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Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

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Fifth Column of Globalization Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries US Department of Imperial Expansion Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
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Introduction

All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education, by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig

The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt  and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.

But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):

After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training  jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more. 

A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine,  Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece. 

In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)

In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.

This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.

This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.

...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.

...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.

In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.

In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.

Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.

The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both  population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.

So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil"  escape the current plato,  Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability.  That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).  

When Minsky crisis hits  some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony...  Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.

What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).

This is a pretty instructive example.   It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food.  As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.

This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process. 

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.

The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries.  Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.

Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia

Henry C K Liu Views

One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM


PART 1: A Structural Link

Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).

Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.

Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".

The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.

The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.

Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.

A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.

In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.

Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.

Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.

Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.

Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).

Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:

"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).

Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.

The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.

Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.

No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for  international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.

Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.

The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.

The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.

Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.

The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.

Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.

Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.

Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.

The victimization of Japan and China

Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.

China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.

The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.

Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.

Denial of corporate social responsibility

In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.

Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.

Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.

Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.

Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.
Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.

Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.

Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.

High pay for CEOs

Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.

Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.

The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)

Superman capitalism

As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.

Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.

System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.

An introduction to economic populism

To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".

The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.

And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."

Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.

Inequality only a new worry?

But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.

It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.

The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.

Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.

The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.

Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.

Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.

After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.

In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.

Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.

Reagan's anti-government fixation

The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.

Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.

According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.

Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.

Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".

Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".

Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.

The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.

Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.

Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

Regulation Q

The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.

The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.

New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.

Note
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]

William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.

Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.

Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.

In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."

The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.

Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal, May 24, 2006

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This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)

Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.

The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.

In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."

I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.

Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.

If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.

If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.

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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

An awkward argument with moments of brilliance, November 3, 2004

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Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.

The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".

I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.

And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?

My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.

It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.

The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.

During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.

It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.

Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.

But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".

Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".

I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)

According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.

Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."

As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.

This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.

The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.

Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.

It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.

I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.

Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us

Aftershock The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:

"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.

Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.

Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:

"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."

I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.

His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.

This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now 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.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. 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 strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.

The Great Deception

In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.

Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.

Trade for life

Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.

The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.

Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.

His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.

Web of Deceit

In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.

Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.

Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.

Unpeople

In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.

Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.

Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.

Alliance of transnational elites

From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.

While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

Across the Entire Globe

By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.

The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.

Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.

North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.

Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.

Myths of Underdevelopment

The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.

Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.

We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.

What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.

More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.

It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.

Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.

This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.

Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.

Artificially Converted to Poverty

What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.

Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.

Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.

Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.

Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.

Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).

Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.

In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.

Development Theory

When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.

According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.

This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.

Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.

After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.

Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.

After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.

The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.

In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.

In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/


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[Aug 22, 2019] The US Can't 'Get' Iran to 'Shut Down' Its Nuclear Program

That's how polls distort public opinion and promote militarism...
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
survey shows that most Americans don't want war with Iran. Only 18% of all American adults favor military action against Iran, and even among Republicans that number is just 25%. 78% favor economic and diplomatic efforts. That's fine as far as it goes, and it shows that there is very little support for a new war at this time. The framing of the question is the bigger problem and makes the results from the poll much less useful.

The poll asks, "What do you think the United States should do to get Iran to shut down its nuclear program -- take military action against Iran, or rely mainly on economic and diplomatic efforts?" The question assumes that it is within our government's power to "get Iran to shut down its nuclear program," when the experience of the last twenty years tells us that it is not. The nuclear negotiations that produced the JCPOA show beyond any doubt that there are limits to what Iran is willing to concede on this point. It is good that most Americans prefer non-military options to pursue this fantastical goal, but the assumption that Iran will one day "shut down" its nuclear program is completely unrealistic. On the contrary, the more pressure that the U.S. puts on Iran in an attempt to force such a shutdown, the more inclined Iran's government is to build up its program.

If Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful, there is no need for them to shut it down. The long-term goal of the JCPOA has been to demonstrate to the satisfaction of all parties that Iran's nuclear program is and will remain peaceful, and then at that point Iran will be treated like any other member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The U.S. doesn't need to do anything to "get" Iran to do this because the goal of shutting down the program is a foolish and impossible one. Perceiving Iran's possession of a peaceful nuclear program as a problem to be solved is one of the reasons why our debate over Iran policy is so warped and biased in favor of coercive measures. The idea that Iran has to "shut down" a program that it is legally entitled to have under the NPT is bizarre, but it is obviously a common view here in the U.S.

The question is misleading in another way, since it suggests that military action could be effective in forcing Iran to "shut down" the program. In reality, attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would at most set back the program, but it would give the Iranian government a strong incentive to develop and build a deterrent that would discourage the U.S. from launching more attacks in the future. Attacking a country when it doesn't have nuclear weapons is a good way to encourage them to acquire those weapons as quickly as possible.

That makes the results to the follow-up question all the more dispiriting. The poll also asks, "Suppose U.S. economic and diplomatic efforts do not work. If that happens, do you think the United States should -- or should not -- take military action against Iran?" Once again, the question assumes that getting Iran to "shut down" its nuclear program is both a legitimate and realistic goal. If non-military measures "do not work," there is additional support for military action from a depressing 42% of those who initially favored "economic and diplomatic efforts." Put them together with the initial supporters of military action, and you have a narrow majority of all American adults that thinks the U.S. should take military action:

The 42% of those who favor military action if nonmilitary efforts fail translates to 35% of all U.S. adults. Combining that group with the 18% who favor military action outright means a slim majority of Americans, 53%, would support military action against Iran if diplomatic and economic efforts are unsuccessful.

There is a disturbingly high level of support for launching an illegal attack on another country for something it is legally permitted to have. The assumption that "economic and diplomatic efforts" will be "unsuccessful" if they don't force Iran to abandon its nuclear program helps to push respondents to give that answer, but they wouldn't endorse a military option if they hadn't been led to think that Iran's nuclear program is an intolerable danger. That is partly because of the bad framing of the questions, but it is also a product of decades of relentless propagandizing about a supposed threat from Iran's nuclear program that is completely divorced from reality. We need better poll questions on this subject, but we also need better, more informed debate about Iran and we have to stamp out the threat inflation that poisons and distorts the public's perceptions of threats from other states.

[Aug 22, 2019] Chaotic Unpredictable Iran Vows Oil Routes Won't Be Safe If It Can't Export

Aug 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The White House policy of taking Iranian oil exports to "zero" still has a long way to go, thanks in no small part to China , and also despite Pompeo touting this week that US sanctions have removed nearly 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from global markets.

US frustration was evident upon the release of the Adrian Darya 1, with Gibraltar resisting Washington pressures to hand over the Iranian vessel, given as its en route to Greece, American officials are now warning that they will sanction anyone who touches the tanker .

Seizing on Washington's frustration as part of its own "counter-pressure" campaign of recent weeks, Iran has again stated if it can't export its own oil, it will make waterways unsafe and "unpredictable" for anyone else to to so .

[Aug 21, 2019] Creative use of Taiwan to fuel protests by providing asylum to protesters

Aug 21, 2019 | news.yahoo.com

China slammed Taiwan Monday for offering asylum to Hong Kong people facing prosecution for involvement in anti-government protests, telling the island's leaders to "stop meddling" in the territory's affairs.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen voiced support last month for granting asylum to some Hong Kong protesters, with the semi-autonomous financial hub in the midst of an unprecedented political crisis.

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Chinese cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office, warned Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party to "stop undermining the rule of law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and stop indulging criminals in any way".

Taiwanese authorities "ignore the facts and reverse black and white, not only masking the crimes of a small number of Hong Kong militants, but also fuelling their arrogance for destroying Hong Kong", said Ma.

