American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism

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The Grand Chessboard Wolfowitz Doctrine "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism US Department of Imperial Expansion Wolfowitz Doctrine Looting pays dividends to empire
Technological imperialism War and Venture Capitalism Predator state Civil war in Ukraine Media domination strategy Transnational Corporations never let a good crisis go to waste US Department of Imperial Expansion
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Note: Partially based on Wikipedia article American imperialism (which avoids discussion neoliberalism as the "imperial method used for the building modern US empire).


American imperialism is the economic/financial (as well as  military and cultural) dominance of the United States over other countries. It is based on neoliberalism, so it more properly can be called "neo-imperialism"

Neoliberalism and associated with it a new type of empire (the USA neoliberal empire)  was not an accident, it was a development that while started in the USA took roots in many countries, including such diverse as  Chile (Pinochet), GB (Thatcher), China (Deng Xiaoping was a neoliberal reformer),  Russia (Yeltsin gang), and many other countries. Since the late 1970s, a shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance has been adopted as mean to escape diminishing return on capital.  The oil crisis of the 1970s was probably another factor in the decision of the elite (and it was decision, a conscious choice, not an accident) to switch to neoliberal policies. 

"American empire" consists of vassal states and colonies. Vassal state that have some degree of independence is essentially a codename for NATO. All other states are colonies. An international financial elite (Davos crowd) which BTW consider the USA and NATO as a enforcer, a tool for getting what they want, much like Bolsheviks considered Soviet Russia to be such a tool. The last thing they are concerned is the well-being of American people.

During its history which starts around 70th (with the first major success the Pinochet's coup de etat in Chile, which was supported by the USA), neoliberalism undergone several stages of development:

The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake to begin with) and thus made it far less attractive as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades.

The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism central mantra about self-regulating market (which was a fake to begin with)  and thus made it far less attractive as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades.

Also the neoliberal Pax Americana and the neoliberal version of global capitalism are increasingly contested by China, with the help of India, Russia, and Brazil (Carl Schmitt’s War on Liberalism The National Interest )

In different ways, Xi Jinping’s China, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Narendra Modi’s India represent an alternative economic model, in which free markets and state capitalism are blended under strong executive rule.

In other words 2008 signified the "end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end" of Washington Consensus, if we use Churchill's words. But in now way it means that period of neoliberal revolutions came ot the end. Inertia and the level of technological and cultural dominance of the USA and its allies (G7) is such that even after bankruptcy as an ideology, neoliberalism continues to its world expansion and claims new victims among "resource nationalists" or simply "not neoliberal enough" regimes. After 2008 Libya, Syria and Ukraine were successfully "regime changed". I think Ukraine, which was a neoliberal state even before EuroMaidan is a special case and much of EuroMaidan events were connected with the desire to "put Russia in place" by Washington (and its European poodles) as well as century old Germany desire to expand its market and dominance into Ukraine.   

If we assume that Marxism as a political philosophy was dead around 1960-1970 when it became evident that working class does not represent the new dominant class able to take power and govern in a new social system as well as the fact that Communist Party political dominance is unable to secure higher standard of living for people then advanced capitalist societies,  and never will, and that The Iron Law of Oligarchy  is applicable to the USSR even more, not less that to any Western country. Still it took 20 years for the USSR to collapse after the USA elite bought part of The USSR nomenclature and organized a quite coup installing puppet neoliberal Yeltsin regime (sold as a "victory of democracy" to lemmings by Western propaganda machine). Using neoliberal advisors from Harvard (aka "Harvard mafia") it instituted "shock therapy" which instantly pushed 90% of population of the  xUSSR region into object poverty very and also enriched beyond imagination few multinationals who were will full support of Yeltsin regime to steal assets and natural resources for pennies on dollar (using Russian fifth column as an intermediary). Essentially looting of the USSR area was one of key factors which ensured recovery and quick growth of the USA economy in late 90th which was interrupted only by the dot-com crysy of 2000.

I would assume that neoliberalism is probably twice more resilient the communism, so 50-60 years since it became clear that the economic doctrine of neoliberalism is a pseudoscientific joke and its political doctrine is an eclectic mix masking financial slavery masked with the smokescreen of propaganda about "entrepreneur class" and "shareholder value"  the first sign of decay might be a reasonable estimate ot its eventual lifetime.  Much depends on the dynamics of the price of oil, as globalization and thus forces of neoliberalism are inherently dependent on cheap hydrocarbons. High prices or relative scarcity that affects transcontinental trade might damage neoliberalism and undermine the fifth column that support it in.

Also high cost of hydrocarbons means "end of growth", and neoliberalism financial scheme based on cheap credit. It might implode in the environment of slow, or close to zero growth.

That means that consistent price of oil, say, over 120 is a direct threat to neoliberal project in the USA. Even with prices over $100 the major neoliberal economics  entered the stage of "secular stagnation". It also makes the US military which is the largest consumer of oil in the USA much more expensive to run and increase the costs of  neoliberal "wars for regime change", essentially curtailing neoliberal expansion. Or at least making it more difficult. The same is true about financiering of color revolutions, which as a new type of neoliberal conquests of other countries, also require some cash, although not at the scale of "boots on the ground".

It is possible to lower the oil price, as happened at the end of 2014, but the question is how long this period will last. 

At this point ideology of neoliberalism as an ideology is completely discredited and its fake nature is evident to large part of global elite (which probably never have any illusions from the very beginning) as well, which is more dangerous, large part of middle class. It still is supported by pure military and financial power of the USA and its allies as well as technological superiority of the West in general. So only postulates of neoliberalism, especially as for free market absolutization, started to be questioned.  And partically revised (increased financial regulation is one example). This form of neoliberalism with the core ideology intact but modified one of several postulates can be called post-neoliberalism.

The USA still remains the most powerful country in the world with formidable military, and still behave as a word hegemon and the only source of justice ignoring US and other International organization, unless it if convenient to them. But as Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". Running aggressive foreign policy on a discredited ideology and relying on blunt propaganda is a difficult undertaking as resistance mounts and bubble out in un-anticipated areas (Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine are recent example, when neoliberal color revolution, which was performed by few thousands trained by the West far right militants, including openly neo-fascist squads, led to civil war in the country).

Still, unfortunately, Libya, Syria  and Ukraine, were not probably a swan song of muscular enforcement of neoliberal model on other countries. While sponsored by the USA and allies anti-Putin putsch in Russia (aka white revolution") failed, events in Libya and Ukraine prove the neoliberalism sill can launch and win offensives (aka color revolutions). At the cost of plunging the country into economic and political chaos including civil war.  

Rule of financial oligarchy also gradually comes under some (although very limited) scrutiny in the USA. Some measures to restrict appetites of financial oligarchy were recently undertaken in Europe (bank bonuses limitations).

HFT and derivatives still remain off-reach for regulators despite JP Morgan fiasco in May 2012 in London branch. Trade loss was around two billions, decline of bank value was around $13bn (The Guardian) At this stage most people around the world realized that as Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger quipped in his CNBC interview Trusting banks to self-regulate is like trusting to self-regulate heroin addicts. At the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) heads of states in the spring of 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the death of “the Washington Consensus” — the famous list of market-liberalizing policy prescriptions that guided the previous 20 or 30 years of neoliberal expansion into third world countries  (Painter 2009).

Prominent economists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that after decades of reform, market-liberalizing policies had not produced the promised benefits for either economic growth or social welfare of countries were those policies were applied (Stiglitz 2002, 2006; Rodrik 2006). These criticisms further undermined the legitimacy of neoliberal governance, exactly the same way as similar criticism undermined socialist model of the USSR and Eastern Europe. The problem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achievement, here there is no alternative model with which to compare.

Still a backlash directed at the USA is mounting even from the former loyal vassals. Even the UK elite starts to display the behavior that contradict its role of the obedient US poodle. The atmosphere is which the USA is considered "guilty" of pushing though the throats of other countries a utopia that harmed them is a different atmosphere for the US oligarchy that the role of it accustomed to.  Now the US oligarchy has found itself in USSR nomenklatura shoes and eventually might be called to answer for their global actions which similar to Opium Wars of the British can be called Dollar Wars.

Everybody is now aware of the substantial costs that the modern financial system has imposed on the real economy, especially in developing countries,  and no amount of propaganda and brainwashing can hide this simple fact.

Standard of living was rising slowly and after 2008 mostly stopped to rise and started to detiorate reflecting higher energy prices and the level on indebtness of many countries (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Ukraine, etc).   So the key promise of neoliberalism that "trickle down" from super rich will be enough to sustain better standard of living for all proved to be a confidence game.

It is questionable that the "financial innovations" of the last three-four decades can compensate for those huge costs and that they warrants those costs. Shocks generated within the financial system and transformation of economies imposed by international financial oligarchy as the core of neoliberal elite, implies that the rule of financial oligarchy creates negative externalities for societies and that some types of financial activities and some financial structures should be treated like an organized crime (in other words as purely parasitic, extortionist type of players).

Still this stage preserves several attributes of previous stage and first of all push for globalization and aggressive foreign policy. While economic crisis of 2008 destroyed legitimacy of ideology of neoliberalism, neoliberalism as an ideology continue to exists as a cult, much like communism as an ideology continues to exist, despite the failure of the USSR. And being phony ideology from the very beginning, a smokescreen for  the revanchism of financial oligarchy, it still can be promoted by unrelenting propaganda machine of the same forces which put it into mainstream albeit with les efficiency.  

So far no viable alternatives emerged, and inertia is still strong, as strong as G7 block with the USA as the head of the block. Like in 20th failure of neoliberalism led to rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hungary, Ukraine). In some countries, such as Ukraine, the net result of neoliberal revolution was establishing a far right regime which has uncanny similarities to the régimes which came to power in 30th such as Franko regime in Spain.  The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, it is just the central idea of neoliberalism, the fake idea of self-regulating markets that was completely discredited by the crisis of 2008. Actually it was discredited before during Great Depression, but the generation that remembered this lesson is now extinct (it looks like it takes approximately 50 years for humanity to completely forget the lessons of history ;-).

Latin America, once paragon of a neoliberal revolution (Chile, Argentina, Mexico, etc), is now dominated by left-wing governments elected on explicitly anti-neoliberal platforms. Around the world, economists and policymakers now come to consensus that excessive reliance on unregulated financial markets and the unrestrained rule of financial oligarchy was the root cause of the current worldwide financial crisis. That created a more difficult atmosphere for the USA financial institutions to operate abroad. Several countries are now trying to limit role of dollar as the world currency (one of the sins Saddam Hussein paid the price).

Also internal contradictions became much deeper and the neoliberal regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Like any overstretched empire it became hollow within with stretches on potholes ridden roads and decaying infrastructure visible to everyone. Politically, the Republican Party became a roadblock for any meaningful reform (and its radical wing -- the tea party even sending its representatives to Congress), the Party that is determined to rather take the USA the road of the USSR, then change its ideology. All this points to the fact that neoliberalism as an socio-economic doctrine is following the path of Bolshevism.

But its media dominance of neoliberalism paradoxically continues unabated. And this is despite the fact that after the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. We can expect that like was the case with Catholicism in middle ages and Bolshevism in the USSR, zombie phase of neoliberalism can last many decades (in the USSR, "zombie" state lasted two decades, say from 1970 to 1991, and neoliberalism with its emphasis on low human traits such as greed and supported by military and economic power of the USA, is considerably more resilient then Bolshevism). As of 2013 it is still supported by elites of several major western states (such as the USA, GB, Germany, France), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation. That means that is it reasonable to expect that its rule in G7 will continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite probably interrupted by bursts of social violence (Muslim immigrants in Europe are once such force).

In the US, for example, income and wealth inequality continue to increase, with stagnating middle-class earnings, reduced social mobility, and an allegedly meritocratic higher education system, generously supported by tax exemptions, has been turned into the system whose main beneficiaries are the children of the rich and successful. Superimposed on this class divide is an increasingly serious intergenerational divide, and increases level of unemployment of young people, which make social atmosphere somewhat similar to the one in Egypt, although the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists is absent.

More and more neoliberalism came to be perceived as a ruse intended to safeguard the interests of a malignantly narcissistic empire (the USA) and of rapacious multinationals. It is now more and more linked with low-brow cultural homogeneity, social Darwinism, encroachment on privacy, mass production of junk, and suppression of national sentiments and aspiration in favor of transnational monopolies. It even came to be associated with a bewildering variety of social ills: rising crime rates, unemployment, poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, organ trafficking, and other antisocial forms of conduct.

While ideology of neoliberalism is by-and-large discredited, the global economic institutions associated with its rise are not all equally moribund. For example, the global economic crisis of 2008 has unexpectedly improved the fortunes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization long famous for the neoliberal policy conditions attached to its loans that served to incorporate countries into a global neoliberal economic system. In 2008, a cascade of financial crises in Eastern Europe and Iceland fattened the IMF’s dwindling loan portfolio.

World Trade Organization (WTO), the key US-used and abused universal opener of markets to US corporations and investments is in worse shape then IMF, but still is viable too. The Doha round of negotiations is stalled, mostly due to irresolvable disputes between developed and developing countries. Consequently, the current crisis of neoliberalism raises many important questions about the future path of the current international institutions promoting the neoliberal order. But still Russia joined WTO in 2012 which means that this organization got a new lease of life.

Nonetheless, that "neoliberalism in name only" is still a powerful global "brand" which the U.S. seeks to maintain at all costs for macro geopolitical reasons (The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West , Foreign Affairs)

The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the United States.

A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective under the circumstances.

This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts the tenets of modern capitalism.

Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding.

Hegemony of the USA and its allies

The USA was and probably will remain the center of neoliberalism and firmly established as most important and the most powerful promoter of the doctrine (in some case, like with Serbia, Iraq and Libya, on the tips of bayonets).

After the dissolution of the USSR the US elite felt that "everything is permitted" and essentially started to pursue global Roman style imperial policy. The USA military forces are active over most of the globe: about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence. This is a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. In his 1919 essay, "The Sociology of Imperialisms," Joseph Schumpeter wrote of Rome during its years of greatest expansion.

There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest-why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.

The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing-space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs.*

As G. John Ikenberry, professor of geopolitics at Georgetown University noted in Foreign Affairs:

The new grand strategy [initiated by the Bush administration]…. begins with a fundamental commitment to maintaining a unipolar world in which the United States has no peer competitor. No coalition of great powers without the United States will be allowed to achieve hegemony. Bush made this point the centerpiece of American security policy in his West Point commencement address in June: "America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenges-thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace."

…The United States grew faster than the other major states during the decade [of the 1990s], it reduced military spending more slowly, and it dominated investment in the technological advancement of its forces. Today, however, the new goal is to make these advantages permanent-a fait accompli that will prompt other states to not even try to catch up. Some thinkers have described the strategy as "breakout," in which the United States moves so quickly to develop technological advantages (in robotics, lasers, satellites, precision munitions, etc.) that no state or coalition could ever challenge it as global leader, protector and enforcer ("America's Imperial Ambition," Foreign Affairs, October 2002).

Perhaps one of extreme expressions of this neo-Roman imperial policy became that book by The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives by Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is how Brzezinski views the (supposedly sovereign) nations of Central Asia (sited from Amazon review by "A Customer" Jan 3, 2002 as pawns in a greater game for geopolitical domination:

The quote "... the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." (The Grand Chessboard p.40) is probably the most revealing. Just ponder the meaning of these statements in a post-9-11 world:

To most Americans the people of the world and other nations are just that -- people, just like us, with a right to self-determination. To Brzezinski, they are merely pawns on a chessboard. At the same time, despite the fact that the analogy are not perfect, Rome fell, Napoleon fell, Hitler fell, USSR fell. Countries with too aggressive foreign policy ultimately self-destruct, because they over-extend their own countries resources to the point when people wellbeing drops to the levels of some colonies. The USA have over million people with the security clearance. So in a way it is becoming a copy-cat of the USSR. And while the US military is busy fighting for oil interests all around the world, those wars were launched by borrowing money and it's unclear who will pay the bills.

Neoliberalism beginning as ideology start was pretty modest. It was never considered a "right" ideology, ideology for which people are ready to fight and die. It was just an "ideology of convenience", an eclectic mix of mutually incompatible and incoherent mosaic of various ideologies (including some ideas of Trotskyism and national socialism) that served as useful tool to counter communist ideology. This is the tress of Friedman pretty weak opus "Capitalism and Freedom" -- which can be considered to be close analog of Communist Manifesto for neoliberalism. It also was useful for fighting some Keynesian excesses. Only later it become favorite ideology of financial oligarchy.

So in fight against "Godless communism" which does not respect private property and used "all-powerful" state, it idealized private property ownership, the role of "free" (as in free shooting) market and stressed the necessity to control the size of the government. As a tools to fight communist ideology those were reasonably effective tools. But at some point this deeply flawed, but useful for the specific purpose framework went out of control and became the cult of the deified markets and explicitly stated the necessary of diminishing the role of the state to minimum to ensure the high level of inequality the new neoliberal elite strived for (note not optimizing for a given historical conditions and technology available, but unconditionally diminishing to the point of elimination). Reagan famous phase "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." is a perfect example of how to "Throw out the baby with the bath water". But the meaning is more sinister: it meant "throw out of the water middle class".

That happened when financial oligarchy understood that a tool created for fighting communism is perfectly suitable for fighting elements of "New Deal". And it proved to be pretty effective in dismantling of set of regulations of financial sector that were the cornerstone of "New Deal". That was a very smooth ride "deregulatory" ride until 2008. But after 2008 the USA (citadel of neoliberalism) faces the set of problems that at least on the surface look similar to the problem that USSR faced before its disintegration, although the USA still have much more favorable conditions overall and disintegration is not among the current threats. Among them:

Still there are important difference with Marxism: despite extremely flawed to the point of being anti-scientific neoliberal ideology is still supported by higher standard of living of population in selected Western countries (G7). If also can rely on five important factors:

  1. Military dominance of the USA and NATO. There are very few countries in the globe without explicit or implicit USA military presence.
  2. Financial dominance of USA and its allies. The role of dollar as world currency and the role of USA controlled global financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF
  3. Technological dominance of USA and G7. Continuing brain drain from "Third world" and xUSSR countries to G7 countries.
  4. Cultural dominance of the USA (although this is gradually diminishing as after 2008 countries started of assert their cultural independence more vigorously).
  5. Ideological dominance, neoliberalism as yet another major civic religion

Military dominance of USA and NATO

The American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell speech (Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation) famously warned Americans to beware the "military-industrial complex." See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The major opponent, the USSR left the world scene, being defeated in the cold war. That means that currently the USA enjoy world military dominance that reminds the dominance of Roman Empire.

The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It spends more on armed forces than all other nations combined -- while going deeply into debt to do so.

The USA also stations over 500,000 troops, spies, contractors, dependents, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, the USA have 99,295 people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The only purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible.

Funny but among other thing the Pentagon also maintain 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals, and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.

Military dominance of the USA and NATO were demonstrated during Yugoslavia bombing and then invasion of Iraq. It's clear the Yugoslavia bombing would be out of question if the USSR existed.

Neoliberalism and militarism

Under neoliberalism, markets are now fused with the logic of expansion and militarization is the most logical was of securing expansion, improving global positions, and the ordering of social relations in a way favorable to the transnational elite.

Under neoliberal regime the United States is not only obsessed with militarism, which is shaping foreign policy , but wars have become real extension of the politics, the force that penetrates almost every aspect of daily life. Support of wars became a perverted version of patriotism.

As Henry A. Giroux noted in his interview to Truth-out (Violence is Deeply Rooted in American Culture), paradoxically in the country of "advanced democracy" schools and social services are increasingly modeled after prisons. Four decades of neoliberal policies have given way to an economic Darwinism that promotes a politics of cruelty.

Police forces are militarized. Popular culture endlessly celebrating the spectacle of violence. The Darwinian logic of war and violence have become addictive, a socially constructed need. State violence has become an organizing principle of society that has become the key mediating force that now holds everyday life together. State violence is now amplified in the rise of the punishing state which works to support corporate interests and suppress all forms of dissent aimed at making corporate power accountable. Violence as a mode of discipline is now enacted in spheres that have traditionally been created to counter it. Airports, schools, public services, and a host of other public spheres are now defined through a militarized language of "fight with terrorism", the language of discipline, regulation, control, and order. Human relations and behaviors are dehumanized making it easier to legitimate a culture of cruelty and politics of disposability that are central organizing principles of casino capitalism.

The national news became a video game, a source of entertainment where a story gains prominence by virtue of the notion that if it bleeds it leads. Education has been turned into a quest for private satisfactions and is no longer viewed as a public good, thus cutting itself off from teaching students about public values, the public good and engaged citizenship. What has emerged in the United States is a civil and political order structured around the criminalization of social problems and everyday life. This governing-through-crime model produces a highly authoritarian and mechanistic approach to addressing social problems that often focuses on the poor and minorities, promotes highly repressive policies, and places emphasis on personal security, rather than considering the larger complex of social and structural forces that fuels violence in the first place.

The key reference on the topic is the book The New American Militarism (2005) by Andrew Bacevich. Here is one Amazon review:

In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies.

" We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form.

It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.

  1. After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
  2. Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
  3. Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
  4. Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
  5. Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
  6. Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.

Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

Financial dominance

With dollar role as the primary world reserve currency the USA still rides on its "Exorbitant privilege". But there are countervailing forces that diminish dollar importance, such a euro. Financial dominance under neoliberalism became the primary tool of ensuring the control over the nations. See Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism

US and Western banks dominate the globe with New York and London as two world financial centers.

Things little changed after 2008 despite the fact that the US economy in entered a deep debt crisis, which is amplified by the level of destruction of real economy by offshoring and outsourcing achieved under the umbrella of neoliberalism during previous four decades. While the USA remains the sole super power its imperial problems now reached such a level that they may start to affect the foreign policy. Troubles of organizing an invasion in Syria are probably symptomatic. It proved to be more difficult undertaking that similar invasion of Iraq a decade earlier.

Economic troubles have important side effect: the ideological dominance, achieved by the USA during 1989 till 2008 is now under attack. There are a lot of skeptic and in a way neoliberalism goes the way of Marxism with the major difference that there were probably some sincere followers of Marxism at least during the first 30 years of its development.

Centrality of transnational financial flows (including emerging countries debt) and financial oligarchy in neoliberal regime

Since the late 1970s, there was a radical shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance with the rapid growth since then of the share of financial profits in total corporate profits. Also reflective of this process of "financialisation of the Economy" was the explosive growth of private debt as a proportion of gross domestic product, and the piling of layers upon layers of claims with the existence of instruments like options, futures, swaps, and the like, and financial entities like hedge funds and structured investment vehicles.

With financialisation, the financial masturbation -- speculation directed on making money within the financial system, bypassing the route of commodity production, increasingly became the name of the game. Using Marxist terminology the general formula for capital accumulation, M-C-M', in which commodities are central to the generation of profits, was replaced by M-M', in which money simply begets more money with no relation to production.

This is related to the reason which brought on the financialization of the economy in the forefront: beginning with the sharp recession of 1974-75, the US economy entered a period of slow economic growth, high unemployment/underemployment and excess capacity. That happened after around 25 years of spectacular ascent following the second world war. So financialisation was thought a s a remedy to this "permanent stagnation" regime. And for a while it performed this function well, although it was done by "eating the host".

Finance under any neoliberalism-bound regime can be best understood as a form of warfare, and financial complex (typically large Western banks as locals are not permitted, unless specially protected by remnants of the nation state) as an extension of military-industrial complex. Like in military conquest, its aim is to gain control for occupying country of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute putting the country in debt and using dominance of dollar as world reserve currency. This involves dictating laws to vassal countries (imposing Washington consensus, see below) and interfering in social as well as economic planning using foreign debt and the necessity to service the foreign loans as a form of Gosplan.

The main advantage of neoliberalism in comparison with the similar practice of the past is the conquest is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight. Actually following s successful attack of neoliberalism and conquest of the country by neoliberal elite Russian economy was devastated more then during WWII, when Hitler armies reached banks of Volga river and occupies half of the country.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states alone, but by a cosmopolitan financial class and international financial institutions such as World bank and IMF with full support of major western banks serving as agencies of western governments. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial "Trojan horse" strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance profits via privatization and protect finance capital from the population to allow "the miracle of compound interest" to siphon most of the revenue out of the country. Some tiny share of this revenue is paid to compradors within the national elite. In good years such tactic keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow. This "paradise for rentiers" last until they eat into the core and cause deindustrialization and severe debt crisis. Eventually they do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Technological dominance

The globalist bloc of Western countries led by the USA achieved hegemony in the end of the twentieth century because it managed to become the center of technological progress and due to this acquired a commanding influence over industrial production and social life around the world, including the ability to provide rewards and impose sanctions. One or the reason of technical backwardness of the USSR just before the dissolution were technical sanctions imposed by the West via COCOM. As most of global corporations belong to G7 this lead to "natural" technological hegemony of this block. As Thatcher used to say "There is no alternatives", although she meant there is no alternatives to neoliberalism, not to Western technology from G7 nations. Only recently Asian countries started to challenge this status quo in some areas.

Global corporation managed to create a situation in which the same goods are used in most countries of the globe. Western brand names dominate. American and European airliners, Japanese, American and German cars, Korean and American smartphones, Chinese and American PCs, etc.

China became world factory and produces lion share of goods sold under Western brands.

Dominance in Internet and global communications

The debate about the USA dominance in internet and global communications reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL. The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower.

The USA has capabilities of intercepting of lion share of global internet traffic and with allies tries to intercept all the diplomatic communication during major conferences and trade talk in direct violation of Vienna protocols. Latin American countries were one of the recent victims of this activity during trade talks with the USA. There were reports about snooping on UN personnel communications in NYC.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don't currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here's why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the "Two to Three Hop" scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is…

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol)."

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

That includes industrial espionage:


Or industrial espionage?

Absolutely. See EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT report dated 11 July 2001 (Note it was before the 9/11 attack in the US).

7. Compatibility of an 'ECHELON' type communications interception system with Union law

7.1. Preliminary considerations
7.2. Compatibility of an intelligence system with Union law

7.2.1. Compatibility with EC law
7.2.2. Compatibility with other EU law

7.3. The question of compatibility in the event of misuse of the system for industrial espionage
7.4. Conclusion

EntropyNow -> StrawBear

The fact that they snoop on us all constantly, that's the problem. I agree that the indiscriminate surveillance is a problem. However, with such vast powers in the hands of private contractors, without robust legal oversight, it is wide open to abuse and interpretation. I believe we need to pull the plug and start again, with robust, independent, legal oversight, which respects fundamental international human rights laws In the US, the NDAA is a law which gives the government the right to indefinitely detain US citizens, without due process, without a trial, if they are suspected to be associated with 'terrorists'. Now define 'terrorism'?

Section 1021b is particularly worrying, concerning "substantial support." It is wide open to interpretation and abuse, which could criminalize dissent and even investigative journalism. See Guardian's excellent article by Naomi Wolf, 17 May 2012::

As Judge Forrest pointed out:

"An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so. In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more."

In an excellent episode of Breaking the Set Feb 7 2013 Tangerine Bolen (Founder and Director, Revolutiontruth) stated that 'Occupy London' was designated a 'terrorist group" officially. There are independent journalists and civil liberty activists being targeted by private cyber security firms, which are contractors for the DOD, they are being harassed and intimidated, threatening free speech and liberty for everyone, everywhere. As Naomi Wolf concludes:

"This darkness is so dangerous not least because a new Department of Homeland Security document trove, released in response to a FOIA request filed by Michael Moore and the National Lawyers' Guild, proves in exhaustive detail that the DHS and its "fusion centers" coordinated with local police (as I argued here, to initial disbelief), the violent crackdown against Occupy last fall.

You have to put these pieces of evidence together: the government cannot be trusted with powers to detain indefinitely any US citizen – even though Obama promised he would not misuse these powers – because the United States government is already coordinating a surveillance and policing war against its citizens, designed to suppress their peaceful assembly and criticism of its corporate allies."


It seems to me that potential terrorist threats come in two sorts: the highly organised and funded groups that could commit catastrophic destruction, and the local schmucks that are really just old-fashioned losers-with-a-grudge adopting an empowering ideology.

The first group would be immensely cautious with their communications, and fall outside this sort of surveillance. The second group, if Boston and Woolwich are any evidence, are not effectively detected by these measures.

It appears very clear to me that this is runaway state power, predictably and transparently deflected with cries of "terrorism". And, perhaps most worrying, that definition of terrorism is now as wide as the state requires. Anything that embarrasses or exposes the evils of our states, including rendition, torture, and all manner of appalling injustice, is classified as a matter of 'national security', which must not be exposed lest it aid the enemy.

I know Orwell's name gets tossed around too much... but Jesus! I really hope we're not bovine enough to walk serenely into this future.


...The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower and moral authority for the rest of the time humanity has in this world.

All this muck is hurting bad. Obama is having a tough time from all sides. All the moralists think he is a villain doing everything he promised to change. All the secret society members think he is a clown who has spilled out every secret that was painstakingly put together over decades....

Cultural dominance

The temples of neoliberalism are malls and airports ;-). And they are build all over the glone is a very similar fashion. A drunk person accidentally transfered from New Jersey to, say Kiev and put in one of mjor malls can never tell the difference :-).

English became the major international language. Both language of technology and commerce. Much like Latin was before.

