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Trump as a rabid militarist

Yet another neocon who pretended to be anti-war only for the period of his 2016 campaign.
Completely bought by Israel lobby and has rebid Zionists in his administration including his son in law Kushner, Bolton and Pompeo; but at same time Trump did not started any news wars. In this sense he looks better that previous five presidents, including Nobel Peace Price laureate

News War is Racket Recommended Links Mike "we killed up to 200 Russians" Pompeo: a liar, a killer, a war criminal, a lobbyist for MIC Jared Kushner Israeli support of headchoppers and air raids on Syria military infrastructure Israel lobby
Trump 2020 compaign US Presidential Elections of 2020 Syria war Douma gas attack: Yet another false flag poisoning? Media-Military-Industrial Complex Soleimani assassination opened Pandora box in the Middle East Iran war
Iran saber-rattling Neoliberalism American Exceptionalism Neoliberal corruption American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Color revolutions
Cold War II US-China trade war Attempt to suppress Huawei using security as the pretext Who Rules America Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich The World as the Grand Chessboard of the American empire Debt slavery
Predator state Last big hunt for resources by the Western powers National Security State Demonization of Putin Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Anti Trump Hysteria
New American Militarism Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Secular Stagnation under Neoliberalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Machiavellism
Michael Wolff's "Fire and fury" revelations  Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoconservatism Neoliberal Globalization Anti-globalization movement Humor Etc

During election campaign of 2016 Trump positioned himself as the candidate hostile to foreign wars,  to free trade pacts and skeptical of grand military alliances such as NATO.  Trump Slams US Wars in the Middle East Notable quotes:

"... I've always thought that Hillary's support for the broader mission in Libya put the president on the 51 side of the line for a more aggressive approach ..."
"... Had the secretaries of state and defense both opposed the war, he and others said, the president's decision might have been politically impossible. ..."
"... Except for that last minute of Trump_vs_deep_state speech, I almost thought that was a Bernie speech. An interesting general election plan is to take Bernie's ideas with a healthy dash of Trump spice in an attempt to coalesce the angry populist vote. ..."
"... A political strategy based on xenophobia and divisiveness supports those who benefit from xenophobia and divisiveness – those who exploit labor (including Trump who outsources jobs, hires H2-B workers, and exploits workers domestically and overseas), and those who benefit from the military-industrial-security-serveillance complex; and harms the rest of us. ..."
"... Obama and the Democrats did everything they could to undermine and stamp out progressive organizations..."
"... "We have been killing, maiming and displacing millions of Muslims and destroying their countries for the last 15 years with less outcry than transgender bathrooms have generated." ..."
"... Trump doesn't need to see the Zapruder film. He was alive then and knows the story, just like everyone else of a certain age. Nay, verily, he just means to cash in on it. ..."

In other words he positioned himself as an isolationist, an advocate of American retreat and retrenchment on the global stage. But after inauguration Trump radically changed and became rabid militarist. As Cambridge historian Stephen Wertheim noted  "Trump isn't an isolationist. He is a militarist, something far worse."

Even during  his election campaign Trump pledges big US military expansion . But at this time it looked that Trump simply doesn't have any coherent policy, he just says whatever seems to be useful at that particular moment. That impression proved to be  false. 

Trump announcing plans to expand the Pentagon's already enormous budget by $54 billion — at the apparent expense of other federal agencies, including the State Department. "Hopefully we’ll never have to use it, but nobody is going to mess with us. Nobody," Trump said . "It will be one of the greatest military buildups in American history."

"Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve," Trump declared during an address to a joint session of Congress where he promised a "renewal of the American spirit."

Before he was elected, he has only one war hawk "point": Saber rattling against Iran. May be two (Iran+Korea). Now he is all over the place with essentially the same level of bellicosity as Hillary Clinton.  Here are signs of his 180  degrees  turn in foreign policy:

  1. Appeasing Israel
  2. Attack of Assad forces in Syria. There was no investigation, not even a hack job to frame Assad up like Bush II did in 2003 with Colin Powell UN address. Trump himself spoke out against the airstrikes in 2013. He demanded a formal declaration of war by congress “unconstitutional if not”. Pointed out just how stupid and destructive such a decision would be…
  3. Cooperation with KSA in Yemen war
  4. Implicit cooperation with al Qaeda in Syria.
  5. Saber rattling with North Korea.
  6. Troops increase of Afghanistan without clear policy goal ("kick the can down the road"). Rumors are that Trump wants to exploit Afghanistan mineral riches to offset the costs, but  rocks are heavy and roads are bad and controlled by  Taliban.
  7. Elimination from the administration people who were countervailing force against neocon influence (such as Bannon).

Here are a couple of comments from Asia Times

Maziar Khoshsima Apr 13, 2017 3:14pm
There are so many "petty dictators" in the Middle-East, I wander why all the concentration is on the removal of Assad by US and its allies. Is it not because:
  1. Although Saudi and (Persian) Gulf Arab dictators are worse than Assad in all aspects, it is of the interest of US to protect these dictators.
  2. US policy solidified by Bush II was articulated beautifully and honestly as “either you are with us or against us.” That means either you serve my interest or the consequence will be your destruction and removal.
  3. Arab dictators serve US interest so in return there will be a guarantee that they will be protected by mafia boss, namely US.
  4. Main US partner, Western Europe is also the share holder in this so called humanitarian endeavor to bring peace and stability in the Middle East. Whereas the truth is mafia boss and its Western gang are after exploitation of the neighborhood while they have traitors who work for them (Turkey and Arab dictators)
  5. Why Assad? Well, Assad is Nuisance to Israel’s expansion. He opposed Israel contrary to Turkish and Arab beggars who constantly lick the rear end’s hole of the Jewish State.
  6. Assad helped Iran to block Israel from further atrocities in Lebanon and hopefully in Palestine.
  7.  could go on and on. It is the story of Western domination and exploitation were it is being collaborated by Turk and Arab traitors so that like dogs, a loaf of bread somehow will be thrown at them by their master and owner, USA.
Mofakkerul Islam · Police Lines School & College, Rangpur
This bastard dog is one-eyed.He can only see the crime of ASAD not others in the ME.

The best analysis of Trump betrayal ("tuning of dime") in foreign policy  (which means betrayal of his voters in best style of the "king of bait and switch" Obama) was done by Justin Raymondo:

Behind Trump’s Syria Turnabout

Trump came into office touting his “America First agenda,” disdaining NATO, and asking “Why is it a bad thing to get along with Russia?” He told us he abjured “regime change” and held up Libya as an example of bad policy. Now he’s turned on a dime, bombing Syria, and welcoming tiny (and troubled) Montenegro into NATO. His intelligence agencies are even accusing Russia of having advance knowledge of the alleged chemical attack in Syria (although the White House disputed that after it got out). And all this in the first one hundred days!

How did this happen? It’s easy to explain, once you understand that there is no such thing as foreign policy: all policy is domestic.

That’s the core principle at the heart of what I call “libertarian realism,” the overarching theory – if such a grandiose term can be applied to what is simply common sense – that explains what is happening on the world stage at any particular moment. And there is no better confirmation of this principle than the recent statement by Eric Trump, the President’s son, who said: “If there was anything that Syria [strike] did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.”

Oh yes, and Ivanka was “heartbroken” – and so it was incumbent upon the President to change course, break a major campaign promise, and declare via his Secretary of State that “Assad must go.”

Got it.

Trump’s Syrian turnabout is clearly a response to the coordinated attack launched on his presidency by the combined efforts of the Deep State, the media, the Democrats, and the McCain-Graham-neocon wing of the GOP – a campaign that still might destroy him, despite his capitulation to the War Party.

Vladimir Putin has likened the current Syria imbroglio to what happened in Iraq, with claims of “weapons of mass destruction” and a war fought on the basis of false intelligence, but there is one major difference: this time, the bombing came first, with the “evidence” an afterthought. You’ll recall that in the run up to the invasion of Iraq there was an extended and quite elaborate propaganda campaign designed to make the case for war. Now, however, that process has been reversed: bombing first, “evidence” later.

Speaking of which, Bloomberg national security reporter Eli Lake tells us that the US is about to release a “dossier” explaining the rationale for the Syria strike: it is “short on specific intelligence” but long on “its refutation of Russian disinformation.” As in the case of the “Russian interference in the election” narrative, we’ll doubtless be told that protecting “sources and methods” precludes us peons from seeing the actual “intelligence.” Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die, as the old saw goes: but is that – not to mention the moral imperative of safeguarding Ivanka’s fragile emotional state – really enough to justify a 180-degree shift in US foreign policy?

The real significance of this “dossier” has little to do with justifying the Syria strike insofar as actual evidence of Assad’s alleged crime is concerned, and more with signaling to the heretofore hostile “intelligence community’ and political actors in the US that the days of President Trump trying to achieve détente with Russia are over. As Lake points out:

“But it is really the report’s condemnation of the Russian response that is most striking. Trump has sought to reset the relationship with Moscow, as President Barack Obama hoped to do in 2009 and 2010. Now, one U.S. official tells me, Russian officials in phone calls with their Trump administration counterparts repeated in private the same propaganda lines their government was issuing in public. ‘That has led to a lot of frustration at the highest levels of the government,’ this official said.“

Translation: Forget getting along with Russia – just call off your bloodhounds.

We now have Putin warning that more “provocations” are in store, with some pretty specific details supplied. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, but we’ll have to wait and see if that pans out. In the meantime, however, three factors are percolating in the mix:

  1. Our spooks, not content with having turn around of  the Trump administration on Syria policy, won’t let up on the alleged “Russian foreknowledge” angle. These guys mean business.
  2. The previously stalled effort to overthrow Assad by funding and arming the Islamist savages championed by McCain, Graham, & Co. will recommence, with some success, and
  3. The campaign to smear Trump as a Kremlin tool will continue, unabated, with both the House and Senate investigations barreling full speed ahead, with plenty of help from the “former intelligence officials.” They aren’t about to let Trump off the hook quite so easily.

What all this shows is how far removed the making of US foreign policy is from actual facts on the ground, and the rational calculation of American interests. What it all comes back to is how it serves the political interests of those in power – and those who aspire after power. Facts have nothing to do with it except insofar as they can be manipulated – or created – so as to fit a preexisting agenda.

There are very few good arguments for striking out at the Syrian government. One of the pseudo-credible ones is that the use of sarin and other similar weapons, if allowed to go unpunished, would hurt our legitimate interests, since their use would then become pandemic. The riposte is that anyone who would even consider using such weapons is not likely to be deterred by US retaliation, no matter how swift.

In any case, this raises the question: did Bashar al-Assad drop sarin gas on a bunch of civilians at Idlib? Despite the rush to judgment, we don’t know the answer to that question, but several factors make it unlikely. He was winning the civil war, and this, if you’ll pardon the expression, seems like overkill. Furthermore, for years the Syrian rebels have been doing their damnedest to frame Assad for just such a heinous crime in order to provoke US intervention on their behalf, to little avail – until now. Their record speaks for itself.

If indeed Assad is guilty, then it’s conceivable – although I would disagree – that one could make an argument for a one-off warning strike. Yet that is not what we’re seeing at all: already, Secretary of State Tillerson is echoing that old Obama-Clinton slogan, “Assad must go.” This isn’t a one-off: it’s a complete reversal of what candidate Trump said he’d do once in office.

As I said in my last column, the silver lining is that many of Trump’s prominent supporters – and former supporters – are waking up to the importance of non-interventionism as one of the pillars of “Trump_vs_deep_state.” Their former hero’s betrayal is putting them on a learning curve – and the best of them will come out the other side with a new awareness of what “America First” really means.

On the other hand, we are going to have to live with the consequences of this terrible turnabout – not all of which are readily apparent, and none of which redound to the benefit of the United States and its citizens. 

Here is a couple of comments from Guardian:

Robert Rudolph 12 Apr 2017 17:40

Instead, the western powers have followed the example cited by Machiavelli: "in order to prove their liberality, they allowed Pistoia to be destroyed."

... ... ...

Cedar

In late 2015, Eren Erdem, a Turkish MP, said in Parliament that the Turkish state was permitting Da'esh to send sarin precursors to Syria. He had a file of evidence, so was accused of treason for accessing and publicising confidential material. The investigation into the people responsible for the transfer of toxic chemicals was shut down.

That surely ought to make us at least ask evidence-seeking questions about the Idlib gas attack before yet again demanding regime change.

Al-Assad is certainly capable of murdering opponents, and not bothering too much about collateral damage, but strategically it makes no sense for him to do this now, when peace talks under the aegis of Russia and Iran have begun, and the world is watching. Also, Assad has been engaged in a reconciliation process, allowing members of the FSA to return to the Syrian army, and Aleppans remain in Damascus if they didn't wish to go to Idlib. At such a juncture, using chemical weapons would be counter-productive. If Sarin was used at his command, he should be properly prosecuted: but bombing a Syrian air base merely assists Da'esh and its cronies.

unsouthbank

I have just watched the press conference in which Trump labelled Assad a butcher, and went on again about dead babies. I just wish that someone at one of these conferences would have the guts to point out to Trump his own butchery. Anyone watching this performance would think that US forces had never been responsible for killing innocent civilians, men, women, children and babies. To listen to Trump, you wouldn't think that US forces had ever killed over 150 civilians in Mosul, dozens in Raqqa, or had bombed hospitals in Afghanistan, or schools in Iraq, or were supporting the Saudi blockade of Yemen resulting in the starvation of children and babies, or had destroyed wedding parties with drones,.....I could go on. If Assad is a butcher, he is only a junior, apprentice, corner-shop butcher. Trump is the real thing, the large-scale, wholesale, expert butcher.

The attack on Syrian airbase without any serious investigation, done purely as PR stunt (as somebody called it "military twit"). Which was probably dictated by desperation from unrelenting attacks of neocons and globalists along the lines "Trump is the Russian agent".  Trump witch hung became the pasture of Democratic Party, which during Hillary Clinton campaign successfully converted itself into the second War Party, competing with Republicans in jingoism "on equals"..

Now after Syria was hit with tomahawks neocons and subservant to them MSM like CNN and MCNBC (with this despicable military-industrial complex pressitute Rachel Maddow really excited about this attack) are happy and are less Trump problem.  But political calculation directed on making peace with neocon "at any cost" have consequences for Trump.

It is clear to everybody that Trump bowed to NeoCon pressure. He was supposed to be different. But then so was Obama. 300,000 people have died in Syria during Obama presidency. Were deaths of those killed by bombs and bullets any less tragic? Who is funding, arming and supporting ISIS? Are not those countries America allies?

So it is logical to assume that Trump "retaliation" was not about dead children. It was a signal to allies such as Turkey and KSA that the course is unchanged and  the USA will continue to pursue anti Assad/Iran/Russia policy in the region, no matter what will be the costs.  Again, 300,000 have died already under Novel Peace winner who initiated this Syrian quagmire and destabilized yet another ME country. All according to PNAC plan. 

First of all Trump voters have memory. On April 6 he might completely lost anti-war right, which was an important part of his base. As well as a large part of paleoconservatives. To say nothing that his administration demonstrated absolute, utter incompetence dealing with Obamacare. 

Russians also have memory. They still remember the stunts the US pulled under Reagan, Bush I and Clinton. Especially attempts to dismember the country and convert it into vassal state under Clinton,  using corrupt puppet regime of drunken Yeltsin and his neoliberal "advisors" from Harvard  as a tool (aka economic rape of Russia).  Of course after being weakened to the standard of living dropped to $1 a day per person -- the level of object poverty.  all due to Harvard "friends" like Sachs ( see Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia.)  Russia needs time to recuperate and restore its economics. So it is not interested is premature skirmishes with Uncle Sam.

This is the age of disinformation. Even facts prevented via video can be false as vidio now id often staged. As in all similar recent events there are more questions then answers in this story. http://www.dw.com/en/is-assad-to-blame-for-the-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/a-38330217

General context:

Only few undisputed facts are know about Khan Sheikhoun attack

The "known unknown" area is much larger.  Even basic facts are disputed  (was it "sarin"; was it air attack of munitions depot explosion? what is staged event (aka false flag operation) or a blunder by Assad forces which accidentally hit chemical depot in a school or close to a school.  Here is attempt to collect the most interesting questions about this event that I have found in various forums (collected from foreign sources, mostly from British and German): 

  1. Is not unilateral military intervention in a sovereign country that does not threaten the USA constituting an act of aggression, a war crime by the UN statute? Or, as an exceptional nation, the USA is above the UN...

  2. How can journalists and Western diplomats be so lacking in the desire or ability to question what they are told? http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2017/04/its-wmd-all-over-again-why-dont-you-see-it-.html, The Kremlin issued a statement saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin found it "unacceptable to make groundless accusations against anyone without conducting a detailed and unbiased investigation."

  3. Cue bono?  Effectively the USA acted as Al Nustra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front) air force. Which promptly initiated an attack on government forces in Palmira.  Does this means that the USA foreign policy in Syria is now aligned with Gulf monarchies policy and Israeli policies of dismembering this country and establishing a permanent Al Nusra Caliphate on the part of the territory as well as  possibly Kurdish enclave ?  The Syrian regime may not have had a compelling motive, believes Günther Meyer, the director of the Research Center for the Arab World at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. "Only armed opposition groups could profit from an attack with chemical weapons," he told DW. "With their backs against the wall, they have next to no chance of opposing the regime militarily. As President [Donald] Trump's recent statements show, such actions make it possible for anti-Assad groups to receive further support."http://www.dw.com/en/is-assad-to-blame-for-the-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/a-38330217 Is not Israel the major beneficiary of this bombing? Syrians shot down an Israeli jet a week before using this airbase. Now this airbase is destroyed.

  4. On April 3, the USA government announced that the US is no longer insisting that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has to step aside. The attack happened on April 4th, a day after.  On April 6 after the attack, but before any investigation, the USA goverment  changed its mind. Did Trump reneg on his promises to fight ISIS and establishing détente with Russia after unprecedented attack by neocons in Washington and folded?   Removal of Bannon might be connected. Does this mean that Trump metamorphosed into Hillary Clinton in around 100 days in office? Or does that mean that the president does not matter and deep state rules the country?

  5. Previous sarin attack was a false flag: The attack took place while UN weapons inspectors were in the country, on Assad's invitation, said Meyer. Assad had asked them to investigate a chemical weapons attack from March 2013 outside Aleppo, which killed Syrian soldiers. Former weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and MIT professor Theodore Postol cast further doubt on Assad's role in the Ghouta attack. They reported in 2014 that the chemical weapons could have only been fired from rebel-held territory, with a range of up to 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles).

  6. The Nusra Front's weapons include chemical weapons and they inflicted casualties on Syrian army.  This Al Qaeda affiliate is today the most significant rebel group in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Along with other jihadi groups, it has turned itself into the "de facto ruler of Idlib." Syrian government reiterated the claim, echoed by Moscow, that the tragedy occurred because the rebels had been stockpiling sarin gas, and the Syrian army had no way of knowing it was there.

  7. What will be consequences (other then deserved Nobel Peace Price for Trump) for the USA if the investigation implicated the rebels? BTW none of "volunteers" treating victims died from poisoning, despite working without HASMAT suits, which suggest that at least "sarin" version is bogus. 

  8. What was the function of the buildings hit by air strike (hitting a depot of chemical weapons is the Russian version of events)?  it is clear they they were in or close to residential area were those private residences or not is unclear. What was exact time of Assad forces attack? Rebels are known to store munitions in schools and mosques to protect them from air strikes. Why so many children were affected if only two houses were hit. Outside school,  in Syria  children are usually accompanied by women. There were  less victims among adults.

  9. Are we one step closer to the hot conventional war with Russia instead of promised by Trump to voters "détente"? Will Russia retaliates or not ?  It did not retaliated military when Turkish air forces shot down its bomber which was on mission without fighters escort, so let’s hope it will not this time too.  Russia did suspend 2015 memorandum of understanding on the air operations ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-condemns-us-missile-strike-on-syria/2017/04/07/c81ea12a-1b4e-11e7-8003-f55b4c1cfae2_story.html )

    Under the pact, the two countries have traded information about flights by a U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State and Russian planes operating in Syria in support of the Assad government. Moscow was taking its action, the Defense Ministry said, because it sees the U.S. strike “as a grave violation of the memorandum.”

 


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Old News ;-)

[Jan 19, 2021] I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars

Jan 19, 2021 | www.rt.com

banallwars 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 04:32 PM

What a lie. The bombs being dropped from the U.S. made jets the Saudi pilots fly over Yemen killing civilians leaves blood all over his hands not to mention shaking the hand of the Saudi that murdered a journalist before selling him weapons to kill Yemen's civilians.
Waryaa Moxamad 48 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 05:36 PM
1) False flag chemical attack on Syria. 2) killing Soleimani in a sovereign country he was invited to 3) Guaido 4) Bolivia. 5) continuing the wars predecessors started.

Who is being fooled that U.S. presidency has any say in America's imperialism?

Debra***** Waryaa Moxamad 40 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 05:46 PM
Who really pushed for General Soleimani to be killed and has the most personal and intense vendetta against Soleimani? Mike Pompeo. Trump did not give the Pentagon and CIA all the wars they wanted, especially in Syria. Now the Pentagon and the CIA have their puppet, Corrupt Biden, who will do what they command him to do. I would expect in one year to see another massive war. Where? Syria. The US mothers will cry when their sons come home in coffins. The Hez in Lebanon will not back down, and they will enter Syria again. Trump did not want young American boys coming back in coffins!!!!!!!

[Jan 19, 2021] Trump was a desperate "Murica must have the biggest dick" imperialist massively triggered by the US decline and trying to save the US Empire. Like a rabid dog that is wounded, he attacked anything that moves, including those who helped him get into power.

Jan 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , Jan 19 2021 21:57 utc | 36

Posted by: teri | Jan 19 2021 21:31 utc | 33

>>Today, the Trump administration filed an appeal against the UK decision not to extradite Assange. I must imagine that means that Trump has no intention of pardoning Assange.

Trump was a desperate "Murica must have the biggest dick" imperialist massively triggered by the US decline and trying to save the US Empire. Like a rabid dog that is wounded, he attacked anything that moves, including those who helped him get into power.

Anyone who thought that he will help the likes of Russia or Assange does not understand the psychology of elite US WASPs.

These people thought that they and the US should rule the world and that they are the cream of the cream. Anything denying them that would lead to crazed reactions, hysteria, rabid animalistic behavior, and snarling and gnashing of teeth at anything that moves.

Simply put, their decline caused them to go rabid. A rabid dog attacks anything that moves, whether friendly or not. Unfortunately for the likes of Russia and Assange.

[Nov 25, 2020] The relationship with Russia, under Trump, is fully under control of Kaganate of Nuland

Nov 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Nov 25 2020 0:59 utc | 75

Annoying Russians with a destroyer 10 miles or so from Vladivostok under good old Trump. Apparently, after a series of moves that replaced some top figures in Pentagon. The relationship with Russia, under Trump, is fully under control of Kaganate of Nulandia, or whatever we see on the top of that iceberg -- and try to make a search what it would take to change the course of an iceberg from Antarctics (people were investigating it as a way of bringing fresh water to Arabian peninsula where money is plentiful but water is scarce).

There are two important aspects there. Local trade is more profitable than distant trade when consider in totality, i.e. including the products that you would never make profit after crossing oceans. Second aspect is that Far East is a cultural zone like Europe -- lots of animosities collected over centuries, but even more commonalities in culture. As USA imposes various types of tribute on allies/vassals, centripetal forces in various continents should increase. Among visible costs of vassaldom:

1. paying costs of American presence
2. annoying China beyond the national needs, thus decreasing the national security
3. participating in sanctions imposed by USA, directly and indirectly (through resulting conflicts) reducing profits in economies that are struggling

[Nov 15, 2020] "What Syria withdrawal- There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jeffrey said

Notable quotes:
"... "Un hombre sin honor." ..."
Nov 15, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jeffrey said.


" ... even as he praises the president's support of what he describes as a successful "realpolitik" approach to the region, he acknowledges that his team routinely misled senior leaders about troop levels in Syria.

"We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there," Jeffrey said in an interview. The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is "a lot more than" the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019. Defense One

-------------

"We?" Who are "We?"

State Department people? Well, certainly some of those were involved.

But ... IMO it would not have been possible to deceive or mislead the WH and specifically the Commander in Chief without the active cooperation of CENTCOM, the JCS and OSD.

If they had not been participating in the lying, it would have been obvious in any number of interactions with President Trump that the president's understanding of troop numbers in Syria was not correct and that he was being deceived by "we." (whoever that was). That revelation evidently did not happen. The NSC staff should have detected the lack of truth in reported numbers. That it did not tells me that at least some of the NSC staff were disloyal to Trump. Obvious? Yes, but that is worth re-stating.

James Jeffrey is quite proud of his achievement in maintaining a "realpolik" stalemate in Syria, one that stymies both Russia and the Syrian government.

IMO opinion he is revealed by his own words as a treacherous back stabber. "Un hombre sin honor." pl

https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2020/11/outgoing-syria-envoy-admits-hiding-us-troop-numbers-praises-trumps-mideast-record/170012/


Polish Janitor , 14 November 2020 at 10:55 AM

This is exactly the result of Trump's lack of interest in fulfilling his original promise of ending the "forever wars" in the middle east. This is exactly the result of putting opelny-Democrat Jared Kushner (a lifelong member of Chabad-Lubavich network) and his ilk in charge of the middle east geopolitics.

It also clearly proves that the State Dep. is a monsterous autonomous entity with its own permanent objectives and agendas, independent of the WH. No matter what Trump wanted to achieve in the ME, the so-called Blob (or as Col. Lang here has coined as the "BORG") do what they will. You have to also remember that back in '17, career diplomats and high-ranking State Dep. officials sounded the alarm that Rex Tillerson was down-sizing the Department so much and that it was contrary to American interests abroad etc...fast forward to today, it would not have mattered how much down-sizing Tillerson actually managed to do, they (people like Jeffries) were still able to pursue their own agenda and undermine Trump's original promise of ending the forever wars in the middle east.

The liberal elites managed to 'allegedly' manipulate the election against a sitting president in favor of an highly unappealing candidate in Joe Biden. In all honesty, does anyone think the Blob/Borg would NOT undermine the president's agenda and follow their own permanent objectives aboard?

The Twisted Genius , 14 November 2020 at 11:10 AM

Trump should be furious about this. He should be firing everyone involved in the deception. Those involved don't belong in ANY administration. Was convincing Trump that he was getting the Syrian oil part of this despicable con? As you mentioned last night, this deception is probably also going on in Afghanistan. This is a clear sign of a totally dysfunctional nation security apparatus... Trump's national security apparatus. Could Trump find no one he could trust to carry out his orders? Or did he just not even care? He certainly wasn't up to the task.

However, our troop level in Syria has been widely and openly reported to be above the 200 level since Trump's initial announcement of a total pull out in December 2018. I thought it was odd when shortly after that it was announced that more troops were being sent in to facilitate the withdrawal of the 2,000 plus troops already there. We did reduce the level somewhat, but then we brought in mech infantry with their Bradleys to secure the oil fields and later more to counter the Russian patrols in northeast Syria. And isn't counting whatever we have in Tanf.

Fred , 14 November 2020 at 11:32 AM

TTG,

"He should be firing everyone involved in the deception"

He just fired Esper. "Trump's national security apparatus." You mean America's natonal security apparatus, the one that gave us LTC Vindman and that crew of Ambassadors, and the 'whistlebolower' Chief Justice Robert's wouldn't let any senator name nor ask questions about during the impeachment. You remember all that don't you? I'm sure the same cast of characters Biden would bring back if he succeeds in the rigged election would never do that to him.

JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 11:45 AM

COL(R) Mark Mitchell stated the following recently, regarding the duties and responsibilities of the SECDEF in response to POTUS directives. The comments were in regard to Acting SECDEF Miller (a longtime friend and colleague of Mitchell), but apply to any Cabinet or sub-Cabinet post:

"He [POTUS] may make decisions that other people disagree with. They have two options: they can do what he directs them to do, or after they've offered their advice, if they find it illegal, immoral, unethical, unadvisable, they can step down," retired Col. Mark Mitchell, who most recently served in the Pentagon as the principal deputy assistant defense secretary for special operations/low-intensity conflict.

Mitchell added that he resented the implication at the defense secretary should be expected to stand up to the president, or in his way, as the duly elected commander in chief.

"You either carry out your lawful orders or you resign," he said. "We don't get the option to 'stand up to him.' "(End of quote)

Unfortunately, President Trump made many poor personnel decisions, and selected people who believed they had the duty and right to work against the President from within the Administration. This has driven me nuts for the last four years, as I have watched senior civilian and uniformed leaders actively undermining the Commander-in-Chief. They weren't subtle about it. For whatever reason, they mostly got away with it.

To be clear, I am not writing this as a Trump supporter. As a career military professional, I have a duty to support the Commander-in-Chief, and obey lawful orders from the Commander-in-Chief.

It is very easy to play shell games with the BOG caps in the war zones.

JMG

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 11:53 AM

Looking forward to a reprise of Trump's former starring role in The Apprentice, and finally uttering yet again his immortal words: You're Fired!

The final days of Trump's first term are going to be awesome. Banish the Borg. BAMN. Put Biden's fingerprints on any re-hiring.

Typically a new CEO will ask for everyone's resignation, and select and cull according to new needs and new directions. Something Trump should have done, but he too was the apprentice in this office when his term began.

Nothing to stop Trump from doing this now in reverse, and finally cleaning out the dross that was dedicated to his administration's destruction. Better late than never. Our country deserves nothing less. These insider traitors deserve to have their termination for cause permanently be part in their career resumes.

j , 14 November 2020 at 12:33 PM

It appears that POTUS Trump once his re-election is affirmed, urgently needs to fire a large percentage of top-level ranks at the Pentagon, fire the CENTCOM CC and his staff, fire the JCS, close down the NSC until it's thoroughly bleached, and charge all of them under the UCMJ. Bust them down to slick-sleeves and show them the door. How many back-stabbing Vindman types remain within the NSC? They need to be fired and prosecuted under the UCMJ as well.

Robert G Spenser , 14 November 2020 at 01:29 PM

As a citizen I am having great difficulty not concluding that the US is showing all the signs of decline like the late Roman Republic.

James Jeffrey along with the rest of the herd that have run one agitprop disinformation scheme after another since the 2016 election are like the roman senators that had the intent to save the Republic but fatally weakened it by killing Caesar at its very center, in the Senate.

Biden's people are openly calling for even more internet censorship and continuing to rush out inherently dangerous mRNA vaccines without proper testing - and may force us to take it. Groups are starting to create a database of Trump supporters to enable censoring them where they work and live - what is this other than terrorism against half the voting population? If just five percent of the 70M that voted for Trump moves together in resistance then the new regime herd will be holding a tiger by is tail and with the election showing the people are split right down the middle I fail to see how we can avoid even much worse chaos the next four years. The American Republic is disintegrating while the herd is having a romp and thinks it is winning while they are its assassins.

I am sick at heart of this and fear for the future of my children whose standard of living opportunities are in free-fall.

JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 02:34 PM

Robert G Spenser,

As the saying goes:

Good times create soft men.

Soft men create hard times.

Hard times create hard men.

Hard men create good times.

Rinse, wash, repeat until your civilization starts to outsource the hard men.

JMG

Fredw , 14 November 2020 at 04:06 PM

We are shocked, SHOCKED! that military bureaucrats are acting in the same ways that they always have. Come on now. The job of president is to get all these people to work in concert to an extent adequate for getting things to come out mostly in our favor. None of this is unique to Trump. Nearly every president in my lifetime has had to learn to deal with these aspects of the military. Jimmy Carter trusted them to plan a rescue mission. They used navy pilots for a mission over the desert! With no extra to enable adaptation to events! Ronald Reagan sent a battleship to Lebanon and then found out the brass wouldn't take the risk of actually using it for anything. Not to mention the superbly uncoordinated near simultaneous invasion of Grenada. John Kennedy accepted a duplicitous projection of events for the bay of pigs. Bill Clinton got caught in Somalia. George W. got sucked into a strategically unplanned invasion of Iraq. Obama was told that an 18-month escalation would resolve Afghanistan. He believed it! Boy were they shocked when he actually enforced the deadline. This is not a criticism of any of those presidents. It is normal, however bizarre that may sound. My point is that they mostly get bit once and learn not to trust the military's own estimates of what they can or should do. Then they begin to do the job more adequately. They learn to pay attention to goals and to manage their resources. Trump does not seem capable of this kind of learning. The last months of an administration are not the time to suddenly discover the nature of the organizations you are leading. And in any case, there is no time left for learning how to get actual results.

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 04:54 PM

JFK never should have unionized the government workforce.

Pits existential self-interests against patriotic national interest, should these interests become in conflict. FDR warned against doing this. More attention needs to be paid to this fundamental national turning point.

What ills were cured by this act (EO) and has the cure become worse than the perceived disease. Must like term limits in California - the cure was 100 times worse than the original disease.

Entrenched political personalities come and go; entrenched and corrupted political systems are forever, because in the process they learned to self-perpetuate.

Much like HAL in the movie 2001.

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 04:57 PM

Name your favorite EO to strike down with an counter-mand EO, before a sitting president leaves office:
1. Anchor baby citizenship triggering chain migration
2. Unionized government workforce

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 05:27 PM

2016: Democrat Game Plan:

1. Use Democrat's standard politics of personal destruction to attack and harass any Trump appointments; make working for the Trump administration so undesirable none dare even ask for consideration.

2. Tie up the President's time with endless personal attacks, lies and investigations, so Trump has no time as elected Chief Executive to oversee and clean up valid government operations;

3. Take advantage of Trump's exclusively private sector experience to lull Trump into thinking entrenched government BORGs are loyal government employees, who serve only to help Trump carry out his Executive Office duties;

4. Leak like crazy; make things up if necessary that ensure the Trump administration narrative appears chaotic and dysfunctional. Claim anonymous sources that undermine positive functioning within Trump administration. Make everyone suspicious of everyone else.

5. Obliterate any recognition for the remarkable Trump administration accomplishments that occurred, regardless of all of the above.

6. Pout relentlessly because regardless of the above, the President and the GOP Senate appointed over 200 new federal judge and 3 new SCOTUS members.

7. In full public view, tear up the SOTU address listing remarkable administration accomplishments mouthing - these are all lies -- laying down the gauntlet for all out war.

8. Gin up pandemic hysteria to fill in any and all loopholes not yet covered by all of the above.

Democrat skullduggery may have effectively destroyed an temporal administration, but Trump Judiciary appointments are the equivalent of a very welcomed forever.

President Trump, you are missed already. But I suspect in short order it is you, who will not miss the office. You are enshrined forever - #45 as President of the United States of America. History will treat you far kinder than your current fellow citizens.

You broke up the Democrat plantation. You exposed the dark underbelly of the body politic. Mission accomplished. There is no going back.

J , 14 November 2020 at 07:27 PM

DHS head Chad Wolf is another anti-Trump in sheep's clothing that Trump needs to get rid of ASAP.

https://nypost.com/2020/11/13/dhs-boss-chad-wolf-defies-trump-order-to-fire-cyber-chief-chris-krebs/

james , 14 November 2020 at 08:21 PM

this sounds like the definition of a traitor to me - jeffery.... on the other hand one could say he is working for wall st and the mil complex and has done a good job... which is it??

Yeah, Right , 15 November 2020 at 12:24 AM

I don't understand this. Trump is the Commander in Chief, at any time he could have asked a straight-up question: How. Many. Troops. Do. We. Still. Have. In. Syria?

I find it astonishing that the military leadership would tell a lie to their Commander in Chief when the question itself leaves no wriggle-room.

Heck, Trump could has asked for a list of every single one of those brave 200 boys, and even if it included Name, Rank, and Serial Number that would still fit on a single letter-sized printout.

I can't understand how Jeffrey's and his band of "we's" could get away with this unless Trump wasn't paying any attention at all.

turcopolier , 15 November 2020 at 12:26 AM

Yeah, right

Yes. He trusted people as I would never have done.

Mike C , 15 November 2020 at 12:33 AM

Questions for the committee:

What legal recourse if any is there against Jeffery or his fellow travelers?

How might Trump "put a kink in the hose" to hobble a potential Biden admin from putting us back into these quagmires?

I'm not at all surprised to see MSM sniping now at Col. Macgregor.

[Nov 07, 2020] Why Trump did not start any new wars? May be the Blob was refusing to give him the authority to launch any original policy of their own

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ptb , Nov 7 2020 14:58 utc | 49

I would also add Bolton to complete the list of crazy-hawk Trump appointees.

While some credit is due to Trump not starting any wars, I have to think it was unintentional on Trump's part, as evidenced by the same list of ultra aggressive foreign policy advisors he appointed.

More likely, the subpar crop of new wars was the result of the foreign policy apparatus refusing to give his administration the authority to launch any original policy of their own. Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Syria were continuations of existing policy, and sponsored by "respected" interests (respectively: by the Oil Industry, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and all of the above).

The biggest foreign policy initiative of all, cold war with China, is a long term bipartisan project.

Jackrabbit , Nov 7 2020 15:08 utc | 56

...Trump as peaceful is magical thinking after Trump's belligerent rhetoric and acts of war :

[Nov 07, 2020] Tramp role in Syria and Iraq

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Nov 7 2020 15:08 utc | 56

RSH's warning that Trump could still start a war should be taken very seriously. Trump has vowed that he will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Will he leave office without ENSURING that they cannot?

Israel Warns Of Coming War With Iran If Biden Wins As Trump Calls

I don't think for a minute think that Zionist Biden will do anything to upset Israel. But the election of Biden is a convenient excuse for Trump to start a war (probably based on a false flag of some sort) that Biden (or Kamala-Hillary) will "inherit".

!!


Don Bacon , Nov 7 2020 15:14 utc | 57

@ pnyx #43
. . .on Biden. Just think of the warmongering role he played for the Iraq war. The Neocons would have an easier time with Biden than with Tronald
Yes. Biden is a Clintonite, Trump was anti-Clinton.
The US war in Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom - with its death, destruction and displacement has been rightly called the worst US foreign policy move ever.
The Clintons started it, and then promoted it with Biden's assistance as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act into law on October 31, 1998.
On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors.
David , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 66

Trump's foreign policies were remarkably different? How? He assassinated an Iranian general, which nearly had the US enter into a hot war with Iran, bombed Syria twice, put additional sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Russia and the DPRK. Trump's State Department has successfully enacted regime change in Zimbabwe, Sudan, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras, Bolivia (Mike Pompeo congratulating Luis Arce on his win -- very suspicious), and is trying regime change in Hong Kong, Belarus, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe again, and as of late, Nigeria.

You could argue that Trump wants Iran to be somewhat stronger so he can sell more weapons to his MIC buddies and profit that way, therefore he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, and the weapons import/export sanctions on Iran expired. But that's a different and more brash method of managing Empire. It's different from Biden's "strategic de-escalation" policy with Iran via the Iran nuclear deal, but not that one that necessarily yields better results for Iran in the long term.

dave , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 67

Calm down folks, the elected officials in the US have been puppets of the elite for the entire history of the country.
The problem we're facing is within the elite community and far above any government's control.

They didn't legalize drone striking "terrorists" any where on the globe by accident.
This means the elite are terrified of the fact that the internet and Trump both have exposed them for the morally bankrupt, greedy, mass murdering psychopaths they truly are.

The accidental presidency of Trump made them realize that their useful idiots(elected officials) where more idiots than useful and that they had to use the state sponsored monopolies in the press as well as their privately controlled publicly funded covert community to steer the narrative away from actual reality into their alternative commoditized version of reality.

Trump was never trying to defend America from the elite for the common man. He was trying to exploit the elite who had rejected him and his father for decades as well as cash in on their predicament in order to pay off his debts and start his own reality TV network.

I agree Trump was useful and informative but in the end he, like us is just along for the ride.

Don't do anything rash and don't for one second think a regime change in America is a rare occurrence. Remember the Kennedy's ?

The only way to win is to not become one of the elite's useful idiots by lashing out against another citizen. Poor and middle class only get the illusion they help decide policy.
The policy is decided and auctioned off within the billionaire funded think tanks and sent to the useful idiots in DC to be rubber stamped in order to trick you into thinking the legislative branch is legitimate. These people could f*ck up a two car parade and prove it over and over again.

Stay sane folks, the motives haven't changed in centuries and the elite are far more scared of us than they are the other elite's because they all know they're all cowards.

David , Nov 7 2020 15:37 utc | 69

In addition, considering Trump was supposedly a Russian puppet, Congress under his admin passed a bill which allowed the US to arm Ukraine against Russia even more.

GeorgeV , Nov 7 2020 15:39 utc | 70

Wonderful and thought provoking analysis of current political affairs b. However I would like to add that Biden and Trump are the products of political trends that have deep roots in modern US and world political affairs that have been ongoing for some 100 years or more. Biden and Trump did not occur in a vacuum. Both are products of the two world wars that were fought in the last century. More recently, the US since 1940 and continuing to the present day, has been actively preparing or fighting a major war somewhere on this planet. This development has in turn created a vast military and civilian bureaucracy that constantly needs to be fed a diet of real or imagined threats in order to survive.

[Nov 07, 2020] U.S. Foreign Policy is a Failure, Whoever's President

It is not a failure. It is struggle for Full Spectrum Dominance, whoever is the President.
Nov 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The world recognizes what U.S. elites don't: the utter, total American failure to contain Covid-19 has damaged U.S. standing and will do so until the virus is controlled. Meanwhile, regional powers, China and Russia, cooperate and share resources, particularly vaccines. Cuba provides treatments, but the U.S. turns up its nose at Cuban medicine, even if it means more American covid patients die – this, though Cuba's pharmacopeia for this plague appears superior. China sends doctors and medicines across the globe. Russia opts for sane herd immunity – through vaccination. These countries act like adults. Not a good look for the U.S.

The Obama regime's deplorable trade and military "pivot to China," along with its sanctions against high-ranking Russians and Russian energy, financial and defense firms and the Trump regime's provocations, sanctions and insults aimed at both countries have now born fruit: There is talk of a military alliance between China and Russia. Both countries deny that such is in the offing, but the fact that it is even discussed reveals how effectively U.S. foreign policy has created enemies and united them. Even if they would have drawn closer anyway, China and Russia cannot ignore the advantage of teaming up in the face of U.S. hostility. A more idiotic approach than this hostility is scarcely imaginable. Remember, not too long ago the U.S. had little problem with its chief trading partner, China, and there were even reports some years back of actual military cooperation in Syria between the U.S. and Russia. All that is gone now, dissolved in a fog of deliberate ill-will.

So what are some of the absurd U.S. policies that have reaped this potential whirlwind? An utterly unnecessary trade war with China, with tariffs that were paid, not by China, but by importers and then passed on to American consumers. There is the Trump regime's assault on China's technology sector and its attempt to lockout Huawei from the 5G bonanza. Then there are the attacks on Russian business, like its deal to sell natural gas to Germany, attacks in which the U.S. insists Germany buy the much more expensive U.S. product to avoid becoming beholden to Russia. And of course, there are the constant mega-deals involving sales of U.S. weapons to anyone who might oppose China, Russia, North Korea or Iran.

Aggravating these economic assaults, the U.S. navy aggressively patrols the South China Sea, the Black Sea and more and more the Arctic Ocean, where Russia has already been since forever. Russia has a lengthy Siberian coast, making U.S. talk of Russia's so-called aggressive posture there just plain ludicrous. And now a NATO ally, Turkey, stirs the pot by egging on Azerbaijan in its war against Armenia, which has a defense treaty with Russia. Azerbaijan is famous for the oil fields of Baku.

Never has it been clearer that the U.S. deploys its military might to advance its corporations' interests, international law be damned. As General Smedley Butler wrote of his military service way back in the early 20 th century, he was "a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank Boys to collect revenues in," and on and on. Nothing has changed since them. It's only gotten worse. Indeed now we're in a position where it is Russia that abides by international law, while the U.S. flouts it, instead following something bogus it calls the "rules of the liberal international order."

The biggest and most consequential U.S. foreign policy failure involves nuclear weapons. Here the Trump regime has outdone all its predecessors. It withdrew the U.S. from the Intermediate Range Nuclear treaty, which banned land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and certain missile launchers and which it first signed in 1987. It withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty, inked in 1992. That agreement allowed aircraft to fly over the signatories' territory to monitor missile installations.

Trump has also made clear he intends to deep-six the 2010 New Start Treaty with Russia, which limits nuclear warheads, nuclear armed bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and missile launchers. The Trump regime has made the ridiculous, treaty-killing demand that China participate in START talks. Why should it? China has 300 nuclear missiles, on a par with countries like the U.K. The U. S. and Russian have 6000 apiece. China's response? Sure we'll join START, as soon as the U.S. cuts its arsenal to 300. Naturally that went over like a lead balloon in Washington.

And now, lastly, the white house has urged nations that signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – which just recently received formal UN ratification – to withdraw their approval. The U.S. spouted doubletalk about the TPNW's dangers, in order to head off international law banning nuclear weapons, just as it has banned – and thus stigmatized – chemical weapons, cluster bombs and germ warfare. Doubtless the Trump regime's panic over the TPNW derives from its desire to "keep all options on the table" militarily, including the nuclear one.

What is the point here? To make the unthinkable thinkable, to make nuclear war easier to happen. The Pentagon appears delighted. Periodically military bigwigs are quoted praising new smaller nuclear missiles, developed not for deterrence, but for use. Indeed, scrapping deterrence policy – which has, insofar as it posits no first use, arguably been the only thing keeping humanity alive and the planet habitable since the dangerous dawn of the atomic era – has long been the dream of Pentagon promoters of "small, smart nuclear weapons" for "limited" nuclear wars. How these geniuses would control such a move from escalating into a wider nuclear war and planetary holocaust is never mentioned.

Before he assumed office, Trump reportedly shocked his advisors by asking, if we have nuclear weapons, why can't we use them? Only someone dangerously ignorant or profoundly lacking in basic human morality could ask such a question. Only someone eager to ditch the human-species-saving policy of no-first-strike nuclear deterrence but willing to risk nuclear extinction could flirt with such madness. Later in his presidency, Trump asserted that he could end the war in Afghanistan easily if he wanted, hinting that he meant nukes, but that he did not incline toward murdering 10 million people. Well, thank God for this shred of humanity.

Some assume a Biden presidency would chart a different course, but they may be counting their chickens before they're hatched. Biden has made very hostile noises about Russia, China and North Korea and has surrounded himself with neo-con hawks. He has so far made no promise to return to the nuclear negotiating table for anything other than START. Would he try to resuscitate the INF and Open Skies treaties? Would he end Trump regime blather aimed at scotching TPNW? Maybe. Or he may have imbibed so much anti-Russia and anti-China poison that he, like Trump, sees the absence of treaties as a green light for nuclear aggression.