Last month after dozens of Hong Kong activists reportedly involved in an unprecedented storming of the city's parliament fled to Taiwan, the Taipei said it would provide assistance to those seeking sanctuary.

"They openly claim to provide (protesters) asylum, making Taiwan into a 'haven sheltering criminals', where does this put the safety and welfare of the Taiwan people?" asked Ma.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a part of China awaiting reunification, but the island is a self-ruled democracy.

The protest movement in Hong Kong was sparked by widespread opposition to a plan for allowing extraditions to the Chinese mainland, but has since morphed into a broader call for democratic rights.

Taiwan's history of providing sanctuary to Chinese dissidents has been mixed.

The island still does not recognise the legal concept of asylum but has, on occasions, allowed dissidents to stay on long-term visas.

Ties with Beijing have soured since Tsai came to power in 2016 because her party refuses to recognise the idea that Taiwan is part of "one China". lawrence

2 days ago

Taiwan is an independent country. Of cause it has the right and authority to grant any asylum to the eligible asylum seeker. Respect Taiwan as an respected country ,equal to china, and the world will put china in a better place. Loving freedom and democracy is a human basic right realty and could not be altered by force...wake up china..

[Aug 21, 2019] Further US sanctions on Russia. Russian gdp growth is very low now, forecasts are about mere 1,2 % per anum, and thus Russia's share of world GDP is declining

Notable quotes:
"... EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me. ..."
Aug 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 14:22 utc | 83

> Further US sanctions on Russia. Russian gdp growth is very low now, forecasts are about mere 1,2 % per anum, and thus Russia's share of world GDP is declining.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 20 2019 13:15 utc

You think "harming Russia" is a good answer to question "how does it boost USA the hegemon?". Well, let's suppose it...

Problem then is, Russia does not care that much about nominal GDP and even about PPP GDP. It is "average temperature in hospital", where some patients are in 41C fever and others in 4C morgue, but on average they all have that healthy 36,6C.

However, even for those sanctions that did hit Russia and EU hard (and those were enacted mostly in 2015), under the "China-Russia double helix" model, economic soft power is Chinese responsibility, so targetting EU and Russia economically was perhaps a mis-aiming, like would be targetting China militarily.

Also, take a single line - "congress obliges Trump to enlist Russian officials for sanctions" and do the search in both pro-Clinton Google and in DDG. first page of Google has zero relebvant results. DDG however starts with

Trump Administration Sends Congress List of Possible Russia ...
www.nytimes.com/2017/10/26/us/politics/trump-russia-sanctions.html

Congress has tied Trump's hands on Russian sanctions - Vox
www.vox.com/2017/7/29/16061878/trump-russian-sanctions-sign

Congress Forces Trump to Sanction Russia - Fash the Nation
fashthenation.com/2018/03/congress-forces-trump-to-sanction-russia/

Trump Finally Imposes Russia Sanctions That Congress Ordered ...
www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/trump-finally-imposes-russia-sanctions-that-congress-ordered-months-ago/

Is 2017 so far ago that we already forgot it? Trump has no freedom of choice to sanction Russia or not. It is not his authority to make this choice. Trump is ordered to sanction and he would do. If he has any leeway, it is to how specifically sanction, but even that choice is framed into UIS domestic politic fuel, as a vehicle to fry Trump over being "Putin's shil" and looking "not enough" into evil Russians.

> China postponed for overtaking the US in gdp MER to 2032 from 2024.

Estimations are just that, estimations. Guesses into the future mixed with propaganda. If you don't buy Trump's tweets about "China begging for deal" and Obama's about "Russian economy in tatters" - why to buy these estimations?

> Indian growth downgraded - which taken together with China means slowing down Asia's rise.

Pro-American Modi in power of India was a definite win for USA. But I do not think Trump did it in 2016. Such events are grown for years and years of undercover works.

