Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA
and destroys not enhances national security

News Neoconservatism Recommended Links Israel lobby Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place New American Militarism
Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Wolfowitz Doctrine Hillary role in Libya disaster Lock her up movement
Mayberry Machiavellians Robert Kagan Max Boot Paul Wolfowitz Madeleine Albright Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Leo Strauss and the Neocons
From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The ability and willingness to employ savage methods  IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement  
American Exceptionalism Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Robert Kagan Samantha Power Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush Corporatism Big Uncle is Watching You
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization  Color revolutions Guardian paper LA Times Paper by Neal Gabler Washington Post paper by Mike Allen Deception as an art form Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism
Mayberry Machiavellians Corporatism John Dilulio letter   Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Politically Incorrect Humor Etc
Note: This page is partially based on Wikipedia materials.

Introduction

  The Neocons never cease to amaze me and their latest stunt with Venezuela falls into this bizarre category of events which are both absolutely unthinkable and simultaneously absolutely predictable. This apparent logical contradiction is the direct result of a worldview and mindset which is, I believe, unique to the Neocons: a mix of imperial hubris and infinite arrogance, a complete lack of decency, a total contempt for the rest of mankind, crass ignorance, a narcissist/sociopath's inability to have any kind of empathy or imagine another guy's reaction and, finally, last but most certainly not least, crass stupidity.

Saker, The US aggression against Venezuela as a diagnostic tool Feb 4, 2019

The greater the hawkishness, the greater the ignorance.

Max Blumenthal, sited from Zero Hedge

In his volume Cultural Insurrections, Kevin MacDonald has accurately described neoconservatism as “a complex interlocking professional and family network centered around Jewish publicists and organizers flexibly deployed to recruit the sympathies of both Jews and non-Jews in harnessing the wealth and power of the United States in the service of Israel.”[3]Kevin MacDonald, Cultural Insurrections: Essays on Western Civilizations, Jewish Influence, and Anti-Semitism, The Occidental Press, 2007, p. 122. The proof of the neocons’ crypto-Israelism is their U.S. foreign policy:

“The confluence of their interests as Jews in promoting the policies of the Israeli right wing and their construction of American interests allows them to submerge or even deny the relevance of their Jewish identity while posing as American patriots. […]

Indeed, since neoconservative Zionism of the Likud Party variety is well known for promoting a confrontation between the United States and the entire Muslim world, their policy recommendations best fit a pattern of loyalty to their ethnic group, not to America.”[4]Kevin McDonald, Cultural Insurrection, op. cit., p. 66.

Laurent Guyénot, The Unz Review. Apr 8, 2019

 

The neoconservative impulse became visible in modern American foreign policy since Reagan, but it became dominant ideology and foreign policy practice during criminal George W. Bush administration, which unleashed disastrous for American people Iraq war and destabilized the region, which eventually led to creation of ISIS. Those disastrous neoconservative policies were continued during Obama administration ("Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place. Especially sinister role was played  Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton  while she was the Secretary of State. She was the butcher of Libya and Syria.

Unlike traditionalist conservatism (which in the USA survived in the form of Paleoconservatism and preaches noninterventionism), Neoconservatism has nothing to do with conservative doctrine at all. This is neoliberal interpretation of Trotskyism -- neoTrotskyism.

Like neofascism it glorifies militarism (in the form of New American Militarism as described by Professor Bacevich), emphasizes confrontation, and regime change in countries hostile to the interests of global corporations, and which are a barrier of spread of neoliberalism and extension of global, US dominated neoliberal empire. It is an extremely jingoistic creed.  All Secretaries of State starting from Madeleine "not so bright" Albright subscribed to neocon thinking. And the US Department of State since 1980 was the citadel of neoconservatives. To the extent that when Trump was elected a bunch of those jingoistic honchos wrote a letter of protest in best color revolution style. Unfortunately Trump proved to be weak they were not summarily fired without pension for this attempt to stage a color revolution (such a "diplomats letter" how this trick is called, widely publicized by MSMs supporting the particular color revolution is as classic method to put heat on opposite side, probably as popular as false flag sniper shootings from rooftops of protester and police attributed to the government).

The unspoken assumptions of neocon cult, which have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual wars of neoliberal conquest is that "wars are the health of the state".   But in  reality wars is the "health of MIC" not the state. Foreign war launched by  neocons since 1980th overextended the USA as a country and further lowered the standard living of population  of affected countries, as neoliberalism has nothing to do with raising of standard of living of population. It is about the redistribution of wealth to the top.

All-in-all neocons serve as lobbyists of MIC  providing yet another confirmation of Eisenhower warning. They are "wardogs" of MIC.

The unspoken assumptions of neocon cult have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual wars of neoliberal conquest.  Which overextended the USA as a country and lowered the standard living of population further, as if neoliberalism alone was not enough. They serve as lobbyists of MIC  providing yet another confirmation of Eisenhower warning.

It also led to destabilization of the whole regions. It was the USA that launched political Islam into its current position, which at the end resulted in creation of ISIS and "institutionalization" of  suicide bombings as the only means to fight against global neoliberal empire by people deprived of regular military means.  From which many nations, suffered especially Russia. But also several European nations such as GB and France which supported the US policies.

In Russia neocons supported radical Islam and Wahhabism promoting it in such areas as Chechnya and Dagestan. They financially and logistically supported terrorist networks and facilitated import of extremists (sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Gulf monarchies). Like in Afghanistan before that they considered Wahhabi extremists as a useful political tool in their attempts to dismember Russia, as the lesser evil.

In Ukraine neocons supported far right nationalists with distinct national socialism leanings and history of crimes against humanity (Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia - Wikipedia). They organized and financed the putsch against the legitimate (albeit corrupt) government of Yanukovich riding of the wave of population discontent with the slow standard of living and the corruption by (installed by the West) neoliberal government. And instead of promised  Euro Integration and an "instant" raise of the standard of living to European level promised by  pro-coup propaganda they got three times drop of standard of living (to African level of poverty for the most of the population) and civil war in Donbass.  Which was done with full support of several EU nations which also now have imperial ambitions and wanted to cut the country from Russia and use it the market for EU goods as well as the source of cheap commodities and labor for EU.

EuroMaydan as this color revolution was called made the country a debt slave of IMF and dropped already low standard of living of population almost three times. Making the Ukraine probably the poorest country in Europe where large percent of population (especially pensioners and single mothers) needs to survive of less the $2 a day. Average (note the word "average")  pension in Ukraine is about $1500 grivna which at the current exchange rate is approximately $60. It was three times higher before the Maydan color revolution which State Department so skillfully organized.

Everywhere neocons bring wars and disasters. And they impoverish the US middle class. To say nothing about desperate, completely robbed 50 or so million people with McJobs, who are liming essentially in the third world country that exists within the USA now  (Food Stamp Beneficiaries Exceed 46,000,000 for 38 Straight Months ). 

They are concerned mainly with enriching themselves and their masters from military industrial complex and bloated government bureaucracy, especially "national security parasites"). In other words they behave like the USSR nomenklatura -- a privileged, above the law class, degeneration of which eventually led to collapse of the USSR. Such a conservatives. And not unlike Party bureaucracy of the Third Reich, despite being disproportionally Jewish. 

In foreign policy they were a real, unmitigated  disaster.  Or more correctly series of disaster of varying magnitudes.

For their petty mercantile purposes (reckless jingoism is the credo of any MIC lobbyist) they successfully revived the threat of nuclear war with Russia (in the name of "US security", as MIC lobbyists understand it ;-). Moreover they moved Russia closer to China, which is no way is in the USA geopolitical interests.  Such a despicable "security parasites" (they really are the "security parasites")

Starting from Clinton administration their attitude to Russia was essentially was: be our vassal, or you have no right to exist. Which is reckless attitude to the second most powerful nuclear armed state in the world.  Even taking into account huge difficulties and huge deterioration of the Russia military capabilities after the dissolution of the USSR they were playing with fire initiating  the rearmament of Russia (which negatively affected the well-being of Russian people).  And they are enjoying every minute of their destructive actions.  Just look at glib face of Robert Kagan (the husband of Victoria Nuland, who was appointed as advisor to State Department by Hillary Clinton) during his public speeches. This man is definitely enjoying himself and his wit. 

 

For their petty mercantile purposes (recless jingoism is the credo of any MIC lobbyist) they successfully revived the threat of nuclear war with Russia (in the name of "US security", as MIC lobbyists understand it ;-). Moreover they moved Russia closer to China, which is no way is in the USA geopolitical interests.  Such a despicable "security parasites" (they really are the "security parasites")

...And they are enjoying every minute of their destructive actions.  Just look at glib face of Robert Kagan (the husband of Victoria Nuland, who was appointed as advisor to State Department by Hillary Clinton) during his public speeches. This man is definitely enjoying himself and his wit. 

An assertion that the fundamental determinant of the relationship between states rests on military power and the willingness to use it, is clearly wrong. It is a foreign policy equivalent to Al Capone idea that "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone". It is very close to neo-Nazi idea that "War is a natural state, and peace is a utopian dream that induces softness, decadence and pacifism." The problem here is that it's the person who promotes this creed can be shot. Of course neocons are chickenhawks and prefer other people die for their misguided adventures.  Almost non of them served in Vietnam.

The idea  that disagreement about some unrealistic postulates (such as "full spectrum dominance") is tantamount to defeatism is simply silly. "Global unilateralism" promoted by neocon since dissolution of the USSR is capable to bankrupt the USA and it awakened  really powerful countervailing forces. The military alliance of Russia, China and Iran now is a distinct possibility at least in certain areas, despite all differences. Pakistan might be  the next to join this alliance.  That's more  then 1.5 billion people hostile to the USA interests. Usually when the enemy is twise the size the fight againat it became very difficult indeeed.  And EU can't be counted as a reliable  ally any longer , as it now has its own geopolitical interests, which are not fully aligned with the  USA, especially as for China, which is tremendously important market  for Germany manifacturing. 

Democracy promotion was a nice racket (via color revolutions) until probably 2008, but now way too many countries understand the mechanics of color revolutions and created mechanism to defend themselves from such attempts. bout. They failed in Russia in 2012 and in Hong Cong later.   Their last success was EuroMaydan in Ukraine which can well turn in Pyrrhic victory.

Neocon policies created the level of anti-American sentiment at Middle East unheard before,  provoked rearmament of Russia and armament of China which together represent a formidable force able to turn the USA into radioactive ash no less effectively then the USA can turn them. 

Despite disastrous results of the Neocon foreign policy neocons remain a powerful, dominant political force in Washington. In recent Presidential race neocons were represented by Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton which managed to get almost half of the votes (or steal then for Sanders, to be exact -- DNC pushed Sanders under the bus).

After the defeat they launched anti-Russian hysteria (as the way of rallying the nation around the flag and preventing loss of power of Clinton's wing of the Democratic Party) and then the color revolutions against Trump (with heavy involvement of FBI and CIA). Russiagate will remain one of the most sordid stories in the US political life, next to McCarthyism  

Neoconservatives are attempting to build an American Empire, seen as successor to the British Empire

From Wikipedia

John McGowan, professor of humanities at the University of North Carolina, states, after an extensive review of neoconservative literature and theory, that neoconservatives are attempting to build an American Empire, seen as successor to the British Empire, its goal being to perpetuate a Pax Americana. As imperialism is largely considered unacceptable by the American media, neoconservatives do not articulate their ideas and goals in a frank manner in public discourse. McGowan states,[68]

Frank neoconservatives like Robert Kaplan and Niall Ferguson recognize that they are proposing imperialism as the alternative to liberal internationalism. Yet both Ka

 
uson also understand that imperialism runs so counter to American's liberal tradition that it must... remain a foreign policy that dare not speak its name...

While Ferguson, the Brit, laments that Americans cannot just openly shoulder the white man's burden, Kaplan the American, tells us that "only through stealth and anxious foresight" can the United States continue to pursue the "imperial reality [that] already dominates our foreign policy", but must be disavowed in light of "our anti-imperial traditions, and... the fact that imperialism is delegitimized in public discourse"...

The Bush administration, justifying all of its actions by an appeal to "national security", has kept as many of those actions as it can secret and has scorned all limitations to executive power by other branches of government or international law.

Neoconservatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In foreign policy, the neoconservatives' main concern is to prevent the development of a new rival. Defense Planning Guidance, a document prepared during 1992 by Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, is regarded by Distinguished Professor of the Humanities John McGowan at the University of North Carolina as the "quintessential statement of neoconservative thought". The report says:[68]
"Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power."

.... For its opponents it is a distinct political ideology that emphasizes the blending of military power with Wilsonian idealism...

Donald Rumsfeld and Victoria Nuland at the NATO-Ukraine consultations in Vilnius, Lithuania, October 24, 2005

Democracy promotion as the universal door opener

See also Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair

Neoconservative foreign policy is a descendant of so-called Wilsonian idealism. Neoconservatives endorse democracy promotion by the US and other democracies, based on the claim  that human rights belong to everyone, while killing thousand hundred people in their attempt to install puppet regimes in various countries in the globe. They practice so call liberation by killing, or "in order to free the village you need to destroy it". They hypocritically criticized the United Nations and, in the past, the  detente with the USSR not understanding the existence of the USSR, while disastrous to Russian people, were the main factor that protected the middle class in the USA from looting by financial oligarchy and prevented the US elite from self-destructive impulses, which became apparent after 1991.

Democracy promotion is allegedly derived from a belief that "freedom" (understood as the rule of neoliberal oligarchy subservant to the USA) is a universal human right and by opinion polls showing majority support for democracy in countries with authoritarian regimes. But the neocons driven "democracy promotion" provided fertile ground to the rise of Radical Islamism the most anti-democratic regime in existence. This essentially created ISIS. They also consider medieval Saudi Arabia to be the US ally and close eyes on horrible social condition of woman in this country.  Such a despicable hypocrites.

Another Neoconservative myth is that democratic regimes are less likely to start wars. The USA is perfect count-argument to that (although  the idea that it is a democratic country is open to review -- empires usually are not democracies, and not even republics). If we assume that the USA is still a republic, it is the most war-hungry and aggressive republic in the history of the world. Being  a direct successor of British empire, they actually managed to beat British in this respect, which is not easy, taking into account British record of mass murders in India, Opium wars and like.

Neocons argue that not extreme debilitating poverty, but the lack of freedoms, lack of economic opportunities, and the lack of secular general education in authoritarian regimes promotes radicalism and extremism. At the same time they promote nationalism and islamist extremists movement in Russia ("divide and conquer" strategy). In short  neoconservatives advocate democracy promotion to regions of the world with natural resources to loot, such  the Arab nations, Iran, Russia, and China.

During April 2006 Robert Kagan wrote in The Washington Post that Russia and China may be the greatest "challenge [neo]liberalism faces today":

"The main protagonists on the side of autocracy will not be the petty dictatorships of the Middle East theoretically targeted by the Bush doctrine. They will be the two great autocratic powers, China and Russia, which pose an old challenge not envisioned within the new "war on terror" paradigm. ... Their reactions to the "color revolutions" in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan were hostile and suspicious, and understandably so. ... Might not the successful liberalization of Ukraine, urged and supported by the Western democracies, be but the prelude to the incorporation of that nation into NATO and the European Union -- in short, the expansion of Western liberal hegemony?"[77]

During July 2008 Joe Klein wrote in TIME magazine that today's neoconservatives are more interested in confronting enemies than in cultivating friends.  In other words in foreign policy they tend to behave like a bully. He questioned the sincerity of neoconservative interest in exporting democracy and freedom, saying, "Neoconservatism in foreign policy is best described as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy."[78]

"Neoconservatism in foreign policy is best described as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy." ~  Joe Klein

Support of Israel as the key goal

During February 2009 Andrew Sullivan wrote that he no longer took Neoconservatism seriously because its basic tenet became the defense of Israel:[79]

The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right. That's the conclusion I've been forced to these last few years. And to insist that America adopt exactly the same constant-war-as-survival that Israelis have been slowly forced into... But America is not Israel. And once that distinction is made, much of the neoconservative ideology collapses.

Neoconservatives respond to charges of merely rationalizing aid for Israel by noting that their "position on the Middle East conflict was exactly congruous with the neoconservative position on conflicts everywhere else in the world, including places where neither Jews nor Israeli interests could be found – - not to mention the fact that non-Jewish neoconservatives took the same stands on all of the issues as did their Jewish confrères."[80]

Wolfowitz Doctrine as quintessential Neoconservatism

Wolfowitz Doctrine is an unofficial name given to the initial version of the Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994–99 fiscal years (dated February 18, 1992) authored by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz and his deputy Scooter Libby. Not intended for public release, it was leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992,[1] and sparked a public controversy about U.S. foreign and defense policy. The document was widely criticized as imperialist as the document outlined a policy of unilateralism and pre-emptive military action to suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status.

Such was the outcry that the document was hastily re-written under the close supervision of U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell before being officially released on April 16, 1992. Many of its tenets re-emerged in the [2] which was described by Senator Edward M. Kennedy as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept."[3]

Superpower status

The doctrine announces the US’s status as the world’s only remaining superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War and proclaims its main objective to be retaining that status.

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

Our most fundamental goal is to deter or defeat attack from whatever source... The second goal is to strengthen and extend the system of defense arrangements that binds democratic and like-minded nations together in common defense against aggression, build habits of cooperation, avoid the renationalization of security policies, and provide security at lower costs and with lower risks for all. Our preference for a collective response to preclude threats or, if necessary, to deal with them is a key feature of our regional defense strategy. The third goal is to preclude any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests, and also thereby to strengthen the barriers against the re-emergence of a global threat to the interests of the U.S. and our allies.

U.S. primacy

The doctrine establishes the US’s leadership role within the new world order.

The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.

This was substantially re-written in the April 16 release.

One of the primary tasks we face today in shaping the future is carrying long standing alliances into the new era, and turning old enmities into new cooperative relationships. If we and other leading democracies continue to build a democratic security community, a much safer world is likely to emerge. If we act separately, many other problems could result.

Unilateralism

The doctrine downplays the value of international coalitions.

Like the coalition that opposed Iraqi aggression, we should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished. Nevertheless, the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S. will be an important stabilizing factor.

This was re-written with a change in emphasis in the April 16 release.

Certain situations like the crisis leading to the Gulf War are likely to engender ad hoc coalitions. We should plan to maximize the value of such coalitions. This may include specialized roles for our forces as well as developing cooperative practices with others.

Pre-emptive intervention

The doctrine stated the US’s right to intervene when and where it believed necessary.

While the U.S. cannot become the world's policeman, by assuming responsibility for righting every wrong, we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations.

This was softened slightly in the April 16 release.

While the United States cannot become the world's policeman and assume responsibility for solving every international security problem, neither can we allow our critical interests to depend solely on international mechanisms that can be blocked by countries whose interests may be very different than our own. Where our allies interests are directly affected, we must expect them to take an appropriate share of the responsibility, and in some cases play the leading role; but we maintain the capabilities for addressing selectively those security problems that threaten our own interests.

Russian threat

The doctrine highlighted the possible threat posed by a resurgent Russia.

We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states formerly comprising the Soviet Union retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia; and we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others....We must, however, be mindful that democratic change in Russia is not irreversible, and that despite its current travails, Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.

This was removed from the April 16 release in favor of a more diplomatic approach.

The U.S. has a significant stake in promoting democratic consolidation and peaceful relations between Russia, Ukraine and the other republics of the former Soviet Union.

Middle East and Southwest Asia

The doctrine clarified the overall objectives in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil. We also seek to deter further aggression in the region, foster regional stability, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways. As demonstrated by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it remains fundamentally important to prevent a hegemon or alignment of powers from dominating the region. This pertains especially to the Arabian peninsula. Therefore, we must continue to play a role through enhanced deterrence and improved cooperative security.

...

The April 16 release was more circumspect and it reaffirmed U.S. commitments to Israel as well as its Arab allies.

In the Middle East and Persian Gulf, we seek to foster regional stability, deter aggression against our friends and interests in the region, protect U.S. nationals and property, and safeguard our access to international air and seaways and to the region's oil. The United States is committed to the security of Israel and to maintaining the qualitative edge that is critical to Israel's security. Israel's confidence in its security and U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation contribute to the stability of the entire region, as demonstrated once again during the Persian Gulf War. At the same time, our assistance to our Arab friends to defend themselves against aggression also strengthens security throughout the region, including for Israel.

Neocon architects of American foreign policy are destroying American national security

Regular Americans can't even imagine the level of hate and resentment that neocon policies produce. . And those feeling became material force when they are shared by the majority of people of a particular country. In some countries it is now really uncomfortable to be an America tourist. I know the cases then American tourists in Spain pretended being from other country to avoid this resentment. But spectrum of problems neocons inflict on the USA are much wider and more dangerous. Professor Stephen Cohen recently gave a very insightful interview to  Patrick L. Smith in salon.com (Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security) which we will reproduce verbatim:

“Architects of American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security”: Stephen F. Cohen on the truths U.S. media and politicians hide

Myths of American nationalism busted as our interview with noted scholar concludes

Patrick L. Smith

If there is a lesson in Stephen F. Cohen’s professional fortunes over the past year, it is the peril of advancing a dispassionate reading of our great country’s doings abroad. Cohen’s many pieces in The Nation on the Ukraine crisis and the consequent collapse of U.S.-Russia relations now leave him in something close to a state of siege. “My problem with this begins with the fact that… I don’t have a vested interest in one of the ‘isms,’ or ideologies,” Cohen says in this, the second part of a long interview conducted last month. 

The problem lies with the ideologues infesting the waters wherein Cohen swims. Terminally poisoned by Cold War consciousness, they cannot abide disinterested thought. Cohen has been mostly scholar, partly journalist, since the 1970s. His “Sovieticus” column, launched in The Nation in the 1980s, put a magazine traditionally tilted toward domestic issues among the few American publications providing consistent analysis of Russian affairs. At this point, Cohen’s Nation essays are the bedrock scholarly work to which those (few) writing against the orthodoxy turn.

The first half of our exchange, last week on Salon, began with events during the past year and advanced toward the post-Soviet origins of the current crisis. In part two, Cohen completes his analysis of Vladimir Putin’s inheritance and explains how he came to focus his thinking on “lost alternatives”—outcomes that could have been but were not. Most surprising to me was the real but foregone prospect of reforming the Soviet system such that the suffering that ensued since its demise could have been averted.

Salon: Putin inherited a shambles, then—as he would say, “a catastrophe.”

