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Predator states and debt enslavement

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Introduction


"American imperialism has been made plausible and attractive in part by the insistence that it is not imperialistic."

Harold Innis, 1948

I call it a tribal phenomena. A tribe can be a religion, a nation, a gender, a race, or any group which is different from the group you identify with. It is not confined to religion.

And it seems to be an inherent trait in the human species that was one aspect of our evolution. Only when we learn that it is better to cooperate with each other rather than kill each other will we be free from this deadly disease which may, in the end, destroy us all.

sheridan44 comment in The Guardian

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.

Chris Hedges

Days of Revolt The Making of Global Capitalism

Neoliberalism is a fundament and, simultaneously philosophical justification of predator capitalism. Today the signature feature of neoliberal societies, including but not limited to the USA, G7 (especially Germany and France), and to a lesser extent Russia and China, is predation, both in respect of their own citizens as well as weaker states.

While precise definition of what can be called “predatory capitalism” is difficult we can say that in this social system the top 1% (or less) rich and connected feast on decaying infrastructure objects and factories built during previous generation for wider population and belonging to state or its agents. As well as on less well-off part of country population. With full legal impunity. Economist Jamie K Galbraith book suggests that modern (Bush-Cheney) Republicanism was and is first of all about the creation of a "predator state".

Neoliberal markets that are emerging throughout Latin America and xUSSR countries are characterized by little regulation, a minimal state presence, cult of money and speculation. (as opposed to more collective or communitarian visions of society). Governments are very much pro-business. Such markets, in turn, support a peculiar form of capitalism, one that we would call predatory capitalism with its own part of the elite, which we would call "predatory class".

The predatory class is just a tiny upper crust of the wealthy; and it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature of the modern USA and other neoliberal societies. It is the neoliberal society driving force. Its agents are in full control of the government. For in a predatory regime, nothing is done for public reasons. Indeed, the ideologists of the Casino Capitalism do not recognize that “public purposes” are legitimate. Only predation is. It is a capitalism that preys on those without economic resources -- the popular sectors, noncompetitive industries, weaker countries. And it further deprives them of resources via debt slavery and policy prescriptions ( Bresser Pereira, Maravall, and Przeworski 1993). Neoliberalism has its own dynamic and tends to disproportionately reward those who already exercise some form of power (particularly economic power). The severity of the socioeconomic dislocations caused by the rapid neoliberalization of Latin America (stating with Chilean coup d'état) and strongly associated with predatory capitalism has led some to draw interesting parallels with the latter part of the nineteenth century through the 1920s ( Korzeniewicz and Smith 1997; Smith and Korzeniewicz 1996). This was the last period during which economic liberalism dominated the region.

From this perspective, the very predatory nature of capitalism makes it unlikely that it will be long lasting. Just as nineteenth-century economic liberalism led to the emergence of powerful labor movements and other actors that successfully struggled to reign in capitalism by ultimately erecting the modern welfare state. It is unclear which forces will try to give a fight for neoliberalism during the current period, but emergence of left government in many Latin American countries will work to erect new state institutions that can correct many, if not all, of predatory capitalism's most pernicious elements. Polanyi summarized the challenge that unregulated markets posed for society in the early twentieth century in a way that seems almost prophetic for Latin America in the 1990s:

"the [ nineteenth century] idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia. Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society. . . . Inevitably, society took measures to protect itself" ( 1944: 3).

Here is a summary of James K. Galbraith’s The Predator State book and the concept from Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought blog

James K. Galbraith’s The Predator State is undoubtedly one of the most important books on the economics of our era. Galbraith sets himself the task, not only of exposing the discredited economic orthodoxies of our generation, but also documenting the economy as it really exists, and setting an agenda for the future. It is a book that desperately needs to be listened to. And, even better than all that, it’s a fun read. Go out and buy it immediately.

That said, here is a brief, abbreviated summary of the book, to better pull out its themes and spread its message. It is of necessity less clear and less well-argued than the book itself, which you should actually read if you want to argue, but it should give the gist of things.

  1. The Reaganites swept into power on the arguments of economic conservatives: lower taxes, tight money, and an assault on all opponents of market forces (government, regulation, unions). Their views were tried and failed completely. They have no remaining defenders in academia and only slogans and cronies outside of it. There is no longer any vision on the right; the left should leave its defensive crouch and start proposing something new.
  2. Friedman and friends said that markets would lead to democracy — that “economic freedom” begets political freedom. But economic freedom isn’t what it sounds like; it’s not freedom from economic want but instead, as Friedman put it, “the freedom to choose” or, in other words, “the freedom to shop”. But control over production is as unfree as in the Soviet Union, with advertising for propaganda, R&D for planning, and Wall Street analysts for government inspectors. “Lines form, under capitalism, every day.”
  3. Supply-siders argued that a) saving is a public good because it leads to investment, b) America does not save enough compared to other countries, c) saving would be unleashed by lowering taxes on it, d) the resulting investment would spur an economic boom. Every piece of this is wrong: a) in an efficient market, all the benefits from investment are captured by the investor; thus investment cannot be a public good unless markets are inefficient, in which case the government should step in more, b) the correct amount of saving is a policy decision, there’s no reason to believe other countries have it right (the Soviet Union had a 40% level of saving right up to its collapse), c) rich people save most of their money anyway (it’s impossible to consume that much) and changes in interest rates dwarf changes in tax rates; furthermore, real investment is encouraged by high personal taxes, since this forces people to keep their money in corporations, d) personal saving is less than 1% of GDP; almost all investment comes from corporations or overseas.
  4. Milton Friedman claimed that high inflation (it was 10% in the 1970s) was just the result of printing too much money. Reagan’s Fed adopted this belief, sending the US and many foreign countries into deep recession. Eventually, the policy was completely abandoned and high inflation has not been seen since. Serious inflation isn’t caused by printing money, but by wage-price spirals — the price of oil shot up, causing rising prices to cover oil costs, causing workers to demand higher wages to pay those prices, causing prices to rise even higher, and so on. Today, most prices are set by overseas manufacturers and labor unions are so weak that workers can’t demand wage increases. Inflation is dead.
  5. Democrats (and some Republicans) repeatedly insist that we need to balance the budget or face fiscal collapse. But the budget is ruled by a simple equation: the total amount the government owes + the total amount the public owes = the total amount we owe to foreign countries. This is simple logic: whatever is not owed within the country must be owed to another country. But the international economy depends on other countries keeping large reserves of dollars (see 14), meaning our trade deficit must be high. As long as this is so, we must either have the government run large deficits or ask people to do so. The budget deficit was closed in the late 1990s because citizens picked up the slack with high credit card spending and home equity loans, inevitably leading to a slump. Balancing the budget is for suckers; Democrats should spend the money on public goods instead, promoting economic growth and thus raising tax revenue.
  6. The argument for free trade comes from Ricardo’s “comparative advantage” — a clever textbook exercise, but irrelevant to the real world since it assumes constant costs. In reality, either you produce manufactured goods, in which your costs go down as you make more, or you sell off commodities, in which case your costs go up as you make more. With the former, it takes time for local industry to build up the advantage (requiring protectionism). With the latter, you end up like Mongolia, which opened up its animal husbandry market, swelling herd sizes, turning grass into permanent desert, and killing off the entire market. With no other exports, such a country is in big trouble. Ricardo was wrong: diversification, not specialization, is the way to develop — and how every successful country has. Unfortunately, we’ve forced this broken system on most of the world. (China has escaped, letting state-supported banks fund money-losing new companies until they grow large enough to succeed as exporters. In the mean time, they dump their products on local Chinese, allowing them to have a very high standard of living at very low wages.)
  7. There is no trade-off between equality and efficiency. Instead, equality leads to efficiency. Denmark is one of the most equal countries in Europe, and as a result one of the wealthiest. The rest are on a continuum down to unequal and inefficient. Full employment and high wages require companies to make the most of the employees they have, increasing efficiency. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t raise unemployment, it lowers it — unemployment and inequality have risen and fallen together since 1920. Higher wages lead to more job taking and less quitting. The remaining increase in inequality was caused by stock market giveaways to dot-commers and Bush giveaways to government contractors — which is why it was limited to Silicon Valley and the Potomac, respectively.
  8. The US is not a free market. Of GDP, 17% is health care (where experts, not consumers decide how to spend), 16% is housing (subsidized by quasi-public mortgage firms and tax deductions), 15% is federal welfare, 14% is local welfare, 4.5% is military spending, 3% is higher education (paid for mostly by government or conspicuous philanthropy1 and consumed for status and not value). Together, 70% of US GDP is planned; it’s just that our facade of a free market makes us less efficient at planning than other countries (especially in health care).
  9. In the 1970s, American industry (particularly steel and cars) was being challenged and weakened by Japan. Reagan’s assault on inflation (see 4) dealt them a death blow, sending their foreign and domestic markets into deep recession, driving up the value of the dollar (making their exports more expensive than their competitors’), and raising interest rates. In the 1980s the technical staff left for Silicon Valley, and 1990s financial fraud killed off what remained. When new startup founders paid themselves exorbitant salaries from VC money other CEOs rushed to keep up, making them all wealthy enough to become a separate class. They used their new power to prey on the corporations that they ran.2
  10. Previously, regulation kept the predators in check — unions, NGOs, and progressive businesses pushed government standards to kill regressive competitors. But newly-wealthy predator CEOs had the Republicans take over and gut regulation. The result is the Predator State, where every new law is a corporate giveaway. Prescription drug benefits for Big Pharma; NCLB to defund and deskill schools (building support for vouchers); and Social Security reform to give workers’ paychecks to Wall Street. (Democrats have so far prevented the latter, but corporate-funded think tanks now aim to take them down from inside.) The programs allow further predation; privatizing college loans has led loan companies to bribe student loan officers. It’s not that Republican government fails at tasks like stopping Katrina; it’s that such tasks of governance are not its goal — opening up New Orleans for Halliburton contracts is.
  11. The great liberal economic agenda is “making markets work” — small fixes for market failures. The canonical example is job training to fight unemployment. But job training does not create new jobs, economic growth does; the tech boom was the last time we saw a real decrease in unemployment. Similarly, some Dems propose universal preschool since experiments find kids with free preschool grow up to get better-paying jobs. But those preschools did not create jobs, they just gave their students an advantage in getting them. Universal preschool would give everyone that advantage, leaving no net impact. And creating markets in unmarketable goods (health care, energy, the climate) is doomed to failure. In these industries markets will not work; planning is required.
  12. Planning is alleged to have been disproven by the Soviet Union’s fall. But it is unavoidable. The market, even when it does work, fails to take into account the wishes of the poor and the needs of the future, since neither can buy things today. New Orleans fell not because of a lack of foresight (it was predicted by the local paper) or technology (the Army knew how to build strong levees) but because we lacked a plan — nobody in power bothered to do anything about it. Similarly, climate change will melt Antarctica and drown New York, Boston, South Florida, Houston, the Bay Area, London, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Shanghai. Stopping it requires a plan; an enormous one ranging from elementary school classes to government-funded research centers to a WWII-level restructuring of the economy.
  13. Deregulation can have three effects:
    1. Increasing competition and lowering wages and prices,
    2. Speeding technological change and increasing quality,
    3. Creating monopolies and raising prices.

    Trucking deregulation did 1, airline deregulation did 1 and 2, but telecom, banking, and energy deregulation did 3. Charles Keating donated to the government, leading VP George H. W. Bush’s task force to deregulate his industry and allow the Savings and Loan Scandal. Ken Lay was Bush’s largest contributor, leading VP Dick Cheney’s task force to deregulate his industry and allow the Enron energy scandal.

  14. The solution is to lower CEO pay, raise the minimum wage, and set wage standards in between. Some liberals claim trade is the problem and the solution is to set environmental and labor standards on other countries. These are unenforceable and will be ineffective (companies moving overseas already build clean factories since that’s most efficient and no significant exports are made using child or prison labor). Instead, we should set wage standards at home, like Scandinavia, forcing companies to increase productivity and pay fair wages. Wage standards should also apply to undocumented workers; illegal immigration is caused by employers who send recruiters to Mexico for compliant and low-paid workers. Applying wage standards to all will end these abusive practices.
  15. Any country that can pay for its imports entirely with exports can organize its internal economy (its people and resources) however it likes. Countries that do not balance their trade depend instead on global capital markets and must play by their rules. But the US is a special case: after World War II (1944) it set up the Bretton Woods system of international exchange, pegging all currencies to the dollar and backing the dollar with gold reserves. But during Vietnam’s deficits (1971), Nixon broke the system, devaluing US currency and wreaking havoc on the rest of the world. Reagan’s tight money policies (1981) caused so much instability that other countries were forced to build up reserves of US Treasury Bonds in exchange for military, economic, and export security. US bubbles and the Soviet Union’s fall make this system less secure than before, but as long as it remains the US can do whatever it likes economically. And it might as well, since economic success will strengthen the system and the policies proposed here will lead to economic success.
  1. Conspicuous philanthropy is like conspicuous consumption, a way for the rich to flaunt their wealth, only far more effective — you can outdo your neighbors simply by adding another zero to the check, the buildings with your name on them live on after you die, and the government gives you a tax deduction.
  2. See the classic Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class for more on predation.

The term "predator state" originated with the concept of military industrial complex

The term "predator state" originated with the concept of military industrial complex. There are other similar terms such as neofascism,  national security state, disaster capitalism, etc which describe the same phenomenon, stressing different aspects of it.  For example, here is what Thomas Palley writes about predator state (Asia Times Online):

Economist Jamie K Galbraith's recent book [1] describes modern (Bush-Cheney) Republicanism as creating a "predator state". Its predatory aspects are starkly visible in the gangs of corporate lobbyists who roam Washington DC, the Halliburton Iraq war procurement scandal and the corruption and incompetence that surrounded the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

However, the broad concept of a predator state needs qualification as we are really talking of an "American corporate" predator state. Thus, the predatory nature of contemporary US governance is quintessentially linked to corporations, and it is also a uniquely American phenomenon.

Kleptocratic predator states, such as Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Sese Seko Mobutu's Zaire in Africa, are fundamentally different. There is no equivalent in Europe, and none in East Asia where ruling elites have a sense of obligation to the nation even as they often enrich themselves illicitly. Nor is there an equivalent in Latin America because government there never reached an economic size proportional to that of government in the US.

It is important to understand the social origins of the American corporate predator state because understanding is a necessary part of developing responses for caging the predators and replacing them with another, better, order. Those origins clearly trace back to the military-industrial complex that president Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his final televised address to the nation on January 17, 1961.

That complex has captured politics and corrupted the business of government, including of course the conduct of national security policy. The fact that it has wrapped itself with the flag makes it impossible to confront without being charged as unpatriotic. Worst yet, its enormous enduring profitability has provided a model for imitation by other industrial complexes like Big Pharma and Big Oil.

The political success of these predators is clearly linked to money's role in politics. Money gives the power to buy the political process, and that power is defended by a gospel of free speech that takes no account of the fact that out-shouting someone is qualitatively equivalent to silencing them. Economics also comes to money's defense with its absurd myth of a market for ideas in which participants compete on a level playing field and truth is effortlessly sorted from error.

The American worship of business and businessmen, which Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, 1922) wrote about long ago, also plays a role. This worship privileges business over thought and other activities, and is behind the dismissive sneer "if you're so smart, how come you're not rich?" As a result, Americans are all too willing to hand over their government to business predators. Today, it is in Goldman Sachs we trust.

Another feature of business worship is a tendency to conflate profit with free markets. That means the distinction between fair competition (which is good) and fat profits (which are bad) is lost, thereby providing cover for predators.

Lastly, there is the legacy of the Cold War which contributed to economic dumbing-down and suppression of awareness of class and class conflict. This suppression was seen as necessary for blunting the dangerous appeal of Soviet communism, but a consequence was to create blindness to the predators in our midst.

All of this reveals a deep deficit in America's social and economic understanding (some deficits really do matter). And as long as this deficit remains, the predators will have a starting-gate advantage in the game of political persuasion.

Yet, how to close the deficit and insert another understanding is an enormous challenge. There are deep institutional obstructions in the academy, the media, and the Democratic Party. Moreover, raising these issues may create unsettling cognitive dissonance that pushes voters into denial and a closer embrace of the predators.

In effect, there is a paradox to be solved. Lasting progressive political victory requires transforming understanding, but the immediate political incentives are aligned to discourage engagement with such a project.

Note: The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, by James K Galbraith, Free Press, 2008.

Thomas I Palley is the founder of the Economics for Democratic and Open Societies Project.

 

Stephen M. Walt take on US predator capitalism with fig leaf of "promotion of democracy" attached

Skeptic view on American Exceptionalism is valuable for different reasons some of which were listed by Stephen M. Walt in his The Myth of American Exceptionalism (Foreign Policy, November 2011)

The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America's global role is that it is mostly a myth. Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities -- from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom -- the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else.

This unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism makes it harder for Americans to understand why others are less enthusiastic about U.S. dominance, often alarmed by U.S. policies, and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy, whether the subject is possession of nuclear weapons, conformity with international law, or America's tendency to condemn the conduct of others while ignoring its own failings. Ironically, U.S. foreign policy would probably be more effective if Americans were less convinced of their own unique virtues and less eager to proclaim them.

What we need, in short, is a more realistic and critical assessment of America's true character and contributions. In that spirit, I offer here the Top 5 Myths about American Exceptionalism.

Myth 1: There Is Something Exceptional About American Exceptionalism.

Whenever American leaders refer to the "unique" responsibilities of the United States, they are saying that it is different from other powers and that these differences require them to take on special burdens.

Yet there is nothing unusual about such lofty declarations; indeed, those who make them are treading a well-worn path. Most great powers have considered themselves superior to their rivals and have believed that they were advancing some greater good when they imposed their preferences on others. The British thought they were bearing the "white man's burden," while French colonialists invoked la mission civilisatrice to justify their empire. Portugal, whose imperial activities were hardly distinguished, believed it was promoting a certain missão civilizadora. Even many of the officials of the former Soviet Union genuinely believed they were leading the world toward a socialist utopia despite the many cruelties that communist rule inflicted. Of course, the United States has by far the better claim to virtue than Stalin or his successors, but Obama was right to remind us that all countries prize their own particular qualities.

So when Americans proclaim they are exceptional and indispensable, they are simply the latest nation to sing a familiar old song. Among great powers, thinking you're special is the norm, not the exception.

Myth 2: The United States Behaves Better Than Other Nations Do.

Declarations of American exceptionalism rest on the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation, one that loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law. Americans like to think their country behaves much better than other states do, and certainly better than other great powers.

If only it were true. The United States may not have been as brutal as the worst states in world history, but a dispassionate look at the historical record belies most claims about America's moral superiority.

For starters, the United States has been one of the most expansionist powers in modern history. It began as 13 small colonies clinging to the Eastern Seaboard, but eventually expanded across North America, seizing Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California from Mexico in 1846. Along the way, it eliminated most of the native population and confined the survivors to impoverished reservations. By the mid-19th century, it had pushed Britain out of the Pacific Northwest and consolidated its hegemony over the Western Hemisphere.

The United States has fought numerous wars since then -- starting several of them -- and its wartime conduct has hardly been a model of restraint. The 1899-1902 conquest of the Philippines killed some 200,000 to 400,000 Filipinos, most of them civilians, and the United States and its allies did not hesitate to dispatch some 305,000 German and 330,000 Japanese civilians through aerial bombing during World War II, mostly through deliberate campaigns against enemy cities. No wonder Gen. Curtis LeMay, who directed the bombing campaign against Japan, told an aide, "If the U.S. lost the war, we would be prosecuted as war criminals." The United States dropped more than 6 million tons of bombs during the Indochina war, including tons of napalm and lethal defoliants like Agent Orange, and it is directly responsible for the deaths of many of the roughly 1 million civilians who died in that war.

More recently, the U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua killed some 30,000 Nicaraguans, a percentage of their population equivalent to 2 million dead Americans. U.S. military action has led directly or indirectly to the deaths of 250,000 Muslims over the past three decades (and that's a low-end estimate, not counting the deaths resulting from the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s), including the more than 100,000 people who died following the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. U.S. drones and Special Forces are going after suspected terrorists in at least five countries at present and have killed an unknown number of innocent civilians in the process. Some of these actions may have been necessary to make Americans more prosperous and secure. But while Americans would undoubtedly regard such acts as indefensible if some foreign country were doing them to us, hardly any U.S. politicians have questioned these policies. Instead, Americans still wonder, "Why do they hate us?"

The United States talks a good game on human rights and international law, but it has refused to sign most human rights treaties, is not a party to the International Criminal Court, and has been all too willing to cozy up to dictators -- remember our friend Hosni Mubarak? -- with abysmal human rights records. If that were not enough, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the George W. Bush administration's reliance on waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, and preventive detention should shake America's belief that it consistently acts in a morally superior fashion. Obama's decision to retain many of these policies suggests they were not a temporary aberration.

The United States never conquered a vast overseas empire or caused millions to die through tyrannical blunders like China's Great Leap Forward or Stalin's forced collectivization. And given the vast power at its disposal for much of the past century, Washington could certainly have done much worse. But the record is clear: U.S. leaders have done what they thought they had to do when confronted by external dangers, and they paid scant attention to moral principles along the way. The idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous may be comforting to Americans; too bad it's not true.

Myth 3: America's Success Is Due to Its Special Genius.

The United States has enjoyed remarkable success, and Americans tend to portray their rise to world power as a direct result of the political foresight of the Founding Fathers, the virtues of the U.S. Constitution, the priority placed on individual liberty, and the creativity and hard work of the American people. In this narrative, the United States enjoys an exceptional global position today because it is, well, exceptional.

There is more than a grain of truth to this version of American history. It's not an accident that immigrants came to America in droves in search of economic opportunity, and the "melting pot" myth facilitated the assimilation of each wave of new Americans. America's scientific and technological achievements are fully deserving of praise and owe something to the openness and vitality of the American political order.

But America's past success is due as much to good luck as to any uniquely American virtues. The new nation was lucky that the continent was lavishly endowed with natural resources and traversed by navigable rivers. It was lucky to have been founded far from the other great powers and even luckier that the native population was less advanced and highly susceptible to European diseases. Americans were fortunate that the European great powers were at war for much of the republic's early history, which greatly facilitated its expansion across the continent, and its global primacy was ensured after the other great powers fought two devastating world wars. This account of America's rise does not deny that the United States did many things right, but it also acknowledges that America's present position owes as much to good fortune as to any special genius or "manifest destiny."

Myth 4: The United States Is Responsible for Most of the Good in the World.

Americans are fond of giving themselves credit for positive international developments. President Bill Clinton believed the United States was "indispensable to the forging of stable political relations," and the late Harvard University political scientist Samuel P. Huntington thought U.S. primacy was central "to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world." Journalist Michael Hirsh has gone even further, writing in his book At War With Ourselves that America's global role is "the greatest gift the world has received in many, many centuries, possibly all of recorded history." Scholarly works such as Tony Smith's America's Mission and G. John Ikenberry's Liberal Leviathan emphasize America's contribution to the spread of democracy and its promotion of a supposedly liberal world order. Given all the high-fives American leaders have given themselves, it is hardly surprising that most Americans see their country as an overwhelmingly positive force in world affairs.

Once again, there is something to this line of argument, just not enough to make it entirely accurate. The United States has made undeniable contributions to peace and stability in the world over the past century, including the Marshall Plan, the creation and management of the Bretton Woods system, its rhetorical support for the core principles of democracy and human rights, and its mostly stabilizing military presence in Europe and the Far East. But the belief that all good things flow from Washington's wisdom overstates the U.S. contribution by a wide margin.

For starters, though Americans watching Saving Private Ryan or Patton may conclude that the United States played the central role in vanquishing Nazi Germany, most of the fighting was in Eastern Europe and the main burden of defeating Hitler's war machine was borne by the Soviet Union. Similarly, though the Marshall Plan and NATO played important roles in Europe's post-World War II success, Europeans deserve at least as much credit for rebuilding their economies, constructing a novel economic and political union, and moving beyond four centuries of sometimes bitter rivalry. Americans also tend to think they won the Cold War all by themselves, a view that ignores the contributions of other anti-Soviet adversaries and the courageous dissidents whose resistance to communist rule produced the "velvet revolutions" of 1989.

Moreover, as Godfrey Hodgson recently noted in his sympathetic but clear-eyed book, The Myth of American Exceptionalism, the spread of liberal ideals is a global phenomenon with roots in the Enlightenment, and European philosophers and political leaders did much to advance the democratic ideal. Similarly, the abolition of slavery and the long effort to improve the status of women owe more to Britain and other democracies than to the United States, where progress in both areas trailed many other countries. Nor can the United States claim a global leadership role today on gay rights, criminal justice, or economic equality -- Europe's got those areas covered.

Finally, any honest accounting of the past half-century must acknowledge the downside of American primacy. The United States has been the major producer of greenhouse gases for most of the last hundred years and thus a principal cause of the adverse changes that are altering the global environment. The United States stood on the wrong side of the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa and backed plenty of unsavory dictatorships -- including Saddam Hussein's -- when short-term strategic interests dictated. Americans may be justly proud of their role in creating and defending Israel and in combating global anti-Semitism, but its one-sided policies have also prolonged Palestinian statelessness and sustained Israel's brutal occupation.

Bottom line: Americans take too much credit for global progress and accept too little blame for areas where U.S. policy has in fact been counterproductive. Americans are blind to their weak spots, and in ways that have real-world consequences. Remember when Pentagon planners thought U.S. troops would be greeted in Baghdad with flowers and parades? They mostly got RPGs and IEDs instead.

Myth 5: God Is on Our Side.

A crucial component of American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States has a divinely ordained mission to lead the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan told audiences that there was "some divine plan" that had placed America here, and once quoted Pope Pius XII saying, "Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." Bush offered a similar view in 2004, saying, "We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." The same idea was expressed, albeit less nobly, in Otto von Bismarck's alleged quip that "God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States."

Confidence is a valuable commodity for any country. But when a nation starts to think it enjoys the mandate of heaven and becomes convinced that it cannot fail or be led astray by scoundrels or incompetents, then reality is likely to deliver a swift rebuke. Ancient Athens, Napoleonic France, imperial Japan, and countless other countries have succumbed to this sort of hubris, and nearly always with catastrophic results.

Despite America's many successes, the country is hardly immune from setbacks, follies, and boneheaded blunders. If you have any doubts about that, just reflect on how a decade of ill-advised tax cuts, two costly and unsuccessful wars, and a financial meltdown driven mostly by greed and corruption have managed to squander the privileged position the United States enjoyed at the end of the 20th century. Instead of assuming that God is on their side, perhaps Americans should heed Abraham Lincoln's admonition that our greatest concern should be "whether we are on God's side."

Given the many challenges Americans now face, from persistent unemployment to the burden of winding down two deadly wars, it's unsurprising that they find the idea of their own exceptionalism comforting -- and that their aspiring political leaders have been proclaiming it with increasing fervor. Such patriotism has its benefits, but not when it leads to a basic misunderstanding of America's role in the world. This is exactly how bad decisions get made.

America has its own special qualities, as all countries do, but it is still a state embedded in a competitive global system. It is far stronger and richer than most, and its geopolitical position is remarkably favorable. These advantages give the United States a wider range of choice in its conduct of foreign affairs, but they don't ensure that its choices will be good ones. Far from being a unique state whose behavior is radically different from that of other great powers, the United States has behaved like all the rest, pursuing its own self-interest first and foremost, seeking to improve its relative position over time, and devoting relatively little blood or treasure to purely idealistic pursuits. Yet, just like past great powers, it has convinced itself that it is different, and better, than everyone else.

International politics is a contact sport, and even powerful states must compromise their political principles for the sake of security and prosperity. Nationalism is also a powerful force, and it inevitably highlights the country's virtues and sugarcoats its less savory aspects.

But if Americans want to be truly exceptional, they might start by viewing the whole idea of "American exceptionalism" with a much more skeptical eye.

Links to disaster capitalism

The term disaster capitalism reflects the strategy of neoliberal elite to use political unrest, natural disasters and other, including manufactured, social crisis such as the result of color revolution in Serbia, Libya, Ukraine and other countries for plunder. In his article Debt and deficit as shock therapy ( Asia Times, Nov 06, 2013) Ismael Hossein-zadeh wrote:

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.

When Naomi Klein published her ground-breaking book The Shock Doctrine (2007), which compellingly demonstrated how neoliberal policy makers take advantage of overwhelming crisis times to privatize public property and carry out austerity programs, most economists and media pundits scoffed at her arguments as overstating her case. Real world economic developments have since strongly reinforced her views.

Using the unnerving 2008 financial crash, the ensuing long recession and the recurring specter of debt default, the financial oligarchy and their proxies in the governments of core capitalist countries have embarked on an unprecedented economic coup d'état against the people, the ravages of which include extensive privatization of the public sector, systematic application of neoliberal austerity economics and radical redistribution of resources from the bottom to the top. Despite the truly historical and paradigm-shifting importance of these ominous developments, their discussion remains altogether outside the discourse of mainstream economics.

The fact that neoliberal economists and politicians have been cheering these brutal assaults on social safety-net programs should not be surprising. What is regrettable, however, is the liberal/Keynesian economists' and politicians' glaring misdiagnosis of the plague of austerity economics: it is all the "right-wing" Republicans' or Tea Partiers' fault, we are told; the Obama administration and the Democratic Party establishment, including the labor bureaucracy, have no part or responsibility in the relentless drive to austerity economics and privatization of public property.

Keynesian and other liberal economists and politicians routinely blame the abandonment of the New Deal and/or Social-Democratic economics exclusively on Ronald Reagan's supply-side economics, on neoliberal ideology or on economists at the University of Chicago. Indeed, they characterize the 2008 financial collapse, the ensuing long recession and the recurring debt/budgetary turmoil on "bad" policies of "neoliberal capitalism," not on class policies of capitalism per se. [1]

Evidence shows, however, that

Indeed, it could be argued that, due to his uniquely misleading status or station in the socio-political structure of the United States, and equally unique Orwellian characteristics or personality, Obama has served the interests of the powerful financial oligarchy much better or more effectively than any Republican president could do, or has done - including Ronald Reagan. By the same token, he has more skillfully hoodwinked the public and harmed their interests, both in terms of economics and individual/constitutional rights, than any of his predecessors.

Ronald Reagan did not make any bones about the fact that he championed the cause of neoliberal supply-side economics. This meant that opponents of his economic agenda knew where he stood, and could craft their own strategies accordingly.

By contrast, Obama publicly portrays himself as a liberal opponent of neoliberal austerity policies (as he frequently bemoans the escalating economic inequality and occasionally sheds crocodile tears over the plight of the unemployed and economically hard-pressed), while in practice he is a major team player in the debt "crisis" game of charade, designed as a shock therapy scheme in the escalation of austerity economics. [5]

No president or major policy maker before Obama ever dared to touch the hitherto untouchable (and still self-financing) Social Security and Medicare trust funds. He was the first to dare to make these bedrock social programs subject to austerity cuts, as reflected, for example, in his proposed federal budget plan for fiscal year 2014, initially released in April 2013. Commenting on this unprecedented inclusion of entitlements in the social programs to be cut, Christian Science Monitor wrote (on April 9, 2013): "President Obama's new budget proposal ... is a sign that Washington's attitude toward entitlement reform is slowly shifting, with prospects for changes to Social Security and Medicare becoming increasingly likely."

Obama has since turned that "likelihood" of undermining Social Security and Medicare into reality. He did so by taking the first steps in turning the budget crisis that led to government shutdown in the first half of October into negotiations over entitlement cuts. In an interview on the second day of the shutdown (October 3rd), he called for eliminating "unnecessary" social programs and discussing cuts in "long-term entitlement spending". [6]

Five days later on October 5th, Obama repeated his support for cutting Social Security and Medicare in a press conference, reassuring congressional Republicans of his willingness to agree to these cuts (as well as to cuts in corporate tax rates from 35% to 28%) if the Republicans voted to increase the government's debt limit: "If anybody doubts my sincerity about that, I've put forward proposals in my budget to reform entitlement programs for the long haul and reform our tax code in a way that would ... lower rates for corporations". [7]

Only then, that is, only after Obama agreed to collaborate with the Republicans on ways to cut both the entitlements and corporate tax rates, the Republican budget negotiators agreed to the higher budget ceiling and the reopening of the government. The consensus bill that ended the government shutdown extends the automatic across-the-board "sequester" cuts that began last March into the current year. This means that "the budget negotiations in the coming weeks will take as their starting point the $1 trillion in cuts over the next eight years mandated by the sequestration process". [8]

And so, once again, the great compromiser gave in, and gave away - all at the expense of his (unquestioning) supporters.

To prepare the public for the long-awaited attack on Social Security, Medicare and other socially vital programs, the bipartisan ruling establishment has in recent years invented a very useful hobgoblin to scare the people into submission: occasional budget/debt crises and the specter or the actual pain of government shutdown. As Sheldon Richman recently pointed out:

"Wherever we look, there are hobgoblins. The latest is … DEFAULT. Oooooo.

Apparently the threats of international terror and China rising aren't enough to keep us alarmed and eager for the tether. These things do tend to wear thin with time. But good old default can be taken off the shelf every now and then. It works like a charm every time.

No, no, not default! Anything but default!". [9]

Economic policy makers in the White House and the Congress have invoked the debt/deficit hobgoblin at least three times in less than two years: the 2011 debt-ceiling panic, the 2012 "fiscal cliff" and, more recently, the 2013 debt-ceiling/government shutdown crisis - all designed to frighten the people into accepting the slashing of vital social programs. Interestingly, when Wall Street speculators needed trillions of dollars to be bailed out, or as the Fed routinely showers these gamblers with nearly interest-free money through the so-called quantitative easing, debt hobgoblins were/are nowhere to be seen!

The outcome of the latest (2013) "debt crisis management," which led to the 16-day government shutdown (October 1-16), confirmed the view that the "crisis" was essentially bogus. Following the pattern of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 budget/debt negotiations, the bipartisan policy makers kept the phony crisis alive by simply pushing its "resolution" several months back to early 2014. In other words, they did not bury the hobgoblin; they simply shelved it for a while to be taken off when it is needed to, once again, frighten the people into accepting additional austerity cuts - including Social Security and Medicare.

The outcome of the budget "crisis" also highlighted the fact that, behind the apparent bipartisan gridlock and mutual denunciations, there is a "fundamental consensus between these parties for destroying all of the social gains won by the working class over the course of the twentieth century". [10] To the extent there were disagreements, they were mainly over the tone, the temp, the magnitude, the tactics, and the means, not the end. At the heart of all the (largely contrived) bipartisan bickering was how best to escalate, justify or camouflage the brutal cuts in the vitally necessary social spending.

The left/liberal supporters of Obama, who bemoan his being "pressured" or "coerced" by the Tea Party Republicans into right-wing compromises, should look past his liberal/populist posturing. Evidence shows that, contrary to Barack Obama's claims, his presidential campaigns were heavily financed by the Wall Street financial titans and their influential lobbyists. Large Wall Street contributions began pouring into his campaign only after he was thoroughly vetted by powerful Wall Street interests, through rigorous Q & A sessions by the financial oligarchy, and was deemed to be their "ideal" candidate for presidency. [11]

Obama's unquestioning followers should also note that, to the extent that he is being "pressured" by his political opponents into compromises/concessions, he has no one to blame but himself: while the Republican Party systematically mobilizes its social base through offshoots like Tea Partiers, Obama tends to deceive, demobilize and disarm his base of supporters. Instead of mobilizing and encouraging his much wider base of supporters (whose more numerous voices could easily drown the shrill voices of Tea Partiers) to political action, he frequently pleads with them to "be patient," and "keep hope alive."

As Andre Damon and Barry Grey have keenly observed, "There was not a single mass organization that denounced the [government] shutdown or opposed it. The trade unions are completely allied with the Obama administration and support its policies of austerity and war". [12]

Obama's supporters also need to open their eyes to the fact that, as I have shown in an earlier essay, [13] Obama harbors ideological affinities that are more in tune with Ronald Reagan than with FDR. This is clearly revealed in his book, The Audacity of Hope, where he shows his disdain for

"...those who still champion the old time religion, defending every New Deal and Great Society program from Republican encroachment, achieving ratings of 100% from the liberal interest groups. But these efforts seem exhausted…bereft of energy and new ideas needed to address the changing circumstances of globalization". [14]

(Her own shortcomings aside, Hillary Clinton was right when, in her bid for the White House against Obama, she pointed out that Obama's economic philosophy was inspired largely by Reagan' supply-side economics. However, because the Wall Street and/or the ruling establishment had already decided that Obama was the preferred choice for the White House, the corporate media let Clinton's comment pass without dwelling much on the reasons behind it; which could readily be examined by simply browsing through his own book.)

The repeated claim that the entitlements are the main drag on the federal budget is false - for at least three reasons. To begin with, the assertion that the large number of retiring baby-boomers is a major culprit in budgetary shortfalls is bogus because while it is true that baby-boomers are retiring in larger than usual numbers they do not come from another planet; before retiring, they also worked and contributed to the entitlement trust fund in larger than usual numbers. This means that, over time, the outflow and inflow of baby-boomers' funds into the entitlement trust fund must necessarily even each other out.

Second, even assuming that this claim is valid, the "problem" can easily be fixed (for many years to come) by simply raising the ceiling of taxable income for Social Security from the current level of $113,700 to a slightly higher level, let's say, $140,000.

Third, the bipartisan policy makers' hue and cry about the alleged budget/debt crisis is also false because if it were true, they would not shy away from facing the real culprits for the crisis: the uncontrollable and escalating health care cost, the equally uncontrollable and escalating military/war/security cost, the massive transfer of private/Wall Street debt to public debt in response to the 2008 financial crash, and the considerable drop since the early 1980s in the revenue side of the government budget, which is the result of the drastic overhaul of the taxation system in favor of the wealthy.

A major scheme of the financial oligarchy and their bagmen in the government to substitute the New Deal with neoliberal economics has (since the early 1980s) been to deliberately create budget deficits in order to justify cuts in social spending. This sinister feat has often been accomplished through a combination of tax cuts for the wealthy and spending hikes for military/wars/security programs.

David Stockman, President Reagan's budget director and one of the main architects of his supply-side tax cuts, confirmed the Reagan administration's policy of simultaneously raising military spending and cutting taxes on the wealthy in order to force cuts in non-military public spending: "My aim had always been to force down the size of the domestic welfare state to the point where it could be adequately funded with the revenues after the tax cut". [15] That insidious policy of intentionally creating budget deficits in order to force neoliberal austerity cuts on vital social needs has continued to this day - under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Although the bipartisan tactics of austerity cuts are subtle and obfuscating, they can be illustrated with the help of a few simple (hypothetical) numbers: first (and behind the scenes), the two sides agree on cutting non-military public spending by, let's say, $100 billion. To reach this goal, Republicans would ask for a $200 billion cut, for example.

The Obama administration/Democratic Party, pretending to represent the poor and working families, would vehemently object that this is too much ... and that all they can offer is $50 billion, again for example. Next, the Republican negotiators would come up with their own counter-offer of, let's say, $150 billion. Then come months of fake haggling and passionate speeches in defense of their positions ... until they meet eventually half way between $50 billion and $150 billion, which has been their hidden goal ($100 billion) from the beginning.

This is, of course, an overly simplified hypothetical example. But it captures, in broad outlines, the essence of the political game that the Republican and Democratic parties - increasingly both representing big finance/big business - play on the American people. All the while the duplicitous corporate media plays along with this political charade in order to confuse the public by creating the impression that there are no alternatives to austerity cuts, and that all the bipartisan public bickering over debt/budgetary issues vividly represents "democracy in action."

The atmosphere of panic and anxiety surrounding the debt/deficit negotiations is fabricated because the central claim behind the feigned crisis that "there is no money" for jobs, education, health care, Social Security, Medicare, housing, pensions and the like is a lie. Generous subsidies to major Wall Street players since the 2008 market crash has lifted financial markets to new highs, as evinced by the Dow Jones Industrial Average's new bubble above the 15000 mark.

The massive cuts in employment, wages and benefits, as well as in social spending, have resulted in an enormous transfer of economic resources from the bottom up. The wealthiest 1% of Americans now own more than 40% of the entire country's wealth; while the bottom 80% own only 7%. Likewise, the richest 1% now takes home 24% of the country's total income, compared to only 9% four decades ago. [16]

This means that there really is no need for the brutal austerity cuts as there really is no shortage of financial resources. The purported lack of resources is due to the fact that they are concentrated largely in the deep coffers of the financial oligarchy.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007) and Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser's Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). His latest book, Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis: Parasitic Finance Capital, will be forthcoming from Routledge Books.

Pepe Escobar provided an interesting analysis of Libya case in Disaster capitalism swoops over Libya [Voltaire Network]:

Think of the new Libya as the latest spectacular chapter in the Disaster Capitalism series. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, we had R2P, short for "responsibility to protect". Instead of neo-conservatives, we had humanitarian imperialists.

Voltaire Network | Sâo Paulo (Brazil)

But the target is the same: regime change. And the project is the same: to completely dismantle and privatize a nation that was not integrated into turbo-capitalism; to open another (profitable) land of opportunity for turbocharged neo-liberalism. The whole thing is especially handy because it is smack in the middle of a nearly global recession.

It will take some time; Libyan oil won’t totally return to the market within 18 months. But there’s the reconstruction of everything the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed (well, not much of what the Pentagon bombed in 2003 was reconstructed in Iraq ...).

Anyway - from oil to rebuilding - in thesis juicy business opportunities loom. France’s neo-Napoleonic Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David of Arabia Cameron believe they will be especially well positioned to profit from NATO’s victory. Yet there’s no guarantee the new Libyan bonanza will be enough to lift both former colonial powers (neo-colonials?) out of recession.

President Sarkozy in particular will milk the business opportunities for French companies for all they’re worth - part of his ambitious agenda of "strategic redeployment" of France in the Arab world. A compliant French media are gloating that this was "his" war - spinning that he decided to arm the rebels on the ground with French weaponry, in close cooperation with Qatar, including a key rebel commando unit that went by sea from Misrata to Tripoli last Saturday, at the start of "Operation Siren".

Well, he certainly saw the opening when Muammar Gaddafi’s chief of protocol defected to Paris in October 2010. That’s when the whole regime change drama started to be incubated.

Bombs for oil

As previously noted (see "Welcome to Libya’s ’democracy’", Asia Times Online, August 24) the vultures are already circling Tripoli to grab (and monopolize) the spoils. And yes - most of the action has to do with oil deals, as in this stark assertion by Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at the "rebel" Arabian Gulf Oil Company: "We don’t have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil."

These three happen to be crucial members of the BRICS group of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which are actually growing while the Atlanticist, NATO-bombing economies are either stuck in stagnation or recession. The top four BRICs also happen to have abstained from approving UN Security Council resolution 1973, the no-fly zone scam that metamorphosed into NATO bringing regime change from above. They saw right through it from the beginning.

To make matters worse (for them), only three days before the Pentagon’s Africom launched its first 150-plus Tomahawks over Libya, Colonel Gaddafi gave an interview to German TV stressing that if the country were attacked, all energy contracts would be transferred to Russian, Indian and Chinese companies.

So the winners in the oil bonanza are already designated: NATO members plus Arab monarchies. Among the companies involved, British Petroleum (BP), France’s Total and the Qatar national oil company. For Qatar - which dispatched jet fighters and recruiters to the front lines, trained "rebels" in exhaustive combat techniques, and is already managing oil sales in eastern Libya - the war will reveal itself to be a very wise investment decision.

Prior to the months-long crisis that is in its end game now with the rebels in the capital, Tripoli, Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels per day. Once resumed, this could reap Tripoli’s new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels.

The "rebels" of new Libya better not mess with China. Five months ago, China’s official policy was all ready to call for a ceasefire; if that had happened, Gaddafi would still control more than half of Libya. Yet Beijing - never a fan of violent regime change - for the moment is exercising extreme restraint.

After a Libyan "rebel" official warned that Chinese oil companies could lose out after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, China urged Libya to protect its investments and said their oil trade benefited both countries.

Wen Zhongliang, the deputy head of the Ministry of Trade, willfully observed, "Libya will continue to protect the interests and rights of Chinese investors and we hope to continue investment and economic cooperation." Official statements are piling up emphasizing "mutual economic cooperation".

Last week, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the dodgy Transitional National Council (TNC), told Xinhua that all deals and contracts agreed with the Gaddafi regime would be honored - but Beijing is taking no chances.

Libya supplied no more than 3% of China’s oil imports in 2010. Angola is a much more crucial supplier. But China is still Libya’s top oil customer in Asia. Moreover, China could be very helpful in the infrastructure rebuilding front, or in the technology export - no less than 75 Chinese companies with 36,000 employees were already on the ground before the outbreak of the tribal/civil war, swiftly evacuated in less than three days.

The Russians - from Gazprom to Tafnet - had billions of dollars invested in Libyan projects; Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and the construction company Odebrecht also had interests there. It’s still unclear what will happen to them. The director general of the Russia-Libya Business Council, Aram Shegunts, is extremely worried: "Our companies will lose everything because NATO will prevent them from doing business in Libya."

Italy seems to have passed the "rebel" version of "you’re either with us or without us". Energy giant ENI apparently won’t be affected, as Premier Silvio "Bunga Bunga" Berlusconi pragmatically dumped his previous very close pal Gaddafi at the start of the Africom/NATO bombing spree.

ENI’s directors are confident Libya’s oil and gas flows to southern Italy will resume before winter. And the Libyan ambassador in Italy, Hafed Gaddur, reassured Rome that all Gaddafi-era contracts will be honored. Just in case, Berlusconi will meet the TNC’s prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, this Thursday in Milan.

Bin Laden to the rescue

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu - of the famed "zero problems with our neighbors" policy - has also been gushing praise on the former "rebels" turned powers-that-be. Eyeing the post-Gaddafi business bonanza as well, Ankara - as NATO’s eastern flank - ended up helping to impose a naval blockade on the Gaddafi regime, carefully cultivated the TNC, and in July formally recognized it as the government of Libya. Business "rewards" loom.

Then there’s the crucial plot; how the House of Saud is going to profit from having been instrumental in setting up a friendly regime in Libya, possibly peppered with Salafi notables; one of the key reasons for the Saudi onslaught - which included a fabricated vote at the Arab League - was the extreme bad blood between Gaddafi and King Abdullah since the run-up towards the war on Iraq in 2002.

It’s never enough to stress the cosmic hypocrisy of an ultra-regressive absolute monarchy/medieval theocracy - which invaded Bahrain and repressed its native Shi’ites - saluting what could be construed as a pro-democracy movement in Northern Africa.

Anyway, it’s time to party. Expect the Saudi Bin Laden Group to reconstruct like mad all over Libya - eventually turning the (looted) Bab al-Aziziyah into a monster, luxury Mall of Tripolitania.

Links to American exceptionalism

American exceptionalism should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism. and as any other nationalism is it is the fundament of empire building. Along with Neoliberalism it is the main force that shapes predator state behavior of the USA in foreign affairs. Like in case of Medieval Crusades which plunder Egypt, Iraq as well as plunder Constantinople and destroyed Byzantium empire it has distinct religious overtones and can be called "Democracy Crusade" and US neocons can be called "democracy crusaders".

The first deep analyses of American exceptionalism was done by Niebuhr from the religious positions in his famous book The Irony of American History. Niebuhr as a theologian considered it to be a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power. In his opinion "Messianic consciousness" which constitute the core of American exceptionalism, was partially inherited form religious dogmas of early religious sects which came to colonize America.

But while its origin is different in all major manifestations it is identical to far right nationalism.

The policy which oppose exceptionalism is often called Noninterventionism

Noninterventionism is a rather clunky and unappealing label for a set of very appealing ideas: that the U.S. should mind its own business, act with restraint, respect other nations, refrain from unnecessary violence, and pursue peace. If future administrations took just a few of these as guiding principles for the conduct of foreign policy, America and the world would both be better off.

There were several important thinkers who contributed to understand of this complex phenomena:

See also neo-conservatism which is a related phenomenon. In this case the pre-eminence of the USA as the sole superpower needs to be maintained at all costs.

