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"All democracies turn into dictatorships - but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea... That's the issue that I've been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire ... and how does a democracy become a dictatorship? "

Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas

[Nov 20, 2016] Obama and Clinton Are Complicit in Creating ISIS

See also Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Notable quotes:
"... The origins of Daesh, known commonly as the Islamic State or ISIS, tie back directly to Obama and Clinton policy delusions and half measures of the Iraq and Syria conflicts. ..."
"... The FSA exerted zero control over the dozens of rival militias fighting each other and the Assad regime in Damascus. The Syrian Rebel groups were like dozens of hungry baby vultures in a nest all competing for resources, and the worst and meanest destroyed their counterparts using the aid given them by their misguided American benefactors. ..."
"... The Sunni Arab Gulf states piled on behind the U.S. government to help their Sunni brethren with more arms and cash. The result was a true race to the bottom of Syrian Rebel groups. ..."
"... The chaos sewn globally by ISIS today grew directly from the bad seeds planted by the Clinton/Obama failures in the basics of statecraft. ..."
"... Obama/Clinton continued to approach the Middle East with the same naivety that led the Bush Administration into Iraq in the first place. For all of the criticism that Obama levied on Bush, he continued to apply a deeply delusional Washington perspective to Middle Eastern politics and culture - ignoring all we should have learned in 13 years of Iraq conflict and warfare. ..."
Jun 16, 2016 | breitbart.com

The origins of Daesh, known commonly as the Islamic State or ISIS, tie back directly to Obama and Clinton policy delusions and half measures of the Iraq and Syria conflicts.

With the recent release of an August 2012 classified intelligence memo to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton detailing the presence of the organization that became ISIS among the Syrian oppositional forces supported by the West, it's important to remember the history of exactly how the Islamic State arose from the ashes of a failed Obama/Clinton foreign policy.

The Syrian "Arab Spring" agitations that began in March 2011, where majority Sunnis rebelled against an Assad run Alawite Shia Ba'th Party, quickly dissolved into a multi sided proxy war. Clinton State Department policy grew into helping these Sunni rebels under the banner of the "Free Syrian Army (FSA)" with weapons, money and diplomatic support.

However, the reality is that the FSA existed only in the minds of the State Department leadership. The FSA exerted zero control over the dozens of rival militias fighting each other and the Assad regime in Damascus. The Syrian Rebel groups were like dozens of hungry baby vultures in a nest all competing for resources, and the worst and meanest destroyed their counterparts using the aid given them by their misguided American benefactors.

The Sunni Arab Gulf states piled on behind the U.S. government to help their Sunni brethren with more arms and cash. The result was a true race to the bottom of Syrian Rebel groups. All the while the Assad regime's traditional allies of Russia and Iran provided weapons, training, and even thousands of fighters themselves to combat the U.S. supported Sunni rebels. The Obama/Clinton team couldn't even do a proxy war correctly.

The chaos sewn globally by ISIS today grew directly from the bad seeds planted by the Clinton/Obama failures in the basics of statecraft.

... ... ...

Obama/Clinton continued to approach the Middle East with the same naivety that led the Bush Administration into Iraq in the first place. For all of the criticism that Obama levied on Bush, he continued to apply a deeply delusional Washington perspective to Middle Eastern politics and culture - ignoring all we should have learned in 13 years of Iraq conflict and warfare.

Erik Prince is a former Navy SEAL, founder of Blackwater, and currently a frontier market investor and concerned parent.

[Sep 26, 2016] The Guardian

Notable quotes:
"... Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game? ..."
"... And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits. They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

The Guardian

Vermithrax , 2016-09-26 18:48:09
Before the pivot could even get underway the Saudis threw their rattle out of the pram and drew US focus back to the Middle East and proxy war two steps removed with Russia. Empires don't get to focus, they react to each event and seek to gain from the outcome so the whole pivot idea was flawed.

Obama's foreign policy has been clumsy and amoral. It remains to be seen whether it will become more so in an effort to double down. Under Clinton it definitely will, under Trump who knows but random isn't a recommendation.

Conventionally the US is being outplayed but it is possible that it is playing a different game in which it is complicit in the transition from nation state to corporate oligarchy. Isn't that the Neoliberal end game?

Boyaca , 2016-09-26 18:41:19
So the Rand Think Tank would sooner have war now than later. Who wouldda guessed that.

The Chinese want to improve trade and business with the rest of the world. The US answer? destroy China militarily. so who best to lead the world. I think the article answers that question unintentionally. The rest of the world has had it up to the ears with American military invasions, regeime changes, occupations and bombing of the world. They are ready for China´s approach to international relations. it is about time the adults took over the leadership of the world. Europe and the USA and their offspring have clearly failed.

AmyInNH , 2016-09-26 17:07:12
China has been handed everything it needs to fly solo: money, factories, IP, etc. Fast forwarding into the western civic model limits (traffic, pollution, etc.), its best bet is to offload US "interests" and steer clear.
No clear sign India's learned/recovered from British occupation, as they let tech create more future Kanpurs.
Shein Ariely , 2016-09-26 17:06:51
Obama failed worldwide.
Next USA president either Democrat or Republican will have a difficult job fixing his colosal mistakes in ME- Euroep-Asia
yermelai , 2016-09-26 10:12:58
The biggest mistake was to enact a policy shunning Russia, when Russia should be a key, partner of Europe and the US.

Was it really worth expanding NATO to Russia's borders instead of offering neutrality to former Soviet States and thus retain Russia's confidence in global matters that far out weigh the interests of the neo-cons?

Hermanovic yermelai , 2016-09-26 10:50:07
neutrality? Russia invaded non-NATO members Georgie, Ukrain, and Moldavia, and created puppet-states on their soil.

The Jremlin-rules are simple: the former Sovjet states should be ruled by a pro-Russian dictator (Bella-Russia, Kazachstan, etc. etc...). Democracies face boycots, diplomatic and military support of rebels, and in the end simply a military invasion.

The only reason why the baltic states are now thriving democracies, is that they are NATO members.

Boyaca Hermanovic , 2016-09-26 18:57:23
And the USA invaded Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua with the contras, Iraq, Afghanistan, are currently bombing the crap out of another dozen nations, has militarily occupied another 100 nations with their bases and you are worried about Russia with Georgia and The Ukraine? What in Hades is wrong with this picture?
macel388 , 2016-09-26 10:08:03
"Barack Obama's 'Asian pivot' failed. China is in the ascendancy" says the heading.

So Obama's "Asian pivot" was meant to thwart China's development.

MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 09:36:41
When Obama took office his first major speech was in Cairo - where he said
"I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," US President Barack Obama said to the sounds of loud applause which rocked not only the hall, but the world. "One based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings."

He displayed a dangerous mix of innocence, foolishness, disregard for the truth and misunderstanding of the nature of Islamic regimes - does the West have common values with Lebanon which practices apartheid for Palestinians, Saudi, where women cannot drive a car, Syria, where over 17,000 have died in Assad's torture chambers, we can go on and on.

And on China - Trump has it right - China has been manipulating its currency exchange rate for years, costing western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits and something needs to be done about it.

ReinerNiemand MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 10:21:20
" America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles-principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. "
He spoke about the whole of Islam, not specific " Islamic regimes ". And he is correct on it. All religions share a great deal of values with the USAmerican constition and even each other .
The overwhelming majority of USAmerican muslims have accepted the melting pot with their whole heart, second generation children have JOINED its fighting forces to protect the interest of the uSA all over the world. Normally this full an integration is reached with the third generation.

The west has won against those religious fanatics. How else to explain that exactly the people those claim to speak turn up with us?

Calvert MicheNorman , 2016-09-26 11:21:45
And the big problem with Trump's approach is that good ol' American corporations are the ones who are profiting wildly from business in China. They wanted access to the Chinese labor force, e.g. Walmart and every other manufacturer who now peddles goods made in China in US stores. They are the entities that cost western workers millions of jobs, creating massive trade deficits. They are wealthy beyond measure and anyone who wants to alter this system whereby American corporations manufacture in China and ship products around the world, inc. to the US, would have to fight them. And if anyone believes that Trump would succeed in this battle, they are delusional.
hartebeest , 2016-09-26 09:35:14
"These two juggernauts are on a collision course" is far too alarmist. Relying mainly on right-wing US thinktanks for analysis doesn't help. Interesting in particular to see RAND is still in its Cold War mindset. There's famous footage of RAND analysts in the 60s (I think) discussing putative nuclear war with the USSR and concluding that the US was certain of 'victory' following a missile exchange because its surviving population (after hundreds of millions of deaths and the destruction of almost all urban centres) would be somewhat larger.

China's island claims are all about a broader strategic aim- getting unencumbered access to the Pacific for its growing blue water navy. It's not aimed at Taiwan or Japan in any sort of specific sense and, save for the small possibility of escalation following an accident (ships colliding or something), there's very little risk of conflict in at least the medium term.

It's crucial to remember just how much China and the US depend upon each other economically. The US is by far China's largest single export market, powering its manufacturing economy. In return, China uses the surplus to buy up US debt, which allows the Americans to borrow cheaply and keep the lights on. Crash China and you crash the US- and vice versa.

For now, China is basically accepting an upgraded number 2 spot (along with the US acknowledging them as part of a 'G2'), but supporting alternative governance structures when it doesn't like the ones controlled by the US/Japan (so the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS etc.).

This doesn't mean that the two don't see each other as long term strategic and economic rivals. But the risks to both of rocking the boat are gigantic and not in the interest of either party in the foreseeable future. Things that could change that:

a. a succession of Trump-like US presidents (checks and balances are probably sufficient to withstand one, were it to come to that);
b. a revolution in China (possible if the economy goes South- and what comes next is probably not liberal democracy but anti-Japanese or anti-US authoritarian nationalism);
c. an unpredictable chain of events arising from N Korean collapse or a regional nuclear race (Japan-China is a more likely source of conflict than US-China).

MrMeinung , 2016-09-26 09:13:57
The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all.

Now we are waking up to the realisation that we are the big loosers of globalisation.

Time for a change of plan.

freeandfair MrMeinung , 2016-09-26 14:29:49
"The west has been long living under the illusion that the so called globalised world would be beneficial for all. "

No, actually they thought it would be beneficial for the Western countries mostly. And it was, but whatever benefits developing countries received allowed them to rise to the level of a potential future threat to the unquestionable Western dominance. And now the US is looking for a way to destroy them preemptively. The US is paranoid.

Zami99 , 2016-09-26 08:30:36
The writing is on the wall: the future is with China. All the US can do is make nice or reap the dire consequences. If China can clean up its human rights record, I would be happy to see them supplant or rival the US as a global hegemon. After all, looked at historically, haven't they earned it? - An American, born and bred, but no nationalist
Calvert Zami99 , 2016-09-26 11:24:26
Well, that is naïve. Look at China and how the Chinese people are governed. Look at the US. And please don't tell me you don't see a difference. I'll take a world with the US as the global hegemon any day.
Leandro Rodriguez Zami99 , 2016-09-26 16:15:42
The US never cleaned up their human rights record...
Sven Ringling , 2016-09-26 08:16:37
A regional counter balance is needed. Cooperation is hindered by Japan. They should be the center point of a regional alliance strong enough to contain China with US help, but it doesn't work: whilst everybody fears China, everybody hates Japan.
The reason is they failed miserably to rebuild trust after WWII, rather than going cap in hand, acknowledging respondibility for atrocities and other crimes and injustice, and compensate victims, they kept their pride and isolation. They are now paying the price - possibly together with the rest of us.
Maybe a full scale change after 7 decades of to-little-to-late diplomacy can still achieve sth.
The ass the US should kick sits in Tokyo - something they failed to do properly after WWII, when they managed it well in West Germany (ok - they had help from the Brits there, who for all their failings understand foreign nations far better), where it facilitated proper integration into European cooperation.
ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 07:28:26
I think this "ascendancy" and nationalistic fervour is actually a sign of internal turmoil. Countries that do well don't need to crack down on dissidents to the point of kidnappings or spend millions of stupid man made islands that pisses everyone off but have all the military value of a threatening facial tattoo. The South China Sea tactics is partially Chinese "push until something pushes back" diplomacy but also stems from the harsh realisation that their resources can be easily choked of and even the CPC knows it can't hold down a billion plus Chinese people once the hunger sets it.

China is facing the dilemna that as it brings people out of poverty it reduces the supply of the very cheap labour that makes it rich. You can talk about Lenovo all you want, no one is buying a Chinese car anytime soon. Nor is any airline outside of China going to buy one of their planes. Copyright fraud is one thing the West can retaliate easily upon and will if they feel China has gone too far. Any product found in a western court to be a blatant copy can effectively be banned. The next step is to refuse to recognize Chinese copyright on the few genuine innovations that come out of it.

Plus the deal Deng Xiaoping made with the urban classes is fraying. It was wealth in exchange for subservience. The people in the cities stay out of direct politics but quality of life issues, safety, petty corruption and pollution are angering them and scaring them hence the vast amount of private Chinese money being sunk into global real estate.

The military growth and dubious technobabble is just typical Chinese mianzi gaining. If you do have a brand new jet stealth jet fighter, you don't release pictures of it to the world press. They got really rattled when Shinzo Abe decided the JSDF can go and deliver slappings abroad to help their friends if needed. Because an army that spends a lot of time rigging up Michael Bayesque set maneuvers for the telly is not what you want to pit against top notch technology handled by obsessive perfectionists.

No one plays hardball with China because we all like cheap shit. But once that is over then China is a very vulnerable country with not one neighbour they can call a friend. They know it. Obama hasn't failed.. It's the histrionics that prove it not the other way round.

250022 ArabinPatson , 2016-09-26 11:34:31
Fundamentally incorrect.

The labour supply is assured because there are still multi millions in poverty and signing up as cheap labour is exactly what brings them out of poverty.

I assume you've never been to China and therefore have never heard of Chunyun, the largest human migration in the world. This is partly the ruralites returning home from the cities with their years spoils. This year individual journeys totalled almost 3bn.

No-one is buying a Chinese car? Check the sales for Wuling. They produce the small vans that are the lifeblood of the small entrepreneur. BYD are already exporting electric buses to London. The likes of VW, BMW, Land Rover, are all in partnership with Chinese auto-makers and China is the largest car market in the world.

Corruption has been actively attacked and over a quarter of a million officials have been brought to book in Xi's time in office. The pollution causing steel and coal industries are being rapidly contracted and billions spent on re-training.

Plus the fact that while the Chinese are mianzi gazing, the last thing they think about is politics. They simply don't want to know.

By the way, China is reducing it's land army by a third over the next few years and has just concluded very constructive summits with all it's neighbours during last weeks ASEAN bunfight.

The conclusion is that bi-lateral talks, not US led pissing contests are the way forward.

http://english.sina.com/china/s/2016-09-26/detail-ifxwevmf2233637.shtml

LordLardy1215 , 2016-09-26 05:55:19
The pivot failed second Snowden turned up in Hong Kong. Asia as a consequence doesn't trust US. Snowden revealed that US was protecting its economic interests as opposed to any love for a distant region of the World. Simple reality but as someone from Western World would have preferred that pretence we all knew had been left in the cupboard and not in effect humiliated nations into taking more negative US stance. Agree that China will take decisive action against nations that once humiliated and tortured their citizens - when is the question and any dreams anyone has of a united alliance against China is out with the fairies or been drinking same Koolaid as Snowden and his supporters.
Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 05:05:24
I disagree with the idea that the Asian pivot has failed because it has not happened.

What has happened is the ICA has ruled against China in the SCS and US buildup in Guam has been accelerated.

Also, China still has little force projection and a soon to collapse economy.

alfredwong Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 05:44:58
"What has happened is the ICA has ruled against China in the SCS..."

Nothing new. The UN Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf had also ruled against the UK and the International Court of Justice had ruled against the US.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/29/falkland-islands-argentina-waters-rules-un-commission

http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-defiance-of-international-court-has-precedentu-s-defiance-1467919982

"Also, China still has little force projection"

A country only needs a lot of force projection if it seeks to dominate the world.

"and a soon to collapse economy."

You are entitled to have such dream.

vidimi Jonathan Scott , 2016-09-26 09:41:28
a collapse of the chinese economy would collapse the american economy as well
ChristosHellas , 2016-09-26 04:17:59
Fascinating & well structured article - except for one glaring omission - the LNP selling of the Port of Darwin to a Chinese Government business. Yeh, sure it's a '99 year lease' but for all effective purposes it's a sellout of a strategic port to the Chinese Government.

Just look at how gobsmacked the US Military & President were over such a stupidly undertaken sale by the LNP. This diplomatically lunatic sell off by the LNP of such a vital national asset has effectively taken-out any influence or impact Australia may have, or exert, over critical issues happening on our northern doorstep.

If there was ever a case for buying back a strategic national asset, this is definitely the one. Oh, if folks are worried about the $Billions in penalties incurred, simple solution - just stop the $Billions of Diesel Fuel Rebates gifted to Miners for, say, 10 years..... Done!

JeffAshe , 2016-09-26 04:05:15
America is in terminal decline, beset by economic and fiscal crises, sapped by imperial overstretch, a victim of a cosmopolitan ennui and fecklessness, divided politically and culturally, belligerent and militant to the extreme. An empire in decline is at its most dangerous. America today is a far greater threat to world peace than China. Simply witness America's accommodation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the odious Saudi theocracy, and how its insane policy in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan has led to hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions displaced. Europe is under siege by endless tides of refugees that are the direct consequence of America's neo-Conservative and militant foreign policy. Meanwhile, America's neo-liberal economic and trade policies have not only decimated her own manufacturing base and led to gross inequality but also massive dislocations in South America, Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Tired, irritated, frustrated, exhausted, cynical, violent, moral-less, deeply corrupt, and rudderless, America is effectively bankrupt and on the verge of becoming another Greece, if not for the saving grace of the petro-Dollar. Europe would be well-advised to keep the Yanks at arm's length so as to escape as much as possible the fallout from her complete collapse. As for Britain, soon to be divorced from the EU, time draws nigh to end the humiliating, one-sided servitude that is the 'Special Relationship' and forge an independent foreign policy. The tectonic plates of history is again shifting, and there nothing America can do to stop it.
scss99 JeffAshe , 2016-09-26 05:14:43
I don't know America probably occupies the most prime geographical spot on the planet, and buffered by two oceans. It doesn't have to worry about refugees and the other problems and ultimately they can produce enough food and meet all of its energy needs domestically. And it's the third most populous nation on earth and could easily grow its population with immigration.

The US has no significantly greater percentage of debt than any of the other Western nations except Germany. If you think the Americas bankrupt then you'd have to think a whole lot of other nations including the UK is as well.

Given the facts it would be daft a write off America. Every European nation have lost their number one spot in history and they seem to be doing just fine. Is there some reason why this can't be America's destiny as well? Does it really have to end in flames?

JeffAshe scss99 , 2016-09-26 06:30:08
I suppose a post-collapse America would eke out a reduced existence, probably as prosperous as Mexico is today, in a best case scenario that is. It's likely America will balkanize, social order will completely break down, with her polity broken into many small pieces and fiefs, each armed to the teeth and tussling with others for limited resources. I foresee Canada will seal her borders and China paying for the decommissioning of America's nuclear arsenal and submarines.
johnnypop , 2016-09-26 03:59:25
Looking to the US to box China in, or stop its aggressive policies, is unrealistic. It must be the combination of nations in the area working together to stop the Chinese. The US can help but it is the nations most directly affected that must take action. One good thing is the Japanese are finally getting over the "constitutional" thing and are acknowledging that they are going to have to much more responsible for their own security in the future. SE Asian nations working for stronger ties with India is also good.
itsfridayiminlove johnnypop , 2016-09-26 04:30:12
Unfortunately, China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia. This is the reason why ASEAN couldn't issue a joint statement against Chinese actions since all of its members should approve the content of the statement. China has won over Laos and Myanmar.
rpncali4nya itsfridayiminlove , 2016-09-26 05:39:49
Laos and Myanmar should be kicked out of ASEAN. That would solve everything.
macel388 itsfridayiminlove , 2016-09-26 14:17:29
"China has divided and conquered certain countries in SE Asia."

These certain SE Asian countries would say that it's because they are not willing to be Uncle Sam's "yes man".

indigoian , 2016-09-26 03:55:55
we've only ourselves to blame for buying all those wonderfully cheap products that our turncoat companies happily made in china using massively underpaid labor.

We, the consumer, have the ultimate power in society - if only we used it collectively. We can still stop the rise by voting with our wallets.

Kamatron indigoian , 2016-09-26 16:21:36
Go on then, maybe you should start by boycotting all China made goods.

Good luck with that thought. Might prove to be a tad idealistic and stupid.

CalvinLyn , 2016-09-26 03:47:56
The US is still so very powerful but the problem is they feel powerless from time to time with their hammer in hand against flying mosquitos. Why they always wanted to solve problems using force is beyond stupidity.

Pivot to Asia is about one thing only, sending more war ships to encircle China. But for what purpose exactly? It does one thing though, it united china by posing as a threat.

hobot CalvinLyn , 2016-09-26 04:44:28
It also destabilises the entire region. Something the Americans are masters of.
Stieve , 2016-09-26 02:09:34
Those blaming Obama most stridently for not keping China in its box are those most responsible for China's rise. American and Western companies shafted their own people to make themselves more profit. They didn't care what the consequences might be, as long as the lmighty "Shareholder Value" continued to rise. Now they demand that the taxes from all those people whose jobs they let go be used to contain the new superpower that they created. As usual, Coroporate America messes things up then demands to know what someone else is going to do about it
indigoian Stieve , 2016-09-26 03:49:04
All very true -- I would add to that by saying we, the consumer, are at least partly culpable. We(western populations) bought those products that our companies 'made in china'.

We all turned a blind eye as long as our shopping carts were filled with ever cheaper items.

MountainMan23 , 2016-09-26 01:49:38
Were the US to form a cooperative instead of confrontational relationship with China the world would be a better place. The same could be said for the US relationship with Russia.

Of course the military-industrial-banking-congressional complex that governs Washington's behavior would not be happy. WIthout confrontation the arms industries can't sell their weapons of war, banks' profits take a hit and congress critters don't get their kickbacks, err, "donations".

freeandfair MountainMan23 , 2016-09-26 02:02:27
The US doesn't know what the word "cooperation" means. To Americans "cooperation" means giving orders and others following them.
LivingTruth , 2016-09-26 00:41:25
America has this absurd notion that it must always be number 1 in world whatever that means
world could be better when east is best
Zhubajie1284 , 2016-09-26 00:16:50
Given the way the US government has screwed the Philippines over steadily since 1898, it's not surprising that Pres. Dutarte has decided to be friendly with his neighbor.

Obama of the Kill List lecturing other countries about human rights abuses! What hypocrisy.

thomasvladimir , 2016-09-26 00:11:36
fuck his pivot.....this ain't syria.....having destroyed the middle east it was our turn.....this is americas exceptionalism........stay #1 by desabilising/destroying everyone else.....p.s. shove the TPP also..........
Fabrizio Agnello , 2016-09-25 23:45:41
The real question is why should not China be more dominant in Asia... i understands the USA tendency especially since the fall of the soviet union at seing themselves as the only world superpower. And i understand why China would like to balance tbat especially in her own neighborhood.
Is what China doing in the south china sea different from what the USA does in the gulf of Mexico or in Panama... not to mention that Chi a is litterally surounded by US bases that sit squarely across all its sea trading routes: Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Fillipines,... and considering that the chinese have a long memory of werstern gunboat diplomacy and naval for e projection, if i was them i would feel a little uncomfortable at how vulnerable my newfound trade is... especially when some western politician so clearly think that china needs to be contained...
Bogoas81 , 2016-09-25 23:44:41
China has been accumulating debt at unprecedented rates to try to maintain faltering growth.

In 2007 Chinese debt stood at $7 trillion. By 2014 it had quadrupled to $28 trillion. That's $60 billion of extra debt every week.

It's still rising rapidly as the government desperately tries to keep momentum.

Much of this money has been funnelled into 'investments' that will never yield a return.

The most almighty crash is coming. Which will be interesting to say the least.

RodMcLeod Bogoas81 , 2016-09-26 00:07:24
Now that is interesting but odd. They are buying phuqing HUGE swathes of land in Africa, investing everywhere they can on rest of the planet. All seemingly on domestic debt then.
Bogoas81 RodMcLeod , 2016-09-26 10:09:36
Yes. The Japanese went on a spending spree abroad in the 1980s, while accumulating debt at home, and when that popped the economy entered 20 years of stagnation, as bad debts hampered the financial system.

The Chinese bubble is far larger, and made worse by the fact that much of the debt has been taken on by inefficient state owned enterprises and local government, spending not because the figures make sense but to meet centrally-dictated growth targets. Much of the rest has been funnelled into real estate, which now makes up more than twice the share of the Chinese economy than is the case in the UK. Property prices in some major Chinese cities have reached up to 30 times local incomes, making London look cheap in comparison.

There is also a huge 'shadow' banking system in China which means no-one really knows who owes money to whom, which will make it impossible to be confident in who remains creditworthy when the crisis occurs. Estimates are that bad debts (non-performing loans) by Chinese banks already total more than $2 trillion and are rising fast: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/22/fitch-warns-bad-debts-in-china-are-ten-times-official-claims-sta/

wumogang , 2016-09-25 22:44:50
TPP is practically written by the lobbyists from the multi-international corporations that exploit every possible tax laws, labor laws, environmental and public health regulations, legal representations and consequences. It is imperialism 2.0 in the 21st century, exclusively serving the interests of top point one percent while greatly depressing the wages of middle class; it is overwhelmingly opposed by the public opinion, law makers of all sides and current president candidates. There is zero chance Obama could make it through legislation before his exit; Clinton will not even consider bringing it back if she wins the election because she already flip-flopped once on the issue during her campaign; and it would seriously damage her chance of re-election if she does. As for Trump, I leave it to anyone's imaginations.
Narapoia01 wumogang , 2016-09-26 01:53:17
Don't believe for a second Hillary won't ram through a version of the TPP/IP if she wins. What she's actually said is that she's against it in its current form

Remember she is part of an owned by the 0.1% that stand to benefit from the agreement, she will do their bidding and be well rewarded. A few cosmetic changes will be applied to the agreement so she can claim that she wasn't lying pre-election and we'll have to live with the consequences.

sanhedrin , 2016-09-25 22:22:22
I find the United States of America more frightening each day
thomasvladimir sanhedrin , 2016-09-26 00:53:38
failing flailing empire.......classic insanity
moderatejohn , 2016-09-25 22:11:11
The best bet is for the US to build at least a hundred thousand 6 megaton warheads, more ballistic subs and advanced stealth missiles to ensure a nuclear war with the US will mean total global destruction. And forget about America being an empire any longer. The GOP has systematically allowed the USA's infrastructure to crumble so a very few rich people can pay less taxes, and they have aided big business fleecing of US citizens, for example, GOP operative, Pam Bondi, refusing to charge Trump for his highly fraudulent Trump U, after she was showered with thousands of dollars in bribe money. Pam Bondi hates Americans so much she allowed Trump to keep his ill gotten gains and disallowed any compensation for the American victims.

Nobody hates America more than Republicans. Except for a very narrow slice of right wing religious extremist eltitists who they view as infinitely entitled to the sweat, blood, tears and broken dreams of hundreds of millions of Americans, the GOP proves time and again how deep their hatred runs, even stopping 9-11 first responders from getting healthcare for health problems they got saving Americans. China, just like the GOP, is sick of hearing about human rights. The GOP and China share a deep hatred for America's Constitutional rights and freedoms for every citizen, so both will work tirelessly to destroy America.

The only thing that will stand in the way of China destroying America is mutually assured extinction via nuclear war. Nothing, however, will stand in the way of Republicans destroying America, least of all, China. Still, if China wants to start bombing US cities, it's time to unleash hell and make China extinct. And as the GOP transfers all the middle class wealth to a few psychopathic American-hating elitists if we don't have those nukes, will be sitting ducks because America will not be able to afford any sort of global military after the GOP destroys the middle class.

China knows the US middle class is the only thing that provides the production capacity to create the world's most advanced military, so China will chuckle tongue in cheek while Republicans destroy America...doing China's job for them. To say Republicans are sociopathic traitors is the understatement of the century, unless your China, then Republicans are your best pals.

Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 21:43:18
Well done all you globalists for failing to spot the bleedin obvious...that millions of homes worldwide full of 'Made In China' was ultimately going to pay for the People's Liberation Army. Still think globalisation is wonderful ?
kbg541 Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 22:31:38
Quite. How can you believe in a liberal, global free market and then do business with the Socialist Republic of China, that is the antithesis of free markets. The name is above the door, so there's no use acting all surprised when it doesn't pan out the way you planned it.
moderatejohn Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 22:40:32
Anything good can be made evil, including globalization. Imagine fair trade completely globalized so very nation relies on every other nation for goods. That type of shared destiny is the only way to maintain peace because humans are tribalist to a fault. We evolved in small groups, our social dynamics are not well suited to large diverse groups. If nation has food but nation B does not, nation B will go to war with nation A, so hopefully both nations trade and alleviate that situation. Nations with high economic isolation are beset by famines and poverty. Germany usually beats China in total exports and Germany is a wonderful place to live. It's not globalization that is the problem, it's exploitation and failure of our leaders to follow and enforce the Golden Rule.
BelieveItsTrue Ubermensch1 , 2016-09-25 23:00:58
Roll out the barrel.....
Well said and you are so right.
15 years ago, I had a conversation in an airport with an American. I remarked that, by outsourcing manufacturing to China the US had sold its future to an entity that would prove to be their enemy before too long. I was derided and ridiculed. I wonder where that man is and whether he remembers our conversation.

Globalisation is another word for one world government and all that brings, one currency, one police force, taxation, dissolution of borders, an end to sovereignty and all of our hard won freedoms. Freedom is a thing of the past, with MSM owned by the globalist elites, enforcing a moratorium on truth, and a population that has no idea what is going on behind the scenes.

I despair of "normalcy bias" and the insulting term "conspiracy theorist". People have lost the ability to work things out for themselves and the majority knows nothing about Agenda 21 aka Sustainable Development Goals 2030, until the land grabs start and private ownership is outlawed.

Heaven help us.

KhusroK , 2016-09-25 21:33:12
... the study also suggests that, if war cannot be avoided, the US might be best advised to strike first, before China gets any stronger and the current US military advantage declines further ..

Another brilliant thought from Rand; when in doubt, shoot from the hip ....

Zhubajie1284 KhusroK , 2016-09-25 23:45:45
They tell their employers what they want to hear.
jgbg KhusroK , 2016-09-26 00:16:18
For a few years now, the Global Times (an English language newspaper, owned by the Chinese Communist Party) has been publishing articles about Chinese claims int he South China Sea, about the growth of Chinese military power and of a limited war with the USA in the South China Sea. Nobody in the west has paid much attention, because they were too busy looking at Ukraine, Russia and now, Syria.

China already has one nuclear powered aircraft carrier and is constructing a second one. Aircraft carriers are not need to defend one's own country - air bases within a country provide the infrastructure for self defence. Aircraft carriers are used to project military power far from your own shores.

It is probably inevitable that China will eventually supercede the USA as the world's dominant superpower. It remains to be seen how that transition will unfold.

freeandfair KhusroK , 2016-09-26 01:04:05
Do Americans not realize that Chinese and Russians read this too and plan accordingly? This is madness.
I am fairly certain preemptive strikes are against international law. Why nobody has the guts to call the US out on this kind of illegal warmongering?
RodMcLeod , 2016-09-25 21:31:06
Like to add that as a powerhouse, Chinese investment in the west could be huge. They are hardly likely to take offensive action against their own investments are they?

Insisting on humane, moral supply chains is the best way of influencing China on human rights. Thats capitalism folks.

Cervant3s RodMcLeod , 2016-09-25 21:39:12
The great powers were heavily linked with one another by trade and investment in 1914...
KhusroK , 2016-09-25 21:24:54
1. With respect, Mr Tidsall is badly off track in painting China as the one evil facing an innocent world.

2. The fact is that US' belief in and repeated resort to force has created a huge mess in the Middle East, brought true misery to millions, and truly thrown Europe in turmoil in the bargain.

3. Besides this Middle East mess, the US neoliberal economic policies have wreaked havoc, culminating in an unprecedented financial and economic crisis that has left millions all over the world without any hope for the future

4. Hence Mr Tidsall's pronouncement:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive China without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.


Ought to read:

This dilemma – how to work constructively with a powerful, assertive United States without compromising or surrendering national interests – grows steadily more acute.

5. US would be better advised to focus on its growing social problems, evident in the growing random killings, police picking on blacks, etc, and on its fast decaying infrastructure. We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

6. Mr Tidsall, may I request that you kindly focus on realities rather than come up with opinion that approaches science fiction

5566hh KhusroK , 2016-09-25 22:50:58
I agree that Mr Tisdall's treatment of the US is somewhat naive and ignorant. However couldn't it be that both countries are capable of aggression and assertiveness? The US's malign influence is mainly focussed on the Middle East and North Africa region, while China's is on its neighbours. China's attitude to Taiwan is pure imperialism, as is its treatment of dissenting voices on the mainland and in Hong Kong. China's contempt for international law and the binding ruling by the UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal is also deeply harmful to peace and justice in the region and worldwide.

We now read that China has the fastest computer, the largest telescope, etc, whilst US just kills and kills all over the world.

Very superficial indeed - compare, just as one example, the number of Nobel prizes won by American scientists recently with those by Chinese. The US is still, in general, far ahead of China in terms of scientific research (though China is making rapid progress). (That is not intended to excuse US killing of course.)

BelieveItsTrue KhusroK , 2016-09-25 23:07:25
Oh well said. At least someone understands how the it works.
freeandfair KhusroK , 2016-09-26 01:06:32
The US follows the USSR path of increasingly ignoring the needs of its own population in order to retain global dominance. It will end the same as the USSR. That which cannot continue will not continue.
wumogang , 2016-09-25 20:23:25

Xi is not looking for a fight. His first-choice agent of change is money, not munitions. According to Xi's "One Belt, One Road" plan, his preferred path to 21st-century Chinese hegemony is through expanded trade, business and economic partnerships extending from Asia to the Middle East and Africa. China's massive Silk Road investments in central and west Asian oil and gas pipelines, high-speed rail and ports, backed by new institutions such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, are part of this strategy, which simultaneously encourages political and economic dependencies. Deng Xiaoping once said to get rich is glorious. Xi might add it is also empowering.


The most realistic assessment on Xi and China.

The dilemma is clear: amid rising nationalism in both countries, China is not willing to have its ambitions curbed or contained and the US is not ready to accept the world number two spot. These two juggernauts are on a collision course.


A Grim and over-paranoid predicament: US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"; China is well aware it remains a poor nation compared to developed world and is decades behind of US in military, GDP per capital and science, that is not including civil liberty, citizen participation, Gov't transparency and so on. China is busy building a nation confident of its culture and history, military hegemony plays no part of its dream.
BelieveItsTrue wumogang , 2016-09-25 23:14:42

US is not in decline and need not worry about China's "ambition"

Oh come on, $20 Trillion in debt and with Social Security running out of money, there will be no more to lend the government.

China has forged an agreement with Russia for all its needs in oil ( Russia has more oil than Saudi Arabia) and payment will not be in US dollars. Russia will not take US$ for trade and the BRICS nations will squeeze the US$ out of its current situation as reserve currency. When the dollars all find their way back to the USA hyperinflation will cause misery.

Zhubajie1284 wumogang , 2016-09-25 23:49:17
The US sure looks in decline. Bridges falling into rivers, tens of millions homeless. Yet some how our elites can always find money for another war.
Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 19:33:09
Before the Chinese or anyone else gets any ideas, they should reflect on the size of the US defence budget, 600 billion dollars in 2015, and consider what that might imply in the event of conflict.
fragglerokk Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 20:14:35
a third of that budget goes in profit for the private companies they employ to make duds like the F35 - so you can immediately reduce that to 400 billion. The US have been fighting third world countries for 50 years, and losing, their military is bloated, out of date and full of retrograde gear that simply wont cut it against the Russians. Privately you would find that most top line military agree with that statement. They also have around 800 bases scattered world wide, spread way too thin. Its why theyve stalled in Ukraine and can't handle the middle east. The Russians spend less than $50 billion but have small, highly mobile forces, cutting edge missile defence systems (which will have full airspace coverage by 2017). The Chinese policy of A2D/AD or access denial has got the US surface fleet marooned out in the oceans as any attempt to get close enough to be effective would be met with a hail of multiple rocket shedding war heads. The only place where it is probable (but my no means certain) that the US still has the edge is in submarine warfare, although again if the Russians and Chinese have full coverage of their airspace nothing (or little) would get through.
Two theorys are in current operation about the election and the waring factions in the NSA and the CIA. 1) HRC wins but is too much of a warmonger and would push america into more wars they simply cannot win 2) there is a preference for Trump to win amongst the MIC because he would (temporarily) seek 'peace' with the Russians thus giving the military the chance to catch up - say in 3 or 4 years - plus all the billions and billions of dollars that would mean for them.

Overwhelming fire power no longer wins wars, the US have proved that year in year out since the end of the second world war, theyve lost every war theyve started/caused/joined in. Unless you count that limited skirmish on British soil in Grenada - and I guess we could call Korea a score draw. The yanks are bust and they know it, the neocons are all bluster and idiots like Breedlove, Power and Nuland are impotent because they don't have right on their side or the might to back it up. The US is mired in the middle east, locked out of asia and would grind to halt in Europe against the Russians. (every NATO wargame simulation in the last 4 years has conclusively shown this) Add to that the fact that the overwhelming majority of US citizens dont have the appetite for a conventional war and in the event of a nuclear war the US would suffer at least as much as Europe and youve got a better picture of where we are at.

goenzoy Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 20:48:37
Well it is just ABOUT money.Also during Vietnam and Iraq war US was biggest spender.
Nobody in US still thinks that Vietnam war was a good idea and the same applies to Iraq.Iraq war will be even in history books for biggest amount spend to achieve NOTHING.
Mrpavado Riverdweller , 2016-09-25 21:30:20
Chinese military spending is at least on a par with American. A huge part of American military money goes to personnel salary while China does NOT pay to Chinese soldiers for their service as China holds a compulsory military service system.
Liang1a , 2016-09-25 19:24:05
This article assumes China is evil and the US is the righteous protector of all nations in the SE Asian region against the evil China which is obviously out to destroy the hapless SE Asian nations. This assumption is obviously nonsense. The US itself is rife with racial problems. Everybody has seen what it had done to Vietnam. Nobody believes that a racist US that cares nothing for the welfare of its own black, Latino and Asian population will actually care for the welfare of the same peoples outside of the US and especially in SE Asia.

The truth is China is not the evil destroyer of nations. The truth is the US is the evil destroyer of nations. The US has brought nothing but bloodshed and destruction to the SE Asian regions for the last 200 years. The US had killed millions of Filipinos during it colonial era. The US had killed millions of Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. The US had incited pogroms against the ethnic Chinese unceasingly. The May 13 massacre in Malaysia, the anti-Chinese massacres in the 1960's and the 1990's in Indonesia, and many other discrimination and marginalization of ethnic Chinese throughout the entire SE Asia are all the works of the US. It is the US that is the killer and destroyer.

Therefore, it is a good thing that the evil intents of the US had failed. With the all but inevitable rise of China, the influence of the Japanese and the americans will inevitably wane. The only danger to China is the excessive xenocentrism of the Dengist faction who is selling out China to these dangerous enemies. If the CPC government sold out China's domestic economy, then China will become a colony of the Japanese and americans without firing a single shot. And the Chinese economy will slide into depression as it had done in the Qing Dynasty and Chinese influence in the SE Asian region will collapse.

Therefore, the task before the CPC government is to ban all foreign businesses out of China's domestic economy, upgrade and expand China's education and R&D, urbanize the rural residents and expand the Chinese military, etc. With such an independent economic, political and military policies, China will at once make itself the richest and the most powerful nation in the world dwarfing the Japanese and American economies and militaries. China can then bring economic prosperity and stability to the SE Asian region by squeezing the evil Japanese and americans out of the region.

mark john Mcculloch , 2016-09-25 19:22:11
Lets be honest what has Obama achieved,he got the Nobel peace prize for simply not being George Bush Jr he has diplayed a woeful lack of leadership with Russia over Syria Libya and the Chinese Simply being the first African American president will not be a legacy
outfitter , 2016-09-25 18:54:08
Do you know of one Leninist state that ever built a prosperous modern industrial nation? Therein lies the advantage and the problem with China. China is totally export dependant and therefore its customers can adversely affect its economy - put enough chinese out of work and surely political instability will follow. A threatened dictatorship with a large army, however, is a danger to its neighbors and the world.
fragglerokk outfitter , 2016-09-25 20:26:17
China are now net consumers. You need to read up on whats happening, not from just the western press. They are well on their way to becoming the most powerful nation on earth, they have access (much like Russia) to over two thirds of the population of the worlds consumers and growing (this is partially why sanctions against Russia have been in large part meaningless) China will never want for buyers of their products (the iphone couldnt be made without the Chinese) with the vast swaithes of unplumbed Russian resources becoming available to them its hard to see how the west can combat the Eurasians. The wealth is passing from west to east, its a natural cycle the 'permanant growth' monkies in the west have been blind to by their own greed and egotism. Above all the Chinese are a trading nation, always seeking win/win trading links. The west would be better employed trading and linking culturally with the Chinese rather than trying to dictate with military threats. The west comprises only 18% of the global population and our growth and wealth is either exhausted or locked away in vaults where it is doing no one any good. Tinme to wise up or get left behind.
deetrump , 2016-09-25 18:17:06
Tisdall...absolute war-monger and neo-con "dog of war". Is this serious journalism? The rise of China was as inevitable as the rise of the US in the last century..."no man can put a stop to the march of a nation". It's Asias century and it's not the first time for China to be the No 1 economy in the world. They have been here before and have much more wisdom than the west...for too long the tail has wagged the dog...suck it up Tisdall!
Dante5 , 2016-09-25 17:56:56
The US grand strategy post-Bush was to reposition itself at the heart of a liberal economic system excluding China through TTIP with the EU and TPP with Asia-Pac ex. China and Russia. The idea was that this would enable the US to sustain its hegemony.

It has been an absolute failure. Brexit has torpedoed TTIP and TPP has limited value- the largest economy in the partnership, Japan, has been largely integrated in to the US for the past 70 years.

IMO the biggest failure of the US has been hating Russia too much. The Russians have just as much reason to be afraid of China as the US do and have a pretty capable army. If the US patched things up with the Russians, firstly it could redeploy forces and military effort away from the Middle East towards Asia Pac and secondly it would give the US effective leverage over China- with the majority of the oil producing nations aligned with the US, China would have difficulty in conducted a sustained conflict. It's old Cold War thinking that has seen America lose its hegemony- similar to how the British were so focused on stopping German ascendancy they didn't see the Americans coming with the knife.

Advaitya , 2016-09-25 17:54:49
America is reaping the fruits of what they sowed during the time of Reagan. It was never a good idea to outsource your entire manufacturing industry to a country that is a dictatorship and does not embrace western liberal democratic values. Now the Americans are hopelessly dependent on China - a country that does not play by the rules in any sphere - it censors free speech, it blatantly violates intellectual property, it displays hostile intent towards nearly all South East Asian countries, its friends include state sponsors of terror like Pakistan and North Korea, it is carefully cultivating the enemies of America and the west in general.

In no way, shape or form does China fulfill the criteria for being a trustworthy partner of the west. And yet today, China holds all the cards in its relationship with the west, with the western consumerist economies completely dependent on China. Moral of the story - Trade and economics cannot be conducted in isolation, separate from geopolitical realities. Doing so is a recipe for disaster.

Kamatron Advaitya , 2016-09-25 21:46:36
The arrogance is breathtaking.

Embrace western liberal values? Exactly what is that?

A sense of moral and ethical superiority?

Freedom to kill unarm black people?

Right to invade other countries?

Commit war crimes?

That kind of Western liberal values?

freeandfair Advaitya , 2016-09-26 01:15:38
The Us is reaping the results of its arrogance, you got that part right.
humdum , 2016-09-25 17:24:35
Mr Tisdall should declare his affiliation, if any, with the military-industrial complex.
It is surprising coming from a Briton which tried to contain Germany and fought two
wars destroying itself and the empire. War may be profitable for military-industrial complex
but disastrous for everyone else. In world war 2, USA benefited enormously by ramping
up war material production and creating millions of job which led to tremendous
prosperity turning the country around from a basket case in 1930s to a big prosperous power
which dominated the world till 2003.
Nuno Cardoso da Silva , 2016-09-25 17:16:24
US insistence on being top cat in a changing world will end up by dragging us all into a WW III. Why can't the US leave the rest of the world alone? Americans do not need a military presence to do business with the rest of the world and earn a lot of money with such trade. And they are too ignorant, too unsophisticate and too weak to be able to impose their will on the rest of us. The (very) ugly Americans are back and all we want is for them to go back home and forever remain there... The sooner the better...
HotPotato22 , 2016-09-25 17:12:13
The world is going to look fantastically different in a hundred years time.

Points of world power will go back to where they was traditionally; Europe and Asia. America is a falling power, it doesn't get the skilled European immigrants it use to after German revolution and 2 world wars. And it's projected white population will be a minority by 2050. America's future lies with south America.

Australia with such a massive country but with a tiny population of 20million will look very attractive to China. It's future lies with a much stronger commonwealth, maybe a united military and economic commonwealth between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Even without the EU, Europe is going to have to work together, including Russia to beat the Chinese militarily and economically. America will not be the same power in another 30-50 years and would struggle to beat them now.

China are expansionists, always have been. War is coming with them and North Korea sometime in the future.

Alex Wijaya , 2016-09-25 16:23:04
From the article above, it is clear who is the more dangerous power. While China is aiming to be the hegemon through economic means like the neo silk road projects, the US is aiming to maintain its hegemon status through military power. The US think thank even suggest to preemptive strike against China to achieve that. This is also the problem with US pivot to Asia, it may fail to contain China, but it didn't fail to poison the atmosphere in Asia. Asia has never been this dangerous since the end of cold war, all thanks to the pivot.
arbmahla Alex Wijaya , 2016-09-25 18:17:41
Obama is trying to maintain the status quo. China and N. Korea are the ones pushing military intimidation. The key to the US plan is to form an alliance between countries in the region that historically distrust each other. The Chinese are helping that by threatening everybody at the same time. Tisdall sees this conflict strictly as between the US and China. Obama's plan is to form a group of countries to counter China. Japan will have a major role in this alliance but the problem is whether the other victims of WW2 Japanese aggression will agree to it.
TheRealRadj arbmahla , 2016-09-25 18:23:24
With dozens of bases surrounding Russia and China and you call this status quo.
Fail.
CygniCygni , 2016-09-25 16:21:39
The US's disastrous foreign policy since 9/11 which has unleashed so much chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc etc... is not exactly a commendation for credibility these days.
CommieWealth , 2016-09-25 16:08:00
A useful summary of the state of play in the Pacific and SCS. It is somewhat hawkish in analysis, military fantasists will always be legion, they should be listened to with extra large doses of salt, or discussion of arguments which favour peaceful cooperation and development, such as trade, cultural relations, and natural stalemates. American anxiety at its own perception of decline, is at least as dangerous for the world as the immature expression of rising Chinese confidence. But the biggest problem it seems we face, is finding a way to accommodate and translate the aspirations of rising global powers with the existing order established post-45, in incarnated in the UN and other international bodies, in international maritime law as in our western notions of universal human rights. Finding a way for China to express origination of these ideas compatible with its own history, to be able to proclaim them as a satisfactory settlement for human relations, is an ideal, but apparently unpromising task.
BigPhil1959 , 2016-09-25 15:46:39
Perhaps Samuel P Huntingdon was broadly correct when he wrote "The Clash of Civilizations" in the late 90's. He was criticized for his work by neo-liberals who believed that after the Cold War the rest of the world would follow the west and US in particular.

The problem with the neo-liberal view is that only their opinions on issues are correct, and all others therefore should be ridiculed. What has happened in Ukraine is a prime example. Huntingdon called the Ukraine a "cleft" country split between Russia and Europe. The EU and the US decided to stir up trouble in the Ukraine to get even with Putin over Syria. It was never about EU or NATO membership for the Ukraine which is now further away than ever.

A Trump presidency is regarded with fear. The Obama presidency has been a failure with regard to foreign policy and a major reason was because Clinton was Secretary of State in the 1st four years. In many ways a Clinton presidency is every bit as dangerous as a Trump presidency.

Certainly relations with Russia will be worse under Clinton than under Trump, and for the rest of the world that is not a good thing. To those that believe liek Clinton that Putin is the new Hitler, then start cleaning out the nuclear bunkers. If he is then WW3 is coming like it or not and Britain better start spending more on defence.

markwill89 , 2016-09-25 15:41:59
Can people stop calling China a Communist state. It isn't.

China is a corporatist dictatorship.

yelzohy markwill89 , 2016-09-25 16:19:47
which serves only the top one tenth of one percent. Sounds familiar.
markwill89 yelzohy , 2016-09-25 16:23:29
The difference between the United States and China is striking. Try criticising the Chinese leadership in China and see where it gets you.
humdum markwill89 , 2016-09-25 17:44:03
What does the criticism in USA get you? It is just blah blah blah.
ONly criticism that matters is from the corporations and wealthy individuals
like Koch bros and Sheldon Edelson and their ilk. Rest can watch football.
CalvinLyn , 2016-09-25 15:35:31
China hasn't won and US hasn't failed, at least not yet. Both countries are pretending to be strong and powerful while bleeding internally, and are hoping the other guy to fall first. Take your bets.
R_Ambrose_Raven , 2016-09-25 15:30:27
Never mind that a general, high-intensity war in Northern Asia would be disastrous for all involved, whatever the outcome.

Never mind that much of the discussion about containing China is by warmongers urging such a conflict.

Never mind that very little depth in fact lies behind the shell of American and Japanese military strength, or that a competently-run Chinese government is well able to grossly outproduce "us" all in war materiel.

Never mind that those same warmongers and neocons drove and drive a succession of Imperial disasters; they remain much-praised centres of attention, just as the banksters and rentiers that are sucking the life from Americans have never had it so good.

Never mind that abbott encouraged violence as the automatic reaction to problems, while his Misgovernment was (while Turnbull to a lesser extent still is) working hard to destroy the economic and social strengths we need to have any chance of surmounting those problems.

Yes, it is a proper precaution to have a military strength that can deny our approaches to China. Unfortunately that rather disregards that "we" have long pursued a policy of globalisation involving the destruction of our both own manufacturing and our own merchant navy. Taken together with non-existent fuel reserves, "our" military preparations are pointless, because we would have to surrender within a fortnight were China to mount even a partial maritime blockade of Australia.

ID1726608 , 2016-09-25 15:28:36
What I don't quite understand is how all this comes as any surprise to those in the know. China has been on target to be the #1 economic power in the world in this decade for at least 30 years.

And who made it so? Western capitalists. China is now not only the world's industrial heartbeat, it also owns a large proportion of Western debt - despite the fact that its differences with the West (not least being a one-party Communist state) couldn't be more obvious - and while I doubt it's in its interests to destabilise its benefactorrs at the moment, that may not always be the case.

