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Trump election time foreign policy platform

Trump was the only candidate who during his election campaign was against neoliberal globalization as well as against neoliberal wars for the expansion of US-led global neoliberal empire (but also only until he was elected)

During elections he looked like the best chance to prevent military confrontation with Russia in Syria and the risk of WWIII. After elections he looks quote opposite experiencing political metamorphose similar to Obama who became Bush II in foreign policy in just 100 days: another masterful "bait and switch maneuver"

The last time America saw a strong paleo-conservative was Pat Buchanan in 1996. An early win in Louisiana caused Buchanan to place second in Iowa and first in New Hampshire. Lacking money, Buchanan was steamrolled by the establishment in Arizona and, in terms of paleo-conservatism, many thought he was the Last of the Mohicans. Trump's campaign is Buchananesque with one difference: Trump has money... --  by Joseph R. Murray II (Orlando Sentinel, Aug 12, 2015)

News Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Donald Trump -- an unusual fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Recommended Links  Trump vs. Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Shoot-first-ask-questions-later: Trump adventurism in ME Trump betrayal of his foreign policy platform Trump Colin Powell moment
The Deep State Trump economic platform TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates Anti-globalization movement Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Blowback against neoliberal globalization Immigration and free movement of workers Hillary role in Syria bloodbath
 Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Nation under attack meme  American Exceptionalism  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
Corporatist Corruption Predator state Neocons New American Militarism Myth about intelligent voter Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Corporatism National Security State Non-Interventionism
Libertarian Philosophy The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem Neoliberalism US Presidential Elections of 2012   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
 
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

In the “democracy” that America has evolved to, money counts more than people. In past elections, the votes were counted, now they are going to start weighing them.

America The Counter-Revolution - Salem-News.Com

(T)he rich elites of (the USA) have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

-- Mike Lofgren

Note: On April 6, 2016 Trump surrendered to neocons. Events after April 6, 2017 are discussed at Trump after his Colin Powell moment. The election image of Trump
(like in case of king of "bait and switch" Obama it proved to be false) -- he easily betrayed his election promises


Introduction

Note: this article was written long before the election as as such does not reflect subsequent events such as Trump attack on Syria.

Both choices in US Presidential election 2016 were dismal, but they are unequal in their gravity options. All this blabbering about Trump future appointment of "wrong" (aka reactionary) Supreme Court justices, slashing taxes for rich, elimination of inheritance tax,  and other similar things make sense if and only if the country continues to exist. Which is not given due to the craziness and the level of degeneration of neoliberal elite, especially neocons that infest Washington, DC, Obama administration (including Obama himself),   as well as "bloodthrusty" democrats like  Hillary (“no fly zone in Syria” is one example of her craziness). While formally neocons are aligned with Republican party, they feel at home at Democratic Party too as it became the second War Party in Washington. And war (cold or hot are OK, as long as neocons personally do not need to fight in the trenches and somebody else need to die in wars of neoliberal empire expansion) is all they want. Neocons are, in essence, MIC lobbyists. Playing chicken with a nuclear power for the sake of providing MIC with outside profits and maintaining the US global dominance is a crazy policy that exhausts country resources, and impoverish population, like previously was the case with British and Spanish empires.

Neocons rule the roost in both parties, which essentially became a single War Party with two wings. They completely appropriated formulation of the US foreign policy and dominate the State Department and Pentagon. In this sense Trump is a real outlier (or was, before he was elected). Simplified his foreign policy platform includes two simple and very attractive for the US population slogan, that are completely opposite to Washington official foreign policy doctrine, enforced by "deep state"

So the hissy fit the deep state displayed before December 19  (classic "Russians are under every bed" hysteria, supported by all neoliberal MSM, including WaPo, NYT, CNN, ABC, MSBNC, etc) was not about Russia, it was about the danger that the current neocon-driven foreign policy that was a hallmark of the US forign policy during the  last four administrations (Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama) will be abandoned by Trump administration.

The fact the American people discarded  Hillary Clinton is encouraging. As a neocon warmonger she belongs to the dust bin of history. But as it  is not clear whether Trump is capable to deliver his key foreign policy promises/objectives, such a detente with Russia, and no new wars of neoliberal empire expansion. Deep state is way too strong for a single maverick, or even a group of like minded mavericks  change the US foreign policy. Even if they have unconditional support of US military (as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard demonstrated with her recent bill):

On December 8, 2016, Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act to prevent the U.S. government from sponsoring international terrorist groups through funding and the provision of armaments, intelligence, and training. The act was modeled on the Boland Amendment and was endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America and the U.S. Peace Council.[107][108]

The chances are high that Trump he will be co-opted by Washington neocons and gradually will became Bush IV or Obama II.  That will be really unfortunate development.  In this chess game, Trump having weaker figures and position in labyrinth of power will need to find  new people ready to go and skillfully navigate around the neocon swamp and MIC land mines. The only countervailing force are US military, who are fighting all those neocon wars and who really hate neocon chickenhawks, and know their real price. Separately, Trump has suggested a new rules prohibiting lobbying for five years after service in his administration and total prohibition of being lobbyist of foreign states. That is really revolutionary  and this alone make Trump distinct from a typical Washington politicians. But those parasites will definitely fiercely resists such sensitive for their family budget change.

Trump looks like the only chance somewhat to limit their influence and reach some détente with Russia. And I would not be surprised one bit if Dick Cheney, Victoria Nuland, Paul Wolfowitz and Perle voted for Hillary. Robert Kagan and papa Bush publicly declared such an intention. And the fact Hillary is a staunch neocon, and always was.  A wolf in sheep clothing, if we are talking about real anti-war democrats, not the USA brand of DemoRats. She is a crazy warmonger, no question about it, trying to compensate a complete lack of diplomatic skills with jingoism and saber rattling. In foreign policy area she was John McCain in pantsuit. Here is one interesting quote ( nakedcapitalism.com )

“What scares me is my knowledge of her career-long investment in trying to convince the generals and the admirals that she is a ‘tough bitch’, ala Margaret Thatcher, who will not hesitate to pull the trigger. An illuminating article in the NY Times  revealed that she always advocates the most muscular and reckless dispositions of U.S. military forces whenever her opinion is solicited. ”

But it looks that many people in the USA were able to understand that the choice in this particular case was between the decimation of the last remnants of the New Deal and a real chance of WWIII. Those are two events of completely difference magnitude: one is reversible (and please note that Trump is bound by very controversial obligations to his electorate and faces hostile Congress), the other is not.

Neoliberalism after 2008 entered zombie state so while it is still strong aggressive and bloodthirsty it might not last for long. And in such cases the defeat of democratic forces on domestic front is temporary. That means vote against Hillary.

Trump rejects neocon platform of forcefully converting all states in the globe into neoliberal protectorates using color revolutions and brute military force, including drone based assassinations (The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy The American Conservative): 

Airstrikes and drone attacks are accidentally killing thousands of civilians, aid workers, wedding parties, and now even the troops of a nation against whom we are not at war. Each of these mistakes, repeated hundreds of times over the past 15 years, creates more antagonism and hatred of the United States than any other single event. Whatever tactical benefit some of the strikes do accomplish, they are consumed in the still-worsening strategic failure the misfires cause.

Bottom line: The use of military power since 2001 has:

These continued and deepening failures kill unknown numbers of innocent civilians each year, intensify and spread the hatred many have of America, and incrementally weaken our national security. But these military failures have another, less obvious but more troubling cost.

Official election platform

With the exception of Iran, which for some reason he hates so much, that he wants to risk a war with it, Trump speaks more like a paleoconservative  then a neocon.  He is more reasonable as for US-Russian relation that bloodthirsty warmonger Hillary (which is an easy task because "this woman" wet kiss neocons all the time).

His focus in relations with China, while also hawkish  in more about trade balance and "bringing jobs home" issues, not so much about South Sea military adventures (U.S.-China Trade Reform Donald J Trump for President):

How We Got Here: Washington Politicians Let China Off The Hook

In January 2000, President Bill Clinton boldly promised China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) “is a good deal for America. Our products will gain better access to China’s market, and every sector from agriculture, to telecommunications, to automobiles. But China gains no new market access to the United States.” None of what President Clinton promised came true. Since China joined the WTO, Americans have witnessed the closure of more than 50,000 factories and the loss of tens of millions of jobs. It was  not a good deal for America then and it’s a bad deal now. It is a typical example of how politicians in Washington have failed our country.

The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table. We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations. We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers – not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.

The Goal Of The Trump Plan: Fighting For American Businesses And Workers

America has always been a trading nation. Under the Trump administration trade will flourish. However, for free trade to bring prosperity to America, it must also be fair trade. Our goal is not protectionism but accountability. America fully opened its markets to China but China has not reciprocated. Its Great Wall of Protectionism uses unlawful tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep American companies out of China and to tilt the playing field in their favor.

If you give American workers a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China. The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outlined in this plan will make that a reality.

When Donald J. Trump is president, China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over. We will cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete.

The Trump Plan Will Achieve The Following Goals:

  1. Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.
  2. Protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.
  3. Reclaim millions of American jobs and reviving American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards. No more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.
  4. Strengthen our negotiating position by lowering our corporate tax rate to keep American companies and jobs here at home, attacking our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us, and bolstering the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas to discourage Chinese adventurism.

Details of Donald J. Trump’s US China Trade Plan:

Declare China A Currency Manipulator

We need a president who will not succumb to the financial blackmail of a Communist dictatorship. President Obama’s Treasury Department has repeatedly refused to brand China a currency manipulator – a move that would force China to stop these unfair practices or face tough countervailing duties that level the playing field.

Economists estimate the Chinese yuan is undervalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%. This grossly undervalued yuan gives Chinese exporters a huge advantage while imposing the equivalent of a heavy tariff on U.S. exports to China. Such currency manipulation, in concert with China’s other unfair practices, has resulted in chronic U.S. trade deficits, a severe weakening of the U.S. manufacturing base and the loss of tens of millions of American jobs.

In a system of truly free trade and floating exchange rates like a Trump administration would support, America's massive trade deficit with China would not persist. On day one of the Trump administration the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China as a currency manipulator. This will begin a process that imposes appropriate countervailing duties on artificially cheap Chinese products, defends U.S. manufacturers and workers, and revitalizes job growth in America. We must stand up to China’s blackmail and reject corporate America’s manipulation of our politicians. The U.S. Treasury’s designation of China as a currency manipulator will force China to the negotiating table and open the door to a fair – and far better – trading relationship.

End China’s Intellectual Property Violations

China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property may be the greatest transfer of wealth in history. This theft costs the U.S. over $300 billion and millions of jobs each year. China’s government ignores this rampant cybercrime and, in other cases, actively encourages or even sponsors it –without any real consequences. China’s cyber lawlessness threatens our prosperity, privacy and national security. We will enforce stronger protections against Chinese hackers and counterfeit goods and our responses to Chinese theft will be swift, robust, and unequivocal.

The Chinese government also forces American companies like Boeing, GE, and Intel to transfer proprietary technologies to Chinese competitors as a condition of entry into the Chinese market. Such de facto intellectual property theft represents a brazen violation of WTO and international rules. China’s forced technology transfer policy is absolutely ridiculous. Going forward, we will adopt a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer. If China wants to trade with America, they must agree to stop stealing and to play by the rules.

Eliminate China’s Illegal Export Subsidies And Other Unfair Advantages

Chinese manufacturers and other exporters receive numerous illegal export subsidies from the Chinese government. These include - in direct contradiction to WTO rules - free or nearly free rent, utilities, raw materials, and many other services. China’s state-run banks routinely extend loans these enterprises at below market rates or without the expectation they will be repaid. China even offers them illegal tax breaks or rebates as well as cash bonuses to stimulate exports.

China’s illegal export subsidies intentionally distorts international trade and damages other countries’ exports by giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage. From textile and steel mills in the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast’s shrimp and fish industries to the Midwest manufacturing belt and California’s agribusiness, China’s disregard for WTO rules hurt every corner of America.

The U.S. Trade Representative recently filed yet another complaint with the WTO accusing China of cheating on our trade agreements by subsidizing its exports. The Trump administration will not wait for an international body to tell us what we already know. To gain negotiating leverage, we will pursue the WTO case and aggressively highlight and expose these subsidies.

China’s woeful lack of reasonable environmental and labor standards represent yet another form of unacceptable export subsidy. How can American manufacturers, who must meet very high standards, possibly compete with Chinese companies that care nothing about their workers or the environment? We will challenge China to join the 21 st Century when it comes to such standards.

The Trump Plan Will Strengthen Our Negotiating Position

As the world’s most important economy and consumer of goods, America must always negotiate trade agreements from strength. Branding China as a currency manipulator and exposing their unfair trade practices is not enough. In order to further strengthen our negotiating leverage, the Trump plan will:

  1. Lower the corporate tax rate to 15% to unleash American ingenuity here at home and make us more globally competitive. This tax cut puts our rate 10 percentage points below China and 20 points below our current burdensome rate that pushes companies and jobs offshore.
  2. Attack our debt and deficit by vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Federal government, ending redundant government programs, and growing the economy to increase tax revenues. Closing the deficit and reducing our debt will mean China cannot blackmail us with our own Treasury bonds.
  3. Strengthen the U.S. military and deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas. These actions will discourage Chinese adventurism that imperils American interests in Asia and shows our strength as we begin renegotiating our trading relationship with China. A strong military presence will be a clear signal to China and other nations in Asia and around the world that America is back in the global leadership business.

Trump challenges after the election

This topic is covered in more details at Trump vs. Deep State

As professor  Andrew Levine wrote in Trouble Ahead With Trump and For Himon (CounterPunch, Nov 18, 2016).  

And his views on relations with Russia and China, regime change wars, and imperial overreach, as best they can be ascertained, are a lot wiser and less lethal than hers.  These are not so much left-right issues as matters of common sense.

Clinton’s overriding concern was and always has been to maintain and expand American world domination — in the face of economic decline, and at no matter what cost.  Trump wants, or says he wants, to do business with other countries in the way that he did with sleaze ball real estate moguls and network executives, people like himself.   He wants to make deals.

The Trump way is, as they say, “transactional.”  The idea is to wheel and deal on a case-by-case basis, with no further, non-pecuniary end in view.

... ... ...

Better that, though, than a foreign policy dedicated to keeping America the world’s hegemon. That is the foreign policy establishment’s aim; it is therefore Clinton’s too. It is the way of perpetual war. Trump’s way is far from ideal, but it is less wasteful, less onerous and less reckless.

During the campaign, Trump would sometimes speak out against banksters and financiers, especially the too-big-to-fail and too-big-to-jail kind. For some time, though, the “populist” billionaire has been signaling to his class brothers and sisters in the financial “industry” that he is more likely to deregulate than to regulate their machinations.

This will become even clearer once Trump settles on key Cabinet posts and on his economic advisors. It is already plain, though, that the modern day counterparts of Theodore Roosevelt’s “malefactors of great wealth” have little to fear; they and Trump are joined by indissoluble bonds of class-consciousness and solidarity.

Many of the rich and heinous were skeptical of Trump’s candidacy at first; because he is such a loose cannon. But now that he has won, the bastards are sucking up; and glee is returning to Wall Street.

Trump is now starting too to allay the fears of the movers and shakers of the National Security State. He still has a way to go, however. We can therefore still hope that they are right to worry. What is bad for them is good for the country.

Clinton’s defeat also seems to have unnerved their counterparts in European capitals, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and in Japan, South Korea and other countries where the presence of the American military has been very very good for the few at the top, and disastrous for ordinary people.

If he means it, then more power to him. The United States and the rest of the world would be well rid of the American dominated military alliances now in place; NATO most of all. However, having talked with him, Obama is now telling the Europeans that Trump is fine with NATO. Time will tell.

Then there is Israel. Trump thinks that the blank check the ethnocratic settler state already gets from the United States isn’t nearly enough. So much for allies paying their own way!

However, even if Trump leaves America’s perpetual war regime and its military alliances intact, some good could come just from him being at the helm – not so much because, as a wheeler and dealer, he would be less inclined actually to start wars than has become the norm, but because he is vile enough, and enough of an embarrassment, to undermine America’s prestige, hastening the day when the hegemon is a hegemon no more.

This would be good for most Americans, and good for the world.

The election he won has already done a lot to explode the idea, more widely believed at home than abroad, that American “democracy” is somehow a model for the world.

Trump election time position on Russia

Campaign trail rhetoric is not the same as actual foreign policy after the elections.  As Sputnik reported (Russia-US Relations Under Trump 'There Will Be Dialogue and Agreements')

"The Democrats consider their views to be the ultimate truth. It is impossible to reach any agreement with them in this respect. They are not focused on national interests, but rather on globalist goals and universal human values. In this sense the ability of Obama's team to reach deals has passed into legend," he said. "In recent years, Russia has not tried to engage in meaningful diplomacy with the Obama administration since it was useless."

But negotiation will be tough because Trump explicit position is to seek advantages for the USA, not equal deals. He might possibly cooperate on tackling Daesh in Syria. If so, this will mark a major departure from Russia's relations with the US under the Obama administration in recent years. But the problem is the Congress which is infected with war hawks (mostly chickenhawks).

Real Trump position on Russia would be more clear when he selects his candidate for the Secretary of State. So far his views were encouraging: he is not in favor of direct confrontation that Obama administration pursued and Clinton administration would probably convert into armed conflict. Here are some additional details from Russophobic Guardian presstitute Shawn Walker (The Guardian, July 7, 2016):

Page, an investment banker who previously worked in Russia, insisted he was in Russia on a private visit, although he is likely to meet Russian officials when he gives the commencement speech at the New Economic School in Moscow on Friday. He refused to comment on whether he had any meetings with officials planned.

... ... ...

Trump himself has has often praised the Russian leader during the campaign, saying in a December interview “he’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country”.

The presumptive Republican nominee has expressed his confidence that he would build a good relationship with the Russian president telling reporters last year: “I think I would get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”

He also defended the Russian leader against accusations that Putin has ordered the killing of journalists, telling ABC News “In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Because I’ve been – you know, you’ve been hearing this, but I haven’t seen the names,”

The announced topic of Page’s discussion was “the evolution of the world economy”, but much of it involved semi-coherent analysis of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

In passing, Page castigated the US for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and pursuing "regime change" in former Soviet countries. He said Russia and the US could have better relations in future, but this would be “contingent upon US’s refocus toward resolution of domestic challenges”. However, when pressed on details he was evasive.

In March, Page told Bloomberg that his experience on the ground doing deals in Russia and Central Asia would make him better placed to give advice than “people from afar, sitting in the comfort of their think tanks in Washington”. It is unclear how close he is to Trump and how much weight his advice holds with the presidential candidate.

Page repeatedly emphasised that he was in Russia as a private citizen rather than as an emissary of Trump. However, it is connections with the presidential candidate which prompted the New Economic School to invite him to give their keynote annual speech. In previous years, the commencement speeches at the university have been given by high-profile figures, including Barack Obama in 2009.

In December, Putin referred to Trump as a “colourful” person who was the “absolute leader” of the US presidential race, comments which prompted Trump to respond in turn that he was flattered by the praise. “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia,” Trump said, adding incorrectly that Putin had called him a “genius”.

Last month, Putin clarified the comments, saying he had not endorsed Trump, but welcomed his stance on relations with Russia.

“Here’s where I will pay close attention, and where I exactly welcome and where on the contrary I don’t see anything bad: Mr Trump has declared that he’s ready for the full restoration of Russian-American relations. Is there anything bad there? We all welcome this, don’t you?”

Trump election time position on Iran

Trump declared the Obama nuclear deal, the deal which helped to keep oil prices very low since mid 2014, "disastrous" and suggested it would be one of the first arrangements he would "renegotiate" after he assumes the office of the presidency in January, 2017.

"They are laughing at the stupidity of the deal we’re making on nuclear," Trump said of the Iranians, in an interview last summer with CNN. "We should double up and triple up the sanctions and have them come to us. They are making an amazing deal."

It is unlear why he calls this stupidity. IMHO this was a very shrewd move, then decimated Russia economic, as Russia budget depends of world prices and also heavily hit KAS, Venezuela and other oil producing nations. Putting some of them on the wedge of bankruptcy. In American Conservative   Daniel Larison  gave very insightful overview of Trump position, which is shared by his close advisors such as General Flynn (Trump and Iran The American Conservative):

Scott McConnell asks what we could expect from Trump on foreign policy, specifically on Iran:

The greater neoconservative goal, of course, is the prevention any American rapprochement with Iran, keeping the sanctions going till they have a president willing to start a war on the country. How does Trump fit into that?

I have tried to avoid writing about Trump as much as possible over the last few months, because it is generally a waste of time to attempt to analyze the policy views of an opportunistic demagogue, but since the question has been asked here I’ll try to answer it.

As far as I can tell, Trump endorses the hard-liners’ position on the nuclear deal. He has characteristically denounced it in the most hyperbolic terms, he is preparing to share a stage with the only other presidential candidate that can match him in demagogic rhetoric to repeat these denunciations, and two of the groups sponsoring the rally that Trump will attend are among the most fanatical hawkish organizations in the U.S. He has also repeated some of the most ludicrous and dishonest hawkish talking points about what the deal requires of the U.S. For instance, he recently repeated the lie that the deal obliges the U.S. to defend Iran from an Israeli attack:

He then claimed that there’s something in the Iran deal saying if someone attacks Iran, “we have to come to their defense.” And so he interpreted that to conclude, “If Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads… that we have to fight with Iran against Israel.”

This is complete and utter nonsense, so it doesn’t surprise me that Trump believes it (or at least claims to believe it). This is the sort of deliberate distortion of the deal’s contents that hard-line “pro-Israel” hawks like to indulge in. Rubio said something similar to this in his questioning of Kerry earlier in the summer.

It should tell us everything we need to know about Trump’s views on foreign policy that he buys into these lies and repeats them. There are all kinds of reasons not to trust Trump’s judgment, but his statements on the nuclear deal are sufficient to prove that his foreign policy judgment is horrible.

Trump election time position on free trade and victims of neoliberal globalization

From Gaius Publius When Trump Talks Trade, Voters Listen naked capitalism

Before you read, though, take a moment to watch less than two minutes of Donald Trump above, from his victory speech after winning in Michigan and Mississippi. I’ve cued it up to start at the remarks I want to highlight, Trump discussing our trade deficit.

Now Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian. He starts by noting the utter invisibility of real working Americans to our elite class, including our media elites, and especially our liberal media elites (my emphasis throughout):

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why

When he isn’t spewing insults, the Republican frontrunner is hammering home a powerful message about free trade and its victims

Let us now address the greatest American mystery at the moment: what motivates the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump?

I call it a “mystery” because the working-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook. The views of working-class people are so foreign to that universe that when New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wanted to “engage” a Trump supporter last week, he made one up, along with this imaginary person’s responses to his questions.

When members of the professional class wish to understand the working-class Other, they traditionally consult experts on the subject. And when these authorities are asked to explain the Trump movement, they always seem to zero in on one main accusation: bigotry. Only racism, they tell us, is capable of powering a movement like Trump’s, which is blowing through the inherited structure of the Republican party like a tornado through a cluster of McMansions.

The conclusion of these writers is this:

The Trump movement is a one-note phenomenon, a vast surge of race-hate. Its partisans are not only incomprehensible, they are not really worth comprehending.

And yet…

A lot of people are racists, including those not supporting Trump. But people have other concerns as well, especially working people. They are dying faster than they used to, from drugs and despair, and they fear for their jobs and their families, for very good reasons. This economy is failing them.

They also hate — and understand — “free trade.”

Trump Also Talks Trade

Donald Trump talks about more than just race and immigration. He talks about trade and the trade deficit, an issue that powered Bernie Sanders to his Michigan victory as well. From the New York Times:

Trade and Jobs Key to Victory for Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate had campaigned in Traverse City, Mich., in decades until Senator Bernie Sanders pulled up to the concert hall near the Sears store on Friday. Some 2,000 people mobbed him when he arrived, roaring in approval as he called the country’s trade policies, and Hillary Clinton’s support for them, “disastrous.”

“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” Mr. Sanders said in Traverse City, about 250 miles north of Detroit.

Mr. Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Mrs. Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs. Almost three-fifths of voters said that trade with other countries was more likely to take away jobs, according to exit polls by Edison Research, and those voters favored Mr. Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.

There is no question — America’s billionaire-friendly, job-destroying trade policy is toxic — again, literally. That’s why Obama and his bipartisan “free trade” enablers in Congress have to pass TPP, if they can, in post-election lame duck session. TPP is also toxic to political careers, and only lame ducks and the recently-elected can vote for it.

Frank again on Trump:

Last week, I decided to watch several hours of Trump speeches for myself. I saw the man ramble and boast and threaten and even seem to gloat when protesters were ejected from the arenas in which he spoke. I was disgusted by these things, as I have been disgusted by Trump for 20 years. But I also noticed something surprising. In each of the speeches I watched, Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called left-wing.

Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame. He did it again during the debate on 3 March: asked about his political excommunication by Mitt Romney, he chose to pivot and talk about … trade.

It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies’ CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.

On the subject more generally, Frank adds:

Trade is an issue that polarizes Americans by socio-economic status. To the professional class, which encompasses the vast majority of our media figures, economists, Washington officials and Democratic power brokers, what they call “free trade” is something so obviously good and noble it doesn’t require explanation or inquiry or even thought. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree on this, and no amount of facts can move them from their Econ 101 dream.

To the remaining 80 or 90% of America, trade means something very different. There’s a video going around on the internet these days that shows a room full of workers at a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana being told by an officer of the company that the factory is being moved to Monterrey, Mexico and that they’re all going to lose their jobs.

As I watched it, I thought of all the arguments over trade that we’ve had in this country since the early 1990s, all the sweet words from our economists about the scientifically proven benevolence of free trade, all the ways in which our newspapers mock people who say that treaties like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement allow companies to move jobs to Mexico.

Well, here is a video of a company moving its jobs to Mexico, courtesy of Nafta. This is what it looks like. The Carrier executive talks in that familiar and highly professional HR language about the need to “stay competitive” and “the extremely price-sensitive marketplace.” A worker shouts “Fuck you!” at the executive. The executive asks people to please be quiet so he can “share” his “information”. His information about all of them losing their jobs.

Frank goes to greater length, and again, please click through. But you get the idea. This is what Trump is speaking to, whether he means what he says or not, and this is what his voters are responding to, whether they like his racism or not. After all, haven’t you, at least once, voted for someone with qualities you dislike because of policies you do like?

Whose Fault Is This? Both Parties, But Especially the Democratic Elites

One final point. Frank takes on the issue of responsibility:

Trump’s words articulate the populist backlash against liberalism that has been building slowly for decades … Yet still we cannot bring ourselves to look the thing in the eyes. We cannot admit that we liberals bear some [or most] of the blame for its emergence, for the frustration of the working-class millions, for their blighted cities and their downward spiraling lives. So much easier to scold them for their twisted racist souls, to close our eyes to the obvious reality of which Trump_vs_deep_state is just a crude and ugly expression: that neoliberalism has well and truly failed.

I am certain, if this comes up in a general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, she could very likely get her clock cleaned; not certainly, but certainly very likely. First, she can only equivocate, and Trump will have none of it. (Trump: “Let me understand. You were for this before you were against it? So … will you be for it again next year? I’m just trying to understand.”)

Second, this is a change election, Trump is one of only two change candidates in the race, and Clinton is not the other one.

Here’s that Carrier Air Conditioning “we’re moving to Mexico” video that Frank mentioned above. Take a look, but prepare to feel some pain as you watch:


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[Oct 09, 2018] Brexit Crunch Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself Is That Even Possible

Oct 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Brexit Crunch: Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself? Is That Even Possible? Posted on October 8, 2018 by Yves Smith The UK press is all over the map on the state of Brexit. That makes making sense of things even harder than usual.

At a minimum, it show that the EU's thumping of May at last month's Salzburg conference has led to an uptick in activity, as the EU27 leaders set an earlier deadline for the UK to serve up something realistic than the UK had previously thought it had (October versus November).

But it's far from clear that all the thrashing around and messaging amounts to progress. As we'll discuss, some press reports claim the EU is showing more flexibility, but the changes appear to be almost entirely cosmetic. If so, it would represent a cynical calculation that MPs are so illiterate about technical details that adept repackaging will get the dog to eat the dog food.

Another thing to keep in mind is that negotiators are always making progress until a deal is dead. The appearance of momentum can create actual momentum, or at least buy time. But here, time is running out, so the question is whether either side has made enough of a shift so as to allow for a breakthough.

One thing that may have happened, and again this is speculative, is that more key players in the EU are coming to realize that a crash out will inflict a lot of damage on the EU. A transition period is actually much more beneficial to the EU than the UK. It would not only allow the EU more time to prepare, but also enable it to better pick the UK clean of personnel and business activities that can move to the Continent in relatively short order.

By contrast (and not enough people in the UK appear to have worked this out), the UK will crash out with respect to the EU in either March 2019 or the end of December 2020. There's no way the UK will have completed a trade deal with the EU by then, unless it accedes to every EU demand. Recall that the comparatively uncomplicated Canada trade agreement took seven years to negotiate and another year to obtain provisional approval. And Richard North points out another impediment to negotiations: " .the Commission has to be re-appointed next year and, after Brexit, it will not be fully in operation until the following November." Now there are still some important advantages to securing a transition agreement, and they may be mainly political (who wants to be caught holding that bag?) but the differences may not be as significant for the EU as the UK. The UK will wind up having the dislocations somewhat spread out, first having to contend with falling out of all the trade deals with third countries that it now has through the EU in March 2019, and then losing its "single market" status with the EU at the end of 2020. But will the UK also be so preoccupied with trying to stitch up deals with the rest of the world that it loses its already not great focus on what to do with the EU?

That isn't to say there won't be meaningful benefits to the UK if it can conclude a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and win a transition period. For instance, it has a dim hope of being able to get its border IT systems upgraded so as to handle much greater transaction volumes, a feat that seems pretty much unattainable by March 2019.

Two more cautionary note regarding these divergent news stories. The first is that we've seen this sort of thing before and generally, the optimistic reports have not panned out. However, they have generally ben from unnamed sources. While we do have a very thin BBC article with Jean-Claude Junkcer saying the odds of a deal had improved and Tusk making cautiously optimistic noises, Leo Vardarkar was more sober and the piece even admitted, "However, there is still no agreement on some issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Irish border."

Second, they appear to be mainly about claimed progress or deadlocks on the trade front. Recall that Article 50 makes only a passing reference to "the future relationship," which is only a non-binding political declaration. However, these issue seems to have assumed more importance than it should on the UK end, because it has become a forcing device for the coalition to settle on what sort of Brexit it wants .and it remains fundamentally divided, as demonstrated by last week's Conservative Party conference. By contrast, there seems to be little news on the real sticking point, the Irish border.

So to the rumors:

The EU has offered the UK a "Canada plus plus plus" deal . Even if you take the Guardian story at face value, there is less there there than the breathless reactions in the UK would lead you to believe.

First, recall that "Canada plus plus plus" has long been derided by the EU as yet another way for the UK to try to cherry pick among the possible post-Brexit arrangements. Boris Johnson nevertheless talked it up as a preferred option to May's too-soft Chequers scheme at the Tory conference . and May did not mention Chequers . Did EU pols take that to mean May had abandoned Chequers to appease the Ultras?

However, as we read things (and we need to watch our for our priors), Donald Tusk appears to be mouthing a pet UK expression to convey a different idea:

Tusk said the EU remained ready to offer the UK a "Canada-plus-plus-plus deal" – a far-reaching trade accord with extra agreements on security and foreign policy.

That reads as a Canada style free trade agreement plus additional pacts on non-trade matters. That is not what "Canada plus plus plus" signified on the UK side: it meant the UK getting a free trade deal with other (typically not specified) goodies so as to make it "special" and more important, reduce friction.

The Ultras were over the moon to have Tusk dignify Johnson's blather, even as the very next paragraph of the Guardian story revealed the outtrade over what "Canada plus plus plus" stands for:

Boris Johnson and other hard Brexit Tories seized on Tusk's remarks, arguing they showed it was time for May to immediately switch tack and abandon her Chequers proposals for remaining in a customs union for food and goods. "Tusk's Canada-plus-plus-plus offer shows there is a superb way forward that can solve the Irish border problem and deliver a free-trade-based partnership that works well for both sides of the channel," Johnson said.

If you managed to get further into the story, it sounded more cautionary notes:

Some Brexiters overlook that the EU's version of a so-called Canada deal incorporates a guarantee to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, which would keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and single market. "Canada plus-plus-plus" is also a fuzzy concept that has no formal status in EU negotiating documents. Michel Barnier, the bloc's chief negotiator, mentioned the idea in an interview with the Guardian and other papers last year.

"I don't know what Canada-plus-plus-plus means, it is just a concept at this stage," Varadkar said, adding that it did not negate the need for a "legally binding backstop" – a guarantee to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if there is no agreement on the future trading relationship.

EU to let UK super fudge on "future relationship." Another Guardian story reported that the EU might let the UK sign an even less committal version of the "future relationship" section , allowing the UK to "evolve" [gah] its position during the transition period. Frankly, this seems to be allowing for a change in government. I don't see this as that meaningful a concession, since this statement was never legally binding. However, given that Parliament must ratify the final agreement, formally registering that that section isn't set in stone probably would facilitate passage as well as any future change in direction. And if you suspect this is a big dog whistle to Labour, you be right:

An EU source said: "The message to Labour is that the UK could move up Barnier's stairs if the British government changes its position in the transition period. Voting in favour of the deal now would not be the last word on it."

May whips Labour for Chequers . You thought May gave up on Chequers? Silly you! She just had the good sense to go into her famed submarine mode while Boris was having yet another turn in the limelight. From the Telegraph :

Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal risking open warfare with the party's own MPs.

The Government's whips' office has spent recent months making contact with the MPs as a back-up option for when Theresa May's Brexit deal is put to a vote in Parliament in early December, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

News of the wooing operation has infuriated Eurosceptic Tory MPs who are now threatening to vote against elements of the Budget and other "money bills" to force Mrs May to drop her Chequers plan.

If true, this is very high stakes poker. Brexit Central says there are 34 Tory MPs who have already declared they will oppose any "deal based on Chequers". And, to change metaphors, they appear ready to go nuclear if they have to. From the Times:

Brexiteers have issued a last-ditch threat to vote down the budget and destroy the government unless Theresa May takes a tougher line with Brussels -- amid signs that she is on course to secure a deal with the European Union.

Leading members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) last night vowed to vote down government legislation after it was claimed the prime minister will use Labour MPs to push her plan through the Commons.

I turned to Richard North's site after I had pretty much finished this post, and he finds the Telegraph story as peculiar as I do :

Reporting of the key issue of our times gets more bizarre by the day. The latest contribution to the cacophony is the Telegraph, telling us that Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs "to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal".

That approaches are being made to Labour MPs is not news, but the idea that attempts to sell them the Chequers deal confounds recent indications that the prime minister is preparing to roll out "Chequers II", with enough concessions to all the Commission to conclude a withdrawal agreement.

If we are looking at such a new deal, then it cannot be the case that anyone is attempting to convince Labour MPs of the merits of the old deal. And, even if Ministers succeeded in such a task, it would be to no avail. Chequers, as such, will never come to parliament for approval because it will never form the basis of a deal that can be accepted by Brussels.

That should consign the Telegraph story to the dustbin now piled high with incoherent speculation, joining the steady flow of reports which are struggling – and failing – to bring sense to Brexit.

EU to announce "minimalist" no-deal emergency plans . Interestingly, the Financial Times has not had any articles in the last few days on the state of UK/EU negotiations. It instead depicted the EU as about to turn up the heat on the UK by publishing a set of "no deal" damage containment plans. I've never understood the line of thought, which seems to be taken seriously on both sides of the table, that acting like a responsible government and preparing for a worst-case scenario was somehow an underhanded negotiation ploy. 1 The pink paper nevertheless pushes that notion:

Brussels is planning to rattle the UK by unveiling tough contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit that could force flight cancellations and leave exporters facing massive disruption if Britain departs the EU without an exit agreement in March.

Subtext: it's the EU's fault all those bad things could happen .when it is the UK that is suing for divorce. Back to the story:

Against expectations in London, the plan is likely to encompass a limited number of initiatives over a maximum of eight months, diplomats who have seen the document told the Financial Times.

Notably, the EU is not planning special arrangements for customs or road transport and only limited provisions for financial services -- a decision that, if seen through, would cause long queues and operational difficulties at ports and airports.

The minimalist emergency plan, designed to be rolled out should there be no breakthrough in Brexit talks, would increase the pressure over already fraught negotiations between the UK and the EU ahead of a summit on 17 October. EU plans would then be firmed up by December .

The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated

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The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated.

And then we have the stories that are head-scratchers. The Sun reports that Barnier says a deal is nigh .based on:

Hopes of progress have been fuelled by expectations that Theresa May has come forward with a compromise solution to the Irish border.

The PM will propose keeping the whole of the UK in a customs union as a final fallback but allowing Northern Ireland to stick to EU regulations.

The EU has rejected having the UK collect EU customs post Brexit. Moreover, a customs union, as we've said repeatedly, does not give the UK its keenly-sounght frictionless trade. Making Northern Ireland subject to EU regulations means accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ, since compliance is not a matter of having a dusty rule book, but of being part of the same regulatory apparatus. Aside from the fact that this solution won't be acceptable to the DUP, it would also result in a hard land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. So are we to take this as incomprehension on the part of the Sun's reporters, or that the Government's negotiators continue to be as thick as a brick? Sadly, the Guardian tells a similar tale :

Ministers expect to discuss Brexit in a week's time when some hope that officials will have clarified how the UK proposes to handle cross-border regulatory checks if no progress is made on agreeing a free trade deal with the EU.

There has been speculation that this solution could involve the whole of the UK agreeing to be part of a common customs area with the EU in order to avoid the possibility of an invisible border separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain, in the event that no long-term deal is signed.

Richard North has the best take. He points the rumors from the UK side come from people who present themselves as being on the inside but probably aren't, or not enough to have a good feel, and continues :

Yet nothing seems to be leaking from No.10, with officials saying merely that proposals would emerge "soon". Says the Guardian, these are likely to form the basis of technical negotiations with Brussels "as officials scramble to find a form of words for the withdrawal agreement that the UK proposes to sign with the EU".

Any such timing will, of necessity, rule out any formal consideration by the October European Council. Those who understand the detail will know that, before anything can be considered by the European Council, it must first be agreed by the General Affairs Council, meeting as 27.

Currently, this is scheduled for 16 October (Tuesday week) – a day before the Article 50 European Council which starts its two-day session on the 17th. On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be enough time to factor in any last-minute proposals from London, especially as details must first be circulated to Member State capitals for comment.

This does nothing, though, but confirm that which we already know – that if there is to be a final showdown, then it is going to come at the special meeting in November (if this actually happens), or even the meeting scheduled for 13-14 December.

Even the rumor mills don't give much reason to think there is a solution to the Irish border. If May really hasn't abandoned Chequers, all the fudging to come up with a content-free "future relationship" section will be to the detriment of UK citizens, since the Government will keep holding on to a Brexit plan that the EU will never accept. But the best interests of ordinary people have gotten short shrift all along.

[Oct 09, 2018] Alt-right platform

Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

War for Blair Mountain says: October 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm GMT 100 Words The ALT RIGHT point of view:

1)Bring the Troops back home .

2)massive defunding of the Pentagon .

3)Friendship with Christian Russia

4)0 economic and military aid to our friend Israel!!!

5)0 nonwhite LEGAL IMMIGRANTS FOREVER!!! .

6)mass deportation of the various Nonwhite Fifth Columns in America .

7)restoration of THE HISTORIC NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN MAJORITY to a 90 percent racial majority within the borders of America .

8)make homo legal marriage illegal again ..

9)strip away the right of Corprati0ns to have the legal standing of a person in a Court of Law .

Allan , says: October 1, 2018 at 3:24 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Why

strip away the right of Corprati0ns to have the legal standing of a person in a Court of Law .

when we could just abolish the institution of incorporation without remorse? This would like treating a cause of widespread disease with an ounce of inexpensive prevention.

Buh-bye limited liability parasitism. Buh-bye rootless, world-wandering capital with scant interest in the hosts' long-term wellbeing.

I suppose that there would be a shrill outcry of protest from the many little fire teams, squads, and platoons of mind rapists (e.g. A. Cockburn) who have a career interest in complaining for a living. But so what? It would be fun to watch "social justice" factions twist and squirm as a chorus of abolitionists asks why the "Resistance" never resisted "corporatocracy" with abolitionism. The rapists will "spew" much sanctimonious b.s. defensively between artful meals in nice restaurants, but the chorus will know a real reason. Lefty humanist finds incorporation very useful for cultivating the intense concentration of wealth and power which he pretends to oppose.

Eventually the chorus will get around to asking lefty internationalist about his contemporary plans to merge every firm with government without looking like an old fashioned commie expropriationist. The chorus might ask the mind rapists still more embarassing questions:

Righteous Lefty, why would you establish incorporation now if it wasn't a feature of commerce already? Because you would not then have a little handful of company shares to trade in a stock exchange? Nor be planning to exploit a stock tip from an ally who is married to a corporate go-getter with C-level knowledge of plans?

Traditional labor unions, TOO, have been involved with the racketeering of incorporation. Take the UMWA, for example. Where in the eleven points of its constitution is there any hint that labor organizers and their Blair Mountain warriors were thinking about abolishing a pernicious institution which had done so much to slant market power in favor of neverlaboring mine operators?

