waste of time. These people are never going to say publicly what they are up to, which is world domination. Nor is it their own ideal. This has been the policy of the US elite at least since WWII, which was simply a transfer of the seat of power from London to Washington as the British Empire morphed into the Anglo-American Empire. Global domination through sea power was British policy for centuries and the US just recently joining the game, especially when the game expanded to air power as well. Arguably, this goes back to the end of WWI, if not the Spanish-American war that embarked the US on empire.
Idland , Jan 19 2020 4:00 utc | 77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 4:39 utc | 78
Deterrence, I guess is the politically correct term for what Trump is doing.
He sees that the Dollar hegemonic empire was crumbling same as most who don't rely on MSM for their news.
Trump believes US can hold its position in the world through pure military power, or the threat of military power.
He wants to regain what he calls importance from early 90s when US was sole undisputed superpower.
Iran though, he believes is a blot on USA's past that needs erasing.
Throughout the election campaign, Trump's big thing was rebuilding US military. He believes this will restore US power in the world. Ruling through the world fear rather than soft power and blackmail.
juliania , Jan 19 2020 4:54 utc | 79
Well said, dorje @ 43. That is how it is.

Today is Theophany in the Orthodox Christian Church, the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan:

Today Thou hast appeared to the universe
and Thy light, O Lord, hast shone on us,
who with understanding praise Thee:
Thou hast come and revealed Thyself
O Light Unapproachable!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 5:03 utc | 80
The 2000 page report about Afganistan sums up USA's criminal insanity. Further, Trump says the response attack from Iran did not harm troops nor do anything of significant damage. Indeed Iran's missiles are far superior than the USA's and the counter attack for the General's assassination. I have mused, that, perhaps the USA was/is set up in this scenario via Iran, Et Al.
ak74 , Jan 19 2020 5:09 utc | 81
The basis of the American Empire and its parasitic economy and Way of Life(TM) itself are premised on what should be called America's Dollar Dictatorship.

Because of the US Dollar, America is able to wage economic siege warfare (aka economic sanctions) on multiple nations around the planet--all in order to impose the Land of the Free's imperial dictates on them.

This is American global gangsterism in everything but name--and disguised behind the founding American deceptions of "Freedom and Democracy."

The vast majority Americans--including some fake "alternative media" shills--will attempt to spindoctor this issue by avoiding such blunt description of this system.

Instead, they prefer to employ Orwellian euphemisms about the "US PetroDollar" or the "US Dollar Reserve Currency" or how America's superpower status is dependent on this dollar syistem.

But former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accurately calls out this system for what it is: America's global dictatorship of the Dollar.

This is another reason why America has such hatred for Iran:

Dollar dictatorship the foundation of American empire - Iran's Ahmadinejad
https://www.rt.com/business/435310-dollar-us-empire-reorder-ahmadinejad/

America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East
https://michael-hudson.com/2020/01/america-escalates-its-democratic-oil-war-in-the-near-east/

Mike Javaras , Jan 19 2020 5:13 utc | 82
Best explanation I've seen yet of the 752 jet takedown. It was a false flag attack by the US or its allies intended to frame Iran. The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger and was several seconds from crashing anyway. The rich kids of Tehran were in the housing complex at 6 AM to film the Stinger shootdown by their terrorist buddies. They have properly been arrested. There have been other arrests too. I wonder what they will come up with.

This makes more sense than any other theory I have seen.

https://beyondhighbrow.com/2020/01/18/false-flag-flight-752-in-iran-was-shot-down-by-us-allies-with-a-stinger-missile-not-by-an-iranian-missile/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 5:20 utc | 83
@ Peter AU1 78

Tom Luongo, who frequently cites b, has coined a new word for Trump's and his minions tactics. Tom asks:

Does Gangsternomics Meet its End in the Iraqi Desert?

In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian IRGC General Qassem Soleimani a lot of questions hung in the air. The big one was, in my mind, "Why now?"

There are a lot of angles to answer that question. Many of them were supplied by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi who tried to let the world know through official (and unofficial) channels of the extent of the pressure he was under by the U.S.

In short, President Trump was engaged in months of what can best be described as gangsternomics in directing the course of Iraq's future economic and political development.[/]

Iraq's importance goes much farther than just protecting the petrodollar to the U.S. It is the fulcrum now on which the entire U.S. defense against Eurasian integration rests. The entire region is slipping out of the grasp of the U.S.


And this started with Russia moving into Syria in 2015 successfully. We are downstream of this as it has blown open the playbook and revealed it for how ugly it is.

Trump's crude gangster tactics in Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia and to a lesser extent in Syria cannot be hidden behind the false veil of moral preening and virtue signaling about bringing democracy to these benighted places.[/]

What began in Syria with Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and China standing up together and saying, "No," continues today in Iraq. To this point Iran has been the major actor. Tomorrow it will be Russia, China and India.

And that is what is ultimately at stake here, the ability of the U.S. to employ gangsternomics in the Middle East and make it stick.[.]

By the time Trump is done threatening people over S-400's and pipelines the entire world will be happy to trade in yuan and/or rubles rather than dollars.[.]


full article here

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 5:40 utc | 84
"...deterrence to protect America."

Pompeo omitted a crucial part of this sentence: "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America".

While this might be obvious to us, the narrative that US foreign policy is about protecting citizens, values and apple pie from 'bad guys' -- and indeed that the militaries of all Western countries are benign police forces preventing ISIS from burning your old Eagles albums and other violations of 'freedom' -- is such a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence. It always seemed strange to me that the post-ww2 cinematic template for war-movies, and by extension the basic plot of all reporting of western military activity in the media, always represented the enemy as evil precisely because they use militaries in an instrumental way (i.e for the purpose they were designed). The Germans, or for that matter the Persians in 300 , or any baddies in war films, seek to extend and protect their interests (real or imagined) by deploying armed forces. The good guys are always identifiable through this idea of 'deterrence': "hey man, all we want is just to live and let live, but you pushed us so we pushed back." Then one stirs in a little 'preemptive deterrence': you looked like you were going to push so we acted. If we 'accidentally' go too far, it's because there is a deranged C-in-C: Hitler, or Xerxes, or some other naughty boy who can be the fall-guy, scapegoat, etc. To get serious we need to go back a very long way, to, say, the Iliad , which, like all Greek (and Roman) literature, assumes as a premise (and it's tragedy) that the warrior's basic function is to kill, pillage, rape and occasionally protect others from the same. But mostly take by force . No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen. But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us."

Just once.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85
Patroklos 84
Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?
Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 86
Mike Javaras @82: The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger ...

MANPADs like Stingers are heat-seeking. They go after ENGINES. On a big plane like PS732, a MANPADs is unlikely to have stopped the transponder and communications.

Philip Giraldi points a finger at US/Israeli Electronic Warfare:

Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752?
Iran Shot It Down But There May Be More to the Story

Giraldi thinks the transponder was hacked. But the article he cites also talks about a device on board that would've allowed for EW. And he notes that Israel probably ALSO has the capability to have been responsible for the EW and/or device on board.

!!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 6:01 utc | 87
All sentinent beings are working on the evolution of our planet & humanity. Problem is the very worst of our species are incurably criminally insane.

Love your blog MOA

Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 6:05 utc | 88
Likklemore 83

Thanks. Gangsternomics seems a good term for Trump's vision of US world power. Trump is pragmatic or realist in that he knows there is no court or authority to hold the US to account.
As to US holding power purely through military power, that can only happen long term if he gets hold of a good chunk of the worlds energy reserves (as in Persian gulf and Venezuela oil). If he doesn't achieve that, then the US goes down. Iran needs to ensure it stays under Russia's nuclear umbrella as there are no rules.

V , Jan 19 2020 6:21 utc | 89
MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated there is unverified information that at least six American F-35 jets were in the Iranian border area at the time when Tehran accidentally downed Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 last week.

www.fortruss.com

krollchem , Jan 19 2020 6:27 utc | 90
Sickening series of Trump interviews and speeches demanding that Iraq pay America and its allies over a trillion dollars for liberating Iraq (time stamp 8:20 to 12:00).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWZfDJerI0o

This demonstrates that US attacks in Iraq over the last 30-40 years was mostly about the control (including transportation routes) and than profiting from its oil and gas reserves.

A secondary reason is to put troop on the border with Iran to further destabilize it via state terrorism to overthrow the government and then take its oil and gas too.

It will get interesting when a pro Iranian new Prime minister takes office and China offers Iraq a line of credit equivalent to the funds that would be frozen in Western bank accounts if Iraq actually demands the troops to leave.