Same for the Brazil fiasco, which i perceive was much heavier blow upon BRICS than Modi. But Brazilian coup was in preparation yet before Trump's oath. May 2016 was the FINAL act, prepared months before: nytimes.com/interactive/2016/world/americas/brazil-dilma-rousseff-impeachment.html

> Iran in recession - long term growth is low - it means that Iran's share of the world economy is now declining. This will lower Iranian influence in the long term.

Long term? like Trump is planning for long term? Would he, like Putin, still be American president in 2016+18=2034 ?
Well, maybe. However does it boost much US the hegemon position today?

Also notice how this pushes Iran back to Russian bucket. Before JCPOA Iran was flirting with "Lesser Satan" a lot, promising to buy russian airliners, promising to barter Iranian goods (oil and others) for Russian goods, thus de facto letting Russia be quasi-monopolistic seller of Iranian goods on world market for any margin Russia would manage to extract. All those hints and kinda-plans were squashed instantly after JCPOA. Iran rushed to trade with EU directly, to buy Boeing and Airbis jets.... But was shot into the leg before it started. I think China would also find their way to be "big helping brother" to Iranian economy, on some conditions of course.

> Venezueala in deep recession

True, and this is again fitting the isolationist bill, to a degree. If Team Trump ready to exclude USA from global trade - it would have to secure oil supply. Enslaving a nearby oil-containing nation would do.

Additionally, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States–Venezuela_relations lists 2014 as start of economic sanctions against Venezuela. So, Trump has inherited "office of Venezuelan affairs" from Cinton/Obama. And... he brought it to light and headlines by making that idiotic wannabe-coup. The sh*t that previously USA did silently pretending whitegloved "shining beacon", Trump exposed.

Did it really made USA position better in 2018 than it was in 2014? I doubt. To me it seemes more like T.T. accelerated things and "threw it all on the table" making Venezuela "hit the rock bottom". Now Venezuela can adjust to the new brave world, while USA would probably not be in position to tighten its grip - it already burned all the reserves and in so clumsy way, that Bolton and Co became a laughing stock. If anything, it exposed that while most gov't there would be paying lip service to USA, none would go with something material. France invaded with USA Libya, Germany invaded with USA Serbia, but none enlisted to invade Venezuela with USA.

> In Latin America most governments are now US puppet governments.

Brazil was indeed a huge blow into the BRICS dream. But i see it more of that indirect, covert "soft power" that USA secret services prepared and rushed to implement before Trump.

> Weakened the EU, via support for Brexit and other ways - it means that the euro will not be a viable alternative for replacing the dollar

Basically turning EU elites against USA and splitting "Western Hegemony" into rivaling factions.

From multipolar view circa 2010, would it be much difference for, say, Russia or China or Iran, whether USD or EUR would be "reserve currency"?

After Alexander of Macedonia died his empire split to pieces, and some of those pieces soon started warring. Did this enhance Greek hegemony or reduced it?

When COMECOM and Warsaw Pact disbanded did it enhanced Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe or reduced it? But it slashed exports of those lands, Bulgaria is not more agriculture super-power it used to be, "Ikarus" bus is still often meet in Moscow street but in the "remnants of old times still able to run" kind, Poland is no more producing ocean-grade ships. So, was it enhancing USSR share of world economy then?

Also, didn't he kind of forced EU elites into Chinese OBOR camp? That said, similarly Russia was forced towards China in 2013-2014 by Western lunacy, so i would not say it was Trump's novelty to push EU eastwards.

EU was in with US in looting Libya, EU was in with US in looting Serbia, now US calls for EU to join in "patrolling" Persian Gulf and response is... like the one about invading Venezuela. Hegemon became stronger?

> Trade wars seem to be hitting EU's export dependent economy pretty hard.

And i wish to see more of those wars not less. Won't you? EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me.

