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Note: Partially based on Wikipedia article American imperialism (which avoids discussion neoliberalism as the "imperial method used for the building modern US empire).
The "American Exceptionalism" is geo-political trap the USA now experiencing. This is a unique brand of nationalism and after September 2001 thee jaws of American imperialism: intelligence agencies, military and financial oligarchy are too tight for the country to leave this (potentially self-destructing) path. So it looks like the USA will continues its international power projection and unique financial imperialism in foreseeable future no matter what are internal costs. Leon Trotsky saying is fully applicable to the current decline of the American imperialism, the process started in 2008 "We will leave, but we will slam the door so hard the world will shudder," Trump presidency is clearly start of slamming the door.
Leopard can't change its spots. The same is true for the USA. It is metropolis for a large "neoliberal" empire governed from Washington and to some extent form London as the second most important financial center of the empire. It is attached to neoliberalism and death of neoliberalism means the death of this empire. The USA dominance is maintained mostly not by force of arms but by installing and cultivating comprador elites ("regime change/color revolutions) and financial mechanism, due to the role of dominant role of the USA Treasury, USA banks and two controlled by the USA international financial institutions (IMF and the World Bank) in the world financial system. This mechanism involves in many cases converting and then keeping the country in the status of a debt slave (to IMF or both IMF and private banks; Greece and Ukraine are notable examples)
Probably in a hundred years or so there will be discussion about whether the USA imperialism was totally harmful or at least somewhat beneficial for the vassal nations. Like discussion about Roman empire and British empire.
American imperialism is the economic/financial (as well as military and cultural) dominance of the United States over other countries. It is based on neoliberalism, so it more properly can be called "neo-imperialism"
Neoliberalism and associated with it a new type of empire (the USA neoliberal empire) was not an accident, it was a development that while started in the USA took roots in many countries, including such diverse as Chile (Pinochet), GB (Thatcher), China (Deng Xiaoping was a neoliberal reformer), Russia (Yeltsin gang), and many other countries. Since the late 1970s, a shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance has been adopted as mean to escape diminishing return on capital. The oil crisis of the 1970s was probably another factor in the decision of the elite (and it was decision, a conscious choice, not an accident) to switch to neoliberal policies.
"American empire" consists of vassal states and colonies. Vassal state that have some degree of independence is essentially a codename for NATO. All other states are colonies. An international financial elite (Davos crowd) which BTW consider the USA and NATO as a enforcer, a tool for getting what they want, much like Bolsheviks considered Soviet Russia to be such a tool. The last thing they are concerned is the well-being of American people.
During its history which starts around 70th (with the first major success the Pinochet's coup de etat in Chile, which was supported by the USA), neoliberalism undergone several stages of development:
The key here is that market economies have never existed independent of nation states. Neoliberalism is characterized by flow of the capital to the USA and other major western countries, rather than spreading the wealth from the wealthy center to the poorer periphery. By putting in debt a growing proportion of "third world" nations (and that includes some first world countries like Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain) a new finance based mechanism of dominance ( "debt slavery") emerged. Countries are forced to accumulate debt in external currency (euro or dollars) and that alone ensures the necessary level of political dependence on the USA and other major Western countries. "Dollarized" countries became political satellites, vassals of the USA (a classic example here is Yeltsin's Russia), with weakened "privatized" economy (which amounted to sell of assets to foreigners on pennies for a dollar). All of them were forced into debt slavery via the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its sister institution, the World Bank.
As professor Hudson noted (Financial Capitalism v. Industrial Capitalism, 1998):
These institutions are imposing the same creditor-oriented monetarism that wrecked the world economy in the 1920s, triggering the Great Depression. Instead of helping the world’s poorer debtor economies develop, the IMF and World Bank programs ‘underdevelop’ them, polarizing their economies between a wealthy top layer and poverty for the vast majority. Turned into a U.S. Cold War arm under the stewardship of Robert McNamara, the World Bank has become a powerful arm of the new global class war, most notoriously Russia and East Asia.
The upshot has been to leave the world’s poorer economies even deeper in debt, and so financially strapped that they are obliged to sell off to international financial institutions whatever assets remain in their public domain. While wealth and incomes have polarized as a result of the active intervention of the World Bank and IMF on behalf of the ruling kleptocracies throughout Africa, Latin America and Asia, the physical environments of these debtor economies have been devastated by the ecological consequences of the World Bank’s raw-materials export programs. Pandemics have broken out as public health programs have been dismantled as domestic budgets have been stripped to service the mounting foreign debt. This has impaired the ability of governments to contain new diseases and undertake ameliorative social spending.
It was the attack on Serbia (March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999) that helped many countries to realize that neoliberalism is a road to nowhere and the USA went too far in its "sole superpower" role. During the campaign, 2,300 air attacks were carried out on 995 facilities around Serbia and 1,150 fighter jets fired nearly 420,000 missiles to the total weight of 22,000 tons. NATO fired 1,300 cruise missiles, dropped 37,000 cluster bombs which killed around 200 individuals and caused injuries to several hundred more people. The forces also used banned depleted uranium ammunition. Later the same scenario was repeated in Iraq with substantially larger amount of victims (over one million in total, by some estimates; much more if we count subsequent civil war).
Backlash for neoliberalism in Russia stated almost immediately after attack on Yugoslavia.
Later Putin explicitly positioned Russia as the the country that rejects the role of the USA as the
center of neoliberal empire, while at the same time not rejecting neoliberalism per se (which is
a weak point of "Putinism" as an ideology).
The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake to begin with) and thus made it far less attractive as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades.
|The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake to begin with) and thus made it far less attractive as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades.|
Also the neoliberal Pax Americana and the neoliberal version of global capitalism are increasingly contested by China, with the help of India, Russia, and Brazil (Carl Schmitt’s War on Liberalism The National Interest )
In different ways, Xi Jinping’s China, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Narendra Modi’s India represent an alternative economic model, in which free markets and state capitalism are blended under strong executive rule.
In other words 2008 signified the "end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end" of Washington Consensus, if we use Churchill's words. But in now way it means that period of neoliberal revolutions came ot the end. Inertia and the level of technological and cultural dominance of the USA and its allies (G7) is such that even after bankruptcy as an ideology, neoliberalism continues to its world expansion and claims new victims among "resource nationalists" or simply "not neoliberal enough" regimes. After 2008 Libya, Syria and Ukraine were successfully "regime changed". I think Ukraine, which was a neoliberal state even before EuroMaidan is a special case and much of EuroMaidan events were connected with the desire to "put Russia in place" by Washington (and its European poodles) as well as century old Germany desire to expand its market and dominance into Ukraine.
If we assume that Marxism as a political philosophy was dead around 1960-1970 when it became evident that working class does not represent the new dominant class able to take power and govern in a new social system as well as the fact that Communist Party political dominance is unable to secure higher standard of living for people then advanced capitalist societies, and never will, and that The Iron Law of Oligarchy is applicable to the USSR even more, not less that to any Western country. Still it took 20 years for the USSR to collapse after the USA elite bought part of The USSR nomenclature and organized a quite coup installing puppet neoliberal Yeltsin regime (sold as a "victory of democracy" to lemmings by Western propaganda machine). Using neoliberal advisors from Harvard (aka "Harvard mafia") it instituted "shock therapy" which instantly pushed 90% of population of the xUSSR region into object poverty very and also enriched beyond imagination few multinationals who were will full support of Yeltsin regime to steal assets and natural resources for pennies on dollar (using Russian fifth column as an intermediary). Essentially looting of the USSR area was one of key factors which ensured recovery and quick growth of the USA economy in late 90th which was interrupted only by the dot-com crysy of 2000.
I would assume that neoliberalism is probably twice more resilient the communism, so 50-60 years since it became clear that the economic doctrine of neoliberalism is a pseudoscientific joke and its political doctrine is an eclectic mix masking financial slavery masked with the smokescreen of propaganda about "entrepreneur class" and "shareholder value" the first sign of decay might be a reasonable estimate ot its eventual lifetime. Much depends on the dynamics of the price of oil, as globalization and thus forces of neoliberalism are inherently dependent on cheap hydrocarbons. High prices or relative scarcity that affects transcontinental trade might damage neoliberalism and undermine the fifth column that support it in.
Also high cost of hydrocarbons means "end of growth", and neoliberalism financial scheme based on cheap credit. It might implode in the environment of slow, or close to zero growth.
That means that consistent price of oil, say, over 120 is a direct threat to neoliberal project in the USA. Even with prices over $100 the major neoliberal economics entered the stage of "secular stagnation". It also makes the US military which is the largest consumer of oil in the USA much more expensive to run and increase the costs of neoliberal "wars for regime change", essentially curtailing neoliberal expansion. Or at least making it more difficult. The same is true about financiering of color revolutions, which as a new type of neoliberal conquests of other countries, also require some cash, although not at the scale of "boots on the ground".
It is possible to lower the oil price, as happened at the end of 2014, but the question is how long this period will last.
At this point ideology of neoliberalism as an ideology is completely discredited and its fake nature is evident to large part of global elite (which probably never have any illusions from the very beginning) as well, which is more dangerous, large part of middle class. It still is supported by pure military and financial power of the USA and its allies as well as technological superiority of the West in general. So only postulates of neoliberalism, especially as for free market absolutization, started to be questioned. And partically revised (increased financial regulation is one example). This form of neoliberalism with the core ideology intact but modified one of several postulates can be called post-neoliberalism.
The USA still remains the most powerful country in the world with formidable military, and still behave as a word hegemon and the only source of justice ignoring US and other International organization, unless it if convenient to them. But as Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". Running aggressive foreign policy on a discredited ideology and relying on blunt propaganda is a difficult undertaking as resistance mounts and bubble out in un-anticipated areas (Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine are recent example, when neoliberal color revolution, which was performed by few thousands trained by the West far right militants, including openly neo-fascist squads, led to civil war in the country).
Still, unfortunately, Libya, Syria and Ukraine, were not probably a swan song of muscular enforcement of neoliberal model on other countries. While sponsored by the USA and allies anti-Putin putsch in Russia (aka white revolution") failed, events in Libya and Ukraine prove the neoliberalism sill can launch and win offensives (aka color revolutions). At the cost of plunging the country into economic and political chaos including civil war.
Rule of financial oligarchy also gradually comes under some (although very limited) scrutiny in the USA. Some measures to restrict appetites of financial oligarchy were recently undertaken in Europe (bank bonuses limitations).
HFT and derivatives still remain off-reach for regulators despite JP Morgan fiasco in May 2012 in London branch. Trade loss was around two billions, decline of bank value was around $13bn (The Guardian) At this stage most people around the world realized that as Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger quipped in his CNBC interview Trusting banks to self-regulate is like trusting to self-regulate heroin addicts. At the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) heads of states in the spring of 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the death of “the Washington Consensus” — the famous list of market-liberalizing policy prescriptions that guided the previous 20 or 30 years of neoliberal expansion into third world countries (Painter 2009).
Prominent economists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that after decades of reform, market-liberalizing policies had not produced the promised benefits for either economic growth or social welfare of countries were those policies were applied (Stiglitz 2002, 2006; Rodrik 2006). These criticisms further undermined the legitimacy of neoliberal governance, exactly the same way as similar criticism undermined socialist model of the USSR and Eastern Europe. The problem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achievement, here there is no alternative model with which to compare.
Still a backlash directed at the USA is mounting even from the former loyal vassals. Even the UK elite starts to display the behavior that contradict its role of the obedient US poodle. The atmosphere is which the USA is considered "guilty" of pushing though the throats of other countries a utopia that harmed them is a different atmosphere for the US oligarchy that the role of it accustomed to. Now the US oligarchy has found itself in USSR nomenklatura shoes and eventually might be called to answer for their global actions which similar to Opium Wars of the British can be called Dollar Wars.
Everybody is now aware of the substantial costs that the modern financial system has imposed on the real economy, especially in developing countries, and no amount of propaganda and brainwashing can hide this simple fact.
Standard of living was rising slowly and after 2008 mostly stopped to rise and started to detiorate reflecting higher energy prices and the level on indebtness of many countries (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Ukraine, etc). So the key promise of neoliberalism that "trickle down" from super rich will be enough to sustain better standard of living for all proved to be a confidence game.
It is questionable that the "financial innovations" of the last three-four decades can compensate for those huge costs and that they warrants those costs. Shocks generated within the financial system and transformation of economies imposed by international financial oligarchy as the core of neoliberal elite, implies that the rule of financial oligarchy creates negative externalities for societies and that some types of financial activities and some financial structures should be treated like an organized crime (in other words as purely parasitic, extortionist type of players).
Still this stage preserves several attributes of previous stage and first of all push for globalization and aggressive foreign policy. While economic crisis of 2008 destroyed legitimacy of ideology of neoliberalism, neoliberalism as an ideology continue to exists as a cult, much like communism as an ideology continues to exist, despite the failure of the USSR. And being phony ideology from the very beginning, a smokescreen for the revanchism of financial oligarchy, it still can be promoted by unrelenting propaganda machine of the same forces which put it into mainstream albeit with les efficiency.
So far no viable alternatives emerged, and inertia is still strong, as strong as G7 block with the USA as the head of the block. Like in 20th failure of neoliberalism led to rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hungary, Ukraine). In some countries, such as Ukraine, the net result of neoliberal revolution was establishing a far right regime which has uncanny similarities to the régimes which came to power in 30th such as Franko regime in Spain. The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, it is just the central idea of neoliberalism, the fake idea of self-regulating markets that was completely discredited by the crisis of 2008. Actually it was discredited before during Great Depression, but the generation that remembered this lesson is now extinct (it looks like it takes approximately 50 years for humanity to completely forget the lessons of history ;-).
Latin America, once paragon of a neoliberal revolution (Chile, Argentina, Mexico, etc), is now dominated by left-wing governments elected on explicitly anti-neoliberal platforms. Around the world, economists and policymakers now come to consensus that excessive reliance on unregulated financial markets and the unrestrained rule of financial oligarchy was the root cause of the current worldwide financial crisis. That created a more difficult atmosphere for the USA financial institutions to operate abroad. Several countries are now trying to limit role of dollar as the world currency (one of the sins Saddam Hussein paid the price).
Also internal contradictions became much deeper and the neoliberal regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Like any overstretched empire it became hollow within with stretches on potholes ridden roads and decaying infrastructure visible to everyone. Politically, the Republican Party became a roadblock for any meaningful reform (and its radical wing -- the tea party even sending its representatives to Congress), the Party that is determined to rather take the USA the road of the USSR, then change its ideology. All this points to the fact that neoliberalism as an socio-economic doctrine is following the path of Bolshevism.
But its media dominance of neoliberalism paradoxically continues unabated. And this is despite the fact that after the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. We can expect that like was the case with Catholicism in middle ages and Bolshevism in the USSR, zombie phase of neoliberalism can last many decades (in the USSR, "zombie" state lasted two decades, say from 1970 to 1991, and neoliberalism with its emphasis on low human traits such as greed and supported by military and economic power of the USA, is considerably more resilient then Bolshevism). As of 2013 it is still supported by elites of several major western states (such as the USA, GB, Germany, France), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation. That means that is it reasonable to expect that its rule in G7 will continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite probably interrupted by bursts of social violence (Muslim immigrants in Europe are once such force).
In the US, for example, income and wealth inequality continue to increase, with stagnating middle-class earnings, reduced social mobility, and an allegedly meritocratic higher education system, generously supported by tax exemptions, has been turned into the system whose main beneficiaries are the children of the rich and successful. Superimposed on this class divide is an increasingly serious intergenerational divide, and increases level of unemployment of young people, which make social atmosphere somewhat similar to the one in Egypt, although the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists is absent.
More and more neoliberalism came to be perceived as a ruse intended to safeguard the interests of a malignantly narcissistic empire (the USA) and of rapacious multinationals. It is now more and more linked with low-brow cultural homogeneity, social Darwinism, encroachment on privacy, mass production of junk, and suppression of national sentiments and aspiration in favor of transnational monopolies. It even came to be associated with a bewildering variety of social ills: rising crime rates, unemployment, poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, organ trafficking, and other antisocial forms of conduct.
While ideology of neoliberalism is by-and-large discredited, the global economic institutions associated with its rise are not all equally moribund. For example, the global economic crisis of 2008 has unexpectedly improved the fortunes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization long famous for the neoliberal policy conditions attached to its loans that served to incorporate countries into a global neoliberal economic system. In 2008, a cascade of financial crises in Eastern Europe and Iceland fattened the IMF’s dwindling loan portfolio.
World Trade Organization (WTO), the key US-used and abused universal opener of markets to US corporations and investments is in worse shape then IMF, but still is viable too. The Doha round of negotiations is stalled, mostly due to irresolvable disputes between developed and developing countries. Consequently, the current crisis of neoliberalism raises many important questions about the future path of the current international institutions promoting the neoliberal order. But still Russia joined WTO in 2012 which means that this organization got a new lease of life.
Nonetheless, that "neoliberalism in name only" is still a powerful global "brand" which the U.S. seeks to maintain at all costs for macro geopolitical reasons (The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West , Foreign Affairs)
The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the United States.
A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective under the circumstances.
This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts the tenets of modern capitalism.
Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding.
The USA was and probably will remain the center of neoliberalism and firmly established as most important and the most powerful promoter of the doctrine (in some case, like with Serbia, Iraq and Libya, on the tips of bayonets).
After the dissolution of the USSR the US elite felt that "everything is permitted" and essentially started to pursue global Roman style imperial policy. The USA military forces are active over most of the globe: about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence. This is a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. In his 1919 essay, "The Sociology of Imperialisms," Joseph Schumpeter wrote of Rome during its years of greatest expansion.
As G. John Ikenberry, professor of geopolitics at Georgetown University noted in Foreign Affairs:
There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest-why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.
The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing-space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs.*
The new grand strategy [initiated by the Bush administration]…. begins with a fundamental commitment to maintaining a unipolar world in which the United States has no peer competitor. No coalition of great powers without the United States will be allowed to achieve hegemony. Bush made this point the centerpiece of American security policy in his West Point commencement address in June: "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenges-thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace."
…The United States grew faster than the other major states during the decade [of the 1990s], it reduced military spending more slowly, and it dominated investment in the technological advancement of its forces. Today, however, the new goal is to make these advantages permanent-a fait accompli that will prompt other states to not even try to catch up. Some thinkers have described the strategy as "breakout," in which the United States moves so quickly to develop technological advantages (in robotics, lasers, satellites, precision munitions, etc.) that no state or coalition could ever challenge it as global leader, protector and enforcer ("America's Imperial Ambition," Foreign Affairs, October 2002).
Perhaps one of extreme expressions of this neo-Roman imperial policy became that book by The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives by Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is how Brzezinski views the (supposedly sovereign) nations of Central Asia (sited from Amazon review by "A Customer" Jan 3, 2002 as pawns in a greater game for geopolitical domination:
The quote "... the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." (The Grand Chessboard p.40) is probably the most revealing. Just ponder the meaning of these statements in a post-9-11 world:
To most Americans the people of the world and other nations are just that -- people, just like us, with a right to self-determination. To Brzezinski, they are merely pawns on a chessboard. At the same time, despite the fact that the analogy are not perfect, Rome fell, Napoleon fell, Hitler fell, USSR fell. Countries with too aggressive foreign policy ultimately self-destruct, because they over-extend their own countries resources to the point when people wellbeing drops to the levels of some colonies. The USA have over million people with the security clearance. So in a way it is becoming a copy-cat of the USSR. And while the US military is busy fighting for oil interests all around the world, those wars were launched by borrowing money and it's unclear who will pay the bills.
Neoliberalism beginning as ideology start was pretty modest. It was never considered a "right" ideology, ideology for which people are ready to fight and die. It was just an "ideology of convenience", an eclectic mix of mutually incompatible and incoherent mosaic of various ideologies (including some ideas of Trotskyism and national socialism) that served as useful tool to counter communist ideology. This is the tress of Friedman pretty weak opus "Capitalism and Freedom" -- which can be considered to be close analog of Communist Manifesto for neoliberalism. It also was useful for fighting some Keynesian excesses. Only later it become favorite ideology of financial oligarchy.
So in fight against "Godless communism" which does not respect private property and used "all-powerful" state, it idealized private property ownership, the role of "free" (as in free shooting) market and stressed the necessity to control the size of the government. As a tools to fight communist ideology those were reasonably effective tools. But at some point this deeply flawed, but useful for the specific purpose framework went out of control and became the cult of the deified markets and explicitly stated the necessary of diminishing the role of the state to minimum to ensure the high level of inequality the new neoliberal elite strived for (note not optimizing for a given historical conditions and technology available, but unconditionally diminishing to the point of elimination). Reagan famous phase "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." is a perfect example of how to "Throw out the baby with the bath water". But the meaning is more sinister: it meant "throw out of the water middle class".
That happened when financial oligarchy understood that a tool created for fighting communism is perfectly suitable for fighting elements of "New Deal". And it proved to be pretty effective in dismantling of set of regulations of financial sector that were the cornerstone of "New Deal". That was a very smooth ride "deregulatory" ride until 2008. But after 2008 the USA (citadel of neoliberalism) faces the set of problems that at least on the surface look similar to the problem that USSR faced before its disintegration, although the USA still have much more favorable conditions overall and disintegration is not among the current threats. Among them:
Still there are important difference with Marxism: despite extremely flawed to the point of being anti-scientific neoliberal ideology is still supported by higher standard of living of population in selected Western countries (G7). If also can rely on five important factors:
The American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell speech (Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation) famously warned Americans to beware the "military-industrial complex." See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The major opponent, the USSR left the world scene, being defeated in the cold war. That means that currently the USA enjoy world military dominance that reminds the dominance of Roman Empire.
The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It spends more on armed forces than all other nations combined -- while going deeply into debt to do so.
The USA also stations over 500,000 troops, spies, contractors, dependents, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, the USA have 99,295 people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The only purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible.
Funny but among other thing the Pentagon also maintain 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals, and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.
Military dominance of the USA and NATO were demonstrated during Yugoslavia bombing and then invasion of Iraq. It's clear the Yugoslavia bombing would be out of question if the USSR existed.
Under neoliberalism, markets are now fused with the logic of expansion and militarization is the most logical was of securing expansion, improving global positions, and the ordering of social relations in a way favorable to the transnational elite.
Under neoliberal regime the United States is not only obsessed with militarism, which is shaping foreign policy , but wars have become real extension of the politics, the force that penetrates almost every aspect of daily life. Support of wars became a perverted version of patriotism.
As Henry A. Giroux noted in his interview to Truth-out (Violence is Deeply Rooted in American Culture), paradoxically in the country of "advanced democracy" schools and social services are increasingly modeled after prisons. Four decades of neoliberal policies have given way to an economic Darwinism that promotes a politics of cruelty.
Police forces are militarized. Popular culture endlessly celebrating the spectacle of violence. The Darwinian logic of war and violence have become addictive, a socially constructed need. State violence has become an organizing principle of society that has become the key mediating force that now holds everyday life together. State violence is now amplified in the rise of the punishing state which works to support corporate interests and suppress all forms of dissent aimed at making corporate power accountable. Violence as a mode of discipline is now enacted in spheres that have traditionally been created to counter it. Airports, schools, public services, and a host of other public spheres are now defined through a militarized language of "fight with terrorism", the language of discipline, regulation, control, and order. Human relations and behaviors are dehumanized making it easier to legitimate a culture of cruelty and politics of disposability that are central organizing principles of casino capitalism.
The national news became a video game, a source of entertainment where a story gains prominence by virtue of the notion that if it bleeds it leads. Education has been turned into a quest for private satisfactions and is no longer viewed as a public good, thus cutting itself off from teaching students about public values, the public good and engaged citizenship. What has emerged in the United States is a civil and political order structured around the criminalization of social problems and everyday life. This governing-through-crime model produces a highly authoritarian and mechanistic approach to addressing social problems that often focuses on the poor and minorities, promotes highly repressive policies, and places emphasis on personal security, rather than considering the larger complex of social and structural forces that fuels violence in the first place.
The key reference on the topic is the book The New American Militarism (2005) by Andrew Bacevich. Here is one Amazon review:
In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.
Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies.
" We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form.
It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.
How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.
- After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
- Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
- Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
- Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
- Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
- Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.
Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."
With dollar role as the primary world reserve currency the USA still rides on its "Exorbitant privilege". But there are countervailing forces that diminish dollar importance, such a euro. Financial dominance under neoliberalism became the primary tool of ensuring the control over the nations. See Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
US and Western banks dominate the globe with New York and London as two world financial centers.
Things little changed after 2008 despite the fact that the US economy in entered a deep debt crisis, which is amplified by the level of destruction of real economy by offshoring and outsourcing achieved under the umbrella of neoliberalism during previous four decades. While the USA remains the sole super power its imperial problems now reached such a level that they may start to affect the foreign policy. Troubles of organizing an invasion in Syria are probably symptomatic. It proved to be more difficult undertaking that similar invasion of Iraq a decade earlier.
Economic troubles have important side effect: the ideological dominance, achieved by the USA during 1989 till 2008 is now under attack. There are a lot of skeptic and in a way neoliberalism goes the way of Marxism with the major difference that there were probably some sincere followers of Marxism at least during the first 30 years of its development.
Since the late 1970s, there was a radical shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance with the rapid growth since then of the share of financial profits in total corporate profits. Also reflective of this process of "financialisation of the Economy" was the explosive growth of private debt as a proportion of gross domestic product, and the piling of layers upon layers of claims with the existence of instruments like options, futures, swaps, and the like, and financial entities like hedge funds and structured investment vehicles.
With financialisation, the financial masturbation -- speculation directed on making money within the financial system, bypassing the route of commodity production, increasingly became the name of the game. Using Marxist terminology the general formula for capital accumulation, M-C-M', in which commodities are central to the generation of profits, was replaced by M-M', in which money simply begets more money with no relation to production.
This is related to the reason which brought on the financialization of the economy in the forefront: beginning with the sharp recession of 1974-75, the US economy entered a period of slow economic growth, high unemployment/underemployment and excess capacity. That happened after around 25 years of spectacular ascent following the second world war. So financialisation was thought a s a remedy to this "permanent stagnation" regime. And for a while it performed this function well, although it was done by "eating the host".
Finance under any neoliberalism-bound regime can be best understood as a form of warfare, and financial complex (typically large Western banks as locals are not permitted, unless specially protected by remnants of the nation state) as an extension of military-industrial complex. Like in military conquest, its aim is to gain control for occupying country of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute putting the country in debt and using dominance of dollar as world reserve currency. This involves dictating laws to vassal countries (imposing Washington consensus, see below) and interfering in social as well as economic planning using foreign debt and the necessity to service the foreign loans as a form of Gosplan.
The main advantage of neoliberalism in comparison with the similar practice of the past is the conquest is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight. Actually following s successful attack of neoliberalism and conquest of the country by neoliberal elite Russian economy was devastated more then during WWII, when Hitler armies reached banks of Volga river and occupies half of the country.
This attack is being mounted not by nation states alone, but by a cosmopolitan financial class and international financial institutions such as World bank and IMF with full support of major western banks serving as agencies of western governments. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.
Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial "Trojan horse" strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance profits via privatization and protect finance capital from the population to allow "the miracle of compound interest" to siphon most of the revenue out of the country. Some tiny share of this revenue is paid to compradors within the national elite. In good years such tactic keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow. This "paradise for rentiers" last until they eat into the core and cause deindustrialization and severe debt crisis. Eventually they do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.
The globalist bloc of Western countries led by the USA achieved hegemony in the end of the twentieth century because it managed to become the center of technological progress and due to this acquired a commanding influence over industrial production and social life around the world, including the ability to provide rewards and impose sanctions. One or the reason of technical backwardness of the USSR just before the dissolution were technical sanctions imposed by the West via COCOM. As most of global corporations belong to G7 this lead to "natural" technological hegemony of this block. As Thatcher used to say "There is no alternatives", although she meant there is no alternatives to neoliberalism, not to Western technology from G7 nations. Only recently Asian countries started to challenge this status quo in some areas.
Global corporation managed to create a situation in which the same goods are used in most countries of the globe. Western brand names dominate. American and European airliners, Japanese, American and German cars, Korean and American smartphones, Chinese and American PCs, etc.
China became world factory and produces lion share of goods sold under Western brands.
The debate about the USA dominance in internet and global communications reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL. The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower.
The USA has capabilities of intercepting of lion share of global internet traffic and with allies tries to intercept all the diplomatic communication during major conferences and trade talk in direct violation of Vienna protocols. Latin American countries were one of the recent victims of this activity during trade talks with the USA. There were reports about snooping on UN personnel communications in NYC.
Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):
Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...
We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.
We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don't currently have, they will very soon…
These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...
They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.
Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?
Here's why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.
Remember the "Two to Three Hop" scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…
The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…
"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.
"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol)."
There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...
Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...
Pretty good bet they win...
That includes industrial espionage:
EntropyNow:Absolutely. See EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT report dated 11 July 2001 (Note it was before the 9/11 attack in the US).
Or industrial espionage?
7. Compatibility of an 'ECHELON' type communications interception system with Union law
7.1. Preliminary considerations
7.2. Compatibility of an intelligence system with Union law
7.2.1. Compatibility with EC law
7.2.2. Compatibility with other EU law
7.3. The question of compatibility in the event of misuse of the system for industrial espionage
EntropyNow -> StrawBear
The fact that they snoop on us all constantly, that's the problem. I agree that the indiscriminate surveillance is a problem. However, with such vast powers in the hands of private contractors, without robust legal oversight, it is wide open to abuse and interpretation. I believe we need to pull the plug and start again, with robust, independent, legal oversight, which respects fundamental international human rights laws In the US, the NDAA is a law which gives the government the right to indefinitely detain US citizens, without due process, without a trial, if they are suspected to be associated with 'terrorists'. Now define 'terrorism'?
Section 1021b is particularly worrying, concerning "substantial support." It is wide open to interpretation and abuse, which could criminalize dissent and even investigative journalism. See Guardian's excellent article by Naomi Wolf, 17 May 2012::
As Judge Forrest pointed out:
"An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so. In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more."
In an excellent episode of Breaking the Set Feb 7 2013 Tangerine Bolen (Founder and Director, Revolutiontruth) stated that 'Occupy London' was designated a 'terrorist group" officially. There are independent journalists and civil liberty activists being targeted by private cyber security firms, which are contractors for the DOD, they are being harassed and intimidated, threatening free speech and liberty for everyone, everywhere. As Naomi Wolf concludes:
"This darkness is so dangerous not least because a new Department of Homeland Security document trove, released in response to a FOIA request filed by Michael Moore and the National Lawyers' Guild, proves in exhaustive detail that the DHS and its "fusion centers" coordinated with local police (as I argued here, to initial disbelief), the violent crackdown against Occupy last fall.
You have to put these pieces of evidence together: the government cannot be trusted with powers to detain indefinitely any US citizen – even though Obama promised he would not misuse these powers – because the United States government is already coordinating a surveillance and policing war against its citizens, designed to suppress their peaceful assembly and criticism of its corporate allies."
It seems to me that potential terrorist threats come in two sorts: the highly organised and funded groups that could commit catastrophic destruction, and the local schmucks that are really just old-fashioned losers-with-a-grudge adopting an empowering ideology.
The first group would be immensely cautious with their communications, and fall outside this sort of surveillance. The second group, if Boston and Woolwich are any evidence, are not effectively detected by these measures.
It appears very clear to me that this is runaway state power, predictably and transparently deflected with cries of "terrorism". And, perhaps most worrying, that definition of terrorism is now as wide as the state requires. Anything that embarrasses or exposes the evils of our states, including rendition, torture, and all manner of appalling injustice, is classified as a matter of 'national security', which must not be exposed lest it aid the enemy.
I know Orwell's name gets tossed around too much... but Jesus! I really hope we're not bovine enough to walk serenely into this future.
...The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower and moral authority for the rest of the time humanity has in this world.
All this muck is hurting bad. Obama is having a tough time from all sides. All the moralists think he is a villain doing everything he promised to change. All the secret society members think he is a clown who has spilled out every secret that was painstakingly put together over decades....
The temples of neoliberalism are malls and airports ;-). And they are build all over the glone is a very similar fashion. A drunk person accidentally transfered from New Jersey to, say Kiev and put in one of mjor malls can never tell the difference :-).
English became the major international language. Both language of technology and commerce. Much like Latin was before.
In developing countries goods are sold at considerable premium (up to 100%) but generally everything that can be bought in the USA now can be bought say in Kiev. Of course affordability is drastically different, but for elite itis not a problem. That create another opportunity for the top 1% to enjoy very similar, "internationalized" lifestyle all over the globe.
Hollywood films dominate world cinemas. American computer games dominate gaming space. In a way the USA culturally is present in any country. It was amazing how quickly remnants of communist ideology were wipes out in the xUSSR countries (Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism Daniele Conversi - Academia.edu):
Contrary to the globalists or ideologues of globalization (Steger 2005), both Marxists and liberals have highlighted the ' pyramidal ' structure underlying globalization. This metaphor applies well to cultural dissemination.
An elite of corporate, media, and governmental agencies sits at the pyramid' s top level, small regional intermediary elites sit immediately below, while the overwhelming majority of humans are pushed well down towards the pyramid' s bottom. In the realm of ' global culture ' , this looks like a master-servant relationship with much of the world at the boot-licking end. Whether such a relationship really exists, or is even practical, this metaphorical dramatization can nevertheless help to understand collective self-perceptions. The consequences in the area of ethnic conﬂict are signiﬁcant. Such a hierarchical structure makes it impossible for global exchanges to turn into egalitarian relationships based on evenly balanced inter-cultural communication and dialogue.
On the contrary, cultural globalization is not reﬂected in a genuine increase of inter-personal, inter-ethnic and inter-cultural contacts. As I shall argue, in most public areas ' cultural globalization ' really means the unreciprocated, one-way ﬂow of consumerist items from the US media and leisure machine to the rest of the world.
This top-down distribution ensures that a few individuals and groups, nearly all in the USA, ﬁrmly establish the patterns of behaviour and taste to be followed by the rest of mankind. Is this congruent with the view that there is a form of ' global centralization ' in cultural-legal matters leaning towards Washington, DC? As for a supposed ' global culture ', the symbolic capital would ideally be located in Hollywood, rather than Washington.
In fact, the term ' Hollywoodization ' insinuates a media-enforced hierarchical structure with immediate symbolic resonance. It also offers a more cultural, perhaps less sociological, focus than the Weberian concept of bureaucratic ' McDonaldization ' (Ritzer 1996).
Competing terminologies include ' Disneyﬁcation ' / ' Disneyization ' , with its stress on extreme predictability and the infantilization of leisure (Bryman 2004), 'Walmarting ' as the streamlining of the retail sector (Fishman 2005, Morrow 2004), or earlier Cold War terms like ' Coca-Colonization ' (Wagnleitner 1994). We previously saw how the term ' McGuggenization ' has been used to indicate art-related cultural franchising and other forms of Americanization in the Basque Country (McNeill 2000).
All these equally refer to socio-economic trends originated in the USA and are hence forms of Americanization. However, ' Hollywoodization ' has broader implications for ethnic relations and nationalist conﬂicts.
In practice, Hollywood-inspired simpliﬁcations have become the daily staple for millions of peoples around the world in their leisure time. In the area of ethnicity, ' Hollywoodization ' has been elevated to the only known reality and the unique source of information about the outside world for increasing numbers of people, not only in the USA. Thus, the world is more likely to get its stereotypes of the Brits from US movies like The Patriot or Saving Private Ryan than via British productions.Similarly, most of the world is likely to see Scotland through the lenses of US-made Braveheart , as the larger public can barely afford any access to Scottish cultural productions.
This monopoly of global stereotyping and ethnic imagery has serious implicationsf or the spread and continuation of ethnic conﬂict.The tools of primary socialization were once under ﬁrm control of the family, either nuclear or extended. They were subsequently assumed by the state in the industrialization ' phase ' , notably with post-1789 mass militarization and compulsory schooling (Conversi2007, 2008).
Under neo-liberal globalization, primary socialization has been seized by unaccountable cash-driven corporations and media tycoons. This has further reduced the space of inter-generational transmission and family interaction. If a community can no longer socialize its children according to its culture and traditions, then the very bases of local, regional, and national continuity are all visibly at stake. This threat to a group's survival is often seized upon by patriots and ethno-nationalists, whose political programs are founded on providing a new sense of social cohesion and security – even if the targets are often hapless and unprotected minorities.
That is partly how nationalism and xenophobia have expanded in tandem with globalization. Ethno-nationalism not only persisted through change, but is perceived by many as a response to the growth of globalization, providing a prêt-à-porter hope for national resistance and resilience. By depending on Hollywood as unique conveyor of ' globalization ', inter-ethnic interaction is inevitably undermined. In some instances, international communication has practically evaporated.
... ... ...
I have described, and subsequently dismissed, the proﬁt-oriented ideology that globalization, intended as Mcdonaldization and Hollywoodization, can contribute to better international understanding. On the contrary, it has ushered in a process of planetary cultural and environmental destruction, while hampering inter-ethnic communication and fostering human conﬂict. The notion of cultural security, so central to international relations and peaceful coexistence, has undergone unprecedented challenges.
...Insofar as cultural globalization is understood as uni-dimensional import of standardized cultural icons, symbols, practices, values, and legal systems from the United States, it can simply be re-described as Americanization (rather than Westernization in the broad sense), or ' globalization by Americanization ' (Hilger 2008). This is of central importance for the study of ethnic conﬂict.
In fact, the outcome is scarce hybridization, amalgamation, and metissage . Rather than providing an inter-cultural bridge, this unilateral drive has often eroded the basis for mutual understanding, impeding inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, and international interaction. Given the current vertical, pyramidal structure of the ' cultural world order ' , the opportunity of distinctive groups to communicate directly and appreciate each other's traditions has decreased, except in the virtual area of long-distance communication. For an increasing number of individuals, an American mass consumer culture remains the only window on the world. Hence, to know and appreciate one ' s neighbours has become an ever-arduous task. To recapitulate my point, wherever cultural globalization appears as synonymous with Americanization, it engenders conﬂicts on a variety of levels.
Because the process is one-way and unidirectional, the result is unlikely to be a fusion between cultures or, evenless, the blending of ethnic groups. Contrary to the globalist utopia, the imposition of more and more American icons means less and less possibility for direct inter-ethnic encounter and communication among nations. Together with the collapse of state legitimacy, this substantially contributes to the spread of ethnic conﬂict and nationalism.
Another aspect of cultural power of neoliberalism is that it accepts national elites (on some, less favorable then "primary" elites conditions) as a part of a new transnational elite, which serves as the dominant class. By class, following classic Marxism we mean a group of people who share a common relationship to the process of social production and reproduction, positioned in the society relationally on the basis of social power.
The struggle between descendant national fractions of dominant groups and ascendant transnational fractions has often been the backdrop to surface political dynamics and ideological processes in the late 20th century. These two fractions have been vying for control of local state apparatuses since the 1970s.
Trans national fractions of local elites swept to power in countries around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. They have captured the "commanding heights" of state policymaking: key ministries and bureaucracies in the policymaking apparatus - especially Central Banks, finance and foreign ministries - as key government branches that link countries to the global economy.
They have used national state apparatuses to advance globalization and to pursue sweeping economic restructuring and the dismantling of the old nation-state–based Keynesian welfare and developmentalist projects.
They have sought worldwide market liberalization (following the neoliberal model), and projects of economic integration such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the European Union. They have promoted a supra-national infrastructure of the global economy, such as the World Trade Organization, as we discuss below.
In this new, transnational social system transnational corporations are intermixed with nation-states which they have special privileges. And the state itself now serves not the people of the country (which historically were upper classes) but primarily service the interests of the transnational corporations (and, by extension, narrow strata of "comprador" elite, much like aristocracy of the past). It is now extension and projection of corporate power ("What is good for GE is good for America"). Both the transactional elite (and first of all financial oligarchy) and transnational corporation enjoy tremendous privileges under such a regime (corporate socialism, or socialism for the rich). Like Bolshevik state was formally dictatorship of proletariat but in reality was dictatorship of the elite of an ideological sect called Communist Party (so called nomenklatura), transformed nation-states like the USA, GB, France, Russia, etc now to various degrees look like dictatorships of transnational elite (transnational bourgeoisie like Marxist would say ;-) while formally remaining sovereign democratic republics. Like with Communist Parties in various countries that does not excuse antagonism or even open hostilities.
That does not eliminates completely the elites competition and for example the EU elite put a knife in the back of the US elite by adopting the euro as completing with the dollar currency (so much about transatlantic solidarity), but still internalization of elites is a new and important process that is more viable that neoliberal ideology as such. Also for any state national elite is not completely homogeneous. While that is a significant part of it that favor globalization (comprador elite or lumpen elite) there is also another part which prefer national development and is at least semi-hostile to globalism. Still the comprador part of the elite represents a very important phenomenon, a real fifth column of globalization, the part that makes globalization successful. It plays the role of Trojan horse within nation states and the name "fifth column" in this sense is a very apt name. This subversive role of comprador elite was clearly visible and well documented in Russian unsuccessful "white revolution" of 2011-2012: the US supported and financed project of "regime change" in Russia. It is also clearly visible although less well documented in other "color revolutions" such as Georgian, Serbian, and Ukrainian color revolutions. comrade Trotsky would probably turn in his coffin if he saw what neoliberal ideologies made with his theory of permanent revolution ;-).
As professor David Harvey noted in his A Brief History of Neoliberalism neoliberal propaganda has succeeded in fixating the public on a peculiar definition of "freedom" that has served as a smoke screen to conceal a project of speeding upper class wealth accumulation. In practice, the neoliberal state assumes a protective role for large and especially international corporations ("socialism for multinationals") while it sheds as much responsibility for the citizenry as possible.
The key component of neoliberal propaganda (like was the case with Marxism) was an economic theory. Like Marxism it has three components
For more information see
There is no question that neoliberalism emerged as another major world civic religion. It has its saints, sacred books, moral (or more correctly in this case amoral) postulates and the idea of heaven and hell.
Neoliberalism shares several fundamental properties with high demand religious cults. Like all fundamentalist cults, neoliberalism reduces a complex world to a set of simplistic dogmas (See Washington Consensus). All of society is viewed through the prism of an economic lens. Economic growth, measured by GDP, is the ultimate good. The market is the only and simultaneously the perfect mechanism to achieve this goal. Neoliberalism obsession with materialism have become normalized to the degree that it is hard to imagine what American society would look like in the absence of these structural and ideological features of the new and militant economic Darwinism that now holds sway over the American public. The mantra is well known: government is now the problem, society is a fiction, sovereignty is market-driven, deregulation and commodification are the way to a bright future, and the profit is the only viable measure of the good life and advanced society. Public values are a liability, if not a pathology. Democratic commitments, social relations, and public spheres are disposables, much like the expanding population of the unemployed and dispossessed. Any revolt is the threat to the neoliberal regime of truth and should be dealt with unrestrained cruelty. The market functions best with minimal or no interference from government or civil society and those who don't agree will be taken by police to the proper reeducation camps. All governments with possible exception of the US government should be minimized to allow unrestricted dominance of global corporations. The genius of neoliberalism as a cult, was its ability to cloak the US pretences of world hegemony in an aura of scientific and historical inevitability. Which again makes it very similar and in a way superior to Marxism as a cult. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the supreme, heaven sent validation of Margaret Thatcher's claim that there was no alternative. There is only one blessed road to prosperity and peace and outside it there is no salvation, nor remission from sins.
The great economic historian Karl Polanyi observed, "The idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia." And neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of economic determinism, one even more ambitious than that of Marx.
With all the big questions thus settled, history appeared to be at an end. There was one and only one route to prosperity and peace. All that was required was to make sure the model was correctly applied and all would be well. We all settled into our assigned roles. Capitalists retreated to the role of technocrats, eschewing risk themselves while shifting and spreading it throughout society. The rest of us were relegated to the roles not of citizens, but of consumers. Using our homes as ATMs, we filled our lives with Chinese-made goods, oblivious to the looming environmental and social costs of a runaway, unregulated consumer-driven society. Only a marginalized few questioned the basic economic structure. It was the era of homo economicus, humans in service to the economy.
Now that perfect machinery lies in pieces all around us and the global economic free fall shows no signs of ending any time soon. The fundamental reasons underlying the collapse aren't all that difficult to discern. Central to the whole neoliberal project was the drive to rationalize all aspects of human society. Relentless efforts to cut costs and increase efficiency drove down the living standards of the vast majority, while the diminution of government and other non-commercial institutions led to increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of society. As high paying jobs in the industrial and technical sectors moved from developed countries to low wage export-based economies in the developing world, capacity soon outstripped demand and profits in the real economy began to sag. Not content with declining earnings, wealthy elites began to search for investments offering higher returns. If these couldn't be found in the real economy, they could certainly be created in the exploding financial sector.
Once consigned to the unglamorous world of matching those with capital to invest with those with enterprises seeking to grow, finance became the powerful new engine of economic growth. No longer stodgy, bankers and brokers became sexy and glamorous. Exotic new financial instruments, called derivatives, traded on everything from commodities to weather.
This speculative frenzy was supported by a central bank only too happy to keep credit extremely cheap. Debt exploded among consumers, businesses and government alike. Creating new debt became the source of even more exotic investment vehicles, often bearing only the most tenuous of connections to underlying assets of real value, with unwieldy names such as "collateralized debt obligations" and "credit default swaps."
All the debt and the shuffling of fictional wealth hid the underlying rot of the real economy. It was a house of cards just waiting for the slight breeze that would send it all crashing down. And a collapse in housing prices in 2008 laid bare the economic contradictions.
The fundamental contradiction underlying much that confronts us in the age of crises is an economic and social system requiring infinite growth within the confines of a finite planet. Any vision seeking to replace neoliberalism must take this contradiction into account and resolve it. The overriding market failure of our time has nothing to do with housing. It's the failure to place any value on that which is truly most essential to our survival: clean air and water, adequate natural resources for the present and future generations, and a climate suitable for human civilization.
No such new vision is currently in sight. That this leaves everyone, neoliberals and their foes alike, in a state of uncertainty and doubt is hardly surprising. The seeming triumph of neoliberalism was so complete that it managed to inculcate itself in the psyches even of those who opposed it.
We find ourselves unsure of terrain we thought we knew well, sensing that one era has ended but unsure as to what comes next. We might do well to embrace that doubt and understand its power to free us. Our doubt allows us to ask meaningful questions again and questioning implies the possibility of real choice. Removing the intellectual straitjacket of neoliberal orthodoxy opens up the space necessary to reconsider the purpose of an economy and its proper role in a decent human society and to revisit the old debate over equity versus efficiency. It calls into question the assumption most central to homo economicus; that all humans act only to maximize their own interests.
It seems clear that the world emerging over the coming decades will look quite different from the one we now inhabit. Of necessity it will evolve in ways we can't fully understand just yet. Old battle lines, such as the ones between capitalism and socialism, will likely fade away. Both of those models arose in a world of abundant and cheap fossil fuels and within the confines a planet with a seemingly endless capacity to absorb the wastes of our conspicuous consumption. New battle lines are already beginning to take shape.
The Revolution is Upon Us The Age of Crisis and the End of Homo Economicus Logos
I think that like is the case with Marxism, the staying power of neoliberalism is that propose the religion picture of world with its "creation history", saints, and way of salvation. In a way it plays the role similar to the role of Catholicism in middle ages (aka Dark Ages). The greed of catholic clergy in Middle ages (trade in indulgencies) is a match of the greed of neoliberals( with financial derivates replacing indulgencies ;-). It is equally hostile to any attempts to analyze it, with the minor difference that heretics that question the sanctity of free market are not burned at the stake, but ostracized. It support "new Crusades" with the same mechanism of "indulgences" for small countries that participate.
The level of hypocrisy is another shared trait. The great irony is that the USA, the world's leading proponent of neoliberalism (with the US President as a Pope of this new religion), systematically is breaking the rules when it find it necessary or convenient. With high deficit spending and massive subsidizing of defense spending and financial sector, the United States has generally use a "do as I say, not as I do" approach. And with the amount of political appointee/lobbyists shuttling back and forth between business and government, Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" looks more and more like a crushing fist of corporatist thugs. It involves dogmatic belief that the society is better off when ruled by a group of wealthy financiers and oligarchs, than by a group of professional government bureaucrats and politicians with some participation of trade unions.
The USA also dominates the cultural scene:
The United States' position as the leading maker of global culture has been basically unchallenged for the last century or so, especially in the Western world. Yet the economic power of the Western world is waning even as new nations, with new models of economic and social life, are rising. Might one -- or several -- of these nations like China, India or Brazil become new centers of global culture?
I believe that the answer to this question for the foreseeable future is "no." While the U.S.'s cultural prominence is partially related to its political, military and economic power, such power is not the only cause of America's global cultural hegemony. Rather, the U.S. offers a unique convergence of several factors, including economic opportunity, political freedom and an immigrant culture that served as a test bed for new cultural products.
Let me offer a brief account of the rise of the American film industry to suggest the way political, economic and immigrant forces shaped American cultural hegemony. In the U.S., the film industry started as commercial enterprise largely independent of state control. Movies had to adapt to market conditions to earn profit for their producers. In order to achieve this goal, American movies needed to appeal to a diverse population made up of both native-born and immigrant citizens.
As a consequence, filmmakers had to make movies that could appeal to international audiences simply to meet domestic demand. This fact helped the American film industry become globally preeminent well before the U.S. became a superpower. In other words, while U.S. military and economic power strengthened the position of the U.S. movie industry as globally dominant, that position was not dependent on U.S. military and economic power. Instead, American producers had a competitive advantage in global markets that was later cemented in place by the U.S. post-war economic and military hegemony in the West.
After the dissolution of the USSR, the USA became natural center of the "neoliberal religion" a dominant force in the new world order (the world's only superpower). And they used their newly acquired status against states which were not "friendly enough" very similar to Catholicism with its Crusades, launching a series of invasions and color revolutions against "nonbelievers" in a globalist neoliberal model. The level of plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR looks like a direct replay of Crusades with the siege of Constantinople as primary example (despite stated goals, Crusades were by-and-large a monetary enterprise of the time with fig leaf of spread of Catholicism attached). This period of neoliberal crusades still continued in 2013, sometimes using various proxy to achieve "the regime change" by military means.
As we already refereed to neoliberalism as a cult an interesting question is whether neoliberalism can be viewed new "civic religion". The answer is unconditional yes, and I think that like Marxism before it should be considered to be yet another civic religion. It has it's set of holy books, Supreme being to worship, path to salvation and set of Apostils. Like communism before it propose humanity grand purpose and destiny.
Theistic and civic religions are also similar in that they both offer visions of humanity's grand purpose and destiny.