"The Iran-linked Binaa parliamentary voting bloc has nominated Asaad al-Edani, a former minister and governor of oil-rich Basra province. Binaa's bloc is mostly made up of the Fatah party led by militia leader turned politician Hadi al-Ameri, who is close to Tehran."

The Kurdish President of Iraq has stated that "Out of an eagerness to spare blood and preserve civil peace, I apologize for not naming Edani prime minister," the letter continued. "I am ready to submit my resignation to parliament."
https://time.com/5755588/iraq-president-resignation/

Currently, the rival Sairoon bloc, headed by populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said it would not participate in the process of nominating a new premier."
https://www.ft.com/content/50f09fe4-27f4-11ea-9a4f-963f0ec7e134

However, "Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded that Iraqis stage a "million-man march" against the continued US military presence in the country"
https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981025000319

I close with a visionary French rock opera Starmania "story of an alternate reality where a fascist millionaire (read Trump) famous for building skyscrapers is running for president on an anti-immigration policy, and where the poor are getting more and more desperate for their voices to be heard."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78LytR-6Xmk


Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91
@hopehely | Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85

Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?

Assuming that your post was serious...

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;
2. Lebensraum was indeed a specific war aim of Hitler;
3. Under the Shah Anglo-American (not mention Dutch, French and other) interests skimmed all Iranian energy resources, kept the USSR under pressure on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and provided a key friendly power in the most important region of central Asia. Petro-dollar supremacy could not have been established without control of the Persian Gulf. The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

psychohistorian , Jan 19 2020 6:47 utc | 92
@ krollchem #90 with the Starmania link that is not working

I get the following error from Oregon, USA
"
Video unavailable
This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
"

Thanks for the rest of the comment and agree with the sickness of demanding Iraq pay for being invaded.

When will all this idiocy end? Soon I hope.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 7:08 utc | 93
Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;

That was in the movie 300. I guess you did not watch it. :-)

The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

Not just the elite. Persian middle class was pretty well off too. Spending vacation in Europe was easy, quite affordable. Not any more. I know I know, those dang sanctions... well that is what you get when you piss off the big dawg.

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 7:20 utc | 94
Idland #77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?

Odd that, and he seemed like such a trustworthy chap as indicated in his twitter feed.
Perhaps he has some Ciaramella connections that would make Trump uncomfortable. Or Trump is taking absolutely no more chances with any insider he has no control over when attending high level meetings.

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 7:34 utc | 95
@ hopehely 93

Are you talking about 'earth and water' ? The symbolic gesture of submission to the Great King? That's a very different thing altogether. You make it sound like 'water rights'... I did indeed watch the film I'm sad to say, but Xerxes was not after water.

I'd like to know what proportion of the pre-1979 population of Iran qualified as 'middle-class' and what that meant in real terms. Outside of Tehran, Shiraz, etc there probably weren't a lot of Iranians skiing in St Moritz.

Richard , Jan 19 2020 7:35 utc | 96
There are certain signs that nations exhibit when they slide into becoming 'regimes'...targeted, illegal assassinations of opponents is one of these; America's recent political trajectory has been from oligarchy to kakistocracy and now, it seems, to regime - banana republic next, perhaps?...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/01/14/welcome-to-the-american-regime/

arata , Jan 19 2020 8:22 utc | 97
Soleimani had delivered an speech on 2 August 2018 in Hamadan, in his speech he read 5 verses poems from Rumi the famous Persian poet lived on 13 century. You can watch and listen minute 35:45 of the film , if you know Farsi. He said let enemy pay attention to these poems.

He has selected 5 verses from two locations from Book3 of Masnavi.

How the lover, impelled by love, said "I don't care" to the person who counseled and scolded him.

Verse 3833 : Do not thou threaten me with being killed // For I thirst lamentably for mine own blood.

V-3838 : If that One of friendly countenance shed my blood, // dancing (in triumph) I will strew (lavish) my soul (life) upon Him.

Story of those who ate the young elephant from greed and because they neglected the advice of the sincere counselor.

V-96 : Men dance and whirl on the battle-field // They dance in their own blood.

V-97 : They clap a hand when they are freed from the hand of ego // They make a dance when they jump out from their own imperfection,

V-98: The inner musicians strike the tambourine // The Oceans burst into foam from their ecstasy

I think Soleimani selected last 3 verses from this story of baby elephant killer, and revenge of the mother elephant, without intending the content of story. But the coincidence is striking.

psychedelicatessen , Jan 19 2020 9:14 utc | 98
Peter AU1 @78

No fault in your reasoning, particularly when expressing this from Trump's point of view. I'd go a bit further and suggest he understands Iran, North Korea and Cuba are the only remaining nations without a Rothschild central bank. Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency. Upgrading hardware with a tactical nuclear weapon preference, isn't synonymous with rebuilding. What's neglected are the people operating any apparatus. As an example, there is no timely military action to counter mining of the Strait of Hormuz as illustrated by Death and Neglect in the 7th Fleet . A firsthand account from a U.S. Naval officer is eye opening (emphasis mine).

He'd seen his ship, one of the Navy's fleet of 11 minesweepers, sidelined by repairs and maintenance for more than 20 months. Once the ship, based in Japan, returned to action, its crew was only able to conduct its most essential training -- how to identify and defuse underwater mines -- for fewer than 10 days the entire next year . During those training missions, the officer said, the crew found it hard to trust the ship's faulty navigation system: It ran on Windows 2000.

Sonar which identifies dishwashers, crab traps and cars as possible mines, can hardly be considered a rebuilt military. The Navy's eleven minesweepers built more than 25 years ago, have had their decommissioning continually delayed because no replacement plan was implemented. I'll await the deeper understanding of 'deterrence' from b, even as I consider willingness to commit and brag about war crimes as beyond the point of no return.
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 9:32 utc | 99
psychedelicatessen "Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency."

I would be in agreement on the overall gist of your reply, but on Trump thinking he's successfully rebuilt the US military, I'm not so sure. He is a pragmatic gangster when it comes to world affairs which is why his Nuclear Posture Review lowered the threshold of first use of nukes. b's previous post on 'How Trump rebelled against the generals' also fits in with this line of thought.
I believe Trump needs to be thought of as a CEO brought in to pull a company back from the edge of bankruptcy. I think that is the way he sees himself, and as I have put in previous comments, there are no rules. I had thought Trump may be adverse to pure terrorism but depending on what comes of the Ukie airliner shootdown in Iran, there may be absolutely no rules as far as Trump is concerned.

ADKC , Jan 19 2020 9:33 utc | 100
Jackrabbit @86

The article linked by Mike Jarvis @86 makes observational comments about the behavior of the first missile strike in PS752 and that it must have been a stinger/manpad (and not a Tor). The same article also concludes that EW must also have been involved. Everything I have read indicates that the first missile strike behaved like a stinger/manpad - until this can be disproved it must remain a valid theory.

[Jan 19, 2020] The once oppressed have become oppressors.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:31 utc | 72

@71 said in part; "The once oppressed have become oppressors."

A succinct description of the Israelis..

[Jan 19, 2020] Now BoneSpurs Opened the Pandora's Box of Open State Level Assassinations Not Ethical - Inhumane and Imbecilic, really. That's why I am voting for Gabbard this Time. A 2nd Gen Navy Vet. Been to War Zones in the Gulf.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

IronForge , Jan 18 2020 3:03 utc | 93

The MIC were running about without leashes.

Once they delved into "Conquest and Exploitation", the Military were OverScoped and Few People thought of rebuilding/modernizing Civil Infrastructure and Economy of the Conquered.

Also, IMHO, every Govt-Job that affect the Military and Veterans' Lives should be held by Veterans. Need them to be where the Rubber Meets the Road before sending others into harm's way. I'd go as far to require WH, Congress, Supremes to be Previously Assigned to Combat Units/Hot Zones (FatBoy Pompeo Fails here) - and have Combat Eligible Family be in Active Duty or Drilling Reserves - ready to be sent to the Front Lines should they call for War while running the Republic-turned-Hegemon.

That would include BoneShards' Adult Children and Spouses.

WH have been on a PetroUSD/MIC/PNAC7/AIPAC Bandwagon - which drive down Non-Yielding Nation-States with Sanctions.

