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[Dec 30, 2019] Sanders probably understands the situation but still is pandering to MIC, while Warren sounds like a regular neocon, another Kagan

Notable quotes:
"... "Today I say to Mr. Putin: We will not allow you to undermine American democracy or democracies around the world," Sanders said. "In fact, our goal is to not only strengthen American democracy, but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win." ..."
"... And yet, Warren too seems in thrall to the idea that the world order is shaping up to be one in which the white hats (Western democracies) must face off against the black hats (Eurasian authoritarians). Warren says that the "combination of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism" of Putin's Russia and Xi's China "is a fundamental threat to democracy, both here in the United States and around the world." ..."
"... The Cold War echoes here are as unmistakable as they are worrying. As Princeton and NYU professor emeritus Stephen F. Cohen has written, during the first Cold War, a "totalitarian school" of Soviet studies grew up around the idea "that a totalitarian 'quest for absolute power' at home always led to the 'dynamism' in Soviet behavior abroad was a fundamental axiom of cold-war Soviet studies and of American foreign policy." ..."
"... Cold warriors in both parties frequently mistook communism as a monolithic global movement. Neoprogressives are making this mistake today when they gloss over national context, history, and culture in favor of an all-encompassing theory that puts the "authoritarian" nature of the governments they are criticizing at the center of their diagnosis. ..."
"... By citing the threat to Western democracies posed by a global authoritarian axis, the neoprogressives are repeating the same mistake made by liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. They buy into the democratic peace theory, which holds without much evidence that a world order populated by democracies is likely to be a peaceful one because democracies allegedly don't fight wars against one another. ..."
"... George McGovern once observed that U.S. foreign policy "has been based on an obsession with an international Communist conspiracy that existed more in our minds than in reality." So too the current obsession with the global authoritarians. Communism wasn't a global monolith and neither is this. By portraying it as such, neoprogressives are midwifing bad policy. ..."
"... Some of these elected figures, like Trump and Farage, are symptoms of the failure of the neoliberal economic order. Others, like Orban and Kaczyński, are responses to anti-European Union sentiment and the migrant crises that resulted from the Western interventions in Libya and Syria. Many have more to do with conditions and histories specific to their own countries. Targeting them by painting them with the same broad brush is a mistake. ..."
"... "Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days," writes neoconservative-turned-Hillary Clinton surrogate Robert Kagan, "the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism." Max Boot also finds cause for concern. Boot, a modern-day reincarnation (minus the pedigree and war record) of the hawkish Cold War-era columnist Joe Alsop, believes that "the rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now." ..."
Dec 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

You can hear echoes of progressive realism in the statements of leading progressive lawmakers such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ro Khanna. They have put ending America's support for the Saudi war on Yemen near the top of the progressive foreign policy agenda. On the stump, Sanders now singles out the military-industrial complex and the runaway defense budget for criticism. He promises, among other things, that "we will not continue to spend $700 billion a year on the military." These are welcome developments. Yet since November of 2016, something else has emerged alongside the antiwar component of progressive foreign policy that is not so welcome. Let's call it neoprogressive internationalism, or neoprogressivism for short.

Trump's administration brought with it the Russia scandal. To attack the president and his administration, critics revived Cold War attitudes. This is now part of the neoprogressive foreign policy critique. It places an "authoritarian axis" at its center. Now countries ruled by authoritarians, nationalists, and kleptocrats can and must be checked by an American-led crusade to make the world safe for progressive values. The problem with this neoprogressive narrative of a world divided between an authoritarian axis and the liberal West is what it will lead to: ever spiraling defense budgets, more foreign adventures, more Cold Wars -- and hot ones too.

Unfortunately, Senators Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have adopted elements of the neoprogressive program. At a much remarked upon address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the site of Churchill's 1946 address, Sanders put forth a vision of a Manichean world. Instead of a world divided by the "Iron Curtain" of Soviet Communism, Sanders sees a world divided between right-wing authoritarians and the forces of progress embodied by American and Western European progressive values.

"Today I say to Mr. Putin: We will not allow you to undermine American democracy or democracies around the world," Sanders said. "In fact, our goal is to not only strengthen American democracy, but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win."

A year later, Sanders warned that the battle between the West and an "authoritarian axis" which is "committed to tearing down a post-Second World War global order that they see as limiting their access to power and wealth." Sanders calls this "a global struggle of enormous consequence. Nothing less than the future of the -- economically, socially and environmentally -- is at stake."

Sanders's focus on this authoritarian axis is one that is shared with his intraparty rivals at the Center for American Progress (a think-tank long funded by some of the least progressive regimes on the planet), which he has pointedly criticized for smearing progressive Democrats like himself. CAP issued a report last September about "the threat presented by opportunist authoritarian regimes" which "urgently requires a rapid response."

The preoccupation with the authoritarian menace is one Sanders and CAP share with prominent progressive activists who warn about the creeping influence of what some have cynically hyped as an "authoritarian Internationale."

Cold War Calling

Senator Warren spelled out her foreign policy vision in a speech at American University in November 2018. Admirably, she criticized Saudi Arabia's savage war on Yemen, the defense industry, and neoliberal free trade agreements that have beggared the American working and middle classes.

"Foreign policy," Warren has said, "should not be run exclusively by the Pentagon." In the second round of the Democratic primary debates, Warren also called for a nuclear "no first use" policy.

And yet, Warren too seems in thrall to the idea that the world order is shaping up to be one in which the white hats (Western democracies) must face off against the black hats (Eurasian authoritarians). Warren says that the "combination of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism" of Putin's Russia and Xi's China "is a fundamental threat to democracy, both here in the United States and around the world."

Warren also sees a rising tide of corrupt authoritarians "from Hungary to Turkey, from the Philippines to Brazil," where "wealthy elites work together to grow the state's power while the state works to grow the wealth of those who remain loyal to the leader."

The concern with the emerging authoritarian tide has become a central concern of progressive writers and thinkers. "Today, around the world," write progressive foreign policy activists Kate Kinzer and Stephen Miles, "growing authoritarianism and hate are fueled by oligarchies preying on economic, gender, and racial inequality."

Daniel Nexon, a progressive scholar of international relations, believes that "progressives must recognize that we are in a moment of fundamental crisis, featuring coordination among right-wing movements throughout the West and with the Russian government as a sponsor and supporter."

Likewise, The Nation 's Jeet Heer lays the blame for the rise of global authoritarianism at the feet of Vladimir Putin, who "seems to be pushing for an international alt-right, an informal alliance of right-wing parties held together by a shared xenophobia."

Blithely waving away concerns over sparking a new and more dangerous Cold War between the world's two nuclear superpowers, Heer advises that "the dovish left shouldn't let Cold War nightmares prevent them [from] speaking out about it." He concludes: "Leftists have to be ready to battle [Putinism] in all its forms, at home and abroad."

The Cold War echoes here are as unmistakable as they are worrying. As Princeton and NYU professor emeritus Stephen F. Cohen has written, during the first Cold War, a "totalitarian school" of Soviet studies grew up around the idea "that a totalitarian 'quest for absolute power' at home always led to the 'dynamism' in Soviet behavior abroad was a fundamental axiom of cold-war Soviet studies and of American foreign policy."

Likewise, we are seeing the emergence of an "authoritarian school" which posits that the internal political dynamics of regimes such as Putin's cause them, ineffably, to follow revanchist, expansionist foreign policies.

Cold warriors in both parties frequently mistook communism as a monolithic global movement. Neoprogressives are making this mistake today when they gloss over national context, history, and culture in favor of an all-encompassing theory that puts the "authoritarian" nature of the governments they are criticizing at the center of their diagnosis.

By citing the threat to Western democracies posed by a global authoritarian axis, the neoprogressives are repeating the same mistake made by liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. They buy into the democratic peace theory, which holds without much evidence that a world order populated by democracies is likely to be a peaceful one because democracies allegedly don't fight wars against one another.

Yet as Richard Sakwa, a British scholar of Russia and Eastern Europe, writes, "it is often assumed that Russia is critical of the West because of its authoritarian character, but it cannot be taken for granted that a change of regime would automatically make the country align with the West."

George McGovern once observed that U.S. foreign policy "has been based on an obsession with an international Communist conspiracy that existed more in our minds than in reality." So too the current obsession with the global authoritarians. Communism wasn't a global monolith and neither is this. By portraying it as such, neoprogressives are midwifing bad policy.

True, some of the economic trends voters in Europe and South America are reacting to are global, but a diagnosis that links together the rise of Putin and Xi, the elections of Trump in the U.S., Bolsonaro in Brazil, Orban in Hungary, and Kaczyński in Poland with the right-wing insurgency movements of the Le Pens in France and Farage in the UK makes little sense.

Some of these elected figures, like Trump and Farage, are symptoms of the failure of the neoliberal economic order. Others, like Orban and Kaczyński, are responses to anti-European Union sentiment and the migrant crises that resulted from the Western interventions in Libya and Syria. Many have more to do with conditions and histories specific to their own countries. Targeting them by painting them with the same broad brush is a mistake.

Echoes of Neoconservatism

The progressive foreign policy organization Win Without War includes among its 10 foreign policy goals "ending economic, racial and gender inequality around the world." The U.S., according to WWW, "must safeguard universal human rights to dignity, equality, migration and refuge."

Is it a noble sentiment? Sure. But it's every bit as unrealistic as the crusade envisioned by George W. Bush in his second inaugural address, in which he declared, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

We know full well where appeals to "universal values" have taken us in the past. Such appeals are not reliable guides for progressives if they seek to reverse the tide of unchecked American intervention abroad. But maybe we should consider whether it's a policy of realism and restraint that they actually seek. Some progressive thinkers are at least honest enough to admit as much that it is not. Nexon admits that "abandoning the infrastructure of American international influence because of its many minuses and abuses will hamstring progressives for decades to come." In other words, America's hegemonic ambitions aren't in and of themselves objectionable or self-defeating, as long as we achieve our kind of hegemony. Progressive values crusades bear more than a passing resemblance to the neoconservative crusades to remake the world in the American self-image.

"Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days," writes neoconservative-turned-Hillary Clinton surrogate Robert Kagan, "the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism." Max Boot also finds cause for concern. Boot, a modern-day reincarnation (minus the pedigree and war record) of the hawkish Cold War-era columnist Joe Alsop, believes that "the rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now."

Neoprogressivism, like neoconservatism, risks catering to the U.S. establishment's worst impulses by playing on a belief in American exceptionalism to embark upon yet another global crusade. This raises some questions, including whether a neoprogressive approach to the crises in Ukraine, Syria, or Libya would be substantively different from the liberal interventionist approach of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton. Does a neoprogressive foreign policy organized around the concept of an "authoritarian axis" adequately address the concerns of voters in the American heartland who disproportionately suffer from the consequences of our wars and neoliberal economic policies? It was these voters, after all, who won the election for Trump.

Donald Trump's failure to keep his campaign promise to bring the forever wars to a close while fashioning a new foreign policy oriented around core U.S. national security interests provides Democrats with an opportunity. By repeatedly intervening in Syria, keeping troops in Afghanistan, kowtowing to the Israelis and Saudis, ratcheting up tensions with Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and China, Trump has ceded the anti-interventionist ground he occupied when he ran for office. He can no longer claim the mantle of restraint, a position that found support among six-in-ten Americans in 2016.

Yet with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard, for the most part the Democratic field is offering voters a foreign policy that amounts to "Trump minus belligerence." A truly progressive foreign policy must put questions of war and peace front and center. Addressing America's post 9/11 failures, military overextension, grotesquely bloated defense budget, and the ingrained militarism of our political-media establishment are the proper concerns of a progressive U.S. foreign policy.

But it is one that would place the welfare of our own citizens above all. As such, what is urgently required is the long-delayed realization of a peace dividend. The post-Cold War peace dividend that was envisioned in the early 1990s never materialized. Clinton's secretary of defense Les Aspin strangled the peace dividend in its crib by keeping the U.S. military on a footing that would allow it to fight and win two regional wars simultaneously. Unipolar fantasies of "full spectrum dominance" would come later in the decade.

One might have reasonably expected an effort by the Obama administration to realize a post-bin Laden peace dividend, but the forever wars dragged on and on. In a New Yorker profile from earlier this year, Sanders asked the right question: "Do we really need to spend more than the next ten nations combined on the military, when our infrastructure is collapsing and kids can't afford to go to college?"

The answer is obvious. And yet, how likely is it that progressives will be able realize their vision of a more just, more equal American society if we have to mobilize to face a global authoritarian axis led by Russia and China?

FDR's Good Neighbor Policy

The unipolar world of the first post-Cold War decade is well behind us now. As the world becomes more and more multipolar, powers like China, Russia, Iran, India, and the U.S. will find increasing occasion to clash. A peaceful multipolar world requires stability. And stability requires balance.

In the absence of stability, none of the goods progressives see as desirable can take root. This world order would put a premium on stability and security rather than any specific set of values. An ethical, progressive foreign policy is one which understands that great powers have security interests of their own. "Spheres of influence" are not 19th century anachronisms, but essential to regional security: in Europe, the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere.

It is a policy that would reject crusades to spread American values the world over. "The greatest thing America can do for the rest of the world," George Kennan once observed, "is to make a success of what it is doing here on this continent and to bring itself to a point where its own internal life is one of harmony, stability and self-assurance."

Progressive realism doesn't call for global crusades that seek to conquer the hearts and minds of others. It is not bound up in the hoary self-mythology of American Exceptionalism. It is boring. It puts a premium on the value of human life. It foreswears doing harm so that good may come. It is not a clarion call in the manner of John F. Kennedy who pledged to "to pay any price, bear any burden." It does not lend itself to the cheap moralizing of celebrity presidential speechwriters. In ordinary language, a summation of such a policy would go something like: "we will bear a reasonable price as long as identifiable U.S. security interests are at stake."

A policy that seeks to wind down the global war on terror, slash the defense budget, and shrink our global footprint won't inspire. It will, however, save lives. Such a policy has its roots in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural address. "In the field of World policy," said Roosevelt, "I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor, the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others, the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a World of neighbors."

What came to be known as the "Good Neighbor" policy was further explicated by FDR's Secretary of State Cordell Hull at the Montevideo Conference in 1933, when he stated that "No country has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another." Historian David C. Hendrickson sees this as an example of FDR's principles of "liberal pluralism," which included "respect for the integrity and importance of other states" and "non-intervention in the domestic affairs of neighboring states."

These ought to serve as the foundations on which to build a truly progressive foreign policy. They represent a return to the best traditions of the Democratic Party and would likely resonate with those very same blocs of voters that made up the New Deal coalition that the neoliberal iteration of the Democratic Party has largely shunned but will sorely need in order to unseat Trump. And yet, proponents of a neoprogressive foreign policy seem intent on running away from a popular policy of realism and restraint on which Trump has failed to deliver.

James W. Carden is contributing writer for foreign affairs at The Nation and a member of the Board of the Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy.

[Dec 29, 2019] People you are voting for actually serve as representatives of MIC, not you: House Dems Unanimously Vote to Condemn Withdrawal From Syria

Dec 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

yaridanjo , 21 minutes ago link

Congress' constitutional duty is putting Israel first!

Reality_checkers , 18 minutes ago link

MIGA!

yaridanjo , 11 minutes ago link

You can find here who the warmongers in congress are:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/116-2019/h560

the warmongers voted 'yea' to get their bribes from the Rothschild Banking Cartel!

[Dec 28, 2019] Senior OPCW Official Busted Leaked Email Exposes Orders To Delete All Traces Of Dissent On Douma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power. ..."
"... This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids. ..."
"... Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets. ..."
"... Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. ..."
"... Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us. ..."
"... If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press. ..."
"... Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup? ..."
"... The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense. ..."
"... And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal. ..."
"... According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this." ..."
"... New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Senior OPCW Official Busted: Leaked Email Exposes Orders To "Delete All Traces" Of Dissent On Douma by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/28/2019 - 10:30 0 SHARES

Via AlMasdarNews.com,

Wikileaks has released their fourth set of leaks from the OPCW's Douma investigation, revealing new details about the alleged deletion of important information regarding the fact-finding mission.

RELEASE: OPCW-Douma Docs 4. Four leaked documents from the OPCW reveal that toxicologists ruled out deaths from chlorine exposure and a senior official ordered the deletion of the dissenting engineering report from OPCW's internal repository of documents. https://t.co/ndK4sRikNk

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

"One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW , where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation," WikiLeaks writes. Included in the email is the following directive:

" Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive] And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA.'"

According to Wikileaks, the main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma, was that two of the cylinders were most likely manually placed at the site, rather than dropped.

"The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident," the Wikileaks report said.

It must be remembered that the U.S. launched an attack on Damascus, Syria on April 14, 2018 over alleged chemical weapons usage by pro-Assad forces at Douma.

AP file image.

Another document released Friday is minutes from a meeting on 6 June 2018 where four staff members of the OPCW had discussions with "three Toxicologists/Clinical pharmacologists, one bioanalytical and toxicological chemist" (all specialists in chemical weapons, according to the minutes).

Minutes from an OPCW meeting with toxicologists specialized in chemical weapons: "the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was
no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure". https://t.co/j5Jgjiz8UY pic.twitter.com/vgPaTtsdQN

-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

The purpose of this meeting was two-fold. The first objective was "to solicit expert advice on the value of exhuming suspected victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018". According to the minutes, the OPCW team was advised by the experts that there would be little use in conducting exhumations. The second point was "To elicit expert opinions from the forensic toxicologists regarding the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims."

More specifically, " whether the symptoms observed in victims were consistent with exposure to chlorine or other reactive chlorine gas."

According to the minutes leaked Friday: "With respect to the consistency of the observed and reported symptoms of the alleged victims with possible exposure to chlorine gas or similar, the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure ."

The OPCW team members wrote that the key "take-away message" from the meeting was "that the symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified".

* * *

See full details at Wikileaks.org


JohnFrodo , 28 minutes ago link

pity the human pawns at the center of this mess.

africoman , 38 minutes ago link

There has been a Newsweek reporter who quite over editorial block of this OPCW case here also another interview by Grayzone

https://youtu.be/qqK8KgxuCPI

The isisrahell have such long hand to pull the plug any stories implicating their crime in progress otherwise they can put out some bs spins as bombshell reporting about US lies in Afghanistan war on their wapo for public for those who read it was nothing important revealed except being a misdirected na

ponyboy99 , 40 minutes ago link

If you want to pay off that student loan you're going to print what they tell you to print. You're going to inject kids with what they tell you to inject them with. You're going to think what they tell you to think or you're going to spend your days in a Prole bar drinking Blatz.

ponyboy99 , 47 minutes ago link

If you go thru life assuming every single thing is a farce and a lie (Roddy Piper) these events can not only be explained, they can be predicted.

Ace006 , 57 minutes ago link

SOMEbody's got to ensure the intergrity of the Documents Registry Archive

Weihan , 58 minutes ago link

The globalist deep-state's reach is legendary.

Nothing , 1 hour ago link

yes, an attack was launched, 50 missiles I believe, after loud warnings that it was coming, and none of them actually hit anything significant ... this is the way the game is played .... the good news is that the missiles cost $50 million, and now they will have to be replaced, by the Pentagon, first borrowing the money through the US Treasury offerings, and then paying for them from new money printed by the Federal Reserve. capische?

Greed is King , 36 minutes ago link

That`s the way it`s always been, it`s the eternal war of good against evil.

And when one evil enemy is defeated, it`s necessary to create a new evil enemy, how else can the Establishment Elite make money from war, death and destruction.

africoman , 16 minutes ago link

It's really very awkward & telling how ***** these bunch of western nations are looking tough on taking out poor defenceless country like Syria on ******** & at the satried to ease real kickass Russian as you described when they launch the attacks

I kind wish the US & their Zionist clown launch such huge attacks on Iran based on false flag

I really wanted these evil aggressive powers to taste what it is like to get bombed back even one they used to throw on multiple weaker nations freely with nothing to fear as retribution etc

Thordoom , 1 hour ago link

This organisations are all set up in Europe and US run by the filthiest filth on earth who still think they have God given right to imperial rule over the world.

British elite is the worst of all.

DCFusor , 1 hour ago link

Your military-industrial-intelligence complex at work, creating justification for more funding, like always - and who cares if people die as a result? Like Soros said, if they didn't do it, someone else would. (do I need /sarc?).

They don't like to be shown to be in charge, just to be in charge. And if you think this is a function of the current admin, you've been slow in the head and deaf and blind for quite some time.

I've watched since Eisenhower, and "it's always something". Doesn't matter what color the clown in chief's tie is.

St. TwinkleToes , 1 hour ago link

Imagine millions of government employees paid for by America's tax payer class, involved in covert operations undermining nation states for the benefit of war mongering shadow overlords counting on more never ending chaos feeding their hunger for power.

This isn't Orwell's 1984, this Team America on opioids.

veritas semper vinces , 2 hours ago link

Senior OPCW official had orders from US/ the Donald. Remember that the Donald bombed Syria based on this fake report , after a false flag done by Al Qaeda's artistic branch, the White Helmets.

holgerdanske , 1 hour ago link

It was May that insisted on this attack. Remember the "poison" attack and the evil Russians?

lwilland1012 , 3 hours ago link

Pray, do tell where are the consequences for these literal demons that engaged in war crimes? It is quite clear: as long as you are a member of the establishment, you can do whatever the f*ck you want. Why do we even follow the law, then? Given the precedent that is being set, we might as well not have any.

ken , 1 hour ago link

Well, they are looking forward to using all those Israeli weapons, er, uh, products, that local law enforcement has purchased...so watch out for Co-Intel Pro elicitation going forward....?

WorkingClassMan , 3 hours ago link

Everybody knows the Golem (USA) does Isn'treal's bidding in Syria and elsewhere in the Near East. Hopefully they keep hammering in the fact that this "gas attack" was an obvious set-up to use as a pretext (flimsy itself on the face of it) to brutalize Assad and Syria on behalf of Isn'treal.

The whole thing is built on ******* lies. Worst part about it is, nothing will happen.

turkey george palmer , 3 hours ago link

Only official news is to believed. You see it and it is a lie. they tell you to believe it. A lot of people casually believe whatever is spoken on TV. They become teachers and are taught in college what is right and wrong. We only have a few years before all the brain dead are in charge and robotically following the message like zombies with no brain

adonisdemilo , 3 hours ago link

Third rate script, third rate actors and crooked investigators. TPTB seem to have a plan worked out. Their problem now is that we, the hoi-polloi, have seen it all before, many times, and we can now recognise ******** when it's used to try to influence us.

johnnycanuck , 3 hours ago link

It is difficult to underestimate the seriousness of this manipulative act by the OPCW. In a response to the conservative author Peter Hitchens, who also writes for the Mail on Sunday – he is of course the brother of the late Christopher Hitchens – the OPCW admits that its so-called technical secretariat "is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised [sic] release of the document".

Then it adds: "At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate [sic] requests for interviews". It's a tactic that until now seems to have worked: not a single news media which reported the OPCW's official conclusions has followed up the story of the report which the OPCW suppressed.

And you bet the OPCW is not going to "accommodate" interviews. For here is an institution investigating a war crime in a conflict which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives – yet its only response to an enquiry about the engineers' "secret" assessment is to concentrate on its own witch-hunt for the source of the document it wished to keep secret from the world.

If this is not lamentable enough, the OPCW – whose final report came to more than a hundred pages and which even issued an easy-to-read precis version for journalists – now slams shut its steel doors in the hope of preventing even more information reaching the press.

https://johnmenadue.com/robert-fisk-the-evidence-we-were-never-meant-to-see-about-the-douma-gas-attack-counterpunch-27-may-2019/

5fingerdiscount , 3 hours ago link

Instead of these pieces concentrating on the whistleblower how about putting a little heat on the 50 lying bastards who initiated the coverup?

Helg Saracen , 3 hours ago link

The destruction of the countries of the Middle East for the sake of a dwarf with giant ambitions is the most stupid thing the United States has done over the past 30 years in its foreign policy. And yes, all the wars in the Middle East were grounded in lies. And the Americans paid for it all from start to finish. When Americans realize that they need to defend their national interests, and not other people's national interests, maybe something in the Middle East will change for the better. True, I am afraid that with the hight level of stupidity and shortsightedness that is common among Americans, the United States is more likely to be destroyed faster. No offense.

And I propose to remember the Syrian Christians who were destroyed by the Saudi Wahhabis, hired by the CIA with the money of American taxpayers and at the request of Israel. Until the Americans begin to investigate the activities of the CIA (and this activity causes the United States only harm), the responsibility for this genocide (you heard right) will be on the American nation. It turns out that in the Middle East you are primarily destroying Christians. How interesting, why such zeal.

carbonmutant , 4 hours ago link

You gotta wonder how much the deep state has deleted about their interference in Trump's administration...

dogbert8 , 4 hours ago link

Pretty much everyone with a brain realizes this all was a lie; only the M5M and the DC swamp continue to pretend it wasn't.

Joiningupthedots , 4 hours ago link

Who really made the order though?

ClickNLook , 3 hours ago link

Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW needs to be interrogated to find out.

Condor_0000 , 4 hours ago link

Newsweek Reporter Quits After Editors Block Coverage of OPCW Syria Scandal

December 19, 2019

Aaron Mate

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/19/newsweek-reporter-quits-after-editors-block-coverage-of-opcw-syria-scandal/

According to whistleblower testimony and leaked documents, OPCW officials raised alarm about the suppression of critical findings that undermine the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. Haddad's editors at Newsweek rejected his attempts to cover the story. "If I don't find another position in journalism because of this, I'm perfectly happy to accept that consequence," Haddad says. "It's not desirable. But there is no way I could have continued in that job knowing that I couldn't report something like this."

New leaks continue to expose a cover-up by the OPCW – the world's top chemical weapons watchdog – over a critical event in Syria. Documents, emails, and testimony from OPCW officials have raised major doubts about the allegation that the Syrian government committed a chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April 2018. The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded.

This is, without a doubt, a major global scandal: the OPCW, under reported US pressure, suppressing vital evidence about allegations of chemical weapons. But that very fact exposes another global scandal: with the exception of small outlets like The Grayzone, the mass media has widely ignored or whitewashed this story. And this widespread censorship of the OPCW scandal has just led one journalist to resign. Up until recently, Tareq Haddad was a reporter at Newsweek. But in early December, Tareq announced that he had quit his position after Newsweek refused to publish his story about the OPCW cover up over Syria.

[Dec 25, 2019] Escobar You Say You Want A (Russian) Revolution by Pepe Escobar

Dec 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Pepe Escobar via ConsortiumNews.com,

O nce in a blue moon an indispensable book comes out making a clear case for sanity in what is now a post-MAD world. That's the responsibility carried by " The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs ," by Andrei Martyanov (Clarity Press), arguably the most important book of 2019.

Martyanov is the total package -- and he comes with extra special attributes as a top-flight Russian military analyst, born in Baku in those Back in the U.S.S.R. days, living and working in the U.S., and writing and blogging in English.

Right from the start, Martyanov wastes no time destroying not only Fukuyama's and Huntington's ravings but especially Graham Allison's childish and meaningless Thucydides Trap argument -- as if the power equation between the U.S. and China in the 21stcentury could be easily interpreted in parallel to Athens and Sparta slouching towards the Peloponnesian War over 2,400 years ago. What next? Xi Jinping as the new Genghis Khan?

(By the way, the best current essay on Thucydides is in Italian, by Luciano Canfora (" Tucidide: La Menzogna, La Colpa, L'Esilio" ). No Trap. Martyanov visibly relishes defining the Trap as a "figment of the imagination" of people who "have a very vague understanding of real warfare in the 21st century." No wonder Xi explicitly said the Trap does not exist.)

Martyanov had already detailed in his splendid, previous book, "Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning," how "American lack of historic experience with continental warfare" ended up "planting the seeds of the ultimate destruction of the American military mythology of the 20thand 21stcenturies which is foundational to the American decline, due to hubris and detachment of reality." Throughout the book, he unceasingly provides solid evidence about the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a possible, future war against real armies (not the Taliban or Saddam Hussein's), air forces, air defenses and naval power.

Do the Math

One of the key takeaways is the failure of U.S. mathematical models: and readers of the book do need to digest quite a few mathematical equations. The key point is that this failure led the U.S. "on a continuous downward spiral of diminishing military capabilities against the nation [Russia] she thought she defeated in the Cold War."

In the U.S., Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) was introduced by the late Andrew Marshall, a.k.a. Yoda, the former head of Net Assessment at the Pentagon and the de facto inventor of the "pivot to Asia" concept. Yet Martyanov tells us that RMA actually started as MTR (Military-Technological Revolution), introduced by Soviet military theoreticians back in the 1970s.

One of the staples of RMA concerns nations capable of producing land-attack cruise missiles, a.k.a. TLAMs. As it stands, only the U.S., Russia, China and France can do it. And there are only two global systems providing satellite guidance to cruise missiles: the American GPS and the Russian GLONASS. Neither China's BeiDou nor the European Galileo qualify – yet – as global GPS systems.

Then there's Net-Centric Warfare (NCW). The term itself was coined by the late Admiral Arthur Cebrowski in 1998 in an article he co-wrote with John Garstka's titled, "Network-Centric Warfare – Its Origin and Future."

Deploying his mathematical equations, Martyanov soon tells us that "the era of subsonic anti-shipping missiles is over." NATO, that brain-dead organism (copyright Emmanuel Macron) now has to face the supersonic Russian P-800 Onyx and the Kalibr-class M54 in a "highly hostile Electronic Warfare environment." Every developed modern military today applies Net-Centric Warfare (NCW), developed by the Pentagon in the 1990s.

Rendering of a future combat systems network. (soldiersmediacenter/Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Martyanov mentions in his new book something that I learned on my visit to Donbass in March 2015: how NCW principles, "based on Russia's C4ISR capabilities made available by the Russian military to numerically inferior armed forces of the Donbass Republics (LDNR), were used to devastating effect both at the battles of Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo, when attacking the cumbersome Soviet-era Ukrainian Armed Forces military."

No Escape From the Kinzhal

Martyanov provides ample information on Russia's latest missile – the hypersonic Mach-10 aero-ballistic Kinzhal, recently tested in the Arctic.

Crucially, as he explains, "no existing anti-missile defense in the U.S. Navy is capable of shooting [it] down even in the case of the detection of this missile." Kinzhal has a range of 2,000 km, which leaves its carriers, MiG-31K and TU-22M3M, "invulnerable to the only defense a U.S. Carrier Battle Group, a main pillar of U.S. naval power, can mount – carrier fighter aircraft." These fighters simply don't have the range.

The Kinzhal was one of the weapons announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin's game-changing March 1, 2018 speech at the Federal Assembly. That's the day, Martyanov stresses, when the real RMA arrived, and "changed completely the face of peer-peer warfare, competition and global power balance dramatically."

Top Pentagon officials such as General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, have admitted on the record there are "no existing countermeasures" against, for instance, the hypersonic, Mach 27 glide vehicle Avangard (which renders anti-ballistic missile systems useless), telling the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee the only way out would be "a nuclear deterrent." There are also no existing counter-measures against anti-shipping missiles such as the Zircon and Kinzhal.

Any military analyst knows very well how the Kinzhal destroyed a land target the size of a Toyota Corolla in Syria after being launched 1,000 km away in adverse weather conditions. The corollary is the stuff of NATO nightmares: NATO's command and control installations in Europe are de facto indefensible.

Martyanov gets straight to the point: "The introduction of hypersonic weapons surely pours some serious cold water on the American obsession with securing the North American continent from retaliatory strikes."

Kh-47M2 Kinzhal; 2018 Moscow Victory Day Parade. (Kremilin via Wikimedia Commons)

Martyanov is thus unforgiving on U.S. policymakers who "lack the necessary tool-kit for grasping the unfolding geostrategic reality in which the real revolution in military affairs had dramatically downgraded the always inflated American military capabilities and continues to redefine U.S. geopolitical status away from its self-declared hegemony."

And it gets worse: "Such weapons ensure a guaranteed retaliation [Martyanov's italics] on the U.S. proper." Even the existing Russian nuclear deterrents – and to a lesser degree Chinese, as paraded recently -- "are capable of overcoming the existing U.S. anti-ballistic systems and destroying the United States," no matter what crude propaganda the Pentagon is peddling.

In February 2019, Moscow announced the completion of tests of a nuclear-powered engine for the Petrel cruise missile. This is a subsonic cruise missile with nuclear propulsion that can remain in air for quite a long time, covering intercontinental distances, and able to attack from the most unexpected directions. Martyanov mischievously characterizes the Petrel as "a vengeance weapon in case some among American decision-makers who may help precipitate a new world war might try to hide from the effects of what they have unleashed in the relative safety of the Southern Hemisphere."

Hybrid War Gone Berserk

A section of the book expands on China's military progress, and the fruits of the Russia-China strategic partnership, such as Beijing buying $3 billion-worth of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missiles -- "ideally suited to deal with the exact type of strike assets the United States would use in case of a conventional conflict with China."

Beijing parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic, October 2019. (YouTube screenshot)

Because of the timing, the analysis does not even take into consideration the arsenal presented in early October at the Beijing parade celebrating the 70thanniversary of the People's Republic.

That includes, among other things, the "carrier-killer" DF-21D, designed to hit warships at sea at a range of up to 1,500 km; the intermediate range "Guam Killer" DF-26; the DF-17 hypersonic missile; and the long-range submarine-launched and ship-launched YJ-18A anti-ship cruise missiles. Not to mention the DF-41 ICBM – the backbone of China's nuclear deterrent, capable of reaching the U.S. mainland carrying multiple warheads.

Martyanov could not escape addressing the RAND Corporation, whose reason to exist is to relentlessly push for more money for the Pentagon – blaming Russia for "hybrid war" (an American invention) even as it moans about the U.S.'s incapacity of defeating Russia in each and every war game. RAND's war games pitting the U.S. and allies against Russia and China invariably ended in a "catastrophe" for the "finest fighting force in the world."

Martyanov also addresses the S-500s, capable of reaching AWACS planes and possibly even capable of intercepting hypersonic non-ballistic targets. The S-500 and its latest middle-range state of the art air-defense system S-350 Vityaz will be operational in 2020.

His key takeway: "There is no parity between Russia and the United States in such fields as air-defense, hypersonic weapons and, in general, missile development, to name just a few fields – the United States lags behind in these fields, not just in years but in generations [italics mine]."

All across the Global South, scores of nations are very much aware that the U.S. economic "order" – rather disorder – is on the brink of collapse. In contrast, a cooperative, connected, rule-based, foreign relations between sovereign nations model is being advanced in Eurasia – symbolized by the merging of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the NDB (the BRICS bank).

The key guarantors of the new model are Russia and China. And Beijing and Moscow harbor no illusion whatsoever about the toxic dynamics in Washington. My recent conversations with top analysts in Kazakhstan last month and in Moscow last week once again stressed the futility of negotiating with people described – with overlapping shades of sarcasm – as exceptionalist fanatics. Russia, China and many corners of Eurasia have figured out there are no possible, meaningful deals with a nation bent on breaking every deal.

Indispensable? No: Vulnerable

Martyanov cannot but evoke Putin's speech to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, after the unilateral Washington abandonment of the INF treaty, clearing the way for U.S. deployment of intermediate and close range missiles stationed in Europe and pointed at Russia:

"Russia will be forced to create and deploy those types of weapons against those regions from where we will face a direct threat, but also against those regions hosting the centers where decisions are taken on using those missile systems threatening us."

Translation: American Invulnerability is over – for good.

In the short term, things can always get worse. At his traditional, year-end presser in Moscow, lasting almost four and a half hours, Putin stated that Russia is more than ready to "simply renew the existing New START agreement", which is bound to expire in early 2021: "They [the U.S.] can send us the agreement tomorrow, or we can sign and send it to Washington." And yet, "so far our proposals have been left unanswered. If the New START ceases to exist, nothing in the world will hold back an arms race. I believe this is bad."

"Bad" is quite the euphemism. Martyanov prefers to stress how "most of the American elites, at least for now, still reside in a state of Orwellian cognitive dissonance" even as the real RMA "blew the myth of American conventional invincibility out of the water."

Martyanov is one of the very few analysts – always from different parts of Eurasia -- who have warned about the danger of the U.S. "accidentally stumbling" into a war against Russia, China, or both which is impossible to be won conventionally, "let alone through the nightmare of a global nuclear catastrophe."

Is that enough to instill at least a modicum of sense into those who lord over that massive cash cow, the industrial-military-security complex? Don't count on it.

* * *

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times . His latest book is " 2030 ." Follow him on Facebook .

[Dec 25, 2019] Trump military Keynesianism

Notable quotes:
"... My hunch is that a lot of Pentagon defence spending already props up communities throughout the US. Private defence companies set up factories in towns that would otherwise be ghost towns to manufacture armaments or parts for planes or ships in programs funded by the US Department of Defense, in states across the country ..."
"... Part of the reason is to lobby politicians representing the electorates where their factories are located for more Pentagon funding to finance more contracts. Politicians willingly support more defense funding because they know these companies provide jobs and keep unemployment down. ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Jen December 23, 2019 at 8:12 pm

My hunch is that a lot of Pentagon defence spending already props up communities throughout the US. Private defence companies set up factories in towns that would otherwise be ghost towns to manufacture armaments or parts for planes or ships in programs funded by the US Department of Defense, in states across the country .

Part of the reason is to lobby politicians representing the electorates where their factories are located for more Pentagon funding to finance more contracts. Politicians willingly support more defense funding because they know these companies provide jobs and keep unemployment down.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ba63OVl1MHw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

The issue then is how to keep those jobs and keep those factories but change what engineers are designing and workers are making from machines of destruction into machines that sustain life and communities.

Patient Observer December 23, 2019 at 9:50 pm
Yes, the absolute truth. Defense spending is spread over as many states and regions as possible to keep strong political support. It seems every month the state is sponsoring seminars aimed at educating small/medium manufacturers on how to bid on defense contracts. Even small mom-and-pop machine shops get their share of defense business. One small shop in our region makes compressor blades for cruise missiles. Every time the US fires off a barrage of missiles, they probably get an order; everybody is happy except those in the target area.
yalensis December 24, 2019 at 4:33 am
Many American communities also depend on the Military-Industrial Complex to educate their children. I personally know several families who had children enlist in the military in order to get a free college education; one that their families could otherwise not afford. The parents put their kids in the army and navy, and then just cross their fingers and hope they won't be deployed to a war zone.
The system is actually perfect. The odds of any one of these young people actually getting killed in a war, is actually quite low. The vast majority get a good education with lots of perks, all expenses paid including housing, they do their time, and never see a bullet. All at the taxpayers expense.

[Dec 25, 2019] Who is a military hero and how is not

Dec 25, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star December 23, 2019 at 5:19 pm

"Dan Crenshaw did not serve his country. Dan Crenshaw is not a hero. Dan Crenshaw participated in a military occupation that after 18 years and counting has claimed tens of thousands of lives for no benefit to any ordinary American at all. All he served during his time in that country was the geostrategic imperialist agendas of unaccountable government agencies and the profit margins of war plutocrats, yet upon returning home he's been able to convert his stint as a glorified hired thug into social collateral which got him elected to the US House of Representatives and secured him a punditry platform from which he can spout war propaganda. All because people agree to play along with the completely nonsensical narrative that US war veterans are heroes."

("glorified hired thug" LOL!!!)

"I'm not saying to be mean to veterans, and I'm not saying veterans are bad people, in fact, one of the most heinous injustices about these corporate wars is that they turn many of our finest and bravest young people toward the very most toxic and pernicious ends possible. Many of them sincerely enlisted due to an impulse to help make the world a better place; it's the same impulse which led Julian Assange to set up a leaking outlet to help expose unaccountable power structures, the only difference is that Assange saw clearly through the fog of propaganda and they did not. But the reverence and fairy tales have got to go.
There are no war heroes. There are only war victims. It's time to grow up and stop pretending otherwise."

Damn!!!! Caitlin is Spot F'n On !!!

BTW Notice how these war 'heroes' seem to bear a striking family resemblance.
Who does that pix of Crenshaw bring to mind??? LOL!!! Weird huh!!!

So we go to THEIR homeland as if they had come here to our homeland-which they haven't.

Maybe that's what Dan would have said if he were a straightforward truthful kinda guy which of course he isn't.

https://www.checkpointasia.net/stop-telling-veterans-that-they-are-heroes/

Mark Chapman December 23, 2019 at 5:32 pm
Be careful. Playing upon her military service is a big part of Tulsi Gabbard's gravitas and authenticity. It's quite true that she uses it to argue against regime-change wars, but a position that military records only mean you served as a dupe for war profiteers and enabled their plundering will not do her any good at all, and Caitlin has set it up so there is little wiggle room for intentions.

[Dec 23, 2019] When Hillary Clinton Pitched the Iraq War to CodePink by Charles Davis and Medea Benjamin

Notable quotes:
"... no reason to believe she'd be any less a hawk than she was as a senator, when she backed George W. Bush's war in Iraq, or as secretary of state, when she encouraged President Barack Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan. If her nomination is as sure a thing as people say, then antiwar organizing needs to start right away. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... it's something that might have been called neocon, ..."
"... Charles Davis is a writer in Los Angeles. His work has been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The New Republic, and Salon. Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights organization Global Exchange. She is also the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. ..."
Apr 23, 2015 | FPIF
Announcing her latest campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton declared she was entering the race to be the champion for "everyday Americans." As a lawmaker and diplomat, however, Clinton has long championed military campaigns that have killed scores of "everyday" people abroad, from Iraq to Yemen.

As commander-in-chief, there's no reason to believe she'd be any less a hawk than she was as a senator, when she backed George W. Bush's war in Iraq, or as secretary of state, when she encouraged President Barack Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan. If her nomination is as sure a thing as people say, then antiwar organizing needs to start right away.

Hillary's already won the support of those who continually agitate for war. "I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy," Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, told The New York Times last summer.

"If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue," he said, "it's something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it something else."

We're going to call it what it is: More of the same sort of murderous policies that destroyed Iraq, destabilized Libya, killed women and children with cluster bombs and drones in Yemen, and legitimized the undermining of democracy in Honduras. There's little chance the Republicans will nominate someone better, but given Clinton's record as a senator and secretary of state - the latter giving us a very good idea of how she would approach foreign affairs once in office - it will be hard for them to find anyone much worse.

We know that Clinton is no reliable friend of peace. Today she supports diplomacy with Iran, but back in 2009, as secretary of state, she was adamant that the U.S. keep open the option of attacking the Islamic Republic over never-proven allegations it was seeking nuclear weapons. (In fact, Israel is the region's only nuclear power.)

Her attempts to portray herself as an ally of those who are pro-peace, as a sort of reluctant imperialist, is the same sort of co-opting distortion that has helped quiet opposition to President Obama's hawkish agenda. If anything, Hillary is even more militaristic than the ostensibly reluctant warrior she's campaigning to replace. Still, that hasn't stopped her from trying to be all things to all people - even people like us.

Indeed, in March 2003, Clinton did something she'll probably never willingly do again: She met with CODEPINK to explain her support for the Iraq war. "I like pink tulips around this time of the year," she began. They "kind of remind ya that there may be a spring. Well, you guys look like a big bunch of big tulips!" It got progressively more awkward after that. "I admire your willingness to speak out on behalf of the women and children of Iraq," said Clinton, but "There is a very easy way to prevent anyone from being put into harm's way and that is for Saddam Hussein to disarm and I have absolutely no belief that he will."