Biden's official Foreign Policy Plan says that he regards the purpose of nuclear weapons as deterrence, thus endorsing this at best very flawed compromise for survival. That he, apparently unlike Trump, abjures a nuclear first strike is a huge relief, but how long will it last? The Pentagon has been very persuasive over many decades of center-right rule and there is no reason to assume that it will suddenly adopt a hands-off policy with Biden just because he favors nuclear deterrence. Some military-industrial-complex sachems regard the no-first-use principle as a mistake. Also, remember, Obama okayed a trillion-dollar nuclear arms upgrade. Biden was his vp. What about that? This is no minor, petty concern. Russia is armed to the teeth with supersonic nuclear weapons and China has concluded from U.S. belligerence that it better arm up too. We are in dangerous waters here. Let's hope they don't become radioactive.

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Birdbrain . She can be reached at her website . New from
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Friday - Sunday RICHARD D. WOLFF
Why Capitalism Was Destined to Come Out on Top in the 2020 Election EVE OTTENBERG
U.S. Foreign Policy is a Failure, Whoever's President JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Roaming Charges: the Fog of Bores ROB URIE
Two Capitalist Parties Compete, Humanity Loses KIM SCIPES
The AFL-CIO's Foreign Policy Program: Where Historians Now Stand RON JACOBS
The Election and the Empire PAUL STREET
An Omaha Stake in the Heart of Orange Satan? Early Reflections on the Election ROBERT HUNZIKER
A Troubling Discovery in the Arctic JOSEPH NATOLI
Nothing Sacred RAMZY BAROUD
Macron's Incitement: 'Crisis in Islam' or French Politics? DEAN BAKER
Donald Trump and Being Deplorable ROGER HARRIS
Leveraging the Ruling Class's Loss of Legitimacy JOSEPH SCALIA III
Terra & Demos: A Unified Ethics for Conservation and the Human Quest DANIEL LAZARE
At Breaking Point: Why the Constitutional Crisis Will Only Get Worse MANUEL GARCÍA, JR.
Death-Grip by Fungal Ideas JOHN FEFFER
U.S. Democracy: the Four-Year Rule? NICK PEMBERTON
It's Not Populism, It's Voter Suppression RICHARD C. GROSS
Aftermath DANIEL BEAUMONT
Prison, the Plague, Writing and Exile: an Interview With Aslı Erdoğan AJAMU BARAKA
Confronting Bipartisan Repression and the US/EU/NATO Axis of Domination Beyond Election Day ROBERT FANTINA
Amy Coney Barrett: the Latest Supreme Court Travesty PRABHAT PATNAIK
India's Move Toward a De Facto Unitary State LOUIS PROYECT
The Origins of Commercial Capitalism REBECCA GORDON
In a Looking Glass World, Our Work is Just Beginning OLIVIA ALPERSTEIN
Ending the Nuclear Age PRABIR PURKAYASTHA
Why Google is Facing Serious Accusations of Monopoly Practices ROBERT KOEHLER
Trump Talk TOM MOUNTAIN
Western Civilization? SUSAN BLOCK
RIP Betty Dodson, Sex Revolutionary NICKY REID
Democracy as Mental Illness: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Cross 2020 ERIK MOLVAR
Killing Fields: the Seamy Side of Idaho's Wildlife Agency FRANCES MADESON
Arsonist of Three Black Louisiana Churches Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison B. R. GOWANI
Trump and the US CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
When Trump Takes Advice DAVID YEARSLEY
Bach the Poll Worker JOHN KENDALL HAWKINS
Invasion of the Mental Snatchers ED SANDERS
Oi-Joy Teeter Totter: a Glyph November 05, 2020 PATRICK COCKBURN
Trump's Bid to Stop the Count Risks Turning America into an 'Illiberal Democracy' like Turkey VIJAY PRASHAD
U.S. is Doing Its Best to Lock Out China From Latin America and the Caribbean DAVID ROSEN
Police Violence: a Crisis of Masculinity? KATHLEEN WALLACE
Thanks Obama! LEIA BARNETT
A Call to Reclaim Our Awareness for the Wild SUSIE DAY
That's Not Gangster, That's Love: Eddie Conway and Jose Saldaña Talking KENN ORPHAN
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[Nov 06, 2020] Did the Iraq War Cause the Great Recession?'

Highly recommended!
Iran war might be too much for the US economy
Apr 07, 2013 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile ,

April 7, 2013 at 12:46 am
Western hypocrisy revealed 10 years after the event in today's Independent: "Tony Blair and Iraq: The damning evidence" . And they go on and on about those wicked, evil Russians and their tyrannical leader causing death and destruction Syria by their "support" of the Assad government whilst the West arms the "freedom fighters" there.

[Oct 21, 2020] How Trump Got Played By The Military-Industrial Complex by Akbar Shahid Ahmed

Highly recommended!
Tramp was essentially the President from military industrial complex and Israel lobby. So he was not played. That's naive. He followed the instructions.
Oct 21, 2020 | www.huffpost.com

On March 20, 2018, President Donald Trump sat beside Saudi crown prince Muhammed bin Salman at the White House and lifted a giant map that said Saudi weapons purchases would support jobs in "key" states -- including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Ohio, all of which were crucial to Trump's 2016 election victory .

"Saudi Arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment but if you look, in terms of dollars, $3 billion, $533 million, $525 million -- that's peanuts for you. You should have increased it," Trump said to the prince, who was (and still is) overseeing a military campaign in Yemen that has deployed U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

Trump has used his job as commander-in-chief to be America's arms-dealer-in-chief in a way no other president has since Dwight Eisenhower, as he prepared to leave the presidency, warned in early 1961 of the military-industrial complex's political influence. Trump's posture makes sense personally ― this is a man who regularly fantasizes about violence, usually toward foreigners ― and he and his advisers see it as politically useful, too. The president has repeatedly appeared at weapons production facilities in swing states, promoted the head of Lockheed Martin using White House resources, appointed defense industry employees to top government jobs in an unprecedented way and expanded the Pentagon's budget to near-historic highs ― a guarantee of future income for companies like Lockheed and Boeing.

Trump is "on steroids in terms of promoting arms sales for his own political benefit," said William Hartung, a scholar at the Center for International Policy who has tracked the defense industry for decades. "It's a targeted strategy to get benefits from workers in key states."

In courting the billion-dollar industry, Trump has trampled on moral considerations about how buyers like the Saudis misuse American weapons, ethical concerns about conflicts of interest and even part of his own political message, the deceptive claim that he is a peace candidate. He justifies his policy by citing job growth, but data from Hartung , a prominent analyst, shows he exaggerates the impact. And Trump has made clear that a major motivation for his defense strategy is the possible electoral benefit it could have.

Next month's election will show if the bargain was worth it. As of now, it looks like Trump's bet didn't pay off ― for him, at least. Campaign contribution records, analysts in swing states and polls suggest arms dealers have given the president no significant political boost. The defense contractors, meanwhile, are expected to continue getting richer, as they have in a dramatic way under Trump.

Playing Corporate Favorites

Trump has thrice chosen the person who decides how the Defense Department spends its gigantic budget. Each time, he has tapped someone from a business that wants those Pentagon dollars. Mark Esper, the current defense secretary, worked for Raytheon; his predecessor, Pat Shanahan, for Boeing; and Trump's first appointee, Jim Mattis, for General Dynamics, which reappointed him to its board soon after he left the administration.

Of the senior officials serving under Esper, almost half have connections to military contractors, per the Project on Government Oversight. The administration is now rapidly trying to fill more Pentagon jobs under the guidance of a former Trump campaign worker, Foreign Policy magazine recently revealed ― prioritizing political reasons and loyalty to Trump in choosing people who could help craft policy even under a Joe Biden presidency.

Such personnel choices are hugely important for defense companies' profit margins and risk creating corruption or the impression of it. Watchdog groups argue Trump's handling of the hiring process is more evidence that lawmakers and future presidents must institute rules to limit the reach of military contractors and other special interests.

"Given the hundreds of conflicts of interest flouting the rule of law in the Trump administration , certainly these issues have gotten that much more attention and are that much more salient now than they were four years ago," said Aaron Scherb, the director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, a nonpartisan good-government group.

The theoretical dangers of Trump's approach became a reality last year, when a former employee for the weapons producer Raytheon used his job at the State Department to advocate for a rare emergency declaration allowing the Saudis and their partner the United Arab Emirates to buy $8 billion in arms ― including $2 billion in Raytheon products ― despite congressional objections. As other department employees warned that Saudi Arabia was defying U.S. pressure to behave less brutally in Yemen, former lobbyist Charles Faulkner led a unit that urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give the kingdom more weapons. Pompeo pushed out Faulkner soon afterward, and earlier this year, the State Department's inspector general criticized the process behind the emergency declaration for the arms.

Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention cente MOHAMED AL-SAYAGHI / REUTERS
Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention center in Yemen on Sept. 1, 2019. The Saudis military campaign in Yemen has relied on U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

Even Trump administration officials not clearly connected to the defense industry have shown an interest in moves that benefit it. In 2017, White House economic advisor Peter Navarro pressured Republican lawmakers to permit exports to Saudi Arabia and Jared Kushner, the president's counselor and son-in-law, personally spoke with Lockheed Martin's chief to iron out a sale to the kingdom, The New York Times found.

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When Congress gave the Pentagon $1 billion to develop medical supplies as part of this year's coronavirus relief package, most of the money went to defense contractors for projects like jet engine parts instead, a Washington Post investigation showed .

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"It's a very close relationship and there's no kind of sense that they're supposed to be regulating these people," Hartung said. "It's more like they're allies, standing shoulder to shoulder."

Seeking Payback

In June 2019, Lockheed Martin announced that it would close a facility that manufactures helicopters in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and employs more than 450 people. Days later, Trump tweeted that he had asked the company's then-chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, to keep the plant open. And by July 10, Lockheed said it would do so ― attributing the decision to Trump.

The president has frequently claimed credit for jobs in the defense industry, highlighting the impact on manufacturing in swing states rather than employees like Washington lobbyists, whose numbers have also grown as he has expanded the Pentagon's budget. Lockheed has helped him in his messaging: In one instance in Wisconsin, Hewson announced she was adding at least 45 new positions at a plant directly after Trump spoke there, saying his tax cuts for corporations made that possible.

Trump is pursuing a strategy that the arms industry uses to insulate itself from political criticism. "They've reached their tentacles into every state and many congressional districts," Scherb of Common Cause said. That makes it hard for elected officials to question their operations or Pentagon spending generally without looking like they are harming their local economy.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat who represents Coatesville, welcomed Lockheed's change of course, though she warned, "This decision is a temporary reprieve. I am concerned that Lockheed Martin and [its subsidiary] Sikorsky are playing politics with the livelihoods of people in my community."

The political benefit for Trump, though, remains in question, given that as president he has a broad set of responsibilities and is judged in different ways.

"Do I think it's important to keep jobs? Absolutely," said Marcel Groen, a former Pennsylvania Democratic party chair. "And I think we need to thank the congresswoman and thank the president for it. But it doesn't change my views and I don't think it changes most people's in terms of the state of the nation."

With polls showing that Trump's disastrous response to the health pandemic dominates voters' thoughts and Biden sustaining a lead in surveys of most swing states , his argument on defense industry jobs seems like a minor factor in this election.

Hartung of the Center for International Policy drew a parallel to President George H.W. Bush, who during his 1992 reelection campaign promoted plans for Taiwan and Saudi Arabia to purchase fighter jets produced in Missouri and Texas. Bush announced the decisions at events at the General Dynamics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis that made the planes. That November, as Bill Clinton defeated him, he lost Missouri by the highest margin of any Republican in almost 30 years and won Texas by a slimmer margin than had become the norm for a GOP presidential candidate.

President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July MANDEL NGAN VIA GETTY IMAGES
President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July 12, 2019. Trump does not appear to be winning his political bet that increased defense spending would help his political fortunes.

Checking The Receipts

The defense industry can't control whether voters buy Trump's arguments about his relationship with it. But it could, if it wanted to, try to help him politically in a more direct way: by donating to his reelection campaign and allied efforts.

Yet arms manufacturers aren't reciprocating Trump's affection. A HuffPost review of Federal Election Commission records showed that top figures and groups at major industry organizations like the National Defense Industrial Association and the Aerospace Industries Association and at Lockheed, Trump's favorite defense firm, are donating this cycle much as they normally do: giving to both sides of the political aisle, with a slight preference to the party currently wielding the most power, which for now is Republicans. (The few notable exceptions include the chairman of the NDIA's board, Arnold Punaro, who has given more than $58,000 to Trump and others in the GOP.)

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that's the case for contributions from the next three biggest groups of defense industry donors after Lockheed's employees.

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One smaller defense company, AshBritt Environmental, did donate $500,000 to a political action committee supporting Trump ― prompting a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center, which noted that businesses that take federal dollars are not allowed to make campaign contributions. Its founder told ProPublica he meant to make a personal donation.

For weapons producers, backing both parties makes sense. The military budget will have increased 29% under Trump by the end of the current fiscal year, per the White House Office of Management and Budget. Biden has said he doesn't see cuts as "inevitable" if he is elected, and his circle of advisers includes many from the national security world who have worked closely with ― and in many cases worked for ― the defense industry.

And arms manufacturers are "busy pursuing their own interests" in other ways, like trying to get a piece of additional government stimulus legislation, Hartung said ― an effort that's underway as the Pentagon's inspector general investigates how defense contractors got so much of the first coronavirus relief package.

Meanwhile, defense contractors continue to have an outsize effect on the way policies are designed in Washington through less political means. A recent report from the Center for International Policy found that such companies have given at least $1 billion to the nation's most influential think tanks since 2014 ― potentially spending taxpayer money to influence public opinion. They have also found less obvious ways to maintain support from powerful people, like running the databases that many congressional offices use to connect with constituents, Scherb of Common Cause said.

"This goes into a much bigger systemic issue about big money in politics and the role of corporations versus the role of Americans," Scherb said.

Given its reach, the defense industry has little reason to appear overtly partisan. Instead, it's projecting confidence despite the generally dreary state of the global economy: Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has said he expects similar approaches from either winner of the election, arguing even greater Democratic control and the rise of less conventional lawmakers isn't a huge concern.

In short, whoever is in the White House, arms dealers tend to do just fine.

[Oct 19, 2020] New report shows more than $1B from war industry and govt. going to top 50 think tanks

Highly recommended!
Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Oct 17 2020 23:20 utc | 76

New report shows more than $1B from war industry and govt. going to top 50 think tanks
Esper's speech demonstrates a confluence of policies, ideas, and funds that permeate through the system, and are by no means unique to a single service, think tank, or contractor.

First, Esper consistently situated his future expansion plans in a need to adapt to "an era of great power competition." CNAS is one of the think tanks leading the charge in highlighting the threat from Beijing.

They also received at least $8,946,000 from 2014-2019 from the U.S. government and defense contractors, including over $7 million from defense contractors like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls, General Dynamics, and Boeing who would stand to make billions if the 500-ship fleet were enacted.

It's all about the money. Foreign and domestic policy is always all about the money, either directly or indirectly. Of course, the ultimate goal is power - or more precisely, the ultimate goal is relief of the fear of death, which drives every single human's every action, and only power can do that, and in this world only money can give you power (or so the chimpanzees believe.)

[Oct 14, 2020] Trump's latest arms sales to Taiwan aimed at winning votes by 'getting tough' on China but risks war -- RT Op-ed

Oct 14, 2020 | www.rt.com

Trump's latest arms sales to Taiwan aimed at winning votes by 'getting tough' on China but risks war Finian Cunningham Finian Cunningham is an award-winning journalist. For over 25 years, he worked as a sub-editor and writer for The Mirror, Irish Times, Irish Independent and Britain's Independent, among others. 14 Oct, 2020 14:56 / Updated 3 hours ago Get short URL Trump's latest arms sales to Taiwan aimed at winning votes by 'getting tough' on China but risks war Five US-made F16 jets fly over the Presidential Office during Taiwan's National Day. 10.10.2020 TAIPEI, TAIWAN © Getty Images / Walid Berrazeg / SOPA Images / LightRocket 17 Follow RT on RT In a reckless provocation to China, the Trump administration has given notice of three major arms deals with Taiwan. The rocket launcher and missiles on offer are advanced attack systems. Beijing is infuriated and vows to respond.

The timing of the weapons deals strongly suggests a calculated move by the Trump White House to deliberately antagonize China. After all, the Republican president and his Democrat rival have been sparring over which one is tougher towards Beijing. Riling up China would therefore play into President Donald Trump's hawkish posturing.

With recent opinion polls showing Trump losing ground to Joe Biden only three weeks from the ballot, it looks like the incumbent is throwing everything including the kitchen sink to boost his re-election chances. Announcing sped-up troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, as well as a touted nuclear arms agreement with Russia (dismissed by Moscow as overblown), seems to be part of a last-gasp effort by the Trump campaign to scrape up votes.

But offensive weapons sales to Taiwan is taking electioneering to recklessly dangerous levels. Trump may be betting that China will huff and puff and then a turn blind eye, thereby permitting him to make political gain without any real damage done – like starting a war.

READ MORE Trump's claim he'll 'make China pay' is more pre-election saber-rattling and he'll up the ante even further over next three weeks Trump's claim he'll 'make China pay' is more pre-election saber-rattling and he'll up the ante even further over next three weeks

It's more precarious than that. The Trump administration has been using Taiwan as a catspaw against China for too long. The latest weapons deals being proposed are just part of a slew of advanced armaments that the Trump White House has overseen in its determination to aggravate Beijing.

The moves by the Trump administration to increase supply of offensive weapons systems to Taiwan are unprecedented. Since Washington formally broke ties with Taiwan in 1979, as part of its One China policy to placate Beijing's territorial claims, previous administrations have limited arms sales to the breakaway island to "defensive" armaments.

Under Trump, however, Washington has signaled it is abandoning its One China policy by explicitly moving towards supporting Taiwan and its separatist position. Selling offensive missiles, torpedoes, anti-ship mines and F-16s to Taiwan over the past year alone is letting China know that the US is threatening to back the island in an armed confrontation with the mainland.

In recent months, the Trump administration has sent the most senior US officials on high-profile visits to Taiwan since 1979. Last month, Kelly Craft, the American ambassador to the UN, declared support for Taiwan to have official representation at the world body. Those high-level state acknowledgements have coincided with Washington sending high-powered military forces to the Taiwan Strait in the form of warships and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers.

ALSO ON RT.COM Zizek: Covid crisis sparked fear of communism & China's rise as superpower. But best way to prevent communism is to FOLLOW China

These provocative moves have been met by China escalating its military forces in a show of strength to underpin its self-declared right to retake Taiwan, which Beijing views as a renegade state since the 1949 civil war when the defeated nationalist faction exiled there.

The anti-China hostility generated in Washington is a bipartisan position adopted by Republicans and Democrats. That means the weapons sales lined up by Trump for Taiwan will likely be voted through, no matter who wins the presidential contest on November 3. There's also at least another four major arms packages reportedly in the works due at a later stage.

READ MORE The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy

The US foreign policy establishment and the Pentagon – as seen in several planning documents over recent years – have targeted China as a great power rival. The antagonism that Trump has certainly lent his brash personality to is not going away even if he loses the election next month.

Piling on weapons sales to Taiwan is not merely a reprehensible electioneering ploy which Trump might cynically calculate benefits him. It is part of a growing dynamic of belligerence out of Washington towards Beijing. Whether it's Trump or Biden sitting in the White House, that doesn't alter the disastrous collision course that Washington is charting towards Beijing based on the former's presumed imperialist prerogatives.

It's a foreboding sign of the times when China's President Xi Jinping this week warned combat marines to be prepared for war in defense of the nation's sovereignty.

America's cowardly habit of beating up on other people for its own political ego trips sooner or later goes too far. Washington messing around with China's sovereignty and national security as seen with incorrigible and increasingly offensive weapons sales to Taiwan is playing with fire. A fire that could be just one spark away.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Oct 11, 2020] Putin on the US Presidential race and the myth that Trump, one of the most hostile to Russia presidents in history, is somehow a "Putin puppet"

Highly recommended!
The problem with American imperialism that like tiger it can't change its spots. In this sense Trump vs Biden is false dilemma. "Bothe aare worse" as Stalin quipped on the other occasion. Both still profess "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine at the expense of the standard of living of the USA people (outside of top 10 or 20%)
The problem with Putin statement is that both candidates are marionette of more powerful forces. Trump is a hostage of Izreal lobby, which in the USA are mostly consist of rabid Russophobes (look art Schiff, Schumer and other members of this gang). Biden is a classic neoliberal warmonger, much like Hillary was, who voted for Iraq war, contributed to color revolution in Ukraine, and was instrumental in the conversion of Dems into the second war party. So there is zero choice in the coming election unless you want to punish Trump for the betrayal of his electorate, which probably is the oonly valid reason to vote for Biden in key states; otherwise you san safely ignore the elections as youn; influence anythng. In a deep sense this is a simply legitimization procedure for the role of the "Deep State", not so much real elections as both cadidates were already vetted by neoliberal establishment
The key problem with voting for Bide is that this way you essentially legitimizing Obama administration RussiaGate false flag operation. But as Putin said, chances for extending the Start treaty might worse this self-betrayal.
Oct 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Like much of the American public, the Russian public is no doubt weary of the prior couple years of non-stop 'Russiagate' headlines and wild accusations out of Western press, which all are now pretty much in complete agreement came to absolutely nothing. This is also why the whole issue has been conspicuously dropped by the Biden campaign and as a talking point among the Democrats, though in some corners there's been meek attempts to revive it, especially related to claims of "expected" Kremlin interference in the impending presidential election.

Apparently seeing in this an opportunity for some epic trolling, Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with Rossiya 1 TV days ago said it was actually the Democratic Party and the Communist Party which have most in common.

Putin was speaking in terms of historic Soviet communism in the recent interview (Wednesday) detailed in Newsweek. "The Democratic Party is traditionally closer to the so-called liberal values, closer to social democratic ideas," Putin began. "And it was from the social democratic environment that the Communist Party evolved."

"After all, I was a member of the Soviet Communist Party for nearly 20 years" Putin added. "I was a rank-and-file member, but it can be said that I believed in the party's ideas. I still like many of these left-wing values. Equality and fraternity. What is bad about them? In fact, they are akin to Christian values."

"Yes, they are difficult to implement, but they are very attractive, nevertheless. In other words, this can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative."

The Russian president also invoked that historically Russian communists in the Soviet era would have been fully on board the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights related causes. "So, this is something that can be seen, to a degree, as common values, if not a unifying agent for us," the Russian president said. "People of my generation remember a time when huge portraits of Angela Davis, a member of the U.S. Communist Party and an ardent fighter for the rights of African Americans, were on view around the Soviet Union."

So there it is: Putin is saying his own personal ideological past could be a basis of "shared values" with a Biden presidency, again, it what appears to be a sophisticated bit of trolling that he knows Biden won't welcome one bit. Or let's call it a 'Russian endorsement Putin style'. The Associated Press and others described it as Putin "hedging his bets", however.

Another interesting part of the interview is where the Russian TV presenter asked Putin the following question:

"The entire world is watching the final stage of the US presidential race. Much has happened there, including things we could never imagine happening before but the one constant in recent years is that your name is mentioned all the time," Zarubin said. "Moreover, during the latest debates, which have provoked a public outcry, presidential candidate Biden called candidate Trump 'Putin's puppy.'"

"Since they keep talking about you, I would like to ask a question which you probably will not want to answer," the interviewer continued. "Nevertheless, here it is: Whose position in this race, Trump's or Biden's, appeals to you more?"

And here's Putin's response:

"Everything that is happening in the United States is the result of the country's internal political processes and problems," Putin said. "By the way, when anyone tries to humiliate or insult the incumbent head of state, in this case in the context you have mentioned, this actually enhances our prestige, because they are talking about our incredible influence and power. In a way, it could be said that they are playing into our hands, as the saying goes."

But on a more serious note Putin pointed out that contrary to the notion some level of sympathy between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, much less the charge of "collusion", it remains that US-Russia relations have reached a low-point in recent history under Trump. The record bears this out.

Putin underscored that "the greatest number of various kinds of restrictions and sanctions were introduced [against Russia] during the Trump presidency."

"Decisions on imposing new sanctions or expanding previous ones were made 46 times. The incumbent's administration withdrew from the INF treaty. That was a very drastic step. After 2002, when the Bush administration withdrew from the ABM treaty, that was the second major step. And I believe it is a big danger to international stability and security," Putin explained.

"Now the US has announced the beginning of the procedure for withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty. We have good reason to be concerned about that, too. A number of our joint projects, modest, but viable, have not been implemented – the business council project, expert council, and so on," he concluded.

But then on Biden specifically Putin said that despite "rather sharp anti-Russian rhetoric" from the Democratic nominee, it remains "Candidate Biden has said openly that he was ready to extend the New START or to sign a new strategic offensive reductions treaty."

"This is already a very significant element of our potential future cooperation," Putin added of a potential Biden presidency.

[Sep 27, 2020] Should Trump be changed as a war criminal along with Obama, Bush, Clinton's, and Dick Cheney

Sep 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

Harold Smith , says: September 26, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT

@Robert Dolan

"Trump doesn't even have the balls to go after the people who spied on him and tried to remove him from office. This is actually the greatest political scandal in American history, yet nothing will be done about it."

I don't think anyone was actually trying to remove him from office (they could've added his war crimes and violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to the impeachment charges if they were serious about removing him). Most likely it's all political theater to fool the people who need and/or want to be fooled.

Biff , says: September 27, 2020 at 12:45 am GMT
@Harold Smith

I don't think anyone was actually trying to remove him from office ( they could've added his war crimes and violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to the impeachment charges if they were serious about removing him). Most likely it's all political theater to fool the people who need and/or want to be fooled.

We are talking about thee most brazen pack of hypocrites, but charging Trump with war crimes with Obama, Bush, Clinton's, and Dick Cheney just standing around just might be a bridge too far.

Harold Smith , says: September 27, 2020 at 5:30 am GMT
@Biff

However, unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength."

And as we've seen all of it was a lie. Trump's whole campaign was a calculated bait-and-switch fraud. In order to win the election the con man had to steal votes from antiwar voters such as myself just the same as if he'd rigged voting machines.

Trump is a lying, mass-murdering, psychotic, psychopathic, traitorous, Israel-first, America-last hard core militant zionist extremist.

[Sep 17, 2020] Why the Blob Needs an Enemy by ARTA MOEINI

Highly recommended!
Crisis of neoliberal undermines the USA supremacy and the US elite hangs by the stras to the Full Specturm Domionanc edoctrine, whih it now can't enforce and which is financially unsustainable for the USA.
Collapse of neoliberalism means the end of the USA supremacy and the whole political existence on the USA was banked on this single card.
Notable quotes:
"... In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily. ..."
"... In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well. ..."
"... There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism. ..."
"... Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. ..."
Sep 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The international order is no longer bipolar, despite the elites' insistence otherwise. Fortunately there is hope for change.

Despite its many failings and high human, social, and economic costs, American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War has shown a remarkable degree of continuity and inflexibility. This rather curious phenomenon is not limited to America alone. The North Atlantic foreign policy establishment from Washington D.C. to London, which some have aptly dubbed the "blob," has doggedly championed the grand strategic framework of "primacy" and armed hegemony, often coated with more docile language such as "global leadership," "American indispensability," and "strengthening the Western alliance."

In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily.

On the Left, and in the wake of President Trump's election, the Democratic establishment began fixating its wrath on Russia–adopting a confrontational stance toward Moscow and fueling fears of a renewed Cold War. On the Right, the realigning GOP has increasingly, if at times inconsistently, singled out China as the greatest threat to U.S. national security, a hostile attitude further exacerbated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alarmingly, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has recently joined the hawkish bandwagon toward China, even attempting to outflank Trump on this issue and attacking the president's China policy as too weak and accommodating of China's rise.

In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well.

Indeed, the dominant tendency among many foreign policy observers is to overprivilege the threat of rising superpowers and to insist on strong containment measures to limit the spheres of influence of the so-called revisionist powers. Such an approach, coupled with the prospect of ascendant powers actively resisting and confronting the United States as the ruling global hegemon, has one eminent International Relations scholar warning of the Thucydides Trap.

There are others, however, who insist that the structural shifts undermining the liberal international order mark the end of U.S. hegemony and its "unipolar moment." In realist terms, what Secretary Esper really means to protect, they would argue, is a conception of "rules-based" global order that was a structural by-product of the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War and whose very rules and institutions were underwritten by U.S. hegemony. This would be an exercise in folly -- not corresponding to the reality of systemic change and the return of great power competition and civilizational contestation.

What's more, the sanctimony of this "liberal" hegemonic order and the logic of democratic peace were both presumably vindicated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its totalitarian system, a black swan event that for many had heralded the "end of history" and promised the advent of the American century. A great deal of lives, capital, resources, and goodwill were sacrificed by America and her allies toward that crusade for liberty and universality, which was only the most recent iteration of a radically utopian element in American political thought going back to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Alas, as it had eluded earlier generations of idealists, that century never truly arrived, and neither did the empire of liberty and prosperity that it loftily aimed to establish.

Today, the emerging reality of a multipolar world and alternate worldviews championed by the different cultural blocs led by China and Russia appears to have finally burst the bubble of American Triumphalism, proving that the ideas behind it are "not simply obsolete but absurd." This failure should have been expected since the very project the idealists had espoused was built on a pathological "savior complex" and a false truism that reflected the West's own absolutist and distorted sense of ideological and moral superiority. Samuel Huntington might have been right all along to cast doubt on the long-term salience of using ideology and doctrinal universalism as the dividing principle for international relations. His call to focus, instead, on civilizational distinction, the permanent power of culture on human action, and the need to find common ground rings especially true today. Indeed, fostering a spirit of coexistence and open dialogue among the world's great civilizational complexes is a fundamental tenet of a cultural realism.

And yet, despite such permanent shifts in the global order away from universalist dichotomies and global hegemony and toward culturalism and multi-polarity, there exists a profound disjunction between the structural realities of the international system and the often business-as-usual attitude of the North Atlantic foreign policy elites. How could one explain the astonishing levels of rigidity and continuity on the part of the "blob" and the military-industrial-congressional complex regularly pushing for more adventurism and interventionism abroad? Why would the bipartisan primacist establishment, which their allies in the mainstream media endeavor still to mask, justify such illiberal acts of aggression and attempts at empire by weaponizing the moralistic language of human rights, individual liberty, and democracy in a world increasingly awakened to arbitrary ideological framing?

There are, of course, systemic reasons behind the power and perpetuation of the blob and the endurance of primacy. The vast economic incentives of war and its instruments, institutional routinization and intransigence, stupefaction and groupthink of government bureaucracy, and the significant influence of lobbying efforts by foreign governments and other vested interest groups could each partly explain the remarkable continuity of the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. The endless stream of funding from the defense industry, neoliberal and neoconservative foundations, as well as the government itself keeps the "blob" alive, while the general penchant for bipartisanship around preserving the status quo allows it to thrive. What is more, elite schools produce highly analytic yet narrowly focused and conventional minds that are tamed to be agreeable so as to not undermine elite consensus. This conveyor belt feeds the "blob," supplying it with the army of specialists, experts, and wonks it requires to function as a mind melding hive, while in practice safeguarding employment for the career bureaucrats for decades to come.

There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. The world might have changed fundamentally with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the bipolar structure of the international system might have ended irreversibly, but the personnel -- the Baby Boomer Generation elites conducting foreign policy in the North Atlantic -- did not leave office or retire with the collapse of the USSR. They largely remain in power to this day.

Every generation is forged through a formative crisis, its experiences seen through the prism that all-encompassing ordeal. For the incumbent elites, that generational crisis was the Cold War and the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation. The dualistic paradigm of the international system during the U.S.-Soviet rivalry bred an entire generation to see the world through a black-and-white binary. It should come as no surprise that this era elevated the idealist strain of thought and the crusading, neo-Jacobin impulse of U.S. foreign policy (personified by Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson) to new, ever-expanding heights. Idealism prizes a nemesis and thus revels in a bipolar order.

Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism.

Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. After all, a nemetic zeitgeist during which ideology reigned supreme and realism was routinely discounted was tailor-made for dogmatic absolutism and moral universalism. In such a zero-sum strategic environment, it was only natural to demand totality and frame the ongoing geopolitical struggle in terms of an existential opposition over Good and Evil that would quite literally split the world in two.

Today, that same kind of Manichean thinking continues to handicap paradigmatic change in foreign policy. A false consciousness, it underpins and promotes belief in the double myths of indispensability and absolute exceptionality, suggesting that the North Atlantic bloc holds a certain monopoly on all that is good and true. It is not by chance that such pathological renderings of "exceptionalism" and "leadership" have been wielded as convenient rationale and intellectual placeholders for the ideology of empire across the North Atlantic. This sense of ingrained moral self-righteousness, coupled with an attitude that celebrates activism, utopianism, and interventionism in foreign policy, has created and reinforced a culture of strategic overextension and imperial overreach.

It is this very culture -- personified and dominated by the Baby Boomers and the blob they birthed -- that has made hawkishness ubiquitous, avoids any real reckoning as to the limits of power, and habitually belittles calls for restraint and moderation as isolationism. In truth, however, what has been the exceptional part in the delusion of absolute exceptionalism is Pax Americana, liberal hegemony, and the hubris that animates them having gone uncontested and unchecked for so long. That confrontation could begin in earnest by directly challenging the Boomer blob itself -- and by propagating a counter-elite offering a starkly different worldview.

Achieving such a genuine paradigm shift demands a generational sea-change, to retire the old blob and make a better one in its place. It is about time for the old establishment to forgo its reign, allowing a new younger cohort from among the Millennial and post-Millennial generations to advance into leadership roles. The Millennials, especially, are now the largest generation of eligible voters (overtaking the Baby Boomers) as well as the first generation not habituated by the Cold War; in fact, many of them grew up during the "unipolar moment" of American hegemony. Hence, their generational identity is not built around a dualistic alterity. Free from obsessive fixation on ideological supremacy, most among them reject total global dominance as both unattainable and undesirable.

Instead, their worldview is shaped by an entirely different set of experiences and disappointments. Their generational crisis was brought on by a series of catastrophic interventions and endless wars around the world -- chief among them the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq and the toppling of Libya's Gaddafi -- punctuated by repeated onslaughts of financial recessions and domestic strife. The atmosphere of uncertainty, instability, and general chaos has bred discontent, turning many Millennials into pragmatic realists who are disenchanted with the system, critical of the pontificating establishment, and naturally skeptical of lofty ideals and utopian doctrines.

In short, this is not an absolutist and complacent generation of idealists, but one steeped in realism and a certain perspectivism that has internalized the inherent relativity of both power and truth. Most witnessed the dangers of overreach, hubris, and a moralized foreign policy, so they are actively self-reflective, circumspect, and restrained. As a generation, they appear to be less the moralist and the global activist and more prudent, level-headed, and temperamentally conservative -- developing a keen appreciation for realpolitik, sovereignty, and national interest. Their preference for a non-ideological approach in foreign policy suggests that once in power, they will be less antagonistic and more tolerant of rival powers and accepting of pluralism in the international system. That openness to civilizational distinction and global cultural pluralism also implies that future Millennial statesmen will subscribe to a more humble, less grandiose, and narrower definition of interest that focuses on securing core objectives -- i.e., preserving national security and recognizing spheres of influence.

Reforming and rehabilitating the U.S. foreign policy establishment will require more than policy prescriptions and comprehensive reports: it needs generational change. To transform and finally "rein in" North Atlantic foreign policy, our task today must be to facilitate and expedite this shift. Once that occurs, the incoming Millennials should be better positioned to discard the deep-seated and routinized ideology of empire, supplanting it with a greater emphasis on partnership that is driven by mutual interests and a general commitment to sharing the globe with the world's other great cultures.

This new approach calls for America to lead by the power of its example, exhibiting the benefits of liberty and a constitutional republic at home, without forcibly imposing those values abroad. Such an outlook means abandoning the coercive regime change agendas and the corrosive projects of nation-building and democracy promotion. In this new multipolar world, America would be an able, dynamic, and equal participant in ensuring sustainable peace side-by-side the world's other great powers, acting as "a normal country in a normal time." Reflecting the spirit of republican governance authentically is far more pertinent now and salutary for the future of the North Atlantic peoples than is promulgating the utopian image of a shining city on a hill.

Arta Moeini is research director at the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy and a postdoc fellow at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship. Dr. Moeini's latest project advances a theory of cultural realism as a cornerstone to a new understanding of foreign policy.

The Institute for Peace and Diplomacy will be co-sponsoring "The Future of Grand Strategy in the Post-COVID World," with TAC, tonight at 6 p.m. ET. Register for free here .

[Aug 27, 2020] Rand Paul Delivers Blistering Foreign Policy Attack- -Biden Will Choose War Again- -

Aug 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Among the most notable highlights at last night's Republican National Convention, Senator Rand Paul delivered a blistering take down of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's foreign policy, which Paul linked to multiple wars under Democrat administrations spanning decades (going back to Clinton's bombing of Serbia).

"I fear Biden will choose war again," Paul asserted . "He supported war in Serbia, Syria, Libya. Joe Biden will continue to spill our blood and treasure. President Trump will bring our heroes home."

"If you hate war like I hate war, if you want us to quit sending $50 billion every year to Afghanistan to build their roads and bridges instead of building them here at home , you need to support President Trump for another term," said Paul, who has long been a fierce critic of former President Obama's foreign policy, including overt intervention in Libya, and covert action toward destabilizing Syria.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1298426809290285057

He slammed Biden as a hawk who has "consistently called for more war" and with no signs anything would be different.

Interestingly, Sen. Paul has also in the recent past led foreign policy push back against President Trump - especially over the two times Trump has bombed Syria following alleged Assad chemical attacks, which Paul along with other anti-interventionists across the aisle like Tulsi Gabbard questioned to begin with.

But it appears Paul is firmly supportive of Trump's newly released 50-point agenda for his second term outlining the Commander-in-Chief will "stop endless war" and ultimately bring US troops "home." The plan still emphasized, however, the administration will "maintain" US military strength abroad while 'wiping' out global terrorism.

"President Trump is the first president in a generation to seek to end war rather than start one. He intends to end the war in Afghanistan. He is bringing our men and women home. Compare President Trump with the disastrous record of Joe Biden, who has consistently called for more war ," Paul said further.

Back during the primaries in 2016, Paul and Trump sparred intensely over national security questions:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1298422787120361472

He also highlighted Biden's unrepentant yes vote to go to war in Iraq .

"I'm supporting President Trump because he believes as I do that a strong America cannot fight endless wars. We must not continue to leave our blood and treasure in Middle East quagmires," Paul concluded.

Elsewhere in the approximately four-minute speech, Paul said Trump will fight "socialists poisoning our schools and burning our cities."


Cluster_Frak , 7 hours ago

Obama was a warmonger and so is Biden. They love war and doing everything possible for the next war to be on the home ground.

Davidduke2000 , 7 hours ago

Obama had skeletons in his closet, he did what the neocons want, Trump gave them the embassy and other shenanigans.

Izzy Dunne , 2 hours ago

And so is Trump. They are all warmongers, because war is what the US does...

Weihan , 7 hours ago

Paul is right.

Biden knows who butters his bread. At least candidate Trump - in principle - stood for opposition to the deep state's monstrous agenda.

Biden, Clinton, Bush, Obama are despicable warmongers. Their administrations were responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and the list would have gone on and on had it not been for Trump.


Remember Biden's 1992 Wall Street Journal article titled:

"How I Learned to Love the New World Order."

JUICE E SMALL IT EMPIRE , 7 hours ago

Rand was the only guy I watched last night and he was on point. I did not disagree with anything he said.

kulkarniravi , 8/26/2020, 2:33:07 PM

You can diss Obama all you want, but he signed a peace accord with Iran and Trump reneged on it. Iran is not the villain, at least not when compared to the likes of Saudi Arabia. And what's the deal with Cuba?

d_7878 , 6 hours ago

Rand on Trump:

"Are we going to fix the country through bombast and empty blather?

"Unless someone points out the emperor has no clothes, they will continue to strut about, and then we'll end up with a reality TV star as our nominee."

"Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag"

"Have you ever had a speck of dirt fly into your eye?""[It is] annoying, irritating and might even make you cry.

"If the dirt doesn't go away, it will keep scratching your cornea until eventually it blinds you with all its filth. A speck of dirt is way more qualified to be president."

Trump is a "fake conservative."

mike_1010 , 7 hours ago

Trump might be talking peace, but he has increased US military spending significantly more than previous presidents. He also tore up the US peace agreement with Iran and nearly triggered a US war with Iran by assassinating one of their top generals.

If any president is going to start a war with Iran, then it's Trump. And such a war would dwarf any recent wars USA has fought. Because Iran is three times bigger than Iraq in terms of their population, and they've been preparing for a possible US attack for decades.

Perhaps Biden might start a small war here or there. But Trump goes big on anything he does. If he starts a war, then it's going to be either with China or Iran.

So, neither Biden nor Trump is to be trusted, when it comes to war. But I'd say that Trump is the bigger danger compared to Biden. Because if Trump starts a war, then it might end up being a nuclear war.

Airstrip1 , 6 hours ago

Rand Paul needs to ask himself if the pot is blacker than the kettle.

How can he expect people to believe this disingenuous claptrap ?

The USA is an Empire-building Crime Cartel.

Dims or Reps are just frontmen managers for the Mob.

chopsuey , 7 hours ago

Ron and Rand. The dog and pony show. The alternative. They say what you want to hear.

I say

Phuck OFF Ron and Rand. You had many many years to do something (anything) about the endless "wars" and in reality, they are not really wars. They are ruthless invasions of vulnerable countries whereupon natural resources are contained, the culture and its symbolic treasures are destroyed/stolen and thousands to millions are killed in the name of USA. These unwarranted invasions are justified with lies and fraud and deceit.

Washington DC is the military capital of the world doing the dirty work of the elite. And its soldier are your kids and grandkids.

Wake the Phuck UP people. It will not end until they have achieved their objectives. You are fodder for their cannon.

Dragonlord , 7 hours ago

Biden voted for war in Iraq and supported Obama aggression in Libya, Syria, etc and he is disappointed that Trump did not help Kurd to wage war against Turks for their independence.

ConanTheContrarian1 , 7 hours ago

Not sure. Trump has to play ball with established Deep State interests while he tries (I hope) to set things right. So, yes, questions will abound for some time.

takefive , 7 hours ago

whatever the reason, he is now part of the swamp. and that's why he's in a tough re-election battle with a stiff.

Ex-Oligarch , 3 hours ago

You have it exactly wrong. If Trump were really part of the swamp, they wouldn't be fighting so desperately to prevent his re-election. They wouldn't have spent three years on the Russiagate failed coup, they wouldn't have gone through the ridiculous partisan impeachment exercise, they wouldn't have torpedoed the economy over coronavirus, and we wouldn't have organized race riots in all the democrat strongholds.

LaugherNYC , 3 hours ago

Rand Paul is just about the only grown-up in American politics.

How much bettter off would the USA be with a Paul/Gabbard ticket?

But ANYTHING is better than Joe Biden. Literally ANYTHING.

Well...assuming Hillary were dead or incapacitated,

DaVinciCode , 7 hours ago

It's happening. Yugoslavian girl give dire warning to Americans.

This all happened in her country the same way.

PLEASE LISTEN - it is coming to the USA and the West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-DSjSEl_CM

(copied from a fellow :-) thanks)

captain noob , 7 hours ago

No

synthetically derived , 5 hours ago

I agree with the Yugoslav girl's premise that the powers that be have been deceptively employing a divide-and-conquer strategy to get the American people to fight among themselves rather than confront their own corrupt government, but I do not buy into the conclusion drawn that the solution lies in trusting the head of the government (in this case Trump) to do right by the people.

As George Carlin famously said, "it's a big club, and you ain't in it!" The American people are not going to be able to fix the problems now confronting them by voting for one uniparty politician over another any more than the Yugoslav people were

wick7 , 7 hours ago

The Democrats will get their regime change war no matter what. If Biden is elected they'll continue the Syrian war that has cost 800,000 innocent lives so far. If Trump is elected they'll try to have one here to take him down.

yojimbo , 7 hours ago

Afghani GDP - $20bn. US military spending - $50bn.

They must have the best services in the world!

yesnomaybe , 7 hours ago

That video clip from the 2016 GOP debate is classic... as Paul questions Trump attacking personal appearances, Trump flat out denies it, and then proceeds to do just that in his next breath.

In all seriousness, Rand is a stand up guy and would make a great president.

Maghreb2 , 7 hours ago

Ru Paul has as much chance of stopping this war as Rand Paul. If he was a threat to the people starting it he would be getting the **** bashed out of him or shot dead by a mad man. Don't see many people talking about auditing the Fed outside of Texas anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Congressional_baseball_shooting

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/us/politics/rand-paul-attack.html

He's got a point. Biden's son is in Ukraine milking it high on crack cocaine like a senators son should in the new Roman Emperor. Ukrainian color revolution and CIA long war strategy means he has set up shop there permanently like a little princeling. Same as princess Kushners wonderful tour of the Middle Eastern courts to meet his boyfriends. Old days they would both have be poisoned to death or strangled as children for disrespecting the senate.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/08/will-hunter-biden-jeopardize-his-fathers-campaign

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/kushner-uae-israel-f-35-fighter-jet/index.html

Real rules of Eastern European politics are Nationalist winding up dead in dust bins behind the American Embassy and Russians threatening to switch of the gas and freeze everyone to death every winter. Footage of hard man dictator Lukashenko showing up at opposition protests with an assault rifle is broadcast to school children. I'd like to see Hunter Biden and Jared Kushner show up to something like that.

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2020/08/24/belarus-protests-lukashenko-rifle-fred-pleitgen-live-nr-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn

Truth is Trump is a ******* liar. the Moment they started to shut down Rammenstein airbase they moved forces close to the Belarus border to pull another color revolution right in front of Putin. Trump and the Republicans are just stooges for the Zionist mafia. They are playing war scare but its too piss take for anyone now. Polish and Baltic States are NATO and have their own prerogative. They just push people closer to war.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFKyYOZjFzc

Rand Paul should worry about the Civil War that should come after the election.

Aint no senators sons for that game....

DEDA CVETKO , 5 hours ago

Thank you, Rand, for remembering the little Serbia -- twice (in both World Wars) America's fiercest and most loyal ally, and now a roadkill of the Clinton Foundation and Madeleine Albright, the new owner of Kosovo.

The nations that sadistically massacre and dismember their friends and allies do not have a future, nor the right to claim any.

Scipio Africanuz , 5 hours ago

Again Senator Paul, we don't do self deception..

In almost four years, how many legions have been repatriated home, or how many of the existing wars have been ended?