Now BoneShards Opened the Pandora's Box of Open State Level Assassinations using Diplomatic Peace Missions as Venues. Worse? Against a Nation-State which can Respond in Kind - AND Develop+Deploy Nuclear WMDs. Not Ethical - Inhumane and Imbecilic, really. That's why I am voting for Gabbard this Time. A 2nd Gen Navy Vet. Been to War Zones in the Gulf.

lysias , Jan 18 2020 3:24 utc | 97

This retired Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Navy has also been donating to Gabbard.

[Jan 19, 2020] The frantic attempt to deflect attention from US foreign wars and mainly derisive media coverage of Tulsi Gabbard is a case in point. Is she the harbinger of a growing political movement aiming to dismantle the military empire project?

Highly recommended!
Trump has been a kind of part deranged, part clever political monkey wrench thrown into the works of the USA military machine
Notable quotes:
"... I begin with the premise that the United States is a longstanding cultural catastrophe, and is far along the way in the process of destroying itself, after having destroyed or damaged the prospects of much of the planet. ..."
"... Within the context of the attack on Indochina, on the ground and taking place within the spaces left alive after the B52 bombers et al, there was the 'Phoenix Program'. euphemism for the CIA's ambitious program of technocratic torture, assassination, bribery, corruption, and so on, with tens of thousands of murdered victims. And the military destroyed uncounted villages, a la My Lai. ..."
"... Note then that Trump has almost patented the 'fake news' meme. The idea that the msm is lying about and hiding the truth, non-stop propaganda, is an idea that Trump has pushed repeatedly. Most people on the MofA etc are well aware of that. But for many 'normies', that's not quite as obvious. ..."
"... And yes, he himself could be described as the liar in chief. But doesn't deflect from the great collapse in the status of the msm propaganda machine. And that propaganda machine has been very much associated with the CIA via operation Mockingbird and its generations long progeny. ..."
"... So the attack on the media via fake news is a direct attack on the basic indispensable control mechanism of the deep state, and CIA. ..."
"... Note too that after three Years of Trump, the long standing criminality and corruption of the FBI has never looked as obvious. Again, we don't have to give Trump credit. But it happened on his 'watch'. ..."
"... We're not talking miracle cures here. But Trump has been a kind of part deranged, part clever political monkey wrench thrown into the works. As to whether his disruptive arrival has provided openings for more sensible political and cultural innovations remains to be seen. ..."
"... Many of the internal difficulties that the US faces are distinct from militarism, but related to militarism in the sense that a police state keeping control via surveillance and bs, etc, and spending its money on empire, is not going to prioritize clear honest discourse. In the end, one overarching question for the US like the rest of us is: can we achieve honesty and common sense? ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Robert Snefjella , Jan 17 2020 23:50 utc | 64
Previously, most discussions of the Trump presidency reflexively proceeded to either visceral disgust etc or accolades of some species. Trumps words and manners dominated. As things developed, and actual results were recorded, a body of more sober second thought developed. And a variation on these more experience/reality based assessments is what b has delivered above.

Some of my points that follow are repeats, some are new. On the whole I see Trump as a helpful and positive-result really bad President.

I begin with the premise that the United States is a longstanding cultural catastrophe, and is far along the way in the process of destroying itself, after having destroyed or damaged the prospects of much of the planet.

As one aspect of this cultural catastrophe, let's refer back to the United States attack on Indochina, which accomplished millions of dead and millions of wounded people, and birth defects still in uncounted numbers as a legacy of dioxin etc laden chemical warfare. The millions of dead included some tens of thousands of American soldiers, and even more wounded physically, and even more wounded 'mentally'.

Within the context of the attack on Indochina, on the ground and taking place within the spaces left alive after the B52 bombers et al, there was the 'Phoenix Program'. euphemism for the CIA's ambitious program of technocratic torture, assassination, bribery, corruption, and so on, with tens of thousands of murdered victims. And the military destroyed uncounted villages, a la My Lai.

When asked what it was all about, Kissinger lied in an inadvertently illuminating way: "basically nothing" was how he put it, if memory serves.

During and after the attack on Indochina, the US trained, aided, financed, etc active death squads in Central and South America, demonstrating that the United States was an equal opportunity death dealer.

Now this was a bit of a meander away from the Trump topic, but note that Trump came to power within the above cultural context and much more pathology besides, talking about ending the warfare state. Again, this is not an attempt to portray Trump as either sincere or insincere in that policy. In terms of ideas, it was roughly speaking a good idea.

Another main part of the Trump message was 'let's rebuild America'. And along with the de-militarization and national program of rejuvenation there was the 'drain the swamp' meme, which again resonated. And once again, I am not arguing that Trump was sincere, or for that matter insincere. That's irrelevant to the point I'm trying to make: which could essentially by reduced to: what will be the actual meaning and potential impact of Trump?

Note then that Trump has almost patented the 'fake news' meme. The idea that the msm is lying about and hiding the truth, non-stop propaganda, is an idea that Trump has pushed repeatedly. Most people on the MofA etc are well aware of that. But for many 'normies', that's not quite as obvious.

And yes, he himself could be described as the liar in chief. But doesn't deflect from the great collapse in the status of the msm propaganda machine. And that propaganda machine has been very much associated with the CIA via operation Mockingbird and its generations long progeny.

So the attack on the media via fake news is a direct attack on the basic indispensable control mechanism of the deep state, and CIA.

Note too that after three Years of Trump, the long standing criminality and corruption of the FBI has never looked as obvious. Again, we don't have to give Trump credit. But it happened on his 'watch'.

Now the deep cultural, including political, pathology in the United States, in its many manifestations remain. We're not talking miracle cures here. But Trump has been a kind of part deranged, part clever political monkey wrench thrown into the works. As to whether his disruptive arrival has provided openings for more sensible political and cultural innovations remains to be seen.

The frantic attempt to deflect attention from and give mainly derisive media coverage to Tulsi Gabbard is a case in point. Is she the harbinger of a growing political movement aiming to dismantle the military empire project?

Many of the internal difficulties that the US faces are distinct from militarism, but related to militarism in the sense that a police state keeping control via surveillance and bs, etc, and spending its money on empire, is not going to prioritize clear honest discourse. In the end, one overarching question for the US like the rest of us is: can we achieve honesty and common sense?

[Jan 19, 2020] The fact is, it's impossible to elect a real "populist outsider" as US President. The system is set up to ensure that NEVER happens.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jan 18 2020 1:32 utc | 83

I agree with everyone that doesn't believe the political farce/headfake/psyop.

The fact is, it's impossible to elect a real "populist outsider" as US President. The system is set up to ensure that NEVER happens.

I used to get very frustrated by b's failure to understand US politics but it's now clear to me that anti-USA/anti-Empire folks LOVE to talk up Trump because they think they can exploit a rift in USA power elite - a rift that doesn't really exist .

The standard push-back response to someone like me saying that Trump was selected as President is: bu..but Trump is not a puppet! LOL. That's right! He's a faux populist team player . Just like Obama.

I explain more at my blog. Start with this: https://jackrabbit.blog/2018/08/more-evidence-that-trump-was-the-deep-state-choice/ .

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Triangle of power ... corporate, executive government, and military factions

This is naive. It's an outdated theory. Anyone that knows American society knows that power has become concentrated since this theory was first proposed. And that concentration has put EMPIRE FIRST warmongers/neocons at the top of heap.

Furthermore, Russia's willingness to confront USA in 2013 and 2014 had a profound effect on the pampered Empire-builders that thought that they and their progeny would rule the world. The Trump psy-op is their answer to the challenge from Russia and China.

=
Afghanistan and Trump's "lecture" to the Generals

Well, Trump is STILL THERE (in Afghanistan), isn't he?

And I'd be very skeptical of anything WaPo had to say about Trump.

IMO Trump isn't looking to withdraw from Afghanistan, or NATO, or North Korea, or Syria, or anywhere else. He's looking for Generals that have a will to fight. And that's a very scary prospect.

=
the military faction did not concur with his 'America first' isolationist tendencies.

Sorry, virtually everybody that matters in USA ("the 1%") is EMPIRE FIRST. Trump's 'America First' is just a bullshit slogan to fool the masses. Just as much as Obama's "Change You Can Believe In" was.

Trump is NOT an isolationist. Why does this false narrative still persist? Trump's many acts of war attest to his belligerent interventionist nature:

> seizing Venezuelan government assets;

> seizing Syrian oil fields;

> the assassination of an Iranian General;

> reneging on peace terms with North Korean (IMO reneging on a peace deal with a country that you're still technically at war with is an act of war);

> Pulling out of Cold War I arms treaties with Russia and militarizing space;

> taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - going against UN resolutions to do so;

> recognizing Golan Heights as Israeli - going against UN resolutions to do so;

> support for the Saudi war against Yemen - which includes arms sales, training, and even targeting.