> Turkey has serious economic problems - partly due to the US again - which again means slowing down multipolarity

Wasn't in 2012 Turkey part of Hegemon entourage neck-deep in bloody ISIS affair?
Wasn't Turkey for decades be knockign into closed EU membership doors?
Wasn't Turkey send their people into Germany to intertwine and cross-influence?

Turkey as part of multipolarity? Maybe. But exactly because it was prohibited from what they see their place in global western world. However i am not very sure that would West offer "larger piece" to Turkey in their crippling hegemony, turkey would not turn back yet again. Goog thing, it would be hard to do as few believe western promises today, but again, didn't Trump (but other western politicians too, and including many pre-Trump) invested into making West glaringly "not agreement-capable" in but everyone's view?

Trump could smash Turkey and instate Kudistan.
Trump could smash Kurds and make amends with Erdo.
Instead Trump is breaking pots with both. Neither Kurds not Turks no trust "the shining beacon".

> Overall situation - the US share in the world economy is declining at slower rates than before

Won't this mean Trump's economic policy is if limited success?

> the retarding of growth of everyone else, which means defacto slowing down multipolarity and the replacement of the US dollar

That may be what some faction of Team Trump counting upon. But i have reservations.
Uni-polarity is not about economic growth. It is about trading on One True Market, hegemon's one.
And when everything goes down, another factors start to weigh in. Like elasticity of demand and replacement with cheaper substitutes. Like, if i need a tooling for my house, i would perhaps want to purchase Japanese Makita or German Bosh. Those are famous brands with decades of well earned reputation. But if i only can salivate on them, then perhaps i can go with some cheaper Chinese knock-off? Or perhaps to blow the dust from my grandpa's old tool and purchase nothing at all? If i can buy genuine American Levi's it is a fad, but if i can, then perhaps i will make it in Turkey-made or China-made or Philipinnes-made or even Syria-made jeans? You know, their cut is not that fitting as European or American, but perhaps we can deal with it for the price? If in Russia i can no more buy Czech or German beer as before 2014, then perhaps i can sooth myself with apple cidre from semi-eastern Altai region of Russia? And then, will my gov't still had the same need for USD for those adjusted trade transactions, as it used to?

[Aug 20, 2019] The trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling by James Bovard

While the USA run the show, EU was complicit in this war.
Notable quotes:
"... The American Conservative, ..."
"... In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts ..."
"... Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites." ..."
"... a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation. ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

In a 2011 review for The American Conservative, I scoffed, "After NATO planes killed hundreds if not thousands of Serb and ethnic Albanian civilians, Bill Clinton could pirouette as a savior. Once the bombing ended, many of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo were slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground. NATO's 'peace' produced a quarter million Serbian, Jewish, and Gypsy refugees."

In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts .

Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites."

The New York Times reported that the trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling: "Past investigations of reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo have been undermined by witnesses' fears of testifying in a small country where clan ties run deep and former members of the KLA are still feted as heroes. Former leaders of the KLA occupy high posts in the government." American politicians almost entirely ignored the scandal. Vice President Joe Biden hailed former KLA leader and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010 as "the George Washington of Kosovo." A few months later, a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation.

Clinton's war on Serbia opened a Pandora's box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and pundits portrayed that war as a moral triumph, it was easier for subsequent presidents to portray U.S. bombing as the self-evident triumph of good over evil. Honest assessments of wrongful killings remain few and far between in media coverage.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy , The Bush Betrayal , Terrorism and Tyranny , and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors. He is on Twitter at @jimbovard. His website is at www.jimbovard.com This essay was originally published by Future of Freedom Foundation .