We thought the easiest way to prevent harming the women, children, and other living things in Iraq was to stop a war of aggression, ostensibly over weapons of mass destruction that UN inspectors on the ground couldn't find and which were, in fact, never found - because they didn't exist. Clinton, however, was steadfast: "If Saddam were serious about disarming he would have been much more forthcoming," she claimed. "The very difficult question for all of us is how does one bring about the disarmament of someone with such a proven track record of a commitment, if not an obsession, with weapons of mass destruction?"

Her answer: Destroying Iraq by dropping millions of U.S.-made WMDs, including bombs with depleted uranium that have more than doubled the country's pre-2003 rate of cancer. Speaking to the women of CODEPINK, Clinton even explicitly defended George W. Bush's unilateralism, citing her husband's go-it-alone intervention in Kosovo back in the 1990s.

In 2011, when the Arab Spring came to Libya, Clinton was the Obama administration's most forceful advocate for going above and beyond a no-fly zone to depose Muammar Gaddafi, whose U.S.-trained security forces were killing Libyans with the help of weapons and equipment provided by his erstwhile allies in the United States, Britain, and France.

She even out-hawked Robert Gates, the defense secretary first appointed by George W. Bush who was less than enthusiastic about going to war. When Libyan rebels carried out an extrajudicial execution of their country's former dictator, her response was sociopathic: "We came, we saw, he died," she said, smiling and laughing. That sent a message that the United States would look the other way at crimes committed by allies against its official enemies; indeed, it was the same policy of tolerance for friends' war crimes that arguably led Gaddafi to believe he could get away with killing anyone he labeled "al-Qaeda."

Libya was part of a pattern for Clinton. On Afghanistan, she advocated a repeat of the surge in Iraq, encouraging President Obama to more than double the number of troops there. Her State Department also provided cover for the expansion of the not-so-covert drone wars in Pakistan and Yemen. Clinton's top legal adviser, Harold Koh, exploited his pre-government reputation as an advocate for human rights to declare in a 2010 speech that not only did the government have the right to detain people without charge at Guantanamo Bay, but it can kill them with unmanned aerial vehicles anywhere in the world.

Clinton practiced "soft power" diplomacy too, of course: After Honduran forces trained at the U.S. School of the Americas carried out a coup against elected president Manuel Zelaya, Clinton's State Department immediately got to work on legitimizing the regime that seized power. As commentator Mark Weisbrot observes, she even said as much in her book, Hard Choices: "In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico," wrote Clinton. "We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot."

The subsequent "free and fair" election would end up being between two candidates who supported a coup opposed by most "everyday people" in Honduras, now one of the most violent, drug-war ravaged countries in the world. Clinton has also called for deporting child refugees fleeing that violence. In Honduras, as elsewhere, it seems it's not the lives of "everyday people" that are of chief concern to politicians like Clinton.

When Barack Obama became president, the anti-war movement became his first casualty - followed by a group of Pakistanis droned to death three days after his inauguration. We should never lose hope that we can bring about positive change, but actually changing the world for the better requires being aware that whoever sits in the White House come January 2017 is not going to be our friend.

Charles Davis is a writer in Los Angeles. His work has been published by outlets such as Al Jazeera, The New Republic, and Salon. Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights organization Global Exchange. She is also the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

[Dec 23, 2019] The Afghanistan Papers - TTG - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Dec 23, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The President of the USofA has no power to turn this ship around. The seat of power is no longer residing in the hands of civilian/political actors prime ministers or presidents though they may be.

Candidate Trump indicated very early on that he intended to withdraw from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he soon succumbed to his advisors and generals advice of increasing troop strength in 2017 as part of a surge strategy. This makes him no better or worse than his two predecessors who succumbed to the same kind of advice.

However Trump has recently restarted negotiations with the Taliban and has renewed his pledged to remove several thousand troops. "We're going down to 8,600 [from the 12,000 and 13,000 US troops now there] and then we make a determination from there as to what happens," Trump told Fox last August. "We're bringing it down." Of course the drawdown will be seen by the neocons as a unilateral concession to the Taliban. That shouldn't phase Trump. I think he plans to reannounce this withdrawal next month. DoD officials have said that the smaller US military presence will be largely focused on counterterrorism operations against groups like al Qaeda and IS, and that the military's ability to train and advise local Afghan forces will be reduced considerably. Sounds like they're still looking for a reason to stay.

Trump can break the cycle. He holds no ideological conviction for staying in Afghanistan. If he could get over his BDS (Bezos derangement syndrome), he could seize this Washington Post series, or at least the SIGAR lessons learned reports, and trumpet them through his twitter feed and helicopter talks. I believe he alone can generate a public cry for getting the hell out of Afghanistan and carry through with that action no matter how much his generals scream about it. But without a loud public outcry, especially from his base, Trump has no incentive to break the cycle. So all you deplorables better start hootin' and hollerin'. Hopefully enough SJWs will join you to pump up the volume.

TTG

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/


Mathias Alexander , 23 December 2019 at 04:37 AM

If someone wanted to destabilize China,Russia and Central Asia the parts of Afghanistan America controls might be usefull for that.
JMH , 23 December 2019 at 07:11 AM
Excellent, right up to the last sentence. SJWs are mere tools of people like George Soros and have zero anti-war agenda nor do they care about America's manufacturing base ect.. In fact, many are chomping at the bit to join, what was once termed in the SST comments, the LGBTQ-C4ISR sect. I refer you to mayor Pete's exchange with Tulsi on the matter; he even invoked our sacred honor as a reason to stay the course in Afghanistan.
Eric Newhill -> The Twisted Genius ... , 23 December 2019 at 03:38 PM
TTG,
It's a shrinking cohort. For some of these types, their TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) is actually causing them to side with the CIA and military. Enemy of my enemy.....and since there's no draft, they have no skin in that game.
Serge , 23 December 2019 at 07:35 AM
For the past 2-3 years many generals and politicians have been using the threat of ISKP as the new bogeyman for staying in Afghanistan. This threat is not wholly unfounded, a disproportionately large number of US airstrikes since 2015-2016 have been against ISKP in Nangarhar(remember the MOAB?) rather than against the Taliban. If my memory serves me correctly ISKP was responsible for every single US casualty in 2016-2017. In the past two months however ISKP has been collapsing in its erstwhile stronghold of Nangarhar, surrendering to the ANA rather than fall into the hands of the Taliba,à la Jowzjan in summer 2018. I was very surprised by the number of foreign fighters and their families to come out of there. We have the Taliban to thank for these two collapses.
turcopolier , 23 December 2019 at 11:59 AM
TTG

IMO American "exceptionalism" doomed our effort in Afghanistan Very few of us are set up mentally to accept the notion that other peoples are legitimately different from us and that they don't want to be like us and do things our way. I attribute this deformation on our part to the puritan heritage that you much admire. In your case your recent immigrant past seems to have immunized you from this deformation. As SF men we rightly fear and dread the attitudes of The Big Army, but, truth be told, it is we who are the outlier freaks in the context of American culture with its steamroller approach to just about everything.

The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 23 December 2019 at 01:40 PM
Ah yes, all that shining city on the hill stuff biting us in the ass once again. Like the Puritans, we seem to believe we alone are His chosen people and are utterly shocked that all others don't see this. In truth, Jesus probably sees our self righteous selves and our pilgrim forefathers much as he saw the Pharisees... a bunch of douche nozzles.

[Dec 23, 2019] When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable by Daniel R. DePetris

Notable quotes:
"... Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable?

Even after the release of the Afghanistan Papers, our elites are still determined to escape without blame. CERNOBBIO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Chairman of the KKR Global Institute David Howell Petraeus attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum 2019 "Lo scenario dell'Economia e della Finanza" on September 6, 2019 in Cernobbio, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Almost two weeks after the Washington Post 's Craig Whitlock published his six-part series on the trials, tribulations, and blunders of Washington's 19-year-long social science experiment in Afghanistan, those involved in the war effort are desperately pointing fingers as to who is to blame. An alternative narrative has emerged among this crop of elite policymakers, military officers, and advisers that while American policy in Afghanistan has been horrible, the people responsible for it really did believe it would all work out in the end. Call it the "we were stupid" defense.

There were no lies or myths propagated by senior U.S. officials, we are told, just honest assessments that later proved to be wrong. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has advised U.S. commanders on Afghanistan war policy, wrote that "no, there has not been a campaign of disinformation, intentional or subliminal." Former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who led CENTCOM during part of the war effort, called the Post 's reporting "not really news" and was mystified that the unpublished interviews from the U.S. special inspector general were generating such shock. Others have faulted the Post for publishing the material to begin with, claiming that public disclosure would scare future witnesses from cooperating and threaten other fact-finding inquiries (the fact that the newspaper was legally permitted to publish the transcripts after winning a court case against the government is apparently irrelevant in the minds of those making this argument).

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

All of these claims and counter-claims should be seen for what they truly are: the flailings of a policymaking class so arrogant and unaccountable that it can't see straight. That they're blaming the outrage engendered by the Afghanistan Papers on anything other than themselves is Exhibit A that our narcissistic policy elite is cocooned in their own reality.

Analysts have been pouring over the Afghanistan interview transcripts for over a week in order to determine how the war went wrong. Some of the main lessons learned have long been evident. The decision to impose a top-down democratic political order on a country that operated on a system of patronage and tribal systems from the bottom-up was bound to be problematic. Throwing tens of billions of dollars of reconstruction assistance into a nation that had no experience managing that kind of money -- or spending it properly -- helped fuel the very nationwide corruption Washington would come to regret. Paying off warlords to fight the Taliban and keep order while pressuring those very same warlords into following the rules was contradictory. The mistakes go on and on and on: as Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said, "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

One of the most salient findings about this ghastly two-decade-long misadventure surfaced after the Afghanistan Papers were released: the commentariat will stop at nothing to absolve themselves of the slightest responsibility for the disaster they supported. The outright refusal of the pundit class to own up to its errors is as disturbing as it is infuriating. And even when they do acknowledge that errors were committed, they tend to minimize their own role in those mistakes, explaining them away as unfortunate consequences of fixed withdrawal deadlines, inter-agency tussling, Afghanistan's poor foundational state, or the inability of the Afghans to capitalize on the opportunities Washington provided them. Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal.

It's always somebody else's fault.

Whether out of arrogance, ego, or fear of not being taken seriously in Washington's foreign policy discussions, the architects of the war refuse to admit even the most obvious mistakes. Instead they duck and weave like a quarterback escaping a full-on defensive rush, attempting yet again to fool the American public.

But the public has nothing to apologize for. It is those who are making excuses who have exercised disastrous judgment on Afghanistan. And they owe the country an apology.

Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and a contributor to The American Conservative.

[Dec 22, 2019] It turns out that the US military hires more shills and clowns and runs more "news" worldwide than all the real news agencies, combined

Dec 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Roger Casement , 2 hours ago link

It turns out that the US military hires more shills and clowns and runs more "news" worldwide than all the real news agencies, combined.

For Soetoro to turn this $hit loose on us exposes his truly sinister intent. Here you all are, thinking the bull$hit on TV is remotely relevant other than exposing the gangsters who direct it and rob us to pay for it against our will.

All these High Crimes on Pelosi and Schumer's watch.

https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/employee-speech-and-whistleblowers/military-may-be-engaged-illegal-psychological

https://www.businessinsider.com/ndaa-legalizes-propaganda-2012-5

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Information_Awareness was shut down in 2003 by Congress after dinosaur exposed mass surveillance abuses establishing "Total Information Awareness" over all US citizens. The program was continued in overt defiance of Congress through Trillions in black funding.

https://epic.org/privacy/profiling/tia/

https://fas.org/irp/crs/RL31730.pdf

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/u-s-never-really-ended-creepy-total-information-awareness-program/

https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/Total-Information-Awareness

https://www.wired.com/story/darpa-total-informatio-awareness/

https://www.businessinsider.com/ndaa-legalizes-propaganda-2012-5

https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/

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

hoffstetter , 2 hours ago link

Or you could just point to the massive expansion of debt and reduction of freedoms signed by Trump last night while the whole government was telling you "nothing up my sleeve!"

[Dec 21, 2019] Government Warmongering Criminals Where Are They Now

Notable quotes:
"... The American people and most of the world bought into the lies and half-truths because they wanted to believe the fiction they were being spoon fed by the White House, but is there a whole lot of difference between what the US government did against Iraq in 2003 and what Hitler's government did in 1939 when it falsely claimed that Polish troops had attacked Germany? Was subsequent torture by the Gestapo any different than torture by a contractor working for Washington? ..."
"... A friend of mine recently commented that honest men who were formerly part of the United States government do not subsequently get hired by lobbying firms or obtain television contracts and "teaching" positions at prestigious universities. ..."
"... If the marketplace is anything to go by Feith and Tenet are running neck-and-neck on secondary book exchanges as George also can be had for $.01. ..."
"... The historian Livy summed up the significance of his act, writing "It is worthwhile for those who disdain all human things for money, and who suppose that there is no room either for great honor or virtue, except where wealth is found, to listen to his story." ..."
"... "Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best." ..."
"... senior government officials and politicians routinely expect to be generously rewarded for their service and never held accountable for their failures and misdeeds ..."
"... One thing for sure about the Washington elite, you never have to say you're sorry. ..."
Jul 08, 2015 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

The United States already has by far the per capita largest prison population of any developed country but I am probably one of the few Americans who on this Independence Day would like to see a lot more people in prison, mostly drawn from politicians and senior bureaucrats who have long believed that their status makes them untouchable, giving them license to steal and even to kill. The sad fact is that while whistleblowers have been imprisoned for revealing government criminality, no one in the federal bureaucracy has ever actually been punished for the crimes of torture, kidnapping and assassination committed during the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies.

Why is accountability important? After the Second World War, the victorious allies believed it was important to establish responsibility for the crimes that had been committed by officials of the Axis powers. The judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the initiation of a war of aggression the ultimate war crime because it inevitably unleashed so many other evils. Ten leading Nazis were executed at Nuremberg and ninety-three Japanese officials at similar trials staged in Asia, including several guilty of waterboarding. Those who were not executed for being complicit in the actual launching of war were tried for torture of both military personnel and civilians and crimes against humanity, including the mass killing of civilians as well as of soldiers who had surrendered or been captured.

No matter how one tries to avoid making comparisons between 1939 and 2015, the American invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression, precisely the type of conflict that the framework of accountability provided by Nuremberg was supposed to prevent in the years after 1946. High level US government officials knew that Iraq represented no threat to the United States but they nevertheless described an imminent danger posed by Saddam Hussein in the most graphic terms, replete with weapons of mass destruction, armed drones flying across the Atlantic, terrorists being unleashed against the homeland, and mushroom clouds on the horizon. The precedent of Iraq, even though it was an abject failure, has led to further military action against Libya and Syria to bring about "regime change" as well as a continuing conflict in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the US has been waging a largely secret "long war" against terrorists employing torture and secret prisons. The American people and most of the world bought into the lies and half-truths because they wanted to believe the fiction they were being spoon fed by the White House, but is there a whole lot of difference between what the US government did against Iraq in 2003 and what Hitler's government did in 1939 when it falsely claimed that Polish troops had attacked Germany? Was subsequent torture by the Gestapo any different than torture by a contractor working for Washington?

Many Americans would now consider the leading figures in the Bush Administration aided and abetted by many enablers in congress from both political parties to be unindicted war criminals. Together they ignited a global conflict that is still running strong fourteen years later with a tally of more than 7,000 dead Americans and a minimum of hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Somalis and Syrians.

War breeds more war, due largely to the fact that guilty parties in Washington who piggyback on the prevailing narrative move onward and upward, rewarded in this life even if not necessarily so in the hereafter. A friend of mine recently commented that honest men who were formerly part of the United States government do not subsequently get hired by lobbying firms or obtain television contracts and "teaching" positions at prestigious universities. Though not 100% accurate as I know at least a couple of honorable former senior officials who wound up teaching, it would seem to be a generalization that has considerable validity. The implication is that many senior government officials ascend to their positions based on being accommodating and "political" rather than being honest and they continue to do the same when they switch over to corporate America or the equally corrupted world of academia.

I thought of my friend's comment when I turned on the television a week ago to be confronted by the serious, somewhat intense gaze of Michael Morell, warning about the danger that ISIS will strike the US over the Fourth of July weekend. Morell, a former senior CIA official, is in the terror business. He had no evidence whatsoever that terrorists were planning an attack and should have realized that maneuvering the United States into constantly going on alert based on empty threats is precisely what militant groups tend to do.

When not fronting as a handsomely paid national security consultant for the CBS television network Morell is employed by Beacon Global Strategies as a Senior Counselor, presumably warning well-heeled clients to watch out for terrorists. His lifestyle and substantial emoluments depend on people being afraid of terrorism so they will turn to an expert like him and ask serious questions that he will answer in a serious way suggesting that Islamic militants could potentially bring about some kind of global apocalypse.

Morell, a torture apologist, also has a book out that he wants to sell, positing somewhat ridiculously that he and his former employer had been fighting The Great War of Our Time against Islamic terrorists, something comparable to the World Wars of the past century, hence the title. Morell needs to take some valium and relax. He would also benefit from a little introspection regarding the bad guys versus good guys narrative that he is peddling. His credentials as a warrior are somewhat suspect in any event as he never did any military service and his combat in the world of intelligence consisted largely of sitting behind a desk in Washington and providing briefings to George W. Bush and Barack Obama in which he presumably told them what they wanted to hear.

Morell is one of a host of pundits who are successful in selling the military-industrial-lobbyist-congressional-intelligence community line of BS on the war on terror. Throw in the neocons as the in-your-face agents provocateurs who provide instant intellectual and media credibility for developments and you have large groups of engaged individuals with good access who are on the receiving end of the seemingly unending cash pipeline that began with 9/11. Frances Townsend, who was the Bush Homeland Security adviser and who is now a consultant with CNN, is another such creature as is Michael Chertoff, formerly Director of the Department of Homeland Security, who has successfully marketed his defective airport scanners to his former employer.

But the guys and gals who are out feathering their own nests are at least comprehensible given our predatory capitalist system of government. More to the point, the gang that ordered or carried out torture and assassination are the ones who should be doing some hard time in the slammer but instead they too are riding the gravy train and cashing in. To name only a few of those who knew about the torture and ordered it carried out I would cite George Tenet, James Pavitt, Cofer Black and Jose Rodriguez from the intelligence community. The assassination program meanwhile is accredited to John Brennan, currently CIA Director, during his tenure as Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor. And then there are Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon together with John Yoo at Justice and Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, and Condi Rice at the White House, all of whom outright lied, dissimulated and conspired their way to bring about a war of aggression against Iraq.

There are plenty of nameless others who were "only carrying out orders" and who should be included in any reckoning of America's crimes over the past fifteen years, particularly if one also considers the illegal NSA spying program headed by Michael Hayden, who defended the practice and has also referred to those who oppose enhanced interrogation torture as "interrogation deniers." And then there are Presidents Bush and Obama who certainly knew what was going on in the name of the American people as well as John Brennan, who was involved in both the torture and renditions programs as well as the more recent assassinations by drone.

So where are they now? Living in obscurity ashamed of what they did? Hardly. Not only have they not been vilified or marginalized, they have, in most cases, been rewarded. George W. Bush lives in Dallas near his Presidential Library and eponymous Think (sic) Tank. Cheney lives in semi-retirement in McLean Virginia with a multi-million dollar waterfront weekend retreat in St. Michaels Maryland, not too far from Donald Rumsfeld's similar digs.

George Tenet, the CIA Director notorious for his "slam-dunk" comment, a man who cooked the intelligence to make the Iraq war possible to curry favor with the White House, has generously remunerated positions on the boards of Allen & Company merchant bank, QinetiQ, and L-1 Identity Solutions. He sold his memoir At the Center of the Storm, which has been described as a "self-justifying apologia," in 2007 for a reported advance of $4 million. His book, ironically, admits that the US invaded Iraq for no good reason.

James Pavitt, who was the point man responsible for the "enhanced interrogation" program as Tenet's Deputy Director for Operations, is currently a principal with The Scowcroft Group and also serves on several boards. Cofer Black, who headed the Counter-Terrorism Center, which actually carried out renditions and "enhanced interrogations," was vice chairman of Blackwater Worldwide (now called Xe) and chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions, a Blackwater spin-off. He is now vice president of Blackbird Technologies, a defense and intelligence contractor. Rodriguez, who succeeded Black and in 2005 illegally destroyed video tapes made of Agency interrogations to avoid possible repercussions, is a senior vice president with Edge Consulting, a defense contractor currently owned by IBM that is located in Virginia.

John Yoo is a Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley while Condoleezza Rice, who spoke of mushroom clouds and is widely regarded as the worst National Security Advisor and Secretary of State in history, has returned to Stanford University. She is a professor at the Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy as well as a fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is occasionally spoken of as either a possible GOP presidential candidate or as a future Commissioner of the National Football League. Her interaction with students is limited, but when challenged on her record she has responded that it was a difficult situation post 9/11, something that everyone understands, though few would have come to her conclusion that attacking Iraq might be a good way to destroy al-Qaeda.

Paul Wolfowitz, the Bush Deputy Secretary of Defense, is seen by many as the "intellectual" driving force behind the invasion of Iraq. He is currently a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and advises Jeb Bush on foreign policy. A bid to reward Wolfie for his zeal by giving him a huge golden parachute as President of the World Bank at a salary of $391,000 tax free failed when, after 23 months in the position, he was ousted over promoting a subordinate with whom he was having an affair. His chief deputy at the Pentagon Doug Feith left the Defense Department to take up a visiting professorship at the school of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, which was subsequently not renewed. He is reported to be again practicing law and thinking deep thoughts about his hero Edmund Burke, who no doubt would have been appalled to make Feith's acquaintance. Feith is a senior fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute and the Director of the Center for National Security Strategies. His memoir War and Decision did not make the best seller list and is now available used on Amazon for $.01 plus shipping. If the marketplace is anything to go by Feith and Tenet are running neck-and-neck on secondary book exchanges as George also can be had for $.01.

The over-rewarding of former officials who have in reality done great harm to the United States and its interests might well seem inexplicable, but it is all part of a style of bureaucracy that cannot admit failure and truly believes that all its actions are ipso facto legitimate because the executive and its minions can do no wrong. It is also a symptom of the classic American character flaw that all things are of necessity measured by money. Does anyone remember the ancient Roman symbol of republican virtue Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his farm after being named Dictator in order to defeat Rome's enemies? He then handed power back to the Senate before returning to his plowing after the job was done. The historian Livy summed up the significance of his act, writing "It is worthwhile for those who disdain all human things for money, and who suppose that there is no room either for great honor or virtue, except where wealth is found, to listen to his story." George Washington was America's Cincinnatus and it is not a coincidence that officers of the continental army founded the Cincinnati Society, the nation's oldest patriotic organization, in 1783. It is also reported that Edward Snowden used the alias "Cincinnatus."

Lord Acton once observed that "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." More recently essayist Edward Abbey put it in an American context, noting "Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best." That senior government officials and politicians routinely expect to be generously rewarded for their service and never held accountable for their failures and misdeeds is a fault that is perhaps not unique to the United States but it is nevertheless unacceptable. Handing out a couple of exemplary prison sentences for the caste that believes itself untouchable would be a good place to start. An opportunity was missed with David Petraeus, who was fined and avoided jail time, and it will be interesting to see how the Dennis Hastert case develops. Hastert will no doubt be slapped on the wrist for the crime of moving around his own money while the corruption that was the source of that money, both as a legislator and lobbyist, will be ignored. As will his molestation of at least one and possibly several young boys. One thing for sure about the Washington elite, you never have to say you're sorry.

Reprinted with permission from Unz Review.

[Dec 21, 2019] Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi

Mar 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

ChuckOrloski says:

March 12, 2019 at 5:25 pm GMT • 200 Words @AnonFromTN Superfluously impossible, AnonfromTN said: "It is simple, really. The US needs a law prohibiting anyone with dual citizenship to hold public office."

Hi AnonfromTN.

Hard to comprehend how you persist to deny how the "US law" is Zionized. (Zigh) Israeli "dual citizenship and holding "Homeland" public office is an irretractable endowment lawlessly given to US Jews by ruling international Jewry.

They barged into our Constitution like a cancer and feast upon The Bill of Rights.

What's worse now is how livin' the "American dream" has reversed, and at present, President t-Rump demands huge increases in war funding.
No one gets informed that future wars converge with Israel's will.

Please consider looking at the Wikileaks video linked below? It illustrates a barbaric type of war crime-free & unaccountability to "international law," including a lawless US military Rules of Engagement modus operandi, which governed the serial killing activity of an Apache attack chopper crew in the Baghdad sky. Look close at the posed threat!

Tell me AnonfromTN? As you likely know, Bradley Chelsea Manning is, and under "Homeland" law, in-the-klink for exposing the war crimes to America. Is their one (1) US Congressman raising objection to the imprisonment? Fyi, you can look at the brave writing of Kathy Kelly on the Manning case, and which appears at Counterpunch.org.

AnonFromTN , says: March 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski I can only agree. The patient (the US political system) is too far gone to hope for recovery. As comment #69 rightly points out, our political system is based on bribery. Lobbyism and donations to political campaigns and PACs are perfectly legal in the US, while all of these should be criminal offenses punished by jail time, like in most countries. Naturally, desperate Empires losing their dominant position resort to any war crimes imaginable, and severely punish those who expose these crimes.

I can add only one thing: you are right that greedy Jews are evil, but greedy people of any nationality are just as evil as greedy Jews. Not all greedy globalists and MIC thieves are Jews, but they are all scum. I watch with dismay the US Empire heading to its crash. Lemmings running to the cliff are about as rational as our degenerate elites. Israel influence is toxic, but that's not the only poison the Empire will die from.

[Dec 21, 2019] Syria Accuses US Of Stealing Over 40 Tons Of Its Gold by Eric Zuesse

Mar 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2019 - 23:55 240 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Syrian National News Agency headlined on February 26th, "Gold deal between United States and Daesh" (Daesh is ISIS) and reported that,

Information from local sources said that US army helicopters have already transported the gold bullions under cover of darkness on Sunday [February 24th], before transporting them to the United States.

The sources said that tens of tons that Daesh had been keeping in their last hotbed in al-Baghouz area in Deir Ezzor countryside have been handed to the Americans, adding up to other tons of gold that Americans have found in other hideouts for Daesh, making the total amount of gold taken by the Americans to the US around 50 tons, leaving only scraps for the SDF [Kurdish] militias that serve them [the US operation].

Recently, sources said that the area where Daesh leaders and members have barricaded themselves in, contains around 40 tons of gold and tens of millions of dollars.

Allegedly, "US occupation forces in the Syrian al-Jazeera area made a deal with Daesh terrorists, by which Washington gets tens of tons of gold that the terror organization had stolen, in exchange for providing safe passage for the terrorists and their leaders from the areas in Deir Ezzor where they are located."

ISIS was financing its operations largely by the theft of oil from the oil wells in the Deir Ezzor area, Syria's oil-producing region, and they transported and sold this stolen oil via their allied forces, through Turkey, which was one of those US allies trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government and install a Sunni fundamentalist regime that would be ruled from Riyadh (i.e., controlled by the Saud family) . This gold is the property of the Syrian Government, which owns all that oil and the oil wells, which ISIS had captured (stolen), and then sold. Thus, this gold is from sale of that stolen black-market oil, which was Syria's property.

The US Government claims to be anti-ISIS, but actually didn't even once bomb ISIS in Syria until Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, and the US had actually been secretly arming ISIS there so as to help ISIS and especially Al Qaeda (and the US was strongly protecting Al Qaeda in Syria ) to overthrow Syria's secular and non-sectarian Government. Thus, whereas Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, America (having become embarrassed) started bombing ISIS in Syria on 16 November 2015 . The US Government's excuse was "This is our first strike against tanker trucks, and to minimize risks to civilians, we conducted a leaflet drop prior to the strike." They pretended it was out of compassion -- not in order to extend for as long as possible ISIS's success in taking over territory in Syria. (And, under Trump, on the night of 2 March 2019, the US rained down upon ISIS in northeast Syria the excruciating and internationally banned white phosphorous to burn ISIS and its hostages alive, which Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had routinely done to burn alive the residents in Donetsk and other parts of eastern former Ukraine where voters had voted more than 90% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama's coup in Ukraine had replaced . It was a way to eliminate some of the most-undesired voters -- people who must never again be voting in a Ukrainian national election, not even if that region subsequently does become conquered by the post-coup, US-imposed, regime. The land there is wanted; its residents certainly are not wanted by the Obama-imposed regime.) America's line was: Russia just isn't as 'compassionate' as America. Zero Hedge aptly headlined "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" . Nobody exceeds the United States Government in sheer hypocrisy.

The US Government evidently thinks that the public are fools, idiots. America's allies seem to be constantly amazed at how successful that approach turns out to be.

Indeed, on 28 November 2012, Syria News headlined "Emir of Qatar & Prime Minister of Turkey Steal Syrian Oil Machinery in Broad Daylight" and presented video allegedly showing it (but unfortunately providing no authentication of the date and locale of that video).

Jihadists were recruited from throughout the world to fight against Syria's secular Government. Whereas ISIS was funded mainly by black-market sales of oil from conquered areas, the Al-Qaeda-led groups were mainly funded by the Sauds and other Arab royal families and their retinues, the rest of their aristocracy. On 13 December 2013, BBC headlined "Guide to the Syrian rebels" and opened "There are believed to be as many as 1,000 armed opposition groups in Syria, commanding an estimated 100,000 fighters." Except in the Kurdish areas in Syria's northeast, almost all of those fighters were being led by Al Qaeda's Syrian Branch, al-Nusra. Britain's Center on Religion & Politics headlined on 21 December 2015, "Ideology and Objectives of the Syrian Rebellion" and reported: "If ISIS is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place." Almost all of those 65,000 were trained and are led by Syria's Al Qaeda (Nusra), which was protected by the US

In September 2016 a UK official "FINAL REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON COMBATING TERRORIST AND FOREIGN FIGHTER TRAVEL" asserted that, "Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist with Islamist terrorist groups, including at least 4,500 Westerners. More than 250 individuals from the United States have also joined." Even just 25,000 (that official lowest estimate) was a sizable US proxy-army of religious fanatics to overthrow Syria's Government.

On 26 November 2015, the first of Russia's videos of Russia's bombing ISIS oil trucks headed into Turkey was bannered at a US military website "Russia Airstrike on ISIS Oil Tankers" , and exactly a month later, on 26 December 2015, Britain's Daily Express headlined "WATCH: Russian fighter jets smash ISIS oil tankers after spotting 12,000 at Turkish border" . This article, reporting around twelve thousand ISIS oil-tanker trucks heading into Turkey, opened: "The latest video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the tankers bunched together as they make their way along the road. They are then blasted by the fighter jet." The US military had nothing comparable to offer to its 'news'-media. Britain's Financial Times headlined on 14 October 2015, "Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists" . Only America's allies were involved in this commerce with ISIS -- no nation that supported Syria's Government was participating in this black market of stolen Syrian goods. So, it's now clear that a lot of that stolen oil was sold for gold as Syria's enemy-nations' means of buying that oil from ISIS. They'd purchase it from ISIS, but not from Syria's Government, the actual owner.

On 30 November 2015 Israel's business-news daily Globes News Service bannered "Israel has become the main buyer for oil from ISIS controlled territory, report" , and reported:

An estimated 20,000-40,000 barrels of oil are produced daily in ISIS controlled territory generating $1-1.5 million daily profit for the terrorist organization. The oil is extracted from Dir A-Zur in Syria and two fields in Iraq and transported to the Kurdish city of Zakhu in a triangle of land near the borders of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Israeli and Turkish mediators come to the city and when prices are agreed, the oil is smuggled to the Turkish city of Silop marked as originating from Kurdish regions of Iraq and sold for $15-18 per barrel (WTI and Brent Crude currently sell for $41 and $45 per barrel) to the Israeli mediator, a man in his 50s with dual Greek-Israeli citizenship known as Dr. Farid. He transports the oil via several Turkish ports and then onto other ports, with Israel among the main destinations.

After all, Israel too wants to overthrow Syria's secular, non-sectarian Government, which would be replaced by rulers selected by the Saud family , who are the US Government's main international ally .

On 9 November 2014, when Turkey was still a crucial US ally trying to overthrow Syria's secular Government (and this was before the failed 15 July 2016 US-backed coup-attempt to overthrow and replace Turkey's Government so as to impose an outright US stooge), Turkey was perhaps ISIS's most crucial international backer . Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's leader, had received no diploma beyond k-12, and all of that schooling was in Sunni schools and based on the Quran . (He pretended, however, to have a university diploma.) On 15 July 2015, AWD News headlined "Turkish President's daughter heads a covert medical corps to help ISIS injured members" . On 2 December 2015, a Russian news-site headlined "Defense Ministry: Erdogan and his family are involved in the illegal supply of oil" ; so, the Erdogan family itself was religiously committed to ISIS's fighters against Syria, and they were key to the success of the US operation against Syrians -- theft from Syrians. The great investigative journalist Christof Lehmann, who was personally acquainted with many of the leading political figures in Africa and the Middle East, headlined on 22 June 2014, "US Embassy in Ankara Headquarter for ISIS War on Iraq – Hariri Insider" , and he reported that the NATO-front the Atlantic Council had held a meeting in Turkey during 22-23 of November 2013 at which high officials of the US and allied governments agreed that they were going to take over Syria's oil, and that they even were threatening Iraq's Government for its not complying with their demands to cooperate on overthrowing Syria's Government. So, behind the scenes, this conquest of Syria was the clear aim by the US and all of its allies.

The US had done the same thing when it took over Ukraine by a brutal coup in February 2014 : It grabbed the gold. Iskra News in Russian reported, on 7 March 2014 , that "At 2 a.m. this morning ... an unmarked transport plane was on the runway at Borosipol Airport" near Kiev in the west, and that, "According to airport staff, before the plane came to the airport, four trucks and two Volkswagen minibuses arrived, all the truck license plates missing." This was as translated by Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research headlining on 14 March, "Ukraine's Gold Reserves Secretly Flown Out and Confiscated by the New York Federal Reserve?" in which he noted that, when asked, "A spokesman for the New York Fed said simply, 'Any inquiry regarding gold accounts should be directed to the account holder.'" The load was said to be "more than 40 heavy boxes." Chossudovsky noted that, "The National Bank of Ukraine (Central Bank) estimated Ukraine's gold reserves in February to be worth $1.8 billion dollars." It was allegedly 36 tons. The US, according to Victoria Nuland ( Obama's detail-person overseeing the coup ) had invested around $5 billion in the coup. Was her installed Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk cleaning out the nation's gold reserves in order to strip the nation so that the nation's steep indebtedness for Russian gas would never be repaid to Russia's oligarchs? Or was he doing it as a payoff for Nuland's having installed him? Or both? In any case: Russia was being squeezed by this fascist Ukrainian-American ploy.

On 14 November 2014, a Russian youtube headlined "In Ukraine, there is no more gold and currency reserves" and reported that there is "virtually no gold. There is a small amount of gold bars, but it's just 1%" of before the coup. Four days later, bannered "Ukraine Admits Its Gold Is Gone: 'There Is Almost No Gold Left In The Central Bank Vault'" . From actually 42.3 tons just before the coup, it was now far less than one ton.

The Syria operation was about oil, gold, and guns. However, most of America's support was to Al-Qaeda-led jihadists, not to ISIS-jihadists. As the great independent investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reported on 2 July 2017 :

"In December of last year while reporting on the battle of Aleppo as a correspondent for Bulgarian media I found and filmed 9 underground warehouses full of heavy weapons with Bulgaria as their country of origin. They were used by Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria designated as a terrorist organization by the UN)."

The US had acquired weapons from around the world, and shipped them (and Gaytandzhieva's report even displayed the transit-documents) through a network of its embassies, into Syria, for Nusra-led forces inside Syria. Almost certainly, the US Government's central command center for the entire arms-smuggling operation was the world's largest embassy, which is America's embassy in Baghdad.

Furthermore, On 8 March 2013, Richard Spenser of Britain's Telegraph reported that Croatia's Jutarnji List newspaper had reported that "3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November. The airlift of dated but effective Yugoslav-made weapons meets key concerns of the West, and especially Turkey and the United States, who want the rebels to be better armed to drive out the Assad regime."

Also, a September 2014 study by Conflict Armaments Research (CAR), titled "Islamic State Weapons in Iraq and Syria" , reported that not only east-European, but even US-made, weapons were being "captured from Islamic State forces" by Kurds who were working for the Americans, and that this was very puzzling and disturbing to those Kurds, who were risking their lives to fight against those jihadists.

In December 2017, CAR headlined "Weapons of the Islamic State" and reported that "this materiel was rapidly captured by IS forces, only to be deployed by the group against international coalition forces." The assumption made there was that the transfer of weapons to ISIS was all unintentional.

That report ignored contrary evidence, which I summed up on 2 September 2017 headlining "Russian TV Reports US Secretly Backing ISIS in Syria" , and reporting there also from the Turkish Government an admission that the US was working with Turkey to funnel surviving members of Iraq's ISIS into the Deir Ezzor part of Syria to help defeat Syria's Government in that crucial oil-producing region. Moreover, at least one member of the 'rebels' that the US was training at Al Tanf on Syria's Jordanian border had quit because his American trainers were secretly diverting some of their weapons to ISIS. Furthermore: why hadn't the US bombed Syrian ISIS before Russia entered the Syrian war on 30 September 2015? America talked lots about its supposed effort against ISIS, but why did US wait till 16 November 2015 before taking action, "'Get Out Of Your Trucks And Run Away': US Gives ISIS 45 Minute Warning On Oil Tanker Strikes" ?

So, regardless of whether the US Government uses jihadists as its proxy-forces, or uses fascists as its proxy-forces, it grabs the gold -- and grabs the oil, and takes whatever else it can.

This is today's form of imperialism.

Grab what you can, and run. And call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption'. And the imperial regime's allies watch in amazement, as they take their respective cuts of the loot. That's the deal, and they call it 'fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world'. That's the way it works. International gangland. That's the reality, while most of the public think it's instead really "fighting for freedom and democracy and human rights and against corruption around the world." For example, as RT reported on Sunday , March 3rd, about John Bolton's effort at regime-change in Venezuela, Bolton said: "I'd like to see as broad a coalition as we can put together to replace Maduro, to replace the whole corrupt regime,' Bolton told CNN's Jake Tapper." Trump's regime wants to bring clean and democratic government to the poor Venezuelans, just like Bush's did to the Iraqis, and Obama's did to the Libyans and to the Syrians and to the Ukrainians. And Trump, who pretends to oppose Obama's regime-change policies, alternately expands them and shrinks them. Though he's slightly different from Obama on domestic policies, he never, as the US President, condemns any of his predecessors' many coups and invasions, all of which were disasters for everybody except America's and allies' billionaires. They're all in on the take.

The American public were suckered into destroying Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, Syria in 2011-now, and so many other countries, and still haven't learned anything, other than to keep trusting the allegations of this lying and psychopathically vicious and super-aggressive Government and of its stenographic 'news'-media. When is enough finally enough ? Never? If not never, then when ? Or do most people never learn? Or maybe they don't really care. Perhaps that's the problem.

On March 4th, the Jerusalem Post bannered "IRAN AND TURKEY MEDIA PUSH CONSPIRACY THEORIES ABOUT US, ISIS: Claims pushed by Syrian regime media assert that US gave ISIS safe passage out of Baghuz in return for gold, a conspiracy picked up in Tehran and Ankara" , and simply assumed that it's false -- but provided no evidence to back their speculation up -- and they closed by asserting "The conspiracies, which are manufactured in Damascus, are disseminated to Iraq and Turkey, both of whom oppose US policy in eastern Syria." Why do people even subscribe to such 'news'-sources as that? The key facts are hidden, the speculation that's based on their own prejudices replaces whatever facts exist. Do the subscribers, to that, simply want to be deceived? Are most people that stupid?

Back on 21 December 2018, one of the US regime's top 'news'-media, the Washington Post, had headlined "Retreating ISIS army smuggled a fortune in cash and gold out of Iraq and Syria" and reported that "the Islamic State is sitting on a mountain of stolen cash and gold that its leaders stashed away to finance terrorist operations." So, it's not as if there hadn't been prior reason to believe that some day some of the gold would be found after America's defeat in Syria. Maybe they just hadn't expected this to happen quite so soon. But the regime will find ways to hoodwink its public, in the future, just as it has in the past. Unless the public wises-up (if that's even possible).

[Dec 21, 2019] The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom

Notable quotes:
"... Erster General-Quartiermeister ..."
"... The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. ..."
"... Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

In truth, infinite war is a strategic abomination, an admission of professional military bankruptcy. Erster General-Quartiermeister Ludendorff might have endorsed the term, but Ludendorff was a military fanatic.

Check that. Infinite war is a strategic abomination except for arms merchants, so-called defense contractors, and the " emergency men " (and women) devoted to climbing the greasy pole of what we choose to call the national security establishment. In other words, candor obliges us to acknowledge that, in some quarters, infinite war is a pure positive, carrying with it a promise of yet more profits, promotions, and opportunities to come. War keeps the gravy train rolling. And, of course, that's part of the problem.

Who should we hold accountable for this abomination? Not the generals, in my view. If they come across as a dutiful yet unimaginative lot, remember that a lifetime of military service rarely nurtures imagination or creativity. And let us at least credit our generals with this: in their efforts to liberate or democratize or pacify or dominate the Greater Middle East they have tried every military tactic and technique imaginable. Short of nuclear annihilation, they've played just about every card in the Pentagon's deck -- without coming up with a winning hand. So they come and go at regular intervals, each new commander promising success and departing after a couple years to make way for someone else to give it a try.

... ... ...

Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: "Enough! Stop this madness!" Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation's gratitude and the support of the electorate.

Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity. No doubt Saudi and Israeli leaders will cheer, Europeans who remember their Great War will scratch their heads in wonder, and the Chinese will laugh themselves silly. Meanwhile, issues of genuinely strategic importance -- climate change offers one obvious example -- will continue to be treated like an afterthought. As for the gravy train, it will roll on.


Anon [323] Disclaimer , June 7, 2018 at 9:57 pm GMT

"The United States of Amnesia."

That's actually a universal condition.

unseated , June 7, 2018 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

1. WW1 had total casualties (civilian and military) of around 40M. WW2 had total casualties of 60M. So yes WW2 was more deadly but "pales in comparison" is hardly justified, especially relative to population.

2. Marshal Foch, 28 June, 1919: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years."
WW1 inevitably led to WW2.

c matt , June 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm GMT
"Enough! Stop this madness!"

The only politician with a modest national stage to have said that (and meant it) in the last 50 years was Ron Paul, who was booed and mocked as crazy. Trump made noises in that direction, but almost as soon as the last words of his oath echoed off into the brisk January afternoon, he seemed to change his tune. Whether he never meant it, or decided to avoid the JFK treatment, who knows.

No, as I believe Will Rogers said, democracy is that form of government where the people get what they want, good and hard.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , June 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
@c matt

Yes.

I supported Ron Paul in 2012. But after his candidacy was crookedly subverted by the Establishment (cf., Trump's) I vowed never to vote again for anyone that I believe unworthy of the power wielded through the public office. I haven't voted since, and don't expect to until the Empire collapses.

Carlton Meyer , Website June 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm GMT
Kirk Douglas starred in a great film about fighting in World War I: "Paths of Glory." I highly recommend the film for its accuracy, best described in Wiki by the reaction of governments:

Controversy

On its release, the film's anti-military tone was subject to criticism and censorship.