These countries haven't declared war only because it's impractical to do so.

Why can't people see what charlatans Obama and Trump are? What has Trump done to demonstrate that he will be true to his campaign rhetoric? Nothing! Trump:

- didn't prosecute Hillary;

- didn't "end Obamacare on day one";

- didn't exit from NATO;

- didn't exit from the Middle-east;

- hasn't ended the threat from North Korea;

- hasn't brought jobs back (we just have more low-end jobs);

- hasn't "drained the swamp".

=
Most of the 'dopes and babies' who were in that room have since been fired or retired.

Really? What about this: Obama's Military Coup Purges 197 Officers In Five Years .

b's oversight highlights how the focus on TRUMP!! obscures what the Deep State has really been up to. And how even smart people like b are drawn into false narratives.

=
... Trump seems to have a good chance to win the next election.

Many moa commenters have been saying much the same. But the reasoning that three power centers are lined up for Trump is a red-herring.

Plus, whether Trump wins the next election or not, USA is on a path to war.

!!

[Jan 19, 2020] American hubris and bully-ism in the international arena has steadily grown since the end of the Cold War, since they somehow believe their system won. With Trump, the mask is off. "I'm taking the oil".

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Josh , Jan 17 2020 22:32 utc | 41

Totally agree with Daniel: "Trump is president and commander in chief. The buck stops with him. If he is too weak or stupid to prevent himself from getting manipulated by his creepy cadaverous son-in-law and the bunch of fanatics he hired and surrounds himself with he is unfit for the job. But given his many transgressions and war mongering ways, it's more likely he's just another fraud like every other POTUS."
American hubris and bully-ism in the international arena has steadily grown since the end of the Cold War, since they somehow believe their system won. With Trump, the mask is off. "I'm taking the oil". In fact, he's taking the oil even though he can't do much with it (can't develop it, limited selling options, etc). Pure child-like "it's mine, i'd rather break it than give it back".
I have decreasing confidence that there will not be a nuclear war. It seems to be increasingly likely that an overstretched American army will, at some point somewhere, be so outmaneuvered that they will hit the panic button. The world is currently counting on the Russians, Iranians, Chinese to be the sober ones, the cooler heads, the ones who hurriedly clear the roads for the drunk adolescent American roaming the streets.

[Jan 19, 2020] In Bullying Iraq, America is Starting to Look Like the New Evil Empire

Jan 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The U.S. has occasionally exerted pressure on democratic allies, but never treated them like servile pawns. Until now. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) and his wife Susan (R) wait to board a helicopter to the US embassy at the terminal at Baghdad International Airport on January 9, 2019.(ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

January 17, 2020

|

12:01 am

Ted Galen Carpenter A policy statement that the State Department issued on January 10 asserts that "America is a force for good in the Middle East." It adds, "We want to be a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous, and stable Iraq." Yet the Trump administration's recent conduct toward Iraq indicates a very different (and much uglier) policy. Washington is behaving like an impatient, imperial power that has concluded that an obstreperous colony requires a dose of corrective discipline.

Washington's late December airstrikes on Iraqi militia targets, in retaliation for the killing of an American civilian contractor working at a base in northern Iraq, greatly provoked the Iraqi government and population. Massive anti-American demonstrations erupted in several cities, and an assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad forced diplomats to take refuge in a special " safe room ."

The drone strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani outside Baghdad a few days later was an even more brazen violation of Iraq's sovereignty. Carrying out the assassination on Iraqi territory when Soleimani was there at the invitation of Prime Minister Adel Abdull Mahdi to discuss a new peace feeler from Saudi Arabia was especially clumsy and arrogant. It created suspicions that the United States was deliberately seeking to maintain turmoil in the Middle East to justify its continued military presence there. The killing of Soleimani (as well as two influential Iraqi militia leaders) led Iraq's government to pass a resolution calling on Mahdi to expel U.S. forces stationed in the country, and he promptly began to prepare legislation to implement that goal.

Trump's initial reaction to the prospect that Baghdad might order U.S. troops to leave was akin to a foreign policy temper tantrum. He threatened America's democratic ally with harsh economic sanctions if it dared to take that step. As Trump put it, "we will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before, ever. It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame."

Over the following days, it became apparent that the sanctions threat was not just a spontaneous, intemperate outburst on the part of President Trump. Compelling Iraq to continue hosting U.S. forces was official administration policy. Senior officials from the Treasury Department and other agencies began drafting specific sanctions that could be imposed. Washington explicitly warned the Iraqi government that it could lose access to its account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Such a freeze would amount to financial strangulation of the country's already fragile economy.

U.S. arrogance towards Baghdad seems almost boundless. When Mahdi asked the administration to " prepare a mechanism " for the exit of American forces and commence negotiations towards that transition, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flatly refused . Indeed, the State Department's January 10 statement made it clear that there would be no such discussions: "At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership -- not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East."

Throughout the Cold War, U.S. leaders proudly proclaimed that NATO and other American-led alliances were voluntary associations of free nations. Conversely, the Warsaw Pact alliance of Eastern European countries formed in response to NATO was a blatantly imperial enterprise of puppet regimes under the Kremlin's total domination. Moscow's brutal suppression of even modest political deviations within its satellite empire helped confirm the difference. Soviet tanks rolled into East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, and Czechoslovakia in 1968 to crush reform factions and solidify a Soviet military occupation. Even when the USSR did not resort to such heavy-handed measures, it was clear that the "allies" were on a very short leash.

Although the United States has occasionally exerted pressure on its allies when they've opposed its objectives, it has not attempted to treat democratic partners as servile pawns. That is why the Trump administration's current behavior towards Iraq is so troubling and exhibits such unprecedented levels of crudeness. America is in danger of becoming the geopolitical equivalent of a middle school bully.

If Washington refuses to withdraw its forces from Iraq, defying the Baghdad government's calls to leave, those troops will no longer be guests or allies. They would constitute a hostile army of occupation, however elaborate the rhetorical facade.

At that point, America would no longer be a moral "force for good" in the Middle East or anywhere else. The United States would be behaving as an amoral imperial power imposing its authority on weaker democratic countries that dare adopt measures contrary to Washington's policy preferences. America might not yet have replaced the Soviet Union as (in Ronald Reagan's words) the "evil empire," but it will be disturbingly far along the path to that status.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative , is the author of 12 books and more than 850 articles on international affairs.


me 2 days ago

"America is in danger of becoming the geopolitical equivalent of a middle school bully"?

Its not a mere prospect, its history. The US has been a bully for many years, at least for the last 20 years, if not more.

It is 100% irrelevant what American think of their "moral standing" in the world. In terms of foreign policy, it only matter what OTHER countries think, right or wrong. The rest of the world already think the US govt is a bully. The fact that Trump, became president is simply the icing on the big reveal cake. Yes, foreign powers helped Trump win the election, but that was simply an effect on the margin. The majority of Trump supporters do not need Russian interference to be swayed by him. Trump action embodies that which his supports wanted for many many years.

What Trump has done is give foreign allies something tangible, indisputable proof to point to, every time the US come knocking on their door ask for help on "this", "that" and the "other thing". From now on, they will make sure the get favorable terms in writing, rather than verbal agreements.

Gary Sellars me a day ago
Upvoted, even though you repeat the BS allegations of Russian "interference". Social media traffic mining by a privately-owned clickbait operation and an email leak to Wikileaks from the DNC by a disgruntled insider is not "Russian interference". A handful of FB ads taken out both before and after the elections, and slamming BOTH trump and Shrillary is likewise evidence of nothing.

"Russiagate" is a hoax, a monumental LIE foisted onto the US public by a vengeful Democrat party, their political-appointees within government agencies, the corporate media and the Deep State reptiles who need eternal hostility to Russia to justify the $1T per annum gravy train that so enriches them.

John Mann Gary Sellars a day ago
Upvoted, even though your choice of description for the idiotic allegations of Russian interference is not appropriate for genteel society.
Aker John Mann 20 hours ago • edited
Russiagate and other forms of Anti-Russian yapping are but an effort for a risingly dysfunctional society to blame outsiders for failure and dysfunction.