[Aug 20, 2019] Trump's Persian-Gulf Car Crash Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... the Iranian economy is in a free fall with oil exports down as much as 90 percent from mid-2018 levels. As far as Iran is concerned, this means that it's already at war with the United States and has less and less to lose the longer the U.S. embargo goes on. ..."
"... MBS, as he's known, celebrated by launching an air war in neighboring Yemen two months later – and then disappearing on a week-long vacation in the Maldives – and by funneling hundreds of U.S.-made TOWs (anti-tank guided missiles) to Syrian rebels under the command of Al-Nusra, the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, for use in an offensive in that country's northwest province of Idlib. ..."
"... For the Saudis, it was a neo-medieval crusade whose goal was to topple two religio-political allies of Iran, the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus and Yemen's Houthis, who adhere to a non-Iranian form of Shi'ism that is no less anathema to the Sunni Wahhabist theocracy in Riyadh. ..."
"... Just two days after the start of the Saudi air assault in Yemen, Obama meanwhile telephoned Salman to assure him of U.S. support. When asked why America would back a war by one of the Middle East's richest countries against the very poorest, another anonymous U.S. official told The New York Times (April 2, 2015): ..."
"... "If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." ..."
"... The Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression. ..."
"... The American empire was possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients. Even while making peace with Iran, Obama thus green-lit Saudi wars that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, the 2015 nuclear negotiations, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others. ..."
"... Announcing his presidential bid in June 2015, he launched into a typical Trumpian rant against China, Japan, Mexico – and Obama's nuclear talks. "Take a look at the deal he's making with Iran," he said. "He makes that deal, Israel maybe won't exist very long." A month later, he tweeted that the agreement, just inked in Vienna, "poses a direct national security threat." Two months after that, he told a Tea Party rally in Washington: ..."
"... Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all. Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran , Trump did an about-face. In May 2017, he flew to Riyadh, announced an unprecedented $110-billion arms deal, and proclaimed himself the kingdom's newest BFF – best friend forever. ..."
"... He echoed the Saudis by accusing Iran of funding "terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region" and backed a Saudi blockade of neighboring Qatar. When ISIS launched a bloody assault on central Tehran in early June that killed 12 people and injured 42, the only White House response was to declare that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote." ..."
"... It was Democrats who, in a typical attempt to outflank Trump on the right, introduced legislation in June 2017 by forcing him to impose penalties on Russia, North Korea, and Iran as well. But after repudiating the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, Trump upped sanctions even more in November – not only against the Iranian government but against some 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. After Iran shot down a $130-million U.S. surveillance drone last month, Trump imposed sanctions on "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his office, and his closest associates. Two weeks ago, he imposed penalties on Mohammad Javad Zarif , Iran's U.S.-educated foreign minister. ..."
"... It was a gesture of contempt for the very idea of diplomacy. So what happens next? The problem is that re-starting negotiations would not be enough. Instead, Iran has demanded that the U.S. remove all sanctions and apologize before agreeing to a new round of talks. Since this would be tantamount to re-authorizing the JCPOA, it's unlikely in the extreme. While Trump is known for changing his mind in a flash, a course correction of this magnitude is hard to imagine. ..."
"... The pro-Israel Lobby owns both Republican and Democrat Russiagate enthusiasts and is the source of near hysterical demands for opposition with Iran. ..."
"... But in June 1914, clearly there were multiple political and military leaders in Europe for whom war was far from inconceivable. War was simply a question of timing and so it would be better to have a war when the circumstances were most propitious. "I consider a war inevitable", declared senior German generals such as Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in 1912. "The sooner the better". ..."
"... such blatant and reprehensible behavior carries risks for everyone but mostly the targets of our barbaric behavior seems never to enter the President, his neocon handlers' and his rabid supporters' minds. ..."
"... "If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." That is unmitigated nonsense. Why not be honest. We don't want to stop it. ..."
"... To "stop it", Uncle Sam would have to first cease being a part of it. The bombing of Yemen came courtesy of U.S. mid-air refueling efforts, targeting "intelligence", and "made in America" weaponry. The blockade (starvation) of Yemen is also a duel accompaniment. It's supposed to look like a Saudi "thing", but in actuality, it's just more Uncle Sam doing his thing. Obama called it "leading from behind". ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Trump has taken an insane U.S. policy towards Iran and make it even crazier, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

T raffic accidents normally take just a second or two. But the coming collision in the Persian Gulf, the equivalent of a hundred-vehicle pile-up on a fog-bound interstate , has been in the works for years. Much of it is President Donald Trump's fault, but not all. His contribution has been to take an insane policy and make it even crazier.