It also has another problem: In fifty or sixty years time it is due to be overtaken by India, which gives it very little time to develop ASEAN in its own image; but I suspect that it's current "silk glove" policy is far smarter and more cost-effective than any American "iron fist".

heyidontknowman , 2016-09-25 15:18:23
The US is just worried about losing out on markets and further exploitation. They should have no authority over China's interest in the South China Sea. If China do rise to the point were they can affect foreign governments, they will unlikely be as brutal as the United States. [Indonesia 1964, Congo 1960s, Brazil 1964, Chile 1973, Central America 1980s, Egyptian military aid, Saudi support, Iraq 2003, the Structural Adjustments of the IMF]
Riaz Danish , 2016-09-25 15:14:17
Simon Tisdall and many Europeans as well as the US GOP party still thinks that US is an empire similar to what the British had in the 18th century. This assumption is completely wrong especially in the 21th century where Western Europe, Japan, Korea if they want can be spend their money and also become global military power. While many Europeans and others including our current GOP pary thinks we are the global empire and we should stick our nose everywhere, our people doesn't we are an empire or we should stick our nose in every trouble spot in the world spending our blood and treasure to fight others battles and get blame when everything goes wrong. President Obama doesn't think of himself as Julius Ceaser and America is not Rome. He will be remembered as one of our greatest president ever setting a course for this country's foreign policy towards trying to solve the world's problems through alliances and cooperation with like minded countries as the opposite of the war mongering brainless, trigger happy GOP presidents. However when lesser powers who preach xenophobia and destabilize their neighborhood through annexation as the Hitler like Putin has,he comes down with a hammer using tools other than military to punish the aggressor. All you need to do is watch what is happening to the Russian economy since he imposed sanctions to the Mafiso Putin.
This article is completely misleading and the author is constricting himself in his statement that Obama's pivot to Asia is a failure. Since China tried to annex the Islands near the Philippines, countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, India, etc. has ask the US for more cooperation both military and economically these countries were moving away from US under Bush and others so I think this is a win for Obama not a loss. Unlike the idiotic Russians, China is a clever country and is playing global chess in advancing her foreign policy goals. While the US cannot do anything with China's annexation of these disputed Islands has costs her greatly because the Asian countries effected by China's moves are running towards the US, this is a win for the US. China's popularity around her neighborhood has taken a nose dive similar to Russian's popularity around her neighborhood. These are long term strategic wins for the US, especially if Hillary wins the white house and carry's on Obama's mantel of speaking softly but carry a big stick. Obama will go down as our greatest foreign policy president by building alliances in Europe to try stop Mafioso Putin and alliances in Asia to curtail China's foreign policy ambitions. This author's thesis is pure bogus, because he doesn't indicate what Obama should have done to make him happy? Threaten Chine military confertation?
All you have to do is go back 8 years ago and compare our last two presidents and you can see where Obama is going.
NowheretoHideQC Riaz Danish , 2016-09-25 15:33:01
For the allusion to Rome, I think they act like the old empire when they had to send their army to keep the peace....and it is an empire of the 21 first century, not like the old ones (Assange).
Mormorola , 2016-09-25 15:06:09
Obama and Hillary foreign country policies have been disasters one after the other:
- "Benign" neglect and lack of courage in Palestine on the "No new settlements" request.
- Disastrous interventions in Libya and Middle East resulting in hundred of thousand of "collateral damage".
- Russian "Reset" which was no more than spin, but continued to look at Russia as the right place to wipe your feet.
- Empty promises to Ukraine resulting into a civil war.
- Ill conceived "Pivot to Asia" with no meat, much wishful thinking and no understanding of local sensitivities.
- Continued support for bloody dictators like the Saudis and the Thai dictators (which Hillary once branded a "vibrant democracy").

And you wish "that woman" to become your next president?

ElZilch0 , 2016-09-25 14:54:23
China needs western consumerism to maintain its manufacturing base. If China's growth impacts the ability of the West to maintain its standard of consumerism, then China will need a new source of affluent purchaser. If China's own citizens become affluent, they will expect a standard of living commensurate with that status, accordingly China will not be able to maintain its manufacturing base.

So the options for China are:

a) Prop up western economies until developing nations in Africa and South America (themselves heavily dependent on the West) reach a high standard of consumerism.

b) Divide China into a ruling class, and a worker class, in which the former is a parasite on the latter.

The current tactic seems to be to follow option b, until option a becomes viable.

However, the longer option a takes to develop, and therefore the longer option b is in effect, the greater the chances of counter-revolution (which at this stage is probably just revolution).

The long and the short of it, is that China is boned.

russian , 2016-09-25 14:35:09
Being a large country surrounded by many other occasionally threatening powers, the governments' priority is and always has been defending its territorial integrity. China is happy enough to leave the command and conquer stuff, sorry "democratization" to the US. It's got it's hands full at home. As long as the West doesn't try to get involved in what China sees as its historical territory (i.e. The big rooster shaped landmass plus Hainan and Hong Kong and various little islands) there's absolutely nothing to worry about.
Babeouf , 2016-09-25 14:32:26
Why did Obama say that his greatest regret was Libya.? Because Obama's policy is/was to manage the decline of US power. To manage the end of US hegemony. I doubt that Obama believes that any pivot to any where can restore or maintain US dominance on planet earth. There is absolutely nothing exceptional about a power not admitting publicly what is known to many,see the outpourings of the British elites during the end of its empire.
Lafcadio1944 , 2016-09-25 14:11:59
As usual the Guardian is on its anti-China horse. Look through this article and every move China has made is "aggressive" or when it tries to expand trade (and produce win win economic conditions) it is "hegemonic" while the US is just trying to protect us all and is dealing with the "Chinese threat" -- a threat to their economic interests and global imperial hegemony is what they mean.

The US still maintains a "one China" policy and the status quo is exactly that "one China" It would be great for someone in the west to review the historical record instead of arming Taiwan to the teeth. Additionally, before China ever started its island construction the US had already begun the "pivot to Asia" which now is huge with nuclear submarines patrolling all around China, nuclear weapons on the - two aircraft carrier fleets now threatening China - very rare for the US to have two aircraft carrier fleets in the same waters - the B-1 long range nuclear bombers now in Australia, and even more belligerent the US intends to deploy THAAD missals in South Korea - using North Korea as an excuse to further seriously threaten China.

China wishes to expand trade and improve economic conditions for its people and for those with whom it trades. That is not aggression except when it interferes with US global economic hegemony.

Just look around the world - where are the conflicts - the middle east and Africa - who is there with military and arms sales and bombing seven countries -- is it China?

The most bulligerant nation in the world the nation with its army in over 100 countries, the nation bombing and conducting perpetual war throughout the middle east, the country invading countries for "regime change" and creating only misery and death -- it is not China.

The US and its Neoliberal capitalist system must expand to grow - plus they clearly want total global domination - the US and its Imperial agents have encircled both China and Russia with trillions of dollars of the most destructive weapons in the world including nuclear weapons - do you thin they have done that for "security" if so you simply ignore the aggression and hubris of an Imperial US.

[Sep 26, 2016] Hug it out: Michelle Obama embraces George W Bush

Notable quotes:
"... 'Mission Accomplished' should be the name of the jail cells for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld convicted as war criminals. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
krissywilson87 PlumRadio , 2016-09-26 08:30:48
I will never miss George Dubya Bush. It was truly scary to realise that the institutions of the US were so broken that a complete moron like that could become President because his daddy was. Then, just as Obama's election seemed to put things back on an even keel, here in Britain we elected Dave Cameron, an aristocratic ignoramus probably more out of touch with reality than Dubya ever was - and not a whole lot smarter.
Chuck3 morbid , 2016-09-26 08:52:02
Pretty straightforward unless you were an Iraqi with god knows how many tons of depleted uranium dropping on your children's heads. Or an innocent Afghan being tortured in one of the CIA's black sites.

Bush is a war criminal who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

He represents the worst of humanity and although Trump appears worse - we will have to wait to see what his legacy will be if he wins. As it stands Bush is the one who already has a disastrous and murderous legacy.

WillKnotTell seedeevee , 2016-09-26 10:54:34
"Obama has been at war longer than Bush."

Considering he inherited the war Bubba Bush and Darth Bugsey Cheney started, you are correct. The fact they disbanded the Iraqi military, they provided skilled military leaders and troops to ISIL.

Kentrel Jaydee23 , 2016-09-26 12:07:52
That excuse is a bit hard to swallow 8 years later. Even Guantanamo Bay remains in use, as it ever was. As it turns out it was easier for Obama to provide weapons to rebel\terrorist groups in Libya and Syria than it was to give prisoners a fair trial under the American justice system and end torture. He's also cracked down on whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden in a way that Bush never did.
1iJack , 2016-09-26 05:30:25
Now get Hillary in there and the picture will be complete and could be titled...

"the Globalists"

Haytop , 2016-09-26 05:20:34
war mongers converge?
RedKrayola Joe Dert , 2016-09-26 06:44:56
Bush signed agreement for a deadline to withdraw troops from Iraq. Obama tried to bully Iraq into disregarding that agreement. They refused. He then simply rechristened the troops 'advisors.' Obama never ended the war there, or anywhere. He's extended Bush's wars into several more countries throughout MENA.

Please stop lying about Obama's record. He has pushed for never-ending, ever-expanding wars, and that's just what he's delivered.

ponderwell RedKrayola , 2016-09-26 07:45:30
The nightmare Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld & company left due to their manipulating lies and misinformation to ensure the USA bomb
Iraq (thus destabilizing the ME) will
at minimum bring a generation of leaders great misery.

Each US leader will experiment with the
possibilities to decrease terrorism, many more mistakes will be endured. No one seems to knows how to stop the hatred which underlies the destruction pledged
by these sociopathic murderers.

Gigi Trala La Joe Dert , 2016-09-26 08:25:25
Obama promoted the same aggressive American policy as Bush, despite the early promise. Perhaps it makes little difference who is in power. To ignore the last 8 years of more bloodshed is a thing many round the world do not have the luxury you do.

Eisenhower, more right as the years pass.

seedeevee Joe Dert , 2016-09-26 09:42:04
We call Obama a war monger because he has brought the American war effort to seven nations just this year. Brought war to Ukraine. Libya. Syria. Yemen. Honduras.

Obama's Military is in over 150 nations on this planet.

ETC.

RedKrayola ponderwell , 2016-09-26 11:04:39
Obama continue expanded the Bush/Cheney doctrine. He campaigned for office pledging to reverse it. He's now been president for nearly eight years; it's reasonable to hold him accountable for what he's done and stop pretending he bears no responsibility for what's happened under his watch as commander-in-chief.
ponderwell RedKrayola , 2016-09-26 16:08:08
Every leader including Obama carries the responsibility for their choices. Bush/Cheney
violated and abused the trust of leaders and
the public in many nations by misinforming,
lying, and manipulative means to bomb
a nation who had no dealings with the terrorism of 9/11. The USA is now in a war tangle in which every leader hence will be targeted negatively until the ME conflicts
have no more US armed forces involved in the killings. Terrorism will plague many nations for the next generation at minimum.

'Mission Accomplished' should be the name of the jail cells for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld convicted as war criminals.

montevideo , 2016-09-26 21:27:57
This picture kind of sums up why a whole load of people are voting Trump. Two apparently opposing politicians who ultimately led the US in the same self destructing direction. The illusion of democracy could never be clearer.
James Lohe , 2016-09-26 12:54:13
Bush 43 is arguably the most incompetent President ever. But no one would accuse him of being a bigot. Unlike Drumpf.
Chuckman James Lohe , 2016-09-26 12:58:45
Oh boy, do you lack history.

Bush had a disgraceful record in every sphere.

It would take too long to detail.

Read a book, such as the one by the late Molly Ivins.

backscratch Chuckman , 2016-09-26 13:41:33
Afraid I would find it impossible to hug the president who with Blair has destabilised the Middle East for years to come...mind you the UK's history ain't so hot. Maybe I should stop going around hugging my fellow countrymen and women.
OinkImSammy James Lohe , 2016-09-26 14:09:46
I think they would because he was. The PNAC agenda did and does read like Mein Kampf.
Chuckman , 2016-09-26 12:35:47
Well, he's much like her husband, isn't he?

Far more so than many think with superficial consideration.

Both men did nothing for their people while spending unbelievable amounts of money on obscene mass killing abroad.

They also share behaviors in the economic sphere. The 2008 Financial collapse happened under George Bush owing to a lack of adequate oversight of financial institutions and practices, a titanic financial equivalent to Bush's lackadaisical performance in New Orleans' Hurricane Katrina.

The Obama response during eight years in office has been to avoid making any changes to correct the situation and prevent future occurrences, and he has done nothing but have vast quantities of money printed to keep the economy afloat.

Chuckman Chuckman , 2016-09-26 12:55:10
Actually, while Obama is more intelligent than Bush, he too is a weak and ineffective figure. He has marched without pause to the drumbeat of the Pentagon and CIA.
Chuckman djkbrown2001 , 2016-09-26 12:50:21
Bush was never even a President.

He understood at least his own lack of ability after a lifetime spent as an asinine frat-boy who never did anything on his own.

He had Cheney and Rumsfeld along deliberately because he knew they were ready to run things for him.

His lack of effective intelligence and lack of drive to do anything should have meant that Bush never be president.

But he had money, tons of it, and heavy-duty political connections, and the real power men like the ruthless Cheney had him lined up from the start as their front man.

The one thing Bush proved was that America doesn't even need a President. Any pathetic figure can sign the documents placed before him and read the speeches written for him.

The establishment, with immense resources at its disposal, is quite capable of keeping the public believing that the face on the television is actually in charge.

Actually, while Obama is more intelligent than Bush, he too is a weak and ineffective figure. He has marched without pause to the drumbeat of the Pentagon and CIA.

Tim Caulfield , 2016-09-26 11:45:44
"There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt-until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties." (Gore Vidal - "The State of the Union", 1975)
Aldous0rwell , 2016-09-26 11:41:46
"W" had one of the BEST track records of placing PoC in truly significant positions. Condoleeza Rice. Colin Powell, Alberto Gonzalez, etc. Bush was in no way, shape or form a racist - so long as you were an Uncle Tom willing to sell out your fellow citizens, bomb the crap out of foreigners, and kiss the asses of the 1%.
robinhood2013 , 2016-09-26 11:29:37
I see Obama has vetoed the chance for relatives of the victims of 9/11 to take the Saudi government to court. Despicable man!
hdmiin robinhood2013 , 2016-09-26 13:21:18
Maybe he didn't want to set a precedent - the relatives of dead Iraqis have an even better case for taking the US government to court.
trevorgoodchild2 , 2016-09-26 10:56:31
She is hugging him because he is voting for Clinton. Just annother of his long list of errors in judgement.
Isaac_Blunt , 2016-09-26 10:33:25
I Liked Dubbya. I've missed his amiable gaffs.

"The trouble with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur..."

Chris Moody freepedestrian , 2016-09-26 11:12:44
Like making Bush's tax cuts permanent. Obama has many great qualities, but a strong principled belief in equality is not one of them. He's a neo-liberal corporatist through and through -hence frantically trying to push TTP through before the election, now that Hillary was forced to say she's against it. I'm sure there was a private conversation there - 'That f-ing Bernie is making me say I'm against TTP -can you get it through before the election, we can't trust Trump on it'
imperfetto , 2016-09-26 10:06:39
Michelle Obama embrases the criminal whose administration is responsible ( although we know that the foreign policy in the US is not decided by the president but by the NSA, CIA and occult lobbies ) for the death of over 1.500.000 million people in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile the Guardian embraces the anti Russian propaganda by giving voice to the unpeakable lies about Russia's war crimes. Fortunately most media in the Continent (in France and Italy especially), are not follwing this dictats.
ALLisVanity , 2016-09-26 09:27:01
If the UN and the International Criminal Court were not mere tools of the US to punish anyone they don't like how on earth is this criminal not in jail? The only person that did worse than him is Hitler. He purposely lied to go into a war that destroyed thousands of innocent lives.
Alan Jones , 2016-09-26 08:59:06
I hope she washed her hands afterwards.
SALSERO64 Alan Jones , 2016-09-26 09:22:17
Why? They all are made of the same stuff.
cvneuves , 2016-09-26 08:55:10
I see, Bush (death toll 500,000+) and Obama (death toll 300,000+) are now closing ranks to avert Trump. Phew!!! This Trump guy must be really dangerous. I hope, our banks help finance an effective campaign against Trump!
Ludek29 cvneuves , 2016-09-26 09:00:40
Your Bush estimate is probably about 6 times lower its actual number.
seedeevee Ludek29 , 2016-09-26 09:18:24
and Obama has been at war longer. What a slacker!
cvneuves Ludek29 , 2016-09-26 10:09:32
John Tirman: Bush's War Dead: One Million , MIT, February 16, 2009.
scss99 , 2016-09-26 08:33:42
I think this is a good thing, Ronald Reagan used to have dinner with Tip O'Neill. As did many Republicans and Democrat presidents and senior members of Congress/Senate, that's stopped under Tom DeLay and Gingrich during the 90s when partisanship really took hold. It's been ugly ever since.

Socializing with the opposition is good for a working relationship.

Cessminster SickSwan , 2016-09-26 08:34:04
Obama wasn't corrupted by office - operation Obama was planned well in advance. I would argue he was corrupted a long time ago. I see war criminal Bush Snr endorsed Clinton just last week - go figure. Not that I am a fan of Trump - far from it.

Obama appeared out of nowhere and managed to scrape together the mega bucks to fund his campaign? Doesn't work like that - You don't currently get to be POTUS otherwise.

AlfredHerring , 2016-09-26 08:08:53
It seems like only 16 years ago that a bunch of Wall Street traders flew to Florida to stage a riot to stop the recount....and here's Obama and Bush looking forward to the election of the first President with her/his own hedge fund.....it brings tears to my eyes...
domrice , 2016-09-26 08:06:40
GW Bush refers to Hillary Clinton as his sister-in-law, now receives a hug from Michelle Obama. Further confirmation that the supposed political rivalry between the Reps and Wall St / TPP Dems is just noise.
Christian Stevens , 2016-09-26 07:58:47
The Obamas have become part of the firm. Anyone who has read vincent bugliosi book,The prosecution of George W BUsh for murder knows the last thing this guy needs is a hug. How can any of them be truly trusted
MereMortal , 2016-09-26 07:34:22
Politics is theater. They're all acting pretty much all the time, as politics is the art of managing perceptions.
Everyone knows everyone. There is a front of house posturing and invective demanded by the job, and then the back of house, deals and horse-trading.
Bill Clinton is a massive friend of both George Bushes and Donald Trump used be a good friend of the Clintons. But both the Clintons loathe Barack and Michelle Obama.
So for me, the very worst picture was the one of Hillary being hugged by Barack during her stolen coronation.
anonym101 , 2016-09-26 06:46:53
Looks like the establishment is closing ranks. When was the last time the US had a real two party system and politicians were not controlled by Wall Street?

[Sep 24, 2016] Backlash Against Trade Deals: The End of U.S.-Led Economic Globalisation?

Notable quotes:
"... By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Originally published at The Frontline ..."
"... President Obama has been a fervent supporter of both these deals, with the explicit aim of enhancing and securing US power. "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy. We should do it today while our economy is in the position of global strength. …We've got to harness it on our terms. If we don't write the rules for trade around the world – guess what? China will!", he famously said in a speech to workers in a Nike factory in Oregon, USA in May 2015. But even though he has made the case for the TPP plainly enough, his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US. ..."
"... The official US version, expressed on the website of the US Trade Representative, is that the TPP "writes the rules for global trade-rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class." This is mainly supposed to occur because of the tariff cuts over 18,000 items that have been written into the agreement, which in turn are supposed to lead to significant expansion of trade volumes and values. ..."
"... But this is accepted by fewer and fewer people in the US. Across the country, workers view such trade deals with great suspicion as causing shifts in employment to lower paid workers, mostly in the Global South. ..."
"... But in fact the TPP and the TTIP are not really about trade liberalisation so much as other regulatory changes, so in any case it is hardly surprising that the positive effects on trade are likely to be so limited. What is more surprising is how the entire discussion around these agreements is still framed around the issues relating to trade liberalisation, when these are in fact the less important parts of these agreements, and it is the other elements that are likely to have more negative and even devastating effects on people living in the countries that sign up to them. ..."
"... Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying: the intellectual property provisions, the restrictions on regulatory practices and the investor-state dispute settlement provisions ..."
"... All of these would result in significant strengthening of the bargaining power of corporations vis-à-vis workers and citizens, would reduce the power of governments to bring in policies and regulations that affect the profits or curb the power of such corporations ..."
"... So if such features of US-led globalisation are indeed under threat, that is probably a good thing for the people of the US and for people in their trading partners who had signed up for such deals. ..."
"... The question arises: is Trump evil? Or merely awful? If Trump is merely awful, then we are not faced with voting for the Lesser Evil or otherwise voting Third Party in protest. If we are faced with a choice between Evil and Awful, perhaps a vote for Awful is a vote against Evil just by itself. ..."
"... Trump has backpedaled and frontpedaled on virtually everything, but on trade, he's got Sanders-level consistency. He's been preaching the same sanity since the 90s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpMJeynBeg ..."
"... While I do not disagree with your comments, they must be placed in proper context: there is no substantive difference between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, and the people who staff the campaigns of Trump and Clinton are essentially the same. (Fundamentally a replay of the 2000 election: Cheney/Bush vs. Lieberman/Gore.) ..."
"... Great Comment. Important to knock down the meme that "this is the most significant or important election of our time" - this is a carbon copy of what we have seen half a dozen times since WW2 alone and that's exactly how our elite handlers want it. Limit the choices, stoke fear, win by dividing the plebes. ..."
"... Let's face it, trade without the iron fist of capitalism will benefit us schlobs greatly and not the 1%. I'm all for being against it (TPP etc) and will vote that way. ..."
"... We'd also have put in enough puppet dictators in resource rich countries that we'd be able to get raw materials cheaply. The low labor/raw material cost will provide a significant advantage for exports but alas, our 99% won't be able to afford our own products. ..."
"... the TPP will completely outlaw any possibility of a "Buy America" clause in the future! ..."
"... The cynic in me wonders if under say NAFTA it would be possible for a multinational to sue for lost profits via isds if TPP fails to pass. That the failure to enact trade "liberalizing" legislation could be construed as an active step against trade. the way these things are so ambiguously worded, I wonder. ..."
"... Here's Obama's actual speech at the Nike headquarters (not factory). http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/barackobama/barackobamatradenike.htm ..."
"... It should be noted that the Oregon Democrats who were free traitors and supported fast track authority were called out that day: Bonamici, Blumenauer, Schrader and Wyden. The only Oregon Ds that opposed: Sen. Merkley and Congressman DeFazio. ..."
"... The Market Realist is far more realistic about Oregon's free traitors' votes. http://marketrealist.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-partnership-affects-footwear-firms/ "US tariffs on footwear imported from Vietnam can range from 5% to 40%, according to OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel). Ratification of the TPP will likely result in lower tariffs and higher profitability for Nike." ..."
"... So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now? ..."
"... Perhaps they still need to show loyalty to their corporate owners and to the principle of "free trade". ..."
"... Obama: "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy." ..."
"... Thank you, Mr. President, for resolving any doubts that the American project is an imperialist project! ..."
"... Yes, and I would add a jingoistic one as well. Manifest destiny, the Monroe doctrine, etc. are not just history lessons but are alive and well in the neoliberal mindset. The empire must keep expanding into every nook and cranny of the world, turning them into good consumerist slaves. ..."
"... Funny how little things change over the centuries. ..."
"... The West Is The Best, Subhuman Are All The Rest. The perpetual mantra of the Uebermensch since Columbus first made landfall. Hitler merely sought to apply the same to some Europeans. ..."
"... "How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism", 2015, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu. ..."
"... The Dem candidate's husband made it appallingly clear what the purpose of the TPP is: "It's to make sure the future of the Asia-Pacific region is not dominated by China". ..."
"... Bill Clinton doesn't even care about "the rise of China". That's just a red herring he sets up to accuse opponents of TPP of soft-on-China treasonism. It's just fabricating a stick to beat the TPP-opponents with. Clinton's support for MFN for China shows what he really thinks about the "rise of China". ..."
"... Clinton's real motivation is the same as the TPP's real reason, to reduce America to colonial possession status of the anti-national corporations and the Global OverClass natural persons who shelter behind and within them. ..."
"... Obama. Liar or stupid? When Elizabeth Warren spoke out about the secrecy of the TPP, Obama, uncharacteristically, ran to the cameras to state that the TPP was not secret and that the charge being leveled by Warren was false. Obama's statement was that Warren had access to a copy so how dare she say it was secret. ..."
"... Obama (and Holder) effectively immunized every financial criminal involved in the great fraud and recession without bothering to run for a camera, and to this day has refused and avoided any elaboration on the subject, but he wasted no time trying to bury Warren publicly. The TPP is a continuation of Obama's give-away to corporations, or more specifically, the very important men who run them who Obama works for. And he is going to pull out all stops to deliver to the men he respects. ..."
"... It's a virtual "black market" of "money laundering" (sterilization). In foreign trade, IMPORTS decrease (-) the money stock of the importing country (and are a subtraction to domestic gDp figures), while EXPORTS increase (+) the money stock and domestic gDp (earnings repatriated to the U.S), and the potential money supply, of the exporting country. ..."
"... I don't WANT the US writing the rules of trade any longer. We know what US-written rules do: plunge worker wages into slave labor territory, guts all advanced country's manufacturing capability, sends all high tech manufacturing to 3rd world nations ..."
"... Time to toss the rules and re-write them for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of NON-wealthy and for the benefit of the planet/ecosystems, NOT for benefit of Wall St. ..."
Sep 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics and Chairperson at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Originally published at The Frontline

There is much angst in the Northern financial media about how the era of globalisation led actively by the United States may well be coming to an end. This is said to be exemplified in the changed political attitudes to mega regional trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that was signed (but has not yet been ratified) by the US and 11 other countries in Latin America, Asia and Oceania; and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) still being negotiated by the US and the European Union.

President Obama has been a fervent supporter of both these deals, with the explicit aim of enhancing and securing US power. "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy. We should do it today while our economy is in the position of global strength. …We've got to harness it on our terms. If we don't write the rules for trade around the world – guess what? China will!", he famously said in a speech to workers in a Nike factory in Oregon, USA in May 2015. But even though he has made the case for the TPP plainly enough, his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US.

However, the changing political currents in the US are making that ever more unlikely. Hardly anyone who is a candidate in the coming elections, whether for the Presidency, the Senate or the House of Representatives, is willing to stick their necks out to back the deal.

Both Presidential candidates in the US (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) have openly come out against the TPP. In Clinton's case this is a complete reversal of her earlier position when she had referred to the TPP as "the gold standard of trade deals" – and it has clearly been forced upon her by the insurgent movement in the Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders. She is already being pushed by her rival candidate for not coming out more clearly in terms of a complete rejection of this deal. Given the significant trust deficit that she still has to deal with across a large swathe of US voters, it will be hard if not impossible for her to backtrack on this once again (as her husband did earlier with NAFTA) even if she does achieve the Presidency.

The official US version, expressed on the website of the US Trade Representative, is that the TPP "writes the rules for global trade-rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class." This is mainly supposed to occur because of the tariff cuts over 18,000 items that have been written into the agreement, which in turn are supposed to lead to significant expansion of trade volumes and values.

But this is accepted by fewer and fewer people in the US. Across the country, workers view such trade deals with great suspicion as causing shifts in employment to lower paid workers, mostly in the Global South. Even the only US government study of the TPP's likely impacts, by the International Trade Commission, could project at best only 1 per cent increase in exports due to the agreement up to 2032. A study by Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta with Jomo Kwame Sundaram ("Trading down: Unemployment, inequality and other risks of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement", Working Paper 16-01, Global Development and Environment Institute, January 2016) was even less optimistic, even for the US. It found that the benefits to exports and economic growth were likely to be relatively small for all member countries, and would be negative in the US and Japan because of losses to employment and increases in inequality. Wage shares of national income would decline in all the member countries.

But in fact the TPP and the TTIP are not really about trade liberalisation so much as other regulatory changes, so in any case it is hardly surprising that the positive effects on trade are likely to be so limited. What is more surprising is how the entire discussion around these agreements is still framed around the issues relating to trade liberalisation, when these are in fact the less important parts of these agreements, and it is the other elements that are likely to have more negative and even devastating effects on people living in the countries that sign up to them.

Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying:

  1. the intellectual property provisions,
  2. the restrictions on regulatory practices
  3. the investor-state dispute settlement provisions.
Three aspects of these agreements are particularly worrying: the intellectual property provisions, the restrictions on regulatory practices and the investor-state dispute settlement provisions.

All of these would result in significant strengthening of the bargaining power of corporations vis-à-vis workers and citizens, would reduce the power of governments to bring in policies and regulations that affect the profits or curb the power of such corporations

For example, the TPP (and the TTIP) require more stringent enforcement requirements of intellectual property rights: reducing exemptions (e.g. allowing compulsory licensing only for emergencies); preventing parallel imports; extending IPRs to areas like life forms, counterfeiting and piracy; extending exclusive rights to test data (e.g. in pharmaceuticals); making IPR provisions more detailed and prescriptive. The scope of drug patents is extended to include minor changes to existing medications (a practice commonly employed by drug companies, known as "evergreening"). Patent linkages would make it more difficult for many generic drugs to enter markets.

This would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, and in general make even life-saving drugs more expensive and inaccessible in all the member countries. It would require further transformation of countries' laws on patents and medical test data. It would reduce the scope of exemption in use of medical formulations through public procurement for public purposes. All this is likely to lead to reductions in access to drugs and medical procedures because of rising prices, and also impede innovation rather than encouraging it, across member countries.

There are also very restrictive copyright protection rules, that would also affect internet usage as Internet Service Providers are to be forced to adhere to them. There are further restrictions on branding that would reinforce the market power of established players.

The TPP and TTIP also contain restrictions on regulatory practices that greatly increase the power of corporations relative to states and can even prevent states from engaging in countercyclical measures designed to boost domestic demand. It has been pointed out by consumer groups in the USA that the powers of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate products that affect health of citizens could be constrained and curtailed by this agreement. Similarly, macroeconomic stimulus packages that focus on boosting domestic demand for local production would be explicitly prohibited by such agreements.

All these are matters for concern because these agreements enable corporations to litigate against governments that are perceived to be flouting these provisions because of their own policy goals or to protect the rights of their citizens. The Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism enabled by these agreements is seen to be one of their most deadly features. Such litigation is then subject to supranational tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards and which do not see the rights of citizen as in any way superior to the "rights" of corporations to their profits. These courts can conduct closed and secret hearings with secret evidence. They do not just interpret the rules but contribute to them through case law because of the relatively vague wording of the text, which can then be subject to different interpretations, and therefore are settled by case law. The experience thus far with such tribunals has been problematic. Since they are legally based on "equal" treatment of legal persons with no primacy for human rights, they have become known for their pro-investor bias, partly due to the incentive structure for arbitrators, and partly because the system is designed to provide supplementary guarantees to investors, rather than making them respect host countries laws and regulations.

If all these features of the TPP and the TTIP were more widely known, it is likely that there would be even greater public resistance to them in the US and in other countries. Even as it is, there is growing antagonism to the trade liberalisation that is seen to bring benefits to corporations rather than to workers, at a period in history when secure employment is seen to be the biggest prize of all.

So if such features of US-led globalisation are indeed under threat, that is probably a good thing for the people of the US and for people in their trading partners who had signed up for such deals.

human , September 22, 2016 at 10:14 am

… his only chance of pushing even the TPP through is in the "lame duck" session of Congress just before the November Presidential election in the US.

"just _after_ the November Presidential election"

Uahsenaa , September 22, 2016 at 10:42 am

I was watching a speech Premier Li gave at the Economic Club of NY last night, and it was interesting to see how all his (vetted, pre-selected) questions revolved around anxieties having to do with resistance to global trade deals. Li made a few pandering comments about how much the Chinese love American beef (stop it! you're killing me! har har) meant to diffuse those anxieties, but it became clear that the fear among TPTB of people's dissatisfaction with the current economic is palpable. Let's keep it up!

allan , September 22, 2016 at 11:30 am

On a related note:

U.S. Court Throws Out Price-Fixing Judgment Against Chinese Vitamin C Makers [WSJ]

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out a $147 million civil price fixing judgment against Chinese manufacturers of vitamin C, ruling the companies weren't liable in U.S. courts because they were acting under the direction of Chinese authorities.

The case raised thorny questions of how courts should treat foreign companies accused of violating U.S. antitrust law when they are following mandates of a foreign government. …

"I was only following orders" might not have worked in Nuremberg, but it's a-ok in international trade.

different clue , September 22, 2016 at 3:14 pm

The question arises: is Trump evil? Or merely awful? If Trump is merely awful, then we are not faced with voting for the Lesser Evil or otherwise voting Third Party in protest. If we are faced with a choice between Evil and Awful, perhaps a vote for Awful is a vote against Evil just by itself.

Wellstone's Ghost , September 22, 2016 at 11:22 am

Trump has already back peddaled on his TPP stance. He now says he wants to renegotiate the TTP and other trade deals. Whatever that means. Besides, Trump is a distraction, its Mike Pence you should be keeping your eye on. He's American Taliban pure and simple.

RPDC , September 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

This is simply false. Trump has backpedaled and frontpedaled on virtually everything, but on trade, he's got Sanders-level consistency. He's been preaching the same sanity since the 90s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZpMJeynBeg

Hillary wants to start a war with Russia and pass the trade trifecta of TPP/TTIP/TiSA.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm

While I do not disagree with your comments, they must be placed in proper context: there is no substantive difference between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, and the people who staff the campaigns of Trump and Clinton are essentially the same. (Fundamentally a replay of the 2000 election: Cheney/Bush vs. Lieberman/Gore.)

Trump was run to make Hillary look good, but that has turned out to be Mission Real Impossible!

We are seeing the absolute specious political theater at its worst, attempting to differentiate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Trumpster – – – the only major difference is that Clinton has far more real blood on her and Bill's hands.

Nope, there is no lesser of evils this time around . . .

Quanka , September 23, 2016 at 8:25 am

Great Comment. Important to knock down the meme that "this is the most significant or important election of our time" - this is a carbon copy of what we have seen half a dozen times since WW2 alone and that's exactly how our elite handlers want it. Limit the choices, stoke fear, win by dividing the plebes.

different clue , September 24, 2016 at 1:00 am

Really? Well . . . might as well vote for Clinton then.

First Woman President!
Feminism!
Liberation!

TedWa , September 22, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Let's face it, trade without the iron fist of capitalism will benefit us schlobs greatly and not the 1%. I'm all for being against it (TPP etc) and will vote that way.

a different chris , September 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

>only 1 per cent increase in exports due to the agreement up to 2032.

At that point American's wages will have dropped near enough to Chinese levels that we can compete in selling to First World countries…. assuming there are any left.

oh , September 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm

We'd also have put in enough puppet dictators in resource rich countries that we'd be able to get raw materials cheaply. The low labor/raw material cost will provide a significant advantage for exports but alas, our 99% won't be able to afford our own products.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm

Naaah, never been about competition, since nobody is actually vetted when they offshore those jobs or replace American workers with foreign visa workers.

But to sum it up as succinctly as possible: the TPP is about the destruction of workers' rights; the destruction of local and small businesses; and the loss of sovereignty. Few Americans are cognizant of just how many businesses are foreign owned today in America; their local energy utility or state energy utility, their traffic enforcement company which was privatized, their insurance company (GEICO, etc.).

I remember when a political action group back in the '00s thought they had stumbled on a big deal when someone had hacked into the system of the Bretton Woods Committee (the lobbyist group for the international super-rich which ONLY communicates with the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader, and who shares the same lobbyist and D.C. office space as the Group of Thirty, the lobbyist group for the central bankers [Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Mario Draghi, Ernesto Zedillo, Bill Dudley, etc., etc.]) and placed online their demand of the senate and the congress to kill the "Buy America" clause in the federal stimulus program of a few years back (it was watered down greatly, and many exemptions were signed by then Commerce Secretary Gary Locke), but such information went completely unnoticed or ignored, and of course, the TPP will completely outlaw any possibility of a "Buy America" clause in the future!

http://www.brettonwoods.org
http://www.group30.org

Arthur J , September 22, 2016 at 12:32 pm

The cynic in me wonders if under say NAFTA it would be possible for a multinational to sue for lost profits via isds if TPP fails to pass. That the failure to enact trade "liberalizing" legislation could be construed as an active step against trade. the way these things are so ambiguously worded, I wonder.

Carla , September 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm

In June 2016, "[TransCanada] filed an arbitration claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) over President Obama's rejection of the pipeline, making good on its January threat to take legal action against the US decision.

According to the official request for arbitration, the $15 billion tab is supposed to help the company recover costs and damages that it suffered "as a result of the US administration's breach of its NAFTA obligations." NAFTA is a comprehensive trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that went into effect in January 1, 1994. Under the agreement, businesses can challenge governments over investment disputes.

In addition, the company filed a suit in US Federal Court in Houston, Texas in January asserting that the Obama Administration exceeded the power granted by the US Constitution in denying the project."

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/transcanada_complains_nafta_sues_us_15_bn_keystone_xl_rejection/

Six states have since joined that federal law suit.

Kris Alman , September 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Here's Obama's actual speech at the Nike headquarters (not factory). http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/barackobama/barackobamatradenike.htm

It should be noted that the Oregon Democrats who were free traitors and supported fast track authority were called out that day: Bonamici, Blumenauer, Schrader and Wyden. The only Oregon Ds that opposed: Sen. Merkley and Congressman DeFazio.

Obama's rhetoric May 5, 2015 at the Nike campus was all about how small businesses would prosper. Congresswoman Bonamici clings to this rationale in her refusal to tell angry constituents at town halls whether she supports the TPP.

The Market Realist is far more realistic about Oregon's free traitors' votes. http://marketrealist.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-partnership-affects-footwear-firms/
"US tariffs on footwear imported from Vietnam can range from 5% to 40%, according to OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel). Ratification of the TPP will likely result in lower tariffs and higher profitability for Nike."

That appeals to the other big athletic corporations that cluster in the Portland metro: Columbia Sportswear and Under Armour.

A plot twist!

Vietnam will not include ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the agenda for its next parliament session. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asia/1087705/vietnam-delays-tpp-vote So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now?

Vatch , September 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

So what's the incentive for Oregon's free traitors to support the TPP now?

Perhaps they still need to show loyalty to their corporate owners and to the principle of "free trade".

hemeantwell , September 22, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Obama: "We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy."

Thank you, Mr. President, for resolving any doubts that the American project is an imperialist project!

ChrisFromGeorgia , September 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Yes, and I would add a jingoistic one as well. Manifest destiny, the Monroe doctrine, etc. are not just history lessons but are alive and well in the neoliberal mindset. The empire must keep expanding into every nook and cranny of the world, turning them into good consumerist slaves.

Funny how little things change over the centuries.

Brad , September 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm

The West Is The Best, Subhuman Are All The Rest. The perpetual mantra of the Uebermensch since Columbus first made landfall. Hitler merely sought to apply the same to some Europeans.

"How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism", 2015, Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nisancioglu.

Minnie Mouse , September 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm

When America writes the rules of the global economy the global economy destroys America.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , September 22, 2016 at 7:44 pm

The Dem candidate's husband made it appallingly clear what the purpose of the TPP is: "It's to make sure the future of the Asia-Pacific region is not dominated by China".

Would be nice if they had even a passing thought for those people in a certain North American region located in between Canada and Mexico.

different clue , September 23, 2016 at 1:40 am

Bill Clinton doesn't even care about "the rise of China". That's just a red herring he sets up to accuse opponents of TPP of soft-on-China treasonism. It's just fabricating a stick to beat the TPP-opponents with. Clinton's support for MFN for China shows what he really thinks about the "rise of China".

Clinton's real motivation is the same as the TPP's real reason, to reduce America to colonial possession status of the anti-national corporations and the Global OverClass natural persons who shelter behind and within them.

different clue , September 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm

If calling the International Free Trade Conspiracy "American" is enough to get it killed and destroyed, then I don't mind having a bunch of foreigners calling the Free Trade Conspiracy "American". Just as long as they are really against it, and can really get Free Trade killed and destroyed.

Chauncey Gardiner , September 22, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Excellent post. Thank you. Should these so called "trade agreements" be approved, perhaps Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS arbitration) futures can be created by Wall Street and made the next speculative "Play-of-the-day" so that everyone has a chance to participate in the looting. … Btw, can you loot your own house?

KYrocky , September 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Obama. Liar or stupid? When Elizabeth Warren spoke out about the secrecy of the TPP, Obama, uncharacteristically, ran to the cameras to state that the TPP was not secret and that the charge being leveled by Warren was false. Obama's statement was that Warren had access to a copy so how dare she say it was secret.

At the time he made that statement Warren could go to an offsite location to read the TPP in the presence of a member of the Trade Commission, could not have staff with her, could not take notes, and could not discuss anything she read with anyone else after she left. Or face criminal charges.

Yeah. Nothing secret about that.

Obama (and Holder) effectively immunized every financial criminal involved in the great fraud and recession without bothering to run for a camera, and to this day has refused and avoided any elaboration on the subject, but he wasted no time trying to bury Warren publicly. The TPP is a continuation of Obama's give-away to corporations, or more specifically, the very important men who run them who Obama works for. And he is going to pull out all stops to deliver to the men he respects.

sgt_doom , September 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm

And add to that everything from David Dayen's book (" Chain of Title ") on Covington & Burling and Eric Holder and President Obama, and Thomas Frank's book ("Listen, Liberals") and people will have the full picture!

Spencer , September 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

It's a virtual "black market" of "money laundering" (sterilization). In foreign trade, IMPORTS decrease (-) the money stock of the importing country (and are a subtraction to domestic gDp figures), while EXPORTS increase (+) the money stock and domestic gDp (earnings repatriated to the U.S), and the potential money supply, of the exporting country.

So, there's a financial incentive (to maximize profits), not to repatriate foreign income (pushes up our exchange rate, currency conversion costs, if domestic re-investment alternatives are considered more circumscribed, plus taxes, etc.).

In spite of the surfeit of $s, and E-$ credits, and unlike the days in which world-trade required a Marshall Plan jump start, trade surpluses increasingly depend on the Asian Tiger's convertibility issues.

Praedor , September 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

I don't WANT the US writing the rules of trade any longer. We know what US-written rules do: plunge worker wages into slave labor territory, guts all advanced country's manufacturing capability, sends all high tech manufacturing to 3rd world nations or even (potential) unfriendlies like China (who can easily put trojan spyware hard code or other vulnerabilities into critical microchips…the way WE were told the US could/would when it was leading on this tech when I was serving in the 90s). We already know that US-written rules is simply a way for mega corporations to extend patents into the ever-more-distant future, a set of rules that hands more control of arts over to the MPAA, rules that gut environmental laws, etc. Who needs the US-written agreements when this is the result?

Time to toss the rules and re-write them for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of NON-wealthy and for the benefit of the planet/ecosystems, NOT for benefit of Wall St.

[Sep 24, 2016] Obama, Our Peace President Turns Out to Be Rather War-Happy

Notable quotes:
"... That Makes Me Mad!, ..."
"... You must be kidding! ..."
"... You must be kidding! ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... You must be kidding! ..."
"... You must be kidding! ..."
"... You must be kidding! ..."
"... Thanks for writing this article; it corroborates everything I've been saying about Obama's lust for war and destabilization. You could have mentioned the Pentagon currently has JSOC kill teams in 147 countries, per Noam Chomsky. You also could have mentioned the US is the most feared force on the global stage, feared, that is, by actual citizens, not so much by their leaders. ..."
"... Years ago Glen Ford of "Black Agenda Report" correctly referred to this shameless sellout as "the more effective evil". The implication was that the perception created by his propagandists that Obama is a committed Democrat who is just trying to do his best against a obstructionist Congress and right-wing media is false. ..."
"... Barry the Liar is an enthusiastic member of the MIC, Wall Street, and the oligarchs. He has actually expanded the powers of the President and the National Security State that we live in and even claims the right to kill an American citizen without trial! When George Carlin said - "I don't believe anything my government tells me" he could have been talking about this shill for the TPB. ..."
"... Yes, why isn't anyone in the mass media picking up on this obvious hypocrisy? For the same reasons it never picks up on anything else of importance - it's controlled. ..."
"... Obama has been one of the most hypocritical presidents ever elected. ..."
"... Obama got his start in politics with money from the family that owns Grumman, and he's been dancing to their tune ever since. ..."
"... Obama sold out on the left. In reality, he was paid from day one to do exactly that. He was literally the ultimate snake oil salesman. Campaign on a platform of change and govern like Bush won 2 more terms. ..."
"... If Obama is the best the Democrats can come up with, then it is high time the left en masse left the Democratic Party. It's one big reason why I cannot support Clinton, who will be even more pro-war. It's a vote for more of the same. ..."
"... And, Hillary Clump was the biggest war monger in his misadministration. As for the nukes, I recently drove by a minuteman nuclear missile silo in Wyoming, you can see the damn thing right there by the road. ..."
Sep 23, 2016 | www.alternet.org/TomDispatch

Recently, sorting through a pile of old children's books, I came across a volume, That Makes Me Mad!, which brought back memories. Written by Steve Kroll, a long-dead friend, it focused on the eternally frustrating everyday adventures of Nina, a little girl whose life regularly meets commonplace roadblocks, at which point she always says... well, you can guess from the title! Vivid parental memories of another age instantly flooded back-of my daughter (now reading such books to her own son) sitting beside me at age five and hitting that repeated line with such mind-blowing, ear-crushing gusto that you knew it spoke to the everyday frustrations of her life, to what made her mad.

Three decades later, in an almost unimaginably different America, on picking up that book I suddenly realized that, whenever I follow the news online, on TV, or-and forgive me for this but I'm 72 and still trapped in another era-on paper, I have a similarly Nina-esque urge. Only the line I've come up with for it is (with a tip of the hat to Steve Kroll) " You must be kidding! "

Here are a few recent examples from the world of American-style war and peace. Consider these as random illustrations, given that, in the age of Trump, just about everything that happens is out-of-this-world absurd and would serve perfectly well. If you're in the mood, feel free to shout out that line with me as we go.

Nuking the Planet: I'm sure you remember Barack Obama, the guy who entered the Oval Office pledging to work toward "a nuclear-free world." You know, the president who traveled to Prague in 2009 to say stirringly : "So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons... To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same." That same year, he was awarded the Nobel Prize largely for what he might still do, particularly in the nuclear realm. Of course, that was all so 2009!

Almost two terms in the Oval Office later, our peace president, the only one who has ever called for nuclear "abolition"-and whose administration has retired fewer weapons in our nuclear arsenal than any other in the post-Cold War era-is now presiding over the early stages of a trillion-dollar modernization of that very arsenal. (And that trillion-dollar price tag comes, of course, before the inevitable cost overruns even begin.) It includes full-scale work on the creation of a "precision-guided" nuclear weapon with a "dial-back" lower yield option. Such a weapon would potentially bring nukes to the battlefield in a first-use way, something the U.S. is proudly pioneering .

And that brings me to the September 6th front-page story in the New York Times that caught my eye. Think of it as the icing on the Obama era nuclear cake. Its headline : "Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons." Admittedly, if made, such a vow could be reversed by any future president. Still, reportedly for fear that a pledge not to initiate a nuclear war would "undermine allies and embolden Russia and China... while Russia is running practice bombing runs over Europe and China is expanding its reach in the South China Sea," the president has backed down on issuing such a vow. In translation: the only country that has ever used such weaponry will remain on the record as ready and willing to do so again without nuclear provocation, an act that, it is now believed in Washington, would create a calmer planet.

You must be kidding!

Plain Old Bombing: Recall that in October 2001, when the Bush administration launched its invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. was bombing no other largely Islamic country. In fact, it was bombing no other country at all. Afghanistan was quickly "liberated," the Taliban crushed, al-Qaeda put to flight, and that was that , or so it then seemed.

On September 8th, almost 15 years later, the Washington Post reported that, over a single weekend and in a "flurry" of activity, the U.S. had dropped bombs on, or fired missiles at, six largely Islamic countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. (And it might have been seven if the CIA hadn't grown a little rusty when it comes to the drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal borderlands that it's launched repeatedly throughout these years.) In the same spirit, the president who swore he would end the U.S. war in Iraq and, by the time he left office, do the same in Afghanistan, is now overseeing American bombing campaigns in Iraq and Syria which are loosing close to 25,000 weapons a year on those countries. Only recently, in order to facilitate the further prosecution of the longest war in our history, the president who announced that his country had ended its "combat mission" in Afghanistan in 2014, has once again deployed the U.S. military in a combat role and has done the same with the U.S. Air Force . For that, B-52s (of Vietnam infamy) were returned to action there, as well as in Iraq and Syria , after a decade of retirement. In the Pentagon, military figures are now talking about " generational " war in Afghanistan-well into the 2020s.

Meanwhile, President Obama has personally helped pioneer a new form of warfare that will not long remain a largely American possession. It involves missile-armed drones, high-tech weapons that promise a world of no-casualty-conflict (for the American military and the CIA), and adds up to a permanent global killing machine for taking out terror leaders, "lieutenants," and "militants." Well beyond official American war zones, U.S. drones regularly cross borders, infringing on national sovereignty throughout the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, to assassinate anyone the president and his colleagues decide needs to die, American citizen or otherwise (plus, of course, anyone who happens to be in the vicinity ). With its White House "kill list" and its "terror Tuesday" meetings, the drone program, promising "surgical" hunting-and-killing action, has blurred the line between war and peace, while being normalized in these years. A president is now not just commander-in-chief but assassin-in-chief , a role that no imaginable future president is likely to reject. Assassination, previously an illegal act, has become the heart and soul of Washington's way of life and of a way of war that only seems to spread conflict further.

You must be kidding!

The Well-Oiled Machinery of Privatized War: And speaking of drones, as the New York Times reported on September 5th, the U.S. drone program does have one problem: a lack of pilots. It has ramped up quickly in these years and, in the process, the pressures on its pilots and other personnel have only grown, including post-traumatic stress over killing civilians thousands of miles away via computer screen. As a result, the Air Force has been losing those pilots fast. Fortunately, a solution is on the horizon. That service has begun filling its pilot gap by going the route of the rest of the military in these years-turning to private contractors for help. Such pilots and other personnel are, however, paid higher salaries and cost more money. The contractors, in turn, have been hiring the only available personnel around, the ones trained by... yep, you guessed it, the Air Force. The result may be an even greater drain on Air Force drone pilots eager for increased pay for grim work and... well, I think you can see just how the well-oiled machinery of privatized war is likely to work here and who's going to pay for it.

You must be kidding!

Selling Arms As If There Were No Tomorrow: In a recent report for the Center for International Policy, arms expert William Hartung offered a stunning figure on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. "Since taking office in January 2009," he wrote , "the Obama administration has offered over $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in 42 separate deals, more than any U.S. administration in the history of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. The majority of this equipment is still in the pipeline, and could tie the United States to the Saudi military for years to come." Think about that for a moment: $115 billion for everything from small arms to tanks, combat aircraft, cluster bombs , and air-to-ground missiles (weaponry now being used to slaughter civilians in neighboring Yemen).

Of course, how else can the U.S. keep its near monopoly on the global arms trade and ensure that two sets of products-Hollywood movies and U.S. weaponry-will dominate the world's business in things that go boom in the night? It's a record to be proud of, especially since putting every advanced weapon imaginable in the hands of the Saudis will obviously help bring peace to a roiled region of the planet. (And if you arm the Saudis, you better do no less for the Israelis, hence the mind-boggling $38 billion in military aid the Obama administration recently signed on to for the next decade, the most Washington has ever offered any country, ensuring that arms will be flying into the Middle East, literally and figuratively, for years to come.)

Blessed indeed are the peacemakers-and of course you know that by "peacemaker" I mean the classic revolver that "won the West."

Put another way...

You must be kidding!

.... .... ....

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture . He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com . His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World .
Selected commnets (117 COMMENTS)
Papachuck111 2 hours ago
I've spelled his name "Obomba" after his second year in office. Bush had "Shock and Awe"... Obomba has "Stealth and Wealth"... The American economy has been a WAR ECONOMY for a long time. But hey, we're freeeeeeeeee… freedom isn't free, and all that other bullshit.
RadioUranus 2 hours ago
It's been all downhill since "Brer Rabbit" Bush got into it with the Middle East "tar baby."
Palimpsestuous 2 hours ago
Aw shucks, Tom, you been reading my posts? Thanks for writing this article; it corroborates everything I've been saying about Obama's lust for war and destabilization. You could have mentioned the Pentagon currently has JSOC kill teams in 147 countries, per Noam Chomsky. You also could have mentioned the US is the most feared force on the global stage, feared, that is, by actual citizens, not so much by their leaders.

President Obama's 58% approval tells me the American public are largely bloodthirsty savages led by a psychopath in pursuit of global tyranny. Either that, or 58% of Americans would rather play Goldilocks and the Three Bears with their political attention than accept responsibility for their part in destroying human civilization.

"Thanks. I'll take the tall, smiling psychopath, second from the right. He looks presidential."

The end of our democracy coincides with the end of our being an informed public. Who could have ever anticipated such a coincidence, but everyone with a passing awareness of history.

southvalley Palimpsestuous an hour ago
Nah, the American people have really no idea what's going on as we try to survive this BS. Most still think we actually have a Constitution. Remember, we wanted an "outsider" in '08 too a new face and he turned out to be silly putty in they're hands. Oh, I just heard Jennifer Flowers is coming to the debates to support Trump. Wonder how much they paid that POS liar
Bill 2 hours ago
No one who has the common sense to say he'll work for a nuclear weapons-free world changes his mind. He either never meant what he said, or he's been compromised by those who control all things political and otherwise in this country. I'm betting on the latter.
Palimpsestuous Bill 2 hours ago
I'll take that bet, even if there's no way to verify who wins. I think Obama's been a duplicitous scumbag from the get go. He's demonstrated a consistently strong dedication to fucking the public while protecting the professional class of mobsters in suits.