[Jan 19, 2020] Iran has long been viewed as central for securing US hegemony over Eurasia

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul , Jan 18 2020 0:29 utc | 74

Iran has long been viewed as central for securing US hegemony over Eurasia and the US/UK have not recovered from the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran has: 1) large reserves of oil and natural gas, 2) key Geo-strategic position- near the convergence of three continents, straddling the Middle East and Central Asia, and abutting the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, a strategic "choke point" through which circa 25% of the world's energy transits. As summarized by Dan Glazebrook- "The reason for this obsession with destroying Iran – shared by all factions of the Western ruling class, despite their differences over means – is obvious: Iran's very existence as an independent state threatens imperial control of the region – which in turn underpins both US military power and the global role of the dollar."
During the 2016 campaign, then candidate Trump constantly railed against the JCPOA ('Iran nuclear deal'), as the 'worst' treaty the US ever signed. After becoming President, Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and immediately imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran, vowing to reduce energy exports to zero, effectively declaring economic war on Iran. I suspect Trump represents a faction in the US ruling establishment committed to regime change in Iran. Trump may have believed that Iran would buckle under the weight of US economic sanctions and capitulate to US demands. These include instillation of a US- friendly government that will: 1) stop supporting Hezbollah, Bashar Assad in Syria and the Houthi-Ansarullah movement in Yemen, and 2) allow US energy firms to loot Iran's energy reserves. As this approach has not worked, Trump is now aggressively pursuing the military arm of this policy.
The New Year started with a proverbial 'bang' with Trump giving the go ahead for the targeted assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi General Abu Madhi al-Muhandis, which had been long in planning. As pointed out by Pepe Escobar- 'It does not matter where the green light for the assassination.... came from....This is an act of war. Unilateral, unprovoked and illegal.' Not surprisingly, Trump's actions have been generally well received by Congress and corporate media. We are now seeing US vassals- UK, France and Germany line up behind Trump to enact the dispute resolution mechanism (DRM) and sanctions snapback provision, resulting in the re-imposition of UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Apparently, this action was prodded by Trump's threats to apply 25% tariffs to EU auto exports to the US.
It appears Pentagon war plans for Iran are being put in place. As per a recent piece by William Arkin in Newsweek- prior to Trump's inauguration, the US military carried out an exercise "Global Thunder 17", simulating a nuclear response against Iran in retaliation for the sinking of an American aircraft carrier and use of chemical weapons against US troops. This war scenario was chosen because it "allowed the greatest integration of nuclear weapons, conventional military, missile defense, cyber, and space into what nuclear strategists call '21st Century deterrence.'" The Pentagon now has a 'low yield' nuclear warhead- W76–2, apparently developed for an Iran-type of scenario. These weapons are deliverable by submarine-launched Trident II missiles.
So where do we stand?
It is doubtful that Trump will be convicted by the Republican- controlled Senate. This will only embolden him more. US vassals- UK, France and Germany are lining up behind Trump to enact the dispute resolution mechanism (DRM) and sanctions snapback provision, resulting in the re-imposition of UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Apparently, this action was prodded by Trump's threats to apply 25% tariffs to EU auto exports to the US. Canada, Australia and New Zealand have also expressed support for Trump's position. France is deploying her only aircraft carrier to the ME to 'fight ISIS'.
Corporate media is largely on board with Trump's plan.
Over the last two decades, the US has expended (squandered) astronomical sums of taxpayer money (>$6 Trillion) and lives of thousands of troops on ME wars. After committing such large amounts of financial and human capital, the Pentagon has no intention of admitting their mistakes or changing their behavior. Doing so is an acknowledgement of failure and by extension military weakness. Further, the strength and stability of the dollar and more broadly US global power, is contingent on maintaining control of ME energy reserves. The financial elite/directors of US foreign policy are well aware of continuing US economic decline and looming strategic debacles confronting the Pentagon in Afghanistan (longest war in US history), Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Logic dictates that the US cannot 'win' a war with Iran, but this assumes one is dealing with rational thinking. By exiting the JCPOA, Trump put the US on a collision course with Iran. Alea iacta est (l. 'The die is cast'). Links of potential interest follow.
Notes
1. With a New Weapon in Donald Trump's Hands, the Iran Crisis Risks Going NuclearBy William Arkin Jan 13, 2020; Link: www.newsweek.com/trump-iran-new-nuclear-weapon-increases-risk-crisis-nuclear-1481752
2. Washington continues war buildup against Iran By Bill Van Auken Jan 17, 2020; Link: www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/17/iran-j17.html

[Jan 19, 2020] Jim Webb The Iran crisis isn't a failure of the executive branch alone

Jan 19, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

Jim Webb: The Iran crisis isn't a failure of the executive branch alone - When did it become acceptable to kill a top leader of a country we aren't even at war with?

Visitors walk around the stairs inside of the Rotunda to the top of the Capitol dome last month in Washington. (Samuel Corum/AFP/Getty Images) By Jim Webb January 9

Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia, served in the U.S. Senate from 2007 to 2013 and was secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1988.

Strongly held views are unlikely to change regarding the morality and tactical wisdom of President Trump's decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani as he traveled on a road outside the Baghdad airport after having arrived on a commercial flight . But the debate regarding the long-term impact of this act on America's place in the world, and the potential vulnerability of U.S. government officials to similar reprisals, has just begun.

How did it become acceptable to assassinate one of the top military officers of a country with whom we are not formally at war during a public visit to a third country that had no opposition to his presence? And what precedent has this assassination established on the acceptable conduct of nation-states toward military leaders of countries with which we might have strong disagreement short of actual war -- or for their future actions toward our own people?

With respect to Iran, unfortunately, this is hardly a new issue.

In 2007, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution calling on the George W. Bush administration to categorize Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as an international terrorist organization. I opposed this proposal based on the irrefutable fact that the organization was an inseparable arm of the Iranian government. The Revolutionary Guards are not independent actors like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. They are part of the Iranian government's formal military structure, with an estimated strength of more than 150,000 members . It is legally and logically impossible to define one part of a national government as an international terrorist organization without applying the term to that entire government.

Definitions define conduct. If terrorist organizations are actively involved against us, we attack them. But a terrorist organization is by definition a nongovernmental entity that operates along the creases of national sovereignties and international law. The Revolutionary Guards are a part of the Iranian government. If they are attacking us, they are not a terrorist organization. They're an attacking army.

The 2007 proposal did not succeed. But last April the State Department unilaterally designated the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist entity. Although more than 60 organizations are listed in this category, this is the only time our government has ever identified an element of a nation-state as a terrorist organization. And the designation was by many accounts made despite the opposition of the CIA and the Defense Department.

Which leads us to Soleimani.

The assassination of the most well-known military commander of a country with which we are not formally at war during his visit to a third country that had not opposed his presence invites a lax moral justification for a plethora of retaliatory measures -- and not only from Iran. It also holds the possibility of more deeply entrenching the U.S. military in a region that most Americans would very much prefer to deal with from a more maneuverable distance.

No thinking American would support Soleimani's conduct. But it is also indisputable that his activities were carried out as part of his military duties. His harm to American military units was through his role as an enabler and adviser to third-country forces. This, frankly, is a reality of war.

I fought as a Marine in Vietnam. We had similar problems throughout the Vietnam War because of Vietnam's propinquity to China, which along with the Soviet Union provided continuous support to the North Vietnamese, including most of the weapons used against us on the battlefield. China was then a rogue state with nuclear weapons. Its leaders continually spouted anti-U.S. rhetoric. Yet we did not assassinate its military leaders for rendering tactical advice or logistical assistance. We fought the war that was in front of us, and we created the conditions in which we engaged China aggressively through diplomatic, economic and other means.

Now, despite Trump's previous assertions that he wants to dramatically reduce the United States' footprint in the Middle East, it seems clear that he has been seduced into making unwise announcements similar to the rhetoric used by his immediate predecessors of both parties. Their blunders -- in Iraq, Libya and Syria -- destabilized the region and distracted the United States from its greatest long-term challenge: China's military and economic expansion throughout the world.

At a time when our political debates have come to resemble Kardashian-like ego squabbles, the United States desperately needs common-sense leadership in its foreign policy. This is not a failure of the executive branch alone; it is the result of a breakdown in our entire foreign policy establishment, from the executive branch to the legislative branch and even to many of our once-revered think tanks. If partisanship in foreign policy should end at the water's edge, then such policies should be forged through respectful, bipartisan debate.

The first such debate should focus on the administration's unilateral decision to label an entire element of a foreign government an international terrorist organization. If Congress wishes to hold Iran to such a standard, it should then formally authorize the use of force against Iran's government. The failure of congressional leadership to make these kinds of decisions is an example of why our foreign policy has become so militarized, and of how weak and even irrelevant Congress has allowed itself to become in the eyes of our citizens.