There are also significant differences between theistic religions and civil religions. Theistic religions explicitly rely on claims of divine authority for their validity, while civil religions rely on reason and the interpretation of commonly-accepted historical knowledge. Followers of theistic religions stress the importance of faith in times of adversity, while followers of civil religions tend to have a more pragmatic attitude when reality casts doubt on their beliefs.
Civil religions are more like big social experiments than actual religions because their central claims are much more falsifiable, and their followers show evidence of holding this perception (e.g. references to "the American experiment"; the voluntary abandonment of Communism throughout Eurasia when it became clear that it wasn't working).
Communism bears so much resemblance to Christianity because, as you mentioned last week, the Western imagination was thoroughly in the grip of Christianity when Communism emerged. Communism is similar to Christianity out of practical necessity: had it not been based on the Christian template, Communism probably would have been too intellectually alien to its Western audience to have ever taken off. Luckily for the founders of Communism, they were also subjected to this Christian cultural conditioning.
With all this in mind, and given that religion is evolving phenomenon, I think that civil religion is actually a distinct species of intellectual organism which has (at least in part) evolved out of religion.
Like Marxism, neoliberalism is first and foremost a quasi religious political doctrine. But while Marxism is aimed at liberation of workers , a political doctrine neoliberalism is aimed at restoring the power of capital. Neoliberalism originated in the rich countries of Anglo-Saxon world (GB and USA) so along with open despise of poor, it always has a distinct flavor of despise for peripheral countries. In global politics, neoliberalism preoccupies itself with the promotion of four basic issues:
As such, neoliberalism, in its crudest form, is crystallized in the Ten Commandments of the 1989 Washington Consensus (policy of debt slavery set for the world by the US via international financial institutions). While pushing the democracy as a smoke screen, they implicitly postulate hegemony of the financial elite (which is a part of "economic elite" that neoliberalism defines as a hegemonic class). Financialization of the economy also serves as a powerful method of redistribution of wealth, so neoliberalism generally lead to deterioration of standard of living for lower quintile of the population and in some countries (like Russia in 1991-2000) for the majority of the population. This is done largely via credit system and in this sense neoliberalism represents "reinters paradise". Neoliberal globalization was built on the foundation of US hegemony, conceived as the projection of the hegemony of the US capital and dollar as the dominant reserve currency. As such it is critically dependent of the power and stability of the US and the financial, economic, political and military supremacy of the US in every region. For this purpose the USA maintains over 500 military bases (737 by some counts) and over 2.5 million of military personnel.
But there are also important differences. Unlike most religions, neoliberalism is highly criminogenic (i.e., having the quality of causing or fostering crime). It is more criminogenic in countries with lower standard of living and in such countries it often lead to conversion of a "normal", but poor state into a kleptocratic state (Yeltsin's Russia is a good example) with the requisite mass poverty (Global Anomie, Dysnomie and Economic Crime Hidden Consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World). Unfortunately architects of this transformation (Harvard Mafia in case of Russia) usually avoid punishment for their crimes. Corruption of the US regulators which happened under neoliberal regime starting from Reagan is also pretty well covered theme.
While economic crisis of 2008 led to a crisis of neoliberalism, this is not necessary a terminal crisis. The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, but internal contradictions became much deeper and the regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Neoliberalism as an intellectual product is practically dead. After the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. But its zombie phase supported by several states (the USA, GB, Germany), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation might continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite increasing chance of facing discontent of population and bursts of social violence.
Cornerstone of neoliberal regime, the economic power of the USA is now under threat from the rise of Asia. This is one reason of mutation of neoliberalism into aggressive neoconservative imperialism that we witness in the USA.
While intellectually neoliberalism was bankrupt from the beginning, after 2008 believing it in is possible only by ignoring the results of deregulation in the USA and other countries. In other words the mythology of self-regulating "free market" became a "damaged goods". In this sense, any sensible person should now hold neoliberal sect in contempt. But reality is different and it still enjoy the support of the part of population which can't see through the smoke screen. With the strong support of financial oligarchy neoliberalism will continue to exists in zombie state for quite a while, although I hope this will not last as long as dominance of Catholicism during European Dark Ages ;-). Still the US is yet to see its Luther. As was noted about a different, older sect: "Men are blind to prefer an absurd and sanguinary creed, supported by executioners and surrounded by fiery faggots, a creed which can only be approved by those to whom it gives power and riches".
Like communism in the USSR it is a state supported religion: Neoliberalism enjoys support of western governments and first of all the US government. Even when the US society entered deep crisis in 2008 and fabric of the society was torn by neoliberal policies it did not lose government support.
The USA has a history of "plain vanilla" (British style) imperialism, based on annexation and occupation of territories since the presidency of James K. Polk who led the United States into the Mexican–American War of 1846, and the eventual annexation of California and other western territories via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden purchase. The term is most commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century (Empire - Wikipedia):
Annexation was the crucial instrument in the expansion of the USA after it won independence. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations,
The term "American Empire" refers to the United States' cultural ideologies and foreign policy strategies. The term is most commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century, but it can also be applied to the United States' world standing before the rise of nationalism in the 20th century. The United States is not traditionally recognized as an empire, in part because the U.S. adopted a different political system from those that previous empires had used. Despite these systematic differences, the political objectives and strategies of the United States government have been quite similar to those of previous empires. Krishna Kumar explores this idea that the distinct principles of nationalism and imperialism may, in fact, result in one common practice.
In "Nation-states as empires, empires as nation-states: two principles, one practice?" she argues that the pursuit of nationalism can often coincide with the pursuit of imperialism in terms of strategy and decision making. Throughout the 19th century, the United States government attempted to expand their territory by any means necessary. Regardless of the supposed motivation for this constant expansion, all of these land acquisitions were carried out by imperialistic means. This was done by financial means in some cases, and by military force in others. Most notably, the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Texas Annexation (1845), and the Mexican Cession (1848) highlight the imperialistic goals of the United States during this "modern period" of imperialism.
The U.S. government has stopped pursuing additional territories since the mid 20th century. However, some scholars still consider U.S. foreign policy strategies to be imperialistic. This idea is explored in the "contemporary usage" section.
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Stuart Creighton Miller posits that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik (cf. American Exceptionalism) impairs popular recognition of US imperial conduct since it governed other countries via surrogates. These surrogates were domestically-weak, right-wing governments that would collapse without US support. Former President G.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said: "We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic; we never have been." This statement directly contradicts Thomas Jefferson who, in the 1780s while awaiting the fall of the Spanish empire, said: "...till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece". In turn, historian Sidney Lens argues that from its inception, the US has used every means available to dominate other nations. Other historian Max Ostrovsky argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US' role in the world but finds that hegemony is likely to be an intermediate stage between states system and empire.
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In his book review of Empire (2000) by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Mehmet Akif Okur posits that since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the international relations determining the world's balance of power (political, economic, military) have been altered. These alterations include the intellectual (political science) trends that perceive the contemporary world's order via the re-territorrialisation of political space, the re-emergence of classical imperialist practices (the "inside" vs. "outside" duality, cf. the Other), the deliberate weakening of international organisations, the restructured international economy, economic nationalism, the expanded arming of most countries, the proliferation of nuclear weapon capabilities and the politics of identity emphasizing a state's subjective perception of its place in the world, as a nation and as a civilisation. These changes constitute the "Age of Nation Empires"; as imperial usage, nation-empire denotes the return of geopolitical power from global power blocs to regional power blocs (i.e., centered upon a "regional power" state [China, Russia, U.S., et al.]) and regional multi-state power alliances (i.e., Europe, Latin America, South East Asia). Nation-empire regionalism claims sovereignty over their respective (regional) political (social, economic, ideologic), cultural, and military spheres.
"If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."
Even prior to annexing a territory, the American government usually held tremendous political power in those territories through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil. Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or restriction of 
When asked on April 28, 2003, on al-Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been." And this denial is typical for "Empire of Lies" as some researchers call the USA. Historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which he describes as an "imperial acquisition-imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires."
Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."
Andrew Bacevich who is a an influencial writer about the US empite with his book American empite (2002) argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world. As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.
In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the process has long been described in other countries.
Thorton wrote that "[…]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against." Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world; political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided...by the use of the phrase 'empire' to describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the Soviet Union in the twentieth.". Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.
International relations scholar Joseph Nye argues that U.S. power is more and more based on "soft power", which comes from cultural hegemony rather than raw military or economic force. This includes such factors as the widespread desire to emigrate to the United States, the prestige and corresponding high proportion of foreign students at U.S. universities, and the spread of U.S. styles of popular music and cinema. Mass immigration into America may justify this theory, but it is hard to know for sure whether the United States would still maintain its prestige without its military and economic superiority.
Military and cultural imperialism are interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory, said that,
[…], so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.
International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume. Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.
Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda used during the war of 1898,
"We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"
Chip Pitts argues similarly that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggest a vision of "Iraq as a colony".[ While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II. Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion. As of 2003, the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.
How America built its empire The real history of American foreign policy that the media won't tell you - Salon.com
When you talk about the effectiveness of American imperialism, you highlight the fact that part of the reason it's so effective is because it has been able to be largely invisible, and it has been invisible, you point out, through, I think, two mechanisms, one, that it trains the elites in other countries in order to manage affairs on behalf of American imperialism, and also because it disseminates, through popular media, images of America that in essence -- I'm not sure you use this word exactly -- indoctrinate or brainwash a population into allowing them to believe that America is instilled with values that in fact it doesn't have, the ability of imperialistic forces to supposedly give these values to the countries they dominate.
I mean, that is a kind of a raison d'être for economic and even military intervention, as we saw in Iraq, in planning democracy in Baghdad and letting it spread out across the Middle East, or going into Afghanistan to liberate the women of Afghanistan. That, as somebody who spent 20 years on the outer edges of empire, is a lie.
The other day I wrote Perry Anderson, the subject of the following interview, to ask what he thought of the foreign policy debates, such as they are, among our presidential aspirants. Logical question: Anderson, a prominent scholar and intellectual for decades, has just published "American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers," a superbly lucid account of U.S policy's historical roots and the people who shape policy in our time."Current candidates' f/p talk leaves me speechless," came Anderson's terse reply.
Perfectly defensible. Most of what these people have to say-and I do not exclude the Democratic candidates-is nothing more than a decadent, late-exceptionalist rendering of a policy tradition that, as Anderson's book reminds readers, once had a coherent rationale even as it has so often led to incoherent, irrational conduct abroad.
Born in London in 1938-during the Munich crisis, as he points out-Anderson has been a presence on the trans-Atlantic intellectual scene since he took the editor's chair at the then-struggling New Left Review in 1962, when he was all of 24. Eight years later NLR launched Verso, a book imprint as singular (and as singularly influential) as the journal.
Anderson has headed both at various intervals for years. His own books range widely. My favorites are "Zone of Engagement" (1992) and "Spectrum" (2005), which collect essays on an amazing range of 20th century thinkers. To them I now add the new foreign policy book, which I count indispensable to anyone serious about the topic.
I met Anderson, who has taught comparative political and intellectual history at UCLA since 1989, at his home in Santa Monica this past summer. Over a fulsome afternoon's conversation in his admirably spartan study, he impressed me again and as readers will see for themselves, but the counterarguments are generously given and always rewarding.
The transcript that follows is the first of two parts and includes a few questions posed via email after we met. It is otherwise only lightly edited. Part 2 will appear next week.
"American Foreign Policy and its Thinkers" is well timed, given the unusual prominence foreign policy now assumes in the American political conversation. How would you describe your approach? What distinguishes the book from so many others? How should one read it? What's the project?
The book tries to do two things. One is to cover the history of American foreign policy, from around 1900 to the present, tracing the gradual construction of a global empire. This first really came into view as a prospect during the Second World War and is today a reality across all five continents, as a glance at the skein of its military bases makes clear. The Cold War was a central episode within this trajectory, but the book doesn't treat just the U.S. record vis-á-vis the USSR or China. It tries to deal equally with American relations with the Europe and Japan, and also with the Third World, treated not as a homogenous entity but as four or five zones that required different policy combinations.
The second part of the book is a survey of American grand strategy-that is, the different ways leading counselors of state interpret the current position of the United States on the world stage and their recommendations for what Washington should do about it.
The "big think" set, in other words-Kissinger, of course, Brzezinski, Walter Russell Mead, Robert Kagan. And then people such as Francis Fukuyama, whom I consider a ridiculous figure but whose thinking you judged worth some scrutiny. How did you choose these?
From the range of in-and-outers-thinkers moving between government and the academy or think-tanks-who have sought to guide U.S. foreign policy since 2000, with some intellectual originality. Kissinger isn't among these. His ideas belong to a previous epoch, his later offerings are boilerplate. Fukuyama, who sensed what the effects of office on thought could be, and got out of state service quite early, is a mind of a different order. The figures selected cover the span of options within what has always been a bipartisan establishment.
You make a distinction between American exceptionalism, which is much in the air, and American universalism, which few of us understand as a separate matter. The first holds America to be singular (exceptional), and the second that the world is destined to follow us, that the trails we've blazed are the future of humanity. You call this a "potentially unstable compound." Could you elaborate on this distinction, and explain why you think it's unstable?
It's unstable because the first can exist without the second. There is, of course, a famous ideological linkage between the two in the religious idea, specific to the United States, of Providence-that is, divine Providence. In your own book "Time No Longer" you cite an astounding expression of this notion: "However one comes to the debate, there can be little question that the hand of Providence has been on a nation which finds a Washington, a Lincoln, or a Roosevelt when it needs him." That pronouncement was delivered in the mid-1990s-not by some television preacher, but by Seymour Martin Lipset: chairs at Harvard and Stanford, president of both the American Sociological and the American Political Science Associations, a one-time social democrat.
What is the force of this idea? A belief that God has singled out America as a chosen nation for exceptional blessings, a notion which then easily becomes a conviction of its mission to bring the benefits of the Lord to the world. President after president, from Truman through to Kennedy, the younger Bush to Obama, reiterate the same tropes: "God has given us this, God has given us that," and with the unique freedom and prosperity he has conferred on us comes a universal calling to spread these benefits to the rest of the world. What is the title of the most ambitious contemporary account of the underlying structures of American foreign policy? "Special Providence," by Walter Russell Mead. Year of publication: 2001.
But while a messianic universalism follows easily from providential exceptionalism, it is not an ineluctable consequence of it. You mount a powerful attack on the idea of exceptionalism in "Time No Longer," but-we may differ on this-if we ask what is the more dangerous element in the unstable compound of the nation's image of itself, I would say exceptionalism is the less dangerous. That may seem paradoxical. But historically the idea of exceptionalism allowed for an alternative, more modest deduction: that the country was different from all others, and so should not be meddling with them-the argument of Washington's Farewell Address [in 1796].
A century later, this position became known as isolationism, and as the American empire took shape, it was all but invariably castigated as narrow-minded, short-sighted and selfish. But it could often be connected with a sense that the republic was in danger at home, with domestic ills that needed to be addressed, which vast ambitions abroad would only compound. Mead terms this strand in American sensibility Jeffersonian, which isn't an accurate description of Jefferson's own empire-building outlook, but he otherwise captures it quite well.
We don't ordinarily apply the term "exceptionalist" in the same breath to America and to Japan, though if there is any nation that claims to be completely unique, it is Japan. But the claim produced a drastic isolationism as a national impulse, both in the Tokugawa period [1603-1868, a period of severely enforced seclusion] and after the war. Does that support the point you're making?
Exactly. Historically, exceptionalism could generate a self-limiting, self-enclosing logic as well as the gigantic expansionist vanities of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the "Free World" [narrative]. In the American case, the two strands of exceptionalism and universalism remained distinct, respectively as isolationist and interventionist impulses, sometimes converging but often diverging, down to the Second World War. Then they fused. The thinker who wrote best about this was Franz Schurmann, whose " Logic of World Power" came out during the Vietnam War. He argued that each had a distinct political-regional base: the social constituency for isolationism was small business and farming communities in the Midwest, for interventionism it was the banking and manufacturing elites of the East Coast, with often sharp conflicts between the two up through the end of thirties. But in the course of the Second World War they came together in a synthesis he attributed-somewhat prematurely-to FDR, and they have remained essentially interwoven ever since. The emblematic figure of this change was [Arthur H.] Vandenberg, the Republican Senator from Michigan [1928-51], who remained an isolationist critic of interventionism even for a time after Pearl Harbor, but by the end of the war had become a pillar of the new imperial consensus.
Mainstream debate today seems to have constructed two very stark alternatives: There is either engagement or isolation. In this construction, engagement means military engagement; if we are not going to be militarily engaged we are isolationists. I find that absolutely wrong. There are multiple ways of being engaged with the world that have nothing to do with military assertion.
True, but engagement in that usage doesn't mean just military engagement, but power projection more generally. One of the thinkers I discuss toward the end of my book is Robert Art, a lucid theorist of military power and its political importance to America, who argues for what he calls selective-expressly, not universal-engagement. What is unusual about him is that in seeking to discriminate among engagements the U.S. should and should not select, he starts considering in a serious, non-dismissive way what would typically be construed as isolationist alternatives, even if ending with a fairly conventional position.
How far do you view the contemporary American crisis-if you accept that we are living through one-as, at least in part, one of consciousness? As an American, I tend to think that no significant departure from where find ourselves today can be achieved until we alter our deepest notions of ourselves and our place among others. I pose this question with some trepidation, since a change in consciousness is a generational project, if not more. Our leadership is not remotely close even to thinking about this. I'm suggesting a psychological dimension to our predicament, and you may think I put too much weight on that.
You ask at the outset whether I accept that Americans are living through a crisis. My reply would be: not anything like the order of crisis that would bring about the sort of change in consciousness for which you might hope. You describe that as a generational project, and there, yes, one can say that among the youngest cohorts of the U.S. population, the ideologies of the status quo are less deeply embedded, and in certain layers even greatly weakened. That is an important change, but it's generational, rather than society-wide, and it's not irreversible.
At the level of the great majority, including, naturally, the upper middle class, the image you use to describe the purpose of your last book applies: you write that it aims "to sound the tense strings wound between the pegs of myth and history during the hundred years and a few that I take to be the American century. It is this high, piercing tone that Americans now have a chance to render, hear, and recognize all at once. We have neither sounded nor heard it yet." That's all too true, unfortunately. The most one can say is that, among a newer generation, the strings are fraying a bit.
I tend to distinguish between strong nations and the merely powerful, the former being supple and responsive to events, the later being brittle and unstable. Is this a useful way to judge America in the early 21st century-monumentally powerful but of dubious strength? If so, doesn't it imply some change in the American cast of mind, as the difference between the two sinks in?
That depends on the degree of instability you sense in the country. In general, a major change in consciousness occurs when there is a major alteration in material conditions of life. For example, if a deep economic depression or dire ecological disaster strikes a society, all bets are off. Then, suddenly, thoughts and actions that were previously inconceivable become possible and natural. That isn't the situation so far in America.
Can you discuss the new accord with Iran in this context? I don't see any question it's other than a breakthrough, a new direction. What do you think were the forces propelling the Obama administration to pursue this pact? And let's set aside the desire for a "legacy" every president cultivates late in his time.
The agreement with Iran is an American victory but not a departure in U.S. foreign policy. Economic pressure on Iran dates back to Carter's time, when the U.S. froze the country's overseas assets after the ousting of the Shah, and the full range of ongoing U.S. sanctions was imposed by the Clinton administration in 1996. The Bush administration escalated the pressure by securing U.N. generalization of sanctions in 2006, and the Obama administration has harvested the effect.
Over the past decade, the objective has always been the same: to protect Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region without risking an Israeli blitz on Iran to preserve it-that might set off too great a wave of popular anger in the Middle East. It was always likely, as I point out in "American Policy and its Thinkers," that the clerical regime in Tehran would buckle under a sustained blockade, if that was the price of its survival. The agreement includes a time-out clause to save its face, but the reality is an Iranian surrender.
You can see how little it means any alteration in imperial operations in the region by looking at what the Obama administration is doing in Yemen, assisting Saudi Arabia's wholesale destruction of civilian life there in the interest of thwarting imaginary Iranian schemes.
This next question vexes many people, me included. On the one hand, the drives underlying the American imperium are material: the expansion of capital and the projection of power by its political representatives. The American mythologies are shrouds around these. On the other hand, the issue of security has a long history among Americans. It is authentically an obsession independent of capital-American paranoia dates back at least to the 18th century. I don't take these two accountings to be mutually exclusive, but I'd be interested to know how you reconcile these different threads in American foreign policy.
Yes, there has been a longstanding-you could say aboriginal-obsession with security in the United States. This can be traced as an independent strand running through the history of American dealings with the outside world. What happened, of course, from the Cold War through to the "war on terror" was a ruthless instrumentalization of this anxiety for purposes of expansion rather than defense. At the start of the Cold War you had the National Security Act and the creation of the National Security Council, and today we have the National Security Agency. Security became a euphemistic cloak for aggrandizement.
The United States occupies the better part of a continent separated by two immense oceans, which nobody in modern history has had any serious chance of invading, unlike any other major state in the world, all of which have contiguous land-borders with rival powers, or are separated from them only by narrow seas. The U.S. is protected by a unique geographical privilege. But if its expansion overseas cannot be attributed to imperatives of security, what has driven it?
A gifted and important group of historians, the Wisconsin school [which included the late William Appleman Williams, among others], has argued that the secret of American expansion has from the beginning lain in the quest by native capital for continuously larger markets, which first produced pressure on the internal frontier and the march across the continent to the Pacific, and when the West Coast was reached, a drive beyond into Asia and Latin America, and ultimately the rest of the world, under the ideology of the Open Door.
A couple of good scholars, Melvyn Leffler and Wilson Miscamble, one a liberal and the other a conservative, have identified my position with this tradition, taxing me with a belief that American foreign policy is essentially just an outgrowth of American business. This is a mistake. My argument is rather that because of the enormous size and self-sufficiency of the American economy, the material power at the disposal of the American state exceeded anything that American capital could directly make use of or require.
If you look at the First World War, you can see this very clearly. East Coast bankers and munitions manufacturers did well out of supplying the Entente powers, but there was no meaningful economic rationale for American entry into the war itself. The U.S. could tip the scales in favor of the British and French variants of imperialism against the German and Austrian variants without much cost to itself, but also much to gain.
The same gap between the reach of American business and the power of the American state explains the later hegemony of the United States within the advanced capitalist world after the Second World War. Standard histories wax lyrical in admiration of the disinterested U.S. generosity that revived Germany and Japan with the Marshall and Dodge Plans [reconstruction programs after 1945], and it is indeed the case that policies crafted at the State and Defense Departments did not coincide with the desiderata of the Commerce Department. The key requirement was to rebuild these former enemies as stable capitalist bulwarks against communism, even if this meant there could be no simple Open Door into them for U.S. capital.
For strategic political reasons, the Japanese were allowed to re-create a highly protected economy, and American capital was by and large barred entry. The priority was to defend the general integrity of capitalism as a global system against the threat of socialism, not particular returns to U.S. business. The importance of those were never, of course, ignored. But they had to bide their time. Today's Trans-Pacific Partnership will finally pry open Japanese financial, retail and other markets that have remained closed for so long.
I'd like to turn to the origins of the Cold War, since I believe we are never going to get anywhere until these are honestly confronted. You give a forceful account of Stalin's reasons for avoiding confrontation after 1945 and Washington's reasons for not doing so. But should we attribute the outbreak of the Cold War to the U.S. without too much in the way of qualification?
We can look at the onset of the Cold War on two levels. One is that of punctual events. There, you are certainly right to pick out the ideological starting gun as Truman's speech on Greece in 1947, designed the "scare hell" out of voters to win acceptance for military aid to the Greek monarchy. In policy terms, however, the critical act that set the stage for confrontation with Moscow was the flat American refusal to allow any serious reparations for the staggering level of destruction Russia suffered from the German attack on it. The most developed third of the country was laid waste, its industry and its cities wrecked, while Americans suffered not a fly on the wrist at home-basking, on the contrary, in a massive economic boom. There was no issue Stalin spoke more insistently about than reparations in negotiations among the Allies. But once the fighting was over, the U.S. reneged on wartime promises and vetoed reparations from the larger part of Germany-far the richest and most developed, and occupied by the West-because it did not want to strengthen the Soviet Union and did want to rebuild the Ruhr as an industrial base under Western control, with a view to creating what would subsequently become the Federal Republic.
Can you put Hiroshima and Nagasaki into this context?
Prior to this came Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan. He did so, of course, to shorten the war, and partly also because the Pentagon wanted to test its new weapons. But there was a further reason for the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was urgent to secure a Japanese surrender before the Red Army could get close to the country, for fear that Moscow might insist on a Soviet presence in the occupation of Japan. The U.S. was determined not to let the Russians in, as they could not stop them from doing in Germany. So if we look just at events, you can say the starting points were the use of atomic bombs in Japan and the refusal of reparations in Germany. In that sense, those who argue that the Cold War was an American initiative-the Swedish historian Anders Stephanson, who has written most deeply about this, calls it an American project-are justified in doing so.
So these are your "punctual events."
Exactly. On the hand, if we look at the structural origins of the Cold War, they don't lie in these punctual events, but in the radical incompatibility between American capitalism and Soviet communism as forms of economy, society and polity. Revisionist historians have pointed out quite properly that Stalin was defensive in outlook after the war, determined to erect a protective glacis in Eastern Europe against any repetition of the Nazi invasion of Russia, but otherwise acutely conscious of Soviet weakness and superior Western strength.
All of that is true, but at the same time Stalin remained a communist who firmly believed that the ultimate mission of the world's working class was to overthrow capitalism, everywhere. His immediate stance was defensive, but in the much longer run his expectation was offensive. In that sense, U.S. policies toward the USSR were not needlessly aggressive, as revisionists maintain, but perfectly rational. The two systems were mortal antagonists.
Let's move to the topic of social democracy. I did a lot of my learning in developing countries and have a sense that Washington's true Cold War enemy was social democracy as it spread through Western Europe and all the newly independent nations. What's your view of this?
Strong disagreement, so far as Europe is concerned. If you look at the whole period from 1945 through to the present, you could argue that, on the contrary, European social democracy was Washington's best friend in the region. NATO was the brainchild not of the Pentagon but of Ernest Bevin, the social-democratic foreign secretary in Britain. Attlee, his prime minister, then split his own government by cutting the health service to fund rearmament for the American war in Korea. In France, the most ruthless crackdown on labor unrest after the war came from Jules Moch, the Socialist interior minister.
Think, too, of the Norwegian social democrat who Washington put in charge of the U.N. as its first secretary general, Trygve Lie, an odious collaborator with McCarthyism inside the United Nations. This was the period in which Irving Brown of the A.F.L., working closely with local social democrats, was installed in Europe by the C.I.A. with funds to divide and corrupt trade unions everywhere. He was still active in plotting against Allende [the Chilean social democratic president] in the '70s. As to more recent years, who was Bush's most ardent European ally in the war on Iraq? Not any conservative politician, but British social democrat Blair.
There were exceptions to this dismal record, but few and far between. Not by accident, they generally came from neutral countries that stayed out of the Cold War. In Sweden, Olaf Palme was a courageous opponent of the American war in Vietnam, detested by the U.S. for that reason. In Austria, Bruno Kreisky took an independent line on the Middle East, refusing to fall in with Western support for Israel-itself governed in those years by another social democratic party-and so was scarcely less disliked by the U.S.
But the dominant pattern has always been craven submission to Washington.
Well, I was thinking more of figures like Mossadeq, Arbenz and Allende-maybe the Sandinistas, too.
Their fate is certainly relevant, but there you are talking of a different political phenomenon-nationalism in the Third World, typically though not invariably of the left. You could add Lumumba in the Congo, Goulart in Brazil, Bosch in the Dominican Republic and others to the list. Not all were figures of the left, but from the Cold War onward the U.S. regarded nearly all serious attempts at nationalization of local resources as a threat to capital and worked to subvert or overthrow those who undertook them. A good part of my book is devoted to this front of imperial operations.
I've often wondered what the fate of Cuba would have been if Castro had been properly received in Washington in 1960. Could he have become something like a social democrat?
Excluded, if only because of the side of the Cuban Revolution that distinguished it from both the Chinese Revolution and from the outcome of Russian Revolution after Lenin, which was genuine internationalism. It had to be internationalist because it was a small island close to the United States, not a huge country far away, so it needed revolutionary solidarity within Latin America, which it couldn't hope for as long the continent was populated by assorted clients of the United States, most of them dictators. So even if, counterfactually, Eisenhower or Kennedy had rolled out a tactical red carpet for Fidel, there would have still have been insurmountable conflict over all these Latin American regimes propped up by the United States. The Cubans would have never said, if you put up with us, you can do what you want anywhere. Think of the fact they sent troops [in 1975] even to Angola-where they had no regional connection at all-to save it from a U.S.-backed invasion by South Africa.
Do you see any inflections in the development of American foreign policy over this period?
There is an underlying continuity in the long arc of the U.S. imperium that extends from FDR to Obama. But one can distinguish successive phases in this arc. You have the period that runs from Truman to Kennedy, the high Cold War. Then comes Nixon, the only American president with an original mind in foreign policy. He was intelligent because he was so cynical. He wasn't taken in or mystified by the enormous amount of rhetoric surrounding the lofty U.S. mission in the world. He was therefore more ruthless, but also genuinely innovative in a whole series of ways, the most important of which was to capitalize on the Sino-Soviet split.
The next phase runs from Carter through Reagan to the elder Bush, which sees a reversion to the earlier forms of foreign policy during the Cold War. The fourth phase, of humanitarian intervention, from Clinton through the younger Bush to Obama.
I once thought Carter was an exception in this line, but have since been persuaded to think again.
If you're interested in Carter, there's a good chapter on him in the huge "Cambridge History of the Cold War" by a scholar sympathetic to Carter, which captures the ambiguities and contradictions of his presidency quite well. He did, of course, talk a lot about human rights at the beginning of his tenure, and appointed Patricia Derian, who genuinely believed in them but was quite powerless, to an assistant position in the State Department. But one has to remember that at the outset he appointed Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser, on whom he relied throughout his presidency.
Brzezinski was in many ways brighter than Kissinger, in later years an overrated showman not particularly interesting as a thinker. Brzezinski's cold, brittle mind was a good deal sharper. He was also as much, if not more, of a hawk than Kissinger had been. His masterstroke was funding religious and tribal resistance to the Communist regime in Afghanistan well before any Soviet troops were there, with the clear-cut and entirely successful aim of making the country the Vietnam of the USSR. There followed the Carter Doctrine, which put the U.S. into the military emplacements in the Gulf, where it remains today, while the president was toasting the Shah as a close personal friend and pillar of human rights. To top it off, with Brzezinski at his elbow again, Carter patronized and protected Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, keeping them at the U.N. as the legitimate government of Cambodia, as part of the deal with China for its attack on Vietnam.
In the Middle East, the peace treaty between Sadat and Begin is generally credited to Carter. Its precondition, however, was the double rescue of Israel and of Egypt by Nixon and Kissinger in the 1973 war, which put both countries into the palm of the American hand. What was the regional upshot? Sadat ditched the Palestinians and became a well-funded U.S. client, Begin secured an ally on Israel's southern flank and the Egyptians got the tyranny of Sadat, Mubarak and now Sisi for the next 40 years. Yet to this day Carter gushes over Sadat, a torturer whose memory is loathed by his people, as a wonderful human being. What is nevertheless true is that with all his weaknesses-and worse-Carter was a contradictory figure, who, once he was ousted from office, behaved more decently than any other ex-president in recent memory. Today, he's almost a pariah because of what he says on Israel. One can respect him for that.
Turning to Europe for a moment, I often feel disappointed-I don't think I'm alone in this-at the hesitancy of the Europeans to act on what seems to be their underlying impatience with American primacy. Is this an unrealistic expectation?
Impatience isn't the right word. The reality is rather its opposite. Europe has become ever more patient-a better word would be submissive-with the United States. After 1945, Western Europe was far weaker in relation to America than the E.U. today, which is larger than the U.S. in both GDP and population. But think of three European politicians-in France, Germany and England-in the first 15 years after the war. You had a great statesman in De Gaulle; a very strong, if much more limited leader in Adenauer, and a weak ruler in Eden. But the striking thing is all three were quite prepared to defy the United States in a way that no subsequent politician in Europe has ever done.
Eden launched the Suez expedition against Nasser [in late 1956] without informing Washington - the Americans were livid, Eisenhower beside himself, fearing that it would stoke popular anti-imperialism across Africa and Asia. So the U.S. brought the expedition to an abrupt halt by triggering a run on sterling, and Eden fell. But there was an aftermath. The French premier at the time was Guy Mollet, the Socialist who was an accomplice of Eden in the attack on Egypt, with, himself, a terrible record in Algeria. When the idea of a Common Market came up shortly after the Suez debacle, though he was personally favorable to it, he faced a lot of opposition in France - as there was, too, in Germany. Adenauer, who was quite willing to make commercial concessions to France to smooth the path for the undertaking, gave Mollet a political reason for the Common Market. Look what happened when you fought at Suez, he told him. None of our countries is strong enough to resist the U.S. on its own. Let's pool our resources and then we can do so.
Adenauer was loyal enough to the West, and a staunch anticommunist, but Germany, not America, was what counted for him. As for De Gaulle, he famously pulled France out of the military command of NATO, and defied America with éclat virtually throughout.
Since then, there has been nobody like this. If we ask why, I think the answer is that all these people were formed before the First and Second World Wars broke out, in a period in which major European states had as much weight as the United States on the international checkerboard, if not more. They were not brought up in a world where American hegemony was taken for granted. All of them were involved in the two World Wars, and in the Second De Gaulle had good reason to be distrustful of the U.S., since Roosevelt was long pro-Vichy and wanted to oust him as leader of the Free French.
We could add, incidentally, a couple of later politicians, who fought in the second conflict. One was the English Tory prime minister, Edward Heath, the only postwar ruler of Britain who never made the trip to simper on the White House lawn, receiving an audience and paying tribute, that would become a virtual ceremony of investiture for any new ruler around the world. The other was Helmut Schmidt, a veteran of Operation Barbarossa [the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941] who scarcely concealed his disdain for Carter. These were latecomers from the past. Their successors have grown up under U.S. paramountcy and take it for granted. This is America's world. It is second nature for them to defer to it.
You describe a generational difference in sensibility. But what about the EU?
If the generational declension is one big change, another is what has become of the European Union itself. On paper, it's much more powerful than any of the individual countries. But so far as any coherent foreign policy is concerned, it's institutionally paralyzed by the number of states that make it up-originally six, now 28-and the labyrinthine nature of their dealings with each other. None of them has any complete autonomy of initiative. A staggering amount of time is wasted in endless summits behind closed doors, agendas prepared by bureaucrats, tremulous fear of any public disagreement. No serious international statecraft can emerge from this.
During the countdown to the war in Iraq, there were large street demonstrations in not a few countries, which Dominique Strauss-Kahn-no less-described as a European Declaration of Independence. Schröder [Gerhard, the German chancellor from 1998-2005] announced that Germany could not accept the war, and Chirac [Jacques, the French president, 1995-2007] blocked a U.N. resolution endorsing it. Were these bold acts of independence? Far from it. The French envoy in Washington told Bush in advance: You already have one U.N. resolution saying Saddam must comply with inspections, which is suitably vague. Don't embarrass us by trying to get another resolution that is more specific, which we'll have to oppose. Just use that one and go in. No sooner, indeed, was the attack launched than Chirac opened French skies to U.S. operations against Iraq. Can you imagine De Gaulle meekly helping a war he had said he opposed? As for Schröder, it was soon revealed that German intelligence agents in Baghdad had signaled ground targets for "Shock and Awe." These were politicians who knew the war was very unpopular in domestic opinion, and so made a show of opposing it while actually collaborating. Their independence was a comedy.
That was a dozen years ago. What's the position today?
Edward Snowden's break with the illegalities of Obama's government revealed that it was not only spying on European as well as American citizens en masse, but tapping the phones and communications of Merkel, Hollande and other pillars of Atlantic solidarity. How have these leaders reacted? With an embarrassed smile, before the next warm embrace with the Leader of the Free World. Has one single European government dreamt of offering asylum to Snowden? Not one. Under Merkel, indeed, it now emerges that German intelligence itself was illegally spying on Germans at the behest of the U.S., and passing on the information it gathered to the CIA. There are no consequences to such revelations, except to those who reveal them. The level of abjection passes belief.
Let's put the Ukraine crisis in this context. It is, after all, what prompted me to raise the question of European passivity in the trans-Atlantic relationship. Here, it seems to me, the Europeans are furious with Washington for encouraging Kiev toward a patently dangerous confrontation with Russia. Animosity has been evident since Vicky Nuland's infamous "'F'the E.U." remark just before the coup last year. And now we see Merkel and Hollande more or less pushing the U.S. aside in favor of a negotiated settlement-or "seem to see," in any case. What's your view here?
Why should Washington object to European attempts to reach a stand-off in the Ukraine, so long as sanctions in Russia remain in place? Berlin and Paris are not going to defy it. Any real settlement is for the time being out of reach, but if one were materialize, they would be convenient sherpas for it. The E.U. as such hardly matters: Its reaction to Nuland's dismissal [of them] was to turn the other cheek.
Patrick Smith is Salon's foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is also an essayist, critic and editor. His most recent books are "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale, 2013) and Somebody Else's Century: East and West in a Post-Western World (Pantheon, 2010). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is patricklawrence.us.
More Patrick L. Smith.
The Making Of Global Capitalism The Political Economy Of American Empire Sam Gindin, Leo Panitch
Hans G. Despain on October 7, 2012
Powerful Political Economy
Panitch and Gindin argue that market economies have never existed independent of nation states. The state was necessary for the genesis of capitalism, and the state was, and still is, necessary for its historical development and continuous reproduction. Nonetheless, Panitch and Gindin argue there is significant autonomy, or historical "differentiation," between the economy and the nation state. There are economic structural tendencies manifest from the logic of capital and the functioning of the market-system. At the same time nation states can affect these structural tendencies in remarkable ways.
In this sense, there has never been "separation" between capitalist reproduction/development and the state, but there is "differentiation" which has radically significant effects. There is a symbiotic relationship between the state and capitalistic reproduction/development.
This is a book of economic history. But is also a book of economic theory. The economic history is rich and interesting, aimed at explaining the historical emergence of global financial capitalism. While the history Panitch and Gindin offer is rich and interesting, the theory is still richer and even more intriguing.
Their history is primarily aimed, (1) at explaining the emergence of the "informal American empire" (what makes this empire "informal" is the hegemony is accomplished primarily through economic strategy, policy, and diplomacy; and less through military might and political coercion) and (2) demonstrating the historical shifting relationship (from decade to decade since the World War I) between workers, business, finance, and the state.
Their theoretical concern is threefold;
- (1) offer a theoretical explanation of the crisis of 2007-8;
- (2) offer guidance toward the direction the future the "informal American empire" has for guiding the economies of world; and
- (3) to understand the "informal American empire" as a set of beliefs, doctrine, and ideology of how to organize modern societies (workers, business, finance and the state) and the global order (both political [e.g. UN, NATO, etc.] and economical [World Bank, IMF, WTO) for the (ideological) common good.
Although Panitch and Gindin accept that capitalistic development is uneven and unstable, it is crucial to their thesis that each crisis is unique depending upon the particular relationships and alliances forged between workers, business, finance, and the state. In this sense, the crisis of 2007-8 is necessarily unique and the solutions or economic fiscal policies necessary for recovery necessarily different from previous crises.
The highlights of their economic global history include that there have been four! major historical global crises, the long depression in the 1870, the Great depression of 1930, the Great recession of 1970s, and the Great financial crisis of 2007-09.
According to Pantich and Gindin, the 1970s is an economic watershed moment which separates "two Golden ages" of American capitalism.
- The first Golden Age is from 1947 - 1973;
- the Great recession and various political crises ensue (1973 - 1983), there is a reconfiguration of both the organization of society (workers, business, finance, and state; along with the role of the IMF, World Bank, and global trade); then
- the second Golden Age from 1983 - 2007.
It may be quite strange to many readers to call 1983 - 2007 a Golden Age. But in fact when looking at the economic data of the period it was quite literally a Golden Age, with millions of Americans and Global financiers and business leaders becoming impressively wealthy. Moreover, the levels of production (GDP) and productivity during the second Golden Age generally outperform the levels of production and productivity during the first Golden Age. Nonetheless the distribution of this wealth is radically narrow and concentrated within primarily finance, while political power concentrated toward "free-trade" orientated states, and away from workers and industrial production. Moreover, Pantich and Gindin maintain that workers are generally weaker during the second Golden Age, finance is strengthen and trumps over production processes, which is more or less conventional wisdom of this period of modern history. Less conventional is their thesis that the state, in particular the American domestic fiscal state and global "informal American empire," greatly strengthened post-1973-83 crisis.
It is not clear the direction the post-2007-09 crisis will take the global economy and American capitalism. What is clear is that the symbiotic relationship between workers, business, finance, and the state, and the global order (U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, WTO, UN) is once again shifting. Pantich and Gindin's book offers to the reader a far
Jeb Sprague on November 8, 2014
Fascinating & important book, yet suffers from nation-state centrism & ignores novel social dynamics of Global Capitalism era
Panitch and Gindin's epic and fascinating book has the goal of tracing what the authors describe as the central role of the informal "American empire" and U.S. capital in the formation of the contemporary global capitalist system. I published a review in the journal Critical Sociology (Vol. 40, No. 5. P. 803-807) earlier this year that expands further on the importance of this work but I also have some criticisms, of which I paste some of below:
Whereas the authors emphasize the role of longstanding national and international dynamics, they overlook the numerous studies that have shown how novel transnational dynamics have come about even as historic residue remains (see for example Harris, 2013; Murray G, 2012; Robinson, 2003, 2004, 2014). Other than briefly denying the usefulness of the idea, the authors say little about the good deal of work on transnational class relations, for example in regards to the different fractions of the transnational capitalist class (as detailed in the works of Baker, 2011; Robinson, 2003, 2008; Harris, 2008; Sklair, 2001; Carrol, 2011; Murray J, 2013). Panitch and Gindin argue that theories of a TCC (transnational capitalist class) lead us to overlook uneven development between "nation-states" and the "economic competition between various centers of accumulation" (p. 11).... Yet while capital tends to concentrate in particular built up spaces, this corresponds, as a number of studies have shown, less and less to the strict restrictions of national space. Functionally integrated circuits of production and finance, and other networks, for example, have come to cut through various geographic scales (including national space) (Dicken, 20112; Robinson, 2010). Whereas local, national, regional, and international dynamics remain legion and substantial, many decisive economic, social, and political processes have become transnationally oriented....
The role of the state and its different policies is a clear focus of Panitch and Gindin's book. At times the authors do refer to the role of state elites, but often the authors can reify the state, describing the state as if it acts on its own and of its own accord. We need here to understand more clearly the class nature of the state, how specific social groups operate through state apparatuses as a site of struggle. Rather than individuals of the capitalist class serving directly in the state, it is governing political groups that normally do this. As relatively autonomous these political groups and state elites maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate, even as they overwhelmingly operate in the "collective" interests of capital. This relative autonomy is conditioned by a number of dynamics, such as prevailing socioeconomic conditions, the balance and struggle of social forces, and the position or character of the state. In those instances where Panitch and Gindin do write about state elites and political groups, these groups are presented as essentially the traditional nation-state governing elite who often operate in the interests of domestic capitalists. While these groups may fight among themselves or wrestle with domestic classes to carry out policies that are internationally geared, these political elites, as Panitch and Gindin describe them, do not veer far from the mold of their nation-state predecessors. The authors never recognize the fundamental changes that are taking place, through which state apparatuses, most importantly the U.S., are being utilized to reproduce conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation.
The authors pass over quickly some theories of the state that they disagree with, giving a straw person description of a "supranational global state" (p. 11) and citing an article by Philip McMichael (2001) that similarly misexplained ideas on the emergent transnationalization of state apparatuses and rise of transnationally oriented technocrats and elites who operate through state apparatuses (as discussed by Jayasuriya, 1999, 2005; Liodakis, 2010; Robinson, 2004, 2012; Sprague, 2012). I would argue for example that transnationally oriented state elites and technocrats believe that to develop they must insert their national states and institutions into global circuits of accumulation. They need access to capital, and capital is in the hands of the TCC. However, state elites must still appeal to their home audiences. They still interact with a variety of social groups and social classes, some more transnationally oriented and others with a more national orientation. Because of this, even as ties between state elites and TCC fractions deepen, national rhetoric and national state policies occur that are in apparent contradiction with TCC interests. In this way, political leaders attempt to maintain national political legitimacy while deepening practices of a global nature. However, as these state elites become entangled with and dependent upon processes of global capital accumulation they increasingly transition from taking part in national or international processes to transnational processes.
In regards to law, Panitch and Gindin argue that "Americanized internationalized law" has supplanted local international investment laws in much of the world. Here the authors obscure how transnational legal frameworks have come about through coalitions and the support of various interests and social forces. The mere adoption of laws for instance (even when heavily influenced by U.S. state elites) does not explain how they are implemented or modified. Nor does it explain the different interests behind these changes.
The authors emphasize the role of the "informal U.S. empire," with globalization "imbricated in the American empire," a system "under continuing US leadership," with the country maintaining its "imperial responsibilities for the reproduction of global capitalism" (p. 330). Yet they never clearly explain what is global capitalism, globalization, or the difference between the international and the transnational. This is because their conceptions of class, capital, and the state don't help us to understand the fundamental changes taking place. While they provide an extensive and critical historical overview in pointing out the leading role of the U.S. state and its policies in reproducing today's "system of class power and inequality" (p. 330), they don't recognize how this has occurred through fundamentally new dynamics of the global epoch.
While the authors help us to better understand the key role of the U.S. government and its policies during the late twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, they do so through an outdated theoretical scope that never gets at the deep changes occurring. Rather than the U.S. nation-state empire and those operating through it creating conditions beneficial for closely aligned internationally active domestic capitalists, more and more we can see how transnationally oriented elites operating through the most powerful national state apparatus (headquartered in Washington) are promoting conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation and in the interests of TCC fractions.
While this book is well worth your time reading, for getting a deeper understanding of contemporary political economy I suggest Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity clearer picture of what is at stake and who are the main institutional actors in the historical drama and capitalistic tragedy we call modern human history.
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May 07, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , May 7 2021 19:40 utc | 28
Lavrov "stating facts" at the virtual UNSC meeting is also a blistering critique of the Outlaw US Empire and its EU vassals. Here is the beginning of the meat portion of his speech that continues for another ten paragraphs:
"The core tenets of international law enshrined in the UN Charter have withstood the test of time. Russia calls on all states to unconditionally follow the purposes and principles of the Charter as they chart their foreign policies, respecting the sovereign equality of states, not interfering in their internal affairs, settling disputes by political and diplomatic means, and renouncing the threat or use of force. This is especially important at the current stage in the difficult process of forming an international multipolar system. At a time when new centres of economic growth, financial and political influence are gaining strength, it is necessary to preserve the internationally recognised legal basis for building a stable balance of interests that meets the new realities.
"Unfortunately, not all of our partners are driven by the imperative to work in good faith to promote comprehensive multilateral cooperation. Realising that it is impossible to impose their unilateral or bloc priorities on other states within the framework of the UN, the leading Western countries have tried to reverse the process of forming a polycentric world and slow down the course of history.
"Toward this end, the concept of the rules-based order is advanced as a substitute for international law. It should be noted that international law already is a body of rules, but rules agreed at universal platforms and reflecting consensus or broad agreement. The West's goal is to oppose the collective efforts of all members of the world community with other rules developed in closed, non-inclusive formats, and then imposed on everyone else. We only see harm in such actions that bypass the UN and seek to usurp the only decision-making process that can claim global relevance."
I thought this one of his best arrows, although others were equally sharp and on target:
"By the way, as soon as we suggest discussing the current state of democracy not just within states but on the international stage with our Western colleagues, they lose interest in the conversation."
And Lavrov's facts are not out of line with global opinion as revealed by the info supplied @26 above.
May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com
Defender , says: April 30, 2021 at 8:51 am GMT • 18.6 hours agoBorisMay , says: April 30, 2021 at 1:38 pm GMT • 13.8 hours ago
Some other countries of the world just aren't swallowing Bidan and his handlers worshipping of all things non-white..
https://www.youtube.com/embed/CBS8TYLO_A0?feature=oembed@Chris Moore to eternal servitude as debt slaves.
*** Please Note: Russia is not weak considering that it has the ability to nuke America in to ashes within 30 minutes, or any other bunch of idiots that chooses to step over her red lines. Okay the US has 350 million people compared to 150 million Russians, but the US is irrevocably divided and Russia is fully united even the Muslim minority is united with the State in Russia. A divided house can not stand no man can serve two masters. On top of that the US has no moral values whereas Russia is a Christian country where marriage is between a man and a woman, by State law. Biden can fly all the queer flags he likes but he still leads a divided nation with a corrupt State comprised of dual passport holders, amoral materialists and deluded mentally challenged idiots like Waters and Pelosi.
May 03, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Stonebird , Apr 28 2021 18:38 utc | 18
These folks have had it with the constant stream of baseless propaganda U.S. intelligence is spilling over the world:Dear Director of National Intelligence,
we, the the 4-star Generals leading U.S. regional commands all over the world, are increasingly concerned with about the lack of evidence for claims you make about our opponents.
We, as true believers, do not doubt whatever judgment you make about the harmful activities of Russia, Iran and China. However - our allies and partners do not yet subscribe to the bliss of ignorance. They keep asking us for facts that support those judgments
Unfortunately, we have none that we could provide.
You say that Russia thought to manipulate Trump allies and to smear Biden , that Russia and Iran aimed to sway the 2020 election through covert campaigns and that China runs covert operations to influence members of Congress .
Media reports have appeared in which 'intelligence sources' claim that Russia, China and Iran are all paying bounties to the Taliban for killing U.S. soldiers. Fortunately no soldier got hurt by those rumors.
Our allies and partners read those and other reports and ask us for evidence. They want to know how exactly Russia, Iran and China are doing these things.
They, of course, hope to learn from our experience to protect their own countries.
Currently we are not able to provide them with such information. Your people keep telling our that all of it is SECRET.
We therefore ask you to declassify the facts that support your judgments. *
PS: * Either that or shut the fuck up.
Look, The generals and the intelligence agencies haven't won a war for a long time. So now they will fight each other . At least ONE of them will win this time ! Success.
May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com
Chris Moore , says: Website April 28, 2021 at 1:15 am GMT • 3.1 days agoWhite Elephant , says: April 28, 2021 at 8:54 am GMT • 2.8 days ago
Never underestimate the insanity of Zionists, be they full Jews, half-Jews, or soulless Jew-wannabes like Joe "I am a Zionist" Biden. We're in unprecedented territory -- an empire run by Zoglodytes. They'll run it into the ground sooner or later, but just how quickly and at what cost to the humanity is anyone's guess.