In developing countries goods are sold at considerable premium (up to 100%) but generally everything that can be bought in the USA now can be bought say in Kiev. Of course affordability is drastically different, but for elite itis not a problem. That create another opportunity for the top 1% to enjoy very similar, "internationalized" lifestyle all over the globe.

Hollywood films dominate world cinemas. American computer games dominate gaming space. In a way the USA culturally is present in any country. It was amazing how quickly remnants of communist ideology were wipes out in the xUSSR countries (Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism Daniele Conversi -

Contrary to the globalists or ideologues of globalization (Steger 2005), both Marxists and liberals have highlighted the ' pyramidal ' structure underlying globalization. This metaphor applies well to cultural dissemination.

An elite of corporate, media, and governmental agencies sits at the pyramid' s top level, small regional intermediary elites sit immediately below, while the overwhelming majority of humans are pushed well down towards the pyramid' s bottom. In the realm of ' global culture ' , this looks like a master-servant relationship with much of the world at the boot-licking end. Whether such a relationship really exists, or is even practical, this metaphorical dramatization can nevertheless help to understand collective self-perceptions. The consequences in the area of ethnic conflict are significant. Such a hierarchical structure makes it impossible for global exchanges to turn into egalitarian relationships based on evenly balanced inter-cultural communication and dialogue.

On the contrary, cultural globalization is not reflected in a genuine increase of inter-personal, inter-ethnic and inter-cultural contacts. As I shall argue, in most public areas ' cultural globalization ' really means the unreciprocated, one-way flow of consumerist items from the US media and leisure machine to the rest of the world.

This top-down distribution ensures that a few individuals and groups, nearly all in the USA, firmly establish the patterns of behaviour and taste to be followed by the rest of mankind. Is this congruent with the view that there is a form of ' global centralization ' in cultural-legal matters leaning towards Washington, DC? As for a supposed ' global culture ', the symbolic capital would ideally be located in Hollywood, rather than Washington.

In fact, the term ' Hollywoodization ' insinuates a media-enforced hierarchical structure with immediate symbolic resonance. It also offers a more cultural, perhaps less sociological, focus than the Weberian concept of bureaucratic ' McDonaldization ' (Ritzer 1996).

Competing terminologies include ' Disneyfication ' / ' Disneyization ' , with its stress on extreme predictability and the infantilization of leisure (Bryman 2004), 'Walmarting ' as the streamlining of the retail sector (Fishman 2005, Morrow 2004), or earlier Cold War terms like ' Coca-Colonization ' (Wagnleitner 1994). We previously saw how the term ' McGuggenization ' has been used to indicate art-related cultural franchising and other forms of Americanization in the Basque Country (McNeill 2000).

All these equally refer to socio-economic trends originated in the USA and are hence forms of Americanization. However, ' Hollywoodization ' has broader implications for ethnic relations and nationalist conflicts.

In practice, Hollywood-inspired simplifications have become the daily staple for millions of peoples around the world in their leisure time. In the area of ethnicity, ' Hollywoodization ' has been elevated to the only known reality and the unique source of information about the outside world for increasing numbers of people, not only in the USA. Thus, the world is more likely to get its stereotypes of the Brits from US movies like The Patriot or Saving Private Ryan than via British productions.Similarly, most of the world is likely to see Scotland through the lenses of US-made Braveheart , as the larger public can barely afford any access to Scottish cultural productions.

This monopoly of global stereotyping and ethnic imagery has serious implicationsf or the spread and continuation of ethnic conflict.

The tools of primary socialization were once under firm control of the family, either nuclear or extended. They were subsequently assumed by the state in the industrialization ' phase ' , notably with post-1789 mass militarization and compulsory schooling (Conversi2007, 2008).

Under neo-liberal globalization, primary socialization has been seized by unaccountable cash-driven corporations and media tycoons. This has further reduced the space of inter-generational transmission and family interaction. If a community can no longer socialize its children according to its culture and traditions, then the very bases of local, regional, and national continuity are all visibly at stake. This threat to a group's survival is often seized upon by patriots and ethno-nationalists, whose political programs are founded on providing a new sense of social cohesion and security – even if the targets are often hapless and unprotected minorities.

That is partly how nationalism and xenophobia have expanded in tandem with globalization. Ethno-nationalism not only persisted through change, but is perceived by many as a response to the growth of globalization, providing a prêt-à-porter hope for national resistance and resilience. By depending on Hollywood as unique conveyor of ' globalization ', inter-ethnic interaction is inevitably undermined. In some instances, international communication has practically evaporated.

... ... ...

I have described, and subsequently dismissed, the profit-oriented ideology that globalization, intended as Mcdonaldization and Hollywoodization, can contribute to better international understanding. On the contrary, it has ushered in a process of planetary cultural and environmental destruction, while hampering inter-ethnic communication and fostering human conflict. The notion of cultural security, so central to international relations and peaceful coexistence, has undergone unprecedented challenges.

...Insofar as cultural globalization is understood as uni-dimensional import of standardized cultural icons, symbols, practices, values, and legal systems from the United States, it can simply be re-described as Americanization (rather than Westernization in the broad sense), or ' globalization by Americanization ' (Hilger 2008). This is of central importance for the study of ethnic conflict.

In fact, the outcome is scarce hybridization, amalgamation, and metissage . Rather than providing an inter-cultural bridge, this unilateral drive has often eroded the basis for mutual understanding, impeding inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, and international interaction. Given the current vertical, pyramidal structure of the ' cultural world order ' , the opportunity of distinctive groups to communicate directly and appreciate each other's traditions has decreased, except in the virtual area of long-distance communication. For an increasing number of individuals, an American mass consumer culture remains the only window on the world. Hence, to know and appreciate one ' s neighbours has become an ever-arduous task. To recapitulate my point, wherever cultural globalization appears as synonymous with Americanization, it engenders conflicts on a variety of levels.

Because the process is one-way and unidirectional, the result is unlikely to be a fusion between cultures or, evenless, the blending of ethnic groups. Contrary to the globalist utopia, the imposition of more and more American icons means less and less possibility for direct inter-ethnic encounter and communication among nations. Together with the collapse of state legitimacy, this substantially contributes to the spread of ethnic conflict and nationalism.

Incorporation of "globalist" parts of national élites as second class citizens of the transnational ruling class

Another aspect of cultural power of neoliberalism is that it accepts national elites (on some, less favorable then "primary" elites conditions) as a part of a new transnational elite, which serves as the dominant class. By class, following classic Marxism we mean a group of people who share a common relationship to the process of social production and reproduction, positioned in the society relationally on the basis of social power.

The struggle between descendant national fractions of dominant groups and ascendant transnational fractions has often been the backdrop to surface political dynamics and ideological processes in the late 20th century. These two fractions have been vying for control of local state apparatuses since the 1970s.

Trans national fractions of local elites swept to power in countries around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. They have captured the "commanding heights" of state policymaking: key ministries and bureaucracies in the policymaking apparatus - especially Central Banks, finance and foreign ministries - as key government branches that link countries to the global economy.

They have used national state apparatuses to advance globalization and to pursue sweeping economic restructuring and the dismantling of the old nation-state–based Keynesian welfare and developmentalist projects.

They have sought worldwide market liberalization (following the neoliberal model), and projects of economic integration such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the European Union. They have promoted a supra-national infrastructure of the global economy, such as the World Trade Organization, as we discuss below.

In this new, transnational social system transnational corporations are intermixed with nation-states which they have special privileges. And the state itself now serves not the people of the country (which historically were upper classes) but primarily service the interests of the transnational corporations (and, by extension, narrow strata of "comprador" elite, much like aristocracy of the past). It is now extension and projection of corporate power ("What is good for GE is good for America"). Both the transactional elite (and first of all financial oligarchy) and transnational corporation enjoy tremendous privileges under such a regime (corporate socialism, or socialism for the rich). Like Bolshevik state was formally dictatorship of proletariat but in reality was dictatorship of the elite of an ideological sect called Communist Party (so called nomenklatura), transformed nation-states like the USA, GB, France, Russia, etc now to various degrees look like dictatorships of transnational elite (transnational bourgeoisie like Marxist would say ;-) while formally remaining sovereign democratic republics. Like with Communist Parties in various countries that does not excuse antagonism or even open hostilities.

That does not eliminates completely the elites competition and for example the EU elite put a knife in the back of the US elite by adopting the euro as completing with the dollar currency (so much about transatlantic solidarity), but still internalization of elites is a new and important process that is more viable that neoliberal ideology as such. Also for any state national elite is not completely homogeneous. While that is a significant part of it that favor globalization (comprador elite or lumpen elite) there is also another part which prefer national development and is at least semi-hostile to globalism. Still the comprador part of the elite represents a very important phenomenon, a real fifth column of globalization, the part that makes globalization successful. It plays the role of Trojan horse within nation states and the name "fifth column" in this sense is a very apt name. This subversive role of comprador elite was clearly visible and well documented in Russian unsuccessful "white revolution" of 2011-2012: the US supported and financed project of "regime change" in Russia. It is also clearly visible although less well documented in other "color revolutions" such as Georgian, Serbian, and Ukrainian color revolutions. comrade Trotsky would probably turn in his coffin if he saw what neoliberal ideologies made with his theory of permanent revolution ;-).

Propaganda victory of neoliberalism over Marxism and New Deal capitalism

As professor David Harvey noted in his A Brief History of Neoliberalism neoliberal propaganda has succeeded in fixating the public on a peculiar definition of "freedom" that has served as a smoke screen to conceal a project of speeding upper class wealth accumulation. In practice, the neoliberal state assumes a protective role for large and especially international corporations ("socialism for multinationals") while it sheds as much responsibility for the citizenry as possible.

The key component of neoliberal propaganda (like was the case with Marxism) was an economic theory. Like Marxism it has three components

For more information see

Ideological dominance, neoliberalism as yet another major civic religion

There is no question that neoliberalism emerged as another major world civic religion. It has its saints, sacred books, moral (or more correctly in this case amoral) postulates and the idea of heaven and hell.

Neoliberalism shares several fundamental properties with high demand religious cults. Like all fundamentalist cults, neoliberalism reduces a complex world to a set of simplistic dogmas (See Washington Consensus). All of society is viewed through the prism of an economic lens. Economic growth, measured by GDP, is the ultimate good. The market is the only and simultaneously the perfect mechanism to achieve this goal. Neoliberalism obsession with materialism have become normalized to the degree that it is hard to imagine what American society would look like in the absence of these structural and ideological features of the new and militant economic Darwinism that now holds sway over the American public. The mantra is well known: government is now the problem, society is a fiction, sovereignty is market-driven, deregulation and commodification are the way to a bright future, and the profit is the only viable measure of the good life and advanced society. Public values are a liability, if not a pathology. Democratic commitments, social relations, and public spheres are disposables, much like the expanding population of the unemployed and dispossessed. Any revolt is the threat to the neoliberal regime of truth and should be dealt with unrestrained cruelty. The market functions best with minimal or no interference from government or civil society and those who don't agree will be taken by police to the proper reeducation camps. All governments with possible exception of the US government should be minimized to allow unrestricted dominance of global corporations. The genius of neoliberalism as a cult, was its ability to cloak the US pretences of world hegemony in an aura of scientific and historical inevitability. Which again makes it very similar and in a way superior to Marxism as a cult. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the supreme, heaven sent validation of Margaret Thatcher's claim that there was no alternative. There is only one blessed road to prosperity and peace and outside it there is no salvation, nor remission from sins.

The great economic historian Karl Polanyi observed, "The idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia." And neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of economic determinism, one even more ambitious than that of Marx.

With all the big questions thus settled, history appeared to be at an end. There was one and only one route to prosperity and peace. All that was required was to make sure the model was correctly applied and all would be well. We all settled into our assigned roles. Capitalists retreated to the role of technocrats, eschewing risk themselves while shifting and spreading it throughout society. The rest of us were relegated to the roles not of citizens, but of consumers. Using our homes as ATMs, we filled our lives with Chinese-made goods, oblivious to the looming environmental and social costs of a runaway, unregulated consumer-driven society. Only a marginalized few questioned the basic economic structure. It was the era of homo economicus, humans in service to the economy.

Now that perfect machinery lies in pieces all around us and the global economic free fall shows no signs of ending any time soon. The fundamental reasons underlying the collapse aren't all that difficult to discern. Central to the whole neoliberal project was the drive to rationalize all aspects of human society. Relentless efforts to cut costs and increase efficiency drove down the living standards of the vast majority, while the diminution of government and other non-commercial institutions led to increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of society. As high paying jobs in the industrial and technical sectors moved from developed countries to low wage export-based economies in the developing world, capacity soon outstripped demand and profits in the real economy began to sag. Not content with declining earnings, wealthy elites began to search for investments offering higher returns. If these couldn't be found in the real economy, they could certainly be created in the exploding financial sector.

Once consigned to the unglamorous world of matching those with capital to invest with those with enterprises seeking to grow, finance became the powerful new engine of economic growth. No longer stodgy, bankers and brokers became sexy and glamorous. Exotic new financial instruments, called derivatives, traded on everything from commodities to weather.

This speculative frenzy was supported by a central bank only too happy to keep credit extremely cheap. Debt exploded among consumers, businesses and government alike. Creating new debt became the source of even more exotic investment vehicles, often bearing only the most tenuous of connections to underlying assets of real value, with unwieldy names such as "collateralized debt obligations" and "credit default swaps."

All the debt and the shuffling of fictional wealth hid the underlying rot of the real economy. It was a house of cards just waiting for the slight breeze that would send it all crashing down. And a collapse in housing prices in 2008 laid bare the economic contradictions.

The fundamental contradiction underlying much that confronts us in the age of crises is an economic and social system requiring infinite growth within the confines of a finite planet. Any vision seeking to replace neoliberalism must take this contradiction into account and resolve it. The overriding market failure of our time has nothing to do with housing. It's the failure to place any value on that which is truly most essential to our survival: clean air and water, adequate natural resources for the present and future generations, and a climate suitable for human civilization.

No such new vision is currently in sight. That this leaves everyone, neoliberals and their foes alike, in a state of uncertainty and doubt is hardly surprising. The seeming triumph of neoliberalism was so complete that it managed to inculcate itself in the psyches even of those who opposed it.

We find ourselves unsure of terrain we thought we knew well, sensing that one era has ended but unsure as to what comes next. We might do well to embrace that doubt and understand its power to free us. Our doubt allows us to ask meaningful questions again and questioning implies the possibility of real choice. Removing the intellectual straitjacket of neoliberal orthodoxy opens up the space necessary to reconsider the purpose of an economy and its proper role in a decent human society and to revisit the old debate over equity versus efficiency. It calls into question the assumption most central to homo economicus; that all humans act only to maximize their own interests.

It seems clear that the world emerging over the coming decades will look quite different from the one we now inhabit. Of necessity it will evolve in ways we can't fully understand just yet. Old battle lines, such as the ones between capitalism and socialism, will likely fade away. Both of those models arose in a world of abundant and cheap fossil fuels and within the confines a planet with a seemingly endless capacity to absorb the wastes of our conspicuous consumption. New battle lines are already beginning to take shape.

The Revolution is Upon Us The Age of Crisis and the End of Homo Economicus Logos

I think that like is the case with Marxism, the staying power of neoliberalism is that propose the religion picture of world with its "creation history", saints, and way of salvation. In a way it plays the role similar to the role of Catholicism in middle ages (aka Dark Ages). The greed of catholic clergy in Middle ages (trade in indulgencies) is a match of the greed of neoliberals( with financial derivates replacing indulgencies ;-). It is equally hostile to any attempts to analyze it, with the minor difference that heretics that question the sanctity of free market are not burned at the stake, but ostracized. It support "new Crusades" with the same mechanism of "indulgences" for small countries that participate.

The level of hypocrisy is another shared trait. The great irony is that the USA, the world's leading proponent of neoliberalism (with the US President as a Pope of this new religion), systematically is breaking the rules when it find it necessary or convenient. With high deficit spending and massive subsidizing of defense spending and financial sector, the United States has generally use a "do as I say, not as I do" approach. And with the amount of political appointee/lobbyists shuttling back and forth between business and government, Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" looks more and more like a crushing fist of corporatist thugs. It involves dogmatic belief that the society is better off when ruled by a group of wealthy financiers and oligarchs, than by a group of professional government bureaucrats and politicians with some participation of trade unions.

The USA also dominates the cultural scene:

The United States' position as the leading maker of global culture has been basically unchallenged for the last century or so, especially in the Western world. Yet the economic power of the Western world is waning even as new nations, with new models of economic and social life, are rising. Might one -- or several -- of these nations like China, India or Brazil become new centers of global culture?

I believe that the answer to this question for the foreseeable future is "no." While the U.S.'s cultural prominence is partially related to its political, military and economic power, such power is not the only cause of America's global cultural hegemony. Rather, the U.S. offers a unique convergence of several factors, including economic opportunity, political freedom and an immigrant culture that served as a test bed for new cultural products.

Let me offer a brief account of the rise of the American film industry to suggest the way political, economic and immigrant forces shaped American cultural hegemony. In the U.S., the film industry started as commercial enterprise largely independent of state control. Movies had to adapt to market conditions to earn profit for their producers. In order to achieve this goal, American movies needed to appeal to a diverse population made up of both native-born and immigrant citizens.

As a consequence, filmmakers had to make movies that could appeal to international audiences simply to meet domestic demand. This fact helped the American film industry become globally preeminent well before the U.S. became a superpower. In other words, while U.S. military and economic power strengthened the position of the U.S. movie industry as globally dominant, that position was not dependent on U.S. military and economic power. Instead, American producers had a competitive advantage in global markets that was later cemented in place by the U.S. post-war economic and military hegemony in the West.

After the dissolution of the USSR, the USA became natural center of the "neoliberal religion" a dominant force in the new world order (the world's only superpower). And they used their newly acquired status against states which were not "friendly enough" very similar to Catholicism with its Crusades, launching a series of invasions and color revolutions against "nonbelievers" in a globalist neoliberal model. The level of plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR looks like a direct replay of Crusades with the siege of Constantinople as primary example (despite stated goals, Crusades were by-and-large a monetary enterprise of the time with fig leaf of spread of Catholicism attached). This period of neoliberal crusades still continued in 2013, sometimes using various proxy to achieve "the regime change" by military means.

As we already refereed to neoliberalism as a cult an interesting question is whether neoliberalism can be viewed new "civic religion". The answer is unconditional yes, and I think that like Marxism before it should be considered to be yet another civic religion. It has it's set of holy books, Supreme being to worship, path to salvation and set of Apostils. Like communism before it propose humanity grand purpose and destiny.


Theistic and civic religions are also similar in that they both offer visions of humanity's grand purpose and destiny.

There are also significant differences between theistic religions and civil religions. Theistic religions explicitly rely on claims of divine authority for their validity, while civil religions rely on reason and the interpretation of commonly-accepted historical knowledge. Followers of theistic religions stress the importance of faith in times of adversity, while followers of civil religions tend to have a more pragmatic attitude when reality casts doubt on their beliefs.

Civil religions are more like big social experiments than actual religions because their central claims are much more falsifiable, and their followers show evidence of holding this perception (e.g. references to "the American experiment"; the voluntary abandonment of Communism throughout Eurasia when it became clear that it wasn't working).

Communism bears so much resemblance to Christianity because, as you mentioned last week, the Western imagination was thoroughly in the grip of Christianity when Communism emerged. Communism is similar to Christianity out of practical necessity: had it not been based on the Christian template, Communism probably would have been too intellectually alien to its Western audience to have ever taken off. Luckily for the founders of Communism, they were also subjected to this Christian cultural conditioning.

With all this in mind, and given that religion is evolving phenomenon, I think that civil religion is actually a distinct species of intellectual organism which has (at least in part) evolved out of religion.

Like Marxism, neoliberalism is first and foremost a quasi religious political doctrine. But while Marxism is aimed at liberation of workers , a political doctrine neoliberalism is aimed at restoring the power of capital. Neoliberalism originated in the rich countries of Anglo-Saxon world (GB and USA) so along with open despise of poor, it always has a distinct flavor of despise for peripheral countries. In global politics, neoliberalism preoccupies itself with the promotion of four basic issues:

As such, neoliberalism, in its crudest form, is crystallized in the Ten Commandments of the 1989 Washington Consensus (policy of debt slavery set for the world by the US via international financial institutions). While pushing the democracy as a smoke screen, they implicitly postulate hegemony of the financial elite (which is a part of "economic elite" that neoliberalism defines as a hegemonic class). Financialization of the economy also serves as a powerful method of redistribution of wealth, so neoliberalism generally lead to deterioration of standard of living for lower quintile of the population and in some countries (like Russia in 1991-2000) for the majority of the population. This is done largely via credit system and in this sense neoliberalism represents "reinters paradise". Neoliberal globalization was built on the foundation of US hegemony, conceived as the projection of the hegemony of the US capital and dollar as the dominant reserve currency. As such it is critically dependent of the power and stability of the US and the financial, economic, political and military supremacy of the US in every region. For this purpose the USA maintains over 500 military bases (737 by some counts) and over 2.5 million of military personnel.

But there are also important differences. Unlike most religions, neoliberalism is highly criminogenic (i.e., having the quality of causing or fostering crime). It is more criminogenic in countries with lower standard of living and in such countries it often lead to conversion of a "normal", but poor state into a kleptocratic state (Yeltsin's Russia is a good example) with the requisite mass poverty (Global Anomie, Dysnomie and Economic Crime Hidden Consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World). Unfortunately architects of this transformation (Harvard Mafia in case of Russia) usually avoid punishment for their crimes. Corruption of the US regulators which happened under neoliberal regime starting from Reagan is also pretty well covered theme.

While economic crisis of 2008 led to a crisis of neoliberalism, this is not necessary a terminal crisis. The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, but internal contradictions became much deeper and the regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Neoliberalism as an intellectual product is practically dead. After the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. But its zombie phase supported by several states (the USA, GB, Germany), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation might continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite increasing chance of facing discontent of population and bursts of social violence.

Cornerstone of neoliberal regime, the economic power of the USA is now under threat from the rise of Asia. This is one reason of mutation of neoliberalism into aggressive neoconservative imperialism that we witness in the USA.

While intellectually neoliberalism was bankrupt from the beginning, after 2008 believing it in is possible only by ignoring the results of deregulation in the USA and other countries. In other words the mythology of self-regulating "free market" became a "damaged goods". In this sense, any sensible person should now hold neoliberal sect in contempt. But reality is different and it still enjoy the support of the part of population which can't see through the smoke screen. With the strong support of financial oligarchy neoliberalism will continue to exists in zombie state for quite a while, although I hope this will not last as long as dominance of Catholicism during European Dark Ages ;-). Still the US is yet to see its Luther. As was noted about a different, older sect: "Men are blind to prefer an absurd and sanguinary creed, supported by executioners and surrounded by fiery faggots, a creed which can only be approved by those to whom it gives power and riches".

Like communism in the USSR it is a state supported religion: Neoliberalism enjoys support of western governments and first of all the US government. Even when the US society entered deep crisis in 2008 and fabric of the society was torn by neoliberal policies it did not lose government support.

US was an imperial nation driven by annexation of territories from the very beginning

The USA has a history of "plain vanilla" (British style) imperialism, based on annexation and occupation of territories since the presidency of James K. Polk who led the United States into the Mexican–American War of 1846, and the eventual annexation of California and other western territories via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden purchase. The term is most commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century (Empire - Wikipedia):

The term "American Empire" refers to the United States' cultural ideologies and foreign policy strategies. The term is most commonly used to describe the U.S.'s status since the 20th century, but it can also be applied to the United States' world standing before the rise of nationalism in the 20th century. The United States is not traditionally recognized as an empire, in part because the U.S. adopted a different political system from those that previous empires had used. Despite these systematic differences, the political objectives and strategies of the United States government have been quite similar to those of previous empires. Krishna Kumar explores this idea that the distinct principles of nationalism and imperialism may, in fact, result in one common practice.

In "Nation-states as empires, empires as nation-states: two principles, one practice?" she argues that the pursuit of nationalism can often coincide with the pursuit of imperialism in terms of strategy and decision making. Throughout the 19th century, the United States government attempted to expand their territory by any means necessary. Regardless of the supposed motivation for this constant expansion, all of these land acquisitions were carried out by imperialistic means. This was done by financial means in some cases, and by military force in others. Most notably, the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Texas Annexation (1845), and the Mexican Cession (1848) highlight the imperialistic goals of the United States during this "modern period" of imperialism.

The U.S. government has stopped pursuing additional territories since the mid 20th century. However, some scholars still consider U.S. foreign policy strategies to be imperialistic. This idea is explored in the "contemporary usage" section.

... ... ...

Stuart Creighton Miller posits that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik (cf. American Exceptionalism) impairs popular recognition of US imperial conduct since it governed other countries via surrogates. These surrogates were domestically-weak, right-wing governments that would collapse without US support.[30] Former President G.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said: "We don't seek empires. We're not imperialistic; we never have been."[31] This statement directly contradicts Thomas Jefferson who, in the 1780s while awaiting the fall of the Spanish empire, said: "...till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece".[32][33][34] In turn, historian Sidney Lens argues that from its inception, the US has used every means available to dominate other nations.[35] Other historian Max Ostrovsky argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US' role in the world but finds that hegemony is likely to be an intermediate stage between states system and empire.[36]

... ... ...

In his book review of Empire (2000) by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Mehmet Akif Okur posits that since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the international relations determining the world's balance of power (political, economic, military) have been altered. These alterations include the intellectual (political science) trends that perceive the contemporary world's order via the re-territorrialisation of political space, the re-emergence of classical imperialist practices (the "inside" vs. "outside" duality, cf. the Other), the deliberate weakening of international organisations, the restructured international economy, economic nationalism, the expanded arming of most countries, the proliferation of nuclear weapon capabilities and the politics of identity emphasizing a state's subjective perception of its place in the world, as a nation and as a civilisation. These changes constitute the "Age of Nation Empires"; as imperial usage, nation-empire denotes the return of geopolitical power from global power blocs to regional power blocs (i.e., centered upon a "regional power" state [China, Russia, U.S., et al.]) and regional multi-state power alliances (i.e., Europe, Latin America, South East Asia). Nation-empire regionalism claims sovereignty over their respective (regional) political (social, economic, ideologic), cultural, and military spheres.[43]

Annexation was the crucial instrument in the expansion of the USA after it won independence. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations,

"If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."

Even prior to annexing a territory, the American government usually held tremendous political power in those territories through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil.[39] Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or restriction of [39]

When asked on April 28, 2003, on al-Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been."[40] And this denial is typical for "Empire of Lies" as some researchers call the USA. Historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which he describes as an "imperial acquisition-imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule." The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires."[41]

Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."[42]

Andrew Bacevich who is a an influencial writer about the US empite with his book American empite (2002) argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world.[43] As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.[44]

In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the process has long been described in other countries.[45]

Thorton wrote that "[…]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against."[46] Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world;[47] political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not the use of the phrase 'empire' to describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the Soviet Union in the twentieth.".[48] Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.[49]

International relations scholar Joseph Nye argues that U.S. power is more and more based on "soft power", which comes from cultural hegemony rather than raw military or economic force.[69] This includes such factors as the widespread desire to emigrate to the United States, the prestige and corresponding high proportion of foreign students at U.S. universities, and the spread of U.S. styles of popular music and cinema. Mass immigration into America may justify this theory, but it is hard to know for sure whether the United States would still maintain its prestige without its military and economic superiority.

Military and cultural imperialism are interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory, said that,

[…], so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.[51]

International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume.[52] Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.[53]

Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda used during the war of 1898,

"We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"[39]

Chip Pitts argues similarly that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggest a vision of "Iraq as a colony".[ While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II. Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion.[56] As of 2003, the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.[57]

How America built its empire

How America built its empire The real history of American foreign policy that the media won't tell you -

When you talk about the effectiveness of American imperialism, you highlight the fact that part of the reason it's so effective is because it has been able to be largely invisible, and it has been invisible, you point out, through, I think, two mechanisms, one, that it trains the elites in other countries in order to manage affairs on behalf of American imperialism, and also because it disseminates, through popular media, images of America that in essence -- I'm not sure you use this word exactly -- indoctrinate or brainwash a population into allowing them to believe that America is instilled with values that in fact it doesn't have, the ability of imperialistic forces to supposedly give these values to the countries they dominate.

I mean, that is a kind of a raison d'être for economic and even military intervention, as we saw in Iraq, in planning democracy in Baghdad and letting it spread out across the Middle East, or going into Afghanistan to liberate the women of Afghanistan. That, as somebody who spent 20 years on the outer edges of empire, is a lie.

The other day I wrote Perry Anderson, the subject of the following interview, to ask what he thought of the foreign policy debates, such as they are, among our presidential aspirants. Logical question: Anderson, a prominent scholar and intellectual for decades, has just published "American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers," a superbly lucid account of U.S policy's historical roots and the people who shape policy in our time.

"Current candidates' f/p talk leaves me speechless," came Anderson's terse reply.

Perfectly defensible. Most of what these people have to say-and I do not exclude the Democratic candidates-is nothing more than a decadent, late-exceptionalist rendering of a policy tradition that, as Anderson's book reminds readers, once had a coherent rationale even as it has so often led to incoherent, irrational conduct abroad.

Born in London in 1938-during the Munich crisis, as he points out-Anderson has been a presence on the trans-Atlantic intellectual scene since he took the editor's chair at the then-struggling New Left Review in 1962, when he was all of 24. Eight years later NLR launched Verso, a book imprint as singular (and as singularly influential) as the journal.