It's been obvious for some time that the allegedly right wing "ALT RIGHT" is another faction with little interest in getting rid of the corporation. It is sympathetic, however, to old fashioned communist schemes like "Social Security" and communist health care finance. So what, um, pecuniary interest does its leading lights have in maintaining the incorporated status quo? Explain, please.

[Oct 02, 2018] I tried really hard, but ended up giving my notice on Wednesday.

You were in an impossible situation with really shit poor management.
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Oct 02, 2018 | www.reddit.com

submitted 6 months ago by


chrisanzalone007 6 months ago * (38 children)

[deleted]
Mr_Mars 6 months ago (20 children)
Well, I don't know. My sister is an executive assistant. I thought I knew what that meant and you probably do too. But then one day I sat down with her and we actually talked about her job, and I quickly realized that not only was my understanding of her job so shallow as to be effectively meaningless, but it was so shallow that I didn't even understand how much I was missing. I'd just glanced at the title and said to myself "yep, executive assistant, assist executives, that's what she does" and at no point had it ever even occurred to me that there was anything past that. In fact, it was even worse than that, because half the stuff I imagined she might do wasn't part of her job at all (hint, if you think "executive assistant" and "secretary" are remotely similar you are just as far off track as I was).

I still don't understand what she does but at least now I know how little I know. If she came to me for career advice there's no chance I'd be able to offer her anything other than meaningless platitudes, because I don't even know enough right now to know if her current job is a good one or a bad one. If she'd asked me before I realized how much I don't know I'd be in the same boat, only probably rolling my eyes that she would get so worked up over x, y, or z when her job was so simple and straightforward that there's no possible way it could be that stressful.

Yeah.

All of this is to say that unless your friends are on a career path similar to yours they probably not only fail to understand your job, but they probably fail so bad that they don't even know how far off they are. That's not because your friends are stupid or because IT is so impenetrably complex that only the chosen few can grasp it; its just that most of us don't have a lot of expertise in careers outside of our own. Lacking context, we turn to pop culture for reference. Picture the stereotypical Hollywood "computer guy" (or, if you must, "hacker"). That's probably what your friends think your job is like. Now imagine that guy coming to you complaining about how hard and stressful his job is. How hard could it be anyway? I have a computer at home and don't have to do much to keep it running. These things all basically run themselves, don't they?

So, point is his friends aren't necessarily assholes or in denial. They probably just don't know enough to understand how little they know, as is true for all of us, and are trying to give well-intentioned advice; OP asked, after all, and they want to help their friend. But you can't give good advice if you don't have all the facts, and especially not if you don't even know how much you're missing.

Geminii27 6 months ago (13 children)
Out of curiosity, what kinds of things did she have to cover as an EA?
dmmagic 6 months ago (10 children)
The executive assistants I know (to VPs, presidents, CEOs) practically run the company. Not entirely, but a good chunk of it.

As to what they do, on the surface, it does look like secretary work. Schedule appointments. Schedule venues for meetings/conferences. Book travel. Make sure the exec is prepared for the appointments (knows what they need to know; has met with the right people in advance to get briefed; leaves on time to get to the appointment). Answer emails and phone calls.

But the level of knowledge they need to perform those tasks for an executive is much higher.

upward_bound 6 months ago (1 child)
There is a reason that executive assistants can make north of 100k a year. I know for a fact that the one at my last job made well north of it.
banksnld 6 months ago (1 child)
As someone who splits his time between working at home and commuting 142 miles round-trip for work, I'll take working from home anytime.
changee_of_ways 6 months ago (0 children)
Well, sure, that's an unfortunate commute. You're basically saying "I would take getting paid for X for y hours of work over getting paid (x - costs of transportation ) for y + 4.5 or more hours of work.
Left_of_Center2011 6 months ago (4 children)
Very interesting - reminds me of a chief of staff role in politics, a role that exercises a huge amount of power and responsibility.
fernibble 6 months ago (2 children)
Or perhaps the executive officer to the captain on a ship.
donjulioanejo 6 months ago (0 children)
Well, the XO on a ship is more like the COO.
roo-ster 6 months ago (0 children)
True, but with less blame if the ship collides with a freighter.
TheChance 6 months ago (0 children)
It's a decent jumping-off point for a middle management role of your own, if one opens up at the same company. You're playing a huge role in running your exec's department already, so you've got the lay of the land and you're clearly a competent wrangler of humans.
donjulioanejo 6 months ago (0 children)
So basically Donna from Suits.

Who promoted herself from Harvey's legal secretary to the COO in a span of two episodes, didn't skip a beat, and kept doing exactly what she was doing before.

Mr_Mars 6 months ago (0 children)
Well, seeing as my last post was a big long thing about how I don't fully understand what they do this is a limited view, but a short pithy summary would be that she handles all the stuff her boss should be doing but doesn't have time to actually do. That's everything from negotiating phone plans and insurance rates to making sure all the certifications and permits they need to function are taken care of to planning and booking meetings and seminars. It's very wide ranging and is a ton of responsibility. As noted elsewhere a good EA practically runs the company.
WinOSXBuntu 6 months ago (0 children)

EA

User experience. 😂

Polar_Ted 6 months ago (2 children)
I work from home 2 days a week. My wife thought I was nuts when I brought home a gaming headset and 2nd monitor for the PC I use at home.
She thought I was sitting at home playing minecraft all day.

The reality is I need lots of screen space to doy job and I have conference call meetings several times a day. I can actually hear and be heard with the headset.

I agree the downside is getting tagged for late day or after hours emergency work because I can respond quickly.

Mr_Mars 6 months ago (1 child)
I ended up buying an egpu so I could hook up a third monitor to my laptop. Currently trying to figure out how to arrange stuff on my desk to fit a fourth; may have to start mounting them on swivel arms. I want as much screen space as I can get when I doy job.

I also have an hdmi switch to change the monitors to my gaming machine when it's Minecraft time. Tax deductible 4k 27 " monitors are good for that too.

TheChance 6 months ago (0 children)

may have to start mounting them on swivel arms.

Got a stud above/behind your desk? The fourth one on the wall angled down can work pretty well, throw your notifications bar up there, calendar, anything you rarely glance at but should be able to see without moving another program or window.

br4n1m1r 6 months ago (1 child)
All of these makes sense, but I am just going to add the following: - Your friends should recognize if you are yourself or if you are frustrated, close to being burned out. That is a clear indicator if you are at right job or not. - Your friends should also be able to help you figure out if you are appreciated and in a company with good culture

Good companies/management do everything they can to empower employees, provide adequate training, and set realistic expectations. All of that increases employees' morale and confidence. Without those two, company is bound to fail sooner or later.

harimau22 6 months ago (0 children)
  • Your friends should recognize if you are yourself or if you are frustrated, close to being burned out. That is a clear indicator if you are at right job or not.
  • Your friends should also be able to help you figure out if you are appreciated and in a company with good culture

And, as your friend, you might want to listen to us if we point out these things more than a few times. There are one off vent sessions over a beer then there are long-term, consistent complaints.

Yes, sometimes you just want to vent, but if someone is pointing out the same thing constantly, they may have a point and it's up to you to start on a path to changing the situation.

VirtNinja 6 months ago (6 children)
This. Many resources out there clearly state that your friends either support your success or place negative labels on your success.

Go check out 7 habits of highly effective peeps. Will give you a completely new perspective. Not just about friends but yourself and how you interact with others.

Fen-Jai 6 months ago (5 children)
Have you got a link ?
rrrrea 6 months ago (0 children)
It's quite a famous book. https://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People-Powerful/dp/0743269519
VA_Network_Nerd 6 months ago (2 children)
Sorry, it seems this comment or thread has violated a sub-reddit rule and has been removed by a moderator.

Community Members Shall Conduct Themselves With Professionalism.


If you wish to appeal this action please don't hesitate to message the moderation team .

Ginfly 6 months ago (1 child)
I wasn't really trying to troll but I can see it. Thanks for keeping the sub clean.
VA_Network_Nerd 6 months ago (0 children)
No permanent damage.
All is well.

Party On.

toomuchtodotoday 6 months ago (3 children)
This. OP needs new friends.
mjcov 6 months ago (2 children)
No, he just needs to understand that people give generic advice that they think sounds good but they really don't understand your job or have never been in your situation. And he does.

Being able to empathize with your friends concerns, to understand their feelings without understanding exactly what they're going through, is a talent that not everybody has. Neither is being self-aware enough to recognize when you lack such a talent and instead say "wow, that sounds tough, I don't have any advice, but good luck." But these are not the only attributes that make someone friend-worthy.

On the other hand, not everybody can tolerate having friends that lack empathy and understanding. So for some the answer "they need new friends" may be true, I just don't think OP necessarily does. In fact, I think it's the same kind of generic, bad advice that I'm talking about to say that he does.

slick8086 6 months ago (1 child)

Neither is being self-aware enough to recognize when you lack such a talent and instead say "wow, that sounds tough, I don't have any advice, but good luck."

When I'm in situations like this (I can't advise because I lack context or experience) I advise flipping a coin. Quit after finding a new job or stay and keep trying to change the place, heads or tails. After you've flipped the coin and seen the result, examine your feeling... disappointed or relieved? There's your answer regardless of the coin toss you know how you really feel, and should trust your gut.

WordBoxLLC 6 months ago (0 children)
And remember not to put that coin in your pocket where it will get mixed in and just become another coin.

E: Which it is.

dublea 6 months ago (0 children)
This! When my friend(s) complain about their current workplace/position/etc I always recommend they get their feelers out and start looking. It may take a while but you'll eventually find something.

It took me almost a year to find something comparable or better but didn't land the final interview this past year. But, my old job lost our largest client and I am now working for said client. Couldn't be happier!

JonnyLay 6 months ago (0 children)
Or they're in a worse paying job wishing ends would meet better...
darksim905 6 months ago (0 children)
You don't know what someone deals with & those people may want to bend over backward to help this person if they could. Don't automatically label them shitty friends. You don't even know them.
chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (0 children)
No. I trust them and usually come to them when I'm emotionally invested/upset and yelling about a situation at work. Making decisions in this mindset is always a bad idea. I was talked off a ledge long enough to make a smart, calculated decision.
djuniore29 6 months ago (0 children)
Shitty friends indeed. Or they're working for the company too.
Karyo_Ten 6 months ago (0 children)
Or maybe they don't work in IT and have poor job prospects.
lusid1 6 months ago (3 children)
You probably figured this out already, but the whole "go hire someone" thing was a ploy to keep you around a little longer. They gave you permission to recruit, not authority to hire. They were never going to green light the position.

You also facilitated management's bad behavior by putting too much effort into doing the right thing. You weren't valued or appreciated, you were just taken advantage of.

You made the right call in the end.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (0 children)
Spot on. I was given the illusion of great authority, but in the end - not on the things that matter. I borderline want to say the word 'budget' doesn't exist here.

Gun slingers!

scfd524 6 months ago (0 children)
This. Why would they hire someone when you're doing it all. IT employees have a much better stress level, work life balance, and career when they learn how to say no or "that's not my role". Unless you're trying to get into that area, never volunteer you do work that should be done by another area. It'll start becoming the norm and will never stop. Good luck on your next gig though!
mega_trex 6 months ago (0 children)
Yeah. I learned at my old job that the "what can we do to keep you?" question is bullshit. It's a way for them to determine what they can lie to your face about to string you along as far as possible. I asked for a team change, and they managed to string me along saying I was approved for almost 9 months, until suddenly I'm not approved anymore and there's not even a spot open for me.

Never again will I attempt to be honest with my manager. You can know that I'm thinking about leaving when I give you my 2 weeks notice.

CatherinCawood 6 months ago (15 children)
Thanks for the story, and the perspective. I'm the sole SA at a smallish entertainment-based development studio, didn't understand half the tech you reference and I do have a senior network architect I can (remotely) fall back on, but many days I'm totally overwhelmed. We had a major product success last year and we've been ramping up like crazy. More office rollout, more servers, more users, more developers (so like users but worse), more backup needs, more bandwidth, more "and can you get better teleconference speakers for the meeting rooms", more baroque software licensing to figure out, also do I have batteries? Mouse pads? Highlighters? Why are you asking me for highlighters? No I can't fix your chair. Etc etc. And I'm waiting for that one crucial system to break that I won't know how to fix.

I guess I'm just saying your post gave me some much-needed perspective. Cheers.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago * (6 children)
The chair! Omg I burst out laughing. Yes. Desk assembly goes on IT. You just wait until the 'standing desks' are ordered.

I...kid...you...not. Literally yesterday this happened

"My desk is beeping at me and has an ALB error on the controller, what do I do?"

It's a motorized standing/sitting desk. I can't make this shit up.

Hang in there. Someone once told me. The best time to look for a job is when you don't need a job.

Geminii27 6 months ago (0 children)
Chairs, coffee machines, ancient VCRs, doors ... I was asked to fix someone's Tamagotchi once.
4br4c4d4br4 6 months ago (0 children)

The best time to look for a job is when you don't need a job

Hell yeah! I quit about 6 months ago and don't even look. I get sporadic emails from LinkedIn and other avenues and if things look good, I'll apply, otherwise the hell with it. I've had a few interviews but sadly most places look like they have issues with understaffing, overworked, etc.

Ah well, in the next few years I'm sure something good comes up.

Szeraax 6 months ago (0 children)
Had my jr get assigned 2 more standing desks this week (about 8 installed in the last 2 months and I guess we literally can't trust someone to unplug their 3 cables from the little NUC...). I wrote him an email discussing the core parts of his job and how no one cares about how many standing desks are or are not installed at any given time. Focus on doing your job well, please talk to me or CIO if you are getting stressed by any workload (we all know that sometimes it feels like the tickets just stream in and you make no headway no matter what you do). We'll do whatever is needed to either take care of em.
ericrobert 6 months ago (0 children)

ALB error on the controller,

Lower the desk all the way to the bottom. I had this happen a week ago and had to google it.

DamnDirtyHippie 6 months ago (0 children)
I have also done some stand up desk troubleshooting and installation, if it has a wire in it or on it, or even holds something with a sufficient number of wires people can claim it is confusing, it's your problem. 15 years of working in the IT/SA field and I'm unboxing a desk because 'my computer has all the wires and I'll probably just mess it up if I try to move everything myself'. Fortunately our users are very reasonable in general.
krislol22 6 months ago (3 children)
I had a request for a toaster oven come in today.
ITOUTLAW 6 months ago (0 children)
Microwave door release button broke in the break room last week. Guess who got to take apart the microwave to get someone's food out?
jfoughe 6 months ago (1 child)
How about one of those tiny space heaters? A user asked me if I could figure out why it wasn't working, and all I did was flip a big red switch marked "ON."
TwistedViking 6 months ago (0 children)
Everywhere I've ever been has us refer those space heaters to Facilities, who will immediately confiscate them.
madplayshd 6 months ago (0 children)
Start to say no. Do the hours in your contract and go home. When stuff doesn't get done tell them you need more people. Either they get more people or you search for a new job. But if they don't get more people you would search for a new job anyway. Just burned out.

Seems to me like a lot of horror stories here are because people either care too much or are deeply afraid of looking for a new job. These conditions exist because you let them.

banksnld 6 months ago (0 children)
When I worked help desk at a bank, I had a teller contact me about a dead squirrel in the pneumatic tubes.
Steve_78_OH 6 months ago (0 children)
Years ago a manager from a different department (non IT obviously) walked over to us to let us know a toilet was clogged. We all just looked at him and laughed. I was also yelled at once for not helping someone move a file cabinet during an office move, while we still had tons of PC's left to setup.

IT has always been the "well, we don't have above whose responsibility it is to take care of this, so IT can do it" field.

GraphiteBlue 6 months ago (0 children)

more developers (so like users but worse)

It's sad because it's true. :(

qnull 6 months ago (13 children)
I'm going through a similar situation to you OP but for a different reason.

I left a good MSP job (busy and at times frustrating) for a larger employer and the job I was expecting to have is not at all like the one I applied for it's very boring and quite slow with too much idle time sometimes which is weird since it's an operations roles for a billion dollar business but probably half of the "work" I'm doing now is "hey sorry to wake you but we got this alarm and we've raised an incicent can you take a look" when I used to design and manage environments end to end.

My job for some people would be the jackpot but for me it's awful and I'm considering leaving to go back to my way more stressful MSP job.

My problem is I have too many resources to call on (multiple teams to escalate to) and I'm just left watching the screens because of it.

quiterascible 6 months ago (0 children)
This is what I'm afraid of as well but I need more friggin money. The screen watchers actually make more because they exist in big companies with lots of money.
Szeraax 6 months ago (5 children)
Cue the daleks: Automate! Automate! Automate! :)
qnull 6 months ago (1 child)
We definantely do some automation but maybe not enough.

The alarms are mostly validation checks (is it actually p1? Is that event due to a change?) and anything that can be automated is and we don't get alerts for it.

Our alarm dashboard is an aggregator of a ton of systems that all send their alarms to it.

Unfortunately once the infrastructure and databases become self healing we're all out of a job.

Szeraax 6 months ago (0 children)
Same boat here. "is this really going to happen again before this system is decommed?" Should I spend a few hours making a good test that will determine if its really this problem again and fixing it + reporting the result of the fix? Or should I spend the 6 minutes it takes to fix this and move on with my life.

Re: Self healing - out of a job. Oh PLEASE! We're not out of a job when stuff is self healing; we're into a new one. I'm just a regular sys admin and even I am starting to think about how I can use machine learning to solve issues I face or to improve our business. It'll be QUITE some time before I actually start doing anthing with ML, let alone something useful. I'd LOVE to have more time to play with new stuff.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (2 children)
We use ansible for automation. I do love it but it's fairly time consuming to setup (half the stuff is in a txt doc waiting for a playbook to be built)
Szeraax 6 months ago (0 children)
Yes it is! Holy crap it is.
DeeBee1968 5 months ago (0 children)
What ?? You mean the Buggers didn't leave an easier way to do it ?
toomuchtodotoday 6 months ago (3 children)
Have you considered looking for another role in management with higher pay and more responsibility?
qnull 6 months ago (1 child)
Management jobs usually require some management experience and I have a little bit of team leading experience but not the sort of "manage this budget and this department" management experience I'm also torn between making that jump to management and getting "off the tools" or doing a deep dive into a specific set of technical tools.
TheBros35 6 months ago (0 children)
My dad was an engineer for various semiconductor factories for years. He hit that same point in his role - but there was a much bigger push to go to management, which he did. after about 5 years of that he quit - he was way to burnt out and hasn't returned to corporate life since. The money was good but the job wasn't worth it.

Hell, the only job he's had in years was as a general contractor putting in sinks and stuff making what I do as a help desk monkey.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (0 children)
I'm sort of going into a remote management position. Working for a MSP as problem escalation for 8 techs. Finding 'teachable moments' (probably all of them!) to train on troubleshooting process. In my spare time I'll be getting amazon aws certs and I'll eventually move into a different role. Sounds challenging enough not to be bored :)
SS324 6 months ago (1 child)
Spend your time learning or learning how to do the jobs of those you escalate to.
qnull 6 months ago * (0 children)
Oh I can do their jobs they're like "tier 3" while we're "tier 2" and we can do actual work (permissions allowing) our team holds the same level of certs they do (MCSA, MCSE etc) were just in at a different layer of the business which is changing.

I don't just watch for alarms and escalate it's just a small part of the role really but it's the most prominent part when you're on the graveyards which always makes me a bit resentful of my own choice to come here.

Dr_Legacy 6 months ago (0 children)
"I need more help, I have too many jobs."

"OK, here's another one: hire yourself some staff."

Totally disfunctional company. Obvs does not have an HR dept. worth a shit.

gabrielpereiraalves 6 months ago (1 child)

I talk to friends. Smart people I look up to and trust. The answer?

-the problem is you. Your expectations are too high

-no job is perfect. Be happy you have one and can support your family.

They clearly have NO IDEA what such a job really is.

-IoI- 6 months ago (0 children)
Seriously, the lack of gratification from these jobs can be crushing.
robertito42 6 months ago (0 children)
I got anxious just reading that

Glad you got out

tron_funkin_blow 6 months ago (0 children)
No, he said he had to sweep snow off a satellite dish because it's heater was broke. He said nothing about being on the roof. Sweeping dishes after a heavy snowfall is not uncommon. I had to do the same thing this morning while on-call.

I work in a small environment incredibly similar to OP's, Calix, Metaswitch, etc. We have a SME for each area; one for voice, one for IP/IT systems (me), one for video, and two outside plant guys. We cover/triage each others duties during on-call rotation. It works well enough for us, but sounds like OP is doing it all. It would be one thing if he had to only deal with the non-IT stuff on occasion, but if all those responsibilities are solely his, thats untenable.

DamnDirtyHippie 6 months ago (0 children)
If it's a small company everyone needs to chip in beyond their official responsibility to make things work, but they also need to be compensated at the rate of their top skills and not driven into the ground. IMO
Steev182 6 months ago (3 children)
So how did you find this remote role?
NotFakingRussian 6 months ago (0 children)
Asking the real questions, lol.
chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (1 child)
Indeed.com !

The KEY was expanding the distance of jobs. I live 200+ miles away from the office.

freythman 6 months ago (0 children)
There are tons of remote jobs out there. Just gotta find them.
Red5point1 6 months ago (2 children)
The problem here is that you kept the ship running, even though you told management you needed help, things were still getting done.
Management will not do anything about thing until they break, so while you bust your ass keeping things going they don't care how you did it. All they know is things are still running.
You either have to show them things breaking or put your foot down negotiate a commitment to hire a hand.
Just out of interest what was their reaction when you handed in your notice? Did they counter or they simply decided to hire a replacement. They must have been in a world of hurt if it was the latter and you were the only one doing that role.
chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (1 child)
I think the email went like this 'we want to keep you, would salary make a difference? Give us a number and I'll see what I can do'

I think my reply went something like 'I appreciate the offer but it's too late'

chalbersma 6 months ago (0 children)
Wait, put in Quadruple the number. If they match it bring in 2 contractors to do your job.

I've always wanted to see if this works.

xaijin 6 months ago (2 children)
$500 is a joke. I make that working 1 day a weekend. A lot of companies referral bonus range from $2000-7000.
Merakel 6 months ago (0 children)
It's not even a joke. It's an insult.
IAMA_Cucumber_AMA 6 months ago (0 children)
Yup plus it will get heavily taxed and end up being ~$300 when it hits your wallet
donjulioanejo 6 months ago (0 children)
Yep, a recruiter bringing someone in will cost 15-25k. Giving someone an internal referral for 7k is comparative peanuts, AND you get two happy employees because of that.
DemandsBattletoads 6 months ago (0 children)
At my company it's 2k.
dwerb 6 months ago (5 children)
Heya, I don't know how far into your career you are, but I'm 45, pretty senior level (I've been a c-level exec) and wanted to tell you:

Don't ever compromise. Ever.

I am in a similar situation at an MSP (I'm in a leadership role) and have the same kinds of conversations about resources and losing valuable workers because there's no help. The management above me isn't listening and we are going to lose a very fine employee (like yourself -- someone with skill who is trying to make it better but is not being heard -- and it's because management don't know how to run an ITIL-based shop and hire to that kind of skill set. I put toghether a framework to measure qualifications of our employees and they all measure up to Tier 1 analysts/engineers (in both experience and quals) and some of them are considered Tier 3 employees and they can't do something as simple as read and interpret a Wireshark packet capture. And I keep being told either "we have to make do with what we have" or "you're not seeing what good they can do". So clearly in my case there's a division in vision for leadership and I'm giving up and probably moving on. In your case, you tried, gave your input, and, if they're not gonna listen to you, move on. Your expectations are NOT too high. Their expectations aren't high enough. Move on to somewhere there's a fit. You can only help someone from burning their hand on the stove so many times before you give up and go watch TV.

Good luck in your career.

chalbersma 6 months ago (3 children)

"you're not seeing what good they can do". So clearly in my case there's a division in vision for leadership

Are you?

dwerb 6 months ago (0 children)
Yes. They all are 6 months to 1 year out of technical school. They are able to accomplish SOME tasks. They are unskilled at anything above Tier 1 despite someone saying "you know about X. Here, go do it."

For instance, a windows admin should be able to implement GPO and know what it's about. Maybe have an MS cert. but our main windows admin is working towards his CCNA and has been out of school for 6 months. Not exactly a right fit for that job.

dwerb 6 months ago (1 child)
Also, the "good they do" is things like change light bulbs and take out the trash.

Not exactly what they SHOULD be doing.

chalbersma 6 months ago (0 children)
So you have tier 3 employees who only change lightbulbs and take out trash? This seems unlikely.
Red5point1 6 months ago (0 children)
I've been in a similar situation, the problem is not necessarily an issue with vision. More than likely upper management have been given the mandate to keep costs down or at least same.
So they will come up with any excuse not to hire more people or if someone of good quality leaves they will only hire someone lower quality i.e. lower pay.
That is the problem with corporate culture everyone is there looking only after number one, as long as the job is getting done they don't care how much those doing it care about the company or that they are doing their jobs efficiently, cost effective or to a high standard.
All they care about is that the job is getting done.
jimothyjones 6 months ago (0 children)
Stories like this is why I gave up trying. Used to, I would change my plans to do a last minute cutover on the weekend because you changed the date 3 different times. These days, my response is always, "I have an opening 3 weeks from now".....because I don't let it fuck up my life anymore. Frankly, nothing has happened since I started giving those answers. What are they going to do anyways? Hire someone else? pffft.
4br4c4d4br4 6 months ago (0 children)
Christ, I felt bad for myself when I quit MY job but goddamn, you were in a shithole! Glad you found something better.

I still hear from people at my old job that nothing has changed. They hire someone else but never fix the problems. Overworked, understaffed, complaints are listened too with great concern and then ignored.

gilias 6 months ago (0 children)
It does sound very much like they're, perhaps unwittingly, taking advantage of you and you're right to want to leave a job that's damaging your life so terribly.

I mean, works sucks most of the time, but it doesn't have to suck ALL the time and there should be at least enough people to have the work ease off from time to time or you just go manic from the stress.

Everybody expects different things from their job and not all jobs are right for all people. IMO, life is too short to spend it doing a job you hate or working in a toxic environment. I applaud your efforts to try and improve things but ultimately you've got to draw a line where enough is enough and just move on. Do what's right by you, because your company is working every day to do what's right by them and not necessarily what's good for you.

moofishies 6 months ago (0 children)
You told them what you needed to stay, brought them the perfect candidate for it, and they didn't do it. Should have started looking right then.

Congrats on the new job though, hope you found somewhere more relaxed :)

djgizmo 6 months ago (2 children)
Something sounds off. You talked to the ceo about what they can do, and they have their own headend, but won't outsource the printers? That's always the first thing that needs to be sourced out because it's petty shit like toner or pain in ass like the fuser.

Sounds like they needed someone to streamline the processes, and have 2-3 more people on board. A senior network guy and two more minions eager to learn and take those 'patch cable broken' or port security tickets.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (1 child)
Let's just say things were done correctly when they got a large grant from the government 6 years ago.
djgizmo 6 months ago (0 children)
Weren't?
salgat 6 months ago (0 children)
You were used hard and long and have been fed bad advice. You should have left that place long ago and hopefully this lesson will stick with you forever.
nirach 6 months ago (0 children)
That sounds like a shitty environment, and some less than stellar friends.
12thetechguy 6 months ago (0 children)

Multicast not working in one segment of our network? Good luck! No one knows how it works.

truer words have never been spoken

kellyzdude 6 months ago (0 children)
The same two questions, every time, before you go looking. And then the third, when you have an offer on the table (sometimes it's one you went looking for, sometimes it's one that just appeared in your inbox).
  1. Are you happy? If not, why not?
  2. Will a different job make you happier?
  3. Will this opportunity make you happier?

Sometimes the problem is at home, and changing your work life might help (if it brings more money or a shorter commute), and sometimes it won't. Sometimes the problem is at work, and you can influence change either within the organization or within yourself (changing your expectations, adjusting your work schedule to be earlier or later, discussing with your management group about changes to your role, etc) in order to improve the situation. Or you improve your work situation by leaving it behind, if there is no way to improve it or the people who can help improve it are unwilling (or themselves unable) to do so.

Yes, sometimes the easy opportunities for change just aren't there, and you need to make harder decisions about the change your life needs. In those moments one should be grateful for what they have, but it doesn't necessarily mean they should accept that this is their lot in life. Maybe you need to move. Maybe you're looking for a remote position. Maybe you take the plunge and live off savings for a few months -- though unless you're on the verge of a breakdown, this can cause complications later; it's generally true that it is easier to find a job if you have a job. Not universally, but generally. Maybe you give up IT and become a Birthday Clown, because you enjoy making children happy more than you enjoy clicking buttons anymore.

Best of luck to you in your new place, hopefully it works out!

d00ber 6 months ago * (0 children)
Are your friends in IT in any way? I find that most people have no idea what IT means, or the individual fields. They expect the same person who helps them with spreadsheets also makes/updates the websites, sets up the phone system, maintains the network.. and may even think they plug in their power bar. Most people can't discern the difference between facilities, an electrician and someone in one of the many fields of IT in my experience.

Heck, at my company the executives have no idea what I do. They ask me to do things from investigate and roll out MDM.. to go to one of our communities and setup one of the resident's televisions. I've even been asked to install generator power outlets.. I've just learned to say "no" and explain to them who's responsibility it is. If they are unwilling to hire someone or even just bring the proper person from within the organization, the problem can stay a problem.

Your friends may not be crappy, they might just be clueless.

SideburnsOfDoom 6 months ago (0 children)

The CEO found out and we sat down ... He puts that responsibility on me.

I've seen my own managers do the same, and still am thinking through if, when and how it's a mistake. Managers are there to support and enable important things happening. If it's a small thing then all they need to do is give you permission to do it. But if it's a big thing then they need to mange it, e.g track it, ask how it's going, ask what you need, get other people involved, set priorities etc. Not just give a pep talk, say "it's on you now" and wash hands of it. That basically means, "cheer up, but I don't care". If I wanted someone to listen carefully and then do nothing about it I'd go to therapy, thanks.

r0ck0 6 months ago * (0 children)
Being that IT is generally a self-taught field, where we can play around with and test things before doing them in production...

I recommend sticking to jobs where you're doing commonly reproducible/testable software stuff. i.e. standard Windows/Linux servers + standard software. Basically things that can be completely learned and tested in virtual machines, without needing any special hardware at all.

I reckon all the proprietary "black box" / vendor specific devices etc you mentioned make working in "IT" much much more stressful. You basically have to learn a whole heap of different systems where what you learn is only applicable to one device. And you can't easily play around with them like you can with pure software and virtual machines etc. So you're often learning & testing in production, and even then, only once something has already failed. And you're likely not going to have spare parts, or even be able to get them easily. The same goes for network engineers dealing with lots of cisco routers etc to a certain degree. Basically anything that involves hardware except for standard PCs and servers running Windows or Linux.

I worked for a post-production company for a while, and yeah it was similar. I was busy as fuck with the regular standard everyday IT shit, yet still had the responsibly to figure out all there proprietary devices etc that I'd never even heard of before. And because they're not commonplace IT stuff, there's fuckall information on the internet to learn about them and troubleshoot etc. And of course learning about that shit doesn't translate into useful skills you can take elsewhere in other IT jobs.

So yeah these days, I'm 100% software. I actually do IT consulting part time, and even when my clients want to buy hardware, I just give them some recommendations and get them to order it directly from Dell or whoever. I don't want to be responsible for hardware failures, of which I have zero control over.

jsmith1300 6 months ago (0 children)
OP I'm in the same boat. COO found out that my medial issues I may jump ship. Had a chat and he said he would do everything to get people hired. My boss has had approval for hiring for weeks now and not one person has been interviewed. I have also been thinking about getting medicated because I'm in denial with work. I'm going to jump ship soon take time off and see what happens.
br4n1m1r 6 months ago (0 children)
That is what MSP is. MSP is the environment where self-driven, stoic people survive and other people crumble. MSP is especially tough in the role like yours as you have no one to rely on anymore, but everyone else is coming to you to fix a problem they can't figure out. I am there, been there for awhile. People think you are smarter than them, but all you are is more persistent and willing to sacrifice your sanity and your free time to figure out a problem by going to 10th page of google and performing advanced search queries on reddit.

I think MSP life after age of 35 is impossible to do unless you are crazy. :)

ryanknapper 6 months ago (0 children)
The good news is that after doing all that you should be a star employee somewhere else, able to handle catastrophes with calm grace and skill.
Ailbe 6 months ago (0 children)
You were in an impossible situation with really shit poor management. Don't waste a second thought. They'll either figure out why they can't keep people or they'll fail in spectacular fashion. The bottom line is you have to protect yourself and your interests, you owe that company nothing. The only time you owe a company that isn't your own is if the company makes significant investment in your and your career, which your former company clearly didn't. Good for you on recognizing that you had options. In many ways in that former situation you were the one with the power and its great that you exercised it.

Good luck with your new job!

liquidose 6 months ago (1 child)
I went through practically the same thing. Found a nice job down the street from my house I could just walk to. They had a full web team to handle all their websites and web problems, but their skills were about 20 years old. At first I didn't notice because I would handle IT / network problems all day.

Then eventually I started getting web site issues pushed to me, then web design issues. Eventually I was building all their web sites and running their entire web platform while everyone else on that team just sat around all day making emails. All this extra work never came with any pay increase and everyone would always say "You do everything here, if you leave we're screwed".

A day came when there was a landslide of issues combined with an HR nightmare and nobody seemed to wanted to handle anything. By the end of the day I realized I had wanted to leave the job for over a year and I was only staying to keep things together until I got everything to a stable point. Unfortunately this place could never reach a stable point because their management was an absolute shit show and never wanted to step up to face any big problems.

This seems really common after reading some stories here. A good amount of IT people probably feel obligated to keep things running even when they hate their job.

I also found a remote job with a ridiculous salary increase after going through so many interviews to the point of utter mental exhaustion. The grass definitely can be greener sometimes its just much harder to find than you would ever think.

[Oct 02, 2018] Trump is light fare compared to where the Neoliberal Democrats will go and has been, regarding women, sex, and all things crass

Oct 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

Iberiano says: September 29, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT 300 Words Looking at that photo of the former primary contenders, reminded me of all the holier-than-though talk we got from the right-of-center, about how Trump was too gruff, and crass, about everything, including sexual topics, interactions with women, etc.

What these hearings demonstrated, that we already knew, was that the Puritan-Jew alliance is obsessed with all things sexual, perverted, distasteful theirs is a world of, as you point out, "preppy white boy" fantasies, where the bad guys look like the blond jock in Karate Kid, and drive around in their Dad's 1982 Buick Regal or their own '79 Camero, looking to "score" with virginal know-nothing, Red Riding Hoods, that happen to find themselves at 'gang rape parties' (?), out of nowhere. Who go on to have Leftist careers only to resurrect repressed memories 35 years later–projected in front of the world

It's a silly framework from which they obsess, but it's similar to Kinsey, Mead and others of the Left. Sex. Projection, doubling-down, and an absence of due process to punish people for the very things that actually occupy their minds. Even in her advanced age, you could tell, Feinstein was enjoying the open air discussions regarding sexual topics.

Let the Right / Never-Trumpers be on notice–Trump is light fare compared to where the Left will go and has been, regarding women, sex, and all things crass.

[Sep 23, 2018] European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed Theresa May appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/22/euro-s22.html

From the Super Schadenfreude Press:

"UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered political humiliation in Salzburg, when European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed her appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

May was given only 10 minutes to address EU heads of state Wednesday, after dinner at the informal summit, during which she appealed to her audience, "You are participants in our debate, not just observers."

She said she had counted on at least supportive noises for her "serious and workable" plan, given that she was seeking to head off a potential challenge from the "hard-Brexit"/Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. She warned that the UK could be torn apart -- with respect to Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as by social tensions; that if her government fell, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party could win a general election; and cited the potential damage to the EU itself of lost trade, investment and military support from the UK.

Instead, her address was met with silence and her implied threats were stonewalled, as the main players within the EU combined the next day to declare her proposals to be "unworkable.

No matter how these conflicts play out, Britain and the whole of Europe face a worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU apart. The growth of both inter-imperialist and social antagonisms found dramatic form in Brexit, which the dominant sections of the City of London, big business, all the major parties and Britain's allies in the US and Europe all opposed. Yet two years later, May is fighting a desperate struggle against her anti-EU "hard-Brexit" faction, the US is led by a president who has declared his support for the breakup of the EU, and numerous far-right governments have taken power in part by exploiting popular hostility to EU-dictated austerity."

"worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU-(and hence NATO)- apart. " .

:O)

[Sep 22, 2018] A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington

Sep 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Euractiv with AFP: Belgian inquest implicates UK in phone spying
https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/belgian-inquest-implicates-uk-in-phone-spying/

A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington, it was revealed on Thursday (20 September).

The report, which summarises a five-year judicial inquiry, is almost complete and was submitted to the office of Justice Minister Koen Geens, a source close to the case told AFP, confirming Belgian press reports

The matter will now be discussed within Belgium's National Security Council, which includes the Belgian Prime Minister with top security ministers and officials.

Contacted by AFP, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office and the cabinet of Minister Geens refused to comment .
####

NO. Shit. Sherlock.

So the real question is that if this has known since 2013, why now? BREXIT?

[Sep 21, 2018] On Brexit, UK Negotiators Have Adopted a Hard Bargaining Strategy

Notable quotes:
"... The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success. ..."
"... The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). ..."
"... You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf ..."
"... The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor. ..."
"... I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium. ..."
"... The NATO establishment is about "making war," ..."
"... All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers. ..."
"... In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way ..."
"... The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. ..."
"... I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum. ..."
"... Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something. ..."
"... Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers. ..."
"... The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway). ..."
"... The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil. ..."
"... I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. ..."
"... I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer. ..."
"... But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem. ..."
"... A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically . ..."
"... British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal. ..."
"... Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states. ..."
"... As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess? ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. While the specific observations in this post will be very familiar to readers (you've said the same things in comments!), I beg to differ with calling the Government's Brexit negotiating stance a strategy. It's bad habit plus lack of preparation and analysis.

And the UK's lack of calculation and self-awareness about how it is operating means it will be unable to change course.

By Benjamin Martill, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum where he focuses on Europe after Brexit. He is based at LSE IDEAS, the London School of Economics's foreign policy think tank. The Dahrendorf Forum is a joint research venture between LSE and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Originally published at openDemocracy

But is this the best strategy for advancing British interests? Here is the argument based on the findings of a recent Dahrendorf Forum working paper .

All eyes in British politics are on the negotiations between the UK and the EU over the terms of the forthcoming British withdrawal from the Union, or Brexit. Surprisingly, questions of bargaining strategy – once the preserve of diplomats and niche academic journals – have become some of the most defining issues in contemporary British politics.

The New Politics of Bargaining

Cabinet disagreements over the conduct of the negotiations led to the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson in early July 2018 and the issue continues to divide the ruling Conservative party. Theresa May's most recent statements have all addressed the question of how hard she has pushed Brussels in the talks.

But is the hard bargaining strategy appropriate, or will it ultimately harm the UK? The salience of this question should occasion deeper analysis of the fundamentals of international bargaining, given the extent to which the course of British politics will be determined by the government's performance (or perceived performance) in the Brexit talks.

Driving a Hard Bargain

A hard-bargaining strategy isn't necessarily a poor one. To the extent it is workable, it may even represent the sensible option for the UK.

Hard bargaining is characterised by negative representations of negotiating partners, unwillingness to make concessions, issuance of unrealistic demands, threats to damage the partner or exit the negotiations, representations of the talks in zero-sum terms, failure to provide argumentation and evidence, and withholding of information. From diplomats' portrayal of the EU as an uncooperative and bullying negotiating partner to a set of demands recognised as unrealistic in Brussels and Britain alike, the UK's approach to the Brexit negotiations scores highly on each of these measures.

The consensus in the academic literature is generally that hard bargaining works only where a given party has a relative advantage . Powerful states have an incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since by doing so they will be able to extract greater concessions from weaker partners and maximise the chance of achieving an agreement on beneficial terms.

But weaker actors have less incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since they stand to lose more materially if talks break down and reputationally if they're seen as not being backed by sufficient power,

So which is Britain?

Power Distribution

The success of hard bargaining depends on the balance of power. But even a cursory examination would seem to confirm that the UK does not hold the upper hand in the negotiations. Consider three standard measures of bargaining power: a country's economic and military capabilities, the available alternatives to making a deal, and the degree of constraint emanating from the public.

When it comes to capabilities, the UK is a powerful state with considerable economic clout and greater military resources than its size would typically warrant. It is the second-largest economy in the EU (behind Germany) and its GDP is equal to that of the smallest 19 member states. And yet in relative terms, the combined economic and military power of the EU27 dwarves that of the UK: the EU economy is five times the size of the UK's.

Next, consider the alternatives. A 'no deal' scenario would be damaging for both the UK and the EU, but the impact would be more diffuse for the EU member states. They would each lose one trading partner, whereas the UK would lose all of its regional trading partners. Moreover, the other powers and regional blocs often cited as alternative trading partners (the US, China, the Commonwealth, ASEAN) are not as open as the EU economy to participation by external parties, nor are they geographically proximate (the greatest determinant of trade flows), nor will any deal be able to replicate the common regulatory structure in place in the EU. This asymmetric interdependence strongly suggests that the UK is in greater need of a deal than the EU.