All we've observed, is an escalation of hybrid wars, reducing in some, kinetism, and increasing death tolls via other means, and in some, increased covert kinetism..

Your candidate brazenly murdered a top general of a nation not at war with the US..

Imagine Senator Paul, if Iran had murdered Petraeus, would the US not have declared war?

That the Iranians didn't significantly escalate, was NOT due to fear, but back channel advocacy and energetic remonstrations by adult folks..

If you believe Biden is worse than your candidate who's done worse, in terms of brazen law abrogation, then why aren't you a candidate, or is it that you'd prefer partisanship to patriotism?

Look within your party for corollary and accomplice warmongers, and leave Biden alone after all, you do have a rabid warmongering Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton as party colleagues, no?

Senator Paul, there's principle, character, and integrity and then there's opportunism, partisanship, and betrayal..

Of nobility..

Anyhow, you're sovereign and thus, fully entitled to your choices, we simply point out inconsistencies between what you espouse, and what you support..

Character, Senator Paul, is destiny..

Cheers...

Anthraxed , 4 hours ago

Trump has dropped more bombs than Obama at the same time in his term.

You're in complete denial if you think Trump has stopped any of the wars. And yes, he is expanding the wars to a much larger country.

Trump's first veto was a bill that would have stopped the Yemen war.

Reality is like Cryptonite for Trumptards.

quanttech , 4 hours ago

lol, 10 minutes ago I was being accused of being Antifa, and now I'm a Trumptard. Definitely doing something right.

Yes, Trump is a war criminal extraordinaire. He dropped a MOAB. He removed controls on civilian casualties. He dropped 7400+ bombs on Afghanistan in 2019.... 60% of the casualties were civilians, mostly children.

He also stupidly listened to his generals when they told him to kill Sulemani. BUT... when the Iranians retaliated (and they DID retaliate, injuring dozens of US soldiers) Trump de-escalated. Similarly, when the Iranians downed a drone, the generals wanted to retaliate - Trump asked how many Iranians would die. The generals said 150. Trump said it didn't make sense to kill 150 people for downing a drone.

Trump is a moron who is completely out of it most of the time. But when he pays attention for a moment, he's against a a war with Iran.

Now, if I'm a Trumptard, then you're a Hillaryhead. My question to you is... where would we be if Hillary was president? Answer: at war with Iran. Another question: where will we be if Biden is president?

Dull Care , 3 hours ago

How much authority do you think Trump has over the foreign policy? Not a rhetorical question but I have yet to see an American president run for office advocating a more interventionist foreign policy yet it doesn't change greatly no matter who is in office. Trump often carries a big stick but he's nowhere near as reckless as his predecessors.

The one thing we know is Trump is hostile to the Chinese government and hasn't turned around relations with Russia.

quanttech , 1 hour ago

"... I have this feeling that whoever's elected president when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialists capitalists scum-***** who got you in there. And a big guy with a cigar goes: 'Roll the film.' And it's a shot of the Kennedy Assassination from an angle you've never seen before - It looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll. Then the screen comes up, and they go to the new president: 'Any questions?'"
- Bill Hicks, Rant in E-Minor (1993)

Observer 2020 , 5 hours ago

The spiritual, moral, ethical, philosophical, intellectual and cultural bankruptcy of Biden and his fellow death cult reprobates is depthless. One need know nothing more about them that they have become so detached from reality as to regard abortion, partial birth abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, generational genocide, genocide, of the white race, unremitting sociocultural warfare and the balkanization of this nation as being virtues.

Anyone who would even begin to contemplate supporting Biden or any of his fellow Fifth Columnists should be regarded as being too demented or otherwise Bidenesque to be competent to vote.

12Doberman , 5 hours ago

Biden has a record showing him to be a Neocon...and that's why we see the neverTrumpers supporting him.

Musum , 5 hours ago

And Pompeous is 10X worse than Biden. And he serves as Trump's Sec. of State.

chinoslims , 5 hours ago

Hey Trump is self professed king of Israel

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/donald-trump-king-of-israel

Musum , 5 hours ago

Of course, he's just a viceroy serving on behalf of the kosher people.

ted41776 , 8 hours ago

it's not what the president chooses

it's what chooses the president

conraddobler , 8 hours ago

This has lost all it's entertainment value.

Hollywood and the Postman was a more realistic view, in that movie I believe the warlord was a former copier either salesman or technician, can't remember but it's more likely a guy like that would have leadership capabilities than these clowns would.

invention13 , 1 hour ago

It saddens me that people can just go about their business in this country without giving a thought about the men and women who are getting injured and coming home stressed out and addicted to painkillers. Also that the real motive for continued military involvement in the ME is that some people are making tons of money off it. We need our own version of Smedley Butler these days.

It is all decadent beyond belief.

mrjinx007 , 1 hour ago

That MF no good SOB war mongering no good neocon SOB Shawn did everything he could to get RP to agree with him that we need to continue with the policy of regime change.

Rand just basically told him to shut the f up and stop blowing the Neo-cons' erections. It was precious. You know how people like this ******* Hannity get their funding from. Deep state, MIC, and all the f'king Rino's like Tommy Cotton.

gm_general , 2 hours ago

Thanks to Hillary and Obama, Libya is a complete mess and black people are being sold as slaves there. Let that sink in.

[Aug 21, 2020] The deep state "beef" with Trump is that he's rocking the boat

Aug 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

He [Bezos] and people like him are more concerned with maintaining the Dollar as reserve currency in order to facilitate the continued sell-out of Americans for cheap foreign manufactured goods, technology sells to China, and their own personal enrichment.

"The theory that refuses to die is that the US, as the country with "the" global reserve currency, "must have" a large trade deficit with the rest of the world."
https://www.sgtreport.com/2019/07/and-the-us-dollars-status-as-global-reserve-currency/

In both cases, the "beef" with Trump is that he's rocking the boat -- both in terms of his criticism of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama wars for Israel and the Petrodollar, and in terms of the America First noises he's made. While he's proven to be a fairly reliable Zionist stooge (although he hasn't started any new wars in the Mideast, and been more of a placeholder), he's edging a little too close to America First (with his domestic rhetoric and some of his policies) for comfort.

[Aug 19, 2020] Washington's Supposed Gift to President Putin

Aug 19, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

< Older Washington's Supposed Gift to President Putin written by brian cloughley tuesday august 18, 2020
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One of the comments made following Trump's decision to relocate some 12,000 troops from Germany was made by retired Admiral James ('Zorba') Stavridis, who in 2009-2013 was US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (the military commander of Nato). He declared that the action, among other things, "hurts NATO solidarity and is a gift to Putin." This was a most serious pronouncement, which was echoed by Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a rich Republican and Mormon cleric, who said the redeployment was a "gift to Russia." These sentiments were well-reported and endorsed by US media outlets which continue to be relentlessly anti-Russia.

Stavridis is the man who wrote that the seven-month bombing and rocketing of Libya by the US-Nato military grouping in 2011 "has rightly been hailed as a model intervention. The alliance responded rapidly to a deteriorating situation that threatened hundreds of thousands of civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime. It succeeded in protecting those civilians and, ultimately, in providing the time and space necessary for local forces to overthrow Muammar al-Gaddafi."

On June 22 Human Rights Watch noted that "over the past years" in Libya their investigators have "documented systematic and gross human rights and humanitarian law violations by armed groups on all sides, including torture and ill-treatment, rape and other acts of sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, forced displacement, unlawful killings and enforced disappearances ." Amnesty International's current Report also details the chaos in the shattered country where Nato conducted its "model intervention."

The Libya catastrophe illustrates the desperation of Nato in its continuing search for international situations in which it might be able to intervene, to try to provide some sort of justification for its existence. And the calibre of its leadership can be judged from the pronouncements of such as Stavridis, who was unsurprisingly considered a possibility for the post of Secretary of State by Donald Trump.

It is not explained how relocation of US troops from Germany could hurt Nato's "solidarity" but Defence Secretary Esper was more revealing about the situation as he sees it, when interviewed by balanced and objective Fox News on August 9. He declared "we basically are moving troops further east, closer to Russia's border to deter them. Most of the allies I've either spoken to, heard from or my staff has spoken to, see this as a good move. It will accomplish all of those objectives that have been laid out. And frankly, look, we still have 24,000 plus troops in Germany, so it will still be the largest recipient of US troops. The bottom line is the border has shifted as the alliance has grown." (It is intriguing that this important policy statement was not covered by US mainstream media and cannot be found on the Pentagon's Newsroom website -- the "one-stop shop for Defense Department news and information.")

No matter the spin from the Pentagon and what is now appearing in the US media, Trump's July 29 decision to move troops from Germany had no basis in strategy. It was not the result of a reappraisal of the regional or wider international situation. And it was not discussed with any of Washington's allies, causing Nato Secretary General Stoltenberg to say plaintively that it was "not yet decided how and when this decision will be implemented."

The BBC reported that "President Donald Trump said the move was a response to Germany failing to meet Nato targets on defence spending." Trump was quoted as telling reporters that "We don't want to be the suckers anymore. We're reducing the force because they're not paying their bills; it's very simple." It could not have been made clearer than that. The whole charade is the result of Trumpian petulance and has nothing to do with military strategy, no matter what is belatedly claimed by the Pentagon's Esper.

The German government was not consulted before Trump's contemptuous announcement, and defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer criticised Washington, saying "Nato is not a trade organisation, and security is not a commodity." But so far as Trump is concerned, security is indeed a commodity that can be traded as he sees fit, irrespective of relevance to national policy or anything other than his ego.

In trying to pick up the pieces following Trump's candid explanation of his orders to "reduce the force" in Germany, the Pentagon has conjured up a jumbled but confrontational plan intended to convince those who are interested (who do not include the German public), that it is all part of a grand scheme to extend the power of the US-Nato alliance. To this end, Esper announced he is "confident that the alliance will be all the better and stronger for it," because the redeployment involves reinforcement of the US military in Poland. He is moving 200 staff of the army's 5 corps to Krakow where, as reported by Military.com on August 5, "In a ceremony Army Chief of Staff General James McConville promoted John Kolasheski, the Army's V Corps commander, to the rank of lieutenant general and officially unfurled the headquarters' flag for the first time on Polish soil."

In addition to Washington's move of the advance HQ of V Corps to Krakow, there is a agreement that Poland will engage in what the Military Times reports as "a host of construction projects designed to support more US troops in that country" and Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Campbell said that the Warsaw government "has agreed to fund infrastructure and logistical support to US forces," which should please the White House.

These initiatives are part of the US-Poland Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement completed on August 3, which Esper stated "will enhance deterrence against Russia, strengthen NATO, reassure our Allies, and our forward presence in Poland on NATO's eastern flank will improve our strategic and operational flexibility." Then on August 15 Secretary of State Pompeo visited Poland to formally ink the accord which was warmly welcomed by Polish President Duda who recently visited Trump in Washington.

Duda's declaration that "our soldiers are going to stand arm-in-arm" is consistent with the existing situation in Poland, where the Pentagon has other elements already deployed, including in Redzikowo, where a base is being built for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence systems, and the Air Force's 52nd Fighter Wing detachments at Polish Air Force bases at Lask and Miroslawiec, where there is a unit operating MQ-9 attack drones.

Defence Secretary Esper has emphasised that "the border has shifted as the alliance has grown" -- and the border to which he refers is that of US-Nato as it moves more menacingly eastwards. That's the gift that Trump has given Russia.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .

[Aug 09, 2020] NYT as an amplifier for the mislabeled US 'Intelligence' Agencies rumor and baseless claims about foreign interferences in US elections

The first and the most important fact that there will no elections in November -- both candidates represent the same oligarchy, just slightly different factions of it.
Look like NYT is controlled by Bolton faction of CIA. They really want to overturn the results of 2020 elections and using Russia as a bogeyman is a perfect opportunity to achieve this goal.
Neocons understand very well that it is MIC who better their bread, so amplifying rumors the simplify getting additional budget money for intelligence agencies (which are a part of MIC) is always the most desirable goal.
Notable quotes:
"... But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr. ..."
"... The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process." ..."
"... But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections? ..."
"... But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn? ..."
"... Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence. ..."
"... Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China? ..."
"... If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them? ..."
"... Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget. ..."
"... Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose. ..."
Aug 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.

The New York Times sensationally headlines:

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the 'Russia Continues Interfering' statement:

Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from "officials briefed on the intelligence" - i.e. Democratic congress members - about Russia but have nothing to back it up.

When one reads the statement by Evanina one finds nothing in it about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections. Here is the only 'evidence' that is noted:

For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television.

After a request from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, a Ukrainian parliamentarian published Ukrainian evidence of Biden's very real interference in the Ukraine. Also: Some guest of a Russian TV show had an opinion. How is either of those two items 'evidence' of Russian interference in U.S. elections?

The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process."

But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections?

As a recent piece in Foreign Affairs noted :

The mainstream view in the U.S. media and government holds that the Kremlin is waging a long-haul campaign to undermine and destabilize American democracy. Putin wants to see the United States burn, and contentious elections offer a ready-made opportunity to fan the flames.

But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn?

Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence.

Even the NYT writers have to admit that there is nothing there:

The release on Friday was short on specifics, ...

and

Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

How do 'intelligence' agencies know Russian, Chinese or Iranian 'intentions'. Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China?

If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them?

Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget.

Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose.

Posted by b on August 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

[Aug 08, 2020] -No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams-- Iran FM -

Aug 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams": Iran FM


by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 22:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

"There's no difference between John Bolton, Brian Hook or Elliott Abrams," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet with the hashtag #BankruptUSPolicy on Friday.

"When U.S. policy concerns Iran, American officials have been biting off more than they can chew. This applies to Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump and their successors," Mousavi added.

Indeed in perhaps one of the greatest symbols or representations of the contradictions and absurdity inherent in US foreign policy of the past few decades, and a supreme irony that can't be emphasized enough: the new US envoy to Iran who will oversee Pompeo's 'maximum pressure' campaign remains the most publicly visible face of the 1980's Iran-Contra affair .

Elliott Abrams has been named to the position after Brian Hook stepping down. This means the man who will continue to push for the extension of a UN arms embargo against Iran once himself was deeply involved in illegally selling weapons to Iran and covering it up .

Most famously, or we should say infamously, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 following years of the Iran-Contra scandal engulfing the Reagan administration; however, he was also pardoned by outgoing president George H.W. Bush at around the same time.

"Pardoned by George H.W. Bush in 1992, Abrams was a pivotal figure in the foreign-policy scandal that shook the Reagan administration, lying to Congress about his knowledge of the plot to covertly sell weapons to the Khomeini government and use the proceeds to illegally fund the right-wing Contras rebel group in Nicaragua ," NY Mag reviews.

Some are noting this heightens the chances that Washington could get dragged into a war involving Israel and Iran.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291802541223809025&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fmarkets%2Fno-difference-between-john-bolton-brian-hook-or-elliott-abrams-iran-fm&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=550px

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Recall too that Abrams has been Trump's point man for ousting Maduro from Venezuela, and it appears he'll remain in the post of special envoy for Venezuela as well.

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The Grayzone journalist, Anya Parampil, who has frequently reported from Venezuela, alleged this week that Abrams will "try and destroy Venezuela and Iran at the same time".

me name=

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Wild Bill Steamcock , 14 hours ago

Abrams is a disgrace. This Administration should be dying in it's own shame bringing this swine back into government.

He's a leach. He's about lining his own pockets. He can't even own a .22 single shot, yet he's shaping international policy.

This country is dead. And the fact Trump has democrat and zionist Kushner as advisor, bringing in guys like Bolton and Abrams, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster and that Ukranian pet goblin of his, in not firing Comey et. al day 1 means he's not the answer. Face it.

And to be fair, it doesn't matter anymore who is POTUS. It hasn't really mattered in quite some time. The Plan rolls along.

Kinskian , 15 hours ago

Trump is a clumsy and transparent Zionist stooge.

PT , 14 hours ago

Gotta admit, if you're going to have a Zionist stooge then you are better off having a clumsy and transparent one.

Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

Elliott Abrams is a moron. He's been running the exact same stupid coup strategy for decades, and can't conceive of a world where the enemy has worked out how to defeat that.

Venezuela was set to be US foreign policies most embarrassing failure--but maybe Iran will be worse.

Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

Let's predict what Abrams will attempt:

Running out of the US/UK embassies, Abrams will attempt to identify a potential alternative leader who is corrupt and controllable. They'll throw political support behind this false leader, and try and find enough military to support him. Then, protests in the streets, and the small faction of the military--supported by foreign forces--will attempt to establish control.

Counter: China and Russia will import anti-coup specialists. Individuals in the Iranian military will pretend to be on board claiming to have thousands at call, and when the false leader gives the call, they won't answer. All the conspirators will be caught out on the street, and have to flee to embassies for political asylum. Like what happened in Venezuela recently, and Turkey in 2016. This will allow Iran to do a purge of all the real threats (remembering that Iran has the death penalty for sedition), and give them enough justification to end diplomatic missions in the country that are being used as launch pads.

[Aug 06, 2020] Is War With China Inevitable by J

Notable quotes:
"... "When I analyze the current situation, I understand that this is a rehearsal for biological warfare," ..."
"... "I am not saying that this virus was created by humans... but this is a test of the health system's strength, including the country's biological defense." ..."
"... More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology ..."
"... China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range. ..."
"... More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology ..."
"... China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range. ..."
"... Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success. ..."
"... "There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
"... Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success. ..."
"... "There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
Aug 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The rattling of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S. is becoming louder, and causing many to ponder if World War III is not far off. There are those in the international community increasingly alarmed given the COVID situation, the South China Sea imbroglio, and China's growing threat that they intend to invade and absorb Taiwan into Communist China within a year. These items have led to the belief that World War III is on the horizon.

Just recently, Dr.Leonid Roshal, a noted Moscow physician, hostage negotiator, and advisor to the WHO remarked that the COVID pandemic is a dry run for World War III, and that COVID-19 is practice for future biological warfare. Covid-19 pandemic has functioned as a "rehearsal for biological warfare," Dr. Roshal also believes that the rapidly-spreading virus was a test for the world's healthcare systems.

In an interview with Forbes, Professor Roshal, President of the Research Institute of Emergency Pediatric Surgery and Traumatology, explained that not all nations were ready for a mass influx of patients, and their lack of preparation has been exposed by the pandemic.

"When I analyze the current situation, I understand that this is a rehearsal for biological warfare," he explained. "I am not saying that this virus was created by humans... but this is a test of the health system's strength, including the country's biological defense."

In addition, Hong Kong-based virologist Yan Li-Meng, currently in hiding at an undisclosed location, claims that the COVID-19 coronavirus came from a People's Liberation Army lab, and not from a Wuhan wet market as Beijing has claimed. Speaking on a live stream interview on Taiwan's News Agency Lude Press, she said, "At that time, I clearly assessed that the virus came from a Chinese Communist Party military lab. The Wuhan wet market was just used as a decoy." Yan has been in hiding in the U.S. after fleeing Hong Kong in April.

Chinese PLA Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang stated recently that TAIWAN WILL be reunified with the rest of China - and any attempt by the United States to interfere is futile and dangerous. Senior Colonel Guoqiang is Deputy Director of the Ministry of Defense's Information Office, and Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman. J


entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

Well, this is certainly a depressing and frightening post. I can't say, however, that I have been thinking along the same lines. However, since I am basically a nobody, I have tried to assure myself that I am being paranoid. So, it's not helping that some people who are much more knowledgeable have expressed in print some of the fears I have been feeling over these months dealing with the pandemic.

All I can do is pray and hold fast to my faith in God. Perhaps He will lift up the people who can deter us from the predictions of this post. (But are we worthy of being saved?)

Posted by: Diana Croissant , 05 August 2020 at 03:44 PM

Well, this is certainly a depressing and frightening post. I can't say, however, that I have been thinking along the same lines. However, since I am basically a nobody, I have tried to assure myself that I am being paranoid. So, it's not helping that some people who are much more knowledgeable have expressed in print some of the fears I have been feeling over these months dealing with the pandemic.

All I can do is pray and hold fast to my faith in God. Perhaps He will lift up the people who can deter us from the predictions of this post. (But are we worthy of being saved?)

Posted by: Diana Croissant 05 August 2020 at 03:44 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

J

I don't believe there will be any direct military conflict. However, we can expect some saber rattling from both sides.

Sec.Azhar is leading a US delegation to Taiwan. On another note Taiwan ain't HK. They have an independent government. While they will eventually be overwhelmed in any military conflict with China if no other country intervenes on Taiwan's side, they definitely have the capability to inflict a black eye.

The CCP has been emboldened precisely because the US government has actively abetted their rapaciousness for many decades under both parties. From Clinton's MFN designation to Bush & Obama administrations actively supporting the shuttering of US manufacturing.

Trump is making the first course correction albeit in a limited manner with tariffs. He has however changed the tone in an important manner by no longer just kowtowing to whatever the CCP wants.

This story of ARM China exemplifies CCP long-term policy of requiring JVs to access the Chinese market and once technology and know-how have been successfully transferred, then expropriating it. The west in general and the US in particular have turned a blind eye. Huawei got going by stealing cisco source code and design.
https://www.businessinsider.com/arm-conflict-china-complicates-acquisition-prospects-2020-8

It is high time for the US to make the totalitarian Chinese communists pay a price and directly take the fight to them economically and financially. The CCP must be doing their best to insure a Biden win to return to the status quo or wait another Trump term and hope an establishment Democrat or Republican wins after. They have bought and paid the establishment politicians, entire think-tanks, many in academia and the media.

Posted by: Jack , 05 August 2020 at 03:58 PM

J

I don't believe there will be any direct military conflict. However, we can expect some saber rattling from both sides.

Sec.Azhar is leading a US delegation to Taiwan. On another note Taiwan ain't HK. They have an independent government. While they will eventually be overwhelmed in any military conflict with China if no other country intervenes on Taiwan's side, they definitely have the capability to inflict a black eye.

The CCP has been emboldened precisely because the US government has actively abetted their rapaciousness for many decades under both parties. From Clinton's MFN designation to Bush & Obama administrations actively supporting the shuttering of US manufacturing.

Trump is making the first course correction albeit in a limited manner with tariffs. He has however changed the tone in an important manner by no longer just kowtowing to whatever the CCP wants.

This story of ARM China exemplifies CCP long-term policy of requiring JVs to access the Chinese market and once technology and know-how have been successfully transferred, then expropriating it. The west in general and the US in particular have turned a blind eye. Huawei got going by stealing cisco source code and design.
https://www.businessinsider.com/arm-conflict-china-complicates-acquisition-prospects-2020-8

It is high time for the US to make the totalitarian Chinese communists pay a price and directly take the fight to them economically and financially. The CCP must be doing their best to insure a Biden win to return to the status quo or wait another Trump term and hope an establishment Democrat or Republican wins after. They have bought and paid the establishment politicians, entire think-tanks, many in academia and the media.

Posted by: Jack 05 August 2020 at 03:58 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology .

There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising Trump. Certainly, US Naval Intel and PACCOM (now INDOPACCOM) brass who would love a grand Coral Sea 2.0 battle to destroy PLAN vessel on the seas. However, no one, except few Marine 4 stars want any land war. The Marines think they can defeat the PLA on some islands. That kind of warfare is for hollywood movies. China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range.

There won't be any war in SE Asia or East Asia. This area now has a circuit breaker, Russia. Russia is building a naval presence, expanding it's aerospace arm, has basing rights in the zone in Vietnam and has long range radars that cover a lot of the zones, and submarines the US is having issues tracking.

The signals from China and Russia to the US military is very clear. You can walk and talk like the Hegemon but the days of regional hegemony are over. ASEAN nations will not accepting accept a return to gunboat diplomacy and colonization. All these nations want prosperity and progress, not western hegemony and military destruction.

This is why the hybrid war of sanctions, trade war, Infowars, cyberwar, proxies in Central Asia (ISIS and AQ), color revolution attempts in Hong Kong, hysterics about Tibet and Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia (Bannon front) are on the front burner. Military action is a losing proposition for the US. They simply cannot win anything anywhere in the Asia Pacific, western Asia or even against near peer powers proxies like Venezuela.

China simply has to do what Russia does and tell the US to pound sand.

Posted by: Horatio , 05 August 2020 at 04:51 PM

More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology .

There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising Trump. Certainly, US Naval Intel and PACCOM (now INDOPACCOM) brass who would love a grand Coral Sea 2.0 battle to destroy PLAN vessel on the seas. However, no one, except few Marine 4 stars want any land war. The Marines think they can defeat the PLA on some islands. That kind of warfare is for hollywood movies. China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range.

There won't be any war in SE Asia or East Asia. This area now has a circuit breaker, Russia. Russia is building a naval presence, expanding it's aerospace arm, has basing rights in the zone in Vietnam and has long range radars that cover a lot of the zones, and submarines the US is having issues tracking.

The signals from China and Russia to the US military is very clear. You can walk and talk like the Hegemon but the days of regional hegemony are over. ASEAN nations will not accepting accept a return to gunboat diplomacy and colonization. All these nations want prosperity and progress, not western hegemony and military destruction.

This is why the hybrid war of sanctions, trade war, Infowars, cyberwar, proxies in Central Asia (ISIS and AQ), color revolution attempts in Hong Kong, hysterics about Tibet and Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia (Bannon front) are on the front burner. Military action is a losing proposition for the US. They simply cannot win anything anywhere in the Asia Pacific, western Asia or even against near peer powers proxies like Venezuela.

China simply has to do what Russia does and tell the US to pound sand.

Posted by: Horatio 05 August 2020 at 04:51 PM

entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

Bjorn H

... BTW, "J" is a farmer in Oklahoma who served a long time in USAF.

Posted by: turcopolier , 05 August 2020 at 05:04 PM

Bjorn H

... BTW, "J" is a farmer in Oklahoma who served a long time in USAF.

Posted by: turcopolier 05 August 2020 at 05:04 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

We've been in a war with China for a few decades now, and losing. Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success.

Horatio,

"There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Posted by: Fred , 05 August 2020 at 05:05 PM

We've been in a war with China for a few decades now, and losing. Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success.

Horatio,

"There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Posted by: Fred 05 August 2020 at 05:05 PM

entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

The rattling. of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S.

That line as introduction gives away the article as plain and unsofisticated propaganda. Nobody refers to the USA as the Republican Party, the red scare is a momified bogey..

Posted by: Paco , 05 August 2020 at 05:28 PM

The rattling. of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S.

That line as introduction gives away the article as plain and unsofisticated propaganda. Nobody refers to the USA as the Republican Party, the red scare is a momified bogey..

Posted by: Paco 05 August 2020 at 05:28 PM

[Aug 04, 2020] Russia never saw Trump as a potential ally or friend by The Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Furthermore, it is pretty obvious to the Russians that while Crimea and MH17 were the pretexts for western sanctions against Russia, they were not the real cause. The real cause of the West's hatred for Russia is as simple as it is old: Russia cannot be conquered, subdued, subverted or destroyed. They've been at it for close to 1,000 years and they still are at it. In fact, each time they fail to crush Russia, their russophobia increases to even higher levels (phobia both in the sense of "fear" and in the sense of "hatred"). ..."
"... I would argue that since at least Russia and the AngloZionist Empire have been at war since at least 2013, when Russia foiled the US plan to attack Syria under the pretext that it was "highly likely" that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians (in reality, a textbook case of a false flag organized by the Brits), This means that Russia and the Empire have been at [Cold] war since at least 2013, for no less than seven years (something which Russian 6th columnists and Neo-Marxists try very hard to ignore). ..."
"... True, at least until now, this was has been 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic, but this is a real existential war of survival for both sides: only one side will walk away from this struggle. The other one will simply disappear (not as a nation or a people, but as a polity; a regime). The Kremlin fully understood that and it embarked on a huge reform and modernization of the Russian armed forces in three distinct ways: ..."
"... While some US politicians understood what was going on (I think of Ron Paul, see here ), most did not. They were so brainwashed by the US propaganda that they were sure that no matter what, "USA! USA! USA!". Alas for them, the reality was quite different. ..."
Aug 04, 2020 | www.unz.com

Truth be told, most Russian politicians (with the notable exception of the official Kremlin court jester, Zhirinovskii) and analysts never saw Trump as a potential ally or friend. The Kremlin was especially cautious, which leads me to believe that the Russian intelligence analysts did a very good job evaluating Trump's psyche and they quickly figured out that he was no better than any other US politician.

Right now, I know of no Russian analyst who would predict that relations between the US and Russia will improve in the foreseeable future. If anything, most are clearly saying that "guys, we better get used to this" (accusations, sanctions, accusations, sanctions, etc. etc. etc.).

Furthermore, it is pretty obvious to the Russians that while Crimea and MH17 were the pretexts for western sanctions against Russia, they were not the real cause. The real cause of the West's hatred for Russia is as simple as it is old: Russia cannot be conquered, subdued, subverted or destroyed. They've been at it for close to 1,000 years and they still are at it. In fact, each time they fail to crush Russia, their russophobia increases to even higher levels (phobia both in the sense of "fear" and in the sense of "hatred").

Simply put -- there is nothing which Russia can expect from the upcoming election. Nothing at all. Still, that does not mean that things are not better than 4 or 8 years ago. Let's look at what changed.

I would argue that since at least Russia and the AngloZionist Empire have been at war since at least 2013, when Russia foiled the US plan to attack Syria under the pretext that it was "highly likely" that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians (in reality, a textbook case of a false flag organized by the Brits), This means that Russia and the Empire have been at [Cold] war since at least 2013, for no less than seven years (something which Russian 6th columnists and Neo-Marxists try very hard to ignore).

True, at least until now, this was has been 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic, but this is a real existential war of survival for both sides: only one side will walk away from this struggle. The other one will simply disappear (not as a nation or a people, but as a polity; a regime). The Kremlin fully understood that and it embarked on a huge reform and modernization of the Russian armed forces in three distinct ways:

A "general" reform of the Russian armed forces which had to be modernized by about 80%. This part of the reform is now practically complete. A specific reform to prepare the western and southern military districts for a major conventional war against the united West (as always in Russian history) which would involve the First Guards Tank Army and the Russian Airborne Forces. The development of bleeding-edge weapons systems with no equivalent in the West and which cannot be countered or defeated; these weapons have had an especially dramatic impact upon First Strike Stability and upon naval operations.

While some US politicians understood what was going on (I think of Ron Paul, see here ), most did not. They were so brainwashed by the US propaganda that they were sure that no matter what, "USA! USA! USA!". Alas for them, the reality was quite different.

Russian officials, by the way, have confirmed that Russia was preparing for war . Heck, the reforms were so profound and far reaching, that it would have been impossible for the Russians to hide what they were doing (see here for details; also please see Andrei Martyanov's excellent primer on the new Russian Navy here ).

While no country is ever truly prepared for war, I would argue that by 2020 the Russians had reached their goals and that now Russia is fully prepared to handle any conflict the West might throw at her, ranging from a small border incident somewhere in Central Asia to a full-scaled war against the US/NATO in Europe .

Folks in the West are now slowly waking up to this new reality (I mentioned some of that here ), but it is too late. In purely military terms, Russia has now created such a qualitative gap with the West that the still existing quantitative gap is not sufficient to guarantee a US/NATO victory. Now some western politicians are starting to seriously freak out (see this lady , for example), but most Europeans are coming to terms with two truly horrible realities:

Russia is much stronger than Europe and, even much worse, Russia will never attack first (which is a major cause of frustration for western russophobes)

As for the obvious solution to this problem, having friendly relations with Russia is simply unthinkable for those who made their entire careers peddling the Soviet (and now Russian) threat to the world.

But Russia is changing, albeit maybe too slowly (at least for my taste). As I mentioned last week, a number of Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic politicians have declared that the Zapad2020 military maneuvers which are supposed to take place in southern Russia and the Caucasus could be used to prepare an attack on the West (see here for a rather typical example of this nonsense). In the past, the Kremlin would only have made a public statement ridiculing this nonsense, but this time around Putin did something different. Right after he saw the reaction of these politicians, Putin ordered a major and UNSCHEDULED military readiness exercise which involved no less than 150,000 troops, 400 aircraft & 100 ships ! The message here was clear:

Yes, we are much more powerful than you are and No, we are not apologizing for our strength anymore

And, just to make sure that the message is clear, the Russians also tested the readiness of the Russian Airborne Forces units near the city of Riazan, see for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/2s2V8iPofFs?feature=oembed

This response is, I think, the correct one. Frankly, nobody in the West is listening to what the Kremlin has to say, so what is the point of making more statements which in the future will be ignored equally as they have been in the past.

If anything, the slow realization that Russia is more powerful than NATO would be most helpful in gently prodding EU politicians to change their tune and return back to reality. Check out this recent video of Sarah Wagenknecht, a leading politician of the German Left and see for yourself:

https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x7uu5fk

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a "gay pride" one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled " Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror " shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one , have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: "the US is sinking -- do you really want to go down with it?".

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call "European suicide politics", but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. "Forward deployment" is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for "popular diplomacy", especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already. Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

Twilight Patriot , says: • Website July 29, 2020 at 12:26 am GMT

I really agree with you that the “blame Russia” and “blame China” thing has gotten out of hand in US politics. Whether it will turn into a shooting war seems doubtful to me, as the government is still full of people who are looking out for their own interests and know that a full-sized war with Russia, China, Iran or whoever will not advance their interests.

But who would have guessed, a few years ago, that “Russian asset” would become the all-purpose insult for Democrats to use, not just against Republicans, but against other Democrats?

With Republicans I think that “blame China” is stronger. China makes a good scapegoat for the economic situation in the United States. But convincing the working class that China is the source of their problems (and that Mr. MAGA is going to solve those problems by standing up to China) requires ignorance of the crucial facts about the trade relationship between those two countries.

Namely, that the trade deficit exists only because the Federal Reserve chooses to create huge amounts of new dollars each year for export to other countries, and it’s only possible for US exports to fall behind imports so badly (and thus put so many American laborers out of work) because the Fed is making up the difference by exporting dollars. Granted, it isn’t a policy that the US can change without harming the interests of its own upper classes; at the same time, it isn’t a policy that China could force on the US without the people in charge of the United States wanting it.

This is a topic I’ve dealt with a few times on my own blog.

Why I Don’t Fear Chinese Hegemony: https://www.twilightpatriot.com/2020/05/why-i-dont-fear-chinese-hegemony.html

Nobody Will Win The Trade War: https://www.twilightpatriot.com/2019/09/nobody-will-win-trade-war.html

[Aug 02, 2020] The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

I put these comments on the open thread about the same time b started this one

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1289724554982629377
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Trump a few months back "We've kept the oil". Well, he hasn't had a problem hanging onto it and getting an American company involved.

Delta Crescent Energy. Formed beginning of 2019 and nothing else on it. I guess Trump and a few mates divvying up the spoils.
https://www.bizapedia.com/de/delta-crescent-energy-llc.html

Laguerre , Aug 2 2020 15:00 utc | 6

The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

Very likely the Kurds were under pressure from Trump, and the act wasn't voluntary. It's not even the Kurds' oil to sign a deal on (except one well). We'll see whether the operation actually succeeds. At the moment, everybody is waiting to see whether Trump is re-elected in November. Signing a piece of paper now is of no significance.

[Jul 30, 2020] Bolton is a typical crazy neocon who wants to dominate the world

Jul 30, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Pseudo D 3.0 out of 5 stars , June 24, 2020

superhawk

Ambassador John Bolton hinted that he doesn't like being called a hawk, since foreign policy labels are simplistic.

But first of all, he labeled libertarian Sen. Rand Paul an isolationist, rather than say, a non- interventionist. And after nearly 500 pages (all but the epilogue), what you will absorb is absolutely the worldview of a geopolitical hawk. He is not technically a neoconservative (like, say, Paul Wolfowitz) because the latter were more focused on nation building and spreading democracy. Bolton sees what he's promoting as defense, but it requires a constant offense.

Bolton is very bright, as Jim Baker noted decades ago, and very well-read, even endorsing his fellow Baltimorean and my teacher Steve Vicchio's book on Lincoln's faith. But his intelligence is all put into an ideological reading of situations. As Aristotle would put it, the problem is not lack of theoretical wisdom, but the deficiency in practical wisdom and prudential judgment. Certainly there are bad actors in the world, and vigilance is required. But when is aggressive action called for, and when is it better to go with diplomacy? In this book, I find few cases of such restraint. For Bolton, it seems that the goal of peace and security requires the constant threat of war and presence on every continent. All this intervention around the world requires troops, soldiers, real men and women and their lives and those of their families, requiring lots of sacrifice. At times, his theorizing seems distant from these realities on the ground.

So Bolton is critical of the "axis of adults" in the Trump administration, the "generals", but not Kelly and not much on his predecessor McMaster, much less the eccentric Flynn. So his beef is with Mattis, another fine student of history. Bolton says he went by the rules, as James Baker had said that Bush 41 was "the one who got the votes". He tried to influence Trump within the rules, while Mattis, Tillerson and Haley pursued their own foreign policy. I'm sure that Mattis was sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but I would trust his prudential judgment above that of the equally bright Bolton, because of his life experience, being the one on the ground and knowing what war is like.

When Bolton was considered for secretary state right after the 2016 election, I said, well I don't care for the guy, but at least I've heard of him and we know what we're dealing with. His opponent in GOP foreign policy is the libertarian and non-interventionist Sen. Rand Paul. What does Bolton say about the big players in the Trump administration? Nikki Haley is dismissed as a lightweight who was posing for her political future. Well, that's basically what Trump, "the one that got the votes", put her there for. But it's interesting that Bolton is so anti-Haley, when she was for Rubio and the more hawkish platform.

Tillerson's successor Mike Pompeo had sort of a love-hate relationship with Bolton.

Steve Mnuchin is the epitome of the globalist establishment, along with Javanka. Jared Kushner is dismissed as no Kissinger, but when it comes to China, his soft stance is blamed on Kissinger! While Bolton didn't testify in the impeachment, Fiona Hill is mentioned only with respect in this book.

Everybody's flaw, from Bolton's point of view, is being less belligerent than Bolton. (Even in the Bush administration, the only name I can think of would be Michael Ledeen). He even defends the concept of Middle Eastern "endless wars" on the grounds that we didn't start them and can't dictate when they end. Obama was a dove, but in 2016 the GOP marked a shift, with Trump, Paul, Ben Carson and even Ted Cruz opposing the "invade every country on earth" philosophy that this book promotes. It's true that Trump is not an ideologue and thinks in terms of individual transactions. But the movement I see is a dialectic of alternating between aggression and diplomacy, or as he sees it, friendly relationship among leaders.

Bolton is a superhawk on North Korea and Iran throughout, while China and Russia are our hostile rivals. Other matters are Syria, Iraq and ISIS, Venezuela, Afghanistan and finally Ukraine, which by the end of the book I had almost forgotten. If Bolton is dovish anywhere, it's on the Saudis, the rivals with Iran in the Sunni-Shiite dispute chronicled recently in the book "Black Wave".

You can learn a lot from this book, but just keep in mind that it's filtered through the mind of a strong ideologue, so other people's faults are seen through that lens. But he has great knowledge of the details of policy. Bolton would like to be an inter-generational guru like Henry Kissinger or Dean Acheson, but both parties have turned away from the "endless wars" philosophy.

If you are looking for anti-Trump material, I don't really see the point of investing this time and intellectual effort. The more sensational parts have been reported-the exchanges involving Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un, and to a lesser extent Erdogan. As most reviewers have said, it's about 100 pages too long, but Bolton is looking for a scholarly work like Kissinger's Diplomacy or World Order, and this is the one that he hopes people will read.

C Wm (Andy) Anderson

Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America

#1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER 3.0 out of 5 stars Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020 Verified Purchase Two reviewers did better at explaining why this book is not rated by me as a must-read. Linda Galella and gammyjill. Bolton laid out some truly explosive allegations but let his own ego cloud his message.

John Bolton, on some fundamental level, is a brilliant, dedicated conservative intent on improving the future of the country he and I love. THAT similarity is probably the only point we share.

I wanted to love this book, because I knew it would be jam-packed with juicy tidbits that justify me derision of the biggest failure ever to assume the office of POTUS. Instead, quite early on, I realized the reason Trump became President was the enormous ineptitude of those otherwise brilliant people who, in short, simply felt that somebody opposing those the person they despise, on principle, was better for America than the other guy or gal.

Throughout this book, Bolton reminds us of Trump's inability to focus attention on the information provided by his handlers. Yes, Trump is naive and intellectually lazy. Yes, so, too, are many of those aiding and abetting Mr. Trump. But, yes, Mr. Bolton also suffers from gross naïveté, and, is just plain foolish. His ego led him to join the Trump Administration, as he admits in "The Room Where It Happened."

Bolton's greatest error, however, was in refusing to tell the country what he chose to sell to the public through this book.

The writing is, mechanically, quite good. But, Bolton comes across as thinking he is the only person of intelligence. That becomes clear by page two, and never changes, except for his insight that he was wrong about Trump.

Unfortunately, Bolton also was wrong about Bolton.

Whoa. Hold on. Just about everyone in both political parties is no better than Bolton. A few exceptions would be Former governor John Kasick and Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Oh, and former Vice President Joe Biden, I believe. Yet, to be honest, I need to see him prove me right. I would hate to make the same mistake regarding Biden as Bolton did regarding Trump.

Americans need to take a good, hard look at how we are governed and at those whom we support.

BOTTOM LINE

Writing quality, passable. But don't expect to gain a great deal of new knowledge.

Three stars out of five.

[Jul 30, 2020] It s Official: Pompeo Has Declared Cold War With China It s Official- Pompeo Has Declared Cold War With China - The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo is a disgusting man. The US Oligarchic Regime is projecting a lot. It is this Regime that does not recognize any other order than its own, and always puts a messianic spin on its discourse. ..."
"... Mike Pompous can be counted upon to do everything possible to torpedo legitimate US interests below the waterline, and then nuke any survivors. ..."
Jul 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo declared the start of a new Cold War with China last week.

...Pompeo's speech was an expression of this unreasonable and unrealistic view, and it is likely to leave most U.S. allies in East Asia and elsewhere cold. Our allies do not wish for deepening antagonism and strife between the U.S. and China, and if push comes to shove Washington may find itself without much support in the region. Calling for a "new alliance" to oppose China when Trump and Pompeo have done such an abysmal job of managing existing alliances in the region just drives home how divorced from reality the speech was.

... ... ...

The Secretary also relied on a familiar mix of simplistic analysis and threat inflation that he has used so often when talking about Iran: "It's this ideology, it's this ideology that informs his decades-long desire for global hegemony of Chinese communism." Pompeo is falling back on two of the stalest talking points from the Cold War. He interprets the behavior of another state primarily in terms of its official ideology rather than its concrete interests, and he attributes to them a goal of "global hegemony" that they are not pursuing to make them seem more dangerous and powerful than they are. China does seek to be the leading state in its own part of the world, but there is no evidence that they aspire to the global domination that Pompeo claims. A hard-line ideologue and hegemonist himself, Pompeo wrongly assumes that the things that motivate him must also drive the actions of others.

... ... ...

Most of the people on the receiving end of this "engagement" and "empowerment" will likely resent the condescension and interference from a foreign government in their country's affairs. Even if we assume that the vast majority of people in China might wish for a radically different government, they are liable to reject U.S. meddling in what they naturally consider to be their business. But, of course, Pompeo isn't serious about "empowering" the Chinese people, just as he isn't serious about supporting the people of Iran or Venezuela or any of the other countries on Washington's list of official foes. We can see from the economic wars that the U.S. has waged on Iran and Venezuela that the administration is only too happy to impoverish and strangle the people they claim to help. Hard-liners feign concern for the people that they then set out to harm in order to make their aggressive and destructive policies look better to a Western audience, but they aren't fooling anyone these days.

Pompeo's bombastic, caustic style and his personal lack of credibility make him an unusually poor messenger, and the Trump administration is uniquely ill-suited to rally a group of states in common cause. But the main problem with the policy Pompeo promotes is that an intensifying rivalry with China is not in the American interest. The U.S. has found that it is virtually impossible to change the behavior of adversaries when that behavior concerns what they believe to be their core security interests. ...


Fred Bowmana day ago • edited

I was reading the words that Nixon wrote about China that Pompeo quoted and it occurred to me that if you took out the word "China" and replaced it with the "United States" then that statement would be completely accurate in describing how America acts in the world. In OTW, it's "the Pot calling the Kettle black".

daveyl123 Fred Bowmana day ago

I wouldn't enjoin the American people with our out-of-touch, out-of-control and (In the cases of Hillary, Waters, Biden and Pelosi..) out of their minds government.

We're so conditioned to global conflicts now, it's merely a matter of the U.S. population learning how to spell the names of foreign leaders and their capitals marked for "Regime Changes", while crossing our fingers in hopes that our buildings will not again be subjected to airliner collisions and collapses in the wake of this aggression.

It would behoove Americans to start pulling on the reins of our bellicose administrations to confine their authority and actions to benefit our citizens.

KennesawJacka day ago • edited

Your comment that we have coexisted with China for 70 years is not quite accurate. There was this little dust-up called the Korean Conflict as I recall...

kouroi BobPM a day ago

The main purpose of TPP was to force the Chinese to privatize the State Owned Enterprises, likely via Wall Street.

L RNYa day ago

The communist Chinese can control our movie, sports, news and entertainment industries by denying them access to China if they don't show China in a positive light or if they show China in a negative life...

daveyl123 John Achterhof2 hours ago

You define with accuracy the core tenets of Socialists. Once a government expands to the proportions needed to implement that form of socioeconomic leadership, the character of those leaders becomes tyrannical, while they target segments of their populations for reeducation or elimination. (Abortions would fit that scenario nicely..) Obama was just such a leader, and had he somehow been able to ignore term limits, his administration would have resembled those of any Socialist State.

rayray L RNYa day ago

All of the policies you mention above would achieve absolutely nothing while inflaming conflict - thus increasingly the problems you outline. These hawkish responses prove the point...the issue isn't that there are or aren't issues, but that the US has lost the ability to have real discussions of these issues with world players and allies.

Much of that is because Trump patently hasn't the temperament, sophistication, or intelligence for discussion and diplomacy - this was proven again and again in the zero sum ineptitude of his private ventures.

The rot of that malignant ineptitude flows down from the head and into every aspect of government, both domestic and foreign. Thus we see his response to every domestic crisis is to inflame division. And the same in the foreign theater. He cannot be gotten rid of soon enough.

daveyl123 L RNYa day ago • edited

I don't believe our government is so foolish as to contemplate a shooting war with the Chinese. They have nuclear warheads. Their populations are fanatics when it comes to conflicts against them...

L RNY daveyl123 21 hours ago

Men will not fight another war nor will women leave their jobs when the men return from war as they did with WWII. There will be no war in Europe simply because Europe (including Russia) is depopulating at such a rapid rate they cant afford a losing more of their population through conflict. I dont see a shooting war with China either. I think that is the purpose of the tariffs and detachment of economies. US intelligence says that China does not want war with the US either. I don't think there is any country that would jump to a pre-emptive nuclear attack in case of a hot war. They dont have the air force superiority or the Navy or superiority in space yet.