Read more:

[Jan 19, 2020] The Suleimani assassination, imperialist strategy and the crisis of the Iranian regime by Keith Jones

16 January 2020
Notable quotes:
"... In diplomatic terms, the US drive to force Iran into neo-colonial subjugation is expressed in Trump and Pompeo's demand that Tehran negotiate a replacement to the "flawed" Iran nuclear deal -- a "Trump deal" that would severely limit Iran's military, "roll back" its influence across the Middle East, and permanently bar it from a civil nuclear program. ..."
"... it is animated by the calculation that a "grand bargain" more favorable to US imperialism can be extorted from the crisis-ridden and deeply divided Iranian bourgeoisie, under conditions where it is facing not only ever-escalating external pressure, but also massive social opposition, above all from the working class. ..."
"... The Iranian regime was shaken by an explosion of popular anger against austerity and social inequality at the beginning of 2018. Last November, when massive gas price hikes sparked demonstrations in more than 100 cities, some of them violent, the Iranian government again responded with brutal repression, reportedly killing scores of protesters ..."
"... The assassination of Suleimani was itself clearly targeted at more than "just" threatening and destabilizing the Islamic Republic. It was aimed at shifting the internal dynamics of the Iranian regime. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.wsws.org

As with any sudden turn in world geopolitics, the true purpose and full implications of Washington's criminal assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Suleimani are emerging only with the passage of time.

The Trump administration's claims that the assassination was in response to an imminent threat to American lives have been exposed as blatant lies. Suleimani's murder was months in the planning and long advocated by key figures in the US military-foreign policy establishment, including CIA head Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The killing of the military leader, who was widely viewed as second only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran's power structure, constitutes a dramatic escalation of the Trump administration's campaign of "maximum pressure" on Iran. This campaign combines unrelenting diplomatic and military pressure with devastating economic sanctions -- that are themselves tantamount to an act of war -- cyber-warfare and other "special ops."

It is aimed at "turning" Iran and bringing to power -- whether through the reconfiguration or outright overthrow of Iran's Shia clergy-led bourgeois nationalist regime -- a government in Tehran, akin to the Shah's bloody quarter-century-long dictatorship, that will be at American imperialism's beck and call.

Iran has long been viewed by US imperialist strategists as central to its drive to secure hegemony over all Eurasia. This is because of its vast oil wealth and its geo-strategic position, near the convergence of three continents and straddling the Middle East and Central Asia, the world's two most important oil exporting regions.

In diplomatic terms, the US drive to force Iran into neo-colonial subjugation is expressed in Trump and Pompeo's demand that Tehran negotiate a replacement to the "flawed" Iran nuclear deal -- a "Trump deal" that would severely limit Iran's military, "roll back" its influence across the Middle East, and permanently bar it from a civil nuclear program.

Washington's maximum pressure campaign against Iran is predicated on the "credible" threat of all-out war, and is intimately bound up with its preparations for "strategic conflict" with Russia and China. It could rapidly cascade into a catastrophic war with Iran that would engulf the entire Mideast and draw in the other great powers.

But it is animated by the calculation that a "grand bargain" more favorable to US imperialism can be extorted from the crisis-ridden and deeply divided Iranian bourgeoisie, under conditions where it is facing not only ever-escalating external pressure, but also massive social opposition, above all from the working class.

The Iranian regime was shaken by an explosion of popular anger against austerity and social inequality at the beginning of 2018. Last November, when massive gas price hikes sparked demonstrations in more than 100 cities, some of them violent, the Iranian government again responded with brutal repression, reportedly killing scores of protesters .

The assassination of Suleimani was itself clearly targeted at more than "just" threatening and destabilizing the Islamic Republic. It was aimed at shifting the internal dynamics of the Iranian regime. It removed the military leader responsible for overseeing Iran's attempts to counteract US pressure through a network of foreign militia groups, most of them based on Shia populism. Suleimani, moreover, was a leader, as the subsequent mass demonstrations protesting his murder and the US war threats attested, who had a broad base of popular support.

Given the manner in which Suleimani died, including his evident lack of security, it is legitimate to ask whether factional opponents within the Iranian state facilitated his murder.

What is incontrovertible is that in the wake of his assassination and the tumultuous events it precipitated, the factional warfare has intensified, culminating in last week's inadvertent downing of a Ukrainian International Airlines plane by an Iranian Revolutionary Guard missile, its cover-up, and the outbreak of student demonstrations denouncing government negligence and repression.

Yesterday, President Hassan Rouhani, who spearheaded the push for the rapprochement with the European imperialist powers and Washington that resulted in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, denounced the military for failing to "apologize" for the downing of the passenger jet. He also criticized the recent decision of the Guardian Council to exclude many sitting parliamentarians from standing in the coming elections. He called for "national reconciliation" -- a slogan long raised by supporters of the Greens, a movement based in dissident sections of the bourgeoisie and upper-middle class, which, with imperialist backing, disputed the outcome of the 2009 presidential election.

Meanwhile, on a visit to New Delhi in which he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif declared that the Indian government, a key US ally, could play an important "role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf."

A major element in the Trump administration's drive to leverage the crisis of the Iranian regime and the longstanding cleavages within it has been the effort to cajole the European imperialist powers -- Germany, France and Britain -- into joining Washington in repudiating the Iran nuclear accord.

On Tuesday, the so-called E-3 took a giant step in this direction by initiating the accord's disputes resolution mechanism, thereby placing themselves on a fast track to join Washington in imposing and policing the sanctions that are strangling Iran's economy.

It is Washington that trashed the nuclear accord and is pursuing "maximum aggression" against Iran. Through its dominance of the world financial system, it has successfully shut down the world's trade with Iran, thereby making the quid pro quo underlying the nuclear accord -- the removal of sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of much of Iran's civil nuclear program -- null and void.

Yet, in what could only be music to Trump and Pompeo's ears, France, Germany and Britain are blaming Iran for violating the agreement, cynically citing Tehran's attempts to gain leverage by exceeding various JCPOA stipulations and accusing it of seeking nuclear weapons.

The European imperialist powers have been rattled by provocative and unilateral US actions that cut across their interests. Suleimani's assassination was just the latest rude shock.

Britain and the EU powers fear Washington's ever-escalating aggression against Iran will spark an all-out war that will redound against their own imperialist interests, even if it doesn't immediately draw in Russia and China. A war would send oil prices soaring, roil the European economy, spark another massive refugee crisis and further radicalize a growing working class counter-offensive.

No doubt Pompeo and others have told the Europeans that if they want to restrain Trump, avert a major conflagration and retain influence in the Middle East, they must rally behind Washington and its maximum pressure campaign.

To these dubious incentives, the Trump administration added a trade war threat, according to a report published yesterday by the Washington Post under the title, "Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25 percent tariff on European autos if they didn't."

That said, as in the case of Washington, a key factor in the Europeans' calculations is the character of Iran's bourgeois regime and its manifest crisis.

The European imperialist powers have clearly been emboldened by the Iranian regime's response to Suleimani's assassination, which was limited to missile strikes of which the Pentagon was given advance warning and which resulted in no casualties, and by its ham-fisted attempt to cover up its responsibility for the downing of Ukraine Air Flight 752.

For all its anti-American bluster, the Iranian regime is a bourgeois national regime. In so far as it has come into conflict with Washington, it has always been from the standpoint of increasing its own possibilities for exploiting the working class and boosting its regional influence.

The growing opposition from the working class impels Iran to intensify what has been a decades-long attempt to effect a rapprochement with every US administration, dating back at least to that of George H.W. Bush.

If it can, the Islamic Republic's elite, or sections of it, will strike a deal with imperialism at the expense of the masses. Even before Rouhani came to power in 2014 on a program that coupled overtures toward Washington and Europe with further privatizations, subsidy cuts and other anti-working class measures, the Iranian regime was involved in behind-the-scenes talks with the Obama administration on removing the sanctions.

Similar talks could happen in the future or even be underway though back channels now. Trump has shown in his dealings with North Korea that he is capable of pursuing such a two-track policy.

As for the so-called Iranian "hardliners," they are no less hostile to the working class than their factional opponents, as evidenced by the implementation of neo-liberal "reform" measures by every Iranian government since the late 1980s, and their readiness to unite with their factional opponents to suppress any challenge from below.

Ultimately, the "hardliners" supported the nuclear deal and the pursuit of closer relations with the US and the EU. Even more importantly, their strategy for opposing Washington--based on seeking close military-strategic ties with Russia and China and the use of Shia populism and religious sectarianism to rally support across the Middle East--is a blind alley that risks plunging the region and the world into a conflagration.