Recent events in Ukraine led to a disappointing conclusion: nationalists can behave as compradors: as enthusiastic servants of the US neoliberal in plunder of their own country by international banking cartel. Ukraine is one example, Serbia and Georgia are other but very similar examples of this new type of plunder...

Niebuhr's contribution to understanding of American exceptionalism

In his brilliant foreword to Niebuhr's book Bacevich noted:

In Niebuhr's view, America's rise to power derived less from divine favor than from good fortune combines with a fierce determination to convert that good fortune in wealth and power. The good fortune cane in the form of vast landscape, rich in resources, ripe for exploitation, and apparently insulated from the bloody cockpit of [European] power politics. The determination found expression in a strategy of commercial and territorial expansionism that proved staggeringly successful, evidence not of superior virtue but of shrewdness punctuated with a considerable capacity for ruthlessness.

In describing America's rise to power Niebuhr does not shrink from using words like "hegemony" and "imperialism". His point is not to tag the United States with responsibility for all the world's evils. Rather, it is to suggest that it does not differ from other great powers as much as Americans may imagine.

...Niebuhr has little patience for those who portray the United States as acting on God's behalf. "All men are naturally inclined to obscure the morally ambiguous element in this political cause by investing it with religious sanctity," he once observed. " This is why religion is more frequently a source of confusion then of light in the political realm.". In the United States, he continued "The tendency to equate our political [goals] with our Christian convictions cause politics to generate idolatry."

Michael Ignatieff contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In the introduction to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Michael Ignatieff identifies three main types of exceptionalism:

I would add to it

The contributors to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights use Ignatieff's essay as a starting point to discuss specific types of exceptionalism -- America's approach to capital punishment and to free speech, for example -- or to explore the social, cultural, and institutional roots of exceptionalism.

Anatol Lieven contribution

The second important contribution to to the studies of American exceptionalism is Anatol Lieven. He correctly linked American exceptionalism with far right nationalism which Wikipedia defined as

Far-right politics or extreme-right politics are right-wing politics to the right of the mainstream centre right on the traditional left-right spectrum. They often involve a focus on tradition as opposed to policies and customs that are regarded as reflective of modernism. They tend to include disregard or disdain for egalitarianism, if not overt support for social inequality and social hierarchy, elements of social conservatism and opposition to most forms of liberalism and socialism.

"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes in his probably best book on the American Exceptionalism (America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism ) "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism." In a way US neocons, who commanded key position in Bush II and Barack Obama administrations are not that different from Israeli Likud Party.

While neocons definitely played an important role in shaping the US policy immediately after 9/11, the origins of aggressive U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 also reflect controversial character of the US national identity, which according to Anatol Lieven embraces two contradictory features.

Both of those tendencies are much older then 9/11. The first aggressive, expansionist war by the US was the war of 1812. See American Loyalists, The Most Important War You Probably Know Nothing About - By James Traub Foreign Policy

The War of 1812 matters because it was America’s first war of choice. The United States did not have to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, to survive as a nation and indeed President James Madison did not want to. The newly founded United States was growing westward but the “war hawks” in Congress pressed for a conflict with America’s former colonial masters in the hopes of gaining even more territory to the north. The term “hawk” was coined in the run-up to the War of 1812 and the hawks of U.S. foreign policy have been with us ever since.

The War of 1812 was America’s first neocon war. With an audacity that would become familiar, the war hawks appealed to a combination of personal pride — the British navy was forcibly conscripting Americans — and the prospect of material gain — the absorption of British Canada — wrapped up in love of country. No one said the conquest of Canada would be a “cakewalk,” but the hawks were confident the Americans would be greeted as liberators.

These two mutually-excusive impulses caused wild oscillations of the US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and influenced the nature of U.S. support for Israel. Due to those oscillations those two contradictory impulses are undermining the U.S. foreign policy credibility in the eyes of the worlds and complicates reaching important national objectives.

Some attribute the term “American Exceptionalism” to Alexis de Tocqueville — though he never penned the phrase. In reality this term originated by German Marxists who were trying to explain weakness of worker movement in the USA. The idiom was popularized by neo-conservative pundits (aka former Trotskyites) soon after WWII.

In reality the term "American Exceptionalism is nothing but a disguised, more "politically correct" reference to America's Janus-faced nationalism. It has some mystical components like long vanished under the hill of financial oligarchy the "American dream" and its German-style refrain "God bless America". What is interesting about "God bless America" is that most founding fathers were Deists, profoundly critical of organized religions and they sought to separate personal -- what many of them described as mythologies -- from government. They were profoundly respectful of personal religious belief, but saw government as necessarily secular if freedom was to prevail. Not until the religious revivals of the 1820s through the 1860s can you find many identifying religion as a component of American exceptionalism.

As Martin Woollacott aptly noted in his review of Anatol Lieven book America, Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism ( Guardian):

He cuts through the conformist political rhetoric of America, the obfuscating special language of the "American dream", or the "American exception", which infects even foreign accounts. Even to use the word "nationalism" to describe an American phenomenon is, as he notes, not normal. Americans are not "nationalist", they are "patriotic". It is a patriotism which too often leaves no room for the patriotism of others, combining a theoretical care for all humanity with, in practice, an "indifference verging on contempt" for the interests and hopes of non-Americans. Nothing could be more distant from "the decent respect to the opinions of mankind" recommended to Americans in the early years of their independent existence

Lieven first paints a picture of an in some ways admirable American "civic nationalism", based on respect for the rule of law, constitutionality, democracy, and social (but not economic) equality, and a desire to spread these values in the world. But because this nationalism unrealistically holds that such "American" values can be exported at will, it blinds Americans to the different nature of other societies, sustaining the mistaken idea that if only particular rulers or classes can be displaced, "democracy" will prevail - a "decapitation" theory which contributed to the decision to attack Saddam. The American campaign to democratize other societies, Lieven says, harshly but fairly, "combines sloppiness of intellect and meanness of spirit". But, while in part mythic and not entirely rational, this side of American nationalism is of some value not only to the United States, but to the world as a whole.

...The result, Lieven argues, is that instead of the mature nationalism of a satisfied and dominant state, American nationalism is more akin to that of late developing and insecure states such as Wilhelmine Germany and Tsarist Russia.

"While America keeps a splendid and welcoming house," Lieven writes in his preface, "it also keeps a family of demons in its cellar.

His book supports Mark Twain quite to the effect that we are blessed with three things in this country, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and, thirdly, the common sense to practice neither one!

He also points at the very important side effect of Exceptionalism: "America's hypocrisy," (see for example Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair). An outstanding level of hypocrisy in the US foreign policy also is corroborated by other scholars, among them James Hillman in his recent book "A Terrible Love of War" in which he characterizes hypocrisy as quintessentially American (although British are strong competitors). Now after Snowden, Libya, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, etc we might be appear to be entering an new stage on which "The era of easy hypocrisy is over."

The regime of easy hypocrisy means that America position itself as a blessed nation created by God and (here’s the rub) therefore privileged in what actions it can take around the world and the nation that can safely ignore international norms, which are created only for suckers. It is above the international law.

We create our own reality

The source of the term, which implicitly stresses that the USA stands outside international norms and treaties and can act as it please, is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to [1]):

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[2]

This is pretty precise definition of the idea of introduced by Nazi idea of “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. Decisionism is a defining feature of any totalitarian state. By extension if you find decisionism is rational to expect other features of such states. Umberto Eco has listed fourteen attributes along with two major features: irrationalism and decisionism. Eco has them listed as attributes 2 and 3.

The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt

http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html

Fascism has an irrational element that rejects modern thought because it conflicts with traditional beliefs of the Christian religion and because fascism views communist ideology as a child of the Age of Reason and Jewish intellectuals. The Nazis were well aware that Karl Marx was a German Jew. Evolution is seen as modernist and is rejected in favor of Christian creationism. This debate is repeating itself today in American society with Christian fundamentalism attempting to gain control of state education.

Very closely related to irrationalism is “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. This is an existential element in fascism that elevates action over thought. Action is a sign of unambiguous power, and thought is associated with weakness and indecision. Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist, wrote that a decision is “(an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea).” The a priori is overshadowed by the posteriori. Actions over abstract principles, Fact over Idea, Power over pure thought, Certainty over ambiguity are the values and ideological norms that are primary in a totalitarian state.

After fleeing Germany, Marcuse wrote in 1934 a critique of German fascist society and attempted to identify those beliefs and philosophical themes found within fascist ideology. Marcuse believed that the seeds of fascism could be found in the Capitalist Democratic Liberal State, which over time mutate as Monopoly Capitalism gain control of the State as in the case of Germany. The evolution of Capitalism is also the concealed dialectic of Fascism. Those mutated liberal democratic ideas and values are betrayed by a totalitarianism based on action and force.

Using Germany as his example of a fascist society Marcuse writes:

And within the political sphere all relationships are oriented in turn toward the most extreme “crisis,” toward the decision about the “state of emergency,” of war and peace. The true possessor of power is defined as beyond all legality and legitimacy: “Sovereign is he who decides on the state of emergency.” (Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie,1922).

Sovereignty is founded on the factual power to make this decision (decisionism). The basic political relationship is the “friend-enemy relationship.” Its crisis is war, which proceeds until the enemy has been physically annihilated.

There is no social relationship that does not in a crisis turn into a political relationship. Behind all economic, social, religious, and cultural relations stands total politicization. There is no sphere of private or public life, no legal or rational court of appeal that could oppose it.
Negations, page 36.

From what social idea in Capitalistic Liberalism did this decisionism evolve? It is none other than the economic hero, the free independent entrepreneur of industrial capitalism.The idea of the charismatic, authoritarian leader is already preformed in the liberalist celebration of the gifted economic leader, the “born” executive. Negations, page 18.

The total-authoritarian state is born out of the Liberal state and the former concept of the economic leader is transformed into a Fuhrer. We can see this mutation of the concept of the “born” executive into the leader-state (Fuhrerstaat) in George Bush’s speech and actions.

An uneducated but privileged man, George Bush, has merged the idea of the CEO with that of the State Leader. But society has also made this same concatenation of ideas. He is a president of action and seen as a “strong” president. He is doer and not a thinker and his followers are proud of this persona. His opponents are “feminine” and members of the “reality based community.” Consequently, the Bush administration has attempted to engineer the executive branch to be the strongest in American history by claiming “inherent” presidential powers. It is precisely the concept of “state of emergency” that Bush has used to grab more and more state power in the name of security.

He has instituted the hyper-surveillance of Americas with the Patriot act, which is based on the same justification Nazi Law used to empower the Fuhrer. A Bush lawyer and advisor, John Yoo, wrote, Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them—regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war—a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6732484/site/newsweek/

Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist in Hitler’s Third Reich, wrote a similar justification of power for the State Leader using the concept of the “exception” in his work “Political Theology,” Hence, the thundering opening of his treatise: 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' It is a disturbingly 'realistic' view of politics, which, in the manner of Hobbes, subordinates de jure authority to de facto power: autoritas, non veritas facit legem. (The law is made by the one who has authority (i.e. power) and not the one who possesses the truth (the legitimate sovereign).)

The problem of the exception, for the constitutional jurist Schmitt, can only be resolved within the framework of a decision (an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea). Moreover, the legal act which decides what constitutes an exception is 'a decision in the true sense of the word', because a general norm, an ordinary legal prescription, 'can never encompass a total exception'. If so, then, 'the decision that a real exception exists cannot be derived entirely from this norm.' The problem of the exception, in other words, demarcates the limit of the rule of law and opens up that trans-legal space, that no-man's land of existential exigency, which is bereft of legal authority and where the decision of the sovereign abrogates the anomaly of the legal void. …against the legal positivism of his times, Schmitt seems to be arguing that not law but the sovereign, not the legal text but the political will, is the supreme authority in a state. States are not legal entities but historical polities; they are engaged in a constant battle for survival where any moment of their existence may constitute an exception, it may engender a political crisis that cannot be remedied by the application of the rule of law. From the existential priority of the sovereign over the legitimacy of the norm, it would also follow that according to Schmitt, law is subservient to politics and not autonomous of it. The Sovereignty of the Political Carl Schmitt and the Nemesis of Liberalism http://www.algonet.se/~pmanzoor/CarlSchmitt.htm

When the Bush administration argues that increased presidential power is needed to fight terrorism by suspending or overriding the constitutional protections against search and seizures, they are arguing the principles of Nazi constitutional law. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday vigorously defended the Bush administration's use of secret domestic spying and efforts to expand presidential powers, saying "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years." Talking to reporters aboard his government plane as he flew from Islamabad, Pakistan to Muscat, Oman on an overseas mission, Cheney said a contraction in the power of the presidency since the Vietnam and Watergate era must be reversed. "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it. And to some extent, that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them," he said.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/20/D8EK28B82.htmlAgainst these ever expanding powers of the State stand the once traditional individual freedoms upheld by the Liberal Democratic State. The theologian and philosopher of the Age of Reason, Immanuel Kant wrote…Human right must be kept sacred, no matter how great the sacrifice it costs the ruling powers. One cannot go only halfway and contrive a pragmatically conditioned right….All politics, rather, must bend the knee before sacred human right…

The same idea from slightly different angle is reflected in term "Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community ( Wikipedia )

Reality-based community is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. In the fall of 2004, the phrase "proud member of the reality-based community" was first used to suggest the commentator's opinions are based more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology. The term has been defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality." Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the "faith-based community" as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.

The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[1]

Commentators who use this term generally oppose former President Bush's policies and by using this term imply that Bush's policies (and, by extension, those of the conservative movement generally) were (or are) out of touch with reality. Others use the term to draw a contrast with the perceived arrogance of the Bush Administration's unilateral policies, in accordance with the aide's quote. Its popularity has prompted some conservative commentators to use the term ironically, to accuse the left-leaning "reality-based community" of ignoring reality[2].

Imperial Outreach

The Republican Party — and more particularly the neo-con wing of the party — is particularly susceptible to imperial outreach. This imperial mentality is well exemplified by Fox News reporting.

For example, Matt Lewis, a conservative political Pundit on MSNBC attacked Barack Obama for saying “Any world order that elevates one nation above another will fall flat.” In response Lewis stated:

“I think that goes against the idea of American exceptionalism…most Americans believe that America was gifted by God and is a blessed nation and therefore we are better.”

For any conservative the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is rather bemusing. America is not more democratic, more free, more enterprising, more tolerant, or more anything else be it Canada, New Zealand or for that matter Australia. America is just a bigger country and due to its size, human resources and industrial potential it the leading Western country and the owner of world reserve currency, after Great Britain became financially exhausted after WWII. That means that American Exceptionalism is simply a politically correct work for a combustible mixture of nationalism (with Christian messianism component similar to Crusades with "democracy" instead Jesus) and Jingoism. In a very deep sense this is a negation of the idea "all men are created equal" and as such is anti-American ;-). The motto of Imperial America is "All animals are equal but some are more equal then other".

America is a blessed nation as everybody in the country is an immigrant, the nation that at some point of time was freer and more prosperous than many others, but as a great Nazarene once said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

sample:

BILL MOYERS:

Here is one of those neon sentences. Quote,

"The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people," you write, "is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad."

In other words, you're saying that our foreign policy is the result of a dependence on consumer goods and credit.

ANDREW BACEVICH:

Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large - I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions - but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods.

We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless of how big they may happen to be, in order to be able to drive wherever we want to be able to drive. And we want to be able to do these things without having to think about whether or not the book's balanced at the end of the month, or the end of the fiscal year. And therefore, we want this unending line of credit.

Anti-Americanism as blowback of American exceptionalism

Quite logically the imperial actions is a source of widespread Anti-Americanism. As Ian Tyrrell noted in What is American exceptionalism

It is also important to realize that there is a “negative” version of exceptionalism, i.e. that the US has been exceptionally bad, racist, violent. While this is less a part of the common myths about American history, the attempt to compensate for American exceptionalism by emphasizing unique American evils is equally distorting. We need to think more about this matter, especially when we deal with racial divisions and gender prejudice. Is the US experience a variant on wider racial and gender patterns? While social history has provided new perspectives on the role of women, African Americans, and ethnics in the making of American history, has that new history discredited or qualified ideas of American exceptionalism?

The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by German Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism. (Actually the US had much class conflict, some Marxist parties and theorists, and a lively socialist movement, though the latter was not on the scale of, say, France and Germany.) But exceptionalism is much more than about class conflict.

Some historians prefer the terms “differences” or “uniqueness?” Are these suitable substitutes? Whatever the terminology, the implications of American difference/uniqueness have long been debated. Some have said the difference was temporary, and eventually the US would be like other countries. Others have argued that American “specialness” stems from its political, intellectual,


Export of democracy: neocolonial expansion via color revolutions

The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

~Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, 1963

Color revolution is the technology of changing the government, in the interest of particular country using as a pretext "export of democracy" or "fight with corruption". Such operations as mixture of open ("surface") actions and covert actions centered around the US embassy under the smoke screen cover of fighting for democracy, against corruption and other populist slogans.

In is important to understand that underneath "surface" actions of color revolution there is a well financed and strongly supported by State Detartment and the power of the USA three letter agencies covert military operation of "regime change". This operation involves local neoliberal fifth column, CIA, US embassy (and other Western embassies), set of pro-Western NGO, neoliberal press both inside the country and outside the country ("air support"), embassy cash for protestors delivered via diplomatic mail ("bombing country with dollars") and several similar technologies.

The technology of color revolutions was first developed by the USA in early 80th and first used in Phillipines(Colour revolution - Wikipedia). But events in Iran in 1953 also has distinct flavor of color revolution, so the technology is probably much older (The Coup 1953, The CIA, and The Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations )

One is struck with the healthy and vibrant Iranian democracy which existed before the coup. The nationalization of the oil industry was the result of a long democratic process -- not all Iranian politicians supported nationalization -- and was the result of legislative and congressional (in pre-coup Iran, called Mejlis) debates and discussions. One is struck with the futility and similarity -- then as in now -- of commercial and economic sanctions the Western powers imposed on the country short of actual intervention. One is also struck with the naked exercise of Western Imperialism by BP, the UK, and the US when all other non-invasive methods failed. To be clear nationalization was driven by the long history of officially- sanctioned business abuses and corrupt business practices of BP. Abrahamian goes into great, painstaking detail of these corrupt business practices and of how and in what manner BP systematically shortchanged the Iranian government of royalties due while the concessions were in effect while at the same time exploiting its natural resources.

It has nothing to do with peaceful change of power. In reality this is a new type of warfare, a covert operation with the active, cash-based financing ("bombing country with dollars ( delivered via diplomatic mail or other covert channels) " on neoliberal fifth column within the country (and such fifth column conveniently concentrates in the capital); bribing or intimidating politicians, government officials, key intellectuals , extensive PR-cover and direct participation of all staff of embassy (or several embassies like was the case with EuroMaidan), simultaneous highly coordinated work of three letter agencies, US embassy, set of NGOs, press, fifth column and squads of armed militants.

Great penetration up to dominance in local press is a very important, distinushing feature of color revolutions as a regime change operation. It is usually prepared in advance. It's role is very similar to air superiority in modern wars. It is presence of controlled media that allow to demoralize the government and neutralize power block (especially police and intelligence agencies) of the county.

Again, in its essence, color revolution represent a new military technology used by a powerful country (or a group of such countries). Typically the goal is to install a neoliberal regime. This is a new weapon of USA government and its development was a kind of new, neoliberal Manhattan project.

The concept was developer in early 80th and first successfully implemented in 80th People Power Revolution in Philippines and then in famous 1989 Velvet Revolution. They were also instrumental in the dissolution of the USSR (especially in separation of Baltic states and Ukraine from Russia)

The key idea of color revolution is far from new. It is essentially replicated and adapted to new conditions of neoliberal expansion the Trotskyites idea of permanent revolution. They just replaced the idea of "victory of communism" with the "victory of democracy" as the shining beacon that leads lemmings to the cliff. But generally there is one-to-one correspondence in strategy and tactic -- the same efforts for recruitment of students and unemployed of semi-employed youth (recently in EuroMaidan including especially football fanatics). The same idea of bribing part of intelligencia, expanded to part of government, military and politicians. Especially those who already have experience in clashes with police (in modern conditions the most important of such groups are far right nationalists and football ultras). In other words creating the canon fodder of color revolution.

It is "non-direct", highly disguised, but no less very effective form of aggression against sovereign states, which combine a huge injection of cash ("bombing country with dollars"), mass disinformation campaigns, cyber-measures, the use of special forces, sometimes disguised as local partisans, mobilization of local fifth column, intimidation of opponents through displays of strength and usage of ultra-right groups, pressure from Western government on legitimate government to avoid using direct means of suppressing the protest and other forms of intimidation including economic coercion. Sound familiar? Yes this is what Serbian revolution, Georgian revolution, Ukrainian Orange revolution and EuroMaidan were about to name just a few.

Among methods and technologies used in color revolutions the following should be noted and as you will see, reached a level certain perfection:

A very good summary of essential elements of color revolution was given in the post by Stephen Karganović Analogie mezi Jugoslávií a Ukrajinou (Russian translation is available at Сходство между Югославией и Украиной ИноСМИ - Все, что достойно перевода). Slightly edited Google translation follows:

The analogy between Yugoslavia and the Ukraine by Stephen Karganović

February 15, 2015 | Czech Free Press
Russian experts analyzed in detail the similarities in the methods and strategies used by the western coalition in connection with the Ukrainian crisis that has spawned and has exacerbated into brutal civil war. The same actors used those strategies developed in the 90's create the fertile soil for a brutal civil war which resulted in the destruction of the former Yugoslavia, are The reasons for such in-depth research are legion. First of all, if your not very imaginative or too arrogant enemy repeatedly acts according to the same template, knowing it provides you with a significant strategic advantage. It allows you to some extent to predict his actions and propose effective countermeasures.

Although chutzpa of western strategists undoubtedly allow to counter their schemes more effectively, however, it is very important carefully analyze the key similarities and differences in two different situation so that you are not fighting the last war. Here are key elements of the color revolution template:

  1. The ethnic and religious fragmentation. The starting point of any color revolution is Identification of the usable social tensions and their systematic aggravation so that that at the end they can serve as a detonator of the planned crisis. This means mutual divide constitutive of the community, with an emphasis on what sets them apart, and at the same time reducing the weight of what they have in common.

    In Yugoslavia this strategy began be carried out long before the visible signs of the crisis, forming of new ethnic identities (Muslim, Montenegrin and Macedonian) was financed and supported as well as separatist aspirations were systematically encouragement and refined in the context of the existing ones (especially among the Croats and Slovenians). The Ukrainian identity is also an artificial construction, which is defined not positively, but primarily in a hate of all Russians, as a militant negation of all Russian culture and language. In Ukraine, as before, in Yugoslavia, existing religious cleft between the Catholics and the Orthodox part of the country was also successfully used to increase, deepen and sharpen the existing animosity.

  2. Deceptive by promise higher standard of living and creation of various material temptations to support the politically desired behavior.

    In the former Yugoslavia, where there was by the end of the 80. years of a decent standard of living, has been used in the prospects for an even better life, which would have followed the dissolution of the socialist state, as a bait to encourage separatist tendencies. Yugoslavia Catholic west was promised to increase the well-being to the level of Germany, when they decide to separate and commit to the "civilizational choice" (nearly identical phrase was used in the context of Ukraine) in favor of the integration with EU. Muslims in Bosnia and in Kosovo were promised great benefit from close connection to the rich Islamic countries. In Ukraine the EuroMaidan events were triggered by the illusion of rapid inclusion into the European union as associated ability to travel to the Western countries without visa and dramatic raise of standard of living.

    The majority of the population in western and central Ukraine, who have responded positively to these fake prospects of improving their standard of living and totally failed to realize gravity of the real economic and social transition, and more importantly, didn't realize the existence of the strong "no new members" trend in the EU. As a result they were forced to act on the basis of completely unfounded assumptions.

  3. Control of MSM in the target countries for the purpose of influencing the perception and behavior of the masses.

    The penetration of western influences in the media space in the former Yugoslavia, the pioneer of which was Soros, started immediately as soon as the political liberalization at the end of the 80th allow it. From the early 90's. years, when the conflict was the feeded mainly from abroad and did not yet became self sustained, a big part of the local media in all of the Yugoslav republics fall under the direct control of the western owners. A similar transfer of MSM into western hands occurred in Ukraine during the last two decades, where before EuroMaidan all the major MSM including TV channels were under the firm control of the controlled by the west oligarchs such as Poroshenko and kolomyski. all of them simultaneously Promoted the almost uniform and factually incorrect narrative about the benefits that would come from a political alliance EU and NATO and the EU, and total alienation from Russia.

  4. As in Ukraine, as in Yugoslavia, there was a certain core of the population, which proved to be resistant to brainwashing and continues to hold its own narrative. It was politically marginalized.

    While those people Radically reject these false ideas, which were designed to guarantee the acceptance of the new political arrangement under the iron heel of the West. In Ukraine, it was the Russian speaking east, in Yugoslavia the Serbs.

    The rejection of these groups to accept peacefully the loss of their own cultural identity and political autonomy has led in both cases to conflicts. A clear answer is required whether the armed conflict (although he was in principle predictable) also the preplanned and intended consequence of the processes that have been put into operation.

    In the case of Ukraine we can be reasonably doubtful, because of the apparent intention of the new Kiev junta after regime change was to include the country to NATO and the EU under the guidance of a vassal government in Kiev and this goal does not include the political disintegration of the country. EU wanted to eat the whole peace, as a single country.

    In the case of Yugoslavia, it can be argued that the conflict leading in the Serbian military defeat was clearly part of the plan. It is possible, however, that was originally expected that the campaign will be much faster and more successful. As it turned out, by the fact that the instigators of the Yugoslav crisis reviews are written by free rein to their Croatian and Muslim protecting, perhaps inadvertently, created a clear existential threat to the Serbs, who were scattered throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia, which greatly cemented their resistance and prolong the conflict longer than originally expected.

    In addition, it could lead to further unintentional result: a serious challenge to the Yeltsin's alliance with the West (although Russia played a role of Western vassal in this case). It has come to a critical stage in the time of the Kosovo war. The result was the rise of Putin and his political vision as a response to the war.

    Whether it was the original intention of the Ukraine anything (was probably only about the direction of cultural fragmentation while maintaining the overall political integrity of the country, albeit with a much more reliable western component, which would put to the untrusted east of the country into submission), it seems that failed as soon as it was when Kiev junta used brute force. As pointed out by informed analysts, power compromise between Kiev and Russian speaking east, which was possible two or three months ago [the article was written in September 2014, nb], is no longer possible because of the suffering and destruction Kiev junta has caused. The situation is evolving rapidly, while the regions that are culturally focused mainly on Russia, more and more refuse to have anything to do with Kiev, irrespective of the details of the proposed arrangement, if any. In this sense, today in Ukraine are getting a strong analogy with the spirit of the resistance, which was typical for Bosnian and Croatian Serbs during the Yugoslav conflict.

    One can imagine that if the West backed junta in both of the cases from the beginning took a more subtle and a more flexible attitude towards the Serbian and the Russian population, whose political role they want to diminish, it could proceed much more effectively, and might even prevent the radicalization of the opposition. And could it be truly successful, because in both cases, it was junta not the rebels, who, at least initially, intend to resort to violence.

  5. The west uses the most despicable social strata and dirty methods to achieve their goals. there are a number of documents that can shed light on the diabolic pact of the West with Iran (Iran-Contra) and other usage of more or less fundamentalist Islamic actors in order to strengthen the local Muslim forces in Bosnia, which was in line with the interests of NATO and the EU and the fight for control of the whole country.

    The participation of certain elements of the European far right in the war on the side of the right-center regime in Croatia was encouraged. A similar pattern can be observed in the Middle east, where the radical Islamic faction become a means to undermine the secular regimes, which were regarded as hostile to the West.

    In Ukraine there was a contract with the devil clearly included some of the most egregious of the local fascist forces, literally remnants and direct ascendants of forces that collaborated with Nazi during WW2. Their task was to provide a storm troopers for seizing power, and stage the coup d'état after which the West supported oligarchs and politicians in Kiev took power consolidate pro western neoliberal government. It seems that in both in Yugoslavian the Ukrainian case the key idea was :

    "Now we are going to use them for the removal of our main opponent and them we will deal with neofascists later."

    The probability that monsters which the West created at some point can refuse to obey their Western masters, was not taken into consideration. The post-war spread of radical Islam in Bosnia, where it previously never existed, and the consolidation of a strong fascist groundswell in Croatia is enough proof of this effect. In terms of the Nazi-inspired movements and armed formations in Ukraine, it seems that there is no clear plan as for how to bring them back to obedience once a conflict is over and they, presumably, outlived their usefullness for the west.

    Those tools, which the West amorally used to achieve their objectives, sow the Dragon teeth of the long-term instability as there is a distinct tendency of such forces to get out of control of their creators and even turn against them as happened with radical Wahhabism Islam.

    For Russia, the Ukraine is a serious problems, as those Dragon teeth, which was sown opportunistically by West as a tool for interference , will bear bitter fruits. Undoubtedly, they will prevent integration of Ukraine into the "Russian world", even if we limit to most basic cooperation as understood by the current Russian politicians. In other words Ukraine lost all Russian market.

  6. Covert support of Western puppets, while publicly proclaiming the policy of non-interference, which in practice is demanded only from other parties.

    Another important similarity lies in the fact that in the case of both the crisis of the West has initiated an embargo on the importation of weapons and logistical support to the conflicting parties, but on a regular basis is skirted in favor of their local clients. Rich evidentiary material, which was accumulated after the end of the 90. years, leaves no doubt about the fact that the Bosnian Muslim and Croatian forces in Yugoslavia were supplied by the west with a huge amount of weapons and large amount of training.

    Russia is the target of the process of demonization for not only the military, but even humanitarian aid to rebel regions in Ukraine. Western patrons insist on an almost unlimited right to support their clients, as in Belgrade in the 90's years, and Moscow now have similar privileges denied. Their insistence on a "level playing field" - the cliché which was often used at the time of the Bosnian conflict, turned out not to be what was in fact: it was the naked hypocrisy.

  7. A significant difference: Moscow has a clearly defined political objectives. You could say that one of the main reasons for the failure of the Serbian resistance in Croatia and only partial success in Bosnia was the lack of a clear political vision of both in their own ranks, and in Belgrade, which supported them.

    The Russian analysis of this experience has played an important role in ensuring that Moscow and its allies try to avoid to get into the swamp of the civil war without a clear definition of their goals and means to achieve them. No doubt that president , Putin does not want to imitate Slobodan Milosevic, who delivered a brilliant television speech, which contained a crucial insight about the machinations of his western opponents, but his timing couldn't be worse - it was delivered a few days before his overthrow.

It seems that the Balkan events led to a more sobering view on the USE and a lot of self-reflection of Russian politicians, and that has double effect. First of all, the Kosovo war and the bombing of Yugoslavia at the end of the 90. years clearly give rise to substantial upheaval that has contributed to the change of Russian leadership. As a result Vladimir Putin became Russian president and his vision now if dominant. However, the negative consequences of the tortuous policy of encouraging their protégés in Bosnia and Croatia, followed by Milosevic, have been for the Russians another huge lesson. This lies in the fact that if someone does not have a wider strategic vision and the ability to put it place, it is better to avoid such a risky and complex entanglements.

Source: vineyardsaker.blogspot.cz, translation: Charles Hyka

Taken from the www.kosovoonline.cz

Trotskyite theory of the Permanent Revolution in a new skin

The origin of the concept is Trotskyite theory of the Permanent Revolution adapted by neoliberal establishment to serve the spread of neoliberalism under disguise of spread of "democracy" instead of communism. "Domocracy" and "fight with corruption" are just smoke screens used to intelligence operation of regime change. Much like Bolsheviks attempts (not very successful) to stage socialist revolutions in Eastern Europe in 20th. Such an irony of history. Comrade Trotsky probably rolls in his grave ;-). Below is Trotsky quote:

The Bolsheviks were also implementing a new strategy – "Revolution from abroad" (Revolutsiya izvne, literally "revolution from the outside"); based around the assumption that revolutionary masses desire revolution but are unable to carry it out without help from more organized and advanced Bolsheviks.

Hence, as Leon Trotsky remarked, the revolution should be "brought on bayonets" (of the Red Army), as "through Kiev leads the straight route for uniting with Austro-Hungarian revolution, just as through Pskov and Vilnius goes the way for uniting with German revolution.

Offensive on all fronts! Offensive on the west front, offensive on the south front, offensive on the all revolutionary fronts!". The concept was developed in 1918, but officially published under such name first in 1920 (Wojennaja Mysl i Riewolucija, 3/1920, Mikhail Tukhachevsky.[3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_westward_offensive_of_1918%E2%80%9319

While the second word in the term "color revolution" is "revolution", in fact this is a complex, multilayer intelligence operation, an externally organized and financed coup d'état.

The key features are:

The net result in case of success is friendly to the West neoliberal regime in which comprador elite that is allied with transactional corporation and exists to put their share of profits into Western banks put in power. Economic rape of the country goes in full swing with assets sold of pennies on a dollar ("disaster capitalism"). Look for example at Yeltsin and Gaidar, or, more recently, Yatsenyuk and Turchinov in Ukraine. Actually EuroMaidan can teach us a lot of valuable lessons about how color revolution is organized, financed and pushed toward victory by State Department and the US embassy.

As EuroMaidan had shown important part of this fifth column are University professors and deans of economics and several other University departments. This category of people has natural neoliberal leaning (especially in Economics departments) and as such they are easy and cheap to corrupt by grants, foreign trips, etc. In case of EuroMaidan it was they who, if not asked students to go to the street, at least encourages them by granted them "amnesty" from missing the classes. And they operated within the larger framework of staging color revolution, being just one element. The same was true in Hong Cong.

The start of color revolution means just a switch to active stage of of multifaceted intelligence operation using the US cash and assets in the country such as NGO, neoliberal journalists, corrupt officials within the government, law enforcement, etc. this is the part of the iceberg that is prepared for several years with street protest being just a tip of the iceberg, signifying switch to an active stage of coup d'état and start of active dispensing of cash to "protesters".

Those extras that show up on the streets just create a stage for public consumption. Real events of infiltration that make color revolutin possible happen on higher level and are hidden from the view. The goal is always to paralyze and neutralize both government and law enforcement by finding people who can be bought, coerced into supporting the coup d'état. And without "successes" in this direction the street protesters will never appear on the streets.

Their appearance probably always means that Nuland and her colleagues from Department of State made serious progress in creating the "color revolution infrastructure" and fifth column with the county elite. They probably are now keeping of short leash some corrupt officials both in law enforcement and government. Cash is now dispensed continuously as "the show must go on", independently of the level of enthusiasm of "protesters". In Kiev reported payments were $30 a night (200-300 hrivna). Of source some radical nationalist elements participated "for free" but a lot of extras were paid.

In other word the key precondition of color revolution is readiness of fifth column within the government to topple the current government. In case of Ukraine it was Lyovochkin and his people from Party of Regions, as well as elements within SBU and police (remnants from Yutchenko government) with strong nationalistic leanings. Also Nuland kept Yanukovich by the balls be threatening to confiscate his foreign assets.

So color revolution always has important "elite betrayal" component and that's why action of the government in suppressing protests are usually contradictory and inefficient.

While figures like Yatsenyuk and Turchinov are typical compradors, they still represent a pretty curious mixture of neoliberals (and that, by definition, means stooges of the USA) with ethnic nationalists. Such a perfect example of Doublethink (not to mix it with Doublespeak).

Doublethink is ... simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts.[1] Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Somewhat related but almost the opposite is cognitive dissonance, where contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

And such caricature figures of nationalists who somehow manage to be simultaneously the USA stooges and did not jump from the fifth or higher floor with the cry "Russians are coming" because of incompatibility of those notions, are pretty typical (Yatsenyuk who enhanced his university education by selling used cars full time is an interesting variation on Joe Biden theme and is completely unable to keep his tongue in the month; Turchinov is a unique mixture of former Komsomol boss responsible for Ideology, and, drums, Evangelical Pastor, and, drums, ethnic nationalist).

Nevertheless with strong US push they managed to unleash the forces of radical, far right Ukrainian nationalism and of bayonets of storm troupers of Western Ukrainian nationalistic military formations (Right Sector) to seize the power, deposing Yanukovich. Bribing of key figures in Yanukovich entourage ( especially important was Lyovochkin) which reminds bringing key figures of Iraq regime before capturing Baghdad, pressure and possibly threat of losing actives in Western banks for some oligarchs (Kolomoysky and Poroshenko) as well as corruption of Yanukovich who probably was equally afraid to lose stolen from Ukrainian people money in Western banks and to lose power also played a role.

That means that Ukrainian EuroMaidan has features of classic color revolution (support or Western MSM, role of NGO, finance flows, etc) and, simultaneously, a national-socialist revolution like Hitler coming to power in Germany (radical right as the core of the protest, xenophobia, anti-Semitism replaced by Russophobia, "Ukraine uber alles" mentality (aka Ukrainian exceptionalism ;-), etc). With those two elements co-existing and supporting each other. People who thought that (at least tactical, temporary) alliance of neoliberals and neofascists is impossible due to globalist character of neoliberalism should think again.

In a way dissolution of the USSR can be considered the first "modern" color revolution. As Anatol Lieven noted

"As I wrote in a previous book on the reasons for Russia's defeat in Chechnya between 1994 and 1996, there was a real attempt by America in the 1990s, with tremendous help from the Russian elites themselves, to turn Russia into a kind of comprador state, whose elites would be subservient to America in foreign policy and would exist to export raw materials to the West and transfer money to Western bank accounts."

The word "color" in the term is connected with one of the pretty superficial (but still historically consistent) feature of these revolutions -- the symbol of such a revolution often became a particular (probably assigned by NED ;-) color. For example, Ukrainian coup d'état of in 2004 that brought to power Victor Yushchenko is called the Orange Revolution. The "Russian color revolution" of 2011-2012 attempted before election of Putin the selected color is white, so it is often called "white revolution of 2011-2012".

Color revolutions are especially efficient instrument in "cleft countries". That includes former Western colonies were borders which were purposely made to comprise diverse ethnic and cultural groups to weaken the newly formed country (Iraq, Syria, Libya) as well as xUSSR countries with large Russian population (borders of which were created by Bolsheviks with the purpose to "dilute" part of the country that might represent a threat to their rule)

The theory of color revolutions borrows heavily from Marxist playbook, especially from writing of Trotsky. Essentially it is a plagiarism of Trotsky "permanent revolution" with neoliberalism instead of Marxism as an ideology and driving force. In this respect, in Marxist tradition, we can talk about several pre-conditions of "revolutionary situation" -- condition in the society in which color revolution became feasible, and which can be created both as result of internal development as well as external pressure or economic shock. There are several pre-conditions for success of a color revolution:

The USA possesses tremendous technological power as well as ideological advantage and due to this is critical force of promoting neoliberalism in the world. And it was and still is the dominant ideology within the USA since Reagan years by-and-large displacing Christianity as an official regulation.

Neoliberalism since 1980 defeated and displaced Marxism as dominant globalist ideology. In essence a color revolution is a scheme of using transnational actors within a given society as an active force to implement the US foreign policy objectives and install a new polyarchy regime ( the "regime change" component). It was first laid by Joseph Nye’s as the idea of "soft power" which called for harnessing the US's tremendous reserve of intangible resources such as culture, ideology and institutions for preserving world dominance as well as power of transnational corporations.

All in all color revolution demonstrate tremendous power and flexibility of the US foreign policy and its ability to adapt to new situation while vigorously pursuing the established goals. But the real question whether it corresponds to the US national interests. In essence the US destroyed the very concept of an open society but introduction corruption using foreign funds in the process.

They also put on the opposition label "made by CIA", which does not help. In is not accidental that that in Russia the recipients of foreign grants are now commonly called "grant eaters" and forces that support globalism (iether in the form of Euro centrism, or other) and the US foreign policy have a derogatory nickname Liberasts.

There is distinct need to have a strategy of counting such a color revolution , It is very difficult to respond to unconventional war. And first of all, you must understand that there is a war. It will not go anywhere and will not dissipate until regime change is achieved. And, as in any war, you can lose or win. In order to increase your chances of winning, it is necessary to understand the nature of the opposing problem and first of all incredible aggressiveness and ruthlessness of sponsors of such events. So the politics of appeasement which Yanukovich and Kaddafi tried, does not work.

Installing a new polyarchy regime under the smoke screen of "democratization"

The mechanic of staging of what is now called “Color revolutions” is a classic mechanics of destabilizing government and bringing to the power a minority elite groups with strong Western connections. In former USSR space those elite groups were sometimes (Baltic countries, Ukraine) former Nazi collaborationists. The key idea is the install a new polyarchy regime ( the "regime change" component )

After such a revolution a new, more pro-Western part of the elite comes to power and exercise often brutal monopoly power in the interests of the USA and transnational corporations. Typically privatization of the county is in the cards. Which regimes of Boris Yeltsin, Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated all too well. Also important that as 1965 CIA report about Philippines stresses that "The similarity of the parties, nevertheless encourages moderation, readiness to compromise, and lack of dogmatism in the political elite". Philippines were a key client regime in 1950th and 1960th with Clark Air Base and Subtic Naval Base to be the largest military facilities outside US mainland (Promoting polyarchy globalization ... - William I. Robinson (p. 120)). Here is one Amazon review of the book:

Brilliant exposition of US policy and the global order June 12, 2001

By Geoff Johnson

In this difficult but extremely provocative and scholarly work, William I. Robinson presents a new model for understanding US foreign policy and the emergent global society as a whole. The crux of his thesis is this: US foreign policy has changed in the last twenty years or so from open support of authoritian regimes in countries where the US has economic and/or strategic interests to a program of "democracy promotion" that strives to place minority elite groups who are responsive to the interests of the United States and transnational capital at the head of the political, economic, and civic structures of "third world" countries.

Contrary to popular opinion (and that of much of academia), the real goal of democracy promotion, or what Robinson refers to as "promoting polyarchy", is not the promotion of democracy at all, but rather the promotion of the interests of an increasingly transnational elite headed by the US who seek open markets for goods and an increase in the free flow of capital. This marks a conscious shift in foreign policy in which the US now favors "consensual domination" by democratically elected governments rather than authoritarian leaders and the type of "crony capitalism" made famous by the likes of Ferdinand Marcos and Anastacio Somoza.

The first sections of the book introduce numerous theoretical concepts (drawing heavily on the theories of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, in particular his theory of hegemony) that are crucial to the understanding of the text. I personally found these sections extremely difficult but well worth the time it takes to read certain parts several times. Robinson then goes on to document four case studies-- the Phillipines, Chile, Nicaragua, and Haiti-- each of which fleshes out his conceptual framework in much more concrete terms. The result is a disturbing picture of US foreign policy and the current direction of "globalization." I would highly recommend this to anyone with a strong interest in foreign affairs and/or the future of humanity.

Disaster capitalism game plan in action

Implementation of color revolution follows "disaster capitalism" game plan, as it involves using some kind of crisis like close elections in the situation of economic difficulties or decline of standard of living of population (double whammy). In this situation the standard move from the playbook of color revolution is to declare that he/she won, and that elections were stolen and call for heavy propaganda bombardment by already entrenched in the political system of the country NGOs. And you can do a lot if you inject one billon dollars into a country election process via NGOs. It is essentially converting any election system into the US election system where candidate with the most money wins.

Such an approach of making already "warm" situation "hot" reminds Marxism as Marx considered a presence of a deep economic crisis as one of the most important preconditions for the revolution (Roche,2010)

Commercial Crises

After setting up this precondition, which he believes had been met by 1848, Marx turns to a lengthy discussion of commercial crises. According to Marx, “In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out…the epidemic of over-production.”12 Effectively, the bourgeois economy produces more than it is able to consume and thereby falls into chaos and disarray. Arguably, World War I could have been considered a commercial crisis and some Bolsheviks argued that it was the final crisis of capitalism.13 However, Western and Central Europe emerged from the crisis without falling into communism and began a recovery that even the Bolsheviks recognized.14

Those real difficulties are used as a fuse to incite people anger and direct it at the "corrupt" government (which is often really inapt and corrupt, but typically a saint in comparison with the next government installed by foreign power after the color revolution).

The idea is to enhance the flames of people protest to the level when it destroys the current government of the country. And then get serious economic and political dividends by installing a puppet government. Color revolutions are extremely profitable for the sponsoring foreign power. Much more so then a direct invasion. Actually with any government the country in such a situation has no negotiating power as the society is encompassed in economic chaos, or, worse, in a civil war.

There is one exception here -- a small state that is designated as a carrier of the US interests in the region. In this case the consequences can be less bleak. Georgia is one example here. Actually there was some economic progress in Georgia after installation of puppet regime of Mikheil Saakashvili

From this point of view it can be called a variation of "divide and conquer" policy. The latter is leitmotif of in The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski. The book famous for predicting 9/11 events. Here is quote from Amazon review by R. D. Smith:

Three things in this book made my blood run ice cold. The first is the complete absence of any sense of morality in the whole discussion. I do not mean that this is an *im*moral book, it is not a moral book, it is *a*moral in that there is literally no discussion whatsoever whether what is being proposed is RIGHT or should be done. That the recommendations to grow the American Empire are valid is simply assumed, not proven or even argued. The second thing was the whole discussion on how the political center of mass was Central Eurasia (i.e. the region between Turkey and Pakistan and between Iran and Turkmenistan) and how unlikely it was that we were going to be able to have a substantial presence in the region (in the near term) unless we have SOME PERL HARBOR CLASS EVENT to accelerate the populations willingness to accept the costs. Also, This Was Bad because it would delay our needed expansion. Then, just on cue, we have the 9/11 attacks, and dang if we don't end up with a Whole Bunch of military presence all throughout the heart of Eurasia... Coincidence? Makes one wonder. As if that is not enough, the book closes with a clear and unambiguous reference to the steps needed to get us to the One World Government of the New World Order.

Typically the government that replaces the current "tyrannical" and "corrupt" government is even more tyrannical and corrupt, but at this stage all those "fighters for democracy" can't care less. Like Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly: Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."

I would like to think about this episode in a wider context of the mechanic of staging of what can be called "Color revolutions." And if we think this way it is far from "Yawn". It is actually pretty sinister development. Color revolutions is neoliberals rehash of the playbook of communist revolutions ("Red revolutions"), but for completely different purposes. They manage to enrich the quote of Thomas Carlyle "All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels." :-) . In this case it became symmetrically Machiavellian as in "...conceived by one set scoundrels, implemented by the other set of scoundrels, and its fruits are stolen by the third set of scoundrels"

The technology is now well polished and extremely powerful against any "not so pro-western" country. Especially effective in xUSSR space. As such Russia is not an exception. For it too color revolution represents a grave threat like for any other government in countries with "not enough pro-Western" policy. So I think it is unwise to underestimate its power. It already proved itself in half dozen countries. There are several films and books that document this new strategy such as

Amazon.com Bringing Down a Dictator Ivan Marovic, Srdja Popovic, Otpor!, Steve York Movies & TV

The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…

The idea of using economic difficulties for destroying "inconvenient" regimes facing elections and overthrowing the government without overt external aggression is far from being new. Bolshevik's concept of a revolutionary situation <i>" when the lower strata does not want to live by old order and the upper strata can't maintain the old older"</i> is a century old. The new element is the method of artificially creating such a situation out of parliamentary or presidential elections. Even this is not new but can be seen as a variant of "divide and conquer" the strategy is as old as Roman Empire. Divide and rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In a way this is a modern, more sophisticated implementation of the old Roman "divide and conquer" imperial strategy:

The maxims divide et impera and divide ut regnes were utilised by the Roman ruler Caesar and the French emperor Napoleon. There is the example of Gabinius parting the Jewish nation into five conventions, reported by Flavius Josephus in Book I, 169-170 of The Wars of the Jews (De bello Judaico).[1] Strabo also reports in Geography, 8.7.3[2] that the Achaean League was gradually dissolved under the Roman possession of the whole of Macedonia, owing to them not dealing with the several states in the same way, but wishing to preserve some and to destroy others.

In modern times, Traiano Boccalini cites "divide et impera" in La bilancia politica, 1,136 and 2,225 as a common principle in politics. The use of this technique is meant to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his rule. Machiavelli identifies a similar application to military strategy, advising in Book VI of The Art of War[3] (Dell'arte della guerra),[4] that a Captain should endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men in whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his forces, and, because of this, become weaker.