Its not the Chinese way. The Chinese wait until they have superiority then they act otherwise they like to fly below the radar and get away with as much espionage and intimidation as possible. The opium wars came about because of the Chinese culture of trade exporting much but importing little thus creating a trade imbalance and indebting their trading partners.

Chinese culture has many forms of achieving superiority without restoring to conflict. The think tanks and experts are predicting that Xi may be pushed out of power by his competitors in the politburo which could defuse the situation. I don't think it will change detaching the economies. After COVID, countries are shifting focus from lowest cost possible to lowest cost and lowest risk possible.

That's why medical instruments, pharmaceuticals, etc are either moving out of China or moving part of their production to the US or they can win against a declining, an indebted power, an over stretched power, etc. Take a lesson with Russia and the US. Russia did not confront the US directly. It used proxies elsewhere around the world. Russia did not want a war with NATO or with the US. That balance kept the peace. If you want peace with China then there is going to have to be some sort of parity or superiority of China's neighbors via an alliance and/or superiority in trade/technology/economy. If you want war then you pacify and try to avoid war leaving a strategic space where your competitor thinks they can win. To avoid war, you need parity or superiority.

kouroia day ago

Pompeo is a disgusting man. The US Oligarchic Regime is projecting a lot. It is this Regime that does not recognize any other order than its own, and always puts a messianic spin on its discourse.

The US itself is not a democracy, but as B. Franklin put it from the beginning, is a Republic, which from the birth was design to promote and preserve the haves, the existing Oligarchy. While they looked for a balance of power in order to prevent the rise of an autocrat (the other bugbear of Oligarchy), the main fear of the framers was democracy and the threat of the mob voting for re-distribution...

The success of the socialist state of China is an indication of what might have happened if the socialist block in ensemble wouldn't have suffered the containment enforced by the US. Given the ability to engage in normal economic intercourse with the world, China developed and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Vietnam is another example. But look what is happening with Cuba or North Korea or Venezuela. It is not the socialist system per se, but the blockade of those countries and the crushing economic war that ruins them.

Fortunately, Russia has learned from the mistakes of the past.

It is good that the cards are on the table to see that US Oligarchy wants to rule everything, because it is a corrupting way of life and mind. Because of this, the march for more open societies, with more, no less democracy, and people representation and input is halted.

And of course, in this new Cold War, a lot of civil liberties and freedom of speech will be curtailed. In my neck of the woods we have already experienced individuals assaulting people of Chinese ethnicity. Way to go America!

Jeff Dickey kouroi 2 hours ago

Mike Pompous can be counted upon to do everything possible to torpedo legitimate US interests below the waterline, and then nuke any survivors. He, along with Barr, Graham, and the rest of the Trump circus, are a cautionary tale for what happens to governments that let ideologues deliberately divorced from reality run a country. They've turned what was once the United States from a superpower to a failed state in an absurdly short period of time. History will be far less kind to these political Bernie Madoffs than to the original financial exemplar.

daveyl123a day ago

Wars ain't nothing to bandy about among administration subordinates. Pompeo is not supposed to be declaring wars--hot or cold. Wars cost big money, lives and property. Only the most grave threats against our country should prompt our leaders to even consider conflicts, much less initiate them. The American people cannot just sit back and absorb such profound adjustments to our national security posture and defense expenditures being unilaterally decided by Washington. It is also a condition of conflicts that our civil rights will be under increased constraints. I chuckled a little when China was listed as our 'new' foe. We won't fight the Chinese because we'll have another Vietnam War on our hands. Our troops aren't used to our enemies fighting back. They've been deployed into banana wars against poorly trained and ill equipped armies of Middle East camel holes. The U.S. Armed Forces' new culture, consisting of socially-engineered, politically-corrected soldiers-of-tolerance have yet to confront true fanatics. These facts were known waaaaay back during our Korean War Adventure.

I've always said that if the Chinese are good at anything, it's making more Chinese.

Adriana Penaa day ago

Because we did not have enough problems already.

"Eramos pocos y pario la abuela"

hoolya day ago

New Cold War? Bring it on. Competition is good. A strong rival is desired. Instead of a struggle over Ideology, this will be a Civilizational struggle, Western Civilization VS Central Civilization, liberal democracy VS Confucian/Legalist authoritarianism, Euro-America VS the Han Chinese. But this time, is America up to the tast?

During the Cold War we were led by 'Greatest Generation' who lived through the Great Depression and fought in World War II, is today's America of Facebook, Twitter, conspiracy theories, selfies, BLM, safe spaces, Diversity, mass immigration and Woke political correctness run amok up to the task?

While China is a predator, homogeneous, nationalist, revanchist and bent on returning to the glory it thinks it deserves. All I can say is, thank god for nuclear weapons and the Chinese Communist Party for keeping a short leash on the patriotic passions of the Han Chinese.

Myron Hudsona day ago

We had "an alliance of democracies" in the TPP which was developed to counter China. Of course, it handed much of our domestic sovereignty over to multinational corporations, but that's what you can expect from a corporatist like Obama. Still, might have been better than this.

Anton20 hours ago

On point analysis.

Ho Hum14 hours ago

I wonder if the Nixon family knew in advance that Pompeo was going to trash Richard Nixon's greatest legacy?

A war between China and the U.S. would not simply be costly for the US - it could end in the destruction of the world as we know it if it turns nuclear. Trump and Pompeo are sociopathic madman. I would not put it past Trump to use Nukes against China. He is just that stupid and evil.

peter mcloughlinan hour ago

President Nixon's détente with China had an important geopolitical consideration, leverage on Russia. "We're using the China thaw to get the Russians shook", he is quoted to have said. There is much talk among hawks these days of a "new Cold War", with that the confidence it will end like the first one: victory for the west and no nuclear annihilation. But this is a danger illusion: today America is in a hegemonic struggle with China for global dominance. It seems neither side can back down. The present crisis is like the Cold War in one crucial sense – world war must be avoided at all costs. The powers are not heeding the warning of history.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...

[Jul 26, 2020] Patriotic Dissent- How A Working-Class Soldier Turned Against -Forever Wars- -

Jul 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Patriotic Dissent: How A Working-Class Soldier Turned Against "Forever Wars"


by Tyler Durden Sat, 07/25/2020 - 00:05 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon via Counterpunch.org,

When it comes to debate about US military policy, the 2020 presidential election campaign is so far looking very similar to that of 2016. Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that "we have the strongest military in the world," promising to "make the investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of the next century, not the last one."

In the White House, President Trump is repeating the kind of anti-interventionist head feints that won him votes four years ago against a hawkish Hillary Clinton. In his recent graduation address at West Point, Trump re-cycled applause lines from 2016 about "ending an era of endless wars" as well as America's role as "policeman of the world."

In reality, since Trump took office, there's been no reduction in the US military presence abroad, which last year required a Pentagon budget of nearly $740 billion. As military historian and retired career officer Andrew Bacevich notes , "endless wars persist (and in some cases have even intensified ); the nation's various alliances and its empire of overseas bases remain intact; US troops are still present in something like 140 countries ; Pentagon and national security state spending continues to increase astronomically ."

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When the National Defense Authorization Act for the next fiscal year came before Congress this summer, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a modest 10 percent reduction in military spending so $70 billion could be re-directed to domestic programs. Representative Barbara Lee introduced a House resolution calling for $350 billion worth of DOD cuts. Neither proposal has gained much traction, even among Democrats on Capitol Hill. Instead, the House Armed Services Committee just voted 56 to 0 to spend $740. 5 billion on the Pentagon in the coming year, prefiguring the outcome of upcoming votes by the full House and Senate.

An Appeal to Conscience

Even if Biden beats Trump in November, efforts to curb US military spending will face continuing bi-partisan resistance. In the never-ending work of building a stronger anti-war movement, Pentagon critics, with military credentials, are invaluable allies. Daniel Sjursen, a 37-year old veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan is one such a critic. Inspired in part by the much-published Bacevich, Sjursen has just written a new book called Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War (Heyday Books)

Patriotic Dissent is a short volume, just 141 pages, but it packs the same kind of punch as Howard Zinn's classic 1967 polemic, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal . Like Zinn, who became a popular historian after his service in World War II, Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military's own current generation of "yes men for another war power hungry president." His appeal to the conscience of fellow soldiers, veterans, and civilians is rooted in the unusual arc of an eighteen-year military career. His powerful voice, political insights, and painful personal reflections offer a timely reminder of how costly, wasteful, and disastrous our post 9/11 wars have been.

Sjursen has the distinction of being a graduate of West Point, an institution that produces few political dissenters. He grew up in a fire-fighter family on working class Staten Island. Even before enrolling at the Academy at age 17, he was no stranger to what he calls "deep-seated toxically masculine patriotism." As a newly commissioned officer in 2005, he was still a "burgeoning neo-conservative and George W. Bush admirer" and definitely not, he reports, any kind of "defeatist liberal, pacifist, or dissenter."

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Sjursen's initial experience in combat -- vividly described in his first book, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of The Surge (University Press of New England) -- "occurred at the statistical height of sectarian strife" in Iraq.

"The horror, the futility, the farce of that war was the turning point in my life," Sjursen writes in Patriotic Dissent .

When he returned, at age 24, from his "brutal, ghastly deployment" as a platoon leader, he "knew that the war was built on lies, ill-advised, illegal, and immoral." This "unexpected, undesired realization generated profound doubts about the course and nature of the entire American enterprise in the Greater Middle East -- what was then unapologetically labeled the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)."

A Professional Soldier

By the time Sjursen landed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in early 2011, he had been promoted to captain but "no longer believed in anything we were doing."

He was, he confesses, "simply a professional soldier -- a mercenary, really -- on a mandatory mission I couldn't avoid. Three more of my soldiers died, thirty-plus were wounded, including a triple amputee, and another over-dosed on pain meds after our return."

Despite his disillusionment, Sjursen had long dreamed of returning to West Point to teach history. He applied for and won that highly competitive assignment, which meant the Army had to send him to grad school first. He ended up getting credentialed, while living out of uniform, in the "People's Republic of Lawrence, Kansas, a progressive oasis in an intolerant, militarist sea of Republican red." During his studies at the state university, Sjursen found an intellectual framework for his "own doubts about and opposition to US foreign policy." He completed his first book, Ghost Riders , which combines personal memoir with counter-insurgency critique. Amazingly enough, it was published in 2015, while he was still on active duty, but with "almost no blowback" from superior officers.

Before retiring as a major four years later, Sjursen pushed the envelope further, by writing more than 100 critical articles for TomDispatch and other civilian publications. He was no longer at West Point so that body of work triggered "a grueling, stressful, and scary four-month investigation"by the brass at Fort Leavenworth, during which the author was subjected to "a non-publication order." At risk were his career, military pension, and benefits. He ended up receiving only a verbal admonishment for violating a Pentagon rule against publishing words "contemptuous of the President of the United States." His "PTSD and co-occurring diagnoses" helped him qualify for a medical retirement last year.

Sjursen has now traded his "identity as a soldier -- the only identity I've known in my adult life -- for that of an anti-war, anti-imperialist, social justice crusader," albeit one who did not attend his first protest rally until he was thirty-two years old. With several left-leaning comrades, he started Fortress on A Hill, a lively podcast about military affairs and veterans' issues. He's a frequent, funny, and always well-informed guest on progressive radio and cable-TV shows, as well as a contributing editor at Antiwar.com , and a contributor to a host of mainstream liberal publications. This year, the Lannan Foundation made him a cultural freedom fellow.

In Patriotic Dissent , Sjursen not only recounts his own personal trajectory from military service to peace activism. He shows how that intellectual journey has been informed by reading and thinking about US history, the relationship between civil society and military culture, the meaning of patriotism, and the price of dissent.

One historical figure he admires is Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the recipient of two Medals of Honor for service between 1898 and 1931. Following his retirement, Butler sided with the poor and working-class veterans who marched on Washington to demand World War I bonus payments. And he wrote a best-selling Depression-era memoir, which famously declared that "war is just a racket" and lamented his own past role as "a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

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Sjursen contrasts Butler's anti-interventionist whistle-blowing, nearly a century ago, with the silence of high-ranking veterans today after "nineteen years of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars." Among friends and former West Point classmates, he knows many still serving who "obediently resign themselves to continued combat deployments" because they long ago "stopped asking questions about their own role in perpetuating and enabling a counter-productive, inertia-driven warfare state."

Sjursen looks instead to small left-leaning groups like Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War), and Bring Our Troops Home. US, a network of veterans influenced by the libertarian right. Each in, its own way, seeks to "reframe dissent, against empire and endless war, as the truest form of patriotism." But actually taming the military-industrial complex will require "big-tent, intersectional action from civilian and soldier alike," on a much larger scale. One obstacle to that, he believes, is the societal divide between the "vast majority of citizens who have chosen not to serve" in the military and the "one percent of their fellow citizens on active duty," who then become part of "an increasingly insular, disconnected, and sometimes sententious post-9/11 veteran community."

Not many on the left favor a return to conscription.

But Sjursen makes it clear there's been a downside to the U.S. replacing "citizen soldiering" with "a tiny professional warrior caste," created in response to draft-driven dissent against the Vietnam War, inside and outside the military. As he observes:

"Nothing so motivates a young adult to follow foreign policy, to weigh the advisability or morality of an ongoing war as the possibility of having to put 'skin in the game.' Without at least the potential requirement to serve in the military and in one of America's now countless wars, an entire generation -- or really two, since President Nixon ended the draft in 1973–has had the luxury of ignoring the ills of U.S. foreign policy, to distance themselves from its reality ."

At a time when the U.S. "desperately needs a massive, public, empowered anti-war and anti-imperial wave" sweeping over the country, we have instead a "civil-military" gap that, Sjursen believes, has "stifled antiwar and anti-imperial dissent and seemingly will continue to do so." That's why his own mission is to find more "socially conscious veterans of these endless, fruitless wars" who are willing to "step up and form a vanguard of sorts for revitalized patriotic dissent." Readers of Sjursen's book, whether new recruits to that vanguard or longtime peace activists, will find Patriotic Dissent to be an invaluable educational tool. It should be required reading in progressive study groups, high school and college history classes, and book clubs across the country . Let's hope that the author's willingness to take personal risks, re-think his view of the world, and then work to change it will inspire many others, in uniform and out.

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Justus_Americans , 59 minutes ago

Do we need to be in 160 countries with our military and can we afford it?

Cat Daddy , 1 hour ago

I am all for bringing the troops home except for this one unnerving truth; nature abhors a vacuum, specifically, when we pull out, China moves in. A world dominated by the CCP will be a dangerous place to be. When we leave, we will need to make sure our bases are safely in the hands of our friends.

dogbert8 , 1 hour ago

War is effectively the way the U.S. has done business since the Spanish American War, our first imperial conquests. War is how we ensure big business has the materials and markets they demand in return for their support of political parties and candidates. War is the only area left with opportunities for growth and profit. Don't think for a minute that TPTB will ever let us stop waging war to get what we (they) want.

TheLastMan , 2 hours ago

If you are new to zh all you need to do is study PNAC and the related nature of all parties to understand the criminality of USA militarization and for whose benefit it serves

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago

I have written many times on this platform the exact same sentiments.

I am most disheartened by the COVID + Antifa/BLM Riots because of the facts this author presents.

We are distracted with emotional and highly volatile MASSIVELY PROPAGANDIZED stories by MSM (I don't watch) while the real problem in the world is as the author describes above.

We are war-mongering nation who needs to bring our troops home and disband over half of our overseas installations and bases.

We have no right to levy economic sanctions to impoverish, sicken, and weaken the citizens of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, or anywhere else.

Yet, we run around arguing about masks and who can go into a restaurant or toppling statutes and throwing mortar-type fireworks at federal officers. This is what we do instead of facing a real problem which is that we are war-mongering nation with no moral/ethical conscience. These scraggily bearded white Antifas need to WTFU and realize who their true enemy.

Oh, wait. They work for the true enemy! Get it?

Max21c , 1 hour ago

We have no right to levy economic sanctions to impoverish, sicken, and weaken the citizens of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, or anywhere else.

I don't agree with the economic sanctions nonsense thing as they seem to be more of a crutch for people that are not any good at planning, strategy, analytical thinking, critical thinking, strategic thinking, and lack much in the way of talent or creativity or intellectual acumen or intellectual skills...I believe there's around just shy of 10k economic sanctions by Washington...

But the USA does have the right to receive or refuse to receive foreign Ambassadors and Consuls and to recognize or not recognize other nations governments thus it does have some degrees of the right to not trade or engage in commerce with other nations to a certain extent... per imports and exports... et cetera... though it's not necessarily an absolute right or power

IronForge , 2 hours ago

Sjursen may admire General Butler; but he doesn't seem to know that several of the General's Descendants Served in the US Military.

Sjursen isn't Butler. The General Prevented a Coup in his Time.

The USA are a Hegemony whose KleptOchlarchs overtook the Original Constitutional Republic.

PetroUSD, MIC, Corporate Expansion-Conquest, AgriGMO, and Pharma Interests Span the Globe.

Wars are Rackets; and Societies to Nation-States have waged them over Real Estate, Natural Resources, Trade Routes, Industrial Capacity, Slavery, Suppresive Spite, Religious/Ideological Zeal, Economic Preservation, and Profiteering Greed.

YET, Militaries are still formed by Nation-States to Survive and for Some - Thrive above such Competitive Existenstential Threats.

*****

The Hegemony are running up against New Shifts in Global Power, Systems, and Influences; and are about to Lose their Unilateral Advantages. The Hegemon themselves may suffer Societal Collapses Within.

Sjursen should read up on Chalmers Johnson. Instead of trying to Coordinate Ineffective Peace Demonstrations, the Entire Voting/Political Contribution/Candidacy Schemes should be Separated from the Oligarchy of Plutocrats and Corporate/Political KleptOchlarchs.

Without Bringing the Votes back to the Collective Hands of Citizenry Interests First and Foremost, the Republic are Forever Conquered; and the Ethical may have to resort to Emigration and/or Secession.

Ink Pusher , 2 hours ago

Nobody rides for free,there's always a cost and those who can't pay in bullion will often pay in bodily fluids of one form or another.

Profiteers that create warfare for profit are simply parasitical criminals and should not be considered a "special breed" when weighed upon the Scales of Justice.

gzorp , 2 hours ago

Read 'Starship Troopers' by Robert A Heinlein (1959) pay especial attention to the "History and Moral Philosophy" courses... that's where his predictions for the future course of 'America's' future appear.... rather accurately. Heinlein was a 1930's graduate of Annapolis (Navy for you dindus and nohabs).....

A DUDE , 2 hours ago

t's not just the war machine but the entire system, the corporatocracy, of which the MIC is a part. And there is no way to change the system from within the system because whatever is anti-establishment becomes absorbed and neutered and part of the system.

So why would anyone vote is my question? 11. Trump and Biden Are Far Right of Center and Running to Offenbach Nearly Every Day

sbin , 2 hours ago

Tulsi Gabbard ran on anti interventionism foreign policy.

Look how fast the DNC disappeared her.

Of course destroying Kamala Harris in a debate and going after the ancient evil Hitlery sealed her fate.

BarkingWolf , 2 hours ago

In reality, since Trump took office, there's been no reduction in the US military presence abroad, which last year required a Pentagon budget of nearly $740 billion. As military historian and retired career officer Andrew Bacevich notes , "endless wars persist (and in some cases have even intensified ); the nation's various alliances and its empire of overseas bases remain intact; US troops are still present in something like 140 countries ; Pentagon and national security state spending continues to increase astronomically ."

Now wait just a minute there mister, that sounds like criticism of the Donald John PBUH PBUH PBUH ... you can't do that ... the cult followers will call you a leftist and a commie if you point out stuff like that even if it is objectively true! That's strike one, punk.

An Appeal to Conscience

Even if Biden beats Trump in November, efforts to curb US military spending will face continuing bi-partisan resistance.

November doesn't have anything to do with anything really. The appeal to conscience is wasted. The appeal would be better spent on removing the political class that is on the AIPAC dole and have dual citizenship in a foreign country in the ME while pretending to serve America while they are members of Congress. That's only the tip of the spear ... and that is a nonstarter from the get go.

Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military's own current generation of "yes men for another war power hungry president."


I don't think Trump is necessarily a war power hungry president. While it is true that we have not withdrawn from Syria and basically stole their oil as Trump has repeated promised he would do, it is also true that Trump has yet to deliver Israels war with Iran and in fact had called back an invasion of Iran ten minutes before a flotilla of US warships was about to set sail to ignite such an invasion leaving Tel Aviv not only aggrieved, but angry as well.

Sjursen has now traded his "identity as a soldier -- the only identity I've known in my adult life -- for that of an anti-war, anti-imperialist, social justice crusader," albeit one who did not attend his first protest rally until he was thirty-two years old. With several left-leaning comrades ...

Okay, this is where you are starting to lose me .... i't like listening to a concert and suddenly the music is hitting sour notes that are off key, off tempo, and don't seem to fit somehow.

Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the recipient of two Medals of Honor for service between 1898 and 1931. Following his retirement, Butler sided with the poor and working-class veterans who marched on Washington to demand World War I bonus payments. And he wrote a best-selling Depression-era memoir, which famously declared that "war is just a racket" and lamented his own past role as "a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

"On July 28, 1932, at the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol to launch an attack on World War I veterans. " https://www.stripes.com/news/us/the-veterans-were-desperate-gen-macarthur-ordered-us-troops-to-attack-them-1.480665

Butler was correct, war especially nowadays, is a racket that makes rich people who never seem to get their hands dirty, even richer. As one grunt put it long ago, "it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it."

That "somebody" is going to be the kids of the little people (the real high-class muscle-men ) who are hated by their political class overlords even as the political class are worshipped as gods.

Sjursen looks instead to small left-leaning groups like Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War), and Bring Our Troops Home. US, a network of veterans influenced by the libertarian right.

The problem here is that the so-called "left" brand has always been about war and the capitalism of death.

The Democrat party is really the group that started the American civil war for instance, they are the ones behind legacy of Eugenists like Margaret Sanger who was a card carrying Socialist who founded the child murder mill known today as Planned Parenthood that sadly still exists under Trump but has turned into the industrialized slaughter of children ...even after birth so that their organs can be "harvested" for profit.

Sjursen's affinity for "the left" as saintly purveyors of peace, goodness, love, and life strikes me as rather disingenuous. Then he seems to argue if I read the analysis correctly that conscription will somehow be the panacea for the insatiable appetite for war?

One false flag such as The Gulf of Tonkin or 911 or even Perl Harbor or the Sinking of the Lusitania or the assassination of an Arch Duke ... is all that is really needed to arouse the unbridled hoards to march off to battle with almost erotic enthusiasm -the political class KNOWS IT!

Amendment X , 2 hours ago

And don't forget President Wilson (D) who was re-elected on the platform "He kept us out of the war" only to drag U.S. into the hopeless European Monarchary driven WWI.

11b40 , 1 hour ago

Yo! Low class muscle man here, and I have to agree with bringing back the draft. It should never have been eliminated, and is the root of the golbalists abiity to keep us in Afghanistan, and other parts of the ME, for going on 20 years.

Skin in the game. It means literally everything. As noted we now have 2 generations of men who never had to give much thought at all to what's happening around the world, and how America is involved....and look at the results. It would be a much different situation today if all those 18 year olds had to face the draft board with an unforgiving lottery.

Yes, one false falg can whip up the country to a war time fever pitch, but unless there is a real, serious threat, the fever cannot be maintained. The 1969 draft lottery caught me when I stayed out the first semester of my senior year. Didn't want to go, but accepted my fate and did the best job I could to stay alive and keep those around me as safe as possible. In 1966, I was in favor of the war, and was about to go Green Beret on the buddy system. We were going to grease gooks with all the enthusiasm of John Wayne. My old man, an artillery 1st Sgt at the time in Germany, talked me out of it. More like get your *** on a plane back to the States and into college, befroe i kick it up around your shouders. A WW2 & Korea vet, he told me then it was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The point is, when kids are getting drafted, Mom's, Dad's, and everyone else concerned with the safety of their friends & relatives, start paying attention and asking hard questions of politicians. Using Afghanistan as an example, we would have been on the way out by the 2004 election cycle, or at max before the next one in 2008. That was 12 years ago, and we are still there.

I addition, the reason we went would have been more closely examined, and there may have been a real investigtion into 9/11. Plus, I am convinced that serving your country makes for a better all around citizen, and God knows, we need better citizens.

Cassandra.Hermes , 2 hours ago

Trump and Pompeo started new cold war with China, but have no way to back up their threats and win it!! When i was in Kosovo peace corps i heard so many stories from Albanian who were blamed to be Russian or American spy because of double cold war against Albania. Trump and Pompeo just gave excuse to Xi to blame anyone who protest as American spy. BBC were showing China's broadcast of the protests in Oregon to Hong Kong with subtitle "Do you really want American democracy?", LMFAO

Max21c , 2 hours ago

Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that "we have the strongest military in the world," promising to "make the investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of the next century, not the last one."

The United States shall continue to have a weak military until it starts to fix its foreign policy and diplomacy. You cannot have the strongest military in the world if you lack a good foreign policy and good diplomacy. Brains are a lot more important than battleships, battalions, bullets, barrels, or bombs. Get a frickin' clue you friggin' Washington morons.

Washington is weak because they are dumb. Blind, deaf, and dumb.

Heroic Couplet , 2 hours ago

Too little, too late. Great ad for a book that will be forgotten in a week. Read Bolton's book. The minute Trump tries to reduce troops, Bolton is right there, saying "No, we can't move troops to the perimeter. No, we can't move troops from barracks to tents at the perimeter." Who needs AI?

Erik Prince wrote 3.5 years ago that 4th gen warfare consists of cyberwarfare and bio-weapons. The US military is fooked. There's probably an interesting book to be researched: How do Republicans feel about contracting COVID-19 after listening to Trump fumble?

ChecksandBalances , 3 hours ago

Blame the voters. Run on a platform to reduce military and police spending. See how many of those lose. Probably all of them. You have to stop feeding the beast. This is a slogan Trump correctly said but as usual didn't actually mean. We should cut all military and police spending by 1/2 and then take the remaining money and build a smarter, more efficient military and police force.

Max21c , 3 hours ago

It's not just the "Deep State." It's Washingtonians overall. It's Deep Crazy. They're all Deep Crazy! They're nuts. And the rare exceptions that may know better and have enough common sense to know its wrong to sick the secret police on innocent American civilians aren't going to say anything or do anything to stop it. The few that know better in foreign policy aren't going to say anything or do anything against the new Cold Wars on the Eastern Front against China or on the Western Front against Russia since they're not willing to go up against the Regime. So the Regimists know they have carte blanche to persecute or terrorize or go after any that stand in their way. This is how tyrannies and police states operate. It's the nature of the beast. At a minimum they brow beat people into submission. People don't want to stick their neck out and risk going up against the Regime and risk losing to the Regime, its secret police, and the powers that be. They shy away from anything that would bring the Regime and its secret police and its radicals, extremists, fanatics, and zealots their way.

nonkjo , 4 hours ago

It's okay to be against "forever war" and still not have to be a progressive douchbag.

Sjursen is an unprincipled ******** artist. He leaves Iraq disillusioned as a lieutenant but sticks around long enough for them to pay for his grad school and give him some sweet "resume building" experiences that he can stand on to sell books? FYI, from commissioning time as a second lieutenant to promotion to captain is 3 years...that means Sjusen was so disillusioned that he decided to stick around for 12 more years which is about 9 years longer than he actually needed to as an Academy grad (he only had to serve 6 unless he elected to go to grad school).

The bottom line is Sjusen capitalizes on people not knowing how the military works. That is, that his own self-interest far outweighs his the principles he espouses. Typical leftist hypoctite.

Max21c , 4 hours ago

...the U.S. "desperately needs a massive, public, empowered anti-war and anti-imperial wave ..."

Perhaps the USA just needs a better foreign policy. Though we all know that's not going to happen with the flaky screwballs of Washington and the flaky screwballs in the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, foreign policy establishment, think tanks et cetera.

Minor technical point: the time for the "anti-imperial wave" was before Washingtonians destroyed much of the world and created their strategic blunders and disastrous foreign policy. You folks all went along with this nonsense and now you have your quagmires, forever wars, and numerous trouble spots that have popped up here and there along the way to boot.

Pottery barn rule: you broke it and you own it and it's yours...Ma'am please pay at the register on the way out...Sorry Ma'am there's no more free gluing...though the gluing specialist may be in on the third Thursday this month though it's usually the second Tuesday each month...

Contemporaneously, in the same vein the American public has been brainwashed into going along with the new Cold Wars on the Western Front against Moscow and the even newer Cold War on the Eastern Front against Beijing. It's like P.T. Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute," and you fools in the American public just keep buying right in to the brainwashing. They're now successfully indoctrinating you into buying into their new Cold Wars with Russia and China. The Cold War on the Eastern Front versus Peking is more getting more fanciful attentions at the moment and the Cold War on the Western Front has temporarily been relegated to the back burner but they'll move the Western Front Cold War from simmer to boil over whenever it suits their needs. It's just a rendition of the Oceania has always been at war with East Asia and Eurasia is our friend are just gameplays right out of George Orwell's 1984.

Most of the quagmires can be fixed to a certain extent by applying some cement and engineering to the quicksand and many of the trouble spots can become more settled and less unstable if not stable in some instances. Even some of the more serious strategic problems like the South China Sea, North Korean nuclear weapons development, and potential Iranian nuclear weapons development can still be resolved through peaceful strategies and solutions.

In re sum, while I won't disparage a peace movement I do not believe it is either necessary nor proper simply because you will not solve anything through a peace movement. The sine qua non or quintessential element is simply to end one of these wars successfully through a peaceful diplomatic solution or solve one of these serious foreign policy problems through diplomacy which is something that hasn't been the norm since the downfall of the Berlin Wall, is no longer in favor, and which is the necessary element to prove that peace can be achieved through strategy and diplomacy and thereby change the course of the country's future.

In foreign affairs the foreign policy establishment has its pattern of behavior and it is that pattern of behavior that has to be changed. It's the mindset of the Washingtonians & elites that has to be changed. Just taking to the streets won't really change their ways or their beliefs for any significant part of the duration. They may pay lip service to peace & diplomacy but it won't win out in their minds in the long run. They are so warped in their views and beliefs that it'll have little or no effect over the long haul. As soon as the protests dissipate they'll be right back at it, back to their bad ways and bad behavior.

Son of Captain Nemo , 4 hours ago

For the past 19 years... And as Anti-War as you will ever get!...

https://action.ae911truth.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=11418&killorg=True&loggedOut=True

https://www.ae911truth.org/grandjury

P.S.

Remind 0range $hit $tain ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/14/trump-im-reopening-911-investigation/ ) that if he makes this a campaign pledge and an issue for debate he maybe can avoid a war crimes tribunal given how much has already been spent on the war machine ( https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/944-trillion-reasons-why-fed-quietly-bailing-out-hedge-funds )!

Hatterasjohn , 4 hours ago

Was it George Carlin that said " if voting made a difference they wouldn't let us do it " ? The only way to stop these forever wars is for people to stop joining the military. Parents should teach their children that joining the military and trotting off to some country to fight a war for the elite is not being patriotic . I was in the military from 1964 -1968. When Lyndon Johnson became president he drug out the Vietnam war as long as he could. Oh ! Lady Byrd Johnson bought Decon Company [ rat poison ] when most people never heard of it. Johnson bought this rat poison , government paid for ,at an inflated price . Sent ship loads of it to Vietnam .Never mind all the Americans and so called enemy killed.. Jane Fonda , Hanoi Jane , was really a hero who helped save countless lives by helping to end the war. Tommy and **** Smothers , Smother Brothers , spoke out against the war . Our government had them black balled from TV. Our government is probably as corrupt as any other country.

No-Go zone , 5 hours ago

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-19/top-us-general-says-american-troops-should-be-ready-die-israel

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

A piece of irony, one of our greatest generals was Dwight Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander in WWII and two term president. He kept the peace for almost 10 years and warned Americans to beware of the "military-industrial complex." Most military men never want war, they just make sure they are ready if it comes. We have had the military industrial complex for way too long, it needs to be reduced and we need more generals to run for president, Gen. Flynn maybe? I'll also take Schwartzkoff.

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

The U.S. should only use our military if we are attacked, period. Otherwise, as Jefferson astutely stated, a standing army is a threat to democracy.

captain noob , 7 hours ago

Capitalism has no morals

Profit is the driving force of every single thing

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

The U.S. should only use our military if we are attacked, period. Otherwise, as Jefferson astutely stated, a standing army is a threat to democracy.

Chief Joesph , 7 hours ago

After what General Smedley Butler had to say and warned us about, here we are, 90 years later, doing the very same thing. Goes to show how utterly dumb, unprogressive, sheepish, and Medieval Americans really are. And you thought this is what makes America Great????

cowboyted , 8 hours ago

The U.S. Constitution provides for a "national defense." Yet, the last time we were attacked by a foreign nation was on Dec. 7, 1941 in which, the Congress declared war on Japan. Yet, in the past 100 years our country's leaders have convinced Americans that we can wage war if the issue concerns our "national INTEREST." This is wrong and needs to be deleted and replaced with our Constitution's language. Also, Congress is the ONLY Constitutional authority to declare war, not the executive branch. Too many countries, including the U.S., spend too much money preparing for war on levels of destruction that are unnecessary. We must attain a new paradigm with leading countries to achieve a mutual understanding that the people of the world are better off with jobs, food, families, peace, and a chance at a better life, filled with hope, faith, and flourishing communities. Things have to change.

transcendent_wannabe , 8 hours ago

I have to agree in sentiment with the author, but the reality of humans on earth almost demands constant war, it is the price we pay for the modern city lifestyle. There are various reasons.

1. Ever since WW1, the country has become citified, and the old peaceful country farm life was replaced with the rat race of industrial production. Without war, there is no need for the level of industrial production required to give full employment to the overpopulated cities. People will scream for war and jingoism when they have no city jobs. How do you deal with that? Sure, War is a Racket, but so far a necessary racket.

2. Every 20 years the military needs a real shooting war to battle test its upcoming soldiers and new equipment. Now the battles are against insurgencies... door-to-door in cities and ghettos, and new tactics need to be field tested. If the military goes more than 20 years without a real shooting war, they lose the real men, the sargeant majors, who just become fat pot bellied desk personel without the adrenaline of a real fight.

3. Humans inately like to fight. Even children, boys wrestle, girls taunt one another. There is no way discovered yet to keep people from turning violent in their attempts to steal what others have, or to gain dominance thru physical intimidation. Without war, gangs will form and fight over territorial boundaries. There is no escaping it.

4. Earth is where the battle field is, Battlefield Earth. There is no fighting allowed in heaven, so Earth is where souls come to fight. Nobody on earth likes it, but fighting and war is here to stay, and you should really use this life to find out how to transcend earth and get to a place where war is not needed or allowed, like heaven or Valhalla.

Tortuga , 8 hours ago

So. He thinks the crooked, grifting, regressive hate US murdering dim pustules aren't the warmongering, globalist, hate US, crooked, grifting, murdering republicrats. What a mo ron.

HenryJonesJr , 8 hours ago

Real conservatives were always against foreign intervention. It was the Left that embraced foreign wars (Wilson / Roosevelt / Truman / Johnson).

messystateofaffairs , 8 hours ago

From my perspective being a professional goon to serve the greater glory of international criminals, is, aside from having to avoid the mirror, way too much hard and dangerous work for the money. As a civilian of a society run by criminals on criminal imperialist principles, I have no literal PTSD type of skin in that filthy game, but like most citizens, knowing and unknowing, I do swim in that sewer everyday, doing my best to avoid bumping into the larger turds. My "patriotism" lies where the turds are fewest, anywhere in the world that might be.

bh2 , 8 hours ago

The threat to US interests is not in the ME (apart from Israel). It's in the Pacific.

NATO was never intended to be a defense arrangement perpetually funded by the US. Once stood up and post-war economies in Europe were restored, it was supposed to be a European defense shield with the US as ultimate backup. Not as a sugar-daddy for wealthy nations. Now that Russia is no longer situated to attack through the Fulda Gap, NATO is a grotesque expression of Parkinson's Law writ large.

China is a real threat to US interests. That's obvious simply by consulting a map. Military assets committed to engagement in theaters that no longer seriously matter is feckless and spendthrift. Particularly when Americans are put in harm's way with no prospect of either winning or leaving.

Worse yet is the accelerating prospect of being drawn into conflict in the South China Sea because fewer than decisive US and allied assets are deployed there.

While nations are now responding to that threat (including Japan, who are re-arming), China must realize a successful Taiwan invasion faces steadily diminishing prospects. They must act soon or give up the opportunity. Moreover, the CCP are loosing face with their own people because of multiple calamities wreaking havoc. The danger of a desperate CCP turning to a hot war to save face is an ever-rising threat. (If Three Gorges Dam fails, that could be the final straw.)

FDR deliberately suckered Japan into attacking the US (but apparently never guessed it would be on Pearl Harbor). It appears modern neo warmongers of all stripes would be delighted if China were tempted into yet another senseless war in the Pacific. And more lives lost on all sides.

While the size of US military and (ineptly named) "intelligence" budgets are vastly out of scale, the short-term cost in money is secondary to risk of long-term cost in blood. Surging the budget may make good sense when guns are all pointing in the wrong direction and political donors don't care as long as it pays well.

Defeating that outrageously wasteful spending is the first battle to be won. Disengaging from stupid, distracting, unwinnable conflicts is an imperative to achieve that goal.

The Judge , 8 hours ago

US. is the real threat to US interests.

DeptOfPsyOps-14527776 , 8 hours ago

An important part of this statue quo is propaganda and in particular neo-con propaganda.

Once it was clear that agitating against the Russian federation had failed, they started agitating against the PRC.

FDR administration wasn't that clever, they just had (((support))). They wanted Imperial Japan unable to strengthen itself against the United Kingdom as it was waging a war against the European Axis, did not realize that the Japanese fleet could reach as far as Hawaii and after Pearl Harbor, believed the West Coast could have been attacked as well.

Hovewer, they likely expected the Japanese to intercept their fleet on the way to the Phillipines after a war between Imperial Japan and the Commonwealth had started.

Salzburg1756 , 8 hours ago

"FDR deliberately suckered Japan into attacking the US (but apparently never guessed it would be on Pearl Harbor)." No, we knew the japs were going to attack Pearl Harbor. We had broken their code. That's why we sent our best battle ships away from Hawaii just before the attack. Most of the ships they sank were old and worthless; our good ships were out at sea.

TheLastMan , 4 hours ago

What constitutes "America's interests"?

the us military is the world community welcome wagon for global multi national Corp chamber of commerce

Do us citizens serve corporations or do corporations serve us citizens?

next ?, who owns / controls corporations?

Alice-the-dog , 8 hours ago

There is a reason why suicide is the leading cause of death among active duty military. They come to realize that what they are doing is perfect male bovine fecal matter. That they are guilty of participating in completely unwarranted death and destruction.

847328_3527 , 9 hours ago

Liberals and "progressives" are traditionally against wars. This new "woke" group of Demorats shows they are NOT liberals or progressives since they support the Establishment War Criminals like Obama and his side kick, demented Biden, and Bloodthirsty Clinton.

[Jul 19, 2020] A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking real money

Jul 19, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Alan White 07.19.20 at 1:21 am

John, what say you about US/global military spending, which if cut and reallocated in the low double digits could transform society? Do you think it's just politically untouchable? If the US cut its military budget by say 25% it would still be formidable, especially given its nuclear deterrent. For the life of me I can never understand why military budgets are sacrosanct. Is it just WW2 and Cold War hangover? Couldn't the obvious effects of climate change and the fragility of the economy subject to natural threats like the pandemic change attitudes about overfunding the military (like the debacle of the F-35 program)?

John Quiggin 07.19.20 at 3:50 am ( 15 )

Alan White @13 Military spending is about 3.4 per cent of US GDP, compared to 2 per cent or less most places. So that's a significant and unproductive use of resources that could be redirected to better effect. But the income of the top 1 per cent is around 20 per cent of total income. If that was cut in half, there would be little or no reduction in the productive services supplied by this group. If you want big change, that's where you need to look.

eg 07.19.20 at 4:08 am ( 16 )

@Alan White #13

I think some of the reluctance to cut military spending in the US is the extent to which it acts as a politically unassailable source of fiscal stimulus and "welfare" in a country where such things are otherwise anathema. Well, that and all of the grift it represents for the donor class.

likbez 07.19.20 at 10:18 am ( 17 )

@John Quiggin 07.19.20 at 3:50 am *15)

Alan White @13 Military spending is about 3.4 per cent of US GDP, compared to 2 per cent or less most places.

GDP is a fake metric in general (due to the size of FIRE sector in the US economy) and especially when we are discussing military spending.

Military spending is 53% of discretionary spending which put the USA in the category of the most militarized countries. https://www.nationalpriorities.org/analysis/2020/militarized-budget-2020/

[Jul 19, 2020] The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 18 2020 22:54 utc | 6 4

Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke? The former's not mentioned in this fascinating essay , but the latter is and appears to deserve some unpacking beyond what Crooke provides.

As for the letter, it's way overdue by 40+ years. I recall reading Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism where they say much the same.

What's most irksome are the lies that now substitute for discourse--Trump or someone from his admin lies, then the WaPost, NY Times, MSNBC, Fox, and others fire back with their lies. And to top everything off--There's ZERO accountability: people who merit "canceling" continue to lie and commit massive fraud.

The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Yes, they were specifically referring to the government, but I'd include the Empire's institutions as well. In the face of that reality, the letter is worse than a joke.

[Jul 11, 2020] Pounding to nothing - Patrick Porter - The Critic Magazine

Jul 11, 2020 | thecritic.co.uk

Pounding to nothing

Patrick Porter reviews The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, by John Bolton ARTILLERY ROW BOOKS 4 July, 2020

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P resident Donald Trump's third National Security Advisor opens his memoir with this quote from the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo: 'Hard Pounding, this, gentlemen. Let's see who will pound the longest.' And pound for pound, that's the (nearly) 500 page memoir in a nutshell. Unremitting pounding is both the theme and the style. As John Bolton urged the White House to take a 'harder line" on Iran and North Korea, Trump's chief of staff "urged me to keep pounding away in public, which I assured him I would.' China 'pounded away during my tenure, sensing weakness at the top.' As with Bolton's mission, so too with America's statecraft, that must 'keep moving and keep firing, like a big grey battleship.'

From his infamous unsubtle moustache to his bellicosity, Bolton traffics on a self-image of straight shooter who sprints towards gunfire. He does not set out to offer a meditation on a complex inner life. This image is also slightly misleading. For all the barrage, Bolton turns out to be a more conflicted figure, especially when his supporting fire is most called upon.

The Room Where it Happened is Bolton's account of his part in the power struggles within Trump's almost medieval court, his attempt to steer the executive branch towards the right course, unmasked supremacy everywhere, and his failure and disillusion with Trump's chaotic, self-serving and showbiz-driven presidency.

The room where it happened: A White House memoir, by John Bolton

The memoir itself is a non-trivial political event. Other reviewers have assailed it for being turgid. Bolton, though, has at least done the state some service by habitually recording and recounting every meeting. This is an important record of an important eighteen months packed with the escalating brinksmanship with Iran, an impeachment inquest, the return of great power competition and a fierce struggle to control the policy levers in Washington itself. For that detail, especially when contrasted with the exhausting melodrama of the era, Bolton deserves a little credit. The Trump administration's determined effort to suppress it on the grounds of classified information suggests there is substance to Bolton's allegations of corruption and turmoil at the heart of government.

It is also, though, a work of self-vindication. Bolton's life is an adversarial one. A former attorney, he became a policy advocate and a Republican Party institution, consistently taking the hardest of lines. He was ever drawn to aggressive combatants – like Hillary Clinton, in his formative years he supported Barry Goldwater. He interned for Vice-President Spiro Agnew, the "number one hawk." As a measure of Bolton's faith that war works and that co-existence with "rogue states" is impossible, he advocated attacking a heavily (and nuclear)-armed North Korea in 2018, an adversary that lies in artillery range of Seoul and thousands of Americans as effective hostages, and offered up a best-case scenario in doing so.

Bolton brought to government a world view that was dug-in and entrenched. For Bolton, the world is hostile, and to survive America must be strong (wielding and brandishing overwhelming force) at all times. Enemy regimes cannot be bargained with or even co-existed with on anything less than maximalist terms dictated by Washington. The US never gives an inch, and must demand everything. And if those regimes do not capitulate, America must topple or destroy them: Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea, and must combat them on multiple fronts at once. In doing so, America itself must remain unfettered with an absolutely free hand, not nodding even hypocritically to law or custom or bargaining.

If Bolton's thoughts add up to anything, it is a general hostility, if not to talking, certainly to diplomacy – the art of giving coherence and shape to different instruments and activities, above all through compromise and a recognition of limits. The final straw for Bolton was Trump's cancelling an airstrike on Iran after it shot down a drone. An odd hill to die on, given the graver acts of corruption he as witness alleges, but fitting that the failure to pull the trigger for him was Trump's most shocking misdemeanour.

What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster

This worldview is as personal as it is geopolitical. Importantly for Bolton, in the end he fights alone, bravely against the herd. He fights against other courtiers, even fellow hawks, who Bolton treats with dismissive contempt – Nikki Haley, Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, or James Mattis who like Bolton, champions strategic commitments and views Iran as a dangerous enemy, but is more selective about when to reach for the gun. The press is little more than an "hysterical" crowd. Allies like South Korea, who must live as neighbours with one of the regimes Bolton earmarks for execution, and who try conciliatory diplomacy occasionally, earn slight regard. Critics, opponents or those who disagree are 'lazy,' 'howling' or 'feckless.'

For a lengthy work that distils a lifetime's experience, it is remarkably thin regarding the big questions of security, power and order. The hostile world for him contains few real limits other than failures of will. He embraces every rivalry and every commitment, but explanations are few and banal. 'While foreign policy labels are unhelpful except to the intellectually lazy,' he says, 'if pressed, I like to say my policy was "pro-American".' Who is lazy, here?

The purpose of foreign policy, too, is largely absent. Armed supremacy abroad, and power-maximisation, seems to be the end in itself, regardless of what is has wrought at home. This makes his disdain for Trump's authoritarian ways especially obtuse: what does he think made possible an imperial presidency in the first place?

There's little room for principled or reasonable disagreement. What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster, in a town where horse-trading and agility matter. Unintentionally, it is a warning to anyone who seeks to be effective as well as right, and to those of us who debate these questions.