Finally, consider the extent of domestic constraints. Constraint enhances power by credibly preventing a leader from offering too generous a deal to the other side. On the EU side the constraints are clear: Barnier receives his mandate from the European Council (i.e. the member states) to whom he reports frequently. When asked to go off-piste in the negotiations, he has replied that he does not have the mandate to do so. On the UK side, by contrast, there is no such mandate. British negotiators continually cite Eurosceptic opposition to the EU's proposals in the cabinet, the Conservative party, and the public, but they are unable to guarantee any agreement will receive legislative assent, and cannot cite any unified position.

Perceptions of Power

But the real power distribution is not the only thing that matters. While the EU is the more powerful actor on objective criteria, a number of key assumptions and claims made by the Brexiteers have served to reinforce the perception that Britain has the upper hand.

First, on the question of capabilities, the discourse of British greatness (often based on past notions of power and prestige) belies the UK's status as a middle power (at best) and raises unrealistic expectations of what Britain's economic and military resources amount to. Second, on the question of alternatives, the oft-repeated emphasis on 'global Britain' and the UK's stated aim to build bridges with its friends and allies around the globe understates the UK's reliance on Europe, the (low) demand for relations with an independent Britain abroad, and the value of free trade agreements or other such arrangements with third countries for the UK. Third, on the question of domestic constraint, the post-referendum discourse of an indivisible people whose wishes will be fulfilled only through the implementation of the Brexit mandate belies the lack of consensus in British politics and the absence of a stable majority for either of the potential Brexit options, including the 'no deal', 'hard', or 'soft' variants of Brexit. Invoking 'the people' as a constraint on international action, in such circumstances, is simply not credible.

Conclusion

Assumptions about Britain's status as a global power, the myriad alternatives in the wider world, and the unity of the public mandate for Brexit, have contributed to the overstatement of the UK's bargaining power and the (false) belief that hard bargaining will prove a winning strategy.

Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power. This is not 'treasonous', as ardent Brexiteers have labelled similar nods to reality, but is rather the only way to ensure that strategies designed to protect the national interest actually serve this purpose. Power is a finite resource that cannot be talked into existence. Like a deflating puffer fish, the UK's weakness will eventually become plain to see. The risk is that before this occurs, all bridges will be burned, all avenues exhausted, and all feathers ruffled.

The arguments in this blog are based on the findings of a Dahrendorf Forum working paper by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger titled ' Cultures of Negotiation: Explaining Britain's Hard Bargaining in the Brexit Negotiations '.

The opinions expressed in this blog contribution are entirely those of the author and do not represent the positions of the Dahrendorf Forum or its hosts Hertie School of Governance and London School of Economics and Political Science or its funder Stiftung Mercator.


larry , September 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

I tend to agree that there is no real strategy on the UK's part. May resembles a broken record, where she says much the same thing over and over again, seemingly expecting a different response each time. Although Einstein said that he probably never made the claim about what insanity consists of, it is often attributed to him -- doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. How the government expects that this sort of behavior will bring desirable results is beyond me.

Schofield , September 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

Both UK and EU politicians are talking past each other. Neither side understands there are two key issues. Firstly, not understanding the economic effects stemming from the failure to understand how money is created and how it can be manipulated for global trading advantage. Secondly, that the UK is high up the list for "cultural tightness" and the reasons for this.

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6df109_a5da34d6a9ae4114be82ccf4b024a2b2.pdf

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 10:37 am

The other element of course of a negotiation is getting potential allies to roll up behind you. At the start of this the UK had a series of potential 'friends' it could call on – eurosceptics governments in Eastern Europe, close historic friends and political like minded governments in Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. And of course non-EU countries like India or the US with historic links.

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those though its heavy handed negotiations or laughable lack of political empathy.

It must be emphasised that the current Irish government is ideologically and instinctively very pro-London. And yet, today RTE is reporting about the latest meeting between May and Varadkar:

The source said there was "an open exchange of views" between both sides, with the Irish delegation emphasising that the time was short and "we need to get to the stage where we can consider a legal text" on the backstop.

The source described British proposals so far as "only an outline, and we haven't seen specific proposals from the British side."

This can only be translated as 'what the hell are they playing at?'

The Indians of course were amusedly baffled by the British assumption that they would welcome open trade (without lots of new visas for Indian immigrants). Trump just smelt the blood of a wounded animal. The Russians are well

Jim A. , September 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

"an open exchange of views" Which is a diplomat's way of saying that there was a shouting match and no agreement.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm

I imagine it as being a little like this (not work safe if you have audio on).

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

Mercy! I will save and share this. Thank you, Pu-kun.

Fazal Majid , September 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

The British cited the EU's inability to conclude a free-trade agreement with India as one example of the EU's failings a revitalized Global Britain would no longer be shackled by. That's quite rich considering the FTA was torpedoed when the British Home Secretary vetoed increased visas for the Indians. Her name was Theresa May.

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm

True? Comedy gold!

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 5:20 am

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those

Somehow?

The brits basically said: We are special people, much, much better, richer and stronger than you sorry lot of Peons to Brussels(tm), so now you shall see sense and give us what we want this week; you can call it your tribute if you like (because we don't care what you like :)

Half the Danes are fed up with the whole thing and the other half would be egging on a hard Brexit if only they could – knowing it will likely take out at least some of the worst and most overleveraged (and gorged with tax-paid subsidies) Anti-Environmentalist Danish industrial farmers, their bankers too. And diminish the power of their lobbyists: "Landbrug & Fødevarer"!

The good part is that: the British and the Danish governments have managed to make "being ruled by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels" look like a pretty much OK & decent deal, considering the alternative options: Being ruled by our local crazies, straight-up nutters and odious nincompoops (a word i like), half of whom, to top it up, are probably mere soulless proxies for those ghouls that are running Washington DC.

Tom Stone , September 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

Always bet on stupid.
Because human stupidity is infinite.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

Though it often fits neatly into one of four categories, described here:

"The basic laws of human stupidity,"

http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

Seems we humans are pretty good at inventing negative-sum games that we belieeeve are zero-sum

Watt4Bob , September 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

It seems more and more to me, that never ending class warfare, and its current emphasis on austerity, leaves us unable to envision alternate routes to economic health.

The neo-liberal consensus mandates that our ruling class never questions its own tactics, ie dog-whistle racism to distract and divide the lower classes to enable all the looting.

So on both sides of the Atlantic, the rulers of English speakers stir up resentment amongst those at the bottom in order to secure votes, and maintain power, while never intending to follow through on promises to provide tangible material benefits to their constituents.

The looting goes on, the trail of broken promises grows longer, and the misery deepens.

The issue being ignored is that the folks at the bottom have reached the limit of their ability to maintain life and limb in the face of downward economic pressure.

We've finally reached the end game, we in America have been driven to Trumpism, and in Britain they've been driven to Brexit by the clueless efforts of pols to maintain power in the face of electorates who have decided they have had enough, and will absolutely not take the SOS anymore.

So we have the nonsensical situation of pols on both sides of the Atlantic flirting with economic collapse, and even civil war rather than moderate their irrational fixation on making the insanely rich even richer.

In both cases we have a cast of alternating villains robbing and beating us while waving flags and loudly complaining that we aren't showing the proper level of enthusiasm.

Which leaves me with one question for those villains;

Where you gonna hide.

Hayek's Heelbiter , September 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Yup.

Why no one, especially the punditocracy seems to realize this, is astonishing.

I also cannot believe the Old Gray Lady killing millions of trees in its shrill efforts to prove the Russians cost Hilary the election and nary a word about how totally fed up and voiceless (with the exception of a single presidential vote) are those in the Great Flyover.

Also find it amazing that the Beeb with rudimentary linguistic forensic analysis identified Mike Pence as almost certainly the author of the scathing anti-Trump memo the NYT published anonymously, without a single mention of this now widely-known fact.

disillusionized , September 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
That's what determines UK negotiating strategy, the ones who don't want to play hardball can't see the point in leaving, and the ones who wan't to leave, can't see the point of negotiating.
for all intents and purposes this is a accession negotiation in reverse, "then Sir Con O'Neill, the chief negotiator at official level in 1970-2, who commented that the only possible British approach to existing Community body of rules was 'Swallow the lot, and swallow it now'."

On a related note, while this was about the tactics of leaving, there has been some movement on the end state front, though not by the UK. Rather it seems that the EU has made up it's mind, and in my mind definitively scrapped the EEA option.
Several EU leaders (Pms of Malta and the Czech republic) have clearly stated that they wish to see a new referendum, and Macron said the following:
"Brexit is the choice of the British people pushed by those who predicted easy solutions. Those people are liars. They left the next day so they didn't have to manage it," Macron said on Thursday, vowing to "never" accept any Brexit deal, which would put the EU's integrity at risk.

I think the bridges have been burned, now it's surrender or revocation that's left to the UK, or stepping off the cliff edge.

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
from a very great distance this does seem to be the case

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

It is astonishing to see that the UK still does not accept that the EU doesn't want it to go on principle more than for practical reasons. May and the others cling to the notion that without Great Britain, the EU will collapse or something. This is the same nation that has been foot-dragging on everything about Europe and slagging off the continent at every turn while pretending they are a Great Power and the BFF of the US. Trump does not care about Great Britain unless he needs some sort of zoning permission for his gold course, in which case he will cut a deal on trade or arms with May.

The Irish Border, assuming it remains open, is a massive concession and likely to lead to future problems as other EU nations try to have open borders or trade with their pet countries.

Brits on the Continent are worried about many things ranging from driver's licenses to residency visas! Not every Brit wants to live on that damp little island! Some like the sun and Continental cuisine.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Is the EU a Great Idea to be Protected and Advanced, one that will inexorably result in ever greater benefits for the common people of the fainting nations that have been cat-herded into submitting to the "political union" that many very personally interested parties are always working toward? Like NATO is a Great Idea, not just a mechanism for global mischief and chaos? NATO gives "warfighters" a place to sit and play their games. Brussels gives "rules," at least some of which are sort of for public benefit, until the regulatory capturers work their magic. Profit and impunity, always for the few.

What is the organizing principle in all this? Likely can't be stated. Just a lot of interested parties squabbling over gobbets from the carcass torn from the planet

Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all? If one looks in "A Distant Mirror" at it, given where humanity seems to be, on the increasingly fleshed-out timeline of collapse?

OF course, one can always summon up the demoness TINA, to trump any efforts to take different paths

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 1:09 pm

NATO was created to make war. The EU was created to make peace and prosperity. Comparing one to the other is unjust.

The EU is not some sacrosanct construct that must be worshiped, but it has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). It has also promoted trade and prosperity. Europe has been even farther ahead of economic and regulatory integration than the US (phones and credit cards come to mind). Free movement of labor and travel have dropped costs for businesses and individuals immensely.

Now, whether or not human foibles enter into it is really another discussion. Is Brussels at times a giant Interest Machine and Bureaucratic Nightmare? Yes, but that is the negative face we see portrayed by anti-Europeans like the Brexiteers. The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their lives. Perhaps the EU is afraid of drawing attention to itself. But the people making up the EU are not extraterrestrials; they are Europeans who make the same mistakes and commit the same fraud on a national level.

Many Americans criticize Europe while vaunting their own Federation. Why should California and Alabama share a currency, a passport and a Congress? There are more differences between those states than between France and Belgium or Italy and Spain.

The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm

The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful).

You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf

The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor.

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

If you want to start accounting for economic death by economic war, we can look at the US as recently as the financial crisis, though I doubt there are studies on the Homeland of this sort. Or US embargoes of vital medication and food in Iraq which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. And so on.

My point is not that the EU is perfect, but there has not been a war in Western Europe since 1945. You are welcome to spin and fiddle and search for anything you like (Gosh, all that free travel led to increases in traffic deaths! Ban the EU!). Of course, we would also need to examine what the EU has done for Europe and how many lives have been saved by improved infrastructure and exchange of information.

I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. Let's see how Great Britain does and then we can discuss this in a few years.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium.

The NATO establishment is about "making war," largely now displaced to other Woggish and Hajji places where the huge number of refugees that are moving into Eurospace are coming from (as a result of the largely economically driven (oil and other extraction interests) and Israeli and Saudi-enhanced large scale destabilizing war prosecution.

All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers.

Yes, the EU notion of reducing the conflict generators of the past seems to be a good one. But surprise! In practice, you got your German hegemon and your French strutters and now of course the British bomb throwers pointing out, along with the renascent nationalism triggered in part by the hegemon's bleeding of other nations via Brussels and EU institutions, like Greece and Spain and Italy and so forth.

And of course the warring that the seamless economies of the EU (that includes their particpation in NATO) foster and participate in that drives the exodus of mopes from the Mideast and Africa. And how about the fun and games, with possible nuclear war consequences, that are playing out with EU and NATO and of course US Imperial Interests activity in Ukraine? And I see that the Krupp Werks has delivered a bunch of warships to various places (hasn't that happened a couple of times in the past? Thinking how particularly of Dolphin-class submarines paid for by Uncle Sucker, as in the US, and delivered to the Israel -ites who have equipped them with many nuclear-warhead cruise missiles? And thanks to the French, of course, and other Great Nations, the Israelis have nuclear weapons in the first place.

It's nice that the science parts of the EU structure are sort of working to keep US-made toxins and genetically modified crap and other bad stuff out of the Holy EU Empire. But hey, how many VW diesel vehicles on the road (thanks to some combination of corruption and incompetence on the part of the EU?) equals how much glyphosate and stacked-GM organisms barred by EU regulations? Lots of argument possible around the margins and into the core of the political economy/ies that make up the EU/NATO, and the Dead Empire across the Channel, and of course the wonderful inputs from the empire I was born into.

I guess the best bet would be to program some AI device to create a value structure (to be democratically studied and voted on, somehow?) and measure all the goods and bads of the EU, according to some kind of standard of Goodness to Mope-kind? Naw, power trumps all that of course, and "interests" now very largely denominated and dominated by supranational corporations that piss on the EU when not using its institutions as a means to legitimize their looting behaviors that sure look to me like an expression of a death wish from the human species.

There are always winners and losers in any human game, because at anything larger than the smallest scale, we do not appear wired to work from comity and commensalism. You sound from the little one can see of you from your comment as a person among the winners. Which is fine, all well and good, because of that "winners and losers" thing. Until either the mass vectors of human behavior strip the livability out of the biosphere, or some provocation or mischance leads to a more compendious and quicker, maybe nuclear, endpoint. Or maybe, despite the activities of the Panopticon and the various powers with forces in the polity to tamp it down, maybe there will be a Versailles moment, and "Aux Armes, Citoyens" will eventuate.

In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm

a worthy parlimentarian rant if I ever heard one

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:07 am

I suggest you read up on your recent European history. Czechoslovakia split entirely peacefully and it had exactly zero to do with either NATO or USA.

Yugoslavia had its problems ever since it was Yugoslavia in early 20th century – all Tito managed was to postpone it, and once he was gone, it was just a question of when, and how violent it would be. Serbian apologistas like to blame NATO, conveniently ignoring any pre-existing tensions between Croats and Serbs (not to mention ex-Yugoslavian muslims). Did NATO help? No. But saying it was the cause of the Serbo-Croat war and all the Yugoslavian fallout is ignorance.

What gets my goat is when someone blames everything on CIA, USA, NATO (or Russia and China for the matter), denying the small peoples any agency. Especially when that someone tends to have about zilch understanding of the regions in question, except from a selective reading.

Yep, CIA and NATO and the Illuminati (and Putin, to put it on both sides) are the all-powerful, all seeing, all-capable forces. Everyone else is a puppet. Right.

Lambert Strether , September 21, 2018 at 4:37 am

> I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:34 am

The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. From your lofty armchair, they might be the same but then again, perhaps you blame the socialists when your caramel latte is cold.

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 10:19 am

Lofty armchair? I actually volunteered and got the opportunity to go be a soldier in an actual war, the Vietnam one. So I have a darn good idea what War is in actuality and from unpleasant personal experience. And I don't have either the taste or the wealth for lattes. And forgive my aging failure of typing Czech instead of Yugo -- my point, too, is that the nations and sets of "peoples" living and involved in United Europe do in fact have "agency," and that is part of the fractiousness that the proponents of a federated Europe (seemingly under mostly German lead) are working steadily at suppressing. Not as effectively as a Federalist might want, of course.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm

TheScream wrote: I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it.

Wake up. I'm talking about what the European elite in the real world deliberately chose to do.

They chose to do a backdoor bailout of German and French banks specifically so Merkel, Sarkozy and Hollande and the governments they led didn't have to go to their electorates and tell them the truth. Thereby, they maintained themselves in power, and German and French wealth structures -- the frickin', frackin banks -- as they were. And they did this in the real world knowing that innocent people in Greece would die in substantial numbers consequently.

This is not a counterfactual. This happened.

There's a technical term for people who plan and execute policies where many thousands of people die so they themselves can benefit. That term is 'scum.'

Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum.

Don't get me started on people who defend such scum with threadbare waffle about 'I am not defending poor governance per blah blah it is facile and fun to criticize blah blah.' Nor interested in whataboutery about US elites, who as the main instigators of this 21st century model of finance as warfare are also scum.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:30 am

Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something.

My point is not that EU leaders are charming people working exclusively for the good of the people. My point is that the EU is not as bad as most of you believe and no worse than most other governments. It is simply an easy target because it is extra or supra-national. We can get all frothy at the mouth blaming Nazis and Frogs for our woes and ignore our personal failures.

I would love to insult you personally as you have insulted me, but I sense you are just ranting out of frustration. You hate the EU (are you even European or just some right-wing nutcase from America involving yourself in other's business?) and take it out on me. Go for it. Your arguments are irrelevant and completely miss the point of my comments.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 7:09 am

The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their live

The EU is, very simplistically, set up like a shared Civil Service. Civil Services are to be seen rarely and never heard, less they take shine and glamour from the Government they serve.

What "Bruxelles" can do is to advise and create Directives, which are instructions to local government to create and enforce local legislation. The idea is that the legislation and enforcement will be similar in all EU member states.

Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers.

The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway).

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm

"Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all?"

Hopefully sarcastic?

Dude -- black plague! 75 to 200 million dead! At a tie with a world population of 400 million, and 40 million of those may as well have been on Mars! China, ME, North Africa and Europe depopulated!

Time to really reconsider one's assumptions when one wonders whether the 14th century was "that bad".

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Dude, yes, sarcastic. And ironic. Doesn't change the horribleness of the present, does it now? Or the coming horrors (say some of us) that may have been inevitably priced in to the Great Global Market, does it

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

And in todays news:

Chequers Plan is Dead, says Tusk as Macron calls Brexiters Liars.

Donald Tusk, the European council president, has ratcheted up the pressure on Theresa May by rejecting the Chequers plan and warning of a breakdown in the Brexit talks unless she delivers a solution for the Irish border by October – a deadline the British prime minister had already said she will not be able to meet.

The stark threat to unravel the talks came as the French president, Emmanuel Macron, broke with diplomatic niceties and accused those of backing Brexit of being liars. "Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be all right, and that it's going to bring a lot of money home are liars," he said.
"It's even more true since they left the day after so as not to have to deal with it."

The comments came at the end of a leaders' summit in Salzburg, where May had appealed for the EU to compromise to avoid a no-deal scenario. She had been hoping to take warm words over Chequers into Conservative party conference.
Tusk, who moments before his comments had a short meeting with the prime minister, told reporters that he also wanted to wrap up successful talks in a special summit in mid-November.

But, in a step designed to pile pressure on the prime minister, he said this would not happen unless the British government came through on its commitment to finding a "precise and clear" so-called backstop solution that would under any future circumstances avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"Without an October grand finale, in a positive sense of this word, there is no reason to organise a special meeting in November," Tusk said. "This is the only condition when it comes to this possible November summit."

It seems the EU leaders aren't even pretending anymore. Its pretty clear they have run out of patience, and May has run out of options. I wonder if they'll even bother with having the November summit.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

He didn't call May a liar, so we'll have to see how her life support algo in the Daily Mail responds to this new input.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

If there's no November summit (which would make no-deal Brexit almost certainty), then the game becomes fast a and furious, as sterling will drop like a stone – with all sorts of repercussions. TBH, that can already be clear after the Tory party conference, it's entirely possible that that one will make any October Brexit discussions entirely irrelevant.

I think that EU overestimated May in terms of sensibility, and now accept that there's no difference between May and Johnson (in fact, with Johnson or someone like that, they will get certainy, so more time to get all ducks in row. Entirely cynically, clear no-deal Brexit Johnson would be better for EU than May where one has no idea what's going to happen).

Either way, this crop of politicians will make history books. Not sure in the way they would like to though.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Announced post-summit in Salzburg: no November summit absent a binding exit deal on the table by the end of October. So no: no November dealing.

I don't know that EU politicos overestimated May. She is what they had, and all they had, so they did their absolute best to prop up Rag Sack Terry as a negotiating partner, hoping that they could coax her to toddle over their red lines with enough willingness to listen to her hopeless twaddle first. She just shuffled and circled in place. So they've given up on her ability to deliver anything of value to them. One could see this coming in June, when she couldn't even get the sound of one hand clapping to her chipper nonsense over dinner.

I think that deciding heads in Europe have accepted the probability that crashout is coming. That was clear also in June. If something better happens, I suppose that they would leap at it. Nothing in the last two years engenders any hope in that regard, so hard heads are readying the winches to hoist the drawbridge on We're Dead to You Day.

If the Tories fall, which I think and have long thought is probable, it would be up to a 'unity government' to either initial a settlement surrender and keep the sham going, or flinch. My bet has been on pulling together some kind of flinch mechanism on aborting exit. It's the kind of year, as I model these, where wild swings of such kind are possible, but I couldn't predict the outcome anymore than anyone else.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

My feeling for a while is that the government would never fall, whatever happened, simply because the Tories (and DUP) fear a Corbyn government too much, so would never, ever pull the trigger, no matter how bad things got. But if May falls at the Party Conference and is replaced with a hard Brexiter, I don't think its impossible that there may be a temptation that to see if they could whip up a nationalistic mood for a snap election. Some of them are gamblers by instinct. Anything could happen then.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm

I think Tory Remainers bolt, choosing keeping their own wallets rather than handing those over to the worst of their lot with everything else. But they would find a unity coalition more palatable than passing the microphone to Jerry the Red, yeah, so that's a bit sticky. A snap election is the worst kind of crazy town, and wolldn't improve negotiating or decision outcomes in the slightest -- so of course that may be the likeliest near term course! Won't get settled in a few weeks. Probably not until 20 March 2019.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:06 pm

This is just wowsers. Tusk, Macron, and Merkel baldly state that Chequers is mated -- "unacceptable" -- and furthermore gave the Tories a drop-dead date of 31 October to initial the divorce settlement. The process is a flat abandonment of Theresa May, concluding the obvious, that she and her government are incapable of negotiating exit. Going over her head to Parliament and public, in fact if not in pre-consisdered intent. -- And about time. I was worried that the EU would eat fudge in November with the Brits again on another pretend-to-agree accord like that of December 2017, which, as we have seen did nothing to induce the Tories to negotiate a viable outcome.

What was May's reaction? That she's perfectly prepared to lead Britain over the crashout cliff if the EU doesn't see fit to capitulate. I'd roll on the floor laughing but I can't catch my breath.

The next two weeks are going to be lively times in Britain indeed. I can't see how 'Suicide Terry's' government can survive this situation. -- And about high time. Put the poor brute out of her misery; she's delusional, can't they see how she's suffering? Push has come, so it's time to shove. Crashout or Flinch, those are the outcomes, now plainer than ever. All May can do is thrash and fabulate, so time to bag the body and swear in another fool; lesser or greater, we shall see.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Yes, I wonder was that planned, or (as is suggested in the latest Guardian articl e), motivated by anger at Mays criticism of Barnier?

EU sources said the move had been made on the bidding of Macron, who urged taking a hard line over lunch. The French president had been infuriated by May's warning earlier in the day to Varadkar that she believed a solution on the issue could not be found by October, despite previous promises to the contrary.

The tone of the prime minister's address to the EU leaders on Wednesday night, during which she attacked Michel Barnier, is also said by sources to have been the cause of irritation.

This obviously makes her very vulnerable at the party conference. Its hard to see what she can do now. She is toast I think.

I can only think of two reasons that they've closed the door firmly in her face. Either they have simply lost patience and now accept there is nothing can be salvaged, or they have lost patience with May personally, and hope that a new leader might do a deal out of desperation. The latter seems highly unlikely – a sudden Tory challenge is more likely to bring a hardliner into power.

Whichever way you look at it, things look certain to come to a head very soon now. The EU may have a hope that the UK will blink when staring into the abyss and agree to the backstop, but I don't see how politically this a capitulation is possible, at least with the Tories in power.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm

The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil.

I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. Macron looked at his watch and the date said, non on that. Just looking at his ambitions and how he operates, I would think he wanted to go this route quite some time ago, but the 'softly, softly' set such as the Dutch and Merkel wouldn't back that, and he was too smart to break ranks alone. That the Germans have given up on May is all one really needs to know. This was May's no confidence vote by the European Council, and she lost it over lunch.

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:19 am

I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer.

But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem.

ChrisPacific , September 20, 2018 at 5:20 pm

At this point it might actually be a blessing if that happened. There is likely to be a great deal of practical difference between a no-deal Brexit with six months of planning and preparation and a no-deal Brexit that takes everyone by surprise at the very last minute. (Yes, they will both be a nightmare, but some nightmares are worse than others). All this pretense that the other side is bluffing and will roll over at the 11th hour is starting to look like a convenient excuse for not facing reality. I don't think either side is bluffing.

Comments like "Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power" might very well be true, but they're also irrelevant at this point. Certainly it would have been very useful if it had happened two years ago. Right now it's time to break out the life jackets.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Most Brits don't seem capable of mentally accepting how irrelevant they actually are internationally. They are NOT a 'power' in any other respect than that they have nuclear weapons under their launch authority (which they are never going to use). They have no weight. The City is, really other people's money that predominantly foreign nationals at trading desks play with, loose, steal, hide, and occasionally pay out. The UK economy isn't of any international consequence. Brits are embedded in the international diplomatic process, in a dead language speakers kind of way, which makes them seem important. But they are not.

So there was never going to be a reassessment of the weaknesses of Britain's negotiating position, nor will there be now exactly, because most in Britain cannot get their heads around the essential premise to such a discussion, the Britain is now essentially trivial on the power scale rather than of any real consequence. The Kingdom of Saud has more real power. Turkey is a more consequential actor. Mexico has more people. &etc.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

If one is to accept the convictions of master bloviator Niall Ferguson and other Brexiteers, the issue is issue. Brexit is about immigration, period. The EU claims it will not bend on free movement of people, Brexiteers will not accept anything less. There was such a huge outcry when May mentioned the possibility of 'preferential' treatment for EU citizens back in July she threatened any further public dissent in the party would result in sackings. The EU insists there can be no trade deals, no freed movement of goods without free movement of people, for good reasons. Hard to imagine them climbing down.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

No.

There's about as many reasons why people voted Brexit as there's different Brexits they wanted. Immigration is just one of the convenient scapegoats peddled by both sides, although for different reasons.

If you want a better (but still not complete) reason, try decreasing real income.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm

I'd like to know what those "many different reasons" are. Sovereignty? Well, that rolls off the tongue more easily than "immigration" which, leavers know, sounds a bit racist. "Control of borders" works for leavers like Nigell, although he went on at great length about how it's all about immigration, after talking to all the 'real' folks in the provinces.

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:08 am

I don't do other people's homework – the unwilligness to do so tends to be a reliable indicator of not being open to aruments in the first place.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm

My Irish/Brit family's Own Private Brexit: the grandparents are entitled to naturalisation and voted Leave, the children are subjects/citizens and voted Remain (and almost all vote Tory), the grandchildren are compromised subjects/citizens and didn't have a vote. Everyone's happy to be entitled to an EU passport. The Pakistan offshoot has a less complex variation (fewer rights), but I believe their family voted Leave on balance. Life.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:31 pm

A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically .

Mike Barry , September 21, 2018 at 3:37 am

Not that immigration has anything to do with that,

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 8:27 am

Majority of the drop in real income is NOT driven by immigration. You may find it surprising, but there were times with large (relatively speaking) immigration and the real incomes going up.

orange cats , September 21, 2018 at 10:25 am

I don't believe it is either, you seem to think these views are my own. I am speculating, with some basis, that a majority of leavers think so. Anti-immigration attitudes are entrenched and growing. Just the other day a teacher, no less, spouted off about how immigrants were causing crime and stealing jobs. This is in a blue city in a blue state. I was shocked.

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm

People come up with fantasy explanations when they've been reduced from realistic assessments to fantastic ideologies. If there's a clear answer but you are ideologically constrained from considering it, you need to invent some answer, the nuttier the better.

Detlef , September 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I think a major part of the problem is that British politicians and media seem to believe that Brexit is mainly (or exclusively) a British topic.
One British politician publishes one proposal, another British politician shoots it down. With the British media reporting about it gleefully for days. Newspaper articles, opinion pieces. Without even mentioning what the EU might think about it. The EU seems to not exist in this bubble.

Just remember the more than 60 "notices to stakeholders" published by the EU months ago. And freely available for reading on the Internet. I´ve read British media online for a long time now but somehow these notices never made any impact. It was only when the first British impact assessments were published (not that long ago) that British media started to report about possible problems after a no-deal Brexit. Problems / consequences that were mentioned in the EU notices months ago.
It´s almost unbelievable. It looks like if something isn´t coming from London (or Westminster) then it doesn´t exist in the British media.

And it´s the same with British politicians.

David Davis and the back-stop deal in late 2017?. He agreed with it during the negotiations, returned home and then said that it wasn´t binding, just a letter of intent. Or Michael Gove a few days ago? Regardless of what agreement PM T. May negotiates now with the EU, a new PM can simply scrap it and negotiate a new deal? Or send government members to the EU member states to try and undermine Barnier as reported in British media? How exactly is that building trust?

Have they never heard about the Internet? And that today even foreigners might read British media?

Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg might be the MP for the 18th century but surely they know that today there are faster methods for messages than using pigeons?

What about foreign investment in the UK? The gateway to the EU? Japanese car companies?
The drop in foreign investment was reported, to be sure. But after a few days it was immediately forgotten.

T. May according to British media articles apparently developed her Brexit strategy (and her red lines) together with her two closest political advisers back in late 2016 / early 2017. No cabinet meeting to discuss the strategy, no ordering of impact assessments which might have influenced the strategy (and the goals). And apparently – in my opinion – no detailed briefing on how the EU actually works. What might be realistically possible and what not.

The resignation of Ivan Rogers seems to support my speculations. Plus the newspaper articles in early 2017 which mentioned that visitors to certain British government ministries were warned not to criticize Brexit or warn about negative consequences. Such warnings would result in no longer being invited to visit said ministry and minister.

If they actually went through with that policy they created an echo chamber with no dissenting voices allowed.

Which might explain why they had no plan to deal with the EU.

British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal.

And now when the EU hasn´t followed the script they don´t know what to do?

I´m not an expert but it was pretty clear to me that the Chequers deal would never work. It was pretty obvious even when EU politicians were somewhat polite about it when T. May proposed it.

It might have been a good starting point for negotiations if she had introduced it in 2017. But in July 2018? Just a few months before negotiations were supposed to be concluded? And then claiming it´s the only realistic proposal? It´s my way or the highway?

It was obvious.

Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states.

I really think the EU member states have finally concluded that T. May is incapable of producing (and getting a majority in the House of Commons) for any realistic solution. Therefore helping her with statements to keep her politically alive doesn´t make sense any longer. The EU would probably really, really like a solution that gives them at least the transition period. Another 21 months to prepare for Brexit. But fudging things only get you that far .

The UK apparently never understood that it´s one thing to bend rules or fudge things to get the agreement of a member state. It´s quite another thing with a soon -to-be ex-member state.

I am a German citizen, living in Germany.
The (German weekly printed newspaper) Zeit Online website did have three articles about Brexit in the last few days. Which is noteworthy since they normally have 1-2 articles per month.

And the comments were noteworthy too.

Almost all of them now favor a hard-line approach by the EU.

The UK lost a lot of sympathy and support in the last two years. Not because of the referendum result itself but because of the actions and speeches of British politicians afterwards.

The UK had a rebate, opt-outs and excemptions. All because successive British governments pointed to their EU-sceptic opposition. Now the population voted for Brexit the British want a deal that gives them all (or most) of the advantages of EU membership without any of the obligations. To reduce the economic consequences of their decision.

No longer. Actions have consequences. And if it means we´ll have to support Ireland, we´ll do it. The German commentators quite obviously have lost their patience with the UK.

Anonymous2 , September 21, 2018 at 3:22 am

As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess?

Yves Smith Post author , September 21, 2018 at 3:25 am

Yes, Nicola Sturgeon has comported herself vastly better than anyone in the Tory or Labour leadership not that this is a high bar.

VietnamVet , September 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm

This is the first article that I have seen that talks about power. The ability to influence or outright control the behavior of people. Money has power. It is needed to eat, heal and shelter in the West. But, it is never talked about. This is because it would raise inconvenient truths. The wealthy are accumulating it and everyone else in the West is losing it. The neo-liberal/neo-conservative ideologies are the foundation of this exploitation. It is the belief that markets balance and there is no society. "Greed is good. Might is right." Plutocrats rule the west. Democracy died. There are two versions of similar corporate political parties in the USA. The little people matter not. Politicians are servants of the oligarchs. Global trade is intertwined and not redundant. What will happen will be to the benefit of the very few in power. Donald Trump is raising the price of all Chinese goods shipped into the USA and sold at Walmart and Amazon. A Brexit crash seems inevitable.

Buckeye , September 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Amen! It is ALWAYS about power. And the only way to deal with the elites is "Lord of the Rings" style:
their money must be cast into a financial version of Mount Doom, breaking their power once and for all. You folks in the UK need to make douchebag Brexiteers like Nigel Farrage suffer total loss of power for forcing this disaster on you.

RBHoughton , September 20, 2018 at 10:47 pm

There is a huge source of wealth that UK monopolises from Treasure Islands that operate the City's tax havens. That money goes straight back to City banks and flows into the market economy, independently of trade and commerce. It underwrites the derivatives biz that keeps the market economy afloat, paying pensions and profits and Directors' options.

Leaving the EU might have an effect but not a big one. Is that why UK seems so blithely unconcerned?

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:13 am

The offshore wealth is certainly why the core hard Brexiters are unconcerned, because thats where they store their cash. They don't care if the UK goes down.

But in the longer term, they are under threat – within the EU the UK consistently vetoed any attempts to crack down on internal tax havens. The internal political balance of the EU is now much more firmly anti tax avoidance with the UK gone, so there would be little to stop a series of Directives choking off the Channel Island/Isle of Man option for money flows.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 8:59 am

Split Brain Syndrome: They seem think that the EU is Lucifer's Army Incarnate and then they apparently also think at the same time, that "The Army of Darkness" once unleashed from the responsible British leadership into the hands of those per-definition also demonic French and Germans will still "play cricket" and not come after their tax-havens ASAP, like in 2020 or so.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

May now demanding that the EU respect Great Britain. We are back to the beginning again. May has no leverage beyond the EU wanting Britain to stay in . But if Britain goes out, then it's out. The only way for May to get any concessions would be to offer to stay in! And even then I am not sure the EU would accept since it would simply open the way for any member to have a tantrum and demand better terms.

GB should leave, wallow in their loneliness a while and then ask to come back. I suspect that the EU would reinstate them fully without the usual processes. Check back here in 24-36 months.

[Sep 16, 2018] The Enigma of Orwellian Donald Trump -- How Does He Get Away with It So Easily by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

This is a very weak article, but it raises several important questions such as the role or neoliberal MSM in color revolution against Trump and which social group constituted the voting block that brought Trump to victory. The author answers incorrectly on both those questions.
I think overall Tremblay analysis of Trump (and by extension of national neoliberalism he promotes) is incorrect. Probably the largest group of voters which voted for Trump were voters who were against neoliberal globalization and who now feel real distrust and aversion to the ruling neoliberal elite.
Trump is probably right to view neoliberal journalists as enemies: they are tools of intelligence agencies which as agents of Wall Street promote globalization
At the same time Trump turned to be Obama II: he instantly betrayed his voters after the election. His election slogan "make Ameraca great again" bacem that same joke as Obama "Change we can believe in". And he proved to be as jingoistic as Obama (A Nobel Pease Price laureate who was militarists dream come true)
In discussion of groups who votes for Trump the author forgot to mention part of professional which skeptically view neoliberal globalization and its destrction of jobs (for example programmer jobs in the USA) as well as blue color workers decimated by offshoring of major industries.
Notable quotes:
"... "Just stick with us, don't believe the crap you see from these people [journalists], the fake news Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening. " ..."
"... Donald Trump (1946- ), American President, (in remarks made during a campaign rally with Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Kansas City, July 24, 2018) ..."
"... "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." ..."
"... This is a White House where everybody lies ..."
"... I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power ..."
"... The second one can be found in Trump's artful and cunning tactics to unbalance and manipulate the media to increase his visibility to the general public and to turn them into his own tools of propaganda. ..."
"... ad hominem' ..."
"... Donald Trump essentially has the traits of a typical showman diva , behaving in politics just as he did when he was the host of a TV show. Indeed, if one considers politics and public affairs as no more than a reality show, this means that they are really entertainment, and politicians are first and foremost entertainers or comedians. ..."
"... He prefers to rely on one-directional so-called 'tweets' to express unfiltered personal ideas and emotions (as if he were a private person), and to use them as his main public relations channel of communication. ..."
"... checks and balance ..."
"... The centralization of power in the hands of one man is bound to have serious political consequences, both for the current administration and for future ones. ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

"Just stick with us, don't believe the crap you see from these people [journalists], the fake news Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening. "

Donald Trump (1946- ), American President, (in remarks made during a campaign rally with Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Kansas City, July 24, 2018)

"The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."

George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) (1903-1950), English novelist, essayist, and social critic, (in '1984', Ch. 7, 1949)

" This is a White House where everybody lies ." Omarosa Manigault Newman (1974- ), former White House aide to President Donald Trump, (on Sunday August 12, 2018, while releasing tapes recording conversations with Donald Trump.)

" I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power ." Benjamin Franklin ( 17061790 ), American inventor and US Founding Father, (in 'Words of the Founding Fathers', 2012).

***

In this day and age, with instant information, how does a politician succeed in double-talking, in bragging, in scapegoating and in shamefully distorting the truth, most of the time, without being unmasked as a charlatan and discredited? Why? That is the mysterious and enigmatic question that one may ask about U. S. President Donald Trump, as a politician.

The most obvious answer is the fact that Trump's one-issue and cult-like followers do not care what he does or says and whether or not he has declared a war on truth and reality , provided he delivers the political and financial benefits they demand of him, based on their ideological or pecuniary interests. These groups of voters live in their own reality and only their personal interests count.

1- Four groups of one-issue voters behind Trump

There are four groups of one-issue voters to whom President Donald Trump has delivered the goodies:

With the strong support of these four monolithic lobbies -- his electoral base -- politician Donald Trump can count on the indefectible support of between 35 percent and 40 percent of the American electorate. It is ironic that some of Trump's other policies, like reducing health care coverage and the raising of import taxes, will hurt the poor and the middle class, even though some of Trump's victims can be considered members of the above lobbies.

Moreover, some of Trump's supporters regularly rely on hypocrisy and on excuses to exonerate their favorite but flawed politician of choice. If any other politician from a different party were to say and do half of what Donald Trump does and says, they would be asking for his impeachment.

There are three other reasons why Trump's rants, his record-breaking lies , his untruths, his deceptions and his dictatorial-style attempts to control information , in the eyes of his fanatical supporters, at least, are like water on the back of a duck. ( -- For the record, according to the Washington Post , as of early August, President Trump has made some 4,229 false claims, which amount to 7.6 a day, since his inauguration.)

Is Trump a New Kind of Fascist?

2- Show Politics and public affairs as a form of entertainment

Donald Trump does not seem to take politics and public affairs very seriously, at least when his own personal interests are involved. Therefore, when things go bad, he never volunteers to take personal responsibility, contrary to what a true leader would do, and he conveniently shifts the blame on somebody else. This is a sign of immaturity or cowardice. Paraphrasing President Harry Truman, "the buck never stops at his desk."

Donald Trump essentially has the traits of a typical showman diva , behaving in politics just as he did when he was the host of a TV show. Indeed, if one considers politics and public affairs as no more than a reality show, this means that they are really entertainment, and politicians are first and foremost entertainers or comedians.

3- Trump VS the media and the journalists

Donald Trump is the first U.S. president who rarely holds scheduled press conferences. Why would he, since he considers journalists to be his "enemies"! It doesn't seem to matter to him that freedom of the press is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution by the First Amendment. He prefers to rely on one-directional so-called 'tweets' to express unfiltered personal ideas and emotions (as if he were a private person), and to use them as his main public relations channel of communication.

The ABC News network has calculated that, as of last July, Trump has tweeted more than 3,500 times, slightly more than seven tweets a day. How could he have time left to do anything productive! Coincidently, Donald Trump's number of tweets is not far away from the number of outright lies and misleading claims that he has told and made since his inauguration. The Washington Post has counted no less than 3,251 lies or misleading claims of his, through the end of May of this year, -- an average of 6.5 such misstatements per day of his presidency. Fun fact: Trump seems to accelerate the pace of his lies. Last year, he told 5.5 lies per day, on average. Is it possible to have a more cynical view of politics!

The media in general, (and not only American ones), then serve more or less voluntarily as so many resonance boxes for his daily 'tweets', most of which are often devoid of any thought and logic.