Elements of this technique involve:

I see the following key ingredients of "color revolutions" in action in Russian elections:

  1. The whole process is always staged around election fraud (the best conditions are if two opposing candidates get around 50% of votes, or governing party get close to 50% of votes, but can be used with different percentages as well). It works in two main phases:
    1. Attempt of de-legitimating of elections and forcing a new elections that supposal should rectify falsifications of the previous one. Gorbachov's "two cents" about the necessity of new elections are pretty telling move in this respect if we are talking about Russia. Old fox knows how best to serve his masters.
    2. Parallel de-legitimatization of existing government candidates via charge of election fraud and subsequent overthrow of the weakened opponent "by peaceful means" via second round of elections. Here is one Amazon comment from The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…

      I regularly screen Bringing Down a Dictator in my courses at Swarthmore College. This film does an excellent job of introducing students to the fundamentals of nonviolent power. Students come to understand that authoritarian regimes, while formidable, are often more fragile than we imagine. Milosevic's regime, like others, relied on a mixture of apathy, fear, and cynicism that the students of Otpor fought to dispel through humor, appeals to nationalism, and tireless public outreach. Like any large institution, Milosevic's regime depended on the loyalty of its functionaries (such as the police) and at least a veneer of public credibility. Otpor students carefully undermined both through its broad grassroots organizing, popular nonviolent resistance, and by awakening a multi-party political opposition.

  2. The government in oligarchic republics like Russia always has a degree of distrust from people as it is well known that it is corrupted. Also due to neoliberal brainwashing expectation of considerable part of urban population which wants to enjoy Western standard of life are completely unrealistic. That why classic in "color revolutions" moment for challenging "power that be" is when the election results in the election of the incumbent president or preserve the ruling party majority. A very plausible claim that "old guard does not want to turn over the power voluntarily" and resorts to fraud to maintain status quo is used. It is attractive to considerable percentage of population in all xUSSR space. And often is true. But even if false can destabilize situation to the extent that new possibilities are opened for the initiators of this process. Also so previous supporters of the "old regime" might jump the ship (remember that their accounts and often families are at the West) or at least bet of both horses. Economic difficulties in addition to elections make a perfect combination. In this respect Putin's decision to be the candidate for the next president of Russia probably did served as a fuel in this particular episode. Because this does smell with the CPSU. In this respect dual party system is much more advanced and much more suitable for the oligarchic republic (and architects can rely on rich, century old USA experience).

  3. The starting point is always the immediate and coordinated campaign of forceful denunciation of "mass falsifications" no matter what actually happened at the elections. Statements of influential figures (like Hillary Clinton's recent statement), etc in support of the claims about mass falsifications. This is followed by creating of "artificial reality" around this claim via well coordinated press campaign with the direct and prominent support of major Western MSM. Direct forgery of video and other documents can be used pretty successfully. Medvedev understands this but the real question is does he has the political will to prosecute perpetrators ? Use of "nonpartisan exit polls" as a pressure cooker for questioning the results. Falsifications and exaggeration of ballot fraud, especially "ballot staffing" via selectively interpreted exit pool data. Here is important to achieve some level of demoralization of authorizes to avoid prosecution of people involved or the whole scheme will fall like a house of cards. The Teflon cover of "fighters for democracy" is used to prevent prosecution. Same trick as with Khodorkovsky. In the latter case it did not work. We will see in this case.

    See http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/sp07/graduate/gmj-sp07-grad-venger.htm

  4. Cutting the space for maneuvering of existing government by stressing that this not a direct interference into country affairs, but just support of democratic forces. As long as democracy is the "sacred cow" and Western democracy is the only legitimate form/model to which you need to progress from the current "wild", unlawful, criminal and authoritarian state of total darkness, the Western powers are by definition the arbiters of this progress. There is no defense from this claim in you have foreign observers on the ground. This way the current government itself betray its own legitimacy by delegating it to foreign powers, who can abuse their role at will for benign or not so benign motives: without leaving hotel, the western elections observers will state about mass violation during elections, playing the role of the Trojan horse of the "color revolution". The government is caught is zugzwang as foreign observers are by definition the arbiters of the legitimacy of elections. Any move makes the situation worse.

  5. Systematic, long term attempts to build and maintain student/youth based and heavily financed (60% in case of Ukraine) fifth column of "professional protesters", the move that actually mirrors Bolshevik's reliance on "professional revolutionaries". Students are the most suitable target as they are more easily brainwashed, are excitable, often dream about emigration to Western countries, always need money. Perfect "canon fodder" of the "color revolutions". Creation of set of martyrs "for the just cause of democracy and freedom", especially among young journalists who were arrested during protests and, even better, mistreated, is a part of this tactic. As emigration is considered as desirable future by considerable percent of young people, we have a pool from which it is easy to recruit fighters for the "democratic future" of the nation with the hope that after reaching critical mass the process become self-sustainable. And often it is. Also after being arrested and/or expelled from the university those people have nowhere to go but to became "professional color revolutionaries". Some of then are pretty talented and can do a lot of damage. This was pre-emptive creation of a well-organized "anti-fraud front" tremendously helps to create legitimacy problem for the government as initiative is instantly lost to government opponents. The government is too bureaucratized, unprepared and is taken by surprise the strength of the response. They try to convince that election process was completely legitimate people who does not want to be convinced and just laugh at their efforts. As in any revolution loss of initiative is half of the defeat: the "democratizers" have plan, have hard currency, have hopes about their future in the West and the will to achieve their goals. In Ukraine the "anti-fraud" front has worked under the succinct slogan Pora— "It's Time" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Revolution#Involvement_of_outside_forces )

    Activists in each of these movements were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies. According to The Guardian, these include the U.S. State Department and US AID along with the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, NGO Freedom House and billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. Government funded foundation, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988. Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp formed the strategic basis of the student campaigns.

  6. Use of press influence as the most easily hijackable "forth branch" of government to undermine the other three. If this part works for color revolution, and press turns against the government, the government is doomed. Under the cover of "freedom of the press" systematic use of all controllable media, Internet, web sites, social media, mobile communications for spreading the "truth" about mass falsifications. As Goebbels used to say

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Substitute "State" for "color revolution". Press also serves for coordination and maintaining the direction and unity of the movement. Operation "Occupation of the press" is supported by heavy use of well-financed NGO as the brain trust and coordinating center for the movement:

    Throughout the demonstrations, Ukraine's emerging Internet usage (facilitated by news sites which began to disseminate the Kuchma tapes) was an integral part of the orange revolutionary process. It has even been suggested that the Orange Revolution was the first example of an Internet-organized mass protest. [31] Analysts believe that the Internet and mobile phones allowed an alternative media to flourish that was not subject to self-censorship or overt control by President Kuchma and his allies and pro-democracy activists (such as Pora!) were able to use mobile phones and the Internet to coordinate election monitoring and mass protests.[32][33]

  7. Attempt to provoke police brutality so that "public demonstrations" against attempts by the incumbents "to hold onto power through electoral fraud" became definitely anti-government and status quo. The goal is to undermining police loyalty through carefully stage campaign about police brutality and "befriending policemen" neutralize then to allow "free hands" in undermining the current government. See Nonviolent_Struggle-50CP

  8. The use of "end justifies the means" politic at all stages. Promiscuity in building coalition and seeking allies. Anybody opposed to "brutal and dishonest current regime" is welcomes to join "antifraud front". Are ultra-nationalists now best friends of democracy? There was never such a good friends. Are communist now best friends of democracy? No question about it.

    So this is in a perverted way this is Trotsky idea of "permanent revolution" implemented on industrial scale.

Mercenaries of non-violent struggle -- creating a paid strata of protesters

The tragedy for the participants of color revolutions is that they with their hands and their sacrifice install the government that makes living conditions in the country worse for people and while providing the feast for the international corporations on the ruins of the old regime. Instead of resolving economic difficulties that were exploited to depose the current regime, economic conditions typically became worse and the prosperity of citizens suffers blow after blow. In other words the typical net result of color revolution for citizens of the particular country is quite opposite of expectation. Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia can serve of a litmus test of this statement.

It is actually pretty sinister politic trick that uses false flag of "democracy" for subduing the county in question to the international financial cartel. The main playbook was taken from Bolshevik manual, or more correctly form Trotskyites (some of prominent US Trotskyites join the US establishment before the WWII and brought "new ideas" with them).

As Marxism taught it is important to create a political party that will guide the masses in their struggle against oppressing regime. New element in this Marxist playbook used by color revolutions is that the core of such a party can consist of paid activists -- mercenaries of non-violent struggle

This huge infusion of cash (which at the end of the day is much cheaper then direct military invasion) is a new element of color revolution playbook.

Bombing the country with dollar proved to be very effective. Huge infusions of cash (often delivered illegally across the border to feed selected "dissidents") can really change the game. Again, the key idea here is to create a cadre of Mercenaries of non-violent struggle (Color Revolution Counterpunch « what's left) based on those hard currency inflows:

“In Serbia dollars have accomplished what bombs could not. After U.S.-led international sanctions were lifted with Milosevic’s ouster in 2000, the United States emerged as the largest single source of foreign direct investment. According to the U.S. embassy in Belgrade, U.S. companies have made $1 billion worth of ‘committed investments’ represented in no small part by the $580 million privatization of Nis Tobacco Factory (Phillip Morris) and a $250 million buyout of the national steel producer by U.S. Steel. Coca-Cola bought a Serbian bottled water producer in 2005 for $21 million. The list goes on.” (12)

This enlisting of paid grassroots activists to bring down socialist or economically nationalist governments in order to privatize the country state-owned assets for the benefit of U.S. corporations and investors is a new element in comparison with Bolsheviks template. There are several classes of such activists:

This mechanism of creating Fifth column includes using noble slogans invented in "think tanks" funded by Western governments, but their agendas are formulated to serve strategic Western interests.

The Social Base of Fifth Column: Compradors & lumpenelite

Role of Fifth column is very important.

A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within. A fifth column can be a group of secret sympathizers of an enemy that are involved in sabotage within military defense lines, or a country's borders.[1] A key tactic of the fifth column is the secret introduction of supporters into the whole fabric of the entity under attack.[2] This clandestine infiltration is especially effective with positions concerning national policy and defense.[2] From influential positions like these, fifth-column tactics can be effectively utilized, from stoking fears through misinformation campaigns, to traditional techniques like espionage.[2]

Self-preservation efforts suggest limitation or outright prohibition of flow of money and creation of "professional protestors" cohort. This is difficult undertaking as higher standard of living in Western countries attract a lot of people for whom protest activity is just a springboard to emigration of favorable terms. Also the balance of economic power matters. For example the USA managed to stop Russia from adopting some restrictions of NGOs in 2006. See The Backlash against Democracy Assistance for some constructive steps used by various states.

In practice, of course, legal constraints are supplemented and reinforced by extra-legal sanctions, ranging from surveillance and harassment to expulsion of democracy assistance NGOs and even the killing of local partners. We gauge and describe the impact of such measures principally with reference to the experience of NED’s core institutes. Indeed, the prevalence and the range of legal and extra-legal measures are indicated by the experience of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, the NED’s labor affiliate.

“There is no region or sub-region where the Solidarity Center and its trade union partners do not encounter obstacles to implementing or improving democratic principles,” it reports. The Solidarity Center cites impediments ranging

Nor are U.S.-based democracy assistance groups and their grantees or partners the only groups affected. The UK’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy reports that restrictive measures are resulting in “an inability of local partners to obtain licences to operate, censorship, interrogation, travel restrictions, office raids, dismissals, seizing of electronic office equipment and paper files, unreasonably rigorous bureaucratic and financial controls, and detention.”

In addition to legal constraints, many regimes seek to impede democracy assistance NGOs and related groups through unofficial means, from the creation and mobilization of pseudo-NGOs in an attempt to contest and confuse public and international opinion to the deployment of thugs or auxiliary forces—as in Cuba and Egypt—to assault, intimidate or harass activists. In Uzbekistan, for instance, a Freedom House training session was disrupted by 15 protesters who forced their way into the seminar and accused Freedom House of being Wahhabi Islamist extremists and enemies of the Uzbek state.

Egyptian NGOs are impeded by restrictive laws and the “extra-legal” actions of the Security Services, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Civil society groups face severe restrictions under the law governing NGOs. The security services scrutinize and harass civil society activists even though the law does not accord them any such powers,” says the report. HRW cites instances of the security services rejecting NGO registrations, determining the composition of NGO boards, harassing activists, and interfering with funding.

For further details of ICNL’s distinctive and pioneering work on these issues, go to http://www.icnl.org/.

“Margins of Repression: State Limits on Nongovernmental Organization Activism,” Human Rights Watch, New York, 2005.

The issue of NGO harassment is assuming greater political salience, and not only within the world of democracy assistance organizations and civil society. The Russian government’s new measures against independent NGOs acquired diplomatic significance as senior figures from the State Department prevailed upon the Putin regime to refrain from more restrictive measures. The issue is unlikely to fade given Russia’s accession to the chair of the G8 grouping of advanced industrial democracies. Furthermore, as the Bush Administration continues to make democracy promotion a foreign policy priority, it is increasingly likely to confront resistance from autocrats and authoritarians.

At the November 2005 Forum for the Future in Bahrain, for instance, the question of NGO independence prompted Egypt to veto a final declaration and sabotage the launch of a Foundation for the Future designed to promote democratic change within the region. A draft declaration pledged delegates “to expand democratic practices, to enlarge participation in political and public life, (and) to foster the roles of civil society including NGOs.” But participants failed to agree to the draft after Cairo insisted that NGOs be “legally registered in accordance with the laws of the country.”

Egypt’s foreign minister complained that the U.S. and Europeans wanted “an open season for everybody,” a carte blanche for funding political NGOs through which “anybody can acquire anything from anybody at any time.”

The developments outlined above “are not isolated events,” observes the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, noting that “recently, over twenty countries have introduced restrictive legislation aimed at weakening civil society,” joining “scores of others with existing laws, policies, and practices that stifle the work of civil society organizations (NGOs).” The study, produced by ICNL specifically for this report, reveals that a number of countries have enacted or proposed laws that significantly restrict the activities of civil society (the appendix to this report details ICNL research covering the relevant countries, laws, and provisions). “We are witnessing a marked increase in the use of restrictions on NGO formation, operation, and financing by foreign governments,” ICNL contends. These restrictions pose serious obstacles to both foreign and domestic civil society groups’ ability to form, function effectively, and sustain themselves. Restrictive provisions are found in virtually every region of the world, but tend to be more prevalent in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union.

As the ICNL notes, states with restrictive laws tend to exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

The rationale for the proposal and enactment of repressive measures varies with context and circumstance. Governments often propose an “official” rationalization for a proposed law that does not match the reasons perceived by the international community and local civil society groups. The threat of terrorism is increasingly invoked to justify clampdowns and to deflect international criticism. For example, the Russian government has described its new NGO law as necessary to regulate the NGO sector, counter terrorism, and stop money laundering.

In Thailand, opposition, media, and civic groups are constrained by an emergency law promulgated in July 2005 by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra purportedly to curb Islamist violence in the Muslim south. The Emergency Powers Law allows the Thai government to impose curfews, detain people without charge, and ban public gatherings. Under the guise of a crackdown on money laundering, the Uzbekistan government effectively stopped the transfer of foreign funds to all Uzbek civil society groups. A resolution of the council of ministers requires NGOs to report activities to a “bank council” before releasing funds. The banking sector is so tightly controlled that it would be impossible to make these transfers. In short, NGOs and business associations are simply not able to function legally using foreign funds.

In some cases, restrictive legislation is projected as an attempt to improve NGO governance and regulation or to curb malpractices. However, in virtually all of the cases cited, the means deployed are more restrictive than necessary to fight NGO malpractice or poor governance, and are often contrary to obligations to protect the right to free association required by the country’s constitution or under international conventions. Restrictive laws are often a continuation of long-standing patterns of repressive government tactics (e.g., Belarus, Zimbabwe).

In some cases, the recent initiatives appear to be motivated by a desire to forestall political opposition. Indeed, ICNL research indicates that governments often enact restrictive NGO legislation before elections, recognizing the critical role that civil society can play in advancing democracy. Most democracy assistance groups have experienced the following legal and extra-legal constraints: restrictions on the right to associate and freedom to form NGOs; impediments to registration and denial of legal status; restrictions on foreign funding and domestic financing; ongoing threats through use of discretionary power; restrictions on political activities; arbitrary interference in NGO internal affairs; establishment of “parallel” organizations or ersatz NGOs; and the harassment, prosecution, and deportation of civil society activists. Some of these measures may appear at first glance to be relatively benign, neutral, or legitimate attempts to regulate civil society. Some authoritarian regimes claim that not only is it appropriate to limit foreign interference in domestic politics—as most advanced democracies do—but falsely claim that their newly restrictive measures are based on legislation already in effect in established democracies. Of course, governments may legitimately seek to regulate foreign funding of domestic political actors and/or to regulate NGOs prone to malpractice or poor governance. But this is where context and intent matter.

...In Vietnam, for instance, NGOs must obtain an operating license and the Vietnamese authorities routinely intervene in NGOs’ internal affairs and governance, often insisting on the prerogative to appoint (or otherwise veto) personnel.

...Many governments closely guard the process by which NGOs can register, i.e., become a legal entity with the associated legal rights and prerogatives. Governments insist that groups, even some as small or informal as a neighborhood association, must register, allowing authorities to monitor groups’ activities. Regimes make registration difficult, impeding the ability of civil society organizations, particularly advocacy groups, to function effectively or even to exist. Tactics include making registration prohibitively expensive and/or unduly burdensome in terms of the type and amount of information required; excessive delays in making registration decisions; and requiring frequent re-registration, giving authorities the right to revisit organizations’ licenses to operate.

In Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, and Algeria, as ICNL reports, regulations governing registration are kept deliberately vague, giving considerable discretion to officials. Consequently, NGOs have difficulty registering; some are denied registration while others experience long delays or repeated requests for further information. In Azerbaijan, the registration of local NGOs has, in effect, been suspended as a result of overly discretionary implementation of registration laws. In March 2005, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed representatives of the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, and IFES (formerly the International Foundation for Election Systems) to cease operations and leave Ethiopia within 48 hours. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the view that they were operating illegally, even though all three groups had made a good faith effort to register both through the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and through the Ministry of Justice in Addis Ababa. Tajikistan has been holding international organizations in limbo by neither refusing nor granting registration. As a consequence, groups like NDI and Freedom House are operating with local staff and cannot get visas for international personnel. All NGOs in Tajikistan’s Ferghana Valley have been put through audits and re-registration following the Andijon massacre in Kyrgyzstan. In Belarus, the government exercises considerable discretion over the registration process through a National Commission on Registration of Public Associations that advises, through a notably opaque process, the Ministry of Justice on which organizations it should allow to register. The law requires authorities to respond within one month to registration requests, says ICNL, but NGOs have waited over a year only to be denied registration without explanation. Unregistered status renders activists and organizations vulnerable to capricious and punitive actions on the part of the security services. On March 3, 2006, the Belarusian KGB arrested four election observers from an unregistered NGO associated with the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) which is funded by the National Democratic Institute.

Russia’s NGO law, even as amended following protests, requires foreign and de facto domestic NGOs to re-register with a state agency which will examine their activities before determining whether they can continue operations. The measure allows the Federal Registration Service, an agency of the Justice Ministry, to invoke threats to the “constitutional order” to justify terminating funding of certain activities. Government officials enjoy an unprecedented degree of discretion for deeming programs or projects detrimental to Russia’s national interests. Registration officials can exercise prerogatives to close the offices of any foreign NGO undertaking programs that do not have the objective of “defending the constitutional system, morals, public health, rights and lawful interest of other people, [or] guaranteeing the defense capacity and security of the state.”

Restrictions on working with “unregistered” groups in Uzbekistan In December 2003, the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) instructed the International Republican Institute to cease working with “illegal organizations,” meaning all unregistered political parties. The country’s foreign minister personally accused the International Republican Institute (IRI) of promoting a coalition of “anti-government forces that wish to overthrow the constitutional order of Uzbekistan,” and advised IRI to take the Uzbek government’s views on this seriously and “act accordingly.” Consequently, IRI postponed a scheduled seminar on “Government Mechanisms for Registration” for political activists. Selected international organizations were instructed to reapply for accreditation through the Ministry of Justice (instead of the Foreign Ministry) and to turn in current MFA accreditation cards before March 1, 2004. Under these circumstances, the U.S. Embassy recommended that IRI take a break from activity in order to assess the situation and plan for 2004. In April 2004, IRI received its official registration certificate, accompanied by a letter from the Ministry of Justice listing IRI’s alleged violations and a warning that registration would be canceled if IRI continued training activities with non-registered groups. In May 2004, the justice minister warned IRI that it was breaking the law by working with the unregistered parties Erk and Birlik. In response to the justice minister’s statement, IRI suspended initiative group training for non-registered movements. In November 2004, the Ministry of Justice, verbally and in writing, warned IRI not to have contact with or extend any kind of assistance to unregistered political movements. This warning came after IRI had hosted, at its office, individual consultations between a Ukrainian consultant and Uzbek activists seeking to run as candidates in the December 2004 Oliy Majlis election.

Restrictions on foreign funding and domestic financing

Restrictions on foreign funding of domestic civil society groups are increasingly common and government attempts to legitimize and gain support for these constraints are frequently couched in faux patriotic or xenophobic terms. In this respect, authoritarian regimes gain a “two-fer.” They impose technical restrictions on civil society groups’ ability to function while undermining them politically by suggesting that they are agents of or otherwise represent alien interests.

Russia, Venezuela, Egypt and Zimbabwe provide perhaps the most blatant and pernicious instances of this trend. “We are against overseas funding for the political activities [of NGOs] in Russia,” President Vladimir V. Putin has stated. “For some of these organizations the main objective has become to receive funds from influential foreign and domestic foundations,” he claims, insisting that “for others the aim is to serve dubious groups and commercial interests.”

In Venezuela, CIPE has noted various types of NGO harassment. “While not much of this can be attributed to specific laws (though that may yet happen),” CIPE notes, intimidation takes various forms including “harassment or the threat of it in the form of financial and tax audits” of grantees. The regime of Hugo Chavez is prosecuting civil society activists from Súmate, a voter education NGO, on charges of “conspiracy” resulting from a NED grant to promote education on electoral rights prior to the 2004 recall referendum. The regime has openly insisted that receipt of foreign funds is in itself subversive. “It is one thing to be involved in politics, and quite another to solicit support from a foreign government to intervene in internal affairs of the country,” says Luisa Ortega, a state prosecutor with Venezuela’s National Council. “There is conclusive proof in the contract with the accused for financial support from NED that shows intent to conduct politics against the current government,” stated Ortega. Article 10 of the recent criminal code reform bill specified that anyone who supplies or receives funds from abroad to conspire against the integrity of the territory of the republic or government institutions, or to destabilize social peace, may be punished with sentences of 20 to 30 years in jail. Although that provision was ultimately withdrawn from the bill, legal experts suggest that its provisions can still be interpreted to the same effect. T

...More generally, ICNL research identifies a wide range of legislative measures used to restrict foreign funding, including requirements that: NGOs must receive prior government permission to receive foreign funding (sometimes on a donation- by-donation basis, imposing further administrative burdens on thinly-stretched organizational resources); NGOs must not only register but frequently re-register with the government, and a government-controlled commission decides whether the organization will be allowed to receive foreign funding; overseas funding must be channeled through government agencies or via designated bank accounts that are easily monitored or even frozen; foreign funds are subjected to punitively high taxation; and foreign funding is restricted to a limited percentage of an NGO’s total income.

In Belarus, an August 2005 presidential edict prohibits organizations and individuals from receiving and using foreign assistance for “preparing and conducting elections and referenda; recalling deputies and members of the Council of the Republic; staging gatherings, rallies, street marches, demonstrations, picketing, or strikes; producing and distributing campaign materials; and any other forms of mass politicking among the population.” Regulations adopted in 2004 imposed reporting and approval mechanisms that ensure government control over donor funds and projects. NGOs are required to pay up to 30 percent tax on foreign aid, a stipulation that has prompted some overseas donors to reconsider the viability of financial support to Belarusian civil society.

In 2004, Belarus enacted provisions allowing the regime to close an NGO for violating laws restricting the use of foreign funds or for demonstrating in violation of a law curtailing mass meetings. In 2003, government officials dissolved 51 leading civil society groups, and in 2004 a further 20 groups were terminated. In 2004, Minsk refused renewal of registration permits for Counterpart and IREX, two U.S.-based organizations implementing U.S. government-funded programs. A December 2005 measure introduces severe penalties for activities deemed conducive to fomenting “revolution” in Belarus, notes 23 the ICNL, specifically: training people to take part in “group activities that flagrantly violate the public peace” and for financing such training would carry a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years; training people to take part in “mass riots” or its financing would carry a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to three years; appeals to a foreign country, a foreign or international organization to act “to the detriment of” the country’s “security, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” as well as the distribution of material containing these appeals, would carry a jail sentence of six to 36 months or a prison sentence of two to five years; and distribution of similar appeals via the media would carry a prison sentence of two to five years. A new article to the Criminal Code, titled “Discrediting the Republic of Belarus,” establishes a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years for “providing a foreign country, a foreign or international organization with patently false information about the political, economic, social, military and international situation of the Republic of Belarus, the legal position of citizens in the Republic of Belarus, and its governmental agencies.”

Restrictions on political activities

NGOs are frequently required to refrain from activities broadly defined as political, a severe if not disabling obstacle to democracy assistance groups. Even non-partisan or largely technical activities are vulnerable to malicious or willful misinterpretation, rendering activists and organizations vulnerable to potentially severe penalties.

In Kazakhstan, ICNL reports, the law prohibits “foreigners, persons without citizenship, or foreign legal entities and international organizations” from engaging in “activities that support (or make possible) the nomination and election of candidates, political parties, nomination of parties to the party list or the achieving of a specific result during elections.” Penalties for violating the prohibition include fines (for individuals and organizations) and deportation of the individuals involved.

Arbitrary interference in NGO internal affairs.

Even when civil society groups are allowed to form and secure official registration, governments continue to restrict their activities through unchecked oversight authority and interference in NGOs’ internal affairs. Failure to comply with government demands may prompt sanctions and penalties. Civil society groups are frequently impeded and harassed by bureaucratic red tape, visits by the tax inspectorate, and other below-the-radar tactics. Despite amendments to draft proposals, made after international protests and diplomatic representations, Russia’s NGO law still allows officials to utilize less public means of intimidating political opponents. The registration authority enjoys discretionary power to audit the activities and finances of noncommercial organizations, request documents, and attend meetings, including internal strategy or policy discussions.

...China offers a clear and disturbing instance of enhanced state interference and harassment of NGOs, particularly by the Ministry of State Security. Beijing’s concern about the “colored revolutions” and the potential role of civil society groups in fostering political change is well-documented. NGOs have been visited by state security representatives asking about sources of funding, specifically mentioning certain American funders, including NED, IRI, and NDI. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA), the government body responsible for registering NGOs, recently stopped processing applications for NGO registration.

...In Belarus, a law signed by the president in December 2005 provides for prison sentences for individuals who train others to participate in street protests, engage them to act against Belarusian sovereignty, or tell lies about the country. Organizing activities on the part of a suspended or closed nongovernmental organization or a foundation, or taking part in such a group carries a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years. Even prior to the new legislation, NGOs faced acute problems. Some 78 civil society groups ceased operations in Belarus in 2003 following harassment by government officials, the ICNL reports. In 2004, the government inspected and issued warnings to 800 others. The national security agencies and the Office of Public Associations questioned and searched a number of civil society groups and, in some cases, confiscated publications and print materials. Such inspections make it nearly impossible for organizations to focus on their primary activities.

...Punitive legal actions are another form of harassment, notably in Singapore. In February 2006, opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, secretary general of the Singapore Democratic Party, was bankrupted and, as a consequence, barred from contesting political office, following a punitive defamation suit brought by former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong. Chee was barred from traveling to the World Movement for Democracy’s Istanbul assembly in May 2006 when immigration agents impounded his passport. As noted above, civil society activists who engaged in voter education prior to Venezuela’s presidential recall referendum are currently facing charges of conspiracy against the state for receiving U.S. funds. If convicted of treason, Alejandro Plaz and Maria Corina Machado face up to 16 years in jail. Civil society groups complain that the Venezuelan authorities are seeking to paint efforts to uphold the constitution as a conspiracy to undermine the government.

In Russia, NGOs associated with international democracy and human rights groups are frequently subject to harassment through inspections and criminal investigations. The field director of one democracy assistance group was detained on arrival at the airport for no apparent reason and would not have been able to re-enter Russia had the U.S. Ambassador not intervened. Later, she was effectively deported from the country after authorities refused to prolong her registration without explanation.

....Democracy assistance groups are consistent in stressing that the backlash against democracy assistance predates the color revolutions, particularly in Russia. It was in December 2002, for example, several months before Georgia’s Rose Revolution, that U.S. Peace Corps representatives were expelled from Moscow and the representative of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center was refused re-entry into Russia, leading to the eventual closure of its office. While programs often continue in the face of repressive actions, partners and grantees nevertheless become more cautious, circumspect, and wary of adopting a high profile. In some countries, for example, NED grantees have asked program officers not to visit them for fear of drawing the attention of the authorities. In other instances, prospective program partners or grantees have suggested that while they need external assistance and are willing to work with or accept grants from democracy promotion groups, the risks are too great to do so. Yet these instances are relatively rare and practitioners.

...In the case of the closure of the Solidarity Center’s Moscow office, for example, or the expulsion of the Open Society Institute, Freedom House, and IREX from Uzbekistan, democracy promotion groups are forced to relocate to adjacent territories or adopt “semi-detached” forms of engagement with grantees or partners, including provision of assistance through third parties. These measures have less impact on initiatives like the NED’s discretionary grants program that relies on direct grant aid, focusing resources on local activists and groups, and which rarely requires a local presence in the field. Democracy assistance donors are nonetheless affected by new restrictions on funding and, to some extent, disadvantaged by distance. Unlike field-based groups, including NED’s institutes, they are not usually in a position to reassure or placate suspicious local authorities by establishing relationships or providing access to programs.

...The new repressive climate in certain states has highlighted the benefits of non-governmental and civil society-based approaches. Maintaining and highlighting independence from government, such initiatives demonstrate that democracy promotion is most effectively undertaken by non-governmental organizations, particularly in regions like the Middle East and Central Asia where official U.S. support is sometimes shunned. Unlike official government agencies, often constrained by diplomatic or security considerations, democracy promotion NGOs, operating openly but largely below the radar screen, are able to avoid compromising the integrity and efficacy of programs. Groups like NED are able to engage and fund unlicensed organizations that tend to undertake cutting edge programs but cannot ordinarily access official funds.

...NED in particular has extensive experience of channeling aid and assistance to dissidents, labor unions, intellectual and civic groups, and other agencies for democratic change. For example, cross-border programs that require ample coordination and expertise are run by NGOs based in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania, which aid media and human rights groups in Belarus and farther afield in Central Asia. Similar work is undertaken by civil society groups in East and Southeast Asia.

Exploiting a "revolutionary situation"

Lenin defined a special term "revolutionary situation" (his well know saying is "A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution.") to describe the preconditions in which coup d'état against existing government has greatest chances of success (Translation from Soviet encyclopedia):

Revolutionary Situation is a political situation preceding a revolution and characterized by mass revolutionary ferment and the involvement of broad strata of the oppressed classes in active struggle against the existing system. A revolutionary situation serves as an indicator of whether sociopolitical conditions are ripe for a revolution, for the attainment of power by the progressive class.

A revolutionary situation has three basic symptoms.

  1. A “crisis of the upper classes,” that is, the ruling classes find it impossible to maintain their domination in unchanged form. The crisis in the policies of the ruling class creates a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes pour. For a revolution to take place, V. I. Lenin noted, “it is usually insufficient for ‘the lower classes not to want’ to live in the old way; it is also necessary that the ‘upper classes should be unable’ to live in the old way.”
  2. “When,” Lenin continues, “the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26, p. 218). The exacerbation may result from a deterioration of the economic position of broad strata of the population, from social inequality and the deprivation of the masses, from a sharp intensification of social antagonisms, and from other conditions stemming from the contradictions in a given system (for example, the threat of war, and the offensive of reactionary forces).
  3. A significant rise in the level of political activity among the masses (ibid.). Militant attitudes grow swiftly, and the masses are literally obsessed with politics.

... ... ...

A revolutionary situation is marked by a growing dynamism. As it develops, it passes through a series of stages, beginning with clear signs of mass ferment and ending with a nationwide crisis that develops into a revolution. The higher the stage of the revolutionary situation, the more important is the maturity of the subjective factor—that is, the capacity and readiness of revolutionary classes to carry out pressing reforms and to overthrow the power of the ruling class—in the further development of the situation. During the period of the nationwide crisis, the role of the subjective factor becomes decisive. Not every revolutionary situation reaches the highest stage and becomes a revolution. Examples include the revolutionary situation of 1859–61 in Russia and the revolutionary situation of 1923 in Germany. If for one reason or another the progressive classes are not prepared for aggressive, organized actions, the revolutionary situation declines, the mass revolutionary excitement dies out, and the ruling class finds means of retaining power.

And this strategy of exploiting pre-existing economic difficulties and created by them "revolutionary situation" for "regime change" proved to be quite efficient due to combining forces of internal domestic opposition with Western political and financial power.

This playbook represents a grave threat for any government in countries with “not enough pro-Western” policy.

While separate elements of this scheme were known long before and have a base on Bolshevik theory of revolutions (or more correctly in its Trotskyite variant of permanent revolution, as it was Trotskyites who turned into neocons brought to western government this set of ideas; see The Transitional Program (Part 1)) the "packaged kit" of the color-coded pseudo-revolutions that swept through the former Soviet bloc (and, later, targeted other states from Lebanon to Venezuela) within the last decade remains essentially the same.

Promoting "democratic revolution" has become the surrogate for direct armed invasion - though, as in Iraq and Libya, both can work well together. The strategies these ersatz movements pursue are no different from Communist Popular Front tactics in the same region after World War Two - in fact, the Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" resembles the Czechoslovak "Communist coup" of 1948. The only difference is that in the latter case a flowering of the democratic spirit was choreographed by the USA and the whole movement has a clear anti-Russian edge with the participation of Nazi "collaborationists" from Western region of Ukraine.

Of course there is real frustration and disappointment with the government in the targeted nations, and the revolutionaries of color can find fertile fields for sowing. But the end result does not serve the people whose anger has been manipulated, but invariably the economic and "security" interests of major Western powers, principally but not exclusively the United States.

While they are neoliberal rehash of the playbook of communist revolutions (“Red revolutions”), they manage to enrich the quote of Thomas Carlyle “All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels.” . In this case it became symmetrically Machiavellian as in

“…conceived by one set scoundrels, implemented by the other set of scoundrels, and its fruits are stolen by the third set of scoundrels”

Use of NGO as preudo-Bolshevick party and Trojan horses of color revolution

"…power does its work by stealth, and the powerful
can subsequently deny that their strength was ever used at all."

Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown (2005)

The idea is set of NGO like set of think tanks is very similar to Bolsheviks idea of core of professional revolutionaries in Bolshevik Party. The only difference is that neoliberal NGO and set of think tanks is financed by oligarchy, primary by financial oligarchy and key governments of neoliberal world.

Every government official in third world and "developing" country should read Gene Sharp and couple of other books and understand the mechanics used and NGO involved. The list includes

It not an accident that most of those organization were shown the door in several countries where danger of color revolutions exists. There is a good article on the subject written by Sreeram Chaulia 19 January 2006, which we will reproduce in full (Democratisation, NGOs and colour revolutions):

Samuel Huntington, summarizing the mix of primary causes for the "third wave" of democratization that began in 1974, listed a new but not decisive factor that had been absent in the preceding two waves: "Changes in the policies of external actors…a major shift in US policies toward the promotion of human rights and democracy in other countries…". American international NGOs ("Ingos") were prominent mechanisms through which this causal link between superpower foreign policy interests and regime change worked out in many transitions from authoritarian rule in the twenty-one-year-long "third wave".

This essay attempts to extend the analysis on Ingo instrumentality and democratization to the geopolitical storms popularized as "colour" or "flower" revolutions that have been sweeping the post-communist world since 1999. It sets out to assess the strength of the impact of transnational actors on recent international political events of great consequence, and explore the parasitic relationship between Ingos and a hegemonic state.

The intention is to bring the state back into a field dominated by flawed renderings of transnational activism. The principal argument is that the main and direct causes of the colour revolutions were United States foreign-policy interests (strategic expansion, energy security and the war on terrorism) as they were serviced by Ingos. Without the intervention of these US-sponsored Ingos, the political landscapes in countries like Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan would not have been repainted in new coolers.

These three revolutions – the "rose revolution" in Georgia (November 2003-January 2004), the "orange revolution" in Ukraine (January 2005) and the "tulip revolution" in Kyrgyzstan (April 2005) – each followed a near-identical trajectory; all were spearheaded by the American democratization Ingos working at the behest of the US foreign policy establishment.

It will be argued that the comparable political convulsions of Uzbekistan (May 2005) and Azerbaijan (November 2005) did not experience "colour revolutions" due to a variation in the independent variable, US foreign-policy priorities.

The contexts of democratization

Most studies of democratization recognize the international context in which regime change occurs, but such studies never go to the extent of giving external causes prime place. The consensus is that exogenous factors "are difficult to apply in a sustained manner over the long term." In the case of the former communist bloc, some scholars regard international organizations, western economic aid and the Catholic church as "catalysts of democratization"; others claim that international human-rights norms triggered fundamental political changes leading to the demise of communism.

Transnational actors, comprising Ingos at the hub of advocacy networks, are viewed as capitalizing on opportunity structures offered by "internationalism", acting as "ideational vectors of influence", and maintaining constant criticism of vulnerable "target states" that are repressive in nature. Portrayals of advocacy networks as autonomous entities that skillfully maneuver states and international organizations for achieving their own principled ends suggest that democratization was "both a contributing cause and an effect of the expanding role of transnational civil society."

On the question of how transnational actors "penetrate" target states, which is of seminal interest for our colour-revolutions quest, constructivist theory harps on norm institutionalization in issue-areas like human rights that enable coalitions with powerful state actors who favor such norms. The manner in which American democratization Ingos penetrated Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, however, did not follow this route.

Another pathway for penetration is presented by the "boomerang pattern", wherein international contacts "amplify the demands of domestic groups, pry open space for new issues and then echo back these demands into the domestic arena. " Though campaign strategies and pressurizing tactics of Ingos do approximate to what happened before the colour revolutions in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, the origin of American INGO involvement in these states was not as straightforward as an invitation from local civil society to global civil society.

Former communist countries are characterized by weak local civil societies and embryonic homebred intermediate organizations. Nor were the dynamics of INGO intervention in these states as simple as domestic grievances being resolved by coalitions with principled external networks "motivated by values rather than by material or professional norms. " For the most apposite theoretical framework that fits the story of Ingos and colour revolutions, we must leave constructivism and turn to the revolving applications of realism in world politics.

Ingos as vehicles of strategic penetration

Realism asserts that transnational actors can punch above their weight and have disproportionate impact on world affairs only if they lobby and change the preferences, practices and policies of powerful states. The Helsinki network in Europe followed this game plan to great effect by winning over the US government to its side in the struggle against communism.

Norm-driven theorists fail to concede that superpowers have minds and agency of their own and only give in to transnational "pressures" when the issue area serves larger geo-strategic purposes. Rarely has the US promoted human rights and democracy in a region when they did not suit its grander foreign-policy objectives.

Thomas Carothers, a leading authority on US democracy promotion, has decried the instrumentalisation of democratization by recent American administrations: "The United States has close, even intimate relations with many undemocratic regimes for the sake of American security and economic interests… and struggles very imperfectly to balance its ideals with the realist imperatives it faces."

The flip side of this reality is the fact that when undemocratic regimes prove to be thorns in the flesh, the US sees great merit in their overthrow by a range of diverse methods. In the cold-war era, selectivity in democracy promotion was best reflected by Jeane Kirkpatrick’s distinction between "totalitarian" and "authoritarian" regimes, the latter being states which can be supported in the scheme of bigger US interests.

As we delve into the case studies of colour revolutions, the same "good despot-bad despot" patchiness of superpower attitudes to democratization in the post-communist world will resurface in the new context of the "war on terrorism".

Geoffrey Pridham divides geo-strategic impact over regime changes into the two dimensions of space and time. The Mediterranean had turned into an area of intense superpower rivalry in the mid-1970s due to the enhanced Soviet naval presence and instability in the middle east. Regime transitions in that hotspot, therefore, sharpened US and western interests in the outcomes.

As a corollary, at sensitive world historical moments, American inclinations to intervene in regime politics of countries tend to be greater. Early cold-war economic instability in Italy and Greece in the 1970s was one juncture where the outcome stakes were felt to be so high in Washington that it took an active interventionist role. Thirty years on, the spatial and temporal importance of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in the geo-strategic sweepstakes was ripe for colour revolutions orchestrated from outside.

Laurence Whitehead has deepened understanding of democratization as a geopolitical strategy that redistributes global power and control with the metaphor of a vaccine, not of a contagion or virus. US military and other modes of destabilizing interventions in Central America were meant to inoculate polities from contamination by Castroism and this treatment was labeled "democracy". "Two-thirds of the democracies existing in 1990 owed their origins to deliberate acts of imposition or intervention from without…It is not contiguity but the policy of a third power that explains the spread of democracy from one country to the next." The colour revolutions under our bioscope were integral to this power-politics tradition motoring dominant states in international relations.

Realist views on transnational actors as instruments of powerful states date back to debates about multinational corporations (MNCs) and their entanglement with American hegemony. Robert Gilpin was the first to explain the rise of MNCs as a function of hegemonic stability, i.e. that the leadership of a powerful political state actor is essential for the creation and maintenance of a liberal world economy in which MNCs thrive.

Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye also warned in the 1970s that "transnational relations may redistribute control from one state to another and benefit those governments at the centre of transnational networks to the disadvantage of those in the periphery." Ingos had not burst onto the global notice board during these early reviews on transnationalism. However, the usage of Ingos as foreign-policy instruments was not unknown right from the start of the cold war.

Humanitarian Ingos like the International Rescue Committee (founded in 1933 to assist anti-Nazi opponents of Hitler) and democratization Ingos like Freedom House (founded in 1941; an important component of the Marshall Plan to prevent communist takeover of western Europe) are two high-profile cases that represented US governmental interests while maintaining INGO legal status.

Inducing defectors and refugees from behind the "iron curtain" to cross over, public diplomacy, propaganda and funding of electoral candidates in foreign countries by charities and Ingos existed long before the voluntary sector attained an overtly pivotal position in the annals of US foreign policy. More recently, humanitarian (not human-rights) Ingos heavily dependent on US finances have been found to be consciously or subconsciously extending US governmental interests. As Julie Mertus writes: "It's not the NGOs driving the government’s agenda; it's the US government driving the NGO agenda."

Doctrinal developments in foreign policy kept pace with the growing potential of Ingos as valuable assets for promoting US national interests. Andrew Scott’s (1965) "informal penetration" theory tied US foreign aid, technical assistance and international organizations together as a toolkit that can be used to increase the porosity and penetrability of rival states.

Permeability of national borders was both a precondition for the emergence of transnational entities like MNCs, Ingos and international organizations, as well as the end result of increasing transnationalism with the US as metropole. Richard Cottam theorised that the Zeitgeist of world politics had changed from the ultimate recourse of "shooting warfare" to political, economic and psychological warfare. The arenas at which critical international battles took place were increasingly the domestic politics of weaker target states that are vulnerable to foreign influence and interference.

Cottam was disappointed with the "ad hoc" nature of US foreign policy and its neglect of a long-term strategic plan based on "tactical interference". The contemporary blueprint for co-opting transnational actors as active wings of foreign policy was laid by Joseph Nye’s liberal "soft power" idea that called for harnessing the US's tremendous reserve of intangible resources such as culture, ideology and institutions for preserving world dominance.

"Soft power" at the end of the cold war would be less costly and more effective to Nye because of its subtlety and seductive quality. The prohibitive costs of direct military action in modern times ensure that "other instruments such as communications, organizational and institutional skills, and manipulation of interdependence have become important instruments of power. " To manage the challenges of "transnational interdependence", Nye urges greater US investment in international institutions and regimes on issue-areas that can perpetuate the American lead in global power.

His emphasis on private actors operating across international borders as a key category that has to be managed by the hegemonic state aims at the heart of our discussion on democratization Ingos as pawns. Among practitioners of US diplomacy too, soft power's utility in furthering strategic ends has been toasted after the end of the cold war. Warren Christopher, President Clinton’s first secretary of state, proposed a strategic approach based on "new realism" to promoting democracy: "By enlisting international and regional institutions in the work, the US can leverage our own limited resources and avoid the appearance of trying to dominate others."

The democratization Gongos

The watershed that brought Ingos to the forefront of global democracy-promotion was the Reagan administration’s decision to create the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1983 to roll back Soviet influence. With a stated raison d'être of "strengthening democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts", NED was conceived as a quasi-governmental foundation that funneled US government funding through Ingos like the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and Freedom House.

These Ingos in turn "targeted" authoritarian states through a plethora of programmatic activities. NED’s first president, Allen Weinstein, admitted openly that "a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA. " The organization was a deus ex machina in the face of scandalous Congressional investigations into the CIA's "soft side" operations to destabilize and topple unfriendly regimes that embarrassed the government in the late 1970s.

As William Blum writes: "An NGO helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. " 97% of NED's funding comes from the US state department (through USAID and before 1999, the Usia), the rest being allocations made by right-wing donors like the Bradley Foundation, the Whitehead Foundation and the Olin Foundation. Since its conception, and despite the bipartisan structure, "neoconservatives have held tight control over NED's agenda and institutional structure."

Senior figures in the George W Bush administration who are signatories to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which wears aggressive US foreign interventions on its sleeve, have officiated in NED. Notwithstanding its claims to "independence" and "nongovernmental status", the US state department and other executive agencies regularly appoint NED's programme personnel. As one 'Project Democracy' (codename for NED in the Iran-Contra scandal) advocate put it, "These 'private' agencies are really just fronts for the departments they serve; the agency may prepare a report or a research project that it then gives to the private firm to attach its letterhead to, as if it were really a private activity or initiative."

A survey of NED's partner Ingos reveals a similar pattern of public priorities forwarded by private agents. Freedom House, a neocon hub which succoured the colour revolutions, has a history of being headed and staffed by ex-CIA high-level planners and personnel.

NDI is dominated by "liberal hawks" or right-wing Democrats who find their way to prime foreign-policy slots when their party is in power. IRI comprises a herd of far-right Republican politicians and representatives of major financial, oil, and defense corporations. IFES top brass belong to conservative Republican ranks, the CIA or military intelligence. IREX, the training school for colour revolution elite protagonists, is peopled by political warfare, public diplomacy and propaganda specialists from the news media, US foreign service and the US military.

For our purpose, it is interesting to note that compared to humanitarian and development Ingos, which have often promoted US foreign-policy objectives, democratization and human-rights Ingos boast of a far greater preponderance of US government and intelligence operatives. This owes much to the fact that democratization is a sensitive political minefield with direct bearings on international relations. It is too important a foreign policy subject for the US government to hand over reins to the voluntary sector.

Armed with the luxury of a sea of democratization Gongos (governmental NGOs) and quangos (quasi-governmental NGOs), William DeMars: "The US government has a greater capacity than any other single actor in the world to keep track of them, channel them, thwart them, or ride them in a chosen direction."

Usaid's avowal that democracy can be promoted around the world without "being political" is totally fictional, because the onus of NED and its family is on altering the balance of political forces in the target country in the pretext of "civil society assistance."

Criticizing the brazen politicization of democratization Ingos, Elizabeth Cohn recommends: "Close consultation between the U.S. government and nongovernmental groups should stop. NGOs should set their own goals and not be servants of U.S. national interests, as NED is by congressional mandate."