... ... ...

Keith Jones

[Jan 19, 2020] The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 11:21 utc | 120

The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge. Very small drones can fly autonomously and each can carry 2 Kg of cargo which can be explosives, chemical or bioweapons or a combination. They are cheap, easy to build and can operate autonomously. With only using relatively simple algorithms they can be made to fly in groups and track using already extant facial recognition software. I can envision a scenario where drones are flown to the top of a semi-trailer somewhere south to hitch a ride north on I-95 until they get into DC near Fort Belvoir or Andrews AFB. They could then lift off and loiter perched on transmission lines where they can easily recharge using rf energy and wait. Once a target arrives, say a President on the golf course or perhaps Air Force 1 taxiing on the runway or even perhaps perch outside a window, they can then lift off and conduct an attack either directly or as limpet mines. With swarming you can send a mass of drones all flying autonomously with varied patterns. It would be impossible to stop them. Because they are autonomous jamming won't work. They would be impossible to trace back to their origin and most could be 3D printed and use off the shelf parts. If I can think this way, I am certain others are as well. Snake drones would be particularly difficult to stop.

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 18:23 utc | 155

Old hippe @128.yes, but these were being guided remotely from a US Navy aircraft and somewhat controllable from remote which is what happened. I think inside the US they don't think that far ahead and jamming would interfere with wifi etc. so not palatable. I Ave in mind they would be sitting in the grass or on a nearby telephone pole waiting for the target and travel less than 100 meters to hit. Autonomous means flying without any external controls and would be committed once set out. One perched on a window with 2kg of C4 waiting for whatever executive to sit down next to it would be another scenario. A snake drone could navigate in the sewers up to an executive toilet. The possibilities are endless. It is just a matter of time.

[Jan 19, 2020] In Europe the prime objective for the US is to prevent Russia and Germany coupling up, keeping the two tribes separate is the goal, at whatever cost.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Baron , Jan 17 2020 23:35 utc | 60

@ wagelaborer | Jan 17 2020 19:04 utc

Read wagelaborer (3)

Read wagelaborer (3)

Read wagelaborer (3) because what he says is the core to the understanding US Foreign policy, everything else is unimportant, a side dish, a noise. One possible thing missing is that in Europe the prime objective for the US is to prevent Russia and Germany coupling up, keeping the two tribes separate is the goal, at whatever cost.

The pricing of oil (and oil derivatives) in dollars is a replacement for the gold-backed dollar scrapped by Nixon in early 70s. The pricing is a must, losing it would undermine the dollar as a reserve currency. Each year, those who need to buy oil plus oil derivates have to find trillions for the buy the black gold.

Consider: Each day some 100ml barrels are produced, that's 36bn barrels a year, at a cost of $75 per barrel it's some $2.7tr needed to buy the stuff. And that's just the crude. Add the derivatives (per barrel more expensive than crude), and one's talking some $5-7tr to be found. That's what allows the US to print either IOU's i.e. the Treasuries or actual cash without any worry whatever the IOU's will ever be brought back to the mainland US in haunting inflation.

The time the pricing of oil in dollars goes, the US hegemony gets a fatal knock, from which it would be near impossible to recover bar staring a war.

Cynica , Jan 17 2020 23:49 utc | 63

It's clear that Trump does not understand - or has not understood until recently - the true goals of US foreign policy (maintaining the dollar hegemony first, promoting US business interests second). His notion of winning a war is apparently being able to send the troops home. This is at odds with the "deep state", which has no problem spending money that it sees as coming from others, as long as that money keeps coming in and it's being spent in the furtherance of geopolitical goals. Hence the continued US military presence in Afghanistan must be furthering, if not fulfilling, one or more geopolitical goals. Those goals most likely do not include "defeating terrorism". Trump may well not be aware of what the goals are.

It may be useful to draw a comparison between the US military presence in Afghanistan and its presence in Vietnam. Like Afghanistan, Vietnam seems to have been a near-pointless expenditure of resources and people - on the surface. From the "deep state's" point of view, however, Vietnam served as a bulwark against encroachment by the non-dollar-aligned part of the world. Vietnam was only abandoned once a much bigger prize became available - China. Given Afghanistan's location, it stands to reason that it too is serving as a bulwark and that its importance in the "deep state's" eyes will diminish (if not disappear) once Iran and/or Russia experiences a "change of heart".

[Jan 19, 2020] The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters

Jan 19, 2020 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"The Marxist political parties, including the Social Democrats and their followers, had fourteen years to prove their abilities. The result is a heap of ruins. All around us are symptoms portending this breakdown. With an unparalleled effort of will and of brute force the Communist method of madness is trying as a last resort to poison and undermine an inwardly shaken and uprooted nation.

In fourteen years the November parties have ruined the German farmer. In fourteen years they created an army of millions of unemployed. The National Government will carry out the following plan with iron resolution and dogged perseverance. Within four years the German farmer must be saved from pauperism. Within four years unemployment must be completely overcome.

Our concern to provide daily bread will be equally a concern for the fulfillment of the responsibilities of society to those who are old and sick. The best safeguard against any experiment which might endanger the currency lies in economical administration, the promotion of work, and the preservation of agriculture, as well as in the use of individual initiative."

Adolf Hitler, Radio Appeal to the German People, February 1, 1933

"Both religion and socialism thus glorify weakness and need. Both recoil from the world as it is: tough, unequal, harsh. Both flee to an imaginary future realm where they can feel safe. Both say to you. Be a nice boy. Be a good little girl. Share. Feel sorry for the little people. And both desperately seek someone to look after them -- whether it be God or the State.

A thriving upper class accepts with a good conscience the sacrifice of untold human beings, who, for its sake, must be reduced and lowered to incomplete human beings,to slaves, to instruments... One cannot fail to see in all these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast, prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness."

Friedrich Nietzsche

"At a certain point in their historical cycles, social classes become detached from their traditional parties. In other words, the traditional parties, in their particular organisational bias, with the particular men who constitute, represent and lead them, are no longer recognised by their class as their own, and representing their interests. When such crises occur, the immediate situation becomes delicate and dangerous, because the field is open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic 'men of destiny' [demagogues].

The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters."

Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, 1930-35

"Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God. You agree? Good. Then go with my blessing. But I warn you, do not expect to make many friends. One of the awful facts of our age is the evidence that it is stricken indeed, stricken to the very core of its being by the presence of the Unspeakable."

Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable

"The more power a government has the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects."

R. J. Rummel, Death by Government: A History of Mass Murder and Genocide Since 1900

"This is as old as Babylon, and evil as sin. It is the power of the darkness of the world, and of spiritual wickedness in high places. The only difference is that it is not happening in the past, or in a book, or in some vaguely frightening prophecy -- it is happening here and now."

Jesse

"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Plunder, rape, and murder they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus

"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage.

And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun."

Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

"Day by day the money-masters of America become more aware of their danger, they draw together, they grow more class-conscious, more aggressive. The [first world] war has taught them the possibilities of propaganda; it has accustomed them to the idea of enormous campaigns which sway the minds of millions and make them pliable to any purpose.

American political corruption was the buying up of legislatures and assemblies to keep them from doing the people's will and protecting the people's interests; it was the exploiter entrenching himself in power, it was financial autocracy undermining and destroying political democracy. By the blindness and greed of ruling classes the people have been plunged into infinite misery."

Upton Sinclair, The Brass Check

"Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction."

Erich Fromm

"We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts, for it is impossible to live one way and pray another.

If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead."

William Law

[Jan 19, 2020] The Little-Known Loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty The National Interest

Jan 19, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

North Korea's cavalier rejection of its NPT membership in 2003 is a prime example , but many saw it as a case not applicable to most member states. However, more recently, Saudi Arabia , and Turkey and Iran (which, after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, is looking for new ways to upset Washington), have gone so far as ti layout terms under which they would leave the treaty and even obtain nuclear weapons, statements without precedent in the treaty's history.

A number of otherwise respectable member countries, such as South Korea , also have political parties in their legislatures that advocate treaty withdrawal and acquisition of nuclear weapons.

We have to take seriously the possibility that -- without international action to arrest this tendency -- the already frayed bonds that tie countries to the NPT and the pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons may not hold. This would presage a world with many more nuclear states and a vastly increased risk of nuclear use.