And I voted for this asshole, twice. Options, options. Are there any options?

AC3 3 hours ago
These types of articles are why I used to value AlterNet as a source of information. Thank you - it was informative and had a human touch. Your overt trying to manipulate and sway an election with bias overload is tiresome. The HRC/3rd party candidate blackout and 24/7 turbo train of anti-Trump is insulting our intelligence and not effective. You're preaching to the choir, we get it, Trump is psycho, but so is Clinton in her own awful & well established way - just like Obama was, and Bush before that, and Clinton before him, and Bush before... If you want to be 'Alter'native, tell the truth about ALL the candidates and report on the machinations behind the Plutocracy + how we can create an alternative is helpful, enough with the Huffpo-Salon DNC propaganda headquarters.

kyushuphil AC3 2 hours ago

America pushes war on the world through its materialism hegemon.

It's a long-running, vicious war. Tens of millions alone forced from their traditional cultures in Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- simply by a heavily-subsidized U.S. Industrial Ag which underprices commodity crops and kills those local cultures.

Then the big finance boys with their shopping malls, nukes, franchise fast food, and millions upon millions of cars choking the land, poisoning the skies.
U.S. corporate academe could provide alternatives to the mindless materialism. Could keep the humanities central enough in all departments to keep some wider consciences among Americans who for years have been blissfully blind and narcissistic about its war on the world.

The tenured classes will have none of it. They abhor the humanities. They want no perspectives on their specializations.

And so liberals, ever blind to their corporate academe, pop up occasionally "shocked, shocked" at what the U.S. pushes on the world. But the complicity goes on. The blindness goes on.

Don't you think there's something funny about this, as Kate asked her boy Cal in "East of Eden" -- funny how our dear, smug, tenured, dehumanized purists live so totally in their "purity"?

nuanced 3 hours ago
If only Obama had Trump's magic wand for getting things done.
brucebennett 3 hours ago
Years ago Glen Ford of "Black Agenda Report" correctly referred to this shameless sellout as "the more effective evil". The implication was that the perception created by his propagandists that Obama is a committed Democrat who is just trying to do his best against a obstructionist Congress and right-wing media is false.

We have seen repeatedly that the truth is quite different. Barry the Liar is an enthusiastic member of the MIC, Wall Street, and the oligarchs. He has actually expanded the powers of the President and the National Security State that we live in and even claims the right to kill an American citizen without trial! When George Carlin said - "I don't believe anything my government tells me" he could have been talking about this shill for the TPB.

When Mr. Nobel Peace Prize creates even more war and also tells you that President Hillary Clinton would be "continuity you can believe in" I am having none of it. For at least 30 years this Republican Lite party have devolved into the sorry state they are now. I will not assist them to go even further and wreck what is left of the American Dream.
Stein 2016!

Bill denton310 2 hours ago
Yes, why isn't anyone in the mass media picking up on this obvious hypocrisy? For the same reasons it never picks up on anything else of importance - it's controlled.

Now explain why anyone should pay attention to any more articles about what Trump or Clinton just came out with. It just doesn't matter any more.

For_Alternet 4 hours ago
Obama has been one of the most hypocritical presidents ever elected.
tio che 200YearOldJuniper 3 hours ago
Murder is murder, obomber is as guilty as bush/cheney and their lackeys, rice and killary, of terrorist crimes against humanity!
H. M. 4 hours ago
Just think, this is the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Obama; now, just imagine the neoliberal neocon Hillary at the helm of the war machine!

I'm afraid it will be check-mate for Humanity as we know it!

MYR 5 hours ago
The so-called "peace President" should return his Nobel Prize award immediately, so as not to slander the good intentions of Alfred Nobel.
Promoting wars, supporting war hawks, deploying drones to kill people in sovereign states, selling weapons to tyrannical governments are destructive ideas that Alfred Nobel had sought to counteract.

Sid Samsara 5 hours ago

Oh no, this isn't true. Obama has been playing 11th dimensional chess as policy for the last eight years and let me tell you, folks inhabiting the11th dimension are pretty dam happy with their universal health care, peaceful foreign policy and prosperous for all economy.
DHFabian 6 hours ago
I've personally drifted between "Seriously?" and knowing that there's really not much left to say. Deep into the longest, most expensive war in US history, we don't exactly see massive anti-war protests, people filling the mall in DC to call for peace, churches organizing prayer rallies in the name of the Prince of Peace. Walter Cronkite is gone, and the horrors of war doesn't come into our living rooms each evening. The war is distant, sterile, tidy.

Which decisions are made by Congress, which are made by the president, and in the end, does it matter? America does war. We can no longer afford to do much else, and more importantly, there appears to be little will to change course. Americans can look at the federal budget, see that the lion's share goes into maintaining war, then demand that Congress cut food stamps. (Indeed, in 2015, Congress cut food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled from $115 per month to $10.)

Budgets stand as a statement about American priorities. There is an endless strream of money for war, but none for the survival of our poor. The progressive discussion of the last eight years can be summed up as an ongoing pep rally for the middle class, with an occasional "BLM!" thrown in for good measure. A revolution to stay the course.

Redacted 8 hours ago
Obama got his start in politics with money from the family that owns Grumman, and he's been dancing to their tune ever since.

Clump, OTOH, takes money from every single MIC source, neocon source, billionaire nutty Israeli warmonger, Saudi warmonger, Central American dictator, even down to lowly death squad commendates, etc etc -and she's extremely well connected to all of them by now I imagine.

This is a person who wants both direct involvement in killing, has already done so from her phone, and enjoys the power of being a merchant of death, I predict she will be the among the most war like and worst presidents ever selected- if not the worst one ever.

tio che Redacted 5 hours ago
Dark days ahead for imperialist amerika; and sadly for the rest of the World; as the empire's death dealing is global!
Christie 8 hours ago
If you think Obama was war happy, you do not want to see war hawk Hillary in action as President.

The debate should be about issues-Hillary would apparently rather talk about sexism that her war hawk record. Trump wants to emphasis tending to America's needs and says we should stop empire building.

"Lies (in which Clinton was deeply complicit) led to the U.S.-led destruction of Iraq and Libya. Lies underlie U.S. policy on Syria. Some of the biggest liars in past efforts to hoodwink the people into supporting more war (Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz) are backing Hillary, whose Washington Post Pinocchio count is "sky-high," for president.

The US Election: an Exercise in Mendacity (untruthfulness) http://www.counterpunch.org/20...
*****************
The Clintons do not want anyone to even mention their corrupt involvement in Haiti:

"The Clinton exploitation of Haiti will eventually go up in flames, and when the smoke settles an emotional and fiscal disaster of enormous proportions will finally be visible to the world. It will be difficult to sift through the ashes to find truth, but the truth is there. Follow the money, follow the pandering, follow the emails, and follow the favors traded for gold.

"The story ends in more pain, suffering, and abuse for the Haitian people as women are sexually harassed and verbally abused by Korean managers in the sweatshops of Caracol, while a former Gap Inc. executive is at the helm of USAID garment industry agreements with Haiti. If the Clinton connections to Wall Street leave Americans yawning, the systematic exploitation of Haitian workers with a wink and a nod from the Clinton Foundation should at the very least create outrage. But then again, this is Haiti, and Haitian lives do not seem to matter.

Recently Leaked Documents Confirm Clinton Haitian Gold Scheme | OpEdNews
http://www.opednews.com/articl...

NoldorElf 8 hours ago
Obama sold out on the left. In reality, he was paid from day one to do exactly that. He was literally the ultimate snake oil salesman. Campaign on a platform of change and govern like Bush won 2 more terms.

The wars went on, the bankers got bailed out and didn't go jail, inequality rose, along with a total failure to address any of the real problems facing society.

If Obama is the best the Democrats can come up with, then it is high time the left en masse left the Democratic Party. It's one big reason why I cannot support Clinton, who will be even more pro-war. It's a vote for more of the same.

DHFabian NoldorElf 5 hours ago
What left? Seriously. We've only heard from liberals who Stand in Solidarity to preserve the advantages of the middle class. They so strongly believe in the success of our corporate state that they think everyone is able to work, and there are jobs for all. If we had a left, they would have been shining a spotlight on our poverty crisis as the proof that our deregulated capitalism is a dismal failure.

The "inequality" discussion has been particularly interesting. Pay attention to what is said. Today's liberal media have narrowed the inequality discussion to the gap between workers and the rich, disappearing all those who are far worse off.

kyushuphil DHFabian 2 hours ago
True, so onerously true what you say, DH.

Does it happen by accident, when our tenured classes have stripped away the humanities from all, guaranteeing what you term narrow discussion?

Redacted 8 hours ago
And, Hillary Clump was the biggest war monger in his misadministration. As for the nukes, I recently drove by a minuteman nuclear missile silo in Wyoming, you can see the damn thing right there by the road.

Very sad that instead of reducing these as he promised to, this idiot modernized them and added more.

Lord Dude Redacted 8 hours ago
Clinton and Kerry voted to invade Iraq and Obama rewards them with the Sec State jobs.
DHFabian Lord Dude 5 hours ago
And the media marketed to liberals began going all out in 2015, before she launched her campaign, to try to sell Clinton as a "bold progressive." This, with her decades-long record of support for the right wing agenda.

Oh well, don't worry about it. As Big Bill so carefully explained, all that any American needs to keep in mind is, "Get up every morning, work hard, and play by all the rules." Don't look around, don't ask questions, don't think.

Redacted Lord Dude 8 hours ago
And now she will be rewarded by the MIC and neocons with the ultimate prize - the white house.
Lord Dude Redacted 8 hours ago
She lacked the courage to filibuster the Iraq Resolution and tell the truth to the American people that they were being lied into a needless war that would waste trillions of their money. And now she's being rewarded. SMH.

Redacted Lord Dude 7 hours ago

She had no wish to filibuster this anymore than the Trojan horse Bernie Sanders wanted to filibuster her drone attacks later on.
Lord Dude 8 hours ago
He will be the first president to have been at war for two complete terms.

And he went into Syria and Libya without permission of Congress. Not even W did that.

taosword 8 hours ago
Many say that Obama's hands are tied in all these matters, and that he cannot get anything past the Congress. I am not sure about that. I would like to see more of a public fighter in him to show us all that he is consistently trying to get us out of the Mideast and not modernize nuclear weapons and not be willing to use them first, and stop this insane, immoral, illegal CIA drone assassination program. Show me strong consistent public statements to this effect for the last 7 years and I may believe it. Otherwise he is like president Johnson who while doing good civil rights things at home was trying to get me killed in Vietnam.
avelna 9 hours ago
Or, to put it more succinctly...We're f**cked. The whole world.
southvalley 9 hours ago
Classic "We must destroy the world in order to save it"
nineteen50 9 hours ago
Vote Hillary for more of the same only "muscled up"
Hometalk222 10 hours ago
How did an article about Obama and nuclear weapons , turn into a hit piece on D Trump??? Oh yeah, this is Alternet.
smkngman3 10 hours ago
Obama learned from the Clintons on how to get those "Foundation" checks rolling in.
David Shaw Jr 10 hours ago
His "peace prize" should be repossessed.

[Sep 24, 2016] 9-11 Firefighter Blows WTC 7 Cover-Up Wide Open

Impressive interview
Notable quotes:
"... That guy knows what he's talking about. It's about time someone came forward with what may be true according to what he saw and knows. ..."
YouTube

Infowars reporter Lee Ann McAdoo talks to Rudy Dent, 32 year veteran of NYC fire department and the NYPD, about his incredible first hand experience of the lies surrounding WTC 7.

Jeanne O'Mara 13 hours ago

This retired fireman feels that it was a a controlled demolition. He has never heard of a high rise being brought down by a fire. There were other bldgs that were hit by debris from the burning towers. He was also suspicious that all the evidence from WTC 7 was taken away and sent to china.

The crime scene should have protected but wasn't. He believe as many now do that t was a "false Flag" operation to get people all riled up so they could get into react. He saw molten LAVA like pockets of steel which is like what you see when a volcano explodes. It's called pyroclastic flow. Thermite, a very special explosive was found and it can only be made a very specialized labs like Los Alamos.

The bush family has a very creepy history. Prescott Bush had holdings in a bank that funded the Nazis (Union Bank). It was seized by the CONGRESS. The Harrimans were also involved w this bank.

It's also clear that Bush Sr had a role in JFK's assassination. JFK had asked A. Harriman to negotiate w Vietnam and Harriman cross out that part. This was treason.

lora savage 1 week ago

That guy knows what he's talking about. It's about time someone came forward with what may be true according to what he saw and knows.

[Sep 24, 2016] 9 11 John Kerry admits that WTC7 was brought down by controlled demolition!

www.youtube.com
al murphy 1 year ago
9/11 is a cover-up and World Trade Center 7 collapse is the smoking gun. Why is that so?? WTC-7 fully collapsed in a manner that resembles a controlled demolition. For 2.25 seconds it collapsed at freefall and National Institute of Standards and Technology now admits this. In order for it to freefall for 2.25 seconds you need a uniform gap of approx. 80ft free of any physical impediments (equivalent of blowing out 7 floors almost instantaneously).

Fire is not magic and cannot do that and only can be precisely done through human intervention. It takes the prepositioning of demolition components that are finely timed throughout the building to accomplish this. WTC-7 had GOV agencies as part of its tenant (US Secret Service, CIA, IRS, DOD...) With tenants like that it is impossible for an outsider to get access to the building to preposition demolition components. Whoever did had to have their consent!

[Sep 24, 2016] Americas Deadliest Export Democracy - The Truth about US Foreign Policy and Everything Else

Notable quotes:
"... "If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security... and if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State." ..."
Amazon.com

Gary Corseri

William Blum's "Cri de Coeur", February 9, 2013

William Blum's Cri de Coeur
A review of "America's Deadliest Export: Democracy" by William Blum (Zed Books, London/New York, 2013.)

(As it has appeared at DissidentVoice, OpEdNews, etc.):

In activist-author-publisher William Blum's new book, America's Deadliest Export: Democracy, he tells the story of how he got his 15 minutes of fame back in 2006. Osama bin Laden had released an audiotape, declaring:

"If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security... and if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State."

Bin Laden then quoted from the Foreword of Blum's 2000 book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, in which he had mused:

"If I were... president, I could stop terrorist attacks [on us] in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize... to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America's global interventions... have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but... a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. ... That's what I'd do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I'd be assassinated."

Unfortunately, Blum never made it to the White House! But, fortunately, for those who have read his books or follow his "Anti-Empire Reports" on the Web, he was not assassinated! And now he has collected his reports and essays of the last dozen years or so into a 352-page volume that will not only stand the test of time, but will help to define this disillusioned, morose, violent and unraveling Age.

America's Deadliest... is divided into 21 chapters and an introduction--and there's something to underline or memorize on every page! Sometimes it's just one of Blum's irrepressible quips, and sometimes it's a matter of searing American foreign or domestic policiy that clarifies that Bushwhackian question of yore: "Why do they hate us?"

Reading this scrupulously documented book, I lost count of the times I uttered, "unbelievable!" concerning some nefarious act committed by the US Empire in the name of freedom, democracy and fighting communism or terrorism. Reading Blum's book with an open mind, weighing the evidence, will bleach out any pride in the flag we have planted in so many corpses around the world. The book is a diuretic and emetic!

Blum's style is common sense raised to its highest level. The wonder of America's Deadliest ... is that it covers so much of the sodden, bloody ground of America's march across our post-Second-World-War world, yet tells the story with such deftness and grace-under-fire that the reader is enticed--not moralized, not disquisitionally badgered--, but enticed to consider our globe from a promontory of higher understanding.

Some of the themes Blum covers (and often eviscerates) include:

  1. Why they hate us;
  2. America means well;
  3. We cannot permit a successful alternative to the capitalist model to develop anywhere in the world;
  4. We will use whatever means necessary--including, lies, deception, sabotage, bribery, torture and war--to achieve the above idea.

Along the way, we get glimpses of Blum's experientially rich life. A note "About the Author" tells us that, "He left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer because of his opposition to what the US was doing in Vietnam. He then became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first "alternative" newspaper in the capital."

In his chapter on "Patriotism," Blum relates how, after a talk, he was asked: "Do you love America?" He responded with what we may take for his credo: "I don't love any country. I'm a citizen of the world. I love certain principles, like human rights, civil liberties, meaningful democracy, an economy which puts people before profits."

America's Deadliest... is a book of wisdom and wit that ponders "how this world became so unbearably cruel, corrupt, unjust, and stupid?" In a pointillistic approach, sowing aphoristic seeds for thought, Blum enumerates instances of that cruelty, often with wry, pained commentary. "War can be seen as America's religion," he tells us. Reflecting on Obama's octupling Bush's number of drones used to assassinate, collaterally kill and terrorize, he affirms:

"Obama is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the American left." And, he avers, "Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good." And then turns around and reminds us--lest we forget--how the mass media have invaded our lives, with memes about patriotism, democracy, God, the "good life": "Can it be imagined that an American president would openly implore America's young people to fight a foreign war to defend `capitalism'?" he wonders.

"The word itself has largely gone out of fashion. The approved references now are to the market economy, free market, free enterprise, or private enterprise."

Cynthia McKinney writes that the book is "corruscating, eye-opening, and essential." Oliver Stone calls it a "fireball of terse information."
Like Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Paul Craig Roberts, Cindy Sheehan and Bradley Manning, Blum is committed to setting the historical record straight. His book is dangerous. Steadfast, immutable "truths" one has taken for granted--often since childhood--are exposed as hollow baubles to entertain the un/mis/and dis-informed. One such Blumism recollects Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez's account of a videotape with a very undiplomatic Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and cowboy George Bush: "`We've got to smash somebody's ass quickly,'" Powell said. "`We must have a brute demonstration of power.'

Then Bush spoke: `Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! ... Stay strong! ... Kill them! ... We are going to wipe them out!'"

Blum's intellectual resources are as keen as anyone's writing today. He also adds an ample measure of humanity to his trenchant critiques. He juxtaposes the noble rhetoric of our professed values with the mordant facts of our deeds. The cognitive dissonance makes for a memorable, very unpretty picture of how an immensely privileged people lost themselves, while gorging on junk food, junk politics, junk economics, junk education, junk media. Like an Isaiah, a Jeremiah, he lambastes his own--us!--flaying layers of hypocrisy and betrayals while seeking to reveal the core values of human dignity, empathy and moral rectitude.

Gary Corseri has published and posted prose, poetry and dramas at hundreds of periodicals and websites worldwide, including CommonDreams, Countercurrents, BraveNewWorld.in, OpEdNews, CounterPunch, Outlook India, The New York Times, Dissident Voice. He has published novels, poetry collections and a literary anthology (edited). His dramas have been presented on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library. He has taught in US public schools and prisons, and at American and Japanese universities. Contact: gary_corseri@comcast.net.

[Sep 24, 2016] US started Ukraine civil war

Jan 01, 2015 | english.pravda.ru
30.01.2015

US started Ukraine civil war. War in Donbass continues

It has been over a year of blood, tears and destruction in Ukraine especially in SE Ukraine. The new country now called Novorossia, has been fighting the puppet government in Kiev, USA who is committing genocide in the Donbass region. America's new addition to its Empire is funded with billions and millions supported by NATO and other mercenaries. Yet, Kiev still cannot complete its mission the US trained it for. Oleg Tsarov warned about the impish activities the US was performing before the protests began in Kiev. America started the war in Ukraine but like Goliath was slain by little David.

US Started Ukraine Civil War *PROOF* Nov 20, 2013

Oleg Tsarov, who was then the People's Deputy of Ukraine, talks about US preparations for civil war in Ukraine, November 2013 in Kiev parliament. Major protests began the day after his speech. You can hear the paid protesters chanting "Ukraine" in the background trying to keep him from speaking the truth. Later, April 14, 2014, Oleg was beaten by a mob when he was running for president but fortunately survived. His face was badly beaten as shown here. Remember, his speech was the day before the Maidan Protests. See the Timeline. In his speech he said:

"...activists of the organization 'Volya' turned to me providing clear evidence that within our territory with support and direct participation of the US EMBASSY (in Kiev) the 'Tech Camp' project is realized under which preparations are being made for a civil war in Ukraine.

The project is currently overseen and under the responsibility of the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt. After the conversation with the organization 'Volya'. I have learned they succeeded to access the facilities of 'Tech Camp' disguised as a team of IT specialists. To their surprise, briefings on the peculiarities of modern media were held. AMERICAN instructors explained how social networks and Internet technologies can be used for targeted manipulation of public opinion as well as to activate protest potential to provoke violent unrest in the territory of Ukraine; radicalization of the population triggering infighting.

American instructors presented examples of successful use of social networks used to organize protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Recent conference took place Nov 14-15, 2013, in the heart of Kiev in the Embassy of the United States of America!

Is it conceivable that representatives of the US Embassy which organize the 'Tech Camp' conferences misuse their diplomatic mission? UN resolution of December 21, 1965 regulates inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of a state to protect its independence and its sovereignty in accordance with paragraphs 1,2 and 5. I ask you to consider this as an official supplication to pursue an investigation of this case."

Well, no investigation was ever made especially by the "land of the free". Vladimir Putin has asked the UN for help but they drag their feet. The US embassies have caused more damage than the Soviet Union has ever done. In the video, we can see Oleg and others knew about America's interference in Ukraine affairs. He wanted to stop the civil war and courageously ran for president to stop the impending bloodshed. Thousands of deaths could have been avoided if people had listened to him. He could not fight the tide of billions of dollars from Obama and the US Congress. The Nazis in Kiev had their way while Poroshenko sent men to their deaths. What a waste into a whirlpool of misery.

Obama and Poroshenko told the army they were going to fight terrorists. The "terrorists" were innocent civilians. Kiev POW's were later paraded in front of the bombarded people as they got a dose of REALITY. If only Obama or Poroshenko had told them the truth that they were bombing civilians they thought. The Ukrainian army is full of city boys who are inexperienced, fighting in unknown territory. The Novorossia militia is filled with coal miners and other blue collar workers with many who have had combat experience in Chechnya or older men with experience from the Soviet-Afghanistan war.

The militia has seen their children, wives, Mothers, Fathers, grandparents and close friends killed but their faith, as this touching video shows, helps them defend their land. The Ukrainian army was drafted and sent by seedy Obama and Poroshenko under the penalty of 5 yrs in jail if they did not fight. If you feel sorry for them as POW's then I hope you see the bodies or graves of the thousands of civilians who were killed by them. It is a tragedy for everyone involved. Even for Soros, Obama, Poroshenko, Kerry, Nuland, members of US Congress who approved this, the Nazis in Kiev, all will suffer far worse on Judgment Day unless they repent.

The civil war continues in Ukraine but despite Kiev's effort to mask the number of their dead soldiers and POW's, Novorossia continues victory after victory on the battlefield. Ukraine army focuses on shelling civilians while Novorossia kills Kiev's soldiers or captures them. Sometimes they are returned to their Mothers as seen in this film.

Donetsk Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko from Novorossia argues with Kiev army officer in this powerful video. He said that the Kiev army succumbed to the coup:

"To give away our own country to be looted by Americans and other European countries"

That video is by Graham Phillips who does the job that the impotent lame stream media won't do in America. Bravo Graham! Many thanks to Kazzura for her translation of most of the videos.

Notice in the West the so called journalists are nowhere to be found on the battlefield in Ukraine as this man was here. I am certainly not addressing the media like CNN, FOX, CBS and the other court jesters who are paid clowns in the freak show called "US government". They dare tell America lies about the war. I would force them to dig the graves of the dead. How quickly the mainstream media goose steps in unison blaming Russia as Hitler did. Showing them the truth would be like showing a burnt building to a pyromaniac. The US media is in the business of making money not telling the truth. Peace and truth don't make billions of dollars they say. Were they bribed or are they true liars? "The liar's punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else." - George Bernard Shaw

Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland was back in the news recently. In her efforts to support the US program against "Russia Today". "Noodle Head Nuland" belittled RT by saying "RT's tiny, tiny audience in the United States". Remember her? The Benghazi gal was first talking about Democracy in Ukraine with Chevron. Their version of "democracy and freedom" means war to the rest of the world. She was seen handing out food to protesters and police in Kiev. How nice she is sounding so sweet and so kind. She was later caught on tape saying "Fuck the EU" when discussing the setup of the Ukraine government. Later she was grilled by Republican Dana Rohrabacher where she admitted there were Nazis on Maidan. Yeah, I really trust that evil witch who learned her craft from Hillary.

It is obvious to the world, but not to the West, that Kiev was overthrown by the US and EU. Although the US propaganda blames Russia for everything the OSCE has already disproven their claims. We wanted to show in our main video that Kiev was actually warned before Pandora's Box was opened. The blame is clearly on the US as instigators. They sowed the devil's seed.

Nevertheless, those who were deceived by the US or went along with the evil knowingly are also to blame and bear the responsibility of misleading Ukraine. Kiev has now become the newest suffering colony in America's empire. The only real "Hope and Change" for the people of Donbass is fighting against Obama's tyranny and becoming the independent country of Novorossia. "Let Freedom Ring!" America has forgotten its meaning.

Xavier Lerma. Contact Xavier Lerma at xlermanov@swissmail.org

[Sep 24, 2016] US goal was to take Ukraine into the future that it deserves . Now with ghivna devalutation of 300% we see what they meant

Notable quotes
... "What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that."
... From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July. Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.
..."I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish."
..."The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.
Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer. Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.
Notable quotes:
"... But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect. ..."
"... alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown ..."
"... The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other. ..."
"... On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German) ..."
"... "In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's. ..."
"... But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region. ..."
"... By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government. ..."
"... "Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity. ..."
"... Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned. ..."
"... "Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. ..."
"... let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces. ..."
"... your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll ..."
"... What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that. ..."
"... I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media - ..."
"... We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the 'Western' hegemony (and our claimed system of morally superior 'values'). We can't allow that sort of thing, Popeyes. ..."
"... The Guardian has a clear pro-EU/USA position on the new cold war against Russia. ..."
"... The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer. ..."
"... The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting. ..."
May 31, 2015 | The Guardian

JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 12:26

"Look at the Moscow apartment bombings"... look at any number of CIA false flag operations. As for "most of the national T.V is Putin press." ... Murdoch has a controlling interest in printed press and a large share of TV news in Australia and the UK. Maybe you are one of the CIA-employed agitators against Russia, or maybe you have a chip on your shoulder about a failed relationship with a Russia bride. I can't be sure from your comments.

But it's very suspect when you say things like "Putin's created a criminal war in East Ukraine" when it was Kiev which started the violence in reaction to the Russian Ukrainians voting for Federalization in response to the coup in Kiev. It means that everything else you write has to be treated as suspect.

Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 12:24

I don't see a big issue with that list. If some people from that list travel anywhere, it will be considered wasting tax payer money anyways. They aren't even embraced by a majority in their own countries, some of them belonging to totally irrelevant weird initiative, shouting and crying about this and that.

For others on that list, being linked to military organisations, the should be banned naturally. As for vacation, I don't think Russia was on those guys list either

JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 12:14

alpamysh ... you've merely regurgitated the standard NeoCon list of justifications for why a democratically-elected leader needed to be overthrown (e.g. Egypt's Morsi). If we take your "Hitler was elected" argument, we can apply that one to any election outcome. If you won your high school "class monitor" election ... we'll Hitler won an election too. It's nothing more than a lazy smear by association. If we take your "rigs the right of the opposition" argument, well there goes Israel's claims to democracy. They arrest/ban viable Arab opposition figures to prevent them standing in elections. Also, we have to eliminate Ukraine, who have assassinated about 12 of Yanukovich's inner circle since the coup.

uzzername 31 May 2015 12:09

The article isn't worth the headline really. The new cold war is on and obviously they'll be barring each other.

Russia, along with the rest of BRICS is an emerging economy. While in the developed economies big corporations scramble for every penny they rip off off the consumers, the BRICS are a goldmine for adventurous capitalists as you can score quite a bit of dope in one scoop if you invest enough in it.

That's why some of them suits on the list are pissed off. Obvs not because their summer holiday in Siberia has gone into smithereens.

umweltAT2100 31 May 2015 12:04

According to a report in ARD (German state media) the entry ban is a reaction / retaliation in response to the entry ban imposed on Russians in connection with the Crimea annexation. Approximately 200 people are on the Russian black list. The largest number are from the USA, with the Republican John McCain declared "persona non grata", followed by Canadian politicians.

On the other hand the EU has also put an entry ban on leading Russian politicians, among which are the chairman of the Federation council, politicians from the state Duma and also close advisors to the Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is not anticipated that either side will lift the entry bans in the near future. (Excerpt and rough translation from German)

Russian entry ban for dozens of politicians – Moscow's black list is out. (Hermann Krause, ARD Radio studio, Moscow, 30.05.2015)

Russische Einreiseverbote für Dutzende Politiker Moskaus "schwarze Liste" ist raus. Von Hermann Krause, ARD-Hörfunkstudio Moskau, 30.05.2015

http://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/russland-einreiseverbot-103.html

Danish5666 -> dralion 31 May 2015 12:03

Victoria Nuland and the neocons to be more precise,

"In December, Nuland reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve "its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion." She said the U.S. goal was to take "Ukraine into the future that it deserves," by which she meant into the West's orbit and away from Russia's.

But President Yanukovych rejected a European Union plan that would have imposed harsh austerity on the already impoverished Ukraine. He accepted a more generous $15 billion loan from Russia, which also has propped up Ukraine's economy with discounted natural gas. Yanukovych's decision sparked anti-Russian street protests in Kiev, located in the country's western and more pro-European region.

Nuland was soon at work planning for "regime change," encouraging disruptive street protests by personally passing out cookies to the anti-government demonstrators. She didn't seem to notice or mind that the protesters in Kiev's Maidan square had hoisted a large banner honoring Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

By late January, Nuland was discussing with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who should be allowed in the new government.

"Yats is the guy," Nuland said in a phone call to Pyatt that was intercepted and posted online. "He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy you know." By "Yats," Nuland was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had served as head of the central bank, foreign minister and economic minister - and who was committed to harsh austerity.

As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera's anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II.

With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down. The neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their lives."
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/03/02/what-neocons-want-from-ukraine-crisis/

JordanFromLondon -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 11:53

What proof do you have that the Russian elections were phony ? The results were in line with independent opinion polls. Which referendums was phony ? The first Iraqi election after Sadam was toppled was certainly phony. The US military whisked away the ballot boxes for a week after voting was completed before announcing that the Shia (60% of Iraqis) had failed to get a majority (despite the 20% Bathist Sunni boycotting the election so only the 20% Kurds voted against the 60% Shia).

geedeesee -> SnarkyGrumpkin 31 May 2015 11:50

From article: He [Clegg] also argued that the country should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup after Russian troops allegedly downed the civilian airliner Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine last July.

Well, there's evidence in itself. Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. (The burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies). He wants to punish before the publication o the report. It's like a mediaeval witch-hunt. The law of the jungle seems to be Clegg's guiding principle. No surprise he's been banned.

JordanFromLondon -> Havingalavrov 31 May 2015 11:45

"Putin wants sanctions" ... what a bunch of silly conjecture. As for "Putin style rule" and "Tzar" .. you presumably know that Russia held democratic elections which Putin won. That's more than many of the US/UK allies can say (take your pick of the Gulf state leaders). Don't buy into the mindless anti-Russian propaganda doing the rounds. I suspect that it's intended to soften public opnion for anti-Russian attrocities committed in our name to come.

Huo Fu Yan -> David Port 31 May 2015 11:36

It's true, 1/3 the list are politicians and military leader from Poland and baltics with no intend to enter Russia anyways. The rest are merely people engaged in military organisations (should be banned naturally) or weird political groups and initiatives.

Furthermore, there are a few irrelevant politicians on the list for whatever reason. To be frank, a few people from that list you wouldt want in your own country either.

meewaan 31 May 2015 11:07

let me guess, The list probably contains politicians whose real loyalty maybe is with the US? Judge from the 2 names mentioned, Malcolm Riffkind is Co-Vice Chair of the Global Panel Foundation – America – with Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, the former U.S Under-Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Armed Forces.

Not sure about banning Nick Clegg, - has his wife remunerated by her work for companies linked to the US? Take, for example, Mrs Clegg's firm's advertisement (again, on its website) of the fact it makes considerable sums from helping rich people avoid inheritance tax, saying that it offers 'personal estate planning advice and financial and tax-planning services to high net worth individuals'.

'We combine sophisticated estate planning skills with international resources . . . We help U.S. and non-U.S. trustees and beneficiaries transfer wealth efficiently through lifetime and testamentary trusts designed to minimise tax exposure.'

SuchindranathAiyer 31 May 2015 10:35

It required a "Tit for Tat" to establish that sanctions are working? Here is the geo-political back drop:

Reigan and Gorby arrived at certain agreements and understandings which Clinton (the husband) violated. He pulled Poland and others into NATO and bombed Russian ally Belgrade, violating international law, while a helpless Russia fumed, for 84 days to given Islam its first ethnically cleansed enclaves (Bosnia and Kosovo) after 1489.

Bush (the son), declared the "Star Wars" missile shield in direct violation of the Regan-Gorbachev agreements while Russia continued to fume, but began to re arm and prepare itself for war. Apart from, of course, violating International Law and invading Russian ally Iraq to distract anger over 9/11 from Saudi Arabia and its Nuclear-Terrorist sword arm Pakistan and threw thriving communities of Jews, Christians, Yazidis, discos and bars that the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis resented into the maws of Islam.

Russia fumed and continued to rearm and began to rally around Putin's nationalism. The US commenced "regime change" operations in Russian (and Iraqi) Secular ally Syria, throwing even more Jews, Christians, Yazidis and Kurds into the maws of Islam. US was to weakened by Iraq to wage war unilaterally in Syria. China and Russia blocked the US at the UN. Putin wrote an open letter to Obama on Syria in the NY Times which gained traction with the American Citizens, bending Obama's nose and driving the US regime change operation in Syria further under ground (covert). Prince Bandar (what an appropriate name!) head of Saudi intelligence went ot Moscow to bribe Putin to back the putsch in Syria. Putin refused and told Bandar that if Islam tried a Beslan at Sochi, he would bomb the Q'aba. This bent the Saudi nose. So the US commenced operation regime change in Ukraine. This sparked the secession of Crime to Russia. The US fumed and fretted because its more develoed and intelligent NATO allies (France and Germany) would not back the US backed fascist regime in Ukraine. The US shot down MH-17 in a false flag operation and started a canard against Russia to revive NATO. There is a NATO now imposing US-Saudi conceived sanctions on Russia. We are now in the Second Cold War so NATO won't go away. Russia and China will ally because, Clinton to Obama, the US has demonstrated the dangers of a unipolar world, particularly as Islamic Petro Dollars own the decision and opinion makers of the West and have used the US military to further the Islamic agenda as much as carry on with the old anti-Communist prejudices. (While Russia is not Totalitarian, China is. India is really the last Soviet franchise in the World with its "Animal Farm" totalitarian Constitution and thinking which is why the US is an ally of Pakistan and as hostile to India as to Russia. Consider that as recently as 2012, the man who lolls in Lutyen's drawing room today moved "retrospective" legislation in the same Parliament that nationalized 20% of private (non minority) education and removed the truth from Govt approved History text books, in the highest traditions of Nehru, Ambedkar and Indira Gandhi.)

wilpost37 -> AbsolutelyFapulous 31 May 2015 10:33

Absolutely/Goman

Almost all the tourists of Crimea were Ukrainians before 2014. They stopped coming, and likely are spending their vacation elsewhere.

Crimea is rebuilding its infrastructures (Kiev had neglected them for 22 years), and its tourist base.

It expects to have over 4 million visitors in 2015 and 5 million in 2016, because many Russians are no longer going to EU countries, and are going to Crimea, Sochi, etc., instead. It will take time, but Crimea is a beautiful area.

Crimea became part of the Russian Empire by conquest over the Tartars in 1793.

The Tartars had been kidnapping nearby people (several million over many decades) and selling them to the Turks. Catherine the Great put an end to that.

Khrushev was stupid to give it to Ukraine in 1954.

After the CIA/FBI-assisted coup of Kiev, the Crimean people, 67% Russian, feared for their future, as did the Donbas people.

SHappens 31 May 2015 10:24

"Just one thing remains unclear: did our European co-workers want these lists to minimise inconveniences for potential 'denied persons' or to stage a political show?"

It is pretty clear that it turned out to be another media circus.

Socraticus -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 10:12

Lesson 1 - everyone on this site is a guest, you included
Lesson 2 - the majority of posters herein are actually westerners, not 'Russian trolls'
Lesson 3 - all politicians lie to advance their own social/economic/political agendas
Lesson 4 - all MSM distort/suppress the truth to support governmental narratives
Lesson 5 - many of us westerners actually bother to investigate the true facts
Lesson 6 - if a leader's being demonized its because they won't capitulate to the US
Lesson 7 - every illicit invasion is preceded by demonization of a leader/country
Lesson 8 - your constant anti-Russia/Putin comments mark you as a shill/troll
Lesson 9 - you can educate yourself or remain blind to facts - your choice
Lesson 10 - you will learn the consequences of your choices

UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 10:12

You realise that Russia is one the most important members of the BRICS and that they group has recently established a development bank? That's hardly the sign that the other BRICS nations are not reading from the same hymn sheet as Russia...

http://www.scmp.com/comment/article/1580523/brics-development-bank-should-challenge-washington-consensus

Russia has also joined China's Asian Infrastructure Bank. Another clear sign that it is strengthening its relations with other BRICS members.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/29/russia-joins-chinas-asian-infrastructure-bank-but-doubts-its-power-against-imf/

44theorderofknights 31 May 2015 09:57

What did anyone expect flowers from russia from the unfair treatment it's getting. The west paying for Ukraine part nazi government and creating a coup in a democratically ekected president last february. Then sanctioning the Russian people expecting them to turn in yheir president. The west should be ashamed of what they accomplished that being fronting a proxy war against Russia.

Vijay Raghavan -> Huo Fu Yan 31 May 2015 09:54

Developing all-round military-to-military relations. China's armed forces will further their exchanges and cooperation with the Russian military within the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia, and foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations in more fields and at more levels

http://eng.mod.gov.cn/Database/WhitePapers/2015-05/26/content_4586715.htm

They made that statement in their white paper issued last week.Offcourse Guardian or BBC will not keep up with such "Breaking News".

UnsleepingMind -> EssoBlue 31 May 2015 09:49

1) Yes, the BRICS countries are very much behind Russia.

2) Russia, unlike the US, has tabled a resolution to condemn Nazism and Nazi movements in the highest forum possible (the UN). The US, along with Canada, and its puppet government in Ukraine, voted against it (in defiance of most of the world's nations).

[1] http://russia-insider.com/en/de-dollarization-du-jour-russia-backs-brics-alternative-swift/ri7566
[2] http://rt.com/news/207899-un-anti-nazism-resolution/

UnsleepingMind -> Tom20000 31 May 2015 09:43

You would think, with all the technology at the disposal of the US security state, that it might (just might) be able to provide us with real, irrefutable evidence of a ground invasion. You know, perhaps some high resolution satellite imagery, the odd photo of a modern Russian tank moving over the Ukrainian border, some chatter from the wires between embassy officials and security personnel, etc., etc.

But of course we have nothing of the sort. What we have is a desperate corporate media, dutifully parroting the nonsense from the US State Department, and investing virtually nothing in on-the-ground investigative reporting. But real evidence? We are in very, VERY short supply of that.

UnsleepingMind -> ponott 31 May 2015 09:34

I can only assume it is as badge of honour if you buy into all the dimwitted propaganda being published by the western corporate media -- who seem to have a daily axe to grind against the Russian state, but who say nothing about the warmongering actions of the US. I imagine I would have the same opinion of you if I was to uncritically swallow such toxic rubbish.

UnsleepingMind -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:30

'Because we have the right to ban people who invade other countries'.

That's why we've recently arrested George Bush (who, with the help of Tony Blair invaded Iraq and Afghanistan), Barack Obama (who bombed Libya, engineered coups in Honduras and Ukraine, and is now funding Islamic extremists in Syria)...

We reserve the right to ban, but we use that 'right' to ban official enemies (i.e. anyone daring to follow a geopolitical game plan that is distinctly at odds with our own).

Also, your suggestion that Putin's Russia has invaded 'other countries' is preposterous. The western media has been spewing this nonsense for months now and yet there is not a shred of real evidence (including hi-res satellite imagery) to back it up. And if you are referring to Crimea, let me say this: Russia troops have been staged in Crimea for many, many years; moreover, the people of Crimea voted to break with Ukraine in a recent referendum (not that that squares with your hectoring rhetoric).

PyrrhicVictory 31 May 2015 09:27

The doors of the gravy train for politicians like Clegg are fast closing. When we exit the EU, then the Brussels gravy train will also be beyond him. He might, just might, having to start behaving like an honest politician for once and earn a decent wage based on truth not lies.

johnsmith44 -> NegativeCamber 31 May 2015 09:25

Why dont you go spread democracy to some oil-producing Third World country, together with your poodles the brits? And make sure you do it properly, so that monstrosities like ISIS are guaranteed?

more democracy exporting: http://multipletext.com/2011/images/3-22-US-democracy.jpg

and more: https://syrianfreepress.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/we-will-help-the-syrian-people-to-achieve-democracy-20140603.jpg

and more: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/76/31/c0/7631c0787ae47cfc74cd8488390cc5d5.jpg

johnsmith44 -> alpamysh 31 May 2015 09:21

1) Google for "Operation Northwoods", that is, CIA's proposal to Kennedy to shoot down a passenger jet over Cuba.

2) Read here: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/29/obama-should-release-ukraine-evidence/

ex-CIA personnel openly describing their involvement in the dowining of Korean Airlines passenger flight 007 over Siberia on August 30, 1983 and I believe it becomes apparent who downed MH-17.

Jerome Fryer -> Popeyes 31 May 2015 09:11

We're the global overlords, and so second-rate nations aren't allowed to reciprocate our petulant actions. When they do so it causes some people to question the assumed status of the 'Western' hegemony (and our claimed system of morally superior 'values'). We can't allow that sort of thing, Popeyes.

davidncldl 31 May 2015 09:10

The Guardian has a clear pro-EU/USA position on the new cold war against Russia. Mr Putin is their democratically elected leader and he is enormously popular. Only an imbecile would be surprised or indignant about Russia retaliating for unjust EU/US sanctions. What do the globalisers and bankers' friends at the Guardian expect? I imagine you think that the ruination of the Venezuelan and Russian economies by the manipulation of the oil price is just "free market" activity.

Hass Castorp 31 May 2015 09:07

"More than 6,200 people have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists."

This is a language of propaganda, Guardian. Last i checked Guardian advertised to be a newspaper, not a bulletin of The Ministry of Truth.

My reformulation; "More than 6200 (in some estimates up to 50.000) have been killed and up to 1 million civilians displaced (who mostly fled to Russia) by Ukrainian government troops and private terrorist kommandos of Ukrainian oligarchs."

Jerome Fryer -> henry919 31 May 2015 09:03

The only way to effectively block people from other regions (blanket censor them, in other words) would be to positively identify the source. All that you would likely achieve is blocking actual individual commentators and letting through the government astroturfers.

Why you would want to resort to such tactics is worth asking. The 'Western side' may be losing the propaganda war with Russia because our lies are bigger and harder to sell -- rather than Pooty-poot being cleverer.

Repeated debunked claims in our media are also going to be far more damaging than anything similar in Russia. The problem doesn't lie with those you are asserting to be 'trolls' that are disputing the reporting -- the problem lies with the reporting.

(If your argument must be protected against criticism then it is a weak argument.)

[Sep 24, 2016] UKRAINE Surrounded Donetsk- Ukraine General Staff applies experience of the Spanish Civil War

Notable quotes:
"... an operation to encircle Donetsk is nearly complete! ..."
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UKRAINE: Surrounded Donetsk- Ukraine General Staff applies experience of the Spanish Civil War
http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/okruzhennyiy-donetsk-genshtab-ukrainyi-primenyaet-opyit-grazhdanskoy-voynyi-v-ispanii.html ^ | 03.08.14, 18:06

Posted on ‎8‎/‎3‎/‎2014‎ ‎8‎:‎22‎:‎10‎ ‎PM by UMCRevMom@aol.com

Ukrainian Interior Ministry forces ATO Main news of recent days: an operation to encircle Donetsk is nearly complete!

This radically changes the entire operational environment at the front. Let's already stop hiding behind a fig leaf is an abbreviation of ATU and will be referred to as a war-torn, and advanced-front.

Many people ask how the war, which, by its type refers to the type of maneuver, formed wheel built? After all, in the civil wars there is no front line. What do the schemes that appear on the Internet, which clearly outline the front line?

First, the schemes are not reflected front and border control zones. Please note that the scheme is not solid and dotted line .

Secondly, in the civil wars of the twentieth century in key areas formed a solid front.

Third, in these days we are recognizing a century of the First World War. This grand massacre marked by the fact that the war for the first time in human history has become a purely positional. On the western front rows of trenches stretched linear continuum from the North Sea to Switzerland. And before the war were maneuverable. However, the basic principles of the strategy work as a maneuver, and as the positional constructions. Therefore the environment in Donetsk - is now a decisive factor that will help determine the subsequent course of events.

1919 defeat of Denikin. Future Marshal Yegorov spends quite a front operation at significantly discharged constructions than we are now seeing in the Donbas.

But the most accurate historical analogy of what is happening in the East of the country, is the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, a rehearsal for WWII.

Three months ago, when the ATO was just beginning, with Yuri Romanenko, we discussed what it will be for operation from a military point of view, with what does it compare? Spain! - Even then we came to this conclusion.

One side holds successive offensives against disparate unsaturated builds on the other hand, in the end it all comes down to a struggle for basic megacities - Barcelona and Madrid in the years 1938-1939 and for the Donetsk and Lugansk in 2014. We see that during the Spanish Civil War also called the control zone - fronts.

As then, leading the offensive side of the wire successive offensives in various sectors of the front. General Franco did not immediately come to such a strategy. But, he quickly enough proved its effectiveness.

The Spanish Civil War

Another connecting factor - and in Spain, and in the Donbass defensive side had and has the ability to constantly replenish their strength. I mean the International Brigades in Spain and Russian mercenaries in the Donbass. Just do not make direct analogies and remember Hemingway. Ideology, morality and culture here is not the point, only comparison is the strategic and military experience.

Based on the study of the history of strategic decisions during the Spanish Civil War. The General staff of Ukraine has abandoned an ambitious but totally inappropriate, in terms of strategy, the plan of encirclement throughout the territory occupied by the enemy.

General Staff of Ukraine refused ambitious but completely wrong, in terms of strategy, plan the environment throughout the territory To carry out such an operation is necessary to introduce martial law and full mobilization. The economic crisis - Ukraine needs to live and work. The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko demanded to find less radical solutions. The General staff was to develop private operations against individual enemy factions. And immediately came to fruition!

Today, we are seeing a decline IAF combat capability, as they are forced to operate in disparate groups. The actions of terrorists is completely dictated by the operational environment. Given the fact that the strategic initiative is fully on the side of the APU, the actions of illegal armed groups cropped, are predictable and can be controlled. While the IAF will not solve the problems with communications around Donetsk, they have no opportunity for meaningful operations on other sites.

Maneuver warfare strategy can be compared to the battle in zero gravity, when one of the opponents, getting zubodrobilny kick gets a chance to continue the fight, that only lasts with some kind of support. In our case, this leg is large metropolitan areas. Having lost the strategic initiative, the IAF will be forced to pull their main forces in the Donetsk and Lugansk, allowing the APU, if necessary, to conduct the operation on the closure of the border with Russia. Everything is good in its season!

[Sep 22, 2016] Much-disputed Iranian nuclear bomb

An interesting warning about possible return of neocons in Hillary administration. Looks like not much changed in Washington from 2005 and Obama more and more looks like Bush III. Both Hillary and Trump are jingoistic toward Iran. Paradoxically Trump is even more jingoistic then Hillary.
Notable quotes:
"... That no one yet claims actually exists, has begun. Once again we seem to be heading down a highway marked "counterproliferation war." What makes this bizarre is that the Middle East today, for all its catastrophic problems, is actually a nuclear-free zone except for one country, Israel, which has a staggeringly outsized, semi-secret nuclear arsenal. ..."
"... And not much has changed since. I recommend as well a piece written even earlier by Ira Chernus on a graphic about the Israeli nuclear arsenal tucked away at the MSNBC website (and still viewable ). ..."
"... Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and one of the founders of the group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, considers the Iranian and Israeli bombs, and Bush administration policy in relation to both below in a piece that, he writes, emerged from "an informal colloquium which has sprung up in the Washington, DC area involving people with experience at senior policy levels of government, others who examine foreign policy and defense issues primarily out of a faith perspective, and still others with a foot in each camp. We are trying to deal directly with the moral -- as well as the practical -- implications of various policy alternatives. One of our group recently was invited to talk with senior staffers in the House of Representatives about Iran, its nuclear plans, its support for terrorists, and U.S. military options. Toward the end of that conversation, a House staffer was emboldened to ask, 'What would be a moral solution?' This question gave new energy to our colloquium, generating a number of informal papers, including this one. I am grateful to my colloquium colleagues for their insights and suggestions." ..."
"... What about post-attack "Day Two?" Not to worry. Well-briefed pundits are telling us about a wellspring of Western-oriented I find myself thinking: Right; just like all those Iraqis who welcomed invading American and British troops with open arms and cut flowers. ..."
"... In 2001, the new President Bush brought the neocons back and put them in top policymaking positions. Even former Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams, convicted in October 1991 of lying to Congress and then pardoned by George H. W. Bush, was called back and put in charge of Middle East policy in the White House. In January, he was promoted to the influential post (once occupied by Robert Gates) of deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs. From that senior position Abrams will once again be dealing closely with John Negroponte, an old colleague from rogue-elephant Contra War days, who has now been picked to be the first director of national intelligence. ..."
"... Those of us who -- like Colin Powell -- had front-row seats during the 1980s are far too concerned to dismiss the re-emergence of the neocons as a simple case of déjà vu . They are much more dangerous now. Unlike in the eighties, they are the ones crafting the adventurous policies our sons and daughters are being called on to implement. ..."
"... So why would Iran think it has to acquire nuclear weapons? Sen. Richard Lugar, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was asked this on a Sunday talk show a few months ago. Apparently having a senior moment, he failed to give the normal answer. Instead, he replied, "Well, you know, Israel has..." At that point, he caught himself and abruptly stopped. ..."
Sep 22, 2005 | www.washingtonpost.com
That no one yet claims actually exists, has begun. Once again we seem to be heading down a highway marked "counterproliferation war." What makes this bizarre is that the Middle East today, for all its catastrophic problems, is actually a nuclear-free zone except for one country, Israel, which has a staggeringly outsized, semi-secret nuclear arsenal.

As Los Angeles Times reporter Douglas Frantz wrote at one point, "Though Israel is a democracy, debating the nuclear program is taboo… A military censor guards Israel's nuclear secrets." And this "taboo" has largely extended to American reporting on the subject. Imagine, to offer a very partial analogy, if we all had had to consider the Cold War nuclear issue with the Soviet, but almost never the American nuclear arsenal, in the news. Of course, that would have been absurd and yet it's the case in the Middle East today, making most strategic discussions of the region exercises in absurdity.

I wrote about this subject under the title, Nuclear Israel , back in October 2003, because of a brief break, thanks to Frantz, in the media blackout on the subject. I began then, "Nuclear North Korea, nuclear Iraq, nuclear Iran - of these our media has been full for the last year or more, though they either don't exist or hardly yet exist. North Korea now probably has a couple of crude nuclear weapons, which it may still be incapable of delivering. But nuclear Israel, little endangered Israel? It's hard even to get your head around the concept, though that country has either the fifth or sixth largest nuclear arsenal in the world." And not much has changed since. I recommend as well a piece written even earlier by Ira Chernus on a graphic about the Israeli nuclear arsenal tucked away at the MSNBC website (and still viewable ).

Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and one of the founders of the group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, considers the Iranian and Israeli bombs, and Bush administration policy in relation to both below in a piece that, he writes, emerged from "an informal colloquium which has sprung up in the Washington, DC area involving people with experience at senior policy levels of government, others who examine foreign policy and defense issues primarily out of a faith perspective, and still others with a foot in each camp. We are trying to deal directly with the moral -- as well as the practical -- implications of various policy alternatives. One of our group recently was invited to talk with senior staffers in the House of Representatives about Iran, its nuclear plans, its support for terrorists, and U.S. military options. Toward the end of that conversation, a House staffer was emboldened to ask, 'What would be a moral solution?' This question gave new energy to our colloquium, generating a number of informal papers, including this one. I am grateful to my colloquium colleagues for their insights and suggestions." Now, read on. ~ Tom

Attacking Iran: I Know It Sounds Crazy, But...

By Ray McGovern

"'This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous.'

"(Short pause)

"'And having said that, all options are on the table.'

"Even the White House stenographers felt obliged to note the result: '(Laughter).'"

( The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin on George Bush's February 22 press conference)

For a host of good reasons -- the huge and draining commitment of U.S. forces to Iraq and Iran's ability to stir the Iraqi pot to boiling, for starters -- the notion that the Bush administration would mount a "preemptive" air attack on Iran seems insane. And still more insane if the objective includes overthrowing Iran's government again, as in 1953 -- this time under the rubric of "regime change."

But Bush administration policy toward the Middle East is being run by men -- yes, only men -- who were routinely referred to in high circles in Washington during the 1980s as "the crazies." I can attest to that personally, but one need not take my word for it.

According to James Naughtie, author of The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency , former Secretary of State Colin Powell added an old soldier's adjective to the "crazies" sobriquet in referring to the same officials. Powell, who was military aide to Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger in the early eighties, was overheard calling them "the f---ing crazies" during a phone call with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw before the war in Iraq. At the time, Powell was reportedly deeply concerned over their determination to attack -- with or without UN approval. Small wonder that they got rid of Powell after the election, as soon as they had no more use for him.

If further proof of insanity were needed, one could simply look at the unnecessary carnage in Iraq since the invasion in March 2003. That unprovoked attack was, in my view, the most fateful foreign policy blunder in our nation's history...so far.

It Can Get Worse

"The crazies" are not finished. And we do well not to let their ultimate folly obscure their current ambition, and the further trouble that ambition is bound to bring in the four years ahead. In an immediate sense, with U.S. military power unrivaled, they can be seen as "crazy like a fox," with a value system in which "might makes right." Operating out of that value system, and now sporting the more respectable misnomer/moniker "neoconservative," they are convinced that they know exactly what they are doing. They have a clear ideology and a geopolitical strategy, which leap from papers they put out at the Project for the New American Century over recent years.

The very same men who, acting out of that paradigm, brought us the war in Iraq are now focusing on Iran, which they view as the only remaining obstacle to American domination of the entire oil-rich Middle East. They calculate that, with a docile, corporate-owned press, a co-opted mainstream church, and a still-trusting populace, the United States and/or the Israelis can launch a successful air offensive to disrupt any Iranian nuclear weapons programs -- with the added bonus of possibly causing the regime in power in Iran to crumble.

But why now? After all, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency has just told Congress that Iran is not likely to have a nuclear weapon until "early in the next decade?" The answer, according to some defense experts, is that several of the Iranian facilities are still under construction and there is only a narrow "window of opportunity" to destroy them without causing huge environmental problems. That window, they say, will begin to close this year.

Other analysts attribute the sense of urgency to worry in Washington that the Iranians may have secretly gained access to technology that would facilitate a leap forward into the nuclear club much sooner than now anticipated. And it is, of course, neoconservative doctrine that it is best to nip -- the word in current fashion is "preempt" -- any conceivable threats in the bud. One reason the Israelis are pressing hard for early action may simply be out of a desire to ensure that George W. Bush will have a few more years as president after an attack on Iran, so that they will have him to stand with Israel when bedlam breaks out in the Middle East.

What about post-attack "Day Two?" Not to worry. Well-briefed pundits are telling us about a wellspring of Western-oriented I find myself thinking: Right; just like all those Iraqis who welcomed invading American and British troops with open arms and cut flowers. For me, this evokes a painful flashback to the early eighties when "intelligence," pointing to "moderates" within the Iranian leadership, was conjured up to help justify the imaginative but illegal arms-for-hostages-and-proceeds-to-Nicaraguan-Contras caper. The fact that the conjurer-in-chief of that spurious "evidence" on Iranian "moderates," former chief CIA analyst, later director Robert Gates, was recently offered the newly created position of director of national intelligence makes the flashback more eerie -- and alarming.

George H. W. Bush Saw Through "The Crazies"

During his term in office, George H. W. Bush, with the practical advice of his national security adviser Gen. Brent Scowcroft and Secretary of State James Baker, was able to keep "the crazies" at arms length, preventing them from getting the country into serious trouble. They were kept well below the level of "principal" -- that is, below the level of secretary of state or defense.

Even so, heady in the afterglow of victory in the Gulf War of 1990, "the crazies" stirred up considerable controversy when they articulated their radical views. Their vision, for instance, became the centerpiece of the draft "Defense Planning Guidance" that Paul Wolfowitz, de facto dean of the neoconservatives, prepared in 1992 for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. It dismissed deterrence as an outdated relic of the Cold War and argued that the United States must maintain military strength beyond conceivable challenge -- and use it in preemptive ways in dealing with those who might acquire "weapons of mass destruction." Sound familiar?

Aghast at this radical imperial strategy for the post-Cold War world, someone with access to the draft leaked it to the New York Times , forcing President George H. W. Bush either to endorse or disavow it. Disavow it he did -- and quickly, on the cooler-head recommendations of Scowcroft and Baker, who proved themselves a bulwark against the hubris and megalomania of "the crazies." Unfortunately, their vision did not die. No less unfortunately, there is method to their madness -- even if it threatens to spell eventual disaster for our country. Empires always overreach and fall.

The Return of the Neocons

In 2001, the new President Bush brought the neocons back and put them in top policymaking positions. Even former Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams, convicted in October 1991 of lying to Congress and then pardoned by George H. W. Bush, was called back and put in charge of Middle East policy in the White House. In January, he was promoted to the influential post (once occupied by Robert Gates) of deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs. From that senior position Abrams will once again be dealing closely with John Negroponte, an old colleague from rogue-elephant Contra War days, who has now been picked to be the first director of national intelligence.

Those of us who -- like Colin Powell -- had front-row seats during the 1980s are far too concerned to dismiss the re-emergence of the neocons as a simple case of déjà vu . They are much more dangerous now. Unlike in the eighties, they are the ones crafting the adventurous policies our sons and daughters are being called on to implement.

Why dwell on this? Because it is second in importance only to the portentous reality that the earth is running out of readily accessible oil – something of which they are all too aware. Not surprisingly then, disguised beneath the weapons-of-mass-destruction smokescreen they laid down as they prepared to invade Iraq lay an unspoken but bedrock reason for the war -- oil. In any case, the neocons seem to believe that, in the wake of the November election, they now have a carte-blanche "mandate." And with the president's new "capital to spend," they appear determined to spend it, sooner rather than later.

Next Stop, Iran

When a Special Forces platoon leader just back from Iraq matter-of-factly tells a close friend of mine, as happened last week, that he and his unit are now training their sights (literally) on Iran, we need to take that seriously. It provides us with a glimpse of reality as seen at ground level. For me, it brought to mind an unsolicited email I received from the father of a young soldier training at Fort Benning in the spring of 2002, soon after I wrote an op-ed discussing the timing of George W. Bush's decision to make war on Iraq. The father informed me that, during the spring of 2002, his son kept writing home saying his unit was training to go into Iraq. No, said the father; you mean Afghanistan... that's where the war is, not Iraq. In his next email, the son said, "No, Dad, they keep saying Iraq. I asked them and that's what they mean."

Now, apparently, they keep saying Iran ; and that appears to be what they mean.

Anecdotal evidence like this is hardly conclusive. Put it together with administration rhetoric and a preponderance of other "dots," though, and everything points in the direction of an air attack on Iran, possibly also involving some ground forces. Indeed, from the New Yorker reports of Seymour Hersh to Washington Post articles , accounts of small-scale American intrusions on the ground as well as into Iranian airspace are appearing with increasing frequency. In a speech given on February 18, former UN arms inspector and Marine officer Scott Ritter (who was totally on target before the Iraq War on that country's lack of weapons of mass destruction) claimed that the president has already "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June in order to destroy its alleged nuclear weapons program and eventually bring about "regime change." This does not necessarily mean an automatic green light for a large attack in June, but it may signal the president's seriousness about this option.

So, again, against the background of what we have witnessed over the past four years, and the troubling fact that the circle of second-term presidential advisers has become even tighter, we do well to inject a strong note of urgency into any discussion of the "Iranian option."

Why Would Iran Want Nukes?

So why would Iran think it has to acquire nuclear weapons? Sen. Richard Lugar, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was asked this on a Sunday talk show a few months ago. Apparently having a senior moment, he failed to give the normal answer. Instead, he replied, "Well, you know, Israel has..." At that point, he caught himself and abruptly stopped.

Recovering quickly and realizing that he could not just leave the word "Israel" hanging there, Lugar began again: "Well, Israel is alleged to have a nuclear capability."

Is alleged to have…? Lugar is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and yet he doesn't know that Israel has, by most estimates, a major nuclear arsenal, consisting of several hundred nuclear weapons? (Mainstream newspapers are allergic to dwelling on this topic, but it is mentioned every now and then, usually buried in obscurity on an inside page.)

Just imagine how the Iranians and Syrians would react to Lugar's disingenuousness. Small wonder our highest officials and lawmakers -- and Lugar, remember, is one of the most decent among them -- are widely seen abroad as hypocritical. Our media, of course, ignore the hypocrisy. This is standard operating procedure when the word "Israel" is spoken in this or other unflattering contexts. And the objections of those appealing for a more balanced approach are quashed.

If the truth be told, Iran fears Israel at least as much as Israel fears the internal security threat posed by the thugs supported by Tehran. Iran's apprehension is partly fear that Israel (with at least tacit support from the Bush administration) will send its aircraft to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, just as American-built Israeli bombers destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981. As part of the current war of nerves, recent statements by the president and vice president can be read as giving a green light to Israel to do just that; while Israeli Air Force commander Major General Eliezer Shakedi told reporters on February 21 that Israel must be prepared for an air strike on Iran "in light of its nuclear activity."

US-Israel Nexus

The Iranians also remember how Israel was able to acquire and keep its nuclear technology. Much of it was stolen from the United States by spies for Israel. As early as the late-1950s, Washington knew Israel was building the bomb and could have aborted the project. Instead, American officials decided to turn a blind eye and let the Israelis go ahead. Now Israel's nuclear capability is truly formidable. Still, it is a fact of strategic life that a formidable nuclear arsenal can be deterred by a far more modest one, if an adversary has the means to deliver it. (Look at North Korea's success with, at best, a few nuclear weapons and questionable means of delivery in deterring the "sole remaining superpower in the world.") And Iran already has missiles with the range to hit Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Sharon has for some time appeared eager to enlist Washington's support for an early "pre-emptive" strike on Iran. Indeed, American defense officials have told reporters that visiting Israeli officials have been pressing the issue for the past year and a half. And the Israelis are now claiming publicly that Iran could have a nuclear weapon within six months -- years earlier than the Defense Intelligence Agency estimate mentioned above.

In the past, President Bush has chosen to dismiss unwelcome intelligence estimates as "guesses" -- especially when they threatened to complicate decisions to implement the neoconservative agenda. It is worth noting that several of the leading neocons – Richard Perle, chair of the Defense Policy Board (2001-03); Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; and David Wurmser, Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney -- actually wrote policy papers for the Israeli government during the 1990s. They have consistently had great difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of Israel and those of the US -- at least as they imagine them.

As for President Bush, over the past four years he has amply demonstrated his preference for the counsel of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who, as Gen. Scowcroft said publicly , has the president "wrapped around his little finger." (As Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board until he was unceremoniously removed at the turn of the year, Scowcroft was in a position to know.) If Scowcroft is correct in also saying that the president has been "mesmerized" by Sharon, it seems possible that the Israelis already have successfully argued for an attack on Iran.

When "Regime Change" Meant Overthrow For Oil

To remember why the United States is no favorite in Tehran, one needs to go back at least to 1953 when the U.S. and Great Britain overthrew Iran's democratically elected Premier Mohammad Mossadeq as part of a plan to insure access to Iranian oil. They then emplaced the young Shah in power who, with his notorious secret police, proved second to none in cruelty. The Shah ruled from 1953 to 1979. Much resentment can build up over a whole generation. His regime fell like a house of cards, when supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini rose up to do some regime change of their own.

Iranians also remember Washington's strong support for Saddam Hussein's Iraq after it decided to make war on Iran in 1980. U.S. support for Iraq (which included crucial intelligence support for the war and an implicit condoning of Saddam's use of chemical weapons) was perhaps the crucial factor in staving off an Iranian victory. Imagine then, the threat Iranians see, should the Bush administration succeed in establishing up to 14 permanent military bases in neighboring Iraq. Any Iranian can look at a map of the Middle East (including occupied Iraq) and conclude that this administration might indeed be willing to pay the necessary price in blood and treasure to influence what happens to the black gold under Iranian as well as Iraqi sands. And with four more years to play with, a lot can be done along those lines. The obvious question is: How to deter it? Well, once again, Iran can hardly be blind to the fact that a small nation like North Korea has so far deterred U.S. action by producing, or at least claiming to have produced, nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Is the Nub

The nuclear issue is indeed paramount, and we would do well to imagine and craft fresh approaches to the nub of the problem. As a start, I'll bet if you made a survey, only 20% of Americans would answer "yes" to the question, "Does Israel have nuclear weapons?" That is key, it seems to me, because at their core Americans are still fair-minded people.

On the other hand, I'll bet that 95% of the Iranian population would answer, "Of course Israel has nuclear weapons; that's why we Iranians need them" -- which was, of course, the unmentionable calculation that Senator Lugar almost conceded. "And we also need them," many Iranians would probably say, "in order to deter 'the crazies' in Washington. It seems to be working for the North Koreans, who, after all, are the other remaining point on President Bush's 'axis of evil.'"

The ideal approach would, of course, be to destroy all nuclear weapons in the world and ban them for the future, with a very intrusive global inspection regime to verify compliance. A total ban is worth holding up as an ideal, and I think we must. But this approach seems unlikely to bear fruit over the next four years. So what then?

A Nuclear-Free Middle East

How about a nuclear-free Middle East? Could the US make that happen? We could if we had moral clarity -- the underpinning necessary to bring it about. Each time this proposal is raised, the Syrians, for example, clap their hands in feigned joyful anticipation, saying, "Of course such a pact would include Israel, right?" The issue is then dropped from all discussion by U.S. policymakers. Required: not only moral clarity but also what Thomas Aquinas labeled the precondition for all virtue, courage. In this context, courage would include a refusal to be intimidated by inevitable charges of anti-Semitism.

The reality is that, except for Israel, the Middle East is nuclear free. But the discussion cannot stop there. It is not difficult to understand why the first leaders of Israel, with the Holocaust experience written indelibly on their hearts and minds, and feeling surrounded by perceived threats to the fledgling state's existence, wanted the bomb. And so, before the Syrians or Iranians, for example, get carried away with self-serving applause for the nuclear-free Middle East proposal, they will have to understand that for any such negotiation to succeed it must have as a concomitant aim the guarantee of an Israel able to live in peace and protect itself behind secure borders. That guarantee has got to be part of the deal.

That the obstacles to any such agreement are formidable is no excuse not trying. But the approach would have to be new and everything would have to be on the table. Persisting in a state of denial about Israel's nuclear weapons is dangerously shortsighted; it does nothing but aggravate fears among the Arabs and create further incentive for them to acquire nuclear weapons of their own.

A sensible approach would also have to include a willingness to engage the Iranians directly, attempt to understand their perspective, and discern what the United States and Israel could do to alleviate their concerns.

Preaching to Iran and others about not acquiring nuclear weapons is, indeed, like the village drunk preaching sobriety -- the more so as our government keeps developing new genres of nuclear weapons and keeps looking the other way as Israel enhances its own nuclear arsenal. Not a pretty moral picture, that. Indeed, it reminds me of the Scripture passage about taking the plank out of your own eye before insisting that the speck be removed from another's.

Lessons from the Past...Like Mutual Deterrence

Has everyone forgotten that deterrence worked for some 40 years, while for most of those years the U.S. and the USSR had not by any means lost their lust for ever-enhanced nuclear weapons? The point is simply that, while engaging the Iranians bilaterally and searching for more imaginative nuclear-free proposals, the U.S. might adopt a more patient interim attitude regarding the striving of other nation states to acquire nuclear weapons -- bearing in mind that the Bush administration's policies of "preemption" and "regime change" themselves create powerful incentives for exactly such striving. As was the case with Iraq two years ago, there is no imminent Iranian strategic threat to Americans -- or, in reality, to anyone. Even if Iran acquired a nuclear capability, there is no reason to believe that it would risk a suicidal first strike on Israel. That, after all, is what mutual deterrence is all about; it works both ways.

It is nonetheless clear that the Israelis' sense of insecurity -- however exaggerated it may seem to those of us thousands of miles away -- is not synthetic but real. The Sharon government appears to regard its nuclear monopoly in the region as the only effective "deterrence insurance" it can buy. It is determined to prevent its neighbors from acquiring the kind of capability that could infringe on the freedom it now enjoys to carry out military and other actions in the area. Government officials have said that Israel will not let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon; it would be folly to dismiss this as bravado. The Israelis have laid down a marker and mean to follow through -- unless the Bush administration assumes the attitude that "preemption" is an acceptable course for the United States but not for Israel. It seems unlikely that the neoconservatives would take that line. Rather…

"Israel Is Our Ally."

Or so said our president before the cameras on February 17, 2005. But I didn't think we had a treaty of alliance with Israel; I don't remember the Senate approving one. Did I miss something?

Clearly, the longstanding U.S.-Israeli friendship and the ideals we share dictate continuing support for Israel's defense and security. It is quite another thing, though, to suggest the existence of formal treaty obligations that our country does not have. To all intents and purposes, our policymakers -- from the president on down -- seem to speak and behave on the assumption that we do have such obligations toward Israel. A former colleague CIA analyst, Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris , has put it this way: "The Israelis have succeeded in lacing tight the ropes binding the American Gulliver to Israel and its policies."

An earlier American warned:

"A passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation facilitates the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, infuses into one the enmities of the other, and betrays the former into participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.... It also gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, who devote themselves to the favorite nation, facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country." ( George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796 )

In my view, our first president's words apply only too aptly to this administration's lash-up with the Sharon government. As responsible citizens we need to overcome our timidity about addressing this issue, lest our fellow Americans continue to be denied important information neglected or distorted in our domesticated media.

Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years -- from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. During the early 1980s, he was one of the writers/editors of the President's Daily Brief and briefed it one-on-one to the president's most senior advisers. He also chaired National Intelligence Estimates. In January 2003, he and four former colleagues founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Copyright 2005 Ray McGovern

[Sep 21, 2016] An interesting view on Russian intelligencia by the scientist and writer Zinoviev expressed during perestroika in 1991

The intelligentsia (Latin: intellegentia, Polish: inteligencja, Russian: интеллигенция; IPA: [ɪntʲɪlʲɪˈɡʲentsɨjə]) is a social class of people engaged in complex mental labor aimed at guiding or critiquing, or otherwise playing a leadership role in shaping a society's culture and politics.[1] This therefore might include everyone from artists to school teachers, as well as academics, writers, journalists, and other hommes de lettres (men of letters) more usually thought of as being the main constituents of the intelligentsia.
Intelligentsia is the subject of active polemics concerning its own role in the development of modern society not always positive historically, often contributing to higher degree of progress, but also to its backward movement.[2]... In pre-revolutionary Russia the term was first used to describe people possessing cultural and political initiative.[3] It was commonly used by those individuals themselves to create an apparent distance from the masses, and generally retained that narrow self-definition. [citation needed]
en.wikipedia.org

If intellectuals replace the current professional politicians as the leaders of society the situation would become much worse. Because they have neither the sense of reality, nor common sense. For them, the words and speeches are more important than the actual social laws and the dominant trends, the dominant social dynamics of the society. The psychological principle of the intellectuals is that we could organize everything much better, but we are not allowed to do it.

But the actual situation is as following: they could organize the life of society as they wish and plan, in the way they view is the best only if under conditions that are not present now are not feasible in the future. Therefore they are not able to act even at the level of current leaders of the society, which they despise. The actual leaders are influenced by social pressures, by the current social situation, but at least they doing something. Intellectuals are unhappy that the real stream of life they are living in. They consider it wrong. that makes them very dangerous, because they look really smart, while in reality being sophisticated professional idiots.

[Sep 18, 2016] We Have to Deal With Putin

Notable quotes:
"... Moscow did indeed support secessionist pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine. But did not the U.S. launch a 78-day bombing campaign on tiny Serbia to effect a secession of its cradle province of Kosovo? ..."
"... Russia is reportedly hacking into our political institutions. If so, it ought to stop. But have not our own CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, and NGOs meddled in Russia's internal affairs for years? ..."
"... Scores of the world's 190-odd nations are today ruled by autocrats. How does it advance our interests or diplomacy to have congressional leaders yapping "thug" at the ruler of a nation with hundreds of nuclear warheads? ..."
"... Very good article indeed. Knee-jerk reaction of american politicians and journalists looks extremely strange. As a matter of fact they look like idiots or puppets. ..."
"... Rubio and Graham are reflexively ready to push US influence everywhere, all the time, with military force always on the agenda, and McCain seems to be in a state of constant agitation ..."
"... Very sensible article. And as the EU falls further into disarray and possible disintegration, due to migration and other catastrophically mishandled problems, a working partnership with Russia will become even more important. Right now, we treat Russia as an enemy and Saudi Arabia as a friend. That makes no sense at all. ..."
"... As I've stated many times, Obama the narcissist hates Putin because Putin doesn't play the sycophantic lapdog yapping about how good it is to interact with the "smartest person in the room". ..."
"... I'm serious. Obama craves sources of narcissistic supply and has visceral contempt for sources of narcissistic injury. I.e., people who may reveal the mediocrity that he actually is. Obama considers Putin a threat in that context. ..."
"... The downside for the U.S. is that Obama has extended hating Putin to hating Russia. And yes, Washington is flooded with sources of sycophantic narcissistic supply for Obama including the MSM. And they are happy to massage his twisted ego by enthusiastically playing along with the Putin/Russia fear-monger bashing. ..."
"... P.S. too bad Hillary is saturated with her own psychopathology that portends more Global Cop wreckage. ..."
"... Anyway, what Buchanan is saying is, "We have to deal with him," not "favor him." The two terms should not be confused. ..."
"... There are a lot of "allies" of questionable usefulness that the US should stop "favoring," and a lot of competitors (and potential allies in the true sense) out there the US should begin "dealing" with. ..."
"... Everything the Western elite does is about dollar hegemony and control of energy. ..."
"... As long as Russia is not a puppet of the globalist banking cartel they will be presented as an "enemy". Standing in the way of energy imperialism was the last straw for the all out hybrid war being launched on Russia now. ..."
"... If the Western public wasn't so lazy and stupid we would remove the globalists controlling us. Instead people, especially liberals, get in bed with the globalists plans against Russia bc they can't stand Russia is Christian and supports the family. ..."
"... Every word about Russia allowed in the Western establishment are lies funded and molded by people like Soros and warmongers. This is the reality. Nobody who will speak honestly or positively about Russia is allowed any voice. And scumbag neoliberal globalists like Kasperov are presented as "Russians" while real Russian people are given zero voice. ..."
"... What the Western elite is doing right now in Ukraine and Syria is reprehensible and its all our fault for letting these people control us. ..."
Sep 16, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

...Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed.

What causes the Republican Party to lose it whenever the name of Vladimir Putin is raised?

Putin is no Stalin, whom FDR and Harry Truman called "Good old Joe" and "Uncle Joe." Unlike Nikita Khrushchev, he never drowned a Hungarian Revolution in blood. He did crush the Chechen secession. But what did he do there that General Sherman did not do to Atlanta when Georgia seceded from Mr. Lincoln's Union?

Putin supported the U.S. in Afghanistan, backed our nuclear deal with Iran, and signed on to John Kerry's plan have us ensure a cease fire in Syria and go hunting together for ISIS and al-Qaida terrorists.

Still, Putin committed "aggression" in Ukraine, we are told. But was that really aggression, or reflexive strategic reaction? We helped dump over a pro-Putin democratically elected regime in Kiev, and Putin acted to secure his Black Sea naval base by re-annexing Crimea, a peninsula that has belonged to Russia from Catherine the Great to Khrushchev. Great powers do such things.

When the Castros pulled Cuba out of America's orbit, we decided to keep Guantanamo, and dismiss Havana's protests?

Moscow did indeed support secessionist pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine. But did not the U.S. launch a 78-day bombing campaign on tiny Serbia to effect a secession of its cradle province of Kosovo?

... ... ...

Russia is reportedly hacking into our political institutions. If so, it ought to stop. But have not our own CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, and NGOs meddled in Russia's internal affairs for years?

... ... ...

Is Putin's Russia more repressive than Xi Jinping's China? Yet, Republicans rarely use "thug" when speaking about Xi. During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea. Cold War necessity required it.

Scores of the world's 190-odd nations are today ruled by autocrats. How does it advance our interests or diplomacy to have congressional leaders yapping "thug" at the ruler of a nation with hundreds of nuclear warheads?

... ... ...

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority

Tiktaalik , says: September 16, 2016 at 2:41 am

  • >>During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea
  • buttressed could be even more pertinent)
  • Very good article indeed. Knee-jerk reaction of american politicians and journalists looks extremely strange. As a matter of fact they look like idiots or puppets.
  • bacon , says: September 16, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Rubio and Graham are reflexively ready to push US influence everywhere, all the time, with military force always on the agenda, and McCain seems to be in a state of constant agitation whenever US forces are not actively engaged in combat somewhere. They are loud voices, yes, but irrational voices, too.

    Skeptic , says: September 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Very sensible article. And as the EU falls further into disarray and possible disintegration, due to migration and other catastrophically mishandled problems, a working partnership with Russia will become even more important. Right now, we treat Russia as an enemy and Saudi Arabia as a friend. That makes no sense at all.

    John Blade Wiederspan , says: September 16, 2016 at 10:18 am

    "Just" states the starvation of the Ukraine is a western lie. The Harvest of Sorrow by Robert Conquest refutes this dangerous falsehood. Perhaps "Just" believes The Great Leap Forward did not lead to starvation of tens of millions in China. After all, this could be another "western lie". So to could be the Armenian genocide in Turkey or slaughter of Communists in Indonesia.

    SteveM , says: September 16, 2016 at 10:23 am

    As I've stated many times, Obama the narcissist hates Putin because Putin doesn't play the sycophantic lapdog yapping about how good it is to interact with the "smartest person in the room".

    I'm serious. Obama craves sources of narcissistic supply and has visceral contempt for sources of narcissistic injury. I.e., people who may reveal the mediocrity that he actually is. Obama considers Putin a threat in that context.

    The downside for the U.S. is that Obama has extended hating Putin to hating Russia. And yes, Washington is flooded with sources of sycophantic narcissistic supply for Obama including the MSM. And they are happy to massage his twisted ego by enthusiastically playing along with the Putin/Russia fear-monger bashing.

    And so the U.S. – Russia relationship is wrecked by the "smartest person in the room".

    P.S. too bad Hillary is saturated with her own psychopathology that portends more Global Cop wreckage.

    blimbax , says: September 16, 2016 at 11:29 am

    John asks, "We also have to deal with our current allies. Whom would Mr. Buchanan like to favor?"

    Well, we could redouble our commitment to our democracy and peace loving friends in Saudi Arabia, we could deepen our ties to those gentle folk in Egypt, and maybe for a change give some meaningful support to Israel. Oh, and our defensive alliances will be becoming so much stronger with Montenegro as a member, we will need to pour more resources into that country.

    Anyway, what Buchanan is saying is, "We have to deal with him," not "favor him." The two terms should not be confused.

    There are a lot of "allies" of questionable usefulness that the US should stop "favoring," and a lot of competitors (and potential allies in the true sense) out there the US should begin "dealing" with.

    Joe the Plutocrat , says: September 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    "During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea. Cold War necessity required it (funny, you failed to mention Laos, South Vietnam, Nicaragua, Noriega/Panama, and everyone's favorite 9/11 co-conspirator and WMD developer, Saddam Hussein). either way how did these "alliances" work out for the US? really doesn't matter, does it? it is early 21st century, not mid 20th century. there is a school of thought in the worlds of counter-terrorism/intelligence operations, which suggests if you want to be successful, you have to partner with some pretty nasty folks. Trump is being "handled" by an experienced, ruthless (that's a compliment), and focused "operator". unless, of course, Trump is actually the superior operator, in which case, this would be the greatest black op of all time.

    Clint , says: September 16, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    "From Russia With Money - Hillary Clinton, the Russian Reset and Cronyism,"

    "Of the 28 US, European and Russian companies that participated in Skolkovo, 17 of them were Clinton Foundation donors" or sponsored speeches by former President Bill Clinton, Schweizer told The Post.

    http://nypost.com/2016/07/31/report-raises-questions-about-clinton-cash-from-russians-during-reset/

    WakeUp , says: September 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Everything the Western elite does is about dollar hegemony and control of energy. Once you understand that then the (evil)actions of the Western elite make sense. Anyone who stands in the way of those things is an "enemy". This is how they determine an "enemy".

    As long as Russia is not a puppet of the globalist banking cartel they will be presented as an "enemy". Standing in the way of energy imperialism was the last straw for the all out hybrid war being launched on Russia now.

    If the Western public wasn't so lazy and stupid we would remove the globalists controlling us. Instead people, especially liberals, get in bed with the globalists plans against Russia bc they can't stand Russia is Christian and supports the family.

    Every word about Russia allowed in the Western establishment are lies funded and molded by people like Soros and warmongers. This is the reality. Nobody who will speak honestly or positively about Russia is allowed any voice. And scumbag neoliberal globalists like Kasperov are presented as "Russians" while real Russian people are given zero voice.

    What the Western elite is doing right now in Ukraine and Syria is reprehensible and its all our fault for letting these people control us.

    [Sep 18, 2016] Obama the narcissist hates Putin because Putin doesnt play the sycophantic lapdog yapping about how good it is to interact with the smartest person in the room

    Notable quotes:
    "... As I've stated many times, Obama the narcissist hates Putin because Putin doesn't play the sycophantic lapdog yapping about how good it is to interact with the "smartest person in the room". ..."
    "... I'm serious. Obama craves sources of narcissistic supply and has visceral contempt for sources of narcissistic injury. I.e., people who may reveal the mediocrity that he actually is. Obama considers Putin a threat in that context. ..."
    "... The downside for the U.S. is that Obama has extended hating Putin to hating Russia. And yes, Washington is flooded with sources of sycophantic narcissistic supply for Obama including the MSM. And they are happy to massage his twisted ego by enthusiastically playing along with the Putin/Russia fear-monger bashing. ..."
    "... P.S. too bad Hillary is saturated with her own psychopathology that portends more Global Cop wreckage. ..."
    Sep 16, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
    SteveM , says: September 16, 2016 at 10:23 am

    As I've stated many times, Obama the narcissist hates Putin because Putin doesn't play the sycophantic lapdog yapping about how good it is to interact with the "smartest person in the room".

    I'm serious. Obama craves sources of narcissistic supply and has visceral contempt for sources of narcissistic injury. I.e., people who may reveal the mediocrity that he actually is. Obama considers Putin a threat in that context.

    The downside for the U.S. is that Obama has extended hating Putin to hating Russia. And yes, Washington is flooded with sources of sycophantic narcissistic supply for Obama including the MSM. And they are happy to massage his twisted ego by enthusiastically playing along with the Putin/Russia fear-monger bashing.

    And so the U.S. – Russia relationship is wrecked by the "smartest person in the room".

    P.S. too bad Hillary is saturated with her own psychopathology that portends more Global Cop wreckage.

    [Sep 18, 2016] War criminals exposed Socialist Review

    Notable quotes:
    "... Though while bereaved families are forced to crowd fund to bring Blair to court, any legal defence mounted by the multimillionaire will come from the public purse. They have raised over £160,000 to date so the story is not yet over. ..."
    "... Yet Blair has no shame and remains belligerent. On the day the Chilcot Inquiry report was published he declared he would do the same again. Later that day veteran anti-war campaigner and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called a press conference to apologise on behalf of Labour for the war. Such a move is central to why Corbyn has won such an enthusiastic mass following after first standing for and winning the Labour leadership in the summer of 2015. ..."
    "... The seeds of the deep bitterness about mainstream politicians and the establishment were sown in 2003. When Britain joined the US assault on Iraq despite the opposition of the majority of the population it politicised millions. The 2 million strong demonstration organised by the Stop the War Coalition in February 2003 was Britain's biggest ever. But Chilcot proved that Blair had already promised US president George W Bush that Britain would be with him "whatever". ..."
    "... The warmongers' contempt for the electorate, let alone the people of Iraq and region, is staggering. ..."
    socialistreview.org.uk

    The Chilcot report went further than many expected in condemning Tony Blair's role in the invasion of Iraq. As Judith Orr says, it also reinforced the need to be vigilant against all warmongers.

    It took 12 days for the Chilcot report on the Iraq war to be read aloud non-stop at the Edinburgh Festival event last month. The 2.6 million words of the report were not the whitewash some had feared. In fact they were a confirmation of what so many of those who protested against the war at the time said.

    There were no lawyers on the Chilcot panel; this inquiry was never going to call for charges against chief British warmonger Tony Blair. But families of soldiers killed in the war are using the evidence brought forward in the report to pursue a legal case against him. Because, although he didn't take a line on the legality of the war, Chilcot criticised the process Blair drove through to declare that invasion was legal: "We have, however, concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory."

    As human rights lawyer Philippe Sands pointed out, "'Far from satisfactory' is a career-ending phrase in mandarin-speak, a large boot put in with considerable force."

    Though while bereaved families are forced to crowd fund to bring Blair to court, any legal defence mounted by the multimillionaire will come from the public purse. They have raised over £160,000 to date so the story is not yet over.

    Yet Blair has no shame and remains belligerent. On the day the Chilcot Inquiry report was published he declared he would do the same again. Later that day veteran anti-war campaigner and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called a press conference to apologise on behalf of Labour for the war. Such a move is central to why Corbyn has won such an enthusiastic mass following after first standing for and winning the Labour leadership in the summer of 2015.

    The seeds of the deep bitterness about mainstream politicians and the establishment were sown in 2003. When Britain joined the US assault on Iraq despite the opposition of the majority of the population it politicised millions. The 2 million strong demonstration organised by the Stop the War Coalition in February 2003 was Britain's biggest ever. But Chilcot proved that Blair had already promised US president George W Bush that Britain would be with him "whatever".

    The warmongers' contempt for the electorate, let alone the people of Iraq and region, is staggering.

    ... ... ...

    [Sep 18, 2016] Long-Secret Stingray Manuals Detail How Police Can Spy on Phones

    Sep 18, 2016 | theintercept.com

    Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the " manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of" Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.

    [Sep 18, 2016] What is "Globalization" and "Free Trade" really?

    Notable quotes:
    "... What is "Globalization" and "Free Trade" really?… Does it encompass the slave trade, trading in narcotics, deforestation and export of a nation's tropical hardwood forests, environmentally damaging transnational oil pipelines or coal ports, fisheries depletion, laying off millions of workers and replacing them and the products they make with workers and products made in a foreign country, trading with an enemy, investing capital in a foreign country through a subsidiary or supplier that abuses its workers to the point that some commit suicide, no limits on or regulation of financial derivatives and transnational financial intermediaries?… the list is endless. ..."
    "... As always, the questions are "Cui bono?"… "Who benefits"?… How and Why they benefit?… Who selects the short-term "Winners" and "Losers"? And WRT those questions, the final sentence of this post hints at its purpose. ..."
    "... Yeah, how is European colonialism - starting in, what, like the 15th century, or something - not "globalisation"? What about the Roman and Persian and Selucid empires? Wasn't that globalisation? I think we've pretty much always lived in a globalised world, one way or another (if "globalised world" even makes sense). ..."
    "... Bring back the broader, and more meaningful conception of Political Economy and some actual understanding can be gained. The study of economics cannot be separated from the political dimension of society. Politics being defined as who gets what in social interactions. ..."
    "... The neoliberal experiment has run its course. Milton Friedman and his tribe had their alternative plan ready to go and implemented it when they could- to their great success. The best looting system developed-ever. This system only works with the availability of abundant resources and the mental justifications to support that gross exploitation. Both of which are reaching limits. ..."
    "... If only the Milton Friedman tribe had interested itself in sports instead of economics. They could have argued that referees and umpires should be removed from the game for greater efficiency of play, and that sports teams would follow game rules by self-regulation. ..."
    "... Wouldn't the whole thing just work out more efficiently if you leave traffic lights and rules out of it? Just let everyone figure it out at each light, survival of the fittest. ..."
    "... With increasingly free movement of people as tourists whose spending impacts nations GDP, where does it fit in to discussions on globalization and trade? ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Chauncey Gardiner

    What is "Globalization" and "Free Trade" really?… Does it encompass the slave trade, trading in narcotics, deforestation and export of a nation's tropical hardwood forests, environmentally damaging transnational oil pipelines or coal ports, fisheries depletion, laying off millions of workers and replacing them and the products they make with workers and products made in a foreign country, trading with an enemy, investing capital in a foreign country through a subsidiary or supplier that abuses its workers to the point that some commit suicide, no limits on or regulation of financial derivatives and transnational financial intermediaries?… the list is endless.

    As always, the questions are "Cui bono?"… "Who benefits"?… How and Why they benefit?… Who selects the short-term "Winners" and "Losers"? And WRT those questions, the final sentence of this post hints at its purpose.

    diptherio

    Yeah, how is European colonialism - starting in, what, like the 15th century, or something - not "globalisation"? What about the Roman and Persian and Selucid empires? Wasn't that globalisation? I think we've pretty much always lived in a globalised world, one way or another (if "globalised world" even makes sense).

    Norb

    Bring back the broader, and more meaningful conception of Political Economy and some actual understanding can be gained. The study of economics cannot be separated from the political dimension of society. Politics being defined as who gets what in social interactions.

    What folly. All this complexity and strident study of minutia to bring about what end? Human history on this planet has been about how societies form, develop, then recede form prominence. This flow being determined by how well the society provided for its members or could support their worldview. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

    The neoliberal experiment has run its course. Milton Friedman and his tribe had their alternative plan ready to go and implemented it when they could- to their great success. The best looting system developed-ever. This system only works with the availability of abundant resources and the mental justifications to support that gross exploitation. Both of which are reaching limits.

    Only by thinking, and communicating in the broader terms of political economy can we hope to understand our current conditions. Until then, change will be difficult to enact. Hard landings for all indeed.

    flora

    If only the Milton Friedman tribe had interested itself in sports instead of economics. They could have argued that referees and umpires should be removed from the game for greater efficiency of play, and that sports teams would follow game rules by self-regulation.

    LA Mike September 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    While in traffic, I was thinking about that today. For some time now, I've viewed the traffic intersection as being a good example of the social contract. We all agree on its benefits. But today, I thought about it in terms of the Friedman Neoliberals.

    Why should they have to stop at red lights. Wouldn't the whole thing just work out more efficiently if you leave traffic lights and rules out of it? Just let everyone figure it out at each light, survival of the fittest.

    sd

    Something I have wondered for some time, how does tourism fit into trade? With increasingly free movement of people as tourists whose spending impacts nations GDP, where does it fit in to discussions on globalization and trade?

    I Have Strange Dreams

    Other things to consider:
    – negative effects of immigration (skilled workers leave developing countries where they are most needed)
    – environmental pollution
    – destruction of cultures/habitats
    – importation of western diet leading to decreased health
    – spread of disease (black death, hiv, ebola, bird flu)
    – resource wars
    – drugs
    – happiness
    How are these "externalities" calculated?

    [Sep 18, 2016] Some animals are more equal than others.

    Sep 18, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
    hedgeless_horseman BuddyEffed Sep 17, 2016 10:58 AM

    Kirby declined to answer whether Israel should face the same treatment
    as Iran and North Korea – both of which have been sanctioned for alleged
    or actual violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    Some animals are more equal than others.

    ROZETKA - Результаты поиска телефон mini-SIM Поиск

    [Sep 17, 2016] How the Obsession With American Leadership Warps Foreign Policy Analysis The American Conservative

    Notable quotes:
    "... Seems a dangerous practice to rely on one's size to shield them from consequences of ineffectual decisions. I think we are already stretched thin, but our size buffers the stumbles. ..."
    "... Like the runner on pain killers, who keeps running despite a shattered knee caps. Sometimes we press through our pain. Sometimes we need to slow down. Sometimes we need to stop. But unless we experience the pain – we simply don't know. ..."
    "... It all starts with that ridiculous belief in "American Exceptionalism". The belief that we are the one country, the only country, who is going to save the world, again and again. ..."
    "... Once you've adopted this frame of reference, what happens anywhere in the world for any Reason is America's fault and responsibility. And once you put on those exceptionally colored glasses it's not possible to have a rational view of other countries and their actions; because they can never be seen as anything other than an affirmation or rejection of our exceptionalism. Another effect of this is, being exceptional, whatever America does is just and pure and right. ..."
    "... It blinds us to our own stupidity and errors, it gets us sucked into other peoples troubles and it makes it easy for other countries to manipulate us to their ends. ..."
    Sep 17, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    Ben Denison criticizes a familiar flaw in foreign policy commentary:

    When a surprising event occurs that threatens U.S. interests, many are quick to blame Washington's lack of leadership and deride the administration for failing to anticipate and prevent the crisis. Recent examples from the continuing conflict in Syria, Russia's intervention in Ukraine, Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, and even the attempted coup in Turkey, all illustrate how this is a regular impulse for the foreign policy punditry class. This impulse, while comforting to some, fails to consider the interests and agency of the other countries involved in the crisis. Instead of turning to detailed analysis and tracing the international context of a crisis, often we are bombarded with an abundance of concerns about a lack of American leadership.

    The inability or unwillingness to acknowledge and take into account the agency and interests of other political actors around the world is one of the more serious flaws in the way many Americans think and talk about these issues. This not only fails to consider how other actors are likely to respond to a proposed U.S. action, but it credits the U.S. with far more control over other parts of the world and much more competence in handling any given issue than any government has ever possessed or ever will. Because the U.S. is the preeminent major power in the world, there is a tendency to treat any undesirable event as something that our government has "allowed" to happen through carelessness, misplaced priorities, or some other mistake. Many foreign policy pundits recoil from the idea that there are events beyond our government's ability to "shape" or that there are actors that cannot be compelled to behave as we wish (provided we simply have enough "resolve"), because it means that there are many problems around the world that the U.S. cannot and shouldn't attempt to fix.

    When a protest movement takes to the streets in another country and is then brutally suppressed, many people, especially hawkish pundits, decry our government's "failure" to "support" the movement, as if it were the lack of U.S. support and not internal political factors that produced the outcome. When the overthrow of a foreign government by a protest movement leads to an intervention by a neighboring major power, the U.S. is again faulted for "failing" to stop the intervention, as if it could have done so short of risking great power conflict. Even more absurdly, the same intervention is sometimes blamed on a U.S. decision not to attack a third country in another part of the world unrelated to the crisis in question. In order to claim all these things, one not only has to fail to take account of the interests and agency of other states, but one also has to believe that the rest of the world revolves around us and every action others take can ultimately be traced back to what our government does (or doesn't do). That's not just shoddy analysis, but a serious delusion about how people all around the world behave. At the same time, there is a remarkable eagerness on the part of many of the same people to overlook the consequences of things that the U.S. has actually done, so that many of our pundits ignore our own government's agency when it suits them.

    EliteCommInc. , says: September 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    "At the same time, there is a remarkable eagerness on the part of many of the same people to overlook the consequences of things that the U.S. has actually done, so that many of our pundits ignore our own government's agency when it suits them."

    It is the failure of the after party assessment. Regardless of success or failure (however defined) the tend not to have an after action report by the political class is why there's little movement in this area.

    Seems a dangerous practice to rely on one's size to shield them from consequences of ineffectual decisions. I think we are already stretched thin, but our size buffers the stumbles.

    Like the runner on pain killers, who keeps running despite a shattered knee caps. Sometimes we press through our pain. Sometimes we need to slow down. Sometimes we need to stop. But unless we experience the pain – we simply don't know.

    bt , says: September 16, 2016 at 6:16 pm
    It all starts with that ridiculous belief in "American Exceptionalism". The belief that we are the one country, the only country, who is going to save the world, again and again.

    Once you've adopted this frame of reference, what happens anywhere in the world for any Reason is America's fault and responsibility. And once you put on those exceptionally colored glasses it's not possible to have a rational view of other countries and their actions; because they can never be seen as anything other than an affirmation or rejection of our exceptionalism. Another effect of this is, being exceptional, whatever America does is just and pure and right.

    It blinds us to our own stupidity and errors, it gets us sucked into other peoples troubles and it makes it easy for other countries to manipulate us to their ends.

    let johnny come marching home , says: September 16, 2016 at 7:54 pm
    "one also has to believe that the rest of the world revolves around us and every action others take can ultimately be traced back to what our government does (or doesn't do). That's not just shoddy analysis, but a serious delusion about how people all around the world behave."

    It also overlooks the quality of those we send to do the meddling and intervening.

    We don't have enough intelligent, educated, competent people.

    The imperial Brits had their own problems, Lord knows, But the general level of British competence, intelligence, and education in the Raj and other colonies was far higher than that of our own congeries of corrupt, half-educated hacks and incompetents.

    [Sep 16, 2016] Edward Snowdens New Revelations Are Truly Chilling

    Notable quotes:
    "... Submitted by Sophie McAdam via TrueActivist.com, ..."
    "... He disclosed that government spies can legally hack into any citizen's phone to listen in to what's happening in the room, view files, messages and photos, pinpoint exactly where a person is (to a much more sophisticated level than a normal GPS system), and monitor a person's every move and every conversation, even when the phone is turned off. ..."
    "... "Nosey Smurf": lets spies turn the microphone on and listen in on users, even if the phone itself is turned off ..."
    "... Snowden says: "They want to own your phone instead of you." It sounds very much like he means we are being purposefully encouraged to buy our own tracking devices. That kinda saved the government some money, didn't it? ..."
    "... It's one more reason to conclude that smartphones suck. And as much as we convince ourselves how cool they are, it's hard to deny their invention has resulted in a tendency for humans to behave like zombies , encouraged child labor, made us more lonely than ever, turned some of us into narcissistic selfie – addicts , and prevented us from communicating with those who really matter (the ones in the same room at the same time). Now, Snowden has given us yet another reason to believe that smartphones might be the dumbest thing we could have ever inflicted on ourselves. ..."
    Oct 08, 2015 | Zero Hedge reprinted from TrueActivist.com

    Submitted by Sophie McAdam via TrueActivist.com,

    In an interview with the BBC's 'Panorama' which aired in Britain last week, Edward Snowden spoke in detail about the spying capabilities of the UK intelligence agency GCHQ. He disclosed that government spies can legally hack into any citizen's phone to listen in to what's happening in the room, view files, messages and photos, pinpoint exactly where a person is (to a much more sophisticated level than a normal GPS system), and monitor a person's every move and every conversation, even when the phone is turned off. These technologies are named after Smurfs, those little blue cartoon characters who had a recent Hollywood makeover. But despite the cute name, these technologies are very disturbing; each one is built to spy on you in a different way:

    Snowden says: "They want to own your phone instead of you." It sounds very much like he means we are being purposefully encouraged to buy our own tracking devices. That kinda saved the government some money, didn't it?

    His revelations should worry anyone who cares about human rights, especially in an era where the threat of terrorism is used to justify all sorts of governmental crimes against civil liberties. We have willingly given up our freedoms in the name of security; as a result we have neither. We seem to have forgotten that to live as a free person is a basic human right: we are essentially free beings. We are born naked and without certification; we do not belong to any government nor monarchy nor individual, we don't even belong to any nation or culture or religion- these are all social constructs. We belong only to the universe that created us, or whatever your equivalent belief. It is therefore a natural human right not to be not be under secret surveillance by your own government, those corruptible liars who are supposedly elected by and therefore accountable to the people.

    The danger for law-abiding citizens who say they have nothing to fear because they are not terrorists, beware: many peaceful British protesters have been arrested under the Prevention Of Terrorism Act since its introduction in 2005. Edward Snowden's disclosure confirms just how far the attack on civil liberties has gone since 9/11 and the London bombings. Both events have allowed governments the legal right to essentially wage war on their own people, through the Patriot Act in the USA and the Prevention Of Terrorism Act in the UK. In Britain, as in the USA, terrorism and activism seem to have morphed into one entity, while nobody really knows who the real terrorists are any more. A sad but absolutely realistic fact of life in 2015: if you went to a peaceful protest at weekend and got detained, you're probably getting hacked right now.

    It's one more reason to conclude that smartphones suck. And as much as we convince ourselves how cool they are, it's hard to deny their invention has resulted in a tendency for humans to behave like zombies, encouraged child labor, made us more lonely than ever, turned some of us into narcissistic selfieaddicts, and prevented us from communicating with those who really matter (the ones in the same room at the same time). Now, Snowden has given us yet another reason to believe that smartphones might be the dumbest thing we could have ever inflicted on ourselves.

    [Sep 16, 2016] Unredacted User Manuals Of Stingray Device Show How Accessible Surveillance Is

    Sep 16, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org
    (theintercept.com) 94 Posted by manishs on Monday September 12, 2016 @04:00PM from the truth-is-out-there dept. The Intercept has today published 200-page documents revealing details about Harris Corp's Stingray surveillance device , which has been one of the closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The firm, in collaboration with police clients across the U.S. have "fought" to keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public against which they are used. The publication reports that the surveillance equipment carries a price tag in the "low six figures." From the report: The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department alone has snooped via Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times. Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the "manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of " Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.