In France, both active and retired personnel from the French military vehemently criticized the film -- and its portrayal of the French Army -- after it was released in Belgium. The French government placed enormous pressure on United Artists, (the European distributor) to not release the film in France. The film was eventually shown in France in 1975 when social attitudes had changed.[17]

In Germany, the film was withdrawn from the Berlin Film Festival to avoid straining relations with France;[18] it was not shown for two years until after its release.

In Spain, Spain's right-wing government of Francisco Franco objected to the film. It was first shown in 1986, 11 years after Franco's death.

In Switzerland, the film was censored, at the request of the Swiss Army, until 1970.[18]

At American bases in Europe, the American military banned it from being shown.[18]

Mike P , June 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm GMT

No, it's not the generals who have let us down, but the politicians to whom they supposedly report and from whom they nominally take their orders.

I'd say both. The generals have greatly assisted in stringing along the trusting public, always promising that victory is just around the corner, provided the public supports this or that final effort. Petraeus in particular willingly played his part in misleading the public about both Iraq and Afghanistan. His career would be a great case study for illuminating what is wrong with the U.S. today.

As to the apparent failure of the Afghanistan war – one must be careful to separate stated goals from real ones. What kind of "lasting success" can the U.S. possibly hope for there? If they managed to defeat the Taliban, pacify the country, install a puppet regime to govern it, and then leave, what would that achieve? The puppet regime would find itself surrounded by powers antagonistic to the U.S., and the puppets would either cooperate with them or be overthrown in no time. The U.S. are not interested in winning and leaving – they want to continue disrupting the peaceful integration of East, West, and South Asia. Afghanistan is ideally placed for this purpose, and so the U.S. are quite content with dragging out that war, as a pretext for their continued presence in the region.

TG , June 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm GMT
An interesting and thoughtful piece.

I would disagree on one point though: "Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence."

This is an error. A majority of the American public think that wasting trillions of dollars on endless pointless foreign wars is a stupid idea, and they think that we would be better off spending that money on ourselves. It's just that we don't live in a democracy, and the corporate press constantly ignores the issue. But just because the press doesn't mention something, doesn't mean that it does not exist.

So during the last presidential election Donald Trump echoed this view, why are we throwing away all this money on stupid wars when we need that money at home? For this he was attacked as a fascist and "literally Hitler" (really! It's jaw-dropping when you think about it). Despite massive propaganda attacking Trump, and a personal style that could charitably be called a jackass, Trump won the election in large part because indeed most American don't like the status quo.

After the election, Trump started to deliver on his promises – and he was quickly beaten down, his pragmatist nationalist advisors purged and replaced with defense-industry chickenhawks, and now we are back to the old status quo. The public be damned.

No, the American people are not being propagandized into supporting these wars. They are simply being ignored.

Left Gatekeeper Dispatch , June 8, 2018 at 9:10 pm GMT
When are you going to stop insulting our intelligence with this Boy's State civics crap? You're calling on political leaders to stop war, like they don't remember what CIA did to JFK, RFK, Daschle, or Leahy. Or Paul Wellstone.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/tribute-to-the-last-honorable-us-senator-the-story-of-paul-wellstones-suspected-assassination-2/5643200

Your national command structure, CIA, has impunity for universal jurisdiction crime. They can kill or torture anyone they want and get away with it. That is what put them in charge. CIA kills anybody who gets in their way. You fail to comprehend Lenin's lesson: first destroy the regime, then you can refrain from use of force. Until you're ready to take on CIA, your bold phrases are silent and odorless farts of feckless self-absorption. Sack up and imprison CIA SIS or GTFO.

James Kabala , June 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Since Spain was smart enough to stay out of both World Wars (as was Switzerland, of course), I wonder what Franco was thinking when he banned the film. Anyway, the final scene may be the best final scene in the history of movies.

exiled off mainstreet , June 10, 2018 at 1:15 am GMT
This writer, a retired military officer whose son died in service to the yankee imperium seems to have as good a grasp as any if not a better grasp than any about the nature of the yankee system of permanent war.
smellyoilandgas , June 13, 2018 at 4:48 am GMT
@TG

While I agree the slave-American is ignored, I think the elected, salaried members of the elected government are also ignored.. The persons in charge are Pharaohs and massively powerful global in scope corporations.
Abe Lincoln, McKinnley, Kennedy discovered that fact in their fate.

Organized Zionism was copted by the London bankers and their corporations 1897, since then a string of events have emerged.. that like a Submarine, seeking a far off target, it must divert to avoid being discovered, but soon, Red October returns to its intended path. here the path is to take the oil from the Arabs.. and the people driving that submarine are extremely wealthy Pharaohs and very well known major corporations.

I suggest to quit talking about the nation states and their leaders as if either could beat their way out of a wet paper sack. instead starting talking about the corporations and Pharaohs because they are global.

Mr. Anon , June 13, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT
The yawning silence accompanying the centennial of the Great War is baffling to me. It was the pivotal event of the 20th century. It was the beginning of the unmanning, the demoralization of Western Civilization. It was the calamity that created the World we inhabit today.

I've heard nary a peep about it in the U.S. over the last four years. It's as if it were as remote in people's consciousness as the Punic Wars.

MarkinPNW , June 13, 2018 at 5:49 am GMT
The World Wars (I and II) can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading British Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, with the material, human, and moral cost of the wars actually accelerating the empire's demise.

Likewise, the current endless "War on Terra" can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading American Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, again with the material, human, and moral cost of this war actually accelerating its demise.

But in the meantime, in both examples, the Bankers and the MIC just keep reaping their profits, even at the expense of the empires they purportedly support and defend.

animalogic , June 13, 2018 at 8:14 am GMT
@Mike P

Good points Mike P.

Author says: "strategy has ceased to exist".

In a traditional sense the author is right. Strategy is the attainment of political goals, within existing constraints. (diplomatic, political, resources etc)
"Goals" traditionally means "victories". (WWI is a great example of the sometimes dubious idea of victory)
Has the US ceased to have a strategy ? No. (Their strategy is myopic & self destructive – ie it's not a "good" strategy)

The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. Afghanistan, at (relatively) minimal cost, US controls key land mass (& with possible future access to fantastic resources). Threaten, mess up Russian – Chinese ambitions in this area. Iraq: Israeli enemy, strategic location, resource extraction. Syria: Israeli enemy, strategic location, key location for resource transfer to markets (EU esp). Deny Russia an ally. Libya: who cares ? Gaddafi was a pain in the arse. Iran: Israeli enemy, fantastic resources, hate them regardless.

Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ( which is funny, because it's such a yummy gravy train for the 1% sorry, actually, forgot the FIRST core principle of US strategy: enrich all the "right" people)

Tom Welsh , June 13, 2018 at 10:05 am GMT
'There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will– warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier– but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all– will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception'.

- Satan, in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" (1908)

annamaria , June 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

European politicians, the war on terror, and the triumph of Bankers United: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/06/12/europe-brainwashed-normalize-relations-russia/
"Europe has not had an independent existence for 75 years. European countries do not know what it means to be a sovereign state. Without Washington European politicians feel lost, so they are likely to stick with Washington .

Russian hopes to unite with the West in a war against terrorism overlook that terrorism is the West's weapon for destabilizing independent countries that do not accept a unipolar world."

The world is ripe for barter exchange. Screw the money changers.

[Dec 21, 2019] William Astore on War as Art and Advertising – Antiwar.com Blog

Notable quotes:
"... A lot of art depicts war scenes, and why not? War is incredibly exciting, dynamic, destructive, and otherwise captivating, if often in a horrific way. But I want to consider war and art in a different manner, in an impressionistic one. War, by its nature, is often spectacle; it is also often chaotic; complex; beyond comprehension. Perhaps art theory, and art styles, have something to teach us about war. Ways of representing it and capturing its meaning as well as its horrors. But also ways of misrepresenting it; of fracturing its meaning. Of manipulating it. ..."
"... My point (and I think I have one) is that America's wars are in some sense elaborate productions and representations, at least in the ways in which the government constructs and sells them to the American people. To understand these representations -- the ways in which they are both more than real war and less than it -- art theory, as well as advertising, may have a lot to teach us. ..."
"... Afghanistan as the unfinished masterpiece....most people forget that the government is yet to complete it except when a Marine dies, they think about it for a day and then forget all over again. ..."
Jul 12, 2017 | www.antiwar.com

Consider this article a work of speculation; a jumble of ideas thrown at a blank canvas.

A lot of art depicts war scenes, and why not? War is incredibly exciting, dynamic, destructive, and otherwise captivating, if often in a horrific way. But I want to consider war and art in a different manner, in an impressionistic one. War, by its nature, is often spectacle; it is also often chaotic; complex; beyond comprehension. Perhaps art theory, and art styles, have something to teach us about war. Ways of representing it and capturing its meaning as well as its horrors. But also ways of misrepresenting it; of fracturing its meaning. Of manipulating it.

For example, America's overseas wars today are both abstractions and distractions. They're also somewhat surreal to most Americans, living as we do in comparative safety and material luxury (when compared to most other peoples of the world). Abstraction and surrealism: two art styles that may say something vital about America's wars.

If some aspects of America's wars are surreal and others abstract, if reports of those wars are often impressionistic and often blurred beyond recognition, this points to, I think, the highly stylized representations of war that are submitted for our consideration. What we don't get very often is realism. Recall how the Bush/Cheney administration forbade photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Think of all the war reporting you've seen on U.S. TV and Cable networks, and ask how many times you saw severed American limbs and dead bodies on a battlefield. (On occasion, dead bodies of the enemy are shown, usually briefly and abstractly, with no human backstory.)

Of course, there's no "real" way to showcase the brutal reality of war, short of bringing a person to the front and having them face fire in combat -- a level of "participatory" art that sane people would likely seek to avoid. What we get, as spectators (which is what we're told to remain in America), is an impression of combat. Here and there, a surreal report. An abstract news clip. Blown up buildings become exercises in neo-Cubism; melted buildings and weapons become Daliesque displays. Severed limbs (of the enemy) are exercises in the grotesque. For the vast majority of Americans, what's lacking is raw immediacy and gut-wrenching reality.

Again, we are spectators, not participants. And our responses are often as stylized and limited as the representations are. As Rebecca Gordon put it from a different angle at TomDispatch.com , when it comes to America's wars, are we participating in reality or merely watching reality TV? And why are so many so prone to confuse or conflate the two?

Art, of course, isn't the only lens through which we can see and interpret America's wars. Advertising, especially hyperbole, is also quite revealing. Thus the US military has been sold, whether by George W. Bush or Barack Obama, as "the world's finest military in history" or WFMH, an acronym I just made up, and which should perhaps come with a copyright or trademark symbol after it. It's classic advertising hyperbole. It's salesmanship in place of reality.

So, when other peoples beat our WFMH, we should do what Americans do best: sue them for copyright infringement. Our legions of lawyers will most certainly beat their cadres of counsels. After all, under Bush/Cheney, our lawyers tortured logic and the law to support torture itself. Talk about surrealism!

My point (and I think I have one) is that America's wars are in some sense elaborate productions and representations, at least in the ways in which the government constructs and sells them to the American people. To understand these representations -- the ways in which they are both more than real war and less than it -- art theory, as well as advertising, may have a lot to teach us.

As I said, this is me throwing ideas at the canvas of my computer screen. Do they make any sense to you? Feel free to pick up your own brush and compose away in the comments section.

P.S. Danger, Will Robinson. I've never taken an art theory class or studied advertising closely.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views . He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu . Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author's permission.

Jim Savell , 19 hours ago

Afghanistan as the unfinished masterpiece....most people forget that the government is yet to complete it except when a Marine dies, they think about it for a day and then forget all over again.

[Dec 21, 2019] Since the turn of the century, the US has dumped trillions of dollars into wars

Notable quotes:
"... It is understandable why so many are angry at the leaders of America's institutions, including businesses, schools and governments," Dimon, 61, summarized. "This can understandably lead to disenchantment with trade, globalization and even our free enterprise system, which for so many people seems not to have worked. ..."
Apr 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc, April 05, 2017 at 10:16 AM
"Dimon Warns 'Something Is Wrong' With the U.S."

Do you agree with Jamie Dimon assessment of the USA?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-04/dimon-still-optimistic-warns-something-is-wrong-with-u-s

"Dimon Warns 'Something Is Wrong' With the U.S."

by Laura J Keller...April 4, 2017

"JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has two big pronouncements as the Trump administration starts reshaping the government: "The United States of America is truly an exceptional country," and "it is clear that something is wrong."

Dimon, leader of world's most valuable bank and a counselor to the new president, used his 45-page annual letter to shareholders on Tuesday to list ways America is stronger than ever -- before jumping into a much longer list of self-inflicted problems that he said was "upsetting" to write.

Here's the start: Since the turn of the century, the U.S. has dumped trillions of dollars into wars, piled huge debt onto students, forced legions of foreigners to leave after getting advanced degrees, driven millions of Americans out of the workplace with felonies for sometimes minor offenses and hobbled the housing market with hastily crafted layers of rules.

Dimon, who sits on Donald Trump's business forum aimed at boosting job growth, is renowned for his optimism and has been voicing support this year for parts of the president's business agenda. In February, Dimon predicted the U.S. would have a bright economic future if the new administration carries out plans to overhaul taxes, rein in rules and boost infrastructure investment. In an interview last month, he credited Trump with boosting consumer and business confidence in growth, and reawakening "animal spirits."

But on Tuesday, reasons for concern kept coming. Labor market participation is low, Dimon wrote. Inner-city schools are failing poor kids. High schools and vocational schools aren't providing skills to get decent jobs. Infrastructure planning and spending is so anemic that the U.S. hasn't built a major airport in more than 20 years. Corporate taxes are so onerous it's driving capital and brains overseas. Regulation is excessive.

" It is understandable why so many are angry at the leaders of America's institutions, including businesses, schools and governments," Dimon, 61, summarized. "This can understandably lead to disenchantment with trade, globalization and even our free enterprise system, which for so many people seems not to have worked. "...

pgl -> im1dc... , April 05, 2017 at 10:16 AM
I meant my last comment to be a reply. No - there is a lot that Dimon said that I cannot agree with.
pgl , April 05, 2017 at 10:49 AM
"Inner-city schools are failing poor kids. High schools and vocational schools aren't providing skills to get decent jobs. Infrastructure planning and spending is so anemic that the U.S. hasn't built a major airport in more than 20 years. Corporate taxes are so onerous it's driving capital and brains overseas. Regulation is excessive."

Let's unpack his list. The 4th (last) sentence is his hope that his bank can back to the unregulated regime that brought us the Great Recession. His 3rd sentence is a call for more tax cuts for the rich.

We may like his first 2 sentences here but who is going to pay for this? Not Jamie Dimon. See sentence #3.

DrDick -> pgl... , April 05, 2017 at 11:18 AM
He also seems to falsely imply that the people associated with capital actually have functioning brains.

[Dec 21, 2019] In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought

Mar 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne , March 30, 2017 at 12:47 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/world/middleeast/us-war-footprint-grows-in-middle-east.html

March 29, 2017

U.S. War Footprint Grows, With No Endgame in Sight
By BEN HUBBARD and MICHAEL R. GORDON

In places like Yemen, Syria and Iraq, the United States is deepening its involvement in wars while diplomacy becomes largely an afterthought.

ilsm -> anne... , March 30, 2017 at 01:51 PM
14 years as if US were going strong on Hanoi in '79!

Putin is a Tibetan Buddhist compared to Obama and so forth

mulp -> anne... , March 30, 2017 at 04:30 PM
Well, sending US troops is a US jobs program.

Why would you object to government creating more demand for labor? Over time, wages will rise and higher wages will fund more demand for labor produced goods.

[Dec 20, 2019] War Denialism and Endless War by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... One of the most revealing and absurd responses to rejections of forever war is the ridiculous dodge that the U.S. isn't really at war when it uses force and kills people in multiple foreign countries: ..."
"... The distinction between "real war" and the constant U.S. involvement in hostilities overseas is a phony one. The war is very real to the civilian bystanders who die in U.S. airstrikes, and it is very real to the soldiers and Marines still getting shot at and blown up in Afghanistan. This is not an "antidote to war," but rather the routinization of warfare. ..."
"... The routinization and normalization of endless, unauthorized war is one of the most harmful legacies of the Obama administration. ..."
"... When the Obama administration wanted political and legal cover for the illegal Libyan war in 2011, they came up with a preposterous claim that U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities because there was no real risk to them from the Libyan government's forces. According to Harold Koh, who was the one responsible for promoting this nonsense, U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities even when they were carrying out a sustained bombing campaign for months. That lie has served as a basis for redefining what counts as involvement in hostilities so that the president and the Pentagon can pretend that the U.S. military isn't engaged in hostilities even when it clearly is. When the only thing that gets counted as a "real war" is a major deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, that allows for a lot of unaccountable warmaking that has been conveniently reinvented as something else. ..."
Dec 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

One of the most revealing and absurd responses to rejections of forever war is the ridiculous dodge that the U.S. isn't really at war when it uses force and kills people in multiple foreign countries:

Just like @POTUS , who put a limited op of NE #Syria under heading of "endless war," this op-ed has "drone strikes & Special Ops raids" in indictment of US-at-war. In fact, those actions are antidote to war. Their misguided critique is insult to real war. https://t.co/DCLS9IDKSw

-- Robert Satloff (@robsatloff) December 15, 2019

War has become so normalized over the last twenty years that the constant use of military force gets discounted as something other than "real war." We have seen this war denialism on display several times in the last year. As more presidential candidates and analysts have started rejecting endless war, the war's defenders have often chosen to pretend that the U.S. isn't at war at all. The distinction between "real war" and the constant U.S. involvement in hostilities overseas is a phony one. The war is very real to the civilian bystanders who die in U.S. airstrikes, and it is very real to the soldiers and Marines still getting shot at and blown up in Afghanistan. This is not an "antidote to war," but rather the routinization of warfare.

The routinization and normalization of endless, unauthorized war is one of the most harmful legacies of the Obama administration. I made this point back in the spring of 2016 :

Because Obama is relatively less aggressive and reckless than his hawkish opponents (a very low bar to clear), he is frequently given a pass on these issues, and we are treated to misleading stories about his supposed "realism" and "restraint." Insofar as he has been a president who normalized and routinized open-ended and unnecessary foreign wars, he has shown that neither of those terms should be used to describe his foreign policy. Even though I know all too well that the president that follows him will be even worse, the next president will have a freer hand to conduct a more aggressive and dangerous foreign policy in part because of illegal wars Obama has waged during his time in office.

The attempt to define war so that it never includes what the U.S. military happens to be doing when it uses force abroad has been going on for quite a while. When the Obama administration wanted political and legal cover for the illegal Libyan war in 2011, they came up with a preposterous claim that U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities because there was no real risk to them from the Libyan government's forces. According to Harold Koh, who was the one responsible for promoting this nonsense, U.S. forces weren't engaged in hostilities even when they were carrying out a sustained bombing campaign for months. That lie has served as a basis for redefining what counts as involvement in hostilities so that the president and the Pentagon can pretend that the U.S. military isn't engaged in hostilities even when it clearly is. When the only thing that gets counted as a "real war" is a major deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, that allows for a lot of unaccountable warmaking that has been conveniently reinvented as something else.


chris chuba3 days ago

It isn't just physical war that results in active service body bags but our aggression has alreay cost lives on the home front and there is every reason to believe it will do so again.

We were not isolationists prior to 9/11/2001, Al Qaeda had already attacked but we were distracted bombing Serbia, expanding NATO, and trying to connect Al Qaeda attacks to Iran. We were just attacked by a Saudi officer we were training on our soil to use the Saudis against Iran.

It remains to be seen what our economic warfare against Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, and our continued use of Afghanistan as a bombing platform will cost us. We think we are being clever by using our Treasury Dept and low intensity warfare to minimize direct immediate casualties but how long can that last.

SilverSpoon3 days ago
"War is the health of the State"

And our state has been very healthy indeed in recent decades.

Ray Joseph Cormier3 days ago • edited
This article confirms what the last Real Commander-in-Chief, General/President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about when he retired 58 years ago.
His wise Council based on his Supreme Military-Political experience has been ignored.
The MSM, Propagandists for the Military-Industrial Complex, won't remind the American People.

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.

http://rayjc.com/2011/09/04...

Lee Green3 days ago
The psychological contortionism required to deny that we are at war amazes me. US military forces are killing people in other countries – but it's not war? Because we can manufacture comforting euphemisms like "police action" or "preventive action" or "drone strike," it's not war? Because it's smaller scale than a "real" war like WWII?

Cancer is cancer. A small cancer is still a cancer. Arguing that it's not cancer because it's not metastatic stage IV is, well, the most polite term is sophistry. More accurate terms aren't printable.

[Dec 20, 2019] Angry Bear " The oncoming generational UK and US political tsunamis

Dec 20, 2019 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , December 20, 2019 5:20 pm

    > alliances like NATO, and ultimately the loss of our democracy

    Changes might be coming, but Republicans and Clinton faction of Dems are now fully prepared to resist those changes tooth and nail.

    Neoliberal Dems just invented the template for deposing or, at least, paralyzing any future antiwar president. Via vote of non-confidence mechanism, which essentially what House impeachment "investigation" was about.

    You can always find another Fiona Hill, or Alexander Vindman or a half-dozen State Department neocon hawks (where in some cases it was unclear who is their real employee ) , or find another jingoistic and complexly detached from reality professor like Karlan, to support this action. Neocons feed from threat inflation. And money from MIC doesn't smell.

    The problems with the current impeachment goes far deeper then Trump. It is a change of the constitutional system converting it closer to the UK model.

[Dec 20, 2019] Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone

Dec 20, 2019 | www.amazon.com

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Since this deceptively simple question first came into my mind, I haven't been able to shake it. We think we understand the word, but what are we really referring to when we talk about a system in which the people rule themselves?

The word democracy is all around us, invoked in almost every conceivable context: government, business, technology, education, and media. At the same time, its meaning, taken as self-evident, is rarely given much serious consideration. Though the headlines tell us democracy is in "crisis," we don't have a clear conception of what it is that is at risk. The significance of the democratic ideal, as well as its practical substance, is surprisingly elusive.

For most of my life, the word democracy didn't hold much appeal. I was of course never against democracy per se, but words such as justice , equality , freedom , solidarity , socialism , and revolution resonated more deeply. Democracy struck me as mealy-mouthed, even debased. That idealistic anarchists and authoritarian leaders are equally inclined to claim "democracy" as their own only demonstrated its lack of depth. North Korea does, after all, call itself a "Democratic People's Republic," and Iraq was invaded by the U.S. Army in the name of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But today I no longer see the opportunistic use of the word as a sign of the idea's vapidity. Those powers co-opt the concept of democracy because they realize that it represents a profound threat to the established order, a threat they desperately hope to contain.

After making a documentary film, What Is Democracy? , I now understand the concept's disorienting vagueness and protean character as a source of strength; I have come to accept, and even appreciate, that there is no single definition I can stand behind that feels unconditionally conclusive. Though the practice has extensive global roots, the word democracy comes to us from ancient Greece, and it conveys a seemingly simple idea: the people ( demos ) rule or hold power ( kratos ). Democracy is the promise of the people ruling, but a promise that can never be wholly fulfilled because its implications and scope keep changing. Over centuries our conceptions of democracy have expanded and evolved, with democracy becoming more inclusive and robust in many ways, yet who counts as the people, how they rule, and where they do so remain eternally up for debate. Democracy destabilizes its own legitimacy and purpose by design, subjecting its core components to continual examination and scrutiny.

Perfect democracy, I've come to believe, may not in fact exist and never will, but that doesn't mean we can't make progress toward it, or that what there is of it can't disappear. For this reason, I am more convinced than ever that the questions of what democracy is -- and, more important, what it could be -- are ones we must perpetually ask.

Right now, many who question democracy do so out of disillusionment, fear, and outrage. Democracy may not exist, yet it still manages to disappoint. Political gridlock, corruption, unaccountable representatives, and the lack of meaningful alternatives incense people across the ideological spectrum; their anger simmers at dehumanizing bureaucracy, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of voice. Leaders are not accountable and voters rightly feel their choices are limited, all while the rich keep getting richer and regular people scramble to survive. In advanced democracies around the world, a growing number of people aren't even bothering to vote -- a right many people fought and died for fairly recently. Most Americans will say that they live in a democracy, but few will say that they trust the government, while the state generally inspires negative reactions, ranging from frustration to contempt and suspicion. The situation calls to mind Jean-Jacques Rousseau's observation from The Social Contract : "In a well-ordered city every man flies to the assemblies; under a bad government no one cares to stir a step to get to them. As soon as any man says of the State What does it matter to me? the State may be given up for lost." 1

A cauldron of causes generates an atmosphere of corrosive cynicism, social fragmentation, and unease, with blame too often directed downward at the most vulnerable populations. And it's not just in the United States. Consider the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, the decision known as Brexit; the resurgence of right-wing populism across Europe; coups and reactionary electoral victories in Brazil; and the rise of fascism in India. Plato's warning about democracy devolving into tyranny rings chillingly prophetic. The promise of self-rule risks becoming not a promise but a curse, a self-destructive motor pushing toward destinations more volatile, divided, despotic, and mean.

But this book isn't about the pitfalls of popular sovereignty, though it certainly has its perils. Nor is it about the shortcomings of current liberal democratic political systems or the ways they have been corrupted by money and power -- though they have been. That's a story that has been told before, and while it will be the backdrop to my inquiry it is not the focus. This book, instead, is an invitation to think about the word democracy from various angles, looking back through history and reflecting on the philosophy and practice of self-rule in hopes that a more contemplative view will shed useful light on our present predicament. My goal is not to negate the sense of alarm nor deter people from action but to remind us that we are part of a long, complex, and still-unfolding chronicle, whatever the day's headlines might be or whoever governs the country.

Taking a more theoretical approach to democracy's winding, thorny path and inherently paradoxical nature can also provide solace and reassurance. Ruling ourselves has never been straightforward and never will be. Ever vexing and unpredictable, democracy is a process that involves endless reassessment and renewal, not an endpoint we reach before taking a rest (leaving us with a finished system to tweak at the margins). As such, this book is my admittedly unorthodox, idiosyncratic call to democratize society from the bottom to the top. It is also an expression of my belief that we cannot re think democracy if we haven't really thought about it in the first place.

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Since this deceptively simple question first came into my mind, I haven't been able to shake it. We think we understand the word, but what are we really referring to when we talk about a system in which the people rule themselves?

The word democracy is all around us, invoked in almost every conceivable context: government, business, technology, education, and media. At the same time, its meaning, taken as self-evident, is rarely given much serious consideration. Though the headlines tell us democracy is in "crisis," we don't have a clear conception of what it is that is at risk. The significance of the democratic ideal, as well as its practical substance, is surprisingly elusive.

For most of my life, the word democracy didn't hold much appeal. I was of course never against democracy per se, but words such as justice , equality , freedom , solidarity , socialism , and revolution resonated more deeply. Democracy struck me as mealy-mouthed, even debased. That idealistic anarchists and authoritarian leaders are equally inclined to claim "democracy" as their own only demonstrated its lack of depth. North Korea does, after all, call itself a "Democratic People's Republic," and Iraq was invaded by the U.S. Army in the name of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But today I no longer see the opportunistic use of the word as a sign of the idea's vapidity. Those powers co-opt the concept of democracy because they realize that it represents a profound threat to the established order, a threat they desperately hope to contain.

After making a documentary film, What Is Democracy? , I now understand the concept's disorienting vagueness and protean character as a source of strength; I have come to accept, and even appreciate, that there is no single definition I can stand behind that feels unconditionally conclusive. Though the practice has extensive global roots, the word democracy comes to us from ancient Greece, and it conveys a seemingly simple idea: the people ( demos ) rule or hold power ( kratos ). Democracy is the promise of the people ruling, but a promise that can never be wholly fulfilled because its implications and scope keep changing. Over centuries our conceptions of democracy have expanded and evolved, with democracy becoming more inclusive and robust in many ways, yet who counts as the people, how they rule, and where they do so remain eternally up for debate. Democracy destabilizes its own legitimacy and purpose by design, subjecting its core components to continual examination and scrutiny.

Perfect democracy, I've come to believe, may not in fact exist and never will, but that doesn't mean we can't make progress toward it, or that what there is of it can't disappear. For this reason, I am more convinced than ever that the questions of what democracy is -- and, more important, what it could be -- are ones we must perpetually ask.

Right now, many who question democracy do so out of disillusionment, fear, and outrage. Democracy may not exist, yet it still manages to disappoint. Political gridlock, corruption, unaccountable representatives, and the lack of meaningful alternatives incense people across the ideological spectrum; their anger simmers at dehumanizing bureaucracy, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of voice. Leaders are not accountable and voters rightly feel their choices are limited, all while the rich keep getting richer and regular people scramble to survive. In advanced democracies around the world, a growing number of people aren't even bothering to vote -- a right many people fought and died for fairly recently. Most Americans will say that they live in a democracy, but few will say that they trust the government, while the state generally inspires negative reactions, ranging from frustration to contempt and suspicion. The situation calls to mind Jean-Jacques Rousseau's observation from The Social Contract : "In a well-ordered city every man flies to the assemblies; under a bad government no one cares to stir a step to get to them. As soon as any man says of the State What does it matter to me? the State may be given up for lost." 1

A cauldron of causes generates an atmosphere of corrosive cynicism, social fragmentation, and unease, with blame too often directed downward at the most vulnerable populations. And it's not just in the United States. Consider the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, the decision known as Brexit; the resurgence of right-wing populism across Europe; coups and reactionary electoral victories in Brazil; and the rise of fascism in India. Plato's warning about democracy devolving into tyranny rings chillingly prophetic. The promise of self-rule risks becoming not a promise but a curse, a self-destructive motor pushing toward destinations more volatile, divided, despotic, and mean.

But this book isn't about the pitfalls of popular sovereignty, though it certainly has its perils. Nor is it about the shortcomings of current liberal democratic political systems or the ways they have been corrupted by money and power -- though they have been. That's a story that has been told before, and while it will be the backdrop to my inquiry it is not the focus. This book, instead, is an invitation to think about the word democracy from various angles, looking back through history and reflecting on the philosophy and practice of self-rule in hopes that a more contemplative view will shed useful light on our present predicament. My goal is not to negate the sense of alarm nor deter people from action but to remind us that we are part of a long, complex, and still-unfolding chronicle, whatever the day's headlines might be or whoever governs the country.

Taking a more theoretical approach to democracy's winding, thorny path and inherently paradoxical nature can also provide solace and reassurance. Ruling ourselves has never been straightforward and never will be. Ever vexing and unpredictable, democracy is a process that involves endless reassessment and renewal, not an endpoint we reach before taking a rest (leaving us with a finished system to tweak at the margins). As such, this book is my admittedly unorthodox, idiosyncratic call to democratize society from the bottom to the top. It is also an expression of my belief that we cannot re think democracy if we haven't really thought about it in the first place.

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Since this deceptively simple question first came into my mind, I haven't been able to shake it. We think we understand the word, but what are we really referring to when we talk about a system in which the people rule themselves?

The word democracy is all around us, invoked in almost every conceivable context: government, business, technology, education, and media. At the same time, its meaning, taken as self-evident, is rarely given much serious consideration. Though the headlines tell us democracy is in "crisis," we don't have a clear conception of what it is that is at risk. The significance of the democratic ideal, as well as its practical substance, is surprisingly elusive.

For most of my life, the word democracy didn't hold much appeal. I was of course never against democracy per se, but words such as justice , equality , freedom , solidarity , socialism , and revolution resonated more deeply. Democracy struck me as mealy-mouthed, even debased. That idealistic anarchists and authoritarian leaders are equally inclined to claim "democracy" as their own only demonstrated its lack of depth. North Korea does, after all, call itself a "Democratic People's Republic," and Iraq was invaded by the U.S. Army in the name of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But today I no longer see the opportunistic use of the word as a sign of the idea's vapidity. Those powers co-opt the concept of democracy because they realize that it represents a profound threat to the established order, a threat they desperately hope to contain.

After making a documentary film, What Is Democracy? , I now understand the concept's disorienting vagueness and protean character as a source of strength; I have come to accept, and even appreciate, that there is no single definition I can stand behind that feels unconditionally conclusive. Though the practice has extensive global roots, the word democracy comes to us from ancient Greece, and it conveys a seemingly simple idea: the people ( demos ) rule or hold power ( kratos ). Democracy is the promise of the people ruling, but a promise that can never be wholly fulfilled because its implications and scope keep changing. Over centuries our conceptions of democracy have expanded and evolved, with democracy becoming more inclusive and robust in many ways, yet who counts as the people, how they rule, and where they do so remain eternally up for debate. Democracy destabilizes its own legitimacy and purpose by design, subjecting its core components to continual examination and scrutiny.

Perfect democracy, I've come to believe, may not in fact exist and never will, but that doesn't mean we can't make progress toward it, or that what there is of it can't disappear. For this reason, I am more convinced than ever that the questions of what democracy is -- and, more important, what it could be -- are ones we must perpetually ask.

Right now, many who question democracy do so out of disillusionment, fear, and outrage. Democracy may not exist, yet it still manages to disappoint. Political gridlock, corruption, unaccountable representatives, and the lack of meaningful alternatives incense people across the ideological spectrum; their anger simmers at dehumanizing bureaucracy, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of voice. Leaders are not accountable and voters rightly feel their choices are limited, all while the rich keep getting richer and regular people scramble to survive. In advanced democracies around the world, a growing number of people aren't even bothering to vote -- a right many people fought and died for fairly recently. Most Americans will say that they live in a democracy, but few will say that they trust the government, while the state generally inspires negative reactions, ranging from frustration to contempt and suspicion. The situation calls to mind Jean-Jacques Rousseau's observation from The Social Contract : "In a well-ordered city every man flies to the assemblies; under a bad government no one cares to stir a step to get to them. As soon as any man says of the State What does it matter to me? the State may be given up for lost." 1

A cauldron of causes generates an atmosphere of corrosive cynicism, social fragmentation, and unease, with blame too often directed downward at the most vulnerable populations. And it's not just in the United States. Consider the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, the decision known as Brexit; the resurgence of right-wing populism across Europe; coups and reactionary electoral victories in Brazil; and the rise of fascism in India. Plato's warning about democracy devolving into tyranny rings chillingly prophetic. The promise of self-rule risks becoming not a promise but a curse, a self-destructive motor pushing toward destinations more volatile, divided, despotic, and mean.

But this book isn't about the pitfalls of popular sovereignty, though it certainly has its perils. Nor is it about the shortcomings of current liberal democratic political systems or the ways they have been corrupted by money and power -- though they have been. That's a story that has been told before, and while it will be the backdrop to my inquiry it is not the focus. This book, instead, is an invitation to think about the word democracy from various angles, looking back through history and reflecting on the philosophy and practice of self-rule in hopes that a more contemplative view will shed useful light on our present predicament. My goal is not to negate the sense of alarm nor deter people from action but to remind us that we are part of a long, complex, and still-unfolding chronicle, whatever the day's headlines might be or whoever governs the country.

Taking a more theoretical approach to democracy's winding, thorny path and inherently paradoxical nature can also provide solace and reassurance. Ruling ourselves has never been straightforward and never will be. Ever vexing and unpredictable, democracy is a process that involves endless reassessment and renewal, not an endpoint we reach before taking a rest (leaving us with a finished system to tweak at the margins). As such, this book is my admittedly unorthodox, idiosyncratic call to democratize society from the bottom to the top. It is also an expression of my belief that we cannot re think democracy if we haven't really thought about it in the first place.

>

Tonstant Weader , May 29, 2019

You want a physical copy so you can mark it up and highlight and bookmark and clip

Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone is one of those books you might want to get in its physical form so you can shove it full of bookmarks, highlight sentences, write notes, stick little sticky arrows to note something special, and generally leave it in unfit condition for anyone but you, but that will be okay because you will be going back to it again and again whenever you want to argue about something. Yes, it's that good.

Astra Taylor does the difficult job examining democracy, something we talk about a lot without ever completely understanding its full implications. To do this, she examines eight tensions that pull democracies in different directions and are critical to balance or at least understand when understanding democracy. These tensions are interrogated in separate chapters, looking at history, research, and political experience that impinge on them. The vast research involved in these explorations is astonishing.

In the first chapter she examines the tension between freedom and equality and notes that once upon a time we thought they went hand in hand, but that they have become oppositional thanks to political movements that serve the powerful who define freedom in terms of making money and avoidance of regulation rather than freedom from want, hunger, or fear. Equality has become, to American eyes, the enemy of freedom. The second chapter looks at decision-making, the tension of conflict and consensus. This includes the understanding of loyal opposition, something that seems to be lost with a president who calls his political opponents traitors. I appreciated her taking on how consensus can become anti-democratic and stultifying.

The third chapter looks at the tension of inclusion and exclusion, who is the demos, to whom is the democracy accountable. In the fourth, the balance between choice and coercion is explored. Pro-corporate theorists talk about government coercion and attacks on liberty when they are not allowed to poison our drinking water and make government the enemy of the people. She also explores how we seem to think freedom is the be all, end all except at work. Chapter Five looks at spontaneity versus structure. This has an important analysis of organizing versus activism and how the focus on youth movements has weakened social justice movements overall as the energy dissipates after college without the labor and community organizations to foster movement energy. Chapter Six explores the balance between mass opinion and expertise and how meritocracy works against democracy. This chapter looks at how education functions to keep the powerful powerful from generation to generation, "the paradoxical, deeply contradictory role of education under capitalism , which facilitates the ascension of some while preparing a great many more for lowly positions of servitude."

Chapter Seven looks at the geography of democracy, not just in terms of federalism and the federal, state, and local levels of participating in democracy but also the supranational entities like the World Trade Organization and how they undercut democracy and the integrity of the state. Chapter Eight considers what we inherit from the past, the traditions and norms of democracy and what we owe the future, including our obligations to pass on a livable planet.

Needless to say, this is all very discouraging in its totality, but the final chapter encourages us to balance pessimism with optimism just as democracy must balance all those other tensions.

It took me forever to read Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone. That is because after I read a chapter I needed to think about it before I moved on to the next. I took sixteen pages of notes while reading it. I hate taking notes, but I did not want to lose the ideas.

This is also a book you might want to read with some other people, perhaps discussing a chapter at a time. I do not think it is a book you can read passively, without stopping to talk to someone, tweet, or reread. It's that good.

That does not mean I agree with every word of the book, but then the author does an excellent job of interrogating her own ideas. She might seem to be asserting an opinion, and then offer a counter-example because she is rigorous like that. She perhaps places too much faith in Marxist theory from time to time, but then that may be because like democracy, it has never really existed except in conceptual form.

Taylor does not offer a simple answer because there are no simple answers. She does not pretend to know how to, or even if we can, fix democracy. She gives us the questions, the problems, and some ideas, but as someone who truly believes in government by the people, she asks us to take up the challenge.

I received an e-galley of Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone from the publisher through NetGalley.

[Dec 20, 2019] Imperial Tool Pelosi Falsely Links Russia to Ukrainegate by Stephen Lendman

The fact that the 'whistleblower' is a CIA officer who has since returned to active duty at the agency isn't lost on Mr. Trump's supporters.
"The CIA was the central protagonist in Russiagate. The origins of the New Cold War are found in Bill Clinton's first term, when administration neo-cons looted, plundered and moved NATO against a prostrate Russia in contradiction to explicit guarantees not to do so made by the George H.W. Bush administration. Vladimir Putin's apparent crime was to oust the Clintonites from Russia and restore Russian sovereignty." CounterPunch.org
"Russiagate was a declaration of war by the 'intelligence community' against a duly elected President. As argued below, the CIA's motive is to move its own foreign policy agenda forward without even the illusion of democratic consent." CounterPunch.org
Notable quotes:
"... Actions in the Washington cesspool never surprise -- by members of both right wing of the US war party. They represent the greatest threat to world peace and ordinary people everywhere at home and abroad. Pro-war, pro-business, pro-Wall Street, anti-progressive Speaker Pelosi is part of the problem, never part of the solution. ..."
Sep 29, 2019 | stephenlendman.org

by Stephen Lendman ( stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman )

Actions in the Washington cesspool never surprise -- by members of both right wing of the US war party. They represent the greatest threat to world peace and ordinary people everywhere at home and abroad. Pro-war, pro-business, pro-Wall Street, anti-progressive Speaker Pelosi is part of the problem, never part of the solution.

Her long disturbing congressional record shows she exclusively serves wealth and power interests at the expense of the vast majority of Americans she disdains, proving it time and again.

Her deplorable voting record speaks for itself, backing:

  1. the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Blily Act repeal of Glass-Steagall, permitting some of the most egregious financial abuses in the modern era;
  2. the September 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), permitting endless wars of aggression in multiple theaters, raging endlessly;
  3. annual National Defense Authorization Acts and US wars of aggression;
  4. Obama's neoliberal harshness, continuing under Trump, along with tax cuts for the rich, benefitting her and her husband enormously, without admitting it;
  5. increasingly unaffordable marketplace medicine, ripping off consumers for profit, leaving millions uninsured, most Americans way underinsured;
  6. the USA Patriot Act, Anti-Terrorism Act and other police state law;
  7. the 9/11 whitewash Commission Recommendation Act;
  8. the FISA Amendments Act -- permitting warrantless spying post-9/11, Big Brother watching everyone;
  9. NAFTA and other anti-consumer/corporate coup d'etat trade bills;
  10. the repressive US gulag prison system, the world's largest by far; incarcerating millions by federal, state, and local authorities, it includes global torture prisons;
  11. unapologetic support for Israeli apartheid viciousness;
  12. fierce opposition to Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, and other nonbelligerent sovereign states threatening no one;
  13. the Russiagate witch hunt and Ukrainegate scams.

Calling exploitive/predatory "free market (capitalism) our greatest asset" shows her contempt for equity and justice.

Her support for the military, industrial, security, media complex is all about backing endless wars of aggression against invented enemies. No real ones exist.

Pelosi represents what belligerent, plutocratic, oligarchic, increasingly totalitarian rule is all about, notably contemptuous of nations on the US target list for regime change -- Russia, China and Iran topping the list.

On Friday, she falsely accused Russia of involvement in Ukrainegate, a failed Russiagate scam spinoff with no legitimacy, supported by undemocratic Dems and their echo-chamber media.

Repeating the long ago debunked Russian US election meddling Big Lie that won't die, she falsely accused Moscow of "ha(ving) a hand in this."

Referring to the Ukrainegate scam, she offered no evidence backing her accusation because none exists.

During a Friday press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Sergey Lavrov slammed Pelosi's Big Lie, saying:

"Russia's been accused of all the deadly sins, and then some. It's paranoia, and I think it's obvious to everyone."

It's unacceptable anti-Russia hate-mongering, what goes on endlessly, Cold War 2.0 raging.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the following on her facebook page:

"Speaker of the lower house of Congress Nancy Pelosi believes that Russia is involved in the scandal over July telephone conversation between us and Ukraine Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Zelensky."

"This (baseless) assumption was made on Friday Pelosi (not) explaining what it means, and without providing evidence of her words."

"Considering that it was Nancy Pelosi who caused the 'Scandal around the telephone conversation between the presidents of the United States and Ukraine,' then, according to the speaker's logic, Russia attached the hand to her."