The most provocative part of the book comes at the end, and points to a man more conflicted than his self-image of the straight shooter. Bolton issues an extended, uneasy defence of his decision not to appear as a witness before the House impeachment inquiry against a president he believed to be corrupt. Having celebrated the need to "pound away" with inexhaustible energy, it turned out his ammunition was low. 'I was content to bide my time. I believed throughout, as the line in Hamilton goes, that "I am not throwing away my shot".' Drawing on a characteristic claim to certainty, 'it would have made no significant difference in the Senate outcome.' How can he know this? And even if the odds were long, was there not – for once – a compelling basis in civic virtue to be that relentless grey battleship, pounding away? He now hopes "history" will remember Trump as a one-term president. History needs willing agents.

Other reviews have honed in on Bolton's decision to delay his revelations for a book pay-day. But consider another theme – the war-hawk who is in fact torn and agonised around combat when it comes to himself. It echoes his retrospective rationale for not fighting in Vietnam, a war he supported, and (as he has recorded) the detailed efforts he made to avoid service in that tragic theatre after being drafted. It was, he decided, bound to fail given that the anti-war Democrats would undermine the cause, a justification he later sheepishly regretted.

So twice the advocate of forceful confrontation refused the call to show up, generously awarding to himself a rationale for non-intervention that relieves him of commitment. He refuses to extend that same exonerating, prudential logic to his country, when it debates whether to wade in to conflict abroad. Neither does he extend it to other Americans who think the nation, like Bolton, might be better off sometimes holding its fire, biding its time, dividing its enemies, and keeping its powder dry.

Given that Bolton failed in the end to attend the "room where it happened", his title is unwittingly ironic. In his favour, Bolton's testy defence of his absence at least suggests something. In contrast with the front cover of another forthcoming, Trump-era memoir , he retains a modest capacity for embarrassment.

[Jul 11, 2020] UPRISING- Trump, Tulsa the Rise of Military Dissent by Danny Sjursen

Jul 11, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Danny Sjursen goes undercover in Trumplandia and comes back with this reflection on the U.S. president's loss of loyalty among soldiers and veterans.

...As both the Covid-19 crisis and the militarization of the police in the streets of American cities have made clear, the imperial power that we veterans fought for abroad is the same one some of us are now struggling against at home and the two couldn't be more intimately linked. Our struggle is, at least in part, over who gets to define patriotism.

Should the sudden wave of military and veteran dissent keep rising, it will invariably crash against the pageantry patriots of Chickenhawk America who attended that Tulsa rally and we'll all face a new and critical theater in this nation's culture wars. I don't pretend to know whether such protests will last or military dissent will augur real change of any sort. What I do know is what my favorite rock star, Bruce Springsteen, used to repeat before live renditions of his song "Born to Run":

William H Warrick MD , July 10, 2020 at 13:21

oBOMBa destroyed the Anti-War Movement. When he got in the White House all of them began going to Brunch instead of Peace/Anti-War marches.

[Jul 06, 2020] Bolton Changes Tune- Now Refuses To Answer 'Russian Bounties' Questions After Stoking The 'Scandal' -

Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

By middle of last week we observed of the Russian bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan story that "at this point this non-story looks to be dead by the weekend as it's already unraveled."

Indeed by Thursday and Friday, as more Congressional leaders received closed door intelligence briefings on the allegations which originated with an anonymously sourced NY Times report claiming Trump supposedly ignored the Russian op to target Americans, the very Democrat and Republican lawmakers previously hyping it as a 'major scandal' went conspicuously silent .

Recall too that John Bolton, busy with a media blitz promoting his book, emerged to strongly suggest he had personal knowledge that Trump was briefed on the matter . The former national security adviser called the Trump denial of being briefed "remarkable". Well, look who is now appearing to sing a different tune. A week ago Bolton was all too wiling to voluntarily say Trump had "likely" been briefed and that was a big scandal. The whole story was indeed dead by the weekend:

NOW PLAYING

Other reports said Bolton has been telling people he had personally briefed the president :

Former national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues that he personally briefed President Donald Trump about intelligence that Russia offered Afghan militants bounties to kill American troops , U.S. officials told the Associated Press .

Bolton briefed Trump on the matter in March of 2019, according to the report, a year earlier than previously reported by The New York Times . The information was also included in at least one presidential Daily Brief, according to the AP, CNN and The Times . The AP earlier reported that it was also included in a second presidential Daily Brief earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O'Brien discussed the matter with Trump.

His Sunday refusal to even address the question - again after he was all too willing to speak to the issue a week ago when it was driving headlines - speaks volumes.

Via The Daily Mail

Now that even The Washington Post awkwardly walked back the substance of much of its reporting on the 'Russian bounties' story, Bolton has conveniently gone silent .


[Jul 06, 2020] US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous - The Grayzone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer. ..."
"... That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped. ..."
"... They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable. ..."
"... And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. ..."
"... the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do. ..."
"... What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real. ..."
"... just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. ..."
"... And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate. ..."
"... This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | thegrayzone.com

US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous

Max Blumenthal breaks down the "Russian bounty" story's flaws and how it aims to prolong the war in Afghanistan -- and uses Russiagate tactics to continue pushing the Democratic Party to the right

Multiple US media outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, are claiming that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, and that President Trump has taken no action.

Others are contesting that claim. "Officials said there was disagreement among intelligence officials about the strength of the evidence about the suspected Russian plot," the New York Times reports. "Notably, the National Security Agency, which specializes in hacking and electronic surveillance, has been more skeptical."

"The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War," Blumenthal says.

Guest: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone and author of several books, including his latest "The Management of Savagery."

TRANSCRIPT

AARON MATÉ: Welcome to Pushback, I'm Aaron Maté. There is a new supposed Trump-Russia bombshell. The New York Times and other outlets reporting that Russia has been paying bounties to Afghan militants to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. Trump and the White House were allegedly briefed on this information but have taken no action.

Now, the story has obvious holes, like many other Russiagate bombshells. It is sourced to anonymous intelligence officials. The New York Times says that the claim comes from Afghan detainees. And it also has some logical holes. The Taliban have been fighting the US and Afghanistan for nearly two decades and never needed Russian payments before to kill the Americans that they were fighting; [this] amongst other questions are raised about this story. But that has not stopped the usual chorus from whipping up a frenzy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Vladimir Putin is offering bounties for the scalps of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Not only offering, offering money [to] the people who kill Americans, but some of the bounties that Putin has offered have been collected, meaning the Russians at least believe that their offering cash to kill Americans has actually worked to get some Americans killed.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin. He had has [sic] this information according to The Times, and yet he offered to host Putin in the United States and sought to invite Russia to rejoin the G7. He's in his entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale.

CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER: I was not briefed on the Russian military intelligence, but it shows that we need in this coming defense bill, which we're debating this week, tough sanctions against Russia, which thus far Mitch McConnell has resisted.

Joining me now is Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery . Max, welcome to Pushback. What is your reaction to this story?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, it just feels like so many other episodes that we've witnessed over the past three or four years, where American intelligence officials basically plant a story in one outlet, The New York Times , which functions as the media wing of the Central Intelligence Agency. Then no reporting takes place whatsoever, but six reporters, or three to six reporters are assigned to the piece to make it look like it was some last-minute scramble to confirm this bombshell story. And then the story is confirmed again by The Washington Post because their reporters, their three to six reporters in, you know, capitals around the world with different beats spoke to the same intelligence officials, or they were furnished different officials who fed them the same story. And, of course, the story advances a narrative that the United States is under siege by Russia and that we have to escalate against Russia just ahead of another peace summit or some kind of international dialogue.

This has sort of been the general framework for these Russiagate bombshells, and of course they can there's always an anti-Trump angle. And because, you know, liberal pundits and the, you know, Democratic Party operatives see this as a means to undermine Trump as the election heats up. They don't care if it's true or not. They don't care what the consequences are. They're just gonna completely roll with it. And it's really changed, I think, not just US foreign policy, but it's changed the Democratic Party in an almost irreversible way, to have these constant "quote-unquote" bombshells that are really generated by the Central Intelligence Agency and by other US intelligence operations in order to turn up the heat to crank up the Cold War, to use these different media organs which no longer believe in reporting, which see Operation Mockingbird as a kind of blueprint for how to do journalism, to turn them into keys on the CIA's Mighty Wurlitzer. That's what happened here.

AARON MATÉ: What do you make of the logic of this story? This idea that the Taliban would need Russian money to kill Americans when the Taliban's been fighting the US for nearly two decades now. And the sourcing for the story, the same old playbook: anonymous intelligence officials who are citing vague claims about apparently what was said by Afghan detainees.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: This story has, as I said, it relies on zero reporting. The only source is anonymous American intelligence officials. And I tweeted out a clip of a former CIA operations officer who managed the CIA's operation in Angola, when the US was actually fighting on the side of apartheid South Africa against a Marxist government that was backed up by Cuban troops. His name was John Stockwell. And Stockwell talked about how one-third of his covert operations staff were propagandists, and that they would feed imaginary stories about Cuban barbarism that were completely false to reporters who were either CIA assets directly or who were just unwitting dupes who would hang on a line waiting for American intelligence officials to feed them stories. And one out of every five stories was completely false, as Stockwell said. We could play some of that clip now; it's pretty remarkable to watch it in light of this latest fake bombshell.

JOHN STOCKWELL: Another thing is to disseminate propaganda to influence people's minds, and this is a major function of the CIA. And unfortunately, of course, it overlaps into the gathering of information. You, you have contact with a journalist, you will give him true stories, you'll get information from him, you'll also give him false stories.

OFF-CAMERA REPORTER: Can you do this with responsible reporters?

JOHN STOCKWELL: Yes, the Church Committee brought it out in 1975. And then Woodward and Bernstein put an article in Rolling Stone a couple of years later. Four hundred journalists cooperating with the CIA, including some of the biggest names in the business.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: So, basically, I mean, you get the flavor of what someone who was in the CIA at the height of the Cold War I mean, he did the same thing in Vietnam. And the playbook is absolutely the same today. These this story was dumped on Friday in The New York Times by "quote-unquote" American intelligence officials, as a breakthrough had been made in Afghan peace talks and a conference was finally set for Doha, Qatar, that would involve the Taliban, which had been seizing massive amounts of territory.

Now, it's my understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the Taliban had been fighting one of the most epic examples of an occupying army in modern history, just absolutely chewing away at one of the most powerful militaries in human history in their country for the last 19 years, without bounties from Vladimir Putin or private-hotdog-salesman-and-Saint-Petersburg-troll-farm-owner Yevgeny Prigozhin , who always comes up in these stories. It's always the hotdog guy who's doing everything bad from, like, you know, fake Facebook ads to poisoning Sergei Skripal or whatever.

But I just don't see where the Taliban needs encouragement from Putin to do that. It's their country. They want the US out and they have succeeded in seizing large amounts of territory. Donald Trump has come into office with a pledge to remove US troops from Afghanistan and ink this deal. And along comes this story as the peace process begins to advance.

And what is the end-result? We haven't gotten into the domestic politics yet, but the end-result is you have supposedly progressive senators like Chris Murphy of Connecticut attacking Trump for not fighting Russia in Afghanistan. I mean, they want a straight-up proxy war for not escalating. You have Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, someone who's aligned with the Democratic Party, who supported the war in Iraq and, you know, supports just endless war, demanding that the US turn up the heat not just in Afghanistan but in Syria. So, you know, the escalatory rhetoric is at a fever pitch right now, and it's obviously going to impact that peace conference.

Let's remember that three days before Trump's summit with Putin was when Mueller chose to release the indictment of the GRU agents for supposedly hacking the DNC servers. Let's remember that a day before the UN the United Nations Geneva peace talks opened on Syria in 2014 was when US intelligence chose to feed these shady Caesar photos, supposedly showing industrial slaughter of Syrian prisoners, to The New York Times in an investigation that had been funded by Qatar. Like, so many shady intelligence dumps have taken place ahead of peace summits to disrupt them, because the US doesn't feel like it has enough skin in the game or it just simply doesn't want peace in these areas.

So, that's what happened here. That's really, I think, the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer.

That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped.

THE LINCOLN PROJECT AD: Now we know Vladimir Putin pays a bounty for the murder of American soldiers. Donald Trump knows, too, and does nothing. Putin pays the Taliban cash to slaughter our men and women in uniform and Trump is silent, weak, controlled. Instead of condemnation he insists Russia be treated as our equal.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, maybe they're just really good editors and brilliant politicians who work overtime. They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable.

And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. They're always out there doing the hard work. Who are they? Well, Steve Schmidt is a former campaign manager for John McCain 2008. And you look at the various personnel affiliated with it, they're all McCain former McCain aides or people who worked on the Jeb and George W. Bush campaigns, going back to Texas and Florida. This is sort of the corporate wing of the Republican Party, the white-glove-country-club-patrician Republicans who are very pro-war, who hate Donald Trump.

And by doing this, by them really taking the lead on this attack, as you pointed out, Aaron, number one, they are sucking the oxygen out of the more progressive anti-Trump initiatives that are taking place, including in the streets of American cities. They're taking the wind out of anti-Trump more progressive anti-Trump critiques. For example, I think it's actually more powerful to attack Trump over the fact that he used, basically, chemical weapons on American peaceful protesters to do a fascistic photo-op. I don't know why there wasn't some call for congressional investigations on that. And they are getting skin in the game on the Biden campaign. It really feels to me like this Lincoln campaign operation, this moderate Republican operation which is also sort of a venue for neocons, will have more influence after events like this than the Bernie Sanders campaign, which has an enormous amount of delegates.

So, that's what I think the domestic repercussion is. It's just this constant it's the constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base that's moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War that only serves, you know, people who are associated with the national security state who need to justify their paycheck and the budget of the institutions that employ them.

AARON MATÉ: Let's assume for a second that the allegation is true, although, you know, you've laid out some of the reasons why it's not. Can you talk about the history here, starting with Afghanistan, something you cover a lot in your book, The Management of Savagery, where the US aim was to kill Russians, going right on through to Syria, where just recently the US envoy for the coalition against ISIS, James Jeffery, who handles Syria, said that his job now is to basically put the Russians in a quagmire in Syria.

JAMES JEFFREY: This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, I mean, it feels like a giant act of psychological and political projection to accuse Russia of using an Islamist militia in Afghanistan as a proxy against the US to bleed the US into leaving, because that's been the US playbook in Central Asia and the Middle East since at least 1979. I just tweeted a photo of Dan Rather in Afghanistan, just crossing the Pakistani border and going to meet with some of the Mujahideen in 1980. Dan Rather was panned in The New York in The Washington Post by Tom Toles [Tom Shales], who was the media critic at the time, as "Gunga Dan," because he was so gung-ho for the Afghan mujahideen. In his reports he would complain about how weak their weaponry was, you know, how they needed more how they needed more funding. I mean, you could call it bounties, but it was really just CIA funding.

DAN RATHER: These are the best weapons you have, huh? They only have about twenty rounds for this?

TRANSLATOR: That's all. They have twenty rounds. Yes, and they know that these are all old weapons and they really aren't up to doing anything to the Russian weaponry that's around. But that's all they have, and this is why they want help. And he is saying that America seems to be asleep. It doesn't seem to realize that if Afghanistan goes and the Russians go over to the Gulf, that in a very short time it's going to be the turn of the United States as well.

DAN RATHER: But I'm sure he knows that in Vietnam we got our fingers burned. Indeed, we got our whole hands burned when we tried to help in this kind of situation.

TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: Your hands were burned in Vietnam, but if you don't agree to help us, if you don't ally yourself with us, then all of you, your whole body will be burnt eventually, because there is no one in the world who can really fight and resist as well as the as much and as well as the Afghans are.

DAN RATHER: But no American mother wants to send her son to Afghanistan.

TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: We don't need anybody's soldiers here to help us, but we are being constantly accused that the Americans are helping us with weapons. What we need, actually, are the American weapons. We don't need or want American soldiers. We can do the fighting ourselves.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: And a year or several months before, the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do.

And then with the introduction of the Stinger missile, the Afghan mujahideen, hailed as freedom fighters in Washington, were able to destroy Russian supply lines, exact a heavy toll, and forced the Red Army to leave in retreat. They helped create what's considered the Soviet Union's Vietnam.

So that was really but the blueprint for what Russian for what Russia is being accused of now, and that same model was transferred over to Syria. It was also actually proposed for Iraq in the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Then Senate Foreign Relations chair Jesse Helms actually said that the Afghan mujahideen should be our model for supporting the Iraqi resistance. So, this kind of proxy war was always on the table. Then the US did it in Syria, when one out of every $13 in the CIA budget went to arm the so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria, who we later found out were 31 flavors of jihadi, who were aligned with al-Qaeda's local affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and helped give rise to ISIS. Michael Morell, I tweeted some video of him on Charlie Rose back in, I think, 2016. He's the former acting director for the CIA, longtime deputy director. He said, you know, the reason that we're in Syria, what we should be doing is causing Iran and Russia, the two allies of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, to pay a heavy price.

MICHAEL MORELL: We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price. The other thing

CHARLIE ROSE: We make them pay the price by killing killing Russians?

MICHAEL MORELL: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: And killing Iranians.

MICHAEL MORELL: Yes, covertly. You don't tell the world about it, right? You don't stand up at the Pentagon and say we did this, right? But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real.

AARON MATÉ: Let me read Dan Rather's tweet, because it's so it speaks to just how pervasive Russiagate culture is now. People have learned absolutely nothing from it.

Rather says, "Reporters are trained to look for patterns that are suspicious, and time and again one stands out with Donald Trump. Why is he so slavishly devoted to Putin? There is a spectrum of possible answers ranging from craven to treasonous. One day I hope and suspect we will find out."

It's like he forgot, perhaps, that Robert Mueller and his team spent three years investigating this very issue and came up with absolutely nothing. But the narrative has taken hold, and it's, as you talked about before, it's been the narrative we've been presented as the vehicle for understanding and opposing Donald Trump, so it cannot be questioned. And now it's like it's a matter of, what else is there to find out about Trump and Russia after Robert Mueller and the US intelligence agencies looked for everything they could and found nothing? They're still presented as if it's some kind of mystery that has to be unraveled.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: And it was after, like, a week of just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. Then Dick Cheney was welcomed into the resistance, you know, because he said, "Wear a mask." I mean, you know, his mask was strangely not spattered with the blood of Iraqi children. But, you know, it was just amazing like that. Of course, it was the Lincoln project who hijacked the minds of the resistance, but basically people who used to work on Cheney's campaign said, "Dick Cheney, welcome to the resistance." I mean, that was remarkable. And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate.

CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, just a few years ago, maybe it was two years ago, before Bolton was brought into the Trump NSC, he was considered just an absolute marginal crank who was a contributor to Fox News. He'd been forgotten. He was widely hated by Democrats. Now here he is as a sage voice to tell us how dangerous this moment is. And, you know, he's not being even brought on just to promote his book; he's being brought on as just a sober-minded foreign policy expert on Meet the Press . That's where we're at right now.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and when his critique of Trump is basically that Trump was not hawkish enough. Bolton's most the biggest critique Bolton has of Trump is, as he writes about in his book, is when Trump declined to bomb Iran after Iran shot down a drone over its territory. And Bolton said that to him was the most irrational thing he's ever seen a president do.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, Bolton was mad that Trump confused body bags with missiles, because he said Trump thought that there would be 150 dead Iranians, and I said, "No, Donald, you're confused. It will be 150 missiles that we're firing into Iran." Like that's better! Like, "Oh, okay, that makes everything all right," that we fire a hundred missiles for one drone and maybe that wouldn't that kill possibly more than 150 people?

Well, in Bolton's world this was just another stupid move by Trump. If Bolton were, I mean, just, just watch all the interviews with Bolton. Watch him on The View where the only pushback he received was from Meghan McCain complaining that he ripped off a Hamilton song for his book The Room Where It Happened , and she asked, "Don't you have any apology to offer to Hamilton fans?" That was the pushback that Bolton received. Just watch all of these interviews with Bolton and try to find the pushback. It's not there. This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller.

AARON MATÉ: And inevitably the only long-term consequence that I can see here is ultimately helping Trump, because, if history is a pattern, these Russiagate supposed bombshells always either go nowhere or they get debunked. So, if this one gets forcefully debunked, because I think it's quite possible, because Trump has said that he was never briefed on this and they'll have to prove that he's lying, you know. It should be easy to do. Someone could come out and say that. If they can't prove that he's lying, then this one, I think, will blow up in their face. And all they will have done is, at a time when Trump is vulnerable over the pandemic with over a hundred thousand people dead on his watch, all these people did was ultimately try to bring the focus back to the same thing that failed for basically the entirety of Trump's presidency, which is Russiagate and Trump's supposed―and non-existent in reality―subservience to Vladimir Putin.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: But have you ever really confronted one of your liberal friends who maybe doesn't follow these stories as closely as you do? You know, well-intentioned liberal friend who just has this sense that Russia controls Trump, and asked them to really defend that and provide the receipts and really explain where the Trump administration has just handed the store to Russia? Because what we've seen is unprecedented since the height of the Cold War, an unprecedented deterioration of US-Russia relations with new sanctions on Russia every few months. You ask them to do that. They can't do it. It's just a sense they get, it's a feeling they get. And that's because these bombshells drop, they get reported on the front pages under banners of papers that declare that "democracy dies in darkness," whose brand is something that everybody trusts, The New York Times , The Washington Post , Woodward and Bernstein, and everybody repeats the story again and again and again. And then, if and when it gets debunked, discredited or just sort of disappears, a few days later everybody forgets about it. And those people who are not just, like, 24/7 media consumers but critical-minded media consumers, they're left with that sense that Russia actually controls us and that we must do something to escalate with Russia. So, that's the point of these: by the time the disinformation is discredited, the damage has already been done. And that same tactic was employed against Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, to the point where so many people were left with the sense that he must be an antisemite, although not one allegation was ever proven.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and now to the point where, in the Labour Party―we should touch on this for a second―where you had a Labour Party member retweet an article recently that mentioned some criticism of Israel and for that she was expelled from her position in the shadow cabinet.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, well, you know, as a Jew I was really threatened by that retweet [laughter]. I don't know about you.

I mean, this is Rebecca Long Bailey. She's one of the few Corbynites left in a high position in Labour who hasn't been effectively burned at the stake for being a, you know, Jew hater who wants to throw us all in gas chambers because she retweets an interview with some celebrity I'd never heard of before, who didn't even say anything that extreme. But it really shows how the Thought Police have taken control of the Labour Party through Sir Keir Starmer, who is someone who has deep links to the national security state through the Crown Prosecution Service, which he used to head, where he was involved in the prosecution of Julian Assange. And he has worked with The Times of London, which is a, you know, favorite paper of the national security state and the MI5 in the UK, for planting stories against Jeremy Corbyn. He was intimately involved in that campaign, and now he's at the head of the Labour Party for a very good reason. I really would recommend everyone watching this, if you're interested more in who Keir Starmer really is, read "Five Questions for [New Labour Leader] Sir Keir Starmer" by Matt Kennard at The Grayzone. It really lays it out and shows you what's happening.

We're just in this kind of hyper-managed atmosphere, where everything feels so much more controlled than it's ever been. And even though every sane rational person that I know seems to understand what's happening, they feel like they're not allowed to say it, at least not in any official capacity.

AARON MATÉ: From the US to Britain, everything is being co-opted. In the US it's, you know, genuine resistance to Trump, in opposition to Trump, it gets co-opted by the right. Same thing in Britain. People get manipulated into believing that Jeremy Corbyn, this lifelong anti-racist is somehow an antisemite. It's all in the service of the same agenda, and I have to say we're one of the few outlets that are pushing back on it. Everyone else is getting swept up on it and it's a scary time.

We're gonna wrap. Max, your final comment.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, yeah, we're pushing back. And I saw today Mint Press [News], which is another outlet that has pushed back, their Twitter account was just briefly removed for no reason, without explanation. Ollie Vargas, who's an independent journalist who's doing some of the most important work in the English language from Bolivia, reporting on the post-coup landscape and the repressive environment that's been created by the junta installed with US help under Jeanine Áñez, his account has been taken away on Twitter. The social media platforms are basically under the control of the national security state. There's been a merger between the national security state and Silicon Valley, and the space for these kinds of discussions is rapidly shrinking. So, I think, you know, it's more important than ever to support alternative media and also to really have a clear understanding of what's taking place. I'm really worried there just won't be any space for us to have these conversations in the near future.

AARON MATÉ: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery , thanks a lot.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Thanks for having me.

[Jul 06, 2020] Trump's two Russias confound coherent US policy

This is a neocon written article. Reader beware.
Trump as wolf in sheep's clothing in his policy toward Russia. Any person who can appoint Bolton as his national security advisor should be criminally prosecuted for criminal incompetence. To say nothing about Pompeo, Haley and many others. Such a peacenik, my ***
The USA foreign policy is not controlled by the President. It is controlled by the "Deep state"
Notable quotes:
"... The dizzying, often contradictory, paths followed by Trump on the one hand and his hawkish but constantly changing cast of national security aides on the other have created confusion in Congress and among allies and enemies alike. To an observer, Russia is at once a mortal enemy and a misunderstood friend in U.S. eyes. ..."
"... But Trump has defended his perspective on Russia, viewing it as a misunderstood potential friend, a valued World War II ally led by a wily, benevolent authoritarian who actually may share American values, like the importance of patriotism, family and religion. ..."
"... despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has plowed ahead with some of the most significant actions against Russia by any recent administration. ..."
"... Dozens of Russian diplomats have been expelled, diplomatic missions closed, arms control treaties the Russians sought to preserve have been abandoned, weapons have been sold to Ukraine despite the impeachment allegations and the administration is engaged in a furious battle to prevent Russia from constructing a new gas pipeline that U.S. lawmakers from both parties believe will increase Europe's already unhealthy dependence on Russian energy. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | apnews.com

When it comes to Russia, the Trump administration just can't seem to make up its mind.

For the past three years, the administration has careered between President Donald Trump's attempts to curry favor and friendship with Vladimir Putin and longstanding deep-seated concerns about Putin's intentions. As Trump has repeatedly and openly cozied up to Putin, his administration has imposed harsh and meaningful sanctions and penalties on Russia.

The dizzying, often contradictory, paths followed by Trump on the one hand and his hawkish but constantly changing cast of national security aides on the other have created confusion in Congress and among allies and enemies alike. To an observer, Russia is at once a mortal enemy and a misunderstood friend in U.S. eyes.

Even before Trump took office questions about Russia abounded. Now, nearing the end of his first term with a difficult reelection ahead , those questions have resurfaced with a vengeance. Intelligence suggesting Russia was encouraging attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan by putting bounties on their heads has thrust the matter into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

The White House says the intelligence wasn't confirmed or brought to Trump's attention, but his vast chorus of critics are skeptical and maintain the president should have been aware.

The reports have alarmed even pro-Trump Republicans who see Russia as a hostile global foe meddling with nefarious intent in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Ukraine and Georgia, a waning former superpower trying to regain its Soviet-era influence by subverting democracy in Europe and the United States with disinformation and election interference .

Trump's overtures to Putin have unsettled longstanding U.S. allies in Europe, including Britain, France and Germany, which have expressed concern about the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance, which was forged to counter the Soviet threat, and robust democracy on the continent.

But Trump has defended his perspective on Russia, viewing it as a misunderstood potential friend, a valued World War II ally led by a wily, benevolent authoritarian who actually may share American values, like the importance of patriotism, family and religion.

Trump's approach to Russia was at center stage in the impeachment proceedings, when U.S. officials testified that the president demanded political favors from Ukraine in return for military assistance it needed to combat Russian aggression. But the issue ended up as a largely partisan exercise, with House Democrats voting to impeach Trump and Senate Republicans voting to acquit .

Within the Trump administration, the national security establishment appears torn between pursuing an arguably tough approach to Russia and pleasing the president. Insiders who have raised concern about Trump's approach to Russia -- including at least one of his national security advisers, defense secretaries and secretaries of state, but especially lower-level officials who spoke out during impeachment -- have nearly all been ousted from their positions.

Suspicions about Trump and Russia go back to his 2016 campaign. His appeal to Moscow to dig up his opponent's emails , his plaintive suggestions that Russia and the United States should be friends and a series of contacts between his advisers and Russians raised questions of impropriety that led to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation . The investigation ultimately did not allege that anyone associated with the campaign illegally conspired with Russia.

Mueller, along with the U.S. intelligence community, did find that Russia interfered with the election, to sow chaos and also help Trump's campaign. But Trump has cast doubt on those findings, most memorably in a 2018 appearance on stage with Putin in Helsinki .

Yet despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has plowed ahead with some of the most significant actions against Russia by any recent administration.

Dozens of Russian diplomats have been expelled, diplomatic missions closed, arms control treaties the Russians sought to preserve have been abandoned, weapons have been sold to Ukraine despite the impeachment allegations and the administration is engaged in a furious battle to prevent Russia from constructing a new gas pipeline that U.S. lawmakers from both parties believe will increase Europe's already unhealthy dependence on Russian energy.

At the same time, Trump has compounded the uncertainty by calling for the withdrawal or redeployment of U.S. troops from Germany, angrily deriding NATO allies for not meeting alliance defense spending commitments, and now apparently ignoring dire intelligence warnings that Russia was paying or wanted to pay elements of the Taliban to kill American forces in Afghanistan.

On top of that, even after the intelligence reports on the Afghanistan bounties circulated, he's expressed interest in inviting Putin back into the G-7 group of nations over the objections of the other members.

White House officials and die-hard Trump supporters have shrugged off the obvious inconsistencies, but they have been unable to staunch the swell of criticism and pointed demands for explanations as Russia, which has vexed American leaders for decades, delights in its ability to create chaos.

[Jul 03, 2020] Podcast- Empire Has No Clothes, Episode 9, Foreign Policy Dissent Is Patriotic by DANIEL LARISON

Bolton is just "yet another MIC puppet", who has complete vacuum in his head as for morality and decency. In other words he is a typical Washington psychopath. Like many sociopaths he is a compulsive liar, undeniable careerist and self-promoter.
Jul 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

This week on Empire Has No Clothes, we spoke with Elizabeth Shackelford, a former Foreign Service Officer and author of The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age . Kelley Vlahos, Matt Purple and I talked about demoralization in the department, the reasons for her resignation, U.S. policy in South Sudan and Africa, and the need for greater accountability in our foreign policy. We also covered John Bolton's new book, his outdated foreign policy views, and whether anything he says can be trusted.

Listen to the episode in the player below, or click the links beneath it to subscribe using your favorite podcast app. If you like what you hear, please give us a rating or review on iTunes or Stitcher, which will really help us climb the rankings, allowing more people to find the show.

[Jul 03, 2020] Dangerous Game - How the Wreckage of Russiagate Ignited a New Cold War by Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter

Jul 02, 2020 | libertarianinstitute.org

It's been nearly four years since the myth of Trump-Russia collusion made its debut in American politics, generating an endless stream of stories in the corporate press and hundreds of allegations of conspiracy from pundits and officials. But despite netting scores of embarrassing admissions, corrections, editor's notes and retractions in that time, the theory refuses to die.

Over the years, the highly elaborate "Russiagate" narrative has fallen away piece-by-piece. Claims about Donald Trump's various back channels to Moscow -- Carter Page , George Papadopoulos , Michael Flynn , Paul Manafort , Alfa Bank -- have each been thoroughly discredited. House Intelligence Committee transcripts released in May have revealed that nobody who asserted a Russian hack on Democratic computers, including the DNC's own cyber security firm , is able to produce evidence that it happened. In fact, it is now clear the entire investigation into the Trump campaign was without basis .

It was alleged that Moscow manipulated the president with " kompromat " and black mail, sold to the public in a " dossier " compiled by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele. Working through a DC consulting firm , Steele was hired by Democrats to dig up dirt on Trump, gathering a litany of accusations that Steele's own primary source would later dismiss as "hearsay" and "rumor." Though the FBI was aware the dossier was little more than sloppy opposition research, the bureau nonetheless used it to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.

Even the claim that Russia helped Trump from afar, without direct coordination, has fallen flat on its face. The " troll farm " allegedly tapped by the Kremlin to wage a pro-Trump meme war -- the Internet Research Agency -- spent only $46,000 on Facebook ads, or around 0.05 percent of the $81 million budget of the Trump and Clinton campaigns. The vast majority of the IRA's ads had nothing to do with U.S. politics, and more than half of those that did were published after the election, having no impact on voters. The Department of Justice, moreover, has dropped its charges against the IRA's parent company, abandoning a major case resulting from Robert Mueller's special counsel probe.

Though few of its most diehard proponents would ever admit it, after four long years, the foundation of the Trump-Russia narrative has finally given way and its edifice has crumbled. The wreckage left behind will remain for some time to come, however, kicking off a new era of mainstream McCarthyism and setting the stage for the next Cold War.

It Didn't Start With Trump

The importance of Russiagate to U.S. foreign policy cannot be understated, but the road to hostilities with Moscow stretches far beyond the current administration. For thirty years, the United States has exploited its de facto victory in the first Cold War, interfering in Russian elections in the 1990s, aiding oligarchs as they looted the country into poverty, and orchestrating Color Revolutions in former Soviet states. NATO, meanwhile, has been enlarged up to Russia's border, despite American assurances the alliance wouldn't expand " one inch " eastward after the collapse of the USSR.

Unquestionably, from the fall of the Berlin Wall until the day Trump took office, the United States maintained an aggressive policy toward Moscow. But with the USSR wiped off the map and communism defeated for good, a sufficient pretext to rally the American public into another Cold War has been missing in the post-Soviet era. In the same 30-year period, moreover, Washington has pursued one disastrous diversion after another in the Middle East, leaving little space or interest for another round of brinkmanship with the Russians, who were relegated to little more than a talking point. That, however, has changed.

The Crisis They Needed

The Washington foreign policy establishment -- memorably dubbed " the Blob " by one Obama adviser -- was thrown into disarray by Trump's election win in the fall of 2016. In some ways, Trump stood out as the dove during the race, deeming "endless wars" in the Middle East a scam, calling for closer ties with Russia, and even questioning the usefulness of NATO. Sincere or not, Trump's campaign vows shocked the Beltway think tankers, journalists, and politicos whose worldviews (and salaries) rely on the maintenance of empire. Something had to be done.

In the summer of 2016, WikiLeaks published thousands of emails belonging to then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, her campaign manager, and the Democratic National Committee. Though damaging to Clinton, the leak became fodder for a powerful new attack on the president-to-be. Trump had worked in league with Moscow to throw the election, the story went, and the embarrassing email trove was stolen in a Russian hack, then passed to WikiLeaks to propel Trump's campaign.

By the time Trump took office, the narrative was in full swing. Pundits and politicians rushed to outdo one another in hysterically denouncing the supposed election-meddling, which was deemed the "political equivalent" of the 9/11 attacks , tantamount to Pearl Harbor , and akin to the Nazis' 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom. In lock-step with the U.S. intelligence community -- which soon issued a pair of reports endorsing the Russian hacking story -- the Blob quickly joined the cause, hoping to short-circuit any tinkering with NATO or rapprochement with Moscow under Trump.

The allegations soon broadened well beyond hacking. Russia had now waged war on American democracy itself, and "sowed discord" with misinformation online, all in direct collusion with the Trump campaign. Talking heads on cable news and former intelligence officials -- some of them playing both roles at once -- weaved a dramatic plot of conspiracy out of countless news reports, clinging to many of the "bombshell" stories long after their key claims were blown up .

A large segment of American society eagerly bought the fiction, refusing to believe that Trump, the game show host, could have defeated Clinton without assistance from a foreign power. For the first time since the fall of the USSR, rank-and-file Democrats and moderate progressives were aligned with some of the most vocal Russia hawks across the aisle, creating space for what many have called a " new Cold War. "

Stress Fractures

Under immense pressure and nonstop allegations, the candidate who shouted "America First" and slammed NATO as " obsolete " quickly adapted himself to the foreign policy consensus on the alliance, one of the first signs the Trump-Russia story was bearing fruit.

Demonstrating the Blob in action, during debate on the Senate floor over Montenegro's bid to join NATO in March 2017, the hawkish John McCain castigated Rand Paul for daring to oppose the measure, riding on anti-Russian sentiments stoked during the election to accuse him of "working for Vladimir Putin." With most lawmakers agreeing the expansion of NATO was needed to "push back" against Russia, the Senate approved the request nearly unanimously and Trump signed it without batting an eye -- perhaps seeing the attacks a veto would bring, even from his own party.

Allowing Montenegro -- a country that illustrates everything wrong with NATO -- to join the alliance may suggest Trump's criticisms were always empty talk, but the establishment's drive to constrain his foreign policy was undoubtedly having an effect. Just a few months later, the administration would put out its National Security Strategy , stressing the need to refocus U.S. military engagements from counter-terrorism in the Middle East to "great power competition" with Russia and China.

On another aspiring NATO member, Ukraine, the president was also hectored into reversing course under pressure from the Blob. During the 2016 race, the corporate press savaged the Trump campaign for working behind the scenes to " water down " the Republican Party platform after it opposed a pledge to arm Ukraine's post-coup government. That stance did not last long.

Though even Obama decided against arming the new government -- which his administration helped to install -- Trump reversed that move in late 2017, handing Kiev hundreds of Javelin anti-tank missiles. In an irony noticed by few , some of the arms went to open neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian military, who were integrated into the country's National Guard after leading street battles with security forces in the Obama-backed coup of 2014. Some of the very same Beltway critics slamming the president as a racist demanded he pass weapons to out-and-out white supremacists.

Ukraine's bid to join NATO has all but stalled under President Volodymyr Zelensky, but the country has nonetheless played an outsized role in American politics both before and after Trump took office. In the wake of Ukraine's 2014 U.S.-sponsored coup, "Russian aggression" became a favorite slogan in the American press, laying the ground for future allegations of election-meddling.

Weaponizing Ukraine

The drive for renewed hostilities with Moscow got underway well before Trump took the Oval Office, nurtured in its early stages under the Obama administration. Using Ukraine's revolution as a springboard, Obama launched a major rhetorical and policy offensive against Russia, casting it in the role of an aggressive , expansionist power.

Protests erupted in Ukraine in late 2013, following President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign an association agreement with the European Union, preferring to keep closer ties with Russia. Demanding a deal with the EU and an end to government corruption, demonstrators -- including the above-mentioned neo-Nazis -- were soon in the streets clashing with security forces. Yanukovych was chased out of the country, and eventually out of power.

Through cut-out organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, the Obama administration poured millions of dollars into the Ukrainian opposition prior to the coup, training, organizing and funding activists. Dubbed the "Euromaidan Revolution," Yanukovych's ouster mirrored similar US-backed color coups before and since, with Uncle Sam riding on the back of legitimate grievances while positioning the most U.S.-friendly figures to take power afterward.

The coup set off serious unrest in Ukraine's Russian-speaking enclaves, the eastern Donbass region and the Crimean Peninsula to the south. In the Donbass, secessionist forces attempted their own revolution, prompting the new government in Kiev to launch a bloody "war on terror" that continues to this day. Though the separatists received some level of support from Moscow, Washington placed sole blame on the Russians for Ukraine's unrest, while the press breathlessly predicted an all-out invasion that never materialized.

In Crimea -- where Moscow has kept its Black Sea Fleet since the late 1700s -- Russia took a more forceful stance, seizing the territory to keep control of its long term naval base. The annexation was accomplished without bloodshed, and a referendum was held weeks later affirming that a large majority of Crimeans supported rejoining Russia, a sentiment western polling firms have since corroborated . Regardless, as in the Donbass, the move was labeled an invasion, eventually triggering a raft of sanctions from the U.S. and the EU (and more recently, from Trump himself ).

The media made no effort to see Russia's perspective on Crimea in the wake of the revolution -- imagining the U.S. response if the roles were reversed, for example -- and all but ignored the preferences of Crimeans. Instead, it spun a black-and-white story of "Russian aggression" in Ukraine. For the Blob, Moscow's actions there put Vladimir Putin on par with Adolf Hitler, driving a flood of frenzied press coverage not seen again until the 2016 election.

Succumbing to Hysteria

While Trump had already begun to cave to the onslaught of Russiagate in the early months of his presidency, a July 2018 meeting with Putin in Helsinki presented an opportunity to reverse course, offering a venue to hash out differences and plan for future cooperation. Trump's previous sit-downs with his Russian counterpart were largely uneventful, but widely portrayed as a meeting between master and puppet. At the Helsinki Summit, however, a meager gesture toward improved relations was met with a new level of hysterics.

Trump's refusal to interrogate Putin on his supposed election-hacking during a summit press conference was taken as irrefutable proof that the two were conspiring together. Former CIA Director John Brennan declared it an act of treason , while CNN gravely contemplated whether Putin's gift to Trump during the meetings -- a World Cup soccer ball -- was really a secret spying transmitter. By this point, Robert Mueller's special counsel probe was in full effect, lending official credibility to the collusion story and further emboldening the claims of conspiracy.

Though the summit did little to strengthen U.S.-Russia ties and Trump made no real effort to do so -- beyond resisting the calls to directly confront Putin -- it brought on some of the most extreme attacks yet, further ratcheting up the cost of rapprochement. The window of opportunity presented in Helsinki, while only cracked to begin with, was now firmly shut, with Trump as reluctant as ever to make good on his original policy platform.

Sanctions!

After taking a beating in Helsinki, the administration allowed tensions with Moscow to soar to new heights, more or less embracing the Blob's favored policies and often even outdoing the Obama government's hawkishness toward Russia in both rhetoric and action.

In March 2018, the poisoning of a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom was blamed on Moscow in a highly elaborate storyline that ultimately fell apart (sound familiar?), but nonetheless triggered a wave of retaliation from western governments. In the largest diplomatic purge in US history, the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian officials in a period of two days, surpassing Obama's ejection of 35 diplomats in response to the election-meddling allegations.

Along with the purge, starting in spring 2018 and continuing to this day, Washington has unleashed round after round of new sanctions on Russia, including in response to " worldwide malign activity ," to penalize alleged election-meddling , for " destabilizing cyber activities ," retaliation for the UK spy poisoning , more cyber activity , more election-meddling -- the list keeps growing.

Though Trump had called to lift rather than impose penalties on Russia before taking office, worn down by endless negative press coverage and surrounded by a coterie of hawkish advisers, he was brought around on the merits of sanctions before long, and has used them liberally ever since.

Goodbye INF, RIP OST

By October 2018, Trump had largely abandoned any idea of improving the relationship with Russia and, in addition to the barrage of sanctions, began shredding a series of major treaties and arms control agreements. He started with the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which had eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons -- medium-range missiles -- and removed Europe as a theater for nuclear war.

At this point in Trump's tenure, super-hawk John Bolton had assumed the position of national security advisor, encouraging the president's worst instincts and using his newfound influence to convince Trump to ditch the INF treaty. Bolton -- who helped to detonate a number of arms control pacts in previous administrations -- argued that Russia's new short-range missile had violated the treaty. While there remains some dispute over the missile's true range and whether it actually breached the agreement, Washington failed to pursue available dispute mechanisms and ignored Russian offers for talks to resolve the spat.

After the U.S. officially scrapped the agreement, it quickly began testing formerly-banned munitions. Unlike the Russian missiles, which were only said to have a range overstepping the treaty by a few miles, the U.S. began testing nuclear-capable land-based cruise missiles expressly banned under the INF.

Next came the Open Skies Treaty (OST), an idea originally floated by President Eisenhower, but which wouldn't take shape until 1992, when an agreement was struck between NATO and former Warsaw Pact nations. The agreement now has over 30 members and allows each to arrange surveillance flights over other members' territory, an important confidence-building measure in the post-Soviet world.

Trump saw matters differently, however, and turned a minor dispute over Russia's implementation of the pact into a reason to discard it altogether, again egged on by militant advisers. In late May 2020, the president declared his intent to withdraw from the nearly 30-year-old agreement, proposing nothing to replace it.

Quid Pro Quo

With the DOJ's special counsel probe into Trump-Russia collusion coming up short on both smoking-gun evidence and relevant indictments, the president's enemies began searching for new angles of attack. Following a July 2019 phone call between Trump and his newly elected Ukrainian counterpart, they soon found one.

During the call , Trump urged Zelensky to investigate a computer server he believed to be linked to Russiagate, and to look into potential corruption and nepotism on the part of former Vice President Joe Biden, who played an active role in Ukraine following the Obama-backed coup.

Less than two months later, a " whistleblower " -- a CIA officer detailed to the White House, Eric Ciaramella -- came forward with an "urgent concern" that the president had abused his office on the July call. According to his complaint , Trump threatened to withhold U.S. military aid, as well as a face-to-face meeting with Zelensky, should Kiev fail to deliver the goods on Biden, who by that point was a major contender in the 2020 race.

The same players who peddled Russiagate seized on Ciaramella's account to manufacture a whole new scandal: "Ukrainegate." Failing to squeeze an impeachment out of the Mueller probe, the Democrats did just that with the Ukraine call, insisting Trump had committed grave offenses, again conspiring with a foreign leader to meddle in a U.S. election.

At a high point during the impeachment trial, an expert called to testify by the Democrats revived George W. Bush's "fight them over there" maxim to argue for U.S. arms transfers to Ukraine, citing the Russian menace. The effort was doomed from the start, however, with a GOP-controlled Senate never likely to convict and the evidence weak for a "quid pro quo" with Zelensky. Ukrainegate, like Russiagate before it, was a failure in its stated goal, yet both served to mark the administration with claims of foreign collusion and press for more hawkish policies toward Moscow.

The End of New START?

The Obama administration scored a rare diplomatic achievement with Russia in 2010, signing the New START Treaty, a continuation of the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty inked in the waning days of the Soviet Union. Like its first iteration, the agreement places a cap on the number of nuclear weapons and warheads deployed by each side. It featured a ten-year sunset clause, but included provisions to continue beyond its initial end date.

With the treaty set to expire in early 2021, it has become an increasingly hot topic throughout Trump's presidency. While Trump sold himself as an expert dealmaker on the campaign trail -- an artist , even -- his negotiation skills have shown lacking when it comes to working out a new deal with the Russians.

The administration has demanded that China be incorporated into any extended version of the treaty, calling on Russia to compel Beijing to the negotiating table and vastly complicating any prospect for a deal. With a nuclear arsenal around one-tenth the size of that of Russia or the U.S., China has refused to join the pact. Washington's intransigence on the issue has put the future of the treaty in limbo and largely left Russia without a negotiating partner.

A second Trump term would spell serious trouble for New START, having already shown willingness to shred the INF and Open Skies agreements. And with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) already killed under the Bush administration, New START is one of the few remaining constraints on the planet's two largest nuclear arsenals.

Despite pursuing massive escalation with Moscow from 2018 onward, Trump-Russia conspiracy allegations never stopped pouring from newspapers and TV screens. For the Blob -- heavily invested in a narrative as fruitful as it was false -- Trump would forever be "Putin's puppet," regardless of the sanctions imposed, the landmark treaties incinerated or the deluge of warlike rhetoric.