    [Sep 15, 2016] On Views Of The War On Syria

    A pretty devious scheme -- creating difficulty for the government neoliberal wanted to depose by pushing neoliberal reforms via IMF and such. They channeling the discontent into uprising against the legitimate government. Similar process happened with Yanukovich in Ukraine.
    Notable quotes:
    "... the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians ..."
    "... it doesn't make President Assad virtuous of himself and neither does it reflect the reality that when push came to shove Assad put his position ahead of the people of Syria and kissed neoliberal butt. ..."
    "... President Assad revealed his stupidity when he didn't pay attention to what happens to a leader who has previously been featured as a 'tyrant' in western media if he lets the neoliberals in: They fawn & scrape all the while developing connections to undermine him/her. If the undermining is ineffective there is no backing off. The next option is war. The instances are legion from President Noriega of Panama to President Hussein of Iraq to Colonel Ghaddaffi of Libya - that one really hurts as the Colonel was a genuinely committed and astute man. Assad is just another hack in comparison. ..."
    "... Syrian leaders are politicians, they suffer the same flaws of politicians across the world. They are power seekers who inevitably come to regard the welfare of their population as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. ..."
    "... No one denies that the opposition have been used and abused by FUKUSi, but that of itself does not invalidate the very real issues that persuaded them to resist an austerity imposed from above by assholes who weren't practicing what they preached. ..."
    "... According to the European model of diplomacy imposed upon the globe, countries have interests not friends. ..."
    "... A solution which reduces numbers of humans killed is worth attempting. ..."
    "... Just because someone chooses an option that you disagree with does not make them evil or headchoppers or Islamofacist. ..."
    "... On balance I would rather see Assad continue as leader of Syria but I'm not so naive as to believe he is capable of finding a long term resolution, or that there are not a good number of self interested murderous sadists in his crew. ..."
    "... This war is about destroying real history, civilization, culture and replacing with fake. The war in Yemen is the same. Who in that region wants to replace real history with fake. Think about it. Most Islamic,Christian, Assyrian history is systematically being destroyed. ..."
    "... you make some good points concerning Assad flirting with neoliberalism however, i don't know how you call an opposition 'moderate' when its toting firearms. ..."
    "... The protests against Assad were moderate, and to his credit Assad was willing to meet them halfway. However, this situation was exploited by (((foreign powers))) ..."
    "... This is not about "good or evil", this is about TOW missiles made in USA against T-55, Saudi money for mercenaries, Israeli regional ambitions and so on. Syria is another country that the US wants to destroy. Six years ago Syria was a peaceful country. ..."
    "... Allegedly president Assad is a bad guy but Erdogan, Netanyhu and bin Saud are noble and good men. Who believes in such nonsense? The US has become similar to Israel and this is the reason why "Assad must go". Sick countries do sick things. ..."
    "... no, because one side is so simplistically evi l(armed to the fucking teeth and resolved to violent insurrection!!!), if Assad didn't have the backing of the vast majority of his people and of his overreached army it would have ended a long time ago and Syria would be a failed state flailing away in the grip of anarchy. perhaps your Syrian 'friends' should meditate on this naked truth. ..."
    "... when that shitty little country called Israel was squeezed onto the map in 1948, Syria welcomed Palestinian refugees with open arms by the hundreds of thousands. no, they didn't grant them citizenship, but prettty much all other rights. ..."
    "... This whole nightmare was dreamed up from within the US Embassy in Damascus in 2006. Bashir al Assad was too popular in the country and the region for America's liking, so they plotted to get rid of him. Near all the organ eating, child killing, head chopping "moderate" opposition are from other countries, those that are Syrian, as was the case in Iraq, mostly live outside the country and are not in touch with main stream opinion, but very in touch with US, Saudi etc $$$s. ..."
    "... I consider Bashar al-Assad the legitimate Syrian President and attempts to remove him by external interests as grounds for charges of crimes against humanity, crimes of war. ..."
    "... As one of the bloggers rightly stated Wesley Clarke spilled the whole beans and revealed their true ilk. 7 countries in 5 years. How coincidental post 9/11. ..."
    "... If you say "Assad was flirting with Neo Liberalism" then this is actually a compliment to Assad. Why? Because he wanted to win time. He wanted to prevent the same happening to Syria that has happened to Iraq. At that time there was no other protective power around. Russia was still busy recovering. ..."
    "... As demeter said Posted by: Demeter @14, the flirrting with neoliberalism bought them time as neocons were slavering for a new target. It also made the inner circle a ridiculous amount of money. Drought made life terrible for many rural syrians. When the conflict started, if you read this website you'd notice people wondering what was going on and as facts unfolded. realizing that Assad was the lesser of two evils, and as the war has gone on, look like an angel in comparison to the opposition. ..."
    "... Salafism is Racism. It de-egitimizes the entire anti Assad revolution. ..."
    "... Wesley Clark's "seven countries in five years" transcript for anyone who has forgotten: http://genius.com/General-wesley-clark-seven-countries-in-five-years-annotated ..."
    "... the armed conflict originated with scheming by foreign governments to use extremists as a weapon. ..."
    "... Furthermore, Debsisdead sets up the same "binary division" that he says he opposes by tarnishing those who oppose using extremists as a weapon of state as Assad loving racists. The plot was described by Sy Hersh in 2007 in "The Redirection" . ..."
    "... The fight IS "binary". You support Assad and his fighters, the true rebels, or you don't. Calling Assad a "hack" is a slander of a veritable hero. Watch his interviews. Assad presides over a multi-cultural, multi-confessional, diverse, secular state, PRECISELY what the Reptilians claim they cherish. ..."
    "... "the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians." - on that we can agree. ..."
    "... It continues to annoy me that the primary trigger for the civil war in Syria has been totally censored from the press. The government deliberately ignited a population explosion, making the sale or possession of condoms or birth control pills illegal and propagandizing that it was every woman's patriotic duty to have six kids. The population doubled every 18 years, from 5 million to 10 million to 20 million and then at 22 the water ran out and things fells apart. Syria is a small country mostly arid plateau, in principle it could be developed to support even more people just not in that amount of time and with the resources that the Syrians actually had. ..."
    "... It doesn't mean he's a saint that Assad is leading the very popular 'secular/multi-confessional Syria' resistance against an extremely well-funded army primarily of non-Syrians who are mainly 'headchoppers' who will stop at nothing to impose Saudi-style religious dictatorship on Syria. ..."
    "... The 'moderate' opposition to Assad has largely disappeared (back into the loyal opposition that does NOT want a Saudi-style state imposed on Syria), but those who remain in armed rebellion surely must know that they are a powerless, very small portion of what is in fact mercenary army completely subservient to the needs and directives of its primary funders/enablers, the US and Saudi Arabia. So whatever their original noble intentions, they've become part of the Saudi/US imperial problem. ..."
    "... All that land, all that resource...and a unifying language. Amazing. If only the Arab world could unite for the collective good of the region we might witness a rogue state in an abrupt and full decline. A sad tactic of colonial powers over the years, setting the native tribes upon each other. We've not evolved here. ..."
    "... t in recent history the foreign policy of powerful nations is aimed at sponsoring social disintegration within the borders of targeted countries. ..."
    "... Ethnic cleansing means destruction of culture, of historical memory, the forced disappearance of communities that were rooted in a place. ..."
    "... Compare President Assad's leadership to that of the western, or Saudi, sponsors of terror; or measure his decisions against those of the hodgepodge of rebels and mercenaries, with their endless internal squabbles and infighting. Assad is so much more of a spokesman for the rights of sovereignty, and his words carry more weight and outshine the banalities that spring from the mouths of those who are paying the bills, and supplying weapons, and giving all kinds of diplomatic comfort to the enemies of the Syrian government. ..."
    "... There is no need for sorting things into absolutes of good and evil. But there is a condition under which fewer, a lot fewer, humans would have died in Syria, Without foreign interference--money, weapons, and training--Assad's government would have won this war quite a while ago. ..."
    "... And as for "Islamic Fundamentalism", it is this abnormal form of Islam that is purely based on racism and not the other way around. Islamic fundamentalists call everybody, and I mean everybody, who is not living according to their rule a non-believer, a Takfiri, who does not deserver to live. ..."
    "... Fundamentalism is never satisfied until it can become a tyranny over the mind. Racism and fundamentalism are as American as apple pie. You have to take a close look at who is pouring oil on this fire! ..."
    "... I disagree with you in that neoliberalism is seriously not difficult to define. It boils down to belief that public programs are bad/'inefficient' and that society would be better served by privatizing many things(or even everything) and opening services up to 'competition'. It's mainly just cover for parasites to come in and get rich off of the masses misery. The 'neoliberalism is just a snarl word' meme is incredibly stupid, since plenty of books and articles have been written explicitly defining it. ..."
    "... American economic hegemony is inherently neoliberal, and has been for decades. The IMF is essentially an international loan shark that gives countries money on the condition that they dismantle their public spending apparatus and let the market run things. ..."
    "... The situation is different now. One Syrian lady, who came to see me in April, who lives in California, told me that her father, who was a big pre-war oppositionist, now just wants to return to Syria to die. There's no question. if you want peace in Syria, Asad is the only choice. The jihadis, who dominate the opposition, don't offer an alternative. ..."
    "... The lesson of Viet Nam was to keep the dead and wounded off the six o'clock news. ..."
    "... The jackals are going in. Another coup. Syria was on the list. Remap the Middle East. Make it like Disney World. Israel as Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein. ..."
    "... I don't think anyone who comments here regularly ever assumed that Bashar al Assad was a knight in white shining armour. Most of us are aware of how he came to be President and that his father did rule the country from 1971 to 2000 with an iron fist. Some if not most also know that initially when Bashar al Assad succeeded to the Presidency, he did have a reformist agenda in mind. How well or not he succeeded in putting that across, what compromises he had to make, who or what opposed him, how he negotiated his way between and among various and opposed power structures in Syrian politics we do not know. ..."
    "... Yes, I have trouble reconciling the fact that Bashar al Assad's government did allow CIA renditioning with his reformist agenda in my own head. That is something he will have to come to terms with in the future. I don't know if Assad was naive, under pressure or willing, even eager in agreeing to cooperate with the CIA, or trying to buy time to prepare for invasion once Iraq was down. Whether Assad also realises that he was duped by the IMF and World Bank in following their advice on economic "reforms" (such as privatising Syria's water) is another thing as well. ..."
    "... I don't see why you call the problem "Islamic fundamentalism" when in fact it is Sunni fundamentalism. ..."
    "... Manifest Destiny is fundamentalism. ..."
    "... "Full Spectrum Dominance" and other US Military doctrines are fundamentalist in nature. ..."
    "... I have no doubt that Assad was little more than a crude Arab strongman/dictator prince back in the 2011 when the uprising started. Since then, he has evolved into a committed, engaged defender of his country against multilateral foreign aggression, willingly leaving his balls in the vice and all. ..."
    "... He could have fled the sinking ship many times so far. Instead, he decided to stay and fight the Takfiri river flowing in through the crack, and risk going down with the ship he inherited. The majority of the Syrians know this very well. ..."
    "... Bashar of 2016 (not so much the one of 5 1/2 years ago) would not only win the next free elections, but destroy any opposition. The aggressors know that as a fact. ..."
    "... if Syria had control over its borders with Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Iraq would the war have ended a long time ago ? Answer honestly. ..."
    "... If yes, then the so-called "opposition" of the union of headchoppers does not represent a significant portion of the Syrian people. Were it otherwise Assad wouldnt be able to survive a single year, let alone 5. With or without foreign help. ..."
    "... OK here is an interesting article from 2011 on Abdallah Dardari, the fellow who persuaded Bashar al Assad to adopt the disastrous neoliberal economic reforms that not only ruined Syria's economy and the country's agriculture in particular but also created an underclass who resented the reforms and who initially joined the "rebels". http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/2097 ..."
    "... And where is Dardari now? He jumped ship in 2011 and went to Beirut to work for the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). He seems like someone to keep a watchful eye on. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Dardari ..."
    "... of COURSE assad flirted with the west. between housing cia rendition houses and the less-than-flattering aspects of the wikileaks "syria files", assad and/or his handlers (family and/or military) have tried a little too hard to "assimilate" to western ideals (or the lack thereof). ..."
    "... i seriously doubt they will make that mistake again. they saw what happened to al-qaddafi after he tried to play nice and mistook western politicians for human beings. they've learned their lesson and become more ruthless but they were always machiavellians because they have to be. not an endorsement, just an acceptance of how the region is. ..."
    "... also: israel, the saudis (along with qatar and the other GCC psychopaths in supporting capacity) and the US are the main actors and throwing european "powers" into the circle of actual power does them an undue favor by ignoring their status as pathetic vassal states. "FrUkDeUSZiowhatever" isn't necessary. ..."
    "... Look I know the MSM is utterly controlled - but the extent of that control still shocks at times. It is simply not possible to be "informed" by any normal definition of the word anymore without the alternative media - and for that reason this site serves a valuable purpose and I once again thank the host and contributors. ..."
    "... The irony is, Assad is 10x smarter and bigger person than Debs. Yes, he made some mistakes, but if not "flirting with neoliberalism", war against Syria would have started many years earlier, when Resistance wasnt ready one bit (neither Russia, nor Iran, while on the other hand US was more powerful). ..."
    "... Support for rebel groups was misguided at best at the beginning of the war. One could conceivably not appreciate the capacity of the KSA/USA/Quatar/Israel to influence and control and create these groups. Jesus it's hard for me to think of a single local opposition group that isnt drenched in fanaticism besides the Kurds. ..."
    "... There's no way to a solution for the Syrian people, the population not imported that is, if these groups win. I hate to be so binary but its so naive in my eyes to think anything good will come from the long arm of the gulf countries and the USA taking control. ..."
    "... As I've said repeatedly, the GOAL of the Syria crisis for the Western elites, Israel and the ME dictatorships is to take Syria OUT by any means necessary in order to get to IRAN. Nothing else matters to these people. In the same vein, nothing else matters to ninety percent of the CURRENT insurgents than to establish some Salafist state, exterminate the Shia, etc., etc. ..."
    "... So, yes, right NOW the whole story is about US elites, Zionist "evil", corrupt monarchs, and scumbag fanatics, etc., etc. Until THAT is resolved, nothing about how Syria is being run is going to matter. ..."
    "... Copeland @60: No, I don't think the problem is fundamentalism. It's the warring crusade method of spreading a belief's 'empire' that is the problem. This is a problem uniquely of the Saudi 'do whatever it takes' crusade to convert the entire 'Arab and Muslim world' to their worst, most misogynist form of Islam. ..."
    "... Just want to mention that from the beginning there were people who took up arms against the government. This is why the situation went out of control. People ambushed groups of young soldiers. Snipers of unknown origin fired on police and civilians. ..."
    "... I rather like Assad. I won't lie. But, he is not the reason for the insurrection in Syria ~ well, except for his alliances with Russia and Iran and his pipeline decisions and his support for Palestinian and Iraqi refugees. What happened in Syria is happening all over the globe because the nation with the most resources in the world, the self-declared exceptionalist state thinks this is the way to rule the world. . . . because they want to rule and they don't care how much destruction it takes to do so. And lucky for us there is no one big enough and bad enough to do it to us - except for our own government. ..."
    "... There were a lot of people posting how Bashar al Assad was doing full neoliberalism. And at was true. ..."
    "... So Assad was hit by a Tri-horror: global warming, dwindling cash FF resources, and IMF-type pressure, leaving out the trad. enemies, KSA, pipelines , etc. MSM prefer to cover up serious issues with 'ethnic strife' (sunni, shia, black lives matter, etc.) ..."
    Sep 15, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

    lifted from a comment

    It is sad to see so many are so locked into their particular views that they see any offering of an alternative as 'neoliberal' or laughable or - if it weren't so serious - Zionist.

    1/ I do not see the Syrian civil war as racist or race based, I do believe however that the rejection of all Islamic fundamentalism as being entirely comprised of 'headchoppers' is racist down to its core. It is that same old same old whitefella bullshit which refuses to consider other points of view on their own terms but considers everything through the lens of 'western' culture which it then declares wanting and discards.

    2/ Noirette comes close to identifying one of the issues that kicked off the conflict, that the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians. I realize many have quite foolishly IMO, adopted President Assad as some sort of model of virtue - mostly because he is seen to be standing up to American imperialism. That is a virtuous position but it doesn't make President Assad virtuous of himself and neither does it reflect the reality that when push came to shove Assad put his position ahead of the people of Syria and kissed neoliberal butt.

    3/ President Assad revealed his stupidity when he didn't pay attention to what happens to a leader who has previously been featured as a 'tyrant' in western media if he lets the neoliberals in: They fawn & scrape all the while developing connections to undermine him/her. If the undermining is ineffective there is no backing off. The next option is war. The instances are legion from President Noriega of Panama to President Hussein of Iraq to Colonel Ghaddaffi of Libya - that one really hurts as the Colonel was a genuinely committed and astute man. Assad is just another hack in comparison.

    4/ These Syrian leaders are politicians, they suffer the same flaws of politicians across the world. They are power seekers who inevitably come to regard the welfare of their population as a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

    5/ My Syrians friends are an interesting bunch drawn from a range of people currently living inside and outside of Syria. Some longer term readers might recall that I'm not American, don't live in America and nowadays don't visit much at all. The first of the 'refugee' Syrians I got to know, although refugee is a misnomer since my friend came here on a migrant's visa because his skills are in demand, is the grandchild of Palestinian refugees - so maybe he is a refugee but not in the usual sense. Without going into too many specifics as this is his story not mine, he was born and lived in a refugee camp which was essentially just another Damascus suburb. As he puts it, although a Palestinian at heart, he was born in Syria and when he thinks of home it is/was Damascus. All sides in the conflict claimed to support Palestinian liberation, yet he and his family were starved out of their homes by both Syrian government militias and the FSA.

    When he left he was initially a stateless person because even though he was born in Syria he wasn't entitled to Syrian citizenship. He bears no particular grudge against the government there but he told me once he does wish they were a lot smarter.

    On the other hand he also understands why the people fighting the government are doing so. I'm not talking about the leadership of course (see above - pols are pols) but the Syrians who just couldn't take the fading future and the petty oppression by assholes any longer.

    6/ No one denies that the opposition have been used and abused by FUKUSi, but that of itself does not invalidate the very real issues that persuaded them to resist an austerity imposed from above by assholes who weren't practicing what they preached.

    I really despair at the mindset which reduces everything to a binary division - if group A are the people I support they must all be wonderful humans and group B those who are fighting Group A are all evil assholes.

    If group A claim to support Palestinian self determination (even though they have done sweet fuck all to actually advance that cause) then everyone in Group B must be pro-Zionist even though I don't know what they say about it (the leadership of the various resistance groups are ME politicians and therefore most claim to also support Palestinian independence). Yes assholes in the opposition have done sleazy deals with Israel over Golan but the Ba'ath administration has done similar opportunist sell outs over the 40 years when the situation demanded it.

    I fucking hate that as much as anyone else who despises the ersatz state of Israel, but the reality is that just about every ME leader has put expedience ahead of principle with regard to Palestine. Colonel Ghadaffi would be the only leader I'm aware of who didn't. Why do they? That is what all pols and diplomats do not just Arab ones. According to the European model of diplomacy imposed upon the globe, countries have interests not friends.

    As yet no alternative to that model has succeeded since any attempt to do so has been rejected with great violence. The use of hostages offered by each party to guarantee a treaty was once an honorable solution, the hostages were well treated and the security they afforded reduced conflict - if Oblamblam had to put up one of his daughters to guarantee a deal does anyone think he would break it as easily as he currently does? Yet the very notion of hostages is considered 'terrorism' in the west. But I digress.

    The only points I wanted to make was the same as those I have already made:

    If you want to call me a Zionist lackey of the imperialists or whatever it was go right ahead - it is only yourself who you tarnish, I'm secure in the knowledge of my own work against imperialism, corporate domination and Zionism but perhaps you, who have a need to throw aspersions are not?

    Posted by b on September 12, 2016 at 03:33 AM | Permalink

    papa | Sep 12, 2016 3:51:57 AM | 1
    Plus one more - it is humorous and saddening to see people throw senseless name-calling into the mix. It is the method preferred by those who are too stupid and ill informed to develop a logical point of view.

    why you think your article is different from others senseless name-calling, i see exactly the same.

    This war is about destroying real history, civilization, culture and replacing with fake. The war in Yemen is the same. Who in that region wants to replace real history with fake. Think about it. Most Islamic,Christian, Assyrian history is systematically being destroyed.

    lemur | Sep 12, 2016 4:30:41 AM | 2
    you make some good points concerning Assad flirting with neoliberalism however, i don't know how you call an opposition 'moderate' when its toting firearms.

    The protests against Assad were moderate, and to his credit Assad was willing to meet them halfway. However, this situation was exploited by (((foreign powers)))

    ash123 | Sep 12, 2016 5:43:53 AM | 3
    If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago.
    This is not about "good or evil", this is about TOW missiles made in USA against T-55, Saudi money for mercenaries, Israeli regional ambitions and so on. Syria is another country that the US wants to destroy. Six years ago Syria was a peaceful country.

    Allegedly president Assad is a bad guy but Erdogan, Netanyhu and bin Saud are noble and good men. Who believes in such nonsense? The US has become similar to Israel and this is the reason why "Assad must go". Sick countries do sick things.

    john | Sep 12, 2016 5:47:26 AM | 4

    Debsisdead says:

    If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago

    no, because one side is so simplistically evi l(armed to the fucking teeth and resolved to violent insurrection!!!), if Assad didn't have the backing of the vast majority of his people and of his overreached army it would have ended a long time ago and Syria would be a failed state flailing away in the grip of anarchy. perhaps your Syrian 'friends' should meditate on this naked truth.

    If group A claim to support Palestinian self determination (even though they have done sweet fuck all to actually advance that cause)...

    when that shitty little country called Israel was squeezed onto the map in 1948, Syria welcomed Palestinian refugees with open arms by the hundreds of thousands. no, they didn't grant them citizenship, but prettty much all other rights.

    so thanks, b, for headlining this obfuscatory drivel. thus, for posterity.

    Felicity | Sep 12, 2016 6:04:27 AM | 5
    This whole nightmare was dreamed up from within the US Embassy in Damascus in 2006. Bashir al Assad was too popular in the country and the region for America's liking, so they plotted to get rid of him. Near all the organ eating, child killing, head chopping "moderate" opposition are from other countries, those that are Syrian, as was the case in Iraq, mostly live outside the country and are not in touch with main stream opinion, but very in touch with US, Saudi etc $$$s.

    Here again is the reality of where this all started, article from 2012 (below.). And never forget Wesley Clark's Pentagon informant after 9/11 of attacking "seven countries in five years." Those in chaos through US attacks or attempted "liberation" were on the list, a few more to go and they are a bit behind schedule. All responsible for this Armageddon should be answering for their actions in shackles and yellow jump suits in The Hague.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-and-conspiracy-theories-it-is-a-conspiracy/29596

    Formerly T-Bear | Sep 12, 2016 6:23:51 AM | 6
    |~b~ Thank you for putting Debsisdead's comment @ 135 prior post into readable form. Failing eyesight made the original in its extended format difficult to read.

    Reference Debsisdead comment:

    Your definition of neoliberal would be nice to have. Usually it is used as ephemerally as a mirage, to appear in uncountable numbers of meaning.

    Having determined your definition of neoliberal, are you sure it WAS neoliberal rather than a hegemonic entity? Neoliberal seems best used as the reactionary faux historic liberalism as applied to economic agendas (neocon is the political twin for neoliberal, libertarian had been previously been co-opted).

    Instead of F•UK•US•i, maybe a F•UK•UZoP would suffice (France•United Kingdom•United Zionist occupied Palestine) given the spheres of influence involved.

    Agree with your observations about the limited mentality of dualism; manichaeism is a crutch for disabled minds unaware and blind to subtle distinctions that comprise spectrums.

    Though not paying close attention to Syrian history, it was Hafez al-Assad who became master of the Syrian Ba'athist coup d'état and politically stabilised Syria under Ba'athist hegemony. In the midst of the 'Arab-spring' zeitgeist, an incident involving a child with security forces led to a genuine public outcry being suppressed by state security forces. This incident, quickly settled became cause célèbre for a subsequent revolt, initially by SAA dissidents but soon thereafter by external interests having the motive of regime overthrow of Syrian Ba'athists and their leadership. Other narratives generally make little sense though may contain some factors involved; the waters have been sufficiently muddied as to obscure many original factors - possibly Bashar al-Assad's awareness of his security forces involvement in US rendition and torture as to compromise his immediately assuming command of his security forces in the original public protest over the child. Those things are now well concealed under the fogs of conflict and are future historians to sort.

    I consider Bashar al-Assad the legitimate Syrian President and attempts to remove him by external interests as grounds for charges of crimes against humanity, crimes of war.

    The opinions expressed are my own.

    falcemartello | Sep 12, 2016 6:41:48 AM | 7
    Classic western sheeple disconnect. As one of the bloggers rightly stated Wesley Clarke spilled the whole beans and revealed their true ilk. 7 countries in 5 years. How coincidental post 9/11. This total disconnect with global realities is a massive problem in the west cause the 86000 elite /oligarchs r pushing for a war with both the bears/ Russian and Chinese along with Iran. These countries have blatantly stated they will not be extorted by fascism. All western countries r all living a Corporate state. Just look all around every facet of our society is financialised. Health ,education , public services.
    Wake up cause if we dont we will be extinct Nuclear winter
    Mikael | Sep 12, 2016 6:41:56 AM | 8
    I am of syrian origin, born in Beirut Lebanon. My family lived a happy life there, but shortly after I was born, Israel invaded Lebanon, and my family fled and emigrated to Europe, I was 1 year old. I call major bullshit on your piece.
    Demeter | Sep 12, 2016 8:00:26 AM | 9
    If you say "Assad was flirting with Neo Liberalism" then this is actually a compliment to Assad. Why? Because he wanted to win time. He wanted to prevent the same happening to Syria that has happened to Iraq. At that time there was no other protective power around. Russia was still busy recovering.

    What do you think would have happened had Assad not pretended he would go along? Syria would have been bombed to pieces right then. Why did Assad change his mind later and refused to cooperate with Qatar, Saudi and US? Because the balance of power was about to change. Iran and Russia were rising powers (mainly in the military field).

    I could say so much more. I stopped reading your post when you mentioned that your Palestinian friend ( I know the neighbourhood in Damascus, it is called Yarmouk and it is indeed a very nice suburb) does not have Syrian citizenship. Do you know why Palaestinians don't get Syrian citizenship? Because they are supposed to return to their homeland Palestine.

    And they can only do that as Palestinians and not as Syrians. That is why.

    And that so many (not all!) Palestinians chose to backstab the country that has hosted them and fed them and gave them a life for so many years, and fought side by side with islamist terrorists and so called Free Syrian Army traitors is a human error, is based on false promises, is lack of character and honour and understanding of the broader context and interests. How will some of these fools and misguided young men feel when they realise that they have played right into the hand of their biggest enemy, the Zionists.

    I would like to remind some of you who might have forgotten that famous incident described by Robert Fisk years ago, when a Syrian Officer told him upon the capture of some of these "freedom fighters' on Syrian soil, one of them said: "I did not know that Palestine was so beautiful", not realising that he was not fighting in Palestine but in Syria.

    And as for "Islamic Fundamentalism", it is this abnormal form of Islam that is purely based on racism and not the other way around. Islamic fundamentalists call everybody, and I mean everybody, who is not living according to their rule a non-believer, a Takfiri, who does not deserver to live.

    Here is racism for you debsisdead.

    AtaBrit | Sep 12, 2016 8:00:59 AM | 10
    Though reluctant to get involved in what seems to be for some a personal spat, I would like to point out one fundemental point that renders the above published and counter arguments difficult to comprehend which is that they lack a time frame.
    The 'Syrian opposition' or what ever you wish to call it is not now what it was 6 years ago. Thus, for me, at least, it is not possible to discuss the make up of the opposition unless there are some time frames applied.

    An example is a Syrian who was an officer in the FSA but fled to Canada last year. He fled the Syrian conflict over 3 years ago to Turkey -which is how I know him - where he did not continue ties with any group. He simply put his head down and worked slavishly living at his place of work most of the time to escape to Canada - he feared remaining in Istanbul. He claimed that he and others had all been taken in by promises and that the conflict had been usurped by extremists. He was not a headchopper, he was not the beheader of 12 year old children. He was and is a devout Muslim. He was a citizen of Aleppo city. I know him and of him through other local Syrians in Istanbul and believe his testimony. I mention him only to highlight that the conflict is not what it was, not what some intended it to be ... Nor is it what some paint it to be. There are many who fight whomever attacks their community be they pro / anti Government. - Arabs especially have extended village communities/ tribes and pragmatically they 'agree' to be occupied as long as they are allowed to continue their lives in peace. If conflict breaks out they fight whomever is necessary.

    DebIsDead makes some very excellent points in his/her comments. They deserve appraisal and respectful response. It is also clear thar he/she is writing defensively in some parts and those detract from what is actually being said.

    Cresty | Sep 12, 2016 8:41:04 AM | 12
    The piece suffers from several errors. As demeter said Posted by: Demeter @14, the flirrting with neoliberalism bought them time as neocons were slavering for a new target. It also made the inner circle a ridiculous amount of money. Drought made life terrible for many rural syrians. When the conflict started, if you read this website you'd notice people wondering what was going on and as facts unfolded. realizing that Assad was the lesser of two evils, and as the war has gone on, look like an angel in comparison to the opposition.

    You can't change the fact that it took less than 2 years for the opposition to be dominated by both foreign and domestic takfiris who wanted to impose saudi style culture on an open relatively prosperous cosmopolitan country. They've succeeded in smashing it to pieces. Snuff your balanced account and your bold anti racism

    Northern Observer | Sep 12, 2016 8:52:18 AM | 14
    Salafism is Racism. It de-egitimizes the entire anti Assad revolution.
    Felicity | Sep 12, 2016 9:22:01 AM | 15
    Wesley Clark's "seven countries in five years" transcript for anyone who has forgotten: http://genius.com/General-wesley-clark-seven-countries-in-five-years-annotated
    Jackrabbit | Sep 12, 2016 10:06:55 AM | 17
    Debsisdead sets up a strawman - racism against Islamic fundamentalists and validity of opposition against Assad - and uses this to sidestep that the armed conflict originated with scheming by foreign governments to use extremists as a weapon.

    Furthermore, Debsisdead sets up the same "binary division" that he says he opposes by tarnishing those who oppose using extremists as a weapon of state as Assad loving racists. The plot was described by Sy Hersh in 2007 in "The Redirection" .

    ruralito | Sep 12, 2016 10:10:18 AM | 18
    "If you want to call me a Zionist lackey of the imperialists or whatever it was go right ahead - it is only yourself who you tarnish, I'm secure in the knowledge of my own work against imperialism, corporate domination and Zionism but perhaps you, who have a need to throw aspersions are not?" Passive-aggressive much?

    The fight IS "binary". You support Assad and his fighters, the true rebels, or you don't. Calling Assad a "hack" is a slander of a veritable hero. Watch his interviews. Assad presides over a multi-cultural, multi-confessional, diverse, secular state, PRECISELY what the Reptilians claim they cherish.

    TG | Sep 12, 2016 10:22:59 AM | 20
    "the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians." - on that we can agree.

    It continues to annoy me that the primary trigger for the civil war in Syria has been totally censored from the press. The government deliberately ignited a population explosion, making the sale or possession of condoms or birth control pills illegal and propagandizing that it was every woman's patriotic duty to have six kids. The population doubled every 18 years, from 5 million to 10 million to 20 million and then at 22 the water ran out and things fells apart. Syria is a small country mostly arid plateau, in principle it could be developed to support even more people just not in that amount of time and with the resources that the Syrians actually had.

    No the issue was not 'climate change'. The aquifers in Syria had been falling for years, even when rainfall was above normal. Don't blame the weather.

    "The more the merrier" - tell me exactly how people having more children than they can support creates wealth? It doesn't and it never has.

    Whenever governments treat their people as if they were cattle, demanding that they breed the 'correct' number of children rather than making the decision based on their own desires and judgement of how many they can support, the result is always bad.

    Assad treated the people of Syria as if they were cattle. Surely this deserves mention?

    Diana | Sep 12, 2016 10:23:43 AM | 21
    Cultural "left" bullshit at its best. Cultural "leftists" don't need to know any hostory or have any understanding of a political issue: it's sufficient to pull out a few details from the NATO press and apply their grad school "oppression" analysis.
    juliania | Sep 12, 2016 10:26:32 AM | 22
    Thanks to b for posting the comment of Debs is Dead. The point I would take issue with is where he states "I realize many have quite foolishly IMO, adopted President Assad as some sort of model of virtue. . ."

    I don't believe this is a correct realization. I think the many to whom he refers know very well that any person in leadership of a country can be found to have flaws, major and minor, and even to have more of such than the average mortal. The crucial counterpoint, however, which used to be raised fairly often, is that it is the acceptance of the majority of the people governed by such leaders that ought to be the international norm for diplomatic relations.

    I respect the knowledge DiD has gained from his Syrian friends and contacts. But I also remember a man called Chilabi and am very leery of destabilization attempts this country has been engaged in lo these many generations, using such displaced persons as surrogates. And rather than properly mourn the 9/11 victims and brave firemen and rescuers of that terrible day, I find myself mourning the larger tragedy of unnecessary wars launched as a consequence of our collective horror at that critical moment in our history.

    Can we please stop doing this?

    Wizzy | Sep 12, 2016 10:35:49 AM | 23
    After making sound point about black-and-white worldview being unrealistic, the guy goes full retard. Position towards Palestinians as the one and only criteria to judge ME developments... C'mon, it's not even funny.

    And while started from a "My Syrian friends" then he goes on reasoning on behalf of one single ex-Palestinian ex-Syrian guy...
    Looks like self-revelation of a kind. Some guy, sitting in Israel, or whatever, waging informational warfare for the Mossad/CIA/NGO who pays his rent.

    ruralito | Sep 12, 2016 10:38:01 AM | 24
    "The government deliberately ignited a population explosion, making the sale or possession of condoms or birth control pills illegal and propagandizing that it was every woman's patriotic duty to have six kids."

    Cite?

    fairleft | Sep 12, 2016 10:58:51 AM | 25
    DiD: "I realize many have quite foolishly IMO, adopted President Assad as some sort of model of virtue. . ." The big reveal is that DiD can't name a single contributor here who has written that Assad is "some sort of model of virtue."

    It doesn't mean he's a saint that Assad is leading the very popular 'secular/multi-confessional Syria' resistance against an extremely well-funded army primarily of non-Syrians who are mainly 'headchoppers' who will stop at nothing to impose Saudi-style religious dictatorship on Syria.

    The 'moderate' opposition to Assad has largely disappeared (back into the loyal opposition that does NOT want a Saudi-style state imposed on Syria), but those who remain in armed rebellion surely must know that they are a powerless, very small portion of what is in fact mercenary army completely subservient to the needs and directives of its primary funders/enablers, the US and Saudi Arabia. So whatever their original noble intentions, they've become part of the Saudi/US imperial problem.

    Krollchem | Sep 12, 2016 11:35:06 AM | 28
    @ rg the lg 33

    Thanks for addressing the problem of angry comments by some posters who just want to throw verbal grenades is unacceptable. I hope this site continues to be a great source for sharing information and ideas.

    paul | Sep 12, 2016 11:40:49 AM | 29
    Why in God's name was this pointless comment by Debs is Dead promoted this way?!!! The only point being made, that I can see, is that the war in Syria does have some legitimate issues at its root. WELL OF COURSE IT DOES. The Hegemon rarely to never makes up civil unrest in countries it wants to overthrow out of whole cloth. They take some dispute that is already there and ramp it up; this process escalates until it turns into some form of a proxy war or coup. In other words, the domestic political process is DISTORTED until it is no longer remotely recognizable as a domestic process.

    So sure, if the US and its allies had not stoked political factionism in Syria into a global proxy war, we could discuss the fine details of the Syrian domestic process very usefully. At this point, though, IT IS IRRELEVANT.

    I do agree on one point: Assad joins the horrendous list of overlords who thought they could make a deal with the Hegemon on their own terms. Assad will pay for that mistake with his life very soon I would guess and I think that Putin will too, though that might take a little longer. If they had chosen to stand on principle as Chavez did, maybe they would be dead as Chavez is (possibly done in, who knows), but they'd be remembered with honor as Chavez is.

    MadMax2 | Sep 12, 2016 12:16:07 PM | 33
    It is a shame no one stood up for Libya, for a surviving Gaddafi would have emerged considerably stronger - as Assad eventually will.

    Whatever genuine opposition there was has long been hijacked by opportunistic takfiris, wahabbists and there various paymasters. And so as ruralito says @25: "The fight IS "binary...". The fight is indeed binary, the enemy is plural. Assad versus the many appearances of both the first and fourth kind.

    Appearances to the mind are of four kinds.
    Things either are what they appear to be;
    or they neither are, nor appear to be;
    or they are, and do not appear to be;
    or they are not, and yet appear to be.
    Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man's task.

    ~Epictetus

    Where there is obfuscation lay the enemy, hence Russia's long game of identification.

    FecklessLeft | Sep 12, 2016 12:54:18 PM | 36
    Does anyone remember the essay posted on this site a while back titled "The Feckless Left?" I don't believe B posted it, but if memory serves it's posted front and centre on the navigation bar beside this piece?

    It really hammers those people like Tariq Ali, who while surely having legitimate grievances against the Assad govt, opened the door for legitimation of foreign sponsored war. They thought that funneling millions of dollars worth of training, weapons and mercs would open the door for another secular govt, but this time much 'better.' Surely.

    No one thinks Assad is great. I really have trouble understanding where that notion comes from. It's just that the alternative is surely much worse. Lots of people didn't like Ghaddafi but jesus, I'm sure most Libyans would wish they could turn back the clock (at the risk of putting words in their mouths). It's not binary, no one sees this as good vs evil, its just that its become so painfully obvious at this point that if the opposition wins Syria will be so fucked in every which way. Those with real, tangible grievances are never going to have their voices heard. It will become the next Libya, except the US and it's clients will actually have a say in what's left of the political body in the country if you could even label it that at that point (which is quite frightenening in my eyes. Libya is already a shit show and they don't have much of a foothold there besides airstrikes and that little coastal base for the GNA to have their photo ops).

    I find it ironic that when criticisms are levelled at Assad from the left they usually point out things that had he done more of, and worse of, he probably would be free of this situation and still firmly in power. If he had bowed down to Qatar and the KSA/USA I wonder if the 'armed opposition' would still have their problems with him? That's the ultimate irony to me. If he had accepted the pipelines, the privatization regimes, etc. would they still be hollering his name? It's very sad that even with the balancing act he did his country has been destroyed. Even if the SAA is able to come out on top at this point, the country is wholly destroyed. What's even the point of a having a 'legitimate' or 'illegitimate' opposition when they're essentially fighting over scraps now. I'd be surprised if they could rebuild the country in 120 years. Libya in my eyes will never be what it once was. It'll never have the same standards of living after being hit with a sledgehammer.

    I don't mean to be ironic or pessimistic, its just a sad state of affairs all around and everyday it seems more and more unlikely that any halfway decent solution for the POPULATION OF SYRIA, not Assad, will come out of this.. It's like, I'm no nationalist, but in many countries I kind of would rather that than the alternative. Ghaddafi wasn't great but his people could've been a lot worse of - and ARE a lot worse of now. I'm no Assad fan, but my god look what the alternative is here. If it wasnt 95% foreign sponsored maybe id see your point.

    Read the essay posted on the left there. "Syria, the Feckless Left" IIRC. I thought that summed up my thoughts well enough.

    And guys, even if you agree with me please refrain from the name calling. It makes those of you with a legitimate rebuttal seem silly and wrong. I've always thought MoA was so refreshing because it was (somewhat) free of that. At least B is generating discussion. I kind of appreciate that. It's nice to hear ither views, even if they are a little unrealistic and pro violent and anti democratic.

    FecklessLeft | Sep 12, 2016 1:01:58 PM | 37
    QUICK DOUBLE POST

    An example of an armed opposition with legitimate grievances that is far from perfect but still very sympathetic (in my eyes) is hizbollah. They have real problems to deal with. While they recieve foreign sponsorship they aren't a foreign group the way the Syrian opposition is. And they will be all but destroyed when their supply lines from Syria are cut off. I wonder how that fits in with OPs post.

    Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 12, 2016 1:02:25 PM | 38
    What makes Debs is Dead's turgid comment so irrational is that it endorses Regime Change in Syria as an ongoing, but necessary and inevitable, "good". But in doing so it tip-toes around the fact that it doesn't matter how Evil an elected President is, or is not, it's up to the the people who elected him to decide when they've had enough. It most certainly is NOT Neoconned AmeriKKKa's concern.

    Debs also 'forgot' to justify totally wrecking yet another of many ME countries because of perceived and imaginary character flaws in a single individual.

    It does not compute; but then neither does "Israel's" 70 year (and counting) hate crime, The Perpetual Palestinian Holohoax.

    ruralito | Sep 12, 2016 1:07:59 PM | 39
    @Shh, since you're so conveniently ensconced above the fray, perhaps you can see something we "nattering fuck wits" can't. Do tell.
    Stillnottheonly1 | Sep 12, 2016 1:47:35 PM | 40
    Whatever happened to the age old expression that one has to walk in someone else's shoes to understand their walk in life?

    In an all too obvious fashion, another arm chair expert is blessing the world with his/her drivel.

    To make it as concise as possible:

    What would you have done in Assad's position? The U.S. is trying to annex Syria since 1948 and never gave up on the plan to convert it to what the neo-fascists turned Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and the Republic of Yugoslavia - whereas Yemen is still in the making, together with Ukraine, Turkey and Africa as a whole.

    In the light of U.S. 'foreign policy', the piece reeks of the stench of obfuscation.

    MadMax2 | Sep 12, 2016 2:02:43 PM | 41
    @47 Hoarsewhisperer

    Debs also 'forgot' to justify totally wrecking yet another of many ME countries because of perceived and imaginary character flaws in a single individual.

    We shouldn't be surprised. Even a basic pragmatic approach to this conflict has been lost by many in the one sided, over the top shower of faeces that is the western MSM.

    It does not compute; but then neither does "Israel's" 70 year (and counting) hate crime, The Perpetual Palestinian Holohoax.

    All that land, all that resource...and a unifying language. Amazing. If only the Arab world could unite for the collective good of the region we might witness a rogue state in an abrupt and full decline. A sad tactic of colonial powers over the years, setting the native tribes upon each other. We've not evolved here.

    Copeland | Sep 12, 2016 3:26:34 PM | 43
    It is impossible for any one of us to possess the whole picture, which is why we pool our experience, and benefit from these discussions. The thing I see at the root of the Syrian war is the process of ethnic cleansing. In many cases that involve murderous prejudice, it erupts as civil war; but in recent history the foreign policy of powerful nations is aimed at sponsoring social disintegration within the borders of targeted countries.

    Ethnic cleansing means destruction of culture, of historical memory, the forced disappearance of communities that were rooted in a place.

    The objectives of the perpetrators have nothing to do with the convictions of the fundamentalists who do the dirty work; and the sectarian and mercenary troops are merely the tools of those who are creating hell on earth.

    I agree with what papa wrote at the top of this thread:

    why you think your article is different from others senseless name-calling,[?] i see exactly the same. This war is about destroying real history, civilization, culture and replacing with fake. The war in Yemen is the same. Who in that region wants to replace real history with fake. Think about it. Most Islamic,Christian, Assyrian history is systematically being destroyed.
    Compare President Assad's leadership to that of the western, or Saudi, sponsors of terror; or measure his decisions against those of the hodgepodge of rebels and mercenaries, with their endless internal squabbles and infighting. Assad is so much more of a spokesman for the rights of sovereignty, and his words carry more weight and outshine the banalities that spring from the mouths of those who are paying the bills, and supplying weapons, and giving all kinds of diplomatic comfort to the enemies of the Syrian government.

    Debsisdead has always brought much food for thought to this watering hole. I have always respected him, and I think he has a fine mind. Nonetheless, despite the valuable contribution of this piece as a beginning place, in which we might reevaluate some of our presumptions, I maintain there are a few errors which stand out, and ought to be discussed.

    I call into question these two points:

    (1) Just because someone chooses an option that you disagree with does not make them evil or headchoppers or Islamofacist.
    Up thread @14, we were reminded of Robert Fisk's report about misdirected, misinformed "freedom fighters" naively wandering around in Syria, while thinking that they were fighting in Palestine. In this ruin of Syria, where the well-intentioned are captured, or co-opted into evil acts against the civilian population, --is it really incumbent upon us, --from where we sit, to agonize over the motives of those who are committing the actual atrocities against the defenseless? What is the point?
    (2) On balance I would rather see Assad continue as leader of Syria but I'm not so naive as to believe he is capable of finding a long term resolution, or that there are not a good number of self interested murderous sadists in his crew. By the same token I don't believe all of those resisting the Ba'athist administration are headchopping jihadists or foreign mercenaries. This war is about 5 years old. If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago.

    There is no need for sorting things into absolutes of good and evil. But there is a condition under which fewer, a lot fewer, humans would have died in Syria, Without foreign interference--money, weapons, and training--Assad's government would have won this war quite a while ago.

    Copeland | Sep 12, 2016 4:01:33 PM | 46
    I very much agree with what Demeter wrote @ 14:
    And as for "Islamic Fundamentalism", it is this abnormal form of Islam that is purely based on racism and not the other way around. Islamic fundamentalists call everybody, and I mean everybody, who is not living according to their rule a non-believer, a Takfiri, who does not deserver to live.
    Fundamentalism is never satisfied until it can become a tyranny over the mind. Racism and fundamentalism are as American as apple pie. You have to take a close look at who is pouring oil on this fire!
    Kuma | Sep 12, 2016 4:05:35 PM | 47
    @9
    I disagree with you in that neoliberalism is seriously not difficult to define. It boils down to belief that public programs are bad/'inefficient' and that society would be better served by privatizing many things(or even everything) and opening services up to 'competition'. It's mainly just cover for parasites to come in and get rich off of the masses misery. The 'neoliberalism is just a snarl word' meme is incredibly stupid, since plenty of books and articles have been written explicitly defining it.

    "Having determined your definition of neoliberal, are you sure it WAS neoliberal rather than a hegemonic entity?"

    American economic hegemony is inherently neoliberal, and has been for decades. The IMF is essentially an international loan shark that gives countries money on the condition that they dismantle their public spending apparatus and let the market run things.

    Laguerre | Sep 12, 2016 4:11:58 PM | 48
    I usually enjoy DiD's rants (rant in the nice sense), but in this case he is wrong. His remarks are out of date.

    No doubt he has Syrian friends in NZ, including the Syro-Palestinian he mentions. They will have been living their past vision of Syria for some time. Yes, back in 2011, there was a big vision of a future democratic Syria among the intellectuals. However those who fight for the rebellion are not middle class (who left) but rural Islamist Sunnis, who have a primitive al-Qa'ida style view.

    The Syrian civil war is quite like the Spanish civil war. It started with noble republicans, including foreigners like Orwell, fighting against nasty Franco, but finished with Stalin's communists fighting against Nazi-supported fascists.

    The situation is different now. One Syrian lady, who came to see me in April, who lives in California, told me that her father, who was a big pre-war oppositionist, now just wants to return to Syria to die. There's no question. if you want peace in Syria, Asad is the only choice. The jihadis, who dominate the opposition, don't offer an alternative.

    john | Sep 12, 2016 4:18:12 PM | 50
    james says:

    must be a '''slow''' news day...

    yeah, did you read that the American Imperium bombed 6 Muslim countries last Saturday?

    Laguerre | Sep 12, 2016 4:51:42 PM | 51
    Noirette comes close to identifying one of the issues that kicked off the conflict, that the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians.
    The Ba'thist regime is a mafia of the family, not a dictatorship of Bashshar. Evidently their own interest plays a premier role, but otherwise why not in favour of the Syrian people? There's lot of evidence in favour of Syrian peace.
    fast freddy | Sep 12, 2016 4:53:30 PM | 52
    The lesson of Viet Nam was to keep the dead and wounded off the six o'clock news.

    The jackals are going in. Another coup. Syria was on the list. Remap the Middle East. Make it like Disney World. Israel as Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein.

    Islam and its backward dictates, and Christianity with its backward dictates and Manifest Destiny are problematic.

    Curtis | Sep 12, 2016 7:22:18 PM | 55
    I may be white and I may be a fella but don't believe I'm in the fold as described. Fundamentalists of any sort are free to believe as they will but when they force it on others via gun, govt, societal pressures, violence there's trouble. I've seen comparisons to the extremes from Christianity's past with the excuse of Islam as being in its early years. No excuses. Fundies out. But we don't see that in places like Saudi Arabia or Iran. Facts on the ground rule. Iran had a bit more moderation but only under the tyrant Shah. A majority may have voted for the Islamic Republic and all that entails but what of the minority?
    BTW, where are the stories (links) that show Bashar has embraced neoliberalism? In the end, DiD reduced to pointing to two evils (with multi-facets) and it looks like Assad is the lesser. But who can come up with a solution for a country so divided and so infiltrated by outsiders? And here in the US, look at the choice of future leaders that so many do not want. Where is the one who will lead the US out of its BS? And who will vote for him/her?
    Jen | Sep 12, 2016 7:39:57 PM | 57
    Thanks to B for republishing the comment from Debsisdead. The comment raises some issues about how people generally see the war in Syria, if they know of it, as some sort of real-life video game substitute for bashing one side or another.

    I am not sure though that Debsisdead realises the full import of what s/he has said and that much criticism s/he makes about comments in MoA comments forums could apply equally to what s/he says and has said in the past.

    I don't think anyone who comments here regularly ever assumed that Bashar al Assad was a knight in white shining armour. Most of us are aware of how he came to be President and that his father did rule the country from 1971 to 2000 with an iron fist. Some if not most also know that initially when Bashar al Assad succeeded to the Presidency, he did have a reformist agenda in mind. How well or not he succeeded in putting that across, what compromises he had to make, who or what opposed him, how he negotiated his way between and among various and opposed power structures in Syrian politics we do not know.

    Yes, I have trouble reconciling the fact that Bashar al Assad's government did allow CIA renditioning with his reformist agenda in my own head. That is something he will have to come to terms with in the future. I don't know if Assad was naive, under pressure or willing, even eager in agreeing to cooperate with the CIA, or trying to buy time to prepare for invasion once Iraq was down. Whether Assad also realises that he was duped by the IMF and World Bank in following their advice on economic "reforms" (such as privatising Syria's water) is another thing as well.

    But one thing that Debsisdead has overlooked is the fact that Bashar al Assad is popular among the Syrian public, who returned him as President in multi-candidate direct elections held in June 2014 with at least 88% of the vote (with a turnout of 73%, better than some Western countries) and who confirmed his popularity in parliamentary elections held in April 2016 with his Ba'ath Party-led coalition winning roughly two-thirds of seats.

    The fact that Syrians themselves hold Assad in such high regard must say something about his leadership that has endeared him to them. If as Debsisdead suggests, Assad practises self-interested "realpolitik" like so many other Middle Eastern politicians, even to the extent of offering reconciliation to jihadis who lay down their weapons and surrender, how has he managed to survive and how did Syria manage to hold off the jihadis and US-Turkish intervention and supply before requesting Russian help?

    fairleft | Sep 12, 2016 8:03:18 PM | 59
    Copeland @58: I don't see why you call the problem "Islamic fundamentalism" when in fact it is Sunni fundamentalism. Admittedly it's tough to 'name' the problem. I'm sure I speak for most here that the problem isn't fundamentalism but 'warring imperialist fundamentalist and misogynist Sunni Islam' that is the problem.

    It'd be nice to have a brief and accurate way of saying what this is: 'Saudi Arabia violently exporting its worst form of Islam'.

    Copeland | Sep 12, 2016 8:28:41 PM | 60
    fairleft, @75

    When people refer to Christian fundamentalism they use the broad term as well. Nothing is otherwise wrong with denominational belief, if past a certain point it is not fundamentalist. You say the problem is not fundamentalism, but something else. Indeed, the problem is fundamentalism.

    Manifest Destiny is fundamentalism. There are even atheist fundamentalists. "Full Spectrum Dominance" and other US Military doctrines are fundamentalist in nature. We are awash in fundamentalism, consumerist fundamentalism, capitalist fundamentalism. If we are unlucky and don't succeed in changing the path we are on; then we will understand too late the inscription that appeared in the Temple of Apollo: "Nothing too much".

    Kalen | Sep 12, 2016 8:31:13 PM | 61
    They say that the first casualty of war is truth and from what I read in comments such a mental state prevails among readers, they see Assad, quite reasonably, as the only one who can end this horrible war and the only one who is really interested in doing so while US and even seemingly Russia seems to treat this conflict as a instrument of global geopolitical struggle instigated by US imperial delusions.

    But of course one cannot escape conclusion that although provoked by the CIA operation Bashir Assad failed years befor 2011 exactly because, living in London, did not see neoliberalism as an existential threat ad his father did but a system that has its benefits and can be dealt with, so for a short while Saddam, Gaddafi and Mubarak thought while they were pampered by western elites.

    Now Assad is the only choice I'd Syrians want to keep what would resemble unified Syrian state since nobody else seems to care.

    Another interesting element that was touched upon is attitude to Israel and its US perceived role, but for that one needs deeper background starting from before 1948.
    https://contrarianopinion.wordpress.com/history-revisited/

    Quadriad | Sep 12, 2016 8:42:29 PM | 62
    I have no doubt that Assad was little more than a crude Arab strongman/dictator prince back in the 2011 when the uprising started. Since then, he has evolved into a committed, engaged defender of his country against multilateral foreign aggression, willingly leaving his balls in the vice and all.

    He could have fled the sinking ship many times so far. Instead, he decided to stay and fight the Takfiri river flowing in through the crack, and risk going down with the ship he inherited. The majority of the Syrians know this very well.

    Bashar of 2016 (not so much the one of 5 1/2 years ago) would not only win the next free elections, but destroy any opposition. The aggressors know that as a fact.

    Which is precisely why he "must go" prior to any such elections. He would be invincible.

    redrooster | Sep 12, 2016 9:01:21 PM | 63
    Dear Debs is Dead,

    you wrote:

    "This war is about 5 years old. If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago."

    Question to you:

    if Syria had control over its borders with Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Iraq would the war have ended a long time ago ? Answer honestly.

    If yes, then the so-called "opposition" of the union of headchoppers does not represent a significant portion of the Syrian people. Were it otherwise Assad wouldnt be able to survive a single year, let alone 5. With or without foreign help.

    Quadriad | Sep 12, 2016 10:00:23 PM | 65
    #46 FecklessLeft

    And that, my friend, may be the biggest oft ignored cui bono of the entire Syrian war.