The situation is explosive for two reasons. First, the Iranian economy is in a free fall with oil exports down as much as 90 percent from mid-2018 levels. As far as Iran is concerned, this means that it's already at war with the United States and has less and less to lose the longer the U.S. embargo goes on.

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

Second, after Trump denounced the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord from the moment he began his presidential run , it's all but impossible at this point for him to back down. The result is a classic collision between the immovable and the unstoppable with no apparent way out.

How did the world bring itself to the brink of war? The answer, ironically, is by bidding for peace.

The process began in early 2015 just as the nuclear talks were entering their final stages. Despite last-minute hand-wringing , it was clear that success was in sight simply because the participants – China, France, Russia, Germany, Britain, the European Union, Iran and the U.S. – all wanted it.

Saudi Proxy War

But other regional players felt differently, Saudi Arabia first and foremost. The kingdom's survival strategy depends on its special relationship with America, its patron since the 1940s. Hence, it was panic-stricken by anything smacking of a U.S. rapprochement with its long-standing arch-enemy Iran. The upshot was a proxy war in which the Saudis set out to roll back Iranian power by striking out at pro-Iranian forces.

The offensive began after a new Saudi monarch ascended the throne in January 2015. King Salman, a doddering 79-year-old reportedly suffering from Alzheimer's , immediately handed over the reins to his favorite son, 29-year-old Muhammad bin Salman, whom he named deputy crown prince and minister of defense. MBS, as he's known, celebrated by launching an air war in neighboring Yemen two months later – and then disappearing on a week-long vacation in the Maldives – and by funneling hundreds of U.S.-made TOWs (anti-tank guided missiles) to Syrian rebels under the command of Al-Nusra, the local Al-Qaeda affiliate, for use in an offensive in that country's northwest province of Idlib.

For the Saudis, it was a neo-medieval crusade whose goal was to topple two religio-political allies of Iran, the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus and Yemen's Houthis, who adhere to a non-Iranian form of Shi'ism that is no less anathema to the Sunni Wahhabist theocracy in Riyadh.

President Barack Obama went along. With regard to Syria, an unidentified "senior administration official" told The Washington Post that while the White House was "concerned that Nusra has taken the lead," all he would say in response to U.S.-made missiles winding up in Al-Qaeda hands was that it was "not something we would refrain from raising with our partners." (See " Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda ," May 2, 2015.)

Just two days after the start of the Saudi air assault in Yemen, Obama meanwhile telephoned Salman to assure him of U.S. support. When asked why America would back a war by one of the Middle East's richest countries against the very poorest, another anonymous U.S. official told The New York Times (April 2, 2015):

"If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." But plainly the nuclear negotations were key. The Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression.

The upshot has been Saudi wars claiming hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, Obama's efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others.

Over-Extended Empire

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with King Salman bin Abdulaziz at Erga Palace in Riyadh, Jan. 27, 2015. (White House/Pete Souza/Flickr)

The American empire was possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients. Even while making peace with Iran, Obama thus green-lit Saudi wars that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria and another 100,000 or so in Yemen while triggering a surge of international terrorism and the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. While reducing tensions in some respects, the 2015 nuclear negotiations, paradoxically, caused them to explode in others.

The results were so devastating in a region torn by war, sectarianism, and economic collapse that Trump could not possibly make them any worse – except that he did.

