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American Exceptionalism as the USA version of nationalism

News Who Rules America Recommended books Recommended Links Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Economic costs of American Exceptionalism American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
Narcissism as Key American Value Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money NeoMcCartyism Russiagate: Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition Neoconservatism Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism What's the Matter with Kansas
Cultural imperialism Technological imperialism Andrew Bacevich on the American militarism Anti-Americanism Industrial Espionage Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Diplomacy by deception
National Security State Corporatism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Fighting Russophobia Fifth Column of Globalization Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians (Rovism) The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept
Big Uncle is Watching You Nation under attack meme Antirussian hysteria as a method of suppressing of dissent against neoliberalism and militarism National Socialism and Military Keysianism Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Authoritarian Corporatism Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation
Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite William Browder, MI6, economic rape of Russia, and Magnitsky Act Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? American Exceptionalism as Civil Religion Fighting Neo-Theocracy Inside democratization hypocrisy fair The Unlikely History of American Exceptionalism Walter A. McDougall
Quotes Mark Twain Quotes Niccolo Machiavelli Reinhold Niebuhr Propaganda Quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

Introduction


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

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

sheridan44 comment in The Guardian

[American exceptionalism] is a reaction to the inability of people to understand global complexity or important issues like American energy dependency. Therefore, they search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity. And the people that they are now selecting to be, so to speak, the spokespersons of their anxieties are, in most cases, stunningly ignorant.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

According to George Soros, the events of 9/11 renewed a "distorted view" of American supremacy that "postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side."  In other words 9/11 was important step to the transformation of the USA in the "National Security State" with the permanent regime of Total surveillance" over the population. The next step were events of 2008, which signified crisis of neoliberalism as an ideology. Neoliberalism now can mostly be propagated by brute force, via military intervention or some form of coup d'état (aka color revolutions) much like Trotskyites planned to propagate socialism to other countries via Permanent Revolution.  With  "Democracy promotion" instead of "liberation of proletariat".

Rise of American exeptionalism is also connected with the reaction to neoliberalism with its redistribution of wealth up by most of US population. Actually this is global phenomenon: neoliberalism gives strong impulse to the rise of neofascism in many countries, not only in the USA. As William I. Robinson noted in his article  Global Capitalism Crisis of Humanity and the Specter of 21st Century Fascism  

Yet another response [ to globalization] is that I term 21st century fascism.5   The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims.

Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.

American exceptionalism is unique in many ways as it does not include mass mobilization (see Inverted Totalitarism). "Go shopping" famously recommended George W Bush after 9/11. It should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism. The latter is  a milder variant of  one that existed in 30th of the last century in national-socialist countries of Europe, such as Italy and Spain, which does not necessarily employ physical violence against political opponents.  

The sad fact is that the America of today is even more arrogant than the America  in the days of Manifest Destiny and gunboat diplomacy. Indeed, the dissolution of the USSR cemented the national myth of superiority. The establishment of unparalleled industrial might, military victories in two world wars and on both sides of the globe, and the staggering economic defeat of Communism in the Cold War all have combined to cement America’s presumption of  chapters in a long history of escalating national illusions of pre-eminence and blind national egoism. The dominant view about the USA from most countries is that it has a split paranoid personality,  a “Jekyll and Hyde” America, “a democracy inside, an empire outside.” American policy makers, with their pretensions of global superiority after collapse of the USSR and with ever-increasing power of their military machine moved steadily toward making the whole globe a US preserve.  Despite its vulgarity and borderline obsession with pornography (or may be because of that) the US culture made inroad all over the globe, and even in Europe and Russia despite rich cultural traditions of both. While the blatant American imperialism of the turn of the last century is now only a memory, today the nations face policies evidence more insidious brands of imperialism: cultural imperialism, economic imperialism,  the imperialism of neoliberal ideology and forced globalization on the US terms.  All are spread by the same national arrogance, the same cock-sure certainly that we are right.  Many nations fear the United States practices a contemporary brand of “soft imperialism,” enslaving nations with IMF debt meachisms under  the auspice of economic globalization.  Converting  the Third World in debt slaves or simply exploit it. In spite of such fears, and despite the setbacks, Americans remain convinced that eventually all nations are destined to fall into step and adopt “the American way.” All the while, the US politicians decry the rigid fundamentalism of our enemies while we remain utterly blind to our own.

Americans have been, and are today, exposed almost from birth to a particularly virulent strain of nationalism unlike that found in other modern nations. The resulting affliction stems from an unswerving faith in national superiority and uniqueness that is deeply ingrained in the American mind. Historically, these notions of superiority sprang from myths of the visions of chosen-ness, and high destiny; from the myth of frontier self-sufficiency; and finally from the perceived universality of American ideology and dominance of US culture and English language over the globe. While in some of us, nationalist feelings are not that pronounced, few of us are immune, and that is especially visible in times of anger, or fear. In spite of, and perhaps because of, our many strengths, practically all of us as Americans share this particularly prideful, unlovely, and potentially fatal weakness. In one form or another and to some degree or another, we carry national pride across the invisible boundary that separates benign patriotism from malignant far right nationalism. Hillary candidacy demonstrates that this process went too far and became really  malignant:

Still, Americans are sure that they, like Woodrow Wilson, have seen “visions that other nations have not seen,” and that, accordingly, the United States’ mission has always been to become the “light of the world.”28 Indeed, from the very beginning, the American national identity was built on audacious visions of chosen-ness, destiny, and mission. Ronald Reagan was not the first nor the last in a long line of entrenched American visionaries to proclaim American exceptionalism, with its missionary implications of the Puritan “city on the hill,” no longer a stationary beacon, but an active force, the “leader of the free world” directing its forces against “empires of evil.”29

With such visions comes a warning: “the adoption of political and social values … as a framework for national identification is possible only if these values are based on some source of apparent ultimate truth which confers on them absolute validity — if they can claim universality.”30 If Americans unflinchingly believe that theirs is the single principle of Absolute Truth representing the universal interests of humankind, then any opposition will appear either criminal or inhuman.31 As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. puts it, “Those who are convinced that they have a monopoly on Truth always feel that they are saving the world when they slaughter heretics. Their object remains the making of the world over in the image of their dogmatic ideology — their goal is a monolithic world, organized on the principle of the infallibility of a single creed.”32 If Americans are so egotistical as to believe that their nation with its gleaming lamp of Ultimate Truth is the envy of the world, then they will perceive no wrong in trying to make the world over in America’s image, by whatever means. However, the world is a very complex and diverse place, and Ultimate Truth is a highly elusive and unstable substance. Thus, these are not only very arrogant ideas; they are also very dangerous ideas.

The way in which American elite as a whole relates with the rest of the world demonstrates a strong nationalistic (as in cultural nationalism) and chauvinistic point of view. That means that mass media presents events only from the particular  point of view, that militarism is always encouraged and defended. With the considerable part of brainwashed lemmings (aka American public) believing that their nation, or culture, is superior to all others.

This view involves a unique mixture of prejudice, xenophobia and inter-group and in-group violence, with the latter directed at suppression of dissent. Indeed, the United States’ inflated sense of eminence create additional, non-economic stimulus for the country elite to act in  fundamentally ethnocentric ways, and to to strive for unilateral rule of the world using military supremacy as door opener to resources of other nations.  And first of all oil.

The other key support of American exeptionalism are large financial institutions, which depend on the success of the US "financial imperialism". We can view imperialism as ethnocentrism in action. And "financial imperialism" is very similar to "old-style" European imperialism, where  European nations discovered new lands and imposed capitalism, their system of law and culture on the native peoples usually through violence. Like old colonies were forced to abandon their way of life and adopt a “superior” lifestyle and became resource base of metropolia, financial imperialism impose debt on other nations keeping them in a kind of debt slavery with the same result: they also became resource base for metropolia. 

American exceptionalism might also have religious overtones as "citi on the hill" metaphor implies.  It is not thus accidental that the first deep analyses of American exceptionalism was done by Niebuhr from the religious positions in his famous book The Irony of American History. Niebuhr as a theologian came to conclusion that it represents a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power. In his opinion "Messianic consciousness" which constitute the core of American exceptionalism, was partially inherited form religious dogmas of early religious sects which came to colonize America.  Those views were later enhanced and developed further by Professor Bacevich. See more details exposition of his views on the subject in the page New American Militarism

Any unbiased analysis of the nationalist activities leads to a disappointing conclusion: nationalists can behave as compradors: as enthusiastic servants of a foreign occupier of their own territory. In this case international banking cartel. Ukraine is one example, Serbia and Georgia are other but very similar examples. In the same way the USA can be viewed as a country occupied by financial oligarchy with most of its citizents converted into "debt slaves".

The policy which oppose exceptionalism is often called Noninterventionism

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

There were several important thinkers who contributed to understand of this complex and multifaceted, like any type of nationalism,  phenomena. We will discuss (in breif) just four thinkers that made significant impact in understanding of this very complex concept. Among them: 

  1. Niebuhr
  2. Michael Ignatieff
  3. Anatol Lieven
  4. Andrew Basevich

American neo-conservatism  is a closely related phenomenon. In this case the key point is that the pre-eminence of the USA as the sole superpower needs to be maintained at all costs and with wide use of military force. Among prominent neocons we can name Hillary Clinton and most of republican candidates for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race. That means that American exeptionalism is an establishment view, the view of the US elite, not some anomaly.  

Niebuhr's contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In his brilliant foreword to Niebuhr's book The Irony of American History Bacevich noted:

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

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

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

Michael Ignatieff contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

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

I would add to it

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

Anatol Lieven contribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We create our own reality

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community

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

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

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

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

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

Imperial Outreach

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

sample:

BILL MOYERS:

Here is one of those neon sentences. Quote,

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

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

ANDREW BACEVICH:

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

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

Anti-Americanism as blowback of American exeptionalism

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

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

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

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

Conclusions

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

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

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

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

Myth 1: There Is Something Exceptional About American Exceptionalism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myth 5: God Is on Our Side.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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[Jan 24, 2020] Lawrence Wilkerson Lambasts 'the Beast of the National Security State' by Adam Dick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states: ..."
"... America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is. ..."
"... We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it. ..."
"... That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war. ..."
Jan 13, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor who was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powel in the George W. Bush administration, powerfully summed up the vile nature of the US national security state in a recent interview with host Amy Goodman at Democracy Now.

Asked by Goodman about the escalation of US conflict with Iran and how it compares with the prior run-up to the Iraq War, Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states:

Ever since 9/11, the beast of the national security state, the beast of endless wars, the beast of the alligator that came out of the swamp, for example, and bit Donald Trump just a few days ago, is alive and well.

America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is.

We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it.

What we saw President Trump do was not in President Trump's character, really. Those boys and girls who were getting on those planes at Fort Bragg to augment forces in Iraq, if you looked at their faces, and, even more importantly, if you looked at the faces of the families assembled along the line that they were traversing to get onto the airplanes, you saw a lot of Donald Trump's base. That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war.

Wilkerson, over the remainder of the two-part interview provides many more insightful comments regarding US foreign policy, including recent developments concerning Iran. Watch Wilkerson's interview here:

Wilkerson is an Academic Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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[Jan 23, 2020] The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone -- a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jan 23 2020 19:17 utc | 58

The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone -- a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-22/pentagon-racks-up-35-trillion-in-accounting-changes-in-one-year

[Jan 21, 2020] Henry Kissinger chilling statement that American soldiers are " dumb , stupid animals to be used as pawns in the conduct of [ American ] policy."

Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm GMT

What a chilling statement attributed to Henry Kissinger that American soldiers are " dumb , stupid animals to be used as pawns in the conduct of [ American ] policy." Martin Luther King recognized that our soldiers were "pawns " and in his "searing" anti-war speech on April4, 1968
he advised ministers and boys facing the draft to register for conscientious objector status . This speech is said to have help seal his death warrant and exactly a year later he was assassinated . See :
"When MLK turned on Vietnam , even 'liberal' allies turned on him " cnn.com
"The verdict was harsh .By one count 168 newspapers condemned his speech . King became 'persona non grata' in the Johnson Whitehouse."
The MIC/deep state does not take kindly to anti-war/peacemakers .

[Jan 21, 2020] $6.4 Trillion And Counting - How The Military-Industrial Complex Hijacked The War On Terror by Eric Margolis

Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Ike Was Right!

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

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

General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961

Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.

Illustrating Ike's prescient warning, Brown University's respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called 'wars on terror' in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.

The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that's a very conservative estimate.

Most of this money has been quietly added to the US national debt of over $23 trillion. Wars on credit hide the true cost and pain from the public.

As General Eisenhower warned, military spending has engulfed the nation.

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

A trillion annual military budget represents just about half the world's military expenditures. The Pentagon, which I've visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.

The combined US intelligence budget of some $80 billion is larger than Russia's total military budget of $63 billion. US troops, warplanes and naval vessels are stationed around the globe, including, most lately, across Africa. And yet every day the media trumpets new 'threats' to the US. Trump is sending more troops to the Mideast while claiming he wants to reduce America's powerful military footprint there. Our military is always in search of new missions. These operations generate promotions and pay raises, new equipment and a reason for being.

Back in the day, the Republican Party of General Eisenhower was a centrist conservative's party with a broad world view, dedicated to lower taxes and somewhat smaller government. It was led by the Rockefellers and educated Easterners with a broad world view and respect for tradition.

Today's Republican Party is a collection of rural interests from flyover country, handmaidens of the military industrial complex and, most important, militant evangelical Christians who see the world through the spectrum of the Old Testament. Israel's far right has come to dominate American evangelists by selling them a bill of goods about the End of Days and the Messiah's return. Many of these rubes see Trump as a quasi-religious figure.

Mix the religious cultists – about 25% of the US population – with the farm and Israel lobbies and the mighty military industrial complex and no wonder the United States has veered off into the deep waters of irrationality and crusading ardor. The US can still afford such bizarre behavior thanks to its riches, magic green dollar, endless supply of credit and a poorly educated, apathetic public too besotted by sports and TV sitcoms to understand what's going on abroad.

All the war party needs is a steady supply of foreign villains (preferably Muslims) who can be occasionally bombed back to the early Islamic age. Americans have largely forgotten George W. Bush's lurid claims that Iraqi drones of death were poised to shower poisons on the sleeping nation. Even the Soviets never ventured so deep into the sea of absurdity.

The military industrial complex does not care to endanger its gold-plated F-35 stealth aircraft and $13 billion apiece aircraft carriers in a real war against real powers. Instead, the war party likes little wars against weak opponents who can barely shoot back. State-run TV networks thrill to such minor scraps with fancy headlines and martial music. Think of the glorious little wars against Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya. Iran looks next.

The more I listen to his words, the more I like Ike.

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:06 utc | 3

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the EU-3 poodles in Germany, Britain and France with a 25% tariff on their car exports to the U.S. unless they end their role in the JCPOA deal.

In their usual gutlessness the Europeans gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five day decision period after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UN Security Council. The reference to the UNSC would then lead to an automatic reactivation or "snapback" of those UN sanction against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed.

Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if any of the European countries escalates the issue to the UNSC:

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by European states to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPOA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8, 2018 when the US withdrew from the deal.

He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, August 26 and November 2018 to the then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPOA.

However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the European Union before it began reducing its commitments in May 8, 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif.

Iran's top diplomat said that the country's five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans' measure to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council may be followed by Tehran's decision to leave NPT as stated in President Hassan Rouhani's May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal.

He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPOA restore their obligations under the deal.

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU. Cooke has piece at Strategic Culture on Wurmser who may be the strategist behind Trump admin moves on Iran. Adds to this piece by b.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/20/many-matryoska-dolls-america-way-imagining-iran/
"Well (big surprise), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to 'implode' and destroy Iran. And his insight? "A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani"; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran's domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government."

Overall, the strategy looks to be aimed at weakening and disrupting Iran and removing its allies in the region from the game before US strikes begin.

The downing of the Uki plane and Trump Pompeo immediately saying they were with the Iranian people would fit very well into this strategy though it is not mentioned by Crooke.


Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:14 utc | 4

And in Syria, US territory is becoming more defined. US intends to keep control of both Dier Ezzor and Hasakah oilfields along the Iraq border. Iraq Kurdistan is a secure base for the US and as well as being on Iran's border gives access through Hasakah province to the Syrian oilfields.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-forces-block-syrian-russian-troops-from-access-to-key-highway-photos/
vk , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 5
The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

We shouldn't humanize entire nations when analyzing geopolitics.

The Europeans are simply aware of the objective fact they are de facto occupied countries thanks to the many de facto American bases scattered around Western and Central Europe (Germany being the country with the most American bases in the world). They obey the USA for the simple fact they are occupied by the USA.

That's why some neocarolingians/European nationalists mainly from Germany, France and the Benelux (e.g. Macron, Juncker) avidly defend the creation of an European Army. You don't need to be a geopolitics genius to infer the grave consequences such move would have to the European peoples' welfare.

As long as NATO exists, Western Europe will remain firmly in American hands.

Besides, there's also the ideological factor.

Many Europeans still see today the USA as their "most illustrious child", their continuation as the Western Civilization's center. New York is the new Paris+London. They see themselves as the dwarf countries they really are and rationalize that, ultimately, it is better to live under the hegemony of another Western nation than under the hegemony of the "yellows" (i.e. Chinese) or the "slavics" (i.e. Russia). They really see themselves as a true North Atlantic family, which share the same race and the same cultural values.

These Atlanticists are specially numerous in the UK, which is not surprising, given its geographic location and the fact that it was indeed the country that founded the USA.

Walter , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 6
Of course Iran and what happens in Iraq are joined at the hip...

Professor Maranadi>

"Seyed Mohammad Marandi
@s_m_marandi
·
10m
Many believe an economic crisis lies ahead of the US & the timing of the crash will determine the fate of Trump's re-election bid. However, another threat looms. If the US fails to swiftly comply with Iraqi demands to end the occupation, the resistance will become very violent."

and in Germany?

USA warnen: "Unmittelbar bevorstehender Angriff auf US-Militärs in Deutschland". RT/D

"Pulling back" may suit the Clowns, but agreement requires more than that if there's to be no child.

The Clowns are not contract capable. The only "deal" is for the imperial forces to leave the ME... the only deal is action....Of one sort or another. The clowns imagine a glorious victory over smoking ruins.

Careful what ya' wish fer, fellas...

erik , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 7
Fatwa or not, Iran must have the bomb, for the same reason NoKo had to build it. It's the only way to lance the boil and move on from under the incessant threats from the United States. We won't let up, even if it takes 100 years, and they have to know this. They do have the engineering know how to do it; now they must, but they will have to be discrete and stockpile enough 90% U235, then fiddle around with the details involved in assembling a staged device with enough yield so it's understood by all. I expect this whole process will now move forward.
bjd , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 8
Iran should finally make haste with:
a. developing nukes
b. the asymmetric warfare as we move into election season


tucenz , Jan 20 2020 19:25 utc | 9
So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?
Guy THORNTON , Jan 20 2020 19:28 utc | 10
One is reminded of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia in 1914: "As the German ambassador to Vienna reported to his government on July 14, the [note] to Serbia is being composed so that the possibility of its being accepted is practically excluded." As Churchill wrote at the time: "it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it, or that any acceptance, however abject, would satisfy the aggressor."

Uncle Sam is fooling nobody.

SteveK9 , Jan 20 2020 19:31 utc | 11
Many people refer to the European countries as 'occupied' (vk) and that is the reason they submit to American policy. I don't believe that is the case. The number of troops is far too small to 'occupy' a country that was resisting an occupation. Those troops were there as a 'trigger' to initiate a conflict with the Soviet Union if it invaded Europe. These days they are just there as some kind of vestigial legacy, and don't really mean anything. The US exercises its control over the EU and elsewhere through its control of international finance and trade. This system benefits the elite of those countries that are part of the 'empire', so has substantial support from influential people inside those countries. Unless and until there is some groundswell of support among the peoples of those countries to change that system, they will continue to be an obedient part of the US empire.

It's not even clear that resistance isn't futile. Those countries that want to maintain independence like Russia, China, Iran, Turkey (?), India (?) also have a strong internal attraction to Western 'culture'. As much as some denigrate that culture as shallow, materialistic, and worthless, it seems to have a very universal attraction around the World, particularly among the young. There are a lot of people everywhere that would like to be a part of a global empire, with a hedonistic Western-style culture. Sad, but true.

Abe , Jan 20 2020 19:32 utc | 12
I tend to agree with comments here saying Iran needs to make bomb.

North Korea proved that truth 100%. No amount of agreements or "guarantees" with usual lying suspects will provide security to Iran - only hard cold nuclear deterrence will.

This time, now, Iran has enough conventional & asymmetrical firepower to deter its enemies long enough for it to develop nukes (few years?).

It already has proven means to deliver warheads, now it needs them.

time2wakeup , Jan 20 2020 19:50 utc | 13
I strongly concur with several other commentators here. Iran should immediately commence enriching uranium to weapons grade levels and assemble at least 10-20 nuclear warheads ASAP if they ever hope to remain an intact, non-US/Israeli dominated country.

The US understands ONLY raw power and who it perceives has it (Israel, North Korea..etc.), and who doesn't (Libya, Syria, Iraq..etc.).

The NPT "Treaty" is nothing more than a cabal of nuclear armed countries attempting to cartel who's allowed to posses a nuclear weapons arsenal and all the rest of the world countries that's ultimately at their mercy.

Cornelius von Hamb , Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?"

For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms. It's easy to look at the lawless rogue US regime and forget this, but: some countries actually do try to have some semblance of abiding by and respecting treaties and the rule of law.

Nemesiscalling , Jan 20 2020 20:01 utc | 15
@2 Nemo

I am always taken aback when people compare unsavory characters to members of the primate family. Please do not engage in "zoomorphism." And I am dead fucking serious. Animals do not deserve to be denigrated in such a way. Keep your insults grounded in the human sphere.

lgfocus , Jan 20 2020 20:02 utc | 16
PIERACCINI has a very good article on Strategic Culture on what is happening to The Evil Empires dominance
The End of U.S. Military Dominance: Unintended Consequences Forge a Multipolar World Order
lysias , Jan 20 2020 20:03 utc | 17
The U.S. has already used that tactic of insisting on concessions known to be unacceptable to the other side with the intention of causing war at least twice: to Japan in 1941 and to Yugoslavia before the Kosovo War.
goldhoarder , Jan 20 2020 20:08 utc | 18
Does Iran really need a nuke? They have proven they can hit a US base and Saudi oil infrastructure. It is believed they already have.... or at least have the capability of mining the Strait of Hormuz. If the global financial elite can't get oil out of the gulf... what happens to the global economy? My guess is it would implode. Isn't this the real and only reason the US hasn't bombed Iran back to the stone age yet? They already have deterrence. The US claims about restoring deterrence was just the projection of sociopaths and psychopaths.
tucenz , Jan 20 2020 20:12 utc | 19
re:Cornelius von Hamb | Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms."

Iran says it won't develop nuclear weapons (anti Islamic), so what steps could they possibly be not wanting to rule out?

Virgile , Jan 20 2020 20:17 utc | 20
The state of the JCPOA today bears a lot on Trump's negotiations with North Korea.
Kim Un Jung has be spooked by Bolton comparing North Korea's fate to Libya and by the ease with which US withdrew from the JCPOA. Negotiations have halted.
Trump needs to show that he is serious with deals that he guaranties will be binding the partners more seriously than the flawed JCPOA.
Iran has only one choice: Press Europe to take a stand against the USA, (which will probably not happen) then pull out officially from the JCPOA that has become a liability with no advantages and calls for re-negotiation. Trump will certainly jump in and will try to get the best deal possible by squeezing Iran on its regional role. Yet he can't have too excessive demands as he wants to make a similar deal with North Korea.
Iran could ask for withholding sanctions during negotiations. It could take years to finalize the deal. In the meantime the regional situation could change greatly
That seems to be the only path for Iran.
Laguerre , Jan 20 2020 20:27 utc | 21
According to what is said here, the US is still afraid of attacking Iran, and is going for internal disruption, and sanctions. So what's new? It's been the same policy for forty years. The fact that Trump doesn't like long-term wars, and will only go for a big bang without consequences, is neither here nor there.

Rouhani and his team, including Zarif, seem to me pretty bright, and capable of coping with the politics. Relighting nuclear refinement is essentially a political move.

jared , Jan 20 2020 20:30 utc | 22
Again, find it hard to believe that they are in fact such quisling sycophants to the US.
Suspect they rely on Trump to provide cover for the fact that they (like him) are beholden to higher powers.
winston2 , Jan 20 2020 20:35 utc | 23
The USE of WMDs is haram.
Words mean things B, much as the PC police have twisted their meanings,and even fatwas can be reversed.
The frantic efforts to corral the USSRs nukes were never anything like 100% effective,500+ warheads and tonnes of
plutonium were NEVER accounted for from the KNOWN inventory,who knows what the unknown inventory was ?
Generals of Rocket Forces had to eat,and there were willing buyers for their only wares.
A CIA assessment I was made privy to,the old boys network for an opinion from outside, claimed the Iranians did not have the ability to keep those warheads in working order,which begs a question,how many ?
I told my old schoolmate they were wrong in their assessment, they've had the capability since the Shahs nuclear program.I know Iran very well,worked and lived there ,during the Shah times.

[Jan 20, 2020] The American Evil Empire is the threat. The Eurotrash nations are irrelevant. They are America-appeasing shits, who only provide a "multilateral" skirt for the United States to hide behind

Jan 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ak74 , Jan 20 2020 22:32 utc | 54

The American Evil Empire is the threat.

The Eurotrash nations are irrelevant. They are America-appeasing shits, who only provide a "multilateral" skirt for the United States to hide behind.

Neutralize the America Menace--and you won't have to give a damn what the Euro poodles think, do, or believe.

[Jan 20, 2020] The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted.

Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

zard , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm GMT

The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted. It is totally a Masonic land where money is God and the decent people are exploited and oppressed. Free speech and democracy are only kosher if the issue is something like Pooper-Scooper Enforcement Officer with no real money or power involved, unless of course there is an impressive uniform which goes with the position.

The brainwashed masses are presently transfixed to their TV's watching the theatre of the fake-impeachment pageant unfold, dutifully believing it is all real. All the performers strut about keeping to their carefully-scripted lines. Like the establishment-hatched fake Russia-bashing campaign, it is all theater. With the impeachment drama intended the polarize the entire nation, the people are once-again being caresully herded into their red and blue stalls in ensure nothing really populist, and not controlled by the establishment cabal running things, gets off of the ground. the entire performance will be so carefully choreographed, on a pro and anti Trump basis that it will also ensure that whomever the ruling cabal anoints will be chosen for the top puppet job.