What's going on is continuation of the most shameful political chapter in US history, ongoing since Trump took office, along with railroading Richard Nixon.

Both episodes represent McCarthyism on steroids – supported by establishment media, furious about Trump's triumph over Hillary, targeting him largely for the wrong reasons, ignoring plenty of right ones.

Mueller's probe ended with a whimper, not the bang Dems wanted, Ukrainegate their second bite of the apple to try discrediting Trump for political advantage ahead of November 2020 elections.

That's what Russiagate and Ukrainegate are all about.

These actions by undemocratic Dems and their media press agents are further clear proof that Washington's deeply corrupted political system to its rotten core is far too debauched to fix.

VISIT MY NEW WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

[Dec 19, 2019] MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, December 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Afghan war demonstrated that the USA got into the trap, the Catch 22 situation: it can't stop following an expensive and self-destructive positive feedback loop of threat inflation and larger and large expenditures on MIC, because there is no countervailing force for the MIC since WWII ended. Financial oligarchy is aligned with MIC.

This is the same suicidal grip of MIC on the country that was one of the key factors in the collapse of the USSR means that in this key area the USA does not have two party system, It is a Uniparty: a singe War party with two superficially different factions.

Feeding and care MIC is No.1 task for both. Ordinary Americans wellbeing does matter much for either party. New generation of Americans is punished with crushing debt and low paying jobs. They do not care that people over 50 who lost their jobs are essentially thrown out like a garbage.

"41 Million people in the US suffer from hunger and lack of food security"–US Dept. of Agriculture. FDR addressed the needs of this faction of the population when he delivered his One-Third of a Nation speech for his 2nd Inaugural. About four years later, FDR expanded on that issue in his Four Freedoms speech: 1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear.

Items 3 and 4 are probably unachievable under neoliberalism. And fear is artificially instilled to unite the nation against the external scapegoat much like in Orwell 1984. Currently this is Russia, later probably will be China. With regular minutes of hate replaced by Rachel Maddow show ;-)

Derailing Tulsi had shown that in the USA any politician, who try to challenge MIC, will be instantly attacked by MIC lapdogs in MSM and neutered in no time.

One interesting tidbit from Fiona Hill testimony is that neocons who dominate the USA foreign policy establishment make their living off threat inflation. They literally are bought by MIC, which indirectly finance Brookings institution, Atlantic Council and similar think tanks. And this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact. Rephrasing Samuel Johnson's famous quote, we can say, "MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels."

[Dec 19, 2019] Never Trust a Failing Empire by Federico Pieraccini

Dec 17, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The Washington Post , through documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, has published a long investigation into Afghanistan. Journalists have collected over 400 testimonies from American diplomats, NATO generals and other NATO personnel, that show that reports about Afghanistan were falsified to deceive the public about the real situation on the ground.

After the tampering with and falsification of the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), we are witnessing another event that will certainly discomfit those who have hitherto relied on the official reports of the Pentagon, the US State Department and international organizations like the OPCW for the last word.

There are very deliberate reasons for such disinformation campaigns. In the case of the OPCW, as I wrote some time back, the aim was to paint the Syrian government as the fiend and the al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked "moderate rebels" as the innocent souls, thereby likely justifying a responsibility-to-protect armed intervention by the likes of the US, the UK and France. In such circumstances, the standing and status of the reporting organization (like the OPCW) is commandeered to validate Western propaganda that is duly disseminated through the corporate-controlled mainstream media.

In this particular case, various Western capitals colluded with the OPCW to lay the groundwork for the removal of Assad and his replacement with the al-Nusra Front as well as the very same al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked armed opposition officially responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

As if the massaging of the OPCW reports were not enough in themselves to provoke international outrage, this dossier serves to give aid and comfort to jihadi groups supported by the Pentagon who are known to be responsible for the worst human-rights abuses, as seen in Syria and Iraq in the last 6 years.

False or carefully manipulated reports paint a picture vastly different from the reality on the ground. The United States has never really declared war on Islamic terrorism, its proclamations of a "War on Terror" notwithstanding. In reality, it has simply used this justification to occupy or destabilize strategically important areas of the world in the interests of maintaining US hegemony, intending in so doing to hobble the energy policies and national security of rival countries like China, Iran and the Russian Federation.

The Post investigation lays bare how the US strategy had failed since its inception, the data doctored to represent a reality very different from that on the ground. The inability of the United States to clean up Afghanistan is blamed by the Post on incorrect military planning and incorrect political choices. While this could certainly be the case, the Post's real purpose in its investigation is to harm Trump, even as it reveals the Pentagon's efforts to continue its regional presence for grand geopolitical goals by hiding inconvenient truths.

The real issue lies in the built-in mendacity of the bureaucratic and military apparatus of the United States. No general has ever gone on TV to say that the US presence in Iraq is needed to support any war against Iran; or that Afghanistan is a great point of entry for the destabilization of Eurasia, because this very heart of the Heartland is crucial to the Sino-Russian transcontinental integration projects like the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative. In the same vein, the overthrow of the Syrian government would have ensured Israel a greater capacity to expand its interests in the Middle East, as well as to weaken Iran's main regional ally.

The Post investigation lays bare the hypocrisy of the military-industrial complex as well as the prevailing political establishments of Europe and the United States. These parties are not interested in human rights, the wellbeing of civilians or justice in general. Their only goal is to try and maintain their global hegemony indefinitely by preventing any other powers from being able to realize their potential and thereby pose a threat to Atlanticist preeminence.

The war in Iraq was launched to destabilize the Middle East, China's energy-supply basin crucial to fueling her future growth. The war in Syria served the purpose of further dismantling the Middle East to favor Saudi Arabia and Israel, the West's main strategic allies in the Persian Gulf. The war in Afghanistan was to slow down the Eurasian integration of China and Russia. And the war in Ukraine was for the purposes of generating chaos and destruction on Russia's border, with the initial hope of wresting the very strategically area of Crimea from Russia.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and this has been on full display in recent times. Almost all of Washington's recent strategic objectives have ended up producing results worse than the status quo ante. In Iraq there is the type of strong cooperation between Baghdad and Tehran reminiscent of the time prior to 1979. Through Hezbollah, Iran has strengthened its position in Syria in defense of Damascus. Moscow has found itself playing the role of crucial decider in the Middle East (and soon in North Africa), until only a few years ago the sole prerogative of Washington. Turkey's problems with NATO, coupled with Tel Aviv's open relation with Moscow are both a prime example of Washington's diminishing influence in the region and Moscow's corresponding increase in influence.

The situation in Afghanistan is not very different, with a general recognition that peace is the only option for the region being reflected in the talks between the Afghans, the Taliban, the Russians, Chinese, Indians and Pakistanis. Beijing and Moscow have well known for over a decade the real intent behind Washington's presence in the country, endeavoring to blunt its impact.

The Post investigation only further increases the public's war weariness, the war in Afghanistan now having lasted 18 years, the longest war in US history. Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Post , is a bitter opponent of Trump and wants the president to come clean on the Afghanistan debacle by admitting that the troops cannot be withdrawn. Needless to say, admitting such would not help Trump's strategy for the 2020 election. Trump cannot afford to humiliate the US military, given that it, along with the US dollar, is his main weapon of "diplomacy". Were it to be revealed that some illiterate peasants holed up in caves and armed with AK-47s some 40 years ago are responsible for successfully keeping the most powerful army in history at bay, all of Washington's propaganda, disseminated by a compliant media, will cease to be of any effect. Such a revelation would also humiliate military personnel, an otherwise dependable demographic Trump cannot afford to alienate.

The Washington Post performed a service to the country by shedding light on the disinformation used to sustain endless war. But the Post's intentions are also political, seeking to undermine Trump's electoral chances by damaging Trump's military credentials as well as his standing amongst military personnel. What Washington's elite and the Post do not know, or perhaps prefer to ignore, is that such media investigations directed against political opponents actually end up doing irreparable damage to the political and military prestige of the United States.

In other words, when journalist do their job, the military industrial complex finds it difficult to lie its way through wars and failures, but when a country relies on Hollywood to sustain its make-believe world, as well as on journalists on the CIA payroll, on compliant publishers and on censored news, then any such revelations of forbidden truths threaten to bring the whole facade crashing down.

[Dec 17, 2019] How We Became Israel by Andrew J. Bacevich

Notable quotes:
"... A nation seeking peace-as-dominion will use force more freely. This has long been an Israeli predilection. Since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, however, it has become America's as well. As a consequence, U.S. national-security policy increasingly conforms to patterns of behavior pioneered by the Jewish state. This "Israelification" of U.S. policy may prove beneficial for Israel. Based on the available evidence, it's not likely to be good for the United States. ..."
"... Here is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing what he calls his "vision of peace" in June 2009: "If we get a guarantee of demilitarization we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state." The inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank, if armed and sufficiently angry, can certainly annoy Israel. But they cannot destroy it or do it serious harm. By any measure, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) wield vastly greater power than the Palestinians can possibly muster. Still, from Netanyahu's perspective, "real peace" becomes possible only if Palestinians guarantee that their putative state will forego even the most meager military capabilities. Your side disarms, our side stays armed to the teeth: that's Netanyahu's vision of peace in a nutshell. ..."
Sep 10, 2012 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Peace means different things to different governments and different countries. To some it suggests harmony based on tolerance and mutual respect. To others it serves as a euphemism for dominance, peace defining the relationship between the strong and the supine.

In the absence of actually existing peace, a nation's reigning definition of peace shapes its proclivity to use force. A nation committed to peace-as-harmony will tend to employ force as a last resort. The United States once subscribed to this view. Or beyond the confines of the Western Hemisphere, it at least pretended to do so.

A nation seeking peace-as-dominion will use force more freely. This has long been an Israeli predilection. Since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, however, it has become America's as well. As a consequence, U.S. national-security policy increasingly conforms to patterns of behavior pioneered by the Jewish state. This "Israelification" of U.S. policy may prove beneficial for Israel. Based on the available evidence, it's not likely to be good for the United States.

Here is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing what he calls his "vision of peace" in June 2009: "If we get a guarantee of demilitarization we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state." The inhabitants of Gaza and the West Bank, if armed and sufficiently angry, can certainly annoy Israel. But they cannot destroy it or do it serious harm. By any measure, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) wield vastly greater power than the Palestinians can possibly muster. Still, from Netanyahu's perspective, "real peace" becomes possible only if Palestinians guarantee that their putative state will forego even the most meager military capabilities. Your side disarms, our side stays armed to the teeth: that's Netanyahu's vision of peace in a nutshell.

Netanyahu asks a lot of Palestinians. Yet however baldly stated, his demands reflect longstanding Israeli thinking. For Israel, peace derives from security, which must be absolute and assured. Security thus defined requires not simply military advantage but military supremacy .

From Israel's perspective, threats to supremacy require anticipatory action , the earlier the better. The IDF attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 provides one especially instructive example. Israel's destruction of a suspected Syrian nuclear facility in 2007 provides a second.

Yet alongside perceived threat, perceived opportunity can provide sufficient motive for anticipatory action. In 1956 and again in 1967, Israel attacked Egypt not because the blustering Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser possessed the capability (even if he proclaimed the intention) of destroying the hated Zionists, but because preventive war seemingly promised a big Israeli pay-off. In the first instance, the Israelis came away empty-handed. In the second, they hit the jackpot operationally, albeit with problematic strategic consequences.

For decades, Israel relied on a powerful combination of tanks and fighter-bombers as its preferred instrument of preemption. In more recent times, however, it has deemphasized its swift sword in favor of the shiv between the ribs. Why deploy lumbering armored columns when a missile launched from an Apache attack helicopter or a bomb fixed to an Iranian scientist's car can do the job more cheaply and with less risk? Thus has targeted assassination eclipsed conventional military methods as the hallmark of the Israeli way of war.

Whether using tanks to conquer or assassins to liquidate, adherence to this knee-to-the-groin paradigm has won Israel few friends in the region and few admirers around the world (Americans notably excepted). The likelihood of this approach eliminating or even diminishing Arab or Iranian hostility toward Israel appears less than promising. That said, the approach has thus far succeeded in preserving and even expanding the Jewish state: more than 60 years after its founding, Israel persists and even prospers. By this rough but not inconsequential measure, the Israeli security concept has succeeded. Okay, it's nasty: but so far at least, it's worked.

What's hard to figure out is why the United States would choose to follow Israel's path. Yet over the course of the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama quarter-century, that's precisely what we've done. The pursuit of global military dominance, a proclivity for preemption, a growing taste for assassination -- all justified as essential to self-defense. That pretty much describes ourpresent-day MO.

Israel is a small country with a small population and no shortage of hostile neighbors. Ours is a huge country with an enormous population and no enemy, unless you count the Cuban-Venezuelan Axis of Ailing Dictators, within several thousand miles. We have choices that Israel does not. Yet in disregarding those choices the United States has stumbled willy-nilly into an Israeli-like condition of perpetual war, with peace increasingly tied to unrealistic expectations of adversaries and would-be adversaries acquiescing in Washington's will.

Israelification got its kick-start with George H.W. Bush's Operation Desert Storm, a triumphal Hundred-Hour War likened at the time to Israel's triumphal Six-Day War. Victory over the "fourth largest army in the world" fostered illusions of the United States exercising perpetually and on a global scale military primacy akin to what Israel has exercised regionally. Soon thereafter, the Pentagon announced that henceforth it would settle for nothing less than "Full Spectrum Dominance."

Bill Clinton's contribution to the process was to normalize the use of force. During the several decades of the Cold War, the U.S. had resorted to overt armed intervention only occasionally. Although difficult today to recall, back then whole years might pass without U.S. troops being sent into harm's way. Over the course of Clinton's two terms in office, however, intervention became commonplace.

The average Israeli had long since become inured to reports of IDF incursions into southern Lebanon or Gaza. Now the average American has become accustomed to reports of U.S. troops battling Somali warlords, supervising regime change in Haiti, or occupying the Balkans. Yet the real signature of the Clinton years came in the form of airstrikes. Blasting targets in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Serbia, and Sudan, but above all in Iraq, became the functional equivalent of Israel's reliance on airpower to punish "terrorists" from standoff ranges.

In the wake of 9/11, George W. Bush, a true believer in Full Spectrum Dominance, set out to liberate or pacify (take your pick) the Islamic world. The United States followed Israel in assigning itself the prerogative of waging preventive war. Although it depicted Saddam Hussein as an existential threat, the Bush administration also viewed Iraq as an opportunity: here the United States would signal to other recalcitrants the fate awaiting them should they mess with Uncle Sam.

More subtly, in going after Saddam, Bush was tacitly embracing a longstanding Israeli conception of deterrence. During the Cold War, deterrence had meant conveying a credible threat to dissuade your opponent from hostile action. Israel had never subscribed to that view. Influencing the behavior of potential adversaries required more than signaling what Israel might do if sufficiently aggravated; influence was exerted by punitive action, ideally delivered on a disproportionate scale. Hit the other guy first, if possible; failing that, whack him several times harder than he hit you: not the biblical injunction of an eye for an eye, but both eyes, an ear, and several teeth, with a kick in the nuts thrown in for good measure. The aim was to send a message: screw with us and this will happen to you. This is the message Bush intended to convey when he ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Unfortunately, Operation Iraqi Freedom, launched with all the confidence that had informed Operation Peace for Galilee, Israel's equally ill-advised 1982 incursion into Lebanon, landed the United States in an equivalent mess. Or perhaps a different comparison applies: the U.S. occupation of Iraq triggered violent resistance akin to what the IDF faced as a consequence of Israel occupying the West Bank. Two successive Intifadas had given the Israeli army fits. The insurgency in Iraq (along with its Afghan sibling) gave the American army fits. Neither the Israeli nor the American reputation for martial invincibility survived the encounter.

By the time Barack Obama succeeded Bush in 2009, most Americans -- like most Israelis -- had lost their appetite for invading and occupying countries. Obama's response? Hew ever more closely to the evolving Israeli way of doing things. "Obama wants to be known for winding down long wars," writes Michael Gerson in the Washington Post. "But he has shown no hesitance when it comes to shorter, Israel-style operations. He is a special ops hawk, a drone militarist."

Just so: with his affinity for missile-firing drones, Obama has established targeted assassination as the very centerpiece of U.S. national-security policy. With his affinity for commandos, he has expanded the size and mandate of U.S. Special Operations Command, which now maintains an active presence in more than 70 countries. In Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, and the frontier regions of Pakistan -- and who knows how many other far-flung places -- Obama seemingly shares Prime Minister Netanyahu's expectations: keep whacking and a positive outcome will eventually ensue.

The government of Israel, along with ardently pro-Israel Americans like Michael Gerson, may view the convergence of U.S. and Israeli national-security practices with some satisfaction. The prevailing U.S. definition of self-defense -- a self-assigned mandate to target anyone anywhere thought to endanger U.S. security -- is exceedingly elastic. As such, it provides a certain cover for equivalent Israeli inclinations. And to the extent that our roster of enemies overlaps with theirs -- did someone say Iran? -- military action ordered by Washington just might shorten Jerusalem's "to do" list.

Yet where does this all lead? "We don't have enough drones," writes the columnist David Ignatius, "to kill all the enemies we will make if we turn the world into a free-fire zone." And if Delta Force, the Green Berets, army rangers, Navy SEALs, and the like constitute (in the words of one SEAL) "the dark matter the force that orders the universe but can't be seen," we probably don't have enough of them either. Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems willing to test both propositions.

The process of aligning U.S. national-security practice with Israeli precedents is now essentially complete. Their habits are ours. Reversing that process would require stores of courage and imagination that may no longer exist in Washington. Given the reigning domestic political climate, those holding or seeking positions of power find it easier -- and less risky -- to stay the course, vainly nursing the hope that by killing enough "terrorists" peace on terms of our choosing will result. Here too the United States has succumbed to Israeli illusions.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame.

[Dec 14, 2019] The military-industrial-congressional complex is largely insulated from public accountability

Notable quotes:
"... The Pentagon’s entire budget operates in much the same way: unprecedented amounts in unnecessary appropriations resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Yet Congress continues to throw more and more money at the defense department every year without ever requiring it to account for how it spends the money. In fact, the war in Afghanistan is small potatoes by comparison. ..."
Dec 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

The easy answer is that there’s a long tradition in Washington, particularly among the foreign policy establishment, that self-reflection, taking responsibility and admitting failure is a big no-no. Heck, you can get convicted of lying to Congress about illegal arms sales, and cover up brutal atrocities and still get a job at the state department. Did you torture anyone? No problem.

While DC’s culture of no culpability certainly plays a role in this case, the more compelling answer lies somewhere near the fact that once the American war machine kicks into gear, no amount of facts undermining its very existence is going to get in the way.

Indeed, the United States has so far doled out nearly one trillion dollars for the war in Afghanistan (the true cost of the war will be trillions more) and everyone’s on the take: from defense industry executives, lobbyists and US political campaign coffers to Afghan government officials and poppy farmers to anyone and anything in between.

What’s more is that this military-industrial-congressional complex is largely insulated from public accountability, so what’s the incentive to change course? The Pentagon’s entire budget operates in much the same way: unprecedented amounts in unnecessary appropriations resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Yet Congress continues to throw more and more money at the defense department every year without ever requiring it to account for how it spends the money. In fact, the war in Afghanistan is small potatoes by comparison.

The bottom line is that the Afghanistan Papers clearly show that a lot of people were killed, injured and subject to years, if not lifetimes, of psychological trauma and financial hardship because a bunch of men – yes, mostly men – in Washington didn’t want to admit publicly what they knew privately all along. If we don’t start holding these people to account – and it’s not just about Afghanistan – the DC foreign policy establishment will continue to act with impunity, meaning that it’s probably more likely than not that in 50 years there’ll be another batch of “papers” revealing once again that we’ve failed to learn obvious lessons from the past.

[Dec 14, 2019] Warmongeing is the national sport for the neoliberal elite in the USA

As Tony Kevin reported (watch-v=dJiS3nFzsWg) at one small fundraiser Bill Clinton made an interesting remark. He said that the USA should always have enemies. That's absolutely true, this this is a way to unite such a society as we have in the USA. probably the only way. And Russia simply fits the bill. Very convenient bogeyman.
Notable quotes:
"... The experience of the USSR in that country should have sent up all kinds of red flags to the invading US military but it apparently did not. Both USSR and America lost thousands of military lives -- but nothing has changed in the country. Life in Afghanistan is actually worse now than before the multiple invasions. The only think which has improved is the cultivation of poppies and the export of opium. ..."
Dec 14, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Twolfe , 10 Dec 2019 16:30

One aspect of this report in the NYT is very troubling but not a great surprise to those who pay attention to Asian affairs.

The reports that US military leaders had no idea of what to do in Afghanistan and constantly lied to the public should rouse citizens in America to take a different view of military leaders. That view must be to trust nothing coming from the Pentagon or from spokespersons for the military. Included must be any and all secretaries of defence, and all branches of the military.

It is totally unacceptable that 1-2 trillion dollars and several thousand lives were spent by America for some nebulous cause. This does not include many thousands of civilians.

During the Vietnam disaster, it became obvious that American military was lying to the public and taking many causalities in an unwinnable war. Nothing was learned about Asia or Asian culture because America entered Afghanistan without a real plan and no understanding of the country or it's history.

The experience of the USSR in that country should have sent up all kinds of red flags to the invading US military but it apparently did not. Both USSR and America lost thousands of military lives -- but nothing has changed in the country. Life in Afghanistan is actually worse now than before the multiple invasions. The only think which has improved is the cultivation of poppies and the export of opium.

[Dec 13, 2019] Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Thorton , 10 Dec 2019 15:03

Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does. The main points of what war does:

1. Transfers wealth from social services to the military industrial complex. Americans don't have education, infrastructure, or healthcare, but they do have a generation of soldiers with PTSD, national debt, worldwide hatred, and an ever increasing sense of exceptionalism.

2. Traps Americans in a cycle of fear and persecution. Americans don't need a bogeyman, but our corporate overlords do, its how they monetize the populace. Find some disparate population of brown people who want self autonomy, send in the CIA to fuck them up, and when they retaliate tell Americans that people who live in a 3rd world land locked country several thousands of miles away are a threat to their very existence and way of life because they don't like God and Walmart.


CourgetteDream , 10 Dec 2019 14:36

Sadly the US uses the MIC to keep a large chunk of its population under control, as well as providing a convenient coverup of the actual numbers of people who are unemployable or would be unemployed if it were'nt for the taxpayer funding humungous spending in the so-called defence sector, which needs a a constant supply of conflict to keep going. The frankly moronic 'thank you for your service' soundbite drives me insane but it shows how much the American public has been brainwashed.
jimbomatic -> Michael Knoth , 10 Dec 2019 14:36
For years my home state of Washington had a New Deal Democrat Senator named Henry Jackson, AKA the Senator from Boeing.
He did good things for the state & was hugely popular here. One reason being that because he brought the Federal pork back home.
IMO the things Gen. Butler wrote about in the 1920s are still the modus operandi of US foreign policy.
Rikyboy , 10 Dec 2019 14:11
If the Afghanistan war ends, the USA will go to war with someone else. You cannot spend so much on military & not be at war. America must have an enemy. And, don’t forget, they always have “God on our side!”
Mauryan , 10 Dec 2019 13:05
The neocons in power during 2001 were hell bent on taking out Saddam Hussein. When 9/11 happened, they were looking for avenues to blame Iraq so that they could launch the war on that nation. Since things could not be put together, and all evidence pointed to Afghanistan, they took a detour in their war plan with a half hearted approach.

In fact Afghanistan was never the problem - It was Pakistan that held Afghanistan on the string and managed all terror related activities. Everything related to 9/11 and beyond pointed directly at Pakistan. Whatever threat Bush and his cronies projected about Iraq was true in the case of Pakistan. The war was lost when they made Pakistan an ally on the war on terror. It is like allying with Al Capone to crack down on the mafia.

Pakistan bilked the gullible American war planners, protected its assets and deflected all the rage on to the barren lands of Afghanistan. They hid all key Al Qaeda operatives and handed off the ones that did not align with their strategic interests to the US, while getting reward for it. War in Iraq happened in a hurry because the Bush family had scores to settle in Iraq. Pressure was lifted on Afghanistan. This is when the war reached a dead end.

The Taliban knew time was on their hands and waited it out. Obama did understand the situation and tried to put Af-Pak together and tightened the grip on Pakistan. He got the troops out of Iraq. Pakistan is almost bankrupt now for its deep investment on terror infrastructure. The US has drained billions of dollars and lives in Afghanistan due to misdirected goals. I am surprised Bush and Cheney have not been sent to jail on lies to launch the Iraq war and botching the real war on terror.

[Dec 08, 2019] The sooner the EU Europe generally either discard NATO or create its own defence force in parallel with NATO, the better.

Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Alistair says: December 7, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT

Trump is right about the NATO members inadequate military spending; the US expects NATO members to spend 2% of their GDP on their own defence, the US however, does not require them to purchase American made weapons, they can produce their own weapons, like French do, or buy from each other like Germans -- they just have to make their military up and ready in case of emergency, that's not an unreasonable expectation.

Among the NATO members however, Canada's case is unique; due to its closeness and joint high command (NORAD) with the US -- and direct threat from Russian claim on the Canadian Arctic, Canada needs and must increase its military spending significantly, Canada should purchase modern Air force fleet, Advanced Surveillance equipment, Warships and Submarines for the defence of the Arctic; F-35, F-22, AH-64 Apache, Nuclear powered Icebreaker and Submarines etc. because all these equipment will we be partially built in Canada which bring many high tech jobs and economic growth to the Canadian communities.

Trump is right, NATO and Canada should spend much more on their own defence, and buying American advanced weapons is the best strategic choice for the Canadians forces, there shouldn't be any doubt about that.

Jmaie , says: December 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm GMT

LOL to the first comment, Russia is *zero* threat to Canada ** . Russia is zero threat to the US or Europe either. NATO has long outlived its purpose and needs to die.

** I suppose Russia could claim the north pole, and threaten to hold Santa hostage.

Alistair , says: December 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm GMT
@Jmaie Russian annexation of Crimea was a blatant assault on the International Law, yet it went off without serious consequences to Russia -- it's not a secret that Russia has claims on Canadian Arctic seabed, Russia has already planted its flag on the Arctic seabed; here is a Link that you should want to see:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/aug/02/russia.arctic
joe2.5 , says: December 7, 2019 at 11:59 pm GMT
@Alistair Alistair @ 3

I'd really be interested to understand how on earth the reintegration, by overwhelming majority in a plebiscite acknowledged by all sides as free and unconstrained, of Crimea, a Russian province for 300+ years, and a majority-Russian area for quite a long time, is "a blatant assault on the International Law".

The "International Law" you quote must be a newcomer.

voicum , says: Next New Comment December 8, 2019 at 2:46 am GMT
@Alistair

Are you insane ? This is where your money and my money should be spent ?

likbez , says: December 8, 2019 at 4:00 am GMT
@joe2.5 @4.joe2.5

"I'd really be interested to understand how on earth "

It is very easy to understand. As Upton Sinclair observed "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Alistair repeats typical neocon viewpoint. Nothing original here. Neocons make their living off threat inflation and this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact.

Fiona Hill is a shining recent example here -- this intellectual prostitute of MIC is a member of Brookings Institution, Atlantic Council and other MIC lobbing organization that promote Cold War 2 and neoliberal globalization.

The real question is "Why we should believe any of these chickenhawks?" They has been proven liars so many times that they deserve the rotten tomatoes to be thrown at them on any of their public appearances or, which is sadly impossible, at their Internet posts

But again money do not smell: unless neocons start facing very real and very personal consequences, nothing will change. And like with any sect there is small number of intellectually deficient people who still believe them.

See Stephen M. Walt https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2019/12/04/a-manifesto-for-restrainers/

3. Restrainers Want Realistic Foreign Policy Goal s. Instead of engaging in costly and futile efforts to remake the world in our image, restrainers want U.S. foreign policy to pursue more feasible objectives. The U.S. military must be strong enough to deter attacks on the U.S. homeland, a task that is relatively easy to accomplish. When necessary, the United States can also help other states uphold the balance of power and deter war in a few key strategic areas outside the Western Hemisphere. America's economic clout will also give Washington considerable influence over the institutions that manage trade, investment and other beneficial forms of international cooperation, and it should use that influence to ensure these institutions are working properly. But the United States has neither the need, the capacity, nor the wisdom to conduct massive social engineering projects ("nation-building") in deeply divided and conflict prone societies, and it should cease trying.

4. Restrainers Want Credible Foreign Commitments . The United States keeps taking on new security obligations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, but it rarely debates their wisdom or value. Americans are now formally committed to defending more countries around the world than at any time in U.S. history, even though some of these states are hard to defend, have little strategic importance for the United States, and sometimes act in ways that damage U.S. interests. Washington is also engaged in less visible military activities in dozens of other countries, some of them shrouded in secrecy. Yet anytime U.S. leaders contemplate trimming these obligations, alarmists warn that the slightest reduction in America's global presence will undermine U.S. credibility, embolden rivals, and lead to catastrophe. Having allowed itself to become overextended, the United States ends up fighting endless wars in places with no strategic value in order to convince allies and adversaries that it will still fight in places of greater importance.

animalogic , December 8, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT • 100 Words

The sooner the EU & Europe generally either discard NATO or create its own defence force in parallel with NATO, the better.

Europe MUST take control of its own destiny. It can not have an external nation, the US, with different, if not opposing interests, dictating European policy & action.

The “Russia” situation is a perfect example of this divergence of interests. Europe’s future clearly lies with greater Eurasian integration. Energy, primary products, & mercantile trade all lie to the East, through Russia to China, Vietnam etc. Notably, some countries such as Italy are already pulling away from official EU policy & turning East.

Unfortunately, The US has bribed & threatened (many) EU leaders, leaders who couldn’t even imagine a change to the status quo. Thankfully, though, it seems that many average Europeans are sick to their back-teeth with the status quo & Europe’s “evermore” subservience to US imperialism.

The Alarmist , says: Next New Comment December 8, 2019 at 10:31 am GMT

German tax-payers, like most other Europeans, see no need to spend billions of hard-earned euros against a non-existent threat from the East.

They don’t even want to spend their money turning back the actual threats spilling across their borders, but climate change is way up there on the agenda. De-industrialised Europe chock-full of third-world denizens is going to be heaven on earth.

[Dec 08, 2019] WSJ Article Runs Through The Greatest Hits of a Dysfunctional Foreign Policy Debate

Notable quotes:
"... Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force. ..."
"... These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved. ..."
"... September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it. ..."
"... For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific." ..."
"... The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. ..."
"... This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com . ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The unrivaled and unchallenged exertion of American military power around the world, or what's known as "primacy," has been the basis for U.S. Grand Strategy over the past 70 years and has faced few intellectual and political challenges. The result has been stagnant ideas, poor logic, and an ineffective foreign policy. As global security challenges have evolved, our foreign policy debate has remained in favor of primacy, repeatedly relying on a select few, poorly conceived ideas and arguments. Primacy's greatest hits arguments are played on repeat throughout the policy and journalism worlds and its latest presentation is in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, written by its chief foreign policy correspondent, titled, "America Can't Escape the Middle East." The piece provides a case study in how stagnant these ideas have become, and how different actors throughout the system present them without serious thought or contemplation.

Hyping the threat of withdrawal

The WSJ piece trotted out one of the most well-worn cases for unending American military deployments in the region. "The 2003 invasion of Iraq proved to be a debacle," it rightly notes. However, there's always a "but":[B]ut subsequent attempts to pivot away from the region or ignore it altogether have contributed to humanitarian catastrophes, terrorist outrages and geopolitical setbacks, further eroding America's standing in the world."

Primacists often warn of the dire security threats that will result from leaving Middle East conflict zones. The reality is that the threats they cite are actually caused by the unnecessary use of force by the United States in the first place. For example, the U.S. sends military assets to deter Iran, only to have Iran increase attacks or provocations in response. The U.S. then beefs up its military presence to protect the forces that are already there. Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force.

These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved.

Terrorism safe havens

And how many times have we heard that we must defend some undefined geographical space to prevent extremists from plotting attacks? "In the past, jihadists used havens in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq to plot more ambitious and deadly attacks, including 9/11," the WSJ piece says. "Though Islamic State's self-styled 'caliphate' has been dismantled, the extremist movement still hasn't been eliminated -- and can bounce back."

The myth of the terrorism safe havens enabling transnational attacks on the United States has persisted despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and significant scholarly research that contradicts it. The myth persists because it provides a simple and comforting narrative that's easy to understand. September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it.

Terrorists don't need safe havens to operate, and only gain marginal increases in capabilities by having access to them. Organizations engage in terrorism because they have such weak capabilities in the first place. These movements are designed to operate underground with the constant threat of arrest and execution. The Weatherman Underground in the United States successfully carried out bombings while operating within the United States itself. The Earth Liberation Front did the same by organizing into cells where no cell knew anything about the other cells to prevent the identification of other members if members of one cell were arrested. Organizations that engage in terrorism can operate with or without safe havens.

Although safe havens don't add significantly to a terrorist groups' capabilities, governing your own territory is something completely different. ISIS is a commonly used, and misused, example for why wars should be fought to deny safe havens. A safe haven is a country or region in which a terrorist group is free from harassment or persecution. This is different from what ISIS created in 2014. What ISIS had when it swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014 was a proto-state. This gave them access to a tax base, oil revenues, and governing resources. Safe havens don't provide any of this, at least not at substantial levels. The Islamic State's construction of a proto-state in Syria and Iraq did give them operational capabilities they wouldn't have had otherwise, but this isn't the same as the possible safe havens that would be gained from a military withdrawal from Middle Eastern conflicts. The conditions of ISIS's rise in 2014 don't exist today and the fears of an ISIS resurgence like their initial rise are unfounded .

Credibility doesn't work how you think it works

For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific."

Most commentators have made this claim without recognition of their own contradictions that abandoning the Kurds in Syria would damage American credibility. They then list all the other times we've abandoned the Kurds. Each of these betrayals didn't stop them from working with the United States again, and this latest iteration will be the same. People don't work with the United States because they trust or respect us, they do it because we have a common interest and the United States has the capability to get things done. As we were abandoning the Kurds this time to be attacked by the Turks, Kurdish officials were continuing to share intelligence with U.S. officials to facilitate the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because both the United States and the Kurds wanted Baghdadi eliminated and only the United States had the capability to get it done.

Similarly, the idea that pulling out militarily in one region results in a direct chain of events where our adversaries move into countries or areas in a completely different region is quite a stretch of the imagination. Russia moved into Crimea because it's a strategic asset and it was taking advantage of what it saw as an opportunity: instability and chaos in Kiev. Even if we left troops in every conflict country we've ever been in, Russia would have correctly assessed that Ukraine just wasn't important enough to spark a U.S. invasion. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, did the United States invade Cuba? What alliance did the Soviets or Chinese abandon before the United States entered the Korean War? Assessments of credibility , especially in times of crisis (like that in Ukraine), are made based on what leaders think the other country's interests are and the capabilities they have to pursue those interests. There is no evidence to support -- in fact there is a lot of evidence that contradicts -- the idea that withdrawing militarily from one region or ending an alliance has any impact on assessments of a country's reliability or credibility.

Not all interests are created equal

Threat inflation isn't just common from those who promote a primacy-based foreign policy, it's necessary. Indeed, as the WSJ piece claimed, "There is no avoiding the fact that the Middle East still matters a great deal to U.S. interests."

The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. Vital interests are those that directly impact the survival of the United States. The only thing that can threaten the survival of the United States is another powerful state consolidating complete control of either Europe or East Asia. This would give them the capabilities and freedom to strike directly at the territorial United States. This is why the United States stayed in Europe after WWII, to prevent the consolidation of Europe by the Soviets. Addressing the rise of China -- which will require some combination of cooperation and competition -- is America's vital interest today and keeping troops in Afghanistan to prevent a terrorism safe haven barely registers as a peripheral interest. There are U.S. interests in the Middle East, but these interests are not important enough to sacrifice American soldiers for and can't easily be secured through military force anyway.

Consequences

Most of these myths and arguments can be summarized by the claim that any disengagement of any kind by the United States from the Middle East comes with consequences. This isn't entirely wrong, but it isn't really relevant either unless compared with the consequences of continuing engagement at current levels. We currently have 67,000 troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan and those troops are targets of adversaries, contribute to instability, empower hardliners in Iran, and provide continuing legitimacy to insurgent and terrorist organizations fighting against a foreign occupation. One article in The Atlantic argued that the problem with a progressive foreign policy is that restraint comes with costs, almost ironically ignoring the fact that the U.S.'s current foreign policy also comes with, arguably greater, costs. A military withdrawal, or even drawdown, from the Middle East does come with consequences, but it's only believable that these costs are higher than staying through the perpetuation of myths and misconceptions that inflate such risks and costs. No wonder then that these myths have become the greatest hits of a foreign policy that's stuck in the past.

This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com .

[Dec 08, 2019] Karlan, US neocons and "The Russians Are Coming!" scare

Notable quotes:
"... When Bush and his allies used this rhetoric, they were trying to spin a war of aggression as an act of self-defense. Now it is part of an even more ludicrous effort to make supplying weapons and other military assistance to Ukraine seem as if it is vitally important to the U.S. Simply put, this is propaganda, and it isn't even very good propaganda at that. ..."
"... Obviously, we aren't going to be fighting the Russians "here" no matter what happens in this conflict. These are the sorts of irrational claims that we get after decades of irresponsible threat inflation and mistakenly assuming that every conflict in the world is somehow our business. ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Here is a congealing conventional wisdom around sending military assistance to Ukraine that is as absurd as can be, and it cropped up again this morning:

"Fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" was extremely stupid when applied to terrorism. It is much more stupid when applied to Russia, and shows how impoverished the FP thinking of even bright, engaged Americans is. My goodness.

-- Justin Logan (@JustinTLogan) December 4, 2019

It is discouraging to see that one of the dumbest talking points from the Bush era has returned. "Fight them there" was always a silly justification for waging unnecessary wars in other countries, and now it is being repurposed to justify the questionable policy of throwing weapons at a conflict in Europe. When it was used in the context of Bush-era wars, it was an attempt to make what were clearly wars of choice seem as though they were unavoidable. When a government needs to defend a bad policy, it will usually claim that they have no choice but to do what they are doing.

When Bush and his allies used this rhetoric, they were trying to spin a war of aggression as an act of self-defense. Now it is part of an even more ludicrous effort to make supplying weapons and other military assistance to Ukraine seem as if it is vitally important to the U.S. Simply put, this is propaganda, and it isn't even very good propaganda at that.

I have written many times why I think it is a mistake to arm Ukraine. It just encourages escalation at worst and the prolongation of the conflict at best. Until recently, the arguments in favor of doing this have not been very compelling, but at least they weren't quite so mindless. Needless to say, Russia's conflict with Ukraine is a local one, and the U.S. doesn't have much at stake in that conflict. Ukrainians aren't fighting Russia and its proxies on our behalf or to prevent them from attacking someone else, but for the sake of their own country.

If Russia hawks insist on providing Ukraine with weapons and other assistance, they should at least be able to acknowledge that this is a peripheral interest of the United States. Exaggerating the importance of this policy to U.S. security just calls attention to how little it matters to U.S. security.

Obviously, we aren't going to be fighting the Russians "here" no matter what happens in this conflict. These are the sorts of irrational claims that we get after decades of irresponsible threat inflation and mistakenly assuming that every conflict in the world is somehow our business.

[Dec 08, 2019] The real threat of the Rome Statute to the USA is the universal obligation to prosecute or extradite war criminals and enemies of humanity.

Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Bailiff, Whack his Peepee , says: December 6, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT

There's one additional revolutionary factor:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/12/05/612858/international-criminal-court-investigation-US-war-crimes-Afghanistan?jwsource=cl

The threat to US official impunity panics the regime more than any number of Russian Sarmats or nuclear ramjets. The ICC is one very new judicial forum, and its halting efforts to get its institutional footing panicked the US into imposing illegal sanctions on accredited diplomats. The real threat of the Rome Statute is the universal obligation to prosecute or extradite war criminals and enemies of humanity.

An increasing number of the most influential US functionaries will be unable to travel freely. This is, in effect, pariah-state status more abject than North Korea's. This has been a mounting challenge for years – GW Bush fled Switzerland, scared off by a war crimes accusation from a single legislator.

And international criminal law is one jaw of a pincer. It complements the doctrine of state responsibility for internationally wrongful acts. State responsibility provides the civil equivalent of international criminal law, with the potential to impose restitution, reparation, satisfaction, and compensation with interest. Satisfaction articulates directly with international criminal law by providing for prosecution of designated criminals. The US faces insupportable liabilities for its internationally wrongful acts, and US functionaries know that any one of them could be sacrificed to get the regime off the hook.

Russian policy is to enforce this law at gunpoint. Iranian policy is to make its case in independent international courts. China is vocal about upholding rule of law, and as its deterrent improves, it will be increasingly active in applying it. The G-192 – 96% of the world's population – pitches in by withholding the "waterfall" of G-5 privileges. The UK recently got pushed off the ICJ bench for the first time ever for its lawless conduct. The US is next.

The US is an underdeveloped country ineffectually waving second-rate weapons. The world is leaving it behind.

[Dec 08, 2019] US Militarism Promotes More Turmoil Than Stability In The Middle East by Rami G. Khouri

Dec 06, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

For the past two centuries and, particularly the last three decades, direct foreign military intervention in the affairs of ostensibly sovereign and independent states has been perhaps the most consistent and destructive common denominator that shapes our region's worsening condition. Direct warfare by foreign powers almost always paves the way for decades, if not centuries, of continuing instability -- whether in the cases of Napoleon in 1798, the Soviet Union and the United States in Afghanistan in the decades after 1979, the U.S. in Iraq in 2003, or Russia, Iran, and seemingly half the world in Syria since 2015.

Direct foreign military attacks or other "security" activities inside Middle East lands inevitably create traumatic local power imbalances that portend chronic local ideological conflicts, and spark resentments and resistance to the foreign invader or to the invader's local ruling ally. Foreign invaders also create local authority vacuums that open the door for other states to intervene (see Iraq, Syria, and Libya), and also create the ideal spawning ground for radical, militant, resistance, or terrorist movements of all stripes. Israel repeatedly encountered this instinctive local resistance to its predatory militarism in Lebanon and Gaza, as did the U.S. and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and the U.S. and its allies in Iraq.

Almost nothing good emerges from direct foreign militarism in the Middle East, and even when the fighting stops surreptitious foreign support to local warring parties also perpetuates tensions and clashes, which only spur economic waste, corruption, collapse, and widespread poverty and suffering among the citizenry.

It is clear now that foreign militarism plays a destructive and sustained role in the two biggest problems that now tear apart much of the Arab region (and also touch on non-Arab Mideast states like Iran, Turkey and Israel). The first is mass pauperization that now sees over two-thirds of all Arab citizens living in poverty or vulnerability, in states that have reached or approach bankruptcy and allow citizens no meaningful political rights. This will get much worse because all prevailing economic trends that could counter it are flat or negative (trade, tourism, direct investment, remittances, job creation).

The second problematic big regional trend -- very much states' reactions to their citizens' helpless pauperization -- is the growing militarization and securitization of governance. This is evident in bloated military and security budgets that are controlled by a handful of unelected, unaccountable leaders, and expanded use of anti-terrorism laws since September 2011 to deter or imprison domestic political foes, or prevent any independent political expression by the public (see Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain). Foreign militarism since the 1940s has inevitably promoted local military rule within Arab states. The incompetence, autocracy, and corruption of Arab military rulers since the 1970s have driven economies into the ground, and sparked the nonstop street uprisings we witness today across the region.