Anderson has headed both at various intervals for years. His own books range widely. My favorites are "Zone of Engagement" (1992) and "Spectrum" (2005), which collect essays on an amazing range of 20th century thinkers. To them I now add the new foreign policy book, which I count indispensable to anyone serious about the topic.

I met Anderson, who has taught comparative political and intellectual history at UCLA since 1989, at his home in Santa Monica this past summer. Over a fulsome afternoon's conversation in his admirably spartan study, he impressed me again and as readers will see for themselves, but the counterarguments are generously given and always rewarding.

The transcript that follows is the first of two parts and includes a few questions posed via email after we met. It is otherwise only lightly edited. Part 2 will appear next week.

"American Foreign Policy and its Thinkers" is well timed, given the unusual prominence foreign policy now assumes in the American political conversation. How would you describe your approach? What distinguishes the book from so many others? How should one read it? What's the project?

The book tries to do two things. One is to cover the history of American foreign policy, from around 1900 to the present, tracing the gradual construction of a global empire. This first really came into view as a prospect during the Second World War and is today a reality across all five continents, as a glance at the skein of its military bases makes clear. The Cold War was a central episode within this trajectory, but the book doesn't treat just the U.S. record vis-á-vis the USSR or China. It tries to deal equally with American relations with the Europe and Japan, and also with the Third World, treated not as a homogenous entity but as four or five zones that required different policy combinations.

The second part of the book is a survey of American grand strategy-that is, the different ways leading counselors of state interpret the current position of the United States on the world stage and their recommendations for what Washington should do about it.

The "big think" set, in other words-Kissinger, of course, Brzezinski, Walter Russell Mead, Robert Kagan. And then people such as Francis Fukuyama, whom I consider a ridiculous figure but whose thinking you judged worth some scrutiny. How did you choose these?

From the range of in-and-outers-thinkers moving between government and the academy or think-tanks-who have sought to guide U.S. foreign policy since 2000, with some intellectual originality. Kissinger isn't among these. His ideas belong to a previous epoch, his later offerings are boilerplate. Fukuyama, who sensed what the effects of office on thought could be, and got out of state service quite early, is a mind of a different order. The figures selected cover the span of options within what has always been a bipartisan establishment.

You make a distinction between American exceptionalism, which is much in the air, and American universalism, which few of us understand as a separate matter. The first holds America to be singular (exceptional), and the second that the world is destined to follow us, that the trails we've blazed are the future of humanity. You call this a "potentially unstable compound." Could you elaborate on this distinction, and explain why you think it's unstable?

It's unstable because the first can exist without the second. There is, of course, a famous ideological linkage between the two in the religious idea, specific to the United States, of Providence-that is, divine Providence. In your own book "Time No Longer" you cite an astounding expression of this notion: "However one comes to the debate, there can be little question that the hand of Providence has been on a nation which finds a Washington, a Lincoln, or a Roosevelt when it needs him." That pronouncement was delivered in the mid-1990s-not by some television preacher, but by Seymour Martin Lipset: chairs at Harvard and Stanford, president of both the American Sociological and the American Political Science Associations, a one-time social democrat.

What is the force of this idea? A belief that God has singled out America as a chosen nation for exceptional blessings, a notion which then easily becomes a conviction of its mission to bring the benefits of the Lord to the world. President after president, from Truman through to Kennedy, the younger Bush to Obama, reiterate the same tropes: "God has given us this, God has given us that," and with the unique freedom and prosperity he has conferred on us comes a universal calling to spread these benefits to the rest of the world. What is the title of the most ambitious contemporary account of the underlying structures of American foreign policy? "Special Providence," by Walter Russell Mead. Year of publication: 2001.

But while a messianic universalism follows easily from providential exceptionalism, it is not an ineluctable consequence of it. You mount a powerful attack on the idea of exceptionalism in "Time No Longer," but-we may differ on this-if we ask what is the more dangerous element in the unstable compound of the nation's image of itself, I would say exceptionalism is the less dangerous. That may seem paradoxical. But historically the idea of exceptionalism allowed for an alternative, more modest deduction: that the country was different from all others, and so should not be meddling with them-the argument of Washington's Farewell Address [in 1796].

A century later, this position became known as isolationism, and as the American empire took shape, it was all but invariably castigated as narrow-minded, short-sighted and selfish. But it could often be connected with a sense that the republic was in danger at home, with domestic ills that needed to be addressed, which vast ambitions abroad would only compound. Mead terms this strand in American sensibility Jeffersonian, which isn't an accurate description of Jefferson's own empire-building outlook, but he otherwise captures it quite well.

We don't ordinarily apply the term "exceptionalist" in the same breath to America and to Japan, though if there is any nation that claims to be completely unique, it is Japan. But the claim produced a drastic isolationism as a national impulse, both in the Tokugawa period [1603-1868, a period of severely enforced seclusion] and after the war. Does that support the point you're making?

Exactly. Historically, exceptionalism could generate a self-limiting, self-enclosing logic as well as the gigantic expansionist vanities of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the "Free World" [narrative]. In the American case, the two strands of exceptionalism and universalism remained distinct, respectively as isolationist and interventionist impulses, sometimes converging but often diverging, down to the Second World War. Then they fused. The thinker who wrote best about this was Franz Schurmann, whose " Logic of World Power" came out during the Vietnam War. He argued that each had a distinct political-regional base: the social constituency for isolationism was small business and farming communities in the Midwest, for interventionism it was the banking and manufacturing elites of the East Coast, with often sharp conflicts between the two up through the end of thirties. But in the course of the Second World War they came together in a synthesis he attributed-somewhat prematurely-to FDR, and they have remained essentially interwoven ever since. The emblematic figure of this change was [Arthur H.] Vandenberg, the Republican Senator from Michigan [1928-51], who remained an isolationist critic of interventionism even for a time after Pearl Harbor, but by the end of the war had become a pillar of the new imperial consensus.

Mainstream debate today seems to have constructed two very stark alternatives: There is either engagement or isolation. In this construction, engagement means military engagement; if we are not going to be militarily engaged we are isolationists. I find that absolutely wrong. There are multiple ways of being engaged with the world that have nothing to do with military assertion.

True, but engagement in that usage doesn't mean just military engagement, but power projection more generally. One of the thinkers I discuss toward the end of my book is Robert Art, a lucid theorist of military power and its political importance to America, who argues for what he calls selective-expressly, not universal-engagement. What is unusual about him is that in seeking to discriminate among engagements the U.S. should and should not select, he starts considering in a serious, non-dismissive way what would typically be construed as isolationist alternatives, even if ending with a fairly conventional position.

How far do you view the contemporary American crisis-if you accept that we are living through one-as, at least in part, one of consciousness? As an American, I tend to think that no significant departure from where find ourselves today can be achieved until we alter our deepest notions of ourselves and our place among others. I pose this question with some trepidation, since a change in consciousness is a generational project, if not more. Our leadership is not remotely close even to thinking about this. I'm suggesting a psychological dimension to our predicament, and you may think I put too much weight on that.

You ask at the outset whether I accept that Americans are living through a crisis. My reply would be: not anything like the order of crisis that would bring about the sort of change in consciousness for which you might hope. You describe that as a generational project, and there, yes, one can say that among the youngest cohorts of the U.S. population, the ideologies of the status quo are less deeply embedded, and in certain layers even greatly weakened. That is an important change, but it's generational, rather than society-wide, and it's not irreversible.

At the level of the great majority, including, naturally, the upper middle class, the image you use to describe the purpose of your last book applies: you write that it aims "to sound the tense strings wound between the pegs of myth and history during the hundred years and a few that I take to be the American century. It is this high, piercing tone that Americans now have a chance to render, hear, and recognize all at once. We have neither sounded nor heard it yet." That's all too true, unfortunately. The most one can say is that, among a newer generation, the strings are fraying a bit.

I tend to distinguish between strong nations and the merely powerful, the former being supple and responsive to events, the later being brittle and unstable. Is this a useful way to judge America in the early 21st century-monumentally powerful but of dubious strength? If so, doesn't it imply some change in the American cast of mind, as the difference between the two sinks in?

That depends on the degree of instability you sense in the country. In general, a major change in consciousness occurs when there is a major alteration in material conditions of life. For example, if a deep economic depression or dire ecological disaster strikes a society, all bets are off. Then, suddenly, thoughts and actions that were previously inconceivable become possible and natural. That isn't the situation so far in America.

Can you discuss the new accord with Iran in this context? I don't see any question it's other than a breakthrough, a new direction. What do you think were the forces propelling the Obama administration to pursue this pact? And let's set aside the desire for a "legacy" every president cultivates late in his time.

The agreement with Iran is an American victory but not a departure in U.S. foreign policy. Economic pressure on Iran dates back to Carter's time, when the U.S. froze the country's overseas assets after the ousting of the Shah, and the full range of ongoing U.S. sanctions was imposed by the Clinton administration in 1996. The Bush administration escalated the pressure by securing U.N. generalization of sanctions in 2006, and the Obama administration has harvested the effect.

Over the past decade, the objective has always been the same: to protect Israel's nuclear monopoly in the region without risking an Israeli blitz on Iran to preserve it-that might set off too great a wave of popular anger in the Middle East. It was always likely, as I point out in "American Policy and its Thinkers," that the clerical regime in Tehran would buckle under a sustained blockade, if that was the price of its survival. The agreement includes a time-out clause to save its face, but the reality is an Iranian surrender.

You can see how little it means any alteration in imperial operations in the region by looking at what the Obama administration is doing in Yemen, assisting Saudi Arabia's wholesale destruction of civilian life there in the interest of thwarting imaginary Iranian schemes.

This next question vexes many people, me included. On the one hand, the drives underlying the American imperium are material: the expansion of capital and the projection of power by its political representatives. The American mythologies are shrouds around these. On the other hand, the issue of security has a long history among Americans. It is authentically an obsession independent of capital-American paranoia dates back at least to the 18th century. I don't take these two accountings to be mutually exclusive, but I'd be interested to know how you reconcile these different threads in American foreign policy.

Yes, there has been a longstanding-you could say aboriginal-obsession with security in the United States. This can be traced as an independent strand running through the history of American dealings with the outside world. What happened, of course, from the Cold War through to the "war on terror" was a ruthless instrumentalization of this anxiety for purposes of expansion rather than defense. At the start of the Cold War you had the National Security Act and the creation of the National Security Council, and today we have the National Security Agency. Security became a euphemistic cloak for aggrandizement.

The United States occupies the better part of a continent separated by two immense oceans, which nobody in modern history has had any serious chance of invading, unlike any other major state in the world, all of which have contiguous land-borders with rival powers, or are separated from them only by narrow seas. The U.S. is protected by a unique geographical privilege. But if its expansion overseas cannot be attributed to imperatives of security, what has driven it?

A gifted and important group of historians, the Wisconsin school [which included the late William Appleman Williams, among others], has argued that the secret of American expansion has from the beginning lain in the quest by native capital for continuously larger markets, which first produced pressure on the internal frontier and the march across the continent to the Pacific, and when the West Coast was reached, a drive beyond into Asia and Latin America, and ultimately the rest of the world, under the ideology of the Open Door.

A couple of good scholars, Melvyn Leffler and Wilson Miscamble, one a liberal and the other a conservative, have identified my position with this tradition, taxing me with a belief that American foreign policy is essentially just an outgrowth of American business. This is a mistake. My argument is rather that because of the enormous size and self-sufficiency of the American economy, the material power at the disposal of the American state exceeded anything that American capital could directly make use of or require.

If you look at the First World War, you can see this very clearly. East Coast bankers and munitions manufacturers did well out of supplying the Entente powers, but there was no meaningful economic rationale for American entry into the war itself. The U.S. could tip the scales in favor of the British and French variants of imperialism against the German and Austrian variants without much cost to itself, but also much to gain.

The same gap between the reach of American business and the power of the American state explains the later hegemony of the United States within the advanced capitalist world after the Second World War. Standard histories wax lyrical in admiration of the disinterested U.S. generosity that revived Germany and Japan with the Marshall and Dodge Plans [reconstruction programs after 1945], and it is indeed the case that policies crafted at the State and Defense Departments did not coincide with the desiderata of the Commerce Department. The key requirement was to rebuild these former enemies as stable capitalist bulwarks against communism, even if this meant there could be no simple Open Door into them for U.S. capital.

For strategic political reasons, the Japanese were allowed to re-create a highly protected economy, and American capital was by and large barred entry. The priority was to defend the general integrity of capitalism as a global system against the threat of socialism, not particular returns to U.S. business. The importance of those were never, of course, ignored. But they had to bide their time. Today's Trans-Pacific Partnership will finally pry open Japanese financial, retail and other markets that have remained closed for so long.

I'd like to turn to the origins of the Cold War, since I believe we are never going to get anywhere until these are honestly confronted. You give a forceful account of Stalin's reasons for avoiding confrontation after 1945 and Washington's reasons for not doing so. But should we attribute the outbreak of the Cold War to the U.S. without too much in the way of qualification?

We can look at the onset of the Cold War on two levels. One is that of punctual events. There, you are certainly right to pick out the ideological starting gun as Truman's speech on Greece in 1947, designed the "scare hell" out of voters to win acceptance for military aid to the Greek monarchy. In policy terms, however, the critical act that set the stage for confrontation with Moscow was the flat American refusal to allow any serious reparations for the staggering level of destruction Russia suffered from the German attack on it. The most developed third of the country was laid waste, its industry and its cities wrecked, while Americans suffered not a fly on the wrist at home-basking, on the contrary, in a massive economic boom. There was no issue Stalin spoke more insistently about than reparations in negotiations among the Allies. But once the fighting was over, the U.S. reneged on wartime promises and vetoed reparations from the larger part of Germany-far the richest and most developed, and occupied by the West-because it did not want to strengthen the Soviet Union and did want to rebuild the Ruhr as an industrial base under Western control, with a view to creating what would subsequently become the Federal Republic.

Can you put Hiroshima and Nagasaki into this context?

Prior to this came Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan. He did so, of course, to shorten the war, and partly also because the Pentagon wanted to test its new weapons. But there was a further reason for the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was urgent to secure a Japanese surrender before the Red Army could get close to the country, for fear that Moscow might insist on a Soviet presence in the occupation of Japan. The U.S. was determined not to let the Russians in, as they could not stop them from doing in Germany. So if we look just at events, you can say the starting points were the use of atomic bombs in Japan and the refusal of reparations in Germany. In that sense, those who argue that the Cold War was an American initiative-the Swedish historian Anders Stephanson, who has written most deeply about this, calls it an American project-are justified in doing so.

So these are your "punctual events."

Exactly. On the hand, if we look at the structural origins of the Cold War, they don't lie in these punctual events, but in the radical incompatibility between American capitalism and Soviet communism as forms of economy, society and polity. Revisionist historians have pointed out quite properly that Stalin was defensive in outlook after the war, determined to erect a protective glacis in Eastern Europe against any repetition of the Nazi invasion of Russia, but otherwise acutely conscious of Soviet weakness and superior Western strength.

All of that is true, but at the same time Stalin remained a communist who firmly believed that the ultimate mission of the world's working class was to overthrow capitalism, everywhere. His immediate stance was defensive, but in the much longer run his expectation was offensive. In that sense, U.S. policies toward the USSR were not needlessly aggressive, as revisionists maintain, but perfectly rational. The two systems were mortal antagonists.

Let's move to the topic of social democracy. I did a lot of my learning in developing countries and have a sense that Washington's true Cold War enemy was social democracy as it spread through Western Europe and all the newly independent nations. What's your view of this?

Strong disagreement, so far as Europe is concerned. If you look at the whole period from 1945 through to the present, you could argue that, on the contrary, European social democracy was Washington's best friend in the region. NATO was the brainchild not of the Pentagon but of Ernest Bevin, the social-democratic foreign secretary in Britain. Attlee, his prime minister, then split his own government by cutting the health service to fund rearmament for the American war in Korea. In France, the most ruthless crackdown on labor unrest after the war came from Jules Moch, the Socialist interior minister.

Think, too, of the Norwegian social democrat who Washington put in charge of the U.N. as its first secretary general, Trygve Lie, an odious collaborator with McCarthyism inside the United Nations. This was the period in which Irving Brown of the A.F.L., working closely with local social democrats, was installed in Europe by the C.I.A. with funds to divide and corrupt trade unions everywhere. He was still active in plotting against Allende [the Chilean social democratic president] in the '70s. As to more recent years, who was Bush's most ardent European ally in the war on Iraq? Not any conservative politician, but British social democrat Blair.

There were exceptions to this dismal record, but few and far between. Not by accident, they generally came from neutral countries that stayed out of the Cold War. In Sweden, Olaf Palme was a courageous opponent of the American war in Vietnam, detested by the U.S. for that reason. In Austria, Bruno Kreisky took an independent line on the Middle East, refusing to fall in with Western support for Israel-itself governed in those years by another social democratic party-and so was scarcely less disliked by the U.S.

But the dominant pattern has always been craven submission to Washington.

Well, I was thinking more of figures like Mossadeq, Arbenz and Allende-maybe the Sandinistas, too.

Their fate is certainly relevant, but there you are talking of a different political phenomenon-nationalism in the Third World, typically though not invariably of the left. You could add Lumumba in the Congo, Goulart in Brazil, Bosch in the Dominican Republic and others to the list. Not all were figures of the left, but from the Cold War onward the U.S. regarded nearly all serious attempts at nationalization of local resources as a threat to capital and worked to subvert or overthrow those who undertook them. A good part of my book is devoted to this front of imperial operations.

I've often wondered what the fate of Cuba would have been if Castro had been properly received in Washington in 1960. Could he have become something like a social democrat?

Excluded, if only because of the side of the Cuban Revolution that distinguished it from both the Chinese Revolution and from the outcome of Russian Revolution after Lenin, which was genuine internationalism. It had to be internationalist because it was a small island close to the United States, not a huge country far away, so it needed revolutionary solidarity within Latin America, which it couldn't hope for as long the continent was populated by assorted clients of the United States, most of them dictators. So even if, counterfactually, Eisenhower or Kennedy had rolled out a tactical red carpet for Fidel, there would have still have been insurmountable conflict over all these Latin American regimes propped up by the United States. The Cubans would have never said, if you put up with us, you can do what you want anywhere. Think of the fact they sent troops [in 1975] even to Angola-where they had no regional connection at all-to save it from a U.S.-backed invasion by South Africa.

Do you see any inflections in the development of American foreign policy over this period?

There is an underlying continuity in the long arc of the U.S. imperium that extends from FDR to Obama. But one can distinguish successive phases in this arc. You have the period that runs from Truman to Kennedy, the high Cold War. Then comes Nixon, the only American president with an original mind in foreign policy. He was intelligent because he was so cynical. He wasn't taken in or mystified by the enormous amount of rhetoric surrounding the lofty U.S. mission in the world. He was therefore more ruthless, but also genuinely innovative in a whole series of ways, the most important of which was to capitalize on the Sino-Soviet split.

The next phase runs from Carter through Reagan to the elder Bush, which sees a reversion to the earlier forms of foreign policy during the Cold War. The fourth phase, of humanitarian intervention, from Clinton through the younger Bush to Obama.

I once thought Carter was an exception in this line, but have since been persuaded to think again.

If you're interested in Carter, there's a good chapter on him in the huge "Cambridge History of the Cold War" by a scholar sympathetic to Carter, which captures the ambiguities and contradictions of his presidency quite well. He did, of course, talk a lot about human rights at the beginning of his tenure, and appointed Patricia Derian, who genuinely believed in them but was quite powerless, to an assistant position in the State Department. But one has to remember that at the outset he appointed Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser, on whom he relied throughout his presidency.

Brzezinski was in many ways brighter than Kissinger, in later years an overrated showman not particularly interesting as a thinker. Brzezinski's cold, brittle mind was a good deal sharper. He was also as much, if not more, of a hawk than Kissinger had been. His masterstroke was funding religious and tribal resistance to the Communist regime in Afghanistan well before any Soviet troops were there, with the clear-cut and entirely successful aim of making the country the Vietnam of the USSR. There followed the Carter Doctrine, which put the U.S. into the military emplacements in the Gulf, where it remains today, while the president was toasting the Shah as a close personal friend and pillar of human rights. To top it off, with Brzezinski at his elbow again, Carter patronized and protected Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, keeping them at the U.N. as the legitimate government of Cambodia, as part of the deal with China for its attack on Vietnam.

In the Middle East, the peace treaty between Sadat and Begin is generally credited to Carter. Its precondition, however, was the double rescue of Israel and of Egypt by Nixon and Kissinger in the 1973 war, which put both countries into the palm of the American hand. What was the regional upshot? Sadat ditched the Palestinians and became a well-funded U.S. client, Begin secured an ally on Israel's southern flank and the Egyptians got the tyranny of Sadat, Mubarak and now Sisi for the next 40 years. Yet to this day Carter gushes over Sadat, a torturer whose memory is loathed by his people, as a wonderful human being. What is nevertheless true is that with all his weaknesses-and worse-Carter was a contradictory figure, who, once he was ousted from office, behaved more decently than any other ex-president in recent memory. Today, he's almost a pariah because of what he says on Israel. One can respect him for that.

Turning to Europe for a moment, I often feel disappointed-I don't think I'm alone in this-at the hesitancy of the Europeans to act on what seems to be their underlying impatience with American primacy. Is this an unrealistic expectation?

Impatience isn't the right word. The reality is rather its opposite. Europe has become ever more patient-a better word would be submissive-with the United States. After 1945, Western Europe was far weaker in relation to America than the E.U. today, which is larger than the U.S. in both GDP and population. But think of three European politicians-in France, Germany and England-in the first 15 years after the war. You had a great statesman in De Gaulle; a very strong, if much more limited leader in Adenauer, and a weak ruler in Eden. But the striking thing is all three were quite prepared to defy the United States in a way that no subsequent politician in Europe has ever done.

Eden launched the Suez expedition against Nasser [in late 1956] without informing Washington - the Americans were livid, Eisenhower beside himself, fearing that it would stoke popular anti-imperialism across Africa and Asia. So the U.S. brought the expedition to an abrupt halt by triggering a run on sterling, and Eden fell. But there was an aftermath. The French premier at the time was Guy Mollet, the Socialist who was an accomplice of Eden in the attack on Egypt, with, himself, a terrible record in Algeria. When the idea of a Common Market came up shortly after the Suez debacle, though he was personally favorable to it, he faced a lot of opposition in France - as there was, too, in Germany. Adenauer, who was quite willing to make commercial concessions to France to smooth the path for the undertaking, gave Mollet a political reason for the Common Market. Look what happened when you fought at Suez, he told him. None of our countries is strong enough to resist the U.S. on its own. Let's pool our resources and then we can do so.

Adenauer was loyal enough to the West, and a staunch anticommunist, but Germany, not America, was what counted for him. As for De Gaulle, he famously pulled France out of the military command of NATO, and defied America with éclat virtually throughout.

Since then, there has been nobody like this. If we ask why, I think the answer is that all these people were formed before the First and Second World Wars broke out, in a period in which major European states had as much weight as the United States on the international checkerboard, if not more. They were not brought up in a world where American hegemony was taken for granted. All of them were involved in the two World Wars, and in the Second De Gaulle had good reason to be distrustful of the U.S., since Roosevelt was long pro-Vichy and wanted to oust him as leader of the Free French.

We could add, incidentally, a couple of later politicians, who fought in the second conflict. One was the English Tory prime minister, Edward Heath, the only postwar ruler of Britain who never made the trip to simper on the White House lawn, receiving an audience and paying tribute, that would become a virtual ceremony of investiture for any new ruler around the world. The other was Helmut Schmidt, a veteran of Operation Barbarossa [the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941] who scarcely concealed his disdain for Carter. These were latecomers from the past. Their successors have grown up under U.S. paramountcy and take it for granted. This is America's world. It is second nature for them to defer to it.

You describe a generational difference in sensibility. But what about the EU?

If the generational declension is one big change, another is what has become of the European Union itself. On paper, it's much more powerful than any of the individual countries. But so far as any coherent foreign policy is concerned, it's institutionally paralyzed by the number of states that make it up-originally six, now 28-and the labyrinthine nature of their dealings with each other. None of them has any complete autonomy of initiative. A staggering amount of time is wasted in endless summits behind closed doors, agendas prepared by bureaucrats, tremulous fear of any public disagreement. No serious international statecraft can emerge from this.

During the countdown to the war in Iraq, there were large street demonstrations in not a few countries, which Dominique Strauss-Kahn-no less-described as a European Declaration of Independence. Schröder [Gerhard, the German chancellor from 1998-2005] announced that Germany could not accept the war, and Chirac [Jacques, the French president, 1995-2007] blocked a U.N. resolution endorsing it. Were these bold acts of independence? Far from it. The French envoy in Washington told Bush in advance: You already have one U.N. resolution saying Saddam must comply with inspections, which is suitably vague. Don't embarrass us by trying to get another resolution that is more specific, which we'll have to oppose. Just use that one and go in. No sooner, indeed, was the attack launched than Chirac opened French skies to U.S. operations against Iraq. Can you imagine De Gaulle meekly helping a war he had said he opposed? As for Schröder, it was soon revealed that German intelligence agents in Baghdad had signaled ground targets for "Shock and Awe." These were politicians who knew the war was very unpopular in domestic opinion, and so made a show of opposing it while actually collaborating. Their independence was a comedy.

That was a dozen years ago. What's the position today?

Edward Snowden's break with the illegalities of Obama's government revealed that it was not only spying on European as well as American citizens en masse, but tapping the phones and communications of Merkel, Hollande and other pillars of Atlantic solidarity. How have these leaders reacted? With an embarrassed smile, before the next warm embrace with the Leader of the Free World. Has one single European government dreamt of offering asylum to Snowden? Not one. Under Merkel, indeed, it now emerges that German intelligence itself was illegally spying on Germans at the behest of the U.S., and passing on the information it gathered to the CIA. There are no consequences to such revelations, except to those who reveal them. The level of abjection passes belief.

Let's put the Ukraine crisis in this context. It is, after all, what prompted me to raise the question of European passivity in the trans-Atlantic relationship. Here, it seems to me, the Europeans are furious with Washington for encouraging Kiev toward a patently dangerous confrontation with Russia. Animosity has been evident since Vicky Nuland's infamous "'F'the E.U." remark just before the coup last year. And now we see Merkel and Hollande more or less pushing the U.S. aside in favor of a negotiated settlement-or "seem to see," in any case. What's your view here?

Why should Washington object to European attempts to reach a stand-off in the Ukraine, so long as sanctions in Russia remain in place? Berlin and Paris are not going to defy it. Any real settlement is for the time being out of reach, but if one were materialize, they would be convenient sherpas for it. The E.U. as such hardly matters: Its reaction to Nuland's dismissal [of them] was to turn the other cheek.

Patrick Smith is Salon's foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is also an essayist, critic and editor. His most recent books are "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale, 2013) and Somebody Else's Century: East and West in a Post-Western World (Pantheon, 2010). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is

More Patrick L. Smith.

The Making Of Global Capitalism The Political Economy Of American Empire

The Making Of Global Capitalism The Political Economy Of American Empire Sam Gindin, Leo Panitch

Hans G. Despain on October 7, 2012

Powerful Political Economy

Panitch and Gindin argue that market economies have never existed independent of nation states. The state was necessary for the genesis of capitalism, and the state was, and still is, necessary for its historical development and continuous reproduction. Nonetheless, Panitch and Gindin argue there is significant autonomy, or historical "differentiation," between the economy and the nation state. There are economic structural tendencies manifest from the logic of capital and the functioning of the market-system. At the same time nation states can affect these structural tendencies in remarkable ways.

In this sense, there has never been "separation" between capitalist reproduction/development and the state, but there is "differentiation" which has radically significant effects. There is a symbiotic relationship between the state and capitalistic reproduction/development.

This is a book of economic history. But is also a book of economic theory. The economic history is rich and interesting, aimed at explaining the historical emergence of global financial capitalism. While the history Panitch and Gindin offer is rich and interesting, the theory is still richer and even more intriguing.

Their history is primarily aimed, (1) at explaining the emergence of the "informal American empire" (what makes this empire "informal" is the hegemony is accomplished primarily through economic strategy, policy, and diplomacy; and less through military might and political coercion) and (2) demonstrating the historical shifting relationship (from decade to decade since the World War I) between workers, business, finance, and the state.

Their theoretical concern is threefold;

  1. (1) offer a theoretical explanation of the crisis of 2007-8;
  2. (2) offer guidance toward the direction the future the "informal American empire" has for guiding the economies of world; and
  3. (3) to understand the "informal American empire" as a set of beliefs, doctrine, and ideology of how to organize modern societies (workers, business, finance and the state) and the global order (both political [e.g. UN, NATO, etc.] and economical [World Bank, IMF, WTO) for the (ideological) common good.

Although Panitch and Gindin accept that capitalistic development is uneven and unstable, it is crucial to their thesis that each crisis is unique depending upon the particular relationships and alliances forged between workers, business, finance, and the state. In this sense, the crisis of 2007-8 is necessarily unique and the solutions or economic fiscal policies necessary for recovery necessarily different from previous crises.

The highlights of their economic global history include that there have been four! major historical global crises, the long depression in the 1870, the Great depression of 1930, the Great recession of 1970s, and the Great financial crisis of 2007-09.

According to Pantich and Gindin, the 1970s is an economic watershed moment which separates "two Golden ages" of American capitalism.