Of course, none of it would be possible but for the Anglo-elites doing deals with ((bankers)) in search of post-Imperial easy-living. In fact, that's probably what caused WW2.
Today, gangsters from every creed, race and religion want in on the Zionist action, and happily signal to their criminal lodestar that they're "all in" with virtually unlimited aid, wars and diplomatic support in Congress for the Jewish state.
The New World Order. How do you like it, whitey? You just had to listen to the gold-plated promises of the Jew confidence man. The streets will be paved with gold, right?KenH , says: April 28, 2021 at 4:22 pm GMT • 2.5 days ago
If you're white and in the armed forces/police, you're a moron.
The fact is Americans are nothing but the Jew's bitch, killing for them. There isn't one American, who's defended their country, well, you'll have to go back to the war of independence for that. Every, serving member of the armed forces is a mercenary, paid by the US taxpayer, to kill fire Israel as they establish greater Israel.
So STOP looking at your armed forces as heroes. They aren't, not one, single one! See them for what they are, braindead, brainwashed, fighting machines, WHO DON'T FIGHT FOR YOU! And that's what's worrying. Throughout history every armed force has been turned against its own nation and its just a matter of time with the US. THEY WILL use them against you, to push nationwide vaccination.
The armed forces, like the police, are your enemy and I strongly suggest that if you know anyone in them, or a friend whose family members are in them, tell them to leave ASAP before they institute martial law. Remember, the armed forces don't serve you, so leaving them is doing the people good while staying within is causing them harm.beavertales , says: April 28, 2021 at 6:45 pm GMT • 2.4 days ago
I'm suspicious of Biden's planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. The troops will probably get reassigned to the Middle East or the Polish Border. Trump's "withdrawal" from Syria just amounted to shipping those troops to Iraq.
The Biden administration is a revolutionary one. It is not American and doesn't pretend to be. Like Lenin's early revolutionary Bolshevik government it is comprised of mostly Jews and racial/ethnic minorities who are antagonistic towards the majority population and its history and traditions.
I believe that the Jews, radical blacks and others who are really in charge of the Biden administration have no plans to relinquish power in 2024 even if they lose the election. Since the courts refused to provide a legal remedy for battleground states breaking their own elections laws to massively increase Democrat mail-in ballots then they will just do it again unless Republicans can win the gubernatorial elections in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. But that might not be possible with mail-in ballot schemes that were illegally put in place.Stan , says: April 28, 2021 at 7:34 pm GMT • 2.3 days ago
Will whites support a globalist regime that picks fights abroad and wars against them at home? The mood of the country is comparable to East German during the 1980's. Resignation and apathy. The last election was a fraud, the media are liars, the courts are political, privacy and free speech aren't being protected, and half the country declares it hates the other half.
Go ahead, try to conjure a false flag to rally Team AmericaNostradamus , says: April 29, 2021 at 2:51 am GMT • 2.0 days ago
There are no signs whites are about to repudiate the Evil Empire. Trace Adkins, Gerald McRaney are on tv advertisements imploring whites to provide financial support to the fools who came back crippled from fighting in Israel's wars.TG , says: April 30, 2021 at 4:09 am GMT • 23.3 hours ago
"Will Whites Support A Globalist American Empire That Picks Fights Abroad and Wars Against Them At Home?"
The answer is YES, they will.
Because they've been zombified by 150 years of corporate media whose only purpose is to use subliminal messages 24/7 to control them. Worse of all, they pay monthly fees in order to be zombified!
Wait for the next false flag attack against the US "Interests" at home or abroad and you'll see how the zombies behave.@antibeastslorter , says: April 30, 2021 at 5:49 am GMT • 21.6 hours ago
Yes, but I would not call the elites "Yanks".
Elites, oligarchs, plutocrats, super-rich, whatever, but don't slime the Yankees.
And while I agree with much of this, don't forget that in the late 1960's the elites imported Mexicans to specifically replace blacks. And then cried a river of tears at how blacks were mysteriously losing ground!!!!
Oh and also: nobody NEEDS cheap labor to run factories. History has shown that without cheap labor factories run perfectly well. It's just that the elites need cheap labor to stay eliteAnonymous  Disclaimer , says: April 30, 2021 at 6:15 am GMT • 21.2 hours ago
The real enemy of the American working class and middle class all of them is neoliberalism ! Coupled with a two party plutocracy that disenfranchises the same Americans who desperately need a more equitable society! Nothing to do with Russia or China we caused it all by ourselves!Priss Factor , says: Website April 30, 2021 at 7:09 am GMT • 20.3 hours ago
Whites will support a globalist empire. They will also support overseas wars and wars against them at home.Ray Caruso , says: April 30, 2021 at 8:19 am GMT • 19.1 hours ago
This is why there needs to be White Liberation from Jewish Supremacism. But Jewish Power tries to preempt this by making a big stink about 'white supremacism'.
No more white support for Jewish supremacist tyranny over Palestinians and mass murder of Arabs/Muslims. If, after 2020, any white person still harbors sentimentality about Jewish Power, he or she is cuck-roach. Useless and worthless.animalogic , says: April 30, 2021 at 8:39 am GMT • 18.8 hours ago
Currently, an indebted, belligerent, imperialist U.S. is being propped up by naïve, well-meaning whites.
These "well-meaning whites" are the enemy. "Well-meaning whites" have always been the greatest enemy of Whites. A lot of people here consider Jews to be our greatest enemies. But why are they here in such huge numbers and why are they in control? It started with the Powdered-Wig Gang (a.k.a. the Founding Fathers) giving them citizenship on the basis of their shit "Enlightenment" ideology, which held that religion was merely a private matter and of no importance. No country at the time gave Jews citizenship save Poland, which had fallen under their sway and paid an exceedingly high price for it. Then France followed the American example when they had their own powdered-wig revolution.
The tragedy of the US is that nearly every fair-skinned, non-Jewish individual who has any influence here is a "well-meaning White". Generations of brainwashing have done that. Their latest bit of tomfoolery is the belief "Uncle Tim" Scott, a dim, charmless, venal, ugly black mediocrity, will be their savior. By the way, the first time I laid eyes on Uncle Tim, I said myself, "They're going to want to make that fellow president." That's no reason to brag, however, because "well-meaning whites" are nothing if not predictable.
"Well-meaning whites" have no common sense and can't learn from experience. They could not conceive the idea "diversity" is the problem. "Diversity" elected Joe Biden, through bloc-voting by non-Whites and by she-boons in black-dominated counties bringing in suitcases of fake ballots, but guess what: as far as "well-meaning Whites" are concerned, "diversity" in the form of "Uncle Tim" Scott is the solution.
What it comes down to is that if Whites want the White race to survive, then "well-meaning whites", who can accurately be called "liberals", have to go. Whites cannot afford to be sentimental about "well-meaning whites".@xyzxy the Zio-western imperialists decided ( ie "backed down") not to risk crossing them.jsigur , says: April 30, 2021 at 8:43 am GMT • 18.7 hours ago
Incidentally JK I don't disagree with this position --
"Rather than feeling anger or shame at this national humiliation, instead I feel something like schadenfreude against them -- along with righteous indignation on behalf of the countless patriots used up and spat out by a System unworthy of their sacrifice."
But perhaps you could spare a few words & emotions for the poor bloody average Afghans who have died in their 100's of 1000's in this vicious, stupid war.
A lack of sympathy for & indeed basic knowledge of, other peoples is part of the reason the US constantly gets stuck in these ridiculous wars. (Had they the "leaders" we have now , the Vietnam War would probably have limped to a halt sometime in the late 80's).Paul Greenwood , says: April 30, 2021 at 10:52 am GMT • 16.6 hours ago
Hmm. Kirkpatrick doesn't seem to realize that 911 was sort of an official beginning to the elites domestic threat problem? There was never a reason to enter Afghanistan because Afghanistan never attacked us and nor did Osama Bin Laden.
As long as ppl believe the official story there will always be a reason the American citizen can support for invading middle east countries
Like the holocaust, it is a lynch pin lie that is the pre-requisite for all sorts claims and behaviors that without them would otherwise not give validationJimmy le Blanc , says: April 30, 2021 at 11:16 am GMT • 16.2 hours ago
I doubt Russia has any regard for Turkey – it has a very long history of wars against them and knows just how treacherous they are.
Russia alone is powerful enough to end life in USA
USA has lost Europe already- Merkel is aligning with China
Americans think Russian gas binds Germany rather than export markets like China and the fact EU needs semiconductors and Asia is where they are produced
No one takes USA seriously any more it is peripheral as in 19th century. You forget Europeans cannot travel to US and frankly fear to do so anyway
USA is disintegrating and is in run-off@KenHJake , says: April 30, 2021 at 11:29 am GMT • 16.0 hours ago
Biden is just privatizing the war. The mercenary companies and NGOs are writing up their contracts right now.@antibeastMiro23 , says: April 30, 2021 at 11:44 am GMT • 15.7 hours ago
This cannot be said nearly enough. WASP culture is WASP elites hating all 'other' whites and pretending not to hate a few non-WASP white groups when they (the WASPs) can use them against the whites they most hate or fear at the moment. WASPs discard all groups they use as soon as they no longer need them to wage some type war against still other whites.
The Scotch-Irish are probably the best example of what WASPs think of even those who serve them most ruthlessly.anonymous  Disclaimer , says: April 30, 2021 at 12:22 pm GMT • 15.1 hours ago
The mood of the country is comparable to East German during the 1980's. Resignation and apathy.
The last election was a fraud, the media are liars, the courts are political, privacy and free speech aren't being protected, and half the country declares it hates the other half.
Go ahead, try to conjure a false flag to rally Team America.
It does look like resignation and apathy – which is sort of logical – given that all centers of power are in the hands of the totalitarians (same as in the old East Germany).
The totalitarian Communist East German regime actually collapsed when it became caught up in the mass demonstrations of neighbouring countries (Poland Feb. 1989 and Hungary the following month). The Communists didn't have the political will/ability to suppress demonstrations on this scale and ceded power. Two points here are 1) that the public in each country overwhelmingly opposed the government 2) each country was ethnically united (Poles in Poland, Hungarians in Hungary and Germans in East Germany) and viewed their oppression as sourced externally (the Soviet Union).
The US looks different, since the population is split both politically and ethnically. So if anything is going to happen (unlikely) then it's either a civil war, a military coup or a world war (nuclear) removing most major American cities + Israel.@anonymouseperson c accountants uncovering the depths of Israel and its fifth column's theft of many tens of billions of our war matériel and of our most guarded military secrets, which were then sold to China in concert with the Greenspan/Goldman Sachs plan to transfer of our industrial intellectual assets and over 50,000 factories to China in preparation for a new order based on joint Israeli-Chinese technocratic hegemony.Rich , says: April 30, 2021 at 1:17 pm GMT • 14.2 hours ago
My point is that the uninterrupted, elaborate efforts at 9/11 concealment legally constitute, by themselves, sufficient proof of the Pentagon's complicity and guilt in 9/11 and, therefore, make it an alien occupation force that serves Israel, its fifth column, and no other. A war completing the "Bolsheviks" effective extermination of white Christian Russia at the same time as exterminating white Christian America appears to be the objective of International Jewry, whom alone Joe Biden and his Pentagon answer to.@anonymousepersonlavoisier , says: Website April 30, 2021 at 4:16 pm GMT • 11.2 hours ago
When I was in the US Army, I never met anyone who signed up to 'fight for the Anglo-Zionist empire'. We were there for a variety of reasons, no job, to get training, money for college, adventure or maybe running away from a crazy girlfriend. As the grandson of immigrants, I was probably the most patriotic, the rest of the guys, not so much. Young men will always join the military, whether the military oppresses its people or not. How many Irishmen served in the British military when they had few civil rights back home? In the military, a young White man can learn a trade, learn military tactics, earn money for college and become a real asset to his community. You can also get killed or maimed, but at 18 or 19, we didn't think about that.Brooklyn Dave , says: April 30, 2021 at 5:23 pm GMT • 10.1 hours ago
Will Whites Support A Globalist American Empire That Picks Fights Abroad and Wars Against Them At Home?
If they are members of Congress, the military leadership, the police, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, the MSM, or the leadership of either political party the answer is clearly a resounding YES!!
I believe a large percentage of whites in America have a Stockholm syndrome of some kind going on. The title of the article has rolled two very separate issues into one. As far as continuing to support wars abroad that aren't benefiting the average person of whatever color is not an issue that can be specifically directed at Marxist oriented regimes such as that of Obama/Hillary and now Sleepy Joe & Camel Toe. One can never forget the years of the faux conservative Bushlet regime. Whites as a group more overtly support the military than do other racial groups (even though blacks and Hispanics make up a large percentage of our military). They are very reluctant to criticize American foreign policy as unpatriotic and somehow react to military interventions as if they were a sporting event.
Their concept of patriotism is very puerile. Many never ask the question of who benefits? (bankers, weapons manufacturers and Zionists). As far as the war on whites is concerned, here is where the Stockholm syndrome comes more into play. Our people have been psychologically beaten into submission by accepting whatever the Marxist intelligentsia throws at them.But there is also a cultural flaw primarily among Northern European Protestant whites which consists of being perceived as NICE. Stop being NICE, especially to people who wish you dead. Is this some sort of perversion of Christianity? Maybe. Rather than throwing the whole Gospel message out the window, a recalibration of one's Christianity needs to happen as well. The churches have not been our friend either.
May 03, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on April 25, 2021 by Lambert Strether
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Recently, the political class has been working hard to rehabilitate George W. Bush into an elder statesman, no doubt to continue the liberal Democrat conversion of suburban Republicans, with headlines like " George Bush reborn as the nation's grandfather " (the London Sunday Times, but you know it will migrate over here), " George W Bush is back "" but not all appreciate his new progressive image " (Guardian), " Bush calls on Congress to tone down "˜harsh rhetoric' about immigration " (CNN), and "George W Bush reveals who he voted for in 2020 election "" and it wasn't Biden or Trump " (the Independent. Bush wrote in Condaleeza Rice, who Exxon once named a tanker for). I could go on. But I won't. These stories from major outlets seem to be erasing early coverage like " The 7 worst moments of George W. Bush's presidency " (WaPo, 2013), " The blood on George W Bush's hands will never dry. Don't glorify this man " (The Guardian, 2017), " Reminder: George W. Bush Is Still Very, Very Bad " (Vice, 2018), " Seth Meyers: Don't Let Trump Make You Forget How Awful George W. Bush Was " (Vanity Fair, 2020), and " We Shouldn't Have to Remind People George W. Bush Was a Terrible President : (Jacobin, 2020). That's unfortunate, because George W. Bush (hereafter "Bush"; the "W" distinguishes him from his spook Yankee patrician Dad, oil bidnessman George H.W. Bush). As with so much else that is fetid in the miasmic air of our current liberal Democrat dispensation, Bush's rehabilitation begins with the Obamas, in this case Michelle Obama, in this iconic photo:
(The backstory: " Michelle Obama Reveals What Really Happened During Her Sweet Exchange With George W. Bush ," and "Michelle Obama: George W. Bush is "˜my partner in crime' and "˜I love him to death' ").
Bush became President in the year 2000. That was "" let me break out my calculator "" 2021 "" 2000 = 21 years ago. It occurs to me that our younger readers, born in 2000, or even 1990, may not know how genuinely horrid Bush was, as President.
I was blogging even back then, and I remember how horrid Bush was; certainly worse than Trump, at least for Trump's first three years in office, until the Covid pandemic. To convey the full horror of the Bush years would not a series of posts, but a book. The entire experience was wretched and shameful.
Of the many horrors of the Bush years, I will pick three. (I am omitting many, many others, including Hurricane Katrina , the Plame Affair , Medicare Part D, the Cheney Energy Task Force , that time Dick Cheney shot an old man in the face , Bush's missing Texas Air National Guard records , Bush gaslighting the 2004 Republican National Convention with terror alerts, and on and on and on. And I didn't even get to 9/11, " You've covered your ass ," WMDs, and the AUMF. Sorry. It's exhausting.) I'm afraid my recounting of these incidents will be sketchy: I lived and blogged in them, and the memories of the horror well up in such volume and detail that I lose control of the material. Not only that, there was an actual, functioning blogosphere at that time, which did great work, but unfortunately most of that work has succumbed to link rot. And my memory of events two decades ago is not as strong as it could be.
The White House Iraq Group
Here I will rely on excerpts from Colonel Sam Gardiner's (PDF) "Truth from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II" (2003), whose introduction has been saved from link rot by the National Security Archive and a full version by the University of Leeds . I would bet, long forgotten even by many of those who blogged through those times. ("Gulf II" is what we refer to as the "War in Iraq.") Quoting from the full version:
You will see in my analysis and comments that I do not accept the notion that the first casualty of war is truth. I think we have to have a higher standard. In the most basic sense, Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to right decisions. Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage.
Seems familiar. (Gardiner's report can be read as a brilliant media critique; it's really worth sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading it all.) More:
My research suggests there were . I'll cover most in this report. At the end, I will also describe some stories that seem as if they were part of the strategic influence campaign although the evidence is only circumstantial.
What becomes important is not each story taken individually. If that were the case, it would probably seem only more of the same. If you were to look at them one at a time, you could conclude, "Okay we sort of knew that was happening." It is the pattern that becomes important. It's the summary of everything. To use a phrase often heard during the war, it's the mosaic. Recognizing I said I wouldn't exaggerate, it would not be an exaggeration to say the people of the United States and UK can find out more about the contents of a can of soup they buy than the contents of the can of worms they bought with the 2003 war in the Gulf.
The White House was, naturally, at the center of the operation:
One way to view how the US Government was organized to do the strategic communications effort before, during and after the war is to use the chart that was used by the Assistant Deputy Director for Information Operations. The center is the White House Office of Global Communications, the organization originally created by Karen Hughes as the Coalition Information Office. The White House is at the center of the strategic communications process"¦.
Inside the White House there was an Iraq Group that did policy direction and then the Office of Global Communications itself.
Membership of the White House Iraq Group:
So, in 2020 Bush's write-in vote for President was Condi Rice, the [x] Black [x] woman who helped run a domestic disinformation campaign for him in 2003, to sell the Iraq War to the American people. Isn't that"¦. sweet?
Of course, I was very naive at that point. I had come up as a Democrat, and my first real political engagement was the Clinton impeachment. Back in 2003, I was amazed to discover that there was a White House operation that was planting fake stories in the press "" and that I had been playing whackamole on them. At a higher level, I was disturbed that "Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to right decisions." Now it all seems perfectly normal, which is sad.
Torture at Abu Ghraib
There are a lot of images of our torture prison in Iraq, Abu Ghraib. This one ( via ) is not the most famous , but to me it is the most shocking:
What kind of country sets dogs on a naked prisoner? Well, my kind of country, apparently. (Later, I remember discussing politics with somebody who came from a country that might be considered less governed by the rule of law than my own, and they said: "Abu Ghraib. You have nothing to say." And they were right.)
For those who came in late, here's a snapshot (the detail of the story is in fact overwhelming, and I also have pity for the poor shlubs the brass tossed into that hellhole.) From the Los Angeles Times, " Few have faced consequences for abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq " (2015):
[A] 44-year-old Al Jazeera reporter named Salah Ejaili, said in a phone interview from Qatar that he was arrested in 2003 while covering an explosion in the Iraqi province of Diyala. He was held at Abu Ghraib for 48 days after six days in another facility, he said.
"Most of the pictures that came out in 2004, I saw that firsthand "" the human pyramid where men were stacked up naked on top of each other, people pulled around on leashes," he said in the interview, with one of his attorneys translating. "I used to hear loud screams during the torture sessions."
Ejaili says he was beaten, left naked and exposed to the elements for long periods, and left in solitary confinement, among other acts.
"When people look at others who are naked, they feel like they're animals in a zoo, in addition to being termed as criminals and as terrorists," he said. "That had a very strong psychological impact."
The plaintiffs also say they suffered electric shocks; deprivation of food, water and oxygen; sexual abuse; threats from dogs; beatings; and sensory deprivation.
Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid, a laborer, says he was sexually abused by a woman while he was cuffed and shackled, and also that he was forced to watch a female prisoner's rape.
Ejaili said that his face was often covered during interrogations, making it difficult for him to identify those involved, but that he was able to notice that many of the interrogators who entered the facility wore civilian clothing.
His attorneys, citing military investigations into abuses at Abu Ghraib and other evidence, say the contractors took control of the prison and issued orders to uniformed military.
"Abu Ghraib was pretty chaotic," said Baher Azmy, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought suits against CACI and L-3 Services. "They were involved in a conspiracy with the military police to abuse our clients.""¦. Eleven U.S. soldiers were convicted in military trials of crimes related to the humiliation and abuse of the prisoners.
(So Abu Ghraib is a privatization story, too. Oddly, whoever signed the contract never ended up in court.) All this seemed pretty shocking then. But now we know that the Chicago Police Department ran a torture site at Homan Square while Rahm Emanuel, Obama's Chief of Staff, was Mayor , so perhaps this is all perfectly normal too.
Warrantless Surveillance and the Destruction of the Fourth Amendment
Here is the wording of the Fourth Amendment :
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, , and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
If our legal system had the slightest shred of integrity, it would be obvious to the Courts, as it is to a six-old-child, that what we laughingly call our "personal" computers and cellphones contain "paper," not in the tediously literal sense of a physical material made from wood fibre, but in the sense of content . Bits and bytes are 20th Century paper, stored on silicon and hard disk platters. Of course a warrant should be needed to read what's on my phone, ffs.
That Fourth Amendment common sense did not prevail is IMNSHO due in large part to Bush's program of warrantless surveillance, put in place as part of the Global War on Terror. Here again, the complexity is overwhelming and took several years to unravel. I'm afraid I have to quote Wikipedia on this one :
A week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which inaugurated the "War on Terror". It later featured heavily in arguments over the NSA program.
Soon after the 9/11 attacks President Bush established the President's Surveillance Program. As part of the program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program was established pursuant to an executive order that authorized the NSA to surveil certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant (see 50 U.S.C. Â§ 1802 50 U.S.C. Â§ 1809). The complete details of the executive order are not public, but according to administration statements, the authorization covers communication originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations or their affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US.
In October 2001, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the administration broad powers to fight terrorism. The Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISC and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda via a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an "apparently accidental" "glitch" resulted in the interception of communications that were between two U.S. parties. This act was challenged by multiple groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.
The precise scope of the program remains secret, but .
Of course, all this is perfectly normal today. So much for the Fourth Amendment, good job. (You will note that the telcos had to be in on it; amusingly, the CEO of Qwest, the only telco that refused to participate, was charged and convicted of insider trading, good job again.) The legal aspects of all this are insanely complex, but as you see from my introduction, they should be simple.
Here's a video of the Iraqi (now in Parliament) who threw shoes at Bush (who got off lightly, all things considered):
We should all be throwing shoes at Bush, seriously if not literally. We should not be accepting candy from him. We should not be treating him as an elder statesman. Or a "partner in crime." We should not be admiring his paintings. Bush ran a bad, bad, bad administration and we are living with the consequences of his badness today. Bush is a bad man. We are ruled by bad people. Tomorrow, Obama!
 For example, I vividly remember playing whack-a-mole as a blogger with the following WMD stories: Drones, weapons labs, WMD cluster bombs, Scuds, nuclear materials from Niger, aluminum tubes, and dirty bombs. They one and all fell apart on close inspection. And they were only a small part of the operation, as Gardiner shows in detail.
 My personal speculation is that Dick Cheney had a direct feed from the Abu Ghraib torture chambers to the White House, and watched the proceedings live. Some of the soldiers burned images of torture onto CDs as trophies, and the prison also had a server, whose connectivity was very conveniently not revealed by the judge in a lawsuit I dimly remember being brought in Germany. So it goes.
flora , April 25, 2021 at 6:46 pm
Does anyone believe that W, son of H. W. Bush, H. W. son of Senator Prescott Bush, would have been been pres without that familial lineage and its important govt connections? The pity is W wasn't smart enough to grasp world politics and the US's importance as an accepted fulcrum in same beyond his momentary wants. imo. Brent Scowcroft and others warned him off his vain pursuits. The word "squander" come to mind, though I wish it did not.
flora , April 25, 2021 at 7:43 pm
See for example Kevin Phillips' book American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush . ( Kevin Phillips is a great modernist American historian, imo, who saw the rise of Nixon before anyone else.)
Teejay , April 27, 2021 at 10:16 am
" saw the rise of Nixon"? Phillips worked on the '68 campaign.
JTMcPhee , April 25, 2021 at 8:12 pm
Don't deny W his agency. As I followed the horrors, from Vietnam to Iraq to Syria to Central America and elsewhere, the full list that was visible anyway, of the W regime, it sure seemed clear to me that W played the bumbling yuk very well.
He did what he set out to do, no doubt with careful guidance from that sh!t of a father (magically turned into a laid-in-state "statesman") and mother-of-string-of-pearls, and of course Cheney and the rest of the corpo-gov policy gang.
The Consent Manufacturers are whitewashing an evil man and his slicker but equally evil successor and his glamorous spouse.
Helluva job, Georgie! Full marks for kicking the world a long way down a dark road.
anon y'mouse , April 26, 2021 at 12:24 pm
the dumb cluck thing was mostly an act. he was deliberately talking that way not only to paint himself as stupid, but also because those in power assume we must be spoken to as children (they've studied president speeches since JFK have decreased from high school level to 6th grade in complexity, word usage etc).
see Pelosi's daughter's film of his campaign trail. He's no Angel Merkel, but sly enough for politics in this country and most third world corruptocracies.
In our kayfabe duoparty system, it also gave the "opposing" side the "W is a Chimp" talking point to harp on (dress rehearsal for the same stuff against tRUMP).
Tom Stone , April 25, 2021 at 6:49 pm
Abu Ghraib was not an anomaly, Con Son Island served the same purpose during the Vietnam War. When I was young I was proud to be an American Citizen, we had the Bill of Rights, the Military was controlled by Civilians and their oath was to defend the Constitution from "All Enemies Foreign and Domestic.". I have been horrified, ashamed and deeply saddened by what has happened in the US over the last half Century or so.
And it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
ambrit , April 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm
You actually "˜blogged' back when we had to use punch cards to program our PCs? How oh how did you clamber on up out of "the Well" so many times a week? I am somewhat convinced that the Hollerith Cards Protocol was the origin of the Twitter 140 character limit.
I also "lived through" the "˜Reign of "W""˜ and see it as a Time of Prophecy. Most of the things we are now staring down the barrel of were effectuated then.
I may be foilly, (may be? who am I kidding,) but I view the 2000 election as a major turning point of American history.
albrt , April 25, 2021 at 7:20 pm
I view the 2008 election as the major failing-to-turn-back-when-we-had-the-chance point. Obama could have undone Bush's worst policies, but instead he cemented them into place forever.
Our elites are both stupid and evil, but Bush is more stupid and Obama is more evil.
drumlin woodchuckles , April 26, 2021 at 12:08 am
So was the 1963 " election at Dealey Plaza". Very pivotal.
Susan the other , April 26, 2021 at 1:56 pm
I go with JFK's assassination too. But little George is a close second.
Paul Whalen , April 26, 2021 at 6:42 am
you are 40 years off the mark-It was Reagan who's brand of avuncular fascism, celebrating stupidity as a virtue who paved the way.
Jason , April 26, 2021 at 6:59 am
All the pomp and circumstance surrounding the personage of the President serves to conceal the people behind the scenes who vetted and groomed said president, and actively advise him while in office. It's in this way that a Jimmy Carter may be viewed as a gentle soul so far as presidents go, but he was actually vetted by Brzezinski on behalf of the CFR goons. Once in office he was then advised by Brzezinski and Volcker, among other assorted lunatics. And he gladly took their advice the entire time. That's how he came to be president in the first place. And so it goes.
Ashburn , April 26, 2021 at 4:29 pm
albrt: I agree with your take. Obama campaigned as an anti-war candidate (at least wrt Iraq). He then proceeded to "˜surge' into Afghanistan and added Libya, Syria, and Yemen, to the regime change mix. Never a thought given to prosecuting the war criminals: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Feith, Wolfowitz, Powell, et al; much less even consider a truth and reconciliation commission.
Obama was equally complicit in this never ending horror show and, I am hopeful, history will hold him equally accountable.
km , April 25, 2021 at 7:19 pm
Is it not written that Margaret Thatcher's true legacy was Tony Blair? If that is true, then the true legacy of Dubya is Obama.
Tom Doak , April 25, 2021 at 7:43 pm
That gives W too much credit. Obama continued the legacy of Cheney.
John Wright , April 25, 2021 at 9:58 pm
Could you explain your view that Obama and Trump are "worse than that" (Bush-Cheney).?
As far as harm that George W. Bush did and launched (illegal/immoral wars, domestic surveillance, tax cuts for the wealthy"¦.) Bush should take the award.
Obama did push for military action in Libya, but at least held back from Syria.
The administrations after Bush "kicked the can down the road" but he initiated the events they simply continued. And Trump did attempt to pull troops back from Bush initiated wars. How is Trump worse than Bush? What are your metrics?
drumlin woodchuckles , April 25, 2021 at 10:04 pm
I am just a commenter here, but I would say that . . .
When Obama deliberately and with malice aforethought turned all the admitted (and in fact proudly self-avowed) war-criminals and criminals-against humanity loose, free and clear under "look forward not back", he routinised and permanentized the up-to-that-very-minute irregular and extra-constitutional novel methods of governance and practice which the Cheney-Bush Administration had pioneered. Obama deliberately made torture, aggressive war, etc. "legal" when America does it and "permanent" as long as America is strong enough to keep doing it.
He did some other things like that which I don't have time to mention right now. Maybe others will beat me to it.
Most of all, by slickly conning or permitting to self-con numbers of people about "hope and change" to come from an Obama Administration, he destroyed all hope of hope. He destroyed hope itself. Hope is not a "thing" any more in this country, thanks to Obama.
He may also have destroyed black politicians' dreams of becoming America's " Second Black President" for several decades to come. Been there, done that. Never Again. But since I am not Black, that is not my problem. That is something Black America can thank Obama for, if they decide to wake up to the fact of that reality.
Of course , if the Evil Countess Draculamala becomes President after Biden, then I guess I will be proven wrong about that particular observation.
tegnost , April 25, 2021 at 10:47 pm
Bush was the set up guy, Obama was the closer
norm de plume , April 26, 2021 at 6:51 am
The Greatest Disappointment in History. No-one else comes close, in terms of the sheer numbers of people globally who he let down. The Bait and Switch King, The Great Betrayer. After the nightmare of Bush we got him and his "˜eloquence', pulling the wool over the dazzled sheeple's eyes while he entrenched the 1% and the neocon MI complex, his paymasters, and sponsors for his entry into the overclass.
Last, does any single person with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton, bear so much responsibility for the election of Trump?
quackery , April 26, 2021 at 7:57 am
When Obama campaigned for president he claimed he wanted to get rid of nuclear weapons. Instead, he upgraded the nuclear arsenal.
Mr Grumpy , April 26, 2021 at 10:28 am
It is ironic that the far right views Obama as the antichrist but they benefited from all of his policies.
Cat Burglar , April 26, 2021 at 11:19 am
Remember that Obama voted in favor of FISAA, the bill that immunized Bush and his flunkies from prosecution for their felony FISA violations, as a senator, not long before the presidential election. It was impossible to make myself vote for him after that.
Hotei , April 25, 2021 at 11:53 pm
Excellent documentation of that lineage here: http://www.obamatheconservative.com/
Norm Norton , April 26, 2021 at 11:14 am
"Is it not written that Margaret Thatcher's true legacy was Tony Blair?" If that is true, then the true legacy of Dubya is Obama."
And for Obama, Trump!
upstater , April 25, 2021 at 7:42 pm
Lambert, you forgot this one" Biden presents Liberty Medal to George and Laura Bush Instead of a war crimes trial at the Hague, Biden gave him a (family bloging) medal!
Jason , April 25, 2021 at 7:51 pm
Thanks Lambert. I'd add that the intelligence being sent to the "White House Iraq Group" was being manufactured by the Office of Special Plans (OSP) which was set up and run by Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. Following Feith's history and connections alone is a fruitful endeavor for those so inclined.
Among other things, Feith co-authored, along with Richard Perle and David Wurmser, the A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing the Realm paper prepared for the prime minister of a certain foreign country. This is back in 1996. Around the same time the PNAC boys were formed by Kagan and Kristol and started selling the same policy prescriptions vis a vis Iraq to the pols and public here.
Feith was also fired from the NSC back in the early 80's for passing classified information to some little country. Fast forward to his OSP days and, lo and behold, his employee Larry Franklin is convicted of the same thing, along with Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman of AIPAC.
That's just a taste of the malfeasance.
John , April 25, 2021 at 8:26 pm
I guess sometimes people need to be reminded that water is wet. The Buddhists say that ignorance is the root poison. True dat. Especially in Amrika.
JTMcPhee , April 25, 2021 at 8:56 pm
This stuff has gone on forever. What amount of ventilation is needed to blow this kind of dung out of the Augean stables of geopolitics? Not much chance of that anyway, given all the incentives and and interests"
Is it luck that Putin and Xi might be a little less monstrous?
Elizabeth , April 25, 2021 at 10:20 pm
It's really sickening to see George W being "rehabilitated" and made to look like some kind of a senior statesman, when he should be hauled off to the Hague to spend the rest of his life in prison for war crimes. For me, his election in 2000 was mostly the beginning of the end of the rule of law in this country. As a result, the U.S. has Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, in addition to all the other events mentioned, and don't forget he tried to privatize Social Security.
His eight years as president, for me, was a horror show. What really bothers me is that he got away with all of it "" and now he's hailed as an eminence gris. I can't help but think that his rehabilitation is to remind us all of how bad Orange Man was "" Obama was just as bad because he cemented everything W did "" and more.
Thanks for the horrible memories.
Joe Hill , April 25, 2021 at 11:02 pm
I understand you disagree with the policies of Mr Bush, but war crimes?
Please describe what charges would be brought against him if you were to prosecute at a war crimes tribunal.
Yves Smith , April 26, 2021 at 3:23 am
That is an assignment, which is a violation of our written site Policies. This applies to reader comments when you could easily find the answer in less than 30 seconds on Google rather than being a jerk and challenging a reader (or even worse, me derivatively) on bogus grounds.
Robert Gray , April 26, 2021 at 1:57 am
> For me, [W's] election in 2000 was mostly the beginning of the end of the rule of law in this country.
At this moment I'm writing it is still early days for this thread: there are only 24 comments. In these comments are named many bad people. However, one name that does not (yet) appear is "˜Clinton'. W was a monster as president (and likely remains a monster as a human being) but surely Billy Jeff needn't yield to him in his contempt for the rule of law.
Yves Smith , April 26, 2021 at 2:29 am
I loathe Bill Clinton but nothing he did approaches the Iraq War in the level of damage to the US and many foreign countries"¦.starting with Iraq.
Robert Gray , April 26, 2021 at 3:52 am
Quite right, of course. My comment was specifically in regard to his disdain for and abuse of the rule, and rÃ´le, of law in the American polity, e.g., his perjury > disbarment. Sort of like the famous photograph of Nelson Rockefeller who, while serving as VP, was captured giving the finger to a group of protestors; Clinton also oozed that kind of hubristic impunity.
Alex Cox , April 26, 2021 at 12:01 pm
Regarding Clinton, the damage he caused to his own country and the world was substantial. The destruction of Yugoslavia caused considerable mayhem "" in addition to bombing and breaking apart a sovereign nation, it enabled "liberals" to feel good about war again, and paved the way for the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.
And the damage done by NAFTA was enormous "" in terms of leading to deaths of despair in both the US and Mexico I suspect NAFTA has a higher domestic "body count" than any of the subsequent forever wars.
anon y'mouse , April 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm
and welfare "reform", the crime bill. Talk of privatizing SSI made commonplace acceptable. Repeal of Glass Steagall. They were going to do to healthcare what oBLAM succeeded at, 20 years before him but got sidelined by Lewinsky's blue dress stains. Clintoon is a criminal and so is his spouse, and he did his share of damage everywhere. people who think otherwise might be looking back with nostalgia on a simpler (pre 9.11) time.
little known covered up crime from his ARK days is the selling of HIV tainted blood (taken from prisoners) to Canada, among other things.
yet another who had credible rape allegations. which damages our image at home and abroad.
tegnost , April 25, 2021 at 10:36 pm
Total Information Awareness https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/preemption/tia.html
Adm. John Poindexter"¦ https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/08/us/poindexter-is-found-guilty-of-all-5-criminal-charges-for-iran-contra-cover-up.html
yep, that one"¦
drumlin woodchuckles , April 26, 2021 at 12:14 am
I read that for the very briefest time, somebody or other was selling Total Information Awareness memorabilia with the Total Information Awareness symbol on it. I wish I had thought to buy a Total Information Awareness mug.
I imagine knockoffs and parodies exist, but I am not sure the real thing is findable any more.
Darius , April 25, 2021 at 10:43 pm
After Dennis Rader, the Wichita serial killer, murdered someone, the cops always found his semen on the floor next to the mutilated victim. He got sexual pleasure out of gruesome murder. This is how I always pictured Cheney's attitude toward torture. Well. I tried not to actually picture it.
Kevin Carhart , April 26, 2021 at 12:06 am
Bush also whipped votes for Kavanaugh, during the cuddly years.
Colonel Smithers , April 26, 2021 at 4:26 am
Thank you, KC.
Kavanaugh accompanied Bush fils on his state visit to the UK. Even then, Kavanaugh was being touted as a future Supreme Court judge.
The Rev Kev , April 26, 2021 at 3:48 am
Talk about your target rich environment. Where do you even start? Where do you begin? A serial business failure, draft dodger, military deserter, drunk driver "" and all that was before he became President. A man so incurious about the world "" just like Trump "" that he never even owned a passport until he actually became President and who never knew that Islam (prior to the Iraq invasion) , for example, was just not one religion but was divided into Sunni and Shia in the same way Christianity is divided into "" mostly "" Protestant and Catholics. But to me he was always the "Frat Boy President". His family always protected him from his many flaws and he never had to grow up like his father had to in WW2. Even as President he never grew into the job, again, just like Trump.
Lambert gives a few good reminders but there were many others and these are just the top of my head. He cared little for the US Constitution and called it nothing more than a goddamn scrap of paper. He officially made the US a torture nation, not only by pretending that US laws did not apply in Guantanamo bay but also aboard US Navy ships for which laws definitely did apply. As part of a movement to make America an oil-fueled hegemony for the 21st century, he invaded Iraq with the firm intention on invading Iran next so that Washington would have a firm grip on the fuel pump of the world. As he said "" "America is addicted to oil." He dropped the ball on 9/11 through over-obsessing on Iraq and in the immediate aftermath sent jets around the country "" when all jets were grounded "" to fly Saudi royalty back to Saudi Arabia before the FBI could interrogate them about all their knowledge of the attack. All this to hide his very deep connections with the Saudis.
I could go on for several more paragraphs but what would be the point? For the neocons he was a great fronts-man to be followed by a even greater one. I sometimes think that if Biden was a "˜real' Republican, then he would have been a great vice-president for Bush. And now the establishment and their trained seals in the media are trying to make him out as "America's Favourite Uncle" or something so that when he dies, he will have the same sort of funeral as John McCain did. And I predict that tens of thousands of veterans around the country will then raise their glasses to him "" and then pour the contents on the ground.
Colonel Smithers , April 26, 2021 at 4:22 am
Thank you, Lambert.
W's rehab continues in the UK MSM, not just the Independent. The worst offenders are probably the Grauniad and Channel 4, both Blairite.
The rehab mirrored the rise of Trump. His lack of interest in war upset these preachy imperialists.
Using Michelle Obama to facilitate the rehab brought id pol into the equation and made it easier. It was remarkable how often the above photo is used in the neo liberal and neo con media.
The Rev Kev , April 26, 2021 at 5:43 am
Thank you, Colonel. That foto is remarkable and I suspect that the origins for the idea for it may lay on the other side of the pond as it seemed so familiar-
drumlin woodchuckles , April 26, 2021 at 5:36 am
There is a blog called Rigorous Intuition 2.0. Many of its blogposts are about the Bush period and Bush related subjects and events. ( Many others are not). The sections on 9/11, Iraq, and Katrina probably have the highest percent of Bush-related blogposts, in case one is interested.
norm de plume , April 26, 2021 at 7:26 am
Jeff Wells wrote some interesting essays in the Bush years, though many of his connections were a bit too far out, even for me. He had some striking collateral evidence for his concept of High Weirdness in high places "" sex abuse, torture and magick figuring prominently, juxtaposed with political skulduggery, and financial crimes and misdemeanours. The Gannon/Guckert affair, the Franklin ring and Gary Caradori were the sort of thing that laced his quite penetrating analyses of events. Facts were jumping off points for speculations, but given our lack of facts his imaginings were a nourishment of sorts, though often very troubling indeed.
Tony massey , April 26, 2021 at 1:58 pm
Who needs to make shit up during those years?
The facts"¦the shit he actually did, was glossed over or simply forgotten.
If shit was made up about his sorry ass i didn't bother checking, Sir.
I just assumed it was true.
Bushies destroyed the country. If there's a country in 100 years they'll be paying for those years.
And then came obama and big Mike
jackiebass63 , April 26, 2021 at 6:14 am
People have been brain washed by the glossed over history of the US they are taught. It gives people a false belief of our past. The phrase American Exceptionalism comes to mind. It is a myth. The real history is out there but you have to search it out. From it's beginning continuing to today our government is responsible for bad behavior.
Some scholars like Noam Chomsky write about our real history. Unfortunately most people don't read this material. They are content with our glossed over shining star version of US history that unfortunately continues to be taught in our educational system , starting in elementary school continuing through a 4 year college education. Our system of government is so corrupted , I don't believe it can be fixed.
Jason , April 26, 2021 at 7:17 am
Arguing over degrees of presidential evil. Perfect.
farmboy , April 26, 2021 at 8:03 am
Nixon was rehabbed so he could open China, Kissinger got to keep his mantle. W portrayed by Josh Brolin pretty good take. Nice to see dunking on GW, but the cycle of rehabilitation is due. The question is can he do some good or is there too much mud on his boots. Can't see W as a new Jimmy Carter. Glossing over history begins the moment it's made. Makes me miss LBJ
Carlos Stoll , April 26, 2021 at 9:23 am
Between 1998 and 2000, under the rule of Saddam Hussein, about 1000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison were executed and buried in mass graves. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_prison How many Abu Ghraib prisoners did the US army execute?
The Rev Kev , April 26, 2021 at 9:48 am
Tell me again how many Iraqis were killed by the US Army because they were doing their own version of "Red Dawn"? And that tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis would still be alive if Saddam was simply left in place. Here is a video to watch while you have a little think about it-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfvFpT-iypw (17:46 mins)
Phil in KC , April 27, 2021 at 8:02 am
We Americans have this thing called exceptionalism which among other things creates the idea that our government is more virtuous than others. It's a useful idea in that it calls us to be different and better than the average nation, and certainly different and better than a cruel dictatorship. But it's also a dangerous idea because too many of us actually believe it to be true. Our atrocities are different in kind, but the scale is the same.
We are not at Hitler/Stalin/Mao standards ""yet"" but who's to say that could never happen here? One of the bafflements of the 20th century was how a civilized people descended into the dark barbarism of Nazi Germany.
Deschain , April 26, 2021 at 10:55 am
"(I am omitting many, many others, including Hurricane Katrina, the Plame Affair, Medicare Part D, the Cheney Energy Task Force, that time Dick Cheney shot an old man in the face, Bush's missing Texas Air National Guard records, Bush gaslighting the 2004 Republican National Convention with terror alerts, and on and on and on. An I didn't even get to 9/11, "You've covered your ass," WMDs, and the AUMF. Sorry. It's exhausting.)"
You left out the housing bubble and the GFC!
Mr Grumpy , April 26, 2021 at 10:58 am
Agree with all the criticism of Bush, Cheney, Obama. On a lighter note, my father-in-law is a high tech oil prospector in W Texas, much of it in Midland, overlapping in time with W. Both members of the Petroleum Club (been there once, very stuffy) and worked out at the same gym. Naturally, my wife asked if he had ever seen W naked. Her dad wouldn't answer, but did turn beet red. We take this as confirmation.
Phil in KC , April 26, 2021 at 12:24 pm
Noam Chomsky observed some thirty years ago that if the Nuremberg standards were applied to all the post-war American Presidents, then all of them would hang. Chomsky could not have imagined the future sequence of presidents from that point forward, but certainly they did not break the chain of criminality. My point is that Bush is not unique in the type of crimes, just the enormity of them. But I also believe he set new standards (lower) for shamelessness. Remember his smirk?
But also remember Obama joking about killing people.
John Wright , April 26, 2021 at 3:25 pm
Remember the comedy skit in which GWB "looked" for Iraq WMD's in the Oval office as part of the White House Correspondent's dinner?
Anyone with any sense of decency would have refused to do this skit, but Bush apparently followed his handlers' advice to get some laughs. That the USA was led by someone of such limited talent for 8 years speaks volumes. Years ago, a New York Times reader wrote that Hillary Clinton is a "well-connected mediocrity".
That comment may be true for ALL of the recent political candidates, from both parties, for a great many years.
LBJ was definitely not mediocre (civil rights/war on poverty), and would be viewed far more favorably, maybe as great, if he had pulled out of Vietnam rather than escalating. Carter in his post presidency has much to recommend. Post presidency Bush is painting his portraits rather than having any retrospective regrets for the harm he did.
Susan the other , April 26, 2021 at 2:27 pm
We have such a dismal record. Little George was the most audacious of all our criminal presidents, but he has plenty of company. My question is now, looking back, why was the USA incapable of organizing a peaceful world after WW2? I start there. 1945. How did our ideology become so inept? And everything I have read about our failures over the years is contrasted with what might have been. We have operated under a system that could not function without extraction. There was always a sell-by date on the cover; one that we tried to ignore. There's no doubt in my mind that it has finally failed completely. Ignominiously. But we have also learned and come to admit certain realities. The most important one is that there can be no more war; civilization cannot survive a modern war. So, ironically, our advanced warfare might well bring a peaceful world without world war. And our advances in science (mostly militarily inspired) will help us now survive.
Sue inSoCal , April 26, 2021 at 4:56 pm
Lambert, thank you for this piece. I won't repeat what others have opined. I've had a real problem with Michelle Obama being the rehabilitation cheerleader leader for Dubya. Imho, we lost all of our rights under the odious Patriot Act, which was pre-written. Russ Feingold was the lone Senate holdout. And I recall Byrd's ire and rant at the tome they had no time to read, but he caved. It went downhill from there. The links below, (apologies, I don't know how to fashion a hot link..) are about Bush's crimes and Amnesty International's exhaustive investigation of them.
I don't have the citation anymore, and I've knocked myself out trying to find it. But there exists a UN human rights commission memo suggesting (?) Obama to do a number of things: hold Bushco accountable for war crimes etc, as well as address what is termed as "systematic racism" in incarceration (and more). I had printed it out a number of years ago and can't find it.)
I'm not buying that Bush fils is any elder statesman. He and his cronies used torture, extreme rendition, hired mercenaries and completely destabilized the Middle East. We still don't have our rights back, and I'm betting the Patriot Act will never go away. (Nor will data mining under the guise of "targeted advertising" and sold to..the military.) The NYT's link is how Obama elected to rug sweep and just move ahead! I look forward to Lambert's take on the Obama administration..
techpioneer , April 26, 2021 at 4:56 pm
Finally, someone has the courage to point out the obvious. An excellent article, well researched and nicely nuanced.
I'm disappointed with the remedy proposed, however. Throwing shoes is not enough; it's merely symbolic. The potential crimes committed here, including lying us into war, the extent of torture committed, and practices that violate international military norms and intelligence require a transparent and impartial investigation. One possible venue is the International Criminal Courts in the Hague.
I've been told many times that sunlight can be an effective deterrent against disease.
May 03, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on April 26, 2021 by Lambert Strether
By Lambert Strether of Corrente .
Our political class does not believe that Barack Obama is a candidate for rehabilitation (â€œ revered by liberals, moderates and even some Republicans â€œ) despite recently pivoting to a consensus that his response to the Great Financial Crash was not all it could be . Even today, itâ€™s almost impossible, get anybody to the left of Joe Lieberman ( Obamaâ€™s mentor ) to say that Obama was a bad President. d As Matt Stoller writes in The Boston Review :
Even today you cannot get a single elected left-wing politician to say that Obama was a bad president. Think about that. We cannot have an honest discussion of what it meant to use power when Democrats were in charge, so the language of dissension is polluted with incoherent nonsense. All the grand philosophical musing and Democratic Socialists of America study groups do not matter when not a single elected official outside the Republican Party can make the simple, obvious point that Obamaâ€™s policies straight up made things worse.
This was not some capitalist plot. There was a lot of dissent within the Democratic Party about whether it was a good idea to do what Obama did. I was part of a network of people who tried to fight against the foreclosure nonsense and opposed Obamaâ€™s handing Puerto Rico over to hedge funds [ here ]. We lost. And the people who made public explanations about these fights lied to cover up for Obamaâ€™s bad choices. They lied because some of them are frauds, but also because it was painful not to; Democratic voters and many left-wing voters were and still are deeply hostile to any criticism of Obama. He is beloved; according to Gallup polling, 95 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of him. To the extent there is skepticism, it is framed in ways that avoid admitting that his actions systemically ruined millions of lives.
Well, Iâ€™m happy to call Obama a bad President, because he was. Of the many horrors of the Obama years, I will pick three. (I am omitting not prosecuting bankers for accounting control fraud , the HAMP debacle, the mortgage settlement debacle, destroying a generation of black wealth with his housing policies , the
kill listdisposition matrix , whacking a US citizen with a drone strike and no due process , ObamaCare and not single payer, the ObamaCare website collapsing on launch (with nobody held accountable), not closing Gitmo , the Afghanistan surge , enabling Googleâ€™s monopoly on search , creating the conditions for Trump .) All three are chosen to show continuties with the Bush Administration, rather than differences. Again I will beg your indulgence for sketchiness, since 2021 â€" 2008 = 13 years ago, and Iâ€™m operating mostly from memory, despite having blogged through those years, just as I blogged through the Bush years. As with Bush, a full accounting would be book-length. Or perhaps there should be a podcast, which would take hundreds of episodes. (Hmm. Not a bad idea. The podcast would have the same title as this post.)