Such a practice has the consequence of demeaning the public discourse in the pursuit of the common good and the general welfare of the people to the level of a frivolous private enterprise, where expertise, research and competence can easily be replaced by improvisation, whimsical arbitrariness and charlatanry. In such a climate, only the short run counts, at the expense of planning for the long run.

Conclusion

All this leads to this conclusion: Trump's approach is not the way to run an efficient government. Notwithstanding the U.S. Constitution and what it says about the need to have " checks and balance s" among different government branches, President Donald Trump has de facto pushed aside the U.S. Congress and the civil servants in important government Departments, even his own Cabinet , whose formal meetings under Trump have been little more than photo-up happenings, to grab the central political stage for himself. If such a development does not represent an ominous threat to American democracy, what does?

The centralization of power in the hands of one man is bound to have serious political consequences, both for the current administration and for future ones.

*

This article was originally published on the author's blog site: rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com .

International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book " The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles ", and of "The New American Empire" . Please visit Dr. Tremblay's sites : http://rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com/ and http://rodriguetremblay.blogspot.com/

[Sep 10, 2018] Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important forces working against classic neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value. ..."
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

EarlyBird September 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value.

Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important energies. But being Trump, he's poisoned these issues for a couple of generations. No serious leader will be able to touch these things.

Add this to all the institutional and political ruin he has created.

[Sep 08, 2018] Any of Trump's opponents in the 2016 primaries would have followed the same policies

Notable quotes:
"... he has brought North Korea away from the edge of nuclear war and established at least tentative diplomatic relations with that nation, something no president has done before him. Against frenzied opposition from the American Establishment, he has somewhat softened U.S. relations with Russia. ..."
"... On domestic and environmental matters, Trump is pro-plutocrat, a climate change denier, and the installer of arch-reactionary Supreme Court justices. But this is more a function of the current national Republican party than of Trump himself. Any of Trump's opponents in the 2016 primaries would have followed the same policies. ..."
Sep 08, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Caleb Melamed says: September 8, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Trump is not crazy at all. He is the proponent of a particular philosophy, Trumpism, which he follows very clearly and consistently.

As president, he has had significant successes. Notably, he has brought North Korea away from the edge of nuclear war and established at least tentative diplomatic relations with that nation, something no president has done before him. Against frenzied opposition from the American Establishment, he has somewhat softened U.S. relations with Russia.

On domestic and environmental matters, Trump is pro-plutocrat, a climate change denier, and the installer of arch-reactionary Supreme Court justices. But this is more a function of the current national Republican party than of Trump himself. Any of Trump's opponents in the 2016 primaries would have followed the same policies.

Trumpism is undeniably a form of near-fascism. Trump has followed viciously anti-immigrant tendencies, and this, along with his ties to out-and-out racists, is the worst part of his presidency. But these horrible aspects do not at all show that he is crazy. He has used them coldly and calculatedly to gain power.

And while his schtick and bluster are indeed bizarre, he has used them very consistently to keep a 40%-plus approval rating in the face of an Establishment opposition the like of which has used against a president at least in our lifetimes.

As I have commented here before, except for Trump's disgusting anti-immigration policies, George W. Bush was on balance a far worse president.

[Aug 24, 2018] The establishment are shocked that the ordinary people want out of the European Union (EU). They just don't realize that people are fed up being used, abused, dictated to, lied to, manipulated

Aug 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Stephen J. , August 18, 2018 at 9:57 am

The powerful always want more power.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
June 26, 2016

"Brexit: Are The Serfs Finally Rebelling"?

The establishment are shocked that the ordinary people want out of the European Union (EU). They just don't realize that people are fed up being used, abused, dictated to, lied to, manipulated, and forced into an EU dictatorship by treacherous politicians.

These are some of the same politicians who scurry to the meetings of the so-called elites in Davos, and also attend Bilderberg meetings. And many of them, when they leave politics, finish up on the boards of banks and multi-national corporations with the rest of the money-manipulating bandits that got bailed out with taxpayers' dollars, some of whom, I believe, should be in jail .

[much more info at link below]

https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2016/06/brexit-are-serfs-finally-rebelling.html

[Aug 22, 2018] Beijing s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump by Alfred McCoy

This is partially incorrect view on Trump foreign policy. At the center of which is careful retreat for enormous expenses of keeping the global neoliberal empire, plus military Keyseanism to revive the us economy. Which means tremendous pressure of arm sales as the only way to improve trade balance.
NATO was always an instrument of the USA hegemony, so Trump behavior is perfectly compatible with this view -- he just downgraded vassals refusing usual formal respect for them, as they do no represent independent nations. That's why he addressed them with the contempt. He aptly remarked that German stance of relying on Russia hydrocarbons and still claiming the it needs the USA defense is pure hypocrisy. On the other side china, Russia and North Korea can't be considered the USA vassals.
China is completely dependent on the USA for advanced technologies so their dreams of becoming the world hegemon is such exist are premature.
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's dominance over the world economy had begun to wither and its once-superior work force to lose its competitive edge. ..."
"... By 2016, in fact, the dislocations brought on by the economic globalization that had gone with American dominion sparked a revolt of the dispossessed in democracies worldwide and in the American heartland, bringing the self-proclaimed "populist" Donald Trump to power. ..."
"... Determined to check his country's decline, he has adopted an aggressive and divisive foreign policy that has roiled long-established alliances in both Asia and Europe and is undoubtedly giving that decline new impetus. ..."
"... On the realpolitik side of that duality, Washington constructed a four-tier apparatus -- military, diplomatic, economic, and clandestine -- to advance a global dominion of unprecedented wealth and power. This apparatus rested on hundreds of military bases in Europe and Asia that made the U.S. the first power in history to dominate (if not control) the Eurasian continent. ..."
"... Instead of reigning confidently over international organizations, multilateral alliances, and a globalized economy, Trump evidently sees America standing alone and beleaguered in an increasingly troubled world -- exploited by self-aggrandizing allies, battered by unequal trade terms, threatened by tides of undocumented immigrants, and betrayed by self-serving elites too timid or compromised to defend the nation's interests. ..."
"... Instead of multilateral trade pacts like NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or even the WTO, Trump favors bilateral deals rewritten to the (supposed) advantage of the United States. ..."
"... As he took office, the nation, it claimed, faced "an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats." ..."
"... Despite such grandiose claims, each of President Trump's overseas trips has been a mission of destruction in terms of American global power. Each, seemingly by design, disrupted and possibly damaged alliances that have been the foundation for Washington's global power since the 1950s ..."
"... Donald Trump acted more like Argentina's former presidente Juan Perón, minus the medals. ..."
"... Beijing's low-cost infrastructure loans for 70 countries from the Baltic to the Pacific are already funding construction of the Mediterranean's busiest port at Piraeus, Greece, a major nuclear power plant in England, a $6 billion railroad through rugged Laos, and a $46 billion transport corridor across Pakistan. If successful, such infrastructure investments could help knit two dynamic continents, Europe and Asia -- home to a full 70% percent of the world's population and its resources -- into a unified market without peer on the planet. ..."
"... In January, to take advantage of Arctic waters opened by global warming, Beijing began planning for a "Polar Silk Road," a scheme that fits well with ambitious Russian and Scandinavian projects to establish a shorter shipping route around the continent's northern coast to Europe. ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Yet neither China nor any other state seems to have the full imperial complement of attributes to replace the United States as the dominant world leader. ..."
"... In addition to the fundamentals of military and economic power, "every successful empire," observes Cambridge University historian Joya Chatterji, "had to elaborate a universalist and inclusive discourse" to win support from the world's subordinate states and their leaders. ..."
"... China has nothing comparable. Its writing system has some 7,000 characters, not 26 letters. ..."
"... During Japan's occupation of Southeast Asia in World War II, its troops went from being hailed as liberators to facing open revolt across the region after they failed to propagate their similarly particularistic culture. ..."
"... A test of its attitude toward this system of global governance came in 2016 when the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled unanimously that China's claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea "are contrary to the Convention [on the Law of the Sea] and without lawful effect." ..."
Aug 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

...Although they started this century on generally amicable terms, China and the U.S. have, in recent years, moved toward military competition and open economic conflict. When China was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, Washington was confident that Beijing would play by the established rules and become a compliant member of an American-led international community. There was almost no awareness of what might happen when a fifth of humanity joined the world system as an economic equal for the first time in five centuries.

By the time Xi Jinping became China's seventh president, a decade of rapid economic growth averaging 11% annually and currency reserves surging toward an unprecedented $4 trillion had created the economic potential for a rapid, radical shift in the global balance of power. After just a few months in office, Xi began tapping those vast reserves to launch a bold geopolitical gambit, a genuine challenge to U.S. dominion over Eurasia and the world beyond. Aglow in its status as the world's sole superpower after "winning" the Cold War, Washington had difficulty at first even grasping such newly developing global realities and was slow to react.

China's bid couldn't have been more fortuitous in its timing. After nearly 70 years as the globe's hegemon, Washington's dominance over the world economy had begun to wither and its once-superior work force to lose its competitive edge.

By 2016, in fact, the dislocations brought on by the economic globalization that had gone with American dominion sparked a revolt of the dispossessed in democracies worldwide and in the American heartland, bringing the self-proclaimed "populist" Donald Trump to power.

Determined to check his country's decline, he has adopted an aggressive and divisive foreign policy that has roiled long-established alliances in both Asia and Europe and is undoubtedly giving that decline new impetus.

Within months of Trump's entry into the Oval Office, the world was already witnessing a sharp rivalry between Xi's advocacy of a new form of global collaboration and Trump's version of economic nationalism. In the process, humanity seems to be entering a rare historical moment when national leadership and global circumstances have coincided to create an opening for a major shift in the nature of the world order.

Trump's Disruptive Foreign Policy

Despite their constant criticism of Donald Trump's leadership, few among Washington's corps of foreign policy experts have grasped his full impact on the historic foundations of American global power. The world order that Washington built after World War II rested upon what I've called a "delicate duality": an American imperium of raw military and economic power married to a community of sovereign nations, equal under the rule of law and governed through international institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

On the realpolitik side of that duality, Washington constructed a four-tier apparatus -- military, diplomatic, economic, and clandestine -- to advance a global dominion of unprecedented wealth and power. This apparatus rested on hundreds of military bases in Europe and Asia that made the U.S. the first power in history to dominate (if not control) the Eurasian continent.

Even after the Cold War ended, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned that Washington would remain the world's preeminent power only as long as it maintained its geopolitical dominion over Eurasia. In the decade before Trump's election, there were, however, already signs that America's hegemony was on a downward trajectory as its share of global economic power fell from 50% in 1950 to just 15% in 2017. Many financial forecasts now project that China will surpass the U.S. as the world's number one economy by 2030, if not before.

In this era of decline, there has emerged from President Trump's torrent of tweets and off-the-cuff remarks a surprisingly coherent and grim vision of America's place in the present world order. Instead of reigning confidently over international organizations, multilateral alliances, and a globalized economy, Trump evidently sees America standing alone and beleaguered in an increasingly troubled world -- exploited by self-aggrandizing allies, battered by unequal trade terms, threatened by tides of undocumented immigrants, and betrayed by self-serving elites too timid or compromised to defend the nation's interests.

Instead of multilateral trade pacts like NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or even the WTO, Trump favors bilateral deals rewritten to the (supposed) advantage of the United States. In place of the usual democratic allies like Canada and Germany, he is trying to weave a web of personal ties to avowedly nationalist and autocratic leaders of a sort he clearly admires: Vladimir Putin in Russia, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Narendra Modi in India, Adel Fatah el-Sisi in Egypt, and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Instead of old alliances like NATO, Trump favors loose coalitions of like-minded countries. As he sees it, a resurgent America will carry the world along, while crushing terrorists and dealing in uniquely personal ways with rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

His version of a foreign policy has found its fullest statement in his administration's December 2017 National Security Strategy. As he took office, the nation, it claimed, faced "an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats." But in less than a year of his leadership, it insisted, "We have renewed our friendships in the Middle East to help drive out terrorists and extremists America's allies are now contributing more to our common defense, strengthening even our strongest alliances." Humankind will benefit from the president's "beautiful vision" that "puts America First" and promotes "a balance of power that favors the United States." The whole world will, in short, be "lifted by America's renewal."

Despite such grandiose claims, each of President Trump's overseas trips has been a mission of destruction in terms of American global power. Each, seemingly by design, disrupted and possibly damaged alliances that have been the foundation for Washington's global power since the 1950s. During the president's first foreign trip in May 2017, he promptly voiced withering complaints about the supposed refusal of Washington's European allies to pay their "fair share" of NATO's military costs, leaving the U.S. stuck with the bill and, in a fashion unknown to American presidents, refused even to endorse the alliance's core principle of collective defense. It was a position so extreme in terms of the global politics of the previous half-century that he was later forced to formally back down . (By then, however, he had registered his contempt for those allies in an unforgettable fashion.)

During a second, no-less-divisive NATO visit in July, he charged that Germany was "a captive of Russia" and pressed the allies to immediately double their share of defense spending to a staggering 4% of gross domestic product (a level even Washington, with its monumental Pentagon budget, hasn't reached) -- a demand they all ignored. Just days later, he again questioned the very idea of a common defense, remarking that if "tiny" NATO ally Montenegro decided to "get aggressive," then "congratulations, you're in World War III."

Moving on to England, he promptly kneecapped close ally Theresa May, telling a British tabloid that the prime minister had bungled her country's Brexit withdrawal from the European Union and "killed off any chance of a vital U.S. trade deal." He then went on to Helsinki for a summit with Vladimir Putin, where he visibly abased himself before NATO's nominal nemesis, completely enough that there were even brief, angry protests from leaders of his own party.

During Trump's major Asia tour in November 2017, he addressed the Asian-Pacific Economic Council (APEC) in Vietnam, offering an extended "tirade" against multilateral trade agreements, particularly the WTO. To counter intolerable "trade abuses," such as "product dumping, subsidized goods, currency manipulation, and predatory industrial policies," he swore that he would always "put America first" and not let it "be taken advantage of anymore." Having denounced a litany of trade violations that he termed nothing less than "economic aggression" against America, he invited everyone there to share his "Indo-Pacific dream" of the world as a "beautiful constellation" of "strong, sovereign, and independent nations," each working like the United States to build "wealth and freedom."

Responding to such a display of narrow economic nationalism from the globe's leading power, Xi Jinping had a perfect opportunity to play the world statesman and he took it, calling upon APEC to support an economic order that is "more open, inclusive, and balanced." He spoke of China's future economic plans as an historic bid for "interconnected development to achieve common prosperity on the Asian, European, and African continents."

As China has lifted 60 million of its own people out of poverty in just a few years and was committed to its complete eradication by 2020, so he urged a more equitable world order "to bring the benefits of development to countries across the globe." For its part, China, he assured his listeners, was ready to make "$2 trillion of outbound investment" -- much of it for the development of Eurasia and Africa (in ways, of course, that would link that vast region more closely to China). In other words, he sounded like a twenty-first century Chinese version of a twentieth-century American president, while Donald Trump acted more like Argentina's former presidente Juan Perón, minus the medals. As if to put another nail in the coffin of American global dominion, the remaining 11 Trans-Pacific trade pact partners, led by Japan and Canada, announced major progress in finalizing that agreement -- without the United States.

In addition to undermining NATO, America's Pacific alliances, long its historic fulcrum for the defense of North America and the dominance of Asia, are eroding, too. Even after 10 personal meetings and frequent phone calls between Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump during his first 18 months in office, the president's America First trade policy has placed a "major strain" on Washington's most crucial alliance in the region. First, he ignored Abe's pleas and cancelled the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and then, as if his message hadn't been strong enough, he promptly imposed heavy tariffs on Japanese steel imports. Similarly, he's denounced the Canadian prime minister as "dishonest" and mimicked Indian Prime Minister Modi's accent, even as he made chummy with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and then claimed , inaccurately , that his country was "no longer a nuclear threat."

It all adds up to a formula for further decline at a faster pace.

Beijing's Grand Strategy

While Washington's influence in Asia recedes, Beijing's grows ever stronger. As China's currency reserves climbed rapidly from $200 billion in 2001 to a peak of $4 trillion in 2014, President Xi launched a new initiative of historic import. In September 2013, speaking in Kazakhstan, the heart of Asia's ancient Silk Road caravan route, he proclaimed a "one belt, one road initiative" aimed at economically integrating the enormous Eurasian land mass around Beijing's leadership. Through "unimpeded trade" and infrastructure investment, he suggested, it would be possible to connect "the Pacific and the Baltic Sea" in a proposed "economic belt along the Silk Road," a region "inhabited by close to 3 billion people." It could become, he predicted, "the biggest market in the world with unparalleled potential."

Within a year, Beijing had established a Chinese-dominated Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank with 56 member nations and an impressive $100 billion in capital, while launching its own $40 billion Silk Road Fund for private equity projects. When China convened what it called a "belt and road summit" of 28 world leaders in Beijing in May 2017, Xi could, with good reason, hail his initiative as the "project of the century."

Although the U.S. media has often described the individual projects involved in his "one belt, one road" project as wasteful , sybaritic , exploitative , or even neo-colonial , its sheer scale and scope merits closer consideration. Beijing is expected to put a mind-boggling $1.3 trillion into the initiative by 2027, the largest investment in human history, more than 10 times the famed American Marshall Plan, the only comparable program, which spent a more modest $110 billion (when adjusted for inflation) to rebuild a ravaged Europe after World War II.

Beijing's low-cost infrastructure loans for 70 countries from the Baltic to the Pacific are already funding construction of the Mediterranean's busiest port at Piraeus, Greece, a major nuclear power plant in England, a $6 billion railroad through rugged Laos, and a $46 billion transport corridor across Pakistan. If successful, such infrastructure investments could help knit two dynamic continents, Europe and Asia -- home to a full 70% percent of the world's population and its resources -- into a unified market without peer on the planet.

Underlying this flurry of flying dirt and flowing concrete, the Chinese leadership seems to have a design for transcending the vast distances that have historically separated Asia from Europe. As a start, Beijing is building a comprehensive network of trans-continental gas and oil pipelines to import fuels from Siberia and Central Asia for its own population centers. When the system is complete, there will be an integrated inland energy grid (including Russia's extensive network of pipelines) that will extend 6,000 miles across Eurasia, from the North Atlantic to the South China Sea. Next, Beijing is working to link Europe's extensive rail network with its own expanded high-speed rail system via transcontinental lines through Central Asia, supplemented by spur lines running due south to Singapore and southwest through Pakistan.

Finally, to facilitate sea transport around the sprawling continent's southern rim, China has already bought into or is in the process of building more than 30 major port facilities, stretching from the Straits of Malacca across the Indian Ocean, around Africa, and along Europe's extended coastline. In January, to take advantage of Arctic waters opened by global warming, Beijing began planning for a "Polar Silk Road," a scheme that fits well with ambitious Russian and Scandinavian projects to establish a shorter shipping route around the continent's northern coast to Europe.

Though Eurasia is its prime focus, China is also pursuing economic expansion in Africa and Latin America to create what might be dubbed the strategy of the four continents. To tie Africa into its projected Eurasian network, Beijing already had doubled its annual trade there by 2015 to $222 billion, three times that of the United States, thanks to a massive infusion of capital expected to reach a trillion dollars by 2025. Much of it is financing the sort of commodities extraction that has already made the continent China's second largest source of crude oil. Similarly, Beijing has invested heavily in Latin America, acquiring, for instance, control over 90% of Ecuador's oil reserves. As a result, its commerce with that continent doubled in a decade, reaching $244 billion in 2017, topping U.S. trade with what once was known as its own "backyard."

A Conflict with Consequences

This contest between Xi's globalism and Trump's nationalism has not been safely confined to an innocuous marketplace of ideas. Over the past four years, the two powers have engaged in an escalating military rivalry and a cutthroat commercial competition. Apart from a shadowy struggle for dominance in space and cyberspace, there has also been a visible, potentially volatile naval arms race to control the sea lanes surrounding Asia, specifically in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea. In a 2015 white paper, Beijing stated that "it is necessary for China to develop a modern maritime military force structure commensurate with its national security." Backed by lethal land-based missiles, jet fighters, and a global satellite system, China has built just such a modernized fleet of 320 ships, including nuclear submarines and its first aircraft carriers.

Within two years, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson reported that China's "growing and modernized fleet" was "shrinking" the traditional American advantage in the Pacific, and warned that "we must shake off any vestiges of comfort or complacency." Under Trump's latest $700-billion-plus defense budget, Washington has responded to this challenge with a crash program to build 46 new ships, which will raise its total to 326 by 2023. As China builds new naval bases bristling with armaments in the Arabian and South China seas, the U.S. Navy has begun conducting assertive "freedom-of-navigation" patrols near many of those same installations, heightening the potential for conflict.

It is in the commercial realm of trade and tariffs, however, where competition has segued into overt conflict. Acting on his belief that "trade wars are good and easy to win," President Trump slapped heavy tariffs, targeted above all at China, on steel imports in March and, just a few weeks later, punished that country's intellectual property theft by promising tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports. When those tariffs finally hit in July, China immediately retaliated against what it called "typical trade bullying" with similar tariffs on U.S. goods. The Financial Times warned that this "tit-for-tat" can escalate into a "full bore trade war that will be very bad for the global economy." As Trump threatened to tax $500 billion more in Chinese imports and issued confusing, even contradictory demands that made it unlikely Beijing could ever comply, observers became concerned that a long-lasting trade war could destabilize what the New York Times called the "mountain of debt" that sustains much of China's economy. In Washington, the usually taciturn Federal Reserve chairman issued an uncommon warning that "trade tensions could pose serious risks to the U.S. and global economy."

China as Global Hegemon?

Although a withering of Washington's global reach, abetted and possibly accelerated by the Trump presidency, is already underway, the shape of any future world order is still anything but clear. At present, China is the sole state with the obvious requisites for becoming the planet's new hegemon. Its phenomenal economic rise, coupled with its expanding military and growing technological prowess, provide that country with the obvious fundamentals for superpower status.

Yet neither China nor any other state seems to have the full imperial complement of attributes to replace the United States as the dominant world leader. Apart from its rising economic and military clout, China, like its sometime ally Russia, has a self-referential culture, non-democratic political structures, and a developing legal system that could deny it some of the key instruments for global leadership.

In addition to the fundamentals of military and economic power, "every successful empire," observes Cambridge University historian Joya Chatterji, "had to elaborate a universalist and inclusive discourse" to win support from the world's subordinate states and their leaders. Successful imperial transitions driven by the hard power of guns and money also require the soft-power salve of cultural suasion for sustained and successful global dominion. Spain espoused Catholicism and Hispanism, the Ottomans Islam, the Soviets communism, France a cultural francophonie , and Britain an Anglophone culture.

Indeed, during its century of global dominion from 1850 to 1940, Britain was the exemplar par excellence of such soft power, evincing an enticing cultural ethos of fair play and free markets that it propagated through the Anglican church, the English language and its literature, and the virtual invention of modern athletics (cricket, soccer, tennis, rugby, and rowing). Similarly, at the dawn of its global dominion, the United States courted allies worldwide through soft-power programs promoting democracy and development. These were made all the more palatable by the appeal of such things as Hollywood films, civic organizations like Rotary International , and popular sports like basketball and baseball.

China has nothing comparable. Its writing system has some 7,000 characters, not 26 letters. Its communist ideology and popular culture are remarkably, even avowedly, particularistic. And you don't have to look far for another Asian power that attempted Pacific dominion without the salve of soft power. During Japan's occupation of Southeast Asia in World War II, its troops went from being hailed as liberators to facing open revolt across the region after they failed to propagate their similarly particularistic culture.

As command-economy states for much of the past century, neither China nor Russia developed an independent judiciary or the autonomous rules-based order that undergirds the modern international system. From the foundation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in 1899 through the formation of the International Court of Justice under the U.N.'s 1945 charter, the world's nations have aspired to the resolution of conflicts via arbitration or litigation rather than armed conflict. More broadly, the modern globalized economy is held together by a web of conventions, treaties, patents, and contracts grounded in law.

From its founding in 1949, the People's Republic of China gave primacy to the party and state, slowing the growth of an autonomous legal system and the rule of law. A test of its attitude toward this system of global governance came in 2016 when the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled unanimously that China's claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea "are contrary to the Convention [on the Law of the Sea] and without lawful effect." Beijing's Foreign Ministry simply dismissed the adverse decision as "invalid" and without "binding force." President Xi insisted China's "territorial sovereignty and maritime rights" were unchanged, while the state Xinhua news agency called the ruling "naturally null and void."

If Donald Trump's vision of world disorder is a sign of the American future and if Beijing's projected $2 trillion in infrastructure investments, history's largest by far, succeed in unifying the commerce and transport of Asia, Africa, and Europe, then perhaps the currents of financial power and global leadership will indeed transcend all barriers and flow inexorably toward Beijing, as if by natural law. But if that bold initiative ultimately fails, then for the first time in five centuries the world may face an imperial transition without a clear successor as global hegemon. Moreover, it will do so on a planet where the " new normal " of climate change -- the heating of the atmosphere and the oceans , the intensification of flood, drought, and fire , the rising seas that will devastate coastal cities, and the cascading damage to a densely populated world -- could mean that the very idea of a global hegemon is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular , is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade , the now-classic book which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the recently published In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power (Dispatch Books).

[Aug 18, 2018] https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/3/15914750/steve-bannon-trump-tax-rich

Aug 18, 2018 | www.vox.com

That might have been true .then. However, Bannon was never the puppet master (Trump is a capitalist who has never listened to anyone else apart from his own messy ego in his life: the idea that he would be a puppet for anyone, Bannon, Putin or whatever, is risible). Without wanting to raise from the dead the 'Trump is teh Hitler' meme: there is a very very tiny grain of truth in it, just as there is a very very tiny grain of truth in the right wing idea that Hitler was a socialist because his party had the word 'socialist' in it. Hitler's initial programme really did have a tiny element of 'socialism' in it, and some elements of the working class (shamefully) swallowed the lies and gained him votes.

But it was never real and Hitler was never going to deliver. He dealt with the Brownshirts (the most authentically 'working class' and 'socialist' part of the Nazi movement) in the Night of the Long Knives, and from that point on, the 'socialist' parts of the Nazi programme were steadily ditched, as the regime became more and more strongly right wing throughout the '30s.

Same with Trump (in this respect only). It's true that in the run up to the election he threw some scraps to the working class, and some of his protectionist rhetoric swung him some states in the Rust Belt. Some union supporters, to their shame, trooped along to the White House soon after.

But Trump, a right wing Republican who is, as I've said, far more orthodox a Republican than the media would have you believe, was never going to deliver. Bannon was the most 'left wing' of Trump's circle (and as his admiration for Thatcher makes clear, he was never very left wing) and he was quickly cast out. Trump did not, in fact, 'drain the swamp' and nor did he try. His major economic policy has turned out to be .tax cuts for the rich. And he has totally failed to follow through on the (interesting) isolationist rhetoric he used in his election campaign (despite the fact that some of us hoped otherwise). He has turned out to be as much of a warmonger as Obama or even Bush jr (even towards Russia, again despite what the media would have you believe).

And we haven't heard too much about that 'trillion dollar' investment in infrastructure recently have we?

The problem is that the Democrats have concentrated on the (mainly trivial and uninteresting) ways in which Trump differs from previous Republican Presidents (the lies, the silly tweets, the dubious rhetoric) and have therefore persuaded themselves that this 'unorthodox' President will have to be removed by 'unorthodox means'. 'Tain't so. Trump will be removed the only way any President (except Nixon) has ever been removed since the dawn of the Republic: by the opposing party organising, developing a strong program that people can believe in, and getting out the core vote. No election has ever been won any other way. In the case of the Democrats this means using the might and money of organised labour and activists to get candidates who can inspire and who have a genuinely progressive message that resonates with people.

Democrats, #Russiagate will not save you. Getting your core vote out to vote for a genuinely progressive candidate, will.

Likbez

@Hidari 08.18.18 at 6:41 pm

Powerful post and a veryclear thinking. Thank you !

Also an interesting analogy with NSDAP the 25-point Plan of 1928

Hitler's initial programme really did have a tiny element of 'socialism' in it, and some elements of the working class (shamefully) swallowed the lies and gained him votes.

But it was never real, and Hitler was never going to deliver. He dealt with the Brownshirts (the most authentically 'working class' and 'socialist' part of the Nazi movement) in the Night of the Long Knives, and from that point on, the 'socialist' parts of the Nazi programme were steadily ditched, as the regime became more and more strongly right wing throughout the '30s.

Same with Trump (in this respect only). It's true that in the run-up to the election he threw some scraps to the working class, and some of his protectionist rhetoric swung him some states in the Rust Belt. Some union supporters, to their shame, trooped along to the White House soon after.

Actually NSAP program of 1928 has some political demands which are to the left of Sanders such as "Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes", ".We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts)." and "We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries."

7.We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens... ... ...

... ... ...

9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.

10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work mentally or physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:

11.Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.

12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13.We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.

15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

... ... ...

21.The state is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

22.We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

23.We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press...

.... ... ...

24.We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race...

But I think Trump was de-facto impeached with the appointment of Mueller. And that was the plan ( "insurance" as Strzok called it). Mueller task is just to formalize impeachment.

Pence already is calling the shots in foreign policy via members of his close circle (which includes Pompeo). The recent "unilateral" actions of State Department are a slap in the face and, simultaneously, a nasty trap for Trump (he can cancel those sanctions only at a huge political cost to himself) and are a clear sign that Trump does not control even his administration. Here is how <a href="http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/august/17/america-the-punitive/">Philip Giraldi</a> described this obvious slap in the face:

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

From the very beginning, any anti-globalization initiative of Trump was sabotaged and often reversed. Haley is one example here. She does not coordinate some of her actions with Trump or the Secretary of State unliterary defining the US foreign policy.

Her ambitions worry Trump, but he can so very little: she is supported by Pence and Pence faction in the administration. Rumors "Haley/Pence 2020" surfaced and probably somewhat poison atmosphere in the WH.

Add to this that Trump has hostile to him Justice Department, CIA, and FBI. He also does not control some critical appointments such as the recent appointment of CIA director (who in no way can be called Trump loyalist).

Which means that in some ways Trump already is a hostage and more ceremonial President than a real.

[Aug 12, 2018] What is Trumpism by Sanjay Reddy

Notable quotes:
"... By Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.ineteconomics.org

... ... ...

Grappling with the shock of Donald Trump's election victory, most analysts focus on his appeal to those in the United States who feel left behind, wish to retrieve a lost social order, and sought to rebuke establishment politicians who do not serve their interests. In this respect, the recent American revolt echoes the shock of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but it is of far greater significance because it promises to reshape the entire global order, and the complaisant forms of thought that accompanied it.

Ideas played an important role in creating the conditions that produced Brexit and Trump. The 'social sciences' -- especially economics -- legitimated a set of ideas about the economy that were aggressively peddled and became the conventional wisdom in the policies of mainstream political parties, to the extent that the central theme of the age came to be that there was no alternative. The victory of these ideas in politics in turn strengthened the iron-handed enforcers of the same ideas in academic orthodoxy.

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. Economics made the case for such agreements, generally rejecting concerns over labor and environmental standards and giving short shrift to the effects of globalization in weakening the bargaining power of workers or altogether displacing them; to the need for compensatory measures to aid those displaced; and more generally to measures to ensure that the benefits of growth were shared. For the most part, economists casually waved aside such concerns, both in their theories and in their policy recommendations, treating these matters as either insignificant or as being in the jurisdiction of politicians. Still less attention was paid to crafting an alternate form of globalization, or to identifying bases for national economic policies taking a less passive view of comparative advantage and instead aiming to create it.

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

By Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

[Aug 11, 2018] Economics, Trumpism and Migration

Aug 11, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it's the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations. The second part of this claim has been pretty thoroughly demolished, so I want to look mainly at the first. However, as we will see, the corporate tax cuts remain central to the argument.

likbez>, 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm 11

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it's the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations.

The emergence of Trumpism signifies deepening of the ideological crisis for the neoliberalism. Neoclassical economics fell like a house of cards. IMHO Trumpism can be viewed as a kind of "national neoliberalism" which presuppose rejection of three dogmas of "classic neoliberalism":

1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization including, but not limited to, free movement of labor. Attempt to protect domestic industries via tariff barriers.

2. Rejection of excessive financialization and primacy of financial oligarchy. Restoration of the status of manufacturing, and "traditional capitalists" status in comparison with financial oligarchy.

3. Rejection of austerity. An attempt to fight "secular stagnation" via Military Keysianism.

Trumpism sent "Chicago school" line of thinking to the dustbin of history. It exposed neoliberal economists as agents of financial oligarchy and "Enemy of the American People" (famous Trump phase about neoliberal MSM).

See, for example, a good summary by Sanjay Reddy ( Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research) at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/trumpism-has-dealt-a-mortal-blow-to-orthodox-economics-and-social-science.html

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. ...

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proletarianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens' political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions -- for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities.

Mainstream accounts of politics recognized the role of identities in the form of wooden theories of group mobilization or of demands for representation. However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of 'phase transition' in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered. As new political movements (such as the Tea Party and Trumpism in the U.S.) emerged across the world, these were deemed 'populist' -- both an admission of the analysts' lack of explanation, and a token of disdain. The essential feature of such movements -- the obscurantism that allows them to offer many things to many people, inconsistently and unaccountably, while serving some interests more than others -- was little explored. The failures can be piled one upon the other. No amount of quantitative data provided by polling, 'big data', or other techniques comprehended what might be captured through open-eyed experiential narratives. It is evident that there is a need for forms of understanding that can comprehend the currents within the human person, and go beyond shallow empiricism. Mainstream social science has offered few if any resources to understand, let alone challenge, illiberal majoritarianism, now a world-remaking phenomenon.

[Aug 08, 2018] The Empire-Lovers Strike Back Trump, Putin and the Post-Helsinki Uproar by Richard Rubenstein

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Resolving Structural Conflicts ..."
"... How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed ..."
Aug 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Why, then, would a coalition of leftish and right-wing patriots not join in denouncing a leader who seemed to put Russia's interests ahead of those of his own country? Sorry to say, things are not so simple. Look a bit more closely at what holds the anti-Trump foreign policy coalition together, and you will discover a missing reality that virtually no one will acknowledge directly: the existence of a beleaguered but still potent American Empire whose junior partner is Europe. What motivates a broad range of the President's opponents, then, is not so much the fear that he is anti-American as the suspicion that he is anti-Empire.

Of course, neither liberals nor conservatives dare to utter the "E-word." Rather, they argue in virtually identical terms that Trump's foreign and trade policies are threatening the pillars of world order: NATO, the Group of Seven, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the OSCE, and so forth. These institutions, they claim, along with American military power and a willingness to use it when necessary, are primarily responsible for the peaceful, prosperous, free, and democratic world that we have all been privileged to inhabit since the Axis powers surrendered to the victorious Allies in 1945.

The fear expressed plainly by The New York Times 's David Leonhardt, a self-described "left-liberal," is that "Trump wants to destroy the Atlantic Alliance." Seven months earlier, this same fear motivated the arch-conservative National Review to editorialize that, "Under Trump, America has retreated from its global and moral leadership roles, alienated its democratic allies, and abandoned the bipartisan defense of liberal ideals that led to more than 70 years of security and prosperity." All the critics would agree with Wolfgang Ischinger, chair of the Munich Security Conference, who recently stated, "Let's face it. Mr. Trump's core beliefs conflict with the foundations of Western grand strategy since the mid-1940's."

"Western grand strategy," of course, is a euphemism for U.S. global hegemony – world domination, to put it plainly. In addition to peace and prosperity (mainly for privileged groups in privileged nations), this is the same strategy which since 1945 has given the world the Cold War, the specter of a nuclear holocaust, and proxy wars consuming between 10 and 20 million lives in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Its direct effects include the overthrow of elected governments in Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Granada, Ukraine, et al.; the bribery of public officials and impoverishment and injury of workers and farmers world-wide as a result of exploitation and predatory "development" by Western governments and mega-corporations; the destruction of natural environments and exacerbation of global climate change by these same governments and corporations; and the increasing likelihood of new imperialist wars caused by the determination of elites to maintain America's global supremacy at all costs.

It is interesting that most defenders of the Western Alliance (and its Pacific equivalent: the more loosely organized anti-Chinese alliance of Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea) virtually never talk about American hegemony or the gigantic military apparatus (with more than 800 U.S. bases in 60 or so nations and a military-industrial complex worth trillions) that supports it. Nor is the subject of empire high on Mr. Trump's list of approved twitter topics, even when he desecrates NATO and other sacred cows of the Alliance. There are several reasons for this silence, but the most important, perhaps, is the need to maintain the pretense of American moral superiority: the so-called "exceptionalist" position that inspires McCain to attack Trump for "false equivalency" (the President's statement in Helsinki that both Russia and the U.S. have made mistakes), and that leads pundits left and right to argue that America is not an old-style empire seeking to dominate, but a new-style democracy seeking to liberate.

The narrative you will hear repeated ad nauseum at both ends of the liberal/conservative spectrum tells how the Yanks, who won WW II with a little help from the Russians and other allies, and who then thoroughly dominated the world both economically and militarily, could have behaved like vengeful conquerors, but instead devoted their resources and energies to spreading democracy, freedom, and the blessings of capitalism around the world. Gag me with a Tomahawk cruise missile! What is weird about this narrative is that it "disappears" not only the millions of victims of America's wars but the very military forces that nationalists like Trump claim deserve to be worshipfully honored. Eight hundred bases? A million and a half troops on active duty? Total air and sea domination? I'm shocked . . . shocked!

In fact, there are two sorts of blindness operative in the current U.S. political environment. The Democratic Party Establishment, now swollen to include a wide variety of Russia-haters, globalizing capitalists, and militarists, is blind (or pretends to be) to the connection between the "Western Alliance" and the American Empire. The Trump Party (which I expect, one of these days, to shed the outworn Republican label in favor of something more Berlusconi-like, say, the American Greatness Party) is blind – or pretends to be – to the contradiction between its professed
"Fortress America" nationalism and the reality of a global U.S. imperium.

This last point is worth emphasizing. In a recent article in The Nation , Michael Klare, a writer I generally admire, claims to have discovered that there is really a method to Trump's foreign policy madness, i.e., the President favors the sort of "multi-polar" world, with Russia and China occupying the two other poles, that Putin and Xi Jinping have long advocated. Two factors make this article odd as well as interesting. First, the author argues that multi-polarity is a bad idea, because "smaller, weaker states, and minority peoples everywhere will be given even shorter shrift than at present when caught in any competitive jousting for influence among the three main competitors (and their proxies)." Wha? Even shorter shrift than under unipolarity? I think not, especially considering that adding new poles (why just three, BTW? What about India and Brazil?) gives smaller states and minority peoples many more bargaining options in the power game.

More important, however, Trump's multi-polar/nationalist ideals are clearly contradicted by his determination to make American world domination even more overwhelming by vastly increasing the size of the U.S. military establishment. Klare notes, correctly, that the President has denounced the Iraq War, criticized American "overextension" abroad, talked about ending the Afghan War, and declared that the U.S. should not be "the world's policeman." But if he wants America to become a mere Great Power in a world of Great Powers, Trump will clearly have to do more than talk about it. He will have to cut the military budget, abandon military bases, negotiate arms control agreements, convert military-industrial spending to peaceful uses, and do all sorts of other things he clearly has no intention of doing. Ever.

No – if the Western Alliance, democratic values, and WTO trade rules provide ideological cover and junior partners for American global hegemony, "go-it-alone" nationalism, multi-polarity, and Nobel Peace Prize diplomatic efforts provide ideological cover for . . . American global hegemony! This can be seen most clearly in the case of Iran, against whom Trump has virtually declared war. He would like to avoid direct military involvement there, of course, but he is banking on threats of irresistible "fire and fury" to bring the Iranians to heel. And if these threats are unavailing? Then – count on it! – the Empire will act like an empire, and we will have open war.

In fact, Trump and his most vociferous critics and supporters are unknowingly playing the same game. John Brennan, meet Steve Bannon! You preach very different sermons, but you're working for the same god. That deity's name changes over the centuries, but we worship him every time we venerate symbols of military might at sports events, pay taxes to support U.S. military supremacy, or pledge allegiance to a flag. The name unutterable by both Trump and his enemies is Empire.

What do we do with the knowledge that both the Tweeter King and the treason-baiting coalition opposing him are imperialists under the skin? Two positions, I think, have to be rejected. One is the Lyndon Johnson rationale: since Johnson was progressive on domestic issues, including civil rights and poverty, that made him preferable to the Republicans, even though he gave us the quasi-genocidal war in Indochina. The other position is the diametric opposite: since Trump is less blatantly imperialistic than most Democratic Party leaders, we ought to favor him, despite his billionaire-loving, immigrant-hating, racist and misogynist domestic policies. Merely to say this is to refute it.

My own view is that anti-imperialists ought to decline to choose between these alternatives. We ought to name the imperial god that both Trump and his critics worship and demand that the party that we work and vote for renounce the pursuit of U.S. global hegemony. Immediately, this means letting self-proclaimed progressives or libertarians in both major parties know that avoiding new hot and cold wars, eliminating nuclear weapons and other WMD, slashing military spending, and converting war production to peaceful uses are top priorities that must be honored if they are to get our support. No political party can deliver peace and social justice and maintain the Empire at the same time. If neither Republicans nor Democrats are capable of facing this reality, we will have to create a new party that can.

Notes.

[1] The author is University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University. His most recent book is Resolving Structural Conflicts : How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed (2017).