It may be quite strange to many readers to call 1983 - 2007 a Golden Age. But in fact when looking at the economic data of the period it was quite literally a Golden Age, with millions of Americans and Global financiers and business leaders becoming impressively wealthy. Moreover, the levels of production (GDP) and productivity during the second Golden Age generally outperform the levels of production and productivity during the first Golden Age. Nonetheless the distribution of this wealth is radically narrow and concentrated within primarily finance, while political power concentrated toward "free-trade" orientated states, and away from workers and industrial production. Moreover, Pantich and Gindin maintain that workers are generally weaker during the second Golden Age, finance is strengthen and trumps over production processes, which is more or less conventional wisdom of this period of modern history. Less conventional is their thesis that the state, in particular the American domestic fiscal state and global "informal American empire," greatly strengthened post-1973-83 crisis.

It is not clear the direction the post-2007-09 crisis will take the global economy and American capitalism. What is clear is that the symbiotic relationship between workers, business, finance, and the state, and the global order (U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, WTO, UN) is once again shifting. Pantich and Gindin's book offers to the reader a far

Jeb Sprague on November 8, 2014

Fascinating & important book, yet suffers from nation-state centrism & ignores novel social dynamics of Global Capitalism era

Panitch and Gindin's epic and fascinating book has the goal of tracing what the authors describe as the central role of the informal "American empire" and U.S. capital in the formation of the contemporary global capitalist system. I published a review in the journal Critical Sociology (Vol. 40, No. 5. P. 803-807) earlier this year that expands further on the importance of this work but I also have some criticisms, of which I paste some of below:

Whereas the authors emphasize the role of longstanding national and international dynamics, they overlook the numerous studies that have shown how novel transnational dynamics have come about even as historic residue remains (see for example Harris, 2013; Murray G, 2012; Robinson, 2003, 2004, 2014). Other than briefly denying the usefulness of the idea, the authors say little about the good deal of work on transnational class relations, for example in regards to the different fractions of the transnational capitalist class (as detailed in the works of Baker, 2011; Robinson, 2003, 2008; Harris, 2008; Sklair, 2001; Carrol, 2011; Murray J, 2013). Panitch and Gindin argue that theories of a TCC (transnational capitalist class) lead us to overlook uneven development between "nation-states" and the "economic competition between various centers of accumulation" (p. 11).... Yet while capital tends to concentrate in particular built up spaces, this corresponds, as a number of studies have shown, less and less to the strict restrictions of national space. Functionally integrated circuits of production and finance, and other networks, for example, have come to cut through various geographic scales (including national space) (Dicken, 20112; Robinson, 2010). Whereas local, national, regional, and international dynamics remain legion and substantial, many decisive economic, social, and political processes have become transnationally oriented....

The role of the state and its different policies is a clear focus of Panitch and Gindin's book. At times the authors do refer to the role of state elites, but often the authors can reify the state, describing the state as if it acts on its own and of its own accord. We need here to understand more clearly the class nature of the state, how specific social groups operate through state apparatuses as a site of struggle. Rather than individuals of the capitalist class serving directly in the state, it is governing political groups that normally do this. As relatively autonomous these political groups and state elites maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate, even as they overwhelmingly operate in the "collective" interests of capital. This relative autonomy is conditioned by a number of dynamics, such as prevailing socioeconomic conditions, the balance and struggle of social forces, and the position or character of the state. In those instances where Panitch and Gindin do write about state elites and political groups, these groups are presented as essentially the traditional nation-state governing elite who often operate in the interests of domestic capitalists. While these groups may fight among themselves or wrestle with domestic classes to carry out policies that are internationally geared, these political elites, as Panitch and Gindin describe them, do not veer far from the mold of their nation-state predecessors. The authors never recognize the fundamental changes that are taking place, through which state apparatuses, most importantly the U.S., are being utilized to reproduce conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation.

The authors pass over quickly some theories of the state that they disagree with, giving a straw person description of a "supranational global state" (p. 11) and citing an article by Philip McMichael (2001) that similarly misexplained ideas on the emergent transnationalization of state apparatuses and rise of transnationally oriented technocrats and elites who operate through state apparatuses (as discussed by Jayasuriya, 1999, 2005; Liodakis, 2010; Robinson, 2004, 2012; Sprague, 2012). I would argue for example that transnationally oriented state elites and technocrats believe that to develop they must insert their national states and institutions into global circuits of accumulation. They need access to capital, and capital is in the hands of the TCC. However, state elites must still appeal to their home audiences. They still interact with a variety of social groups and social classes, some more transnationally oriented and others with a more national orientation. Because of this, even as ties between state elites and TCC fractions deepen, national rhetoric and national state policies occur that are in apparent contradiction with TCC interests. In this way, political leaders attempt to maintain national political legitimacy while deepening practices of a global nature. However, as these state elites become entangled with and dependent upon processes of global capital accumulation they increasingly transition from taking part in national or international processes to transnational processes.

In regards to law, Panitch and Gindin argue that "Americanized internationalized law" has supplanted local international investment laws in much of the world. Here the authors obscure how transnational legal frameworks have come about through coalitions and the support of various interests and social forces. The mere adoption of laws for instance (even when heavily influenced by U.S. state elites) does not explain how they are implemented or modified. Nor does it explain the different interests behind these changes.

The authors emphasize the role of the "informal U.S. empire," with globalization "imbricated in the American empire," a system "under continuing US leadership," with the country maintaining its "imperial responsibilities for the reproduction of global capitalism" (p. 330). Yet they never clearly explain what is global capitalism, globalization, or the difference between the international and the transnational. This is because their conceptions of class, capital, and the state don't help us to understand the fundamental changes taking place. While they provide an extensive and critical historical overview in pointing out the leading role of the U.S. state and its policies in reproducing today's "system of class power and inequality" (p. 330), they don't recognize how this has occurred through fundamentally new dynamics of the global epoch.

While the authors help us to better understand the key role of the U.S. government and its policies during the late twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, they do so through an outdated theoretical scope that never gets at the deep changes occurring. Rather than the U.S. nation-state empire and those operating through it creating conditions beneficial for closely aligned internationally active domestic capitalists, more and more we can see how transnationally oriented elites operating through the most powerful national state apparatus (headquartered in Washington) are promoting conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation and in the interests of TCC fractions.

While this book is well worth your time reading, for getting a deeper understanding of contemporary political economy I suggest Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity clearer picture of what is at stake and who are the main institutional actors in the historical drama and capitalistic tragedy we call modern human history.

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[Feb 23, 2019] 52 mins UK documentary about Sharp's book 'From Dictatorship To Democracy' which lists 198 non-violent tactics, stunts and ploys intended to 'unsettle' a ruling Regime, the most unsurprising of which is to have the Protest Placards printed in English (for the benefit of NYT readers?).

Feb 23, 2019 |

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 22, 2019 1:14:21 PM | link

I've just been reviewing the 2011 UK doco How To Start A Revolution starring Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gene Sharp, his cute and sincere female sidekick Jamil Raqib, and a retired Military type Robert Helvey in the Pat Lang mould (swashbuckling).

It's 52 mins and is an Advertorial for Sharp's book 'From Dictatorship To Democracy' which lists 198 non-violent tactics, stunts and ploys intended to 'unsettle' a ruling Regime, the most unsurprising of which is to have the Protest Placards printed in English (for the benefit of NYT readers?).

It was made when the Syria 'uprising' was beginning. It covers EVERY color revolution and uprising with AmeriKKKa's fingerprints on them including the Gene Sharp fan who attempted to 'help' the Tienanmen Square protestors.

It devotes some time to Venezuela with a drive-by smearing of Maduro. But there's something quite fruitcake-ish about Sharp. Near the end of the doco he reels off a list of countries which have benefited from Gene's wisdom - one of which was AUSTRALIA (FFS)!

Well worth a look with Venezuela Showdown 1.1 imminent.
(There are numerous links on the www)

[Feb 23, 2019] Venezuela - Abrams To Make Sure Humanitarian Aid Flights Are Strictly By The Book

Notable quotes:
"... the False flag has arrived, the Washington post is now spreading the lie that Venezuelan soldiers shot civilians - now to see if the lie takes hold ..."
Feb 23, 2019 |

Venezuela - Abrams To Make Sure Humanitarian Aid Flights Are "Strictly By The Book" bevin , Feb 22, 2019 9:53:19 AM | link

U.S. Department of State, February 21, 2019

Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams Travel to Miami and Cucuta, Colombia

Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams will travel to Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida and Cucuta, Colombia February 21-22 to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to some of the most vulnerable people in Venezuela in response to Interim President Guaido's request.

Special Representative Abrams will lead a U.S. government delegation to accompany humanitarian supplies to be transported from Florida to Colombia by military aircraft. While in Colombia Special Representative Abrams will meet Colombian President Duque and visiting delegations from Central and South America.


New York Times, August 17, 1987

Abrams Denies Wrongdoing In Shipping Arms to Contras

Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams has defended his role in authorizing the shipment of weapons on a humanitarian aid flight to Nicaraguan rebels, saying the operation was "strictly by the book."

Mr. Abrams spoke at a news conference Saturday in response to statements by Robert Duemling, former head of the State Department's Nicaraguan humanitarian assistance office, who said he had twice ordered planes to shuttle weapons for the contras on aid planes at Mr. Abrams's direction in early 1986.

According to Strategic Culture Abrams is not the slickest of operators, for example, while leading the crusade against Nicaragua:
"Abrams solicited an illegal $10 million contribution to the Contras from the Sultan of Brunei. When North later gave Abrams the Swiss bank account number for Lake Resources, a CIA front in Geneva, he gave Abrams the wrong prefix of 368 instead of the actual number 386. Abrams then passed the account number to Brunei. In Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah wired $10 million from the Citibank branch in Brunei to the wrong account at Credit Suisse in Geneva. Due to North's and Abram's error, a Swiss shipping magnate was suddenly $10 million wealthier. .."

pretzelattack , Feb 22, 2019 9:56:46 AM | link

abrams made sure only the right babies ended up on bayonets at el mozote, how can we not trust somebody like that?
Zanon , Feb 22, 2019 10:09:48 AM | link
Salvador Allende's grandson thanks @rogerwaters for supporting Venezuela.

... ... ...

Musburger , Feb 22, 2019 10:29:56 AM | link
Appears weapons are being imported from Eastern Europe; same method used to supply jihadists in Syria.
librul , Feb 22, 2019 10:34:20 AM | link
It has started. WaPo is reporting that civilians have been shot at the border by Venezuelan soldiers.
dh , Feb 22, 2019 10:42:41 AM | link
A fatality at the Brazilian border apparently but the situation is confusing. It's unclear where the empty truck incident took place but it wasn't at the actual Venezuela/Colombia border. Mariara is a town between Caracas and Cucuta.

"One person has been killed and 12 are injured after Venezuelan troops opened fire on civilians trying to keep a border checkpoint open for aid deliveries, it has been claimed.

Troops arrived at a checkpoint set up by an indigenous community in Kumarakapai, on Venezuela's southern border with Brazil early this morning.

But when civilians tried to block military vehicles, soldiers opened fire shooting 12 and killing a woman named as Zorayda Rodriguez, 42, according to the Washington Post. "

Miss Lacy , Feb 22, 2019 10:54:00 AM | link
Don't have the link, but I urge you to take a look at for an update on the "take over" of the Venezuelan embassy in Costa Rica. The person in charge (!?) is Maria Faria whose father is in jail for his part in an assasination attempt on Chavez. The gov of Costa Rica is not amused. These are the people who will "bring democracy to Venezuela" Right. BTW, she bribed her way into the building.

Meanwhile, the false flag may be occurring. Zero hedge has a report of a civilian at the brazilian border.

Tom Welsh , Feb 22, 2019 11:08:58 AM | link
Strictly by the "CIA book", that is. The one that allows Americans to cheat, lie and murder as much as they like, and then say it's all for the good of those who are cheated, lied to and murdered.

b4real , Feb 22, 2019 11:33:34 AM | link
Here is link to crazy lady who appointed herself Venezuela ambassador..
Bc , Feb 22, 2019 11:34:44 AM | link
Hopefully someone can explain. Current inflation rate in Venezuela is 2.6 million %! Is this correct? If so how did this happen and how is country surviving? And how is Maduro maintaining his support?
Zanon , Feb 22, 2019 11:43:07 AM | link
Venezuela have acted naive the whole time, they know US will provoke for weeks and haven't done anything. Even the ambassadors from US, EU are still in Venezuela! China, Russia haven't done anything for all these months, they are also to blame for not stopping this aggression.

Russia say, "US-run border 'provocation' to topple Maduro set for February 23, Moscow warns " well act then, put a resolution in the UNSC to start with!

arby , Feb 22, 2019 12:04:50 PM | link
Be @ 13

"Current inflation rate in Venezuela is 2.6 million %! Is this correct? "


CE , Feb 22, 2019 12:05:32 PM | link
The just-published new episode of Empire Files is a gift to all infowarriors containing most relevant topical information. Share widely and kudos to Abby Martin and Mike Prysner:

Jose Garcia , Feb 22, 2019 12:25:35 PM | link
"Strictly by the book...." And I believe in Santa Claus.
arby , Feb 22, 2019 12:33:59 PM | link
@ 11
"The one that allows Americans to cheat, lie and murder as much as they like, and then say it's all for the good of those who are cheated, lied to and murdered." I have come to the belief that that is what they mean by the word "FREEDOM".
Kadath , Feb 22, 2019 12:44:30 PM | link
the False flag has arrived, the Washington post is now spreading the lie that Venezuelan soldiers shot civilians - now to see if the lie takes hold
Victor J. , Feb 22, 2019 12:55:57 PM | link
Interesting facts about the economy in Venezuela. There isn`t enough currency in the hands of the population but inflation keeps rising and stores are "empty". Some unions are asking for pay increases at the same time saying that their currency is worthless. The value of the dollar is fixed in Miami by DollarToDay or some crap like that but the government doesn't do anything about it.
Is this Econ101 or the Twightlight Zone School of Economics.
frances , Feb 22, 2019 1:00:47 PM | link
reply to Lochearn 6

Your post is terrifying to me, and hopefully B will approve of my reposting it in case anyone misses it the first time.

"It seems they are a pleasant family the Abrams. On her blog, Rachel Adams, wife of Elliott wrote about the Palestinians:

"Transformer-doodling, homework-losing children of Others -- and their offspring -- those who haven't already been pimped out by their mothers to the murder god -- as shields, hiding behind their burkas and cradles like the unmanned animals they are, and throw them not into your prisons, where they can bide until they're traded by the thousands for another child of Israel, but into the sea, to float there, food for sharks, stargazers, and whatever other oceanic carnivores God has put there for the purpose.""

frances , Feb 22, 2019 1:10:12 PM | link
re the Daily Mail and ZeroHedge article(s) on the "shooting." Not sure that the shooting story is legit.
There are no photos of the troops shooting, there is video of the troops NOT shooting when attacked by various people, there are photos of people on gurneys with possible wounds, but we all have been down THAT road before...(White Helmets....)I will wait for the govt's take on the event.
IMO all of this is setting us up for the idiotic concert, my guess is we will see a Maidan set to music or possibly a rerun of the Vegas shooting.
BTW, I have posted the NY Times 1987 article above in reply to several Daily Mail and Sputnik posts. Thank you B for enabling me to do so.
pretzelattack , Feb 22, 2019 1:14:53 PM | link
ah, shoulda known they wouldn't give up this easily. mueller doesn't have any evidence, so there will probably be a few weeks of handwringing about the report being doctored, followed by entreaties to vote for a centrist democrat to beat trump, and for god's sake don't vote for sanders, cause he can't protect us against putin or something.
james , Feb 22, 2019 1:19:40 PM | link
@19 kadath... it's totally predictable... if that doesn't work, as many false flags as necessary will be used..
vk , Feb 22, 2019 1:50:56 PM | link
@ Posted by: Victor J. | Feb 22, 2019 12:55:57 PM | 20

Hyperinflation can be easily explained by the fact the Venezuelan right-wing is the bourgeoisie, thus they control the circulation of goods. Without the stores (lock-out), there is not goods in a monetized society.

But that doesn't stop there: lack of circulation fuels black market. The stronger the black market, the higher the prices, the higher the inflation. To top it off, it is embargoed, so imports are not an option. In this scenario (siege + lockout), bandits thrive.

However, the situation is artificial. Where the shops are open, there is no shortage of essential goods . There is no hunger in Venezuela -- at least nothing out of the extraordinaire for capitalist standards (and specially, Latin American standards, where extreme poverty is ubiquitous). The defficiency is with the more manufactured goods (specially medicine, but alos hygiene products etc). Since Venezuela also has a very weak milk production, they also suffer with its supply and of its derivatives.

Venezuela is a textbook Dutch Disease country. It is astonishing Chávez didn't redirect the resources of the oil boom towards industrialization. Lenin and Stalin did it under a much more severe situation, so there is no excuse for Chávez putting the cart in front of the oxen.

vk , Feb 22, 2019 1:55:10 PM | link
Alleged incident 70km from the Venezuela-Brazil border leaves one dead

From Reuters: on Indigenous person was allegedly killed by Venezuelan solidiers in the city of Kumarakapay. The rumor also claims there are many wounded.

Desolation Row , Feb 22, 2019 2:03:24 PM | link
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 22, 2019 1:14:21 PM | 25

"one of which was AUSTRALIA (FFS)!"


Have you forgotten? 1975: CIA + MI5/6 coup against Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
Poor Gough got too curious about Nugan Hand and that simply won't do. Next up, Malcolm Fraser who immediately flew off to DC and a meeting with Ronnie RayGun. Good ole Malcolm reportedly made time in his busy schedule for a meeting with David Rockefeller also.

Same as it ever was

lgfocus , Feb 22, 2019 2:24:16 PM | link

D's run around wanting all these nice things for Americans while they continue to support "regime change" wars that kill, maim and destroy the infrastructure of countries all over the world so our corporations can steal their resources and we keep our military/intelligence and congressional community fat and happy. When all that money we use on destruction could be used here at home on something constructive. What a bunch of hypocrites. Sanders among them.

The house even passed a bill unanimously that allows us to sanction anyone aiding in the reconstruction of any Syrian land held by the Syrian government. The demise of this country can't happen soon enough.

frances , Feb 22, 2019 2:31:28 PM | link
reply to lgfocus 37

"The house even passed a bill unanimously that allows us to sanction anyone aiding in the reconstruction of any Syrian land held by the Syrian government."

Sadly the US is among the sorest losers of all time. Salting the earth where ever it goes. Although, I recall Assad said that no country that participated in the country's attempted destruction could ever have a role in the rebuild, so we may be just seeing sour grapes:)

Pft , Feb 22, 2019 2:52:57 PM | link
So a FF on 2-22 at the Venezuela border surprises absolutely nobody , except plant life in human form.
Anon2 , Feb 22, 2019 3:01:07 PM | link
Posted by: CE | Feb 22, 2019 12:05:32 PM | 16

Thanks so much for posting this link to Abby Martin's new piece. The interview with the UN Human Rights Investigator Alfred de Zayas is extermely revealing, I strongly recommend viewing it to really understand the situation and the machinations of the power interests that want to control Venezuela. As well as what he calls "the ocean of lies". He says so much, a very knowledgeable and truthful person, an expert in fact.

Zico , Feb 22, 2019 3:05:27 PM | link
The revolution of the bourgeois/grand children of ex cololianlists who simply cannot accept that their grandparents' loot have been taken over by the brown, Native Indians and black Africans.

What's happeing in Venezuela is a small part of a wider trend sweeping across Latin the old colonialists want their possisions back and they have a willing partner in the US to help them achieve this dream. Thet've succeeded in Brazil, Argentina etc and won't stop until the make Latin America great again.

Funny thing about this coup is that, the execution was so sloppy that it's almost comical. Essentially some wimpy guy with very powerful connections suddenly appoints himself as leader of the country and is almost immediately legitimaized by ex-colonial powers - how democratic!
It's even got to a point where some US officials are now issueing personal death threats against members of the Venezuelan government if they don't defect. I guess one has to do whatever it takes.

As things currently stand, it's a satlemate which might end up with the bourgeois moving on to Miami to join their Cuban cousins who're still wating for the US to install them leaders of Cuba again someday.....soon(whatever that means).

PS: I heard Richard Branson is throwing a rave for the revolition this weekend. Goes to show how much vested interest are involved in this coup. It's like Cuba all over again.

Ghost Ship , Feb 22, 2019 3:06:11 PM | link
>>> Domza | Feb 22, 2019 1:25:03 PM | 28
Has anyone watched any of the Branson concert? It's dire.
There are only about 22,000 viewers on Youtube and the shots of the very large crowd have a completely different colour balance to the rest suggesting that they were filmed somewhere else, and occasionally they pan from the performers out towards the audience but the numbers don't come close to the 250,000 claimed.
Anon2 , Feb 22, 2019 3:08:59 PM | link
Posted by: Victor J. | Feb 22, 2019 12:55:57 PM | 20

I understand that people in Venezuela use plastic cards for day to day transactions, as the paper currency is scarce. I suspect those millions of percent inflation figures relate the the convertible value of the currency into foreign currency, not day to day purchases of staple foods grown in the country.

I've watched a lot of video reports from the streets recently from Telesur and similar and most people look well fed to me. You can see the contrast with Haiti - many of those oeople really do look hungry and desperate.

CE , Feb 22, 2019 3:22:01 PM | link
Richard Branson's shill concert is going on right now, with (if we believe the google algorithm) 184 thousand viewers:

jsb , Feb 22, 2019 3:30:16 PM | link
@43 Ghost Ship:

The psy-op (fake images with massive crowds from a different concert) of the Live Aid are making the rounds

Fake image #1
Fake image #2

Real images from the actual Live Aid:

Real image #1
Real image #2
Real images #3

Notice in the real images the stage is located on the curved portion of the bridge and is positioned in a -45 degree angle (to face the crowd) relative to the flow of traffic, whereas the fake images the stage is in the middle of the bridge on a straight portion of the bridge and is faced at 180 degrees relative to the flow of traffic. Two completely different scenes!

Abby Martin's newest video: An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

Video of Elliot Abrams landed and shaking hands with Colombian delegation including Colombian President Ivan Duque.

Domza , Feb 22, 2019 3:30:17 PM | link
RT's guy on site reckons there are 5000 at Branson's Cucuta cringe-fest.
John Anthony La Pietra , Feb 22, 2019 3:48:36 PM | link
Does "by the book" refer to that decade-or-so-old alternative-power manual for fomenting coups that Wikileaks re-posted recently?
AriusArmenian , Feb 22, 2019 3:52:46 PM | link
Elliott 'Iran-Contra' Abrams is an unembarrassed accomplished liar and warmonger, a vermin that operates at the lowest duplicitous level.

If he crosses the border into Venezuela with so-called aid shipments we might just get lucky if the Venezuelan army has to open fire.

Sunny Runny Burger , Feb 22, 2019 4:05:46 PM | link
The attack on Venezuela is a flop and it isn't going anywhere. The US military has to already be extremely aware they can't possibly win (see my comment 114 in "Trump Likes 'Beautiful' Border Walls" and then Juliana mentioned/added the Darién Gap which means the US has even less options for logistics).

Venezuela already has anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems that can reach well outside its borders and of its supporters have systems that reach much further (anywhere).

- Billionaire Bernie is just another fake, as is anyone at all who's running for POTUS no matter how small their party is.
- Washington Post has no journalists at all and thus no one either outside or inside Venezuela. Ignore their noise.
- The zombie slaves of the US inside the US and elsewhere aren't going to make any difference.
- The public propaganda is not actually for public consumption, it is only for the purpose of continued delirium by the "elites" continuously telling themselves they're not addicts to evil and that they're getting away with it all even though the year is 2019 and it's incredibly difficult to figure out what they're supposedly not failing at or how they're not making everything worse for everybody including themselves (privately hoarding green waste paper is not a victory only a mental deficiency born of insecurity).
- There's no hyperinflation when it comes to oil and gold which are the de facto international currencies of Venezuela and considering a full tank of gas in Venezuela costs something like 1 Bolivar (let's call that 1 millionth of a US dollar according to the bullshit about hyperinflation) the local economy is completely unaffected. It is interesting that US dollars are practically unusable in Venezuela (as they should be because they're worthless).
- Venezuela is incredibly far off from reaching the 20 Trillion USD debt level of the US.

I'm starting to think the whole attack against Venezuela is simply noisy misdirection away from something else more significant. Either way it's going to cost the US dearly (what made them think it was a good idea to antagonize Venezuela further? If there's no war they continue to lose influence and if there's a war they lose much more).

Miss Lacy , Feb 22, 2019 4:38:27 PM | link
to b4real. # 12. Thank you. I will try to do better. Miss Lacy.
Cam , Feb 22, 2019 4:44:15 PM | link
Venezuela positions S 300 at the border with Brazil
stevelaudig , Feb 22, 2019 4:44:17 PM | link
strictly by the book. and the name of the book was "Mein Kampf"
FH , Feb 22, 2019 4:52:13 PM | link
Seeing Elliot ( I only spread democracy and freedom ) Abrams digress into a lisping,indignant mess while being grilled by a very brave Ihan Omar was priceless. Such a display of courage is almost non existent by the invertebrates in today's political parties. Unfortunately getting your feathers ruffled is a weak punishment for genocide. As Alan Nairn pointed out years ago if all was fair Elliot Abrams would be a perfect fit in the dock.
Pft , Feb 22, 2019 4:55:45 PM | link

Venezuelas debt is 3 times GDP, and much of it in a currency they dont control. US debt equals its GDP, and all if it in its own currency. I am pretty sure dollars on the black market are in great demand.

jsb , Feb 22, 2019 5:34:44 PM | link
Posted by: jsb | Feb 22, 2019 3:30:16 PM | 48

Addendum to my previous post. Finally figured out where the fake concert photos are from. They are from the 'Peace Without Borders concert of March 16 2008' . Moreover, the 300K number that has been pushed by Branson and by the MSM is no coincedence at all either. That number is the estimated number of attendees from the actual 2008 concert .

Here is the evidence:

Here is a photo of a side-by-side views of the concert from 2008 (on the left) vs. the one from today 2019 Live Aid (on the right)

Here is youtube video from 2008 concert (Please look 0:09 sec @4:36 min mark)

jsb , Feb 22, 2019 5:37:20 PM | link
For got to add the actual concert photo that is going around pretending to be from 2019 Venezuelan Live Aid.

Here it is; it is from the BBC.

m , Feb 22, 2019 5:51:00 PM | link
The Saker is keeping an open thread with a lot of good links by commentators as the events unfold in Venezuela in the next 48 hours:
Pft , Feb 22, 2019 6:08:38 PM | link
Trump is accusing Cuba of having troops in Venezuela. Could Trump be wanting to do Cuba too?

Trump scraps the INF and wants to give Saudis nuclear technology, and representing the party of the Christian Right wants to force all countries to legalize homosexuality. LOL. World gets crazier every day

karlof1 , Feb 22, 2019 6:29:00 PM | link
Pft @67--

Recent WSJ item said Trump's plan included Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. According to Pepe Escobar, Cuba has 15,000 troops in Venezuela. Any transfer of nuclear tech to Saudi violates numerous US laws and NPT as well. Trump's move on gay rights is supposed to pressure Iran.

juliania , Feb 22, 2019 6:47:07 PM | link
This is also from Saker - I will put the heading in without that attribution, sorry I am not good at appropriate links but scrolling down on the front page at that site will get you to this important message:


There are 9 purported aid trucks in Cucuta vs. what the vice president is saying are 149 being already mobilized by the Venezuelan government. She begins by thanking the Holland government for their support, remarks that there are 'no attention or programs directed to vulnerable sectors of our sister republic of Columbia' and ends by saying the Venezuelan government has apprised the governments of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic of concern about special forces arriving there.

jayc , Feb 22, 2019 6:49:47 PM | link
Did anyone else notice the news story yesterday of eight heavily armed American special forces types detained in Haiti, then taken to the airport and flown back to USA? National Post & CTV in Canada ran story, but no follow up.
dh , Feb 22, 2019 7:15:06 PM | link
Curacao backs away from the aid effort.

Curacao government communications officer Corinne Leysner told AFP the island's parliament had agreed to act as a hub for aid "but that goods cannot leave for Venezuela until there is a safe environment to receive them."

She said the government could not permit the boat to leave with the shipment for security reasons after Maduro's government ordered the closure of Venezuela's sea and air borders with Curacao.

"It is a safety issue. Of course we want to help the people of Venezuela but we are not going to be choosing fights," Leysner said.

In other news it looks like Peter Gabriel had second thoughts too.

Nick , Feb 22, 2019 8:11:36 PM | link
Interesting. Curacao is mostly a Dutch semi colony.
Pft , Feb 22, 2019 8:20:16 PM | link

Thanks for the info. I had no idea Cuba had so many troops in Venezuela.

Not entirely sure how Trump can pressure Iran into legalizing Homosexuality. Interested in seeing how his supporters take it. Of course his mentor Roy Cohn was a homosexual who died of AIDS. Trumps also recently come out saying he wants to focus on eliminating AIDS. A tribute to his late mentor (partner?)

karlof1 , Feb 22, 2019 8:36:57 PM | link
Pft @75--

Trump's aim is based on his assumption that Iran will never allow equal rights for homosexuals, wants it to become the only nation denying them, then use the R2P concept to attack Iran.