That such relinquishment would appear foolhardy for the realists in US government goes without saying, for it is tantamount to killing the goose that lays golden eggs. To its supporters, the NED family has numerous successes to show off – interventions "to protect the integrity of elections in the Philippines, Pakistan, Taiwan, Chile, Nicaragua, Namibia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere."

Neutral assessments would rate these as electoral manipulations. Left out of the above count are victorious overthrows of democratically-elected governments in Bulgaria (1990), Albania (1992) and Haiti (late 1990s) and destabilization in Panama, Cuba and Venezuela. The next section will demonstrate that the latest feathers in NED's cap are the colour revolutions.

Ukraine’s operation orange

Ukraine epitomizes habitual American "instrumentalisation of value-based policies", thus "wrapping security goals in the language of democracy promotion and then confusing democracy promotion with the search for particular political outcomes that enhance those security goals."

Identified by the Clinton administration as a priority country for democratization and the lynchpin of US post-Soviet foreign policy, Ukraine’s importance for Nato's eastward expansion is second to none. Clinton’s special adviser on the former USSR, Richard Morningstar, confirmed during the 1997 Ukraine-Nato pact that "Ukraine’s security is a key element in the security policy of the United States. " For Zbigniew Brzezinski, the liberal hawk who influences the Democratic party’s foreign policy:

"Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire ... if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources, as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state."

With the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to Nato by 1999, Ukraine remained the last frontier, the single largest buffer on the Russia-Nato "border". The orange revolution has to be viewed in the context of a defensive Russia attempting to hold on to its sphere of influence in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and an aggressive Euro-Atlantic eastward push by the European Union and Nato.

The line-up of foreign backing for the two presidential candidates on the eve of the revolution unambiguously unravels this background tug of war. Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate of outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma, received strong verbal and financial support from the Kremlin before, during and after the disputed 2004 election. In a personal meeting with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, just before the election, Yanukovich promised "that he would end Ukraine's policy of seeking membership in NATO." Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-market challenger who benefited from American diplomatic, intelligence and Ingo assistance for the orange revolution, put his eggs entirely in the EU and Nato basket.

Energy politics also figured in Washington's regime change calculus for Ukraine. In July 2004, much to the consternation of the Bush administration and Brussels, Kuchma's government reversed an earlier decision to extend the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Gdansk in Poland. Had the extension occurred, it would have carried enormous Caspian oil flows to the EU, independent of Russia, and weakened Ukraine's overwhelming dependence on Russia for its energy needs.

Jettisoning a project that would have cemented Kiev's westward trajectory, Kuchma decided to open an unused pipeline that would transport oil from the Russian Urals to Odessa. The fallout on US interests was not negligible, as W Engdahl reports: "Washington policy is aimed at direct control over the oil and gas flows from the Caspian, including Turkmenistan, and to counter Russian regional influence from Georgia to Ukraine to Azerbaijan and Iran. The background issue is Washington's unspoken recognition of the looming exhaustion of the world's major sources of cheap high-quality oil, the problem of global oil depletion."

The US ambassador to Ukraine, Carlos Pascual, repeatedly beseeched Kuchma to give up the reversal, arguing that the Polish plan would be more attractive for investors and more profitable for Ukraine in the long term, particularly by attenuating Russian monopoly control and diversifying Ukraine's energy inventory. It was no coincidence that Yushchenko's government, after the orange revolution, restored status quo ante on Odessa-Brody, announcing "positive talks with Chevron, the former company of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, for the project."

The install-Yushchenko operation in Ukraine had several components. Important power-brokers like the Ukrainian army, the ministry of internal affairs, the security service and senior intelligence officials (silovki) worked against Kuchma's crackdown orders and passed critical inside information to Yushchenko's camp.

Though these Praetorians claimed to have disobeyed executive commands altruistically, there was a pro-US tilt in many vital state agencies. Their communication channel with Yushchenko's aide, Yevyen Marchuk, a Nato favourite and former defense minister who discussed the upcoming elections with US defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in August 2004, suggests a well planned coup d'état. Yushchenko's wife, Kateryna Chumachenko, a former Reagan and George H Bush administration official and émigré Ukrainian heavyweight, is alleged to have played a key backdoor part.

None of the above machinations would have mattered without the disputed election result, the amassing of people power on the streets and the engineering of democracy through civil disobedience. It is here that NED and its family of Ingos were most needed.

Having penetrated Ukraine in 1990 at the behest of the George H Bush administration with the assent of the pro-American Leonid Kravchuk, the effective leader of the republic, these Ingos had the power to finance and create the local NGO sector from scratch, controlling its agenda and direction.

The neo-liberal Pora organization, for instance, was an offshoot of the groundwork done by the "Freedom of Choice Coalition" that was put together in 1999 by the US embassy, the World Bank, NED and the Soros Foundation. On the eve of the orange revolution, NED Gongos hired American pollsters and professional consultants to mine psephological data and unite the opposition under Yushchenko's electoral coalition, months before the poll; trained thousands of local and international election monitors partisan to Yushchenko; organised exit polls in collaboration with western embassies that predicted Yushchenko’s victory; and imported "consultants" who had experience in the Serbian overthrow of Milosevic and the Georgian rose revolution.

The mass mobilization in Kiev was handpicked from Yushchenko's western Ukraine bastions and did not reflect nationwide sentiments. "A few tens of thousands in central Kiev were proclaimed to be 'the people', notwithstanding the fact that many demonstrators nursed violent and anti-democratic viewpoints", writes John Laughland. The NGO monitors, teamed up with western media outlets, deliberately exaggerated electoral fraud involving Yanukovych's party, ignoring serious violations by Yushchenko's.

US government expenditure on the orange revolution has been put at $14 million, while the overall civil-society promotion budget set by Washington for Ukraine (2003-2004) was $57.8-$65 million. The Soros Foundation and Freedom House pumped in a steady flow of funds through Ingos and local NGOs for "elections-related projects."

Massing of pro-Yushchenko crowds in Kiev’s Independence Square was a meticulous operation of “careful, secret planning by Yushchenko's inner circle over a period of years” that oversaw distribution of thousands of cameras, backup teams of therapists and psychologists, transportation, heaters, sleeping bags, gas canisters, toilets, soup kitchens, tents, TV and radio coverage, all of which needed "large sums of cash, in this case, much of it American." (Daniel Wolf.)

Local oligarchs and US-based émigré Ukrainian businesspersons also chipped in with sizeable contributions to the neo-liberal Yuschchenko. The shadowy and fungible ties between the US government and democratization Gongos leave little doubt that the latter were purveyors of large amounts of money in Ukraine that will not appear in audits or annual reports. Public acknowledgements of spending are understatements akin to official casualty figures given by governments during counterinsurgencies.

According to Congressman Ron Paul, the US allocated $60 million for financing the orange revolution "through a series of cut-out NGOs – both American and Ukrainian – in support of Yushchenko." The figure happens to be "just the tip of the iceberg". Claims that "Russia gave Yanukovich far more money than the United States (gave to Yushchenko)" rest on the myth that US government financing through the NED family "is publicly accountable and transparent."

The NED family's role in first following the Bush administration’s lead and anointing Yushchenko's outfit as the only valid manifestation of "civil society" (at the expense of non-neoliberal, anti-authoritarian parties) and then consistently bolstering it with funds and regime-toppling expertise completely blurs lines between impartial democracy promotion and meddling in Ukraine’s political process.

It tinkers with Robert Dahl’s basic dimension of democratization – contestation, i.e. the playing-field of political competition and the relative strengths of contenders. Much that was done by the Ingos in the name of democratization in Ukraine was outright biased, including voter education that is supposed to neutrally inform citizens to make free choices rather than to campaign for a particular candidate: "Yushchenko got the western nod, and floods of money poured in to groups which support him, ranging from the youth organization, Pora, to various opposition websites." (Jonathan Steele.)

The sinuous route taken by western money can be illustrated with an example. The Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative (Pauci), a prominent grantee of Usaid and Freedom House, funded NGOs active in the orange revolution like the International Centre for Policy Studies, which had Yushchenko on its supervisory board. In essence, American Ingos constricted the Ukrainian political space by plumping for the interests of the neo-liberal candidate before the 2004 elections, and partook in a multi-pronged regime-change operation orchestrated in Washington.

Kyrgyzstan’s tulip implantation

Central Asia has long been in the crosshairs of great-power competition games. After the fall of communism, the George H Bush and Clinton administrations defined a set of geo-strategic goals for this heavily meddled region: "To secure an alternative source for energy, help Central Asia gain autonomy from Russia’s hegemony, block Iran’s influence, and promote political and economic freedoms."

From 1993, goals of diversifying long-term energy reserves (finding alternatives to Persian Gulf sources) and pressures from the oil and gas private sectors "began to take centre stage" in Washington's policy toward Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Pentagon pressed for increasing US military presence in the region and succeeded in securing membership for four of the five central Asian states, including Kyrgyzstan, in Nato’s Partnership for Peace in 1994.

Frequent joint military exercises and "interoperability" training in the Clinton years were expected to yield American bases in the region from which to counter Russian and Chinese hegemonic ambitions. With limited oil and natural gas reserves, Kyrgyzstan’s weak economy was heavily dependent on Russia, a vulnerability that the Clinton administration sought to counteract by deepening the US defense interests and nudging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to lend voluminous amounts of development aid to Askar Akayev's relatively democratic government.

IMF technical assistance was critical to Kyrgyzstan becoming the first state in the region to leave the Russian ruble zone. Despite the 1999 extension of the CIS collective security treaty that boosted Russian military leverage in Kyrgyzstan, kidnappings and effortless incursions into Kyrgyz territory by the fundamentalist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) exposed chinks in the security apparatus of Akayev's "Switzerland of central Asia". As Kyrgyzstan got dragged into central Asia's Islamist tangle by geography, the narcotics trade and border conflicts, the subterranean US-Russian race for military bases came into the open, paving the road to the tulip revolution.

After 11 September 2001, the Pentagon ventured on an epic journey: "The greatest shake-up in America's overseas military deployments since the end of the second World War to position U.S. forces along an 'arc of instability' that runs through the Caribbean, Africa, the middle east, the Caucasus, Central Asia and southern Asia."

The cash-strapped Akayev offered the largest American military base in the region at Manas, outside Bishkek, an installation that was not taken lightly in Moscow. China, which shares a border with Kyrgyzstan was equally alarmed and, together with Russia, steered the Shanghai Cooperation Organization toward opposing and ending US military bases in central Asia. The expectation that Manas base would "reduce Kyrgyz dependence on Russia", besides being a logistic hub for the war in Afghanistan, was belied when in 2003 President Putin negotiated with Akayev to open up a Russian airbase at Kant – thirty kilometres from the American "lily pad".

China was also reported to be engaged in secret parleys for its own base in Kyrgyzstan and for border adjustments; these kicked up a political storm against Akayev in March 2002. Russia's ministry of internal affairs, "Akayev’s new friends", helped defuse the demonstrations. Akayev’s moves to align Kyrgyzstan with China through "Silk Road diplomacy" and suppression of the Uighur guerrillas – explained mainly by his desperate need of finances to stem the tail-spinning domestic economy – upset Washington, which saw Beijing as a thorn in its strategic expansion agenda.

The American perspective on this dangerous development went as follows: "Given the 1,100-kilometer border between Kyrgyzstan and China – and Washington's already considerable foothold in nearby Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – the fall of the China-friendly government of disgraced president Askar Akayev would be no small victory for the 'containment policy'."

Prior to the Sino-Russian counteroffensive that found receptive ears in Bishkek, Akayev's progressively autocratic tendencies had not ruffled many feathers in Washington. His rigged presidential election in 2000 went largely unnoticed by the US government, even though NDI observers termed it unfair and laden with illegal subornment of the state machinery. In fact, Eric McGlinchey's study of the reasons for Akayev's slide into anti-democratic politics puts the blame squarely on US-inspired IMF doles that allowed him to "rein in political contestation and rebuild authoritarian rule."

Having cosseted Akayev for more than a decade, the volte-face done by the Bush administration before the tulip revolution was not an overnight realisation of how despotic he had become but a hard-nosed calculation that its vital interests were no longer being served. The visible consequences of Washington’s displeasure with "the news from Kant" (the opening of the Russian base) were recorded thus: "The IMF office in Bishkek has become tougher towards Kyrgyzstan. And the State Department has opened its own independent printing house – which means opposition newspapers will be back in full force." (P Escobar.)

Diplomatic sources are on record that as soon as the Kant deal fructified, Akayev was "on the American watch list" and "the U.S. began supporting all conceivable elements arrayed against him."

Democratisation of Kyrgyzstan, a footnote in American policy, suddenly acquired an aura and urgency. We should add that there was also a generic strategic rationale mooted in the Bush administration for democratization in central Asia after 11 September. Since anti-US popular feelings in the region are not as high as in other Muslim parts of the world, "the risk of democratization in the region is relatively small." Winning the hearts and minds of central Asian Muslims through democratization "will not only facilitate the process of liberalizing the economy, but also, as a by-product, increase support for the United States."

11 September opened a classic realist "window of opportunity through which an 'arc of stability' can be established in the strategically important area between the Caspian Sea and the northwestern border of China." Wildly inconsistent in application, the notion that democracy promotion can soften the Islamist challenge to pax Americana fitted well with rising discontent in Washington with Akayev's usefulness. Kyrgyzstan, with a population of barely 5 million (the fourth smallest in the region) received a sum total of $26.5 million for "democratic reform" from the state department in 2003-04, second only to the much more populous Uzbekistan. As with Ukraine, the official figures shroud a fortune.

From 2003, NED-family Ingos got into the act of securing regime change at the next parliamentary elections, turning against Akayev who had initially allowed them access to the country during the heyday of IMF and Usaid conditional lending. Even more than in Ukraine, American dominance of the local NGO sector is complete in Kyrgyzstan. P Escobar describes the monopolization of local civil society thus: "Practically everything that passes for civil society in Kyrgyzstan is financed by US foundations, or by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). At least 170 non-governmental organizations charged with development or promotion of democracy have been created or sponsored by the Americans."

The absolute control of Kyrgyz civil society by the NED family of Gongos is compounded by the donor-driven nature of "civil-society building" carried out in the region. Fiona Adamson's field research of democratization aid in Kyrgyzstan finds that: "Local NGOs receive almost 100 percent of their funds from international actors and can easily become almost 100 percent donor driven. International donors implicitly or explicitly expect local NGOs to administer programmes that do not necessarily match local needs."

Among the strategies adopted by the Ingos in the name of democratization was winning over local elites to western ideas and models, a time-tested cold-war tactic of psychological warfare. Irex organised conferences, seminars, "technical assistance" and exchange programmes with Kyrgyz elites, believing that domestic political change comes from exposure to western ideas.

That this tactic worked was evident by the trend among the Kyrgyz business and political elites to endorse a closer security and economic relationships with the US. Kurmanbek Bakiyev of the National Movement of Kyrgyzstan, the man who replaced Akayev as prime minister after the tulip revolution, was himself sent to the US on an exchange programme. Felix Kulov, the new head of security, and Omurbek Tekebayev, the new speaker of parliament after the tulip revolution, were also beneficiaries of state-department-sponsored visitors programmes.

Tekebayev disclosed what he learnt on the Washington jaunt candidly: "I found that the Americans know how to choose people, know how to make an accurate evaluation of what is happening and prognosticate the future development and political changes."

Top opposition leaders in the 2005 parliamentary elections like Roza Otunbayeva had reputations as "Washington’s favourite", though not as across-the-board as in Ukraine. They were quick to see potential in the NED's arsenal for regime change and utilised Ingo-funded projects for publishing anti-government newspapers, training youth "infected" with the democracy virus through US-financed trips to Kiev for a glimpse of the orange revolution, and mobilizing fairly large crowds in Bishkek that stormed Akayev's presidential palace and in the southern towns of Osh and Jalalabad.

Usaid "invested at least $2 million prior to the elections" for local activists to monitor government-sponsored malpractices but did not do anything to prohibit these "independent observers" from actually working for opposition candidates. The Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society (CDCS) and Civil Society Against Corruption (CSAC), key local NGO partners of the NED, worked in tandem with the anti-Akayev parties without any pretence of impartiality.

The US embassy in Bishkek, continuing the murky tradition of interventionist behaviour in crises, worked closely with Gongos like Freedom House and the Soros Foundation – supplying generators, printing presses and money to keep the protests boiling until Akayev fled. Information about where protesters should gather and what they should bring spread through state-department-funded radio and TV stations, especially in the southern region of Osh.

CDCS head, Edil Baisolov, admitted that the uprising would have been "absolutely impossible" without this coordinated American effort. On the utility of the NED Gongos to the entire exercise of the tulip revolution, Philip Shishkin noted: "To avoid provoking Russia and violating diplomatic norms, the US can't directly back opposition political parties. But it underwrites a web of influential NGOs."

It is important to note that the clan structure of Kyrgyz society, ethnic tensions with Uzbeks, and incipient Islamism in the Ferghana valley intervened on the ground to alter the revolutionary script charted in Washington. Russia too had learnt its lessons from Ukraine and cultivated some key opposition figures, making it impossible for the US to monopolize the opposition as was the case in the previous two colour revolutions.

The element of surprise, the slick media packaged proclamation of democracy’s relentless march, the legitimization by western capitals in lightning speed – all had become predictable by the time the democratization caravan reached Bishkek. The ambivalent attitude of the new order in Kyrgyzstan – in sharp contrast to the euphoric pro-western policies in Georgia and Ukraine – owes much to this variation between these two case studies.

"Good" vs "bad" authoritarians

Before drawing final lessons from this analysis, it is worth knowing why questionable elections by semi-dictatorial rulers in other post-communist states did not end up in colour revolutions. The main reason why Ilham Aliev, the heir to Heydar Aliev's autocracy in Azerbaijan, could fix the November 2005 parliamentary elections and not have to run the gauntlet from Washington's public-relations machinery and NED Gongos was his regime's loyalty to immense American (and British) energy interests in the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

This was the second time Ilham Aliev grossly manipulated an election and got away without repercussions. His succession façade in the notorious October 2003 presidential election was not only condoned in Washington but met with congratulatory messages from the Pentagon.

Uzbekistan's Stalinist strongman, Islam Karimov, brutally clamped down on a mass demonstration in Andijan against corruption and arbitrary detentions in May 2005, killing 500 and wounding 2,000, but Washington echoed the Uzbek government's claim that it was the handiwork of "Islamic terrorists".

Karimov, at the time of the tulip-revolution-inspired stirrings, had been the US's staunchest ally in the war on terrorism in central Asia, an insurance policy against democratization pressures. His pre-emptive moves before the December 2004 parliamentary elections and after the tulip revolution to expel and constrict the activities of NED-family Ingos did not meet with any criticism from the US government. Comparing Uzbekistan to the other colour revolutions, the perceptive P Escobar wrote: "The former strongmen of colour-coded 'revolutionary' Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan were monsters who had to be removed for 'freedom and democracy' to prevail. So is the dictator of Belarus. Not Karimov. He's ‘our’ dictator."

The necessary causation of regime change

These case studies have upheld the realist paradigm by showing that American-democratization Gongos are necessary, but not sufficient, causes for the colour revolutions. Unless US foreign-policymakers decide to field the full panoply of their intelligence, economic and military resources alongside the Gongos, the spectacle of yet another orchestrated colour revolution is unimaginable. Lacking strong US condemnation and proactive directions, the NED Gongos cannot manage to stage regime changes on their own in conjunction with local activists. It is the push factor from Washington that galvanises the Gongos into a war footing for regime toppling.

The orange and tulip revolutions are cases of "regime change", not "regime-type change", for they did not democratize Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. By their very nature, these episodes were replacements of anti-western elites with pro-western ones, not far-reaching changes that remodeled polities. Even a minimalist definition of democracy – free and fair elections – was not unambiguously achieved in the two cases.

So narrow was the base of these regime changes that it is a travesty to call them "revolutions", a term propagated by the US government and western media. The replacements of Kuchma by Yushchenko and of Akayev by Bakiyev are no more "revolutionary" than the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which has been christened by the Bush administration as a "purple revolution". The difference in methods – Gongos and backroom intrigue in post-communist states and direct military occupation in Iraq – does not nullify the similarity of the independent variable: US strategic ambitions.

Predictions for future regime changes on the lines of the colour revolutions will need to carefully track how this independent variable evolves vis-à-vis undemocratic states in the post-Soviet space and how it shapes the concatenation of hard and soft power instruments. American strategy would also depend on domestic political peculiarities in individual states, factors that could not be fully covered in this essay due to the methodological problem of degrees of freedom.

American Gongos are highly effective in certain domestic milieus and moments and less so in others. Sabotage can suffice in some countries while full-scale military offensives may be needed in others. As Peter Gourevitch points out, purely international causation for domestic causes is "not totally convincing" except in the case of complete military occupation by a foreign power. A full range of necessary causation for regime change would have to include internal political and socio-economic variables, besides the NED brand of interposing.

Some additional information can be found at

A complex web of phony Ukrainian NGOs

UNITER stands for 'Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms' and is also known as USAID/Ukraine's Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine (SCSU). It is administered by Pact Inc. Pact Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that is directly funded by USAID:

USAID/Ukraine awarded Pact a 5-year cooperative agreement to implement the project, effective October 1, 2008. The agreement was extended in September 2013 for an additional year. Including modifications and the 1-year extension, the total amount awarded comes to $14.3 million. As of September 30, 2013, $13.7 million had been obligated and $12.7 million had been spent.1
UNITER also funds the Center UA, which was set up in 2009 by Pierre Omidyar as "a coalition of more than 50 civil society organizations that mobilizes civic participation in Ukraine and serves as the country's primary forum for government transparency and accountability." Omidyar is a French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and philanthropist, and the founder and chairman of the eBay auction site.

Oleh Rybachuk is named as the founder and chairman of Centre UA. In 2004, Rybachuk headed the staff and political campaign of the US-backed presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko in the 'Orange Revolution'. Speaking at a 2006 NATO forum, he said:

"The task of political forces [in Ukraine] is to compromise on when Ukraine will sign a NATO Membership Plan [...] Ukraine's leaders must now join their efforts to launch an information campaign promoting the country's Euro-Atlantic integration, so that Ukrainians freely and consciously choose their future."
Rybachuk went on to serve under Yushchenko and Tymoshenko as deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into NATO and the European Union. With the creation of Centre UA in 2009, Rybachuk transformed himself into a "civil society activist" and began working covertly for the US government to prepare the ground for the overthrow of the established order in Ukraine through "civil unrest", which eventually included the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych.

After the election of President Yanukovych in February 2010, UNITER described how Centre UA was used to put pressure on the Yanukovych government:

The New Citizen Platform was a key player in ensuring the success of the legislation. Pact, through the USAID-funded Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER) project assists the NGO Center UA [New Citizen] since 2009. It was UNITER's contribution to create the network of prominent local and national level Ukrainian NGOs, to bring together leaders of public opinion and civil society activist.

Henceforth, Pact helped Center UA to emerge as the main convener of the need for access to public information for journalist work. This gave important boost to the success of the New Citizen platform. It included the facilitation and creation in summer 2010 of the Stop Censorship movement that unites media professionals in defending their rights for freedom of speech and access to information. The intensive collaboration New Citizen platform and Stop Censorship movement resulted in the reinforced media attention to the legislative struggle.2

On investigating these 'NGO networks' in Ukraine it quickly becomes clear that when Victoria Nuland said that Washington has spent $5 billion on "democracy promotion" in Ukraine over the past 20 years, she wasn't lying, at least not on the numbers. But that $5billion of US taxpayers' money has not gone towards "democracy promotion" but towards the infiltration and co-opting of Ukraine's political and social life for the purpose of thwarting Russia's natural influence on, and co-operation with, its neighbor. Between 2009 and 2014, through its complex web of fake NGOs, the US government engaged in a concerted effort to radically and definitively change the course of Ukraine's political and social life for the sole purpose of attacking Russia. In hindsight, a violent coup d'etat and the imposition of US-government-selected political leaders was a part of that plan.The farce that was and is USAID funding phony 'NGOs' to work for "access to public information for journalistic work" was fully exposed recently when the Kiev government banned more than 100 Russian media outlets from Ukraine.

Use of false flag operations to wipe up the protests

Here is one interesting take on EuroMaidan "snipergate" ( Euromaidan Anatomy of a Washington-backed coup d'etat)

US Snipers on EuroMaidan?

When he took up the post of US Ambassador to Ukraine on July 30th, 2013, Geoffrey Pyatt inherited this complex and well-established network of US-financed social activists and agitators. One of Pyatt's first tasks was to oversee the funding (about $50,000 in total) of a new television station in Ukraine, Hromadske TV. Unsurprisingly, Hromadske's first broadcast was on Nov. 22nd, 2013, the very first day of the Maidan protests. Indeed, the rallying cry for those protests was given by Mustafa Nayem, a Ukrainian journalist who founded Hromadske TV (with US taxpayers' money). Hromadske provided blanket coverage of the Maidan protest and since then has continued to receive generous funding from the US State Department and EU governments. To get an idea of the editorial line of the US State Dept. Hromadske, last year they hosted a journalist who called for the genocide of 1.5 million residents in the Donbass.

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McCain flanked by neo-nazi Tyahnybok

From the beginning of the protests until Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, the Euromaidan was the place to be if you wanted to press the flesh with US politicians. Pyatt and Nuland regularly handed out cookies and 'attaboys' to the protestors and police alike, while the US government's revolutionary envoy John McCain rallied the protestors in December 2013, telling them that "America stands with you" and "Ukraine will make Europe better". As the protests became increasingly violent through January 2014, the Ukrainian Prime Minister resigned on January 28th in a failed attempt to appease the protestors. By February 18th, President Yanukovych was in negotiations to draft a 'peace deal' with three members of the opposition - Yatzenyuk, the fascist Tyahnybok, and Klitschko, along with French, German and Polish foreign ministers. These were the same three people mentioned by Nuland and Pyatt in their infamous leaked phone call where they discussed the future make-up of the post-Yanukovych government.The agreement called for a drastic reduction in Yanukovych's presidential powers, a return to the 2004 constitution, the release of Tymoshenko from prison, early elections for later in 2014, the appointment of Yatzenyuk as prime minister and Klitschko as deputy prime minister, and the dismissal of the current government.

These measures amounted to a radical change in the power structure in Ukraine and should have meant an end to the protests, since they fulfilled all of the opposition demands. After all, the leaders of the opposition who had signed the agreement were the representatives of the protestors on the streets of Kiev, right? However, as the negotiations were ongoing, someone began a shooting spree in the streets around Kiev square over the three days of February 18th-20th. At least 15 policemen and 80 protestors and civilian bystanders were shot dead by what appears to have been a team of snipers firing from the tops and windows of buildings. The agreement was signed on the 21st, but the large death toll appears to have contributed to the almost immediate scrapping of the agreement, and the announcement by what was left of the Ukrainian parliament that Yanukovych would be impeached.

The image below shows the Maidan square in the top left corner.

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The yellow line shows the extent of the progress of the protestors on February 20th along Institutskaya Street as they tried to reach the central bank and the Ukrainian parliament (in red). All of the buildings surrounding Maidan square (off screen, top left), including the Ukraine hotel (in green), were occupied by protestors. The lobby of the Ukraine hotel had been turned into a makeshift triage center for the injured. The point being, everything behind and to the left and right of the protestors should have been safe territory. Ukrainian officials and protestors to this day claim that the police were responsible for the deaths. Yet the video segment below, taken from this video, shows a protestor (and the tree behind which he is hiding) being struck by a bullet from behind or from the side, most likely from the upper floors of the Ukraine hotel, as pointed out by this German news report (with English subtitles).


Throughout the day, dozens of other protestors were shot from behind, from buildings occupied by protestors, as outlined in this detailed report by Professor Ivan Katchanovski of the University of Ottawa.

The question of who was responsible for the large death toll among both protestors and policemen was brought into sharp focus by an intercepted telephone call, released on March 4th, 2014, between EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Paet, who had just returned from Kiev. In the call, Paet tells Ashton:

There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. [...] all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides ... and it's really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don't want to investigate what exactly happened.
If you're wondering why you haven't heard much, or anything, about this phone call in the Western media, the reason is that it has been ignored. And as Paet says, apparently the new US/EU-installed 'interim' government in Ukraine is not too keen on investigating the allegations.

Along with the video evidence and eyewitness testimony, Paet's statement strongly suggests that within the 'Maidan' protestors, perhaps specifically the US-funded and Chechen Jihadi-linked 'Right Sector', there were individuals who were fighting on both sides of the barricades; their aim being to kill as many police and protestors as possible in an effort to turn the 'people's revolution' into a revolution of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists bent on kick-starting a 'civil war' to cleanse Ukraine of Russian influence. That agenda dovetails nicely with the broad, decades-long goal of the Anglo-American empire to neutralize Russia as a potential global power broker able to stand against US global hegemony through destabilization and proxy wars.

The expansion of NATO up to Russia's borders that was begun by the Clinton administration in 1992 was advised against by many because it would obviously provoke conflict with Russia, yet the plan went ahead anyway. Why? There are two interwoven benefits from the US point of view. The first is that expanding NATO eastwards served to physically and economically expand the US empire. The second is that provoking conflict with Russia was predicted to scare European states, especially the expanded-upon new NATO Baltic states, into believing that Russia was a threat.

NATO was designed to increase security in Europe, but it has achieved precisely the opposite today. What 'increase security in Europe' really means in Washington is 'increase of US control in Europe'. The US government has long-since understood that the best way to increase control is to increase fear, and to increase fear you need an enemy. In the case of Europe, Russia could be provoked into appearing as an enemy to Europe by threatening it through expansion of NATO, which was justified by the need to increase security in Europe. Basically, expansion of NATO to Russia's borders was designed to threaten Russia and, as a result, threaten Europe and push it further into the arms of the Empire.

Ukraine today is not just a 'failed state'. A 'failed state' is usually still in the hands of a national government. Ukraine today is fully in the hands of the US government and the IMF. That might not be such a bad thing (relatively) if it weren't for the fact that the only reason those two institutions have any interest in Ukraine is to use it as leverage in their futile attempt to thwart the inexorable strengthening of the Russian Federation.

Just take Natalie Jaresko as an example. A Chicago-born investment banker who received her Ukrainian citizenship in December 2014, she now controls Ukrainian financial policy. In the late '80s and early '90s, she just so happened to hold several positions at the US State Department before taking the position of Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine. She also managed the USAID-financed Western NIS Enterprise Fund, which kindly provided funds for 'pro-democracy' movements in Belarus, Moldova and, predictably, Ukraine.

One year ago today, there was an option to end the Maidan protests peacefully while also meeting the protestors' demands and reforming Ukrainian politics and society in a way that would have benefited the Ukrainian people. Instead, the US empire and their proxy agents chose to unleash bloody mayhem on Ukraine. In the process, Ukraine (and therefore NATO) lost Crimea and is so to lose the rich lands of Donetsk and Lugansk. Does the US government care? Of course not. The real goal of demonizing Russia as a threat to global stability has been achieved.

All other considerations, including the slaughter of tens of thousands of ragged Ukrainian troops and at least 5,000 eastern Ukrainian citizens, are a price the psychopaths in Washington were only too willing to pay.

There is no fortress that can't be captured by a donkey loaded with gold

It is now known that the USA agencies spend around one billion in cash to facilitate the dissolution of the USSR. Here is how Prince Shcherbatov, who was active participant of the events, recollected this CIA operation:

...the Americans, the CIA spent money through its Ambassador in Russia, Robert Strauss, using his connections to bribe military: Taman and Dzershinsk airborne division, which had moved to the side of Yeltsin.

Big sums were received by the son of the Marshal Shaposhnikov, Minister of defense Grachev. Shaposhnikov now have an estate in the South of France, and a house in Switzerland.

I heard from George Bailey, my old friend, who for many years worked for the CIA that cash allocated to the USSR amounted to more than one billion dollars.

Not many people knew that in 1991 special aircraft delivered cash under the disguise of diplomatic mail to the Sheremetyevo airport. Those money were distributed in packages of ten-, twenty- an fifty dollars bills to selected government officials and military leaders.

The first meeting of the representatives of the two countries, held in Jurmala showed Americans that some of "the Soviet people" can easily “agree” to bribes. The second meeting which was attended by both military and intelligence representatives of both countries was a trial balloon for the future events.

Former participants in Chachagua conference were active participants in the coup: General Chervov helped to distribute the money among the military, one of the Directors of "Banks Trust", John Crystal helped to channel CIA money via his bank.

It turned out that if you give Soviet officials a good bribe, it is not that difficult to destroy the Soviet Union.

Everything was calculated correctly. In this case, thanks to the joint conferences, mass media, the efforts of American and Soviet representatives of different levels public opinion was shaped in the necessary direction, psychological "brainwashing" of the Soviet people was quickly accomplished and the ideas about the necessity of the introduction of democracy in the country firmly took root.

Bombing country with dollar proved to be also very efficient during Iraq and Afghanistan campaign. It allowed to buy some key figured in the government, making resistance inefficient. Cash in suitcases was used during the dissolution of the USSR very effectively to buy key "intelligencia" and government officials. The technique was polished to perfection during Serbian color revolution (The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity)

Regime Change Blueprint The NED At Work

Mar 08, 2014 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

Another resource was the 30,000-40,000 Serbs living in Austria. Serbia had established the military draft, and the CIA had many walk-in Serbs who gave it detailed assessments of troops, list of security and police officials and other valuable information. Other Serb deserters went by ratlines to Germany where they were debriefed at Westport, a former US military base turned intelligence center. Many Serbs returned to Belgrade to continue to report.

Milosevic was constantly passing draconian new laws to root out dissidents and make war on his own students, and the CIA, having learned from the attempts by the Soviets who tried to decapitate Polish union, Solidarity, using mass arrests, the Serbian rebel students, whose outfit was called Otpor, set up a brilliant horizontal structure exactly the opposite of Milosevic’s central structure. Otpor was made up of small cells, and to escape capture, its members constantly shifted to a complicated network of safe houses. Operations were launched from these. A safe house used signals such as a raised blind or a closed window or a raised flag on a mailbox to indicate that all was well.

In addition, the CIA, through NGO’s, supplied the rebel Serbian students with thousands of cell phones, radio transmitters, and fax machines. Calls and e-mails went out through servers outside Serbia to escape Belgrade’s magpie scrutiny. Otpor was also supplied with printing equipment and supplies, and the publications and leaflets began to have an impact.

But the most urgent priority had been to establish a money conduit to fund Otpor and other Serbian defectors in place. Much of the money was cash gathered in Hungary and smuggled in suitcases over the border into Serbia., preferably U.S. dollars or German deutsche marks that were widely used in Serbia and had a higher value than the worthless Serb dinar. To avoid detection, the money trail moved constantly. Very early Otpor received money to a tune of $3 million from NED. The money was transferred to accounts outside of Serbia, mainly in Hungary and Austria. Since Milosevic had nationalized the Serb banks, a lot more money came over the Serb border in suitcases from Hungary. The NED would not know where the money was going, and would receive a receipt signed by a dissident as to how the funds were used. For example, money going to underground publications would be acknowledged by a secret code on one of the pages.

Using its covert monies, the students began to buy t-shirts, stickers, leaflets that bore its emblem of a clenched fist. Soon the clenched fist of Otpor appeared on walls, postal boxes, cars, the sides of trucks and statues. The students painted red footsteps on the ground to symbolize Milosevic’s bloody exit from parliament and passersby found thrust into their hands cardboard telescopes that described a falling star called “Slobotea.” They also used public relations techniques including polling leafleting and paid advertising. As days went on recruitment was expanded and new assets acquired and in cities like Banja Luka in northern Bosnia in Pristina in Kosovo, and in the provincial cities of Serbia, activity was mounting to a climax All the beatings of crowds, the disbanding of political parties, the fixing of the 1997 elections, the dismissal of honest Serb officials, the snubbing, the humiliating defeats, the arrogant indifference of Milosevic had been piling up, generating a pent-up violence that was going to be discharged in one shattering explosion of revolt.

The money trail expanded. Regarding the funding of certain persons or groups, the agency took pains to use false flag recruitments – acting through intermediaries to get new agents while the CIA pretended that its own agents came from other countries. Clinton did not want the opposition derided as U.S. lackeys. A participant: me, "I don’t think a lot of our assets had a sense of working for the U.S. government. It’s a grey area letting them know where their monies are coming from.” In the end, they got over $70 million.

Communications gear came next. The dissidents had to be supplied advanced CIA equipment such as Inmarsat scrambler phones to organize a command, control and intelligence, (C3I) network so they could remain underground and stay a step ahead of capture. Training for specific opposition leaders and key individuals was given U.S. assets within Serbia whose purpose was to serve as the eyes and ears for key dissident as well as to provide funds and security.

By now Otpor had developed a crisis committee to coordinate resistance that enabled networks from different regions to keep in close touch. All branches of U.S. intelligence were going to provide an early warning system for the students. The NSA and the CIA Special Collections Elements in neighboring countries had hacked into Slobodan’s key security bureaucracies and were reading Ministry of Internal Affairs' orders for police raids against the demonstrators. This intelligence was passed to the dissidents who gave advance alerts to Otpor cells which allowed them to disperse and avoid arrest. By now the student group even had a committee to deal with administrative tasks such as lining up new safe houses, cars, fake IDs. As the campaign to dethrone Milosevic went on, the money and activities grew more and more quickly with more than $30 million from the U.S. alone.

There were now seventy thousand Otpor students in 130 groups with twelve regional offices, and the Otpor leaders had been schooled in non-violent techniques designed to undermine dictatorial authority. They were using a handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation,” written by Gene Sharp. Chapters were copied and handed from cell to cell throughout the country. He: an interview that his non-violent method “is not ethical. It is not pacifism. It is based on an analysis of power in dictatorship and how to break it by withdrawing the obedience of its citizens and the key institutions of society.”

The same tactic in less overt form is used during Russian "white revolution" of 2012 and EuroMaidan 2014. Average pay for "protester" in xUSSR space is $30 a day. If we add equipment and food necessary for sustained Maidan style protest it is probably closer to $100 a day. Assuming 3000 paid professional protester (which will attract some volunteers, lumpens and simply spectators probably doubling the total doubling the amount in day hours ) that means that one day of protest costs as little as $300K a day which is nothing in comparison with the cost of direct military intervention. 30 days often is enough to topple the government so for less then 30 million you can achieve a spectacular result and "open the can" for multinationals. Here is some consideration on this account from establishment rag Foreign Policy.

The article Dollars, Not Bombs Can we bribe our way to peace in Syria? (FP, Sept 4, 2013) suggests:

How much is peace worth in Syria? If the United States attacks, cruise missiles worth tens of millions of dollars will wing their way toward the war-torn country, adding to the millions already spent on mobilization. There's no guarantee this costly exercise would quicken the end of the conflict. What's more, there's a potentially cheaper way to promote peace in Syria and anywhere else: Buy it.

The United States already spends money on foreign aid and peacekeeping that are supposed to stem conflict and encourage economic growth around the world. But we tend to avoid sending money to countries bogged down by war, since we're afraid it might be wasted. This is a big gap in our foreign policy, and to fill it, we need be more direct. We need to pay for peace explicitly.

There's a market for peace. The seller's price is how much you have to pay for it, and the buyer's price is how much you should be willing to pay. We need to know both of these numbers and ultimately try to balance them.

Why should Americans be buying? It's pretty simple. Peaceful countries are moneymakers for the United States. Most peaceful countries in the world import American goods and services, helping our economy create jobs and putting tax revenue in Washington's coffers. And the more these countries grow, the more they buy.

... ... ...

Other countries could sweeten the deal. Major economies in Europe would probably benefit from peace in Syria, too. Right now, none of them are among Syria's top trading partners, despite the European Union's policy of economic engagement in the Mediterranean region. If Europe participated, the annual peace bounty could rise to a billion dollars or more. And if the Syrian people knew that so much money awaited a peaceful and legitimate government, all sides might try harder to find a negotiated settlement.

... ... ...

The Syrian people might feel as though they were being robbed again by what has by many accounts been a thoroughly corrupt regime. But negotiating about money is much better than continuing the violence, and surely the Assads would want to haggle for their share. Ending the killing on both sides could be a condition for talks that might be worth tens of millions to them every year.

If peace bounties showed promise, there'd be no need to stop with Syria. From prison states like North Korea to countries hamstrung by civil conflict like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, peace bounties could help to tip the scales away from violence. The best part is that since the bounties would depend partly on population size, bigger bounties would free more people from war and oppression. (To be sure, they would also depend on people's incomes, which is a less attractive attribute.)

One catch here is that the World Trade Organization might see a bounty as an illegal subsidy to a country's imports. To get around the rules, the payments might have to be fixed as lump sums rather than varying annually according to import volumes. Alternatively, if all the WTO's members got together to pay the bounties, there would be no issue. In either case, such technicalities needn't stand in the way of the overall concept.

Back in the 1990s, the peace dividend created by the end of the Cold War brought the United States within a whisker of paying off its entire national debt. Today, thanks to tax cuts and ironically to a couple of new wars, that peace dividend has evaporated. But there's another one ripe for the taking -- as long as we're brave enough to put emotion on hold while we talk about cold, hard cash.

Use in xUSSR space

As the article by Sreeram Chaulia reproduced above had shown this technology proved to be especially effective in xUSSR space as governments in those state still remember communist dictatorship methods and are vary to resort to brutal methods of suppression of protestors common is the USA, GB as other Western countries.

It's pretty funny that Trotsky idea of permanent revolution returns to the xUSSR space in new packaging and will be directed even against neoliberal government which came to power after dissolution of the USSR when they are consider by the West no enough neo-liberal and hesitate to the wholesale the country to western banks. Or worse are resource nationalist as in Russia and Byelorussia. Expansion to this space has distinct neofascist small and essentially reminds and attempt to reestablish the Third Reich in a new neoliberal form with Western European population as a new Arian nation.

Track record of successful color revolutions in xUSSR space includes Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan. Non successful was only White revolution in Russia in 2012.

Ukrainian Orange Revolution is a classic color revolution, stages on the accusations of election fraud.

Recent unsuccessful (but pretty destabilizing) attempt to stage a color revolution was "white revolution" in Russia in 2011-2012. It produced many new and useful materials for understanding the mechanics of undermining the state using the Fifth column of Compradors & lumpenelite.

Euro Maidan of 2013 is another interesting and educational example. Here the pretext of staging color revolution of non-signing of the association EU treaty by Yanukovich government, the treaty which in present form serves well EU but does not serve Ukrainian economic interests.

I think it is unwise to underestimate the tremendous power of this new menace to the independent governments even if they are neoliberal government (as governments of Ukraine and Russia were at the time). One step in wrong direction and West might try to depose it with more agreeable sock puppets. With the dominance of neoliberalism the term compradors bourgeoisie has reentered the lexicon to denote new fifth column of globalization, trading groups and social strata in the subordinate but mutually advantageous relationships with metropolitan capital, which are ready to betray national interest for a scraps from the table of multinationals.

So any non-suicidal government should restrict the activity of Western NGO, penetration of western intelligence services into their own security services and dominance of oligarchs or western financial played in mass media (NGO actually spend large amount of money training "independent" journalist who under the disguise of critique of corruption of the current government and "freedom of the press" serve as a important part of fifth column and help to subdue the country to transnational corporations.

Democracy Uber Alles (But Only When It Goes Our Way)

Export of democracy is another stated goal of color revolution. Like other goals it is fake. In reality it is mainly a pretext for converting state into vassal on Washington. In other word this is neocolonial policy. In other words as William Blum noted in his book Americas Deadliest Export Democracy - The Truth about US Foreign Policy and Everything Else we can say that in fact The deadlest export of the USA is export of democracy:

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

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

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

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

... fortunately, for those who have read his books or follow his "Anti-Empire Reports" on the Web, he was not assassinated! And now he has collected his reports and essays of the last dozen years or so into a 352-page volume that will not only stand the test of time, but will help to define this disillusioned, morose, violent and unraveling Age.

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is well-known that Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Iraqis, but usually left unmentioned is that those victims were in armed revolt against his regime. What would any U.S. President do if American citizens took up armed revolt against the U.S. Government? We have a clue in what took place in Waco, Texas a few years ago. There was no armed revolt, just some citizens with unregistered firearms. The U.S. government considered those armed citizens to be such a risk that the government sent in tanks and military personnel, ultimately using military personnel to set a conflagration which burned scores of women and children alive. Imagine if those people had actually been involved in revolt against the government!

The U.S. stresses "freedom and democracy" as a goal for a reconstituted Iraq. Of course some of the nations providing military support in the "coalition of the willing" are already democracies, and while their citizenry is voicing 90% disapproval of the preemptive war of aggression and conquest, the democratically-elected leadership of Britain, Australia, and Turkey adopt policies directly contrary to the loudly expressed will of their populations. So much for democracy, but proof the coercion and bribery of leadership for corporate interests is what Western-style "democracy" is usually all about.

The U.S. wants to spread democracy and freedom, but their latest attempt at nation building in Afghanistan has resulted in a puppet president Karzai (a former Chevron official) who is afraid to leave his own offices, while brutal warlords remain in control of the county. No democracy yet, while the U.S. military pussy-foots around the warlords and tries not to get in their way.

So, America bravely presses forward towards "liberating" Iraq. But don't mention it to the Kurds up north, who are dreading the recent arrival of a thousand and a half Turkish troops (with more likely to come) for the purpose of preventing the establishment of a Kurdish independent republic, or to prevent an unacceptable refugee burden. A Kurdish Democratic Republic would be too unsettling to the region for the Bush administration (or any American administration) to ever allow or promote THAT much democracy!

What really counts in Iraq is military firepower and corporate economic power. Dick Cheney, American Vice-President has been more or less totally absent from the American public's view, but only because he has basically reverted to his pre-election corporate role of lining up contracts for his old company and others to come in and mop up Iraq with billions of dollars' worth of reconstruction and infrastructure and oilfield repair contracts.[1] Forget democracy, and bring on the corporate bureaucracy and lets get that Iraqi oil flowing to pay the American debts for liberating her! Maybe American corporations will be democratically elected or appointed to do a little "nation building" which seemed very distasteful to Bush when Clinton was President, but seems like a fine idea now.

Was it all necessary? Or was any of it necessary? Well, the U.N. was making great strides in disarming Iraq and would have done so in reasonable time frames without warfare. But Bush needed war like like a cruise missile needs propellant. His presidency didn't even take off and begin flying until 9/11 pushed his military/industrial complex ambitions onto the front burner. No wonder Bush wouldn't allow the U.S. military to shoot down any of the four hijacked planes on 9/11, even after one World Trade Center tower was struck and even though the Pentagon lies under the most heavily defended airspace in the world. The hits had to occur to get the ball rolling for the Bush agenda, and so the military was stood down that day and thousands of Americans, including Pentagon personnel had to die so the Bush agenda could come to life.

From a Bush perspective, which is limited in scope, narrowly focused and myopic as a house mouse's eyesight, the situation looks very good and very promising. Baghdad is burning. Saddam is squirming. Congressional support is firming.

But the rest of the world, and many, many Americans see the hypocrisy of pseudo-democracy. Some of us see a regime change ahead in Washington at the time of the next election. And we see war crimes trials as Perle and Rumsfeld fail to bring down the U.N. and Rumsfeld and maybe even Bush and Powell get charged with crimes against humanity.

At least, there is room for hope.

Corruption as a battle cry for regime change

Corruption is probably the most common, the most universal and most convenient pretext for color revolutions. It's value is first of all in its universality: there is no neoliberal state, which would not be vulnerable to corruption. For example if somebody wants to organize "regime change" in the USA corruption charge would work perfectly well as there many instances of corruption of various state structures. In a way lobbyism used in the USA is nothing but institutalized corruption. The only thing needed in this case is dominance in MSM so that you can "carpet bomb" the society with those charges and rose indignation of population to the level when people will become ready for the "regime change",

Corruption is a consequence of dominance of neoliberal regime with its cult of greed. It is connected with the the decline of the moral level of population, and fiorst of the the elite to an all-time low. Young rebels in many countries are reacting to a instilled by the USA neoliberal regimes not understanding that as a result they will get the same kleptocratic regime, only more cruel and experience drastic drop of standard of living. The reason of improvising is conversion of many countries into West debt slaves can't be resolved by street protests. The extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands thanks to neoliberal policies of deregulation and union busting is a feature not an exception due to some over-corrupt overload, that should be deposed. It is an immanent feature on neoliberal regimes everywhere. But young people, with gracious financial help from some embassies and NGOs can take over the streets, parks, plazas and squares to protest against the resulting corruption, the way politicians can be bought and sold, and the impunity of the current "bad" regime. Resulting regime change will make many of them more sober, it it will be too late. The train already left the station.