Like in the US midterm elections in 2018, issues involving US foreign policy were mum. In the coming presidential election, Americans will see no real difference in the leading contenders' position regarding foreign affairs, which most Americans in any case now believe should be left to the military and the agencies who know best how to protect and advance their interests. Once again, any real discussion or debate on foreign policy during the coming election campaign will be taboo, and with the careful censorship of the alternate media, and with no real protest from the American people, who in fact become willing accomplices to any further unjust wars and atrocities their so-called "free" nation commits.

Americans are brought up on Hollywood imagery, life-styles and fantasy. The corporate media and entertainment industry is so pervasive that most of the people cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality, and as result of their constantly-fed addiction, they now demand more and more theatre and even wars to satisfy their cravings. A false-flag attack, 9/11, on their own people coming from their diabolical "owners", results in being no more than a thrilling performance to make life seem more real. If there was any reality to the people they would long ago have arrested the thousands of insider perps involved, (especially deep-state ones in and out of the US), and long ago they would hung everyone of them.

[Jan 20, 2020] Trump s erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: not agreement capable

Jan 14, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?

Yves Smith Post author, January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone?

Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?

Boomka, January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am

somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/26-years-on-russia-set-to-repay-all-soviet-unions-foreign-debt

"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.

It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.

drumlin woodchuckles, January 14, 2020 at 7:09 pm

In Syria, the Department of Defense was supporting one group of pet jihadis. The CIA was supporting a different group of pet jihadis.

At times the two groups of pet jihadis were actively fighting each other. I am not sure how the DoD and CIA felt about their respective pet jihadis fighting each other. However they felt, they kept right on arming and supporting their respective groups ...

[Jan 19, 2020] Warmonger Cotton Accuses Antiwar Think Tank of Anti-Semitism by Sheldon Richman

Notable quotes:
"... Coming to Palestine ..."
Jan 17, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
If you wonder what the post-Trump Republican Party will look like, take a glimpse at Tom Cotton, one of the US senators from Arkansas (where I live). Cotton has waged a relentless campaign for war against Iran and has supported every horror produced by the US foreign-policy establishment for the last 20 years. He makes other American hawks look like pacifists. Cotton once said that his only criticism of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where people are held indefinitely without charge or trial, is that too many beds are empty.

Typical of take-no-prisoners warmongers, Cotton savages critics of the pro-war policy that has characterized US foreign policy in the 21st century. No baseless charge is beneath him. He recently attacked the Quincy Institute in the course of remarks about anti-Semitism. (You can see what's coming.) According to Jewish Insider , Cotton said that anti-Semitism "festers in Washington think tanks like the Quincy Institute, an isolationist blame America first money pit for so-called 'scholars' who've written that American foreign policy could be fixed if only it were rid of the malign influence of Jewish money."

This is worse than a series of malicious lies – every word is false. In fact, it's an attempt to incite hostility toward and even disruption of one of the bright spots on the mostly desolate foreign-policy-analysis landscape.

The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft (QI) started last year with money from, among others, the Charles Koch Foundation and George Soros's Open Society Foundations. Its officers and staff include respected and sober foreign-policy analysts and journalists such as Andrew Bacevich, Trita Parsi, Jim Lobe, and Eli Clifton. Also associated with the institute are the well-credentialed foreign-policy authorities John Mearsheimer, Paul Pillar, Gary Sick, Stephen Walt, and Lawrence Wilkerson. This is indeed a distinguished team of foreign-policy "realists" who are heroically resisting America's endless-war-as-first-resort policy.

Named for John Quincy Adams – who as secretary of state famously declared that "America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy" – QI "promotes ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace." The QI website goes on to state:

The US military exists to defend the people and territory of the United States, not to act as a global police force. The United States should reject preventive wars and military intervention to overthrow regimes that do not threaten the United States. Wars of these kinds not only are counterproductive; they are wrong in principle.

It then goes on to indict the current foreign-policy establishment:

The foreign policy of the United States has become detached from any defensible conception of US interests and from a decent respect for the rights and dignity of humankind. Political leaders have increasingly deployed the military in a costly, counterproductive, and indiscriminate manner, normalizing war and treating armed dominance as an end in itself.

Moreover, much of the foreign policy community in Washington has succumbed to intellectual lethargy and dysfunction. It suppresses or avoids serious debate and fails to hold policymakers and commentators accountable for disastrous policies. It has forfeited the confidence of the American public. The result is a foreign policy that undermines American interests and tramples on American values while sacrificing the stores of influence that the United States had earned.

This may not be pure libertarian foreign policy ("US interests" is too slippery a term for my taste), but compared to what passes for foreign-policy thinking these days, it's pretty damn good.

So why is Tom Cotton so upset? It should be obvious. QI opposes the easy-war policy of the last 20 years. Of course Cotton is upset. Take away war, and he's got nothing in his toolbox. He certainly doesn't want to see the public turn antiwar before he's had a shot at high office, say, secretary of state, secretary of defense, CIA director, or even the presidency.

Cotton's charges against QI are wrong on every count.

QI is not isolationist as long as it supports trade with the world and diplomacy as the preferred method of resolving conflicts.

It's not a blame-America-first outfit because the object of its critique is not America or Americans, but the imperial war-loving elite of the American political establishment. Cotton is part of that elite, but that does not entitle him to identify the mass of Americans with his lethal policy preferences.

It's not a money pit. As you can see, QI boasts an eminent lineup thinkers and writers. So the money is obviously well-spent on badly needed analysis. QI should have been set up long ago. Cotton shows his pettiness by putting the word scholars in sarcasm quotes. He should aspire to such scholarship as Bacevich, Parsi, et al. have produced.

But where Cotton really shows his agenda is his absurd claim that anti-Semitism "festers" in QI (and other think tanks – which ones?).

Cotton here is performing that worn-out trick that, alas, still has some life in it: conflating criticism of Israel and its American lobby with people who are Jewish (and who may well oppose how the Israeli state mistreats the Palestinians). I'm sure he knows better: this is demagogy and not ignorance.

On its face, the proposition that virtually anyone who criticizes Israel's conduct toward the Palestinians and its Arab and Iranian neighbors probably hates Jews as Jews is patently ridiculous. Any clear-thinking person dismisses that claim out of hand.

Undoubtedly Cotton has in mind primarily Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of The Israel Lobby and Foreign Policy , published in 2008. (It began as an essay in The London Review of Books .) In that work, Walt and Mearsheimer reasonably attribute the lion's share of influence on US policy in the Middle East to the Israel lobby, "a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively works to move US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction." They add, "[I]t is certainly not a cabal or conspiracy that 'controls' US foreign policy. It is simply a powerful interest group, made up of both Jews and gentiles, whose acknowledged purpose is to press Israel's case within the United States and influence American foreign policy in ways that its members believe will benefit the Jewish state."

This is hardly controversial stuff, although reasonable people can disagree over whether the lobby was decisive in any given case.

But does anyone doubt that American champions of Israel work overtime and spend a lot of money to advance what they see as Israel's interests? If so, see this and my book Coming to Palestine . (Many non-Zionist Jews disagree with them about those interests.) Organizations like AIPAC often boast about their influence. That they sincerely believe Israel's interests coincide with America's interests is beside the point. (I won't address that dubious contention here.) That influence, which supports massive annual military aid to Israel, has helped to facilitate the oppression of the Palestinians, wars against Lebanon, and attacks on Syria, Iraq, and Iran. It has also provoked hostility to America and vengeful terrorism against Americans. (For example, the 9/11 attacks as acknowledged by the government's commission .) Pro-Israel American political and military officials acknowledge this.

Cotton need not wonder why the lobby has succeeded so often since he himself is using the anti-Semitism canard to inhibit Israel's critics. No one wants to be condemned as anti-Semite (or as any other kind of bigot), so we can easily imagine prominent people in the past withholding criticism of Israel for fear of being thought anti-Jewish. (It's Israel and its champions, not Israel's critics, who insist that Israel is the state of all Jews, no matter where else they may be citizens.) Thankfully, despite the efforts of Cotton, Kenneth Marcus, Bari Weiss , Bret Stephens, and others, the invidious conflation has lost much of its force. More than ever, people understand that to oppose the entangling alliance with Israel and to express solidarity with the long-suffering Palestinians do not constitute bigotry against Jews.

Can Cotton produce any evidence that anyone at QI believes that pro-Israel Jewish Americans should be barred from lobbying and making political donations or that such an obvious violation of liberty would fix American foreign policy? Of course not. There is no evidence. Moreover, I'm sure the QI realists understand that other interests also propel the pro-war US foreign policy, including glory-seeking politicians and generals and the profit-craving military-industrial complex.

Those who reflexively and slanderously tar Israel's critics as anti-Semites seem not to realize that the worthy effort to eliminate real anti-Semitism is undermined by their efforts to immunize Israel and its American champions from good-faith criticism.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute , senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society , and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com . He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education , and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation . His latest book is Coming to Palestine . Reposted from The Libertarian Institute .

[Jan 19, 2020] The US has been relying on the thing that Dr. Pauwels describes as the "warfare economy"

Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org

Back in 2003, an alternative media site based in Belgium – Indy Media, published a rather clever article titled "Why America Needs War" drafted by a renowned political scientist, Jacques R. Pauwels. Due to the fact that this article has recently been republished by a well-known and respected alternative media site Global Research, a lot of attention has been drawn to the topic of Washington's never-ending wars. In the above-mentioned article it was stated that wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. However, with the US being locked in a state of perpetual conflict with other international players, it's only natural to wonder what is wrong with American politicians? Are they all suffering from some mental disease?

The reason the events we're observing on the global stage are actually taking place is the fact that the US has been relying on the thing that Dr. Pauwels describes as the "warfare economy" that the US has been relying on for over a century now. This economy allows wealthy individuals and corporations to profit from violence and bloodshed, which makes them prone to advocating wars instead of peaceful conflict resolution. Yet, the article states that without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright. It's clear that the US couldn't escape the cold grip of the Great Depression without entering WWII, however, as it's been stated in the above-mentioned article:

During the Second World War, the wealthy owners and top managers of the big corporations learned a very important lesson: during a war there is money to be made, lots of money. In other words, the arduous task of maximizing profits -- the key activity within the capitalist American economy -- can be absolved much more efficiently through war than through peace; however, the benevolent cooperation of the state is required.

Yet, the people of the United States didn't notice this change as they were mesmerized by the rapidly growing wages and booming corporations that needed an ever increasing number of new employees. That's why there's been no real opposition to America's warmongering inside the US, which means that Washington will be looking for new enemies even when it has none. This results in the states like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, that were willing at one point or another to discuss their differences with the US, being antagonized and getting designated as a threat to the US and its national security.

That's why the military expenditures in the US keep going through the roof, with research and development programs for the US military getting unprecedented funding. However, what is being presented as a race towards greater security represents a shameless siphoning of the money paid by American taxpayer into the pockets of the major defence contractors. It would be only logical if the US legal system, instead of investigating dubious reports of Russia's alleged meddling in the US election, would take a closer look at the way blood money is shaping the world of US politics.

Will Baghdad Defy Washington? Iraqi Parliament Contemplates Buying Russia's S-400 Missile Defense System

Let us recall that the US military budget for 2020 has for the first time reached the mind-numbing sum of 750 billion dollars! Over the past few decades, the United States has invested some 30 billion dollars in various weapons programs, all of which have to one degree or another failed, according to The National Interest.

There's no shortage of media reports showing the complete failure of modern American weapons, which, in spite of the massive sums wasted on their development, cannot protect either the United States or its allies.

For instance, The National Interest has recently taken the effort to draw a comparison between the Russian Su-35 jet-fighter and a total of four American competitors: F-15s, F-16s, F-22s, and F-35s. The publication came to a disappointing conclusion that in spite of the massive advertisement campaign that accompanied the development of F-35, it cannot stand its ground against its Russian counterpart.

The ill-fated F-35 has recently been included in the list of the worst weapons ever produced by the US Army due to its unbelievably high cost and reliability issues, says the Business Insider. Therefore, it is not surprising that on top of Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan announcing his intention of buying Russian Su-35 and Su-57 fighters instead of siding with the US, Germany has also made it clear that it has no intentions of acquiring this overpriced winged catastrophe from the United States. To add insult to injury, the American portal We Are The Mighty has recently listed a total of three Russian fighters in the Top 5 list of the fastest jets in the history of military aviation.

At sea, the situation is no better. In the event of a hypothetical military conflict between the United States and Russia, even in the Black Sea, American aircraft carrier groups would get obliterated rather quickly by Russian diesel submarines, land mobile missile systems and small but dangerous missile boats. That's even before land-based aviation units armed with hypersonic anti-ship missiles dubbed the Dagger would have something to say about it, says The National Interest. Another publication emphasizes that Russian missile corvettes, that go at a price of 30 million dollars a pop have four times the missile range of the latest US destroyers and cruisers that come with a price tag of 2 billion dollars.

But it was the American missile defense systems, especially the Patriot, that have recently covered themselves with scandalous shame. A year ago, US President Donald Trump announced that among the new priorities of the Pentagon the sale of US missile defense systems to its allies ranked really high. To achieve this goal, Washington tried to force those states that chose a far more effective solutions – Russia's S-300 and S-400 to rethink their decision. These attempts resulted in Washington introducing sanctions against some of its closest allies, such as Turkey, India and Morocco.

Meanwhile, The National Interest admits that the new Russian S-500 is by far the most effective air defense system in existence, while The Hill acknowledges that Russia's hypersonic weapons have rendered such US missile defense systems as Patriot and THAAD meaningless.

A year ago, the United States announced that a network of ground and surface missile interceptors, radars and communications lines at a price tag of 180 billion dollars could protect the country from a limited attack launched by the DPRK or Iran. However, shortly after this statement was made, US-produced air defense systems failed to repel a surprise drone attack on Saudi oil refineries, thus demonstrating their low efficiency. At the same time, it will not be out of place to recall that a grand total of 88 Patriot launchers cover the northern border of Saudi Arabia, with three more US NAVY destroyers armed with the Aegis system being stationed off shore in the same area. None of these systems responded to the attack.

Yet again, during a retaliatory strike launched by Iran, American air defense systems were powerless to shoot down a single missile launched against two US bases in Iraq.

That is why a number of Western military clients have recently taken steps to acquire Russian alternatives. This was the result of serious flaws in US-produced air defense systems, such as the Patriot, the repeated failures of which have recently become apparent in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The last of these clients was South Korea, which has long shown strong interest in Russian military jets and air defense systems, but was unable to acquire them due to the pressure being applied on it from Washington.

Those facts show that the military vehicles and aircraft advertised by Western media are only good as scrap metal. Actually, this became clear to everyone, when Washington decided to show its rusty armored vehicles on the parade assembled in celebration of last year's Independence Day.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Vladimir Platov , an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook ".

[Jan 19, 2020] The Face of the Modern US Army

Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org

Starting from 2001, the US has been spending $32 million per hour on war .

The United States has spent about $6 trillion on combat operations over the past 20 years, according to Brown University studies . If the warfare ends by 2023, researchers estimate the total cost will be $6.7 trillion at least, not counting the interest on debt.

In total, almost half a million people have died as a result of the wars.

The cost of 87 major programs for the purchase of weapons and military equipment conducted by the US Department of Defense exceeded $2 trillion in 2018, according to the Pentagon's Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR), which detail the implementation of major defense purchases. The combined cost of all procurement programs was determined by the Pentagon to be over $2 trillion. This is equivalent to almost 10% of the annual gross domestic product of the United States ($21.3 trillion).

Trying to justify such exorbitant spending on the army, the US military and political elites actively promote their interests, advertising the national armed forces as the main fighting force. Recently, Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that 'there are no forces today capable of resisting an attack by the US Army.' Unsurprisingly, the Department of Defense (DoD) desires even more money, although there is no logical explanation as to why the most powerful army on the planet is in need of improvement when everyone else is clearly lagging behind.

But what is the real face of the US Army today and how does the public feel about it?

Global Research correctly remarked that, despite the largest military budget in the world (five times greater than in six other countries), the highest number of military bases in the world (over 180) and the most expensive military-industrial complex, the United States has failed to win a single war in the 21 st century.

Every year, Pew Research Center publishes hundreds of studies on a wide range of topics. Concerning the current problems of the US military, Pew studies note that most American veterans and the majority of the general US public believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting. Over 60% of the American public is convinced that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not paid off, when the costs and benefits are weighed. Responding to questions about the US military campaign in Syria, 55% of veterans and 58% of the American public said that this campaign failed to pay off as well.

Frustration with the country's military policy has now become a big problem among active US servicemen, veterans, and even among young soldiers who haven't participated in real combat.

The incautious question 'How has serving impacted you?' posted by the Pentagon's official Twitter account, has revealed the deep chasm of the US military's problems. So deep, in fact, that the Pentagon had to urgently close and remove a huge number of subsequent replies, most of which turned out to be very depressing in nature. US Army soldiers and officers shared the shocking consequences of their service, including drug addiction, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders and nightmares – some admitting they had repeatedly wanted to commit suicide.

Currently there are up to 19 million retired veterans 'in the most belligerent democratic country in the world.' Every day, about 20 of them commit suicide. The causes of suicide cited by experts are diverse, the main ones being depressions, nervous breakdowns, spiritual and psychological devastation coupled with guilt for killing innocent people, post-traumatic stress disorder, increased military operations, medical abuse, and personal financial problems. Social media are full of horrific stories about how injured soldiers weren't provided necessary medical attention during military operations, which drove them to shooting themselves in the head. Meanwhile junior army members state that they are basically expendable for their commanders, and all of them combined present an endless means of earning money for the highest elite.

Suicides are rampant among all the branches of US troops, and their rate is increasing. US officials deliberately hide the horrific statistics of suicides among military personnel, seriously concerned about the increase in their number since they negatively affect the future of the 'most powerful armed forces in the world.' To date, suicide is the second leading cause of death among members of the US military.

Another extremely troubling statistic was revealed by experts from the American publishing house McClatchy. They studied the health of the US servicemen who had taken part in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 -- 2015. They have been literally mowed down by cancer, which is confirmed by the sudden increase in the number of cancer patients in military hospitals in Virginia. As it turned out, a significant cause of the disease is toxic rocket fuel, which was used to massively burn garbage and waste near military bases. In addition, it turned out that the fire foam used to extinguish these fires also causes cancer. It was quite often that US soldiers had to dispose of garbage and waste in war zones, including human corpses and animal carcasses. The Pentagon has not yet commented on the finding and is in no hurry to grant applications for disability benefits; out of 11,000 applications only 2000 have been 'lucky' so far.

The Heritage Foundation analysts published a report which shows that the US Army is at its limits. One curious fact is significant: the conclusion about the decline of efficiency and combat capability of the US Army came not from Russian or Chinese sources, but from American analysts, which is further proof of the systemic problems in the Pentagon. The Heritage Foundation analysts agree that right now, considering the current state of the US Army, simultaneous participation in several wars is leading to its noticeable overexertion.

Taking this into account, Washington can only be advised to tread more carefully on the international arena, avoid provoking armed conflicts that can lead to severe military defeats for the US Army and result in sizable human losses, both among current servicemen and veterans.

In the words of the Spanish newspaper El Pais , "The Americans pose a much greater danger to themselves than the Islamists, North Koreans, Russians, Houthis and all those who comprise the US-declared 'axis of evil' do."

Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook ".

[Jan 19, 2020] Trump Can Learn From Morgenthau's 6 Principles of Political Realism by Nathan A. Sears

The author is rabid neocon. He ignores mechanism of collective security like UN.
Jan 19, 2020 | nationalinterest.org
six principles of political realism , found in his seminal work Politics Among Nations . The second, fourth and fifth principles are of particular relevance to the current administration. Morgenthau's second principle states that "the main signpost that helps political realism to find its way through the landscape of international politics is the concept of interest defined as power." Morgenthau believed that international politics is fundamentally a struggle for power (understood in terms of the mutual relations of political control between nation-states), and that peace is often tenuous in a world lacking a sovereign authority that can protect the interests and survival of individual states (an insight that has been codified in the neorealist conception of "international anarchy"). As a result, the "national interest" is primarily concerned with the resources (especially military and economic capabilities) and limitations (primarily the balance of power) that determine the national power of the state in international politics.

The fourth principle states that "political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action, but maintains that moral principles cannot be applied to the actions of states in their abstract universal formulation." Morgenthau did not reject ethical considerations in foreign policy (as is clear from his criticisms of the Vietnam War), but believed that political prudence (i.e., the practical consideration of the consequences of foreign policy) requires that moral principles be "filtered" through the "concrete circumstances" of power politics. Moral ends should be pursued to the extent that they are within the limits of national power and are consistent with national interests. The fifth principle takes this one step further by stating that "political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe." Morgenthau cautioned against the dangers of national "exceptionalism," which can lead to "political folly," such as the fighting of wars that do nothing to advance or protect the national interest, and can cause unnecessary human suffering through "moral excess." Thus, "moderation in policies cannot fail to reflect the moderation of moral judgment."

President Trump criticized the Obama administration for getting outplayed and outsmarted by Russian president Vladimir Putin, and yet he seems to be falling into the same trap as Obama by thinking that he can do better vis-à-vis Russia through diplomatic rapprochement. The problem is to see U.S. foreign-policy challenges with respect to Russia in terms of misunderstandings between political leaders and administrations, rather than the fundamental differences between United States and Russian national interests. Russia seeks to increase its power and sphere of influence while the United States aims to maintain hegemony. If the current administration seeks rapprochement by making concessions to Russia (e.g., by rolling back sanctions), then foreign-policy analysts will soon be writing about another failed "reset." On China, Trump broke with diplomatic precedent by accepting a phone call from Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, which called into question the United States' commitment to a "One China" policy. The problem here is for foreign policy to extend beyond power, since the military balance within the first island chain -- and specifically in a Taiwan war -- is rapidly shifting in China's favor. While realism suggests that geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States is inevitable, interest as power would suggest that picking a fight with China over Taiwan is not a prudent course for U.S. foreign policy.

[Jan 19, 2020] Former Kamikaze Pilots Address Japanese Youth New Eastern Outlook

Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org

... ... ...

Two brothers are warning Japan not to succumb to this temptation, who were in one of the Imperial Japanese Navy's kamikaze groups during the final stage of the war on Pacific, but the war ended before they had the chance to fulfil their sacrificial military duty. Both elderly veterans (97 and 99 years old) felt they needed to tell students and teachers at Waseda University -- one of Japan's most prestigious institutions -- "what [to] do to ensure that we don't repeat an event like the war."

They asked students to consider their speech and answers to questions as their "last message" to the youth of today in Japan. They did not choose these words at random. Kamikaze soldiers would write a "last message" to their closest relatives before flying or sailing out on a mission which they would obviously not return from (these brothers were suicide vessel pilots, so they did not fly).

The kamikaze tactic is a centuries-old, very specifically Japanese cultural and military phenomenon. When other cultures try to copy the Japanese it turns into a parody or a meaningless act of gang violence. One of these parodies was an attempt made by the German Luftwaffe to do "something similar" to the Japanese kamikaze soldiers in the last days of the Second World War.

Then there are today's Islamist terrorists (pumped up with drugs) who do not value their own lives or anyone else's, and their acts have nothing in common with this concept.

Kamikaze volunteers were mainly undergraduates, which is reflected in the content and style of their "last messages". The two brothers who gave their lecture at Waseda University were both students when they voluntarily joined the Imperial Japanese Navy's kamikaze unit. This is probably one reason why they chose to address students with the "last message" they have now written.

Of course, we must take into account that the young sailors from 75 years ago and the elderly people who speak today are ultimately different people. Japan has experienced a lot since the war ended, as has the world in general, and the two brothers. All this experience has undoubtedly affected how the former kamikaze soldiers think about what happened "then" and what their "last message" should be, which they have now passed on. Apart from that, they will leave this world in a very different way than the kamikaze soldiers did 75 years ago.

The first thing the audience at Waseda University were interested in hearing about were the "last messages" written by kamikaze fighters, which make for extremely moving reading, even to this day . They were not dictated what to write, but the authors knew that their letters would be read by "the relevant authorities." This is, by the way, what happens to messages sent by servicemen from all different countries during times of war.

According to one of the brothers, not one of the kamikaze soldiers he knew really wanted to die, and even then it was clear that the war was meaninglessness: "Do not follow my example," said the author in his message after 75 years had passed. "That's what I want to leave with the young people today."

In this author's opinion, the main sentiment in the "last message" given by the two former kamikaze fighters, namely that "war is hell", has a great measure of "the wisdom of hindsight." That does not take away from this wisdom whatsoever, it is not something to be consigned to the history books in today's Japan. It is very relevant considering the persistent attempts the country's leadership has been making to "revise" Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution outlawing war, which would go directly against the prevailing sentiment in Japanese society.

Japan and its former Axis ally Germany have managed to climb to the top of the world's political and economic hierarchy without firing a single shot and without any bloodshed. Without harming any enemies or allies. In today's rapidly changing world, Japan and Germany will only strengthen their positions on the world stage if they can resist temptation and do not get trapped in the same vicious circle they got caught up in a century ago.

Moreover, it would be a perfect time for them to reignite and lead the (mistakenly forgotten) "world peace movement". It could not be more relevant in the current critical stage of the "Grand Global Game".

Something similar seems to have been implied in the "last message" passed on by the two former kamikaze soldiers.

Vladimir Terekhov, expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook" .

[Jan 19, 2020] Are Americans sick of forign wars for the US-centered neoliberal empire?

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

V , Jan 18 2020 6:03 utc | 103

Americans are sick of war. War anywhere.

I do not believe that for a second.
US initiated wars have been going on for decades, but I see no indication that US americans have any issues with it. The political parties are totally aligned on foreign wars, there are no people protesting in US cities.
Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 17 2020 21:46 utc | 27

I do not believe it either!

Since a good many Usians are morally bankrupt; they spend words like cheap cash.

Why not? It keeps them from having to actually do anything.

It's all out there; the lies, theft, murders, kidnapping, torture, and a corrupt educational system.

...and the band played on...


aye, myself & me , Jan 18 2020 6:35 utc | 107

@ V # 103
'It's all out there; the lies, theft, murders, kidnapping, torture, and a corrupt educational system.
...and the band played on..."

The band plays on folks, because of that corrupt educational system. Every school kid in america is brainwashed from nursery school, kindergarten, even before the formal waste of time. Then if they decide on college, unless their parents are one percenters, or hollywood insiders the kids are in hock to the tune of six figures when they grab that diploma. No one has time to protest anymore. 'They' have 'em by the balls and they're in a vice bein' squeezed daily. Most have to pull two, or even three jobs, just to get by. No one has the time to realize all of america's boogeymen are cia assets.

Besides, one's protesting against one of the most powerful militaries in the world and the police state is ever tightening here. Protesting is pretty much a fool's errand anymore, if it's against the government in general it's not covered by the msm, so only the protesters and their friends are aware of it.