Legitimizing Warrantless Surveillance
You will remember Bushâ€™s program of warrantless surveillance from the post on Bush. The battle against it was conducted under the confusing banner of â€œFISA Reformâ€ (that is, the battle framed not that Bushâ€™s actions destroyed the Fourth Amendment, but that the process of FISA authorization was not properly followed). Nonetheless, the blogosphere of that time played a big role in that battle (I was there, albeit peripherally) which Eric Boehlert describes well in his book Bloggers on the Bus . Here is a long excerpt (the legislation in the first sentence is FISA Reform). Iâ€™ve added the highlighting:
So, where was Obama on â€œFISA Reformâ€? That depends. From Politifact :
In October 2007, Obama spokesman Bill Burton issued this unequivocal statement to the liberal blog TPM Election Central: â€œTo be clear: .â€
Key segments of the Democratic base â€" enjoying substantial influence in the run-up to the Democratic presidential primaries â€" were pleased. â€œThis is the kind of leadership we need to see from the Democratic candidates,â€ MoveOn spokesman Adam Green said at the time.
Obama clinched the Democrat nomination on June 4, 2008. Nomination safely in hand, he changed his mind on â€œFISA Reformâ€ in July:
In October, Obama had vowed to help filibuster an update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that gave telecommunication companies that had cooperated with President Bushâ€™s warrantless wiretapping program immunity from lawsuits.
No filibuster! Putting Fourth Amendment issues aside, if you think that granting corporations retroactive immunity for multiple felonies is a really bad idea from the standpoint of the [genuflects] rule of law, then Obamaâ€™s flip-flop â€" letâ€™s just go ahead and call it a betrayal â€" is a bad act by a bad President. (On the bright side, Obamaâ€™s pivot looks like an inflection point: Where Democrats won the loyalty or at least the alliance of the intelligence community, which worked so for them in 2016-2020.)
You will also remember torture under the Bush administration , and there was plenty of it, more than merely Abu Ghaib . One would think that a professor of Constitutional Law â€" as his supporters constantly reminded us Obama was, albeit without mentioning his non-tenure track status â€" would favor prosecuting war crimes , particularly war crimes committed on a political opponentâ€™s watch, in service of a war that professor putatively opposed. No such luck. From ABCâ€™s â€œThe Weekâ€ on January 10, 2009 (10 days before Inauguration Day). Watch the weaseling!
STEPHANOPOULOS: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On change.gov it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City and he asks, â€œWill you appoint a special prosecutor ideally Patrick Fitzgerald to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including and warrantless wiretapping.â€
OBAMA: Weâ€™re still evaluating how weâ€™re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously weâ€™re going to be looking at past practices and I donâ€™t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also have a belief that . And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, youâ€™ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I donâ€™t want them to suddenly feel like theyâ€™ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering (ph).
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, no 9/11 commission with Independence subpoena power?
OBAMA: We have not made final decisions, but . That doesnâ€™t mean that if somebody has blatantly [nice qualifier] broken the law, that they are above the law. But .
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let me just press that one more time. Youâ€™re not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence wherever it leads?
OBAMA: What I â€" I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is he is the peopleâ€™s lawyer. Eric Holderâ€™s been nominated. His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people, not to be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So, ultimately, heâ€™s going to be making some calls, but my general belief is that when it comes to national security, .
Stephanopolous really should have said â€œIâ€™ll take that as a â€˜no.'â€ And how is there an â€œother handâ€ to â€œI donâ€™t believe that anybody is above the lawâ€? Fast forward to the administration Obama created the conditions for, and we see the results. From the Atlantic, â€œ Obamaâ€™s Legacy of Impunity for Torture â€œ, on the nomination of â€œ Bloody Gina â€œ:
The 44th president, Barack Obama, bears a measure of responsibility for the recklessness of his successor, in particular Trumpâ€™s decision to appoint Gina Haspel, the Central Intelligence Agencyâ€™s deputy director, to run the agency itself. Haspel oversaw a black site during the Bush era where at least one detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was tortured*.
Haspel also then played a role in a decision to destroy recordings of CIA detainees being tortured.
The Obama administrationâ€™s actions helped entrench a standard of accountability that stretches from beat cops to CIA officials, one in which breaking the law in the line of duty is unpunishable, but those suspected of a crimeâ€"particularly if black, Muslim, or undocumentedâ€"can be subjected to unspeakable cruelty whether or not they are ultimately guilty.
In a country where a CIA official like Haspel can destroy evidence in order to obstruct a federal investigation, and not only escape prosecution but rise to become the head of the agency, it is no wonder that the president and his allies behave as though the possibility of the law catching up to them is not merely remote, but a kind of absurdity.
So, thanks to Obama, weâ€™ve legitimized torture, and a torturer became the head of the CIA. That was a bad act by a bad President.
Implementing Dick Cheneyâ€™s Energy Plan
President Bush, in the second week of his administration, charged his Vice-President, Dick Cheney, with heading up an Energy Task Force . Larry Schweiger describes the result in â€œ The Climate Crisis and Corrupt Politics: Overcoming the Powerful Forces that Threaten our Future â€œ:
So we have Cheney and Obama working together to create fracking. Obama is, in fact, proud of this:
â€œThat was me, people.â€ Setting the Earth on fire for money. Come to think of it, signing the Paris Accords while on the other hand making the US the worldâ€™s number one oil producer is a lot like supporting the rule of law while on the other hand â€œlooking forward and not backâ€ when laws are broken, and a lot like promising to filibuster a bill granting retroactive immunity to lawbreaking corporations while on the other hand not doing so.
We are ruled by bad people and have been for years. Madison, of course, expected this, but his system seems to have broken down Federalist 51 :
But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
No longer is â€˜the interest of the man â€¦ connected with the constitutional rights of the placeâ€ (that is, of the office). If that were true, Bloody Gina would not have headed the CIA. Itâ€™s not even clear that the government can â€œcontrol itself,â€ or â€œcontrol the governed,â€ except by propaganda and violence, as our continuing public health debacle shows. I donâ€™t know what the answer to this is, but I do think it begins with the recognition that we are ruled by bad people. Simply replacing â€œbad peopleâ€ with â€œgood peopleâ€ does not have a record of success, since the â€œgoodâ€ quickly become â€œbad.â€ How to rebuild our political economy so that we seem to be governed by angels even though we are not is a question that I cannot answer. But it is a question increasingly before us.
 One of the more amusing aspects of the Bush Administrationâ€™s approach to torture was watching them devise euphemisms for it: â€œ enhanced interrogration ,â€ â€œrough treatment,â€ and â€œsevere tactics.â€
 So many happy people.
 For example .
njbr , April 26, 2021 at 7:41 pm
If only we were a perfect people with a perfect government with perfect elected leaders making perfect policy.
So much room for failureâ€"a target rich environment for writers.
Who the effâ€™ would be your perfect president to suit your perfect dreams?
Obamaâ€"not perfect but certainly better than those who came before or after.
Could â€œJesus Christâ€ be elected?
Katiebird , April 26, 2021 at 7:54 pm
Did you read this post (just asking).
(Please delete if my rudeness is unacceptable but I am curious)
ChrisAtRU , April 26, 2021 at 8:36 pm
Youâ€™re in the right here, and too polite about it â€¦ ;â€")
If I didnâ€™t know better, Iâ€™d say our not-so-esteemed OP was trying to correct the record .
ChuckTurds , April 27, 2021 at 6:45 am
The OP serves as a fantastic example of the Obomba apologists. The old â€˜yeah but imagine if the other guy got electedâ€™ BS. As if that â€˜worseâ€™ potential outcome absolves all the wrong doing committed by the actual president.
Alfred , April 26, 2021 at 8:08 pm
â€œNo longer is â€˜the interest of the man â€¦ connected with the constitutional rights of the placeâ€ (that is, of the office). â€
Itâ€™s not about perfection. Itâ€™s about the complete co-option of power granted by election to liars who basically say, â€œWhaddya gonna do aboudit?â€
Spring Texan , April 26, 2021 at 8:20 pm
Itâ€™s not about perfection, itâ€™s about NOT DOING ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE THINGS and doing and condoning torture.
Alfred , April 26, 2021 at 8:28 pm
ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE THINGS. Yeah, itâ€™s not about perfection, just tone it down a little, FHS. Is that the right tone now?
JTMcPhee , April 26, 2021 at 9:09 pm
Might be so â€" so many of My Fellow â€˜Muricans are all happy that it seems to appear that possibly it might be the case that due consideration may be given to exploring what should or could be done to put a frame around some conceptual elements of what could eventually gel into the skeleton of an approach to making some well-considered and gradual changes to the way bidness is conducted in the Empire.
Got to keep that powder dryâ€¦
Charlotte Ritchie , April 26, 2021 at 8:24 pm
If only we had: universal health care like every single other developed country; if only we had a $15 or higher, living wage; if only we had a massive infrastructure project; if only college grads werenâ€™t drowning in student debt; if only we were ending all of our Mideast wars; if only we had paid family and medical leave; if only we had tried to stop climate change; if only we had strong unions and excellent labor policy, etc.
IF ONLY OBAMA had even tried to implement some of these policies! I agree with this author and others of similar views. Obama had more charm than any president, probably ever, but he was a bad president!
JTMcPhee , April 26, 2021 at 9:14 pm
He might still have a second career (after knee-knocking with filthy-rich people) as a televangelist. Some of them are equally slick, using the same rhetorical trickery and symbol manipulation, and they sure drag in the (is it tax-free?) megabucks!
dcblogger , April 27, 2021 at 9:57 am
Obama was the first Democratic President with commanding majorities in the House and Senate. He could have been great. He had a unique opportunity to take meaningful action on Global Warming, something he was elected to do. Instead he increased production of fossil fuels. History will NOT be kind to Obama.
urblintz , April 26, 2021 at 9:19 pm
â€œJesus Christâ€ could never be elected.
Heâ€™d be accused of anti-semitismâ€¦
by â€œliberalâ€ Democrats.
BenLA , April 26, 2021 at 11:20 pm
Can you imagine the hit pieces they would through at jc?
haha, too funny
fresno dan , April 27, 2021 at 6:26 am
April 26, 2021 at 11:20 pm
Equitable > Equal , April 28, 2021 at 9:48 am
cocomaan , April 27, 2021 at 8:55 am
Honestly, Iâ€™m not seeing much of a difference between GWBush and Obama, in Lambertâ€™s post. War, extra legal killings and black sites, surveillance, bailing out finance, etc.
John Wright , April 27, 2021 at 12:55 pm
The loss of life (assuming there is some USA citizenry moral concern about the deaths/injuries of non-US citizens from the USA initiated wars) and the large expenditure in resources (by some estimates 6 trillion dollars in Afghanistan/Iraq) make the damage Bush did far worse.
The 6 trillion dollars represents a lot of hydrocarbons dug/pumped up and converted into CO2 and could have been diverted into USA infrastructure or world betterment..
â€œPopulation-based studies produce estimates of the number of Iraq War casualties ranging from 151,000 violent deaths as of June 2006 (per the Iraq Family Health Survey) to 1,033,000 excess deaths (per the 2007 Opinion Research Business (ORB) survey).â€
A million Iraqi deaths is about 3% of their population corresponding to about 10 million deaths in the USAâ€™s larger population if a foreign power invaded the USA and behaved similarly.
And the Iraq war was promoted by Bush and cohorts.
I continue to see a LOT of difference between Bushâ€™s actively pursued cumulative damage and Obamaâ€™s â€œkick the can down the roadâ€ damage.
There is a LOT of difference in the â€œcumulative damage balance sheetsâ€ of Bush vs Obama.
Neither is admirable, but the prime mover/instigator Bush was far worse.
NotTimothyGeithner , April 27, 2021 at 9:09 am
Since you are comparing Obama to the Christian Messiah, could you offer evidence of his near perfection or is this a you have to take it on faith kind of thing?
Darius , April 27, 2021 at 9:16 am
OK liberal. More perfect would be one who wasnâ€™t so servile to organized money. Also, Lambert left out Obamaâ€™s â€œpivotâ€ to the deficit while unemployment raged. I wanted to tear my hair out. Obamaâ€™s biggest crime was his embrace of austerity in the midst of a depression. Thatâ€™s why Trump was elected.
NotTimothyGeithner , April 27, 2021 at 10:58 am
One reason Obama has to be defended with such ludicrous arguments is the couple of times he wasnâ€™t praised but was actually criticized he did the less wrong thing. Look at our current President, his supporters never bring up the one good thing he did which was force Obama to take a still cowardly stand on gay marriage. They wonâ€™t credit Biden with it because shows how accountability works. Biden put Obama on the spot, and Obama was forced to react. Biden didnt offer excuses about secret negotiations. Obamaâ€™s desire for celebrity could have been used to make him a reasonable President, but his followers wanted to go to brunch.
Michael Fiorillo , April 27, 2021 at 12:27 pm
It was David Geffen and other wealthy gay Democratic donors who forced Obamaâ€™s hand on gay marriage. Not to discount what Biden did â€" one of the few honorable things in a very long career â€" but it was the money that spoke loudest.
lyman alpha blob , April 27, 2021 at 10:51 am
Better than those who came before or after?!?! Donâ€™t you think thatâ€™s an awfully low bar?
I mean itâ€™s arguably better to be executed by electric chair than being flayed alive, but Iâ€™d still choose neither.
km , April 27, 2021 at 11:29 am
I know, I know, we gotta be realistic and elect smooth war criminals.
Lambert Strether , April 27, 2021 at 11:48 am
> Who the effâ€™ would be your perfect president to suit your perfect dreams?
Hyenox , April 27, 2021 at 11:54 am
Obama was not perfect but he sang â€˜Amazing Graceâ€™ at a black church so I guess that makes everything OK but he was a convincing fraud and maybe a better salesman than Trump.
KD , April 26, 2021 at 8:32 pm
What if you had a two party system in which each party grandstands on certain issues when out of power and then when elected, did the same damn thing?
Acacia , April 26, 2021 at 8:34 pm
Thanks for this. Itâ€™s a substantial entrÃ©e for a discussion that is long overdue in many circles (I.e., why Saint Obama was never saintly). I have a question:
No longer is â€˜the interest of the man â€¦ connected with the constitutional rights of the placeâ€ (that is, of the office). If that were true, Bloody Gina would not have headed the CIA.
If the US govt were to conform to this Madisonian vision, would the CIA even exist?
JTMcPhee , April 26, 2021 at 10:04 pm
SOMEbody has to be the â€œrough men who keep us safe in our ignorant beds at night,â€ am I right? But thereâ€™s â€œalwaysâ€ been â€œstate securityâ€ people who are programmed, apparently in the womb, to come out wanting to emulate Beria and Wild Bill Donovan and the Dulles brothers and Prescott Bush (who â€œallegedlyâ€ orchestrated attempt to remove FDR by a military coup, hoping a really respected Marine General, twice Medal of Honor recipient, would lead the coup and the new â€œgovernment.â€ https://allthatsinteresting.com/the-business-plot I havenâ€™t looked, but I wonder if the CIA archives have anything on the subjectâ€¦
And that General, Smedley Butler, turns out to be a Class Traitor and whistleblower, who published and lectured on the subject of â€œWar Is A Racket:â€
War Is A Racket
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small â€œinsideâ€ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few â€" the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.
Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheepâ€™s eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the Polish Corridorâ€¦. https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
The whole screed is worth reading and studying, including the prescription for how to rein in the looters.
km , April 27, 2021 at 11:32 am
Keep in mind that after the War of 1812, the United States was never invaded, even though for much of its history, it had almost no standing army to speak of and a weak navy.
Yet somehow, the United States survived the Age of Imperialism unscathed, and the fact that we lacked a CIA, an NSA or a Pentagon to tell us that Freedom is Slavery and War is Peace or that we have always been at war with Eastasia didnâ€™t seem to bother us much.
Librarian Guy , April 27, 2021 at 1:27 pm
Not entirely accurate. Donâ€™t forget that in March, 1916, General Pancho Villa ran a quick incursion into Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18, including 8 US soldiers. The Villa forces actually suffered worse casualties under submachine gun fire, but looted a bit, including weapons.
The ultra-imperialst faux â€œprogressiveâ€ Woodrow Wilson was encouraged to retaliate and, of course, did so, sending a large force under Pershing into Mexico. Obviously USA empire really expanded beyond â€œManifest Destinyâ€ indigenous killing and displacement earlier, under McKinley, and obviously the theft of half of Mexico leading to â€œNew Mexicoâ€ did lead to blowback of this kind even a century ago.
The Wikipedia page is pretty solid on the events. In fact, I was previously unaware of a later Mexican troop incursion into Texas in May of â€™16. Sometimes the aggrieved bite back. Wiki link at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Villa_Expedition
ian , April 27, 2021 at 6:40 pm
Is it a screed if it is true and on-point?
I think he called it perfectly.
Telee , April 26, 2021 at 9:00 pm
Donâ€™t forget that Obama tried to cut Social Security with the appointment of Erskin Bowles and Alan Cranston to the â€ cat food commission,â€ two politicians who were opposed to social security. Then he bailed out the banks with trillions and no conditions while not helping people stay in their homes led to 9 million losing their homes and this hit blacks the hardest. Meanwhile his justice department didnâ€™t investigate let alone indict any banker for fraud so Obama established the principle that the perpetrators of loan fraud leading to the mortgage crisis are too big to jail. Yes, thatâ€™s right, he gave perpetrators of felonies which led to the near collapse of the whole economic system legal immunity! Many of the foreclosed homes were acquired by asset managers who now rent them out.
Yes, and his ACA did not include a public option in spite of campaign promises. The irony here is while he refused to provide a public option to private insurance, there is now a private option to public health insurance, Medicare. Under his watch, private insurance ( Medicare Advantage) has now attracted 40% of the 60 million who qualify for Medicare. So while a majority of Americans want some kind of government health insurance or Medicare for all, weâ€™ll probably end up with the private scam, Medicare Advantage for all. Thatâ€™s real progress for for profit health insurers. At the same time he promised the pharmaceutical companies that the government would not use its purchasing power to negotiate the price of medicines.
And he promised to let workers gain union representation via a card check but didnâ€™t do it in 8 years.
The hope and change rhetoric amounted to nothing but another betrayal.
Dean , April 26, 2021 at 10:06 pm
But he did all that with style an in a palatable anodyne way.
Darius , April 27, 2021 at 9:21 am
Donâ€™t forget his telegenic family. Such a nice man.
Librarian Guy , April 27, 2021 at 1:30 pm
Like Barack and Michelleâ€™s wonderful friend Liâ€™l Bushy the 2nd, who they tried (half successfully) to politically rehabilitate.
Some of TPTB will assure you that despite his clownish show as Prezinet, George the Lesser is truly kind and even, despite all appearances, â€œintelligentâ€. Evidently the Obamas feel the same way.
Sue inSoCal , April 27, 2021 at 3:26 pm
Lambert, thank you for this. I shall not argue with you! At all! Criticism of Obama is not acceptable, I have found. My description of him has always been â€œBush Lite.â€ Does anyone recall those little whispers between W and Obama during the transition? Iâ€™ve always been skeptical about just â€œgoing forward.â€ Bygone crimes will be bygone crimes. Big crimes. Crimes against humanity. As for the banks, I believe that had a couple of bankers gone to jail for fraud, we may not have ended up with a Trump, because he may not have felt as untouchable.
Finally, as Telee notes, Iâ€™m sure what weâ€™ll get as Medicare For All will indeed be the odious Medicare Advantage. No one else has mentioned that or cares to discuss it. Iâ€™ve raised the issue on Tarbell. (Crickets.) I doubt weâ€™ll ever rid ourselves of the blood sucking, fraudulent corporate medical complex.
James Dodson , April 27, 2021 at 7:50 pm
agree with you i became disabled again 2002 , medicare advantage was and is a fraud .never signed up FOR IT. last week or 2 weeks ago . people leaving the ( advantage plan ) going back to the real MEDICARE .
Steve Adams , April 28, 2021 at 2:15 am
Dropping mine next go around. You basically gain nothing as hospital administrators have gone during Covid-19 to where the money is, killer intubated mechanical ventilators and ditched the highly effective Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. If this were China they would have been shot already and their organs harvested.
Alternate Delegate , April 26, 2021 at 9:13 pm
Please add to charge sheet:
â€" Selecting â€œBankruptcy Billâ€ Biden as his VP
â€" Betraying workers after promising to pass card check union organizing ( Employee Free Choice Act )
ambrit , April 26, 2021 at 9:51 pm
And to think that I was once taken to task for describing our â€œSaintly Diverse Chief Executiveâ€ of years gone bye as a glorified Lawn Ornament of disreputable Antebellum Southern extraction.
I bring this up as a reminder of how the â€œtimesâ€ can change.
It is also a reminder of just how much â€œsoft powerâ€ Obama had available to him in the beginning of his term. That he threw that all away is the real crime.
To cut the man some slack, averse as I am to do so, I will observe that he was enmeshed from the beginning in the Clinton Triangulated Democrat Party.
Michaelmas , April 26, 2021 at 10:02 pm
Lambert S: I am omitting not prosecuting bankers for accounting control fraud, the HAMP debacle, the mortgage settlement debacle, destroying a generation of black wealth with his housing policies
Youâ€™re wrong to omit those things and youâ€™re too kind to Obama. What happened in 2008 was nothing less than a coup by Wall Street and the financial predator class.
If one goes into the archives as far back as 2005-6, one can find the smarter minds on Wall Street figuring out how they werenâ€™t going to have a replay of FDR and the New Deal when the financial collapse came this time around.
Thatâ€™s why Bernanke was installed at the Fed in February 2006, and thatâ€™s why Obama got more money for his presidential campaign from Wall Street than any previous presidential candidate in history. Wall Street knew what was coming and wanted a front man.
The fact that Obama simultaneously came from their own class â€" his grandmother, who essentially raised him, was president of the Bank of Hawaii â€" and was half-black, so that the masses of American mopes could buy into that and any critics of the coup that he fronted for could be deflected and vilified with cries of â€œracist, racist,â€ made Obama ideal.
It was a coup by the financial criminal class, in which they not only evaded punishment but also continued their pillaging and immiseration of the vast mass of Americans. Obama fronted for it.
Michael , April 26, 2021 at 10:29 pm
I agree this was one of the greatest failures of any president ever.
He â€œunwittinglyâ€ destroyed rising black wealth by failing to act. More black misleadership.
By turning a blind eye, he ushered in the institutionalization, from top to bottom, of residential real estate fraud as a legitimate business. The magnitude of todayâ€™s unpaid rents fall directly on the manâ€™s shoulders.
I could go on, like many of us, but whatâ€™s the point.
BTW, it was VP at BOH
Michaelmas , April 27, 2021 at 12:27 am
it was VP at BOH
Yeah, youâ€™re right.
I could go on, like many of us, but whatâ€™s the point.
Whatâ€™s the point? Well â€¦.
Kurtismayfield , April 26, 2021 at 10:53 pm
And he got paid very, very well after he left. Which was the whole point of every decision he made.. to get the post bribe.
Darius , April 27, 2021 at 10:54 am
Obama was the consummate courtier. Heâ€™s hard-wired to court the favor of the king. Part of his problem as president was the role reversal. He didnâ€™t know what to do with the idea that now people weâ€™re supposed to kiss his butt, not the other way around. He sure did try though with people like Jamie Dimon and Mitch McConnell.
Basil Pesto , April 27, 2021 at 12:45 am
youâ€™re too kind to Obama.
Not something I suspect Lambert is used to hearing!
Telee , April 27, 2021 at 10:02 am
Obama did a great job in exacerbating inequality in the US. The rich have more than recovered from the 2008 debacle while the bulk of the people have still not caught up to pre 2008 levels of income.
Elizabeth , April 26, 2021 at 10:47 pm
Lambert, for all the reasons mentioned in your post, and more too numerous to be mentioned here as a terrible president, his â€œTerror Tuesdaysâ€ was what shook me. His meeting with John Brennan on each Tuesday to decide which â€œterrorâ€ suspect to have droned next was something Iâ€™m not likely to ever forget. This went beyond how any civilized, decent human being would act. His statement that, â€œIâ€™m really good at killing peopleâ€ was probably the only truth he told.
I never voted for Obama because I thought he was a fraud from the beginning. This country has had horrible presidents since Clinton,(Iâ€™m sure there were some before him) but I think Bush/Obama were two of the worst this country has had and have done everlasting damage to â€" in my lifetime. Another thing that struck me about Obama from the beginning was that he had â€œdead eyesâ€ â€" flat, emotionless eyes..
Acacia , April 27, 2021 at 12:26 am
I also felt he was a fraud from day one. The signs were there, and the alternative media did report on the boatload of donor money he received from Wall St, the health insurance lobby, et al. (I guess we could think of it as a down payment on the Marthaâ€™s Vineyard estate), but good liberals voted for him anyway.
Regarding â€œTerror Tuesdaysâ€, I wonder how many drone strikes Obama approved by phone from the ninth hole of the golf course.
LowellHighlander , April 27, 2021 at 9:29 am
Acacia, thanks for pointing to the alternative mediaâ€™s reporting on Obamaâ€™s taking a boatload of donor money from Wall Street. It was in CounterPunch â€" which, if I remember correctly, was another one of those media entities disparaged by the spooks at â€œProporNotâ€ â€" where I read an illuminating article by Ms. Pam Martens. I read this in hard copy, and I believe the edition I read was from February 2008. [And I hope you, Ms. Smith, donâ€™t mind that I plugged a like-minded writer, but I think she should be recognized.] Ms. Martens noted how Obama took advantage of coding of industries (back then, it was the â€œSICâ€ code) to dupe the public into thinking that he was not taking Wall Street money. Worked like a charm, as Ms. Martens more-or-less predicted.
I should also say that, as a Veteran, I was quite dismayed by many in the anti-war movement (in which I was active back then, in the Imperial Capital) who fell for Obama, instead of backing Cynthia McKinney. When Obama said he was only against â€œdumb warsâ€, I instantly interpreted that as a loophole through which a blind person could drive a Mack truck, and yet so many in the movement fell for it. It was a lonely time, to be sure.
km , April 27, 2021 at 11:34 am
I also sensed that Obama was a fraud from the beginning, or if not a fraud, that he would prove to be weak and easily manipulated. I never voted for him, not in 2008 or in 2012.
But people wanted to believe in the man, and for eight years, too many people made excuse after pathetic excuse for the man. Even today, the excuses continue, because people want to badly to believe.
John Wright , April 27, 2021 at 11:55 am
Another gift to Obama was that he was able to claim he was opposed to the Iraq War.
He wasnâ€™t a US Senator at the time, so he did not have to vote yay/nay.
His opposition was limited to a critical speech, which was used as evidence of his opposition of the war.
Obama was an orders of magnitude better conman than Trump. Many in America believed that Trump was a conman, but Obama largely avoided this description.
I know people who still believe Obama wanted and tried to do the right things but was prevented by the â€œevilâ€ Republicans.
Adolph Reed described Obamaâ€™s future behavior very early.
â€œAdolph Reed was the first writer to see who Obama was. In 1996, Reed wrote about him in The Village Voice:â€
â€œIn Chicago, for instance, weâ€™ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program â€" the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasnâ€™t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.â€
albrt , April 26, 2021 at 11:06 pm
If the title said â€œBarack Obama was a Horrible Presidentâ€ I would agree and the text would support the headline.
But this post and yesterdayâ€™s post purported to tell us why we have horrible presidents. So why do we?
Personally, I think it is because the United States is in the process of collapsing. The horribleness of our presidents both confirms that the collapse is happening and ensures that the collapse will continue until the United States no longer exists, probably less than a decade from now.
But I would be very interested in other views on why our presidents are so horrible.
Acacia , April 27, 2021 at 12:36 am
Our vaunted republic has been taken over by a duopoly of corporatists. They carefully vet and choose Presidents from their network of cronies, while pretending itâ€™s the choice of the people. E.g., what else are the superdelegates for? Result: a series of horrible leaders. Trump was an exception in that he slipped around the usual process of vetting and show democracy, like a rat that entered a fancy restaurant via the service entrance, and for that he had to be annihilated.
Jason , April 27, 2021 at 5:47 am
The exception that recently said his greatest accomplishment in office was the corporate tax cuts. Trump merely used their fraudulent ways in his own interest. He out-frauded the frauders by recognizing their game and one-upping them. Yay. As for the rest of us?
Trump was surrounded by and gladly operated in the same morass of financial and corporate shysters and Israel-firsters that the previous administrations were inundated with.
Jason , April 27, 2021 at 6:01 am
Adding, Iâ€™d like to preempt right now any thought that this is in any way a defense of Obama, who I despise. Itâ€™s simply a reminder that Trump is an absolute con too (obviously).
Punxsutawney , April 27, 2021 at 12:25 am
Letâ€™s not forget Mr. TPP here, who put more energy into trying to sell the democracy destroying TPP and ISDS than he did trying to get the public option into the ACA. Not that they had any intention of doing so. Standing just a stones throw from the outsourced grave of my wifeâ€™s career and lecturing us on how wonderful it was going to be, and how we should stop complaining and take our medicine. But what do I know, Iâ€™m just an Fâ€™n retard. The administrationâ€™s term, not mine.
And then there was austerity, the cat food commission, and no doubt his administrationâ€™s failures economically helped set the stage for Trump.
WobblyTelomeres , April 27, 2021 at 10:14 am
You left out the Panama Treaty. He did a cake walk on that one. See https://panamapapers.org/
Jackman , April 27, 2021 at 1:03 am
Personally, I think the worst thing Obama did was to rob those who suffered from his dreadful economic policies from the dignity of being able to understand why they had failed, why they suddenly had a lot less, or nothing. All his charm and eloquence was marshaled to make sure that people would never identify the true villains of their collapsing personal narratives. And the media was only too happy to comply, as Obama fluently escorted millions into self-loathing and despair, with nary a shred of hope. Of course, the absence of a single banker conviction was all part of that narrativeâ€"they didnâ€™t do anything wrong, itâ€™s just more complicated than you think, because, well, because you donâ€™t have the sophistication of an investment banker to really understand, and maybe if you went to a better college, or a college at allâ€¦â€¦ It all created the carcass of civil society that Trump so effectively weaponized with resentment and anger.
And then of course we were all forced to listen to the endless excuses of our friends and colleagues, often good people who had worked hard to elect him, and knew exactly what he had promisedâ€"after all, heâ€™s an effective speaker, no?â€"and now were forced into wild and tortured tales of why he couldnâ€™t, or wouldnâ€™t, or shouldnâ€™t, do all those great things he had said he believed in.
I thought I hated Bush, but I didnâ€™t vote for him, and knew he was a bad guy. But the Obama betrayal? That hit deep, deeper than Bush. He twisted so many of my friends and relatives into raving fools. He normalized nearly every Bush atrocity, and still walks the earth like a great man.
I remember when Bernie first hit the campaign trail in 2015 and began to point very directly to the 1%. You could feel the electricity surge through the population like a lightning bolt, hitting places that had lain dormant for decades. The power of narrative is everything. Obama was the worst, an absolutely abominable President.
Big Tap , April 27, 2021 at 2:41 am
Also Obama opened up the Arctic to oil exploration, full assault on the press by threatening to use the Espionage Act, campaigning to end wars but created around 3-4 new conflicts (bombing of Libya, Syria, and Yemen), and used more armed drones than George W. Bush did.
Lee Too , April 27, 2021 at 2:02 pm
â€œObama fluently escorted millions into self-loathing and despairâ€.
This is beautifully said.
I am very late to this discussion, but would like to add that I think of Obama as an example of the Dunning-Krueger effect. That is, he was/is an intellectual flyweight â€" and not so much â€œeducatedâ€ as â€œgroomedâ€ â€" and this ENABLED him to be so satisfied with himself.
Brunches with Cats , April 27, 2021 at 2:57 am
The article and comments provide sufficient evidence that Obama was well beyond your (Rose) garden-variety fraud. The clarifying moment for me was his speech in Hiroshima, delivered with heart-rending sincerity and conviction (I was getting choked up even though I could never stand the sound of his voice), all while putting the finishing touches on his $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization plan. An article in The Diplomat called it irony, â€œa missed opportunity.â€ I call it the epitome of cold, calculating evil.
P.S. â€œPresidentâ€ shouldnâ€™t be capitalized (especially not this one), unless itâ€™s used as a title directly before the executive personâ€™s name.
everydayjoe , April 27, 2021 at 5:00 am
No sitting US President or ex President deserves the Nobel peace price. That says a lot..having said that, Obamaâ€™s book also shows the inner workings of his world viewâ€¦he was conflicted too many a times.
tegnost , April 27, 2021 at 9:42 am
He paid lip service to his conscience.
He resolved all of his conflicts in the same way, in the service of money.
No violence to the social order allowed.
Violence to all the people being screwed by the social order?
â€¦well thatâ€™s ok, they need to learn to get in lineâ€¦
WobblyTelomeres , April 27, 2021 at 3:39 pm
He paid lip service to
his consciencethat which a sociopath thinks people with consciences have.
The Rev Kev , April 27, 2021 at 5:39 am
Back in 2008 I thought that America had finally caught a break in having Obama come into office as by that stage, George Bush was getting to be downright clownish with his Presidency. The first warning though was just after he had been elected when it came out that his campaign had gotten two advertising awards. It was at that point I remembered the articles trying to warn people that Obama was not who people though he was which I had just assumed at the time were Republican screeds. It did not take long after that for him to show his true colours. The number of crimes that he did, the looting that he allowed are mentioned here in some detail but I thought to take a 10,000 foot view of his Presidency.
When Bill Clinton was President, he really allowed neoliberalism to take over America by having the media and defence corporations to consolidate, removing laws that had been in place since the days of FDR, etc. and it took Wall Street less than a decade to steer America into a ditch because of all this. But during the time following you had George Bush as President who let loose the dogs of the neocons in an attempt to secure American hegemony for the rest of the 21st century but which actually revealed Americaâ€™s limitations of power and which taught other nations how to fight back against America. Between the destruction of the middle class, the disruption in the world as America caused chaos in one country after another, the militarization of the police, etc. all set rifts into motion at home. So in 2008 the stage was set.
What was critically needed was a reformist President who would bring back law and order to America and the rest of the world. Who would reverse course on the destruction of the world through climate change. Who could develop mature relations with such countries like Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, etc and come to some sort of diplomatic accommodation. One who could take advantage of public feeling and tame Wall Street and put the bankers back in their box. America desperately needed a change of direction before it steered right into the coming iceberg fields. Instead you got Obama who doubled down on the worse of America and put his foot down on the pedal with every fiber of his exceptional soul. The rifts in American now became chasms which resulted in Trump being elected followed by Biden who is now doubling down on everything in an attempt to make America great again.
The one best chance for America to get back on course and reform itself and you had Obama come in and help betray Americans instead to the worse of their own kind â€" and all for his own personal wealth and aggrandizement. History will judge him harshly.
fresno dan , April 27, 2021 at 6:46 am
The Rev Kev
April 27, 2021 at 5:39 am
President Obama entered the White House with his party touting a 60 seat majority in the Senate and 257 seat majority in the House. Democrats now hold a 48* seat minority in the Senate and 194 seat minority in the House â€" a net loss of 12 and 64 seats respectively.
In 2009, President Obamaâ€™s party controlled both chambers of 27 state legislatures. Eight years later, Democrats control both chambers in only 13 states.
Inadvertentâ€¦or intended? At best, startling incompetency.
The Rev Kev , April 27, 2021 at 9:03 am
April 27, 2021 at 6:46 amâ€™
Actually it was worse than that, dan. Under Obama, the Democrats lost nearly 1,000 State legislator seats as well. Democrat party finances had collapsed too which was why Hillary was able to go in and buy it up before the 2016 elections-
Dwight , April 27, 2021 at 12:43 pm
And now we hear so many complaints about the electoral college, but nothing about how much further Obama put us from the 2/3 of state legislatures necessary to change it. Assuming we even want or need to to do that â€" I think Democrats need to make their case in every state, and Obama purposefully undermined that by rejecting the 50-state strategy.
miningcityguy , April 27, 2021 at 9:50 am
Adolph Reed saw Obama for what he was early in Obamaâ€™s career. In 1996 Reed wrote in the Village Voice: â€ In Chicago, for instance,weâ€™ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous â€" to repressive neoliberal policies, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundations and development worlds.â€
Michael Fiorillo , April 27, 2021 at 10:25 am
â€œâ€¦ you had Obama come in and help betray Americansâ€¦â€
Because thatâ€™s what he was hired to do.
A quick glimpse at his political career in Chicago, to say nothing of Adolph Reedâ€™s prescient assessment in 1996 (!), should have revealed his duplicity and narcissism. Then, taking Lieberman as his mentor upon entering the Senate should have also told us everything we needed to know.
On a personal level, I canâ€™t bear the sound of his voice, or the banality of his â€œsoaringâ€ rhetoric.
km , April 27, 2021 at 11:36 am
At least you got wise. Lots of people just kept doubling down.
Sound of the Suburbs , April 27, 2021 at 4:32 pm
When the US needed an FDR it got an Obama.
drumlin woodchuckles , May 1, 2021 at 5:36 am
And he will just laugh, as he counts his money.
jackiebass63 , April 27, 2021 at 6:18 am
Presidents are elected on their message to voters. For Obama it was hope and change. Trump won on make America great again. These are great slogans because they say nothing. It is left up to the voter to interpret what it means. Iâ€™m a life long registered Democrat.I didnâ€™t vote for Obama either time. This was because I observed Obama during his time in the senate. Obama wasnâ€™t my idea of a real democrat. He was a Wall Street democrat. They are really what used to be called moderate Republicans. As long as monkey trumps everything, we wonâ€™t have a government that represents the people.
Jason , April 27, 2021 at 6:38 am
Obama in Flint epitomizes the man. Flint needed Federal aid to help clean their drinking water. Giving these deplorables money they donâ€™t deserve is against elite priorities and would set a bad precedent. Cue Obama, who gladly goes and puts on not one â€" but two â€" separate performances where he delights in faking taking a sip of water. He has the audacity to say â€œThis is not a stuntâ€ as heâ€™s in the middle of performing his show for the people of Flint. He then repeated his performance backstage for a smaller media audience. All of this was done eagerly, without a hint of remorse or conscience.
Iâ€™ve actually gotten a few Obamaphiles to at least stop and think for a moment upon viewing his disgusting display in Flint.
The Rev Kev , April 27, 2021 at 6:57 am
â€˜Obama in Flint epitomizes the manâ€™
Yeah, I think that you have it there. He actually showed what was in his soul in Flint.
Darius , April 27, 2021 at 11:03 am
He did tell them, â€œI see you.â€ Thatâ€™s what liberals say when theyâ€™re about to screw you.
Steve Ruis , April 27, 2021 at 8:38 am
I made a similar list to this one, but mine was much longer, when Mr. Obama left office. One disaster you left off, understandable because of your economic and political focus, was, well, Arne Duncan. After writing my first draft, I found I had added the former Secretary of Educationâ€™s name to the list three times. The failure of the Obama administration to defend and support public education is a lasting smear on our society.
And his lack of effort to directly help Black people, for fear of seeming to have a bias was also unsupportable. What President doesnâ€™t have a bias or two or twenty?
Jason , April 27, 2021 at 8:57 am
Obamaâ€™s Scandals List:
I believe this was put together by Hugh, who comments frequently at Ian Welshâ€™ site.
km , April 27, 2021 at 11:38 am
Interesting, as Hugh comes off as a Team D homer.
Jason , April 27, 2021 at 11:48 am
Weâ€™re all interesting people.
Librarian Guy , April 27, 2021 at 1:36 pm
I love Welshâ€™s site, and yes, Hugh is very big on US â€œhumanitarianâ€ interventions. Those swarthy complexioned people living abroad donâ€™t know whatâ€™s good for them, but Hugh is very confident that the empire does, despite the historical record.
Jason , April 27, 2021 at 4:21 pm
I donâ€™t like his â€œhumanitarian interventionistâ€ mindset either.
This is a damn good list.
michael hudson , April 27, 2021 at 9:19 am
Well, I always refer to the Obama Depression, from 2008 onward, and we are still in it. There was no recovery. All the GDP growth since 2008 has accrued to only 5% of the population. (Pavlina Tschernevaâ€™s charts)
But we need to go beyond Obama. The problem is the Democratic Party itself. THEY produced him, and Joe Lieberman tutored him on just whom to serve. And he locked in the DNCâ€™s right-wing control (while dismantling local Democratic politics in red states).
In that sense he really was a Republican. But itâ€™s necessary to trace how he wrecked the Democrats.
Darius , April 27, 2021 at 9:31 am
Obama was embarrassed by economic stimulus. His was supposed to be the presidency that established centrist neoliberal austerity and show everyone how great it is. Everyone who mattered, that is. It wasnâ€™t supposed to be cleaning up after a depression. So he had to be dragged into action and almost immediately â€œpivotedâ€ to the deficit. That eventually gave us Trump.
Noone from Nowheresville , April 27, 2021 at 12:41 pm
Obama was an inspiring 1 percenter. If I recall, the Kennedys were early promoters as well.
Republican / Democrat? Seriously why do we care these days? If Lambert wrote this article from the perspective of the top 5% of the global elite looking at the executive, legislature, and judiciary successes and failings at the federal / state / international levels, how dramatically different would this article be? What would the score cards for Democrat v. Republican look like? How would they overlap and compliment one another?
I suspect Clinton, Bush and Obama would be considered highly excellent executives / politicians if oneâ€™s grading standards use the top 5%â€™s objectives and goals as the guidelines.
We like to say special interests and bribes are the â€œreason.â€ If only there were â€œgoodâ€ politiciansâ€¦ There are extremely good politicians. Look at all the changes that have happened to our society in the last few decades and how they are accelerating with only minor bumps in the road to said changes.
Until we accept that the political class is part and parcel of the top 5% and treat them as true adversaries, societal changes at a global level will continue on its death cult course.
Just thinkâ€¦ if we were to lose half of the global population how that would rise the standard of living. It would certainly solve a lot of global problems even if it created others. Yeah, I really do believe that there are people in positions of power thinking that way.
John Hacker , April 27, 2021 at 10:06 am
I remember before his 100 days were up, he dismantled the grassroots coalition that gave him the Presidency. He is alive, his family are alive. I do not know what i would do. America is a scary place. Sunâ€™s nice in Miami.
drumlin woodchuckles , May 1, 2021 at 5:31 am
His personal ambition was to become Americaâ€™s first billionaire ex-president.
His ambition for his daughters is to elevate them up into the Bush Class. . . . . the High High High global gentry. Martin Luther Kingâ€™s dream, no doubt.
And Black America , in its millions, is beside itself with worshipful humble servile pride in their Obama.
Donald , April 27, 2021 at 10:07 am
Add Yemen to the list. There was zero excuse for this. Yes, they wanted to reassure the Saudi â€œ regimeâ€ ( we never call our scumbag allied governments â€œ regimesâ€) after the Iranian agreement ( which was one good thing Obama did). But obviously the war would be be long massive crime and that was true from the start. I once saw a YouTube link where John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, was explaining to a Russian reporter that Saudi bombing of civilians was due to an imprecision in the targeting process, while Russian bombing in Syria was a crime. I never get over how amazingly hypocritical people are on this. Of course, our own bombing of Fallujah, Mosul, and Raqqa was every bit as destructive as anything the Russians did in Aleppo.
I found that most liberals I spoke to online and in real life in 2016 didnâ€™t know about Yemen and when I told them, with one or two exceptions they brushed it off or assumed there was some good reasons for it or even used the â€œ placate the Saudisâ€ justification. Everything has to be run through a partisan filter before judging it as right or wrong. And if Obama was responsible, it couldnâ€™t be that bad.
Michael Carano , April 27, 2021 at 10:53 am
Let us not forget foreign policy: Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Honduras. Even though his Cuba and Iran policy were hits in between the second base and center field, he still only batted below 150 and continually left runners on base.
Susan the other , April 27, 2021 at 11:49 am
It seems like an eternity since Obama took office. Hope and change. Iâ€™m forever amazed at how much we learn and change as a community in such short periods of time. We should have a tab, like the Top Ten ideas of the year. Since Obamaâ€™s pathetic debacle the country has changed so much itâ€™s hard to even make a list. We are no longer naive politically, we are no longer naive economically, we are watching the military like doves; we are not in denial about our unexceptionalism, we are serious about our overconsumption and the environment, and we donâ€™t seem to even care about political promises; we are now demanding the things we need â€" we know everything went to hell. So maybe itâ€™s hopelessness and change. Because if you have hope you just keep hanging on to the same old crap. When Obama proved to be ineffective, when he wept during his SOTU and asked the electorate to â€œdemonstrateâ€ more for social equality, when he caved to the banks and ruined every spark of hope in America, America did indeed change. Powerful voices came through the fog (think NC here) and thereâ€™s no going back.
Phil in KC , April 27, 2021 at 11:53 am
He lost me when he appointed Geitner for Treasury. I shouldnâ€™t say â€œlost meâ€ so much as â€œshowed me his true character.â€
He was so arrogant that he thought his charm and brilliance would win over rank and file Republicans in the House and Senate. Failed.
He did that one big thingâ€"the ACAâ€"but let Congress mangle and distort the thing so badly. He could have lowered the age of eligibility for Medicare to 55 but for Joe Lieberman, who decided against it.
In retrospect, a Romney win would have been a better outcome in 2012. As we know, Romney is not the â€œstrict conservativeâ€ he presented to the Tea Party in order to gain their favor. He would have governed as a New England liberal Republican, ala Rockefeller, perhaps. Instead, we got four more years of neo-liberal mush.
But most damning: â€œNo one is above the law, but on the other hand . . .â€
LawnDart , April 27, 2021 at 12:13 pm
Obamaâ€™s words were not simply empty of meaning, their misuse created a vacuum that drew in angst, hopelessness and rage.
I donâ€™t know whom to hold more in contempt, the man or those who enabled him.
LawnDart , April 27, 2021 at 6:29 pm
And Iâ€™ll note that directing his DOJ to work hand-in-glove with private equity to shut down the OCCUPY movement appears nowhere on this list.
In light of the recent J6 â€œcoup,â€ whatâ€™s the alternative should peaceful protest no longer be possible?
Sound of the Suburbs , April 27, 2021 at 5:04 pm
I used to live on the surface.
I didnâ€™t really have time to analyse anything in detail, and I got my information from the mainstream media.
Bill Clinton was a good President, and the Republicans were behaving terribly trying to remove him from office.
New Labour were really going to change things in the UK, I thought this was just what the UK needed.
The Iraq war seemed sensible enough; Saddam Hussein was a terrible leader and needed to be removed.
Then I had more time to look at things in more detail.
The more you scratch away at the surface and look underneath, the worse it gets.
The image of Bill Clinton that I had received from the mainstream media gave no indication of some of the awful legislation he passed.
I was firmly behind New Labour when they were in office, but I am now pretty sure they were not who I thought they were.
I was still pretty near the surface when Barack Obama came into office and things did look very hopeful.
I wonâ€™t be surprised by any revelations now.
Sound of the Suburbs , April 27, 2021 at 5:17 pm
Ignorance is bliss, but I canâ€™t get back to the surface now.
Anthony K Wikrent , April 28, 2021 at 10:47 am
During Obamaâ€™s Presidency, I used to argue that Obamaâ€™s terrible policies were not the result of his being malicious or evil, but because he was thoroughly trained and indoctrinated in neo-liberalism. This explains Obamaâ€™s awful economic policies, but it does not explain, to my satisfaction, the first two examples Lambert uses â€" surveillance, and torture.
As I have sought for a solution to the problems USA and the world faces, I have since come to also realize that elites are trained â€" not just in USA but all over the world â€" to be ruthless and vindictive. That is how they rise to the top of any organization they are in. I think part of this is captured by Ian Welshâ€™s argument that managers are taught to make all decisions using cost-benefit analysis to some degree. I think a very large part of it is captured by Thorstein Veblenâ€™s analysis of the ruling Leisure Class. Marxist analysis, I have concluded does not offer much in the way of understanding the psychology of sociopathy that characterizes elites. Veblen offers many insights on this, Marx does not. This is why Marxists cannot explain why actual socialism or communism failed to change human nature, but Veblen can. All other analysts of elites psychopathology since Veblen, including Wolin and Hedges, basically restate what Veblen already wrote a century and a quarter ago.
Another conclusion I have reached from all this searching, inquiring, and pondering, is that the principles of civic republicanism offer workable solutions out of this accelerating vortex of catastrophe. First, civic republicanism demands that the rights and needs of community be given equal, and sometimes greater, weight, than individual liberty, while at the same time demanding the creation and maintenance of institutions devoted to preserving individual liberty. In essence, civil republicanism recognizes and accepts that there are some really bad parts of human nature, and that governments must be instituted to guard against the effects of these. Socialists and communists are just plain wrong in their belief that changing or eliminating property relations and who owns the means of production will result in a better human nature.
Second, civic republicanism demands an active promotion of â€œthe good.â€ Now, of course, you can debate what â€œthe good isâ€ at any given moment, or for any given society, but this is exactly why public education grounded in classics such as Plato, Euripides, Plutarch, Milton, Shakespeare, is indispensable to self-government and the maintenance of liberty. But to see what I mean about an active promotion of â€œthe goodâ€ just look at the life and achievements of Benjamin Franklin, especially the various voluntary, charitable, and political institutions he helped establish and create.
Looking at Obama, I think that is the key element that was missing: the personal determination, which was never inculcated in him through his thorough education in neoliberalism, to do good. Cost benefit analysis was drilled into him, but not a wide-ranging examination and understanding of doing good.
In the end, how a society behaves will be determined by what the members of that society believe. In USA, we have discarded civic republicanism â€" aided and abetted by a wrong-headed leftist insistence that racism and empire were baked into the USA from the beginning â€" and replaced it with the neoliberal insistence that only markets are the true and just arbiter of human affairs, not humans themselves.
drumlin woodchuckles , May 1, 2021 at 5:22 am
The reason you dare not condemn Obama in public is because his worshipful millions of black worshippers will call you racist and will Wokemail and Wokestort you to â€ take your racist racism against Obama back, you racist.â€
Donâ€™t believe it? Try it and see.
I remember reading about how the black racist comedian Trevor Noah played the racist card against people noting Obamaâ€™s corruption. I canâ€™t find the referrence now on my search prevention engines.
So I will just send along this other link about the racist comedian Trevor Noahâ€™s documented racism in another context.
Apr 29, 2021 | www.rt.comThe rejection of Matthew Rojansky's candidacy as a Russia adviser to Joe Biden represents an escalation, and not a departure, from a pervasive bipartisan American pattern of dangerous ignorance about Russia in the post-Soviet era.
It was reported last week that Joe Biden's government would not be hiring Rojansky, of the Kennan Institute think tank, to help form policy towards Russia. Though the analyst is known as a moderate realist regarding Russia issues – in other words, he is not a virulent anti-Moscow ideologue – he was considered too controversial to be allowed a hearing during White House deliberations on policy regarding the world's largest country.
Rojansky's sin? Unlike many of the current crop of foreign policy officials, he actually has some expertise and experience on the subject.