It goes without saying the neoliberalism creates fertile ground for widespread corruption. And when we talk about corruption, we need to understand the cause of it is systemic. It not connected with particular criminals -- replace them and new criminals will take power and continue the same policies. I repeat, it is sharp drop of the moral level of general population and the elite under neoliberalism. And corruption in third world countries and the xUSSR area is supported by the West which serves as receiving party for all the stolen from people money. London is now full of Russian oligarch who escaped from criminal prosecution and who are now protected by GB government out of geopolitical interest of weakening of Russia as well as nice opportunity to get some stolen money in London banks. Of course Russia is in hearlines of neoliberals now, but out of opportunity to get those money is irresistible too. It is one of the way of capital accumulation for GB elite.

In a way corruption as a three-headed dragon, with one head being the USA, the second head EU (especially GB) and the third head -- corruption on other countries. Cur one head and it will re-grow soon as other heads are intact. And this situation continues for many years and serves as a powerful pipe of redistribution of wealth to the top -- the key idea of neoliberalism.

Corruption also helps demobilization of the society which is another goal of neoliberal transformation of society, as power under neoliberalism belongs to tiny "top 0.01%". Corruption and state repression have their roots in the policy regime of "neoliberalisation" and corporate plunder.

yalensis, June 3, 2015 at 2:35 am
CNN has the usual agenda. “Corruption” is one of the key issues in the Gene Sharpe colour-revolution handbook. Of all the possible things that can be wrong with a given society, the Americans decided that “corruption” should be the main issue in all of these revolutions. At their Yale course in revolution, which Navalny studied, they teach how to use corruption as a battle-cry to overthrow the government.

Saakashvili is considered the very model of a pro-American colour revolutionary who comes to power spouting anti-corruption slogans. (Once in power, he did get rid of some rival mob bosses and then concentrated all the corruption in his own greedy hands!)

In conclusion, when pointing out corruption in Russian aerospace industry, CNN is probably trying, not so much to be a helpful friend to Russia (in pointing out some problems), but more likely providing fuel to the colour revolutionaries, who still have not given up hope of overthrowing Putin.

The network of corruption usually includes "the pork barrel" corruption that involves government officials. This is especially typical for xUSSR area and third world countries and is a source of significant discontent which can be played for destabilizing the government. The funny thing that color revolution leads to more corruption, not less, because again corruption (aka redistribution of wealth to the top) is the essence of neoliberalism. For example level of corruption of Yeltsin regime was simply legendary.

In Ukraine Yanukovich regime was notorious for its "pork barrel" corruption. This is exactly how initial stage of EuroMaydan was launched. And the result is more corruption, not less, which naive participants which were used start to realize only now when current dropped 50% and Ukraine was plunged into another Great Depression with tremendous drop of standard of living form 99% of population.

It's almost exhilarating, when Western MSM talk about the "pervasive corruption of the government in Ukraine:" Western versions that are pre-electoral, post-electoral, straightforward theft, and "pork-barrel" politics are just more sophisticated and simultaneously are more widespread.

Neoliberals chanted the mantra that everyone would benefit if the public sector were privatized, businesses deregulated and market mechanisms allowed to distribute wealth. But as economist David Harvey argues, from the beginning it was a doctrine that primarily benefited the wealthy, its adoption allowing the top one per cent in any neoliberal society to capture a disproportionate share of whatever wealth was generated.

Bu the model is pretty much universal (How corruption became a global problem in an age of neoliberalism )

Economist Prabhat Patnaik, speaking recently at York, said neoliberalism (corporate global rights, privatization, deregulation) leads to corruption because governments give away their national wealth "for a song," then impose an informal tax on the giveaways so they can maintain power, which sounds like what happened here: the strangest element of gasplantgate is why they paid out so much for the cancellations. But maybe the flowback would have stopped otherwise. Corruption was part of the tale in India's electoral upheaval as it was in Quebec's surprise Liberal victory. Voters despair. You can't turn them out of office fast enough to avoid returning them almost instantly.

... ... ...

You wouldn't have those CEO pig-outs absent neo-liberalism's moral model: get rich not just quick but hugely. As Kevin O'Leary loves saying, and CBC plasters on its promos: God put us here to get rich. Note it's a public broadcaster where he barks that and no one contests it. (I consider Amanda Lang's ripostes pro forma.)

Since there's no counter model (excluding, maybe, the pope) it becomes almost embarrassing not to grab for all you can get, legality be damned. The mentality seeps into areas like pro sports and the World Cup, with PED corruption, game fixing -- and trickles down to kids. There's also a sort of pre-emptive political corruption, where leaders like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have their eye on the vast returns available after they leave office, through their own foundations, etc., as long as they don't offend the corporate titans who are the donors. But none of it would thrive without the grotesque, tantalizing wealth inequalities that equate with neoliberalism.

Why anyone thought privatizing huge chunks of public wealth and letting the profit motive slither all over them would mean less corruption evades me, along with thinking Ontario's Liberals are the beginning and end of the problem. Corruption may always be with us but it comes in different forms. We're currently driving the globalization-privatization model right off a cliff.

Usage of corruption of current government of a wedge

The government in oligarchic republics like Russia or Ukraine always has a high degree of distrust from people as it is well known that it is corrupted like any government serving oligarchy. So as soon it try to move to "resource nationalism" that threatens multinationals. or try to use "balancing between two camps" path (Ukraine) it became a pretty easy target, as the discontent is present and need only to be enhanced by NGO, bombing country with dollars and other tried and true methods.

That why classic in “color revolutions” moment for challenging “power that be” is when the election results in the election of the incumbent president annoced, especially when the winning margin for the ruling party majority is slim. A very plausible claim that “old guard does not want to turn over the power voluntarily” and resorts to election fraud to maintain status quo is used. Actual fraud in not necessary, just a rumor is sufficient.

While the "revolutionaries" themselves can use any dirty tricks to win. We saw similar tactic by Bush camp in the USA in 2000 when they violate each and every rule of conduct in Florida to get Bush win by 537 votes, and still manage to enforce their illegitimate win. "Election violations" is a favorite tactic developed by Karl Rove is other Mayberry Machiavellians and now reused in color revolutions.

This method of wiping up discontent into active phase in which some square is occupied by protesters (let's call it Maidan phase) proved to be very efficient in xUSSR space.

Allegations of authorities misconduct do not need to be true. They can be completely bogus, but plausible "manufactured news". The idea is that when truth will be discovered it will be too late. They can be false flag operation by moles within the current government (the supposed role of Lyovochkin during EuroMaydan). In other words any dirty trick is permissible, as in "the end justified the means" Jesuit motto.

False flag of manufactured news operation can destabilize situation to the extent that new possibilities are opened for the initiators of this process. Also supporters of the “old regime” among local oligarchy might jump the ship, especially if promised a pack of $100 bills in return for this courtesy (remember that in most cases they are also players in country privatization schemes, owning directly or indirectly assets; and their family accounts and often families are often already living at the West) or at least bet of both horses.

Economic difficulties in addition to elections make a perfect combination.

Even legitimate, legal decisions, played hostile to Washington interests, can be skillfully played that way. In this respect Putin’s decision to be the candidate for the next president of Russia probably did served as a fuel in this particular episode. Because this does smell with the CPSU "permanent First Secretary" staff.

In this respect dual party system is much more advanced and much more suitable for the oligarchic republic (and architects can rely on rich, century old USA experience of fooling the population about the level of their participation in election and decision-making).

All this led to a paradoxical situation: Washington hegemony de legitimized any popular protest in countries where the USA is interested in "regime change". this was probably the case in Hong Cong "Umbrellas" Color Revolution of 2014

In any case using color revolutions for regime change by the USA discredited ingenious protests movements in countries like China and Russia, to the extent that now the first natural reaction is crying "color revolution, watch out the USA machinations!" even at movements that are chiefly based on real grievances.

Any modern "pro-democracy movement" now is embedded in a complex matrix of money, subterfuge, foreign influence, oligarchic clans war, propaganda, and manipulation by foreign actors. It can be easily hijacked and misused by color revolution strategists at NED and similar organizations (who are actually very good at their craft).

Here are a couple of pretty telling comments:

Guest77 | Oct 5, 2014 6:52:31 PM | 84

I don't see what any personal sympathies with the protestors even matters. Sure, we all want people to be able to fight for their rights and have the government they want, but right now there is a larger priority, and that is making sure that the world maintains a multipolar political structure. The importance of a multipolar world outweighs even our desire to see vocal minorities to take to the streets, I think. (And these are vocal minorites, no doubt).

I think, as "westerners" we have to support the group that will insure the independence of the state in question. We cannot support any group that looks to the US as a model or a hope, because we here know better than anyone that this is a sham. And any group that panders to the US and it's citizens via social media has to immediately be suspect.

Sloppy always comes to crow about how much b hates America. I don't think b "hates" the USA, but he is certainly right to make the USAs aggressive moves toward hegemony the key focus of all of his posts, and right to make a stand against this issue over all others because it is truly the gravest threat the world faces today.

- if the emergence of liberal freedom in every corner of the world means it's sure evaporation from all parts very soon after (which will surely occur if the USA achieves total global domination) we cannot support this. We will only see real opportunities for peace, political expression, and true democracy only after the US is prevented from perverting these good things into instruments of its domination. But until then, the independence of foreign governments is far more important for world peace, stability, and prosperity than the rights of a few minorities to threaten their governments in Russia, China, or Iran.

guest77 | Oct 5, 2014 7:23:42 PM | 86

@84 And of course for inside "the west" the exact opposite holds true. We should support any protests, any movement that attempts to degrade the aggressive capabilities of the US Empire, because this will allow real democracy and prosperity to flourish in more places around the world.

No one can claim that countries like Russia, China, Brazil, India and Iran - where standards of living are rising and the governments have the broad support of the people - are "dictatorships".

Just like no one of any honesty should call the banker dominated oligarchy like the United States, where cash determines every election down to the lowest rungs on the political ladder - a "democracy".

Demian | Oct 6, 2014 3:14:41 AM | 100

@brian #95:

Gee, you seem to follow Project pretty closely. I have no such inclination.

As I said before, all one needs to do is watch the Maidan girl video and then the Occupy central video, both of which you directed us to, to see that what is going on in Hong Kong is just another attempted color revolution.

Another link, obtained from the link guest77 gave at #89:

US State Dept Funding and Occupy Central, the Ties that Bind

This is the most through demonstration of how Occupy Central is just the US State Department being up to its usual tricks that I have seen so far. The post the Saker put up today, in which a Hong Konger explains why he does not support Occupy Central, is also worth reading.

Analogy of Hong cong event with Ukrainian EuroMaidan events run so deep that sometimes it looks like the same blueprint was used in Hong Cong as in Kiev.

Key component of color revolution is a split society and strong presence of comprador elite in the capital

I see the following key ingredients of “color revolutions” in action in Orange, Revolution, Russian White Revolution and Euro Maidan of 2013.

The society should be split with some part of nation, typical comprador olitachs and several other segments of society closely connected to multinationals, already taking anti-government positions

This was and extremely easy part in Ukraine, which along with compradors in Kiev, has Western part of the country with different religion and history, so called Catholic part of the country. This part of the country proved to be a national ally of comprador oligarchy in staging neoliberal revolution, despite the fact that they will suffer from it in equal degree as Eastern, Orthodox part of the country.

Moreover enforcing equality of homosexual marriages with traditional marriages is directly against Catholic doctrine. But gastarbeiters orientation of this region with majority of adult population working in near-by countries (Poland, Russia, Germany) as well as the fact that the region which does not have any significant industrial base helps to raise relatively cheap ($30 a day or less) and reliable "cannon fodder" for the color revolution. People were transported to Kiev by buses paid with cash supplied by oligarchs or "embassy cash". Sift work on Maydan was source of revenue for some villagers in Western Ukraine for more then six months.

Muslim fundamentalists (Muslim brotherhood in Egypt) were successfully used in Arab spring revolutions. As my understanding of those countries is very limited I can't provide any details.

Initial point can be arbitrary but most often is based on accusations of election fraud

The whole process is often staged around election fraud (the best conditions are if two opposing candidate get around 50% of votes, but can be used with different percentages as well). In case of election fraud it works in two main phases:

  1. Attempt of de-legitimating of elections and forcing a new elections that supposal should rectify falsifications of the previous one. Gorbachov’s “two cents” about the necessity of new elections are pretty telling move in this respect if we are talking about Russia. Old fox knows how best to serve his masters.
  2. Parallel de-legitimatization of existing government and its candidates via charge of election fraud and subsequent overthrow of the weakened opponent “by peaceful means” via second round of elections. Here is one Amazon comment from The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…

    I regularly screen Bringing Down a Dictator in my courses at Swarthmore College. This film does an excellent job of introducing students to the fundamentals of nonviolent power. Students come to understand that authoritarian regimes, while formidable, are often more fragile than we imagine. Milosevic’s regime, like others, relied on a mixture of apathy, fear, and cynicism that the students of Otpor fought to dispel through humor, appeals to nationalism, and tireless public outreach. Like any large institution, Milosevic’s regime depended on the loyalty of its functionaries (such as the police) and at least a veneer of public credibility. Otpor students carefully undermined both through its broad grassroots organizing, popular nonviolent resistance, and by awakening a multi-party political opposition.

  3. The starting point is always the immediate and well coordinated campaign in captured mass media and NGOs of forceful denunciation of “mass falsifications” no matter what actually happened at the elections. Statements of influential figures (like Hillary Clinton’s recent statement), etc in support of the claims about mass falsifications. This is followed by creating of “artificial reality” around this claim via well coordinated press campaign with the direct and prominent support of major Western MSM. Direct forgery of video and other documents can be used pretty successfully. Medvedev understands this but the real question is does he has the political will to prosecute perpetrators ? Use of “nonpartisan exit polls” as a pressure cooker for questioning the results. Falsifications and exaggeration of ballot fraud, especially “ballot staffing” via selectively interpreted exit pool data. Here is important to achieve some level of demoralization of authorizes to avoid prosecution of people involved or the whole scheme will fall like a house of cards. The Teflon cover of “fighters for democracy” is used to prevent prosecution. Same trick as with Khodorkovsky.
    See http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/sp07/graduate/gmj-sp07-grad-venger.htm

Police brutality incident is needed and can be staged to put petrol into fire

In cases other then election fraud even serve as a starting point of protest active phase requires "police brutality" provocation. For example recent Euro Maidan started as an action against non signing of treaty of association with EU (note no EU membership) without mass support. But it became real protest event when carefully planned police brutality provocation materialized. In this particular case there were fifth column even within the government. So the assumption that the government is monolithic is incorrect. It often contains elements that are ready to betray. Or such elements can be bought.

Attempt to provoke police brutality so that “public demonstrations” help to turn demonstrations no matter how they started into definitely anti-government and anti status quo. The goal is to undermining police loyalty through carefully stage campaign about police brutality. Older methods of “befriending policemen” to neutralize them no longer work. But media campaign against police brutality is very demoralizing and still words very effectively as Euro Maidan 2013 had shown. The goal is to allow “free hands” in undermining the current government. See NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE - Community Labor News

Direct interference in the sovereignty of the state under attack. Cutting the space for maneuvering of existing government by stressing that this not a direct interference into country affairs but just a support of democratic forces

Authoritarian government has much more breezing space of dealing with the situation that democratic government, so the more democratic is the target government is, the easier for a color revolution to institute a "regime change".

As long as democracy is considered to be a “sacred cow” for the government under attack, it is essentially doomed. If Western democracy is the only legitimate form/model to which you need to progress from the current “wild”, unlawful, criminal and authoritarian state of total darkness, the Western powers are by definition the arbiters of this progress. There is no defense from this claim in you have foreign observers on the ground. This way the current government itself betray its own legitimacy by delegating it to foreign powers, who can abuse their role at will for benign or not so benign motives: without leaving hotel, the western elections observers will state about mass violation during elections, playing the role of Trojan horse of the “color revolution”. The government is caught is zugzwang as foreign observers are by definition the arbiters of the legitimacy of elections. Any move makes the situation worse.

Breathtaking hypocrisy and double standards

Former colonial powers such as USA, GB, France, Germany, Holland, and Denmark are master of hypocrisy in the direction to people they want to colonize via neoliberal revolution.

Using NGOs for distribution of cash to protesters and as a headquarters and coordination center of uprising against the government

The organizing force of color revolution are NGOs which are often nothing more that legalized parts of Western intelligence community. That why several countries, such as Russia, Israel, etc limited the activity of foreign NGOs. In country where this was not done, the ruling elite might soon regret this criminal negligence.

They are engaged in systematic, long term attempts to build and maintain student/youth based and heavily financed (60% in case of Ukraine) fifth column of “professional protesters”, the move that actually mirrors Bolshevik’s reliance on “professional revolutionaries”.

Students are the most suitable target as they are more easily brainwashed, are excitable, often dream about emigration to Western countries, always need money. Perfect “canon fodder” of the “color revolutions”. Creation of set of martyrs “for the course”, especially among young journalists who were arrested during protests and, even better, mistreated, is a part of this tactic. As emigration is considered as desirable future by considerable percent of young people, we have a pool from which it is easy to recruit fighters for the “democratic future” of the nation with the hope that after reaching critical mass the process become self-sustainable. And often it is. Also after being arrested and/or expelled from the university those people have nowhere to go but to became “professional color revolutionaries”. Some of then are pretty talented and can do a lot of damage. This was pre-emptive creation of a well-organized “anti-fraud front” tremendously helps to create legitimacy problem for the government as initiative is instantly lost to government opponents. The government is too bureaucratized, unprepared and is taken by surprise the strength of the response. They try to convince that election process was completely legitimate people who does not want to be convinced and just laugh at their efforts. As in any revolution loss of initiative is half of the defeat: the “democratizers” have plan, have hard currency, have hopes about their future in the West and the will to achieve their goals. In Ukraine the “anti-fraud” front has worked under the succinct slogan Pora— “It’s Time”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Revolution#Involvement_of_outside_forces

Activists in each of these movements were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies. According to The Guardian, these include the U.S. State Department and US AID along with the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, NGO Freedom House and billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. Government funded foundation, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988. Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp formed the strategic basis of the student campaigns.

Capture of mass media space

Creation of "fifth column press" under the protection of "freedom of press" slogan and full scale "take not prisoners" approach to use of press influence as the most vulnerable forth branch of government to undermine the other three. If this part works for color revolution, and press turns against the government, the government is doomed. Under the cover of “freedom of the press” systematic use of all controllable media, Internet, web sites, social media, mobile communications for spreading the “truth” about mass falsifications. As Goebbels used to say

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Substitute “State” for “color revolution”. Press also serves for coordination and maintaining the direction and unity of the movement. Heavy use of well-financed NGO as a brain trust for the movement:

Throughout the demonstrations, Ukraine’s emerging Internet usage (facilitated by news sites which began to disseminate the Kuchma tapes) was an integral part of the orange revolutionary process. It has even been suggested that the Orange Revolution was the first example of an Internet-organized mass protest. [31] Analysts believe that the Internet and mobile phones allowed an alternative media to flourish that was not subject to self-censorship or overt control by President Kuchma and his allies and pro-democracy activists (such as Pora!) were able to use mobile phones and the Internet to coordinate election monitoring and mass protests.[32][33]

The use of “end justifies the means” politic at all stages of color revolution until the victory

Promiscuity in building coalition and seeking allies. Nationalist and gay rights mixture is perfectly OK ;-). Any neofascist party is a best friend of Western democratizers. Muslim fundamentalists are also a valuable ally.

Anybody opposed to “brutal and dishonest current regime” is welcomed to join “anti-fraud front”. No "inconvenient questions" about agenda of particular group and they relationship to the "democracy" smokescreen are asked

Are ultra-nationalists now best friends of democracy? There was never such a good friends. Are communist now best friends of democracy? No question about it.

Coercing "rebel" oligarchs to join fifth column

Oligarchs are important part of fifth column first of all because as any comprador bourgeoisie they are not an independent players. They are pretty much puppets of the West and an important force of staging color revolutions.

Their capitals, often their family and property are in the West. So they are easy target of blackmail, even if color revolution is not in their interests and they can suffer from considerable financial losses as a result (due to destruction of local industries, which is the national effect of neoliberal revolution).

Another important thing about oligarchs is that they control considerable (is some countries like Ukraine dominant) part of media space. This provides easy and bloodless media coup d'état when country MSM go against government and government simply can't make its voice heard. This was the situation during Euro Maidan 2013 in Ukraine. Actually acting Ukrainian Prime Minister directly complained about this situation in December 2013.

Here is an interesting quote from http://los-oxuenos.livejournal.com/636710.html (slightly edited Google translation):

Why Putin tyrannized officials with the necessity to close foreign accounts

Journalist Yuri Butusov on his Facebook page says that Tsenzor.Net source close to diplomatic circles,:tails of the negotiations between Newland and Akhmetov held in Kiev.

Nuland informed that in case of police enforced clearing of EuroMaidan, U.S. and EU leaders agreed on a common position - immediate sanctions against leading politicians and oligarchs close to President Yanukovich. And the list will be continually updated so as to cut off all contacts with the EU and the United States not only for those figures authorities who participated in the police initiated dispersal of protesters, but also for those who did not defend peaceful continuation of protests scenario. This is a very important addition that will not allow anyone to shirk responsibility in the leadership of the Party of Regions and its sponsors.

Akhmetov: the meeting that on Monday he was trying to keep President Yanukovych from using force against EuroMaidan, but Yanukovych refused to accept it. Nuland demanded organize a round table with the opposition and civil society from the leadership of the PR directly - even in defiance of Yanukovych. Forced dispersal of EuroMaidan should out of possible options.

Nuland promised not only sanctions - she also has clarified this threat, presenting the list of people who get together with their families will be target of the sanctions in the first place .

These are:

  1. Rinat Akhmetov .
  2. Vadim Novinsky .
  3. Andrei and Sergei Klyuyev.

Why them? Because Akhmetov controls 55 PR MPs and Klyuyev has a mandate from the "young team" to manage the rest of the faction.

U.S. expects that the Party of Regions faction will support all four of the opposition's demands , after which can be initiated peace talks :

  1. Announcement of early presidential elections.
  2. Early parliamentary elections.
  3. Tymoshenko liberation and complete recovery of her civil rights.
  4. Criminal cases against all members of the MUP and "Berkut" , who took part in the crackdown on "peaceful demonstrations".

Nuland categorically stated that the failure to meet those conditions will put a big question every company's operating performance and DTEK "Metinvest " which Akhmetov owns abroad. Nuland clearly noted : these companies have placed assets in Europe , the U.S. and Europe are for them the major markets, the top brass of those companies have a property abroad and Akhmetov's family are tax residents of the UK. Metinvest and DTEK has major liabilities to international investors in the form of foreign currency bonds .

Thus, not just the first time the U.S. announced an ultimatum oligarchs surrounded by Yanukovych , but this time they are described in detail, in what form and at what level these sanctions will be applied.

Review of Literature

There are several films and books that document this new strategy. Among them I would highlight works by MacKinnon, Sharp and CANSAS ( Serbia's Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies):

America's Coup Machine Destroying Democracy Since 1953 Alternet

The New Cold War Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union by Mark A. MacKinnon

Gene Sharp books

Serbian color revolution

Books about Orange revolution in Ukraine

Role of Western bankers in Bolsheviks revolution in Russia

and even religious heritage, and is enduring.


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[May 09, 2021] Wokism and black and white mentality of new cultural revolution

Highly recommended!
This one-to-one replay of Red Guards - Wikipedia but with quite different sponsors ;-) "Hóng Wèibīng was a mass student-led paramilitary social movement mobilized and guided by Chairman Mao Zedong in 1966 through 1967, during the first phase of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Notable quotes:
"... there is an on-going effort to create fads/movements in which the public becomes caught-up and distracts the from reality. ..."
"... The more binary and controversial the better. Red/Blue. I used to be a big fan of sports but have the opinion it is a pointless waste of time and my life is better for that realization. ..."
"... Characteristics of the Woke: They always attack, especially with insults, like "paranoia nonsense". They never address the actual point made, instead they reinterpret the point to make it appear pure evil. Which allows them to attribute the worst possible motivations on the person they are attacking. Naturally they invent things the other person hadn't even mentioned, like climate change. ..."
"... Again the whole woke 'identity' culture that cancels dissent and promotes 'minorities' in positions of power is simply woke fascism. Just as military recruitment is about turning violent video games real for young men, so too is CIA recruitment about inviting the 'woke' for murder and mayhem in the name 'freedom' without which the woke could not wake. ..."
May 09, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

jared , May 5 2021 16:50 utc | 49

I think that there is an on-going effort to create fads/movements in which the public becomes caught-up and distracts the from reality.

The more binary and controversial the better. Red/Blue. I used to be a big fan of sports but have the opinion it is a pointless waste of time and my life is better for that realization.

Additionally/tangentially, I feel there is a habit in the English language in particular to create new words to describe things these words are not well define and generate a lot of discussion and heat about things that nobody knows what they are actually talking about and end up arguing the meaning of the words.

People who don't know the new words must try to catch up or be left out of the discussion. I don't direct this at your discussion. I just wonder how we might see things if we were constrained to a limited vocabulary - as I am as a programmer of sorts.

EoinW , May 5 2021 16:57 utc | 52

NonPartisanRinsed | May 5 2021 16:03 utc | 30

Characteristics of the Woke: They always attack, especially with insults, like "paranoia nonsense". They never address the actual point made, instead they reinterpret the point to make it appear pure evil. Which allows them to attribute the worst possible motivations on the person they are attacking. Naturally they invent things the other person hadn't even mentioned, like climate change.

gottlieb , May 5 2021 17:06 utc | 54

Again the whole woke 'identity' culture that cancels dissent and promotes 'minorities' in positions of power is simply woke fascism. Just as military recruitment is about turning violent video games real for young men, so too is CIA recruitment about inviting the 'woke' for murder and mayhem in the name 'freedom' without which the woke could not wake.

psychohistorian , May 5 2021 17:17 utc | 55

I will believe that any of this is worth a shit when Snowden wades in with his opinion...until then its just another distraction

The CIA is why we can't have "wokeism" about the right issue like global private/public finance.....where is Occupy 2.0?

The current wokeism is like the pet rocks of old days.....would want folks to focus that woke on the inherited class structure of the private property West, would we?

[May 05, 2021] Capital power is over labor, and it extracts money from labor in various ways, but most especially during debt conversions after the financial crisis like crisis of 2008

May 05, 2021 | www.unz.com

Mefobills , says: May 5, 2021 at 1:44 pm GMT • 4.8 hours ago

@animalogic respasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us ." is the translation presented in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. What is lost in translation is the fact that Jesus came "to preach the gospel to the poor to preach the acceptable Year of the Lord": He came, that is, to proclaim a Jubilee Year, a restoration of deror for debtors: He came to institute a Clean Slate Amnesty (which is what Hebrew דְּרוֹר connotes in this context).

It is quite possible to have balanced civilizations that lasts for thousands of years; however it is impossible in the West, since the west is based on faulty assumptions about reality.

[May 03, 2021] FISA And The Still Too Secret Police

With PRISM in place FICA court is redundant...
Notable quotes:
"... All an FBI supervisor has to do to get a FISA warrant on you is have one agent get a crooked snitch in a foreign country to send you a weird text message, and then have another bright eyed and bushy tailed agent who doesn't know the crook is a snitch write up a search warrant application affidavit and submit it to the FISA court. ..."
"... Nothing says "Unconstitutional (illegal) Deep State" like FISA. Hitler's Gestapo would be proud! ..."
"... Lisa and Peter removed any credibility the FBI had with the public. If they solved real crime they would go after the massive fraud and stolen ID criminals. Of course that takes real work and someone wanting get off their lazy rear end ..."
May 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Bovard,

The FBI continues to lawlessly use counterintelligence powers against American citizens...

The Deep State Referee just admitted that the FBI continues to commit uncounted violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).

If you sought to report a crime to the FBI, an FBI agent may have illegally surveilled your email. Even if you merely volunteered for the FBI "Citizens Academy" program, the FBI may have illegally tracked all your online activity.

But the latest FBI offenses, like almost all prior FBI violations, are not a real problem, according to James Boasberg, presiding judge of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That court, among other purposes, is supposed to safeguard Americans' constitutional right to privacy under FISA. FISA was originally enacted to create a narrow niche for foreign intelligence investigations that could be conducted without a warrant from a regular federal court. But as time passed, FISA morphed into an uncontrolled yet officially sanctioned privacy-trampling monster. FISA judges unleash the nuclear bomb of searches, authorizing the FBI "to conduct, simultaneous telephone, microphone, cell phone, e-mail and computer surveillance of the U.S. person target's home, workplace and vehicles," as well as "physical searches of the target's residence, office, vehicles, computer, safe deposit box and U.S. mails."

In 2008, after the George W. Bush administration's pervasive illegal warrantless wiretaps were exposed, Congress responded by enacting FISA amendments that formally entitled the National Security Agency to vacuum up mass amounts of emails and other communication, a swath of which is provided to the FBI. In 2018, the FISA court slammed the FBI for abusing that database with warrantless searches that violated Americans' rights. In lieu of obeying FISA, the FBI created a new Office of Internal Audit. Deja vu! Back in 2007, FBI agents were caught massively violating the Patriot Act by using National Security Letters to conduct thousands of illegal searches on Americans' personal data. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) declared that an Inspector General report on the abusive searches "confirms the American people's worst fears about the Patriot Act." FBI chief Robert Mueller responded by creating a new Office of Integrity and Compliance as "another important step toward ensuring we fulfill our mission with an unswerving commitment to the rule of law." Be still my beating heart!

The FBI's promise to repent after the 2018 report sufficed for the FISA court to permit the FBI to continue plowing through the personal data it received from NSA. Monday's disclosure "a delayed release of a report by the court last November "revealed that the FBI has conducted warrantless searches of the data trove for "domestic terrorism," "public corruption and bribery," "health care fraud," and other targets "including people who notified the FBI of crimes and even repairmen entering FBI offices. As Spencer Ackerman wrote in the Daily Beast , "The FBI continues to perform warrantless searches through the NSA's most sensitive databases for routine criminal investigations." That type of search "potentially jeopardizes an accused person's ability to have a fair trial since warrantlessly acquired information is supposed to be inadmissible. The FBI claimed to the court that none of the warrantlessly queried material "˜was used in a criminal or civil proceeding,' but such usage at trial has happened before," Ackerman noted. Some illicit FBI searches involve vast dragnets. As the New York Times reported , an FBI agent in 2019 conducted a database search "using the identifiers of about 16,000 people, even though only seven of them had connections to an investigation."

In the report released Monday, Judge Boasberg lamented "apparent widespread violations" of the legal restrictions for FBI searches. Regardless, Boasberg kept the illicit search party going: "The Court is willing to again conclude that the . . . [FBI's] procedures meet statutory and Fourth Amendment requirements." "Willing to again conclude" sounds better than "close enough for constitutional."

At this point, Americans know only the abuses that the FBI chose to disclose to FISA judges. We have no idea how many other perhaps worse abuses may have occurred. For a hundred years, the FBI has buttressed its power by keeping a lid on its crimes. Unfortunately, the FISA Court has become nothing but Deep State window dressing "a facade giving the illusion that government is under the law. Consider Boasberg's recent ruling in the most brazen FISA abuse yet exposed. In December 2019, the Justice Department Inspector General reported that the FBI made "fundamental errors " and persistently deceived the FISA court to authorize surveilling a 2016 Trump presidential campaign official. The I.G. report said the FBI "drew almost entirely" from the Steele dossier to prove a "well-developed conspiracy" between Russians and the Trump campaign even though it was "unable to corroborate any of the specific substantive allegations against Carter Page" in that dossier, which was later debunked.

A former FBI assistant general counsel, Kevin Clinesmith, admitted to falsifying key evidence to secure the FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted , Clinesmith "changed an email confirming Mr. Page had been a CIA source to one that said the exact opposite, explicitly adding the words "˜not a source' before he forwarded it." A federal prosecutor declared that the "resulting harm is immeasurable" from Clinesmith's action. But at the sentencing hearing, Boasberg gushed with sympathy, noting that Clinesmith "went from being an obscure government lawyer to standing in the eye of a media hurricane"¦ Mr. Clinesmith has lost his job in government service"what has given his life much of its meaning." Scorning the federal prosecutor's recommendation for jail time, Boasberg gave Clinesmith a wrist slap"400 hours of community service and 12 months of probation.

The FBI FISA frauds profoundly disrupted American politics for years and the din of belatedly debunked accusations of Trump colluding with Russia swayed plenty of votes in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. But for the chief FISA judge, nothing matters except the plight of an FBI employee who lost his job after gross misconduct. This is the stark baseline Americans should remember when politicians, political appointees, and judges promise to protect them from future FBI abuses. The FISA court has been craven, almost beyond ridicule, perennially. Perhaps Boasberg was simply codifying a prerogative the FISA court previously awarded upon FBI officials. In 2005, after a deluge of false FBI claims in FISA warrants, FISA Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly proposed requiring FBI agents to swear to the accuracy of the information they presented. That never happened because it could have "slowed such investigations drastically," the Washington Post reported . So, FBI agents continue to lie with impunity to the judges.

The FISA court has gone from pretending that FBI violations don't occur to pretending that violations don't matter. Practically the only remaining task is for the FISA court to cease pretending Americans have any constitutional right to privacy . But if a sweeping new domestic terrorism law is passed, perhaps even that formal acknowledgement will be unnecessary. Beginning in 2006, the court rubber-stamped FBI requests that bizarrely claimed that the telephone records of all Americans were "relevant" to a terrorism investigation under the Patriot Act, thereby enabling NSA data seizures later denounced by a federal judge as "almost Orwellian." FISA could become a peril to far more Americans if Congress formally creates a new domestic terrorism offense and a new category for expanding FISA searches.

The backlash from Democrats after the January 6 clash at the Capitol showcased the demand for federal crackdowns on extremists who doubted Biden's election, disparaged federal prerogatives, or otherwise earned congressional ire. If a domestic terrorism law is passed, the FBI will feel as little constrained by the details of the statute as it does about FISA's technicalities. Will FBI agents conducting warrantless searches rely on the same harebrained standard the NSA used to target Americans: "someone searching the web for suspicious stuff"? Unfortunately, unless an FBI whistleblower with the same courage as former NSA analyst Edward Snowden steps forward, we may never know the extent of FBI abuses


ebworthen 39 minutes ago

"You want to harass a political opponent? Sure, we can do that...

JaxPavan 42 minutes ago

All an FBI supervisor has to do to get a FISA warrant on you is have one agent get a crooked snitch in a foreign country to send you a weird text message, and then have another bright eyed and bushy tailed agent who doesn't know the crook is a snitch write up a search warrant application affidavit and submit it to the FISA court.

Joe Bribem 32 minutes ago

It's almost like we did this to Trump. But it'll never come to light. Oops it did. Not that anything will happen to us because we own the corrupt DOJ and FBI.

Obama's own personal private army.

You_Cant_Quit_Me 7 minutes ago

A lot of tips come in from overseas. For example, the US spies on citizens of another country and then sends that country tips, in exchange that country does the same by spying on US citizens and sending the FBI tips. Then it starts, "we are just following up on a tip"

wee-weed up 36 minutes ago (Edited)

Nothing says "Unconstitutional (illegal) Deep State" like FISA. Hitler's Gestapo would be proud!

You_Cant_Quit_Me 37 minutes ago

Lisa and Peter removed any credibility the FBI had with the public. If they solved real crime they would go after the massive fraud and stolen ID criminals. Of course that takes real work and someone wanting get off their lazy rear end

takeaction 58 minutes ago (Edited)

If you own a smart phone...everything you do is recorded...and logged. "They" have been listening to you for a long time if they want to.

If you own any smart device...they can listen and watch. They are monitoring what I am typing and this site. There really is no way to hide.

[May 03, 2021] Why George W. Bush Was a Horrible President

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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). ..."
"... 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). ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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! ..."
"... A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing the Realm ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... We Americans have this thing called exceptionalism which among other things creates the idea that our government is more virtuous than others. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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'[1] 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.)[2] More:

My research suggests there were over 50 stories manufactured or at least engineered that distorted the picture of Gulf II for the American and British people . 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"¦.

Handy chart:

And:

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[3].) 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, papers , 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. § 1802 50 U.S.C. § 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 the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications between the nation's largest telecommunication companies' major interconnected locations, encompassing phone conversations, email, Internet activity, text messages and corporate private network traffic .

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.

Conclusion

Here's a video of the Iraqi (now in Parliament) who threw shoes at Bush (who got off lightly, all things considered):

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OM3Z_Kskl_U

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!

NOTES

[1] Indeed.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/28000/amr510972011en.pdf

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 rôle, 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.

https://theweek.com/speedreads/798796/george-w-bush-reportedly-working-phones-kavanaugh

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-

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/celebrity/article/3110070/netflixs-crown-shows-how-princess-diana-chose-her-own

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..

https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/28000/amr510972011en.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/us/politics/12inquire.html

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] US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

May 03, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

Hoarsewhisperer #10

Ditto. I am sure the CIA will be grinding the generals as we speak. Even the letter in Politico could well be one of their strategies. I posted a piece in the open thread yesterday from The HILL that was pure propaganda.

USA is not alone in losing guerrilla warfare.

Watch for Biden announcing a 'shake up' of the military command in the next few weeks/months.

The US military 2021 retreat from Kabul will result in a slaughter in the USA.

I see the Pentagon pulling the plug on the opium income for the CIA. Now THAT is the real war. So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction. That added cost to the CIA will not be taken lightly.

arby , Apr 28 2021 22:53 utc | 31

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

"So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction."

Seems to me it is the taxpayer that is paying for defending the fields.

US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

[May 03, 2021] A Lifetime -at War- -

Notable quotes:
"... By Tom Engelhardt. Originally published at TomDispatch ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... I supported the rule of law and human rights, not to mention the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. ..."
"... In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways. ..."
"... “The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments†..."
"... “The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments†..."
"... “Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries.†..."
May 03, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A Lifetime “at War†Posted on April 30, 2021 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Englehardt describes how US war-making has been a continuing exercise starting with World War II. It’s important to recognize that before that, US military budgets were modest both in national and global terms. But with manufacturing less specialized, the US was able to turn a considerable amount of its productive capacity to armaments in fairly short order.

A second point is as someone who was in Manhattan on 9/11, I did not experience the attacks as war. I saw them as very impressive terrorism. However, I was appalled at how quickly individuals in positions of authority pushed sentiment in that direction. The attack was on a Tuesday (I had a blood draw and voted before I even realized Something Bad had happened). I was appalled to see the saber-rattling in Bush’s speech at the National Cathedral on Friday. On Sunday, I decided to go to the Unitarian Church around the corner. I was shocked to hear more martial-speak. And because the church was packed, I had to sit in the front on the floor, which meant I couldn’t duck out.

By Tom Engelhardt. Originally published at TomDispatch

Here’s the strange thing in an ever-stranger world: I was born in July 1944 in the midst of a devastating world war. That war ended in August 1945 with the atomic obliteration of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the most devastating bombs in history up to that moment, given the sweet code names “Little Boy†and “Fat Man.â€

I was the littlest of boys at the time. More than three-quarters of a century has passed since, on September 2, 1945, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu signed the Instrument of Surrender on the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially ending World War II. That was V-J (for Victory over Japan) Day, but in a sense for me, my whole generation, and this country, war never really ended.

The United States has been at war, or at least in armed conflicts of various sorts, often in distant lands, for more or less my entire life. Yes, for some of those years, that war was “cold†(which often meant that such carnage, regularly sponsored by the CIA, happened largely off-screen and out of sight), but war as a way of life never really ended, not to this very moment.

In fact, as the decades went by, it would become the “infrastructure†in which Americans increasingly invested their tax dollars via aircraft carriers , trillion-dollar jet fighters, drones armed with Hellfire missiles, and the creation and maintenance of hundreds of military garrisons around the globe, rather than roads, bridges, or rail lines (no less the high-speed version of the same) here at home. During those same years, the Pentagon budget would grab an ever-larger percentage of federal discretionary spending and the full-scale annual investment in what has come to be known as the national security state would rise to a staggering $1.2 trillion or more.

In a sense, future V-J Days became inconceivable. There were no longer moments, even as wars ended, when some version of peace might descend and America’s vast military contingents could, as at the end of World War II, be significantly demobilized. The closest equivalent was undoubtedly the moment when the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the Cold War officially ended, and the Washington establishment declared itself globally triumphant. But of course, the promised “peace dividend†would never be paid out as the first Gulf War with Iraq occurred that very year and the serious downsizing of the U.S. military (and the CIA) never happened.

Never-Ending War

Consider it typical that, when President Biden recently announced the official ending of the nearly 20-year-old American conflict in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from that country by 9/11/21, it would functionally be paired with the news that the Pentagon budget was about to rise yet again from its record heights in the Trump years. “Only in America,†as retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and historian William Astore wrote recently, “do wars end and war budgets go up.â€

Buy the Book

Of course, even the ending of that never-ending Afghan War may prove exaggerated. In fact, let’s consider Afghanistan apart from the rest of this country’s war-making history for a moment. After all, if I had told you in 1978 that, of the 42 years to follow, the U.S. would be involved in war in a single country for 30 of them and asked you to identify it, I can guarantee that Afghanistan wouldn’t have been your pick. And yet so it’s been. From 1979 to 1989, there was the CIA-backed Islamist extremist war against the Soviet army there (to the tune of billions and billions of dollars). And yet the obvious lesson the Russians learned from that adventure, as their military limped home in defeat and the Soviet Union imploded not long after â€" that Afghanistan is indeed the “graveyard of empires†â€" clearly had no impact in Washington.

Or how do you explain the 19-plus years of warfare there that followed the 9/11 attacks, themselves committed by a small Islamist outfit, al-Qaeda, born as an American ally in that first Afghan War? Only recently, the invaluable Costs of War Project estimated that America’s second Afghan War has cost this country almost $2.3 trillion (not including the price of lifetime care for its vets) and has left at least 241,000 people dead, including 2,442 American service members. In 1978, after the disaster of the Vietnam War, had I assured you that such a never-ending failure of a conflict was in our future, you would undoubtedly have laughed in my face.

And yet, three decades later, the U.S. military high command still seems not faintly to have grasped the lesson that we “taught†the Russians and then experienced ourselves. As a result, according to recent reports, they have uniformly opposed President Biden’s decision to withdraw all American troops from that country by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. In fact, it’s not even clear that, by September 11, 2021, if the president’s proposal goes according to plan, that war will have truly ended. After all, the same military commanders and intelligence chiefs seem intent on organizing long-distance versions of that conflict or, as the New York Times put it , are determined to “fight from afar†there. They are evidently even considering establishing new bases in neighboring lands to do so.

America’s “forever wars†â€" once known as the Global War on Terror and, when the administration of George W. Bush launched it, proudly aimed at 60 countries â€" do seem to be slowly winding down. Unfortunately, other kinds of potential wars, especially new cold wars with China and Russia (involving new kinds of high-tech weaponry) only seem to be gearing up.

War in Our Time

In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways.

In the years that followed, for instance, the elite Green Berets of the Vietnam era would be incorporated into an ever more expansive set of Special Operations forces, up to 70,000 of them (larger, that is, than the armed forces of many countries). Those special operators would functionally become a second, more secretive American military embedded inside the larger force and largely freed from citizen oversight of any sort. In 2020, as Nick Turse reported, they would be stationed in a staggering 154 countries around the planet, often involved in semi-secret conflicts “in the shadows†that Americans would pay remarkably little attention to.

Since the Vietnam War, which roiled the politics of this nation and was protested in the streets of this country by an antiwar movement that came to include significant numbers of active-duty soldiers and veterans, war has played a remarkably recessive role in American life. Yes, there have been the endless thank-yous offered by citizens and corporations to “the troops.†But that’s where the attentiveness stops, while both political parties, year after endless year, remain remarkably supportive of a growing Pentagon budget and the industrial (that is, weapons-making) part of the military-industrial complex. War, American-style, may be forever, but â€" despite, for instance, the militarization of this country’s police and the way in which those wars came home to the Capitol last January 6th â€" it remains a remarkably distant reality for most Americans.

One explanation: though the U.S. has, as I’ve said, been functionally at war since 1941, there were just two times when this country felt war directly â€" on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and on September 11, 2001, when 19 mostly Saudi hijackers in commercial jets struck New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

And yet, in another sense, war has been and remains us. Let’s just consider some of that war-making for a moment. If you’re of a certain age, you can certainly call to mind the big wars: Korea (1950-1953), Vietnam (1954-1975) â€" and don’t forget the brutal bloodlettings in neighboring Laos and Cambodia as well â€" that first Gulf War of 1991, and the disastrous second one, the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, of course, there was that Global War on Terror that began soon after September 11, 2001, with the invasion of Afghanistan, only to spread to much of the rest of the Greater Middle East, and to significant parts of Africa. In March, for instance, the first 12 American special-ops trainers arrived in embattled Mozambique, just one more small extension of an already widespread American anti-Islamist terror role ( now failing ) across much of that continent.

And then, of course, there were the smaller conflicts (though not necessarily so to the people in the countries involved) that we’ve now generally forgotten about, the ones that I had to search my fading brain to recall. I mean, who today thinks much about President John F. Kennedy’s April 1961 CIA disaster at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba; or President Lyndon Johnson’s sending of 22,000 U.S. troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965 to “restore orderâ€; or President Ronald Reagan’s version of “aggressive self-defense†by U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon who, in October 1983, were attacked in their barracks by a suicide bomber, killing 241 of them; or the anti-Cuban invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada that same month in which 19 Americans were killed and 116 wounded?

And then, define and categorize them as you will, there were the CIA’s endless militarized attempts (sometimes with the help of the U.S. military) to intervene in the affairs of other countries, ranging from taking the nationalist side against Mao Zedong’s communist forces in China from 1945 to 1949 to stoking a small ongoing conflict in Tibet in the 1950s and early 1960s, and overthrowing the governments of Guatemala and Iran, among other places. There were an estimated 72 such interventions from 1947 to 1989, many warlike in nature. There were, for instance, the proxy conflicts in Central America, first in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas and then in El Salvador, bloody events even if few U.S. soldiers or CIA agents died in them. No, these were hardly “wars,†as traditionally defined, not all of them, though they did sometimes involve military coups and the like, but they were generally carnage-producing in the countries they were in. And that only begins to suggest the range of this country’s militarized interventions in the post-1945 era, as journalist William Blum’s “ A Brief History of Interventions †makes all too clear.

Whenever you look for the equivalent of a warless American moment, some reality trips you up. For instance, perhaps you had in mind the brief period between when the Red Army limped home in defeat from Afghanistan in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, that moment when Washington politicians, initially shocked that the Cold War had ended so unexpectedly, declared themselves triumphant on Planet Earth. That brief period might almost have passed for “peace,†American-style, if the U.S. military under President George H. W. Bush hadn’t, in fact, invaded Panama (“Operation Just Causeâ€) as 1989 ended to get rid of its autocratic leader Manuel Noriega (a former CIA asset, by the way). Up to 3,000 Panamanians (including many civilians) died along with 23 American troops in that episode.

And then, of course, in January 1991 the First Gulf War began . It would result in perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqi deaths and “only†a few hundred deaths among the U.S.-led coalition of forces. Air strikes against Iraq would follow in the years to come. And let’s not forget that even Europe wasn’t exempt since, in 1999, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the U.S. Air Force launched a destructive 10-week bombing campaign against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia.