Running for an Arms Race

As the Trump administration leads the country into the next Cold War, a renewed arms race is also in the making. The destruction of key arms control pacts by previous administrations has fed a proliferation powder keg, and the demise of New START could be the spark to set it off.

Following Bush Jr.'s termination of the ABM deal in 2002 -- wrecking a pact which placed limits on Russian and American missile defense systems to maintain the balance of mutually assured destruction -- Russia soon resumed funding for a number of strategic weapons projects, including its hypersonic missile. In his announcement of the new technology in 2018, Putin deemed the move a response to Washington's unilateral withdrawal from ABM, which also saw the U.S. develop new weapons .

Though he inked New START and campaigned on vows to pursue an end to the bomb, President Obama also helped to advance the arms build-up, embarking on a 30-year nuclear modernization project set to cost taxpayers $1.5 trillion. The Trump administration has embraced the initiative with open arms, even adding to it , as Moscow follows suit with upgrades to its own arsenal.

Moreover, Trump has opened a whole new battlefield with the creation of the US Space Force , escalated military deployments, ramped up war games targeting Russia and China and looked to reopen and expand Cold War-era bases.

In May, Trump's top arms control envoy promised to spend Russia and China into oblivion in the event of any future arms race, but one was already well underway. After withdrawing from INF, the administration began churning out previously banned nuclear-capable cruise missiles, while fielding an entire new class of low-yield nuclear weapons. Known as "tactical nukes," the smaller warheads lower the threshold for use, making nuclear conflict more likely. Meanwhile, the White House has also mulled a live bomb test -- America's first since 1992 -- though has apparently shelved the idea for now.

A Runaway Freight Train

As Trump approaches the end of his first term, the two major U.S. political parties have become locked in a permanent cycle of escalation, eternally compelled to prove who's the bigger hawk. The president put up mild resistance during his first months in office, but the relentless drumbeat of Russiagate successfully crushed any chances for improved ties with Moscow.

The Democrats refuse to give up on "Russian aggression" and see virtually no pushback from hawks across the aisle, while intelligence "leaks" continue to flow into the imperial press, fueling a whole new round of election-meddling allegations .

Likewise, Trump's campaign vows to revamp U.S.-Russian relations are long dead. His presidency counts among its accomplishments a pile of new sanctions, dozens of expelled diplomats and the demise of two major arms control treaties. For all his talk of getting along with Putin, Trump has failed to ink a single deal, de-escalate any of the ongoing strife over Syria, Ukraine or Libya, and been unable to arrange one state visit in Moscow or DC.

Nonetheless, Trump's every action is still interpreted through the lens of Russian collusion. After announcing a troop drawdown in Germany on June 5, reducing the U.S. presence by just one-third, the president was met with the now-typical swarm of baseless charges. MSNBC regular and retired general Barry McCaffrey dubbed the move "a gift to Russia," while GOP Rep. Liz Cheney said the meager troop movement placed the "cause of freedom in peril." Top Democrats in the House and Senate introduced bills to stop the withdrawal dead in its tracks, attributing the policy to Trump's "absurd affection for Vladimir Putin, a murderous dictator."

Starting as a dirty campaign trick to explain away the Democrats' election loss and jam up the new president, Russiagate is now a key driving force in the U.S. political establishment that will long outlive the age of Trump. After nearly four years, the bipartisan consensus on the need for Cold War is stronger than ever, and will endure regardless of who takes the Oval Office next.

[Jul 01, 2020] Three Glaring Problems with the Russian Taliban Bounty Story by Barbara Boland

Highly recommended!
This is an attempt to move Trump in the direction of more harsher politics toward Russia. So not Bolton's but Obama ears are protruding above this dirty provocation.
Notable quotes:
"... According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action. ..."
"... Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee. ..."
"... "Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false. ..."
"... This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe. ..."
"... The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves. ..."
"... Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway). ..."
"... Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they? ..."
"... Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country. ..."
"... As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time. ..."
"... the idea is stupid. Russia doesn't need to do anything to motivate Afghans to want to boot the invaders out of their country, and would want to attract negative attention in doing so. ..."
"... Contrast with the CIA motivations for this absurd narrative. Chuck Schumer famously commented that the intelligence agencies had ways of getting back at you, and it looks like you took the bait, hook, line and sinker. ..."
"... And a fourth CIA goal: it undermines Trump's relationship with the military. ..."
"... Having failed in its Russia "collusion" and "Russia stole the election" campaigns to oust Trump, this is just the latest effort by the Deep State and mass media to use unhinged Russophobia to try to boost Biden and damage Trump. ..."
"... The contemporary left hate Russia , because Russia is carving out it own sphere of influence and keeping the Americans out, because it saved Assad from the western backed sunni head choppers (that the left cheered on, as they killed native Orthodox, and Catholic Christians). The Contempary left hate Russia because it cracks down on LGBT propaganda, banned porn hub, and return property to the Church , which the leftist Bolsheviks stole, the Contempaty left hate Russia because it cracked down on it western backed oligarchs who plundered Russia in the 90's. ..."
Jul 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bombshell report published by The New York Times Friday alleges that Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops. Obscured by an extremely bungled White House press response, there are at least three serious flaws with the reporting.

The article alleges that GRU, a top-secret unit of Russian military intelligence, offered the bounty in payment for every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, and that at least one member of the U.S. military was alleged to have been killed in exchange for the bounties. According to the paper, U.S. intelligence concluded months ago that the Russian unit involved in the bounties was also linked to poisonings, assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe. The Times reports that United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan came to this conclusion about Russian bounties some time in 2019.

According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action.

Immediately after the news broke Friday, the Trump administration denied the report -- or rather, they denied that the President was briefed, depending on which of the frenetic, contradictory White House responses you read.

Traditionally, the President of the United States receives unconfirmed, and sometimes even raw intelligence, in the President's Daily Brief, or PDB. Trump notoriously does not read his PDB, according to reports.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement Saturday night that neither Trump nor Vice President Pence "were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday."

On Sunday night, Trump tweeted that not only was he not told about the alleged intelligence, but that it was not credible."Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP" Pence, Trump wrote Sunday night on Twitter.

Ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Trump was probably claiming ignorance in order to justify his administration's lack of response.

"He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it," said Bolton.

Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee.

The explanations for what exactly happened, and who was briefed, continued to shift Monday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany followed Trump's blanket denial with a statement that the intelligence concerning Russian bounty information was "unconfirmed." She didn't say the intelligence wasn't credible, like Trump had said the day before, only that there was "no consensus" and that the "veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated," which happens to almost completely match the Sunday night statement from the White House's National Security Council.

Instead of saying that the sources for the Russian bounty story were not credible and the story was false, or likely false, McEnany then said that Trump had "not been briefed on the matter."

"He was not personally briefed on the matter," she said. "That is all I can share with you today."

It's difficult to see how the White House thought McEnany's statement would help, and a bungled press response like this is communications malpractice, according to sources who spoke to The American Conservative.

Let's take a deeper dive into some of the problems with the reporting here:

1. Anonymous U.S. and Taliban sources?

The Times article repeatedly cites unnamed "American intelligence officials." The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal articles "confirming" the original Times story merely restate the allegations of the anonymous officials, along with caveats like "if true" or "if confirmed."

Furthermore, the unnamed intelligence sources who spoke with the Times say that their assessment is based "on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals."

That's a red flag, said John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that captured senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. "When you capture a prisoner, and you're interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear," he said in an interview with The American Conservative . "There's no evidence here, there's no proof."

"Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false.

Kiriakou believes that the sources behind the report hold important clues on how the government viewed its credibility.

"We don't know who the source is for this. We don't know if they've been vetted, polygraphed; were they a walk-in; were they a captured prisoner?"

If the sources were suspect, as they appear to be here, then Trump would not have been briefed on this at all.

With this story, it's important to start at the "intelligence collection," said Kiriakou. "This information appeared in the [CIA World Intelligence Review] Wire, which goes to hundreds of people inside the government, mostly at the State Department and the Pentagon. The most sensitive information isn't put in the Wire; it goes only in the PDB."

"If this was from a single source intelligence, it wouldn't have been briefed to Trump. It's not vetted, and it's not important enough. If you caught a Russian who said this, for example, that would make it important enough. But some Taliban detainees saying it to an interrogator, that does not rise to the threshold."

2. What purpose would bounties serve?

Everyone and their mother knows Trump wants to pull the troops out of Afghanistan, said Kiriakou.

"He ran on it and he has said it hundreds of times," he said. "So why would the Russians bother putting a bounty on U.S. troops if we're about to leave Afghanistan shortly anyway?"

That's leaving aside Russia's own experience with the futility of Afghanistan campaigns, learned during its grueling 9-year war there in the 1980s.

If this bounty campaign is real, it would not appear to be very effective, as only eight U.S. military members were killed in Afghanistan in 2020. The New York Times could not verify that even one U.S. military member was killed due to an alleged Russian bounty.

The Taliban denies it accepted bounties from Russian intelligence.

"These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless -- our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told The New York Times . "That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don't attack them."

The Russian Embassy in the United States called the reporting "fake news."

While the Russians are ruthless, "it's hard to fathom what their motivations could be" here, said Paul Pillar, an academic and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, in an interview with The American Conservative. "What would they be retaliating for? Some use of force in Syria recently? I don't know. I can't string together a particular sequence that makes sense at this time. I'm not saying that to cast doubt on reports the Russians were doing this sort of thing."

3. Why is this story being leaked now?

According to U.S. officials quoted by the AP, top officials in the White House "were aware of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans" in early 2019. So why is this story just coming out now?

This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe.

The NYT story serves to bolster the narrative that Trump sides with Russia, and against our intelligence community estimates and our own soldiers lives.

The stories "are likely to remain indelible in the minds of credulous Americans -- which seems to have been the main objective," writes McGovern. "There [Trump] goes again -- not believing our 'intelligence community; siding, rather, with Putin.'"

"I don't believe this story and I think it was leaked to embarrass the President," said Kiriakou. "Trump is on the ropes in the polls; Biden is ahead in all the battleground states."

If these anonymous sources had spoken up during the impeachment hearings, their statements could have changed history.

But the timing here, "kicking a man when he is down, is extremely like the Washington establishment. A leaked story like this now, embarrasses and weakens Trump," he said. "It was obvious that Trump would blow the media response, which he did."

The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves.

Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill , UK Spectator , and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .


Tomonthebeach 9 hours ago • edited

Caitlin Johnstone was the first journalist to question this NYT expose' several days ago in her blog. After looking into it, I had to agree with her that the story was junk reporting by a news source eager to stick it to Trump for his daily insults. NYT must love the irony of a "fake news" story catching fire and burning Trump politically. After all, paying people to kill their own enemies? That is a "tip," not a bounty. It is more of an intel footnote than the game-changer in international relations as asserted by Speaker Pelosi on TV as she grabbed her pearls beneath her stylish COVID mask.

I was surprised that Ms. Boland could not think of any motivation for leaking the story right now given recent grousing on the Hill about Trump's inviting Putin to G7 over the objections of Merkel and several other NATO heads of state. I even posted a congratulatory message in Defense One yesterday to the US Intel community for mission accomplished.

Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway).

Connecticut Farmer Tomonthebeach 3 hours ago

That "bounty" story never passed the smell test, even to my admittedly untrained nose. My real problem is that it's a story in the first place, given that Trump campaigned on a platform that included bringing the boys home from sand hills like Afghanistan; yet here we are, four years later, and we're still there.

Lavinia 6 hours ago

Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they?

Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country.

This whole story is completely ridiculous. Totally bogus.

Wally 5 hours ago

As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time.

Of course people are trying to kill US military in Afghanistan. If I lived in Afghanistan, I'd probably hate them too. And let's not forget that just a few weeks ago the 82nd airborne was ready to kill American civilians in DC. The military is our enemy too!

If you are in the US military today, please quit.

https://www.washingtonpost....

Don't ever forget how they lied to us.

Feral Finster 4 hours ago

Moreover, the idea is stupid. Russia doesn't need to do anything to motivate Afghans to want to boot the invaders out of their country, and would want to attract negative attention in doing so.

The purported bounty program doesn't help Russia, but the anonymous narrative does conveniently serve several CIA purposes:
1. It makes it harder to leave Afghanistan.
2. It keeps the cold war with Russia going along.
3. It damages Trump (whose relationship with the CIA is testy at best).

Then there's the question of how this supposed intelligence was gathered. The CIA tortures people, and there's no reason to believe that this was any different.

Feral Finster Sidney Caesar 2 hours ago

1. Russia wants a stable Afghanistan. Not a base for jihadis.

2. The idea that Russia has to encourage Afghans to kill Invaders is a hoot. They don't ever do that on their own.

3. Not only do Afghans traditionally need no motivation to kill infidel foreign Invaders, but Russia would have to be incredibly stupid to bring more American enmity on itself.

Contrast with the CIA motivations for this absurd narrative. Chuck Schumer famously commented that the intelligence agencies had ways of getting back at you, and it looks like you took the bait, hook, line and sinker.

Either that, or you're just cynical. You'll espouse anything, however absurd and full of lies, as long as it damages Trump.

I detest Trump, but I am not a list.

Wally Feral Finster 3 hours ago

I don't have a clue if this bounty story is correct, but I can imagine plenty of reasons why the Russians would do it. It's easy enough to believe it or believe it was cooked up by CIA as you suggest.

Feral Finster Feral Finster 2 hours ago

And a fourth CIA goal: it undermines Trump's relationship with the military.

FND 4 hours ago

There will be one of these BS blockbusters every few weeks until the election. There are legions of buried-in democrat political appointees that will continue to feed the DNC press. It will be non-stop. The DNC press is shredding the 1st amendment.

former-vet FND 2 hours ago

Not shredding the First Amendment, just shining light on the pitfalls of a right to freedom of speech. There are others ramifications to free speech we consider social goods.

Kent FND 2 hours ago

These aren't buried-in democrats. These people could care less which political party the President is a member of. They only care that the President does what they say. Political parties are just to bamboozle the rubes. They are the real power.

Connecticut Farmer 4 hours ago

"U.S. Intelligence"-lol--a contradiction in terms. Just repeat three times: "George 'Slam Dunk' Tenet."

Sidney Caesar Connecticut Farmer 3 hours ago

Tenet knew his role- he said what his superiors wanted to hear: https://www.motherjones.com... The Iraq debacle was a top-down con job.

Stephen R Gould 3 hours ago • edited

The best defence that the WSJ and Fox News could muster was that the story wasn't confirmed as the NSA didn't have the same confidence in the assessment as the CIA. "Is there anything else to which you would wish to draw my attention?" "To the curious incident of the denial from the White House", "There was no denial from the White House". "That was the curious incident".

I note that Fox News had buried the story "below the scroll" on their home page - if they had though the story was fake, the headlines would be screaming at MSM.

maxsnafu 3 hours ago

I was suspicious when I saw it originated in Walter Duranty's newspaper.

The Derp State 3 hours ago

"What if Obama...." #4,267

former-vet 2 hours ago • edited

Pravda was a far more honest and objective news source than The New York Times is. I say that as someone who read both for long periods of time. The Times is on par with the National Enquirer for credibility, with the latter at least being less propagandistic and agenda-driven.

SatirevFlesti 2 hours ago

Having failed in its Russia "collusion" and "Russia stole the election" campaigns to oust Trump, this is just the latest effort by the Deep State and mass media to use unhinged Russophobia to try to boost Biden and damage Trump.

The extent to which the contemporary Left is driven by a level of Russophobia unseen even by the most stalwart anti-Communists on the Right during the Cold War is truly something to behold. I think at bottom it comes down to not liking Putin or Russia because they refuse to get on board with the Left's social agenda.

James SatirevFlesti 2 hours ago • edited

The contemporary left hate Russia , because Russia is carving out it own sphere of influence and keeping the Americans out, because it saved Assad from the western backed sunni head choppers (that the left cheered on, as they killed native Orthodox, and Catholic Christians). The Contempary left hate Russia because it cracks down on LGBT propaganda, banned porn hub, and return property to the Church , which the leftist Bolsheviks stole, the Contempaty left hate Russia because it cracked down on it western backed oligarchs who plundered Russia in the 90's.

The Contempary left wants Russia to be Woke, Broke, Godless, and Gay.

The democrats are now the cheerleaders of the warfare -welfare state,, the marriage between the neolibs-neocons under the Democrat party to ensure that President Trump is defeated by the invade the world, invite the world crowd.

WilliamRD TheSnark 44 minutes ago

"The Trumpies are right in that this was obviously a leak by the intel community designed to hurt Trump. But what do you expect...he has spent 4 years insulting and belittling them. They are going to get their pound of flesh."

Intel community was behind an attempted coup of Trump. He has good reason not to trust them and insulting is only natural. Hopefully John Durham will indict several of them

Kent an hour ago

I honestly don't find "unnamed officials", the CIA, the NSA, the NYT, John Bolton, or President Trump to be credible sources.

Sidney Caesar Kent an hour ago • edited

I've found myself to be the only honest and trustworthy person- everyone should just listen to me.

WilliamRD 42 minutes ago • edited

Montage: Mainstream Media Hype About Russia Collusion https://twitter.com/ggreenw...

WilliamRD 36 minutes ago

Russiagate's Last Gasp https://consortiumnews.com/...

phreethink 20 minutes ago • edited

Interesting take. I certainly take anything anyone publishes based on anonymous sources with a big grain of salt, especially when it comes from the NYT...

[Jul 01, 2020] Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

Highly recommended!
Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

No Friend Of The Devil , says:

Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

...They suffer from god-complexes, since they do not believe in God, they feel an obligation to act as God, and decide the fates of over 7 billion people, who would obviously be better off if the PICs were sent to the Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants!

[Jun 28, 2020] Russian position for Start talks: "We don't believe the US in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever".

Highly recommended!
Jun 28, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

START. Talks began in Vienna with a childish stunt by the American side . I wouldn't expect any results: the Americans are fatally deluded . As for the Russians: " We don't believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever ".Russian has a word for that: недоговороспособны and it's characterised US behaviour since at least this event (in Obama's time). Can't make an agreement with them and, even if you do, they won't keep it.

[Jun 23, 2020] John Bolton's Mission was to Destroy Donald Trump's Detente with North Korea

Jun 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Bolton, of course, dismissed the entire concept of diplomacy from the very start. He never bought into the notion that North Korean officials could be talked to sensibly because they were, well, insane. Bolton's version of North Korea diplomacy was to tighten the economic screws, brandish the U.S. military, and wait until one of two things happened: 1) the Kim regime surrendered its entire nuclear weapons program like Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, or 2) the Kim regime continued to spur Washington's demands, in which the White House would have no option but to use U.S. military force. Bolton's record is analogous to a stereotypical linebacker on an obscene amount of steroids -- smash your opponent to pieces and don't think twice about it. Top Beauty Surgeon Says "Forget Facelifts, This at Home Tip is My #1 Wrinkle Red Del Mar Laboratories Dr: This May Be the Best CBD Ever for Arthritis, Aching Joints & Inflammation Mirror News Online Enlarged Prostate Gone - Just Do This Before Bed (Watch) Newhealthylife 3 Ways Your Cat Asks for Help Dr. Marty The content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view our Privacy Policy and your opt out options here . Got it, thanks! Remove Content Link?

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The only problem: North Korea isn't some helpless punter with string bean arms and a lanky midsection. It's a nuclear weapons state fiercely proud of its independence and sovereignty, constantly on guard for the slightest threat from a foreign power, and cognizant of its weakened position relative to its neighbors. This is one of the prime reasons Bolton's obsession with the Libya-style North Korea deal, in which Pyongyang would theoretically discard its entire nuclear apparatus and allow U.S. weapons inspectors to take custody of its nuclear warheads before flying them back to the U.S. for destruction, was unworkable from the start. The Libya-model trumpeted by Bolton was a politically correct way of demanding Pyongyang's total surrender -- an extremely naive goal if there ever was one. When one remembers the fate of Qaddafi 8 years after he traded sanctions relief for his weapons of mass destruction -- the dictator was assaulted and humiliated before being executed in the desert -- even the word "Libya" is treated by the Kim dynasty as a threat to its existence. As Paul Pillar wrote in these pages more than two years ago, "Libya's experience does indeed weigh heavily on the thinking of North Korean officials, who have taken explicit notice of that experience, as a disincentive to reaching any deals with the United States about dismantling weapons programs."

One can certainly take issue with Trump's North Korea policy. Two years of personal diplomacy with Kim Jong-un have yet to result in the denuclearization Washington seeks (denuclearization is more of a slogan than a realistic objective at this point, anyway). But Trump's strategy aside, Bolton's alternative was worse. The president knew his former national security adviser's public insistence on the Libya model was dangerously inept. He had to walk back Bolton's comments weeks later to ensure the North Koreans didn't pull out of diplomacy before it got off the ground. Trump hasn't forgotten about the experience; on June 18, Trump tweeted that "Bolton's dumbest of all statements set us back very badly with North Korea, even now. I asked him, "what the hell were you thinking?"

[Jun 23, 2020] Chickenhawk B olton May Be a Beast, But He's Washington's Creature by Richard Hanania

Personally he is a bully and as such a coward: he can attack only a weaker opponent. His new book shows that however discredited and intellectually thin his foreign policy views are, they always rise to the top. To Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton's hawkishness is combined with an equally striking lack of originality. It is possible to be an unorthodox or partisan hawk, as we see in populists who want to get out of the Middle East but ramp up pressure on China, or Democrats who have a particular obsession with Russia. Bolton takes the most belligerent position on every issue without regards for partisanship or popularity, a level of consistency that would almost be honorable if it wasn't so frightening. No alliance or commitment is ever questioned, and neither, for that matter, is any rivalry. ..."
"... Bolton lacks any intellectual tradition or popular support base that he can call his own. Domestic political concerns are almost completely missing from his book, although we learn that he follows "Adam Smith on economics, Edmund Burke on society," is happy with Trump's judicial appointments, and favors legal, but not illegal, immigration. Other than these GOP clichés, there is virtually no commentary or concern about the state of American society or its trajectory. Unlike those who worry about how global empire affects the United States at home, to Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad. While Bolton's views have been called "nationalist" because he doesn't care about multilateralism, nation-building, or international law, I have never seen a nationalist that gives so little thought to his nation. ..."
"... Bolton recounts how his two top aides, Charles Kupperman and Mira Ricardel, had extensive experience working for Boeing. Patrick Shanahan similarly became acting Secretary of Defense after spending thirty years at that company, until he was replaced by Mark Esper, a Raytheon lobbyist. Why working for a company that manufactures aircraft and weapons prepares one for a job in foreign policy, the establishment has never felt the need to explain, any more than it needs to explain continuing Cold War-era military commitments three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The most important question raised by the career of John Bolton is how someone with his views has been able to achieve so much power. While Bolton gets much worse press and always goes a step too far even for most of the foreign policy establishment, in other ways he is all too typical. Take James Mattis, a foil for Bolton throughout much of the first half of the book. Although more popular in the media, the "warrior monk" slow-walked and obstructed attempts by the president to pull out of the Middle East, and after a career supporting many of the same wars and commitments as Bolton, now makes big bucks in the private sector, profiting off of his time in government. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, 592 pages

The release of John Bolton's book today has become a Washington cultural event, because he is, by all measures, Washington's creature.

Those who dislike the Trump administration have been pleased to find in The Room Where It Happened confirmation in much of what they already believed about the Ukraine scandal and the president's lack of capacity for the job. Some accusations in the book, such as the story about Trump seeking reelection help from China through American farm purchases, are new, and in an alternative universe could have formed the basis of a different, or if Bolton had his way, more comprehensive, impeachment inquiry.

While Bolton's book has been found politically useful by the president's detractors, the work is also important as a first-hand account from the top of the executive branch over a 19-month period, from April 2018 to September 2019. It also, mostly inadvertently, reveals much about official Washington, the incentive structures that politicians face, and the kind of person that is likely to succeed in that system. Bolton may be a biased self-promoter, but he is nonetheless a credible source, as his stories mostly involve conversations with other people who are free to eventually tell their own side. Moreover, the John Bolton of The Room Where It Happened is no different from the man we know from his three-decade career as a government official and public personality. No surprises here.

There are three ways to understand John Bolton. In increasing order of importance, they are intellectually, psychologically, and politically -- that is, as someone who is both a product of and antagonist to the foreign-policy establishment -- in many ways typical, and in others a detested outlier.

On the first of these, there simply isn't much there. Bolton takes the most hawkish position on every issue. He wants war with North Korea and Iran, and if he can't have that, he'll settle for destroying their economies and sabotaging any attempts by Trump to reach a deal with either country. He takes the maximalist positions on great powers like China and Russia, and third world states that pose no plausible threat like Cuba and Venezuela. At one point, he brags about State reversing "Obama's absurd conclusion that Cuban baseball was somehow independent of its government, thus in turn allowing Treasury to revoke the license allowing Major League Baseball to traffic in Cuban players." How this helps Americans or Cubans is left unexplained.

Bolton's hawkishness is combined with an equally striking lack of originality. It is possible to be an unorthodox or partisan hawk, as we see in populists who want to get out of the Middle East but ramp up pressure on China, or Democrats who have a particular obsession with Russia. Bolton takes the most belligerent position on every issue without regards for partisanship or popularity, a level of consistency that would almost be honorable if it wasn't so frightening. No alliance or commitment is ever questioned, and neither, for that matter, is any rivalry.

Anyone who picks up Bolton's over 500-page memoir hoping to find serious reflection on the philosophical basis of American foreign policy will be disappointed. The chapters are broken up by topic area, most beginning with a short background explainer on Bolton's views of the issue. In the chapter on Venezuela, we are told that overthrowing the government of that country is important because of "its Cuba connection and the openings it afforded Russia, China, and Iran." The continuing occupation of Afghanistan is necessary for preventing terrorists from establishing a base, and, in an argument I had not heard anywhere before, for "remaining vigilant against the nuclear-weapons programs in Iran on the west and Pakistan on the east." Iran needs to be deterred, though from what we are never told.

Bolton lacks any intellectual tradition or popular support base that he can call his own. Domestic political concerns are almost completely missing from his book, although we learn that he follows "Adam Smith on economics, Edmund Burke on society," is happy with Trump's judicial appointments, and favors legal, but not illegal, immigration. Other than these GOP clichés, there is virtually no commentary or concern about the state of American society or its trajectory. Unlike those who worry about how global empire affects the United States at home, to Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad. While Bolton's views have been called "nationalist" because he doesn't care about multilateralism, nation-building, or international law, I have never seen a nationalist that gives so little thought to his nation.

The more time one spends reading Bolton, the more one comes to the conclusion that the guy just likes to fight. In addition to seeking out and escalating foreign policy conflicts, he seems to relish going to war with the media and the rest of the Washington bureaucracy. His book begins with a quote from the Duke of Wellington rallying his troops at Waterloo: "Hard pounding, this, gentlemen. Let's see who will pound the longest." The back cover quotes the epilogue on his fight with the Trump administration, responding "game on" to attempts to stop publication. He takes a mischievous pride in recounting attacks from the media or foreign governments, such as when he was honored to hear that North Korea worried about his influence over the President. Bolton is too busy enjoying the fight, and as will be seen below, profiting from it, to reflect too carefully on what it's all for.

Bolton could be ignored if he were simply an odd figure without much power. Yet the man has been at the pinnacle of the GOP establishment for thirty years, serving appointed roles in every Republican president since Reagan. The story of how he got his job in the Trump administration is telling. According to Bolton's account, he was courted throughout the transition process and the early days of the administration by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, ironic considering the reputation of the former as a populist opposed to forever wars and the latter as a more liberal figure within the White House. Happy with his life outside government, Bolton would accept a position no lower than Secretary of State or National Security Advisor. Explaining his reluctance to enter government in a lower capacity, Bolton provides a list of his commitments at the time, including "Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Fox News contributor; a regular on the speaking circuit; of counsel at a major law firm; member of corporate boards; senior advisor to a global private-equity firm."

Clearly, being an advocate for policies that can destroy the lives of millions abroad, and a complete lack of experience in business, have proved no hindrance to Bolton's success in corporate America.

Bolton recounts how his two top aides, Charles Kupperman and Mira Ricardel, had extensive experience working for Boeing. Patrick Shanahan similarly became acting Secretary of Defense after spending thirty years at that company, until he was replaced by Mark Esper, a Raytheon lobbyist. Why working for a company that manufactures aircraft and weapons prepares one for a job in foreign policy, the establishment has never felt the need to explain, any more than it needs to explain continuing Cold War-era military commitments three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ricardel resigned after a dispute over preparations for the First Lady's trip to Africa, an example of how too often in the Trump administration, nepotism and self-interest have been the only checks on bad policy or even greater corruption ("Melania's people are on the warpath," Trump is quoted as saying). Another is when Trump, according to Bolton, was less than vigorous in pursing destructive Iranian sanctions due to personal relationships with the leaders of China and Turkey. At the 2019 G7 summit, when Pompeo and Bolton try to get Benjamin Netanyahu to reach out to Trump to talk him out of meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, Jared prevents his call from going through on the grounds that a foreign government shouldn't be telling the President of the United States who to meet with.

The most important question raised by the career of John Bolton is how someone with his views has been able to achieve so much power. While Bolton gets much worse press and always goes a step too far even for most of the foreign policy establishment, in other ways he is all too typical. Take James Mattis, a foil for Bolton throughout much of the first half of the book. Although more popular in the media, the "warrior monk" slow-walked and obstructed attempts by the president to pull out of the Middle East, and after a career supporting many of the same wars and commitments as Bolton, now makes big bucks in the private sector, profiting off of his time in government.

In the coverage of Bolton, this is what should not be lost. The former National Security Advisor is the product of a system with its own internal logic. Largely discredited and intellectually hollow, and without broad popular support, it persists in its practices and beliefs because it has been extremely profitable for those involved. The most extreme hawks are simply symptoms of larger problems, with the flamboyant Bolton being much more like mainstream members of the foreign policy establishment than either side would like to admit.

Richard Hanania is a research fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

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[Jun 23, 2020] John Bolton Tells How Iran Hawks Set Up Trump's Syrian Kurdish Disaster

Notable quotes:
"... Bolton's account sheds light on how it happened: hawks in the administration, including Bolton himself, wanted U.S. forces in Syria fighting Russia and Iran. They saw the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS as a distraction -- and let the Turkish-Kurdish conflict fester until it spiralled out of control. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

The drama eventually ended with President Donald Trump pulling U.S. peacekeepers out of Syria -- and then sending them back in . One hundred thousand Syrian civilians were displaced by an advancing Turkish army, and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces turned to Russia for help. But U.S. forces never fully withdrew -- they are still stuck in Syria defending oil wells .

Bolton's account sheds light on how it happened: hawks in the administration, including Bolton himself, wanted U.S. forces in Syria fighting Russia and Iran. They saw the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS as a distraction -- and let the Turkish-Kurdish conflict fester until it spiralled out of control.

Pompeo issued a statement on Thursday night denouncing Bolton's entire book as "a number of lies, fully-spun half-truths, and outright falsehoods."

[Jun 22, 2020] MoA community discussion of Bolton book

Notable quotes:
"... let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda. ..."
"... Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years. ..."
"... Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons. ..."
"... The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children. ..."
Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

pretzelattack , Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda.

Duncan Idaho , Jun 17 2020 22:03 utc | 15

Only with Late Stage Capitalism could we have a vicious war criminal write a book criticizing a psychopathic sociopath.
Anonymous , Jun 17 2020 22:06 utc | 16
The political establishment in Canada appeared dismayed at the prospect of Bolton as National Security Adviser. See these interviews with Hill + Knowlton strategies Vice-chairman, Peter Donolo, from 2018:

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/there-s-risk-trump-s-actions-are-driving-the-u-s-into-a-recession-peter-donolo~1342264
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/trade-wars-easy-to-start-not-so-easy-to-finish-peter-donolo~1365104

So Bolton gets in, Meng Wangzhou is detained in Vancouver on the US request (that's another story), and in time, Canada appoints a new Ambassador to China - Mr. Dominic Barton.

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

Then Bolton gets fired. 'Nuff said. Just to let everyone know that Bolton is well and truly hated, as a government official, in certain circles.

AntiSpin , Jun 17 2020 22:07 utc | 17
@ pretzelattack | Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years.

Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children.

Jpc , Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18
Why was he appointment made in the first place anyone,?
Ian2 , Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
Jpc | Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18:

My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.

james , Jun 17 2020 23:13 utc | 20
let the lobbyists with the most money win... that's what defines the usa system, leadership and decision making process... no one in their right mind would support this doofus..
Jen , Jun 17 2020 23:40 utc | 21
At least the one saving grace about John Bolton's memoir is that it might be a tad closer to reality than Christopher Steele's infamous dossier and might prove valuable as a source of evidence in a court of law. Maybe Yosemite Sam himself should start quaking in his boots.
jen , Jun 17 2020 23:42 utc | 22
Jpc @ 18, Ian2 @ 19:

Personal interest on DJT's part? :-)

JC , Jun 17 2020 23:43 utc | 23
Posted by: Tower | Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

This is the most intelligent post so far.

Yes why not? If Obama awarded the Noble prize even before he begins serving his first term I can't see why Bolton not nominated now. America is a joke, not a banana republic. It deserves Obama, Trump, Bolton or Biden another stoopid joker.

Stoopid president elected by stoopid citizens

Don Bacon , Jun 17 2020 23:44 utc | 24
@ Jpc
When faced with Trump's behavior of employing warmongers, including several generals, some observers opined that Trump wanted people with contrasting opinions so that he could consider them and then say "no." He did more with Bolton eventually, sending him to Mongolia while he (Trump) went to Singapore (or somewhere over there).
A User , Jun 17 2020 23:47 utc | 25
re Ian2 | Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
who hazarded : My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.
Not at all, if you go back to the earliest days of the orangeman's prezdency, you will see Trump resisted the efforts by Mercer & the zionist casino owner to give Bolton a gig.
He knew that shrub had problems with the boasts of Bolton and as his reputation was as an arsehole who sounded his own trumpet at his boss's expense orangeman refused for a long time. Trump believes the trump prezdency is about trump no one else.
Thing was at the time he was running for the prez gig trump was on his uppers, making a few dollars from his tv show, plus licensing other people's buildings by selling his name to be stuck on them. trump tower azerbnajan etc.
He put virtually none of his own money into the 'race' so when he won the people who had put up the dosh had power over him.
Bolton has always been an arse kisser to any zionist cause he suspects he can claw a penny outta, so he used the extreme loony end of the totally looney zionist spectrum to hook him (Bolton) up with a gig by pushing for him with trump.

It was always gonna end the way it did as Bolton is forever briefing the media against anyone who tried to resist his murderous fantasies. Trump is never gonna argue for any scheme that doesn't have lotsa dollars for him in it so he had plenty of run ins with Bolton who then went to his media mates & told tales.
When bolton was appointed orangey's stakes were at a really low ebb among DC warmongers, so he reluctantly took him on then spent the next 18 months getting rid of the grubby parasite.

div> Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit , Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit | Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Kristan hinton , Jun 18 2020 0:46 utc | 27
Real History: Candidate Trump praised Bolton and named him as THE number one Foreign Policy expert he (Trump) respected.

Imagine the mustachioed Mister Potatoe (sic) Head and zany highjinks!

Bolton and one of his first wives were regulars at Plato's Retreat for wife swapping orgies. The wife was not real keen on the behavior, but she allegedly found herself verbally and physically abused for objecting.

DannyC , Jun 18 2020 1:17 utc | 28
Trump is at fault for hiring him to appease the Zionist lobby. We all knew the guy was a warmonger and a scumbag. It's not a surprise. Trump surrounds himself with the worst people
jadan , Jun 18 2020 1:30 utc | 29
Did John Bolton put his personal interests above the will of congress in an attempt to extort the Ukrainian government? You're making a false equivalence. You seem to have a soft spot for Trump. Bolton is an in-your-face son of a bitch, but Trump, Trump is just human garbage.
Kay Fabe , Jun 18 2020 2:27 utc | 30
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got. Just a distraction. Trumps outrage just meant help Bolton sell some books. Lol. People are so easy to fool.

I still think Bolton managing the operations as COG in Cheneys old bunker. Coming out for a vacation while next phase is planned

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 2:56 utc | 31
Kay Fabe @Jun18 2:27 #29
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got.

You underestimate the craftiness of this kayfabe.

The tiff with Bolton makes Trump look like a peace-loving moderate so that he's acceptable to Independent voters.

!!

Den lille abe , Jun 18 2020 3:03 utc | 32
Bolton is just another American arsehole. Nothing new. When they do not get their way, the y always turn on their superiors, or those in charge. Bolton is just another "Anhänger" personal gain is what motivates him.
He should have been a blot on his parents bedsheets or at least a forced abortion, but unfortunately that did not happen...
Piotr Berman , Jun 18 2020 3:53 utc | 33
The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him (Trump) and his voters.

Posted by: bob sykes | Jun 17 2020 20:55 utc | 11

Trump thwarted Trump. Before he got elected, Trump mentioned his admiration of Bolton more than once. Voters of Trump elected a liar and an incoherent person -- at time, incomprehensible, a nice bonus. But it is worth noticing that Trump never liked being binded by agreement, like, say, an agreement to pay money back to creditors, or whatever international agreement would restrict USA from doing what they damn please.

Superficially, it is mysterious why Trump made an impression that he wants to negotiate with North Korea with some agreement at the end. Was he forced to make a mockery from the negotiation by someone sticking knife to his back?

Some may remember that Trump promised to abolish Affordable Care Act and replace it with "something marvelous". The latest version is that he will start thinking about it again after re-election. If you believe that...

Granted, Trump is more sane than Bolton, but just a bit, unlike Bolton he has some moments of lucidity.

In conclusion, I would advocate to vote for Biden. If you need a reason, that would be that Biden never tweets, or if he does, it is forgettable before the typing is done. Unlike the hideous Trumpian productions.

jason , Jun 18 2020 3:55 utc | 34
"men fit to be shaved," Tiberius, on Bolton and Friedman.

he is the best & brightest we have. when a dreadful mouth is called for. his insights into the Trump WH are probably as deep as his knowledge of VZ, Iran, Cuba, etc. he's a useful idiot, a willing fool. like Trump, he's the verbal equivalent of the cops on the street, in foreign "policy." another abusive father figure

reading the imperial steak turds - an American form of reading the tea leaves or goat livers or chicken flight or celestial what have you. an emperor craps out a big hairy one like Bolton and the priests and hierophants and lawyers and scribes come for a long, close up inspection and fact-gathering smell of another steaming pile of gmo-corn-and-downer-cow-fed, colon cancer causing, Kansas feed-lot raised, grade A Murkin BEEF. guess what they in their wisdom find? Trump stinks.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 4:20 utc | 35
Scotch Bingeington @ 6 -- "Take a look at his face. It's obvious to me that even John Bolton does not enjoy being John Bolton. That mouth, it's drooping to an absurd degree. Comparable to Merkel's face, come to think of it.

At last, someone who notices physionomy!

That face drips with false modesty, kind of trying to make his face say, "... look at harmless old me..."

That walrus bushiness points at an attempt to hide, to camouflage his true thoughts, his malevolence.

That pretended stoop, with one hand clutching a sheaf of briefing papers, emulating the posture of deferential court clerks, speaks to a lifetime of a snake in the grass "fighting" from below for things important to himself.

But those of us who have been around the block a couple times will know to watch our backs around this type. Poisoned-tipped daggers are their fave weapons, and your backs are their fave "battle space". LOL

This statement by Jeffrey Sachs may as well also describe America's leadership crisis: "At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite."

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 5:29 utc | 36
GeorgeV @ 8 -- "It's like standing on a street corner watching two prostitutes calling each other a whore! How low has the US sunk."

And the US "leadeship" sends these types out to lecture other peoples on "values"? on how to become "normal nations"? on how to "contain" old civilisations such as Iran, Russia, China?

It is axiomatic that the stupid do not know they are stupid. Same goes for morals. The immoral do not know they are immoral. Or, perhaps, as Phat Pomp-arse shows, they know they are immoral, but do not care. Which makes one rightly guess that people like Bolt-On and him must be depraved.

Yes, it may take centuries before the leadership in this depraved Exceptionally Indispensable Nation to become truly normal again.

snake , Jun 18 2020 5:38 utc | 37
Of course, Trump actually campaigned to leave Afghanistan and Syria, and he was elected to do so. The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him and his voters. by: bob sykes 11

I wondered about He King claims that Trump actually attempted to do those awful things, . .. , I looked for evidence to prove the claim.. I asked just about every librarian I could find to please show me evidence that confirms the deep state over rode Mr. Trump's actual attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan and Syria. thus far, no confirming or supporting facts have been produced. to support such a claim. Mr. Trump could easily have tweeted to his supporters something to the effect that the damn military, CIA, homeland security, state department, foreign service, federal reserve, women's underwear association and smiley Joe's hamburger stand in fact every militant in the USA governed America were holding hands, locked in a conspiracy to block President Trumps attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan or Syria.. If Mr. Trump has asked for those things, they would have happened. The next day there would have been parties in the streets as the militant agency heads began rolling as Mr. Trump fired them each and everyone.. No firings happened, the party providers were disappointed, no troops, USA contractors or privatization pirates left any foreign place.. as far as I can tell. 500 + military bases still remain in Europe none have been abandoned.. and one was added in Israel. BTW i heard that Mr. Trump managed to get 17 trillion dollars into the hands of many who are contractors or suppliers to those foreign operations. I can't say I am against Trump, but i can ask you to show me some evidence to prove your claim.

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 5:50 utc | 38
snake @Jun18 5:38 #36

As always, watch what they do, not what they say.

Trump is the Republican Obama. A faux populist 'insider' who pretends to be an 'outsider'.

Trump was selected to be the nationalist President that meets the challenge from Russia and China. And serves all the usual interests while doing so.

Americans fools keep electing these establishment stooges and then wonder why nothing seems to get any better.

!!

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:25 utc | 39
Sack cartoon: Trump's 'swamp'

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-trump-s-swamp/401964365/

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-the-swamp/420668223/

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:39 utc | 40
Trump searches for new slogan as he abandons Keep America Great amid George Floyd and covid turmoil

The president has taken to inserting the term 'Transition to Greatness' into his remarks. His 2016 slogan was 'Make America Great Again'. After election he polled audiences on whether to go with 'Keep America Great'. He told CPAC this year and said at the State of the Union 'The Best is Yet to Come'. Tweaks come as he trails Biden in new NBC and CNN polls, as the nation struggles with the coronavirus and protests over police violence.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8398993/Donald-Trump-searches-new-slogan-amid-cratering-polls-against-Joe-Biden.html

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:44 utc | 41
Rudy W. Giuliani @RudyGiuliani

Ukrainian police seize $6 Million in bribes paid to kill the new case into crooked Burisma.

This money is a Followup to the multi-millions in bribes Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and President Poroshenko earned to leverage their offices to kill the original case.

All covered up!

https://twitter.com/RudyGiuliani/status/1273298170966159366

Ghost Ship , Jun 18 2020 7:28 utc | 42
Christian J. Chuba @ 3
goals that you consider important are different from personal interests.

What personal interests has Trump actually advanced during his time as president. Leaving out the fake allegations, I'm hard put to think of any. If you look at Trump's actual behaviour rather than his bullshit or the bullshit aimed at him, I'm also hard put to think of anything illegal he's done while in office that wasn't done by previous administrations.
Mao , Jun 18 2020 7:41 utc | 43
US President Donald Trump sought help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election, "pleading" with the Chinese president to boost imports of American agricultural products, according to a new book by former national security adviser John Bolton. The accusations were included in an excerpt from The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, which is set to be released on June 23. Bolton also wrote that Trump demonstrated other "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour", including privately expressing support for China's mass interment of Uygur Muslims and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.*This video has been updated to fix a spelling mistake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agk61kyDS1k

Yeah, Right , Jun 18 2020 8:35 utc | 44
@42 Mao I'm struggling to see how "pleading" with any country for it to purchase more US goods is "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" from a US President.

Pleading to Xi for China to give, say, Israel preferential access to markets, sure.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 9:56 utc | 45
The Saker takes an interesting look at this "spontaneous or popular" revolt taking place in America

https://thesaker.is/what-kind-of-popular-revolution-is-this/#comments

Mao , Jun 18 2020 10:35 utc | 46
The Saker:

I have lived in the United States for a total of 24 years and I have witnessed many crises over this long period, but what is taking place today is truly unique and much more serious than any previous crisis I can recall. And to explain my point, I would like to begin by saying what I believe the riots we are seeing taking place in hundreds of US cities are not about. They are not about:

* Racism or "White privilege"
* Police violence
* Social alienation and despair
* Poverty
* Trump
* The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
* The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of "cause" and "pretext". And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

https://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-systemic-collapse-of-the-us-society-has-begun/

Steve , Jun 18 2020 10:57 utc | 47
The only time I'd be interested in anything Bolton had to say is if he were saying it from the docket at The Hague
Matt , Jun 18 2020 11:40 utc | 48
Don't really want to take sides between those two odious characters, but I think there's a difference in what the paper is saying.

One is about someone pursuing policy goals they favour, the other "personal interest". From what I have seen so far, Bolton's main definition of Trump's "personal interest" is his chances for re-election (rather than any personal business interest).

I think Bolton was happy for Trump to pursue the policy goals he favoured, at least when they coincided with Bolton's!

Tadlak Davidovitsh , Jun 18 2020 12:04 utc | 49
In modern Italy, mentioning Jupiter (Jove) and the ox (Bove) in the same sentence usually implies a demand that the two be treated the same.
450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:07 utc | 50
How many people have cashed in on Trump so far? Countless numbers of them. An ocean of them. Scathing books about Trump is one way to cash in on thr Trump effect, and the authors, many of whom don't even write the book themselves, get promoted and their books promoted in the mainstream media and elsewhere.

There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to Trump. We know everything there is to know about Trump. Some of us knew everything there was to know about him before he became POTUS. And yet, there he is, sitting like the Cheshire Cat in the Oval Office, untouchable and beyond reproach. Meanwhile, even more scathing books are in the pipeline because there's money, so much money, to be made don't you know.

Bolton is a shitbird every bit as much as Trump is and in fact an argument can be made Bolton is even worse and even more dangerous than Trump because if Bolton had his druthers, Iran would be a failed state right about now and America would be bogged down in a senseless money-making (for the defense contractors owned by the extractive wealthy elite) quagmire in Iran just as it was in Iraq and still is in Afghanistan.