Life if rough for many americans struggling to get by. They don't have time to protest, however, if the dollar were to lose it's world currency and our financial systems collapses there could be a revolt with all the guns here, but i wouldn't count on it looking anything like america's first revolution.

uncle tungsten , Jan 18 2020 7:06 utc | 111
V #103

Thank you, my thoughts exactly. The USians are propagandised from cradle to grave every state has at least one Fort xyz and every stadium has military spectacles to ogle at. No football game without a military parade.

It will take a Herculean effort to turn that propaganda around and thankfully there are two candidates dedicated to that effort. More strength to their arm.

On the impeachment issue my take is like this:

Trump really cant afford to lose too many of them especially if the first motion to dismiss the impeachment case is to succeed. He can only be removed from office if there is a two thirds senate majority on the proposal to remove.

But a simple majority is what he has to hold to succeed at defeating all other forms of censure motions and getting the witnesses he wants dragged before the Senate.

The numbers are:

Democrazies 45

Independent 2

Repugnants 53

So three repugnant defectors would give a tied vote (assuming the independents vote with the democrazies).

Not a comfortable position and certainly not now after assassinating Souleimani, Afghanistan war report looking ugly and who knows what else. The 'permanent state' gangsters can do much damage to his brittle ego by getting four repugnants to defect.

So if Trump is damaged goods going into the election cycle he could well be defeated by Bernie Sanders IF he can overcome the jackals in the democazie party machine. Hope is all I have.

V , Jan 18 2020 9:49 utc | 118
Life is rough for many americans struggling to get by. They don't have time to protest, however, if the dollar were to lose it's world currency and our financial systems collapses there could be a revolt with all the guns here, but i wouldn't count on it looking anything like america's first revolution.
Posted by: aye, myself & me | Jan 18 2020 6:35 utc | 107

Yea, I know. I have a sister living in Oregon. She's still working @ 70yo.
Revolution almost never has a good ending; in the U.S., at this time; it would be the worst, IMO.

Carciofi , Jan 18 2020 13:11 utc | 133
"Americans are sick of war"

Probably a sizeable chunk of the people. But not the ruling class.

"Most of this carnage by the United States is done in the name of dishonest and non-existent defense of country, of "spreading democracy" or of forced regime change based on the lie of protecting by force the people of other lands. The truth of all these politically motivated lies is that the brutality of U.S. aggression is purposeful slaughter for political and geo-political gain, all at the expense of innocent populations around the globe."
DFC , Jan 18 2020 17:59 utc | 154
So Trump said:

"I want to win," he said. "We don't win any wars anymore . . . We spend $7 trillion, everybody else got the oil and we're not winning anymore."..."I wouldn't go to war with you people,"..."You're a bunch of dopes and babies."

If this is true, it means that Trump does not consider those ME wars useless or unwinnables, but only the people who manage them are not clever or resolute enough, which is quite scary, because imply that instead of "dupes and babies" if he put in charge "winners" and "real men" may be they can "go to Theran", or "win a land war in Asia" (Montgomery recommend not to start any never).

This language about "winners" and "losers" is so....American, it means that you do not "win" or "lose" as a matter of life, NO, but you are inherently a "winner" (always win)or a f**king "loser", it is the predestinationist (calvinistic) roots of the American culture and you can see it clearly in almost all the Hollywood movies with the "good gay" ("winner") overcoming an incredible number of obstacles, and at the end he kills all the "bad gays" ("losers"). It is all about is the Good against the Evil, the Winners (The Justs) against the Losers (The Doomed)

May be now the "winners" start to learn (again) how to lose (as in Vietnam), and this cultural roots make very dangerous for the US to lose a war, because it crumbles all this narrative of the Manifest Destiny, the Chosen People, and all that BS. The blow back could be devastating.

I think The American people love wars, they love to see in the CNN Tomahawks flying inside the Revolucionary Guard buildings and blowing them, US helicopters piercing with missiles the Iraqi APAC's packed with soldiers, the Abrams tanks blowing-up the Iraqi T72 with DU rounds, the videos US planes crushing the hangars, the command centers, the A10 straffing with their guns the "Highway of Death" and the bodies of Saddam soldiers scorched black inside the destroyed buses...They like it, especially if you carefully hide the busted bodies of woman and children from the cameras, or conceal the dead and injures GI's. They like the new tech weapons and how they "work" against the "bad guys"

American people love wars, what they hate is losing wars...and Trump represents, as someone said, what a good percentage of American people want to be, it is the archetype of "The Winner", a populists "Caesar", the last chance of a crumbling Empire

[Jan 19, 2020] The Little-Known Loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty The National Interest

Jan 19, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

North Korea's cavalier rejection of its NPT membership in 2003 is a prime example , but many saw it as a case not applicable to most member states. However, more recently, Saudi Arabia , and Turkey and Iran (which, after the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, is looking for new ways to upset Washington), have gone so far as ti layout terms under which they would leave the treaty and even obtain nuclear weapons, statements without precedent in the treaty's history.

A number of otherwise respectable member countries, such as South Korea , also have political parties in their legislatures that advocate treaty withdrawal and acquisition of nuclear weapons.

We have to take seriously the possibility that -- without international action to arrest this tendency -- the already frayed bonds that tie countries to the NPT and the pledge not to acquire nuclear weapons may not hold. This would presage a world with many more nuclear states and a vastly increased risk of nuclear use.

Victor Gilinsky is program advisor for the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) in Arlington, Virginia. He served on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Henry Sokolski is executive director of NPEC and the author of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future (second edition 2019). He served as deputy for nonproliferation policy in the office of the U.S. secretary of defense in the Cheney Pentagon.

[Jan 19, 2020] Did Washing played on oil price hike threat to achive Genramny, France and GB compliance

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.wsws.org

Britain and the EU powers fear Washington's ever-escalating aggression against Iran will spark an all-out war that will redound against their own imperialist interests, even if it doesn't immediately draw in Russia and China. A war would send oil prices soaring, roil the European economy, spark another massive refugee crisis and further radicalize a growing working class counter-offensive.

No doubt Pompeo and others have told the Europeans that if they want to restrain Trump, avert a major conflagration and retain influence in the Middle East, they must rally behind Washington and its maximum pressure campaign.

To these dubious incentives, the Trump administration added a trade war threat, according to a report published yesterday by the Washington Post under the title, "Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25 percent tariff on European autos if they didn't."

[Jan 19, 2020] Iran The EU-three Trigger Dispute Mechanism in Iran Nuclear Deal New Eastern Outlook

Jan 19, 2020 | journal-neo.org

Why, after so many assurances to the contrary, have the three European Iran's Nuclear Deal Partner's – Germany, France, the UK – decided to go after Iran, to follow the US dictate again?

The short answer is because the cowards. They have zero backbone to stand up against the US hegemony, because they are afraid to be sanctioned – as Trump indicated if they were to honor the" Nuclear Deal". Iran is absolutely in their right to progressively increase uranium enrichment, especially since the US dropped out unilaterally, without any specific reasons, other than on Netanyahu's orders – of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also called Iran's Nuclear Deal.

Just a few days ago Ms. Angela Merkel met with President Putin in Moscow, and BOTH pledged in front of a huge press crowd that the Nuclear Deal must stay, must be maintained and validated.

And now, because of Trump's Barbarian threats, trade threats on Europe – an increase of up to 25% import taxes on European cars – and wanting a new deal with Iran, whatever that means, they, the Europeans – the three Nuclear Deal partners, back down. Why not call Trump's bluff? As China did. This Barbarian Kingpin is lashing around his deathbed with tariffs and sanctions, it is only a sign of weakness, a sign of slowly but surely disappearing in the – hopefully – bottomless abyss.

This threesome is a bunch of shameless and hopeless cowards. They have not realized yet that the west, starting with the US empire, is passé. It's a sinking ship. It's high time for Iran to orient herself towards the east. Iran is already a Middle-Eastern key hub for the Chinese Belt and Road initiative (BRI), or the New Silk road. Iran can do without Europe; and the US needs Europe more than vice-versa. But the 'chickens' haven't noticed that yet.

On the behest of Washington, the Trump clown, they, Germany, France and the UK, want to start an official dispute process, bringing Iran back to where it was before the Nuclear Deal, and reinstating all the UN sanctions of before the signature of the deal in July 2015. And this despite the fact that Iran has adhered to their part of the deal by 100%, as several times attested to by the Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna. Can you imagine what these abhorrent Europeans are about to do?

This reminds of how Europe pilfered, robbed and raped Africa and the rest of the now called developing world, for hundreds of years. No ethics, no qualms, just sheer egocentricity and cowardice. The European Barbarians and those on the other side of the Atlantic deserve each other. And they deserve disappearing in the same bottomless pit.

Iran may consider three ideas:

1) Call the European bluff. Let them start the dispute process – and let them drive it all the way to the UN Security Council. Their spineless British Brother in Crime, BoJo, also called the British Prime-Minister, Boris Johnson, will do the job for them, bringing the case "Iran Nuclear Deal – and Sanctions" to the UN Security Council – where it will fail, because Russia and China will not approve the motion.

2) Much more important, Dear Friends in Iran – do not trust the Europeans for even one iota ! – They have proven time and again that they are not trustworthy. They buckle under every time Trump is breaking wind – and

3) Dedollarize your economy even faster – move as far as possible away from the west – join the Eastern economy, that controls at least one third of the world's GDP. You are doing already a lot in this direction – but faster. Join the SCO – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, comprising half of Mother Earth's population; ditch the dollar and the SWIFT payment system, join instead the Chinese Interbank Payment System (CIPS) – and be free of the sanction-prone western monetary system. Eastern monetary transactions are blocking out western dollar-based sanctions. Already your hydrocarbon trades with China, Russia, India and others are not carried out in US dollars, but in local currencies, Chinese yuans, Russian rubles and Indian rupees.

True – Iran will have to confront Iran-internally the western (NATO) and CIA trained, funded and bought Atlantists, the Fifth Columnists. They are the ones that create constant virulently violent unrest in the cities of Iran; they are trained – and paid for – to bring about Regime Change. That's what Russia and China and Venezuela and Cuba are also confronted with. They, the Fifth Columnists have to be eradicated. It's a challenge, but it should be doable.

Follow the Ayatollah's route. He is on the right track – looking East.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. After working for over 30 years with the World Bank he penned Implosion , an economic thriller, based on his first-hand experience. Exclusively for the online magazine " New Eastern Outlook. "

[Jan 18, 2020] Ike's Military-Industrial Complex, Six Decades Later

So in retrospect Ike was one of the founding fathers of military industrial complex and the politics of Full Spectrum Dominance
Notable quotes:
"... Yet on January 17, 1961, Ike said: "Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea." He continued: "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government." ..."
"... In addition, Ike's America maintained substantial garrisons in Western Europe and Japan. At the same time, and more precariously, U.S. troops, advisers, and operatives fanned out across the globe, including to Lebanon, South Vietnam, and Iran. ..."
"... Then came the money sentences: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." ..."
"... In fact, we all need a phrase that captures the immensity of the military establishment. The budget of the Department of Defense (DoD) for fiscal year 2020 will be about $718 billion ; DoD directly employs 1.3 million men and women in active duty, as well as more than 700,000 civilian employees. (Another 800,000 serve in the National Guard and reserves.) ..."
"... Indeed, the huge Pentagon budget doesn't fully capture the true scale of the military-industrial complex. To get a better measure, we should also include portions of other agencies harboring substantial military elements, including the CIA, NASA, and the departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Energy (the last of which manages the nuclear stockpile). ..."
"... Six decades later, we must ask ourselves: is the Great Equation still in place? As a nation, are we maintaining all the components of power -- military, economic, and spiritual -- in proper balance? And as we search for the right answer, we might pause over one subtlety in the Eisenhower equation: per the rules of multiplication, if any one of the three components falls to zero, then the product is zero, regardless of the size of the other two components. ..."
"... Many argue that, in fact, U.S. policy has been reduced to just one component -- the military. That is, whom can we threaten, bomb, or occupy? ..."
"... This over-militarization of policy was ably chronicled in Dana Priest's 2003 ..."
"... , The Mission Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military ..."
"... . The author describes a Pentagon that had grown so powerful bureaucratically that it had overwhelmed the State Department -- and nowhere more so than in the Middle East. ..."
"... Gosh, but we still have to privatize, several economies (China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) for the benefit of Wall Street et. comp. How can we do that without DoD...? ..."
Jan 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

January 17 marks the 59th anniversary of President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech to the nation. After eight years in the White House, just three days before John F. Kennedy would be sworn in as his successor, Ike went on national television and touched on many topics, from promoting the economy to working with Congress.

Yet the heart of his speech was a finely chiseled critique of what he dubbed the "military-industrial complex." This criticism was all the more remarkable, of course, because Eisenhower had been a career military man. Having graduated from West Point in 1915, he had served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades, through two world wars, ultimately rising to the rank of five-star general.

Yet on January 17, 1961, Ike said: "Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea." He continued: "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government."

By then 70 years old, Ike was no born-again pacifist. He quickly added of the military's enlarging, "We recognize the imperative need for this development." That imperative, of course, was the Cold War, the seemingly permanent eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation of two countries, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., each glaring at the other with ideological hostility tipped with nuclear technology.

In response to the Soviet threat, Ike had maintained the Cold War structures he had inherited from his predecessor in the Oval Office, Harry Truman. In fact, throughout the 1950s, defense spending hovered around 10 percent of GDP (by comparison, the current percentage is less than four).

In addition, Ike's America maintained substantial garrisons in Western Europe and Japan. At the same time, and more precariously, U.S. troops, advisers, and operatives fanned out across the globe, including to Lebanon, South Vietnam, and Iran.

In his speech, Eisenhower made no apology for his role in the further freezing of the Cold War. Yet he still urged caution as to the potential ill effects of cold warring on the home front: "We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society."

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

Those three key words, "military-industrial complex," rocketed through the national consciousness. Eisenhower had long been a popular figure on the center-right; in addition to his leadership role in World War II, he had written a best-selling memoir and had won two national landslides in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections -- even as the left had dismissed him. Yet now, with those three words, Eisenhower gained the proverbial "strange new respect" among intellectuals, who mostly leaned left. Indeed, the phrase "military-industrial complex" has become a favored catchphrase for leftists, anti-militarists, and anyone else looking for evocative shorthand.

In fact, we all need a phrase that captures the immensity of the military establishment. The budget of the Department of Defense (DoD) for fiscal year 2020 will be about $718 billion ; DoD directly employs 1.3 million men and women in active duty, as well as more than 700,000 civilian employees. (Another 800,000 serve in the National Guard and reserves.)

In addition, millions more work for the DoD as private-sector vendors, from those who build ships and airplanes to the contractor who was killed near Kirkuk, Iraq, on December 27.

Indeed, the huge Pentagon budget doesn't fully capture the true scale of the military-industrial complex. To get a better measure, we should also include portions of other agencies harboring substantial military elements, including the CIA, NASA, and the departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Energy (the last of which manages the nuclear stockpile).

As Eisenhower cautioned in his speech, "We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes." So yes, Eisenhower was a vigorous leader in the Cold War competition, yet at the same time he was a citizen before he was a soldier, rightfully concerned with protecting our small-r republican institutions from "unwarranted influence."

During his time in the White House, the 34th president demonstrated his prudence. As historian Walter M. Hudson recently noted in The American Interest , after the Russians launched their Sputnik satellite in 1957 -- thus opening up a newer and higher frontier to geopolitical competition -- Ike did not respond with a big defense buildup. He boosted NASA, of course, yet skipping past the Pentagon, he also pushed for a substantial increase in federal aid to education.

In other words, the old Army man was thinking about the future, when struggles, and perhaps wars, would be waged with spaceships and computers, as opposed to infantrymen and tanks. Hudson explains Ike's thoughtful budget priorities as follows: "Ike's decision was consistent with his 'Great Equation' strategy that long predated Sputnik's blips. Running for the presidency in 1952, he set forth the formula to his friend Lucius Clay: 'Spiritual force multiplied by economic force multiplied by military force is roughly equivalent to security. If any one of those factors fell to zero, or nearly so, the resulting product does likewise.'"

In Eisenhower's "Great Equation," we can see a strategic mind at work: American strength must rely on more than just weaponry; the nation needed to maintain as well its economic and spiritual health. Long before the term was coined, Ike was a believer in "soft power" -- as well as, of course, the "hard power" of firepower.

Six decades later, we must ask ourselves: is the Great Equation still in place? As a nation, are we maintaining all the components of power -- military, economic, and spiritual -- in proper balance? And as we search for the right answer, we might pause over one subtlety in the Eisenhower equation: per the rules of multiplication, if any one of the three components falls to zero, then the product is zero, regardless of the size of the other two components.

So today, as we think about the Greater Middle East, where the U.S. is involved in a half-dozen conflicts, are we satisfied that all of our equation components -- including the meta-component of wisdom -- are being properly understood and utilized?

Many argue that, in fact, U.S. policy has been reduced to just one component -- the military. That is, whom can we threaten, bomb, or occupy?

This over-militarization of policy was ably chronicled in Dana Priest's 2003 book , The Mission Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military . The author describes a Pentagon that had grown so powerful bureaucratically that it had overwhelmed the State Department -- and nowhere more so than in the Middle East.

This disparity starts with visuals: the generals arrive in style, swooping in on military aircraft, resplendent in their uniforms, greeted by the pomp and circumstance of salutes and reviews, bearing PowerPoints of cool new weapons systems to buy and perhaps use. By contrast, unadorned Foreign Service officers tend to plunk along on civilian flights, typically talking only of caution and mediation.

As a result, the center of policy gravity for the Middle East has shifted from Foggy Bottom to the five-sided building across the Potomac, and from there to Central Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, and from there to myriad Centcom outposts 7,000 miles distant. As they say, if you're a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail -- and the Pentagon is one big hammer.

We can observe that this militarization had been building up long prior to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which began two presidencies ago. Indeed, the militarizing process has been both deep-rooted and bipartisan. And this, of course, is the sort of long-term transformation that Eisenhower warned against.

The argument here is not for a cut in the Pentagon's budget or for an increase in the State Department's budget. Instead, we need something more fundamental -- a national conversation about true national security. As Ike said in that fabled address, "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Assuring that security and liberty "may prosper together" -- Eisenhower's message is as important today as it was then. about the author

James P. Pinkerton is a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a regular panelist on the Fox "News Watch" show, the highest-rated media-critique show on television. He is a former columnist for Newsday, and is the editor of SeriousMedicineStrategy.org. He has written for publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Review, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Fortune, The Huffington Post , and The Jerusalem Post . He is the author of What Comes Next: The End of Big Government--and the New Paradigm Ahead (Hyperion: 1995). He worked in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and in the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns. In 2008 he served as a senior adviser to the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. Married to the former Elizabeth Dial, he is a graduate of Stanford University.

kouroi 5 hours ago

Gosh, but we still have to privatize, several economies (China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) for the benefit of Wall Street et. comp. How can we do that without DoD...?

Chuckles John Achterhof 3 days ago

Just to be clear, it's documented that Ike's first draft had Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex; aides convinced him to cut that out, which is sad because it's key. Defense contractors always spread out their facilities to different states and
Congressional districts. Jobs!
David Naas 3 days ago
I Like Ike.

Always did, even as I recall when he was in the White House. In his time, the Right gnashed their teeth at his "liberalism", and the Left gnashed their teeth art his "conservatism".

His equation anchored on "spiritual". In Ike's view, America was an agency for Good, or at least aspired to be. Today, all of our "leaders" echo the words of Templeton (the Rat) in Charlotte's Web -- "What's in it for me?" And goodness is not even given the homage of hypocrisy.

polistra24 3 days ago
Thanks for bringing out the equation. I'd never heard of it before! Putin understands it and uses it. We lost it a long time ago.
Chuckles 3 days ago
Ike was likely familiar with General Smedley D. Butler (USMC) seminal work War is a Racket , and bought into at least some it.

[Jan 18, 2020] The Mission Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military Dana Priest 9780393010244 Amazon.com Books

Notable quotes:
"... Unfortunately, the book does little more to move into an analysis of US foreign policy decision making beyond the military's impact nor does it make recommendations for changes to better the current situation. The book seemed to be more of a compilation of "reports from the field" than an analysis of foreign policy decision making and the military's role in it. I suppose the author's goals and my expectations were decidedly different but I expected more from this book. ..."
Jan 18, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Hugh Claffey , December 9, 2012

Book published in 2003, still very relevant

I read David Halberstam's `War in a Time of Peace' and this seemed like a good continuation. Halbersam covers the Bush 1, Clinton period, in retrospect an idyllic period. This book transitions through 9/11, but really covers the development of the Combatant Commander for the US Military in the various areas of the world - Pacific Command, Central Command etc. It does cover the successful invasion of Afghanistan, it covers conflicts in Kosova, Columbia and relationships in the Middle East and Asia. It doesn't cover the Iraq invasion or subsequent failures.

I was particularly struck by the contrast between the resources available for the military commanders in various countries, and the US ambassadors to the same countries. The commanders can have transport and material resources which are an order of magnitude away from the civilians, and therefore the local politicians/dictators get the message that the US relationship is mainly a military one. Priest gives a good overview, especially in the Kosovo, of the power and limitations of the military-only relationship. She also concludes that even the military must take some part in peace-making and low level nation-building, but the bigger story in that the US, by virtue of its size and power, must take a nation-development role if it hopes to avoid having a low-level war with the developing world for generations to come. In fact the situation has probably got clearly since, and the current debate about leaving Afghanistan and non-intervention in Syria, makes this book appear prophetic.

Lastly there are remarkable portraits of Generals Zinni and Blair who were combatant commanders in the Central and Pacific commands during this time period. The contrast between their power and status when in the military and their post-military career is significant (though not mentioned in the book), Zinni was messed about when proposed but eventually not selected as ambassador to Saudia Arabia, Blair was later director of National Intelligence in the Obama White House, but was could not get along in that particular fishbowl and was fired in mid 2010.

Sir Charles Panther , February 27, 2006
An Adequate Overview, yet Factually Incorrect, Fundamentally Flawed

Overall, this book is a basic overview of the structure and operation of the US armed forces theater commands in the final days of their power and prestige, before the Bush administration centralized control, power, prestige, decision- and policy-making to Washington, DC. It is a view of the last great days of the regional Commanders-in-Chief, the CINCs, and their geographically-oriented theater commands of immense space, scope, power and influence.

My criticism of this book is straightforward and simple, yet speaks directly to the overall character and accuracy of this work: Dana Priest is grossly incorrect in her statements, and therefore in the conclusions she makes, specifically in Chapter Ten, "The Indonesian Handshake." I was intimately and directly involved in the entire episode, and it did not unfold as she describes.

I quote from page 230: "Meanwhile, since January 1998, seven intelligence analysts at the 'Joint Intelligence Center Pacific' (JIC), the world largest military-intelligence center, in a windowless concrete building near (US Pacific Command CINC, Admiral Dennis) Blair's headquarters in Hawaii, had tracked the movements of Indonesian military and militia forces in East Timor and Indonesia. The Indonesia desk in the JIC had grown from one to nine persons and maintained a round-the-clock 'crisis action' mode. Over the preceding year, the analysts had received a tenfold increase in imagery and a fivefold increase in electronic collection. It was actually too much to process."

First of all, Priest blows the name of the institution she's describing. It's the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, or JICPAC (now Joint Intelligence Operations Center, Pacific, or JIOC-PAC). Second, the "Indonesia desk" implies a single person monitoring this country. That was never the case, as a team of at least five analysts had always been assigned to maritime Southeast Asia. Suharto's 1998 fall had ramped up both Pacific Command's and JICPAC's attention to Indonesia, and the scheduled elections of mid-1999 and following East Timor referendum were anticipated months in advance, with commensurate analytical adjustments and assignments. Newly assigned to the Pacific Command intelligence directorate, I was detailed to JICPAC personally by the Pacific Command Director for Intelligence, Rear Admiral Rick Porterfield to assist in this effort.

I was one of two US Army Foreign Area Officers (FAOs) assigned to this issue. I had just completed five years of training in Southeast Asia, with an International Studies masters degree, both Indonesian and Malaysian language training, and attendance at the 1998 class of the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College. My partner was an Indonesian staff college graduate. We two Southeast Asia FAOs, both senior US Army majors, were the officers in charge. I was the Chief of the East Timor Crisis Cell for the entire period of the East Timor crisis, and I take immense pride in the work that I and especially my analysts performed during this period. This was the best analytical team I've ever worked with, experienced, highly intellectual, eager, motivated, and thoroughly familiar with the issue at hand, as well as all of the related regional and functional issues. They performed brilliantly in an extended crisis mode.

At no time was the information we were requesting and receiving "too much to process." Early on, Admiral Blair and Rear Admiral Porterfield recognized the potential for unrest and crisis, and supported all command activities to prepare for all possible outcomes, which we explored and analyzed continuously. I and my people updated both leaders daily with briefings, papers, and direct consultation, which increased in frequency, intensity and scope as events unfolded. We aggressively worked with all relevant and engaged national-level agencies and elements for our intelligence collection requirements, and based upon national-level reconciliation we were given what was available and appropriate to the situation. Yes, we were receiving increased collection and reporting, through all intelligence disciplines and channels, not merely the ones Priest cites. At no time was anything we were doing or being asked to do too much for us to process. At no time was the information that we were requesting from national-level intelligence collection too much for us to process. The support we received from the commanding officer of JICPAC, now Marine Major General Mike Ennis, was outstanding in every possible way. He supported our needs and actions personally and fully, a consummate professional and directly engaged commanding officer. Whatever resources and assets we requested, he personally attended to those needs, immediately.

I challenge Ms. Priest to name the source(s) who provided such grossly incorrect information. I was present in Hawaii as she did her research there, and at no time were either my FAO partner or I contacted to discuss our roles in the crisis.

I offer a highly telling anecdote which illustrates Ms. Priest's qualifications to write on this specific issue: Upon entering JICPAC for the very first time, Ms. Priest asked informally and good-naturedly of her escorts, "Why is the Australian flag flying outside?" Well, yes, both Pacific Command and JICPAC work very closely with our Australian partners, always have, and enjoy doing so immensely. But JICPAC does not fly a foreign flag from its quarterdeck. Of course, Ms. Priest had mistaken the Hawaiian flag with its Union Jack in the upper left corner as the Australian flag, telling the JICPAC intelligence specialists, researchers, and analysts more than enough about her familiarity with Pacific Command, showing a small yet true measure of the depth of expertise and background knowledge she brought to her work in the US Pacific Command theater.

Bottom Line: Take this book as a historical account of the now-gone days of the power and prestige of the theater commands, a late 90s snapshot. That being said, the book is fundamentally flawed and factually incorrect, at least as far as Chapter Ten reads. I cannot speak for the remainder of the work, but my direct and intimate experience with the events she grossly incorrectly describes here is more than enough for me to dismiss this book in its entirety.