Victor Gilinsky is program advisor for the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) in Arlington, Virginia. He served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Henry Sokolski is executive director of NPEC and the author of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future (second edition 2019). He served as deputy for nonproliferation policy in the office of the U.S. secretary of defense in the Cheney Pentagon.

[Jan 19, 2020] Did Washing played on oil price hike threat to achive Genramny, France and GB compliance

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.wsws.org

Britain and the EU powers fear Washington's ever-escalating aggression against Iran will spark an all-out war that will redound against their own imperialist interests, even if it doesn't immediately draw in Russia and China. A war would send oil prices soaring, roil the European economy, spark another massive refugee crisis and further radicalize a growing working class counter-offensive.

No doubt Pompeo and others have told the Europeans that if they want to restrain Trump, avert a major conflagration and retain influence in the Middle East, they must rally behind Washington and its maximum pressure campaign.

To these dubious incentives, the Trump administration added a trade war threat, according to a report published yesterday by the Washington Post under the title, "Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25 percent tariff on European autos if they didn't."

[Jan 19, 2020] Iran The EU-three Trigger Dispute Mechanism in Iran Nuclear Deal New Eastern Outlook

Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org

Why, after so many assurances to the contrary, have the three European Iran's Nuclear Deal Partner's – Germany, France, the UK – decided to go after Iran, to follow the US dictate again?

The short answer is because the cowards. They have zero backbone to stand up against the US hegemony, because they are afraid to be sanctioned – as Trump indicated if they were to honor the" Nuclear Deal". Iran is absolutely in their right to progressively increase uranium enrichment, especially since the US dropped out unilaterally, without any specific reasons, other than on Netanyahu's orders – of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also called Iran's Nuclear Deal.

Just a few days ago Ms. Angela Merkel met with President Putin in Moscow, and BOTH pledged in front of a huge press crowd that the Nuclear Deal must stay, must be maintained and validated.

And now, because of Trump's Barbarian threats, trade threats on Europe – an increase of up to 25% import taxes on European cars – and wanting a new deal with Iran, whatever that means, they, the Europeans – the three Nuclear Deal partners, back down. Why not call Trump's bluff? As China did. This Barbarian Kingpin is lashing around his deathbed with tariffs and sanctions, it is only a sign of weakness, a sign of slowly but surely disappearing in the – hopefully – bottomless abyss.

This threesome is a bunch of shameless and hopeless cowards. They have not realized yet that the west, starting with the US empire, is passé. It's a sinking ship. It's high time for Iran to orient herself towards the east. Iran is already a Middle-Eastern key hub for the Chinese Belt and Road initiative (BRI), or the New Silk road. Iran can do without Europe; and the US needs Europe more than vice-versa. But the 'chickens' haven't noticed that yet.

On the behest of Washington, the Trump clown, they, Germany, France and the UK, want to start an official dispute process, bringing Iran back to where it was before the Nuclear Deal, and reinstating all the UN sanctions of before the signature of the deal in July 2015. And this despite the fact that Iran has adhered to their part of the deal by 100%, as several times attested to by the Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna. Can you imagine what these abhorrent Europeans are about to do?

This reminds of how Europe pilfered, robbed and raped Africa and the rest of the now called developing world, for hundreds of years. No ethics, no qualms, just sheer egocentricity and cowardice. The European Barbarians and those on the other side of the Atlantic deserve each other. And they deserve disappearing in the same bottomless pit.

Iran may consider three ideas:

1) Call the European bluff. Let them start the dispute process – and let them drive it all the way to the UN Security Council. Their spineless British Brother in Crime, BoJo, also called the British Prime-Minister, Boris Johnson, will do the job for them, bringing the case "Iran Nuclear Deal – and Sanctions" to the UN Security Council – where it will fail, because Russia and China will not approve the motion.

2) Much more important, Dear Friends in Iran – do not trust the Europeans for even one iota ! – They have proven time and again that they are not trustworthy. They buckle under every time Trump is breaking wind – and

3) Dedollarize your economy even faster – move as far as possible away from the west – join the Eastern economy, that controls at least one third of the world's GDP. You are doing already a lot in this direction – but faster. Join the SCO – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, comprising half of Mother Earth's population; ditch the dollar and the SWIFT payment system, join instead the Chinese Interbank Payment System (CIPS) – and be free of the sanction-prone western monetary system. Eastern monetary transactions are blocking out western dollar-based sanctions. Already your hydrocarbon trades with China, Russia, India and others are not carried out in US dollars, but in local currencies, Chinese yuans, Russian rubles and Indian rupees.

True – Iran will have to confront Iran-internally the western (NATO) and CIA trained, funded and bought Atlantists, the Fifth Columnists. They are the ones that create constant virulently violent unrest in the cities of Iran; they are trained – and paid for – to bring about Regime Change. That's what Russia and China and Venezuela and Cuba are also confronted with. They, the Fifth Columnists have to be eradicated. It's a challenge, but it should be doable.

Follow the Ayatollah's route. He is on the right track – looking East.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. After working for over 30 years with the World Bank he penned Implosion , an economic thriller, based on his first-hand experience. Exclusively for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook. "

[Jan 18, 2020] Major Political Changes in Russia

Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

Major announcements in this State of the Nation speech on Jan 15, 2020.

Here is a very brief summary to get the conversation started.

Immediate politics :

who reduced uncollected VAT from 20% to 1%. Source tells me FM Sergey Lavrov rumored to be permanently retiring.

Constitutional changes :

Demographics :

continued fall in Russia's fertility rates to 1.5 children per woman this year (up from post-Soviet peak of close to 1.8 in mid-2000s), setting 1.7 children per woman as the new target for 2024. Reaffirmed demographics as the first national priority. Maternity capital to be increased by further 150,000 rubles and constitute 616,617 rubles (≈$10,000) for a family with two children, to be annually indexed.

***

Some very tentative thoughts :

(1) I have long thought now that Putin's end game is to transition into an overseeing "elder statesman" role, along the model of Lee Kuan Yew/PAP in Singapore [see 1 , 2 , 3 ]. This appears to be the final confirmation that this is happening.

(2) Questions about the succession revolved around (a) The Belarus variant, in which it effectively constitutes a new state with Russia, allowing Putin to become the supreme head of that state; (b) A constitutional reshuffle such as the one we're seeing here. This question has also been answered.


utu , says: January 15, 2020 at 5:16 pm GMT

" Putin's end game is to transition into an overseeing "elder statesman" role" – Not always does it work: King Lear, Benedict 16.

"Lear gave up a God-given duty and right to rule his people. His tragic flaw 'hamartia' is presumptuousness. He presumes that he can divest himself of what God invested him with (the Elizabethan idea of the divine rights of the ruler), he grows in tragic stature as the play progresses." – found on google.

AnonFromTN , says: January 15, 2020 at 5:28 pm GMT

Putin's end game is to transition into an overseeing "elder statesman" role

Looks more like he plans to become a powerful Prime Minister after 2024, rather than elder statesman. Might be good in the medium term: politicians of his caliber are rare. Still, in the longer term Russia needs a real successor: rule by committee never works, even in smaller and simpler countries.

Anatoly Karlin , says: Website January 15, 2020 at 5:42 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN I think (and it's already been said for years) that's he too tired for the role of PM, which is more intensive than the Presidency and involved dealing with boring domestic crap whereas the Presidency, at least, offers more in the way of Grand Strategy, diplomacy, etc.

I think the likeliest game plan is for him to chair a much more empowered State Council after 2024. (This is what Nazarbayev did with the Security Council after retiring last year).

Felix Keverich , says: January 15, 2020 at 5:42 pm GMT

Presidential candidates should have been resident in Russia for 25 years (previously 10 years) and never had a foreign citizenship. (This rules out a large proportion of Atlanticists and crypto-Atlanticists).

Does this imply, that they'll allow an actual election in 2024? I'm getting excited

Speaking of constitutional changes, they should just get rid of the entire Yeltsin's text, and write a new one. Yeltsin's constitution is a mishmash of French and American constitutions, completely detached from the country's realities and tradition.

So union with Belarus is still on the table right? But if that happens it would be Belarus joining a continuous RF, under the newly modified constitution?

My take on this is that Lukashenka told Putin to piss off, and he did. So no union.

JPM , says: January 15, 2020 at 5:44 pm GMT

Reaffirmed demographics as the first national priority.

How about not importing all of Central Asia, so that wages aren't depressed. Higher wages might boost that low TFR.

Maternity capital to be increased by further 150,000 rubles and constitute 616,617 rubles (≈$10,000) for a family with two children, to be annually indexed.

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