[Aug 05, 2018] The Empire-Lovers Strike Back Trump, Putin and the Post-Helsinki Uproar

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Resolving Structural Conflicts ..."
"... How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed ..."
Aug 05, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Why, then, would a coalition of leftish and right-wing patriots not join in denouncing a leader who seemed to put Russia's interests ahead of those of his own country? Sorry to say, things are not so simple. Look a bit more closely at what holds the anti-Trump foreign policy coalition together, and you will discover a missing reality that virtually no one will acknowledge directly: the existence of a beleaguered but still potent American Empire whose junior partner is Europe. What motivates a broad range of the President's opponents, then, is not so much the fear that he is anti-American as the suspicion that he is anti-Empire.

Of course, neither liberals nor conservatives dare to utter the "E-word." Rather, they argue in virtually identical terms that Trump's foreign and trade policies are threatening the pillars of world order: NATO, the Group of Seven, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the OSCE, and so forth. These institutions, they claim, along with American military power and a willingness to use it when necessary, are primarily responsible for the peaceful, prosperous, free, and democratic world that we have all been privileged to inhabit since the Axis powers surrendered to the victorious Allies in 1945.

The fear expressed plainly by The New York Times 's David Leonhardt, a self-described "left-liberal," is that "Trump wants to destroy the Atlantic Alliance." Seven months earlier, this same fear motivated the arch-conservative National Review to editorialize that, "Under Trump, America has retreated from its global and moral leadership roles, alienated its democratic allies, and abandoned the bipartisan defense of liberal ideals that led to more than 70 years of security and prosperity." All the critics would agree with Wolfgang Ischinger, chair of the Munich Security Conference, who recently stated, "Let's face it. Mr. Trump's core beliefs conflict with the foundations of Western grand strategy since the mid-1940's."

"Western grand strategy," of course, is a euphemism for U.S. global hegemony – world domination, to put it plainly. In addition to peace and prosperity (mainly for privileged groups in privileged nations), this is the same strategy which since 1945 has given the world the Cold War, the specter of a nuclear holocaust, and proxy wars consuming between 10 and 20 million lives in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Its direct effects include the overthrow of elected governments in Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Granada, Ukraine, et al.; the bribery of public officials and impoverishment and injury of workers and farmers world-wide as a result of exploitation and predatory "development" by Western governments and mega-corporations; the destruction of natural environments and exacerbation of global climate change by these same governments and corporations; and the increasing likelihood of new imperialist wars caused by the determination of elites to maintain America's global supremacy at all costs.

It is interesting that most defenders of the Western Alliance (and its Pacific equivalent: the more loosely organized anti-Chinese alliance of Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea) virtually never talk about American hegemony or the gigantic military apparatus (with more than 800 U.S. bases in 60 or so nations and a military-industrial complex worth trillions) that supports it. Nor is the subject of empire high on Mr. Trump's list of approved twitter topics, even when he desecrates NATO and other sacred cows of the Alliance. There are several reasons for this silence, but the most important, perhaps, is the need to maintain the pretense of American moral superiority: the so-called "exceptionalist" position that inspires McCain to attack Trump for "false equivalency" (the President's statement in Helsinki that both Russia and the U.S. have made mistakes), and that leads pundits left and right to argue that America is not an old-style empire seeking to dominate, but a new-style democracy seeking to liberate.

The narrative you will hear repeated ad nauseum at both ends of the liberal/conservative spectrum tells how the Yanks, who won WW II with a little help from the Russians and other allies, and who then thoroughly dominated the world both economically and militarily, could have behaved like vengeful conquerors, but instead devoted their resources and energies to spreading democracy, freedom, and the blessings of capitalism around the world. Gag me with a Tomahawk cruise missile! What is weird about this narrative is that it "disappears" not only the millions of victims of America's wars but the very military forces that nationalists like Trump claim deserve to be worshipfully honored. Eight hundred bases? A million and a half troops on active duty? Total air and sea domination? I'm shocked . . . shocked!

In fact, there are two sorts of blindness operative in the current U.S. political environment. The Democratic Party Establishment, now swollen to include a wide variety of Russia-haters, globalizing capitalists, and militarists, is blind (or pretends to be) to the connection between the "Western Alliance" and the American Empire. The Trump Party (which I expect, one of these days, to shed the outworn Republican label in favor of something more Berlusconi-like, say, the American Greatness Party) is blind – or pretends to be – to the contradiction between its professed
"Fortress America" nationalism and the reality of a global U.S. imperium.

This last point is worth emphasizing. In a recent article in The Nation , Michael Klare, a writer I generally admire, claims to have discovered that there is really a method to Trump's foreign policy madness, i.e., the President favors the sort of "multi-polar" world, with Russia and China occupying the two other poles, that Putin and Xi Jinping have long advocated. Two factors make this article odd as well as interesting. First, the author argues that multi-polarity is a bad idea, because "smaller, weaker states, and minority peoples everywhere will be given even shorter shrift than at present when caught in any competitive jousting for influence among the three main competitors (and their proxies)." Wha? Even shorter shrift than under unipolarity? I think not, especially considering that adding new poles (why just three, BTW? What about India and Brazil?) gives smaller states and minority peoples many more bargaining options in the power game.

More important, however, Trump's multi-polar/nationalist ideals are clearly contradicted by his determination to make American world domination even more overwhelming by vastly increasing the size of the U.S. military establishment. Klare notes, correctly, that the President has denounced the Iraq War, criticized American "overextension" abroad, talked about ending the Afghan War, and declared that the U.S. should not be "the world's policeman." But if he wants America to become a mere Great Power in a world of Great Powers, Trump will clearly have to do more than talk about it. He will have to cut the military budget, abandon military bases, negotiate arms control agreements, convert military-industrial spending to peaceful uses, and do all sorts of other things he clearly has no intention of doing. Ever.

No – if the Western Alliance, democratic values, and WTO trade rules provide ideological cover and junior partners for American global hegemony, "go-it-alone" nationalism, multi-polarity, and Nobel Peace Prize diplomatic efforts provide ideological cover for . . . American global hegemony! This can be seen most clearly in the case of Iran, against whom Trump has virtually declared war. He would like to avoid direct military involvement there, of course, but he is banking on threats of irresistible "fire and fury" to bring the Iranians to heel. And if these threats are unavailing? Then – count on it! – the Empire will act like an empire, and we will have open war.

In fact, Trump and his most vociferous critics and supporters are unknowingly playing the same game. John Brennan, meet Steve Bannon! You preach very different sermons, but you're working for the same god. That deity's name changes over the centuries, but we worship him every time we venerate symbols of military might at sports events, pay taxes to support U.S. military supremacy, or pledge allegiance to a flag. The name unutterable by both Trump and his enemies is Empire.

What do we do with the knowledge that both the Tweeter King and the treason-baiting coalition opposing him are imperialists under the skin? Two positions, I think, have to be rejected. One is the Lyndon Johnson rationale: since Johnson was progressive on domestic issues, including civil rights and poverty, that made him preferable to the Republicans, even though he gave us the quasi-genocidal war in Indochina. The other position is the diametric opposite: since Trump is less blatantly imperialistic than most Democratic Party leaders, we ought to favor him, despite his billionaire-loving, immigrant-hating, racist and misogynist domestic policies. Merely to say this is to refute it.

My own view is that anti-imperialists ought to decline to choose between these alternatives. We ought to name the imperial god that both Trump and his critics worship and demand that the party that we work and vote for renounce the pursuit of U.S. global hegemony. Immediately, this means letting self-proclaimed progressives or libertarians in both major parties know that avoiding new hot and cold wars, eliminating nuclear weapons and other WMD, slashing military spending, and converting war production to peaceful uses are top priorities that must be honored if they are to get our support. No political party can deliver peace and social justice and maintain the Empire at the same time. If neither Republicans nor Democrats are capable of facing this reality, we will have to create a new party that can.

Notes.

[1] The author is University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University. His most recent book is Resolving Structural Conflicts : How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed (2017).

[Aug 05, 2018] Donald Trump and the American Left by Rob Urie

With some editing for clarity.
Notable quotes:
"... As widely loathed as the Democratic establishment is, it has been remarkably adept at engineering a reactionary response in favor of establishment forces. Its demonization of Russia! has been approximately as effective at fomenting reactionary nationalism as Mr. Trump's racialized version. Lest this be overlooked, the strategy common to both is the use of oppositional logic through demonization of carefully selected 'others.' ..."
"... What preceded Donald Trump was the Great Recession, the most severe capitalist crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession followed approximately three decades of neoliberal de-industrialization, of policies intended to reduce the power of organized labor, reduce working class wages and raise economic insecurity under the antique capitalist theory that destitution motivates workers to produce more for less in return. ..."
"... The illusion / delusion that these problems -- lost livelihoods, homes, social roles, relationships, sense of purpose and basic human dignity -- were solved, or even addressed, by national Democrats, illustrates the class divide at work. The economy that was revived made the rich fabulously rich, the professional / managerial class comfortable and left the other 90% in various stages of economic decline. ..."
"... Asserting this isn't to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump's motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. ..."
"... Democrats could have confronted the failures of neoliberalism without resorting to economic nationalism (as Mr. Trump did). And they could have confronted unhinged militarism without Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism. But this would have meant confronting their own history. And it would have meant publicly declaring themselves against the interests of their donor base. ..."
"... Mr. Trump's use of racialized nationalism is the primary basis of analyses arguing that he is fascist. Left unaddressed is the fact the the corporate-state form that is the basis of neoliberalism was also the basis of European fascism. Recent Left analysis proceeds from the premise that Trump control of the corporate-state form is fascism, while capitalist class control -- neoliberalism, is something else. ..."
"... Lest this not have occurred, FDR's New Deal was state capitalism approach within the framework of the corporatism (merge of corporations and a state) social formation. The only widely known effort to stage a fascist coup in the U.S. was carried out by Wall Street titans in the 1930s to wrest control from FDR before the New Deal was fully implemented. Put differently, the people who caused the Great Depression wanted to control its aftermath. And they were fascists. ..."
"... As political scientist Thomas Ferguson has been arguing for decades and Gilens and Page have recently chimed in, neither elections nor the public interest hold sway in the corridors of American power. The levers of control are structural -- congressional committee appointments go to the people with lots of money. Capitalist distribution controls the politics. ..."
"... The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he's gone. If he pulls it off, this isn't reactionary nationalism and it isn't nothing. ..."
"... Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book ..."
"... is published by CounterPunch Books. ..."
Aug 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The election of Donald Trump fractured the American Left. The abandonment of class analysis in response to Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism left identity politics to fill the void. This has facilitated the rise of neoliberal nationalism, an embrace of the national security state combined with neoliberal economic analysis put forward as a liberal / Left response to Mr. Trump's program. The result has been profoundly reactionary.

What had been unfocused consensus around issues of economic justice and ending militarism has been sharpened into a political program. A nascent, self-styled socialist movement is pushing domestic issues like single payer health care, strengthening the social safety net and reversing wildly unbalanced income and wealth distribution, forward. Left unaddressed is how this program will move forward without a revolutionary movement to act against countervailing forces.

As widely loathed as the Democratic establishment is, it has been remarkably adept at engineering a reactionary response in favor of establishment forces. Its demonization of Russia! has been approximately as effective at fomenting reactionary nationalism as Mr. Trump's racialized version. Lest this be overlooked, the strategy common to both is the use of oppositional logic through demonization of carefully selected 'others.'

This points to the most potent fracture on the Left, the question of which is the more effective reactionary force, the Democrats' neoliberal nationalism or Mr. Trump's racialized version? As self-evident as the answer apparently is to the liberal / Left, it is only so through abandonment of class analysis. Race, gender and immigration status are either subsets of class or the concept loses meaning.

By way of the reform Democrat's analysis , it was the shift of working class voters from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 that swung the election in Mr. Trump's favor. To the extent that race was a factor, the finger points up the class structure, not down. This difference is crucial when it comes to the much-abused 'white working-class' explanation of Mr. Trump's victory.

What preceded Donald Trump was the Great Recession, the most severe capitalist crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession followed approximately three decades of neoliberal de-industrialization, of policies intended to reduce the power of organized labor, reduce working class wages and raise economic insecurity under the antique capitalist theory that destitution motivates workers to produce more for less in return.

The illusion / delusion that these problems -- lost livelihoods, homes, social roles, relationships, sense of purpose and basic human dignity -- were solved, or even addressed, by national Democrats, illustrates the class divide at work. The economy that was revived made the rich fabulously rich, the professional / managerial class comfortable and left the other 90% in various stages of economic decline.

Left apparently unrecognized in bourgeois attacks on working class voters is that the analytical frames at work -- classist identity politics and liberal economics, are ruling class ideology in the crudest Marxian / Gramscian senses. The illusion / delusion that they are factually descriptive is a function of ideology, not lived outcomes.

Here's the rub: Mr. Trump's critique of neoliberalism can ] accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats' neoliberal nationalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn't left this critique behind -- neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated.

Asserting this isn't to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump's motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. Watching the bourgeois Left put forward neoliberal trade theory to counter it would seem inexplicable without the benefit of class analysis.

Within the frame of identity politics rich and bourgeois blacks, women and immigrants have the same travails as their poor and working-class compatriots. Ben Carson (black), Melania Trump (female) and Melania Trump (immigrant) fit this taxonomy. For them racism, misogyny and xenophobia are forms of social violence. But they aren't fundamental determinants of how they live. The same can't be said for those brutalized by four decades of neoliberalism

The common bond here is a class war launched from above that has uprooted, displaced and immiserated a large and growing proportion of the peoples of the West. This experience cuts across race, gender and nationality making them a subset of class. If these problems are rectified at the level of class, they will be rectified within the categories of race, gender and nationality. Otherwise, they won't be rectified.

Democrats could have confronted the failures of neoliberalism without resorting to economic nationalism (as Mr. Trump did). And they could have confronted unhinged militarism without Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism. But this would have meant confronting their own history. And it would have meant publicly declaring themselves against the interests of their donor base.

Mr. Trump's use of racialized nationalism is the primary basis of analyses arguing that he is fascist. Left unaddressed is the fact the the corporate-state form that is the basis of neoliberalism was also the basis of European fascism. Recent Left analysis proceeds from the premise that Trump control of the corporate-state form is fascism, while capitalist class control -- neoliberalism, is something else.

Lest this not have occurred, FDR's New Deal was state capitalism approach within the framework of the corporatism (merge of corporations and a state) social formation. The only widely known effort to stage a fascist coup in the U.S. was carried out by Wall Street titans in the 1930s to wrest control from FDR before the New Deal was fully implemented. Put differently, the people who caused the Great Depression wanted to control its aftermath. And they were fascists.

More recently, the effort to secure capitalist control has been led by [neo]liberal Democrats using Investor-State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) clauses in trade agreements. So that identity warriors might understand the implications, this control limits the ability of governments to rectify race and gender bias because supranational adjudication can overrule them.

So, is race and / or gender repression any less repressive because capitalists control the levers? Colonial slave-masters certainly thought so. The people who own sweatshops probably think so. Most slumlords probably think so. Employers who steal wages probably think so. The people who own for-profit prisons probably think so. But these aren't 'real' repression, are they? Where's the animosity?

As political scientist Thomas Ferguson has been arguing for decades and Gilens and Page have recently chimed in, neither elections nor the public interest hold sway in the corridors of American power. The levers of control are structural -- congressional committee appointments go to the people with lots of money. Capitalist distribution controls the politics.

The liberal explanation for this is 'political culture.' The liberal solution is to change the political culture without changing the economic relations that drive the culture. This is also the frame of identity politics. The presence of a desperate and destitute underclass lowers working class wages (raising profits), but ending racism is a matter of changing minds?

This history holds an important lesson for today's nascent socialists. The domestic programs recently put forward, as reasonable and potentially useful as they are, resemble FDR's effort to save capitalism, not end it. The time to implement these programs was when Wall Street was flat on its back, when it could have been more. This is the tragedy of betrayal by Barack Obama his voters.

Despite the capitalist rhetoric at the time, the New Deal wasn't 'socialism' because it never changed control over the means of production, over American political economy. Internal class differences were reduced through redistribution, but brutal and ruthless imperialism proceeded apace overseas.

The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he's gone. If he pulls it off, this isn't reactionary nationalism and it isn't nothing.

Otherwise, the rich have assigned the opining classes the task of defending their realm. Step 1: divide the bourgeois into competing factions. Step 2: posit great differences between them that are tightly circumscribed to prevent history from inconveniently intruding. Step 3: turn these great differences into moral absolutes so that they can't be reconciled within the terms given. Step 4: pose a rigged electoral process as the only pathway to political resolution. Step 5: collect profits and repeat. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Rob Urie

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Aug 03, 2018] Donald Trump might be a symptom that neoliberal system is about to collapse

Amazing interview.
We are in the point when capitalist system (which presented itself as asocial system that created a large middle class) converted into it opposite: it is social system that could not deliver that it promised and now want to distract people from this sad fact.
The Trump adopted tax code is a huge excess: we have 40 year when corporation paid less taxes. This is last moment when they need another gift. To give them tax is crazy excess that reminding Louis XV of France. Those gains are going in buying of socks. And real growth is happening elsewhere in the world.
After WW2 there were a couple of decades of "golden age" of US capitalism when in the USA middle class increased considerably. That was result of pressure of working class devastated by Great Depression. Roosevelt decided that risk is too great and he introduced social security net. But capitalist class was so enraged that they started fighting it almost immediately after the New Deal was introduced. Business class was enrages with the level of taxes and counterattacked. Tarp act and McCarthyism were two successful counterattacks. McCarthyism converting communists and socialists into agents of foreign power.
The quality of jobs are going down. That's why Trump was elected... Which is sad. Giving your finger to the neoliberal elite does not solve their problem
Notable quotes:
"... Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction. ..."
"... When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. ..."
"... Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade. ..."
"... The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears. ..."
Jul 10, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

In another interesting interview with Chris Hedges, Richard Wolff explains why the Trump presidency is the last resort of a system that is about to collapse:

Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction.

So, absent that counter force we are going to see this system spinning out of control and destroying itself in the very way its critics have for so long foreseen it well might.

When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. If we hadn't been a country with two or three decades of a middle class - working class paid really well - maybe we could have gotten away with this. But in a society that has celebrated its capacity to do what it now fails to do, you have an explosive situation.

Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade.

The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears.

In France, it was said 'Après moi, le déluge' (after me the catastrophe). The storm will break.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/60FrsWm9OAc

[Jul 22, 2018] Trump and the crisis of the neoliberal world order by Ashley Smith

A very interesting analysis from 2017
Notable quotes:
"... Financial Times ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order ..."
"... The American ruling class turned to neoliberalism after the failure of Keynesianism -- with its emphasis on state intervention and state-led development -- to overcome the economic crisis of the 1970s and restore profitability and growth in the system. Neoliberalism was not a conspiracy hatched by the Chicago School of Economics, but a strategy that developed in response to globalization and the end of the long postwar boom. ..."
"... For a period, the United States did indeed superintend a new global structure of world imperialism. It integrated most of the world's states into the neoliberal order it dubbed the Washington Consensus, using its international financial and trade institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization to compel all nations to adopt neoliberal policies that benefited a handful of powerful players. It used international loans and debt restructuring not only to remove trade and investment restrictions, but also to impose privatization and cuts in health, education, and other vital social services in states all over the world. The Pentagon deployed its military might to police and crush any so-called rogue states like Iraq. ..."
"... The Making of Global Capitalism ..."
"... Washington's attempt to lock in its dominance through its 2003 war and occupation of Iraq backfired. Even before launching the invasion, Bush recognized that the United States needed to do something to contain China and other rising rivals. In a sign of this growing awareness, he and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, rebranded China, which Clinton had called a strategic partner, as a strategic competitor. ..."
"... Bush used 9/11 as an opportunity to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, as part of a plan for serial "regime change" in the region. If it succeeded, the United States hoped it would be able to control rivals, particularly China, which is dependent on the region's strategic energy reserves. Instead, Washington suffered, in the words of General William Odom, the former head of the National Security Agency, its "greatest strategic disaster in American history." ..."
"... Iran, one of the projected targets for regime change in Bush's so-called "Axis of Evil," emerged as a beneficiary of the war. It secured a new ally in the form of the sectarian Shia fundamentalist regime in Iraq. And while the United States was bogged down in Iraq, China became increasingly assertive throughout the world, establishing new political and economic pacts throughout Latin America, the Middle East, and a number of African countries. ..."
"... Finally, the Great Recession of 2008 hammered the United States and its allies in the EU particularly hard. By contrast, Beijing's massive state intervention in the economy sustained its long boom and lifted the growth rates of countries in Latin America, Australia, Asia, and sections of Africa that exported raw materials to China. ..."
"... Trump's strategy to restore American dominance in the world is economic nationalism. This is the rational kernel within his erratic shell of bizarre tweets and rants. He wants to combine neoliberalism at home with protectionism against foreign competition. It is a position that breaks with the American establishment's grand strategy of superintending free-trade globalization. ..."
"... Demagogic appeals to labor aside, Trump is doing none of this for the benefit of American workers. His program is intended to restore the competitive position of American capital, particularly manufacturing, against its rivals, especially in China but also in Germany. ..."
"... This economic nationalism is paired with a promise to rearm the American military, which he views as having been weakened by Obama. Thus, Trump has announced plans to increase military spending by $54 billion. He wants to use this 9 percent increase in the military budget to build up the Navy and to modernize and expand the nuclear arsenal, even if that provokes other powers to do the same. As he quipped in December, "Let it be an arms race." 21 Trump's fire-breathing chief strategist, former Brietbart editor Steve Bannon, went so far as to promise, "We're going to war in the South China Sea in five to ten years. There's no doubt about that." 22 ..."
"... Trump threatens a significant break with some previously hallowed institutions of US foreign policy. He has called NATO outdated. This declaration is really just a bargaining position to get the alliance's other members to increase their military spending. Thus, both his secretary of state and defense secretary have repeatedly reassured European states that the United States remains committed to NATO. More seriously, he denounced the EU as merely a vehicle for German capital. Thus, he supports various right-wing populist parties in Europe running on a promise to imitate Britain and leave the EU. ..."
"... Trump's "transactional" approach comes out most clearly in his stated approach to international alliances and blocs. He promises to evaluate all multilateral alliances and trade blocs from the standpoint of American interests against rivals. He will scrap some, replacing them with bilateral arrangements, and renegotiate others. Much of the establishment has reacted in horror to these threats, denouncing them as a retreat from Washington's responsibilities to its allies. ..."
"... Hoping that he can split Russia away from China and neutralize it as a lesser power, Trump then wants to confront China with tariffs and military challenges to its assertion of control of the South China Sea. Incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has already threatened to deny China access to its newly-built island bases in the South China Sea. ..."
"... On top of all this, multinational capital opposes his protectionism. Of course almost all capital is more overjoyed at his domestic neoliberalism, a fact demonstrated in the enormous stock market expansion, but they see his proposals of tariffs, renegotiation of NAFTA, and scrapping of the TPP and the TTIP as threats to their global production, service, and investment strategies. They consider his house economist, Peter Navarro, to be a crackpot. ..."
"... Beneath the governmental shell, whole sections of the unelected state bureaucracy -- what has been ominously described as the "deep state" -- also oppose Trump as a threat to their interests. He has openly attacked the CIA and FBI and threatens enormous cuts to the State Department as well as other key bureaucracies responsible for managing state policy at home and abroad. Many of these bureaucrats have engaged in a campaign of leaks, especially of Trump's connections with the Russian state. ..."
"... One of Trump's key allies, Newt Gingrich, gives a sense of how Trump's backers are framing the dispute with these institutions. "We're up against a permanent bureaucratic structure defending itself and quite willing to break the law to do so," he told the New York Times ..."
"... The Democratic Party selectively opposes some of Trump's program. But, instead of attacking him on his manifold reactionary policies, they have portrayed him as Putin's "Manchurian Candidate," posturing as the defenders of US power willing to stand up to Russia. ..."
"... Even if Trump weathers the storm of this resistance from above and below, his foreign policy could flounder on its own internal conflicts and inconsistencies. To take one example: his policy of collaboration with Russia in Syria could flounder on his simultaneous commitment to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran. Why? Because Iran is a Russian ally in the region. Most disturbingly, if the Trump administration goes into a deeper crisis, it will double down on its bigoted scapegoating of immigrants and Muslims to deflect attention from its failures. ..."
"... China is accelerating the transformation of its economy. It seeks to push out multinationals that have used it as an export-processing platform and replace them with its own state-owned and private corporations, which, like Germany, will export its surplus manufactured goods to the rest of the world market. 31 No wonder, then, that a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce found that 80 percent of American multinationals consider China inhospitable for business. ..."
"... China is also aggressively trying to supplant the United States as the economic hegemon in Asia. Immediately after Trump nixed the TPP, China appealed to states in the Asia Pacific region to sign on to its alternative trade treaty, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China is determined to challenge American imperial rule of the Asia Pacific. Though its navy is far smaller than Washington's, it plans to accelerate efforts to build up its regional naval power against Trump's threats to block Chinese access to the strategic islands in the South China Sea. ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy ..."
"... Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order ..."
"... International Socialism Journal ..."
"... Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... Imperialism and World Economy, ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and the State in a Transitional World ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... USA Today ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... The Progressive ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
Jul 22, 2018 | isreview.org

The neoliberal world order of free-trade globalization that the United States has pioneered since the end of the Cold War is in crisis. The global slump, triggered by the 2007 Great Recession, has intensified competition not only between corporations, but also between the states that represent them and whose disagreements over the terms of trade have paralyzed the World Trade Organization. Similar conflicts between states have disrupted regional free-trade deals and regional blocs. Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement failed to come to a vote in Congress, and now Trump has scrapped it. The vote for Brexit in the United Kingdom is a precedent that could lead other states to bolt from the European Union. Rising international tensions, especially between the United States, China, and Russia, fill the daily headlines.

Indeed, the world has entered a new period of imperialism. As discussed in previous articles in this journal, the unipolar world order based on the dominance of the United States, which has been eroding for some time, has been replaced by an asymmetric multipolar

world order. The United States remains the only superpower, and possesses by far the largest military reach, but it faces a global rival in China and a host of lesser rivals like Russia. And the competition between nation-states over the balance of geopolitical and economic power is intensifying.

The multiple crises and conflicts have also confronted all the world's states with the largest migration crisis in history. Over fifty million migrants and refugees are fleeing economies devastated by neoliberalism, the economic crisis, political instability, and in the case of the Middle East -- especially Syria -- counterrevolution against the Arab Spring uprisings. The bourgeois establishment and their right-wing challengers have scapegoated these migrants in country after country.

All of this has destabilized bourgeois politics throughout the world, opening the door to both the Left and the Right posing as alternatives to the establishment. In the United States, Donald Trump won the presidency with the promise to "Make America Great Again" by putting "America First." He threatens to retreat from the post-Cold War grand strategy of the United States overseeing the international free-trade regime, in favor of economic nationalism and what has been described as a "transactional" approach to international politics.

While Trump aims to continue certain neoliberal policies at home (such as deregulation, privatization, and tax cuts for the wealthy), his international policies represent a significant shift away from global "free trade." He has promised to rip up or renegotiate free-trade deals and impose protectionist tariffs on economic competitors. To enforce this, he wants to rearm the American military to push back against all rivals -- China in particular -- and conduct what he depicts in racist fashion a civilizational war against Islam in the Middle East. He marries this militaristic nationalism to a bigoted campaign of scapegoating against immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, women, and all other oppressed groups.

Panic in the imperial brain trust

The architects and ideologues of American imperialism recognize that their grand strategy is in crisis, and worry that Trump's new stand will only magnify it. The Financial Times ' Martin Wolf declares,

We are, in short, at the end of both an economic period -- that of western-led globalization -- and a geopolitical one -- the post-cold war "unipolar moment" of a US-led global order. The question is whether what follows will be an unraveling of the post-second world war era into de-globalization and conflict, as happened in the first half of the 20th century, or a new period in which non-western powers, especially China and India, play a bigger role in sustaining a co-operative global order. 1

Obama's favorite neocon Robert Kagan warns that Washington's retreat from managing the world system risks "backing into World War III," the title of the piece in which he writes:

Think of two significant trend lines in the world today. One is the increasing ambition and activism of the two great revisionist powers, Russia and China. The other is the declining confidence, capacity, and will of the democratic world, and especially of the United States, to maintain the dominant position it has held in the international system since 1945. As those two lines move closer, as the declining will and capacity of the United States and its allies to maintain the present world order meet the increasing desire and capacity of the revisionist powers to change it, we will reach the moment at which the existing order collapses and the world descends into a phase of brutal anarchy, as it has three times in the past two centuries. The cost of that descent, in lives and treasure, in lost freedoms and lost hope, will be staggering. 2

In somewhat more measured tones, the imperial brain trust of American imperialism, the Council on Foreign Relations, is using their journal, Foreign Affairs , to oppose Trump and defend the existing neoliberal order with minor modifications. 3 Stewart Patrick, for example, worries that Trump has laid-out

no broader vision of the Unites States' traditional role as defender of the free world, much less outline how the country play that part. In foreign policy and economics, he has made clear that the pursuit of narrow national advantage will guide his policies -- apparently regardless of the impact on the liberal world order that the United States has championed since 1945. That order was fraying well before November 8. It had been battered from without by challenges from China and Russia and weakened from within by economic malaise in Japan and crises in Europe, including the epochal Brexit vote last year. No one knows what Trump will do as president. But as a candidate, he vowed to shake up world politics by reassessing long-standing U.S. alliances, ripping up existing U.S. trade deals, raising trade barriers against China, disavowing the Paris climate agreement, and repudiating the nuclear accord with Iran. Should he follow through on these provocative plans, Trump will unleash forces beyond his control, sharpening the crisis of the Western-centered order.

The Council's Gideon Rose fears that Trump is introducing "damaging uncertainty into everything from international commerce to nuclear deterrence. At worst, it could cause other countries to lose faith in the order's persistence and start to hedge their bets, distancing themselves from the Unites States, making side deals with China and Russia, and adopting beggar-thy-neighbor programs." 4

But the Council and the rest of the foreign policy establishment have little to offer as a solution to the crisis they describe. For example, the Council on Foreign Relations' president, Richard Haass's, new book, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order , produces little more than tactical maneuvers designed to incorporate America's rivals into the existing neoliberal order. 5 But it is within that very order that the United States has undergone relative decline against its increasingly assertive rivals, especially China.

Neoliberalism's solution to the crisis last time

The American ruling class turned to neoliberalism after the failure of Keynesianism -- with its emphasis on state intervention and state-led development -- to overcome the economic crisis of the 1970s and restore profitability and growth in the system. Neoliberalism was not a conspiracy hatched by the Chicago School of Economics, but a strategy that developed in response to globalization and the end of the long postwar boom.

The US ruling class adopted what later came to be known as neoliberalism in coherent form under the regimes of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in Britain. 6 Neoliberalism had domestic and international dimensions. At home, the mantra was privatization and deregulation. The ruling class got rid of regulations on capital and launched a war against workers. They privatized state-run businesses as well as traditionally state-run institutions like prisons and schools. They busted unions, drove down wages, and cut the welfare state to ribbons.

Abroad, the United States expanded the program of "free trade" they had pursued since the end of World War II. Seeking cheap labor, resources, and markets, Washington used its dominance of international institutions to pry open national economies throughout the world. It aimed first to incorporate its allies, then its antagonists in this neoliberal world order, with the promise that it would work in the interests of "the capitalist class" around the world. As Henry Kissinger once remarked, "What is called globalization is really another name for the dominant role of the United States." 7 These domestic and international policies overcame the crises of the 1970s and ushered in a period of economic expansion (interrupted by a few recessions) that lasted from the early 1980s through to the early 2000s. 8

The brief unipolar moment

Unable to keep pace with the West's economic expansion and the Reagan administration's massive rearmament program, and beset by its own internal contradictions, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and the Cold War's bipolar geopolitical order came to an end. The United States hoped to establish a new unipolar world order in which it would solidify its position as the world's sole remaining, and unassailable, superpower.

For a period, the United States did indeed superintend a new global structure of world imperialism. It integrated most of the world's states into the neoliberal order it dubbed the Washington Consensus, using its international financial and trade institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization to compel all nations to adopt neoliberal policies that benefited a handful of powerful players. It used international loans and debt restructuring not only to remove trade and investment restrictions, but also to impose privatization and cuts in health, education, and other vital social services in states all over the world. The Pentagon deployed its military might to police and crush any so-called rogue states like Iraq.

Amidst the heady days of this unipolar moment, much of the left abandoned the classical Marxist theory of imperialism developed chiefly by the early twentieth century Russian revolutionaries Vladimir Lenin and Nikolai Bukharin. In brief, Lenin and Bukharin argued that capitalist development transformed economic competition into interstate rivalry and war for the political and economic division and redivision of the world system between the dominant capitalist powers vying for hegemony. 9

"The development of world capitalism leads," wrote Bukharin, "on the one hand, to an internationalization of the economic life and, on the other, to the leveling of economic differences, and to an infinitely greater degree, the same process of economic development intensifies the tendency to 'nationalize' capitalist interests, to form narrow 'national' groups armed to the teeth and ready to hurl themselves at one another at any moment." 10

Imperialism was a product of the interplay between the creation of a world market and the division of the world between national states, and as such was a product of the system rather than simply a policy of a particular state or party. This was in contrast to the German socialist Karl Kautsky, who argued that imperialism was a policy favored by some sections of the capitalists but which ran against the interests of ruling classes as a whole, which, as a result of the economic integration of the world market, had a greater interest in peaceful competition.

The new period of globalized capitalism produced new theories that rejected Lenin and Bukharin's approach. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argued in their 2000 book that globalization had replaced imperialism with a new structure of domination they termed empire. Nonstate networks of power, like international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, were now, in an era where states were increasingly powerless, the dominant world players. 11 "The United States does not, and indeed no nation-state can today, form the center of an imperialist project," they famously wrote in the preface. 12 Others took the argument further, maintaining that a system of globalized transnational production and trade was fast displacing states, including Washington, as influential centers of power. 13

On the other extreme, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin argue in their 2012 book The Making of Global Capitalism that the American state organized globalization and integrated all the world's states as vassals of its informal empire. 14 Though diametrically opposed at the start, these arguments ended with the same conclusion -- inter-imperial rivalries between the world's leading states, including the potential for them to spill over into military conflict -- are not a necessary outcome of capitalism; and today those rivalries are a thing of the past.

The return of rivalry in an asymmetric world order

Developments in the real world -- such as the Bush administration's 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and two years later of Iraq -- viscerally disproved these arguments. Indeed, changes in the real world were already undermining the foundations of the postwar world order that Kagan and others are frantically holding up against Trump's "America First" nationalism.

Washington's drive to cement its hegemony in a unipolar world order was undermined in several ways. The neoliberal boom from the early 1980s to the 2000s produced new centers of capital accumulation. China is the paradigmatic example. After it abandoned autarkic state capitalism in favor of state-managed production for the world market, it transformed itself from a backwater producer to the new workshop of the world. It vaulted from producing about 1.9 percent 15 of global GDP in 1979 to about 15 percent in 2016. 16 It is now the second-largest economy in the world and predicted to overtake the United States as the largest economy in the coming years.

But China was not the sole beneficiary of the neoliberal expansion. Brazil and other regional economies also developed. And Russia, after suffering an enormous collapse of its empire and its economic power in the 1990s, managed to rebuild itself as a petro-power with disproportionate geopolitical influence because of its nuclear arsenal. Of course, whole sections of the world system did not develop at all, but instead suffered dispossession and economic catastrophe.

Washington's attempt to lock in its dominance through its 2003 war and occupation of Iraq backfired. Even before launching the invasion, Bush recognized that the United States needed to do something to contain China and other rising rivals. In a sign of this growing awareness, he and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, rebranded China, which Clinton had called a strategic partner, as a strategic competitor. 17

Bush used 9/11 as an opportunity to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, as part of a plan for serial "regime change" in the region. If it succeeded, the United States hoped it would be able to control rivals, particularly China, which is dependent on the region's strategic energy reserves. Instead, Washington suffered, in the words of General William Odom, the former head of the National Security Agency, its "greatest strategic disaster in American history." 18

Iran, one of the projected targets for regime change in Bush's so-called "Axis of Evil," emerged as a beneficiary of the war. It secured a new ally in the form of the sectarian Shia fundamentalist regime in Iraq. And while the United States was bogged down in Iraq, China became increasingly assertive throughout the world, establishing new political and economic pacts throughout Latin America, the Middle East, and a number of African countries.

Russia also took advantage of American setbacks to reassert its power against EU and NATO expansionism in Eastern Europe. It went to war against US ally Georgia in 2008. In Central Asia, China and Russia came together to form a new alliance, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. They postured against American imperialism in their own imperial interests.

Finally, the Great Recession of 2008 hammered the United States and its allies in the EU particularly hard. By contrast, Beijing's massive state intervention in the economy sustained its long boom and lifted the growth rates of countries in Latin America, Australia, Asia, and sections of Africa that exported raw materials to China.

This was the high-water mark of the so-called BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The lesser powers in this bloc hitched their star to Chinese imperialism, exporting their commodities to fuel China's industrial expansion. Together they launched the BRICS bank, officially known as the New Development Bank, and China added another, the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, as alternatives to the IMF and World Bank. The recent Chinese slowdown and the consequent drop in commodity prices have, however, hammered the economies of many of the BRICS.

These developments cracked the unipolar moment and replaced it with today's asymmetric world order. The United States remains the world's sole superpower; but it now faces an international rival in China and in lesser powers like Russia. It must also wrestle with regional powers that pursue their own interests, sometimes in sync with Washington and other times at odds with it.

Obama's failure to restore dominance

The Obama administration came to power with the hopes of restoring the credibility and standing of American power in the wake of Bush's disasters in the Middle East. It implemented a combined program of stimulus and austerity to restore growth and profitability. By imposing a two-tier wage structure on the auto industry, it set a precedent for competitive reindustrialization in the United States, and launched the massive fracking expansion to provide cheap domestic energy to US corporations.

Intending to extract the United States from its costly and inconclusive ground wars in the Middle East, Obama turned to air power, shifting the focus of the so-called War on Terror to drone strikes, Special Force operations, and air support for US proxy forces in different countries.

Once disentangled from Bush's occupations, Obama planned to conduct the ballyhooed "pivot to Asia" to contain China's ongoing rise, bolster Washington's political and military alliance with Japan and South Korea, and prevent their economic incorporation into China's growing sphere of influence. The now dead Trans-Pacific Partnership was meant to ensure American economic hegemony in the region, which would then be backed up militarily with the deployment of 60 percent of the US Navy to the Asia Pacific region. 19 Obama also began to push back against Russian opposition to the EU and NATO expansion into Eastern Europe -- hence the standoff over Ukraine.

But Obama was unable to fully implement any of this because US forces remained bogged down in the spiraling crisis in the Middle East. Retreating from the Bush administration's policy of regime change to balancing between the existing states, Obama, while continuing to support historic US allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, at the same time struck a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. But this strategy was undermined by the Arab Spring, the regimes' counterrevolutions, attempts by regional powers to manipulate the rebellion for their own ends, and the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The United States has been unable to resolve many of these developing crises on its own terms.

Now Russia, after having suffered a long-term decline of its power in the region, has managed to reassert itself through its intervention in Syria in support of Assad's counterrevolution. It is now a broker in the Syrian "peace process" and a new player in the broader Middle East.

While the United States continued to suffer relative decline, China and Russia became even more assertive. Russia took Crimea, which provoked the United States and Germany to impose sanctions on the Kremlin. China intensified its economic deal making throughout the world, increasing its foreign direct investment from a paltry $17.2 billion in 2005 to $187 billion in 2015. 20 At the same time, it engaged in a massive buildup of its navy and air force (though its military is still dwarfed by the US) and constructed new military bases on various islands to control the shipping lanes, fisheries, and potential oil fields in the South China Sea.

Obama did manage to oversee the recovery of the US economy, and China has suffered an economic slowdown. That has dramatically reversed the economic fortunes of the BRICS, in particular Brazil, which has experienced economic collapse and a right-wing governmental coup. The drop in oil prices that accompanied the Chinese slowdown also hammered the OPEC states as well as Russia.

But China's slowdown has not reversed Beijing's economic and geopolitical ascension. In fact, China is in the process of rebalancing its economy to replace multinational investment, expand its domestic market, and increase production for export to the rest of the world. The aim is to increase its ability to compete with the United States and the EU at all levels.

Thus, well before Trump's election, the United States had been mired in foreign policy problems that it seemed incapable of resolving.

Trump's break with neoliberalism

Trump's strategy to restore American dominance in the world is economic nationalism. This is the rational kernel within his erratic shell of bizarre tweets and rants. He wants to combine neoliberalism at home with protectionism against foreign competition. It is a position that breaks with the American establishment's grand strategy of superintending free-trade globalization.

Inside the United States, Trump aims to double down on some aspects of neoliberalism. He plans to cut taxes on the rich, rip up government regulations that "hamper" business interests, expand Obama's fracking program to provide corporations cheaper energy, and to go after public sector unions. He also wants to invest $1 trillion to modernize the country's decrepit infrastructure. While his Gestapo assault on immigrants is less popular among the business class, they are salivating over the tax and regulatory cuts. Trump hopes with these economic carrots to lure American manufacturing companies back to the United States.

At the same time, however, Trump wants to upend the neoliberal Washington Consensus. He is threatening to impose tariffs on American corporations that move their production to other countries. He has already nixed the TPP and intends to do the same to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Europe. He promises to renegotiate NAFTA with Mexico and Canada to secure better terms, and, in response to Chinese and EU protectionism, he threatens to impose a border tax of 45 percent on Chinese and others countries' exports to the United States. These measures could trigger a trade war.