RE Venezuela, the entire aid charade is also being utilized to promote the R2P concept as basis for invasion.

Colombian military bases leased by Outlaw US Empire can be seen on this map .

Pft , Feb 22, 2019 9:10:23 PM | link

Interesting. That would be a way to get the LGBT crowd to go along with a war against Iran, at least that portion that is not owned by the Israeli lobby

The Cuban connection adds another group that will support war on Venezuela in the hopes it could topple Cubas government, although he frankly has the support of both parties for Venezuela regime change, short of all out war

All thats needed now is Iran to be found supporting Venezuela and Venezuela and Cuba added to the list of countries supporting Terrorists. Maybe thats what the next FF brings us. After that he can get support to take on Venezuela , Iran and Cuba together and get NATO to support this. Hope not .

Lozion , Feb 22, 2019 9:19:18 PM | link
Random Guydo crossed into Colombia to make a speech at the live aid concert, see thread here:

michaelj72 , Feb 22, 2019 9:28:42 PM | link
He plays by the book, alright, it's called The Book of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. and those are impeachable and Go to Jail offenses. he's a monster.... But he's our monster, sayeth the spooks and Trumpster
psychohistorian , Feb 22, 2019 9:42:13 PM | link
Hey fellow Americans

Why go to the movies when real life is much more interesting to watch......

Watch your tax dollars at work R2Ping other countries for private the book of course

Soon the music is going to stop with us Americans being blamed and not those who own private finance and everything else.

I guess the good news is that soon the music will stop and a new game will be arranged for us all to play....aren't we all excited?

Jen , Feb 22, 2019 9:43:40 PM | link
Over at the Open Comments thread (thanks to M @ 64 who posted the link), a commenter (GF) there has said that 2 days after the Brumadinho dam disaster in Minas Gerais (occurred 25 January 2019), the Brazilian government allowed an Israeli plane with 136 personnel and 16 tonnes of equipment to land in the area to assist in emergency aid efforts. The Brazilian Congress had given no approval for the Israeli plane to fly in and there was no audit or control over the movements of the people and equipment on the plane. The plane stayed for 2 days and then left.

Google suggests that driving from Brumadinho to Santa Elena de Uairen at the sole Brazil-Venezuela crossover point would take 64 hours (nearly 3 days) via the BR-174 highway.

ben , Feb 22, 2019 10:06:41 PM | link
As we enter the "silly season"(election fever), the disinformation will fly fast and furiously. Be careful who and what you believe. One thing you can be sure of, the empire and it's minions, have limitless amounts of $ to convince anyone that water isn't wet.

I for one, will be shocked if the Mueller investigation produces anything concrete. DJT is the perfect rep for the people he represents, and it's NOT the working classes.

Wishing the Venezuelan people all the best, as they struggle against another onslaught from the evil empire.

ben , Feb 22, 2019 10:10:12 PM | link
From TRNN on Venezuelan sovereignty:

alaff , Feb 22, 2019 10:26:20 PM | link
Pompeo is very frank.
QUESTION: If you're moving against these regimes that are not democratic, many Nicaraguan people, Cuban people are saying, "Are you going to help us next?"

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, President Trump's administration has done so and will continue to do so not just in Venezuela but certainly Nicaragua and Cuba as well . <...>

Source .

Cyril , Feb 22, 2019 11:06:37 PM | link
@vk | Feb 22, 2019 1:50:56 PM | 31

It is astonishing Chávez didn't redirect the resources of the oil boom towards industrialization.

Industrialization requires the cooperation of the educated middle and upper classes -- but these classes were precisely the people opposing Chávez. So he needed to educate his people, and that needed time (a generation or two). Chávez died too soon.

Lenin and Stalin did it under a much more severe situation, so there is no excuse for Chávez putting the cart in front of the oxen.

The USSR had a civil war and defeated the White Army, much as China defeated its Nationalists (also in a civil war). Note that these countries were able to industrialize. Venezuela could not, probably because its elites were undefeated and were fighting Chávez hard, and are fighting Maduro even harder.

Pft , Feb 22, 2019 11:34:38 PM | link

"Soon the music is going to stop with us Americans being blamed and not those who own private finance and everything else."

Exactly. The script is already written. After all this support will be there for a Global Government that will issue the Carbon Dollar/Credits and monitor/control energy consumption and be run by those who today run international private finance and the major Central Banks. They will demand reparations from American Citizens in the form of a higher carbon tax and asset forfeiture ( resources, military,etc) which is why they will be supported by 95% of the worlds population. The US elite will support this after being assured of global citizenship and protection of their assets. Global citizenship entitles you to reside in any country .

They might even split us up into 10-12 pieces with each piece as a separate government along FEMA/COGS lines.

Trump will get an Oscar for his role in finishing off what Sir Bush Sr and those who knocked off JFK started. He might even get ownership of Cuba and run the country as the worlds biggest Casino

Putin probably gets to be Global President and Xi can be Minister of Security and Israel's Sanhedrin will head the Global Justice Department, Google and Twitter will merge as the Ministry of Truth and Bibi will handle the Population Control Department aka Extermination Department. Bibi will appoint MBS as Chief Shiah Exterminator, use your imagination for the rest.

denk , Feb 23, 2019 12:02:56 AM | link
'crisis', alarm, solution. Never let a 'crisis' be wasted. Weaponisation of 'aids' from Myanmar, Aceh,Haiti, Venezuela.

On 'opporunity'uncle sham, the perennial opportunist.

Bush on 911 'Thru the tears, I see an opportunity'

Condi Rice, 'This crisis in Myanmar give us a wonderful opportunity'

karlof1 , Feb 23, 2019 12:13:34 AM | link
Cyril @85--

To those who say Chavez didn't do enough, I say You'd have surrendered in 2002 and the Revolution would've died with you.

I closely watched Chavez and Venezuela. The most important accomplishment was getting the Bolivarian Constitution composed and passed into existence. The 2nd most important feat was constructing TeleSur as before it and the myriad low-power radio stations also devised there was only the elite-owned BigLie Media, Venezuelan edition. Those two stellar accomplishments allowed Venezuelans to participate in and defend their democracy . Contemporaneous with those developments was the rapid drive to improve literacy, for participatory democracy demands a literate citizenry. IIRC, literacy went from @40% to 90+% in time for the vote on the Constitution. And those are just the basic fundamentals. Land reform and redistribution was attempted as was reorganizing the petroleum industry. Could Chavez have instituted more radical reform? Yes, but at substantial risk. The recent developments prompted me to suggest that Maduro go all the way and nationalize all important businesses since he really has nothing to lose. But I'm not there observing everything, so my suggestion isn't totally credible. It's hard not to want vengeance on the reactionary forces and their stooges; but as the Russian and Chinese Civil Wars proved, it's probably better to eject those forces and most of its stooges and struggle without whatever expertise they provided.

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 23, 2019 12:28:50 AM | link
"one of which was AUSTRALIA (FFS)!"

Have you forgotten? 1975: CIA + MI5/6 coup against Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
Same as it ever was
Posted by: Desolation Row | Feb 22, 2019 2:03:24 PM | 34

No, I haven't forgotten.
What makes Gene Sharp's AUSTRALIA claim so bizarre is that the entire purpose of his various Regime Change Bibles is to provide cherry-picked seeds for large anti-govt protests in order to create the illusion of a Citizen's Popular Uprising as a prelude to "Step Down" demands.

But that's not what happened to Whitlam. There were no pre-Step Down public protests. He was the victim of a Palace Coup contrived by politicians who ignored the Will of The People when making their moves.

It's 'interesting' because...
1. Gene Sharp claims Whitlam's demise as a victory for his teachings.
2. It bore no resemblance whatsoever to his recommended template.
3. Sharp was often accused of being funded by the CIA, which he tries to laugh off in the doco.
4. But he's claimed a behind-the-scenes manipulation victory, with CIA and British Empire fingerprints all over it, as a Gene Sharp victory.

Cyril , Feb 23, 2019 1:22:54 AM | link
@karlof1 | Feb 23, 2019 12:13:34 AM | 88

To those who say Chavez didn't do enough, I say You'd have surrendered in 2002 and the Revolution would've died with you.


I closely watched Chavez and Venezuela. The most important accomplishment was getting the Bolivarian Constitution composed and passed into existence. The 2nd most important feat was constructing TeleSur as before it and the myriad low-power radio stations also devised there was only the elite-owned BigLie Media, Venezuelan edition. Those two stellar accomplishments allowed Venezuelans to participate in and defend their democracy . Contemporaneous with those developments was the rapid drive to improve literacy, for participatory democracy demands a literate citizenry. IIRC, literacy went from @40% to 90+% in time for the vote on the Constitution. And those are just the basic fundamentals. Land reform and redistribution was attempted as was reorganizing the petroleum industry.

Good summary, thank you. Clearly, Chávez had a monumental task. He died far too soon.

Could Chavez have instituted more radical reform? Yes, but at substantial risk.

Indeed. Leaving hostile oligarchs in place has the substantial risk that they could stab the revolution in the back. (Because of this, Putin has to be very careful.)

A democratic change of government has the advantage that the change can be accomplished with little bloodshed, at least at first, and the disadvantage that the change is unlikely to last: Brazil will be undoing everything Lula did.

I would like to add another country, besides the USSR and China, that was able to industrialize after overcoming its elites: the USA.

It's hard not to want vengeance on the reactionary forces and their stooges; but as the Russian and Chinese Civil Wars proved, it's probably better to eject those forces and most of its stooges and struggle without whatever expertise they provided.

I think so too.

S , Feb 23, 2019 1:52:59 AM | link
So the poor people of Venezuela are being attacked by: a) rich and middle-class people of Venezuela, who withhold food and essential products from them, as well as put them under extreme stress by creating hyperinflation, b) the United States, reducing Venezuela income and thus reducing its ability to help its poor. Then these two groups claim to be so worried about the plight of the poor that they threaten military action against the Venezuelan armed forces staffed by the same Venezuelan poor, unless the democratically elected, legitimate President of the poor is removed and an illegitimate usurper, President of the rich, is installed. Inversion is the hallmark of a sociopath.

[Feb 22, 2019] Western Oligarchs raped Russia in the 90's. The (((harvard))) boys foisted dollar debts on Russia, and then converted Russia to an extraction economy

Feb 22, 2019 |

MEFOBILLS , says: February 21, 2019 at 9:28 pm GMT


The U.S. is an Oligarchy.

Western Oligarchs raped Russia in the 90's. OK, most of them were Jews – but still Western. The (((harvard))) boys foisted dollar debts on Russia, and then converted Russia to an extraction economy. Putin cleverly taxed the Oligarchs and prevented them from further predations.

No country can survive if it has an internal hostile elite. Nobody here can claim that Russia's government is hostile to its people. A fair claim can be made that the "international" elite that infest America IS HOSTILE. Why would you immigrate a replacement population if not hostile? Why would you export your industry if not hostile?

You don't dig out and convert your economy to first world standards overnight.

So, the trend lines are clear. The West and U.S. is a finance oligarchy in decline, while Russia is on a ascendant path. These lines will cross over at some point in near future. One could even squint and say that Russia is no longer an Oligarchy of special interests, and is moving into Byzantium mode e.g. symphony of Church and State. Many Russian thinkers are projecting another 40 years or so to consolidate the gains.

[Feb 22, 2019] An interesting case of self-sufficientcy: the USA is a net importer of around 4 million barrels of oil per day.

Feb 22, 2019 |

Carlton Meyer , says: • Website February 21, 2019 at 7:15 pm GMT

@Shouting Thomas Wrong, the USA is a net importer of around 4 million barrels of oil per day.

Here is some background on that hoax you repeated.

Fracking has helped the USA boost oil production, but that is pressuring to get oil out of older wells. Once those have been sucked dry, we'll need to import lots more. You read news about occasional big new discoveries in the USA, but read the details to see that each amounts only to a few days of oil consumption in the USA.

The world still runs on oil and the USA wants to control it all. If you doubt the importance, look at a freeway or airport or seaport to see oil at work.

[Feb 22, 2019] And please refrain from that socialized, government organized power grid

Feb 22, 2019 |

Biff , says: February 22, 2019 at 2:15 am GMT

@onebornfree You are probably the most whacked out idealist on this site. In your mind all the ills of society is because of socialism.

Well next time your toilet backs up, don't use that socialist phone network to call a plumber to clean those socialized drainpipes that keeps your stinky shit flowing down hill and away to be socially treated – just move to certain parts of India where none of that takes place – it's your idealist utopia. Wallow in it.

And please refrain from that socialized, government organized power grid – it's the only thing that keeps you on this site spewing your nonsense. And stay off those socialized roads.

[Feb 22, 2019] Population is destiny

Feb 22, 2019 |

Sean , says: February 21, 2019 at 8:26 pm GMT

I don't think the American decline is self inflicted. America became the most powerful country and has 800 foreign (literally) bases solely because it has the most powerful economy in the world, and that was in no small measure due to America's abundance of arable land, navigable waterways, natural resources ect.

The US's population was high quality but it was prime real estate that others could only dream about. The USA developed advanced technology not because it had a particular system and set of beliefst let Americans innovate and cooperate better than other people, or because Americans are more individualistic and freedom loving than Chinese. Indeed the performance of the Chinese in the Korean war if anything showed the Chinese could do more with less.

In a few decades China has rocketed close to US level and is in a global hegemon trajectory solely on the quality and size of its population. With access to Russian resources and no intention of giving the US any excuse for a war, China is going to gain on the US and perhaps overtake it in technology. That is their plan and why wouldn't they? This giant awakening had to happen sooner or later.

There is not much doubt about the outcome of any competition between China and the West, especially as much of the profits of the ruling class in the West has come from offshoring and investment in China and their economy of scale production suppressing labour's power in the West. The Chinese and their Western collaborators will just wait Trump out.

[Feb 22, 2019] Pockets of resistance to Israeli lobby emerged in the country

Feb 22, 2019 |

renfro , says: February 21, 2019 at 7:50 pm GMT

I wouldn't give up on America yet. There are pockets of resistance to the PTB popping up around the country.
Here we have a Arkansas newspaper suing the state over the Israel Boycott ban .. that it is a newspaper doing the suing is significant.

ACLU and ACLU of Arkansas to Appeal Ruling on Boycott Ban
February 21, 2019

LITTLE ROCK –The Arkansas Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation today filed a notice of appeal in their lawsuit challenging a state law that requires government contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel or reduce their fees by 20 percent. The lawsuit, which was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge in January, was filed on behalf of the Arkansas Times LP. The Times was penalized by the government after it refused to certify that it is not boycotting Israel or Israel-controlled territories.

The case is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

"The district court's decision would radically limit the First Amendment right to boycott if allowed to stand," said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. "Allowing the government to force people to relinquish their First Amendment rights or pay a penalty for expressing certain political beliefs disfavored by the government would set a dangerous precedent. This 'pay-to-say' tax is blatantly unconstitutional and we're committed to seeing the law struck down."

[Feb 22, 2019] I don't think Tulsi got the memo. Neither did Ivanka

Feb 22, 2019 |

Anon [322] Disclaimer , says: February 22, 2019 at 4:29 am GMT


To be a real Jew, you have to born a Jew. It is the same for Hindus. Someone should tell Tulsi Gabbard she cannot convert to Hinduism -- she will not be accepted by most Hindus. This is the key reason why Hindus do not believe in propagating their religion.

LOL I don't think Tulsi got the memo. Neither did Ivanka. She thinks it's for real.

[Feb 22, 2019] Unstability increates as Russian now poseses the sytems that can "outsmart" the US defense and The US leadership is hell-bent of achieving miliary supremacy

Feb 22, 2019 |

karlof1 , Feb 21, 2019 2:33:18 PM | link

An update to my post about Putin's speech. Today, Putin engaged in a working lunch/press conference with the heads of Russian media for the purpose of asking questions related to the speech since at the time there wasn't any opportunity to do so. Unfortunately as I type, the transcript's incomplete, but what's available already is quite worthy. IMO, this one's most important and related to Putin asking Bolton, et al to do the math:

"The second, does this mean that today you have declared the right to deliver a pre-emptive strike if we believe that the missiles deployed near us pose a real threat?"

Putin's answer: "We have a nuclear weapon strategy or concept that does not stipulate pre-emptive strikes. We are talking here about commensurate matters related to threats facing us, commensurate primarily in terms of time periods. If we have more time, we may not have to make pre-emptive strikes. It is in this connection and for this reason that I have asked our partners if they can count. Yes, they can, so let them calculate the speed and range of our future arms systems."

He continues to elaborate on the issue and provides a further example showing again that Russia has the upper hand in the matter regardless of what the Outlaw US Empire does. At the end of his further explanation, Putin says:

"By the way, we have openly told them so behind closed doors long ago."

Yet, the idiots in charge--that would be Obama's team--disregarded that information and boxed themselves in. Exceptional they are all right--Exceptional Fools!

Pft | Feb 21, 2019 2:50:42 PM | 105

According to Peter Koenig, Russia has two nuclear capable bombers, TU-160, deployed to the Venezuelan Caribbean island of la Orchila, where Moscow will establish, with the agreement of Venezuela, a permanent military base. Both Russia and China have tens of billions worth of investments in Venezuela's hydrocarbon industry as well as other commercial interests.

With US withdrawing from INF and Russia and US able to deploy intermediate missiles capable of wiping out Europe and Russia. Putin says Russia "will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates but also in respect of those territories where the centers of decision-making are located" If real then things could get interesting. Cuban Missile Crisis/ Bay of Pigs repeat? Trump is no JFK though.

[Feb 22, 2019] Summary of Fred Redd notes on American neoliberal empire, which probably entered the stage of decline in 2008

Feb 22, 2019 |

peterAUS says: February 20, 2019 at 8:51 pm GMT 200 Words Not bad overall.

..empire, the desire for which is an ancient and innate part of mankind's cerebral package. Parthian, Roman, Aztec, Hapsburg, British. It never stops.

When the Soviet Empire collapsed, America appeared poised to establish the first truly world empire.

Current foreign policy openly focuses on dominating the planet.

For the Greater Empire to prevail, Russia and China, the latter a surprise contender, must be neutralized.

To paraphrase a great political thinker, "It's the Empire, Stupid."

Minor quibble:

..the developed countries were American vassals in effect if not in name, many of them occupied by American troops: Among others, Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.

Canada, United Kingdom and Australia are not occupied by American troops. Those troops, and not that many in the first place, are stationed there. Majority of Australians do not mind that at all. Well, depending on skin colour, that is.

As for:

The present moment is an Imperial crunch point.


It is now or never.

Not so sure about that.

Another decade or two of this ..

is a long time. A lot of things can happen, including some bad , to Russia and/or China.

foolisholdman , says: February 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm GMT

Can't argue with that! Usually, I read Fred for amusement, but this is all spot on. I particularly liked:

The American decline is largely self-inflicted. The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence. American education deteriorates under assault by social-justice faddists. Washington spends on the military instead of infrastructure and the economy.

[Feb 22, 2019] Entirely without the knowledge of governments in the areas involved, and with total disregard for the sovereignty of these states, the preparation of a military action continues, using a humanitarian pretext

Feb 22, 2019 |

Tony Seed , Feb 21, 2019 11:32:42 PM | 113 ">link

One cannot focus exclusively on one border. Since assuming command in November of US Southern Command, US Admiral Faller has "visited" Brazil and Curaçao, Trinidad & Tobago and Columbia -- all surrounding Venezuela -- as well as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

"Humanitarian hubs" were established during these visits in Colombia, Brazil and Curacao, with the agreement of NATO bloc member Netherlands which controls the island's defence and foreign policy.

Naval deployments cannot be ignored either, as the post on the USS Abraham Lincoln reminds. The HMCS Charlottetown is also in that area, with the ship's transponder turned off.

This was first reported on my blog on Feb. 15., as the organization of a collective siege of Venezuela from all sides, not one.

The decision of the Maduro government to close the border with Brazil and the maritime border with Curacao is correct and in defence of his country's sovereignty. It also confirms there is far more ominous moves afoot than advertised in the psychological war by American actors such as Sen Marco Rubio grandstanding with US Air Force transport aircraft and cookies in Cúcata, Colombia or the forthcoming concert on Feb. 23 in that city of the billionaire Richard Branson of the "white man's burden" type. At the same time, the situation is very fluid.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, at a press conference for the national and international media, held at Minrex headquarters, February 19, 2019, pointed out:

The Revolutionary Government statement dated February 13, with full responsibility and all necessary facts, affirmed, and I reiterate, that U.S. military transport flights are taking place, originating at U.S. military installations from which operate special forces units and marine infantry used for undercover actions, including those directed against leaders or persons considered valuable.

Entirely without the knowledge of governments in the areas involved, and with total disregard for the sovereignty of these states, the preparation of a military action continues, using a humanitarian pretext.

Yesterday afternoon, President Donald Trump and other high-ranking functionaries and spokespeople for the U.S. government repeated and confirmed that the military option is among those being considered. Yesterday, the President said: All options are open.

According to the media in the U.S. itself, high-ranking U.S. military commands, which do not, have never, taken charge of humanitarian aid, have held meetings with politicians in the U.S. and other nations, and have made visits to sites clearly related to the issue we are addressing.

[Feb 22, 2019] Venezuelan military rejected overtures by the USA leadership

Feb 22, 2019 |

karlof1 , Feb 21, 2019 1:03:07 PM | link

Rebuttal Speech by Venezuela's Minister of Defense leaves no doubt as to the loyalty of the military and puts all the Gringo neocons in their place. While not too long, I thought this verbal pointed stick at the end of his explanation of what it takes to lead in Venezuela was great:

"You of course have to be elected and get a majority of votes. After you gain the majority of votes, the people will have freely expressed their voluntary willingness. Indirect elections occur in the United States. In Venezuela, we have direct elections according to the procedures of National Electoral Council."

The point being, Trump is NOT a man of the people's choosing and has zero authority to command anything Venezuelan.

Someone mentioned the Treaty of Rome and the insane idea that Venezuela could be indicted for a war crime which is totally ludicrous as it's very plain that the Outlaw US Empire's been in violation of international law over its illegal sanctions and other measures that are indeed War Crimes and crimes against its own constitution.

IMO, Venezuela should only fear the nuclear assets of the Outlaw US Empire. Yet, employing them will only serve to contaminate the very resources the Empire wants to steal and in reality are useless. Neither the Colombian or Brazilian militaries have the proper assets to secure a victory over Venezuela's military, nor does the Outlaw US Empire unless it commits all its Naval & Marine assault assets--and even then those won't be enough. One of the key indicators being ignored by the Empire is that many in the Opposition are against any invasion of their nation, and that the small 5th Column will quickly evaporate once the civilian slaughter begins.

Other musings: How many Venezuelan pilots have secretly received combat training in Syria once this confrontation loomed and are not green as anticipated? What about all those munitions captured by Syria, particularly all those TOWs, RPGs and enough small arms to outfit at least one entire division?

Trump's to meet Kim Feb 27-28, but will 23 Feb and follow-on events nullify that? (I expect there to be a pan-Korean celebration of the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement Kim ought to deem of greater import.)

Then there's the reaction to Putin's challenge to do the math.

[Feb 22, 2019] Trump Likes 'Beautiful' Border Walls - Venezuela Should Build Him One

Feb 22, 2019 |

Trump Likes 'Beautiful' Border Walls - Venezuela Should Build Him One Hmpf , Feb 20, 2019 10:36:09 AM | link

Aaron Mate, who is currently on the ground in Venezuela (vid), notes how Trump early on targeted Venezuela:

Aaron Maté @aaronjmate - 20:59 utc - 18 Feb 2019
Page 136 of McCabe's new book, recounting a 2017 Oval Office meeting: "Then the president talked about Venezuela. That's the country we should be going to war with, he said. They have all that oil and they're right on our back door."


It is not only Trump's idea to 'regime change' Venezuela. Ever since 1998, when Hugo Chavez was elected, the U.S. plotted to 'regime change' Venezuela. It was Obama who put sanctions on the country. Right wing economists have for years thought up detailed plans on how to rob Venezuela of its national assets .

Plan A for the recent coup attempt failed when the Venezuelan military did not accept Random Guyido's brazen claim to the presidency. There was no plan B. The U.S. is now improvising. The delivery of "humanitarian aid" is a pretext to break the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

U.S. government "aid" is always political. U.S. aid workers are suspects. Consider these USAID RED teams which a 2018 study , commissioned by the U.S. foreign aid agency, recommended:

RED Team officers, the report explains, would carry out development activities, but they would also have training and expertise that are not typically included in USAID job requirements.

"RED Team personnel would be able to live and work in austere environments for extended periods of time and actively contribute to their own security and welfare. They would be deployed farther forward than USAID personnel traditionally deploy and would routinely operate under the authority of the host agency with whom they deploy, acting in accordance with their security posture," the report reads.

"RED team members would be trained and authorized to conduct themselves as a force-multiplier able to contribute a full suite of security skills as needed," it says.

USAID officers will also be special forces? Special forces will also be USAID workers? Which is it? How many of these 'Red Teams' are now in Colombia waiting to cross into Venezuela?

On Saturday February 23 a breach of the Venezuelan border will be attempted with the intent to provoke an escalation. That escalation will then be used to justify further action up to military strikes or even an invasion.

How exactly the game will be played out is still not clear :

Despite the tough language, it remained unclear how the Venezuelan opposition would break Mr. Maduro's blockade of the border with a delivery of food and medication on Saturday. Mr. Trump's own national security adviser said the American military -- which has airlifted tons of supplies to Venezuela's doorstep on the Colombia border -- will not cross into the country.

The so called "aid" is also supposed to come via sea and through the border with Brazil. To prevent that Venezuela closed down the maritime border with the Dutch Caribbean Islands:

The closure blocks movement of boats and aircraft between the western Venezuelan coastal state of Falcon and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, said Vice Admiral Vladimir Quintero, who heads a military unit in Falcon. He did not provide a reason.

The Brazil route is for now too remote for the desired media attention.


Everything will concentrate on the border crossing with Colombia near the Colombian city of Cúcuta:

Leaders of several Latin American nations plan to travel to Colombia's border with Venezuela on Friday ahead of the delivery of aid, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Tuesday, adding that he had accepted an invitation from Colombia's president, Ivan Duque.

It was not immediately clear which leaders would attend. Most Latin American countries now recognize Guaido as president, though Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua still support Maduro.

Billionaire businessman Richard Branson is backing a "Live Aid"-style concert on Friday in the Colombian border city of Cucuta with a fundraising target of $100 million to provide food and medicine for Venezuela. Maduro's government has announced two rival concerts just across the border.

Pink Floyd musician Roger Waters spoke out (video) against the Richard Branson's Not-really-for-AID concert and the U.S. 'regime change' attempt in Venezuela:

Roger Waters @rogerwaters - 22:57 utc - 18 Feb 2019
The Red Cross and the UN, unequivocally agree, don't politicize aid. Leave the Venezuelan people alone to exercise their legal right to self determination.

On Saturday, when the U.S. proxy crowd will try to cross the border with unneeded "aid" some sniper shooting is likely to happen while dozens of cameras roll. Any casualties will be blamed on the Venezuelan military. The incident will be the propaganda pretext for further U.S. action. Already days ago Russia's Foreign Ministry warned of such 'false flag' attacks:

A provocation, involving victims, is being put together under the guise of a humanitarian convoy," Zakharova stressed. "They need it just as a pretext to use outside force, and everyone should understand that."

Trumps National Security Advisor is preparing the field:

John Bolton @AmbJohnBolton - 1:41 utc - 20 Feb 2019
The Venezuelan military must uphold its duty to protect civilians at the Colombian and Brazilian borders, and allow them to peacefully bring in humanitarian aid without violence or fear of persecution.
John Bolton @AmbJohnBolton - 2:14 utc - 20 Feb 2019
Any actions by the Venezuelan military to condone or instigate violence against peaceful civilians at the Colombian and Brazilian borders will not be forgotten. Leaders still have time to make the right choice.

Venezuela is not in need of U.S. aid. It is need of an end to the economic sanctions that put it under a medieval siege. There is no current lack of food or medicine like in Yemen though some products may run short.

The UN, the Red Cross and Caritas already have aid distribution projects within Venezuela. They reject the U.S. aid delivery as a political stunt. The International Committee of the Red Cross recently doubled its budget for Venezuela to $18 million and is ready to provide more. Last week 933 tonnes of medicines from Cuba and China arrived. Another 300 tons from Russia is supposed to arrive today.

The Venezuelan government has had enough time to game out how best to respond to the breach attempt of the border. It needs to block the roads AND it needs to prevent provocations. Trump likes walls on the border. Venezuela should give them to him.

"I don't mind having a big beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally. But we need, Jeb, to build a wall, we need to keep illegals out." - Donald Trump - Aug 6 2015 GOP debate

My advise to Venezuela is to use high concrete barricades with barbed wire and mines in front of them across all vehicle border crossings points. The purpose of the mines is to prevent attempts to remove the wire and the barricades. Large posters should warn of the deadly danger of the mines. If someone gets hurt by them, it will clearly be their own fault.

Passage on foot must be allowed as usual. Armed soldiers should be kept out of sight.

Trump said a lot about the national security need for " beautiful walls ." A large banner with a relevant Trump quote should top each of the barricaded crossings.

Posted by b on February 20, 2019 at 10:12 AM | Permalink 'The Brazil route is for now too remote for the desired media attention.'