Colbert is all into the Bolton book because he and his staff managed to secure an interview with Bolton. Bolton, of course, has agreed to this because it's a great way to promote his book to the likes of Cher who is the perfect example of the demographic Colbert caters to with his show. Some of the commercials during Colbert's show last night? One was an Old Navy commercial where they bragged about how they're giving to the poor. The family they used for the commercial, the recipients of this beneficence, was a black family. Biden is proud of Old Navy because don't you know, poor and black are one and the same. In otherwords, there are no poor people except black people. No, that's not racist. Not at all. Also, another commercial during Colbert's show was for the reopening of Las Vegas amidst the spreading pandemic. This is immediately after a segment where Colbert is decrying Republican governors for opening southern states too early. The hypocritical irony is so stark, you can cut it with a chainsaw.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:24 utc | 51
Mao @ 45 quoting The Saker -- ".... the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society."

And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

In my 50 years of studying American society, I have learned to watch what US leaders do, not what they preach. More profitable is to look at what declassified US documents tell us about the truth, not what the presstitudes of the day pretend to dish up. Also, what other world leaders might, in a candid moment, tell us about America.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52
@50
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem. Afterall, a system that allows for creeping entrenched endemic corruption, is a crappy system. It's the system that's the root of this and it's not just isolated to the United States. It's civilization itself that's the root and what enabled civilization -- the spirit in our genes as Reg asserts.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:47 utc | 53
@4
I'm fully expecting the Dem "left" to try and praise the monsterous Bolton for "going against Trump", as they did with war criminal Mad Dog Matis and Bush. Bolton has to be one of the most evil mass murders on the face of the Earth. The world will be an infinitely better place when he and his ilk like Netanyahu, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Chertoff..etc finally go back to hell.

I agree. They would, because they already have and continue to do so, coddle and provide apologia for any and all monsters who decry Trump. Hell, I'm convinced they would clamor for Derek Chauvin's exoneration if he vocally decried Trump. Chauvin would make the rounds on the media circuit excoriating Trump and telling the world, contritely of course, that it was Trump who made him do it and now he sees the error of his ways. He'd be on Morning Joe and Chris Cuomo's and Don Lemon's shows not to mention Ari Melber and Anderson Cooper and Lawrence O'Donnell. The conservatives and their networks, who have provided apologia for Chauvin thus far, would now be his worst enemy. Colbert and Kimmel would have him on and guffawing with him asking him how it felt to choke the life out of someone, laughing all the way so long as he hates Trump and tells the world how much he hates Trump.

This world is an insane asylum, especially America. All under the banner and aegis of progress. And to think, humanity wants to export this madness to space and the universe at large. Any intelligent life that would ever make its way to Planet Earth, if ever, would be well-advised to exterminate the species human before it spread its poison to the universe at large. Not that that is possible, but just in case the .000000000001% chance of that does miraculously manifest.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:48 utc | 54
Mao @ 42

Concerning Trump "pleading" with Xi, it is only right for a leader to request others to buy more US farm produce. We have only Bolton's word that the request was a plea. We also have only Bolton's word that the request / plea was to seek "help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election". Too early to believe Bolton. Wait till we see the meeting transcripts.

Bolton also alleged that Trump exhibited "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" concerning the Uygurs. Again, only Bolton's word. Even so, saying it is "unacceptable behavior" presumes that China does wrong to incarcerate Uygurs. If not, ie, China either does not incarcerate them, or if China has good moral grounds to do so, then Bolton is wrong to disagree with his boss for uttering the right sentiment. Judging by how the anglo-zios shout about China's "crime", I tend to think the opposite just might be the truth, and that says that Bolton is simply mudslinging to sell books; score brownie points with the anglo-zios, virtue-signalling for his next gig.

Sabine , Jun 18 2020 12:56 utc | 55
so is Trump or Biden the Yeltsin of the US? And who is gonna be the US version of Putin? Mr. Cotton from Arkansas?
vk , Jun 18 2020 13:00 utc | 56
The American people must decide if Trump is anti-China or Xi's bff. He can't be both at the same time.
murgen23 , Jun 18 2020 13:04 utc | 57
I don't see a contradiction with both sentences.

NYT writes Bolton direct US policy to fit his own political agenda,
while Bolton emphasizes Trump direct US policy in the way that pocket him most money.

Politician Bolton is consistent with his politician job (like it or not), Trump is corrupted.

This is how I understand.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 13:14 utc | 58
@56, I would argue that if one person could be both at the same time, that one person would be Donald Trump. He's already proven, like Chauncey Gardner, he can walk on water. Seriously, that excellent movie, Being There , starring the incomparable Peter Sellers, was about Donald Trump's ascension to the Oval Office.

There Are No Limits Except The Limits We Invent And Impose

augusto , Jun 18 2020 13:44 utc | 59
Using this 'quod licet jovi ...' the author apparently knows quite a bit of Latin, the dead language!
But seriously, the nomination of Bolton who had always behaved like 2nd rate advisor, a 3rd rate mcarthist cold warrior was a surprise to me. Such a short sighted heavily biased person could be, yes, chosen a Minister or advisor in a banana Republic but was picked up by the United states.
One can only conclude such a choice was driven by very specific interests of the deep state.They needed a bulldog and got it for one year and half and threw the stinky perro soon as the job was done.
BM , Jun 18 2020 14:05 utc | 60
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.
I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem.
Posted by: 450.org | Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52

The primary cause of corrupt leadership is corrupt and corruption-accepting population.

Without a population that is fundamentally corrupt and immoral, corrupt leadership is unstable. Conversely - and this is important to recognise as the same phenomenon - democracy cannot exist if the population accepts and takes for granted corruption, as the two are mutually exclusive. In other words if you root out the corrupt leadership without dealing with the mentality of the population, the corruption will quickly come back and any democratic experiment will collapse very quickly.

There is one important qualifier - an overwhelming external influence (since WWII always the USA, either directly or as secondary effect) can leverage latent corruption so that it becomes more exaggerated than it normally would be.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 14:48 utc | 61
What is clear from only this account of the crucial role of big money foundations behind protest groups such as Black lives Matter is that there is a far more complex agenda driving the protests now destabilizing cities across America. The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest.

https://m.journal-neo.org/2020/06/16/america-s-own-color-revolution/

michael888 , Jun 18 2020 15:53 utc | 62
Bolton pretended to be President, screwing up negotiations with his Libya Model talk, threatening Venezuela (and anywhere generally) and directing fleets all over the world (including Britain's to capture that Iranian oil tanker). Vindman revered "Ambassador" Bolton because he was keeping the Ukraine corruption in Americans (and Ukrainian Americans') hands, and daring the Russians to "start" WWIII. Bolton might have been a bit more bearable if he had ever been elected, but was happy to see him go. Trump seemed mystified by him.
juliania , Jun 18 2020 16:29 utc | 63
b has presented us (knowingly or not, but I wouldn't put it past him) with the Socratic question of the presumed identity between the morality of the State and personal morality, as best encountered in Plato's dialogue, 'The Republic' ['Politeia' in the Greek] That dialogue begins by examining personal morality, but changes to an examination of what would bring into being a perfect state. In doing the latter, however, it is how to create public spirited persons, in the best sense, which is the actual concern, and the conversation ranges far and wide, becoming more and more complex.

I've always thought that to consider the perfect state had to be an impossibility if the individual, the person him or herself isn't up to the task - and that is the point of the Politeia enterprise. Like the ongoing relay race on horseback that is happening at the same time in the Piraeus, the passing of the argument one person to another that happens in the dialogue demonstrates that what is most crucial for the state as well as for the individual is personal integrity.

I take as an example the message of Saker's essay, linked by Down South and commented on above by others. Saker is pointing out that the protests have been seized upon by the anti-Trumpists who have been disrupting things from the beginning of his administration. But he also says:

"My personal feeling is that Trump is too weak and too much of a coward to fight his political enemies"

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The discussion of different kinds of states, which we often have here pursued, or the discussion of what makes a person able to function in one or another state? I don't think Plato was saying that Greece had it made, that Greece needed to throw its weight around more to be great. He's pointing out that it had lost greatness, the same way every empire loses when it forgets that individual spark that is in a single person, his virtue. And the sad thing is it all comes down to the education of our young people in the values, the virtues that apply both to his own personal life and to the life of the state.

At its heart, the protests which are beginning, only beginning, and which are peaceful, may be politeia vs. republic, the 'polis' itself against 'things political'. A new and true enlightenment, multipolar.

karlof1 , Jun 18 2020 16:39 utc | 64
BM @60--

Corruption's been a fact of life in North America ever since it was "discovered." Bernard Bailyn captured it quite well in his The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century , that is during the very first stages of plantation, with most corruption taking place in Old England then exported to the West. Even the Founders were corrupt, although they didn't see themselves as such. Isn't Adam & Eve's corruption detailed in Genesis merely an indicator of a general human trait that needs to be managed via culture? That human culture has generally failed to contain and discipline corruption speaks volumes about both. John Dos Passos in his opus USA noted that everyone everywhere was on the "hustle"--from the hobo to the banker. "Every child gots to have its own" are some of the truest lyrics ever written. Will humanity ever transcend this major failure in its nature?

Allen Edmundson , Jun 18 2020 23:30 utc | 65
Who is behind the claim that China is imprisoning vast numbers of Uighurs in concentration camps and what evidence has been presented? See the Greyzone for its recent report on this.

Edmundson

Jpc , Jun 18 2020 23:39 utc | 66
Thanks to all of you for your insights on Bolton.
I still don't see anything to explain why he got a second gig in the Whitehouse.
Or anything that he did that enhanced US security long term.
And another guy who dodged active service.
Strange angry dude,!
Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 19 2020 14:47 utc | 67
Pat Lang believes that Bolton has breached a law requiring US Officials with access to Top Secret Stuff to submit personal memoirs for scrutiny before publishing. Col Lang is awaiting similar approval for a memoir of his own and thinks Bolton didn't bother waiting for the Official OK.
There's a diverse range of comments. Most commentators like the idea of Bolton being tossed in the slammer. Others speculate that as a Swamp Creature, Bolton will escape prosecution. It's interesting that no-one has asked to see the publisher's copy of the USG's signed & dated Approval To Publish document, relevant to Bolton's book.
arby , Jun 19 2020 19:34 utc | 68
Jut a little thread on Bolton and his book.

It is amazing the way these clowns sit around and talk about countries and people as if they were so much dirt. The arrogance and power is disgusting.

link

[Jun 22, 2020] Does John Bolton deserves a Nobel peace Price? In our perverted world why not.

Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tower , Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

It's just about time. John Bolton deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. At this point, why not?

JC , Jun 17 2020 23:43 utc | 23

Posted by: Tower | Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

This is the most intelligent post so far.

Yes why not? If Obama awarded the Noble prize even before he begins serving his first term I can't see why Bolton not nominated now. America is a joke, not a banana republic. It deserves Obama, Trump, Bolton or Biden another stoopid joker.

Stoopid president elected by stoopid citizens

[Jun 21, 2020] Leaker fell victim of the leak: The neocon-warhawk may not see a penny for his book as the PDf was leaked online

MIC eventually will pay this neocon prostitute for services, anyway
Jun 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
As Ben Garrison recent noted, in an interview Bolton stated that it was OK for the government agencies to lie to the American people if national security is at stake. And it always seems to be at stake for dominant men who want secrecy and power. Bolton is a dangerous liar and his anti-Trump screed cannot be trusted.

It's time to slam the book shut on Bolton.

[Jun 21, 2020] Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'.

Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

[Jun 19, 2020] Bolton should be arrested and charged with any of a number of possible crimes

Jun 19, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Security screening of manuscripts I t is the law in the United States that those who have had legal access to the secrets of the government must submit private manuscripts for removal of such secrets BEFORE they are published or even presented to a potential publisher. Every department of government has an office charged with such work.

I know this process well because my memoir "Tattoo" has been in the hands of the appropriate Defense Department office for nigh on six months. The book is long, and I was so unlucky as to have DoD shut down its auxiliary services during my wait. I have thought of withdrawing it from screening but, surprisingly, the screeners tell me it has some worth for those who will come after. So, I will wait.

All this applies to John Bolton, a career State Department man whose adult life has been soaked in government secrets. I first noticed Bolton as a glowering presence at briefings I gave to selected State Department people with regard to national command authority projects I was running. His attitude was consistent. If the idea was not his, it was simply wrong.

Bolton's "kiss and tell" book about Trump is IMO as much caused by wounded ego as a desire to make money. He submitted the book for security review to DoD and the CIA. Why not State? Ah, Pompeo would tear it to pieces. Bolton evidently grew impatient with the pace of clearance and decided to go ahead with publication without clearance

To do this is a felony. The release of the book today completes the elements of proof for the crime.

Bolton should be arrested and charged with any of a number of possible crimes. pl


Jack , 18 June 2020 at 11:56 AM

Sir,

Let's see what Trump does with Bolton now that he has committed a felony.

My bet is that other than crying on Twitter, he'll not do much. His previous actions/inactions on these matters show weakness.

In any case bitching on Twitter makes him look like an executive with poor hiring judgement as he was the one that hired him. Just like he hired Mattis and Kelly as well as Rosenstein and Wray.

Barbara Ann , 18 June 2020 at 12:03 PM
Bolton being successfully charged with violations associated with his sour grapes hit piece memoir is analogous to Al Capone finally going down for tax evasion. But if that's the way it goes I will not be sad.

Re "Tattoo", your Memorial Day "Ap Bu Nho" extract alone makes "some worth" an amusingly ludicrous understatement. I wish you luck with the censors & very much look forward to one day reading "Tattoo".

eakens , 18 June 2020 at 12:05 PM
Who can we rely on to uphold the rule of law anymore? It's starting to appear we are living in a failed state.
Artemesia , 18 June 2020 at 01:22 PM
AIS

He was a convert to the neocon faith early in life and all else was mischief.

Posted by: turcopolier | 18 June 2020 at 12:21 PM

"He was a convert - - -"
I was going to ask what went wrong with Bolton: was he dropped on his head as an infant? No father in the home? The Dulles brothers spent their childhoods being harangued by their bible-thumping Calvinist grandfather (reports Kinzer in his useful bio on the brothers).

In Jeff Engel's book about the decision-making behind G H W Bush's decision to wage war against Saddam re Kuwait, he recounts that an argument by Brent Scowcroft was significant, AND that "Scowcroft, who was very short," confronted taller-than-average Bush while knees-to-knees in an airplane.
Bolton is shorter than the average American male. Does he have 'short-person' compulsion to compensate?

People psychologize Trump constantly, usually from ignorance and malice. But something is very wrong with Bolton. Pompeo as well. What is it?
"What huge imago made a psychopathic god?" (Auden, Sept. 1939)

Polish Janitor , 18 June 2020 at 04:11 PM
Col Lang,

#1 I read this WaPo article that argued because the recent DOJ's lawsuit against the release of the book is based on "prior restraint on speech before it occurs", meaning the Trump administration cannot censor speech before it happens, therefore there is no 1st amendment breach against the Trump admin by Bolton. As the court elaborated in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, prior restraints are "the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights" and "one of the most extraordinary remedies known to our jurisprudence."

#2 Bolton took all of his notes containing classified intelligence with him after he was fired and nobody took an issue. How is that possible?

#3 The Wapo article says his manuscript was reviewed for four months by one Ellen Knight, an official (doesn't mention which department) responsible for reviewing publishing material and she gave it the green light for publication on April 27th.

#4 During a press conference, Bill Barr gave an unusual take on Bolton's book as if he was giving publicity to the book. He said he had never seen a book being written on Trump with such pace and in such quick time and that it had a lot of sensitive information and stuff. It sounded really odd what Bill Barr said. I dunno maybe I am reading to much between the lines...

#5 With regards to Pompeo, back in September during a press conference at the State, when asked by a reporter about Bolton's firing I specifically remember watching him on TV giving a big meaningful chuckle and a smile... it was revealed later that they clearly did not get along with each other and Pompeo had complained on numerous times that Bolton as NSA, who does not have executive authorities, had been doing a lot of policy stuff and running his own show in shadow.

On a final note, I don't think Bolton is a neocon in the mold of Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Kagan, Kristol etc...There is this long piece by New Yorker published last year that really gets into detail of how and why Bolton is not a neocon, but adheres to a more hawkish Jacksonian nationalism approach rather than the liberal idealism of arch neocons I mentioned above. However, he does have quite similar F.P. views with neocon oldies such as Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Jeane Kirkpatrick.

JohnH , 18 June 2020 at 04:39 PM
If Bolton does NOT get the book thrown at him, it will be pretty good evidence of the existence of the Deep State allowing those it favors to write their own rules. Of course, we already knew that after Clapper lied with impunity to Wyden when he was under oath.
TV , 18 June 2020 at 04:49 PM
He'll never be prosecuted and neither will Comey, Clapper and the rest of the swamp scum.
Strozk (lower on the food chain) might be the human sacrifice (with a sentence of "community service") but no one of any significance (or "royal" title) is ever prosecuted in the swamp.
Trump has tried, but his miserable lack of hiring experience and skill has not made a dent
Polish Janitor , 18 June 2020 at 04:53 PM
Artemisia,

I feel like I have a few words to say about Bolton if I may,

IMHO Bolton's view of the world is very dark and extremely Hobbesian. He is no slouch by any stretch of imagination, in fact he is extremely knowledgeable and masterful when it comes to policy-making and that basically how things are done in D.C. He has made a brand for himself as the most hawkish national security expert in all of America in my opinion. Honestly I cannot think of anyone else who espouses more hawkishness and zero diplomacy than Bolton, ever... maybe Tom Cotton or Liz Cheney but still not close. This is the reason why Trump hired him. In fact Trump did not want to hire him as the top brass in first place, citing his mustache as one reason that would not look good on TV and wanted to give him 2nd tier jobs at the State or as NSA early on, but Bolton refused. Trump, wanted to hire Bolton's "brand" not his policies or hawkishness to intimidate Nkorea, Iran, and China to force them come into making deals with him and him personally.

IMO Trump found out after the first Kim summit that Bolton was
such an ambitious and counterproductive foreign policy maker and one-man-team that if he allowed Bolton to get his way, there would be world war III (Trump's own words) and his most important promise to keep America out of forever wars which was his wining platform over neocons such as Hilary, Jeb and Rubio during 2016 election would disappear into thin air.

So, Trump found ways to check Bolton and keep him out of the loop in sensitive and crucial moments by Mattis, Kelly, Joe Dunford, Pompeo and even Melania (in the case of getting rid of Bolton's close confidant and neocon Mira Ricardel when she called for bombing Iranian forces back in September 2018 in respone to several rockets by iraqi militias hitting the ground close to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad), and even sent him to Mongolia last year on a goose chase to make an embarrassing example of him for undermining him (i.e. Trump's) authority in the case of sitting down with the Taliban in Camp David to discuss military pullout from Afghanistan back in Sep. whereas at the same time Pompeo was smart enough to tow the same line as Trump and survive.

I few years ago I came across this interesting but odd piece by B on the Moon of Alabama on Bolton. I honestly dunno what to make of it.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2006/02/a_glasshouse_in.html

ked , 18 June 2020 at 05:11 PM
The book is already released in the hundreds. It will be on-line soon enough regardless of the niceties of Barr's attempt to slam shut the barn door, or what the legal system does with Bolton going fwd.
Those close to Trump know his emotional state must be appeased or they will soon be departing - unless there's a DNA match.
Reaction to it will be a test of one's ability to distinguish Bolton from the events he describes & their veracity. Is there anything of Trump's statements & acts (released so far) that surprises anyone... that rings untrue?
Those ideologically (or religiously) dependent upon the Trump Phenomenon for validating their core beliefs will demonstrate how creative true believers can be when attached to a personality.
A.I.S. , 18 June 2020 at 05:34 PM
For what its worth I am looking forward to buying it, should scratch that Peter Scholl Latour itch.

Another thing is that I just dont get the Neocons.
Their politics are bad both from a Machieavellian (dilutes US forces, creates enemies, considerably restricts creative ways in which US power could be employed) and from a moral (obviously) point of view. I also dont get their power, stupid/evil tends to be competed out. Heck, even if they are stupid/evil but very good at beurocratic backbiting stuff, they are still supposedly disadvantadged against skilled beurocratic backbiters that arent stupid/evil (or at least only evil and not stupid).
Is it internal cohesion or a much higher degree of ruthlessness that maintains their position?

PB , 18 June 2020 at 07:05 PM
I've for many years thought that the Bolton problem was best solved with a speedy trial and a swift execution, with remains thrown overboard somewhere in the Indian ocean.
turcopolier , 18 June 2020 at 07:13 PM
polish janitor

He signed an oath to safeguard the secrecy of the information when "read on" for it and another such when he was "read off." The 1st Amendment does not come into it at all

[Jun 18, 2020] Poor Johnny! What's sadder than being a crook, but an ineffective one? I think that's what he is. He may be infamous enough to be a household name, but he never really managed to make a career. Hardly ever did he stay on a job for more than 2 years

Jun 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

John , Jun 17 2020 19:24 utc | 4

I'm fully expecting the Dem "left" to try and praise the monsterous Bolton for "going against Trump", as they did with war criminal Mad Dog Matis and Bush. Bolton has to be one of the most evil mass murders on the face of the Earth. The world will be an infinitely better place when he and his ilk like Netanyahu, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Chertoff..etc finally go back to hell.

karlof1 , Jun 17 2020 19:33 utc | 5

Bolton deserves having a parasite named after him, if that.
Scotch Bingeington , Jun 17 2020 19:57 utc | 6
Poor Johnny! What's sadder than being a crook, but an ineffective one? I think that's what he is. He may be infamous enough to be a household name, but he never really managed to make a career. Hardly ever did he stay on a job for more than 2 years, before his fellow crooks deemed him unfit for his position, again and again. Says a lot.

I hope they will confiscate his book on some flimsy pretext, only to lose the piles of copies in storage, so they cannot possibly be released to bookstores again. Maybe some mice will make use of it to furnish their nests?

Take a look at his face. It's obvious to me that even John Bolton does not enjoy being John Bolton. That mouth, it's drooping to an absurd degree. Comparable to Merkel's face, come to think of it.

GeorgeV , Jun 17 2020 20:25 utc | 8
John Bolton's tell all book about his tenure with the Trump administration is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle burned. It is a fitting description of the leadership of the US government and it's capitol city as a den of backstabbing, corkscrewing and double dealing vipers. It's like standing on a street corner watching two prostitutes calling each other a whore! How low has the US sunk.
bob sykes , Jun 17 2020 20:55 utc | 11
Of course, Trump actually campaigned to leave Afghanistan and Syria, and he was elected to do so. The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him and his voters.
uncle tungsten , Jun 17 2020 21:00 utc | 12
karlof1 #5
Blastocystis hominis could be renamed easily enough. It is a pain in the gut and arse.

I will not bother to read any more on Bolton the man is beneath contempt. b has said more than enough.

Tower , Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13
It's just about time. John Bolton deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. At this point, why not?
pretzelattack , Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14
let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda.
Duncan Idaho , Jun 17 2020 22:03 utc | 15
Only with Late Stage Capitalism could we have a vicious war criminal write a book criticizing a psychopathic sociopath.
Anonymous , Jun 17 2020 22:06 utc | 16
The political establishment in Canada appeared dismayed at the prospect of Bolton as National Security Adviser. See these interviews with Hill + Knowlton strategies Vice-chairman, Peter Donolo, from 2018:

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/there-s-risk-trump-s-actions-are-driving-the-u-s-into-a-recession-peter-donolo~1342264
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/trade-wars-easy-to-start-not-so-easy-to-finish-peter-donolo~1365104

So Bolton gets in, Meng Wangzhou is detained in Vancouver on the US request (that's another story), and in time, Canada appoints a new Ambassador to China - Mr. Dominic Barton.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_Barton
Then Bolton gets fired. 'Nuff said. Just to let everyone know that Bolton is well and truly hated, as a government official, in certain circles.

AntiSpin , Jun 17 2020 22:07 utc | 17
@ pretzelattack | Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years.

Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children.

james , Jun 17 2020 23:13 utc | 20
let the lobbyists with the most money win... that's what defines the usa system, leadership and decision making process... no one in their right mind would support this doofus..
Jen , Jun 17 2020 23:40 utc | 21
At least the one saving grace about John Bolton's memoir is that it might be a tad closer to reality than Christopher Steele's infamous dossier and might prove valuable as a source of evidence in a court of law. Maybe Yosemite Sam himself should start quaking in his boots.
Don Bacon , Jun 17 2020 23:44 utc | 24
@ Jpc
When faced with Trump's behavior of employing warmongers, including several generals, some observers opined that Trump wanted people with contrasting opinions so that he could consider them and then say "no." He did more with Bolton eventually, sending him to Mongolia while he (Trump) went to Singapore (or somewhere over there).
A User , Jun 17 2020 23:47 utc | 25
re Ian2 | Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
who hazarded : My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.
Not at all, if you go back to the earliest days of the orangeman's prezdency, you will see Trump resisted the efforts by Mercer & the zionist casino owner to give Bolton a gig.
He knew that shrub had problems with the boasts of Bolton and as his reputation was as an arsehole who sounded his own trumpet at his boss's expense orangeman refused for a long time. Trump believes the trump prezdency is about trump no one else.
Thing was at the time he was running for the prez gig trump was on his uppers, making a few dollars from his tv show, plus licensing other people's buildings by selling his name to be stuck on them. trump tower azerbnajan etc.
He put virtually none of his own money into the 'race' so when he won the people who had put up the dosh had power over him.
Bolton has always been an arse kisser to any zionist cause he suspects he can claw a penny outta, so he used the extreme loony end of the totally looney zionist spectrum to hook him (Bolton) up with a gig by pushing for him with trump.

It was always gonna end the way it did as Bolton is forever briefing the media against anyone who tried to resist his murderous fantasies. Trump is never gonna argue for any scheme that doesn't have lotsa dollars for him in it so he had plenty of run ins with Bolton who then went to his media mates & told tales.
When bolton was appointed orangey's stakes were at a really low ebb among DC warmongers, so he reluctantly took him on then spent the next 18 months getting rid of the grubby parasite.

Kristan hinton , Jun 18 2020 0:46 utc | 26
Real History: Candidate Trump praised Bolton and named him as THE number one Foreign Policy expert he (Trump) respected.

Imagine the mustachioed Mister Potatoe (sic) Head and zany highjinks!

Bolton and one of his first wives were regulars at Plato's Retreat for wife swapping orgies. The wife was not real keen on the behavior, but she allegedly found herself verbally and physically abused for objecting.

DannyC , Jun 18 2020 1:17 utc | 27
Trump is at fault for hiring him to appease the Zionist lobby. We all knew the guy was a warmonger and a scumbag. It's not a surprise. Trump surrounds himself with the worst people

[Jun 17, 2020] Collusion with China, wanting to stay in office forever Leaked Bolton book excerpts cash in on anti-Trump frenzy

If we view Bolton as Adelson puppet, such a behaviour clearly does not make much sense. Or this is a single from Israel lobby to Trump "moor did his duty, moor can go"?
Notable quotes:
"... "a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons." ..."
"... "in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked," ..."
"... "The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept," ..."
"... "bombshells" ..."
"... "exactly the right thing to do." ..."
"... "systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China." ..."
"... "Panda Hugger." ..."
"... The mustachioed warhawk had served as Trump's national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019. While the exact reason for his firing was never revealed, Trump has since commented that Bolton was interfering with his peace initiatives and had "never seen a war he didn't like." ..."
"... Indeed, the "most irrational thing" Bolton accuses Trump of was to refuse to bomb Iran in June 2019, according to the New York Times excerpt. ..."
"... "soft on China" ..."
"... As for Trump supporters, many were indifferent about Bolton's betrayal, noting that Trump hired the neocon in the first place and kept him on for over a year, while ditching the faithful General Michael Flynn after less than two weeks on the job, following a FBI ambush and a Washington Post hit job. ..."
Jun 17, 2020 | www.rt.com
Former national security adviser John Bolton has leaked excerpts of his book to major newspapers, accusing President Donald Trump of colluding with leaders in China and Turkey, and obstruction of justice "as a way of life." Facing a DOJ lawsuit seeking to block the publication of his memoir for containing classified information, Bolton decided to go to the press, leaking parts of the book to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Breaking News: John Bolton says in his new book that the House should have investigated President Trump for potentially impeachable actions beyond Ukraine https://t.co/8lpd4xAzYu

-- The New York Times (@nytimes) June 17, 2020

Bolton famously refused to testify before the Democrat-led impeachment proceedings against Trump over his alleged abuse of power regarding Ukraine, but now claims that they should have expanded the probe to "a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons."

He accuses Trump of wanting to "in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked," bringing up companies in China and Turkey as examples, according to the Times. "The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept," the Times quotes him as saying.

One of the Bolton "bombshells" is that he sought China's purchase of US soybeans in order to get re-elected, during trade negotiations with President Xi Jinping.

SOYBEAN DIPLOMACY: The WSJ has published an excerpt of @AmbJohnBolton 's forthcoming book, revealing Trump-Xi conversation and how the American president pleaded his Chinese counterpart to buy U.S. soybeans so he could win farm states in the 2020 presidential elections | #OATT pic.twitter.com/XKAogLCCtN

-- Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) June 17, 2020

An excerpt in the Wall Street Journal has Trump telling Xi that – alleged – concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang province were "exactly the right thing to do." It also alleges that Trump did Xi a favor by relaxing US sanctions on ZTE, a Chinese telecom company.

WSJ excerpt of Bolton book has Trump & China bombshells. Trump told Xi building concentration camps for Muslims "was exactly the right thing to do." Trump pleaded w/ Xi to help him w/ re-election by making US farm product buys. And Trump helped Xi w/ ZTE. https://t.co/4CSflQQqcL

-- Edward Wong (@ewong) June 17, 2020

This comes as Trump signed into law the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, which mandates US sanctions against Chinese officials over "systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China."

Another excerpt has Bolton referring to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as a "Panda Hugger."

According to Bolton, Trump told Xi to "go ahead with building the camps" for imprisoned Uighurs.

-- Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) June 17, 2020

As another proof of Trump's perfidy, Bolton writes that the president told Xi that he would like to stay in office beyond the two terms the US Constitution would allow him. Bolton's one-time colleague Dinesh D'Souza commented that Bolton was unable to recognize a clear joke.

Really? This is it? John Bolton's smoking gun? Trump has been jokingly putting out memes about this for four years. This conversation, if it occurred at all, seems obviously jocular. Bolton, however, whom I knew quite well from AEI, doesn't have a jocular bone in his body pic.twitter.com/Qe8sXCAT58

-- Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) June 17, 2020

Trump has on more than one occasion shared a meme showing him staying in power forever, triggering Democrats into denouncing him as an aspiring dictator. Apparently, Bolton thought the same.

According to John Bolton posting this meme was an impeachable offense https://t.co/q2BHlfVTEu

-- Will Chamberlain 🇺🇸 (@willchamberlain) June 17, 2020

The mustachioed warhawk had served as Trump's national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019. While the exact reason for his firing was never revealed, Trump has since commented that Bolton was interfering with his peace initiatives and had "never seen a war he didn't like."

Indeed, the "most irrational thing" Bolton accuses Trump of was to refuse to bomb Iran in June 2019, according to the New York Times excerpt.

Pretty telling that the episode which pissed off Bolton the most during his tenure was Trump calling off airstrikes which would have killed dozens of Iranian soldiers in June 2019 https://t.co/ruFSInj2Mu pic.twitter.com/5zO7UrxMTM

-- Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) June 17, 2020

Arguing that Trump is being "soft on China" and colluding with Xi also happens to be a Democratic Party strategy for the 2020 presidential election, outlined in April and reported by Axios.

While Democrats and the mainstream media welcomed Bolton's bombshells as validating their position on Trump, he is unlikely to become a #Resistance hero, simply because they still remember he refused to say these things under oath during the impeachment hearings, when they – in theory – could have bolstered their case for getting Trump out of office.

As for Trump supporters, many were indifferent about Bolton's betrayal, noting that Trump hired the neocon in the first place and kept him on for over a year, while ditching the faithful General Michael Flynn after less than two weeks on the job, following a FBI ambush and a Washington Post hit job.

Do I care that Bolton is stabbing Trump in the back? Not at all. General Flynn was NSA and Trump made his choices. Being outraged on behalf of a 70+ year old man who makes poor choices is well beyond my job description.

-- Blue Flu Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 17, 2020

[Jun 16, 2020] It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future (incorrectly attributed to Yogi Berra)

Jun 16, 2020 | carnegieendowment.org

... There are no signs that the [USA-Russia] relationship will improve in the near future.

[Jun 13, 2020] Surprise, surprise. The Trump/Kim Jong-un love affair was about as long as one of Elizabeth Taylor's romances.

This "chest-thumping" is what passes for US "diplomacy" those days
Jun 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
450.org , Jun 12 2020 18:31 utc | 9
Surprise, surprise. The Trump/Kim Jong-un love affair was about as long as one of Elizabeth Taylor's romances. Kim Jong-un wrote him beautiful letters and they fell in love, yet just as quickly they fell out of love. That's the way it is with Trump. He's a male version of Elizabeth Taylor. Melania was smart to renegotiate her prenup. It appears Kim Jong-un neglected to insist on a prenup.

They Were A Match Made In Heaven But Heaven Can Wait I Guess

[Jun 13, 2020] Note on Trump/Pompeo diplomacy of insults: Iran proved to be quite good at swapping insults with the USA and Iran's insults are usually funnier

Jun 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 12 2020 23:08 utc | 27

Since this nothing-burger appears to have kicked off with an article in the NYT, it looks to me as though someone reminded The Swamp that Iran hasn't been disarmed and is thus not the kind of soft target that can be pushed around with impunity by AmeriKKKa. Imo, Iran is a lot closer to the top of the Military Genius pecking order than AmeriKKKa. i.e. Iran has made it quite clear that "Israel" will cop the blowback if Iran is attacked, and has also demonstrated its ability to conduct high-precision strikes on US bases & bunkers in the region. Iran is also quite good at swapping insults with AmeriKKKa and Iran's insults are usually funnier than AmeriKKKa's...

Threatening North Korea probably seemed like a better/safer idea than threatening Iran but only until China's diplomatic comedians start ripping into AmeriKKKa's loud-mouthed dorks and daydreamers.

[Jun 13, 2020] Korea is just another distraction: false conflicts with China, North Korea, Russia and Iran are needed to keep support for MIC and Security State which cost 1.2 trillion a year

Highly recommended!
The saying "War is racket" means not only that conquered nations are loots, but the the USA taxpayers will be looted as well
Jun 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kay Fabe , Jun 13 2020 0:10 utc | 35
Just another distraction.

Heck US aircraft carriers used to visit HK quite often until recently, even after the hand over. They anchored in the harbor while thousands of sailors headed to the Wanchai bars, although after the hand over they anchored in a less visible part of the harbor. China didn't have a problem.

I doubt China sweats a couple of aircraft carriers when we have large bases in Japan and South Korea, not to mention Guam.

False conflicts with China, North Korea, Russia and Iran are needed to keep support for MIC and Security State which cost 1.2 trillion a year.

If the US were serious about confronting China there would be sanctions and not tariffs. China and US are partners. We sell them chips that they put in our electronics and sell to us, so we can spy on our people, and they test out our social control technology on their own people. They clothe us, sell cheap API's for drugs and they invest in treasuries and other US assets and we educate their young talent and give them access to our research and technology and fund some of their own research and share numerous patents

[Jun 03, 2020] The first rule of political hypocrisy: Justify your actions by the need to protect the weak and vulnerable

Highly recommended!
Jun 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

...If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.

Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can't possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.

[Jun 02, 2020] According to the standards set by the Trump administration when the Guaido coup first launched, the video footage of these protests is full justification for a foreign nation to directly intervene and remove Trump from office by force right now.

Trump's threat to deploy the military here is an excessive and dangerous one. Mark Perry reports on the reaction from military officers to the president's threat:
Jun 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Senior military officer on Trump statement: "So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

-- Mark Perry (@markperrydc) June 2, 2020

Feral Finster35 minutes ago • edited

According to the standards set by the Trump administration when the Guaido coup first launched, the video footage of these protests is full justification for a foreign nation to directly intervene and remove Trump from office by force right now.

[Jun 02, 2020] So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

Trump's threat to deploy the military here is an excessive and dangerous one. Mark Perry reports on the reaction from military officers to the president's threat:
Jun 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Senior military officer on Trump statement: "So we're going to tell our soldiers that we're redeploying them from the Middle East to the midwest? What do we think they're going to say, 'yeah, sure, no problem?' Guess again."

-- Mark Perry (@markperrydc) June 2, 2020

Earlier in the day yesterday, audio has leaked in which the Secretary of Defense referred to U.S. cities as the "battlespace." Separately, Sen. Tom Cotton was making vile remarks about using the military to give "no quarter" to looters. This is the language of militarism.

It is a consequence of decades of endless war and the government's tendency to rely on militarized options as their answer for every problem. Endless war has had a deeply corrosive effect on this country's political system: presidential overreach, the normalization of illegal uses of force, a lack of legal accountability for crimes committed in the wars, and a lack of political accountability for the leaders that continue to wage pointless and illegal wars. Now we see new abuses committed and encouraged by a lawless president, but this time it is Americans that are on the receiving end. Trump hasn't ended any of the foreign wars he inherited, and now it seems that he will use the military in an llegal mission here at home.

Megan San hour ago

The military is the only American institution that young people still have any real degree of faith in, it will be interesting to see the polls when this is all over with.

[May 30, 2020] Cutting our excessive defense budget post-COVID-19 will be difficult. Here's how to do it by Gordon Adams

Sound like wishful thinking. Looks like cutting US military budget is impossible as "Full spectrum Dominance" doctrine is still in place and neocons are at the helm of the USA foreign policy. COVID-19 or not COVID-19.
May 29, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The other day an aerospace industry analyst asked me whether I thought the defense budget would start to go down, courtesy of the huge cost of dealing with the pandemic and the massive deficits the nation faces. I said it was unlikely and he agreed.

This is not the conventional wisdom in DC. Some national security analysts and advocates for higher defense budgets have warned that the defense budget is now under siege . Critics of the Pentagon and its spending are equally convinced that the pandemic opens the door to necessary, deep, sensible cuts in defense in order to fund the mountain of debt and take care of pressing needs for income, employment, health care, global warming, and other major threats to the well-being of Americans.

Whatever the nation's strategy, critics argue, the pandemic has changed the face of the threat to America. COVID-19 is an invisible, lethal threat to human security, a viral neutron bomb that spares buildings but kills their occupants.

Congress has appropriated more than 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, so far, to cope with this threat. Additional funds for the military, ironically, have become a "rounding error" in this spending -- little more than $10 billion of the more than $4 trillion appropriated to date. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned about the likelihood of defense cuts and wanted more funds for the Pentagon, but Rep. Adam Smith, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee said there was no way defense would get more funds through the pandemic bills.

So it looks bad for defense, and good for the advocates of cuts. But not so fast. Yes, it is true; history shows that defense budgets do decline. It happens, predictably, when we get out of a war – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War. Even when we left Iraq in 2011, the budget went down.

There is a secret ingredient in defense budget reductions: they seem to happen, as well, when the politics of deficit reduction appear. Defense also declined after Korea because a fiscal conservative, Eisenhower, was in office, with five virtual stars on his shoulders, making it possible to put a lid on the budgetary appetites of the services.

In fact, in 1985, well before the end of the Cold War, Congress, focused on the deficit, passed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which was then was reinforced in the 1990 Budget Enforcement Act that set hard spending limits on domestic and defense spending. It had to cover both parts of discretionary spending or Congress could not agree. It was 17 years before the defense budget began to rise .

Put the end of war together with a dollop of deficit reduction and defense budgets will go down. They become the caboose, rather than the engine, of the budgetary train. But beware of what you ask for. The price of constraints on defense has been constraints on domestic spending, as the nation has learned over the past three decades. In fact, the Budget Control Act of 2011 constrained domestic spending, while allowing defense to escape almost unscathed, thanks to war supplementals.

When attention shifts to debates over priorities and deficits, it opens the door to a real discussion about defense. But they do not ensure cuts. While the military services may not see their appetite for real growth of 3-5 percent fulfilled, it is unlikely to decline very much.

There is a floor under the defense budget. But you need to change the level of analysis to see it and look at who actually makes defense budget decisions and why they make the decisions they do. It's about something I called the "Iron Triangle."

We all like to think that strategy drives defense budgets. For the most part, however, defense decisions are made inside a political system involving constant, relatively closed interaction between the military services, the Congress, and the community and industry beneficiaries of defense spending.

In outline, budget planners in the military services start with last year's budget and graft on new funds, rarely giving up a program, a mission, or part of the force. This dynamic points the budgets upwards over time. Secretaries and under-secretaries work to add preferences and projects, like national missile defense, to the services' budget plans. On top of that, presidents have made promises, adding such things as bomber funds (Reagan) and space forces (Trump) the services do not want.

Then there is the second leg of the triangle: Congress. For all their efforts to cut Pentagon waste, progressive members do not drive defense decisions in the Congress. The defense authorizers and appropriators do. The associated committees are dominated by defense spending advocates, deeply interested in the outcomes, encouraged by industry campaign contributions and community lobbying. These outside interests are the third leg of the triangle. Contracts and community-based impacts give them a deep stake in the outcomes.

This system is not a conspiracy; it is a visible part of American politics, similar in shape to the players in farm price supports or health care policy. But it is a system that operates somewhat separately from and parallel to the politics of deficit reduction and has a major impact on the content and levels of the defense budget. And its work bakes a kind of sclerosis into efforts to have a broader debate over spending priorities.

The politics of the Iron Triangle will set limits on the defense budget debate making deep cuts unlikely. So what might be the options to end-run this system? Politics, of course. If the advocates of deeper defense reductions want to change America's spending and budgeting priorities, they will need to join forces with advocates of a "new, new deal" in America -- one that would put priority on the national health system, infrastructure investment, climate change, immigration, and educational reform. Only a very large, very deep coalition has a chance of overcoming the inertia imposed by the Iron Triangle.

And that coalition will need to focus on Joe Biden. The president is the key actor here, particularly at the start of an administration. As Bill Clinton learned, the first months are critical to changing overall budget priorities, before the departments, including Defense, can begin the Iron Triangle dance.

Even then, major cuts in defense budgets are an uphill fight. The opening for a broader priorities debate has been provided by the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome depends significantly on bringing this kind of focus to actions over the next seven months.

[May 28, 2020] Trump: I Can and Will Start Wars Whenever I Please

May 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , May 27 2020 23:54 utc | 38

Trump: I Can and Will Start Wars Whenever I Please
https://tinyurl.com/yc6j4sqy
Trump claims that the resolution was "based on misunderstandings of facts and law." The only allegedly incorrect fact he mentions is the existence of open hostilities between the United States and Iran, but that's merely a reflection of the time when the measure was drafted. Besides, the two countries are still not exactly at peace with each other, thanks in part to the president.

Trump is the one who is clearly mistaken regarding the law. He insists, as he did in January, that the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Saddam Hussein's Iraq was sufficient justification for killing Soleimani, but as the American Conservative's Daniel Larison opined, "There is no honest reading of that resolution that supports this interpretation." In addition, he claims that he derives his war-making power from Article II of the Constitution, yet that article specifically states that "the president shall be commander in chief of the [armed forces] when called into the actual service of the United States." (Emphasis added.) And who gets to call them into service? According to Article I, Congress does, by declaring war.

Trump doubles down on this unsupportable assertion in his next paragraph:

The resolution implies that the President's constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack. That is incorrect. We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries' next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That's what I did!

This is on a par with Trump's declaration over the states re-opening: he declared: "When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that's the way it's got to be."

This lunatic thinks he's Caesar!

Anyone who thinks he won't start a new war - somewhere - is delusional. He may not start one *before* the election, but if he wins, what about *after*? And i wouldn't even be sure about "before". He's dumb enough to think - or be convinced by his neocon advisers - that he could get a "war President" boost in the polls if he starts one before the election. After all, the one time he got a boost in the polls was when he attacked Syria over the bogus "chemical weapons" incidents. So I wouldn't rule anything out.

[May 24, 2020] About Pompeo threat to cut Australia from the fives eyes intelligence flows

From MoA comment 57: "Warmongering shit bags endlessly flatulent about their moral superiority while threatening to nuke nations on the other side of the globe daily. ... the greatness of the US consists of how gullible its hyper-exploited populace has been to a long series of Donald Trumps who use the resources of the land and people for competitive violence against other nations. the world heaves a collective hallelujah that this bullshit is about to end. "
Notable quotes:
"... Lets reverse that point, shall we. There is a US spy base in Australia at a place called Pine Gap. Without it being operational the USA would lose its 3 dimensional vision across the planet. ..."
"... This Bannon/Trump bluster is weak as p!ss as 'sharing intelligence' is the cornerstone of the five eyes perversion that gives the USA some superiority in intelligence matters. So if sharing intelligence were withdrawn by the USA with Australia it would have meaningless consequences. ..."
"... Pompeo is blathering bullsh!t and he knows it and we all know it ..."
May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , May 25 2020 0:44 utc | 56

vk #4
Pompeo Warns US May Stop Sharing Intelligence With Australia Over Victoria Inking Deal With China's BRI

The battle for Australia's soul has begun.

Lets reverse that point, shall we. There is a US spy base in Australia at a place called Pine Gap. Without it being operational the USA would lose its 3 dimensional vision across the planet.

This Bannon/Trump bluster is weak as p!ss as 'sharing intelligence' is the cornerstone of the five eyes perversion that gives the USA some superiority in intelligence matters. So if sharing intelligence were withdrawn by the USA with Australia it would have meaningless consequences.

On the other hand if Australia ceased its intelligence sharing and shut down all the data traffic out of Australia - the USA would go ballistic. Not that the Oz government would ever do such a thing being a craven water carrier for the new world order etc...

Pompeo is blathering bullsh!t and he knows it and we all know it. Odd that you would reiterate his brainless threat vk.

[May 13, 2020] Dramatic change of direction for Syrian envoy

Highly recommended!
This is MIGA in action...
Notable quotes:
"... former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ). ..."
"... Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute : ..."
"... He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government." ..."
May 13, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Washington now says it's all about defeating the Russians . While it's not the first time this has been thrown around in policy circles (recall that a year after Russia's 2015 entry into Syria at Assad's invitation, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ).

And now the top US special envoy to region, James Jeffrey, has this to say on US troops in Syria :

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute :

Asked why the American public should tolerate US involvement in Syria, Special Envoy James Jeffrey points out the small US footprint in the fight against ISIS. "This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government."

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Special US envoy to Syria - James Jeffery

He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government. https://t.co/MSAkQqAmdh

-- Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) May 12, 2020

But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks). But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks).

As for oil, currently Damascus is well supplied by the Iranians, eager to dump their stock in fuel-starved Syria amid the global glut. Trump has previously voiced that part of US troops "securing the oil fields" is to keep them out of the hands of Russia and Iran.