Demagogic appeals to labor aside, Trump is doing none of this for the benefit of American workers. His program is intended to restore the competitive position of American capital, particularly manufacturing, against its rivals, especially in China but also in Germany.

This economic nationalism is paired with a promise to rearm the American military, which he views as having been weakened by Obama. Thus, Trump has announced plans to increase military spending by $54 billion. He wants to use this 9 percent increase in the military budget to build up the Navy and to modernize and expand the nuclear arsenal, even if that provokes other powers to do the same. As he quipped in December, "Let it be an arms race." 21 Trump's fire-breathing chief strategist, former Brietbart editor Steve Bannon, went so far as to promise, "We're going to war in the South China Sea in five to ten years. There's no doubt about that." 22

Trump also plans to intensify what he sees as a civilizational war with Islam. This will likely involve ripping up the nuclear deal with Iran, intensifying the war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and conducting further actions against al Qaeda internationally. It will also likely involve doubling down on Washington's alliance with Israel. Trump's appointment as ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is actually to the right of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 23 Trump has already begun escalating the ongoing war on Muslims conducted by the last two administrations, with his executive orders that are in effect an anti-Muslim ban and have increased the profiling, surveillance, and harassment of Muslims throughout the country.

To pay for this military expansion, the Trump administration, in Bannon's phrase, plans to carry out the "deconstruction of the administrative state." Thus, the administration has appointed heads of departments, like Ed Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency, whose main purpose is to gut them. 24 No doubt this will entail massive cuts to social programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Trump threatens a significant break with some previously hallowed institutions of US foreign policy. He has called NATO outdated. This declaration is really just a bargaining position to get the alliance's other members to increase their military spending. Thus, both his secretary of state and defense secretary have repeatedly reassured European states that the United States remains committed to NATO. More seriously, he denounced the EU as merely a vehicle for German capital. Thus, he supports various right-wing populist parties in Europe running on a promise to imitate Britain and leave the EU.

Trump's "transactional" approach comes out most clearly in his stated approach to international alliances and blocs. He promises to evaluate all multilateral alliances and trade blocs from the standpoint of American interests against rivals. He will scrap some, replacing them with bilateral arrangements, and renegotiate others. Much of the establishment has reacted in horror to these threats, denouncing them as a retreat from Washington's responsibilities to its allies.

In a departure from Obama's policy toward Russia, Trump intends to create a more transactional relationship with the Kremlin. He does not view Russia as the main threat; he believes that is China. In addition to considering cutting a deal with Russia to drop sanctions over its seizure of Crimea, he wants to collaborate with Putin in a joint war against ISIS in Syria.

Hoping that he can split Russia away from China and neutralize it as a lesser power, Trump then wants to confront China with tariffs and military challenges to its assertion of control of the South China Sea. Incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has already threatened to deny China access to its newly-built island bases in the South China Sea.

Trump's economic nationalism leads directly to his "fortress America" policies. These policies chiefly target Muslims and immigrants, but they should not be seen in isolation from other domestic policies. With the wave of protests against his attacks that emerged from the moment he stepped into office, Trump and his allies in state governments have introduced bills that impose increasing restrictions on the right to protest and give the police a license for repression with impunity. Thus the corollary of his "America First" imperialism abroad is authoritarianism at home.

Can Trump succeed?

Trump faces a vast array of obstacles that could stop him from implementing his new strategy. To begin with, he is an unpopular president with an approval rating hovering below 40 percent in his first months in office. He and his crony capitalist cabinet will no doubt face many scandals, compromising their ability to push through their agenda.

He may be his own biggest obstacle. His 6 A.M. tweets are signs of someone more concerned with his celebrity status than imperial statecraft. He has already lost his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, due to Flynn's failure to disclose his communication with Russian diplomats during the campaign, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions took heat on similar charges, forcing him to recuse himself from any investigations of the Trump campaign with the Kremlin.

There are also real economic challenges to his ability to follow through on his economic program. He simultaneously promises to cut taxes for the wealthy, spend hundreds of millions on domestic infrastructure (not to mention the billions it would cost to build a wall along the US–Mexico border), and cut the deficit. This does not square with economic reality.

On top of all this, multinational capital opposes his protectionism. Of course almost all capital is more overjoyed at his domestic neoliberalism, a fact demonstrated in the enormous stock market expansion, but they see his proposals of tariffs, renegotiation of NAFTA, and scrapping of the TPP and the TTIP as threats to their global production, service, and investment strategies. They consider his house economist, Peter Navarro, to be a crackpot. 25

Even his cabinet opposes much of his program. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified that he supports the TTP and American obligations to its NATO allies in Europe, including recent deployments of American troops to Poland. And Trump's Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis disagrees with Trump's proposal to rip up the nuclear treaty with Iran.

Beneath the governmental shell, whole sections of the unelected state bureaucracy -- what has been ominously described as the "deep state" -- also oppose Trump as a threat to their interests. He has openly attacked the CIA and FBI and threatens enormous cuts to the State Department as well as other key bureaucracies responsible for managing state policy at home and abroad. Many of these bureaucrats have engaged in a campaign of leaks, especially of Trump's connections with the Russian state.

One of Trump's key allies, Newt Gingrich, gives a sense of how Trump's backers are framing the dispute with these institutions. "We're up against a permanent bureaucratic structure defending itself and quite willing to break the law to do so," he told the New York Times . 26 Thus, the core of the capitalist state is at least attempting to constrain Trump, bring down some of his appointees and may, if they see it as necessary, do the same to Trump himself. At the very least, these extraordinary divisions at the top create a sense of insecurity, and open up space for questioning and struggle from below.

The Democratic Party selectively opposes some of Trump's program. But, instead of attacking him on his manifold reactionary policies, they have portrayed him as Putin's "Manchurian Candidate," posturing as the defenders of US power willing to stand up to Russia. As Glenn Greenwald writes, the Democrats are

not "resisting" Trump from the left or with populist appeals -- by, for instance, devoting themselves toprotection ofWall Street and environmental regulations under attack , or supporting the revocation of jobs-killing free trade agreements, or demanding that Yemini civilians not be massacred. Instead, they're attacking him on the grounds of insufficient nationalism, militarism, and aggression: equating a desire to avoid confrontation with Moscow as a form of treason (just like they did when they were the leading Cold Warriors).

This is why they're finding such common cause with the nation's most bloodthirsty militarists -- not because it's an alliance of convenience but rather one of shared convictions (indeed, long before Trump, neocons were planning a re-alignment with Democrats under a Clinton presidency). 27

Republicans also object to many of Trump's initiatives. For example, John McCain has attacked his cozy relationship with the Kremlin. And neoliberals in the Republican Party support the TPP and free trade globalization in general. The neocon Max Boot has gone so far as to support the Democrat's call for a special counsel to investigate Trump's collusion with Putin. He explains,

There is a good reason why Trump and his partisans are so apoplectic about the prospect of a special counsel, and it is precisely why it is imperative to appoint one: because otherwise we will never know the full story of the Kremlin's tampering with our elections and of the Kremlin's connections with the president of the United States. As evidenced by his desperate attempts to change the subject, Trump appears petrified of what such a probe would reveal. 28

Even if Trump weathers the storm of this resistance from above and below, his foreign policy could flounder on its own internal conflicts and inconsistencies. To take one example: his policy of collaboration with Russia in Syria could flounder on his simultaneous commitment to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran. Why? Because Iran is a Russian ally in the region. Most disturbingly, if the Trump administration goes into a deeper crisis, it will double down on its bigoted scapegoating of immigrants and Muslims to deflect attention from its failures.

Economic nationalism beyond Trump?

While Trump's contradictions could stymie his ability to impose his economic nationalist program, that program is not going to disappear any more than the problems it is intended to address. The reality is that the United States faces continued decline in the neoliberal world order. China, even taking into account the many contradictions it faces, continues to benefit from the current setup.

That's why, in an ironic twist of historic proportions, Chinese premier Xi Jing Ping defended the Washington Consensus in his country's first address at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. He even went so far as to promise to come to the rescue of free-trade globalization if the Trump administration abandoned it. "No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war ," he declared. "Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one's self in a dark room. Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so are light and air." 29

One of his underlings, Zhang Jun, remarked, "If anyone were to say China is playing a leadership role in the world I would say it's not China rushing to the front but rather the front runners have stepped back leaving the place to China. If China is required to play that leadership role then China will assume its responsibilities." 30

China is accelerating the transformation of its economy. It seeks to push out multinationals that have used it as an export-processing platform and replace them with its own state-owned and private corporations, which, like Germany, will export its surplus manufactured goods to the rest of the world market. 31 No wonder, then, that a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce found that 80 percent of American multinationals consider China inhospitable for business. 32

China is also aggressively trying to supplant the United States as the economic hegemon in Asia. Immediately after Trump nixed the TPP, China appealed to states in the Asia Pacific region to sign on to its alternative trade treaty, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China is determined to challenge American imperial rule of the Asia Pacific. Though its navy is far smaller than Washington's, it plans to accelerate efforts to build up its regional naval power against Trump's threats to block Chinese access to the strategic islands in the South China Sea.

All of this was underway before Trump. That's why Obama was already inching toward some of Trump's policies. He initiated the pivot to Asia, deployed the US Navy to the region, and imposed tariffs on Chinese steel and tires. He also complained about NATO countries and others freeloading on American military largesse. He thus encouraged Japan's rearmament and deployments of its forces abroad. He also began the move to on-shoring manufacturing based on a low-wage America with cheap energy and revitalized infrastructure.

So it's imaginable that another figure could take up and repackage Trump's economic nationalism. Regardless of whether this happens or not, it is clear that there is a trajectory deep in the dynamics of the world system toward interimperial rivalry between the United States and its main imperialist challenger, China. Obviously there are countervailing forces that mitigate the tendency toward military conflict between them. The high degree of economic integration makes the ruling classes hesitant to risk war. And, because all the major states are nuclear powers, each is reluctant to risk armed conflicts turning into mutual annihilation.

... ... ...


  1. Martin Wolf, "The Long and Painful Journey to World Disorder," Financial Times , January 5, 2017, www.ft.com/content/ef13e61a-ccec-11e6-b8... .
  2. Robert Kagan, "Backing Into World War III," Foreign Policy , February 6, 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/02/06/back... .
  3. For background on this key institution of American imperialism see Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (New York: Authors Choice Press, 2004), and Laurence H. Shoup, Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2015).
  4. Gideon Rose, "Out of Order," Foreign Affairs (January–February, 2017).
  5. Richard Haass, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order (New York: Penguin Press, 2017).
  6. For one of the best accounts of neoliberalism as a response to globalization and a strategy to overcome the crisis of the 1970s, see Neil Davidson, "The Neoliberal Era in Britain: Historical Developments and Current Perspectives," International Socialism Journal , no. 139 (2013), http://isj.org.uk/the-neoliberal-era-in-... .
  7. Lecture at Trinity College, Dublin, Oct. 12, 1999, cited by Sam Gindin in "Social Justice and Globalization: Are They Compatible?" Monthly Review , June 2002, 11.
  8. For an account of the neoliberal boom and consequent crisis and slump, see David McNally, Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2010).
  9. For a summary of the classical theory of imperialism, see Phil Gasper, "Lenin and Bukharin on Imperialism," International Socialist Review , no. 100 (May 2009), http://isreview.org/issue/100/lenin-and-... .
  10. Nikolai Bukharin, Imperialism and World Economy, chapter 8, "World Economy and the Nation State," at www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/... .
  11. For a summary and critique of Hardt and Negri's ideas see Tom Lewis, "Empire strikes out," International Socialist Review , no. 24 (July–August 2002), www.isreview.org/issues/24/empire_strike... .
  12. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2000), xiii–xiv.
  13. See, for example, William Robinson, A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and the State in a Transitional World (Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins, 2004).
  14. See Ashley Smith, "Global empire or imperialism?" International Socialist Review , no 92 (Spring 2014), http://isreview.org/issue/92 .
  15. Justin Yifu Lin, "China and the Global Economy," Remarks at the Conference "Asia's Role in the Post-Crisis Global Economy," November 29, 2011, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DEC/s... .
  16. Tim Worstall, "China's Only 15% of the Global Economy But Contributes 25-30% of Global Growth," Forbes , October 30, 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2016/10... .
  17. Susan Rice, "Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest," Foreign Affairs , January/February 2000, www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2000-01-... .
  18. Cited in Patrick Cockburn, The Occupation (London: Verso, 2006), 4.
  19. Ashley Smith, "US Imperialism's Pivot to Asia," International Socialist Review , no. 88, January 2009, http://isreview.org/issue/88/us-imperial... .
  20. Roger Yu, "China Eyes Global Economic Leadership as U.S. Turns Inwards," USA Today , March 1, 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/0... .
  21. Ed Pilkington and Martin Pengelly, "'Let it Be an Arms Race': Donald Trump Appears to Double Down on Nuclear Expansion," The Guardian , December 24, 2016, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/23/... .
  22. Max Fisher, "Trump's Military Ambition: Raw Power as a Means and an End," New York Times , March 3, 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/world/america... .
  23. Stephen Zunes, "Trump's Frightening Picks for U.S. Policy in the Middle East," The Progressive , December 22, 2016, http://progressive.org/dispatches/trump-... .
  24. Phillip Rucker and Robert Costa, "Bannon Vows Daily Fight for the "Deconstruction of the Administrative State," Washington Post , February 23, 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/top-wh-s... .
  25. John Tammy, "Peter Navarro is Providing Donald Trump with Very Dangerous Economic Advice," Forbes , September 18, 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2016/09/1... .
  26. Julie Hirschfeld Davis, "Rumblings of a 'Deep State' Undermining Trump? It Was Once a Foreign Concept," New York Times , March 6, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/us/po... .
  27. Glenn Greenwald, "Democrats Now Demonize the Same Russia Policies that Obama Long Championed," The Intercept , March 6, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/03/06/demo... .
  28. Max Boot, "Trump Knows the Feds Are Closing In on Him," Foreign Policy , March 6, 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/06/trum... .
  29. Stephen Fidler, Te-Ping Chen, and Lingling Wei, "China's Xi Jingping Seizes Role as Leader of Globalization," Wall Street Journal , January 17, 2017, www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-xi-jinping-d... .
  30. Reuters , "Diplomat Says China Would Assume World Leadership if Needed," January 23, 2017, www.reuters.com/article/us-china-usa-pol... .
  31. For China's shifting economic strategy see Fareed Zakaria, "Trump Could Be the Best Things That's Happened to China in a Long Time," Washington Post , January 12, 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-could-be-the-best-thing-thats-happened-to-china-in-a-long-time/2017/01/12/f4d71a3a-d913-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?utm_term=.26b51e4d5547 and Andrew Browne, "As China Pivots, Donald Trump Risks Fighting an Old War," Wall Street Journal , December 27, 2016, www.wsj.com/articles/as-china-pivots-tru... .
  32. Huiling Tan, "Businesses Move China Down Priority List: AmCham Survey," CNBC, January 17, 2017, www.cnbc.com/2017/01/17/businesses-move-... .
  33. For further discussion of this point, see Ashley Smith, "Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution," Socialist Worker , August 25, 2016, https://socialistworker.org/2016/08/25/a... .
  34. For more on this, see Brian Bean and Todd Chretien, "Socialists and 'the Bern,'" Socialist Worker , February 29, 2016, https://socialistworker.org/2016/02/29/s... .

[Jul 22, 2018] Trump's New Neoliberalism s by Marco Rosaire Rossi

Notable quotes:
"... Through neoliberal rationales, they are able to reach many of their social objectives even if they fall short of their policy goals ..."
"... The belief that Trump would alter American conservativism away from neoliberal economics is not without its basis. ..."
"... The marriage between neoliberalism and Christian nationalism that neo-conservatives pursued during the George W. Bush era was going to experience a soft separation under Trump. The pursuit of neoliberalism policies would be relegated in importance, if not abandoned completely, and there would be doubling down on Christian nationalism, with a tripling down on the nationalist element. Unsurprisingly, the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reveals that Trump is ready to renege on his end of this bargain with the hope that poor whites will still be willing to keep up their end. ..."
"... The argument that Trump would somehow overturn America's neoliberal economic order myopically focused on Trump's trade policy. In doing so, it both misunderstood what Trump represented and the ideological framework of neoliberalism. Trump's fever pitch agonizing over the United States' trade deficit with China and Mexico are both the wallowing of an economic idiot and the maneuvering of a political savant. ..."
"... The insinuation was for average Americans to take back what was rightfully theirs by engaging in a new round of economic bargaining with these two nations, if not an open trade war. ..."
"... As the latest tax bill has shown, Trump is dedicated to weakening the ability of the government to extract wealth from the rich. This supreme goal takes priority over the Republican gospel of balance budgets. ..."
"... The Right Nation: Conservative Power in ..."
"... The United States now has an Americanized version of European style far Right politics, and its xenophobic ambitious has come about through a constant assertion of neoliberal values. ..."
"... Understood in proper terms, "economic nationalism" is best described as "market statism" -- where, in Milton Friedman's words, the purpose of the state should be "to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets" but nothing else. ..."
"... Capitalism and Freedom ..."
Jan 07, 2018 | new-compass.net
The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has refuted any notion that Trump's ascension to the White House would mark an end to neoliberalism. Poor whites who supported Trump expected him to offer America a new version of conservativism that would break with neoliberalism. Instead, furthering neoliberal policies has become a critical objective that works in tandem with Trump's xenophobic rhetoric

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, President Trump secured his first major policy victory. Despite their federal dominance, the Republican Party has proven to be legislatively constipated. Below the surface of party unity, sectarian differences between the competing strains of American conservatism have hindered it from taking advantage of its historical positioning. Nevertheless, tax cuts proved to be a workable common ground that Trump was able to take advantage of. While commentary of the passage has tended to focus on this Republican unity, the most significant aspect of the Act's passage is the refutation that Donald Trump's ascension to the White House would somehow mark an end to the era of neoliberal economics. Furthering neoliberal policies has not only been an aspect of Trump's agenda but a critical goal that works in tandem with his xenophobic rhetoric. Far from being opposed by the Bannon faction of Trump's coalition, neoliberalism has provided a comforting aerie for their fascist inclinations to develop. Through neoliberal rationales, they are able to reach many of their social objectives even if they fall short of their policy goals .

The belief that Trump would alter American conservativism away from neoliberal economics is not without its basis. In a bizarre case of enveloping ironies, Trump's presidential campaign was successful in portraying him as both a billionaire business wizard and as an example of an American everyman. He advocated for "draining the swamp" of corrupt Wall Street executives, while at the same time paraded his practice of tax evasion has an example of his shrewd financial acumen. The incompatibility of these two personas is obvious, but it has a certain appeal within the context of America's poor whites. Poor white Americans are both spiteful toward and enamored by capitalism. They are spiteful because it retards their own social mobility, but enamored with it because it provides a basis for their own privilege over racial minorities. Unlike their counterparts among racial minorities, poor whites do not consider themselves poor by class, but poor by temporary misfortune. They are not poor per se, but rather down-on-their-luck millionaires whose are unjustly treated by liberal elites and coddled minorities. For these people, Trump represented an enchanting example of uncouth success. The fact that he was crass and despised only reinforced the notion that it is not connections and education that made a person wealthy, but hard work and an intuition for affluence. Culturally speaking, these are traits are considered innate to white Americans. Of course, to believe this mythology, many of Trump's low-class acolytes were only willing to support his campaign under the pretext of an unspoken bargain: they would ignore the reality that his wealth was inherited and not earned, and he would refrain from the usual Republican claptrap about the virtues of privatizing Social Security and Medicare. That way both partners could remain comfortable in their delusions that all their current and potential future wealth was a product of their own doing. The result of this unspoken bargain was that Trump was supposed to offer America a new version of conservativism. The marriage between neoliberalism and Christian nationalism that neo-conservatives pursued during the George W. Bush era was going to experience a soft separation under Trump. The pursuit of neoliberalism policies would be relegated in importance, if not abandoned completely, and there would be doubling down on Christian nationalism, with a tripling down on the nationalist element. Unsurprisingly, the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reveals that Trump is ready to renege on his end of this bargain with the hope that poor whites will still be willing to keep up their end.

Astute observers saw this betrayal coming. The argument that Trump would somehow overturn America's neoliberal economic order myopically focused on Trump's trade policy. In doing so, it both misunderstood what Trump represented and the ideological framework of neoliberalism. Trump's fever pitch agonizing over the United States' trade deficit with China and Mexico are both the wallowing of an economic idiot and the maneuvering of a political savant. The issue was always economically inane. A trade deficit in-and-of-itself reveals very little about the overall health of an economy. Whether a nation should strive for or against a trade deficit is more dependent on that nation's strategic position within the global economy, and not necessarily an indicator of the health of domestic markets. But, trade proved to be a salient issue for symbolic purposes. Stagnation and automation have compelled American middle and lower classes to accept an economic torpor. Making trade deficits a central campaign tenant provided these people with an outlet for their class anxieties without having to question the nature of class itself. Lethargic economic growth was blamed on Mexicans and the Chinese. The insinuation was for average Americans to take back what was rightfully theirs by engaging in a new round of economic bargaining with these two nations, if not an open trade war.

While Trump's criticism of Mexico and China seemed to imply an undoing of international market liberalization and a return to an age of greater protectionism, in reality, Trump very rarely recommended such policies. Instead, he made vague references to "good people" who will make "good deals" for American workers and openly preferred lowering America's corporate tax rate in order to encourage businesses to reinvest in the United States. The first proposal was always understood as meaningless. Its value was in showmanship. A person can hoodwink the world into thinking that they are a genius just by referring to everyone around them as a moron. However, the second proposal not only does not overturn the reigning neoliberal order, it strengthens it. As the latest tax bill has shown, Trump is dedicated to weakening the ability of the government to extract wealth from the rich. This supreme goal takes priority over the Republican gospel of balance budgets. The deficit be damned if preventing it smacks of any hint of expropriation of the wealthy. But, the deficit is not entirely damned. It is an open secret that Republicans are salivating for a fiscal crisis that will provide them with a pretext for cutting Social Security and Medicare. It was only a matter of time before Trump's administration wholeheartedly joins them.

The fact that the real potential for cutting favored government programs has not resulted in the same outcry among Trump's supporters, even among low-class demographics, as his suggestion that he might soften his position on immigration is a grave concern. Social Security and Medicare are extremely popular in the United States among poor and working people regardless of ethnicity and political ideology. Nevertheless, tolerance for their obliteration has become palatable to the majority of white Americans. In 2004, journalists John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge published their exhaustive history of the American Right, The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America . At the time, Michlethwait and Wooldridge could accurately claim that "in no other country is the Right defined so much by values rather than class Yet despite the importance of values, America has failed to produce a xenophobic 'far Right' on anything like the same scale as Europe has." A little over a decade later, Michlethwait's and Wooldridge's observation has become obsolete. Trump is inept at policy and governance, but he is a skilled mobilizer and has managed to shift the American Right into a new direction. The United States now has an Americanized version of European style far Right politics, and its xenophobic ambitious has come about through a constant assertion of neoliberal values.

Trump has not only furthered the neoliberal doctrine of privatization, but also that of the economization of everyday life, and specifically, the economization of American racism. While fear of cultural differences between "the west" and "the rest" has always been front and center for the Bannon wing of Trump's coalition, more tactical voices find economic justifications for their xenophobia: immigrants steal jobs, freeride on welfare benefits, and don't pay taxes. The image that emerges when these talking points converge is a political system enamored with quantifying and dispensing material goods between those who deserve and those who do not. For most modern conservatives, opposition to immigration is not based on an open fear of differences; rather, it is a feeling that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, are unwilling to accept a free market economic system that treats all Americans on fair and equal terms. Unlike average Americans, who work hard and thus deserve their market remunerations, immigrants -- and by implication other minorities -- rely on a mixture of government handouts and liberal acquiescence to the rules. Immigrants cash their welfare checks because liberal elites look the other way on law enforcement. This worldview suggests that the government should not only be redirected to strenuous law enforcement but also that it should not be in the business of providing society with social welfare in the first place. Doing so only creates an impetus for illegal immigration and lazy minorities. In this manner, Bannon's cheerleading of "economic nationalism" was always a rhetorical mirage. Understood in proper terms, "economic nationalism" is best described as "market statism" -- where, in Milton Friedman's words, the purpose of the state should be "to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets" but nothing else.

There is no fundamental difference in the terms of the realpolitik outcomes between Friedman's neoliberalism and Bannon's economic nationalism, even if they begin from separate economic philosophies. The only difference is in what should be considered preferable within market configurations. In Capitalism and Freedom , Friedman emphasizes his personal objections to racist ideologies but sees no need for a government to ensure racial equality. According to Friedman, racism is to be overcome through individual argumentation, not political struggle; it is the changing of tastes within the marketplace that will provide the liberation of ethnic minorities, not the paternal hand of the government preventing discrimination. Friedman's de-politicizing of racial anxieties to mere matters of "taste," provides an opening for those -- like Bannon -- who are eager to engage in a culture war, but are well aware of the potentially alienating effects of actually taking up arms. If racial discrimination is only a matter of "taste," similar to other desires within the marketplace, then the maintenance of white supremacy is predicated on its profitability. As long as whiteness can maintain its social hegemony, then Friedman's governmental obligations "to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets," will serve to reinforce it. The neoliberal economizing of American racism allows for many of the effects of white supremacy without necessarily the adoption of any of its core premises. Trump's coalition of white nationalists and free-market ideologues thus become comfortable bedfellows, even while maintaining a rhetorical mistrust of each other.

The question is can Trump maintain his coalition of realigned conservatives in time for the next election cycle? While his low polling numbers and recent Democratic Party successes are encouraging, they are not foolproof. The destabilizing of the narrative on American racism can only occur through a refusal to accept the economization of the debate. The exclusion of racial minorities from social welfare and the utter bureaucratic madness of the United States' immigration policies have a moral dimension that has to take precedence over concerns regarding job stealing and tax burdens, no matter how fallacious such arguments are to begin with. Expecting the Democratic Party's leadership to play a leading role in this de-economization of the debate is not impossible, but unlikely. Along with Republicans, Democrats have been complicit in the framing social issues in relations to the economy, and the economy as merely working in the service of private interests. Only recently has the leftwing of the Democratic Party been organized and energized enough to counter this influence and return the party to its New Deal orientation. Whatever its limitations, Roosevelt's "freedom from want" provides a moral framework for economic policy. It is a reasonable and familiar starting point to break with a neoliberal credo that economizes all morality within a capitalist framework.

While the left-wing of the Democratic Party has seen tremendous progress, it is still far from overturning the organization's centrist leadership. In many ways, the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a painful reminder of how weak the American Left is once Republicans are able to stay united. Like with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is extremely unpopular. The trickledown theory of economics that the act is based on is rightly seen a convenient canard for the rich. So much so, that it has been reduced to a cliché joke among late night talk show hosts. With the exception of Fox News, the mainstream press has frequently commented on the nearly universal consensus among economists that the Act will result in a massive transfer of wealth to the upper class. Intellectually, there is no place for defenders of the Act to hide. However, unlike opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been somewhat muted. While Americans still are seething from the injustices of the 2007-2008 economic collapse, ten years on, they still have not found a tangible political venue to express their frustrations. This means that regardless of the outcome of the next election cycle the American Left is going to have to play a persistent role creating a meaningful outlet for people's dismay, and fostering a political discourse that recognizes that the Trump phenomenon is rooted in the neoliberal age that preceded it. The dangerous tantrum-prone child of Trumpism will only be forced off the playground when its neoliberal parents no longer own the park.

[Jul 21, 2018] Don t let his trade policy fool you Trump is a neoliberal by Daniel Bessner and Matthew Sparke

Yes he is a libral domestcally and nationalsit in forign policy -- that's why the term "national neoliberalism" looks appropriate for definition of his policies
Notable quotes:
"... When one compares these 10 neoliberal commandments with Trump's policy agenda, it is clear that the president is far more neoliberal than his populist rhetoric would suggest. ..."
"... Trump is clearly and consistently positioning himself to cut taxes on the wealthy, deregulate big business and the financial industry, and pursue a wide range of privatization plans and public-private partnerships that will further weaken American unions. In short, he will govern like the neoliberals who came before him and against whom he campaigned so ardently. ..."
"... In fact, Trump's agenda aims to realize the foremost goals of neoliberalism: privatization, deregulation, tax-cutting, anti-unionism, and the strict enforcement of property rights. For example, in his address to Congress , Trump promised "a big, big cut" for American companies and boasted about his administration's "historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations." Ironically, Trump then asserted that he will reduce regulations by "creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency," itself a contradictory expansion of the administrative state he had just sworn to shrink. ..."
"... Like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Trump was correct to criticize the Obama administration, whose economic team was for a time staffed by neoliberal Democrats like Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, for saving Wall Street after the financial collapse of 2008 while allowing Main Street to go under. Trump's victory is the direct result of the fact that American workers have not been well served by the country's policymaking elites. ..."
"... Yet the resistance that Trump's presidency has inspired across the country must also learn from the contradictions between his economic nationalism and neoliberalism. Those who reject his phony populism must be careful not to dismiss the concerns of Trump's voters, which has unfortunately been the response of too many who console themselves by deriding Trump's supporters as ignorant "deplorables" who deserve what they will get. ..."
"... The problem with the last paragraph is that it tries once again to put the election in purely economic terms. It wasn't. It was largely white cultural backlash. Much of his vote was driven by bans on immigration and a promise to maintain a white rural/suburban culture by bringing jobs back like coal mining or manufacturing jobs to Northwood Michigan. ..."
Mar 22, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs." To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control.

This same messy mix of free market fundamentalism and hyper-nationalistic populism is presently taking shape in Trump's proposed budget. But the apparent contradiction there isn't likely to slow down Trump's pro-market, pro-Wall Street, pro-wealth agenda. His supporters may soon discover that his professions of care for those left behind by globalization are -- aside from some mostly symbolic moves on trade -- empty.

Just look at what has already happened with the GOP's proposed replacement for Obamacare , which if enacted would bring increased pain and suffering to the anxious voters who put their trust in Trump's populism in the first place. While these Americans might have thought their votes would win them protection from the instabilities and austerities of market-led globalization, what they are getting is a neoliberal president in populist clothing.

Neoliberalism is a term most often used to critique market-fundamentalism rather than to define a particular policy agenda. Nonetheless, it is most useful to understand neoliberalism's policy implications in terms of 10 norms that have defined its historical practice. These norms begin with

  1. trade liberalization and extend to
  2. the encouragement of exports;
  3. enticement of foreign investment;
  4. reduction of inflation;
  5. reduction of public spending;
  6. privatization of public services;
  7. deregulation of industry and finance;
  8. reduction and flattening of taxes;
  9. restriction of union organization;
  10. and, finally, enforcement of property and land ownership.

Politicians don't necessarily have to profess faith in all of these norms to be considered neoliberal. Rather, they have to buy into neoliberalism's general market-based logic and its attendant promise of opportunity.

When one compares these 10 neoliberal commandments with Trump's policy agenda, it is clear that the president is far more neoliberal than his populist rhetoric would suggest. This conclusion will likely surprise his supporters, especially in light of Trump's assaults on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Despite these attacks, however, Trump is clearly and consistently positioning himself to cut taxes on the wealthy, deregulate big business and the financial industry, and pursue a wide range of privatization plans and public-private partnerships that will further weaken American unions. In short, he will govern like the neoliberals who came before him and against whom he campaigned so ardently.

In fact, Trump's agenda aims to realize the foremost goals of neoliberalism: privatization, deregulation, tax-cutting, anti-unionism, and the strict enforcement of property rights. For example, in his address to Congress , Trump promised "a big, big cut" for American companies and boasted about his administration's "historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations." Ironically, Trump then asserted that he will reduce regulations by "creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency," itself a contradictory expansion of the administrative state he had just sworn to shrink.

Since so much of Trump's agenda aligns with the long-standing ambitions of the Republican Party, it is likely that Trump will be able to work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to pass strictly neoliberal legislation. Unlike his approach to trade, which congressional Republicans will probably scuttle, there is little reason to doubt that we will see new legislation that privatizes public lands, overturns Dodd-Frank and other Wall Street regulations, cuts taxes on business, makes organizing unions difficult, and allows big landowners to develop, mine, log, and shoot without restraint. For all the animosity that may exist between the Trump administration and Republican congressmen, the two groups share a neoliberal vision of the world.

From his new budget proposal we also know that Trump plans to continue the neoliberal assault on social service provisions -- such as the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act -- as well as public broadcasting, arts funding, scientific research and foreign aid. As Trump vowed to Congress, he intends to implement a plan in which "Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded health savings accounts." Moreover, the money he does want to spend will be expended on military and infrastructure projects that will almost certainly be organized around public-private partnerships that will fill the coffers of Trump's business cronies.

What does Trump's neoliberal agenda mean for those whose discontent with globalization gave him the presidency? Nothing good. The irony here is that the same neoliberalism that Trump plans to strengthen created the conditions that allowed him to enter the White House. Like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Trump was correct to criticize the Obama administration, whose economic team was for a time staffed by neoliberal Democrats like Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, for saving Wall Street after the financial collapse of 2008 while allowing Main Street to go under. Trump's victory is the direct result of the fact that American workers have not been well served by the country's policymaking elites.

Yet the resistance that Trump's presidency has inspired across the country must also learn from the contradictions between his economic nationalism and neoliberalism. Those who reject his phony populism must be careful not to dismiss the concerns of Trump's voters, which has unfortunately been the response of too many who console themselves by deriding Trump's supporters as ignorant "deplorables" who deserve what they will get. Going forward, all of those who want to resist the President's agenda must engage those left behind by neoliberalism and provide them with an economic vision that addresses their very real concerns. After all, Trump's administration will probably strengthen the forces that have hurt these citizens, and they will need representatives who are genuinely concerned with their well-being if our political turmoil is to be put to rest.

Don't let his trade policy fool you: Trump is a neoliberal


Notjames 3/22/2017 1:37 PM EDT [Edited]

(2/2) I think the truth is that many of these people are too far gone mentally and emotionally to ever come around to the "correct" way of thinking (which is to say, they have been so brainwashed by reacting to facile nonsense like "liberty" and "freedom" that they will believe anything as long as the argument is couched in those terms, despite the fact that when they vote they are indeed consigning themselves and the rest of the country to a world without those very freedoms for anybody who's not supposedly "one of them").

A great man once famously said "Conscience do cost." And boy, does it. Liberals need to get over their conscience once and for all, and push back against conservatives the way conservatives have been for decades, but that can only happen if we are honest about who we are arguing with, and call them out, boldly and proudly, on their intellectual failings.

Notjames 3/22/2017 1:37 PM EDT
(1/2) It's clear the authors don't expose themselves to right-wing news outlets. Far too much is made in liberal media about the "deplorables" and how they feel suffocated by the economy (or more realistically, by the natural ebb and flow of capitalism), but they belie the fact that so much of modern conservatism is more about being anti-liberal than it is about any sort of pro-conservative ideology. The "deplorable" moniker has been adapted and co-opted by conservatives and is now worn proudly as a badge of honor (in the same way "fake news" began as a liberal criticism of specific, deliberately-misleading media targeted towards the right, but is now a term used almost exclusively by the right to blanket-describe literally any media that they disagree with). Any criticisms of Trump are immediately met with criticisms of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or Democrats in general. Bring up the KKK's support of Trump 3 months ago? They'll bring up how the KKK was invented by Democrats 150 years ago.

The authors are too nice/professional to say it, but liberals need to stop handling conservatives with kid gloves and start calling them what they are: rubes. Because it's not enough that they vote against their own self-interest and the interests of the country, they take it one further and are actively gleeful in depriving liberals of anything liberals might value. Conversely, most liberals I know and read online don't have an active hatred of conservatives, instead they have compassion and want to educate them, and I suppose the thought is that if only enough of these articles get written, they'll eventually come around.

They won't.

I-Myslef 3/22/2017 1:36 PM EDT
Like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Trump was correct to criticize the Obama administration, whose economic team was for a time staffed by neoliberal Democrats like Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, for saving Wall Street after the financial collapse of 2008 while allowing Main Street to go under.

And here you have it. This is how Trump got elected. The Bernibots are the unwitting agent that gave us Trump. And they are planing on doubling down

Diane_ 3/22/2017 12:30 PM EDT
You have to care about people other than yourself in order to be called a liberal.
elkiii_2008 3/22/2017 10:28 AM EDT
The problem with the last paragraph is that it tries once again to put the election in purely economic terms. It wasn't. It was largely white cultural backlash. Much of his vote was driven by bans on immigration and a promise to maintain a white rural/suburban culture by bringing jobs back like coal mining or manufacturing jobs to Northwood Michigan.

It is quite possible that Trump can win again in these areas despite implementing neoliberal policies. And it isn't that Democrats don't have an economic message, they do. But it is one that includes and supports a much wider cultural base and one that many of that WWC that voted for Trump don't want to hear.

I-Myslef 3/22/2017 1:37 PM EDT
NO. The Rust Belt was handed over to him by Bernie and non stop assault on Clinton and trade ...
the T for 2 3/22/2017 8:55 AM EDT
If 73% of Americans Owe Money when they die ? The PURPOSE OF THE STOCK MARKET IS WHAT ? Weed out The Rich at the PEARLY GATES? ... more See More

[Jul 18, 2018] Fascism A Warning by Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright is a well known neocon who was instrumental in organizing the invasion of Yugoslavia
Notable quotes:
"... Every reader will conclude that his or her political enemies fit the bill. ..."
"... And, unfortunately, I fear, she, in one fell swoop of prose, both fuels the fires of division while exiling the book to practical irrelevance. In the end, she will likely only energize both political extremes, and, I suspect, the reader ratings of this book will ultimately reflect that. ..."
"... She notes, for starters, that the Fascist epithet may be appropriate for the US today for reasons having more to do with economics than populism. The Fascist Party of Italy, which gave rise to general use of the term, was the ultimate merger of the corporate and political states. And that is, in fact, what has happened here in the US. ..."
"... The incorporation accelerated greatly during the dot-com 90s when young entrepreneurs were preaching disruption and libertarianism. It is ironic, indeed, that tech's "democratic" perspective has now produced among the biggest and most powerful corporations the world has ever known. And they pulled it off, actually, while the anti-trust regulators in both Republican and Democratic administrations stood by and watched. ..."
"... To me what we have today is not so much analogous to the Fascist or Nazi parties of the mid-20th Century as it is the power of the church in Medieval Europe. The kings and queens of Washington may wear the crowns, but it is the corporate "popes" of Wall Street and Silicon Valley that are really calling the shots. ..."
"... Neither party has defined an agenda that addresses the issues that originally brought Trump to power. And until that happens I believe Albright's Fascist warning will remain valid. ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Gary Moreau, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars | Verified Purchase
Oh how I wanted to rate this book a 6

This is a timely book by a brilliant person who had a front row seat to the tragedy that was Europe in the Mid-20th Century. There is little doubt that the world is starting to look fearfully like it did at the beginning of those dark hours, starting with the tyranny of Hitler and Mussolini and culminating in the Cold War and the gulags of the Soviet Union.

Figuratively speaking, this is really three books. The first will be the most divisive and may, in fact, quite unfortunately, relegate the book to practical irrelevance. The second book is extremely insightful and informative. And the third book, honestly, is pure gold and vintage Madeline Albright.

The first book begins with a contradiction. Albright openly acknowledges that Fascism has become a meaningless epithet, hurled, as it is, by opposing politicians of every stripe and at parents merely attempting to limit the cell phone usage of their children. She goes on to defend the titular use of the term, however, by clarifying her use of the term: "To my mind, a Fascist is someone who identifies strongly with and claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use whatever means are necessary -- including violence -- to achieve his or her goals."

At that point, however, she hasn't really narrowed the list of politicians who qualify for the pejorative label at all. Every reader will conclude that his or her political enemies fit the bill. She seals the fate of this portion of the book, however, when she asks, on page 4 of the book, " why, this far into the twenty-first century, are we once again talking about Fascism?" And answers, "One reason, frankly, is Donald Trump. If we think of Fascism as a wound from the past that had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking at the scab." And she goes on to make thinly veiled comparisons between Trump, Mussolini, and Joseph McCarthy.

And, unfortunately, I fear, she, in one fell swoop of prose, both fuels the fires of division while exiling the book to practical irrelevance. In the end, she will likely only energize both political extremes, and, I suspect, the reader ratings of this book will ultimately reflect that.

That is most unfortunate because without those opening pages this would be a truly terrific book. It chronicles both relevant history and the recent past to a degree that few other people on the planet could.

The second part of the book is devoted to an analysis of recent political events in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Venezuela, the Philippines, Russia, North Korea, and, of course, the United States. All, to varying degrees, she maintains, are showing signs of a slide toward Fascism and the decline of post-war liberal democracy. It is an informative analysis and unless you are a political junkie, you will learn a lot.

In the third part of the book she truly hits her stride. She notes, for starters, that the Fascist epithet may be appropriate for the US today for reasons having more to do with economics than populism. The Fascist Party of Italy, which gave rise to general use of the term, was the ultimate merger of the corporate and political states. And that is, in fact, what has happened here in the US.

The incorporation of America has been going on since the conservative movement of the 1980s, however, and while Trump is carrying the corporate water at the moment, he can hardly be blamed for allowing Wall Street and Silicon Valley to take control of Washington.