The centuries of cumulative interventions by foreign powers inside Arab states reached a new peak in the past eight years in Syria, where dozens of foreign and regional actors that joined the fray inside the country charted new ground in the historical legacy that had mostly seen big power, usually Western and colonial, interventions in the region's affairs.

Of course Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Persian, and other imperial dominance in the region across time all played a role in defining the Middle East as a frontline battlefield in the recurring waves of global imperial dominance and cultural influence. Starting in the 19th Century, however, as imperial powers started to come to terms with their imminent historical demise, the British and the French mostly wrote the book on the ugly heritage of battling for strategic supremacy in our region. The 20th Century saw foreign powers fight at will in the Middle East, and also provide indirect political and "security" support to their favorite local partners, allies, surrogates, and stooges, who kept fighting it out inside Arab countries that proved to be only nominally sovereign and independent states.

The civil war in Syria that started in 2011 was the logical outcome of this legacy. It mirrors other states where authority and legitimacy collapsed in the eyes of their own people, and the sovereign control of their lands and resources succumbed to the many foreign actors that came in to save the dying beast or bite off pieces of its carcass. Syria offers one of the most important examples of this, given the wide variety of warring parties that joined its several overlapping local, regional, and global wars.

The fighters in Syria included dozens of Arab states and non-state armed groups, local militias and tribal forces, regional non-Arab powers like Iran, Turkey, Israel, and Hezbollah and their clients, wannabe regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, leading global powers like the U.S. and Russia, second-tier powers like the U.K. and France, and a few smaller countries around the world that joined directly or provided mercenaries mostly to win credits with bigger Arab or foreign powers.

The eight-year war in Syria is at once a consequence and a high-water mark of sustained foreign military interventions in the Arab region, and a harbinger of how such foreign and local militarism will operate there for years to come. We can already see in Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and scattered other corners of our troubled region several noteworthy legacies of today's foreign militarism in Syria and its antecedents since Napoleon.

Regional and foreign powers' rolling interventions in Syria have redefined how such powers engage across the region, where two opposing loose alliances, loosely allied with Saudi Arabia or Iran, now face off -- each comprises Arab states, regional Arab and non-Arab powers, global powers, and local non-state actors. The sheer number and variety of foreign forces that directly or indirectly fought in Syria portend badly for fragile states whose illusory sovereignty can collapse at any moment in the face of dozens of armed actors that pounce like wolves circling a dazed gazelle. The "international community" that actively joined and fueled the fighting also responded weakly to the alleged and real war crimes on both sides This suggests that the "international community" is something of a fiction, but also that, whatever it represents, it can live with the Middle East's continuing authoritarian, lawlessness, and violent political systems -- as long as the violence, refugees, terrorists, and turmoil remain in the Middle East.

Indeed, global and regional powers actively engage in cross-border militarism and neo-colonialism that we can see in several arenas: Washington's support for Israeli settlements expansion and annexations of occupied Arab lands, and its lingering presence in Syria and Iraq; Russian and American support for Turkish incursions into northern Syria; Saudi Arabian and Emirati moves to control parts of the south of Yemen for their own strategic aims; British and American direct involvement in the war on Yemen; and, French, Emirati, Russian, and Egyptian support for the rebel forces of Khalifa Haftar in Libya, to mention only the most obvious.

These are only the most current but ongoing consequences of over two centuries of non-stop foreign military and political interference that our region has experienced, with devastating long-term impacts. Internal and regional wars, in a climate of very high Arab military spending, continue to propel countries back into dilapidated or vulnerable conditions every few decades. The Arab examples of this only increase, including Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Jordan. Non-Arab Iran, Turkey, and Israel face their own challenges, as they simultaneously suffer the damages of external militarism and also engage in it themselves around the region.

It is time for all foreign and regional powers to start learning the hard lessons of these historical trends and instead seek non-violent diplomatic solutions to challenges they now mostly address with their guns blazing. A regional population of half a billion poor and powerless people held in check by hundreds of billions of dollars of military spending linked to foreign troops who enter our countries at will is probably a far greater real threat to their wellbeing than anything they can imagine today.

[Dec 08, 2019] Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Notable quotes:
"... Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider. ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: December 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm GMT

US political "elites" are generally appallingly incompetent in matters of war and are "educated" mostly through Hollywood and Clansiesque "literature". I am not even sure that they comprehend what Congressional Research Service prepares for them as compressed briefings. Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Very true, especially the part about "Hollywood and Clansiesque 'literature.'" I used to read Clancy's books and, while entertaining, in retrospect they appear ridiculous, even childish. But they probably capture the popular notion of American military invincibility better than any other.

Most of Hollywood's output is garbage anyway, and its grasp of real war and military matters appears to be that of a not so precocious third grader.

Arioch , says: December 5, 2019 at 8:58 pm GMT
@joe tentpeg

> USSR Katyn forrest massacre (Poland), Afghanistan.

Katyn, whoever did it, was much before Cold War and before even first relatively small nuclear blast.

And if you want to go that far – why not remember crisis over West Berlin, where tank armees were watching one another, but no one pulled trigger?

Afghanistan was attacking one's own ally. Same as Prague 1968 and Hungary 1956. If you want to compare – that is like USA invading Panama to remove their no longer reliable puppet Norriega. Did American attack on their own Panama risk USSR going ballistic? Hardly so. There was no Soviet invasion into Pakistan nor there was Chinese/American invasion into India.

And looking away from purely military events, there was no attempt to arrest the whole embassy stuff them, neither in Moscow nor in DC. No killing Soviet ambassadors in NATO states during official events.

Those dirty games had red lines, both sides maintained. Today? Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider.

> deploying conventional anti-ballistic missile defenses around their most important cities.

No, by then effective treaty both USSR and USA had only ONE region they were allowed to protect. Those were some nuclear launchpads in USA i guess, and one single city (Moscow) in USSR. No more.

> deterrence [did not] worked
> See the last phrase in bullet 2.

You suppose USSR killed itself trying to keep deterrence working. That does not show it did not work, already. That shows it worked so well (at least from Soviet perspective) that they gambled all they had on the futile effort of keeping that deterrence working into the future.

[Dec 07, 2019] Enough is enough. Viva Tulsi. Down with neocons. List of wars involving the United States

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , December 01, 2019 at 08:16 AM

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

List of wars involving the United States

[Only the listed war names and dates copied without all the references and details.]

  1. American Revolutionary War - (1775–1783)
  2. Cherokee–American wars - (1776–1795)
  3. Northwest Indian War - (1785–1793)
  4. Shays' Rebellion - (1786–1787)
  5. Whiskey Rebellion - (1791–1794)
  6. Quasi-War - (1798–1800)
  7. Fries Rebellion - (1799–1800)
  8. First Barbary War - (1801–1805)
  9. 1811 German Coast Uprising - (1811)
  10. Tecumseh's War - (1811)
  11. War of 1812 - (1812–1815)
  12. Creek War - (1813–1814)
  13. Second Barbary War - (1815)
  14. First Seminole War - (1817–1818)
  15. Texas–Indian Wars - (1820–1875)
  16. Arikara War - (1823)
  17. Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations of the United States - (1825–1828)
  18. Winnebago War - (1827)
  19. First Sumatran expedition - (1832)
  20. Black Hawk War - (1832)
  21. Texas Revolution - (1835–1836)
  22. Second Seminole War - (1835–1842)
  23. Second Sumatran expedition - (1838)
  24. Aroostook War - (1838)
  25. Ivory Coast expedition - (1842)
  26. Mexican–American War - (1846–1848)
  27. Cayuse War - (1847–1855)
  28. Apache Wars - (1851–1900)
  29. Bleeding Kansas - (1854–1861)
  30. Puget Sound War - (1855–1856)
  31. First Fiji expedition - (1855)
  32. Rogue River Wars - (1855–1856)
  33. Third Seminole War - (1855–1858)
  34. Yakima War - (1855–1858)
  35. Second Opium War - (1856–1859)
  36. Utah War - (1857–1858)
  37. Navajo Wars - (1858–1866)
  38. Second Fiji expedition - (1859)
  39. John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry - (1859)
  40. First and Second Cortina War - (1859–1861)
  41. Paiute War - (1860)
  42. American Civil War - (1861–1865)
  43. Yavapai War - (1861–1875)
  44. Dakota War of 1862 - (1862)
  45. Colorado War - (1863–1865)
  46. Shimonoseki War - (1863–1864)
  47. Snake War - (1864–1868)
  48. Powder River War - (1865)
  49. Red Cloud's War - (1866–1868)
  50. Formosa expedition - (1867)
  51. Comanche Campaign - (1867–1875)
  52. Korea expedition - (1871)
  53. Modoc War - (1872–1873)
  54. Red River War - (1874–1875)
  55. Las Cuevas War - (1875)
  56. Great Sioux War of 1876 - (1876–1877)
  57. Buffalo Hunters' War - (1876–1877)
  58. Nez Perce War - (1877)
  59. Bannock War - (1878)
  60. Cheyenne War - (1878–1879)
  61. Sheepeater Indian War - (1879)
  62. White River War - (1879–1880)
  63. Pine Ridge Campaign - (1890–1891)
  64. Garza Revolution - (1891–1893)
  65. Yaqui Wars - (1896–1918)
  66. Second Samoan Civil War - (1898–1899)
  67. Spanish–American War - (1898)
  68. Philippine–American War - (1899–1902)
  69. Moro Rebellion - (1899–1913)
  70. Boxer Rebellion - (1899–1901)
  71. Crazy Snake Rebellion - (1909)
  72. Border War - (1910–1919)
  73. Negro Rebellion - (1912)
  74. Occupation of Nicaragua - (1912–1933)
  75. Bluff War - (1914–1915)
  76. Occupation of Veracruz - (1914)
  77. Occupation of Haiti - (1915–1934)
  78. Occupation of the Dominican Republic - (1916–1924)
  79. World War I - (1914–1918)
  80. Russian Civil War - (1918–1920)
  81. Last Indian Uprising - (1923)
  82. World War II - (1939–1945)
  83. Korean War - (1950–1953)
  84. Laotian Civil War - (1953–1975)
  85. Lebanon Crisis - (1958)
  86. Bay of Pigs Invasion - (1961)
  87. Simba rebellion, Operation Dragon Rouge - (1964)
  88. Vietnam War - (1955–1964[a], 1965–1973[b], 1974–1975[c])
  89. Communist insurgency in Thailand - (1965–1983)
  90. Korean DMZ Conflict - (1966–1969)
  91. Dominican Civil War - (1965–1966)
  92. Insurgency in Bolivia - (1966–1967)
  93. Cambodian Civil War - (1967–1975)
  94. War in South Zaire - (1978)
  95. Gulf of Sidra encounter - (1981)
  96. Multinational Intervention in Lebanon - (1982–1984)
  97. Invasion of Grenada - (1983)
  98. Action in the Gulf of Sidra - (1986)
  99. Bombing of Libya - (1986)
  100. Tanker War - (1987–1988)
  101. Tobruk encounter - (1989)
  102. Invasion of Panama - (1989–1990)
  103. Gulf War - (1990–1991)
  104. Iraqi No-Fly Zone Enforcement Operations - (1991–2003)
  105. First U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War - (1992–1995)
  106. Bosnian War - (1992–1995)
  107. Intervention in Haiti - (1994–1995)
  108. Kosovo War - (1998–1999)
  109. Operation Infinite Reach - (1998)
  110. War in Afghanistan - (2001–present)
  111. 2003 invasion of Iraq - (2003)
  112. Iraq War - (2003–2011)
  113. War in North-West Pakistan - (2004–present)
  114. Second U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War - (2007–present)
  115. Operation Ocean Shield - (2009–2016)
  116. International intervention in Libya - (2011)
  117. Operation Observant Compass - (2011–2017)
  118. American-led intervention in Iraq - (2014–present)
  119. American-led intervention in Syria - (2014–present)
  120. Yemeni Civil War - (2015–present)
  121. American intervention in Libya - (2015–present)

{ finis }

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:25 AM
This list tells quite a story. It deserves a name such as "US History Written in Blood," but more ironically and yet sufficient would be "An Inconvenient List." In any case, mass murder for fun and profit has defined war throughout the entire history of humankind. That in the modern era of late that the US has pioneered rentier capitalism as a means of extracting profits from the industrial war machine is a matter of the natural evolution of state sanctioned murder, far better at returning profits to investors than the mere slaughter of stone age natives to steal their land.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:45 AM
Neoconservatives in this context are traditionalists rather than some aberration of modern political thought.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:50 AM
OTOH, pacifism is indeed an aberration of political thought, not necessarily an unwarranted aberration, yet one that should be subject to close inspection for its bona fides. My Cherokee ancestors inform me to always be suspect of the good intentions of white men claiming that they despise war.
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 03, 2019 at 05:14 AM
Rome martyred Christians bc up to Constantine they were all "draft dodgers".
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 03, 2019 at 05:20 AM
Pacifism for me is individual. I was a cold warrior (pacifist not!) from '72 to '85 when I went from supporting operating weapons to the "dark side" in weapons development, which a lot was also nuclear related.
JohnH -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 02, 2019 at 07:59 AM
One of the first things that happened after Trump announced his withdrawal [not!] from Syria is that Pelosi hopped on a plane to Jordan:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American lawmakers on a surprise visit to Jordan to discuss "the deepening crisis" in Syria amid a shaky U.S.-brokered cease-fire."
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/20/nancy-pelosi-goes-to-jordan-for-vital-discussions-about-syria-crisis.html

I mean, what's with that?

It's pretty obvious that Team Pelosi is more concerned with the affairs of the Empire, even though she has no constitutional responsibility. than for the welfare of the American people. The focus of the impeachment hearing on American policy in Ukraine is further evidence.

Meanwhile, I have gotten no answer to my basic question: what are the top 5 pieces of progressive legislation that Pelosi has passed--legislation that representations can brag about to their constituents when running in 2020? It's pretty obvious that their have been almost none.

Team Pelosi has gone rogue as has Trump.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to JohnH... , December 02, 2019 at 12:30 PM
Yet, I have been assured by others here at EV that our two party representative political system is not merely engaging in so much Kabuki theatre in order to appear relevant. Who knew?
kurt -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 02, 2019 at 05:02 PM
Outside of the fact that this fellow is a liar of monumental proportion - for instance, this post alone contains 3 different lies - it is fundamentally untrue that BOTH parties are just engaged in theater. One actually passes legislation to help people and to reduce the influence of $$$. The other - as former Republican party member Norm Orenstein has pointed out - is anti-democracy, pro-despotism and a insurgent danger with a propaganda arm.
ilsm -> kurt... , December 03, 2019 at 05:12 AM
Huh... all team Pelosi/Schumer of is rant against the US constitution, demean the congress, disdain the office of the President and make up things about the Donald.

See the continuing resolution good through 20 Dec because Pelosi who owns the House won't face the responsibility to try and run the US government's purse.

ilsm -> JohnH... , December 03, 2019 at 05:08 AM
Team Pelosi like the faux liberals are sponsored by the same owners of the swamp!

Never attribute to Trump derangement what can be explained by a criminal conspiracy.

JohnH -> EMichael... , December 05, 2019 at 05:13 PM
More selective outrage from EMichael, the partisan hack.

Sure, it's horrendous that Trump pardoned a war criminal. But let's not forget that Obama never even prosecuted torturers ... or closed Guantanamo as promised.

As usual for EMichael and his ilk, what's a horror when their party does something, it's perfectly acceptable when his party does it.

kurt -> EMichael... , December 06, 2019 at 11:18 AM
All these years of being a almost pacifist and now I am seeing the error in my ways. Sometimes - hopefully increasingly less often - good people must rise up and stomp out evil. The pardons were not just condoning war crimes - it was telling the nazi ahs in the ranks that they can do the same domestically. The right has an army within the US. Most of the officers are okay - but that said, they are tolerating nazis, white supremacists, oathkeepers and dominionists in their ranks. These exceptions are to let the other nazis know they can mass murder if the want.

[Dec 07, 2019] The average demorat, aside from worshipping Ba'al and hating the constitution, is depraved, been such since crooked Hillary forgot that the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world.

Notable quotes:
"... Just war theory and military ethics crumble to dust on the battle field. We rarely fight because it is right, but rather because in some context it seemed necessary at the time. After 9/11 there was an imperative that the US military wage an extended war against any and every group of Muslims that defied US global hegemony in any way. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm -> JohnH... , November 29, 2019 at 09:05 AM

The average demorat, aside from worshipping Ba'al and hating the constitution, is depraved, been such since crooked Hillary forgot that the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , November 30, 2019 at 11:56 AM
"...the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world."

[Who says that they do not? Certainly, it is close enough to that for government work. Besides, in the end corporations and the interests of the donor class dictate the rules of engagement for both illiberal and unconservative politicians. How the dogs of politics fight over scraps thrown out for them should be of less interest to the wage class than who is throwing out the scraps to them.]

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , November 30, 2019 at 12:04 PM
Of course a former Air Force military hardware procurements officer likely knows no more about present day life among the wage class than a banker. That would be like thinking that a kid raised in poverty by the welfare state knew how to farm. Still, it is possible for either one to be haunted by guilt late in life.
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 06:26 AM
I stand correct the closet cultural Marxists running with wall st centered on the left coasts forgot to fix the electoral college.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , December 01, 2019 at 06:35 AM
You are bound with your adversaries in ways known only to God, not a religious testimonial but merely a proxy for the abstraction of omniscience. Some things can be seen as clear as day and remain a complete mystery, to me at least.
ilsm -> EMichael... , November 29, 2019 at 09:08 AM
" Ethical military decision-making does not make us weak; it makes us strong. "

How does Obama busting up Libya, drone assassinating US citizens and arming up al Qaeda to give them Syria fit?

Trump has committed lesser war crimes than hios predecessors, and that gets hiom in trouble with the establishment....

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , November 30, 2019 at 12:15 PM
At the very least Trump is guilty of being Trump. So, if you believe the charges against Trump are Trumped up, then what else would you expect?

Just war theory and military ethics crumble to dust on the battle field. We rarely fight because it is right, but rather because in some context it seemed necessary at the time. After 9/11 there was an imperative that the US military wage an extended war against any and every group of Muslims that defied US global hegemony in any way.

The US Constitution was written and then rewritten repeatedly in blood going all the way back to Apr 19, 1775. That is what it means to be an American, son, my Cherokee ancestors notwithstanding.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , November 30, 2019 at 12:16 PM
We are all brethren, fellow sons of a bloody mother...

[Dec 06, 2019] Endless War Degrades the Military

Dec 06, 2019 | www.shutterstock.com

krill_makarov/Shutterstock

December 5, 2019

|

12:44 pm

Daniel Larison TAC contributor Gil Barndollar calls attention to the damage that endless war is doing to the military:

The president has been rightly excoriated for these pardons, which dishonor the U.S. military and may degrade good order and discipline. But amid this uproar, Americans should note the bigger lesson: Endless wars, especially endless counterinsurgency or counterterrorism wars, slowly chip away at both a military's ethics and its critical war-fighting skills.

These wars are particularly corrosive because they cannot be conclusively won, and for every enemy that is destroyed it seems as if two or three more appear to replace it. Futile, open-ended wars contribute to breakdowns in discipline. Barndollar continues:

However, keeping their honor clean becomes harder and harder the longer these wars drag on. Wars among the people, as all our endless wars now are, are inherently dirty. When even senior members of the foreign policy establishment concede that we are not seeking victory in Afghanistan, it becomes harder for soldiers to make hollow mission accomplishment a higher priority than self-preservation. Treating U.S. soldiers like victims, as Trump implicitly does, also becomes more common.

When a war cannot be won, the rational thing to do would be to stop fighting it, but instead of doing that our political and military leaders treat endless war as a new normal that must not be questioned. It is bad enough when a government sends its soldiers to fight and die for a cause that it pretends can still be won when that isn't possible, but to keep sending them over and over again into war zones to fight a war they admit is futile has to be discouraging and frustrating. This also has to widen the division between the military and the civilian population. While military personnel are called on to go on multiple tours in pointless conflicts, most people back home mouth empty platitudes about supporting the troops and do nothing to bring the wars to an end. The public's failure to hold our political and military leaders accountable for these failed and unnecessary wars is bound to have corrosive effects as well.

At the same time, these wars degrade the military's ability to fight other adversaries:

Even more serious for American national security is the fact that endless small wars degrade a military's ability to fight and win big wars -- wars that have real consequences for our security and way of life.

Our endless wars have been enormously costly. It is estimated that all of the wars of the last twenty years will end up costing at least $6.4 trillion, and beyond that they have consumed our government's attention and resources to the detriment of everything else. Our political and military leaders perpetuate these wars, and the public has allowed them to do this, because they are still laboring under the faulty assumption that the U.S. is being made more secure in the process. The reality is that endless wars are undermining our security, weakening the military, and creating more enemies. They should be ended responsibly, but they must end. about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

[Dec 06, 2019] So now when a President doesn't allow The Blob to dictate Ukraine policy it's an impeachable offense? Really?

Notable quotes:
"... Thanks again for making explicit what I have long known: To America, Ukraine is nothing but a weapon against Russia. The whole point of support for Ukraine is to make Russia bleed—doesn’t matter how many people die or suffer in the process or how much of Ukraine is destroyed. https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS/status/1202267180219478024 … ..."
"... So fomenting on a war on Russia's border is, it appears, self-evidently aids our national security. What's next? A war scare? Ramping up MH17? ..."
Dec 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"'Our Democracy Is at Stake.' Pelosi Orders Democrats to Draft Articles of Impeachment Against Trump" [ Time ]. With autoplay video. ""The President abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival." • So now when a President doesn't allow The Blob to dictate Ukraine policy it's an impeachable offense? Really? Yasha Levine quotes Democrat impeachment witness Karlan (see below) but the point is the same:

Yasha Levine ✔ @yashalevine

Thanks again for making explicit what I have long known: To America, Ukraine is nothing but a weapon against Russia. The whole point of support for Ukraine is to make Russia bleed—doesn’t matter how many people die or suffer in the process or how much of Ukraine is destroyed. https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS/status/1202267180219478024

So fomenting on a war on Russia's border is, it appears, self-evidently aids our national security. What's next? A war scare? Ramping up MH17?

"Read opening statements from witnesses at the House Judiciary hearing" [ Politico ]. "Democrats' impeachment witnesses at Wednesday's judiciary committee hearing plan to say in their prepared remarks that President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine were the worst examples of misconduct in presidential history." • So again, it's all about Ukraine. I feel like I've entered an alternate dimension. Aaron Maté comments:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/GkQDrYr4EZs

My very subjective impression: I've skimmed three, and read Turley. Karlan, in particular, is simply not a serious effort. Turley may be wrong -- a ton of tribal dunking on Twitter -- but at least he's making a serious effort. I'm gonna have to wait to see if somebody, say at Lawfare, does a serious effort on Turley. Everything I've read hitherto is and posturing and preaching to the choir. (Sad that Larry Tribe has so completely discredited himself, but that's where we are.)

While on Turley, see this from his testimony:

Hat tip to alert reader David in Santa Cruz for his early call on "inchoate":

Lambert, while Trump was unable to complete his attempt to extort the President of Ukraine, as someone who practiced the criminal law for 34 years, let me be the first to clue you in to the concept in the criminal law of the inchoate offense . This is criminal law, not contract law.

An inchoate offense includes an attempt, a conspiracy, and the solicitation of a crime. All focus on the state of mind of the perpetrator, and none require that the offense be completed -- only that a person or persons having the required criminal intent took material steps toward completing the crime. Such a person becomes a principal in the contemplated crime, and in the eyes of the law is just as guilty as if he or she had completed the attempted offense.

(The details of Trump's offense differ from what David in Santa Cruz said they would be.) "Inchoate" appears only in Turley's piece, indicating, to me, that his was the only serious effort.

[Dec 04, 2019] There Has Been No Retrenchment Under Trump

Notable quotes:
"... A more compelling explanation for the persistence of a large global U.S. military footprint, and the concomitant creep of oversees commitments, is to be found in domestic politics. Trump's rhetoric can diverge sharply from reality without consequence because few in his party have an incentive to hold him accountable. In this hyper-polarized political moment, most voters will stick with their party regardless of how many campaign pledges are broken or foreign policy initiatives end in failure. With an all-volunteer military, flattening taxes, and deficit financing, the vast majority of Americans are insulated from the costs of American foreign policy. So long as most Americans want to look tough and influential without paying for it, politicians won't be punished for living in the same fantasy world as voters. ..."
"... The main reason why America's military commitments remain unchanged under Trump may simply be that the president doesn't really want to reduce them. ..."
Dec 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

aul MacDonald and Joseph Parent explain in detail that Trump hasn't reduced U.S. military commitments overseas:

But after nearly three years in office, Trump's promised retrenchment has yet to materialize. The president hasn't meaningfully altered the U.S. global military footprint he inherited from President Barack Obama. Nor has he shifted the costly burden of defending U.S. allies. To the contrary, he loaded even greater military responsibilities on the United States while either ramping up or maintaining U.S. involvement in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere. On practically every other issue, Trump departed radically from the path of his predecessor. But when it came to troop deployments and other overseas defense commitments, he largely preserved the chessboard he inherited -- promises to the contrary be damned.

MacDonald and Parent's article complements my earlier post about U.S. "global commitments" very nicely. When we look at the specifics of Trump's record, we see that he isn't ending U.S. military involvement anywhere. He isn't bringing anyone home. On the contrary, he has been sending even more American troops to the Middle East just this year alone. While he is being excoriated for withdrawals that never happen, he is maintaining or steadily increasing the U.S. military presence in foreign countries. Many Trump detractors and supporters are so invested in the narrative that Trump is presiding over "withdrawal" that they are ignoring what the president has actually done. Trump's approach to U.S. military involvement might be described as "loudly declaring withdrawal while maintaining or increasing troop levels." Almost everyone pays attention only to his rhetoric about leaving this or that country and treats it as if it is really happening. Meanwhile, the number of military personnel deployed overseas never goes down.

The authors offer a possible explanation for why Trump has been able to get away with this:

A more compelling explanation for the persistence of a large global U.S. military footprint, and the concomitant creep of oversees commitments, is to be found in domestic politics. Trump's rhetoric can diverge sharply from reality without consequence because few in his party have an incentive to hold him accountable. In this hyper-polarized political moment, most voters will stick with their party regardless of how many campaign pledges are broken or foreign policy initiatives end in failure. With an all-volunteer military, flattening taxes, and deficit financing, the vast majority of Americans are insulated from the costs of American foreign policy. So long as most Americans want to look tough and influential without paying for it, politicians won't be punished for living in the same fantasy world as voters.

Trump is further insulated from scrutiny and criticism because he is frequently described as presiding over a "retreat" from the world. Most news reports and commentary pieces reinforce this false impression that Trump seeks to get the U.S. out of foreign entanglements. There are relatively few people pointing out the truth that MacDonald and Parent spell out in their article. The main reason why America's military commitments remain unchanged under Trump may simply be that the president doesn't really want to reduce them.

[Dec 04, 2019] American Pravda the Nature of Anti-Semitism by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... Now consider the notion of "anti-Semitism." Google searches for that word and its close variants reveal over 24 million hits, and over the years I'm sure I've seen that term tens of thousands of times in my books and newspapers, and heard it endlessly reported in my electronic media and entertainment. But thinking it over, I'm not sure that I can ever recall a single real-life instance I've personally encountered, nor have I heard of almost any such cases from my friends or acquaintances. Indeed, the only persons I've ever come across making such claims were individuals who bore unmistakable signs of serious psychological imbalance. When the daily newspapers are brimming with lurid tales of hideous demons walking among us and attacking people on every street corner, but you yourself have never actually seen one, you may gradually grow suspicious. ..."
"... It has also become apparent that a considerable fraction of what passes for "anti-Semitism" these days seems to stretch that term beyond all recognition. A few weeks ago an unknown 28-year-old Democratic Socialist named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scored a stunning upset primary victory over a top House Democrat in New York City, and naturally received a blizzard of media coverage as a result. However, when it came out that she had denounced the Israeli government for its recent massacre of over 140 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, cries of "anti-Semite" soon appeared, and according to Google there are now over 180,000 such hits combining her name and that harsh accusatory term. Similarly, just a few days ago the New York Times ran a major story reporting that all of Britain's Jewish newspapers had issued an "unprecedented" denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, describing it as an "existential threat" to the Jewish community for the anti-Semitism it was fostering; but this apparently amounted to nothing more than its willingness to sharply criticize the Israeli government for its long mistreatment of the Palestinians. ..."
Aug 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

I recently published a couple of long essays, and although they primarily focused on other matters, the subject of anti-Semitism was a strong secondary theme. In that regard, I mentioned my shock at discovering a dozen or more years ago that several of the most self-evidently absurd elements of anti-Semitic lunacy, which I had always dismissed without consideration, were probably correct. It does seem likely that a significant number of traditionally-religious Jews did indeed occasionally commit the ritual murder of Christian children in order to use their blood in certain religious ceremonies, and also that powerful Jewish international bankers did play a large role in financing the establishment of Bolshevik Russia .

When one discovers that matters of such enormous moment not only apparently occurred but that they had been successfully excluded from nearly all of our histories and media coverage for most of the last one hundred years, the implications take some time to properly digest. If the most extreme "anti-Semitic canards" were probably true, then surely the whole notion of anti-Semitism warrants a careful reexamination.

All of us obtain our knowledge of the world by two different channels. Some things we discover from our own personal experiences and the direct evidence of our senses, but most information comes to us via external sources such as books and the media, and a crisis may develop when we discover that these two pathways are in sharp conflict. The official media of the old USSR used to endlessly trumpet the tremendous achievements of its collectivized agricultural system, but when citizens noticed that there was never any meat in their shops, "Pravda" became a watchword for "Lies" rather than "Truth."

Now consider the notion of "anti-Semitism." Google searches for that word and its close variants reveal over 24 million hits, and over the years I'm sure I've seen that term tens of thousands of times in my books and newspapers, and heard it endlessly reported in my electronic media and entertainment. But thinking it over, I'm not sure that I can ever recall a single real-life instance I've personally encountered, nor have I heard of almost any such cases from my friends or acquaintances. Indeed, the only persons I've ever come across making such claims were individuals who bore unmistakable signs of serious psychological imbalance. When the daily newspapers are brimming with lurid tales of hideous demons walking among us and attacking people on every street corner, but you yourself have never actually seen one, you may gradually grow suspicious.

Indeed, over the years some of my own research has uncovered a sharp contrast between image and reality. As recently as the late 1990s, leading mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times were still denouncing a top Ivy League school such as Princeton for the supposed anti-Semitism of its college admissions policy, but a few years ago when I carefully investigated that issue in quantitative terms for my lengthy Meritocracy analysis I was very surprised to reach a polar-opposite conclusion. According to the best available evidence, white Gentiles were over 90% less likely to be enrolled at Harvard and the other Ivies than were Jews of similar academic performance, a truly remarkable finding. If the situation had been reversed and Jews were 90% less likely to be found at Harvard than seemed warranted by their test scores, surely that fact would be endlessly cited as the absolute smoking-gun proof of horrendous anti-Semitism in present-day America.

It has also become apparent that a considerable fraction of what passes for "anti-Semitism" these days seems to stretch that term beyond all recognition. A few weeks ago an unknown 28-year-old Democratic Socialist named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scored a stunning upset primary victory over a top House Democrat in New York City, and naturally received a blizzard of media coverage as a result. However, when it came out that she had denounced the Israeli government for its recent massacre of over 140 unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, cries of "anti-Semite" soon appeared, and according to Google there are now over 180,000 such hits combining her name and that harsh accusatory term. Similarly, just a few days ago the New York Times ran a major story reporting that all of Britain's Jewish newspapers had issued an "unprecedented" denunciation of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, describing it as an "existential threat" to the Jewish community for the anti-Semitism it was fostering; but this apparently amounted to nothing more than its willingness to sharply criticize the Israeli government for its long mistreatment of the Palestinians.

One plausible explanation of the strange contrast between media coverage and reality might be that anti-Semitism once did loom very large in real life, but dissipated many decades ago, while the organizations and activists focused on detecting and combating that pernicious problem have remained in place, generating public attention based on smaller and smaller issues, with the zealous Jewish activists of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) representing a perfect example of this situation. As an even more striking illustration, the Second World War ended over seventy years ago, but what historian Norman Finkelstein has so aptly labeled "the Holocaust Industry" has grown ever larger and more entrenched in our academic and media worlds so that scarcely a day passes without one or more articles relating to that topic appearing in my major morning newspapers. Given this situation, a serious exploration of the true nature of anti-Semitism should probably avoid the mere media phantoms of today and focus on the past, when the condition might still have been widespread in daily life.

Many observers have pointed to the aftermath of the Second World War as marking a huge watershed in the public acceptability of anti-Semitism both in America and Europe, so perhaps a proper appraisal of that cultural phenomenon should focus on the years before that global conflict. However, the overwhelming role of Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution and other bloody Communist seizures of power quite naturally made them objects of considerable fear and hatred throughout the inter-war years, so the safest course might be to push that boundary back a little further and confine our attention to the period prior to the outbreak of the First World War. The pogroms in Czarist Russia, the Dreyfus Affair in France, and the lynching of Leo Frank in the American South come to mind as some of the most famous examples from that period.

Lindemann's discussion of the often difficult relations between Russia's restive Jewish minority and its huge Slavic majority is also quite interesting, and he provides numerous instances in which major incidents, supposedly demonstrating the enormously strong appeal of vicious anti-Semitism, were quite different than has been suggested by the legend. The famous Kishinev Pogrom of 1903 was obviously the result of severe ethnic tension in that city, but contrary to the regular accusations of later writers, there seems absolutely no evidence of high-level government involvement, and the widespread claims of 700 dead that so horrified the entire world were grossly exaggerated, with only 45 killed in the urban rioting. Chaim Weizmann, the future president of Israel, later promoted the story that he himself and some other brave Jewish souls had personally defended their people with revolvers in hand even as they saw the mutilated bodies of 80 Jewish victims. This account was totally fictional since Weizmann happened to have been be hundreds of miles away when the riots occurred.

Although a tendency to lie and exaggerate was hardly unique to the political partisans of Russian Jewry, the existence of a powerful international network of Jewish journalists and Jewish-influenced media outlets ensured that such concocted propaganda stories might receive enormous worldwide distribution, while the truth followed far behind, if at all.

For related reasons, international outrage was often focused on the legal confinement of most of Russia's Jews to the "Pale of Settlement," suggesting some sort of tight imprisonment; but that area was the traditional home of the Jewish population and encompassed a landmass almost as large as France and Spain combined. The growing impoverishment of Eastern European Jews during that era was often assumed to be a consequence of hostile government policy, but the obvious explanation was extraordinary Jewish fecundity, which far outstripped that of their Slavic fellow countrymen, and quickly led them to outgrow the available spots in any of their traditional "middleman" occupations, a situation worsened by their total disinclination to engage in agriculture or other primary-producer activities. Jewish communities expressed horror at the risk of losing their sons to the Czarist military draft, but this was simply the flip-side of the full Russian citizenship they had been granted, and no different from what was faced by their non-Jewish neighbors.

Certainly the Jews of Russia suffered greatly from widespread riots and mob attacks in the generation prior to World War I, and these did sometimes have substantial government encouragement, especially in the aftermath of the very heavy Jewish role in the 1905 Revolution. But we should keep in mind that a Jewish plotter had been implicated in the killing of Czar Alexander II, and Jewish assassins had also struck down several top Russian ministers and numerous other government officials. If the last decade or two had seen American Muslims assassinate a sitting U.S. President, various leading Cabinet members, and a host of our other elected and appointed officials, surely the position of Muslims in this country would have become a very uncomfortable one.

As Lindemann candidly describes the tension between Russia's very rapidly growing Jewish population and its governing authorities, he cannot avoid mentioning the notorious Jewish reputation for bribery, corruption, and general dishonesty, with numerous figures of all political backgrounds noting that the remarkable Jewish propensity to commit perjury in the courtroom led to severe problems in the effective administration of justice. The eminent American sociologist E.A. Ross, writing in 1913, characterized the regular behavior of Eastern European Jews in very similar terms .

Lindemann also allocates a short chapter to discussing the 1911 Beilis Affair, in which a Ukrainian Jew was accused of the ritual murder of a young Gentile boy, an incident that generated a great deal of international attention and controversy. Based on the evidence presented, the defendant seems likely to have been innocent, although the obvious lies he repeatedly told police interrogators hardly helped foster that impression, and "the system worked" in that he was ultimately found innocent by the jurors at his trial. However, a few pages are also given to a much less well-known ritual murder case in late 19th century Hungary, in which the evidence of Jewish guilt seemed far stronger, though the author hardly accepted the possible reality of such an outlandish crime. Such reticence was quite understandable since the publication of Ariel Toaff's remarkable volume on the subject was still a dozen years in the future.

Lindemann subsequently expanded his examination of historical anti-Semitism into a much broader treatment, Esau's Tears , which appeared in 1997. In this volume, he added comparative studies of the social landscape in Germany, Britain, Italy, and several other European countries, and demonstrated that the relationship between Jews and non-Jews varied greatly across different locations and time periods. But although I found his analysis quite useful and interesting, the extraordinarily harsh attacks his text provoked from some outraged Jewish academics seemed even more intriguing.

For example, Judith Laikin Elkin opened her discussion in The American Historical Review by describing the book as a "545-page polemic" a strange characterization of a book so remarkably even-handed and factually-based in its scholarship. Writing in Commentary , Robert Wistrich was even harsher, stating that merely reading the book had been a painful experience for him, and his review seemed filled with spittle-flecked rage. Unless these individuals had somehow gotten copies of a different book, I found their attitudes simply astonishing.

I was not alone in such a reaction. Richard S. Levy of the University of Illinois, a noted scholar of anti-Semitism, expressed amazement at Wistrich's seemingly irrational outburst, while Paul Gottfried, writing in Chronicles , mildly suggested that Lindemann had "touched raw nerves." Indeed, Gottfried's own evaluation quite reasonably criticized Lindemann for perhaps being a little too even-handed, sometimes presenting numerous conflicting analyzes without choosing between them. For those interested, a good discussion of the book by Alan Steinweis, a younger scholar specializing in the same topic, is conveniently available online .

The remarkable ferocity with which some Jewish writers attacked Lindemann's meticulous attempt to provide an accurate history of anti-Semitism may carry more significance than merely an exchange of angry words in low-circulation academic publications. If our mainstream media shapes our reality, scholarly books and articles based upon them tend to set the contours of that media coverage. And the ability of a relatively small number of agitated and energetic Jews to police the acceptable boundaries of historical narratives may have enormous consequences for our larger society, deterring scholars from objectively reporting historical facts and preventing students from discovering them.

The undeniable truth is that for many centuries Jews usually constituted a wealthy and privileged segment of the population in nearly all the European countries in which they resided, and quite frequently they based their livelihood upon the heavy exploitation of a downtrodden peasantry. Even without any differences in ethnicity, language, or religion, such conditions almost invariably provoke hostility. The victory of Mao's Communist forces in China was quickly followed by the brutal massacre of a million or more Han Chinese landlords by the Han Chinese poor peasants who regarded them as cruel oppressors, with William Hinton's classic Fanshen describing the unfortunate history that unfolded in one particular village. When similar circumstances led to violent clashes in Eastern Europe between Slavs and Jews, does it really make logical sense to employ a specialized term such as "anti-Semitism" to describe that situation?

Furthermore, some of the material presented in Lindemann's rather innocuous text might also lead to potentially threatening ideas. Consider, for example, the notorious Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion , almost certainly fictional, but hugely popular and influential during the years following World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. The fall of so many longstanding Gentile dynasties and their replacement by new regimes such as Soviet Russia and Weimar Germany, which were heavily dominated by their tiny Jewish minorities, quite naturally fed suspicions of a worldwide Jewish plot, as did the widely discussed role of Jewish international bankers in producing those political outcomes.

Over the decades, there has been much speculation about the possible inspiration for the Protocols , but although Lindemann makes absolutely no reference to that document, he does provide a very intriguing possible candidate. Jewish-born British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli certainly ranked as one of the most influential figures of the late 19th century, and in his novel Coningsby , he has the character representing Lord Lionel Rothschild boast about the existence of a vast and secret network of powerful international Jews , who stand near the head of almost every major nation, quietly controlling their governments from behind the scenes. If one of the world's most politically well-connected Jews eagerly promoted such notions, was Henry Ford really so unreasonable in doing the same?

Lindemann also notes Disraeli's focus on the extreme importance of race and racial origins, a central aspect of traditional Jewish religious doctrine. He reasonably suggests that this must surely have had a huge influence upon the rise of those political ideas, given that Disraeli's public profile and stature were so much greater than the mere writers or activists whom our history books usually place at center stage. In fact, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, a leading racial theorist, actually cited Disraeli as a key source for his ideas. Jewish intellectuals such as Max Nordau and Cesare Lombroso are already widely recognized as leading figures in the rise of the racial science of that era, but Disraeli's under-appreciated role may have actually been far greater. The deep Jewish roots of European racialist movements are hardly something that many present-day Jews would want widely known.

One of the harsh Jewish critics of Esau's Tears denounced Cambridge University Press for even allowing the book to appear in print, and although that major work is easily available in English, there are numerous other cases where an important but discordant version of historical reality has been successfully blocked from publication. For decades most Americans would have ranked Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn as among the world's greatest literary figures, and his Gulag Archipelago alone sold over 10 million copies. But his last work was a massive two-volume account of the tragic 200 years of shared history between Russians and Jews, and despite its 2002 release in Russian and numerous other world languages, there has yet to be an authorized English translation, though various partial editions have circulated on the Internet in samizdat form.

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At one point, a full English version was briefly available for sale at Amazon.com and I purchased it. Glancing through a few sections, the work seemed quite even-handed and innocuous to me, but it seemed to provide a far more detailed and uncensored account than anything else previously available, which obviously was the problem. The Bolshevik Revolution resulted in the deaths of many tens of millions of people worldwide, and the overwhelming Jewish role in its leadership would become more difficult to erase from historical memory if Solzhenitsyn's work were easily available. Also, his candid discussion of the economic and political behavior of Russian Jewry in pre-revolutionary times directly conflicted with the hagiography widely promoted by Hollywood and the popular media. Historian Yuri Slezkine's award-winning 2004 book The Jewish Century provided many similar facts, but his treatment was far more cursory and his public stature not remotely the same.

Near the end of his life, Solzhenitsyn gave his political blessing to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russia's leaders honored him upon his death, while his Gulag volumes are now enshrined as mandatory reading in the standard high school curriculum of today's overwhelmingly Christian Russia. But even as his star rose again in his own homeland, it seems to have sharply fallen in our own country, and his trajectory may eventually relegate him to nearly un-person status.

A couple of years after the release of Solzhenitsyn's controversial final book, an American writer named Anne Applebaum published a thick history bearing the same title Gulag , and her work received enormously favorable media coverage and won her a Pulitzer Prize; I have even heard claims that her book has been steadily replacing that earlier Gulag on many college reading lists. But although Jews constituted a huge fraction of the top leadership of the Soviet Gulag system during its early decades, as well as that of the dreaded NKVD which supplied the inmates, nearly her entire focus on her own ethnic group during Soviet times is that of victims rather than victimizers. And by a remarkable irony of fate, she shares a last name with one of the top Bolshevik leaders, Hirsch Apfelbaum, who concealed his own ethnic identity by calling himself Grigory Zinoviev.