While the scholar's fate may be a glaring and extreme example of an anti-Russia mindset in Washington that is counterproductive, it represents only a new low, and not a change from a pervasive bipartisan pattern in the post-Soviet era.
Those who aspire to, or attain, the most powerful executive position in the United States have shown a disturbingly willful ignorance of Russia. I learned from a former State Department official that, in response to a renowned Russia expert attempting to brief presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in 2016, the self-described democratic socialist "showed little interest or knowledge about US-Russia relations and the attendant dangers of a new cold war." Instead, Sanders was ultimately content to mimic the juvenile and Manichean "democracies versus authoritarians" model of international relations.
Similarly, an American business executive told me that, during a lunch with him and other leaders of commerce at the US Embassy in Moscow in 2012, then-Vice President Joe Biden showed no interest in his interlocutors' suggestions that it was in the US' best interests to partner with Russia after they offered social, economic, and strategic justifications for their view.
Biden seemed to see the meeting as an opportunity to lecture on his position rather than to learn or seek insight on Russia.
Moreover, once a US president is in power, the advisers that are appointed to counsel the commander in chief about Russia have been less than impressive from the 1990s onward. Condoleezza Rice served as an expert in the George Bush Senior administration and was wrong about the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. During her stint as secretary of state in the second term of the junior Bush administration, her Russian counterparts who spent significant time with her made the observation that Rice was "a Soviet expert, and not a Russia expert."
There was little improvement in the Obama era, as mediocre academics like Celeste Wallander were given positions on the National Security Council, and an ideologue like Michael McFaul was bizarrely appointed as ambassador.
According to investigative journalist Gareth Porter, advisers to Obama were so utterly incompetent that those serving in the administration really didn't think Russia had the ability or inclination to counter Washington's provocative actions in Syria, and therefore they did not plan for that possibility. This incompetence was also highlighted by Obama's public comments to the Economist in 2014, in which he claimed that Russia didn't make anything, immigrants didn't go there, and male life expectancy was 60 years – three claims that anyone with actual expertise on Russia should have easily known were false.
In fact, at that point, Russia was the second most popular migration destination in the world, after America itself, while average lifespans have been converging with those of the US over the past decade. As for manufacturing, Obama said these words at a time when the US, for instance, was totally reliant on Russian rockets for access to space, having retired its own unreliable Space Shuttle fleet. If he had access to a competent adviser on the subject, would he have made these mistakes?
Under Biden – who caved to pressure from the foreign policy blob to not appoint Rojansky – the advisers who are in place or in line, including Jake Sullivan , Antony Blinken , Madeleine Albright/Hillary Clinton adviser Wendy Sherman, the German Marshall Fund's Karen Donfried , and State Department nominee Victoria Nuland represent more of the same dangerous ineptitude and strident thinking. Many of these advisers, like their predecessors, have little on-the-ground experience with contemporary Russia.
Neoconservative ideologue Nuland, of course, is a slightly different case in that she has put her boots on the ground in the region. Unfortunately, that experience includes facilitating the dangerously divisive 2014 coup in Ukraine, without which Crimea would still be in Ukraine and the Donbass would be at peace. Competent officials would have warned Obama and Biden that the Maidan would lead to consequences like these.
It takes a special kind of hubris for the US political class to keep thinking they can get away with this level of sloppiness in understanding the world's other nuclear superpower – a country so massive that it straddles two major continents and is the sixth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity – without serious consequences. At what point will God's providence run out?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
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Natylie Baldwin is author of "The View from Moscow: Understanding Russia and U.S.-Russia Relations," available at Amazon. She blogs at http://natyliesbaldwin.com/ .
- US imposes new sanctions against Russia, expels ten diplomats & targets national debt in move Moscow may view as major escalation
- Russia is seeking 'pragmatic cooperation' with US, not outright conflict, America's own national intelligence director claims
- Putin WON'T meet Biden in near future, Kremlin says. Moscow not ruling out talks, but disappointed about new sanctions speculation
- Washington rejected Moscow's offer of complete reset in Russia-US relations shortly after inauguration of Biden, FM Lavrov reveals
ewel Gyn 9 hours ago 9 hours ago"Washington has a dangerous & destructive pattern of wilful ignorance on Russia in post-Soviet era" It is not just wilful ignorance per se. Without a 'perceived enemy', the narrative for Russia will fall apart. Ditto China, Iran, N Korea et al.dotmafia 6 hours ago 6 hours ago
But importantly, this 'perceived enemy' and its corresponding narrative sells... it enriches the military complexes, CIA etc. Even if it sounded unbelievable and outrageous, they will still be regurgitated and at best, given a new guised repackaging, but with the antiquated contents remaining intact.Good article, but, the author assumes that the mistakes made by advisors to Obama and others were because of incompetence, when in fact it should be seriously considered they were actually quite deliberate and planned. In the example of Obama's remarks to The Economist, the job was NOT to deliver facts to the public; the job was to tell the public how to think and what to believe; ie. anti-Russia propaganda.Levin High 8 hours ago 8 hours agoIt used to be said that you couldn't be fired for buying IBM, now days in the US you seem to be hired for blaming Russia.apothqowejh 9 hours ago 9 hours agoThe US State Department is packed with idiots, political appointees, ideologues and globalist nut jobs. Their lack of anything remotely like competence is as astonishing as the CIA's full on embrace of evil.wowhead1977 4 hours ago 4 hours agoThe cabal in America always want to blame Russia. I'm a American citizen and have no problem with Russia. These so called sanctions on other countries is a control tactic that most Americans didn't vote for. This race baiting tactic is from The Fabian Society play book. Wolf in sheep's clothing is the Fabian Society logo.
We must realize that our Party's most powerful weapon is racial tension. By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races, that for centuries have been oppressed by the Whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist Party ... In America, we will aim for subtle victory. While enflaming the color people minority against the Whites, we will instill in the Whites, a guilt complex for the exploitation of the color people.
We will aid the color people to rise to prominence in every walk of life, in the professions, and in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige, the color people will be able to intermarry with the Whites, and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause." ~ Israel Cohen - Fabian Society Founder
Apr 27, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Norwegian , Apr 25 2021 14:19 utc | 9
Must see video
Gauleiter: Swedish Filmmaker Exposes Biden Corruption In Eastern Europe And Ukraine
Norwegian , Apr 25 2021 14:34 utc | 11
@Norwegian | Apr 25 2021 14:19 utc | 9
Btw, I think the filmmaker is Finnish, not Swedish. This is judging from his dialect and the video contents.
@jared and @Lelush : Thank you
Apr 27, 2021 | www.strategic-culture.org
While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable.
Last March, on the 45 th anniversary of Argentinaâ€™s descent into dictatorship, the National Security Archive posted a selection of declassified documents revealing the U.S. knowledge of the military coup in the country in 1976. A month before the government of Isabel Peron was toppled by the military, the U.S. had already informed the coup plotters that it would recognise the new government. Indications of a possible coup in Argentina had reached the U.S. as early as 1975.
A declassified CIA document from February 1976 describes the imminence of the coup, to the extent of mentioning military officers which would later become synonymous with torture, killings and disappearances of coup opponents. Notably, the coup plotters, among them General Jorge Rafael Videla, were already drawing up a list of individuals who would be subject to arrest in the immediate aftermath of the coup.
One concern for the U.S. was its standing in international diplomacy with regard to the Argentinian military dictatorshipâ€™s violence, which it pre-empted as a U.S. State Department briefing to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shows. â€œAn Argentine military government would be almost certain to engage in human rights violations such as to engender international criticism.â€
After the experience of Chile and U.S. involvement in the coup which heralded dictator Augusto Pinochetâ€™s rise to power, human rights violations became a key factor. Kissinger had brushed off the U.S. Congressâ€™s concerns, declaring a policy that would turn a blind eye to the dictatorshipâ€™s atrocities. â€œI think we should understand our policy-that however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was,â€ Kissinger had declared .
Months after expressing concern regarding the forthcoming human rights abuses as a result of the dictatorship in Argentina, the U.S. warned Pinochet about its dilemma in terms of justifying aid to a leadership which was becoming notorious for its violence and disappearances of opponents. â€œWe have a practical problem to take into account, without bringing about pressures incompatible with your dignity, and at the same time which does not lead to U.S. laws which will undermine our relationship.â€
In the same declassified document from the Chile archives of 1976, Pinochet expresses his concern over Orlando Letelier, a diplomat and ambassador to the U.S. during the era of Salvador Allende and an influential figure among members of the U.S. Congress, stating that Letelier is disseminating false information about Chile. Letelier was murdered by car bomb in Washington that same year, by a CIA and National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent Michael Townley.
However, the Argentinian coup plotters deepened their dialogue with the U.S. over how human rights violations would be committed. Aware of perceptions regarding Pinochetâ€™s record, military officials approached the U.S. seeking ways to minimise the attention which Pinochet was garnering in Chile, while at the same time making it clear to U.S. officials to â€œsome executions would probably be necessary.â€
Assuming a non-involvement position was also deemed crucial by the U.S. To mellow any possible fallout, the coup plotters were especially keen to point out that the military coup would not follow in the steps of Pinochet. One declassified cable document detailing U.S. concern over involvement spells out how the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Robert Hill planned to depart the country prior to the coup, rather than cancel plans to see how the events pan out. â€œThe fact that I would be out of the country when the blow actually falls would be, I believe, a fact in our favor indicating non- involvement of Embassy and USG.â€ The main aim was to conceal evidence that the U.S. had prior knowledge of the forthcoming coup in Argentina.
While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable. The Chile experience, including the murder of a diplomat on U.S. soil, were clearly not deterrents for U.S. policy in Latin America, as it extended further support for Videlaâ€™s rule. The Videla dictatorship would eventually kill and disappear over 30,000 Argentinians in seven years, aided by the U.S. which provided the aircraft necessary for the death flights in the extermination operation known as Plan Condor.
Apr 27, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
BY AKRAINER MONDAY, APR 26, 2021 - 18:17
Recent events in the world have given me great hope that we might finally emerge from the century of permanent war. The Great Reset agenda seems to be losing steam and those in charge of implementing it are losing conviction (with the exception, perhaps, of the very top echelon in power). At the same time, the ranks of people who are opposed to it and are willing to take a stand, appear to be swelling.
Since the very start of the great pandemic of 2020, something about the public health response didn't feel right. It was clear from the measures that were enacted and from measures that were not enacted that their purpose had little to do with public health. Instead, they seemed to further a different agenda. Soon we learned that this was all connected to World Economic Forum's hugely ambitious "Fourth Industrial Revolution" or the Great Reset. But the agenda and the steps taken seemed rushed, panicked and frankly, hopeless.
Many of the solutions and technologies that would have to be rolled out and ready to use turned out to be non-existent or only in conceptual stages of development. As months went on, the events proved this impression correct as we saw the authorities muddle through, destroying their own credibility in the process. In a very recent interview, Dr. Rainer Fullmich sated as follows: "We have a whistleblower and she told us that the original plan was to roll this out in 2050. But then those who are involved with this got greedy and pulled things forward to 2030 and then to 2020 and that's why so many mistakes are happening."
I do not believe that the people involved with this got greedy – I believe they understand the fragility and imminent demise of the financial system which is their key mechanism of control over all the levers of influence in society. The implosion of that system would also jeopardize their position of power. So they rushed the Great Reset right off the back of the 2020 pandemic to try to front-run the collapse and take an iron-fisted control of things ahead of the unfolding crisis. From their various documents and white papers, it is also evident that they had anticipated the public pushback.Conjuring a big new war
As I wrote last August , they have "surely planned diversions to misdirect our grievances One of the greatest means of diversion are wars. We must therefore guard against believing that our enemies are the Russians, the Chinese or whomever the logic of divide-and-rule would pit us against." Over the last few weeks we've seen a sharp escalation of hostilities in Ukraine between the Kiev government and the Donbas region. The situation became so tense that many learned observers saw a military conflagration as inevitable. On 6th April, SouthFront.org published an article, titled, " War Between Russia and Ukraine is Inevitable. " Over the weekend I had the pleasure of listening to Tom Luongo's podcast with Alexander Mercouris – two among the most learned geopolitical analysts. While Mercouris was more optimistic about the situation, Tom Luongo expected that the war would break out.
If we judged by historical precedents, I would entirely agree with Luongo. However, I think we are living in a different era today. In the run-up to the previous two world wars, leaders of the key powers (Russia, France, Germany, etc.) were quite naive about the scheming of the British diplomacy and intelligence services which led the way to both those wars. Wittingly and unwittingly, they played along and sleepwalked into those conflicts (OK, Hitler didn't quite 'sleepwalk' into war but he had clearly badly misunderstood the British game and thought he could sue for peace after only limited military engagements).
Today, it is clear that the leaders in Russia, China and certain other nations are remarkably sophisticated, that their understanding of the great geopolitical chessboard is crystal clear, and that they know exactly who their true enemies are. They have also understood that giving their adversaries a war would mean giving them a lifeline. It seems to me that they have made it an imperative priority not to give them that war.
Russia's build-up of an overwhelming military force on its border with Ukraine was therefore not a preparation for war. To the contrary, it was a move to prevent one from erupting. As Victor David Hanson recently wrote , " Wars often arise from uncertainty. When strong countries appear weak, truly weaker ones take risks they otherwise would not ." Thus for now, the Ukraine tensions have abated - but had they faced a weak and indecisive Russia, the leadership in Kiev and their Western backers might have made a very different gamble and today the war might already have started. The cabal that's been dominating the western world for the past two centuries is rapidly running out of time and out of options.
Their plans for the one world government are now in tatters and without a new world war, the best they can hope to achieve is to carve out a geopolitical block and erect a new iron curtain around it. The most likely candidate for that block is Western Europe consisting of the old colonial powers and their satellites. However, even this consolation prize will not be viable. As the Soviet experience has taught us, even with an iron fist and heavy-handed repression, the edifice can sustain itself at best for a few decades. But as populations awaken, and awakening they are, the sun will finally set on their system, probably for good.The new world dawning
What's left for the awakened masses to do is to build a better world on the ruins of the old system. Here is what I wrote last March in an earlier blog post :
"We are witnessing the manifestations of old systems collapsing. And while some of those manifestations appear fearsome, keep in mind Confucius ' counsel:
A seed grows with no sound. But a tree falls with huge noise. Destruction has noise but creation is quiet. This is the power of silence grow silently .
Destruction is all around us creating great noise, but you carry a seed that grows silently within you. Things that emerge from seeds are worthy of our reverence. If we cultivate them with attention and love, they can grow beautiful and majestic. Dostoevsky said that beauty would save the world. That beauty is us – you and I – our children, our parents, our friends, all of us. We can't see what all these seeds will become, but it should be easy to believe – nature's creations are always so beautiful."
Just the other day while on a hike, I came across a scene that captured this idea metaphorically:
As we know, the better the seeds are nourished, the more beautiful, more robust and more fruitful they become. The most important nutrient we need to build a better tomorrow is knowledge and today we have that nutrient in greater abundance than we have ever had before. It is incumbent upon us to use it, digest it, learn and apply ourselves to create the best version of the future that we can muster.
It may just be that this crisis we are living through is a precious gift and that we who are privileged to witness humanity at this juncture are fortunate in ways we can't yet fully grasp. We must embrace this and do our very best with it and pass it on to our children and their children.
Alex Krainer - @NakedHedgie is the creator of I-System Trend Following , founder of Krainer Analytics and publisher of TrendCompass reports, based in Monaco. He worked as a market analyst, researcher, trader and hedge fund manager for over 25 years. He wrote " Mastering Uncertainty in Commodities Trading ," rated by Financial-Expert.co.uk as #1 book on their list of " The 5 Best Commodities Books for Investors and Traders ." In March 2021 he published " Alex Krainer's Trend Following Bible ." His second book, " Grand Deception: The Browder Hoax " was twice banned on Amazon by orders of swamp creatures from the U.S. Department of State. He writes at ISystem-TF.com and occasionally also on his blog, TheNakedHedgie.com . His views and opinions are not always for polite society but they are always expressed in sincere pursuit of true knowledge and clear understanding of ideas that matter.
Apr 24, 2021 | www.strategic-culture.org
Biden's Western Hemisphere foreign policy is not much different from that of Obama's, Wayne Madsen writes.
Like proverbial bad pennies, the neocon imperialists who plagued the Barack Obama administration have turned up in force in Joe Biden's State Department. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has given more than winks and nods to the dastardly duo of Victoria Nuland, slated to become Blinken's Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the number three position at the State Department, and Samantha Power, nominated to become the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Nuland and Power both have problematic spouses who do not fail to offer their imperialistic opinions regardless of the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. Nuland's husband is the claptrappy neocon warmonger Robert Kagan, someone who has never failed to urge to prod the United States into wars that only benefit Israel. Power's husband is the totally creepy Cass Sunstein, who served as Obama's White House "information czar" and advocated government infiltration of non-governmental organizations and news media outlets to wage psychological warfare campaigns.
True to form, Blinken's State Department has already come to the aid of Venezuela's right-wing self-appointed "opposition leader" Juan Guaido, whose actual constituency is found in the wealthy gated communities of Venezuelan and Cuban expatriates in south Florida and not in the barrios of Caracas or Maracaibo.
Blinken and his team of old school yanqui imperialists have also criticized the constitutional and judicially-warranted detention of former interim president Jeanine Áñez, who became president in 2019 after the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government of President Evo Morales was overthrown in a Central Intelligence Agency-inspired and -directed military coup. The far-right forces backing Áñez were roundly defeated in the October 2020 election that swept MAS and Morales's chosen presidential candidate, Luis Arce, back into power. It seems that for Blinken and his ilk, a decisive victory in an election only applies to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, not to Arce and MAS in Bolivia.
It should be recalled that while Blinken was national security adviser to then-Vice President Biden in the Obama administration, every sort of deception and trickery was used by the CIA to depose Morales in Bolivia and President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. In fact, the Obama administration, with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, claimed its first Latin American political victim when a CIA coup was launched against progressive President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras. Today, Honduras is ruled by a right-wing kleptocratic narco-president, Juan Orlando Hernández, whose brother, Tony Hernández, is currently serving life in federal prison in the United States for drug trafficking. For the likes of Blinken, Power, Nuland, and former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, who currently serves as "domestic policy adviser" to Biden, suppression of progressive governments and support for right-wing dictators and autocrats have always been the preferred foreign policy, particularly for the Western Hemisphere. For example, while the Biden administration remains quiet on right-wing regimes in Central America that are responsible for the outflow of thousands of beleaguered Mayan Indians to the southern U.S. border with Mexico, it has announced that Trump era sanctions on 24 Nicaraguan government officials, including President Daniel Ortega's wife and Nicaragua's vice president, Rosario Murillo, as well as three of their sons – Laureano, Rafael, and Juan Carlos – will continue.
Biden's Western Hemisphere foreign policy is not much different from that of Obama's. Biden and Brazilian far-right, Adolf Hitler-loving, and Covid pandemic-denying President Jair Bolsonaro are said to have struck a deal on environmental protection of the Amazon Basin ahead of an April 22 global climate change virtual summit called by the White House. A coalition of 198 Brazilian NGOs, representing environmental, indigenous rights, and other groups, has appealed to Biden not to engage in any rain forest protection agreement with the untrustworthy Bolsonaro. The Brazilian president has repeatedly advocated the wholesale deforestation of the Amazon region. Meanwhile, while Biden urges Americans to maintain Covid public health measures, Bolsonaro continues to downplay the virus threat as Brazil's overall death count approaches that of the United States.
Blinken's State Department has been relatively quiet on the Northern Triangle of Central America fascist troika of Presidents Orlando of Honduras, Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, and Nayib Bukele of El Salvador. Instead of pressuring these fascistas to democratize and stop their genocidal policies toward the indigenous peoples of their nations, Biden told Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that he would pump $4 billion into supposed "assistance" to those countries to stop the flow of migrants. Biden is repeating the same old American gambits of the past. Any U.S. assistance to kleptocratic countries like those of the Northern Triangle has and will line the pockets of their corrupt leaders. Flush with U.S. aid cash, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador will be sure to grant contracts to greedy Israeli counter-insurgency contractors always at the ready to commit more human rights abuses against the workers, students, and indigenous peoples of Central America.
Biden is also in no hurry to reverse the freeze imposed by Donald Trump on U.S.-Cuban relations. Biden, whose policy toward Cuba represents a fossilized relic of the Cold War, intends to maintain Trump's freeze on U.S. commercial, trade, and tourism relations with Cuba. Biden's Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, a Jewish Cuban-American expatriate, is expected to reach out to right-wing Cuban-Americans in south Florida in order to ensure Democratic Party inroads in the 2022 and 2024 U.S. elections. Therefore, even restoring the status quo ante established by Barack Obama is off-the-table for Biden, Blinken, and Mayorkas. The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Cuban-American and ethically-challenged Democrat Bob Menendez, has stated there will be no normalization of pre-Trump relations with Cuba until his "regime change" whims are satisfied. Regurgitating typical right-wing Cuban-American drivel, Mayorkas has proclaimed after he was announced as the new Homeland Security Secretary, "I have been nominated to be the DHS Secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones." The last part of that statement was directed toward the solidly Republican bloc of moneyed Cuban, Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, and Bolivian interests in south Florida.
While Blinken hurls his neocon invectives at Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Cuba, he remains silent on the repeated foot-dragging by embattled and highly unpopular right-wing Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on implementing a new Constitution to replace that put into place in 1973 by the fascist military dictator General Augusto Pinochet. The current Chilean Constitution is courtesy of Richard Nixon's foreign policy "Svengali," the duplicitous Henry Kissinger, an individual who obviously shares Blinken's taste for "realpolitik" adventurism on a global scale.
While Blinken has weighed in on the domestic politics of Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, he has had no comment on the anti-constitutional moves by Colombian far-right authoritarian President Ivan Duque, the front man for that nation's Medellin narcotics cartel. It would also come as no surprise if Blinken, Nuland, and Power have quietly buttressed the candidacy of right-wing banker, Guillermo Lasso, who is running against the progressive socialist candidate Andrés Arauz, the protegé of former president Rafael Correa. Blinken can be expected to question the results of the April 11 if Lasso cries fraud in the event of an Arauz victory. Conversely, Blinken will remain silent if Lasso wins and Arauz cries foul. That has always been the nature of U.S. Western Hemisphere policy, regardless of what party controls the White House.
Apr 19, 2021 | www.youtube.com
Gary Buchanan , 3 days agoJulie Monarch , 3 days ago
This time, let's don't leave all our equipment and ammunition for them to use against us.R. Dillon , 3 days ago
Shut the door! That's how you stop them from coming.Cris Renner , 3 days ago
I would guess 2 things, 1. He's hoping if he ends the war then none of the terrorists that just snuck in won't attack. 2. He plans on starting a war elsewhere.Clarence Spangle , 3 days ago
Please, get them out of office, before they do anymore damage!!!Ratpatrol Renegade , 3 days ago
"Obama may have gotten (U.S. soldiers) out wrong, but going in is, to me, the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country." -- Donald J. Trump
Afghanistan's a racket. We're rebuilding their country instead of America. Power plants hospitals and schools that they're never going to use
Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Clueless Joe , Apr 17 2021 19:04 utc | 12
The policies of the Biden administration towards Russia and China are delusional. It thinks that it can squeeze these countries but still successfully ask them for cooperation. It believes that the U.S. position is stronger than it really is and that China and Russia are much weaker than they are.
It is also full of projection. The U.S. accuses both countries of striving for empire, of wanting to annex more land and of human rights violations. But is only the U.S. that has expanding aspirations. Neither China nor Russia are interested in running an empire. They have no interest in planting military bases all over the world. Though both have marginal border conflicts they do not want to acquire more land. And while the U.S. bashes both countries for alleged human rights issues it is starving whole populations (Yemen, Syria, Venezuela) through violence and economic sanctions.
The U.S. power structures in the Pentagon and CIA use the false accusations against Russia and China as pretense for cold military and hot economic wars against both countries. They use color revolution schemes (Ukraine, Myanmar) to create U.S. controlled proxy forces near their borders.
At the same time as it tries to press these countries the U.S. is seeking their cooperation in selected fields. It falsely believes that it has some magical leverage.
Consider this exchange from yesterday's White House press briefing about Biden asking for a summit with Putin while, at the same time, implementing more sanctions against Russia:Q What if [Putin] says "no," though? Wouldn't that indicate some weakness on the part of the American administration here?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I think the President's view is that Russia is on the outside of the global community in many respects, at this point in time. It's the G7, not the G8. They have -- obviously, we've put sanctions in place in order to send a clear message that there should be consequences for the actions; the Europeans have also done that.
What the President is offering is a bridge back. And so, certainly, he believes it's in their interests to take him up on that offer.
The G7 are not the 'global community'. They have altogether some 500 million inhabitants out of 7.9 billion strong global population. Neither China nor India are members of the G7 nor is any South American or African country. Moreover Russia has rejected a Russian return into the G7/8 format:"Russia is focused on other formats, apart from the G7," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a brief statement ..
Russia has no interest in a summit which would only be used by the U.S. to further bash Russia. Why should it give Biden that pleasure when there is nothing that Russia would gain from it. Russia does not need a 'bridge back'. There will be no summit.
... ... ...
If Biden wants cooperation with Russia or China he needs to reign in the hawks and stop his attacks on those countries. As he is not willing or capable of doing that any further cooperation attempts will fall flat.
The U.S. has to learn that it is no longer the top dog. It can not work ceaselessly to impact Russia's and China's military and economic security and still expect them to cooperate. If it wants something it will first have to cease the attacks and to accept multilateral relationships.
Posted by b on April 17, 2021 at 17:53 UTC | Permalink
"It can not work ceaselessly to impact Russia's and China's military and economic security and still expect them to cooperate"
You have to understand the USA. They're doing it against Europe on a daily basis, and it actually works... Get them confused why it doesn't always work against others.
Mao Cheng Ji , Apr 17 2021 19:17 utc | 15oglalla , Apr 17 2021 19:27 utc | 18
It's interesting what's happening right now (in the past hour or so).
First: Russian and Belorussian news about the arrest of leaders (or key participants) of an attempted military coup in Belarus, planned by the US security services.
Then, 30 minutes later: the Czechs expel 18 Russian diplomats, accusing them of spying and of connection to some explosion back in 2014.
I could've been skeptical about the details of the first story, but the second one seems to confirm it. The second story appears to be an obvious attempt to squeeze the first one out of the news. And who else could order the Czech government to do this with a 30 minute notice?
Wouldn't Oceania rulers love to print more of their own currency to buy up all the paper rights to industrial output without having to invest in the factories or anything else! They love this kind of business model.
"The secret of success is to own nothing but control everything."
Because of what's at stake and how little I trust Oceania, I confess I no longer have an opinion about global warming. Even if many of its scientists are *earnest*, who obtained, processed, and stored the data before they started building models? Those institutions are capable of anything.
Apr 19, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com
The U.S. has leveled sanctions on Russia over election interference and cyberattacks, including barring U.S. financial institutions from buying new domestically issued Russian government debt.
The Biden Administration went where Presidents Obama and Trump had not, barring U.S. financial institutions from buying new domestically issued Russian sovereign bonds. The move excluded the secondary market, though. Anyone can still trade the so-called OFZs already in circulation. And it was matched by a substantial carrot: a dovish speech on Russia by Biden, floating a potential summit with Putin this summer.
The market had feared worse, says Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS Global Markets in Moscow. The ruble is still down 4%, and stocks 3%, since Russia stoked tensions a month ago by massing troops on Ukraine's border. That is despite buoyant oil prices that should benefit Russia. "Everyone was discussing direct punishment of Russian companies or a cutoff from SWIFT," he says, referring to the backbone for global financial transactions. "The actual sanctions turned out to be relatively mild."
Global investors have been fleeing the OFZ market without any push from the White House. Foreigners' share of outstanding bond holdings have fallen to 20% from about a third last summer, notes Aaron Hurd, senior currency portfolio manager at State Street Global Advisors.
Political risk still depresses the value of Russian assets by 15%, Tikhomirov estimates. That is reasonable considering Biden's options for escalating sanctions, says Daniel Fried, an Atlantic Council fellow who was the State Department's sanctions coordinator under Obama. "He could move into the secondary debt market, restrict state-owned energy companies' ability to raise capital, or go after the money hidden by Putin and his cronies," he says. "It could get to be a pretty tight squeeze."
To close the political risk gap, Putin needs to at least restore calm with Ukraine, risking domestic political face after a month of hyping the alleged threat from Russia's southern neighbor. The coming week offers two opportunities for Putin to move toward Biden's proffered stable relationship, Tikhomirov says. He could sound friendly in an annual state of the nation address scheduled for April 21, and he could turn up (virtually) for the global climate summit Biden has called on April 23-24.
These may be far overshadowed by Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who is on hunger strike in a maximum-security prison outside Moscow. Navalny-allied doctors said April 17 he could "die within days" without outside medical intervention. Backing off from its merciless treatment of Navalny would also look like an embarrassing climb-down from the Kremlin's point of view.
Hurd expects a stalemate where Russian assets could nudge higher as oil prices remain firm and the Central Bank of Russia raises interest rates. Putin will make few concessions with his party facing parliamentary elections in September, he predicts. Washington will be constrained by the European Union's reluctance to stiffen anti-Russian measures. "The ruble could still go higher from here, but we remain tentative over the next six months," he says.
Putin has essentially accomplished the goal he set after his 2014 invasions of Ukraine, a self-sufficient Russia that can pursue its perceived security interests without worrying what the rest of the world thinks, says Yong Zhu, portfolio manager for emerging markets debt at DuPont Capital Management.
Government debt amounts to a mere 18% of gross domestic product, and in a pinch can be serviced domestically. That keeps yields too low to pay for the country's geopolitical turbulence, he concludes: 10-year Russian domestic bonds pay about 7% annually, compared with 9% for Brazil or South Africa. "Russia doesn't really need anything beside the iPhone," Zhu quips.
Self-reliance has also spelled isolation from the capital and talent that could lift Russia to its proper place in global innovation and growth. But Putin and his regime seem to like it that way.
Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
NotBob , Apr 17 2021 19:24 utc | 16
While I agree with 99% of your post, there is one point that I think needs to be keeping in mind. While the populace of this particular manure-hole certainly has its equal share of dumb creatures, the people running things cannot be so easily dismissed. The problem as I see it is they have a great deal of a certain kind of intelligence, as someone said "smart, but not wise". They are educated, but insane. The cream of the crop that has gone sour. In my travels I would often ask people what they actually thought of "Americans". An Indonesian man responded " soft, but cunning. You have to be careful around them."
If these cunning, insane, power hungry creatures were simply dumb and not truly evil, we might be in less of a shit show (nod to psychohistorian) than we are.
Ruben Chandler , Apr 17 2021 22:23 utc | 42Biswapriya Purkayast , Apr 18 2021 0:55 utc | 63
@ NotBob | Apr 17 2021 19:24 utc | 16
Aleister Crowley of all people summed up these kind of people:
A cunning combination of rat and ape.
After 20 years of regular interaction with Amerikastanis online and in real life, I have realised that they live in a parallel universe in which Hollywood is the arbiter of truth. They genuinely believe that anything they choose to imagine is the truth just because they imagine it.
A couple of days ago when the Imperialist States admitted its "Russia Bounty" story was concocted, the people who had shrieked to the skies about it last year had a chance to apologise. Did they? They ignored it. It did not happen because they chose to believe it didn't.
Apr 14, 2021 | turcopolier.com
Posted on April 8, 2021 by Larry Johnson
Apr 09, 2021 | www.unz.com
Joe Paluka , says: April 8, 2021 at 8:19 pm GMT • 1.1 days ago@AH14
" US military is still fairly competent "
I don't know what weed you're smoking but it has really scrambled your brains. The ability to show up on the parade grounds and go around the world showing fancy overpriced toys does not equate to fighting ability. The US hasn't faced a real army in a conventional war since Vietnam. The US is great at fighting banana republics, but if facing a real military like Russia (who believe me have all the drones that the US has and the ability to neutralize those of the enemy) would run for their safe spaces and hide.
Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Patroklos , Apr 1 2021 20:35 utc | 26
The World Health Organization recently published its report on the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which has caused the Covid-19 pandemic. Most scientist agree that the virus is of zoonotic origin and not a human construct or an accidental laboratory escape. But the U.S. wants to put pressure on China and advised the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom, to keep the focus on China potential culpability. He acted accordingly when he remarked on his agency's report:Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy.
The U.S. State Department fetched the pass and ran with it. It asked its allies to sign on to its Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study which requests more unhindered access in China:The Governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response. Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.
The most interesting with the above statement is the list of U.S. allied countries which declined to support it,
Most core EU countries, especially France, Spain, Italy and Germany, are missing from it. As is the Five-Eyes member New Zealand. India, a U.S. ally in the anti-Chinese Quad initiative, also did not sign. This list of signatories of the Joint Statement is an astonishingly meager result for a U.S. 'joint' initiative. It is unprecedented. It is a sign that something has cracked and that the world will never be the same.
The first months of he Biden administration saw a rupture in the global system. First Russia admonished the EU for its hypocritical criticism of internal Russian issues. Biden followed up by calling Putin a 'killer'. Then the Chinese foreign minister told the Biden administration to shut the fuck up about internal Chinese issues. Soon thereafter Russia's and China's foreign ministers met and agreed to deepen their alliance and to shun the U.S. dollar. Then China's foreign minister went on a wider Middle East tour. There he reminded U.S. allies of their sovereignty :Wang said that expected goals had been achieved with regard to a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East, which was proposed during the visit.
"China supports countries in the region to stay impervious to external pressure and interference, to independently explore development paths suited to its regional realities ," Wang said, adding that the countries should " break free from the shadows of big-power geopolitical rivalry and resolve regional conflicts and differences as masters of the region ."
Wang's tour was topped off with the signing of a game changing agreement with Iran:Suffice to say, the China-Iran pact deeply is embedded within a new matrix Beijing hopes to create with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Iran. The pact forms part of a new narrative on regional security and stability.
The "U.S. led rules based international order" is finally finished . Russia and China buried it :Countries in Asia and further afield are closely watching the development of this alternative international order, led by Moscow and Beijing. And they can also recognise the signs of increasing US economic and political decline.
It is a new kind of Cold War, but not one based on ideology like the first incarnation. It is a war for international legitimacy, a struggle for hearts and minds and money in the very large part of the world not aligned to the US or NATO.
The US and its allies will continue to operate under their narrative, while Russia and China will push their competing narrative. This was made crystal clear over these past few dramatic days of major power diplomacy.
The global balance of power is shifting, and for many nations, the smart money might be on Russia and China now.
The obvious U.S. countermove to the Russian-Chinese initiative is to unite its allies in a new Cold War against Russia and China. But as the Joint Statement above shows most of those allies do not want to follow that path. China is a too good customer to be shunned. Talk of human rights in other countries might play well with the local electorate but what counts in the end is the business.
Even some U.S. companies can see that the hostile path the Biden administration has followed will only be to their detriment. Some are asking the Biden gang to tone it down :[Boeing] Chief Executive Dave Calhoun told an online business forum he believed a major aircraft subsidy dispute with Europe could be resolved after 16 years of wrangling at the World Trade Organization, but contrasted this with the outlook on China.
"I think politically (China) is more difficult for this administration and it was for the last administration. But we still have to trade with our largest partner in the world: China," he told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit.
Noting multiple disputes, he added: " I am hoping we can sort of separate intellectual property, human rights and other things from trade and continue to encourage a free trade environment between these two economic juggernauts. ... We cannot afford to be locked out of that market. Our competitor will jump right in."
Before its 737 MAX debacle Boeing was the biggest U.S. exporter and China was its biggest customer. The MAX has yet to be re-certified in China. If Washington keeps the hostile tone against China Boeing will lose out and Europe's Airbus will make a killing.
Biden announced that "America is back" only to be told that it is no longer needed in the oversized role that it played before. Should Washington not be able to accept that it can no play 'unilateral' but will have to follow the real rules of international law we might be in for some interesting times :Question: Finally, are you concerned that deteriorating international tensions could lead to war?
Glenn Diesen: Yes, we should all be concerned. Tensions keep escalating and there are increasing conflicts that could spark a major war. A war could break out over Syria, Ukraine, the Black Sea, the Arctic, the South China Sea and other regions.
What makes all of these conflicts dangerous is that they are informed by a winner-takes-all logic. Wishful thinking or active push towards a collapse of Russia, China, the EU or the U.S. is also an indication of the winner-takes-all mentality. Under these conditions, the large powers are more prepared to accept greater risks at a time when the international system is transforming . The rhetoric of upholding liberal democratic values also has clear zero-sum undertones as it implies that Russia and China must accept the moral authority of the West and commit to unilateral concessions.
The rapidly shifting international distribution of power creates problems that can only be resolved with real diplomacy. The great powers must recognize competing national interests, followed by efforts to reach compromises and find common solutions.
Russia's president Vladimir Putin has repeatedly asked for a summit of leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council:Putin argued that the countries that created a new global order after World War II should cooperate to solve today's problems.
"The founder countries of the United Nations, the five states that hold special responsibility to save civilisation, can and must be an example," he said at the sombre memorial ceremony.
The meeting would "play a great role in searching for collective answers to modern challenges and threats," Putin said, adding that Russia was "ready for such a serious conversation."
Such a summit would be a chance to work on a new global system that avoids unilateralism and block mentality. As the U.S. is now learning that its allies are not willing to follow its anti-China and anti-Russia policies it might be willing to negotiate over a new international system.
But as long as Washington is unable to recognize its own decline a violent attempt to solve the issue once and for all will become more likely.
Posted by b on April 1, 2021 at 17:52 UTC | Permalink
Very thought provoking b, I wish time off brought me back firing on all cylinders like this!
No doubt vk will chime in here better than I but it surely cannot be a matter of "if America decides". There are historical forces at work in this financialized phase of late capitalism that are not grasped by the US leadership, let alone factored into intelligent policy debates. Biden is an arch-lobbyist for the vested interests which compel the US's unilateral and interventionist foreign policy. I'm quite sure he is incapable of 'deciding' anything (not just mentally but institutionally). But the underlying dynamic of world-historical change is beyond him and his whole country. The die was cast long ago when the Soviet Union fell and the US couldn't help themselves. Junkies for unilateralism since 1989, they will keep shooting up until they OD (Boeing notwithstanding...). I suspect they will end up like the schizoid UK, psychologically unable to accept increasing and humiliating losses of empire until it hits the bottom of the dustbin of History.
Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
ptb , Apr 2 2021 17:35 utc | 63
To be fair, the neocon's feel that way about everyone - they embrace the role of paranoid imperialist because that's a relatively accessible way to get funded in the DC policy world. The striking thing is the hubris - they're just going to fight everyone all at the same time and it will somehow be okay in the end, no cost to them.
librul , Apr 2 2021 17:44 utc | 65chu teh , Apr 2 2021 18:09 utc | 68
@Posted by: ptb | Apr 2 2021 17:35 utc | 63
"To be fair, the neocon's feel that way about everyone"
Did you consider the article linked to @59?
Michael Hudson quote from the article, for your consideration.
(take it or leave it)
The Americans want war. The people that Biden has appointed have an emotional hatred of Russia. I've spoken to government people who are close to the Democratic Party, and they've told me that there's a pathological emotional desire for war with Russia, largely stemming from the fact that the Tzars were anti-Semitic and there's still the hatred about their ancestors: "Look what they did to my great-grandfather." And so they're willing to back the Nazis, back the anti-Semites in Ukraine. They're willing to back today's anti-Semites all over the world as long as they're getting back at this emotional focus on a kind of post 19th-century economy.AriusArmenian , Apr 2 2021 18:16 utc | 71
oldhippie | Apr 2 2021 13:40 utc | 20
"...And this is because Zbig [Brezinski] is a Polish aristocrat with lost family estate on outskirts of Lvov. Any fool knows emigre info is useless and emigre aristocrat most useless of all."
Brezinski's keyboard was hacked before age 3; its output foreordained by unknown sources he mis-owned as "self". A well-oiled robot producing brilliant compositions of high-quality, effective communication promoting madness and contagious ruin of non-aristos.Rob , Apr 2 2021 18:17 utc | 72
Ghost Ship: That same Nazi scum that the OSS/CIA brought into the US after WW2 was also involved in the assassinations of JFK, MLK, RFK, and probably Malcolm X.
In the last several years the CIA and other intel agencies have cemented their control of the US that is now a fascist rogue state that is marching the American people into a war with peer powers. As usual the American people will believe US elites telling them the war is started by a foreign power. Americans around me are blind as bats. And they think I'm dumb for not taking experimental mRNA vaccines.
@ptb (63) "...they're just going to fight everyone all at the same time and it will somehow be okay in the end, no cost to them."
Correct, there will be no personal physical cost to them, as in getting maimed or killed in a war. But on the other side of the ledger, the profits that flow to the MIC are massive, and many, if not most of the neocons are in some way connected to it, either by consultancy, think-tank positions, corporate board positions, TV sinecures, etc. In other words, they are cashing in big-time on their political views and policy recommendations.
Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Rob , Apr 2 2021 18:17 utc | 72
@ptb (63) "...they're just going to fight everyone all at the same time and it will somehow be okay in the end, no cost to them."
Correct, there will be no personal physical cost to them, as in getting maimed or killed in a war. But on the other side of the ledger, the profits that flow to the MIC are massive, and many, if not most of the neocons are in some way connected to it, either by consultancy, think-tank positions, corporate board positions, TV sinecures, etc. In other words, they are cashing in big-time on their political views and policy recommendations.
Apr 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Scott Ritter via GlobalResearch.ca,
For decades, America styled itself the 'indispensable nation' that led the world & it's now seeking to sustain that role by emphasizing a new Cold War-style battle against 'authoritarianism'. But it's a dangerous fantasy.
It seems a week cannot go by without US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bringing up the specter of the 'rules-based international order' as an excuse for meddling in the affairs of another state or region.
The most recent crisis revolves around allegations that China has dispatched a fleet of more than 200 ships, part of a so-called 'maritime militia', into waters of the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines. China says that these vessels are simply fishing boats seeking shelter from a storm. The Philippines has responded by dispatching military ships and aircraft to investigate. Enter Antony Blinken, stage right:
"The United States stands with our ally, the Philippines, in the face of the PRC's maritime militia amassing at Whitsun Reef," Blinken tweeted . "We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order."
Blinken's message came a mere 18 hours after he tweeted about his meeting in Brussels with NATO.Our rules, our order
"Our alliances were created to defend shared values," he wrote . "Renewing our commitment requires reaffirming those values and the foundation of international relations we vow to protect: a free and open rules-based order."
What this actually means, of course, is that the order is rules-based so long as it is the nation called America that sets these rules and is accepted as the world's undisputed leader.
Blinken's fervent embrace of the 'rules-based international order' puts action behind the words set forth in the recently published 'Interim National Security Strategy Guidance', a White House document which outlines President Joe Biden' s vision "for how America will engage with the world."
While the specific term 'rules-based international order' does not appear in the body of the document, the precepts it represents are spelled out in considerable detail, and conform with the five pillars of the "liberal international order" as set forth by the noted international relations scholars, Daniel Duedney and G. John Ikenberry , in their ground-breaking essay , 'The nature and sources of liberal international order', published by the Review of International Studies in 1999.
The origins of this "liberal international order" can be traced back to the end of the Second World War and the onset of a Cold War between Western liberal democracies, helmed by the United States, and the communist bloc nations, led by the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. The purpose of this order was simple – to maintain a balance of power between the US-led liberal democracies and their communist adversaries, and to maintain and sustain US hegemony over its liberal democratic allies. This was accomplished through five basic policy 'pillars': Security co-binding; the embrace of US hegemony; self-limitation on the part of US allies; the politicization of global economic institutions for the gain of liberal democracies; and Western "civil identity."
All five are emphasized in Biden's interim guidance, in which the president openly advocates for "a stable and open international system." It notes that "the alliances, institutions, agreements, and norms underwriting the international order the United States helped to establish are being tested."The faltering empire's flaws and inequities
Biden also observed that the restoration of this international order "rests on a core strategic proposition: The United States must renew its enduring advantages so that we can meet today's challenges from a position of strength. We will build back better our economic foundations; reclaim our place in international institutions; lift up our values at home and speak out to defend them around the world; modernize our military capabilities, while leading first with diplomacy; and revitalize America's unmatched network of alliances and partnerships."
All five of Duedney's and Ikenberry's policy 'pillars' can be found embedded in these – and other – statements contained in the guidance.
There is a defensive tone to Biden's guidance, which notes that "rapid change and mounting crisis" have exposed "flaws and inequities" in the US-dominated international system which "have caused many around the world – including many Americans – to question its continued relevance."
Here Biden runs into the fundamental problem of trying to justify and sustain a model of economic-based global hegemony which was founded at a time when the existence of a Western liberal democratic "order" could be justified as a counter to the Soviet-led communist bloc. The Cold War ended in 1990. The 'international rules-based order' that was created at the behest of the US to prevail in this conflict continued, however. It seems that the US wasn't simply satisfied with preventing the spread of communism; its raison d'être instead transitioned from being the leader of an alliance of liberal democracies, to being the global hegemon, using the very system devised to confront communism to instead install and sustain the US as the undisputed dominant power in the world.
This trend began in the immediate aftermath of the end of the Cold War, where the US had the opportunity to pass the baton of global leadership to the United Nations, an act that would have given legitimacy to the notion of an 'international order'.
This, however, proved a bridge too far for the neo-liberal tendencies of the administration of President Bill Clinton, who continued the Cold War-era practice of using the UN as a vehicle to promote US policy prerogatives at the expense of the international 'order'. Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright helped coin the term "indispensable nation" when defining America's post-Cold War role in the world (it is notable that Blinken recently praised Albright in a tweet , noting that "her tenacity & effectiveness left the US stronger & more respected globally," and adding "she's a role model for me & so many of our diplomats." )
The arrogance and hubris contained in any notion of a single nation being "indispensable" to the global order is mind-boggling and is reflective of a disconnect with both reality and history on the part of those embracing it.The myth of indispensability
The unsustainability of the premise of American 'indispensability' was demonstrated by both the events of September 11, 2001, and the inability of the US to deal with its aftermath. Had the US embraced and acted on President George H. W. Bush's notion of a "new world order" in the aftermath of the Cold War, it would have found itself as a vital world leader working in concert with a global community of nations to confront the scourge of Islamic fundamentalist-based terrorism. But this was not to be.
Instead, the 'indispensable nation' was exposed as a fraud, with many in the world recognizing the US not as a power worthy of emulation, but rather as the source of global angst. This rejection of America's self-anointed role as global savior extended to many Americans too, who were tired of the costs associated with serving as the world's police force.
Indeed, this exhaustion with global intervention, and the costs accrued, helped create the foundation of electoral support for Donald Trump's rejection of the "rules-based international order" in favor of a more distinct "America first" approach to global governance. What gave Trump's policy so much "punch" was the fact that not only did many American citizens reject the "rules-based international order," but so did much of the rest of the world.
Repairing the damage done by four years of Trump has become the number one priority of the Biden administration. To do this, both Biden and Blinken recognize that they simply cannot return to the policy formulations that existed before Trump took office; that ship has sailed, and trying to sell the American people and the rest of the world on what many viewed as a failed policy construct (i.e., unilateral, uncontested American hegemony) was seen as an impossible task.
Instead, the Biden administration is seeking to reinvent the original premise of the 'rules-based international order' by substituting Russian and Chinese 'authoritarianism' in place of Soviet-led communism as a threat which liberal democracies around the world willingly and enthusiastically rally around the US to confront.No longer the world's undisputed No.1
"Authoritarianism is on the global march," Biden's guidance observed, "and we must join with like minded allies and partners to revitalize democracy the world over. We will work alongside fellow democracies across the globe to deter and defend against aggression from hostile adversaries. We will stand with our allies and partners to combat new threats aimed at our democracies" and which "undermine the rules and values at the heart of an open and stable international system."
Biden concluded his essay in dramatic fashion. "This moment is an inflection point," he noted. "We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world. No nation is better positioned to navigate this future than America. Doing so requires us to embrace and reclaim our enduring advantages, and to approach the world from a position of confidence and strength. If we do this, working with our democratic partners, we will meet every challenge and outpace every challenger. Together, we can and will build back better."
While postulated as a statement of American strength, Biden's concluding remarks actually project not only the inherent insecurity of the US today, but also its root causes. The fact that the US needs to "reclaim our enduring advantages" implies that we lost them, and illustrates that these so-called advantages are not nearly as enduring as Biden would like to think. "Building back better" is an admission of weakness, a recognition that the notion of an 'indispensable nation' is an artificial construct; most nations no longer accept America as the world leader.
The reality is that the US is one of the most powerful nations in the world. That position, however, is no longer uncontested; China has emerged as the equal of the US in many metrics used to measure global power and influence, and superior in some. Moreover, China operates effectively in a multi-polar global reality, recognizing that the era of the American singularity is over. Russia, India, Brazil, and the European collective all represent polar realities whose existence and influence exists independent of the US.
The US, however, cannot function in such a world. While there is a growing recognition among American politicians that the post-Cold War notion of the US being the sole-remaining superpower has run its course, the only alternative these politicians can offer is the attempt to return to a bi-polar world which has the US at the head of its liberal democratic 'partners', facing off against the forces of 'authoritarianism'. This vision, however, is unrealistic, if for no other reason that the world no longer views Western liberal democracy as 'good', and authoritarianism as 'evil'.
This reality is evident to much of the rest of the world. Why, then, would US policy makers embrace a formulation doomed to fail? The answer is simple – the US, as it exists today, needs the 'rules-based international order' to remain relevant. Relevant, as used here, means globally dominant.
US politicians who operate on the national level cannot get elected on platforms that reject the 'indispensable' role of the country, even if many Americans and most of the world have. US economic dominance is in large part sustained by the very systems that underpin the 'rules-based international order' – the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. US geopolitical relevance is sustained by Cold War-era military alliances.An unviable, unsustainable future
An American retreat from being the 'indispensable' power, and a corresponding embrace of a leadership role based upon a more collegial notion of shared authorities, would not mean the physical demise of the US – the nation would continue to exist as a sovereign entity. But it would mean an end to the psychological reality of America as we know it today – a quasi-imperial power whose relevance is founded on compelled global hegemony. This model is no longer viable. The fact that the Biden administration has chosen to define its administration through an ardent embrace of this failed system is proof positive that the survival of post-Cold War American is existentially connected to its ability to function as the world's 'indispensable nation'.
American exceptionalism is a narcotic that fuels the country's domestic politics more than global geo-political reality. The 'rules-based international order' that underpins this fantasy is unsustainable in the modern era and makes the collapse of the "exceptional" United States inevitable.
Watching the Biden administration throw its weight behind a US-dominated 'rules-based international order' is like watching the Titanic set sail; it is big, bold, and beautiful, and its fate pre-ordained.lay_arrow
2banana 37 minutes ago remove linkTimeHasCome 29 minutes ago
We are just about to see how that is going to work out in the Ukraine.