    If Assad goes:

    1. Syria falls apart. Western Golan has no more debtor nation to be returned to as far as the UN go. It immediately becomes fee simple property of the occupying entity, for as long as the occupier shall exist (and, with Western Golan included, that might be a bit longer perchance...).
    2. Hizbullah loses both its best supply line and all the strategic depth it might have as well as the only ally anywhere close enough to help. It becomes a military non-entity. Who benefits?

    I think this cui bono (and a double one at that!) is a $100 difficulty level question, although it feels like a $64k one.

    Bill Hicks | Sep 12, 2016 10:31:21 PM | 66
    Best opinion post I've yet read on this site. "Binary division," also very much affects the U.S. election. If you hate Hillary, you must just LOVE Trump, even though many of the best reasons to hate her--her arrogance, her incompetence, her phoniness, her lies, her and Bill's relentless acquisition of great wealth, etc.--are also reasons to hate Trump. Assad is a bastard, Putin is a bastard, Saddam was a bastard--but so are Obama, Netanyahu, Hollande, etc. Is it REALLY that hard to figure out?
    james | Sep 12, 2016 11:09:45 PM | 67
    @ 62 john... we'll have to wait for debs to explain how all that (in your link) adds up, so long as no one calls him any name/s.... i'd like to say 'the anticipation of debs commenting again is killing me', but regardless, killing innocent people in faraway lands thanks usa foreign policy is ongoing..
    Jen | Sep 13, 2016 1:17:04 AM | 71
    OK here is an interesting article from 2011 on Abdallah Dardari, the fellow who persuaded Bashar al Assad to adopt the disastrous neoliberal economic reforms that not only ruined Syria's economy and the country's agriculture in particular but also created an underclass who resented the reforms and who initially joined the "rebels".
    http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/2097

    And where is Dardari now? He jumped ship in 2011 and went to Beirut to work for the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). He seems like someone to keep a watchful eye on.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Dardari

    the pair | Sep 13, 2016 2:12:09 AM | 72
    not even sure where to begin...this article is barely worthy of a random facebook post and contains a roughly even mix of straw men and stuff most people already know and don't need dictated to them by random internet folks.

    of COURSE assad flirted with the west. between housing cia rendition houses and the less-than-flattering aspects of the wikileaks "syria files", assad and/or his handlers (family and/or military) have tried a little too hard to "assimilate" to western ideals (or the lack thereof).

    i seriously doubt they will make that mistake again. they saw what happened to al-qaddafi after he tried to play nice and mistook western politicians for human beings. they've learned their lesson and become more ruthless but they were always machiavellians because they have to be. not an endorsement, just an acceptance of how the region is.

    and then there's "just about every ME leader has put expedience ahead of principle with regard to Palestine. Colonel Ghadaffi would be the only leader I'm aware of who didn't". that might be a surprise to nasrallah and a fair share of iran's power base. i'd also say "expedience" is an odd way to describe the simple choice of avoiding israeli/saudi/US aggression in the short term since the alternative would be what we're seeing in syria and libya as we speak. again, not an endorsment of their relative cowardice. just saying i understand the urge to avoid salfist proxy wars.

    [also: israel, the saudis (along with qatar and the other GCC psychopaths in supporting capacity) and the US are the main actors and throwing european "powers" into the circle of actual power does them an undue favor by ignoring their status as pathetic vassal states. "FrUkDeUSZiowhatever" isn't necessary.]

    as for "calling all islamic fundamentalism" "headchopping" being "racist", be sure not to smoke around all those straw men. never mind the inanity of pretending that all islamic "fundamentalism" is the same. never mind conflating religion with ethnicity. outside of typical western sites that lean to the right and are open about it few people would say anything like that. maybe you meant to post this on glenn beck's site?

    whatever. hopefully there won't be more guest posts in the future.

    bigmango | Sep 13, 2016 2:20:54 AM | 73
    I read this site regularly and give thanks to the numerous intelligent posters who share their knowledge of the middle east and Syria in particular. Still, I do try to read alternative views to understand opposition perspectives no matter how biased or damaging these might they appear to the readers of this blog. So in the wake of recent agreements, I try find out what the mainstream media is saying about the Ahrar al-Sham refusal to recognize the US/Russia sponsored peace plan....and type that into google.......and crickets. All that comes up is a single Al-Masdar report.

    Look I know the MSM is utterly controlled - but the extent of that control still shocks at times. It is simply not possible to be "informed" by any normal definition of the word anymore without the alternative media - and for that reason this site serves a valuable purpose and I once again thank the host and contributors.

    Harry | Sep 13, 2016 2:28:44 AM | 74
    The irony is, Assad is 10x smarter and bigger person than Debs. Yes, he made some mistakes, but if not "flirting with neoliberalism", war against Syria would have started many years earlier, when Resistance wasnt ready one bit (neither Russia, nor Iran, while on the other hand US was more powerful).

    The other ironic point, Debs is guilty of many things he blames other for, hence comments about his hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness.

    FecklessLeft | Sep 13, 2016 3:11:57 AM | 77
    The essay I refered to earlier at 45/46 from this site I'll post below. I think it has a lot of bearing on what DiD is implying here. It's DEFINITELY worth a read and is probably the reason why I started appreciating this site in the first place.

    Support for rebel groups was misguided at best at the beginning of the war. One could conceivably not appreciate the capacity of the KSA/USA/Quatar/Israel to influence and control and create these groups. Jesus it's hard for me to think of a single local opposition group that isnt drenched in fanaticism besides the Kurds. But now that we understand the makeup and texture of these groups much more and to continue support, even just in the most minor of ways, is really disheartening.

    There's no way to a solution for the Syrian people, the population not imported that is, if these groups win. I hate to be so binary but its so naive in my eyes to think anything good will come from the long arm of the gulf countries and the USA taking control.

    WORTH A READ. ONE OF THE BEST THINGS EVER POSTED ON MoA.

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/05/syria-the-feckless-left-.html

    Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13, 2016 3:38:32 AM | 79
    The problem with this post is simple: all this might have been true back when the insurgency STARTED. TODAY it is UTTERLY IRRELEVANT.

    As I've said repeatedly, the GOAL of the Syria crisis for the Western elites, Israel and the ME dictatorships is to take Syria OUT by any means necessary in order to get to IRAN. Nothing else matters to these people. In the same vein, nothing else matters to ninety percent of the CURRENT insurgents than to establish some Salafist state, exterminate the Shia, etc., etc.

    So, yes, right NOW the whole story is about US elites, Zionist "evil", corrupt monarchs, and scumbag fanatics, etc., etc. Until THAT is resolved, nothing about how Syria is being run is going to matter.

    I don't know and have never read ANYONE who is a serious commenter on this issue - and by that I mean NOT the trolls that infest every comment thread on every blog - who seriously thinks Assad is a "decent ruler". At this point it does not matter. He personally does not matter. What matters is that Syria is not destroyed, so that Hizballah is not destroyed, so that Iran is not destroyed, so that Israel rules a fragmented Middle East and eventually destroys the Palestinians and that the US gets all the oil for free. This is what Russia is trying to defend, not Assad.

    And if this leaves a certain percentage of Syrian citizens screwed over by Assad, well, they should have figured that out as much as Assad should have figured out that he never should have tried to get along with the US.

    Frankly, this is a pointless post which is WAY out of date.

    somebody | Sep 13, 2016 5:07:06 AM | 80
    Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13, 2016 3:38:32 AM | 79

    In the same vein, nothing else matters to ninety percent of the CURRENT insurgents than to establish some Salafist state, exterminate the Shia, etc., etc.

    This obviously is not the case. A recent take of the BBC with some real information on the realities of the war .

    "We had to be fighters," he said, "because we didn't find any other job. If you want to stay inside you need to be a part of the FSA [Free Syrian Army, the group that has closest relations with the West]. Everything is very expensive. They pay us $100 a month but it is not enough.

    "All this war is a lie. We had good lives before the revolution. Anyway this is not a revolution. They lied to us in the name of religion.

    "I don't want to go on fighting but I need to find a job, a house. Everything I have is here in Muadhamiya."

    Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 13, 2016 5:18:29 AM | 81
    ...
    .. who seriously thinks Assad is a "decent ruler". At this point it does not matter. He personally does not matter.
    ...
    Frankly, this is a pointless post which is WAY out of date.
    Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13, 2016 3:38:32 AM | 79

    Well, according to RSH, who specialises in being wrong...

    Assad does matter because he is the ELECTED leader chosen by the People of Syria in MORE THAN ONE election.
    Did you forget?
    Did you not know?
    Or doesn't any of that "democracy" stuff matter either?

    AtaBrit | Sep 13, 2016 5:24:44 AM | 82
    @TG | 20

    "It continues to annoy me that the primary trigger ..."
    And yet you fail to mention the Muslim Brotherhood or the Turkish water wars ...

    okie farmer | Sep 13, 2016 6:34:41 AM | 84
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-syria-idUSKCN11J0EY

    Israel said its aircraft attacked a Syrian army position on Tuesday after a stray mortar bomb struck the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, and it denied a Syrian statement that a warplane and drone were shot down.

    The air strike was a now-routine Israeli response to the occasional spillover from fighting in a five-year-old civil war, and across Syria a ceasefire was holding at the start of its second day.

    Syria's army command said in a statement that Israeli warplanes had attacked an army position at 1 a.m. on Tuesday (2200 GMT, Monday) in the countryside of Quneitra province.

    The Israeli military said its aircraft attacked targets in Syria hours after the mortar bomb from fighting among factions in Syria struck the Golan Heights. Israel captured the plateau from Syria in a 1967 war.

    The Syrian army said it had shot down an Israeli warplane and a drone after the Israeli attack.

    Denying any of its aircraft had been lost, the Israeli military said in a statement: "Overnight two surface-to-air missiles were launched from Syria after the mission to target Syrian artillery positions. At no point was the safety of (Israeli) aircraft compromised."

    The seven-day truce in Syria, brokered by Russia and the United States, is their second attempt this year by to halt the bloodshed.

    fairleft | Sep 13, 2016 9:33:38 AM | 89
    Copeland @60: No, I don't think the problem is fundamentalism. It's the warring crusade method of spreading a belief's 'empire' that is the problem. This is a problem uniquely of the Saudi 'do whatever it takes' crusade to convert the entire 'Arab and Muslim world' to their worst, most misogynist form of Islam. T

    here are of course many fundamentalists (the Amish and some Mennonites are examples from Christianity) that are not evangelical, or put severe (no violence, no manipulation, no kidnapping, stop pushing if the person says 'no') limits on their evangelism.

    Only the Saudis, or pushers of their version of Islam, seem to put no limits at all on their sect's crusade.

    brian | Sep 13, 2016 9:55:45 AM | 90
    president Assad is a 'decent ruler' and thats the view of most syrians
    papillonweb | Sep 13, 2016 10:01:56 AM | 92
    Just want to mention that from the beginning there were people who took up arms against the government. This is why the situation went out of control. People ambushed groups of young soldiers. Snipers of unknown origin fired on police and civilians.

    There are plenty of people in the United States right now who are just as oppressed - I would wager more so - than anyone in Syria. Immigrants from the south are treated horribly here. There are still black enclaves in large cities where young men are shot by the police on a daily basis for suspicious behavior and minor driving infractions. And then there are the disenfranchised white folks in the Teaparty who belong to the NRA and insist on 'open carry' of their weapons on the street and train in the back woods for a coming war. Tell me what would happen if there were a guarantor these people found believable who promised them that if they took up arms against the government (and anyone else in the country they felt threatened by) they would be guaranteed to win and become the government of a 'New America'. What if that foreign guarantor were to pay them and improve their armaments while providing political cover.

    I rather like Assad. I won't lie. But, he is not the reason for the insurrection in Syria ~ well, except for his alliances with Russia and Iran and his pipeline decisions and his support for Palestinian and Iraqi refugees. What happened in Syria is happening all over the globe because the nation with the most resources in the world, the self-declared exceptionalist state thinks this is the way to rule the world. . . . because they want to rule and they don't care how much destruction it takes to do so. And lucky for us there is no one big enough and bad enough to do it to us - except for our own government.

    TheRealDonald | Sep 13, 2016 10:08:27 AM | 93
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/un-condemns-assad-syria-abuse_us_57d7c49ce4b0fbd4b7bb50d8?section=&

    Now look what you've done, Debs.

    On to Sebastopol for the One Party!

    fairleft | Sep 13, 2016 10:25:10 AM | 94
    OT, but that was an interesting Sunni Islam conference in Grozny , because it excluded and then 'excommunicated' Salafism and Wahabbism. Amazing!

    "All of the petrodollars Saudi Arabia spends to advance this claim of leadership and the monopolistic use of Islam's greatest holy sites to manufacture a claim of entitlement to Muslim leadership were shattered by this collective revolt from leading Sunni Muslim scholars and institutions who refused to allow extremism, takfir, and terror ideology to be legitimized in their name by a fringe they decided that it is even not part of their community. This is the beginning of a new era of Muslim awakening the Wahhabis spared no efforts and no precious resources to ensure it will never arrive."

    okie farmer | Sep 13, 2016 11:04:04 AM | 96
    Josh Landis Syria Comment
    There were a lot of people posting how Bashar al Assad was doing full neoliberalism. And at was true.
    Noirette | Sep 13, 2016 12:25:52 PM | 99
    Assad (=> group in power), whose stated aim was to pass from a 'socialist' to a 'market' economy. Notes.

    > a. unemployment rose 'n rose (to 35-40% youth? xyz overall?), and social stability was affected by family/extended f/ district etc. organisation being smashed. education health care in poor regions suffered (2)

    > b. small biz of various types went under becos loss of subs, competition from outsiders (free market policy), lack of bank loans it is said by some but idk, and loss of clients as these became impoverished. Syria does not have a national (afaik) unemployment scheme. Assad to his credit set up a cash-transfer thingie to poor families, but that is not a subsitute for 'growing employment..'

    *opened up the country's banking system* (can't treat the details..)

    So Assad was hit by a Tri-horror: global warming, dwindling cash FF resources, and IMF-type pressure, leaving out the trad. enemies, KSA, pipelines , etc. MSM prefer to cover up serious issues with 'ethnic strife' (sunni, shia, black lives matter, etc.)

    1. all nos off the top of my head.

    2. Acceptance of a massive refugee pop. (Pals in the past, Kurds, but numerically important now, Iraqis) plus the high birth rate

    2011> 10 year plan syria in arabic (which i can't read) but look at images and 'supporters' etc.

    http://www.planning.gov.sy/index.php?page=show&ex=2&dir=docs&lang=2&ser=2&cat=172&

    [Sep 14, 2016] the motives of which are transparently political and actually create disinformation around veritable realities

    Notable quotes:
    "... It's unclear how a jetliner is [more] powerful than an earthquake, and how, if such requirements failed to save the WTC towers, preparing for even more powerful earthquakes is going to prevent a recurrence of the same. ..."
    "... The heavy, black smoke emanating from the structures belies your premise. ..."
    Sep 12, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    JSM September 12, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    No offense is meant but fewer articles from Ms. Scofield, please, with transparent, dubious, questionable, or propagandistic angles. The article 'How building design changed after 9/11' has been written annually for fifteen years.

    "In fact, for years building codes from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Concrete Institute have required structural supports to be designed with high enough ductility to withstand a major earthquake so rare its probability of happening is once every 2,000 years. "

    It's unclear how a jetliner is [more] powerful than an earthquake, and how, if such requirements failed to save the WTC towers, preparing for even more powerful earthquakes is going to prevent a recurrence of the same.

    This would also go for any articles entitled 'How the US Can Win the War in Syria' in which no objectives are articulated, non-evidential articles entitled 'U.S. Could Pay a High Price for Suing the Saudis,' any more New Yorker articles, the motives of which are transparently political and actually create disinformation around veritable realities, about 'Trump and the Truth', e.g. 'The Unemployment Rate Hoax,' etc. I'm sure posting links is largely a thankless job, but if I wanted to I could turn on CNN and 'learn' these very things.

    Jess , September 12, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    "In fact, for years building codes from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Concrete Institute have required structural supports to be designed with high enough ductility to withstand a major earthquake so rare its probability of happening is once every 2,000 years."

    Hate to break it to you, but earthquake forces - seismic events - are considerably different than thermal events. Granted, fire often erupt as a result of severed gas and electric lines caused by an earthquake, but an earthquake is a brief, violent, hard shaking or rolling. A high-rise fire of sustained intensity sits in one place and does its work within a confined setting. In the case of the multiple floors damaged by the impact of the planes in 9-11, that confined setting bore a striking resemblance to a combination blast furnace and chimney. (People tend to forget that skyscrapers tend to create their own wind patterns, in this case well over 500 feet high. Just like air being pumped into a fire by a bellows.

    human -> Jess , September 12, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    The heavy, black smoke emanating from the structures belies your premise.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , September 12, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    The second order partial differentiation equation* governing structure responding during a dynamic event like an earthquakes shows that the force on the structure is related to its mass.

    The heavier a structure, the bigger force it is subjected to, going through the same quake.

    The force of an impacting plane is same regardless of the building size, all else being equal.

    *(mass x acceleration) + (damping coefficient x velocity) + (stiffness modulus x displacement) = zero.

    [Sep 14, 2016] Pro-War Dead-enders and Our Unending Wars

    Notable quotes:
    "... Liberal hawks will complain that the Iraq war was run incompetently (and it was), but they don't give up on the idea of preventive war or the belief that the U.S. is entitled to attack other states more or less at will in the name of "leadership." Neoconservatives will fault Obama for not doing more in Libya after the regime was overthrown, but it would never occur to them that toppling foreign governments by force is wrong or undesirable. There remains a broad consensus that the U.S. "leads" the world and in order to exercise that "leadership" it is free to destabilize and attack other states as it sees fit. The justifications change from country to country, but the assumptions behind them are always the same: we have the right to interfere in the affairs of other nations, our interference is benevolent and beneficial (and any bad results cannot be tied to our interference), and "failure" to interfere constitutes abdication of "leadership." ..."
    "... Everyone is familiar with Iraq war dead-enders, who continue to claim to this day that the war had been "won" by the end of Bush's second term and that it was only by withdrawing that the U.S. frittered away its "victory." The defense of the Libyan war is somewhat different, but at its core it shares the same ideological refusal to own up to failure. In Libya, the mistake was not in taking sides in a civil war in which the U.S. had nothing at stake, but in failing to commit to an open-ended mission to stabilize the country after the regime was overthrown. Libyan war supporters don't accept that their preferred policy backfired and harmed the country it was supposedly trying to help. That would not only require them to acknowledge that they got one of the more important foreign policy questions of the last decade badly wrong, but it would contradict one of their core assumptions about the U.S. role in the world. As far as they're concerned, Libya is still the "model" and "good" intervention that they claimed it was five years ago, and nothing that has happened in Libya can ever prove otherwise. ..."
    "... unfortunately pro-war dead-enders continue to have considerable influence in shaping our foreign policy debates on other issues. They bring the same bankrupt assumptions to debates over what the U.S. should be doing in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, and elsewhere, and they apply the same faulty judgment that led them to think regime change and taking sides in foreign civil wars was smart. They still haven't learned anything from the failures of previous interventions (because they don't accept that they were failures), and so keep making many of the same mistakes of analysis and prescription that they made in the past. ..."
    Apr 07, 2016 | The American Conservative

    Andrew Bacevich has written an excellent article on the need to end our ongoing "war for the Greater Middle East." This part jumped out at me in connection with the debate over the Libyan war:

    A particular campaign that goes awry [bold mine-DL] like Somalia or Iraq or Libya may attract passing attention, but never the context in which that campaign was undertaken [bold mine-DL]. We can be certain that the election of 2016 will be no different.

    It is almost never mentioned now, so it is easy to forget that many Libyan war supporters initially argued for intervention in order to save the "Arab Spring." Their idea was that the U.S. and its allies could discourage other regimes from forcibly putting down protests by siding with the opposition in Libya, and that if the U.S. didn't do this it would "signal" dictators that they could crush protests with impunity. This never made sense at the time. Other regimes would have to believe that the U.S. would consistently side with their opponents, and there was never any chance of that happening. If it sent any message to them, the intervention in Libya sent other regimes a very different message: don't let yourself be internationally isolated like Gaddafi, and you won't suffer his fate. Another argument for the intervention was that it would change the way the U.S. was perceived in the region for the better. That didn't make sense, either, since Western intervention in Libya wasn't popular in most countries there, and even if it had been it wouldn't change the fact that the U.S. was pursuing many other policies hated by people throughout the region. It was on the foundation of shoddy arguments such as these that the case for war in Libya was built.

    Bacevich is right that many critics fault specific interventions for their failings without questioning the larger assumptions about the U.S. role in the region that led to those wars. Liberal hawks will complain that the Iraq war was run incompetently (and it was), but they don't give up on the idea of preventive war or the belief that the U.S. is entitled to attack other states more or less at will in the name of "leadership." Neoconservatives will fault Obama for not doing more in Libya after the regime was overthrown, but it would never occur to them that toppling foreign governments by force is wrong or undesirable. There remains a broad consensus that the U.S. "leads" the world and in order to exercise that "leadership" it is free to destabilize and attack other states as it sees fit. The justifications change from country to country, but the assumptions behind them are always the same: we have the right to interfere in the affairs of other nations, our interference is benevolent and beneficial (and any bad results cannot be tied to our interference), and "failure" to interfere constitutes abdication of "leadership."

    To make matters worse, every intervention always has a die-hard group of dead-enders that will defend the rightness and success of their war no matter what results it produces. They don't think the war they supported every really went "awry" except when it was ended "too soon." Everyone is familiar with Iraq war dead-enders, who continue to claim to this day that the war had been "won" by the end of Bush's second term and that it was only by withdrawing that the U.S. frittered away its "victory." The defense of the Libyan war is somewhat different, but at its core it shares the same ideological refusal to own up to failure. In Libya, the mistake was not in taking sides in a civil war in which the U.S. had nothing at stake, but in failing to commit to an open-ended mission to stabilize the country after the regime was overthrown. Libyan war supporters don't accept that their preferred policy backfired and harmed the country it was supposedly trying to help. That would not only require them to acknowledge that they got one of the more important foreign policy questions of the last decade badly wrong, but it would contradict one of their core assumptions about the U.S. role in the world. As far as they're concerned, Libya is still the "model" and "good" intervention that they claimed it was five years ago, and nothing that has happened in Libya can ever prove otherwise.

    That might not matter too much, but unfortunately pro-war dead-enders continue to have considerable influence in shaping our foreign policy debates on other issues. They bring the same bankrupt assumptions to debates over what the U.S. should be doing in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, and elsewhere, and they apply the same faulty judgment that led them to think regime change and taking sides in foreign civil wars was smart. They still haven't learned anything from the failures of previous interventions (because they don't accept that they were failures), and so keep making many of the same mistakes of analysis and prescription that they made in the past.

    [Sep 14, 2016] US spending on Middle East wars, Homeland Security will reach $4.79 trillion in 2017

    [Brown University]
    watson.brown.edu

    Remember when Larry Lindsey was fired as Bush's economic advisor when he suggested
    that the costs could be as high as $200 billion?
    Good times, but at this point the Dems own it as much as the GOP.

    [Sep 14, 2016] The Myth of American Retreat

    Looks like this neocon Robert Lieber is completely detached from the reality. Cheap oil is coming to an end in this decade and with it the crisis hit neoliberal globalization and the US role as the capital of the global neoliberal empire. With far reaching consequences.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Unfortunately, primacy has largely failed to deliver what must be the first, second, and third priorities for any grand strategy: the satisfaction of national interests, foremost among them America's safety. Rather than peace and security, primacy has brought about questionable military interventions and wars of choice in Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans (twice), Iraq (three times, depending on how you count), Libya, and Syria. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the deaths of almost 7,000 American troops, the wounding of tens of thousands more, and the filing of disability claims by nearly a million veterans. Rather than protecting the conditions of our prosperity, primacy has cost Americans dearly, with the annual defense budget now set to rise to around $600 billion and the Iraq War alone wasting trillions of dollars. As for our values, the U.S. approach has placed our nation in the uncomfortable position of defending illiberal regimes abroad, stained our reputation for the rule of law with Guantanamo and drone campaigns, and sacrificed the Constitutional authority of Congress. ..."
    "... The United States still enjoys the world's strongest military force, costing taxpayers around $600 billion a year. This sum represents nearly a third of all global spending and is equal to that of at least the next 10 countries combined. Its nearest competitor, China, spends far less, about $150 billion. ..."
    "... And during the Obama years, the United States surged forces in Afghanistan, fought a war against Libya that led to regime change, re-entered Iraq and engaged (even if tepidly) in Syria, supported Saudi Arabia's dubious fight in Yemen, continued to conduct drone strikes abroad, became unprofitably enmeshed diplomatically in Ukraine's troubles, and continued to exert its power and influence in Asia. And just recently the U.S. again bombed targets in Libya. Retreat, you say? ..."
    "... The degree of disarray in Libya and the consequences of it have flowed directly from the U.S.'s decision to go to war against Gaddafi and to pursue regime change. There is little need to note how disastrous the Iraq War was for the region and American interests-and how Iraq continues to be a source of trouble that the U.S. is ill-suited to resolve. ..."
    "... President Obama's grand strategy has remained firmly planted within the confines of the Washington consensus and does not represent a retreat. One could only imagine what Lieber would think of a policy that truly hewed more closely to the advice of our Founders. ..."
    Sep 13, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    Retreat and Its Consequences: American Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order , Robert J. Lieber, Cambridge University Press, 152 pages

    The United States has been pursuing a grand strategy of primacy since at least the end of the Cold War. This hegemonic approach has sought, through active, deep engagement in the world, to preserve and extend the U.S.'s global dominance that followed the Soviet Union's collapse. In other words, it has aimed to turn the unipolar moment into a unipolar era. Maintaining this dominance has meant aggressive diplomacy and the frequent display, threat, and use of military power everywhere from the Balkans to the Baltics, from Libya to Pakistan, and from the Taiwan Straits to the Korean peninsula.

    Unfortunately, primacy has largely failed to deliver what must be the first, second, and third priorities for any grand strategy: the satisfaction of national interests, foremost among them America's safety. Rather than peace and security, primacy has brought about questionable military interventions and wars of choice in Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans (twice), Iraq (three times, depending on how you count), Libya, and Syria. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the deaths of almost 7,000 American troops, the wounding of tens of thousands more, and the filing of disability claims by nearly a million veterans. Rather than protecting the conditions of our prosperity, primacy has cost Americans dearly, with the annual defense budget now set to rise to around $600 billion and the Iraq War alone wasting trillions of dollars. As for our values, the U.S. approach has placed our nation in the uncomfortable position of defending illiberal regimes abroad, stained our reputation for the rule of law with Guantanamo and drone campaigns, and sacrificed the Constitutional authority of Congress.

    Is it any wonder that more and more Americans question whether our foreign policy is working? Or that more and more Washington elites, though still a minority, are becoming dissatisfied with the status quo? Such challengers seek to reform the military budget and force structure to make them consistent with our real security needs. They also want to reduce ally free-riding and make sure that the full range of possible costs and consequences of our actions abroad get a more serious hearing so that we, in the immortal words of President Obama, "Don't do stupid shit."

    And yet Robert Lieber, in his slender new book Retreat and Its Consequences , thinks those who seek an alternative approach are dangerously misled. He sees any sign of realism and restraint-real, anticipated, or imagined-as a retreat with far-reaching negative implications. Lieber, a professor of government and international affairs at Georgetown University, instead makes the case for doubling down on primacy and against the U.S. playing a "reduced" role in the world. He does so mainly by attempting to show the negative consequences of the Obama administration's supposed retrenchment while arguing for the importance of aggressive American global leadership.

    Unfortunately for the primacist cause, Retreat and Its Consequences is not a satisfactory rejoinder to its challengers. Lieber is unconvincing in both his indictment of opposing views and his case for deep engagement. The book frequently reads like a rehashing of attacks we've heard high and low since Bush departed office, from scholars like Peter Feaver of Duke University to the Beltway neoconservatives to the fear-mongering talking heads on cable news. More importantly, it trots out a deeply flawed argument that the United States under Obama is actually in retreat and shedding its global leadership.

    ♦♦♦

    Retreat and Its Consequences is the last book of Lieber's informal trilogy on recent U.S. foreign policy. In the first book in the series, The American Era (2005), Lieber argued in favor of the United States continuing in the post-9/11 era to lead the world through a grand strategy of "preponderance" and "active engagement." He claimed that such an approach would dovetail with the realities of that changed world, to the benefit of U.S. security and the international order alike. The next book, Power and Willpower in the American Future (2012), challenged the declinist perspective and made the case for why the U.S. could still exert global leadership despite facing a number of different challenges.

    Lieber begins this third book, Retreat and Its Consequences , by claiming that America's long-standing active engagement in global affairs has been increasingly questioned at home and that the U.S. has recently been retrenching and pulling back from its traditional leadership role. He describes this retrenchment in theory and practice, then briefly (and in more detail later in the book) paints a picture of a world gone bad as a consequence of this alleged retreat. He hangs most of his indictment on President Obama's foreign-policy approach, which Lieber claims reflects "a clear preference for reducing U.S. power and presence abroad" as well as "a deep skepticism about the use of force" and "a de-emphasis on relationships with allies."

    The middle section of the book provides chapter-long discussions of U.S. foreign relations with Europe, the Middle East, and the BRICS countries. In the Europe chapter, Lieber argues that our critical relationship with our European allies is suffering. He claims that the "Atlantic partnership has weakened as the United States has downplayed its European commitments and Europeans themselves have become less capable and more inclined to hedge their bets." The latter is due to Europe's own internal woes, including economic problems, military weakness (as well as growing pacifism), demographic challenges, and problems with the EU. The other half of the problem he lays, as is typical in this book, at the Obama administration's doorstep due to its de-emphasis on Europe and its weak behavior towards Putin's Russia.

    As for the Middle East, Lieber claims that the region and U.S. national interests there are suffering due to Obama's flawed retrenchment and disengagement strategy. Indeed, Lieber argues that Obama's transformative moves, only lightly described, have "contributed to the making of a more dangerous and unstable Middle East." He also discusses U.S. interests and history in the region, the sources of Middle East instability, and the "unexpected consequences" of the Iraq War-the rise of ISIS and Iran.

    Lieber's main point regarding the BRICS is that these countries have not helped and will not be able to help sustain the current global order. Indeed, he thinks these states have their own different priorities and, to the extent they benefit from the current system, will try to free ride as much as possible. Lieber uses these cases as still more reasons why the U.S. cannot disengage from its global leadership role even as economic power continues to diffuse.

    In the penultimate chapter, Lieber returns to his allegation that the U.S. has been retreating from the world and our leadership role-and tries to show that it has had dangerous consequences. In the process, he discusses U.S. policies toward Russia, China, Iraq and Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, and Cuba. In all these cases, Lieber finds evidence of failure and worsening conditions due to Obama's retrenchment and his aversion to using American power. He also claims that the Obama administration has cut our military while failing to provide a focused articulation of what goals it needs to meet.

    Lieber ends by returning to the theme of Power and Willpower in the American Future , namely that the U.S., despite its challenges, still has the capacity to pursue an active hegemonic grand strategy. He takes issue with the declinists and argues yet again that the U.S. ought to lead the world; otherwise, it "is likely to become a more disorderly and dangerous place, with mounting threats not only to world order and economic prosperity, but to its own national interests and homeland security."

    ♦♦♦

    Lieber's book isn't without its lucid moments. First, he is on sound footing when he notes that the BRICS are not fully committed to the current American-led international order. Furthermore, he is also right about the need for our European allies to increase their own capabilities-though one wishes he had paused to consider how this is an unsurprising result of U.S. security guarantees that incentivize free-riding.

    Second, Lieber also helpfully challenges the declinist view prevalent in some circles. The United States certainly has its challenges, with staggering debt and deficits, not to mention a stifling regulatory regime. But the U.S. continues to enjoy many strengths and advantages, especially relative to the other near-great powers in the system. (And in international politics, it is relative power that matters most.) Yet while Lieber gets the condition of the patient right in this instance, the good doctor does not convincingly argue for the necessity of his preferred prescription. That the U.S. may not be in relative decline or in as much future trouble as some might claim does not imply that the U.S. should continue to follow primacy. Rather, one could argue that it is precisely because of some of our continued advantages that his grand strategy is not required. When discussing the BRICS, Lieber admits that China suffers from some grave problems that may prevent it from becoming a serious challenger to American dominance. This raises the question of why the United States must do-and risk-so much to ensure our security or that of our allies in Asia.

    Despite these positives, Retreat and Its Consequences and the overarching approach that has guided Lieber's policy views for so long suffer from a number of critical flaws. Most importantly, the argument of the book is simply based on a mistaken and endlessly repeated premise that the United States has significantly retreated from the world and that this has been a key source of so many problems in it. Basically, Lieber, as we've heard so often from others, is arguing that the administration has pursued restraint, the world has gone to hell, restraint is responsible for our woes-and thus we must return to primacy. Admittedly, Obama, especially in his second term, has exercised greater discretion in how he has managed our global engagement and leadership. And he may in his heart of hearts have some sympathy with those who have counseled greater realism. But neither make for a policy of retreat.

    Indeed, the United States under Obama has continued to pursue a variant of primacy despite what Lieber and others keep saying in their critiques. The United States is still committed to defending over 60 other countries and commanding the global commons. It still has a forward-deployed military living on a globe-girdling network of hundreds of military bases. In fact, it has recently sent more troops and equipment to Iraq, Eastern Europe, and even Australia. The United States still enjoys the world's strongest military force, costing taxpayers around $600 billion a year. This sum represents nearly a third of all global spending and is equal to that of at least the next 10 countries combined. Its nearest competitor, China, spends far less, about $150 billion.

    And during the Obama years, the United States surged forces in Afghanistan, fought a war against Libya that led to regime change, re-entered Iraq and engaged (even if tepidly) in Syria, supported Saudi Arabia's dubious fight in Yemen, continued to conduct drone strikes abroad, became unprofitably enmeshed diplomatically in Ukraine's troubles, and continued to exert its power and influence in Asia. And just recently the U.S. again bombed targets in Libya. Retreat, you say?

    Finally, Lieber's claim that disengagement and retrenchment is to blame for problems in the greater Middle East is rich given how the primacist approach he favors was to a great extent responsible for the problems in the first place. The degree of disarray in Libya and the consequences of it have flowed directly from the U.S.'s decision to go to war against Gaddafi and to pursue regime change. There is little need to note how disastrous the Iraq War was for the region and American interests-and how Iraq continues to be a source of trouble that the U.S. is ill-suited to resolve. It is especially noteworthy that the relative increase of Iranian influence Lieber bemoans was an entirely predictable result of that short-sighted campaign. And we haven't likely seen all of the poisonous fruit from what is happening in Yemen. In short, Lieber and his fellow primacists have advocated for policies in the Middle East-including the war in Iraq-that are a big part of the problem, not the solution.

    Our country needs challenges and alternatives to the status quo rather than boilerplate justifications of the policies that have failed to make us safer over the past 25 years. Regardless of what Lieber would have us believe, President Obama's grand strategy has remained firmly planted within the confines of the Washington consensus and does not represent a retreat. One could only imagine what Lieber would think of a policy that truly hewed more closely to the advice of our Founders.

    William Ruger is the vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute.

    [Sep 14, 2016] Hillary Is Not Sorry

    Clinton is neither well-liked nor trusted. She is just a marionette promoted by neocon cabal. Sanders team has a point that Clinton is like the job candidate wit the impressive resume who sounds great on paper, but then when you meet her in person, you realize she's not he right person for the job.
    Notable quotes:
    "... She has never acknowledged, maybe even to herself, that routing diplomatic emails with classified information through a homebrew server was an outrageous, reckless and foolish thing to do, and disloyal to Obama, whose administration put in place rules for record-keeping that she flouted. ..."
    "... And Hillary did not merely fail the ask the right questions. The questions were asked and the answers were given. Joe Biden, Robert Gates and much of the military and intelligence communities advised against the Libya intervention. Hillary just chose to ignore the advice, because she is a radical neoconservative at heart. ..."
    "... She volunteered that that the United States should continue to "look for missions" that NATO will support ..."
    "... She vows to go around looking for new military adventures. ..."
    "... Maureen is right that Hillary has huge character problems. Sure, she can't admit mistakes and compulsively blames others when things go wrong. That's a given. But it's not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that she will take our country down the wrong path, both in terms of domestic and foreign policy. ..."
    "... She has had 40-some years to develop this kind of judgment, imagination and long term reflection, and she has proudly, aggressively, mean-spiritedly run the opposite direction every time and viciously attacked anyone who called her on it. It's time to stop this game of "wondering" whether she can change, wondering whether all of these terrible moments were "the real Hillary" or not. They were. Voting someone in as President on the hope that they will be a completely different person once in office then they have been in 40 years is the definition of insanity. ..."
    "... it's about her paranoia about secrecy that made her think she could get away with a private email server in one of the nation's most high-profile jobs, or taking huge sums of money for Wall Street speeches she now refuses to release, or doubling-down on her ill-considered, if not ill-informed (as you note), hawkish regime change views by advocating for it again in Libya that has, as a result, turned into an ISIS outpost. ..."
    "... Clinton did herself no favors in the debate, drawing even more attention to her dependence on that money and the impossibility of being completely free to make policy without repaying debts. ..."
    "... They don't, but it is telling that Bill said that. His chosen exaggeration displays who he sees as Hillary's side in this. When he says, "they are coming for us" he means Wall Street. ..."
    "... "Clinton, who talked Obama into it" on Libya and claimed credit, but when it went poorly, she blamed Obama for listening to her, "On Libya, she noted that "the decision was the president's."" That is her claim to experience, and not something we ought to vote to experience again. ..."
    "... Hillary is a self-serving, power hungry politician. She is only ever sorry if she fails to get what she wants, or is forced to explain her actions. She feels she is above "the masses." As for her qualifications, job titles alone don't cut it. What did she actually accomplish as a Senator or SecState? Any major laws? Treaties? No. She failed with Russia, Syria and Libya to name just a few. She is not qualified to be president based on qualifications and personality. ..."
    Apr 16, 2016 | The New York Times

    ... Clinton sowed suspicion again, refusing to cough up her Wall Street speech transcripts.

    ... ... ...

    Hillary alternately tried to blame and hug the men in her life, divvying up credit in a self-serving way.

    After showing some remorse for the 1994 crime bill, saying it had had "unintended" consequences, she stressed that her husband "was the president who actually signed it." On Libya, she noted that "the decision was the president's." And on her desire to train and arm Syrian rebels, she recalled, "The president said no."

    But she wrapped herself in President Obama's record on climate change and, when criticized on her "super PACs," said, well, Obama did it, too.

    Sanders accused her of pandering to Israel after she said that "if Yasir Arafat had agreed with my husband at Camp David," there would have been a Palestinian state for 15 years.

    Bernie is right that Hillary's judgment has often been faulty.

    She has shown an unwillingness to be introspective and learn from her mistakes. From health care to Iraq to the email server, she only apologizes at the point of a gun. And even then, she leaves the impression that she is merely sorry to be facing criticism, not that she miscalculated in the first place.

    ... ... ...

    She has never acknowledged, maybe even to herself, that routing diplomatic emails with classified information through a homebrew server was an outrageous, reckless and foolish thing to do, and disloyal to Obama, whose administration put in place rules for record-keeping that she flouted.

    Advertisement Continue reading the main story Wouldn't it be a relief to people if Hillary just acknowledged some mistakes?

    ... ... ...

    Clinton accused Sanders of not doing his homework on how he would break up the banks. And she is the queen of homework, always impressively well versed in meetings. But that is what makes her failure to read the National Intelligence Estimate that raised doubts about whether Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. so egregious.

    P. Greenberg El Cerrito, CA

    Maureen Dowd fundamentally misunderstands Hillary Clinton's foreign policy failings. When it comes to Libya, Clinton does not merely need to apologize for getting distracted by other global issues and "taking her eye off the ball". The decision to go in was wrong, not the failure to follow through.

    And Hillary did not merely fail the ask the right questions. The questions were asked and the answers were given. Joe Biden, Robert Gates and much of the military and intelligence communities advised against the Libya intervention. Hillary just chose to ignore the advice, because she is a radical neoconservative at heart.

    Clinton continues to adhere to the neoconservative approach to foreign policy. Her choice of words during the Brooklyn debate were significant. She volunteered that that the United States should continue to "look for missions" that NATO will support. That says it all. She vows to go around looking for new military adventures.

    Maureen is right that Hillary has huge character problems. Sure, she can't admit mistakes and compulsively blames others when things go wrong. That's a given. But it's not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that she will take our country down the wrong path, both in terms of domestic and foreign policy.

    And please Maureen, stop denigrating Bernie Sanders with pejorative adjectives and vague accusations. He has held elective office for 35 years, showing leadership and good judgment and good values.

    Brett Morris California,

    She has had 40-some years to develop this kind of judgment, imagination and long term reflection, and she has proudly, aggressively, mean-spiritedly run the opposite direction every time and viciously attacked anyone who called her on it. It's time to stop this game of "wondering" whether she can change, wondering whether all of these terrible moments were "the real Hillary" or not. They were. Voting someone in as President on the hope that they will be a completely different person once in office then they have been in 40 years is the definition of insanity.

    That said, of course she is better than the republicans. But she is the worst possible candidate for the Democratic Party, especially in this era where we have a serious opportunity to turn away from Reagan's Overton Window. And right now we actually have a candidate available who represents our best ideas. Can't we just ditch her while we have the chance? If she gets elected, more war is absolutely guaranteed. A one-term Presidency is also highly likely, because nobody will be on her side. She loses trust and support the more she exposes herself, every time.

    Paul Long island

    I agree when you say of Hillary Clinton, "She has shown an unwillingness to be introspective and learn from her mistakes." That is only part of her problem because her judgment seems always wrong, despite all the "listening tours," whether it's about her paranoia about secrecy that made her think she could get away with a private email server in one of the nation's most high-profile jobs, or taking huge sums of money for Wall Street speeches she now refuses to release, or doubling-down on her ill-considered, if not ill-informed (as you note), hawkish regime change views by advocating for it again in Libya that has, as a result, turned into an ISIS outpost. To say she's "sorry" would only confirm her consistently bad judgment since she has so much to be sorry about. So, what we have instead is a very "sorry" candidate who, despite her resume and establishment backing, is having immense trouble overcoming "a choleric 74-year-old democratic socialist" and will have an even harder time if she's the Democratic nominee in November.

    Rima Regas is a trusted commenter Mission Viejo, CA

    Hillary isn't sorry. Bill is definitely not sorry. Bernie Sanders isn't a senator with few accomplishments.

    Hillary isn't sorry about anything. She hasn't apologized for the superpredator comment. Saying she wouldn't say it now is hardly an apology and during Thursday's debate, she talked about her husband apologizing for it instead of talking about herself (since that was what she was being asked to do), when Bill has yet to apologize. (Clips here: http://wp.me/p2KJ3H-2bw) If anything, he doubled down on defending her and himself. When it comes to mass-incarceration, they both exhibit a kind of moral absenteeism. http://wp.me/p2KJ3H-2b7

    On money in politics, Clinton did herself no favors in the debate, drawing even more attention to her dependence on that money and the impossibility of being completely free to make policy without repaying debts. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was no help to her this week when in an answer, she included big money in the "Big Tent" that the democratic party is supposed to be. http://wp.me/p2KJ3H-2bO

    During his entire tenure in both houses of Congress, Sanders has distinguished himself as one who can work with the other side, propose legislation gets things done through amendments. There is a yuuuge difference in approach between Clinton and Sanders and the willingness to trust Sanders over Clinton. When the choice in front of Americans becomes Trump versus Clinton or Sanders, Sanders wins by a wider margin. Sanders will take more from Trump.

    Mark Thomason is a trusted commenter Clawson, Mich

    So Bill claimed Bernie supporters think, "Just shoot every third person on Wall Street and everything will be fine."

    They don't, but it is telling that Bill said that. His chosen exaggeration displays who he sees as Hillary's side in this. When he says, "they are coming for us" he means Wall Street.

    "Clinton, who talked Obama into it" on Libya and claimed credit, but when it went poorly, she blamed Obama for listening to her, "On Libya, she noted that "the decision was the president's.""

    That is her claim to experience, and not something we ought to vote to experience again.

    That is important, because she still wants to sink us deeper into it. Her own adviser on this says, Hillary "does not see the Libya intervention as a failure, but as a work in progress."

    "Like other decisions, it was put through a political filter and a paranoid mind-set." That is the essence of what makes Hillary so dangerous in a responsible office. From Iraq in the beginning to Libya now, the homework lady did all her work and then saw the wrong things and got it wrong.

    Joe Pike Gotham City

    Hillary is a self-serving, power hungry politician. She is only ever sorry if she fails to get what she wants, or is forced to explain her actions. She feels she is above "the masses." As for her qualifications, job titles alone don't cut it. What did she actually accomplish as a Senator or SecState? Any major laws? Treaties? No. She failed with Russia, Syria and Libya to name just a few. She is not qualified to be president based on qualifications and personality.

    [Sep 14, 2016] The Veeps on War They are both hawkish

    Notable quotes:
    "... So what of Trump and Clinton's vice-presidential picks? For starters, they are both hawkish. ..."
    Sep 14, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
    By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos September 14, 2016

    According to evolving campaign lore, Donald Trump's son called failed Republican candidate John Kasich ahead of Trump's VP pick in July and told him he could be "the most powerful vice president" ever-in charge of foreign policy, and domestic too-if he agreed to come on board.

    While Trump's people have denied such a lavish entreaty ever occurred, it has become a powerful political meme: the Republican nominee's lack of experience would force him to default to others, particularly on the international front, which is a never-ending series of flash points dotting Europe, Asia, and the Middle East like a child's Lite Brite.

    On the Democratic side there is no such concern-Hillary Clinton has plenty of experience as a senator and secretary of state, and was a "two-for-one" first lady who not only took part (unsuccessfully) in the domestic health-care debate, but passionately advocated (successfully) for the bombing campaigns in Bosnia and Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

    So what of Trump and Clinton's vice-presidential picks? For starters, they are both hawkish.

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was an apt pupil of Bush and Cheney during the neoconservative years, voting for the Iraq War in 2002 and serving as one of David Petraeus's cheerleaders in favor of the 2007 surge. He has since supported every intervention his fellow Republicans did, even giving early praise to Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration for the 2011 intervention in Libya.

    On the other side, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is as far from the Bernie Sanders mold as they come: a centrist Democrat who supports a muscular, liberal-interventionist foreign policy, and who has been pushing for greater intervention in Syria, just like Hillary Clinton.

    If veeps do matter-and as we saw with Dick Cheney , in many ways they can, bigtime-the non-interventionists can expect nothing but the status quo when it comes to war policy and the war machine at home for the next four years. Under the right conditions, Pence would help drag Trump to the right on war and defense, and Kaine would do nothing but bolster Clinton's already hawkish views on a host of issues, including those involving Syria, Russia, the Middle East, and China.

    If anything, Pence could end up having more influence in the White House, said Bonnie Kristian, a writer and fellow at Defense Priorities , in an interview with TAC . "With these two campaigns, I would predict that Pence would have more of a chance of playing a bigger role [in the presidency] than Tim Kaine does," she offered. Pence could bring to bear a dozen years of experience as a pro-war congressman, including two years on the foreign-affairs committee. "He's been a pretty typical Republican on foreign policy and has a lot of neoconservative impulses. I don't think we could expect anything different," she added.

    For his part, Trump "has been all over the place" on foreign policy, she said, and while his talk about restraint and Iraq being a failure appeals to her and others who would like to see America's overseas operations scaled back, his bench of close advisors is not encouraging. Walid Phares , Gen. Michael Flynn , Chris Christie , Rudy Giuliani : along with Pence, all could fit like neat little pieces into the Bush-administration puzzle circa 2003, and none has ever expressed the same disregard for the Bush and Obama war policies as Trump has on the campaign trail.

    "On one hand, [Trump] has referred to the war in Iraq and regime change as bad and nation-building as bad, but at the same time he has no ideological grounding," said Jack Hunter, politics editor at Rare . If Trump leaves the policymaking up to others, including Pence, "that doesn't bode well for those who think the last Republican administration was too hawkish and did not exhibit restraint."

    Pence, Kristian reminds us , gave a speech just last year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in which he called for a massive increase in military spending. "It is imperative that conservatives again embrace America's role as leader of the free world and the arsenal of democracy," Pence said, predicting then that 2016 would be a "foreign-policy election."

    "He embraces wholeheartedly a future in which America polices the world-forever-refusing to reorient our foreign policy away from nation-building and toward restraint, diplomacy and free trade to ensure U.S. security," Kristian wrote in The Hill back when Pence accepted his place on the Trump ticket in July. Since then, he has muted his support for Iraq (Trump has said Pence's 2003 vote doesn't matter, even calling it "a mistake" ). Clearly the two men prefer to meet on the issue of Islamic threats and the promise of "rebuilding the military," areas where they have been equally enthusiastic.

    Meanwhile, former Bernie Sanders supporters should be rather underwhelmed with Kaine on national-security policy. On one hand, writers rush to point out that Kaine split with President Obama and Hillary Clinton just a few years ago, arguing the administration could not continue to use the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He also proposed legislation with Sen. John McCain to update the War Powers Act; the bill would have required the president to consult with Congress when starting a war, and Congress to vote on any war within seven days of military action. That would tighten the constitutional responsibilities of both branches, the senators said in 2013.

    On the War Powers Act, Kaine gets points with constitutionalists like University of Texas law professor Steven Vladeck, who said Kaine's effort "recognizes, as we all should, the broader problems with the War Powers Resolution as currently written-and with the contemporary separation of war powers between Congress and the executive branch." But on the issue of the AUMF, Vladeck and others have not been so keen on Kaine.

    Kaine has made two proposals relating to the AUMF, and both would leave the door open to extended overseas military combat operations-including air strikes, raids, and assassinations-without a specific declaration of war. The first directs the president to modify or repeal the 2001 AUMF "by September 2017"; the second, authored with Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, keeps the 2001 AUMF but updates the 2002 AUMF used to attack Iraq to include ISIS.

    As Rosa Brooks said in 2013 :

    A revised AUMF is likely to do precisely what the Bush administration sought to do in the run-up to the Iraq War: codify a dangerous unilateral theory of preemptive war, and provide a veneer of legality for an open-ended conflict against an endlessly expanding list of targets.

    While he might be applauded for trying to strengthen "the rule of law on foreign policy," said Kristian, it's not clear he wants to do it "to scale back these interventions." As a member of both the armed-services and foreign-relations committees, he has already argued for greater intervention in Syria, calling for "humanitarian zones"-which, like "no-fly zones" and "no-bombing zones," mean the U.S. better be ready to tangle with the Syrian president and Russia as well as ISIS.

    Plus, when Kaine was running for his Senate seat in 2011, and Obama-with Clinton's urging-was in the midst of a coalition bombing campaign in Libya, Kaine was much more noncommittal when it came to the War Powers Act, saying Obama had a "good rationale" for going in. When asked if he believed the War Powers Act legally bound the president to get congressional approval to continue operations there, he said, "I'm not a lawyer on that."

    If anything, Kaine will serve as a reliable backup to a president who is perfectly willing to use military force to promote "democracy" overseas. He neither softens Clinton's edges on military and war, nor is necessary to sharpen them. "Does Tim Kaine change [any dynamic]? I don't think so," said Hunter, adding, "I can't imagine he is as hawkish as her on foreign policy-she is the worst of the worst."

    So when it comes to veep picks, the value is in the eye of the beholder. "If you are a conservative and you don't think Trump is hawkish enough, you will like it that Pence is there," notes Hunter. On the other hand, if you like Trump's attitude on the messes overseas-preferring diplomacy over destruction, as he said in his speech Wednesday -Pence might make you think twice, added Kristian. "I'm not sure Pence is going to further those inclinations, if indeed they do exist."

    To make it more complicated, the American public is unsure how it wants to proceed overseas anyway. While a majority favor airstrikes and sending in special-operations groups to fight ISIS in Syria, only a minority want to insert combat troops or even fund anti-Assad groups, according to an August poll . A slim majority-52 percent-want to establish no-fly zones. Yet only 31 percent want to to see a deal that would keep Bashar Assad in power.

    A tall order for any White House.

    Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance reporter.