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The striking decline in Solzhenitsyn's literary status in the West came just a decade or two after an even more precipitous collapse in the reputation of David Irving , and for much the same reason. Irving probably ranked as the most internationally successful British historian of the last one hundred years and a renowned scholar of World War II, but his extensive reliance on primary source documentary evidence posed an obvious threat to the official narrative promoted by Hollywood and wartime propaganda. When he published his magisterial Hitler's War , this conflict between myth and reality came into the open, and an enormous wave of attacks and vilification was unleashed, gradually leading to his purge from respectability and eventually even his imprisonment.

These important examples may help to explain the puzzling contrast between the behavior of Jews in the aggregate and Jews as individuals. Observers have noticed that even fairly small Jewish minorities may often have a major impact upon the far larger societies that host them. But on the other hand, in my experience at least, a large majority of individual Jews do not seem all that different in their personalities or behavior than their non-Jewish counterparts. So how does a community whose individual mean is not so unusual generate what seems to be such a striking difference in collective behavior? I think the answer may involve the existence of information choke-points, and the ability of relatively small numbers of particularly zealous and agitated Jews in influencing and controlling these.

We live our lives constantly immersed in media narratives, and these allow us to decide the rights and wrongs of a situation. The vast majority of people, Jew and Gentile alike, are far more likely to take strong action if they are convinced that their cause is a just one. This is obviously the basis for war-time propaganda.

Now suppose that a relatively small number of zealous Jewish partisans are known to always attack and denounce journalists or authors who accurately describe Jewish misbehavior. Over time, this ongoing campaign of intimidation may cause many important facts to be left on the cutting-room floor, or even gradually expel from mainstream respectability those writers who refuse to conform to such pressures. Meanwhile, similar small numbers of Jewish partisans frequently exaggerate the misdeeds committed against Jews, sometimes piling their exaggerations upon past exaggerations already produced by a previous round of such zealots.

Eventually, these two combined trends may take a complex and possibly very mixed historical record and transform it into a simple morality-play, with innocent Jews tremendously injured by vicious Jew-haters. And as this morality-play becomes established it deepens the subsequent intensity of other Jewish-activists, who redouble their demands that the media "stop vilifying Jews" and covering up the supposed evils inflicted upon them. An unfortunate circle of distortion following exaggeration following distortion can eventually produce a widely accepted historical account that bears little resemblance to the reality of what actually happened.

So as a result, the vast majority of quite ordinary Jews, who would normally behave in quite ordinary ways, are misled by this largely fictional history, and rather understandably become greatly outraged at all the horrible things that had been done to their suffering people, some of which are true and some of which are not, while remaining completely ignorant of the other side of the ledger.

Furthermore, this situation is exacerbated by the common tendency of Jews to "cluster" together, perhaps respresenting just one or two percent of the total population, but often constituting 20% or 40% or 60% of their immediate peer-group, especially in certain professions. Under such conditions, the ideas or emotional agitation of some Jews probably permeates others around them, often provoking additional waves of indignation.

As a rough analogy, a small quantity of uranium is relatively inert and harmless, and entirely so if distributed within low-density ore. But if a significant quantity of weapons-grade uranium is sufficiently compressed, then the neutrons released by fissioning atoms will quickly cause additional atoms to undergo fission, with the ultimate result of that critical chain-reaction being a nuclear explosion. In similar fashion, even a highly agitated Jew may have no negative impact, but if the collection of such agitated Jews becomes too numerous and clusters together too closely, they may work each other into a terrible frenzy, perhaps with disastrous consequences both for themselves and for their larger society. This is especially true if those agitated Jews begin to dominate certain key nodes of top-level control, such as the central political or media organs of a society.

Whereas most living organizations exist solely in physical reality, human beings also occupy an ideational space, with the interaction of human consciousness and perceived reality playing a major role in shaping behavior. Just as the pheromones released by mammals or insects can drastically affect the reactions of their family members or nest-mates, the ideas secreted by individuals or the media-emitters of a society can have an enormous impact upon their fellows.

A cohesive, organized group generally possesses huge advantages over a teeming mass of atomized individuals, just as a Macedonian Phalanx could easily defeat a vastly larger body of disorganized infantry. Many years ago, on some website somewhere I came across a very insightful comment regarding the obvious connection between "anti-Semitism" and "racism," which our mainstream media organs identify as two of the world's greatest evils. Under this analysis, "anti-Semitism" represents the tendency to criticize or resist Jewish social cohesion, while "racism" represents the attempt of white Gentiles to maintain a similar social cohesion of their own. To the extent that the ideological emanations from our centralized media organs serve to strengthen and protect Jewish cohesion while attacking and dissolving any similar cohesion on the part of their Gentile counterparts, the former will obviously gain enormous advantages in resource-competition against the latter.

Religion obviously constitutes an important unifying factor in human social groups and we cannot ignore the role of Judaism in this regard. Traditional Jewish religious doctrine seems to consider Jews as being in a state of permanent hostility with all non-Jews , and the use of dishonest propaganda is an almost inevitable aspect of such conflict. Furthermore, since Jews have invariably been a small political minority, maintaining such controversial tenets required the employment of a massive framework of subterfuge and dissimulation in order to conceal their nature from the larger society surrounding them. It has often been said that truth is the first casualty in war, and surely the cultural influences of over a thousand years of such intense religious hostility may continue to quietly influence the thinking of many modern Jews, even those who have largely abandoned their religious beliefs.

The notorious Jewish tendency to shamelessly lie or wildly exaggerate has sometimes had horrifying human consequences. I very recently discovered a fascinating passage in Peter Moreira's 2014 book The Jew Who Defeated Hitler: Henry Morgenthau Jr., FDR, and How We Won the War , focused on the important political role of that powerful Secretary of the Treasury.

A turning point in Henry Morgenthau Jr.'s relationship with the Jewish community came in November 1942, when Rabbi Stephen Wise came to the corner office to tell the secretary what was happening in Europe. Morgenthau knew of the millions of deaths and the lampshades made from victims' skin, and he asked Wise not to go into excessive details. But Wise went on to tell of the barbarity of the Nazis, how they were making soap out of Jewish flesh. Morgenthau, turning paler, implored him, "Please, Stephen, don't give me the gory details." Wise went on with his list of horrors and Morgenthau repeated his plea over and over again. Henrietta Klotz was afraid her boss would keel over. Morgenthau later said the meeting changed his life.

It is easy to imagine that Morgenthau's gullible acceptance of such obviously ridiculous war-time atrocity stories played a major role when he later lent his name and support to remarkably brutal American occupation policies that probably led to the postwar deaths of many millions of innocent German civilians .

[Dec 04, 2019] America's War Exceptionalism Is Killing the Planet by William Astore

Highly recommended!
Our leaders like to say we value human rights around the world, but what they really manifest is greed. It all makes sense in a Gekko- or Machiavellian kind of way.
Highly recommended !
Notable quotes:
"... Think of this as the new American exceptionalism. In Washington, war is now the predictable (and even desirable) way of life, while peace is the unpredictable (and unwise) path to follow. In this context, the U.S. must continue to be the most powerful nation in the world by a country mile in all death-dealing realms and its wars must be fought, generation after generation, even when victory is never in sight. And if that isn't an "exceptional" belief system, what is? ..."
"... A partial list of war's many uses might go something like this: war is profitable , most notably for America's vast military-industrial complex ; war is sold as being necessary for America's safety, especially to prevent terrorist attacks; and for many Americans, war is seen as a measure of national fitness and worthiness, a reminder that "freedom isn't free." In our politics today, it's far better to be seen as strong and wrong than meek and right. ..."
"... If America's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen prove anything, it's that every war scars our planet -- and hardens our hearts. Every war makes us less human as well as less humane. Every war wastes resources when these are increasingly at a premium. Every war is a distraction from higher needs and a better life. ..."
"... I think that the main reason of the current level of militarism in the USA foreign policy is that after dissolution of the USSR neo-conservatives were allowed to capture the State Department and foreign policy establishment. This process actually started under Reagan. During Bush II administration those “crazies from the basement” fully controlled the US foreign policy and paradoxically they continued to dominate in Obama administration too. ..."
"... Which also means that the USA foreign policy is not controlled by the elected officials but by the “Deep State” (look at Vindman and Fiona Hill testimonies for the proof). So this is kind of Catch 22 in which the USA have found itself. We will be bankrupted by our neoconservative foreign establishment (which self-reproduce in each and every administration). And we can do nothing to avoid it. ..."
"... they are not only lobbyists for MIC, but they also serve as "ideological support", trying to manipulate public opinion in favor of militarism. ..."
"... Yes. Ideology is vital. During the Cold War it was all about containing/resisting/defeating the godless Communists. Once they were defeated, what then? We heard brief talk about a "peace dividend," but then the neocons came along, selling full-spectrum dominance and America as the sole superpower. ..."
"... The neocons were truly unleashed by the 9/11 attacks, which they exploited to put their vision in motion. The Complex was only too happy to oblige, fed as it was by massive resources. ..."
"... Leaving that specific incident aside, the bigger picture is that the brains behind the Deep State understand that global capitalism is running out of new resources (which includes human labor) to exploit. Why is the US so concerned with Africa right now, with spies and Special Forces operatives all over that continent? Africa is the final frontier for development/exploitation. (The US is also deeply concerned about China's setting down business roots there, and wants to counterbalance their activities.) ..."
"... The brains in the US Ruling Class know full well that natural resources will become ever more valuable moving forward, as weather disasters make it harder to access them. Thus, the Neo-Cons (you thought I'd never get around to them, right?) came to the fore because they advocate the unbridled use of brute military force to obtain what they want from the world. Or, to use their own terminology, the US "must have the capability to project force anywhere on the planet" at a moment's notice. President Obama was fully in agreement with that concept. Beware the wolf masquerading as a peaceable sheep! ..."
Dec 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By William Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and history professor. His personal blog is Bracing Views . Originally published at TomDispatch

Ever since 2007, when I first started writing for TomDispatch , I've been arguing against America's forever wars, whether in Afghanistan , Iraq , or elsewhere . Unfortunately, it's no surprise that, despite my more than 60 articles, American blood is still being spilled in war after war across the Greater Middle East and Africa, even as foreign peoples pay a far higher price in lives lost and cities ruined . And I keep asking myself: Why, in this century, is the distinctive feature of America's wars that they never end? Why do our leaders persist in such repetitive folly and the seemingly eternal disasters that go with it?

Sadly, there isn't just one obvious reason for this generational debacle. If there were, we could focus on it, tackle it, and perhaps even fix it. But no such luck.

So why do America's disastrous wars persist ? I can think of many reasons , some obvious and easy to understand, like the endless pursuit of profit through weapons sales for those very wars, and some more subtle but no less significant, like a deep-seated conviction in Washington that a willingness to wage war is a sign of national toughness and seriousness. Before I go on, though, here's another distinctive aspect of our forever-war moment: Have you noticed that peace is no longer even a topic in America today? The very word, once at least part of the rhetoric of Washington politicians, has essentially dropped out of use entirely. Consider the current crop of Democratic candidates for president. One, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, wants to end regime-change wars, but is otherwise a self-professed hawk on the subject of the war on terror. Another, Senator Bernie Sanders, vows to end " endless wars " but is careful to express strong support for Israel and the ultra-expensive F-35 fighter jet.

The other dozen or so tend to make vague sounds about cutting defense spending or gradually withdrawing U.S. troops from various wars, but none of them even consider openly speaking of peace . And the Republicans? While President Trump may talk of ending wars, since his inauguration he's sent more troops to Afghanistan and into the Middle East, while greatly expanding drone and other air strikes , something about which he openly boasts .

War, in other words, is our new normal, America's default position on global affairs, and peace, some ancient, long-faded dream. And when your default position is war, whether against the Taliban, ISIS, "terror" more generally, or possibly even Iran or Russia or China , is it any surprise that war is what you get? When you garrison the world with an unprecedented 800 or so military bases , when you configure your armed forces for what's called power projection, when you divide the globe -- the total planet -- into areas of dominance (with acronyms like CENTCOM, AFRICOM, and SOUTHCOM) commanded by four-star generals and admirals, when you spend more on your military than the next seven countries combined, when you insist on modernizing a nuclear arsenal (to the tune of perhaps $1.7 trillion ) already quite capable of ending all life on this and several other planets, what can you expect but a reality of endless war?

Think of this as the new American exceptionalism. In Washington, war is now the predictable (and even desirable) way of life, while peace is the unpredictable (and unwise) path to follow. In this context, the U.S. must continue to be the most powerful nation in the world by a country mile in all death-dealing realms and its wars must be fought, generation after generation, even when victory is never in sight. And if that isn't an "exceptional" belief system, what is?

If we're ever to put an end to our country's endless twenty-first-century wars, that mindset will have to be changed. But to do that, we would first have to recognize and confront war's many uses in American life and culture.

War, Its Uses (and Abuses)

A partial list of war's many uses might go something like this: war is profitable , most notably for America's vast military-industrial complex ; war is sold as being necessary for America's safety, especially to prevent terrorist attacks; and for many Americans, war is seen as a measure of national fitness and worthiness, a reminder that "freedom isn't free." In our politics today, it's far better to be seen as strong and wrong than meek and right.

As the title of a book by former war reporter Chris Hedges so aptly put it , war is a force that gives us meaning. And let's face it, a significant part of America's meaning in this century has involved pride in having the toughest military on the planet, even as trillions of tax dollars went into a misguided attempt to maintain bragging rights to being the world's sole superpower.

And keep in mind as well that, among other things, never-ending war weakens democracy while strengthening authoritarian tendencies in politics and society. In an age of gaping inequality , using up the country's resources in such profligate and destructive ways offers a striking exercise in consumption that profits the few at the expense of the many.

In other words, for a select few, war pays dividends in ways that peace doesn't. In a nutshell, or perhaps an artillery shell, war is anti-democratic, anti-progressive, anti-intellectual, and anti-human. Yet, as we know, history makes heroes out of its participants and celebrates mass murderers like Napoleon as "great captains."

What the United States needs today is a new strategy of containment -- not against communist expansion, as in the Cold War, but against war itself. What's stopping us from containing war? You might say that, in some sense, we've grown addicted to it , which is true enough, but here are five additional reasons for war's enduring presence in American life:

The delusional idea that Americans are, by nature, winners and that our wars are therefore winnable: No American leader wants to be labeled a "loser." Meanwhile, such dubious conflicts -- see: the Afghan War, now in its 18th year, with several more years, or even generations , to go -- continue to be treated by the military as if they were indeed winnable, even though they visibly aren't. No president, Republican or Democrat, not even Donald J. Trump, despite his promises that American soldiers will be coming home from such fiascos, has successfully resisted the Pentagon's siren call for patience (and for yet more trillions of dollars) in the cause of ultimate victory, however poorly defined, farfetched, or far-off. American society's almost complete isolation from war's deadly effects: We're not being droned (yet). Our cities are not yet lying in ruins (though they're certainly suffering from a lack of funding, as is our most essential infrastructure , thanks in part to the cost of those overseas wars). It's nonetheless remarkable how little attention, either in the media or elsewhere, this country's never-ending war-making gets here. Unnecessary and sweeping secrecy: How can you resist what you essentially don't know about? Learning its lesson from the Vietnam War, the Pentagon now classifies (in plain speak: covers up) the worst aspects of its disastrous wars. This isn't because the enemy could exploit such details -- the enemy already knows! -- but because the American people might be roused to something like anger and action by it. Principled whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning have been imprisoned or otherwise dismissed or, in the case of Edward Snowden, pursued and indicted for sharing honest details about the calamitous Iraq War and America's invasive and intrusive surveillance state. In the process, a clear message of intimidation has been sent to other would-be truth-tellers. An unrepresentative government: Long ago, of course, Congress ceded to the presidency most of its constitutional powers when it comes to making war. Still, despite recent attempts to end America's arms-dealing role in the genocidal Saudi war in Yemen (overridden by Donald Trump's veto power), America's duly elected representatives generally don't represent the people when it comes to this country's disastrous wars. They are, to put it bluntly, largely captives of (and sometimes on leaving politics quite literally go to work for) the military-industrial complex. As long as money is speech ( thank you , Supreme Court!), the weapons makers are always likely to be able to shout louder in Congress than you and I ever will. \ America's persistent empathy gap. Despite our size, we are a remarkably insular nation and suffer from a serious empathy gap when it comes to understanding foreign cultures and peoples or what we're actually doing to them. Even our globetrotting troops, when not fighting and killing foreigners in battle, often stay on vast bases, referred to in the military as "Little Americas," complete with familiar stores, fast food, you name it. Wherever we go, there we are, eating our big burgers, driving our big trucks, wielding our big guns, and dropping our very big bombs. But what those bombs do, whom they hurt or kill, whom they displace from their homes and lives, these are things that Americans turn out to care remarkably little about.

All this puts me sadly in mind of a song popular in my youth, a time when Cat Stevens sang of a " peace train " that was "soundin' louder" in America. Today, that peace train's been derailed and replaced by an armed and armored one eternally prepared for perpetual war -- and that train is indeed soundin' louder to the great peril of us all.

War on Spaceship Earth

Here's the rub, though: even the Pentagon knows that our most serious enemy is climate change , not China or Russia or terror, though in the age of Donald Trump and his administration of arsonists its officials can't express themselves on the subject as openly as they otherwise might. Assuming we don't annihilate ourselves with nuclear weapons first, that means our real enemy is the endless war we're waging against Planet Earth.

The U.S. military is also a major consumer of fossil fuels and therefore a significant driver of climate change. Meanwhile, the Pentagon, like any enormously powerful system, only wants to grow more so, but what's welfare for the military brass isn't wellness for the planet.

There is, unfortunately, only one Planet Earth, or Spaceship Earth, if you prefer, since we're all traveling through our galaxy on it. Thought about a certain way, we're its crewmembers, yet instead of cooperating effectively as its stewards, we seem determined to fight one another. If a house divided against itself cannot stand, as Abraham Lincoln pointed out so long ago, surely a spaceship with a disputatious and self-destructive crew is not likely to survive, no less thrive.

In other words, in waging endless war, Americans are also, in effect, mutinying against the planet. In the process, we are spoiling the last, best hope of earth: a concerted and pacific effort to meet the shared challenges of a rapidly warming and changing planet.

Spaceship Earth should not be allowed to remain Warship Earth as well, not when the existence of significant parts of humanity is already becoming ever more precarious. Think of us as suffering from a coolant leak, causing cabin temperatures to rise even as food and other resources dwindle . Under the circumstances, what's the best strategy for survival: killing each other while ignoring the leak or banding together to fix an increasingly compromised ship?

Unfortunately, for America's leaders, the real "fixes" remain global military and resource domination, even as those resources continue to shrink on an ever-more fragile globe. And as we've seen recently, the resource part of that fix breeds its own madness, as in President Trump's recently stated desire to keep U.S. troops in Syria to steal that country's oil resources, though its wells are largely wrecked (thanks in significant part to American bombing) and even when repaired would produce only a miniscule percentage of the world's petroleum.

If America's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen prove anything, it's that every war scars our planet -- and hardens our hearts. Every war makes us less human as well as less humane. Every war wastes resources when these are increasingly at a premium. Every war is a distraction from higher needs and a better life.

Despite all of war's uses and abuses, its allures and temptations, it's time that we Americans showed some self-mastery (as well as decency) by putting a stop to the mayhem. Few enough of us experience "our" wars firsthand and that's precisely why some idealize their purpose and idolize their practitioners. But war is a bloody, murderous mess and those practitioners, when not killed or wounded, are marred for life because war functionally makes everyone involved into a murderer.

We need to stop idealizing war and idolizing its so-called warriors. At stake is nothing less than the future of humanity and the viability of life, as we know it, on Spaceship Earth.

likbez December 2, 2019 at 3:17 AM

I think that the main reason of the current level of militarism in the USA foreign policy is that after dissolution of the USSR neo-conservatives were allowed to capture the State Department and foreign policy establishment. This process actually started under Reagan. During Bush II administration those “crazies from the basement” fully controlled the US foreign policy and paradoxically they continued to dominate in Obama administration too.

They preach “Full Spectrum Dominance” (Wolfowitz doctrine) and are not shy to unleash the wars to enhance the USA strategic position in particular region (color revolution can be used instead of war, like they in 2014 did in Ukraine). Of course, being chichenhawks, neither they nor members of their families fight in those wars.

For some reason despite his election platform Trump also populated his administration with neoconservatives. So it might be that maintaining the USA centered global neoliberal empire is the real reason and the leitmotiv of the USA foreign policy. that’s why it does not change with the change of Administration: any government that does not play well with the neoliberal empire gets in the hairlines.

Which also means that the USA foreign policy is not controlled by the elected officials but by the “Deep State” (look at Vindman and Fiona Hill testimonies for the proof). So this is kind of Catch 22 in which the USA have found itself. We will be bankrupted by our neoconservative foreign establishment (which self-reproduce in each and every administration). And we can do nothing to avoid it.

wjastore says: December 2, 2019 at 8:09 AM
Good point. But why the rise of the neocons? Why did they prosper? I'd say because of the military-industrial complex. Or you might say they feed each other, but the Complex came first. And of course the Complex is a dominant part of the Deep State. How could it not be? Add in 17 intelligence agencies, Homeland Security, the Energy Dept's nukes, and you have a dominant DoD that swallows up more than half of federal discretionary spending each year.
likbez December 2, 2019 at 12:09 PM
I agree, but it is a little bit more complex. You need an ideology to promote the interests of MIC. You can't just say -- let's spend more than a half of federal discretionary spending each year..

That's where neo-conservatism comes into play. So they are not only lobbyists for MIC, but they also serve as "ideological support", trying to manipulate public opinion in favor of militarism.

wjastore December 2, 2019 at 12:25 PM

Yes. Ideology is vital. During the Cold War it was all about containing/resisting/defeating the godless Communists. Once they were defeated, what then? We heard brief talk about a "peace dividend," but then the neocons came along, selling full-spectrum dominance and America as the sole superpower.

The neocons were truly unleashed by the 9/11 attacks, which they exploited to put their vision in motion. The Complex was only too happy to oblige, fed as it was by massive resources.

Think about how no one was punished for the colossal intelligence failure of 9/11. Instead, all the intel agencies were rewarded with more money and authority via the PATRIOT Act.

The Afghan war is an ongoing disaster, the Iraq war a huge misstep, Libya a total failure, yet the Complex has even more Teflon than Ronald Reagan. All failures slide off of it.

greglaxer , December 2, 2019 at 4:12 PM

There is a still bigger picture to consider in all this. I don't want to open the door to conspiracy theory–personally, I find the claim that explosives were placed inside the World Trade Center prior to the strikes by aircraft on 9/11 risible–but it certainly was convenient for the Regime Change Gang that the Saudi operatives were able to get away with what they did on that day, and in preparations leading up to it.

Leaving that specific incident aside, the bigger picture is that the brains behind the Deep State understand that global capitalism is running out of new resources (which includes human labor) to exploit. Why is the US so concerned with Africa right now, with spies and Special Forces operatives all over that continent? Africa is the final frontier for development/exploitation. (The US is also deeply concerned about China's setting down business roots there, and wants to counterbalance their activities.)

Once the great majority of folks in Africa have cellphones and subscriptions to Netflix whither capitalism? Trump denies the severity of the climate crisis because that is part of the ideology/theology of the GOP.

The brains in the US Ruling Class know full well that natural resources will become ever more valuable moving forward, as weather disasters make it harder to access them. Thus, the Neo-Cons (you thought I'd never get around to them, right?) came to the fore because they advocate the unbridled use of brute military force to obtain what they want from the world. Or, to use their own terminology, the US "must have the capability to project force anywhere on the planet" at a moment's notice. President Obama was fully in agreement with that concept. Beware the wolf masquerading as a peaceable sheep!

[Dec 02, 2019] The cost of militarism cannot be measured only in lost opportunities, lives and money. There will be a long hangover of shame

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "The cost cannot be measured only in lost opportunities, lives and money. There will be a long hangover of shame. Its essence was summed up by Col. Ted Westhusing, an Army scholar of military ethics who was an innocent witness to corruption, not a participant, when he died at age 44 of a gunshot wound to the head while working for Gen. David Petraeus training Iraqi security forces in Baghdad in 2005. He was at the time the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq." ..."
"... " 'I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars,' Colonel Westhusing wrote, abbreviating the word mission. 'I am sullied.' " ..."
www.theamericanconservative.com

Michael N. Moore , says: at 12:13 pm

In my opinion the most under-reported event of the Iraq war was the suicide of military Ethicist Colonel Ted Westhusing. It was reported at the end of a Frank Rich column that appeared in the NY Times of 10-21-2007:

"The cost cannot be measured only in lost opportunities, lives and money. There will be a long hangover of shame. Its essence was summed up by Col. Ted Westhusing, an Army scholar of military ethics who was an innocent witness to corruption, not a participant, when he died at age 44 of a gunshot wound to the head while working for Gen. David Petraeus training Iraqi security forces in Baghdad in 2005. He was at the time the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq."

"Colonel Westhusing's death was ruled a suicide, though some believe he was murdered by contractors fearing a whistle-blower, according to T. Christian Miller, the Los Angeles Times reporter who documents the case in his book "Blood Money."

Either way, the angry four-page letter the officer left behind for General Petraeus and his other commander, Gen. Joseph Fil, is as much an epitaph for America's engagement in Iraq as a suicide note."

" 'I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars,' Colonel Westhusing wrote, abbreviating the word mission. 'I am sullied.' "

Michael N. Moore , says: February 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm
As per the request of James Canning for more information on Col. Ted Westhusing, please see:

http://www.correntewire.com/a_disturbing_suicide_note_from_iraq

Or the book "Blood Money" by T. Christian Miller

thefatefullightning , says: June 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm
"The tiny pink candies at the bottom of the urinals are reserved for Field Grade and Above." --sign over the urinals in the "O" Club at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, 1965.

Now that sentiment, is Officer-on-Officer. The same dynamic tension exists throughout all Branches and ranks.

My background includes a Combat Infantry Badge and a record of having made Spec Four , two times. If you don't know what that means, stop reading here.

I feel that no one should be promoted E-5 or O-4, if they are to command men in battle, unless they have had that life experience themselves. It becomes virgins instructing on sexual etiquette.

Within the ranks, there exists a disdain for officers, in general. Some officers overcome this by their actions, but the vast majority cement that assessment the same way.
What makes the thing run is the few officers who are superior human beings, and the NCOs who are of that same tribe. And there is a love there, from top to bottom and bottom to top, a brotherhood of warriors which the civilian population will forever try to discern, parse and examine to their lasting frustration and ignorance.

It is the spirit of this nation [Liberty, e pluribus unum and In God We Trust ] that is the binding filament of it all. The civilians responsible for the welfare of the armed services need to be more fully aware of that spirit and they need to bring it into the air-conditioned offices they inhabit when they make decisions about men who know sacrifice.

Terrence Zehrer , says: July 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm
But the Pentagon is excellent at what it does – extort money from the US taxpayer. I call it treason.

"Massive military budgets erode the economic foundation on which true national security is dependent."

– Dwight Eisenhower

[Nov 30, 2019] Henry Kissinger Gets It US 'Exceptionalism' Is Over

Looks like exceptions in US political jargon means "no rivals"... Trump is still dreaming about "Full Spectrum Dominance" Otherwise he would not populate his administration with rabid neocons, leftover from Bush II administration. As well as people who were responsible for Obama color revolutions and wars. Instead of gratitude from neocons viper nest in the State Department he got Ukrainegate as a Thanksgiving present.
Notable quotes:
"... If the US cannot find some modus vivendi with China, then the outcome could be a catastrophic conflict worst than any previous world war, he admonished. ..."
"... A key remark made by Kissinger was the following: "So those countries that used to be exceptional and used to be unique, have to get used to the fact that they have a rival." ..."
"... In other words, he is negating the erroneous consensus held in Washington which asserts that the US is somehow "exceptional", a "uni-power" and the "indispensable nation". This consensus has grown since the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the US viewed itself as the sole super-power. That morphed into a more virulent ideology of "full-spectrum dominance". Thence, the past three decades of unrelenting US criminal wars and regime-change operations across the planet, throwing the whole world into chaos. ..."
"... While sharing a public stage with Kissinger, the Chinese leader added: "The two sides should proceed from the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the people of the world, respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, pursue win-win results in cooperation, and promote bilateral ties to develop in the right direction." ..."
"... Likewise, China and Russia have continually urged for a multipolar world order for cooperation and partnership in development. But the present and recent US governments refuse to contemplate any other order other than a presumed unipolar dominance. Hence the ongoing US trade strife with China and Washington's relentless demonization of Russia. ..."
"... This "exceptional" ideological mantra of the US is leading to more tensions, and ultimately is a path to the abyss. Henry Kissinger gets it. It's a pity America's present crop of politicians and thinkers are so impoverished in their intellect. ..."
Nov 29, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made prudent remarks recently when he said the United States is no longer a uni-power and that it must recognize the reality of China as an equal rival. The furor over a new law passed by the US this week regarding Hong Kong and undermining Beijing's authority underlines Kissinger's warning.

If the US cannot find some modus vivendi with China, then the outcome could be a catastrophic conflict worst than any previous world war, he admonished.

Speaking publicly in New York on November 14, the veteran diplomat urged the US and China to resolve their ongoing economic tensions cooperatively and mutually, adding: "It is no longer possible to think that one side can dominate the other."

A key remark made by Kissinger was the following: "So those countries that used to be exceptional and used to be unique, have to get used to the fact that they have a rival."

In other words, he is negating the erroneous consensus held in Washington which asserts that the US is somehow "exceptional", a "uni-power" and the "indispensable nation". This consensus has grown since the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the US viewed itself as the sole super-power. That morphed into a more virulent ideology of "full-spectrum dominance". Thence, the past three decades of unrelenting US criminal wars and regime-change operations across the planet, throwing the whole world into chaos.

Kissinger's frank assessment is a breath of fresh air amid the stale and impossibly arrogant self-regard held by too many American politicians who view their nation as an unparalleled power which brooks no other.

The seasoned statesman, who is 96-years-old and retains an admirable acumen for international politics, ended his remarks on an optimistic note by saying: "I am confident the leaders on both sides [US and China] will realize the future of the world depends on the two sides working out solutions and managing the inevitable difficulties."

Aptly, Kissinger's caution about danger of conflict was reiterated separately by veteran journalist John Pilger, who warned in an exclusive interview for Strategic Culture Foundation this week that, presumed "American exceptionalism is driving the world to war."

Henry Kissinger is indeed a controversial figure. Many US scholars regard him as one of the most outstanding Secretaries of State during the post-Second World War period. He served in the Nixon and Ford administrations during the 1970s and went on to write tomes about geopolitics and international relations. Against that, his reputation was badly tarnished by the US war in Vietnam and the horrendous civilian death toll from relentless aerial bombing across Indochina, believed to have been countenanced by Kissinger.

Kissinger has also been accused of supporting the military coup in Chile in 1973 against elected President Allende, and for backing the dirty war by Argentina's fascist generals during the 1970s against workers and leftists.

... ... ...

At times, President Donald Trump appears to subscribe to realpolitik pragmatism. At other times, he swings to the hyper-ideological mentality as expressed by his Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper. The latter has labeled China as the US's "greatest long-term threat".

This week President Trump signed into law "The Human Rights and Democracy Bill", which will impose sanctions on China over alleged repression in its Hong Kong territory. Beijing has reacted furiously to the legislation, condemning it as a violation of its sovereignty.

This is exactly the kind of baleful move that Kissinger warned against in order to avoid a further poisoning in bilateral relations already tense from the past 16 months of US-China trade war.

One discerns the difference between Kissinger and more recent US politicians: the former has copious historical knowledge and appreciation of other cultures. His shrewd, wily, maybe even Machiavellian streak, informs Kissinger to acknowledge and respect other powers in a complex world. That is contrasted with the puritanical banality and ignorance manifest in Trump's administration and in the Congress.

Greeting Kissinger last Friday, November 22, during a visit to Beijing, President Xi Jinping thanked him for his historic contribution in normalizing US-China relations during 1970s.

"At present, Sino-US relations are at a critical juncture facing some difficulties and challenges," said Xi, calling on the two countries to deepen communication on strategic issues. It was an echo of the realpolitik views Kissinger had enunciated the week before.

While sharing a public stage with Kissinger, the Chinese leader added: "The two sides should proceed from the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the people of the world, respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, pursue win-win results in cooperation, and promote bilateral ties to develop in the right direction."

Likewise, China and Russia have continually urged for a multipolar world order for cooperation and partnership in development. But the present and recent US governments refuse to contemplate any other order other than a presumed unipolar dominance. Hence the ongoing US trade strife with China and Washington's relentless demonization of Russia.

This "exceptional" ideological mantra of the US is leading to more tensions, and ultimately is a path to the abyss. Henry Kissinger gets it. It's a pity America's present crop of politicians and thinkers are so impoverished in their intellect.

[Nov 30, 2019] Max Blumenthal on how corporate media manufactures consent for war and regime change - YouTube

Nov 30, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Alyson Mc Vitty , 1 week ago

i'm an old woman now and when i listen to the grayzone i feel encouraged that sanity will prevail. long life max. you're great.

James Kelman , 1 week ago

Max is one of the greatest journalists of our time ! Thank You , but take care because their are many that are threatened by truth and integrity ! RESPECT !

b unangst , 1 week ago

The msm is full of CIA swamp lobbyist liars. Max is just objectively reporting substantiated data points that counter lies that are meant to sell taxpayers war.

[Nov 27, 2019] Could your county use some extra money?

Highly recommended!
Nov 27, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

catherine , 26 November 2019 at 05:16 PM

Could your county use some extra money?

According to the US Census there are 3031 counties in the US.
If we redirected the $3.8 billion plus the 500,000,000 for missile defense that we give Israel to US counties budgets each county would receive about
$ 1.3 million.

If we included the $1.2 billion each we give to Egypt and Jordon for signing the Carter peace treaty with Israel that figure increases to $2.3 million for each county.

While $2.3 million may be a small figure for counties with metro cities, it would be a large amount for the majority of counties across the nation.

Since aid to Israel alone accounts for 50% of US foreign aid who would oppose this re direct of taxpayers money...besides the politicians...and how would the politicians explain their opposition to the districts they supposedly represent?

[Nov 26, 2019] Support for Restraint Is on the Rise by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... 38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall. ..."
"... The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention: ..."
"... With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons ..."
"... There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

he Eurasia Group Foundation's new survey of public opinion on U.S. foreign policy finds that support for greater restraint continues to rise:

Americans favor a less aggressive foreign policy. The findings are consistent across a number of foreign policy issues, and across generations and party lines.

The 2019 survey results show that most Americans support a more restrained foreign policy, and it also shows an increase in that support since last year. There is very little support for continuing the war in Afghanistan indefinitely, there is virtually no appetite for war with Iran, and there is a decline in support for a hawkish sort of American exceptionalism. There is still very little support for unilateral U.S. intervention for ostensibly humanitarian reasons, and support for non-intervention has increased slightly:

In 2018, 45 percent of Americans chose restraint as their first choice. In 2019, that has increased to 47 percent. Only 19 percent opt for a U.S.-led military response and 34 percent favor a multilateral, UN-led approach to stop humanitarian abuses overseas.

38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall.

The report's working definition of American exceptionalism is a useful one: "American exceptionalism is the belief that the foreign policy of the United States should be unconstrained by the parochial interests or international rules which govern other countries." This is not the only definition one might use, but it gets at the heart of what a lot of hawks really mean when they use this phrase. While most Americans still say they subscribe to American exceptionalism either because of what the U.S. represents or what it has done, there is less support for these views than before. Among the youngest respondents (age 18-29), there is now a clear majority that rejects this idea.

The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention:

A strong majority of both Republicans and Democrats continue to seek a diplomatic resolution involving either sanctions or the resumption of nuclear negotiations. This year, there was an increase in the number of respondents across party lines who would want negotiations to resume even if Iran is a nuclear power in the short term, and a bipartisan increase in those who believe outright that Iran has the right to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself. So while Republicans might be more likely than Democrats to believe Iran threatens peace in the Middle East, voters in neither party are eager to take a belligerent stand against it.

With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons, and it isn't doing that. It may be that the failure of the "maximum pressure" campaign has also weakened support for sanctions. Support for the sanctions option dropped by almost 10 points overall and plunged by more than 20 points among Republicans. In 2018, respondents were evenly split between war and sanctions on one side or negotiations and non-intervention on the other. This year, support for diplomacy and non-intervention in response to this imaginary nuclear weapons program has grown to make up almost 60% of the total. If most Americans favor diplomacy and non-intervention in this improbable scenario, it is safe to assume that there is even more support for those options with the real Iranian government that isn't pursuing nuclear weapons.

There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening.

[Nov 26, 2019] Neocon Uses Impeachment To Push Russophobic Agenda by David Stockman

Notable quotes:
"... She warned Republicans that legitimizing an unsubstantiated theory that Kyiv undertook a concerted campaign to interfere in the election – a claim the president pushed repeatedly for Ukraine to investigate – played into Russia's hands. ..."
"... "In the course of this investigation," Dr. Hill testified before the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment hearings, "I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests." ..."
"... government investigators examining secret records have found Manafort's name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort's main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych. ..."
"... Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych's pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine's newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau . Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials. ..."
"... In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies .. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin. ..."
"... Mr. Manafort's involvement with moneyed interests in Russia and Ukraine had previously come to light. But as American relationships there become a rising issue in the presidential campaign – from Mr. Trump's favorable statements about Mr. Putin and his annexation of Crimea to the suspected Russian hacking of Democrats' emails – an examination of Mr. Manafort's activities offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev. ..."
"... Donald Trump wasn't the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country. ..."
"... Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton's allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found. ..."
"... President Petro Poroshenko's administration, along with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, insists that Ukraine stayed neutral in the race .. ..."
"... But Politico's investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another's elections. ..."
"... While it's not uncommon for outside operatives to serve as intermediaries between governments and reporters, one of the more damaging Russia-related stories for the Trump campaign – and certainly for Manafort – can be traced more directly to the Ukrainian government. ..."
"... Needless to say, Fiona Hill is among the worst of the neocon warmongers, and has made a specialty of demonizing Russia and propagating over and over flat out lies about what happened in Kiev during 2014 and after. Thus, in one recent attack she claimed, ..."
"... "In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation's embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin's desire to rebuild a Russian empire." ..."
"... On April 26, 1954. The decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet transferring the Crimea Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR ..Taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR . ..."
"... NATO, with just 16 members in 1990, now includes 29 European states, with all of the expansion countries lying east of Germany. As this was unfolding, Russian leaders issued stern warnings about the consequences if America and the West sought to include in NATO either Ukraine or Georgia. Both are considered as fundamental to Russian security. ..."
"... True, many in western Ukraine have pushed for greater ties to the West and wanted their elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, to respond favorably to Western financial blandishments. But Yanukovych, tilting toward Russia, eschewed NATO membership for Ukraine, renewed a long-term lease for the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, and gave official status to the Russian language. These actions eased tensions between Ukraine and Russia, but they inflamed Ukraine's internal politics. And when Yanukovych abandoned negotiations aimed at an association and free-trade agreement with the European Union in favor of greater economic ties to Russia, pro-Western Ukrainians, including far-right provocateurs, staged street protests that ultimately brought down Yanukovych's government. Victoria Nuland gleefully egged on the protesters. The deposed president fled to Russia. ..."
"... Nuland then set about determining who would be Ukraine's next prime minister, namely Arseniy Yatsenyuk. "Yats is our guy," she declared to U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. When Pyatt warned that many EU countries were uncomfortable with a Ukrainian coup, she shot back, "Fuck the EU." She then got her man Yats into the prime minister position, demonstrating the influence that enables US meddling in foreign countries. ..."
"... That's when Putin rushed back to Moscow from the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi to protect the more Russian-oriented areas of Ukraine (the so-called Donbass in the country's east and Crimea in the south) from being swallowed up in this new drama. He orchestrated a plebiscite in Crimea, which revealed strong sentiment for reunification with Russia (hardly the "sham referendum" described by Taylor) and sent significant military support to Donbass Ukrainians who didn't want to be pulled westward. ..."
"... The West and America have always been, and must remain, wary of Russia. Its position in the center of Eurasia – the global "heartland," in the view of the famous British geographic scholar Halford Mackinder – renders it always a potential threat. Its vulnerability to invasion stirs in Russian leaders an inevitable hunger for protective lands. Its national temperament seems to include a natural tendency towards authoritarianism. Any sound American foreign policy must keep these things in mind. ..."
"... But in the increasingly tense relationship between the Atlantic Alliance and Russia, the Alliance has been the more aggressive player – aggressive when it pushed for NATO's eastward expansion despite promises to the contrary from the highest levels of the US government; aggressive when it turned that policy into an even more provocative plan for the encirclement of Russia; aggressive when it dangled the prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia; aggressive when it sought to lure Ukraine out of the Russian orbit with economic incentives; aggressive when it helped foster the street coup against a duly elected Ukrainian government; and aggressive in its continued refusal to appreciate or acknowledge Russia's legitimate geopolitical interests in its own neighborhood. ..."
"... George Kent and William B. Taylor Jr., in their testimony last week, personified this aggressive outlook, designed to squeeze Russia into a geopolitical corner and trample upon its regional interests in the name of Western universalism. If that outlook continues and leads to ever greater tensions with Russia, it can't end well. ..."
"... David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He's the author of three books, ..."
"... . He also is founder of David Stockman's Contra Corner and David Stockman's Bubble Finance Trader . ..."
Nov 25, 2019 | original.antiwar.com
This is part 3 of the two-part article run Friday

It's beginning to seem like an assault by the Zulu army of American politics – they just never stop coming.

We are referring to the Russophobic neocon Deep Staters who have trooped before Adam's Schiff Show to pillory POTUS for daring to look into the Ukrainian stench that engulfs the Imperial City – a rank odor that is owing to their own arrogant meddling in the the internal affairs of that woebegone country.

This time it was Dr. Fiona Hill who sanctimoniously advised the House committee that there is nothing to see on the Ukraine front that involved any legitimate matter of state; it was just the Donald and his tinfoil hat chums jeopardizing the serious business of protecting the national security by injecting electioneering into relations with Ukraine.

She warned Republicans that legitimizing an unsubstantiated theory that Kyiv undertook a concerted campaign to interfere in the election – a claim the president pushed repeatedly for Ukraine to investigate – played into Russia's hands.

"In the course of this investigation," Dr. Hill testified before the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment hearings, "I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests."

Folks, we are getting just plain sick and tired of this drumbeat of lies, misdirection and smug condescension by Washington payrollers like Fiona Hill. No Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US election?

Exactly what hay wagon does she think we fell off from?

Or better still, ask Paul Manafort who will spend his golden years in the Big House owing to an August 2016 leak to the New York Times about an alleged "black book" which recorded payments he had received from his work as an advisor to the Ukrainian political party of former president Yanakovych. As we have seen, the latter had been removed from office by a Washington instigated coup in February 2014.

By its own admission, this story came from the Ukrainian government and the purpose was clear as a bell: Namely, to undermine the Trump presidential campaign and force Manafort out of his months-old role as campaign chairman – a role that had finally brought some professional management to the Donald's helter-skelter campaign for the nation's highest office.