Stephen F. Cohen: As Russia’s leader, Putin has changed over the years, especially in foreign policy but also at home. His first impulse was toward more free-market reforms, anti-progressive taxes. He enacted a 13 percent flat tax—Steve Forbes would’ve been ecstatic, right? He offers [George W.] Bush what Clinton never really offered Yeltsin: a full partnership. And what does he do? On September 11, 2001, he called George and said, Whatever you want, we’re with you. Bush says, Well, I think we’re going to have to go to war in Afghanistan. And Putin said, I can help you. We’ve got major resources and assets in Afghanistan. I even have an army over there called the Northern Alliance. I’ll give it to you! You want overflight? It’s all yours!

How many American lives did Putin save during our land war in Afghanistan? And do you know what a political price he paid in Russia for that? Because his security people were completely against it.

They were? Please explain.

Oh, yeah. You think they minded seeing America being brought to its knees? They’d been invaded so often; let America get a taste of it! But Putin assumes he’s achieved what Yeltsin couldn’t and that this benefits the Russian state. He has a real strategic partnership with America. Now, remember, he’s already worried about his radical Islamic problem because Russia has nearly 20 million Muslim citizens of its own. Russia sits in the East and in the West; it’s on the front lines.

What does Bush give him in return? He expands NATO again and he unilaterally withdraws the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the bedrock of Russia’s nuclear security— it’s a complete betrayal. Is that how you repay somebody who’s helped you save the lives of your citizens? This is where the word “betrayal” begins to enter into the discourse.

It’s an important word for Putin.

It’s not only Putin; [Dmitry] Medvedev uses it, too, when he becomes president [in 2008]. America has broken its word, it’s betrayed us, it’s deceived us, and we no longer take America at its word— well, they never should’ve in the first fucking place, just as Gorbachev should have got the promise not to expand NATO in writing. We’d have done it anyway, but at least they would have had a talking point.

This trust, this naive trust on the part of Russians, that there’s something about American presidents that makes them honorable—it suggests they need a crash course in something. This was betrayal for Putin, and for the entire Russian political class, and Putin paid a price.

I’ve heard him called, among right-wing Russian intellectuals, an appeaser of the West. Soft. You can hear this today: Mariupol? Odessa? Should’ve taken them a year ago; they belong to us. What’s he thinking? Why is he discussing it? [Mariupol and Odessa are two contested cities in the southeastern region of Ukraine.]

So Putin sets his course, and then comes this famous speech he gives in 2007 in Munich, with McCain sitting in the front row. Putin says just what I told you. He says, Look, we want to be your partner; this is what we’ve wanted to be since Gorbachev. We believe in the common European home. But every time we turn to you or we negotiate with you or we think we have an agreement with you, you act like a hegemon and everybody has to do exactly what you say if they want to be on your side. 

Putin has come to tell them that America is risking a new Cold War with more than a decade of bad behavior towards post-Soviet Russia. John McCain interprets this as the declaration of a new Cold War.

But the demonization of Putin came earlier, before the Munich speech, when he began to drive a few favorite American oligarchs [oil companies] out of the country. I looked it up: No major oil-producing country permits majority foreign ownership of its oil. So there’s a long a long history of how Putin goes from a democrat for sure in the U.S. media and an aspiring partner of America to becoming the Hitler of today, as Hillary Clinton put it. You can see what a disease it’s become, this Putin-phobia….

RT just aired a documentary in which Putin explains exactly when and why he decided to move as he did in Crimea. It’s striking: The deliberations began the night President Yanukovych was ousted in the American-supported coup last year. Can you talk about Putin’s thinking on the Crimea question, leading to the annexation? 

Putin, in my judgment, did some wrong-headed things. We now know much more about Crimea, but even given what he has said, there was an argument. It wasn’t quite as clear-cut as he says it was. There was a debate with two sides.

One side said, “Take Crimea now or fight NATO there later.” The other said, “Let the referendum [on association with Russia, held in March 2014] go forward and they’re going to vote 80-plus percent to join Russia. We don’t have to act on it; they’ve just made a request and we’ll say what we think about it. Meanwhile, we see what happens in Kiev.” The Kremlin had done polling in Crimea. And it’s the best bargaining chip Putin will have. He’ll have Crimea wanting to join Russia and he can say to Washington, Well, you would like the Crimea to remain in Ukraine? Here’s what I’d like in return: an eternal ban on NATO membership and federalization of the Ukrainian constitution, because I have to give my Crimean brethren something.

But those arguing that Crimea was the biggest bargaining chip Putin was ever going to have lost. The other side prevailed.

Now, Putin took all the credit, but that’s not what really happened. They were all dependent on intelligence coming out of Kiev and Crimea and Donbass. You see now, if you watch that film, what a turning point the overthrow of Yanukovych was. Remember, the European foreign ministers—Polish, German, and French—had brokered an agreement saying that Yanukovych would form a coalition government and stay in power until December, and that was burned in the street. I’ll never forget the massive Klitschko [Vitali Klitschko, a prizefighter-turned-political oppositionist, currently Kiev’s mayor] standing on a platform at Maidan, all 6’ 8” of him, announcing this great triumph of negotiation, and some smaller guy whipping away the microphone and saying, Go fuck yourself. This thing is going to burn in the streets. The next day it did. That night you saw what an undefeated heavyweight champion looks like when he’s terror-stricken.

This is the turning point, and “It’s all due to Putin,” but it’s all due to Putin because demonization has become the pivot of the analysis.

What do we do from here to resolve the Ukraine question? You used the word “hope” when talking about the February cease-fire, Minsk II—“the last, best hope.” It tripped me up. Hope’s a virtue, but it can also be very cruel.

Anyone of any sense and good will knows that it [the solution] lies in the kind of home rule they negotiated in the U.K.—and don’t call it a federated Ukraine if that upsets Kiev. As the constitution stands, the governors of all the Ukrainian provinces are appointed by Kiev. You can’t have that in eastern Ukraine. Probably can’t even have that in Western and Central Ukraine anymore. Ukraine is fragmenting.

I want to turn this around: what is your view of America’s strategic goal? I ask in the context of your analysis, in “Failed Crusade,” of “transitionology,” as you term the paradigm wherein Russia was supposed to transition into a free-market paradise. As the book makes clear, it amounted to the elevation and protection of crooks who asset-stripped most of an entire nation. Now we don’t hear much about Russia’s “transition.” What is Washington’s ambition now?

I think the Ukrainian crisis is the greatest blow to American national security— even greater than the Iraq war in its long-term implications— for a simple reason: The road to American national security still runs through Moscow. There is not a single major regional or issue-related national security problem we can solve without the full cooperation of whoever sits in the Kremlin, period, end of story.

Name your poison: We’re talking the Middle East, we’re talking Afghanistan, we’re talking energy, we’re talking climate, we’re talking nuclear proliferation, terrorism, shooting airplanes out of the sky, we’re talking about the two terrorist brothers in Boston.

Look: I mean American national security of the kind I care about—that makes my kids and grandkids and myself safe—in an era that’s much more dangerous than the Cold War because there’s less structure, more non-state players, and more loose nuclear know-how and materials…. Security can only be partial, but that partial security depends on a full-scale American-Russian cooperation, period. We are losing Russia for American national security in Ukraine as we talk, and even if it were to end tomorrow Russia will never, for at least a generation, be as willing to cooperate with Washington on security matters as it was before this crisis began.

Therefore, the architects of the American policy towards Russia and Ukraine are destroying American national security—and therefore I am the patriot and they are the saboteurs of American security. That’s the whole story, and any sensible person who doesn’t suffer from Putin-phobia can see it plainly.

Is it too strong to say that the point is to destabilize Moscow?

What would that mean? What would it mean to destabilize the country that may have more weapons of mass destruction than does the U.S.?

Is that indeed the ambition?

I don’t think there’s any one ambition. I come back to the view that you’ve got various perspectives in discussion behind closed doors. I guess Mearsheimer [John Mearsheimer, the noted University of Chicago scholar] is right in the sense of saying that there’s a faction in Washington that is behaving exactly as a great power would behave and trying to maximize its security, but it doesn’t understand that that’s what other great powers do, too. That’s its failure. Gorbachev and Reagan, though it wasn’t originally their idea, probably agreed on the single most important thing: Security had to be mutual. That was their agreement and they built everything on that. We have a military build-up you’re going to perceive as a threat and build up, and I will perceive your build-up as a threat… and that’s the dynamic of permanent and conventional build-up, a permanent arms race. And that’s why Gorbachev and Reagan reasoned, We’re on the edge of the abyss. That’s why we are going to declare the Cold War over, which they did.

That concept of mutual security doesn’t mean only signing contracts: It means don’t undertake something you think is in your security but is going to be perceived as threatening, because it won’t prove to be in your interest. Missile defense is the classic example: We never should have undertaken any missile defense program that wasn’t in cooperation with Russia, but, instead, we undertook it as an anti-Russian operation. They knew it and we knew it and scientists at MIT knew it, but nobody cared because some group believed that you’ve got to keep Russia down.

The truth is, not everything depends on the president of the United States. Not everything, but an awful lot does, and when it comes to international affairs we haven’t really had a president who acted as an actual statesman in regard to Russia since Reagan in 1985-88. Clinton certainly didn’t; his Russia policy was clownish and ultimately detrimental to U.S. national security interests. Bush’s was reckless and lost one opportunity after another, and Obama’s is either uninformed or completely out to lunch. We have not had a statesman in the White House when it comes to Russia since Reagan, and I am utterly, totally, 1000 percent convinced that before November 2013, when we tried to impose an ultimatum on Yanukovych—and even right now, today—that a statesman in the White House could end this in 48 hours with Putin. What Putin wants in the Ukraine crisis is what we ought to want; that’s the reality.

Interesting.

What does Putin want? He’s said the same thing and he’s never varied: He wants a stable, territorial Ukraine—Crimea excepted—and he knows that’s possible only if Ukraine is free to trade with the West and with Russia but is never a member of NATO. However, somebody’s got to rebuild Ukraine, and he’s not going to take that burden on himself, but he will help finance it through discounted energy prices. It could all be done tomorrow if we had a statesman in the White House. Tomorrow! Nobody else has to die.

I think Chancellor Merkel understands this, too.

I think she’s come to, but how strong she is and whether Washington will cut her legs out from under her as they’re trying to do now… [Shortly before this interview Senator McCain delivered a blunt attack on Merkel at a security conference in Munich for opposing the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. The Arizona Republican was similarly critical when Merkel began to explore a diplomatic solution in Ukraine in spring 2013.]

They have very little respect for her, which is wrong.

What Lindsay Graham and McCain did in Germany, in her own country, on German national television, to her face—and the fact that she’s a woman didn’t help, either. The way they spoke to her, I can’t think of a precedent for that.

Parts of your work are very moving, and that’s not a word a lot of scholarship prompts. The enormous value the Soviet Union accreted—most Americans know nothing of this; with the media’s encouragement, we’re completely ignorant of this. There’s nothing encouraging us to understand that the hundreds of billions of misappropriated assets during the 1990s was essentially the misappropriation of Soviet wealth.

A lot of it came here, to the United States.

Can you talk about this?

I can tell you about a guy who was formerly very high up in the CIA. I called him about a something I was writing on Russian wealth smuggled through the banks into the United States, and he said, We have informed the FBI exactly where all this wealth is in the United States but we are under strict political orders to do nothing about it. Now, the interesting thing is, why now? Well, it would have badly damaged the Yeltsin regime, which the Clinton administration had unconditionally embraced, but also because that money became part of the flourishing stock and real estate markets here at that time.

Even today in Russia, when you ask people if they wish the Soviet Union hadn’t ended, you’re still getting over 60 percent, among young people, too, because they hear the stories from their parents and grandparents. It requires a separate study, but it’s not rocket science. If young kids see their grandparents dying prematurely because they’re not being paid their pensions, they’re going to resent it. When the bottom fell out of the Soviet welfare state and out of the professions, what happened in the 1990s was that the Soviet middle class— which was one of the most professional and educated, and had some savings and which therefore should have been the building block of a Russian free market sector— that middle class was wiped out, and it’s never been recreated. Instead, you got a country of impoverished people and of very, very rich people—with a small middle class serving the rich. That changed under Putin; Putin has rebuilt the middle class, gradually.

The Russian middle class isn’t the same as ours. A lot of Russia’s middle class are people who are on the federal budget: Army officers, doctors, scientists, teachers—these are all federal budget people. They’re middle class, but they don’t become middle class as autonomous property owners. A lot of my friends are members of this class, and a lot of them are very pro-Putin, but a lot of my friends are very anti-Putin, too. The thing about the Soviet Union can be summarized very simply: The Soviet Union lasted 70-plus years, so that would be less than the average life of an American male today. A person cannot jump out of his or her autobiography any more than they can jump out of their skin; it’s your life. You were born in the Soviet Union, you had your first sexual experience in the Soviet Union, you were educated, you got a career, you got married, you raised your kids: That was your life. Of course you miss it, certainly parts of it.

There were ethnic nationalities in the Soviet Union who hated it and wanted to break away, and this became a factor in 1991, but for a great many people— certainly the majority of Russians and a great many Ukrainians and Belorussians and the central Asians— it’s not surprising that 25 years later, those adults still remember the Soviet Union with affection. This is normal, and I don’t find anything bad in it. You know, Putin wasn’t actually the first to say this but he did say it and it’s brilliant and tells you who Putin is and who most Russians are. He said this: Anyone who doesn’t regret the end of the Soviet Union has no heart. Anyone who thinks you can recreate the Soviet Union has no head. That’s it, that’s exactly right!

Didn’t Putin say that the end of the Soviet Union was the 20th century’s greatest catastrophe?

It all has to do with the word “the.” There’s no “the” in Russian. Did Putin say, in translation, that the end of the Soviet Union was “the” greatest catastrophe of the 20th century? If so, there’s something wrong with that, because for Jews it was the Holocaust. Or did he say, “one of” the greatest catastrophes?

I would have guessed the latter.

All four professional translators I sent Putin’s phrase to said you have to translate it as “one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century.” Now, we can have a discussion. He’s taken a moderate position, but what are the others? Fair enough, but catastrophe for whom? Americans don’t think it was a catastrophe. Putin would say, “Look, 20 million Russians found themselves outside the country when the Soviet Union broke up, that was a tragedy for them, a catastrophe. Seventy or 80 percent plunged into poverty in the 1990s, lost everything. Can I put that on the list of “one of the greatest?” I would say sure, because for everybody there’s a greater catastrophe. For the Jews there’s no catastrophe greater than the Holocaust. For the Armenians, their genocide. Again, people can’t jump out of their history. A tolerant, democratic person acknowledges that. Each people and nation has its own history. I’d like to write an article about this, but I’m not going to live long enough to write all the articles or books I want to write. We say, for example, the Russians have not come to grips with and fully acknowledged the horrors of Stalinism and its victims. I would argue in this article that they have done more to acknowledge the horrors of Stalinism than we have of slavery.

Interesting.

For example, do we have a national museum of the history of slavery in the United States? They’re building a large one in Moscow to commemorate Stalin’s victims. He recently signed a decree mandating a monument in central Moscow to those victims.

In the way of being moved by some of the things you write, I’ve wanted to ask you about this for years. It has to do with the sentiments of Russians and what they wanted, their ambitions for themselves, some form of… as I read along in these passages I kept saying, “I wonder if he’s going to use the phrase ‘social democracy.’” And, sure enough, you did. These passages got me to take Rudolph Bahro [author of “The Alternative in Eastern Europe”] off the shelf. The obvious next step after East-West tension subsided was some form of social democracy. I don’t know where you want to put it. I put it between Norway and Germany somewhere. To me what happened instead is a horrific tragedy, not only for Russia but for Eastern Europe.

My problem with this begins with the fact that I’m not a communist, I’m not a socialist, a social democrat. I’d like to have enough money to be a real capitalist, but it’s a struggle. [Laughs.] I don’t have a vested interest in one of the “isms” or the ideologies, but I agree with you. I don’t know about Eastern Europe, let’s leave it aside, but look at Russia. You’d have thought that the logical outcome of the dismantling of the Stalinist Communist system, because the system was built primarily by Stalin from the 1930s on, would have been Russian social democracy and that, of course, was what Gorbachev’s mission was. Lots of books have been written, most persuasively by Archie Brown, the great British scholar, who knows Gorbachev personally, probably as well as I do, that Gorbachev came to think of himself as a European social democrat while he was still in power. That’s what his goal was. He had this close relationship with the Social Democratic prime minister of Spain, I forget his name.

Zapatero?

I don’t remember, but I remember that they did a lot of social democratic socializing and talking.

Felipe Gonzalez, I think it was.

Gonzalez, that’s right. Gorbachev was a very well-informed man and his advisors during his years in power were mostly social democrats and had been for years. Their mission had been to transform the Soviet Union. Now, remember, Lenin began as a social democrat, and the original model for Lenin had been not only Marx but the German Social Democratic Party. The Bolshevik or Communist Party was originally the Russian Social Democratic Party, which split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. So in a way, and I once said this to Gorbachev, historically you want to go back to Lenin before he became a Bolshevik. He said, “Well that’s kind of complicated.” Then Gorbachev said, “Everybody agrees Russia is a left-of-center country.”

The Russian people are left of center. They’re a welfare-state country. Gorbachev had this interesting conversation with Putin, when he went to tell Putin that he, Gorbachev, was going to start a social democratic party. There had been several start-ups and they never went anywhere. And Putin said that’s the right thing to do, because Russia really is a left-of-center country. So Putin said the same thing. And so Russia is, if you look at the history of Russia…

Are you talking about Russia very early, thinking about Russian givenness to community and all that?

However you put it all together, the peasant tradition, the urban tradition, the socialist tradition. Almost all the revolutionary parties were socialist. You didn’t have a Tea Party among them. This is a Russian tradition. Now, it’s obviously changed, but I would say that today, looking at the polls, most Russians overwhelmingly believe that the state has obligations that include medical care, free education, and guaranteeing everybody a job. In fact, it’s in the Russian constitution, the guarantee of a job. Most Russians feel there should not be a “free market” but a social or regulated market, that some things should be subsidized, that the government should regulate certain things, and that nobody should be too rich or too poor. For that you get 80 percent of the vote every time. So that’s a social democratic program, right? Why don’t they have it?

I ask everybody in Russia who wants a social democratic party. They exist, but not a party that can win elections? What’s the problem here? I think know, but I want to hear Russians tell me what’s right. People cite what you and I would guess. First of all, there’s the hangover from communism, which was social democratic and somewhat socialist, in some form.

Second, and this is probably the key thing, social democratic movements tended to grow out of labor movements—labor unions, historically, in England and Scandinavia and Germany. They became the political movement of the labor movement, the working class movement. So you normally get a labor movement that favors political action instead of strikes, creates a political party, you have a parliamentary system, they begin to build support in the working class, elements of the middle class join them, and you end up eventually with European social democracy.

Old Labour in Britain is a perfect example.

Well, the labor unions in Russia are a complete mess. I shouldn’t say that, but they’re complicated. The major one remains the old Soviet official one, which is in bed deeply with state employers. The independent one, or ones, haven’t been able to get enough traction. In almost every European country there were circumstances, you might say the political culture was favorable. Those objective circumstances don’t exist [in Russia]. First, you have an insecure savaged middle class that’s seen its savings confiscated or devalued repeatedly in the last 25 years. You’ve got a working class trapped between oligarchs, state interests and old industries, and private entrepreneurs who are very vulnerable. In other words, the working class itself is in transition. Its own insecurities don’t lead it to think in terms of political organizations but in terms of issues—of whether Ford Motor Company is going to fire them all tomorrow. They’re localized issues.

Then you don’t have a leadership. Leadership really matters. No one has emerged, either in the Russian parliament or in Russian political life. By the 1990s Gorbachev was past his prime and too hated for what had happened to the country. He hoped to be, when he ran for president that time [in 1996] and got 1 percent, he hoped to be the social democratic leader. There are a couple guys in Parliament who aspire to be the leader of Russian social democracy…. When I’m asked, and I’ve told this to young social democrats and to Gennady Zyuganov, whom I’ve known for 20 years, the leader of the Russian Communist Party, the only real electoral party, that Russia needs social democracy with a Russian face….

What this means is that the most important force in Russia, and people were wrong to say Putin created it, is nationalism. This began, in fact, under Stalin. It was embedded during the Brezhnev years, and it was overshadowed during perestroika in the late-1980s. Then there was an inevitable upsurge as a result of the 1990s. You cannot be a viable political candidate in Russia today unless you come to grips with nationalism.

Therefore, the best way, in my judgment, if you also want democracy, is social democracy with a Russian nationalist face. What’s interesting is the guy who was until recently the most popular opposition leader, Navalny [Alexei Navalny, the noted anti-corruption activist], who got nearly 30 per cent of the vote in the Moscow mayoral elections and then blew it by becoming again a foe of the entire system instead of building on his electoral success—he’s too nationalistic for the taste of a lot of democrats.

Truly? You wouldn’t know it from what you read.

He’s got a bad history in regards to the Caucasus people, among others. But what’s interesting in this regard is, we don’t ever speak of American nationalism. We call it patriotism. It’s weird, isn’t it? We don’t have a state, we have a government….

Every American politician who seeks the presidency in effect tries to make American nationalism the program of his or her candidacy, but they call it patriotism. They’re fully aware of the need to do this, right? So why they think Putin doesn’t have to do it, too, is completely beyond me. There’s no self-awareness.

In Russia, people had lost hope tremendously after 1991 but their hope later attached to Putin—imagine what he faced. For example, can you imagine becoming the leader of such a country and for the sake of consensus having a textbook putting together Tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet history? Our presidents had a hard time dealing with slave and post-slave, Civil War and post-Civil War history. How do they do it? Each president did it differently, but Putin inherited this conflicting history, and the way he’s tried to patch all three together into a consensual way for Russians to view their history and to teach kids in school is very interesting. Now, of course, it’s being ruptured again with this war and with Crimea and with this new nationalism.

I’d like to change the subject. Often in the books you mention an interest in alternatives: What could’ve happened if this or that hadn’t. We just covered one, the missed opportunity for a historically logical social democratic outcome in Russia. How do you account for this tendency in your thinking?

We have formative experiences—what shaped you, at least so you think when you look back. You don’t know it at the time, you don’t know a formative experience is formative until later. You’d agree with that.

It’s only in hindsight. “Reality takes form only in memory.” Proust.

For me it was growing up in the segregated South. But the reality was valid in retrospect, because I later realized that what I was doing had been so shaped by growing up in the segregated South, the way I reacted to that and the way I learned from it later, actually, in a strange way, led me to Russia.