Maybe, maybe not. There's a new airport at St. Helena and by car/bus it's easily accessible too.
Boa Vista, Brazil isn't that far off and it's a nice little highway stretching all the way up to Ciudad Bolivar. In the 90s this has been a major route for drug trafficking into Brazil and across the Atlantic ocean, not sure if this is still the case as I haven't been down there for a long time but that road certainly could handle some traffic.

barovsky , Feb 20, 2019 10:38:20 AM | link

b, see:

Venezuela Expels Euro Deputies amid Reports of Talks with Washington

Merida, February 18, 2019 ( – Venezuelan authorities have expelled six deputies of the European Parliament (EP) this Sunday after denying them entrance to the country.

The European politicians, who travelled in a personal capacity, had previously been warned through diplomatic channels that they would not be allowed in the country, but the group opted to proceed with the trip.

The delegation was made up of MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons, MEP Jose Ignacio Salafranca, and MEP Gabriel Mato, all from Spain's hard-right Popular Party.Also present were MEP Juan Salafranca from Spain's European People's Party; MEP Esther de Lange of the Dutch Christian Democratic party, and MEP Paulo Rangel from Portugal's Social Democratic Party.

barovsky , Feb 20, 2019 10:41:08 AM | link
PS: Apparently they've headed for Cucuta in Colombia and now Richard Branson has got into the act!
Following their denied entry, the deputies accepted an invitation from Colombia's Foreign Ministry to travel to the Venezuelan-Colombian border city of Cucuta to attend a concert sponsored by Virgin CEO Richard Branson on Saturday, when Guaido plans to see US-supplied "humanitarian aid" cross the border, despite orders from Maduro to block it.
dh , Feb 20, 2019 10:47:03 AM | link
Roger Waters versus Richard Branson. The BBC appreciates the entertainment value.

"To say Venezuela is in the middle of a political crisis would be an understatement. President Nicolás Maduro is locked in a power struggle with Juan Guaidó, an opposition politician and the self-declared interim leader of the country.

So what better way to make the situation less complicated than to add a spat between one of the world's richest people and the bass player from Pink Floyd?
Yes... it's a pretty weird situation.

iv> Not mines, but rather tons of manure next to the barrier. Effective, but harmless and cheap.

Posted by: norecovery , Feb 20, 2019 10:53:40 AM | link

Not mines, but rather tons of manure next to the barrier. Effective, but harmless and cheap.

Posted by: norecovery | Feb 20, 2019 10:53:40 AM | link

Browning , Feb 20, 2019 11:28:02 AM | link
They should fill the roads at the borders with trucks. Pointing into Venezuela. Backs of the trucks wide open, ready for lading the aid that the west is so generously providing.
Harry Law , Feb 20, 2019 11:46:13 AM | link
I hope that any action by that arsehole Richard Branson to instigate a civil war in Venezuela will not be forgotten.
james , Feb 20, 2019 11:53:52 AM | link
thanks b... as you note - > "On Saturday February 23 a breach of the Venezuelan border will be attempted with the intent to provoke an escalation. That escalation will then be used to justify further action up to military strikes or even an invasion." the intent of the usa and it's gang of puppets is on full display right here...
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 12:13:34 PM | link
Craig Murray today without any qualification whatsoever stated matter-of-factly:

"... the Saudi backed jihadist group Daesh, originally launched by the CIA as a counterweight to Shia influence in Iraq ."

We here at MoA have written similarly; but aside from General Flynn, few people having any "weight" have said so straightforwardly that Daesh is yet another Death Squad CIA construct, which is what a CIA "counterweight" is always. IMO, the fact that the Outlaw US Empire created its own adversary for multiple uses hasn't been shouted out nearly enough, just as al-Qaeda's genesis and usage is similarly glossed over by far too many who know better.

Now that the Hybrid Third World War is opening a new theatre of operations in South America where the CIA has previously created Death Squads in almost every one of its nations, we must anticipate the creation of yet another such "auxiliary" force, perhaps consisting of those specially trained USAID personnel. We know CIA was deeply involved in Colombia's various drug cartels and the quasi-governmental Death Squads used against Unionists and other members of the public, and that even corporations like Coca-Cola provided monies for the "services" of such Squads. IMO, a recap of Outlaw US Empire terrorist operations South of the Border is demanded by the operation targeting Venezuela.

Blessthebeasts , Feb 20, 2019 12:13:34 PM | link
This travesty gets more and more bizarre.
It seems a classic battle between good and evil and I hope that justice prevails for a change. Viva Venezuela.
Ghost Ship , Feb 20, 2019 12:19:44 PM | link
>>>>: norecovery | Feb 20, 2019 10:53:40 AM | 5
Not mines, but rather tons of manure next to the barrier. Effective, but harmless and cheap.

Nah, most people can cope with manure as it is usual of vegetarian origin. Pig shit is better but the one most people have a problem with is human faeces. The Russians should loan Venezuela a couple of their Il-76 fire fighting aircraft. Dropping 40 tons each of waste water loaded with human faeces would discourage most people. But a better solution would be two-three Bunning Lowlander Widebody – 380 HD HBD on each road the "humanitarians" intend to use. Hell, I'd help crowdfund them if John Bolton and Elliott Abrams were on the receiving end of a giant pig shit pile.

james , Feb 20, 2019 12:21:01 PM | link
@9 karlof1... that is why hoarsewhisperer was given over to the term al-CIA duh... as peter said folks who have looked into this know..
bevin , Feb 20, 2019 12:21:41 PM | link
As the imperialists carefully fit together the pieces they need to fabricate an entirely bogus story to quieten 'public opinion' while they set out to turn Venezuela into a tropical Ukraine, with a belly full of Syria and Iraq thrown in, Canadians, who are about to be force fed propaganda ought to look at this article by Yves Engler:

Bolton, Bolsonaro, Richard Branson, Colombia's Cocaine cartel and Canada: take a picture and vomit.

Jason , Feb 20, 2019 12:28:52 PM | link
I can't believe Branson doesn't understand that he's participating in an attempted coup that could destroy a country. If this border stunt turns into a war he will have blood on his hands. What a terrible move, all of his companies should be boycotted from here on out. Amazing this guy wants to get personally involved with the empire's assault on Venezuela, maybe he was promised some sort of future deal concerning the nation's natural resources?
barovsky , Feb 20, 2019 12:42:25 PM | link
Jason | Feb 20, 2019 12:28:52 PM | 14

Of course he does!!! HUbris, ego, bullshit fucking Brit!

stonebird , Feb 20, 2019 12:45:33 PM | link
USAID already has a doubtful reputation, as everything that is supplied by them MUST be made in the US. One example; even the painted letters on the food sacks must be by US made paints put on by US personnel on US made sacks . The desired effect seems to have been to destroy local markets and producers by providing free food that can only be supplied from the US.(this happened in Africa) Thus making them dependent.

So now as guns are the principal US export, it is not hard to see what the "aid" will consist of.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 12:46:25 PM | link
The most critical part in deflating the US moves will be ensuring the sniper teams and other proxies, local or foreign, that will instigate the violence on the 23rd are taken out and taken out just as the US begins its move.
Christian Chuba , Feb 20, 2019 12:50:35 PM | link
At least we are good at something

As a U.S. citizen maybe I should take a little satisfaction that for all the money my govt spends, at least they are good at something. Granted, it is in all of the wrong things, information warfare, subversion, causing global chaos and blaming others but we are genius at doing that if nothing else.

We are the Dr. Smith of the world but wihtout any of his redeeming qualities.

chet380 , Feb 20, 2019 12:53:46 PM | link
Why no emergency UNSC meeting? -- threatening a breach of a country's borders is an act of war and prohibited by the UN Charter.
Ike , Feb 20, 2019 12:57:47 PM | link
Boycott Virgin Airlines. Show the prick that actions have consequences.
Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 20, 2019 1:19:39 PM | link
Posted by: Jason | Feb 20, 2019 12:28:52 PM | 14
(Branson's aid concert)

Has Mr Virgin revealed the name of the Venezuelan entity to whom the proceeds from his concert will be delivered?

Zack , Feb 20, 2019 1:43:20 PM | link
Who in the world would ever attend Branson's concert?

Obviously being used to create pretext for US escalation against VZ.

Would probably save some lives to shut this concert down somehow.

karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 1:52:23 PM | link
Venezuela Analysis provides an article that ought to be entitled "Academic War Criminals" or "Academic Societal Rapists" whose aim is "to bring back the 'wonderful Venezuela of old,' as in pre-1998 Chavez that requires destroying everything done to improve the lot of the poor majority:

"The post-coup Venezuelan economy will not be all about mathematically rigorous experiments in economic growth like Hausmann's academic work. It will be about the privatization of Venezuela's assets ." [My Emphasis]

This Harvard academic, Hausmann, ought to be known as an academic terrorist, for what he promotes is terrorism:

"Hausmann's 2004 statistical gambit is actually an established part of the U.S.-coup playbook. The academic analysis of an election and the finding of flaws, real or imagined, in an electoral process are the beginning of an ongoing claim against the target's democratic legitimacy. The created flaw is then repeated and emphasized. Even if it was spurious and debunked, as was Hausmann's 2004 analysis, it can continue to perform in media campaigns against the target. After years of such repetition, the target can safely be called a 'dictator' in Western media, even if the 'dictator' has more electoral legitimacy than most Western politicians." [My Emphasis]

The article discusses a few other similar academic terrorists connected with events in Haiti and Colombia. The entire Terrorist Network within the Outlaw US Empire is vast and exists in places some would deem odd. It's also rather lucrative for those willing to abase themselves as terrorists and clean too since the blood spilt is done at a comfortable, unseen distance. Such academics must be exposed as the terrorists they are. This article exposes but a few of the hundreds whose work aims at destroying entire societies; perhaps they ought to be known as Genocidalists.

Eugene , Feb 20, 2019 1:57:09 PM | link
Can the "White Helmets" be among that group preparing to invade Venezuela? After all, the Golan ex-pats help usher them through Canada.
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 2:14:53 PM | link
chet389 @19--

Lavrov: US Violates UN Charter

The initial step's been taken, but even if a special session of the UNSC is convened, little of substance will come of it since FUKUS would veto any useful resolution or declaration. Push back is happening :

#FromTheSouth | The Venezuelan armed forces have rejected calls by the US president to turn their backs on President @NicolasMaduro, condemning Trump for promoting terrorism ." [My Empasis]

Yes, it's indeed terrorism to do what Trump's now doing and what every previous US President has done since 1945. The Outlaw US Empire is modern Terrorism's Mother & Father.

Sunny Runny Burger , Feb 20, 2019 2:43:43 PM | link
Ultimately Suicidal. A country ruled by a dynasty of Gollums.

It's not like the US has a chance no matter what because they don't want to nuke the oil. Venezuela will be harder than Viet Nam and the US didn't do too well there, didn't learn anything from it and forgot more.

Both Russia and China will involve themselves more if needed, zero doubt about it. If one compares with the Viet Nam war they already have done what they did then and this is already in advance of any potential war. "Supplies!" like a certain joke ends :D

In Venezuela there is nothing to compare to South Viet Nam, Brazil will not capoeira themselves across the border in any meaningful manner, there's only a few neighborhoods of spoilt rich people inside Venezuela that act as dead weight.

As for US Aid "RED teams" (Red? Naming fail & backronym retardism) it's a big meh in my opinion. How short is the average lifespan of their (actual) "specials" these days? Three weeks after first leave as they can't escape constantly reminding themselves of their service to evil? Poor fuckers thought they were heroes willing to give it all for a just cause and finally they did at least give something by offing themselves at home thus denying any further availability to their masters.

Maybe I'm too sympathetic towards them but I lived most of my life believing the same lies to be true as they did.

Anyway the outcome is clear: given a few years the US will no longer be in any kind of control of the Caribbean, they are literally giving it away to Russia and China by creating this situation.


No one in the US understands what a carrot is, they think it's some kind of bribe like sex or drugs, a "kind" threat in advance not to kill you if you roll over, some kind of veiled stick used in the middle ages (possibly an arcane torture device), or simply an orange ("carrot is orange").

Bring on the friendly fire!

Ort , Feb 20, 2019 2:45:12 PM | link
Sir Richard always brings to mind both the vacuous "smiley-face" icon, and Chaucer's image of "the smiler with the knife under his cloak". He is obviously an overclass Sheriff of Nottingham who markets himself as a benevolent, contrarian Robin Hood.

The Venezuelan Caper is rotten from top to bottom, and Trump is wholly complicit; unlike his previous adventures, there's no indication that he's somehow "playing his own game" and provisionally giving his neocon Hounds of Hell room to run only to abruptly pull back on the leash when it suits him.

Even so, I personally distrust the odious McCabe's tendentious and utterly self-serving assertions.

"Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" is a Latin phrase meaning "false in one thing, false in everything." It is an ancient common-law principle that a witness who testifies falsely about one matter is not credible to testify about any matter.

This standard is easily abused, and problematic because even testimony full of lies and deceit usually contains some truth. But I'm surprised that the best-selling Trump-critical potboilers, including the dubious Bob Woodward's "Fear: Trump in the White House"* mercenary exercise in blatant fearmongering, are regarded as reliable and trustworthy.

In this case, Trump may have said exactly what McCabe quoted. But I'm not taking McCabe's word for it.

* NB (nota Bernhard) : The "U" HTML tag listed under "Allowed HTML Tags" doesn't work. It's a minor problem, but I hope that it can be enabled.

juliania , Feb 20, 2019 2:53:40 PM | link
This opinion piece is from earlier in the month, but gives a pair of photos describing the bridge near Cucuta, which b's map shows straddling the Pan-American Highway which runs out of Columbia to the Carribean shore in Venezuela, close to the Tortugas. The photos show the bridge barricaded at both ends, which would seem to indicate that neither country wanted it. Who did, I wonder?

Harry Law , Feb 20, 2019 2:56:46 PM | link
So long as Maduro has the backing of the army and the people are fed [here Russia and China can help out]the US can only huff and puff,in the longer term new sales to sympathetic states must be a priority. How many of the opposition would be willing to be slaughtered in order to install Trump's appointee, not that many I'll bet. In my opinion International Law is dead, we are now entering into the period [thanks to the US] where Mao's doctrine is becoming fact "Power grows out the barrel of a gun"
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 3:09:46 PM | link
Partisan Girl explores an important topic related to the rights of combatants, not that the Outlaw US Empire respects them, but it seems the UK and others are tussling with the issue but not for their announced reasons:

"The @foreignpolicy magazine is hell-bent on pushing the idea that #ISIS wives are protected by international law. It's because they have to make the same legal argument for Israeli "settlers" and they don't want there to be a precedent."

The short thread is worth reading.

Blooming Barricade , Feb 20, 2019 3:15:00 PM | link
If Trump wanted a wall, surely he could use those phoney psyop trucks to block the US-Mexico border? They seem to have the money and chutzpah to do it?
jsb , Feb 20, 2019 3:26:26 PM | link
If I were advising the Venezuelan army I would keep a close look (for a false-flag event or some other infiltration attempts into Venezuela by easily disguised concert goers) at the Live Aid Concert that is scheduled to take place this Friday Feb. 22 near the Venezuelan border in Colombian town of Cucuta. This venue provides a distraction and a good way to blend into the crowd for any hostile forces to smuggle weapons, personnel one day ahead of the so-called "humanitarian-aid" crossings.

Here is a red-flag as to who asked for this Live Aid Concert:

So who asked Richard Branson to do this?

Mr Branson says it was a direct request from Mr Guaidó and opposition leader Leopoldo López .

jsb , Feb 20, 2019 3:30:13 PM | link
RE @32.

Not sure what happened to the bbc link, but here is the correct one

mgs , Feb 20, 2019 4:01:44 PM | link
It's a simple solution for the Venezuelan government. Friday evening close the Bridge and then detonate the entire or half of the structure. Then announce the other half is covered with explosives.
KC , Feb 20, 2019 4:05:42 PM | link
I really wish it was realistic for US citizens to stage protest marches on this, perhaps we will if the Trump administration decides to provoke a military confrontation.

But the propaganda blitz has probably neutered the ability to do so, with almost everyone I know fully believing that Maduro is an unelected dictator, murderous thug and that SOSHULIZMS ruins EVERYTNING!!! Waaaaaaah....

No mentions are made of the draconian sanctions, continual sabotage, theft of the Venezuelan gov't and people's money/gold, constant coup attempts, and all of it stretching back decades, across Republican and Democrat Presidential administrations.

But you gotta give 'em credit - the corporate "liberal" MSM (and right-wing media) are afraid of any change or perceived threat to the crony corporate Wall Street MIC cabal's control of the gov't and economy and the corresponding hit to their quarterly bonuses and EPS at the stock market. So they're doing everything they can, and the aforementioned propaganda blitz (as coined by Media Lens and reprinted by is actually much more all encompassing than just Venezuela regime change. This is a concerted war on Democratic Socialism and any new regulations on the banks and corps that rule the Western countries.

John Gilberts , Feb 20, 2019 4:15:23 PM | link
John Helmer explains why Venezuela will not be attacked...

Russia's Stake in Venezuela

"Russian military planning has intensified to deter and counter the expected lines of US attack."

Some Random Passer-by , Feb 20, 2019 4:15:35 PM | link

Your comment reminded me of this pr shortly after 44 retired

jsb , Feb 20, 2019 4:25:12 PM | link
@27 "In this case, Trump may have said exactly what McCabe quoted. But I'm not taking McCabe's word for it."

Here's another source which highlights Trump's early propensity to get involved in Venezuela:

Donald Trump repeatedly raised the possibility of invading Venezuela in talks with his top aides at the White House , according to a new report.

Trump brought up the subject of an invasion in public in August last year, saying: "We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary." But the president's musings about the possibility of a US invasion were more extensive and persistent than that public declaration , according to the Associated Press.

The previous day Trump reportedly took his top officials by surprise in an Oval Office meeting, asking why the US could not intervene to remove the government of Nicolás Maduro on the grounds that Venezuela's political and economic unraveling represented a threat to the region.


The administration officials are said to have taken turns in trying to talk him out of the idea , pointing out that any such military action would alienate Latin American allies who had supported the US policy of punitive sanctions on the Maduro regime.

Their arguments do not seem to have dissuaded the president .


In the weeks that followed, Trump remained preoccupied with the idea of an invasion , according to AP. Shortly after the Bedminister remarks, he raised the issue with the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, and then brought it up again at that year's UN general assembly in September, at a private dinner with allied Latin American states.

At that dinner, Trump made clear he was ignoring the advice of his aides.

"My staff told me not to say this," Trump said and then asked the other leaders at the table in turn, if they were sure they didn't want a military solution.

McMaster finally succeeding in persuading Trump of the dangers of an invasion , the report said, and the president's interest in the notion subsided.

Brendan , Feb 20, 2019 4:35:24 PM | link
Never trust a hippy, especially one with lots of business interests, like Branson.
Brendan , Feb 20, 2019 4:41:22 PM | link
BBC pretends that Roger Waters's only role in Pink Floyd was as bass player. Who was the singer and songwriter then?
stonebird , Feb 20, 2019 4:49:06 PM | link
Seems like saturday (the 23rd) could be a busy day.
1/ The "Aid" convoy tries to enter Venezuela.
2/ Gaydo as "interim" president comes to the end of the 30 day period he is allowed. ( the case of an incapacitated President), but as Speaker of the Assembly - he has immunity. BUT can he be both at once, Speaker and President? Will Maduro arrest him at that date?
3/ The destroyer "Donald Cook" is in the Black Sea, and is supposed to participate in "exercises" with the Ukrainian Navy, In front of Odessa and - the Kersh Strait. (Also on the 23 if my memory serves me correctly, but I may have mistaken the month !). Provocation planned?
Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 5:10:30 PM | link

Branson's bullshit concert is on the Friday.
"The Venezuela Aid Live concert will be live streamed around the world,..."

A big wind up for the big event on Saturday. I think the US would want all eyes and media attention to be there when 'innocent' people delivering 'aid' will be shot or whatever, rather than distracted by Ukraine.

karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 5:19:48 PM | link

I posted some of my thoughts about Putin's State of the Nation Address made earlier today at previous Russia-related thread , but rather doubt few have bothered to read them or the speech itself. Putin's speech was mostly directed at Domestic issues with Foreign Policy saved for the end. What Putin says in that regard impacts every conceivable topic we might discuss here. I ought to copy/paste the entire portion of Putin's speech devoted to relations with the Outlaw US Empire, but b discourages overly-long citations; so, click here and scroll down to the paragraph beginning thusly:

"The unilateral withdrawal of the USA "

However, the following three paragraphs deserve to be highlighted--Russian media certainly thought so, too--which are toward the speech's closing remarks:

"Let me say outright that this is not true. Russia wants to have sound, equal and friendly relations with the USA. Russia is not threatening anyone, and all we do in terms of security is simply a response, which means that our actions are defensive. We are not interested in confrontation and we do not want it, especially with a global power like the United States of America. However, it seems that our partners fail to notice the depth and pace of change around the world and where it is headed. They continue with their destructive and clearly misguided policy . This hardly meets the interests of the USA itself. But this is not for us to decide.

"We can see that we are dealing with proactive and talented people, but within the elite, there are also many people who have excessive faith in their exceptionalism and supremacy over the rest of the world. Of course, it is their right to think what they want. But can they count? Probably they can. So let them calculate the range and speed of our future arms systems. This is all we are asking: just do the maths first and take decisions that create additional serious threats to our country afterwards . It goes without saying that these decisions will prompt Russia to respond in order to ensure its security in a reliable and unconditional manner.

"I have already said this, and I will repeat that we are ready to engage in disarmament talks, but we will not knock on a locked door anymore. We will wait until our partners are ready and become aware of the need for dialogue on this matter ." [My Emphasis]

I rather doubt Putin's well meaning message will have its desired impact, for as he said those in power are essentially deluded by their thoughts. Unfortunately, the only part of the speech likely to be highlighted is the Italicized portion while the bolded remainder gets ignored:

" I would like to emphasise again that we need peace for sustainable long-term development . Our efforts to enhance our defence capability are for only one purpose: to ensure the security of this country and our citizens so that nobody would even consider pressuring us, or launching an aggression against us.

Also, I rather doubt Bolton, Pompeo and company can do the math.

Jen , Feb 20, 2019 5:21:47 PM | link
Brendan @ 40:

BBC pretends that Roger Waters's only role in Pink Floyd was as bass player. Who was the singer and songwriter then?

Question should be rephrased: Who was the Pink Floyd songwriter who wrote all the lyrics to the band's best known albums "The Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish You Were Here", "Animals" and "The Wall" then?

barovsky , Feb 20, 2019 5:23:28 PM | link
More from the BBC on the Branson distraction:
What did Roger Waters say?

In a two-minute video posted on Twitter, the musician says Mr Branson's "Live-Aid-ish" concert has "nothing to do with humanitarian aid at all".

The Red Cross and the UN, unequivocally agree, don't politicize aid. Leave the Venezuelan people alone to exercise their legal right to self determination.

-- Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) February 18, 2019


"It has to do with Richard Branson, and I'm not surprised by this, having bought the US saying: 'We have decided to take over Venezuela, for whatever our reasons may be,'" Mr Waters says.

"But it has nothing to do with the needs of the Venezuelan people, it has nothing to do with democracy, it has nothing to do with freedom, and it has nothing to do with aid."

He adds that he has "friends that are in Caracas" who claim there is "no civil war, no mayhem, no murder, no apparent dictatorship, no suppression of the press".

So who asked Richard Branson to do this?

Mr Branson says it was a direct request from Mr Guaidó and opposition leader Leopoldo López.
Skip Twitter post by @richardbranson

The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela worsens every day. Join Venezuela Aid Live, support the cause to help the country's suffering people

-- Richard Branson (@richardbranson) February 15, 2019


End of Twitter post by @richardbranson

In an earlier social media video, the billionaire says: "Juan Guaidó, who has been recognised as Venezuela's legitimate president by over 40 nations, and the EU, and Leopoldo López, an opposition leader currently under house arrest in Caracas, have asked us to help organise a beautiful concert, to help bring global attention to this unacceptable, and preventable, crisis."

Mr López has been under house arrest since 2014.

Who is going to perform?

An official line-up hasn't been released yet but a few celebrities have confirmed that they're taking part.

The concert's organisers have also released a list of 32 people they have invited to perform, which includes young Latin stars Rudy Mancuso, Juanes and Despacito singer Luis Fonsi, and Swedish DJ Alesso.

Lele Pons, a Venezuelan-American singer and actress who was the most-looped individual on Vine before it shut down in 2016, and Venezuelan singer Danny Ocean have both released videos saying that they will perform.

Ort , Feb 20, 2019 5:36:08 PM | link
@ jsb | Feb 20, 2019 4:25:12 PM | 38

Thanks for the response, but don't put away the salt just yet.

The Guardian isn't the bastion of dispassionate, objective reporting it pretends to be. So I read the linked story with particular interest in its sources for the material you quoted.

I wasn't surprised to find this telling explanation:

Quoting an unnamed senior administration official, the AP report said the suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, which included the then national security adviser, HR McMaster, and secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Both have since left the administration.
So once again, all of the ominous quotes are allegedly derived from, or provided by, an uncorroborated anonymous source-- moreover, a "senior administration official"; such seemingly authoritative sources are notorious for using the "on background" convention to vent personal pique or ideological dissatisfaction.

And the Associated Press is also notorious for its consent-manufacturing bias.

The entire Russophobia campaign, and other current Big Lie-based stories, have been rife with multiple uncorroborated sources appearing to validate each other. Unfortunately, this strategy exploits the rational tendency to assume that a fact is authentic and reliable if it seems to be corroborated and confirmed by multiple sources.

Usually, confirmation bias blinds targets of this strategy to the possibility that the confirmation is spurious because some or all of the "multiple sources" are mendacious.

So I'm not impressed or persuaded by The Guardian passing on multiple hearsay from compromised, or at least dubious sources: "Some unidentified but important insider told AP, and they told us" just doesn't cut it.

dh , Feb 20, 2019 5:38:53 PM | link
@42 I guess they want to make it difficult for the border guards to stop Venezuelans going to the concert on Friday. Then the next day they will head back home with their free stuff. Their bags will need to be searched of course so that will help to get everybody riled up for the cameras.
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 5:39:20 PM | link
Peter AU 1 @42--

A repeat of the Las Vegas Concert Massacre, perhaps. Good to see people commenting at your provided link about the situation's reality and calling out Branson for his support for Imperialism and its crimes. I'm sure Branson can get Pussy Riot to appear, but what of any legitimate musical groups as none are cited. I wonder if Russian satellite tech's progressed so it can pick out individual humans--like snipers--amidst all else? Indeed, how would one plan to deter this probable provocation?

barovsky , Feb 20, 2019 5:42:02 PM | link
Ort | Feb 20, 2019 5:36:08 PM | 46

The Guardian is a lying sack of imperialist shit, masquerading as a leftwing paper. Outrageous, the stuff fascism is made of.

El Cartero Atómico , Feb 20, 2019 5:44:58 PM | link
As a citizen of the US it's interesting that so many of these pro-war/intervention people like Trump, Abrams and Bolton were draft dodgers during the Vietnam War. Several years ago I read a History of Rome and one of the few things I remember was that around 80 Roman Senators were killed in the Battle of Cannae against Hannibal. How many of the pro intervention types in our government would be be willing to serve on the front lines like the Roman politicians? I think we would have a lot fewer interventions and wars if they and their families had to fight in any war they started.
Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 5:46:56 PM | link

It will be very difficult to prevent a provocation, but even if the US manage to get their news footage of people delivering so called aid being shot, or whatever is planned for them, Russia will be stepping in.
I have notice a change in rhetoric from the Russian leadership over the past few weeks. I suspect Putin's speech you referred to earlier officially marks a turning point in the way Russia deals with the US and its machinations.

jsb , Feb 20, 2019 5:51:58 PM | link
Apparently Branson expects up to 300K people to attend Live Aid Concert on Friday :

The organizer of the event, British billionaire Richard Branson, said that it is planned that up to 300,000 people attend the concert on Friday in Cúcuta, on the border of Colombia with Venezuela

Perhaps Moscow senses something is about to happen?:

Russia delivered on Wednesday medicines and medical equipment to Venezuela

Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 5:53:36 PM | link
To add to my comment @51, Russia moved into Syria when it was on its last legs and has put most of it back together. I suspect Russia would have liked a few more years to get its own house in order before moving back into the world to block US moves.
Now I think we may see Russia willing to stop the US in its tracks as far as US moves on Venezuela, and willing to escalate as far as the US wishes to take it.
jsb , Feb 20, 2019 5:59:19 PM | link
Ort Feb 20, 2019 5:36:08 PM | 46

I too share your cynicism at unnamed sources, but my point was when these pieces of information are then coupled with Trump's own behavior and rhetoric, one tends to lean towards this overall aggressive posture against Venezuela as more credulous.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 5:59:39 PM | link
jsb 52

Thanks for that. The concert will be at one of the bridges apparently. Ill bet my balls they are going to use to concert goers for the planned provocation.
Push the fools into delivering so called aid across the border.
I was wondering who would volunteer to be the sacrificial goats.

james , Feb 20, 2019 6:05:31 PM | link
deja vu of ukraine 2014, but i don't know that the middle class guaido crew are up for it... i am sure the cia is though.. anyone see nuland handing out cookies on the streets of cucata yet?? or did they replace her with some other hag?? speaking of hags - richard branscum is really showing his true colours here..
dh , Feb 20, 2019 6:08:40 PM | link
@55 As anybody who has visited the region can attest....custom officers can be excruciatingly slow.
Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 6:15:51 PM | link
A couple of press releases that I downloaded from one of the Venezuela aid live sites.
Only in pdf so will copy paste them.