Eric Johnson December 12, 2003

Mission Accomplished?
Format: Hardcover

Dana Priest is a well-respected journalist with the Washington Post and a frequent guest on NBC's "Meet the Press." She specializes on military and intelligence topics, so it was with great interest that I read her book "The Mission". Her thesis, that the US military is playing an ever increasing role in US foreign policy matters and that the nation is becoming dependent on the military's presence in foreign affairs, could not be more timely.
She presents her argument via a series of vignettes which cover senior military leaders as well as a broad spectrum of recent military operations. She primarily writes from the military's perspective and its impact on foreign policy. The profiles of the four, 4-star commanders provide the reader with a sense of the situation each commander faced in 1999 and how their ideals influenced not only their area of responsibility but also our foreign affairs. Priest chronicles our military activities with examples that range from major operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans, our covert drug war in South America, and the relatively unnoticed actions in Nigeria and Indonesia. Her stories capture the military's struggle to achieve success across the entire spectrum of operations.

She does a good job of stating her argument and offers varied examples of where the military is setting the foreign policy agenda. Unfortunately, the book does little more to move into an analysis of US foreign policy decision making beyond the military's impact nor does it make recommendations for changes to better the current situation. The book seemed to be more of a compilation of "reports from the field" than an analysis of foreign policy decision making and the military's role in it. I suppose the author's goals and my expectations were decidedly different but I expected more from this book.

I feel her point would have benefited from a comparison of the State Dept's and the DoD's role in US foreign policy making. She also needed to consider the contributions of non-governmental organizations to the foreign policy equation. Additionally, if the author thinks we are becoming reliant on the military to conduct foreign policy, she should include recommendations to counter that reliance. I enjoyed reading the well-written vignettes, thought this is a great introduction on the topic of political-military relations as it impacts foreign affairs, but would like to see more analysis and less story-telling.

A worthwhile read.

[Jan 18, 2020] Washington is certainly it's impossible to make an agreement with it and, if you should think you have done so, it will break it. A dangerous, uncontrollable madman, staggering around blowing everything up

Jan 18, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

For some years Washington, an implacable enemy of Moscow, has been getting less and less predictable. Lavrov and Kerry spend hours locked up negotiating a deal in Syria ; within a week the US military attacks a Syrian Army unit; "by mistake" . Who's in charge? Now with the murder of Soleimani, possibly on a Washington-approved peace mission, Washington has moved to another level of lawlessness and is exploring the next depth as it defies Baghdad's order to get out. A pirate power. The outside problems for Moscow aren't getting smaller, are they? Washington is certainly недоговороспособны – it's impossible to make an agreement with it and, if you should think you have done so, it will break it. A dangerous, uncontrollable madman, staggering around blowing everything up – is any foreign leader now to be assumed to be on Washington's murder list? Surviving its decay is a big job indeed. The problems are getting bigger in the Final Days of the Imperium Americanum.

[Jan 18, 2020] The joke is on us: Without the USSR the USA oligarchy resorted to cannibalism and devour the American people

Highly recommended!
Jan 18, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

In another sense, however, the passing of the cold war could not have been more disorienting. In 1987, Georgi Arbatov, a senior adviser to the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev , had warned: "We are going to do a terrible thing to you – we are going to deprive you of an enemy."

...Winning the cold war brought Americans face-to-face with a predicament comparable to that confronting the lucky person who wins the lottery: hidden within a windfall is the potential for monumental disaster.

[Jan 16, 2020] Oh, we'll spend the money alright: $37 screws, a $7,622 coffee maker, $640 toilet seats; : suppliers to our military just won't be oversold

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jan 15 2020 8:54 utc | 139

Posted by: V | Jan 15 2020 5:15 utc | 127

Oh, we'll spend the money alright;

$37 screws, a $7,622 coffee maker, $640 toilet seats; : suppliers to our military just won't be oversold
https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1986-07-30-vw-18804-story.html

DOD and HUD $21 Trillion Missing Money: Report & Supporting Documentation
https://missingmoney.solari.com/dod-and-hud-missing-money-supporting-documentation/

[Jan 16, 2020] that it isn't America (i.e., America the nation-state, which most Americans still believe they live in) that is militarily occupying much of the planet, making a mockery of international law, bombing and invading other countries, and assassinating heads of state and military officers with complete impunity. Or, rather, sure, it is America but America is not America."

Jan 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star

January 14, 2020 at 4:11 pm
"World War III is not going to happen because World War III already happened and the global capitalist empire won. [Where is the "capitalism"?] Take a look at these NATO maps (make sure to explore all the various missions). Then take a look at this Smithsonian map of where the U.S. military is "combating terrorism." And there are plenty of other maps you can google. What you will be looking at is the global capitalist empire. Not the American empire, the global capitalist empire.
If that sounds like a distinction without a difference well, it kind of is, and it kind of isn't. What I mean by that is that it isn't America (i.e., America the nation-state, which most Americans still believe they live in) that is militarily occupying much of the planet, making a mockery of international law, bombing and invading other countries, and assassinating heads of state and military officers with complete impunity. Or, rather, sure, it is America but America is not America."

BINGO!!!!!

https://www.anti-empire.com/ww3-flickers-out-after-terroristy-terrorists-inflict-mass-non-casualties/

[Jan 16, 2020] Does the United States's withdrawal from the JCPOA constitute non-compliance, or not? If so, does their non-compliance constitute breach of contract

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joshua , Jan 15 2020 2:39 utc | 115

Does the United States's withdrawal from the JCPOA constitute non-compliance, or not? If so, does their non-compliance constitute breach of contract, or not?

[Jan 16, 2020] The US extorted their own "allies" to get them to betray Iran and destroy their own reputations

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Jan 15 2020 19:40 utc | 175

woah

WaPo: Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't

The U.S. effort to coerce European foreign policy through tariffs, a move one European official equated to "extortion," represents a new level of hardball tactics with the United States' oldest allies, underscoring the extraordinary tumult in the transatlantic relationship.
...
U.S. officials conveyed the threat directly to officials in London, Berlin and Paris rather than through their embassies in Washington, said a senior European official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.

Kadath , Jan 15 2020 20:05 utc | 179

Yes the US extorted their own "allies" to get them to betray Iran and destroy their own reputations. I must say the one thing i begrudgingly like about Trump is his honest upfront thuggist actions. After the backroom betrayals of Obama bush clinton merkel and the rest its almost refreshingly honest. Also i can think of no quicker way of destroying the US empire than by threatening your own allies the MIC must be desperate to start a new never ending war, although perhaps they should be careful of what they wish for

[Jan 16, 2020] Bulling EU: Trumps calculations were (obviously) right. EU would have never risked a massive economic crisis because of a breakdown in US-EU trade by siding with Iran.

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Jan 15 2020 2:14 utc | 113

Trumps calculations were (obviously) right. EU would have never risked a massive economic crisis because of a breakdown in US-EU trade by siding with Iran.
Sadly, they are doing what every other country would do in this position to protect their own self percieved national interests.

Like China,India and Russia too now more and more totally abiding by sanctions and in case of China winding down oil trade even more.

In this time of lurking economic crisis, US sanctions could cripple Europe from one day to the next. With our countries also being on the edge of social unrest, and mass conflict between elites and people, a massive economic crisis would bring everything tumbling down.

This is the sad reality. Risking the sure economic meltdown to save an already lost Iran deal would trade the social and economic welbeing of their voters for Iran. The deal has been lost ever since Trump annouced his opposition. This is the reality. Triggering a crisis on the back of its own voters without a real chance to save that deal would have been an empty gesture anyway.

Realpolitik.

Good thing is Merkel seems to have had a great day with Putin. EU will silently learn from this and warm ties with Russia. If not for its people, for its business.

The deal was a good idea, but it always was destined to end like this. Iran will go nuclear, and the US and Isreal will have "no alternative" for shooting war. If they dare now.


Peter AU1 , Jan 15 2020 2:30 utc | 114

Paragragh 14 of the UNSC resolution is worth thinking about.

"14. Affirms that the application of the provisions of previous resolutions pursuant to paragraph 12 do not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with the JCPOA, this resolution and the previous resolutions;"

To date, only Russia and China are holding up their ends of the deal. Iran, sticking to the deal is on the losing side as it has no trade with the EU yet it still must stay within the provisions of the deal. I believe there were clauses on what Iran could do if other parties were not upholding their end.
The nuke deal is dead and Iran knows it. Under Paragragh 14, Russia China can sign up to all deals allowed under the resolution and when snapback provisions occur, Iran Russia china can still operate contracts it has signed before sanctions reinstated. This way, Iran gets the benefits of trade and investment with China and Russia that could not have occurred before the nuke deal, but at the same time, Iran will no longer be bound by the deal.
China signed up a huge oil deal with Iran not long back. Russia have also been signing a good number of contracts. None of these will be effected by UNSC sanction.

Overall, the nuke deal was a win for Iran. Pity the US and Euro's have reneged, but still, a win for Iran.

Joshua , Jan 15 2020 2:39 utc | 115
Does the United States's withdrawal from the JCPOA constitute non-compliance, or not? If so, does their non-compliance constitute breach of contract, or not?
karlof1 , Jan 15 2020 2:43 utc | 116
Peter AU 1 @114--

Now Peter, do you really think the Outlaw US Empire or its poodles will abide by contract law in general and the JCPOA contract law specifically?

IMO, the JCPOA's outcome is becoming similar to the outcome of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in that it bought time and showed who's the true aggressor. I recall writing the Eurasians need to behave as if they're at war with the EU-3 and their master--and that includes the Eurasian nations who so far aren't too much affected by the fallout from the JCPOA's failure.

What has me curious is the nature of the talks between Iran and Qatar.

Piotr Berman , Jan 15 2020 3:11 utc | 119 Jackrabbit , Jan 15 2020 3:12 utc | 120
Peter AU1 @114

=
Under Paragragh 14, Russia China can sign up to all deals allowed under the resolution and when snapback provisions occur, Iran Russia china can still operate contracts it has signed before sanctions reinstated.

Not sure about that. Paragraph 14 has this constraining language:

... provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with the JCPOA, this resolution and the previous resolutions.
My reading of this phrase is that he word "and" implies that the contracts must satisfy provisions of ALL of these.

Put another way: When the snap back occurs, then contracts signed are exempt except that they must comply with the provisions that are snapped back (AND) the JCPOA, AND this resolution!?!?

Yes, it seems nonsensical. But how else can one interpret the "and"?

=
Overall, the nuke deal was a win for Iran.

It was a 'win' for both sides.

I've always believed that USA entered into the JCPOA to buy time because Syrian "regime change" was taking longer than expected. I've read many times that neocons and/or neocon sympathizers believed that "Damascus is on the road" to Tehran."

USA-Israel want to fight Iran before it gets a bomb. Iran bought time to prepare for that fight.

!!

snake , Jan 15 2020 3:42 utc | 121
The EU cannot lead in anything - it is a completely owned and operated US tool. It is a big zero in providing humanity any help with the big problem of our time: the 'indispensable and exceptional' supremacist US. by: AriusArmenian @ 15

evilempire @ 74 <= I agree the Iranians probably did not shoot down the 737.. I posted to MOA a link to a presstv article, headlined no missile hit the passenger liner, and the link even said --its official.. within a short few minutes after tha, the pressTV link disappeared and PressTV replaced it with a new story , Iranians admit they had mistakenly shot down the PS752 taking off from Tehran. This suggest either a military coup in Iran, or Iraq double crossed Iran. killed in Iraq by Trump were the leaders of the Shia religious arm (IRCG leaders )

The unusually harsh words and expression in anger by Khomeini, said he would severely punish those 8 persons responsible for the mistake, <= non characteristic of Khomeini , suggesting a trusted friend let him down; the two arms of the Military may be at war with each other and Trump was helping the Iranian Military (eliminate the upper leadership of the Revolutionary guard)? Today's JCOPA by the European powers issue suggest insiders have been at work all weekend. Russia and China silence all fit betrayal. Have the two separate branches of Iran military been at odds with each?
Imagine the White house wiping out Qaseum Soleimani and other IRCG members drawn on false pretense into Iraq.?

here is Bs report on the matter
The Iranian Armed Forces General Staff just admitted (in Farsi, English translation) that its air defenses inadvertently shot down the Ukrainian flight PS 752 shortly after it took off on January 8 in Tehran :

2- In early hours after the missile attack [on US' Ain al-Assad base in Iraq], the military flights of the US' terrorist forces had increased around the country. The Iranian defence units received news of witnessing flying targets moving towards Iran's strategic centres, and then several targets were observed in some [Iranian] radars, which incited further sensitivity at the Air Defence units.
3- Under such sensitive and critical circumstances, the Ukrainian airline's Flight PS752 took off from Imam Khomeini Airport, and when turning around, it approached a sensitive military site of the IRGC, taking the shape and altitude of a hostile target. In such conditions, due to human error and in an unintentional move, the airplane was hit [by the Air Defence], which caused the martyrdom of a number of our compatriots and the deaths of several foreign nationals.

4- The General Staff of the Armed Forces offers condolences and expresses sympathy with the bereaved families of the Iranian and foreign victims, and apologizes for the human error. It also gives full assurances that it will make major revision in the operational procedures of its armed forces in order to make impossible the recurrence of such errors. It will also immediately hand over the culprits to the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces for prosecution.

The Pentagon had claimed that Iran shot down the airliner but the evidence it presented was flimsy and not sufficient as the U.S. tends to spread disinformation about Iran.

The Associated Press errs when it says that the move was "stoked by the American drone strike on Jan. 3 that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani". The move was stoked five days earlier when the U.S. killed 31 Iraqi security forces near the Syrian border despite the demands by the Iraqi prime minister and president not to do so. It was further stoked when the U.S. assassinated Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, the deputy commander of the Popular Militia Forces and a national hero in Iraq.b at 19:09 UTC | Comments (150)

The State Department issued a rather aggressive response to Abdul-Mahdi's request:b at 19:09 UTC | Comments (150)
Very interesting post. something is up Thanks.

Mao , Jan 15 2020 3:51 utc | 122
This picture

https://www.moonofalabama.org/images5/europeanpoodles.jpg

in many ways resembles another picture:

https://i.redd.it/ahft7ubghjt31.jpg

Mao , Jan 15 2020 4:19 utc | 124
Posted by: V | Jan 15 2020 4:04 utc | 123

Current Europe is a selling girl of imperialism.

moon , Jan 15 2020 4:58 utc | 125
Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jan 15 2020 2:14 utc | 113

thanks, yes, the US economic power directly and indirectly via economic laws or extra-territorial sanctions. A company simply cannot make a deal with Iran if it doesn't want to be ruined by US legal means. Sad, but true.

Iranian frozen assets in international accounts are calculated to be worth between $100 billion[1][2] and $120 billion.[3][4] Almost $1.973 billion of Iran's assets are frozen in the United States.[5] According to the Congressional Research Service, in addition to the money locked up in foreign bank accounts, Iran's frozen assets include real estate and other property. The estimated value of Iran's real estate in the U.S. and their accumulated rent is $50 million.[1] Besides the assets frozen in the U.S., some parts of Iran's assets are frozen around the world by the United Nations.[1]

***********

Now I will have to cry myself to sleep. Trump, such a poor man...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 15 2020 3:11 utc | 119

Yes, I am getting tired of that meme too. The poor helpless king of the world, if only he could do what he wants ... if only he could "drain the swamp"

He promised to abolish the JCPOA, he suggested he would deal with the increase of Iran's power in the region and he promised to restore US and military power to it's old (lost) world domination. A world domination Russia and China would need to deal with too:

He already promised he would abolish JCPOA during his 2016 election campaign. And he promised to not only make both the American economy and military strong again. So America can exert at least as much power as it did under the great Ronald Reagan.

Secondly, we have to rebuild our military and our economy. The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded their military capability, but look at what's happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent, has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal. And it has to happen immediately. Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The Navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time. The Air Force is about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today. These planes are older than virtually everybody in this room.

And what are we doing about this? President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we're asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.

We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.

V , Jan 15 2020 5:02 utc | 126
Mao | Jan 15 2020 4:19 utc | 124
Current Europe is a selling girl of imperialism.

Indeed! The western band of galoots are captives of their white skin color...
Very unbecoming to the rest of the non-white world = majority.
Fortunately, many of us see past our skin colors, whatever that may be...

V , Jan 15 2020 5:15 utc | 127
We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.

Posted by: moon | Jan 15 2020 4:58 utc | 125

Oh, we'll spend the money alright; for more of the inferior, junk, weaponry already in our arsenals.
Planes that can't fly in the rain, aircraft carriers that can't be commisioned, and battle rifles (that's a misnomer; the M-14 was the last U.S. battle rifle) (M-4 & M-16) that are unreliable in intense combat situations. The M-16 should have been replaced during the Viet Nam war...
But there it still is; almost 60 years later...

Lurker of the Dark , Jan 15 2020 5:41 utc | 128
steven t. jonhson @5

Personally I thought the cartoon was pretty good. The artist even thought that the detail of the dogs' ass holes was important enough to include. Notably none of them have any external genitalia, hence "bitches" also being accurate. I bet if we could see the rendition from the other side, Israel's face would be hideous despite the appealing rear view!

Cyrus , Jan 15 2020 6:50 utc | 131
This is a repeat of the EU3 negotiations with Iran that ended with a EU3 deal offered to Iran that experts called "a lot of pretty wrappig around an empty box" because as it turned out, the EU3 had been promising the US that they would not recognize Iran's right to enrichment contrary to what they were telling the Iranians as part of the EU3's effort to drag out Iran's suspension of enrichment.
The result was that Khatami was embarrassed and Ahmadinejad was elected, as Jack Straw said later: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/us-scuppered-deal-with-iran-in-2005-says-then-british-foreign-minister/

So again the Eu is playing the good cop to the US bad cop, and they keep goalposts moving
This has been a consistent pattern going back years.
All along Iran has been making better compromise offers than the JCPOA only to see the goalposts moved because this conflict was never really about nukes just as the invasion of Iraq was not about WMDs, all that is just a pretext for a policy of imposed regime-change.

NOTE That the Obama administration itself said that the JCPOA is "non-binding" funny how Iran is accused of "breaching" or "violating" it yet Trump is only said to have "abandoned" or even "withdrawn" from the deal

Richard , Jan 15 2020 6:50 utc | 132
Sad news. European leaders are pathetic, craven cowards, hostages to the evil American Regime...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/01/14/welcome-to-the-american-regime/

Australian lady , Jan 15 2020 6:51 utc | 133
"President Rohani represent's the interests of the bourgeoisie in Tehran and Esfahan, merchants oriented toward international trade and hard hit by US sanctions. Sheikh Rohani is a long time friend of the US deep state: he was the first Iranian contact between the Reagan administration and Israel during the Iran-contra affair in 1985. It was he who introduced Hashem Rafsanjani to Oliver North's men, allowing him to buy arms, to become commander-in-chief of the armies and incidentally the richest man in the country, and the president of the Islamic Republic."
Thierry Meyssan. Voltairenet. org.
Wednesday morning, my first read before b's M. O. A. is Thierry. Really folks, it is indespensible. One can support the I. R. I.,but still reserve criticism of the domestic politics of Iran.
Steve , Jan 15 2020 6:56 utc | 134
Outside the West, people don't see any difference between Europe and the USA. So it is known that which ever direction the US takes, Europe will follow. Both the USA and Europe are Israeli colonies. So unless Israel objects whatever the US does would always be the Eurooean policy.
powerandpeople , Jan 15 2020 8:41 utc | 138
Annex B, paragraph 5 allows Iran to purchase weapons from Russia (for example...) after 5 years from signing of the Agreement in 2015.

So 2020 for weapons.

This is why Russia is so insistent the agreement holds together for the 5 years, at least. If it doesn't, due to this action by Germany etc, then they can't sell to Iran as all old sanctions will 'snap back'.

(Other restrictions are lifted on longer time frames, 8 and 10 years. Also, other matters remain open forever until security council agrees the nuclear proliferation issue in Iran is dead and buried.)

V , Jan 15 2020 9:05 utc | 142 Russ , Jan 15 2020 11:08 utc | 143
powerandpeople 138 says:

Annex B, paragraph 5 allows Iran to purchase weapons from Russia (for example...) after 5 years from signing of the Agreement in 2015.

So 2020 for weapons.

This is why Russia is so insistent the agreement holds together for the 5 years, at least. If it doesn't, due to this action by Germany etc, then they can't sell to Iran as all old sanctions will 'snap back'.

There's an example of how appeasement and idiot-legality are way past their expiration date. It's clear the UN itself, like all other existing international bodies, has been fully weaponized with Russia the ultimate target.

In the process of "first they came for Irak, then they came for Libya [with the full consent of Russia and China]...now they're coming for Irak again and for Iran....", well obviously Russia is the one they'll ultimately be coming for.

It really is time to hang together or hang separately. Although Russia should remain cautious about direct military stand-offs, it's definitely way past time to start openly challenging and flouting war-by-sanctions, and to start constructing international bodies alternative to the UN and other imperial weapons.

As for fighting within the UN, someone earlier said Russia and China wouldn't be able to prevent the "snap-back" of UN sanctions on Iran. Why not? I'm not asking for a technical-legalistic answer, but a power-based answer. Self-evidently the "legality" ship has sunk, and anyone who still makes a fetish of it is fighting with one hand tied behind one's back.

I don't say gratuitously flout legality; certainly there's great propaganda value in seeming to adhere to international law in the face of the open lawlessness of the US. But where it comes to critical battles like getting Iran out from under the sanctions, in the process dealing a blow to the alleged impregnability of the sanctions weapon, the most important thing is the real result.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 11:14 utc | 144
Trump has in fact done more to ensure that Iran will have a nuclear weapon than any other president through his abrupt withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) and his assassination of Soleimani..

Trump and Congress Double Down on Demonizing Iran

And this is why you'll never see Philip Giraldi on CNN, Fox News, or any other US broadcast network.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 11:14 utc | 144
Trump has in fact done more to ensure that Iran will have a nuclear weapon than any other president through his abrupt withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) and his assassination of Soleimani..

Trump and Congress Double Down on Demonizing Iran

And this is why you'll never see Philip Giraldi on CNN, Fox News, or any other US broadcast network.

Peter AU1 , Jan 15 2020 11:23 utc | 145
Russ
Russia and I think China are working towards a multi-polar world order based on international law.
Russia is pushing this vision and to pull other countries in, it has to walk the talk.
PR information warfare play a big part in state decisions. As we have seen from the Uki plane shootdown Euro's beginning the process to trigger snapback, A small anti Iran block sprang to life (UK, Canada, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Sweden) that will be great PR for the US in its anti Iran crusade.
As I put in another comment, everyone likes a winner
Bemildred , Jan 15 2020 13:30 utc | 148
Alistair Crooke:

Reading Sun Tzu in Tehran

I also recommend the short piece by Patrick Armstrong posted by moon up there.

I've been of the opinion from the beginning of this that the main reason Russia & China have not leapt to the aid of Iran is that Iran does not need or want them to, yet at least. Crooke's mention of the attack on the Saudi oil facilities is a connection that needs to be made, that was not a fluke.

But it's a very "asymmetric" situation, as Crooke points out. Interesting times.

Bemildred , Jan 15 2020 13:30 utc | 148 peter mcloughlin , Jan 15 2020 13:50 utc | 149
And each consequence leads to yet another consequence. But world leaders do not recognize where this path is leading humanity. If they did they might be able to stop – or perhaps not. They delude themselves to the real destination of the journey.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/


Formerly T-Bear , Jan 15 2020 13:57 utc | 150
@ V | Jan 15 2020 1:32 utc | 104

Does this new 'Policy of Deterrence' apply only to Iran? Could become interesting if it doesn't. Good example of 'be careful of what you wish for'.

Likklemore , Jan 15 2020 14:07 utc | 153
b wrote

"But those promises [of the EU] were empty"

Indeed they were, and now we know it was just a charade. Triggering the Dispute Resolution Mechanism on basis intel supplied by Bibi is a ruse to replace the JCPOA. Where have we heard this before?
Oh, Iran is less than a year from getting the nuclear bomb.

Iran Rejects 'Trump Deal' Proposed by UK PM Johnson as a Replacement for JCPOA


On Tuesday, Britain, France and Germany launched the 2015 Iran nuclear deal's dispute resolution mechanism, which they said was partly prompted by concerns that Tehran might be less than a year away from developing a nuclear weapon.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has rejected a proposal for a new "Trump deal" to resolve a nuclear spat as a "strange" offer, pointing the finger at the US President over his failure to deliver on promises.


"This Mr. Prime Minister in London, I don't know how he thinks. He says let's put aside the nuclear deal and put the Trump plan in action. If you take the wrong step, it will be to your detriment. Pick the right path. The right path is to return to the nuclear deal", Rouhani said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Trump to replace the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with his own new pact to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The US president responded by tweeting that he agreed with Johnson on a "Trump deal".

Zarif Says 'It Depends on Europe' if JCPOA Remains After Dispute Resolution Mechanism Activation. [.]


wendy davis , Jan 15 2020 14:20 utc | 154
my apologies if anyone's brought this already, but the plot now thickens. a commenter at the site at which i cross-post brought this to my attention on my 'iran makes arrests over accidental downing of Ukrainian airliner'.

it's a tweet leading to new york times coverage of a 'Exclusive: Security camera footage verified by the New York Times confirms that 2 missiles, fired 30 seconds apart from an Iranian military site, hit the Ukrainian plane'

i'd used a free click to pull text, including:

"The new video was uploaded to YouTube by an Iranian user around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
The date visible on the footage is "2019-10-17," not Jan. 8, the day the plane was downed. We believe this is because the camera system is using a Persian calendar, not a Gregorian one. Jan. 8 converts to the 18th of Dey, the 10th month in the Persian calendar. Digitally that would display as 2019-10-18 in the video. One theory is that the discrepancy of one day can be explained by a difference between Persian and Gregorian leap years or months." "

but it's everywhere already, set in stone, the WSJ news coverage included:

"The video was verified by Storyful, a social-media-intelligence company owned by News Corp, parent of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. It raises new questions about how forthcoming Iranian authorities were when, after three days of denial, they admitted they had mistakenly struck the Ukraine International Airlines flight without mentioning a second missile."

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1217160457385103360

the video obviously bring up a dozen more questions, including what it shows, where, when, etc., but corporate coverage assures us that 'iran has lied about the airliner thrice now: evil iran'.

wait for even more sanctions, more assassinations.

snake , Jan 15 2020 14:26 utc | 155
What bothers me about this entire thread is no one can see either a way to end the suppression every player on the field has been subjected to by the private mobsters. . War whether by WMDs or Sanctions. produces the same, millions will die and nothing will alter the possession of power, and the abuse of the masses, by the few.

The thesis "the nation state system is the structure that allows the mobsters (private bankers, private corporations, and privateers) to control sufficient authority to rule the world". Without strength from deadly force, and authority from engineered consent, ruling the world is difficult.