The incorporation accelerated greatly during the dot-com 90s when young entrepreneurs were preaching disruption and libertarianism. It is ironic, indeed, that tech's "democratic" perspective has now produced among the biggest and most powerful corporations the world has ever known. And they pulled it off, actually, while the anti-trust regulators in both Republican and Democratic administrations stood by and watched.

To me what we have today is not so much analogous to the Fascist or Nazi parties of the mid-20th Century as it is the power of the church in Medieval Europe. The kings and queens of Washington may wear the crowns, but it is the corporate "popes" of Wall Street and Silicon Valley that are really calling the shots.

Which is why both parties, I think, should be fearful of whatever happens in the mid-term elections. Be careful what you wish for. Neither party has defined an agenda that addresses the issues that originally brought Trump to power. And until that happens I believe Albright's Fascist warning will remain valid.

In the final chapters of the book Albright notes that putting American interests first invites Russia, China, and others to do the same. And it is here that she lowers her partisan guard (we all have one) and calls for unity through the recognition of our common humanity and the rejection of extremism that favors one group over another.

It is here that she also seems to soften her position on ideals of post-war democratic liberalism and focuses more on compassion, integrity, and fairness. I think of it as defining a new standard of shared obligation and responsibility that includes those countries and those people that aren't rushing to implement an Electoral College and to copy our form of bare-knuckle individualism, but those are my words, not hers.

In the end she notes that spend her time on issues like: "purging excess money from politics, improving civic education, defending journalistic independence, adjusting to the changing nature of the workplace, enhancing inter-religious dialogue, and putting a saddle on the bucking bronco we call the Internet." It's a perfect ending to what is a very good book by an inspiring individual.

I do recommend reading it.

[Jul 15, 2018] Donald Trump told Theresa May how to do Brexit 'but she wrecked it' and says the US trade deal is off

Jul 15, 2018 | thesun.co.uk

THERESA May's new soft Brexit blueprint would "kill" any future trade deal with the United States, Donald Trump warns today.

Mounting an extraordinary attack on the PM's exit negotiation, the President also reveals she has ignored his advice on how to toughen up the troubled talks.

Instead he believes Mrs May has gone "the opposite way", and he thinks the results have been "very unfortunate".

His fiercest criticism came over the centrepiece of the PM's new Brexit plan -- which was unveiled in full yesterday.

It would stick to a common ­rulebook with Brussels on goods and agricultural produce in a bid to keep customs borders open with the EU.

But Mr Trump told The Sun: "If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.

[Jul 12, 2018] Mueller again asks for delay in Flynn sentencing by Morgan Chalfant

Jun 29, 2018 | thehill.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is again asking for a delay in the sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to court documents filed Friday.

The special counsel and attorneys for Flynn are asking for two more months before scheduling his sentencing, requesting to file another status report by Aug. 24.

"Due to the status of the Special Counsel's investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time," states a joint status report filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

This is the third time that prosecutors have asked to delay sentencing for Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December to lying to FBI agents investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

... ... ...

[Jul 10, 2018] MoA - BREXIT - Still Not Gonna Happen

The trend is definitely against EU. But Britain may be crushed, like Brazil and Argentina into accepting neoliberal world order for longer.
Notable quotes:
"... Maybe Johnson the Brexiter can now launch an inner party coup and push Theresa May out. According to a YouGov poll she lost significant support within her conservative party. Besides the Brexit row she botched a snap election, lost her party's majority in parliament and seems to have no clear concept for anything. It would not be a loss for mankind to see her go. ..."
"... Boris the clown, who wins within his party on 'likability' and 'shares my political outlook', would then run the UK. A quite amusing thought. Johnson is a man of no principles. While he is currently pretending to hold a pro-Brexit position he would probably run the same plan that May seems to execute: Delay as long as possible, then panic the people into a re-vote, then stay within the EU. ..."
"... There is an excellent piece in the Boston Review on the EU- https://bostonreview.net/class-inequality/j-w-mason-market-police ..."
"... Iy makes the point that "The European Union offers the fullest realization of the neoliberal political vision. Its incomplete integration -- with its confusing mix of powers -- is precisely the goal." ..."
"... It traces the neo-liberal project, designed to prevent democracy from controlling economic policy, back to von Mises and Hayek. Nothing is more mistaken for critics of imperialism than to buy the line that the EU represents internationalism in any sense. The fact that some racists oppose the EU-just as others support it as a 'white" bastion -- is no reason to give an institution which is profoundly and purposefully undemocratic the benefit of the doubt. ..."
"... It is a wondrous sight to see Western [neo]Liberal Democracy crumbling before our eyes. Have a look at the very founders and protectors of "freedom" corrupt to the very marrow of their bones. ..."
"... Anything bad that can happen to the UK is well-deserved. The home, the womb of Russophobia, lies and illegal wars, as well as the hub of spying against American citizens, is exposed as thoroughly bankrupt politically. ..."
"... EU is bound to collapse but Britain might be tempted to wait it out, and maybe it is the game in London: not to be the first. The most dynamic destructive work in progress is the Euro that benefit to none of its 18 members (the euro-zones) but Geramny and Nederland. Italy has understood it but is using the refugees crisis to enlarge the contestation to non-euro zone countries (Visegrad group and more). ..."
"... As Nato is the real and only cement in this enlarged un-united Europe, in an epoch of accelerating change (collapse maybe) the famous Wait and see of the Brits has just muted in a slow fox-trot. ..."
"... But the puffed up Brits do not even see this danger and would blithely fall into the arms of the mafiosi from across the pond. ..."
"... Brexit is rebellion against the US imposed world order. London money has gone along and profited from the US imposed order, but the ordinary Brits may not have. They may not know where they are going, but they do know where they do not want to be. ..."
"... ditto... status of colony... isn't that what the globalists, corporations, neo liberals and etc want? get rid of any national identity as it gets in the way of corporations having the freedom to rape and pillage as needed.. ..."
"... Trump has reversed some 70 years of US strategy to gain nothing. It is quite remarkable. Strategic vandalism is a good description. ..."
"... The thing about UK and the EU is the UK is basically the US 51st state and the US is a defacto commonwealth nation. The colonization of Europe by the US was never meant to encompass the UK and the City. As they are basically one and the same. ..."
"... EU could not possibly have been a US/CIA idea as it actually works. Yes it is undemocratic, usurps national aspirations, perverts local economies, coddles oligarchs, and all that. But that does not mean it is a US idea. ..."
"... Single union political aspirations have been around for centuries and in many countries. Dare I suggest that it is actually based on the Soviet Union of peoples and most likely a Leninist or Trotskyist plot!! :)))) ..."
"... What do the City of London, the Vatican and Washington DC have in common? Actually, Jerusalem shares many of the same traits. Bonus points for the most creative euphemism for "usurious bank." ..."
"... From my perspective, Nation-States have not been the loci of power for some time (if they ever really were). The US, with its awesome military might and (former) industrial capabilities has served as the enforcement arm of that usurious supra-national cabal throughout "the American Century." ..."
"... Obtainimg strong mandate Cameron went to Brussels to supposedly negotiate better deal with EU ESPECIALLY for security while in fact he went there trying to bully the shape future EU integration especially in political realm and even more in realm of banking Union and integration and coordination of banking rules, laws and unified controlling authorities, via threatening Brexit which would be a deadly blow to EU propaganda glue that holds together this melting pot of divided as never before nations and never since medieval times united national elites integrated in EU ruling bureaucracy. ..."
"... First it was devastating impact of further EU integration on UK banking as London has become legal under U.K. law illegal in EU, money laundering capital of the world and criminal income is huge part of the revenue of the City , US is second. ..."
"... At the passage of Brexit I believed the purpose to be to allow the City of London (the bankers) unlimited financial freedom, perhaps especially in their entering into agreements with the Chinese. This could not be the case under the original EU rules. It will be interesting to see how this works out. ..."
"... The reality of the brexit which the Tory government is determined to raiload through has been designed by elites to better oppress the hoi polloi and to sell it to the masses it has been marketed as a means of restoring 'white power'. ..."
"... That is really saying something because the current version of the UK is one of the sickest, greed is good and devil take the hindmost societies I have ever experienced -- up there with contemporary israel and the US, 1980's South Africa and by the sound of it (didn't experience it firsthand like the other examples, all down to not existing at the time) 1940's Germany. ..."
"... Brexit is nether the problem or the solution, it was just another distraction to keep the mass occupied, whilst they assist stripped the uk and a large part of the world! ..."
"... Every brexiteer I've asked why they voted for out, begins by saying "For once they had to listen to us" and that's usually followed by "there's too many people here" or "it's the E.Europeans". (My response to the europhiles is that you knew the EU was finished a dozen years ago, when all the Big Issue sellers turned into Romanian women.) UK cities are thick with destitute E.Europeans. ..."
Jul 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
...Hours before Boris Johnson quit his position, Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned from Prime Minister May's cabinet.

On July 6 the British government held a cabinet meeting at Chequers, the private seat of the prime minister. Following the meeting it published a paper (pdf) that took a weird position towards exiting the European Union. If it would be followed, Britain would practically end up with staying in the EU, accepting nearly all its regulations and court decisions, but without any say over what the EU decides. The paper was clearly written by the 'Remain' side. The two top Brexiters in May's cabinet felt cheated and resigned. More are likely to follow.

The majority of the British people who voted to leave the EU must feel duped.

My hunch is that Prime Minister Theresa May was tasked with 'running out the clock' in negotiations with the EU. Then, shortly before the March 2019 date of a 'hard Brexit' would arrive without any agreement with the EU, the powers that be would launch a panic campaign to push the population into a new vote. That vote would end with a victory for the 'Remain' side. The UK would continue to be a member of the European Union.

Shortly before the original Brexit vote in June 2016 MoA headlined: BREXIT - Not Gonna Happen

No matter how the Brexit vote will go, the powers that are will not allow Britain to exit the European Union.
Is that claim still justified?

Maybe Johnson the Brexiter can now launch an inner party coup and push Theresa May out. According to a YouGov poll she lost significant support within her conservative party. Besides the Brexit row she botched a snap election, lost her party's majority in parliament and seems to have no clear concept for anything. It would not be a loss for mankind to see her go.

Boris the clown, who wins within his party on 'likability' and 'shares my political outlook', would then run the UK. A quite amusing thought. Johnson is a man of no principles. While he is currently pretending to hold a pro-Brexit position he would probably run the same plan that May seems to execute: Delay as long as possible, then panic the people into a re-vote, then stay within the EU.

Then again - Boris may do the unexpected.

How do the British people feel about this?

Posted by b on July 9, 2018 at 11:43 AM | Permalink


Mark2 , Jul 9, 2018 12:07:09 PM | 2

Did you notice how quickly th E U sided with the U K over Salisbury ? That was the deal.
Remain in EU and we're back you!
Then again could have been we'l create a false flag you back us and we'll stay , a suttle nuonce.
bevin , Jul 9, 2018 12:21:17 PM | 3
The likelihood is that the blairite faction in the Parliamentary Labour Party-which has no real political differences with the Tories and is fanatically pro EU, as all neo-liberals are- will prop up the May government. Or a Tory government headed by another Remainer, with Blairites in the Cabinet.
This will prevent the General Election which Tories of all parties fear.


There is an excellent piece in the Boston Review on the EU- https://bostonreview.net/class-inequality/j-w-mason-market-police

Iy makes the point that "The European Union offers the fullest realization of the neoliberal political vision. Its incomplete integration -- with its confusing mix of powers -- is precisely the goal."

It traces the neo-liberal project, designed to prevent democracy from controlling economic policy, back to von Mises and Hayek. Nothing is more mistaken for critics of imperialism than to buy the line that the EU represents internationalism in any sense. The fact that some racists oppose the EU-just as others support it as a 'white" bastion -- is no reason to give an institution which is profoundly and purposefully undemocratic the benefit of the doubt.

John Zelnicker , Jul 9, 2018 12:23:35 PM | 4
@Jeff - #1 - You are correct. There will not be another referendum.

I would add that there is some chance, however small, that on March 29th the British government will tell the EU that they just have no way to meet the requirements of Article 50 and would the EU please allow them to continue as a member of the EU and forget about all the shenanigans of the past 2 years. The EU has said previously that they will accept such a result and allow the UK to continue as a member. The Brexiteers will have a total meltdown, and May will most likely be thrown out of office, but most businesses and many individuals will be quite happy for this whole thing to just go away.

For those interested see https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/category/brexit which has been following the Brexit chaos since the beginning.

Babyl-on , Jul 9, 2018 12:24:52 PM | 5
Britain - PATHETIC

It is a wondrous sight to see Western [neo]Liberal Democracy crumbling before our eyes. Have a look at the very founders and protectors of "freedom" corrupt to the very marrow of their bones.

In the US Trump, in the UK the Torys the democracies are now openly imperial and openly corrupt. Rule of law - ask the Skripals. Brexit, Russia, Skripals, Russia, junkies and poisons Russians - minority government - ministers resigning right and left deadlines looming no solutions in sight.

Western civilization is based on the Enlightenment and the Enlightenment and all its ideas of "democracy" are failing. Democracy is not a religion, it is not the end of history, it is not sacred and immutable - checks and balances have failed utterly. This sweetly written little essay says it all.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/01/14/the-end-of-the-enlightenment-a-fable-for-our-times-2/

erik , Jul 9, 2018 12:58:47 PM | 13
Look for countries to unilaterally bail from the EU with little or no advance notice. They will simply abrogate and that will trigger an avalanche of others joining in. There are various good economic reasons why they would do that, but I think the groundswell of populism fueled by anger over the open borders cataclysm will be the prime driver.
Red Ryder , Jul 9, 2018 1:12:35 PM | 14
Anything bad that can happen to the UK is well-deserved. The home, the womb of Russophobia, lies and illegal wars, as well as the hub of spying against American citizens, is exposed as thoroughly bankrupt politically.

The current path to chaos is well-trod. Now, we can expect national attention is on the team in Russia in the semi-finals, while the government crumbles and tumbles. But afterward, especially if Kane fails to bring the Cup home? Oh, the chaos. Of course, it will all be Putin and Russia's fault.

UK. Despicable. How long it has taken for folks to realize Theresa May always has been a stalking horse. Highly Likely the UK will stew in its own piss. Put that in their White Hall dossiers, and stamp it "Kremlin Plot".

Al-Pol , Jul 9, 2018 1:19:11 PM | 15
Britain won't be staying in the EU and nor will the EU be accepting May's fantasy ideas for a future relationship giving the UK free trade on everything it needs. There's a remote possibility that a new UK government could begin working on re-joining the EU (Article 49), but there are plenty in Europe who would not let the UK re-join, at least not in the near future.

Friday the 13th is coming soon, scary stuff ?

The "Don't take No for an answer" is rather misleading. Made to vote again ..only after changes to the Treaty. France's vote against the EU Constitution was accepted and when the Dutch also rejected it, it didn't happen.

Charles Michael , Jul 9, 2018 1:41:25 PM | 16
EU is bound to collapse but Britain might be tempted to wait it out, and maybe it is the game in London: not to be the first. The most dynamic destructive work in progress is the Euro that benefit to none of its 18 members (the euro-zones) but Geramny and Nederland. Italy has understood it but is using the refugees crisis to enlarge the contestation to non-euro zone countries (Visegrad group and more).

Now we have this Nato meeting coming and the abomination of Donald meeting Vlad that scares the whole neo-lberals, borgists, russian haters, warmongers.

As Nato is the real and only cement in this enlarged un-united Europe, in an epoch of accelerating change (collapse maybe) the famous Wait and see of the Brits has just muted in a slow fox-trot.

Daniel Good , Jul 9, 2018 1:45:23 PM | 18
Brits, especially the Leave voters, have no real idea what the consequences of leaving the EU are, nor do they care that much. What is uppermost in their minds is they do not want is to be in a union with "losers". Every single country on the Continent is a loser and thus the object of contempt. The only country in Europe that is not a loser (meaning they have never lost a war) is the United Kingdom of Roast Beef and God Save The Queen.

This British loser-phobia also explains the island nation's guttural hatred of Russia, which has bailed out Europe, and so by definition the Brits as well, twice, thereby taking away some of the British luster. (OK the last time around they got a bit of help from their old colonies, the Yanks, but its all the same. Yanks and Brits are the same stock.) As far as EU goes the Brits can leave, no problem. Except that what the Continent would then be faced with was an American armed camp a few miles off shore, not an appealing prospect to say the least. But the puffed up Brits do not even see this danger and would blithely fall into the arms of the mafiosi from across the pond.

b , Jul 9, 2018 2:08:45 PM | 19
Boris Johnson's resignation letter. Well written. Makes the same argument over the Checkers paper that I made above. If Johnson gets 48 back benchers on his side he could launch a vote on no-confidence against May and possibly become PM. The Conservatives in Parliament seem quite upset over all of this.
Peter AU 1 , Jul 9, 2018 2:10:07 PM | 20
@18

Brexit is rebellion against the US imposed world order. London money has gone along and profited from the US imposed order, but the ordinary Brits may not have. They may not know where they are going, but they do know where they do not want to be.

dh , Jul 9, 2018 2:44:44 PM | 22
@20 Not sure who qualifies as an 'ordinary Brit' these days. They come in all shapes and colours. I think the ones who moved to Spain are fairly happy with the EU status quo.
psychohistorian , Jul 9, 2018 2:48:42 PM | 23
Thanks for the posting b

I liked the "We are headed for the status of a colony" comment in the Johnson resignation letter

Getting the puppets to talk about the machinations of empire is a good thing for us but probably not good long term for empire.

No one ever said that evolving to a multi-polar world would be easy. All the ugly that kept the unipolar world together must be exposed as it dies.

ninel , Jul 9, 2018 3:11:03 PM | 29
Allow me to enlighten.

Dominic Raab is the new UK Brexit point-man. The previous guy, Davies, just resigned. But Raab's appointment, I think, points to what Brexit has been about all along -- namely, labour market reform beyond the rest of Europe, and to do this the UK must be free of the European Human Rights council and other protections it provides for workers in the member states.

Here is Raab's 2011 paper on employment standards and Brexit. https://leftfootforward.org/2011/11/dominic-raab-attack-on-workers-rights-based-on-no-evidence/ Have a look.

james , Jul 9, 2018 3:12:22 PM | 30
@23 psychohistorian... ditto... status of colony... isn't that what the globalists, corporations, neo liberals and etc want? get rid of any national identity as it gets in the way of corporations having the freedom to rape and pillage as needed..

it was interesting reading near the end of bjs comments "Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the Skripals." Guilty first - we will prove it later... maybe he really ought to consider rule from Brussels or where ever, if he can't fathom the concept of innocent until proven guilty...

NotBob , Jul 9, 2018 3:42:22 PM | 35
Al-Pol @ 15

The French populace rejected the EU Constitution in 2005 during the Chirac years, and you are correct that after some changes it was accepted under the Sarkozy government.But that happened because it was the Assembly (the parliament, i.e., the political class) that voted on it, not the people. Can't have those deplorable citizens deciding important matters like that, now can we?

Pft , Jul 9, 2018 5:48:32 PM | 51
According to this the EU was a US/CIA creation. Lol? https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-03-03/european-union-was-american-idea
james , Jul 9, 2018 5:59:35 PM | 52
@51 pft... in so far as the cia work for the financial complex - yeah, probably.. how to create a currency - the eu - that no one has any real control over, to compete with the us$ and yen... makes sense on that level..
Piotr Berman , Jul 9, 2018 6:37:17 PM | 53
@Babyl-on | Jul 9, 2018 12:24:52 PM | 5

Western civilization is based on the Enlightenment and the Enlightenment and all its ideas ...

When we discuss ALL ideas of the Enlightenment, we must remember this:

Wikipedia: "Enlightened absolutism is the theme of an essay by Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia from 1740 to 1786, defending this system of government.[1]

When the prominent French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire fell out of favor in France, he eagerly accepted Frederick's invitation to live at his palace. He believed that an enlightened monarchy was the only real way for society to advance.

Frederick the Great was an enthusiast of French ideas. Frederick explained: "My principal occupation is to combat ignorance and prejudice ..."

In relatively short time, the List of enlightened despots included almost all absolute monarchs in Europe.

Piotr Berman , Jul 9, 2018 6:37:17 PM | 53 somebody , Jul 9, 2018 6:38:22 PM | 54
51 Much better summary on the CIA and the EU here .

From 2016

The awful truth for the Leave campaign is that the governing establishment of the entire Western world views Brexit as strategic vandalism. Whether fair or not, Brexiteers must answer this reproach. A few such as Lord Owen grasp the scale of the problem. Most seemed blithely unaware until Mr Obama blew into town last week.

And then came Trump - pro Brexit

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has come out in support of Brexit, saying the UK would be "better off" outside of the European Union and lamenting the consequences of migration in the continent.

The billionaire, who secured the backing of Republican voters on a staunchly anti-immigration platform, said that his support for the UK leaving the EU was a personal belief and not a "recommendation".

"I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe," Trump told Fox News late on Thursday. "A lot of that was pushed by the EU. I would say that they're better off without it, personally, but I'm not making that as a recommendation. Just my feeling."

And very anti-Merkel

Donald Trump accuses Angela Merkel of making 'catastrophic mistake' on refugees. President-elect tells The Times and Bild that EU has become 'a vehicle for Germany'.

US President-elect Donald Trump said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a "catastrophic mistake" with a policy that let a wave of more than one million migrants into her country.

In a joint interview with The Times and the German newspaper Bild, Trump also said the European Union had become "a vehicle for Germany" and predicted that more EU member states would vote to leave the bloc as Britain did last June.

"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake, and that was taking all of these illegals," Trump said of Merkel, who in August 2015 decided to keep Germany's borders open for refugees, mostly Muslims, fleeing war zones in the Middle East.

Trump has reversed some 70 years of US strategy to gain nothing. It is quite remarkable. Strategic vandalism is a good description.

Ninel , Jul 9, 2018 6:47:54 PM | 55
Even when the 'light' (read truth about Brexit) is revealed, many here choose to ignore it out of sheer ignorance. For a good description of the MOA comment section, one should consult Plato's Allegory of the Cave. And the 'left' blames external elements for its inaptitude and demise when many it has only itself to blame.
Pft , Jul 9, 2018 7:27:36 PM | 56
Somebody@54

Good link, thanks

The thing about UK and the EU is the UK is basically the US 51st state and the US is a defacto commonwealth nation. The colonization of Europe by the US was never meant to encompass the UK and the City. As they are basically one and the same. Its presence in the EU was never really a problem though and was useful in terms of providing a guiding hand, so long as it remained free of the Eurozone. So I am not really sure its a change in strategy. Just another fork in the road.

It remains to be seen how it all works out. Perhaps the UK Brexit is meant to send a message to the other EU states as to the consequences of leaving. One benefit to the US neoliberals might be that UK scraps or at least scales back its NHS due to the economic consequences of a hard Brexit. The 0.1% will be fine at the end of the day and they are the only group that matters . The rest are just pawns on the board.

As for Germany. Immigration in the EU was all about divide and rule and leaving fewer Euros for social programs. All part of the neoliberal blueprint. Divide and rule is an age old tactic perfected by the British to rule the colonies. The EU and Germany being controlled by the Anglo-American ruling elite , and basically occipied by US controlled NATO opened the doors. Reversing this immigration can provide a plausible reason for more terrorism in Europe to empower the EU to become more of a security-police state like US and UK.

On a side note its interesting the head of the ECB and BOE are both former Goldman Sachs employees.

Another related link suggesting the EU also serves a purpose of isolating Russia economically.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-the-european-union-part-of-americas-imperial-project/5536396

uncle tungsten , Jul 9, 2018 7:48:18 PM | 57
@Pft 51

EU could not possibly have been a US/CIA idea as it actually works. Yes it is undemocratic, usurps national aspirations, perverts local economies, coddles oligarchs, and all that. But that does not mean it is a US idea.

Zero Hedge is polishing turds now it seems.

Single union political aspirations have been around for centuries and in many countries. Dare I suggest that it is actually based on the Soviet Union of peoples and most likely a Leninist or Trotskyist plot!! :))))

Peter AU 1 , Jul 9, 2018 7:57:17 PM | 59
The Marshal Plan Copy and past from the linked page.

"The Marshall Plan also established the creation of the Organization for European economic cooperation. It did this in a number of ways:

  • promote co-operation between participating countries and their national production programmes for the reconstruction of Europe,
  • develop intra-European trade by reducing tariffs and other barriers to the expansion of trade,
  • study the feasibility of creating a customs union or free trade area,
  • study multi-lateralisation of payments, and
  • Achieve conditions for better utilisation of labour.

It was arguably through this persistent interlinking of many European countries economic affairs that to not cooperate would simply be too risky.

This provided the basis for European cooperation and this was favoured by many people because cooperation was seen as a fundamental building block in the establishment of long term European Peace."

bevin , Jul 9, 2018 9:25:30 PM | 61

@Piotr Berman@53

"In relatively short time, the List of enlightened despots included almost all absolute monarchs in Europe."

You are right, and that included Catherine the Great for whom Samuel Bentham worked for some years. His brother Jeremy spent some time with him there and was a great admirer of Catherine and Potemkin. He was a key figure in the development of liberal ideology and political economy.

'The Enlightenment' is an historical concept which obscures more than it explains. To suggest that representative democracy's origins lie in this nebulous thing is completely misleading -- the truth is that democracy is as old as community. If anything 'The Enlightenment' movements are the beginning of the current system whereby the trappings of popular government are hung on the reality of a kleptocrats' oligarchy.

Daniel , Jul 9, 2018 9:33:58 PM | 62
Re. Australia: Have you read JOHN PILGER ON A HIDDEN HISTORY OF WOMEN WHO ROSE UP "?" I love that guy even more now.
Daniel , Jul 9, 2018 9:37:25 PM | 63
Just in time for Emperor Trump's arrival in Britain! I do not understand Great Britain's "democracy," (the very concept of an aristocratic House of Lords Peerage makes my head explode... and what's this about the Monarch having the authority to appoint a Prime Minister if he/she doesn't like the one selected?). But doesn't the party with the majority get to anoint the Prime Minister? Wouldn't that be Labour right now if Missy May is shown the door?
Bevin Kacon , Jul 9, 2018 9:45:25 PM | 64
Furthermore, the assertion that the UK will stay in the EU is entirely plausible. I heard, early in the days after the vote, that the govt had not expected it to go the way it did. Plans were made for a show of Brexit but that 'the idea is that everything stays the same' , i.e., no change. Sadly for the UK, the EU will not allow that to happen. In all probability, another vote will indeed be called. Otherwise, it's going to be a disaster for an already divided UK for many, many years to come!

The main problem with Brexit is that it is so complex that neither the officials who were set the task of drafting it knew little more than the Ministers themselves! NOBODY knew what the fuck to do! And they still don't!

There is every chance a Vote of No Confidence is going to be called on May's government and she will finally fall, as she must as she is the most inept PM there has probably ever been!

Bevin Kacon , Jul 9, 2018 9:48:27 PM | 65
@63 Daniel

No, the Tories will still stay in power. A General Election would have to be called and I cannot see May's successor being that brave. Or stupid!

Daniel , Jul 9, 2018 9:54:28 PM | 66
What do the City of London, the Vatican and Washington DC have in common? Actually, Jerusalem shares many of the same traits. Bonus points for the most creative euphemism for "usurious bank."

Are terms such as "The Five Eyes" and "The AZ Empire" 'trumped' by all this nationalistic furor?

From my perspective, Nation-States have not been the loci of power for some time (if they ever really were). The US, with its awesome military might and (former) industrial capabilities has served as the enforcement arm of that usurious supra-national cabal throughout "the American Century."

But really, does anyone here really believe that a New York City conman or the latest British "mophead" is more powerful than the dynastic power of the Rothschilds, Warburgs or Morgans... or even the nouveau riche like the Rockefellers or Carnegies?

These are dynasties so wealthy and powerful that they don't even appear on Forbes lists of "The Richest" and no one dare mention their names when plotting the next global conflagration.

Daniel , Jul 9, 2018 10:20:56 PM | 67
Since David Cameron used Jimmy Cliff's " You Can Get It If You Really Want " for his campaign, Afshin Rattansi's interview with that truly revolutionary artist is not so off topic. And it's well worth 12 minutes to enter a worldview we Westerners rarely live.

I and I say "Ja Mon!"

OK. I can't post Jimmy without " The Harder They Come, " especially as that seems to be the root of most of the comments here.

imo , Jul 9, 2018 10:28:10 PM | 68
@33 -- "...and Western Australia were separate British colonies that all began as penal settlement."

Not entirely correct. Western Australia started as a capitalist investment venture (c. 1828) but suffered chronic labor shortages as slavery was closed down (c. 1833). The colony then resorted to convict imports for a time. Much of the myth about 'criminal' can be re-framed as political prisoners such as the Welsh Chartists (see Chartism in Wales).

Kalen , Jul 9, 2018 11:49:40 PM | 69
One can only be confused if one ignores public and secret reasons while Cameron threatened Brexit vote already in 2015 and went through it in 2016. Officially it was about antiterrorism, security and hence controlling immigration flagship of Tory political campaign that brought them overwhelming electoral win as well as some noises that EU rules and laws stifle economic development and the British lose more in EU payments than they gain.

Obtainimg strong mandate Cameron went to Brussels to supposedly negotiate better deal with EU ESPECIALLY for security while in fact he went there trying to bully the shape future EU integration especially in political realm and even more in realm of banking Union and integration and coordination of banking rules, laws and unified controlling authorities, via threatening Brexit which would be a deadly blow to EU propaganda glue that holds together this melting pot of divided as never before nations and never since medieval times united national elites integrated in EU ruling bureaucracy.

What Cameron was scared of as far as direction of future of EU?

First it was devastating impact of further EU integration on UK banking as London has become legal under U.K. law illegal in EU, money laundering capital of the world and criminal income is huge part of the revenue of the City , US is second.

And second point is future of British monarchy which further integration of EU into superstate would require to be abandoned in UK as elsewhere as states were to loose all even symbolic sovereignty and turn into regions and provinces as in Roman Empire . Needles to say that UK still powerful landed aristocracy want nothing of that sort.

Hence Cameron went to Brussels make special deal for UK and was essentially, with some meaningless cosmetic changes, rebuked into binary decision in EU or out of it no special deal and hence he escalated with calling Brexit vote as a negotiating tool only to increase political pressure to rig elections toward remain if deal reached . In fact as latest scandal revealed results of exit polls were released to stock market betting hedge funds just minutes before polls were closed concluding guess what, that remain campaign won while electoral data in hours showed Brexiters wining simply because to the last moment before closing polls they expected EU to cave in, they did not so they continued pressure by closing openly pro Brexit win.

The pressure continues now while Cameron had to pay political price as he openly advocated staying in EU under phony deal even Tory did not buy, and hence this seeming chaos now fooling people that there is other way but hard Brexit to keep monarchy sovereignty and profits from global money laundering or surrender and humiliation degradation U.K. into EU colony as BJ just said.

Of course which way it goes ordinary Brits will pay but also big crack will widen in EU as national movements will have impact of shattering dreams of quit ascending to EU superstate.

Penelope , Jul 10, 2018 12:35:31 AM | 70
At the passage of Brexit I believed the purpose to be to allow the City of London (the bankers) unlimited financial freedom, perhaps especially in their entering into agreements with the Chinese. This could not be the case under the original EU rules. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

The Chinese, as they are intended to be the regional governor of Asia under the evolving global governance are key to the entire tyrannical plan. The AGW hoax, paid for by Western oligarchs, is the public relations for the UN's Agenda 21, currently being enforced at the local level in many parts of the US.

The Chinese oligarchs are so delighted with its tyrannical land-use provisions that they are actually calling their projects "China's Agenda 21". You may search for it.

http://osnetdaily.com/2014/03/agenda-21-rockefeller-builds-human-settlement-zones-in-connecticut/ Exc introductory summary.

Corbett Report interview of Rosa Koire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7T7ulzNG7o

ben , Jul 10, 2018 1:02:19 AM | 71
@ 62: Thanks for the Pilger article, a good read. There are many today, who would return us all to those days.
Herman J Kweeblefezer , Jul 10, 2018 1:05:09 AM | 72
The reality of the brexit which the Tory government is determined to raiload through has been designed by elites to better oppress the hoi polloi and to sell it to the masses it has been marketed as a means of restoring 'white power'. Bevin & co can whine on about the injustices of the eu for as long as their theoretical view of the world sustains them, but the brexit which will be delivered is based on 'pragmatic realism' developed by a really nasty gang of avaricious lying c**tfaces and will create a society far more unjust, divided and impoverished than the one that currently exists.

That is really saying something because the current version of the UK is one of the sickest, greed is good and devil take the hindmost societies I have ever experienced -- up there with contemporary israel and the US, 1980's South Africa and by the sound of it (didn't experience it firsthand like the other examples, all down to not existing at the time) 1940's Germany.

Jezza was great in the house last night but he didn't call for an immediate general election which would be pretty much SOP for any opposition facing as tattered a government (Seven cabinet 'resignations') as bereft of ideas as the Maybot machine.

The reason he didn't - couldn't in fact, is that the UK left is as divided and dug into their positions as that tory bunch of bastards. Far too many opposition politicians insist that a 'deal' on brexit comes first ahead of sorting out poverty and homelessness, woeful education outcomes (unless you believe wildly juked stats) and the horror show that has been created by three decades of relentless attacks on the health service.

We see it here from the brexiters so convinced of the rightness of their cause they ignore the institutionalised racism that will certainly follow a tory brexit. Or the remoaners who also ignore the unsavory aspects of eu policy to try and render the labour left impotent. Those latter types simply don't give a damn about anything which flows from this debate and division other than killing momentum, they consider even losing the next 5 elections to tories an agreeable sacrifice for ridding the party of Corbyn and co.

Corbyn has recognized the destructive divisiveness of Brexit and tries to ignore it because he holds with fixing the mess so many people are in as being much more important than theoretical arguments which will change nothing for the better regardless of impassioned exhortations by ninnies on both sides of the argument.

The thing which really pisses me off about the lefty brexiters, is that they behave as if it is a now or never situation, when it is anything but. There is nothing to prevent a more united Labour Party who have got their mandate by actually delivering a better life for people rather than irrelevant concepts, returning to sorting out the UK's position in the EU at a later date, ideally at a time when the EU's intransigent support for corporate welfare has run bang smack into a leftist UK Labour government's determination to restore public ownership of natural monopolies (rail, water, power, mail delivery etc).

The lefty brexiters claim the lefty remainers won't allow it, while the lefty remainers claim it is the lefty brexiters clogging the works. In fact it is both gangs of selfish egotistical assholes.

Al-Pol , Jul 10, 2018 1:54:09 AM | 73
NotBob @ 35.
The EU Constitution never happened. The Lisbon Treaty came along a couple of years later and this time round the Irish people voted against it. It got amended and the Irish people accepted it. The French and Dutch (and every other EU) country chose not to "ask the people" and left the decision to the peoples' chosen represtentatives.

The Irish Constitution has a bit in it making it necessary to ask the people before any changes can be made to that Constitution, so every time the EU adds some bits to the EU Treaty that require the Irish to change their own Constitution there's trouble, as those 3 million or so Irish people have the power to scupper anything and everything for the other 500 million EU citizens. Holding a national referendum to make decisions affecting the entire Union doesn't seem to be either fair or democratic. A single EU-wide referendum could be held when there's a major change to the Treaties.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 10, 2018 3:31:38 AM | 75
imo 68

Political correctness is a social disease very similar to syphilis - it fucks with the brain. You really should take precautions if socializing in those circles. Precautionary measures are available at all chemists and most public toilets.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 10, 2018 4:24:50 AM | 76
Correction to my post @75
Should have read - Political/ideological correctness is....
Peter AU 1 , Jul 10, 2018 4:50:46 AM | 77
I click on MoA now and see a pic of Boris the clown hanging from a rope. If the Brits were smart, they would connect that rope to a weather balloon and allow Boris to ascend to the stratosphere and cruise the jet stream.
paul , Jul 10, 2018 4:55:55 AM | 79
The EU is first and foremost a massive attack on democracy. At the same time it attempts to establish technocracy as the mode of government of the future. But right only racists and overly idealistic assholes oppose the EU...
somebody , Jul 10, 2018 5:24:13 AM | 80
Posted by: paul | Jul 10, 2018 4:55:55 AM | 79

"Democracy" only being possible locally? Numbers I posted on another thread:

Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - population of 3 Billion+

You think EU countries have got a competitive chance if on their own? Or - democracy in Switzerland enables them to decide on their relations with the outside world? Like not being part of the "single market" - they are -including free movement of people - yes you can live and work in Switzerland if you are a EU citizen.

But right only racists and overly idealistic assholes oppose the EU

Maybe because it is a stupid idea?

Mark2 , Jul 10, 2018 5:32:30 AM | 81
Brexit is nether the problem or the solution, it was just another distraction to keep the mass occupied, whilst they assist stripped the uk and a large part of the world! The people we are scared to mention are the true people killing and oppressing us. I thank Daniel@66 for naming them ! Rothchild family ect ect I would add the Rothermere family and Murdoch ! Politics are debated, but history is made on the streets. We need to regain our sense of moral outrage (where did that go ?) there are 70 million displaced people in the world ! It could be. You or I next !
ADKC , Jul 10, 2018 5:33:44 AM | 82
Peter AU 1 @75

I don't read imo@68 as politically/ideologically correct but as a statement of fact. As far as I can see, imo didn't deserve your response.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 10, 2018 5:37:18 AM | 83
ADKC
Well that's tough shit isn't it.
ADKC , Jul 10, 2018 5:46:23 AM | 84
Peter AU 1 @83

Ignoring imo's 'feelings' what is wrong/objectionable about his posting @68?

Jen , Jul 10, 2018 5:56:25 AM | 85
Peter AU 1 @ 83: I agree with ADKC and IMO. There were convicts transported to the Australian colonies whose crimes can be considered political crimes. The Tolpuddle Martyrs who came to the Sydney colony in the 1830s are one example: they were transported for the crime of demanding an extension of voting rights to all men, among other demands. Such convicts were a small minority though.
Alan , Jul 10, 2018 6:37:23 AM | 88
@b

Boris Johnson is no clown. You should look beyond the (carefully crafted) popular image and see the dangerous fascist lurking in plain sight.

somebody , Jul 10, 2018 6:41:49 AM | 89
Posted by: Pft | Jul 9, 2018 7:27:36 PM | 56

As for Germany. Immigration in the EU was all about divide and rule and leaving fewer Euros for social programs.

"The demonization of Muslim immigration to the EU ...." - fixed it for you.

The stuff about leaving fewer euros for social programmes is propaganda. Social programmes are designed to force people to work - they are pegged below the minimum wage.

In the case of Germany costs for refugees were accounted to the 0.7 percent of GDP Germany is supposed to spend for development aid by the UN, thereby effectively developing Germany instead.

Mark2 , Jul 10, 2018 7:23:05 AM | 90
Alan @ 88
I am in total agreement with you on your comment regarding Boris Johnson ! His childish buffoonery, is a commen system / tactic of a psychopath . It hides a callous disregard for human life , wins gullible friends which the psychopath manipulates to exploit there power and influence! They are very good at scheming there own self interested plan. But (and here's the crunch ) are totally useless at for seeing the consequences of there actions . And no regard for the victim of there actions!!! Do we want that in charge of the nuclear button ?
Mark2 , Jul 10, 2018 7:49:20 AM | 92
Google ---Boris Johnson grenfail tower
ADKC , Jul 10, 2018 8:19:01 AM | 97
Somebody @65

There is nothing wrong/inconsistent with the idea of an interconnected world of sovereign (independent) states. The idea that a treaty or a trade agreement means that a state is no-longer independent is ridiculous. As ridiculous as believing that an individual who purchases a pack of polo mints is no longer free because of the need of a local shop and a manufacturer.

You are basically pushing the idea that there should be no nation states, no borders and all trade free and therefore no need for treaties. From this comes no regulation, a poisoned environment, uncontrolled and rapacious capitalism, no rights for people, no benefits, no protection, just work til' you die and polished off sharpish if you are no longer productive.

I don't object to an EU as a grouping of independent states acting collectively. I do object to an EU that erodes and undermines the nation state, that seeks to remove state leaders and interfere in state elections/policies. The EU that we have is the latter and there is no practical way to reform it to the former.

Stubbs , Jul 10, 2018 8:22:30 AM | 98
@ B. You have too high an opinion of the competence of the main political figures in the UK Governing Party.

Boris Johnson has never been a serious contender for PM. He's good at giving a rousing speech to the Party faithful but that's it. The blue rinses enjoy the titillation of his infidelities but they don't want someone so amoral coming anywhere near their daughters, or representing their principles.

You knew Theresa May had no judgment the first day of her premiership, when she made BoJo her Foreign Secretary. A selection that could kindly be described as risible. He indicated no suitability for the role before his appointment nor has since. Quite the opposite. It was at that decision you knew all was hopeless. Brexit was going to be hopeless. Everything she was going to be involved in was hopeless.

And so it has proved.

The vox pop that I encounter ..... the Remainers are reconciled to Brexit and just want to get on with it. The Brexiteers are sick to death with hearing about it but not seeing anything done. Everyone had made their minds up before the election in 2015. The Referendum campaign was a few weeks of premium entertainment watching the most reviled political figures in the land trying to tear each others' throats out.

Every brexiteer I've asked why they voted for out, begins by saying "For once they had to listen to us" and that's usually followed by "there's too many people here" or "it's the E.Europeans". (My response to the europhiles is that you knew the EU was finished a dozen years ago, when all the Big Issue sellers turned into Romanian women.) UK cities are thick with destitute E.Europeans.

There's a huge disconnect between Parliament (+ media) and the people. A further example of this is the official narrative on the Salisbury poisonings. Ask people in the street and they say "yeah, it was Vlad with the doorknob" and then they crease up laughing. The Govt has no credibility with its "only plausible explanation".

My prediction, since the day BoJo was appointed minister for the exterior, is that the situation is so catastrophic the EU will have to lead us by the hand through the process of brexit. The EU's priority will be the stability of the Euro. They won't want us beggared on their doorstep and as they export 15% of their stuff to us they'll want to keep on doing that. We'll have to have what we're given and be grateful.

The political situation in the UK is so far beyond surreal that a man dragging a piano with a dead horse on it would appear mundane.

Willy2 , Jul 10, 2018 8:28:30 AM | 99
- It doesn't matter who the prime minister is. The UK has already adopted A LOT OF EU regulations/laws and that will make it nearly impossible to perform a "Hard Brexit". The UK still exports A LOT OF stuff to the Eurozone and then it simply has to follow EU regulations, no matter what the opinion of the government is. In that regard, the current EU regulation simply provides a good framework, even for the UK. No matter what one Mrs. May or Mr. Johnson.

- As time goes by the UK can change parts of the EU regulations to what the UK thinks those regulations should be.

- And do I think that Mrs. May and her ministers have drawn that same conclusion.

[Jul 09, 2018] We Are Headed For The Status Of A Colony Boris Johnson's Full Resignation Letter Zero Hedge

Jul 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"We Are Headed For The Status Of A Colony": Boris Johnson's Full Resignation Letter

by Tyler Durden Mon, 07/09/2018 - 17:01 89 SHARES

The much anticipated resignation letter penned by the former UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has been released, and in as expected, he does not mince his words in unleashing a brutal attack on Thersa May, warning that "we have postponed crucial decisions -- including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November -- with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system ."

He then adds that while "Brexit should be about opportunity and hope" and "a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy", he warns that the " dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt. "

He then compares May's proposal to a submission even before it has been received by the EU, noting that "what is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK -- before the other side has made its counter-offer . It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them."

And his punchline: the UK is headed for the status of a colony:

In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony -- and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement

Explaining his decision to resing, he then says that "we must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go."

It remains to be seen if his passionate defense of Brexit will stir enough MPs to indicate they are willing to back a vote of no confidence, and overthrow Theresa May in what would be effectively a coup, resulting in new elections and chaos for the Brexit process going forward.

Meanwhile, as Bloomberg adds, the fact that Boris Johnson, or those around him, made sure his resignation statement came out in time for the evening news - before it was formally issued in the traditional way by May's office, hints at his continued interest in leading the Conservative Party.

His full letter is below (highlights ours):

Dear Theresa,

It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.

They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.

Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.

That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.

We have postponed crucial decisions -- including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November -- with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.

It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws. Indeed we seem to have gone backwards since the last Chequers meeting in February, when I described my frustrations, as Mayor of London, in trying to protect cyclists from juggernauts. We had wanted to lower the cabin windows to improve visibility; and even though such designs were already on the market, and even though there had been a horrific spate of deaths, mainly of female cyclists, we were told that we had to wait for the EU to legislate on the matter.

So at the previous Chequers session we thrashed out an elaborate procedure for divergence from EU rules. But even that now seems to have been taken off the table, and there is in fact no easy UK right of initiative. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give Ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public. If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists -- when that proposal is supported at every level of UK Government -- then I don't see how that country can truly be called independent.

Conversely, the British Government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU directive, on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health -- and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.

In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony -- and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.

It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.

What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK -- before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday's document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.

On Friday I acknowledged that my side of the argument were too few to prevail, and congratulated you on at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the way forward. As I said then, the Government now has a song to sing. The trouble is that I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat.

We must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.

I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary in your Government. As I step down, I would like first to thank the patient officers of the Metropolitan Police who have looked after me and my family, at times in demanding circumstances.
I am proud too of the extraordinary men and women of our diplomatic service. Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the Skripals. They have organised a highly successful Commonwealth summit and secured record international support for this Government's campaign for 12 years of quality education for every girl, and much more besides. As I leave office, the FCO now has the largest and by far the most effective diplomatic network of any country in Europe -- a continent which we will never leave.

[Jun 27, 2018] Immigration Western Wars and Imperial Exploitation Uproot Millions by James Petras

Jun 26, 2018 | www.unz.com

"Immigration" has become the dominant issue dividing Europe and the US, yet the most important matter which is driving millions to emigrate is overlooked is wars.

In this paper we will discuss the reasons behind the massification of immigration, focusing on several issues, namely (1) imperial wars (2) multi-national corporate expansion (3) the decline of the anti-war movements in the US and Western Europe (4) the weakness of the trade union and solidarity movements.

We will proceed by identifying the major countries affected by US and EU wars leading to massive immigration, and then turn to the western powers forcing refugees to 'follow' the flows of profits.

Imperial Wars and Mass Immigration

The US invasions and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq uprooted several million people, destroying their lives, families, livelihood, housing and communities and undermining there security.

As a result, most victims faced the choice of resistance or flight. Millions chose to flee to the West since the NATO countries would not bomb their residence in the US or Europe.

Others who fled to neighboring countries in the Middle East or Latin America were persecuted, or resided in countries too poor to offer them employment or opportunities for a livelihood.

Some Afghans fled to Pakistan or the Middle East but discovered that these regions were also subject to armed attacks from the West.

Iraqis were devastated by the western sanctions, invasion and occupation and fled to Europe and to a lesser degree the US , the Gulf states and Iran.

Libya prior to the US-EU invasion was a 'receiver' country accepting and employing millions of Africans, providing them with citizenship and a decent livelihood. After the US-EU air and sea attack and arming and financing of terrorist gangs, hundreds of thousands of Sub-Sahara immigrants were forced to flee to Europe. Most crossed the Mediterranean Sea to the west via Italy, Spain, and headed toward the affluent European countries which had savaged their lives in Libya.

The US-EU financed and armed client terrorist armies which assault the Syrian government and forced millions of Syrians to flee across the border to Lebanon,Turkey and beyond to Europe, causing the so-called 'immigration crises' and the rise of rightwing anti-immigrant parties. This led to divisions within the established social democratic and conservative parties,as sectors of the working class turned anti-immigrant.

Europe is reaping the consequences of its alliance with US militarized imperialism whereby the US uproots millions of people and the EU spends billions of euros to cover the cost of immigrants fleeing the western wars.

Most of the immigrants' welfare payments fall far short of the losses incurred in their homeland. Their jobs homes, schools, and civic associations in the EU and US are far less valuable and accommodating then what they possessed in their original communities.

Economic Imperialism and Immigration: Latin America

US wars, military intervention and economic exploitation has forced millions of Latin Americans to immigrate to the US.. Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras engaged in popular struggle for socio-economic justice and political democracy between 1960 – 2000. On the verge of victory over the landed oligarchs and multinational corporations, Washington blocked popular insurgents by spending billions of dollars, arming, training, advising the military and paramilitary forces. Land reform was aborted; trade unionists were forced into exile and thousands of peasants fled the marauding terror campaigns.

The US-backed oligarchic regimes forced millions of displaced and uprooted pr unemployed and landless workers to flee to the US.

US supported coups and dictators resulted in 50,000 in Nicaragua, 80,000 in El Salvador and 200,000 in Guatemala. President Obama and Hillary Clinton supported a military coup in Honduras which overthrew Liberal President Zelaya -- which led to the killing and wounding of thousands of peasant activists and human rights workers, and the return of death squads, resulting in a new wave of immigrants to the US.

The US promoted free trade agreement (NAFTA) drove hundreds of thousands of Mexican farmers into bankruptcy and into low wage maquiladoras; others were recruited by drug cartels; but the largest group was forced to immigrate across the Rio Grande. The US 'Plan Colombia' launched by President Clinton established seven US military bases in Colombia and provided 1 billion dollars in military aid between 2001 – 2010. Plan Colombia doubled the size of the military.

The US backed President Alvaro Uribe, resulting in the assassination of over 200,000 peasants, trade union activists and human rights workers by Uribe directed narco-death squad.Over two million farmers fled the countryside and immigrated to the cities or across the border.

US business secured hundreds of thousands of Latin American low wages, agricultural and factory workers almost all without health insurance or benefits – though they paid taxes.

Immigration doubled profits, undermined collective bargains and lowered US wages. Unscrupulous US 'entrepreneurs' recruited immigrants into drugs, prostitution, the arms trade and money laundering.

Politicians exploited the immigration issue for political gain – blaming the immigrants for the decline of working class living standards distracting attention from the real source : wars, invasions, death squads and economic pillage.

Conclusion

Having destroyed the lives of working people overseas and overthrown progressive leaders like Libyan President Gadhafi and Honduran President Zelaya, millions were forced to become immigrants.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Colombia, Mexico witnessed the flight of millions of immigrants -- all victims of US and EU wars. Washington and Brussels blamed the victims and accused the immigrants of illegality and criminal conduct.

The West debates expulsion, arrest and jail instead of reparations for crimes against humanity and violations of international law.

To restrain immigration the first step is to end imperial wars, withdraw troops,and to cease financing paramilitary and client terrorists.

ORDER IT NOW

Secondly, the West should establish a long term multi-billion-dollar fund for reconstruction and recovery of the economies, markets and infrastructure they bombed The demise of the peace movement allowed the US and EU to launch and prolong serial wars which led to massive immigration – the so-called refugee crises and the flight to Europe. There is a direct connection between the conversion of the liberal and social democrats to war -parties and the forced flight of immigrants to the EU.

The decline of the trade unions and worse, their loss of militancy has led to the loss of solidarity with people living in the midst of imperial wars. Many workers in the imperialist countries have directed their ire to those 'below' – the immigrants – rather than to the imperialists who directed the wars which created the immigration problem. Immigration, war , the demise of the peace and workers movements, and left parties has led to the rise of the militarists, and neo-liberals who have taken power throughout the West. Their anti-immigrant politics, however, has provoked new contradictions within regimes,between business elites and among popular movements in the EU and the US. The elite and popular struggles can go in at least two directions – toward fascism or radical social democracy.

[Jun 26, 2018] How Many Turncoats Make a Coverup? Adam Waldman, Julian Assange, Oleg Deripaska and Luke Harding by John Helmer

Teh author stated: "The story of the Trump collusion plot started with an intelligence fabrication scheme hatched by US and British Government officials and their agents, including journalists in Washington, New York and London. This started with the Golden Showers dossier ; the sequel can be followed here . "
Jun 26, 2018 | johnhelmer.net

By John Helmer, Moscow

Over weeks and months of last year, Adam Waldman (lead image, left), a Washington lobbyist with ties to the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, tried to lure Julian Assange (second from left) into making incriminating admissions to benefit the Democrats' campaign alleging Russian collusion in Clinton's defeat by President Donald Trump. Assange tried to use Waldman for a deal with the US Department of Justice, exchanging an offer to withhold disclosure of classified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents and trade other secrets, some Russian, in exchange for a grant of immunity from US prosecution.

At the same time, Oleg Deripaska (third from left), the oligarch in control of the Russian aluminium industry, paid Waldman to offer US prosecutors information about the Trump election campaign manager Paul Manafort and others connected to the Trump campaign, including Russians, in exchange for a US Government promise not to impose sanctions on Deripaska. Last week Luke Harding (right), a reporter for the Guardian, a London newspaper, sold the story of Waldman's meetings with Assange and Deripaska as a conspiracy to advance a scheme by President Vladimir Putin to control the US Government.

Four plotters; more than four schemes; money in Waldman's and Harding's pockets; not a shred of truth.

The story of the Trump collusion plot started with an intelligence fabrication scheme hatched by US and British Government officials and their agents, including journalists in Washington, New York and London. This started with the Golden Showers dossier ; the sequel can be followed here .

The story of Deripaska's engagement of Waldman as his lobbyist with Hillary Clinton at the State Department and other officials in the Obama Administration has been running for nine years. Deripaska's payments to Waldman have averaged half a million dollars a year; that's a total to date of about $5 million. The failure of every one of Waldman's operations on Deripaska's behalf can be read at this click .

A semi-annual report of Waldman's lobbying activities for Deripaska is required to be disclosed by the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); the record is accessible at the FARA unit of the Justice Department in Washington. For example, details of which US officials Waldman met and what he wanted them to do for Deripaska were accessible in the FARA filings for 2011 here .

Since then the filings can be followed at six-monthly intervals through December 15, 2017. In last December's filing Waldman claimed to the Justice Department that, among the purposes of Deripaska's engagement, he was being paid for selecting animal welfare charities and promotion of a Russian vaccine for ebola.


Source: https://www.fara.gov/docs/5934-Supplemental-Statement-20171221-17.pdf

Waldman claims on his company website that "Endeavor acts as a core member of its Client's [Deripaska] holding company executive team, and is the sole representative of its Client's myriad interests before the U.S. government." Today the FARA dossier on Waldman's Russian clients shows this:


Source: https://efile.fara.gov/ When Waldman registered himself as lobbying for the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, he was doing Deripaska's bidding; Lavrov usually does .

This means that Waldman's registration as Deripaska's agent in Washington remains active and he continues to be paid, even though the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ordered all US individuals and institutions to cease doing business with Deripaska and his companies from April 6.


Source: https://efile.fara.gov/pls/apex/f?p=181:130:6521116159904::NO::P130_CNTRY:RU

The US Treasury did not sanction Deripaska for supporting animal welfare and an ebola vaccine. The reasons for Deripaska's sanction, according to the Treasury, were that "having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation, as well as pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy. Deripaska has said that he does not separate himself from the Russian state. He has also acknowledged possessing a Russian diplomatic passport, and claims to have represented the Russian government in other countries. Deripaska has been investigated for money laundering, and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering. There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group." For more on the US action against Deripaska, read this .

Waldman has sidestepped the ban on taking money from Deripaska by changing his registration from Endeavor Group -- a lobbying company covered by the OFAC sanction – to "Endeavor Law Firm PC". That's a one-man company whose only employee is Waldman; it isn't mentioned by the Endeavor Group's website. As a law firm acting for Deripaska, Waldman isn't banned by the new sanction.

In February of this year the Murdoch media reported that on Deripaska's instructions, Waldman was attempting to arrange appearances before the US Senate Intelligence Committee for Deripaska and for Christopher Steele, one of the authors of the Golden Showers dossier. Both of them wanted the Democratic minority on the committee to issue the invitations and secure advance undertakings in writing from the Committee, including immunity from US prosecution .

Waldman's telephone texts were exchanged with Senator Mark Warner, a former governor of Virginia; Democratic Party runner for president; and at present vice-chairman of the Intelligence Committee. The messages were leaked by Republicans in Congress to the Murdoch media, and then confirmed by Warner himself.

Read the Waldman-Warner series in full .

Deripaska, Waldman told Warner, was trying to negotiate his testimony at the Intelligence Committee against Manafort and the Trump presidential campaign in exchange for protection from US Government sanctions. Exactly what Deripaska told Waldman he was ready to tell the Senate Committee about Russian Government involvement with Manafort and the Trump election campaign has not been disclosed because Waldman failed to get any concession for Deripaska from either the Senators or from the Justice Department officials whom he was lobbying at the same time.

Interpreting the series, a Fox News reporter claimed: "Over the course of four months between February and May 2017, Warner and Waldman also exchanged dozens of [telephone] texts about possible testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee from Deripaska, Waldman's primary Russian billionaire client .In the dozens of text messages between February 2017 and May 2017, Waldman also talked to Warner about getting Deripaska to cooperate with the intelligence committee. There have been reports that Deripaska, who has sued Manafort over a failed business deal, has information to share about the former Trump aide. In May 2017, the Senate and House intelligence committees decided not to give Deripaska legal immunity in exchange for testimony to the panels. The text messages between Warner and Waldman appeared to stop that month." Trump responded by tweeting: "All tied into Crooked Hillary."


Source: https://www.scribd.com/document/371101285/TEXTS-Mark-Warner-texted-with-Russian-oligarch-lobbyist-in-effort-to-contact-Christopher-Steele

For the full story of Deripaska's relationship with Manafort, read this .

Assange was first mentioned by Waldman in a message to Warner on February 15, 2017. By then, according to Ecuadorian Embassy meeting logs exposed only now, Waldman had met Assange three times in January, and was planning to meet him again in March. Waldman told Warner that for this he was acting "pro bono"; that's to say, Assange wasn't paying Waldman's bill. To protect himself, Waldman also claimed that if US officials, including Warner, didn't appreciate the value of Waldman's negotiations with Assange, he would stop them. In retrospect, Waldman continued meeting Assange for another nine months. Waldman's trips to London and his expenses there for at least some of those occasions were charged to other clients of Waldman's.

EXCERPTS FROM THE WALDMAN-WARNER TEXT SERIES


Source: https://www.scribd.com/document/

The significance of Waldman's messages about Assange were ignored in the US at the time of their first release because US reporters were focused on Waldman's Russian connexion, and the potential for damage the reporters believed this might do to Trump. Likewise, Waldman's reports of what Assange told him have been ignored in the London media until the Guardian revealed the Ecuadorian government reports on Assange and the visit logs. The Guardian's purpose, like the earlier Murdoch media reporting, was to find a Kremlin connection.

In retrospect, the Waldman-Warner texts reveal that it was Assange's intention to use Waldman to make a connection, not to the Kremlin, but to the US Government, trading Wikileaks for Assange's freedom. Assange was requesting, so Waldman told Warner, safe passage to Washington and release from threats of US prosecution in return for information regarding "future leaks" and a promise not "to do something catastrophic for the dems, Obama, CIA and national security". Waldman wrote that to Warner on February 16, 2017, adding: "I hope someone will consider getting him to the US to ameliorate the damage".

On March 7, 2017, Wikileaks released publicly what Assange had already described to Waldman. This was the start of publication of the CIA's Vault-7 and Vault-8 files. The files, claimed Wikileaks, were "the largest ever publication of confidential documents by the agency." They revealed the extent, cost and penetration, inside the US as well as globally, of CIA cyber-warfare operations of many kinds, including hacker attacks which the CIA created as false flags, making them appear to originate from Russian sources.

"Since 2001," Wikileaks announced , "the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force -- its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities. By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other 'weaponized' malware."

Assange was quoted in the Wikileaks release as saying: "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of 'Year Zero' goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

This was what Assange had told Waldman, days earlier, was the "something catastrophic" he was planning. But Assange told Waldman more. He was willing to deal if the Justice Department would agree to a quid pro quo. Waldman's messages to Warner confirm this; they also reveal that Waldman got no swift response from Justice Department officials, so he asked Warner for his help. Assange then started his slow release of the Vault-7 archive, one week at a time:


Source: https://wikileaks.org/+-Intelligence-+.html

Assange's last publication in the CIA Vault series was on November 9. Waldman's last meetings with Assange were in the same month.

What exactly were the terms Assange asked Waldman to trade with the Justice Department and Warner's Intelligence Committee? Was he telling Waldman that he would stop the release of more CIA Vault-7 documents in return for immunity from prosecution? Did he reveal to Waldman enough information for the CIA and Justice Department to identify the source of the CIA documents?

Last week, on June 18, the US Attorney's office in Manhattan announced that it had indicted a former CIA software engineer, Joshua Schulte (right), as the source of the Wikileaks releases. Read the 14-page indictment here . Schulte, 29, had worked in the CIA's Engineering Development Group, which designed the hacking tools used by its Center for Cyber Intelligence. In late 2016, he left the Agency and moved to New York to work for Bloomberg. The prosecutors have charged thirteen counts against Schulte; nine of them relate to the Wikileaks releases, and carry a total of 90 years' imprisonment on conviction. Schulte has pleaded not guilty.

Bloomberg has reported Schulte's indictment and court appearance, noting that after he left the CIA in November 2016 he "worked briefly for Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, leaving the company in March 2017." Bloomberg has not been charged with gaining unlawful advantage from Schulte's expertise. US media reporting the Schulte charges claim his disclosures were one of the worst losses of classified documents in the CIA's history. Earlier document releases through Wikileaks by Edward Snowden in 2013 came for the most part from the National Security Agency (NSA), for which Snowden had been a contractor. He has been charged by US prosecutors with espionage, and been granted asylum in Russia.

Wikileaks isn't named in the Schulte indictment; instead, it is referred to as "Organization-1 which posted the Classified Information online". Schulte, the court papers imply, obtained the classified information during 2016, in the months leading up to his departure from the CIA in November of that year. Two months later Assange had the files, because he told Waldman about them during their January meetings.

By the time in March, when Assange started publishing from Vault-7, investigators from the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had already identified Schulte as their suspect. In last week's court papers it is revealed that Schulte was first interrogated by the FBI within days of the first Wikileaks publication.

Source: https://static01.nyt.com/files/

How did the FBI find its way so swiftly to Schulte? Had Waldman's contacts with the Justice Department in February, relaying what Assange had told him, helped pinpoint Schulte as the Wikileaks source?

Assange's current barrister in London is Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers . She and a press spokesman, Elina Gibbons-Plowright, were asked to clarify the meetings between Waldman and Assange which had taken place in 2017. In addition to multiple telephone-calls to their offices, the questions were recorded on Robinson's answer-phone and emailed. She and Gibbons-Plowright were initially reluctant to respond.


Julian Assange and Jennifer Robinson during London court proceedings in 2011. Assange took refuge at the Ecuador Embassy in June 2012; he was granted diplomatic asylum by the Ecuador Government in August 2012, and Ecuadorian citizenship in December 2017. US threats to have the UK Government arrest him and extradite him have been renewed by the Schulte indictment of last week.

Then on Friday Robinson replied by email: "Mr Assange is cut off from phone and internet, and is only permitted legal visits, so the only way I can put your questions to him is to physically go into the embassy. I have no scheduled visits until next week. I trust you understand the difficulties of his current circumstances and the impact of this in terms of ability to provide comment and will acknowledge this in however you report this story."

I replied: "The Waldman-Assange meetings commenced, with your knowledge and counsel for your client, more than a year ago. The SMS texts were published four months ago. Consequently, the questions are for you to answer. You will know that Mr Waldman purports to be the one-man employee of the Endeavor Law Firm PC, as well as the principal of Endeavor Group, a lobbying firm. You knew that he and Mr Assange discussed matters of law and proposals for the US Department of Justice."

The questions for Robinson were: 1. After meeting with Mr Assange in mid-February 2017, Mr Waldman sent an SMS to Senator Mark Warner saying Mr Assange wanted "safe passage from the USG to discuss the past and future leaks". Please explain what "safe passage" meant then. 2. In February Mr Assange told Mr Waldman that he was planning "something catastrophic for the dems, Obama, CIA and national security" – was that the Vault 7 disclosure? 3. Mr Waldman also quoted Mr Assange as saying he wanted to go to the US "to ameliorate the damage" – what did Mr Assange mean by "ameliorate the damage"? 4. Mr Waldman says Mr Assange agreed to "serious and important concessions" for Mr Waldman to take directly to the US Department of Justice and discuss with those officials. What were these concessions? 5. Within hours or days of the first Wikileaks publication of the Vault 7 files, the FBI went to interview Joshua Schulte. Did Mr Assange give Mr Waldman information or promise information about Mr Schulte to help the FBI and CIA to identify him as a source for the Vault 7 files?

Robinson has not answered.

In Washington Waldman hides from email and telephone contact. His website contact email address is secured behind a password barrier set up in Germany. His office telephone number 202-715-0966 provides an extension number 1006 for Waldman, but no message can be left on the answer-phone. Waldman himself does not pick up during office hours. Neither is there an office receptionist. The telephone directory number, like the email address, is a blind.

Questions were sent to Waldman's personal email address, which he has used to communicate with me in the past. Waldman was asked to "clarify what were the client relationships and purposes you held out to Mr Assange which the latter believed to be in his interest to pursue as often with you as he appears to have done?" Waldman refuses to answer.

Harding, a Guardian correspondent in Moscow between 2007 and 2011, reported last week that "US intelligence agencies concluded with 'high confidence' last year, in an unclassified intelligence assessment, that the Kremlin shared hacked emails with WikiLeaks that undermined Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign as part of its effort to sway the 2016 election in favour of Donald Trump." For identification of the faults of the US intelligence agency report, read this .

For months after the election in November 2016, Harding has suggested by innuendo, the visits Waldman made to Assange from January to November 2017 – ten reportedly counted from secret logs obtained from the Ecuadorian Government -- indicate that Waldman, Assange and Deripaska were scheming to advance Russian interests in the defeat of the Democratic Party campaign against Trump.

"It is not clear why Waldman went to the WikiLeaks founder or whether the meetings had any connection to the Russian billionaire, who is now subject to US sanctions", Harding reported, then drawing his own conclusion: "But the disclosure is likely to raise further questions about the extent and nature of Assange's alleged ties to Russia." This was Harding's cue for the answer he has already decided – Waldman was Assange's back-channel to the Kremlin. In November 2017, Harding had published a book with this conclusion in the title, "Collusion – How Russia [sic] Helped [sic] Trump [sic] Win the White House". The Latin qualifier has been added to identify the innuendoes for which Harding has reported no conclusive evidence.


The headline claims the Ecuadorian surveillance reports on Assange count nine visits by Waldman. In Harding's text, he reports three Waldman visits to Assange in January 2017; two in March; three in April; and two in November. If accurately counted, they add up to ten. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/ The Waldman telephone texts to Senator Warner which have been published start in February 2017, and refer to contact with Assange which Waldman had had already. In March, when Waldman met Assange twice, he told Warner he had "convinced him to make serious and important concessions and am discussing those w/DOJ [with US Department of Justice]."

The web and print displays of the story don't provide evidence for the reported connection between Deripaska and Assange on which Harding sets store. Assange refused to reply to the questions Harding had sent him; Waldman and Deripaska likewise.

Harding believes Assange met Waldman as a go-between through Deripaska to Moscow. It did not occur to Harding that Assange was negotiating with Waldman for a deal with Washington.

[Jun 25, 2018] Comment on "Trump and "National Neoliberalism""

Jun 25, 2018 | triplecrisis.com
  1. Thomas Williams says: November 30, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Sasha:

    Got my Economics Degree in 1971 – when they still taught the stuff. Maybe I shouldn't, but I still go nuts when educated writers like yourself distort the origins of Fascism. It was a three legged stool consisting of government, industry and labor. Taking care of the working class was a key element. Also, being socialist, it was not market oriented. Neoliberalism is exactly the opposite with it's 'lump of labor' and unregulated markets. It arose in defense of the crushing fist of western capitalism and, had it not been taken over by dictators, might have done the world a lot of good. Other than that you wrote a nice piece. Keep it up

[Jun 19, 2018] Will the Real Donald Trump Please Stand Up by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's vision would seem to include protection of core industries, existing demographics and cultural institutions combined with an end of "democratization," which will result in an acceptance of foreign autocratic or non-conforming regimes as long as they do not pose military or economic threats. ..."
"... Sounds good, I countered but there is a space between genius and idiocy and that would be called insanity, best illustrated by impulsive, irrational behavior coupled with acute hypersensitivity over perceived personal insults and a demonstrated inability to comprehend either generally accepted facts or basic norms of personal and group behavior. ..."
"... Trump's basic objections were that Washington is subsidizing the defense of a wealthy Europe and thereby maintaining unnecessarily a relationship that perpetuates a state of no-war no-peace between Russia and the West. ..."
"... And the neoconservatives and globalists are striking back hard to make sure that détente stays in a bottle hidden somewhere on a shelf in the White House cloak room. Always adept at the creation of new front groups, the neocons have now launched something called the Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI), with the goal of "uni[ting] the center-left and the center-right." Its founders include the redoubtable Max Boot, The Washington Post's Anne Appelbaum, the inevitable Bill Kristol, and Richard Hurwitz of Council on Foreign Relations. RDI's website predictably calls for "fresh thinking" and envisions "the best minds from different countries com[ing] together for both broad and discrete projects in the service of liberty and democracy in the West and beyond." It argues that "Liberal democracy is in crisis around the world, besieged by authoritarianism, nationalism, and other illiberal forces. Far-right parties are gaining traction in Europe, Vladimir Putin tightens his grip on Russia and undermines democracy abroad, and America struggles with poisonous threats from the right and left." ..."
"... There are also the internal contradictions in what Trump appears to be doing, suggesting that a brighter future might not be on the horizon even if giving the Europeans a possibly deserved bloody nose over their refusal to spend money defending themselves provides some satisfaction. In the last week alone in Syria the White House has quietly renewed funding for the so-called White Helmets, a terrorist front group. It has also warned that it will take action against the Syrian government for any violation of a "de-escalation zone" in the country's southwest that has been under the control of Washington. That means that the U.S., which is in Syria illegally, is warning that country's legitimate government that it should not attempt to re-establish control over a region that was until recently ruled by terrorists. ..."
"... In Syria there have been two pointless cruise missile attacks and a trap set up to kill Russian mercenaries. Washington's stated intention is to destabilize and replace President Bashar al-Assad while continuing the occupation of the Syrian oil fields. And in Afghanistan there are now more troops on the ground than there were on inauguration day together with no plan to bring them home. It is reported that the Pentagon has a twenty-year plan to finish the job but no one actually believes it will work. ..."
"... The United States is constructing new drone bases in Africa and Asia. It also has a new military base in Israel which will serve as a tripwire for automatic American involvement if Israel goes to war and has given the green light to the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. ..."
"... And then there are the petty insults that do not behoove a great power. A friend recently attended the Russian National Day celebration at the embassy in Washington. He reported that the U.S. government completely boycotted the event, together with its allies in Western Europe and the anglosphere, resulting in sparse attendance. It is the kind of slight that causes attitudes to shift when the time comes for serious negotiating. It is unnecessary and it is precisely the sort of thing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is referring to when he asks that his country be treated with "respect." The White House could have sent a delegation to attend the national day. Trump could have arranged it with a phone call, but he didn't. ..."
"... Winston Churchill once reportedly said that to "Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war." As one of the twentieth century's leading warmongers, he may not have actually meant it, but in principle he was right. So let us hope for the best coming out of Singapore and also for the G-7 or what replaces it in the future. But don't be confused or diverted by presidential grandstanding. Watch what else is going on outside the limelight and, at least for the present, it is not pretty. ..."
"... Phil nails it as usual. Like him, I'm not very optimistic. Whether overall one approves or disapproves of Trump (and count me as a disapprover), it is obvious that most of the government is operating outside his control and this includes many of his own appointees. The continuities of US policy are far deeper than the apparent discontinuities. ..."
Jun 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

I had coffee with a foreign friend a week ago. The subject of Donald Trump inevitably came up and my friend said that he was torn between describing Trump as a genius or as an idiot, but was inclined to lean towards genius. He explained that Trump was willy-nilly establishing a new world order that will succeed the institutionally exhausted post-World War 2 financial and political arrangements that more-or-less established U.S. hegemony over the "free world." The Bretton Woods agreement and the founding of the United Nations institutionalized the spread of liberal democracy and free trade, creating a new, post war international order under the firm control of the United States with the American dollar as the benchmark currency. Trump is now rejecting what has become an increasingly dominant global world order in favor of returning to a nineteenth century style nationalism that has become popular as countries struggle to retain their cultural and political identifies. Trump's vision would seem to include protection of core industries, existing demographics and cultural institutions combined with an end of "democratization," which will result in an acceptance of foreign autocratic or non-conforming regimes as long as they do not pose military or economic threats.

Sounds good, I countered but there is a space between genius and idiocy and that would be called insanity, best illustrated by impulsive, irrational behavior coupled with acute hypersensitivity over perceived personal insults and a demonstrated inability to comprehend either generally accepted facts or basic norms of personal and group behavior.

Inevitably, I have other friends who follow foreign policy closely that have various interpretations of the Trump phenomenon. One sees the respectful meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea as a bit of brilliant statesmanship, potentially breaking a sixty-five year logjam and possibly opening the door to further discussions that might well avert a nuclear war. And the week also brought a Trump welcome suggestion that Russia should be asked to rejoin the G-7 group of major industrialized democracies, which also has to be seen as a positive step. There has also been talk of a Russia-U.S. summit similar to that with North Korea to iron out differences, an initiative that was first suggested by Trump and then agreed to by Russian President Vladimir Putin. There will inevitably be powerful resistance to such an arrangement coming primarily from the U.S. media and from Congress, but Donald Trump seems to fancy the prospect and it just might take place.

One good friend even puts a positive spin on Trump's insulting behavior towards America's traditional allies at the recent G-7 meeting in Canada. She observes that Trump's basic objections were that Washington is subsidizing the defense of a wealthy Europe and thereby maintaining unnecessarily a relationship that perpetuates a state of no-war no-peace between Russia and the West. And the military costs exacerbate some genuine serious trade imbalances that damage the U.S. economy. If Trumpism prevails, G-7 will become a forum for discussions of trade and economic relations and will become less a club of nations aligned military against Russia and, eventually, China. As she put it, changing its constituency would be a triumph of "mercantilism" over "imperialism." The now pointless NATO alliance might well find itself without much support if the members actually have to fully fund it proportionate to their GDPs and could easily fade away, which would be a blessing for everyone.

My objection to nearly all the arguments being made in favor or opposed to what occurred in Singapore last week is that the summit is being seen out of context, as is the outreach to Russia at G-7. Those who are in some cases violently opposed to the outcome of the talks with North Korea are, to be sure, sufferers from Trump Derangement Syndrome, where they hate anything he does and spin their responses to cast him in the most negative terms possible. Some others who choose to see daylight in spite of the essential emptiness of the "agreement" are perhaps being overly optimistic while likewise ignoring what else is going on.

And the neoconservatives and globalists are striking back hard to make sure that détente stays in a bottle hidden somewhere on a shelf in the White House cloak room. Always adept at the creation of new front groups, the neocons have now launched something called the Renew Democracy Initiative (RDI), with the goal of "uni[ting] the center-left and the center-right." Its founders include the redoubtable Max Boot, The Washington Post's Anne Appelbaum, the inevitable Bill Kristol, and Richard Hurwitz of Council on Foreign Relations. RDI's website predictably calls for "fresh thinking" and envisions "the best minds from different countries com[ing] together for both broad and discrete projects in the service of liberty and democracy in the West and beyond." It argues that "Liberal democracy is in crisis around the world, besieged by authoritarianism, nationalism, and other illiberal forces. Far-right parties are gaining traction in Europe, Vladimir Putin tightens his grip on Russia and undermines democracy abroad, and America struggles with poisonous threats from the right and left."

There are also the internal contradictions in what Trump appears to be doing, suggesting that a brighter future might not be on the horizon even if giving the Europeans a possibly deserved bloody nose over their refusal to spend money defending themselves provides some satisfaction. In the last week alone in Syria the White House has quietly renewed funding for the so-called White Helmets, a terrorist front group. It has also warned that it will take action against the Syrian government for any violation of a "de-escalation zone" in the country's southwest that has been under the control of Washington. That means that the U.S., which is in Syria illegally, is warning that country's legitimate government that it should not attempt to re-establish control over a region that was until recently ruled by terrorists.

And then there is also Donald Trump's recent renunciation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), eliminating a successful program that was preventing nuclear proliferation on the part of Iran and replacing it with nothing whatsoever apart from war as a possible way of dealing with the potential problem. Indeed, Trump has been prepared to use military force on impulse, even when there is no clear casus belli. In Syria there have been two pointless cruise missile attacks and a trap set up to kill Russian mercenaries. Washington's stated intention is to destabilize and replace President Bashar al-Assad while continuing the occupation of the Syrian oil fields. And in Afghanistan there are now more troops on the ground than there were on inauguration day together with no plan to bring them home. It is reported that the Pentagon has a twenty-year plan to finish the job but no one actually believes it will work.

The United States is constructing new drone bases in Africa and Asia. It also has a new military base in Israel which will serve as a tripwire for automatic American involvement if Israel goes to war and has given the green light to the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. In Latin America, Washington has backed off from détente with Cuba and has been periodically threatening some kind of intervention in Venezuela. In Europe, it is engaged in aggressive war games on the Russian borders, most recently in Norway and Poland. The Administration has ordered increased involvement in Somalia and has special ops units operating – and dying – worldwide. Overall, it is hardly a return to the Garden of Eden.

And then there are the petty insults that do not behoove a great power. A friend recently attended the Russian National Day celebration at the embassy in Washington. He reported that the U.S. government completely boycotted the event, together with its allies in Western Europe and the anglosphere, resulting in sparse attendance. It is the kind of slight that causes attitudes to shift when the time comes for serious negotiating. It is unnecessary and it is precisely the sort of thing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is referring to when he asks that his country be treated with "respect." The White House could have sent a delegation to attend the national day. Trump could have arranged it with a phone call, but he didn't.

Winston Churchill once reportedly said that to "Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war." As one of the twentieth century's leading warmongers, he may not have actually meant it, but in principle he was right. So let us hope for the best coming out of Singapore and also for the G-7 or what replaces it in the future. But don't be confused or diverted by presidential grandstanding. Watch what else is going on outside the limelight and, at least for the present, it is not pretty.


Mishra , June 19, 2018 at 4:11 am GMT

The Establishment (which includes both major political parties) is furious that Trump may be defusing the (very real) nuclear threat from Kim for the price of a few plane tickets and dinners, while the Establishment was gung-ho for throwing away a few trillion dollars, hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, and our nation's once-good reputation in the process of neutralizing Saddam Hussein, who didn't even have any nukes to begin with. Yep, they're sore all right.
Kirt , June 19, 2018 at 4:20 am GMT
Phil nails it as usual. Like him, I'm not very optimistic. Whether overall one approves or disapproves of Trump (and count me as a disapprover), it is obvious that most of the government is operating outside his control and this includes many of his own appointees. The continuities of US policy are far deeper than the apparent discontinuities.

[Jun 11, 2018] I think it wise to examine what Trump's outbursts at and beyond the G6+1 are based upon--his understanding of Economic Nationalism

Jun 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Jun 11, 2018 12:06:47 PM | 111

As we await info on Kim-Trump, I think it wise to examine what Trump's outbursts at and beyond the G6+1 are based upon--his understanding of Economic Nationalism. Fortunately, we have an excellent, recent, Valdai Club paper addressing the topic that's not too technical or lengthy. The author references two important papers by Lavrov and Putin that ought to be read afterwards. Lavrov's is the elder and ought to be first. Putin's Belt & Road International Forum Address, 2017 provides an excellent example of the methods outlined in the first paper.

I could certainly add more, but IMO these provide an excellent basis for comprehending Trump's motivations as he's clearly reacting to the Russian and Chinese initiatives. Furthermore, one can discover why Russia now holds the EU at arms length while Putin's "I told you so" reminder had to sting just a bit.

Then to recap it all, I highly suggest reading Pepe Escobar's excellent article I linked to yesterday higher up in the thread.

[Jun 06, 2018] Why Foreign Policy Realism Isn't Enough by William S. Smith

Highly recommended!
From comments: "Putin, if people would listen, proposes a model that I find acceptable. Respect for national sovereignty and government institutions. In this model, yes, we would tolerate authoritarian governments as long as they respect the sovereignty and stability of other countries." But the problem with this statement is the dynamics of American Imperialism, which would not tolerate any government which is not a vassal.
Notable quotes:
"... Idealism in foreign policy is, by definition, the pursuit of a dreamy vision of a better world that does not seriously ask whether the ideal is actually compatible with reality. Illusions set idealists up for terrible surprises. Addressing problems through, for example, the lens of Fukuyama-style Hegelian idealism, according to which the world is inexorably progressing toward liberal democratic values, would in today's world be not only absurd but dangerous. ..."
"... When realist thinkers -- from Machiavelli to Kissinger -- prick the bubbles of the dreamers, they incur only wrath. For idealists, it is the height of cynicism and bad manners to point out that cunning and force are what actually dominate world affairs. ..."
"... For Kissinger, peace depends upon "a system of independent states refraining from interference in each other's domestic affairs and checking each other's ambitions through a general equilibrium of power." The Peace of Westphalia and, to some degree, the Congress of Vienna embodied such an arrangement, offering the lesson that balance-of-power theory is indispensable in analyzing world events. ..."
"... However, Kissinger was intellectually astute enough to recognize that, in order to create and maintain this equilibrium of power, something more than a mechanical balance is required: enlightened statesmen. Kissinger states explicitly that balance-of-power "does not in itself secure peace." If world leaders refuse to play by Westphalian rules, the system will break down. He warns of the rise of radical Islamists, for example, who refuse to think in Westphalian terms. ..."
"... Morality in foreign affairs, then, is not found in a set of abstract rules of behavior for nation-states, nor is it found in deploying military power to advance some progressive, idealistic cause. Morality can be found only in the souls of righteous statesmen who, under complex international circumstances, act not out of malice or hatred, nor out of greed or pure self-interest, but who find a path to peace that is compatible not only with the interest of their own nations but that of the others. ..."
"... Just had to correct that one sentence, there. Kissinger had no problem intervening in the affairs of "independent states" that posed little military or political threat to the United States, but perhaps threatened the commercial interests, profits or market share of American companies and capitalists. ..."
"... The record of the foreign policy realists, Republican or Democratic, is drenched in blood, from Afghanistan, Indonesia and Angola to Chile, Nicaragua and Guatemala, not to mention Cambodia from Nixon to Carter to Reagan. And the long-term consequences of their decisions (Iran in 1953, Afghanistan under Carter and Brezinski) can bite the rest of us pretty hard, too. Hell, George H.W. Bush and James Baker brought us the first Iraq War, which should have been left to the Arab League to solve (and, frankly, I give not a whit for the independence of the Emi