And all of this remains a distinctly incomplete list, especially in this century when something like 2 00,000 U.S. troops have regularly been stationed abroad and U.S. Special Operations forces have deployed to staggering numbers of countries, while American drones regularly attacked “terrorists†in nation after nation and American presidents quite literally became assassins-in-chief . To this day, what scholar and former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson called an American “empire of bases†â€" a historically unprecedented 800 or more of them â€" across much of the planet remains untouched and, at any moment, there could be more to come from the country whose military budget at least equals those of the next 10 (yes, that’s 10!) countries combined, including China and Russia.

A Timeline of Carnage

The last three-quarters of this somewhat truncated post-World War II American Century have, in effect, been a timeline of carnage, though few in this country would notice or acknowledge that. After all, since 1945, Americans have only once been “at war†at home, when almost 3,000 civilians died in an attack meant to provoke â€" well, something like the war on terror that also become a war of terror and a spreader of terror movements in our world.

As journalist William Arkin recently argued , the U.S. has created a permanent war state meant to facilitate “endless war.†As he writes, at this very moment, our nation “is killing or bombing in perhaps 10 different countries,†possibly more, and there’s nothing remarkably out of the ordinary about that in our recent past.

The question that Americans seldom even think to ask is this: What if the U.S. were to begin to dismantle its empire of bases, repurpose so many of those militarized taxpayer dollars to our domestic needs, abandon this country’s focus on permanent war, and forsake the Pentagon as our holy church? What if, even briefly, the wars, conflicts, plots, killings, drone assassinations, all of it stopped?

What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?


Hemanth Kumar , April 30, 2021 at 8:11 am

Here in Asia, many people think the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan was an act of flaying the dying horse, since Japan was staring at defeat even without the bombs. It was a totally callous act of the USA to drop the bombs just to “test their efficacyâ€.

Why then the bombs could not have dropped on Germany that was still waging war at that time? Asians smirk and say one) the “collateral†damage of radiation etc., to neighbours like France who were Allies and two) they were (and are) ‘whites’; unlike Japan and its neighbours.

NotTimothyGeithner , April 30, 2021 at 9:40 am

The war in Europe was over when the bomb was first tested.

The Rev Kev , April 30, 2021 at 9:43 am

I think that you have the dates mixed up. The war against Germany in Europe ended on May 7th and the testing of the first atom bomb was not until 16th July when the first bomb went off at Alamogordo in New Mexico. The following month the two remaining atom bombs that the US had were dropped on Japan. In short, the bombs arrived too late to use in Europe.

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 3:57 pm

The bomb was built with Berlin being the first target, but because the war ended a year sooner than what everyone thought it would and making the very first bombs took longer than planned, it was used on Japan. It was probably used as a demonstration for the Soviets, but considering that sixty-six other large Japanese cities had already been completely destroyed by “conventional†firebombing, and in Tokyo’s case, with greater casualties than either nuclear bombing, the Bomb wasn’t really needed. The descriptions and the personal accounts of the destruction of Tokyo (or Dresden and Hamburg) are (if that is even possible) worse than of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Honestly, just what new and excitingly horrific ways of killing people the atom bomb used was not clearly understood. They generally thought of it as a bigger kaboom in a smaller package. And honestly, being pre-cremated during an entire night with your family and neighbors in the local bomb-shelter or dying after a few days, weeks, or even a month from radiation poisoning, is not really a difference is it?

WobblyTelomeres , April 30, 2021 at 6:28 pm

“More bang for the buck†is the phrase I heard years ago at Los Alamos.

John Wright , April 30, 2021 at 11:56 am

Another view has the dropping of the atomic bombs was a message, not to Japan, but to the Soviet Union.

From https://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/30/books/did-we-need-to-drop-it.html

“FOR 20 years after Harry Truman ordered the atomic bomb dropped on Japan in August 1945, most American scholars and citizens subscribed to the original, official version of the story: the President had acted to avert a horrendous invasion of Japan that could have cost 200,000 to 500,000 American lives. Then a young political economist named Gar Alperovitz published a book of ferocious revisionism, “Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam†(1965). While acknowledging the paucity of evidence available at the time, he argued that dropping the atomic bomb “was not needed to end the war or to save lives†but was Truman’s means of sending a chastening message to the Soviet Union.â€

Timh , April 30, 2021 at 1:32 pm

If we accept that at face value, then certainly the second bombing was unecessary. The threat would have been enough. But the US had a second bomb design to test…

BCD , April 30, 2021 at 4:13 pm

Few things working here. The US needed Japan to surrender quickly before Stalin invaded (which they asked him to do) so he couldn’t get his forces onto the island where the Allies couldn’t stop him. Most Japanese feared Stalin and preferred surrendering to the US but the Japanese government was trying to use talks with the USSR to get better terms than unconditional surrender (little did they know Stalin was licking his chops for more territory under his iron curtain).

The first bomb design (little man) was significantly less ambitious, it was so certain to function they never tested it because a study had proven there was almost no chance it would fail.

Fat boy was the scientific leap in technology needing to be demonstrated. Building little man was mostly a matter of enriching Uranium vs Fat boy Plutonium enrichment harder and detonation mechanism more complicated. However the end result was a bomb that could produce significantly higher yields with smaller amounts of fissionable material where both the size of the bomb could be significantly reduced and the yield of the device could be significantly scaled up at the same time.

Fat boy demonstrated the USA could someday be putting nukes on V2 rockets recently smuggled out of Germany. Even more important Fat boy is a precursor to the mechanism that initiates the H bomb fusion devices that Edward Teller would soon be Dr Strangloving.

Even after Trinity Fat boy still had very high odds of failure. They feared looking like fools if it failed and the USSR ended up with the Plutoniumt. As a result the US Air Force dropped little man first because it was certain to work. After the 1st bomb dropped, the Soviets declared war and began their invasion of Japan which forced Truman’s hand to drop Fat boy too. Even after Fat Boy, war mongers in Japan still refused to surrender where Emperor Hirohito finally overruled them and although there was a military coupe attempted, it failed.

Thus ended the most bloody conflict in the history of human kind.

Harold , April 30, 2021 at 7:52 pm

I’m not saying it isn’t true, but is there any actual evidence that the bombs were dropped as “a message to the Soviet Union†and not to speed the end of the war?

Also, who exactly wanted to send this “message� The US generals were against it, I understand.

Jason , April 30, 2021 at 9:23 pm

An apologia on bomb design, manufacture, and real-world application!

These ones weren’t even atomic:

https://i0.wp.com/wrongkindofgreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/libya-before-and-after-1.jpg

And look what they can do. Yay bombs.

Tom Pfotzer , April 30, 2021 at 9:25 am

“What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?â€

a. All those families whose livelihood is based on waging war would have to find a new job. These people will fight tooth and nail to avoid change

b. The resource grabs by the rich people behind the Oz-like curtain would fail. Their fate would be that of the English aristocrats who have to rent out their castles in order to maintain a roof over their head. These people will fight tooth and nail to avoid change

c. The general public would have a fire-hose of newly-available resources to direct toward activities which benefit all the rest of the families outside A and B above

d. Fear-based leverage by the few over the many would be diminished. Attention would be re-directed toward valid problems we all face

=====

There’s an interesting question which I see posed from time to time, and often ask myself. It runs thus:

“Who decides who our “enemies†are, and why they are “enemies�

This is a fundamental question which I believe very few of us can currently answer accurately. Yet this question carries a $1.2T per year consequence. That’s a lot of money to allocate toward something we know nothing about.

One time I asked an acquaintance â€" who spent a career at CIA â€" that question. His reply was “Why, Congress decides who our enemies are, and why. Congress then tells the CIA what to doâ€.

I wasn’t sure if he truly believed that. It’s quite possible he did, of course, and I’m sure many of the people in group A above surely do think they’re doing honorable and patriotic work.

Group B above â€" the people who are actually moving the chess pieces of “the Great Game†â€" they are pretty clear on who defines our “enemies†and why they are “enemiesâ€. And they wisely don’t stand in front of podiums and explain their actions. These people aren’t visible, or explained, or known because it’s better for them not to be.

The way to combat manipulation by these predators is to:

a. Know them by their actions. Predators predate.
b. Don’t participate. In order for them to predate, they need minions. Don’t be a minion. Instead…
c. Be the giver, the creator and the constructor of things that are of no use to predators

NotTimothyGeithner , April 30, 2021 at 10:06 am

It’s not the soldiers but the contractors who live in dumpy overpriced holes like Northern Virginia.

As to your acquaintance, my godfather was in the CIA in the 60’s and a bit into the 70’s, and he might not say Congress as much as the President’s Chief of Staff as threat they choose what the President sees. You have to remember it’s primarily an organization of boring paper pushers looking to get promoted which requires political patronage. Imagine getting the Canada desk. You’ll be at a dead end unless you paint it as a grave threat. Then there is information overload and just the sheer size of the US. They would file reports, he mentioned an incident in Africa in the wake of decolonization when y godfather was stationed there that maybe warranted the President’s attention, but to get information to the President’s CoS took so long, it was in the President’s daily newspaper before the report could be handled. By then, why care, given the size of the US? Who can get to the Chief of Staff? Congress, so everyone else lobbies them. The CIA director is an appendage of the CoS.

When the President wants something, everyone jumps, but when the President doesn’t care, everyone is jockeying get for patronage.

HH , April 30, 2021 at 10:35 am

The war machine is sustained by plutocrats and their sociopathic flunkies in the national security state. How this works is clearly depicted in “The Devil’s Chessboard,†by David Talbot, a deeply depressing chronicle of how Allen Dulles and his brother John Foster Dulles did the dirty work of US corporations worldwide. The arrogance, impunity, and irresponsibility of these men established the framework of our secret government, which remains intact to this day.

It would be pleasant to believe that this evil persists because of public ignorance, but like the good Germans of the Nazi era, Americans accept that deception, torture, and murder are routinely practiced on our behalf to maintain our high standard of living and to keep us “safe.†The reverence for the operatives of the US national security state is evident throughout our popular culture, and that is a damning judgment on the American people.

Tom Pfotzer , April 30, 2021 at 11:17 am

Yes. Succinctly stated, and quite correct.

Of course the core problems are stationed at the place hardest to get to: right between our ears. This complicity disease runs deep and wide.

While I often succumb to that same despondency you mentioned, occasionally I interrupt the doom tape to notice that there’s a lot of people who are paddling hard toward a new ethos…like the posters here @ NC, for ex.

So today I’m going to indulge in a little happiness. Plant a tree. Do something good, something durable, something hopeful.

Something that offers no real hope of rent extraction potential.

:)

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 8:53 pm

It was nice being accused of supporting the terrorists because I supported the rule of law and human rights, not to mention the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

WTF do some people think that the Founders wanted an extremely small army, a large organized militia, and passed the Bill of Rights? It was a reaction to what the British Army did to them (using much of the same tactics as the current “justice†system does today.) The ignorance and lack of thinking is really annoying.

Much of what the British military did was not good. Even now some of it would not be allowed in a court of law, but I do not recall them being nearly as violent, brutal, or deadly in their tactics while enforcing the King’s Law as the current regime or the local police are. That the milder British tactics caused a civil war with in a decade, and that the people then had less to fear from an occupying army as we do from “our†police is disturbing to think on.

But wars always come home, don’t they? Faux toughness on the supposed baddies here with claims of treason and insurrections on protests and riots now that often would hardly be in the news fifty years ago, so great was the protests and riots happening then. The cry to use the same tactics that did not work overseas to be used here at home. “To keep us safe.â€

Swamp Yankee , May 1, 2021 at 2:06 am

There’s truth to this, but once the war was really on, British and Tory/Loyalist brutality had decisive effects on public opinion, putting lots of people into the Whig/Patriot camp. Tom Paine makes great efforts to publicize British sexual assaults, looting, and general thugishness as they chase the Continental Army across New Jersey in 1776; the cruelty of backcountry British cavalry officers and Tory rangers in the Carolinas was legendary as the war reaches its latter phases.

And there was brutality on the other side, too, especially for Loyalist elites who faced a kind of “social death.†It was a war, after all, as well as a social revolution. It wasn’t France in 1789 or Russia in 1917, but it was rough, especially given the small population size.

FluffytheObeseCat , April 30, 2021 at 11:36 am

Except as Engelhardt just pointed out, the national security state does not “maintain our high standard of livingâ€. It’s an immense net drain on our standard of living. The only Americans made well-to-do or wealthy by it are those who are directly involved in supplying contract goods and services to the system.

FriarTuck , April 30, 2021 at 3:41 pm

I don’t know if Americans “accept†it as opposed to taking a dim view of being able to affect change.

The levers the average person has to change the behavior of the state is infinitesimal. Add to that the scope of action and Overton window mediated by the hypernormalized press ecosystem just means those in power get to act without restraint.

Hell, Obama literally said “We tortured some folks†and the media and government barely shrugged. To my knowledge, no one went to jail, no one was brought up in the Hague, and some of the same ghouls that perpetrated such crimes got cushy commenter jobs in the media.

Right now, localities can’t even keep their police from regularly killing citizens.

What does the average person do in the face of such things?

Jason , April 30, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Hell, Obama literally said “We tortured some folks†and the media and government barely shrugged. To my knowledge, no one went to jail, no one was brought up in the Hague, and some of the same ghouls that perpetrated such crimes got cushy commenter jobs in the media.

No one went to jail. Certainly no one went before the Hague. No bankers went to jail either. Even during the nutty Reagan administration, people went to jail for financial shenanigans. Some got long sentences. Hell, the Iran-Contra stuff was at least covered and people were indicted, even if they all got pardoned. Not anymore. These shenanigans are the norm and happen right out in the open. I’d imagine some of it’s been given legal cover. It seems like it’s become the expected behavior within these circles. To act otherwise â€" to attempt to be honest, in other words â€" is seen as weak and is mocked as fiercely as a weaker child on the playground might be.

It’s just a continuing regression. And as you note, it’s an excellent career builder:

“Looking for a job in mainstream media? Research has shown that reducing your sense of ethics and morality actually helps you get ahead.â€

John Wright , May 1, 2021 at 1:53 pm

I like to quote a radio advertisement that a local Northern California bail bondsman ran on one local radio station years ago.

“Friends don’t let friends do timeâ€.

LowellHighlander , April 30, 2021 at 10:59 am

Doubtless, Ms. Smith and Ms. Engelhardt have provided a key public service here. And I speak as a veteran, decorated for service in the War Over Oil (a.k.a. the “Persian Gulf Warâ€).

Between the vast economic inequality currently raging in our country, the social stratification enabled by access to colleges and universities accepted as “eliteâ€, the trashing of Constitutional protections (e.g. the 4th Amendment, now thoroughly eviscerated owing to the “PATRIOT ACTâ€), and the rampaging rule by “intelligence agencies†over foreign policy, I see no reason why any father should tell his children that this is a country worth fighting and dying for. [Think: China] Of course, the Empire â€" just as Rome did in its dying days â€" will be able to find enough desperately poor who will take the king’s shilling and don the uniform.

If anyone wishes to prove me wrong, let them work for a substantive “peace dividend†for a 2-3 years. Then we can sit down and talk; I’ll buy the ale.

tegnost , April 30, 2021 at 11:38 am

I think Englehart is a “Mr.†but I don’t want to get myself in trouble with the gender neutralization crowd

LowellHighlander , April 30, 2021 at 12:41 pm

oops; my apologies to all.

Rod , April 30, 2021 at 12:25 pm

And here is a nice companion reading alluding to Media collusion by a CNN colluder:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/29/opinions/lies-told-to-sustain-us-and-uk-mission-in-afghanistan-walsh/index.html

from the above article:

In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways.

Because, imo,

Since the Vietnam War, which roiled the politics of this nation and was protested in the streets of this country by an antiwar movement that came to include significant numbers of active-duty soldiers and veterans, war has played a remarkably recessive role in American life.

Despite having already ‘pledged’ at my Uncles Invitation, with the Draft’s End, I had great hope my future would see the great Peace Dividand rather than 9 more Opportunity Conflicts.
Little did that then 21 year old see the brilliance in that Pentagon Strategy.
I Now firmly support a No Exemption Draft for all post HS.
Military Service being only one, and a restricted one, of many counter-balancing options available for Public Service for that cohort.

Frank Little , April 30, 2021 at 12:42 pm

This article reminded me of one of the best Congressional Research Service reports that I’ve read: Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2020 . Despite being just a list of dates and locations with a brief description, it comes in at around 50 pages, which I think is a testament to how important foreign military engagement has been to the growth of the US even before 1945. Between these foreign wars and the genocidal war against the indigenous people of the continent I think it’s fair to say this country has been at war since its founding.

juno mas , April 30, 2021 at 6:16 pm

Correct. Even the so called Louisiana Purchase was not really a purchase of land, but a faux “option†to engage in land treaties with the native Americans;.the US chose Indian Wars and relocation treaties that have been violated repeatedly. (This territory is now known as the Red States.)

The rest of the land extending to the west coast was acquired through conquest with the new nation of Mexico. I guess the only real honest acquisition would be Seward’s Icebox.

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 8:30 pm

>>I guess the only real honest acquisition would be Seward’s Icebox.

Alaska has only been inhabited for a few tens of thousands of years. I would think that the natives should have some say about who “owns†the land even though the Russian Empire did say that they did. The reasons sometimes included the use of guns. As for stealing Mexico’s territory, again that was, and in some areas still is, inhabited by natives who somehow became under the “governance†of New Spain or the country of Mexico despite not being asked about it and often still a majority part of the population in many areas when Mexico lost control.

Often, Europeans or Americans would show up somewhere, plant a flag, and say that they claimed or owned the very inhabited land, sometimes with farms and even entire cities. Rather arrogant, I would say.

Harold , April 30, 2021 at 8:49 pm

“Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.â€

juno mas , April 30, 2021 at 9:44 pm

I agree. Seward’s Icebox was not empty at time of sale. My understanding is that Seward thought it was. So faraway, so cold; no one would be living there, right?

As I’ve commented here many times, it was small pox not small bullets that allowed the Old World to take the New. There were estimates of 20 million native Americans living on the land now known as Mexico and the US. 90% were felled by Old World disease before Custer lost his scalp to the northern Plains Indians. In a fair fight the Indians would be enforcing the treaties.

It is amazing how the US continues to engage in war and still lose: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. . .Ukraine?

kgw , April 30, 2021 at 5:58 pm

I remember the words of Patrick Henry in his speech on the floor of the Virginia legislature debating the passing of the new constitution…

In particular, his views on the standing army : “What does a farmer in Virginia have to fear from a farmer in France?â€

Democracy Working , April 30, 2021 at 10:29 pm

For nearly a decade now every time I’ve read about the war in Afghanistan I’ve thought about Tim Kreider’s mordant 2011 cartoon We Could’ve Had The Moon, Instead We Get Afghanistan . Ten years later, that $432 billion has ballooned to $2.3 trillion (and more) and every word he wrote still stands. :-(

The author has retired from cartooning and now focuses on essay writing.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 1, 2021 at 4:37 am

We are going to have to halt the production lines.
The warehouses are full of bombs already, there is no more room.

Biden to the rescue; he’s started dropping bombs already.
When you have a large defence industry, you need war.
The only purpose is to use up the output from the defence industry.

This is what they realised in the 1940s, but we forgot.
http://delong.typepad.com/kalecki43.pdf

“The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or
consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on
armamentsâ€

Sound of the Suburbs , May 1, 2021 at 4:47 am

Ran out of edit time.
Should be two quotes.

“The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armamentsâ€

“Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries.â€

These were the lessons they learnt from the 1930s.

Susan the other , May 1, 2021 at 12:18 pm

So now, here we are. And how do we create a peaceful world? Refit the US military for a sustainable world. It will prove to be very useful. We and other advanced nations still have the advantage for prosperity but we should not abuse it. The whole idea back in 1945 was for the world to prosper. So I’ll just suggest my usual hack: Get rid of the profit motive. It’s pure mercantilism. And totally self defeating in a world seeking sustainability for everyone.

Philip Ebersole , May 1, 2021 at 1:35 pm

The Manhattan Project was an enormously expensive enterprise with two components â€" the development of a uranium bomb (Oak Ridge) and a plutonium bomb (Hanford, WA).

If no bomb had been used, the project would have been considered a waste of time, and there would have been a congressional investigation. If only one bomb had been used, half the cost would have been considered a waste.

I’m not saying these were the only reasons for dropping the bombs. The event was, as they say, “overdetermined.â€

[May 03, 2021] Escobar- US, Europe, The Vienna JCPOA 'Shadowplay'

May 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Few people, apart from specialists, may have heard of the JCPOA Joint Commission. That’s the group in charge of a Sisyphean task: the attempt to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal through a series of negotiations in Vienna.

The Iranian negotiating team was back in Vienna yesterday, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi. Shadowplay starts with the fact the Iranians negotiate with the other members of the P+1 â€" Russia, China, France, UK and Germany â€" but not directly with the US.

That’s quite something: after all, it was the Trump administration that blew up the JCPOA. There is an American delegation in Vienna, but they only talk with the Europeans.

Shadowplay goes turbo when every Viennese coffee table knows about Tehran’s red lines: either it’s back to the original JCPOA as it was agreed in Vienna in 2015 and then ratified by the UN Security Council, or nothing.

Araghchi, mild-mannered and polite, has had to go on the record once again to stress that Tehran will leave if the talks veer towards “bullyingâ€, time wasting or even a step-by-step ballroom dance, which is time wasting under different terminology.

Neither flat out optimistic nor pessimistic, he remains, let’s say, cautiously upbeat, at least in public: “We are not disappointed and we will do our job. Our positions are very clear and firm. The sanctions must be lifted, verified and then Iran must return to its commitments.â€

So, at least in the thesis, the debate is still on. Araghchi: “There are two types of U.S. sanctions against Iran. First, categorized or so-called divisional sanctions, such as oil, banking and insurance, shipping, petrochemical, building and automobile sanctions, and second, sanctions against real and legal individuals.â€

“Second†is the key issue. There’s absolutely no guarantee the US Congress will lift most or at least a significant part of these sanctions.

Everyone in Washington knows it â€" and the American delegation knows it.

When the Foreign Ministry in Tehran, for instance, says that 60% or 70% has been agreed upon, that’s code for lifting of divisional sanctions. When it comes to “secondâ€, Araghchi has to be evasive: “There are complex issues in this area that we are examiningâ€.

Now compare it with the assessment of informed Iranian insiders in Washington such as nuclear policy expert Seyed Hossein Mousavian : they’re more like pessimistic realists.

That takes into consideration the non-negotiable red lines established by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei himself. Plus non-stop pressure by Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who are all JCPOA-adverse.

But then there’s extra shadowplay. Israeli intel has already notified the security cabinet that a deal most certainly will be reached in Vienna. After all, the narrative of a successful deal is already being constructed as a foreign policy victory by the Biden-Harris administration â€" or, as cynics prefer, Obama-Biden 3.0.

Meanwhile, Iranian diplomacy remains on overdrive. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is visiting Qatar and Iraq, and has already met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim al Thani.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, virtually at the end of his term before the June presidential elections, always goes back to the same point: no more US sanctions; Iran’s verification; then Iran will return to its “nuclear obligationsâ€.

The Foreign Ministry has even released a quite detailed fact sheet once again stressing the need to remove “all sanctions imposed, re-imposed and re-labeled since January 20, 2017â€.

The window of opportunity for a deal won’t last long. Hardliners in Tehran couldn’t care less. At least 80% of Tehran members of Parliament are now hardliners. The next President most certainly will be a hardliner. Team Rouhani’s efforts have been branded a failure since the onset of Trump’s “maximum pressure†campaign. Hardliners are already in post-JCPOA mode.

That fateful Fateh

What none of the actors in the shadowplay can admit is that the revival of the JCPOA pales compared to the real issue: the power of Iranian missiles.

In the original 2015 negotiations in Vienna â€" follow them in my Persian Miniatures e-book â€" Obama-Biden 2.0 did everything in their power to include missiles in the deal.

Every grain of sand in the Negev desert knows that Israel will go no holds barred to retain its nuclear weapon primacy in the Middle East. Via a spectacular kabuki, the fact that Israel is a nuclear power happens to remain “invisible†to most of world public opinion.

While Khamenei has issued a fatwa clearly stating that producing, stockpiling and using weapons of mass destruction â€" nuclear included â€" is haram (banned by Islam), Israel’s leadership feels free to order stunts such as the sabotage via Mossad of the (civilian) Iranian nuclear complex at Natanz.

The head of Iran’s Parliament Energy Committee, Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, even accused Washington and London of being accomplices to the sabotage of Natanz, as they arguably supplied intel to Tel Aviv.

Yet now a lone missile is literally exploding a great deal of the shadowplay.

On April 22, in the dead of night before dawn, a Syrian missile exploded only 30 km away from the ultra-sensitive Israeli nuclear reactor of Dimona. The official â€" and insistent â€" Israeli spin: this was an “errantâ€.

Well, not really.

Here â€" third video from the top â€" is footage of the quite significant explosion. Also significantly, Tel Aviv remained absolutely mum when it comes to offering a missile proof of ID. Was it an old Soviet 1967 SA-5? Or, rather more likely, a 2012 Iranian Fateh-110 short range surface-to-surface, manufactured in Syria as the M-600 , and also possessed by Hezbollah?

A Fateh family tree can be seen in the attached chart. The inestimable Elijah Magnier has posed some very good questions about the Dimona near-hit. I complemented it with a quite enlightening discussion with physicists, with input by a military intel expert.

The Fateh-110 operates as a classic ballistic missile, until the moment the warhead starts maneuvering to evade ABM defenses. Precision is up to 10 meters, nominally 6 meters. So it hit exactly where it was supposed to hit. Israel officially confirmed that the missile was not intercepted â€" after a trajectory of roughly 266 km.

This opens a brand new can of worms. It implies that the performance of the much hyped and recently upgraded Iron Dome is far from stellar â€" and talk about an euphemism. The Fateh flew so low that Iron Dome could not identify it.

The inevitable conclusion is this was a message/warning combo. From Damascus. With a personal stamp from Bashar al-Assad, who had to clear such a sensitive missile launch. A message/warning delivered via Iranian missile technology fully available to the Axis of Resistance â€" proving that regional actors have serious stealth capability.

It’s crucial to remember that when Tehran dispatched a volley of deliberately older Fateh-313 versions at the US base Ayn al-Assad in Iraq, as a response to the assassination of Gen Soleimani in January 2020, the American radars went blank.

Iranian missile technology as top strategic deterrence. Now that’s the shadowplay that turns Vienna into a sideshow.

[May 03, 2021] Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise.

May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com

Katrinka , says: April 30, 2021 at 11:36 am GMT • 15.8 hours ago

@KenH

Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise. According to war monger Lynn Cheney the "troops will never leave". The U.S. National Guard has been fighting undeclared wars all over the ME for twenty years and legislation is being proposed at the state level to end the abuse. I personally know one man who has done three tours in Iraq as a National Guardsman.

I totally agree with your comments concerning the U.S. government here at home. It is Bolshevism 2.0.

[May 03, 2021] U.S. Four Star Generals Ask DNI To Stop Lying

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
May 03, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

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. *

Sincerely

The Generals

----
PS: * Either that or shut the fuck up.

The above may well have been a draft for the letter behind this report :

America’s top spies say they are looking for ways to declassify and release more intelligence about adversaries’ bad behavior, after a group of four-star military commanders sent a rare and urgent plea asking for help in the information war against Russia and China.

The internal memo from nine regional military commanders last year, which was reviewed by POLITICO and not made public, implored spy agencies to provide more evidence to combat "pernicious conduct."

Only by "waging the truth in the public domain against America’s 21st century challengers†can Washington shore up support from American allies, they said. But efforts to compete in the battle of ideas, they added, are hamstrung by overly stringent secrecy practices.

“We request this help to better enable the US, and by extension its allies and partners, to win without fighting, to fight now in so-called gray zones, and to supply ammunition in the ongoing war of narratives," the commanders who oversee U.S. military forces in Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America, as well as special operations troops, wrote to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire last January.

“Unfortunately, we continue to miss opportunities to clarify truth, counter distortions, puncture false narratives, and influence events in time to make a difference," they added.

The generals must have been seriously miffed to write such a letter. There have been a number of published intelligence judgments where the NSA had expressed low confidence in conclusions made mainly by the CIA. The NSA is part of the military.

Between two bureaucracies such an accusing letter or internal memo is the equivalent of a declaration of war. It is doubtful that the intelligence folks would win that fight.

That gives some hope that the Office of the DNI and the agencies below it will now lessen their production of nonsensical claims.

Posted by b on April 28, 2021 at 15:49 UTC | Permalink


Josh , Apr 28 2021 16:02 utc | 1

Right on man.
Thank You.
Kartoschka , Apr 28 2021 16:04 utc | 2
I hope you're right.
It could go the other way.
They will produce more "evidence"
psychohistorian , Apr 28 2021 16:12 utc | 3
Thanks for that b....is it rubber meets the road time?

I just read that the US is getting all its ambassadorial folk out of Afghanistan....maybe somebody is believing May 1 is a firmer deadline than the Biden 9/11 myth.

The shit show is about to crash, IMO, but if it is in slow motion, this crazy could go on for a while....what geo-political straw will break the camel's back?

Caliman , Apr 28 2021 16:25 utc | 4
Lewis Black, a pretty good US comedian, used to have a bit in the mid-2000's where he would ask the W administration flacks why they didn't just make up evidence about the Iraq WMDs after they "found out" that there were no weapons in the country. Black would tell them just make it up; we're used to it. Just give us an excuse to believe in the BS for God's sake; we'll do it!

I feel it's the same with our satrap nations around the world. At this time, is there anyone who does not understand that US foreign policy is conducted for and by MICIMATT (look it up)? So the generals have got nothing to worry about: keep pounding out that BS; there's a willing, able, and ready corps of salesmen and women in the media who will make enough of the public believe it for "democracy's" purposes.

Serg , Apr 28 2021 16:29 utc | 5
General Mackenzie who testified before the US House Armed Services Committee said Iran’s widespread use of drones means that the US is operating without complete air superiority for the first time since the Korean War.

Iran has time and again stated that its military capabilities are merely defensive and are designed to deter foreign threats.

https://politnew.com/politics/4796-gen-kenneth-mckenzie-iran-possesses-one-of-most-capable-militaries-in-the-middle-east.html

librul , Apr 28 2021 16:30 utc | 6
General Flynn had been head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (military).
The CIA was out to get him. It took a while but they eventually hamstrung him good.
gottlieb , Apr 28 2021 16:36 utc | 7
"Dear Generals, who haven't won a war in 75 years, so much for the DIA huh? We'd love to share our intelligence with you, our evidence showing the overwhelming and egregious misdeeds of our hateful, spiteful disgusting enemies, whose questioning of our Word should be met with charges of treason, but to give you evidence on top of our own unquestionable and 100% correct threat estimations, would compromise our Intelligence Gathering Methods which are of the strictest security and would threaten the ongoing ability of this Agency to gather and disseminate the unquestionable facts that without fear of contradiction we know is the truth. In short, dear Generals - work on winning a war, any war, and don't meddle in places that befuddle your ability to follow orders. Hooah! The CIA."
librul , Apr 28 2021 16:51 utc | 8
This fight has been ongoing for years.
Bottom line: The CIA wants to control the messages and narrative.

Article from 2013, great lead photo. Robert Mueller, James Clapper, John Brennan
and General Flynn all seated near each other.

https://www.defenseone.com/policy/2013/07/intel-wars-dia-cia-and-flynns-battle-consolidate-spying/66716/
Headline and subtext:

Intel Wars: DIA, CIA and Flynn’s Battle to Consolidate Spying
The Defense Department wants in on the spying game. But will the CIA block their efforts?


The CIA essentially absorbed the Pentagon’s only military-wide spying agency seven years ago [2006]
when the Defense HUMINT Service was dismantled -- and now, the Pentagon wants it back.

The CIA is quietly pushing the Armed Services committees along, hoping that Flynn’s DCS will be remembered by history as a failed power grab.

Canadian Cents , Apr 28 2021 17:10 utc | 11

The CIA/FBI/17+ known/unknown agencies are clearly a security apparatus that's gone out of control when even the USA's "nine regional [four-star general] military commanders" are out of the loop and pleading to be better informed. Worryingly, though, they ask for "ammunition in the ongoing war of narratives," which they apparently are ready to go right along with.

Western news media, of course, has become but a compliant weaponized appendage of that security apparatus, and democracy, which depends on informed voters, is nowhere in control of any of this.

Down this slippery slope, lies fascism.

rgl , Apr 28 2021 17:31 utc | 13

I do not see how this is possible. Every major event, from Vietnam, to JFK, to 9-11, and a myriad of others, had US lies baked into the cake. If the US ceased to lie, it would cease to function as America functions today. It would be incapable of empire.

The US establishment, from the President on down, is based on lies. They cannot survive on truth.

No. Nothing is going to change in this regard.

librul , Apr 28 2021 17:48 utc | 15

b ended his post with: " lessen their production of nonsensical claims."

"Nonsensical" misses the mark. They are *agenda-driven* claims.
I don't believe the Generals care one whit whether the spineless jellyfish pols
in other countries see through our lies. The Generals want the Pentagon to
have more participation in shaping the agenda and it's attendant narrative.

m , Apr 28 2021 18:13 utc | 17

The military used to be that part pf the US government apparatus ("deep state") that emphasized the value and importance of allies the most.

IMHO what is happening here is that the generals sense the imcreasing cracks in the US-centered alliance system. They attribute it to the work of the intelligence community, which is certainly a contributing factor, but thr real cause is the relative decline in US power and general unreliability due to political instability. The USA is less and less attractive as a partner. When the generals ask another country for a favour as they had been used to for decades they increasingly often get just questions and excuses in return.

Erelis , Apr 28 2021 20:31 utc | 26

Is this a sign of a struggle between the CIA and Pentagon as to who is the boss of foreign and war policy? Anybody remember when CIA supported jihadists were fighting Pentagon supported groups (were they jihadists?) in Syria. Seems like the Pentagon is the one deciding on relations with the Syrian Kurds, and not the CIA. Flynn was actively helping the Damascus with info about the CIA backed jihadists.

I would rather have the Pentagon win as they are not all that hot-to-trot for actual wars. The CIA should just go back to running US media, law makers, corporation and ruining civil liberties.

K_C_ , Apr 28 2021 22:26 utc | 28

Isn't it safe to assume that *anything* the CIA says publicly, either through direct channels or their co-opted corporate media, is false? Cue the Mike Pimpeo quote: "We lied, we cheated, we stole..." and of course the entire history of that useless agency, lol.

[May 03, 2021] FISA And The Still Too Secret Police

With PRISM in place FICA court is redundant...
Notable quotes:
"... All an FBI supervisor has to do to get a FISA warrant on you is have one agent get a crooked snitch in a foreign country to send you a weird text message, and then have another bright eyed and bushy tailed agent who doesn't know the crook is a snitch write up a search warrant application affidavit and submit it to the FISA court. ..."
"... Nothing says "Unconstitutional (illegal) Deep State" like FISA. Hitler's Gestapo would be proud! ..."
"... Lisa and Peter removed any credibility the FBI had with the public. If they solved real crime they would go after the massive fraud and stolen ID criminals. Of course that takes real work and someone wanting get off their lazy rear end ..."
May 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Bovard,

The FBI continues to lawlessly use counterintelligence powers against American citizens...

The Deep State Referee just admitted that the FBI continues to commit uncounted violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).

If you sought to report a crime to the FBI, an FBI agent may have illegally surveilled your email. Even if you merely volunteered for the FBI "Citizens Academy" program, the FBI may have illegally tracked all your online activity.

But the latest FBI offenses, like almost all prior FBI violations, are not a real problem, according to James Boasberg, presiding judge of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That court, among other purposes, is supposed to safeguard Americans' constitutional right to privacy under FISA. FISA was originally enacted to create a narrow niche for foreign intelligence investigations that could be conducted without a warrant from a regular federal court. But as time passed, FISA morphed into an uncontrolled yet officially sanctioned privacy-trampling monster. FISA judges unleash the nuclear bomb of searches, authorizing the FBI "to conduct, simultaneous telephone, microphone, cell phone, e-mail and computer surveillance of the U.S. person target's home, workplace and vehicles," as well as "physical searches of the target's residence, office, vehicles, computer, safe deposit box and U.S. mails."

In 2008, after the George W. Bush administration's pervasive illegal warrantless wiretaps were exposed, Congress responded by enacting FISA amendments that formally entitled the National Security Agency to vacuum up mass amounts of emails and other communication, a swath of which is provided to the FBI. In 2018, the FISA court slammed the FBI for abusing that database with warrantless searches that violated Americans' rights. In lieu of obeying FISA, the FBI created a new Office of Internal Audit. Deja vu! Back in 2007, FBI agents were caught massively violating the Patriot Act by using National Security Letters to conduct thousands of illegal searches on Americans' personal data. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) declared that an Inspector General report on the abusive searches "confirms the American people's worst fears about the Patriot Act." FBI chief Robert Mueller responded by creating a new Office of Integrity and Compliance as "another important step toward ensuring we fulfill our mission with an unswerving commitment to the rule of law." Be still my beating heart!

The FBI's promise to repent after the 2018 report sufficed for the FISA court to permit the FBI to continue plowing through the personal data it received from NSA. Monday's disclosure "a delayed release of a report by the court last November "revealed that the FBI has conducted warrantless searches of the data trove for "domestic terrorism," "public corruption and bribery," "health care fraud," and other targets "including people who notified the FBI of crimes and even repairmen entering FBI offices. As Spencer Ackerman wrote in the Daily Beast , "The FBI continues to perform warrantless searches through the NSA's most sensitive databases for routine criminal investigations." That type of search "potentially jeopardizes an accused person's ability to have a fair trial since warrantlessly acquired information is supposed to be inadmissible. The FBI claimed to the court that none of the warrantlessly queried material "˜was used in a criminal or civil proceeding,' but such usage at trial has happened before," Ackerman noted. Some illicit FBI searches involve vast dragnets. As the New York Times reported , an FBI agent in 2019 conducted a database search "using the identifiers of about 16,000 people, even though only seven of them had connections to an investigation."

In the report released Monday, Judge Boasberg lamented "apparent widespread violations" of the legal restrictions for FBI searches. Regardless, Boasberg kept the illicit search party going: "The Court is willing to again conclude that the . . . [FBI's] procedures meet statutory and Fourth Amendment requirements." "Willing to again conclude" sounds better than "close enough for constitutional."

At this point, Americans know only the abuses that the FBI chose to disclose to FISA judges. We have no idea how many other perhaps worse abuses may have occurred. For a hundred years, the FBI has buttressed its power by keeping a lid on its crimes. Unfortunately, the FISA Court has become nothing but Deep State window dressing "a facade giving the illusion that government is under the law. Consider Boasberg's recent ruling in the most brazen FISA abuse yet exposed. In December 2019, the Justice Department Inspector General reported that the FBI made "fundamental errors " and persistently deceived the FISA court to authorize surveilling a 2016 Trump presidential campaign official. The I.G. report said the FBI "drew almost entirely" from the Steele dossier to prove a "well-developed conspiracy" between Russians and the Trump campaign even though it was "unable to corroborate any of the specific substantive allegations against Carter Page" in that dossier, which was later debunked.

A former FBI assistant general counsel, Kevin Clinesmith, admitted to falsifying key evidence to secure the FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted , Clinesmith "changed an email confirming Mr. Page had been a CIA source to one that said the exact opposite, explicitly adding the words "˜not a source' before he forwarded it." A federal prosecutor declared that the "resulting harm is immeasurable" from Clinesmith's action. But at the sentencing hearing, Boasberg gushed with sympathy, noting that Clinesmith "went from being an obscure government lawyer to standing in the eye of a media hurricane"¦ Mr. Clinesmith has lost his job in government service"what has given his life much of its meaning." Scorning the federal prosecutor's recommendation for jail time, Boasberg gave Clinesmith a wrist slap"400 hours of community service and 12 months of probation.

The FBI FISA frauds profoundly disrupted American politics for years and the din of belatedly debunked accusations of Trump colluding with Russia swayed plenty of votes in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. But for the chief FISA judge, nothing matters except the plight of an FBI employee who lost his job after gross misconduct. This is the stark baseline Americans should remember when politicians, political appointees, and judges promise to protect them from future FBI abuses. The FISA court has been craven, almost beyond ridicule, perennially. Perhaps Boasberg was simply codifying a prerogative the FISA court previously awarded upon FBI officials. In 2005, after a deluge of false FBI claims in FISA warrants, FISA Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly proposed requiring FBI agents to swear to the accuracy of the information they presented. That never happened because it could have "slowed such investigations drastically," the Washington Post reported . So, FBI agents continue to lie with impunity to the judges.

The FISA court has gone from pretending that FBI violations don't occur to pretending that violations don't matter. Practically the only remaining task is for the FISA court to cease pretending Americans have any constitutional right to privacy . But if a sweeping new domestic terrorism law is passed, perhaps even that formal acknowledgement will be unnecessary. Beginning in 2006, the court rubber-stamped FBI requests that bizarrely claimed that the telephone records of all Americans were "relevant" to a terrorism investigation under the Patriot Act, thereby enabling NSA data seizures later denounced by a federal judge as "almost Orwellian." FISA could become a peril to far more Americans if Congress formally creates a new domestic terrorism offense and a new category for expanding FISA searches.

The backlash from Democrats after the January 6 clash at the Capitol showcased the demand for federal crackdowns on extremists who doubted Biden's election, disparaged federal prerogatives, or otherwise earned congressional ire. If a domestic terrorism law is passed, the FBI will feel as little constrained by the details of the statute as it does about FISA's technicalities. Will FBI agents conducting warrantless searches rely on the same harebrained standard the NSA used to target Americans: "someone searching the web for suspicious stuff"? Unfortunately, unless an FBI whistleblower with the same courage as former NSA analyst Edward Snowden steps forward, we may never know the extent of FBI abuses


ebworthen 39 minutes ago

"You want to harass a political opponent? Sure, we can do that...

JaxPavan 42 minutes ago

All an FBI supervisor has to do to get a FISA warrant on you is have one agent get a crooked snitch in a foreign country to send you a weird text message, and then have another bright eyed and bushy tailed agent who doesn't know the crook is a snitch write up a search warrant application affidavit and submit it to the FISA court.

Joe Bribem 32 minutes ago

It's almost like we did this to Trump. But it'll never come to light. Oops it did. Not that anything will happen to us because we own the corrupt DOJ and FBI.

Obama's own personal private army.

You_Cant_Quit_Me 7 minutes ago

A lot of tips come in from overseas. For example, the US spies on citizens of another country and then sends that country tips, in exchange that country does the same by spying on US citizens and sending the FBI tips. Then it starts, "we are just following up on a tip"

wee-weed up 36 minutes ago (Edited)

Nothing says "Unconstitutional (illegal) Deep State" like FISA. Hitler's Gestapo would be proud!

You_Cant_Quit_Me 37 minutes ago

Lisa and Peter removed any credibility the FBI had with the public. If they solved real crime they would go after the massive fraud and stolen ID criminals. Of course that takes real work and someone wanting get off their lazy rear end

takeaction 58 minutes ago (Edited)

If you own a smart phone...everything you do is recorded...and logged. "They" have been listening to you for a long time if they want to.

If you own any smart device...they can listen and watch. They are monitoring what I am typing and this site. There really is no way to hide.

[Apr 25, 2021] The Ukraine Crisis Recedes - But A False Narrative Of It Leads To Bad Conclusions

Apr 25, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Ukraine Crisis Recedes - But A False Narrative Of It Leads To Bad Conclusions

Some two month ago we discussed how the U.S. focus on narratives will let it collide with reality . It is certainly not only the U.S. government that creates narratives, comes to believe in them, and then fails when it is confronted with reality. Carried by think tanks and media the narrative mold has grown throughout the wider 'western' world.

On the danger of this development the above piece quoted Alastair Crooke who wrote :

[B]eing so invested, so immersed, in one particular 'reality', others' 'truths' then will not – cannot – be heard. They do not stand out proud above the endless flat plain of consensual discourse. They cannot penetrate the hardened shell of a prevailing narrative bubble, or claim the attention of élites so invested in managing their own version of reality .

The 'Big Weakness'? The élites come to believe their own narratives – forgetting that the narrative was conceived as an illusion, one among others, created to capture the imagination within their society (not others').

They lose the ability to stand apart, and see themselves – as others see them. They become so enraptured by the virtue of their version of the world, that they lose all ability to empathise or accept others' truths. They cannot hear the signals. The point here, is that in that talking past (and not listening) to other states, the latters' motives and intentions will be mis-construed – sometimes tragically so.

Over the last weeks we passed through a crisis that easily could have had a tragic ending.

Since February the Ukraine built up a force to retake the renegade Donbas region in east-Ukraine by military force. After waiting several week to see the situation more clearly Russia started to assemble a counterforce backed up by statements that were sufficiently strong to deter the Ukraine from continuing its plans. The danger of a Ukrainian assault has now receded.

Today the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave orders for the troops to return to their bases. Much of the equipment though will stay on training grounds near Ukraine until the regular fall maneuvers later this year take place. That minimizes transport costs and gives a little time advantage should someone in the Ukraine again have silly ideas.

Russia has clearly won this round.

But that is not how it looks when seen from the 'western' narrative. In that version the Ukrainian plans and its assembling of heavy weapons and troops near the Donbas border never happened. The narrative says that the whole incident started as a 'Russian aggression' when Russia very publicly showed its potential force.

Only a few analysts on the 'western' side have rejected that narrative and stuck to reality. Dmitri Trenin of Carnegie's Moscow Center is one who got it right :

In February, Zelensky ordered troops (as part of the rotation process) and heavy weapons (as a show of force) to go near to the conflict zone in Donbas. He did not venture out as far as Poroshenko, who dispatched small Ukrainian naval vessels through the Russian-controlled waters near the Kerch Strait in late 2018, but it was enough to get him noticed in Moscow. The fact of the matter is that even if Ukraine cannot seriously hope to win the war in Donbas, it can successfully provoke Russia into action. This, in turn, would produce a knee-jerk reaction from Ukraine's Western supporters and further aggravate Moscow's relations, particularly with Europe. One way or another, the fate of Nord Stream II will directly affect Ukraine's interests. Being seen as a victim of Russian aggression and presenting itself as a frontline state checking Russia's further advance toward Europe is a major asset of Kyiv's foreign policy.

Russia intentionally over reacted to Kiev's opening move. It demonstrated its overkill capability and made it clear to Zelensky's western sponsors that any further provocations would have extremely harsh consequences.

As Putin said yesterday :

Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.

Zelensky's plan did not work out. While he did get verbal statements of support from Biden and NATO everyone knew that those were empty promises.

But for people who have fallen for the false narrative the situation looks different.

Consider this reaction to Shoigu's return-to-barracks order today from a member of the European Council On Foreign Relations (a U.S. lobby shop in Europe):

Gustav C. Gressel @GresselGustav - 13:15 UTC · Apr 22, 2021

I have to congratulate (Flag of United States) @JoeBiden to deterence success and crisis management. The right warnings were sent to Moscow, the right intelligence to Ukraine. (Flag of Russia) could not extort concessions, could not provoke. Let's see w. these forces aren't just redeployed to (Flag of Belarus).

Indeed Biden's order last week to pull back two war ships that were supposed to go into the Black Sea to support Ukraine was really great deterrence. But that was not a warning to Moscow. It did not deter Russia from doing anything. But it did end Zelensky's illusions of U.S. support.

But for Gressel, who like others is stuck to the 'western' narrative, the sense is different. He really seems to believe that the U.S. deterred Russia from some nefarious plans which it never had. He ignores that Russia reacted to a Ukrainian provocation in a way that, in the end, has made NATO and the U.S. look weak.

The danger is that Gressel, and other 'political scientists' like him, may once take up government positions and use their learned illusions to handle the next crisis. Stuck in the idea that Russia will retreat if only 'deterred' enough they will lean to measures that are outright hostile to Russia and may have indeed very tragic consequences. To repeat Crooke's warning :

The point here, is that in that talking past (and not listening) to other states, the latters' motives and intentions will be mis-construed – sometimes tragically so.

Posted by b on April 22, 2021 at 17:25 UTC | Permalink


vk , Apr 22 2021 17:34 utc | 1

The Ukraine has now lost any notion of ridicule:

Act of war? Ukraine asks EU to consider cutting off Russia from SWIFT payment system as Kiev seeks more sanctions against Moscow

Stonebird , Apr 22 2021 18:02 utc | 2
The Russians have only partly gone. Heavy weapons will remain in place which can be reactivated easily. (Particularly in Crimea). However the Russian "Threat" to Zelnsky is still there. Logically he should now have more difficulty in stirring up the EU and US for cash and weapons as the "obvious and visble" threat is diminished. I don't think his troops can stay indefinitely where they are. How can he continue to pay for all his new mercenaries, new arms?

So how is the MSM going to react? They have a lot of "journalists" around there, waiting for something to happen.

One obvious factor is that the supply lines of both are within their own countries (Ukraine for Ukrainians, and Russia for the Russians). Those that have the longest supply lines are NATO, the UK and US.

An earlier ploy (Attempted violent assasination of Lukashenko and most of the Belarussian parliament), with Georgia and other close by countries getting involved too, is now unlikely. BUT the US is desperate to cut the Russian-Chinese access to Europe by any means. What's next? Plan ....F?

Someone_New , Apr 22 2021 18:18 utc | 3
The Western narrative was also very clearly visible in the latest printed "Der Spiegel" 16/2021 (News magazine in Germany). They had a 4 page article about Ukraine with the title "On the edge of war". They reported at length about russian troops near the border.

Explicitely they wrote about sabre rattling from russia and generally gave the impression that all action is solely on the russian side and must be seen negatively or with grave concerns.
But they failed completely to mention Ukrainian troop movements, bellicose rhetoric or even the Zelensky's decrete 117/2021 from march 23rd with the translated title "Strategy of de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol".

james , Apr 22 2021 18:19 utc | 4
b... thanks.. yes - narrative and controlling the narrative is what so much of this is about.... people in the west are not told of ukraines role in any of this or how they are encouraged by the west... instead what they are told is how russia is building up along the ukraine border.... in other words only one side of the story is told, and not both..nor is the timing of all of it shared either... people are literally given a script or narrative tailor made for brainwashing.. and indeed it works on most...

for an example of this today - i was listening to cbc radio - national news show ''the currenct''.. the host matt galloway discusses the situation with Mark MacKinnon, senior international correspondent for the Globe and Mail; Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at the New School in New York; and Michael Bociurkiw, global affairs analyst, formerly with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

listen from 22:48" for a good example of script writing and narrative control here... CBC The Current for April 22, 2021

Nev , Apr 22 2021 18:35 utc | 5
I am not so sure that this is over. The Belarus coup was intended to be around May 9. Zelensky has called up the reserves who ever they might be. He just floated the idea of banning Russia from the SWIFT so that it is on everyone's mind when Ukraine claims they were attacked. The NS2 will likely be initially complete in May. The USS Cook and Roosevelt are waiting for the British boats and will likely enter together. They have not yet given notice that I have seen. Two frigates are transiting the Suez to join their fellow yanks. I see a perfect storm yet coming. Shoigu is bright and knows that it looks good to announce the return to barracks, but he has access to my data plus a ton more. He knows that the situation is still fluid and volatile.
Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 22 2021 18:52 utc | 6
...
But for Gressel, who like others is stuck to the 'western' narrative, the sense is different. He really seems to believe that the U.S. deterred Russia from some nefarious plans which it never had. He ignores that Russia reacted to a Ukrainian provocation in a way that, in the end, has made NATO and the U.S. look weak.

This delusion reminded me of a retort, from an astute observer, to a dopey remark made by Bush II soon after the start if the Iraq Fake War. Bush said "We're gonna turn EyeRack into fly-paper for ter'rists! To which the observer responded...
"If Iraq was fly-paper then the only bug that got stuck to it was Bush."

vk , Apr 22 2021 19:14 utc | 7
I'm one of the most ardent proponents of the "imbecilization of the West" hypothesis, but this is clearly a diplomatic style face-saving plausible deniability exit by the West.

The West knows time is not on its side in the Ukrainian issue, and its puppet president threw a Hail Mary. Russia correctly didn't swallow the bait, and the West fell back as it knew it would have to, since this was a long shot.

NS-2 is now getting finished, and the Ukraine will consolidate itself more than ever as a black hole of American resources. The West, however, has one last ace in the hole: the German Green Party, which is well positioned to form the next government after the December national elections. The NS-2 certainly won't be finished by then, if the American diplomacy is to do its job properly, and the Greens will have all the tools at hand to implode the project, thus giving the Ukraine some more years to ride on American finance by its gas leverage (over which all its sovereign T-bonds rest at this point).

The key to Ukrainian success is in Germany, not in Russia.

Bernard F. , Apr 22 2021 19:18 utc | 8
Thank you b.
More and more interesting links for a great nightshift!

Every body must read in UNZ an interview of Israel Shamir (posted it in the afternoon)

Who cares their narrative? Dummkopft
On the decision level a lot of people know the facts.
And Putin and al. ability to build fact is impressive. A lot more than "1962 Cuba missile crisis".
And Russia got good countermeasures with RT, VK...

And YOU'll be there

Piotr Berman , Apr 22 2021 19:20 utc | 9
One advantage that Ukraine has in military terms is the number of people who willingly and enthusiastically want to join the army for the sake of de-occupation (interesting why they invented a replacement of "liberation" that has at least two equivalents with Slavic roots, perhaps they do not like their current occupations). The best proof is that through their democratically elected representatives they voted for a huge increase of punishments for avoiding conscription.

The other proof is that, temporarily at least, Ukrainians abolished the system of rotation in which units were staying on the fortified lines literally dying of boredom and related risk (alcohol poisoning, explosions of stills making moonshine, drug overdoses, suicide, stepping over their own mines, to mention a few), instead the troops to be rotated stayed in place and the other units joined them nearby.

However, Russian conscripts without the advantage of Ukrainian enthusiasm have better weapons. Modernizing Ukrainian military is a tall order. The budget barely supports the troops without modernization, the domestic industry in its better years relied to selling parts to Russia and buying other parts, remnants of industrial integration of Soviet times. Supplying them with NATO weapons would require huge gifts that (a) could be unpopular in the West (b) raise risk of getting the best toys of NATO to Russian in exchange for non-toxic alcohol, fresh Afghan heroin etc. Did I mention mind-killing military service? And with not so best toys, like missile boats that are about to be de-commissioned, say, in Canada, they do not really change the strategic balance.

Thus Zelensky had to be saved from his own rhetoric and gestures -- the aforementioned change in "rotation". Kiev authorities have a good practice in "never mind". For example, they utilize fascist radicals to intimidate opposition, but they are what I call "pet cobras", biting the hand that feeds them is what is programmed into their reptilian minds that do not have circuits for "friends" and "gratitude". And because of some grievances they trashed the Presidential place of work, insulting graffiti, broken windows, a broken and burned door, so three ringleaders got arrested, Parliament spent a few hours being appalled (after thinking for a week what to say), and now one ringleader was let free, with the remainder probably joining him soon (one at the time, I think). See folks: nothing happened.

It is possible that Napoleonic rhetoric and gestures were planned to get a "street cred" with those hoodlums, or that they were discreetly encouraged by an embassy (some people think that UK is the leader here, USA having mental problems and distractions). Or some combination.

Eighthman , Apr 22 2021 19:21 utc | 10
I would like to see some reporting on liability for Germany if the Greens cancel NS2. It seems rather nebulous on Google searches.
Benedict Arnold Palm , Apr 22 2021 19:24 utc | 11
"What fools those morons be." - Bugs Bunny

Imagine a drunken red nosed music hall comedian having to be taken so seriously. It really grates that the West has been reduced to this; a Spam headed sham, so pilled up he rattles, as a President of the FSOA. This obvious, self professed clown, Zelensky as head of an SS Totenkopf militia. A tiny appendage of Russia called Europe being a colony of a country based on genocide and slavery, that is reputedly anti-colonial. and a parcel of rogues spanning three continents and two oceans that gobble up lies like dung beetles on excrement lean back on their laurels, ill gotten gains, genocide and lies, and feel themselves morally superior to the victims, actual and future.

Bernard F. , Apr 22 2021 19:25 utc | 12
Too much narrative, kills the narrative

Https://www.foxnews.com/world/russia-orders-troop-pullback-keeps-weapons-near-ukraine

Even Fox don't buy it

vetinLA , Apr 22 2021 19:27 utc | 13
Our problem here in the U$A is still the same as always. Mr. Z's announcement on 3/24 about his nation's intentions to take back the Crimea, were NEVER mentioned on our MSM. It's always Russian aggression, or China's aggression. It's NEVER our fault.

Somehow, someway, that scenario MUST change.

Piotr Berman , Apr 22 2021 19:28 utc | 14
listen from 22:48" for a good example of script writing and narrative control here... CBC The Current for April 22, 2021

Posted by: james | Apr 22 2021 18:19 utc | 4

Do you care to take responsibility for our mental health? I did provide a summary of a "narrative control" article once, I can do it once in few months, should we also have some rotation here?

james , Apr 22 2021 19:39 utc | 15
@ 14 piotr.... for your mental health i recommend unplugging from all western news outlets especially with regard to topics like russia, china, venezuala, syria, ukraine and etc. etc... free! no charge for you piotr! and okay - you're on next shift!
robert , Apr 22 2021 20:00 utc | 16
Just a couple of notes:
-The Greens, if they "win" will not win with a majority. That means they will need coalition partners. Neither the CDU or the SPD is going to go along with their plan to stop NS2. The Greens, in order to form a govt. will cave in on NS2 and probably other things.

-The Ukies are still fleeing the country to avoid going to the front. The Ukie brass says as much. These are not soldiers. They are farm kids. At the 1st sign of serious war, they will all head for the russians with hands in the air.

-V. Putin handled the western MSM narrative quite well, imo, when he said "Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time." It can't be clearer than that. And that tells me that the ussa is in the crosshairs. This may be the 1st time in history that the oceans will offer no protection for the warmongers that have been at war for 222 years of 237 years of their existence

The comedian is still flaying about and now trying to play the SWIFT card (last week it was nuclear weapons, before that it was...). Which, of course, the west will not honor because it would cripple the west as much or more than RU. I would imagine he needs to change his undershorts on an hourly basis these days. He is literally caught between a rock and a hard spot. No more support from DE, FR, US, NATO, TR except good wishes. And demands from his brain-dead Banderites are only growing more shrill. What's a poor comic to do?

The west is basically done with him and with the show of force by the russians they are more done with him than before. For his sake, i hope his khazarian passport app has been approved.

Another failed state compliments of the khazarians in DC.
And the beat goes on.

jared , Apr 22 2021 20:23 utc | 17
Being seen as a victim of Russian aggression and presenting itself as a frontline state checking Russia's further advance toward Europe is a major asset of Kyiv's foreign policy.

Wait...what?

I think B takes the "administration" too literally -
We know they are lying, they know they are lying, everyone knows they are lying but they are creating a virtual world in which their behavior is rational and justified. I am not sure why exactly such an artificial construct is seen as helpful. I suppose you could blame it on the voting public in the democratic west but we all realize by this point that the west is in no way democratic in a literal, functional sense - they less than do not give a damn what the little people think in fact they could well do with a lot fewer of them and really without the need of actual vote counting.

Possibly to their dog at night under the covers and after many martinis to help them forget what they are, they admit something like their best attempt at the truth.

And anyway, what did really happen to Seth Rich?

passerby , Apr 22 2021 21:17 utc | 18
Eighthman @10 North Stream 2 will be the last mayor cooperation between Russia and Europe for the next 10, 20 years. If you had to choose where to put your money, would you put it in a gas pipeline to China (Power of Siberia) or a gas pipeline to Europe (North Stream2)?

Putin will be the last Russian president who looked west, to Europe; the next president will look east, to Asia. It's where the money is.

oldhippie , Apr 22 2021 21:29 utc | 19
The militias with their supposed morale -- These are the grandkids and great grandkids of WWII collaborators. Middle class and hipsters. In a country where there basically is no middle class. Ukraine's economy is at African level. Only source of funds for anything is the US embassy. There is no agenda but the agenda of 1945. Any from the 2014 crop who had anything on the ball whatsoever is now my neighbor. What is left in Uke is the dregs. Hipsters do not hang around in failed states.

Entire political landscape is now centered on US Embassy. Oligarchs might have some input still, their wealth is out of country and so are they most of time.

Pure political vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum. CIA and their hired actors will fill the stage, journalists will report their antics. They are playing to an empty house. Ukraine could exist in same zone as Libya or Iraq for a long time. In end nothing fills the vacuum but Russian Federation.

JohninMK , Apr 22 2021 21:33 utc | 20
Piotr Berman 9

The Russian military's policy is not to use conscripts on the front lines, that role is far too important to trust to what are partially trained soldiers, they are used in support functions. The frontline is manned by professional soldiers.

Zelenski has got $300M of 'stuff' out of Congress this week so that was a result for him.

Russia might be pulling back but the Ukrainians haven't got the message. My understanding is there are 50,000 Ukrainian army and 20,000 Ukrainian security forces normally in the Donbass on the frontlines against 30,000 or so NAF. This crisis came when another 30,000 troops plus heavy weapons were moved into the area. Two days ago OSCE reported that two artillery battalions of self propelled 122mm and 152 guns have been moved up to the front. Then apparently earlier this week, two battalions of the Azov were moved up from Mariupol (their normal area) to the front lines facing Donetsk City. Most of these 20,000 security forces would be your Nazi wannabe's with the Azov unit being the largest. For those of you not watching in 2014/5 Azov are the evil bastards that make the Red Army in WW2 Germany look like angels.

So Kiev is still building an overpowering strike force with a probable objective of a thrust through the center to the Russian border, splitting the two 'rebel' states. Both US and UK and no doubt other advisors are on site. The Global Hawk is sucking up data overhead most days. There is NATO pride on the line here planning and directing. We await a false flag.

I think b is being a bit too optimistic. Somehow they have to stop NS2, in many ways their futures depend on transit gas and, as before, they won't care how many have to die to save their skins and wallets.

Bernard F. , Apr 22 2021 22:11 utc | 21
@ vk | Apr 22 2021 19:14 utc | 7
I agree
Once again Deutschland : أم كل المعارك

"The Mother of all Battles"

Germany, the biggest Tabaqui, surrounded by many petty tabaquies...
But
Germany, playing the two side...
Germany, so stark and so weak...
Germany, "So jung und doch so alt"

How long can Germany resist the narrative?
How long before the end of the show?

We must talk about Germania

Tom , Apr 22 2021 22:25 utc | 22
This tweet by circle jerker extraordinaire Anders Aslund, sums up todays essay by b.

"I tend to socialise with the elite in Kyiv (sic)" (not with the deplorables)

https://twitter.com/27khv/status/1385162324705783812

Oldhippie , Apr 22 2021 22:35 utc | 23
Tom @ 22

Scroll up on that to the original Aslund post. He is talking about his friends getting ready to flee to Western Ukraine (or further). Sounds likely enough. Maybe they know something. And if it is just a routine panic in a failed state amongst a nervous elite, it only repeats so many times before they all do get out of town.

Nick , Apr 22 2021 22:46 utc | 24
LOL The greens will not win in Germany. Wait to September and tons of pedophilia scandals to appear on the media about Robert Habeck, and they will be toast
Cesare , Apr 22 2021 22:47 utc | 25
There's no question that if and when push comes to shove, and the first hints of defeat waft from the frontlines despite all attempts to spin it otherwise, the Ukrainian people will drop any sense of unity, fold like a wet napkin, and demand peace. Only a small sector of the population is highly motivated to fight or turn out the vote for bellicose policy against Russia.
Nick , Apr 22 2021 23:00 utc | 26
Do the Greens have vote in Bavaria, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Eastern Germany? I don't think so. Greens are popular Baden-Württemberg due Kretschmann charisma. If they haven't vote in Bavaria, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Eastern Germany , so they aren't going to win..

I'm seeing a lot of anglo and america media trying to boost these guys. But I have a bad feeling that the child book writer Robert Habeck will get a 'Sebastian Edathy' treatament.

vk , Apr 22 2021 23:45 utc | 27
@ Posted by: Nick | Apr 22 2021 23:00 utc | 26

But:

1) Germany has a proportional representative system. You don't have to win it all to compose the government. The Greens are going to compose the next government; Germany, as a First World country, is socially stable enough so that we can already consider this a fait accompli .

2) Laschet's choice as Merkel's successor apparently backfired . The CSU-CDU will probably lose some 10% more on top of what they're already projected to lose in these next general elections, mostly to the Greens.

Nick , Apr 22 2021 23:52 utc | 28
I know how the German system works. Yet I am not seeing the Greens win or compose the next government if they threaten to cancel NS2. The NS2 is not about the CDU/CSU but about the German elite interest. No way they are going to give green light to the Greens. Speaking of someone which city is on the border.
arby , Apr 23 2021 0:07 utc | 29
Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 22 2021 19:20 utc

"One advantage that Ukraine has in military terms is the number of people who willingly and enthusiastically want to join the army for the sake of de-occupation "

Not nearly as motivated as Russians who have dealt with Nazi Fascists once before. What happened last time is seared into their heads.

vk , Apr 23 2021 0:20 utc | 30
@ Posted by: Nick | Apr 22 2021 23:52 utc | 28

Yeah, but the American elite is stronger than the German elite.

Nick , Apr 23 2021 0:27 utc | 31
So Annalena Baerbock will be the next US chancellor beacuse the US wants.. haha. Not sure about that these days..
Sushi , Apr 23 2021 0:40 utc | 32
Russia has closed the Kerch Strait.
It is reported that the two US destroyers which were to have transited the Bosphorus are awaiting a pair of Britsh destroyers intended to join them with the flotilla of 4 ships to enter the Black Sea.
What happens if the UK and US decide on a FONOP which involves a transit of the Kerch Strait to make a port visit to Ukraine on the Sea of Azov?
Does Putin keep the Kerch closed?
If he stops the flotilla does this become "interference with international right of navigation?"
Does this asserted interference then result in Ukraine attack? Or a combined NATO / Ukraine action?
PokeTheTruth , Apr 23 2021 0:45 utc | 33
President Putin consulted with Minster of Defense Shoigu and asks if the troops can be scaled back from the lines of contact without significantly reducing tactical capability. Shoigu runs the numbers and delivers the answer that Putin was looking for.

Putin is offering an olive branch to Zelensky knowing full well his military can roll over the eastern and southern borders of Ukraine with impunity.

Does Zelensky do the same? No, instead he calls up reserve boys to make himself look tough.

A Russian proverb that is most appropriate in this case is this: Дурна́я голова́ нога́м поко́я не даёт. Translation: The stupid head doesn't leave feet in rest or in other words, no rest for the wicked.

Stephen T Johnson , Apr 23 2021 1:02 utc | 34
Sushi @32
How does Putin close the Kerch strait?
The same way as last time, park a largish ship or two in it.
FONOPS don't work so well as battering rams, and the straight is very narrow.
Bernard F. , Apr 23 2021 1:15 utc | 35

Dans l'œil du cyclone

The only antiwar party in Germany is AfD. They don't buy at all the "narrative" Die Linke is only " pacifistes bêlants ".

The meeting of German parliament was interesting. Unfortunately, only found german SNA report
https://snanews.de/20210422/bundestagsdebatte-ostukraine-parteienvertreter-gespalten-1826965.html

About green leadership in west Germany, it was a fake election, no meeting, no campaign...just ridiculous posters in the streets. Massive abstention.

A post Covid-19 election, with young people back, could be surprised. East Germany is to be analyse.

Germany often surprises the world for the better , SS-20 and Pershing II missiles crisis 1978-87 and Mauerfall 1989.


bill , Apr 23 2021 1:47 utc | 36

this pesky little problem of mud is the cause for the delay/ Russian troops given some rest

Grieved , Apr 23 2021 1:48 utc | 37
If all of this sound and fury is just to cancel North Stream 2, then it strikes me as a demonstration of terrible impotence, using a lot of leverage to achieve a fairly small end. Maybe it is exactly this. But I prefer Rostislav Ischenko's outline of several actions in several neighboring theaters as a concerted attack on Russia - with the objective of levering EU away from Russia. And the note here is that this is not over yet, the game is still afoot.

This larger ploy seems like a far more desirable objective for the US, given the expenditure of resources, rather than simply the NS2. But it still reeks of impotence, given how decisively Russia has countered each move (of the ones that are visible - no telling about the ones beneath the surface).

I have read somewhere, probably here, that if Germany were to cancel NS2 she would owe Russian billions of dollars in penalties. This project is after all, a matter of contract. And Germany must abide by its contracts if it is to remain in the business world. Or so it seems to me. Is Germany going to flout contract obligations with Russia, which supplies it with fuel for its industry and to stay warm in winter? It seems unlikely.

So, while the US acts to try to split Europe away from Russia, Germany is actually taking the least divisive path if it finishes NS2. Because if it is forced to cancel, and then to pay the billions in penalties, surely this causes a far greater split from the US and toward Russia than otherwise? Simply a split that plays out over a longer time, but much more finally.

If the US were capable of thinking all this through, it might understand how it pushes away everything it attempts to grasp. But we have watched for years, with some gladness, to see that this is exactly the fatal weakness of the US now. It simply doesn't understand reality, and simply cannot learn from it. Which I guess is b's point. Agreed.

Grieved , Apr 23 2021 1:52 utc | 38
@38 bill

Agreed, that Russia is not "withdrawing" troops, simply rotating them away according to the timetable and conditions of the battlefield.

Joshua , Apr 23 2021 1:57 utc | 39
For whomever may be under any illusion whatsoever,
Please,
Do not decieve yourselves,
The truth and the fact of the matter is very readily apparent.
All one must do is look objectively upon the reality of the situation in an honest manner.
Please do so.
Thank you.
Victor , Apr 23 2021 1:59 utc | 40
@Sushi | Apr 23 2021 0:40 utc | 32

The Sea of Azov is the shallowest sea in the world and has a maximum depth of 45 feet. An Arleigh Burke destroyer has a draft of 30 feet. Even if somehow NATO ships entered the Sea of Azov, there are not many places that they can go unless they are very small ships.

Fyi , Apr 23 2021 2:05 utc | 41
Mr. B

The situation around these unplanned military drills reminded me of 8 unplanned military drills by Iran during the last few months of Mr. Trump's government.

A likely preemptive responses, in both cases, to planned acts of aggression, nullifying them. Someone might have alerted them too.

Paul , Apr 23 2021 2:10 utc | 42
b, thanks for this post and thanks for the link to the excellent Alister Crook SCF article. I am sick of being told what to think and what opinions I should hold by the corporate and public MSM.

Narrative control is even more pervasive these days and the disconnect with the actual reality is more obvious.

How can the Anglo/Zionist captive nations talk about 'our values' while the grotesque horror show and slow motion genocide continues in occupied Palestine?

How can the Anglo/Zionist captive nations politicians talk about 'free trade' and 'liberalised trade'
while enforcing illegal trade embargoes on sovereign nations?

We were told by President Nixon that trade with China was good. Now the BRI railroad is portrayed as a 'threat' and 'controversial.' Ditto the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Europe.

What is threatened is the cushioned pashas position to dictate hegemonic power throughout the world.

Australia is among the worst offenders of this moronic groupthink as shown by distinguished veteran correspondent Hamish McDonald:

https://johnmenadue.com/media-in-the-asian-century-belting-victoria/https://johnmenadue.com/media-in-the-asian-century-belting-victoria/ ">https://johnmenadue.com/media-in-the-asian-century-belting-victoria/">https://johnmenadue.com/media-in-the-asian-century-belting-victoria/https://johnmenadue.com/media-in-the-asian-century-belting-victoria/

This from a former Australian diplomat:

https://johnmenadue.com/five-eyes-anglo-sphere-is-not-our-best-bet/

Fyi , Apr 23 2021 2:10 utc | 43
Mr. Bernard F

During the Siege War against Iran, as well as during the hard times of the pandemic, Germany established herself to be of no consequence in the political arena or in the humanitarian one.

I was not surprised.

Fyi , Apr 23 2021 2:19 utc | 44
Mr. JohninMK

If Ukrainian government has indeed mobilized or otherwise has planned a war against Russia, then her life expectancy in her current format or within her current borders will be measured in years and not decades.

Russia will not tolerate an armed camp of enemy soldiers in Ukraine, she will be neutralized as an independent actor shortly.

The 3 Westernmost oblasts might survive as a rump Ukraine but she is finished now.

Fyi , Apr 23 2021 2:21 utc | 45
Mr. Paul

Everyone knows Australians have been boot lickers of US.

Nothing new there.

Paul , Apr 23 2021 3:07 utc | 46
Sorry about the bad link at 42. Here is the link:

https://johnmenadue.com/media-in-the-asian-century-belting-victoria/

Posted by: Fyi | Apr 23 2021 2:21 utc | 45

Yes Fyi, it is shameful. What is not so well known is Australia and the US have a long history of bullying New Zealand with loud megaphone diplomacy on cherished policy issues. One example was when the Muldoon [NZ] government recognised the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people many decades ago. Muldoon told them to F off, diplomatically, of course.

The NZ superannuation fund recently decided to divest from Israeli banks citing 'repetitional damage.' among other relevant things. Another win for BDS but ignored by the MSM. How could they spin that together with the prevailing narrative? So they ignored it.

At least NZ has some self respect intact. In business it is a good idea to speak the language of the buyer. I prefer NZ white wine and Australian red wine, particularly Barossa Valley reds. Now Australia complains about coal fired power stations in China, forgetting it is Australia selling the coal. NZ can sell the wine.

jiri , Apr 23 2021 3:25 utc | 47
@Sushi | Apr 23 2021 0:40 utc | 32

My guess is that the Russians will create the conditions whereby the US/UK flotilla will be forced to get stuck in the shallow waters of the Azov Sea. Thus they will achieve their objective without firing a shot. The Russians know the spots with shallow waters. US/UK not so much.

Biswapriya Purkayast , Apr 23 2021 3:52 utc | 48
I wrote a long response and it disappeared. Oh well.
Fyi , Apr 23 2021 4:05 utc | 49
Mr. Paul

I have known, during my life, one single individual from New Zealand. He was the only English-speaker who could pronounce my name at first try. Very fine chap.

I do not know much about that country except that it is populated by serious Anglicans and is currently being led by a real statesman, unlike so many other countries.

I wish that country well, they are trying to do the right thing where larger more powerful countries, such as Germany, UK, or Italy, sold themselves for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.

uncle tungsten , Apr 23 2021 4:44 utc | 50
JohninMK #20

Agreed, your proposition for an immediate fast rush to the Russian border to split the region is just as likely as a stand down. I would never be trusting NATO or FUKUS.

See Libya.

Paul , Apr 23 2021 4:51 utc | 51
Hi Fyi,

I am actually an Australian living in New Zealand. Lucky me. The two countries used to have a deal. Now that deal is observed by NZ but not observed by Australia. I tell some Kiwis, sometimes young in cheek, 'I am an Australian refugee boat person, fleeing from an oppressive government.'

As for the population, someone told me years ago ' it doesn't matter which party is in power, the country is always governed by Scottish Presbyterians so it always has some money put away'.

Most people can pick my Australian accent.

Race relations is far better in NZ than Australia. Australia is dysfunctional and utterly corrupt at all three levels of government. My American friend says that is like America. He moved to NZ. Both countries have rotten bureaucracy, perhaps a British hangover.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 23 2021 6:52 utc | 52
Posted by: Grieved | Apr 23 2021 1:48 utc | 37
(Germany will not walk away from NS 2)

Thanks for fleshing out the NS 2 'controversy' with additional "inconvenient truths". My confidence that NS 2 will proceed as planned is based 90% on Sarah Kelly's 2020 DW Conflict Zone interview with Niels Annen, Heiko Maas's 2IC. Annen pointed out to (deaf-in-one-ear, can't-hear-with-the-other) Sarah that Germany's trade relationship with Russia is "complicated" but works for both. By the end of the interview it looked as though he felt a bit sorry for Sarah being stuck in the awkward position of being obliged to argue that black is white.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 23 2021 8:11 utc | 53
I thought Zelensky was the Real Deal, a kind of Trump echo. But he ran into the same problem as Trump - a painful collision with the reality that the President is just a figurehead with very little Leadership autonomy, if any.

There's a new post-Trump 3-part BBC documentary series called Trump Takes On The World. Last night, ABC.net.au broadcast the first 1-hour Episode. It begins with Theresa May's visit to Trump's Washington. There's a formal meeting to discuss UK-US attitude to NATO. Before the meeting gets into stride, someone in Team Trump mentions that Putin phoned the White House and Team Trump is working out a schedule for the conversation to take place. Trump hits the roof.

"What!!?? Are you telling me that Putin, the only man who can destroy the United States, phoned the White House and you didn't tell me about it!!??"
Trump let's it slide, in deference to the presence of Ms May, but as the implications sink in he can't leave it alone and delves deeper into this weird event, Ms May's presence notwithstanding...

I think Zelensky ran into exactly the same problem - believing that the Prez is in charge of something important but realising that's just theatrical window-dressing. 'Democratic' window-dressing.
And with the Biden family having influence in Regime-changed Ukraine, it's probably safe to assume that the same Swamp Creatures which keep POTUS in check also 'manage' Zelenski's Presidential daydreams.

John Gilberts , Apr 23 2021 8:15 utc | 54
An excellent analysis. 'Blinkered' is the word on Washington. John Helmer's latest:

"State Department War Party has Led US Forces into their Worst Defeat Since Saigon - Without Russia Firing a Shot..."

https://twitter.com/bears_with/status/1385484105928876037

snake , Apr 23 2021 8:20 utc | 55
.. why ..artificial construct ... Passerby @ 18 < deep state reprograms what people remember about events.
planting misinformation 30 year study
Reprogamming what you remember about an event is technology embedded deep in MSM propaganda.

Passerby goes on to say "we all realize ...the west is in no way democratic in a literal,
functional sense - they .. do not give a damn what the little people think .. ..fewer of them .." <=is desirable.

Not true, the west is ~2.6 billion people [+ .010 billion can understand what you posted], but
<1,000,000 people are in the group you classify as the West. The governed masses are victim to
Oligarch owned nation states. The nation states are 1) tools, Oligarch's use, to compete in the
national and international markets (Article II), 2) each nation states includes a political
system (basically a consumer complaint department) to control the behaviors of the domestic
flocks and to keep the flocks distributed into their respective pastures.

Basically, the legislative and law making nation states are open air prisons that oversee the
domestic masses, but in foreign affairs, the nation states are economic weapons used by Oligarch
to engage in national and international profit making competition.
In other words,the only benefactors of the nation state system are the Oligarchs.

The 21st Century problem humans must resolve: "How to impose democratic principles,
human rights, and self-determination on the nation state system?"
It does not matter if we are talking East or West.
The nation state is the structure that confines the sheep so Oligarch can shear the wool.

A comment elsewhere alleged Lukashenko, of Belarus revealed how the world bank coerced sovereign nations to engage Corona virus lock down and vaccine scenarios; the same comment alleged Lukashenko fined the Soros foundation in Belarus 3.0 million for currency violations, and that the foundation left Belarus?
I am not sure about those claims. Can anyone authenticate those facts or elaborate on them . ?

Sunny Runny Burger , Apr 23 2021 9:13 utc | 56
Biswapriya Purkayast: if the comment isn't the recent one you wrote in the "Kipling" Russia thread it has probably been snagged by the link-checker and will appear later. It happens to everyone once in a while, a good idea to write and save any comment in a text editor before copying and posting it, unless it's short like this one :)
Renard , Apr 23 2021 9:37 utc | 57
Ukraine was not the target.

All this fuss around Crimea and Donbass was simply meant to distract attention from Belarus. (Did the Americans inform Zelensky or did they just manipulate him?)

The destabilization, collapse, invasion of Belarus failed (When did the Russians understand?), so the players disengage from this point of confrontation to find another one (Where?).

ftmntf , Apr 23 2021 9:58 utc | 58
A key aspect of propaganda is reversing the actual order of cause and effect to make the enemy falsely look like the aggressor. We see this in the recent case of Ukraine. The western pressitutes cynically ignored, and failed to report, the unprovoked Ukrainian military build up on the border, to which the Russian build was a defensive reaction. So that now, as far as the average western consumer of this propaganda is concerned, the Russian 'aggressor' 'bad guys' have been forced to back down. All BS of course.

The anti-imperialist movement needs to establish popular online hubs that aggregate/syndicate the writings of small blogs like this. It is beyond the abilities of any single blogger to keep up with news events to counter imperialist lies in real time but collectively they can do it if their work is made available at bigger hubs.

Paco , Apr 23 2021 10:28 utc | 59
Posted by: snake | Apr 23 2021 8:20 utc | 55

Searched for some info on that fine but that's an old story, the Soros Fund was fined and expelled from Belarus in '97. But recently there was a debate about the influence in education by the Soros foundations in the former soviet countries. Probably this has a lot to do with the comments made by Putin in his address to the Federal Assembly, he remarked that some history text books do not even mention the Stalingrad Battle while at the same time enhancing the second front influence in WWII outcome. In other words, the foundations might be out, there influence is not, money buys wills, and if anything else is missing in those influence institutions money is not one of them.

Do a machine translation for more info:

https://www.osnmedia.ru/politika/v-belorussii-rasskazali-o-neskonchaemom-vliyanii-fonda-sorosa/

jared , Apr 23 2021 13:59 utc | 60
UK was hoping to provoke an incident with its ships in Black Sea.
Russia has unilaterally withdrawn, leaving the British ships to cruise about at their leisure. Pardon me, but might you have any Grey Poupon?
m , Apr 23 2021 14:04 utc | 61
@43 Fyi
To my knowledge Germany has several times delivered medical equipment to Iran during the ongoing pandemic. I`m not familiar with the details, though. Germany is also heavily involved with COVAX which is one of the main sources of vaccines for Iran.
Tollef Ås اس طلف , Apr 23 2021 14:22 utc | 62
It bugs me how even well-informed critics of North Atlanticist regimes and their foreign policies write and talk of them as "western demoracies". The "Founding Fathers" of the USA feared nothing more than 'democracy' -- by which they thought of ancient Athens, or the ancient republic of San Marino or some Swiss Cantons. What they wanted was a republic in the mold of Ancient Rome, Venice, or like the Netherlands before Wilhelm of Orange, i.e. roled by rich men's clubs and throuh inherited wealth, be that from land ownership, slave-holding or from commercial gains and prate privatering -- plus of course exploiting colonies and controlled marketing opium and its derivats (plus cocaine).

None of the present-day Atlanticist nations call themselves "demomracies" in their name or constitutions. Only Greece does -- and only because they don't have the romance word "republic" in their language.

In observation of these linguistic and political facts, the governments of Central Europe east of Nato, China, Viet-Nâm and Chosôn ("North Korea") all called themselves "people's republics" -- as opposed the the states further west that were ruled by the elected representatives of Capital and Big Banking.

fyi , Apr 23 2021 14:42 utc | 63
Mr. m

That is news to me.

I will investigate.

fyi , Apr 23 2021 14:48 utc | 64
Mr. Tollef Ås اس طلف

There is a discernible fear of the common man permeating the works of the intellectuals of Islam as well as the Sufis.

One expression of that among Shia is the idea and practice of "Source of Emulation".

The framers of the American Constitution, I understand, were also suspicious of the plebian rule degenerating into mob rule.

So they created a representative republic - which has become the dominant form of governance all over the world.

I personally do not find anything wrong with the theory of such a government.

Any form of government can become corrupt over time since Man is in the State of Fall.

fyi , Apr 23 2021 14:54 utc | 65
Mr. m:

So far, I have found an announcement of 5 million Euros of medical aide to Iran from UK, France, and Germany in March of 2020.

Earlier, in April of 2019, Germany donated 4 boats and a number of tents for the victims of floods in Iran.

EU, at the same time, stated aide to Iran of 1.2 million Euros.

aquadraht , Apr 23 2021 14:55 utc | 66
@7 vk
I don't know how you come to that conclusion:
he West, however, has one last ace in the hole: the German Green Party, which is well positioned to form the next government after the December national elections. The NS-2 certainly won't be finished by then ..

In fact, the elections will take place Sep 26. The newly elected parliament will gather fist time ("constituting") 3-4 weeks after that date, so end of October. After that, coalition agreement has to be negotiated, usually taking 6 weeks or more (last time, it was nearly 5 months). If the outcome is as the polls indicate at the moment, with the Greens as the strongest faction, they will get the task to strike a coalition deal, negotioting probably with CDU, and SPD plus FDP, for a couple of weeks. A new government, elected by the Bundestag, is not to be expected before end of December.

Before anybody could act upon NS2, it will be 2022. If the project is not stopped at the last kilometres, it will be finished by May, 2021. Once operational, the government does not have much leverage to shut it down.

fyi , Apr 23 2021 15:01 utc | 67
Mr. Paul:

Yes, I can confirm reports of Australian racism against Indians, Iranians, Lebanese, Chinese, and Greeks.

One person told me that she was reluctant to travel to the United States because she had feared similar treatment there.

On the other hand, I know of a case of an abandoned Sikh mother & child (by her husband) in New Zealand - the social services stepped right in and helped stabilize their lives.

I think all of these evils start from the top.

The late General MacArthur tolerated racism and the African-Americans under his command suffered.

Some other Flag Rank officers did not tolerate racism and that made a huge difference to the experience of the African-American soldiers and sailors under their commands.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 23 2021 17:26 utc | 68
Addenda to Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 23 2021 8:11 utc | 53
(BBC doco Trump takes On The World)

Episode 1 spans events from Ms May's Trump White House visit, to Helsinki and Trump's 'betrayal' of AmeriKKKa in his private meeting with Putin.
During the closing moments of the doco (minute 55 - no ads on ABC) a bloke who looks like Mitch McConnell (R) Kentucky/Tel Aviv, says "That'll be the lar-yest time we ever have a President meet a foreign leader in private."

MrLenin , Apr 23 2021 17:26 utc | 69
Russia has not been idle as the US and allies have been pumping plane loads of weaponry to the ukropa army, this 'training deployment' was an opportunity for Russia to check, train and equip the Donbass militia. I would assume that an operation room is already setup, with spetnaz remaining in place to monitor the lines.
Nato is stumped at both the heavy response and language used by Russia, they are a paper tiger, and many of their members, would have opted out. The 'Belarus attempted coup' is another Red line for Russia, thus VVP stressed that Russia has the resources to put a stop to it.
The Czech hyenas have started walking-back(US State department word) accusations about the 2014 explosions https://www.rt.com/russia/521514-czech-blast-not-state-terrorism/

@B could you look into the issue of the Damona explosion, I believe a poster somewhere mention a retaliatory attack by Iran on missile factories in Jerusalem, I also doubt it was a stray AA missile.

JohninMK , Apr 23 2021 19:43 utc | 70
MrLenin 69

All the open source evidence does indeed point to it being an S-200/SA-5 missile.

The Israeli Defense Minister Beni Gantz has officially acknowledged that the attempt to shoot down the S-200PMT missile failed. Saying that 4 US and 6 Israeli Patriot SAMs & 2 Israeli SAMs "David Sling" missed the S-200 at 17 km.

So, not just IAF but US operated systems as well by the look of it.

This is now a huge problem for the US. At least when the Yeminis hit Saudi the US can mutter about the quality of the Saudi AD crews but here, in Israel they will be skilled and well trained crews from both countries i.e. the 'best'. This is very embarrassing for the US MIC. Their SAMs couldn't even down a Soviet era errant SAM.

No doubt today many countries will be re-evaluating their Patriot AD systems. Indeed, should existing customers be demanding their money back as the system is clearly shown to be faulty (it has to be a fault, it can't possibly be a design error)? Turkey and India must be feeling pleased.

JohninMK , Apr 23 2021 19:54 utc | 71
I meant to say that for a while now the Syrian rules of engagement have changed and they are now able to 'chase the launcher aircraft' home. Before that they were only targeting the incoming munitions. Putin confirmed the change.

The radars attached to the Syrian S-300s, plus freestanding units, give them a very good view of where the IAF aircraft are. Even better if they are plugged into the Russians IAD.

In a way this was a very good warning shot. It did no real damage so no excuse for Israel to seek revenge yet it must be giving the IAF second thoughts about their current attack strategy.

Sometimes accidents can be really beneficial.

james , Apr 23 2021 20:11 utc | 72
@ JohnMK... thanks for your comments on these matters... i appreciate it..
Paul , Apr 23 2021 20:38 utc | 73
Update on the Ukraine situation:

https://popularresistance.org/president-zelensky-says-ukraine-ready-for-war-with-russia/

When will they ever learn?

Jo , Apr 23 2021 21:17 utc | 74
I think along with Pres Putin address credit is also due to Lavrov's statement that Ukraine would cease to exist....a real dose of blunt sober reality.
uncle tungsten , Apr 24 2021 10:11 utc | 75
Here come the englanders turn Zelensky into David the Goliath killer. He will be all fired up by the British Embassy squad. Black Sea battle next week.
Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 24 2021 14:52 utc | 76
...
https://popularresistance.org/president-zelensky-says-ukraine-ready-for-war-with-russia/

When will they ever learn?

Posted by: Paul | Apr 23 2021 20:38 utc | 73

The Mouse That Roared redux?

Steverino , Apr 24 2021 19:08 utc | 77
Speaking of dangerous narratives... this is what scares the hell out of me...

"the plan which had been first described publicly in America's two most prestigious international relations journals, as being a suitable replacement for "M.A.D.": "Nuclear Primacy". That's the goal for America to blitz-nuclear attack Russia so quickly that Russia won't have enough time to launch a retaliatory response."

... that there are people who are so deluded they actually believe a nuclear war can be "won."

[Apr 24, 2021] The State-Corporate Convergence In Our State Of Emergency - ZeroHedge

Apr 24, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

The enrollment of corporations in the scheme to vaccinate the population and to require such vaccinations for social participation should not be considered in terms of the prerogatives of private organizations but as part of the incursions of the state into private industry. What we are witnessing, and should be resisting, is a merger into a corporate-government complex, wherein government can bypass the legislative branch and enforce unpopular mandates by colluding with corporations and other organizations to make "policy."

Perhaps the most egregious element of this corporate-state stranglehold on the population is the participation of Big Digital and the mainstream media. Big Digital conglomerates eliminate media outlets and voices that challenge the official covid narrative, including information about lockdowns, masking, and vaccinations, although the official narrative has not only changed willy-nilly but also has been proven factually wrong, as well as socially devastating. Big Digital and the media serve both the state and Big Pharma by eliminating oppositional views regarding the lockdowns, masks, and vaccines, and by pushing fear-inducing propaganda about the virus and its ever-proliferating variants.

As I have written in Google Archipelago , Big Digital must be considered an agent of a leftist authoritarian state -- as a " governmentality " or state apparatus functioning on behalf and as part of the state itself. "Governmentality" is a term that should become well known in the coming days and weeks. I adopted the term from Michel Foucault and have emended it to refer to corporations and other nonstate actors who actively undertake state functions. These actors will be doing this in droves with vaccine passports, which will vastly augment state power under a state-corporate alliance.

Similarly, other major corporations perform state-sanctioned roles by echoing and enforcing state-approved ideologies, policies, and politics: indoctrinating employees, issuing woke advertisements, policing the opinions of workers, firing dissidents, and soon demanding vaccine passports from employees and customers.

The overall tendency, then, is toward corporate-state monopolization over all aspects of life, with increasing control by approved principals over information and opinion, economic production, and the political sphere. As the consolidation accelerates, the broad global state will require the elimination of noncompliant, disaffected, and "untrustworthy" economic and political actors. In the United States, with the elimination of political opposition, the tendency is toward uniparty rule, and with it, the merging of the party and state into a singular organ.
play_arrow


PGR88 2 hours ago (Edited)

The only way the fascist deep state ends is with a currency collapse. That could be effected immediately - arrest the members of the Federal Reserve. Without a printed, fiat dollar, and the illusion that $30 Trillion in debt will repaid - the leftist, DC deep state collapses immediately.

BDB 13 hours ago remove link

The US govt is a corporation.

We as a central banking nation have an economic and political monopoly that is trying really hard to maintain fascist control.All the big multinationals are owned by the banksters too.

Psyop covID19 and man's co2 emissions causes climate change are both lies pushing a political agenda

https://notpublicaddress.wordpress.com/2020/08/08/how-to-create-your-own-novel-virususing-computer-software/

trailer park boys 12 hours ago

" Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." Benito Mussolini

HonorSeeker 11 hours ago (Edited)

Under Fascism, the government wrote the rules. Under our corporatist system, it's the corporations. At least that's what I would say the difference is.

DesertEagle 9 hours ago

We're under the boot heel of billionaire oligarchs and big corporations that are their handmaidens. They are toxic and will never take their boot off of our neck unless they are forced to.

[Apr 19, 2021] Mr. Zelensky now has the opportunity to forge a partnership with Mr. Biden that could decisively advance Ukraine's attempt to break free from Russia and join the democratic West

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Apr 18 2021 0:52 utc | 62

NEO has the 'strategy nailed'.

Now that we've established who the aggressor is, let's take a look at Tsereteli's and Carafano's next brilliant takeaway point. The dynamic duo of war strategies says cosmetic measures against Russia will not do! The "west" (meaning NATO), they say, needs a more clear strategy. Which certainly means a massive arms buildup west of the Siverskyi Donets River. The Zelensky government is being pushed from Washington to take even more drastic measures to force Russia into a war stance. The editorial board of the Washington Post recently advised Zelensky:

"Mr. Zelensky now has the opportunity to forge a partnership with Mr. Biden that could decisively advance Ukraine's attempt to break free from Russia and join the democratic West. He should seize on it."

So, now that we've shown who is doing the pushing here, let's turn to the final takeaway from Heritage Foundation master strategists. Tsereteli and Carafano come right out and say "countries left outside of NATO will remain targets of Russian aggression and manipulations." So, the purpose of all this supposed spread of militaristic-based democracy is to expand NATO to? I mean, seriously. Washington is not reaching out with the Peace Corps to shore up a budding Eastern European democracy. The United States is kidnapping another former Soviet republic on the way to the big score. My country has military bases in almost every country in the world, has had more wars than the Mongols, and spends more on weapons than everybody else combined – but Russia is being aggressive!

Who believes this bullshit?


[Apr 19, 2021] This would be my plan if I were Zelensky

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Biswapriya Purkayast , Apr 18 2021 10:11 utc | 107

Norwegian at 98 says:


"I'd like to know how Zelensky and the Kiev authorities are supposed to get out of this situation without falling apart."

Well, if I were Zelensky I might imagine getting myself out of this mess by the following steps:

1. Keep raising the ante. Scream about an imminent Russian invasion, keep your population panicked (by concocting a list of "bomb shelters" in Kiev, for example). Keep actual violence against the Donbass republics at just low enough a level to not be enough provocation for a Russisn intervention, for now .

2. Keep acquiring missiles from NATO, and trainers in how to use them. Negotiate with Sultan Erdoğan for headchopper mercenaries (especially Chechens and other Russian speakers).

3. Arrange for NATO exercises in Ukranazistan this summer.

4. Under cover of those exercises, using the NATOstanis as human shields in fact, attack the Donbass Republics, and only the Donbass Republics. Use the headchoppers as shock troops to minimise own losses. Capture the Donetsk and Lugansk main urban areas, leave slices right on the Russian border. Do not touch Crimea.

5. Present this as a huge victory, like Ilham Aliyev did in Nagorno Karabakh.

As I said, this would be my plan if I were Zelensky. Whether it would work depends on how much "restraint " Putin is willing to give up on, and how much risk he's willing to take.


Bernard F. , Apr 18 2021 10:41 utc | 108

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

@ Norwegian | Apr 18 2021 7:43 utc | 95


The present stand-off cannot last forever, so it is a question of time before something falls apart.
Russia used the aggressive move by NATO/Ukraine to perform a judo-like move

The speed of execution of the manoeuvre also calls for admiration when NATO can't even move an armoured division in Poland (inadequate road infrastructure)

But Evil is in the details. And as the greatest french dialogue writer: "Les conneries c'est comme les impôts, on finit toujours par les payer."
[Bullshit is like taxes, you always end up paying them.]

S.O. , Apr 18 2021 10:43 utc | 109

All of the NATO ATGM's in the world won't make a pick of difference against russian artillery or their strategic rocket forces.

Zelensky get's out of it by turning his squeaky clean nato trained troops against his own domestic nazis and upholding his end of the minsk agreement.

Who knows.. he might even survive it too.

[Apr 19, 2021] The British training program, Operation Orbital, has trained over 17,500 Ukrainian service members since its inception in 2015. Last year British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that the training mission would be extended until 2023. It is explicitly designed to transform the Ukrainian military in order to meet NATO standards: to be a NATO proxy army on Russia's western border."

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Biswapriya Purkayast , Apr 18 2021 8:14 utc | 97

Norwegian at 94 says:

"Time is working for Russia here."

Unfortunately, I strongly disagree. Rick Rozoff says here:

https://antibellum679354512.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/nato-nations-train-arm-ukrainian-military-for-war-with-russia/comment-page-1/

"The British training program, Operation Orbital, has trained over 17,500 Ukrainian service members since its inception in 2015. Last year British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that the training mission would be extended until 2023. It is explicitly designed to transform the Ukrainian military in order to meet NATO standards: to be a NATO proxy army on Russia's western border."

To which my own response was:

"I strongly agree with Igor Strelkov: war now is preferable for Russia than (inevitable) war later. I also completely agree with him that the Ukranazi cancer should have been eliminated in 2014, or, failing that, the Donbass armies should have been permitted by the Putinist regime to liberate Slovyansk and Mariupol, or, even better, liberate Odessa and advance to the Dneiper. If that had been done then, there would have been no problem now.

"No wonder the Putinist regime hates him."

[Apr 19, 2021] The Empire is trying to surround and castrate Russia. Russian interests are being hit every day. Sanctions for ever, more and more.

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

jared , Apr 17 2021 20:33 utc | 29

It is characteristic signature of bureaucracy that they behave in manner inconsistent, because
- balkaniztion
- incompetence

Putin has Biden deep in his backfield. Rare opportunity. I would suggest split Ukraine on the Dnieper - it would benefit everyone.

Is Blinken really wanting war on three fronts?
Somebody wake Joe.


Bernard F. , Apr 17 2021 21:05 utc | 35

USA needs to build a bridge to its future and to common sense.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 17 2021 20:20 utc | 24


Is Jake Sullivan supposed to coordinate?
https://youtu.be/1qz60D0tZPI
Condorpuma , Apr 17 2021 20:11 utc | 22

The Empire is trying to surround and castrate Russia. Russian interests are being hit every day. Sanctions for ever, more and more.

Putin has to come up with something exceptionally crazy and unexpected. another level of asymmetry. Russian stockpile is "officially" of about 6.400 nuclear heads of which 1600 operational, probably more than that. This Nuclear Capital should be "invested ". Putin should convince Iran to change policy and accept donation or lease of 200-300 nuclear heads. Siria,Venezuela and maybe Korea should be given a number of tactical nuclear weapons for self defence. China,as well,with Russian help,should double the Nuclear Potential. A political Earthquake would shake the Empire. Russia survival
is the Stake.

uncle tungsten , Apr 17 2021 20:20 utc | 24

USA givesall its manufacturing to then moans about China carbon emissions. Chine is worlds largest solar panel manufacturer, us moans about China carbon. USA blocks Nord Stream 2 gas supply to Germany then moans about Russian carbon emissions. USA hasthe poorest house insulation regulationa and moans about others carbon emissions.

China achieves major reafforestation targets and reclaims huge tracts of desert and USA ignores it, continues to strip forests at home and everwhere else.

USA needs to build a bridge to its future and to common sense.

norecovery , Apr 17 2021 20:23 utc | 25

@ pnyx -- It's not only that USians are unaware of much of what's happening in other countries, it's the fact they are misinformed and misled about current events by propaganda. This is also the case in Europe because their MSM also have been co-opted by the coordinated Intelligence Apparatus (CIA - MI6 - FiveEyes) that controls the flow of information in the U.S. MSM. We are witnessing censorship/control of Social Media, Search Engines, and formerly independent websites as well.

This is an all-out effort of Class War. One aspect of this is to broadcast a hidden personal message that if I feel oppressed, "it must be my own fault" because "success" supposedly is within everyone's grasp (note the emphasis on celebrity 'culture').

powerandpeople , Apr 17 2021 21:24 utc | 39

Russia has shown an astonishing amount of 'strategic patience' in the face of racism, lies, insults, seizure of diplomatic property, obstruction of officials coming to the UN, possibly a hand in the murder of their high rank military landing in Syria, perhaps the downing of their choir, US silence of US radar data 'highly likely' showing Ukraine downing the Malaysian aircraft, fabrications everywhere, and so very much more.

Well, the cup of patience runneth over.

"These steps represent just a fraction of the capabilities at our disposal. Unfortunately, US statements threatening to introduce new forms of punishment show that Washington is not willing to listen and does not appreciate the restraint that we have displayed despite the tensions that have been purposefully fuelled since the presidency of Barack Obama.

Recall that after a large-scale expulsion of Russian diplomats in December 2016 and the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the US, we did not take any response measures for seven months. We responded only when Russia was declared a US adversary legislatively in August 2017.

In general, compared to the Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, the US Embassy in Moscow operates in better conditions, enjoying a numerical advantage and actively benefitting from the work of Russian citizens hired in-country. This form of disparity frees up "titular" diplomats to interfere in our domestic affairs, which is one of the main tenets of Washington's foreign policy doctrine.

...the reality is that we hear one thing from Washington but see something completely different in practice... a proposed Russian-US summit. When this offer was made, it was received positively and is now being considered in the context of concrete developments. "/BLOCKQUOTE>

The last bit is deliberately ambiguous. Ha ha ha ha ha!

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4689067

Tom , Apr 17 2021 22:07 utc | 40

Posted by: Bernard F. | Apr 17 2021 21:21 utc | 38

I suspect Sullivan and Blinken's next gig will be something like that. "We came here to forget", but instead of the French Legion, it will be PMC Wagner.

Personally what I would do would be a Operation Bagration 2.0 at the slightest misstep by Ukraine. There is may too much on the table here. Bio labs, nests of NATO rats, nuclear power plants, NATO missiles on the Ukrainian and Belarus borders with Russia. Time to clear out the rats including Lviv. After disinfecting this part of eastern Europe (again) of that other far more dangerous virus, Nazism, life will be much more peaceful in that part of the world, and likely by the domino effect (yes I actually said that!) to other places in the world plagued by US exceptionalism.

[Apr 19, 2021] Biden's Sanctions Leave Russia's Stocks and Bonds in Stalemate

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 14, 2021] Kharkiv is culturally and economically as much Donbas, for a start. And Odessa is a major center of Russian population, too, even if not part of the Donbas.

Apr 14, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

elephant , Apr 11 2021 11:00 utc | 113

"Why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?"

The apparent change in stance is unlikely a ruse because a ruse presumes that Russia would take the bait.

The change is unlikely due to a miscalculation on Ukraine's part because Ukraine was well aware of the strength of the juggernaut just to the east before Ukraine sent men and materiel that way.

The change is unlikely due to a miscalculation on Washington's part because a likely drubbing of Ukraine with Washington sitting on the sidelines would result in a loss of prestige vis a vis Russia and China.

I'd suggest the change -- if there really is such a change -- is more likely the result of Germany, and maybe France, exerting simultaneous pressure on Washington and Kiev, coupled with leading sectors of the bureaucracy in both Washington and Kiev agreeing with Merkel (Washington for its own reasons and Kiev because of Washington's instructions) that a war does not advance their interests.

Washington is in a position similar to that of Britain prior to the Suez Crisis: one loss away from losing its preeminence on the world stage. Losing that position over a conflict involving, essentially, a gas pipeline to Germany is not worth the risk.

It's likely that Washington's apparent stance is symptomatic of significant discord between the Neocons and the less belligerent of the foreign policy establishment. It appears that the Neocons may have lost this round. One can expect the schism to continue to play out over the coming years


steven t johnson , Apr 10 2021 19:21 utc | 41

vk@29 writes "[My comment@24] is nonsense: if Ukraine takes back the Donbas basin, it will have full control over Crimea. The option of
'trading' the Donbas for Crimea doesn't exist."

It's hard to know how seriously this is meant. Luhansk and Donetsk are not *the* Donbas. Kharkiv is culturally and economically as much Donbas, for a start. And Odessa is a major center of Russian population, too, even if not part of the Donbas. At any rate, insofar as the "Donbas" is essential to control Crimea, though, it is Kherson and Zaporizhye provinces that control the water supply. And it is Mariupol's port that contests the Sea of Azov. That's the part of Donbas that vk implies to be essential for full control of Crimea. But if Mariupol is essential for full control, then Putin neither has full control now, nor does he want it, because it is apparently Putin who pressured the rebels into leaving Mariupol in Ukrainian hands. By the criteria vk uses here, Putin doesn't have full control of Crimea now. This could be understood to show that in the long run Luhansk/Donetsk are untenable too, trapped in a race to collapse with Kyiv. And it would show too that Putin needs a genuine peace in Crimea, needs to do something, because in the long run, time is not on his/Russia's side. The thing is of course, is that either vk doesn't mean what is actually written, or vk won't draw the conclusions vk's own premises require.

SingingSam , Apr 10 2021 19:46 utc | 43

MarkU @26 got it right. It is a head fake.

Ukraine's leadership doesn't care about their civilians and soldiers. US and NATO leadership care even less for them. In the current context actions speak far louder than words.

Even the dimmest and most senile leaders can figure out some of the following:
• Russia is not bluffing. Bluffing is not their style.
• Neither the US nor NATO will put boots on the ground of Donbass or Crimea.
• Against Russia the US surface ships in the Black Sea are floating targets, as they are anywhere else in the world.
• There won't be a Minsk3 agreement.
• Nord Stream 2 will be completed no matter what. For the respect, Russia doesn't need the revenue so much.

If in fact Ukraine backs down, it will be a Biden continuation of Trump's off-repeated stunt of walking to the edge and then backing off. You can't expect innovation from senile players.

dh , Apr 10 2021 19:51 utc | 44

"why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?"

A little too much vodka in the Galician contingent would be my guess.

Stonebird , Apr 10 2021 20:31 utc | 48

Water, water, in the air but not a drop to drink.

Crimea needs water badly with summer coming on.
Any Ukrainian or Russian advance cannot happen across bogs and mud. Wait until the rain stops, or sink.

I saw somewhere that Zelensky actually thought of opening the canal sometime ago but was "stopped". It was never made clear WHO ordered him not to, or who ordered him to start an anti-Russian drive, or.....etc.

b's post undelines that the previous lines of cultural/liguistic division have not gone away, and have probably hardened. The Nasty brigade are actually in lands that probably do not appreciate them being there. (ie, the Russian speaking areas under Ukie control are probably not overjoyed to become "permanent collateral damage")

*

Anyone else notice the large movement of Chinese ships in the South China Sea? Doubled trouble for the Empire? They hardly get the time to concentrate on claiming "rights of passage" through Indian territoral waters, or in the Black sea, or in the Artic, without someone stirring the pot. Whatever next?

A diversion or just taking advantage of the limited scope of the attention span of whoever is in command in the US ?

blues , Apr 10 2021 20:37 utc | 49

-// Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. //- -- Henry Kissinger

Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy

Mao Cheng Ji , Apr 10 2021 21:07 utc | 52

@vk "And that's the objective truth: if the Ukraine conquers the DPR and LPR, it will essentially cut off Crimea from Russia."

How so? It doesn't seem to me that a hypothetical merger of DPR, LPR, and Ukraine would have any effect on Crimea.

In fact, if DPR and LPR join according to the Minsk2 conditions, it could help, as they would (theoretically) become a significant political factor on the national level. Which is why Kiev is not interested in a peaceful unification.

And even a military conquest (which is what you're talking about) would create problems for Kiev, as disenfranchising (or expelling) most of the population there might be somewhat problematic.

William R Henry , Apr 10 2021 21:31 utc | 53

"One should therefore consider that the sudden call for a renewed ceasefire might be a ruse." --our host

Precisely. The US prefers to start its conflicts with a sucker punch, but that is only possible if the target is unprepared and looking the other way. Russia only needs to let its guard down and look away for a moment for the empire to take advantage of it. Notice how the ukrops are not moving their attack forces back? They will attack while the US ships are in the Black Sea to monitor the fighting and provide direction.

Donbass does not have strategic depth. The plan is to hit the republics with a suicide bum-rush. America doesn't care how many of the ukrop aggressors are exterminated in the attack so long as some units survive to take up positions in the city centers. The empire's strategists figure that with a sudden enough and massive enough assault, and given at least some element of surprise, this can be accomplished overnight. The ukrop cannon fodder will be given orders to not bother securing any areas they overrun and instead continue to charge forward.

Suicidal? Absolutely, because any Novorossiya troops that are overrun will regroup behind the ukrop aggressors and pull back, cutting off the units that penetrated into the cities. That's when those advance ukrop units will go all "Shock & Awe™" on the urban civilians to draw the Novorossiya units away from their established positions and demoralize them.

So long as the Russians are not caught with their pants down they should be able to easily repel the ukrop assault. If they are thinking this through clearly then the Novorossiya troops, with the Russians at their backs, should push for the Dniper in order to acquire that much needed strategic depth. At the same time the Black Sea should be completely cleared of any hostile vessels, and obviously that means the American ships.

aquadraht , Apr 10 2021 21:44 utc | 55

I disagree about DNR and LNR are of importance for Russia to keep hold on Crimea. Crimea secession was prior to the insurrection in eastern Ukraine, they tried to copy Crimean secession (even held referenda in 2014) To the frustration of DNR/LNR activists as well as many russian nationalists, the russian government has rejected all pleas to incorporate the breakaway regions or Ukraine into Russia. On contrary, it has repeatedly tried to broker a compromise, and the Minsk accords are part of. Putin even ostensibly bound his hands by forcing a Duma decree in 2015, revoking the "Medvedyev doctrine" from 2008 Georgian conflict which authorized use of force when ethnic Russians were threatened, Anyway, the russian government could not abandon the insurgency in Donbas without risking to be toppled by nationalists.

One should keep this in mind: Russia does not want the ethnically russian parts of Ukraine which would comprise of most of it. It was not Russia who escalated the inner ukrainian divide. And militarily, LNR and DNR are in no way helpful for Crimea. Normal relations between the RF and Ukraine would be in Russia's interest, would belp both countries. But that is what the West prevents at any cost, to the last Ukrainian. Only the dumb ukronazis don't realize that.

aquadraht , Apr 10 2021 21:53 utc | 56

@53 vk Ukraine will never get back DNR and LNR by military means, but, if at all, only via a compromise alongside the Minsk accords. And if you speak to realistic Ukrainians (there are not few, even in the nazi infested galicia and volyn), they all realize that Crimea is gone, and that it always only grudgingly agreed to be an autonomous republic inside Ukraine until 2014.

JohninMK , Apr 10 2021 22:43 utc | 59

fx @ 46

Its not just the Fortuna laying pipe now, the Akadamik Cherskiy has been on the job for about 10 day and she can lay pipe faster. According to the plans submitted to the Danes, in whose waters they are laying, Fortuna is expected to finish in May whilst the AC has permission until September but is expected to finish early.


As to the USN ships (Black sea regular USS Ross passed Gib inbound Med today) are not due in until the start of next week and will leave early May. What their role, apart from being a gesture of support for Ukraine, is is not clear. An obvious job of one, if not both, could be to be tied up at a berth in Odessa harbour as a poison pill to try to make sure that Russia does not attack that part of the coast. Were there to be an attack of course.

Seems to be a big mistake by the US to me. I can understand what they are trying to do but, given the option above, if they stay at sea it will be a clear statement that they don't want to get that involved. I'm sure it is not their intention to be so open in showing their true objective.

Another possible reason for a delay until May is that the Orthodox Church celebrates its Eater Sunday on the 2nd May.

William R Henry 52

There is no need to go to the Dneiper to gain sufficient strategic depth, not only would that be a political nightmare but just stopping at the oblast borders should be sufficient. Included in that would be Mariupol, the only Ukrainian port on the Sea of Azov. That would make Donbass economically viable.

No need to clear the Black Sea, Russia totally dominates over, on and under it.

jared , Apr 10 2021 22:52 utc | 61

@ Posted by: bevin | Apr 10 2021 16:25 utc | 13

Wouldnt this be the second time that Zelinski used thread of conflict to help himself in election?

It seems an important point. Why would B over look it, I wonder.

Declaring war and then declaring peace. I guess one cannot chose ones neighbors.

I thought Russia stood to benefit from war. They should keep pressure on Zelinski - training, preparations and support of Donbass. Seems Russia is very measured with assistance.

Bernard F. , Apr 10 2021 22:58 utc | 63

b. :
"It seems that order has come from Washington to stand down - at least for now."


The Postman Always Rings Twice


Bloomberg:
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to return to Brussels next week for more meetings with NATO and European officials, according to people familiar with the matter, as the U.S. grows increasingly concerned about Russian troop movements near Ukraine.

The meetings will take up most of the week,[...]
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be in Brussels at the same time, for a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"Frank muses that just as the postman always rings a second time to make sure people receive their mail, fate has made sure that he and Cora have both finally paid the price for their crime.


"Schöne Wochenende".
Next week will be interesting as last 3 were.

Dr. George W Oprisko , Apr 10 2021 23:19 utc | 65

Maybe I missed it but there were elections in Ukraine last Sunday and
"The new Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of the Ukraine, elected on Sunday, will have an overwhelming national mandate to negotiate peace terms to end the five-year civil war.

You misssed it....

Those elections were in 2019....

Zelenski has been compromised since then... most notably via loss of his plutocrat mentor...

The CIA/NSA/RightSector are firmly in charge, because Zelenski did not use his mandate to throttle them.

The best he could have done, was to invite Russia in for the purpose of "stabilizing" ukraine.

That, of course, did not happen.

INDY

Bernard F. , Apr 10 2021 23:48 utc | 70

"Europe" ask Russia to negociate


Western nations chided Russia for failing to turn up at talks in Vienna on Saturday aimed at defusing tension over Ukraine, where a Russian troop buildup close to the border between the two countries has sparked fears of renewed conflict.


Don't you remember?

https://youtu.be/VYM0oL6RPvg

MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference Friday following talks with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

"Therefore, we organize our life coming from the premise that the EU is not a reliable partner, at least at this stage,"

"I hope that the strategic review which is coming will finally pay attention to vital interests of the European Union in its closest vicinity " Lavrov stressed.

"I hope that today's talks will help us reach a more constructive trajectory. We are ready for it."

Grieved , Apr 11 2021 0:45 utc | 75

@b - "...why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?"

J Swift offered a good clue in his comment in the previous thread:

"the Nuland crowd have played right into Russia's hands, because the Ukraine is definitely a place where Russia has escalation dominance. I suspect that when some of those famous military channels began chatting, the Russians were not so friendly, and made it clear that an offensive by the Ukies would not only free Russia's hand toward the Nazis and provide a perfect excuse to rid the East and South of them, but that Russia would be specifically targeting US/NATO "advisers," command centers, resupply aircraft or any aircraft entering Ukrainian airspace, and would be just waiting for any US ship in the Black Sea to do something remotely involving it in the conflict, such that it would be on the bottom in minutes."

We know from Pepe Escobar's latest article , presenting highlights from the recent important interview with Nikolai Patrushev (Secretary of the RF Security Council), that Patrushev, a very dangerous and serious man, enjoys undiminished communications with Washington, including a March phone discussion with Jake Sullivan, White House security advisor. If his interview is anything to go by, his candid discussions with US leadership could have scared them totally awake.

Once again, it could well be that the neocons talked up a blazing firestorm that the generals and security professionals ultimately had to pour water on.

Patrick Armstrong in his latest article gives us ample evidence that Victoria Nuland, back in power and riding high, is also vastly ignorant and imperceptive, incapable of learning or reflection, and mediocre in her intelligence. The neocons, as Armstrong points out, have always failed. And they have led the US down a path of loss.

If in fact this Ukraine adventure is over for the moment (if in fact it ever was real in the first place), then it bears total resemblance to every other neocon stupid idea, that goes as far down the path to ruin as it can, sometimes being stopped by wiser heads, sometimes simply charging over the edge, into the abyss.

If Russia gets to choose, one assumes Russia would prefer no military activity in Ukraine. And if Russia is forced into military action, one also assumes as best guess that Russia will reshape the map to a better end for all. It could just be that Russia managed to communicate this to the US, and that the US managed to hear.

dh , Apr 11 2021 1:14 utc | 77

@74 Yes but that doesn't really address b's question. Why was this allowed to happen in the first place? We know all about Nuland and her cookies and encouragement from Washington. But why was the Minsk agreement broken? Why do the Ukies keep lobbing shells into Donbass?

Those troops are bored. I'm sticking with my vodka theory.

vk , Apr 11 2021 1:20 utc | 78

@ Posted by: aquadraht | Apr 10 2021 21:53 utc | 55

Just to clarify: Russia has already officially stated (many years ago) that it doesn't want any other piece of the Ukraine (i.e. any other piece beyond Crimea). It wants the Ukraine to survive in the form of a federalized State with the DPR and LPR enjoying high levels of autonomy (a la Spain).

Ukraine is not profitable to Russia. It would drain its coffers were it to have to conquer and absorb it entirely.

Time is in Russia's favor: let the Ukraine continue to serve as a financial black hole to the IMF. Let the Western Ukrainians continue to emigrate en masse to Poland and then to the rest of the EU and the UK. Russia has already received some 1 million Eastern Ukrainian; those are probably the more well-educated, more productive Ukrainians, and they gave it some relief from its chronic negative population problem - all of that without having to advance one inch over continental Ukraine.

michaelj72 , Apr 11 2021 1:39 utc | 79

Germany vetoed any more provocations by the US or nato against the Donbass/Crimea that would clearly call in massive Russian support. Crimea is now part of the Russian Federation; an end of that part of the story - and there are several hundred thousand people in the Donbass that now have Russian passports. Russia won't stand for any of it. No matter how much the dumb Ukrainians or the lackey Poles or their US/nato masters huff and puff and bellow.....

it is also not in the slightest German interests for a war to break out right in the middle of Europe that might escalate into a nuclear confrontation, nor is it in their national interest to lose the Nord Stream 2 project... at all.

I don't know about France's position in all this but either France or Germany could/would exercise veto over any nato troops/intervention in the Ukraine.

time to return to the Minsk agreements. in spite of the incredible stupidity of the US foreign policy Establishment and those jackass war-mongers Blinken, Nuland and Austin et. al.

Biswapriya Purkayast , Apr 11 2021 2:17 utc | 81

Do you really expect the Amerikastani Empire's puppet Ukranazi coup regime to say "we will attack"? Instead it will attack and then claim Russia attacked it. Just like Hitler's Gleiwitz radio station false flag attack that started WWII.

Lozion , Apr 11 2021 2:18 utc | 82

Zelensky in Istanbul. Erdogan to refuse to recognize Crimea as Russian territory..
Saw a tweet today saying something along the lines of Russia preventing flights to Turkey this summer for "Covid" reasons, read between the lines..

https://sputniknews.com/world/202104101082593169-erdogan-zelensky-confirm-strategic-partnership-between-turkey-and-ukraine-after-istanbul-meeting/

Piotr Berman , Apr 11 2021 2:23 utc | 83

Time is in Russia's favor: let the Ukraine continue to serve as a financial black hole to the IMF. Let the Western Ukrainians continue to emigrate en masse to Poland and then to the rest of the EU and the UK. Russia has already received some 1 million Eastern Ukrainian; those are probably the more well-educated, more productive Ukrainians, ...

Posted by: vk | Apr 11 2021 1:20 utc | 77

This is rather sketchily related to reality.

1. Ukraine is not a "black hole for the IMF". They got a smallish credit, and now they are being denied extensions on rather preposterous grounds, and Ukraine is charged for the unused credit line. Contrary to Nulands boasting, the West keeps Ukraine on a leash with a rather skimpy budget.

2. There is no clear distinction between migration patterns. The one time I was in Russia, the tourist guide on a one-day bus trip was from Rivne -- in Poland in years 1918-39. And as Polish medical workers go to Spain etc., Ukrainian once fill the vacant positions, and they may come from any place. Ditto with the "quality of workers". Poland has more of seasonal jobs in picking crops (while Poles do it further West) than Russia, Russia perennially seeks workers ready to accept extra pay in less than benign climes. The closest to truth is scooping engineers and highly qualified workers from factories that before worked for Russian market, including military, replaced with Russian factories and, when needed, Ukrainian know-how. That is pretty much accomplished -- predominantly from the Eastern Ukraine. As a result, the remaining workforce is so-so from east to west.

Cesare , Apr 11 2021 2:29 utc | 84

It's been made clear that a Ukrainian attack on the D & L republics would be met with a direct Russian intervention into the conflict and likely would result in the loss of the whole of the disputed oblasts to the separatist republics. Russia has no intention of eliminating Ukraine or occupying Kyiv, but that kind of defeat in the east would spell the end of what political stability remains in Ukraine and likely lead to a new Maidan against Zelensky and possibly further secessions. That's the real downside of this for Russia. Ukraine is threatening to immolate itself as a form of brinksmanship.

Failing that death wish, only if Moscow somehow agrees to stay out of the war does this have the remotest possibility of achieving what the Kyiv government needs. Otherwise it will not attack.

psychohistorian , Apr 11 2021 2:31 utc | 85
@ Lozion | Apr 11 2021 2:18 utc | 81 with the link about the Ukraine/Turkey meeting today..thanks

Interesting position by Erdogan and I would think it would effect Turkey's purchase of Russian defense equipment but who knows where the complexity balance resides in the ME.

Lots of tinder just waiting for a spark to point the blame at for world conflagration. I will believe this situation is cooling when I read about the US ships turning around and not going into the Black Sea.

Virgile , Apr 11 2021 2:56 utc | 86
Erdoğan has several goals in Ukraine. Show Russia that he is strong and important for Russia as he has influence on Ukraine. Show the USA that he is an active participant of NATo. Sell his military drones to whoever wants them as well as other turkish products.
He appears as a king maker and gets business and approval from russia,the EU and the Usa to avoid a war. A very successful move needed to rehabilitate Erdoğan seriously in trouble with both the usa and the EU...
jayc , Apr 11 2021 3:18 utc | 87

The western press is portraying the events of the past few weeks as representing an unmotivated unilateral Russian troop buildup.

Canada's Globe and Mail yet again deliberately deceives its readers with omission-plagued reporting which the author must know is wrong. This includes describing the Minsk agreements as "the Kremlin's version of how to make peace" which are being utilized in an "enforcement operation" featuring a "coercive use of force" meant to "induce Kyiv, Berlin and Paris" to accept "Moscow's terms." Awful reporting by any objective measure.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-ukrainian-commander-sees-parallels-with-2014-as-russian-military-build/

Meanwhile, a Heritage Foundation flunky describes "spontaneous" Russian deployments designed to "keep Ukraine out of organizations such as the EU or NATO".

Russia should be opposed because: "Modern Ukraine represents the idea in Europe that each country has the sovereign ability to determine its own path, to decide with whom it has relations, and how and by whom it is governed."
https://www.arabnews.com/node/1840341

Both reporters make the same observation in opening paragraphs, supporting the notion that these pieces are derived from a distributed script or collection of talking points:

1) "For weeks, Russian social media accounts have been flooded with videos showing long convoys of tanks, troop trucks and artillery pieces "

2) "Dozens of videos in social media posts show hundreds of Russian tanks and armored vehicles pouring into the region."

Biswapriya Purkayast , Apr 11 2021 12:10 utc | 119

I have a feeling, it's only a feeling right now, that the looted black hole that's Ukranazistan after 7 years of "freedom " is such a drain that the EUNATO gangsters behind the Maidan would love to palm the ruins off to Russia. "Here, you broke it, you own it."

Lozion , Apr 12 2021 1:30 utc | 140

Saker's latest from Martyanov is a must-read. One can imagine Milley's reaction to Gerasimov's little reminder of what awaits any invading force..

psychohistorian , Apr 12 2021 4:49 utc | 143

Below is the latest I have read about Ukraine

"
MOSCOW, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia does not seek a war with Ukraine but is concerned for the Russian-speaking population in the country's eastern Donbass region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday.

"No one is going to move towards a war, and no one at all accepts any possibility of such a war," Peskov told a Russian TV program.

"Russia has never been a party to this conflict (between Kiev and insurgents in Donbass). But Russia has always said that it will not remain indifferent to the fate of Russian speakers who live in the southeast of Ukraine," he added.

According to the spokesman, Kiev refuses to fulfill its responsibilities under the Minsk agreements on a Donbass settlement, with government forces intensifying "provocative actions" in the region.

Russia, Germany and France are "bewildered" by Kiev's recent claims that the Minsk agreements are useless, Peskov said, adding that there are no alternatives to the pacts for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Political advisers of the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders are working towards holding a summit on eastern Ukraine, he said.
"

uncle tungsten , Apr 12 2021 8:14 utc | 144

Skiffer #122

but I do see this situation more as having put the Maidan-coalition on the back-foot and having to disentangle themselves, rather than a carefully pre-planned and coordinated operation.

Thank you and I humourously appreciated your allusions to the asylum that has captured Ukraine. The Maidan Murder Coalition has discovered its karma that was always lying in wait. These villainous rsoles will seriously collapse under the weight of it all, particularly the sniper trick shooters on the Maidan crowds.

uncle tungsten , Apr 12 2021 8:44 utc | 145

Lozion #140

Thank you. Martyanov is direct and unambiguous in the main. I take it that this was the item at the Vineyard of the Saker you cited?

I loved this line: "Everyone can recall a wide-spread (spread most likely by some overly zealous, but not very literate, Russian "patriots") rumor about DDG-75 USS Donald Cook having her electronics "burned" by a couple of intrepid Russian Su-24s in April of 2014, who allegedly forced this American ship to fast return to Constanta, where, allegedly some of her crew expressed a desire to abandon the ship. NYT and other US media, not without justification, called those rumors to be Russian "propaganda". They have a point."

Tuyzentfloot , Apr 12 2021 9:20 utc | 147

Which seems as good a moment as any to plug my new product (!!). Since that picture of Col. Brittany visiting Donbass in uniform of 72th mechanized division with a prominent skull badge reminded me so of the sketch 'Are we the Baddies' it is time to market my new velcro badges with rainbows and BLM logos. Stick them anywhere to show you're part of the right camp! If you shoulder badges may offend leftist softies, just stick these badges on top of them for the perfect photo op! HTS already ordered a large batch. Now 20% off and buy two get one free!

Tuyzentfloot , Apr 12 2021 9:41 utc | 148

Turkey wants to build on its successes in Nagorno Karabach to sell its weapon systems to Ukraine. Whether they also explicitly wish the conflict to explode is less clear.

uncle tungsten , Apr 12 2021 10:11 utc | 149

Tuyzentfloot #148

Turkey was not alone in Azerbaijan. Its mate Israel was supplying toys and tricks as well as I recall.

Bemildred , Apr 12 2021 11:26 utc | 150

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Apr 12 2021 9:41 utc | 148

Erdogan needs money, cash. The same seems to be true of most if not all Western politicians. But some, like Erdogan and Bibi, need lots of money.

Putin on the other hand, does not need cash. He has a healthy fiat currency at his disposal and sells a lot of food, oil, lumber, weapons etc. internationally.

I don't think Ukraine is going to be a good source of cash for Erdogan, or Bibi. They need a lot of cash too.

Stonebird , Apr 12 2021 12:47 utc | 151

So there is a massive build-up on both sides in Ukraine? ( The following comment was provoked by info from a tweet that the Ukrainians have "found" a secret plan by the Kremlin for a union with Donbas .. unconfirmed )

What if......?
... The Russians and the Dondbas/Luhansk actually DO declare a union with Russia? There is no "need" for the Russians to physically "invade" the area. They can just sit there and wait for the Ukrainians to do something. Then IF Zelensky decides, it is he who has to "start" the conflict. As a plan it is the perfect reversal of the usual Russian "aggression".

Zelensky's bluff called?

A "union" is just another way of saying "it is ours EVEN IF the title is nominally someone elses, stuff you".

The massive forces on the "frontlines" are there to remind the Ukes and their backers what "might" happen, IF they "invade" Donbas/Luhansk. What can they do about it? Make rude noises in the background?

The US, Israel and Turkey are all examples of one country simply "taking over" parts of another country - without any legality whatsoever. US in NE Syria, Turkey with it's advance of 32km all along a new frontline, with a wall between itself and Syria. Israel with the Golan. None of them have the slightest legal reason to be there. (Chinese claim the Spratleys, which is a legal fig-leaf).

Lateral thinking by Putin? Would he even need a legal fig-leaf?

Bemildred , Apr 12 2021 14:26 utc | 152

What if......?
... The Russians and the Dondbas/Luhansk actually DO declare a union with Russia?

Posted by: Stonebird | Apr 12 2021 12:47 utc | 151

It is an interesting idea, and I would not want to say it will not happen, but it seems un-Putin-like to me based on past performance. He's been very comfortable with frozen conflicts in the past. And I think he probably still wants Ukraine as a buffer, friendly but not Russia, and to keep it whole minus Crimea.

Stonebird , Apr 12 2021 16:45 utc | 155

Bemildred | Apr 12 2021 14:26 utc | 152

This way he would still "keep" Ukraine on a tether, and avoid being accused of aggression.

OK, it may go that way but the silence (from Putin) and the refusal of the Russians to give more than vague reasons for their actions, does mean that the west's MSM have nothing to froth at the mouth about- Let Zelensky stew in his own juice.

As well as the regular Army and volunteers, He is going to end up with seven thousand ex-jihadists employees, multiple "mercenaries" from the US and the other parts of the world, orders for Drones, arms etc. BUT he is losing $3 billion revenue from gas (the transit of which has been "slowing down") since the 1st April. I don't know what he has contracted to supply to those futher along the pipeline. Plus the debts to the WB and IMF.

So how long can he keep up the expense of having a standing army of 105'000 or more at the ready?

The Russians can wait them out. If they just don't "talk" or give any PR leeway to the west, then with the attention span of the goldfish in the EU and US citizens, it will drop once again from view. (20 seconds for a goldfish otherwise they would get bored going round and round in a bowl ?)

karlof1 , Apr 12 2021 18:07 utc | 156

Diesen in his book, Russia's Geoeconomic Strategy for a Greater Eurasia , provides the rationale for the Outlaw US Empire's actions in Ukraine, that are actually aimed at NATO members, which it fears will be enticed by Russia and fracture the alliance:

"This susceptibility to outside sabotage of regional unity [NATO] can be mitigated by centralizing power by, for example, instigating more overt military tensions to strengthen alliance unity." [Pg. 22]

This also serves to provide additional energy to the Russophobic Narrative and the unfounded rationale for anti-Russian sanctions. The Empire must at all costs continue NATO's viability for that ensures the Empire's geoeconomic and geopolitical control of the EU. The same is true in East Asia where the anti-China narrative must be continued to keep Japan and South Korea under the Empire's thumb, although South Korea is slowly slipping away.

[Apr 14, 2021] Contrary to Nulands boasting, the West keeps Ukraine on a leash with a rather skimpy budget

Apr 14, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Apr 11 2021 2:23 utc | 83

Time is in Russia's favor: let the Ukraine continue to serve as a financial black hole to the IMF. Let the Western Ukrainians continue to emigrate en masse to Poland and then to the rest of the EU and the UK. Russia has already received some 1 million Eastern Ukrainian; those are probably the more well-educated, more productive Ukrainians, ...

Posted by: vk | Apr 11 2021 1:20 utc | 77

This is rather sketchily related to reality.

1. Ukraine is not a "black hole for the IMF". They got a smallish credit, and now they are being denied extensions on rather preposterous grounds, and Ukraine is charged for the unused credit line. Contrary to Nulands boasting, the West keeps Ukraine on a leash with a rather skimpy budget.

2. There is no clear distinction between migration patterns. The one time I was in Russia, the tourist guide on a one-day bus trip was from Rivne -- in Poland in years 1918-39. And as Polish medical workers go to Spain etc., Ukrainian once fill the vacant positions, and they may come from any place. Ditto with the "quality of workers". Poland has more of seasonal jobs in picking crops (while Poles do it further West) than Russia, Russia perennially seeks workers ready to accept extra pay in less than benign climes. The closest to truth is scooping engineers and highly qualified workers from factories that before worked for Russian market, including military, replaced with Russian factories and, when needed, Ukrainian know-how. That is pretty much accomplished -- predominantly from the Eastern Ukraine. As a result, the remaining workforce is so-so from east to west.

[Apr 09, 2021] Can Ukrainian forces capture Donbass without heavy losses?

Apr 09, 2021 | www.unz.com

Aaron Hilel , says: April 8, 2021 at 4:58 pm GMT • 1.2 days ago

@AH14 t turns tail (as usual).

NATO commissars chase Ukrainian conscripts into RU artillery and machinegun fire until they lose control over their units, which immediately flee the battlefield (as usual).
If V.V. Putin feels merciful, there's no Buratino rocket barrages on troop concentration points, as happened during Ilovaisk debacle.

Now, hopefully NATO will puff up and use their vaunted Israeli drones during the attack, so RU can study the remains.
You never, ever attack entrenched, prepared and boresighted Russians in tank country, without air superiority, because if you do you get Kursk.
In the best case.

In worst, and most probable case, NATO will get another Saur Mogila disaster.

Schuetze , says: April 8, 2021 at 6:16 pm GMT • 1.2 days ago
@Rurik

Yes, Russia could have some aces hidden up their sleeve. So could the US. So could Nato. So could even Ukraine...

Alfred , says: April 8, 2021 at 6:39 pm GMT • 1.2 days ago
@Zarathustra urriculum. The Russians must stop protecting the Jews who control the narrative everywhere. Jews must no longer control more than 10% of the media. They are only 1-2% of the population.

Like the Jews, Galician Ukrainians are always victims. What they did to the Poles during the German occupation is forgotten.

Ukrainians deported from Poland in 1944 recall mass killings, explain paths to historical reconciliation

Desert Fox , says: April 8, 2021 at 6:45 pm GMT • 1.2 days ago

The zionists are in control in the Ukraine and if they start a war with Russia the Ukraine is going to be destroyed, Russia has warned Ukraine over and over but being the typical zionists that they are, they will accept nothing but destruction and bloodshed as long as it is someone elses blood and destruction.

The zionists have destroyed Iraq and Syria and Libya and Yemen and America.

Avery , says: April 8, 2021 at 8:31 pm GMT • 1.1 days ago
@alwayswrite ous Regions/Republics had the legal right to secede from the given SSR they were attached to. Furthermore, once USSR dissolved, any legal basis for a given (former) SSR to have sway on the given Autonomous Soviet Republic ended.

In fact most of original Ukraine was artificially "fattened up" by various Russian and Soviet leaders.
[Territories Annexed to Ukraine]
https://external-preview.redd.it/Ac69B2pvCGyFG9VcPAlyC-7dqI5V3h33vqf2URyOvGo.jpg?width=927&height=485.340314136&auto=webp&s=063b7385b544833a187844f9e198422

Herald , says: April 8, 2021 at 8:34 pm GMT • 1.1 days ago
@Miro23 Germans are surely going to become tired of all this CIA/Neo-con BS.

Merkel and Macron know just what the US is playing at. If the Ukraine does get the deserved thrashing, that it is literally begging for, then of course there will be German and French knee jerk condemnations along with the ritual imposition of token sanctions. However this dangerous episode, will likely harden the resolve of both countries to escape the grip of the flailing hegemon, which is now in its death throes. So perhaps in the slightly longer term, the whole episode will backfire on the US and big time at that.

Russia might feel that war in Ukraine is inevitable and perhaps it would be better now, rather than later.

Majority of One , says: April 8, 2021 at 8:51 pm GMT • 1.1 days ago
@Levtraro ganovich, henchman to Stalin, but with an agenda of his own, had his troops and secret-police agents seize essentially ALL the food stocks from perhaps 2 million peasant families, resulting in death by starvation for multi-millions.

Thirdly, the heaviest battles in the Second World War were mostly fought in Ukraine. Again, the death totals of the civilian population were huge. The land was ravaged. Essentially the entire population were deeply traumatized.

Consequently one should not wonder that to the average Russian Ukrainians appear to be dazed and dumbed-down. So next time you see your Russian friends, kindly remind them that their brethren to the south and west should be regarded and treated with considerable compassion.

Ukraine Tiger , says: April 8, 2021 at 4:14 pm GMT • 1.3 days ago
@Majority of One

Good comment. Basically what I have been saying since Maidan. I understand why it has not happened but the time has definitely come. I think the demarcation would be Odessa, Kherson, Mykolaev and then north along the Dnipro including Khortiskia and up to East Sumy. I know it sounds warmongerish but I hope this happens. Get this shit over with. There is so much happening in this country that discriminates against ethnic Russians more each day.

EugeneGur , says: April 8, 2021 at 4:15 pm GMT • 1.3 days ago
@Quartermaster s military is nothing like they were in '14.

No, it isn't; it's worse. The Ukrainian army suffers huge non-combat losses every day: accidents from drinking or narcotics, desertion, suicides. Their commanders are incompetent and super-dumb as well as first-rate scumbags.

They well remember the Russian reconquest after the revolution and Holodomor.

That they do not remember, for that never happened, at least, not as described. What they do remember, however, are the caldrons in 2014-2015 and their horrendous losses.

Ukraine will not be easily swallowed again.

If anyone cared to swallow it, it would be. Alfred Muscaria , says: April 8, 2021 at 4:17 pm GMT • 1.3 days ago

@Quartermaster

"They well remember the Russian reconquest after the revolution and Holodomor. Ukraine will not be easily swallowed again."

Ummmmm . it would appear that the grandchildren of the architects of the Holodomor are the ones currently in power in Ukraine. Pretty amazing level of cucking and submission if you ask me.

canspeccy , says: Website April 8, 2021 at 4:18 pm GMT • 1.3 days ago

Did no one think of letting the people of each Ukrainian oblast decide for themselves to which country they wished to belong?

Oh, but wait a minute, that's what those Russian bastards did in Crimea.

So sure, WWIII, bring it on, if that's what it takes to restore Crimea to the rule of the legitimate kleptocrats in Kiev.

Majority of One , says: April 8, 2021 at 5:46 pm GMT • 1.2 days ago
@Levtraro vernment of Ukraine and that the current regime is nothing more than a puppet state which does NOT represent the best interests of the Ukrainian people and particularly of those particularly Russian speaking folks in Crimea and the Donbass region.

The illegitimate regime in Kiev is almost entirely Khazarian Talmudist dominated and in cahoots with the fascistic Uniates in Galicia. That group should be entirely divorced from any future Ukrainian state as their history has a long involvement with Western Roman Catholic cultures and consequently is an alien entity within the body politick of Ukraine, Belarus or Russia. Let them go their own way and not infect their neighbors to the south and east with their culturally indigestible attitudes.

[Apr 09, 2021] Turkey Confirms 2 US Warships To Enter Black Sea As Ukraine Posturing Grows - ZeroHedge

Apr 09, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Turkey Confirms 2 US Warships To Enter Black Sea As Ukraine Posturing Grows BY TYLER DURDEN FRIDAY, APR 09, 2021 - 10:29 AM

Turkey's foreign ministry on Friday confirmed that it's granted permission for US warships to use the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits to enter the Black Sea at a moment tensions with Russia over Ukraine are spiraling higher with tit-for-tat threats. Given it revealed the initial notification was two weeks ago, a pair of American warships are expected imminently to enter the Black Sea .

The foreign ministry said in a statement while referencing the treaty that regulates passage through the straits: "A notice was sent to us 15 days ago via diplomatic channels that two U.S. warships would pass to the Black Sea in line with the Montreux Convention. The ships will remain in the Black Sea until May 4. "

Typically the US gives 14-days notice prior to sending warships into the Black Sea, according to the long established treaty with Turkey regarding use of the Bosporus to enter the waters.

And Reuters notes the significance of the timing as follows : "The United States has informed Turkey that two of its warships will pass through Turkish straits to be deployed in the Black Sea until May 4, Ankara said on Friday, as Russia has bulked up its military forces on Ukraine's eastern border."

Late Thursday an unnamed US defense official had told CNN the warships would be deployed "in the next few weeks in a show of support for Ukraine ," and further the deployment would "send a specific message to Moscow that the US is closely watching," according to the report .

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfX0%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1380513089393680386&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fturkey-confirms-2-us-warships-enter-black-sea-ukraine-russia-posturing-grows&sessionId=c8517f7904d99c6821557864c562f8ab372026a0&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1ead0c7%3A1617660954974&width=550px

Importantly, all of this comes just days after Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky personally urged NATO to immediately expand its Black Sea presence. He had said in a phone call with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, "Such a permanent presence should be a powerful deterrent to Russia , which continues the large-scale militarization of the region and hinders merchant shipping," the president's press service indicated in a readout.

Zelensky had also traveled to the site of frontline renewed fighting in the Donbas region on Thursday in a show of support to Ukrainian national forces who are clashing with Russia-backed separatists.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfX0%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1380409336212680705&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fturkey-confirms-2-us-warships-enter-black-sea-ukraine-russia-posturing-grows&sessionId=c8517f7904d99c6821557864c562f8ab372026a0&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=1ead0c7%3A1617660954974&width=550px

While American vessels have long operated in the Black Sea, even semi-regularly conducting drills there, this time the US ships are being sent there specifically as a "warning" to Moscow .

But Russia's Defense Ministry on Thursday announced naval maneuvers of its own, confirming that it's moving more than 10 navy vessels from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea in order to conduct naval exercises.

With the rival naval build-up on the Kremlin and Ukraine's doorstep, and with the mutual amassing of troops on either side of the border... what could go wrong?


Bdubs 49 minutes ago

And Trump was the bloodthirsty war monger?

Is there ANYTHING the left disparages the right for that is not a psychological projection?

These f-ers need therapy.

Misesmissesme 1 hour ago (Edited)

Man, we're doing everything we can to turn Ukraine into Poland circa 1939.

Maybe we can find an Archduke to assassinate so we can turn the clock all the way back to 1914.

USAllDay 1 hour ago remove link

Joe sent his kid to Ukraine to blow lines. He'll send yours to blow up.

GreatCaesar'sGhost 1 hour ago

No nato troops will ever set foot in Ukraine. They're trying to pressure Russia into doing something so they can force the Germans to stop nordstream. The Ukrainians can't win here and they're being used. Not good.

BeePee 1 hour ago

There were NATO advisors in Ukraine. Even that should be stopped.

Selling arms to Ukraine, most likely will continue. That's what companies do.

GreatCaesar'sGhost 58 minutes ago

The Ukrainians are being pushed to make a move against Donbass and even Crimea. It is a poor country buying expensive weapons, doesn't end well.

[Apr 07, 2021] Escalation in Donbass might well be about blocking North Stream 2

Highly recommended!
Apr 07, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

LIKBEZ 04/03/2021 at 3:04 pm

> Russia isn't going to invade Ukraine, much as their leaders and press seem to lose sleep endlessly over it.

This is about blocking North Stream 2. Ukrainian government is a puppet in a bigger geopolitical game and will do what they are told to do.

If they were ordered to invade Donbass Russia might intervene. I think Russia movement of troupes was a pre-preemptive move to block a joint plan of the USA and some Eastern(Poland) and Western European states to create a crisis and bury North Stream 2 by the attempt to retake the territory by force (Georgian scenario).

While writing resolutions in which they essentially declare war on Russia (retaking Crimea by force as a new Ukrainian government policy) Ukrainian government clearly understands that any significant military move in Donbass might be the end of Ukraine as we know it. So they are afraid to do anything without strong Western support, including military. That's why Biden administration made a statement about the support of Ukrainian sovereignty and, at the same time, probably pushing Ukrainians to make a move in Donbass.

There are two parts of Ukraine with different history and affiliations: Eastern Ukraine and Western Ukraine.

The regime in Kiev represents Western Ukrainian nationalism and it is/was to a certain degree resented in Eastern Ukraine (where manufacturing is concentrated) as provincial, incompetent and corrupt. It is controlled by a handful of oligarchs -- a classic neoliberal oligarchic republic so to speak.

That does not mean that Eastern Ukraine would welcome Russians now (after seven years of anti-Russian propaganda by the government), but please do not w