* * *

Recall the CIA's 2016 admission of what's really going on in terms of US action in Syria:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OJ3fTFHQ0KA

[May 09, 2020] American neocons are literally getting everything they want from Trump administration

May 09, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tor597 , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 4:13 am GMT

If I had told you a year ago that Iran would have its top General assassinated and then its country decimated by a viral infection, that China would be a world pariah with calls for trillion in reparations, that Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela would have a bounty on his head for lol being involved in the cocaine trade, and that Kim Jong Un would be dead who do you think would be the architect of this future?

Chinese elites or American ones?

American neocons are literally getting everything they want.

You can look at all of the damage to the American economy relative to China, but who is really being hurt in America? Regular Americans are being hurt. But the elites are getting bailed out and will buy US assets for pennies on the dollar.

[May 07, 2020] Bolton and the culture of corruption and intimidation

May 07, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sam 12123 , says: Show Comment May 6, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT

The OPCW is claimed to be an independent agency but we know that it suppressed the results of its own engineers when it reported that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged chemical attack in Douma. The former head of the agency has publicly asserted that when John Bolton demanded that he step down, he added, "We know where your children live." The US has a history of corruption and intimidation. Any investigation would result in finding China responsible just as Russia was found to be responsible for the airliner that was shot down over Ukraine.

[May 05, 2020] Five eyes, the anglosphere intel and propaganda warriors are the best in the world

Notable quotes:
"... When the people who made fake claims about Iraq's WMD, about Russiagate, about Iran's danger, are claiming that the thing isn't manmade, then either it's not manmade or it's US-made and the claim is a lie (what we expect from US intelligence agencies) and a cover-up. ..."
May 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 4 2020 20:57 utc | 35

In many Ways, Trump reminds me of a Hitler/Stalin admirer. He demands certain results; if you don't supply them, at least Trump will just fire you instead of having you shot or sent to the Gulag -- Evidence of the many IG firings as this article notes .

The daily lies and bald-faced propaganda is at the point where many are aware but still all too many remain oblivious or are Brown Shirts in all but outward appearance. Pompeo would be a perfect example of a clone if Hitler had a PR spokesperson spewing lies daily for the press & public to digest without any thinking. Imagine Hitler with Twitter.

None of the above is meant to denigrate; rather, it's to put them into proper perspective. I invite barflies to click here and just look at the headlines of the posted news items--that site's biggest failing was to omit similar criticism of Obama, Clinton, and D-Party pukes in general, although that doesn't render today's headlines false.

Will the coming Great Depression 2.0 be global or confined to NATO nations? As with the first Great Depression, it will be restricted to being Trans-Atlantic for that's where the dollar zone and Neoliberalism overlap. The emerging dollar-free Eurasian trade zone


Peter AU1 , May 4 2020 21:32 utc | 42

karlof1

Many of Goering's quotes are very accurate as to human nature. US took in Nazi and Japanese scientists. It wouldn't have left the propaganda behind. Goering's quote about taking people to war - nazi's were obviously very good at it as the Germans fought until the very end. US peasants will likely do the same.

Peter AU1 , May 4 2020 21:51 utc | 47
The anti China crap filling the MSM is anglosphere in origin. Five eyes, the anglosphere intel and propaganda warriors will be in it up to their eyeballs.
Clueless Joe , May 4 2020 21:52 utc | 48
When the people who made fake claims about Iraq's WMD, about Russiagate, about Iran's danger, are claiming that the thing isn't manmade, then either it's not manmade or it's US-made and the claim is a lie (what we expect from US intelligence agencies) and a cover-up. That said, odds are on the former, as far as I'm concerned. The absolutely sure thing is that it's not the Chinese who crafted it.
H.Schmatz , May 4 2020 22:05 utc | 49
@Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 4 2020 21:52 utc | 48

Indeed, this is the pattern, as happened with Skripals and Litvinenko, must be an anglo thing.

"The best defesne is a good attack"

[May 03, 2020] Never in my country: COVID-19 and American exceptionalism by Jeanne Morefield

Notable quotes:
"... Because behind today's coronavirus-inspired astonishment at conditions in developing or lower income countries, and Trump's authoritarian-like thuggery, lies an actual military and political hegemon with an actual impact on the world; particularly on what was once called the "Third World." ..."
"... In physical terms, the U.S.'s military hegemony is comprised of 800 bases in over 70 nations – more bases than any other nation or empire in history. The U.S. maintains drone bases, listening posts, "black sites," aircraft carriers, a massive nuclear stockpile, and military personnel working in approximately 160 countries. This is a globe-spanning military and security apparatus organized into regional commands that resemble the "proconsuls of the Roman empire and the governors-general of the British." In other words, this apparatus is built not for deterrence, but for primacy. ..."
"... The U.S.'s global primacy emerged from the wreckage of World War II when the United States stepped into the shoes vacated by European empires. Throughout the Cold War, and in the name of supporting "free peoples," the sprawling American security apparatus helped ensure that 300 years of imperial resource extraction and wealth distribution – from what was then called the Third World to the First – remained undisturbed, despite decolonization. ..."
"... In fiscal terms, maintaining American hegemony requires spending more on "defense" than the next seven largest countries combined. Our nearly $1 trillion security budget now amounts to about 15 percent of the federal budget and over half of all discretionary spending. Moreover, the U.S. security budget continues to increase despite the Pentagon's inability to pass a fiscal audit. ..."
"... Foreign policy is routinely the last issue Americans consider when they vote for presidents even though the president has more discretionary power over foreign policy than any other area of American politics. Thus, despite its size, impact, and expense, the world's military hegemon exists somewhere on the periphery of most Americans' self-understanding, as though, like the sun, it can't be looked upon directly for fear of blindness. ..."
"... The shock of discovering that our healthcare system is so quickly overwhelmed should automatically trigger broader conversations about spending priorities that entail deep and sustained cuts in an engorged security budget whose sole purpose is the maintenance of primacy. And yet, not only has this not happened, $10.5 billion of the coronavirus aid package has been earmarked for the Pentagon, with $2.4 billion of that channeled to the "defense industrial base." Of the $500 billion aimed at corporate America, $17.5 billion is set aside "for businesses critical to maintaining national security" such as aerospace. ..."
"... To make matters worse, our blindness to this bloated security complex makes it frighteningly easy for champions of American primacy to sound the alarm when they even suspect a dip in funding might be forthcoming. Indeed, before most of us had even glanced at the details of the coronavirus bill, foreign policy hawks were already issuing dark prediction s about the impact of still-imaginary cuts in the security budget on the U.S.'s "ability to strike any target on the planet in response to hostile actions by any actor" – as if that ability already did not exist many times over. ..."
Apr 07, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

This March, as COVID-19's capacity to overwhelm the American healthcare system was becoming obvious, experts marveled at the scenario unfolding before their eyes. "We have Third World countries who are better equipped than we are now in Seattle," noted one healthcare professional, her words echoed just a few days later by a shocked doctor in New York who described "a third-world country type of scenario." Donald Trump could similarly only grasp what was happening through the same comparison. "I have seen things that I've never seen before," he said . "I mean I've seen them, but I've seen them on television and faraway lands, never in my country."

At the same time, regardless of the fact that "Third World" terminology is outdated and confusing, Trump's inept handling of the pandemic has itself elicited more than one "banana republic" analogy, reflecting already well-worn, bipartisan comparisons of Trump to a " third world dictator " (never mind that dictators and authoritarians have never been confined solely to lower income countries).

And yet, while such comparisons provoke predictably nativist outrage from the right, what is absent from any of these responses to the situation is a sense of reflection or humility about the "Third World" comparison itself. The doctor in New York who finds himself caught in a "third world" scenario and the political commentators outraged when Trump behaves "like a third world dictator" uniformly express themselves in terms of incredulous wonderment. One never hears the potential second half of this comparison: "I am now experiencing what it is like to live in a country that resembles the kind of nation upon whom the United States regularly imposes broken economies and corrupt leaders."

Because behind today's coronavirus-inspired astonishment at conditions in developing or lower income countries, and Trump's authoritarian-like thuggery, lies an actual military and political hegemon with an actual impact on the world; particularly on what was once called the "Third World."

In physical terms, the U.S.'s military hegemony is comprised of 800 bases in over 70 nations – more bases than any other nation or empire in history. The U.S. maintains drone bases, listening posts, "black sites," aircraft carriers, a massive nuclear stockpile, and military personnel working in approximately 160 countries. This is a globe-spanning military and security apparatus organized into regional commands that resemble the "proconsuls of the Roman empire and the governors-general of the British." In other words, this apparatus is built not for deterrence, but for primacy.

The U.S.'s global primacy emerged from the wreckage of World War II when the United States stepped into the shoes vacated by European empires. Throughout the Cold War, and in the name of supporting "free peoples," the sprawling American security apparatus helped ensure that 300 years of imperial resource extraction and wealth distribution – from what was then called the Third World to the First – remained undisturbed, despite decolonization.

Since then, the United States has overthrown or attempted to overthrow the governments of approximately 50 countries, many of which (e.g. Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, and Chile) had elected leaders willing to nationalize their natural resources and industries. Often these interventions took the form of covert operations. Less frequently, the United States went to war to achieve these same ends (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq).

In fiscal terms, maintaining American hegemony requires spending more on "defense" than the next seven largest countries combined. Our nearly $1 trillion security budget now amounts to about 15 percent of the federal budget and over half of all discretionary spending. Moreover, the U.S. security budget continues to increase despite the Pentagon's inability to pass a fiscal audit.

Trump's claim that Obama had "hollowed out" defense spending was not only grossly untrue, it masked the consistency of the security budget's metastasizing growth since the Vietnam War, regardless of who sits in the White House. At $738 billion dollars, Trump's security budget was passed in December with the overwhelming support of House Democrats.

And yet, from the perspective of public discourse in this country, our globe-spanning, resource-draining military and security apparatus exists in an entirely parallel universe to the one most Americans experience on a daily level. Occasionally, we wake up to the idea of this parallel universe but only when the United States is involved in visible military actions. The rest of the time, Americans leave thinking about international politics – and the deaths, for instance, of 2.5 million Iraqis since 2003 – to the legions of policy analysts and Pentagon employees who largely accept American military primacy as an "article of faith," as Professor of International Security and Strategy at the University of Birmingham Patrick Porter has said .

Foreign policy is routinely the last issue Americans consider when they vote for presidents even though the president has more discretionary power over foreign policy than any other area of American politics. Thus, despite its size, impact, and expense, the world's military hegemon exists somewhere on the periphery of most Americans' self-understanding, as though, like the sun, it can't be looked upon directly for fear of blindness.

Why is our avoidance of the U.S.'s weighty impact on the world a problem in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic? Most obviously, the fact that our massive security budget has gone so long without being widely questioned means that one of the soundest courses of action for the U.S. during this crisis remains resolutely out of sight.

The shock of discovering that our healthcare system is so quickly overwhelmed should automatically trigger broader conversations about spending priorities that entail deep and sustained cuts in an engorged security budget whose sole purpose is the maintenance of primacy. And yet, not only has this not happened, $10.5 billion of the coronavirus aid package has been earmarked for the Pentagon, with $2.4 billion of that channeled to the "defense industrial base." Of the $500 billion aimed at corporate America, $17.5 billion is set aside "for businesses critical to maintaining national security" such as aerospace.

To make matters worse, our blindness to this bloated security complex makes it frighteningly easy for champions of American primacy to sound the alarm when they even suspect a dip in funding might be forthcoming. Indeed, before most of us had even glanced at the details of the coronavirus bill, foreign policy hawks were already issuing dark prediction s about the impact of still-imaginary cuts in the security budget on the U.S.'s "ability to strike any target on the planet in response to hostile actions by any actor" – as if that ability already did not exist many times over.

On a more existential level, a country that is collectively engaged in unseeing its own global power cannot help but fail to make connections between that power and domestic politics, particularly when a little of the outside world seeps in. For instance, because most Americans are unaware of their government's sponsorship of fundamentalist Islamic groups in the Middle East throughout the Cold War, 9/11 can only ever appear to have come from nowhere, or because Muslims hate our way of life.

This "how did we get here?" attitude replicates itself at every level of political life making it profoundly difficult for Americans to see the impact of their nation on the rest of the world, and the blowback from that impact on the United States itself. Right now, the outsized influence of American foreign policy is already encouraging the spread of coronavirus itself as U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran severely hamper that country's ability to respond to the virus at home and virtually guarantee its spread throughout the region.

Closer to home, our shock at the healthcare system's inept response to the pandemic masks the relationship between the U.S.'s imposition of free-market totalitarianism on countries throughout the Global South and the impact of free-market totalitarianism on our own welfare state .

Likewise, it is more than karmic comeuppance that the President of the United States now resembles the self-serving authoritarians the U.S. forced on so many formerly colonized nations. The modes of militarized policing American security experts exported to those authoritarian regimes also contributed , on a policy level, to both the rise of militarized policing in American cities and the rise of mass incarceration in the 1980s and 90s. Both of these phenomena played a significant role in radicalizing Trump's white nationalist base and decreasing their tolerance for democracy.

Most importantly, because the U.S. is blind to its power abroad, it cannot help but turn that blindness on itself. This means that even during a pandemic when America's exceptionalism – our lack of national healthcare – has profoundly negative consequences on the population, the idea of looking to the rest of the world for solutions remains unthinkable.

Senator Bernie Sanders' reasonable suggestion that the U.S., like Denmark, should nationalize its healthcare system is dismissed as the fanciful pipe dream of an aging socialist rather than an obvious solution to a human problem embraced by nearly every other nation in the world. The Seattle healthcare professional who expressed shock that even "Third World countries" are "better equipped" than we are to confront COVID-19 betrays a stunning ignorance of the diversity of healthcare systems within developing countries. Cuba, for instance, has responded to this crisis with an efficiency and humanity that puts the U.S. to shame.

Indeed, the U.S. is only beginning to feel the full impact of COVID-19's explosive confrontation with our exceptionalism: if the unemployment rate really does reach 32 percent, as has been predicted, millions of people will not only lose their jobs but their health insurance as well. In the middle of a pandemic.

Over 150 years apart, political commentators Edmund Burke and Aimé Césaire referred to this blindness as the byproduct of imperialism. Both used the exact same language to describe it; as a "gangrene" that "poisons" the colonizing body politic. From their different historical perspectives, Burke and Césaire observed how colonization boomerangs back on colonial society itself, causing irreversible damage to nations that consider themselves humane and enlightened, drawing them deeper into denial and self-delusion.

Perhaps right now there is a chance that COVID-19 – an actual, not metaphorical contagion – can have the opposite effect on the U.S. by opening our eyes to the things that go unseen. Perhaps the shock of recognizing the U.S. itself is less developed than our imagined "Third World" might prompt Americans to tear our eyes away from ourselves and look toward the actual world outside our borders for examples of the kinds of political, economic, and social solidarity necessary to fight the spread of Coronavirus. And perhaps moving beyond shock and incredulity to genuine recognition and empathy with people whose economies and democracies have been decimated by American hegemony might begin the process of reckoning with the costs of that hegemony, not just in "faraway lands" but at home. In our country.

[May 01, 2020] Antiwar and anto0interialsim voters who voted for Trump in 2016 are up to a cold shower: it is Trump driving US hostility and escalation in the world, and not only those around him. He is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years.

May 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , May 1 2020 15:58 utc | 37

Just as i said many times, it is Trump driving US hostility and escalation in the world, and not only those around him. He is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years.

A racist white man goes crazy the moment he understands he does not have the "biggest dick" anymore, and is humiliated due to that, since this wasn't supposed to happen to the people who ruled the world for 500 years.

What will happen is that american white male right wingers will start going crazy. Lashing out in hatred against the world, after understanding they are no longer "number 1", and that their fate will not be pretty.

You should expect US right wingers to go crazy as the US further declines. These people thought they would rule the world. Instead they started to decline. This wasn't supposed to happen to such superior people.

US elite will simply go crazy as the "best country in the world" loses its power.

Expect anglo craziness, outbursts of hate and hysteria. The US elite will become a mental institution. If not for nukes, they would have started a world war already.

[Apr 29, 2020] Trump, despite pretty slick deception during his election campaign, is an typical imperialist and rabid militarist. His administration continuredand in some areas exceeded the hostility of Obama couse against Russia

Highly recommended!
One of trademarks of Trump administration is his that he despises international law and relies on "might makes right" principle all the time. In a way he is a one trick pony, typical unhinged bully.
In a way Pompeo is the fact of Trump administration foreign policy, and it is not pretty
Apr 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Passer by , Apr 29 2020 17:32 utc | 7
It is mostly, though not only, Trump related or libertarian pseudo "alt media" behind "just the flu" theories or "China unleashed virus to attack US".

There is a small military/zionist cabal at the White House that is pushing for that information war in order to prop up the dying US empire as well as US oligarhic business interests, and to secure Trump reelection prospects.

It is enough to see how Zerohedge have been turned into full blown imperialist media with many "evil China" outbursts every day.

Beware of Trumptards infiltrating alt media to prop up the dying US Empire and its business interests.

Trump is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years. He made a good job at deceiving many anti-system voices.

His WTO attacks are too part of US efforts to take over the organisation. His has no problem with international institutions as long as they are US empire controlled (such as OPCW, WADA, etc.)

Trump-tards and related libertarians (Zerohedge etc.) made their choice on the side of global US imperialism (driven by their hidden racism, hence the evil "chinks" making a good enemy) and are now the enemy of the multipolar world.

Trump is scum. He turned on Russia and Assange after he got into the White House and did far more against Russia than even Obama. I say that as someone who initially made the mistake to support him.

[Apr 25, 2020] Now isn't the time to push for nuclear modernization

Apr 25, 2020 | www.defensenews.com

If the new coronavirus pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that we need to rethink what we need to do to keep America safe. That's why Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's recent tweet calling modernization of U.S. nuclear forces a "top priority ... to protect the American people and our allies" seemed so tone deaf.

COVID-19 has already killed more Americans than died in the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq and Afghan wars combined, with projections of many more to come. The pandemic underscores the need for a systematic, sustainable, long-term investment in public health resources, from protective equipment , to ventilators and hospital beds, to research and planning resources needed to deal with future outbreaks of disease.

As Kori Schake, the director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, has noted : "We're going to see enormous downward pressure on defense spending because of other urgent American national needs like health care." And that's as it should be, given the relative dangers posed by outbreaks of disease and climate change relative to traditional military challenges.

... ... ...

ICBMs are dangerous because of the short decision time a president would have to decide whether to launch them in a crisis to avoid having them wiped out in a perceived first strike -- a matter of minutes . This reality greatly increases the prospect of an accidental nuclear war based on a false warning of attack. This is a completely unnecessary risk given that the other two legs of the nuclear triad -- ballistic missile submarines and nuclear-armed bombers -- are more than sufficient to deter a nuclear attack, or to retaliate, should the unlikely scenario of a nuclear attack on the United States occur.

... ... ...

Eliminating ICBMs and reducing the size of the U.S. arsenal will face strong opposition in Washington, both from strategists who maintain that the nuclear triad should be sacrosanct, and from special interests that benefit from excess spending on nuclear weapons. The Senate ICBM Coalition , composed of senators from states with ICBM bases or substantial ICBM development and maintenance work, has been particularly effective in fending any changes in ICBM policy, from reducing the size of the force to merely studying alternatives, whether those alternatives are implemented or not. Shimizu Randall Personally I don't see why the Trident subs cannot be refurbished and have a extended life. I think the Minuteman missiles need to be replace. But I don't understand why the cost is exorbitant. Terry Auckland OMG.....what a sensible idea..Other nuclear capable countries will fall into line if this is adopted....peace could thrive and flourish ...sadly it could never happen..too much money at state...too many careers truncated...and too many lobbyists and thinktank type's and loyalist senators to cajole and appease..

A pipe dream I think. ..situation normal will continue to annhilation...

[Apr 12, 2020] Restraint and Reorienting US National Security by Daniel Larison

Rabid militarism is the result of "Full Spectrum Dominance Doctrine". It can't be changed without changing the doctrine. Which requires elimination of neocons from foreign policy establishment. But the there is not countervailing force to MIC to push for this.
Apr 08, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

11:34 pm

Oona Hathaway makes the case for radically reorienting U.S. national security policy to address the real significant threats to the country. Among other things, that means winding down the endless war and our preoccupation with militarized counter-terrorism:

If one believes, as I do, that the fundamental goal of a national security program should be to protect American lives, then we clearly have our priorities out of place. Just as the 9/11 attacks led to a reorientation of national security policy around a counterterrorism mission, the COVID-19 crisis can and should lead to a reorientation of national security policy. There should be a commission styled on the 9/11 Commission to assess the failures of the U.S. government, both federal and local, to respond to the pandemic and to chart a better course forward. Until then, a few key steps that we should take are already clear:

First, we should spend less time and resources on counterterrorism efforts abroad. The "endless wars" that began after 9/11 should finally come to a close.

The U.S. should be ending the "war on terror" in any case because the threat does not merit the enormous resources devoted to fighting it, and the militarized overkill over the last two decades has helped to create far more terrorist groups than there were before it began. On top of that, the U.S. has much bigger concerns that pose far greater and more immediate threats to the lives of our people and to our way of life than terrorism ever could. A pandemic is a threat that is now obvious to all of us, but for the last two decades it was not taken nearly as seriously as imaginary Iraqi WMDs and potential Iranian nukes. We have been straining at gnats for at least half of my lifetime, and when the real danger appeared many of us were oblivious to it. Not only have other threats been blown out of proportion, but the more serious threat that is now upon us received virtually no attention until it was already upon us. Like Justinian wasting decades waging useless wars, we have been caught unawares by a plague, but in our case we have far less excuse because there were many warnings that something like this was coming and could be brought under control. Nonetheless, we allowed our defenses against it to grow weaker, and the current administration did as much as possible to dismantle what was left.

Once the immediate crisis is over, the U.S. needs to shift its focus away from fruitless military campaigns in Asia. We need to reallocate resources away from the bloated military budget, which has had so little to do with actually protecting us, and plow most of those resources into pandemic preparedness, scientific research, and building up a much more resilient health care system. Pandemics aren't wars, but guarding against pandemics is an important part of national security and it is arguably much more important than having the ability to project power to the far corners of the world. Because pandemics are global phenomena, guarding the U.S. against them will entail more intensive international cooperation than before. Hathaway continues:

One clear lesson of this crisis is that when it comes to a pandemic, no nation can protect itself on its own. International cooperation is essential. The World Health Organization has played an important role in battling the virus. But it has been hobbled by limited funding, and it's busy fundraising to support its work even as it's trying to undertake ambitious programs. The United Nations Security Council, meanwhile, has been mostly absent from the conversation. The pandemic is global and it requires a global approach. But these international institutions have not had the funding or the international support to play the role they should have in coordinating a quick global response to the spread of the virus. When this crisis is over, it will be essential to evaluate how to coordinate a faster, more effective global response when the next pandemic arises.

All nations have a shared interest in pooling resources and sharing information to bring outbreaks like the current one under control. As tempting as it may be for some hard-liners to engage in great power rivalry in the midst of such a disaster, the responsible course of action is to pause these contests for the sake of resolving the crisis sooner. The U.N. response has been hobbled by mutual recriminations between some of the permanent members of the Security Council, specifically the U.S. and China, and if there is to be an effective and coordinated global response that sort of demagoguery and point-scoring will have to end.

Scaling back the size of the military budget will necessarily involve reducing the U.S. military footprint around the world. It is not reasonable or safe to expect a smaller military to support a strategy of primacy. Primacy was always unsustainable, and it was just a matter of time before the time came when it would have to be abandoned. It turns out that the time for abandoning the pursuit of primacy came earlier than expected. The U.S. should have started making this transition many years ago, but recent events make it imperative that we begin now.


Feral Finster Baruch Dreamstalker 3 days ago

Forever War is a bipartisan thing.
This comment is awaiting moderation. − +

Clyde Schechter Baruch Dreamstalker 3 days ago

There is not, and has not been since the Cold War, any daylight between the Republican and Democratic parties on foreign policy. Both have been consistently in the thrall of the neocons. While a few Democratic contenders took anti-war stances this year (Sanders, Warren, Gabbard), the rest did not, and Biden, specifically has been on the wrong side of all of these issues in the past. There is no reason to think he will not continue the endless wars and, probably, start new ones if elected.

Since relatively few people vote for third parties, it is a sure thing that the vast majority of Americans will vote for one of the two warmongers on offer from the major parties. And so it was in 2016: whether you voted for Clinton or Trump, you were voting for more endless war. Those who supported Clinton mostly knew that; many who voted for Trump deluded themselves into thinking otherwise.

kouroi 4 days ago
DoD, the War on Terror are not about protecting American lives....
ZizaNiam 3 days ago
All well and good, but will israel allow the US to withdraw from the Middle East? Not likely.
veteran2013 3 days ago
And the overwhelming majority of Americans are going to vote for more of all of this horror, again!

[Apr 06, 2020] Pompeo problem: how to continue to bully when the bullied can very effectively shoot back?

Apr 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Apr 6 2020 15:25 utc | 187

Posted by: Walter | Apr 6 2020 15:03 utc | 185

Re: Pompeo and his West Point clique and their associates, I have not spent much time on it, didn't seem like a useful or entertaining thing to do, but my impression is they have lots of plans and very little grasp of what is required to carry them out. (One thinks of Modi here.) This has been ongoing since the Iranians shot our fancy drone down there last year. The first shot across the bow. We are now withdrawing from Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan, however haltingly, as it has dawned on the commanders on the ground there how exposed they really are to Iranian fire, and that of their allies. Israel seems to be struggling with the same problem, how to continue to bully when the bullied can very effectively shoot back?

Many unseemly things being said about Crozier and the Teddy R. situation too. Lot's of heat, very little light. Trump says there is light at the end of the tunnel, I seem to remember that from somewhere in the past. I think that's about where we are again.

[Apr 05, 2020] Esper tone deafness: a sad illustration of wildly misplaced priorities of military industrial complex

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Modernizing our strategic nuclear forces is a top priority for the @DeptofDefense and the @POTUS to protect the American people and our allies. ..."
"... As a pandemic ravages the nation, a sad illustration of wildly misplaced priorities ..."
Apr 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

b on April 5, 2020 at 14:28 UTC | Permalink

Tone deafness: @EsperDoD @EsperDoD - 16:09 UTC 4 Apr 2020

Modernizing our strategic nuclear forces is a top priority for the @DeptofDefense and the @POTUS to protect the American people and our allies.
Kingston Reif @KingstonAReif - 18:29 UTC - Apr 4 2020
As a pandemic ravages the nation, a sad illustration of wildly misplaced priorities.

Initial FY 2021 budget requests for:

[Apr 01, 2020] For just $27K USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment

Apr 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Mar 31 2020 17:22 utc | 151

Given some time and currency, I guess Morocco would offer more value for money if you want some exotic customs and landscapes. If you have more money, you could spend them on a carbon-free cruise with stunning vistas and off-the-beaten route: North Pole on board of nuclear-powered ice breaker! It is wise to have swimming costume (a pool is on board, heated, I presume) and sensible apparel -- enough for normal winter (in Moscow). The number of places is below 150, with a little hospital on board too. In the latest ads I read about discounts, but the deal was that you can pay in rubbles with prices below the rubble plunged by 25%, still, for 27 k USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment (like mommy walrus taking care of youngsters), polar bears, seals, and landscapes of Franz Josef Land. Helicopter rides included. You can also take a plunge into the arctic water -- with safety precautions .

[Mar 25, 2020] A Brand New Military What an ass!

Mar 25, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Just heard the orange god deliver this line at the daily CODIV-19 task force briefing. For this fool, the military is a pile of new "stuff," He bought it, he paid for the "stuff" so, he has created a "brand new military." What about the people who served throughout the miserably stupid war in Iraq and the equally stupid post 2009 attempt to pacify Afghanistan, a country that never was and never will be. Think of the money and blood that we pissed away there. Even the Pompous one sees the necessity to withdraw our support from the wretches who run the government there or pretend to do that. Or perhaps Trump told him to stick it to them, at long last. Trump's experience of "military service" was his corrective enrollment at a private military high school, but he has stated that he knows "all about it.

Someone remarked to me once that it had been a miracle that the US could create an army for WW2. I asked him in response what sort of occupation Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Patton had been involved with before the war. Shoe sales? Gas station ownership" Insurance sales? What?

It would be tempting to think that one might vote for the Democrat. Biden the demented? Sanders the Marxist dreamer? Cuomo the massive NY City creep egotist?

No, we Deplorables are stuck with El Trumpo. pl

Fred , 25 March 2020 at 07:13 PM

Col.,

"we Deplorables are stuck with El Trumpo."

On a bright note today is another day where Hilary is not President.

Deap , 25 March 2020 at 07:37 PM
If MSM were in the business of posting facts instead of partisan hyperbole, you would think the Dems would have run something far better than a Sanders or a Biden at this particular juncture of history.

So did we get are handed a choice among "deplorables"; or an echo of equal deplorables. Right now, I will continue to dance with the gal who brung me. Trump is seasoning well and growing into the job. I would like to see what his next four years will bring. He knows the inside game now.

Who was it who said ask a government insider to do something and you get a string of excuses why it can't be done. Demurr to a business person who asks to get something done, and he/she will say fine, now go find me someone who can get it done. KAG 2020.

[Mar 19, 2020] US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 18 2020 18:28 utc | 53

This might soon become the global rallying cry :

"USA is the greatest enemy of humanity - I hope they will pay for that:

"US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak"

The situation has now gone well beyond immorality and into the realm of EVIL--an EVIL that's Bipartisan, shared by Ds and Rs alike.


bevin , Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 54

Miss Lacy and Arby both draw our attention to the obscenity of the US using this crisis in order to put pressure on governments that it dislikes by cutting off medicine and other resources.

Among the places where people are currently dying in large numbers because Washington chooses that they should are Cuba-under an oil embargo-, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Iran.

Those who cannot bring themselves to believe that government could be so evil as to deploy a virus as a weapon to weaken another state, only have to look at what is happening today: Venezuela desperately needs funds, much of its foreign exchange having been seized illegally by the US and its satellites, in order to weather the pandemic.

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

farm ecologist , Mar 18 2020 19:40 utc | 67
Re., IMF refuses emergency funds to Venezuela

Posted by: arby | Mar 18 2020 14:32 utc | 11
Posted by: Miss Lacy | Mar 18 2020 18:15 utc | 50
Posted by: bevin | Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 55

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

Although many argue that the foreign policies of the US government don't really reflect the views and desires of ordinary citizens, the comments in the Fox News report on this story suggest otherwise (caveat - be prepared to be appalled).

https://www.foxnews.com/world/venezuela-asks-imf-for-massive-emergency-loan-to-fight-coronavirus


[Mar 13, 2020] US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

charliechan , Mar 13 2020 20:36 utc | 115

charlie chan wonders why entire media world fear mongering.

The CDC test kits error 49% to positive.

And charlie chan not hear of one case of flu death. Did Corona Virus cure the flu?

US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How?

[Mar 13, 2020] Daffy Duck. cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. It dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | thesaker.is

Vaughan on March 12, 2020 , · at 7:43 pm EST/EDT

Recently, I was watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons with my Grandchild and we were watching, "Duck Dodges in the 21st and a Half Century"
I don't know if you've watched this cartoon starring Daffy Duck. You can view it here
https://vimeo.com/76668594

This cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. But while watching this cartoon, it dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.
I could write an article on this but I think we'll leave it as a note with a snide laugh to be had by all.

Patricia Ormsby on March 12, 2020 , · at 8:16 pm EST/EDT
Laughter is one of the best medicines. Thank you for this!

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Trump does not have a party with the program that at least pretends to pursue "socialism for a given ethnic group". He is more far right nationalist then national socialist. But to the extent neoliberalism can be viewed as neofascism Trump is neo-fascist, he definitly can be called a "national neoliberal."
Notable quotes:
"... I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket. ..."
"... Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory ..."
"... The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term. ..."
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
"... An appeal to a frustrated middle class that is suffering from an economic crisis of humiliation and fear of the pressure exerted by lower social groups. ..."
"... Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles. ..."
"... Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions. ..."
"... Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age . ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Mar 11, 2020

Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 09, 2020] Ending the Myth That Trump is Ending the Wars by Khury Petersen-Smith

Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
There was this moment during the State of the Union Address that I can't stop thinking about.

When President Trump spoke to army wife Amy Wiliams during his speech and told her he'd arranged her husband's return home from Afghanistan as a "special surprise," it was difficult to watch.

Sgt. Townsend Williams then descended the stairs to reunite with his family after seven months of deployment. Congress cheered. A military family's reunion -- with its complicated feelings that are typically handled in private or on a base -- was used for an applause line.

That gimmick was the only glimpse many Americans will get of the human reality of our wars overseas. There is no such window into the lives or suffering of people in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, or beyond.

That's unacceptable. And so is the myth that Trump is actually ending the wars.

The U.S. has reached a deal with the Taliban to remove 3,400 of the 12,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, with the pledge to withdraw more if certain conditions are met. That's a long overdue first step, as U.S. officials are finally recognizing the war is a disaster and are negotiating an exit.

But taking a step back reveals a bigger picture in which, from West Africa to Central Asia, Trump is expanding and deepening the War on Terror -- and making it deadlier.

Far from ending the wars, U.S. airstrikes in Somalia and Syria have skyrocketed under Trump, leading to more civilian casualties in both countries. In Somalia, the forces U.S. operations are supposedly targeting have not been defeated after 18 years of war. It received little coverage in the U.S., but the first week of this year saw a truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 80 people.

Everywhere, ordinary people, people just like us except they happen to live in other countries, pay the price of these wars. Last year saw over 10,000 Afghan civilian casualties -- the sixth year in a row to reach those grim heights.

And don't forget, 2020 opened with Trump bringing the U.S. to the brink of a potentially catastrophic war with Iran. And he continues to escalate punishing sanctions on the country, devastating women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people.

Trump is not ending wars, but preparing for more war. Over the past year, he has deployed 14,000 more troops in the Middle East -- beyond the tens of thousands already there.

If this seems surprising, it's in part because the problem has been bipartisan. Indeed, many congressional Democrats have actually supported these escalations.

In December, 188 House Democrats joined Republicans in passing a nearly $740 billion military budget that continues the wars. They passed the budget after abandoning anti-war measures put forward by California Representative Barbara Lee and the precious few others trying to rein in the wars.

It's worth remembering that State of the Union visual, of Congress rising in unison and joining the president in applause for his stunt with the Williams family. Because there has been nearly that level of consensus year after year in funding, and expanding, the wars.

Ending them will not be easy. Too many powerful interests -- from weapons manufacturers to politicians -- are too invested. But ending the wars begins with rejecting the idea that real opposition will come from inside the White House.

As with so many other issues -- like when Trump first enacted the Muslim Ban and people flocked to airports nationwide in protest, or the outpouring against caging children at the border -- those of us who oppose the wars need to raise our voices, and make the leaders follow. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Khury Petersen-Smith

[Mar 05, 2020] Intelligence Officials Sow Discord By Stoking Fear of Russian Election Meddling by Dave DeCamp

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Under Trump, NATO has strengthened and held its largest war games since the cold war. The Trump administration withdrew from the Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), an arms control agreement that prohibited Russia and the US from developing medium-range nuclear and ballistic missiles. Shortly after tearing up the treaty, the Pentagon began developing and testing missiles that were banned under the INF. ..."
"... Despite all the drama over military aid to Ukraine, Trump never actually delayed it, and the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes $300 million in lethal aid to Ukraine , $50 million more than the previous year. The NDAA also calls for mandatory sanctions against any companies working on completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany. Of all Trump's hawkish policies, his effort to kill the Nord Stream 2 and the pressure he puts on Germany not to buy gas from Russia can do the most damage to Russia's economy. ..."
"... The policies listed above are just a few examples of Trump's hostility towards Russia. Others include attempting to overthrow Russia's ally in Venezuela, maintaining a troop presence in Syria to "secure the oil," sanctioning Russian officials and businessman, and much more . ..."
"... Despite all these provocations towards Russia, Trump is still accused of being a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. No matter how much the president moves the US closer to direct confrontation with Russia, the talking heads and pundits of the mainstream media take superficial examples – like the 2018 Helsinki conference – as proof of Trump's loyalty to Putin. Trump's words are put under a microscope, while his policies that make nuclear war more possible are largely ignored. ..."
Feb 24, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
Another presidential election year is upon us, and the intelligence agencies are hard at work stoking fears of Russian meddling. This time it looks like the Russians do not only like the incumbent president but also favor who appears to be the Democratic front-runner, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday, The New York Times ran a story titled , "Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump." The story says that on February 13 th US lawmakers from the House were briefed by intelligence officials who warned them, "Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected."

The story provides little detail into the briefing and gives no evidence to back up the intelligence officials' claims. It mostly rehashes old claims from the 2016 election, such as Russians are trying to "stir controversy" and "stoke division." The intelligence officials also said the Russians are looking to interfere with the 2020 Democratic primaries.

It looks like other intelligence officials are already undermining the leaked briefing. CNN ran a story on Sunday titled "US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference." The CNN article reads, "The US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with. But the US does not have evidence that Russia's interference this cycle is aimed at re-electing Trump, the officials said."

According to The Times, President Trump was upset with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for letting the briefing happen, and Republican lawmakers did not agree with the conclusion since Trump has been "tough" on Russia. In his three years in office, Trump certainly has been tough on Russia, and it is hard to believe that Putin would work to reelect such a Russia hawk.

Under Trump, NATO has strengthened and held its largest war games since the cold war. The Trump administration withdrew from the Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), an arms control agreement that prohibited Russia and the US from developing medium-range nuclear and ballistic missiles. Shortly after tearing up the treaty, the Pentagon began developing and testing missiles that were banned under the INF.

The Trump Administration might let another nuclear arms treaty lapse. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) limits the number of nuclear warheads that Russia and the US can have deployed. The US does not want to re-sign the treaty and is using the excuse that it wants to include China in the deal. China's nuclear arsenal is estimated to be around 300 warheads , which is just one-fifth of the amount that Russia and the US are allowed to have deployed under the New START. It makes no sense for China to limit its deployment of nuclear warheads when its arsenal is nothing compared to the other two superpowers. China appears to be a scapegoat for the US to blame if the treaty does not get renewed. Without the New START, there will be nothing limiting the number of nukes the US and Russia can deploy, making the world a much more dangerous place.

Despite all the drama over military aid to Ukraine, Trump never actually delayed it, and the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes $300 million in lethal aid to Ukraine , $50 million more than the previous year. The NDAA also calls for mandatory sanctions against any companies working on completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany. Of all Trump's hawkish policies, his effort to kill the Nord Stream 2 and the pressure he puts on Germany not to buy gas from Russia can do the most damage to Russia's economy.

The policies listed above are just a few examples of Trump's hostility towards Russia. Others include attempting to overthrow Russia's ally in Venezuela, maintaining a troop presence in Syria to "secure the oil," sanctioning Russian officials and businessman, and much more .

Despite all these provocations towards Russia, Trump is still accused of being a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. No matter how much the president moves the US closer to direct confrontation with Russia, the talking heads and pundits of the mainstream media take superficial examples – like the 2018 Helsinki conference – as proof of Trump's loyalty to Putin. Trump's words are put under a microscope, while his policies that make nuclear war more possible are largely ignored.

The leaked briefing harkens back to an intelligence assessment that came out in January 2017 during the last days of the Obama administration. The assessment concluded that Vladimir Putin himself ordered the election interference to help Trump get elected. At first, a falsehood spread through the media that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed with the conclusion. But later testimony from Obama-era intelligence officials revealed the assessment was prepared by hand-picked analysts from the CIA, FBI, and NSA. The assessment offered no evidence for the claim and mostly focused on media coverage of the presidential candidates on Russian state-funded media.

On Friday, The Washington Post piled on to the Russia hysteria and ran a story titled "Bernie Sanders briefed by US officials that Russia is trying to help his campaign." The story says Sanders received a briefing on Russian efforts to boost his campaign. The details are again scant and The Post admits that "It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken."

The few progressive journalists that have been right on Russiagate all along had the foresight to see how accusations of Russian meddling would ultimately be used to hurt Sanders' campaign. Unfortunately, Sanders did not have that same foresight and frequently played into the Russiagate narrative.

Last week, during a Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, when criticized for his supporters' behavior on social media, Sanders pointed the finger at Russia . "All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our elections and divide us up. I'm not saying that's happening, but it would not shock me," Sanders said.

In comments after The Post story was published, Sanders said he was briefed on Russian interference "about a month ago." Sanders raised the issue with the timing of the story, having been published on the eve of the Nevada caucus. But the story did not slow down Sanders' momentum in the polls, and he came out the clear victor of the Nevada caucus. Sanders' victory seemed to rattle the Democratic establishment, and some wild accusations were thrown around during coverage of the caucus.

Political analyst James Carville appeared on MSNBC as Sanders took an early and substantial lead in Nevada. Carville said, "Right now, it's about 1:15 Moscow time. This thing is going very well for Vladimir Putin. I promise you. He's probably staying up watching this right now." What could be played off as a joke was followed up with some serious accusations from Carville, "I don't think the Sanders campaign in any way is collusion or collaboration. I think they don't like this story, but the story is a fact, and the reason that the story is a fact is Putin is doing everything that he can to help Trump, including trying to get Sanders the Democratic nomination."

This delusional attitude about the Russians rigging the Democratic primary is underpinned by claims of meddling from the 2016 election. Central to Robert Mueller's claim that Russia engaged in "multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election" is the St. Petersburg based company, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The IRA is accused of running a troll farm that sought to interfere in the 2016 election in favor of Trump over Hillary Clinton. Mueller failed to tie the IRA directly to the Kremlin, and further research into their social media campaign shows most of the posts had nothing to do with the election. A study on the IRA by the firm New Knowledge found just "11 percent" of the IRA's content "was related to the election."

Many believe the Russian government is responsible for hacking the DNC email server and providing the emails to WikiLeaks. But there are many holes in Mueller's story to support this claim. And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – who Mueller did not interview – has said the Russian government was not the source of the emails.

Regardless of who leaked the DNC emails to WikiLeaks, they show that DNC leadership had a clear bias against Bernie Sanders back in 2016. The emails' contents were never disputed, and Democratic voters had every right to see the corruption within the DNC. With the release of the DNC emails, and later the Podesta emails, the American people were able to make a more informed choice in the presidential election. This type of transparency provided by WikiLeaks would be celebrated in a healthy democracy, not portrayed as the work of a foreign power.

Sanders would be wise to keep a watchful eye on how the DNC operates over the next few months. The debacle that was the Iowa caucus shows the Democrats can "stoke division" and "stir controversy" just fine on their own.

These claims of Russian meddling will continue throughout the election season. President Trump's defense that he is "tough" on Russia is nothing to be proud of, but that is inevitably where these accusations lead. Trump is encouraged to be more hawkish towards Russia in an effort to quiet the claims of Putin's preference for him. And if Bernie Sanders plays into this narrative now, can we believe that he will make any real foreign policy change towards Russia if he gets the nomination and beats Trump?

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave .

[Mar 01, 2020] That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory

Notable quotes:
"... The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump. ..."
"... The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA. ..."
"... What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot. ..."
"... People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path. ..."
"... The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset. ..."
"... Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone. ..."
Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

First , the whistleblower was ruled out as a possible witness -- this was essentially done behind the scenes, and in reality can be called a Deep State operation, though one exposed to some extent by Rand Paul. This has nothing to do with protecting the whistleblower or upholding the whistleblower statute, but instead with the fact that the whistleblower was a CIA plant in the White House.

That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory. Furthermore, for some time before the impeachment proceedings began, the whistleblower had been coordinating his efforts to undermine Trump with the head of the House Intelligence Committee, who happens to be Adam Schiff. It is possible that the connections with Schiff go even further or deeper. Obviously the Democrats do not want these things exposed.

... ... ...

In this regard, there was a very special moment on January 29, when Chief Justice John Roberts refused to allow the reading of a question from Sen. Rand Paul that identified the alleged whistleblower. Paul then held a press conference in which he read his question.

The question was directed at Adam Schiff, who claims not to have communicated with the whistleblower, despite much evidence to the contrary. (Further details can be read at here .) A propos of what I was just saying, Paul is described in the Politico article as "a longtime antagonist of Republican leaders." Excellent, good on you, Rand Paul.

Whether this was a case of unintended consequences or not, one could say that this episode fed into the case against calling witnesses -- certainly the Democrats should not have been allowed to call witnesses if the Republicans could not call the whistleblower. But clearly this point is completely lost on those working in terms of the moving line of bullshit.

One would think that Democrats would be happy with a Republican Senator who antagonizes leaders of his own party, but of course Rand Paul's effort only led to further "outrage" on the part of Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump.

However, you see, there is a complementary purpose at work here, too. The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA.

The only way these machinations can be combatted is to pull the curtain back further -- but the Republicans do not want this any more than the Democrats do, with a few possible exceptions such as Rand Paul. (As the Politico article states, Paul was chastised publicly by McConnell for submitting his question in the first place, and for criticizing Roberts in the press conference.)

What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot.

... ... ...

Now we are at a moment when "the Left" is recognizing the role that the CIA and the rest of the "intelligence community" is played in the impeachment nonsense. This "Left" was already on board for the "impeachment process" itself, perhaps at moments with caveats about "not leaving everything up to the Democrats," "not just relying on the Democrats," but still accepting their assigned role as cheerleaders and self-important internet commentators. (And, sure, maybe that's all I am, too -- but the inability to distinguish form from content is one of the main problems of the existing Left.)

Now, though, people on the Left are trying to get comfortable with, and trying to explain to themselves how they can get comfortable with, the obvious role of the "intelligence community" (with, in my view, the CIA in the leading role, but of course I'm not privy to the inner workings of this scene) in the impeachment process and other efforts to take down Trump's presidency.

People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path.

They might think about the "help" that the CIA gave to the military in Bolivia to remove Evo Morales from office. They might think about the picture of Donald Trump that they find necessary to paint to justify what they are willing to swallow to remove him from office. They might think about the fact that ordinary Democrats are fine with this role for the CIA, and that Adam Schiff and others routinely offer the criticism/condemnation of Donald Trump that he doesn't accept the findings of the CIA or the rest of the intelligence agencies at face value.

The moment for the Left, what calls itself and thinks of itself as that, to break with this lunacy has passed some time ago, but let us take this moment, of "accepting the help of the CIA, because Trump," as truly marking a point of no return.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset.

paul ,

Trump, Sanders and Corbyn were all in their own way agents of creative destruction. Trump tapped into the popular discontent of millions of Americans who realised that the system no longer even pretended to work in their interests, and were not prepared to be diverted down the Identity Politics Rabbit Hole.

The Deep State was outraged that he had disrupted their programme by stealing Clinton's seat in the game of Musical Chairs. Being the most corrupt, dishonest and mendacious political candidate in all US history (despite some pretty stiff opposition) was supposed to be outweighed by her having a vagina. The Deplorables failed to sign up for the programme.