You suggested this in the book on gulag returnees, “The Victims Return.” I wonder if you could explain the connection. How did growing up in Kentucky [Cohen was raised in Owensboro] lead you to Russian studies, and what does it do for your analysis of the Russian situation? How does a Kentucky childhood keep you alert to alternatives?

Well, you have to remember what segregation was. I didn’t understand this as a little boy, but it was American apartheid. Owensboro, probably had fewer than  20,000 people then, including the farmers. For a kid growing up in a completely segregated county, first of all, the world you’re born into is the normal world. I had no questions about it…. I didn’t perceive the injustice of it.

And then you get older and you begin to see the injustice and you wonder, how did this happen?… At Indiana University I run into this professor who becomes my mentor, Robert C. Tucker, [Tucker, who died in 2010, was a distinguished Russianist and author of a celebrated biography of Stalin]. I’d been to Russia—accidentally, I went on a tour—and he asked, “What in Russia interests you?” And I said, “Well, I’m from Kentucky, and I’ve always wondered if there was an alternative in Kentucky’s history between being deep South and not being deep South.” And Tucker said, “You know, one of the biggest questions in Russian history is lost alternatives. Nobody ever studies them.” And I said, “Aha!”

So the title of your 2009 book, “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives,” is in his honor?

I began to live in Russia in 1976, for two or three months a year until they took my visa away in 1982. This is when I got deeply involved in the dissident movement, smuggling manuscripts out and books back in and all these things. I begin to think, how does Russia change today? And my mind reverted to segregation and the end of segregation and the friends and foes of change…. I wrote an article called “The Friends and Foes of Change” about reformism and conservatism in the Soviet system, because I thought that it was institutions, it was culture, it was history and leaders and that you needed a conjunction of these events before you could get major change in Russia and the Soviet Union…. I published that as an article in 1976 or 1977 and I expanded it for a book I wrote, “Rethinking the Soviet Experience,” which was published in 1985, a month before Gorbachev came to power. And everybody would later say, “He foresaw Gorbachev.”

Actually I didn’t quite. What I foresaw was perestroika. For me it wasn’t about the name of the leader, but the policy such leader would enact. I got one thing wrong. Because it was so hard to make this argument in Cold War America, that the Soviet Union had a capacity for reform awaiting it, if factors came together. I didn’t think to carry the argument beyond liberalization to actual democratization. So I didn’t foresee a Gorbachev who would enact actual democratization, free voting, and dismantle the Communist Party…. But I always thought that thinking about the history of Kentucky, living through segregation, watching the change, seeing the civil rights movement, seeing the resistance to it and why helped me think more clearly about the Soviet Union under Brezhnev and about my dissident friends. And I also knew reformers in the party bureaucracy pretty well, and when we would talk at night, I never mentioned this but my mind would always kind of drift back.

The connection is not at all obvious but you explain it very well and it’s clear once you do. 

Well, sometimes people read a book that opens their eyes. I think the whole secret, particularly as you get older… Trotsky I think wrote that after some age, I think he said 39 or 45, all we do is document our prejudices. And there’s some truth to that, obviously. But one of the ways that you avoid becoming dogmatic about your own published views is to keep looking for things that challenge what you think. You try to filter them through whatever intellectual apparatus you’ve been using for, in my case, 40 years.

I thought it would be interesting to get through those sections of Kennan’s journals [“The Kennan Diaries,” 2014] that would be germane to our exchange. What struck me coming away from them was the enormous sadness and pessimism that hung over him in the later years. I wonder if you share that.

My position has always been, America doesn’t need a friend in the Kremlin. We need a national security partner. Friendships often don’t last. Partnerships based on common interests, compatible self-interests, do.

I have always known such a partnership would be difficult to achieve because there are so many differences, conflicts, and Cold War landmines. There were numerous chances to enhance the relationship—during the Nixon-Brezhnev détente period, Gorbachev and Reagan, Gorbachev and Bush, even with Putin after 9/11, when he helped [George W.] Bush in Afghanistan. But they all became lost opportunities, those after 1991 lost mainly in Washington, not Moscow.

When I speak of lost alternatives I do not mean the counter-factuals employed by novelists and some historians—the invention of “what-ifs.” I mean actual alternatives that existed politically at turning points in history, and why one road was taken and not the other. Much of my work has focused on this large question in Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history and in U.S.-Russian relations.

So you ask if I’m disappointed by the lost opportunities for an American-Russian partnership, especially in light of the terrible confrontation over Ukraine? Having struggled for such a partnership for about 40 years, yes, of course, I’m personally disappointed—and even more so by the Ukraine crisis because I think it may be fateful in the worst sense.

On the other hand, as an historian who has specialized in lost alternatives, well, now I have another to study, to put in historical context and analyze. And it’s my historical analysis—that an alternative in Ukraine was squandered primarily in Washington, not primarily in Moscow—that those who slur me don’t like.

To which I reply, Let them study history, because few of them, if any, seem ever to have done so.

Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

More Patrick L. Smith.  

Nulandgate as an example of disastrous neocon foreign policy

While moving Ukraine closer to the West might be a worthwhile goal, but handing of this geopolitical task by the USA is a classic case of "elephant in china store". Level of incompetence, Chutzpah demonstrated by Nuland and her neocon friends in State Department is simply staggering. With the level of control of Yanukovich they demonstrated  during EuroMaydan events, including their ability simply buy some key government figures (and control of a part of Ukrainian security apparatus, inherited by Yanukovich from Yushchenko, who was a pro-Western president)  the need to violet overthrow of his government is highly questionable.

As a result, Ukrainians (like Iranian and Libyans before them) became another victim of Washington's dirty geopolitical games. And they are paying for those games with their lives,  with dramatically (to the level of starvation of pensioners; and I am not exaggerating) diminished standard of living and destroyed infrastructure, completely broken economic ties with Russia -- which was the major economic partner and major market for Ukrainian goods.

While rise of Ukrainian nationalism was given, taking into account the mere fact of independence, the forms which it took are definitely sub optional. Now they have a civil war in the South East, with all the associated cruelty and destruction. In other words "Somalization" of Ukraine proceeded after February 22, 2014 at full speed. It's very easy to destroy a civil order in a fragile country, but it will take decades to repair the damage and bring citizens back to their previous level of well-being and security.

Victoria Nuland will probably enter the history as a person who instigated the start of civil war in Ukraine. Generally Ukraine proved to be another colossal failure of the USA foreign policy: they tried to hit Russia, but got closer alliance of Russia and China. And like elephant in China store they hit Ukraine first, breaking country into peaces,  destroying the economy in the process. And what West needed is a new market for manufacturing, not a new hot spot. Not another failed country that now needs to be financed and maintained by Western loans which have little chance to be repaid.  Actually the role of Germany and personally Angela Merkel in all this mess is pretty negative too, although Germans definitely can't match the level of Chitzpah of their transatlantic masters.

Important factor contributing to the failures of the US foreign policy in recent years is the decrease of the intellectual potential of the "foreign policy establishment". To see the trend it's enough to compare Kissinger or Brzezinski, with the current Secretary Kerry and Victoria Nuland. The result is the degradation of quality of the USA foreign policy, which now creates a lot of unnecessary anger and indignation in large part of Europe and Asia. Even when goals of the USA are not that imperialistic per se. 

Unlike McFaul who got Ph.D, Nuland has just BA from Brown University (1983) where she studied Russian literature, political science, and history. She never served in Russian or even any Eastern European embassy. Her major previous position were  U.S. ambassador to NATO and State Department spokeswoman. Both positions required very little diplomacy and destructive influence of being the State Department spokeswoman (which is the propagandist, not a diplomat) were clearly detrimental to her current role.  Especially, her previous position as the US ambassador to NATO which essentially conditions a person to view Russia only via hairlines. And she lacks real, native diplomatic skills which the following dialogs clearly attests:

The start of this trend toward the intellectual degradation probably has began with the collapse of the USSR. At that time, the USA elite suddenly became the actual "master of the world", which does not need to be engaged in maneuvers in international politics, but can simply to impose their will through various levers of political and economic coercion, and, if necessary, by military operations. So the USA became a bully.

The first robin of this degradation was "not so bright" Madeleine (not so bright) Albright -- an interesting example if not a female sociopath, then a pretty much borderline personality. Those personalities do not care about building lasting fundament of international relations based on UN (which was created as an effort for preventing the repeat of WWII), they were hell bent on destroying this framework to provide the USA maximum political and economic advantages in the unipolar world. As such they all work toward WWIII ( Jen, July 13, 2014 at 6:11 pm ):

Since when Madeleine Albright (she who uttered the notorious line “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” to Colin Powell) was US State Secretary, the US State Department has more or less acted as a rogue element within the US government. Not that this particular gallery of rogues has been the only one with a mind of its own. The US Treasury is dominated by Goldman Sachs management, some of whose people have investments and links with arms companies and thus clear conflicts of interest. Plus US economic and foreign policies have been dictated by University of Chicago alumni who worship Friedrich Hayek / Milton Friedman free market economics and Leo Strauss’s faux-Platonian Republic political philosophy in which a ruling elite tells lies to its subjects to keep them all under control.

Nuland can also can be viewed as example of a related trend: the trend for the appointment to senior posts in the State Department people on the criteria of loyalty to a particular clan of the political elite to the detriment of the interests of the state as a whole. This trend started under Reagan and which got in full force under Bush II and continued under Barack Obama administration. Victoria Nuland was a member of Cheney's Cabal of Zealots:

'Cabal' of Zealots - Wilkerson calls Cheney’s inner group a “cabal” of arrogant, intensely zealous, highly focused loyalists. Recalling Cheney’s staff interacting in a variety of interagency meetings and committees, “The staff that the vice president sent out made sure that those [committees] didn’t key anything up that wasn’t what the vice president wanted,” says Wilkerson.

“Their style was simply to sit and listen, and take notes. And if things looked like they were going to go speedily to a decision that they knew that the vice president wasn’t going to like, generally they would, at the end of the meeting, in great bureaucratic style, they’d say: ‘We totally disagree. Meeting’s over.’” The committee agendas were generally scuttled.

And if something did get written up as a “decision memo” bound for the Oval Office, Cheney himself would ensure that it died before ever reaching fruition.”

It does not help that Nuland is married to Washington Post columnist and neoconservative historian Robert Kagan, who helped sell the case for the Iraq War, advised both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, and co-founded the Project for a New American Century think tank with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. His credentials as neocon chickenhawk in the conservative foreign policy establishment are unimpeachable. Obama has spoken fondly of some of Kagan’s work as well.

And it does not help that her previous job was State Department spokesmen, the job which definitely further  radicalized her into right-wing neocon zealot. And would negatively effect the political views of  even more moderate person then Nuland was at the moment of her appointment.  Now she is definitely far tot he right from her husband Robert Kagan, who along with Wolfowitz is a leading US neocon:

Nuland is married to Washington Post columnist and neoconservative historian Robert Kagan, who helped sell the case for the Iraq War, advised both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, and co-founded the Project for a New American Century think tank with Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Obama has spoken fondly of some of Kagan’s work as well, but his credentials in the conservative foreign policy establishment are unimpeachable.

"Republicans are good at wielding power, but they're not so wonderful when it comes to the more idealistic motives of liberal internationalism. The Democrats are better at liberal internationalism, but they're not so good at wielding power. I would say that if there were a Joe Lieberman/John McCain party, I'm in the Joe Lieberman/John McCain party."

- Robert Kagan

Leading antiwar blogger Marcy Wheeler called her a “former Cheney hack.” In both Bush and Obama State Departments when such people commit errors, some of which had all the signs of intentional crimes, they are swiped under the carpet. This has created favorable conditions for creation of the situation when real national interests and the security of the USA were sacrificed to the private interests of individual corporations and oligarchic clans, which enriched themselves using "sacred" neoliberal principle: " profits to private corporations, expenses to the state."

This reduction of the intellectual potential of the American elite contributed to gradual replacement of real experts in the higher echelons of power with incompetents who are sometimes called "effective managers" - people with close, often family connection to powerful clans (such as neoconservatives) and who after obtaining particular position try to advance interests of those clans on international arena. Occupying senior positions, such "effective managers" select the relevant employees. Both Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland can be viewed as examples of this trend.

Foreign policy became yet another area in which, in best traditions of neoliberalism, the objective interests of the United States as a state are sacrificed to the interests of private corporations. for example by driving the United States into military conflicts, in result of which the country suffers tremendous losses -- both material and image-related -- and only certain corporations reap huge profits (Iraq). There are similar signs of the same intellectual degradation in other areas, for example development of new types of military hardware based on unproven technologies. Which gives zero results but still generating huge profits for military-industrial complex.

This intellectual degradation strengthen Messianic elements in the USA foreign policy, the confidence that only the USA should solely determine all the elements of the new world order in all countries. And for this trend EuroMaidan in general and Victoria Nuland in particular is a textbook example.

See more in "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place

Instead of conclusions: Neocons are the War Party

Justin Raimondo aptly described neocons as the war party:

Such phrases as "the War Party" (yes, capitalized like that), and casual mention of "the neocons" – language pretty much confined to this site, until relatively recently – are now commonplace. The anti-interventionist lexicon is defining the terms of the debate, and I think Antiwar.com can take much of the credit.

All during the period leading up to the Kosovo war – and long after – we warned of the danger posed by the neoconservatives, and their doctrine of "benevolent global hegemony," as Bill Kristol, their Lenin, put it in 1996. In my first column, dated February 26, 1999, I wrote:

"Well-funded and well-connected, the War Party is such a varied and complex phenomenon that a detailed description of its activities, and its vast system of interlocking directorates and special interests, both foreign and domestic, would fill the pages of a good-sized book. The alternative is to break down the story, and serve up its constituent parts in brief glimpses, portraits of individuals and organizations that lobbied hard for this war and its bloody prosecution."

Except that the war I was referring to was the Kosovo war, those words might easily have been written today. The face of the enemy is unchanged: what's changed is that it is increasingly recognized, and resented. That is what we have been doing, here at www.antiwar.com: revealing, with every link and article, the many faces of the War Party – in all its aspects, and from a wide variety of viewpoints.

Our eclecticism has been the focus of criticism by some: David Frum, the ex-White House speechwriter turned neocon enforcer of political correctness, recently took us to task for running links to pieces by John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other demons of the right-wing imagination. It is typical of Commissar Frum that he would misunderstand the whole purpose of linking in this way: the very concept of the internet, with its constant cross-referencing interconnectivity, is utterly alien to the party-lining neocon mentality.

Another problem for the neocons is that it's much harder to smear someone on the internet than it is on paper, without showing up the smearer as a liar. In criticizing the views of an opponent, one is obliged to come up with a link – so that readers can see for themselves if the criticism is fair. The artful use of ellipses no longer works, because the entire context of a statement is readily available. Of course, one always can do what Commissar Frum did in his National Review screed against antiwar libertarians and conservatives, and not provide any links to the targets of abuse. But that isn't very convincing. Indeed, it is highly suspicious: no wonder many conservatives are now rising up against the self-appointed arbiters of political correctness on the Right. The neocon campaign to smear conservative opponents of the Iraq war as "anti-American" has backfired badly – and we at Antiwar.com take a special pride in knowing that this site had a lot to do with that.

We have, from the beginning, cultivated anti-interventionist sentiment on the Right, not only among libertarians – who already accept it as a defining principle of their ideology – but also among conservatives. The idea that we cannot be a republic and an empire is finally beginning to dawn on the advocates of limited government -–as they see the national security state swallowing up the last of our freedoms. Big Brother reads our email and tracks our every move, while Big Government just keeps on getting bigger.

Conservatives are catching on, and, while Antiwar.com alone can't take credit for this, what we can take credit for is amplifying and popularizing anti-interventionist views on the right, injecting them into the national debate.

Over the years Antiwar.com has presented a wide range of opinion, from left to right and all points in between, yet we have always been pretty up-front about our own ideological predilections. We are libertarians: we stand for the free market, and we don't take the view that American culture and American capitalism are the repositories of all that is wrong with the world. We reserve that role for governments –notably, and especially lately, the U.S. federal government.

We support the antiwar movement, yet we are not uncritical: far from it. We have tried to promote some sense of self-awareness, and of responsibility, while doing our best to correct what we view as the mistakes and misconceptions that are rife in antiwar circles. You may not always agree with our analysis – of tactics, or of general principles – but it is hard to contend that we haven't consistently tried to broaden and deepen the anti-interventionist current, in America and internationally.

Looking back on where we've been, I am filled with pride – and a sense of optimism. Looking ahead, however, to the prospect of future wars, I can feel only a gathering sense of dread.

My friend Pat Buchanan has recently posed the question: "Is the Neoconservative Moment Over?" He makes the case that the worst may already be behind us:

"The salad days of the neoconservatives, which began with the president's Axis-of-Evil address in January 2002 and lasted until the fall of Baghdad may be coming to an end. Indeed, it is likely the neoconservatives will never again enjoy the celebrity and cachet in which they reveled in their romp to war on Iraq.

"…the high tide of neoconservatism may have passed because the high tide of American empire may have passed. 'World War IV,' the empire project, the great cause of the neocons, seems to have been suspended by the President of the United States."

It's a nice thought, but I don't believe it for a moment. Not when the same propaganda campaign once directed at Iraq is now being launched against Iran; not when leading politicians declare that U.S. troops may have to go after Hamas – and certainly not as long as the President of the United States reserves the "right" to carry out a policy of "regime change" as a means of preemptive "defense."

The empire project may or may not be temporarily suspended: perhaps stalled is the right word. We can be sure, however, that the War Party isn't going away. As long as they're around, and more active than ever, Antiwar.com is a necessity. But our continued existence is by no means assured.

Unlike the interventionists, who lavish billions – much of it taxpayer dollars – on their permanent propaganda campaign, Antiwar.com doesn't have access to unlimited funding. Arrayed against us is the whole complex of neocon think tanks, newspaper chains, radio networks and special interests that keep the arteries of the media clogged with a constant stream of warmongering disinformation and outright fabrications. We have no Rupert Murdoch, no "merchants of death," and no government subsidies to fill our coffers. We depend on you, our readers, for the support we need to survive.

... ... ...


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Home 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section


The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.

And while you're studying that reality-judiciously, as you will-we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[2]

An unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove:

Reality-based community - Wikipedia

[Nov 09, 2019] Made In America How the U.S. Government Paid For Turkey's War in Syria The National Interest

Nov 09, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Mounting evidence shows that Turkey is now using rebel groups paid for by a $1 billion U.S. taxpayer-funded program as its soldiers in a brutal war on the Kurdish-led forces in Syria -- which were also armed and trained by America.

U.S. officials are describing these militants as "thugs, bandits, and pirates" as the Turkish-led Islamist forces are currently committing alleged war crimes against civilians and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northeast Syria. Ironically, the United States armed many of these rebels as part of an effort to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Critics say that there were warning signs along the way year after year. In fact, Turkish-backed fighters recently videotaped themselves using a U.S.-made anti-tank rocket against an SDF vehicle, perhaps itself supplied by the U.S. military. "If a fighter was in a faction that received weapons from the CIA, and is still fighting today -- and that's a big if -- he is most likely in the ranks of the Syrian National Army," said Foreign Policy Research Institute Fellow Elizabeth Tsurkov, who has extensive contacts with Syrian rebels.

Anti-Russia and anti-Iran hawks believe that the United States could have ended the could have pre-empted the whole mess in Northeast Syria -- Turkey, the Kurds, ISIS, and all -- by taking out Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Now that the window of opportunity has passed, and as President Donald Trump doubles down on ending the "endless war" in Syria, anti-Assad hawks have shifted their attention toward using U.S. power to pressure the Syrian dictator into submission. But first, they have to clean up the image of the Syrian opposition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORDER IT NOW

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Jews in the headline another slow thread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what are the three times?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You mean something like the Samson option?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She has us all to herself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Nov 09, 2019] Donald Trump s Only Crime Is Defending Himself by Daniel McCarthy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Impeachment is a game that Democrats are playing with Donald Trump, and the game's only rule is "heads I win, tails you lose." ..."
"... : by telling the president that he was not a subject of the probe and then refusing to issue a statement to that effect, Comey was making the point: Trump might be the country's elected executive, but men like Comey were the government. Officials could leak, they could issue anonymous quotes prejudicial to the president, and all Trump could do was wait until Comey decided to clear his name. ..."
"... by the time he issued his report, the protracted investigation, and all the hype about Trump and Russia that it sustained, had done its political damage and hammered the lesson home. Republicans suffered a bloodbath in the 2018 midterms, and the next president would think twice-and then twice again-about treating an FBI director as his underling. ..."
"... On January 11, 2017, Politico ran a news story under the headline "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire." The story documented Ukraine's meddling on behalf of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern summarized the findings: ..."
"... Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton's allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found. ..."
"... Trump was within his rights as president to demand answers from Ukraine. And if he stood to benefit politically it was because Ukraine had already involved itself in American politics on the side of Democrats: severing those dubious ties and preventing further manipulation of U.S. elections would necessarily come at the expense of the party that Ukrainians had cultivated when Barack Obama was in power and which they had hoped to keep in power by helping Hillary Clinton ..."
"... Ukraine may have failed to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Democrats hope to use Ukraine to remove Trump now, either through impeachment-a longshot-or by weakening him and the GOP ahead of the 2020 election. And Democrats hope that Republican senators will be so embarrassed and perhaps divided by a trial in the Senate that they will lose control of that chamber in 2020, too. They know Trump will keep fighting, and the harder he fights, the more he refuses to play by the rigged rules of the game, the more opportunity Democrats see to frame his defensive moves as outrageous and impeachable offenses. With Nixon and Watergate, the cover-up was often said to be worse than the crime. With Trump, there is no crime, but his defiant acts of self-defense are enough to convict him-or so the Democrats and their allies hope. ..."
Nov 08, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

With Trump, there is no crime, but his defiant acts of self-defense are enough to convict him -- or so the Democrats and their allies hope.

by Daniel McCarthy
,

With Trump, there is no crime, but his defiant acts of self-defense are enough to convict him-or so the Democrats and their allies hope.

Impeachment is a game that Democrats are playing with Donald Trump, and the game's only rule is "heads I win, tails you lose." The president is familiar with these rules by now, as they're the same ones that governed the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. FBI Director James Comey told Trump at the outset that he was not a target of the investigation.

Yet anonymous quotes and other questionably sourced reports continued to appear in the press claiming that Trump was a Russian asset-as Hillary Clinton might bluntly put it-and so the president asked Comey to say in public what he had told him in private. Comey refused, and Trump soon fired him.