In the event, this well-timed bombshell worked, and in short order Manafort resigned, leaving the disheveled Trump campaign in the lurch:

government investigators examining secret records have found Manafort's name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort's main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych's pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine's newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau . Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies .. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Manafort's involvement with moneyed interests in Russia and Ukraine had previously come to light. But as American relationships there become a rising issue in the presidential campaign – from Mr. Trump's favorable statements about Mr. Putin and his annexation of Crimea to the suspected Russian hacking of Democrats' emails – an examination of Mr. Manafort's activities offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev.

The bolded lines in the NYT story above tell you exactly where this was coming from. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau had been set up by an outfit called "AntAC", which was jointly funded by George Soros and the Obama State Department. And there can be little doubt that the Donald's accurate view at the time – that Crimea's reunification with Mother Russia after a 60 year hiatus which had been ordered by the former Soviet Union's Presidium – was unwelcome in Kiev and among the Washington puppeteers who had put it in power.

For want of doubt that the Poroshenko government was in the tank for Hillary Clinton, the liberal rag called Politico spilled the beans a few months later. In a January 11, 2017 story it revealed that the Ukrainian government had pulled out all the stops attempting to help Clinton, whose protégés at the State Department had been the masterminds of the coup which put them in office. Thus, Politico concluded,

Donald Trump wasn't the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.

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

President Petro Poroshenko's administration, along with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, insists that Ukraine stayed neutral in the race ..

But Politico's investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another's elections.

While it's not uncommon for outside operatives to serve as intermediaries between governments and reporters, one of the more damaging Russia-related stories for the Trump campaign – and certainly for Manafort – can be traced more directly to the Ukrainian government.

Documents released by an independent Ukrainian government agency – and publicized by a parliamentarian – appeared to show $12.7 million in cash payments that were earmarked for Manafort by the Russia-aligned party of the deposed former president, Yanukovych.

The New York Times , in the August story revealing the ledgers' existence, reported that the payments earmarked for Manafort were "a focus" of an investigation by Ukrainian anti-corruption officials, while CNN reported days later that the FBI was pursuing an overlapping inquiry.

Yet Fiona Hill sat before a House committee and under oath insisted that all of the above was a Trumpian conspiracy theory, thereby reminding us that the neocon Russophobes are so unhinged that they are prepared to lie at the drop of a hat to keep their false narrative about the Russian Threat and Putin's "invasion" of Ukraine alive.

Needless to say, Fiona Hill is among the worst of the neocon warmongers, and has made a specialty of demonizing Russia and propagating over and over flat out lies about what happened in Kiev during 2014 and after. Thus, in one recent attack she claimed,

Russia today poses a greater foreign policy and security challenge to the United States and its Western allies than at any time since the height of the Cold War. Its annexation of Crimea, war in Ukraine's Donbas region, and military intervention in Syria have upended Western calculations from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Russia's intervention in Syria, in particular, is a stark reminder that Russia is a multi-regional power ..

There is not a single true assertion in that quotation, of course, but we cite it for a very particular reason. Shifty Schiff & his impeachment tribunal have brought in Hill – and Lt. Colonel Vindman, Ambassador Taylor, George Kent and Tim Morrison previously – in order to created an echo chamber.

That's right. The Dems are parroting the neocon lies – whether they believe them or not – in order to propagate the impression that the Donald is undermining national security in his effort to take a different posture on Russia and Ukraine, and is actually bordering on treason.
Thus, Adam Schiff repeated the false neocon narrative virtually word for word at the opening of the public hearings:

"In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation's embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin's desire to rebuild a Russian empire."

That's pure rubbish. It's based on the Big Lie that the overwhelming vote of the Russian population of Crimea in March 2014 was done at the gun point of the Russian Army. And that event, in turn, is the lynch-pin of the hoary canard that Putin is seeking to rebuild the Soviet Empire.

So it is necessary to review the truth once again about how Russian Crimea had been temporarily appended to the Ukrainian SSR during Soviet times.

The allegedly "occupied" territory of Crimea, in fact, was actually purchased from the Ottomans by Catherine the Great in 1783, thereby satisfying the longstanding quest of the Russian Czars for a warm-water port. Over the ages Sevastopol then emerged as a great naval base at the strategic tip of the Crimean peninsula, where it became home to the mighty Black Sea Fleet of the Czars and then the Soviet Union, too.

For the next 171 years Crimea was an integral part of Russia (until 1954). That span exceeds the 170 years that have elapsed since California was annexed by a similar thrust of "Manifest Destiny" on this continent, thereby providing, incidentally, the United States Navy with its own warm-water port in San Diego.

While no foreign forces subsequently invaded the California coasts, it was most definitely not Ukrainian and Polish rifles, artillery and blood which famously annihilated The Charge Of The Light Brigade at the Crimean city of Balaclava in 1854; they were Russians defending the homeland from Turks, French and Brits.

And the portrait of the Russian "hero" hanging in Putin's office is that of Czar Nicholas I – whose brutal 30-year reign brought the Russian Empire to its historical zenith. Yet despite his cruelty, Nicholas I is revered in Russian hagiography as the defender of Crimea, even as he lost the 1850s war to the Ottomans and Europeans.

At the end of the day, security of its historic port in Crimea is Russia's Red Line, not Washington's. Unlike today's feather-headed Washington pols, even the enfeebled Franklin Roosevelt at least knew that he was in Soviet Russia when he made port in the Crimean city of Yalta in February 1945.

Maneuvering to cement his control of the Kremlin in the intrigue-ridden struggle for succession after Stalin's death a few years later, Nikita Khrushchev allegedly spent 15 minutes reviewing his "gift" of Crimea to his subalterns in Kiev.

As it happened, therefore, Crimea became part of the Ukraine only by writ of one of the most vicious and reprehensible states in human history – the former Soviet Union:

On April 26, 1954. The decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet transferring the Crimea Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR ..Taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR .

That's right. Washington's hypocritical and tendentious accusations against Russia's re-absorption of Crimea imply that the dead-hand of the Soviet presidium must be defended at all costs – as if the security of North Dakota depended upon it!

In fact, the brouhaha about "returning" Crimea is a naked case of the hegemonic arrogance that has overtaken Imperial Washington since the 1991 Soviet demise.

After all, during the long decades of the Cold War, the West did nothing to liberate the "captive nation" of Ukraine – with or without the Crimean appendage bestowed upon it in 1954. Nor did it draw any red lines in the mid-1990's when a financially desperate Ukraine rented back Sevastopol and the strategic redoubts of the Crimea to an equally pauperized Russia.

In short, in the era before we got our Pacific port in 1848, and even during the 170-year interval since then, America's national security has depended not one whit on the status of Russian-speaking Crimea. That the local population has now chosen fealty to the Grand Thief in Moscow over the ruffians and rabble who have seized Kiev amounts to a giant: So what!

The truth is, when it comes to Ukraine there really isn't that much there, there. Its boundaries have been morphing for centuries among the quarreling tribes, peoples, potentates, Patriarchs and pretenders of a small region that is none of Washington's damn business..

Still, it was this final aggressive drive of Washington and NATO into the internal affairs of Russia's historic neighbor and vassal, Ukraine, that largely accounts for the demonization of Putin. Likewise, it is virtually the entire source of the false claim that Russia has aggressive, expansionist designs on the former Warsaw Pact states in the Baltics, Poland and beyond.

The latter is a nonsensical fabrication. In fact, it was the neocon meddlers from Washington who crushed Ukraine's last semblance of civil governance when they enabled ultra-nationalists and crypto-Nazis to gain government positions after the February 2014 putsch.

As we indicated above, in one fell swoop that inexcusable stupidity reopened Ukraine's blood-soaked modern history. The latter incepted with Stalin's re-population of the eastern Donbas region with "reliable" Russian workers after his genocidal liquidation of the kulaks in the early 1930s.

It was subsequently exacerbated by the large-scale collaboration by Ukrainian nationalists in the west with the Nazi Wehrmacht as it laid waste to Poles, Jews, gypsies and other "undesirables" on its way to Stalingrad in 1942-43. Thereafter followed an equal and opposite spree of barbaric revenge as the victorious Red Army marched back through Ukraine on its way to Berlin.

So it may be fairly asked. What beltway lame brains did not chance to understand that Washington's triggering of "regime change" in Kiev would reopen this entire bloody history of sectarian and political strife?

Moreover, once they had opened Pandora's box, why was it so hard to see that an outright partition of Ukraine with autonomy for the Donbas and Crimea, or even accession to the Russian state from which these communities had originated, would have been a perfectly reasonable resolution?

Certainly that would have been far preferable to dragging all of Europe into the lunacy of the current anti-Putin sanctions and embroiling the Ukrainian factions in a suicidal civil war. The alleged Russian threat to Europe, therefore, was manufactured in Imperial Washington, not the Kremlin.

In fact, in 1989 and 1990, the George H. W. Bush administration assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that if he accepted German unification, the West would not seek to exploit the situation through any eastward expansion – not even by "one inch," as then-secretary of state James Baker assured Gorbachev. But Bill Clinton reneged on that commitment, moving to expand NATO on an eastward path that eventually led right up to the Russian border.

So Robert Merry said it well in his excellent piece on the entire neocon Ukraine Scam that is being paraded before the Schiff Show.

That is, what is being desperately defended on Capitol Hill is not the rule of law, national security or fidelity to the Constitution of the United States., but a giant Neocon Lie that is needed to keep the Empire in business, and the world moving ever closer to an utterly unnecessary Cold War 2.0 between nation's each pointing enough nuclear warheads at the other to destroy the planet.

NATO, with just 16 members in 1990, now includes 29 European states, with all of the expansion countries lying east of Germany. As this was unfolding, Russian leaders issued stern warnings about the consequences if America and the West sought to include in NATO either Ukraine or Georgia. Both are considered as fundamental to Russian security.

True, many in western Ukraine have pushed for greater ties to the West and wanted their elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, to respond favorably to Western financial blandishments. But Yanukovych, tilting toward Russia, eschewed NATO membership for Ukraine, renewed a long-term lease for the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, and gave official status to the Russian language. These actions eased tensions between Ukraine and Russia, but they inflamed Ukraine's internal politics. And when Yanukovych abandoned negotiations aimed at an association and free-trade agreement with the European Union in favor of greater economic ties to Russia, pro-Western Ukrainians, including far-right provocateurs, staged street protests that ultimately brought down Yanukovych's government. Victoria Nuland gleefully egged on the protesters. The deposed president fled to Russia.

Nuland then set about determining who would be Ukraine's next prime minister, namely Arseniy Yatsenyuk. "Yats is our guy," she declared to U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. When Pyatt warned that many EU countries were uncomfortable with a Ukrainian coup, she shot back, "Fuck the EU." She then got her man Yats into the prime minister position, demonstrating the influence that enables US meddling in foreign countries.

That's when Putin rushed back to Moscow from the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi to protect the more Russian-oriented areas of Ukraine (the so-called Donbass in the country's east and Crimea in the south) from being swallowed up in this new drama. He orchestrated a plebiscite in Crimea, which revealed strong sentiment for reunification with Russia (hardly the "sham referendum" described by Taylor) and sent significant military support to Donbass Ukrainians who didn't want to be pulled westward.

The West and America have always been, and must remain, wary of Russia. Its position in the center of Eurasia – the global "heartland," in the view of the famous British geographic scholar Halford Mackinder – renders it always a potential threat. Its vulnerability to invasion stirs in Russian leaders an inevitable hunger for protective lands. Its national temperament seems to include a natural tendency towards authoritarianism. Any sound American foreign policy must keep these things in mind.

But in the increasingly tense relationship between the Atlantic Alliance and Russia, the Alliance has been the more aggressive player – aggressive when it pushed for NATO's eastward expansion despite promises to the contrary from the highest levels of the US government; aggressive when it turned that policy into an even more provocative plan for the encirclement of Russia; aggressive when it dangled the prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia; aggressive when it sought to lure Ukraine out of the Russian orbit with economic incentives; aggressive when it helped foster the street coup against a duly elected Ukrainian government; and aggressive in its continued refusal to appreciate or acknowledge Russia's legitimate geopolitical interests in its own neighborhood.

George Kent and William B. Taylor Jr., in their testimony last week, personified this aggressive outlook, designed to squeeze Russia into a geopolitical corner and trample upon its regional interests in the name of Western universalism. If that outlook continues and leads to ever greater tensions with Russia, it can't end well.

David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He's the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed , The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin And How to Bring It Back . He also is founder of David Stockman's Contra Corner and David Stockman's Bubble Finance Trader .

[Nov 21, 2019] Washington Makes Endless War And Calls It Peace

Nov 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Washington Makes Endless War And Calls It Peace by Tyler Durden Sun, 11/17/2019 - 23:30 0 SHARES

Authored by Daniel Larison via TheAmericanConservative.com,

Andrew Bacevich rightly rejects the idea that there was ever a Pax Americana in the Middle East:

"It took many decades to build a Pax Americana in the Middle East," X writes. Not true: it took only a handful of hours - the time he invested in writing his essay. The Pax Americana is a figment of X's imagination.

Defenders of U.S. hegemony like to make what they think is a flattering comparison between the U.S. and the Roman Empire, but where the Romans made a desert and called it peace the U.S. has gone to war in the desert again and again with no end in sight.

Not only has the U.S. not brought peace, but there is little reason to think that our government is capable of doing so. More to the point, the U.S. has no right to keep meddling in the affairs of these nations. It would also be accurate to say that the more American involvement there has been in the region, the less pax there has been there. There is nowhere else in the world where our foreign policy is as intensely militarized, and it is no accident that it is also where our foreign policy is most destructive. If the U.S. genuinely desired stability and the security of energy supplies, it would not be waging an economic war on Iran, and it wouldn't be fueling a disgraceful war on Yemen. The author of that piece, William Wechsler, notably has nothing to say about either one of those policies.

Opponents of U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East make two major claims: that withdrawal would harm U.S. interests and that it would make the region worse off than it already is.

The second point is wrong but debatable, and the first one depends on an absurdly expansive definition of what U.S. interests are. The piece that Bacevich is answering asserts that "it would be a terrible mistake and deeply harmful to the United States" to withdraw from the region, but the author does not show that current troop levels of more than 50,000 people are necessary or even useful for securing U.S. interests. The U.S. didn't have and didn't need a large military presence in the Middle East for the entire Cold War, and it doesn't need to have one now. Having a military presence in the region has directly contributed to increased threats to U.S. security through terrorism, and it made the Iraq war debacle possible. The greatest harm to U.S. security has come from our ongoing extensive military involvement in this part of the world.

Neither does the author demonstrate that U.S. foreign policy up until now has actually been doing the job he thinks it has. For instance, he mentions "supporting a delicate balance of power that promotes regional stability and protects our allies," but looking back over just the last twenty years of U.S. foreign policy in the region there is no evidence that the U.S. has been supporting a balance of power or promoted regional stability. On the contrary, to the extent that there was a balance of power at the start of this century, the U.S. set about destroying it by overthrowing the Iraqi government, and it has further contributed to the destabilization of at least three other countries through direct or indirect involvement in military interventions. The clients that the U.S. has in the Middle East aren't allies and we aren't obliged to protect them, but the U.S. hasn't done a terribly good job of protecting them, either. The U.S. has managed to indulge its clients in reckless and atrocious behavior that has also made them less secure and undermined our own security interests. Support for the war on Yemen is a good example of that. Enabling the Saudi coalition's war has bolstered Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), devastated and fractured Yemen, and exposed Saudi Arabia to reprisal attacks that it had never suffered before.

The other major flaw with the Wechsler piece is that he is warning against something that isn't happening:

As campaign promises tend to become governing realities for American foreign policy, the prospect of a full U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East now stands before us.

If only that were true. The U.S. has more troops in the region than it did at the start of this year. There is no sign that those numbers will be reduced anytime soon. Support for the war on Yemen continues, and the president has gone out of his way to keep arming the Saudi coalition. Even in Syria, there will still be an illegal U.S. military presence for the foreseeable future. Full withdrawal is nowhere in sight right now. The U.S. is heading in the opposite direction. The author pretends that withdrawal is in the offing and then urges the next president to "reverse this course," but there is nothing for the next president to reverse. So why rail against something that hasn't happened and isn't likely to occur? This is an old tactic of making the option of withdrawing from the region seem so extreme and dangerous that it has to be rejected out of hand, but these scare tactics are less and less effective as we see the mounting costs of open-ended conflict and deep entanglement in the affairs of other countries.

The author wants the next administration "to reestablish American leadership in the Middle East, restore deterrence with our adversaries, and begin renewing trust with our partners and allies," but he has not made a persuasive case that "American leadership" in the region is worth "reestablishing" even if it were possible to get back to the way things were before the Iraq war. Many of the "partners and allies" in question are themselves unreliable and have become liabilities, and many of the adversaries do not really threaten the U.S. Bacevich concludes that there needs to be a radical overhaul of U.S. foreign policy in the region on account of its colossal failures:

Given the dimensions of that failure, the likelihood of resuscitating X's illusory Pax is essentially zero.

There is no going back to an imagined Golden Age of American statecraft in the Middle East. The imperative is to go forward, which requires acknowledging how wrongheaded U.S. policy in region has been ever since FDR had his famous tete-a-tete with King Ibn Saud and Harry Truman rushed to recognize the newborn State of Israel.

Once we acknowledge those errors, the next step is not to fall into the same patterns out of a misguided desire for "leadership" and domination. Instead of chasing after a fantasy of imposing peace in some other part of the world, we need to stop our destabilizing and destructive policies that perpetuate conflict and make new wars more likely.


Miss Informed , 17 minutes ago link

Did the author forget that USA is Netenyahu's little bitch?

khnum , 27 minutes ago link

Lets just be honest the USA is in the business of war,overthrowing governments and creating vassal states with murder and mayhem all the way,sponsoring fascists,dictators,drug lords and Christ knows what else along the way and there is no high moral ground as its average citizen is either watching football or Kim Kardashians *** and couldn't give a ****,no amount of whinging is ever going to change that the author is pissing in the wind.

Jam Akin , 42 minutes ago link

Bacevich's book "America's War for the Greater Middle East" is an excellent read. Highly recommended.

Roger Casement , 57 minutes ago link

https://russianmafiagangster.blogspot.com/2012/08/expose-little-odessas-hidden-world-of.html

https://www.davidicke.com/article/508513/russian-mafia-jewish-groomed-trump

Epstein101 , 1 hour ago link

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=western_support_for_islamic_militancy_2049

NoMoreWars , 1 hour ago link

Bring the troops home and put them on our southern border. #1 reason why people voted for Trump.

TheLastMan , 1 hour ago link

Time magazine 2003 cover

" Peace is Hell"

Demented time magazine enjoys programming the folks

And so... "War is Heaven"?

Epstein101 , 1 hour ago link

Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

ibeanbanned , 1 hour ago link

Joo boys want moar war. Always.

dogismycopilot , 1 hour ago link

Instead of replacing and upgrading infrastructure in the US, we have burned that money up in the desert fighting wars so the Chinese and Russian oil companies could waltz in and take all of marbles.

US Middle East policy has been failing since Eisenhower injected us into Iran an in the 1950s.

libtears , 1 hour ago link

It seems to me those people are intent on killing each other at all costs. No need to get in their way and suffer casualties. Seems like a population reduction in that region might improve the world

Nexus789 , 49 minutes ago link

Your ignorance is amazing. Before the US interventions a number of these countries were going down the path of having secular governments. Many had mixed communities from a religious and ethnic perspective. US bastardry has cost the lives of tens of thousands of people.

libtears , 1 hour ago link

Aside from the countless us blunders in the middle east.. The core issues are rooted in the barbaric religious beliefs that have plagued the region since Mohammed rose to power.

Epstein101 , 1 hour ago link

Moses was considerably earlier, Bub.

http://www.unz.com/article/the-holy-hook/

libtears , 1 hour ago link

So what Bub. You believe in Moses? No thanks

Justin Case , 1 hour ago link

Let them figure it out. Why stick yoar hook nose into someone else's problems? Ah there is something in it for the special group, and the tab goes to the tax payers.

The politicians should set the example by sending their kids to woar first. Trillions wasted and what benefit has that been to the tax payers? No money for healthcare or education, pensions, infrastructure etc. Lotsa money available for killing people.

libtears , 1 hour ago link

Agreed. The Jews were a relatively recent reintroduction to the region. It was a **** hole long before this time. Try to blame it all on them but it's a weak point of view. Unless you are looking at the last 70 years. But that **** hole status goes back far beyond this time frame

Roger Casement , 1 hour ago link

Empire of the City - Brief

Empire of the City - Knuth

artistant , 1 hour ago link

ALL MidEast terrorism, shenanigans, and warmongering are for and by APARTHEID Israhell.

Element , 1 hour ago link

Where did this ridiculously unrealistic author get the idea that it was the USA's job to bringing peace to the ME?

Snap out of it fool.

capital101 , 1 hour ago link

With the dollar on it's way out,

when all you have left is a hammer,

everything feels like the last nail in the coffin.

This is what the smart money is doing

Nelbev , 1 hour ago link

Perpetual war was always the plan since Reagan days to break up OPEC or cause in-fighting and destablize region. Iran/Iraq war, first Gulf war, Iraq war, ISIS, Syrian conflict, Yemen, Sunni/Shitte division, feed the fire on unofficial decades old plan still ongoing by CIA and State Dept lifers. Perpetual war in Mid-East was always the plan.

Justin Case , 1 hour ago link

destablize region

That way you keep down the competition. What do you think all the demonizing efforts are against China and Russia now? They are countries murica can't conquer.

Murica is isolating itself and the USD.

Archeofuturist , 42 minutes ago link

Perpetual war is a fact of human existence.

"War is as natural for man as eat or mating"

cforeman44z , 1 hour ago link

https://www.magicalquote.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/WAR-IS-PEACE.png

Elliott Eldrich , 1 hour ago link

War is a racket.

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

JailBanksters , 2 hours ago link

Peace through superior firepower

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708783/?ref_=tt_ch

Epstein101 , 2 hours ago link

The author of the referenced article is a prototypical Atlantic Council Zionist *** chickenhawk ******** artist who pisses swampwater - William F. Wechsler.

His concern is Greater Israel, not what is best for Americans.

Justin Case , 1 hour ago link

Just look at congress.

TheVoicesInYourHead , 3 minutes ago link

Why would anybody want to volunteer to join, or stay in, the USA military when they know they are only fighting on behalf of Israel?

Risu , 2 hours ago link

All humanity, including us, have the right to survive and defend ourselves from obliteration. To do this we must hit when hit, and harder to eliminate the attack. beyond that, we need not fight. God will is in charge, not ours.

We are at risk of non-survival when we fail to recognize the difference between what we feel responsibly for, and what we can actually control. That is why we need a border. Defnding it gives us a line behidn which we can produce, and be productive. Once we cross that line, we begin to fall into a morass.

Generation O , 2 hours ago link

How long did it take America to exit Vietnam? You would think America had money and men to burn with these fruitless wars. Who benefits other than the vampires of the military-industrial complex, owners of cemetaries, and those who produce and market the Intel community's distracting and criminally-produced films and television offerings?

JuliaS , 1 hour ago link

Vietnam War started back when dollar debt was redeemable in gold. Back then debts had impact and the war spending was felt almost immediately though its effect on the economy. War was partially responsible for closing of the gold window by Nixon. They couldn't fake sustainability otherwise.

yaridanjo , 2 hours ago link

Justin Case , 1 hour ago link

US power and influence as a "major threat."

I don't blame them. Look at all the invasions and coups since WWII. Theft of gold, resources, death and destruction and poverty follows. No moar competition.

I hate cunton , 2 hours ago link

obama

libtears , 2 hours ago link

Obamao

Roger Casement , 1 hour ago link

Tweaker

OldFuddyDuddy , 1 hour ago link

Error message

Roger Casement , 1 hour ago link

Try this scroll down to Hussein on the right.

SocratesSolves , 2 hours ago link

Washington? We know what our founding father said about the Jews. He was right. Today, and even before the Federal Reserve "Black Magic Act" of 1913: Washington = Israel. There is no America any longer. It was 911'd inside and out by the Joker *** cult. And after they 911'd you they did a Joker dance, didn't they?

Justin Case , 1 hour ago link

Maybe people will better understand Germany's struggles in the 30's

DirtySanchez , 2 hours ago link

Only a matter of time before weaponized foreign sovereign drones are flying above jusa coastal cities.

Shortly after the second and absolutely devastating second civil war in this 3rd world banana republic.

Hang every bush, clinton, and bozo family member, and their entire administrations and staff.

rahrog , 2 hours ago link

America's Ruling Class never intended to bring peace to the ME

TBT or not TBT , 2 hours ago link

To be fair, the Middle East has been Islamic for a solid millennium or more, and Islam...isn't peace.

besnook , 2 hours ago link

it was never paxamericana. it was always paxjudaica, in other words war and chaos called peace the way jewlanders roll with their zionazi cocksuckers in tow.

SocratesSolves , 2 hours ago link

besnook: EXACTLY right.

"They [the Jews] work more effectively against us, than the enemy's armies. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in... It is much to be lamented that each state, long ago, has not hunted them down as pest to society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America." -- George Washington

ed_209 , 2 hours ago link

The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism. Karl Marx

Epstein101 , 2 hours ago link

THE BOLSHEVIK TAKEOVER OF THE WEST

Schroedingers Cat , 2 hours ago link

Our new flag.

https://www.reddit.com/r/vexillology/comments/5qnu1r/redesigns_the_divided_states_of_america/

2banana , 2 hours ago link

Anyone remember Cindy Sheehan?

She was a nightly fixture on the evening news under Bush.

Entirely disappeared under obama. Along with the daily war dead count.

For now, I will take "not a single new war started" DJT and not care how hard the democrats/fake legacy media scream with a Syrian pullout.

[Nov 21, 2019] The deep state is individuals INSIDE the government that do the bidding of the banksters, the military-industrial complex, the globalists and other nefarious interests

Highly recommended!
Nov 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Wills , Nov 14 2019 15:33 utc | 105

snake @95 argues "the deep state does not exist" with circular logic that is massively off target.

The deep state is individuals INSIDE the government that do the bidding of the banksters, the military-industrial complex, the globalists and other nefarious interests. None of those interests have the ability to make policy and implement regime changes without the deep state. Yes, outside interests drive the actions of the deep state, but no, those outside interests have no ability to accomplish anything without their deep state operatives.

If the US federal government bureaucracy was a) much less powerful, b) much more transparent, and c) more responsive to elected leaders, then none of the bad things would happen. A pipe dream? Yes - but it is erroneous to make a simple declaration "the deep state doesn't exist" without any rational arguments to refute my points in @72.


juliania , Nov 14 2019 16:06 utc | 106

Don Wills @ 72:

Thank you for your post. You say that there is a deep state, but you then go on to tell us it is not as deep as we imagine. So, I posit we should call it "the shallow state". It is the foam on the edge of the sea as it begins to recede from a high tide of corrupt practices, delicate and lacy at the edges and so mesmerizing and attractive to some. But it is receding. And out there as it departs the Deep People are waiting. They are the depths of an ocean that never disappears. At low tide they are still there, and they will feed the incoming tide. At the turn.

And I also say, you may not care what the future brings, but I do. I have a little granson, born on my birthday, gazing at me with twinkling eyes from his photograph across the room. Family is also something we can call Deep and be truthful about that. It runs in both directions, past and future. The Deep People have Deep Families.

And yes, I know, other grandsons have met untimely deaths this century and are counted as 'collateral damage' by the shallow state. Still they are with us as the past is always with us; they deepen our persons in unaccountable but irreversible ways. They strengthen our family commitments. They are always here, in our memories and in our strengths. They are not collateral; they are the fabric of our determinations, our life blood.

The Deep People do care what happens. The twinkle in their grandsons' eyes burns in their hearts. It is a fire, a consuming force. It never dies.

Don Wills , Nov 14 2019 17:06 utc | 108
"deep state", "deep people", "the swamp" .. a rose by any other name would smell just as rancid.

"deep people" implies a small, isolated group. IMO, it's more like an iceberg than seashore foam. 90% of it is hidden from view.

My point was that snake's blame of the oligarchs misses the target. I look at them the way I look at any other predator - if the opportunity exists, they will take it. The deep state is THE necessary ingredient for the evil that the US government does.

I too have grandchildren. I am convinced that their lives will be less free, less prosperous, with less opportunity than what the seven generations of Wills family before me have experienced in the US for the last 275 years. So what can I do about it? Typing on my keyboard certainly won't make one whit of difference...

[Nov 13, 2019] CIA emerged as a Political Party

Notable quotes:
"... this impeachment isn't directed at Trump at all, it's about undermining the rising left-wing opposition in the Democratic party. They are plausibly on the verge of seizing the party agenda away from the neo-liberal consensus of the Clinton-Obama decades -- with issues like universal public health-care and equitable taxes. They've even found ways to fund campaigns without bowing to the corporate gods. ..."
"... Political parties are nothing more than gangs. To me, the Dems are like the Gambinos and the Repoops are like the Genovese. And they hate it when someone from outside their domain comes and disrupt their racket, when things are going smooth. ..."
"... To me Trump is like the mobster Joe Gallo, killed at Umberto's clam house in NYC. Gallo was a big shot, talked loud and fast, and wanted to start his own racket. And the other crime families would not let him do that. So they whacked him. The same thing both Dems and Repoops are trying to do with Trump. And yes Repoops don't like Trump, as in the latest from Drudge, that the Repoops are split when it comes to impeachment. ..."
"... Apropòs the articles about the 'deep state' meddling in US domestic politics, here's an oldie but a goodie from the World Socialist Web Site: The CIA Democrats . ..."
"... "The Mueller investigation has thus ultimately ended up prosecuting people for telling the same pack of lies that Mueller himself was pushing. The Clinton media, including CNN, the Washington Post and New York Times, are baffled by this. They follow the Stone trial assiduously from delight in seeing a long term Trump hanger-on brought down, and in the hope something will come out about Wikileaks or Russia. Their reporting, as that of the BBC, has been deliberately vague on why Stone is being charged, contriving to leave their audience with the impression that Stone's trial proves Trump connections to Wikileaks and Russia, when in fact it proves the precise opposite. A fact you will never learn from the mainstream media. Which is why I am doing this at 2am on a very cold Edinburgh night, for the small but vital audience which is interested in the truth." ..."
"... Of course, it stretches back to both parties, but that's what it is about - not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost the Ukraine - plus S, L, Y, and above all I & A!!! Gosh, we might get the entire alphabet included; ahoy all boats! ..."
"... Let me briefly sketch out an alternative narrative that more accurately captures our present predicament. Since the end of World War II, successive administrations have sought to devise a formula for assuring American consumers access to Persian Gulf oil while also satisfying pressing domestic political interests. Over a period of decades, that effort succeeded chiefly in giving birth to new problems. Out of these multiplying difficulties came the 9/11 attacks and their immediate sequel, a "war on terrorism" meant to settle matters once and for all. ..."
"... To state the matter bluntly, 9/11 was an expression of chickens coming home to roost, a massive strategic failure that the ensuing military campaigns beginning in 2001 and continuing to the present moment have affirmed. Given the dimensions of that failure, the likelihood of resuscitating X's illusory Pax is essentially zero. ..."
"... The very fact Bloomberg had to enter the Democratic Party presidential race is the definite proof Biden's corruption and involvement on the destruction of Ukraine is so overwhelming and difficult to hide that it will eventually be impossible to cover it with the NYT and WaPo power alone should he be chosen as the nominee. ..."
Nov 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Nov 10 2019 15:41 utc | 1

I am amazed how the Impeachment Circus and the mainstream media continue to ignore the facts of this story:

Joe Biden has been a favorite target for Trump-allied lawmakers. Many have adopted Trump's unsubstantiated assertion that Biden pushed for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, because he was investigating Burisma.

Other people get it:

The CIA is emerging as a domestic political party.
...
Brennan put a friendly finger on my chest. "The CIA is not involved in domestic politics," he said. "Period. That's on the record."

This he asserted confidently, at an event where he had just spoken about about influence campaigns on swing voters and implied that Hillary Clinton might be right in calling U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard a Russian asset. Even seasoned analysts, it seems, have their blind spots.

Motivation to impeach Trump is about control of Democratic Party - Rick Salutin, The Star

What shifted [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] now? I'd say the answer is: this impeachment isn't directed at Trump at all, it's about undermining the rising left-wing opposition in the Democratic party. They are plausibly on the verge of seizing the party agenda away from the neo-liberal consensus of the Clinton-Obama decades -- with issues like universal public health-care and equitable taxes. They've even found ways to fund campaigns without bowing to the corporate gods.
I agree with Mr. Salutin, the impeachment is not about impeachment, although if impeachment results, I'm sure they will take it. And I agree it's about protecting the current Democratic Part "elites", both from scandal (Joe Biden, Clinton) and from the challenge on the left. A risky and desperate move .

I tend to think it was Trump going after the Ukraine cesspit that precipitated the impeachment, but other motives seem relevant. I have thought since Obama went all in with Russiagate that the current Dem leadership does not feel it can afford to relinquish control.


Walter , Nov 10 2019 15:54 utc | 2

@ "ince Obama went all in with Russiagate that the current Dem leadership does not feel it can afford to relinquish control."

How about that...geewhiz, one does speculate as to what crimes they fear might become known and public?

Everybody Knows...Brother Leonard Cohen... this they fear.

It's a mighty force. To the mat.

Jose Garcia , Nov 10 2019 16:59 utc | 4
Political parties are nothing more than gangs. To me, the Dems are like the Gambinos and the Repoops are like the Genovese. And they hate it when someone from outside their domain comes and disrupt their racket, when things are going smooth.

To me Trump is like the mobster Joe Gallo, killed at Umberto's clam house in NYC. Gallo was a big shot, talked loud and fast, and wanted to start his own racket. And the other crime families would not let him do that. So they whacked him. The same thing both Dems and Repoops are trying to do with Trump. And yes Repoops don't like Trump, as in the latest from Drudge, that the Repoops are split when it comes to impeachment.

pnyx , Nov 10 2019 17:58 utc | 10
Biden / Ukraine: Others begin to get it: 'Further scratches become visible on the picture of the Bidens in the Ukraine affair' (original in German: 'Am Bild der Bidens in der Ukraine-Affäre werden weitere Kratzer sichtbar' nzz 9.11.19, nzz.ch/international/ukraine-affaere-rolle-der-biden-familie-undurchsichtig-ld.1520759)
Seamus Padraig , Nov 10 2019 18:23 utc | 12
Apropòs the articles about the 'deep state' meddling in US domestic politics, here's an oldie but a goodie from the World Socialist Web Site: The CIA Democrats .
karlof1 , Nov 10 2019 18:24 utc | 13
Craig Murray has an exclusive interview with Randy Credico he prefaces with these remarks:

"The Mueller investigation has thus ultimately ended up prosecuting people for telling the same pack of lies that Mueller himself was pushing. The Clinton media, including CNN, the Washington Post and New York Times, are baffled by this. They follow the Stone trial assiduously from delight in seeing a long term Trump hanger-on brought down, and in the hope something will come out about Wikileaks or Russia. Their reporting, as that of the BBC, has been deliberately vague on why Stone is being charged, contriving to leave their audience with the impression that Stone's trial proves Trump connections to Wikileaks and Russia, when in fact it proves the precise opposite. A fact you will never learn from the mainstream media. Which is why I am doing this at 2am on a very cold Edinburgh night, for the small but vital audience which is interested in the truth."

That would include MoA barflies since we crave Truth. Murray has a bit more to say prior to the excerpt I provide, which I suggest be read, too.

juliania , Nov 10 2019 19:13 utc | 18
What a feast of links! I've only just started, with b's Daniel Lazare piece at Stretegic Culture.org - well done!

" ...This is what impeachment is about, not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost the Ukraine – plus Syria, Libya, Yemen, and other countries that the Obama administration succeeded in destroying – and why Trump should pay the supreme penalty for suggesting that Democrats are in any way to blame..."

Of course, it stretches back to both parties, but that's what it is about - not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost the Ukraine - plus S, L, Y, and above all I & A!!! Gosh, we might get the entire alphabet included; ahoy all boats!

chop stick , Nov 10 2019 19:17 utc | 19
Impeachment is about controlling where the attention is focused. When things get to close to home Pelosi says look over here at the orange head, look over there at the border but whatever you do, do not look over https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1KfU5ifhqE ">here.
b , Nov 11 2019 14:20 utc | 114
@pnyx - Thanks for linking the NZZ piece

"Biden / Ukraine: Others begin to get it: 'Further scratches become visible on the picture of the Bidens in the Ukraine affair' (original in German: 'Am Bild der Bidens in der Ukraine-Affäre werden weitere Kratzer sichtbar' nzz 9.11.19, nzz.ch/international/ukraine-affaere-rolle-der-biden-familie-undurchsichtig-ld.1520759)"

Funny it is mostly a recap of my findings of Biden in Ukraine. The piece links to William Bowles ( https://williambowles.info/2019/10/08/when-ukraines-prosecutor-came-after-his-sons-sponsor-joe-biden-sprang-into-action/) and attributes that the findings to him.

But it is not Bowles but a copy my piece here ( https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/10/biden-timeline.html).

So the Neue Züricher Zeitung, the most prestige Swiss outlet, is practically quoting MoA.

I am honored.

Bemildred , Nov 11 2019 14:35 utc | 115
Andrew J. Bacevich weighs in on US foreign policy:
Let me briefly sketch out an alternative narrative that more accurately captures our present predicament. Since the end of World War II, successive administrations have sought to devise a formula for assuring American consumers access to Persian Gulf oil while also satisfying pressing domestic political interests. Over a period of decades, that effort succeeded chiefly in giving birth to new problems. Out of these multiplying difficulties came the 9/11 attacks and their immediate sequel, a "war on terrorism" meant to settle matters once and for all.

To state the matter bluntly, 9/11 was an expression of chickens coming home to roost, a massive strategic failure that the ensuing military campaigns beginning in 2001 and continuing to the present moment have affirmed. Given the dimensions of that failure, the likelihood of resuscitating X's illusory Pax is essentially zero.

There is no going back to an imagined Golden Age of American statecraft in the Middle East. The imperative is to go forward, which requires acknowledging how wrongheaded U.S. policy in region has been ever since FDR had his famous tete-a-tete with King Ibn Saud and Harry Truman rushed to recognize the newborn State of Israel.t

So succinct.

The Blob: Still Chasing After Pax Americana

vk , Nov 11 2019 14:41 utc | 116
@ Posted by: b | Nov 11 2019 14:20 utc | 114

The very fact Bloomberg had to enter the Democratic Party presidential race is the definite proof Biden's corruption and involvement on the destruction of Ukraine is so overwhelming and difficult to hide that it will eventually be impossible to cover it with the NYT and WaPo power alone should he be chosen as the nominee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

coboarts , November 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

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

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

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

neighbor7 , November 5, 2019 at 10:04 am

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

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

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

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

jrs , November 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm

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

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

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

Also,

Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

by Sheldon S. Wolin

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

DJG , November 5, 2019 at 9:20 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 9:52 am

This is great stuff. Thanks.

One quibble: the author says

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

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

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

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

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

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

urblintz , November 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

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

Imagine that

shinola , November 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

Support your local book store!

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

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

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

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

teacup , November 5, 2019 at 10:11 am

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

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

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

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

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

Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sbbbd , November 5, 2019 at 10:45 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

BlueStater , November 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

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

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

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

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

semiconscious , November 5, 2019 at 1:08 pm

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

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

Summer , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

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

McWatt , November 5, 2019 at 1:02 pm

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

David , November 5, 2019 at 1:15 pm

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

[Nov 03, 2019] No true war is bad

Nov 03, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 31, 2019] The Militarization Of Everything

Notable quotes:
"... But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. ..."
"... But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs? ..."
"... Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars ..."
"... The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. ..."
"... A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. ..."
"... America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." ..."
"... The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. ..."
"... America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. ..."
"... In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. ..."
"... Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. ..."
"... 9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II. ..."
"... Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism. ..."
Oct 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Militarization Of Everything by Tyler Durden Wed, 10/30/2019 - 23:10 0 SHARES

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

Killing Me Softly with Militarism - The Decay of Democracy in America

When Americans think of militarism , they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult ; or, like our president , they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks, with warplanes soaring overhead. Or nationalist dictators wearing military uniforms encrusted with medals, ribbons, and badges like so many barnacles on a sinking ship of state. (Was Donald Trump only joking recently when he said he'd like to award himself a Medal of Honor?) And what they may also think is: that's not us. That's not America. After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15 . We don't wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?

But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. Even in the heartland of Trump's famed base, most Americans continue to reject nakedly bellicose displays like phalanxes of tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue.

But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs?

What do I mean by softer forms of militarism? I'm a football fan, so one recent Sunday afternoon found me watching an NFL game on CBS. People deplore violence in such games, and rightly so, given the number of injuries among the players, notably concussions that debilitate lives. But what about violent commercials during the game? In that one afternoon, I noted repetitive commercials for SEAL Team , SWAT , and FBI , all CBS shows from this quietly militarized American moment of ours. In other words, I was exposed to lots of guns, explosions, fisticuffs, and the like, but more than anything I was given glimpses of hard men (and a woman or two) in uniform who have the very answers we need and, like the Pentagon-supplied police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, are armed to the teeth. ("Models with guns," my wife calls them.)

Got a situation in Nowhere-stan? Send in the Navy SEALs. Got a murderer on the loose? Send in the SWAT team. With their superior weaponry and can-do spirit, Special Forces of every sort are sure to win the day (except, of course, when they don't, as in America's current series of never-ending wars in distant lands).

And it hardly ends with those three shows. Consider, for example, this century's update of Magnum P.I. , a CBS show featuring a kickass private investigator. In the original Magnum P.I. that I watched as a teenager, Tom Selleck played the character with an easy charm. Magnum's military background in Vietnam was acknowledged but not hyped. Unsurprisingly, today's Magnum is proudly billed as an ex-Navy SEAL.

Cop and military shows are nothing new on American TV, but never have I seen so many of them, new and old, and so well-armed. On CBS alone you can add to the mix Hawaii Five-O (yet more models with guns updated and up-armed from my youthful years), the three NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) shows, and Blue Bloods (ironically starring a more grizzled and less charming Tom Selleck) -- and who knows what I haven't noticed? While today's cop/military shows feature far more diversity with respect to gender, ethnicity, and race compared to hoary classics like Dragnet , they also feature far more gunplay and other forms of bloody violence.

Look, as a veteran, I have nothing against realistic shows on the military. Coming from a family of first responders -- I count four firefighters and two police officers in my immediate family -- I loved shows like Adam-12 and Emergency! in my youth. What I'm against is the strange militarization of everything, including, for instance, the idea, distinctly of our moment, that first responders need their very own version of the American flag to mark their service. Perhaps you've seen those thin blue line flags, sometimes augmented with a red line for firefighters. As a military veteran, my gut tells me that there should only be one American flag and it should be good enough for all Americans. Think of the proliferation of flags as another soft type of up-armoring (this time of patriotism).

Speaking of which, whatever happened to Dragnet 's Sergeant Joe Friday, on the beat, serving his fellow citizens, and pursuing law enforcement as a calling? He didn't need a thin blue line battle flag. And in the rare times when he wielded a gun, it was .38 Special. Today's version of Joe looks a lot more like G.I. Joe, decked out in body armor and carrying an assault rifle as he exits a tank-like vehicle, maybe even a surplus MRAP from America's failed imperial wars.