It seems a week cannot go by without US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bringing up the specter of the 'rules-based international order' as an excuse for meddling in the affairs of another state or region.TimeHasCome 29 minutes ago
I live near a huge military base and every night since the inauguration of Dementia Joe there has been cannon fire and mortar fire every night . This nut is going to get us in a war.kanoli 31 minutes ago
I live near a huge military base and every night since the inauguration of Dementia Joe there has been cannon fire and mortar fire every night . This nut is going to get us in a war.TBT or not TBT 14 minutes ago
The rules-based international order requires US approval or national approval to put troops on the ground in another country. The US troops in Syria are there illegally, Mr. Blinken. Is the rules-based international order only for the other countries?Apollo Capricornus Maximus 10 minutes ago
"Syria" is a place on a map, but demonstrably is no longer a sovereign country able to manage its own territory. Dozens of factions and foreign powers operate in its former territory.End Times Prophecy 25 minutes ago
rules based international order = laser guided joint direct attack munitionsChain Man 3 minutes ago (Edited)
The international criminals against humanity, WMD using, international mass murderer, repeated international declarations of war , international terrorists, permanently Oath of Office breaching and violating subversive, seditious, traitors and more are blathering about being a part of a rules-based international order?
Clearly these maniacs are an exceptionally extreme danger to themselves and the entire World and more.
The US should have a law (lol) that no politicians can make any money other than his regular pay when coming into office plus his pay from their elected position (on going tabs on income while in Office.). Don't like it don't run !
The problem with being a leader is you have to get involved in the Nations problem most of the time, then the USA gets charged with being the problem. Leave um the hell alone if they screw with us blow um away. End the Foreign Aid and we will end their smart *** crap.
Just work with the foreign Nations we can screw these drawn out treaties
Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
ptb , Apr 2 2021 21:40 utc | 104
@86 Re: John Mearsheimer
Mearsheimer is an interesting cat. His whole conception of international relations seems to be that it is necessarily zero-sum, and that the general model is that of US regional hegemony, as in the Monroe Doctrine in the 19th century and the frankly neocolonial relationship that exists today. (and he makes no attempt to dress it up as anything other than the brute power relations). His thesis is that there must be a conflict, and that the US will successfully get all of China's neighbors to join the US in opposing the rise of China. Importantly, if you go back to look at talks he gave and how they've evolved in the last 15 years, Mearsheimer included Russia in his "anti-China balancing coalition" list, up until 2013-2014. More recent talks have him leaning essentially on Japan, Australia, and India, with South Korea and ASEAN determined to avoid picking sides as Mearsheimer would have it, and most of central Asia, plus Iran and Pakistan, already on the Chinese side.
I also take issue with Mearsheimer's singular focus on the regional-hegemony model, although I think it does provide good insights into the thinking behind US policy. But in reality, there have been long stretches of history, European history in particular, where there was in fact a balance of power on the regional level, not to mention on the global level.
Besides that, with significant numbers of nuclear weapons, the historical analogies of the first half of the 20th century pretty much go out the window. No decisive war between superpowers is possible, except by accident, and in that case it will not be decisive in the way he means. It's all proxy conflict from the 1950s on. And when it comes to proxy conflict, the clear imperative for third parties, from the history of the last 70 years, is to avoid becoming a proxy battleground.
Mar 31, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.orgBaron , Mar 31 2021 21:40 utc | 27
The US-China meeting in Anchorage took place 75 years almost to the day of the Winston Iron Curtain speech in Fulton, Missouri. Just as the latter signalled a break point in the uneasy, war forced cohabit of the West with the communist Soviet Union, so too the Anchorage will enter the history as the break point in the US hegemony threatening collaboration of the West and China.
Since WW2, no other nation, not even Russia, has confronted the US so firmly and so publicly as did Yang Jiechi, one of the ruling member of the Chinese Politburo when he said that "the United States does not have the qualification to speak to China from a position of strength'.
That was a slap in the face the Americans will have to respond to, and it's in the nature of the response one will find whether the American Governing elite is prepared to share power or go for a confrontation.
Mar 31, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Norwegian , Mar 31 2021 22:08 utc | 30
@Michael Weddington | Mar 31 2021 21:40 utc | 28They are true believers. Almost everyone in the US is.
I find this hard to believe. They believe they are exceptional and at the same time denounce "white supremacy"? That is some serious doublethink.
Mar 30, 2021 | odysee.com
@Dwaine.Castle852 2 hours ago
I hope that someone sends her a pair of the Nike Satan sneakers. Perhaps with the blood of a few children inside. @Tsigantes 2 hours ago
'role model' ?
We are warned....for what "it's worth" !
- @csigrissom 2 hours ago
Why are we surprised that most of the Arab world hates the West?
Mar 30, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.orgkarlof1 , Mar 30 2021 17:08 utc | 28
Let's consider this headline for a moment: "Blinken Accuses China of Trying to Undermine US-Dominated World Order." Blinken provides us with a definition of that "world order" in his own words cited in the article: "'... preserve the rules-based international order, in which we have all invested so much over the past 75 years , and which has served our interests and values well'." [My Emphasis]
Clearly, he's referring to the rules put in place by the UN Charter. But as we at this bar all know, it's the Outlaw US Empire for whom Blinken works that's the #1 criminal when it comes to violating the UN Charter which is why it's "served our interests and values well."
Now when we turn to reality, it become very clear that China seeks to uphold the UN Charter--it's one of the foundational members of the newly established Friends of the UN Charter Group that the Outlaw US Empire will certainly snub because of the reality of its actual relations to that Act and Organization .
Indeed, what is being said by the very formation of that Group is a big NO!! to the Outlaw US Empire's attempt to say it abides by the system it's continuously violated for the past 75+ years. Yet, it's also clear that NO!! isn't being shouted out by global media enough, particularly when Outlaw US Empire officials give such an excellent opportunity to be rebuffed and ridiculed for their lies.
We have many good writers here who could take Blinken's words and turn them into an indictment of himself and the nation he represents. That implies that writers for global publications are just as good but need to examine the framing of their articles. Peace won't come to our planet unless the Outlaw Bully Nation is daily accused for what it is and does.
NATO is a distinct minority yet it holds the world captive in a terroristic manner. It's well past time to stop groveling and kow-towing and to stand-up and call out the bullshitters for what they are since being nice isn't getting us anywhere.
Mar 28, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
PlutoniumKun , March 27, 2021 at 8:25 am
To go back to a previous BTL discussion on Patrick Cockburns recent article in Counterpunch, Bidens missteps so early on are a very worrying indicator that his foreign policy team is worse than just being malign. They are incompetent. Thats a very dangerous combination.
I don't think the Russians, Chinese, or most other major countries (apart from Europe) had a fundamental problem with Trumps approach. They understood him, and were quite happy to ignore his bombast and threats and focus instead on what was happening in the real world. But things are different for someone like Biden, and I'm very surprised nobody in his team seem to realise this. When he talks on the record, its assumed that it is a reflection of a real policy. At first, I thought maybe he was just doing the usual new guy in power thing of talking tough to set the ground for later compromises (the opposite of Obama, who appeared very weak to other leaders, and then just looked indecisive when his policies turned more hardline). But that does not seem to be the case so far.
I've no idea what the final outcome will be, but I do think that this is one of those points in history where things take a very sharp and irreparable change in direction. Obviously, things have been brewing for years, but the ineptness of US foreign policy seems to have created a strategic Russian/China alliance which will force many countries to make some very hard choices about which side of the fence they are on.
On a related note, I woke up this morning to find that a speech by Lawrence P. Wilkerson, who is associated with the conservative paleoconservatives is getting very wide circulation in China (you know this has to be officially approved otherwise it disappears very rapidly on WeChat. He makes a claim that the CIA back in the early '00's intended to use the Uigurs as a sort of proxy army to destabilise China. For all sorts of reasons, I would doubt that, but it is now widely believed among Chinese people, even those who have no liking for the CCP. The notion that the Uigurs are a sort of third force within China, and as such need to be destroyed now seems to be very deeply embedded in Chinese thinking, and the interference by 'official' western NGO's are undoubtedly making things much worse for them.
pjay , March 27, 2021 at 9:41 am
"[Wilkerson] makes a claim that the CIA back in the early '00's intended to use the Uigurs as a sort of proxy army to destabilise China. For all sorts of reasons, I would doubt that, but it is now widely believed among Chinese people, even those who have no liking for the CCP."
Just curious as to what your reasons would be for doubting this. The CIA has been doing precisely this all over the world for over 70 years. There is a clear pipeline between the Uighurs in China and the CIA-supported "rebels" in Syria. The expatriate Uighur organizations that are integral to the Western propaganda apparatus is supported and amplified by the NED and other CIA fronts, as your last sentence implies. This is not to deny the historical Uighur desire for autonomy in Western China, nor to defend Chinese policies toward them. Rather, it is to acknowledge the CIA's use of ethnic tensions to sow chaos and division in non-conforming nations *everywhere*.
PlutoniumKun , March 27, 2021 at 10:32 am
Its unlikely because:
1. The US has had little to no success in its many attempts to establish an intelligence foothold in China. There is zero evidence, direct or indirect, that it has had any successful contact with Uigur groups directly, although contacts via others, such as the Pakistani or Turkish intelligence agencies are possible. If there was even the tiniest amount of evidence of such a link, the Chinese would be broadcasting it from the skies, and not just re-messaging out tired CT stuff. Chinese intelligence is far ahead of the US in that region, so they would certainly know if something like that was happening.
2. Uigur groups in general such as we know about them tend to be as virulently anti Western as anti Han Chinese. All evidence suggests that the brand of Islam that has been belatedly introduced into those regions is essentially second hand Wahhabism (traditionally, they were never all that religious).
3. Any such attempt could be easily countered by China – simply by dumping Uigur radicals into Afghanistan to bolster the Taliban, or anywhere else that would create trouble. The fact that they haven't done this strongly suggests that the Chinese themselves see no link.
4. US military intelligence is often a misnomer, but even the CIA can't be stupid enough to think that fostering another islamic state on the borders of Afghanistan is anything but a terrible idea.
Of course, no doubt some mid ranking CIA officer may have circulated some report saying more or less 'hey, maybe we can use those Uighurs or whatever they are called'. But thats an entirely different thing from suggesting that there have been active links and a strategy for using them to destabilise the borders of China. The reality is that the US has been entirely unsuccessful in any attempts (when they've been made) to undermine China via internal Chinese ethnic or religious groups.
Incidentally, the reliability of Wilkerson (who I actually quite like and who says some interesting things), on that topic can be measured by his statement that the invasion of Afghanistan was motivated by an attempt to stop the Belt and Road Initiative. It's quite impressive intelligence if that was the case as the invasion predated the Belt and Road Initiative by more than a decade.
David , March 27, 2021 at 10:57 am
Yes, I think the important point is your last one. It's not out of the question that on a rainy afternoon in Virginia some junior CIA analyst amused himself by sketching out such an idea, and one day the product may leak and be presented as "proof." But for the reasons you give, the political leaders who would have to approve the scheme would turn it down, even if it were physically possible. I doubt it would be, actually: from what little information is publicly available, the US seems to be having little or no luck penetrating that area.
pjay , March 27, 2021 at 11:48 am
Thanks for the systematic reply. I appreciate each of your points, and pretty much agree with the first one – including your comment about Turkish intelligence. But regarding the others, the fact that we are talking about anti-Western Wahabist radicals does not mean the CIA (or elements of the CIA or other military/intelligence operations) would hesitate to weaponize them if possible. We did this in Afghanistan, Bosina, Kosovo, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Chechnya etc. Indeed, we seemed to *welcome* the fostering of an Islamic State in Eastern Syria, because the various jihadists were a means to destroy the Syrian government. When the goal is to foster chaos and destruction in order to *undermine* an existing state, the calculus of unleashing the head-choppers is different than if we were actually interested in fostering stability in the region. I admit that such a strategy might sound insane to *us*, but Einstein's definition of insanity seems to rule our National Security Establishment.
David , March 27, 2021 at 1:28 pm
Not PK, but I would suggest these cases are not only different from each other, but also different from the Uigurs. Essentially, there was a war going on in all of these cases, and the US (and they were scarcely the only ones) decided to try to get a bit of influence by arming one or more of the factions. This is a tactic which is as old as arms themselves, and has a pretty spotty record of success, if that. Its advantage is that it is low-key and doesn't require a massive presence (the classic case is the Soviet Union and the Chinese flooding Africa with AK-47s and copies in the 1960s and 1970s). But the cases you mention are very disparate. In Bosnia there do seem to have been some (illegal) CIA deliveries to the Muslims in violation of the embargo, but these were very small scale and in any event the Muslims were one of the major parties to the conflict, as well as constituting the de facto government in Sarajevo, because the other ethnicities had withdrawn. Likewise, and in spite of preening memoirs and films, the US influence in Afghanistan was quite small : the mujahideen were already forming in the 1970s, and the only contribution the US really made was to supply anti-aircraft missiles, which complicated the Russians' existence quite a bit. But actually fomenting and arming an insurgency next to one of the three or four major powers on the planet, with highly skilled intelligence services? There is stupidity and there's downright insanity.
upstater , March 27, 2021 at 7:33 pm
I the 1950s, the CIA and MI6 trained and armed the "Forest Brothers" in the Baltics. Neutral Sweden and Finland were across hundreds of km of water. Land access was through Soviet territory or satellites. There was no significant international trade or commerce in the area at the time. Yet they had tens of thousands of well supplied (for that era) resistance fighters that took a decade for the USSR to stomp out.
To suggest that today's CIA is incapable of stirring things up in a well-connected Xinjiang when thousands of foreigners travel there, tons of business shipments and international flights and road transport is a mystifying statement. Particularly after CIA's decades of experience managing jihadis all across North Africa, Mideast and Central Asia, more than a few being Uigurs.
And suggesting that the only thing the US supplied the Afghan jihadis were Stinger missiles is far off the mark. It was a multi-billion dollar per year operation conducted by the US with collaboration of the ISI and Saudis. All those tens of thousands of jihadis didn't arrive by camels and make slingshots.
I agree "There is stupidity and there's downright insanity" in fomenting troubles in Xinjiang. The US has already passed that test. Many times.
Yves Smith , March 27, 2021 at 10:06 pm
We are three generations past the 1950s. Not a relevant example.
The US is not even remotely as good as you'd have to believe to accept this theory. For starters, we don't begin to have enough people with native level language competence, much the less willing to live there long enough to be trusted. They'll take our arms, but our directives?
It is in the interest of the CIA to take credit for all sorts of things where their role was non-existent to marginal because funding.
PlutoniumKun , March 27, 2021 at 2:20 pm
David put it so much better than I could.
I can't claim any great knowledge or insight into the region, but the notion that the Uighurs were part of a grand CIA strategy, or that they have had sufficient influence in the region to manipulate them into opposing China, just doesn't pass the smell test. Unfortunately, like the notion that Covid is spread on frozen food, so far as I can tell it is now considered 'a fact' by most Chinese, inside and outside the country. As a result, even Chinese who strongly dislike their government are not at all bothered by reports coming out of the region.
For what its worth, I knew an English guy who lived for a few years in Urumqi with his Chinese wife about 15 years ago. He was virulently anti-muslim and didn't much like the non-Chinese locals he met, but I remember at the time that said that what he saw around him convinced him that things were going to end very badly for the Uighurs, the Chinese were just waiting for the opportunity to wipe them out. I was in Tibet at that period (I was fortunate to get a visa on the last year solo traveller were allowed in) and witnessed the way Tibetans were openly abused on the street by Chinese soldiers. Even Tibetans said that the Uighurs got it worse.
drumlin woodchuckles , March 27, 2021 at 5:53 pm
The US government and privately motivated US citizens have no credibility on this issue. That means if anyone is going to raise it, it will have to be someone other than America or Americans.
That doesn't change the fact of Great Han Lebensraum genocide-policy against the Uighurs on the part of the Chinese Communazi Party. And Chinese statements about their Lebensraum genocide against Uighuria are just as much hasbara as Israeli statements about antiPalestinianitic persecution in the Occupied West Bank.
And if that purely-private opinion of a mere U S citizen makes any Great Han hasbarists ( or might I say . . . Hansbarists) on this thread mad, then that makes me happy.
Fern , March 27, 2021 at 6:14 pm
Your friend was English; I have not seen this attitude on the part of Chinese friends or Chinese I've talked with. I was traveling on a domestic flight in China a number of years ago and found myself sitting on a plane next to a random Chinese soldier -- a memorably tall, handsome young man. He spoke English well enough to have a discussion (the relaxed atmosphere and the need to pass the time does wonders when it comes to breaking down language barriers). Major Uighur terror attacks and unrest had been in the news (around 2009), so I asked him what he thought about it. He said that he grew up in Xinjiang. His parents were Han Chinese who had first come to Xinjiang during the cultural revolution to build some local infrastructure/improvement project (he described it to me but I don't remember the details). They saw their goal as improving conditions in the region. Of course, the government wanted to solidify Chinese presence in that region of their country, but I heard no hint of anger or derision toward the Uighur. He said he was very concerned that the Uighur people were happy and he hoped China could find a way to mend the relationship. He said that growing up, there were many mixed Chinese/Han marriages and that "people say" that mixed Han/Uighur marriages produced the most physically beautiful children. I didn't see any evidence of the malignant racism you describe on the part of your English friend.
Strong central governments vs violent separatist movements tend to create lasting problems. Growing up in a border state over 100 years after our own civil war, I grew up with the fact that many people had still not let go of that resentment. Southerners still maintained a sense of grievance back then. The Maryland state song that I learned as a child is only now being decommissioned by the state legislature. One stanza refers to the "Northern scum".
This week's WaPo headline: "Maryland poised to say goodbye to state song that celebrates the Confederacy".
drumlin woodchuckles , March 27, 2021 at 10:40 pm
If your Han Chinese interlocutor's feelings are widely shared among the ruled-over rather than ruling-over ordinary majority of Han citizens, then it would appear that it is the MonoParty RegimeGovernment ruling over China which is Communazi, not the people as such.
Regardless, it will be up to countrygovs which have moral standing in this area to comment or not, not the US anymore. At least for now.
Probably the Uighurs have it even worse than Tibetans because Uighuria is very inhabitable by Han settlers whereas Tibet is high and dry enough that ( I have read), that lowland-adapted Hans have trouble physically coping over time with the lower oxygen levels at Tibet altitude.
If that is so, then the High Tibetan Plateau at least would not provide Lebensraum for millions of Han Settlers in any case, so why clear the Tibetans off the plateau and out of existence? Not so much need, in Tibet's case.
Keith Newman , March 27, 2021 at 2:43 pm
I have no knowledge about points 1 to 3, but totally disagree with point 4.
The hubris and desire of the US alphabet agencies to meddle is remarkable. A current example is the CIA support of jihadis in Syria that the US military itself is fighting against.
Interesting caution re Wilkerson – do you have a link?
The Rev Kev , March 27, 2021 at 10:03 am
Here is a link to an article talking about that talk PK. Having a coupla thousand Uygurs in Syria gaining combat experience for use later who knows where was probably proof enough for China of western intentions. Just think of the other Jihadists who have been used in places like Libya and the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war and the Chinese would be drawing their own conclusions-
Mar 28, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
It was the preamble to Putin's most important message in years to what he called the American "establishment, the ruling class". He said the US leadership is determined to have relations with Russia, but only "on its own terms".
Although they think that we are the same as they are, we are different people. We have a different genetic, cultural and moral code. But we know how to defend our own interests.
And we will work with them, but in those areas in which we ourselves are interested, and on those conditions that we consider beneficial for ourselves. And they will have to reckon with it. They will have to reckon with this, despite all attempts to stop our development. Despite the sanctions, insults, they will have to reckon with this.
This is new for Putin. He has for years made the point, always politely, that Western powers need to deal with Russia on a basis of correct diplomatic protocols and mutual respect for national sovereignty, if they want to ease tensions.
But never before has he been as blunt as this, saying in effect: do not dare try to judge us or punish us for not meeting what you say are universal standards, because we are different from you. Those days are now over.
tegnost , March 27, 2021 at 11:16 am
I doubt the US has ever been ok with Nordstream II ..
drumlin woodchuckles , March 27, 2021 at 3:16 pm
One domino falls on another which falls on another, etc. But one has to push the first domino over.
I hope the Germans build Nordstream II and then III and IV and as many as they like. It will prevent the US gas industry from selling any LNG to Europe. That will keep the price of NatGas in America nice and low. That will keep luring electro-grid power-makers away from coal. Hopefully it would finalistically and irreversibly exterminate the power-grid thermal-coal industry in America.
JTMcPhee , March 27, 2021 at 12:18 pm
The meme is that "Biden called Putin a killer." Looking at the video, Biden just answered "yes" to that snake Stephanopolous's opening, "So you know Vladimir Putin, do you think he's a killer?" Same thing with "Will you make Putin pay a price?"
Maybe I've just missed it, but I haven't seen any place where the Gerontocrat in Chief has emitted those gaffes heard 'round the world from his own volition, rather than in the kind of setup that ABC News put up there to spin the pedals of the Narrative Bicycle that Putin authorized meddling in the US electoral games
But there it is.
drumlin woodchuckles , March 27, 2021 at 3:18 pm
Apparently Biden was either too senile or too inherently stupid to realize what gangrenous filth the subhuman Clintonite scum Stephanopoulis is, was and always will be. And put his stupid senile foot into Stephanopoulis's clever little bear trap.
SOMK , March 27, 2021 at 2:14 pm
Europe and Germany appear to be disappointingly wishy washy over Russia, they seemed happy to play poodle and follow the lead of the UK in expelling Russian diplomats after Theresa May falsely claimed that the presence of Novichok indicated a "state actor", a standard the US with its various drone assassinations (such as of Qasem Soleimani) is never held to. I suspect German attitudes to US foreign policy are driven mostly by concerns over exports, knowing full well the US propensity to link trade with supporting their foreign policy, the US remains the sole biggest destination for German exports (from what I can tell via google at a little over 8% total exports, in and around $110 billion per annum) and in the absence of the Euro being the global reserve currency I would imagine for the time being they (and by extension Europe as a whole) will remain somewhat reluctant foreign policy poodles to the US, so long at least as the new cold war remains cold.
Equitable > Equal , March 27, 2021 at 6:38 pm
It's a bit difficult for Germany to 'Step up' when the majority of their clout is derived from their close association with the US. While they have strong backing from some of Europe, they do not have the strong backing of a number of key members since the introduction of uneven austerity measures in 2009 which means without the US, they would not be able to portray themselves as leaders
Mar 28, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Pavel , March 27, 2021 at 10:36 am
Alex Cockburn (RIP) once commented that he didn't think GWB was as bad as some people thought -- because through his (admittedly awful) recklessness in Iraq and elsewhere he was inexorably driving the American Empire into failure and eventual dissolution. (My paraphrase, mind you.)
Dog, I detested GWB and remember the huge anti-war march in London that day. And had tears in my eyes at 2AM in a Tokyo hotel watching Obama being inaugurated. But St Barack if anything extended W's wars -- along with fellow warmongers Hillary and Biden, of course. Trump conversely tried to remove troops from Afghanistan only to have the Permanent War Party (Dems & Repubs) deny him the chance.
Well, as the post points out, Biden's foreign policy advisors are definitely the B Team but seem to have the hubris of the A Team. A bad combination.
As for the new Russia-China axis, I recommend Pepe Escobar's writings; he has been following this for some time.
Anyway, please excuse the rambling -- I meant to praise LowellHighlander for his final sentence. (^_^)
Keith Newman , March 27, 2021 at 2:33 pm
Sorry, but what does "dog" mean?
marku52 , March 27, 2021 at 2:51 pm
"God" for the non religious
LowellHighlander , March 28, 2021 at 12:17 am
Thank you, Pavel.
Mar 28, 2021 | systemicdisorder.wordpress.com
The United States government is able to impose its will on all the world's countries. The rest of the world, even some of the strongest imperialist countries of the Global North, lie prostrate at the feet of the U.S. What is the source of this seemingly impregnable power? Which of course leads to the next question: How long can it last?
The U.S. moves against any country that dares to act on a belief that its resources should be for its own people's benefits rather than maximizing profits of multinational corporations or prioritizes the welfare of its citizens over corporate profit or simply refuses to accept dictation in how it should organize its economy. The military is frequently put to use, as are manipulation of the United Nations and the strong arms of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). But sanctions are a frequently used tool, enforced on countries, banks and corporations that have no presence in the U.S. and conduct business entirely outside the United States. The U.S. can impose its will on national governments around the world, using multilateral institutions to force governments to act in the interest of multinational capital, even when that is opposite the interests of the country itself or that country's peoples. And when a country persists in refusing to bend to U.S. demands, sanctions imposing misery on the general population are unilaterally imposed and the rest of the world is forced to observe them.
In short, the U.S. government possesses a power that no country has ever held, not even Britain at the height of its empire. And that government, regardless of which party or what personality is in the White House or in control of Congress, is ruthless in using this power to impose its will.
This power is most often wielded within an enveloping shell of propaganda that claims the U.S. is acting in the interest of "democracy" and maintaining the "rule of law" so that business can be conducted in the interest of a common good. So successful has this propaganda been that this domination is called the "Washington Consensus." Just who agreed to this "consensus" other than Washington political elites and the corporate executives and financial speculators those elites represent has never been clear. "Washington diktat" would be a more accurate name.
Much speculation among Left circles exists as to when this domination will be brought to an end, with many commentators believing that the fall of the U.S. dollar is not far off and perhaps China will become the new center of a system less imperialistic. On the Right, particularly in the financial industry, such speculation is far from unknown, although there of course the downfall of the dollar is feared. In financial circles, however, there is no illusion that the end of dollar supremacy in world economics is imminent.
There are only two possible challengers to U.S. dollar hegemony: The European Union's euro and China's renminbi. But the EU and China are very much subordinated to the dollar, and thus not in a position to counter U.S. dictates. Let's start here, and then we'll move on to the mechanics of U.S. economic hegemony over the world, which rests on the dollar being the global reserve currency and the leveraging of that status to control the world's multilateral institutions and forcing global compliance with its sanctions.
Europe "helpless" in the face of U.S. sanctions
A February 2019 paper published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, discussing the inability of EU countries to counteract the Trump administration's pullout from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, flatly declared the EU "helpless" : "In trying to shield EU-based individuals and entities with commercial interests from its adverse impact, European policy-makers have recently been exposed as more or less helpless."
The legislative arm of the EU, the European Parliament, was no more bullish. In a paper published in November 2020, the Parliament wrote this about U.S. extraterritorial sanctions : "[T]his bold attempt to prescribe the conduct of EU companies and nationals without even asking for consent challenges the EU and its Member States as well as the functioning and development of transatlantic relations. The extraterritorial reach of sanctions does not only affect EU businesses but also puts into question the political independence and ultimately the sovereignty of the EU and its Member States."
No such open worries are going to be said in public by the Chinese government. But is China better prepared than the EU? Mary Hui, a Hong Kong-based business journalist, wrote in Quartz , "China is actually far more vulnerable to US sanctions than it will let on, even if the sanctions are aimed at individuals and not banks. That's because the primary system powering the world's cross-border financial transactions between banks, Swift, is dominated by the US dollar." We'll delve into this shortly. As a result of that domination, Ms. Hui wrote, "the US has outsize control over the machinery of international transactions -- or, as the Economist put it, 'America is uniquely well positioned to use financial warfare in the service of foreign policy.' "
In 2017, then U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened China with sanctions that would cut it off from the U.S. financial system if it didn't comply with fresh United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea in 2007; he had already threatened unilateral sanctions on any country that trades with North Korea if the United Nations didn't apply sanctions on Pyongyang.
So neither Brussels or Beijing are in a position, at this time, to meaningfully challenge U.S. hegemony. That hegemony rests on multiple legs.
The world financial platform that the U.S. ultimately controls
The use (or, actually, abuse) of the two biggest multilateral financial institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, are well known. The U.S., as the biggest vote holder and through the rules set up for decision-making, carries a veto and thus imposes its will on any country that falls into debt and must turn to the World Bank or IMF for a loan. There also are the U.S.-controlled regional banks, such as the Asian Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, that impose U.S. dictates through the terms of their loans.
Also important as an institution, however, is a multilateral financial institution most haven't heard of: The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as SWIFT. Based in Brussels, SWIFT is the primary platform used by the world's financial institutions "to securely exchange information about financial transactions, including payment instructions, among themselves." SWIFT says it is officially a member-owned cooperative with more than 11,000 member financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories.
That sounds like it is a truly global entity. Despite that description, the U.S. holds ultimate authority over it and what it does. U.S. government agencies, including the CIA, National Security Agency and Treasury Department, have access to the SWIFT transaction database. Payments in U.S. dollars can be seized by the U.S. government even when the transaction is between two entities outside the U.S. And here we have a key to understanding.
Beyond the ability of U.S. intelligence agencies to acquire information is the status of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency, the foundation of the world capitalist system of which SWIFT is very much a component and thus subject to dictates the same as any other financial institution. What is a reserve currency? This succinct definition offered by the Council on Foreign Relations provides the picture:
"A reserve currency is a foreign currency that a central bank or treasury holds as part of its country's formal foreign exchange reserves. Countries hold reserves for a number of reasons, including to weather economic shocks, pay for imports, service debts, and moderate the value of its own currency. Many countries cannot borrow money or pay for foreign goods in their own currencies -- since much of international trade is done in dollars -- and therefore need to hold reserves to ensure a steady supply of imports during a crisis and assure creditors that debt payments denominated in foreign currency can be made."
The currency mostly used is the U.S. dollar, the Council explains:
"Most countries want to hold their reserves in a currency with large and open financial markets, since they want to be sure that they can access their reserves in a moment of need. Central banks often hold currency in the form of government bonds, such as U.S. Treasuries. The U.S. Treasury market remains by far the world's largest and most liquid -- the easiest to buy into and sell out of bond market[s]."
If you use dollars, the U.S. can go after you
Everybody uses the dollar because everybody else uses it. Almost two-thirds of foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars. Here's the breakdown of the four most commonly held currencies, as of the first quarter of 2020:
- U.S. dollar 62%
- EU euro 20%
- Japanese yen 4%
- Chinese renminbi 2%
That 62 percent gives the U.S. government its power to not only impose sanctions unilaterally, but to force the rest of the world to observe them, in conjunction with the use of the dollar as the primary currency in international transactions. In some industries, it is almost the only currency used. To again turn to the Council on Foreign Relations explainer:
"In addition to accounting for the bulk of global reserves, the dollar is the currency of choice for international trade. Major commodities such as oil are primarily bought and sold using U.S. dollars. Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, still peg their currencies to the dollar. Factors that contribute to the dollar's dominance include its stable value, the size of the U.S. economy, and the United States' geopolitical heft. In addition, no other country has a market for its debt akin to the United States', which totals roughly $18 trillion.
The dollar's centrality to the system of global payments also increases the power of U.S. financial sanctions. Almost all trade done in U.S. dollars, even trade among other countries, can be subject to U.S. sanctions, because they are handled by so-called correspondent banks with accounts at the Federal Reserve. By cutting off the ability to transact in dollars, the United States can make it difficult for those it blacklists to do business."
Sanctions imposed by the U.S. government are effectively extra-territorial because a non-U.S. bank that seeks to handle a transaction in U.S. dollars has to do so by clearing the transaction through a U.S. bank; a U.S. bank that cleared such a transaction would be in violation of the sanctions . The agency that monitors sanctions compliance, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), insists that any transaction using the dollar comes under U.S. law and thus blocking funds "is a territorial exercise of jurisdiction " wherever it occurs, even if no U.S. entities are involved. Even offering software as a service (or for download) from United States servers is under OFAC jurisdiction.
Two further measures of dollar dominance are that about half of all cross-border bank loans and international debt securities are denominated in U.S. currency and that 88 percent of all foreign-exchange transactions in 2019 involved the dollar on one side. That forex domination has remained largely unchanged; the figure was 87 percent in April 2003.
Dollar dominance cemented at end of World War II
The roots of the dollar as the global reserve currency go back to the creation of the Bretton Woods system in 1944 (named for the New Hampshire town where representatives of Allied and other governments met to discuss the post-war monetary system as victory in World War II drew closer). The World Bank and IMF were created here. To stabilize currencies and make it more difficult for countries to reduce the value of their currencies for competitive reasons (to boost exports), all currencies were pegged to the dollar, and the dollar in turn was convertible into gold at $35 an ounce. Thus the dollar became the center of the world financial system, which cemented U.S. dominance.
By the early 1970s, the Nixon administration believed that the Bretton Woods monetary system no longer sufficiently advantaged the United States despite its currency's centrality within the system cementing U.S. economic suzerainty. Because of the system of fixing the value of a U.S. dollar to the price of gold, any government could exchange the dollars it held in reserve for U.S. Treasury Department gold on demand.
Rising world supplies of dollars and domestic inflation depressed the value of the dollar, causing the Treasury price of gold to be artificially low and thereby making the exchange of dollars for gold at the fixed price an excellent deal for other governments. The Nixon administration refused to adjust the value of the dollar , instead in 1971 pulling the dollar from the gold standard by refusing to continue to exchange foreign-held dollars for gold on demand. Currencies would now float on markets against each other, their values set by speculators rather than by governments, making all but the strongest countries highly vulnerable to financial pressure.
The world's oil-producing states dramatically raised oil prices in 1973. The Nixon administration eliminated U.S. capital controls a year later, encouraged oil producers to park their new glut of dollars in U.S. banks and adopted policies to encourage the banks to lend those deposited dollars to the South . But perhaps "encourage" is too mild a word. The economist and strong critic of imperialism Michael Hudson once wrote , "I was informed at a White House meeting that U.S. diplomats had let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries know that they could charge as much as they wanted for their oil, but that the United States would treat it as an act of war not to keep their oil proceeds in U.S. dollar assets."
Restrictions limiting cross-border movements of capital were opposed by multi-national corporations that had moved production overseas, by speculators in the new currency-exchange markets that blossomed with the breakdown of Bretton Woods and by neoliberal ideologues, creating decisive momentum within the U.S. for the elimination of capital controls . The ultimate result of these developments was to make the dollar even more central to world trade and thus further enhance U.S. control. Needless to say, bipartisan U.S. policy ever since has been to maintain this control.
U.S. sanctions in action: The cases of Cuba and Iran
Two examples of U.S. sanctions being applied extraterritorially are those imposed on Cuba and Iran. (There are many other examples, including that of Venezuela.) In the case of Cuba, any entity that conducts business with Cuba is barred from doing business in the U.S. or with any U.S. entity; foreign businesses that are owned by U.S. companies are strictly prohibited from doing any business with Cuba. Any company that had done business in Cuba must cease all activities there if acquired by a U.S. corporation. Several companies selling life-saving medical equipment and medicines to Cuba had to cease doing so when acquired by a U.S. corporation.
Meanwhile, U.S. embassy personnel have reportedly threatened firms in countries such as Switzerland, France, Mexico and the Dominican Republic with commercial reprisals unless they canceled sales of goods to Cuba such as soap and milk. Amazingly, an American Journal of Public Health report quoted a July 1995 written communication by the U.S. Department of Commerce in which the department said those types of sales contribute to "medical terrorism" on the part of Cubans! Well, many of us when we were, say, 5 years old might have regarded soap with terror, but presumably have long gotten over that. Perhaps Commerce employees haven't.
The sanctions on Cuba have been repeatedly tightened over the years. Joy Gordon, writing in the Harvard International Law Journal in January 2016, provides a vivid picture of the difficulties thereby caused:
"The Torricelli Act [of 1992] provided that no ship could dock in the United States within 180 days of entering a Cuban port. This restriction made deliveries to Cuba commercially unfeasible for many European and Asian companies, as their vessels would normally deliver or take on shipments from the United States while they were in the Caribbean. The Torricelli Act also prohibited foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba. The Helms-Burton Act, enacted in 1996, permitted U.S. nationals to bring suit against foreign companies that were doing business in Cuba and that owned properties that had been abandoned or confiscated after the revolution. Additionally, the Helms-Burton Act prohibited third-party countries from selling goods in the United States that contained any components originating in Cuba. This significantly impacted Cuba's major exports, particularly sugar and nickel.
[T]he shipping restrictions in the Torricelli Act have increased costs in several ways, such as Cuba sometimes having to pay for ships carrying imports from Europe or elsewhere to return empty because they cannot stop at U.S. ports to pick up goods. Shipping companies have partially responded by dedicating particular ships for Cuba deliveries; but in most cases, they tend to designate old ships in poor condition, which then leads to higher maritime insurance costs."
The United Nations estimates that the cost of the embargo to Cuba has been about $130 billion.
However distasteful we find the religious fundamentalist government of Iran, U.S. sanctions, which are blunt weapons, have caused much hardship on Iranians. The same restrictions on Cuba apply to Iran. The Iranian government said in September 2020 that it has lost $150 billion since the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and that it is hampered from importing food and medicines.
The Trump administration's renewed sanctions were imposed unilaterally and against the expressed policies of all other signatories -- Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. With those governments unable to restrain Washington, businesses from around the world pulled out to avoid getting sanctioned. EU countermeasures were ineffective -- small fines didn't outweigh far larger U.S. fines, European companies are subject to U.S. sanctions and favorable judgments in European courts are unenforceable in U.S. courts.
Sascha Lohmann, author of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs paper, wrote :
"Well ahead of the deadlines set by the Trump administration and absent any enforcement action, major European and Asian companies withdrew from the otherwise lucrative Iranian market. Most notably, this included [SWIFT,] which cut off most of the more than 50 Iranian banks in early November 2018, including the Central Bank of Iran, after they again became subject to U.S. financial sanctions. [T]he exodus of EU-based companies has revealed an inconvenient truth to European policy-makers, namely that those companies are effectively regulated in Washington, D.C. [T]he secretary of the Treasury can order U.S. banks to close or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining of correspondent or payable-through accounts on behalf of a foreign bank, thereby closing down access to dollarized transactions -- the 'Wall Street equivalent of the death penalty.' "
The long arm of U.S. sanctions stretches around the world
The idea that sanctions can be the "Wall Street equivalent of the death penalty" is not a figment of the imagination. Two examples of sanctions against European multinational enterprises demonstrate this.
In 2015, the French bank BNP Paribas was given a penalty of almost $9 billion for violating U.S. sanctions by processing dollar payments from Cuba, Iran and Sudan. The bank also pleaded guilty to two criminal charges. These penalties were handed down in U.S. courts and prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. The chief executive officer of the bank told the court "we deeply regret the past misconduct." The judge overseeing the case declared the bank "not only flouted U.S. foreign policy but also provided support to governments that threaten both our regional and national security," a passage highlighted in the Department's press release announcing the settlement.
Why would a French bank agree to these penalties and do so in such apologetic terms? And why would it accept the preposterous idea that Cuba represents any security threat to the U.S. or that a French bank is required to enforce U.S. foreign policy? As part of the settlement, Reuters reported , "regulators banned BNP for a year from conducting certain U.S. dollar transactions, a critical part of the bank's global business." And that gives us the clue. Had the bank not settled its case, it risked a permanent ban on access to the U.S. financial system, meaning it could not handle any deals denominated in dollars. Even the one-year ban could have triggered an exodus of clients in several major industries, including oil and gas.
This was completely an extraterritorial application of U.S. law. An International Bar Association summary of the case noted, "the transactions in question were not illegal under French or EU law. Nor did they fall foul of France's obligations under the World Trade Organization or the United Nations; no agreements between France and the US were violated. But as they were denominated in dollars, the deals ultimately had to pass through New York and thus came under its regulatory authority."
It does not take direct involvement in financial transactions to run afoul of the long arm of U.S. sanctions. A Swiss company, Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA), was forced to agree to pay $8 million to settle allegations that it provided blacklisted airlines with "software and/or services that were provided from, transited through, or originated in the United States." Among the actions punished were that SITA used software originating in the U.S. to track lost baggage and used a global lost-baggage tracing system hosted on servers in the United States. Retrieving baggage is a service most people would not consider a high crime.
Can the EU or China create an alternative?
Dropping the widespread use of the dollar and substituting one or more other currencies, and setting up alternative financial systems, would be the logical short-term path toward ending U.S. financial hegemony. The German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, in a 2018 report , quoted the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, "We must increase Europe's autonomy and sovereignty in trade, economic and financial policies. It will not be easy, but we have already begun to do it." DW reported that the European Commission was developing a system parallel to SWIFT that would allow Iran to interface with European clearing systems with transactions based on the euro, but such a system never was put in place. In January 2021, as the new Biden administration took office, Iran dismissed it entirely , Bloomberg reported: "European governments have 'no idea' how to finance the conduit set up two years ago, known as Instex, and 'have not had enough courage to maintain their economic sovereignty,' the Central Bank of Iran said in comments on Twitter."
It would seem that Teheran's dismissal is warranted. The European Parliament, in its paper on U.S. sanctions being imposed extraterritorially , could only offer liberal weak-tea ideas, such as "Encourage and assist EU businesses in bringing claims in international investor-state arbitration and in US courts; Complaints against extraterritorial measures in the [World Trade Organization]." Such prescriptions are unlikely to have anyone in Washington losing sleep.
What about China? Beijing has actually created a functioning alternative to the World Bank and IMF, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank . Just on the basis of the new bank representing a bad example (from Washington's perspective), the U.S. government leaned heavily on Australia and other countries sufficiently firmly that Canberra initially declined to join the bank despite its initial interest, nor did Indonesia and South Korea, although all three did later join. There is a possibility of one-sidedness here, however, as China has by far the biggest share of the vote , 27 percent, dwarfing No. 2 India's 7 percent, giving Beijing potential veto power. And with US$74 billion in capitalization (less than the goal of $100 billion set in 2014), it can't realistically be a substitute for existing multilateral financial institutes.
China has also set up an alternative to SWIFT, the Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS), a renminbi-denominated clearing and settlement system. CIPS says it has participants from 50 countries and regions, and processes US$19.4 billion per day. But that's well less than one percent of the $6 trillion SWIFT handles daily. The Bank of China, the country's central bank, is on the record of seeking an alternative to the dollar system so that it can evade any U.S. sanctions. "A good punch to the enemy will save yourself from hundreds of punches from your enemies," a 2020 Bank of China report said. "We need to get prepared in advance, mentally and practically."
The report said if Chinese banks are deprived of access to dollar settlements, China should consider ceasing the use of the U.S. dollar as the anchor currency for its foreign exchange controls.
That is easier said than done -- China holds $1.1 trillion in U.S. government debt issued by the U.S. Treasury Department. That total is second only to Japan, and Beijing's holdings comprise 15 percent of all U.S. debt held by foreign governments. The South China Morning Post admits that China holds such large reserve assets of U.S. debt "largely due to its status as a 'safe haven' for investment during turbulent market conditions." Although Beijing seeks an erosion of dollar dominance and fears that U.S. economic instability could result in another world economic downturn, its use of the safe haven is nowhere near at an end. "While it is clear that China is keen to lessen its dependence on US government debt, experts believe that Beijing is likely to continue buying US Treasuries, as there are few risk-free low cost substitutes," the Morning Post wrote.
Coupled with the restrictions on renminbi conversion, Chinese institutions are today far from a position of challenging current global financial relations. The U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley recently predicted that the renminbi could represent five to 10 percent of foreign-exchange reserves by 2030, up from the current two percent. Although that would mean central banks around the world would increase their holdings of the Chinese currency, it would not amount to any real threat to dollar dominance.
No empire, or system, lasts forever
The bottom line question from all of the above is this: Will this U.S. dominance come to an end? Stepping back and looking at this question in a historical way tells us that the answer can only be yes, given that there has been a sequence of cities that have been the financial center. Centuries ago, the seat of a small republic such as Venice could be the leading financial center on the strength of its trading networks. Once capitalism took hold, however, the financial center was successively located within a larger federation that possessed both a strong navy and a significant fleet of merchant ships (Amsterdam); then within a sizeable and unified country with a large enough population to maintain a powerful navy and a physical presence throughout an empire (London); and finally within a continent-spanning country that can project its economic and multi-dimensional military power around the world (New York).
No empire, whatever its form, lasts forever. But knowledge of the sequence of capitalist centers tells us nothing of timing. Each successive new financial locus was embedded in successively larger powers able to operate militarily over larger areas and with more force. What then could replace the U.S.? The European Union has its effectiveness diluted by the many nationalisms within its sphere (and thus nationalism acts as a weakening agent for the EU whereas it is a strengthening agent for the U.S. and China). China's economy is yet too small and retains capital controls, and its currency, the renminbi, isn't fully convertible. U.S. Treasury bills remain the ultimate safe haven, as shown when investors poured into U.S. debt during crises such as the 2008 collapse, even when events in the U.S. are the trigger.
There are no other possible other contenders, and both the EU and China, as already discussed, are in no position to seriously challenge U.S. hegemony.
Here we have a collision of possibilities: The transcending of capitalism and transition to a new economic system or the decreasing functionality of the world capitalist system should it persist for several more decades. Given the resiliency of capitalism, and the many tools available to it (not least military power), the latter scenario can't be ruled out although it might be unlikely. Making any prediction on the lifespan of capitalism is fraught with difficulty, not least because of the many predictions of its collapse for well over a century. But capitalism as a system requires infinite growth , quite impossible on a finite planet and all the more dire given there is almost no place on Earth remaining into which it can expand .
Although we can't know what the expiration date of capitalism will be, it will almost certainly be sometime in the current century. But it won't be followed by something better without a global movement of movements working across borders with a conscious aim of bringing a better world into being. In the absence of such movements, capitalism is likely to hang on for decades to come. In that scenario, what country or bloc could replace the U.S. as the center? And would we want a new center to dictate to the rest of the world? In a world of economic democracy (what we can call socialism) where all nations and societies can develop in their own way, in harmony with the environment and without the need to expand, and with production done for human need rather than corporate profit, there would no global center or hegemon and no need for one. Capitalism, however, can't function without a center that uses financial, military and all other means to keep itself in the saddle and the rest of the world in line.
Yes, the day of U.S. dethronement will come, as will the end of capitalism . But the former is not going to happen any time soon, however much millions around the world wish that to be so, and the latter is what we should be working toward. A better world is possible; a gentler and kinder capitalism with a different center is not.
waw , says: March 25, 2021 at 9:25 pm GMT • 23.3 hours ago
Mar 26, 2021 | www.unz.com
bayviking , says:
The sooner America collapses, the safer the rest of the world will be, excluding the Ashkenazi
Mar 26, 2021 | www.unz.com
Priss Factor , says: Website March 25, 2021 at 6:04 am GMT • 1.6 days ago
American Renaissance has done important work, but it is ultimately useless because it pulls its punches or willfully misses what should be the main target: Zionist Supremacist Power. Take Jared Taylor's commentary of the US military in the video below. It's pure Pat-Condell. He blames everything but will not name the power behind the mess. Shhhh about the Zionists.
At this point, why should Taylor lament that Mexican-American soldiers proudly display the Mexican flag? Why not, when the US flag represents nothing abroad but 'twerking', Zionist supremacism, Wars for Israel, mindless animus toward Russia, ridiculous paranoia about China, nonstop hatred toward Iran, complete nonsense about Venezuela, BLM stupidity, and global dissemination of globo-homo ludicrousness? Americanism meant something when Anglo-Americans(and those properly Anglo-Americanized) ruled the nation with pride and confidence. Then, Americanism was based on the Great Compromise: A move toward a more merit-and-rule-based on the part of Anglo-Americans who took the land from the Indians, brought blacks in chains, and encouraged mass-immigration to develop the land. In return, non-Anglos would acknowledge the Anglo-foundation of America and try to be Good Americans. That compromise is no longer relevant because the US is now totally Zionist-supremacist, meaning the New Americanism is predicated on just about everyone and everything revolving around the question of "Is it great for Zionists?" If Zionists want it, they get it eventually. No wonder the First and Second Amendments are now hanging by a thread. Zionists don't like the Constitution now that they got total power.
Other than Zionists, Jared Taylor should be blaming his own Wasp kind. Why did they hand over power to the Zionists almost completely? That was the beginning of much of the rot since. Taylor bitches about blacks, Mexicans, and etc. not being properly patriotic in the new order, but who created the new order? Zionists spearheaded the making of New America, but Wasps just played along. If Wasps are such worthless cucks to Zionists, why should it be surprising that nonwhites would no longer respect whites? Of course, given that most nonwhites would find it odd if Zionists told them, "Americanism = Zionist Greatness", Zionists encourage the next-best-thing, which is anti-whiteness or 'scapewhiting'(scapegoat whitey for everything), as it unites all nonwhites with Zionists in the War on Whiteness. War on Whiteness or WOW is great for Zionists as it morally shames and paralyzes whites into having no pride and prestige, which translates into having no will and agency. Filled with shame and 'white guilt', whites become mired in mode of redemption, the terms of which are decided by Zionists who advise Total Support for Zion, More Wars for Israel, More Diversity, and More Globo-Homo(proxy of Zionist Power).
The source of the problem is the Zionist-White relations. When whites handed over power to Zionists, Zionists made the key decisions, and those have been premised on whatever-necessary-to-secure-Zionist-power. #1 priority for Zionists is then White Submissivism to Zionist Supremacism. If Taylor will not discuss Zionist Power, it's like complaining about the smoke without mentioning the fire. Also, does it make sense for whites to bleat about blacks, browns, yellows, and etc. when whites themselves cravenly collaborate with Zionist Power? Whites, especially the elites, don't stand for what is good for America as a whole. They suck up to Zionists and support Zionist identity & Zionism. When whites act like that, why should nonwhites be good American patriots? Whites have led the way in betraying the original Americanism. In some ways, nonwhites, such as blacks into black power and Mexican-Americans into Mexican pride, are more admirable because, at the very least, they are tribal-patriotic about their own kind. In contrast, whites have betrayed both White Power and Traditional Americanism. They are now allergic to anything white-and-positive but also utterly lack a general sense of Americanism. White 'liberals' love to virtue-signal by supporting blacks, diversity, & globo-homo, AND white 'conservatives' love to cuck-signal by waving the Israeli Flag & yapping about how Israel is "America's best, greatest, closest, and dearest ally." Both groups fail at simple generic patriotism based on rules and principles. For white 'liberals', blacks are higher than other groups, and for white 'conservatives' it's Zionists-uber-alles.
In the current order, Zionists encourage nonwhites to wave their own identitarian flag AGAINST whiteness while encouraging whites to wave the Zionist flag. In a way, one might say this Zionist strategy is foolish. After all, if nonwhites are made to be anti-white and if whiteness is made to be synonymous with support-for-Israel and praise-of-Zionists, might it not lead to nonwhites being anti-Israel and anti-Zionist as well? After all, if whiteness = love-for-Zionists whereas non-whiteness = anti-whiteness, wouldn't it lead to non-whiteness = anti-Zionistness since whiteness is so closely associated with cucking to Zionists?