This act of self-defense, or pique, depending on your point of view, triggered calls for the appointment of a special counsel to take over the investigation-which ballooned from an investigation that didn't center around Trump into one in which Trump's behavior toward Comey was grounds for investigating the president. Comey had made a power play: by telling the president that he was not a subject of the probe and then refusing to issue a statement to that effect, Comey was making the point: Trump might be the country's elected executive, but men like Comey were the government. Officials could leak, they could issue anonymous quotes prejudicial to the president, and all Trump could do was wait until Comey decided to clear his name.

Other politicians might play by those rules out the desire for self-preservation. Trump chose not to. And so, an ex-FBI director, who may have had hopes of becoming director once again, took over the investigation. Comey would not go unavenged. Mueller ultimately found nothing criminal or meriting a recommendation of impeachment in Trump's behavior. But by the time he issued his report, the protracted investigation, and all the hype about Trump and Russia that it sustained, had done its political damage and hammered the lesson home. Republicans suffered a bloodbath in the 2018 midterms, and the next president would think twice-and then twice again-about treating an FBI director as his underling.

The Ukraine corruption that is at the heart of the Democrats' impeachment project involves the same logic if somewhat different players. On January 11, 2017, Politico ran a news story under the headline "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire." The story documented Ukraine's meddling on behalf of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern summarized the findings:

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton's allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

If a foreign power involves itself is a U.S. election like that, shouldn't America ask questions? And shouldn't aid money to that foreign power be held up until those questions were answered-not least because withholding those funds might be necessary to compel cooperation with the investigation and to get the foreign interest to mend its ways? The questions Trump had to ask in this case, however, involving what ties Ukrainians had to prominent Democratic Party figures, could and would, of course, be portrayed by Democrats and the media sympathetic to them as a kind of election interference in its own right. Why, Trump was demanding a quid pro quo from Kiev-the funds in return for information about the Democrats or an investigation that would embarrass a possible 2020 nominee.

Again, as Trump's enemies would have it, he loses if he acts (by firing Comey, by urging Kiev to look into questionable behavior by or benefiting Democrats), and he loses if he doesn't act (and simply accepts mischaracterizations of the Russia investigation in the press or Kiev's intrigues with Democrats). Trump has a predilection to defy his enemies-something they might now have come to count on-so rather than taking the beating they want to mete out to him, he hits back, and then they cry foul. The media intensifies its insinuations that Trump has broken one or more laws (though just which law remains vague and hardly even argued, let alone proven), and the president's foes reach for their institutional weapons: the special counsel provisions and now impeachment proceedings. When Republicans do not go along with the kangaroo court, well-paid ex-conservatives are hauled out to bemoan the lost integrity of a party whose last president misled the country into ceaseless wars in the Middle East-with these very same ex-conservatives having led the cheers for those interventions.

Trump was within his rights as president to demand answers from Ukraine. And if he stood to benefit politically it was because Ukraine had already involved itself in American politics on the side of Democrats: severing those dubious ties and preventing further manipulation of U.S. elections would necessarily come at the expense of the party that Ukrainians had cultivated when Barack Obama was in power and which they had hoped to keep in power by helping Hillary Clinton.

Ukrainians are only acting in self-interest here: they understandably want to enlist U.S. power in every way possible as a check upon Russia. The prospect of American politics taking a turn toward rapprochement with Russia stirs Ukraine to take one side in our elections and Russia to take another. This is an old familiar pattern in American politics-as old as the Washington and Adams administrations, when revolutionary France and counter-revolutionary England had interests in our elections, and America's ideological factions were inclined to favor one power or another. Neutrality was the course that George Washington urged, and by and large, it was the one that won out, even when the French-sympathizing Thomas Jefferson and James Madison came to power.

A lesson from George Washington would stand the leaders in Washington, DC in good stead today. But Democrats in Congress have other ideas: Ukraine may have failed to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Democrats hope to use Ukraine to remove Trump now, either through impeachment-a longshot-or by weakening him and the GOP ahead of the 2020 election. And Democrats hope that Republican senators will be so embarrassed and perhaps divided by a trial in the Senate that they will lose control of that chamber in 2020, too. They know Trump will keep fighting, and the harder he fights, the more he refuses to play by the rigged rules of the game, the more opportunity Democrats see to frame his defensive moves as outrageous and impeachable offenses. With Nixon and Watergate, the cover-up was often said to be worse than the crime. With Trump, there is no crime, but his defiant acts of self-defense are enough to convict him-or so the Democrats and their allies hope.

nopeace > jeremypw • 2 hours ago

The Jan 2017 piece referenced above disproves your entire post. It points out that Democrats used Ukraine n the 2016 election (long before Trump ever the Ukraine or Biden entered the race.

BTW, there wasn't just one country where the drug-abusing, bad discharged Biden-boy made gross amounts of money from countries trying to buy influence in the Obama administration through his father. There were several, including China. The difference is that his father admitted on video to threatening withdrawing billions in U.S. aid if the prosecutor of his son was not fired. True quid pro quo.

[Nov 09, 2019] Obama and Muslim Brotherhood

Nov 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

fersur , 1 hour ago link

Unedited !

America is fighting terrorism and the White House is hosting it

Walid Sharabi and Gamal Hishmat , Muslim Brotherhood leaders, wanted for justice for participating in killing and inciting on terror attacks in Egypt, escaped from the country and they are hosted by Qatar, Turkey and moving freely in Europe and the USA.

They are wanted for participating and inciting on burning vital buildings and public properties, inciting for violence and killing, criminal court cases numbers 12838 year 2013 , and 10790/101 year 2013 .

Muslim Brotherhood leaders attended meetings with senior US officials and Congress in this current month Jan 2015. Walid Sharabi declared on his Face book page, that Mohamed Morsi being the legitimate president of Egypt, is not an open issue for discussion or arguments. He added that this is not the first time and won't be the last time to held meetings with US officials and also they are in contact and meetings with 27 other countries in the world to discuss Egyptian affairs issues.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LEADERS IN THE US CONGRESS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LEADERS ESCAPED FROM EGYPT AND WANTED FOR JUSTICE FOR PARTICIPATING AND INCITING ON TERROR ATTACKS

Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the above screenshot are the leaders of the revolutionary council formed and established by Muslim brotherhood in Turkey after the 30/6/2013 revolution. The woman is Maha Azzam the chief of the council, Walid Sharabi and Gamal Hishmat Shura council member of Muslim Brotherhood and Abd Elmawgoud Aldardiri the official spokesman of Muslim Brotherhood and their dissolved political party, after being declared a "terrorist organization" in Egypt.

Despite that the US refused to consider Muslim Brotherhood as "terrorist organization", and that the US doesn't hide publicly their ties with Muslim Brotherhood, but we do have many questions and exclamations here. What is the purpose of these meetings? Is it to hold the stick from the middle?!

There is a blatant contradictory in the White house policy , The White house claims their support for stability and fighting terrorism in Egypt, and in the meantime time, they support and held meetings with the same terrorists, Egypt is fighting!

There is no official declarations from the US officials or the Brotherhood about the details of discussions of these meetings between MB and US officials. If Washington follows the transparency policy as they always claim, why these meetings details were not published to the public opinion!?

There is certainly a message there to Egypt from the US and their Muslim Brotherhood allies, and If there is any honesty or transparency in the White house policy, Obama should declare and admit publicly that they held deals with the devil and the terrorists, as long as it serve their interests, and they have no shame in applying double standards policy. This is happening already, so why not call spade a spade!

Does the White house think that playing with this idiotic card of Muslim Brotherhood, can put any pressure on Egypt, when needed, or to go on with the same chaos middle East project, that Egypt was saved from, after the 30/6 Egyptian revolution, to face the same destiny of Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen, so the project will be accomplished and achieve its targets!

Is it a coincidence or intentional to allow the first political party of a terrorist organization like the Muslim Brotherhood in the USA, and held official meetings with them what is the deal here?

On 26 Jan 2015, the inquisitr's Website published that Muslim Brotherhood Starts A Political Party "UMMA" out of Chicago. The founder of the party is Sabri Samirah a Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood member, was deemed a US national security risk in 2003 and was banned from entering the US for almost 11 years.

SABRI SAMIRAH ALLOWED TO ENTER THE US BY OBAMA IN 2014 AFTER 11 YEARS OF BAN FOR NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT

Sabri Samirah, was allowed into the U.S. by President Barack Obama back in 2014 following an 11-year ban!!! He immediately gathered Muslims to form the party, which is now recognized as the UMMA, an offset of the United Muslim Americans Association (UMAA means nation). The first political party in the U.S. to be openly connected to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization .

So, not only the White House refused to consider Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organization, but they allowed them to form a political party in the US There are some political analysis that are confirming the ties between MB and Washington, to keep the channels open between the US and terrorist Organizations through the mediation of Muslim Brotherhood, like Al-Qaeda and ISIS to ease the pressure on the US in their fight against terrorism!

What is the deal Obama?!

This is not the first time and it won't be the last time either, the White House make deals with all parties, including terrorists, this is no longer a secret and it is not shocking anymore.

But why not call things by its own names? Obama always talks about his administration's principles and values and standard policy and he is always lecturing us about the US transparency in dealing whether with internal or external affairs. But he never calls things by its right names!

The Muslim Brotherhood who deceived the entire world and many Egyptians, with their moderate Islam and that they only seek to be political partners with other political currents, are the same Muslim Brotherhood who ruled Egypt with fascism and the same who live in about 80 countries in the world, including the US, they are the same MB who consider women as nothing but a pot of desires and lusts

They are the same brotherhood who burned churches , killed Christians , tortured and killed Egyptian citizens and burned private and public properties , they are the same Brotherhood who are loyal to ISIS and raising their flags of slaughtering and terrorism in Egypt.

This is their tactics, they are spreading through deception, and when the right moment comes, they show their ugly faces and raise their swords against any one who doesn't belong to their sick distorted ideology.

This is no longer a prediction or analysis, this is no longer a reading of the scene. We repeat and we will never gave up confirming and warning the entire world that Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization, because this is what we have lived and experienced when Egypt was under the rule of Muslim Brotherhood, and we are still fighting their terror attacks.

Obama, you can't support the Egyptian people and support the terrorists at the same time, unless of course, you are a MORON or a Schizophrenic!

Obama said that the US will always support the Egyptian people's will and the Egyptians are the only ones to chose freely their own future and destiny

We did chose freely our destiny and future, like UNCLE OBAMA said, by our own free will on 30/6/2013.

We revolted against Muslim Brotherhood fascist regime and got back our identity and country that has been hijacked by Muslim Brotherhood terrorists.

Obama can't claim that the US respect our human rights and free choices, the Obama's administration violated one of our main human rights when they interfered in our internal affairs from the very first beginning, and every time they are dictating and lecturing us about what must be done to enjoy freedom and democracy.

Obama is against violence and armed demonstrations, this is what he claims He mentioned several times that those who demonstrate can not express themselves with violence!? Not even with bombs or machine guns! How come Obama is telling our gevernment to apply Restraint policy , while they are facing Muslim Brotherhood armed demonstrations and terror attacks?!

Yes, "He can" support us and support the terrorists at the same time.

Obama, you can't claim that you are with us and you are fighting terrorism, and at the same time, you are hosting Terrorists in the heart of America!

All of these flags, logos and names vary, but The terrorism is one. they symbolize the blood, racism and extremism, intolerance and discrimination, murder and slaughter and bloodshed and torture.

How come Obama supports the symbol of Muslim Brotherhood which is a symbol of terrorism, violence and blood, and he is fighting ISIS and Al-Qaeda? They are all coming from the same bloody womb! How come America declared HAMAS as terrorist group, and in the meantime, the white house is supporting Muslim brothers terrorists and Hamas is the military wing of MB!

Muslim Brotherhood raising their 4 fingers sign of terrorism and blood in the US congress and US foreign affairs department, it is not a message of challenging the Egyptian State or the Egyptian people, but Muslim Brotherhood are directly challenging the American people.

This is totally insane and beyond any logic for any brain to absorb or even to understand.

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

Nov 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

shinola , November 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:43 pm

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

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

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:38 pm

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

[Nov 09, 2019] Three Deep State Confessions On Syria by Brad Hoff

At a US gov-funded think tank, this official who oversaw Congress' Syria Study Group outlines the continued regime-change strategy. She says the US military "owned" 1/3rd of Syrian territory, including its oil/wheat-rich region. And the US is trying to block reconstruction funds: 1191808201177604096
Notable quotes:
"... Trump is a total moron, but we owe him a great debt for bringing the Deep State out into the open. We also owe him a great debt for blatantly stealing Syria's oil. Trump's big problem is that he's too stupid to keep the secrets of the ruling-class. They will never again be able to deny the Deep State. And their "just" wars are all exactly what they always looked like: unadulterated criminal greed. It's just killing and stealing, no different from any other murderous, thieving criminal other than the massive scale of the killing and stealing. ..."
Nov 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Brad Hoff via The Libertarian Institute,

First, all the way back in 2005 -- more than a half decade before the war began -- CNN's Christiane Amanpour told Assad to his face that regime change is coming . Thankfully this was in a televised and archived interview, now for posterity to behold.

Amanpour, it must be remembered, was married to former US Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin (until 2018), who further advised both President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Mr. President you know the rhetoric of regime change is headed towards you from the United States... They're granting visas and visits to Syrian opposition politicians," Amanpour told Assad in a 2005 CNN interview .

Next, a surprisingly blunt assessment of where Washington currently stands after eight years of the failed push to oust Assad and influence the final outcome of the war, from the very man who was among the early architects of America's covert "arm the jihadists to topple the dictator" campaign .

Myself and others long ago documented how former Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford worked with and funded a Free Syrian Army commander who led ISIS suicide bombers into the battlefield in 2013.

Amb. Ford has since admitted this much (that US proxy 'rebels' and ISIS worked together in the early years of the war), and now admits defeat in the below recent interview as perhaps a reborn 'realist'.

And finally, not everyone is as pessimistic on the continuing prospects for yet more US-led regime change future efforts as Robert Ford is above. Below is an astoundingly blunt articulation of the next disturbing phase of US efforts in Syria , from an October 31 conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) .

"The panel featured the two co-chairs of the Syria Study Group , a bi-partisan working group appointed by Congress to draft a new US war plan for Syria," The Grayzone's Ben Norton wrote of the below clip:

She made it a point to stress that this sovereign Syrian land "owned" by Washington also happened to be "resource-rich," the "economic powerhouse of Syria, so where the hydrocarbons are as well as the agricultural powerhouse."

With images now circulating of Trump's "secure the oil" policy in effect, which has served to at least force pro-interventionist warmongers to drop all high-minded humanitarian notions of "democracy promotion" and "freedom" and R2P doctrine as descriptive of US motives in Syria, the above blunt admissions of Dana Stroul , the Democratic co-chair of the Syria Study Group, are ghastly and chilling in terms of what's next for the suffering population of Syria.

We are "preventing reconstruction aid and technical expertise from going back into Syria," she stressed in her statement.

America is not finished, apparently, and it's likely to get a lot uglier than merely seizing the oil.


Generation O , 1 hour ago link

Hell, why doesn't America unleash nerve gas on Syria's population and get this shat-show over with? Naturally, this will result in the loss to the international body parts market of Syria's youngsters (videos of actual procedures upon screaming school-age kids are available online), but America's shockingly-enabled Child Protective Services seems quite adept at replacing that market sector.

Blue Boat , 1 hour ago link

General Wesley Clarke revealed it all in 2007. He's been banished from the TV pundit shows ever since.

If you haven't seen this, it's 2 min. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTbg11pCwOc

jeff montanye , 1 hour ago link

"They're granting visas and visits to Syrian opposition politicians"

think there were any quid pro quos with those? of course that was ok; it only led to a million dead in the mideast for the very short term advantage of the likud mossad, for which anything, at all, from 9-11 to epstein, is permitted

jeff montanye , 1 hour ago link

zionist but yes. note rubin worked both sides of the street like victoria nuland.

also the lovely lady in the video is dana sproul, https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=dana+stroul+zionist+***&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Conscious Reviver , 1 hour ago link

The Dogs of War live in Occupied DC.

Aleedsfella , 2 hours ago link

Gooooooooo Russia! NATO are great at bombing farmers but they **** their panties when another modern army drew a line in the sand and they retreated and dug in around the oil fields.

That sounds very anti USA and it is! But I know the British are involved, I just do not see the British Armed Forces as the British Armed Forces anymore they are just small players in a USA fronted globalist force and this globalist force fights for the private wealth of a few individuals?

**** that and **** you for your service to all NATO personnel since 9/11. Our armed forces are the bad guys in this movie. Which oil/ore rich nation without a western run central bank are NATO forces going to free the **** out of next? I was betting on Iran but it looks like America is about to turn on South America soon, Venezuela looks like NATO want to free it.

East Indian , 2 hours ago link

Christiane Amanpour - I wonder what she sees when she sees herself in the mirror.

'To die, to sleep – to sleep – perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.'

Good luck, Amanpour.

BobEore , 2 hours ago link

Put down that crak pipe ho! \

likely to get a lot uglier than merely seizing the oil

Lost in their factionalist partisan bubble of rabid political gamesmanship, Merikans continue to squabble over which of their talmudic puppet parties suffer more from imperial over reach...

whilst serious war crimes committed by jihadis and their neo-islamist backers continue to occur as a result of the WAR CRIMINAL IN CHIEFS' kowtowing to an oriental despot who has the goods on Donnies' Debt Deal with turco-talmudic bagmen who did over his dirty real estate laundry in return for having their own 'special genius' POTUS dancing on their strings!

Hundreds of thousands displaced, and more now on the run from rape n pillage gangsters due to Dons' Deceitful Sellout of the ONLY group who took on the Daesh/ISIS and pounded their pouty asses in to the desert sands. All to save his own chicken neck; And you wanna talk about oil?

"I like oil - we're keeping the oil." OIL FOR BLOOD - BLOODY DON DRIMPF, THE JIHADIST CHEW TOY!

Condor_0000 , 2 hours ago link

Trump is a total moron, but we owe him a great debt for bringing the Deep State out into the open. We also owe him a great debt for blatantly stealing Syria's oil. Trump's big problem is that he's too stupid to keep the secrets of the ruling-class. They will never again be able to deny the Deep State. And their "just" wars are all exactly what they always looked like: unadulterated criminal greed. It's just killing and stealing, no different from any other murderous, thieving criminal other than the massive scale of the killing and stealing.

ImTalkinfullCs , 2 hours ago link

This twat wants to "hold the line on preventing reconstruction aid from going back to Syria" ........ the Zionists love a failed state. Music to their creepy ears.

DEDA CVETKO , 2 hours ago link

Syria is the last barrier that separates the civilization from the tsunami of evil. The Syrian sovereignty and independence - however flawed - must be preserved at any cost.

Anglo-Aryan , 2 hours ago link

Jews responsible for the whole of it. America cannot become a decent force in the world without deposing its Jewish elite and removing their power, reach and influence.

pHObuk0wrEHob71Suwr2 , 2 hours ago link

https://vault.fbi.gov/victor-marchetti/victor-marchetti-part-01-of-01/view

DEDA CVETKO , 1 hour ago link

I lived under communism for 21 years. For the first 11 or so years, we only had one TV channel, which was kinda 50/50: fifty percent government propaganda, fifty percent government-approved forms of entertainment. Some 11 years later, we got another channel, which was mostly movies and assorted entertainment, with bits and pieces of Big Brother presence tossed in for good measure.

Still, I found the official news credible in one sense: you knew that these guys were full of **** and lying through the teeth so you could always reconstruct the truth by placing their news coverage on its head. It never failed. It worked like a charm.

Now, I have some 600+ channels worth of pure brainwash in every shape, shade and nuance of mind control. It is impossible to even think of reconstituting some semblance of objective reality from the fake media coverage. All you get is one gigantic funhouse, the house of horrors, the lunatic asylum on steroids. The only way to stay sane is to steer clear and as far away from the insanity as possible. You did the right thing, in fact the only possible thing.

Seek Shelter , 2 hours ago link

The Washington Institute -- founded by Barbi Weinberg and first led by the former deputy director of research for AIPAC. Democrat, Republican--all the same to these 'think tanks'.

[Nov 09, 2019] Post-Cold War Triumphalism and Kennan's Warning by Daniel Larison

Nov 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich describes how the U.S. learned all the wrong lessons from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War:

You won't hear it from any of the candidates vying to succeed Trump, but we are still haunted by our false conception of the Cold War. On the stump, politicians get away with reciting comforting clichés about the imperative of American global leadership. Yet the time for believing such malarkey is long gone.

An essential first step toward recoupling national security policy and reason is to see the Cold War for what it was: not a "long, twilight struggle" ending in victory, but a vast and costly tragedy that inflicted needless suffering, brought humankind absurdly close to extinction, and from which U.S. policymakers have drawn all the wrong lessons.

The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall offers an occasion not for celebration but for somber and long overdue reflection.

One of the wrong lessons that U.S. policymakers drew from the events of 1989-1991 was that the U.S. was chiefly responsible for ending and "winning" the Cold War, which inevitably overestimated our government's capabilities and effectiveness in affecting the political fortunes of other parts of the world. The far more critical and important role of the peoples of central and eastern Europe and the Soviet Union itself in overthrowing the system that had oppressed them was pushed into the background as much as possible. The U.S. took credit for their success and policymakers frequently attributed the outcome to the policies of the late Cold War rather than to the deficiencies and failings of the other system. After waging stalemated and failed wars in the name of anticommunism, U.S. policymakers wanted to be able to claim that they had "won" something, and so they declared victory for something that they hadn't caused.

The period that followed the dissolution of the USSR was one of triumphalism, expansion, and overreach. The U.S. not only congratulated itself for achieving something that was accomplished by others, but it also assumed that it could achieve similar results in other parts of the world. If NATO had been a great success as a defensive alliance, the "thinking" went, why shouldn't it continue and expand to include many more countries? If the U.S. was supposedly able to bring down the Soviet Union, why shouldn't it do the same to authoritarian regimes elsewhere? Absent the check on ambition and hubris that a superpower rival provided, the U.S. was free to run amok and do whatever it liked without regard for the consequences. That triumphalism sowed the seeds for many of the more significant post-Cold War failures that we have witnessed since then. Even today, that same overconfidence encourages U.S. policymakers to flirt with the idea of engaging in another Cold War-style rivalry with a more formidable state in China.

George Kennan presciently warned against the triumphalism that he saw around him as early as 1992. At that time, he was responding directly to the claims from Republicans that Reagan and his policies had "won" the Cold War:

The suggestion that any American administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic-political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is intrinsically silly and childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.

Kennan went on to say that the militarization of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War was a boon to Soviet hard-liners and in that way helped prolong it:

The extreme militarization of American discussion and policy, as promoted by hard-line circles over the ensuing 25 years, consistently strengthened comparable hard-liners in the Soviet Union.