Militarism in the USA

Besides TV shows, movies, and commercials, there are many signs of the increasing embrace of militarized values and attitudes in this country. The result: the acceptance of a military in places where it shouldn't be , one that's over-celebrated, over-hyped , and given far too much money and cultural authority, while becoming virtually immune to serious criticism.

Let me offer just nine signs of this that would have been so much less conceivable when I was a young boy watching reruns of Dragnet :

1. Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars . Such colossal sums are rarely debated in Congress; indeed, they enjoy wide bipartisan support.

2. The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. No other institution even comes close, certainly not the presidency (37%) or Congress (which recently rose to a monumental 25% on an impeachment high). Yet that same military has produced disasters or quagmires in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere. Various "surges" have repeatedly failed. The Pentagon itself can't even pass an audit . Why so much trust?

3. A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. Wars are now automatically treated as multi-generational with little concern for how permawar might degrade our democracy. Anti-war protesters are rare enough to be lone voices crying in the wilderness.

4. America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." Sages like former Secretary of Defense James Mattis ( cited glowingly in the recent debate among 12 Democratic presidential hopefuls) will save America from unskilled and tempestuous politicians like one Donald J. Trump. In the 2016 presidential race, it seemed that neither candidate could run without being endorsed by a screaming general ( Michael Flynn for Trump; John Allen for Clinton).

5. The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. Simultaneously, when the military goes to war, civilian journalists are "embedded" within those forces and so are dependent on them in every way. The result tends to be a cheerleading media that supports the military in the name of patriotism -- as well as higher ratings and corporate profits.

6. America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. Consider, for instance, the current controversy over the aid to Ukraine that President Trump blocked before his infamous phone call, which was, of course, partially about weaponry . This should serve to remind us that the United States has become the world's foremost merchant of death, selling far more weapons globally than any other country. Again, there is no real debate here about the morality of profiting from such massive sales, whether abroad ($55.4 billion in arms sales for this fiscal year alone, says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency) or at home (a staggering 150 million new guns produced in the USA since 1986, the vast majority remaining in American hands).

7. In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. Roughly 15 million AR-15s are currently owned by ordinary Americans. We're talking about a gun designed for battlefield-style rapid shooting and maximum damage against humans. In the 1970s, when I was a teenager, the hunters in my family had bolt-action rifles for deer hunting, shotguns for birds, and pistols for home defense and plinking. No one had a military-style assault rifle because no one needed one or even wanted one. Now, worried suburbanites buy them, thinking they're getting their " man card " back by toting such a weapon of mass destruction.

8. Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. But ignorance is not bliss. By tacitly giving the military a blank check, issued in the name of securing the homeland, Americans embrace that military, however loosely, and its misuse of violence across significant parts of the planet. Should it be any surprise that a country that kills so wantonly overseas over such a prolonged period would also experience mass shootings and other forms of violence at home?

9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II.

What these nine items add up to is a paradigm shift as well as a change in the zeitgeist. The U.S. military is no longer a tool that a democracy funds and uses reluctantly. It's become an alleged force for good, a virtuous entity, a band of brothers (and sisters), America's foremost missionaries overseas and most lovable and admired heroes at home. This embrace of the military is precisely what I would call soft militarism. Jackbooted troops may not be marching in our streets, but they increasingly seem to be marching unopposed through -- and occupying -- our minds.

The Decay of Democracy

As Americans embrace the military, less violent policy options are downplayed or disregarded. Consider the State Department, America's diplomatic corps, now a tiny , increasingly defunded branch of the Pentagon led by Mike Pompeo (celebrated by Donald Trump as a tremendous leader because he did well at West Point). Consider President Trump as well, who's been labeled an isolationist, and his stunning inability to truly withdraw troops or end wars. In Syria, U.S. troops were recently redeployed, not withdrawn, not from the region anyway, even as more troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia. In Afghanistan, Trump sent a few thousand more troops in 2017, his own modest version of a mini-surge and they're still there, even as peace negotiations with the Taliban have been abandoned. That decision, in turn, led to a new surge (a " near record high ") in U.S. bombing in that country in September, naturally in the name of advancing peace. The result: yet higher levels of civilian deaths .

How did the U.S. increasingly come to reject diplomacy and democracy for militarism and proto-autocracy? Partly, I think, because of the absence of a military draft. Precisely because military service is voluntary, it can be valorized. It can be elevated as a calling that's uniquely heroic and sacrificial. Even though most troops are drawn from the working class and volunteer for diverse reasons, their motivations and their imperfections can be ignored as politicians praise them to the rooftops. Related to this is the Rambo-like cult of the warrior and warrior ethos , now celebrated as something desirable in America. Such an ethos fits seamlessly with America's generational wars. Unlike conflicted draftees, warriors exist solely to wage war. They are less likely to have the questioning attitude of the citizen-soldier.

Don't get me wrong: reviving the draft isn't the solution; reviving democracy is. We need the active involvement of informed citizens, especially resistance to endless wars and budget-busting spending on American weapons of mass destruction. The true cost of our previously soft (now possibly hardening) militarism isn't seen only in this country's quickening march toward a militarized authoritarianism. It can also be measured in the dead and wounded from our wars, including the dead, wounded , and displaced in distant lands. It can be seen as well in the rise of increasingly well-armed, self-avowed nationalists domestically who promise solutions via walls and weapons and "good guys" with guns. ("Shoot them in the legs," Trump is alleged to have said about immigrants crossing America's southern border illegally.)

Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism.

With apologies to the great Roberta Flack , America is killing itself softly with war songs.

hoytmonger , 12 minutes ago link

"Police who deployed explosives and armored vehicles to flush out a man –who'd stolen two belts and a shirt from a Greenwood Village Walmart– from the house of Leo and Alfonsia Lech, are not required to compensate the couple for destroying their home, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday."

https://www.rt.com/usa/472224-police-explode-house-zero-compensation/

charlie_don't_surf , 3 minutes ago link

Those police destroyed a house worth well over 200K since it's in metro Denver...and all to apprehend a punk that shoplifted less than $100 of merchandise...something terribly wrong, all the govt units, local on up are high on the arrogance of power with impunity.

[Oct 29, 2019] Asia Times China's financial threat to the 2020 US election Article

Oct 29, 2019 | www.asiatimes.com
Henry • 4 days ago ,

The author seems to be writing an interesting fiction, reminds one of a Hollywood movie about a Russian oligarch at the behest of a senior Russian government official, attempting to engineer wall street crash.

Taking out a newspaper advertisement with proper representation to state one's case can't be compared with the US funded National Endowment for Democracy's funding of Hong Kong's increasingly violent rioting.

tinhatter Henry • 4 days ago ,

Is the NED something like the China's interference in the NBA ?

Henry tinhatter • 4 days ago ,

This is like apple and orange, not comparable. China did not interfere in NBA's affairs, just reacting to her citizens uproar against the infamous now deleted tweet. Thus many Chinese Chinese sponsors pulled out. This is no different to sponsors pulling out of US athletes endorsements from time to time when there are scandals.
Whereas NED is US intelligence cover for interference in targeted countries like Ukraine, Venezuela, Iran and many Islamic countries around the world, to advance US political agenda.

tinhatter daggo77 • 4 days ago ,

And in breaking news. 39 Britons have been found dead in a container trying to be smuggled fromt eh failed UK state to the successful state run by the CCP.
Did I get that the right-way round ?

Mustafa • 4 days ago ,

Who is this guy? Does he think this is CNN?

Is he smoking a heretofore unheard of narcotic?

Let me set the stage.

This is a paper or news site about asia. It is written in English? What does this tell you? The audience ostensibly consists of westerners (or educated people from asia or elsewhere) who want to read an alternative to the drivel and rubbish that's propagated in copious quantities by the scat factories of the west and their zionist-oligarch dominated news conglomerates...

Who is interfering in elections? Does china name some loser guaido as president of venezuela or support terrorists in syria? Is china sanctioning (with financial warfare)the whole world including their own allies? You must have no modicum of shame to come up with this absolute smorgasbord of rancid festering bollocks that you think is befitting of "reporting." You are bettet off taking a sabbatical and never coming back... i would tell you all of this to your face with the utmost respect that i could muster before i vomited...

Presidents come and go... the empire, deep state bureaucrats, and their slavish dual-state minions such as yourself will march on no matter what until your rotten seed perpetuate the corruption and degeneracy passed down through your genes. That xyz is president makes zero difference in deterring the momentum of evil that lurks within the diseased sociopaths such as yourself.

You are an unmitigated disgrace to true journalism and do a grave disservice to this site's reputation.

pooi-hoong chan Mustafa • 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter. He constantly spews out lies, fake news, propaganda and BS against China.

M Henri Day pooi-hoong chan • 2 days ago ,

"Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter." Alas, pooi-hong chan, these two professions are in many cases equivalent....

Henri

AsianInvestor Mustafa • 4 days ago • edited ,

CIA uses fake identities for the propaganda articles. If a nation is building close ties with China, automatically an author with a name from that nation appears. They also have groups posting propaganda under a single fake name. There are only a few genuine Asian CIA hacks making a living off the CIA.

USA is heading for multiple recessions possibly a depression unless they change their current anti China policies.

Bianca AsianInvestor • 4 days ago ,

In fact, in military, fake identities for information warfare are assigned to one person, so that it multiplies the effect. To keep track of these "personas" per each real person, and their postings -- a "persona" data bases are needed to keep track of their activities. And unfortunately , there are always some technicians who are more then happy to talk about it.

Deuxieme Bianca • 4 days ago ,

Yes. just google Operation Earnest Voice. It's a project by Pentagon that let one person control several of these "personas"

Mustafa AsianInvestor • 4 days ago ,

It would not surprise me if he worked for the CIA... this organization is, by its mission, embedded into all public spheres...

What is worrisome is that the cia has no accountability to anyone. It is one great example of deep state operator. Also, cia is heavily infiltrated by mossad. In other words, cia is a parallel drug traffickers organization that dabbles in news, democracy promotion, torture, coups, blackmail, assasibation, rendition...

It is accountable to no one ... their actions are conducted in secrecy and cannot be scrutinized... the president can't control them... these organizations are a manifest example of why this article is a huge fallacy dressed up in cured excrement.

Huashen • 4 days ago • edited ,

These people are outrageously shameless in their assertion that they can openly interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, like the recent bills passed by the US House of Representatives in support of the Blackshirts of HK, but they would not brook any interference from China in their election, not that it's true at all.
This is a good example of how the US apply its Orwellian ideology of "American Exceptionalism" - "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" - George Orwell's "Animal Farm."

Lee Sky • 4 days ago ,

Another guy cashing in on the evil China fad, pathetic. It is the US who conducts financial warfare by imposing illegal sanctions and restrictions on other countries using the dominance of the dollar in international trade.

Bianca • 4 days ago ,

If it is so easy to have a country's financial system snd stock markets manipulated -- how do know that our own financial sharks are not already manipulating market to enrich them selves , while making it appear that everything is fine? Or that they are not crashing markets in order to profit?
There is something not right about a country with financial and market systems living off the fumes of news cycle?

Look at how many times West attacked Russian financial systems
and markets, blocking whole companies and financial institutions -- yet nothing crashed. Currency lost some value helping exports, while those earning in dollars simply had more money to spend domestically. And by placing sanctions kn European food products -- they shot up to the first place globally in wheat production.

I am wondering if the difference is Russia's large currency and gold reserves. As opposed US economy that sits atop a large debt bubble? Than anything can spook it.

Deuxieme • 4 days ago • edited ,

Bill Gertz is running out of stuff to bad mouth China. He is eager to make some money now that he's been fired by Washington Free Beacon for having some shady deals with the Chinese billionaire fugitive Guo who is the subject covered in his reporting.
Maybe Gertz can tell us who China wants to be elected by staging these financial influence campaign? Gertz is sounding utterly ridiculous now.

Bapa aku • 4 days ago ,

american are losers, foreign influence here and there, well thanks to your own foreign policies bombing here and there and regime change everywhere, you sow what you get. if you don't want foreign influence. just build a great wall and extend it to these. not only no 5G, ditch all comunications including mail

Bobserver • 4 days ago • edited ,

This is a nonsense article. Lots of hypotheticals with no proof presented of China's intention or cases of actually trying to influence any American election.

This is more how Western countries behave with their Machivellian modus operandi overthrowing governments in Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc. This author and American officials are merely voicing what the USA is already capable of doing rather than what China has in place.

In fact there is a debate among Chinese officials and think tanks that they might want Trump to have a second term because as the USA p@sses off many countries including those allied with the USA that might help China down the line.

Bianca • 4 days ago ,

Wait a minute -- Russia wants Trump to be reelected, and China wants him to lose?

With US creating legislation for the whole world -- our sanctions whose enforcement is imposed in others -- means that other people must have the right to elect the president? How can the world accept such financial burden on others with no right to vote.

Remember America next time you vote for sanctions, tariffs etc. -- no taxation without representation. Global presidents must be elected globally!

MD6888 • 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is a Washington-based national security journalist and author of Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive for Global Supremacy

007's imaginary script writer. LOL!

Alex • 4 days ago ,

There's no need for the Chinese to rely on 'covert' operation to influence the election's outcome. For instance, if China just cancels the buying of the agricultural goods from the US that it has dealt with Trump in what is being called the partial deal from the trade war, it would be already enough to influence in the election. Lol!

[Oct 24, 2019] Empire Interventionism Versus Republic Noninterventionism by Jacob Hornberger

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world. ..."
"... That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security." ..."
"... The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap. ..."
"... There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

The chaos arising from U.S. interventionism in Syria provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interventionist mind.

Consider the terminology being employed by interventionists: President Trump's actions in Syria have left a "power vacuum," one that Russia and Iran are now filling. The United States will no longer have "influence" in the region. "Allies" will no longer be able to trust the U.S. to come to their assistance. Trump's actions have threatened "national security." It is now possible that ISIS will reformulate and threaten to take over lands and even regimes in the Middle East.

This verbiage is classic empire-speak. It is the language of the interventionist and the imperialist.

Amidst all the interventionist chaos in the Middle East, it is important to keep in mind one critically important fact: None of it will mean a violent takeover of the U.S. government or an invasion and conquest of the United States. The federal government will go on. American life will go on. There will be no army of Muslims, terrorists, Syrians, ISISians, Russians, Chinese, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants coming to get us and take over the reins of the IRS.

Why is that an important point? Because it shows that no matter what happens in Syria or the rest of the Middle East, life will continue here in the United States. Even if Russia gets to continue controlling Syria, that's not going to result in a conquest of the United States. The same holds true if ISIS, say, takes over Iraq. Or if Turkey ends up killing lots of Kurds. Or if Syria ends up protecting the Kurds. Or if Iran continues to be controlled by a theocratic state. Or if the Russians retake control over Ukraine.

It was no different than when North Vietnam ended up winning the Vietnamese civil war. The dominoes did not fall onto the United States and make America Red. It also makes no difference if Egypt continues to be controlled by a brutal military dictatorship. Or that Cuba, North Korea, and China are controlled by communist regimes. Or that Russia is controlled by an authoritarian regime. Or that Myanmar (Burma) is controlled by a totalitarian military regime. America and the federal government will continue standing.

America was founded as a limited government republic, one that did not send its military forces around the world to slay monsters. That's not to say that bad things didn't happen around the world. Bad things have always happened around the world. Dictatorships. Famines. Wars. Civil wars. Revolutions. Empires. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. Tyranny. Oppression. The policy of the United States was that it would not go abroad to fix or clear up those types of things.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world.

That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security."

That's when U.S. forces began invading and occupying other countries, waging wars of aggression against them, intervening in foreign wars, revolutions, and civil wars, initiating coups, destroying democratic regimes, establishing an empire of domestic and foreign military bases, and bombing, shooting, killing, assassinating, spying on, maiming, torturing, kidnapping, injuring, and destroying people in countries all over the world.

The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap.

The shift toward empire and interventionism has brought about the destruction of American liberty and privacy here at home. That's what the assassinations, secret surveillance, torture, and indefinite detentions of American citizens are all about -- to supposedly protect us from the dangers produced by U.S. imperialism and interventionism abroad. One might call it waging perpetual war for freedom and peace, both here and abroad.

There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land.

[Oct 22, 2019] It's four more years of the Trumpian Reich folks, with Russian Spetsnaz patrolling the streets, gigantic banners with the faces of Trump and Putin hanging in the football stadiums, National Vodka-for-Breakfast Day, babushkas, the whole nine yards by CJ Hopkins

Notable quotes:
"... Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins vis The Unz Review, ..."
Oct 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins vis The Unz Review,

So, it looks like that's it for America, folks. Putin has gone and done it again. He and his conspiracy of Putin-Nazis have "hacked," or "influenced," or "meddled in" our democracy.

Unless Admiral Bill McRaven and his special ops cronies can ginny up a last-minute military coup , it's four more years of the Trumpian Reich, Russian soldiers patrolling the streets, martial law, concentration camps, gigantic banners with the faces of Trump and Putin hanging in the football stadiums, mandatory Sieg-heiling in the public schools, National Vodka-for-Breakfast Day, death's heads, babushkas, the whole nine yards.

[Oct 20, 2019] How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area. ..."
"... Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials. ..."
"... Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind. ..."
"... A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion? ..."
"... As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. ..."
"... The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones. ..."
"... Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US. ..."
"... We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay. ..."
"... Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes says: October 4, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT • 100 Words @Ron Unz Proprietor Ron,

Thanks for your sharing you views about Prof Cohen, a most interesting and principled man.

Only after reading the article did I realize that the UR (that's you) also provided the Batchelor Show podcast. Thanks.

I've been listening to these broadcasts over their entirety, now going on for six or so years. What's always struck me is Cohen's level-headeness and equanimity. I've also detected affection for Kentucky, his native state. Not something to be expected from a Princeton / NYU academic nor an Upper West Side resident.

And once again expressing appreciation for the UR!


sally , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:47 am GMT

How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area.

Behind NATO lies the reason for Bexit, the Yellow Jackets, the unrest in Iraq and Egypt, Yemen etc.

Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials.
Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind.

I think [private use of public force for private gain] is what Trump meant when Trump said to impeach Trump for investigating the Ukraine matter amounts to Treason.. but it is the exactly the activity type that Hallmarks CIA instigated regime change.

A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion?

Beckow , says: October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT

The key question is what is the gain in separating Ukraine from Russia, adding it to NATO, and turning Russia and Ukraine into enemies. And what are the most likely results, e.g. can it ever work without risking a catastrophic event?

There are the usual empire-building and weapons business reasons, but those should function within a rational framework. As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. And an increase in tensions in the region with inevitable impact on the business there. So what exactly is the gain and for whom?

eah , says: October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country's constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass.

Which exemplifies the stupidity and arrogance of the American military/industrial/political Establishment -- none of that had anything to do with US national security (least of all antagonizing Russia) -- how fucking hypocritical is it to presume the Monroe Doctrine, and then try to get the Ukraine into NATO? -- none of it would have been of any benefit whatsoever to the average American.

Roberto Masioni , says: October 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
According to a recent govt study, only 12% of Americans can read above a 9th grade level. This effectively mean (((whoever))) controls the MSM controls the world. NOTHING will change for the better while the (((enemy))) owns our money supply.
Pamela , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
There was NO "annexation" of Crimea by Russia. Crimea WAS annexed, but by Ukraine.
Russia and Crimea re-unified. Crimea has been part of Russia for long than America has existed – since it was taken from the Ottoman Empire over 350 yrs ago. The vast majority of the people identify as Russian, and speak only Russian.

To annex, the verb, means to use armed force to seize sovereign territory and put it under the control of the invading forces government. Pretty much as the early Americans did to Northern Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Russia used no force, the Governors of Crimea applied for re-unification with Russia, Russia advised a referendum, which was held, and with a 96% turnout, 97% voted for re-unification. This was done formally and legally, conforming with all the international mandates.

It is very damaging for anyone to say that Russia "annexed" Crimea, because when people read, quickly moving past the world, they subliminally match the word to their held perception of the concept and move on. Thus they match the word "annex" to their conception of the use of Armed Force against a resistant population, without checking.

All Cohen is doing here is reinforcing the pushed, lying Empire narrative, that Russia invaded and used force, when the exact opposite is true!!

follyofwar , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer One wonders if Mr. Putin, as he puts his head on the pillow at night, fancies that he should have rolled the Russian tanks into Kiev, right after the 2014 US-financed coup of Ukraine's elected president, which was accomplished while he was pre-occupied with the Sochi Olympics, and been done with it. He had every justification to do so, but perhaps feared Western blowback. Well, the blowback happened anyway, so maybe Putin was too cautious.

The new Trump Admin threw him under the bus when it installed the idiot Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, whose first words were that Russia must give Crimea back. With its only major warm water port located at Sevastopol, that wasn't about to happen, and the US Deep State knew it.

Given how he has been so unfairly treated by the media, and never given a chance to enact his Russian agenda, anyone who thinks that Trump was 'selected' by the deep state has rocks for brains. The other night, on Rick Sanchez's RT America show, former US diplomat, and frequent guest Jim Jatras said that he would not be too surprised if 20 GOP Senators flipped and voted to convict Trump if the House votes to impeach.

The deep state can't abide four more years of the bombastic, Twitter-obsessed Trump, hence this Special Ops Ukraine false flag, designed to fool a majority of the people. The smooth talking, more warlike Pence is one of them. The night of the long knives is approaching.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones.

The "logic" of the Dem party is remarkable. Dems don't even deny that Biden is corrupt, that he blatantly abused the office of Vice-President for personal gain. What's more, he was dumb enough to boast about it publicly. Therefore, let's impeach Trump.

These people don't give a hoot about the interests of the US as a country, or even as an Empire. Their insatiable greed for money and power blinds them to everything. By rights, those who orchestrated totally fake Russiagate and now push for impeachment, when Russiagate flopped miserably, should be hanged on lampposts for high treason. Unfortunately, justice won't be served. So, we have to be satisfied with an almost assured prospect of this impeachment thing to flop, just like Russiagate before it. But in the process incalculable damage will be done to our country and its institutions.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Pamela In fact, several Western sources reluctantly confirmed the results of Crimean referendum of 2014:
German polling company GFK
http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Gallup
http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

Those who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia without Serbian consent cannot argue against separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the consent of Kiev regime.

On the other hand, those who believe that post-WWII borders are sacrosanct have to acknowledge that Crimea belongs to Russia (illegally even by loose Soviet standards transferred to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Union should be restored, and Germany should be re-divided.

Alden , says: October 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
At least now I know why Ukraine is so essential to American national security. It's so even more of my and my families' taxes can pay for a massive expansion of Nato, which means American military bases in Ukraine. Greenland to the borders of China.

We're encircling the earth, like those old cartoons about bankers.

chris , says: October 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Ron Unz I had to stop listening after the 10th min. where the good professor (without any push-back from the interviewer) says:

Victor Yanukovich was overthrown by a street coup . at that moment, the United States and not only the United States but the Western European Governments had to make a decision would they acknowledge the overthrow of Yannukovic as having been legitimate, and therefore accept whatever government emerged, and that was a fateful moment within 24hours, the governments, including the government of president Obama endorsed what was essentially a coup d'etat against Yanukovich.

Has the good Professor so quickly forgotten about Victoria Nuland distributing cookies with John McCain in the Maidan as the coup was still unfolding? Her claim at the think tank in DC where she discusses having spent $30million (if I remember correctly) for foisting the Ukraine coup ?

Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US.

These are not simple omissions but willful acts of misleading of fools. The good professor's little discussed career as a resource for the secret services has reemerged after seemingly having been left out in the cold during the 1st attempted coup against Trump.

No, the real story is more than just a little NATO expansion as the professor does suggest, but more directly, the attempted coup that the US is still trying to stage in Russia itself, in order to regain control of Russia's vast energy resources which Putin forced the oligarchs to disgorge. The US desperately wants to achieve this in order to be able to ultimately also control China's access to those resources as well.

In the way that Iraq was supposed to be a staging post for an attack on Iran, Ukraine is the staging post for an attack on Russia.

The great Russian expert stirred miles very clear of even hinting at such scenarios, even though anyone who's thought about US world policies will easily arrive at this logical conclusion.

Anonymous [855] • Disclaimer , says: October 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
What about the theft of Ukraine's farmland and the enserfing of its rural population? Isn't this theft and enserfing of Ukrainians at least one major reason the US government got involved, overseeing the transfer of this land into the hands of the transnational banking crime syndicate? The Ukraine, with its rich, black soil, used to be called the breadbasket of Europe.

Consider the fanatical intervention on the part of Victoria Nuland and the Kagans under the guise of working for the State Dept to facilitate the theft. In a similar fashion, according to Wayne Madsen, the State Dept. has a Dept of Foreign Asset Management, or some similar name, that exists to protect the Chabad stranglehold on the world diamond trade, and, according to Madsen, the language spoken and posters around the offices are in Hebrew, which as a practical matter might as well be the case at the State Dept itself.

According to an article a few years ago at Oakland Institute, George Rohr's NCH Capital, which latter organization has funded over 100 Chabad Houses on US campuses, owns over 1 million acres of Ukraine farmland. Other ownership interests of similarly vast tracts of Ukraine farmland show a similar pattern of predation. At one point, it was suggested that the Yinon Plan should be understood to include the Ukraine as the newly acquired breadbasket of Eretz Israel. It may also be worth pointing out that now kosher Ivy League schools' endowments are among the worst pillagers of native farmland and enserfers of the indigenous populations they claim to protect.

AnonFromTN , says: October 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mikhail Well, if we really go into it, things become complicated. What Khmelnitsky united with Russia was maybe 1/6th or 1/8th of current Ukraine. Huge (4-5 times greater) areas in the North and West were added by Russian Tsars, almost as great areas in the South and East taken by Tsars from Turkey and affiliated Crimean Khanate were added by Lenin, a big chunk in the West was added by Stalin, and then in 1956 moron Khrushchev "gifted" Crimea (which he had no right to do even by Soviet law). So, about 4/6th of "Ukraine" is Southern Russia, 1/6th is Eastern Poland, some chunks are Hungary and Romania, and the remaining little stub is Ukraine proper.
AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@anon American view always was: "yes, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". That historically applied to many obnoxious regimes, now fully applies to Ukraine. In that Dems and Reps always were essentially identical, revealing that they are two different puppets run by the same puppet master.

Trump is hardly very intelligent, but he has some street smarts that degenerate elites have lost. Hence their hatred of him. It is particularly galling for the elites that Trump won in 2016, and has every chance of winning again in 2020 (unless they decide to murder him, like JFK; but that would be a real giveaway, even the dumbest sheeple would smell the rat).

Skeptikal , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT
@follyofwar The only reason I can imagine that Putin/Russia would want to "take over" Ukraine and have this political problem child back in the family might be because of Ukraine's black soil.

But it is probably not worth the aggravation.

Russia is building up its agricultural sector via major greenhouse installations and other innovations.

Beckow , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
@AP Well, you are a true simpleton who repeats shallow conventional views. You don't ever seem to think deeper about what you write, e.g. if Yanukovitch could beat anyone in a 1-on-1 election than he obviously wasn't that unpopular and that makes Maidan illegal by any standard. You say he could beat Tiahnybok, who was one of the leaders of Maidan, how was then Maidan democratic? Or you don't care for democracy if people vote against your preferences?

Trade with Russia is way down and it is not coming back. That is my point – there was definitely a way to do this better. It wasn't a choice of 'one or the other' – actually EU was under the impression that Ukraine would help open up the Russian market. Your either-or wasn't the plan, so did Kiev lie to EU? No wonder Ukraine has a snowball chance in hell of joining EU.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Skeptikal Russia moved to the first place in the world in wheat exports, while greatly increasing its production of meat, fowl, and fish. Those who supplied these commodities lost Russian market for good. In fact, with sanctions, food in Russia got a lot better, and food in Moscow got immeasurably better: now it's local staff instead of crap shipped from half-a-world away. Funny thing is, Russian production of really good fancy cheeses has soared (partially with the help of French and Italian producers who moved in to avoid any stupid sanctions).

So, there is no reason for Russia to take Ukraine on any conditions, especially considering Ukraine's exorbitant external debt. If one calculates European demand for transplantation kidneys and prostitutes, two of the most successful Ukrainian exports, Ukraine will pay off its debt – never. Besides, the majority of Russians learned to despise Ukraine due to its subservient vassalage to the US (confirmed yet again by the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ze), so the emotional factor is also virtually gone. Now the EU and the US face the standard rule of retail: you broke it, you own it. That infuriates Americans and EU bureaucrats more than anything.

annamaria , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger "Demography statistic won't support fairy tales by solzhenicin and his kind."

-- What's your point? Your post reads like an attempt at saying that Kaganovitch was white like snow and that it does not matter what crimes were committed in the Soviet Union because of the "demography statistic" and because you, Sergey Krieger, are a grander person next to Solzhenitsyn and "his kind." By the way, had not A. I. S. returned to Russia, away from the coziness of western life?

S.K.: "You should start research onto mass dying of population after 1991 and subsequent and ongoing demographic catastroph in Russia under current not as "brutal " as soviet regime."

-- If you wish: "The Rape of Russia: Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives, September 21, 1999:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/Harvard_mafia/testimony_of_anne_williamson_before_the_house_banking_committee.shtml

"Economic rape of post-USSR economic space was by design not by accident:"
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#Economic_rape_of_post_USSR_economic_space_was_by_design_not_by_accident

"MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#MI6_role_

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 11:39 pm GMT
@AP Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) and lots of other laws. And that's not the worst part of it. But it already happened, there is no going back for Ukraine. It's a "yes or no" thing, you can't be a little bit pregnant. We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide. Some say this project was doomed from the start. I think Ukraine had a chance and blew it.
AP , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:39 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) a

Illegal revolution (are there any legal ones? – was American one legal?) rather than coup. Violations of Constitution began under Yanukovich.

We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide.

LOL. Were you the one comparing it to Somalia?

Here is "dead" Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DDWAobR8U0c?start=3017&feature=oembed

What a nightmare.

Compare Ukraine 2019 to Ukraine 2013 (before revolution):

GDP per capita PPP:

$9233 (2018) vs. $8648 (2013)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=UA-AM-GE-MN-AL&name_desc=false

GDP per capita nominal:

$3110 (2018) vs. $3160 (2013)

Given 3% growth in 2019, it will be higher.

Forex reserves:

$20 billion end of 2013, $23 billion currently

Debt to GDP ratio:

40% in 2013, 61% in 2018. Okay, this is worse. But it is a decline from 2016 when it was 81%.

Compare Ukraine's current 61% to Greece's 150%.

Military: from ~15,000 usable troops to 200,000.

Overall, not exactly a "suicide."

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I usually refrain from labelling off-cycle changes in government as revolutions or coups – it clearly depends on one's views and can't be determined.

In general, when violence or military is involved, it is more likely it was a coup. If a country has a reasonably open election process, violently overthrowing the current government would also seem like a coup, since it is unnecessary. Ukraine had both violence and a coming election that was democratic. If Yanukovitch would prevent or manipulate the elections, one could make a case that at that point – after the election – the population could stage a ' revolution '.

AP is a simpleton who repeats badly thought out slogans and desperately tries to save some face for the Maidan fiasco – so we will not change his mind, his mind is done with changes, it is all about avoiding regrets even if it means living in a lie. One can almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn't so obnoxious.

Ukraine has destroyed its own future gradually after 1991, all the elites there failed, Yanukovitch was just the last in a long line of failures, the guy before him (Yushenko?) left office with a 5% approval. Why wasn't there a revolution against him? Maidan put a cherry on that rotting cake – a desperate scream of pain by people who had lost all hope and so blindly fell for cheap promises by the new-old hustlers.

We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay.

Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that.

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@AP You intentionally omitted the second part of what I wrote: 'a reasonably democratic elections', neither 18th century American colonies, nor Russia in 1917 or Romania in 1989, had them. Ukraine in 2014 did.

So all your belly-aching is for nothing. The talk about 'subverting' and doing a preventive 'revolution' on Maidan to prevent 'subversion' has a very Stalinist ring to it. If you start revolutionary violence because you claim to anticipate that something bad might happen, well, the sky is the limit and you have no rules.

You are desperately trying to justify a stupid and unworkable act. As we watch the unfolding disaster and millions leaving Ukraine, this "Maidan was great!!!" mantra will sound even more silly. But enjoy it, it is not Somalia, wow, I guess as long as a country is not Somalia it is ok. Ukraine is by far the poorest large country in Europe. How is that a success?

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Beckow True believers are called that because they willfully ignore facts and logic. AP is a true believer Ukie. Ukie faith is their main undoing. Unfortunately, they are ruining the country with their insane dreams. But that cannot be helped now. The position of a large fraction of Ukrainian population is best described by a cruel American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN You are right, it can't be helped. Another saying is that it takes two to lie: one who lies, and one to lie to. The receiver of lies is also responsible.

What happened in Ukraine was: Nuland&Co. went to Ukraine and lied to them about ' EU, 'Marshall plan', aid, 'you will be Western ', etc,,,'. Maidanistas swallowed it because they wanted to believe – it is easy to lie to desperate people. Making promises is very easy. US soft power is all based on making promises.

What Nuland&Co. really wanted was to create a deep Ukraine-Russia hostility and to grab Crimea, so they could get Russian Navy out and move Nato in. It didn't work very well, all we have is useless hostility, and a dysfunctional state. But as long as they serve espresso in Lviv, AP will scream that it was all worth it, 'no Somalia', it is 'all normal', almost as good as 2013 . Right.

Robjil , says: October 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Ukraine is an overseas US territory.

It is not a foreign nation at all.

Trump dealt with one of our overseas territories.

Nuland said that US invested 5 billion dollars to get Ukraine.

She got Ukraine without balls that is Crimea. Russia took back the balls.

US cried, cried a Crimea river about this. They are still crying over this.

DESERT FOX , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Robjil Agree, and like Israel the Ukraine will be a welfare drain on the America taxpayers as long as Israel and the Ukraine exist.
Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
@AP I don't disagree with what you said, but my point was different:

lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians

Without the unnecessary hostility and the break in business relations with Russia the living standards in Ukraine would be higher. That, I think, noone would dispute. One can trace that directly to the so-far failed attempt to get Ukraine into Nato and Russia out of its Crimea bases. There has been a high cost for that policy, so it is appropriate to ask: why? did the authors of that policy think it through?

Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@AP I don't give a flying f k about Yanukovitch and your projections about what 'would be growth' under him. He was history by 2014 in any case.

One simple point that you don't seem to grasp: it was Yanuk who negotiated the association treaty with EU that inevitably meant Ukraine in Nato and Russia bases out of Crimea (after a decent interval). For anyone to call Yanuk a 'pro-Russian' is idiotic – what we see today are the results of Yanukovitch's policies. By the way, the first custom restrictions on Ukraine's exports to Russia happened in summer 2013 under Y.

If you still think that Yanukovitch was in spite of all of that somehow a 'Russian puppet', you must have a very low opinion of Kremlin skills in puppetry. He was not, he was fully onboard with the EU-Nato-Crimea policy – he implemented it until he got outflanked by even more radical forces on Maidan.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
@Beckow Well, exactly like all Ukrainian presidents before and after him, Yanuk was a thief. He might have been a more intelligent and/or more cautious thief that Porky, but a thief he was.

Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilled milk: history has no subjunctive mood. Ukraine has dug a hole for itself, and it still keeps digging, albeit slower, after a clown in whole socks replaced a clown in socks with holes. By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

There is no turning back. Regardless of Ukrainian policies, many things it used to sell Russia won't be bought any more: Russia developed its own shipbuilding (subcontracted some to South Korea), is making its own helicopter and ship engines, all stages of space rockets, etc. Russia won't return any military or high-tech production to Ukraine, ever. What's more, most Russians are now disgusted with Ukraine, which would impede improving relations even if Ukraine gets a sane government (which is extremely unlikely in the next 5 years).

Ukraine's situation is best described by Russian black humor saying: "what we fought for has befallen us". End of story.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 6, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev How many millions? It is same story. Ukraine claims more and more millions dead from so called Hilodomor when in Russia liberals have been screaming about 100 million deaths in russia from bolsheviks. Both are fairy tales. Now you better answer what is current population of ukraine. The last soviet time 1992 level was 52 million. I doubt you got even 40 million now. Under soviet power both ukraine and russia population were steadily growing. Now, under whose music you are dancing along with those in Russia that share your views when die off very real one is going right under your nose.
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

Have you noticed that the Republicans, while seeming to defend Trump, never challenge the specious assertion that delaying arms to Ukraine was a threat to US security? At first I thought this was oversight. Silly me. Keeping the New Cold War smoldering is more important to those hawks.

Tulsi Gabbard flipping to support the impeachment enquiry was especially disappointing. I'm guessing she was under lots of pressure, because she can't possibly believe that arming the Ukies is good for our security. If I could get to one of her events, I'd ask her direct, what's up with that. Obama didn't give them arms at all, even made some remarks about not inflaming the situation. (A small token, after his people managed the coup, spent 8 years demonizing Putin, and presided over origins of Russiagate to make Trump's [stated] goal of better relations impossible.)

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The ukrops are pureblooded nazis

Not really. Ukies are wonnabe Nazis, but they fall way short of their ideal. The original German Nazis were organized, capable, brave, sober, and mostly honest. Ukie scum is disorganized, ham-handed, cowardly, drunk (or under drugs), and corrupt to the core. They are heroes only against unarmed civilians, good only for theft, torture, and rape. When it comes to the real fight with armed opponents, they run away under various pretexts or surrender. Nazis should sue these impostors for defamation.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AP

So uprising by American colonists was a coup?

How about what happened in Russia in 1917?

Or Romania when Communism fell?

Talk about false equivalencies.

Yanukovych signed an internationally brokered power sharing agreement with his main rivals, who then violated it. Yanukovych up to that point was the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

Since his being violently overthrown, people have been unjustly jailed, beaten and killed for politically motivated reasons having to do with a stated opposition to the Euromaidan.

Yanukovych refrained from using from using considerably greater force, when compared to others if put in the same situation, against a mob element that included property damage and the deaths of law enforcement personnel.

In the technical legal sense, there was a legit basis to jail the likes of Tymoshenko. If I correctly recall Yushchenko offered testimony against Tymoshenko. Rather laughable that Poroshenko appointed the non-lawyer Lutsenko into a key legal position.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Beckow The undemocratic aspect involving Yanukovych's overthrow included the disproportionate number of Svoboda members appointed to key cabinet positions. At the time, Svoboda was on record for favoring the dissolution of Crimea's autonomous status
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:17 am GMT
@AP Grest comment #159 by Beckow. Really, I'm more concerned with the coup against POTUS that's happening right now, since before he took office. The Ukraine is pivotal, from the Kiev putschists collaborating with the DNC, to the CIA [pretend] whistleblowers who now subvert Trump's investigation of those crimes.

Tragic and pitiful, the Ukrainians jumped from a rock to a hard place. Used and abandoned by the Clinton-Soros gang, they appeal to the next abusive Sugar-Daddy. Isn't this FRANCE 24 report fairly objective?

Revisited: Five years on, what has Ukraine's Maidan Revolution achieved?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RtUrPKK73rE?feature=oembed

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
@AP This from BBC is less current. (That magnificent bridge -the one the Ukies tried to sabotage- is now in operation, of course.) I'm just trying to use sources that might not trigger you.

Crimea: Three years after annexation – BBC News

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 3:55 am GMT
@AP Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@AP "Whenever people ask me how to figure out the truth about Ukraine, I always recommend they watch the film Ukraine on Fire by director @lopatonok and executive produced by @TheOliverStone. The sequel Revealing Ukraine will be out soon proud to be in it."
– Lee Sranahan (Follow @stranahan for Ukrainegate in depth.)
" .what has really changed in the life of Ukrainians?"

REVEALING UKRAINE OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER #1 (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Nj_bdtO0SI0

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
@Malacaay Baltics, Ukrainians and Poles were part of the Polish Kingdom from 1025-1569 and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1764.

This probably explains their differences with Russia.

Russia had this area in the Russian Empire from 1764-1917. Russia called this area the Pale of Settlement. Why? This Polish Kingdom since 1025 welcomed 25000 Jews in, who later grew to millions by the 19th century. They are the Ashkenazis who are all over the world these days. The name Pale was for Ashkenazis to stay in that area and not immigrate to the rest of Russia.

The reasoning for this was not religious prejudice but the way the Ashkenazis treated the peasants of the Pale. It was to protect the Russian peasants. This did not help after 1917. A huge invasion of Ashkenazis descended all over Russia to take up positions all over the Soviet Union.

Ukraine US is like the Pale again. It has a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister.

Ukraine and Poland were both controlled by Tartars too. Ukraine longer than Russia. Russia ended the Tartar rule of Crimea in 1783. The Crimean Tartars lived off raiding Ukraine, Poland, and parts of Russia for Slav slaves. Russia ended this Slav slave trade in 1783.

[Oct 19, 2019] Our pentagon should be producing best and first technologies ACROSS THE BOARD, not spending all its time trying to hide from the taxpayer how many billions the neocons pilfered last quarter

Instead something has to be found to justify 12 Carrier Strike Force fleets for the U.S. Navy, so we've discovered Russia as the perfect scapegoat.
Oct 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

alexander , says: October 5, 2019 at 1:10 am GMT

@Alta It has already started.

Our neocon policies have proven to be an existential threat to the solvency , well being, and future of the United States.

We have squandered tens of trillions of dollars on stupid wasteful wars when we could have been using those exact same resources to build out our infrastructure, education and technological advantages.

Our pentagon should be producing best and first technologies ACROSS THE BOARD, not spending all its time trying to hide from the taxpayer how many billions the neocons pilfered last quarter.

We need to replace our policy of "perpetual war fraud" with a policy of empowering and igniting creativity and human excellence.

[Oct 13, 2019] Will American Exceptionalism Rise Again

The Collapse of American exceptionalism is actually the collapse of neoliberalism and the US neoliberal empire.
Oct 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

At its core, exceptionalism places America outside of normal history into a category of its own. Our initial "escape" from history followed two interrelated tracks: one was the religious radicalism of the Puritans, the other was the frontier experience. Both paths were the warpath.

The early settlers believed that they were "chosen" -- blessed by a special relationship to their God. They viewed their " errand in the wilderness " as a holy mission destined to bring a new and better way of life to the world. God's judgment on their progress was revealed in the bounty of a harvest or the outcome of a war.

Exceptionalism was not a free-floating idea but was forged into a lasting culture by the frontier wars aimed at the elimination or assimilation of native people and the conquest of land. America's frontier history produced a lasting mythology that popularized empire and white settler culture while cloaking their many contradictions.

I know it is hard to believe that the Puritans are still camped out in our minds. The old religious radicalism has taken modern form in the liberal-sounding belief that the US military is a "force for good (read God) in the world." The double-edged sword of exceptionalism traps us into repeating history: our high moral standards and special role in the world gives us license for wars and aggressions. It is the liberal elements of exceptionalism that are most seductive, most difficult to wrap our heads around, and the most effective at winning our consent to war.

Exceptionalism Wins Our Consent to War With A One-Two Punch

On the one hand, we have the "hard" exceptionalism like that of the Cold War (New and Old) and the War on Terrorism. These war stories revolve around a rigid binary of good and evil. After 9/11, in scores of speeches, George W. Bush repeated the mantra that there were "no gray areas" in the struggle between good and evil.

On the other hand,