No one has found a way to pin the maker of wrongdoing chaos button, or convicted criminal button on the private mobsters. As the private mobsters dance, and side step their positions between the 206 or so nation states, they avoid being boxed up, and they install their puppets in every place they land. It is the puppets who deliver to the international arenas the voting power that allow the private mobsters to control conflict outcomes; and puppets in-service-to the private mobsters oversee and manage the regional and local political and economic domains. In such a situation, the law becomes progressively more suppressive; it produces a hierarchy of relative power and the hierarchy allows to order the nation states relative to their power in the hierarchy. The world might even be safer without any government at all than to allow itself to be victimized by the private mobster use of the nation state system. Clearly the mightier the actor in the system, the less the system can or will hold the mighty actor to conform to the rule of law. So the rule of law suppresses the little guy and enhances the big guy.. If there were no nation state system, there would not be any push button suppression.

There has to be an answer.. that is not war or decimation of more humanity.

chb , Jan 15 2020 14:37 utc | 156
The only goal of Europe in sticking to the JPCoA when Trump walks out is to keep Tehran from developping its nuke while excruciating sanctions hinder all normal life. Regime change is still the goal, be it at the expense of european trade.
Think of NorthStream, or of the two-state fiction in Palestine where " there's no one to broke peace with ".
Robert Snefjella , Jan 15 2020 14:58 utc | 157
There has to be an answer.. that is not war or decimation of more humanity.
Posted by: snake | Jan 15 2020 14:26 utc | 155

One lesson from history is that it is important that those big shots just beneath the ultimate societal power be held to the strictest standards: The law applies to you too, big shot. Clovis effectively adhered to this principle many centuries ago. Putin by reining in the worst of the oligarchs operated in tune with this principle.

The prevailing principle in the West is that oligarchs, the mighty, etc are above the law, while in the US for example swat teams kill pets that bark at their door-smashing arrival at the homes of the little people, and those who invest in private prisons feast financially on slave labor by millions of plebeians 'plea bargained' into servitude.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 15:04 utc | 158
Likklemore | Jan 15 2020 14:07 utc | 153
Oh, Iran is less than a year from getting the nuclear bomb.

Since Bibi, Trump and the rest of Iran's enemies and their indoctrinated populations have been saying this for years it's time for Iran to just get on with it and pull out all stops in putting several together to be used as an option of last resort. But they should make no public confirmation, like Israel. If the warmongering US wants a war they and their allies (and their populations would then be aware of the consequences and would force them to re-assess the situation. IMO this is the only way Iran will survive. If Trump wins another term I can almost guarantee he will forge ahead with attempting another regime change. Iran is already a pariah state in their eyes so really nothing much more for Iran to lose.

A P , Jan 15 2020 15:04 utc | 159
Tim Horton's has been foreign-owned (now Brazil) since 2014, but the rot started to set in as expansion, particularly into the US, became a major goal. Once a reasonable quality purveyor of coffee and made-from-scratch in-store donuts, now just another hawker of industrialized brown swill and partly-cooked/frozen-then-shipped and finish-baked chemical-laced products.

I only patronize a Timmie's if I don't know of a decent quality local bakery/restaurant in that particular area. The devil you know...

bevin , Jan 15 2020 15:15 utc | 160
bemildred draws attention to this article at Strategic Culture:
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/15/reading-sun-tzu-in-tehran/

Another interesting article is this one, which tends to suggest a real softening in Canada's following of the US line.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/trudeau-plane-victims-alive-iran-tensions-200114043724127.html

A P , Jan 15 2020 15:17 utc | 161
To William Gruff: Absolutely, Canada is a vassal state of the US.

Example 1: Cretien managed to keep Cdn troops out of Iraq, but dithering Paul Martin got forced by the US to send non-combat troops into Afghanistan, then bribery-cash-in-brown-envelopes Harper turned it into combat roles that persist to this day.

Ex 2, Diefenbaker scrapped the nearly-complete AVRO Arrow project on direct orders from the US that the total-crap BOMARC missile system was to be implemented instead.

Trudeau sorta confronted the US by legalizing pot, but other than that... the foreign policy leash is very visible on the Canadian lapdog.

Anmie , Jan 15 2020 15:40 utc | 162
Iran doesn't react like the US psychopaths do..
They follow the letter of the law, as they have done with JCPOA.
But in my opinion, Iran should get its nuke capabilities up to par asap. Why continue to want to look as though you're following the law of JCPOA by allowing the IAEA in who reports to the EU/US to continue intrusive inspections when they all plan war against you leaving you nuke defenseless while Israel and Saudis have or are getting nukes?
If Iran has nukes the US will back off. Nuff said.
LuBa , Jan 15 2020 15:41 utc | 163
Mike-SMO

"Israel has done some nasty stuff"

In 70 years of illegal and violent occupation of Palestine through deportation,eradication and no respect for human lives adding what zionist army and services have done through these years and this is "some nasty stuff"..no israel it's the cancer of middle-east..just it!

xLemming , Jan 15 2020 15:43 utc | 164
Posted by: A P | Jan 15 2020 15:17 utc | 161

Thanks AP

The AVRO Arrow fiasco was criminal... "scrapping" doesn't even begin to tell the story... utter destruction was more like it, with welding torches, right down to the last bolt. That plane, with it's mach 2 Iroquois engine was en route to completely embarrassing the US MIC

As well, few people know the AVRO Jetliner story, which preceded the Arrow - the first North American passenger jet aircraft - years ahead of anything the US produced

Jackrabbit , Jan 15 2020 15:48 utc | 165
powerandpeople @138:
Annex B, paragraph 5 allows Iran to purchase weapons ... after 5 years

Thanks for making us aware of this, powerandpeople.

!!

Krollchem , Jan 15 2020 15:59 utc | 166
snake@155

This panel discussion explains how Congress is bought by the military industrial (mostly oil) complex. Then again Eisenhower included Congress in the Cabal several years after he overthrew the democratic leader of Iran. The dialogue of these panel members links all Mideast invasions back to the initial destruction of Iranian government in 1953. Apparently, we cannot have democracy in the Mideast as it is bad for the mafia business.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-W9b-_K_Xo&feature=youtu.be

Trailer Trash , Jan 15 2020 16:00 utc | 167
I recently heard a story on CBC radio about the Arrow. Not only did they destroy the prototype and all parts, they even destroyed all the drawings, except for one set which was smuggled out by a draftsman, who kept them secret for decades. But now they are on display at the "Diefenbaker Canada Centre at the University of Saskatchewan until April 2020" (from Wiki)

It's interesting to learn that Uncle Sam wanted the program stopped. Why didn't some US company just buy Avro instead? Buying out the competition is standard operating procedure for US corporate parasites.

Carciofi , Jan 15 2020 16:02 utc | 168
What has Iran gotten by being "nice" and playing by the rules all these decades?

Nice guys finish last!

h , Jan 15 2020 17:29 utc | 169
wendy davis @154 Rouhani's tweet when accepting responsibility for the downing of the plane stated:

Hassan Rouhani
@HassanRouhani
·
Jan 10
Armed Forces' internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane & death of 176 innocent people.
Investigations continue to identify & prosecute this great tragedy & unforgivable mistake. #PS752

As you can see, Rouhani stated 'missiles' as in plural.

Hope this helps.

[Jan 16, 2020] By signing on to the JCPOA Iran demonstrated a number of things. Iran keeps her word. The US never does. Europe's role is to smile while preparing to stab you in the back

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lysander , Jan 15 2020 2:04 utc | 111

#39 Kooshy!!

Great to run into you again. Indeed by signing on to the JCPOA Iran demonstrated a number of things. 1) Iran keeps her word. 2) The US never does. 3) Europe's role is to smile while preparing to stab you in the back. 4) The US will sacrifice her own interests for Israel's everytime.

I think all of us could have predicted all that. But what I could never have predicted was the complete in your face nature of American imperialism. It is one thing for there to be overwhelming evidence against a suspect. It's quite another for him to openly brag about his crimes and then promise to commit even more. That is why Trump's presidency is a blessing for Iran. If you happen to be in Iran, please share with us any information about the national mood and how people are coping in difficult circumstances.

[Jan 16, 2020] Another reason Merkel qualifies as a cowardly poodle. It's also clear, IMO, that Merkel lied to Putin and the press about her position on the JCPOA

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 15 2020 1:42 utc | 107


karlof1 , Jan 15 2020 1:45 utc | 108

Passer by @61--

Didn't know that about Merkel; yet another reason she qualifies as a cowardly poodle. It's also clear, IMO, that Merkel lied to Putin and the press about her position on the JCPOA at their post-talks presser :

Putin: "We certainly could not ignore another issue which is vitally important not only for the region but also for the whole world – the issue of preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear programme. After the United States withdrew from this fundamental agreement, the Iranian side declared that they suspended some of their voluntary commitments under the JCPOA. Let me underscore this – they only suspended their voluntary commitments while they stress their readiness to go back to full compliance with the nuclear deal.

"Russia and Germany resolutely stand for the continued implementation of the Joint Plan. The Iranians are entitled to a support from European nations, which promised to set up a special financial vehicle separate from the US dollar to be used in trade settlements with Iran. The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) must finally begin working."

Merkel, statement: "Of course, we also discussed Iran. We agree that everything necessary must be done to preserve the JCPOA. Germany believes that there should be no nuclear weapons in Iran, and therefore we will use all the available diplomatic means to preserve this agreement, even though it is not perfect, but it includes obligations of all the sides."

Merkel answering a question: " I have mentioned an issue on which we do not see eye to eye with the Americans (JCPOA), even though they are our allies with whom we are working together on many matters. But when it comes to German and European opinions, we are acting above all in our own interests, while Russia is upholding its own interests, so we should look for common interests in this process.

"Despite certain obstacles, we have found common interests in our bilateral relations regarding the JCPOA with Iran. We have common opinions and different views, but a visit such as this one is the best thing. It is better to talk with each other rather than about one another, because it helps one to understand the other side's arguments."

It's very clear from Russia's reaction that the EU-3's action was a complete surprise. I doubt Merkel will be invited to Moscow again. For Russians and the rest of humanity, there's no trusting the West. IMO, it must always be treated as hostile regardless the smiles.
"

jared , Jan 15 2020 1:52 utc | 109
@ karlof1

Much like Trump - says one thing then immediately does something else. Only makes sense if in fact is outside thier control.

[Jan 16, 2020] While it might work in domestic politics, this mad man negotiating tactic erodes trust in international affairs and it will take decades for the US to recover from the harm done by Trump's school yard bully approach.

Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Thuto , , January 14, 2020 at 11:48 am

While it might work in domestic politics, this mad man negotiating tactic erodes trust in international affairs and it will take decades for the US to recover from the harm done by Trump's school yard bully approach.

Even the docile Europeans are beginning to tire of this and once they get their balls stitched back on after being castrated for so long, America will have its work cut out crossing the chasm from unreliable and untrustworthy partner to being seen as dependable and worthy of entering into agreements with.

[Jan 15, 2020] Trump and the Mad Negotiator Approach

Notable quotes:
"... Another aspect of Trump's erraticness is making sudden shifts, or what we have called gaslighting. He'll suddenly and radically change his rhetoric, even praise someone he demonized. That if nothing else again is a power play, to try to maintain his position as driving the pacing and content of the negotiations, which again is meant to position his counterparty as in a weaker position, of having to react to his moves, even if that amounts to identifying them as noise. It is a watered-down form of a cult strategy called love bombing (remember that Trump has been described as often being very charming in first meetings, only to cut down the person he met in a matter of days). ..."
"... I would disagree with the "selecting staff" part. I can't really think of any of his appointees to any office while he is president that was a good pick. One worse than the other basically. Maybe in his private dealings he did better, but in public office it's a continuous horror show. Examples like Pence, Haley, "Mad Dog", Bolton, DeVos, his son in law, Pompeo. The list goes on. ..."
"... For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy. ..."
"... They are not inept and incompetent at what they are trying to achieve. The GOP has long sought to privatize government to help the rich get richer and harm anyone who isn't rich by cutting services and making them harder to get. Trumps picks are carrying out that agenda very well. ..."
"... Trump is just a huge crude extension of the usual "exceptional" leaders, much more transparent by not pretending he is any sort of representative of democratic and cooperative values claimed by his predecessors. ..."
"... But what I think is noticeable is that his worst high profile staff picks, while horrible people, are generally those who are under his thumb and so he has control of. ..."
"... He got elected over the dead bodies of just about everyone who counts in the Republican Party. He pretty much did a hostile takeover of the GOP. So his ability to draw on seasoned hands was nil. And on top of that, he is temperamentally not the type to seek the counsel of perceived wise men in and hanging around the party. The people he has kept around are cronies like Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin. ..."
"... The one notably competent person he has attracted and retained is Robert Lightizer, the US Trade Representative ..."
"... oderint, dum metuant ..."
"... Führerprinzip ..."
"... Hitler ran the Third Reich by a system of parallel competition among bureaucratic empire builders of all stripes. Anyone who showed servile loyalty and mouthed his yahoo ideology got all the resources they liked, for any purpose they proposed. But the moment he encountered any form of independence or pushback, he changed horses at once. He left the old group in place, but gave all their resources to a burgeoning new bureaucracy that did things his way. If a State body resisted his will, he had a Party body do it instead. He was continually reaching down 2-3 levels in the org charts, to find some ambitious firecracker willing to suck up to him, and leapfrog to the top. ..."
"... This left behind a complete chaos of rival, duplicated functions, under mainly unfit leaders. And fortunately for the world, how well any of these organizations actually did their jobs was an entirely secondary consideration. Loyalty was all. ..."
"... Hitler sat at the center of all the resource grabbers and played referee. This made everyone dependent on his nod and ensured his continued power. The message was: there are no superiors in the Reich. There is only der Führer, and his favor trumps everything ..."
"... The few over-confident generals he picked, except for Flynn, finally caved when they realized staying was an affront to the honor code they swore to back in OCS or their academy. ..."
"... I don't know how they selected staff in the Reagan years, but lately the POTUS seems to appoint based on who the plutocrats want. As has been noted Bary O took his marching orders from Citigroup if I remember right. I doubt if Trump had even heard of most of the people he appointed prior to becoming president. So at least some of Trump's turnover is due to him firing recommendations from others who didn't turn out how he'd like. That's one reason I didn't get all that upset over the Bolton hiring – I didn't think he'd last a year before Trump canned him. ..."
"... I would say that Trump, not acting in an intelligent way is doing very clever things according to his interests. My opinion is that his actions/negotiations with foreign countries are 100% directed for domestic consumptiom. He does not care at all about international relationships, just his populist "make America great again" and he almost certainly play closest attention to the impact of his actions in US opinion. ..."
"... Classic predatory behaviors: culling the herd and eating the weak. ..."
"... I think Trump understands that one of the basic tactics of negotiation (though forgotten by the Left(tm)) is to set out a maximalist position before the negotiation starts, so that you have room to make compromises later. ..."
"... But in domestic politics, there's no doubt that publicly announcing extreme negotiating positions is a winning tactic. You force the media and other political actors to comment and make counter-proposals, thus dragging the argument more in your direction from the very start. Trump remembers something that his opponents have willfully forgotten: compromise is something you finish with not something you start from . In itself, any given compromise has no particular virtue or value. ..."
"... Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate. ..."
"... A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all. ..."
"... The maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are exACTLY the desired result. Deliberately and on purpose. ..."
"... It also helps him do some things quietly in the background ..."
Jan 15, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Trump and the Mad Negotiator Approach Posted on January 14, 2020 by Yves Smith Trump's numerous character flaws, such as his grandiosity, his lack of interest in the truth, his impulsiveness, his habitual lashing out at critics, have elicited boatloads of disapproving commentary. It's disturbing to see someone so emotional and undisciplined in charge of anything, let alone the United States.

Rather than offer yet more armchair analysis, it might be productive to ask a different question: why hasn't Trump been an abject failure? There are plenty of rich heirs who blow their inheritance or run the family business into the ground pretty quickly and have to knuckle down to a much more modest lifestyle.

Trump's lack of discipline has arguably cost him. The noise regularly made about his business bankruptcies is wildly exaggerated. Most of Trump's bankruptcies were of casinos , and most of those took place in the nasty 1991-1992 recession. He was one of only two major New York City developers not to have to give meaningful equity in some of their properties in that downturn. He even managed to keep Mar-a-Lago and persuaded his lenders to let him keep enough cash to preserve a pretty flashy lifestyle because he was able to persuade them that preserving his brand name was key to the performance of Trump-branded assets.

The idea that Trump couldn't borrow after his early 1990s casino bankruptcies is also false. As Francine McKenna pointed out in 2017 in Donald Trump has had no trouble getting big loans at competitive rates:

The MarketWatch analysis shows a variety of lenders, all big banks or listed specialized finance companies like Ladder Capital, that have provided lots of money to Trump over the years in the forms of short-, medium- and long-term loans and at competitive rates, whether fixed or variable.

"The Treasury yield that matches the term of the loan is the closest starting benchmark for Trump-sized commercial real estate loans," said Robert Thesman, a certified public accountant in Washington state who specializes in real estate tax issues. The 10-year Treasury swap rate is also used and tracks the bonds closely, according to one expert.

Trump's outstanding loans were granted at rates between 2 points over and under the matching Treasury-yield benchmark at inception. That's despite the well-documented record of bankruptcy filings that dot Trump's history of casino investment.

The flip side is that it's not hard to make the case that Trump's self-indulgent style has cost him in monetary terms. His contemporary Steve Ross of The Related Companies who started out in real estate as a tax lawyer putting together Section 8 housing deals, didn't have a big stake like Trump did to start his empire. Ross did have industrialist and philanthropist Max Fisher as his uncle and role model, but there is no evidence that Fisher staked Ross beyond paying for his education . Ross has an estimated net worth of $7.6 billion versus Trump's $3.1 billion.

Despite Trump's heat-seeking-missile affinity for the limelight, we only get snippets of how he has managed his business, like his litigiousness and breaking of labor laws. Yet he's kept his team together and is pretty underleveraged for a real estate owner.

The area where we have a better view of how Trump operates is via his negotiating, where is astonishingly transgressive. He goes out of his way to be inconsistent, unpredictable, and will even trash prior commitments, which is usually toxic, since it telegraphs bad faith. How does this make any sense?

One way to think of it is that Trump is effectively screening for weak negotiating counterparties. Think of his approach as analogous to the Nigerian scam letters and the many variants you get in your inbox. They are so patently fake that one wonders why the fraudsters bother sending them.

But investigators figured that mystery out. From the Atlantic in 2012 :

Everyone knows that Nigerian scam e-mails, with their exaggerated stories of moneys tied up in foreign accounts and collapsed national economies, sound totally absurd, but according to research from Microsoft, that's on purpose .

As a savvy Internet user you probably think you'd never fall for the obvious trickery, but that's the point. Savvy users are not the scammers' target audience, [Cormac] Herley notes. Rather, the creators of these e-mails are targeting people who would believe the sort of tales these scams involve .:

Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a low density of victims the Nigerian scammer has an over-riding need to reduce false positives. By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ratio in his favor.

Who would want to get in a business relationship with a guy who makes clear early on that he might pull the rug out from under you? Most people would steer clear. So Trump's style, even if he adopted it out of deep-seated emotional needs, has the effect of pre-selecting for weak, desperate counterparties. It can also pull in people who think they can out-smart Trump and shysters who identify with him, as well as those who are prepared to deal with the headaches (for instance, the the business relationship is circumscribed and a decent contract will limit the downside).

Mind you, it is more common than you think for businesses to seek out needy business "partners". For instance, back in the day when General Electric was a significant player in venture capital, it would draw out its investment commitment process. The point was to ascertain if the entrepreneurs had any other prospects; they wouldn't tolerate GE's leisurely process if they did. By the time GE was sure it was the only game in town, it would cram down the principals on price and other terms. There are many variants of this playbook, such as how Walmart treats suppliers.

Trump has become so habituated to this mode of operating that he often launches into negotiations determined to establish that he had the dominant position when that is far from clear, witness the ongoing China trade row. Trump did in theory hold a powerful weapon in his ability to impose tariffs on China. But they are a blunt weapon, with significant blowback to the US. Even though China had a glass jaw in terms of damage to its economy (there were signs of stress, such as companies greatly stretching out when they paid their bills), Trump could not tolerate much of a stock market downdraft, nor could he play a long-term game.

Another aspect of Trump's erraticness is making sudden shifts, or what we have called gaslighting. He'll suddenly and radically change his rhetoric, even praise someone he demonized. That if nothing else again is a power play, to try to maintain his position as driving the pacing and content of the negotiations, which again is meant to position his counterparty as in a weaker position, of having to react to his moves, even if that amounts to identifying them as noise. It is a watered-down form of a cult strategy called love bombing (remember that Trump has been described as often being very charming in first meetings, only to cut down the person he met in a matter of days).

Voters have seen another face of Trump's imperative to find or create weakness: that of his uncanny ability to hit opponents' weak spots in ways that get them off balance, such as the way he was able to rope a dope Warren over her Cherokee ancestry claims.

The foregoing isn't to suggest that Trump's approach is optimal. Far from it. But it does "work" in the sense of achieving certain results that are important to Trump, of having him appear to be in charge of the action, getting his business counterparts on the back foot. That means Trump is implicitly seeing these encounters primarily in win-lose terms, rather than win-win. No wonder he has little appetite for international organizations. You have to give in order to get.


PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 7:08 am

I think this is pretty astute, thanks Yves. One reason I think Trump has been so successful for his limited range of skills is precisely that 'smart' people underestimate him so much. He knows one thing well – how power works. Sometimes that's enough. I've known quite a few intellectually limited people who have built very successful careers based on a very simple set of principles (e.g. 'never disagree with anyone more senior than me').

Anecdotally, I've often had the conversation with people about 'taking Trump seriously', as in, trying to assess what he really wants and how he has been so successful. In my experience, the 'smarter' and more educated the person I'm talking to is, the less willing they are to have that conversation. The random guy in the bar will be happy to talk and have insights. The high paid professional will just mutter about stupid people and racism.

I would also add one more reason for his success – he does appear to be quite good at selecting staff, and knowing who to delegate to.

timotheus , January 14, 2020 at 8:30 am

There is another figure from recent history who displayed similar astuteness about power while manifesting generally low intelligence: Chile's Pinochet. He had near failing grades in school but knew how to consolidate power, dominate the other members of the junta, and weed out the slightest hint of dissidence within the army.

Off The Street , January 14, 2020 at 9:17 am

To the average viewer, Trump's branding extends to the negative brands that he assigns to opponents. Witness Lyin' Ted , Pocahontas and similar sticky names that make their way into coverage. He induces free coverage from Fake News as if they can't resist gawking at a car wreck, even when one of the vehicles is their own. Manipulation has worked quite a lot on people with different world views, especially when they don't conceive of any different approaches.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Scott Adams touted that as one of Trump's hidden persuasionological weapons . . . that ability to craft a fine head-shot nickname for every opponent.

If Sanders were to be nominated, I suppose Trump would keep saying Crazy Bernie. Sanders will just have to respond in his own true-to-himself way. Maybe he could risk saying something like . . .

" so Trashy Trump is Trashy. This isn't new."

If certain key bunches of voters still have fond memories for Crazy Eddie, perhaps Sanders could have some operatives subtly remind people of that.

Some images of Crazy Eddie, for those who wish to stumble up Nostalgia Alley . . .

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0geKYkLVB5emoUAN6RXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyNm03Y25mBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDQTA2MTVfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=crazy+eddie&fr=sfp

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:23 am

I would disagree with the "selecting staff" part. I can't really think of any of his appointees to any office while he is president that was a good pick. One worse than the other basically. Maybe in his private dealings he did better, but in public office it's a continuous horror show. Examples like Pence, Haley, "Mad Dog", Bolton, DeVos, his son in law, Pompeo. The list goes on.

Another indication how bad his delegation skills are is how short his picks stay at their job before they are fired again. Is there any POTUS which had higher staff turnover?

NotTimothyGeithner , January 14, 2020 at 9:45 am

Its a horror show because you don't agree with their values. After the last few Presidents, too much movement to the right would catastrophic, so there isn't much to do. His farm bill is a disaster. The new NAFTA is window dressing. He slashed taxes. He's found a way to make our brutal immigration system even more nefarious. His staff seems to be working out despite it not having many members of the Bush crime family.

Even if these people were as beloved by the press as John McCain, they would still be monsters.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:43 am

It's not their values that make them a horror show, it's their plain inaptitude and incompetency. E.g. someone like that Exxon CEO is at least somewhat capable, which is why I didn't mention him. Though he was quite ineffective as long as he lasted and probably quite corrupt. Pompeo in the same office on the other hand is simply a moron elevated way beyond his station. Words fail and the Peter principle cannot explain.

The US can paper over this due to their heavy handed application of power for now, but every day he stays in office, friends are abhorred while trying not to show it, and foes rejoice at the utter stupidity of the US how it helps their schemes.

For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy. So while I am sort of happy about the outcome, I don't see the current monsters at the helm worse than the monsters 4 years ago under Obama. In fact I detested them much more since they had the power to drag my governments into their evil schemes.

Evil and clearly despicable is always better than evil and sort of charismatic.

tegnost , January 14, 2020 at 11:29 am

For me as a foreigner who detests the forever wars and most of the US foreign policy, this is a good thing: the more heavy handed, the more brutal, the more cruel, the more stupid the US policy is, the less is the chance for our euro governments to follow the US in today's war or other policy.

Indeed, if you look at the trendline from the '80's to now, trump is, in some ways, the less effective evil.

James O'Keefe , January 14, 2020 at 1:17 pm

They are not inept and incompetent at what they are trying to achieve. The GOP has long sought to privatize government to help the rich get richer and harm anyone who isn't rich by cutting services and making them harder to get. Trumps picks are carrying out that agenda very well.

That he still hasn't filled 170 appointed positions is icing on the cake. See stats at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-administration-appointee-tracker/database/

rosemerry , January 14, 2020 at 4:47 pm

I feel exactly the same. Trump is just a huge crude extension of the usual "exceptional" leaders, much more transparent by not pretending he is any sort of representative of democratic and cooperative values claimed by his predecessors.

PlutoniumKun , January 14, 2020 at 10:05 am

But what I think is noticeable is that his worst high profile staff picks, while horrible people, are generally those who are under his thumb and so he has control of. But in the behind the scenes activities, they've been very effective – as an obvious example, witness how he's put so many conservative Republicans into the judiciary, in contrast with Obamas haplessness.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:51 am

That is not a Trump thing, getting more judges is a 100% rep party thing and only rep party thing. Sure, he is the one putting his rubber stamp on it, but the picking and everything else is a party thing. They stopped the placement for years under Obama before Trump was ever thought about, and now are filling it as fast as they can. Aren't they having complicit democrats helping them or how can they get their picks beyond congress? Or am I getting something wrong and Obama could have picked his judges but didn't?