The more America's political leaders were seen in Moscow as committed to an ultimate military rather than political resolution of Soviet-American tensions, the greater was the tendency in Moscow to tighten the controls by both party and police, and the greater the braking effect on all liberalizing tendencies in the regime. Thus the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980's.

Whenever hawks talk about "winning" the Cold War, they invariably mean that it was the militarized policies they favored that carried the day, but Kennan reminded us that this was not so. In fact, a militarized foreign policy perpetuated the struggle by providing Soviet hard-liners with a plausible foreign threat that they could use to justify their own policies and to clamp down on internal dissent. We have seen the same thing repeated several times in the last thirty years on a smaller scale with other governments. The most aggressive and confrontational policies unwittingly aid authoritarian regimes by giving them an external enemy that they can use to deflect attention from their own failings and as a pretext for the consolidation of power at home.

Kennan was already telling us shortly after the Cold War ended that no one had "won" it:

Nobody -- no country, no party, no person -- "won" the cold war. It was a long and costly political rivalry, fueled on both sides by unreal and exaggerated estimates of the intentions and strength of the other party [bold mine-DL]. It greatly overstrained the economic resources of both countries, leaving both, by the end of the 1980's, confronted with heavy financial, social and, in the case of the Russians, political problems that neither had anticipated and for which neither was fully prepared.

We can all be grateful that the Cold War ended, but we shouldn't delude ourselves with talk of victory. Not only is it inaccurate, but it encourages the worst kinds of overreach and arrogance that has led to several serious foreign policy failures in the decades that have followed. Kennan warned us almost thirty years ago not to go down this path of triumphalism, and as so often happened Americans ignored Kennan's wisdom.

Kennan concluded with the same idea that Bacevich stated at the end of his op-ed:

That the conflict should now be formally ended is a fit occasion for satisfaction but also for sober re-examination of the part we took in its origin and long continuation. It is not a fit occasion for pretending that the end of it was a great triumph for anyone, and particularly not one for which any American political party could properly claim principal credit.

American policymakers are not known for sober re-examination and acknowledgment of error, but these are exactly the things that are needed if we are to stop making the same blunders and learning the wrong lessons from the past. Kennan and Bacevich's advice is just as timely and important today as it was twenty-seven years ago. Perhaps this time we should pay attention and listen to it.

[Nov 08, 2019] Pompeo attempt in projection

Nov 08, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Nov 8 2019 20:51 utc | 31

who said this today in an official gov't press release?

"Today, Russia – led by a former KGB officer stationed in Dresden ‒ invades its neighbors and slays political opponents. It suppresses the independence of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Russian authorities, even as we speak, use police raids and torture against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians who are working in opposition to Russian aggression. In Chechnya, anyone considered "undesirable" by the authorities simply disappears.

In China – in China, the Chinese Communist Party is shaping a new vision of authoritarianism, one that the world has not seen for an awfully long time. The Chinese Communist Party uses tactics and methods to suppress its own people that would be horrifyingly familiar to former East Germans. The People's Liberation Army encroaches on the sovereignty of its Chinese neighbors, and the Chinese Communist Party denies travel privileges to critics – even German lawmakers – who condemn its abysmal human rights record. The CCP harasses the families of Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang, who simply sought refuge abroad. We – all of us, everyone in this room – has a duty. We must recognize that free nations are in a competition of values with those unfree nations."

[Nov 08, 2019] Who has Trump kept his promise to?

Nov 08, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Nov 8 2019 17:31 utc | 8

Who has Trump kept his promise to?

Tea Party foot soldiers?

Repeal and replace Obamacare on day one
Nope. Quietly dropped coverage for prior conditions.

Build a Wall - and Mexico's gonna pay for it!

Not really. Building sections of a wall that USA will pay for.

Drain the swamp

Nope - unless by "swamp" Trump means the Democratic Party.

"Lock her up!"

Nope. He says they're good people who have been thru a lot. Aww . . .
America?
End the "threat" from NK "Rocket man"
Nope. No follow-thru on the (sham) Summit.

End the new Cold War

Nope. Increased military spending; ended treaties; militarized space.

End "forever wars", bring the troops home

Nope.

Bring jobs home

Uncertain: trade War with China doesn't necessarily mean jobs coming back US.

= = = = = = = =

Republican Party?

Cut taxes
YES!

Cut regulations on business

YES!

Israel?

Move Embassy to Jerusalem
YES!

Recognize Golan Heights as part of Israel

YES!

End aid to Palestinians

YES!

Don't give up on Syrian regime-change

YES!

US MIC, Netanyahu, MbS?

End US participation in the JCPOA
YES!

McCain: "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"

"locked and loaded"
!!

[Nov 07, 2019] 3 Steps to Reviving the Russian Relationship

Notable quotes:
"... This period is when Clinton IMHO sent NATO in a wrong direction from being strictly defensive/political to getting involved in Yugoslavia which certainly irritated Russia. ..."
"... Then good old Obama and another Clinton deciding to overthrow Gaddafi and his whole Arab Spring foreign policy to include getting involved in Syria. These were disastrous decisions that the current POTUS inherited and is trying to change except the "deep state" is fighting him tooth and nail. ..."
"... Getting out of Ukraine would be a huge trust maker for Russia and it would be followed by sanctions being lifted allowing for a level playing field to begin working on the issues that need fixing. NATO isn't going away however the forward deployed forces in the Baltic's and Poland could over time in an agreed to reciprocal move say removing Iskander missiles from Kaliningrad could be accomplished. ..."
Nov 07, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

J Urie Z'ing Sui 13 hours ago ,

You are 100% correct that trust is the number one point in coming to any agreement and currently there is very little trust on either side for varying reasons. One important fact that is overlooked by most people is the leadership of President George H. W. Bush and PM Margaret Thatcher during the transition from the Soviet Union/Warsaw pact to independent sovereign nations. The Bush was a WW II pilot and Thatcher earned the name Iron Lady for her decisive action in the Falklands War, both understood the world as it was in 1990. This statement highlights the view that prevailed from Bush at the time: "Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the "not one inch eastward" formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that "NATO expansion is unacceptable." Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place," and that the Americans understood that "not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction." (See Document 6)"

These were complicated issues that involved a multitude of parties being negotiated by just a few i.e. US, UK, France and West Germany a holdover from the WW II model. The Poles, Czechs and others were not consulted and IMHO had they been the situation would have become untenable. It must be remembered that Poland and Czechoslovakia suffered heavily due to "large important nations" giving them away pre and post WW II. There was no written agreement nor official treaty between the west and the Soviet Union soon to be Russian Federation and I believe that was intentional for the reason I give above. George H. W. Bush was not reelected in 1992 and Bill Clinton became POTUS and he pursued a foreign policy that was entirely different. Some of his ideas used Thatchers earlier idea of a more political NATO with less emphasis on the original military mission which brought in the Partnerships for Peace program. That program was IMHO quite good as it stabilized countries that were wobbly in the 1990's after the breakup occurred. The Clinton White House had Madeline Albright an immigrant from Czechoslovakia as secretary of State and Zbigniew Brzezinski a former secretary of State and an academic that influenced his policies which were pro eastern European anti Russian. It was during this time that NATO expanded. The US is a country of immigrants and there is a large Polish population as well as other eastern Europeans and political considerations are always come into play.

This period is when Clinton IMHO sent NATO in a wrong direction from being strictly defensive/political to getting involved in Yugoslavia which certainly irritated Russia.

G.W. Bush basically continued the trend with regard to NATO but was preoccupied with 9/11 more than anything else. Bush thought that he understood Putin and even invited him to his ranch in Crawford, Texas which Putin accepted and they did seem to get along.

However 2008 and the Georgia War began the slide in relations between the two countries. Then good old Obama and another Clinton deciding to overthrow Gaddafi and his whole Arab Spring foreign policy to include getting involved in Syria. These were disastrous decisions that the current POTUS inherited and is trying to change except the "deep state" is fighting him tooth and nail.

Getting out of Ukraine would be a huge trust maker for Russia and it would be followed by sanctions being lifted allowing for a level playing field to begin working on the issues that need fixing. NATO isn't going away however the forward deployed forces in the Baltic's and Poland could over time in an agreed to reciprocal move say removing Iskander missiles from Kaliningrad could be accomplished.

Gaugamela39 a day ago ,

Carthago delenda est. The policy of Cato the Censor should be applied in an unrelenting manner, leading to 'salting the earth' of Moscow.

dorotea Gaugamela39 a day ago ,

Many have tried, usually ended up in those infamous endless Russian fields, in long boxes. See Pushkin, for the exact quote. But historical trivialities aside, there should be a way to satisfy Imperial hubris without 'salting the grounds'. Hannibal's elephants did not carry nukes in their trunks. Trying for the sixth time in the last 4 centuries to get Moscow grounds salted might end badly for the entire planet.

The Chosen One dorotea a day ago ,

So it seems to me that only the advent of a nuclear weapon and the threat of an imminent deadly retaliation prevents a new "drang nach osten".

Z'ing Sui J Urie 39 minutes ago • edited ,

Trust was not breached by Russia, military buildup, hostile threatening military, NATO expansion and refusal to negotiate on these issues did not originate from Russia. Russia has tried to negotiate, concede and de-escalate before. The West did not respond to those moves. Even US sanctions placed on Soviet Union were not removed from Russia, despite there being no reason for them to remain in place. This and other recent events (libya, iran deal etc) tells Russia and other global players that de-escalating with the West doesn't work.

Even now, West seems to be interested to trade with Russia at least in some areas. And Europe is increasingly frustrated with the United States. There is reportedly a number of EU initiatives aimed at gradually limiting US economic levers created during the Cold War. Rising economies will gradually offer more opportunities outside of the Western world. Multipolar wolrd was a slogan in the 00s, in the 2040es it might be a reality.

We know NATO will not maintain ABM and CFE, and it is apparently not interested in INF and Open Skies, and even START is in question now. NATO will withdraw troops if only Russia does something? Please, you don't really believe that. With INF gone, Iskander is outdated, it was a treaty-limited weapon. Moving it a few hundred klicks will not make NATO concede anything now.

A huge trust maker would be for all NATO members to publically admit on their web page that pledges to Russia were broken and at least some NATO officials feel responsibility for that. They've spent 27 years denying any verbal assurances, now that those assurances are declassified, they build other narratives about how those pledges did not matter. For there to be trust, there needs to be an admission that trust was there, and was broken, and not by Russia. No troop movements necessary even.

J Urie mal a day ago • edited ,

Biden isn't going to win the next election Trump will be reelected in 2020. The current strain in relations with Russia has been inherited by Trump and even before he was elected the DNC and Hillary Clinton cooked up the "Russia colusion" story which after $46 million and 2 1/2 years no Russia collision. Of course now we have the Dems trying to impeach Trump which will not go anywhere in the Senate more waste of time and money. However there is the Justice Department I.G. report soon to be released and many of the people who brought you the Russia colusion hoax will be named. The Justice Department has an ongoing criminal investigation into the key players and will undoubtedly result in indictments and prosecutions.
The real reason all of this is going on is because the establishment both Dem's & Repub's along with the deep state look at Trump as an outsider who is tipping over their apple cart i.e. he is changing the foreign policy direction and they don't like it one bit so they create fake issues to try and stop him.
After his reelection I predict that more normal relations with Russia will resume.

dorotea Roma Ilto 14 hours ago ,

Nowadays the actual attacks are manifested as 'hybrid warfare'. Of course Russia took the US intervention and financing of Chechen rebels as an attack back in the 2000 ties. She took fermenting and financing of the Georgian rose revolution as a hybrid attack, same as promises made to pres. Saakashvili to support him militarily and politically after his attack on Tskhinvali were taken as a hybrid attack. Same goes for both of the first color revolution in Ukraine, and then the Revolution of dignity of 2014 that pushed ultra-right government to power in Ukraine. In fact the NATO promise to both Georgia and Ukraine to take them in as members in 2008 right after Putin's warning in 2007 was the first move in the 'hybrid war'. The West had been warned, yet it decided to bulldoze its way across Eurasia and triggered the confrontation. The placings of Aegises ashore in Poland and Romania was the cherry on top. There can be be no meaningful compromise until the West backs off on the NATO enlargement. That 2008 conference was what had reanimated the image of the collective West as adversary for Russia.

What both sides should strive for though is at the very least to diminish the degree of danger to the planet. Russia would not back off because she finds it easy enough to corner individual EU states into minimal economic cooperation - Germany is already in recession and there is no way they are going to continue damaging their economy for the sake of US politics. And then there is China. When the Russians cannot buy goods from Germans they go for made in China, which in turn gets China secure oil and gas from Russia. Which make the repeat of pre-WW II situation with blockade on Japan pretty much impossible. Get realistic, the West is loosing this one and should count her chickens already.

Roma Ilto dorotea 14 hours ago ,

Well, then the sanctions will continue, as will the policy of keeping Russian in check in the EU gas market.
What's interesting is that NATO never attacked Russia or threatened to attack Russia. Seems to me that Putin is simply using the expansion as a pretext for military aggression against the neighboring states. It's what the USSR did in 1939 against Finland. According the Soviet side, the war started after Finland attacked the Soviet Union...

dorotea Roma Ilto 14 hours ago ,

Russia *needs* the sanctions for at least another 5 years. Her milk and beef production is still lagging compared to the deceased USSR and the only way her greedy oligarchs will heavily invest in cow herd rearing is to continue to block the Eastern European milk products to enter Russia. Chicken, eggs, pork and veggies are already up to speed, wheat production is exploding, the salmon breeding programme have started so the Norway is not getting her market back, bu the cow herds take longer to rear.
The Power of Siberia pipeline is being certified and filled right now - China would receive her first delivery of piped Russian gas in 2020, so it is good that EU is prepping or the squeeze - they are not going to continue getting unlimited cheap Russian gas, because Power of Siberia II is in the works.

Every individual NATO member had attacked Russia in the past 4 centuries ( including small but meaningful US contingent in the 1918), and some non-member allies had stomped those fields as well. So the Russians are not taking any chances with the buffer zone. All of Russia expansions to the West have always started with West invading first - then being rolled back league by league. But seriously - ? Russians can live with Europe staying where she is - if in turn Europe can learn to respect her civilization borders. The move on Ukraine and Georgia was not a wise one.

[Nov 06, 2019] British Government Disinformation Shop Lost Charity Status

Nov 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Integrity Initiative, as paid for by the British Foreign Office, Ministry of Defense, NATO and other such entities, will live on as a non-charitable entity with even less transparency. Its website, as well as that of Institute of Statecraft, is down. That it will now have to live in total secrecy will make it more difficult for it to recruit foreign journalists to spread its propaganda.

Since the Integrity Initiative was exposed the British government opened and financed a new secretive shop that will continue to spread anti-Russian disinformation :

On 3rd April, Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister Alan Duncan revealed his department's 'Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme' - which bankrolls the Institute for Statecraft and its Integrity Initiative subsidiary - was funding a new endeavour, Open Information Partnership (OIP).

The announcement, buried in a response to a written parliamentary question, was supremely light on detail - Duncan merely said the effort would "respond to manipulated information in the news, social media and across the public space". Official fanfare was also unforthcoming - there was no accompanying press release, briefing document, or even mention of the launch by any government minister or department via social media channels.

The original proposal for the Open Information Partnership , as released by 'anonymous' , included the Institute of Statecraft , a Media Diversity Institute , Bellingcat , DFR Lab (i.e. the Atlantic Council) and some others in a so called ZINC Network . On the current OIP website the Institute of Statecraft 'charity' is no longer named.

---
Previous Moon of Alabama reports on the issue:

Tim Hayward provides a list (scroll down) of a large number of articles written here and elsewhere about the Integrity Initiative . Speaking of Bellingcat:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BfLPJpRtyq4RFtHJoNpvWQjmGnyVkfE2HYoICKOGguA/mobilebas

Posted by: NOBTS | Nov 4 2019 18:45 utc | 2


karlof1 , Nov 4 2019 18:49 utc | 3

At Kit Klarenberg's Twitter , there's a long tweet thread further detailing what b has written above. I can't help be wonder how the Monty Python troop would have portrayed the Institute for Statecraft and its parent the Integrity Initiative. It appears that the governments of the English speaking nations became addicted to lying to their citizens @1900 and are unable to kick the habit and instead have actually deepened their addiction. Elsewhere on the planet, it seems that people are learning it's easier to talk straight and transparently with other people and to pool resources and combine efforts to form a community of nations and humanity to better one and all. Seems simple enough to determine which is functional and which isn't.
/div> Oops! Googlehidden. Here's one that might work. An interesting compendium: https://www.comsuregroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Bellingcats-Digital-Toolkit.pdf

Posted by: NOBTS , Nov 4 2019 18:51 utc | 5

Oops! Googlehidden. Here's one that might work. An interesting compendium: https://www.comsuregroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Bellingcats-Digital-Toolkit.pdf

Posted by: NOBTS | Nov 4 2019 18:51 utc | 5

Symen Danziger , Nov 5 2019 11:34 utc | 41
Bellingcat only serves one interest, a propaganda/info laundering shop for NATO, the military industrial complex and some very rich people. The blatant lies about MH17, chemical weapons in Syria, OPCW, Russia, the list goes on and on.

By the time the people in the Netherlands find out how they have been manipulated with the MH17 narrative and the role of Bellingcat in this operation, hopefully they will torch the office of Bellingcat in The Hague and club the survivors to death like the Uktainian Nazi friends of Bellingcat did in Odessa.

The Ukrainian army shot down MH17. It was no accident. The Dutch were also involved with the 2014 coup in the Ukraine. Putting the blame on Russia is a political decision, its not based on facts. Dutch politicians are very dirty people. Burn in hell.

[Nov 06, 2019] Manufacturing Fear and Loathing, Maximizing Corporate Profits! A Review of Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc. Why Today's Media Makes Us

Notable quotes:
"... "Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). ..."
"... Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic. ..."
"... The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15). ..."
"... our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21). ..."
"... And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid. ..."
"... For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260). ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc . is the most insightful and revelatory book about American politics to appear since the publication of Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal almost four full years ago, near the beginning of the last presidential election cycle.

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class. In fact, I would strongly recommend that the reader spend some time with Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? (2004) and Listen, Liberal! (2016) as he or she takes up Taibbi's book.

And to really do the book the justice it deserves, I would even more vehemently recommend that the reader immerse him- or herself in Taibbi's favorite book and vade-mecum , Manufacturing Consent (which I found to be a grueling experience: a relentless cataloging of the official lies that hide the brutality of American foreign policy) and, in order to properly appreciate the brilliance of Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the Media Stole from Pro Wrestling," visit some locale in Flyover Country and see some pro wrestling in person (which I found to be unexpectedly uplifting -- more on this soon enough).

Taibbi tells us that he had originally intended for Hate, Inc . to be an updating of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent (1988), which he first read thirty years ago, when he was nineteen. "It blew my mind," Taibbi writes. "[It] taught me that some level of deception was baked into almost everything I'd ever been taught about modern American life .

Once the authors in the first chapter laid out their famed propaganda model [italics mine], they cut through the deceptions of the American state like a buzz saw" (p. 10). For what seemed to be vigorous democratic debate, Taibbi realized, was instead a soul-crushing simulation of debate. The choices voters were given were distinctions without valid differences, and just as hyped, just as trivial, as the choices between a Whopper and a Big Mac, between Froot Loops and Frosted Mini-Wheats, between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, between Marlboro Lites and Camel Filters. It was all profit-making poisonous junk.

"Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). And there's an indisputable logic at work here, because the reality of hideous American war crimes is and always has been, from the point of view of the big media corporations, a "narrative-ruining" buzz-kill. "The uglier truth [brought to light in Manufacturing Consent ], that we committed genocide of a fairly massive scale across Indochina -- ultimately killing at least a million innocent civilians by air in three countries -- is pre-excluded from the history of the period" (p. 13).

So what has changed in the last thirty years? A lot! As a starting point let's consider the very useful metaphor found in the title of another great media book of 1988: Mark Crispin Miller's Boxed In: The Culture of TV . To say that Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic.

Taibbi summarizes the history of these three decades in terms of three "massive revolutions" in the media plus one actual massive political revolution, all of which, we should note, he discussed with his hero Chomsky (who is now ninety! -- Edward Herman passed away in 2017) even as he wrote his book. And so: the media revolutions which Taibbi describes were, first, the coming of FoxNews along with Rush Limbaugh-style talk radio; second, the coming of CNN, i.e., the Cable News Network, along with twenty-four hour infinite-loop news cycles; third, the coming of the Internet along with the mighty social media giants Facebook and Twitter.

The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15).

For all that, however, the most salient difference between the news media of 1989 and the news media of 2019 is the disappearance of the single type of calm and decorous and slightly boring cis-het white anchorman (who somehow successfully appealed to a nationwide audience) and his replacement by a seemingly wide variety of demographically-engineered news personæ who all rage and scream combatively in each other's direction. "In the old days," Taibbi writes, "the news was a mix of this toothless trivia and cheery dispatches from the frontlines of Pax Americana . The news [was] once designed to be consumed by the whole house . But once we started to be organized into demographic silos [italics mine], the networks found another way to seduce these audiences: they sold intramural conflict" (p. 18).

And in this new media environment of constant conflict, how, Taibbi wondered, could public consent , which would seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from conflict, still be manufactured ?? "That wasn't easy for me to see in my first decades in the business," Taibbi writes. "For a long time, I thought it was a flaw in the Chomsky/Herman model" (p. 19).

But what Taibbi was at length able to understand, and what he is now able to describe for us with both wit and controlled outrage, is that our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21).

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

Or pretty much so. Taibbi is more historically precise. Because of the tweaking of the Herman/Chomsky propaganda model necessitated by the disappearance of the USSR in 1991 ("The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, / As Russians do ," Jackson Browne presciently prophesied on MTV way back in 1983), one might now want to speak of a Propaganda Model 2.0. For, as Taibbi notes, " the biggest change to Chomsky's model is the discovery of a far superior 'common enemy' in modern media: each other. So long as we remain a bitterly-divided two-party state, we'll never want for TV villains" (pp. 207-208).

To rub his great insight right into our uncomprehending faces, Taibbi has almost sadistically chosen to have dark, shadowy images of a yelling Sean Hannity (in lurid FoxNews Red!) and a screaming Rachel Maddow (in glaring MSNBC Blue!) juxtaposed on the cover of his book. For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260).