    [Sep 14, 2016] Obama's Futile Efforts at 'Reassuring' Bad Clients

    Notable quotes:
    "... Obama has showered both Israel and Saudi Arabia with aid and weapons for years, and in practical terms he has been one of the most reliable supporters of both governments, but no matter how much he does for these clients neither they nor their supporters here in the U.S. are satisfied. However much Obama supports both clients, the recipient governments still believe that he is too hard on them, neglects them, and works against their interests. Since they know that Obama responds to each new complaint with another round of "reassurance," they have every incentive to complain and feign outrage about how they are treated in the knowledge that the more they whine the more they will gain. ..."
    "... Obama can try as much as he likes to demonstrate just how conventionally "pro-Israel" he is (and always has been), but there will never be any pleasing those detractors that are (absurdly) convinced that he is ideologically hostile to Israel. ..."
    Sep 13, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
    The U.S. is preparing to increase the amount of aid it provides to yet another wealthy client:

    President Barack Obama will unveil on Wednesday a massive new military aid package for Israel, one which - at a reported $38 billion over 10 years - would be the largest such deal in U.S. history.

    But is it enough to buy Obama the love of his fiercest pro-Israel critics?

    Not a chance.

    Obama has showered both Israel and Saudi Arabia with aid and weapons for years, and in practical terms he has been one of the most reliable supporters of both governments, but no matter how much he does for these clients neither they nor their supporters here in the U.S. are satisfied. However much Obama supports both clients, the recipient governments still believe that he is too hard on them, neglects them, and works against their interests. Since they know that Obama responds to each new complaint with another round of "reassurance," they have every incentive to complain and feign outrage about how they are treated in the knowledge that the more they whine the more they will gain.

    It is also a fact that many of Obama's "pro-Israel" critics have never accepted and will never accept that he is actually "pro-Israel" as they are, and so they dismiss anything he does as a trick, a bribe, or an insult. Obama can try as much as he likes to demonstrate just how conventionally "pro-Israel" he is (and always has been), but there will never be any pleasing those detractors that are (absurdly) convinced that he is ideologically hostile to Israel. The same goes for hawks that take it for granted that Obama supposedly neglects and abandons "allies" elsewhere in the region. There is nothing Obama can to make them believe that he doesn't do this, but that doesn't seem to stop him from frittering away more resources to placate governments that do little or nothing for the U.S.

    [Sep 14, 2016] WaPo neocons Russians poison Hillary dezo is a sign of necons desperation

    Notable quotes:
    "... Nevertheless, the ludicrous Washington Post, beloved rag of the neocons who have now flocked to Clinton's campaign, have seen fit to run the story above, which has even less evidential backing than the typical Enquirer or Prison Planet piece. ..."
    "... I don't care about Clinton's swoon and its various medical causes. ..."
    "... What I do care about is that the Washington Post is publishing crackpot paranoid conspiracy theories with potentially dangerous foreign policy consequences. ..."
    Sep 13, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Dan Kervick said...
    Yesterday, I sardonically commented here that I was surprised the Putin-paranoid Clintonites had not tried blaming Putin for Hillary Clinton's pneumonia.

    Little did I know that Putimonia theory was already out there!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/09/12/the-man-who-discovered-cte-thinks-hillary-clinton-may-have-been-poisoned/

    The sad, sad, sad continuing decline of the American mind.

    Dan Kervick said in reply to pgl...

    It was 80 degrees. There have been many far hotter days here in the northeast this summer. Clinton didn't pass out because it was hot and humid. She passed out because she has pneumonia. It happens; people get sick.

    Nevertheless, the ludicrous Washington Post, beloved rag of the neocons who have now flocked to Clinton's campaign, have seen fit to run the story above, which has even less evidential backing than the typical Enquirer or Prison Planet piece.

    America has jumped the shark. You fools will have to launch WW III on the strength of your own votes, since you won't have mine.

    Dan Kervick -> DeDude...

    I don't care about Clinton's swoon and its various medical causes.

    What I do care about is that the Washington Post is publishing crackpot paranoid conspiracy theories with potentially dangerous foreign policy consequences.

    DeDude said in reply to Dan Kervick...

    "potentially dangerous foreign policy consequences"

    Hmmmmm - are we a little overheated this morning? May I suggest sitting down and drinking some gatorade.

    Dan Kervick said in reply to DeDude...

    It is indeed dangerous when one of the most prominent newspapers in America floats a cuckoo conspiracy theory - without even a tiny shred of evidence - to the effect that a prominent foreign leader might have poisoned a presidential candidate.

    Democrats are now plunging en masse down these various rabbit holes because they see a short-term political edge in them, and because their anxiety.

    Partisanship is a terrible mental illness. It makes previously sane people lose their bearings.

    DeDude said in reply to Dan Kervick...

    Omalu was previously sane???? Must have been before my time. Seriously Dan - Gatorade!!!

    Dan Kervick said in reply to DeDude...

    I'm talking about you people. Also, the editors of the Washington Post.

    If you think that Omalu is not sane then don't you agree it is irresponsible to publish his ravings?

    [Sep 14, 2016] Why Russia is Discrediting American Democracy

    Notable quotes:
    "... Washington Post ..."
    Sep 14, 2016 | nationalinterest.org

    According to a front-page story in the Washington Post , U.S. agencies are investigating what they perceive as "a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions". The story is vague and short on details.

    ... ... ...

    One of several unfortunate truths regarding the weakening integrity of American democracy involves the destruction of campaign finance laws and making electoral outcomes reflect the wallets of a few at least as much as the minds of many. Another unattractive and undemocratic element is the extensive gerrymandering in which both major parties indulge, thereby subordinating popular will to the crude power of incumbency. Even more of an affront to democracy in the last few years has been the blatant use of legislative power at the state level by members of one party to impede the ability of followers of the other party to exercise their right to vote, with the rationale for this power play being prevention of a form of voter fraud that has been so rare as to be almost nonexistent. American democracy is looking less and less distinct from the rickety versions of democracy in much of the less developed world, in which the bending of rules by incumbents to frustrate challenges to their rule is common.

    Most recently we have the presidential nominee of one major party, Donald Trump, declaring preemptively that if he loses it will be because the process was rigged. This also sounds a lot like many of those unstable political systems that purport to be democracies, and in which non-acceptance of electoral results is common. (See Gabon for a recent example .)

    American democracy is less of a shining, distinctive exemplar of political fairness and popular sovereignty than it once was...

    Meanwhile, Norman Birnbaum has good advice for Hillary Clinton in urging her "to shelve her devotion to extending democracy to the rest of the world to concentrate on rescuing it for ourselves."

    [Sep 13, 2016] Bill Black The Clintons Have Not Changed

    Notable quotes:
    "... She was a horrible secretary of state. Explain to me why the US had to ruin a harmless country like Libya. ..."
    "... "Among the principal concerns in Washington, London and Paris were the increasing Chinese and Russian economic interests in Libya and more generally Africa as a whole. China had developed $6.6 billion in bilateral trade, mainly in oil, while some 30,000 Chinese workers were employed in a wide range of infrastructure projects. Russia, meanwhile, had developed extensive oil deals, billions of dollars in arms sales and a $3 billion project to link Sirte and Benghazi by rail. There were also discussions on providing the Russian navy with a Mediterranean port near Benghazi. ..."
    "... Gaddafi had provoked the ire of the government of Nicolas Sarkozy in France with his hostility to its scheme for creating a Mediterranean Union, aimed at refurbishing French influence in the country's former colonies and beyond. ..."
    "... Moreover, major US and Western European energy conglomerates increasingly chafed at what they saw as tough contract terms demanded by the Gaddafi government, as well as the threat that the Russian oil company Gazprom would be given a big stake in the exploitation of the country's reserves" ..."
    "... History shows that what flows in Hillary's political veins is new Democrat, Rubinite, Peterson, Wall Street dominated blood. ..."
    "... Clinton, then Bush, and now Obama have increasingly shielded their official actions from the public. And what should be obvious to anyone paying attention is that they are doing so to hide their actions from a public that would object, because at a minimum, they are unethical, or because they are illegal. ..."
    "... Nothing, absolutely nothing, in Hillary's past offers any a glimmer of anything different. Democracy requires transparency so that the public is properly informed and has oversight with which to hold people accountable. Obama promised to have the most transparent administration in history. He lied. Nothing she says today suggests Hillary would change this, and her past points to her making it worse. ..."
    "... I do not know how old you are but younger Bernie supporters will not vote for Killary Clinton. I do not know any people under 30 that will vote for Clinton. ..."
    "... Clinton's only path to victory in the General is to carry southern states that the Democrats always lose. She is going to get killed in the Rust Belt. Trump knows how to talk to disgruntled white voters. The only one who will stop him is Bernie since they are going after the same voter. ..."
    Mar 04, 2016 | naked capitalism

    Secretary Hillary Clinton is asking Democratic voters to believe that she has experienced a "Road to Damascus" conversion from her roots as a leader of the "New Democrats" – the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party.

    ... ... ...

    Hillary and Obama made sure that they did not even have to risk their "lap dog" developing a spine. No IG was their ideal world.

    ...The idea that the State Department IG, appointed by President Obama, is "partisan" in the sense of being "anti-Clinton" is facially bizarre in that Obama is a strong supporter of Hillary.

    EndOfTheWorld , March 4, 2016 at 4:03 am

    HRC is, and always has been, bad news. She shouldn't have even run for prez the first time. She was a horrible secretary of state. Explain to me why the US had to ruin a harmless country like Libya. I hope the indictment comes down very soon, so Bernie can just be presumed the Democratic nominee.

    Chris A , March 4, 2016 at 6:27 am

    From wsws.org:

    "Among the principal concerns in Washington, London and Paris were the increasing Chinese and Russian economic interests in Libya and more generally Africa as a whole. China had developed $6.6 billion in bilateral trade, mainly in oil, while some 30,000 Chinese workers were employed in a wide range of infrastructure projects. Russia, meanwhile, had developed extensive oil deals, billions of dollars in arms sales and a $3 billion project to link Sirte and Benghazi by rail. There were also discussions on providing the Russian navy with a Mediterranean port near Benghazi.

    Gaddafi had provoked the ire of the government of Nicolas Sarkozy in France with his hostility to its scheme for creating a Mediterranean Union, aimed at refurbishing French influence in the country's former colonies and beyond.

    Moreover, major US and Western European energy conglomerates increasingly chafed at what they saw as tough contract terms demanded by the Gaddafi government, as well as the threat that the Russian oil company Gazprom would be given a big stake in the exploitation of the country's reserves"

    From Bill Van Auken/Wsws.org

    RP , March 4, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Honduras isn't exactly a feather in her cap either

    KYrocky , March 4, 2016 at 9:19 am

    The past is prologue. History shows that what flows in Hillary's political veins is new Democrat, Rubinite, Peterson, Wall Street dominated blood. I agreed with her when she spoke of a vast right wing conspiracy, as it was obvious to anyone paying attention, and I could understand the Clinton's defensive secrecy given the relentlessly personal assaults they were under. But I object to the epidemic of secrecy that has infested what should be the public sphere of our government.

    Clinton, then Bush, and now Obama have increasingly shielded their official actions from the public. And what should be obvious to anyone paying attention is that they are doing so to hide their actions from a public that would object, because at a minimum, they are unethical, or because they are illegal.

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, in Hillary's past offers any a glimmer of anything different. Democracy requires transparency so that the public is properly informed and has oversight with which to hold people accountable. Obama promised to have the most transparent administration in history. He lied. Nothing she says today suggests Hillary would change this, and her past points to her making it worse.

    MIchael C. , March 4, 2016 at 9:32 am

    The "unlikeability" factor of Hillary Clinton, and her husband Bill, grows ever deeper in the American public. She drips with a uncouth and meglomaniacal drive to be president. I am not sure she can win an election, even with many voters pulling the lever for her in fear of the greater evil. I am not sure she is the lesser evil, and I think others may feel the same way election time.

    Deloss Brown , March 4, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Mmmmmf it's hard not to think she's the lesser of two evils when she's running against a candidate who's openly deranged–and I can guarantee she will be running against such a one, even before the Republicans pick one to nominate. All of theirs are deranged. They had a "deep bench," and they were all deranged. If Hillary inspires a large number of voters–and I'm a Sanders fan, but apparently she does–maybe they'll all come out and vote a straight D ticket, which might help us in that Home for the Deranged which is our Congress. And I doubt that Hillary would nominate another Scalia, Alito or Thomas. She probably wouldn't know where to look, for one thing. Did I mention that I'm a Sanders fan?

    John , March 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Trump probably left of Clinton in many ways. Probably less corrupt.

    jrs , March 4, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    care to list all of Trumps left wing positions? single payer – nope he's not for that anymore, read his actual healthcare proposals. a few social issues like abortion? oh maybe but he keeps changing positions there as well (truthfully I don't' see these issues as really being right or left at all, but in the American political system they usually are seen that way) opposition to trade deals? … ok maybe that.

    I'm not sure Kasich is deranged, but he is a warmonger for sure, then so is Hillary. Rubio might not be deranged but he's a neocon and a neophyte.

    AnEducatedFool , March 4, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    I do not know how old you are but younger Bernie supporters will not vote for Killary Clinton. I do not know any people under 30 that will vote for Clinton. I attend a local community college (prepping for grad school) outside of Philadelphia in an area that Killary will easily carry thanks to a lot of older feminists that still use the feminist card to justify their vote.

    Clinton's only path to victory in the General is to carry southern states that the Democrats always lose. She is going to get killed in the Rust Belt. Trump knows how to talk to disgruntled white voters. The only one who will stop him is Bernie since they are going after the same voter.

    I do not know how she can win if she loses Ohio.

    perpetualWAR , March 4, 2016 at 11:03 am

    If the Democrats choose to give us Hillary, I will vote Republican.

    hreik , March 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    If the Democrats choose to give us Hillary, I'll write in Sanders.

    EndOfTheWorld , March 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    The Libertarians have their convention in July, and they might put up an interesting nominee. Could be Jesse Ventura or McAffee of net security and Belize escape fame. Ventura would be a good prez, in my opinion.

    AnEducatedFool , March 4, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Excellent article. I hope Sanders will offer Bill Black a job in his administration. I've noticed that Black was often on panels held by Sanders.

    EndOfTheWorld , March 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    That's where Bernie can really do some good. He can't snap his fingers and have medicare for all, but he can put in SEC heads, SecTreasury, and economic advisers that make sense, like Bill Black, yes, who put some bankers in jail after the S&L debacle under Reagan. Iceland put 13 bankers in jail recently. Here in the cowardly US they just pay a fine amounting to a small percentage of what they stole. No problem for them at all. Just a cost of doing business.

    [Sep 13, 2016] Neocon Kagan: Hillary Clinton Is One Of Us

    Notable quotes:
    "... In fact, HRC may be a better prospect for neocons, because they can distract the Dem base with how cool it is for a "strong woman" to send men into battle. Anyone opposed must be a misogynist/sexist pig. By contrast Jeb would be too obvious. ..."
    "... "There is no prospect of a non-interventionist president." ..."
    "... Exactly. Obama has certainly proved this to be true, for those who might've thought otherwise. And since it is true, if one is going to vote anyway, then the decision won't be made on the basis of not "wanting more wars with terrible outcomes." There will have to be another, different, deciding factor, since that factor would rule out Ms. Clinton AND every other candidate. ..."
    "... Yes, I have to second Lysander's view. People - both in and outside the US - must first disabuse themselves of ANY notion that the US is a democratic state, that "changes" in leadership will actually bring about ANY difference in foreign/domestic policy and that the American war criminal ship can be righted by the people utilizing the "democratic" mechanisms at their disposal. ..."
    "... Furthermore, after the Obama debacle and his utter betrayal etc of his supporters if anyone thinks someone in the American Establishment is looking out for their peon asses why then they probably also believe that the US was "surprised/caught off guard" - yet again - by ISIS et al in Iraq. ..."
    "... I wish Rand Paul had his fathers balls, but he doesnt. Ron was a Libertarian pretending to be a Republican, while Rand is a Republican pretending to be a Libertarian... Rand would be no different than any other Republican or Democratic establishment schmuck. ..."
    "... I never did like Ron Pauls economic policy, being left leaning, and I'm doubtful whether he would have actually accomplished anything useful as President, but his NonInterventionism was admirable and I was happy to put his name in in the Rethug primary in 2012 for that reason alone. ..."
    "... Mr. Kristol said he, too, sensed "more willingness to rethink" neoconservatism, which he called "vindicated to some degree" by the fruits of Mr. Obama's detached approach to Syria and Eastern Europe. Mr. Kagan, he said, gives historical heft to arguments "that are very consistent with the arguments I made, and he made, 20 years ago, 10 years ago." ..."
    "... After all the slaughter these people feel like crowing. They are clearly, as JSorrentine often reminds us, pyschopath butchers. ..."
    "... Incidentally, where is the outrage from Samantha Powers about the ISIS massacre in Tikrit? ..."
    "... Well, I guess the world just can't talk about how the amazingly rapid rise of ISIS/L and fall of Iraq completely continues the plans of the apartheid genocidal state of Israel's - and their traitorous Zionist partners in the American Establishment - as set out in the Yinon Plan and Clean Break strategies because - HOW FORTUITOUS...I mean, terribly sad and unexpected, sorry - some unlucky Israeli teenagers just happened to be "kidnapped" by "Hamas" just as the ISIS show was kicking off or so that's what the apartheid genocidal state of Israel is telling the world. ..."
    "... Shrillary wouldn't be where she is today if she wasn't criminally insane. I want her to become President. She'll redefine the meaning of Eerily Inept (a label coined by Gore Vidal and attached to G Dubya Bush). Her greatest moment was when Lavrov called her out on her RESET button and pointed out, with a chuckle, "You got it wrong. It doesn't say RESET it says SHORT CIRCUIT." ..."
    "... Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who argued in favor of arming Syrian rebels, said last week at an event in New York hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, "this is not just a Syrian problem anymore. I never thought it was just a Syrian problem. I thought it was a regional problem. ..."
    "... Why, even HILLARY is just SOOOO SURPRISED about people trying to erase boundaries, huh? Funny, she should have read further into yesterday's times where it seems that the Zionist mouthpiece of record was desperately trying to get "out in front" of anyone mentioning that the fracturing of Iraq and the ME was all part of long-time Israeli strategy: ..."
    "... In 2006, it was Ralph Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel turned columnist, who sketched a map that subdivided Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and envisioned Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite republics emerging from a no-longer-united Iraq. Two years later, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg imagined similar partings-of-the-ways, with new microstates -- an Alawite Republic, an Islamic Emirate of Gaza -- taking shape and Afghanistan splitting up as well. Last year, it was Robin Wright's turn in this newspaper, in a map that (keeping up with events) subdivided Libya as well. ..."
    "... As president she's da bomb! ..."
    "... Hillary is a loathsome war mongering bitch. She almost had a public orgasm when Libyan leader Quadaffi was tortured and murdered by US supported Libyan rebels. The muder of Chris Stevens was a case of what goes around comes around. ..."
    "... A point which nobody else has made as far as I know. To wit there is a big overlap between the banking and Israel lobbies since wealthy Jews account for a hugely disproportionate number of top financial movers and shakers. Anything that helps the financial industry also helps the war mongering Israel and neo con lobbies. The heavily Jewish Fed is another enabler of all that is wrong with America today. ..."
    "... I, also agree, with the possible exception of replacing the word "Zionist", with the word "Corporatist", although both can be rightly used. We'll still get the person the 1%ers want us to have. Ain't Oligarchies grand? ..."
    "... Hillary's election depends on two things still unknown: her health and whether the Republicans can manage to choose someone sufficiently batshit crazy to make her the best of abysmal alternatives. ..."
    "... HRH is a Neo Liberal of Arianne 'Sniff Sniff' Huffington's type, the 'Third Way Up Your Ass' of Globalist NAFTA/TPP Free Trade Neonazi destruction of labor and environmental protections, and in your face with NOOOOO apologies. ..."
    "... And Victoria Nuland indicates that she agrees with her husband Robert Kagan's criticism of Obama's foreign policy. ..."
    "... Would it be safe to say Hillary's White Trash ? ..."
    "... There are some really nice photographs of Hillary being very friendly with bearded famous Libyan Islamists (Gaddafi was still alive then). In combination with Benghazi - I think you probably can connect the people greeting Hillary with what happened there (and today's Iraq) I would not think she has a chance to convince with foreign policy. ..."
    "... 'You have a schism between Sunni and Shia throughout the region that is profound. Some of it is directed or abetted by states who are in contests for power there.'" Now, if only he had mentioned the states included and featured the (United) States and Israel. Obama...usually a day late and a dollar short and leading or retreating from behind. ..."
    "... I would rank Obama as the most cynical one. He is doing the dark colonial art. You can berate Bush for bombing Iraq (Obama did that with Libya, just as bad), but he did sink American manpower and treasure for all this futile nation building stuff, ie he tried to repair it. ..."
    "... Obama tried to double down on the nation building stuff in Afghanistan, even copying the "surge". He is still not out of Afghanistan. ..."
    "... He then tried to continue Bush's policy on the cheap, scrapping the nation building stuff and concentrating on shock and awe in Libya. When Russia put a stop to that in Syria he doubled down on the subversion supporting guerilla groups. He is now back in Iraq with allies supporting a "Sunni" insurrection by proxy. After a "color revolution" in Ukraine. ..."
    "... It is not "US foreign policy" but the policy of the british empire. If he was running a US foreign policy, he would at least sometimes do something positive for Americans, by accident if nothing more. ..."
    "... Economic policy to vote on? Are you joking? Whichever party we elect we get Neoliberalism anyway. ..."
    "... "That smile and her gloating about his death made me feel she was some sort of sociopath." Massinissa, you meant psychopath, didn't you? ..."
    Jun 16, 2014 | moonofalabama.org

    Here is the reason why Hillary Clinton should never ever become President of the United States.

    A (sympathetic) New York Times profile of neocon Robert Kagan has this on Clinton II:

    But Exhibit A for what Robert Kagan describes as his "mainstream" view of American force is his relationship with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who remains the vessel into which many interventionists are pouring their hopes. Mr. Kagan pointed out that he had recently attended a dinner of foreign-policy experts at which Mrs. Clinton was the guest of honor, and that he had served on her bipartisan group of foreign-policy heavy hitters at the State Department, where his wife worked as her spokeswoman.

    "I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy," Mr. Kagan said, adding that the next step after Mr. Obama's more realist approach "could theoretically be whatever Hillary brings to the table" if elected president. "If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue," he added, "it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else."

    Want more wars with terrible outcomes and no winner at all? Vote the neocon's vessel, Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton, by the way, is also a coward, unprincipled and greedy. Her achievements as Secretary of State were about zero. Why would anyone vote for her?

    Posted by b on June 16, 2014 at 09:09 AM | Permalink

    Lysander | Jun 16, 2014 9:44:15 AM | 4

    I'm afraid you focus too much on elections that have no meaning. It seems we may be cornered into choosing between HR Clinton and Jeb Bush. The latter, I'm sure, would earn equal praise from the Kagan clan. There is no prospect of a non-interventionist president. There is no prospect of a president that is not a Zionist stooge.

    In fact, HRC may be a better prospect for neocons, because they can distract the Dem base with how cool it is for a "strong woman" to send men into battle. Anyone opposed must be a misogynist/sexist pig. By contrast Jeb would be too obvious.

    dahoit | Jun 16, 2014 9:54:05 AM | 6

    Personally, I don't think she is anyone to worry about gaining the office. Too much hatred of her by most Americans, from her serial lying to her terrible foreign policy, to her standing by bent dick, in her lust for power. She will be backed by feminazis,homonazis and zionazis(Kagan).

    Not enough devil worshippers in America,at least not yet,and I believe Americans,from current events that our traitor MSM will be unable to counter with their usual BS,that we are down the rabbit hole of idiotic intervention,and we will end this nonsense,and return to worrying about America,not foreign malevolent monsters like Israel.
    Well,I can at least hope,it springs eternal.

    Earwig | Jun 16, 2014 9:58:14 AM | 7

    "There is no prospect of a non-interventionist president."

    Exactly. Obama has certainly proved this to be true, for those who might've thought otherwise. And since it is true, if one is going to vote anyway, then the decision won't be made on the basis of not "wanting more wars with terrible outcomes." There will have to be another, different, deciding factor, since that factor would rule out Ms. Clinton AND every other candidate.

    JSorrentine | Jun 16, 2014 10:01:53 AM | 8

    Yes, I have to second Lysander's view. People - both in and outside the US - must first disabuse themselves of ANY notion that the US is a democratic state, that "changes" in leadership will actually bring about ANY difference in foreign/domestic policy and that the American war criminal ship can be righted by the people utilizing the "democratic" mechanisms at their disposal.

    I understand that some speak to how corrupt our institutions are but there always seems to be a "feel-goodiness" - i.e., we can still fix it all, boys and girls, if you all just clap your hands LOUDER!! - implicit in their analyses/prescriptions when there should be nothing but anger, fear and revulsion towards the fascist war criminal state that we live within.

    Furthermore, after the Obama debacle and his utter betrayal etc of his supporters if anyone thinks someone in the American Establishment is looking out for their peon asses why then they probably also believe that the US was "surprised/caught off guard" - yet again - by ISIS et al in Iraq.

    Fucking nonsense.

    Massinissa | Jun 16, 2014 11:40:18 AM | 13

    "There is no chance of a non-interventionist president"

    I wish Rand Paul had his fathers balls, but he doesnt. Ron was a Libertarian pretending to be a Republican, while Rand is a Republican pretending to be a Libertarian... Rand would be no different than any other Republican or Democratic establishment schmuck.

    I never did like Ron Pauls economic policy, being left leaning, and I'm doubtful whether he would have actually accomplished anything useful as President, but his NonInterventionism was admirable and I was happy to put his name in in the Rethug primary in 2012 for that reason alone.

    Mike Maloney | Jun 16, 2014 12:01:20 PM | 15

    Great post, b. I saw the article and felt the same thing. While commentators are right to say that the foreign policy of the U.S. remains largely untouched regardless of which candidate or party wins the White House (which the NYT piece does a fine job illustrating), I do think Hillary is the worst the Democrats have to offer.

    What I found amazing about the story is how neocons are now preening about as if they have been vindicated:

    Mr. Kristol said he, too, sensed "more willingness to rethink" neoconservatism, which he called "vindicated to some degree" by the fruits of Mr. Obama's detached approach to Syria and Eastern Europe. Mr. Kagan, he said, gives historical heft to arguments "that are very consistent with the arguments I made, and he made, 20 years ago, 10 years ago."
    After all the slaughter these people feel like crowing. They are clearly, as JSorrentine often reminds us, pyschopath butchers.

    Incidentally, where is the outrage from Samantha Powers about the ISIS massacre in Tikrit?

    Dubhaltach | Jun 16, 2014 12:07:31 PM | 16

    Want more wars with terrible outcomes and no winner at all? Vote the neocon's vessel, Hillary Clinton.

    That's what they've been voting for generations - why change the habit of a lifetime?

    Clinton, by the way, is also a coward, unprincipled and greedy. Her achievements as Secretary of State were about zero. Why would anyone vote for her?

    Well at the risk of being a smartass her achievements were negative, the American hegemony is in worse condition because of her.

    Dubhaltach

    JSorrentine | Jun 16, 2014 12:10:24 PM | 17

    OT:

    Well, I guess the world just can't talk about how the amazingly rapid rise of ISIS/L and fall of Iraq completely continues the plans of the apartheid genocidal state of Israel's - and their traitorous Zionist partners in the American Establishment - as set out in the Yinon Plan and Clean Break strategies because - HOW FORTUITOUS...I mean, terribly sad and unexpected, sorry - some unlucky Israeli teenagers just happened to be "kidnapped" by "Hamas" just as the ISIS show was kicking off or so that's what the apartheid genocidal state of Israel is telling the world.

    Yeah, I bet the apartheid genocidal state of Israel probably has just NO IDEA about what's going on in Iraq what with their harrowing search - read: collective punishment for the residents of the illegally occupied territories - for the 3 missing boys who haven't been ransomed or claimed to have been taken by anyone.

    Wait a second...what if it was ISIS/L and NOT Hamas that "kidnapped" the boys!!!Holy tie-in, Bat-Man!!!!

    Then there would be NO WAY that what we're witnessing is the furthering of the Yinon Plan because the apartheid genocidal Israelis would never instigate false flag terror to further/distract from their own ends/agenda, would they? Nah.

    Wait a second...they ALREADY DID (supposedly):

    A Qaeda-inspired group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - Palestine, West Bank claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, saying it wanted to avenge Israel's killing of three of its group in the Hebron area late last year and to try to free prisoners from Israeli jails. The credibility of the claim was not immediately clear.

    But clear enough for the Zionist mouthpiece of the NYT to print it, right?

    Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 16, 2014 12:18:00 PM | 18

    Shrillary wouldn't be where she is today if she wasn't criminally insane. I want her to become President. She'll redefine the meaning of Eerily Inept (a label coined by Gore Vidal and attached to G Dubya Bush). Her greatest moment was when Lavrov called her out on her RESET button and pointed out, with a chuckle, "You got it wrong. It doesn't say RESET it says SHORT CIRCUIT."

    Then he laughed. At her, not with her. She's a sick, intellectually lazy, dumb, joke. America deserves her.

    JSorrentine | Jun 16, 2014 12:41:43 PM | 20

    Here's Killary quoted in the NYT yesterday:

    Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who argued in favor of arming Syrian rebels, said last week at an event in New York hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, "this is not just a Syrian problem anymore. I never thought it was just a Syrian problem. I thought it was a regional problem. I could not have predicted, however, the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq and trying to erase boundaries to create an Islamic state."

    Why, even HILLARY is just SOOOO SURPRISED about people trying to erase boundaries, huh? Funny, she should have read further into yesterday's times where it seems that the Zionist mouthpiece of record was desperately trying to get "out in front" of anyone mentioning that the fracturing of Iraq and the ME was all part of long-time Israeli strategy:

    Here's from another NYT piece yesterday:

    In 2006, it was Ralph Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel turned columnist, who sketched a map that subdivided Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and envisioned Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite republics emerging from a no-longer-united Iraq. Two years later, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg imagined similar partings-of-the-ways, with new microstates -- an Alawite Republic, an Islamic Emirate of Gaza -- taking shape and Afghanistan splitting up as well. Last year, it was Robin Wright's turn in this newspaper, in a map that (keeping up with events) subdivided Libya as well.

    Peters's map, which ran in Armed Forces Journal, inspired conspiracy theories about how this was America's real plan for remaking the Middle East. But the reality is entirely different: One reason these maps have remained strictly hypothetical, even amid regional turmoil, is that the United States has a powerful interest in preserving the Sykes-Picot status quo.

    This is not because the existing borders are in any way ideal. Indeed, there's a very good chance that a Middle East that was more politically segregated by ethnicity and faith might become a more stable and harmonious region in the long run.

    My favorite part of the above column is that it references a previous column from the Zionist NYT from last year in which a war criminal even drew up the new map of the ME!!

    Oh, but that war criminal thought SYRIA was going to be the trigger that allowed for the culmination of the Yinon Plan. Oops!

    And then ALSO YESTERDAY in the NYT everyone's favorite little war Establishment mouthpiece Nicholas Kristoff had this to say:

    The crucial step, and the one we should apply diplomatic pressure to try to achieve, is for Maliki to step back and share power with Sunnis while accepting decentralization of government.

    If Maliki does all that, it may still be possible to save Iraq. Without that, airstrikes would be a further waste in a land in which we've already squandered far, far too much.

    DECENTRALIZATION, huh? Why, Nicky, that sounds like what Putin has suggested for Ukraine, huh? Shhhhhhhh

    And of course Mr. Fuckhead Tom Friedman weighs in ALSO YESTERDAY in the NYT with this:

    THE disintegration of Iraq and Syria is upending an order that has defined the Middle East for a century. It is a huge event, and we as a country need to think very carefully about how to respond. Having just returned from Iraq two weeks ago, my own thinking is guided by five principles, and the first is that, in Iraq today, my enemy's enemy is my enemy. Other than the Kurds, we have no friends in this fight. Neither Sunni nor Shiite leaders spearheading the war in Iraq today share our values.

    The ME is going to be split up inevitably: check

    The US/Israel are JUST NOWHERE to be found: check

    Thanks, Tom, you fucking war criminal scum!!!

    To review:

    Everyone in the Establishment - fake left, right, center, dove, hawk, blah blah - says that it's just inevitable now that Iraq and the ME will probably be broken up.

    Everyone in the Establishment also agrees that NO ONE could see this whole ISIS etc shitpile coming, right?

    Anyone else get the feeling that this is a coordinated continuation of the Zionist Plan for the Middle East?

    Naahh. Nothing to see here, fuckers!!! Move along!!!!

    Penny | Jun 16, 2014 12:45:13 PM | 21

    I am thirding Lysanders comment

    Hillary is perfect for '(p)resident'

    She ties right in with the whole pink power agenda. She is the woMAN version and can also be useful for the women=victims, but, no way for the women/whore

    women/victim/whore is quintessentially Pussy Riot

    And if you criticize HC you are just a woman hater!
    (you know like antisemitic)
    Same as Obama- criticize him, you are just a racist
    Shuts the complaints right off!

    As president she's da bomb!

    Eureka Springs | Jun 16, 2014 1:48:59 PM | 22

    These people aren't just measuring the drapes... they're counting corpses she's sure to order.

    A most barbaric woman/human being, a terrible person, a terrible Governors wife, First Lady, Senator, SOS.... Obviously will be a perfect President.

    She's a shoe-in. Hopefully it will be a presidency that once and for all sends the Demo party the way of the Whigs.

    Andoheb | Jun 16, 2014 2:38:11 PM | 24

    Hillary is a loathsome war mongering bitch. She almost had a public orgasm when Libyan leader Quadaffi was tortured and murdered by US supported Libyan rebels. The muder of Chris Stevens was a case of what goes around comes around.

    Andoheb | Jun 16, 2014 2:47:02 PM | 25

    A point which nobody else has made as far as I know. To wit there is a big overlap between the banking and Israel lobbies since wealthy Jews account for a hugely disproportionate number of top financial movers and shakers. Anything that helps the financial industry also helps the war mongering Israel and neo con lobbies. The heavily Jewish Fed is another enabler of all that is wrong with America today.

    ben | Jun 16, 2014 2:55:41 PM | 26

    lysander @ 4: "There is no prospect of a president that is not a Zionist stooge."

    I, also agree, with the possible exception of replacing the word "Zionist", with the word "Corporatist", although both can be rightly used. We'll still get the person the 1%ers want us to have. Ain't Oligarchies grand?

    Knut | Jun 16, 2014 3:27:22 PM | 31

    Hillary's election depends on two things still unknown: her health and whether the Republicans can manage to choose someone sufficiently batshit crazy to make her the best of abysmal alternatives. I think her health is the critical variable, as the PTB are going to make sure that the Republican candidate will come out strongly for privatization of social security and reversing the 19th amendment. Vote-rigging and gerrymandering will maintain a sufficiently close election to preserve the simulacrum of a free election.

    @18 You live in a dream world.

    chip nikh | Jun 16, 2014 4:30:18 PM | 34

    HRH is a Neo Liberal of Arianne 'Sniff Sniff' Huffington's type, the 'Third Way Up Your
    Ass' of Globalist NAFTA/TPP Free Trade Neonazi destruction of labor and environmental
    protections, and in your face with NOOOOO apologies.

    That she is a totally-disjointed Royal is clear in her 'dead broke' claim. That she is a famous Hectorian, constantly checking which way public opinion is flowing, then crafting
    her confabulated dialogue as screed to her real intents, is well known. Der Prevaricator.

    What should be equally well known, if news got around, Hillary (and UKs Milliband) grifted
    Hamid Karzai $5 BILLION of Americans' last life savings, stolen from US Humanitarian Aid
    to Afghanistan, then made five trips to Kabul for no apparent purpose, before announcing
    that her $-35 MILLION 'dead broke' presidential campaign had been paid off by 'anonymous
    donors'. This is all public record; in the 2009 International Conference on Afghanistan in
    London, right in the conference speeches, framed as 'Karzai's demand', but in fact, that
    speech of Karzai's was written by US State Department. I read the drafts. 'Bicycling'.

    Hillary soon had to fly back one more time and grift Karzai an emergency $3.5 BILLION
    theft, after he lost Americans' $5 BILLION while speculating in Dubai R/E by looting
    his Bank of Kabul. Her 'injection of capital' saved the bank from being audited, and
    no doubt saved all the Kaganites from an embarrassing and public episiotomy.

    In the end, Hillary retired with a fortune of $50 MILLION, again announced publicly, which
    together with the $-35 MILLION campaign payoff in violation of all US election regulations,
    is exactly 1% of the $8.5 BILLION she grifted to Karzai. She's in the 'One Percent Club'.
    "It's a Great Big Club, ...and you ain't in it!" George 'The Man' Carlin

    But who cares? I'll tell you. The Russian know about this grift, certainly the Israelis
    know about this grift, the Millibandits know, the London Karzais know, and if G-d forbid,
    Hillary became HRHOTUS, Americans will be blackmailed down to their underdrawers.

    That's the Levant Way.

    lysias | Jun 16, 2014 4:36:24 PM | 36

    And Victoria Nuland indicates that she agrees with her husband Robert Kagan's criticism of Obama's foreign policy.

    Cold N. Holefield | Jun 16, 2014 7:40:23 PM | 44

    Would it be safe to say Hillary's White Trash? And to think, she was once a Goldwater Girl. So many faces, so many more to come.

    somebody | Jun 16, 2014 7:51:25 PM | 45

    Posted by: scalawag | Jun 16, 2014 5:54:41 PM | 38

    There are some really nice photographs of Hillary being very friendly with bearded famous Libyan Islamists (Gaddafi was still alive then). In combination with Benghazi - I think you probably can connect the people greeting Hillary with what happened there (and today's Iraq) I would not think she has a chance to convince with foreign policy.

    Female voters are not stupid.

    People do not vote on foreign policy. As US household incomes are decreasing there should be a lot of economic policy to vote on.

    truthbetold | Jun 16, 2014 7:51:40 PM | 46

    "Well at the risk of being a smartass her achievements were negative, the American hegemony is in worse condition because of her."
    Because of her and it.

    Dubhaltach gets it right, and as applied to events inclusive of and after 9-11-2001. The purported masterful seamless garment of conspiracy,
    yet it weakened the US and helped get Israel whacked good by Hezbollah.

    As for the unmentioned Saudi, it is of course impossible that Saudi could outplay longterm both the US and Israel longterm.

    Just as it was impossible Chalabi could outplay the neocons and help win Iran the Iraq War. Who is playing catch up and who is
    playing masterfully cohesive and unbeatable conspiracy?

    Dubhaltach gets it right, the US will be pushed out of the Mideast and Israel is longterm DOOMED.

    truthbetold | Jun 16, 2014 8:45:57 PM | 50

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/06/16/resisting-the-stupid-shit/

    Here is Obama in the very recent Remnick interview

    "Obama said:

    'You have a schism between Sunni and Shia throughout the region that is profound. Some of it is directed or abetted by states who are in contests for power there.'" Now, if only he had mentioned the states included and featured the (United) States and Israel. Obama...usually a day late and a dollar short and leading or retreating from behind.

    somebody | Jun 17, 2014 5:06:26 AM | 71

    Posted by: HnH | Jun 17, 2014 4:30:40 AM | 64

    I would rank Obama as the most cynical one. He is doing the dark colonial art. You can berate Bush for bombing Iraq (Obama did that with Libya, just as bad), but he did sink American manpower and treasure for all this futile nation building stuff, ie he tried to repair it.

    The withdrawal from Iraq was negotiated by Bush. It was an election campaign deceit to pretend Obama's foreign policy was any different.

    Obama tried to double down on the nation building stuff in Afghanistan, even copying the "surge". He is still not out of Afghanistan.

    He then tried to continue Bush's policy on the cheap, scrapping the nation building stuff and concentrating on shock and awe in Libya. When Russia put a stop to that in Syria he doubled down on the subversion supporting guerilla groups. He is now back in Iraq with allies supporting a "Sunni" insurrection by proxy. After a "color revolution" in Ukraine.

    He just "sold" US foreign policy in a different target group, Hillary will sell it to her target group, Jeb Bush to his.

    The substance never changes and is cooked by the Council of Foreign Relations.

    T2015 | Jun 17, 2014 5:45:44 AM | 72

    It is not "US foreign policy" but the policy of the british empire. If he was running a US foreign policy, he would at least sometimes do something positive for Americans, by accident if nothing more.

    Massinissa | Jun 17, 2014 11:53:21 AM | 84

    @45

    Economic policy to vote on? Are you joking? Whichever party we elect we get Neoliberalism anyway.

    Crone | Jun 18, 2014 12:23:56 AM | 97

    "That smile and her gloating about his death made me feel she was some sort of sociopath." Massinissa, you meant psychopath, didn't you?

    the following is an excerpt from essay written by James at Winter Patriot:

    "... Psychopaths are people without a conscience; without compassion for others; without a sense of shame or guilt. The majority of people carry within them the concern for others that evolution has instilled in us to allow us to survive as groups. This is the evolutionary basis of the quality of compassion. Compassion is not just a matter of virtue; it is a matter of survival. Psychopaths do not have this concern for others and so are a danger to the survival of the rest of us.

    Psychopaths, as a homogeneous group, would not survive one or two generations by themselves. They are motivated only by self interest and would exploit each other till they ended up killing each other. Which gives one pause for thought! They are parasites and need the rest of us to survive. In doing so they compromise the survival of the whole species.

    Psychopaths represent approximately between 1% and 20% of the population in western countries depending on whose research you go by and also depending on how broad a definition of the condition you adopt. It is generally held, though, that there is a hard core of between 4-6% or so and maybe another 10 -15% of the population that is functionally psychopathic in that they will exploit their fellow human being without hesitation.

    The hard core are untreatable. They see nothing wrong with who or what they are. The other 10-15% group may be persuaded to act differently in a different environment or a different society. The second group act out of a misguided strategy of survival. I'll concentrate on the hard core 5% and the singular fact that must be borne in mind with them is that they are incapable of change for the better. They cannot reform or be reformed. And you can take that to the bank in every case! They must never be trusted.

    Documented liars like those that populate the current Kiev regime can be confidently assumed to be psychopaths from their behaviour and so will never negotiate in good faith and will always renege on any deals they make. The same can be said for the governments of the US and UK who back them. Historically, they have never made a treaty that they did not subsequently break."

    James' essay is extremely informative wrt group psychopathy... some of you may want to give it a read:

    http://winterpatriot.com/node/894

    psst... imho TPTB are psychopaths as are the puppets whose strings they pull.

    Massinissa | Jun 18, 2014 1:29:31 PM | 98@97

    My bad... Im not even sure what the difference between the two is.

    crone | Jun 18, 2014 4:47:48 PM | 99

    sociopath: a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.

    see also http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201305/how-spot-sociopath

    psychopath: a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.
    an unstable and aggressive person. "schoolyard psychopaths will gather around a fight to encourage the combatants"

    see also http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindmelding/201301/what-is-psychopath-0

    Mina, now that I've looked up these links for you, I am confused myself! Since a sociopath is less of a danger to the rest of us, I prefer to call TPTB and their puppets psychopaths. Not your bad at all, apparently the two are so similar as to there being difficulty telling them apart.

    btw, I always enjoy your posts ~ not only do I get new info, but often new sources... which is great. Thanks!

    [Sep 13, 2016] Hillary Clinton's National Security Advisers Are a "Who's Who" of the Warfare State

    Notable quotes:
    "... Hillary Clinton's National Security Advisers Are a "Who's Who" of the Warfare State ..."
    "... The list of key advisers - which includes the general who executed the troop surge in Iraq and a former Bush homeland security chief turned terror profiteer - is a strong indicator that Clinton's national security policy will not threaten the post-9/11 national-security status quo that includes active use of military power abroad and heightened security measures at home. ..."
    Sep 08, 2016 | theintercept.com

    Hillary Clinton's National Security Advisers Are a "Who's Who" of the Warfare State
    By Zaid Jilani, Alex Emmons, and Naomi LaChance

    HILLARY CLINTON IS meeting with a new national security "working group" that is filled with an elite "who's who" of the military-industrial complex and the security deep state.

    The list of key advisers - which includes the general who executed the troop surge in Iraq and a former Bush homeland security chief turned terror profiteer - is a strong indicator that Clinton's national security policy will not threaten the post-9/11 national-security status quo that includes active use of military power abroad and heightened security measures at home.

    It's a story we've seen before in President Obama's early appointments. In retrospect, analysts have pointed to the continuity in national security and intelligence advisers as an early sign that despite his campaign rhetoric Obama would end up building on - rather than tearing down - the often-extralegal, Bush-Cheney counterterror regime. For instance, while Obama promised in 2008 to reform the NSA, its director was kept on and its reach continued to grow.

    Obama's most fateful decision may have been choosing former National Counterterrorism Center Director John Brennan to be national security adviser, despite Brennan's support of Bush's torture program. Brennan would go on to run the president's drone program, lead the CIA, fight the Senate's torture investigation, and then lie about searching Senate computers.

    That backdrop is what makes Clinton's new list of advisers so significant.

    It includes Gen. David Petraeus, the major architect of the 2007 Iraq War troop surge, which brought 30,000 more troops to Iraq. Picking him indicates at partiality to combative ideology. It also represents a return to good standing for the general after he pled guilty to leaking notebooks full of classified information to his lover, Paula Broadwell, and got off with two years of probation and a fine. Petraeus currently works at the investment firm KKR & Co.

    Another notable member of Clinton's group is Michael Chertoff, a hardliner who served as President George W. Bush's last secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and who since leaving government in 2009 has helmed a corporate consulting firm called the Chertoff Group that promotes security-industry priorities. For example, in 2010, he gave dozens of media interviews touting full-body scanners at airports while his firm was employed by a company that produced body scanning machines. His firmalso employs a number of other ex-security state officials, such as former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden. It does not disclose a complete list of its clients - all of whom now have a line of access to Clinton.

    Many others on the list are open advocates of military escalation overseas. Mike Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, endorsed Clinton last month in a New York Times opinion piece that accused Trump of being an "unwitting agent of the Russian Federation." The Times was criticized for not disclosing his current employment by Beacon Global Strategies, a politically powerful national-security consulting firm with strong links to Clinton. Three days later, Morell told Charlie Rose in a PBS interview that the CIA should actively assassinate Russians and Iranians in Syria.

    During his time at the CIA, Morell was connected to some of the worst scandals and intelligence failures of the Bush administration. In his book, he apologizes for giving flawed intelligence to Colin Powell about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction, but defends the CIA torture program as legal and ethical.

    Jim Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander Europe on Clinton's advisory group, told Fox News Radio in July, when he was being vetted by Clinton as a possible vice presidential nominee, that "we have got to get more aggressive going into Syria and Iraq and go after [ISIS] because if we don't they're going to come to us. It's a pretty simple equation." He said he would "encourage the president to take a more aggressive stance against Iran, to increase our military forces in Iraq and Syria, and to confront Vladmir Putin" over his moves in Crimea.

    The New York Times reported in 2011 that Michael Vickers, a former Pentagon official on Clinton's new list, led the use of drone strikes. He would grin and tell his colleagues at meetings, "I just want to kill those guys."

    Others on the list played a role in the targeted killing policies of the Obama administration, including Chris Fussell, a top aide to Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and now a partner with him at his lucrative consulting firm, the McChrystal Group....

    [Sep 12, 2016] I told him it would not have surprised me in the least if it was Israeli and Bush who were instrumental in demolishing of building 7

    Notable quotes:
    "... millions of people in the Islamic world have reached their own conclusion about responsibility. ..."
    "... Deeply distrusting anything coming from Washington, many are buying into a theory based not on facts or evidence but the assumption that the West and Israel are capable of anything. ..."
    "... When I was in Iraq in 2004 I had a Turkish contractor I worked with there (he owned a generator maintenance/repair shop) tell me it was unfortunate that Bush did not understand that the Israelis paid for and helped to execute the WTC blowup. ..."
    "... To be perfectly frank, I told him it would not have surprised me in the least if it were true. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com

    RabidGandhi , September 13, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Washington Post: Dumb Muslims Love Conspiracy Theories

    While Western leaders declare they have incontrovertible, if not yet public, proof that Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks, millions of people in the Islamic world have reached their own conclusion about responsibility.

    Deeply distrusting anything coming from Washington, many are buying into a theory based not on facts or evidence but the assumption that the West and Israel are capable of anything.

    It's only a conspiracy theory if you have a deerstalker turban.

    JCC , September 13, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    This story has been circulating in various forms over there for years. When I was in Iraq in 2004 I had a Turkish contractor I worked with there (he owned a generator maintenance/repair shop) tell me it was unfortunate that Bush did not understand that the Israelis paid for and helped to execute the WTC blowup.

    To be perfectly frank, I told him it would not have surprised me in the least if it were true.

    [Sep 12, 2016] Rile the masses up against the Commie Threat, as it worked so well in the 50s - 60s

    Red bating worked before and works now...
    Notable quotes:
    "... Rile the masses up against the Commie Threat, as it worked so well in the 50's - 60's. Save us the expense of rewriting the playbook. Sure. Duck and cover. ..."
    "... But the first place I would look is inside the DNC, if I were in charge. Russian intel releasing to wikileaks? Not much profit in that. ..."
    "... By the way, whatever became of dearest FBI frontman Comey? ..."
    www.moonofalabama.org
    stumpy | Aug 11, 2016 6:13:33 PM | 30
    "It might have well been an insider who copied the material and handed them to Wikileaks for publication"

    Why this idea gets no traction, obviously -- without an admission of authenticity from DNC, they have it both ways, the ability to ascribe guilt to Russia, and plausible deniability vis a vis Sanders. Let's not rule out a purposeful leak as a gloating advertisement for DNC sponsors/donors, or just as likely as a forgery using wikileaks as conduit for disinformation by anti-DNC ops. The Guccifer blip is just as believable valid as any of these theories, upo.

    Rile the masses up against the Commie Threat, as it worked so well in the 50's - 60's. Save us the expense of rewriting the playbook. Sure. Duck and cover.

    But the first place I would look is inside the DNC, if I were in charge. Russian intel releasing to wikileaks? Not much profit in that.

    By the way, whatever became of dearest FBI frontman Comey?

    [Sep 12, 2016] Methinks the lady doth protest overmuch

    Seems Putin controls Trump and Clinton! The man is amazing. Only Jedi Knights can stop him. https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/07/23/pers-j23.html
    Notable quotes:
    "... Look over there! Putin is all over the place these days, he is doing Brexit, supporting Trump, and Corbyn I think, he is hacking Hillary, wow. ..."
    discussion.theguardian.com
    europeangrayling , 2016-07-24 17:23:08
    Look over there! Putin is all over the place these days, he is doing Brexit, supporting Trump, and Corbyn I think, he is hacking Hillary, wow. And he still has time to ride horses and play with tigers and invade Europe. I see why he is popular.

    But it's nice to be Russian, I like Russia, it's a beautiful country. Until now the Bernie people were all sexists, racists, privileged homeless idiots who lived in basements, but now we are Russians. Much better. See that's the Hillary outreach to the bros.

    trholland1 , 2016-07-24 16:50:29
    Them pesky Russkys! Now they are exerting mind control over Debbie Wasserman Schultz!
    whyohwhy1 trholland1 , 2016-07-24 16:53:07
    Clinton will protect America's bodily fluids against!
    whyohwhy1 trholland1 , 2016-07-24 16:53:45
    against* Putin and other Soviet leaders.
    morseldoc trholland1 , 2016-07-24 17:39:52
    LOL. The best comment for a good guffaw!