The people he chooses to run his administration however are all horrible. Not just horrible people but horrible picks as in incompetent buffoons without a clue. Can you show a evil, horrible or not but actually competent pick of his in his administration?

The only one I can think of is maybe the new FAA chief Dickson. Who is a crisis manager, after the FAA is in its worst crisis ever right now. So right now someone competent must have this post. All the others seem to be chickenhawk blowhards with the IQ of a fruitfly but the bluster of a texan.

fajensen , January 14, 2020 at 11:13 am

Gina Haspel? She is probably equally good with a handgun, an ice pick and a pair of pliers.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 11:49 am

Is she effective? What has she done to make her a spy mastermind? She is obviously a torturer, but is that a qualification in any way useful to be a intelligence agency boss?

I have the suspicion Haspel was elevated to their office by threatening "I know where all the bodies are buried (literally) and if you don't make me boss, I will tell". Blackmail can helping a career lots if successful.

Thuto , January 14, 2020 at 11:18 am

The outcomes of incompetence and malicious intent are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. With the people Trump has surrounded himself with, horrible, nasty outcomes are par for the course because these guys are both incompetent and chock full of malicious intent. Instead of draining the swamp, he's gone and filled it with psychotic sociopaths.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:04 pm

Some time ago I heard Mulvaney answer the criticism about the Trump budget of the day cutting so much money from EPA that EPA would have to fire half of its relevant scientists. He replied that " this is how we drain the swamp".

Citing "corruption" was misdirection. Trump let his supporters believe that the corruption was The Swamp. What the Trump Group ACTually means by "The Swamp" is all the career scientists and researchers and etc. who take seriously the analyzing and restraining of Upper Class Looter misbehavior.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm

I limited the post to his negotiating approach. One would think someone so erratic would have trouble attracting people. However, Wall Street and a lot of private businesses are full of high maintenance prima donnas at the top. Some of those operations live with a lot of churn in the senior ranks. For others, one way to get them to stay is what amounts to a combat pay premium, they get paid more than they would in other jobs to put up with a difficult boss. I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.

Regarding his time as POTUS, Trump has a lot of things working against him on top of his difficult personality and his inability to pay civil servants a hardship premium:

1. He got elected over the dead bodies of just about everyone who counts in the Republican Party. He pretty much did a hostile takeover of the GOP. So his ability to draw on seasoned hands was nil. And on top of that, he is temperamentally not the type to seek the counsel of perceived wise men in and hanging around the party. The people he has kept around are cronies like Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin.

The one notably competent person he has attracted and retained is Robert Lightizer, the US Trade Representative

2. Another thing that undermines Trump's effectiveness in running a big bureaucracy is his hatred for its structure. He likes very lean organizations with few layers. He can't impose that on his administration. It's trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

cocomaan , January 14, 2020 at 1:56 pm

I have no idea how much turnover there is in the Trump Organization or how good his key lieutenants are so I can't opine either way on that part.

Is it just me or does nobody know? Does it seem to anyone else like there has been virtually no investigation of his organization or how it was run?

Maybe it's buried in the endless screeds against Trump, but any investigations of his organizations always seem colored by his presidency. I'd love to see one that's strictly historical.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 2:10 pm

I am simply saying that I have not bothered investigating that issue. There was a NY Times Magazine piece on the Trump Organization before his election. That was where I recall the bit about him hating having a lot of people around him, he regards them as leeches. That piece probably had some info on how long his top people had worked for him.

ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 2:30 am

Congratulations Yves, on another fine piece, one of your best. I might recommend you append this comment to it as an update, or else pen a sequel.

While Trump has more in common stylistically with a Borgia prince out of Machiavelli, or a Roman Emperor ( oderint, dum metuant ) than with a Hitler or a Stalin, your note still puts me in mind of an insightful comment I pulled off a history board a while ago, regarding the reductionist essence of Führerprinzip , mass movement or no mass movement. It's mostly out of Shirer:

Hitler ran the Third Reich by a system of parallel competition among bureaucratic empire builders of all stripes. Anyone who showed servile loyalty and mouthed his yahoo ideology got all the resources they liked, for any purpose they proposed. But the moment he encountered any form of independence or pushback, he changed horses at once. He left the old group in place, but gave all their resources to a burgeoning new bureaucracy that did things his way. If a State body resisted his will, he had a Party body do it instead. He was continually reaching down 2-3 levels in the org charts, to find some ambitious firecracker willing to suck up to him, and leapfrog to the top.

This left behind a complete chaos of rival, duplicated functions, under mainly unfit leaders. And fortunately for the world, how well any of these organizations actually did their jobs was an entirely secondary consideration. Loyalty was all.

Hitler sat at the center of all the resource grabbers and played referee. This made everyone dependent on his nod and ensured his continued power. The message was: there are no superiors in the Reich. There is only der Führer, and his favor trumps everything .

As you note, some of these tools (fortunately) aren't available to Cheeto 45 .

I hope this particular invocation of Godwin's avenger is trenchant, and not OT. Although Godwin himself blessed the #Trump=Hitler comparison some time ago, thereby shark-jumping his own meme.

Tomonthebeach , January 14, 2020 at 12:53 pm

It might be as simple as birds of a feather (blackbirds of course) flocking together. Trump seems to have radar for corrupt cronies as we have seen his swamp draining into the federal prison system. The few over-confident generals he picked, except for Flynn, finally caved when they realized staying was an affront to the honor code they swore to back in OCS or their academy.

lyman alpha blob , January 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm

The crooks in the Reagan administration were getting bounced seemingly every other day. Just found this from Brookings (blecchh) which if accurate says Trump has recently surpassed Reagan – https://www.brookings.edu/research/tracking-turnover-in-the-trump-administration/

I don't know how they selected staff in the Reagan years, but lately the POTUS seems to appoint based on who the plutocrats want. As has been noted Bary O took his marching orders from Citigroup if I remember right. I doubt if Trump had even heard of most of the people he appointed prior to becoming president. So at least some of Trump's turnover is due to him firing recommendations from others who didn't turn out how he'd like. That's one reason I didn't get all that upset over the Bolton hiring – I didn't think he'd last a year before Trump canned him.

My recollection of the Reagan years was that he had a lot of staff who left to "spend more time with their families"; in other words they got caught being crooked and we're told to go lest they besmirch the sterling reputation of St. Ronnie.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 6:57 pm

He early-on adopted the concept of "dismantle the Administrative State". Some of his appointees are designed to do that from within. He appoints termites to the Department of Lumber Integrity because he wants to leave the lumber all destroyed after he leaves the White House.

His farm bill is only a disaster to those who support Good Farm Bill Governance. His mission is to destroy as much of the knowledge and programs within the USDA as possible. So his farm bill is designed to achieve the destruction he wants to achieve. If it works, it was a good farm bill from his viewpoint. For example.

Ignacio , January 15, 2020 at 5:38 am

I would say that Trump, not acting in an intelligent way is doing very clever things according to his interests. My opinion is that his actions/negotiations with foreign countries are 100% directed for domestic consumptiom. He does not care at all about international relationships, just his populist "make America great again" and he almost certainly play closest attention to the impact of his actions in US opinion.

He calculates the risks and takes measures that show he is a strong man defending US interests (in a very symplistic and populist way) no matter if someone or many are offended, abused or even killed as we have recently seen. Then if it is appreciated that a limit has been reached, and the limit is not set by international reactions but perceived domestic reactions, he may do a setback showing how sensibly magnanimous can a strongman like him be. In the domestic front, IMO, he does not give a damn on centrists of all kinds. Particularly, smart centrists are strictly following Trumps playbook focusing on actions that by no means debilitate his positioning as strongman in foreign issues and divert attention from the real things that would worry Trump. The impeachment is exactly that. Trump must be 100% confident that he would win any contest with any "smart" centrist. Of course he also loves all the noises he generates with, for instance, the Soleimani killing or Huawei banning that distract from his giveaways to the oligarchs and further debilitation of remaining welfare programs and environmental programs. This measures don't pass totally unnoticed but Hate Inc . and public opinions/debates are not paying the attention his domestic measures deserve. Trump's populism feeds on oligarch support and despair and his policies are designed to keep and increase both. Polls on Democrats distract from the most important polls on public opinion about Trum "surprise" actions.

Trump will go for a third term.

Seamus Padraig , January 14, 2020 at 7:18 am

Trump has the rare gift of being able to drive his enemies insane – just witness what's become of the Democrats, a once proud American political party.

Eureka Springs , January 14, 2020 at 9:39 am

Democrats have long been (what, 50 plus yrs. – Phil Ochs – Love Me I'm A Liberal) exuding false pride of not appearing to be or sounding insane. Their place, being the concern troll of the duopoly. All are mad. If the Obama years didn't prove it, the Dems during Bush Cheney certainly did.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 10:53 am

Yes, 50 years. Nixon played mad to get his Vietnam politics through, Reagan was certifiable "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever." "We begin bombing in five minutes." live on air. Etc.

vlade , January 14, 2020 at 7:38 am

I suspect only half of the post was posted? The last para seems to get cut in mid sentence.

I'd add one more thing (which may be in the second half, assuming there's one). Trump's massively insane demands are a good anchoring strategy. Even semi-rational player will not make out-of-this-earth demands – they would be seen as either undermining their rationality, or clearly meant to only anchor so less effective (but surprisingly, even when we know it's only an anchor it apparently works, at least a bit). With irrational Trump, one just doesn't know.

GramSci , January 14, 2020 at 7:41 am

Classic predatory behaviors: culling the herd and eating the weak.

David , January 14, 2020 at 8:21 am

I think Trump understands that one of the basic tactics of negotiation (though forgotten by the Left(tm)) is to set out a maximalist position before the negotiation starts, so that you have room to make compromises later.

Sometimes this works better than others – I don't know how far you can do it with the Chinese, for example. But then Trump may have inadvertently played, in that case, into the tradition of scripted public utterances combined with behind-the-scenes real negotiation that tends to characterize bargaining in Asia.

But in domestic politics, there's no doubt that publicly announcing extreme negotiating positions is a winning tactic. You force the media and other political actors to comment and make counter-proposals, thus dragging the argument more in your direction from the very start. Trump remembers something that his opponents have willfully forgotten: compromise is something you finish with not something you start from . In itself, any given compromise has no particular virtue or value.

Michael Fiorillo , January 14, 2020 at 8:59 am

Yes, Trump does seem to be very good at getting to people to "negotiate against themselves."

chuck roast , January 14, 2020 at 9:52 am

and that is why Trump will eat Biden's lunch.

The Rev Kev , January 14, 2020 at 9:09 am

There is actually two parts to a negotiation I should mention. There is negotiating a deal. And then there is carrying it out. Not only Trump but the US has shown itself incapable of upholding deals but they will break them when they see an advantage or an opportunity. Worse, one part of the government may be fighting another part of the government and will sabotage that deal in sometimes spectacular fashion.
So what is the point of having all these weird and wonderful negotiating strategies if any partners that you have on the international stage have learned that Trump's word is merely a negotiating tactic? And this includes after a deal is signed when he applies some more pressure to change something in an agreement that he just signed off on? If you can't keep a deal, then ultimately negotiating a deal is useless.

curious euro , January 14, 2020 at 9:28 am

The incapability of the US to keep their treaties has been a founding principle of the country. Ask any Indian.

Putin or the russian foreign ministry called the US treaty incapable a few years before Trump, and they were not wrong. Trump didn't help being erratic as he is, but he didn't cancel any treaty on his own: JCPOA, INF, etc. He had pretty broad support for all of these. Only maybe NAFTA was his own idea.

timbers , January 14, 2020 at 9:47 am

I'm just not impressed by Trump in any way.

He owes the fact he's President not to any skill he has, but to Democrats being so bad. Many non establishment types could have beaten Hillary.

And Trump owes the fact that he's not DOA in 2020 re-election again because Democrats are so bad. There are a handful of extremely popular social programs Democrats could champion that would win over millions of voters and doom Trump's re-election. But instead, they double down on issues that energize Trump's base, are not off-limits to there donors while ignoring what the broad non corporate/rich majority support. For example impeaching him for being the first recent President not to start a major new war for profit and killing millions and then saying it's really because something he did in Ukraine that 95% of Americans couldn't care less about and won't even bother to understand even if they could.

That leaves the fact he is rather rich and must have done something to become that. I don't know enough about him to evaluate that. But I would never what to know him or have a friend that acts like him. I've avoided people like that in my life.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Did you read the post as positive? Please read again. Saying that Trump's strategy works only to the extent that he winds up selecting for weak partners is not praise. First, it is clinical, and second, it says his strategy has considerable costs.

rd , January 14, 2020 at 6:54 pm

I find it interesting that the primary foreign entity who has played Trump like a violin is Kim in North Korea. He has gotten everything he wanted, except sanctions relief over the past couple of years.

However, Trump's style of negotiating with Iran has made it clear to Kim that North Korea would be idiots to give up their nuclear weapons and missiles. Meanwhile, Iran has watched Trump's attitude towards Kim since Kim blew up his first bomb and Trump is forcing them to develop nuclear weapons to be able to negotiate with Trump and the West.

ObjectiveFunction , January 15, 2020 at 1:36 am

But other than the minor matter of US 8th Army (cadre) sitting in the line of fire, the bulk of any risks posed by Li'l Kim are borne by South Korea, Japan and China. So for Trump, it's still down the list a ways, until the Norks can nuke tip a missile and hit Honolulu. So what coup has Kim achieved at Trump's expense, again?

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:13 pm

Today's Democrats want to destroy those social programs you cite. They have wanted to destroy those social programs ever since President Clinton wanted to conspire with "Prime Minister" Gingrich to privatize Social Security. Luckily Monica Lewinsky saved us from that fate.

A nominee Sanders would run on keeping Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in existence. And he would mean it. A nominee Biden might pretend to say it. But he would conspire with the Republicans to destroy them all.

The ClintoBama Pelosicrats have no standing on which to pretend to support some very popular social programs and hope to be believed any longer. Maybe that is why they feel there is no point in even pretending any more.

Yves Smith Post author , January 14, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Mind you, there's no reason to think that this negotiation approach wasn't an adaptation to Trump's emotional volatility, as in finding a way to make what should have been a weakness a plus. And that he's less able to make that adaptation work well as he's over his head, has less control than as a private businessman, and generally under way more pressure.

HH , January 14, 2020 at 11:43 am

I recall reading that Trump's empire would have collapsed during the casino fiasco were it not for lending from his father when credit was not available elsewhere. NYT investigative reporters have turned up evidence of massive financial support from Trump father to son to the tune of hundreds of millions throughout the son's career. So much for the great businessman argument.

carbpow , January 14, 2020 at 11:45 am

Trump is nothing more or less than a reflection of the mind set of the US people. The left wing resorts to the same tactics that Trump uses to gain their ends. Rational thought and reasonable discussion seems to be absent. Everyone is looking for a cause for the country's failing infrastructure, declining life expectancy, and loss of opportunity for their children to have a better life than they were able to achieve.

They each blame the other side. But there are more than two sides to most folks experience. If ever the USA citizens abolish or just gets fed up with the two party system maybe things will change. In reality most people know there is little difference between the two parties so why even vote?

Jeremy Grimm , January 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm

This analysis of Trump reminded me of a story I heard from the founders of a small rural radio station. Both had been in broadcasting for years at a large station in a major market, one as a program director and the other in sales. They competed for a broadcasting license that became available and they won.

With the license in-hand they needed to obtain investments to get the station on-air within a year or they would lose the license. Even with their combined savings and as much money as they could obtain from other members of their families and from friends -- they were short what they needed by several hundred thousand dollars.

Their collateral was tapped out and banks wouldn't loan on the broadcast license alone without further backing. They had to find private investors. They located and presented to several but their project could find no backers. In many cases prospects told them their project was too small -- needed too little money -- to be of interest. As the deadline for going on-air loomed they were put in touch with a wealthy local farmer.

After a long evening presenting their business case to this farmer in ever greater detail, he sat back and told them he would give them the money they needed to get their station on-air -- but he wanted a larger interest in the business than what they offered him. He wanted a 51% interest -- a controlling interest -- or he would not give them the money, and they both had to agree to work for the new radio station for a year after it went on-air.

The two holders of the soon to be lost broadcast license looked at each other and told the farmer he could keep his money and left. The next day the farmer called on the phone and gave them the names and contact information for a few investors, any one of whom should be able and interested in investing the amounts they needed on their terms. He also told them that had they accepted his offer he would have driven them out of the new station before the end of the year it went on-air. He said he wanted to see whether they were 'serious' before putting them in touch with serious investors.

juliania , January 14, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Sorry, assassination doesn't fit into this scenario. That is a bridge too far. Trump has lost his effectiveness by boasting about this. It isn't just unpredictability. It is dangerous unpredictability.

Yves Smith Post author , January 15, 2020 at 5:52 am

I never once said that Trump was studied in how he operates, in fact, I repeatedly pointed out that he's highly emotional and undisciplined. I'm simply describing some implications.

meadows , January 14, 2020 at 12:28 pm

If our corrupt Congress had not ceded their "co-equal" branch of gov't authority over the last 40 years thereby gradually creating the Imperial Presidency that we have now, we might comfortably mitigate much of the mad king antics.

Didn't the Founding Fathers try desperately to escape the terrible wars of Europe brought on by the whims and grievances of inbred kings, generation after generation? Now on a whim w/out so much as a peep to Congress, presidential murder is committed and the CongressCritters bleat fruitlessly for crumbs of info about it.

I see no signs of this top-heavy imperialism diminishing. Every decision will vanish into a black hole marked "classified."

I am profoundly discouraged at 68 who at 18 years old became a conscientious objector, that the same undeclared BS wars and BS lies are used to justify continuous conflct almost nonstop these last 50 years as if engaging in such violence can ever be sucessful in achieving peaceful ends? Unless the maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are the actual desired result.

Trump's negotiating style is chaos-inducing deliberately, then eventually a "Big Daddy" Trump can fix the mess, spin the mess and those of us still in the thrall of big-daddyism can feel assuaged. It's the relief of the famiy abuser who after the emotional violence establishes a temporary calm and family members briefly experience respite, yet remain wary and afraid.

drumlin woodchuckles , January 14, 2020 at 7:34 pm

Bingo!

The maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are exACTLY the desired result. Deliberately and on purpose.

Jeff Wells of Rigorous Intuition wrote a post about that years ago, in a different context. Here it is.

https://rigint.blogspot.com/2006/07/violent-bear-it-away.html

xkeyscored , January 15, 2020 at 5:42 am

It also helps him do some things quietly in the background
I think you've hit the nail on the head there.

KFritz , January 14, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Kim Jong Un uses similar tactics, strategy, perhaps even style. Clinically and intellectually, it's interesting to watch their interaction. Emotionally, given their weaponry, it's terrifying.

Jason , January 15, 2020 at 9:15 am

Great post! The part about selecting for desperate business partners is very insightful, it makes his cozying up to dictators and pariah states much more understandable. He probably thinks/feels that these leaders are so desperate for approval from a country like the US that, when he needs something from them, he will have more leverage and be able to impose what he wants.

[Jan 12, 2020] MIC along with Wall Street controls the government and the country

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , January 12, 2020 5:30 pm

    Everyone keeps dancing around it: Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. Who profits from Peace? Who does not?

    The killing of Soleimani, while a tragic even with far reaching consequences, is just an illustration of the general rule: MIC does not profit from peace. And MIC dominates any national security state, into which the USA was transformed by the technological revolution on computers and communications, as well as the events of 9/11.

    The USA government can be viewed as just a public relations center for MIC. That's why Trump/Pompeo/Esper/Pence gang position themselves as rabid neocons, which means MIC lobbyists in order to hold their respective positions. There is no way out of this situation. This is a classic Catch 22 trap.

    The fact that a couple of them are also "Rapture" obsessed religious bigots means that the principle of separation of church and state does no matter when MIC interests are involved.

    The health of MIC requires maintaining an inflated defense budget at all costs. Which, in turn, drives foreign wars and the drive to capture other nations' resources to compensate for MIC appetite. The drive which is of course closely allied with Wall Street interests (disaster capitalism.)

    In such conditions fake "imminent threat" assassinations necessarily start happening. Although the personality of Pompeo and the fact that he is a big friend of the current head of Mossad probably played some role.

    It's really funny that Trump (probably with the help of his "reference group," which includes Adelson and Kushner), managed to appoint as the top US diplomat a person who was trained as a mechanic engineer and specialized as a tank repair mechanic. And who was a long-time military contractor. So it is quite natural that he represents interests of MIC.

    IMHO under Trump/Pompeo/Esper trio some kind of additional skirmishes with Iran are a real possibility: they are necessary to maintain the current inflated level of defense spending.

    State of the US infrastructure, the actual level of unemployment (U6 is ~7% which some neolibs call full employment ;-), and the level of poverty of the bottom 33% of the USA population be damned. Essentially the bottom 33% is the third world country within the USA.

    "If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans

    The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year. "

    ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/income-inequality-crisis_n_4221012 )

[Jan 12, 2020] US has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 11 2020 17:48 utc | 201

At 2016, here is the long bombing list of the 32 countries by the late William Blum. Did I mention sanctions is an Act of War?

Little u.s. has been preaching human rights while mounting wars and lying. Albright thought the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it. !!! it was worth killings and maiming.

Over $7 trillion spent while homelessness is rampant. Healthcare is unaffordable for the 99% of the population.

The u.s. will leave Iraq and Syria aka Saigon 1975 or horizontal. It's over.

2020: u.s. Stands Alone.

Searching for friends. Now, after Russiagate here is little pompous: "we want to be friends with Russia." Sanctions much excepting we need RD180 engines, seizure of diplomatic properties. Who are you kidding?

"we seek a constructive and productive relationship with the Russian Federation".

What a bunch of hypocrites? How dare you criticize commenters who see little u.s. in the light of day, not a shining beacon on the hill..

[Jan 12, 2020] Nobody, not even Russia and china, can afford to stay in the sidelines in a nuclear war in the 2020s.

Notable quotes:
"... What i find truly amazing is that American Zionists still believe crushing Iran is easy enough. Israel, with 8 million jews stuffed in a small country, is nothing more than a carrier battle group marooned on land ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | smoothiex12.blogspot.com

Axiosromano 2 days ago

The tramp & nutNyahoo machismo show continues to be fun to watch. Both show off their penis worms as they arrogantly claim they can crush iran. Both the usa and israel keep banging on the doors and walls of their pissed-off neighbors' houses. That eventually gets you murdered whether in baltimore or baghdad.

A crushable iran is true if and only if they can mount a full-on nuclear war on Iran. But such horrendous cheating means all bets are off, and iran's allies will provide the nukes required to melt down the American homeland too. Nobody, not even Russia and china, can afford to stay in the sidelines in a nuclear war in the 2020s.

What i find truly amazing is that American Zionists still believe crushing Iran is easy enough. Israel, with 8 million jews stuffed in a small country, is nothing more than a carrier battle group marooned on land. Sitting ducks, with nice armor, nukes and all, are ... still sitting ducks. nutNyahoo should ask his technical crew just how few megatons are needed, or just a few thousand modern missiles are required to transform sitting ducks into nicely roasted peking ducks.

So a conventional war it is. The usa and israel has exactly zero, zilch and nada chances of winning a war with iran. The usa keeps forgetting that it is a dying empire with dying funding value and mental resources. Just like israel which oddly thinks dozens of f-35s will give it immunity through air superiority. Proof of this fact that iran will win comes from simply asking american and israeli war experts to go on cnn or the washington post on how they intend to win a war with iran.

Im sure these expert bloviators will say that it is as easy as winning a naval war against china, which is capable of launching only 3 new warships in a week. Or an even easier time against russia, which can launch only a few thousand hypersonic nuke missiles because its GDP is no bigger than that of texas.

Rob Naardin 2 days ago

The Pentagon is super slow to adapt and learn. If you understand that bureaucracy is an ancient organizational structure and that the organizational culture of the Pentagon is pathologically dysfunctional you could have predicted the moral and financial bankruptcy of America 15-20 years ago. The "Why?", finally made sense when I discovered what a sociopath was.

It's about time the US practices what it preachs and start behaving like a normal country instead of a spoiled narcissistic brat. see more

tic_Fox Rob Naardin2 days ago • edited

US military & strategic thought became lazy during the late days of the Cold War. It mirrored the decline & fall of the foundations of its opponent, USSR. Post-Cold War, US military & strategic thinking flushed into the sewer. It was all about maintaining the military as some sort of a social policy jobs program, operating legacy tech as the mission. And then came the "world-improvers" -- beginning w the Clinton Admin -- who worked to turn the world into a global "urban renewal" project; meaning to mirror the success US Big Govt showed in the slums of American cities from sea to sea. The past 30 yrs of US strategic thinking and related governance truly disgusts me. see more

Vasya Pypkin Arctic_Fox2 days ago

Soviet union fall had very different reasons and Soviet military thought was doing quite well then along with military. Current russian military wonders is completion of what was started then and not finished earlier because of the disintegration of the Soviet state.
The soviet fall however is extremely regrettable because there was a new way how things can be done that Soviet union was showing to the world. USA fall long term is a very good thing because USA is a paragon of how things should be done the old way and basically a huge parasite. Many negative trends that are afflicting the world were started by USA. Unlimited individualism and consumerism would be a couple of those. see more

Drapetomania Vasya Pypkin17 hours ago
Why does almost every person on Earth feel the need to force others to bend the knee to their beliefs?

Religious beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in an afterlife, political beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in this world.

The world would be a far better, more civilized, of world if such beliefs were only shared on a voluntary basis.

As for individualism, I would rather be free than live in a modern day egalitarian hunter-gatherer tribe run by modern day psychopathic alpha-males.

That is certainly not a recipe for success. see more

AriusArmenian Arctic_Fox2 days ago

It also mirrors the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It was Emperor Augustus that decided the costs to further expand the Empire were too great after losing one (or two?) legions against the Germanic tribes.

The US has reached its greatest extent. We are living through it. The US didn't go forward into war with Iran twice. The odds of humanity surviving this immense turn of history is looking better. see more

Vasya Pypkin AriusArmenian2 days ago • edited

Frankly, nothing in common. I read this comparison all the time. Yes, Augustus decided not to continue along with expansion into Germany after losing 3 Varus legions due to ambush.

But he famously noted that it does not worth to go fishing with golden hook. Basically speaking, Germany was not worth fighting for. Poor and remote it had nothing to offer. Just a drain on resources. As long as conquest was moving smoothly it was ok, but after losses were inflicted Augustus decided it was not worth it.

Roman expansion under augustus was carried mostly to consolidate previous conquests and create strategical debth along core and strategical provinces also creating linkage.

When enemy far stronger than germans posed resources which made the whole conquest worthy no amount of resistance saved Dacians and Parthia also almost died under Trajan attack.

Roman policies were adequate and wise. Treaties were respected, allies supported and benefited. Empire was build around Mediterranean creating good communication and routes considering obviously limits of that day technology.