And that effect is hate. Impotent hate. For while Rachel's fan demographic is all wrapped up in hating Far-Right Fascists Like Sean, and while Sean's is all wrapped up in despising Libtard Lunatics Like Rachel, the bipartisan consensus in Washington for ever-increasing military budgets, for everlasting wars, for ever-expanding surveillance, for ever-growing bailouts of and tax breaks for and and handouts to the most powerful corporations goes forever unchallenged.

Oh my. And it only gets worse and worse, because the media, in order to make sure that their various siloed demographics stay superglued to their Internet devices, must keep ratcheting up levels of hate: the Fascists Like Sean and the Libtards Like Rachel must be continually presented as more and more deranged, and ultimately as demonic. "There is us and them," Taibbi writes, "and they are Hitler" (p. 64). A vile reductio ad absurdum has come into play: "If all Trump supporters are Hitler, and all liberals are also Hitler," Taibbi writes, " [t]he America vs. America show is now Hitler vs. Hitler! Think of the ratings! " The reader begins to grasp Taibbi's argument that our mainstream corporate media are as bad as -- are worse than -- pro wrestling. It's an ineluctable downward spiral.

Taibbi continues: "The problem is, there's no natural floor to this behavior. Just as cable TV will eventually become seven hundred separate twenty-four-hour porn channels, news and commentary will eventually escalate to boxing-style, expletive-laden, pre-fight tirades, and the open incitement to violence [italics mine]. If the other side is literally Hitler, [w]hat began as America vs. America will eventually move to Traitor vs. Traitor , and the show does not work if those contestants are not eventually offended to the point of wanting to kill one another" (pp. 65-69).

As I read this book, I often wondered about how difficult it was emotionally for Taibbi to write it. I'm just really glad to see that the guy didn't commit suicide along the way. He does describe the "self-loathing" he experienced as he realized his own complicity in the marketing processes which he exposes (p. 2). He also apologizes to the reader for his not being able to follow through on his original aim of writing a continuation of Herman and Chomsky's classic: "[W]hen I sat down to write what I'd hoped would be something with the intellectual gravitas of Manufacturing Consent ," Taibbi confesses, "I found decades of more mundane frustrations pouring out onto the page, obliterating a clinical examination" (p. 2).

I, however, am profoundly grateful to Taibbi for all of his brilliantly observed anecdotes. The subject matter is nauseating enough even in Taibbi's sparkling and darkly tragicomic prose. A more academic treatment of the subject would likely be too depressing to read. So let me conclude with an anecdote of my own -- and an oddly uplifting one at that -- about reading Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the News Media Stole from Pro Wrestling."

On the same day I read this chapter I saw that, on the bulletin board in my gym, a poster had appeared, as if by magic, promoting an upcoming Primal Conflict (!) professional wrestling event. I studied the photos of the wrestlers on the poster carefully, and, as an astute reader of Taibbi, I prided myself on being able to identify which of them seemed be playing the roles of heels , and which of them the roles of babyfaces .

For Taibbi explains that one of the fundamental dynamics of wrestling involves the invention of crowd-pleasing narratives out of the many permutations and combinations of pitting heels against faces . Donald Trump, a natural heel , brings the goofy dynamics of pro wrestling to American politics with real-life professional expertise. (Taibbi points out that in 2007 Trump actually performed before a huge cheering crowd in a Wrestlemania event billed as the "battle of the billionaires." Watch it on YouTube! https://youtu.be/5NsrwH9I9vE -- unbelievable!!)

The mainstream corporate media, on the other hand, their eyes fixed on ever bigger and bigger profits, have drifted into the metaphorical pro wrestling ring in ignorance, and so, when they face off against Trump, they often end up in the role of inept prudish pearl-clutching faces .

Taibbi condemns the mainstream media's failure to understand such a massively popular form of American entertainment as "malpractice" (p. 125), so I felt more than obligated to buy a ticket and see the advertised event in person. To properly educate myself, that is.

... ... ...


Steve Ruis , November 5, 2019 at 8:13 am

I have stopped watching broadcast "news" other than occasional sessions of NPR in the car. I get most of my news from sources such as this and from overseas sources (The Guardian, Reuters, etc.). I used to subscribe to newspapers but have given them up in disgust, even though I was looking forward to leisurely enjoying a morning paper after I retired.

I was brought up in the positive 1950's and, boy, did this turn out poorly.

Dao Gen , November 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

Matt Taibbi is an American treasure, and I love his writing very much, but we also need to ask, Why hasn't another Chomsky (or another Hudson), an analyst with a truly deep and wide-ranging, synthetic mind, appeared on the left to take apart our contemporary media and show us its inner workings? Have all the truly great minds gone to work for Wall Street? I don't have an answer, but to me the pro wrestling metaphor, while intriguing, misses something about the Fourth Estate in America, if it indeed still exists. And that is, except for radio, there is a distinct imbalance between the two sides of the MSM lineup. On the corporate liberal side of the national MSM team you have five wrestlers, but on the conservative/reactionary side you have only the Fox entry. Because of this imbalance, the corruption, laziness, self-indulgence, and generally declining interest in journalistic standards seems greater among the corporate liberal media team, including the NYT and WaPo, than the Fox team.

I'm not a fan of either Maddow (in her current incarnation) or Hannity, but Hannity, perhaps because he thinks he's like David, often hustles to refute the discourse of the corporate liberal Goliath team. Hannity obviously does more research on some topics than Maddow, and, perhaps because he began in radio, he puts more emphasis on semi-rationally structured rants than Maddow, who depends more on primal emotion, body language, and Hollywood-esque fear-inducing atmospherics.

I'd wager that in a single five-minute segment there will often be twice as many rational distinctions made in a Hannity rant than in a Maddow performance. In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong from the very beginning as propaganda industry trend-setter Adam Schiff. So for at least these last three years, the Maddow-Hannity primal match has been a somewhat misleading metaphor. The Blob and the security state have been decisively supporting (and directing?) the corporate liberal global interventionist media, at least regarding Russia and the permanent war establishment, and because the imbalance between the interventionist and the non-interventionist MSM, Russia and Ukraine are being used as a wedge to steadily break down the firewalls between the Dem party, the intel community, and the interventionist MSM. If we had real public debates with both sides at approximately equal strength as we did during the Vietnam War, then even pro wrestling-type matches would be superior to what we have now, which is truthy truth and thoughtsy thought coming to us from the military industrial complex and monopolistic holding companies. If fascism is defined as the fusion of the state and corporations, then the greatest threat of fascism in America may well be coming from the apparent gradual fusion of the corporate liberal MSM, the Dem party elite, and the intel community. Instead of an MSM wrestling match, we may soon be faced with a Japanese-style 'hitori-zumo' match in which a sumo wrestler wrestles with only himself. Once these sumo wrestlers were believed to be wrestling with invisible spirits, but those days are gone . http://kikuko-nagoya.com/html/hitori-zumo.htm

coboarts , November 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

"If we had real public debates" and if they were even debates where issues entered into contest were addressed point by point with evidence

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , November 5, 2019 at 10:03 am

Today's Noam Chomksy? Chomsky was part of the machine who broke ranks with it. His MIT research was generously funded by the Military Industrial Complex. Thankfully, enough of his latent humanity and Trotskyite upbringing shone through so he exposed what he was part of. So I guess today that's Chris Hedges, though he's a preacher at heart and not a semiotician.

neighbor7 , November 5, 2019 at 10:04 am

Thank you, Dao Gen. An excellent analysis, and your final image is usefully haunting.

a different chris , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

> In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong

Eh. Read whats-his-name's (Frankfurter?) book On Bullshit . You are giving Hannity credit for something he doesn't really care about.

jrs , November 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm

I don't believe the media environment as a whole leans corporate Dem/neoliberal.

T.V. maybe, but radio is much more right wing than left (yes there is NPR and Pacifica, the latter with probably only a scattering of listerners but ) and it's still out there and a big influence, radio hasn't gone away. So doesn't the right wing tilt of radio kind of balance out television? (not necessarily in a good way but). And then there is the internet and I have no idea what the overall lean of that is (I mean I prefer left wing sites, but that's purely my own bubble and actually there are much fewer left analysis out there than I'd like)

Self Affine , November 5, 2019 at 9:05 am

Also,

Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

by Sheldon S. Wolin

Critical deep analysis of not just the media but the whole American political enterprise and
the nature of our "democracy".

DJG , November 5, 2019 at 9:20 am

The whole review is good, but this extract should be quoted extensively:

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class.

In short, stagnation and self-dealing at the top. What could possibly go wrong?

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

Are you serious? Maddow called Trump a traitor and accused him of betrayal in Russiagate, and was caught out when that fell apart. This was pointed out all over the MSM .

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/03/27/rachel-maddows-deep-delusion-226266

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/17/rachel-maddow-hits-the-panic-button-after-trump-putin-summit-this-is-the-worst-case-scenario/

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 9:52 am

This is great stuff. Thanks.

One quibble: the author says

Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets

and then goes on to spend most of the article talking about television. I'd say television is still the main propaganda instrument even if many webheads like yours truly ignore it (I've never seen Hannity's show or Maddow's–just hear the rumors). Arguably even newspapers like the NYT have been dumbed down because the reporters long to be on TV and join the shouting. And it's surely no coincidence that our president himself is a TV (and WWE) star. Mass media have always been feeders of hysteria but television gave them faces and voices. Watching TV is also a far more passive experience than surfing the web. They are selling us "narratives," bedtime stories, and we like sleepy children merely listen.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , November 5, 2019 at 9:54 am

This rave review has inspired me to add this to my to-read non-fiction queue. Currently reading William Dalrymple's The Anarchy, on the rise of the East India Company. Next up: Matt Stoller's Goliath. And then I'll get to Taibbi. Probably worth digging up my original copy of Manufacturing Consent as well, which I read many moons ago; time for a re-read.

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

almost every page of mine is dog-eared and marked along the edge with exclamation points

urblintz , November 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

May I suggest Stephen Cohen's "War with Russia?" if it's not already on your list? In focusing on the danger emerging from the new cold war, seeded by the Democrats, propagated by corporate media (which he thinks is more dangerous than the first), Cohen clarifies the importance of diplomacy especially with one's nuclear rivals.

Imagine that

shinola , November 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

Support your local book store!

Off The Street , November 5, 2019 at 9:57 am

Us rubes knew decades ago about pro wrestling. There was a regional circuit and the hero in one town would become the villain in another town. The ones to be surprised were like John Stossel, who got a perforated eardrum from a slap upside the head for his efforts at in-your-face journalism with a wrestler who just wouldn't play along with his grandstanding. Somewhere, kids cheered and life went on.

The Historian , November 5, 2019 at 10:01 am

Ah, Ancient Athens, here we come – running back to repeat your mistakes! Our MSM media has decided that when we are not at our neighbor's throats, we should be at each other's throats!

teacup , November 5, 2019 at 10:11 am

I was watching old clips of the 'Fred Friendly Seminars' on YouTube. IMHO any channel that produced a format such as this would be a ratings bonanza. Imagine a round table with various media figures (corporate) left, (corporate) right, and independent being refereed by a host-moderator discussing topics in 'Hate, Inc.'. In wrestling it's called a Battle Royale. The Fourth Estate in a cage match!

@ape , November 5, 2019 at 10:12 am

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

This is important, if people don't want to be naive about what democracy buys. Democracy in the end is a ritual system to determine which members of an elite would win a war without actually having to hold the war. Like how court functions to replace personal revenge by determining (often) who would win in a fight if there were one, and the feudal system replaced the genocidal wars of the axial age with the gentler warfare of the middle ages which were often ritual wars of the elite that avoided the full risk of the earlier wars.

That, I think, is important -- under a democracy, the winner should be normally the winner of the avoided violent conflict to be sustainable. Thus, it's enough to get most people to consent to the solution, using the traditional meaning of consent being "won't put up a fight to avoid it". If the choices on the table are reduced enough, you can get by with most people simply dropping out of the questions.

Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit

It shouldn't be a surprise that we've moved to "faking dissent" -- it's the natural evolution of a system where a lot of the effective power is in the hands of tech, and not just as in the early 20th century, how many workers you have and how many soldiers you can raise.

If you don't like it, change the technology we use to fight one another. We went from tribes to lords when we switch from sticks to advanced forged weapons, and we went from feudalism to democracy when we had factories dropping guns that any 15 year old could use (oversimplifying a bit). Now that the stuff requires expertise, you'd expect a corresponding shift in how we ritualize our conflict avoidance, and thus the organization of how we control communication and how we organize our rituals of power.

Aka, it's the scientists and the engineers who end up determining how everything is organized, and people never seem to bother with that argument, which is especially surprising that even hard-core Marxists waste their time on short-term politics rather than the tech we're building.

I'd be curious whether Taibbi thought about the issue of the nature of the technology and whether there are technological options on the horizon which drive the conflict in other directions. If we had only kept the laws on copyright and patent weaker, so that the implementation of communicative infrastructure would have stayed decentralized

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Tabby's "manufacturing fake consent" was really the whole punchline – the joke's on us. Hunter S. Thompson, another of Taibbi's heroes, is, along with Chomsky, speaking to us through MT. Our media is distracting us from social coherence. Another thing it is doing (just my opinion) is it is overwhelming us to the point of disgust. Nobody likes it. And we protect ourselves by tuning it out. Turning it off. Once the screaming lunatics marginalize themselves by making the whole narrative hysterical, we just act like it's another family fight and we're gonna go do something else. When everyone is screaming, no one is screaming.

Jerry B , November 5, 2019 at 10:26 am

I have tried to read Hate Inc. and Taibbi's Griftopia but one of my main issues with Taibbi's writing is his lack of notes, references, or bibliography, etc. in his books. In skimming Hate Inc. it seems like a book I would enjoy reading, however my personal value system is that any book without footnotes, endnotes, citations, or at minimum a bibliography is just an opinion or a story. At least Thomas Frank's Listen Liberal has a section for End Notes/References at the end of the book. Again just my personal values.

Sbbbd , November 5, 2019 at 10:45 am

Another classic in the genre of manufactured consent through media from the age of radio and Adolf Hitler:

"The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", in the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

Joe Well , November 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

I am from Greater Boston, far, far from flyover country (which I imagine begins in Yonkers NY), but I sure grew up with pro wrestling as part of the schoolyard discourse. I certainly knew it was as much of a family affair as Disney on Ice and have trouble believing he thought otherwise though I will not impugn his honesty. I am very grateful to the author for taking the time to write this, but is it possible for a male who grew up in the US to be as deeply embedded in the MSNBC demo as he claims to be?

Seriously, how is it possible for a male raised in the US to not at least have some working familiarity with pro wrestling? My family along with my community was very close to the national median income–do higher income boys really not learn about WWF and WWE?

Seriously, rich kids, what was childhood like? I know you had music lessons and sports camps, what else? Was it really that different?

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

And it's not just the US. See the British WWE movie: Fighting With My Family.

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

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Sorry, my blue collar, lifetime union member brother says your view is horseshit. All the knows about WWE and WWF is that they are big-budget fakery and that's why they are of no interest.

amfortas the hippie , November 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm

aye. in my blue to white collar( and back to blue to no collar) upbringing, wrestling was never a thing. it was for the morons who couldn't read. seen as patently absurd by just about everyone i knew. and this in klanridden east texas exurbia
wife's mexican extended familia oth luche libre is a big thing that all and sundry talked about at thanksgiving. less so these days possibly due to the hyperindiviualisation of media intake mentioned
(and,btw, in my little world , horseshit is a good thing)

BlueStater , November 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

Even allowing for my lefty-liberal bias, I do not see how it is possible to equate Fox Noise and MSNBC, or Hannity and Maddow, as "both-sides" extremists. Fox violates basic professional canons of fairness and equity on a daily basis. MSNBC occasionally does, but is quick to correct errors of fact. Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar. It is one of the evil successes of the right-wing news cauldron to have successfully equated these two figures and organizations.

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Huh? MSNBC regularly makes errors of omission and commission with respect to Sanders. They are still pushing the Russiagate narrative. That's a massive, two-year, virtually all the time error they have refused to recant.

The blind spots of people on the soi-disant left are truly astonishing.

semiconscious , November 5, 2019 at 1:08 pm

'Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar '

oh, well, then – end of conversation! i mean, god knows, it'd be a cold day in hell before a rhodes scholar, or even someone married to one, would ever lead us astray down the rosy neoliberal path to hell, while, at the same time, under the spell of trump derangement syndrome, actually attempt to revive the mccarthy era, eh?

Summer , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Actual drugs are being used to hinder debate as well as emotional drugs like hate.
They can't trust agency to be removed by words and images alone – the stakes are too high.
Now all of you go take a feel good pill and stop complaining!

McWatt , November 5, 2019 at 1:02 pm

I would like to know if Matt is doing any book signings any where around the states for this new title?

David , November 5, 2019 at 1:15 pm

I've been impressed with Taibbi's work, what I've read of it, but ironically this very article contains a quote from him which exemplifies the problem: his casual assertion that the US committed "genocide" in Indochina. Even the most fervent critics of US policy didn't say this at the time, for the very good reason that there was no evidence that the US tried to destroy a racial, religious, ethnic or nationalist group (the full definition is a lot more complex and demanding than that). He clearly means that the US was responsible for lots of deaths, which is incontestable. But the process of endless escalation of rhetoric, which this book seems to be partly about, means that everything now has to be described in the most extreme, absurd or apocalyptic tones, and at the top of your voice, otherwise nobody takes any notice. So any self-respecting war now has to be qualified as "genocide" or nobody will take any notice.

[Nov 06, 2019] US foreign policy is driven by "diaspora politics"

Nov 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Petri Krohn , Nov 5 2019 22:40 utc | 14

A SPY AND A TRAITOR

A week ago I commented on the Vindman story:

US foreign policy is driven by "diaspora politics" - double traitors who first betrayed their home country and are now betraying the US in the name of their nationalist Nazi ideology and their desire to wage war on Russia.

My friend George Eliason has expanded on the topic.

Alexander Vindman – Why Diaspora Ukrainians are Driving Sedition

Was it Vindman's American patriotism or Diaspora nationalism that led him to share the Oval Office transcript with Ukraine's president?

[Nov 06, 2019] CENTCOM strategy seems to be protect ISIS and help them kill Syrian soldiers, while coalition jets destroy as much Syrian civilian and commercial infrastructure as humanly possible around Deir EzZor.

Nov 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

LeaNder said in reply to trinlae... , 03 February 2017 at 09:17 AM

Pat, will allow me to follow your off-topic link.

Interesting author, trinlae. Great points.

Random pick from the only comment by Pave Way IV. But triggering something on my mind.

CENTCOM strategy seems to be protect ISIS and help them kill Syrian soldiers, while coalition jets destroy as much Syrian civilian and commercial infrastructure as humanly possible around Deir EzZor.

I wouldn't mind someone to take a closer look at one specific 'point' versus its 'counterpoint', or aligned diverse narration variants plus the respectively supporting evidence. Maybe the author wouldn't be a bad choice. ;)

In a nutshell:

a) (point) Assad more or less deliberately created Isis by releasing a series of Islamists from prison in 2011.

b) (counterpoint) the US supports both AQ and Isis indirectly somewhat following earlier US strategies at ME regime change.

"a" seems to be the dominating narrative on our media over here too. No surprise there. It also surfaced in an article by Omar Kassem on CounterPunch linked here a couple of days ago, if I recall correctly.

Am I to believe that releasing a couple of Islamist from prison, -- how many anyway -- had a bigger impact on the genesis of Isis than the mishandling of the Iraqi transition and Occupation. After a war that should never have happened to start with?

Comment variation of 'counterpoint':

http://www.alternet.org/comments/world/isis-syrian-war-and-al-qaeda#disqus_thread

Article contains variation of 'point', Assad created Isis:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/01/grinding-towards-peace-in-the-middle-east-as-america-looks-inward/

[Nov 06, 2019] Something about Trump coherence

Nov 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Barba_Papa 21 hours ago

The US openly occupies parts of Syria, boasts of taking it resources and supported the attempts of the Kurds to set up their own little state, until the Turks blew a hissy fit. And yet it has the gall to call out what Russia does in the Ukraine as a breach of international law.

[Nov 05, 2019] The problem with stealing Syrian oil by Daniel Larison

Nov 03, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

U.S. troops sent into Syria on an illegal and pointless mission to "take the oil" don't know what they are supposed to be doing :

US military commanders overseeing Syria operations are still waiting for precise battlefield orders from the White House and Pentagon on their exact mission to protect oilfields in eastern Syria, according to a defense official directly familiar with the matter.

Nearly three weeks after President Donald Trump ordered troops out of northern Syria, publicly declaring he was taking "control" of the oil and sending troops and armored carriers to protect it from ISIS, US commanders lack clarity on the most basic aspects of their mission, including how and when troops can fire their weapons and what, exactly, that mission is.

The lack of precise orders means troops are on the ground while critical details are still being worked out -- exactly where they will go, when and how they will stay on small bases in the area, and when they go on patrol.

Perhaps most crucially, there is no clarity about exactly who they are operating against in the oilfields.

Everything the Trump administration has done in Syria has been horribly confused, so it makes sense that the latest version of the policy would be baffling to our own troops. U.S. commanders lack clarity about the mission because it was cooked up to appeal to the president's desire for plundering other countries' resources. It was thrown together on the spur of the moment as an excuse to keep U.S. troops in Syria no matter what, and now those troops are stuck there with no instructions and no idea what they are expected to do. This is the worst kind of unnecessary military mission, because it is being carried out simply to keep a U.S. foothold in Syria for its own sake. The "critical details" aren't being worked out so much as a plausible justification after the fact is being conjured out of thin air. There is no reason for these troops to be there, and there is nothing that they can do there legally, but the administration will come up with some bad argument to keep them there anyway.

Meanwhile, Trump is very proud of his clownish, illegal Syria policy:

me title=

Trump labors under the delusion that the oil is ours to "distribute." which everyone else knows to be false. The oil belongs to the Syrian government, and that oil can't be sold and revenues from those sales cannot be used without the permission of the government that owns it. Syria's oil resources are not that great, and the infrastructure of many of the fields has been damaged or destroyed, so if it were legal to loot the spoils there wouldn't be very much to loot. The president thinks that seizing Syrian oil is worth boasting about, but in reality it is one of the most absurd and indefensible reasons for deploying troops abroad. In addition to damaging the country's international standing with allied and friendly governments with this open thievery, Trump's "take the oil" fixation is a propaganda coup for hostile governments and groups. As Paul Pillar pointed out last week, it plays into the hands of jihadist groups and aids them in their recruitment:

Trump's Sunday appearance before the press played right into this theme. Referring back to the Iraq War, Trump described as his own view at the time that if the United States was going into Iraq, it should "keep the oil." As for Syria's oil, he said it can help the Kurds but "it can help us because we should be able to take some also. And what I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an Exxon Mobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly." A propagandist for ISIS or al-Qaeda would hardly have written the script differently.