The team that organizes Venezuela Aid Live -in collaboration with
Richard Branson- has summoned the following artists to join the cause
and be the musicians that change the history of Latin America this
coming February 22nd at a free concert that will take place at the
Tienditas Bridge, with the aim of raising funds to enter the
humanitarian aid into Venezuela:

will take place this Friday, February 22nd, is moving
to Puente Tienditas.
We'll live more than just a concert at this place, we'll
see how Venezuela's freedom doors are opened....

Concert at the Tienditas Bridge and concert goers will also get to see how "Venezuela's freedom doors are opened". I think that may be a painful experience for many.

dh , Feb 20, 2019 6:21:52 PM | link
@58 I'm kinda hoping Sir Richard will lead the procession.
james , Feb 20, 2019 6:28:15 PM | link
@57 dh.. if they are anything like us custom officers, you may as well as stay at home, lol..
iv> What happened to "The Resistance" that was supposed to oppose Trump at every turn? Why is mainstream media and politics going along with Trump in this coup when they are against him in everything else?

Posted by: QuietRebel , Feb 20, 2019 6:30:03 PM | link

What happened to "The Resistance" that was supposed to oppose Trump at every turn? Why is mainstream media and politics going along with Trump in this coup when they are against him in everything else?

Posted by: QuietRebel | Feb 20, 2019 6:30:03 PM | link

Alpi57 , Feb 20, 2019 6:30:37 PM | link
Seems to me the only force that can stand up to this US government belligerence are the citizens of US. A bit of wishful thinking but if they don't want to see their sons and daughters, not to mention their tax dollars, spent on yet another war of hegemony, they should be in front of congress, a million man march style, and demand the end of hostilities and resignation of fuckos like Bolton and Pompeo.
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 6:35:55 PM | link
Ben Norton on USAID and terrorism/regime change :

"I repeat for the 1000th time: US 'aid' in Venezuela or any other country has nothing to do with actually helping people. It is about expanding US power and domination.

"USAID is a regime-change arm. Trump is maki0ng a decades-old US covert strategy explicit."

Norton provides lots of evidence in the thread to indict ASAID as a supporter of terrorism over many decades.

bevin , Feb 20, 2019 6:48:21 PM | link
"Seems to me the only force that can stand up to this US government belligerence are the citizens of US."
We would be in deep trouble of that were the case. But it isn't. Syria, half torn apart stood up to them. So did Iraq, after it had been invaded by the US and a plague of poodles. If Venezuelans stand their ground they will not just keep invasion at bay but spark a conflict in the region that will end up with the last friends of America leaving in helicopters from the roofs of the burning embassies.
RenoDino , Feb 20, 2019 6:48:42 PM | link
This seems to be the prelude to the coming invasion:

Urban warfare requires the kind of practice that our military has been missing, what with too many drones, bombings, and village firefights. Maybe the Pentagon's reluctance to invade was simply borne out of lack of training. Now that they have mad skills, they can make Mr. Bolton proud.

karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 7:06:41 PM | link
QuietRebel @61--

Venezuela's a bi-partisan target which is why the so-called Resistance evaporated just as Trump knew it would.

Peter AU 1 @53--

Thanks for your reply. I know Russia's providing intel, logistical and material support. Could there be a Russian sub or two outside Maracaibo? I read somewhere a few days ago that Venezuelan Air Force was practicing flying Mig-31s armed with the Kinzal hypersonic anti-ship killer but was unable later to find the link. There's no way an R2P type of UNSCR being passed. Somehow it must be shown that Venezuelan forces invaded Colombia such that Colombia calls to the Outlaw US Empire for help in defending itself for any such intervention to be remotely legal. Refutation of any invasion evidence is paramount, but that's far easier said than done. Fortunately, Brazilians seem incapacitated by domestic issues, so It's up to Colombia to act in concert with El Gringo Diablo Norte.

hosscara , Feb 20, 2019 7:09:42 PM | link

Does Mr. Branson carry liability for any person injured at his concert?
If he is the promoter of this gig, then he should have insurance for this.

Scotch Bingeington , Feb 20, 2019 7:18:18 PM | link
Outstanding piece, b, thank you!

Meanwhile, the USS Abraham Lincoln's Carrier Strike Group is crossing the Florida Straits , southbound. They're in the final stages of naval exercises that are meant to be held before the start of a mission . The exercises take about a month, and they started on 25 Jan. Easy to see that Guiado's "big moment of truth" scheduled for 23 Feb was timed with respect to US Navy needs. I also read that the Lincoln's social media feeds have gone silent recently. Spy planes are surveying the seas close to Venezuelan waters. In Venezuela, there have been drills involving their S-300 and Buk-M2 systems. Cuba has been calling out on a lot of flights from military airports in the US to Caribbean destinations.
All of this doesn't bode well.

Chas , Feb 20, 2019 7:19:56 PM | link
Stonebird @ 41

There is something else scheduled for on or about February 23. The 30 day expulsion extension given to the American diplomats is set to expire. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Pft , Feb 20, 2019 7:41:38 PM | link

Fallujah, Najaf, Ramadi, Mosul and Baghdad all provided some experience with urban warfare , and the military has been conducting urban warfare training for awhile. Last year Congress gave the military instructions to increase the amount of training and submit a report on Feb 1 to describe what is needed to improve urban warfare readiness. A single specialized urban army unit has been suggested as well as a new and consolidated Army urban training center to replace the Indiana National Guard's Muscatatuck Urban Training Center

Anyways, it looks like the Empire has plans for more urban wars, perhaps even in the US. I heard soldiers are asked about their feelings on using arms against US civilians if ordered to as part of their profiling for future deployments

snake , Feb 20, 2019 7:44:06 PM | link
Economic Zionism[EZ] At work? Recall EZ is a system of economics that demands to control, ownership and management access to everything, EZ focuses its membership and their corporations and the Armed rule making Nation States[ARMS] they control on destroying all competition of whatever kind while at the same time keeping populations in the dark and or misled. EZ destroys the structures that support, the leadership that represents ownership, control or authority over any type competition (including oil and gold and privatization booty). The objects of EZ include use of force, rule of law, and propaganda and are often used to be sure its adherents are the sole possessors of the valuables found anywhere on the entire earth. Economic Zionism a system that depends on rule by law for its monopoly powers.

Branson's concert @32 Live Aid concert requested by Mr Guaidó and opposition leader Leopoldo López could be an example ; certainly the event fits the long history of network powers able to bring monetary and political forces to any spot sufficient to enable EZ elements to take over or to quash competition or ownership that restricts EZ access or that competes with it. Branson may not even be aware ..of the possibilities or how it is he might be used?

I could be wrong but it will take a mountain of facts to convince me otherwise.

Several oil and gold companies want the oil, farming , gold interest as well as several giants want to privatize much of the state owned service infra structure in Venezuela. Probably the EZ believe they cannot get adequate public support; it takes time to convince the governed of foreign nations that it is a crime for Venezuelans to own the oil, gold, and to provide the water, electric power, and cell phone service to Venezuelans? only the EZ can make it legal.

These kinds of events are money laundering wet dreams (this one may not be?) and these kinds of events provide platforms that can be used to persuade EZ all over the world immediate contributions are necessary to help destroy blatant competition and to convert Venezuela into another EZ owned monopoly.

It will be interesting to see if accounting for all of the funds raised will be made public, and if a complete, adequate and uncontroversial accounting is given within a few days, that clearly shows how, when and to whom the funds were collected from and distributed to.

Invasion, destruction, removal and replacement of those in the way of EZ are common; promoting fake news, engineering mind directing, population controlling propaganda and maintaining absolute back room secrecy are tools of the Economic System known as EZ. Certainly looks suspicious, but then maybe there is a better explanation?

Private fund raising is always problematic because it allows to hide the source and use of the money from the public? Promoting and marketing a private fund raising event in one nation to various other countries, in various languages, keeps secret the flow of funds, both in and out? I know only one network large enough to pull something like this off, on such short notice?

bevin , Feb 20, 2019 7:44:40 PM | link
I haven't noticed a link to this article by Peter Koenig:

"The principles of Economy of Resistance cover a vast domain of topics with many ramifications. This presentation focused on four key areas:

Ø Food, medical and education sovereignty

Ø Economic and financial sovereignty

Ø The Fifth Column; and

Ø Water Resources – a Human Right and a vital resource for survival."

Venezuela's most pressing concern is that Fifth Column.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 8:00:26 PM | link
snake 71

From another of the pdf press releases...
"Fundación Solidaridad por Colombia is the strategic ally that will
provide support during the donations collection.
PwC will be the auditor that will ensure total transparency during the
handling of the resources.
Fundación Solidaridad por Colombia is an NGO with 44 years of
experience managing resources for vulnerable populations."

I did a little research on this group, did not find a lot in english, but the woman running the show is a Columbian who spent a number of years working in Miami and New York.

karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 8:55:24 PM | link
Vesti provides a video clip of the latter portion of Putin's speech some of which I provided via transcript above that Canthama posted to his Twitter. It's about 11 minutes and fitted with English subtitles. It's far more dramatic to watch than read, and much of what Putin says isn't in the bit of transcript I provided. Putin can't be accused of being humorless as he makes a joke at the European's expense, but the subject matter underlying that joke is no laughing matter.
karlof1 , Feb 20, 2019 9:29:29 PM | link
23 Feb 2019 Action Alert translated and posted by The Saker in preparation of possible False Flag Event. No one section is worthy of being read out of context, so I encourage everyone to read the entire document at the link. Thankfully, numerous FFEs have occurred over the past several years so we know how they're manipulated such that some counters can be provided. What can't be initially countered will be the violence used and the lives restored to those murdered by the Outlaw US Empire--for it most certainly will be the guilty party.
ToivoS , Feb 20, 2019 10:05:13 PM | link
I think I said this before but it seemed what saved the Hugo Chvez government after 2002 was that the US imperialists' attention was distracted towards conquering Iraq. The US simply did not have enough forces freely available to finish off Chavez after their failed coup in 2002. At that time no one predicted that the US was in the process of losing both of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After those failures the US decided to go to war against Libya and Syria. Won 1 (at least killed Khadaffi) and lost the other.

In any case the US does have large numbers of troops available for imperial adventures in other theaters. I fear for the Venezuelans at this time. The US is withdrawing from their failed ventures in the Mid East while the US threatens and pounds its chest in the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea -- but no one expects the US military to actually commit itself to another losing military engagement. Unfortunately, I do fear the US is ready to go to war in Venezuela -- if they do so decide to do so the Modura government would not last very long. In the short term that would be considered a victory for the US Neo cons. In the longer term, say 5 years out, it would likely result in a war on the South American continent that has not been seen since Bolivar.

Circe , Feb 20, 2019 10:30:03 PM | link
Why is Richard Branson putting on a concert for a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela but he cared squat about the famine in Yemen? Someone get this short-sighted hypocrite a good pair of bi-focals.

Branson Saudi Arabia


Trump wants Venezuela's oil. I see the shine is finally wearing out on Trump with folks here. It took Venezuela for everyone to see through the Zionist charlatan. Finally, we're all on the same page. The best description I've heard yet is calling this humanitarian aid a Trojan Horse. That's exactly what it is.

So, I have more bad news. Trump is considering Joe Lieberman for U.N. Ambassador. Can you believe he was considering this Zionist shill to replace Comey at the FBI??? Lieberman thinks that Howard Shultz entering the 2020 campaign is a positive thing. I believe Schultz will enter the race to help the chosen one Trump win. It's all fixed.

Finally the road to toppling Tehran turned out not to run through Syria. It runs through Venezeula.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 20, 2019 10:47:11 PM | link
ToivoS "I do fear the US is ready to go to war in Venezuela"

The good colonel at SST seems quite pleased at the prospect. Shoot some commies, grab some loot. I guess he is like Trump. Doesn't like endless wars that the US eventually walks away from without any loot.

snake , Feb 20, 2019 10:54:08 PM | link
According to the link: five (EPP) deputy MEP (European Parliament) persons, Esteban Gonzalez Pons, Jose Ignacio Salafranca, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Esther de Lange and Paulo Rangel were invited to Venezuela by Guaido but have had their passports retained, also the link says Maduro supports the "Montevideo Mechanism," a four-step proposal presented by Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and the Community of Caribbean States (Caricom), a solution mechanism for domestic crisis.
Alpi57 , Feb 20, 2019 11:31:30 PM | link
@bevin 64

I have to disagree with your assessment. How many more Syrias and Iraqs should happen in order for the people in US to wake up? How much more innocent blood should be shed for US citizens to tell their government: live and let live? The days of military might is at an end. The only force of superiority is an economic one.

Why should we allow this government to muscle in on a little country just on the whim of a few evil animals like Bolton? They are selling this country to the average citizen on the illusion of the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Then let the people exercise that privilege. And that is the only thing that scares this government. The mob.

I am utterly embarrassed and infuriated by statements of Bolton. He is openly telling governments is our way or the highway. No country should have that kind of power and/or mentality. The only force that can eradicate that kind of mentality are the people themselves. They just need to wake up. I have a feeling they will be forced to soon.

Augustin L , Feb 20, 2019 11:56:41 PM | link
@ all barflies,
In Honduras, the current president receives support from Chump's administration even though Juan Orlando Hernandez stole millions from the Social Security Institute and other government ministries to finance his campaign and become very wealthy. Hernandez ran for president against the honduran constitution, committed electoral fraud and still the business attache at the US embassy (Heidi Fulton) stood right in front of cameras, where the ballots were being opened and counted and said that everything was ok with the elections ! She's still supporting Juan Orlando even though his brother was arrested in the United States on major drug trafficking charges. Hermano Hernandez was using the army and police to protect his cocaine shipments to the United States. It seems neo-confederates around Trump need this guy in power to counter Maduro and keep the honduran masses down. Elites in Honduras violating their constitution have hosted one of the most strategic US military base in the hemisphere, the country is also known as USS Honduras... It's known Juan Orlando Hernandez received about 250,000 $ from the Los Cachiros drug cartel and also from other cartels. So there you have Trump's administration abetting drug cartel related crimes to contain socialist forces in the americas. I'm pretty sure his base of maggots can't find Honduras on a map. Never mind the cocaine, let's build that wall to keep Hondurans out. Derp, #MAGA
Tom , Feb 21, 2019 12:33:57 AM | link
Thanks b and all the commentators.
#13 Bevin thanks for the link. Very good article with good links embedded in it.
#43 Karlof1 I was reading a transcript from Putin's State of the Nation Address and later watched a u-tube clip of part of it. The transcript (from the Saker) read as follows, "What are they doing in reality? First, they violate everything, then they look for excuses and appoint a guilty party. But they are also mobilising their satellites that are cautious but still make noises in support of the USA. The video clip went as follows "In addition they mobilize their satellites. They carefully oink along with the Americans on this matter" Judging from the loud round of applause and smiles on many in the audience at that point in the clip, I'd say the "oink" was the correct translation! YouTube clip was from Canthama twitter page.
Tom , Feb 21, 2019 1:03:27 AM | link
Karlof1 #66 Colombia is one of NATO's "Partners across the globe". Sure hope article 5 doesn't apply to this scenario. Sure hope you are right about Venezuela having a few Mig 31 and Kinzal missiles and the YANKS know they do. Currently the USS Lincoln is off the coast of Florida undergoing "training".
Tom , Feb 21, 2019 1:29:28 AM | link
John Bolton has now threatened the families of those remaining loyal to Maduro. It's not like he hasn't done this before. He threatened the head of OPCW I believe as well.
Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 21, 2019 1:40:20 AM | link
I doubt that Branson is as careless or stupid as we're being lead to believe. He started a successful music retailing company and a successful cut-price airline. Both industries are highly competitive and the pre-launch business plan for each would have required a prodigious amount of research/ homework in order to accurately evaluate the prospects for success.

I'm far from convinced that he'd consider Random Guyido to be a legitimate replacement for the elected President of Venezuela without doing some careful research and contemplating the outcome of any precedents. If he did conduct such research he would have discovered that History strongly suggests that Random Guyido is almost certainly a fraud.

So imo Branson knows exactly what he's doing, but we'll have to wait until the cash has been handed over before we find out. I believe he's got a wry sense of humour and will probably enjoy making Random Guydo (and his backers) look stupid and gullible. You need a certain amount of courage to take the risks Branson took to get where he is.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 21, 2019 2:26:00 AM | link
Looks like it is critical for US plans to get hold of Venezuela's oil "no matter what" ASP.
"The U.S. government says it will position 190 metric tons of supplies by Friday, ready to deploy throughout Venezuela, according to Mark Green, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID).
The problem is figuring out how to get that aid into Venezuela.
"That really is up to Juan Guaido and his people and his team," Green told Fox News. "We are working with them to try and pre-position that assistance and give them the tools to lead their people and provide hope."...
...Green said he's coordinating with the Colombian government to ensure that Guaido, the opposition leader, has the aid his country needs -- though he said the next step is up to Guaido.
"We know it's not enough that the humanitarian aid enters," Guaido said at a Caracas news conference. "We must open the humanitarian channel, no matter what."

Castellio , Feb 21, 2019 2:53:14 AM | link
b writes that "delivery of "humanitarian aid" is a pretext to break the border between Colombia and Venezuela".

Perhaps, but there may be another purpose in terms of legal framing the Maduro government.

The Rome Statute, when defining War Crimes, under the section entitled 'other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict' there is "Intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensible to their survival, including willfully impeding relief supplies "

In other words, the non-acceptance of relief supplies will be framed as a war crime by the US government.

barovsky , Feb 21, 2019 3:13:13 AM | link
Check out:

james , Feb 21, 2019 4:18:43 AM | link
@85 hoarsewhisperer.. oh brandscum knows exactly what he is doing... promoting his scummy brand.. that is what he is doing.. everything else is a charade.... but, it is cut throat biz and that is what he does best... slime ball that he is..
imo , Feb 21, 2019 4:24:31 AM | link
Looks like Branson is in it for some cheap post-coup plane fuel discounts for his Virgin empire. Too bad I just purchased some Virgin tickets for a short flight in April. But after that I'll be boycotting them along with the Palestinian Occupation Entity whose products I avoid as much as possible.
Peter AU 1 , Feb 21, 2019 4:50:32 AM | link
The attack on Venezuela is bipartisan. Branson knows who butters his bread, and he likes his bread buttered.
imo , Feb 21, 2019 5:03:15 AM | link
@90 & 91

Branson never did it for me. Cool rich 'hippie' PR image always seemed too canned. Somehow reminds me of Tony Blair for some reason. Perhaps he's looking for some military AID cargo contracts out of we-know-where.

Brendan , Feb 21, 2019 7:34:59 AM | link
@92 imo
"Somehow reminds me of Tony Blair for some reason."

I can't think why.

Deschutes , Feb 21, 2019 9:38:07 AM | link
Yes, this is all very interesting about the ongoing Venezuela crisis. But have you seen the Tucker Carlson interview of Rutger Bregman? It is a MUST SEE. Bregman, a Dutch historian who gave the Davos millionaires a most deserved smackdown, did an interview with Carlson. Bregman totally, completely out debates Carlson until Carlson is left speechless, stumbling his words–then completely, totally loses his temper. Check it out-

Sooooo satisfying. "You're a millionaire funded by billionaires". Priceless.

Guerrero , Feb 21, 2019 10:00:28 AM | link
In any case the US does have large numbers of troops available for imperial adventures in other theaters. I fear for the Venezuelans at this time. The US is withdrawing from their failed ventures in the Mid East while the US threatens and pounds its chest in the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea -- but no one expects the US military to actually commit itself to another losing military engagement. Unfortunately, I do fear the US is ready to go to war in Venezuela -- if they do so decide to do so the Maduro government would not last very long. In the short term that would be considered a victory for the US Neo cons. In the longer term, say 5 years out, it would likely result in a war on the South American continent that has not been seen since Bolivar.

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 20, 2019 10:05:13 PM | 76

As always, friend, your contribution to this forum is very perceptive. ...and how will this all look 50 years out? Even worse!

[Feb 22, 2019] The Myopia of Interventionists by Daniel Lariso

Feb 22, 2019 |

Andrew Bacevich recalls Madeleine Albright's infamous statement about American indispensability, and notes how poorly it has held up over the last twenty-one years:

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping.

Albright's statement is even more damning for her and her fellow interventionists when we consider that the context of her remarks was a discussion of the supposed threat from Iraq. The full sentence went like this: "We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." Albright was making a general claim about our supposed superiority to other nations when it came to looking into the future, but she was also specifically warning against a "danger" from Iraq that she claimed threatened "all of us." She answered one of Matt Lauer's questions with this assertion:

I think that we know what we have to do, and that is help enforce the UN Security Council resolutions, which demand that Saddam Hussein abide by those resolutions, and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, and allow the inspectors to have unfettered and unconditional access.

Albright's rhetoric from 1998 is a grim reminder that policymakers from both parties accepted the existence of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" as a given and never seriously questioned a policy aimed at eliminating something that did not exist. American hawks couldn't see further in the future. They weren't even perceiving the present correctly, and tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Iraqis would suffer because they insisted that they saw something that wasn't there.

A little more than five years after she uttered these words, the same wild threat inflation that Albright was engaged in led to the invasion of Iraq, the greatest blunder and one of the worst crimes in the history of modern U.S. foreign policy . Not only did Albright and other later war supporters not see what was coming, but their deluded belief in being able to anticipate future threats caused them to buy into and promote a bogus case for a war that was completely unnecessary and should never have been fought.

[Feb 22, 2019] The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence." Utterly false. Our government is one of oligarchy, democratic elections have essentially zero impact on policy.

We've all been deceived. Almost everything "we're told" is a lie. It's up to each of us to discern the truth.
Notable quotes:
"... Like Rome, the US has hollowed itself out ..."
"... Perhaps some do wish the US Empire's collapse will come sooner rather than later, and even that some other empire will replace it. I simply see its collapse as both inevitable, and imminent (in historical terms, of course), but I don't see another global Empire rising to take its place, much less wish it. ..."
Feb 22, 2019 |

TG , says: February 22, 2019 at 1:34 am GMT

Indeed, well said. A few minor quibbles:

"The United States once dominated economically by making better products at better prices, ran a large trade surplus, and barely had competitors." Wrong. The United States once dominated by NOT competing – until around 1970, foreign trade was a negligible fraction of the economy. The United States historically was a functional autarky. With a modest population, abundant resources, and no need to worry about competing with slave-labor level wages, America's economy and power boomed.

"The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence." Utterly false. Our government is one of oligarchy, democratic elections have essentially zero impact on policy. Our government is not incompetent because of 'democracy' but because our elites and their institutions are corrupt and insulated from the consequences of their decisions. One is reminded that Chinese industry is still overwhelmingly US industry that was moved their because US elites wanted quick shot-term profits – and were just too greedy to think about the long-term consequences of giving away the work of centuries to a large competitor nation.

redmudhooch , says: February 22, 2019 at 3:15 am GMT
Good to see an article that doesn't blame only the "Jews" seems some people here have a terrible time believing that there can be more than 1 single cause of wars or other troubles.

I thought all our military heros were required to read and understand Sun Tzu's Art of War? Seems they skipped a few chapters and cheated on the exam.

Capitalism always fails. Capitalism is growing and the white population is dying .hmmmm

The 'flaw' (intentional) in capitalism is that it was never intended to improve the conditions of the common man. Capital, was only ever intended to fill the coffers of princes, kings, dukes, barons and lesser nobles so that they would have a medium of exchange for services that they, themselves, were incapable of producing/providing.

And, as we now see the full long term 'effects' of capitalism, wealth disparity, homelessness, drug addiction, increased suicide rates, lowered longevity, stagnant wages, staggeringly high personal, corporate, and sovereign debt levels, increases in personal bankruptcy (particularly health care related), predatory lending, a monopolistic private sector, corporate dominance of government (think ALEC and uncontrolled corporate lobbying), unrestricted immigration (think removal of sanctions on employers for illegals), destruction of unions (& pensions), encouragement of offshoring and destructive mergers and acquisitions via changes to the tax code, massive overspending on the military along with an aggressive empire-building posture, trickle down economics, etc.

The current situation in the U.S. should not be a surprise it started about 38 years ago. You voted for it and now you will have to live with it. China is indeed kicking our ass, our "leaders" are far too corrupt to change course, we've hit the iceberg already.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Welcome to the Saint Reagan Revolution. Have a nice day.

AaronB , says: February 22, 2019 at 3:22 am GMT
@Citizen of a Silly Country

country that is 15% black and 25% Mestizo (and growing) will not rebound to the former heights of a country that was 90% white. Won't happen.

Why not? Where are all the high ability whites gonna go? Will they just vanish? They're still around, and aren't going anywhere. The talent pool will continue to have the same absolute number of people, even if a lower fraction of the whole.

There is a difference between percentages and absolute numbers. All that will have happened is that a large number of slightly less able people will have been added to the pie. That doesn't diminish the number of more able people. They're still around.

Here's another little secret. A country is great because of its top 15% of people. The average Chinese, or the lower class Chinese, is far from impressive.

If the gap between the top 15 percent and everyone else is too large, that may create some problems, but Hispanics are a fairly capable people.

This doesn't mean I support immigration. But adding say 50 million slightly less able people to 250 million slightly more able isn't exactly going to ruin a country, realistically. And other countries may have more serious deficiencies.

Anon [322] Disclaimer , says: February 22, 2019 at 3:32 am GMT
Interesting article, and good timing too. China's president today reiterated China's commitment to developing its strategic partnership with Iran. The US may have pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal, but China remains committed to that deal, and EU doesn't seem quite ready to jettison it either.

WSJ reported today that India is ignoring US warning about Huawei and will use their equipment for 5G anyway. Germany is reportedly doing the same.

Thanks to the Zionist stranglehold on the US and UK, I see the world developing into two factions, one of US-UK-Israel-Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim countries, and the other of Russia-China-Iran, and potentially India, with EU sitting uncomfortably in the middle. F is on the Ziocon side as long as Macron is in office, but once he leaves, France could well join Germany and the rest of the EU and switch side.

The Europeans were not too enamored with Pence at the recent Munich Security Conference, they all know what a Jew puppet he is, esp. after he used a visit to Auschwitz to convey to the Europeans that if they do not join the US on our antagonism towards Iran, they are as good as anti-Semites. The only 2 people who gave him a standing O after his speech were Javanka. Sad.

Zionists will turn America into an international pariah, as isolated and alone as Israel.

Cyrano , says: February 22, 2019 at 3:33 am GMT
@Harold Smith Socialism means equalizing and socializing – of rich and poor – at the expense of the rich who got that way at the expense of the poor, so you can say – it's little bit of a payback time. Americans have very clear minds about socialism – that's because they have been brainwashed during decades long running propaganda.

Then they got introduced to a wrong kind of "socialism" – where they were forced to socialize with a wrong kind of people – from alien lands and cultures. That's not socialism, that's cheap propaganda stunt, worthy of the Adolf himself.

I think they were introduced to that type of "socialism" under the motto: "Fake it, so you don't have to make it". I think that the time will eventually come, where the more traditional motto will come into play: "Fake it, until you make it".

AaronB , says: February 22, 2019 at 3:33 am GMT
@Citizen of a Silly Country

Just because this produce has the label "United States" doesn't mean that it's the same as the old product. Grow up.

No, it definitely won't be the same product. But nations change character fairly often. Elizabethan England was very different than Georgian England. The one was known as merry and licentious and highly emotional, the other was melancholy, stiff and inexressive, and more Puritan. Nations literally flip over into their opposites. In the past century Jews went from being physical cowards to tough physical adventurers in the Middle East. The Germans went from being the land of poets and thinkers to the land of blood and iron and war.

America will change, very drastically. Immigration will eventually stop, and the new people absorbed and integrated. Something new will emerge to replace a European civilization that had grown old. Something partly European and probably very capable.

And yes, I know that ethnic changes aren't the same thing. And I don't supplier immigration. I'm just pointing out realities.

Anon [322] Disclaimer , says: February 22, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT

That's because the America see no advantage in placing its boot upon Canada's neck as long as Canada, recognizing its absolute dependence on the US for its territorial integrity and economic prosperity, remains subservient, sending token military forces wherever NATO directs, extraditing foreign nationals as America requires, and assimilating every appalling American cultural meme.

LOL how true. Canada to the US is like NZ to Australia. They just don't matter.

Hapalong Cassidy , says: February 22, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT
How old is Fred Reed anyway? I first became aware of him in late 2001. Back then he posted his picture at the top of his articles and I thought he looked ancient even back then.
Anon [322] Disclaimer , says: February 22, 2019 at 5:02 am GMT

Could it be because that their religious elites correctly figure that it would be difficult to sell rapist/gay/androgynous deities, phallus/vagina/devil/animal worship, etc., to the world, except to some whitey hippies (e.g. Tulsi's mother)? They feel ashamed to proselytise except to braindead whitey hippies.

LOLOL. You really have to wonder what kind of people could be dumb/crazy enough to follow a religion with 33 million gods! It's no wonder India is such a fucked up country, completely ungovernable. The worst thing is, these nutcases are now invading the US en masse (and soon to be let in by tens of millions more courtesy of Trump), are increasingly running for office, and winning as zealous socialist leftists running in uber liberal districts.