Rome did not behave like crazy and did not deliver threats that she could not follow through. When war was decided upon thorough preparations were taken. Political goals were achieved. Wars were won. When Adrian considered that empire was overextended in Parthis, he simply abandoned all conquered territories. Just like that.

Logical calm thinking USA,is not capable of. Rome truly based upon superior military and diplomacy dominance lasted many centuries. USA few decades. One hit wonder, lucky fool I would call it. see more

Arctic_Fox Vasya Pypkin17 hours ago

Interesting account of Roman strategic concept of forward presence, versus administering the internal lines of communication... see more

WHAT2 days ago

They left equipment in the open on that base and ran away. No AA fire whatsoever. This is how much they are ready to take a punch. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod WHAT2 days ago

Yes, this is somewhat puzzling. As I said, let's wait and see where it all develops to, but as Twisted Genius succinctly observed -- Iran now controls tempo because she has conventional superiority. Anyone who has precision-guided, stand off weaponry in good numbers will be on top. see more

Arctic_Fox smoothieX12 .2 days ago

The old submarine saying is, "There are two kinds of ships; submarines, and targets."
.
The new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets." (And per the photos, those Iranian missiles were quite precise; bulls-eyes.)
.
Iran and its missiles demonstrated that the entire strategic foundation for US mil presence in the Middle East is now obsolete. Everything the US would ever want to do there is now subject to Iran's version of "steel rain." Every runway, hangar, aircraft parking area; every supply depot or warehouse; every loading pier, fuel site, naval pier. Everything... is a target. And really... there's no amount of US "airpower" and "tech" than can mitigate the Iran missile threat.
.
Meanwhile, related thinking... Iran's true strategic interest is NOT fighting a near-term war w/ USA. Iran wants US to exit Middle East; and Iran wants to be able to pursue its nuclear program. Soleimani or no, Iran appears to have its eyeballs fixed on the long-term goals. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod Arctic_Fox2 days ago • edited
The new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets."

Exactly, and Iran has long-range TLAMs in who knows what numbers, That, in its turn, brings about the next issue of range for Iranian indigenous anti-ship missiles. Not, of course, to mention the fact of only select people knowing if Russia transferred P-800 Onyx to Iran She certainly did it for Syria. If that weapon is there--the Persian Gulf and Hormuz Strait will be shut completely closed and will push out CBGs far into the Indian Ocean. see more

Vasya Pypkin smoothieX12 .a day ago

It is simply pathetic after decades of talking non stop about developments of anti missiles and huge amounts wasted and nobody is responsible. This is the way capitalism works.profits is everything and outcomes secondary. Thankfully russia has got soviet foundation and things so far are working well. I come to think that in our times no serious industrial processes should be allowed to stay in private hands. Only services and so.e other simpler stuff under heavy state control to ensure quality. Otherwise profit orientation will eventually destroy everything like with Boeing.

Drapetomania Vasya Pypkin16 hours ago observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

I know, i already wrote a full scale war scenario in one of the comments. Iran can destroy all US bases in 2000 km range. But this does not mean that it can not be bombed back to the stone age, if the US really wishes so. The problem for the US is the high cost as well as the high debt levels, but it does have the technical capability to do that after 2 - 3 years of bombing.

Also low yield tactical nukes are designed to lower the treshold of the use of nukes in otherwise conventional war, producing less international outrage than the megaton city buster bombs. Why do you think the US is developing them again? Because they would want to use them in conventional conflicts.

Here btw is Yurasumy, he also says that the US can technically bomb Iran back to the stone age, but the cost will be too high.

Play Hide

https://cdn.embedly.com/

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago • edited
if the US really wishes so.

Again--what's the plan and what's the price? Iran HAS Russia's ISR on her side in case of such SEAD.

Does the United States want to risk lives of thousands of its personnel (not to speak of expensive equipment) in Qatar, KSA, Iraq. Does Israel want to "get it"?

There are numbers which describe such an operation (it was. most likely, already planned as contingency). Immediate question: when was the last time USAF operated in REAL dense ECM and ECCM environment? I do not count some brushes with minimal EW in Syria.

Russia there uses only minimally required option, for now. Iran has a truck load EW systems, including some funny Russian toys which allowed Iran to take control of US UAVs, as an example. As I say, this is not Iraq and by a gigantic margin. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

I already said that debt levels do not allow it and the price would be too high, but yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means. It is another question that it is not in good fiscal shape. Anyway, US ballistic missiles (non nuclear armed) will be hard to stop by EW. Even if Iran gets rid of 50 % of incoming TLAMs, the US will keep sending more and more until most infrastructure, bridges, oil refineries, power plants, factories, ports etc. are destroyed. This is why i said it would take 2 - 3 years. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago
but yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means

That is the whole point: NO, it doesn't. Unless US goes into full mobilization mode and addresses ALL (plus a million more not listed) requirements for such a war which I listed in the post. Well, that or nukes. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago

Yurasumy is a pretty good analist and he thinks that they can. I do not see it for the US being too hard to produce more TLAMS, ICBMs and IRBMs (conventional) to sustain the effort for 2 years, by that time most iranian infrastructure will be destroyed. If the fiscal situation allowes it. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago

I don't know who Yarasumy is and what is his background, but unlike him I actually write books, including on modern warfare. This is not to show off, but I am sure I can make basic calculations. This is not to mention the fact that even Sivkov agrees with my points and Sivkov, unlike Yarsumy, graduated Popov's VVMURE, served at subs, then graduated Kuznetsov Academy, then Academy of the General Staff and served in Main Operational Directorate (GOU) until retiring in the rank of Captain 1st Rank from the billet of Combat Planning group. So, I would rather stick to my opinion. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago

Why do you think that the US can not destroy Iran with IRBMs? Actually this is their strategy vs China. If they think its viable vs China, then it should be viable vs Iran too. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago • edited

Because unlike the US, Russia's Air Defenses have a rather very impressive history of shifting the balance in wars in favor of those who have them, when used properly. But then I can quote for you a high ranking intelligence officer:

A friend of mine who has expertise in these matters wrote me:

Any air defense engineer with a securityclearance that isn't lying through his teeth will admit that Russia'sair defense technology surpassed us in the 1950's and we've never been able to catch up. The systems thy have in place surrounding Moscow make our Patriot 3's look like fucking nerf guns.

Read the whole thing here:

https://turcopolier.typepad...

Mathematics is NOT there for the United States for a real combined operations war of scale with Iran. Unless US political class really wants to see people with pitch-forks. see more

Arctic_Fox smoothieX12 .17 hours ago

"Mathematics is not there..."
.
Neither is the industrial base, including supply lines. Not the mines, mills, factories to produce any significant levels of warfighting materiel such as we're talking about here. Not the workforce, either. Meanwhile, where are the basic designs for these weps? The years of lab work, bench tests, pilot specimens & prototypes, the development pipeline? The contractors to build them? the Tier 2, 3, 4 suppliers? Where are the universities that train such people as are needed? Where is the political will? Where is the government coordination? Where is the money? Indeed, every Democrat and probably half the Republicans who run for office campaign on controlling military spending; not that USA gets all that much benefit from the current $800 billion per year. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

That would require S-500 - ballistic missile defense. Maybe 15 - 20 S-500 in Iran will be needed. And it is not yet in the army. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago

You see, here is the difference--I can calculate approximate required force for that but I don't want to. It is Friday. You can get some basic intro into operational theory (and even into Salvo Equations) in my latest book. Granted, my publisher fought me tooth and nail to remove as much match as possible. But I'll give you a hint--appearance of S-500 on any theater of operations effectively closes it off effectively for any missile or aircraft operations when deployed in echeloned (multi-layer) AD. see more

[Jan 11, 2020] Ex-Trump official calls BS on Pompeo's claim that Suleimani killing makes the world 'safer' Raw Story

Jan 11, 2020 | www.rawstory.com

me name=

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday claimed that the killing of Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani had made the world "safer" -- even though the actions of Pompeo's own State Department directly contradict his words.

David Lapan, who served as the spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump , shredded Pompeo for his rosy assessment of the Suleimani killing even as the State Department frantically works to evacuate Americans from Iraq in anticipation of expected retaliation from Iran.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The State Dept alert sends a much different message than this one from the leader of the State Dept, Secretary Pompeo: 'The world is a much safer place today. I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer,'" he writes on Twitter. "Which is it? (Answer: more dangerous, not less)."

The State Department on Friday advised Americans in Iraq to depart the country immediately, and even went so far as to suggest they travel to neighboring countries by land if they could not secure passage out of Iraq through airlines. The State Department also advised Americans in the country to not approach the American embassy in Iraq.

The State Dept alert below sends a much different message than this one from the leader of the State Dept, Secretary Pompeo: "The world is a much safer place today. I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer."

Which is it? (Answer: more dangerous, not less) https://t.co/bw7Py2y5WH

-- David Lapan (@DaveLapanDC) January 3, 2020

[Jan 11, 2020] The War Pigs Are Finally Revealing Themselves - And This Is Just The Beginning

Jan 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Yes the war pigs like Esper, Miller, and Pompous deliberately tried to drag Trump into war with Iran! But noticed how it turned out!

by Tyler Durden Fri, 01/10/2020 - 23:45 0 SHARES

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

In 2016 during the election campaign of Donald Trump one of the primary factors of his popularity among conservatives was that he was one of the first candidates since Ron Paul to argue for bringing US troops home and ending American involvement in the various elitist fabricated wars in the Middle East . From Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Syria and Yemen and beyond, the Neo-Cons and Neo-Libs at the behest of their globalist masters had been waging war oversees unabated for over 15 years. The time was ripe for a change and people felt certain that if Hillary Clinton entered the White House, another 4-8 years of war were guaranteed.

There was nothing to be gained from these wars. They were only dragging the US down socially and economically , and even the idea of "getting the oil" had turned into a farce as the majority of Iraqi oil has been going to China, not the US. General estimates on the costs of the wars stand at $5 trillion US tax dollars and over 4500 American dead along with around 40,000 wounded. The only people that were benefiting from the situation were globalists and banking elites, who had been clamoring to destabilize the Middle East since the day they launched their "Project For A New American Century" (PNAC). Truly, all wars are banker wars.

The Obama Administration's attempts to lure Americans into supporting open war with the Assad regime in Syria had failed. Consistent attempts by George W. Bush and Obama to increase tensions with Iran had fizzled. Americans were showing signs of fatigue, FINALLY fed up with the lies being constructed to trick them into being complicit in the banker wars. Trump was a breath of fresh air...but of course, like all other puppets of the globalists, his promises were empty.

In my article 'Clinton vs. Trump And The Co-Option Of The Liberty Movement' , published before the 2016 election, I warned that Trump's rhetoric might be a grand show , and that it could be scripted by the establishment to bring conservatives back into the Republican/Neo-Con fold. At the time, leftist media outlet Bloomberg openly reveled in the idea that Trump might absorb and destroy the "Tea Party" and liberty movement and turn them into something far more manageable. The question was whether or not the liberty movement would buy into Trump completely, or remain skeptical.

Initially, I do not think the movement held onto its objectivity at all. Far too many people bought into Trump blindly and immediately based on misguided hopes and a desire to "win" against the leftists. The insane cultism of the political left didn't help matters much, either.

When Trump started saturating his cabinet with banking elites and globalists from the CFR the moment he entered office, I knew without any doubt that he was a fraud. Close associations with establishment swamp creatures was something he had consistently criticized Clinton and other politicians for during the campaign, but Trump was no better or different than Clinton; he was just an errand boy for the elites. The singular difference was that his rhetoric was designed to appeal directly to liberty minded conservatives.

This meant that it was only a matter of time before Trump broke most of his campaign promises, including his assertions that he would bring US troops home. Eventually, the mask had to come off if Trump was going to continue carrying out the agenda of his masters.

Today, the mask has indeed come off. For the past three years Trump has made announcements of an imminent pull back of troops in the Middle East, including the recent claim that troops would be leaving Syria. All of the announcements were followed by an INCREASE in US troop presence in the region. Consistent attempts have been made to foment renewed strife with Iran. The build-up to war has been obvious, but some people on the Trump train still didn't get it.

The most common argument I heard when pointing out all the inconsistencies in Trump's claims as well as his direct links to globalists was that "He hadn't started any wars, so how could he be a globalist puppet...?" My response has always been "Give it a little time, and he will."

One of my readers noted recently that "Trump Derangement Syndrome" (TDS) actually goes both ways. Leftists double down on their hatred of Trump at every opportunity, but Trump cultists double down on their support for Trump regardless of how many promises he breaks. This has always been my biggest concern – That conservatives in the liberty movement would ultimately abandon their principles of limited government, the end to banking elites in the White House and ending illegal wars because they had invested themselves so completely in the Trump farce that they would be too embarrassed to admit they had been conned.

Another concern is that the liberty movement would be infected by an influx of people who are neo-conservative statists at their core. These people pretend to be liberty minded conservatives, but when the veil is lifted they show their true colors as the War Pigs they really are. A distinction has to be made between Bush era Neo-Con control freaks and constitutional conservatives; there are few if any similarities between the two groups, but the establishment hopes that the former will devour the latter.

I've noticed that the War Pigs are out in force this past week, beating their chests a calling for more blood. The US government has assassinated Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, retaliations against US targets have begun, and now the Iraqi government has demanded that US troops be removed from the region, to which Trump has said "no" and demanded payment instead. A new troop surge has been initiated and this WILL end in all out war. The tit-for-tat has just begun.

How do Trump cultists respond? "Kill those terrorists!"

Yes, many of the same people that applauded Trump's supposed opposition to the wars three years ago are now fanatically cheering for the beginning of perhaps the most destructive war of all. The rationalizations for this abound. Soleimani was planning attacks on US targets in Iraq, they say. And, this might be true, though no hard proof has yet been presented.

I'm reminded of the Bush era claims of Iraqi "Weapons of Mass Destruction", the weapons that were never found and no proof was found that they ever existed. The only weapons Iraq had were the weapons the US sold to them decades ago. Any government can fabricate an excuse for assassination or war for public consumption; the Trump Administration is no different.

That said, I think the most important factor in this debate has fallen by the wayside. The bottom line is, US troops and US bases should NOT be in Iraq in the first place. Trump himself stated this time and time again . Even if Soleimani was behind the attacks and riots in Iraq, US assets cannot be attacked in the region if they are REMOVED from the region as Trump said he would do.

There is only one reason to keep US assets in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria at this time, and that is to create ongoing tensions in the area which can be used by the establishment to trigger a new war, specifically with Iran.

The War Pigs always have reasons and rationales, though.

They say the Muslim world is a threat to our way of life, and I agree that their ideology is completely incompatible with Western values. That said, the solution is not sending young Americans to die overseas in wars based on lies. Again, these wars only benefit the bankers and globalists; they do not make us safer as a people. The only moral solution is to make sure the fascist elements of Muslim extremism are not imported to our shores.

The War Pigs say that we deserve payment for our "services rendered" in the region before we leave, echoing the sentiments of Donald Trump. I ask, what services? Payment for what? The invasion the Iraqi's didn't want, based on fallacies that have been publicly exposed? The US bases that should not be there in the first place? The hundreds of thousands dead from a war that had no purpose except to deliberately destabilize the region?

We will never get "payment" from the Iraqis as compensation for these mad endeavors, and the War Pigs know this. They want war. They want it to go on forever. They want to attach their egos to the event. They want to claim glory for themselves vicariously when we win, and they want to claim victimhood for themselves vicariously when our soldiers or citizens get killed. They are losers that can only be winners through the sacrifices of others.

The War Pigs defend the notion that the president should be allowed to make war unilaterally without support from congress. They say that this type of action is legal, and technically they are right. It is "legal" because the checks and balances of war were removed under the Bush and Obama Administrations. The passage of the AUMF (Authorization For Use Of Military Force) in 2001 gave the Executive Branch dictatorial powers to initiate war on a whim without oversight. Just because it is "legal" does not mean it is constitutional, or right.

In the end, the Trump bandwagon is meant to accomplish many things for the globalists; the main goal though is that it is designed to change liberty conservatives into rabid statists. It is designed to make anti-war pro-constitution activists into war mongers and supporters of big government, as long as it is big government under "our control". But it's not under our control. Trump is NOT our guy. He is an agent of the establishment and always has been.

For now, the saber rattling is aggressive but the actions have been limited, but this will not be the case for long. Some may ask why the establishment has not simply launched all out war now? Why start out small? Firstly, they need conservatives psychologically invested in the idea. This may require a false flag event or attack on American civilians. Secondly, they need to execute an extensive troop build-up, which could take a few months. Declarations of a "need for peace" are always used to stall for time while the elites position for war.

War with Iran is pointless, and frankly, unwinnable, and the elites know this. It's not just a war with Iran, it is a war with Iran, their allies, and every other nation that reacts negatively to our actions. And, these nations do not have to react militarily, they can react economically by dumping US treasuries and the dollar as world reserve.

The establishment wants the US embroiled in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. until we are so hollowed out from conflict that we collapse.

They also need a considerable distraction to hide their responsibility for the implosion of the Everything Bubble and the economic pain that will come with it. The end game for the establishment is for America to self destruct, so that it can be rebuilt into something unrecognizable and eternally monstrous. They want every vestige of our original principles to be erased, and to do that, they need us to be complicit in our own destruction.

They need us to participate. Don't participate, and refuse to support new banker wars. Don't be a War Pig.

* * *

If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch . Learn more about it HERE .


LEEPERMAX , 17 minutes ago link

ELIMINATING QASEM SOLEIMANI WAS DONALD TRUMP'S MIDDLE EAST FAREWELL LETTER

"The elimination of Soleimani was not a prelude to deeper US involvement in the Middle East. It was a farewell letter"

Sanity Bear , 20 minutes ago link

Brandon's prescription needs a refill... fast.

freeculture , 36 minutes ago link

Trumpino is MIGA all the way to the bank.

VZ58 , 31 minutes ago link

Like all before him in the last seventy odd years...some Americans are finally beginning to understand this...

Helg Saracen , 55 minutes ago link

The main problem of the United States in the existing political and economic system, which began to be intensively created by the American banking layer since 1885 and was fixed in 1913. This became possible only thanks to the Civil War of 1861-1865. I will explain. Before the Civil War, each state had its own banking structure, its own banknotes (there were not so many states, there were still territories that did not become states yet). Before the American Civil War, there was no single banking system. Abraham Linkol was a protege of the banking houses of the cities of New York and Chicago, they rigged the election (bought the election). It may sound rude to the Americans, but Lincoln was a rogue in the eyes of some US citizens of that time. And this became the main reason for the desire of some states (not only southern, and some northern) to withdraw from the United States. Another good reason for the exit was the persistent attempts of bankers in New York and Chicago to take control of the banking system of the South. These are two main reasons, as old as the World, the struggle for control and money. The war (unfortunately) began the South. Under a federal treaty, South and North were supposed to jointly contain US forts for protection. The fighting began on April 12, 1861 with an attack by southerners on such a fort Sumter in Charleston Bay. These are the beginnings of war.

This is important - I advise everyone to read the memoirs of generals, and especially the memoirs of Ulysses Grant, the future president of the United States. The war was with varying success, but the emissaries of the banks of New York and Chicago always followed the army of the North, who, taking advantage of the disastrous situation in the battlefields, bought up real estate, land and other assets. They were called the "Carpetbagger". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpetbagger They were engaged in the purchase throughout the war and up to 1885.

To make it clear to you, in the history of the USA, the period from 1865 to 1885 is called the "Great American Depression" (this is the very first great depression and lasted 20 years). During this time, the bankers of New York and Chicago completely subjugated the US banking system to themselves and their interests, trampled the South (robbed), after which the submission of the US as a state directly to the banking mafia began. At present (since 1913) in the USA there is not capitalism, but an evil parody of capitalism.

I can call it this: American clan-corporate oligarchic "capitalism" (with the suppression of free markets, with unfair competition and the creation of barriers to the dissemination of reliable information). Since such "capitalism" cannot work (like socialism or utopian communism), constant wars are needed that bring profit to the bankers, owners of the military-industrial complex, political "service staff", make oligarchs richer, and ordinary Americans poorer. We are now observing this, since this system has come to its end and everything has become obvious.

For example, in the early 80s, the middle class of the United States was approximately 70% of the population employed in production and trade, now it is no more than 15%.

The gap between the oligarchs and ordinary Americans widened. My essay is how I see what is happening in the USA and why I do not like it. It's my personal opinion. In the end, my favorite phrase is that Americans are suckers and boobies (but we still love them). Good luck everyone.

rbianco3 , 1 hour ago link

No longer a concern, a reality

Another concern is that the liberty movement would be infected by an influx of people who are neo-conservative statists at their core. These people pretend to be liberty minded conservatives, but when the veil is lifted they show their true colors as the War Pigs they really are.

ExposeThem511 , 56 minutes ago link

Trotskyites.

The Vineyard 21 - 33-43 , 1 hour ago link

Prophetically speaking, Trump is a sign that the end game of the grand plan of the current age is swiftly coming to an end.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

What does Frank the Skank (ostensibly an American taxpayer, but more likely an Israeli dual "loyalty" traitor) have to say about this?

We will never get "payment" from the Iraqis as compensation for these mad endeavors, and the War Pigs know this. They want war. They want it to go on forever. They want to attach their egos to the event. They want to claim glory for themselves vicariously when we win, and they want to claim victimhood for themselves vicariously when our soldiers or citizens get killed. They are losers that can only be winners through the sacrifices of others.

The War Pigs defend the notion that the president should be allowed to make war unilaterally without support from congress. They say that this type of action is legal, and technically they are right. It is "legal" because the checks and balances of war were removed under the Bush and Obama Administrations. The passage of the AUMF (Authorization For Use Of Military Force) in 2001 gave the Executive Branch dictatorial powers to initiate war on a whim without oversight. Just because it is "legal" does not mean it is constitutional, or right.

[Jan 11, 2020] Big Money in Politics Doesn't Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War. - FPIF

Notable quotes:
"... Citizens United ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | fpif.org

Big Money in Politics Doesn't Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War.

Military contractors have shelled out over $1 million to the 2016 presidential candidates -- including over $200,000 to Hillary Clinton alone.

By Rebecca Green , April 27, 2016 . Originally published in OtherWords .

Print Friendly, PDF & EmailPrint Military-Industrial Diagnosis

Khalil Bendib / OtherWords.org

The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the lively debate among feminists over whether to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump's unorthodox candidacy.

The elections are also groundbreaking because they're revealing more dramatically than ever the corrosive effect of big money on our decaying democracy.

Following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and related rulings, corporations and the wealthiest Americans gained the legal right to raise and spend as much money as they want on political candidates.

The 2012 elections were consequently the most expensive in U.S. history. And this year's races are predicted to cost even more. With the general election still six months away, donors have already sunk $1 billion into the presidential race -- with $619 million raised by candidates and another $412 million by super PACs.

Big money in politics drives grave inequality in our country. It also drives war.

After all, war is a profitable industry. While millions of people all over the world are being killed and traumatized by violence, a small few make a killing from the never-ending war machine.

During the Iraq War, for example, weapons manufacturers and a cadre of other corporations made billions on federal contracts.

Most notoriously this included Halliburton, a military contractor previously led by Dick Cheney. The company made huge profits from George W. Bush's decision to wage a costly, unjustified, and illegal war while Cheney served as his vice president.

Military-industrial corporations spend heavily on political campaigns. They've given over $1 million to this year's presidential candidates so far -- over $200,000 of which went to Hillary Clinton, who leads the pack in industry backing.

These corporations target House and Senate members who sit on the Armed Forces and Appropriations Committees, who control the purse strings for key defense line items. And cleverly, they've planted factories in most congressional districts. Even if they provide just a few dozen constituent jobs per district, that helps curry favor with each member of Congress.

Thanks to aggressive lobbying efforts, weapons manufacturers have secured the five largest contracts made by the federal government over the last seven years. In 2014, the U.S. government awarded over $90 billion worth of contracts to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman.

Military spending has been one of the top three biggest federal programs every year since 2000, and it's far and away the largest discretionary portion. Year after year, elected officials spend several times more on the military than on education, energy, and the environment combined.

Lockheed Martin's problematic F-35 jet illustrates this disturbingly disproportionate use of funds. The same $1.5 trillion Washington will spend on the jet, journalist Tom Cahill calculates , could have provided tuition-free public higher education for every student in the U.S. for the next 23 years. Instead, the Pentagon ordered a fighter plane that can't even fire its own gun yet.

Given all of this, how can anyone justify war spending?

Some folks will say it's to make us safer . Yet the aggressive U.S. military response following the 9/11 attacks -- the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the NATO bombing of Libya, and drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen -- has only destabilized the region. "Regime change" foreign policies have collapsed governments and opened the doors to Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS.

Others may say they support a robust Pentagon budget because of the jobs the military creates . But dollar for dollar, education spending creates nearly three times more jobs than military spending.

We need to stop letting politicians and corporations treat violence and death as "business opportunities." Until politics become about people instead of profits, we'll remain crushed in the death grip of the war machine.

And that is the real national security threat facing the United States today. Share this:

[Jan 11, 2020] Meet the CEOs Raking It in from Trump's Aggression Toward Iran - FPIF

Notable quotes:
"... Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits the IPS publication Inequality.org. Follow her at @SarahDAnderson1. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | fpif.org

Meet the CEOs Raking It in from Trump's Aggression Toward Iran

Major military contractors saw a stock surge from the U.S. assassination of an Iranian general. For CEOs, that means payday comes early.

By Sarah Anderson , January 6, 2020 . Originally published in Inequality.org .

Print Friendly, PDF & EmailPrint military-industrial-complex-arms-contractors

Chris Devers / Flickr

CEOs of major U.S. military contractors stand to reap huge windfalls from the escalation of conflict with Iran. This was evident in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. assassination of a top Iranian military official last week. As soon as the news reached financial markets, these companies' share prices spiked, inflating the value of their executives' stock-based pay.

I took a look at how the CEOs at the top five Pentagon contractors were affected by this surge, using the most recent SEC information on their stock holdings.

Northrop Grumman executives saw the biggest increase in the value of their stocks after the U.S. airstrike that killed Qasem Suleimani on January 2. Shares in the B-2 bomber maker rose 5.43 percent by the end of trading the following day.

Wesley Bush, who turned Northrop Grumman's reins over to Kathy Warden last year, held 251,947 shares of company stock in various trusts as of his final SEC Form 4 filing in May 2019. (Companies must submit these reports when top executives and directors buy and sell company stock.) Assuming Bush is still sitting on that stockpile, he saw the value grow by $4.9 million to a total of $94.5 million last Friday.

New Northrop Grumman CEO Warden saw the 92,894 shares she'd accumulated as the firm's COO expand in value by more than $2.7 million in just one day of post-assassination trading.