Zionists bank on two factors in this strategy. They figure (1) nonwhites are too dumb to connect the dots or (2) even if nonwhites connected the dots and became more critical of Israel & Zionist Power on account of whiteness = support-for-Zion, it will draw whites even closer to Zion as white-knight-defenders of Israel against the rising tide of darkies. We see scenario 2 play out with both Mitt Romney and Jared Taylor. They hope that powerful Zionists will like them more if they stand with Zionists against the 'antisemitic' darkies.
It's like Zionists encourage Ilhan Omar to be anti-white while white conzos beat their chests as noble defenders of Zionists from 'Anti-Semites'.
Mar 22, 2021 | daniellarison.substack.com
The Russian government is responding angrily to Biden's derisive comments about Putin:
The Kremlin has reacted angrily to US President Joe Biden's remarks that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is "a killer," calling the comment unprecedented and describing the relationship between the two countries as "very bad."
U.S.-Russian relations have been deteriorating steadily over the last ten years, and it always seemed unlikely that Biden would improve them. Now there will be even less of a chance that Biden can work constructively with his Russian counterpart. The president's blunt answer to a rather silly question from George Stephanopoulos has further damaged the relationship to neither country's benefit. Anatol Lieven observed recently that this is a "completely unnecessary confrontation with Russia" at a time when the U.S. needs Russian cooperation on some important issues. Lieven cites U.S. reentry into the JCPOA and extricating U.S. forces from Afghanistan as his examples of issues where Russian cooperation could be very valuable, but he could have added new negotiations on future arms control agreements as well. Making progress on any one of these becomes much more challenging when our president is gratuitously insulting theirs. For an administration that prides itself on practicing diplomacy, they have a funny way of showing it.
Mar 22, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Mao , Mar 21 2021 16:06 utc | 14
The Joseph Biden administration has named Richard Nephew as its deputy Iran envoy. As the former principal deputy coordinator of sanctions policy for Barack Obama's State Department, Nephew took personal credit for depriving Iranians of food, sabotaging their automobile industry, and driving up unemployment rates.
Nephew has described the destruction of Iran's economy as "a tremendous success," and lamented during a visit to Russia that food was still plentiful in the country's capital despite mounting US sanctions.
Nephew's appointment to a senior diplomatic post suggests that rather than immediately returning to the JCPOA nuclear deal, the Biden administration will finesse sanctions illegally imposed by Trump to pressure Iran into an onerous, reworked agreement that Tehran is unlikely to join.
jayc , Mar 21 2021 17:56 utc | 23farm ecologist , Mar 21 2021 18:10 utc | 25
Grayzone's report is fascinating in a "banality of evil" kind of way.
Nephew's "simple framework" for "sanctions to perform their expected function" reads like a torturer's manual (replace "target state" with "prisoner"):
- identify objectives for the imposition of pain and define the minimum necessary remedial steps that the target state must take for pain to be removed
- understand as much as possible the nature of the target, including its vulnerabilities, interests, commitment to whatever it did to prompt sanctions, and readiness to absorb pain
-develop a strategy to carefully, methodically, and efficiently increase pain on those areas that are vulnerabilities while avoiding those that are not
-monitor the execution of the strategy and continuously recalibrate its initial assumption of target state resolve, the efficacy of the pain applied in shattering that resolve, and how best to improve the strategy
Kudos to Alan Macleod and MintPressNews (cited above by b) for providing further evidence of how the US and its allies don't care about human suffering and death as long as they are able to further their political goals. A previous article in this series uncovers this striking bit of disregard for human life in the 2020 Annual Report of the US Department of Health (sic) and Human Services:
Combatting malign influences in the Americas: OGA (Office of Global Affairs) used diplomatic relations in the Americas region to mitigate efforts by states, including Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia, who are working to increase their influence in the region to the detriment of US safety and security. OGA coordinated with other U.S. government agencies to strengthen diplomatic ties and offer technical and humanitarian assistance to dissuade countries in the region from accepting aid from these ill intentioned states. Examples include using OGA's Health Attaché office to persuade Brazil to reject the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, and offering CDC technical assistance in lieu of Panama accepting an offer of Cuban doctors.
Translation: Deaths in Brazil are skyrocketing, but at least we prevented them from using that damned Russian vaccine.
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Mar 21 2021 3:55 utc | 181
Blinken, like his boss, is a complete moron. He blew it with his patronising threatening 'rules based order' drivel because he has no expertise. Blinken has been doing this for a decade or two: Syria, Libya, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran, and on and on. He has the form of a killer, the mind of a killer and the intentions of a mass murderer. He has proven the latter and is the type of global ambassadorial psychopath that one should meet with once and then never meet again.
The USA has lost its mind and every day that passes proves that point.
This bar deserves broader analysis of other quarters of the planet and no more references to the Guardian or NYT.
Mao , Mar 21 2021 5:58 utc | 186Mao , Mar 21 2021 5:58 utc | 187
Three Takeaways from China-U.S. Alaska Meeting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NszIE48KE_Ycurmudgeon , Mar 21 2021 6:52 utc | 190
Posted by: willie | Mar 20 2021 15:31 utc | 116
A majority of american ambassadors are rich businessmen and women,who have not the slightest idea what diplomacy is about.
Stop Letting Rich People Buy Ambassadorships
President Biden could score a quick win by dismantling the donor-to-ambassador pipeline.
Biden under pressure to tap fewer political ambassadors than Trump, Obama
Donors are growing impatient as Biden delays naming coveted ambassador posts.
https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/15/biden-political-ambassadors-476050oldhippie , Mar 21 2021 7:25 utc | 192I know that the United States and its leaders are determined to maintain certain relations with us, but on matters that are of interest to the United States and on its terms. Even though they believe we are just like them, we are different. We have a different genetic, cultural and moral code. But we know how to uphold our interests. We will work with the United States, but in the areas that we are interested in and on terms that we believe are beneficial to us. They will have to reckon with it despite their attempts to stop our development, despite the sanctions and insults. They will have to reckon with this.
The author provides basic but essential definition of conflict resolution. The USians either don't understand or defy it.
James @ 170
Your link to statement by Blinken & Sullivan is propaganda as you say. It is also an expression of how deeply limited and very stupid these two are. They have no idea what just hit them.
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Mar 20 2021 0:11 utc | 68
I'm in the middle of Armstrong's essay and am at the first reference to Kagan's vision:
"What should that role be? Benevolent global hegemony. Having defeated the 'evil empire,' the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of U.S. foreign policy should be to preserve and enhance that predominance by strengthening America's security, supporting its friends, advancing its interests, and standing up for its principles around the world .'
It's absolutely clear that Kagan has no clue as to the reality of what is actually the objective of the Neoliberal Parasites running the Outlaw US Empire; for aside from "advancing its interests," the Parasites have zero motivation to do any of that as their sole ambition/goal is to vacuum up all the wealth they can and leave a shell just as they planned and failed with Russia, but have succeeded elsewhere. And as for principles, the reality is it has none, nor does it have any friends, just vassals and victims. This analogy by Armstrong's excellent:
"The U.S. is sitting on a dragon and it daren't get off or the dragon will kill it. But because it can't kill the dragon, it must sit on it forever: no escape. And dragon's eggs are hatching out all around: think how much bigger the Russian, Chinese and Iranian dragons are today than they were a quarter-century ago when Kagan & Co so confidently started PNAC; think how bigger they'll be in another....
"But the more sanctions, the stronger Russia gets: as an analogy, think of sanctions on Russia as similar to the over-use of antibiotics – Russia is becoming immune."
And tying it all up is this excellent summation:
"Has there ever been a subject on which people have been so wrong for so long as Russia? How many times have they said Putin's finished? Remember when cheese was going to bring him down? Always a terminal economic crisis. A year ago they were sure COVID would do it. A U.S. general is in Ukraine and Kiev's heavy weapons are moving east but, no, it's Putin who, for ego reasons – and his "failing" economy – wants the war. Why do they keep doing it? Well, it's easy money – Putin (did we tell you he was in the KGB?) wants to expand Russia and rule forever; therefore, he's about to invade somebody. He doesn't, no problem, our timely warning scared him off; we'll change the date and regurgitate it next year. In the meantime his despotic rule trembles because of some-triviality-of-the-moment. These pieces write themselves: the anti-Russia business is the easiest scam ever. And there's the difficulty of admitting you're wrong: how can somebody like Kagan, such a triumphantasiser back then, admit that it's all turned to dust and worse, turned to dust because they took his advice? Much better to press on – it's not as if anybody in the lügenpresse will call him out or deny him space. Finally, these people are locked in psychological projection: because they can only envisage military expansion, they assume the other guy is equally obsessed and so they must expand to counter his expansion. They suspect everybody of suspecting them. Their hostility sees hostility everywhere. Their belligerence finds belligerence. The hyperpower is forever compelled to respond to lesser powers. They look outside, see themselves and fear; in their mental universe the USA is arrogantly strong and fearfully weak at the same time."
The Walking Dead is finally becoming a metaphor for the Outlaw US Empire, its policies, and what it terms values--which aren't values but vices. But TWD was fiction and was thus capable of reforming itself. The Empire's goals and polices are essentially the same as in 1940 and even further back to 1913, and haven't changed very much, being just as illegal and immoral then as now. What's different are the "Dragons" which didn't exist in 1918 or 1944, and the Parasites have almost total control that's finally seeing domestic pushback.
Jackrabbit , Mar 20 2021 2:17 utc | 87
karlof1 @Mar20 0:11 #67It's absolutely clear that Kagan has no clue as to the reality of what is actually the objective of the Neoliberal Parasites running the Outlaw US Empire.
Why do you give him the benefit of the doubt?
Are we really to believe that Kagan, and others like him, talk of these things for DECADES and yet aren't aware of the ramifications?
IMO it is absolutely clear that he knows the neoliberal reality as well as the neocon and neocolonial realities.
But we are supposed to avoid cynicism and be polite so as to not be thought a malcontent?
@karlof1 The need for more cynicism is a theme of mine (which I've written about at moa many times) so please don't respond in a knee-jerk way.
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian , Mar 21 2021 3:19 utc | 175
@ michaelj72 | Mar 21 2021 2:46 utc | 173 who provided the Yang quote
"The United States uses its military force and financial hegemony to carry out long arm jurisdiction and suppress other countries,"
I continue to not understand why China is coy about connecting PRIVATE financial hegemony to the US when they assuredly know it is the global private finance folk that are the enemy. I don't know why they play into the meme that if the US were brought to heel then the financial hegemony would magically stop.
All Yang had to do was put the word private before financial hegemony and the message would have been much clearer and stronger message to the world struggling under the private finance jackboot, IMO
rules based order = dog whistle for global private finance, property and unfettered inheritance
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.orgchet380 , Mar 19 2021 19:16 utc | 1
Secretary of State Blinken's meeting with the Chinese foreign minister in a shabby Alaskan hotel was another diplomatic train wreck :"The alternative to a rules-based order is a world in which might makes right and winner takes all and that would be a far more violent and unstable world," Blinken said.
The 'rules based order' means 'do what we say' and is of course unacceptable. Here is how the Chinese replied:What China and the international community follow or uphold is the United Nations-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, not what is advocated by a small number of countries of the so-called "rules-based" international order.
andI don't think the overwhelming majority of countries in the world would recognize that the universal values advocated by the United States or that the opinion of the United States could represent international public opinion, and those countries would not recognize that the rules made by a small number of people would serve as the basis for the international order.
When Yang was chided by Blinken for making a too long opening statement in response to Blinken's accusations Yang replied:The Chinese side felt compelled to make this speech because of the tone of the U.S. side.
Well, isn't this the intention of United States, judging from what – or the way that you have made your opening remarks, that it wants to speak to China in a condescending way from a position of strength?
So was this carefully all planned and was it carefully orchestrated with all the preparations in place? Is that the way that you had hoped to conduct this dialogue?
Well, I think we thought too well of the United States. We thought that the U.S. side will follow the necessary diplomatic protocols. So for China it was necessary that we made our position clear.
So let me say here that, in front of the Chinese side, the United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength . The U.S. side was not even qualified to say such things even 20 years or 30 years back, because this is not the way to deal with the Chinese people. If the United States wants to deal properly with the Chinese side, then let's follow the necessary protocols and do things the right way.
And this which was apparently left out of State Departments transcript:History will prove that if you use cutthroat competition to suppress China you will be the one to suffer in the end.
The attempted U.S. assault was a home run for the Chinese side :Many netizens on China's social media said Chinese officials were doing a good job in Alaska, and that the U.S. side lacked sincerity.
Some even characterized the talks as a "Hongmen Banquet", referring to an event that took place 2,000 years ago where a rebel leader invited another to a feast with the intention of murdering him.
Posted by b on March 19, 2021 at 18:53 UTC | Permalink
The Chinese emphasis on most of the world rejecting a US-directed 'rules-based order' instead of honouring the UN Charter and settled international law is of supreme importance aand must be re-emphasized ad nauseum.
Jezabeel , Mar 19 2021 19:17 utc | 2Sadde , Mar 19 2021 19:22 utc | 3
I'm glad China says what every country should have been saying for the last 40 years. The US is a liar and always has been.Canadian Cents , Mar 19 2021 19:28 utc | 5
What a bunch of amateurish megalomaniac idiots. It was an exhibition of a total lack of tact, self-perception, decency or any equilibrium. The Chinese's confident offensive resulted in a rapid emotional dive from a state of megalomaniac bravado to shaky self-confidence. In comparison they made even Trump look like a cultivated gentleman.powerandpeople , Mar 19 2021 19:37 utc | 7
To translate from Orwellian Western Newspeak to english:
'Rules-based order' means 'Our rules for you that we don't have to follow and can change anytime we like.'
'International order' means 'Western-ruled-world order.'
'International community' means the US-led Western community and vassal states. Western media spouts this all the time.
'Rules-based' is the modern day incarnation of Americans/British throwing around the phrase 'treaty', 'treaty-based' in colonial days. Different words, same con.dave constable , Mar 19 2021 20:22 utc | 27
USA provided a transcript of both US Govt & China Govt speakers.
I thought this a little unusual, as foreign miminstries like to publish their own transcripts so that they control the authentic translation of their words, free from the opposing parties editing or mis-translation.
"cutthroat competition" may be an arguably alternative translation of "strangle" in the China readout "those who seek to strangle China will suffer in the end."
I was waiting for the China verbatim translation to check the fidelity of the USA translation.
But there is only an unquoted report, which is the meeting, but without quotation marks to distinguish between the authors voice and the Officials voice.
Verbatim would be better.
Maybe the USA had reciprocal concerns about the verbatim accuracy of the China transcript.
But its on video anyway, so???uncle tungsten , Mar 19 2021 20:59 utc | 35
My translation of "The Brothers Karamazov" has one of Dostoevski's brothers saying, "Each man creates Satan in his own image."
Blinken is Secretary of State for USA, head of the US State Department.
He mentioned in his nomination hearing, & makes allusion in this meeting with China, to a genocide in Xinjiang.
Foreign Affairs magazine article reports US State Department legal office saying they have no evidence for a genocide in Xinjiang.
Is Blinken in touch with his department?ak74 , Mar 19 2021 21:31 utc | 40
b Posted:"The alternative to a rules-based order is a world in which might makes right and winner takes all and that would be a far more violent and unstable world," Blinken said.
The 'rules based order' means 'do what we say' and is of course unacceptable. Here is how the Chinese replied:What China and the international community follow or uphold is the United Nations-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, not what is advocated by a small number of countries of the so-called "rules-based" international order.
Say it to uncle sam. Say it every time they meet. The bankruptcy of the "rules based order" gang of five or six is a failure.
For all its apalling faults the UN and established international courts are the place to go. Suck it up uncle sam.Perimetr , Mar 19 2021 22:55 utc | 55
"The alternative to a rules-based order is a world in which might makes right and winner takes all and that would be a far more violent and unstable world," Blinken said.
You really have to wonder if the Americans believe their own bullshit about their hollowed "Rules Based International Order"?
The violent and unstable world is ALREADY here thanks to ... this very same American "Rules" Based Order.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Serbia, Somalia--these are just a few of the countries America has either invaded, bombed, or supported moderate jihadi Head-Choppers against to destabilize in the past generation.
Two decades of US "war on terror" responsible for displacing at least 37 million people and killing up to 12 million
karlof1 , Mar 20 2021 0:30 utc | 74
Re Sadde @3 " What a bunch of amateurish megalomaniac idiots. It was an exhibition of a total lack of tact, self-perception, decency or any equilibrium. "
Seems like just the other day I was reading the same description about Pompeo lol. And yet somehow this is much worse, as we have a clearly demented, recently installed "president" who can't make it up a flight of stairs or give a press conference, who has the nuclear football following him around 24/.7.
Been nice knowing y'all.
Here's Sputnik 's initial report on the Alaska meet. Not much reference to commerce. Here's an excerpt:
"Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who accompanied Yang to the talks, told CGTN that their side had made clear to the Americans that China takes its sovereignty very seriously and warned them not to 'underestimate China's determination to defend its territory, to defend its people, and maintain its righteous interests.'
"Washington has criticized China's security policies in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, where Western-backed separatist forces have created chronic unrest, as well as its longstanding claim to rule Taiwan, an autonomous island ruled by the Republic of China that lost the civil war in mainland China in 1949, when the socialist People's Republic of China was formed. The US technically recognizes Beijing's claim to be the sole legitimate representative of China, but in reality is the primary backer of the Taiwanese government. Beijing says all of these are internal matters and not of Washington's concern."
Very little's reported of the Outlaw US Empire's response. This little bit doesn't bode well:
"US State Department officials noted they did not see the Alaska summit as the beginning of a new mechanism or dialogue."
I see that as a confession that they aren't agreement capable since they can't even continue a dialogue.
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
ld , Mar 19 2021 22:20 utc | 48
contrived moulded whatever the case I leave this excerpt. I feel it hits the head.
Here's what journalist Joe Bageant wrote in 2007:
Much of the ongoing battle for America's soul is about healing the souls of these Americans and rousing them from the stupefying glut of commodity and spectacle. It is about making sure that they -- and we -- refuse to accept torture as the act of "heroes" and babies deformed by depleted uranium as the "price of freedom." Caught up in the great self-referential hologram of imperial America, force-fed goods and hubris like fattened steers, working people like World Championship Wrestling and Confederate flags and flat-screen televisions and the idea of an American empire. ("American Empire! I like the sound of that!" they think to themselves, without even the slightest idea what it means historically.) "The people" doing our hardest work and fighting our wars are not altruistic and probably never were. They don't give a rat's bunghole about the world's poor or the planet or animals or anything else. Not really. "The people" like cheap gas. They like chasing post-Thanksgiving Day Christmas sales. And if fascism comes, they will like that too if the cost of gas isn't too high and Comcast comes through with a twenty-four-hour NFL channel.
That is the American hologram. That is the peculiar illusion we live within, the illusion that holds us together, makes us alike, yet tells each of us we are unique. And it will remain in force until the whole shiteree comes down around our heads. Working people do not deny reality. They create it from the depths of their perverse ignorance, even as the so-called left speaks in non sequiturs and wonders why it cannot gain any political traction. Meanwhile, for the people, it is football and NASCAR and a republic free from married queers and trigger locks on guns. That's what they voted for -- an armed and moral republic. And that's what we get when we stand by and watch the humanity get hammered out of our fellow citizens, letting them be worked cheap and farmed like a human crop for profit.
Genuine moral values have jack to do with politics. But in an obsessively religious nation, values remain the most effective smoke screen for larceny by the rich and hatred and fear by the rest. What Christians and so many quiet, ordinary Americans were voting for in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 was fear of human beings culturally unlike themselves, particularly gays and lesbians and Muslims and other non-Christians. That's why in eleven states Republicans got constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage on the ballot. In nine of them the bill passed easily. It was always about fearing and, in the worst cases, hating "the other."
Being a southerner, I have hated in my lifetime. I can remember schoolyard discussions of supposed "nigger knifing" of white boys at night and such. And like most people over fifty, it shows in my face, because by that age we have the faces we deserve. Likewise I have seen hate in others and know it when I see it. And I am seeing more of it now than ever before in my lifetime, which is saying something considering that I grew up down here during the Jim Crow era. Fanned and nurtured by neoconservative elements, the hate is every bit equal to the kind I saw in my people during those violent years. Irrational. Deeply rooted. Based on inchoate fears.
The fear is particularly prevalent in the middle and upper-middle classes here, the very ones most openly vehement about being against using the words nigger and fuck. They are what passes for educated people in a place like Winchester. You can smell their fear. Fear of losing their advantages and money. Fear there won't be enough time to grab and stash enough geet to keep themselves and their offspring in Chardonnay and farting through silk for the next fifty years.
So they keep the lie machinery and the smoke generators cranking full blast as long as possible, hoping to elect another one of their own kind to the White House -- Democratic or Republican, it doesn't matter so long as they keep the scam going. The Laurita Barrs speak in knowing, authoritative tones, and the inwardly fearful house painter and single-mom forklift driver listen and nod. Why take a chance on voting for a party that would let homos be scout masters?
(Dear Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War, chapter 2)
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
vetinLA , Mar 20 2021 5:24 utc | 98
Many great observations tonight, but all, beg the question; How do we change a nation state that has so thoroughly morphed into an advertising and marketing phony, aided and abetted by so many deluded morons?
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Yeah, Right , Mar 19 2021 22:08 utc | 46
This is interesting. Apparently both the Russians and the Chinese have concluded that Biden intends to use "CornPop" faux-macho posturing as his foreign policy, and they have both decided that "f**k that, let's nip this in the bud".
Because it looks like they have decided they have had a gut-full of US "exceptionalism" and are quite determined to say so. To anyone, but especially to the Americans.
Going to be a lot of very confused people at Foggy Bottom. They may never have experienced this degree of contempt before.
karlof1 , Mar 19 2021 22:10 utc | 47
I about fell on the floor when I read Blinken's words, my first thought being "this klutz has zero knowledge of history since 1588 and just admitted as much. In China, Blinken would never achieve any position of power.
The decadence of the Outlaw US Empire's government is like so many prions turning brain tissue into a swiss-cheese-like mass and then boasting about how finely tuned are its cognitive abilities. And when Harris is installed, we'll have a genuine novice in charge--The Blind leading the Blind.
It's no wonder the Chinese sought an audience with Lavrov ASAP.
Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ian2 , Mar 20 2021 1:53 utc | 85The Americans have completely lost the culture of negotiation. If there are no elementary human manners, then what kind of agreements can we talk about? A sad picture. And dangerous. A madman with nuclear weapons (and chemical weapons, by the way) is not the best option for a reliable negotiating partner.
alaff | Mar 19 2021 20:44 utc | 32:
Mar 09, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
_K_C_ , Mar 9 2021 23:35 utc | 32
Posted by: Bobby | Mar 9 2021 18:40 utc | 10
Because the $31Bn (which is probably understated) would primarily have gone to the lower classes in which the U.S. caused humanitarian disaster is most prevalent. Rich, formerly colonial Venezuelan families don't give a shit. The and their ex-pat kids live most of the year in Miami or Vancouver or Madrid. The white upper class in Venezuela is the exact group from which Mr. Random Guy-do emanates and who he represent. They live in gated communities including in the hills around Caracas and their stores are likely fully stocked (as reported by Max Blumenthal last year). However, they are a small minority compared to the indigenous peoples who these sanctions are DESIGNED to hurt. The bank accounts of the colonials are safe while a small number, relatively speaking, of pro-Chavista/Maduro operatives are completely cut off by the Empire.
Same thing in ANY country that the USA is sanctioning. Have a look at Biden's Iran envoy's statements about everyday Iranian people.
https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/08/biden-iran-envoy-starving-civilians-pain-sanctions/In response to online criticism, Nephew has claimed that "the main target" of the sanctions regime he designed was "the oligarchs." But his book on "The Art of Sanctions" tells another story.
Nephew fondly recalls how he structured sanctions to sabotage Iranian economic reforms that would have improved the purchasing power of average people. The Obama administration destroyed the economic prospects of Iran's working-class majority while ensuring that "only the wealthy or those in positions of power could take advantage of Iran's continued connectedness," he wrote. As "stories began to emerge from Iran of intensified income inequality and inflation," Nephew pronounced another success.
As he made clear, the rising inequality "was a choice" that Washington "made on the basis of helping to drive up the pressure on the Iranian economy from internal sources." Nephew went on to claim credit for October 2012 protests brought on by the devaluation of Iran's currency.
So these sanctions and the loss in $31Bn for Venezuela was designed to and in fact did hurt the poorest of the poor and the working 'middle' class in that country.
michaelj72 , Mar 10 2021 0:44 utc | 38
thanks to profk at #13 for the link .
here's a snippet, about Venezuela and the US supported/directed economic terrorism, which has obviously caused much economic mayhem and dislocation, humanitarian disaster, and a large number of deaths (I have seen figures up to hundred thousand or more, from the food and medicine sanctions etc. Not to mention England stealing Venezuela's gold. I would imagine the real death toll is quite a bit larger)
"......Subversion in Venezuela, by contrast, might not require as much 'engagement'. In Cuba the government is stable and the opposition isolated. In Venezuela, by contrast, the Maduro government faces a deep economic crisis (dramatically and intentionally exacerbated by US sanctions) and major public discontent. Betting on Maduro's vulnerability, Biden continues to recognize the self-appointed 'president' Juan Guaidó. Under Obama, Biden courted Guaidó ally Leopoldo López – a so-called political prisoner arrested for inciting violent protests that killed dozens of people – who is now calling for Biden to lead a renewed international effort to topple Maduro. US support for the far-right forces of Guaidó and López is intended to prevent a deal between Maduro and the more pragmatic elements of the opposition. Such a deal might alleviate Venezuela's economic crisis, but it could leave Maduro in power and thus derail the US's regime change agenda.
In late 2018 Biden complained that Trump's 'intensified sanctions on Venezuela have been clouded by sabre-rattling' and 'clunky sloganeering'. At that time, those intensified sanctions had already killed an estimated 40,000 civilians, with an unknown number of additional deaths after Trump imposed harsher measures in 2019. But the goal of regime change had not succeeded. Trump's crime in Venezuela was not his lethal denial of food and medicine to the population, but rather his 'faulty execution' of the policy. This critique informs Biden's current roadmap for Venezuela, which hinges on refining the sanctions to inflict maximum political damage. Secretary Blinken argues that sanctions must be honed 'so that regime enablers really feel the pain', while González favours a 'smart' use of 'multilateral sanctions' over Trump's go-it-alone programme...."
Mar 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Laguerre , Mar 4 2021 18:27 utc | 1
"America is back" claimed Joe Biden to no ones amusement. But the world has changed after four years of Trump and after a pandemic upset the world. The U.S. position in this world and its role in it have thereby also changed. To just claim one is back without adopting to the new situation promises failure.
As candidate Joe Biden promised that there would be no changes.
Joe Biden to rich donors: "Nothing would fundamentally change" if he's electedFormer Vice President Joe Biden assured rich donors at a ritzy New York fundraiser that "nothing would fundamentally change" if he is elected.
Biden told donors at an event at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday evening that he would not "demonize" the rich and promised that " no one's standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change ," Bloomberg News reported.
That Biden statement destroyed the illusion of those who had hoped that he would lift the standard of living for the average Amercian.
Biden stayed true to his words at the fundraiser. There will be no rise in the minimum wage. The $2,000 checks he promised to all voters will now be only $1,400 checks. They will also be heavily means tested . Those who made more than $80,000 in 2019 but lost their income in 2020 will get no check at all.
Even as they hold the White House and the House and Senate majorities the Democrats are unable or unwilling to deliver basic progress. This will likely cost them their House majority in 2022 and the presidency in 2024.
Biden's "nothing will fundamentally change" attitude extends into foreign policy.Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo - 0:29 UTC · Dec 21, 2019
Today, the #ICC prosecutor raised serious questions about the ICC's jurisdiction to investigate #Israel. Israel is not a state party to the ICC. We firmly oppose this unjustified inquiry that unfairly targets Israel . The path to lasting peace is through direct negotiations.
---Secretary Antony Blinken @SecBlinken - 1:34 UTC · Mar 4, 2021
The United States firmly opposes an @IntlCrimCourt investigation into the Palestinian Situation. We will continue to uphold our strong commitment to Israel and its security, including by opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.
With that, and with its lack of punishment for the Saudi clown prince, the Biden administration has blinked on human rights which it had emphasized in earlier statements .
That nothing will change is also expressed in two policy papers the Biden administration released yesterday. The early emphasis on human rights, which distinguished it from the Trump administration, is already gone.
The common theme is now 'democracy' as if that were not just a form of government but a value in itself.
The White House published an Interim National Security Strategic Guidance (pdf). The paper is dripping with ideological LGBTQWERTY librulism. Its central claim is that 'democracy' is under threat:At a time when the need for American engagement and international cooperation is greater than ever, however, democracies across the globe, including our own, are increasingly under siege . Free societies have been challenged from within by corruption, inequality, polarization, populism, and illiberal threats to the rule of law. Nationalist and nativist trends – accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis – produce an every-country-for-itself mentality that leaves us all more isolated, less prosperous, and less safe. Democratic nations are also increasingly challenged from outside by antagonistic authoritarian powers. Anti-democratic forces use misinformation, disinformation, and weaponized corruption to exploit perceived weaknesses and sow division within and among free nations, erode existing international rules, and promote alternative models of authoritarian governance. Reversing these trends is essential to our national security .
It then singles out China:We must also contend with the reality that the distribution of power across the world is changing, creating new threats. China , in particular, has rapidly become more assertive. It is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system. Russia remains determined to enhance its global influence and play a disruptive role on the world stage. Both Beijing and Moscow have invested heavily in efforts meant to check U.S. strengths and prevent us from defending our interests and allies around the world. Regional actors like Iran and North Korea continue to pursue game-changing capabilities and technologies, while threatening U.S. allies and partners and challenging regional stability. We also face challenges within countries whose governance is fragile, and from influential non-state actors that have the ability to disrupt American interests.
To fight China the U.S. will (ab)use its allies:We can do none of this work alone. For that reason, we will reinvigorate and modernize our alliances and partnerships around the world. For decades, our allies have stood by our side against common threats and adversaries, and worked hand-in-hand to advance our shared interests and values. They are a tremendous source of strength and a unique American advantage, helping to shoulder the responsibilities required to keep our nation safe and our people prosperous. Our democratic alliances enable us to present a common front, produce a unified vision, and pool our strength to promote high standards, establish effective international rules, and hold countries like China to account.
Good luck with that. Neither the European U.S. allies, nor the Asian ones, have any interest in following the U.S. into a confrontation with China. It is their greatest trading partner and they do not perceive it as an ideological or security threat.
A speech Secretary of State Anthony Blinken gave yesterday touches on the same points. It is headlined A Foreign Policy for the American People
The main theme is again 'democracy':The more we and other democracies can show the world that we can deliver, not only for our people, but also for each other, the more we can refute the lie that authoritarian countries love to tell, that theirs is the better way to meet people's fundamental needs and hopes. It's on us to prove them wrong.
So the question isn't if we will support democracy around the world, but how.
We will use the power of our example. We will encourage others to make key reforms, overturn bad laws, fight corruption, and stop unjust practices. We will incentivize democratic behavior.
But we will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or by attempting to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force. We have tried these tactics in the past. However well intentioned, they haven't worked. They've given democracy promotion a bad name, and they've lost the confidence of the American people. We will do things differently.
The "lie that authoritarian countries love to tell, that their's is the better way to meet people's fundamental needs and hopes" is targeted at China. But that China did and does much better than the U.S. to meet its people's needs and hope is not a lie. The pandemic has again demonstrated that.
The last quoted paragraph has seen some positive attention on social media. But it is based on a falsehood. The U.S. has not once used military means to 'promote democracy'. Not ever. It has used war to gain markets and power, to destroy its competition. The neo-conservatives have claimed to be motivated by 'democracy promotion'. But that was always just a pretext to hide the real reasons for waging war. Iraq became democratic not because the U.S. wanted it to be that. In fact, after invading Iraq the the U.S. pro-consul Paul Bremer tried to prevent universal elections in Iraq. Only the insistence of Ayatollah Sistani on a universal vote led to a somewhat democratic system in Iraq.
Blinken is, just like Pompeo before him, focused on China:And eighth, we will manage the biggest geopolitical test of the 21st century: our relationship with China.
Several countries present us with serious challenges, including Russia, Iran, North Korea. And there are serious crises we have to deal with, including in Yemen, Ethiopia, and Burma.
But the challenge posed by China is different. China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system – all the rules, values, and relationships that make the world work the way we want it to , because it ultimately serves the interests and reflects the values of the American people.
That there is no change from the Trump to the Biden administration in hostility to China is disappointing only for those who had expected some:Pang Zhongying, a specialist in international relations at Ocean University of China, said Beijing would be disappointed with the Biden administration's approach to "continue and even elevate" the tough policies of the Trump era and to strengthen alliances to deal with China.
"There does not seem to be any change yet in the serious tensions in China-US relations," he said. "I think there may be some frustration in Beijing that after more than 40 days [of the new administration] they have not seen any change but there is actually more pressure from the US."
Beijing will manage the conflict and it is likely to see it as a chance.
The U.S. failure to adopt to new circumstances will accelerate its demise. The U.S. empire was a historical abnormality and its twilight is near :[The Realist professors of International Relations David Blagden and Patrick Porter] observe America's "position as 'global leader' is premised on a set of impermanent and atypical conditions from an earlier post-war era", but " the days of incontestable unipolarity are over, and cannot be wished back ". The result is that "overextension abroad, exhaustion and fiscal strain at home, and political disorder feed off one another in a downward spiral, cumulatively threatening the survival of the republic".
The US empire is, then, at an impasse. Its moral and political justification of overseeing a global order of universal liberal democracy -- the closest real-world equivalent to the Kantian perpetual peace that has both motivated and eluded liberal idealists for the past two centuries -- is now beyond its capabilities to maintain.
How does this end for America? Biden and the presidents after him will be forced to make a hard choice: whether to retrench to a smaller and more manageable empire, or to risk a far greater and more dramatic collapse in defence of global hegemony.
Biden has made his choice. Nothing will fundamentally change under him. He is thereby likely to repeat all of Trump's foreign policy failures. There will be no new JCPOA with Iran nor will there be any win for the U.S. in the Middle East. North Korea will continue to test bombs and missiles. The U.S. will continue to be stuck in Afghanistan. The Chinese-Russian alliance will strengthen. U.S. allies will further distance themselves from it.
We can not yet know what, at what point will cause the collapse of U.S. hegemony. But we are coming more near to it.
Posted by b on March 4, 2021 at 18:04 UTC | PermalinkDid anybody expect anything else?
Bemildred , Mar 4 2021 18:28 utc | 2Frankly, Biden's speech to the grand poobahs sounded more like a plea for understanding than a promise, and if you take what the policy paper says at face value it suggests that "Biden" understands that we have to change to compete. It is also an admission that they have presided over a period of decline in Uncle Sugar land, so of course they don't want to dwell on that. I think Biden is worried the "owners" wom't let him do anything.Prof K , Mar 4 2021 18:43 utc | 3
And it is totally appropriate that Biden is the guy up there trying to deal with this mess, because he as one of the prime intigators or the present situation, going back 40 years.Patrick Porter's book, The False Promise of Liberal Order, is good.dsfco , Mar 4 2021 18:54 utc | 4
But, his realist critique of vulgar liberal propaganda for US imperialism doesn't locate the source or material roots of US grand strategy.
Realist theory understands power, hegemony and balancing only in terms of military power. That is the only currency of power in realist thinking, because realism rests on a state centricity which insists on the autonomy of the state from any social or economic factors. Military power is thus all that remains.
This theory obviously fails to explain the real history of US foreign policy, which has used militarism and other tools in support of strategic economic interests on a global scale, primarily in the South. The military balance of power is by and large only an expression of the economic balance of power and the class interests of ruling classes derived from it.
Porter and other realists point out the contradictions of liberal theory and practice but fail to provide a scientific explanation for consistent US policies."The Chinese-Russian alliance will strengthen."Canadian Cents , Mar 4 2021 19:02 utc | 5
There is a partnership currently but it's not yet an alliance. The rationale for one is very strong. Russia needs China or it will be overwhelmed by a hostile US and fairly hostile Europe. China needs Russia to save it from a resource embargo by US and allies. Together they will form a huge power bloc in Eurasia combining their respective territories with joint influence over Central Asia. Other countries in Asia like South Korea, Vietnam and India will see bloc and decide to stay neutral or side with the China-Russia bloc.
As compelling as this vision is it hasn't happened yet. It takes time sure but there must be reluctance from within the countries and other challenges. Which side is dragging its feet more? It would be interesting to understand why things aren't moving faster.As Ron Paul observed in Biden's Syria Attack: An Actual Impeachable Offense :eps , Mar 4 2021 19:25 utc | 6
When President Biden says "America is back," what he really means is "the war party is back." As if they ever left.
The neocons just shifted their attention to the other side of the same coin.As compelling as this vision is it hasn't happened yet. It takes time sure but there must be reluctance from within the countries and other challenges. Which side is dragging its feet more? It would be interesting to understand why things aren't moving faster.
Posted by: dsfco | Mar 4 2021 18:54 utc | 4
A guess: PRC having vastly greater economic power thinks its share of influence should be greater. Russia having vastly superior military power & technology, disagrees. For example the Chinese government might like access to the most advanced Russian military technology; the Russians having been invaded many times from both East & West, probably take the long view.
Mar 06, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
This week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing for Wendy Sherman, nominated by the Biden White House to serve as deputy secretary of state.
The career diplomat answered the usual questions on how she views United States posture toward American rivals and official enemies like Russia, China, and Iran. Once again it was Sen. Rand Paul who had the most direct pushback and biting criticism against an administration that seems bent on returning to the foreign adventurism and unilateral military interventionism of the Obama and Bush years.
"We've gone to a liberal form of John Bolton," Paul said of President Biden during his turn to question Sherman. Paul is especially outraged over Biden's Syria strike without consulting Congress last week.
During the above exchange with Wendy Sherman, Paul in his concluding remarks had blasted away at Biden's vision of the world, citing past failed Democratic-led military interventions in places like Libya, Yemen, and Syria.
"I think we've gone to a liberal form of John Bolton with your new boss and that's something I'm really concerned with," Paul said.
"All I will say is that we're bombing now again in Syria without Congressional approval and we're sending more convoys in there without Congressional approval . It's a messy war - it's been going on forever, there's nothing good that's going to come out of our involvement," Paul explained in his statement.
"People say 'well US lives are at risk' ... yeah because we put'em there . We put them in the middle of a civil war that's largely over but can continue if we keep putting troops into there... to put our troops as a 'trip wire' to get involved in a further escalation of this war."
And that's when the Republican Senator from Kentucky blasted President Biden on his Syria stance and general interventionist foreign policy:
"I hope that we'll be sane voices and I hope that you'll be one of those," he said addressing Sherman.
"But I don't have a great deal of confidence that we've actually gone away from John Bolton, I've think we've gone to a liberal form of John Bolton with your new boss, and that's something I'm very concerned with ."
Sherman in response had tried to claim that the Biden admin is not trying to get more deeply involved in the Syria conflict, but maintained the 'countering ISIS' stance that the Pentagon has used for years to argue it must continue the occupation of the northeast portion of the country.
Mar 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Mar 6 2021 0:38 utc | 62
arby #56Are you gonna believe what I tell you or are you gonna believe what you see, comes to mind.
I believe what I see and I don't see the USA doing any bridge building, even in its own country where bridge infrastructure is in serious decay.
I repeat: These are not normal people in charge. They have lost their minds.
Maybe once a long time ago the USA diplomatic corp was supported by elected officials that set out to make allies based on mutual respect. But those days are long gone. The only bridges the USA builds is munition supply channels, be it by air or by sea. They destroy physical and metaphorical bridges in every nation they occupy.
The USA builds walls and barriers and obstruction: at home at the Mexican border, in the capital state, by economic sanctions illegally applied throughout the world, by destroying its home regulatory system to keep poisoned citizens from seeking judicial or regulatory redress for pollution and human suffering.
I see a mendacious, failed state surrounding its elected officials and financial institutions and even suburbs with walls and barriers. Then they attack people who criticise them in moderately peaceful ways. That is who they are, that is what I see.
Feb 26, 2021 | www.unz.com
Not Only Wrathful , says: February 26, 2021 at 11:13 am GMT • 15.4 hours agoRobjil , says: February 26, 2021 at 11:58 am GMT • 14.7 hours ago
Biden has been a major disappointment for those who hoped that he'd change course regarding America's pathological involvement in overseas conflicts
Who hoped that? He didn't run on such a platform. "Engagement with the world" and a "restoration of the pre-Trump era" was his platform. Don't ask me why but this made him more popular. He was literally the VP in the most interventionist Presidency in US history.
... People like Giraldi sometimes seem like plants put in place to discredit anti-interventionism by trying to make it synonymous with anti-semitism.Sick of Orcs , says: February 26, 2021 at 12:39 pm GMT • 14.0 hours ago
Biden is a Israel firster like Pelosi. He has been one for a long time. He is an American laster like many presidents since 12.13.1913.
In the late 1980s, Rannie Amiri, an independent commentator on political affairs, challenged then-Senator Joe Biden on his stance toward the Israel-Palestine conflict following a campus speech that Biden gave, asking him:
Rather than succumb to the influence of various lobbying groups in Washington, such as AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- which promotes the views of Israel's right-wing Likud Party], and the untold amount of money they use to dictate policy, wouldn't it be more prudent to examine the real effects that collective punishment, daily humiliation, and countless civilian casualties inflicted by the Israelis have on an occupied population, and use that understanding to formulate a more rational approach toward the Palestinians?
Here is Biden response to that:
At the end of the exchange, Biden turned, put his arm around Amiri's shoulder, and addressed the audience.
If this was not such a fine, articulate, and sincere young man, and he implied that my vote had been bought, I would give him a swift kick in the ass.
The audience roared in applause, and Amiri sat back down to his chair defeated. However, a friend rose up to defend him, telling Biden: "If my father heard you say such a thing, I believe he would have done the same to you first."
The tribal stupidity of the people who support Israel first is beyond words. Who would think in the 20th and the 21th century we would be led by primitive thinking of tribal fantasies from thousands of year ago?
Most of the us in the west did not know that this has been going on for so long since we have been deluded with the term "free press" to describe our press in the west. We are slowly waking up to reality with some "freedom" here and there on the internet like this site.Realist , says: February 26, 2021 at 1:53 pm GMT • 12.8 hours ago
So, Biden has been a major disappointment for those who expected that he might change course regarding America's pathological involvement in overseas conflicts while also having the good sense and courage to make relations with countries like Iran and Israel responsive to actual U.S. interests.
You're giving the morons way too much credit, Sir. It's doubtful even 5% of voters know or care about geopolitics, and probably less than 1% who voted based on fraudsident biden's foreign policies.
For 5 years it was nonstop Trump-hatred from the ((( lügenpresse ))) even as Trump did weasel jared's bidding. Stevie Fking Wonder could see the election was rigged.
The USA is kaput, the supreme joke spineless
The ((( Underminers ))) are a c ** t-hair away from total control.
The Free United States must part ways with the devils in DC. Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, the Dakotas and Montana for starters.
Biden's Journey: Change Is Imperceptible
That's how it is with the two sides of the Deep State coin, Republican/Democrat heads they win, tails you lose. It's been that way for decades.
Feb 25, 2021 | www.unz.com
No Friend Of The Devil , says: February 23, 2021 at 3:45 am GMT • 2.8 days agoSirius , says: February 23, 2021 at 9:25 am GMT • 2.5 days ago
Most Americans consider Kissinger a war criminal too, and informed Americans know that Zbignue Brzenski has lost all credibility. He was a cold war era Anti-Russian. He has said little if anything relevant since the collapse of the USSR.
Informed Americans would prefer a doplomatic relationship with their neighbors south of the border. It would be much more economically and environmentally sustainable to have a cooperative agreement with Venezuela, rather than the KXL advocates north of the border, that Biden thankfully banned. It may be the only thing tbat he ends up doing correctly. I hope not. I did not vote for him, Trump, or anyone else. Biden, Blinken, and Austin speak about wanting to go back to the JCPOA and START, but whether they are willing to give up their policy errors of force through sanctions, and falsely blaming Iran for the attack on the Irbil Iraq airport will probably determine whether they can do this successfully or not. Everyone is sick of the bullshit from the American government, including American citizens! The government does what they Globzi investors demand from them. They really do not give a damn about anyone else. Everyone is just a means to an end to them, and unkess someone is exceptionally wealthy, they are an irrelevant pain in the ass to the government, unless they are willing to sell out their own interest in order to elevate the corrupt government.
That's true. As a barometer of establishment thinking, Foreign Affairs is indeed useful. I would just make a distinction of using it to understand establishment thinking versus using it as a source for good policy, which is evidently questionable if its editors still think Robert Kagan has anything useful to propose.
Feb 25, 2021 | www.unz.com
Spanky , says: February 22, 2021 at 10:49 pm GMT • 3.0 days ago@Sirius e Council on Foreign Relations quest for a New World Order through global cooperation, ending borders of trade and immigration, and continuing America's military role: ready to intervene anywhere in the world if necessary.
Everyone keeps talking about the elites who rule over us -- do you want to know who they are?
Feb 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
librul , Feb 23 2021 13:37 utc | 208
Hey, Hey, Hey!
It appears that Pepe Escobar reads the comments at MoA
and may even appreciate drinking games.
Neocons never collide with reality
they just rewrite around it.
Have I got a drinking game for you !
The Neocon Reality Check Game
Zoom connect to a party of friends
and simultaneously read through the
linked Neocon article together.
A Superpower, Like It or Not
Why Americans Must Accept Their Global Role
By Robert Kagan
Pepe read the article, I can't speak to how many times he played the game.
Escobar: The Art Of Being A Spectacularly Misguided Oracle
Peace is Forever War
Now let's move to another oracle, a self-described expert of what in the Beltway is known as the "Greater Middle East": Robert Kagan, co-founder of PNAC, certified warmongering neo-con, and one-half of the famous Kaganate of Nulands – as the joke went across Eurasia – side by side with his wife, notorious Maidan cookie distributor Victoria "F**k the EU" Nuland, who's about to re-enter government as part of the Biden-Harris administration.
Kagan is back pontificating in – where else – Foreign Affairs, which published his latest superpower manifesto. That's where we find this absolute pearl:
That Americans refer to the relatively low-cost military involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq as "forever wars" is just the latest example of their intolerance for the messy and unending business of preserving a general peace and acting to forestall threats. In both cases, Americans had one foot out the door the moment they entered, which hampered their ability to gain control of difficult situations.
So let's get this straight. The multi-trillion dollar Forever Wars are "relatively low-cost"; tell that to the multitudes suffering the Via Crucis of US crumbling infrastructure and appalling standards in health and education. If you don't support the Forever Wars – absolutely necessary to preserve the "liberal world order" – you are "intolerant".
"Preserving a general peace" does not even qualify as a joke, coming from someone absolutely clueless about realities on the ground. As for what the Beltway defines as "vibrant civil society" in Afghanistan, that in reality revolves around millennia-old tribal custom codes: it has nothing to do with some neocon/woke crossover. Moreover, Afghanistan's GDP – after so much American "help" – remains even lower than Saudi-bombed Yemen's.
Feb 21, 2021 | www.unz.com
rgl , says: February 12, 2021 at 5:04 pm GMT • 8.3 days ago
"The world has moved on." – the character 'Roland' in Stephen King's The Dark Tower. (an excellent series, btw)
Change is constant. It is inevitable. It is an ever-flowing river. America however, does not ascribe to this truism. America has *not* moved on. It does not change or adapt. It simply continues to fervently believe it is it's right to rule the world. Simply put, the days and decades where a single country 'rules the world' – like the Mongol, Byzantine, Romans, French, and British empires before, are gone. The Americans are nonetheless very slowly coming to realize this historical point, and they are desperately trying to reverse the trend. To absolutely no avail. They cannot escape history. The American empire will die the same death as all empires did before it. Maintaining empire, and peace 'at home' becomes unsustainable. The costs are simply too great.
It is ludicrous that a country founded on genocide and slavery, at war during 90% of it's existence demands the rest of the world look to it's 'beacon on the hill' as a viable option for humanity. It is laughable.
I read the hope inherent in the comments section to this piece. It is unfounded. Why do I say this? I will direct you to the latest spew from the Atlantic Council entitled "The Longer Telegram: Toward A New American China Strategy". It makes for farcical reading, and an interesting thought game it to substitute the US in any instance China is mentioned, and vice versa. Nonetheless, it is a plan by the movers and shakers to re-establish American global dominance. It is a disgusting piece of work. Much like America itself.
Feb 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Feb 17 2021 22:43 utc | 39
Thanks for the FYI. That's not at all an unexpected assault on a method for the people to redress grievances, not that it was actually acted upon since the Executive has a very nasty habit of not obeying the law.
I'm curious as to how Russia will regulate Western Big Tech platforms licensed to operate within Russia if they violate the terms of the agreement outside its borders, as Twitter did recently to a Russian group outside of Russia. Perhaps Russia will make an extraterritorial law such that if Twitter, for example, unjustifiably freezes an account as it does daily it will lose its rights to operate within Russia. As for the individual user, IMO its dumb to sign onto a service that you know practices censorship and shares private data with governments and other entities--either you value your own privacy or it will be stolen from you. With luck, quantum computing and its encryption algorithms will destroy all efforts at data collection; but those days are a ways off and will likely first become available on Chinese devices which the West will ban.
karlof1 , Feb 17 2021 23:24 utc | 46Debsisdead , Feb 17 2021 23:41 utc | 47
I wonder what our Aussie barflies have to say about this :
"Facebook to ban Australian users from reading and sharing news in response to government's Big Tech bill."
That's right! FB Australia is going to ban its users from discussing a legislative proposal by the Australian government that would regulate Aussie FB.
If that's how they choose to operate, more nations will ban them. And again I ask why have anything to do with an organization that censors basic content.karlof1 , Feb 17 2021 23:58 utc | 48
re karlof1 #46
Google promised the same about two weeks ago as the Murdoch controlled Oz legislature is pushing to ensure that if big tech carries links to articles in news sites such as Murdoch's Daily Telegraph or Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald they, big tech, will have to kick back a proportion of the advertising revenue they make.
Despite it being murdochian the claim has some merit, but no monopoly is going to acquiesce to such a small population as Australia's so Google, FB, Twitter etc, will just ban all news links to Oz sources.
The Oz conservatives are likely to do their usual "damn the voters, full speed ahead" as long as nothing else crops up to make this too on the nose.