Keeping troops in Syria to "take the oil" is divorced from genuine American security interests just like any other unnecessary military intervention. The president is exposing U.S. military personnel to unnecessary risk, and he is also putting them in legal jeopardy by ordering them to commit what is essentially the war crime of pillaging. The president has managed to take a Syria policy that was already incoherent and chaotic and he has made it even worse.

[Nov 05, 2019] Something about Trump coherence

Nov 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Barba_Papa 21 hours ago

The US openly occupies parts of Syria, boasts of taking it resources and supported the attempts of the Kurds to set up their own little state, until the Turks blew a hissy fit. And yet it has the gall to call out what Russia does in the Ukraine as a breach of international law.

[Nov 05, 2019] Syrians especially, but all of us owe a huge thank you to Russia for saving us from the horrors that would've come in wider wars if not for Russia's intervention.

Nov 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

PJB , Nov 5 2019 3:30 utc | 28

Good article by Scott Ritter, former US army officer and senior U.N. weapons of mass destruction inspector, about how Syrians especially, but all of us owe a huge thank you to Russia for saving us from the horrors that would've come in wider wars if not for Russia's intervention.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/russia-isnt-getting-the-recognition-it-deserves-on-syria/

[Nov 05, 2019] The Foreign Policy Blob Versus Trump by Hunter DeRensis

Oct 30, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Ever since the whistleblower complaint from inside the CIA first surfaced against President Donald Trump, a steady stream of national security and State Department officials have testified about their consternation at his dealings with Ukraine. The dominant impression that they have left, however, is that they are blurring the line between what constitutes unsavory behavior when it comes to pressuring Ukraine for information on domestic political opponents, on the one hand, and what are legitimate policy disagreements. Indeed, it appears that they are, more often than not, substituting their own political judgments for the president's when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy-something that should concern Democrats as much as Republicans. A whole caste of government officials seems to believe that for an American president to aim to improve relations with Russia is an illegitimate, even treasonous, aspiration.

Today was no exception. Consider the testimony of State Department official Catherine Croft. In her brief opening statement, she declared, "As the Director covering Ukraine, I staffed the President's December 2017 decision to provide Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missile systems. I also staffed his September 2017 meeting with then-President Petro Poroshenko on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Throughout both, I heard-directly and indirectly-President Trump describe Ukraine as a corrupt country." The implication was that Trump had no business complaining about corruption in Ukraine. But why not? The persistence of corruption, which President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected by an overwhelming majority to combat, is hardly a secret.

Perhaps even more revealing was Croft's declaration to the House Intelligence Committee that in November 2018 the White House refused to approve the release of a statement condemning Russia for seizing three Ukrainian ships located close to Crimea. It sounds damning at first glance. But once again, why shouldn't Trump have practiced restraint in this instance if he was intent on improving relations with Russia, a platform that he was elected on? As it happens, the Zelensky campaign depicted the ship incident as a political provocation on the part of the Poroshenko government.

The implicit assumptions that appear to guide these veteran members of the bureaucracy were even more obvious in the case of Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman. As the media has underscored, he is the first person to testify in the impeachment inquiry who participated in the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Initially, Trump's defenders sought to portray him as guilty of "espionage" or dual loyalty because he emigrated to America as a toddler. But this was always preposterous. More telling is that Vindman, no less than Croft, epitomizes a mindset that seems to regard a deviation from the strictures of the foreign policy establishment as by definition unacceptable.

In his opening statement, Vindman declared, that Ukraine is a "frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression." He added, "the U.S. government policy community's view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the promise of reforms will lock in Ukraine's Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity." But what if Trump has a different view of matters than the "U.S. government policy community's view"? After all, Trump was elected in part on his explicit declarations that he would not rely on the experts who had plunged America into Iraq and Libya.

Consider as well the attention that Vindman has lavished upon Trump's phone call with Zelensky. According to Vindman, portions of the call he considered important were not included in the document kept by the government that was released to the last month. This includes President Trump claiming there are recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukrainian corruption, and President Zelensky specifically referring to Biden's son's company, Burisma Holdings. The document released by the administration includes Zelensky talking about "the company" and Trump saying, "Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution," which is an interpretation of a video of Joe Biden describing how the Obama administration made firing Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin a prerequisite for receiving foreign aid. Vindman's recollection of the call does not change the substance of what was already understood. However, the changes in language are being portrayed as more analogous to Richard Nixon editing the White House tapes than the routine process that produced a routine document. "Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who heard President Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's president and was alarmed, testified that he tried and failed to add key details to the rough transcript," blared the New York Times headline.

For two months, major media outlets have described the document as a "transcript," as a shorthand term. But as the document, and TNI's previous reporting makes clear, it is not a transcript in the strict sense of the term. "This is what's known as a memorandum of conversation: MEMCON. It is a standard tool that is used throughout the government and the procedures can vary from agency to agency, or who your boss is. But generally, they're all done about the same way," explains Peter Van Buren, a former Foreign Service Officer in the State Department.

"In my own experience in government for 24 years it's a pretty standardized practice. The idea is, for all sorts of reasons, most interactions are not recorded. Instead, they're memorialized through this process of MEMCON. Typically, while there are many people who may be listening in or present at a meeting, someone (or sometimes two people) are designated as official notetakers and they take down the conversation. And they're not trying necessarily to get an exact word-for-word account, but they're certainly trying to get an idea for idea. And in many cases when you're dealing at the White House level, they are getting it pretty much word for word," Van Buren tells TNI.

As a participant on the phone call, Vindman would have been one of the early editors. As the process continued, officials higher than him made changes, just like the editor of a magazine would for a writer. The precise reasons for the changes are open-ended and probably unknowable. There exists no evidence that the changes were nefarious or anything other than mundane word choice. The document released to the public is the official U.S. government record of what happened.

John Marshall Evans, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer and Ambassador to Armenia, narrows down what should be the focus of this inquiry-and what it's actually becoming. "The issue is indeed not one of policy, which the President can change, but of the purpose that was pursued in the July 25th call: whether it was in the national interest or a private gain," he says. So far, no one has shown that Trump demanded that the Ukrainian government produce a specific result or fabricate evidence about the Bidens.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is supposed to hold a House vote on the impeachment inquiry tomorrow, after a barrage of criticism from Republicans for moving forward without one. Whether the open hearings and public testimony will provide any more substance than a parade of national security bureaucrats ventilating their grievances about a president who sought to take a different course in foreign policy is questionable.


Sean.McGivens 3 days ago ,

Vindman declared, that Ukraine is a "frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.

Complete bull. The truth is that there is no Russian aggression. What we're seeing from Russia is actually pushback against American aggression. The US is trying to turn Ukraine into a NATO member, knowing that doing so would severely undermine Russia's national security. The American goal is to reduce Russia's influence in world affairs, and to be in geostrategic position to relate to Russia coercively. Little wonder, then, that Russia lashed back by taking Crimean and Donbass.

For Vindman to assert that Ukraine is "bulwark against Russian aggression" and a matter vital to the US's national interests only goes to prove that America is under the influence of liars. The American people are being mislead about the truth.

Ukraine's on Russia's front door step. It overlaps with Russia territorially, demographically, and geopolitically. By entering Ukraine for strategic reasons, the US has provoked and threatened Russia. There is no justification for this reckless foreign policy move by the US.

Terry 4 days ago ,

First off, 'improving relations with Russia' does NOT mean doing whatever is best for Russia at our expense. Every foreign policy move this president has made has only benefited Russia, not the US! Secondly, I have slowly but surely become convinced Trump is a wholly owned subsidiary of Putin Inc. I don't know what Putin has on Trump (but I think money laundering would be a solid guess) or if it's the promise of Putin's blessing for a Trump Tower Moscow, but whatever it is, he has Trump in his back pocket. And lastly, if everyone has not figured out all The Donald cares about is money in his pocket they are fools. Face it, writer, you either have bought that bag of magic beans Trump sold the electorate in the last election or you are being willfully blind to who and what this 'man' is.

Sean.McGivens Terry 3 days ago ,

First off, 'improving relations with Russia' does NOT mean doing whatever is best for Russia at our expense.

That's confusing. How exactly is America doing something for Russia at the expense of the US? If you really believe this, then you've been fooled by American propaganda into thinking that Ukraine is an extension of the continental US. The reality, of course, is that Ukraine is on the other side of the world, and does not in any way matter to America's vital national interests.

In Ukraine, America is overstretching its ambitions, and is behaving like an aggressor.

Terry Sean.McGivens 3 days ago ,

Let's start with the sanctions passed by Congress on Russian oligarchs for invading the Ukraine. Somehow, they just weren't imposed until Trump was forced to. Then there is the deliberate sabotage of all of our alliances. Now it's stabbing the kurds in the back so Putin and Erdogan can split that area up between them. The only thing Trump, Turkey and Russia have in common are Trump Tower Istanbul and his desire for Trump Tower Moscow. He is, quite literally selling us out.

P.S. Nice try, Russkie, but it wasn't us who invaded and seized Crimea and western Ukraine. That was you. We may stick our noses into world affairs more than we should, but we have not stolen any land or resources of any country we are in. Get right down to it, if it wasn't for your nukes, we'd put you down like a rabid dog. Don't think we can? Your economy is the size of our state of Georgia and it ain't even close to the top. Just another commie basket case.

Yuki 5 days ago ,

The "Trump Foreign Policy" itself is doing splash damage on US Power.

[Nov 05, 2019] The Empire, Trump and Intra-Ruling Class Conflict Dissident Voice

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, as Targ explains, are the Trumpian, "America First" nationalist capitalists. This faction of the ruling class, while also supporting global dominance and a permanent war economy (military-related spending will consume 48 percent of the 2020 federal budget) favors trade restrictions, economic nationalism, building walls and anti-immigrant policies. Although Trump is inconsistent, bumbling and sometimes contradictory, he's departed from the neocon's agenda by making overtures to North Korea and Russia, voicing doubts about NATO as an expensive relic from the past that is being dangerously misused outside of Europe, not being afraid to speak bluntly to EU allies, frequently mentioning ending our "endless, ridiculous and costly wars," asserting that the U.S. is badly overextended and saying "The job of our military is not to police the world." ..."
"... This is a high stakes intra-ruling class struggle and neither side cares a fig about what's best for the American people or those beyond our borders. At this point it's impossible to know how it will play out but grasping the underlying dynamics explains much about current U.S. domestic and foreign policy. This understanding may, in turn, point toward how opponents of America's oligarchic elites can most expeditiously use their time and energy. ..."
"... Foremost is the fact that Trump's intra-elite enemies despise him not for being a neo-fascistic demagogue, a despicable human being devoid of a conscience, or for the brouhaha over Ukraine. Their animus is rooted in the conviction that Trump has been a foot dragging imperialist, an equivocal caretaker of empire, unreliable pull-the-trigger Commander-in-chief (e.g.Iran) and transparent truth-teller about the real motives behind U.S. foreign policy. These are his unforgivable sins and if he's impeached or denied the Oval Office by some other means, they will be real reasons. ..."
"... One of Trump's most traitorous acts is that he's been consistent, at least rhetorically, in being opposed to U.S. troops being killed in "endless wars." One need not agree with his reasons to find merit in this worthy objective. His motives probably include Nativism, racism, foreign investment stability, the wars causing more refugees to come here, his massive ego, appeals to his voting base, or simply because he believes both he and the "real America" would be better off. For him, the latter two are synonymous. ..."
"... For this treachery, those arrayed against Trump include at least, the Pentagon-CIA-armaments lobby, MSM editors like those at CNN, The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
Nov 05, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

Over the past few months President Trump has unilaterally by Tweet and telephone begun to dismantle the U.S. military's involvement in the Middle East. The irony is amazing, because in a general overarching narrative sense, this is what the marginalized antiwar movement has been trying to do for decades. 1

Prof. Harry Targ, in his important piece "United States foreign policy: yesterday, today, and tomorrow," (MR online, October 23, 2919), reminds us of the factional dispute among U.S. foreign policy elites over how to maintain the U.S. empire. On the one hand are the neoliberal global capitalists who favor military intervention, covert operations, regime change, strengthening NATO, thrusting China into the enemy vacuum and re-igniting the Cold War with Russia. All of this is concealed behind lofty rhetoric about humanitarianism, protecting human rights, promoting democracy, fighting terrorism and American exceptionalism. Their mantra is Madeleine Albright's description of the United States as the world's "one indispensable nation."

On the other hand, as Targ explains, are the Trumpian, "America First" nationalist capitalists. This faction of the ruling class, while also supporting global dominance and a permanent war economy (military-related spending will consume 48 percent of the 2020 federal budget) favors trade restrictions, economic nationalism, building walls and anti-immigrant policies. Although Trump is inconsistent, bumbling and sometimes contradictory, he's departed from the neocon's agenda by making overtures to North Korea and Russia, voicing doubts about NATO as an expensive relic from the past that is being dangerously misused outside of Europe, not being afraid to speak bluntly to EU allies, frequently mentioning ending our "endless, ridiculous and costly wars," asserting that the U.S. is badly overextended and saying "The job of our military is not to police the world."

I would add that Trump is also an "American exceptionalist" but ascribes a very different provincial meaning to the term, something closer to a crabbed provincialism, an insular "Shining City on a Hill," surrounded by a moat.

This is a high stakes intra-ruling class struggle and neither side cares a fig about what's best for the American people or those beyond our borders. At this point it's impossible to know how it will play out but grasping the underlying dynamics explains much about current U.S. domestic and foreign policy. This understanding may, in turn, point toward how opponents of America's oligarchic elites can most expeditiously use their time and energy.

Foremost is the fact that Trump's intra-elite enemies despise him not for being a neo-fascistic demagogue, a despicable human being devoid of a conscience, or for the brouhaha over Ukraine. Their animus is rooted in the conviction that Trump has been a foot dragging imperialist, an equivocal caretaker of empire, unreliable pull-the-trigger Commander-in-chief (e.g.Iran) and transparent truth-teller about the real motives behind U.S. foreign policy. These are his unforgivable sins and if he's impeached or denied the Oval Office by some other means, they will be real reasons.

One of Trump's most traitorous acts is that he's been consistent, at least rhetorically, in being opposed to U.S. troops being killed in "endless wars." One need not agree with his reasons to find merit in this worthy objective. His motives probably include Nativism, racism, foreign investment stability, the wars causing more refugees to come here, his massive ego, appeals to his voting base, or simply because he believes both he and the "real America" would be better off. For him, the latter two are synonymous.

For this treachery, those arrayed against Trump include at least, the Pentagon-CIA-armaments lobby, MSM editors like those at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post , NSA, Zionist neocons, the DNC, establishment Democrats, some hawkish Republican senators, many lifestyle liberals still harboring a sentimental faith in American goodness and even EU and NATO elites who've benefited from being faithful lackeys to Washington's global imperialism.

In a recent interview, Major Danny Sjursen, retired army officer and West Point instructor with tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, notes that "The last bipartisan issue in American politics today is warfare, forever warfare." In terms of the military, that means " even the hint of getting out of the establishment interventionist status quo is terrifying to these generals, terrifying to these former intelligence officers from the Obama administration who seem to live on MSNBC now." Sjursen adds that many of these generals (like Mattis) have already found lucrative work with the military industrial complex. 2

In response to Trump's announcement about removing some U.S. troops from the region, we find an op-ed in The New York Times by Admiral William McRaven where he states that Trump "should be out of office sooner than later. It's time for a new person in the Oval Office, Republican, Democrat or Independent. The fate of the nation depends on it." The unmistakeable whiff of support for a soft coup is chilling. If Trump can't be contained, he must be deposed one way or another.

And this is all entirely consistent with the fact that the national security state was totally caught off guard by Trump's victory in 2016. For them, Trump was a loose cannon, erratic and ultra-confrontational, someone they couldn't control. Their favored candidate was the ever reliable, Wall Street-friendly, war-mongering Hillary Clinton or even Jeb Bush. Today, barring a totally chastised Trump, the favorites include a fading Biden, Pence, a reprise of Clinton or someone in her mold but without the baggage.

For Trump's establishment enemies, another closely related failing is his habit of blurting out inconvenient truths. I'm not the first person to say that Trump is the most honest president in my lifetime. Yes, he lies most of the time but as left analyst Paul Street puts it, "Trump is too clumsily and childishly brazen in laying bare the moral nothingness and selfishness of the real material-historical bourgeois society that lives beneath the veils of 'Western civilization' and 'American democracy.'" 3

All his predecessors took pains or were coached to conceal their imperialist actions behind declarations of humanitarian interventionism but Trump has pulled the curtains back to reveal the ugly truths about U.S. foreign policy. As such, the carefully calibrated propaganda fed to the public in endless reiterations over a lifetime is jeopardized whenever Trump utters a transparent truth. This is intolerable.

Here are a few examples culled from speeches, interviews and press reports:

As noted earlier, the endgame is not in sight. Trump seems without a clear strategy for moving forward and from all reports he can't depend on his current coterie of White House advisors to produce one. Further, he may lack the necessary political in-fight skills or tenacity to see it through. When some of his Republican "allies" savaged his announcement to withdraw troops from Syria, he backtracked and made some, at least cosmetic concessions. However, the fact that Trump's position remains popular with his voter base and especially with veterans of these wars will give pause to Republicans. If some finally join the Democrats in voting for impeachment over Ukraine-gate they may minimize re-election risks by hiding their real motives behind pious claims -- as will most Democrats -- about "protecting the constitution and the rule of law".

Now, lest I be misunderstood, nothing I've written here should be construed as support for Donald Trump or that I believe he's antiwar. Trump is aberration only in that his brand of Western imperialism means that the victims remain foreigners while U.S. soldiers remain out of harm's way. He knows that boots on the ground can quickly descend into bodies in the ground and unlike his opponents, coffins returning to Dover Air Base are not worth risking his personal ambitions. This is clearly something to build upon. We don't know if Trump views drones, cyber warfare and proxies as substitutes but his intra-elite opponents remain extremely dubious. In any event, that's another dimension to expose and challenge.

Finally, we know the ruling class in a capitalist democracy -- an oxymoron -- expends enormous time and resources to obtain a faux "consent of the governed" through misinformation conveyed via massive, lifelong ideological indoctrination. For them, citizen's policing themselves is more efficient than coercion and precludes raising questions that might delegitimize the system. Obviously force and fear are hardly unknown -- witness the mass incarceration and police murder of black citizens -- but one only has to look around to see how successful this method of control has been.

Nevertheless, as social historian Margaret Jacoby wisely reminds us, "No institution is safe if people simply stop believing the assumptions that justify its existence." 4 Put another way, the system simply can't accommodate certain "dangerous ideas."

Today, we see promising political fissures developing, especially within the rising generation, and it's our responsibility to help deepen and widen these openings through whatever means at our disposal.

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

Nov 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Stephanie , 03 November 2019 at 09:57 AM

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

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

I guess we know which mansion Brennan inhabits.


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

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

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

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

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

Tue 11 Sep 2001: 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter.php%3Fversion%3D44%23cb%3Df2f5b191d988b7c%26domain%3Dwww.unz.com%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.unz.com%252Ff274ead5c8d4fc6%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=75&href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.unz.com%2Fmhudson%2Fthe-saker-interviews-michael-hudson%2F&layout=button_count&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&send=false&show_faces=false&width=90

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/share_button.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter.php%3Fversion%3D44%23cb%3Df2cafb22f75d61a%26domain%3Dwww.unz.com%26origin%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.unz.com%252Ff274ead5c8d4fc6%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.unz.com%2Fmhudson%2Fthe-saker-interviews-michael-hudson%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&type=button

http://www.unz.com/mhudson/the-saker-interviews-michael-hudson/ Email This Page to Someone
Remember My Information


=> List of Bookmarks ► ◄ ► ▲ Remove from Library B Show Comment Next New Comment Next New Reply Read More Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period. Email Comment Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Bookmark Toggle All ToC ▲ ▼ Add to Library Search Text Case Sensitive Exact Words Include Comments Search Clear Cancel

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORDER IT NOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Saker: thank you for your time and replies!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt":

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anecdotal -- yes. But based on personal observation.

[Nov 03, 2019] No true war is bad

Nov 03, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Nov 03, 2019] Such a Nobel peaceprice winnder: Strikes under the Bush Administration: 51; Strikes under the Obama Administration: 373; Strikes under the Trump Administration: 5

Notable quotes:
"... Obama's life and actions are a texbook explanation of how humans develop on the sociopathic spectrum. Not all sociopaths are evil-looking monsters. Obama, Biden, Buttigieg, Kamala, W... but their actions always expose them. We, as fellow humans and sentient beings, must develop filters that trigger deeper probes into their actions over time and their sociopathic-- even psychopatic actions will emerge. ..."
Nov 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Nov 2 2019 11:12 utc | 126

For the hysterical Trump Derangement Syndrome jello-brained fools saying Trump is killing people in secret or something ridiculous like that, check out the list of drone murders in Pakistan as a rather typical illustration. The trend is the same for Yemen and Afghanistan.

Here are the crucial totals for Pakistan:

"O-bomber" is an apt sobriquet for the previous Nobel Peace Prize winning PotUS.

igueljose , Nov 2 2019 13:53 utc 144

migueljose , Nov 2 2019 13:53 utc | 144

Karlof1,petri, lysias and others,(@40s) thank you for your details and focus on the U.S. government's crimes and actions in Ukraine, especially pointing to Obama. His name is left out of most blogs and discussions and I think is key to a critical need for us to redirect our future conversations and actions: we need to identify the neoliberal/neocon trojan horses early and often. I voted for Obama in 08 and was shocked as he immediately began filling his cabinet with neoliberal/neocons-- Geitner, Hillary, Gates, Summers, etc.

Obama's life and actions are a texbook explanation of how humans develop on the sociopathic spectrum. Not all sociopaths are evil-looking monsters. Obama, Biden, Buttigieg, Kamala, W... but their actions always expose them. We, as fellow humans and sentient beings, must develop filters that trigger deeper probes into their actions over time and their sociopathic-- even psychopatic actions will emerge.

[Nov 03, 2019] How Controlling Syria s Oil Serves Washington s Strategic Objectives by Nauman Sadiq

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus. ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,

Before the evacuation of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria to western Iraq, the Pentagon had 2,000 US forces in Syria. After the drawdown of US troops at Erdogan's insistence in order for Ankara to mount a ground offensive in northern Syria, the US has still deployed 1,000 troops, mainly in oil-rich eastern Deir al-Zor province and at al-Tanf military base.