Lockheed Martin, whose Hellfire missiles were reportedly used in the attack at the Baghdad airport, saw a 3.6 percent increase in price per share on January 3. Marillyn Hewson, CEO of the world's largest weapon maker, may be kicking herself for selling off a considerable chunk of stock last year when it was trading at around $307. Nevertheless, by the time Lockheed shares reached $413 at the closing bell, her remaining stash had increased in value by about $646,000.

What about the manufacturer of the MQ-9 Reaper that carried the Hellfire missiles? That would be General Atomics. Despite raking in $2.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts in 2018, the drone maker is not required to disclose executive compensation information because it is a privately held corporation.

We do know General Atomics CEO Neal Blue is worth an estimated $4.1 billion -- and he's a major investor in oil production, a sector that also stands to profit from conflict with a major oil-producing country like Iran.

*Resigned 12/22/19. **Resigned 1/1/19 while staying on as chairman until 7/19. New CEO Kathy Warden accumulated 92,894 shares in her previous position as Northrop Grumman COO.

Suleimani's killing also inflated the value of General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic's fortune. As the weapon maker's share price rose about 1 percentage point on January 3, the former CIA official saw her stock holdings increase by more than $1.2 million.

Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy saw a single-day increase in his stock of more than half a million dollars, as the missile and bomb manufacturer's share price increased nearly 1.5 percent. Boeing stock remained flat on Friday. But Dennis Muilenberg, recently ousted as CEO over the 737 aircraft scandal, appears to be well-positioned to benefit from any continued upward drift of the defense sector.

As of his final Form 4 report, Muilenburg was sitting on stock worth about $47.7 million. In his yet to be finalized exit package, the disgraced former executive could also pocket huge sums of currently unvested stock grants.

Hopefully sanity will soon prevail and the terrifyingly high tensions between the Trump administration and Iran will de-escalate. But even if the military stock surge of this past Friday turns out to be a market blip, it's a sobering reminder of who stands to gain the most from a war that could put millions of lives at risk.

We can put an end to dangerous war profiteering by denying federal contracts to corporations that pay their top executives excessively. In 2008, John McCain, then a Republican presidential candidate, proposed capping CEO pay at companies receiving taxpayer bailouts at no more than $400,000 (the salary of the U.S. president). That notion should be extended to companies that receive massive taxpayer-funded contracts.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, for instance, has a plan to deny federal contracts to companies that pay CEOs more than 150 times what their typical worker makes.

As long as we allow the top executives of our privatized war economy to reap unlimited rewards, the profit motive for war in Iran -- or anywhere -- will persist. Share this:

Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits the IPS publication Inequality.org. Follow her at @SarahDAnderson1.

[Jan 10, 2020] America Has a Samson Problem by Andrew J. Bacevich

Jan 10, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Critics of the Soleimani assassination point out that it was an action devoid of strategic purpose. They are correct to do so. Yet let's not blame Donald Trump and his ever-changing cast of senior advisers for having strayed off the path of good sense. The United States lost its way decades ago when members of the policy elite succumbed to an infatuation with military power and thereby lost their strategic bearings.

The current crisis with Iran brings into focus something that ought to have long ago attracted attention: t his country has a Samson problem. The United States has become a 21st-century equivalent of the tragic figure from the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible: strong, vain, and doomed (although we must hope our nation does not share Samson's ultimate fate).

Most people are familiar with at least the outlines of the biblical Samson story: a mighty warrior who slays the enemies of the Israelites in great numbers using the jawbone of an ass among other weapons. Sadly, after the captivating Delilah seduces Samson into revealing the secret of his extraordinary strength -- his unshorn hair -- he ends up blind, in chains, and held captive in the temple of the Philistines. Samson asks the Lord to restore his strength. The King James Bible explains what happens next: "And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life." It was a huge bloodletting, and among the victims was the hero himself.

It's a dramatic story, made for the movies. The 1949 Technicolor version, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr, remains a camp classic of the sandal-and-togas genre. But whether in the original text or on celluloid, the denouement does not qualify as a happy one. Samson was a fool and his own worst enemy. Something of the same can be said of the United States in recent decades.

As the recently concluded war scare with Iran was unfolding, for example, President Trump took it upon himself to assure his nervous fellow citizens as to the matchless strength of America's armed forces. "So far, so good!" he tweeted, more than slightly prematurely. "We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!"

I confess that it's those exclamation points that leave me most uneasy. They suggest a manic personality oblivious to the seriousness of the moment. Can you imagine Kennedy in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis releasing a comparable statement?

Although not without his faults, Kennedy understood how quickly a position of apparent strength can dissipate. Our current commander-in-chief possesses no such appreciation. Trump's confidence in the U.S. military, expressed with his trademark bluster and bravado, seemingly knows no bounds. And although on this occasion the president and his counterparts in Tehran found a way to avoid pulling down the temple on all of us, his performance did not inspire confidence. We must hope that in the future he's confronted with few comparable crises. There's no saying when his luck (and ours) might run out.

Yet we should not lose sight of the fact that the assassination of General Soleimani was only the most recent in a long series of actions in which confidence in America's military has underwritten rash decisions devoid of strategic common sense. Post-Cold War Washington specializes in rashness. Indeed, in comparison with George W. Bush, who ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Barack Obama, who greenlighted the overthrow of Libya's Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, Trump comes across as a small-stakes gambler.

The larger problem to which Trump calls our attention is the militarism that pervades the American political class -- the conviction that accumulating and putting to use military power expresses the essence of so-called American global leadership. That notion is dead wrong and has been the source of endless mischief.

Congress is considering measures that will constrain Trump from any further use of force targeting Iran, hoping thereby to avoid an all-out war. This is all to the good. But the larger requirement is for our political establishment generally to wean itself off of its infatuation with military power. Only then can we restore a measure of self-restraint to America's national security policy.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , is just out.


JLF 8 hours ago

We start in a considerable hole. Last year (September 12) Forbes reported a survey of 60,000 Europeans in 14 countries and found only 4% trust Trump. "Our polling confirms that Trump is toxic in Europe, and that this is feeding into distrust of the U.S. Security Guarantee," https://www.forbes.com/site...

Apparently they aren't so impressed by our massive military might . . . or at least they are not impressed by those who wield our massive military might.

Palichamp 8 hours ago
The US military isn't solving world problems, it's CAUSING world problems, primarily for Israel's Balkanizing Oded Yinon Plan and for the neoconJew's PNAC global agenda.
Fran Macadam 7 hours ago
The Full Spectrum Dominance policy posits that America can never be secure until all potential rivals are made subservient. What is the character of a nation that demands submission from the entire world, that all are to be vassals and satrapies?
MPC 7 hours ago
If Trump really did think that there was some Art of the Deal logic in this, kill Soleimani, let Iran have a symbolic retaliation, then back down and deal, I can respect that, but I want to see a deal. Obama got a deal, not a perfect one, but respectable considering we don't have long term interests in the Middle East anyways. Without a deal he just furthered the risk of neocons getting to push the fire button and commit us unprofitably once more, and pushed Iran further into the arms of China.

On the other hand his threatening to attack Iranian cultural sites was inappropriate and unwise and creating long term problems with no short term gain. It rhymes with some of his domestic issues too - tribalizing people does not make for a deal-making environment.

JohnnLisa Broom 6 hours ago
Shades of the 1993 Essay in Parameters "The Origins of the Military Coup of 2012. When the only tool in in your kitbag that works at all is a hammer, every problem is a nail. That might be okay if we had a small tack hammer, but for some reason all we have is a 700 Billion Dollar 20 lb sledge. https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=586
Frank Natoli 4 hours ago
the assassination of General Soleimani was only the most recent in a long series of actions in which confidence in America's military has underwritten rash decisions devoid of strategic common sense
Ah, strategic common sense.
So Bacevich doesn't need to bother with tactical common sense.
Got it.
Christopher Rice Frank Natoli 3 hours ago
As a respected authority on both strategy and tactics once suggested: "strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Strategy is fundamentally more important than tactics. Perhaps we could be a bit less dismissive?
MPC Frank Natoli 3 hours ago
The US has had a lot of tactical common sense in Afghanistan.
Gutbomb 3 hours ago
"Congress is considering measures that will constrain Trump from any further use of force targeting Iran, hoping thereby to avoid an all-out war."

I'm always baffled when I hear about new attempts by Congress to limit the president's unilateral use of force, as if they have chosen to ignore that the Constitution itself already explicitly forbids it.

Donna 3 hours ago • edited
Is "national security" really the goal of the US military, or is "multinational corporation security" the real reason the US has thousands of military bases around the world? The US taxpayer foots the security bill for the same corporations that buy all of our national elections. But you have to admit, it's a well-played scam: the CIA stirs up internal chaos in a country, and the US military then completes the destabilization program by bombing it into submission or terminal chaos.
Donna 2 hours ago
Which begs the question, "Why is it, that the Terrorists always live on the resources that the Corporations covet?"

[Jan 09, 2020] West Point teaches people they have the right to drop bombs on civilians and torture them in Guantanamo. Of course these folks think of themselves as the smartest people who ever lived.

Jan 09, 2020 | www.unz.com

Steve Gilbert , says: Show Comment January 8, 2020 at 7:29 pm GMT

@Authenticjazzman The US could afford lots of things if we cut the military budget by 99%, as we should have done after WWII.
The military works for the plutocrats, stealing money from the taxpayers. The ruling class turned Vietnam from an agricultural nation into a low paid factory nation which took thousands of textile jobs from Americans – i.e winning the Vietnam war. The problem lies in the taxpayers not understanding what winning means. Manufacturing havens with super low wages and homeless veterans begging at every intersection. West Point teaches people they have the right to drop bombs on civilians and torture them in Guantanamo. Of course these folks think of themselves as the smartest people who ever lived.

[Jan 08, 2020] "Isolationist" is a imperialist label put on someone against war.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

SharonM , Jan 8 2020 17:59 utc | 153

@145 vk

"Isolationist" is a imperialist label put on someone against war. And the U.S. has always been an imperialist nation. There's no such thing as a limited era of imperialism for the U.S.

[Jan 07, 2020] The United States, like Israel, has become a pariah that shreds, violates or absents itself from international law

Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

The United States, like Israel, has become a pariah that shreds, violates or absents itself from international law. We launch preemptive wars, which under international law is defined as a "crime of aggression," based on fabricated evidence. We, as citizens, must hold our government accountable for these crimes. If we do not, we will be complicit in the codification of a new world order, one that would have terrifying consequences. It would be a world without treaties, statutes and laws. It would be a world where any nation, from a rogue nuclear state to a great imperial power, would be able to invoke its domestic laws to annul its obligations to others. Such a new order would undo five decades of international cooperation -- largely put in place by the United States -- and thrust us into a Hobbesian nightmare. Diplomacy, broad cooperation, treaties and law, all the mechanisms designed to civilize the global community, would be replaced by savagery.

Chris Hedges, an Arabic speaker, is a former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. He spent seven years covering the region, including Iran.

[Jan 06, 2020] The threat of General Soleimani - TTG

Highly recommended!
Below are some idea from Below are some idea from OffGuardian that clrify TT post...
The Saker took a look yesterday at The Soleimani murder – what could happen next . He thinks, as he has said before, that Trump is regarded as a disposable asset by his Deep State handlers and is being used as a front man for risky policy actions that he can be scapegoated for if/when they go wrong.
war with Iran has been the auto-erotic fixation for the hardcore war nuts in Washington for years, and imminent confrontation has been predicted regularly since at least 2005
Trump administration from the very beginning has been ramping up the tensions (Adelson money at work): Trump teared up the nuclear deal, re-imposed sanctions, making provocations, making threats. But this has all been within the familiar framework that always just stops short of actual conflict. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that.
The major question really though is – will this backtracking and odd claims of wanting de-escalation actually do anything to de-escalate? Will it persuade Iran not to seek retaliation, supposing this is now what Pompeo et al want?
It's become a commonplace to describe Trump foreign policy as 'insane', and it's an apposite description. But the murder of Soleimani takes the evident insanity to new and self-defeating levels.
Notable quotes:
"... Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs. ..."
"... Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. ..."
"... According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances? ..."
"... This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden. ..."
"... After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot! ..."
"... IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The threat of General Soleimani - TTG W7kf87eV

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States had "clear, unambiguous" intelligence that a top Iranian general was planning a significant campaign of violence against the United States when it decided to strike him, the top U.S. general said on Friday, warning Soleimani's plots "might still happen."

Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters "we fully comprehend the strategic consequences" associated with the strike against Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's most prominent military commander.

But he said the risk of inaction exceeded the risk that killing him might dramatically escalate tensions with Tehran. "Is there risk? Damn right, there's risk. But we're working to mitigate it," Milley said from his Pentagon office. (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

This is pretty much in line with Trump's pronouncement that our assassination of Soleimani along with Iraqi General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was carried out to prevent a war not start one. Whatever information was presented to Trump painted a picture of imminent danger in his mind. What did the Pentagon see that was so imminent?

Well first let's look at the mindset of the Pentagon concerning our presence in Iraq and Syria. These two recent quotes from Brett McGurk sums up that mindset.

"If we leave Iraq, that will just increase further the running room for Iran and Shia militia groups and also the vacuum that will see groups like ISIS fill and we'll be right back to where we were. So that would be a disaster."

"It's always been Soleimani's strategic game... to get us out of the Middle East. He wants to see us leave Syria, he wants to see us leave Iraq... I think if we leave Iraq after this, that would just be a real disastrous outcome..."

McGurk played a visible role in US policy in Iraq and Syria under Bush, Obama and Trump. Now he's an NBC talking head and a lecturer at Stanford. He could be the poster boy for what many see as a neocon deep state. He's definitely not alone in thinking this way.

So back to the question of what was the imminent threat. Reuters offers an elaborate story of a secret meeting of PMU commanders with Soleimani on a rooftop terrace on the Tigris with a grand view of the US Embassy on the far side of the river.

-- -- -- -- --

"In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi'ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, and instructed them to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country"

"Two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters that Soleimani instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on US targets using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran."

"Soleimani's plans to attack US forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect Iraqis' anger towards Iran to the US, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi'ite politicians and government officials close to Iraq PM Adel Abdul Mahdi."

"At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries - unknown to the United States - who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases." (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran? They were 1960s Chinese designed 107mm multiple rocket launcher technology. These simple but effective rocket launchers were mass produced by the Soviet Union, Iran, Turkey and Sudan in addition to China. They've been used in every conflict since then. The one captured outside of the K1 military base seems to be locally fabricated, but used Iranian manufactured rockets.

Since when does the PMU have to form another low profile militia unit? The PMU is already composed of so many militia units it's difficult to keep track of them. There's also nothing low profile about the Kata'ib Hizbollah, the rumored perpetrators of the K1 rocket attack. They're as high profile as they come.

Perhaps there's something to this Reuters story, but to me it sounds like another shithouse rumor. It would make a great scene in a James Bond movie, but it still sounds like a rumor.

There's another story put out by The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Although it also sounds like a scene form a James Bond movie, I think it sounds more convincing than the Reuters story.

-- -- -- -- --

Delegation of Arab tribes met with "Soleimani" at the invitation of "Tehran" to carry out attacks against U.S. Forces east Euphrates

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that a delegation of the Arab tribes met on the 26th of December 2019, with the goal of directing and uniting forces against U.S. Forces, and according to the Syrian Observatory's sources, that meeting took place with the commander of the al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassim Soleimani, who was assassinated this morning in a U.S. raid on his convoy in Iraq. the sources reported that: "the invitation came at the official invitation of Tehran, where Iran invited Faisal al-al-Aazil, one of the elders of al-Ma'amra clan, in addition to the representative of al-Bo Asi clan the commander of NDF headquarters in Qamishli Khatib al-Tieb, and the Sheikh of al-Sharayin, Nawaf al-Bashar, the Sheikh of Harb clan, Mahmoud Mansour al-Akoub, " adding that: "the meeting discussed carrying out attacks against the American forces and the Syria Democratic Forces."

Earlier, the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, met with the security committee and about 20 Arab tribal elders and Sheikhs in al-Hasakah, at Qamishli Airport Hall on the 5th of December 2019, where he demanded the Arab tribes to withdraw their sons from the ranks of the Syria Democratic Forces. (SOHR)

-- -- -- -- --

I certainly don't automatically give credence to anything Rami sends out of his house in Coventry. I give this story more credibility only because that is exactly what I would do if Syria east of the the Euphrates was my UWOA (unconventional warfare operational area). This is exactly how I would go about ridding the area of the "Great Satan" invaders and making Syria whole again. The story also includes a lot of named individuals. This can be checked. This morning Colonel Lang told me some tribes in that region have a Shia history. Perhaps he can elaborate on that. I've read in several places that Qassim Soleimani knew the tribes in Syria and Iraq like the back of his hand. This SOHR story makes sense. If Soleimani was working with the tribes of eastern Syria like he worked with the tribes and militias of Iraq to create the al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi, it no doubt scared the bejeezus out of the Pentagon and endangered their designs for Iraq and Syria.

So, Qassim Soleimani, the Iranian soldier, the competent and patient Iranian soldier, was a threat to the Pentagon's designs a serious threat. But he was a long term threat, not an imminent threat. And he was just one soldier.The threat is systemic and remains. The question of why, in the minds of Trump and his generals, Soleimani had to die this week is something I will leave for my next post.

A side note on Milley: Whenever I see a photo of him, I am reminded of my old Brigade Commander in the 25th Infantry Division, Colonel Nathan Vail. They both have the countenance of a snapping turtle. One of the rehab transfers in my rifle platoon once referred to him as "that J. Edgar Hoover looking mutha fuka." I had to bite my tongue to keep from breaking out in laughter. It would have been unseemly for a second lieutenant to openly enjoy such disrespect by a PV2 and a troublemaking PV2 at that. God bless PV2 Webster, where ever you are.

TTG


John Merryman , 04 January 2020 at 06:33 PM

Wondering how much more intense the security will be around Trump's campaign rallies during the election.
The Twisted Genius , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs.

Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. I was glad we went back into Iraq to take on the threat of IS and cheered our initial move into Syria to do the same. That was the Sunni-Shia war you worry about. More accurately, it was a Salafist jihadist-all others war. Unfortunately, we overstayed the need and our welcome. It's a character flaw that we cannot loosen our grasp on empire no matter how much it costs us.

Jack -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 08:16 PM
TTG,

Thanks for your post. What it says I buy. We are in the Middle East and have been for a while to impose regional hegemony. What that has bought us is nebulous at best. Clearly we have spent trillions and destabilized the region. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed and maimed, including thousands of our soldiers. Are we better off from our invasion of Iraq, toppling Ghaddafi, and attempting to topple Assad using jihadists? Guys like McGurk, Bolton, Pompeo will say yes. Others like me will say no.

The oil is a canard. We produce more oil than we ever have and it is a fungible commodity. Will it impact Israel if we pull out our forces? Sure. But it may have a salutary effect that it may force them to sue for peace. Will the Al Sauds continue to fund jihadi mayhem? Likely yes, but they'll have to come to some accommodation with the Iranian Shia and recognize their regional strength.

Our choice is straightforward. Continue down the path of more conflict sinking ever more trillions that we don't have expecting a different outcome or cut our losses and get out and let the natural forces of the region assert themselves. I know which path I'll take.

JamesT -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 09:48 PM
TTG,

With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I think the protesters swarming the embassy was exactly the same kind of tactic that US backed protesters used in Ukraine (and are currently using in Hong Kong) to great effect. The Persians are unique in that they are capable of studying our methodologies and tactics and appropriating them.

When the US backed protesters took over Maidan square and started taking over various government building in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych had two choices - either start shooting protesters or watch while his authority collapsed. It was and is a difficult choice.

In my humble opinion, there are few things the stewards of US hegemony fear more than the IRGC becoming the worlds number one disciple of Gene Sharp.

PavewayIV , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
TTG - "And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran?"

According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances?

If the U.S. only had a Dilyana Gaytandzhieva to bird-dog out the rat line. Wait... the MSM would have fired her by now for weaponizing journalism against the neocons [sigh].

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 07:21 PM
If a goal is to get the heck out of the Middle East since it is an intractable cess pit and stat protecting our own borders and internal security, will we be better off with Soleimani out of the picture or left in place.

Knowing of course, more just like him will sprout quickly, like dragon's teeth, in the sands of the desert.ME is a tar baby. Fracking our own tar sands is the preferable alternative.

Real war war would be a direct attack on Israel. Then they get our full frontal assault. But this pissy stuff around the edges is an exercise in futility. 2020 was Trump's to lose.Incapacity to handle asymmetirc warfare is ours to lose.

Jane , 04 January 2020 at 07:35 PM
There is no necessary link between the Iranian support for the Assad regime, to include its operations in tribal areas of Syria. The Iranian-backed militias and Iranian government officials have been operating in that area for a long time, supporting the efforts of Security/Intel Ali Mamlouk. That Suleimani knew the tribes so well is a mark of his professional competence. Everyone is courting the Syrian tribes, some sides more adeptly than others. It is also worth noting that in putting together manpower for their various locally formed Syrian militias, the Iranians took on unemployed Sunnis.

That said, there are small Ismaili communities in Syria and there are apparently a couple of villages in Deir ez Zor that did convert to Shiism, but no mass religious change. The Iranians are sensitive to the fact that they could cause a backlash if they tried hard to promote "an alien culture."

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 07:40 PM
Well, The Donald has turned to Twitter menacing iran with wiping out all of its World Heritage Sites....which is declared intention to commit a war crime...

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1213593975732527112

For what it seems Iran must sawllow the assasination of its beloved and highjly regarded general...or else...

Do you really think there is any explanation for this, whatever Soleimani´s history ( he was doing his duty in his country and neighboring zone...you are...well...everywhere...) or that we can follow this way with you escalating your threats and crimes ever and that everybody must leave it at that without response or you menace coming with more ?

That somebody or some news agency has any explanation for this is precisely the sign of our times and our disgrace. That there is a bunch of greedy people who is willing to do whatever is needed to prevail and keep being obscenely rich...

BTW, would be interesting to know who are the main holders of shares at Reuters...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:09 PM
Board of Directors of Reuters

The same monopolizing almost each and every MSM and news agency at every palce in the world, big bank, big pharma, big business, big capital ( insurances companies nad hedge funds ) big real state, and US think tanks...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:33 PM
In Elora´s opinion, Bret MacGurk is making revanche from Soleimani for the predictable fact that a humble and pious man bred in the region, who worked as bricklayer to help pay his father´s debt during his youth, and moreover has an innate irresistible charisma, managed to connect better with the savage tribes of the ME than such exceptionalist posh theoric bred at such an exceptionalist as well as far away country like the US.

But...what did you expect, that MacGurk would become Lawrence of Arabia versus Soleimani in his simpleness?

May be because of that that he deserved being dismembered by a misile...

As Pence blamed shamefully and stonefacelly Soleimani for 9/11, MacGurk blames him too for having fallen from the heights he was...

It seems that Pence was in the team of four who assesed Trump on this hit...along with Pompeo...

A good response would be that someone would leak the real truth on 9/11 so as to debunk Pence´s mega-lie...

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 08:48 PM
Two years ago, the public protest theme for Basel's winter carnival Fashnach was the imminent threat nuclear war as NK and US were sabre rattling, and NK was lobbing missles across Japan with sights on West Coast US cities.

Then almost the following week, NK and US planned to meet F2F in Singapore. And we could all breathe again. In the very early spring of 2018.

blue peacock , 04 January 2020 at 09:54 PM
TTG

This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden.

I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour.

After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot!

Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Trump's re-election will go when we are engaged in a full scale military conflagration in the Middle East? It sure will give Tulsi & Bernie an excellent environment to promote their anti-neocon message. You can see it in Trump's ambivalent tweets. On the one hand, I ordered the assassination of Soleimani to prevent a war (like we needed to burn the village to save it), while on the other hand, we have 52 sites locked & loaded if you retaliate. Hmmm!! IMO, he has seriously jeapordized his re-election by falling into the neocon Deep State trap. They never liked him. The coup by law enforcement & CIA & DNI failed. The impeachment is on its last legs. Voila! Incite him into another Middle Eastern quagmire against what he campaigned on and won an election.

I would think that Khamanei has no choice but to retaliate. How is anyone's guess? I doubt he'll order the sinking of a naval vessel patrolling the Gulf or fire missiles into the US base in Qatar. But assassination....especially in some far off location in Europe or South America? A targeted bombing here or there? A cyber attack at a critical point. I mean not indiscriminate acts like the jihadists but highly calculated targets. All seem extremely feasible in our highly vulnerable and relatively open societies. And they have both the experience and skills to accomplish them.

If ever you have the inclination, a speculative post on how the escalation ladder could potentially be climbed would be a fascinating read.

Jack -> blue peacock... , 05 January 2020 at 12:01 AM
"I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour."

BP,

Yes, indeed. It is a testament to our susceptibility that there is such limited scepticism by so many people on the pronouncements of our government. Especially considering the decades long continuous streams of lies and propaganda. The extent and brazenness of the lies have just gotten worse through my lifetime.

I feel for my grand-children and great-grand children as they now live in society that has no value for honor. It's all expedience in the search for immediate personal gain.

I am and have been in the minority for decades now. I've always opposed our military adventurism overseas from Korea to today. I never bought into the domino theory even at the heights of the Cold War. And I don't buy into the current global hegemony destiny to bring light to the savages. I've also opposed the build up of the national security surveillance state as the antithesis of our founding. I am also opposed to the increasing concentration of market power across every major market segment. It will be the destruction of our entrepreneurial economy. The partisan duopoly is well past it's sell date. But right now the majority are still caught up in rancorous battles on the side of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Something To Think About , 04 January 2020 at 10:19 PM
A question to the committee: what is the source for the claim that Soleimani bears direct responsibility for the death of over 600 US military personnel?

Craig Murray points to this article:
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/04/04/iran-killed-more-us-troops-in-iraq-than-previously-known-pentagon-says/

If that is the case (and it appears to be) then the US govt's claim is nonsense, as it clearly says " 'During Operation Iraqi Freedom, DoD assessed that at least 603 U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants,' Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email."

So those figures represent casualties suffered during the US-led military invasion of Iraq i.e. casualties suffered during a shooting-war.

If Soleimani is a legitimate target for assassination because of the success of his forces on the battlefield then wouldn't that make Tommy Franks an equally-legitimate target?

Jack , 04 January 2020 at 10:33 PM
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Caliphate, Romanian-American, Rukmini Callimachi, on the intelligence on Soleimani "imminent threat" being razor-thin.

https://twitter.com/rcallimachi/status/1213421769777909761?s=21

PavewayIV said in reply to Jack... , 04 January 2020 at 11:01 PM
You just beat me to her thread, Jack. For the Twitter shy, this is the first of a series of 17 tweets as a teaser:
1. I've had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I've learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is "razor thin".

Summary: [Too shameful to type]

Roy G , 04 January 2020 at 11:59 PM
IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/01/lies-the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-the-illegal-murder-of-soleimani/