This if it happens will be a win win for the Oz population as they will revert back to sourcing their own news and sharing it with others free of big tech's control & censorship. It will be an interesting time, although the monopolies will be pushing shock horror tales about it outside Oz. There is no chance of it happening in amerika as BidenCorp is a big tech puppet, but it could happen eventually as the fishwraps still retain considerable power over the amerikan political structure.
Thanks for your reply! I recall one of the Cold War talking points was that the Free Flow of Information was Vital to democratic governance and was a major reason why the USSR and Warsaw Pact was so backwards as they stifled all information flows through censorship and other means. VoA Trumpeted that constantly. Such hubris is going to encourage the world's nations to come together to control what are clearly becoming outlaw organizations.
Feb 10, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
jsn , February 7, 2021 at 3:24 pm
US clandestine agencies, and the State Department and Pentagon to varying degrees, have been involved in non-stop regime change efforts towards the global integration of populations and resources in this system of private, capitalist control. Mostly successful since WWII, these efforts began with Greece in 1948, followed by Syria in 49, Albania from 49-53, Iran in 53, 54 Guatemala, Syria again in 56, Haiti in 57, Indonesia 57, Laos 58-60, Cuba 59-present, 59 Cambodia, 60 Ecuador, 60 Congo, 61 Dominican Republic, 62-64 Brazil, 63 Iraq, 63 South Vietnam, 64 Bolivia and Brazil, 65 France, 65 Indonesia again, 66 Ghana, 67 Greece again, 70 Costa Rica, 71 Bolivia again, 73-75 Australia, 73 Chile, 74 Portugal, 75 Angola, 75 Zaire, 76 Argentina, 76 Jamaica, 79-89 Afghanistan, 79 Seychelles, 80-92 Angola again, 80-89 Libya, 81-87 Nicaragua, 82 Chad, 83 Grenada, 82-84 South Yemen, 82-84 Suriname, 87 Fiji, 89 Panama, 91 Albania again, 91 Iraq, 93 Somalia, 99-2000 Yugoslavia, 2000 Ecuador again, 01 Afghanistan again, 02 Venezuela, 03 Iraq again, 04 Haiti again, 07 to present Somalia again, 11 Libya again, 12 to present Syria for a third time, 14 Ukraine, Brazil again in 16 and Bolivia and Ecuador in 2018. Ongoing destabilization efforts are underway in Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China.
Susan the other , February 6, 2021 at 8:12 pm
I thought Christine Lagarde had her nerve saying the US had an exorbitant privilege by owning the reserve currency. After WW2, according to a better view of our goals, the United States wanted a Pax Americana.
We wanted to actually police the world and bring all boats up with a rising tide of prosperity via free trade. We had been too frustrated by tariffs imposed on our goods by the old empires, specifically the British Empire for too long. It makes some sense that we willing bought everyones manufactured goods and went into a big deficit to do so because holding the reserve currency we made money on loans and financial services to make up for it. All the while controlling foreign military dust ups.
And for a while, through the 50s, we manufactured all sorts of things. Interesting to learn that the funding from having the reserve currency paid for the military. (and for the FIRE industry too)
It makes sense knowing this because the military and finance can get anything they ask for from the budget. Nothing is too much. Because the money coming in, as protection money for our military, more than covers it. But when it comes to sufficient social spending, there has never been enough.
The Empire always neglected its home base. Other countries do not operate that way.
So Ms. Lagarde, I'd hardly call that exorbitant. It was simply two separate economies.
Feb 10, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
ObjectiveFunction , February 7, 2021 at 7:51 am
Well, Great Britain's performance in the first half of the 20th century has hardly inspired America to treat it with much respect:
1. Excepting their heroic 1940 defense of Britain, and beating an overextended (and mainly Italian) army at Third Alamein, they were either thrashed or bled white in every major battle of both world wars, relying on US armies/navies and materiel to prop them up. For all the eloquent theorizing, Britain's strategies were visibly self-serving, beyond its power, or outright quixotic, not to mention criminally incompetent (Somme, Bengal, soft underbelly, etc.)
2. Their vast colonial empire was becoming a crazy quilt of gigantic monocropped plantations and mines, increasingly nonviable as functional societies, and the locals knew it.
3. The US, Germany and Russia had all eclipsed Britain as industrial powers and had overtaken it as an innovator as well, although it remained strong in this sphere with an influx of Eastern Europeans.
.So to the emerging American technocratic elites, by 1945 the Mother Country must have seemed a mere shell: still supercilious, but myopic, exhausted and consistently unable to walk its talk.
(apologies to my British friends)
Prof. Hudson, many thanks for another good read, although I do continue to feel you view China through very rose colored glasses. Harmony and fairness are rather different concepts, but I'm eager to hear more from you on this topic in the future.
HotFlash , February 7, 2021 at 3:46 pm
Well, Great Britain's performance in the first half of the 20th century has hardly inspired America to treat it with much respect:
Well, move forward a half century and sub 'US' for 'GB' in your entire comment. Look familiar?
Feb 10, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Dftbs , February 6, 2021 at 11:28 am
As always Professor Hudson is great, thank you for sharing this. I would note that it goes very well with the subsequent post on the site, dealing with negative rates.
I'd quibble ever so slightly with two things, the first the historical vacuum with regards to the Soviet Union and communism as a historical force which shaped the contours of this American system. The submission of the British Imperial system to the American one was driven by the fear of communism, not necessarily Soviet Communism but even the domestic sort. The American distaste for the overt imperial structure of the UK wasn't driven solely by economic sadism or democratic character, but the fear of communism as the vanguard of anti-imperialism: America and the UK as best of allies, but leave the Suez alone or Nasser will go commie.
The 2nd quibble is that the American collapse in this regard is already well underway. While I love professor Hudson's historical analysis I disagree with his economic determinism. The notion that the system whose creation he described was guided by actions bounded by the rules of economics. And that the next stage of historical development will follow those rules just in different contexts. As opposed to understanding that those rules are largely artifice.
Beneath the economic collapse, the conundrum the US finds itself in is that of its ruling class. As opposed to the British ruling class which understood that submission to the American system would protect their ancient privileges. The American ruling class can't find the same concordat with China. The Chinese are communist, and as Jack Ma's case demonstrated to the world recently. They aren't intimidated by the myths around wealth that sheepishly guide Americans.
So those same rules that governed balance of payments and modified American behavior throughout the Cold War don't apply today. They only applied then because they reinforced the interests of the American ruling class. As a matter of fact they subverted those very rules quite easily, note the talk of negative interest rates on the site today.
The Chinese BRI initiative seems less about generating profit for China and more about exposing the inadequacy of the current dollar system.
Professor Hudson correctly notes that the US is powerless against this. It can only act via proxy and those have been neutralized, see Syria. And that both Russia and China now are just trying to manage American decline and avoid the only American option left, nuclear war.
rosemerry , February 7, 2021 at 4:23 am
I often wonder if the "threat of communism" was genuine, as if there could not be cooperation among states with different systems of government. This is seen in the continued hatred of Russia in the last thirty years when it is no longer communist-in fact I think that Pres. Putin seems to be a far more Christian leader than any in the USA or other Western powers!!!
The arrogant attitude to Russia in the recent development of vaccines, when derision and skepticism a few months ago are replaced by amazement and acceptance now that the "West" has realized that the sputnik V seems to be among the best vaccines available. The USA does not yet seem to realize that the Russian defense (yes it IS for defense) is actually effective, unlike the US aggressive actions.
Dftbs , February 7, 2021 at 8:35 am
I think it was genuine if you were "Lord something or other" or a Dulles brother. That's not to say the world would've suffered from it. Simply those predecessors of our current tormentors may have suffered from it.
I think the interesting thing is that, for the US, that ship has sailed. There is submission to it, but no cooperation with it; and I doubt there ever will be again.
jrkrideau , February 7, 2021 at 9:46 am
This is seen in the continued hatred of Russia in the last thirty years when it is no longer communist
I often get the impression that Western, US in particular, politicians and political analysts have failed to grasp that the USSR has collapsed and that one part of it, the Russian Federation is now a capitalist country.
We also have to remember that the USA elite always needs an external enemy to blame. The loss of the USSR must have been traumatic and they have substituted the Russian Federation in its place.
Dftbs , February 6, 2021 at 3:50 pm
As always Professor Hudson is great, thank you for sharing this. I would note that it goes very well with the subsequent post on the site, dealing with negative rates.
I'd quibble ever so slightly with two things, the first the historical vacuum with regards to the Soviet Union and communism as a historical force which shaped the contours of this American system. The submission of the British Imperial system to the American one was driven by the fear of communism, not necessarily Soviet Communism but even the domestic sort. The American distaste for the overt imperial structure of the UK wasn't driven solely by economic sadism or democratic character, but the fear of communism as the vanguard of anti-imperialism: America and the UK as best of allies, but leave the Suez alone or Nasser will go commie.
The latter is that the American collapse in this regard is already well underway. While I love profesor Hudson's historical analysis I disagree with his economic determinism. The notion that the system whose creation he described was guided by actions bounded by the rules of economics. And that the next stage of historical development will follow those rules just in different contexts. For instance does China
Feb 10, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Nels Nelson , February 6, 2021 at 11:31 am
I am curious to know Professor Hudson's thoughts on the role U.S. banks (i.e. J.P, Morgan) played in the US entry into WW1 and the creation of the Creel Committee propaganda campaign.
With Russian withdrawal from the eastern front giving Germany the ability to transfer resources to the western front, it became highly probable that Germany would win the war and US banks would suffer considerable losses.
In other words was US entry into WW1 a bailout of Wall Street.
Yves Smith , February 7, 2021 at 1:32 am
World War I and the end of the Gold Standard due to the inability to ship gold greatly diminished the power of the House of Morgan. JP Morgan had been the conduit for foreign capital into the US. He was trusted as a vetter of promising investments. That role became less important and less profitable after the US became a creditor nation. World War I accelerated that process.
Feb 06, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
FEB 05, 2021
By Michael Every of Rabobank
"American Exceptionalism is Back", except...
"Oh say, can you see! By Dawn's early light; a pro-dollar trade; that puts the bears to flight?" Bloomberg Daybreak this morning boldly states "American exceptionalism is back" (baby). Apparently better-than-expected data and corporate earnings and the prospects of fiscal stimulus show the USA is still the global standout after all. As a result, bearish USD trades touted for the first month of the year need to suddenly be unwound: EUR is now back below 1.20, AUD is clinging to 0.76, and JPY is past 105.50, while as an EM proxy, MXN is back to 20.38 at time of writing vs. 19.55 on January 21.
... ... ...
President Biden has called on the military in Myanmar to relinquish power after their recent coup. What happens when they refuse? A signature criticism of the Obama foreign policy team was its refusal to match US rhetoric (e.g., "pivot to Asia") with any substantive action (e.g., in the South China Sea or Syria). The new team gave interviews before assuming office saying they had learned these lessons. So what options with teeth does the US have for the generals in Naypidaw to back their demand? Sanctions are meaningless for a group who rarely travel abroad and whom can look to China for support if needed, despite their coolness towards Beijing to date.
This underlines the need for any top dog (or cat) to build up a pack (or clowder). Here again we see problems. Many articles have been written about the new US administration's call for the EU to stand alongside it to create new global frameworks favourable to the West (and by extension for USD) and not China (and CNY); and about how the EU is not willing to step up to that plate because of French exceptionalism and German Merkel-cantilism. Macron now says the EU should not gang up on China with the US : " This kind of common front against China risks pushing Beijing to lower its cooperation on issues like combatting climate change, and exacerbating its aggressive behaviour in Asia, including in the South China Sea, " he says. So will the US response then have to be Trumpian and EUR negative, like last time? If not, then what exactly?
Of course, the previous administration had been building bridges to India, which has its own issues with China. However, this relationship is still in its early stages, and India has traditionally looked to Russia for muscle, a role Moscow would be happy to play again. In that regard, the White House backing large anti-government protests in New Delhi against an agricultural reform programme ostensibly to the US's liking, and criticizing the government for cutting off the internet to try to disrupt them, is unlikely to help build bridges: indeed, India has already drawn comparisons to the events of 6 January in the US Capitol, showing the US is not as exceptional as it likes to project it is. These kind of shifts can matter, even if this is just one small step on a much longer journey (and USD trend channel).
Meanwhile, the Aussie government (which has also never and will never target house prices, "just land, bricks, mortar, etc.") might be wondering what the US will help do about a report that a Chinese company is planning to build a new city on a Papua New Guinea island near Australia's northern border . 'New Daru City' allegedly includes an industrial zone, seaport, business and commercial zone, along with a resort and residential area. Will Canberra regard this as a market-driven response to the well-known Chinese demand for lifestyle residences in the vibrant cultural hub that is the PNG hinterland, or as a Bond-villain project to develop a port just 200km from their Northern Territory? The PNG Prime Minister himself says he is "unaware" of this proposal(!) Yes, this may well not come to pass; but one can again see the paving stones being prepared for alternative paths for currencies like AUD, USD, and CNY (to say nothing of PNG's Kina) to travel over the course of the 2020s.
Meanwhile, the US can at least rely on the UK, as usual, where yesterday saw regulators ban China's CGTN TV news service, and the Telegraph also reports that three Chinese spies posing as journalists have just been expelled from the country. Somehow, along with the whole BNO passports issue, this is not likely to help ensure the "golden era" of Sino-British relations promised under previous UK leadership.
But will it ensure a golden era of Bido-BoJo relations? That is another path as yet untrod.
Happy Friday! "We love it so much, I think you do too."
Feb 05, 2021 | www.ineteconomics.org
If you go back under Eisenhower, the wealthiest segment of the population, the wealthiest corporations paid 91% income tax. What you saw, and I learned much of this from Ralph Nader who was turned into a pariah consciously, is that they pushed out the real liberal wing of the Democratic party. Ralph himself wrote I think 24 pieces of legislation, consumer protection, the mine and safety act, the clean water act. This was all Nader. But it was pushed through by liberal senators, Proxmire, Fulbright and others, Wellstone, maybe being one of the last. All of these people were pushed out of the Democratic party and replaced with these full liberal, I would call them full liberals figures like Obama, figures like Clinton, who spoke in that traditional feel, you're paying language of the Democratic party but serve the interest of Wall Street. Cornel West called Barack Obama black mascot for Wall Street which was correct.
Feb 05, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,
The head of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) warned that a nuclear war with Russia or China is a "real possibility" and is calling for a change in US policy that reflects this threat .
"There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state," Vice Adm. Charles Richard wrote in the February edition of the US Naval Institute's monthly magazine .Charles A. Richard, the 11th commander of US Strategic Command
Richard said the US military must "shift its principal assumption from 'nuclear employment is not possible' to 'nuclear employment is a very real possibility,' and act to meet and deter that reality."
The STRATCOM chief said Russia and China "have begun to aggressively challenge international norms and global peace using instruments of power and threats of force in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War."
Richard hyped up Russia and China's nuclear modernization, calling for the US to compete with the two nations. When it comes to China's nuclear weapons, the US and Russia have vastly larger arsenals. Current estimates put Beijing's nuclear arsenal at about 320 warheads, while Washington and Moscow have about 6,000 warheads each .
Even if Beijing doubles its arsenal over the next decade, as the China hawks are predicting, it will still be small compared to Washington's. The US would have to eliminate a good amount of its arsenal to convince Beijing to participate in arms control agreements.
Since STRATCOM is the command post that oversees Washington's nuclear arsenal, its commanders are always overplaying the risk of nuclear war and asking for more money to modernize the stockpile. But with the US prioritizing so-called "great power competition" with China and Russia and an increased US military presence in places like the South China Sea , the Arctic , and the Black Sea , the threat of nuclear war is rising.
Jan 29, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Kenny MacDonald via The Libertarian Institute,
On January 19th, the US Senate held confirmation hearings for Joe Biden's Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken. Blinken has a reputation on both sides of the aisle for being exceptionally qualified for the job of America's top diplomat, which is surprising considering he was on the wrong side of every major foreign policy blunder of the last 20 years ; Iraq, Libya, and Syria .
When Senator Rand Paul asked Antony Blinken what lessons he has learned from his disastrous foreign policy record in Libya and Syria, Blinken replied that after "some hard thinking" he's proud that he has done "everything we possibly can to make sure that diplomacy is the first answer, not the last answer, and that war and conflict is our last resort."
Of course war is the last resort. Even the most hawkish war criminals would agree that war is the last resort. But the question is, war is the last resort to accomplish what? If war is the last resort to get a country to fully capitulate to Washington's demands then eventually the US will be at war with everyone. To Blinken, war as the last resort can only be understood in the same way a mugger considers shooting his victim as a last resort to stealing their wallet.Via the AP
Blinken displayed his hubris a few minutes later when he said, "The door should remain open" for Georgia to join NATO under the justification of curbing Russian aggression .
Rand Paul informed Blinken, "This would be adding Georgia, that's occupied [by Russia], to NATO. Under Article 5, then we would go to war ."
Senator Paul is right. According to Washington, Russia has been occupying 20 percent of Georgia since 2008. Under the principle of collective defense in Article 5 of NATO, the US would be obligated to treat Russia's occupation of the country of Georgia the same way the US would treat a Russian occupation of the US state of Georgia. That sounds like a recipe for war. But don't worry, peaceniks, Antony Blinken has assured us that war is the last resort!
Blinken's framing of the issue exposes his disingenuous approach. Russian aggression is a term used by Washington insiders to describe a Russian reaction to western aggression. Blinken knows that the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia was not Russian aggression, he calls it that because it suits his agenda and the American press is dependably ignorant enough to not ask questions.
In the 2008 war, Georgia was the aggressor against the South Ossetians, a people who are ethnically distinct from Georgians, and who have never -- not even for one day -- considered themselves a part of Georgia. The Ossetians have a history of Russian partiality ; they were among the first ethnic groups in the region to join the Russian Empire in the 19th century and the USSR in the 1920s. Today, ethnic Ossetians straddle both sides of the current Russian border, and they are more aligned with the Russian government than with the Georgian government.
When Georgia gained sovereignty from the former Soviet Union in 1991, South Ossetia declared its independence. In response, Georgian forces invaded South Ossetia, initiating an armed conflict that killed more than 2,000 people . In 1992, a ceasefire agreement was signed in Sochi between Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia, which created a tripartite peacekeeping force led by Russia. Although the international community never acknowledged South Ossetia's independence, they have enjoyed political autonomy since the 1992 Sochi agreement.
The Sochi agreement held up until Georgia's ultra-nationalist President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in the 2003 western-backed bloodless " Rose Revolution " coup-d'etat. The pro-western President Saakashvili advocated joining the EU and NATO, and insisted on asserting Georgian rule over South Ossetia. U.S. President George Bush supported the new Georgian president's effort to bring Georgia into NATO, which for Russia would mean bringing a hostile military up to its border. In 2006, President Saakashvili offered South Ossetia autonomy in exchange for a political settlement with Georgia. A referendum was held, and the South Ossetian people overwhelmingly reaffirmed their desire for independence from Georgia.
In August, 2008, After exchanging artillery fire with South Ossetia, Georgia invaded South Ossetia's capital city of Tskhinvali, killing 1,400 civilians and 18 Russian peacekeepers . Georgia's attack triggered a Russian invasion into South Ossetia and Abkhazia (another breakaway region) to restore stability and protect peacekeeping forces.
Russia is by no means innocent -- they used disproportionate force attacking targets inside Georgia -- but only a Russophobic shill would conclude that this war was somehow caused by Russian aggression. The idea that Russia had no business intervening is laughable. Under the 1992 Sochi agreement , Russia took charge of a peacekeeping coalition to help prevent exactly the scenario that happened in the summer of 2008.
If George Bush had succeeded in bringing Georgia into NATO, the United States may have been dragged into war with Russia in 2008. Antony Blinken claims that NATO membership deters Russian aggression, but does he really believe that Russia would have been deterred from intervening to protect its own peacekeeping force? Does Blinken believe that Georgia -- backed by the U.S. military -- would have acted more cautiously in South Ossetia, or is it more likely they would have been bolder?
It's undeniable that it is in Russia's best interest to have pro-Russian countries on its borders. But pretending as if Russia is going to march into Tbilisi and reabsorb the entire country of Georgia into Russia is a level of paranoia that should disqualify anyone from having an opinion on the subject. The military conflict in Georgia is about the two breakaway regions and their right to self determination. Russia's self interest happens to align with the wishes of the people in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. By supporting Georgia, America -- the champion of democracy and self determination -- has adopted the position that South Ossetians didn't really mean to repeatedly choose independence when given the option. This is a situation where America's professed values are diametrically opposed to its policy of countering Russian influence everywhere on the map.
Antony Blinken should pause to consider if America's policy objectives are worth fighting a war for. Is it worth confronting Russia in South Ossetia? Was it worth confronting Russia over Crimea and the Donbas in Ukraine ? Is it a good idea to withdraw from the INF Nuclear Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty ? Should we have spent the last 30 years marching NATO -- a military alliance hostile to Russia -- right up to the doorsteps of Russia ? Is any of this really making us safer?
Blinken has bought into his own propaganda. To Blinken, regardless of the stubborn details of history, every conflict on Russia's border is simply Russian aggression. Washington's solution is the expansion of NATO, which Russia describes as " NATO encirclement. " This is an unacceptable military threat to Russia, who has a deep distrust of western intentions due to a long history of western invasions into Russia. Antony Blinken still lives in a bipolar world in which the United States and Russia are existential threats to each other's existence. Every conflict and every alliance is only viewed through the lens of the New Cold War crusade against Russia. This maniacal crusade could thrust America in the unthinkable abyss of nuclear war.
Rand Paul got his answer, Antony Blinken learned nothing from all his mistakes! The danger isn't merely resorting to war too early, the danger is in sticking our noses in conflicts that we have no business being in. War should be the last resort to defending America's people and it's homeland from foreign invasion; it should not be the last resort to enforcing America's utopian vision on the world, and it certainly shouldn't be the last resort to prevent an ethnic group in the South Caucasus -- that almost no American has ever heard of -- from the right to self-determination.
Kenny MacDonald is a former Navy SEAL and Afghanistan War veteran. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in history. Youtube Channel . Medium . Facebook .
gay troll , says: February 2, 2021 at 2:34 am GMT • 3.1 hours ago
Feb 03, 2021 | www.unz.com
Anonymous  Disclaimer , says: February 2, 2021 at 12:43 am GMT • 4.9 hours agoResartus , says: February 2, 2021 at 2:03 am GMT • 3.6 hours ago
The Fate of Empires by Sir John Glubb:
Sir John Glubb's essay on the rise and fall of empires is a must read. As this quote from his work shows, empires throughout history have had an extraordinary pattern of lasting an average of 250 years from rise to fall.
Assyria: 859 B.C. – 612 B.C. 247 years
Persia: 538 B.C. – 330 B.C. 208 years
Greece: 331 B.C. – 100 B.C. 231 years
Roman Republic: 260 B.C. – 27 B.C. 233 years
Roman Empire: 27 B.C. – A.D. 180 207 years
Arab Empire: A.D. 634 – A.D. 880 246 years
Mameluke Empire: A.D. 1250 – A.D. 1517 267 years
Ottoman Empire: A.D. 1320 – A.D. 1570 250 years
Spain: A.D. 1500 – A.D. 1750 250 years
Romanov Russia: A.D. 1682 – A.D. 1916 234 years
British Empire: A.D. 1700 – A.D. 1950 250 years
United States: A.D. 1776 – A.D. ???? ??? years
Some more quotes from this essay:
Feminism isn't working out too well today. It didn't work out for 10th century Arabs either:
In the tenth century, a similar tendency was observable in the Arab Empire, the women demanding admission to the professions hitherto monopolised by men. 'What,' wrote the contemporary historian, Ibn Bessam, 'have the professions of clerk, tax-collector or preacher to do with women? These occupations have always been limited to men alone.' Many women practised law, while others obtained posts as university professors. There was an agitation for the appointment of female judges, which, however, does not appear to have succeeded. Soon after this period, government and public order collapsed, and foreign invaders overran the country. The resulting increase in confusion and violence made it unsafe for women to move unescorted in the streets, with the result that this feminist movement collapsed.
One half of America's population at the other half's throat? Yeah, the Byzantines have been there and done it already:
In the fourteenth century, the weakening empire of Byzantium was threatened, and indeed dominated, by the Ottoman Turks. The situation was so serious that one would have expected every subject of Byzantium to abandon his personal interests and to stand with his compatriots in a last desperate attempt to save the country. The reverse occurred. The Byzantines spent the last fifty years of their history in fighting one another in repeated civil wars, until the Ottomans moved in and administered the coup de grâce.
What do the new overlords do when they take control of a ravaged empire? Civilised Persian officials found out when the barbaric Mongols took the empire they had let fall by the wayside:
When the Mongols conquered Persia in the thirteenth century, they were themselves entirely uneducated and were obliged to depend wholly on native Persian officials to administer the country and to collect the revenue. They retained as wazeer, or Prime Minister, one Rashid al Din, a historian of international repute. Yet the Prime Minister, when speaking to the Mongol II Khan, was obliged to remain throughout the interview on his knees. At state banquets, the Prime Minister stood behind the Khan's seat to wait upon him. If the Khan were in a good mood, he occasionally passed his wazeer a piece of food over his shoulder.
I'm not American, but I feel like crying as I put this together. Anyway, America will do its best to buck the 250 year trend.@Anonymous antines spent the last fifty years of their history in fighting one another in repeated civil wars, until the Ottomans moved in and administered the coup de grâce.
Can't forget the American Indians, the South American Indians etc never stopped fighting each other once Europeans showed up .
Many Tribes did little more than welcome better weapons (firearms) to continue their genocide against neighboring Tribes .
No matter how much the Left talks about the plight of the First Peoples, they paid attention to the outcome and are pushing much the same internal conflicts
Juri , says: February 2, 2021 at 4:26 am GMT • 1.2 hours ago
We have a problem. The U.S. government is supposed to be of, by, and for the people. But it has held itself unaccountable for decades while systematically stupefying, demoralizing, and impoverishing the public through popular culture. Does a republic always turn to an empire, a democracy to a tyrant, and a tyrant into pieces? The world needs globalism, but it does not need monoculture. When the U.S. regime collapses it may be different this time. This time we have the internet. The whole world watches everything.
I also predict the 1917 outcome. Worst outcome the Trump presidency was knowledge that Red America is incapable to organize on the grassroot level, unite and fight back . So the Blue can do whatever they want .
There are 2 issues remain. Elite infighting may make Government dysfunctional. New democrats like the Squad want to push old Swamp Things out and fill Government positions with their supporters.
Financial system blows off and massive economic disaster with chaos makes country ungovernable.
Jan 29, 2021 | off-guardian.org
6 Warning Signs from Biden's First Week in Office The "progressive" candidate praised as a "woke bloke" seems to be carrying on where all his authoritarian Imperialist predecessors left off Kit Knightly
It's been a busy first week for the 46th President of the United States, there are the 20,000 troops occupying the capital city to organise, as well as the totally unprecedented show-trial of his immediate predecessor.
You know, usual democracy type stuff.
On top of that, Biden has now signed at least 37 executive orders in his first week . The record for any President, and more than the previous four presidents combined.
What do these orders, or any of his other moves, tell us about the future plans of the recently "elected" administration? Nothing good, unfortunately.1. VACCINATION PASSPORTS
I still remember people claiming the introduction of vaccination passports (or immunity passes or the like) was just a "conspiracy theory", the paranoid fantasy of fringe "covidiots". All the way back in December, when they were getting fact-checked by tabloid journalists who can't do basic maths .
These days they are rebranded as "freedom certificates" which are "divisive, politically tricky and probably inevitable" .
Many countries are already preparing to roll it out, including Iceland the UK and South Africa . Biden's "Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel" adds the US to this list:
International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. Consistent with applicable law, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of HHS, and the Secretary of Homeland Security (including through the Administrator of the TSA), in coordination with any relevant international organizations, shall assess the feasibility of linking COVID-19 vaccination to International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) and producing electronic versions of ICVPs.2. CABINET APPOINTMENTS
Biden's cabinet is praised as the "most diverse" in history, but will hiring a few non-white people really change the decades-old policies of US Imperialism? It certainly doesn't look like it.
His pick for Under Secretary of State is Victoria Nuland , a neocon warmonger and one of the masterminds of the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014. She is married to Robert Kagan , another neocon warmonger, co-founder of the Project for a New American Century and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and one of the masterminds behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The incoming Secretary of State, Antony Blinken , is also an inveterate US Imperialist, arguing for every US military intervention since the 1990s, and criticised Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria.
Biden's pick for Defence Secretary is the first African-American ever appointed to this role, but former General Lloyd Austin is hardly going be some kind of "progressive" voice int his cabinet. He's a career soldier who retired from the military in 2016 to join the board of Raytheon Technologies , an arms manufacturer and military contractor.
As "diverse" as this cabinet may be in skin colour or gender there is most certainly no "diversity" of opinion or policy. There are very few new faces and no new thoughts.
So, it looks like we can expect more of the same in terms of foreign policy. A fact that's already been displayed in3. IRAQ
Despite heavy resistance from the military and Deep State, Donald Trump wanted to end the war in Iraq and pledged to pull American troops out of the country. This was one of Trump's more popular policies, and during the campaign Biden made no mention of intending to reverse that decision.
Then, on the very day of Biden's inauguration, ISIS conducted their deadliest suicide bombing for over three years , and suddenly the situation was too unstable for the US to leave, and Biden is being forced to "review" Trump's planned withdrawal .
The Iraqi parliament has made it clear it wants the US to take its military off their soil , so any American forces on Iraqi land are technically there illegally in contravention of international law. But that never bothered them before.4. AFGHANISTAN
Turns out the US can't withdraw from Afghanistan either. Last February Trump signed a deal with the Taliban that all US personnel would leave Afghanistan by May 2021.
Joe Biden has already committed to "reviewing" this deal . Sec. Blinken was quoted as saying that Biden's admin wanted:
to end this so-called forever war [but also] retain some capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place".
As a great man once said , nothing someone says before the word "but" really counts. The US will not be withdrawing from Afghanistan, and if there is any public pressure to do so, the government will simply claim the Taliban broke their side of the deal first, or stage a few terrorist attacks.5. AND SYRIA
Far from simply continuing the on-going wars, there are already signs Biden's "diverse" team will look to escalate, or even start, other conflicts.
Syria was another theatre of war from which Donald Trump wanted to extricate the United States, unilaterally ordering all US troops from the country in late 2019.
We now know the Pentagon ignored those orders. They lied to the President , telling Trump they had followed his orders but not withdrawing a single man. This organized mutiny against the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces was played for a joke in the media when it was finally revealed.
There will be no need for any such duplicity now Biden is in the Oval Office, he was a vocal critic of the decision to withdraw , claiming it gave ISIS a "new lease of life". Indeed, within two days of his being sworn in a column of American military vehicles was seen entering Syria from Iraq .6. DOMESTIC TERRORISM
We called this before the inauguration . They made it just too obvious. Before the dirty footprints had been cleaned from Nancy Pelosi's desk it was clear where it was all going.
Within 24 hours of being sworn in as president, Biden had ordered a "review of the threat posed by domestic terrorism" .
As usual, the press are laying down the covering fire for this. Talking heads have been busily comparing MAGA voters to al Qaida in television interviews. The Washington Post and New Yorker Journal have cut-and-paste pieces about this supposed threat. Politico published an article titled "Biden vowed to defeat domestic terrorism. The how is the hard part" , which outlines what Biden could do:
Direct the Justice Department, FBI and National Security Council to execute a top-down approach prioritizing domestic terrorism; pass new domestic terrorism legislation; or do a bit of both as Democrats propose a crack down on social media giants like Facebook for algorithms that promote conspiracy laden posts.
That last part is key. The "crack down on social media" part, because the anti-Domestic Terrorism legislation will likely be very focused on communication and so-called "misinformation".
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has publicly called for a congressional panel to "rein in" the media :
We're going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so you can't just spew disinformation and misinformation,"
And who will be the target of these crack downs and new legislations? Well, according John Brennan (ex-head of the CIA and accomplished war criminal), practically anybody:
They're casting a wide net. Expect "extremist", "bigot" and "racist" to be just a few of the words which have their meanings totally revised in the next few months. "Conspiracy theorist" will be used a lot, too.
Further, they are moving closer and closer toward the "anyone who disagrees with us is literally insane" model. With many articles actually talking about "de-programming" Trump voters. The Atlantic suggests "mental hygiene" would cure the MAGA problem.
Again AOC is on point here, clearly auditioning for the role of High Inquisitor, claiming that the new Biden government needs to fund programs that "de-radicalise" "conspiracy theorists" who are on the "spectrum of radicalisation" .
As I said at the beginning, it's been a busy week for Joe Biden, but you can sum up his biggest policy plans in one short sentence: More violence overseas, less tolerance of dissent and strict clampdowns on "misinformation".
Jan 29, 2021 | www.strategic-culture.org
Blinken does not seem to have repented from his fundamentalist belief in American imperial goodness, notwithstanding his appeal for "humility".
Barring an earthquake in Washington, Antony Blinken is set to become the new U.S. Secretary of State and America's top diplomat. The youthful and telegenic Blinken (58) takes over from Mike Pompeo who was America's representative to the world under the last Trump administration.
The contrast could not be more stark. In place of Pompeo's thuggish, rough-edged style, Blinken has the appearance of consummate diplomat. He's fluent in French owing to a European education, he's urbane and sophisticated and comes from a family which has diplomacy in its genes. His father was an ambassador to Hungary and an advisor to President John F Kennedy. An uncle was ambassador to Belgium.
Blinken has Hungarian and Russian Jewish ancestry. His mother remarried a Polish-American Jewish survivor of the Nazi holocaust. During his confirmation hearing in the Senate this week, Blinken told the story of how his stepfather escaped from a Nazi death march in Bavaria and was eventually rescued by an American tank driven by an African-American officer.
That story has shaped Blinken's worldview of America's prestige and international role. He's a proponent of U.S. military interventionism with a presumption of moral duty. He's an advocate of America working with European allies and upholding the transatlantic alliance – in contrast to Trump's boorish America First sloganeering. Understandably, Blinken is imbued with an unshakable belief in "American exceptionalism" and "manifest destiny" as a world leader.
The Senators at his confirmation hearing this week swooned as Blinken spoke. He's certain to be confirmed as the new Secretary of State in the coming days. That's because he is seen to be perfect for the task of restoring America's international image which has been so badly tarnished under Trump and his grumpy gofer Pompeo. The Europeans will lap up Blinken and his transatlantic romanticism.
Blinken has said that America's foreign policy must be conducted with "humility and confidence", which may sound refreshingly modest. But it's not. Underlying this "quiet American" is the same old arrogance about U.S. imperial might-is-right and Washington's presumed privilege of appointing itself as the "world's policeman".
If Blinken's record is anything to go on, his future role as America's top diplomat is foreboding.
Previously, he was a senior member in the Obama administrations serving as national security advisor to both the president and Joe Biden who was then vice-president. Blinken rose to become deputy Secretary of State in the final years of the second Obama administration. In those roles he was a key player in a series of foreign interventions which turned out to be utterly disastrous.
He was a big proponent of U.S. military intervention in Libya in 2011 which led to the toppling and murder of Muammar Gaddafi. That intervention along with other NATO powers has left a ruinous legacy not only for Libya but for North Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe.
Blinken was also a point-man in Obama's intervention in Syria where the U.S. (and other NATO powers) supplied weapons to anti-government militants. The so-called "rebels" were in fact myriad terrorist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and other extremist Islamists. Up to half a million people have been killed in the decade-long Syrian war and much of that blood is on America's hands from its de facto support for terror gangs. Maybe Blinken genuinely thought he was supporting "pro-democracy rebels". But even if we give him the benefit of doubt, the upshot is still a disaster of American interventionism.
Another catastrophic consequence of Blinken's policymaking is Yemen. Under his direction, the Obama administration backed the Saudi war on its southern neighbor beginning in March 2015 and continuing to this day. Yemen has become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world with millions facing starvation amid Saudi aerial bombardment carried out with U.S. warplanes and logistics.
The new Biden administration has indicated it will withdraw military support for Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen. But that doesn't absolve the U.S., and Blinken in particular, for having created the horrendous quagmire from which it is belatedly trying to extricate itself from.
What's rather perplexing, however, is that Blinken does not seem to have repented from his fundamentalist belief in American imperial goodness, notwithstanding his appeal for "humility". During his Senate hearings, he showed little regret about America's illegal bombing of Libya and its arming of jihadists in Syria.
He described the world with the conventional brainwashed American ideology as being a place where China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are enemies that must be confronted. He also told Senators he was in favor of increasing supplies of lethal weaponry to the Ukraine and its rabidly anti-Russian regime in Kiev. Recall that it was the Obama administration which instigated a coup d'état in Kiev against an elected president in February 2014. The new regime was and is dominated by far-right nationalists who laud past links to Nazi Germany. If Blinken has his way the war against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine will escalate and could ignite a bigger confrontation between Russia and the U.S.
One of the hallmarks of the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev is its espousal of Neo-Nazi traditions and in particular antisemitic hatred.
Given Antony Blinken's own Jewish ancestry and his own intimate connection to the Nazi holocaust, you do have to question his competence if he becomes America's foreign policy leader. His boss President Joe Biden has fondly lionized Blinken as a "superstar" of diplomacy. Superficially perhaps, he has finesse and intelligence. But in much the same basic way of adhering to American imperialism, Blinken is as crude and thuggish as his predecessor Pompeo. He just projects a more plausible look and sound, which is most desirable as a moral cover for America's criminal imperialism.
Blinken is known to self-deprecate his "insatiable habit" for making up bad puns. For example, on one occasion when he was addressing an audience on policy regarding the Arctic, he began by joking he would be "breaking the ice". Given his ability to pursue destructive dead-end policies, he might therefore appreciate the moniker "Secretary of State Tony Blinkered".
Jan 29, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
rico , Jan 29 2021 19:24 utc | 32
Speaking about rich families who own the world. There is one unique feature of german oligarchy, they don't change. More than half of the hundred richest families now have already been rich before ww1. They made the crazy history of last century possible. Please just go for a second in the perspective they have.
Jan 28, 2021 | consortiumnews.com
T here's a news story about a U.S. military convoy entering Syria being shared around social media with captions claiming that President Joe Biden is already "invading" Syria which is getting tons of shares in both right-wing and left anti-imperialist circles.
The virality of these shares has inspired clickbait titles like " Joe Biden Invades Syria with Convoy of U.S. Troops and Choppers on First Full Day as President ," which are being shared with equal virality.
But if you read the original report everyone jumped on, accurately titled "U.S. military convoy enters northeast Syria: report," you don't have to read too far to get to this line :
"Other local media report that such maneuvers are not unusual as the U.S. often moves transfers equipment between Iraq and Syria."
So, while this is a movement of troops between illegitimate military occupations which have no business existing in either country, it is nothing new and would have been happening regardless of which candidate had won the last U.S. presidential election.
Another inaccurate narrative that's gone completely viral is the claim that Biden is sending more troops to Iraq. This one traces back to a single Twitter post by some Trumpy account with the handle "@amuse" who shared a Jerusalem Post article with the caption "BREAKING: President Biden is considering reversing Trump's drawdown in Iraq by adding thousands of troops to combat growing terror threats in the region as evidenced by Thursday's attack near the U.S. embassy."
If you read the actual JPost article titled " Baghdad bombing could be the Biden admin's first challenge " you will see that it contains no such claim, and if you were to search a bit you would find @amuse claiming that they were sharing something they'd learned from "sources" in D.C. instead of accurately summarizing the contents of the article.
Unless you know this person and know them to be consistently trustworthy, there is no valid reason to believe claims allegedly said by alleged anonymous sources to some openly partisan anonymous account on Twitter.
But the bogus tweet was amplified by many influential accounts, most notably by Donald Trump Jr with the caption "Getting back into wars on the first full day. The Swamp/War Inc. is thrilled right now."
Its virality then caused it to work its way outward to dupe many well-meaning anti-imperialists (myself included until I looked into it) who are vigilant against Biden's notorious warmongering , and now there's a widespread narrative throughout every part of the ideological spectrum that Biden is escalating warmongering in both Syria and Iraq.
It is entirely possible – probable even – that reliable warmonger Joe Biden will end up sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria at some point during his administration. But if the antiwar community keeps staring at the movement of ground troops with hypervigilant intensity, they won't be paying enough attention to the areas where the more deadly aspects of Biden's hawkishness are likely to manifest.
Trump's base has been forcefully pushing the narrative that the previous president didn't start any new wars, which while technically true ignores his murderous actions like vetoing the bill to save Yemen from U.S.-backed genocide and actively blocking aid to its people, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, rolling out many world-threatening Cold War escalations against Russia, engaging in insane brinkmanship with Iran , greatly increasing the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians , and reducing military accountability for those airstrikes.
Jan. 28, 2019: The Trump administration's U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announce sanctions of the Venezuela oil company PDVSA. (The White House, Wikimedia Commons)
Trump may not have started any "new wars," but he kept the old ones going and inflamed some of them. Just because you don't start any new wars doesn't mean you're not a warmonger.
Rather than a throwback to "new wars" and the old-school ground invasions of the Bush era, the warmongering we'll be seeing from the Biden administration is more likely to look like this. More starvation sanctions. More proxy conflicts. More cold war. More coups. More special ops. More drone strikes. More slow motion strangulation, less ham-fisted overt warfare.
It is certainly possible that Biden could launch a new full-scale war; the empire is in desperate straits right now, and it could turn out that a very desperate maneuver is needed to maintain global domination. But that isn't the method that it has favored lately.
The U.S. empire much prefers nowadays to pour its resources into less visible acts of violence like economic siege warfare and arming proxy militias; the Iraq invasion left Americans so bitter toward conventional war that any more of it would increase the risk of an actual antiwar movement in the United States, which would be disastrous for the empire.
So rather than tempt fate with the bad publicity of flag-draped coffins flying home by the thousands again imperialism is now served up with a bit more subtlety, with the military playing more of a backup role to guard the infrastructure of this new approach.
It appears clear that this would be the Biden administration's preferred method of warmongering if given the choice.
The incoming Secretary of State Tony Blinken now advocates replacing the old Bush model of full-scale war with "discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors." Biden's nominee for CIA Director William Burns urged caution in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion and later expressed regret that he didn't push back against it.
Rather than picking bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy for defense secretary as many expected, Biden went with the less cartoonishly evil Raytheon board member Lloyd J. Austin III. All this while depraved coupmonger Victoria Nuland is being added to the administration and the murderous Venezuela coup is folded into its policy.
Antiwar protest in San Francisco, Aug. 29, 2013. (Steve Rhodes, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Too much of the antiwar community is still stuck in the early 2000s. The Western war machine just doesn't generally kill that way anymore, and we need to adjust our perspectives if we want to address the actual murderousness as it is actually showing up. If you keep looking out for obsolete ground invasions, you're going to miss the new form of warmongering completely.
Trump supporters who claim to oppose war missed this completely throughout the entirety of his presidency, confining the concept of "war" solely to its most blatant iterations in order to feel like their president was a peacemaker instead of a warmonger.
One of the few positive developments that could potentially arise from the Biden administration is helping such people to recognize acts of violence like starvation sanctions as war, since they will be opposing Biden and that is how this new administration will be manifesting much of its murderousness.
The political/media class likes to keep everyone focused on the differences between each president and his immediate predecessor, but we can learn a whole lot more by looking at their similarities. Biden's warmongering is going to look a lot like Trump's -- just directed in some different directions and expressing in slightly different ways -- despite all the energy that has been poured into painting them as two wildly different individuals.
Once you see beyond the partisan puppet show, you see a single oligarchic empire continuing the same murderous agendas from one sock puppet administration to the next.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Her work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook , following her antics on Twitter , checking out her podcast on either Youtube , soundcloud , Apple podcasts or Spotify , following her on Steemit , throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of her sweet merchandise , buying her books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .
This article was re-published with permission.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Jan 27, 2021 | consortiumnews.com
In a matter of hours, Biden's key national security people -- Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, and Lloyd Austin as defense secretary -- gave us a remarkably fulsome idea of what we are in for these next four years.
Haines and Austin, neither of whose records are to be admired, are at bottom functionaries who were nominated and swiftly confirmed because they do what they are told and do not think too much -- always a career-advancer in Washington.
It is instead Blinken, who is said to enjoy some kind of "mind-meld" with Biden, that we must consider carefully. (Such a meld must be odd terrain.)
Blinken's Senate testimony last Tuesday sprawled over four hours. It is best to scrutinize his remarks while seated in a chair with sturdy armrests, ideally to calm one's nerves with a pot of chamomile tea.
Seen or read as a whole, those four hours gave us an extraordinary display of how empire works and how it prolongs itself. One by one, Blinken's senatorial interlocutors told him in so many words, "Son, this is what you need to say if you want our confirmation. We want you to endorse our commitment to aggression, to unlawful interventions, to 'regime change' ops, to merciless sanctions, and altogether to the empire. But you must make it look nice. Make it look thoughtful and complicated and considered."
July 14, 2016: Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (Air Force, Christopher Hubenthal)
I am convinced, having endured the entire C–Span recording, that what I watched was sheer ritual. Blinken won the Senate's support and now succeeds the shockingly bovine Mike Pompeo at State. He will do so, however, with the élan and faux sophistication our nakedly bankrupt foreign policy now requires if the American pantomime is to be sustained another four years.
Among Blinken's many rather sad-to-witness "Yes sirs," two standout: his finely chiseled endorsement of Pompeo's reckless assassination a year ago of Qassem Soleimani, Iran's revered military commander ("Taking him out was the right thing to do"), and his approval of the Trump administration's decision to send lethal arms to the manically corrupt regime in Kiev ("Senator, I support providing that lethal defensive assistance to Ukraine," when the Obama administration, from which he comes, did not.)
Late last year, Blinken appeared on "Intelligence Matters," the podcast run by Michael Morrell, the coup-mongering former deputy director at the Central Intelligence Agency and now -- of course -- a regular commentator on the televisions news networks. In their exchange, the two took up the question of our "forever wars" and Biden's well-advertised commitment to ending them. Here is a snippet from Blinken's remarks:
"As for ending the forever wars, large-scale deployment of large, standing U.S. forces in conflict zones with no clear strategy should and will end under his [Biden's] watch. But we also need to distinguish between, for example, these endless wars with large-scale, open-ended deployment of U.S. forces with [sic], for example, discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces to support local actors. In ending the endless wars we have to be careful not to paint with too broad a brushstroke."
This is what we are in for these coming years, the hyper-rational irrationality of the middling technocrat. There will be adjustments at the margin, reconsiderations of method. There will be no consideration whatsoever of America's hegemonic objectives -- of the imperial project.
Blinken's testimony reflected these bitter truths start to finish.
Changes to the Iran Deal
July 14, 2015: President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, announcing the signing of the Iran-nuclear agreement. (White House)
Of the various questions the new secretary of state took up during his confirmation hearings, Iran is the most pressing. Senator Bob Menendez, Blinken's interlocutor in this case, insisted that yes, the U.S. wants to rejoin the 2015 accord governing Iran's nuclear programs, but only if this includes prohibitions against Tehran's "destabilizing activities" and a missile program that Iran justly considers essential to its security.
An honest, clear-eyed diplomat who wanted to get somewhere with Tehran would have rejected the very frame of Menendez's line of inquiry, with its references to "support for terrorism" and "funding and feeding its proxies." But Blinken read his cues and tucked right in:
"The president-elect believes that if Iran comes back into compliance we would, too, but we would use that as a platform to seek a longer, stronger agreement and also, as you have pointed out, to capture these other issues, particularly with regard to missiles and Iran's destabilizing activities. This would be the objective."
This is sheer charade. Blinken knows as well as anyone else that the added conditions the Biden regime will require before rejoining the agreement -- an end to Iran's ballistic missile programs and its support for the Syrian government against Islamists and the illegal U.S. incursion -- effectively cancel all chances that the U.S. will rejoin the accord.
I predicted in this space shortly after Biden was elected that he and his foreign policy people only pretended to be serious about reviving the nuclear agreement with Iran. Blinken's testimony confirms this.
Over the weekend The Times of Israel , citing Channel 12 television, reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending Yossi Cohen, chief of Mossad and a close confidant, to Washington to "set out terms" for any revival of the nuclear deal. Israel purports to "set out terms," and Biden will receive this spook? This is getting completely unserious. Completely.
On China, Russia, and Venezuela: Blinken was putty in the hands of the Foreign Relations Committee's across-the-board hawks. A two-fronted new Cold War across both oceans -- Sinophobia and Russophobia all at once -- is to be our reality these next four years.
Over the weekend, to be noted, the American Embassy in Moscow had the gall to broadcast routes protesters could take to demonstrations in various Russian cities to dispute Alexei Navlany's arrest . A good start.
Marco Rubio, the coup-loving senator from Florida, wanted to know if Blinken thought the U.S. should continue backing Juan Guaidó, the buffoon Rubio and Pompeo puffed up as Venezuela's "interim leader" as part of a failed coup operation a couple of years ago. Blinken:
"I very much agree with you, senator, first of all with regard to a number of the steps that were taken toward Venezuela in recent years, including recognizing Mr. Guaidó and seeking to increase pressure on the regime . We need an effective policy that can restore Venezuela to democracy, and how can we best advance that ball? Maybe we need to look at how we more effectively target the sanctions that we have ."
Grim, grim times lie ahead if Blinken runs State as he promised the Senate he would.
There are those among us who look for shafts of light. People I greatly respect (some, anyway) thought it was good news when Biden named William Burns, a career foreign service officer, to head the CIA. At last diplomacy, not unlawful interventions!
Over the weekend, there were reports that Biden will review -- not more at this point -- the designation of Yemen's Houthis as terrorists, a label Pompeo affixed as he emptied his desk last week. Finally, we will stop supporting the Saudis' savagery!
People believe what they need to believe these days, I find, and belief overrides cognition in many such cases. I caution these people. At bottom Blinken demonstrated for us that no one who purports to alter our imperial course will ever be allowed to hold high office. For people such as Blinken, it is merely a question of wielding influence without having any.
This is where Americans live -- in a crumbled republic no longer capable of changing.
Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century . Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .
John Allen aka Ol' Hippy , January 26, 2021 at 12:16
I'm 66, almost 67, and will, most likely, never see any real peace from the US government. A big portion of the economy is based on imperialist actions and the manufacture of conflicts around the globe mainly to keeps the arms makers in business. Or simply, war. And no, there is no nation willing to risk the wrath of the US government by trying to halt this insane posture of aggression, it's just too big and has a momentum all its own. Biden will continue unabated this absurd, insanely expensive machine to its eventual implosion in the near future. All the parts of the fall of the economy are in place, all that's needed is some ill defined tipping point to be crossed. Perhaps, a war with Iran?