    [Sep 12, 2016] Syria decision the latest blow to Obamas Middle East legacy

    Notable quotes:
    "... Yemen is another war the US is involved in thanks to the "peace" Pres. Obama. He has tried to keep this war hidden from the public. His few mentions of this war have been limited to shallow statements about his concern of the civilian casualty. ..."
    "... Moreover, by selling the Saudis cluster bombs and other arms being used on civilians, Obama has enabled the Saudis in the last 8 moths to kill and destruct in Yemen more than WW2, as evidence shows. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the US is complicit in international war crimes in Yemen. ..."
    "... After Obama's election, he went to Cairo to make a peace speech to the Arab world aiming to diffuse the deep hatred towards the US created during the Bush era. Yet since then, Obama's foolish alliances with despotic Arab rulers infesting ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the region, his drone warfare, and warped war policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, have only expanded and strengthened ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and increased Arab citizens anger and hatred towards the US. This is Obama's legacy! ..."
    "... I always think there are similarities in Clinton and Obama s upbringing that created the anormic sociopathic shape shifting personalities they demonstrate. ..."
    "... amiable even charismatic enough to sell it to a stupid audience. ..."
    "... Why do we maintain the myth that the Obama brand is in anyway his personal contribution. Anymore than Bush or Clinton. The only difference is the republicans are ideologues where's as the puppets offered by the democrats are just psychotic shape shifters. In either way on a clear day you can see the strings hanging from their wrists like ribbons. ..."
    "... The US is Allied with Saudi Arabia and Israel, that makes Saudi Arabia's and Israel's enemies US enemies. ..."
    "... The notion that Obama makes his own decisions is laughable except it aint funny.. ..."
    "... There is no 'Obama legacy' in the ME. It is a US legacy of blown attempts to control unwilling countries and populations by coercion, and by military and economic warfare. ..."
    "... With all due respects to M. Obama, this is another clear indication that the US President is just a figure head. He is a front for the corporations that run the US behind the scene - the so-called US military-industrial complex. ..."
    "... Perhaps you intentionally miss out the fact that it is the west that has Israel and the Saudis as their best allies, considering their actions ( one with the largest/longest time concentration camp in history, the other the exporter of the horror show of ISIL , both an abomination of their respective religions . The west attempt to seek the moral high ground is more than a farce ... all the world can see and know the game being played, but the mass media wishes to assume everyone has half a brain... they are allergic to the truth , like the vampires to the light. ..."
    "... The stick I'm talking about is the total capacity of the US, military and economic, to have things its way or make the opposition very unhappy. ..."
    "... What has it gotten us? Nothing good. What has it gotten the top 1 percent? All the money we don't have. ..."
    "... Obama is being an absolute idiot in sending special forces to fight with rebels who are fighting the legitimate government of Syria. This is stupidity of the highest order. What will he do when any of these special forces operatives are captured by IS or killed by Russian or Syrian airstrikes? ..."
    "... That is a valid point: Syria is a sovereign nation recognized by the U.N., and any foreign troops within without permission would be considered invaders. Of course, the U.S. ignores international law all the time. ..."
    "... Anyway, foreign troops in Syria who are there without an invitation by Syrian government or authorisation by UNSC are there illegally and can be tried for war crimes if captured. Why is Obama putting his soldiers in this situation? ..."
    "... The U.S. strategy in Syria is in tatters as Obama lamely tries to patch it up. The U.S. was determined to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria in service of the Saudis, Turkey, and Israel, while pretending to go after ISIS, who the Saudis and Turks were covertly funding. The U.S. were arming jihadists to oust Assad. That game is up, thanks to the Russians. Putin decided he wasn't going to stand by while the U.S. and its proxies created another Libya jihadist disaster in Syria. The forceful Russian intervention in going after ISIS showed the U.S. to be a faker, and caused a sea-change in U.S. policy. Now the U.S. can't pretend to go after ISIS while really trying to oust Assad. The Emporer has no clothes. ..."
    "... Israel is an ally of KSA who is funding IS, Al Nusra, Al-Qaida and Al-Shabab. They are also partners with KSA in trying to prevent Iran's reintegration into global society following the nuclear deal, and the lifting of sanctions. ..."
    "... I suspect that Israel wants to annex the Syrian Golan Heights permanently, and to extend their illegal settlements into the area. That can only happen if Assad is defeated. ..."
    "... Wow, you make a lot of sense. I always thought the US military heavy foreign policy became insane because of Reagan. Maybe it was the loss of the USSR? ..."
    "... Everyone here grew up being taught that the US is the champion of all that is good (sounds corny today). When the USSR dissolved, everyone imagined huge military cuts with the savings being invested in social benefits. If someone had predicted that, instead, we would grow our military, throw our civil rights away, embrace empire, assasinate US citizens without a trial, create total surveillance, create secret one sided star-chamber FISA courts that control a third of our economy, and choose a Dept. name heard previously only in Nazi movies (Homeland Security) --- we'd have laughed and dismissed the warning as delusion. ..."
    "... You are correct. Obama is breaking UN international law, the US has no right to invade Syria. Russia, though, has been asked by the Syrian government for help, a government fully recognized by the UN. Russia has full UN sanctioned rights to help Syria. US news media will never explain this to the public, sadly. ..."
    "... Obama's presidency lost its credibility a long time ago. He made so many rash promises and statements which one by one he has broken, that no free thinking person believes anything he says anymore. ..."
    "... There's a world of difference between Russia taking steps to protect its immediate geographic and political interests (which were largely the wishes of the resident populations - something critics tend to overlook) and the USA invading Iraq (2003) in a blatant act of war, based on bullshit and then aiding and abetting mercenary terrorists in Syria in defiance of any declaration of war, UN resolution or invitation from the Syrian government to intervene. ..."
    "... You might have also noticed that Syria is a long, long way from the USA. Rhetorically, WTF is the US doing in the Middle East? Propping up Saudi or Israel? Or both? ..."
    "... ISIS == Mercenaries sponsored by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Does a strategy against our own mercenaries make sense??? ..."
    "... Think about, when's the last time Saudi Arabia did anything progressive or humane in its foreign policy? Now remember this very same country is on the same side as the Americans. This is the country that invaded Bahrain and Yemen and labelled the civil rights movements in those countries as 'Iranian interference.' The Saudis who have been seeking to turn civil rights movements with rather nationalistic demands into religious and sectarian conflicts by playing different groups against each other are allied with the U.S. and sitting at the table in Vienna talking about peace in Syria. Nonsense upon stilts! ..."
    "... ISIS poses no threat to the Americans and vice versa. The Americans therefore do not have an interest in making sure that ISIS is wiped out. On the contrary they want regional foes to suffer. ..."
    "... The American attempt at negotiating peace in Syria without Syrian representation is nothing short of ridiculous and best illustrates the convoluted state of American foreign policy. America lost any claim to 'leadership' by now. ..."
    "... Unfortunately American policy and that eu have at time added fuel to the fire. ..."
    "... Russian Iranian and hezbollah boots are invited boots by the legitimate government according to the UN Charter they are all acting legally and according to the Geneva Conventions etc. ..."
    "... The US led coalition in bombing Syria were not, and the admitted introduction of troops into Syria is a an ACT OF WAR by the USA, and it is the AGRESSOR here, not doubt about it. It's a War Crime by every standard ..."
    "... See the NATO creep into Eastern Europe against all agreements made with USSR. ..."
    "... But their real agenda is to carve up Syria. In the deep recesses of their, the Corporate corrupt White House's, mind ISIS is not their immediate problem. ISIS is a means to an end - carve up Syria a sovereign country. ..."
    "... Remember, only months ago, Kerry and Tory William Hague, was handing out cash to Syrian rebels who later turned out to be ISIS rebels. We must never forget, Syria, right or wrong, is a sovereign country. ..."
    "... Look at the mess they made in, Ukraine, with their friends a bunch of, Kiev, murdering neo-Nazi's. ..."
    "... Just out of curiosity...how will the US keep the DoD and CIA from duking it out at the opposite fronts on the Syrian soil? ..."
    "... Washington has clearly chosen to break International Law. ..."
    "... Westphalian sovereignty is the principle of international law that each nation state has sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs, to the exclusion of all external powers, on the principle of non-interference in another country's domestic affairs, and that each state (no matter how large or small) is equal in international law ..."
    "... As the administration in Washington is firmly in the grasp of special interest groups such as Big Pharma, The Banksters, Big Agrobusiness, Big oil, the MIC and Israel there is no chance of getting good policy decisions out of there until there is a regime change. ..."
    "... You might think that having criticized Assad for shooting demonstrators who demonstrated against the corruption and inefficiency of his regime, and having said that as a result his regime had lost its legitimacy, they would apply the same yardstick to President Poroshenko when he shot up two provinces of his country for asking for federation, killing thousands in the process, but on the contrary they sent "advisers" to train his military and his Fascist helpers to use their weapons better, to shoot them up more effectively. ..."
    "... However, one cannot really expect people who are exceptional to behave like ordinary (unexceptional) human beings. ..."
    "... What is the official US line on the legality of these deployments in terms of international law? ..."
    Oct 30, 2015 | The Guardian

    willpodmore 1 Nov 2015 10:30

    NATO and its allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria .... they make a desert and call it peace.

    ID7582903 1 Nov 2015 06:19

    "Credibility"? Beware and be aware folks. This isn't a monopoly game being played here; it's for real.

    2015 Valdai conference is Societies Between War and Peace: Overcoming the Logic of Conflict in Tomorrow's World. In the period between October 19 and 22, experts from 30 countries have been considering various aspects of the perception of war and peace both in the public consciousness and in international relations, religion and economic interaction between states. Videos w live translations and english transcripts (a keeper imho)
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50548

    30 Oct, 2015 - The day US announces Ground troops into Syria, and the day before the downing/crash of the Russian Airbus 321 in the Sinai, this happened: Russia has conducted a major test of its strategic missile forces, firing numerous ballistic and cruise missiles from various training areas across the country, videos uploaded by the Ministry of Defense have shown.

    A routine exercise, possibly the largest of its kind this year, was intended to test the command system of transmitting orders among departments and involved launches from military ranges on the ground, at sea and in the air, the ministry said Friday.

    https://www.rt.com/news/320194-russia-missiles-launch-training/

    30.10.2015 Since the beginning of its operation in Syria on September 30, Russian Aerospace Forces have carried out 1,391 sorties in Syria, destroying a total of 1,623 terrorist targets, the Russian General Staff said Friday.

    In particular, Russian warplanes destroyed 249 Islamic State command posts, 51 training camps, and 131 depots, Andrey Kartapolov, head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Directorate said.

    "In Hanshih, a suburb of Damascus, 17 militants of the Al-Ghuraba group were executed in public after they tried to leave the combat area and flee to Jordan," he specified. "The whole scene was filmed in order to disseminate the footage among the other groups operating in the vicinity of Damascus and other areas", the General Staff spokesman said. In the central regions of the country, the Syrian Army managed to liberate 12 cities in the Hama province, Kartapolov said. "The Syrian armed forces continue their advance to the north," the general added.

    http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151030/1028992570/russian-airstrikes-syria-friday.html

    fairviewplz 1 Nov 2015 04:47

    Yemen is another war the US is involved in thanks to the "peace" Pres. Obama. He has tried to keep this war hidden from the public. His few mentions of this war have been limited to shallow statements about his concern of the civilian casualty. What an insult to our intelligence! We are well aware that the US provides the logistical and technical support, and refuelling of warplanes to the Saudi coalition illegal war in Yemen. Moreover, by selling the Saudis cluster bombs and other arms being used on civilians, Obama has enabled the Saudis in the last 8 moths to kill and destruct in Yemen more than WW2, as evidence shows. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the US is complicit in international war crimes in Yemen.

    After Obama's election, he went to Cairo to make a peace speech to the Arab world aiming to diffuse the deep hatred towards the US created during the Bush era. Yet since then, Obama's foolish alliances with despotic Arab rulers infesting ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the region, his drone warfare, and warped war policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, have only expanded and strengthened ISIS and Al-Qaeda, and increased Arab citizens anger and hatred towards the US. This is Obama's legacy!

    Barmaidfromhell -> WSCrips 1 Nov 2015 03:52

    Well said.

    I always think there are similarities in Clinton and Obama s upbringing that created the anormic sociopathic shape shifting personalities they demonstrate. Obviously carefully selected to follow any line given them and amiable even charismatic enough to sell it to a stupid audience.

    Why do we maintain the myth that the Obama brand is in anyway his personal contribution. Anymore than Bush or Clinton. The only difference is the republicans are ideologues where's as the puppets offered by the democrats are just psychotic shape shifters. In either way on a clear day you can see the strings hanging from their wrists like ribbons.

    Michael Imanual Christos -> Pete Piper 1 Nov 2015 00:28

    Pete Piper

    In brief;

    The US is Allied with Saudi Arabia and Israel, that makes Saudi Arabia's and Israel's enemies US enemies.

    ... ... ...

    midnightschild10 31 Oct 2015 21:35

    When Obama denounced Russia's actions in Syria, and blamed them for massive loss of civilian lives, Russia responded by asking them to show their proof. The Administration spokesperson said they got their information from social media. No one in the Administration seems to realize how utterly stupid that sounds. Marie Harf is happily developing the Administration's foreign policy via Twitter. As the CIA and NSA read Facebook for their daily planning, Obama reads the comments section of newspapers to prepare for his speech to the American public in regard to putting boots on the ground in Syria, and adding to the boots in Iraq. If it didn't result in putting soldiers lives in jeopardy, it would be considered silly. Putin makes his move and watches as the Obama Administration makes the only move they know, after minimal success in bombing, Obama does send in the troops. Putin is the one running the game. Obama's response is so predictable. No wonder the Russians are laughing. In his quest to outdo Cheyney, Obama has added to the number of wars the US is currently involved in. His original claim to fame was to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which then resulted in starting Iraq and Afghanistan Wars 2.0. Since helping to depose the existing governments in the Middle East, leading not only to the resurgence of AlQuaeda, and giving birth to ISIS, and leaving chaos and destruction in his wake, he decided to take down the last standing ruler, hoping that if he does the same thing over and over, he will get a different result. Obama's foreign policy legacy had been considered impotent at best, now its considered ridiculous.

    SomersetApples 31 Oct 2015 20:03

    We bombed them, we sent armies of terrorist in to kill them, we destroyed their hospitals and power plants and cities, we put sanctions on them and we did everything in our power to cut off their trading with the outside world, and yet they are still standing.

    The only thing left to do, lets send in some special military operatives.

    This is so out of character, or our perceived character of Obama. It must be that deranged idiot John McCain pulling the strings.

    Rafiqac01 31 Oct 2015 16:58

    The notion that Obama makes his own decisions is laughable except it aint funny....having just watched CNNs Long Road to Hell in Iraq....and the idiots advising Bush and Blair you have to wonder the extent to which these are almighty balls ups or very sophisticated planning followed up by post disaster rationalisation....

    whatever the conclusion it proves that the intervention or non interventions prove their is little the USA has done that has added any good value to the situation...indeed it is an unmitigated disaster strewn around the world! Trump is the next generation frothing at the mouth ready to show what a big John Wayne he is!!

    DavidFCanada 31 Oct 2015 13:56

    There is no 'Obama legacy' in the ME. It is a US legacy of blown attempts to control unwilling countries and populations by coercion, and by military and economic warfare. That US legacy will forever remain, burnt into skins and bodies of the living and dead, together with a virtually unanimous recognition in the ME of the laughable US pretexts of supporting democracy, the rule of law, religious freedom and, best of all, peace. Obama is merely the chief functionary of a nation of lies.

    Informed17 -> WSCrips 31 Oct 2015 13:47

    Are you saying that there was no illegal invasion of Iraq? No vial of laundry detergent was presented at the UN as "proof" that Iraq has WMDs? No hue and cry from "independent" media supported that deception campaign? Were you in a deep coma at the time?

    Informed17 -> somethingbrite 31 Oct 2015 13:36

    No. But the US trampled on the international law for quite a while now, starting with totally illegal interference in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

    WSCrips 31 Oct 2015 13:18

    Hey Guardian Editors.....and all those who worshipped Obama....In America, there were folks from the older generation that warned us that this Community Organizer was not ready for the Job of President of the United States....it had nothing to do with his color, he just was not ready.....he was a young, inexperienced Senator, who never, ever had a real job, never had a street fight growing up pampered in Hawaii, was given a pass to great universities because his parents had money, and was the dream Affirmative Action poster boy for the liberal left. Obama has not disappointed anyone who tried to warn us......and now we will reap what he has sowed:

    1. 8 Trillion to our debt
    2. Nightmare in the Middleast (how is that Arab Spring)
    3. Polarized America....Dems and Republicans hate each other....hate each other like the Irish and English...10 x over.
    4. War on Cops
    5. War with China
    6. Invasion from Central America

    I see a great depression and World War IV on the horizon....and I am being positive!

    SaveRMiddle 31 Oct 2015 12:47

    Nothing Obama says has any value. We've watched the man lie with a grin and a chuckle.

    Forever Gone is all trust.

    His continued abuse of Red Line threats spoke volumes about the lawyer who Reactively micromanages that which required and deserved an expert Proactive plan.

    Let History reflect the horrific death CIA meddling Regime Change/Divide and Conquer creates.

    HeadInSand2013 31 Oct 2015 12:45

    Liberal activists were in little doubt that Obama has failed to live up to his commitment to avoid getting dragged directly into the war.

    With all due respects to M. Obama, this is another clear indication that the US President is just a figure head. He is a front for the corporations that run the US behind the scene - the so-called US military-industrial complex.

    Liberal activists are stupid enough to think that M. Obama is actually in charge of the US military or the US foreign policy. Just go back and count how many times during the last 6 years M. Obama has made a declaration and then - sometimes the next day - US military has over-ruled him.


    Mediaking 31 Oct 2015 10:00

    Perhaps you intentionally miss out the fact that it is the west that has Israel and the Saudis as their best allies, considering their actions ( one with the largest/longest time concentration camp in history, the other the exporter of the horror show of ISIL , both an abomination of their respective religions . The west attempt to seek the moral high ground is more than a farce ... all the world can see and know the game being played, but the mass media wishes to assume everyone has half a brain... they are allergic to the truth , like the vampires to the light.

    USA forces coming to the aid of their 5 individuals... yes 1,2,3,4,5 ( stated by US command- there are only that amount of FSA fighters left - the rest have gone over to ISIL with their equipment ! ) the local population all speak of ISIL/Daesh being American/Israeli ,they say if this is a civil war how come all the opposition are foreigners ! I think perhaps it's like the Ukraine affair... a bunch of CIA paid Nazi thugs instigating a coup ... or like Venezuela agents on roof tops shooting at both sides in demonstrations to get things going. The usual business of CIA/Mossad stuff in tune with the mass media with their engineered narratives ! Followed by the trolls on cyber space... no doubt we shall see them here too.

    All note that an Intervention in Syria would be "ILLEGAL" by Int. law and sooner than later will be sued in billions for it...on top of the billions spent on having a 5 person strong force of FSA...spent from the American tax payers money . Syria has a government and is considered a state at the UN . Iran and Russia are there at the request and permission of Syria .

    Russia and Iran have been methodically wiping out Washington's mercenaries on the ground while recapturing large swathes of land that had been lost to the terrorists. Now that the terrorists are getting wiped out the west and the Saudis are are screaming blue murder !

    I for one would have Assad stay , as he himself suggests , till his country is completely free of terrorists, then have free elections . I would add , to have the Saudis and the ones in the west/Turkey/Jordan charged for crimes against humanity for supplying and creating Daesh/ISIS . This element cannot be ignored . Also Kurdistan can form their new country in the regions they occupy as of this moment and Mosul to come. Iran,Russia,Iraq, Syria and the new Kurdistan will sign up to this deal . Millions of Syrian refugees can then come back home and rebuild their broken lives with Iranian help and cash damages from the mentioned instigators $400 billion . The cash must be paid into the Syrian central bank before any elections take place ... Solved...

    My consultancy fee - 200ml pounds sterling... I know ... you wish I ruled the world (who knows !) - no scams please or else ! ( the else would be an Apocalypse upon the western equity markets via the Illuminati i.e a 49% crash )... a week to pay , no worries since better to pay for a just solution than to have million descend upon EU as refugees . It is either this or God's revenge with no mercy .

    amacd2 31 Oct 2015 09:52

    Obama, being more honest but also more dangerous than Flip Wilson says, "The Empire made me do it",

    Bernie, having "reservations" about what Obama has done, says nothing against Empire, but continues to pretend, against all evidence, that this is a democracy.

    Hillary, delighting in more war, says "We came, we bombed, they all died, but the Empire won."

    Talk about 'The Issue' to debate for the candidates in 2016?

    "What's your position on the Empire?"

    "Oh, what Empire, you ask?"

    "The friggin Empire that you are auditioning to pose as the president of --- you lying tools of both the neocon 'R' Vichy party and you smoother lying neoliberal-cons of the 'D' Vichy party!"

    lightstroke -> Pete Piper 31 Oct 2015 09:41

    Nukes are not on the table. Mutually Assured Destruction.

    The stick I'm talking about is the total capacity of the US, military and economic, to have things its way or make the opposition very unhappy.

    It's not necessary to win wars to exercise that power. All they have to do is start them and keep them going until the arms industry makes as much dough from them as possible. That's the only win they care about.

    What has it gotten us? Nothing good. What has it gotten the top 1 percent? All the money we don't have.

    Taku2 31 Oct 2015 09:26

    Obama is being an absolute idiot in sending special forces to fight with rebels who are fighting the legitimate government of Syria. This is stupidity of the highest order. What will he do when any of these special forces operatives are captured by IS or killed by Russian or Syrian airstrikes?

    How stupid can a President get?

    Obama does need to pull back on this one, even though it will make his stupid and erroneous policy towards the Syrian tragedy seem completely headless. If this stupid and brainless policy is meant to be symbolic, its potential for future catastrophic consequences is immeasurable.

    phillharmonic -> nishville 31 Oct 2015 08:56

    That is a valid point: Syria is a sovereign nation recognized by the U.N., and any foreign troops within without permission would be considered invaders. Of course, the U.S. ignores international law all the time.

    nishville 31 Oct 2015 08:35

    Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State

    And who are those then? Do they exist, do we have any reliable source confirming they are really simultaneously fighting IS and Syrian Army or is it yet another US fairy tale?

    Anyway, foreign troops in Syria who are there without an invitation by Syrian government or authorisation by UNSC are there illegally and can be tried for war crimes if captured. Why is Obama putting his soldiers in this situation?

    phillharmonic 31 Oct 2015 08:33

    The U.S. strategy in Syria is in tatters as Obama lamely tries to patch it up. The U.S. was determined to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria in service of the Saudis, Turkey, and Israel, while pretending to go after ISIS, who the Saudis and Turks were covertly funding. The U.S. were arming jihadists to oust Assad. That game is up, thanks to the Russians. Putin decided he wasn't going to stand by while the U.S. and its proxies created another Libya jihadist disaster in Syria. The forceful Russian intervention in going after ISIS showed the U.S. to be a faker, and caused a sea-change in U.S. policy. Now the U.S. can't pretend to go after ISIS while really trying to oust Assad. The Emporer has no clothes.

    amacd2 -> Woody Treasure 31 Oct 2015 08:31

    Woody, did you mean "Obama is a foil (for the Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist Empire--- which he certainly is), or did you mean to say "fool" (which he certainly is not, both because he is a well paid puppet/poodle for this Global Empire merely HQed in, and 'posing' as, America --- as Blair and Camron are for the same singular Global Empire --- and because Obama didn't end his role as Faux/Emperor-president like JFK), eh?

    Nena Cassol -> TonyBlunt 31 Oct 2015 06:48

    Assad's father seized power with a military coup and ruled the country for 30 years, before dying he appointed his son, who immediately established marshal law, prompting discontent even among his father's die-hard loyalists ...this is plain history, is this what you call a legitimate leader?

    Cycles 31 Oct 2015 06:41

    Forced to go in otherwise the Russians and Iranians get full control. Welcome to the divided Syria a la Germany after WW2.

    TonyBlunt -> Nena Cassol 31 Oct 2015 06:36

    "It does not take much research to find out that Assad is not legitimate at all"

    Please share your source with us Nena. But remember Langley Publications don't count.

    TonyBlunt -> oldholbornian 31 Oct 2015 06:29

    The Americans do not recognise international law. They do not sign up to any of it and proclaim the right to break it with their "exceptionalism".

    Katrin3 -> herrmaya 31 Oct 2015 05:27

    The Russians, US, Iran etc are all meeting right now in Vienna. The Russians and the US military do communicate with each other, to avoid attacking each other by mistake.

    The Russians are in the West and N.West of Syria. The US is going into the N. East, near IS headquarters in Raqqa, to support the Kurdish YPG, who are only a few kilometers from the city.

    Katrin3 -> ID6693806 31 Oct 2015 05:15

    Israel is an ally of KSA who is funding IS, Al Nusra, Al-Qaida and Al-Shabab. They are also partners with KSA in trying to prevent Iran's reintegration into global society following the nuclear deal, and the lifting of sanctions.

    I suspect that Israel wants to annex the Syrian Golan Heights permanently, and to extend their illegal settlements into the area. That can only happen if Assad is defeated.

    centerline ChristineH 31 Oct 2015 04:48

    The Kurds are the fabled moderate opposition who are willing to negotiate, and who have also fought with the Syrian government against US backed ISIS and al Nusra so called moderate opposition.

    Pete Piper -> Verbum 31 Oct 2015 04:47

    @Verbum
    Wow, you make a lot of sense. I always thought the US military heavy foreign policy became insane because of Reagan. Maybe it was the loss of the USSR?

    Everyone here grew up being taught that the US is the champion of all that is good (sounds corny today). When the USSR dissolved, everyone imagined huge military cuts with the savings being invested in social benefits. If someone had predicted that, instead, we would grow our military, throw our civil rights away, embrace empire, assasinate US citizens without a trial, create total surveillance, create secret one sided star-chamber FISA courts that control a third of our economy, and choose a Dept. name heard previously only in Nazi movies (Homeland Security) --- we'd have laughed and dismissed the warning as delusion.

    gabriel90 -> confettifoot 31 Oct 2015 04:46

    ISiS is destroying Syria thanks to the US and Saudi Arabia; its an instrument to spread chaos in the Middle East and attack Iran and Russia...

    ChristineH 31 Oct 2015 04:21

    So, on the day peace talks open, the US unilaterally announces advice boots on the ground to support one of the many sides in the Syrian War, who will undoubtedly want self determination, right on Turkey's border, as they always have, and as has always been opposed by the majority of the Syrian population. What part of that isn't completely mad?

    Great sympathy for the situation of the Kurds in Syria under Assad, but their nationalism issue and inability to work together with the Sunni rebels, was a major factor in the non formation of a functioning opposition in Syria, and will be a block to peace, not its cause. It's also part of a larger plan to have parts of Turkey and Iraq under Kurdish control to create a contingent kingdom. Whatever the merits of that, the US deciding to support them at this stage is completely irrational, and with Russia and Iran supporting Assad will lengthen the war, not shorten it.

    MissSarajevo 31 Oct 2015 04:21

    Just a couple of things here. How does the US know who the moderates are?!? Is this another occasion that the US is going to use International law as toilet paper? The US will enter (as if they weren't already there, illegally. They were not invited in by the legitimate leader of Syria.

    gabriel90 31 Oct 2015 04:19

    Warbama is just trying to save his saudi/qatari/turk/emirati dogs of war... they will be wiped out by Russia and the axis of resistance...

    Pete Piper -> Michael Imanual Christos 31 Oct 2015 04:08

    Does anyone see anything rational in US foreign policy? When I hear attempts to explain, they vary around .. "it's about oil". But no one ever shows evidence continuous wars produced more oil for anyone. So, are we deliberately creating chaos and misery? Why? To make new enemies we can use to justify more war? We've now classified the number of countries we are bombing. Why? The countries being bombed surely know.

    Pete Piper -> oldholbornian 31 Oct 2015 03:50

    You are correct. Obama is breaking UN international law, the US has no right to invade Syria. Russia, though, has been asked by the Syrian government for help, a government fully recognized by the UN. Russia has full UN sanctioned rights to help Syria. US news media will never explain this to the public, sadly.

    Only the US routinely violates other nations' sovergnity. Since Korea, the only nation that has ever used military force against a nation not on its border is the US.

    Can anyone find rationality in US foreign policy? We are supposed to be fighting ISIL, but Saudi Arabia and Israel appear to be helping ISIL to force Syrian regime change. And the US is supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia that are routed to ISIL. Supposedly because eliminating President Asad is more important than fighting ISIL? The US public is being misled into thinking we are NOW fighting ISIL. After Asad is killed, then we will genuinely fight ISIL? Russia, Iran, and more(?) will fight to keep Asad in power and then fight ISIL? THIS IS OBVIOUS BS, AND ALSO FUBAR.

    By all means, get everyone together for some diplomacy.

    oldholbornian -> lesmandalasdeniki 31 Oct 2015 03:36

    Well lets look at Germany the centre of christian culture and the EU

    http://www.infowars.com/this-is-our-future-germany-may-soon-have-8-million-muslims/

    CAPLAN -> Lunora 31 Oct 2015 03:33

    reminds me of emporer franz josef in europe about 100 years ago .. meant well but led to ruination ..i dont think that there has been an american president involved in more wars than obama

    obama by his cairo speech kicked of the arab spring ..shows that words can kill

    however.. the experience he now has gained may lead to an avoidance of a greater sunni shia war in syria if the present vienna talks can offer something tangible and preserve honour to the sunnis .. in the mid east honour and macho are key elements in negotiations

    iran however is a shia caliphate based regime and unless it has learnt the lesson from yemen on the limitations of force may push for further success via army and diplomacy and control in syria and iraq

    oldholbornian 31 Oct 2015 02:42

    But Obama's latest broken promise to avoid an "open-ended action" in Syria could lead to a full-blown war with Russia considering that Russian military has been operating in Syria for weeks.

    "…For the first time ever, the American strategists have developed an illusion … that they may defeat a nuclear power in a non-nuclear war," Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin told AP. "It's nonsense, and it will never happen."

    http://www.infowars.com/flashback-obama-says-no-boots-on-the-ground-in-syria-before-sending-troops/

    Any US / terrorist engagement with the Syrian security forces will include engaging with its allies Russia

    Once the firing starts Russia will include the US as terrorists with no rights to be in Syrian and under the UN RULES have the right to defend themselves against the US

    HollyOldDog -> foolisholdman 31 Oct 2015 02:32

    Hmm Foreign snipers on rooftops ( not in the control of the government) how many times is this scenario going to be played out before the 'press' twigs it than something is not making sense.

    HollyOldDog -> foolisholdman 31 Oct 2015 02:29

    Though in one demonstration there was snipers on rooftops shooting both deconstratirs and the police - far more police were killed than demonstrators - what does this reming you of? Was these actions seemingly out of the control of the government a preliminary to what happened in Kiev during the maidan - practices get the technics right I suppose. - outside forces were obviously at work ' stirring the pot.

    Anna Eriksson 31 Oct 2015 02:24

    Let's hope that the US will help out with taking in some refugees as well! In Germany, and Sweden locals are becoming so frustrated and angry that they set refugee shelters on fire. This is a trend in both Sweden and Germany, as shown in the maps in the links. There have almost been 90 arsons in Germany so far this year, almost 30 in Sweden.

    Map of Sweden fire incidents: http://bit.ly/1MiaMX9

    Map of Germany arson incidents: http://bit.ly/1LZzEUh

    betrynol 31 Oct 2015 01:56

    Nobody tells the American people and nobody else really cares, but these 40-something guys being sent to Syria are possibly there as:

    • cannon fodder: to deter the Russians from bombing and Iranians from attacking on the ground the American friendly anti-Assad militant groups;
    • to collect and report more accurate intel from the front line (again about the Russian/Iranian troops deployment/movement).

    The Russian and Iranian troops on the ground will soon engage and sweep anti-Assad forces in key regions in Western Syria. This will be slightly impeded if Americans are among them. But accidents do happen, hence the term "cannon fodder".

    The Russians and Iranians will likely take a step back militarily though for the duration of talks, so the American plan to protect Saudi backed fighters is likely to work.

    I never involved or mentioned ISIS because this is NOT about fighting ISIS. It's about counteracting the Russian/Irania sweep in the area, and ultimately keeping the Americans in the game (sorry, war).

    petervietnam 31 Oct 2015 01:13

    The world's policeman or the world's trouble maker?

    Austin Young -> Will D 31 Oct 2015 00:34

    But he's the "change we can believe in" guy! Oh right... Dem or republican, they spew anything and everything their voters want to hear but when it comes time to walk the walk the only voice in their head is Cash Money.

    lesmandalasdeniki -> Bardhyl Cenolli 30 Oct 2015 23:34

    It frustrates me, anyone who will be the problem-solver will be labeled as dangerous by the Western political and business leaders if the said person or group of people can not be totally controlled for their agenda.

    This will be the first time I will be speaking about the Indonesian forest fires that started from June this year until now. During the period I was not on-line, I watched the local news and all channels were featuring the same problem every day during the last two-weeks.

    US is also silent about it during Obama - Jokowi meeting, even praising Jokowi being on the right track. After Jokowi came back, his PR spin is in the force again, he went directly to Palembang, he held office and trying to put up an image of a President that cared for his people. He couldn't solve the Indonesian forest fires from June - October, is it probably because Jusuf Kalla has investment in it?

    My point is, US and the Feds, World Bank and IMF are appointing their puppets on each country they have put up an investment on terms of sovereign debt and corporate debt/bonds.

    And Obama is their puppet.

    Will D 30 Oct 2015 23:30

    Obama's presidency lost its credibility a long time ago. He made so many rash promises and statements which one by one he has broken, that no free thinking person believes anything he says anymore.

    He has turned out to be a massive disappointment to all those who had such high hopes that he really would make the world a better place. His failure and his abysmal track record will cause him to be remembered as the Nobel Peace prize wining president who did exactly the opposite of what he promised, and failed to further the cause of peace.

    Greg_Samsa -> Greenacres2002 30 Oct 2015 23:07

    Consistency is at the heart of logic, all mathematics, and hard sciences.

    Even the legal systems strive to be free of contradictions.

    I'd rather live in world with consistency of thought and action as represented by the Russian Federation, then be mired in shit created by the US who have shed all the hobgoblins pestering the consistency of their thoughts and actions.

    Never truly understood the value of this stupid quote really...

    Phil Atkinson -> PaulF77 30 Oct 2015 22:28

    There's a world of difference between Russia taking steps to protect its immediate geographic and political interests (which were largely the wishes of the resident populations - something critics tend to overlook) and the USA invading Iraq (2003) in a blatant act of war, based on bullshit and then aiding and abetting mercenary terrorists in Syria in defiance of any declaration of war, UN resolution or invitation from the Syrian government to intervene.

    You might have also noticed that Syria is a long, long way from the USA. Rhetorically, WTF is the US doing in the Middle East? Propping up Saudi or Israel? Or both?

    MainstreamMedia Propaganda 30 Oct 2015 22:03

    ISIS == Mercenaries sponsored by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Does a strategy against our own mercenaries make sense???

    2012 DIA Document (R050839Z) - Defense Intelligence Agency
    Public Affairs Office: 202-231-5554 or DIA-PAO@dodiis.mil
    http://www.mintpressnews.com/media-blacks-out-pentagon-report-exposing-u-s-role-in-isis-creation/206187/
    http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/pgs-287-293-291-jw-v-dod-and-state-14-812-2/

    DarrenPartridge 30 Oct 2015 22:03

    I think blatant policy changes like this show just how ineffectual the US president actually is. The hand over between Bush and Obama has been seamless. Gitmo still going, patriot act renewed, Libya a smoldering ruin (4 years down the line), no progress on gun control, troops in Afganistan and Iraq... it goes on...

    HowSicklySeemAll 30 Oct 2015 21:58

    "It's really hard to see how this tiny number of troops embedded on the ground is going to turn the tide in any way."

    Or the U.S. could carry out air strikes against Hezbollah which has been fighting ISIS for a while now. They could also supply weapons to ISIS (who are dubbed 'moderates') to counter Russian airstrikes and Iranian man power.

    Think about, when's the last time Saudi Arabia did anything progressive or humane in its foreign policy? Now remember this very same country is on the same side as the Americans. This is the country that invaded Bahrain and Yemen and labelled the civil rights movements in those countries as 'Iranian interference.' The Saudis who have been seeking to turn civil rights movements with rather nationalistic demands into religious and sectarian conflicts by playing different groups against each other are allied with the U.S. and sitting at the table in Vienna talking about peace in Syria. Nonsense upon stilts!

    Phil Atkinson -> Harry Bhai 30 Oct 2015 21:57

    Fuck the al-Sauds and their oil. If the US wants their oil (and there's plenty of other oil sellers in the world) then just take it. Why not be consistent?

    templeforjerusalem 30 Oct 2015 21:51

    IS has shown itself to be deeply hateful of anything that conflicts with their narrow religious interpretations. Destroying Palmyra, murdering indiscriminately, without any clear international agenda other than the formation of a new Sunni Sharia State, makes them essentially enemies of everybody. Although I do agree that belligerent secular Netanyahu's Israel sets a bad example in the area, Israel does not tend to murder over the same primitive values that IS uses, although there's not much difference in reality.

    IS uses extermination tactics, Israel used forced land clearance and concentration camp bombing (Gaza et al), while the US in Iraq used brutal force. None of this is good but nothing justifies the shear barbarism of IS. Is there hope in any of this? No. Is Russian and US involvement a major escalation? Yes.

    Ultimately, this is about religious identities refusing to share and demand peace. Sunni vs Shia, Judeo/Catholic/Protestant West vs Russian Orthodox, secular vs orthodox Israel. No wonder people are saying Armageddon.

    HowSicklySeemAll 30 Oct 2015 21:50

    ISIS poses no threat to the Americans and vice versa. The Americans therefore do not have an interest in making sure that ISIS is wiped out. On the contrary they want regional foes to suffer. The only countries and groups that have been successfully fighting ISIS - Assad's forces, Iranians, Hezbollah, Russians, and Kurds are in fact enemies of either the U.S., Saudis, Israelis, or Turks. Isn't that strange? The countries and peoples that have suffered the most and that have actually fought against ISIS effectively are seen as the enemy. Do the powers that be really want to wipe out ISIS at all costs? No, especially if it involves the Iranians and Russians.

    VengefulRevenant 30 Oct 2015 21:44

    "You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion by invading another country on [a] completely trumped up pretext. It's an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, wilful choice by [President Obama] to invade another country. [The US] is in violation of the sovereignty of [Syria. The US] is in violation of its international obligations."

    Verbum -> pegasusrose2011 30 Oct 2015 21:41

    How are Russian boots on the ground - of which there have been many for some time - ok and American boots bad?

    The difference is that of a poison and the antidotum. The American/NATO meddling in Iraq, Libya and Syria created a truly sick situation which needs to be fixed. That's what the Russians are doing. Obviously, they have their own objectives and motives for that and are protecting their own interests, but nevertheless this is the surest way to re-establish semblance of stability in the Middle East, rebuilt Syria and Iraq, stop the exodus of the refugees, and mend relations in the region.

    The American attempt at negotiating peace in Syria without Syrian representation is nothing short of ridiculous and best illustrates the convoluted state of American foreign policy. America lost any claim to 'leadership' by now.

    I feel sorry for Mr Obama, and indeed America, because he is a decent person, yet most of us are unaware what forces he has to reckon with behind the scenes. It is clear by now that interests of corporations and rich individuals, as well as a couple of seemingly insignificant foreign states, beat the national interest of America all time, anytime. It is astonishing how a powerful, hard working and talented nation can become beholden to such forces, to its own detriment.

    In the end, I do not think the situation is uniquely American. Russia or China given a chance of total hegemony would behave the same. That's why we need a field of powers/superpowers to keep one another in check and negotiate rather than enforce solutions.

    ID9309755 -> pegasusrose2011 30 Oct 2015 21:02

    Unfortunately American policy and that eu have at time added fuel to the fire. Yes, the me has its own problems, including rival versions of Islam and fundamentalism as well as truly megalomaniac leaders. But in instances (Libya for example) they did truly contribute to the country's destruction (and I am not excusing Gaddafi, but for the people there sometimes having these leaders and waiting for generational transformations may be a better solution than instant democracy pills.)


    ID7582903 -> pegasusrose2011 30 Oct 2015 21:00

    Russian Iranian and hezbollah boots are invited boots by the legitimate government according to the UN Charter they are all acting legally and according to the Geneva Conventions etc.

    The US led coalition in bombing Syria were not, and the admitted introduction of troops into Syria is a an ACT OF WAR by the USA, and it is the AGRESSOR here, not doubt about it. It's a War Crime by every standard

    Obama and the "regime" that rules the United Snakes of America have all gone over the edge into insanity writ large.

    ID9309755 -> pegasusrose2011 30 Oct 2015 20:55

    To clarify, I meant that all these groups are funded by these Arabic sheikhdoms and it increasingly appears that th us of a is not as serious in eradicating all of them in the illusion that the so called softer ones will over through Assad and then it will be democracy, the much misused and fetishised term. Meanwhile we can carve up the country, Turkey gets a bite and our naughty bloated allies in Arabia will be happy with their influence. Only if it happened that way...

    There is much more than this short and simplified scenario, and yes Russia played its hand rather well taking the west off guard. And I am not trying to portray Putin as some liberation prophet either. So perhaps you could say that yes, maybe I have looked into it deep...

    BlooperMario -> RedEyedOverlord 30 Oct 2015 20:52

    China and Russia are only responding to NY World Bank and IMF cheats and also standing up to an evil empire that has ruined the middle east.
    Time you had a rethink old chap and stopped worshipping Blair; Bush; Rumsfeld etc as your heros.

    See the NATO creep into Eastern Europe against all agreements made with USSR.

    Silly Sailors provoking Chinese Lighthouse keepers.

    RoyRoger 30 Oct 2015 19:30

    Their Plan B is fucked !!

    But their real agenda is to carve up Syria. In the deep recesses of their, the Corporate corrupt White House's, mind ISIS is not their immediate problem. ISIS is a means to an end - carve up Syria a sovereign country.

    Remember, only months ago, Kerry and Tory William Hague, was handing out cash to Syrian rebels who later turned out to be ISIS rebels. We must never forget, Syria, right or wrong, is a sovereign country.

    The real battle/plan for the Corporate corrupt White House is to try and get a foothold in Syria and establish a military dictator after a coup d'etat'. As we know it's what they, the West, do best.

    Look at the mess they made in, Ukraine, with their friends a bunch of, Kiev, murdering neo-Nazi's.

    In the interest of right is right; Good Luck Mr Putin !! I'm with you all the way.

    weematt 30 Oct 2015 19:25

    War (and poverty too) a consequence, concomitant, of competing for markets, raw materials and trade routes or areas of geo-political dominance, come to be seen as 'natural' outcomes of society, but are merely concomitants of a changeable social system.

    ... ... ...

    Greg_Samsa 30 Oct 2015 19:21

    Just out of curiosity...how will the US keep the DoD and CIA from duking it out at the opposite fronts on the Syrian soil?

    This gives a whole new dimension to the term 'blue-on-blue'.

    Kevin Donegan 30 Oct 2015 18:59

    Washington has clearly chosen to break International Law.

    "Westphalian sovereignty is the principle of international law that each nation state has sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs, to the exclusion of all external powers, on the principle of non-interference in another country's domestic affairs, and that each state (no matter how large or small) is equal in international law. The doctrine is named after the Peace of Westphalia, signed in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years' War, in which the major continental European states – the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, France, Sweden and the Dutch Republic – agreed to respect one another's territorial integrity. As European influence spread across the globe, the Westphalian principles, especially the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and to the prevailing world order.[1]"

    foolisholdman 30 Oct 2015 18:41

    As the administration in Washington is firmly in the grasp of special interest groups such as Big Pharma, The Banksters, Big Agrobusiness, Big oil, the MIC and Israel there is no chance of getting good policy decisions out of there until there is a regime change.

    If ever there was a government hat had lost its legitimacy the present US government is it.

    foolisholdman -> Johnny Kent 30 Oct 2015 18:31

    Johnny Kent

    The slight question of legality in placing troops in a sovereign country without permission or UN approval is obviously of no importance to the US...and yet they criticise Russia for 'annexing Crimea...

    Yes, but you see: the two cases are not comparable because the USA is exceptional.

    You might think that having criticized Assad for shooting demonstrators who demonstrated against the corruption and inefficiency of his regime, and having said that as a result his regime had lost its legitimacy, they would apply the same yardstick to President Poroshenko when he shot up two provinces of his country for asking for federation, killing thousands in the process, but on the contrary they sent "advisers" to train his military and his Fascist helpers to use their weapons better, to shoot them up more effectively.

    However, one cannot really expect people who are exceptional to behave like ordinary (unexceptional) human beings.

    WalterCronkiteBot 30 Oct 2015 17:11

    What is the official US line on the legality of these deployments in terms of international law?

    Noone seems to even raise it as an issue, its all about congressional approval. Just like the UK drone strikes.

    [Sep 12, 2016] We know exactly where corporations go when their iron grip on democracy loosens

    ...the dystopia of the Wachowski Brothers' Matrix trilogy is already here: the technological-industrial 'machine' is already running the world, a world where individual humans are but insignificant little cogs with barely any autonomy. No single human being - neither the most powerful politician, nor the most powerful businessman - has the power to rein in the system. They necessarily have to follow the inexorable logic of what has been unleashed.
    ~ G Sampath on John Zerzan
    Neo: I can't go back, can I?
    Morpheus: No. But if you could, would you really want to? ...We never free a mind once it's reached a certain age. It's dangerous, the mind has trouble letting go... As long as the Matrix exists, the human race will never be free.
    ~ The Matrix
    Notable quotes:
    "... And if they (Pentagon, DoD, etc…) resist new guidance, what is going to be done about it? ..."
    "... It seems to me like the major sovereignty-violating actions of the US Gov't happen with the approval of the executive branch. The military and intelligence services generally don't speak out or publicly act against the president's policies. They do leak a bunch of shit everywhere (the mysterious "high-ranking anonymous Obama official" who seems to pop up whenever the president's policies need to be opposed), but that you can live with. ..."
    www.nakedcapitalism.com
    GlassHammer

    Are we assuming that the Pentagon, DoD, etc… are just going to accept new guidance from the top? (That sounds like wishful thinking to me.)

    And if they (Pentagon, DoD, etc…) resist new guidance, what is going to be done about it? Currently more Americans trust the military than any institution or politician. I highly doubt anyone could swing public opinion against the Deep State at this point in time.

    Daryl

    It seems to me like the major sovereignty-violating actions of the US Gov't happen with the approval of the executive branch. The military and intelligence services generally don't speak out or publicly act against the president's policies. They do leak a bunch of shit everywhere (the mysterious "high-ranking anonymous Obama official" who seems to pop up whenever the president's policies need to be opposed), but that you can live with.

    It is a real problem, one that makes me nervous. We know exactly where corporations go when their iron grip on democracy loosens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Plot

    JTMcPhee

    Any Agent of Actual Change has to fear the "bowstring…"

    http://www.allempires.com/article/index.php?q=fate_of_roman_emperors

    Vatch

    JKF? I didn't know that the historian John King Fairbank was assassinated.

    roadrider

    Then I guess you have solid evidence to account for the actions of Allen Dulles, David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey, David Morales, E. Howard Hunt, Richard Helms, James Angleton and other CIA personnel and assets who had

    1. perhaps the strongest motives to murder Kennedy
    2. the means to carry out the crime, namely, their executive action (assassination) capability and blackmail the government into aiding their cover up and
    3. the opportunity to carry out such a plan given their complete lack of accountability to the rest of the government and their unmatched expertise in lying, deceit, secrecy, fraud.

    Because if you actually took the time to research or at least read about their actions in this matter instead of just spouting bald assertions that you decline to back up with any facts you would find their behavior nearly impossible to explain other than having at, the very least, guilty knowledge of the crime.

    [Sep 11, 2016] 9-11 The Mysterious Collapse of WTC Building 7

    Is this a plan of the elite to introduce national security state in action. Are they afraid of the collapse of neoliberal social order and try to take precautions?
    Notable quotes:
    "... These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness. ..."
    "... the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. ..."
    "... Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side-much like the topping of a tall redwood tree-not a concentric, vertical collapse. ..."
    "... A reporter with rare access to the debris at ground zero "descended deep below street level to areas where underground fires still burned and steel flowed in molten streams." ..."
    "... Please remember that firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires, and also applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories : ..."
    "... Why would the Insiders bother blowing Building 7? Indeed, why would the Insiders bother with WTC at all? Exactly what were the motivations of the Insiders supposed to be? ..."
    "... Larry Silverstein had a magic ball that told him to insure the buildings for "terrorist attacks". In February of 2002, Silverstein was awarded $861,000,000 for his insurance claims from Industrial Risk Insurers. His initial investment in WTC 7 was only $386,000,000. ..."
    "... Perhaps after the first couple of attempted attacks on the WTC in the 90's they had a good look at what would happen if an attack was successful. Perhaps they then decided that the massive collateral damage from a partial or messy collapse could be greatly reduced by having the buildings ready to be brought down in a controlled way. ..."
    "... All this would have to be kept secret as noone would work in a building lined with explosives. However the insurance companies, and the owner of the building would know, and this would explain the comments made by silverstein (comments that he himself never clarified). ..."
    "... This may all be completely wrong, but lets face it, explosives did bring these buildings down. ..."
    "... http://topdocumentaryfilms.com ...How about a 5 hour video that methodically refutes and explains the flaws of virtually every aspect of the 'official story', in particular the shamefully flawed NIST report ..."
    "... There were no pyroclastic flows at WTC. That's obvious by the fact that pieces of intact paper lay everywhere, something that would be impossible if a hot cloud covered the area. ..."
    "... The reason that you have to resort to esoteric explanations for what happened at WTC is that you believe lies about what happened at WTC. ..."
    "... If you really believe that this was done by hydrocarbon based fires begun by burning jet fuel you are beyond hopeless. ..."
    "... Why do you trust the government so much? That to me is idiotic. History has proven pretty much every government to be corrupt. It's sheep like you that allow them to get away with it. Just keep walking sheep, don't want to fall back from the mob. ..."
    "... The "accepted scholarship" is conducted almost entirely by government shills for the benefit of dumbed down Americans whose information intake is limited to Fox, CNN, and MSNBC. ..."
    Sep 15, 2012 | WashingtonsBlog

    ... ... ...

    What Do the Experts Say?

    What does the evidence show about the Solomon Brothers Building in Manhattan?

    Numerous structural engineers – the people who know the most about office building vulnerabilities and accidents – say that the official explanation of why building 7 at the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 is "impossible", "defies common logic" and "violates the law of physics":

    The collapse of WTC7 looks like it may have been the result of a controlled demolition. This should have been looked into as part of the original investigation

    Photos of the steel, evidence about how the buildings collapsed, the unexplainable collapse of WTC 7, evidence of thermite in the debris as well as several other red flags, are quite troubling indications of well planned and controlled demolition

    In my view, the chances of the three buildings collapsing symmetrically into their own footprint, at freefall speed, by any other means than by controlled demolition, are so remote that there is no other plausible explanation

    Near-freefall collapse violates laws of physics. Fire induced collapse is not consistent with observed collapse mode . . . .

    How did the structures collapse in near symmetrical fashion when the apparent precipitating causes were asymmetrical loading? The collapses defies common logic from an elementary structural engineering perspective.

    ***

    Heat transmission (diffusion) through the steel members would have been irregular owing to differing sizes of the individual members; and, the temperature in the members would have dropped off precipitously the further away the steel was from the flames-just as the handle on a frying pan doesn't get hot at the same rate as the pan on the burner of the stove. These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness.

    Structural steel is highly ductile, when subjected to compression and bending it buckles and bends long before reaching its tensile or shear capacity. Under the given assumptions, "if" the structure in the vicinity … started to weaken, the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. The opposite, intact, side of the building would resist toppling until the ultimate capacity of the structure was reached, at which point, a weak-link failure would undoubtedly occur. Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side-much like the topping of a tall redwood tree-not a concentric, vertical collapse.

    For this reason alone, I rejected the official explanation for the collapse ….

    We design and analyze buildings for the overturning stability to resist the lateral loads with the combination of the gravity loads. Any tall structure failure mode would be a fall over to its side. It is impossible that heavy steel columns could collapse at the fraction of the second within each story and subsequently at each floor below.We do not know the phenomenon of the high rise building to disintegrate internally faster than the free fall of the debris coming down from the top.

    The engineering science and the law of physics simply doesn't know such possibility. Only very sophisticated controlled demolition can achieve such result, eliminating the natural dampening effect of the structural framing huge mass that should normally stop the partial collapse. The pancake theory is a fallacy, telling us that more and more energy would be generated to accelerate the collapse. Where would such energy would be coming from?

    Fire and impact were insignificant in all three buildings [Again, please ignore any reference to the Twin Towers … this essay focuses solely on WTC7]. Impossible for the three to collapse at free-fall speed. Laws of physics were not suspended on 9/11, unless proven otherwise

    The symmetrical "collapse" due to asymmetrical damage is at odds with the principles of structural mechanics

    It is virtually impossible for WTC building 7 to collapse as it did with the influence of sporadic fires. This collapse HAD to be planned

    It is very suspicious that fire brought down Building 7 yet the Madrid hotel fire was still standing after 24 hours of fire. This is very suspicious to me because I design buildings for a living

    The above is just a sample. Many other structural engineers have questio