Al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it straddles on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups there.

It's worth noting that rather than fighting the Islamic State, the purpose of continued presence of the US forces at al-Tanf military base is to address Israel's concerns regarding the expansion of Iran's influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Regarding the oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate, it's worth pointing out that Syria used to produce modest quantities of oil for domestic needs before the war – roughly 400,000 barrels per day, which isn't much compared to tens of millions barrels daily oil production in the Gulf states.

Although Donald Trump crowed in a characteristic blunt manner in a tweet after the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria that Washington had deployed forces in eastern Syria where there was oil, the purpose of exercising control over Syria's oil is neither to smuggle oil out of Syria nor to deny the valuable source of revenue to the Islamic State.

There is no denying the fact that the remnants of the Islamic State militants are still found in Syria and Iraq but its emirate has been completely dismantled in the region and its leadership is on the run. So much so that the fugitive caliph of the terrorist organization was killed in the bastion of a rival jihadist outfit, al-Nusra Front in Idlib, hundreds of kilometers away from the Islamic State strongholds in eastern Syria.

Much like the "scorched earth" battle strategy of medieval warlords – as in the case of the Islamic State which early in the year burned crops of local farmers while retreating from its former strongholds in eastern Syria – Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus.

After the devastation caused by eight years of proxy war, the Syrian government is in dire need of tens of billions dollars international assistance to rebuild the country. Not only is Washington hampering efforts to provide international aid to the hapless country, it is in fact squatting over Syria's own resources with the help of its only ally in the region, the Kurds.

Although Donald Trump claimed credit for expropriating Syria's oil wealth, it bears mentioning that "scorched earth" policy is not a business strategy, it is the institutional logic of the deep state. President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment.

Regarding Washington's interest in propping up the Gulf's autocrats and fighting their wars in regional conflicts, it bears mentioning that in April 2016, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if the US Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the September 11, 2001 terror attack – though the bill was eventually passed, Saudi authorities have not been held accountable; even though 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Moreover, $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf's investments in North America and Western Europe.

Furthermore, in order to bring home the significance of the Persian Gulf's oil in the energy-starved industrialized world, here are a few stats from the OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world's largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produces 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold 788 billion barrels, more than half of world's 1477 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

No wonder then, 36,000 United States troops have currently been deployed in their numerous military bases and aircraft carriers in the oil-rich Persian Gulf in accordance with the Carter Doctrine of 1980, which states: "Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Additionally, regarding the Western defense production industry's sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy found that the Obama administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight-year tenure.

Similarly, the top items in Trump's agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 were: firstly, he threw his weight behind the idea of the Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to counter Iran's influence in the region; and secondly, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package included between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales.

Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during the times of global recession when most of manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is not surprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to the Islamic jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Obama administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies, despite the sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but to the Western countries, as well.

Similarly, when King Abdullah's successor King Salman decided, on the whim of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again the Obama administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars' worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.

In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops; and in return, the Gulf's petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Western economies.

Regarding the Pax Americana which is the reality of the contemporary neocolonial order, according to a January 2017 infographic by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were stationed all over the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.

Although Donald Trump keeps complaining that NATO must share the cost of deployment of US troops, particularly in Europe where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Germany since the end of the Second World War, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom, fact of the matter is that the cost is already shared between Washington and host countries.

Roughly, European countries pay one-third of the cost for maintaining US military bases in Europe whereas Washington chips in the remaining two-third. In the Far Eastern countries, 75% of the cost for the deployment of American troops is shared by Japan and the remaining 25% by Washington, and in South Korea, 40% cost is shared by the host country and the US contributes the remaining 60%.

Whereas the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – pay two-third of the cost for maintaining 36,000 US troops in the Persian Gulf where more than half of world's proven oil reserves are located and Washington contributes the remaining one-third.

* * *

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.


ipsprez , 8 minutes ago link

I am always amazed (and amused) at how much smarter "journalists" are than POTUS. If ONLY Mr. Trump would read more and listen to those who OBVIOUSLY are sooo much smarter!!!! Maybe then he wouldn't be cowed and bullied by Erdogan, Xi, Jung-on, Trudeau (OK so maybe that one was too far fetched) to name a few. Please note the sarcasm. Do I really need to go in to the success after success Mr. Trump's foreign policy has enjoyed? Come on Man.

OLD-Pipe , 19 minutes ago link

What a load of BOLOCKS...The ONLY, I mean The Real and True Reason for American Armored presence is one thing,,,,,,,Ready for IT ? ? ? To Steal as much OIL as Possible, AND convert the Booty into Currency, Diamonds or some other intrinsically valuable commodity, Millions of Dollars at a Time......17 Years of Shadows and Ghost Trucks and Tankers Loading and Off-Loading the Black Gold...this is what its all about......M-O-N-E-Y....... Say It With Me.... Mon-nee, Money Money Mo_on_ne_e_ey, ......

Blue Steel 309 , 5 minutes ago link

This is about Israel, not oil.

ombon , 58 minutes ago link

From the sale of US oil in Syria receive 30 million. dollars per month. Image losses are immeasurably greater. The United States put the United States as a robbery bandit. This is American democracy. The longer the troops are in Syria, the more countries will switch to settlements in national currencies.

Pandelis , 28 minutes ago link

yeah well these are mafia guys...

uhland62 , 50 minutes ago link

"Our interests", "strategic interests" is always about money, just a euphemism so it doesn't look as greedy as it is. Another euphemism is "security' ,meaning war preparations.

BobEore , 1 hour ago link

...The military power of the USA put directly in the service of "the original TM" PIRATE STATE. U are the man Norm! But wait... now things get a little hazy... in the classic... 'alt0media fake storyline' fashion!

"President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment."

Awww! Poor "DUmb as Rocks Donnie" done been fooled agin!

...In the USA... the military men are stirring at last... having been made all too aware that their putative 'boss' has been operating on behalf of foreign powers ever since being [s]elected, that the State Dept of the once Great Republic has been in active cahoots with the jihadis ...

and that those who were sent over there to fight against the headchoppers discovered that the only straight shooters in the whole mess turned out to be the Kurds who AGENT FRIMpf THREW UNDER THE BUS ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM JIHADI HQ!

... ... ...

[Nov 02, 2019] Assad Calls Trump Best US President Ever For Transparency Of Real US Motives

Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Arguably some of the most significant events since the eight-year long war's start have played out in Syria with rapid pace over just the last month alone, including Turkey's military incursion in the north, the US pullback from the border and into Syria's oil fields, the Kurdish-led SDF&# deal making with Damascus, and the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. All of this is why a televised interview with Presiden39;st Bashar Assad was highly anticipated at the end of this week.

Assad's commentary on the latest White House policy to "secure the oil" in Syria, for which US troops have already been redeployed to some of the largest oil fields in the Deir Ezzor region, was the biggest pressing question. The Syrian president's response was unexpected and is now driving headlines, given what he said directly about Trump, calling him the "best American president" ever – because he's the "most transparent."

"When it comes to Trump you may ask me a question and I'll give you an answer which might seem strange. I tell you he's the best American president," Assad said, according to a translation provided by NBC.

"Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president," Assad continued.

"All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Prize and appear as a defender of human rights and the 'unique' and 'brilliant' American or Western principles. But all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others," he added.

"Trump speaks with the transparency to say 'We want the oil'." Assad's unique approach to an 'enemy' head of state which has just ordered the seizure of Syrian national resources also comes after in prior years the US president called Assad "our enemy" and an "animal."

Trump tweeted in April 2018 after a new chemical attack allegation had surfaced: "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

A number of mainstream outlets commenting on Assad's interview falsely presented it as "praise" of Trump or that Assad thinks "highly" of him; however, it appears the Syrian leader was merely presenting Trump's policy statements from a 'realist' perspective , contrasting them from the misleading 'humanitarian' motives typical of Washington's rhetoric about itself.

That is, Damascus sees US actions in the Middle East as motivated fundamentally by naked imperial ambition, a constant prior theme of Assad's speeches , across administrations, whether US leadership dresses it up as 'democracy promotion' or in humanitarian terms characteristic of liberal interventionism. As Assad described, Trump seems to skip dressing up his rhetoric in moralistic idealism altogether, content to just unapologetically admit the ugly reality of US foreign policy.


indaknow , 4 minutes ago link

Most President's thought you had to plot coups. Regime changes, color revolutions. Long convoluted wars with many deaths and collateral damage.

Trump says **** that. We're just taking the oil. Brilliant

Chupacabra-322 , 18 minutes ago link

To fund their Black Ops to destabilize Sovereign Countries & rape, murder, pillage & steal their natural resources. And, install their Puppet leaders.

Wash, rinse & repeat.

ExPat2018 , 22 minutes ago link

I see Americans keep calling Assad and Putin a ''dictator'' Hey, jackasses, they were ELECTED in elections far less corrupt than what you have in the USSA

Guentzburgh , 54 minutes ago link

Transparently Assad is a moron, the oil belongs to the kurds snake.

beemasters , 52 minutes ago link

Not anymore... Russian Military Releases Satellite Images Confirming US Smuggling of Syrian Oil
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201910261077154752-russian-military-releases-satellite-images-confirming-us-smuggling-of-syrian-oil/

yerfej , 1 hour ago link

Securing oil from those you don't want to have it is different than "stealing" the oil. Face it the oil means nothing to any large western economy.

Dzerzhhinsky , 33 minutes ago link

Face it the oil means nothing to any large western economy.

The one thing all capitalists have in common is they all want more money, it's never enough.

You commies will never understand the deep in your gut need to take every penny from every child.

Fiscal Reality , 1 hour ago link

Pelosi, Schiff, Cankels, Schumer, The MSM all sriek in unison "TRUMP IS ASSAD'S PAWN. IMPEACH HIM!!!"

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

the "best American president" ever – because he's the "most transparent."

Very much so. When he says something, it's definitely the opposite that he would be doing. You can't get more transparent than that.

NorwegianPawn , 1 hour ago link

Assad is a very eloquent speaker. Witty, sharp and always calm when speaking with decadent press. Of course the MSM understood what he DID mean, but they cannot help themselves, but parse anything to try hurting Trump.

Just don't believe a word the media says.

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Mr. Assad's got that pitch correctly...

As a matter of fact he used "real motives" when he should have used the words "maniacal" and "desperate"...

Case in point... https://southfront.org/western-europe-archdiocese-officially-reunited-with-russian-orthodox-church/

If true. It means the Vatican (the oldest most important money there is) like Saudi Arabia and the UAE sure do seem to care about stuff like purchasing power in their "portfolios" and a "store of value"?...

I see lots of EU participants taking their money to Moscow as well with that Arctic bonanza that says "come hither" if you want your money to be worth something!!!

To Hell In A Handbasket , 1 hour ago link

It's always been about oil. Spreading Freedumb, Dumbocracy and Western values, is PR spiel. The reality is, the West are scammers, plunderers and outright thieves. Forget the billions Shell Oil, is holding for the Biafran people/region in Nigeria, which it won't give to either the Bianfran states in the east, nor the Nigerian government, dating back to the secessionist state of Biafra/Nigerian civil war 1967-70. The west are nothing more than gang-bangers, but on the world stage.

If people think its just oil we steal, then you are mad. What the UK did in reneging on 1500 Chieftain tanks and armoured personnel vehicles, with Iran which they paid for up-front and fucked Iran over in the UK courts over interest payments over 40 years. Are stories that simply do not make the news.

Yet the department for trade and industry is scratching its head, wondering why their are so few takers for a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, where the honest UK courts have the final say? lol

truthseeker47 , 1 hour ago link

Too bad it is political suicide for an American president to try to establish communication with Assad. He seems like a pretty practical guy and who knows, it might be possible to work out a peaceful settlement with him.

TheLastMan , 1 hour ago link

economic warfare on the syrian civlian population through illegal confiscation of vital civilian economic assets, and as conducted in venezeula, is called ________________

Meximus , 1 hour ago link

That is not a compliment for Trompas .

Assad is saying where before the UKK was a masked thief, with Trompas and his egotism alias exceptionalism, has not bothered withthe mask. He is still a murderer and thief.

Obi-jonKenobi , 2 hours ago link

Now Assad has some idea why Trump is so popular with his base, they love him for not being politically correct, for "telling it like it is". He's like the wolf looking at the sheep and telling them he's going to eat them and the sheep cheering because he's not being a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Unfortunately in the case of Trump's sheeple, they don't even have a clue they're going to be eaten, the Trumptards all think he's going to eat someone else like the "deep state" or the "dumbocrats". Meanwhile he's chewing away at their health care, their export markets, piling up record deficits, handing the tax gold to the rich and corporations while they get the shaft, taking away program after program that aided students, the poor, and the elderly, appointing lobbyists to dismantle or corrupt departments they used to lobby against, and in general destroying the international good will that it's taken decades to build.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

[Nov 02, 2019] At the Feet of Mammon by Philip Farruggio

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, when the die was cast and Rumsfeld's famous Shock and Awe campaign began, the three major news talk channels, CNN, MSNBC and FOX, were all over us with cheerleading. ..."
"... Swinton's use of the phrase 'Intellectual prostitutes' rang true then. ..."
"... As the war criminal Mr. Obama stated, when in 2008 many of his own party wanted to have hearings on the pre-emptive attack and occupation of Iraq, that it was time to 'Move forward'. Forward he did by increasing the number of drone murderous assaults by Tenfold! ..."
"... Now that he is out of office, Barack, the 'Hope and Change' king, just purchased a home for $8.1 million. Tell that to the suckers who fell for his rhetoric in the Afro American communities. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

He stated:

There is no such thing at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press There is not ONE of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print!

I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with The business of journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread We are the tools of rich men behind the scenes.

We are jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes!"

We only need go back a few short years to see the utter magnitude of what Swinton was talking about. Remember the illegal and immoral USA invasion and occupation of Iraq? Most of the 'levers of empire' were pushed to accommodate that bit of lying, disinformation and half truths.

This writer remembers when Phil Donahue had his nightly news/talk show on MSNBC. By February of 2003 or thereabouts, Jeff Cohen, Phil's producer, recalls how he was told to have TWO pro invasion guests on for every anti invasion guest. Remember, at that time General Electric Corp. owned MSNBC. Yet, that was not enough to satisfy the empire. On February 23 the Donahue show was cancelled, although the ratings were pretty good.

You see, by that time, late February, the machine was all ready for the attack. It just needed a few more morsels of propaganda to sink into both the Congress and of course the consumers Sorry, I mean the citizenry.

This writer was extremely agitated by the high level of Pro invasion info coming over the embedded mainstream print and electronic media. One slight consolation was when C-Span actually 'did the correct thing' and showed a Canadian news channel's coverage of the impending doom.

Of course, when the die was cast and Rumsfeld's famous Shock and Awe campaign began, the three major news talk channels, CNN, MSNBC and FOX, were all over us with cheerleading.

FOX was so off the radar that no critique is needed. However, CNN and MSNBC, trying to look like 'Neutral Journalism 101', could not contain their peanut gallery mindsets, the one that John Swinton referred to in his famous speech.

You had Aaron Brown, Lester Holt and little Katie Couric (of flagship station NBC, owned by GE), along with Brian Williams (later to be outed, for but awhile, for his phony news stories in Iraq) all right there celebrating the 'Liberators of Iraq'.

They all wore their flag buttons on their lapels, and little Katie was filmed strolling through the halls of NBC shouting 'Marines Rock!' Of course, Lester Holt did the 'right (wing) thing' and now is a respected anchor so much so that good ole Lester moderates presidential debates.

Swinton's use of the phrase 'Intellectual prostitutes' rang true then.

Now we come to a recent bit of disgrace. Ellen Degeneres, the highly celebrated and successful daytime talk show hostess and proud gay woman, was seen sitting with Junior Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game, in the exclusive owner's box area.

She has had Junior on her show to talk about his painting, has visited him at his ranch, and considers him a 'Nice guy'. Junior has, on record as president, never did squat to help with the AIDs pandemic, and allowed his far right evangelical beliefs to keep him from ever speaking favorably about gay rights etc.

Yet, this openly gay woman, who must have felt alarmed by our illegal invasion (OR DID SHE?), must have had friends who were enraged by that invasion at the time.

All the many alternative news blips must have gotten to her eyes and ears, telling her that the Bush/Cheney gang were WAR CRIMINALS! Yet Ms. DeGeneres continues to satisfy the lie which tells us to take a pass on the dastardly things done by the war criminals in the White House.

As the war criminal Mr. Obama stated, when in 2008 many of his own party wanted to have hearings on the pre-emptive attack and occupation of Iraq, that it was time to 'Move forward'. Forward he did by increasing the number of drone murderous assaults by Tenfold!

Now that he is out of office, Barack, the 'Hope and Change' king, just purchased a home for $8.1 million. Tell that to the suckers who fell for his rhetoric in the Afro American communities.

Anyone but the foolish people who still support Mr. Trump realize that he is as much of a populist as the man he emulates with his body gestures: Il Duce!

Nothing ever changes when the majority of working stiffs suck in the foul air that comes from the mouths of the empire's minions, whether they be presidents, congress people or (so called) journalists and talk show hosts. It is time for those of good conscience to boycott the lot of them!

Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn , NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 400 of his works posted on sites like Global Research, Greanville Post, OffGuardian, Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, , Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust , whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has an internet interview show, 'It's the Empire... Stupid' with producer Chuck Gregory.


peeWee

Pretty good article. Pity you had to spoil it with the Trump populist Mussolini comparison at the end. Don't get me wrong I am no Trump fan but are you saying that much of the stuff written about him is not propaganda? So when it comes to Trump the media are ..even handed? honest? ..unbiased? (LOL). P.S. How many wars did Bush try and stop? How many wars did Obama stop? Is stopping wars now "populism"? Even I can see that the highest levels of the US government have been compromised by the intelligence agencies and corrupt partisan actors. Need I remind you that it was a "populist" who called out the FAKE NEWS?
Doctortrinate
The News Today, as slipshod as you like – but how far is it different from those diligent yesterdays. Broadcasts, built upon a complex Fabrication, to deceive it's willing dependants into accepting falsifications as an authentic constant of everyday reality.

So, until the demoi discard the pleasure of blissful ignorance, for the painful truth whatever the spin, however its dressed, the story will continue, trapped in it's own invention, lost in a pernicious labyrinth where every redundant turn forgets the last.

MASTER OF UNIVE
Corporatism is Fascism, and Fascists that tow the party line are always utilized for purposes of impression management much like props on a TV program are. Dubya is a corporatist whore just as daytime talk show hosts are too. Assuming that corporatist whores should have integrity is naïve in the extreme.

If you watch television you are an automaton without enough reason to be able to turn the television off given that you have been programmed to mindlessly adhere to whatever the television coughs up daily.
If you watch mindless Fascists entertaining mass murderers like George W. Bush at ballgames that host the Military Industrial Complex for halftime shows you are _Functionally Retarded_ and likely skimmed over this article whilst locked in a trance state of ignorance & a lack of education.

FUCK America & American television.

It's a bankrupt Corporation that is $22 trillion in debt that it will never pay back, suckers!

MOU

wardropper
" Mr. Obama stated, when in 2008 many of his own party wanted to have hearings on the pre-emptive attack and occupation of Iraq, that it was time to 'Move forward' "

And I will never, ever, forget Nancy Pelosi's dismissive shrug when many of that same party were calling for Bush's impeachment on account of that illegal invasion:
"Impeachment is off the table." Decent Americans no longer have a representative in the US government. As Swinton clearly implies, those who hire today's journalists bear practically all the responsibility for this.

hollyPlastic
A glaring example of how much the West loves freedom is shown in this UN briefing on Torture, this week.

Spoiler: the room is basically empty.

https://www.rt.com/news/471016-assange-torture-violations-un/

This serves a good demonstration of how stupid Hong Kong protesters are in believing that there is a 'West/UK/US' supporting their quest for 'Democracy' and 'Freedom'.

milosevic
you mean Hollywood movies aren't an accurate source of information about world politics and history???
hollyPlastic
Look and you'll see that according to the Controlled Corporate Mass Media, there are, in this period of history, three pillars that are supporting Western civilisation:

And

The Blonde is getting blonder. Even, black is now turning blonde. The White is getting whiter. The Blue is getting bluer.

Other pillars of Western Civilisation are somewhat behind the scene and include the proliferation/sales of weapons of mass destruction, breaking international laws, as well as, the withdrawal from treaties which restrict the deployment of nuclear missiles.

mark
Ah, but everybody knows Bombing Brown People and Torturing Brown People is good for them. We only do it for their benefit. And this in no way contradicts Our Values and Our Rules Based Order. All these benighted natives and lesser breeds are jolly grateful for all our lofty sermons and pious lectures about human rights.
milosevic
indeed, it's the white man's burden .
padre
I find it very interesting, how people need to worship something!It seems to me that they aren't able to admit, that there are things that are not clear to them!For instance, we know very little about the universe, so we declare God made it!
hollyPlastic
There is a poignant remark made on these pages which goes something like this:

When surviving depends on believing, the mind works wonders

I think the implications of 'believing' in order to survive are profound. People need to believe in order to fit in, in order to get a job, in order to get a promotion, in order to get married, in order to get enough food to feed their offspring, and in order to 'look' free.

Not to forget, by believing in Jesus, you give your proxy support to plunder every inch of the Earth, and kill as many brown-skin people as possible.

hollyPlastic

I describe this situation we face as mind control warfare

It is indeed. Thanks for the valuable thoughts!

Tim Jenkins
Mammon avoids questioning & analysing incredible endless lies by 'Schiff for brains'. When actually, just like Norman Bates in Psycho, Adam Schiff is actually the "whistleblower", with bent whistle all he needs is a wig and a rocking chair 🙂
Tim Jenkins
Correction: an electric rocking chair, lol
Gezzah Potts
Jayzus . Adam fecken Schiff. Complete wackjob extraordinaire, tho in Washington DC he has s(ch)tiff competition. Someone the Liberal bourgie professional types here in Aussie regard with dewy eyed fondness and admiration for leading the . Resistance. Gag. Can things get anymore surreal? Do you sometimes feel like you've dropped acid by mistake such is the bizarre happenings, um, happening. Do you think the Mad Hatter would be perplexed at the state of our World? I know I bloody am
bob
Hey man, there's nothing wrong with the way the British regime treats its sick people .

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/months-of-pip-distress-hastened-my-brothers-death/

. is there?

vexarb
Bob, nothing wrong at all -- if you worship St.Margaret of Muck, patron saint of the AZC.

"There's no such thing as a social conscience".

Pyewacket
Eugenics mate, it's been bac