These bullshit artist nutjobs are not satisfied having completely destroyed their own country, they now want to destroy ours. We are on our way to becoming the next India, completely with people defecating out in the open like our growing homeless population, just like in Mumbai.

Patricus , says: February 22, 2019 at 5:17 am GMT
@flashlight joe Agree with Flashlight Joe on the duties and imposts and the Civil War. That was the major cause of the war as far as I can tell from reading books. Of course there were other factors including slavery as a lesser cause. What a waste of lives and treasure.
Patricus , says: February 22, 2019 at 5:33 am GMT
@Harold Smith I find it hard to believe the masses in the US will choose Bernie's socialism. It doesn't work and the evidence for failure is overwhelming just in the last 100 years. We should stop the migrations of impoverished third worlders. Lacking any education these migrants would be most susceptible to hair brained socialism.
Patricus , says: February 22, 2019 at 5:51 am GMT
@Biff Socialist phone network? Last I heard the phone companies are 100% privately owned.

All those sewage pipes were privately built and private companies collect your water and sewer bill.

The definition of socialism: the government or community owns the means of production. Some nations have more regulations than others but successful nations are capitalist, including Scandinavians.

Roads are built by private contractors. Missiles and jets as well.

Sam J. , says: February 22, 2019 at 6:16 am GMT
@Thomm's Purple haired femiNAZI " Before you know it, they'd wriggle their way to the top like they do everywhere. "

HAHAHHA silly Jews. They tried this already and failed. Look at them. Look what happened to them. They control nothing in China.

The Jews think far too much of themselves and are screwed. Their hollowing out of the manufacturing of the US was premature before they could guarantee a home in China. The Chinese thing of course is not working out so well. The Chinese are not nice individualist like Europeans that they can manipulate with "caring" for others as the Chinese don't "care" and will laugh at Jewish cries of "victimization".

Jewish parasitism is only functionally able to work among Europeans and only last so long in each region they go to. I suspect the Western Ukraine take over was to have a plan "B" place to go if they get overrun in Israel. I'm not so sure that will work out in the long run either.

Erebus , says: February 22, 2019 at 9:37 am GMT
@AaronB From Comment #59

I just returned from a two month trip to Asia.

I noted your impressions, but Asia is a big place. There's a great variety of peoples and cultures between Japan and Saudi Arabia, and I'm curious which you're actually commenting on.

The US is having a little bit of a bad period, and everyone is rushing to say it's completely finished for all time.

It isn't simply a "bad period" from where I sit, and I don't think any serious person would claim "it's completely finished for all time". In the first place it's not that "bad" (yet), and it has a long way to go before it gets genuinely bad for no greater reason than that it's starting its decline from a fully developed state. A lot of things have to go to hell for it to become hell.

And its debatable just how bad a period the US is going through. I think its overstated, although there are undoubtedly some serious problems that need to be addressed.

The issue for America is that having lost its civilizational strengths, it's running on the fumes of Empire. So, we're really talking about just how much of those fumes there are left. The former didn't simply get weakened. For the elites and approx half the population they seem to have been replaced by something alien and corrosive. "Freedom", "Democracy", "Rule of Law" and even "American Know-how" have visibly dissipated to invisibility for those looking honestly for them. The fumes it's running on are the preeminence of the U$ dollar system and such fear as the USM is able to generate. Both are past their tipping point, and well into decline.

great nations go through bad periods, and then rise again.

They do, but Empires generally don't. It's all about resource flow, and when the flow stops, or worse reverses, the nation at the core of empire rarely survives in anything like its original form. Greece, Italy, Mongolia or Iran are very different than simply diminished versions of their former selves at the core of Empires. The original versions disappeared.

In any case, America wasn't great for long enough to be called a historically great nation. Great nations build civilizations that endure through trials such as the loss of Empire. Russia and China have, and arguably remain modern versions of their original selves.

In 4thC Rome, things didn't look so bad either. There was lots of asset speculation for the rich, and bread 'n circuses for everyone else, while the Empire's ability to bring resources in from the periphery shrank a little every day. Without new resources being brought in, the Empire inevitably ate its tail. The people remained blithely certain that there would be even more bread 'n circuses in the future. So Americans are today. They'll stay quite certain until a modern-day Alaric hammers on the Imperial Gates and says "It's over". Rome never recovered its Empire, and the city itself went from a population of ~1M to <50,000 at its depths. It and the area that became Italy took centuries to recover a halfway decent standard of living.

Like Rome, the US has hollowed itself out and became dependent on such tithes a shrinking Empire can deliver to keep the bread 'n circuses going. Rome, however, had no peers and so could continue on well beyond its sell-by date. America, through a breathtaking series of strategic blunders, has lost that advantage. There's more peers now than America can hope to deal with and they, not America control the clock. The resources the Empire needs to continue have been taken off the table. It needed Russia's natural resources, and China's human resources. It lost both, and what's worse forced them into partnership. As the recent Warsaw "conference" so vividly exposed, even its vassals know that the Empire has lost its mojo, if DC's brain-trusts don't.

Can it recover and become a normal country again? Absolutely, though I give it less chance of coming through the process intact than either Russia or China did. Cultural homogeneity is what carries a civilization through hard times, and the US ain't got much of that. Perhaps it will undergo a similar split to Rome's, where the Eastern Empire went on to develop a very different society than the one it split off from. Rome split along more or less logistical and administrative lines, whereas the US' fissures are marbled across the continent. It'll take some serious statesmanship to hold it together.

As for wishing

Perhaps some do wish the US Empire's collapse will come sooner rather than later, and even that some other empire will replace it. I simply see its collapse as both inevitable, and imminent (in historical terms, of course), but I don't see another global Empire rising to take its place, much less wish it.

Maybe one will arise in the fullness of time, but not in mine, or in anyone's that's currently alive. The resource base just ain't there any more. A Eurasian Empire? Maybe. Global? Nah.

[Feb 22, 2019] 'Cheney wants you out,' Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. 'We can't accept your management style.'

Feb 22, 2019 |

AntiSpin , Feb 21, 2019 2:07:11 PM | link

@ Tom | Feb 21, 2019 1:29:28 AM | 84

"He threatened the head of OPCW I believe as well."

Your belief is correct; The one threatened was José Bustani, then --- head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

"Bolton -- then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs -- arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization's chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn't mince words. 'Cheney wants you out,' Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. 'We can't accept your management style.'

Bolton continued, according to Bustani's recollections: 'You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don't comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.'

There was a pause. 'We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York'."

The guy is a murdering thug -- a psychopath.

[Feb 22, 2019] An interesting obituary to neoliberalism from

I changed the term Capitalism to Neoliberalism, as Capitalism has multiple forms incliudong New DealCapitalism and Neoliberlaism. It is Neoliberlaism that won in 1980 with "Reagan revolution."
Feb 22, 2019 |

redmudhooch , says: February 22, 2019 at 3:15 am GMT

Good to see an article that doesn't blame only the "Jews" seems some people here have a terrible time believing that there can be more than 1 single cause of wars or other troubles.

I thought all our military heros were required to read and understand Sun Tzu's Art of War? Seems they skipped a few chapters and cheated on the exam.

Neoliberalism always fails. Neoliberalism is growing and the white population is dying .hmmmm

The 'flaw' (intentional) in Neoliberalism is that it was never intended to improve the conditions of the common man. Capital, was only ever intended to fill the coffers of princes, kings, dukes, barons and lesser nobles so that they would have a medium of exchange for services that they, themselves, were incapable of producing/providing.

And, as we now see the full long term 'effects' of Neoliberalism, wealth disparity, homelessness, drug addiction, increased suicide rates, lowered longevity, stagnant wages, staggeringly high personal, corporate, and sovereign debt levels, increases in personal bankruptcy (particularly health care related), predatory lending, a monopolistic private sector, corporate dominance of government (think ALEC and uncontrolled corporate lobbying), unrestricted immigration (think removal of sanctions on employers for illegals), destruction of unions (& pensions), encouragement of offshoring and destructive mergers and acquisitions via changes to the tax code, massive overspending on the military along with an aggressive empire-building posture, trickle down economics, etc.

The current situation in the U.S. should not be a surprise it started about 38 years ago. You voted for it and now you will have to live with it. China is indeed kicking our ass, our "leaders" are far too corrupt to change course, we've hit the iceberg already.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Welcome to the Saint Reagan Revolution. Have a nice day .

MEFOBILLS , says: February 21, 2019 at 9:28 pm GMT
@TKK immigrate a replacement population if not hostile? Why would you export your industry if not hostile?

You don't dig out and convert your economy to first world standards overnight.

So, the trend lines are clear. The West and U.S. is a finance oligarchy in decline, while Russia is on a ascendant path. These lines will cross over at some point in near future. One could even squint and say that Russia is no longer an Oligarchy of special interests, and is moving into Byzantium mode e.g. symphony of Church and State. Many Russian thinkers are projecting another 40 years or so to consolidate the gains.

[Feb 22, 2019] US Efforts To Block Huawei Gives China An Advantage

Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. fears that China will soon be able to compete with it in computer chip design and fabrication. It is trying to block China from building its own chip factories and Congress even wants to block chip exports to specific Chinese companies. It is race that the U.S. will lose. Technology and the means of producing it inevitably proliferate. ..."
Feb 22, 2019 |

For several centuries China had a monopoly on silk. It was exported along the silk road to Persia and from there to Europe. Silk production was highly profitable. The export of silkworms and their production method was prohibited. in the mid 6-th century two monks made their way from Europe to China and found out how silk was produced. They reported back to the Byzantine emperor Justitian I who induced them to secretly acquire silkworms and to smuggle them back home. The monks managed to do that and soon thereafter the Chinese silk monopoly, and Persia's monopoly of silk trade with Europe, were no more .

The U.S. fears that China will soon be able to compete with it in computer chip design and fabrication. It is trying to block China from building its own chip factories and Congress even wants to block chip exports to specific Chinese companies. It is race that the U.S. will lose. Technology and the means of producing it inevitably proliferate.

The 5G mobile data networks will use new frequencies and algorithms to deliver gigabit data streams from, to and between mobile devices. This will allow for completely new applications like direct communication between (semi-)autonomous cars at any road crossing. Worldwide a number of companies are working to provide 5G technology. That involves antennas, base stations, new hard- and software in the periphery and in the core telecommunication systems. Main providers of such systems are US companies like Motorola, Qualcomm and Cisco. Others are Ericsson and Samsung. One of the largest one is the Chinese company Huawei.

Currently Huawei is the most advanced company in the 5G field. It started early and invested huge sums into research and development for 5G technology. It owns some 15% of all relevant patents. It is currently the only provider that can deliver an end-to-end solution for 5G networks. As it serves the huge market of China it can produce on a large scale and sell its equipment for less than other companies do. The other dominant telecommunication equipment provider, including those in the United States, are lagging in 5G technology. They did not invest early enough and are now late to deliver.

Instead of investing in faster development and better technology the U.S. is trying to block Huawei from selling its goods. This hurts the development of other countries that want to provide 5G networks to their people.

The US has long pressed its allies not to use Chinese equipment in their phone networks. It falsely claims that Huawei equipment is a security threat.

Australia and New Zealand followed the US order and prohibited the use of Huawei equipment in their 5G networks. The US also tried to press the big European countries to shun Huawei. So far it failed. Germany resisted US pressure to not use Huawei stuff. It fears delays in 5G deployment should it ban Huawei. Yesterday Britain also pushed back :

[Feb 21, 2019] In a sense Sanders probably is "the best hope that the U.S. had in the last 50 years."

Feb 21, 2019 |
Cyrano , says: February 21, 2019 at 12:43 am GMT
I think that Bernie Sanders was the best hope that US had in the last 50 years. And they killed that hope by stealing his nomination and highly probable presidency from him. I don't care what the orange clown says about "US will never be a socialist country". One other individual of his ethnic background once prognosticated a 1000 year Reich – and we all know how that turned out.

I don't know what Bernie views on immigration are, but on social and economic issues – he is bang on. And I just heard on the news that Bernie new campaign for 2020, has broken all previous records – raising 6 million $ in the first 24 hours.

All that nonsensical talk about empire is just a product of idle (and deranged) minds of individuals who have achieved personal wealth and success based on rules of questionable fairness, and now have nothing better to do than play some retarded game of world domination – which doesn't benefit the average American at all. It's just a way for the degenerates to achieve "immortality" and get into the history books – where they don't belong – certainly not based on their abilities.

Cyrano , says: February 21, 2019 at 12:43 am GMT

February 22, 2019 at 1:15 am GMT 100 Words @onebornfree

"Yeah right. Sanders is just another scammer, like Trump and all the rest of them:"

Yes of course they're all scammers, but there's a reason they picked the orange clown scammer rather than the Sanders scammer or the Clinton scammer. And I think that reason is because orange clown is actually the most evil of the three; evil enough to risk planetary extinction in pursuit of world domination and control, whereas Sanders probably isn't.

So in a sense Sanders probably is "the best hope that the U.S. had in the last 50 years."

[Feb 21, 2019] Can the US make the changes necessary to play balance of power politics?

Looks like the USA enterprising the period which can be called Perestroyka
Feb 21, 2019 |

Philip Owen , says: February 20, 2019 at 10:22 pm GMT

Britain's time of full spectrum dominance (well trade, industry and navy really) did not emerge fully formed from isolation as did America. England and the UK played balance of power politics. The US can still do that for a very long time, given some basic diplomatic sense.

India, China & Pakistan present an interesting triangle. Indonesia and Vietnam are no friends of China. Nigeria is heading for 400m people and will want to exert its own power, not take instructions from Peking, etc, etc. Balance of power requires more fluidity than the US has shown to date. Seeing Russia as an hereditary enemy illustrates this failure.

Can the US make the changes necessary to play balance of power politics?

Asagirian , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 8:08 pm GMT
China of course is the key obstacle to expanding the Empire America cannot compete with China commercially or, increasingly, in technology. Washington knows it. Beijing's advantages are too great: A huge and growing domestic market, a far larger population of very bright people, a for-profit economy that allows heavy investment both internally and abroad, a stable government that can plan well into the future.

But all the bright minds come to the US. There is no brain drain in China's way, but the best and brightest in Asia come to the US. Also, as the Asian mind respects power and status above all, most Asians in the US become loyal servitors of Empire. Asians will serve Asian power only in Asia where they are dominant. When they are in a non-Asian land, they will suck up to the non-Asian power. In this, they are unlike Jews. Even in Ancient Times, Jews always felt as #1 even when surrounded by much bigger powers. They were defined by the Covenant with the one and only God. Wherever Jews go, they expect others to revolve around them. In contrast, wherever Asians go, they revolve around the dominant power, whatever it is. Asians lack the centrism of Jews. Maybe Hindus do a little bit, but Chinese don't. China regarded itself as the Middle Kingdom only in the Middle Kingdom. But outside it, they feel as strays who must serve another master. (To be sure, Chinese resist assimilation into foreign nations when they regard the natives as inferior. Chinese see Southeast Asians as inferior and don't assimilate much with them. But Chinese regard whites as superior, and so, they try to serve and be white in the West. And trashy Chinese try to imitate blacks, the masters of badass coolery in Pop Culture and Sports.) East Asians mainly define themselves by service and loyalty? To what? To whatever happens to be the most powerful.

Here's the difference between Jews and East Asians.

If the US were to turn anti-Israel and made war against it, American Jews will NOT join in the effort to kill fellow Jews in Israel. No way in hell, and this is the admirable aspect of Jewish consciousness. Jews will not be manipulated by goyim to kill other Jews.

But Asian dogs in the US will gladly serve the US empire in killing tons of Asians in Asia, even ethnic kin. Muslims are the same way. Look at those Muslims in US military who bombed and killed Muslims in the 'Wars on Terror'. There's no way any American Jew will participate in US war on Israel that kills tons of Jews, but Asians will gladly kill fellow Asians in the service to what they deem to be the highest power. Look at Japanese during and after WWII. During WWII, Japanese loyally served the Emperor, the symbol of power. After the way, they loyally served Uncle Sam as the New Top Power.

... ... ...

US has lots of problems, but most smart people around the world want to move to the US to work in Wall Street, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Real Estate, and etc. There are foreigners in China, but the system is rigged by nationalism to keep top positions in Chinese hands. But in the US, due to demise of white race-ism and nationalism, non-white newcomers can rise to the very top very fast. Look at all the obscenely rich Hindus in Silicon Valley. Also, white goyim who made America let Jews take over. The Jewish takeover of a majority white Christian nation sent a message to the world that ANYONE can come to the US and reach the top. If Chinese elites still favor fellow Chinese, white elites no longer favor white folks and prefer to do business with non-white elites. So, most of the top talents will flow to the US.

Also, tons of peons are willing to move to the US to do jobs Americans won't do. So, US will have tons of brains and tons of peons. (The Middle will suffer though as it's hard for the middle class and working class to have bargaining power if they can be replaced by foreigners or if their jobs can be shipped overseas.) US population is likely to be 700 or 800 million by 2100. Also, America has much more resources than China. It has more oil, better land, more minerals. And US also has Alaska, a world unto itself. (Russians sure were stupid to sell it.)

Rabbitnexus , says: February 21, 2019 at 1:36 am GMT
@Asagirian That's a very selective reading of things, and a lot of debatable generalizations about other nations the US one it seems is all you know personally. Too much to challenge it all but just the point about Jews not killing other Jews has to be questioned. Jewish elites sacrifice Jews without qualms when they see it as a means to an end, witness the "Holocaust" which was instigated and fed by Jewish elites who did all they could to ensure Jewish refugees from Europe only went to Palestine or back to oppression.

There were Jews in armies on both sides of the two world wars. Over 150,000 German Jews fought in WWII in the Wehrmacht. Then there have been the instances of Zionist false flag terrorism in various Middle Eastern countries to drive yet more Jews to Palestine.

As for the best and brightest making a beeline for the USA that was yesterday. These days that flow is slowing and by no means are the best and brightest headed that direction and more to the point, many of America's best and brightest are beginning to emigrate to greener pastures as the writing on the wall becomes more obvious.

What you describe as a US renaissance is no such thing. Although the demographics are probably about right. It represents the end of the USA in it's traditional self perception and the aftermath of empire collapse. History doesn't support the rosy outlook you project.

[Feb 21, 2019] But, scum like Pompeo puts forth hard-line stance against terrorists. What a bunch of vile phonies and hypocrites.

Feb 21, 2019 |

Asagirian , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 9:15 pm GMT

Incredible. US government cooks up lies to invade and wreck Iraq, destroy Libya, and subvert Syria. It pulled off a coup in Ukraine with Neo-Nazis. US and its allies Saudis and Israel gave aid, direct and indirect, to ISIS and Al-Qaida to bring down Assad or turn Syria upside down.

But, scum like Pompeo puts forth hard-line stance against terrorists. What a bunch of vile phonies and hypocrites.

[Feb 21, 2019] The Empire Now or Never by Fred Reed

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... When the Soviet Empire collapsed, America appeared poised to establish the first truly world empire. The developed countries were American vassals in effect if not in name, many of them occupied by American troops: Among others, Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The US had by far the dominant economy and the biggest military, controlled the IMF, NATO, the dollar, SWIFT, and enjoyed technological superiority.. Russia was in chaos, China a distant smudge on the horizon. ..."
"... Current foreign policy openly focuses on dominating the planet. The astonishing thing is that some people don't notice. ..."
"... A major purpose of the destruction of Iraq was to get control of its oil and put American forces on the border of Iran, another oil power. The current attempt to starve the Iranians aims at installing a American puppet government. The ongoing coup in Venezuela seeks control of another vast oil reserve. It will also serve to intimidate the rest of Latin America by showing what can happen to any country that defies Washington. Why are American troops in Nigeria? Guess what Nigeria has. ..."
"... America cannot compete with China commercially ..."
"... Beijing's advantages are too great: A huge and growing domestic market, a far larger population of very bright people, a for-profit economy that allows heavy investment both internally and abroad, a stable government that can plan well into the future. ..."
"... Increasingly America's commercial power is as a consumer, not a producer. Washington tells other countries, "If you don't do as we say, we won't buy your stuff." ..."
"... As America's competitiveness declines, Washington resorts to strong-arm tactics. It has no choice. A prime example is the 5G internet, a Very Big Deal, in which Huawei holds the lead. Unable to provide a better product at a better price, Washington forbids the vassals to deal with Huawei–on pain of not buying their stuff. In what appears to be desperation, the Exceptional Nation has actually made a servile Canada arrest the daughter of Huawei's founder. ..."
Feb 21, 2019 |

... ... ...

When the Soviet Empire collapsed, America appeared poised to establish the first truly world empire. The developed countries were American vassals in effect if not in name, many of them occupied by American troops: Among others, Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The US had by far the dominant economy and the biggest military, controlled the IMF, NATO, the dollar, SWIFT, and enjoyed technological superiority.. Russia was in chaos, China a distant smudge on the horizon.

Powerful groups in Washington, such as PNAC, began angling towed aggrandizement, but the real lunge came with the attack on Iraq. Current foreign policy openly focuses on dominating the planet. The astonishing thing is that some people don't notice.

The world runs on oil. Controlling the supply conveys almost absolute power over those countries that do not have their own. (For example, the Japanese would soon be eating each other if their oil were cut off.) Saudi Arabia is an American protectorate,and, having seen what happened to Iraq, knows that it can be conquered in short order if it gets out of line. The U. S. Navy could easily block tanker traffic from Hormuz to any or all countries.

A major purpose of the destruction of Iraq was to get control of its oil and put American forces on the border of Iran, another oil power. The current attempt to starve the Iranians aims at installing a American puppet government. The ongoing coup in Venezuela seeks control of another vast oil reserve. It will also serve to intimidate the rest of Latin America by showing what can happen to any country that defies Washington. Why are American troops in Nigeria? Guess what Nigeria has.

Note that Iraq and Iran, in addition to their oil, are geostrategically vital to a world empire. Further, the immensely powerful Jewish presence in the US supports the Mid-East wars for its own purposes. So, of course, does the arms industry. All God's chillun love the Empire.

For the Greater Empire to prevail, Russia and China, the latter a surprise contender, must be neutralized. Thus the campaign to crush Russia by economic sanctions. At the same time Washington pushes NATO, its sepoy militia, ever eastward, wants to station US forces in Poland, plans a Space Command whose only purpose is to intimidate or bankrupt Russia, drops out of the INF Treaty for the same reasons, and seeks to prevent commercial relations between Russia and the European vassals (e.g., Nordstream II).

China of course is the key obstacle to expanding the Empire. Ergo the trade war. America has to stop China's economic and technological progress, and stop it now, as it will not get another chance.

The present moment is an Imperial crunch point. America cannot compete with China commercially or, increasingly, in technology. Washington knows it. Beijing's advantages are too great: A huge and growing domestic market, a far larger population of very bright people, a for-profit economy that allows heavy investment both internally and abroad, a stable government that can plan well into the future.

America? It's power is more fragile than it may seem. The United States once dominated economically by making better products at better prices, ran a large trade surplus, and barely had competitors. Today it has deindustrialized, runs a trade deficit with almost everybody, carries an astronomical and uncontrolled national debt, and makes few things that the world can't get elsewhere, often at lower cost.

Increasingly America's commercial power is as a consumer, not a producer. Washington tells other countries, "If you don't do as we say, we won't buy your stuff." The indispensable country is an indispensable market. With few and diminishing (though important) exceptions, if it stopped selling things to China, China would barely notice, but if it stopped buying, the Chinese economy would wither. Tariffs, note, are just a way of not buying China's stuff.

Since the profligate American market is vital to other countries, they often do as ordered. But Asian markets grow. So do Asian industries.

As America's competitiveness declines, Washington resorts to strong-arm tactics. It has no choice. A prime example is the 5G internet, a Very Big Deal, in which Huawei holds the lead. Unable to provide a better product at a better price, Washington forbids the vassals to deal with Huawei–on pain of not buying their stuff. In what appears to be desperation, the Exceptional Nation has actually made a servile Canada arrest the daughter of Huawei's founder.

The tide runs against the Empire. A couple of decades ago, the idea that China could compete technologically with America would have seemed preposterous. Today China advances at startling speed. It is neck and neck with the US in supercomputers, launches moonlanders, leads in 5G internet, does leading work in genetics, designs world-class chipsets (e.g., the Kirin 980 and 920) and smartphones. Another decade or two of this and America will be at the trailing edge.

The American decline is largely self-inflicted. The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence. American education deteriorates under assault by social-justice faddists. Washington spends on the military instead of infrastructure and the economy. It is politically chaotic, its policies changing with every new administration.

The first rule of empire is, "Don't let your enemies unite." Instead, Washington has pushed Russia, China, and Iran into a coalition against the Empire. It might have been brighter to have integrated Iran tightly into the Euro-American econosphere, but Israel would not have let America do this. The same approach would have worked with Russia, racially closer to Europe than China and acutely aware of having vast empty Siberia bordering an overpopulated China. By imposing sanctions of adversaries and allies alike, Washington promotes dedollarization and recognition that America is not an ally but a master.

It is now or never. If America's great but declining power does not subjugate the rest of the world quickly, the rising powers of Asia will swamp it. Even India grows. Either sanctions subdue the world, or Washington starts a world war. Or America becomes just another country.

To paraphrase a great political thinker, "It's the Empire, Stupid."

WorkingClass , says: February 20, 2019 at 7:56 pm GMT

The U.S. is broke. And stupid. Soon she will be forced to repatriate her legions.
Carlton Meyer , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 8:04 pm GMT
Great summary!

"Washington has pushed Russia, China, and Iran into a coalition against the Empire."

Turkey may soon join them, then Iraq might revolt. South Korea has tired of the warmongering and may join too, which is why Washington is giving them the lead in dealing with North Korea. But a united Korea identifes more with China than the USA, so the USA wants to block that idea. The Germans are unhappy too, with all the warmongering, immigration, and American arrogance.

Isabella , says: February 20, 2019 at 8:05 pm GMT
Sorry Fred, but you're too late. It's all over. Just that your maniacal rulers, i.e. Pompeo, Bolton et al can't see it. Or, Cognitive Dissonance being painful, refuse to.

Warsaw recently was a case in point. The two biggest European countries, Germany and France refused to even send a senior representative. All people did was listen in an embarrassed silence while Pompeo tried to make like a latter day Julius Cesear. At the same time, Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Sochi, and worked out how they were going to take the next solving the mess in Syria, the way they want it.

Incidentally, you could also go onto YouTube and watch RT's subtitled [also horrible voice over, but you can't have everything I guess] of President Putin's "Address to Parliament and the Nation". It runs for close to 1.5 hours. You will hear the problems Russia has, how Putin addresses the concerns of the people, their complaints re poor access in country areas to medicine, and his orders on how this is to be fixed.

But you will also hear the moves forward, that Russia now has a trade surplus [remember those?] and can afford all the programs it needs. It's the world leading exporter of Wheat, and other commodities are catching up.

Then he will tell you and show videos of the latest 2 defense weapons – and they are things America cannot defend against. He also in light of the US withdrawing from the INF treaty made a very clear statement, should the US be so stupid as to think it can use Europe as it's war ground, and have Europeans get killed instead of Americans. "Put Intermediate sites in Europe and use just one, and not only will we fire on the European site that sent it, but we will also take out the "decision making centre", wherever this is".

Ponder that for a while. There is nothing US can do. The dollar is slowly being rejected and dumped. The heartland is reamed out after billions took the productive facilities and put them in China [so kind]. The homeless and desperate are growing in numbers.

It's all over, Fred. Time to start planning what to do when the mud really hits the fan.

foolisholdman , says: February 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm GMT
Can't argue with that! Usually, I read Fred for amusement, but this is all spot on. I particularly liked:

The American decline is largely self-inflicted. The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence. American education deteriorates under assault by social-justice faddists. Washington spends on the military instead of infrastructure and the economy.

Asagirian , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 9:15 pm GMT
Incredible. US government cooks up lies to invade and wreck Iraq, destroy Libya, and subvert Syria. It pulled off a coup in Ukraine with Neo-Nazis. US and its allies Saudis and Israel gave aid, direct and indirect, to ISIS and Al-Qaida to bring down Assad or turn Syria upside down.

But, scum like Pompeo puts forth hard-line stance against terrorists. What a bunch of vile phonies and hypocrites.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website February 20, 2019 at 9:41 pm GMT

It might have been brighter to have integrated Iran tightly into the Euro-American econosphere, but Israel would not have let America do this. The same approach would have worked with Russia, racially closer to Europe than China and acutely aware of having vast empty Siberia bordering an overpopulated China.

Russia is more than racially closer, Russia is culturally much closer and by culturally I don't mean this cesspool of new "culture". But, as you brilliantly noted:

The US chooses its government by popularity contests among provincial lawyers rather than by competence.

Philip Owen , says: February 20, 2019 at 10:22 pm GMT
Britain's time of full spectrum dominance (well trade, industry and navy really) did not emerge fully formed from isolation as did America. England and the UK played balance of power politics. The US can still do that for a very long time, given some basic diplomatic sense.

India, China & Pakistan present an interesting triangle. Indonesia and Vietnam are no friends of China. Nigeria is heading for 400m people and will want to exert its own power, not take instructions from Peking, etc, etc. Balance of power requires more fluidity than the US has shown to date. Seeing Russia as an hereditary enemy illustrates this failure.

Can the US make the changes necessary to play balance of power politics?

Si1ver1ock , says: February 20, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
I for one do not wish the Chinese any ill. They have worked hard to get where they are, whereas our leaders have betrayed us.

Philip Owen , says: February 21, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT