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From Military-Industrial Complex to Media-Military-Industrial Complex: Review of literature

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News Neo-fascism Recommended Links The Deep State The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage Predator state Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoconservatism National Socialism and Military Keysianism American Exceptionalism Andrew Bacevich on the New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Nation under attack meme
Corporatism War is racket Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few US and British media are servants of security apparatus War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Economics of Peak Energy
National Security State / Surveillance State Big Uncle is Watching You Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Is Google evil ? Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Military Bureaucracy and Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Color revolutions Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nulandgate Sanctions against Russia Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Russian Ukrainian Gas wars
Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis  Ron Paul War and Peace Quotes Corporatism quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Humor Etc

Introduction

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

Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Their goals may or may not coincide with the best interests of the American people. Think of the divergence of interests, for example, between the grunts who are actually fighting this war, who have been eating sand and spilling their blood in the desert, and the power brokers who fought like crazy to make the war happen and are profiteering from it every step of the way."

- Bob Herbert, "Spoils of War," The New York Times, April 10, 2003

"Militarism means a domination of the military man over the civilian, an undue emphasis on military needs, policies, spirit, values and ideals. . . a readiness to defend one's country's interests by force of arms, the acceptance of the military profession as honourable and necessary.

Peter Phillips. The Tragedy of Nazi Germany

If the ability to anticipate future dangers for the nation is the mark of a truly great president then Dwight D. Eisenhower is the greatest president of the XX century.  He was the last Republican president to deliver broad-based prosperity. During his presidency, the gains from growth were widely shared and the incomes of the poorest fifth actually grew faster than the incomes of the top fifth. As a result, America became more equal than ever before or since. Under Ike, the marginal tax rate on the richest Americans reached 91%. Eisenhower also presided over the creation of the interstate highway system – the largest infrastructure project in American history — as well as the nation’s biggest expansion of public schools. It’s no coincidence that when Eisenhower was president, over a third of all private sector workers were unionized. Ike can’t be credited for this but at least he didn’t try to stop it or legitimize firing striking workers, as did Ronald Reagan.

At the same time Dwight D. Eisenhower was an architect of the USA "deep state" and subverting by deep state of constitutional republic. It was he who appointed Dulles brothers to CIA and State Department creating the most dangerous and reckless tandem the USA history ever known. It was his administration that organized coupe on Iran deposing legitimate government and installing a puppet regime. See The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War Stephen Kinzer. Here is one  enlightening Amazon review of the book

Jacob G. Hornberger  on October 8, 2013
 A Fantastic Book!
The book is fascinating and gripping. I couldn't put it down. It goes a long way in explaining the plight in which the United States finds itself today.

The book's general focus is on the actions of the CIA and the State Department during the early period of the Cold War, specifically 1947 through the late 1960s and the role that the Dulles brothers played during that period of time. John Foster Dulles was serving as Secretary of State and Allen Dulles was serving as director of the CIA. The book specifically focuses on six regime-change operations during the Dulles brothers' tenure: Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cuba, and the Congo, including the first presidentially authorized assassinations of foreign leaders in American history.

We live in a time today when many Americans exalt the national-security state. They honestly believe that if it weren't for the big standing army, the overseas military empire, the CIA, and the NSA, the United States wouldn't exist for very long. Without the national-security state, these Americans honestly believe, America would quickly fall to the communists, the terrorists, the illegal aliens, the drug dealers, or some combination thereof.

They sing the praises of the troops and automatically assume that the more people they kill over there, they safer we are here at home. They glorify the CIA, even while not knowing exactly what it's doing--and, more important, not wanting to know. They like the fact that the NSA is spying on them but would prefer not knowing that it's spying on them. They simply cannot imagine living the life that our American ancestors lived for more than a century and a half before World War II --a life without a national security state.

Such Americans block out of their minds the fact that a free society and a national-security state are irreconcilable. In fact, they've convinced themselves that they're free because of the national security state.

Books like Kinzer's help to pierce through the falsehoods and misconceptions about the military and the CIA that grip the minds of so many Americans. The book shows how the United States veered off into a different direction after World War II, a direction involving much dark-side activity that the national-security state kept secret from the American people and which the American people, for their part, simply didn't want to know about.

It was all justified under fighting the communists or, more specifically, keeping America safe and secure from America's World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, which supposedly was orchestrating a worldwide communist movement designed to conquer and control the entire world.

There was the CIA's coup in Iran, which ousted the popular Mohammad Mossadegh from power and reinstalled the brutal dictatorial regime of the Shah. There was the CIA's ouster of the democratically elected president of Guatemala and his replacement by a brutal military dictatorship. There was the CIA's instigation of a horrific civil war in Indonesia. There was the CIA's plan to assassinate the leader of the Congo. There was the CIA's coup and the assassination of the U.S.-appointed leader of South Vietnam. There was the CIA's invasion of Cuba and repeated assassination attempts on the life of Fidel Castro.

Never mind that there were other factors involved, such as the nationalization of British oil interests in Iran or the nationalization of land in Guatemala belonging to a U.S. corporation with which the Dulles brothers had close ties. And never mind that Third World rulers simply wanted to stay out of Cold War politics. What mattered was that whenever any foreign ruler didn't do what U.S. officials wanted him to do, that made his regime a Cold War enemy and, therefore, subject to regime-change, including through assassination. The mindset was "If you're not with us, then you're against us." Neutrality was out of the question.

And never mind that Americans and others around the world are still suffering the horrific results of these regime-change operations. Just look at the state of U.S.-Iran relations. Or the hundreds of thousands of graves in Guatemala as a result of the civil war that the CIA's coup brought about. Or the continuous brutal U.S. embargo against Cuba. Or the families who still grieve the loss of loved ones in Vietnam and here in the United States.

It was all a new direction for America, a dark direction, one that the American people had never before engaged in. And it was all justified under the rubric of "the communist threat," specifically the supposed danger that the communists were everywhere and were coming to get us and take over our country, much like we hear about the terrorists today.

Why is this early period of the Cold War so relevant to today? Because the foreign policy-civil liberties woes that America faces today are rooted in that period. That's why that an understanding of that period is so critically important to understanding what we need to do to extricate ourselves from the morass in which we find ourselves. Restoring the right direction for our nation, a direction based on sound moral, economic, and legal principles, necessarily entails an examination of where American went wrong after World War II.

Another great book about this period is The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite, 1945-1963 by Michael Swanson. That book provides the best summary of the military component of the national-security state during the Cold War. If you read both books--The War State and The Brothers -- you will have an almost perfect understanding of how we got into this mess, what the mess has done to our nation, and what we need to do to get out.--Jacob Hornberger, president, The Future of Freedom Foundation

But paradoxically Dwight Eisenhower's presidency is probably better remembered less for what he did than for what he said while heading for the exit. In a nationally televised address on January 17, 1961, only four days before John F. Kennedy's inaugural and three years from the event which might well be considered to be coup d'etat which brought military-industrial complex in full control of all branches of the government (JFK assassination).

Eisenhower warned of the dangers of "undue influence" exerted by the "military-industrial complex." In other word appearance on the scene a new and formidable political force represented by arm manufactures, intelligence agencies, Army brass and selected supplies industries (oil industry comes to mind) and financial oligarchy.

But the term is more then undue influences, it's actually about a gradual, but inevitable transition of power to MIC either by stealth coup or open coup d'etat. And as soon as MIC came on political scene, it inevitably transforms the state into some variant of totalitarian state, such an "inverted totalitarism" or National Security State. It's not exactly "WAR IS PEACE. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength", but close enough.

This warning represents the historical importance of Eisenhower's farewell address. Here is the video of the address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWiIYW_fBfY

Eisenhower cautioned that maintaining a large, permanent military establishment was "new in the American experience," and suggested that an "engaged citizenry" offered the only effective defense against the "misplaced power" of the military-industrial lobby. But there are two problems with his warning:

We can state, that the key result of the second World War was the establishment of the rule of military industrial complex in all major countries, but first of all in the USA. Here is a relevant quote from his famous speech:

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs -- balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage -- balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.

IV.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

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

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

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

V.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

VI.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

What we have today is nothing but a full spectrum dominance of military-intelligence-industrial-academic-banking complex (and please note that Wall Street is closely interconnected with CIA and State Department;

Via revolving door mechanisms the US foreign policy is dictated not by US national interests but by interests of top 100 or so largest US corporations). In 2013 the private equity firm KKR named the retired general and CIA director David Petraueus as the chairman of its global institute. Earlier the same year, Sir John Sawers, The former head of Britain MI6 became Chairman of Macro Advisory Partners, a firm that advices business and government on geopolitics (Christina Freeland, Atlantic, May 2015, p 82) Those two examples are just tip of the iceberg, of a much larger trend of intermarriage of intelligence community and Wall Street.

From The Sorrows of Empire:

The 725 U.S. military bases acknowledged by the Department of Defense do not include the many used for communications espionage, control of the world's oil supply, or those that are simply too embarrassing for the government to speak about openly (such as the fourteen permanent bases being built in Iraq). - The United States maintains about 347,000 soldiers, airmen, and marines at military bases in 140 of 189 member states of the United Nations. - The American military budget is so large that the next-highest military budget in the world- Russia's-is only fourteen percent of our own. - Ninety-three percent of the American budget dedicated to international affairs is allocated to the military and only seven percent to the State Department. - The Congressional Budget Office projects federal deficits over the next five years of more than $1 trillion, on top of an already existing government debt in February 2003 of $6.4 trillion. Military operations in Iraq so far have cost $143 billion; reconstruction will run from between $50 and $100 billion.

We can view MIC as consisting of three parts: federal institutions,  academia (military or intelligence oriented research labs and individual researchers in universities), and private contractors. The latter is the fastest growing segment   (The Military-Industrial Complex is Real, And It’s Bigger Than Ever - The Daily Beast):

As the iconic Washington Post investigation detailed, there are 1,931 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence. Throughout the D.C. area, 33 buildings containing 17 million square feet of office space have been built since 9/11—the equivalent of 22 Capitol buildings. But despite the growth of government national-security workers, some 500,000 private contractors also have top security clearances.

This might be defensible if private contractors actually saved taxpayer dollars, but they don’t. According to a 2008 study by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, contractors made up 29 percent of intelligence agency workforce but cost the equivalent of 49 percent of personnel budgets. Consider the fact that Snowden made $122,000 a year in his brief Hawaii-based gig for Booz Allen Hamilton, offering evident tech savvy but only a GED. The average annual salary for a person with a GED is only $37,200. This isn’t an industry interested in belt-tightening.0

The proliferation of military-industrial complex contractors has helped propel the D.C. metro area to include seven of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the United States. Contra Snowden’s formal education, five of the top six counties for college-educated workers are in the D.C. metro area. The overlap between the two is not surprising: Loudoun, Arlington, and Fairfax counties in Virginia are particularly plush places to be in 2013.

If you want to find out what’s really happening in politics and government, follow the money. When it comes to national security, civic concerns compete with financial self-interest—and guess which often wins the tug of war?

The problem, of course, is not just a matter of money. It is the amount of overlap and inevitable turf battles that occur when multiple organizations—both private and public—all strive to prove their relevance to protect their self-interest. To use another example from the Post’s “Top Secret America” series, there are 51 federal organizations and military commands tracking the flow of money in terrorist networks. This just can’t be the most effective way to accomplish the mission.

But the military-industrial complex has a trump card to play with members of Congress and the public: nobody wants to argue with national security, especially when the very real threat of terrorism exists. This ain’t no phantom menace: more than 45 jihadist terror plots had been stopped before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. But the combination of real threat and opaque multibillion-dollar budgets leads inevitably to a lack of transparency and accountability. That’s where the risk of not just information-dragnet overreach but also the risk of leakers like Ed Snowden comes in. With this level of complexity in the system, security is ironically almost impossible to maintain.

Abstracting from the ideological bent, totalitarian regimes like USSR (or China) can also be viewed as examples of MIC dominance in the form of merger arms manufacturers, military contractors and the state institutions including top brass of Communist Party, the merger that creates a variant of National Security State depicted in his novel "1984".  Moreover the dissolution of the USSR as the result of the bankruptcy of its overcentralized economic model ("state socialism" -- not that different from state capitalism) is directly related to the destruction of the USSR economy imposed by Soviet  militarily industrial complex (see Are We Going Down Like the Soviets World). Although arm race with USA played significant role, Soviet military establishment willingly overplayed its hand and killed the host. Collapse of communist ideology and emergence of Neoliberalism was just a final strew that broke the camel back as KGB brass realized that they will be better off under capitalism and changed sides (with gentle encouragements via multimillion bribes from CIA). Still, China, which uses the same bankrupt ideological doctrine with political life dominated by the same Communist Party, managed to survive and even economically prosper using strange mix of communist ideology in governing the state with Neoliberalism in economics in selected economic zones of the country. Extremes meet and while Marxism was highly collectivist, while Neoliberalism is highly individualists "Homo homini lupus est" style ideology it  reuses one of core components of Trotskyism -- the idea of Permanent Revolution, which was creatively transformed into Permanent Export of Democracy.   The latter is just a  smoke screen for forced export of neoliberalism into other countries, via color revolution (Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine), or armed invasions (Iraq, Libya) )

In other words MIC dominance means inevitable transformation of modern states into National Security State fighting typical for such a state "Perpetual war for perpetual peace."

There are  other important factors/tendencies that contributed to the dominance media-military-industrial complex in the USA

  1. Relentless war mongering propaganda of corporate-controlled media. Like in Third Reich MIC dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. There is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

    Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

  2. American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism, a milder variant of  one that existed in 30th of the last century in national-socialist countries of Europe, such as Italy, Germany and Spain.  The way in which American elite as a whole relates with the rest of the world demonstrates a strong nationalistic (as in "cultural nationalism"), imperial point of view. That means that mass media presents events only from the particular  point of view, with the brainwashed lemmings believing that their nation, or culture, is superior to all others. This often produces prejudice, xenophobia and inter-group and in-group violence, with the latter directed at suppression of dissent. Indeed, the United States’ inflated sense of eminence create additional, non-economic stimulus for the country elite to act in  fundamentally ethnocentric neo-fascist ways, and to strive for unilateral rule of the world.
  3. Two party system invented by elite of Great Britain which in case of "winner takes all" more of assigning elected officials inevitably leads to the dominance of a single party -- party of large capital.  Clinton sell-out of Democratic party and Blair sell out of labor party are not exception in this case, they are the rule. "Winner takes all" system proved to be perfect for inverted totalitarism type of regimes, including the US neoliberalism as it naturally lead to two party system in which both party represent capital.  
  4. Conversion of system of governance to "Deep state" which essentially make elections optional, but they still continue to exist in an emasculated "two parties system" form with disenfranchised, brainwashed voters, a highly malleable mass that can be pushed for any real rulers bidding.  Mainly as a facade, Potemkin village to provide the legitimacy for ruling elite.
Those factors are covered in more detail in special pages:

Military Industrial Complex as another, more politically correct name for Corporatism


Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might.

The term MIC ("Military-Industrial Complex") is also closely related to the phenomena that is defined by the term corporatism and the term National Security State. In a way,  it is just a more politically correct way to describe corporatism as a social system. The term corporatism is taunted by the link to Mussolini Italy and quite often is associated with the term "Italian fascism". As such this association instantly makes the discussion more emotional and defensive.

Like the term corporatism, the term "Military-Industrial Complex" is used to denote a mutation of state in which the dominant power belong to the large corporations and banks allied with the government (with officials  moving freely between private industry and government via revolving doors) including, but not limited to, a political block between the military and the industrial producers of military equipment and their lobbyists in Congress. In a sense, the key result of WWII was that Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually won. Alliance of government (both Congress and executive branch) and corporate interests is the defining feature of this new form of political regime.

In a sense, the key result of WWII was that Nazi Germany and its allies lost, but corporatism as a political movement they represented, actually won.  Alliance of government (both Congress and executive branch) and corporate interests is the defining feature of this new form of political regime.

 Eisenhower initially wrote "military-industrial-congressional complex" (the term, which is of course is more precise as corporatism is a marriage of state and large corporations, but also more divisive), but changed it moved by strong advice to omit "congressional." We can see his political abilities and instincts of this great president in action in his final speech. It became a hit and people sited it, without understanding the depth and the real meaning of the warning, as well as the nature of the danger: mutation of the state into corporatist national security state which completely excludes public from the political process.

The term is easily extended to any group of corporations for which a significant part of revenue comes from the government contracts or in other way is guaranteed by government, or which depend from the expansion of market by government force (especially foreign expansion). In this sense we can talk about financial complex as another candidate for close and dangerous alliance with government .

No matter what set of industries are the key members of the alliance with the government, the press is controlled by the same players. The net result is a super-aggressive (we are the dominant player and you suckers should not stand on our way), jingoistic foreign policy oriented on acquiring new and protecting old markets. In this sense one of the defining features of such a regime is seeking/protecting/opening foreign markets using direct military power (aka invasions) or threat of thereof. That's why, the USA foreign policy seems unchanged the last 60 years, regardless of who controls the executive, and or, the legislative branches of government.

On the other hand it can be viewed as an implementation of Military Keynesianism: a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military in an effort to increase economic growth and the speed of technological advancement (via dual use technologies). Many fundamental technologies such as computers, large scale integral circuits, Internet, GPS, etc are the net results of adoption and enhancement of former military-oriented technologies by the civilian sector.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer's seven characteristics of a National Security State

  "Four sorrows are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787.
  1. First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a spreading reliance on nuclear weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut.
  2. Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a co- equal `executive branch' of government into a military junta.
  3. Third is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legions.
  4. Lastly, there is bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health, and safety of its citizens."

Chalmers A. Johnson

National security state is the most common form of corporatism that exist in XX and XXI century. In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer identified seven characteristics of a National Security State [4]:

All those features were also typical for Bolsheviks regime in the USSR, so the term "neo-bolshevism" is also applicable. Here is a pretty telling  Amazon review of The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)

 'War is a Racket' - General Smedley Butler USMC, April 1, 2004

Am I the only one who thinks the the rest of his countryman are nuts? For the past 60 years and three generations, Americans have been led to believe that that spending billions for the Defense of the country is not only necessary but patriotic.

Forget conspiracy theories and ideological agendas, just contemplate one fact: The USA spends more on military and intelligence funding in 2004 than it has spent at any one time in history. Fourteen carrier groups to defeat the two remaining countries of the axis of evil, N. Korea and Iran? 750 and counting military bases outside the USA? However, the government tells us it is powerless to defend the country against an attack from a terrorist group with WMD???

So, the next time you watch television and the commentator tells you why we need another aircraft carrier, more tanks, more F-16's, etc., ask yourself: Who are we defending ourselves against? And, as Chalmers Johnson points out, follow the money!

This book is an excellent primer on how our beloved country is being led down the road to ruin by a group of people who are lining the pockets of themselves and their friends and supporters. All of this is being done in the name of Democracy, Freedom and Globalization. But, why do we want to liberate people who sit on oil while those countries being ruthlessly exploited and practically enslaved are ignored since they can contribute little or nothing to the "world economy" (pick any poor third world country)?

This review is written by a conservative American, cold war supporter and US Navy veteran (like Chalmers Johnson) who believes in the old Republic (when is the last time you heard that word mentioned in the era of the imperial presidency). Forget whether you are democrat or republican, take the blinders off and seek the truth, excellently told by Chalmers Johnson.

Origins and history

 "The CIA is Wall Street. Wall Street is the CIA"

 Michael Ruppert

As US phenomenon  military industrial complex was the result of confluence of several powerful forces which has no countervailing forces to check them::

And those process were not limited to the USA. The concept of "deep state" actually originated in Turkey. And MIC suckling resources out of the economy has been one of the factors of collapse of the USSR with elements of the same that can be observed in such different  countries as Israel, Pakistan, China, Brazil and France.

The most important fact is the presence of intelligence agencies in this combination of forces and close alignment of intelligence agencies with Wall Street (the first head of CIA came directly from a leading Wall Street Law firm).  This hypertrophied role of intelligence agencies in military part of media-military-industrial complex essentially guarantied that it will soon escape civilian control and turn into "state within a state". Or as they call it now the Deep State.

Essentially Dwight Eisenhower correctly predicted inevitable collapse of American democracy, which actually happened in 1963 and gradual but inevitable transformation of the state into National Security State, the conversion which actually started with signing by Truman National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA) and was in full force during Eisenhower administration. Despite his understanding of the danger and some attempt to reverse the process Dwight Eisenhower was unable even to slow down this process during his administration, although it did cut military. 

We can distinguish several phases of conversion of the USA into National Security State:

JFK assassination as a coup detat of MIC against the "old state"

50th anniversary of JFK assassination and the key cue bono question about assassination:

Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, to investigate the illegal intelligence gathering by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the Watergate incident. It also investigated the CIA and FBI conduct relating to the JFK assassination.

Numerous books about the assassination suggest that in case actions of government represent a threat to their interests, elements of military industrial complex can overthrow the United States government by force of arms and that's can well be one interpretation of events which happened on November 22, 1963. HSCA had found that there were at least 2 shooters. The circumstances of JFK assassination are so troubling and confusing that they create an impression of CIA coup d'etat. This impression is strengthened by the fact that the US intelligence communities actively deceived the public and stonewalled the JFK murder investigation. This possibility is explored in several books such as Coup d'Etat in America The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Alan J. Weberman, Michael Canfield and German book JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika. The reading of the former book suggests that some of the same forces the did Kennedy in also brought about the downfall of Nixon. Here is one Amazon review of the book:

The authors believe that two of the tramps arrested in Dealey Plaza that day were Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis, and that JFK was killed by the CIA and Cuban exiles angry over the Bay of Pigs. The assassination was then made to look like the work of Castro. "Members of a specially trained assassination squad called Operation Forty were briefed on their roles in the conspiracy. A CIA agent named Lee Harvey Oswald, who had a high 'expendability rating,' was chosen to play the role of 'patsy' in the killing...Oswald was led to believe he was part of a plot to assassinate Castro when in reality he was being set up as a pro-Castro scapegoat...But the officials of the Cuban consulate in Mexico City refused to issue Oswald a visa. If they had acted differently, and the visa had been found on Oswald's person after the assassination, most Americans would have been convinced that [he] was an agent of Fidel Castro...His CIA case officer ordered him to bring a rifle to the depository on the same day Kennedy was visiting Dallas and told him that there would be a message waiting for him somewhere in the building around 12:30 that day."

There were two men behind the grassy knoll and two phony SS men behind the TSBD. "Meanwhile, the killers, disguised as tramps, hid in some nearby boxcars..." Tippit was supposed to silence Oswald but Oswald shot him first; he then went to the Texas Theater so he would be arrested in front of lots of people to guarantee that he would be taken alive. Ruby was ordered by the mob to kill him.

Bertrand Russell's famous question about the Warren Commission's conclusions, "If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?" was never answered.

That creates a distinct impression that intelligence services ("Big Intelligence") play a very important role in what is called MIC and are the core component of the modern National Security State. To the extent that instead of the term "media military industrial complex" we probably should use "media military intelligence industrial complex". As John Chuckman noted in his Nov 6, 2013 essay HOW AMERICA LEARNED TO PLAY GOD

The record of arrogance and abuse by security organizations, such as CIA or the FBI, is long and costly, filled with errors in judgment, abuse of power, incompetence, and immense dishonesty. Owing to the black magic of classified secrecy, much of the record involves projects about which we will never know, but even what we do know about is distressing enough. And I’m not sure that it can be any other way so long as you have Big Intelligence. Apart from Big Intelligence’s own propensity towards criminal or psychopathic behavior, one of the great ironies of Big Intelligence is that it will always agree to bend, to provide whatever suppressions and fabrications are requested by political leaders working towards the aims of the other great anti-democratic institutions, the military and the corporations. This became blindingly clear in the invasion of Iraq and, even before that, in the first Gulf War.

Among other things by access to "dirt" on politicians they provide powerful political filtering system so that none undesirable slips into important office:

America’s political system, honed and shaped over many decades, fits comfortably with these institutions. National elections are dominated by a two-party duopoly (being kept that way through countless institutional barriers deliberately created to maintain the status quo) , both these parties are dominated by huge flows of campaign contributions (contributions which form what economists call an effective barrier to entry against any third party seriously being able to compete), both parties embrace much the same policies except for some social issues of little interest to the establishment, and election campaigns are reduced to nothing more than gigantic advertising and marketing operations no different in nature to campaigns for two national brands of fast food or pop. It takes an extremely long time for a candidate to rise and be tested before being trusted with the huge amounts of money invested in an important campaign, and by that time he or she is a well-read book with no surprising chapters.

If for any reason this political filtering system fails, and someone slips through to an important office without having spent enough time to make them perfectly predictable, there still remains little chance of serious change on any important matter. The military-industrial-intelligence complex provides a molded space into which any newcomer absolutely must fit. Just imagine the immense pressures exerted by the mere presence of senior Pentagon brass gathered around a long polished oak table or a table surrounded by top corporate figures representing hundreds of billions in sales or representatives or a major lobbying group (and multi-million dollar financing source for the party). We see the recent example of popular hopes being crushed after the election of Obama, a man everyone on the planet hoped to see mend some of the ravages of George Bush and Dick Cheney. But the man who once sometimes wore sandals and bravely avoided a superfluous and rather silly flag pin on his lapel quickly was made to feel the crushing weight of institutional power, and he bent to every demand made on him, becoming indistinguishable from Bush. Of course, the last president who genuinely did challenge at least some of the great institutional powers, even to a modest extent, died in an ambush in Dallas.

Snowden revelations of NSA activities in the USA

New round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control it exert over civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA (see Big Uncle is Watching You).

Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way. There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet.  And it is a mistake to assume that such activities started with September 11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready long before September 11 and what is available is always used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being in a pervert way "early adopters" of any communication technology. And this happens not only in the USA although the USA as technological leader was the most profoundly affected.

It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the C.I.A. pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).

Recording of all email envelopes (which was also done for snail mail) started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII. It just a new name now -- collection of metadata. Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.

We don't know then it was extended on domestic calls, this this was trivial extension of already existing capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. That means around 1958. Even in early 1960 three letter agencies were already semi-autonomous entities, a state within the state. And as assassination on President Kennedy had shown they were audacious enough to bypass Congress.

I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far bask as Napoleon and his famous minister of police Joseph Fouché. Or may be it even goes as far back as to Byzantine Empire with its first in history systematic network of spies. As for recording of mail envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers") is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States".

After 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect Ed Snowden whatever is his motivation (which might be not as simple as most people assume) did the right thin thing, when he with risk to his life informed the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations you may disapprove them (and they did damage the USA as a state), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.

NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information that is crossing the national border, we need to understand that the abuse of this function and extension of it into domestic communications started nor after 9/11, but in 1950th. But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real state within the state and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

In other words expansionism is an immanent quality, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force it can be deadly for the society at large, as we observe in case with three letter agencies, which tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state. In a way any state with powerful thre-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it class itself a democracy. and that fact was already known to everybody in 1975. Actually just after president Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented "The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them."

The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them.

But that also means that most of those efforts are highly politicized, inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies which are not so far technological but political bodies (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition).

We can admire the immortal foresight of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the U.S. of the capacity to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew.  So it was quickly reversed. In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in Internet society it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't fight it. Yes, we can ;-)

MIC and dynamics of malignant growth of bureaucratic organizations

The idea that US foreign policy is affected by pressures imposed on US president  and his administration by the "national security oligarchy" interested mainly in self-preservation and expansion of their power in not new.

While major factors were conversion of the USA into empire and attempt to secure the world dominance, there was some internal dynamic connected with perverting of goals for which organization was created by any large bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is an organizational model rationally designed to perform complex tasks efficiently. Military and intelligence communities are classic examples of large bureaucratic organizations, and they are characterized by formalized rules and regulations, systematic record-keeping and archiving of past decisions, formalized planning for the future, hierarchies of status, defined career paths (within the organization and across organizations), a concern for organizational identity, and other features. Establish culture is "sticky" and is a very hard thing for any large bureaucratic organization to change. Reforms that run against a long-standing ethos -- especially chose that emphasize restraint and cut the power of the organization -- are very difficult to achieve

But most large bureaucracies, especially government, military and security  organizations (CIA, NSA FBI) quickly pervert the gols for which organization was created and start to pursue agenda of their own substituting official goal with the  goals of organization growth, and growth of power of top brass. In short that are subject to the same The Iron Law of Oligarchy as political parties.

So they have immanent propensity to become states with a state. For example the goal of army brass became to increase state engagement in any military conflict (aka "surge"). So despite the fact that bureaucracies are governed by rules make them something like staffed with human robots, where rules serve as a program governing the robot behavior. But as in sci-fi such robots very soon start to demonstrate behavior that was not designed by the original programmers ;-).

Once the bureaucracy commits itself to a course of action, it rarely adjusts its path. Bureaucracies prize continuity over innovation and cling to the prevailing orthodoxy even if that means moving strait till everybody start to fall from the cliff.  With the notable exception of the top layer of hierarchy ;-)

While each bureaucracy is created with particular mandate, like Frankenstein it very soon it escape the control of its creators and start living the life of its own, pursuing goals that might nothing to do, or worse completely opposite to those to achieve which it was created. At some point a new phenomenon called organizational culture emerge. the latter comprises an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions. The elements fit together as a self-reinforcing system and are resistant to any attempt to change it. Hierarchy, with its attendant multiple layers of goals, roles, accountabilities, values and communication channels became entrenched.

Principal agent problem and growth of national security oligarchy

Any bureaucracy is a political coalition that is designed to protect and enrich its members and first of all top brass (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition). And that goal explicitly conflict with the goal of efficient and dispassionate service that they theoretically should provide. That means that there is inherent contradiction within any large bureaucratic organization. that also means that one of the most central problem of bureaucracies is Principal-agent problem  which is essentially another side of  The Iron Law of Oligarchy. This problem recently (in 2008) get some attention in respect to financial sector:

In political science and economics, the principal-agent problem or agency dilemma treats the difficulties that arise under conditions of incomplete and asymmetric information when a principal hires an agent, such as the problem that the two may not have the same interests, while the principal is, presumably, hiring the agent to pursue the interests of the former. The “agency problem” is an inherent dysfunction in all principal/agent relationships, a dysfunction so powerful that such relationships can never fully achieve their stated objectives.

. Here is how Wikipedia defines this relationship

The principal–agent problem or agency dilemma occurs when one person or entity (the "agent") is able to make decisions that impact, or on behalf of, another person or entity: the "principal". The dilemma exists because sometimes the agent is motivated to act in his own best interests rather than those of the principal. The agent-principal relationships is a useful analytic tool in political science and economics, but may also apply to other areas.

Common examples of this relationship include corporate management (agent) and shareholders (principal), or politicians (agent) and voters (principal).[1] For another example, consider a dental patient (the principal) wondering whether his dentist (the agent) is recommending expensive treatment because it is truly necessary for the patient's dental health, or because it will generate income for the dentist. In fact the problem potentially arises in almost any context where one party is being paid by another to do something, whether in formal employment or a negotiated deal such as paying for household jobs or car repairs.

The problem arises where the two parties have different interests and asymmetric information (the agent having more information), such that the principal cannot directly ensure that the agent is always acting in its (the principal's) best interests,[2] particularly when activities that are useful to the principal are costly to the agent, and where elements of what the agent does are costly for the principal to observe. Moral hazard and conflict of interest may arise. Indeed, the principal may be sufficiently concerned at the possibility of being exploited by the agent that he chooses not to enter into a transaction at all, when that deal would have actually been in both parties' best interests: a suboptimal outcome that lowers welfare overall. The deviation from the principal's interest by the agent is called "agency costs".[2]

But this problem is no less acute in intelligence organizations. By their statute it is very difficult to control them and check action of their brass. Which means intelligence brass became a new type of players within the elite with its own agenda, which they fiercely defend.   Scaremongering is one typical demonstration of "Principal-agent problem" with intelligence organization and military. That's why any attempt to downsize those organization usually are doomed to be a failure.  Inflating security threats is the way of preservation and growth for those organization.

“Looting” is a reasonably violent word that conveys with some degree of accuracy the essence of principal-agent problem. Perverse incentives is more politically correct work meaning essentially the same.  Attempts to constrain  looting by large government organizations such as CIA, NSA and FBI using laws and regulation, or at the individual level by replacing top brass, proved inefficient.

Criminal prosecution is difficult to launch against top officers of such organization and RICO status is inapplicable despite the fact that in many way they demonstrate behavior typical of organized crime. At the same time Stalinism-style purges, while definitely effective contradict norms of the modern societies.  Changing situation via regulation is difficult as "national security oligarchy" controls lawmakers and, as Obama elections had shown, also might well controls the nomination of presidential candidates from both parties. 

There are three laws that govern this process of corruption:

Even in cases of indoctrination with ideology which inhibits those impulses, corruption of the organizational elite of security services is a serious problem as collapse of the USSR demonstrated to the surprised world. Only an idiot (or PR prostitute ;-) would say that it was angry Russians who overthrow the Communist regime; in reality it was Communist elite, and first of all KGB elite which changed flags and privatized the state resources.

This is the key to understanding complex dynamics in large organization, where bureaucracies that often engage in actions that look close to absurd (or are absurd) to the uninitiated, but are always directed on preservation and enhancement of power of top bureaucrats.  One of the most important features of bureaucracies is that along with "functional side" it also necessarily becomes a political coalition which relentless, consistently and skillfully fights for self-preservation and growth of its influence, often sacrificing "functional" part like pawns in the chess game.  As soon as self-preservation become the paramount concern, the original purpose of the bureaucracy to provide efficient and dispassionate service ("functional part") is subverted and buried beneath the higher priority activities of  providing benefits, increasing staffing, and, the most importantly, increasing budgets ("political part").

As soon as self-preservation become the paramount concern, the original purpose of the bureaucracy to provide efficient and dispassionate service ("functional part") is subverted and buried beneath the higher priority activities of  providing benefits, increasing staffing, and, the most importantly, increasing budgets ("political part").

Tendency of mature bureaucracies to pervert their organizational, functional goals necessitates periodic purges and reorganizations. One of the first political party which understood this complex dynamic were Bolsheviks, who under Stalin instituted periodic purges of  State-employed bureaucrats ("apparatchiks"), so that the fear for their well-being (and often life) served as a powerful countervailing force to the natural tendency of bureaucracy to pervert its goals. Which of course have had only temporary effect. 

In the USA similar mechanisms of appointing as head of government agencies by political appointees (who are often, unfortunately, are completely incompetent in the area of activity they were made responsible for) is much less effective, but also has its positive sides.  The US Congress looks more stagnant then the USSR Politburo with the average serving term of senators probably exceeding twice of more the term of a typical Politburo member.

Limitation of term of the President along with natural change of  political objectives  serves as a periodic, but very mild reorganizing force. This effect is watered down by the short term assigned to the presidency as in such short  period it is impossible to institute substantial changes in top departments such as Department of State and Department of Defense (which actually has budget larger then GDP of the USSR and is probably less efficient in spending those money that the socialist economy of the USSR). 

Intelligence community is another part that tend quickly escape the control and pervert the goal for which particular organization was created. Here natural tendency of any large bureaucracy to try to enlarge their sphere of influence and minimize the control from  above looks really menacing to the very existence of democratic government in the country as Church Committee discovered long ago. To members of the commission CIA looked more like a tail which wags the dog, then as a regular part of the government, and as Assassination of President Kennedy had shown this is really the case. And it was the chief of FBI J. Edgar Hoover   who convincingly proved that that idea of rotation of high level executives in the US government has well defined exceptions. None of presidents dared to touch him until he died in the office occupying it for almost 40 years (1935-1972).

In large corporation the role similar to Stalin purges can play periodic changing of location of headquarters, as election of president of the corporation and its board are typically formal and are run by the same clique that runs the organization.

Security and intelligence bureaucracies as perfect environment for authoritarians and sociopaths

Another negative side of bureaucracies is that they serve as perfect environment for Authoritarians (especially Double High Authoritarians)  as well as sociopaths. See The psychopath in the corner office and Analogy between corporate and psychopathic behavior

So it is interesting that the term psychopathic is applicable to bureaucracies too, not only to individuals. Bureaucracies can demonstrate several of typical psychopathic traits. Like psychopathic managers, bureaucracies often prevent subordinates doing their jobs and prevent employees fulfilling their duties. The term Psychopathic corporation is often used to highlight the connection between corporate psychopaths and modern government organizations and mega-corporations. Here is a short but very useful list from Our Church Administration is Critically Infected « Another Voice

1.Illogical Thinking: The lack of independent, critical thinking.

2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds: Authoritarians’ ideas are poorly integrated with one another.

3. Double Standards : When your ideas live independent lives from one another it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will justify (afterwards) what you’ve decided to do.

4. Hypocrisy: The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.

5. Blindness To Themselves: self-righteousness.

6. A Profound Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.

7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian’s Last Ditch Defense: By dogmatism I mean relatively unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..

The key feature of such companies is  that do not treat employees as humans, they treat them as animals to be culled when appropriate. 

Andrew Bacevich analysis of "New American Militarism" and its connection with American Exceptionalism, neocons and evangelicals

Professor Andrew Bacevich wrote several short books on the subject. Among them we can note two:

While both books are excellent the weakness of Bacevich approach is that he does not see connection between Neoliberalism demand for economic expansion and "New American Militarism". He provide sharp critique of neocons but never ask the question: which political forces brought those pathetic second or third rate thinkers to the forefront of formulation of the US foreign policy and maintain them for more then a decade after Iraq debacle. He also mistakenly believe that American people who were completely estranged from any influence on nation's policies bear some guilt for the policy which was formulated to benefit the first hundred of the largest US corporations,

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism

Here is one Amazon reader review of he first book (Amazon.com David R. Cook Dave Cook's review of The Limits of Power The End of American E...)

David R. Cook, August 15, 2008

Cliche or not, this is a "Must Read" book

This is the bluntest, toughest, most scathing critique of American imperialism as it has become totally unmoored after the demise of the Soviet Communist empire and taken to a new level by the Bush administration. Even the brevity of this book - 182 pages - gives it a particular wallop since every page "concentrates the mind".

In the event a reader knows of the prophetic work of the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, you will further appreciate this book. Bacevich is a Niebuhr scholar and this book essentially channels Niebuhr's prophetic warnings from his 1952 book, "The Irony of American History". The latter has just been reissued by University of Chicago Press thanks to Andrew Bacevich who also contributed an introduction.

In essence, American idealism as particularly reflected in Bush's illusory goal to "rid the world of evil" and to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East or wherever people are being tyrannized, is doomed to failure by the tides of history. Niebuhr warned against this and Bacevich updates the history from the Cold War to the present. Now our problems have reached crisis proportions and Bacevich focuses on the three essential elements of the crisis: American profligacy; the political debasing of government; and the crisis in the military.

What renders Bacevich's critique particularly stinging, aside from the historical context he gives it (Bush has simply taken an enduring American exceptionalism to a new level), is that he lays these problems on the doorstep of American citizens. It is we who have elected the governments that have driven us toward near collapse. It is we who have participated willingly in the consumption frenzy in which both individual citizens and the government live beyond their means. Credit card debt is undermining both government and citizenry.

This pathway is unsustainable and this book serves up a direct and meaningful warning to this effect. Niebuhrian "realism" sees through the illusions that fuel our own individual behavior and that of our government. There are limits to American power and limits to our own individual living standards and, of course, there are limits to what the globe can sustain as is becoming evident from climate changes.

... ... ...

Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2008

... ... ...

According to the author, the US has reached its limit to project its power in the world. His rationale for this conclusion are three central crises we now face: economic and cultural, political, and military, all of which are our own making.

The first crisis is one of profligacy. Americans want more, whether it is wealth, credit, markets, or oil, without consideration for cost or how these things are acquired. There is complete apathy in what policies are being produced as long as they provide plenty.

The political crisis was born of our mobilization in World War II to meet the threat of tyranny, and from the Cold War to meet the challenge of the Soviet Union. Both gave rise to unprecedented presidential power, an ineffectual Congress, and a disastrous foreign policy. Bacevich contends that our legislature no longer serves their constituents or the common good "but themselves through gerrymandering, doling out prodigious amounts of political pork, seeing to the protection of certain vested interests" with the paramount concern of being re-elected. Our presidents have been willing accomplices in keeping the American dream or greed alive by using our military as part of a coercive diplomatic tool to feed and fuel the first crisis.

Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might. At the same time, the largest intelligence agencies in the world are created to afford us more security, but after seventy years are unable to defend our cities and buildings in the US while it worries about intrigues worldwide. Competition and rivalry lead to a lack of cooperation, intelligence, and security when it was needed most.

The third crisis is our military which has been employed to satisfy the neuroses of the first and second crises. The author puts much of the blame squarely at the feet of inept military leadership, which he believes has confused strategy with operations. Content with the resilience of the American fighting man or woman, he is scathing in his critique of their leadership finding them "guilty of flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud." He illustrates how improvised explosive devices that cost no more than a pizza have checked a military that is designed for speed and maneuver--that was considered invincible.

Andrew Bacevich contends that nothing will change as long as Americans are told to go to Disney World instead of making sacrifices, as long as the same one half percent of our population continue to populate the military that the president sees as his personal army, as long as an apathetic public and an ineffectual Congress continue to make periodic, grand gestures of curbing presidential power, the United States will have reached the limits of its power and exceptionalism.

This book profoundly moved me, and I was impressed by the insight that Professor Bacevich could bring in such few pages. Passages of this book should be plastered in the halls and offices of Congress, as well as the West Wing.

This book really stands out as a jewel in a sea of mediocre publications by radio and TV personalities who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to economics or geopolitics. The difference is that Andrew Bacevich does

--without exception.

Also Recommended:

The New American Militarism

There are several very insightful reviews of Bacevich latest book The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War on Amazon. I strongly recommend to read them.

Bacevich argues that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of several social forces (and as such has significant social base):

For your convenience some of  them which I judge to be the most insightful are reproduced below:

Andrew J. Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans Are seduced By War, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-19-517338-4, is the most coherent analysis of how America has come to its present situation in the world that I have ever read. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton. And he is retired military officer. This background makes him almost uniquely qualified to comment on the subject.

Bacevich admits to an outlook of moderate conservatism. But in ascribing fault for our plight to virtually every administration since W.W. II, he is even handed and clear eyed. Since he served in the military, he understands the natural bureaucratic instincts of the best of the officer corps and is not blinded by the almost messianic status that they have achieved in the recent past.

His broad brush includes the classic period, the American Revolution - especially the impact of George Washington, but he moves quickly to the influence of Woodrow Wilson and his direct descendants of our time, the Neoconservatives. The narrative accelerates and becomes relevant for us in the depths of the despair of Vietnam. At that juncture, neocon intellectuals awakened to the horror that without a new day for our military and foreign policy, the future of America would be at stake. At almost the same time, Evangelical Christians abandoned their traditional role in society and came to views not dissimilar to the neocons. America had to get back on track to both power and goodness. The results of Vietnam on American culture, society, and - especially - values were abhorrent to both these groups.

The perfect man to idealize and mythologize America's road back was Ronald Reagan. Again, Bacevich does not shrink from seeing through the surreal qualities brought to the Oval Office by Reagan to the realities beneath them. The Great Communicator transformed the Vietnam experience into an abandonment of American ideals and reacquainted America with those who fought that horrible war. Pop culture of the period, including motion pictures such as Top Gun and best selling novels by many, including Tom Clancy completely rehabilitated the image of the military.

The author describes how Evangelical leaders came to find common cause with the neocons and provided the political muscle for Reagan and his successors of both parties to discover that the projection of military might become a reason for being for America as the last century closed.

One of his major points is that the all volunteer force that resulted from the Vietnam experience has been divorced from American life and that sending this force of ghosts into battle has little impact on our collective psyche. This, too, fit in with the intellectual throw weight of the neocons and the political power of the Evangelicals.

Separate from but related to the neocons, Bacevich describes the loss of strategic input by the military in favor of a new priesthood of intellectual elites from institutions such as the RAND Corporation, The University of Chicago and many others. It was these high priests who saw the potential that technology provided for changing the nature of war itself and how American power might be projected with `smart weapons' that could be the equivalent of the nuclear force that could never be used.

So it was that when the war we are now embroiled in across the globe - which has its antecedents back more than twenty years - all of these forces weighed heavily on the military leaders to start using the force we'd bought them. The famed question by Secretary of State Madeline Albright to General Colin Powell: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" had to have an answer and the skirmishes and wars since tended to provide it.

Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.

It is in his prescriptions that the book tends to drift. The Congress must do its constitutionally mandated jobs or be thrown out by the people. Some of his ideas on military education are creative and might well close the gap between the officer corps and civilians that he points to as a great problem.

But it is the clearly written analysis that makes this book shine. It should be a must read for those who wonder how we got to Iraq and where we might be heading as a society. The nation is in grave danger, and this is a book that that shows how we got to this juncture. Where we go from here is up to us. If we continue as we are, our options may narrow and be provided by others.

READ THIS BOOK

===This review is from: The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Hardcover)

In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies." We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form. It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.

  1. After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
  2. Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
  3. Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
  4. Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
  5. Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
  6. Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.

Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hotile to republican liberty."

K. Johnson:

 Relevant and Objective, January 3, 2007

... ... ...

The author astutely reinforces the fact that the Militarist Mentality won't change, regardless of which political party is in control of the Executive and Houses of Congress in the United States. Here only some examples out of many:

Entry of the U.S. military into the Middle East:

THE CARTER DOCTRINE:

The Carter Doctrine was prescribed at the State of the Union Address in 1980. Another civilian prescription utilizing the military as medicine to alleviate and even cure, political symptoms. This Doctrine began a new era of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, specifically using the American military to enforce its economic interests and lifestyle dependence on oil. The Carter Doctrine was a major shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. It specifically stated that use of the military can and will be used to enforce U.S. economic interests.

At his State of the Union Address, Carter stated:

"Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be declared as an assault on the vital interest of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force" (p. 181).

Worth noting is that the Carter Doctrine was declared during the Cold War, when there was a adversary to check U.S interests. Today, that rival is gone.

Some argue the so-called 'War on Terror' is merely a historical continuation of American foreign policy interests in using its military to promote its geo-political and economic interests.

WAR AS SPECTATOR SPORT:

War has been, and now is presented as a spectacle. No different than a spectator sport. Live reports, video display, and laymen presentations of new technology, usually via video, to the civilian public at press conferences.

One example of many are current U.S. newspaper reports: they don't use the term "wounded" when reporting about American soldiers in Iraq. They use the euphemistic term, "injured." "17 Iraqis 'wounded' and 3 American soldiers 'injured.'" Similar to a football game. Slogans such as "Shock and Awe, Support the Troops," and deck of cards identifying the most wanted Baath party members. "Freedom is not Free." Many American military personel (and civilians) have internalized this propaganda.

Using Hollywood To Enhance "Honor" and perpetuate myths:

Bacevich carefully details the planned and choreographed footage of George W. Bush dressed as a fighter pilot on the USS Abraham Lincoln. This was intentionally and specifically lifted from the movie "Top Gun." Immediately after this planned footage, an action figure doll was created and sold for $39.99. It was called the "Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush: U.S. President and Naval Aviator" (p. 31).

Well-dressed, handsome, and beautiful anchors report about the war in such series as "The Week in War." More simulation of the spectator sport of war in our pop culture. One segment in the "Week in War program" is called "The Fallen," where the photo of a soldier, his name, age, and hometown are presented, and the date of his death. Then the cameramen go to his family's home. Often a family picture of the "fallen soldier" is shown. Then, an interview with the somber, and at times tearful family in their living room, sitting on their couch: "He was a good kid. He always wanted to help people."

The "Fallen" is related to a concept that the Germans began about 300 years ago. This concept is called the "Cult of the Fallen Soldier." When a soldier is killed in war he is elevated to a higher status because of his death. He is placed on a pedestal, because somehow, and in some enigmatic way, he "sacrificed" for a noble cause that is often abstract or confusing to the public. To further simplify the confusion and sullenness resulting from the soldier's death, religion is often injected into the deceased soldiers elevation on a pedestal. You can see this Cult of the Fallen Soldier in Arlington, Virgina today, and in many military cemeteries around the world.

GLORIFICATION OF THE MILITARY THROUGH MOVIES:

Bacevich notes moves and their role. "Top Gun" had a tremendous impact in many ways. Pop culture, and Navy recruiting sky-rocketing. As for the flurry of "Vietnam war movies," again the noble concepts of "courage, honor, fear, triumph" are latently and explicitly reinforced to the public of all ages and socio-economic levels.

It took me a chapter or two to get used to Bacevich's writing style, but I grew to like it.

Chapters: 1) Wilsonians Under Arms 2) The Military Professions at Bay 3) Left, Right, Center 4) California Dreaming 5) Onward 6) War Club 7) Blood for Oil 8) Common Defense

"Support" for the military is often incorrectly linked with one's "patriotism." This faulty thinking is perpetuated by the electronic and print media in often subtle forms but extremely effective forms, and at times very explicit and in aggressive manners. The government intentionally steers the publics' focus to the 'Military aspects of war' to avoid attention to the more realistic and vital 'political aspects.' The latter being at the real heart of the motivation, manner, and outcome of most *political* conflicts.

Bacevich notes journalists: journalist Thomas Friedman complained that a Super Bowl half-time show did not honor the "troops." He then drove to the Command Center to visit and speak with the "troops." Soon after, he carried on with his own self-centered interests, like everyone else.

The military in and of itself is not dangerous nor pernicious. The military doesn't formulate foreign policy. The military just implements it, carrying out the orders and instructions of elitist civilians who have never served in the armed forces. It's not the military nor the men and women serving in it, we must be wary of. It's the civilians masters with vested interests in the governmental and corporate world who must be held accountable.

General Creighton Abrams wanted to diminish the influence of civilian control over the military after Vietnam. Civilians and politicians were making military decisions. It seems the situation is similar in 2007. Chairman of the JCS Peter Pace sounds political. History will be the judge.

This is a very insightful book for those interested in recent history as well as the current situation the United States is in. The troops should be supported for what they do. Because unfortunately they are the ones that pay the price for elitist decisions made by upper-class civilians from the Ivy League cliques that run the U.S. politically and economically.

... ... ...

Robert S. Frey
An Informed, Insightful, and Highly Readable Account of American Foreign Policy Today, December 23, 2006

... What I found most beneficial was that the book presented well-argued alternative historical "meta-narratives" that are much more closely aligned with post-World War II historical events and processes than the ones currently accepted as "conventional wisdom." A case in point is the periodization of World War IV beginning with President Carter's pronouncements regarding the Persian Gulf area in 1980 rather than with the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11. "The New American Militarism" carefully and credibly brings together the many seemingly disparate actions, decisions, and events of the past 60+ years (e.g., the atomic bombing of Japan, Vietnam, oil shortages of the 1970s and 80s, the end of the Cold War, the First Gulf War, etc.) and illustrates important patterns and trends that help to explain why United States' foreign policy is what it is today. Dr. Bacevich's book helps us understand and appreciate that the global projection of American military power today has deep roots in the national decisions and behaviors of the second half of the twentieth century.

Robert S. Frey, M.A., MBA, MSM
Adjunct Professor, History
Brenau University

Dr. Lee D. Carlson

Interesting, insightful, and motivating, October 21, 2006

...If one examines carefully American history, it is fair to say that Americans have been reluctant to go to war, preferring instead to settle conflicts via negotiation and trade agreements. Americans have been led to the horrors of war kicking and screaming, and breath a sigh of relief when they are over. Historically, Americans have applied extreme skepticism to those politicians, like Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to participate in World War I to make the world "safe for democracy." So if Americans are "seduced by war", as the author contends they have been in recent decades, an explanation must be found. It is tempting to say that they have been merely "brainwashed", and contemporary neuroscience lends some credence to this claim, but one must still be open to alternative explanations, and let the evidence determine the proper interpretation. Once the causes have been identified, it becomes necessary to find methodologies and strategies to counter these causes, lest we find ourselves in another unnecessary and brutal conflict, initiated by some who do not directly participate in it, and have no intention ever to do so.

... ... ...

R. Albin:

 Exceptional Polemic; 4.5 Stars, October 19, 2006

This concise and well written book is the best kind of polemic; clear, well argued, and designed to provoke debate. Bacevich is definitely interested in persuading readers of the truth of his views but his calm and invective free prose, insistence on careful documentation, and logical presentation indicate that his primary concern is promote a high level of discussion of this important issue. Bacevich argues well that a form of militarism based on an exaggerated sense of both American mission and American power, specifically military power, has infected public life. He views this militarism as both leading to unnecessary and dangerous adventures abroad, epitomized by the Iraq fiasco, and corrupting the quality of domestic debate and policy making. Beyond documenting the existence of this phenomenon, Bacevich is concerned with explicating how this form of militarism, which he views as contrary to American traditions, came to be so popular.

Bacevich argues well that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of actions by a number of different actors including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals. For a variety of reasons, these sometimes overlapping groups converged on ideas of the primacy of American military power and the need to use it aggressively abroad. Bacevich devotes a series of chapters to examining each of these actors, discussing their motivations and actions, often exposing shabby and inconsistent thinking. Some of these, like the role of neoconservative intellectuals and the Religous Right, are fairly well known.

Others, like the behavior of professional military over the last generation, will be novel to many readers. Bacevich's chapters have underlying themes. One is the persisent occurrence of ironic events as the actions of many of these groups produced events counter to their goals. The post-Vietnam professional military attempted to produce a large, vigorous military poised to fight conventional, WWII-like, combats. This force was intended to be difficult for politicians to use. But as these often highly competent professionals succeeded to restoring the quality of the American military, the temptation to use it became stronger and stronger, and control escaped the professionals back into the hands of politicians as varied as Bush II and Clinton. Another theme is that politicians seized on use military force as an alternative to more difficult and politically unpalatable alternatives. Jimmy Carter is described correctly as initiating the American preoccupation with control of the Persian Gulf oil supplies, which has generated a great deal of conflict over the past generation. Bacevich presents Carter as having to act this way because his efforts to persuade Americans to pursue sacrifice and a rational energy policy were political losers. Ronald Reagan is presented as the epitome of this unfortunate trend.

Bacevich is generally convincing though, perhaps because this is a short book, there are some issues which are presented one-sidedly. For example, its true that Carter began the military preoccupation with the Persian Gulf. But, its true as well that his administration established the Dept. of Energy, began a significant program of energy related research, moved towards fuel standards for vehicles and began the regulatory policies that would successfully improve energy efficiency for many household items. No subsequent administration had done more to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

Bacevich also omits an important point. As he points out, the different actors that sponsored the new militarism tended to converge in the Republican Party. But, as has been pointed out by a number of analysts, the Republican Party is a highly disparate and relatively unstable coalition. The existence of some form of powerful enemy, perceived or real, is necessary to maintain Republican solidarity. The new militarism is an important component of maintaining the internal integrity of the Republican party and at unconciously appreciated as such by many important Republicans.

An interesting aspect of this book is that Bacevich, a West point grad, former career Army officer, and self-described cultural conservative, has reproduced many of the criticisms put forward by Leftist critics.

Bacevich concludes with a series of interesting recommendations that are generally rational but bound to be controversial and probably politically impossible. Again, this is an effort to change the nature of the discussion about these issues.

Adam Bahner
How Permanent Military Deployment Became Congruent With World Peace, June 29, 2006

In The New American Militarism, Andrew J. Bacevich contends that American culture and policy since the end of the Cold War has merged a militaristic ethos with a utopian global imaginary. He notes that American militarism is a "bipartisan project" with "deep roots" that even garner support on the political margins, with some leftist activists seeing a humanitarian mission for U.S. global military hegemony. He traces these roots to the worldview of Woodrow Wilson, who envisioned a globe "remade in America's image and therefore permanently at peace." Yet Wilson's view was moderated by a public and policy perception of war as an ugly, costly, brutal, traumatic and unpredictable last resort. This is corroborated by the massive military demobilizations that followed U.S. involvement in both world wars. Bacevich also points to works of popular culture, from Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front to Oliver Stone's Platoon, that reflect on the inhumanity of war from World War I through Vietnam.

Bacevich sees a massive deviation from these historical trends after the end of the Cold War. While conceding that a permanent military mobilization was expected during the Cold War (from roughly NSC-68 to the fall of the Berlin Wall)--no significant demobilization followed. Forces slated for deactivation were quickly mobilized for Operation Desert Storm. No successful popular culture critiques of that war's brutality would emerge. The author sees the end of the cold war and Desert Storm as framing a period of "new American militarism" that breaks from historical precedent in several regards. He claims that since the 1988 presidential campaign, the character of the presidency has emphasized military more than civilian leadership. This contradicts previous presidents of military stature (e.g. Grant, Eisenhower) who obsessively positioned themselves as civilians. Post-Cold War military budgets have been dramatically larger despite no global adversary. The public has uncritically accepted a permanent military stance. The perception of war as ghastly and treacherous has been replaced with war as a clinical and technologically managed spectacle. The link between the covenant of citizenship and military service has been replaced by a specialized force of volunteers. The numbers of veterans serving in congress has steadily decreased since World War II. Bacevich correlates this with the shunning of military service by elites as the military has increasingly drawn from areas of the population that are poor and brown. Because of this, force is "outsourced" and in turn the stature of soldiers has dramatically increased through an infrastructure of praise by the majority who are not involved in military operations. Senior military officers have tremendous clout in politics, policy, and spending.

To understand this new militarism, Bacevich notes that it is point-for-point an inversion of Vietnam's military milieu. There, politicians up through the president framed themselves as civilians, officers felt out of touch with bureaucratic decisions, and war was perceived as carnal and bumbling. The book traces cultural responses to Vietnam that reformed the American relationship to militarism. As military leaders like Creighton Abrams sought to mandate broad political investment for military action by creating interdependence with reserves and to limit the criteria for deployment with the Weinberger doctrine, politicians like Ronald Reagan rehabilitated an American demoralization that peaked with Carter's failed Operation Eagle Claw by invoking popular culture mythologies like Rambo.

Bacevich is unabashedly religious. He ultimately couches America's outsourced and technocratic militarism as a departure from natural Gods in the pursuit of a scientistic idol that more perfectly regulates human affairs. He openly sees in this scientism the same flaw and outcome as Communism or Fascism. He suggests that affirmation of military service across economic privilege would raise the stakes of military engagements and help to contradict the cultural illusions that form the basis of American militarism. (That war is technical, distant, clinical, predictable, outsourced, humane, and everything contrary to what writers like Remarque tell us.) He meticulously synthesizes a new paradigm that relates the difficult subjects of military policy and popular sanction. In this regard, The New American Militarism is an exciting contribution to historical scholarship.

M. Ward:

The New American Militarism - A Bipolar Look at Todays State of Affairs, February 4, 2006

...The book is about American militarism, which Bacevich describes as the "misleading and dangerous conceptions of war, soldiers, and military institutions" that have become part of the American conscience and have `perverted' US national security policy. According to Bacevich, American militarism has subordinated the search for the common good to the permanent value of military effectiveness that will bankrupt the US economically and morally. Bacevich supports this thesis by discussing issues that have contributed to this state of affairs.

Bacevich believes the current state of American militarism has roots dating back to the Wilson administration. Wilson's vision was to remake the world in America's image. God Himself willed the universal embrace of liberal democracies and Wilson saw the US as a `divine agent' to make the world a safe and democratic place. Today, with no serious threat to keep our military forces in check, we are now, more than ever, free to spread liberal democracy using military force, if necessary.

Considering the military, Bacevich makes the point that the militarism of America is also due, in part, to the officer corps of the US military trying to rehabilitate the image and profession of the soldier after the Vietnam War. Officers attempted to do this by reversing the roles of the soldiers and the politicians that was problematic during the Vietnam War. They tried to establish the primacy of the military over the civilians in decisions as to how to use the military. The Weinberger and Powell doctrines were the manifestation of this idea by spelling out conditions for the use of the US military in combat.

Neo-conservatives further enhanced the trend of militarism. They see US power as an instrument for good and the time was right to use the military to achieve the final triumph of Wilson's idea of spreading American liberal democracy around the globe.

Religion also played a role. According to Bacevich, evangelical Protestants see the US as a Christian nation singled out by God and Americans are His chosen people. These evangelicals believed the Vietnam War was not only a military crisis, but also a cultural and moral crisis threatening our status. Evangelicals looked to the military to play a pivotal role in saving the US from internal collapse due to the higher expression of morals and values found in the military. The military would become the role model to reverse the trend of godlessness and social decay.

Another set of actors that contributed to American militarism were the defense intellectuals whose main contribution was to bring the military back under civilian control. According to Bacevich, they laid the groundwork of our current policy of `preventative war' and reinforced American militarism.

Finally, Bacevich accuses politicians of deceiving the American public as to the true nature of American militarism by wrapping militarism in the comfortable trappings of nationalism. By using labels such as the Global War on Terrorism, politicians are using a political sleight-of-hand trick to hide our true militaristic nature in patriotic terms. Bacevich concludes his book with a list of recommendations to mitigate the current trend of American militarism.

... ... ...

David Friedman:

...Refreshingly, Bacevich approaches the new American militarism as neither a Democrat nor Republican, from neither the left nor the right. No doubt, those with a stake in defending the policy of the present Administration no matter how foolish, or in castigating it as the main source of our current militarism, will see "bias" in this book. The truth though is that Bacevich makes a genuine effort to approach his subject in a spirit of open and disinterested inquiry. He has earned the right to say, near the end of his book, that "this account has not sought to assign or impute blame." As a result, he is not stymied by the possibility of embarrassing one political side or the other by his arguments or conclusions. This leads to a nuanced and highly independent and original treatment of the subject.

In chronicling the rise of American militarism, Bacevich rightly starts with Wilson's vision of American exceptionalism: an America leading the world beyond the slaughterhouse of European battlefields to an international order of peaceful democratic states. But where President Wilson wanted to create such a world for the express purpose of rendering war obsolete, Bacevich notes that today's "Wilsonians" want to export American democracy through the use of force. He follows this overview with an insider's thumbnail history of American military thinking from Vietnam to the first Gulf war. He explains how the military in effect re-invented itself after Vietnam so as to make it far more difficult "to send the Army off to fight while leaving the country behind." Today's highly professionalized and elite force is largely the result of this thinking. In turn this professional military presented to the country and its civilian leaders a re-invented model of war: war waged with surgical precision and offering "the prospect of decision rather than pointing ineluctably toward stalemate and quagmire." Gulf War I was the triumphant culmination of this model. The unintended and ironic consequence, of course, was that war and the aggressive projection of American military power throughout the world came to be viewed by some in our nation's leadership as an increasingly attractive policy option.

The body of the book analyzes how the legitimate attempt to recover from the national trauma of Vietnam led ultimately to a militarism increasingly reflected in crucial aspects of American life. In religion he traces how a "crusade" theory of warfare has supplanted the more mainstream "just war" theory. In popular culture he discusses the rise of a genre of pop fiction and movies reflecting a glamorized and uncritical idealization of war (he examines "An Officer and A Gentleman", "Rambo: First Blood Part II", and "Top Gun" as examples). In politics he identifies the neo-conservative movement as bringing into the mainstream ideas that "a decade earlier might have seemed reckless or preposterous"; for example the idea that the United States is "the most revolutionary force on earth" with an "inescapable mission" to spread democracy -- by the sword if necessary. Bacevich calls these ideas "inverted Trotskyism", and notes that the neo-conservative movement shares with Mao the assumption that revolution springs "from the barrel of a gun".

Bacevich concludes his book with a pithy ten-point critique offered as a starting point for "a change in consciousness, seeing war and America's relationship to war in a fundamentally different way." Among his points are greater fidelity to the letter and the spirit of the Constituional provisions regarding war and the military, and increased strategic self-sufficiency for America. Perhaps the most important points of his critique are those about ending or at least reducing the current disconnect between er how we might reduce

Patrick Connor

... If you criticize anything about the United States, you're automatically anti-Bush. If you question the wisdom of viewing the military as a first-option in handling international problems, you're even worse: a liberal anti-Bush peacenick. History supposedly demonstrates that diplomacy never works with any "tyrant" (whatever that is), while war allegedly always work. It's just one stark claim after another, with never any gray area in the middle.

If you read the book, this "you're either with us or with the terrorists, either dream war or hate President Bush" mentality should remind you of something. It very closely resembles the description Bacevich gives of neoconservatism, which he says engenders a worldview that is constantly in crisis mode. Things are always so dire for neocons, Bacevich explains, that only two feasible options present themselves at any given time: doing what the neocons want (usually deploying military force in pursuit of some lofty but unrealistic goal), or suffering irreversible and potentially fatal setbacks to our national cause.

... ... ...

Their most important objective was to ensure that no more Wilsonian misadventures (like Vietnam) would happen. The officer corps did this by carving out a space of authority for the top brass, from which they could have unprecedented input in policy decisions, and be able to guide strategy and tactics once the military deployed into action. After ascending to a position of greater prominence, they implemented the "Weinberger Doctrine," followed by the "Powell Doctrine," both specifically tailored to avoid Vietnam-style quagmires. The Gulf War, claims Bacevich, saw the fruition of fifteen years of hard work to accomplish these reforms. And they worked beautifully.

However, the end of the last decade saw the Neo-conservatives challenge the status quo. And with the election of W. Bush, they were finally in a position where their ideas could again have a disproportionate influence on foreign policy. What we now have in Iraq is another military quagmire, where the solution must be political, but where military occupation renders political solutions impossible...

Andrew S. Rogers:

 Baedecker on the road to perdition, December 5, 2005

I was sorry to see Andrew J. Bacevich dismiss Chalmers Johnson's 2004 The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project) quite as quickly as he did (on page 3 of the introduction, in fact), because I think these two books, taken together, provide probably the best -- and certainly the most historically-informed -- look at the rise and consequences of American empire. I endorse "The New American Militarism" as heartily as I did "The Sorrows of Empire."

Bacevich's capsule summary of Johnson's work notwithstanding, both these books take the long view of America's international military presence and are quick to grasp one key point. As Bacevich notes on page 205, "American militarism is not the invention of a cabal nursing fantasies of global empire and manipulating an unsuspecting people frightened by the events of 9/11. Further, it is counterproductive to think in these terms -- to assign culpability to a particular president or administration and to imagine that throwing the bums out will put things right."

In several insightful chapters, Bacevich traces the rise of militarism over the course of several administrations and many decades. A former Army officer himself, the author is particularly insightful in charting the efforts of the military's officer corps to recover from the stigma of Vietnam and reshape the *ethos* of the armed services as an elite intentionally separate from, and morally superior to, the society it exists to defend. But the officers are only one of the strands Bacevich weaves together. He also looks at the influence of the "defense intellectuals;" the importance of evangelical Christians and how their view of Biblical prophecy shapes their understanding of politics; the rise of (yes) the neo-conservatives; and even the role of Hollywood in changing America's understandings of the "lessons of Vietnam" and the re-glamorization of the military in films like "Top Gun."

The author is a sharp-eyed analyst, but also an engaging writer, and he gives the reader a lot to think about. I was intrigued, for example, by his discussion of how "supporting the troops" has become the *sine qua non* of modern politics and how doing so has replaced actual military service as an indicator of one's love of country. More fundamentally, his identification and analysis of "World War III" (already over) and "World War IV" (currently underway, and declared [surprisingly] by Jimmy Carter) struck me as a remarkably useful lens for interpreting current events.

In tying his threads together, Bacevich is not afraid to make arguments and draw conclusions that may make the reader uncomfortable. As the passage I quoted above makes clear, for example, someone looking for a straightforward declaration that "It's all Bush's fault!" will have to go someplace else. As a further implication of the above passage, Bacevich argues that the "defense intellectuals," the evangelicals, and even the neocons were and are doing what they believe are most likely to promote peace, freedom, and the security of the American people. "To the extent that we may find fault with the results of their efforts, that fault is more appropriately attributable to human fallibility than to malicious intent" (p. 207). Additionally, Bacevich is unashamed of his military service, holds up several military leaders as heroes, has some choice words for the self-delusions of leftist "peace activists," and even argues that federal education loans should be made conditional on military service.

This doesn't mean the president and his fellow conservatives get off much easier, though. Bacevich is roundly critical of Bush and his administration, including Colin Powell; dismisses the Iraq invasion ("this preposterous enterprise" [p. 202]); and in a move that will probably get him crossed off the Thayer Award nominations list, suggests officer candidates be required to graduate from civilian universities instead of West Point (his alma mater) or Annapolis -- intellectually-isolated institutions that reinforce the officer caste's separation from civil society.

So this book isn't one that will blindly reinforce anyone's prejudices. In part for that reason -- but mostly for its trenchant analysis, readable prose, and broad historical view -- I'm happy to list "The New American Militarism" as one of the best and most important books I've read in some time. Perhaps even since "The Sorrows of Empire."

Izaak VanGaalen:
 Militarism and Public Opinion, August 12, 2005

According to many of the custodians of public opinion, Andrew Bacevich has earned his right to a fair hearing. Not only is he a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative Catholic, he is a professor of international relations and a contributor to "The Weekly Standard" and "The National Review." Obviously, if he were a left-leaning anti-war Democrat and a contributor to, say, "The Nation," he wouldn't be taken seriously as a critic of American militarism - he would be merely another "blame-America-first" defeatist.

Bacevich sees militarism manifesting itself in some disquieting ways. Traditionally America has always gauged the size of its military with the magnitude of impending threats. After the Civil War, World War I and II, the military was downsized as threats receded. Not so after the fall of the Soviet Union. The military budget has continued to grow and the expenditures are greater - by some measures - than all other countries combined. American military forces are now scaling the globe and the American public seems quiet comfortable with it. And everyone else is growing uneasy.

The mindset of the current officer corps is dominant control in all areas "whether sea, undersea, land, air, space or cyberspace." In other words, supremacy in all theaters. Self-restraint has given way to the normalization of using military force as a foreign policy tool. From 1989 (Operation Just Cause) to 2002 (Operation Iraqi Freedom) there have been nine major military operations and a number of smaller ones. The end of the Cold War has given the US a preponderance of military strength (the proverbial unipolar moment) that has enamoured successive administrations with the idea of using military force to solve international problems. In earlier times, war was always an option of the last resort, now it is a preventative measure.

War, according to Bacevich, has taken on a new aesthetic. During World War I and II, and also Vietnam and Korea the battlefield was a slaughterhouse of barbarism and brutality. Now, with the advent of the new Wilsonianism in Washington, wars are seen as moments of national unity to carry out a positive agenda, almost as if it were international social work.

The modern soldier is no longer looked upon as a deadbeat or a grunt, but rather as a skilled professional who is undertaking socially beneficial work. In fact, in a poll taken in 2003, military personnel consider themselves as being of higher moral standards than the nation they serve.

In the political classes, the Republicans have traditionallly been staunchly pro-military, but now even Democrats have thrown off their ant-military inclinations. When Kerry was running for president he did not question Bush's security policies, he was actually arguing that Bush had not gone far enough. Kerry wanted to invest more in military hardware and training. Even liberal Michael Ignatieff argues that US military intervention should be used to lessen the plight of the oppressed and that we should be assisting them in establishing more representative government.

But superpowers are not altruistic; they are only altruistic to the extent that it serves their self-interest. That's probably why Ignatieff will not get much of a hearing and Bacevich will. This book should give us pause as to why the range of opinion in the America on the use of military force is so narrow. If there is one voice that stands a chance of being heeded, it is from this conservative ex-soldier. \

Douglas Doepke:

The US may have been an expansionist and aggressive power as history shows. But unlike European peers, the American public never really took to the seductions of militarism. That is, until now. This is an important and occasionally brilliant book that tells a forty-year tale of creeping over-reliance on the military. And a heck-of an important story it is. I like the way Bacevich refuses to blame the Bush administration, even though they're the ones who've hit the accelerator. Actually the trend has been in motion for some time, especially since 1980 and Reagan's revival of military glory, contrived though it was.

Each chapter deals with an aspect of this growing militariism movement. How intellectual guru Norman Podhoretz and other elites got the big engine together, how twenty million evangelical passengers abandoned tradition and got on board, and how a crew of enthusiastic neo-cons charted a destination -- nothing less than world democracy guaranteed by American military might. All in all, the ride passes for a brilliant post-cold war move. Who's going to argue with freeing up the Will of the People, except for maybe a few hundred million Sharia fanatics. Yet, it appears none of the distinguished crew sees any contradiction between dubious means and noble end, nor do they seem particularly concerned with what anybody else thinks. (Sort of like the old Soviets, eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism.) However, as Bacevich pounts out, there's a practical problem here the crew is very alert to. Policing the world means building up the institutions of the military and providing a covering mystique to keep John Q. Public supportive, especially with tax dollars and blood supply. In short, the mission requires sanitizing the cops on the beat and all that goes into keeping them there. It also means overcoming a long American tradition of minding-one's-own-business and letting the virtues of democratic self-governance speak for themselves. But then, that was an older, less "responsible" America.

Bacevich's remedies harken back to those older, quieter traditions -- citizen soldiers, a real Department of Defense, a revived Department of State, and a much more modest role in international affairs.With this book, Bacevich proves to be one of the few genuine conservatives around, (a breed disappearing even faster than the ranks of genuine liberals). Much as I like the book, especially the thoughtful Preface, I wish the author had dealt more with the economic aspects of build-up and conquest. But then that might require a whole other volume, as globalization and the number of billion-dollar servicing industries expands daily. At day's end, however, someone needs to inform a CNN- enthralled public that the military express lacks one essential feature. With all its hypnotizing bells and whistles, history shows the momentum has no brakes. Lessons from the past indicate that, despite the many seductions, aggressive empires make for some very unexpected and fast-moving train wrecks. Somebody needs to raise the alarm. Thanks Mr. Bacevich for doing your part.

Still his critique of neocons is a class of its own has value in itself as it comes from professional military officer. Professor Bacevich argues  that the US new militarism which emerged after the dissolution of the USSR is the result of a convergence of actions by a number of different groups including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals (see New American Militarism).

Andrew Bacevich has a wonderful essay, in the form of an open letter to Paul Wolfowitz, in the current Harper's. You have to subscribe to read it -- but, hey, you should be subscribing to any publication whose work you value. This essay isolates the particular role Wolfowitz had in the cast of characters that led us to war. As a reminder, they included:

But Paul Wolfowitz was in a category of his own because he was the one who provided the highest-concept rationale for the war. As James Galbraith of the University of Texas has put it, "Wolfowitz is the real-life version of Halberstam's caricature of McNamara" [in The Best and the Brightest].

Bacevich's version of this assessment is to lay out as respectfully as possible the strategic duty that Wolfowitz thought the U.S. would fulfill by invading Iraq. Back before the war began, I did a much more limited version of this assessment as an Atlantic article. As Bacevich puts it now, Wolfowitz was extending precepts from his one-time mentor, Albert Wohlstetter, toward a model of how the United States could maximize stability for itself and others.

As with the best argumentative essays, Bacevich takes on Wolfowitz in a strong rather than an oversimplified version of his world-view. You have to read the whole thing to get the effect, but here is a brief sample (within fair-use limits):

With the passing of the Cold War, global hegemony seemed America's for the taking. What others saw as an option you, Paul, saw as something much more: an obligation that the nation needed to seize, for its own good as well as for the world's....

Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.

In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter's Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue....In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.... The urgency of invading Iraq stemmed from the need to validate that doctrine before the window of opportunity closed.

Bacevich explains much more about the Wohlstetter / Wolfowitz grand view. And then he poses the challenge that he says Wolfowitz should now meet:
One of the questions emerging from the Iraq debacle must be this one: Why did liberation at gunpoint yield results that differed so radically from what the war's advocates had expected? Or, to sharpen the point, How did preventive war undertaken by ostensibly the strongest military in history produce a cataclysm?
 

Not one of your colleagues from the Bush Administration possesses the necessary combination of honesty, courage, and wit to answer these questions. If you don't believe me, please sample the tediously self-exculpatory memoirs penned by (or on behalf of) Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Bremer, Feith, and a small squad of eminently forgettable generals...

What would Albert [Wohlstetter] do? I never met the man (he died in 1997), but my guess is that he wouldn't flinch from taking on these questions, even if the answers threatened to contradict his own long-held beliefs. Neither should you, Paul. To be sure, whatever you might choose to say, you'll be vilified, as Robert McNamara was vilified when he broke his long silence and admitted that he'd been "wrong, terribly wrong" about Vietnam. But help us learn the lessons of Iraq so that we might extract from it something of value in return for all the sacrifices made there. Forgive me for saying so, but you owe it to your country.
 

Anyone who knows Andrew Bacevich's story will understand the edge behind his final sentence. But you don't have to know that to respect the challenge he lays down. I hope Paul Wolfowitz will at some point rise to it.

For another very valuable assessment of who was right and wrong, when, please see John Judis's piece in The New Republic.

The disastrous period on neocon domination in Bush II administration was not accidental

The disastrous period on neocon domination in Bush II administration was not accidental . It was a natural development of previous trends. But this was the first time when the USA foreign policy decisions were dominated by a small clique of mostly Jewish "defense intellectuals". James Mann called this new breed of super aggressive and reckless  "defense intellectuals" "Vulcans" and allied with them figures like Colin Power and Condoleezza Rice by deceit dragged the USA into Iraq war which brought a disastrous consequences for the USA. Consequences that we are feeling right now.

Neocon's worldview can be summed up as the following four themes (Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann Political Books)

  1. The belief in the centrality and efficacy of American Military power.
  2. The belief in America as a force for good around the globe.
  3. The unfettered optimism of American capabilities and the rejection of American decline.
  4. The reluctance to enter into agreements or accommodations with other countries.

 Here is a short overview of the book Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann Political Books that covers the same theme as Bacevich's books:

Realize: When George W. Bush was elected as President he had no prior foreign policy experience and frequently bumbled on naming other foreign leaders.  Not only did Bush have no experience, he also did not have a basic rudimentary conception about America’s role in the world or specific foreign policy other than his campaign platitudes against “nation building.”  To strengthen that weakness, Bush sought to surround himself with a cabinet team of experienced and trusted members that he could ultimately rely on to help him forge a path.  Enter the Vulcans.  Author James Mann puts together an enthralling account of the rise of the Bush cabinet and their place in the last 30 to 40 years in contemporary history with his book Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet.

Broadly, the book is the mini biographies of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz, and Condoleeza Rice.  However, by detailing the careers of these people Mann also gives the reader great insight into modern foreign policy, from the Nixon era to Bush II.  The book was published in 2004 so it lacks the hindsight that we now have 6 years later with regards to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, yet this detracts not at all from the book.  Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet, I have no doubt, will become a central reference point to any future inquisitor looking into American policy from the 1970’s on.

Many may be tempted to classify all of the subjects as neoconservatives, however one of the driving themes of the book is the role of the foreign policy realists versus the idealists (neo-cons).  Yet this was not just a battle that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union as some may have asserted.  Even in the midst of the Cold War, there was definite conservative in-fighting between the pragmatists, led by the Kissinger camp, and the neo-cons, who believed that America’s military might must be unchallenged.  Rumsfeld opposed Kissinger’s policy of détente and played an active role in the Ford Administration in decreasing the power and influence that Kissinger once had.

While Rumsfeld and Cheney believed mightily in American military might and hegemony, it might be hard to classify them as idealists of spreading democracy throughout the world.  However, Paul Wolfowitz meets the classic definition of neoconservative which spread from the Dixie Democrats who left the Democratic Party to join the Republicans in the Reagan Revolution.  Wolfowitz was an academic greatly admired for his intelligence.  He was highly influenced by the ideology of Leo Strauss and was also mentored by Scoop Jackson, US Senator from Washington.  Wolfowitz spent his whole career in the Defense Department and focused on policies that opposed the ideas of moral relativity or balance of power.  Instead Wolfowitz operated from a stance that Democracy and justice were grand ideas that should be spread throughout the world through the might and force of the US military.  It should also be noted that Wolfowitz had been focused on Iraq as a threat to Middle East stability long before the Middle East was on anybody’s map.

Powell and Armitage were often the counter balance to the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Cheney forces, not only in Bush II but also Bush I.  Powell was also a dynamic political figure who ascended Washington’s power structure with amazing speed and was always an admired figure.  Both Powell and Armitage believed in a strong American military and were proponents of a hefty defense budget.  However, where they differed from the other cabinet members was in how the use of force should be applied.  Powell believed that if force was to be applied it must be done with the support of the public, with overwhelming force, and with a clear, communicable goal in mind.  This mindset, shared by Armitage, became known as the Powell Doctrine and was shaped by the experience of Vietnam.  The Vietnam experience made Powell and Armitage suspicious of the civilian leaders like Rumsfeld and Cheney who may recklessly damage the military and American power by engaging long term commitments with no exit plans.

Condoleeza Rice was mentored in the camp of Brent Scowcroft who was a realist.  Rice, a specialist in Russia, came to government in the first Bush Administration and made a lasting impression on everyone she worked for.  When George W. Bush was putting together a foreign policy team during his campaign, he instantly connected with Rice on a personal level and made her a central part of putting together his foreign policy.  Mann portrays Rice as somewhat amorphous, her ideas and beliefs are seemingly tied to the politics and she oftens acts as a sounding board to Bush II.  Instead of becoming a proponent of her realist background, she instead starts to reflect the President and his beliefs which were largely shaped by the dominant members of his cabinet.  In other words, Rice aimed to please, it seems, more than to persuade.

The book culminates with the decision to invade Iraq and Mann sums up that decision as a reflection of the Vulcan’s world view with four themes:

  1. The belief in the centrality and efficacy of American Military power.
  2. The belief in America as a force for good around the globe.
  3. The unfettered optimism of American capabilities and the rejection of American decline.
  4. The reluctance to enter into agreements or accommodations with other countries.

Mann makes an understated point that most historians make a clear distinction, a line in the sand, marking the end of the Cold War as the distinctive point where American foreign policy changed.  Yet, it started to occur much earlier than that with the rise of these Vulcan’s and their world view.  The end of the Cold War was merely a middle point in the chapter.  The fact that the US has mostly had Republican Presidents in the last 40 years the Vulcans have remained in power and shaped the events of modern history and to understand that story you have to understand their story.  James Mann gives a clearly written and highly detailed account of some of the most influential actors in American politics.  Rise Of The Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet is an utterly fascinating account and should be read by anyone seeking answers on the role of America in the world today.

Militarization of science

The militarization of science, particularly at physics, biology and medicine (anthrax research, experiments on humans in Guatemala, etc)  is widespread trend at the University level. Unfortunately it should be called not an aberration, but a a feature of US academic science. Recently social sciences such as psychology and anthropology were also put into service of MIC (The Militarization of Social Science CIFAS)

One of the most notable was COIN system:

 Human Terrain System, a COIN application, was conceived as a means to employ social science as a force multiplier in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq: embedded with combat patrols, anthropologists would map the human terrain across the full spectrum of conflict, and recommend to commanders methods by which they could more effectively achieve strategic goals by engaging “the people” as “the center of gravity” in their operations. The “social science” evolved into a major focus on “social networks,” which, once described, could be analyzed to reveal such critical features as “key informants,” “influencers,” and “centers of influence,” and how, for example, information may travel among participants in the network. It was believed that such analyses could offer important insights on how insurgent sympathies originate, are diffused, mobilize adherents, and are then translated into the organization and commission of hostile actions that threaten ISAF forces; or conversely, how they could be prevented or stopped. More specifically, individuals could be targeted, and then either rewarded or eliminated. Pioneered by anthropologists, such as Julian Barnes, Elizabeth Bott, Clyde Mitchell, Jeremy Boissevain, Fredrik Barth, Joan Vincent, and others, who used them to study kinship, ethnic and political organization, and agricultural production, trade, and markets, among other topics, the study of social networks and social networks analysis have become a staple of ethnographic fieldwork.

For example, I made extensive use of them studying the production, distribution, use, and misuse of illegal drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, in low-income neighborhoods of New York City and several Caribbean islands, which I reported in The Ganja Complex: Rastafari and Marijuana (Lexington Books 2000). Let me tell you about them, as you may then appreciate how valuable a tool they have been in traditional, or academic, anthropology and social science.

Armed with Expertise, The Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War

During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon launched a controversial counterinsurgency program called the Human Terrain System. The program embedded social scientists within military units to provide commanders with information about the cultures and grievances of local populations. Yet the controversy it inspired was not new. Decades earlier, similar national security concerns brought the Department of Defense and American social scientists together in the search for intellectual weapons that could combat the spread of communism during the Cold War. In Armed with Expertise, Joy Rohde traces the optimistic rise, anguished fall, and surprising rebirth of Cold War–era military-sponsored social research.

Seeking expert knowledge that would enable the United States to contain communism, the Pentagon turned to social scientists. Beginning in the 1950s, political scientists, social psychologists, and anthropologists optimistically applied their expertise to military problems, convinced that their work would enhance democracy around the world. As Rohde shows, by the late 1960s, a growing number of scholars and activists condemned Pentagon-funded social scientists as handmaidens of a technocratic warfare state and sought to eliminate military-sponsored research from American intellectual life.

But the Pentagon's social research projects had remarkable institutional momentum and intellectual flexibility. Instead of severing their ties to the military, the Pentagon’s experts relocated to a burgeoning network of private consulting agencies and for-profit research offices. Now shielded from public scrutiny, they continued to influence national security affairs. They also diversified their portfolios to include the study of domestic problems, including urban violence and racial conflict. In examining the controversies over Cold War social science, Rohde reveals the persistent militarization of American political and intellectual life, a phenomenon that continues to raise grave questions about the relationship between expert knowledge and American democracy.

In his article The Militarization of American Life  Justin Raimondo notes

March 27, 2013 | Antiwar.com

It isn’t just them, however: militarism is a disease that spreads without effort, once it’s implanted in the body politic. It quite naturally infects the sciences, what with the diversion of scientific and technical talent that might have gone into productive civilian projects, and I’m not just talking about the hard sciences. Witness the co-opting of the "soft" science of anthropology by the same people who brought us the war in Afghanistan and the "COIN" strategy that was supposed to give us victory. These folks have created the so-called Human Terrain System, which seeks to utilize anthropology as a weapon in counterinsurgency warfare. Billions are being poured into "scientific research" on how best to subdue recalcitrant natives out in the colonies: when you’re talking about the military-industrial complex, it isn’t just Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.

The marriage of science and militarism is nothing new, but there are some resistors. As Inside Higher Education reports:

"The eminent University of Chicago anthropologist Marshall Sahlins resigned from the National Academy of Sciences on Friday, citing his objections to its military partnerships and to its electing as a member Napoleon Chagnon, a long-controversial anthropologist who is back in the news thanks to the publication of his new book, Noble Savages." [Hat tip: Jordan Bloom at The American Conservative]

You don’t have to be an anthropologist to get in on the action: yes, you too can access via live webcast the April 3 Pentagon/NAS "workshop," "New Directions in Assessing Individuals and Groups,"and hear the keynote address by Frederick Vollrath, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management. I’ll bet those anthropologists are making out like bandits!

As for Napoleon Chagnon – could a novelist have gotten away with such a name? – he is an extremely dubious character who apparently believes violence is not only genetically encoded in humans, but that there is an evolutionary bias in favor of homicidal homo sapiens. Instead of an atavistic trait surviving from pre-civilized man, wars of aggression – according to the Chagnonite version of biological determinism – are the mark of high civilization. It is a Bizarro World perspective on the nature of human progress, one that owes much to that great anthropologist, the Marquis de Sade.

Chagnon dismisses his critics as "left-wing anthropologists" and "anti-Darwinian romantics": he and his claque present themselves as true "scientists," and treat the study of anthropology – that is, of human nature – as if it were one of the "hard" sciences, like chemistry. Armed with "scientific" certitude, their one-dimensional view of life – "impoverished," as one critic remarked – is the perfect instrument of the modern Warfare State: bloodless, dogmatic, and cruel. Chagnon’s elevation to the NAS – which used to be a prestigious organization – is an absolute disgrace, and Prof. Sahlins was right to render his resignation in protest.

Citing his own objections to Chagnon’s research methods – see here – Sahlins went on to explain the core reason for his resignation. Because of "the toll" that military action overseas "has taken on the blood, treasure, and happiness of American people, and the suffering it has imposed on other peoples,” Sahlins said, “the NAS, if it involves itself at all in related research, should be studying how to promote peace, not how to make war."

In this age of Empire, militarism pervades American culture like a poisonous fog, hypnotizing a complacent population with narratives that valorize and justify a foreign policy of perpetual war. It reaches into every corner of everyday life, from the war propaganda spewed forth by the "mainstream" media to the movies we watch and what we learn in "science" class. Once this kind of cultural rot sets in, it is hard to root out: this is the true meaning of decadence, of a society suffering the latter stages of a fatal hubris.

Yet root it out we must. The battle for peace must be waged on the cultural and scientific front, as well as in the day to day world of the pundits and the Washington policy wonks. Indeed, victory on the battlefield of the culture necessarily precedes success on the political front, as we should have learned back in the 1960s.

In best traditions of Third Reich psychologists participated in the design of torture methods in Guatanamo.

Militarization of cyberspace


"In 1990, only a quarter of a million people used the Internet; today a third of the world population is connected and the growth is exponential. Our understanding of the implications for international relations struggles to keep up." -- Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University; author of The Future of Power

Innovative weapons were always in the focus of military and intelligence agencies planners. And Cyberspace is not an exception. First of all it proved to be a tremendous resource for SIGINT. Not accidentally, on June 23, 2009 Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a memorandum  which established the U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). The order specifies that the new office will be a "subordinate unified command" under U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). According to the memorandum, CYBERCOM "will reach initial operating capability not later than October 2009 and full operating capability not later than October 2010." Lt. General Keith Alexander, the  Director of National Security Agency (NSA) was assigned to lead this new intelligence unit that reside at Fort Meade, Maryland, the NSA headquarters.

But even earlier that that, around 1996, the US military became interesting in usage of malware and established research programs which at the end of the day proceed several weaponazed malware packages used to attack Iranian uranium enrichment facilities and collect intelligence information from computer of researchers involved in this project.

During the occupation on Iraq the USA (which first established full control over Iraq cellular networks) launched comprehensive metadata collection which allow them to identify "suspicious persons" without analyzing content of the communication, just based on pattern of connection of their cell phones.  Those efforts were later transferred and implemented within the USA and were subject of so called "Snowden revelations" in which it became clear the NSA blatantly overstepped all legal boundaries and essentially treated the US population as "enemy combatants". 

Technological supremacy of the USA allow not only dominate cyberspace intelligence activities, but also created preconditions for future attacks via set of backdoor in equipment and software produced by US companies. After Stixnet, the equipment from leading US companies such as Dell, Cisco and HP as well as software companies such as Microsoft is now reasonably suspected of having backdoor that allow NSA access to the data/traffic. Even if there is no such backdoors US produced equipment is now tainted from the security standpoint and there will be conscious efforts to limit its use in government and military of other countries. That especially badly hurt CISCO and Microsoft.  

And it is now government not some hacker groups who use sophisticated malicious code and hacking platforms to compromise computer networks worldwide. Private companies, government entities, critical infrastructure and citizens are all potential targets.

The overall activities of government entities in cyberspace are generally described as the “militarization of the cyberspace.” Governments are investing significant resources to improve their cyber capabilities, creating ‘cyberarmies’ to defend attacks from cyber space.

Smart phones, which initially were productivity enhancing device, now more and more are viewed by individuals as "eyes and ears" of the government. With predictable results on more security conscious individuals withdrawing from this market (which does not ends interception of all their call and collection of metadata as those activities does not depend on the type of the phone used (although geo-location is more difficult with regular phone -- you need to record the tower with which the phone is communicating)   

See also:

Establishment of regime of total survellance:
Against whom total surveillance is directed

The basic principle underlying Neoliberalism, which is a dominant social system in the USA and most other countries  is “to make rich people happy and make everybody else frightened.” The MIC has used a succession of bogeymen—the Soviets, Communist insurgents around the world, and now global terrorism—to scare taxpayers into supporting core defense programs whose technologies ultimately spin off into private hands

Total surveillance is not about terrorism. It's about population control. Terrorism is a false pretext -- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same since it was introduced in Nazi Germany. it's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with its famous STASI). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in US-speak "regime change".   In other words total surveillance is part and parcel of the totalitarian state even if it more reserved as for violence form called inverted totalitarism.

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to clack. that have access to technology and know how. that means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden. But for "open" traffic the situation is completely different. Here they are king of the hill.  Of cause correlation of open traffic can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive undertaking.

The term "Deep state" as synonym of MIC dominance with a special emphasis on the role of intelligence agencies

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as

“… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.”

The term means an association of elements of government. security services, selected top-level figures of financial oligarchy and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. Assassination of JFK was probably a pivotal moment in the US history, the historical moment when "deep state" really came to power. In this sense Patriot Act was just an icing on the cake: like "nomenklatura"  rule in the USSR the system actually stands above the law.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the The Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reich, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

As for aggressive foreign policy there is one important difference between "predator states" and fascist regimes: extreme, rabid nationalism is typical only for fascist regimes, but is not a defining feature of "predator states". But aggressive foreign policy is and that's why the term invented by Jamie Galbraith ( “the predator state”) in his book bearing that title aptly reflect the defining feature of such states. In other words aggressive foreign policy is an immanent feature of the regime -- such regimes are almost always are engaged in some kind of war. Related, but more narrow term is "disaster capitalism" introduced by Naomi Klein which explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Her Shock Doctrine book is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies were pushed through the throat of states in trouble, and prevailed through the brutal exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

US armament industry implementation of the slogan War is peace, freedom is slavery

Since WWII there were very few years when the USA was not fighting some local war or two or even three. This is a powerful testament of MIC dominance in society and, especially, the power of lobby of major arms manufactures.

Of course, both the American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower made his farewell speech. See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It is spending more on armed equipment and research than all other nations combined -- while converting all American citizens into "debt slaves" to do so.

It also stations over 500,000 troops, and untold number of spies, contractors, consultants, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, we have almost hundred thousand people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The explicit purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible. Funny, but among other items Pentagon also maintains 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals (to make it more convenient to fly there), and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.

Statistics compiled by the Federation of American Scientists analyzed by Gore Vidal show 201 military operations initiated by the U.S. against others between the end of WWII and 9/11 - none of which directly resulted in the creation of a democracy. These included Iran (1953, 1979), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959-present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73), Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979-present), El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (1980s), Iraq (1991-present), Panama (1989), Grenada (1983). (The Korean War is a notable positive exception.)

Per Johnson, Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA director Gates made it clear that U.S. aid to the mujaheddin began six months prior to the Soviet invasion, and helped to provoke it (with the direct goal of seeking Vietnam for Soviet troops). So the USA by-and-large created, organized and financed global Islamic fundamentalist forces, which at some point became less controllable from the former center.

A recent 'Newsweek' article also pointed out waste in the Pentagon - Secretary Gates estimates there are 30 levels between himself and line officers, and expects by 2020 for the U.S. to have 'only' 20X China's number of advanced stealth fighters; other researchers recently found 530 deputy assistant secretaries of defense, compared to 78 in 1960. See also Dismantling the Empire .

Despite the economic decline, of may be because of it, New Militarism is now pandemic, supported by both parties and aggressively used by Republican Party to maintain the unity of fragile coalition of rag tag groups (see Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians). Neo-conservative ideology still dominates foreign policy and its essence (spread of "liberal democracy" with a shadow goal of defending/promoting own geo-strategical interests and first of all access to cheap oil) is not that different from the old Soviets militarism, eager to spread or "defend" the blessings of "Scientific Socialism (Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles remember those attempts all too well).

While far from historic high (reached during World War II, when it represented 20% of the civilian workforce) US military still employs 2.2 million people, or about 2% of the civilian workforce. So they represent a society within a society. If we add Department of Energy and military contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies. L-3 Communications, etc as well as servicing firms such as Halliburton/KBR/Blackwater/DynCorp we can add to this figure another million people. That means that all-in all at least three million US citizen directly or indirectly works for military-industrial complex.

There are also around five million (five million !!!) people in the USA with security clearance. Of them about three million has top security clearance.

But what is more important that military-industrial complex spends up to 50% of all taxes:

In Fiscal Year 1999 the Department of Defense awarded $118 billion to contractors for goods and services. The "Big Three" in the defense industry -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon -- alone accounted for 26% of all defense contracts in FY'99.

In fiscal year 2003 the United States Government will spend on the military more than all the rest of the countries on Earth combined. Current expenditures are 437 billion and our past obligations are 339 billion, this equals 776 billion. 46% of our Taxes go to the Military Industrial Complex: http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm.This figure doesn't even begin to account for all of the off-budget, black projects, homeland security nor the 40+ billion the United States Government will spend on intelligence in 2003. -- Mark Elsis Lovearth, Jan. 8, 2002

Pentagon's Anual Top Ten Defense Contractors

Lockheed Martin Corp. $17.0 billion
Boeing Co. $16.6 billion
Northrop Grumman Corp. $8.7 billion
Raytheon Co. $7.0 billion
General Dynamics Corp. $7.0 billion
United Technologies Corp. $3.6 billion
Science Applications International Corp. $2.1 billion
TRW Inc. $2.0 billion
Health Net, Inc. $1.7 billion
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. $1.7 billion

Sheldon Wolin's  concept of "inverted totalitarism" as the USA specific form of MIC dominance

Arrival on political scene of military industrial complex inevitably lead to its political dominance and establishing of some variant of National Security State with managed democracy which is promoted by subservient, corrupt and totally controlled media. But this new regime, called by Sheldon Wolin "Inverted totalitalism"  is different from such classic "National Security State" as Third Reich.

Sheldon Wolin, who taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present in Berkeley and Princeton, introduced the term "inverted totalitarism", which probably can be better called neo-bolshevism. This is an interesting, uniquely American variant of National Security State. He thinks that the latter is based on two forces:

See an excellent review of his book at AlterNet:

"Among the factors that have promoted inverted totalitarianism are the practice and psychology of advertising and the rule of "market forces" in many other contexts than markets, continuous technological advances that encourage elaborate fantasies (computer games, virtual avatars, space travel), the penetration of mass media communication and propaganda into every household in the country, and the total co-optation of the universities. Among the commonplace fables of our society are hero worship and tales of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, action measured in nanoseconds, and a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose adepts are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.

Masters of this world are masters of images and their manipulation.

Wolin reminds us that the image of Adolf Hitler flying to Nuremberg in 1934 that opens Leni Riefenstahl's classic film "Triumph of the Will" was repeated on May 1, 2003, with President George Bush's apparent landing of a Navy warplane on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq."

It a way it is so similar to the brand of totalitarism practiced in the late USSR that some call the USA USSA. It has the same strong "total surveillance" tendencies. It looks exactly like Bolshevism minus:

As Oscar Wilde's once noted: "The truth is seldom pure and never simple". Here is a relevant quote:

Wolin writes, "Our thesis is this: it is possible for a form of totalitarianism, different from the classical one, to evolve from a putatively 'strong democracy' instead of a 'failed' one." His understanding of democracy is classical but also populist, anti-elitist and only slightly represented in the Constitution of the United States. "Democracy," he writes, "is about the conditions that make it possible for ordinary people to better their lives by becoming political beings and by making power responsive to their hopes and needs." It depends on the existence of a demos -- "a politically engaged and empowered citizenry, one that voted, deliberated, and occupied all branches of public office." Wolin argues that to the extent the United States on occasion came close to genuine democracy, it was because its citizens struggled against and momentarily defeated the elitism that was written into the Constitution.

"No working man or ordinary farmer or shopkeeper," Wolin points out, "helped to write the Constitution." He argues, "The American political system was not born a democracy, but born with a bias against democracy. It was constructed by those who were either skeptical about democracy or hostile to it. Democratic advance proved to be slow, uphill, forever incomplete. The republic existed for three-quarters of a century before formal slavery was ended; another hundred years before black Americans were assured of their voting rights. Only in the twentieth century were women guaranteed the vote and trade unions the right to bargain collectively. In none of these instances has victory been complete: women still lack full equality, racism persists, and the destruction of the remnants of trade unions remains a goal of corporate strategies. Far from being innate, democracy in America has gone against the grain, against the very forms by which the political and economic power of the country has been and continues to be ordered." Wolin can easily control his enthusiasm for James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, and he sees the New Deal as perhaps the only period of American history in which rule by a true demos prevailed.

To reduce a complex argument to its bare bones, since the Depression, the twin forces of managed democracy and Superpower have opened the way for something new under the sun: "inverted totalitarianism," a form every bit as totalistic as the classical version but one based on internalized co-optation, the appearance of freedom, political disengagement rather than mass mobilization, and relying more on "private media" than on public agencies to disseminate propaganda that reinforces the official version of events. It is inverted because it does not require the use of coercion, police power and a messianic ideology as in the Nazi, Fascist and Stalinist versions (although note that the United States has the highest percentage of its citizens in prison -- 751 per 100,000 people -- of any nation on Earth). According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism has "emerged imperceptibly, unpremeditatedly, and in seeming unbroken continuity with the nation's political traditions."

The genius of our inverted totalitarian system "lies in wielding total power without appearing to, without establishing concentration camps, or enforcing ideological uniformity, or forcibly suppressing dissident elements so long as they remain ineffectual. A demotion in the status and stature of the 'sovereign people' to patient subjects is symptomatic of systemic change, from democracy as a method of 'popularizing' power to democracy as a brand name for a product marketable at home and marketable abroad. The new system, inverted totalitarianism, is one that professes the opposite of what, in fact, it is. The United States has become the showcase of how democracy can be managed without appearing to be suppressed."

Uniqueness of the "power agencies" elite and militarism as the business model of this part of the USA elite

MIC elite is uniquw in a sense that it closely resembled the Politburo of CPSU. What distinguishes the “power agencies elite” (Russians use the term "siloviki" when talking about those agencies and their elite)  from other elite groups in American society such as closely related to them financial oligarchy, is that this is thier elite position is not based solely on the ownership of property. Like CEO of large corporation they are in a position to rip benefits from advancement of thier corporation. And that, unfortunately, means that for them militarism is a way of advancement of thier own business interests.  The MIC elite’s goal is not to protect the nation from emerging threats, but “to appropriate the lion’s share of existing wealth for the military establishment”  If necessary by creation of new threats (like Islamic fundamentalism which was organized, financed and molded into formidable political force by the USA MIC). In other words like financial oligarchy they are predatory/parasitic in relation to the "host nation" and as such they represent serious threat for the civil society. 

... the U.S. military establishment from the 1940s onward was initially a means to an end in the process of stabilizing the world economy and serving national security interests, but -- over time -- became an end in itself, serving the interests of an elite group that uses the projection of power as a way to justify the continued expansion of military spending.

 This line of thinking is well illustrated by the paper of Aminata M. Kone The Military-Industrial Complex in the United States Evolution and Expansion from World War II to the War on Terror   which we will reproduce  in full: 

Student Pulse 2013, Vol. 5 No. 08

After World War II, the United States military gradually came into a position of overwhelming dominance in the world. Military spending in the United States far outpaces that of other countries, with their world share of military expenditures at 41% in 2011, followed by Russia and China with only eight and four percent respectively (SIPRI 2012). This has been the case since the Second World War and has been justified in different ways over time. The arguments for continued military dominance have ranged from “long-term economic gains” at the start of the war (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45) to Soviet containment during the Cold War, “a broader responsibility of global militarism” since the 1980s (Ryan 1991, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 73), and most recently the need to protect citizens against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, there has been consistent concern that powerful groups in military, political, and corporate positions, profiteering from conflict and sharing interests in intensifying defense expenditure, have become the primary actors for making and administering U.S. foreign policy. Today the scope of the defense industry is now much bigger than legitimate security needs justify (see, for example, Moskos 1974, Mintz 1985, Waddell 2001 and Hossein-zadeh 2006).

This analysis argues that expansion of the U.S. military establishment from the 1940s onward was initially a means to an end in the process of stabilizing the world economy and serving national security interests, but -- over time -- became an end in itself, serving the interests of an elite group that uses the projection of power as a way to justify the continued expansion of military spending. This essay is divided into two sections: the first focuses on the origins of America’s military-industrial complex, beginning with a definition of the elite group that the complex comprises. Next, by focusing on the period in which the foundation for the complex was laid – the Second World War – it is argued that the complex arose unintentionally in some ways, although important characteristics of it were visible from the start. Third, military Keynesianism, often used to defend high military budgets once the complex was in place, will be discussed and refuted. The second section focuses on the most important argument in favor of high military budgets today: the need to protect American citizens from the global threat of terrorism. It is argued that public perceptions of the causes of terrorism are incorrect, yet have been gladly utilized and fostered by the American military-industrial complex to justify an ineffective global war.

The Evolving Military-Industrial Complex in the United States

What distinguishes the “power elite” that constitutes the military-industrial complex from other powerful groups in American society who also seek advancement of their own interests, is that this is not a ruling class based solely on the ownership of property (Mills 1956, cited in Moskos 1974: 499-500). Rather, it is a coalition of civilian agencies that formally shape military policy (such as the Senate and the CIA), military institutions, private firms, research institutions and think tanks – all centered on and linked to the Pentagon (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 13). As a result of power arising from the occupancy in top bureaucratic positions as well as from capital ownership, the interests of the ruling elite go beyond the mere accumulation of wealth and include desires to maintain themselves in power and to press for specific forms of public policy. Their most important common interest is intensifying defense expenditure. War profiteering in itself is not new – wars have always been fought at least in part for economic gains. Today’s military-industrial complex is different in that it treats war as a business: the ruling elite’s goal of having a large military establishment is not to expand the nation’s wealth, but “to appropriate the lion’s share of existing wealth for the military establishment” (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 90). As a consequence, decisions on defense allocation, arms production and military operations are motivated by desires for profit and personal power, not necessarily by security requirements.

This is not to say that expansion of the military budget has always been an ‘end’ for a powerful group of elites, but in fact was initially a means to serve other ends. The first big expansion of the military establishment took place in the early years of the Second World War, when the U.S. had legitimate concerns for its own national security due to such events as the attack on Pearl Harbor, and feared the war would negatively impact foreign trade. Military expansion is a logical result of the former concern, as it is a means to preserve physical security. However, it is closely linked to the latter concern, too. The Council on Foreign Relations, one of the nation’s most influential think foreign policy think-tanks, advised the U.S. government that it needed free access to markets and raw materials in all regions outside of continental Europe for economic self-sufficiency. To this end, the U.S. advocated globalization and open economic cooperation through multilateralism. At the time, the crisis of the ‘30s and the war had made the concept of the free market highly unpopular. This made “military supremacy for the U.S. within the non-German world” a complementary requirement to ensure all countries within the “U.S.-led, non-German Grand Area,” including Japan, would accept American conditions (Shoup and Murray 1977, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 45). In short, military spending was not yet an end in itself, it was the combined result of needing to increase power in the face of security challenges and wanting to restore trust in and stabilize the global capitalist system.

Key characteristics of the current military-industrial complex, however, were already present when the objectives of U.S. foreign policy during World War II were drafted. As Hossein-zadeh points out, a brief look at the social status and class composition of the Council on Foreign Relations, which consisted of wealthy, influential people with ties to major industrial corporations and politicians, shows that a ruling class shaped major government policies “operating through the institutional umbrella of the Council, and providing intellectual justification for major foreign policy overhauls” (2006: 41). The military-industrial complex in its present form might not have been in place then or have been created intentionally, but clearly there already was a power elite based on more than capital ownership, and strong ties between the military, political, and corporate spheres.

After World War II, the Cold War stabilized U.S. foreign policy for over forty years1. With its demise, a “vacuum in the organizing principles of national government” had emerged (Waddell 2001: 133). Even if unintended, the military-industrial complex was well in place by now, and suggestions to curtail the military budget were met with fierce opposition. However, cutting back on non-military public expenditures while an expensive military establishment is preserved proved harder to justify with the loss of the perceived Soviet threat. An argument in favor of military spending that has been used consistently is that it boosts economic growth (Dreze 2000: 180). Mintz, for instance, notes that the military-industrial complex is seen by many to have “considerable influence on levels of employment, … the profitability of arms manufacture and the scope of exports” (1983: 124).

The view that large military spending is an effective means of demand stimulation and job creation, and hence of economic growth, is called military Keynesianism. Keynes’ (non-military) theory holds that in times of inadequate purchasing power, the (non-military) private sector becomes wary of expansion, and so the government should spend money in order to boost the stagnant economy by stimulating demand. Since expansion of the military industry is a government investment, it could have the desired economic effects in times of recession. However, it is important to keep in mind that Keynes argues for little government spending in times of high employment and sufficient demand. Military Keynesianists seem to ignore this fact completely and have argued for high government expenditures even during the Golden Age after World War II – and in no other sector than the military-industrial one. This can only be explained by the fact that it is a constantly shrinking number of people experiencing the economic benefits of high military spending (Waddell 2001: 135). The same people tend to switch positions between the Pentagon, its prime contractors and lobbying think tanks supporting those contractors, meaning that military spending is no longer an economic stimulus for the entire nation. Instead, it has become a redistributive mechanism of national resources in favor of the wealthy (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 226).

Cashing In on the War on Terror

What gets lots in the debate over the economic consequences of military spending is the effect it has on international stability. An old principle asserts that military threats are essential in preventing wars from occurring (Dreze 2000: 1178), but an overly extended military establishment means actual military operations are necessary from time to time to ‘prove’ the necessity of the army. And indeed, militarists have found that the most effective manner of convincing the American public of the need of a large military establishment is the constant ‘discovery’ of external threats. The threat currently most emphasized by the U.S. is global terrorism. We argue that while some fears of Islamic fundamentalism are justified, most are not; and that the threat of terrorism is not logically followed by higher military investment.

The U.S. is not being fair in its assessment of the Arab threat. Public discourse today implies that Islam is inherently more rigid and anti-modern than other religions. Huntington famously predicted that most major conflicts would be between Muslims and non-Muslims, as “Islam has bloody borders” (1993: 12). In 1990, historian Bernard Lewis described a “surge of hatred” rising from the Islamic world that “becomes a rejection of Western civilisation as such” (cited in Coll 2012). Richard Perle, American neoconservative militarist and advisor to Israel’s Likud Party, proposes a strategy of “de-contextualization” to explain acts of terrorism and violent resistance to occupation, arguing that we must stop trying to understand the territorial, geopolitical and historical reasons that some groups turn to fundamentalism; instead, reasons for the violence of such groups must be sought in the Islamic way of thinking (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101).

Religious fundamentalism, however, is universal: it arises in response to modernity and secularism, both of which tend to weaken or threaten religious traditions. John Voll points out that by the early 1990s, “violent militancy was clearly manifest among Hindu fundamentalists, Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Jewish fundamentalists in Israel and others elsewhere” (1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 110-11). As one scholar points out, if the Bosnians, the Palestinians and the Kashmiris are asked about their borders they would say that, respectively, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism are the ones that have bloody borders (Ahmed 2002: 29). Yet statements like the ones by Huntington, Lewis and Perle cited above single out Islam as the most dangerous potential enemy of the West. They all interpret the militancy of Islamic fundamentalism as being somehow directly caused by distinctive Islamic doctrines and traditions (Voll 1994, cited in Hossein-zadeh 2006: 111) and attribute terrorist attacks to “pathological problems of the Muslim mind” (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 101). In doing so, they posit a characteristic supposedly shared by Muslims from Indonesia through Iran to Senegal, that makes conflict with the West inevitable.

An incorrect assessment of the roots of terrorism does not justify the extent to which the U.S. expanded its military activity after 2001; nor does it explain why it continues to fight an ineffective war. As Peña points out, a larger military would not have prevented the tragedy of 9/11, and it will not prevent future terrorist actions (2001, cited in Snider 2004). Terrorism, much like the war that is fought against it, is a means of pursuing objectives, not an actor. It cannot be stopped by military action as fighting does nothing to address the issues that terrorists feel can only be resolved violently; if anything, this is more likely to lead to a vicious cycle of constantly growing military budgets and an ever higher number of terrorist attacks. As one author put it: “the moral crusade to end terrorism can only begin with a realistic assessment of its cause” (Snider 2004). So far, the global war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism.

On the contrary, it seems the threat of an attack is now bigger: the number of terrorist attacks worldwide has increased from just over 1800 in 2001, to a staggering five-thousand ten years later (START 2012). The question that arises, then, is why successive U.S. administrations have found it so difficult to accept that perhaps their assessment of the causes of terrorism is incorrect; that perhaps, the policies built on their premises are not effective, but rather a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to a vicious cycle of constantly expanding military activities and an increasing number of individuals who believe their grievances cannot be settled non-violently. This has everything to do with the never-ending need for militarism: 9/11 was approached by the U.S. as an opportunity for aggression. The attacks, however heinous, were approached by the government not as crimes (which would require criminal prosecution and law enforcement), but as a personal attack against Americans (Hossein-zadeh 2006: 91). With the views expressed by Huntington, Lewis and Perle widespread among the American public already, pre-emptive war and military expansion was easily justifiable to Americans. After all, how would dialogue help if the Muslim mind is pathologically troubled? An American citizen might cringe at the idea, but it is true: the 9/11 tragedy “came from heaven to an administration determined to ramp up military budgets” (Johnson 2004: 64).

Conclusion

This essay has sought to argue that the U.S. military-industrial complex was the unintentional result of both a desire to stabilize the global capitalist system and to protect national security interests, but that military spending is now closely linked to the personal interests of a small, influential group of elites. In the first section, it was illustrated that the context of the Second World War made increased military expenditures a necessary means to other ends, although the power elite that would eventually come to benefit from these expenditures was already in place. Once in place, this power elite has constantly needed to justify the disproportionate allocation of national resources to the military establishment. Emphasizing the economic benefits of military investment by drawing on Keynesian theory is a way of doing so, but military Keynesianists seem to give a one-sided account of the theory, one that suits their interests.

The second section focused on the global war on terror, arguing that the U.S. is capitalizing on public fears which are based on an incorrect assessment of the causes of terrorism. The war on terror has done little to eradicate terrorism, but as long as the public continues believing it is a necessary war, the U.S. military-industrial complex will continue using it as an opportunity to keep military budgets high.

References


1.) The U.S. did have to rethink the expenses of their policies during the crisis of the ‘70s, when expanding on both warfare and welfare became too expensive. Allocating taxpayers’ money to the military had become harder to justify for several reasons; by this time, however, the military-industrial complex was well in place. Beneficiaries of militarism succeeded in maintaining high military budgets, mainly by exaggerating the ‘Soviet threat’ (such as in the now-discredited Team B report by the Committee on the Present Danger). This was clearly a way of defining the elite group’s interests in terms of national interests and is relevant to the topic, but it is not within the scope of the essay to discuss this in detail.


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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? "

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[Feb 03, 2016] Lies of the Neocons From Leo Strauss to Scooter Libby

Notable quotes:
"... A superb account of the ideas of Strauss, his followers and his influence is to be found in The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (hereafter PI) and Leo Strauss and The American Right (hereafter AR), both by Shadia Drury, professor of politics at the University of Calgary. Her account of Strausss ideas and the prominence they play in American politics today will give you chills or nausea, perhaps both. As she says in PI (p.xii), Strauss is the key to understanding the political vision that has inspired the most powerful men in America under George W. Bush. In my view men who are in the grip of Straussian political ideas cannot be trusted with political power in any society, let alone a liberal democracy. This book explains why this is the case. ..."
"... So the covert elite must be certain that myths like religion or the glory of the nation are not weakened for these are among the best ways to rule over the ignorant herd and lead it into war. (Note that the Straussians themselves are not religious. They are above religion, capable of dealing with tough truths like mans mortality. But in their view, religion is a crucial factor in governing in their view. Irving Kristol, following Strauss, tells us that religion is far more important politically than the Founding Fathers believed and that to rescue America it is necessary to breathe new life into the older, now largely comatose religious orthodoxies. (AR, p. 148). ..."
"... But useful lies of the grand sort like religious myth or blind nationalism need support by lesser lies at crucial moments. And so we go to the smaller lies like weapons of mass destruction, the smoking gun that comes in the form of the mushroom cloud. And here too the elite has a role to play. They are to use their superior rhetorical skills to make the weak argument seem stronger. In other words the cabal not only has to protect myths and manufacture lies but go to work in selling them. What Strauss called rhetoric, we call spin. ..."
"... All of this comes down to one word: lying. But for Strauss, these lies are necessary for the smooth function of society and triumph of ones own nation in war. Hence for Strauss, the lie becomes noble. This phrase Strauss borrows and distorts from Plato who meant by a noble lie a myth or parable that conveyed an underlying truth about morality or nature. But in Strausss hands the noble lie becomes a way of deceiving the herd. Strausss noble lies are far from noble. They are intended to dupe the multitude and secure power for a special elite (AR, p. 79). ..."
OpEdNews
All governments lie as I. F. Stone famously observed, but some governments lie more than others. And the neocon Bush regime serves up whoppers as standard fare every day. Why this propensity to lie? There are many reasons, but it is not widely appreciated that the neocons believe in lying on principle. It is the "noble" thing for the elite to do, for the "vulgar" masses, the "herd" will become ungovernable without such lies. This is the idea of the "noble lie" practiced with such success and boldness by Scooter Libby and his co-conspirators and concocted by the political "philosopher" Leo Strauss whose teachings lie at the core of the neoconservative outlook and agenda, so much so that they are sometimes called "Leocons."

Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was a Jewish-German émigré from the Nazi regime who eventually landed at the University of Chicago where he developed a following that has achieved enormous prominence in American politics. Among his students were Paul Wolfowitz who has openly acknowledged that he is a follower of Straus as has the godfather of neconservatism, Irving Kristol. Irving Kristol begat William Kristol, the director of operation for the DC neocons, editor of the Weekly Standard and "chairman" of the Project for the New American Century, which laid out the plans for the Iraq War. (PNAC also opined in 2000 that a Pearl Harbor-like event would be necessary to take the country to war, and one year later, presto, we had the strange and still mysterious attack of September 11.) For his part Paul Wolfowitz begat Libby, in the intellectual sense, when he taught Libby at Yale. Others stars in the necon firmament are Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and lesser figures like Abram Shulsky, director of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, created by Donald Rumsfeld. Shulsky, also a student of Strauss, was responsible for fabricating the lies masquerading as intelligence that were designed to get the U.S. into the war on Iraq. While the neocons have a passion for the Likud party and Zionism, they also count among their number not a few pre-Vatican II Catholics and an assortment of cranks like Newt Gingrich and John Bolton and crypto fascists like Jeanne Kirkpatrick. The list goes on and Justin Raimondo has documented it in great detail over the years on Antiwar.com. But it is enough to note that Cheney's alter ego was Libby, and Rumsfeld's second in command until recently was Wolfowitz. So both Cheney, the de facto president with an apparently ill perfused cerebrum, and the geezer commanding the Pentagon have been managed by younger and very prominent Straussians for the past five years.

A superb account of the ideas of Strauss, his followers and his influence is to be found in The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss (hereafter PI) and Leo Strauss and The American Right (hereafter AR), both by Shadia Drury, professor of politics at the University of Calgary. Her account of Strauss's ideas and the prominence they play in American politics today will give you chills or nausea, perhaps both. As she says in PI (p.xii), "Strauss is the key to understanding the political vision that has inspired the most powerful men in America under George W. Bush. In my view men who are in the grip of Straussian political ideas cannot be trusted with political power in any society, let alone a liberal democracy. This book explains why this is the case."

For those who wish to understand the neocon agenda, Drury's books are essential reading. She is clear and thorough.

Of pertinence to "Scooter's" case and the pack of lies he was concealing is Strauss's idea that a "philosopher elite" (i.e., Straussians) must rule. Moreover they must do so covertly. As someone remarked before last Friday, "Who ever heard of I. Lewis Libby?" a man who shunned the spotlight and operated behind the scenes. The reason for such covert rule, or cabal, is that the "vulgar" herd, as Strauss liked to call the rest of us, cannot appreciate "higher truths" such as the inevitability and necessity of wars in relations between states and even the utility of wars in governing a state.

So the covert elite must be certain that myths like religion or the glory of the nation are not weakened for these are among the best ways to rule over the ignorant herd and lead it into war. (Note that the Straussians themselves are not religious. They are "above" religion, capable of dealing with tough truths like man's mortality. But in their view, religion is a crucial factor in governing in their view. Irving Kristol, following Strauss, tells us that religion is "far more important politically" than the Founding Fathers believed and that to rescue America it is necessary "to breathe new life into the older, now largely comatose religious orthodoxies." (AR, p. 148). Any religion will do except perhaps Islam, which is more or less verboten, given the affinity of all leading neocons for Israel. Hence the neocons readily embrace the ideology and leadership of Christian fundamentalism which can keep the crowd under control and get them to march off to war and death. The neocons are mainly interested in foreign policy, as was Strauss, but in exchange for the support of the religious Right in foreign affairs, the neocons line up behind the domestic program of the fundamentalists. It's a win win situation, from their point of view

But useful lies of the grand sort like religious myth or blind nationalism need support by lesser lies at crucial moments. And so we go to the "smaller" lies like "weapons of mass destruction," the "smoking gun that comes in the form of the mushroom cloud." And here too the elite has a role to play. They are to use their "superior rhetorical skills" to make the weak argument seem stronger. In other words the cabal not only has to protect myths and manufacture lies but go to work in selling them. What Strauss called "rhetoric," we call spin.

All of this comes down to one word: lying. But for Strauss, these lies are necessary for the smooth function of society and triumph of one's own nation in war. Hence for Strauss, the lie becomes "noble." This phrase Strauss borrows and distorts from Plato who meant by a "noble lie" a myth or parable that conveyed an underlying truth about morality or nature. But in Strauss's hands the "noble lie" becomes a way of deceiving the herd. Strauss's "noble lies are far from "noble." They are intended to "dupe the multitude and secure power for a special elite" (AR, p. 79).

One other idea of Strauss's bears on the situation of "Scooter" Libby. How is the Straussian philosophical elite going to get from the halls of academe to the corridors of power? This depends on good luck and the "chance" encounter between the powerful and the Straussian. Here the contemporary neocons go beyond Strauss and leave nothing to chance. It would even appear that they look for the stupid, gullible or those who are mentally compromised. So William Kristol becomes Vice President Quayle's chief of Staff, and Libby becomes the right hand man to the addled Cheney as well as assistant to the Quayle-like Bush. And there are many more.

Finally, Drury makes the point the Strauss and the neocons are not really conservative at all. They are radicals, at war with the entire modern enterprise which makes them turn to the ancients for their inspiration and even there they need to distort the teachings of Socrates or Plato to make their case. But the Enlightenment comes to us with the advance of science to which Strauss is also hostile. He says that he is not against science as such "but popularized science or the diffusion of scientific knowledge.Science must remain the preserve of a small minority; it must be kept secret from the common man" (PI, p. 154). But this is impossible. Science by its very nature is a vast social enterprise requiring the widest possible dissemination of its findings. Any society that puts a lid on this will fail, and so by natural selection, the Straussian project is doomed to fail.

But before that happens the Straussians can do a lot of damage. As Drury says, they "cannot be trusted with political power." But we can learn from them the importance of boldness, not in the pursuit of the "noble lie" but of the truth. And we must be certain that we are vigorous as we hunt them down and get them out of power. In that effort Shadia Drury has done us a great service.

John Walsh can be reached at jvwalshmd@gmail.com.

He thanks Gary Leupp a regular on CounterPoint.com for pointing him to Shadia Drury's books.

[Feb 03, 2016] The Gloating of the Neocons

Notable quotes:
"... The greatest crime of the twenty-first century so far was the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. ..."
"... First Bush and Cheney (and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Rice) made the decision to go to war. Then they sat down and carefully invented the reasons ..."
"... On Sept. 11, 2001 Bush asked his counterterrorism advisor Richard A. Clarke, who had warned him in early 2001 about an "immanent al-Qaeda threat" (warnings Clarke alleges Bush "ignored") to produce a report blaming Iraq for the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. ..."
"... In his own account Clarke says: "I said, Mr. President. We've done this before." (Meaning, we've explored the possibility of ties between Baghdad and al-Qaeda before.) "We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There is no connection." ..."
"... Meanwhile Secretary of "Defense" Donald Rumsfeld advocated - from day one - attacks on Iraq as a response to 9/11. Clarke has stated that he assumed Rumsfeld was joking when he first suggested, immediately after the event, that since Afghanistan had "no good targets" the U.S. should proceed to bomb the totally un-related country. But he soon learned that Rumsfeld and his staff headed by Paul Wolfowitz were in deadly earnest. ..."
"... Some are describing Obama's renewed bombing of Iraq, and the strikes on Syrian targets, as a new "neocon moment." ..."
"... Recall how, in late 2003, as it became embarrassingly evident that Iraq had had no weapons of mass destruction, Wolfowitz in Iraq tried to change the subject entirely. Who cares about weapons of mass destruction? he told a reporter. The Iraqi people want to reconstruct their country, he declared (as though the question of the war's legitimacy was an irrelevant detail). Having acknowledged some "intelligence flaws" (attributing them to the CIA, rather than to themselves-despite what we know of the unprecedented Cheney-Libby visits to the Pentagon to browbeat the intelligence professionals to include their bullshit into official reports), Cheney and his neocon camp changed the subject. ..."
"... No, it wasn't about the announced reasons: weapons of mass destruction, or al-Qaeda ties. Nor was it about U.S. Big Oil (which hasn't profited from the Iraq War, the big contracts going to China and Russia). Nor was it about permanent military bases; the Iraqis have successfully rejected them. What does that leave us with? ..."
"... A war pushed by the neocons to destroy a foe of Israel. It succeeded, surely, but only to produce a vicious Sunni successor state in Anbar Province potentially far more threatening to Israel than Saddam ever was. ..."
October 31, 2014 | counterpunch.org

The greatest crime of the twenty-first century so far was the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Broadly conceived by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney immediately after 9/11, it initially lacked a coherent justification . But as Condoleezza Rice noted at the time, the tragedy brought "opportunities." (People in fear can be persuaded to support things policy-makers long wanted, but couldn't quite sell to the public.)

First Bush and Cheney (and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Rice) made the decision to go to war. Then they sat down and carefully invented the reasons for their war.

On Sept. 11, 2001 Bush asked his counterterrorism advisor Richard A. Clarke, who had warned him in early 2001 about an "immanent al-Qaeda threat" (warnings Clarke alleges Bush "ignored") to produce a report blaming Iraq for the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

In his own account Clarke says: "I said, Mr. President. We've done this before." (Meaning, we've explored the possibility of ties between Baghdad and al-Qaeda before.) "We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There is no connection."

But Clarke's recollection of the event continues:

"He came back at me and said, 'Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report. It was a serious look. We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. We wrote the report. We sent the report out to CIA and found FBI and said, 'Will you sign this report?' They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. … Do it again.'"

Few policy decisions in modern history can rival the evil of that demand that the U.S. intelligence community deliberately contrive a false historical narrative, to justify a war that has destroyed a country and killed half a million people.

Meanwhile Secretary of "Defense" Donald Rumsfeld advocated - from day one - attacks on Iraq as a response to 9/11. Clarke has stated that he assumed Rumsfeld was joking when he first suggested, immediately after the event, that since Afghanistan had "no good targets" the U.S. should proceed to bomb the totally un-related country. But he soon learned that Rumsfeld and his staff headed by Paul Wolfowitz were in deadly earnest.

The Powell UN speech, demanding global support for an attack on a threatening, al-Qaeda aligned Iraq, in fact bombed. But more than that, key U.S. allies-NATO heavies France and Germany among them-refused to get on board the program. This occasioned an amazing campaign of vilification of France, best symbolized by Congress's decision to rename "French fries" "freedom fries" in the Congressional cafeteria. An asinine book trashing France as "our oldest enemy" became a best-seller.

... ... ...

Republican presidents, Democratic presidents. All on the same page when it comes to maintaining what Wolfowitz termed "full-spectrum dominance" in the post-Cold War world. Now as it all falls apart-as ISIL expands its "caliphate," as the Syrian Baathists hold out against both U.S.-backed and other Islamists, as Iran gains respect as a serious negotiator in the Geneva talks, as China rises, as Russia thwarts NATO expansion, as U.S.-Israeli ties fray, as a multi-polar world inevitably emerges- what triumphs can the neocons claim?

Once flushed with history, proclaiming the "end of history" with the triumph of capitalist imperialism over Marxist socialism and other competing ideologies, they have only a handful of successes they can claim.

Oilmen Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush (and Rice who has an oil tanker named after her) lusted after oil profits. They lusted too for an expansion of U.S. military power in the "Greater Middle East." They were less concerned with Israel. But Israel's survival as a specifically "Jewish" state, with a subject Arab population that must never become demographically threatening-and blow the whole Zionist project by forcing a one-state multi-ethnic solution-is the central neocon concern. They will not say this, of course; Leo Strauss students like Wolfowitz and Shulsky believe in the need for deception to get things done. But this was the minimal objective of the neocons' response to 9/11: to use the event to advantage Israel.

Recall how, in late 2003, as it became embarrassingly evident that Iraq had had no weapons of mass destruction, Wolfowitz in Iraq tried to change the subject entirely. Who cares about weapons of mass destruction? he told a reporter. The Iraqi people want to reconstruct their country, he declared (as though the question of the war's legitimacy was an irrelevant detail). Having acknowledged some "intelligence flaws" (attributing them to the CIA, rather than to themselves-despite what we know of the unprecedented Cheney-Libby visits to the Pentagon to browbeat the intelligence professionals to include their bullshit into official reports), Cheney and his neocon camp changed the subject.

The real issue, they now averred, was creating "democracy" in the Middle East. Condi Rice happily connived with this strategy, arguing dramatically that it was as wrong to deny people in the Middle East their freedom as it had been to deny black people in her home of Birmingham, Alabama their right to vote. Suddenly special diplomats were dispatched to Arab countries to lecture skeptical, sometimes glowering audiences on the advantages of the U.S. political system.

Under great pressure, some Arab countries somewhat expanded their parliamentary processes. The effort backfired as Islamists were elected in Egypt, Hizbollah made advances in Lebanon, and Hamas won a majority in the first free Palestinian election (in 2006). The "terrorists" were winning elections! The State Department denounced such results and has since shut up about "democracy" in the Middle East.

No, it wasn't about the announced reasons: weapons of mass destruction, or al-Qaeda ties. Nor was it about U.S. Big Oil (which hasn't profited from the Iraq War, the big contracts going to China and Russia). Nor was it about permanent military bases; the Iraqis have successfully rejected them. What does that leave us with?

A war pushed by the neocons to destroy a foe of Israel. It succeeded, surely, but only to produce a vicious Sunni successor state in Anbar Province potentially far more threatening to Israel than Saddam ever was.

But Binyamin Netanyahu doesn't see it that way. He has repeatedly dubbed Iran as a greater threat than ISIL. Having predicted since 1992 that Iran is close to developing a nuclear bomb; having repeatedly demanded (echoed by prominent U.S. neocons such as Norman Podhoretz) that the U.S. bomb Iran (to prevent a "nuclear holocaust"); having angrily dismissed U.S. intelligence assessments that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, Netanyahu wants Obama to focus on destroying the Iranian regime.

GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion.

[Feb 03, 2016] Neoconservatives as neoliberals with a gun

Notable quotes:
"... In short, unless the semi-free democratic society is strong, and not only ready to defend itself but also willing to go on the offensive in support of its system abroad, it will perish. The neocon view is that either you're willing to export liberal democracy or it will be crushed by all kinds of barbaric global groups. ..."
"... They too believe – some of them because they were taught it by Strauss Co – that their most important values are best advanced and preserved in a relatively free society, provided such a society is strong and wields power wisely, both at home and abroad." ..."
"... The failure of the Weimar regime to prevent the rise of fascism, in his view, resided in its failure to put power into the hands of the strong and good, who inevitably, unable to acquire popular support through honest methods, should (like their Nazi adversaries) have cleverly used Big Lies (towards good ends) to nudge the people towards those ends. Only wise men, acting in secrecy, can do that. ..."
"... As Hersh points out, the neocons (just about a dozen officials-including Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton, Abrams - operating in concert with the oil-baron contingent in the administration-Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Bush-and providing them with intellectual guidance) refer to themselves (with smug amusement) as a "cabal" (a word with an interesting etymology). ..."
"... That seizure is still in progress, messily, untidily, brutally and illegally, and with results no cabal, however wise, can really predict. Among the results might be a growing revulsion among the American people themselves at the neocons' misanthropic arrogance, and perhaps (much though it should be regretted and fought) anti-Semitism. ..."
peakoilbarrel.com
R Walter, 02/03/2016 at 6:43 pm
Neoconservatives follow the philosophy of Leo Strauss, the father of the neoconservative movement. Whether is has been bad or good, hard to know. A little bit and a good read about the neoconservatives and Leo Strauss:

"Neoconservatives hold the view that 'American' is the best bet for the world – America's institutional set-up is a very useful combination of modern elements, having to do with the sovereignty of individuals together with the older idea of a substantial role for government – and that this is an idea that needs to be widely promulgated. Indeed, without its promulgation there can arise and persist major threats to the countries which do embrace this set up, such as the United States of America. In short, unless the semi-free democratic society is strong, and not only ready to defend itself but also willing to go on the offensive in support of its system abroad, it will perish. The neocon view is that either you're willing to export liberal democracy or it will be crushed by all kinds of barbaric global groups.

Now let us return to Strauss. Recall his prudential endorsement of classical liberalism as the best bet for philosophy. (Just exactly why philosophy ought to be cherished is not made clear by Strauss & Co; and their implicit or explicit nihilism calls the merit of philosophy into serious question.) Strauss's embrace of classical liberalism – or at least a watered down version of it, as per liberal democracy – did appear to influence the neocons. They too believe – some of them because they were taught it by Strauss & Co – that their most important values are best advanced and preserved in a relatively free society, provided such a society is strong and wields power wisely, both at home and abroad."

https://philosophynow.org/issues/59/Leo_Strauss_Neoconservative

For what it's worth.

likbez, 02/03/2016 at 7:16 pm
"Neoconservatives follow the philosophy of Leo Strauss, the father of the neoconservative movement."

No. They follow the philosophy of Leo Trotsky with "proletariat" replaced by "international elite" and global corporations.
http://softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/neocons.shtml

Neoconservatives are neoliberals with a gun, changing Al Capone maxim into "You can get much farther with a neoliberal recommendations and a gun than you can with a neoliberal recommendation (as in Washington consensus) alone." Kind of attack dogs of neoliberalism.

Using deception as a smoke screen in politics was actually introduced by Machiavelli, not by Leo Strauss; that's why Bush II administration was called Mayberry Machiavelli (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayberry_Machiavelli)

What Leo Strauss introduced and what is used in neoconservative/neoliberal discourse is the concept of "noble lie" (which includes "false flag" operations; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag). Here is how Professor of History at Tufts University Gary Leupp defines their behavior:

== quote ==
Hersh notes the critical influence of the philosopher Leo Strauss (d. 1973) on Wolfowitz's thinking. His article stimulated, among other articles, a substantial piece on Strauss by Jeet Heer in the Boston Globe (May 11), and another by William Pfaff in the International Herald Tribune (May 15), the latter noting that "Strauss's thought is a matter of public interest because his followers are in charge of U.S. foreign policy." Strauss, of German Jewish origins who taught for many years at the University of Chicago, mentoring Wolfowitz among others, was a brilliant man. No question about that. But also a man profoundly hostile to the modern world and to the concept of rule by the people. He believed it was the natural right of the wise and strong to lead societies to the fulfillment of their wise aims, using subterfuge when necessary, because speaking the naked truth won't get the job done.

Strauss's point of departure is Socrates, who in Plato's Republic denounces Athenian democracy (the rule of the untutored masses) and instead promotes government by "philosopher-kings." Strauss had experienced the Weimar Republic (one of the more democratic experiments in modern history) and seen Germany fall into the hands of the Nazis. He understandably opposed the latter, but he derived some lessons from their methodology.

The failure of the Weimar regime to prevent the rise of fascism, in his view, resided in its failure to put power into the hands of the strong and good, who inevitably, unable to acquire popular support through honest methods, should (like their Nazi adversaries) have cleverly used Big Lies (towards good ends) to nudge the people towards those ends. Only wise men, acting in secrecy, can do that.

As Hersh points out, the neocons (just about a dozen officials-including Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Bolton, Abrams - operating in concert with the oil-baron contingent in the administration-Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Bush-and providing them with intellectual guidance) refer to themselves (with smug amusement) as a "cabal" (a word with an interesting etymology).

They have contempt for the masses, and feel utterly justified in wisely misleading those masses into a roadmap for global peace on their terms. That meant, initially, using 9-11 to produce support for the seizure of Iraq,

That seizure is still in progress, messily, untidily, brutally and illegally, and with results no cabal, however wise, can really predict. Among the results might be a growing revulsion among the American people themselves at the neocons' misanthropic arrogance, and perhaps (much though it should be regretted and fought) anti-Semitism. The latter might be provoked by the fact that persons inclined to embrace the most extreme factions in the Israeli political apparatus are disproportionately represented in the neocons' cabal, and while the general movement of U.S. foreign policy is driven by broad geopolitical concerns, rather than the alliance with Israel, the neocons' allegiance to what they perceive to be the interests of Sharon's Israel is highly conspicuous.
== end of quote ==

See also

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/31/the-gloating-of-the-neocons/

[Jan 29, 2016] US government finds top secret information in Clinton emails

Notable quotes:
"... Oh, but it is serious. The material is/was classified. It just wasnt marked as such. Which means someone removed the classified material from a separate secure network and sent it to Hilary. We know from her other emails that, on more than one occasion, she requested that that be done. ..."
"... fellow diplomats and other specialists said on Thursday that if any emails were blatantly of a sensitive nature, she could have been expected to flag it. She might have had some responsibility to blow the whistle, said former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, The recipient may have an induced kind of responsibility, Pickering added, if they see something that appears to be a serious breach of security. ..."
"... Finally whether they were marked or not the fact that an electronic copy resided on a server in an insecure location was basically like her making a copy and bringing it home and plunking it in a file cabinet... ..."
"... The agreement considers information classified whether it is marked or unmarked. ..."
"... According to a State Department regulation in effect during Clintons tenure (12 FAM 531), classified material should not be stored at a facility outside the chancery, consulate, etc., merely for convenience. ..."
"... Additionally, a regulation established in 2012 (12 FAM 533.2) requires that each employee, irrespective of rank must certify that classified information is not in their household or personal effects. ..."
"... As of December 2, 2009, the Foreign Affairs Manual has explicitly stated that classified processing and/or classified conversation on a PDA is prohibited. ..."
"... Look, Hillary is sloppy about her affairs of state. She voted with Cheney for the Iraq disaster and jumped in supporting it. It is the greatest foreign affair disaster since Viet Nam and probably the greatest, period! She was a big proponent of getting rid of Khadaffi in Libya and now we have radical Islamic anarchy ravaging the failed state. She was all for the Arab Spring until the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into power in Egypt....which was replaced by yet another military dictatorship we support. And she had to have her own private e-mail server and it got used for questionable handling of state secrets. This is just Hillary being Hillary........ ..."
"... Its no secret that this hysterically ambitious Clinton woman is a warmonger and a hooker for Wall Street . No need to read her e-mails, just check her record. ..."
"... What was exemplary about an unnecessary war, a dumbass victory speech three or so months into it, the Presidents absence of support for his CIA agent outed by his staff, the Presidents German Chancellor shoulder massage, the use of RNC servers and subsequently lost gazillion emails, doing nothing in response to Twin Towers news, ditto for Katrina news, the withheld information from the Tillman family, and sanctioned torture? ..."
"... Another point that has perhaps not been covered sufficiently is the constant use of the phrase unsecured email server - which is intentionally vague and misleading and was almost certainly a phrase coined by someone who knows nothing about email servers or IT security and has been parroted mindlessly by people who know even less and journalists who should know better. ..."
"... Yet the term unsecured has many different meanings and implications - in the context of an email server it could mean that mail accounts are accessible without authentication, but in terms of network security it could mean that the server somehow existed outside a firewall or Virtual Private Network or some other form of physical or logical security. ..."
"... It is also extremely improbable that an email server would be the only device sharing that network segment - of necessity there would at least be a file server and some means of communicating with the outside world, most likely a router or a switch, which would by default have a built-in hardware firewall (way more secure than a software firewall). ..."
"... Anything generated related to a SAP is, by its mere existence, classified at the most extreme level, and everyone who works on a SAP knows this intimately and you sign your life away to acknowledge this. ..."
"... yeah appointed by Obama...John Kerry. His state department. John is credited on both sides of the aisle of actually coming in and making the necessary changes to clean up the administrative mess either created or not addressed by his predecessor. ..."
"... Its not hard to understand, she was supposed to only use her official email account maintained on secure Federal government servers when conducting official business during her tenure as Secretary of State. This was for three reasons, the first being security the second being transparency and the third for accountability. ..."
"... You need to share that one with Petraeus, whos career was ruined and had to pay 100k in fines, for letting some info slip to his mistress.. ..."
"... If every corrupt liar was sent to prison thered be no one left in Washington, or Westminster and wed have to have elections with ordinary people standing, instead of the usual suspects from the political class. Which, on reflection, sounds quite good ! ..."
"... Its a reckless arrogance combined with the belief that no-one can touch her. If she does become the nominee Hillary will be an easy target for Trump. Itll be like shooting fish in a barrel . ..."
"... It is obvious that the Secretary of State and the President should be communicating on a secure network controlled by the federal government. It is obvious that virtually none of these communications were done in a secure manner. Consider whether someone who contends this is irrelevant has enough sense to come in out of the rain. ..."
www.theguardian.com

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time on Friday that Hillary Clinton's unsecured home server contained some of the US government's most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes just three days before the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses in which Clinton is a candidate.


jrhaddock -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 23:04

Oh, but it is serious. The material is/was classified. It just wasn't marked as such. Which means someone removed the classified material from a separate secure network and sent it to Hilary. We know from her other emails that, on more than one occasion, she requested that that be done.

And she's not just some low level clerk who doesn't understand what classified material is or how it is handled. She had been the wife of the president so is certainly well aware of the security surrounding classified material. And then she was Sec of State and obviously knew what kind of information was classified. So to claim that the material wasn't marked, and therefore she didn't know it was classified, is simply not credulous.

Berkeley2013 29 Jan 2016 22:46

And Clinton had a considerable number of unvetted people maintain and administer her communication system. The potential for wrong doing in general and blackmail from many angles is great.

There's also the cost of this whole investigation. Why should US taxpayers have to pick up the bill?

And the waste of good personnel time---a total waste...


Skip Breitmeyer -> simpledino 29 Jan 2016 22:29

In one sense you're absolutely right- read carefully this article (and the announcement leading to it) raises at least as many questions as it answers, period. On the other hand, those ambiguities are certain not to be resolved 'over-the-weekend' (nor before the first votes are cast in Iowa) and thus the timing of the thing could not be more misfortunate for Ms. Clinton, nor more perfect for maximum effect than if the timing had been deliberately planned. In fact I'm surprised there aren't a raft of comments on this point. "Confirmed by the Obama administration..."? Who in the administration? What wing of the administration? Some jack-off in the justice dept. who got 50,000 g's for the scoop? The fact is, I'm actually with Bernie over Hilary any day, but I admit to a certain respect for her remarkable expertise and debate performances that have really shown the GOP boys to be a bunch of second-benchers... And there's something a little dirty and dodgy that's gone on here...


Adamnoggi dusablon 29 Jan 2016 22:23

SAP does not relate to To the level of classification. A special access program could be at the confidential level or higher dependent upon content. Special access means just that, access is granted on a case by case basis, regardless of classification level .


Gigi Trala La 29 Jan 2016 22:17

She is treated with remarkable indulgence. Anywhere with a sense of accountability she will be facing prosecution, and yet here she is running for even higher office. In the middle of demonstrating her unfitness.


eldudeabides 29 Jan 2016 22:15

Independent experts say it is highly unlikely that Clinton will be charged with wrongdoing, based on the limited details that have surfaced up to now and the lack of indications that she intended to break any laws.

since when has ignorance been a defence?


nataliesutler UzzDontSay 29 Jan 2016 22:05

Yes Petraeus did get this kind of scrutiny even though what he did was much less serious that what Clinton did. this isn't about a rule change. And pretending it is isn't going to fool anyone.


Sam3456 kattw 29 Jan 2016 21:18

Thats a misunderstanding on your part First lets look at Hillary's statement in March:

"I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I'm certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material."

She later adjusted her language to note that she never sent anything "marked" classified. So already some Clinton-esque word parsing

And then what people said who used to do her job:

fellow diplomats and other specialists said on Thursday that if any emails were blatantly of a sensitive nature, she could have been expected to flag it.
"She might have had some responsibility to blow the whistle," said former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, "The recipient may have an induced kind of responsibility," Pickering added, "if they see something that appears to be a serious breach of security."

It is a view shared by J. William Leonard, who between 2002 and 2008 was director of the Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees the government classification system. He pointed out that all government officials given a security clearance are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, which states they are responsible if secrets leak – whether the information was "marked or not."

Finally whether they were marked or not the fact that an electronic copy resided on a server in an insecure location was basically like her making a copy and bringing it home and plunking it in a file cabinet...

beanierose -> dusablon 29 Jan 2016 21:08

Yeah - I just don't understand what Hillary is actually accused of doing / or not doing in Benghazi. Was it that they didn't provide support to Stevens - (I think that was debunked) - was it that they claimed on the Sunday talk shows that the video was responsible for the attack (who cares). Now - I can think of an outrage - President Bush attacking Iraq on the specious claim that they had WMD - that was a lie/incorrec/incompetence and it cost ~7000 US and 200K to 700K Iraqi lives. Now - there's a scandal.

Stephen_Sean -> elexpatrioto 29 Jan 2016 21:07

The Secretary of State is an "original classifier" of information. The individual holding that office is responsible to recognize whether information is classified and to what level regardless if it is marked or not. She should have known. She has no true shelter of ignorance here.

Stephen_Sean 29 Jan 2016 21:00

The Guardian is whistling through the graveyard. The FBI is very close to a decision to recommend an indictment to the DOJ. At that point is up to POTUS whether he thinks Hillary is worth tainting his entire Presidency to protect by blocking a DOJ indictment. His responsibility as an outgoing President is to do what is best for his party and to provide his best attempt to get a Democrat elected. I smell Biden warming up in the bullpen as an emergency.

The last thing the DNC wants is a delay if their is going to be an indictment. For an indictment to come after she is nominated would be an unrecoverable blow for the Democrats. If their is to be an indictment its best for it to come now while they can still get Biden in and maintain their chances.

Sam3456 29 Jan 2016 20:57

In Section 7 of her NDA, Clinton agreed to return any classified information she gained access to, and further agreed that failure to do so could be punished under Sections 793 and 1924 of the US Criminal Code.

According To § 793 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who willfully retains, transmits or causes to be transmitted, national security information, can face up to ten years in prison.

According To § 1924 Of Title 18 Of The US Code, anyone who removes classified information " with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location," can face up to a year in prison.

The agreement considers information classified whether it is "marked or unmarked."

According to a State Department regulation in effect during Clinton's tenure (12 FAM 531), "classified material should not be stored at a facility outside the chancery, consulate, etc., merely for convenience."

Additionally, a regulation established in 2012 (12 FAM 533.2) requires that "each employee, irrespective of rank must certify" that classified information "is not in their household or personal effects."

As of December 2, 2009, the Foreign Affairs Manual has explicitly stated that "classified processing and/or classified conversation on a PDA is prohibited."

kus art 29 Jan 2016 20:54

I'm assuming that the censored emails reveal activities that the US government is into are Way more corrupt, insidious and venal as the the emails already exposed, which says a lot already...

Profhambone -> Bruce Hill 29 Jan 2016 20:53

Look, Hillary is sloppy about her affairs of state. She voted with Cheney for the Iraq disaster and jumped in supporting it. It is the greatest foreign affair disaster since Viet Nam and probably the greatest, period! She was a big proponent of getting rid of Khadaffi in Libya and now we have radical Islamic anarchy ravaging the failed state. She was all for the Arab Spring until the Muslim Brotherhood was voted into power in Egypt....which was replaced by yet another military dictatorship we support. And she had to have her own private e-mail server and it got used for questionable handling of state secrets. This is just Hillary being Hillary........


PsygonnUSA 29 Jan 2016 20:44

Its no secret that this hysterically ambitious Clinton woman is a warmonger and a hooker for Wall Street . No need to read her e-mails, just check her record.


USfan 29 Jan 2016 20:41

Sorry to be ranting but what does it say about a country - in theory, a democracy - that is implicated in so much questionable business around the world that we have to classify mountains of communication as off-limits to the people, who are theoretically sovereign in this country?

We've all gotten quite used to this. In reality, it should freak us out much more than it does. I'm not naive about what national security requires, but my sense is the government habitually and routinely classifies all sorts of things the people of this country have every right to know.

Assuming this is still a democracy, which is perhaps a big assumption.


Raleighchopper Bruce Hill 29 Jan 2016 20:40

far Left sites like the Guardian:

LMAOROFL
Scott Trust Ltd board
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Trust_Limited

FirthyB 29 Jan 2016 20:36

Hillary is in that class, along with Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bush, Cheney etc.. who believe the rule of law only pertains to the little guys.


MooseMcNaulty -> dusablon 29 Jan 2016 20:28

The spying was illegal on a Constitutional basis. The Fourth Amendment protects our privacy and prevents unlawful search and seizure. The government getting free access to the contents of our emails seems the same as opening our mail, which is illegal without a court order.

The drone program is illegal based on the Geneva accords. We are carrying out targeted killings within sovereign nations, usually without their knowledge or consent, based on secret evidence that they pose a vaguely defined 'imminent threat'. It isn't in line with any international law, though we set that precedent long ago.


makaio USfan 29 Jan 2016 20:08

What was exemplary about an unnecessary war, a dumbass victory speech three or so months into it, the President's absence of support for his CIA agent outed by his staff, the President's German Chancellor shoulder massage, the use of RNC servers and subsequently "lost" gazillion emails, doing nothing in response to Twin Towers news, ditto for Katrina news, the withheld information from the Tillman family, and sanctioned torture?

Those were just starter questions. I'm sure I missed things.


Raleighchopper -> Popeia 29 Jan 2016 20:05

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-clinton-idUSN2540811420080326


Rowan Walters 29 Jan 2016 19:51

Another point that has perhaps not been covered sufficiently is the constant use of the phrase "unsecured email server" - which is intentionally vague and misleading and was almost certainly a phrase coined by someone who knows nothing about email servers or IT security and has been parroted mindlessly by people who know even less and journalists who should know better.

As an IT professional the repeated use of a phrase like that is a red flag - it's like when people who don't know what they're talking about latch on to a phrase which sounds technical because it contains jargon or technical concepts and they use it to make it sound like they know what they're talking about but it doesn't actually mean anything unless the context is clear and unambiguous.

The phrase is obviously being repeated to convey the impression of supreme negligence - that sensitive state secrets were left defenceless and (gasp!) potentially accessible by anyone.

Yet the term "unsecured" has many different meanings and implications - in the context of an email server it could mean that mail accounts are accessible without authentication, but in terms of network security it could mean that the server somehow existed outside a firewall or Virtual Private Network or some other form of physical or logical security.

Does this term "unsecured" mean the data on the server was not password-protected, does it mean it was unencrypted, does it mean that it was totally unprotected (which is extremely unlikely even if it was installed by an ignorant Luddite given that any modern broadband modem is also a hardware firewall), and as for the "server" was it a physical box or a virtual server?

It is also extremely improbable that an email server would be the only device sharing that network segment - of necessity there would at least be a file server and some means of communicating with the outside world, most likely a router or a switch, which would by default have a built-in hardware firewall (way more secure than a software firewall).

And regarding the "unsecured" part, how was the network accessed?
There are a huge number of possibilities as to the actual meaning and on its own there is not enough information to deduce which - if any - is correct.

I suspect that someone who knows little to nothing about technology has invented this concept based on ignorance a desire to imply malfeasance because on its own it really is a nonsense term.


seanet1310 -> Wallabyfan 29 Jan 2016 19:37

Nope. Like it or not Manning deliberately took classified information, smuggled it out and gave it to foreign nationals.
Clinton it would appear mishandled classified material, at best she failed to realise the sensitive nature and at worst actively took material from controlled and classified networks onto an unsecured private network.


dusablon 29 Jan 2016 19:28

Classified material in the US is classified at three levels: confidential, secret, and top secret. Those labels are not applied in a cavalier fashion. The release of TS information is considered a grave threat to the security of the United States.

Above these classification levels is what is as known as Special Access Program information, the release of which has extremely grave ramifications for the US. Access to SAP material is extremely limited and only granted after an extensive personal background investigation and only on a 'need to know' basis. You don't simply get a SAP program clearance because your employer thinks it would be nice to have, etc. In fact, you can have a Top Secret clearance and never get a special access program clearance to go with it.

For those of you playing at home, the Top Secret SAP material Hillary had on her server - the most critical material the US can have - was not simply 'upgraded' to classified in a routine bureaucratic exercise because it was previously unclassified.

Anything generated related to a SAP is, by it's mere existence, classified at the most extreme level, and everyone who works on a SAP knows this intimately and you sign your life away to acknowledge this.

What the Feds did in Hillary's case in making the material on her home-based server Top Secret SAP was to bring those materials into what is known as 'accountability .'

That is, the material was always SAP material but it was just discovered outside a SAP lock-down area or secure system and now it must become 'accountable' at the high classification level to ensure it's protected from further disclosure.

Hillary and her minions have no excuse whatsoever for this intentional mishandling of this critical material and are in severe legal jeopardy no matter what disinformation her campaign puts out. Someone will or should go to prison. Period.

(Sorry for the length of the post)


Sam3456 -> Mark Forrester 29 Jan 2016 19:22

yeah appointed by Obama...John Kerry. His state department. John is credited on both sides of the aisle of actually coming in and making the necessary changes to clean up the administrative mess either created or not addressed by his predecessor.

Within weeks of taking the position JK implemented the OIG task forces recommendations to streamline the process and make State run more in line with other government organizations. I think John saw the "Sorry it snowed can't have you this info for a month" for what it was and acted out of decency and fairness to the American people. I still think he looks like a hound and is a political opportunist but you can't blame him for shenanigans here


chiefwiley -> DoktahZ 29 Jan 2016 19:18

The messages were "de-papered" by the staff, stripping them from their forms and headings and then scanning and including the content in accumulations to be sent and stored in an unclassified system. Taking the markings off of a classified document does not render it unclassified. Adding the markings back onto the documents does not "declare" them classified. Their classified nature was constant.

If you only have an unsecured system, it should never be used for official traffic, let alone classified or special access traffic.

dusablon -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 19:05

Give it up.

She used a private server deliberately to avoid FOIA requests, she deleted thousands of emails after they were requested, and the emails that remained contained Top Secret Special Access Program information, and it does not matter one iota whether or not that material was marked or whether or not it has been recently classified appropriately.


chiefwiley -> Exceptionalism
29 Jan 2016 19:04

18USC Section793(f)

$250,000 and ten years.

dusablon -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 19:00

False.

Anything related to a special access program is classified whether marked as such or not.

dalisnewcar 29 Jan 2016 18:58

You would figure that after all the lies of O'bomber that democrats might wake up some. Apparently, they are too stupid to realize they have been duped even after the entire Middle Class has been decimated and the wealth of the 1% has grown 3 fold under the man who has now bombed 7 countries. And you folks think Clinton, who personally destroyed Libya, is going to be honest with you and not do the same things he's done? Wake up folks. Your banging your head against the same old wall.

fanUS -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 18:46

She is evil, because she helped Islamic State to rise.


Paul Christenson -> Barry_Seal 29 Jan 2016 18:45

20 - Barbara Wise - Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

21 - Charles Meissner - Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

22 - Dr. Stanley Heard - Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton 's advisory council personally treated Clinton 's mother, stepfather and Brother.

23 - Barry Seal - Drug running TWA pilot out of Mean Arkansas , death was no accident.

24 - John ny Lawhorn, Jr. - Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.

25 - Stanley Huggins - Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.

26 - Hershel Friday - Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.

27 - Kevin Ives & Don Henry - Known as "The boys on the track" case. Reports say the two boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. The initial report of death said their deaths were due to falling asleep on railroad tracks and being run over. Later autopsy reports stated that the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:

28 - Keith Coney - Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.

29 - Keith McMaskle - Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov 1988

30 - Gregory Collins - Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.

31 - Jeff Rhodes - He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989. (Coroner ruled death due to suicide)

32 - James Milan - Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes"?

33 - Jordan Kettleson - Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.

34 - Richard Winters - A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON PERSONAL BODYGUARDS ALL DIED OF MYSTERIOUS CAUSES OR SUICIDE
36 - Major William S. Barkley, Jr.
37 - Captain Scott J . Reynolds
38 - Sgt. Brian Hanley
39 - Sgt. Tim Sabel
40 - Major General William Robertson
41 - Col. William Densberger
42 - Col. Robert Kelly
43 - Spec. Gary Rhodes
44 - Steve Willis
45 - Robert Williams
46 - Conway LeBleu
47 - Todd McKeehan

And this list does not include the four dead Americans in Benghazi that Hillary abandoned!


Paul Christenson Barry_Seal 29 Jan 2016 18:42

THE MANY CLINTON BODY BAGS . . .

Someone recently reminded me of this list. I had forgotten how long it is. Therefore, this is a quick refresher course, lest we forget what has happened to many "friends" and associates of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

1- James McDougal - Convicted Whitewater partner of the Clintons who died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr's investigation.

2 - Mary Mahoney - A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown (Washington, D. C.). The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment by Clinton in the White House.

3 - Vince Foster - Former White House Councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock 's Rose Law Firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide. (He was about to testify against Hillary related to the records she refused to turn over to congress.) Was reported to have been having an affair with Hillary.

4 - Ron Brown - Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown's skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the Air Traffic controller committed suicide.

5 - C. Victor Raiser, II - Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.

6 - Paul Tulley - Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock on September 1992. Described by Clinton as a "dear friend and trusted advisor".

7 - Ed Willey - Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day His wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

8 - Jerry Parks - Head of Clinton's gubernatorial security team in Little Rock .. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock . Park's son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton . He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.

9 - James Bunch - Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a "Black Book" of people which contained names of influential people who visited Prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas

10 - James Wilson - Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to the Clintons ' Whitewater deals.

11 - Kathy Ferguson - Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson , was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones Lawsuit, and Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

12 - Bill Shelton - Arkansas State Trooper and fiancée of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancée, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancée.

13 - Gandy Baugh - Attorney for Clinton 's friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client, Dan Lassater, was a convicted drug distributor.

14 - Florence Martin - Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena , Arkansas Airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot Wounds.

15 - Suzanne Coleman - Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died Of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a Suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

16 - Paula Grober - Clinton 's speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.

17 - Danny Casolaro - Investigative reporter who was Investigating the Mean Airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.

18 - Paul Wilcher - Attorney investigating corruption at Mean Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 "October Surprise" was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his Washington DC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death. (May have died of poison)

19 - Jon Parnell Walker - Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington , Virginia apartment balcony August 15,1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.

Thijs Buelens -> honey1969 29 Jan 2016 18:41

Did the actors from Orange is the New Black already endorsed Hillary? Just wondering.

Sam3456 -> Sam3456 29 Jan 2016 18:35

Remember as soon as Snowden walked out the door with his USB drive full of secrets his was in violation. Wether he knew the severity and classification or not.

Think of Hillary's email server as her home USB drive.

RedPillCeryx 29 Jan 2016 18:33

Government civil and military employees working with material at the Top Secret level are required to undergo incredibly protracted and intrusive vetting procedures (including polygraph testing) in order to obtain and keep current their security clearances to access such matter. Was Hillary Clinton required to obtain a Top Secret clearance in the same way, or was she just waved through because of Who She Is?


Sam3456 29 Jan 2016 18:32

Just to be clear, Colin Powell used a private email ACCOUNT which was hosted in the cloud and used it only for personal use. He was audited (never deleted anything) and it was found to contain no government records.

Hillary used a server, which means in electronic form the documents existed outside the State Department unsecured. Its as if she took a Top Secret file home with her. That is a VERY BIG mistake and as the Sec of State she signed a document saying she understood the rules and agreed to play by them. She did not and removing state secrets from their secure location is a very serious matter. Wether you put the actual file in your briefcase or have them sitting in electronic version on your server.

Second, she signed a document saying she would return any and ALL documents and copies of documents pertaining to the State Department with 30 (or 60 I can't remember) of leaving. The documents on her server, again electronic copies of the top secret files, where not returned for 2 years. Thats a huge violation.

Finally, there is a clause in classification that deals with the information that is top secret by nature. Meaning regardless of wether its MARKED classified or not the very nature of the material would be apparent to a senior official that it was classified and appropriate action would have to be taken. She she either knew and ignored or did not know...and both of those scenarios don't give me a lot of confidence.

Finally the information that was classified at the highest levels means exposure of that material would put human operatives lives at risk. Something she accused Snowden of doing when she called him a traitor. By putting that information outside the State Department firewall she basically put peoples lives at risk so she could have the convenience of using one mobile device.


Wallabyfan -> MtnClimber 29 Jan 2016 18:10

Sorry you can delude yourself all you like but Powell and Cheney used private emails while at work on secure servers for personal communications not highly classified communications and did so before the 2009 ban on this practice came into place . Clinton has used a private unsecured server at her home while Sec of State and even worse provided access to people in her team who had no security clearance. She has also deleted more than 30,000 emails from the server in full knowledge of the FBI probe. You do realise that she is going to end up in jail don't you?


MtnClimber -> boscovee 29 Jan 2016 18:07

Are you as interested in all of the emails that Cheney destroyed? He was asked to provide them and never allowed ANY to be seen.

Typical GOP

Dozens die at embassies under Bush. Zero investigations. Zero hearings.
4 die at an embassy under Clinton. Dozens of hearings.


OurNigel -> Robert Greene 29 Jan 2016 17:53

Its not hard to understand, she was supposed to only use her official email account maintained on secure Federal government servers when conducting official business during her tenure as Secretary of State. This was for three reasons, the first being security the second being transparency and the third for accountability.

Serious breach of protocol I'm afraid.


Talgen -> Exceptionalism 29 Jan 2016 17:50

Department responses for classification infractions could include counseling, warnings or other action, officials said. They wouldn't say if Clinton or senior aides who've since left government could face penalties. The officials weren't authorized to speak on the matter and demanded anonymity."

You need to share that one with Petraeus, whos career was ruined and had to pay 100k in fines, for letting some info slip to his mistress..


Wallabyfan 29 Jan 2016 17:50

No one here seems to be able to accept how serious this is. You cant downplay it. This is the most serious scandal we have seen in American politics for decades.

Any other US official handling even 1 classified piece of material on his or her own unsecured home server would have been arrested and jailed by now for about 50 years perhaps longer. The fact that we are talking about 20 + (at least) indicates at the very least Clinton's hubris, incompetence and very poor judgement as well as being a very serious breach of US law. Her campaign is doomed.

This is only the beginning of the scandal and I predict we will be rocked when we learn the truth. Clinton will be indicted and probably jailed along with Huma Abedin who the FBI are also investigating.


HiramsMaxim -> Exceptionalism 29 Jan 2016 17:50

http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/HRC-SCI-NDA1.pdf


OurNigel 29 Jan 2016 17:42

This is supposed to be the lady who (in her own words) has a huge experience of government yet she willingly broke not just State Department protocols and procedures, by using a privately maintained none secure server for her email service she also broke Federal laws and regulations governing recordkeeping requirements.

At the very least this was a massive breach of security and a total disregard for established rules whilst she was in office. Its not as if she was just some local government officer in a backwater town she was Secretary of State for the United States government.

If the NSA is to be believed you should presume her emails could have been read by any foreign state.

This is actually a huge story.


TassieNigel 29 Jan 2016 17:41

This god awful Clinton family had to be stopped somehow I suppose. Now if I'd done it, I'd be behind bars long ago, so when will Hillary be charged is my question ?

Hillary made much of slinging off about the "traitor" Julian Assange, so let's see how Mrs Clinton looks like behind bars. A woman simply incapable of telling the truth !

Celebrations for Bernie Sanders of course.


HiramsMaxim 29 Jan 2016 17:41

They also wouldn't disclose whether any of the documents reflected information that was classified at the time of transmission,

Has nothing to do with anything. Maybe the author should read the actual NDA signed by Mrs. Clinton.

http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/HRC-SCI-NDA1.pdf


beneboy303 -> dusablon 29 Jan 2016 17:18

If every corrupt liar was sent to prison there'd be no one left in Washington, or Westminster and we'd have to have elections with ordinary people standing, instead of the usual suspects from the political class. Which, on reflection, sounds quite good !


In_for_the_kill 29 Jan 2016 17:15

Come on Guardian, this should be your lead story, the executive branch of the United States just confirmed that a candidate for the Presidency pretty much broke the law, knowingly. If that ain't headline material, then I don't know what is.


dusablon -> SenseCir 29 Jan 2016 17:09

Irrelevant?

Knowingly committing a felony by a candidate for POTUS is anything but irrelevant.

And forget her oh-so-clever excuses about not sending or receiving anything marked top secret or any other level of classification including SAP. If you work programs like those you know that anything generated related to that program is automatically classified, whether or not it's marked as such. And such material is only shared on a need to know basis.

She's putting out a smokescreen to fool the majority of voters who have never or will never have special access. She is a criminal and needs to be arrested. Period.

Commentator6 29 Jan 2016 17:00

It's a reckless arrogance combined with the belief that no-one can touch her. If she does become the nominee Hillary will be an easy target for Trump. It'll be like "shooting fish in a barrel".

DismayedPerplexed -> OnlyOneView 29 Jan 2016 16:40

Are you forgetting W and his administration's 5 million deleted emails?

http://www.salon.com/2015/03/12/the_george_w_bush_email_scandal_the_media_has_conveniently_forgotten_partner/

Bob Sheerin 29 Jan 2016 16:40

Consider that email is an indispensable tool in doing one's job. Consider that in order to effectively do her job, candidate Clinton -- as the Secretary of State -- had to be sending and receiving Top Secret documents. Consider that all of her email was routed through a personal server. Consider whether she released all of the relevant emails. Well, she claimed she did but the evidence contradicts such a claim. Consider that this latest news release has -- like so many others -- been released late on a Friday.

It is obvious that the Secretary of State and the President should be communicating on a secure network controlled by the federal government. It is obvious that virtually none of these communications were done in a secure manner. Consider whether someone who contends this is irrelevant has enough sense to come in out of the rain.

[Jan 27, 2016] The Implications of Foreign Minister Lavrovs Snub of Victoria Nuland

naked capitalism
timbers, January 27, 2016 at 9:30 am

"…the US need not push Russia into a corner, market forces are doing that work far more efficiently."

I think you're confusing markets with the US government.

It is the fall in the price of oil in part caused by political decisions, and partly Obama's illegal economic sanctions on Russia and US lies and propaganda and regime change directed at Russia that are "efficiently" doing what they're doing.

Would be very surprised if Washington is successful with any of it's "market forces" regarding Russia because Russia knows if it loses this matchup in Syria and retreats, the part that comes next is it Uncle Sam funding ISIS like terrorists on Russian soil instead of Syria as it is now. And if Russia can free itself of Western economic orthodoxy and dump the dollar, it will never fear a falling Rubble so much ever again. Lets hope Putin orders a moving away of short term Russian dollar holdings, so that a deliberate Russian default sees the West lose more in lost Russian payments than it can seize in Russian assets held in their countries.

Then who would "market forces be efficiently working for"?

In broad simplified stroke, Russia is fighting on the side of the angels and US is the Darth Vader of the world. The U.N. has said we have the biggest refugee crisis since WWII and the refugees are all coming from nations the US is or has done regime change in. Aside for this meaning Obama is directly responsible for the suffering if tens of millions of families and deaths of hundreds of thousands, it also is producing maybe dangerous right wing political reactions in Europe.

The Russians are smart enough to know the difference between economic sanctions and military threats and US funded/promoted terrorism. I've watched their actions long enough to trust them to make sound, intelligent responses (though was disappointed Lavrov agreed to allow Obama&Co funded Al-qaeda like terrorists to be included as legitimate political opponents of Assad in the peace talks).

hidflect, January 27, 2016 at 6:56 am

Why the hell should he shake her hand? She's an ideological, irrational hate-monger who despises Russia. Kerry was an ass for bringing her along.

susan the other, January 27, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Kerry was probably disciplining her or rehabilitating her; there musts be a tempered new consensus at State. You're coming with me Vicki and you are going to behave like a rational, sincere diplomat because you've got some big fences to mend.

ltr, January 27, 2016 at 8:01 am

Victoria Nuland is a monstrous diplomat who has soufght to cause or caused untold harm in American-Russian relations. She reflected Hillary Clinton's thinking and evidently reflects John Kerry's and ultimately the President's thinking.

ltr, January 27, 2016 at 10:17 am

Correcting and adding:

Victoria Nuland is a monstrous diplomat who has sought to cause or caused untold harm in American-Russian relations. She reflected Hillary Clinton's thinking and evidently reflects John Kerry's and ultimately the President's thinking. (I could care less about the shaking or not shaking. Nuland's presence is a sign of disrespect to Russia and the Russians know that perfectly well. This post is needed and excellent.)

susan the other, January 27, 2016 at 2:08 pm

I think her presence and her humiliation (notice Kerry left the room) are the equivalent of an apology to Lavrov and Russia for her dingbat, destructive role in Ukraine.

McKillop, January 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

If Nuland and her posse are as instrumental in the devastation brought to Ukraine as reported then I think she deserves a damned good shaking.

RUKidding, January 27, 2016 at 11:05 am

Interesting, thanks. I think the article is worthy. I certainly could not blame Lavrov for snubbing this horrid excuse for a human being. The Kaganate of Nuland represents a portion of Obama's foreign policy and reflects what will be ahead should HRC win the election. The entire Kagan family should not be hired to do this work on behalf of "We the People," but there they are… doing their evil thing.

oho, January 27, 2016 at 11:06 am

Bill Kristol and David Brooks cries out wondering where all the conservatives have gone?

The answer is right there….Nuland, Kristol and Co. have driven the GOP base who are even mildly aware of foreign affairs to Trump's camp.

Gaylord, January 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Nuland was not even appropriately dressed for a diplomatic meeting IMO.

shinola, January 27, 2016 at 1:45 pm

I guess I'll never be a diplomat.

I would have spit on her (& I'm Amurkin)

Wat, January 27, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Perhaps Nuland thought Lavrov was a subject of some kind. She's probably too arrogant and stupid to figure it out, but she has now encountered a legitimate opponent. When the day of reckoning comes for her, she may learn what responsibility is.

[Jan 25, 2016] Congress is Writing the President a Blank Check for War

Notable quotes:
"... The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish. ..."
"... The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. ..."
"... President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an authorization. ..."
"... Instead of impeachment, which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi. ..."
"... Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks in Geneva are not successful, the US is prepared for a massive military intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the US military face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the US military is operating in Syria in violation of international law. ..."
"... At the insistence of Saudi Arabia and with US backing, the representatives of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn't al-Qaeda supposed to be our enemy? ..."
"... The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict the Executive branch's power. The Founders understood that an all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a people's branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly, Congress is surrendering its power to declare war. ..."
January 24, 2016 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited power to wage war.

President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an authorization. In 2011 the president invaded Libya, overthrew its government, and oversaw the assassination of its leader, without even bothering to ask for Congressional approval. Instead of impeachment, which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.

It is becoming more clear that Washington plans to expand its war in the Middle East. Last week the media reported that the US military had taken over an air base in eastern Syria, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the US would send in the 101st Airborne Division to retake Mosul in Iraq and to attack ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Then on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks in Geneva are not successful, the US is prepared for a massive military intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the US military face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the US military is operating in Syria in violation of international law.

The prospects of such an escalation are not all that far-fetched. At the insistence of Saudi Arabia and with US backing, the representatives of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn't al-Qaeda supposed to be our enemy?

The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict the Executive branch's power. The Founders understood that an all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a people's branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly, Congress is surrendering its power to declare war.

Let's be clear: If Senate Majority Leader McConnell succeeds in passing this open-ended war authorization, the US Constitution will be all but a dead letter.


Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute

[Jan 18, 2016] US will eventually bomb Iran as it bombed others - foreign policy expert

Looks like Iran if far from safe even after sanctions were lifted...
Notable quotes:
"... The idea that were the exceptional nation and have something very important to impart to the rest of the world, our marvelous values, American exceptionalism... Each party believes in that very strongly. They dont argue about that at all, except through their campaign debate, theyll take certain opposing views just to appear different. But, in power, they have the exact same policy – world domination. ..."
"... NATO is just an arm of the U.S. foreign policy, theres no point actually in making a distinction between US foreign policy and NATO policy – they are the same. If US were not in NATO, NATO would not exist. US founded NATO, US is its main supporter and financial source, theres no distinction between US and NATO, and they share the same view of American world domination. So, it doesnt matter whether Iran is doing this or that – they know that Iran is not a lover of an Empire, and anyone whos not a lover of the Empire has a short life span. Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, whatever. That is the test, do you love Empire or not. ..."
"... Because Russia has two characteristics of an enemy, which Washington cannot tolerate: one, it has very powerful military capabilities, and two, it is not a kind of Washingtons policy, it is not a great admirer of the Empire. The same applies to China. Thats all it takes: you dont admire us and have military force – thats all it takes to be an enemy of Washington. ..."
"... Washington is not looking for peace or war. It is looking for domination, and if they can achieve domination peacefully – thats fine. If they cant, theyll use war. Its that simple. ..."
"... They are still supporting the enemies of Syria, and they are making sure that Assad will not come back to power. They are bombing places all over Syria, which can be useful militarily to Syria. They have not forgotten about Syria at all. Iraq is ally at the moment, but tomorrow or yesterday it is something different. You cant just look at today and say "theyre not fighting here and there" and think "Oh, Washington has finally found peace". No. Their basic goal is unchanged – today, tomorrow, or next year. I must say, again, for the tenth time, it is world domination. ..."
"... The US has created ISIS. Let me point this out – a short while ago, there were four major states in the Middle East and South Asia, which were secular. The US invaded Iraq, then invaded Libya and overthrew that secular government. Then its been in the process now, for some years, attempting to overthrow the secular government in Syria. Theres no wonder that Middle East and South Asia have been taken over by religious fanatics: all the possible enemies and barriers to that had been wiped out by Washington. Why will they stop now? ..."
"... Well, I could say "yes", except that the US will cheat. They will use the same force to attack other people, like in Syria, they will use the same force to help overthrow Assad, and they will use the same force to suppress any segment of Iraq or what have you, which are anti-America. They cannot be trusted, thats the problem. When they start to use force, theres no holding them back, and they dont care about the civilians. The civilian death toll with any bombing of Syria and Iraq is unlimited. So, for those reasons, I cannot support US bombing of Iraq or Syria or anywhere else. The US bombing should cease everywhere in the world. ..."
Apr 17 , 2015 | RT - SophieCo

Obama's time as leader of the US is coming to an end - his term concludes next year. Wannabe presidents have already joined the race to the White House. And as President Obama goes through the final year of his rule, Washington suddenly changes its tone – now Iran is an appropriate nation to talk to, and it's okay to meet with Cuban and Venezuelan leaders. But what is in that change? Has Washington finally dropped its previous policies? What does Obama want to achieve? And will the new, as yet unknown, leader of America make any difference? We pose these questions to prominent historian, author of bestsellers on US foreign policies, William Blum, who is on Sophie&Co today.

Sophie Shevardnadze :William Blum, historian and author of bestsellers like "Rogue State" and "America's Deadliest Export", welcome to the show, it's great to have you with us. Now, Hillary Clinton has announced she's running to become the Democrats' presidential candidate; Jeb Bush is also likely to put his bit forward for the Republicans. Now, Bush, Clinton – we've been here before. Who would be better candidate do you think? Not just for the U.S., but also for the world, like, global peace efforts, for instance?

William Blum: I don't think US foreign policy will change at all, regardless of who is in the White House, Bush or Clinton, or who else is running. Our policy does not change... I can add Obama to that. It wouldn't even matter which party it is, Republican or Democrat, they have the same foreign policy.

SS: Why do you think it's the same policy for both parties? Why do you think they are not different from each other?

WB: Because America, for two centuries has had one basic, overriding goal, and that is world domination, at least from 1890s if not earlier, one can say that. World domination is something which appeals to both Republicans and Democrats or Liberals or Conservatives. The idea that we're the exceptional nation and have something very important to impart to the rest of the world, our marvelous values, American exceptionalism... Each party believes in that very strongly. They don't argue about that at all, except through their campaign debate, they'll take certain opposing views just to appear different. But, in power, they have the exact same policy – world domination.

SS: Now back in 2009 President Obama made it clear that the missile shield in Europe would no longer be necessary if the threat from Iran was eliminated – and nuclear deal with Iran was struck. Now, historic deal is close, but NATO is saying there will be no change in missile shield plans – why not?

WB: Because NATO shares America's desire to dominate the world. NATO is just an arm of the U.S. foreign policy, there's no point actually in making a distinction between US foreign policy and NATO policy – they are the same. If US were not in NATO, NATO would not exist. US founded NATO, US is its main supporter and financial source, there's no distinction between US and NATO, and they share the same view of American world domination. So, it doesn't matter whether Iran is doing this or that – they know that Iran is not a lover of an Empire, and anyone who's not a lover of the Empire has a short life span. Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, whatever. That is the test, do you love Empire or not.

SS: But, can we be a little bit more precise about this "domination" theory – NATO has been strengthening its eastern borders with military building up on Russia's doorsteps, and a rapid reaction force to include 30,000 personnel – why this deployment? Who is it aimed against?

WB: It is aimed against Russia. The US cannot stand anyone who might stay in the way of the Empire's expansion – and Russia and China are the only nations which can do that. Other nations, like Cuba or Iran or Venezuela are regarded as enemy just as well, because they have the polity influence: Cuba has influence over all of the Western hemisphere. That makes them a great enemy. But the basic criteria of Empire's expansion is whether you support Empire or not, and that excludes all the countries I've named – from Cuba to Russia.

SS: Do you think U.S. would go as far as using force against its enemies?

WB: Well, the US has used force against its enemies on a regular basis for two centuries. Of course they would use force! They've used force against Cuba, they invaded Cuba and they've supported Cuban exiles in all kinds of violent activities for 60 years. Violence is never far removed from the U.S. policy. Let me summarize something for the benefit of listeners: since 1946 the US has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments. In the same time period it has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders. It has bombed the people of 30 countries, it has suppressed revolutionary parties in at least 20 nations – and I forgot other factors on my list. This is a record unparalleled in all of human history, and there's no reason to think it is changing of will change, except if some superior force comes on a scene, that can actually defeat U.S.

SS: But, you know, French intelligence – and France seems to be an ally of the U.S. - the French intelligence chief has recently said that they found no evidence of Russia planning to invade Ukraine. So why has NATO been pressing these claims of an imminent invasion so hard and for so long?

WB: Because Russia has two characteristics of an enemy, which Washington cannot tolerate: one, it has very powerful military capabilities, and two, it is not a kind of Washington's policy, it is not a great admirer of the Empire. The same applies to China. That's all it takes: you don't admire us and have military force – that's all it takes to be an enemy of Washington.

SS: The problem is, there's a ceasefire that seems in place, right? But US paratroopers have arrived in Ukraine to train forces in the country, and it's not the first such deployment we've seen. So, with ceasefire agreement and peace deal on the way, why is Washington sending troops now?

WB: They know very well that Ukraine is not...or those who live in Ukraine and support Russia, Washington knows very well that these people are not on their side, and will not be on their side, and there's no way to make them on our side, so, US is expecting to wipe them out militarily at some point in the near future. As soon as they can get all the politics in place, there's no backtracking from these policies. I must repeat myself again: Washington wants to dominate the world and anyone, including people in the south-eastern part of Ukraine, who don't share that view, they are enemies, and at some point they may be met with military force.

SS: So are you saying that America doesn't want peace in Ukraine, because US is sending military personnel to Ukraine – like I've said – while Europeans are negotiating peace without America's involvement?

WB: Washington is not looking for peace or war. It is looking for domination, and if they can achieve domination peacefully – that's fine. If they can't, they'll use war. It's that simple.

SS: So, like you've said, America is one of the main financiers of NATO; there's also Estonia and they meet NATO's funding goals. Why are the rest of its members lagging behind? Isn't the alliance important to them as well?

WB: They have their own home politics that they deal with, they each have their own financial needs to deal with, they each have their own relation with Washington to deal with, it varies. It is not exactly the same in these countries, but overall, no member of NATO is going to fight against Washington. No member of NATO was going to support the insurgence in Ukraine – not one. So there's no need to go upon who is not paying and who is paying – none of them will ever go against Washington's policies in Ukraine or elsewhere.

SS: Now, on the other hand, Europe, U.S. and Russia – they share similar security threats, issues like Syria, Islamic State, there's Afghanistan, and they are not going anywhere. Can these states work together if it is absolutely necessary, for example?

WB: They don't have the same security threats. Washington just announces that people of various countries are enemies of the U.S. - that doesn't make them a threat. Syria, for example, is no threat to the U.S. Neither was Iraq, neither was Libya. U.S. invades one country after another, totally independent of whether they are threat or not. As long as they don't believe in the Empire, as long as they are helping enemies of the Empire. I mean, what threat was Libya to Washington? NATO invaded them without mercy, bombed them out of existence, they are a failed state now. What was their threat? There's no threat. If Russia doesn't announce Libya as a threat, it's not because Russia has a different foreign policy – it's because Russia is not so paranoid as the U.S., and Russia is not looking for world domination.

SS: Russia has been criticized many times for its decision to supply air defense missile systems to Iran. Now, why is America so worried about anti-air missile defense Iran may get from Russia? It's not like Washington got plans to bomb Iran, right?

WB: Of course they do, and so does Israel. You can't put aside those fears. Washington, as I mentioned before, has bombed more than 30 countries. Why would they stop now? Iran is a definite target of the U.S. and Israel, and it's very understandable that Iran would want to have advanced missile defense systems.

SS: But look: US is staying out of Yemen now, it's not willing to commit ground troops to Iraq or get involved in Syria. It sometimes looks like Washington is growing weary of foreign interventions, lately.

WB: They are still supporting the enemies of Syria, and they are making sure that Assad will not come back to power. They are bombing places all over Syria, which can be useful militarily to Syria. They have not forgotten about Syria at all. Iraq is ally at the moment, but tomorrow or yesterday it is something different. You can't just look at today and say "they're not fighting here and there" and think "Oh, Washington has finally found peace". No. Their basic goal is unchanged – today, tomorrow, or next year. I must say, again, for the tenth time, it is world domination.

SS: Now, you've written in one of your books, the "Rogue State" that if you were President, you'd end all US foreign interventions at once. Can the US do that? Is it that simple? I mean, US left Iraq and look what happened.

WB: If I were a President, yes, that's what I would do. And then I add, to the portion you've quoted, I add at the end of paragraph, on my fifth day in the office I would be assassinated. So, that's what happens to people who want to challenge the Empire's policies. But I would have great time for the first few days.

SS: But can the US realistically do that? End all of their foreign interventions at once? Because, we see an example of Iraq, once they left, ISIS spread.

WB: The US has created ISIS. Let me point this out – a short while ago, there were four major states in the Middle East and South Asia, which were secular. The US invaded Iraq, then invaded Libya and overthrew that secular government. Then it's been in the process now, for some years, attempting to overthrow the secular government in Syria. There's no wonder that Middle East and South Asia have been taken over by religious fanatics: all the possible enemies and barriers to that had been wiped out by Washington. Why will they stop now?

SS: I see your point. While Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be exactly described as victories for American troops, I mean, the invasions have also resulted, for instance, in girls being able to go to school in Afghanistan, or Kurds finally having a state in Iraq, for instance.

WB: I must tell you something and all your listeners. At one time, in 1980s, Afghanistan had a progressive government, where women had full rights; they even wore mini-skirts. And you know what happened to that government? The US overthrew it. So please, don't tell me about US policy helping the girls or the women of Afghanistan. We are the great enemy of females of Afghanistan.

SS: You've also said that an end to US interventions would mean an end to terror attacks. What makes you think Islamic State and Al-Qaeda and other terror groups would cease to exist – and I'm talking about right now, I am not talking about "if America hadn't invaded them back then". Right now, if American interventions cease, what makes think that these terrorist groups would cease to exist as well?

WB: It may be too late now. When I wrote that, it was correct. It may be too late now. After what we've done to all secular governments in the Middle East and in South Asia, after all that, I am not sure I would say the same thing again. We've unleashed ISIS, and they're not going to be stopped by any kind words or nice changes of policy by Washington. They have to be wiped out militarily. They are an amazing force of horror, and the U.S. is responsible for them, but the barn door may be closed, it may be too late now to simply change our policy.

SS: So do you think US should use military force to eradicate these terrorist groups?

WB: Well, I could say "yes", except that the US will cheat. They will use the same force to attack other people, like in Syria, they will use the same force to help overthrow Assad, and they will use the same force to suppress any segment of Iraq or what have you, which are anti-America. They cannot be trusted, that's the problem. When they start to use force, there's no holding them back, and they don't care about the civilians. The civilian death toll with any bombing of Syria and Iraq is unlimited. So, for those reasons, I cannot support US bombing of Iraq or Syria or anywhere else. The US bombing should cease everywhere in the world.

SS: When I listen to you, it sounds like America overthrows all these governments and bombs all these countries, and makes revolutions – from people's point of view, revolutions and overthrows are really impossible if they are not conducive to people's moods on the ground. So you're saying the foreign policy has greatly contributed to the rise of radical Islam in the Middle East, but I wonder – don't locals have control over their own direction at all?

WB: The locals had no say whatsoever on whether the US would bomb or not, they had no say whatsoever on whether the US would overthrow governments chosen by the people, often – they have no say in these things. Now, they may hate ISIS, or some of them might hate ISIS, but it's too late. They can't do anything about it. The world is in terrible position. The world had a chance, 30-40 years ago, to stop the US from all of these interventions. If NATO had been closed, the way the Warsaw Pact was closed, the Soviet Union closed the Warsaw Pact with the expectation that NATO will also go out of business – but the US did not do that, and it's too late now. I don't know what to say, what will save the world now.

SS: You've mentioned Cuba and Venezuela in the beginning of the programme. Now, we witnessed several historic meetings recently, between President Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro, also Obama's meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro – why is Obama now talking with states the US has long considered arch-enemies?

WB: You must keep in mind, first of all, that nothing whatsoever has changed, as of this moment nothing has changed. We have to wait and see what happens, and I'm very sceptical. For example, with Cuba, the main issue is the US sanctions which have played havoc with Cuban economy and society. That has not changed, and I don't think it is going to change even in my lifetime. So, you can't apply some kind of changes taking place. Why Obama is saying these things he's saying now may have to do with his so-called "legacy". He knows his time is very limited, and he knows he has many enemies amongst progressives in the US and elsewhere. He may want to cater to them for some reason. I don't know, neither do you know, no one knows exactly why he's saying these things – but they don't mean anything yet. Nothing has changed whatsoever.

SS: So you're saying there's really no substance in those meetings... Now, looking back, what would you call Obama's biggest achievements of his two terms - I mean, people say there's been a reconciliation with Cuba, with Iran, there's an earnest attempt to end US deployment in Iraq and in Afghanistan, he didn't move troops into Syria. Would you disagree with all of that?

WB: Yes, all of that. There's no accomplishment whatsoever. He didn't move troops into Syria because of Russia, and not because of him making any change. He was embarrassed in that. John Kerry made a remark about "it would be nice if Syria would get rid of its chemical weapons – but that's not going to happen" he said, and then foreign minister Lavrov of Russia jumped in and said "Oh really? We'll arrange that" - and they arranged Syria to get rid of chemical weapons. That was, yes, a slip of the tongue by John Kerry, and he was embarrassed to challenge Lavrov. We can say the same thing about any of the things you've mentioned. There's no substance involved in any of these policies. The US has not relented at all over Syria. As I've mentioned before, they are bombing Syria's military assets, they are killing civilians every day. Syria is still a prime target of Washington, and they will never escape.

SS: Thank you very much for this interesting insight, we were talking to William Blum, historian and author of bestsellers "Rogue State" and "America's Deadliest Export" discussing matters of the US foreign policy and what would happen if the US decides to end all of its foreign interventions at once. That's it for this edition of Sophie&Co, I will see you next time.

[Jan 12, 2016] M of A - The Saudi War On Everything Iran May Bounce Back As New Houthi Missile

Notable quotes:
"... The world is awash in blood because two sociopathic brothers (Dulles Brothers) took over US foreign policy and eventually killed a President. ..."
"... There is reasonable possibility that the decision by the Saudi dictatorship to execute the high profile Shiite Sheikh Nimr may have been motivated, at least in part, by the desire to deflect the probability of retribution by the Shiite-hating Islamic State since the majority of the 47 executed along with Nimr were comprised of violent, hard-core Sunni devotees of ISIS. ..."
"... No political system is exempt from corruption and in my opinion this outcome might even be somehow inexorable due to the nature of a state based polity. ..."
"... there is a conflict at the top in saudi arabia and only a matter of time where one or the other goes? it seems that since Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud was given the position of 2nd in command in sa (and minister of defense responsibility), a lot of shite has hit the fan... this began with the war on yemen in march 26 2015 and continues on in everything else ..."
"... Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force ..."
www.moonofalabama.org
The BS nuclear deal between US and Iran was to get Iran to massively reduce its nuclear capabilities, which except for a war which the US is no way near ready for, So sophisticated subversion and sanction pressure was used instead.
And those corporations wanting access to Iran now what access to extract from Iran, not contribute to it's economy.

All the huffing and puffing by the Israeli state terrorists and Saudi tyranny about that deal, simply betrays their brutal idiotic methods, compared to more sophisticated methods to the US empire is capable of.

And The US already set up the war showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with its divide and conquer policy, and its massive sales of weapons to the Saudi tyranny. That war is just A matter of time. It's proxies first and then it's full scale engagement between those two states.

tom | Jan 4, 2016 2:22:50 PM | 2
Unless you know something and are not sharing this article is speculation. Arming the Houthi's would, in my opinion, be about as intelligent as was arming the Taliban in the 1980's. The armed Houthi's may take care of the Saudi's (just like the Taliban took care of the Russians in that case) but then who would take care of the Houthi's? and what other havoc would they cause? Different players here but the tactic would be similar and have the same potential of backfiring in the long run.
Khalid Shah | Jan 4, 2016 2:24:45 PM | 3
B, from what you are saying your 'smart move by KSA' is looking more and more like another dumb move by KSA... If the Saudis had executed just 'al-Qaeda types' and put out a press release showing how they are cracking down on terrorism the kingdom would be attracting support from their allies right now--"Those Saudis are brutal but at least they know how to get the job done." Of course, it's unclear how much right wing/Islamic State backlash they might have gotten domestically but I suspect it would have been minimal as long as the unofficial KSA paychecks to the terrorists kept coming.
WorldBLee | Jan 4, 2016 2:28:11 PM | 4
There is another reason why Saudi Arabia created a crisis just after the killing of Alloush.

Saudi Arabia has failed to set a serious Syrian opposition group. It has just lost its strongest ally, Alloush, the leader of the militias it has been supporting for years. It now worries that the other side, the Syrian government will win an overwhelming diplomatic victory if the planned meeting in Geneva takes place. Therefore it is doing all it can to prevent that meeting to happen. The execution of Sheikh Nimr and the subsequent rupture of the diplomatic relation with Iran is the first move. More of these desperate gesticulation are necessary. But as they'll fail to change much of Iran and Russia's determination to move on on Syria, it will only confirm to the whole world that it is not Bashar al Assad and his government that are weak, isolated and on the defensive, but rather Saudi Arabia and its inept and amateurish leadership.

virgile | Jan 4, 2016 4:09:26 PM | 12
#12 -- ""Saudi Arabia has failed to set a serious Syrian opposition group. It has just lost its strongest ally, Alloush, the leader of the militias it has been supporting for years. ""

good, excellent point ... this execution could simply have been payback ... and/or "dog ate my homework" excuse providing for why they're going to, say, no-show in Vienna ...

Susan Sunflower | Jan 4, 2016 4:17:10 PM | 14
It could be that the killing of Sheikh Nimr is to the Saudis what the shooting of the Russian plane has been to the Turks: a provocative blunder with unexpected consequences.
The two Sunni leaders, Erdogan and King Salman are very close to loose the 4 years old game of toppling Bashar al Assad. In these desperate moves, are they hoping to reshuffle the cards by provoking Syria's allies?
virgile | Jan 4, 2016 4:28:01 PM | 18
Andoheb,

They are Quahir1 missiles. While the Yemeni Forces claim they are upgraded , obsolete Soviet ballistic missiles, re-engineered in Yemen,

Visual identification suggests that they are ancient, obsolete SAM-3 antiaircraft missiles, ( which the Yemen Army had thousands), with a new warhead and a guidance system conversion to make them ballistic missiles.

To date, Iran has supplied nothing to the Ansrallah Movement, other than kind words,.....

And a single shipment of Humanitarian aid to Yemeni NGO's.

Brunswick | Jan 4, 2016 4:57:38 PM | 23
Sunni Islam is actually more democratic than Shia Islam. The Wahabist strain is just such a huge departure from traditional Sunni values. I wish I saved all my conversations with a Muslim friend about these issues. We boiled it down to making a comparison that Christians can understand. Sunni Islam is similar to Protestantism is that it is highly decentralized. Anyone that reaches that status of Iman (Minister) can issue a religious ruling (fatwa). Shia are similar to Catholics. The Grand Ayatollahs are bishops but in the Iranian government the Grand Ayatollah is the Pope.

The Wahabist are....I do not know how to properly describe them.

Sunni have a natural inclination to a democratic government (I'm not saying that Shia do not, 1954...). Western Imperialism has prevented every moderate attempt. The only place left for Muslims to organize is in radical religious groups. All other modes of reform have been destroyed. We are all witnessing the children of the Dulles era CIA. The world is awash in blood because two sociopathic brother's (Dulles Brothers) took over US foreign policy and eventually killed a President.

AnEducatedFool | Jan 4, 2016 5:11:46 PM | 24
I still find it very interesting that everyone seems to think that these "smart, stupid" whatever you want to call them are actually KSA independent choices

Lol they are flying the worlds most expensive toys in Yemen and getting their asses handed to them. Trust me when i tell you this. Saudis and Emirate Arabs in general are nothing but Bedouin desert dwellers or as the line from titanic goes "new money"

If people are too blind to see the British/US/Israeli hands in this then go ahead and keep debating about the smoke screen or the true colour of wool being pulled over your eyes.

Saudis and Bahrain are not independent states. They are military bases for the US against Iran, Rusia, China grabbing control of the rest of the middle east.

Executing "rabble rousing" Nimr , will in turn be the downfall of KSA and all these "Analysts" think tanks and what not will finally realize that the ME is not what it always seems

Deebo | Jan 4, 2016 5:33:05 PM | 29
Iraq Says Mosque Bombings Were False Flag ISIS Attacks
"An Iraqi official blamed the Islamic State group on Monday for the bombing of two Sunni mosques in a predominantly Shiite city in southern Iraq the previous night, saying the militant group seeks to stoke sectarian tensions," AP reports. ISIS "did this to inflame sectarian strife in the country," provincial security official Falah al-Khafaji contends.

ZeroHedge speculates:

Taking it a step further, one has to wonder whether there's a larger plan here. That is, if we assume ISIS, like the multitude of other Sunni extremist groups operating in the region, is taking its cues from handlers and benefactors, it's not difficult to imagine that "someone" could be attempting to create an excuse for an intervention in Iraq.
Jackrabbit | Jan 4, 2016 6:07:47 PM | 33
Save that date -- the next installment of Syrian peace negotiations:
"[Staffan] De Mistura is due to launch peace talks between Assad's government and the opposition in Geneva on January 25, but it remained unclear whether the Iran-Saudi crisis would have an impact on that plan.

De Mistura has flown to Ryadh and is due to then visit Tehran ... Yeah, I can't see these two parties sharing a table ....

""UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply dismayed" by the Saudi execution of 47 people including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who has been critical of the Sunni royal family and was a driving force behind anti-government protests in 2011. snip

In his talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, Ban urged Saudi Arabia "to renew its commitment to a ceasefire" in Yemen after the Riyadh-led coalition announced on Sunday that it was ending the truce with Iran-backed rebels in the country.[yemen]

The U.N. envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was to hold talks in Riyadh on Wednesday to push for a renewed ceasefire.

Alaraiya.net

It was a brilliant move in an effort to hit "re-set back to nil" at a moment when "progress" might appear on the far horizon.

Susan Sunflower | Jan 4, 2016 7:10:48 PM | 34
@12 virgile '... it is not Bashar al Assad and his government that are weak, isolated and on the defensive, but rather Saudi Arabia and its inept and amateurish leadership.'

Yes. Solid observation. How come their best friends in USrael didn't warn them of that particular aspect of their stupid act?

@24 AEF ' The world is awash in blood because two sociopathic brother's (Dulles Brothers) took over US foreign policy and eventually killed a President. '

Ain't that the truth. Because of those two and their succeeding stream of 'investment bankers' at the CIA.

@33 SS from your link 'UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply dismayed" by the Saudi execution of 47 people including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who has been critical of the Sunni royal family and was a driving force behind anti-government protests in 2011.'

Ban Ki-moon is a US poodle, so this further indicates to me that USrael wouldn't mind at all if there were a change in management in Saudi Arabia ... and if the place goes up for grabs, why they - NATO - will just have to step in to provide 'stability'.

jfl | Jan 4, 2016 7:47:02 PM | 36
SS@34

Iran is not known to allow irate citizens to run amuck so it might be a planned Basij attack on the KSA Embassy, they certainly came prepared to torch the place and met little resistance from Iranian security.

Wayoutwest | Jan 4, 2016 8:03:51 PM | 39
@24 AnEducatedFool,

Would the Wahhabis be equivalent to a Christian Reconstructionist movement gone militant with state funding?

@39 ATH,

I don't see how we can say policies are decided at the ballot box unless they can recall their "representatives" as easily as they can elect them. It's part of the weak-mindedness of liberal society that management somehow equals democracy.

Jonathan | Jan 4, 2016 8:09:21 PM | 41
@Wayoutwest

"Iran is not known to allow irate citizens to run amuck so it might be a planned Basij attack on the KSA Embassy..."

The same can be said about any country in the world and there is no need for a militia to do that. It is a well known facts, maybe not by you but among those who are following the real news, that the more than 10 or so Iranian embassies and consulates ransacked et pillaged during the 80's in the European cities were all done under the complacent eyes and noses of the security services of the protecting states. In actuality I believe doing it the Iranian way, i.e. keeping a façade of deniability, is more honorable that what the European state did... and for some are still doing.

ATH | Jan 4, 2016 8:16:38 PM | 43
@44 ATH,

I'm uneasy about Rouhani's rapprochement with the usurious Western financial sector[1], but from a systems standpoint I'm more worried about corruption in the assemblies than the figureheads. The usual failure mode of republics is that there is nothing binding the alleged "representative" to the popular will post-election and no effective means to stop disloyalty in progress. In the US, especially, we've had ample experience with "representatives" who, as an assembly, invariably take on some sacred duty of delivering concrete material benefits to elites while delivering excuses and pat stories (according to their Party's mythology) to their constituents. The question always on my mind is, how to prevent the color of public interest from enabling disproportional private benefit?

It could be that I'm not thinking Islamically enough with respect to the roles of citizens within an Islamic society. But if Iran has a system that guarantees sturdy alignment of policy outcomes with citizens' collective interests, even against vested interests of state officials, I'd love to hear it.

[1] Islamic finance on Wall Street would mean dropping shock troops onto one end and chopping every right hand down to the other end. I doubt I will be seeing this in the near future.

Jonathan | Jan 4, 2016 9:42:01 PM | 51
@44 ATH,

I'm uneasy about Rouhani's rapprochement with the usurious Western financial sector[1], but from a systems standpoint I'm more worried about corruption in the assemblies than the figureheads. The usual failure mode of republics is that there is nothing binding the alleged "representative" to the popular will post-election and no effective means to stop disloyalty in progress. In the US, especially, we've had ample experience with "representatives" who, as an assembly, invariably take on some sacred duty of delivering concrete material benefits to elites while delivering excuses and pat stories (according to their Party's mythology) to their constituents. The question always on my mind is, how to prevent the color of public interest from enabling disproportional private benefit?

It could be that I'm not thinking Islamically enough with respect to the roles of citizens within an Islamic society. But if Iran has a system that guarantees sturdy alignment of policy outcomes with citizens' collective interests, even against vested interests of state officials, I'd love to hear it.

[1] Islamic finance on Wall Street would mean dropping shock troops onto one end and chopping every right hand down to the other end. I doubt I will be seeing this in the near future.

Jonathan | Jan 4, 2016 9:42:01 PM | 51
@Lone Wolf

"Pariah status" or "rebuilding" a presumed broken relations "with the world" is what you have been made to believe by the MSM. Iran is actually reducing tension in the nuclear dossier to better work out its strategic realignment that are based on sovereignty and political independence. The first sign of which has already appeared in a strategic alliance in Syria.

ATH | Jan 4, 2016 9:57:05 PM | 55

There is reasonable possibility that the decision by the Saudi dictatorship to execute the high profile Shiite Sheikh Nimr may have been motivated, at least in part, by the desire to deflect the probability of retribution by the Shiite-hating Islamic State since the majority of the 47 executed along with Nimr were comprised of violent, hard-core Sunni devotees of ISIS.

From the Saudi prism, the orgy of executions was on the one hand, a performance intended to downplay growing criticism of the kingdom's funding of the globally despised ISIS and on the other end, an act of appeasing ISIS by killing this highly popular Shiite leader. Nimr's execution could have been intended to mitigate the group's rage and reduce the potential to target Saudi institutions instead of Shiite mosques as they have done in the past.

metni | Jan 4, 2016 10:11:51 PM | 58
@Jonathan

This sounds off topic but for the sake of a reply,

No political system is exempt from corruption and in my opinion this outcome might even be somehow inexorable due to the nature of a state based polity. The difference between the Iranian political scaffolding and the European systems in particular but also, at the limit, the American one is that the former is based on a younger society and still in formation while the latters have already passed the middle-age period in their life cycle.

And to answer your question: "how to prevent the color of public interest from enabling disproportional private benefit?" the only way for this to be possible in my opinion is the breakdown of states with globalist reach into local and regional states with decision-making being directly made by citizens... a Helvetic kind of confederation.

ATH | Jan 4, 2016 10:18:09 PM | 59
Not to forget, nearly a thousand Iranians died during the hajj in Mecca:

The 2015 Mina Crush disaster has increased tensions in the already-strained relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, led to calls from politicians in a number of Muslim nations for changes in oversight of Mecca and the Hajj, and bolstered opposition to King Salman among the senior members of the Saudi Arabian royal family.

Oui | Jan 4, 2016 10:51:34 PM | 63
how many think like this author - michael krieger from sept 30th 2015, that there is a conflict at the top in saudi arabia and only a matter of time where one or the other goes? it seems that since Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud was given the position of 2nd in command in sa (and minister of defense responsibility), a lot of shite has hit the fan... this began with the war on yemen in march 26 2015 and continues on in everything else ..

i don't know who is doing what inside the sa hierarchy, but it sure comes across as chaotic and troublesome.. regime change is a distinct probability! which guy goes? the old guy, or the young guy? scary either way..

james | Jan 5, 2016 12:10:18 AM | 70
A couple of assassins and mass-murderers who are grateful for the chance to compare themselves to the Saudis and find the Saudis lacking ...

US warned Saudis of Nimr's execution in advance

"There have been direct concerns raised by US officials to Saudi officials about the potential damaging consequences of following through on the execution, on mass executions, in particular, the execution of" al-Nimr, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.
Turkey: Politics behind Nimr's execution
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a press conference on Monday that the execution did not have Ankara's support.

"We are against all instances of capital punishment, especially when it is politically motivated," he said.

Both had meetings with the Saudis before their mass beheading festival and could have saved the Saudi junior woodchuck if they wanted to. I wonder what's in the collapse of the present Saudi regime for them? Control of orphaned Saudi oilfields in the one case and of orphaned Saudi Mamluk terrorists in the other?
jfl | Jan 5, 2016 2:48:31 AM | 71
The Real Reason Why Saudi Arabia Executed Sheikh Nimr

by Shireen Hunter

http://lobelog.com/the-real-reason-why-saudi-arabia-executed-sheikh-nimr/

Nor is this mere speculation. Saudi Arabia for some time has been trying to provoke Iran. First there was the Saudi military intervention in Bahrain. Then there were Saudi efforts to topple the Assad regime. These were followed by the bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut in 2013, which killed a number of Lebanese as well as Iran's cultural attaché. More recently, during the Haj ceremonies, Saudi authorities harassed two Iranian youth and a large number of Iranian pilgrims died as well. The Saudi government, moreover, created many difficulties for Iranian officials trying to locate, identify, and transfer the bodies of the victims to Iran. And of course Saudi Arabia launched a full-scale war in Yemen against what it claimed were Iranian-backed rebels.

Another provocation came last month when Nigerian authorities arrested the country's Shia leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaki, and the Nigerian army killed close to a thousand Shias for spurious reasons. Following Sheikh Zakzaki's arrest Saudi King Salman reportedly congratulated Nigeria's president for dealing effectively with terrorism (the king's definition of terrorism apparently extends to the peaceful observance of religious rituals). Meanwhile, the abuse of the Shias in other countries, notably Azerbaijan, continued as did their indiscriminate killing by Saudi- influenced groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as illustrated by the beheading in November of a nine-year-old Hazara girl in Afghanistan.

virgile | Jan 5, 2016 9:38:11 AM | 75
One also shouldn't forget that there's struggle going on between the "Group Abdullah" and the "Group Salman".

Abdullah was the former king and Salman is the current king of Saudi Arabia. Former king Abdullah and his "followers" did A LOT OF things to reduce the influence/power of the "Group Salman". E.g. Abdullah appointed his followers to influential positions.

But now with Salman on the throne, Salman is doing the same thing with his followers. Appoint as much of followers to influential positions as possible. And it seems the struggle is far from over.

And Saudi Arabia is in "not the best of financial shapes". No surprise there. A combination of:
- Falling/Fallen oil prices.
- VERY large military expenses (Yemen, Syria).
- Increased expenses for the saudi population. Saudi Arabia increased payments to its citizens to bribe them into not revolting during & after the "Arab Spring" in 2011.
- ((Very) large) subsidies for Healthcare, electricity, gasoline.

Recently the saudi government increased the price of gasoline by 50% (!!!!) from 15 cents to 22 cents. Outrageous !!!!!!!!

Willy2 | Jan 5, 2016 9:38:47 AM | 76
@onatan@73

Aircraft keep falling out of the sky over Yemen quite regularly. They are always described as the result of 'technical reasons'. That covers a whole range of possibilities from engine failure to back end of aircraft disappearing after missile strike.

Here is a report on a recent incident (30 Dec) involving a Bahraini F-16.

Thanks for those links, it's been my impression Yemen army/Houthis have no flak capability, hence the Saudis control of the skies, and the carnage on civilians/damage to infrastructure.

I have read news of Saudi fighter jets downed over Yemen due to "technical failure" as you mentioned, that could or could not be the Houthis/Yemen army. I certainly hope they develop AA defenses, as the Vietnamese progressively did, that would help diminish the carnage and will give the Saudis a pause in their impunity.

Lone Wolf | Jan 5, 2016 11:57:11 AM | 83
The U.S. Doesn't "Need" to "Stand With" the Saudis

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/the-u-s-doesnt-need-to-stand-with-the-saudis/

D | Jan 5, 2016 7:59:23 PM | 94
Yesterday, I saw a headline on (I think) RT that said the US was "standing with the Saudis"
Today, I saw this.

Bloomberg oah Feldman: U.S. Can Afford to Side With Iran Over Saudis

To be sure, the Iranian government is a complex organism with many moving parts, and the whole response likely wasn't planned or coordinated by a single actor. But the result was highly effective. It showed the Saudis that Iran took the execution as directed toward it. And it simultaneously gave other countries the cover they would need to side with Iran.

The Americans, rather remarkably, took the Iranian side. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry let it be known that he was talking to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. In the past, a U.S. secretary of state would've reached out solely to the Saudi foreign minister, not least because there were no official diplomatic ties to Iran. Meanwhile, a former deputy CIA director, Michael Morell, publicly praised the Iranians for their handling of the situation in Tehran. This was downright astonishing, given Americans' historical associations with embassy occupation there.
bqqTo be sure, the Iranian government is a complex organism with many moving parts, and the whole response likely wasn't planned or coordinated by a single actor. But the result was highly effective. It showed the Saudis that Iran took the execution as directed toward it. And it simultaneously gave other countries the cover they would need to side with Iran.

The Americans, rather remarkably, took the Iranian side. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry let it be known that he was talking to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. In the past, a U.S. secretary of state would've reached out solely to the Saudi foreign minister, not least because there were no official diplomatic ties to Iran. Meanwhile, a former deputy CIA director, Michael Morell, publicly praised the Iranians for their handling of the situation in Tehran. This was downright astonishing, given Americans' historical associations with embassy occupation there.

Susan Sunflower | Jan 6, 2016 1:50:10 AM | 97
metni says:

Further efforts devoted at tightening our embrace of the House of Saud is less a choice than a consummation of an existing Faustian bargain

Faustian bargain? it's fucking national security doctrine .

Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force

john | Jan 6, 2016 9:05:15 AM | 99
@Lozion@96

Can any of you recommend a good blog/site following the events in Yemen? With the media blackout it is very hard to find out was is really going on on the ground.. Txs.

Try the Russian Defense Forum, they have two sections on Yemen, Yemeni Conflict: News, and Yemeni Conflict: News #2.

There is very little news on Yemen, and I don't know of any bloggers following Yemen per se. Hope that helps.

[Jan 10, 2016] Engineered Migration as a Coercive Instrument: The 1994 Cuban Balseros Crisis

"... I suppose you could say the migration was engineered in both the Cuban and Turkey cases, with the US and US/EU/Turkey creating the migrants and Castro and Erdogan, respectively, acting as gatekeepers.  ..."
"... The difference is that the migrants are not Turks, in Erdogan's case, but his prey, the people of Syriaq. And the people of the EU, of course.  ..."
moonofalabama.org
jfl | Jan 9, 2016 9:30:54 PM | 100

#87 juliania

Somebody provided a link to a pdf of a Kathy Greenhill's paper. Although I have the pdf, I only find the paper in html now ...

Engineered Migration as a Coercive Instrument: The 1994 Cuban Balseros Crisis

Abstract: This paper presents a case study of the August 1994 Cuban "balseros"-i.e. rafters-crisis, commonly known as Mariel II, during which over 35,000 Cubans fled the island and headed towards Florida. This paper argues that Castro launched the crisis in an attempt to manipulate the US's fears of another Mariel boatlift, in order to compel a shift in United States (US) policy, both on immigration and on a wider variety of issues. As the end of the crisis brought with it a radical redefinition of US immigration policy toward Cuba, the paper further contends that from Castro's perspective, this exercise in coercion proved a qualified success-his third such successful use of the Cuban people as an asymmetric political weapon against the US.
... one of the few arrows in Castro's quiver, he used it effectively. The article is about the 1994 Balseros Crisis, but Greenhill recounts : The Camarioca Crisis, 1965; The Mariel Boatlift, 1980; and The August 1994 Balseros Crisis. The Mariel Boatlift was 'the big one' : 125,000 Cubans. Dwarfed by Erdogan. A million in Germany alone.

I suppose you could say the migration was engineered in both the Cuban and Turkey cases, with the US and US/EU/Turkey creating the migrants and Castro and Erdogan, respectively, acting as gatekeepers.

The difference is that the migrants are not Turks, in Erdogan's case, but his prey, the people of Syriaq. And the people of the EU, of course.

[Jan 09, 2016] Sheikh Nimr: Martyr of World War III

Notable quotes:
"... "WikiLeaks cables (see below) show that the US has been tracking, and exploiting, the rise of ISIS since 2006, when the organisation first appeared in Iraq as a direct result of the Bush-Blair invasion. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in "our" societies." ..."
"... The WikiLeaks revelations tell of former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas' statements on this too. What he revealed is that Britain basically made plans for the Syria disaster years ago. ..."
journal-neo.org

Lone Wolf | Jan 9, 2016 8:18:11 PM | 95

Saudi Arabia is in dire trouble today as the outcry over recent executions mounts. The execution of Shia Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr in the most brutal day of executions in the country in three decades has now sparked violence across the region. If Saudi Arabia is destabilized, the Middle East could easily turn into a bloodbath of biblical proportions. This begs the big question, "What is really behind these apparently symbolic executions?" [...]

[...] In the Shadow of Machiavelli

The best clue as to "who stands behind" this new Saudi-Iran crisis comes to us from the Washington Post. For anyone still unaware, this Amazon owned media outlet is the perfect barometer of what is NOT true in the world of international affairs these days. Using "reverse news" psychology here, the article by Karen DeYoung tells us all we need to know about al-Nimr's execution. If you will allow me this quote:

"Obama administration officials expressed deep concern Sunday that the abrupt escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran could have repercussions extending to the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the diplomatic efforts to end Syria's civil war, and wider efforts to bring stability to the Middle East."

Citing unnamed officials in Barack Obama's administration has become the guiding principle of corporate media in America these last few years, and the Washington Post misdirects have never been more transparent than today. This piece is misleading, supportive of Saudi and US disruption in the region, and anti-Iranian to the extreme. The author continues using another source who is a "authorized to convey Saudi thinking on the condition of anonymity," if you can imagine such a conveyance. According to the WP, Saudi Arabia is framed as the only nation "doing something", and I quote:

"Tehran has thumbed its nose at the West again and again, continuing to sponsor terrorism and launch ballistic missiles and no one is doing anything about it."

Then BAM! Steve Bezos' newspaper barks the real intent of this propaganda bit bringing Russia into the fray with:

" Iran, along with Russia, is the leading backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of a minority Shiite sect, and Riyadh views the civil war as part of Iran's fight for sectarian dominance."

As I type this from our offices in Germany, US F-15 and F-16 fighters fly overhead in a continuous stream from the US air base at Spangdahlem Air Base. I mention this only because 2 years ago we seldom if ever heard fighter aircraft overhead. These days even locals wonder if the flyovers have a purpose beyond intimidation, or at least some residents have expressed this to me personally. The current undeclared war of resolve, it bears witnessing and a focus on all these events in the Middle East. My point being, Riyadh's actions of the last few days are part of an overall western strategy of unrest. If the Washington Post tells you Obama's White House is worried over something, you can count on the Washington having been part of the cause of the event. In this case we see the "never say die" war against Assad and Russia in the works. It is a crazy bit of irony that WP's editor Karen DeYoung was once quoted as saying; "We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power."

Meanwhile, at the newspaper (The Wall Street Journal) owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch (who has energy investments in the region) we have another indicative report, or should I say "counter indicative?" Jay Solomon reports on the weeping sadness of Barack Obama that his non-existent peace plan for Syria may be derailed by Riyhad's decision to sever ties with Iran. Within this report the "real" mission of the Saudis, and Washington's current administration is revealed. I'll rely on another quite to clue the reader. Referring to the John Kerry brokered "plan" the Wall Street Journal writer inadvertently betrays the Obama administration with:

"Under the deal, Iran in the coming months is set to receive as much as $100 billion in frozen oil revenues, which could be used to support its proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen."

To sum up here, the goal all along has been misdirect from Obama's team. The Iran deal, the parlaying at various peace accords, all the State Department's efforts have been designed to frame the United States as peace loving, with the teddy bear John Kerry as a sort of Mother Teresa of détente. Has anyone noticed yet how every deal the man makes goes south in the end? Now Iran coming out of decades of useless sanctions is on the rocks, as was planned so it appears. The WSJ piece further implicates (by inaccuracy) the White House's Machiavellian strategies with.

" As the conflict deepened over the weekend, with Saudi Arabia officially severing ties with Iran, U.S. officials expressed skepticism over how much influence Washington had in heading off a conflict based on centuries-old religious divisions."

It is with this, and with the ad nauseam with which mainstream media parrots State Department rhetoric we find the true backers of terrorism and strife in the Middle East. The statement misleads readers into believing the situation in the Middle East is "out of the control" of Obama and Washington, when the reverse is absolutely true. The story goes on to plant the seed of military support for Saudi Arabia should the situation escalate, which it is certain to with the help of the lame duck Obama.

When all is said and done, Nimr Baqr al-Nimr was a man of peaceful advocacy for the people of his belief and his region of Saudi Arabia. There is literally no proof to the contrary, yet he was summarily executed by a regime notorious for beheading its citizens. The Unites States of America has not only backed this regime, but has aligned herself in an auspicious manner over the years essentially using the Saudis as a vassal for regional control. This section of a WikiLeaks cable damns the Saudis for helping create the mess in Syria and elsewhere:

"The USG engages regularly with the Saudi Government on terrorist financing. The establishment in 2008 of a Treasury attache office presence in Riyadh contributes to robust interaction and information sharing on the issue. Despite this presence, however, more needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during Hajj and Ramadan. In contrast to its increasingly aggressive efforts to disrupt al-Qa'ida's access to funding from Saudi sources, Riyadh has taken only limited action to disrupt fundraising for the UN 1267-listed Taliban and LeT-groups that are also aligned with al-Qa'ida and focused on undermining stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Revelations Verse 19:11

The cable is from the US State Department to various offices of the Saudi government, that of the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar. This cable, along with dozens of other revelations about the backers of terror in the world, leaves no room for ambiguity. But what's far more disturbing is the way Washington, London and to a lesser extent Brussels are portraying current unrest as some type of religious war. The Christian-Jew-Muslim aspects of these crises are being used to hide the real cause of corporate governments supplanting rights and freedoms. This is a larger argument, but the correct one at this stage. What the world suffers from now is a hell bent effort by the godless of the world (elite bankers) to once again spark crusades for the purposes of strategy and profit. Most people reading this fully understand this, even though the exact culprits may be obscure.

The summary of this story is fairly easy to parlay. Saudi Arabia just made a play for the neocons in Washington, the bankers in London, and for the Tel Aviv instigators who have so far remained in the shadows in all this. They created a martyr who may well serve their utterly evil needs, to set the world on fire one more time. Let me leave you with the most damning quote I have yet found. It is from WikiLeaks, and implicates the Obama and previous US administrations:

"WikiLeaks cables (see below) show that the US has been tracking, and exploiting, the rise of ISIS since 2006, when the organisation first appeared in Iraq as a direct result of the Bush-Blair invasion. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in "our" societies."

Make no mistake here, America and Britain created this mess in the world, with the help of profiting allies like Saudi Arabia. The WikiLeaks revelations tell of former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas' statements on this too. What he revealed is that Britain basically made plans for the Syria disaster years ago. What we are witnessing is a last ditch effort to counter Vladimir Putin's play in the region, and to either win a new Syria partitioning, or else burn the deserts in total. This is a world war in the making, and the man on the pale horse seems evident now, the leader of the faithful and true. God help us all.

[Jan 09, 2016] Lets not forget that the Syrian refugee migration is a manufactured crisis

www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit | Jan 9, 2016 10:01:45 AM | 75

Lets not forget that the Syrian refugee migration is a manufactured crisis - as b pointed out early on when he noted that it fuels calls that "something must be done!" about Assad/Syria.

EU President Donald Tusk has talked publicly of this :

"For the first time in my political career I have heard politicians openly declaring that the refugees heading to Europe are their method of getting (us) [the EU] to act a certain way,"

[Jan 09, 2016] There are indications that some in Saudi Arabia are on a mission to drag the entire region to conflict

www.moonofalabama.org

harry law | Jan 9, 2016 6:22:57 AM | 64

Can't disagree with this message from the Iranian Foreign Minister..

"Saudi Arabia can either continue supporting extremist terrorists and promoting sectarian hatred, or it can opt for good neighborliness and play a constructive role in promoting regional stability, however; Iran hopes that Saudi Arabia will be persuaded to heed the call of reason,"

Zarif said that there are indications that some in Saudi Arabia are on a mission to drag the entire region to conflict; fearing that removal of the smokescreen of the manufactured Iranian nuclear threat would expose the real global threat posed by extremists and their sponsors, according to IRNA.

The Iranian foreign minister recalled that those involved in extremist carnage and most members of Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIL and Al-Nusra Front being either Saudi nationals, or otherwise brainwashed by petro-financed demagogues, who have promoted an anti-Islamic message of hatred, exclusion and sectarianism across the globe for decades.

http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=248972&cid=19&fromval=1&frid=19&seccatid=32&s1=1

[Jan 09, 2016] Hillary Emails Reveal True Motive for Libya Invasion – Two words, Gold Silver

www.moonofalabama.org

MadMax2 | Jan 9, 2016 4:26:42 AM | 60

TDC Note – You see, Hillary, it still matters, it will always matter and treason is a high crime with dire consequences.

by Brad Hoff, Foreign Policy Journal

Newly disclosed emails show that Libya's plan to create a gold-backed currency to compete with the euro and dollar was a motive for NATO's intervention.

MadMax2 | Jan 9, 2016 4:31:02 AM | 61

Link for above post 60 re: Shillary the Warhawk and friends destruction of a stable north African country, lifting the lid on sub saharan migration. Gaddafi was Europes friend you evil f*****g ****.

http://thedailycoin.org/?p=58173

[Jan 09, 2016] The Bizarre Need to Take Sides and Our Foreign Policy Debates

Notable quotes:
"... Hawks often "adopt" a faction or government and then fault the U.S. for "failing" to do enough to help "our" side. Refusing to take a side is portrayed as "abdication" of "leadership" or otherwise pilloried as too passive, and the bias in favor of action in our debates helps to make it harder to advocate against taking sides. ..."
"... The U.S. cannot expect and does not receive the sort of automatic support and cooperation from so-called "allies" that many hawks expect the U.S. to provide to them, but it is often assumed that the U.S. would be "abandoning" the so-called "ally" if it chose not to take their side against a regional rival. For some reason, many Americans forget that the relationship with an "ally" exists to advance our interests and not so that our government can indulge theirs in its vendettas and obsessions. When U.S. interests are no longer served by such a relationship (if they ever were), the U.S. doesn't need and shouldn't want to keep it the way it is. ..."
"... But when you live your life with a Manichean Worldview–then you have to pick a side.. because it is always good vs. evil… ..."
"... From a cold realist position, why do we cafe if we keep Saudi oil flowing when we could always turn the Iranian spigots on? From a liberal interventionist position, Saudi Arabia has a far worse record than Iran of foreign aggression, sponsorship of terrorism, and human rights violations at home. If we have to be someone's ally over there, we should be Iran's. ..."
"... That being said, I agree that we should not take sides in a spat between regional rivals, especially when an ancient theological blood feud is at the heart of the spat. ..."
"... Saudi Arabia allows us access to their oil resources on our terms, and to be more specific, Saudi Arabia does us the very kind favor of denominating all of her oil transactions in dollars, requiring every other country on Earth to maintain huge reserves of dollars and US debt. If Iran was in the driver's seat they would never sustain the petrodollar. ..."
"... now would be a good time to disabuse that 30-year-old deputy crown price of the notion that we'll be there for him no matter how audacious and emboldened he becomes. I don't really expect a rational mindset to prevail, of course, but in my mind, that would be true "leadership" on our part. ..."
The American Conservative

There is a strong bias against neutrality in our foreign policy debates. Not taking sides in this or that conflict is rarely taken seriously as an appropriate response. Instead of asking whether the U.S. should even take a side, it is taken for granted that the U.S. "must" choose one or the other, and the main debate concerns only how much and what kind of support to provide. This is a recurring problem in debating the proper response to conflicts inside countries as well as rivalries between them. One reason for this is that U.S. interests and the interests of another state or faction within a state are conflated from the beginning, and this is done to make it much more difficult to recognize that the U.S. doesn't actually have interests in the conflict or rivalry in question. Hawks often "adopt" a faction or government and then fault the U.S. for "failing" to do enough to help "our" side. Refusing to take a side is portrayed as "abdication" of "leadership" or otherwise pilloried as too passive, and the bias in favor of action in our debates helps to make it harder to advocate against taking sides.

Today's Fareed Zakaria column shows how difficult it is for most pundits to do this. Even when arguing for steering clear of regional sectarian rivalry, Zakaria can't avoid endorsing U.S. support for the Saudis:

In general, the United States should support Saudi Arabia in resisting Iran's encroachments in the region, but it should not take sides in the broader sectarian struggle.

But it is not possible to support an overtly sectarian Saudi government in its preoccupation with opposing Iranian influence without being pulled into the "broader sectarian struggle," in no small part because the Saudis define their resistance to Iran's supposed "encroachments" in terms of religious sect. The Saudis falsely claim that their war on Yemen is aimed at "resisting Iran's encroachments," and the U.S. has been supporting their campaign from the start, and in so doing it is helping to fuel sectarian hatreds in Yemen and beyond. Zakaria correctly recognizes the pitfalls of being pulled into sectarian conflicts in the region, but won't acknowledge that the U.S. is caught up in them because of the support it provides to sectarian governments. He specifically mentions the growing sectarianism in Yemen, but doesn't make the connection with U.S. support for the Saudi-led intervention there. Despite explicitly saying that the U.S. shouldn't take sides in "someone else's civil war," he approves of doing just that by accepting that the U.S. should keep supporting the Saudis.

One of the most common arguments for siding with the Saudis in their hostility towards Iran is that they are our "ally," and therefore the U.S. should automatically support the position of its "ally." This overlooks that the U.S. has no treaty obligations to the kingdom, and ignores that the so-called "ally" does virtually nothing for us. The U.S. cannot expect and does not receive the sort of automatic support and cooperation from so-called "allies" that many hawks expect the U.S. to provide to them, but it is often assumed that the U.S. would be "abandoning" the so-called "ally" if it chose not to take their side against a regional rival. For some reason, many Americans forget that the relationship with an "ally" exists to advance our interests and not so that our government can indulge theirs in its vendettas and obsessions. When U.S. interests are no longer served by such a relationship (if they ever were), the U.S. doesn't need and shouldn't want to keep it the way it is.

Prof. Woland, January 8, 2016 at 1:56 pm

But when you live your life with a Manichean Worldview–then you have to pick a side.. because it is always good vs. evil…

Ian G., January 8, 2016 at 2:19 pm

I pull my hair out when seemingly reasonable people like Zakaria don't even bother asking why Saudi Arabia is our "ally". From a cold realist position, why do we cafe if we keep Saudi oil flowing when we could always turn the Iranian spigots on? From a liberal interventionist position, Saudi Arabia has a far worse record than Iran of foreign aggression, sponsorship of terrorism, and human rights violations at home. If we have to be someone's ally over there, we should be Iran's.

That being said, I agree that we should not take sides in a spat between regional rivals, especially when an ancient theological blood feud is at the heart of the spat.

jamie, January 8, 2016 at 3:19 pm

From a cold realist position, why do we cafe if we keep Saudi oil flowing when we could always turn the Iranian spigots on?

Saudi Arabia allows us access to their oil resources on our terms, and to be more specific, Saudi Arabia does us the very kind favor of denominating all of her oil transactions in dollars, requiring every other country on Earth to maintain huge reserves of dollars and US debt. If Iran was in the driver's seat they would never sustain the petrodollar.

There's also very little question of Saudi regime's oil resources falling in the hands of populist or democratic elements that might use oil to overtly embarrass or destabilize the United States - the Saudi's bleed us dry, but subtlety and in a way that US voters are unlikely to punish their leaders for.

Jon Lester, January 8, 2016 at 7:13 pm

American neutrality might be the very thing needed to keep the conflict contained, and now would be a good time to disabuse that 30-year-old deputy crown price of the notion that we'll be there for him no matter how audacious and emboldened he becomes. I don't really expect a rational mindset to prevail, of course, but in my mind, that would be true "leadership" on our part.

[Jan 09, 2016] Clinton's Foreign Policy Is the Opposite of Triangulation

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton has "brilliantly" identified herself as the hawk that she has always been, which puts her sharply at odds with most people in her own party and most Americans of all political affiliations. ..."
"... The old Clintonian triangulation was driven by an obsessive focus on public opinion and on finding mostly minor issues that obtained support from a large majority. ..."
"... Clinton's foreign policy posturing politically tone-deaf and focused entirely on what will please people in Washington and a few other capitals around the world. ..."
"... Clinton is a card carrying member of the War Party who left her gig at State after her and DP's plan to amp up Libya was turned down by Obama (perhaps the only sensible thing the guy has done, to be honest). Her record there is miserable, and the book on the topic came out early to insure no one would talk about in come 2015. She's nothing if not calculating. ..."
"... Clinton running against any GOP-er in 2016 reminds me of the Obama/Romney debates on FP, where both candidates were in general agreement and preferred to take their commentary back to domestic policies. A GOP caring about winning would be wise to nominate a non-war party candidate, but in reality TPTB (a/k/a the GOP funding machine, which includes Adel$on, Wall $t the huge defense contractors) would never allow that to happen, so I look forward to HRC Chris Christie both agreeing on every major neo-con talking point through most of 2015 2016 while talking about tax cuts and "securing the border" (LOL). ..."
"... "Now it's true that the vast majority doesn't vote on foreign policy, and most Americans normally pay little or no attention to it" ..."
"... Which is largely accurate. The opponents of aggressive interventionism should circumvent that truism by explicitly pointing out the opportunity cost of War Party aggression. I.e., itemize other ways the money largely wasted on World Cop exercises could have been spent domestically instead. Make a list of necessary bridges and highways that could have been constructed with the Trillions squandered in Iraq/Afghanistan. Additional physicians trained. Increased targeted medical research. Offsets for reductions in the regressive payroll tax. ..."
"... Emphasize zero-sum. All of those other value added opportunities didn't happen because the Power Elites preferred to shovel the money into civil wars and nation building occurring 5,000 miles from American shores. Rather than fix Detroit and Newark, they preferred to fix Baghdad and Kabul instead. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton was a cheerleader for idiotic US invasion of Iraq, and the ill-advised military intervention in Libya. ..."
"... The the woman who abandoned her post at State, leaving the Middle East in flaming ruins, manages to pull her face out of the speaking-fee hog-trough just long enough to offer helpful advice regarding the catastrophe she was instrumental in creating. ..."
"... So the next election will be Hillary the hawk against some generic hawkish neocon. Scary times ahead. ..."
"... Well, she's probably right in expecting the GOP nominee to be more Hawkish than she is. Republicans are more profoundly divided on war issues than Democrats, and the Republican spectrum is broader than that of the Democrats on this issue both toward and away from interventionism. It's an interesting question whether an anti-interventionist like Rand Paul would win over more anti-interventionist Democrats and independents than he would lose in neocons and ardent Zionists. ..."
August 11, 2014 | The American Conservative

... ... ...

Clinton has "brilliantly" identified herself as the hawk that she has always been, which puts her sharply at odds with most people in her own party and most Americans of all political affiliations. That's not triangulation at all. The old Clintonian triangulation was driven by an obsessive focus on public opinion and on finding mostly minor issues that obtained support from a large majority. The purpose of it was to co-opt popular issues and deprive the opposition of effective lines of attack. The goal was not to poke the majority of Americans in the eye on major issues and tell them that they're wrong.

Clinton's foreign policy posturing politically tone-deaf and focused entirely on what will please people in Washington and a few other capitals around the world. It is evidence that Clinton thinks she can get away with campaigning on a more activist foreign policy on the assumption that no one is going to vote against her for that reason. She may be right about that, or she may end up being surprised–again–to find that her horrible foreign policy record is still a serious political liability.

... ... ...

Selected Skeptical Comments

Chris, August 11, 2014 at 11:30 am

Stout analysis. The irony is that foreign policy is where Presidents have the most ability to influence policy, so perhaps Americans should care a bit more.

Clinton is a card carrying member of the War Party who left her gig at State after her and DP's plan to amp up Libya was turned down by Obama (perhaps the only sensible thing the guy has done, to be honest). Her record there is miserable, and the book on the topic came out early to insure no one would talk about in come 2015. She's nothing if not calculating. Most reporters like Lewis find this brilliant, but in reality it's quite predictable and mundane. In addition, she's a terrible manager.

Clinton running against any GOP-er in 2016 reminds me of the Obama/Romney debates on FP, where both candidates were in general agreement and preferred to take their commentary back to domestic policies. A GOP caring about winning would be wise to nominate a non-war party candidate, but in reality TPTB (a/k/a the GOP funding machine, which includes Adel$on, Wall $t & the huge defense contractors) would never allow that to happen, so I look forward to HRC & Chris Christie both agreeing on every major neo-con talking point through most of 2015 & 2016 while talking about tax cuts and "securing the border" (LOL).

Richard W. Bray, August 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I think Hilary's strategy is to talk about anything but the Clinton record.

What administration first "renditioned' people to be tortured in countries like Syria?

Who deregulated the banks?

Who deregulated the media?

Who gave firms like Blackwater contracts to privatize what should be military operations?

Hilary needs to have an insurmountable lead before the debates begin. Inevitability is her only strategy in large part because she is, in contrast to her husband, such a lousy politician on the stump.

So now she's attacking Obama. This could backfire, of course, because in addition to revealing her innate bellicosity, it makes her look very disloyal.

SteveM , August 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Re: "Now it's true that the vast majority doesn't vote on foreign policy, and most Americans normally pay little or no attention to it"

Which is largely accurate. The opponents of aggressive interventionism should circumvent that truism by explicitly pointing out the opportunity cost of War Party aggression. I.e., itemize other ways the money largely wasted on World Cop exercises could have been spent domestically instead. Make a list of necessary bridges and highways that could have been constructed with the Trillions squandered in Iraq/Afghanistan. Additional physicians trained. Increased targeted medical research. Offsets for reductions in the regressive payroll tax.

Emphasize zero-sum. All of those other value added opportunities didn't happen because the Power Elites preferred to shovel the money into civil wars and nation building occurring 5,000 miles from American shores. Rather than fix Detroit and Newark, they preferred to fix Baghdad and Kabul instead.

Money in and of itself has no intrinsic value. So Americans really don't pay attention when it's squandered by Power Elites on foreign policy overreach. Create a story though that tells how the same money could have been allocated to tangible alternatives to War Party shenanigans and Americans will be much more likely to start playing close attention, asking the right questions and hopefully, electing the right politicians to represent their interests when their tax dollars are expended.

James Canning, August 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Bravo, Daniel. And Matt Lewis is dead wrong. Hillary Clinton was a cheerleader for idiotic US invasion of Iraq, and the ill-advised military intervention in Libya.

Let Them Eat Enriched Uranium, August 11, 2014 at 2:09 pm

The the woman who abandoned her post at State, leaving the Middle East in flaming ruins, manages to pull her face out of the speaking-fee hog-trough just long enough to offer helpful advice regarding the catastrophe she was instrumental in creating.

What a gal.

spite, August 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm

So the next election will be Hillary the hawk against some generic hawkish neocon. Scary times ahead.

Philo Vaihinger , August 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

Well, she's probably right in expecting the GOP nominee to be more Hawkish than she is. Republicans are more profoundly divided on war issues than Democrats, and the Republican spectrum is broader than that of the Democrats on this issue both toward and away from interventionism. It's an interesting question whether an anti-interventionist like Rand Paul would win over more anti-interventionist Democrats and independents than he would lose in neocons and ardent Zionists.

But we're not going to find out.

[Jan 08, 2016] Contrary To Media Claims U.S. Always Sides With Its Saudi Clients

Notable quotes:
"... The Obama administration has since March provided expedited arms sales, logistics support, targeting intelligence, air refueling and combat search and rescue for the Saudi war on Yemen. Its navy helps with the blockade of the Yemeni coast. How can the Obama administration be sharply critical of the Saudi war on Yemen when it provides the critical means for that war? ..."
"... I doubt that we will hear any sharply critical condemnation of that bombing of civilian infrastructure from U.S. officials. ..."
"... In the Saudi-Iran proxy conflicts the U.S. supports and urges the Saudis on because it is in its geopolitical interest . Saudi financed jihadist have been helpful in achieving U.S. geopolitical goals in the 1980s in Afghanistan against the Soviets, in Yugoslavia, in Chechnya as now in Syria against the Russians and in Xinjiang against the Chinese. There is no room for human rights or other concerns within that framework. There is room though for billions of weapon sales and millions given by the Saudis to U.S. and UK politicians as well as for public relations . ..."
"... That is utter bullshit. The U.S. is working on regime change in Syria at least since 2006 . The U.S. is enabling the clear and present danger posed by Islamist terrorists through its alliance with al-Qaeda . It always had and has the choice to cease and desist from meddling in the Middle East and elsewhere to the benefit of the average U.S. citizen as well as to the benefit of the people living in the Middle East. ..."
"... U.S. media lie when they depict the U.S. as a benevolent entity that stumbles through the Middle East and other areas misled in the dark by Saudi Arabia and Israel. It is the U.S. that is the ruthless superpower that solely enables those barbaric entities to exist. ..."
"... The US government is beholden to lobby groups interested in feathering their nests and getting their way. US foreign policy has also been consistent from one presidential administration to the next. ..."
"... The fact that US foreign policy has been consistent from George W Bush to Barack Obama could say a great deal about the style of Obamas presidency. What has Obama been able to achieve in the 8 years he has been POTUS that has been positive and which has given his presidency a particular distinction and flavour that represent the mans character and personality? I submit not much at all. The impression I get (btw, I live on the other side of the Pacific Ocean from the US) is that Obama is a weak leader who has never been able to control and rein in particular members of his cabinet like his previous Secretary of State, much less the ideologue she brought with her who planned and carried out the coup that deposed President Yanukovych in Ukraine in February 2014, and who handpicked the fellow who is currently that nations prime minister. I might also suggest that George W Bush was a weak leader who did as he was told. ..."
"... The neo-cons are the establishments political death-squads, the sinister arm of the executive who resorts to them whenever the establishment/Deep State need to eliminate anyone considered an enemy of the empire, followed by an installation of puppets. ..."
"... Neo-cons are in close coordination with CIAs clandestine/black operations branch, working together all aspects of any operation at hand, the CIA with the operative/military goons, the neo-cons with the political crooks. A typical example was in Banderastan, where the CIA had been actively recruiting/training the nazi bastards for years, ready for the Maidan, ehem, revolution, with the neo-cons putting together the political puppets ( I think Yats is the guy ) who would become the facade of the nazi takeover. ..."
Jan 05, 2016 | M of A

The "western" public, especially in Europe , now prefers good relations with Iran over relations with Saudi Arabia. It is a natural development when one considers that jihadi terrorism is a real concern and that the people involved in most international terrorist incidents follow variants of the Saudi spread Wahhabi ideology.

This is now developing into a problem for the U.S. administration. Saudi Arabia, as other Gulf statelets, is a U.S. client state. Without U.S. support it would have ceased to exist a long time ago. The Saudis are made to pay for U.S. protection by buying overpriced U.S. weapon systems for tens of billion dollars per year. They also finance joint projects like the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and currently the U.S. regime change war on Syria.

U.S. relation with Iran have become somewhat better due to the nuclear deal. But the Islamic Republic of Iran will never be a U.S. client state. Seen from the perspective of the global strategic competition it is in the same camp as the U.S. foes Russia and China. Unless the U.S. ceases to strive for global dominance it will continue to support its proxies on the western side of the Persian Gulf rather then the Iranians of the eastern side.

The changed public view, very much visible after the recent Saudi execution of Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, necessitates to mask the real U.S. position by claiming that it is opposed to Saudi Arabian policies. The stenographers in U.S. media are always willing to help their government when such a cover up for a shoddy position is needed.

In the Washington Post Karen De Young supports the administration by providing this lie:

The United States has long joined international human rights organizations and other Western governments in criticizing Saudi human rights abuses ..

Her colleague David Sanger at the New York Times is debunks that nonsense point with a rare reference to reality:

The United States has usually looked the other way or issued carefully calibrated warnings in human rights reports as the Saudi royal family cracked down on dissent and free speech and allowed its elite to fund Islamic extremists.

Sanger then replaces the "U.S. supports human-rights in Saudi Arabia" lie with another blatant one:

the administration has [..] been sharply critical of the Saudi intervention in Yemen

The Obama administration has since March provided expedited arms sales, logistics support, targeting intelligence, air refueling and combat search and rescue for the Saudi war on Yemen. Its navy helps with the blockade of the Yemeni coast. How can the Obama administration be "sharply critical" of the Saudi war on Yemen when it provides the critical means for that war?

Since Sunday there have been at least 11 Saudi air attacks on Yemen's capital Sanaa. Last night another wedding hall, the Commerce Chamber and the AlNoor Centre for the Blind were destroyed by U.S. provided Saudi bombs. I doubt that we will hear any "sharply critical" condemnation of that bombing of civilian infrastructure from U.S. officials.

In the Saudi-Iran proxy conflicts the U.S. supports and urges the Saudis on because it is in its geopolitical interest . Saudi financed jihadist have been helpful in achieving U.S. geopolitical goals in the 1980s in Afghanistan against the Soviets, in Yugoslavia, in Chechnya as now in Syria against the Russians and in Xinjiang against the Chinese. There is no room for human rights or other concerns within that framework. There is room though for billions of weapon sales and millions given by the Saudis to U.S. and UK politicians as well as for public relations .

The New York Times editors falsely claim there is no choice for the U.S. other then to do what it does:

The tangled and volatile realities of the Middle East do not give the United States or the European Union the luxury of choosing or rejecting allies on moral criteria. Washington has no choice but to deal with regimes like those in Tehran [..] or in Riyadh to combat the clear and present danger posed by Islamist terrorists or to search for solutions to massively destabilizing conflicts like the Syrian civil war.

That is utter bullshit. The U.S. is working on regime change in Syria at least since 2006 . The U.S. is enabling "the clear and present danger posed by Islamist terrorists" through its alliance with al-Qaeda . It always had and has the choice to cease and desist from meddling in the Middle East and elsewhere to the benefit of the average U.S. citizen as well as to the benefit of the people living in the Middle East.

U.S. media lie when they depict the U.S. as a benevolent entity that stumbles through the Middle East and other areas misled in the dark by Saudi Arabia and Israel. It is the U.S. that is the ruthless superpower that solely enables those barbaric entities to exist.

Au | Jan 5, 2016 11:03:32 AM | 1

"The Western public now prefers good relations w/ Iran over relations w/ Saudi Arabia" I can't speak for everyone in the West but that is my sentiments exactly. Iran has been the center of deep state propaganda for so long that we have failed to realize - the Saudi's are more in need of a regime change then anyone in that region. Ultimately, screw them all, except for Syria - i'll never forget what Saudi Arabia and Turkey / western cohorts did to Syria - I hope it comes back to nest in Saudi Arabia..

Bluemot5 | Jan 5, 2016 11:31:19 AM | 4

Pat Buchanan article questioning current USA alliances.... http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/saudi-recklessness-exposes-our-own/

harry law | Jan 5, 2016 1:18:56 PM | 9

Pleased that you included that excellent link from the Intercept, this from 'rrheard' in the comments section, it was so good I do hope he does not mind me posting part of it here. "America's foreign policy relationship with Saudi Arabia is based on exactly two things historically–Saudi's willingness to be a US proxy against communism in the region and the oil and weapons trade.

And that says all you need to know about America's moral compass as well. I love the idea of my country, and absolutely detest what its leaders have done since WWII in service if its elites perceived "interests". Because I can guaranfuckingtee you that America's foreign policy over the last 60 years has nothing to do with the "best interests" of the American people, humanitarianism, human rights or the "interests" of any other people on the planet despite the cradle to grave propaganda apparatus in America that has a significant majority of American's believing such transparent twaddle as "American exceptionalism" or "we are always well intentioned, we just make mistakes" when it comes to the mass slaughter of non-Americans all over the globe.

There hardly a fucking dictator on the planet that hasn't been backed by the American government and its business elites, politically and/or economically, so long as they are pliant when it comes to towing the line on America's "interests"."

tom | Jan 5, 2016 2:12:32 PM | 10

Agree with B, except with popular opinion. Most of the Western public so politically unprincipled and cowardly that they can be swayed quite easily to western imperial propaganda. It's just a matter of when the media turned on the hate/fear switch up to 2/10.

Just look at the reminder in Congo genocide, with the people couldn't give a fuck, and is one of the worst genocides since World War II. Or the Rwandan genocide, with the propaganda that turned most of the victims into the guilty party and then lead genocidedal maniac - Paul Kagame, as the "sympathetic" president -now for life - thanks to the evil US empires evil media.

Blaming the Russians for the plane crash over Ukraine, gas attacks blamed on Assad. And then you can count thousands of examples where people in the west vote or support policies that are against their own health, social and political interests.
No, most Western people are willing to place the jackboot gladly under their neck, till they realise it's too late.

Jen | Jan 5, 2016 2:49:13 PM | 15

To Dan @2 and Jackrabbit @5:

In an odd way, you are both right. The US government is beholden to lobby groups interested in feathering their nests and getting their way. US foreign policy has also been consistent from one presidential administration to the next.

Think of the US government as several psychopaths working together. Psychopaths basically only care about looking out for No 1. If two or more psychopaths discover that working together allows them to fulfill their individual goals quicker than if they worked separately, then they'll co-operate.

The fact that US foreign policy has been consistent from George W Bush to Barack Obama could say a great deal about the style of Obama's presidency. What has Obama been able to achieve in the 8 years he has been POTUS that has been positive and which has given his presidency a particular distinction and flavour that represent the man's character and personality? I submit not much at all. The impression I get (btw, I live on the other side of the Pacific Ocean from the US) is that Obama is a weak leader who has never been able to control and rein in particular members of his cabinet like his previous Secretary of State, much less the ideologue she brought with her who planned and carried out the coup that deposed President Yanukovych in Ukraine in February 2014, and who handpicked the fellow who is currently that nation's prime minister. I might also suggest that George W Bush was a weak leader who did as he was told.

In short, if the oil lobby, the pro-Israeli lobby, other industry and country lobbies in the US government find that their interests coincide, they'll work as one through Congress and the various federal government departments.

harry law | Jan 5, 2016 3:42:05 PM | 19

Lysias@18 Trump: 'I would want to protect Saudi Arabia' he goes on, "That's phase one - to go into Saudi Arabia and, frankly, the Saudis don't survive without us. And the question is, at what point do we get involved and how much will Saudi Arabia pay us to save them?"
This is exactly what the Mafia say to their victims.

Oui | Jan 5, 2016 4:13:45 PM | 21

Trump speaks the lingo of the House of Saud, well at least of Prince Bandar, now deposed of his key role to influence the West. Wasn't it Bandar who offered a terror free Sochi games for Assad's head on a platter. Putin must have calmly replied if any harm comes to Russia in the period of the Olympic Winter games, Saudi Arabia may just lose one of it's cities.

Blair and now Cameron deal with Saudi Arabia to exchange modern weapons for protection from AQ terror in the UK. It's the British (and French) who were willing to join Obama in bombing Assad's Syria in September 2013. Now it's the British and Americans who offer intelligence and logistic support to KSA and the GCC allies in bombing Yemen back to deeper medieval times. AQAP will use this to their advantage.

Obama 'Connived' with Neocons for a Bashar Replacement

Kooshy | Jan 5, 2016 4:44:08 PM | 26

The DC rag WP is really craving for a good, big sectarian regional war in ME, I am afraid they are not going to get it, Iranian have been acting responsibly not letting US, Israel, and their Arab insecure clientele wishes come

Through. Never the less WP editors would want their readers believe Iranian protestors meant to attack a SUNNI embassy, and not the Embassy of Saudi Arabia who was responsible for executed an innocent Shia high clergy.

"The execution of Shiite cleric Nimr Baqr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia has sparked a furor in the Middle East along sectarian lines. In Iran, the regional Shiite superpower, the Sunni embassy was ransacked and burned."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/01/05/5-facts-about-sunnis-and-shiites-that-help-makes-sense-of-the-saudi-iran-crisis/

Lone Wolf | Jan 5, 2016 5:25:51 PM | 28

@Oui@21

Obama 'Connived' with Neocons for a Bashar Replacement

Very good points, Oui. The neo-cons are the establishment's political death-squads, the sinister arm of the executive who resorts to them whenever the establishment/Deep State need to eliminate anyone considered an "enemy" of the empire, followed by an installation of puppets.

Neo-cons are in close coordination with CIA's "clandestine/black operations" branch, working together all aspects of any operation at hand, the CIA with the operative/military goons, the neo-cons with the political crooks. A typical example was in Banderastan, where the CIA had been actively recruiting/training the nazi bastards for years, ready for the Maidan, ehem, "revolution," with the neo-cons putting together the political puppets ("I think Yats is the guy") who would become the facade of the nazi takeover.

Syria, on the other hand, was a hard nut to crack, the neo-cons and the CIA made severe mistakes underestimating Assad and the resistance of the Syrian people. US/UK/NATO were announcing the fall of Assad every other day, and while many of those Western "leaders" are gone, Assad has survived all their ill-predictions. Neo-cons/CIA are fuming at the mouth constantly looking for a way to reverse their losses, and starting a little war between KSA-Iran is not such a bad idea, neo-cons swim like fish in chaos.

They are getting set for another defeat by old Persian wisdom.

Noirette | Jan 6, 2016 2:35:19 PM | 47

Dan at 2. There is no single cohesive policy. Only selfishness

The USA attacks militarily directly, or by overt other means (economic), or behind the curtain:

  1. those that challenge it even in the imagination, provided small and pretty powerless
  2. countries, groups, that have a 'socialistic' bent, try to do well for their citizens, and/or espouse some ideology that appears, *on the face of it*, anti-capitalistic, nationalistic, or pan-national (e.g. Communism in the past, Baath party, Arab nationalism, Cuba.)
  3. those who try to annul or wash away ethnic, racist, religious, and so on differences in favor of some kind of 'universality', a citizen status, mandate - this goes against the colonialist model, abroad and at home, in which ppl are sand niggers, blacks, etc. The US support for equality thus turns to trivia, gay marriage, quarrels about abortion, etc.
  4. Energy rich countries who won't open up to US corps, domination. (ex. Venezuela), or won't permit US type banking system in their country, or aren't subservient enough on a host of points (ex. Syria, Lybia) or somehow manage to cozy and then resist for a long while (ex. Iraq)
  5. Those who are involved massively with illegal and dubious trade - human trafficking, organ sales, child forced prostitution, drugs, illegal arms, condoned murder of rivals, vicious internal repression, heavy torture, prisons, etc. are generally supported, but on occasion they rebel or try for other, which is not to be allowed (ex. Afghanistan)
  6. Anyone that can be attacked on any grounds, opportunistically, to racketeer fines, big sums of money, such as in the banking sector.
  7. Countries it pretends to admire who are secretly dominated by them and only escape ostracism, sanctions or bombs or more by subservience, and a 'belonging to a controlled block' (EU.) Sweden and the Netherlands come to mind.
  8. Other.

That is a lot countries, people, all together. The foreign policy is not cohesive, I agree, it is simply all over the board, adjusted all the time, based on ad hoc criteria, racist supremacy, capitalistic short term profiteering, snobby disapproval, empty rage, power plays, sectorial interests, corporate meddling, personal arm-twisting and blackmail, deals with foreign potentates, arms production and selling which needs war, and on and on.

[Jan 07, 2016] Obama as yet another neocon president

Notable quotes:
"... Never liked the guy, knew the hopium and changium memes and slogans were a big scam! Worse than Bush, because you at least knew where Bush stood. Obama is a fraudster of the worse kind! ..."
"... Obama has done a lot of his slaughtering under the radar with drones and assassination teams and, being a black guy with a funny name, this is not sufficient to make many feel safe . ..."
"... All these factors lead us to see Obama as a dubious or awful president ..."
"... I think most of us who find Obama seriously wanting are more objectively correct than those who excuse what we see as his deliberate malfeasance. ..."
"... the critique of Obama because sometimes it gives off the angry white guy vibe that can be ugly and render your criticisms suspect. ..."
"... . Youd think that a nation that adores England would note how the British Empire decayed and how the north of England was a swath of poverty and degradation well into the 1960s. ..."
"... You may know that some interpretations of the Pandoras Box myth have the release of Hope at the very end not as a type of relief, but as a final scourge. ..."
"... Obama came in with Democratic majorities in both houses. Why does he always get a free pass to blame obstructionist Republicans? People were begging for a change in direction. Truly mediocre status quo writ large. ..."
"... Obama has a lot of enablers. I think the little good things he does (Iran negotiations, baby steps to curb climate change, nods to growing prison population, etc) are just palliatives to shut up the progressive opposition, to the extent that even exists. ..."
"... Obama blew that majority as quickly as he could. Democrats were happy to lose majorities because they no longer had to produce results and could say the Republicans made me do it. ..."
"... Democrats would have passed an omnibus budget reconciliation with a big jobs program. They could have done this with simple majorities in both houses ..."
"... TPP is the big tell for Obama. Hes fighting for that like nothing else. ..."
"... ACA belongs in the Failures column, at least for anyone who cares about the cost of healthcare and understands single payer. Stopping the Great Recession belongs in the Central Banks column, they put $13T on their balance sheets and the bill just has not come due yet. ..."
"... Diplomacy? Bombing 7 nations with no declaration of war does not count as diplomacy ..."
"... Obama wins my coveted Worst_President_Ever award ..."
"... Can we also mention the $100M he spent on personal Versailles-style vacations? Cmon people…we know a good president when we see one, or even a marginal one…and O is at the other end of the spectrum. ..."
"... I live in Australia and people often ask me what I think of Obama. My reply: I think hes a war criminal, a corporo-fascist, a hypocrite, a liar, and a fraud. But hes got a passable jump shot, so theres that . ..."
"... Its hard to imagine anyone whos a liberal or a progressive looking at the Obama years as anything other than a huge bust. ..."
"... Obama has said he aspires to follow in Lincolns footsteps. However, the closest analogy is Buchanan, who thought the way to handle the slavers power was to appease it, just like Obama appeared to think the way to handle corporate power was to appease it. And like Buchanan turned out to be the agent of the slavers power, Obama is the agent of corporate power. ..."
"... The same exact script that we had under Bill Clinton. It turns out when you give people hope, they come out to vote for you. ..."
"... Obama doesnt care about building a majority any more than the Clintons did. He cares about his personal power, perception, and ultimately his own wealth. ..."
"... Sure looks like an Obot, tuned down to soft sell mode. ..."
"... I dont believe that he is the sociopath that some on the left think he is ..."
"... I think Obama is, quite simply, not as bright as everyone assumes. ..."
"... Quite simply, I think Obama isnt bright enough to realise that a clever political compromise is not the same thing as a good policy. He is surrounded by too many privileged people to realise that the consensus among privileged smart people is one distorted by deeply conservative and regressive assumptions. ..."
"... he genuinely believes deep in his guts that if the self-identified smart people have a consensus, then its the right thing to do. ..."
"... I find it shocking and dismaying at just how regressive and damaging Obama has been. If you compare him to another very conservative Dem – LBJ – the comparison is particularly stark. LBJ, in the face of huge odds and his own natural political proclivities, did quite amazing things in terms of Civil Rights and protecting the poor. Obama has, in my view, made things even worse, in a much more favourable political environment. ..."
"... I think hes ultimately just plain cynical. ..."
"... I recall seeing the German film Mephisto, with Klaus Maria Brandauer. Brandauers artist was a well-meaning, left-leaning guy who slowly went along with the Nazis, since it was beneficial to his career. ..."
"... Truth be told, Obama has grown very creepy to me. More than a few of us have vivid images of him with that deck of playing cards of those on the kill list. I am not charmed by his appearances with media darlings like Jerry Seinfeld and Marc Maron, who, perhaps unwittingly, legitimize the great droner. ..."
"... I found part of his writing quite moving, but I always felt there was something calculated about it, something that didnt feel quite right. Even reading about his academic career, he always struck me as someone always so careful to quote and study the right philosophers and writers and past politicians, reminiscent of those post grad students I know always careful to modulate their writings to their Professors prejudices. ..."
"... in his foreign affairs his understanding has always seemed to me to be shockingly shallow ..."
"... he let the same old neo-imperialist playbook work itself out there, with a constant undermining of democratic centre left governments in the region. ..."
"... He could, for example, have simply refused to give in to Hilarys idiotic tilt to the Pacific policy which is stupidly tin eared about Chinas genuine geopolitical concerns. ..."
"... He could have said no to the Saudis idiotic attack on Yemen. ..."
"... He could have stopped the meddling in the Ukraine and tried to understand Russias genuine local concerns better without necessarily sucking up to Putin. ..."
"... He could have stood up to Turkeys meddling in Syria and Iraq (not to mention the Gulf States support for Islamacists). ..."
"... These are all things he could have done within his powers and with little real political cost, but he didnt do them. These, to me, are all evidence of someone out of his depth rather than someone who is a complete cynic. ..."
"... PK, your analysis is certainly fascinating, in particular the portrait of Obama as the teachers pet. My brother-in-law completed both a PhD in philosophy and a law degree. He equates his academic career to glorified clerking, more than an investment in the life of the mind. ..."
"... Obama seems to have just the right combination of intelligence, political correctness, breeding, and a conformist streak to thrive as a full-fledged member of the elite, whether in academia or in Washington. ..."
"... Neoliberalism generally also includes the belief that freely adopted market mechanisms is the optimal way of organising all exchanges of goods and services (Friedman 1962; 1980; Norberg 2001). Free markets and free trade will, it is believed, set free the creative potential and the entrepreneurial spirit which is built into the spontaneous order of any human society, and thereby lead to more individual liberty and well-being, and a more efficient allocation of resources (Hayek 1973; Rothbard [1962/1970] 2004). Neoliberalism could also include a perspective on moral virtue: the good and virtuous person is one who is able to access the relevant markets and function as a competent actor in these markets. He or she is willing to accept the risks associated with participating in free markets, and to adapt to rapid changes arising from such participation (Friedman 1980). Individuals are also seen as being solely responsible for the consequences of the choices and decisions they freely make: instances of inequality and glaring social injustice are morally acceptable, at least to the degree in which they could be seen as the result of freely made decisions (Nozick 1974; Hayek 1976). If a person demands that the state should regulate the market or make reparations to the unfortunate who has been caught at the losing end of a freely initiated market transaction, this is viewed as an indication that the person in question is morally depraved and underdeveloped, and scarcely different from a proponent of a totalitarian state (Mises 1962). – Joe Firestone ..."
"... incompletes ..."
"... I recall a profile of Obama in the New Yorker that referred to him as a Javanese prince, a pregnant metaphor, given his background. ..."
"... I think that Obama is detached, which has meant that he is inured to the suffering of others. ..."
"... There have been repeated complaints from congressional reps that he doesnt call. Not even colleagues in his own party. ..."
"... He may be competitive, like many business people, but he lacks the ability to get things done. ..."
"... He went to an elite high school, an elite college, and an elite law school (where he has the distinction of being an editor of a law review yet, again, never publishing). The detachment is internal and external–an empty suit, a child of privilege, no understanding of the consequences of wielding power. ..."
"... I recall Angela Merkel complaining about how cold Obama is. She argued that at least Bush seems to connect on a personal level. Merkel and other world leaders were surprised at his unwillingness to socialize. ..."
"... He may be competitive, like many business people, but he lacks the ability to get things done. ..."
"... failing upwards has been part of Barrys compensation package. ..."
"... Its part and parcel of the US clepto-chrony-capitalist system. And the best is yet to come, just you wait until he vies with Bubba for being the richest ex-president… ..."
"... all of Bubbas charisma couldnt overcome Barrys shtick in 2008. Barry left them all in the dust in fundraising, and a large chunk of that came from Wall Street. So unless there is no honor amongst thieves, Barry will get his payday. ..."
"... some of us who have always seen Obama as a total narcissist ..."
"... A true narcissist wouldnt be as obviously thin-skinned as Obama is. If he was narcissistic he might actually have been a better president, narcissists dont back down at the first obstacle the way he constantly seems to do. ..."
"... Narcissists are thin-skinned. Unflattering feedback is met with narcissistic rage. ..."
"... Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury, which is a perceived threat to a narcissists self-esteem or self-worth. Narcissistic injury (or narcissistic scar) is a phrase used by Sigmund Freud in the 1920s; narcissistic wound and narcissistic blow are further, almost interchangeable terms.[1] The term narcissistic rage was coined by Heinz Kohut in 1972. ..."
"... Obama like Clinton before him has no sense of the large picture, his own power, and any particular plans beyond Presidentin. ..."
"... I voted for Obama over Hillary in the 2008 primary because I did not want another Bill Clinton administration. What I got was another Bill Clinton administration–the same advisors and staff, whose advice Obama followed, especially economic advice. Obama is a lawyer by training, no numbers required. ..."
"... Two bumper stickers I wrote for my car– Drone bomb Obamas kids, as he drone bombs the kids of others and Hillary and Barack are war criminals . ..."
"... America! Locked in Lovers of making decisions based on two and only two choices by the time tested means of blind rage and blind team loyalty to raw ignorance. ..."
"... Concussions – USA ..."
"... Concussions – USA ..."
"... He is the designated spokesmodel for the love me Im a liberal wing of the power duopoly (as opposed to the proud to be an asshole wing) ..."
"... Obamas disastrous, failed presidency should have been a wake up call for Democrats and liberals. Instead theyre doubling down on neoliberalism, militarism and Wall St toadyism in the form of Hillary Clinton. Their delusion that demographics and progress on social wedge issues will rescue them from the Republican dominance at the state and local level resulting from the disenchantment of voters with their party and candidates (case in point – losing the Maryland governorship to a Republican real-estate hack mostly because of low turnout in Dem strongholds) seems to be unshakeable. They dont seem to get that its not enough to not be the Republicans or to be only slightly less worse than them. ..."
"... Oh, and another tell that this is conventional writing from conventional propaganda is the phrase Russias land grab in Ukraine. No, there was a coup in Kiev helped by 5 Billion US dollars. Right wing thugs forced the elected President to flee. Then all kinds of crazy statements about banning the Russian language in Ukraine and Russian speakers being sub human made it pretty easy for Crimea which Krushchev had ceded to Ukraine in 1954 to vote to go back to Mother Russia in an election. It was a defensive move not a grab . ..."
"... Her husband is Robert Kagan, co-founder of PNAC (Project for a New American Century). Incredible damage Kagan engineered. Hard to fathom how Nuland made it into a BO admin., much less in position to craft US Ukraine (the coup) policy. ..."
"... In truth, Obama and Eric Holders inaction on the prosecution of white collar criminals has highlighted the undeniable two-tiered justice system ..."
"... I often wondered as he was led to the stage for his inauguration if someone didnt point out the snipers and hand him a script. ..."
"... Despite his rhetoric to the contrary, listened too much to the neocon advisors ( including HRC) on foreign policy and Holder and Rahm on domestic issues. At that point, hope and change went out the window. What happened: prosecution of whistleblowers, more black inmates, affordable housing programs cut, Guantanamo stays open, schools turn private, environmental regs are not enforced, progressive voices are ignored. Not what most of us voted for. ..."
"... Obama is best understood as a CIA project since his early teens. hes been groomed ..."
"... I said early on in other blogs years ago that Obama is easily the most right wing President in history, and soon after said he was the worst President in history. ..."
"... TPP alone (Modified Feudalism. Thats more right wing than even the Tea Party – am I right?) makes Obama the most right wing President in history and its not even close. And the reason I called him the worst, is because of the Trojan Horse Affect he has being an enemy behind the oppositions lines or what Glenn Greenwald expressed by saying Obama may not be more evil than Bush, but he is the more effective evil. By occupying the party that is supposed to be liberal when he is not, he can more effectively and quickly pass right wing change from within than could the most right wing of all right-wingers in the other party. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Winston Smith , January 2, 2016 at 4:12 am

If I was passing out grades, with the TPP project, Obama gets a big fat F-

Never liked the guy, knew the hopium and changium memes and slogans were a big scam! Worse than Bush, because you at least knew where Bush stood. Obama is a fraudster of the worse kind!

Jill Stein's got my vote if Uncle Bernie isn't on the ticket! In my humbe opinion of course!

James Levy , January 2, 2016 at 6:19 am

Almost all commentary in the US mass media (which Alternet is on the fringes of) has as basic assumptions two memes: "compared to the Republicans" and "in the real world." I think if we want to be honest that we must say compared to a President Cruz or President Santorum, Obama looks fairly good. And as the commenter notes about Paris, in "the real world" tens of millions of Americans take it for granted that the job of the President is to "keep us safe" by slaughtering foreigners in sufficient numbers so that they fear us. Obama has done a lot of his slaughtering under the radar with drones and assassination teams and, being a black guy with a funny name, this is not sufficient to make many feel "safe".

Here, our criteria are different. We have both a broader picture of what is happening, what was and is possible (we could be wrong about the extent of what's possible, but that's another argument), and what the potential options are. All these factors lead us to see Obama as a dubious or awful president (opinions differ, even around here). Objectively, I think most of us who find Obama seriously wanting are more objectively correct than those who excuse what we see as his deliberate malfeasance.

On a personal note, all this horror is affecting me personally and sending me into flights of rage. This also hurts the critique of Obama because sometimes it gives off the "angry white guy" vibe that can be ugly and render your criticisms suspect. I know that global warming and gun violence have me so upset that my own judgment is at times distorted, although I can't have much truck with anyone who isn't deeply upset by these phenomena. And the old academic stance of radical objectivity and dispassion really can be a pose and socially sterile–leadership and mobilizing people is rarely all about dispassionate objectivity and pulling one's punches with neutral language. It all leaves me baffled as to the way ahead.

DJG , January 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Jim Levy: An excellent comment. As always, you argue carefully and even use unfashionable words like "dispassionate." (And how many blogs these days have commenters who might use the word "probity?")

On a personal note: I don't believe in hope, which is a theological virtue. By and large, it serves Christian eschatology, which is why I became suspicious of the decidedly un-religious Obama and his use of it. (Not right away. It took me till after the first inauguration and the Cabinet of re-treads.) And I am not persuaded the arc of history bends toward justice in the United States of America, which may be what makes the country exceptional. American crassness has defeated even its greatest prophets, not just Martin Luther King but Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, and Sinclair Lewis.

Yesterday, I had an open house to begin the year, and we touched on insurance. Many of my friends are free lances or self-employed owners of small businesses. We touched on what has happened here in Illinois, collectively blanched, and then discussed the fact that after 19 years of free lance I took a job. It is a plum job, and it has health benefits. ACA is going to grind down the middle class, and the happy talk of extended coverage doesn't talk about the crappiness, the insulting crappiness, of the policies.

I suspect that major change with regard to global warming, peace, and conversion to a new economy will not come from the United States . You'd think that a nation that adores England would note how the British Empire decayed and how the north of England was a swath of poverty and degradation well into the 1960s. So the solutions are going to come from smaller, odder places, just as mammals were a small and odd group when they arose, years ago. Portugal is intriguing, as is Norway. Sweden is trying in ways that the U.S. just won't do. And even Japan changes in remarkable ways. And I would never rule out Brazil.

Recommended reading: It may be the moment for Cavafy, who knew about decadent societies and the feeling of loss. See "Waiting for the Barbarians" and "Ithaca."

Yves Smith Post author , January 2, 2016 at 11:29 pm

DLG,

You may know that some interpretations of the Pandora's Box myth have the release of "Hope" at the very end not as a type of relief, but as a final scourge.

sd , January 2, 2016 at 6:21 am

Obama came in with Democratic majorities in both houses. Why does he always get a free pass to blame "obstructionist" Republicans? People were begging for a change in direction. Truly mediocre status quo writ large.

Inverness , January 2, 2016 at 8:01 am

You got it. Obama has a lot of enablers. I think the little "good things" he does (Iran negotiations, baby steps to curb climate change, nods to growing prison population, etc) are just palliatives to shut up the progressive opposition, to the extent that even exists.

Steven D. , January 2, 2016 at 10:34 am

Obama blew that majority as quickly as he could. Democrats were happy to lose majorities because they no longer had to produce results and could say the Republicans made me do it.

If they were serious, the Democrats would have passed an omnibus budget reconciliation with a big jobs program. They could have done this with simple majorities in both houses . It's the lack of good jobs that is causing the implosion of society. And that's on Obama and the Democrats who didn't turn things around when they had the chance.

TPP is the big tell for Obama. He's fighting for that like nothing else.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm

All of the "Incompletes" belong in the "Failures" column. And the "Successes"? ACA belongs in the "Failures" column, at least for anyone who cares about the cost of healthcare and understands single payer. Stopping the Great Recession belongs in the "Central Banks" column, they put $13T on their balance sheets and the bill just has not come due yet.

Diplomacy? Bombing 7 nations with no declaration of war does not count as "diplomacy" , recall that Jimmy Carter went 4 whole years without a single shot fired in anger, now THAT's diplomacy. And please point me to one single solitary foreign policy "success", I suppose you'd have to mention Cuba and Iran, Cuba was a gimme and it's far from clear that the Iran rapprochement has succeeded and is a net "win" for the US given the witches brew of the ME.

Obama wins my coveted "Worst_President_Ever" award , and yes I'm counting Andrew Johnson and Millard Fillmore. He simply normalized everything we hated about Bush, from Permanent War to unbridled corporo-fascism to a free pass for Wall St to unlimited spying that would make the Stasi drool. And no mention of the War on Whistleblowers. Can we also mention the $100M he spent on personal Versailles-style vacations? C'mon people…we know a "good" president when we see one, or even a marginal one…and O is at the other end of the spectrum.

I live in Australia and people often ask me what I think of Obama. My reply: "I think he's a war criminal, a corporo-fascist, a hypocrite, a liar, and a fraud. But he's got a passable jump shot, so there's that".

david s , January 2, 2016 at 6:14 pm

It's hard to imagine anyone who's a liberal or a progressive looking at the Obama years as anything other than a huge bust.

Steven D. , January 2, 2016 at 8:45 pm

Obama has said he aspires to follow in Lincoln's footsteps. However, the closest analogy is Buchanan, who thought the way to handle the slavers' power was to appease it, just like Obama appeared to think the way to handle corporate power was to appease it. And like Buchanan turned out to be the agent of the slavers' power, Obama is the agent of corporate power.

Larry , January 2, 2016 at 8:11 am

The same exact script that we had under Bill Clinton. It turns out when you give people hope, they come out to vote for you.

Especially at a time of economic crisis. But then when you deliver nothing for the largest block of voters, you quickly disenfranchise them and they either change their vote or don't bother to vote at all. The Senatorial elections in Massachusetts were a good barometer for Obama's quick loss of appeal. We had a tightly contested race between our former Attorney General, Martha Coakley, and Scott Brown for senate. Coakley was an awful candidate who was a somewhat effective AG, but had no personality or desire to run a strong campaign. Scott Brown was a fluff candidate who had been a local state representative.

When the race was clearly close due to the democrats failed policy and the potential for Scott Brown to be a deciding vote against Obamacare, Obama himself came and stumped for Coakley. A sitting president who had won an overwhelming majority of the vote in Massachusetts could do little to bring up Coakley's flagging campaign.

Scott Brown was elected and had a largely feckless few years in office. Now look who sits in that Senate seat. Elizabeth Warren, who one could say has stood up to Obama's largest policies and is by no means a democratic insider. So this is to say that most democrats or temporary Obama supporters were quickly disillusioned when the president they got didn't match the marketing promises they received on TV. But Obama doesn't care about building a majority any more than the Clintons did. He cares about his personal power, perception, and ultimately his own wealth.

craazyboy , January 2, 2016 at 6:26 am

Sure looks like an Obot, tuned down to soft sell mode. The "failures and incompletes" remind me of GWB's aweshucks moments. Iran needs to be moved from the Big Successes category to the aweshucks column now. Because, aweshucks, furry faced crazy mullahs. If only they were more like bankers, corporate America and the security state – where we could control them better?

PlutoniumKun , January 2, 2016 at 6:52 am

A few months ago on a thread here I asked generally what people thought actually motivated Obama – what makes him tick as a person – he clearly isn't a narcissist like Clinton, or a captive of his upbringing like Bush. I got some really interesting answers, its a pity I can't find them now. I don't believe that he is the sociopath that some on the left think he is – there is enough evidence from the first 2 years or so of his presidency that he was genuinely trying to do the right thing by the economy and in the Middle East, but the speed with which he retreated into an establishment shell at the first sign of trouble was remarkable and disturbing. I suspect that for someone thought of as a 'thinker', he seems to have a lack of real self awareness.

I'm less cynical than some about his motives with Obamacare, drones and TPP. I think Obama is, quite simply, not as bright as everyone assumes. I've met very educated, progressive-minded people, who will defend strongly some very regressive policies on the basis that 'yes, they are not ideal, but they are a step in the right direction, anything else is not politically feasible'. And yes, I used to think like that (NC being one of my big educators). It sounds pretentious to say people like that are not 'enlightened' yet, but to an extent it is true. It took me many years to shake off the assumptions of my own education (conservative) and upbringing (conservative). Quite simply, I think Obama isn't bright enough to realise that a clever political compromise is not the same thing as a good policy. He is surrounded by too many privileged people to realise that the consensus among privileged smart people is one distorted by deeply conservative and regressive assumptions. You can see it in his pre-presidential writings – he genuinely believes deep in his guts that if the self-identified 'smart' people have a consensus, then its the right thing to do.

But back to the point – I agree with Yves that this article is surprisingly generous to Obama, and given that it comes from the left, it shows that his natural charm works even on people who should know better. I find it shocking and dismaying at just how regressive and damaging Obama has been. If you compare him to another very conservative Dem – LBJ – the comparison is particularly stark. LBJ, in the face of huge odds and his own natural political proclivities, did quite amazing things in terms of Civil Rights and protecting the poor. Obama has, in my view, made things even worse, in a much more favourable political environment. I'm particularly horrified at his supposed environmentalism – he has done absolutely nothing that he wasn't dragged kicking and screaming into doing. I believe that deep down he has a natural distaste for 'regular folks'. In theory he wants to help them, but he can't help wishing they didn't actually exist. I've met a lot of people like him – many come from privilege, many do not – the fact that they think they bootstrapped themselves up makes their contempt even stronger.

Inverness , January 2, 2016 at 8:33 am

Yet, I do think Obama is quite bright, with a subtle wit and a profound understanding of oppression. I read parts of one of his books, and his poetic way of exploring how the poor on Chicago's South side live was truly moving. Which makes his transition to the dark side even more troubling.

That's why I think he's ultimately just plain cynical. What makes him tick? He's one of the most powerful men in the world, and he has plenty of enablers in the "intelligentsia" and on media outlets like NPR and the New York Times to convince him that he's some sort of great compromiser, a martyr for the Middle Path. I really do think Obama thinks he's just so damn reasonable, if only he didn't have to content with Congress and "bitter working class people." Ha. You're right, when he had both houses, he didn't exactly push for Wall Street prosecutions and regulations, did he? But why would he invest emotionally in that version of himself, which is the highly unflattering portrait of somebody who sold his soul?

After awhile, you buy into the narrative which both enables, and is flattering, to you. And I don't think brilliance makes you immune to that, not when you have access to all of that power. The mind is a flexible thing, and even smart people can just create new stories which are validating.

I recall seeing the German film "Mephisto," with Klaus Maria Brandauer. Brandauer's artist was a well-meaning, left-leaning guy who slowly went along with the Nazis, since it was beneficial to his career. I wouldn't underestimate what access to power and money can do. I suspect that Alexis Tsipras wanted to sincerely help his fellow Greeks out of economic devastation. However, the Troika has way more goodies to give him, than Greece ever could. So, why wouldn't he be seduced?

Truth be told, Obama has grown very creepy to me. More than a few of us have vivid images of him with that deck of playing cards of those on the kill list. I am not charmed by his appearances with media darlings like Jerry Seinfeld and Marc Maron, who, perhaps unwittingly, legitimize the great droner. To me, his chilling asides (like droning rivals to his daughter's favourite pop group, sharing his contempt for the angry poors, or his story about decrepit world leaders peeing themselves) reveal somebody who has lost touch with his humanity and has become dangerously self-satisfied. Jerry Seinfeld shared that "power corrupts." Did Obama recognize himself in that equation? Does he even care anymore? Either way, he has a very lucrative future career in speeches and publishing, so I think he'll be just fine. Leave it to the plebes, those pesky consciences.

PlutoniumKun , January 2, 2016 at 9:07 am

@inverness, I think you are generally right about that. I found part of his writing quite moving, but I always felt there was something calculated about it, something that didn't feel quite right. Even reading about his academic career, he always struck me as someone always so careful to quote and study the 'right' philosophers and writers and past politicians, reminiscent of those post grad students I know always careful to modulate their writings to their Professors prejudices. But I've always suspected this was instinctual rather than calculated with Obama, but its hard to be sure. But one thing that immediately struck me when I was reading his books was his huge lack of curiosity about economics and science – there was nothing, absolutely nothing to indicate he gave any thought whatever to those subjects.

I do think that he (along with his close advisors) see themselves as 'the grown-ups in the room' and bulwarks against 'the crazies'. Supporting drone strikes can be seen as 'grown up' policy when you are constantly dealing with hawks. But in his foreign affairs his understanding has always seemed to me to be shockingly shallow . As an obvious example where he could have made a very real difference without too much political issues, he could have reached out more to progressive governments in South and Central America, but he let the same old neo-imperialist playbook work itself out there, with a constant undermining of democratic centre left governments in the region.

  • He could, for example, have simply refused to give in to Hilary's idiotic "tilt to the Pacific' policy which is stupidly tin eared about China's genuine geopolitical concerns.
  • He could have said 'no' to the Saudi's idiotic attack on Yemen.
  • He could have stopped the meddling in the Ukraine and tried to understand Russia's genuine local concerns better without necessarily sucking up to Putin.
  • He could have stood up to Turkeys meddling in Syria and Iraq (not to mention the Gulf States support for Islamacists).

These are all things he could have done within his powers and with little real political cost, but he didn't do them. These, to me, are all evidence of someone out of his depth rather than someone who is a complete cynic.

Inverness , January 2, 2016 at 9:25 am

PK, your analysis is certainly fascinating, in particular the portrait of Obama as the teacher's pet. My brother-in-law completed both a PhD in philosophy and a law degree. He equates his academic career to glorified clerking, more than an investment in the life of the mind.

Obama seems to have just the right combination of intelligence, political correctness, breeding, and a conformist streak to thrive as a full-fledged member of the elite, whether in academia or in Washington. He certainly lacks the iconoclastic/rebellious streak which you see in brilliant minds like Noam Chomsky, unless he's disciplined enough to keep that under wraps for opportunistic reasons.

Left in Wisconsin , January 2, 2016 at 11:39 am

Obama seems to have just the right combination of intelligence, political correctness, breeding, and a conformist streak to thrive as a full-fledged member of the elite, whether in academia or in Washington.

Well said.

skippy , January 2, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Methinks this describes Obama to a 'T'

"Neoliberalism generally also includes the belief that freely adopted market mechanisms is the optimal way of organising all exchanges of goods and services (Friedman 1962; 1980; Norberg 2001). Free markets and free trade will, it is believed, set free the creative potential and the entrepreneurial spirit which is built into the spontaneous order of any human society, and thereby lead to more individual liberty and well-being, and a more efficient allocation of resources (Hayek 1973; Rothbard [1962/1970] 2004). Neoliberalism could also include a perspective on moral virtue: the good and virtuous person is one who is able to access the relevant markets and function as a competent actor in these markets. He or she is willing to accept the risks associated with participating in free markets, and to adapt to rapid changes arising from such participation (Friedman 1980). Individuals are also seen as being solely responsible for the consequences of the choices and decisions they freely make: instances of inequality and glaring social injustice are morally acceptable, at least to the degree in which they could be seen as the result of freely made decisions (Nozick 1974; Hayek 1976). If a person demands that the state should regulate the market or make reparations to the unfortunate who has been caught at the losing end of a freely initiated market transaction, this is viewed as an indication that the person in question is morally depraved and underdeveloped, and scarcely different from a proponent of a totalitarian state (Mises 1962)." – Joe Firestone

Skippy…. a product of environmental conditioning which was mentored in the early stages of political – life – by where the currant paradigm could be extended and advanced.

sd , January 2, 2016 at 10:54 am

Instead, one of his earliest initiatives – and remember, this marks the use of his earliest political capital in May 2009 – indefinite detention. I was beyond horrified and have regretted voting for him since that day.

Indefinite Detention = the real Barack Obama.

1 Kings , January 2, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Or siding with the telecoms sanctioning surveillance the first week he was official. Or Summers and Geithner. Or the great O-Care insurance sell out. Or pretending he was going after the banksters. Or Fracking. Or, Or, Or.

By the way, "The Great Droner' by one of the commenters above is genius. Certainly applies in a multitude of ways.

participant-observer-observed , January 2, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Notice your litany of or, or, or-s exemplify how nearly all of the so-called incompletes are actually failures (although we can count Congress and Senate as whole class failures).

I couldn't even read about the so-called economic recovery and bank bailouts by holding my nose. NC readers would need Dramamine (polite way if saying it).

Nevertheless, I have had a few dreams about informal meetings with Bho, and while i seem to have tried to give him some guidance, he was always charming and amicable…maybe simple good manners is enough to score with excellence.

DJG , January 2, 2016 at 4:07 pm

PK and Inverness: Astute comments, very thought provoking. I recall a profile of Obama in the New Yorker that referred to him as a Javanese prince, a pregnant metaphor, given his background. I believe, though, that the writer was referring to ceremonial kingship. Obama as embodying a symbolic kind of power.

I think that Obama is detached, which has meant that he is inured to the suffering of others. Surely, the video-kill of Osama bin Laden is detached (and immoral, but let's not go there yet)–especially publishing photos of the control room. This detachment evidently continues into retail politics. If he isn't giving a grand speech, he doesn't want to have to shake hands. There have been repeated complaints from congressional reps that he doesn't call. Not even colleagues in his own party.

The detachment devolves into a certain designed lack of excellence. He may be competitive, like many business people, but he lacks the ability to get things done. The endless droning about his background as a professor of constitutional law (it's an article of faith among his fan club) is belied by his policies (Guantanamo, drone killings, the extrajudicial killing and disposal of OBL). Yet he was so detached as a con law prof that he neglected to publish articles or books about the U.S. Constitution. Who did he influence? No one is ever quoted as saying that the class was good or that Obama has any kind of constitutional theories. Again, he's the Javanese prince, ceremonial, detached, waiting to rule. He's like an ever-shiny-and-new M.B.A.

He went to an elite high school, an elite college, and an elite law school (where he has the distinction of being an editor of a law review yet, again, never publishing). The detachment is internal and external–an empty suit, a child of privilege, no understanding of the consequences of wielding power.

I owe Geraldine Ferraro an apology–isn't she the one who was hushed for saying something like, So he gave one good speech? And the whole kerfuffle about the location of the Obama library, with the many sites? Isn't the presidential library supposed to be at the person's "home," and does Obama have a home?

Inverness , January 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm

I recall Angela Merkel complaining about how cold Obama is. She argued that at least Bush seems to connect on a personal level. Merkel and other world leaders were surprised at his unwillingness to socialize. When Europeans, in particular Germans, find you too reserved…this also speaks to your theory of detachment, albeit on a social level.

Martha Retallick , January 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Wait a minute. Did I just read that? Angela Merkel complaining about how cold Obama is? Yeesh!

OIFVet , January 2, 2016 at 5:41 pm

"He may be competitive, like many business people, but he lacks the ability to get things done." Yet, like many business people, failing upwards has been part of Barry's compensation package.

It's part and parcel of the US clepto-chrony-capitalist system. And the best is yet to come, just you wait until he vies with Bubba for being the richest ex-president…

optimader , January 2, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Clinton's natural skill has been his adept, and presumably disingenuous ability to insightfully focus and project empathy toward people, make them think he has their interests. Combined with an ability to triangulate opportunity, this is why he is such a excellent grifter BClinton's naturally ability to interact and ingratiate seems to me to be exactly the skillset BHO is utterly void of.

I think IN GENERAL, one on one most people have a hard time not liking BClinton. It is what it is.

OTOH, other than BHO's true believers, most of whom probably are of relatively modest means other than the Hollywood liberal dilettante sort that want the superficial interaction w/ the first half black POTUS, I don't really see BHO pulling off a BClinton scale payday..do you?

His narcissistic nature will inhibit that. So ok some BOD opportunity, maybe some foundation at UofC?, but who in the serious old money crowd will want to engage him as a peer and for what reason?

He kinda has the charisma of a POTUS version of Alberto Gonzalez.

OIFVet , January 2, 2016 at 6:59 pm

You may be right, but then again all of Bubba's charisma couldn't overcome Barry's shtick in 2008. Barry left them all in the dust in fundraising, and a large chunk of that came from Wall Street. So unless there is no honor amongst thieves, Barry will get his payday.

And FWIW, 'serious old money' looks like a pittance compared to the serious new money whose bacon Barry saved. Besides, I don't really see Bubba rolling with the old fogies club, I see him hobnobbing with Bono. In any case, we shall find out soon enough just how much Barry's service is worth.

Optimader , January 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Serious old money is a misnomer indeed, makes that serious money, that said i doubt Bono lets a nickel go too easily. Wall st looks to future opportunity will be yesterdays fish wrapper in a year. On 2098, that's a pretty good surrogate for HRC charm. I just dont see BHO being a wheeler dealer which in the end is about all BClinton has to offer anyone,

Still such a shame Chicago is BHO last known address

OIFVet , January 2, 2016 at 8:37 pm

"such a shame Chicago is BHO last known address" Dude, this fact harshest my mellow every time. Throw in the inevitability of His lie-Barry coming to the neighborhood and I completely crumple into a bottomless pit of self-pity. The thought of the hordes of 0bots making the pilgrimage to Hyde Park in the coming years is simply unbearable.

Sam Adams , January 2, 2016 at 9:01 am

What motivates Obama? I'd venture his upbringing as a half black outsider licking the Windows who now sees himself at the main house dining room table.

Carolinian , January 2, 2016 at 9:46 am

he clearly isn't a narcissist like Clinton

You're kidding, right? Of course some of us who have always seen Obama as a total narcissist could be wrong, but "clearly isn't"–where does that come from? In fact I'll just quote you later in your comment.

he can't help wishing they didn't actually exist. I've met a lot of people like him – many come from privilege, many do not – the fact that they think they bootstrapped themselves up makes their contempt even stronger.

Narcissist.

PlutoniumKun , January 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm

A true narcissist wouldn't be as obviously thin-skinned as Obama is. If he was narcissistic he might actually have been a better president, narcissists don't back down at the first obstacle the way he constantly seems to do.

Carolinian , January 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm

To punish Narcissus, the avenging goddess Nemesis made Narcissus fall hopelessly in love with his own beautiful face as he saw it reflected in a pool. As he gazed in fascination, unable to remove himself from his image, he gradually pined away. At the place where his body had lain grew a beautiful flower, honoring the name and memory of Narcissus.

–MS Encarta

If it quacks like a duck…..

nycTerrierist , January 2, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Narcissists are thin-skinned. Unflattering feedback is met with 'narcissistic rage'.

from wiki:

"Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury, which is a perceived threat to a narcissist's self-esteem or self-worth. Narcissistic injury (or narcissistic scar) is a phrase used by Sigmund Freud in the 1920s; narcissistic wound and narcissistic blow are further, almost interchangeable terms.[1] The term narcissistic rage was coined by Heinz Kohut in 1972.

Narcissistic injury occurs when a narcissist feels that their hidden 'true self' has been revealed. This may be the case when the narcissist has a fall from grace, such as when their hidden behaviors or motivations are revealed or when their importance is brought into question. Narcissistic injury is a cause of distress and can lead to dysregulation of behaviors as in narcissistic rage.

Narcissistic rage occurs on a continuum from instances of aloofness, and expression of mild irritation or annoyance, to serious outbursts, including violent attacks and murder…

NotTimothyGeithner , January 2, 2016 at 10:29 am

Obama isn't just the object if the Obot devotion, he is the biggest Obot of them all.

Obama like Clinton before him has no sense of the large picture, his own power, and any particular plans beyond Presidentin'.

Universal health care was never an end goal for either President. Being put in the history books as a bipartisan hero was their goal. Healthcare was a means to an end. They picked what they perceived as the easiest path to what they could call change. Bill handed off responsibility to his never elected wife with no relevant back ground in hopes no one would attack her. The difference between Bill/Obama and other narcissists (even Bernie is full of himself. He thinks he can have George Washington's old job) is they don't grasp the difference between quality and brand.

Jim Haygood , January 2, 2016 at 11:45 am

Big incompletes : playing more rounds of golf during two terms than any other president.

FORE!

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , January 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm

He has a place in the history books as "the first black president" nevermind that he was a complete disaster. Next up we will have "the first woman president", same outcome (hopefully not much worse, that would be difficult but given her politics and her backers she's already in the runner-up spot for my "Worst_President_Ever" award..

verifyfirst , January 2, 2016 at 7:11 am

I voted for Obama over Hillary in the 2008 primary because I did not want another Bill Clinton administration. What I got was another Bill Clinton administration–the same advisors and staff, whose advice Obama followed, especially economic advice. Obama is a lawyer by training, no numbers required.

As a professor of constitutional law, I would have guessed Obama would have at least been strong on civil liberties, but he was not.

Two bumper stickers I wrote for my car–"Drone bomb Obama's kids, as he drone bombs the kids of others" and "Hillary and Barack are war criminals".

Sorry if these are "too weak".

They are magnetic, so I can take them off when others are in the car with me–I worry about being attacked by an enraged Prius driver here in "progressive" Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Brooklin Bridge , January 2, 2016 at 7:59 am

A long post could be done on the subject of American sports, football in particular, as self mandated training wheels to our corresponding political duopoly; America! Locked in Lovers of making decisions based on two and only two choices by the time tested means of blind rage and blind team loyalty to raw ignorance. For short, we could call it, Concussions – USA .

The pluses this author attributes to a morally and ethically bankrupt individual who with overwhelming shock and awe provided by the system described above, Concussions – USA , conned Americans into making him president of their sometime democracy would simply dissolve into public ridicule and laughter under any other system (unless it had America's big gun pointed right at it's head).

Kokuanani , January 2, 2016 at 8:25 am

I'm curious – but too lazy to go over there & find out - how regular Alternet readers are replying to this fluff.

diptherio , January 2, 2016 at 9:48 am

Reaction there is largely similar to that here: Obama is a failure on nearly every count, is actually a conservative, and this "report card" is giving him too much of a pass. Encouraging!

Here's a representative comment from dave3137:

Oh, yes, and let's not forget the guy who stood by his Wall Street pals (Geithner, et al.) and told the banksters "help me to help you," while letting "Main Street" drown in the crisis they did NOT create. And let's not forget how this administration let people go because Breitbart and Fox threw up a smokescreen. And let's not forget that this administration is trying desperately to shove a "trade deal" (or three) down our throats that have almost zero advantages for ordinary Americans. And let's not forget how this Administration's justice department failed to prosecute ANY banksters but managed to exact a few minutes' worth of profits as "fines" - while bragging these were "record-breaking." Oh, and remember how Obama spoke out so forcefully against the "death panel" crap? And remember how "single payer" disappeared after big pharma had a White House meeting? And remember ending "endless war"? Closing Guantanamo? And oh yeah, let's not forget to give "credit" for "the most transparent administration in US history."

Llewelyn Moss , January 2, 2016 at 8:27 am

Obamacare, a Big Success. hahaha.
It mandated participation in a system that is based on horrific price gouging.

Stopping the great recession, a Big Success.
Yeah the Morbidly Rich did nicely by transferring their losses to the taxpayers. Thanks Bush-Bama.

After those two, I can't take the list seriously.

It's either Bernie or I go full Green Party from here on out.

Glen , January 2, 2016 at 8:54 am

I don't consider Obamacare or our "economic" recovery to be successes unless, 1) you're rich enough not to need Obamacare and 2) you're rich enough to benefit from the "economic" recovery. Nobody else benefited aside from those using the Medicare expansion, not the middle class, and most definitely not the poor.

Anybody who still votes Democratic based on "this is the best we can get" is admitting that our democracy is broke and they are getting screwed. One of the required actions to fix our democracy is to quit voting for the Democratic party based on that self defeating rational. I will vote for Bernie, I will not vote for Hillary.

Arizona Slim , January 2, 2016 at 10:11 am

I'm with you, Glen and Lleweyen.

And I'm meeting quite a few Republicans who don't care for Hillary or Trump. Tells me that the Sanders campaign has a huge opportunity to pick up votes.

mad as hell. , January 2, 2016 at 8:58 am

You won't find a better entertainer than B.O. I think in the last week I saw references to him hiking on some travel channel and also doing a segment with Jerry Seinfeld. Come on folks he's giving America what it wants in it's screen captured environment

I'll never forget the time my wife and I were sitting in a restaurant and across from me was a family or I at least assume it was a family of father, son and daughter. Teenage Son was playing some game on a hand held device. Early twenty something daughter was texting on a smart phone. Old school pop had his head tilted up and watching some show on the tv. I did not hear one word uttered that entire time by the Screen family.

Obama knows we are a nation of screen watchers and being the entertainer that he is covers the part exceptionally well. Although I have lost interest in watching his shtick anymore.

Carolinian , January 2, 2016 at 10:11 am

He is the designated spokesmodel for the "love me I'm a liberal" wing of the power duopoly (as opposed to the "proud to be an asshole" wing) , and as reward for staying on script he gets to enjoy the considerable privileges of office–privileges that, according to plugged in commentators like Pat Lang, he enjoys greatly.

Obama's only noteworthy accomplishment is providing the country with it's first African American President and for that he will always deserve some credit. He himself may be a big phony, but the pride this accomplishment has given to many black people isn't. One can also say that in a long line of Presidential mediocrities Obama is merely the latest. Clearly it's our American system that is deeply flawed and unable to cope with ever more serious problems.

NotTimothyGeithner , January 2, 2016 at 11:57 am

Obama loves the limelight, but he's going on shows, not drawing the crowds himself. Jerry Seinfeld isn't edgy or provocative (not that there's anything wrong with that), and he can't say no to the President, in a way a Carlin might, more mock the person to their face the way a Colbert might if he were so motivated. I didn't watch the Seinfeld appearance, but I've heard he is the nicest celebrity to meet.

Obama has recognized that the screens which once featured him are no longer tuned in and he's searching for attention. Every Presidential candidate is inherently an anti-Obama candidate.

roadrider , January 2, 2016 at 9:48 am

Yeah Yves I almost lost my lunch when I read this on Alternet yesterday. But I guess its par for the course from the Dem/liberal establishment. For better or worse, Obama is their guy, just like Hillary will be their girl and IOKIADDI (its OK if a Democrat does it). Neoliberal Heritage Foundation/Romney health insurance "reform"? No problem! It's a "Big Success"! Turning a blind eye to the largest, most destructive white-collar crime wave in our history? Well, he had "no choice". "Foaming the runway" for the Wall St perps while screwing ordinary workers, distressed homeowners and fraud victims? File it under 'saving the economy". Continuity (and worse) with the Bush/Cheney foreign policy and "War on Terrah"? Well, that's just "keeping use safe from the 21st century boogey-men that fuel the MIC and the warfare consensus among the "serious people". And I haven't even gotten to economic inequality remaining the same (or even worsening), the TPP, persecution of whistle blowers, inaction of student loans, promotion of Arctic oil drilling while pretending to be serious about climate change and on and on.

Obama's disastrous, failed presidency should have been a wake up call for Democrats and liberals. Instead they're doubling down on neoliberalism, militarism and Wall St toadyism in the form of Hillary Clinton. Their delusion that demographics and progress on social wedge issues will rescue them from the Republican dominance at the state and local level resulting from the disenchantment of voters with their party and candidates (case in point – losing the Maryland governorship to a Republican real-estate hack mostly because of low turnout in Dem strongholds) seems to be unshakeable. They don't seem to get that its not enough to not be the Republicans or to be only slightly less worse than them.

Until the Dem/liberal establishment wakes up I'm afraid that not much will change. I think its better to focus less on worrying about which establishment apparatchik will win the presidency to changing the electoral process so that more voices are heard (opening up the debates) which I hope will get more voters engaged in participating. That's the only way to take down the establishment that produces empty suit infotainment candidates like Obama and Clinton (not to mention the GOP troglodytes).

Jim McKay , January 2, 2016 at 9:52 am

Seems we/U.S. has become content grading our leaders withing paradigms of mediocrity. Seems like yesterday, the 2k election mess… recounts in Florida, Jeb's state troopers impeding black voters getting to voting booths, the black box voting machines producing more votes in Repub precincts then there were registered voters, Kathryn Harris (was Jeb "doing her"?) exerting "authority" ignoring law….

Scotus' decision remanding consideration of Florida recounts back to Florida Supreme Court was a calculated political decision to run out the legal clock, as several key SCOTUS members have explicitly and implicitly acknowledged. And then Tom Delay's illegal thugs bused into Florida on Tax Payer's dime, to thwart recounts.

BushCo and winger chest thumping but blind bravado intimidating their way to an election "victory" demonstrated the same blindness they executed in their other disasters: ignoring Enron, the lies behind Iraq, "Mushroom Clouds" and Israel's crimes levelling Lebanon, bailing out Banks while U.S. economy crumbled….

This was biggest political wakeup call of my life, and now 15+ years in the rear view mirror. AFAIC, the influences that allowed that to happen have gone unchanged. The U.S. tail still wags the dog. The Bush years were an illusory horror, setting the U.S. and world back in almost unfathomable ways.

Obama was elected with Bush approval ratings the lowest of ANY president in history. Many of the hardest of hard right wingers I knew who treated their neighbors who criticized Bush as moral enemies, had come around to grudingly acknowledge he was an…. asshole.

Obama had a mandate. He had an opportunity to change directions hugely had he the courage, vision and grasp of reality many "hoped". Despite many capable economic advisers after he won but before the inauguration, my heart sank when he announced nomination of Geithner: eg. someone guaranteed to "fix" things by moving piles of money around, but not remove the people who stole so much and deceived (literally) the world banking system. He instead gave them a get out of jail card, and re-filled their bank accounts and "trusted" them to "fix" things.

This is my take on BO's "hope".

He has done little more then continue in Bush's worst foibles, and in many ways looks to me like the world is worse off now then when he arrived. The ME mess has grown, and false premises under lie our disastrous polices there. In both US media and current candidates, these delusions seem to be accepted fact.

I take issue with author's (similarly assumed untruth) "Russia's land grab in Ukraine": that utterly ignores all the other forces (US and Israel policy especially) at play there with no regard for local interests: another example of "US Interests", no matter how selfish or destructive to a given area… if expressed by the White House, it must be so.

WRT authors bullet points, I take issue with 2 items in particular:

  • – Energy: BO nominated the right guy (Dr. Chu): he knew the "territory" and was on the cutting edge of the science… both from climate aspect and energy generation alternatives. Obama ignored him, subjugated Chu's best advice to "more pressing" issues dominated by Geithner recommendation ("we can't afford energy until economy is fixed"). But there was no hope of "fix", and "kicking the can" down the road on clean energy is the same as learning to "live with cancer". Chu left quietly, no wonder.
  • – Embracing Diplomacy: I'm glad he did Cuba… didn't see that coming. Decades overdue. But… despite our cascading disasters in ME, BO has learned little. Putin is the "threat", when evidence is overwhelming Russia's efforts in Syria are turning the tide there. Biggest contributors to Syria mess have been Turkey and Saudi Arabia (they've funded ISIS): US policy ignores this. Putin has reached out… repeatedly. Love to see Putin and BO (or next president) together, in public… for a week: open, frank discussions where the public can decide, not "policy makers" and advisers looking for an advantage for their petroleum client. Seems backroom discussions on Kerry's latest tour are moving towards some acknowledgment of this, but just as crooks on wall street still run the show, we'll never root out biggest cause of foolish Sunni/Shia endless conflicts without acknowledging those who fuel it. Again, worst players in this arena: Saudis and Turkey (Ergodan).

I guess I'll just leave it there… could write a book on this, but so what? I think BO had one of greatest opportunities to change course of America in huge ways, and in ways that were badly needed for US' and world's future. He missed most of them.

And at the risk of sounding racist, I'm disappointed at so many of our High Profile African Americans so many look up to (Oprah, Denzell…) who speak of BO with pride seemingly on advancement socially we could elect a Black president, but have ignored these larger issues. I think they could have done far better, to press him.

When it's all said and done, from where I site, we and the world are moving far too slowly and blindly to do what's needed to ensure a bright future for a lot more people. Our most pressing problems have been kicked down the road, and hardly acknowledged. I see not one current candidate even close to addressing things the way that's needed.

Just not enough courage, clarity and truth… period.

wbgonne , January 2, 2016 at 10:19 am

At a moment of historical inflection, when the fate of the entire world was to be determined, Barack Obama deceived the American people into believing he would usher in the systemic change needed after the collapse of conservatism. Instead, Obama revealed himself as a neoliberal ideologue who attempted to destroy progressivism and, in doing so, revived conservatism. Obama's deceit squandered the last good chance for the nation and humanity to roll back global warming. For that alone, history will condemn him.

As for his "substantive accomplishments," the only one even worth considering is his use of diplomacy. But, as usual with Obama, there is sleight of hand. Yes, he has shown reluctance to enter shooting wars. But at the same time, he doesn't hesitate to use drones and economic weapons to inflict untold punishment and generate evermore strife and create new generations of people who hate America. Which brings me to another point about Obama: apart from achieving his neoliberal dystopia, Obama's primary goal appears to be that he look good and be respected. (That weakness is why the Democrats and the Left might have inhibited Obama had they not defended and enabled him.) From Obamacare to fracking to economic royalism to race relations, Obama wants credit now and doesn't care that everything he has set in motion is a ticking time bomb.

All things considered, Obama is the worst president in American history. He was supposed to be the corrective, like FDR, showing the genius once again of the American Experiment. Obama had the mandate and he had the power but he was a liar and a fraud. Obama is an historical failure, one from which I'm not sure we can recover.

roadrider , January 2, 2016 at 10:40 am

At a moment of historical inflection, when the fate of the entire world was to be determined, Barack Obama deceived the American people into believing he would usher in the systemic change needed after the collapse of conservatism.

He never wanted to change the system – he merely wanted to be the guy who presided over it.

Ché Pasa , January 2, 2016 at 7:09 pm

+1

People who were paying attention, which I guess weren't a whole lot, saw pretty early that Obama was running to the right of Hillary. There was never much of a systemic "change" promise in what he had to offer.

He offered a change from W's bloody bluster and hope of escape from Cheney's visceral contempt for basic decency, and sure enough… that's about as far as the Hope and Change thing went.

Policy-wise, millions of Americans were forced into poverty from which most will never emerge. That was true under W and that is true under Obama. Economic policies are approximately consistent, favoring the financial sector at the expense of workers and social services. The Obamacare insurance scam might well have been implemented by a Republican president with or without a Democratic congress.

Foreign policy is different, but mostly because the failures of the Bush/Cheney model were monumental and unsustainable. Foreign policy is marginally less terrible, marginally less bloody, but it's no less imperialist, no less absurd, no less foolhardy.

Ché Pasa , January 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Obama is the worst president in American history

Oh fer gawdssake. Everybody knows that W was the worst president in American history, "all things considered." Obama is merely the worst since W.

Feh.

wbgonne , January 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm

I disagree. Bush was an abject failure in large part because he was pursuing a doctrine that was dead. Conservatism was spent yet Bush insisted upon it until it failed floridly. But we've had other failed presidents in out history and we've recovered. In a democracy like ours, the ballot is supposed to provide the corrective to such political failure. And that's exactly what Obama promised. Hope and change, remember that? But Obama lied - utterly and fundamentally - and, in doing so, Obama wrecked what remained of the Democratic Party, sent our polity into a tailspin and - most ominously - set us on a likely irreversible course of calamitous global warming. All things considered, that makes Obama the worst president in American history, IMNSHO.

Ché Pasa , January 2, 2016 at 7:17 pm

Bush/Cheney were not conservatives by any stretch of the imagination. They were radicals, especially Cheney, who saw that his mission in life was to redeem the legacy of the Nixon-Ford debacle - by killing and displacing millions in Mesopotamia and Afghanistan, creating as much chaos overseas as he could, and destroying what was left of a semi-egalitarian economy.

Pleased and proud of his accomplishments he is to this day. At least for his part W knows better than to crow.

MaroonBulldog , January 2, 2016 at 5:50 pm

By increasing the population covered by health insurance, Obamacare also increases demand for physicians to treat the additionally covered. Where are all those physicians going to come from?

Last year, the primary care physician who had been treating me for ten years resigned from the practice group, and I received a letter asking me to select a physician from new members of the practice group, who were now accepting patients. When I called, I was given a list of six young physicians to choose from: three graduated fromf medical schools in India, one from Pakistan, one from Colombia, and one from a local osteopathic medical school here in the United States.

Apparently, once consequence of Obamacare is a brain drain of medical practitioners from the rest of the world, mostly trained at the rest of the world's expense.

frosty zoom , January 2, 2016 at 10:52 am

first, a big shout out to our buddies at the nsa! happy new year, guys!

now, how could someone as evil as barack obama receive anything but an expulsion from the high school of human governance?

if only he'd stick to doodling on his desk..

NotTimothyGeithner , January 2, 2016 at 10:53 am

Emotional attachment, and breaking away from the pack is hard. I never liked the President. I thought his speeches were word salad and his books were boring and full of conventional wisdom. I have no problem pointing out his mistakes. If you thought the Preside the was a once in a lifetime figure in 2004, how would you feel if you decided to read his 2004 DNC speech?

-Plenty of Democrats don't want to become "racist unicorn chasers who want equality today" or acknowledge that the people they said were loons in 2009 for suggesting Obama didn't pass rainbows after eating were right and received undue criticism. There was a considerable amount of nastiness directed towards Obama critics who dared point out that guys like Rahm Emmanuel were disasters waiting to happen.

There is a good element of the population who has internalized an acceptable left-center-right view of politics. For them judging Obama as a failure would mean judging the left and center as failures. They have lives where they might not know the name and general background of every Senator and just hear a simple Republican/Democrat pie fight. They then assume he GOP is dastardly clever to have foiled Obama and his wonderful plans. Obama critics and even potential critics were drowned out for so long the echo chamber doesn't repeat a narrative of the Team Blue Reagan admirer desperately wants to be a Republican.

montanamaven , January 2, 2016 at 11:12 am

Oh, and another "tell" that this is conventional writing from conventional propaganda is the phrase "Russia's land grab in Ukraine." No, there was a coup in Kiev helped by 5 Billion US dollars. Right wing thugs forced the elected President to flee. Then all kinds of crazy statements about banning the Russian language in Ukraine and Russian speakers being sub human made it pretty easy for Crimea which Krushchev had ceded to Ukraine in 1954 to vote to go back to Mother Russia in an election. It was a defensive move not a "grab".

DJG , January 2, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Yep. That was one point in the article where I checked out mentally. The writer never heard of Victoria Nuland?

Jim McKay , January 2, 2016 at 7:58 pm

The writer never heard of Victoria Nuland?

Her husband is Robert Kagan, co-founder of PNAC (Project for a New American Century). Incredible damage Kagan engineered. Hard to fathom how Nuland made it into a BO admin., much less in position to craft US Ukraine (the coup) policy.

tegnost , January 2, 2016 at 11:30 am

Successes? 1.) medicaid clawbacks 2.)trillions instead of billions for wall st. 3.)reproductive rights for same sex couples 4.)drone diplomacy 5.)ice free passage through the arctic
Looks an awful lot like the "failures" list are the successes, no need to comment further
Incomplete 11.) more people living in tents, true, but not everyone yet 12.) H1b, H2b 13.) less gun violence, yep mm hmmm 14.) shoot the potentially violent 15.) go on a congressional junket to israel, but then come back to the house of reps, don't like, stay there forever, what would that accomplish?
tegnost reporting from LJ, the land of no (well, extremely lame) public transportation and unabashed HRC supporters. Think I'll sit outside the breakers and watch the world go by…

blurtman , January 2, 2016 at 11:41 am

The president repeatedly lied to Americans early on in his first term when he said that the banks had committed no crimes. The president's failure was not merely a failure in prosecuting and jailing bankers, it was much more:

1.) illustrating to all the undeniable existence of a two-tiered justice system. There are folks doing time for money laundering, you know.
2.) not re-establishing faith in the US financial system.

Perhaps it was a designed plan to shine a light on the corruption and hypocrisy that is Amerika, but I kind of doubt it.

Warf Rat , January 2, 2016 at 1:25 pm

In truth, Obama and Eric Holders inaction on the prosecution of white collar criminals has highlighted the undeniable two-tiered justice system ……….too bad nobody is paying attention. One could say that all the failures of Obama's presidency have done a good job shinning a light on all that is wrong with our country.

Chauncey Gardiner , January 2, 2016 at 6:23 pm

The terminology "Coddling corporate America" under the "Big Failures" list is much too charitable to this administration. This hasn't been about inviting a big campaign contributor to a sleepover at the White House, and the issues are ongoing.

TedWa , January 2, 2016 at 11:59 am

More succinctly, he's the Wall St Manchurian candidate and any benefits we the people have derived from his Presidency have only been "trickle down" at best. He lied at every turn to the American people to become President in 2008 all the while knowing that once in office his masters on Wall St would be well served. He's smart enough to fool everyone that voted for him – is that ever worthy of praise by Democrats? No – only by the Republicans that he had emboldened. They must have been laughing their arses off when they saw how this hope and change Presidency was unfolding in the 1st week and every week since. He had exposed his Achilles heel the 1st week in office, appointing one Wall St veteran after the other and the REpugs saw this and attacked. The Republican party was on it's way out, their President had lied us into wars and into invading other countries, torture and war crimes. But Barack alone saved them from their fates, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. No, nothing about BO should get a passing grade. As he said to Hillary in 2008, the Presidency is just a figure head office (not an office for a leader). Figure head and trickle down voodoo economics, that's about all we the people got. Oh yeah, and don't forget all the Republican victories over the last 8 years that never should have happened.

CraaaaaaaazyChris , January 2, 2016 at 12:15 pm

As I look back on the Obama presidency, his primary domestic achievement seems to be "Gay Lives Matter".

NotTimothyGeithner , January 2, 2016 at 1:41 pm

After major pressure and defeats in court. DADT was struck down before it was repealed, and Obama came out for gas marriage after fighting efforts against an anti-gay referendum in North Carolina.

James Housel , January 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I often wondered as he was led to the stage for his inauguration if someone didn't point out the snipers and hand him a script. After all, Kennedy was killed for not following his…We have been captive of the "deep state" for a long time. The business of America is the enabling of a global looting. Always has been, always will be.

It was obvious from the appointment of Eric(Pardon Me)Holder, Timmy (what tax?)Geithner and Robert Gates that nothing was going to change and that hope had left the building. Maybe that was the point, that it was pointless to hope.

NotTimothyGeithner , January 2, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Or he was a pronounced Reagan admirer and claimed the right to bomb anywhere on the planet whenever he felt like it all along and you didn't listen?

James Housel , January 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Well,

I confess I voted for him in 2008 (with reservations). The "lesser of two weevils". And perhaps seduced by "Dreams from my Father". I didn't expect revolution, but I also allowed "hope" for a moment. I voted for Jill Stein in 2012. And I vote in EVERY election. But I can't forget Emma Goldman's wisdom, "If elections changed anything, they would make it illegal".

TedWa , January 2, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Don't forget all the Republican victories over the last 8 years that never would have happened if he had been a man of his word. He owns those too. If the scale is A to F, I'd give him a G.

wbgonne , January 2, 2016 at 5:21 pm

I often wondered as he was led to the stage for his inauguration if someone didn't point out the snipers and hand him a script.

I was and I remain astonished at how Obama metamorphasized immediately after he won in 2007. I listened to a lot of Obama speeches in 2007 and I read his books and that Obama never stepped inside the White House. This transformation being so exquisitely executed, a suspicious mind might consider an orchestrated conspiracy. Maybe a rational mind, too, because the alternative explanation proves elusive.

Oregoncharles , January 2, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Alternative explanation: he's a skilled con artist.

montanamaven , January 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Long before his inauguration, he was a made man. Ken Silverstein in Harper's wrote "Barack Obama Inc" back in 2006. Black Agenda Report and Paul Street knew him from Chicago. Adolph Reed Jr wrote earlier than that and then repeated it in 2008 in The Progressive.

He's a vacuous opportunist.I've never been an Obama supporter. I've known him since the very beginning of his political career, which was his campaign for the seat in my state senate district in Chicago. He struck me then as a vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him. I argued at the time that his fundamental political center of gravity, beneath an empty rhetoric of hope and change and new directions, is neoliberal. – See more at: http://progressive.org/mag_reed0508#sthash.hEiRFBaY.dpuf

There was information early that he was the corporate pick, but people chose to put their fingers in their ears. It was the most frustrating time for me in my sojourn into politics. And it continues. I just had a new acquaintance tell me that Obama will go down as one of the great presidents. Sad.

James Housel , January 2, 2016 at 9:10 pm

There was a devastating piece in the Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/27/grim_proving_ground_for_obamas_housing_policy/ before the election that laid out the corruption…Not exactly Breitbart. The story sank w/o a trace

sid_finster , January 2, 2016 at 12:56 pm

I don't know how many O voters lurk here, but let me ask you this:

When you voted for Obama in 2008, is this really what you expected?

Steve from CT , January 2, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Three things stand out for me from Obama's first couple of months in office that indicated what kind of President he would be.

  1. Appointments. Rahm Emanuel, Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, Eric Holder and Arne Duncan. I would also throw in Sebelius as well. What did we expect from this crew of neoliberal thinkers. We got no prosecutions of Bush war criminals or Wall St criminals, bailout of banks but not Main St, "never let a crisis go to waste," privatization of schools, a health reform that will ultimately self destruct and many others mentioned here.
  2. Disappearance of the famed Obama multi million person mailing list which could have maybe made a huge impact on the next few Congressional and Senate elections. Why did this list go into hiding for way too many years.
  3. Despite his rhetoric to the contrary, listened too much to the neocon advisors ( including HRC) on foreign policy and Holder and Rahm on domestic issues. At that point, hope and change went out the window. What happened: prosecution of whistleblowers, more black inmates, affordable housing programs cut, Guantanamo stays open, schools turn private, environmental regs are not enforced, progressive voices are ignored. Not what most of us voted for.

And he didn't play golf with Speaker Boehner!!!!

Pavel , January 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Well I unsubscribed from that Obama list about 3 months into his first term, already pissed off and disillusioned - Rahm's appointment and some other decision at the time was the prompt.

However somehow Hillary's PAC got my name off it, and I got repeated donation requests from the Ready For Hillary people, without an "unsubscribe" option, which to me makes it borderline illegal spam.

And recently I got an email from Harry Reid's group, on the same address. All very fishy, and extremely annoying.

stinky , January 2, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Obama is best understood as a CIA "project" since his early teens. he's been groomed

timbers , January 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm

I said early on in other blogs years ago that Obama is easily the most right wing President in history, and soon after said he was the worst President in history.

Some posting here ridiculed me at the time on those other blogs for those statements. Now many comments sometimes paraphrase the same thought.

TPP alone (Modified Feudalism. That's more right wing than even the Tea Party – am I right?) makes Obama the most right wing President in history and it's not even close. And the reason I called him the worst, is because of the Trojan Horse Affect he has being an enemy behind the oppositions lines or what Glenn Greenwald expressed by saying "Obama may not be more evil than Bush, but he is the more effective evil." By occupying the party that is supposed to be liberal when he is not, he can more effectively and quickly pass right wing change from within than could the most right wing of all right-wingers in the other party.

Oregoncharles , January 2, 2016 at 5:41 pm

That article reminds me of the reason I left Alternet. FWIW, I used to be a dedicated commenter there. But during the campaign in 2012, they systematically rigged their coverage (coverage is far more important than endorsements), suppressing anything that made Obama look bad – more than any other liberal site I followed. The final straw was when a good article by one of their own writers was unceremoniously removed from the front page and relegated to a cubbyhole where you wouldn't find it unless you were looking for it. That made it clear there was an editorial judgement (probably by the publisher) to censor their reporting.

I thought that was unforgivable, so when the election was past I made a fuss in as many comments as I could and then abandoned the site. They sell ads, so clicks are worth money to them, and I was providing a lot of clicks. At this point, I visit it only when NC provides a link I want to read. I doubt the publisher has changed.

This article goes beyond "cautious" to the sort of coverup they committed in 2012 (personally, I don't think much of Rosenfeld). I'm not criticizing Yves for posting it – it's a good example of something or other, and generated a lot of discussion. But mainly, it's an example of the difference between NC and in-the-bag sites like Alternet or Salon, where I sometimes post links to NC articles just to be difficult. Did it today, on the article on Obamacare by Paul Rosenberg. Remarkably, that elicited a plug for NC from the author (Rosenberg – boy are those names easy to confuse)!

Lambert Strether , January 2, 2016 at 11:01 pm

Ah yes. I remember Open Left from 2009 – 2010 very well… Just another career "progressive" site suppressing single payer advocacy because Obama. Of course, if they'd gone full on for single payer then, the ground would be prepared now for the real solution. So their tactics did real damage.

Humanbean , January 2, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Hi Yevs,

Happy! New Year. How about this assessment of Obama years in the Oval Office? I agree with what Thomas Frank has to say in this piece 100%

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/11/its_not_just_fox_news_how_liberal_apologists_torpedoed_change_helped_make_the_democrats_safe_for_wall_street/

[Jan 01, 2016] Daniel Ellsberg US Military-Industrial Complex Also Includes Big Corporations and Congress

Notable quotes:
"... "[The] CIA particularly represents the views of the Wall Street investment firms and the multinational corporations that they invest in," noted the whistleblower who leaked "The Pentagon Papers." ..."
"... Yet Ellsberg also warns that it is possible to overstate the importance of the U.S. military, because the military, Congress, and the various U.S. national security agencies all serve interests outside a sitting administration. ..."
"... "[The] CIA particularly represents the views of the Wall Street investment firms and the multinational corporations that they invest in, and the law firms that represent those companies," he said. ..."
"... The United States claims to support democracy throughout the world, but, Ellsberg said: "That is false. That is a cover story." ..."
"... If anyone comes to power that opposes U.S. interests, American forces can overthrow them, Ellsberg argues. Washington's relationships with other nations are not democratic, he says, but imperial, as much as they were in the time of Sargon, the world's first emperor, who Ellsberg introduced in Chapter 1 of this series. As a result, U.S. foreign policy has supported torturers and war crimes for over a century. ..."
"... Philip Agee, the CIA's highest ranking defector, always said CIA stands for Capitalism' Invisible Army ..."
"... Ellsberg is exactly right. The US is not a democracy. The US regime is the enforcement wing of multi-national capital. It is a wholly captured government by captialists. ..."
"... There's nothing new about the claim that Eisenhower deleted the reference to Congress just before his far-famed farewell speech. This has been well-known for decades. ..."
28 December 15 | readersupportednews.org

By Mint Press News

"[The] CIA particularly represents the views of the Wall Street investment firms and the multinational corporations that they invest in," noted the whistleblower who leaked "The Pentagon Papers."

In the second chapter of his extended conversation with Arn Menconi, Daniel Ellsberg describes how, after his trial for leaking the Pentagon Papers, he began to realize that the Vietnam War was not an "aberration" but a representation of standard U.S. foreign policy.

"The big difference was the Vietnamese resisted us," Ellsberg explained. He says learned more about the nature of the U.S. military-industrial complex as he dug deeper into the origins of the conflict.

On Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a famous farewell address which popularized the term "military-industrial complex," but Ellsberg says the outgoing president had originally intended to refer to the "military-industrial-congressional complex," only to drop the reference to Congress at the last minute. The whistleblower explains that allies of the military and nuclear scientists in Congress blocked Eisenhower's efforts to create a nuclear test ban treaty with Russia, inspiring Eisenhower's speech, which warned the American public to "guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

Yet Ellsberg also warns that it is possible to overstate the importance of the U.S. military, because the military, Congress, and the various U.S. national security agencies all serve interests outside a sitting administration.

"[The] CIA particularly represents the views of the Wall Street investment firms and the multinational corporations that they invest in, and the law firms that represent those companies," he said.

The United States claims to support democracy throughout the world, but, Ellsberg said: "That is false. That is a cover story."

Instead, he explained that the U.S. supports whatever leaders will support the country's covert foreign policy. In addition to carrying out assassinations and interfering in those countries' elections, the U.S. forms "close relationships with their military which we achieve through a combination of training them … promoting the people we like, direct bribery, arms sales, arms grants - giving them toys in other words - and helping them against dissidents."

If anyone comes to power that opposes U.S. interests, American forces can overthrow them, Ellsberg argues. Washington's relationships with other nations are not democratic, he says, but imperial, as much as they were in the time of Sargon, the world's first emperor, who Ellsberg introduced in Chapter 1 of this series. As a result, U.S. foreign policy has supported torturers and war crimes for over a century.

Key policies the U.S. supports on behalf of Wall Street include "holding down the wages and selling the local resources at very low value," according to Ellsberg, who added that the governments which support these policies "could not stay in power in democratic elections, so we are against democracy in those countries."

Even in places where the U.S. supports democracy, he says, such as Europe, Washington cooperates with the elite in those countries to discourage candidates that support real change. America's leaders in the military-industrial complex believe "[w]e run [foreign countries] better than they would run themselves."

But Washington is increasingly unable to run itself, Ellsberg notes, citing the nation's rapidly failing infrastructure.

"Can we fix those things while maintaining the military investments …? Even we can't do that," he concluded.

Listen to Chapter 2 | Looking beyond Eisenhower's military-industrial complex:

RMDC 2015-12-28 18:04

"[The] CIA particularly represents the views of the Wall Street investment firms and the multinational corporations that they invest in, and the law firms that represent those companies,"

Yes, of course. It was wall street tycoons and lawyers who created the OSS and CIA. They all had huge investments in Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and they wanted to be sure WW II was fought with their financial interests foremost. These corporate lawyers were used to overthrowing government around the world for their wall street clients. Donavan, the Dulles Brothers, Wisner, and the like were world class cutthroats. They moved into the government and took it over.

Philip Agee, the CIA's highest ranking defector, always said CIA stands for Capitalism' Invisible Army. This is important. They CIA scours the earth doing the dirty work of Wall Street. When needed, the Pentagon is called in.

Ellsberg is exactly right. The US is not a democracy. The US regime is the enforcement wing of multi-national capital. It is a wholly captured government by captialists.

goodsensecynic 2015-12-29 00:07

There's nothing new about the claim that Eisenhower deleted the reference to Congress just before his far-famed farewell speech. This has been well-known for decades.

What needs to be added, however, is that the elements of ruling class domination are even more extensive and far more complex.

We should be discussing the military-industrial-congressional-financial-commercial-ideological-technological complex (with the possibility of adding more pieces such as the agricultural, chemical, pharmaceutical and, perhaps, many, many more).

Although the particular connections among them may be shifting and almost kaleidoscopic, basic patterns of economic, political and social dominance will always emerge.

By "ideological," of course, I mean the combination of the corporate media, the allegedly "social" media, "official" education, and whatever passes for religion - especially in its "fundamentalist " aberrations in the Abrahamic cultures.

And, a final caveat: the above merely identify aspects of the "domestic" power structure. It is also replicated globally with many of the same "players" shifting natural resources, information technology, capital and currency around in a way that may be permanently beyond the reach of the governments of even the most powerful semi-sovereign nations.


anarchteacher 2015-12-29 00:55

What Daniel Ellsberg, Dwight Eisenhower, C. Wright Mills, and numerous others have outlined is what the incomparable Peter Dale Scott now describes as the deep state:

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/06/charles-burris/the-american-deep-state/ The American Deep State

http://archive.lewrockwell.com/burris/burris10.html Hidden History: Where Organized Crime and Government Meet

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/10/charles-burris/the-deep-state-3/ The Deep State and the Hughes-Nixon-La nsky Connection

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/12/charles-burris/coup-detat-1963/ Dallas '63: A Brilliant Synthesis Regarding the November 22, 1963 Coup d'état

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/deep-state-november-22-1963-coup-detat/ The Deep State and the November 22, 1963 Coup d'état

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/bill-moyers-time-come-clean/ Bill Moyers: It Is Time To Come Clean

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/allen-dulles-fascist-spymaster-deep-state-architect/ Allen Dulles: Fascist Spymaster and Deep State Architect

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/dull-duller-dulles-select-bibliography/ Dull, Duller, Dulles: A Select Bibliography

https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/licio-gelli-p2-power-elite-analysis/ Licio Gelli, P2, and Power Elite Analysis

http://www.amazon.com/The-American-Deep-State/lm/R10Z1J3CVNOAY1/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full/lewrockwell The American Deep State -- an Amazon book list

bullslam 2015-12-29 03:42

Nowhere do I see reference to John Perkins, the author of "Confessions of an Economic Hitman." Perkins lays all of this out clearly and concisely, and includes the World Bank and The WMF, (The World Monetary Fund).

One of their tactics is to loan an emerging nation huge amounts of money which they can never pay back. In return they will allow Western bank and oil interests, pharmaceuticals , bio-tech, copper, etc. whatever natural resources that Western Capitalists want to exploit. Perkins is sent in to meet with the leaders. He tells them the money is theirs to do whatever they like. Use it for their country or for themselves.

Some of the leader are actually honorable and refuse the money. Perkins then pulls out the big warning: Take the money or die by assassination. Some leaders refused. Within six months the Capitalists sent in what Perkins calls "the jackals". The honorable leader is assassinated.

There are people even now, doing what he did.

Activista 2015-12-29 12:51

1 trillion + military waste is corrupting/destroying USA. We need to get rid of this burden.

Vardoz 2015-12-29 14:57

We are being systematically impoverished and destroyed by corporate interests. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are the only senators who do not vote against our better interests and want to protect the health, safety and welfare of the 99%. As Biden once called it we the people are being subjected to economic terrorism.

judithehrlich 2015-12-29 17:27

If you'd like to know more about Daniel Ellsberg please see the website for our Oscar-nominated film, "The Most Dangerous Man in American, Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers", www.mostdangerousman.org . Edward Snowden was inspired to act after seeing the film.

[Dec 24, 2015] Obama's foreign policy goals get a boost from plunging oil prices

Notable quotes:
"... At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration's foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States. ..."
The Washington Post

Plunging crude oil prices are diverting hundreds of billions of dollars away from the treasure chests of oil-exporting nations, putting some of the United States' adversaries under greater stress.

After two years of falling prices, the effects have reverberated across the globe, fueling economic discontent in Venezuela, changing Russia's economic and political calculations, and dampening Iranian leaders' hopes of a financial windfall when sanctions linked to its nuclear program will be lifted next year.

At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration's foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladimir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States.

"Cheap oil hurts revenues for some of our foes and helps some of our friends. The Europeans, South Koreans and Japanese - they're all winners," said Robert McNally, director for energy in President George W. Bush's National Security Council and now head of the Rapidan Group, a consulting firm. "It's not good for Russia, that's for sure, and it's not good for Iran."

... ... ...

In Iran, cheap oil is forcing the government to ratchet down expectations.

The much-anticipated lifting of sanctions as a result of the deal to limit Iran's nuclear program is expected to result in an additional half-million barrels a day of oil exports by the middle of 2016.

But at current prices, Iran's income from those sales will still fall short of revenue earned from constrained oil exports a year ago.

Moreover, low prices are making it difficult for Iran to persuade international oil companies to develop Iran's long-neglected oil and gas fields, which have been off limits since sanctions were broadened in 2012.

"Should Iran come out of sanctions, they will face a very different market than the one they had left in 2012," Amos Hochstein, the State Department's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, said in an interview. "They were forced to recede in a world of over $100 oil, and sanctions will be lifted at $36 oil. They will have to work harder to convince companies to come in and take the risk for supporting their energy infrastructure and their energy production."

Meanwhile, in Russia, low oil prices have compounded damage done by U.S. and European sanctions that were designed to target Russia's energy and financial sectors. And when Iran increases output, its grade of crude oil will most likely go to Europe, where it will compete directly with Russia's Urals oil, McNally said.

Steven Mufson covers the White House. Since joining The Post, he has covered economics, China, foreign policy and energy.

[Dec 23, 2015] Jewish neocons and the romance of nationalist armageddon

Notable quotes:
"... The Pity of It All : A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933 ..."
"... Perhaps you are making too much of the so called decline of the neocons. At the strategic level, there is little difference between the neocon "Project for a the New American Century" and Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard," both of which are consistent with US policy and actions in the Ukraine. ..."
"... The most significant difference seems to me to be the neocon emphasis on American unilateral militarism versus Obama's emphasis on multilateralism, covert operations and financial warfare to achieve the desired results. ..."
"... Perhaps another significant difference is the neocon emphasis on the primacy of the American nation-state versus the neoliberal emphasis on an American dominated global empire. ..."
"... Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. ..."
"... Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. ..."
"... Right Sector militias are the fighting force that led the coup against the legally elected Yanukovich government and were almost certainly involved in the recent massacre in Odessa. And you support them for their fight for freedom? You should be ashamed. Zionism is sinking to new lows that they feel the need to identify with open neo-Nazis. ..."
"... Well, the point is that Zionists in Israel do not identify with that particular set of open neo-Nazis. I suspect that this is simply a matter of the headcount of Jewish business tycoons that are politically aligned with (western) Ukraine and Russia. Or you can count their billions. ..."
"... The problem with your reasoning, Yonah, is that you are espousing the Neocon line while not apparently recognizing that embarrassing fact. You lament that the US is no longer playing the role of the world's superpower, and acting as the world's cop, confronting militarily Russia, China, Iran and anyone else. It is precisely that mentality that got us into Iraq, could yet have us in a war with Iran, would like to see us defending Ukraine, and thinks we should confront China militarily over bits of rock it and its neighbors are quibbling over. That is a neocon, American supremacy mentality. ..."
"... Zionism under Likud has played a major role in promoting the neocon approach to foreign policy in the US. It was heavily involved in the birth of that approach, and has helped fund and promote the policy and its supporters and advocates in this country. They (Likud Zionists and Neocons) played a major role in getting us into the Iraq war and are playing a major role in trying to get us involved in a war with Iran, a war in Syria, and even potential wars in Eastern Europe. That is a very dangerous trend and one folks as intelligent as you are, should be focusing on. ..."
"... "nationalist Armageddon that is nowhere found in the article by Sleeper" ..."
"... "The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. " ..."
"... Tough. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives don't rate a mention. ..."
"... " (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world, for after all they hold a trillion dollars in US government debt and so let them act like the boss, for in fact they have been put in that role by feckless and destructive and wasteful US policy). But Sleeper does not say that." ..."
"... But even if we do focus on neocons, neocons don't have opinions about foreign policy and USA dominance that are much distinct from what most Republican interventionists have. How much difference is there between David Frum and Mitt Romney or between Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld? ..."
"... Don't look to the US to get any justice in the ME, nor to regain US good reputation in the world. This will situation will not change because US political campaign fiancé system won't change–it just gets worse, enhanced by SCOTUS. ..."
"... But neoocns have the confidence that if they could impose the neocon's theology on the rest of the world, they can do it here as well on American street . They call it education, motivation, duty, responsibility, moral burden, and above all the essence of the manifest destiny. ..."
mondoweiss.net
May 6, 2014 | mondoweiss.net

At the Huffington Post, Jim Sleeper addresses "A Foreign-Policy Problem No One Speaks About," and it turns out to Jewish identity, the need to belong to the powerful nation on the part of Jewish neoconservatives. Sleeper says this is an insecurity born of European exclusion that he understands as a Jew, even if he's not a warmongering neocon himself. The Yale lecturer's jumping-off point are recent statements by Leon Wieseltier and David Brooks lamenting the decline of American power.

In addition to Wieseltier and Brooks, the "blame the feckless liberals" chorus has included Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, David Frum, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and many other American neoconservatives. Some of them have been chastened, or at least been made more cautious, by their grand-strategic blunders of a few years ago…..

I'm saying that they've been fatuous as warmongers again and again and that there's something pathetic in their attempts to emulate Winston Churchill, who warned darkly of Hitler's intentions in the 1930s. Their blind spot is their willful ignorance of their own complicity in American deterioration and their over-compensatory, almost pre-adolescent faith in the benevolence of a statist and militarist power they still hope to mobilize against the seductions and terrors rising all around them.

At bottom, the chorus members' recurrent nightmares of 1938 doom them to reenact other nightmares, prompted by very similar writers in 1914, on the eve of World War I. Those writers are depicted chillingly, unforgettably, in Chapter 9, "War Fever," of Amos Elon's The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933. Elon's account of Germany's stampede into World War I chronicles painfully the warmongering hysterics of some Jewish would-be patriots of the Kaiserreich who exerted themselves blindly, romantically, to maneuver their state into the Armageddon that would produce Hitler himself.

This is the place to emphasize that few of Wilhelmine German's warmongers were Jews and that few Jews were or are warmongers. (Me, for example, although my extended-family history isn't much different from Brooks' or Wieseltier's.) My point is simply that, driven by what I recognize as understandable if almost preternatural insecurities and cravings for full liberal-nationalist belonging that was denied to Jews for centuries in Europe, some of today's American super-patriotic neo-conservatives hurled themselves into the Iraq War, and they have continued, again and again, to employ modes of public discourse and politics that echo with eerie fidelity that of the people described in Elon's book. The Americans lionized George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and many others as their predecessors lionized Kaiser Wilhelm, von Bethmann-Hollweg, and far-right nationalist associates who hated the neo-cons of that time but let them play their roles….

Instead of acknowledging their deepest feelings openly, or even to themselves, the writers I've mentioned who've brought so much folly and destruction upon their republic, are doubling down, more nervous and desperate than ever, looking for someone else to blame. Hence their whirling columns and rhythmic incantations. After Germany lost World War I, many Germans unfairly blamed their national folly on Jews, many of whom had served in it loyally but only a few of whom had been provocateurs and cheerleaders like the signatories of [Project for New American Century's] letter to Bush. Now neo-cons, from Wieseltier and Brooks to [Charles] Hill, are blaming Obama and all other feckless liberals. Some of them really need to take a look in Amos Elon's mirror.

Interesting. Though I think Sleeper diminishes Jewish agency here (Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are no one's proxy) and can't touch the Israel angle. The motivation is not simply romantic identification with power, it's an ideology of religious nationalism in the Middle East, attachment to the needs of a militarist Sparta in the Arab world. That's another foreign policy problem no one speaks about.

Krauss, May 6, 2014, 2:11 pm

"Democracy in in the Middle East" was always just a weasel-word saying of "let's try to improve Israel's strategic position by changing their neighbours".

The neocons basically took a hardline position on foreign interventionism based out of dual loyalty. This is the honest truth. For anti-Semites, a handful of neocons will always represent "The Jews" as a collective. For many Jews, the refusal to come to grips with the rise of the neocons and how the Jewish community (and really by "community" I mean the establishment) failed to prevent them in their own midst, is also a blemish.

Of course, Jim Sleeper is doing these things now. He should have done them 15-20 years ago or so. But better late than never, I guess.

Krauss, May 6, 2014, 2:16 pm

P.S. While we talk a lot about neocons as a Jewish issue, it's also important to put them in perspective. The only war that I can truly think of that they influenced was the Iraq war, which was a disaster, but it also couldn't have happened without 9/11, which was a very rare event in the history of America. You have to go back to Pearl Harbor to find something similar, and that wasn't technically a terrorist attack but rather a military attack by Japan.

Leading up to the early 2000s, they were mostly ignored during the 1990s. They did take over the GOP media in the early 90s, using the same tactics used against Hagel, use social norms as a cover but in actuality the real reason is Israel.

Before the 90s, in the 70s and 80s, the cold war took up all the oxygen.
So yeah, the neocons need to be talked about. But comparing what they are trying to do with a World War is a bit of a stretch.

Finally, talking about Israel – which Sleeper ignored – and the hardline positions that the political class in America have adopted, if you want to look who have ensured the greatest slavishness to Israel, liberal/centrist groups like ADL, AJC and AIPAC(yes, they are mostly democrats!) have played a far greater role than the neocons.

But I guess, Sleeper wasn't dealing with that, because it would ruin his view of the neocons as the bogeymen.

Just like "liberal" Zionists want to blame Likud for everything, overlooking the fact that Labor/Mapai has had a far greater role in settling/colonizing the Palestinian land than the right has, and not to speak about the ethnic cleansing campaigns of '48 and '67 which was only done by the "left", so too the neocons often pose as a convenient catch-all target for the collective Jewish failure leading up to Iraq.

And I'm using the words "collective Jewish failure" because I actually don't believe, unlike Mearsheimer/Walt, that the war would not have gone ahead unless there was massive support by the Israel/Jewish lobby. If Jews had decided no, it would still have gone ahead. This is also contrary to Tom Friedman's famous saying of "50 people in DC are responsible for this war".
I also think that's an oversimplification.

But I focus more on the Jewish side because that's my side. And I want my community to do better, and just blaming the neocons is something I'm tired of hearing in Jewish circles. The inability to look at liberal Jewish journalists and their role in promoting the war to either gentile or Jewish audiences.

Kathleen, May 6, 2014, 6:53 pm

There was talk about this last night (Monday/5th) on Chris Matthew's Hardball segment on Condi "mushroom cloud" Rice pulling out of the graduation ceremonies at Rutger's. David Corn did not say much but Eugene Robinson and Chris Matthews were basically talking about Israel and the neocons desires to rearrange the middle east "the road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad" conversation.

Bumblebye, May 6, 2014, 2:33 pm

"some of today's American super-patriotic neo-conservatives hurled themselves into the Iraq War"

Have to take issue with that – the neo-cons hurled young American (and foreign) servicemen and women into that war, many to their deaths, along with throwing as much taxpayer money as possible. They stayed ultra safe and grew richer for their efforts.

Citizen, May 7, 2014, 9:03 am

@ Bumblebye

Good point. During WW1, as I read the history, the Jewish Germans provided their fair share of combat troops. If memory serves, despite Weimar Germany's later "stab in the back" theory, e.g., Hitler himself was given a combat medal thanks to his Jewish senior officer. In comparison to the build-up to Shrub Jr's war on Iraq, the Jewish neocons provided very few Jewish American combat troops.

It's hard to get reliable stats on Jewish American participation in the US combat arms during the Iraq war. For all I've been able to ascertain, more have joined the IDF over the years. At any rate, it's common knowledge that Shrub's war on Iraq was instigated and supported by chicken hawks (Jew or Gentile) at a time bereft of conscription. They built their sale by ignoring key facts, and embellishing misleading and fake facts, as illustrated by the Downing Street memo.

Keith, May 6, 2014, 7:47 pm

PHIL- Perhaps you are making too much of the so called decline of the neocons. At the strategic level, there is little difference between the neocon "Project for a the New American Century" and Brzezinski's "The Grand Chessboard," both of which are consistent with US policy and actions in the Ukraine.

The most significant difference seems to me to be the neocon emphasis on American unilateral militarism versus Obama's emphasis on multilateralism, covert operations and financial warfare to achieve the desired results.

Perhaps another significant difference is the neocon emphasis on the primacy of the American nation-state versus the neoliberal emphasis on an American dominated global empire.

So yes, the nationalistic emphasis is an anachronism, however, the decline of the US in conjunction with the extension of a system of globalized domination should hardly be of concern to elite power-seekers who will benefit. In fact, the new system of corporate/financial control will be beyond the political control of any nation, even the US. If they can pull it off. An interesting topic no doubt, but one which I doubt is suitable for extended discussion on Mondoweiss. As for power-seeking as a consequence of a uniquely Jewish experience, perhaps the less said the better.

ToivoS, May 7, 2014, 8:10 pm
Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. The Ukraine crisis exposes that 10% difference. Brzezinski I very much doubt has any emotional attachment to Israel though he is happy to work in coalition with them to further his one true goal which is to isolate and defeat Russian influence in the world. In the 1980s both were on the same page in the "let my people go" campaign against the Soviet Union. Brzezinski saw it as a propaganda opportunity to attack Russia and the neocons saw it has a source of more Jews to settle Palestine.

Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. When it comes down to it it is hard for many Jews, right wing or not, to support the political movement inside Ukraine that identifies with Bandera. Now that was one nasty antisemite whose followers killed many thousands of Ukrainian Jews during the holocaust. My wife's family immigrated from Galicia and the Odessa region and those left behind perished during the holocaust. The extended family includes anti-zionists and WB settlers. There is no way that any of them would identify with Ukrainian fascist movements now active there.

In any case, there does seem to be a potential split among the neocons over Ukraine. It would be the ultimate in hypocrisy for all of those eastern European Jews who became successful in the US in the last few generations to enter into coalition with the Bandera brigades.

RudyM, May 7, 2014, 9:36 pm
Interesting, meaty analysis here of the various players in Ukraine. This is unequivocally from a Russian perspective, incidentally:

link to wikispooks.com

(I know I'm always grabbing OT threads of discussion, but when it comes down to it, I know much less about Zionism and Israel/Palestine than many, if not most of the regular commenters here.)

I also am going to drift further off-topic by saying there is strong evidence that the slaughter in Odessa last Friday was highly orchestrated and not solely the result of spontaneous mob violence. Very graphic and disturbing images in all of these links:

I have only glanced at these:

American, May 6, 2014, 9:23 pm
" and it turns out to Jewish identity, the need to belong to the powerful nation on the part of Jewish neoconservatives. Sleeper says this is an insecurity born of European exclusion that he understands as a Jew,…..>>

Stop it Sleeper. Do not continue to use the victim card ' to explain' the trauma, the insecurities, the nightmares, the angst, the feelings, the sensitivities, blah blah, blah of Zionist or Israel.

That is not what they are about. These are power mad psychos like most neocons, period.

And even if it were, and even if all the Jews in the world felt the same way, the bottom line would still be they do not have the right to make others pay in treasure and blood for their nightmares and mental sickness.

Citizen May 7, 2014, 9:46 am
@ yonah fredman

"The freedom of Ukraine is a worthy goal."

As near as I can tell (correct me if I'm wrong), the Ukrainians themselves are about half and half pro Russia and Pro NATO. Your glance at the history of the region as to why this is so, and your text on historical Ukranian suffering and POTV on MW commentary on this –did not help your analysis and its conclusion.

There's a difference between isolationism and defensive intervention, and even more so, re isolationism v. pro-active interventionism "in the name of pursuing the democratic ideal". See Ron Paul v. PNAC-style neocons and liberal Zionists.

Also, if you were Putin, how would you see the push of NATO & US force posts ever creeping towards Russia and its local environment? Look at the US military postings nearing Russia per se & those surrounding Iran. Compare Russia's.

And note the intent to wean EU from Russian oil, and as well, the draconian sanctions on Iran, and Obama's latest partnering sanctions on Russia.

Imagine yourself in Putin's shoes, and Iran's.

Don't abuse your imagination only by imagining yourself in Netanyahu's shoes, which is the preoccupation of AIPAC and its whores in the US Congress.

ToivoS, May 7, 2014, 8:49 pm

Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. The Ukraine crisis exposes that 10% difference. Brzezinski I very much doubt has any emotional attachment to Israel though he is happy to work in coalition with them to further his one true goal which is to isolate and defeat Russian influence in the world. In the 1980s both were on the same page in the "let my people go" campaign against the Soviet Union. Brzezinski saw it as a propaganda opportunity to attack Russia and the neocons saw it has a source of more Jews to settle Palestine.

Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. When it comes down to it it is hard for many Jews, right wing or not, to support the political movement inside Ukraine that identifies with Bandera. Now that was one nasty anti-Semite whose followers killed many thousands of Ukrainian Jews during the holocaust. My wife's family immigrated from Galicia and the Odessa region and those left behind perished during the holocaust. The extended family includes anti-Zionists and WB settlers. There is no way that any of them would identify with Ukrainian fascist movements now active there.

In any case, there does seem to be a potential split among the neocons over Ukraine. It would be the ultimate in hypocrisy for all of those eastern European Jews who became successful in the US in the last few generations to enter into coalition with the Bandera brigades.

ToivoSMay 7, 2014, 9:39 pm
Yonah writes The freedom of Ukraine is a worthy goal. If the US is not able to back up our attempt to help them gain their freedom it is not something to celebrate, but something to lament.

What are you saying? Ukraine has been an independent nation for 22 years. What freedom is this? What we have witnessed is that one half of Ukraine has gotten tired that the other half keeps on electing candidates that represent those Ukrainians that identify with Russian culture. They (the western half) successfully staged a coup and purged the other (eastern half) from the government. You call that "freedom". Doesn't it embarrass you, Yonah, that the armed militias that conducted that coup are descendants of the Bandera organization.

Does that ring a bell? These are the Ukrainians that were involved in the holocaust. Does Babi Yar stir any memories Yohan? It was a massacre of 40,000 Jews just outside of Kiev in 1942. It was the single largest massacre of Jews during WWII. The massacre was led by the Germans ( Einsatzgruppe C officers) but was carried out with the aid of 400 Ukrainian Auxillary Police. These were later incorporated into the 14th SS-Volunteer Division "Galician" made up mostly Ukrainians. The division flags are to this day displayed at Right Sector rallies in western Ukraine.

Right Sector militias are the fighting force that led the coup against the legally elected Yanukovich government and were almost certainly involved in the recent massacre in Odessa. And you support them for their fight for freedom? You should be ashamed. Zionism is sinking to new lows that they feel the need to identify with open neo-Nazis.

piotrMay 7, 2014, 10:18 pm
Well, the point is that Zionists in Israel do not identify with that particular set of open neo-Nazis. I suspect that this is simply a matter of the headcount of Jewish business tycoons that are politically aligned with (western) Ukraine and Russia. Or you can count their billions. In any case, the neutral posture is sensible for Israel here. Which is highly uncharacteristic for that government.

yonah fredman, May 7, 2014, 10:38 pm

Toivo S- The history of Jew hatred by certain anti Russian elements in the Ukraine is not encouraging and nothing that I celebrate. Maybe I have been swayed by headlines and a superficial reading of the situation.

If indeed I am wrong regarding the will of the Ukrainian people, I can only be glad that my opinion is just that, my opinion and not US or Israel or anyone's policy but my own. I assume that a majority of Ukrainians want to maintain independence of Russia and that the expressions of rebellion are in that vein.

My people were murdered by the einsatzgruppen in that part of the world and so maybe I have overcompensated by trying not to allow my personal history to interfere with what I think would be the will of the majority of the Ukraine.

But Toivo S. please skip the "doesn't it embarrass you" line of thought. Just put a sock in it and skip it.

ToivoSMay 8, 2014, 12:51 am

Well thanks for that Yonah. My wife's family descended from Jewish communities in Odessa and Galicia. They emigrated to the US between 1900 and 1940. After WWII none of their relatives left behind were ever heard from again. Perhaps you have family that experienced similar stories. What caused me to react to your post above is that you are describing the current situation in Ukraine as a "freedom" movement by the Ukrainians when the political forces there descended from the same people that killed my inlaws family (and apparently yours to). Why do you support them?

yonah fredmanMay 8, 2014, 1:30 am

ToivoS- I support them because I trust/don't trust Putin. I trust him to impose his brand of leadership on Ukraine, I don't trust him to care a whit about freedom. It is natural that the nationalist elements of Ukraine would descend from the elements that expressed themselves the last time they had freedom from the Soviet Union, that is those forces that were willing to join with the Nazis to express their hatred for the communist Soviet Union's rule over their freedom. That's how history works. The nationalists today descend from the nationalists of yesterday.

But it's been 70 years since WWII and the Ukrainians ought to be able to have freedom even if the parties that advocate for freedom are descended from those that supported the Nazis. (I know once i include the Nazi part of history any analogies are toxic, but if I am willing to grant Hamas its rights as an expression of the Palestinian desire for freedom, why would I deny the Ukrainian foul nationalist parties their rights to express their people's desire for freedom.)

Political parties are not made in a sterile laboratory, they evolve over history and most specifically they emerge from the past. I accept that Ukrainian nationalism has not evolved much, but nonetheless not having read any polls I assume that the nationalists are the representatives of the people's desire for freedom. And because Putin strikes me as something primitive, I accept the Ukrainian desire for freedom.

CitizenMay 8, 2014, 9:18 am

@ yonah f

What are you supporting? Let me refresh your historic memory: Black's Transfer Agreement. Now apply analogy, responding to ToivoS. Might help us all to understand, explore more skillfully, Israel's current stance on the Putin-Ukranian matter….?

(I think Nuland's intervention caught on tape, combined with who she is married to, already explores with great clarification what the US is doing.

irishmosesMay 8, 2014, 12:32 pm

Yonah said:

"The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. Most people here would probably disagree with Sleeper, because he does not deny that the world needs a cop, nor that the US would play a positive role, if it only had the means and the desire to do so. People here (overwhelmingly) see the US role as a negative one (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world,"

The problem with your reasoning, Yonah, is that you are espousing the Neocon line while not apparently recognizing that embarrassing fact. You lament that the US is no longer playing the role of the world's superpower, and acting as the world's cop, confronting militarily Russia, China, Iran and anyone else. It is precisely that mentality that got us into Iraq, could yet have us in a war with Iran, would like to see us defending Ukraine, and thinks we should confront China militarily over bits of rock it and its neighbors are quibbling over. That is a neocon, American supremacy mentality.

Contrast that with the realist or realism approach recommended by George Kennan, and followed by this country successfully through the end of the Cold War. That approach is conservative and contends we should stay out of wars unless the vital national security interests of the US are at stake, like protecting WESTERN Europe, Japan, Australia, and the Western Hemisphere. This meant we could sympathize with the plight of all the eastern Europeans oppressed by the Soviets, but would not defend militarily the Hungarians (1956) or the Czechs (1968). It also meant we wouldn't send US troops into North Vietnam because we didn't want to go to war with the Chinese over a country that was at best tangential to US interests. When we varied from that policy (Vietnam and Iraq wars, Somalia) we paid a very heavy price while doing nothing to advance or protect our vital national security interests.

The sooner this country can return to our traditional realism-based foreign policy the better. Part of that policy would be to disassociate the US from its entangling alliance with Likud Israel and its US Jewish supporters that espouse the Likud Greater Israel line.

Zionism under Likud has played a major role in promoting the neocon approach to foreign policy in the US. It was heavily involved in the birth of that approach, and has helped fund and promote the policy and its supporters and advocates in this country. They (Likud Zionists and Neocons) played a major role in getting us into the Iraq war and are playing a major role in trying to get us involved in a war with Iran, a war in Syria, and even potential wars in Eastern Europe. That is a very dangerous trend and one folks as intelligent as you are, should be focusing on.

Please note, my criticism is directed neither at all Jews in general, Jews in the US, nor or all Israeli Jews. It is directed at a particular subset of Zionists who support Likud policies, and their supporters, many of whom are not Jews. It is also directed at Neoconservative foreign policy advocates, comprised of Jews and non-Jews, and overlap between the two groups. Please also note my use of the term "major role", and that I am not saying the Neocons and their supporters (Jewish or non) were solely responsible for our involvement in the Iraq war. I am offering these caveats in the hope that the usual changes of antisemitism can be avoided in your or anyone else's response to my arguments.

The influence of Neocons on US foreign policy has been very harmful to this country and poses a grave danger to its future. It would be wise for you to reflect on that harm and those dangers and decide whether you belong in the realist camp or want to continue running with the Neocons.

seanmcbride, May 8, 2014, 1:01 pm

irishmoses,

Please note, my criticism is directed neither at all Jews in general, Jews in the US, nor or all Israeli Jews. It is directed at a particular subset of Zionists who support Likud policies, and their supporters, many of whom are not Jews.

What about the role of *liberal Zionists*, like Hillary Clinton, in supporting and promoting the Iraq War? Clinton still hasn't offered an apology for helping to drive the United States in a multi-trillion dollar foreign policy disaster - and she has threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran.

What about Harry Reid's lavish praise of Sheldon Adelson?

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has for some time billed the Koch brothers as public enemy No.1 .

But billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson? He's just fine, Reid says.

"I know Sheldon Adelson. He's not in this for money," the Nevada Democrat said of Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate who reportedly spent close to $150 million to support Republicans in the 2012 presidential election."

link to politico.com

Are there really any meaningful distinctions between neoconservatives in the Republican Party and liberal Zionists in the Democratic Party?

talknic, May 7, 2014, 3:24 am

@ yonah fredman "nationalist Armageddon that is nowhere found in the article by Sleeper"

Strange

"state into the Armageddon .. "

"The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. "

Tough. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives don't rate a mention.

" (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world, for after all they hold a trillion dollars in US government debt and so let them act like the boss, for in fact they have been put in that role by feckless and destructive and wasteful US policy). But Sleeper does not say that."

You do tho, without quoting anyone "here".

BTW Pajero, strawmen no matter how lengthy and seemingly erudite, rarely walk anywhere

JeffB, May 7, 2014, 9:06 am

I'm going to put this down as Jewish navel gazing.

Jews are disproportionately liberal. Jews make up a huge chunk of the peace movement. Jews are relative to their numbers on the left of most foreign policy positions.

Iraq was unusual in that Jews were not overwhelming opposed to the invasion, but it is worth noting the invasion at the time was overwhelming popular. Frankly given the fact that Jews are now considered white people and the fact that Jews are almost all middle class they should be biased conservative. There certainly is no reason they should be more liberal than Catholics. Yet they are. It is the degree of Jewish liberalism not the degree of Jewish conservatism that is striking.

But even if we do focus on neocons, neocons don't have opinions about foreign policy and USA dominance that are much distinct from what most Republican interventionists have. How much difference is there between David Frum and Mitt Romney or between Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld?

lysias, May 7, 2014, 10:55 am

The neocons lost one last night: Antiwar Rep. Walter Jones Beats Neocon-Backed GOP Rival:

Strongly antiwar incumbent Rep. Walter Jones (R – NC) has won a hotly contested primary tonight, defeating a challenge from hawkish challenger and former Treasury Dept. official Taylor Griffin 51% to 45%.

American, May 7, 2014, 11:24 am

Yep.

Voter turn out was light ….. tea party types did a lot of lobbying for Griffin here….but Jones prevailed. Considering the onslaught of organized activity against him by ECI and the tea partiers for the past month he did well.

Citizen, May 8, 2014, 9:24 am

@ lysias
Let's refresh our look at what Ron Paul had to say about foreign policy and foreign aid. Then, let's compare what his son has said, and take a look of his latest bill in congress to cut off aid to Palestine. Yes, you read that right; it's not a bill to cut off any aid to Israel.

Don't look to the US to get any justice in the ME, nor to regain US good reputation in the world. This will situation will not change because US political campaign fiancé system won't change–it just gets worse, enhanced by SCOTUS.

traintosiberia, May 8, 2014, 9:12 am

Stockman's Corner

Bravo, Rep. Walter Jones ! Primary Win Sends Neocons Packing

by David Stockman • May 7, 2014 link to davidstockmanscontracorner.com

The heavy artillery included the detestable Karl Rove, former Governor and RNC Chair Haley Barber and the War Party's highly paid chief PR flack, Ari Fleischer.

But it was Neocon central that hauled out the big guns. Bill Kristol was so desperate to thwart the slowly rising anti-interventionist tide within the GOP that he even trotted out Sarah Palin to endorse Jones's opponent"

But neoocns have the confidence that if they could impose the neocon's theology on the rest of the world, they can do it here as well on American street . They call it education, motivation, duty, responsibility, moral burden, and above all the essence of the manifest destiny.

[Dec 23, 2015] The Neocons - Masters of Chaos

Notable quotes:
"... It's now clear that if Obama had ordered a major bombing campaign against Assad's military in early September 2013, he might have opened the gates of Damascus to a hellish victory by al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists or the even more brutal Islamic State, since these terrorist groups have emerged as the only effective fighters against Assad. ..."
"... By late September 2013, the disappointed neocons were acting out their anger by taking aim at Putin. They recognized that a particular vulnerability for the Russian president was Ukraine and the possibility that it could be pulled out of Russia's sphere of influence and into the West's orbit. ..."
"... But Gershman added that Ukraine was really only an interim step to an even bigger prize, the removal of the strong-willed and independent-minded Putin, who, Gershman added, "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad [i.e. Ukraine] but within Russia itself." In other words, the new neocon hope was for "regime change" in Kiev and Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com's " Neocons' Ukraine/Syria/Iran Gambit. "] ..."
"... Putin also had sidetracked that possible war with Iran by helping to forge an interim agreement constraining but not eliminating Iran's nuclear program. So, he became the latest target of neocon demonization, a process in which the New York Times and the Washington Post eagerly took the lead. ..."
"... As the political violence in Kiev escalated – with the uprising's muscle supplied by neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine – neocons within the Obama administration discussed how to "midwife" a coup against Yanukovych. Central to this planning was Victoria Nuland, who had been promoted to assistant secretary of state for European affairs and was urging on the protesters, even passing out cookies to protesters at Kiev's Maidan square. ..."
"... When the coup went down on Feb. 22 – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias who seized government buildings and forced Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives – the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the new regime "legitimate" and the mainstream U.S. media dutifully stepped up the demonization of Yanukovych and Putin. ..."
"... Although Putin's position had been in support of Ukraine's status quo – i.e., retaining the elected president and the country's constitutional process – the crisis was pitched to the American people as a case of "Russian aggression" with dire comparisons made between Putin and Hitler, especially after ethnic Russians in the east and south resisted the coup regime in Kiev and Crimea seceded to rejoin Russia. ..."
"... Pressured by the Obama administration, the EU agreed to sanction Russia for its "aggression," touching off a tit-for-tat trade war with Moscow which reduced Europe's sale of farming and manufacturing goods to Russia and threatened to disrupt Russia's natural gas supplies to Europe. ..."
"... While the most serious consequences were to Ukraine's economy which went into freefall because of the civil war, some of Europe's most endangered economies in the south also were hit hard by the lost trade with Russia. Europe began to stagger toward the third dip in a triple-dip recession with European markets experiencing major stock sell-offs. ..."
Oct 17, 2014 | consortiumnews.com

If you're nervously watching the stock market gyrations and worrying about your declining portfolio or pension fund, part of the blame should go to America's neocons who continue to be masters of chaos, endangering the world's economy by instigating geopolitical confrontations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Of course, there are other factors pushing Europe's economy to the brink of a triple-dip recession and threatening to stop America's fragile recovery, too. But the neocons' "regime change" strategies, which have unleashed violence and confrontations across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran and most recently Ukraine, have added to the economic uncertainty.

This neocon destabilization of the world economy began with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 under President George W. Bush who squandered some $1 trillion on the bloody folly. But the neocons' strategies have continued through their still-pervasive influence in Official Washington during President Barack Obama's administration.

The neocons and their "liberal interventionist" junior partners have kept the "regime change" pot boiling with the Western-orchestrated overthrow and killing of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the proxy civil war in Syria to oust Bashar al-Assad, the costly economic embargoes against Iran, and the U.S.-backed coup that ousted Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.

All these targeted governments were first ostracized by the neocons and the major U.S. news organizations, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, which have become what amounts to neocon mouthpieces. Whenever the neocons decide that it's time for another "regime change," the mainstream U.S. media enlists in the propaganda wars.

The consequence of this cascading disorder has been damaging and cumulative. The costs of the Iraq War strapped the U.S. Treasury and left less government maneuvering room when Wall Street crashed in 2008. If Bush still had the surplus that he inherited from President Bill Clinton – rather than a yawning deficit – there might have been enough public money to stimulate a much-faster recovery.

President Obama also wouldn't have been left to cope with the living hell that the U.S. occupation brought to the people of Iraq, violent chaos that gave birth to what was then called "Al-Qaeda in Iraq" and has since rebranded itself "the Islamic State."

But Obama didn't do himself (or the world) any favors when he put much of his foreign policy in the hands of Democratic neocon-lites, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Bush holdovers, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus. At State, Clinton promoted the likes of neocon Victoria Nuland, the wife of arch-neocon Robert Kagan, and Obama brought in "liberal interventionists" like Samantha Power, now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

In recent years, the neocons and "liberal interventionists" have become almost indistinguishable, so much so that Robert Kagan has opted to discard the discredited neocon label and call himself a "liberal interventionist." [See Consortiumnews.com's "Obama's True Foreign Policy 'Weakness.'"]

Manipulating Obama

Obama, in his nearly six years as president, also has shied away from imposing his more "realistic" views about world affairs on the neocon/liberal-interventionist ideologues inside the U.S. pundit class and his own administration. He has been outmaneuvered by clever insiders (as happened in 2009 on the Afghan "surge") or overwhelmed by some Official Washington "group think" (as was the case in Libya, Syria, Iran and Ukraine).

Once all the "smart people" reach some collective decision that a foreign leader "must go," Obama usually joins the chorus and has shown only rare moments of toughness in standing up to misguided conventional wisdoms.

The one notable case was his decision in summer 2013 to resist pressure to destroy Syria's military after a Sarin gas attack outside Damascus sparked a dubious rush to judgment blaming Assad's regime. Since then, more evidence has pointed to a provocation by anti-Assad extremists who may have thought that the incident would draw in the U.S. military on their side. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Was Turkey Behind Syrian Sarin Attack?"]

It's now clear that if Obama had ordered a major bombing campaign against Assad's military in early September 2013, he might have opened the gates of Damascus to a hellish victory by al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists or the even more brutal Islamic State, since these terrorist groups have emerged as the only effective fighters against Assad.

But the neocons and the "liberal interventionists" seemed oblivious to that danger. They had their hearts set on Syrian "regime change," so were furious when their dreams were dashed by Obama's supposed "weakness," i.e. his failure to do what they wanted. They also blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin who brokered a compromise with Assad in which he agreed to surrender all of Syria's chemical weapons while still denying a role in the Sarin attack.

By late September 2013, the disappointed neocons were acting out their anger by taking aim at Putin. They recognized that a particular vulnerability for the Russian president was Ukraine and the possibility that it could be pulled out of Russia's sphere of influence and into the West's orbit.

So, Carl Gershman, the neocon president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, took to the op-ed page of the neocon-flagship Washington Post to sound the trumpet about Ukraine, which he called "the biggest prize."

But Gershman added that Ukraine was really only an interim step to an even bigger prize, the removal of the strong-willed and independent-minded Putin, who, Gershman added, "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad [i.e. Ukraine] but within Russia itself." In other words, the new neocon hope was for "regime change" in Kiev and Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Neocons' Ukraine/Syria/Iran Gambit."]

Destabilizing the World

Beyond the recklessness of plotting to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia, the neocon strategy threatened to shake Europe's fragile economic recovery from a painful recession, six years of jobless stress that had strained the cohesion of the European Union and the euro zone.

Across the Continent, populist parties from the Right and Left have been challenging establishment politicians over their inability to reverse the widespread unemployment and the growing poverty. Important to Europe's economy was its relationship with Russia, a major market for agriculture and manufactured goods and a key source of natural gas to keep Europe's industries humming and its houses warm.

The last thing Europe needed was more chaos, but that's what the neocons do best and they were determined to punish Putin for disrupting their plans for Syrian "regime change," an item long near the top of their agenda along with their desire to "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," which Israel has cited as an "existential threat."

Putin also had sidetracked that possible war with Iran by helping to forge an interim agreement constraining but not eliminating Iran's nuclear program. So, he became the latest target of neocon demonization, a process in which the New York Times and the Washington Post eagerly took the lead.

To get at Putin, however, the first step was Ukraine where Gershman's NED was funding scores of programs for political activists and media operatives. These efforts fed into mass protests against Ukrainian President Yanukovych for balking at an EU association agreement that included a harsh austerity plan designed by the International Monetary Fund. Yanukovych opted instead for a more generous $15 billion loan deal from Putin.

As the political violence in Kiev escalated – with the uprising's muscle supplied by neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine – neocons within the Obama administration discussed how to "midwife" a coup against Yanukovych. Central to this planning was Victoria Nuland, who had been promoted to assistant secretary of state for European affairs and was urging on the protesters, even passing out cookies to protesters at Kiev's Maidan square.

According to an intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland didn't think EU officials were being aggressive enough. "Fuck the EU," she said as she brainstormed how "to help glue this thing." She literally handpicked who should be in the post-coup government – "Yats is the guy," a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who would indeed become prime minister.

When the coup went down on Feb. 22 – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias who seized government buildings and forced Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives – the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the new regime "legitimate" and the mainstream U.S. media dutifully stepped up the demonization of Yanukovych and Putin.

Although Putin's position had been in support of Ukraine's status quo – i.e., retaining the elected president and the country's constitutional process – the crisis was pitched to the American people as a case of "Russian aggression" with dire comparisons made between Putin and Hitler, especially after ethnic Russians in the east and south resisted the coup regime in Kiev and Crimea seceded to rejoin Russia.

Starting a Trade War

Pressured by the Obama administration, the EU agreed to sanction Russia for its "aggression," touching off a tit-for-tat trade war with Moscow which reduced Europe's sale of farming and manufacturing goods to Russia and threatened to disrupt Russia's natural gas supplies to Europe.

While the most serious consequences were to Ukraine's economy which went into freefall because of the civil war, some of Europe's most endangered economies in the south also were hit hard by the lost trade with Russia. Europe began to stagger toward the third dip in a triple-dip recession with European markets experiencing major stock sell-offs.

The dominoes soon toppled across the Atlantic as major U.S. stock indices dropped, creating anguish among many Americans just when it seemed the hangover from Bush's 2008 market crash was finally wearing off.

Obviously, there are other reasons for the recent stock market declines, including fears about the Islamic State's victories in Syria and Iraq, continued chaos in Libya, and exclusion of Iran from the global economic system – all partly the result of neocon ideology. There have been unrelated troubles, too, such as the Ebola epidemic in western Africa and various weather disasters.

But the world's economy usually can withstand some natural and manmade challenges. The real problem comes when a combination of catastrophes pushes the international financial system to a tipping point. Then, even a single event can dump the world into economic chaos, like what happened when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.

It's not clear whether the world is at such a tipping point today, but the stock market volatility suggests that we may be on the verge of another worldwide recession. Meanwhile, the neocon masters of chaos seem determined to keep putting their ideological obsessions ahead of the risks to Americans and people everywhere.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

[Dec 17, 2015] US militarism is Alice in Wonderland

economistsview.typepad.com
anne, December 17, 2015 at 11:50 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/world/asia/navy-seal-team-2-afghanistan-beating-death.html

December 16, 2015

Navy SEALs, a Beating Death and Complaints of a Cover-Up
By NICHOLAS KULISH, CHRISTOPHER DREW and MATTHEW ROSENBERG

U.S. soldiers accused Afghan police and Navy SEALs of abusing detainees. But the SEAL command opted against a court-martial and cleared its men of wrongdoing.

ilsm said in reply to anne...

Too much training to send to jail.

While E-4 Bergdahl does in captivity what several hundred officers did in Hanoi and gets life!

US militarism is Alice's Wonderland!

[Dec 13, 2015] US military spending is currently $738.3 billion

Notable quotes:
"... military spending is currently $738.3 billion. ..."
"... Defense spending was 60.3% of federal government consumption and investment in July through September 2015. ..."
"... Defense spending was 23.1% of all government consumption and investment in July through September 2015. ..."
"... Defense spending was 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product in July through September 2015. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

Economist's View

anne said...

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

-- Dean Baker

anne said in reply to anne...
"...about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military...."

I do not understand this figure since currently defense spending is running at $738.3 billion yearly or which 6% would be $44.3 billion:

http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

anne said in reply to anne...
Correcting Dean Baker:

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 7.4 percent ** of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

** http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

-- Dean Baker

anne said in reply to anne...
Dean Baker clarifies:

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

(I see my comment on military spending here created a bit of confusion. I was looking at the U.S. share of the commitment, 0.25 percent of its GDP and comparing it to the roughly 4.0 percent of GDP it spends on the military. That comes to 6 percent. I was not referring to the whole $100 billion.)

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

-- Dean Baker

djb said in reply to anne...
100,000,000,000/0.06 = 1.67 trillion
anne said in reply to djb...
$100 billion a year, ........about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military

100,000,000,000/0.06 = 1.67 trillion

[ This is incorrect, military spending is currently $738.3 billion. ]

anne said in reply to djb...
http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

January 15, 2015

Defense spending was 60.3% of federal government consumption and investment in July through September 2015.

(Billions of dollars)

$738.3 / $1,224.4 = 60.3%

Defense spending was 23.1% of all government consumption and investment in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $3,200.4 = 23.1%

Defense spending was 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $18,064.7 = 4.1%

djb said in reply to djb...
oh never mind I get it

.25 % is 6 percent of the percent us spends on military

the 40 trillion is the gdp of all the countries

got it

anne said in reply to djb...
"I get it:

.25 % is 6 percent of the percent US spends on military."

So .25 percent of United States GDP for climate change assistance to poor countries is 6 percent of the amount the US spends on the military.

.0025 x $18,064.7 billion GDP = $45.16 billion on climate change

$45.16 billion on climate change / $738.3 billion on the military = 0.61 or 6.1 percent of military spending

anne said in reply to anne...
United States climate change assistance to poor countries will be .25 percent of GDP or 6% of US military spending.
anne said in reply to anne...
What the United States commitment to climate change assistance for poor countries means is spending about $45.2 billion yearly or .25 percent of GDP. Whether the President can convince Congress to spend the $45 billion yearly will now have to be answered.
anne said in reply to djb...
"I get it:

.25 % is 6 percent of the [amount] US spends on military."

[ This is correct. ]

anne said in reply to djb...
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/in-paris-talks-rich-countries-pledged-0-25-percent-of-gdp-to-help-poor-countries

December 13, 2015

In Paris Talks, Rich Countries Pledged 0.25 Percent of GDP to Help Poor Countries

In case you were wondering about the importance of a $100 billion a year, * non-binding commitment, it's roughly 0.25 percent of rich country's $40 trillion annual GDP (about 6 percent of what the U.S. spends on the military). This counts the U.S., European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia as rich countries. If China is included in that list, the commitment would be less than 0.2 percent of GDP.

(I see my comment on military spending here created a bit of confusion. I was looking at the U.S. share of the commitment, 0.25 percent of its GDP and comparing it to the roughly 4.0 percent of GDP it spends on the military. ** That comes to 6 percent. I was not referring to the whole $100 billion.)

* http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html

** http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2014&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

-- Dean Baker

anne said in reply to djb...
http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTableHtml.cfm?reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&904=2007&903=5&906=q&905=2015&910=x&911=0

January 15, 2015

Defense spending was 4.1% of Gross Domestic Product in July through September 2015.

$738.3 / $18,064.7 = 4.1%

ilsm said in reply to anne...
UK is the only NATO nation beside the US that spend the suggested 2% of GDP. The rest run about 1.2%.

Small wonder they need US to run their wars of convenience.

More telling US pentagon spending is around 50% of world military spending and has not won anything in 60 years.

[Dec 12, 2015] Guyenot Who are the Neocons

Notable quotes:
"... The American Neocons are Zionists (Their goal is expanding political / military power. Initially this is focused on the state of Israel.) ..."
"... Obviously , if Zionism is synonymous with patriotism in Israel, it cannot be an acceptable label in American politics, where it would mean loyalty to a foreign power. This is why the neoconservatives do not represent themselves as Zionists on the American scene. Yet they do not hide it all together either. ..."
"... He points out dual-citizen (Israel / USA) members and self proclaimed Zionists throughout cabinet level positions in the US government, international banking and controlling the US military. In private writings and occasionally in public, Neocons admit that America's war policies are actually Israel's war goals. (Examples provided.) ..."
"... American Jewish Committee ..."
"... Contemporary Jewish Record ..."
"... If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it. It's a thought one imagines most American Jews, overwhelmingly liberal, will find horrifying . And yet it is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants' grandchildren ..."
"... Goyenot traces the Neocon's origins through its influential writers and thinkers. Highest on the list is Leo Strauss. (Neocons are sometimes called "the Straussians.") Leo Strauss is a great admirer of Machiavelli with his utter contempt for restraining moral principles making him "uniquely effective," and, "the ideal patriot." He gushes over Machiavelli praising the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech. ..."
"... believes that Truth is harmful to the common man and the social order and should be reserved for superior minds. ..."
"... nations derive their strength from their myths , which are necessary for government and governance. ..."
"... national myths have no necessary relationship with historical reality: they are socio-cultural constructions that the State has a duty to disseminate . ..."
"... to be effective, any national myth must be based on a clear distinction between good and evil ; it derives its cohesive strength from the hatred of an enemy nation. ..."
"... deception is the norm in political life ..."
"... Office of Special Plans ..."
"... The Zionist/Neocons are piggy-backing onto, or utilizing, the religious myths of both the Jewish and Christian world to consolidate power. This is brilliant Machiavellian strategy. ..."
"... the "chosen people" myth (God likes us best, we are better than you) ..."
"... the Holy Land myth (one area of real estate is more holy than another) ..."
"... General Wesley Clark testified on numerous occasions before the cameras, that one month after September 11th, 2001 a general from the Pentagon showed him a memo from neoconservative strategists "that describes how we're gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan and finishing off with Iran". ..."
"... Among them are brilliant strategists ..."
"... They operate unrestrained by the most basic moral principles upon which civilization is founded. They are undisturbed by compassion for the suffering of others. ..."
"... They use consciously and skillfully use deception and "myth-making" to shape policy ..."
"... They have infiltrated the highest levels of banking, US military, NATO and US government. ..."
Peak Prosperity

Mememonkey pointed my to a 2013 essay by Laurent Guyenot, a French historian and writer on the deep state, that addresses the question of "Who Are The Neoconservatives." If you would like to know about that group that sends the US military into battle and tortures prisoners of war in out name, you need to know about these guys.

First, if you are Jewish, or are a GREEN Meme, please stop and take a deep breath. Please put on your thinking cap and don't react. We are NOT disrespecting a religion, spiritual practice or a culture. We are talking about a radical and very destructive group hidden within a culture and using that culture. Christianity has similar groups and movements--the Crusades, the KKK, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, etc.

My personal investment: This question has been a subject of intense interest for me since I became convinced that 9/11 was an inside job, that the Iraq war was waged for reasons entirely different from those publically stated. I have been horrified to see such a shadowy, powerful group operating from a profoundly "pre-moral" developmental level-i.e., not based in even the most rudimentary principles of morality foundational to civilization.

Who the hell are these people?!

Goyenot's main points (with a touch of personal editorializing):

1. The American Neocons are Zionists (Their goal is expanding political / military power. Initially this is focused on the state of Israel.)

Neoconservativism is essentially a modern right wing Jewish version of Machiavelli's political strategy. What characterizes the neoconservative movement is therefore not as much Judaism as a religious tradition, but rather Judiasm as a political project, i.e. Zionism, by Machiavellian means.

This is not a religious movement though it may use religions words and vocabulary. It is a political and military movement. They are not concerned with being close to God. This is a movement to expand political and military power. Some are Christian and Mormon, culturally.

Obviously , if Zionism is synonymous with patriotism in Israel, it cannot be an acceptable label in American politics, where it would mean loyalty to a foreign power. This is why the neoconservatives do not represent themselves as Zionists on the American scene. Yet they do not hide it all together either.

He points out dual-citizen (Israel / USA) members and self proclaimed Zionists throughout cabinet level positions in the US government, international banking and controlling the US military. In private writings and occasionally in public, Neocons admit that America's war policies are actually Israel's war goals. (Examples provided.)

2. Most American Jews are overwhelmingly liberal and do NOT share the perspective of the radical Zionists.

The neoconservative movement, which is generally perceived as a radical (rather than "conservative") Republican right, is, in reality, an intellectual movement born in the late 1960s in the pages of the monthly magazine Commentary, a media arm of the American Jewish Committee, which had replaced the Contemporary Jewish Record in 1945. The Forward, the oldest American Jewish weekly, wrote in a January 6th, 2006 article signed Gal Beckerman: "If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it. It's a thought one imagines most American Jews, overwhelmingly liberal, will find horrifying. And yet it is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants' grandchildren".

3. Intellectual Basis and Moral developmental level

Goyenot traces the Neocon's origins through its influential writers and thinkers. Highest on the list is Leo Strauss. (Neocons are sometimes called "the Straussians.") Leo Strauss is a great admirer of Machiavelli with his utter contempt for restraining moral principles making him "uniquely effective," and, "the ideal patriot." He gushes over Machiavelli praising the intrepidity of his thought, the grandeur of his vision, and the graceful subtlety of his speech.

Other major points:

  • believes that Truth is harmful to the common man and the social order and should be reserved for superior minds.
  • nations derive their strength from their myths, which are necessary for government and governance.
  • national myths have no necessary relationship with historical reality: they are socio-cultural constructions that the State has a duty to disseminate.
  • to be effective, any national myth must be based on a clear distinction between good and evil; it derives its cohesive strength from the hatred of an enemy nation.
  • As recognized by Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt in an article "Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence" (1999), for Strauss, "deception is the norm in political life" – the rule they [the Neocons] applied to fabricating the lie of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein when working inside the Office of Special Plans.
  • George Bushes speech from the national cathedral after 9/11 exemplifies myth-making at its finest: "Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of Evil. War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. . . .[W]e ask almighty God to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. . . . And may He always guide our country. God bless America.

4. The Zionist/Neocons are piggy-backing onto, or utilizing, the religious myths of both the Jewish and Christian world to consolidate power. This is brilliant Machiavellian strategy.

  • the "chosen people" myth (God likes us best, we are better than you)
  • the Holy Land myth (one area of real estate is more holy than another)
  • the second coming of Christ myth
  • the establishment of God's Kingdom on Earth through global destruction/war (nuclear war for the Glory of God)

[The]Pax Judaica will come only when "all the nations shall flow" to the Jerusalem temple, from where "shall go forth the law" (Isaiah 2:1-3). This vision of a new world order with Jerusalem at its center resonates within the Likudnik and neoconservative circles. At the Jerusalem Summit, held from October 12th to 14th, 2003 in the symbolically significant King David Hotel, an alliance was forged between Zionist Jews and Evangelical Christians around a "theopolitical" project, one that would consider Israel… "the key to the harmony of civilizations", replacing the United Nations that's become a "a tribalized confederation hijacked by Third World dictatorships": "Jerusalem's spiritual and historical importance endows it with a special authority to become a center of world's unity. [...] We believe that one of the objectives of Israel's divinely-inspired rebirth is to make it the center of the new unity of the nations, which will lead to an era of peace and prosperity, foretold by the Prophets". Three acting Israeli ministers spoke at the summit, including Benjamin Netanyahu, and Richard Perle.

Jerusalem's dream empire is expected to come through the nightmare of world war. The prophet Zechariah, often cited on Zionist forums, predicted that the Lord will fight "all nations" allied against Israel. In a single day, the whole earth will become a desert, with the exception of Jerusalem, who "shall remain aloft upon its site" (14:10).

With more than 50 millions members, Christians United for Israel is a major political force in the U.S.. Its Chairman, pastor John Haggee, declared: "The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West, [...] a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ".

And Guyenot concludes:

Is it possible that this biblical dream, mixed with the neo-Machiavellianism of Leo Strauss and the militarism of Likud, is what is quietly animating an exceptionally determined and organized ultra-Zionist clan? General Wesley Clark testified on numerous occasions before the cameras, that one month after September 11th, 2001 a general from the Pentagon showed him a memo from neoconservative strategists "that describes how we're gonna take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan and finishing off with Iran".

Is it just a coincidence that the "seven nations" doomed to be destroyed by Israel form part of the biblical myths? …[W]hen Yahweh will deliver Israel "seven nations greater and mightier than yourself […] you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them."

My summary:

  • We have a group that wishes greatly expanded power (to rule the world??)
  • Among them are brilliant strategists
  • They operate unrestrained by the most basic moral principles upon which civilization is founded. They are undisturbed by compassion for the suffering of others.
  • They use consciously and skillfully use deception and "myth-making" to shape policy
  • This is not a spiritual movement in any sense
  • They are utilizing religious myths and language to influence public thinking
  • They envision "winning" in the aftermath world war.
  • They have infiltrated the highest levels of banking, US military, NATO and US government.

[Dec 06, 2015] The USA is number one small arms manufacturer in the world

peakoilbarrel.com
Glenn Stehle, 12/05/2015 at 2:54 pm
Ves,

There was an article in one of the Mexico City dailies today, written in response to the shootings in San Bernardino, that cited some numbers that were news to me:

1) The United States is the #1 small arms manufacturer in the world

2) 83% of small arms manufactured in the world are manufactured in the United States

3) The US's closest competitor is Russia, which manufactures 11% of the world's small arms

4) Small arms are the US's third largest export product, surpassed only by aircraft and agricultural products

5) The US market itself consumes 15 million small arms per year, and there are 300 million small arms currently in the posession of US private citizens

6) Saudi Arabia, however, is by far and away the largest small arms consumer in the world, and purchases 33.1% of all small arms produced in the world

7) Saudi Arabia then re-distributes these small arms to its allies in Syria, Lybia, etc.

8) So far in 2015, there have been 351 "mass shootings" in the United States in which 447 persons have been killed and another 290 wounded

9) The world's leading human rights organizations never speak of the bloodbath ocurring around the world due to the proliferation of small arms, much less the United Nations Security Council.

10) Both the United States and Russia seem quite content to keep any talk of small arms proliferation off the agenda.

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/12/05/opinion/023a1pol

[Dec 04, 2015] The Neoconservative Movement is Trotskyism

January 22, 2013 | Veterans Today

Kristol argues in his book The Neoconservative Persuasion that those Jewish intellectuals did not forsake their heritage (revolutionary ideology) when they gave up Communism and other revolutionary movements, but had to make some changes in their thinking. America is filled with such former Trotskyists who unleashed an unprecedented foreign policy that led to the collapse of the American economy.

We have to keep in mind that America and much of the Western world were scared to death of Bolshevism and Trotskyism in the 1920s and early 30s because of its subversive activity.

Noted Australian economist John Quiggin declares in his recent work Zombie Economics that "Ideas are long lived, often outliving their originators and taking new and different forms. Some ideas live on because they are useful. Others die and are forgotten. But even when they have proved themselves wrong and dangerous, ideas are very hard to kill. Even after the evidence seems to have killed them, they keep on coming back.

These ideas are neither alive nor dead; rather…they are undead, or zombie, ideas." Bolshevism or Trotskyism is one of those zombie ideas that keeps coming back in different forms. It has ideologically reincarnated in the political disputations of the neoconservative movement.

... ... ...

As it turns out, neoconservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute are largely extensions of Trotskyism with respect to foreign policy. Other think tanks such as the Bradley Foundation were overtaken by the neoconservative machine back in 1984.

Some of those double agents have been known to have worked with Likud-supporting Jewish groups such as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an organization which has been known to have "co-opted" several "non-Jewish defense experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out the retired general Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to be proconsul of occupied Iraq."

Philo-Semitic scholars Stephen Halper of Cambridge University and Jonathan Clarke of the CATO Institute agree that the neoconservative agendas "have taken American international relations on an unfortunate detour," which is another way of saying that this revolutionary movement is not what the Founding Fathers signed up for, who all maintained that the United States would serve the American people best by not entangling herself in alliances with foreign entities.

As soon as the Israel Lobby came along, as soon as the neoconservative movement began to shape U.S. foreign policy, as soon as Israel began to dictate to the U.S. what ought to be done in the Middle East, America was universally hated by the Muslim world.

Moreover, former secretary of defense Robert Gates made it clear to the United States that the Israelis do not and should not have a monopoly on the American interests in the Middle East. For that, he was chastised by neoconservative Elliott Abrams.

In that sense, the neoconservative movement as a political and intellectual movement represents a fifth column in the United States in that it subtly and deceptively seeks to undermine what the Founding Fathers have stood for and replace it with what the Founding Fathers would have considered horrible foreign policies-policies which have contributed to the demise of the respect America once had.

... ... ...

Israel has been spying on the United States for years using various Israeli or Jewish individuals, including key Jewish neoconservative figures such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who were under investigation for passing classified documents to Israel.

The FBI has numerous documents tracing Israel's espionage in the U.S., but no one has come forward and declared it explicitly in the media because most political pundits value mammon over truth.

For example, when two top AIPAC officials-Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman-were caught passing classified documents from the Pentagon to Israel, Gabriel Schoenfeld defended them.

In the annual FBI report called "Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage," Israel is a major country that pops up quite often. This is widely known among CIA and FBI agents and U.S. officials for years.

One former U.S. intelligence official declared, "There is a huge, aggressive, ongoing set of Israeli activities directed against the United States. Anybody who worked in counterintelligence in a professional capacity will tell you the Israelis are among the most aggressive and active countries targeting the United States.

They undertake a wide range of technical operations and human operations. People here as liaisons… aggressively pursue classified intelligence from people. The denials are laughable."


[Dec 03, 2015] On That Video Where Some Egyptians Allegedly Say Obama Is Insane And On Drugs And Should Be Removed From Office

EconoSpeak

An old and close, but very conservative and increasingly out of touch with reality friend of mine posted a video some days ago on Facebook. He indicated that he thought it was both funny and also insightful. It seemed highly suspicious to me, so I googled it and found that the person who uploaded it onto you tube stated in the comments on it that it is a spoof. Here is a link that discusses why it is known it is a spoof as well as linking to the video itself and its comments. It has reportedly been widely distributed on the internet by many conservatives who think it is for real, and when I pointed out it is a spoof, my friend defriended me from Facebook. I am frustrated.

So, for those who do not view it, it purports to show a talk show in Egypt where a brief clip of Obama speaking last May to graduating military officers about how climate change is and will be a serious national security issue, something the Pentagon has claimed. He did not say it was the most serious such issue, and at least in the clip he said nothing about Daesh/ISIS/ISIL, although of course he has said a lot about it and not only has US drones attacking it but reportedly we have "boots on the ground" now against them in the form of some Special Ops.

So, the video then goes back to the supposed talk show where they are speaking in Arabic with English subtitles. According to these subtitels, which are partly accurate translations but also wildly inaccurate in many places (my Arabic is good enough that I have parsed out what is what there) the host asks, "Is he insane?" A guest suggests he is on drugs. Another claims he just does what Michelle says and that his biceps are small. Finally a supposed retired general pounds the table and denounces him over Libya policy (that part is for real, although his name is never mentioned) and suggests that Americans should act to remove him from office. Again, conservative commentators have found hilarious and very insightful, with this even holding among commenters to the video aware that it is a mistranslated spoof. Bring these guys on more. Obviously they would be big hits on Fox News.

So, I would like to simply comment further on why Egyptians would be especially upset about Libya, but that them being so against the US is somewhat hypocritical (I also note that there is reason to believe that the supposed general is not a general). Of course Libya is just to the west of Egypt with its eastern portion (Cyrenaica under Rome) often ruled by whomever was ruling Egypt at various times in the past. So there is a strong cultural-historical connection. It is understandable that they would take Libyan matters seriously, and indeed things in Libya have turned into a big mess.

However, the move to bring in outside powers to intervene against Qaddafi in 2011 was instigated by an Egyptian, Abu Moussa. This was right after Mubarak had fallen in the face of massive demonstrations in Egypt. Moussa was both leader of the Arab League and wanting to run for President of Egypt. He got nowhere with the latter, but he did get somewhere with getting
the rest of the world to intervene in Libya. He got the Arab League to support such an intervention, with that move going to the UN Security Council and convincing Russia and China to abstain on the anti-Qaddafi measure. Putin has since complained that those who intervened, UK and France most vigorously with US "leading from behind" on the effort.went beyond the UN mandate. But in any case, Qaddafi was overthrown, not to be replaced by any stable or central power, with Libya an ongoing mess that has remained fragmented since, especially between its historically separate eastern and western parts, something I have posted on here previously.

So, that went badly, but Egyptians blaming the US for this seems to me to be a bit much, pretty hypocritical. It happens to be a fact that the US and Obama are now very unpopular in Egypt. I looked at a poll from a few months ago, and the only nations where the US and Obama were viewed less favorably (although a few not polled such as North Korea) were in order: Russia, Palestinian Territories, Belarus, Lebanon, Iran, and Pakistan, with me suspecting there is now a more favorable view in Iran since the culmination of the nuclear deal. I can appreciate that many Egyptians are frustrated that the US supported an election process that did not give them Moussa or El-Baradei, but the Muslim Brotherhood, who proceeded to behave badly, leading to them being overthrown by an new military dictatorship with a democratic veneer, basically a new improved version of the Mubarak regime, with the US supporting it, if somewhat reluctantly.

Yes, this is all pretty depressing, but I must say that ultimately the Egyptians are responsible for what has gone down in their own nation. And even if those Egyptian commentators, whoever they actually are, are as angry about Obama as they are depicted as being, the fact is that Obama is still more popular there than was George W. Bush at the same time in his presidency, something all these US conservatives so enamored of this bizarre video seem to conveniently forget.

Addenda, 5:10 PM:

1) The people on that video come across almost like The Three Stooges, which highlights the comedic aspect that even fans of Obama are supposed to appreciate, although it does not add to the credibility of the remarks of those so carrying on like a bunch of clowns.

2) Another reason Egyptians may be especially upset about the situation in Libya is that indeed Daesh has a foothold in a port city not too far from the Egyptian border in Surt, as reported as the top story today in the NY Times.

3) Arguably once the rest of the world got in, the big problem was a failure to follow through with aiding establishing a central unified government, although that was always going to be a problem, something not recognized by all too many involved, including Abu Moussa. As it was once his proposal got going, it was then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton who was the main person leading the charge for the US to get in over the reluctance of Obama. This was probably her biggest mistake in all this, even though most Republicans think the irrelevant sideshow of the unfortunate incident in Benghazi is the big deal.

4) Needless to say, Republican views at the time of the intervention were just completely incoherent, as symbolized at one point by Senator Lindsey Graham, who within the space of a single sentence simultaneously argued for the US to do nothing and also to go in full force with the proverbial "boots on the ground."

Further Addendum, 7:10 PM:

One of the pieces of evidence given that supposedly shows that the video is a spoof is that the supposed retired Brigadier General Mahmoud Mansour cannot be found if one googles his name, except in connection with this video. There are some other Egyptians named Mansour who show up, but this guy does not. However, it occurs to me that he might be for real, but simply obscure. After all, Brigadier is the lowest rank of General, one star, with Majors being two star, Lieutenants being three star (even though Majors are above Lieutenants), and with four and five star not having any other rank assigned to them. Furthermore, Egypt has a large military that has run the country for decades, so there may well be a lot of these Brigadier Generals, with many of them amounting to nothing. So, if he is for real, his claim to fame will be from jumping up and down, pounding on a table and calling for the overthrow of the POTUS.

Barkley Rosser

[Dec 01, 2015] US Intervention Before And After

Zero Hedge
WhackoWarner

Before death in Libya....Ghadaffi's crime was in "not playing along and selling out". Kinda like Iraq and all. They all should just hand over everything and say thanks...but they did not . There is disinfo on both sides, But the "madman" and people who actually live there never seem to make the NYTimes.

"For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer. So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself...

In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy", but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

Kirk2NCC1701
"they hate us for our freedoms"

No, "They hate us for our freebombs" that we keep delivering.

Suppose you lived in a town that was run by a ruthless Mafioso boss. Sure he was ruthless to troublemakers and dissenters, but if you went about your business (and paid your taxes/respects to him), life was simple but livable, and crime was negligible.

Now imagine that a crime Overlord came from another country and decided to wreck the town, just to remove your Mafioso Don. In the process, your neighborhood and house were destroyed, and you lost friends and family.

Now tell me that YOU would not make it YOUR life's mission to bring these War Criminals to justice -- by any and all means necessary. And tell me that these same Criminals could not have foreseen all this. Now say it again - but with a straight face. I dare you. I fucking double-dare you!

Max Cynical
US exceptionalism!
GhostOfDiogenes
The worst one, besides Iraq, is Libya.

The infrastructure we destroyed there is unimaginable.

Sure Iraq was hit the worst, and much has been lost there....but Libya was a modern arab oasis of a country in the middle of nothing.

We destroyed in a few days what took decades to build.

This is why I am not proud of my country, nor my military.

In fact, I would like to see Nuremberg type trials for 'merican military leaders and concentration gulags for the rest of enlisted. Just like they did to Germany.

Its only proper.

GhostOfDiogenes
The USA did this murder of Libya and giving ownership to the people who did '911'? What a joke. http://youtu.be/aJURNC0e6Ek
Bastiat
Libya under Ghadaffi: universal free college education, free healthcare, free electricity. interest free loans. A very bad example of how a nation's wealth is to be distributed!
CHoward
The average American has NO idea how much damage is being done in this world - all in the name of Democracy. Unbelivable and truly pathetic. Yet - most sheeple still believe ISIS and others hate us because of our "freedoms" and i-pods. What bullshit.
Bioscale
Czech public tv published a long interview in English with Asad, it was filmed in Damascus some days ago.Very unusual thing, actually. Terrorism being transported by US, Turkey and France to Syria is being openly debated. http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ct24/svet/1628712-asad-pro-ct-rebelove-jsou-...

Overfed

Compare and contrast Assad, giving an interview very well in a second language, with O'bomb-a, who can't even speak to school children without a teleprompter. Sad.

Razor_Edge

Along with President Putin, Dr al Assad is consistently the most sane, rational and clearly honest speaker on the tragedy of Syria. By contrast, our satanic western leaders simply lie outrageously at all times. How do we know? Their lips are moving. They also say the most absurd things.

We in the west may think that at the end of the day, it's not going to harm us, so why discomfort ourselves by taking on our own elites and bringing them down. But I believe that an horrific future awaits us, one we richly deserve, because we did not shout stop at this ocean of evil bloodshed being spilt in our names. We pay the taxes that pay for it, or at least in my countrys case, (traditional policy of military neutrality), we facilitate the slaughter (troop transports through Shannon airport), or fail to speak out for fear it may impact FDI into Ireland, (largest recipient of US FDI in the world).

We are our brothers keepers, and we are all one. It is those who seek to separate us to facilitate their evil and psychopathic lust for power and money, who would have us beieve that "the other" is evil. Are we really so simple minded or riven by fear that we cannot see through the curtain of the real Axis of Evil?

Demdere

Israeli-neocon strategy is to have the world's economy collapse at the point of maximum war and political chaos.

Then they can escape to Paraguay. Sure as hell, if they stay here, we are going to hang them all. Treasonous criminals for the 9/11 false flag operation.

By 2015, every military and intelligence service and all the think tanks have looked at 9/11 carefully. Anyone who looks at the evidence sees that it was a false flag operation, the buildings were destroyed via explosives, the planes and evil Arab Muslims were show. Those agencies reported to their civilian leaders, and their civilian leaders spread the information through their societies.

So all of the politically aware people in the world, including here at home, KNOW that 9/11 was a false flag operation, or know that they must not look at the evidence. Currently, anyone who disagrees in MSM is treated as invisible, and I know of no prominent bloggers who have even done the bits of extention of 'what it must mean' that I have done.

But it certainly means high levels of distrust for the US and for Israel. It seems to me that World Domination is not possible, because the world won't let you, and the means of opposition are only limited by the imaginations of the most creative, intelligent and knowledgable people. We don't have any of those on our side any more.

L Bean

In their farcical quest to emulate the Roman empire...

Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant - Tacitus

They plunder, they slaughter, and they steal: this they falsely name Empire, and where they make a wasteland, they call it peace.

[Nov 28, 2015] Remaking the Middle East: How the US Grew Tired and Less Relevant

Notable quotes:
"... In reality, this perception is misleading; not that Kerry is a warmonger on the level of George W. Bush's top staff, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder George H. W. Bush described them with demeaning terminology , according to his biographer, quoted in the New York Times . Cheney was an "Iron-ass", who "had his own empire … and marched to his own drummer," H.W. Bush said, while calling Rumsfeld "an arrogant fellow" who lacked empathy. Yet, considering that the elder Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder if the US foreign policy ailment is centered on failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths? ..."
"... comparing the conduct of the last three administrations, that of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one would find that striking similarities are abundant. In principle, all three administrations' foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently. ..."
"... In essence, Obama carried on with much of what W. Bush had started in the Middle East, although he supplanted his country's less active role in Iraq with new interventions in Libya and Syria. In fact, his Iraq policies were guided by Bush's final act in that shattered country, where he ordered a surge in troops to pacify the resistance, thus paving the way for an eventual withdrawal. Of course, none of that plotting worked in their favor, with the rise of ISIS among others, but that is for another discussion. ..."
"... In other words, US foreign policy continues unabated, often guided by the preponderant norm that "might makes right", and by ill-advised personal ambitions and ideological illusions like those championed by neo-conservatives during W. Bush's era. ..."
"... The folly of W. Bush, Cheney and company is that they assumed that the Pentagon's over $1.5 billion-a-day budget was enough to acquire the US the needed leverage to control every aspect of global affairs, including a burgeoning share of world economy. ..."
"... The Russian military campaign in Syria, which was halfheartedly welcomed by the US. has signaled a historic shift in the Middle East. Even if Russia fails to turn its war into a major shift of political and economic clout, the mere fact that other contenders are now throwing their proverbial hats into the Middle East ring, is simply unprecedented since the British-French-Israeli Tripartite Aggression on Egypt in 1956. ..."
"... It will take years before a new power paradigm fully emerges, during which time US clients are likely to seek the protection of more dependable powers. In fact, the shopping for a new power is already under way, which also means that new alliances will be formed while others fold. ..."
November 14, 2015 | original.antiwar.com
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is often perceived as one of the "good ones" – the less hawkish of top American officials, who does not simply promote and defend his country's military adventurism but reaches out to others, beyond polarizing rhetoric.

His unremitting efforts culminated partly in the Iran nuclear framework agreement in April, followed by a final deal, a few months later. Now, he is reportedly hard at work again to find some sort of consensus on a way out of the Syria war, a multi-party conflict that has killed over 300,000 people. His admirers see him as the diplomatic executor of a malleable and friendly US foreign policy agenda under President Obama.

In reality, this perception is misleading; not that Kerry is a warmonger on the level of George W. Bush's top staff, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder George H. W. Bush described them with demeaning terminology, according to his biographer, quoted in the New York Times. Cheney was an "Iron-ass", who "had his own empire … and marched to his own drummer," H.W. Bush said, while calling Rumsfeld "an arrogant fellow" who lacked empathy. Yet, considering that the elder Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder if the US foreign policy ailment is centered on failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths?

If one is to fairly examine US foreign policies in the Middle East, for example, comparing the conduct of the last three administrations, that of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one would find that striking similarities are abundant. In principle, all three administrations' foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently.

In essence, Obama carried on with much of what W. Bush had started in the Middle East, although he supplanted his country's less active role in Iraq with new interventions in Libya and Syria. In fact, his Iraq policies were guided by Bush's final act in that shattered country, where he ordered a surge in troops to pacify the resistance, thus paving the way for an eventual withdrawal. Of course, none of that plotting worked in their favor, with the rise of ISIS among others, but that is for another discussion.

Obama has even gone a step further when he recently decided to keep thousands of US troops in Afghanistan well into 2017, thus breaking US commitment to withdraw next year. 2017 is Obama's last year in office, and the decision is partly motivated by his administration's concern that future turmoil in that country could cost his Democratic Party heavily in the upcoming presidential elections.

In other words, US foreign policy continues unabated, often guided by the preponderant norm that "might makes right", and by ill-advised personal ambitions and ideological illusions like those championed by neo-conservatives during W. Bush's era.

Nevertheless, much has changed as well, simply because American ambitions to police the world, politics and the excess of $600 billion a year US defense budget are not the only variables that control events in the Middle East and everywhere else. There are other undercurrents that cannot be wished away, and they too can dictate US foreign policy outlooks and behavior.

Indeed, an American decline has been noted for many years, and Middle Eastern nations have been more aware of this decline than others. One could even argue that the W. Bush administration's rush for war in Iraq in 2003 in an attempt at controlling the region's resources, was a belated effort at staving off that unmistakable decay – whether in US ability to regulate rising global contenders or in its overall share of global economy.

The folly of W. Bush, Cheney and company is that they assumed that the Pentagon's over $1.5 billion-a-day budget was enough to acquire the US the needed leverage to control every aspect of global affairs, including a burgeoning share of world economy. That misconception carries on to this day, where military spending is already accounting for about 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, itself nearly a third of the country's overall budget.

However, those who are blaming Obama for failing to leverage US military strength for political currency refuse to accept that Obama's behavior hardly reflects a lack of appetite for war, but a pragmatic response to a situation that has largely spun out of US control.

The so-called "Arab Spring", for example, was a major defining factor in the changes of US fortunes. And it all came at a particularly interesting time.

First, the Iraq war has destroyed whatever little credibility the US had in the region, a sentiment that also reverberated around the world.

Second, it was becoming clear that the US foreign policy in Central and South America – an obstinate continuation of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, which laid the groundwork for US domination of that region – has also been challenged by more assertive leaders, armed with democratic initiatives, not military coups.

Third, China's more forceful politics, at least around its immediate regional surroundings, signaled that the US traditional hegemony over most of East and South East Asia are also facing fierce competition.

Not only many Asian and other countries have flocked to China, lured by its constantly growing and seemingly more solid economic performance, if compared to the US, but others are also flocking to Russia, which is filling a political and, as of late, military vacuum left open.

The Russian military campaign in Syria, which was halfheartedly welcomed by the US. has signaled a historic shift in the Middle East. Even if Russia fails to turn its war into a major shift of political and economic clout, the mere fact that other contenders are now throwing their proverbial hats into the Middle East ring, is simply unprecedented since the British-French-Israeli Tripartite Aggression on Egypt in 1956.

The region's historians must fully understand the repercussions of all of these factors, and that simply analyzing the US decline based on the performance of individuals – Condoleezza Rice's hawkishness vs. John Kerry's supposed sane diplomacy – is a trivial approach to understanding current shifts in global powers.

It will take years before a new power paradigm fully emerges, during which time US clients are likely to seek the protection of more dependable powers. In fact, the shopping for a new power is already under way, which also means that new alliances will be formed while others fold.

For now, the Middle East will continue to pass through this incredibly difficult and violent transition, for which the US is partly responsible.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is a media consultant, an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press).

[Nov 28, 2015] The Perils of Endless War - Antiwar.com

Notable quotes:
"... John Quincy Adams, for his part, loved an America that "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." ..."
November 28, 2015 | Antiwar.com
War tends to perpetuate itself. As soon as one brute gets killed, another takes his place; when the new guy falls, another materializes.

Consider Richard Nixon's intensification of the American war on Cambodia. In hopes of maintaining an advantage over the Communists as he withdrew American troops from Southeast Asia, Nixon ravaged Vietnam's western neighbor with approximately 500,000 tons of bombs between 1969 and 1973. But instead of destroying the Communist menace, these attempts to buttress Nguyen Van Thieu's South Vietnamese government and then Lon Nol's Cambodian government only transformed it. The bombings led many of Nixon's early targets to desert the eastern region of the country in favor of Cambodia's interior where they organized with the Khmer Rouge.

As a CIA official noted in 1973, the Khmer Rouge started to "us[e] damage caused by B-52 strikes as the main theme of their propaganda." By appealing to Cambodians who were affected by the bombing raids, this brutal Communist organization, a peripheral batch of 10,000 fighters in 1969, had expanded by 1973 into a formidable army with 20 times as many members. Two years later, they seized control of Phnom Penh and murdered more than one million of their compatriots in a grisly genocide.

The following decade, when war erupted between the forces of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, the United States hedged its bets by providing military assistance to both governments as they slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people. But when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, ousted the emir, and ultimately assassinated about 1,000 Kuwaitis, the United States turned on its former ally with an incursion that directly killed 3,500 innocent Iraqis and suffocated 100,000 others through the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure. The US also maintained an embargo against Iraq throughout the 1990s, a program that contributed to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqis and that UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Dennis Halliday deemed "genocidal" when he explained his 1998 resignation.

The newly restored Kuwaiti government, for its part, retaliated against minority groups for their suspected "collaboration" with the Iraqi occupiers. The government threw Palestinians out of schools, fired its Palestinian employees, and threatened thousands with "arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, and murder." Beyond that, Kuwait interdicted the reentry of more than 150,000 Palestinians and tens of thousands of Bedoons who had evacuated Kuwait when the tyrant Saddam took over. Thus, years of American maneuvering to achieve peace and security – by playing Iran and Iraq off of each other, by privileging Kuwaiti authoritarians over Iraqi authoritarians, by killing tens of thousands of innocent people who got in the way – failed.

The chase continues today as the United States targets the savage "Islamic State," another monster that the West inadvertently helped create by assisting foreign militants. History suggests that this war against Islamism, if taken to its logical extreme, will prove to be an endless game of whack-a-mole. Yes, our government can assassinate some terrorists; what it cannot do is stop aggrieved civilian victims of Western bombings from replacing the dead by becoming terrorists themselves. Furthermore, even if ISIS disappeared tomorrow, there would still exist soldiers – in Al-Qaeda, for instance – prepared to fill the void. That will remain true no matter how many bombs the West drops, no matter how many weapons it tenders to foreign militias, no matter how many authoritarian governments it buttresses in pursuit of "national security."

So, what are we to do when foreign antagonists, whatever the source of their discontent, urge people to attack us? We should abandon the Sisyphean task of eradicating anti-American sentiments abroad and invest in security at home. Gathering foreign intelligence is important when it allows us to strengthen our defenses here, but bombing people in Iraq and Syria, enabling the Saudi murder of Yemenis, and deploying troops to Cameroon are futile steps when enemy organizations can constantly replenish their supply of fighters by propagandizing among natives who deplore Western intervention.

This understanding, though underappreciated in contemporary American government, reflects a noble American tradition. John Quincy Adams, for his part, loved an America that "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." Decades later, Jeannette Rankin doubted the benefits of American interventionism, contending that "you can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." Martin Luther King Jr. warned that "violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones." These leaders adamantly rejected an American politics of unending aggressive war. It is time for us to do the same.

Tommy Raskin is a contributor to the Good Men Project and Foreign Policy in Focus.

[Nov 25, 2015] The shooting down of a Russian jet tangles the diplomatic web still further

Notable quotes:
"... Recently, Moscow's rapprochement with the Syrian Kurds, the PYD, only added to the huge complexity of the situation. ..."
"... any solution of the Syrian conflict will be based on a precondition that the US and Russia put aside their differences, ..."
"... At least one good thing has come from all of this. At least it took Putin to be the first leader to openly say exactly what turkey actually is. A despicable, Islamist supporting vile wolf in Sheeps clothing. ..."
"... well , just think for a second .... all the image - they were shooting him while he was in the air , shouting Allah Akbar then they showed a photo with dead pilot , being proud of that ..... Those ppl are the hope for a Syria post-Assad....dont you feel that something is wrong here ? ..."
"... Also as soon as the noble Turkman started shooting at the pilot and navigator once theyd bailed out of the plane they showed themselves to be the terrorists they are. Playing no prisoners against Russia. ..."
"... At the G20 Antalya summit of Nov 15, Putin embarrassed Obama publicly showing satellite pictures of ridiculously long tanker lines waiting for weeks to load oil from ISIS, as the coalition spared them any trouble. "I've shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil, said Putin. ..."
"... So there you have it. For 15 months, the US didn't touch the oil trade that financed ISIS affairs, until Russia shamed them into it. Then, the mightiest army in the world bombs 400 trucks, while Russia destroys 1000. Then Russia provides videos of its airstrikes, while the US doesn't, and PBS is caught passing off Russian evidence as American. ..."
"... Of course Turkey did not need to down this jet: well planned and a clear provocation to start the propaganda war against Russia which actually wants to stop this war before a transition without a pre-planned (US) outcome. ..."
"... With Saudi and Turkish support for ISIS , just who have they bothered saving and sending out into Europe amongst their name taking and slaughters ? Wahabists? How many cells set up now globally? ..."
"... The turkmen are illegally staging war. Russia is the only country legally in Syria. Thats why CIA, Saudi, Turk, Israel etc etc etc operate clandestine. But they all enjoy bombing hotheads. A pity so many of them think their brands of religion or old stories from centuries ago of enemies have any bearing today. Or perhaps they just believe rich mens newspapers and media too much. Maybe all their educations and futures were lost by gangsters that were funded and protected and given country ownership for oil and now forces clean up their centuries long mess for newer deals. ..."
"... I thought Russia was INVITED by the Syrian Gov. to assist them in eradicating ALL rebel factions including a bunch of Turkmen rebels funded by Erdogan. No others operating in Syria are legitimate. Any cowards shouting Allah uakbar and killing POWs should be eradicated ..."
"... According to the BBC the Turkmen fight with Al Nusra. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34910389 UN Resolution 2249 calls not only for action against IS but also Al Nusra and other AQ associated groups. ..."
"... I also know Turkey has been laundering ISIS oil from Syria and Iraq to the tune of $2 million/day. ..."
"... Well, a US Air Force has now also suggested that the Turkish shooting down of the Russian had to have been a pre-planned provocation. Also US officials have said it cannot be confirmed that the Russian jet incurred into Turkish territory. And of course there is the testimony of the Russian pilot. ..."
"... What ethnic cleansing??? Assad has a multi sect and multi ethnic government. Meanwhile western and Turkish backed jihadist have openly said they will massacre every last Kurd,Christian,Alawi and Druze in the country. ..."
"... Shooting down the Russian plane was Turkeys way of flexing its muscles. The murder of the pilot in the parashoot was a cowardly act. These are the people the US are backing. They can be added to Obamas list of most favored and join the ranks of the Saudis who behead and crucify protesters ..."
"... Erdogan is playing both NATO and Russia for fools. Trying to create a wedge and sabotage the restoration of stability in Syria. ..."
"... It is all a giant make-believe. They are only using ISIS as a pretext to occupy and breakup Syria. And Western populations swallow all these lies without blinking and feel victimized by refugees. ..."
"... Now, Id bet that Putin has no plans to exacerbate the current situation by shooting down any Turkish jets out of revenge for yesterdays incident. But it will be unsettling for Turkish flyboys and their bosses to know that a good chunk of their a airspace is totally vulnerable and they fly there only because Russia lets them. ..."
"... its astonishing how many of the Putin hating NATObots from the Ukrainian-themed CIF threads turn out to be ISIS supporters. ..."
"... indeed, with the stench of US grand mufti all over them.. How far do you think Obama will bow on his next visit to Saudi. ..."
"... Yup the FT estimated before the Russians got involved that ISIS were producing between 30,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil a day. You would need over 2000 full size road tankers just to move one days output. Now its fair to assume after filling up it takes more than a day before it gets back to the pump. Surprisingly the US has neither noticed all these tankers and even more surprisingly the oil tanks and installations. ..."
"... The whole regime change plan is hanging in the balance and every day Russia solidifies Assads position. If this continues for even another month it will be virtually impossible for the Western alliance to demand the departure of Assad. ..."
"... Their bargaining position is diminishing by the day and it is great to watch. Also good to read that the Russians have been pounding the shi*e out of those Turkmen areas. Expect those silly buggers to be slaughtered whilst Erdogan and the Turks watch on helplessly. If they even try anything inside the Syrian border now the Russians will annihilate them. ..."
"... Erdogans reaction to Syria shooting down a Turkish jet in 2012. Erdogan criticized Syria harshly on Tuesday for shooting down the Turkish fighter jet, saying: "Even if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack." "It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still it was shot down," the corrupt ISIS supporting scumbag said ..."
www.theguardian.com

The nervousness displayed by the AKP administration, in Ankara, has a lot to do with Turkey's Syria policy being in ever-growing disarray, and its failure to set priorities to help resolve the conflict. As the Syrian quagmire deepened, old anti-Kurdish fixations in Ankara came to the surface, and clashed with the priorities of its allies, centred on Isis. Ankara's blocking moves against the only combat force on ground, the PKK-YPG axis, has impeded the fight against jihadists, and its constant redrawing of red-lines (Kurds, Turkmens, no-fly zone, Assad gone etc) may have been frustrating the White House, but does not seem to affect Moscow. Recently, Moscow's rapprochement with the Syrian Kurds, the PYD, only added to the huge complexity of the situation.

In the recent G20 summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was once more keen to underline that "terror has no religion and there should be no our terrorist and your terrorist"

... ... ...

So, the tension now rises between one determined and one undecided, conflicted player – one lucid on strategy, the other lacking it. If any, the lesson to be drawn from this showdown is this: any solution of the Syrian conflict will be based on a precondition that the US and Russia put aside their differences, agree in principle on the future of the region, build a joint intelligence gathering and coordinated battle scheme against jihadists, and demand utter clarity of the positions of their myopic, egocentric allies. Unless they do so, more complications, and risks beyond turf wars will be knocking at the door

Eugenios -> André De Koning 25 Nov 2015 23:24

Assad is targeted because it is a necessary prelude to an attack on Iran. Pepe Escobar called that long ago. What is sought is a Syria in the imperialist orbit or in chaos.

Attack on Iran by whom--you ask? Actually several in cahoots, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, et al.

Lyigushka -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 23:22

BBC maps show ISIS controlled territory only a few miles from the Turkmen area where the shooting down took place.
Your not very good at this are you
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27838034

Lyigushka -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 23:11

A brief search on the internet shows many items referring to Turkish support for IS.

Now the SAA with Russian support is on the border dealing with the jihadist Turkmen, Turkey's duplicity is in danger of being revealed .

Hence the impotent rage and desperate pleas for support to its other US coalition partners and the strange reluctance of the complicit western MSM to fully reveal the lies and double standards of the western allies in this foul business.

Only the other day a US TV program was trying to con its viewers that the US was bombing ISIS oil trucks, with video from a Russian airstrike.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/11/pbs-uses-russian-airstrike-videos-to-claim-us-airstrike-successes.html

James H McDougall 25 Nov 2015 23:09

At least one good thing has come from all of this. At least it took Putin to be the first leader to openly say exactly what turkey actually is. A despicable, Islamist supporting vile wolf in Sheep's clothing. Who else was buying ISIS oil....the tooth fairy ? Never in my life did I think I'd be defending the red team yet here I am.

AtelierEclatPekin -> murati 25 Nov 2015 23:06

well , just think for a second .... all the image - they were shooting him while he was in the air , shouting "Allah Akbar " then they showed a photo with dead pilot , being proud of that ..... Those ppl are the "hope" for a Syria post-Assad....don't you feel that something is wrong here ?

Shankman -> ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 23:02

He was awfully quick to accept Turkey's version of events.

As for his Nobel "Peace" Prize, Alfred Nobel is probably still turning in his grave.

Lyigushka -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 23:02

Of course Turkey supports ISIS and has done for all its existence as part of an opposition to its main enemies, Assad and the Kurds.

A brief search of the internet provides countless articles on this without even having to quote Russian sources. Examples
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/research-paper-isis-turke_b_6128950.html
http://www.infowars.com/former-nato-commander-turkey-is-supporting-isis/

iusedtopost 25 Nov 2015 23:01

.....and the censors are out again.....SHAME on you Guardian.

I say again.....MSM now referring to "Turkmen" like they are cuddly toys FFS

They are head chopping....moon howling....islamo-terrorists.

Russia has the right idea....kill the lot them

ianhassall -> ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 22:56

Also as soon as the noble Turkman started shooting at the pilot and navigator once they'd bailed out of the plane they showed themselves to be the terrorists they are. Playing "no prisoners" against Russia.

And as for the US - they can bomb a Medicin sans Frontiers field hospital in Afghanistan for 37 minutes and the best excuse they come out with is "the plane's email stopped working, it didn't know where the target was, they didn't know where they were, so they just attacked something that looked like". So much for US military's navigation abilities.

NikLot -> LordMurphy 25 Nov 2015 22:44

Dear Lord, where did I defend it?!! How do you read that?!!! Of course it is appalling!!!

I wanted to point out that the 'good terrorist' Turkmen militia or whoever else did it would have done the same to NATO pilots and that the story should be explored from that angle too. Statement by Turkey's PM today, if true, confirms my concern:

"Davutoglu told his party's lawmakers on Wednesday that Turkey didn't know the nationality of the plane that was brought down on Tuesday until Moscow announced it was Russian."

ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 22:38

Its amazing that NATO have been bombing ISIS for 2 years and did very little to halt its progress.

Russia's been doing it for a month and have bombed ISIS, the military supplies NATO have been giving ISIS, and the illegal oil racket that Turkey's been running with ISIS - all at a fraction of the cost that's going into supporting ISIS and other Syrian terrorist groups.

I can see why Turkey's upset. Also anyone who thinks Turkey shot down this plane without the approval of NATO and Obama is kidding themselves. Obama has blood up to his armpits with what's been going on in Syria, despite his Peace Prize credentials.


luella zarf -> ArundelXVI 25 Nov 2015 22:28

OK I did some research and I was somewhat wrong, Russia did initiate the bombing of the oil delivery system, but at the G20 summit. This is the actual chronology:

At the G20 Antalya summit of Nov 15, Putin embarrassed Obama publicly showing satellite pictures of ridiculously long tanker lines waiting for weeks to load oil from ISIS, as the coalition spared them any trouble. "I've shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil," said Putin.

The next day, on Nov 16, the US bombed a truck assembly for the first time in the history of the coalition and then claimed to have hit 116 oil tankers. In the meantime, Russia carried on its own airstrike campaign, destroying more than 1,000 tankers and a refinery in a period of just five days, and posting video footage of the airstrikes.

Because the US never made available any recordings, on Nov 19 PBS used footage of Russian fighter jets bombing an oil storage facility and passed it off as evidence of the US hits. The Moon of Alabama website was the first to notice. On Nov 23, a second American air raid claimed to have destroyed 283 oil tankers.

So there you have it. For 15 months, the US didn't touch the oil trade that financed ISIS affairs, until Russia shamed them into it. Then, the mightiest army in the world bombs 400 trucks, while Russia destroys 1000. Then Russia provides videos of its airstrikes, while the US doesn't, and PBS is caught passing off Russian evidence as American.

idkak -> John Smith 25 Nov 2015 22:17

Currently 18 aircraft are patrolling the area on a daily basis, they must have misread the memo.... Downing a Turkish plane over Turkish soil, or attacking a NATO aircraft on mission in Syria within the alliance that is currently bombing ISIS or other terrorist variants... won't be favorable for Russia or their forces in Syria. Even without NATO, Turkey has a very large military and the location we are talking about is about 2-5 minutes to bomb, and 1-2 minutes to intercept.. so the attack would be about the same level of strategic stupidity as attacking Russia from the Ukraine.

André De Koning -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 22:16

How naive: downing a jet who fights al-Nusra. Of course Turkey has supported terrorist there for a long time and left the border between Turkey and Syria porous, so the proxy war can be fought against Assad (just one man (?) always features in the multi-factorial warfare, which is easy on the ears of simpletons). There were already plans in 1957 and more modern ones in the US to ruin Syria and take the land and resources and use it for the oil pipelines from Saudi to Turkey (Assad did not sign off in 2009, so war was bound to happen).

André De Koning 25 Nov 2015 22:11

Imagine a US fighter being shot down? From the beginning of the war Russia and Syria said there were not just peaceful demonstrators, but people who were shooting and grew into ISIS and Al-Nusra and al-Qaeda. This did not fit the western propaganda and the Divide and Ruin policy (title of Dan Glazebrook's recent book of articles) which is that Syria was a on the Ruin-map for a long time. Turkey's Erdogan is intellectually an Islamist and together with Saudi they and the terrorists are fighting this proxy war the US can hardly afford.

In 7 weeks Russia destroyed more of ISIS infrastructure and oil tankers than the US did in a year (the superpower has managed to make ISIS increase seven-fold). The only objective is one man: Assad and the ruin of Syria to be 'rebuilt' (plundered) by western investments and domination of the entire region of the Middle East. The rest is lies to prop up propaganda and doing as if they bring democracy (like the West does in Saudi?! the biggest friend and weapons buyer. Just like Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, which did not play ball, it will be destroyed by the West. It gets harder with Russia actually wishing to stop the proxy war: Syria itself deciding what their future will be? No way as far as US and UK are concerned (and the weak EU following with their businessmen contingent to reap the benefits). Absolutely disgusting that the people have to suffer it.

Of course Turkey did not need to down this jet: well planned and a clear provocation to start the propaganda war against Russia which actually wants to stop this war before a transition without a pre-planned (US) outcome.

EightEyedSpy -> Eugenios 25 Nov 2015 21:59

Meanwhile, Turkey just gave the Russians a no-fly zone--against Turks.

Not true - unless Russia intends to breach the resolution unanimously passed by the UN Security Council authorising all member nations to fight against ISIS on territory controlled by ISIS in Syria.

Pursuant to the Security Council resolution, which Russia voted for, all member nations have the legal right to use Syrian airspace and traverse Syrian territory for the purpose of fighting ISIS in Syria.

If Russia attempts to impose a no-fly zone against Turkey in Syria, Russia will violate the Security Council resolution ...

btt1943 25 Nov 2015 21:59

Forget about whether Russian jet has infiltrated Turkey's airspace or not as claimed by one and denied by other, the bottom line is Turkey has been wanting to play a big and decisive role in Syrian conflict and ISIS's rise. Ankara does not wish to see Russian's growing influence and intervention in the messy region.


Jimmi Cbreeze -> Normin 25 Nov 2015 21:49

With Saudi and Turkish support for ISIS , just who have they bothered saving and sending out into Europe amongst their name taking and slaughters ? Wahabists? How many cells set up now globally?


Jimmi Cbreeze EightEyedSpy 25 Nov 2015 21:17

The turkmen are illegally staging war. Russia is the only country legally in Syria. That's why CIA, Saudi, Turk, Israel etc etc etc operate clandestine. But they all enjoy bombing hotheads. A pity so many of them think their brands of religion or old stories from centuries ago of enemies have any bearing today. Or perhaps they just believe rich mens newspapers and media too much. Maybe all their educations and futures were lost by gangsters that were funded and protected and given country ownership for oil and now forces clean up their centuries long mess for newer deals.

And then you have the Murdochs and the Rothchilds and the arms industries.

Because where the people are'nt divided by cunning for profit, they are too lunatic and gangster minded to live in peace with each other anyway.
The whole matter is a multi joint taskforce of opportunism. And wealth is going for broke stamping and taking as much corporate ground as possible worldwide.

What chance is there of calling peace? Where and when are all these lunatics going to live in peace and constructively? How would they with half the the globe shitstirring and funding trouble amongst them for profit and gain?

Turkey has attacked Russia on Syrian soil and Russia is the only country legally at arms in Syria. Makes you wonder that Turkey does'nt like Turkmen or consider them a problem. That they provoke getting them wiped out of Syria. How could Assad or anyone govern getting undermined from a dozen directions.

Who knows, the place is a mess. It's no use preaching peace inside the turmoil. It has to come from outside and above. But it appears with this lot-what peace ever.

Bosula trandq 25 Nov 2015 21:07

Since you can't or don't bother to actually read the Guardian or other papers you probably missed that UN Resolution 2249 calls not only for action against IS but also Al Nusra and other AQ associated groups in Syria. The Syrian Free Army is linked with these groups, particularly Al Nusra.

Now you have learned something.


Eugenios 25 Nov 2015 21:04

It seems more likely than not that the Russians will make an effort to capture and try the moderate terrorists who shot the Russian pilot parachuting. It is a war crime after all. The old Soviets would have dispensed with such niceties as trials, but the RF is more legalistic. Nicely enough the moderate terrorists identified themselves on video, don't you know?

There may also be several legal cases brought against Erdogan and Turkey.

Meanwhile, Turkey just gave the Russians a no-fly zone--against Turks.


ozhellene -> trandq 25 Nov 2015 20:57

I thought Russia was INVITED by the Syrian Gov. to assist them in eradicating ALL rebel factions including a bunch of Turkmen rebels funded by Erdogan. No others operating in Syria are legitimate. Any cowards shouting Allah uakbar and killing POWs should be eradicated


luella zarf -> ArundelXVI 25 Nov 2015 20:54

US air strikes destroys 283 oil tankers used for smuggling to fund terror group. You were saying? I don't know why some people around here just feel free to make things up.

Give us a break. The US hit ISIS oil tanks 6 full days after Russia released footage which showed its fighter jets targeting 200 oil trucks and a refinery. In 15 months of bombing ISIS, there were no American airstrikes on oil tanks until Russia came along and showed them how it's done. Even PBS pointed out when reporting the attack "For the first time, the US is attacking oil delivery trucks."

ozhellene 25 Nov 2015 20:35

will this be a "turkey shoot"? Big mistake Mr Erdogan! You just condemned you Turkmen buddies to be bombed by the Russian bears.
Turkey will never avoid the Kurdish finally taking back their rightful lands, stolen during the Ottoman rule.
Never forget that Kurds make up a lot of your population.....waiting for the right moment...

WalterCronkiteBot 25 Nov 2015 20:32

According to the BBC the Turkmen fight with Al Nusra. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34910389 UN Resolution 2249 calls not only for action against IS but also Al Nusra and other AQ associated groups.

These guys advertise and run jihadist training camps for children. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/09/uighur-jihadist-group-in-syria-advertises-little-jihadists.php

They might not be explicitly AQ affiliated or Al Nusra itself but they share similar doctrines and fight together. Attacking them may not be by the word of the resolution but its certainly in the spirit of it.


ianhassall -> ianhassall 25 Nov 2015 20:13

Whether I think the Turkman should be wiped out is generally irrelevent.

I just know in the past 24 hours I've seen Turkey shoot down a Russian plane over Syria to defend the Turkmen. I also saw the Turkmen shooting at 2 Russian pilots why they attempted to parachute to safety, and one was killed. And I've seen the Turkmen fire a Saudi Arabia-supplied TOW missile at a Russian rescue helicopter, destroying it and killing two pilots.

I also know Turkey has been "laundering" ISIS oil from Syria and Iraq to the tune of $2 million/day.

You reap what you sow.

nnedjo 25 Nov 2015 19:49

In the recent G20 summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was once more keen to underline that "terror has no religion and there should be no our terrorist and your terrorist".

Yes, just when Erdogan says this, he thinks only on the Kurds, and wonder why the rest of the world considers the Kurds as freedom fighters, and only Turkey considers them as [its] terrorists.

However, the main message of this article is correct. In order to achieve peace in the Middle East, first the rest of the world must come to terms. The divisions in the world, inherited from the times of the Cold War were reflected also on the Islamic world, and so deepened or even provoked a new sectarian Sunni-Shia divisions and conflicts. So although it's "a chronic disease", it is fallen now into an acute phase in Syria and Iraq. And the urgency of the case requires that really has to come to some deal, primarily between the US and Russia, that it could reach the end of the civil war in Syria, but also in Iraq, because it's all inter-connected. Otherwise, this problem will become even more complicated and prolonged, with unforeseeable consequences.

Eugenios 25 Nov 2015 19:58

Well, a US Air Force has now also suggested that the Turkish shooting down of the Russian had to have been a pre-planned provocation. Also US officials have said it cannot be confirmed that the Russian jet incurred into Turkish territory. And of course there is the testimony of the Russian pilot. No doubt the Guardian will be covering these points, yes?

ianhassall -> EightEyedSpy 25 Nov 2015 19:47

Yes, I know. Why shouldn't Turkey defend terrorits and shoot down a Russian jet while its flying missions in Syria and not incur any wrath.

Russians have been fighting Islamic extremists for a bit longer than the West, who have generally only ever funded or armed them. I'd believe Putin 99 times out of a 100 before I'd believe Obama once.

illbthr22 -> EightEyedSpy 25 Nov 2015 19:21

What ethnic cleansing??? Assad has a multi sect and multi ethnic government. Meanwhile western and Turkish backed jihadist have openly said they will massacre every last Kurd,Christian,Alawi and Druze in the country.

Andrew Nichols -> Jeremn 25 Nov 2015 19:14

We don't have a clear, clear understanding of everything that happened today, okay? I've said that and I can keep saying it all day. We're still trying to determine what happened. It's easy to rush to judgments and to make proclamations and declarations after an incident like this.

Which is exactly what the US did - by supporting Turkeys side of the story. Dont you wish the journalist would point this out?

Cecile_Trib -> Spiffey 25 Nov 2015 19:12

Turkmen terrorists backed by Turkey (now from the air) are there not to fight with Assad but to wipe out Kurds in this region - Edorgan's sweet dream to get the political weight back.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/08/12/world/middleeast/turkey-kurds-isis.html?_r=0

spitthedog -> centerline 25 Nov 2015 18:43

Amazing how Russia attacking the ISIS oil operation can suddenly embarrass the Yanks into doing the obvious. Why didn't they do it before? If ISIS and their FSA buddies loses they can't get rid of Assad for Bibi, simples. The good old FSA, chanting Jihad and carrying white on black Al Qaeda flags. We have an interesting idea of what "moderate" is. Then again Blair was a moderate and he.... ummm....errrr....oops!

luella zarf -> TheOutsider79 25 Nov 2015 18:38

are France the only honest brokers in all of this, the only ones actually doing what they say they are doing - targeting ISIS

No, of course not. It's all spin. France, which was Syria's colonial master, is hoping to regain some of its former influence. ISIS is just a pretext, and they really have no incentive of destroying their only justification for being there in the first place.

When France launched its first airstrikes in Sep, Reuters wrote: "Paris has become alarmed by the possibility of France being sidelined in negotiations to reach a political solution in Syria. A French diplomatic source said Paris needed to be one of the "hitters" in Syria - those taking direct military action - to legitimately take part in any negotiations for a political solution to the conflict."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/27/us-mideast-crisis-france-syria-idUSKCN0RR07Y20150927

This is why they are participating - to get a seat at the table when the great powers break up Syria and hand out land rights for pipelines to big oil.

SallyWa -> HHeLiBe 25 Nov 2015 18:46

Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As it gets desperate, Turkey will attempt to bring focus back on the Assad regime and reverse the losses it has made both in Syria and geopolitically.


SallyWa -> FelixFeline 25 Nov 2015 18:45

Really? I guess I'll have to take your word for that.

Really. That's sort of your issue, not mine.

Do you have any links to support your claims about these lost ISIS territories?

For example http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/12/russian-airstrikes-support-syrian-troops-to-push-back-rebels-in-strategic-town
Article tried to call ISIS as rebels, though, it happens sometimes as those are always "good terrorists" or just "rebels" if they do what we need, like in this case if they are anti-Assad .


midnightschild10 25 Nov 2015 18:33

Although there has been a war of words between Greece and Turkey, with Turkey charging the Greeks with invading its air space, Turkey has yet to fire on a Greek plane. The turkmen are considered "moderates, and the US arm them to fight the Assad government. Shooting down the Russian plane was Turkey's way of flexing its muscles. The murder of the pilot in the parashoot was a cowardly act. These are the people the US are backing. They can be added to Obama's list of most favored and join the ranks of the Saudis who behead and crucify protesters, one upmanship over ISIS gruesome beheadings, and of course there is alSiSi, who executes all opposition. Petroshenko, wants to freeze the people of Crimea, and has over 6500 Ukrainian deaths notched on his belt since Nuland and Obama gave him the keys to Kiev.

Turkey feels feisty right now, but he obviously isn't aware of the talk coming from Washington about dividing up Syria among four leaders like they did to Berlin.

Turkey will have no part to play, and the US really wants to keep Russia out of the picture. They blame Assad for ISIS but the vacuum left by the US and the coalition left in Iraq is what gave birth to ISIS. Easy to depose governments, and then let chaos reign. Since Obama keeps bringing up the right of a sovereign nation to protect its borders, he should realize that the Syrian government never invited the US onto its soil. The Turkmen through their actions have shown they are terrorists, and Russia will treat them accordingly.

HHeLiBe 25 Nov 2015 18:32

Erdogan is playing both NATO and Russia for fools. Trying to create a wedge and sabotage the restoration of stability in Syria.

Branko Dodig 25 Nov 2015 18:26

The Russian plane was shot over Syrian airspace. Even if it had strayed over Turkish airspace, it was not shot down there. Basically, an act of revenge for bombing their "rebel" buddies.

SallyWa -> FelixFeline 25 Nov 2015 18:24

It is "Turkey screwed up and overreacted". Not confusing at all.

SallyWa -> FelixFeline 25 Nov 2015 18:23

Sorry, but I'm not Russian and also where have you been - Russia has been fighting ISIS in Syria better than US/coalition, though US/coalition did it like for a whole year.The result is that ISIS lost territories which it gained under US's "watch".

centerline 25 Nov 2015 18:12

Since the G20 meeting, Russia has photographed and destroyed the Turkish/ISIS oil convoys.

In the day or so since Turkey shot down the Russian plane in defence of al Qaeda, Russia has for the first time attacked a Turkish logistics convoy to ISIS and al Qaeda right at the main border crossing to Allepo. A number of trucks destroyed and 7 killed in that operation. turkey will pay dearly in the days to come, without Russia ever having to move into Turkish territory.

Any Turks running errands for AQ and ISIS within Syria will now be an endangered species. Or more to the point they will simply be eradicated like the vermin they are.

luella zarf -> TonyBlunt 25 Nov 2015 18:10

What a joke.

In one year of bombing, August 2014-July 2015, the coalition conducted 44,000 airstrikes in Syria-Iraq and killed 15,000 ISIS fighters, which comes at 3 sorties per terrorist!

It is all a giant make-believe. They are only using ISIS as a pretext to occupy and breakup Syria. And Western populations swallow all these lies without blinking and feel victimized by refugees.


pfox33 25 Nov 2015 17:49

The US and Israel were totally freaking when Russia first considered selling Iran S-300 systems, even though they're defensive. It would have taken the feasibility of bombing Iran's nuclear infrastructure to an unknown place. Russia sold these systems to select customers, like China. The S-400 is not for sale. Any search of Youtube will explain why.

When the S-400 is set up around Latakia they will effectively own the surrounding skies for 400 miles in every direction. That extends well into Turkey.

Now, I'd bet that Putin has no plans to exacerbate the current situation by shooting down any Turkish jets out of revenge for yesterday's incident. But it will be unsettling for Turkish flyboys and their bosses to know that a good chunk of their a airspace is totally vulnerable and they fly there only because Russia lets them.

So maybe the Turks pissed in the pickles. This little problem is keeping the Nato nabobs up at night. They haven't said a fucking word.


Geraldine Baxter -> SallyWa 25 Nov 2015 17:47

it's astonishing how many of the Putin hating NATObots from the Ukrainian-themed CIF threads turn out to be ISIS supporters.

indeed, with the "stench" of US grand mufti all over them.. How far do you think Obama will bow on his next visit to Saudi.


Liesandstats -> luella zarf 25 Nov 2015 17:47

Yup the FT estimated before the Russians got involved that ISIS were producing between 30,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil a day. You would need over 2000 full size road tankers just to move one days output. Now its fair to assume after filling up it takes more than a day before it gets back to the pump. Surprisingly the US has neither noticed all these tankers and even more surprisingly the oil tanks and installations.

jonsid 25 Nov 2015 17:33

An article about Syria is now infested with Banderites. They need to worry more about their own long-time disaster of a country instead of stalking every article mentioning Russia.

Anette Mor 25 Nov 2015 17:29

Russians spent all this time signing the rules of engagement and recognition of each other air crafts over Syria with the US, only to be shot by Turkey. Does NATO even exist as a unit other than in the headquarter offices? They constantly refer to the terms which could allegedly force then to support each other in case of external threat, while clearly they will fuck each other on technicalities for years before doing anything practically viable. Russia waste their time talking to NATO, instead had to bribe Turkey separately into a workable local deal. I am sure Turkey got just the same conclusion after wasting time in NATO talks. Corruption and complicity eaten away common sense in western politician and military heads. They only think how weak or strong they would look imitating one or another decision.

aretheymyfeet -> psygone 25 Nov 2015 17:22

Hilarious, checkmate Putin? The only reason the Turks took this drastic action is because the Western alliance has lost the initiative in Syria and they are desperately trying to goad Russia into overreacting. But, as we have seen time and again from the Russians (Lavrov is an incredibly impressive Statesman) that they are cool headed, and restrained.

The whole regime change plan is hanging in the balance and every day Russia solidifies Assad's position. If this continues for even another month it will be virtually impossible for the Western alliance to demand the departure of Assad.

Their bargaining position is diminishing by the day and it is great to watch. Also good to read that the Russians have been pounding the shi*e out of those Turkmen areas. Expect those silly buggers to be slaughtered whilst Erdogan and the Turks watch on helplessly. If they even try anything inside the Syrian border now the Russians will annihilate them. I'd say if anything, the Turks have strengthened the Russians providing them with the perfect excuse to close the Syrian air space to "unfriendly" forces. Check.


thatshowitgoes 25 Nov 2015 16:56

Erdogan's reaction to Syria shooting down a Turkish jet in 2012. "Erdogan criticized Syria harshly on Tuesday for shooting down the Turkish fighter jet, saying: "Even if the plane was in their airspace for a few seconds, that is no excuse to attack." "It was clear that this plane was not an aggressive plane. Still it was shot down," the corrupt ISIS supporting scumbag said"

SallyWa -> psygone 25 Nov 2015 16:56

means he's politically impotent, militarily boxed in a corner and incompetent for self-inflicting

You know you just described Obama and all his policies in a nutshell.

Bob Nassh -> keepithuman 25 Nov 2015 16:54

I believe there's conditions within the NATO treaty that prevent them from defending another member nation providing the conflict was instigated by war crimes committed by the member nation.


MRModeratedModerate 25 Nov 2015 16:50

But of course Turkey was exposed last year...Yet our governments continue to ignore and cover.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/research-paper-isis-turke_b_6128950.html?ir=Australia

luella zarf Jeremn 25 Nov 2015 16:45

The US doesn't bomb ISIS, only pretends it does. Actually nobody bombs ISIS there except Russia.

Only between August 2014 and July 2015 the coalition aircraft have flown nearly 44,000 sorties, according to USNews, and Airwars said the strikes have killed more than 15,000 Islamic State militants during this period.

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/07/21/stealthy-jet-ensures-other-war-fighting-aircraft-survive

So they needed 3 sorties per terrorist! I have no idea how they manage to be this ineffective unless a) they are world's worst airforce b) it's all make-believe. My money is on option b).

Yury Kobyzev -> Valois1588 25 Nov 2015 16:41

Now fact - turkey government is on ISIS side. Its simplifies situation. Russia now quite free to clean the Turkey border from interface with ISIS. It's half a job in fight.

I don't see why Russia can be damaged by so stupid current west policy. I think that clever part of west will change policy towards Russia in near future and will find there friends as it was during ww2. You can repeat mantra Pu... tin as I use Ooom ... but is he of your level?

Chummy15 25 Nov 2015 16:30

Turkey has made it pretty clear where its primary loyalties lie, with ISIS and the other anti-Assad elements. It was a foolish move shooting down the Russian plane which clearly was no threat to the security of Turkey whether or not it had violated Turkish airspace, something that happen around the world regularly. It adds a further dimension to an already complicated war

[Nov 25, 2015] Turkish military releases recording of warning to Russian jet

www.theguardian.com

Konstantin Murakhtin, a navigator who was rescued in a joint operation by Syrian and Russian commandos, told Russian media: "There were no warnings, either by radio or visually. There was no contact whatsoever."

He also denied entering Turkish airspace. "I could see perfectly on the map and on the ground where the border was and where we were. There was no danger of entering Turkey," he said.

The apparent hardening of both countries' versions of events came as Russian warplanes carried out heavy raids in Syria's northern Latakia province, where the plane came down. Tuesday's incident – the first time a Nato member state has shot down a Russian warplane since the Korean war – risks provoking a clash over the ongoing conflict in Syria, where Russia has intervened to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

... ... ...

Later, in a telephone call with John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Lavrov said Turkey's actions were a "gross violation" of an agreement between Moscow and Washington on air space safety over Syria. The state department said Kerry called for calm and more dialogue between Turkish and Russian officials.

... ... ...

Russian officials made it clear that despite the fury the reaction would be measured. There is no talk of a military response, and no suggestion that diplomatic relations could be cut or the Turkish ambassador expelled from Moscow. However, the tone of relations between the two countries is likely to change dramatically.

... ... ...

A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, hit out at the US state department official Mark Toner, who said the Turkmen fighters who shot the Russian airman as he parachuted to the ground could have been acting in self defence. "Remember these words, remember them forever. I will never forget them, I promise," Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

[Nov 23, 2015] This Is The Most Dangerous Time Ever Ex-CIA Boss Says US To Blame For Scourge Without Parallel ISIS

Notable quotes:
"... Devine argued that dismantling ISISs command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. We killed three-fourths of their leadership, he said of al Qaeda. We have to do the same thing with ISIS. We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall. ..."
"... My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil. ..."
"... I would say thats accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian permission - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesnt care who it is or how much. Its not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them. ..."
"... Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor regime change as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so. ..."
"... The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they dont care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list. ..."
"... CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection. ..."
"... CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they dont fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russias allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings. ..."
"... No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today! Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame. ..."
"... The Devil's Chessboard ..."
Nov 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.

According to The Hill,

"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said on "The Cats Roundtable" in an interview airing Sunday on New York's AM-970.

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Devine cited the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an unprecedented threat in terms of its wanton disregard for human life...

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

"You have a group in ISIS today that is frankly uncivilized. These folks could get stronger and stronger. We basically have to destroy ISIS over there," Devine said.

Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall."

Devine, who mainly served during the Cold War, said ISIS is a scourge without parallel because it has no concern for self-preservation.

"There is nothing that can be compared with nuclear weapons and their use," he said of tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

"[But] people felt safe in the sense there was countervailing balance," he added. "Early in our contest with the Russians, it was clear we had checks and balances."

Finally Devine admits...

"If there's blame to be put, it's on our failure to have done that by this point."

Selected Skeptical Comments

i_call_you_my_base

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s..."

"And by dealt I mean trained and funded."

Looney

John Kerry to the MSM:

Do not use "Al Qaeda" or "Al Nustra" - just call them "Allies" (pronounced Al Lies). ;-)

Looney

Vatican_cameo

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

By small group he means CIA, Right? I thought he would have been a little clearer.

Occident Mortal

My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil.

Paveway IV

"...once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe..."

I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them.

The U.S. blocked the first Iran pipeline (called the Persian Pipeline) FROM IRAN to Iraq in 2010 by forcing the Swiss company that partnered with Iran to back out due to Israeli - ooops, 'Western' sanctions on Iran. The second Iran-sourced NG pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria - called the Friendship Pipeline - was agreed to in 2012 by the countries involved. That's when the U.S. launched it's failed coup attempt in Syria and let its ISIS mad-dogs loose in Iraq. Tyler usually refers to this by the derogatory label of "Islamic Pipeline" - a snide label that Kagan-PNAC and Western oil companies used. Tyler never refers to the Western-backed Qatari pipeline as the Jihadi Pipeline, nor does he refer to the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline as the Jewish Pipeline. I'm not sure about the inconsistency - maybe he's trying to make some point.

Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so.

goldhedge

The CIA guy doesn't mention the House of Saud.

Pfft.

Jack Burton

Good catch! And there never do.

CIA and House of Saud have done a long term deal to look out for each other in this world. The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list.

CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection.

CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings.

scrappy

Somewhere it's 3:00 AM

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Claims Saudi Arabia is the Largest Donor to "Salafism Terrorists" Worldwide

http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2015/11/wikileaks-hillary-clinton-cl...

Clinton Foundation's Colombian 'Private Equity Fund' Deletes Website

http://investmentwatchblog.com/clinton-foundations-colombian-private-equ...

sgt_doom

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today!

Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame.

Recommended reading (to better understand why the USA is known as the Great Satan):

The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+devil%27s+chessboard&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=78875381302&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2565125617248777980&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_34lcz93rcf_e_p4

logicalman
Funny how these fucks can come out and say this kind of shit and get away with it. The fucker's basically pleading guilty to murder, FFS.
Ms No
They didn't kill anybody in South America my ass.... The school of Americas, Operation Condor, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador .... who the hell are they kidding? The CIA has always been covered and nobody ever cared.
Perimetr
"If there's blame to be put. . ."

It's on the CIA for running its global terrorist operations, funded by the $1 trillion dollars a year coming from its Afghanistan heroin operation.

Noplebian

US Gives Their Proxy Army ISIS 45 Minute Warning Before Air Strikes......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

blindman

sirs and madams,
.
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

It's all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be-a little here, a little there-there is no justification.

What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers."

Francis I
.
http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2015/11/here-is-british-banned-...

Dinero D. Profit

Ladies and gentlemen of ZH.

In history, what must be, will be.

The discovery of America by Europe had to happen. The savages had to be eliminated and The Revolutionary War had to happen. Slavery had to begin, and after it, segregation had to begin, but, what must be, will be, slavery and segregation had to end. Old School colonization of poor nations had to happen. The Boer War had to happen. The Spanish American War had to happen. The Main had to be sunk. WWI had to happen. Calvary charges had to end. Totalitarian Communism had to happen. Germany's 20's depression had to happen, reactionary jingoism had to happen, and Kristallnacht and the Reichstag fire had to happen. The Allies had to win WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to be publicity stunts, and the Cold War had to begin. JFK had to be wacked, the Vietnam War had to happen, the FED still was happening. Civil Rights laws had to be passed. Recognition of China had to happen, going off the gold standard had to happen, and Nixon had to be kicked out of office. Corporate Globalization had to begin. After Carter an actor had to be President. Unions had to be stifled. Perestroika and glasnost had to happen. The Berlin Wall had to come down. The MIC had to find another enemy, and suddenly 9/11 had to happen. …

Over population has to happen, poisoning the environment has to happen, and the NWO has to happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the NWO is here, and there is nothing you can do, and nothing you could have done to stop it.

Edit. I see none of our supposed enemies 'truth bombing' 9/11, 7/7, and the 13th Paris attacks. I see no trade embagoes, I see no arguments in the Security Council over the illegality of US/Nato bombing in Syria.

blindman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_79...
Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy
Posted: 08/03/2015 11:48 am EDT
.
On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an afterthought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell." ...
.
it is the money "system", man.

blindman

corporations and hoodwink powers ride on the indifference of the damned, the silence of the dead and doomed.

Dinero D. Profit

The Satus Quo can rely upon the loyalty of their employees, Congress, the military, the military industrial contractors, their workers and family members, the crime control establishment, all Uniersity professors and employees, and every employee of all publically traded companies, and every person employed by the MSM.

The dead and doomed are irrelevant. If you have an establishment job, you'll obey and ask no vital questions.

Dick Buttkiss
Sunnis and Shiites hate each other far more than they hate Christians, Jews, or anyone else. If it weren't for oil, the USG wouldn't give a flyiing fuck if they anihilated each other. Instead, it conspires with them in ways far beyond its ability to comprehend, much less navigate. Thus is the US ship of state heading for the shoals of its destruction, the only question being how much of the country and the outside world it takes down with it.
ross81
thats bullshit Western propaganda that Shiites hate Sunnis and vice versa. In the same way that the Brits stirred up Protestant hatred of Catholics in Ulster for centuries, the US/Israel/Saudi does the same with Sunnis vs Shiites on a much bigger scale in the Middle East. Divide and Conquer.
geno-econ
This is getting scary in that one or two more attacks will result in travel freezes, flow of Middle East oil and result in huge increase in military as well as Homeland security costs. A depression or economic collapse a real possibility Perhaps time for a Peace Conference of all interested parties. The US started this shit and should be the first to call for a Peace Conference. Macho talk will only make things worse.
moonmac
We can print trillions out of thin air at the drop of a hat but we can't kill a small group of terrorists. Got it!
sgt_doom
Or, we pour billions of dollars every year into the CIA, NSA, and DIA, and only a poor old fart such as myself can figure out that Bilal Erdogan is the ISIS connection to oil trading (Turkish president, Erdogan's son) and Erdogan's daughter is with ISIS?
GRDguy
Ex-CIA boss gets it wrong, again.

"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

should be:

"When you have a small group of financial sociopaths willing to lie-to, steal-from and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

and you'll probably be punished, jailed or shot for tryin' to protect yourself and your family.

Ban KKiller
War profiteer. That is it. Along wth James Comey, James Clapper, Jack Welch and the list is almost endless...
BarnacleBill
"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Simply take out the word "their", and the description perfectly fits the CIA, MI6 and their like. For them, it's all a business deal, nothing more - a massive slum-clearance project. Destroy people's houses, provide accommodation and food, ship them somewhere else; do it again and again until the money-printing machine conks out. It's money for old rope.

http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2015/11/slum-clearance-on-massive-scale.html

And, yes, we're all vulnerable. The man got that right.

Duc888
"You get the politicians you deserve."

CIA types are appointed, not elected.

Duc888
I do not know if there are any Catherine Austin Fitts fans on this web site but this is definitely worth the time. The FEDGOV came after her non stop for 6 years when she worked for HUD under Bush Sr. If nothing else this lady is tenacious. In this presentation she uncorks exactly HOW the deep black budgets are paid for...and it ain't your tax dollars. What she uncovered while at HUD was simply amazing..... and she made an excellent point. At the top... it's NOT "fraud" because that's how it was all deigned right from the get go after wwII. It brings to mind the funny computer saying....."it's a feature, not a bug".

She digs right into how the CIA was funded... Truly amazing stuff. ...of course the dick head brigade will come along here and deride her because of the conference she is speaking at.... well, who the fuck cares, her presentation is excellent and filled with facts.

Yes it is 1 hour 20 minutes long but imho it is well worth the watch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0mimIp8mr8

Dragon HAwk
After reading all these posts my only question is why does the CIA allow Zero Hedge to Exist ?

except of course to collect names...

[Nov 23, 2015] Tell me how Trump doesn't win the Republican nomination

Notable quotes:
"... By far the most important thing GOP voters are looking for in a candidate is someone to "bring needed change to Washington." ..."
"... He's very strong in several of the early states right now including NH, NV and SC. And he could do very well on "Super Tuesday" with all those southern states voting. I can't see anyone but Trump or Carson winning in Georgia right now, for example, most likely Trump. ..."
"... And as for the idea of the GOP establishment ganging up on him and/or uniting behind another candidate like Rubio, that's at least as likely to backfire as to work. And even if it works, what's to stop Trump from then running as an independent? ..."
"... Indeed. You have a party whose domestic policy agenda consists of shouting "death panels!", whose foreign policy agenda consists of shouting "Benghazi!", and which now expects its base to realize that Trump isn't serious. Or to put it a bit differently, the definition of a GOP establishment candidate these days is someone who is in on the con, and knows that his colleagues have been talking nonsense. Primary voters are expected to respect that? ..."
"... ... with Trump in the race, all of those states-which are more red than they were in '08-are likely out for Democrats. Swing states like Colorado and Virginia are clear toss-ups. There are few states that Romney or McCain won where Trump, as the Republican nominee, wouldn't be in the running, and an analysis of other key states shows that Trump's in far better position than his detractors would like to admit. If Trump were to win every state that Romney won, Trump would stand today at 206 electoral votes, with 55 electoral votes up for grabs in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Similarly, Trump does not necessarily lose in a single toss-up state versus Hillary Clinton and, in fact, is seemingly competitive in many. ..."
"... Which all means that the election comes down to Florida and Ohio, two states where Trump has significant advantages. In Florida (29 electoral votes), he is a part-time resident and is polling better than the state's former governor and sitting U.S. senator. ... ..."
"... A brokered convention, maybe? Even Romney would have a shot. ..."
"... Top-tier presidential campaigns are preparing for the still-unlikely scenario that the nomination fight goes all the way to the 2016 Republican National Convention. ..."
"... There hasn't been a brokered convention since 1976, but the strength of the GOP field, when coupled with the proliferation of super PACs, increases the chances that several candidates could show up in Cleveland next July with an army of delegates at their backs ..."
"... Since the November 13 attacks, every poll-in Florida, two in New Hampshire, and three nationwide-shows Trump maintaining or expanding his lead against his primary opponents. Poor Ben Carson, only recently Trump's chief rival, is losing energy like, well, you know who. In the Fox NH poll, it's Trump at 27, Rubio 13, Cruz 11, and Carson down there at 9 percent alongside Jeb! ..."
"... Play it out: an outsider who's dismissed by his party's elite, comes into the race and overwhelms a large, much more experienced group of candidates in a series of state primaries, both increasing his margins and improving as a candidate as he goes long. All the time riding a crisis that seems made for his candidacy. Does that sound like a sure loser? ... ..."
"... While the investigation into US bombing waste is keyed on who padded the figures rather than the ineptitude of bombing in any use other than taking out property owners to get the greedy to say uncle . The shame of Paris is attributable to the US war machine and every issue requires more money for the pentagon. ..."
"... No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today! Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame. ..."
"... The Devil's Chessboard ..."
Nov 23, 2015 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs said... November 23, 2015 at 06:49 AM
(!Trump watch.)

Thinking About the Trumpthinkable
http://nyti.ms/1jeD39I
NYT - Paul Krugman - Nov 22

Alan Abramowitz reads the latest WaPo poll and emails:

'Read these results (#) and tell me how Trump doesn't win the Republican nomination? I've been very skeptical about this all along, but I'm starting to change my mind. I think there's at least a pretty decent chance that Trump will be the nominee.

Here's why I think Trump could very well end up as the nominee:

1. He's way ahead of every other candidate now and has been in the lead or tied for the lead for a long time.

2. The only one even giving him any competition right now is Carson who is even less plausible and whose support is heavily concentrated among one (large) segment of the base-evangelicals.

3. Rubio, the great establishment hope now, is deep in third place, barely in double digits and nowhere close to Trump or Carson.

4. By far the most important thing GOP voters are looking for in a candidate is someone to "bring needed change to Washington."

5. He is favored on almost every major issue by Republican voters including immigration and terrorism by wide margins. The current terrorism scare only helps him with Republicans. They want someone who will "bomb the shit" out of the Muslim terrorists.

6. There is clearly strong support among Republicans for deporting 11 million illegal immigrants. They don't provide party breakdown here, but support for this is at about 40 percent among all voters so it's got to be a lot higher than that, maybe 60 percent, among Republicans.

7. If none of the totally crazy things he's said up until now have hurt him among Republican voters, why would any crazy things he says in the next few months hurt him?

8. He's very strong in several of the early states right now including NH, NV and SC. And he could do very well on "Super Tuesday" with all those southern states voting. I can't see anyone but Trump or Carson winning in Georgia right now, for example, most likely Trump.

9. And a