Announcing his presidential bid in June 2015, he launched into a typical Trumpian rant against China, Japan, Mexico – and Obama's nuclear talks. "Take a look at the deal he's making with Iran," he said. "He makes that deal, Israel maybe won't exist very long." A month later, he tweeted that the agreement, just inked in Vienna, "poses a direct national security threat." Two months after that, he told a Tea Party rally in Washington:

"Never, ever, ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran . They rip us off, they take our money, they make us look like fools, and now they're back to being who they really are. They don't want Israel to survive, they will not let Israel survive, [and] with incompetent leadership like we have right now, Israel will not survive."

Iran's Landmark Concession

It was all nonsense. Rather than threatening the Jewish state, the treaty represented a landmark concession on Iran's part, since Israel, with an estimated 80 to 90 nuclear warheads in its arsenal and enough fissile material for a hundred more, would maintain its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East indefinitely. As for "our money," the $150 billion in various foreign accounts were actually Iranian assets that had been frozen for years – a sum, moreover, that was closer to $56 billion once Iran settled its foreign debts. Once sanctions were lifted, it was hardly unreasonable that such assets be restored.

Still there was hope. While railing against Iran, Trump also taunted the Saudis for their role in 9/11: "Who blew up the World Trade Center?" he told Fox & Friends. "It wasn't the Iraqis, it was Saudi [Arabia]." He repeatedly assailed the 2003 invasion of Iraq – even if he exaggerated his own role in opposing it – and criticized Obama for supporting Saudi-backed jihadis seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Assad is bad," he said in an October 2015 interview . "Maybe these people could be worse."

Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all. Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran , Trump did an about-face. In May 2017, he flew to Riyadh, announced an unprecedented $110-billion arms deal, and proclaimed himself the kingdom's newest BFF – best friend forever.

He echoed the Saudis by accusing Iran of funding "terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region" and backed a Saudi blockade of neighboring Qatar. When ISIS launched a bloody assault on central Tehran in early June that killed 12 people and injured 42, the only White House response was to declare that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

But back in September 2003, some 60,000 Iranian soccer fans had observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the World Trade Center while then-President Mohammad Khatami declared on nationwide TV:

"My deep sympathy goes out to the American nation, particularly those who have suffered from the attacks and also the families of the victims. Terrorism is doomed, and the international community should stem it and take effective measures in a bid to eradicate it."

Yet all the Trump administration could say was that Iran had it coming.

It was Democrats who, in a typical attempt to outflank Trump on the right, introduced legislation in June 2017 by forcing him to impose penalties on Russia, North Korea, and Iran as well. But after repudiating the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, Trump upped sanctions even more in November – not only against the Iranian government but against some 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels. After Iran shot down a $130-million U.S. surveillance drone last month, Trump imposed sanctions on "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, his office, and his closest associates. Two weeks ago, he imposed penalties on Mohammad Javad Zarif , Iran's U.S.-educated foreign minister.

Crowd at Tea Party rally listening to Donald Trump denounce the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Sept. 9, 2015. (YouTube)

It was a gesture of contempt for the very idea of diplomacy. So what happens next? The problem is that re-starting negotiations would not be enough. Instead, Iran has demanded that the U.S. remove all sanctions and apologize before agreeing to a new round of talks. Since this would be tantamount to re-authorizing the JCPOA, it's unlikely in the extreme. While Trump is known for changing his mind in a flash, a course correction of this magnitude is hard to imagine.

Thus, the confrontation is set to continue. Iran may respond by seizing more oil tankers or downing more drones, but the problem is that the U.S. will undoubtedly engage in tit-for-tat escalation in response until, eventually, some kind of line is crossed.

If so, the consequences are unpredictable. U.S. firepower is overwhelming , but Iran is not without resources of its own , among them anti-ship ballistic missiles, mobile short-range rockets that can hit naval targets, plus heavily-armed high-speed boats, mini-subs, and even " ekranoplans ," floating planes designed to skim the waves at 115 miles per hour. Such weaponry could prove highly effective in the 35-mile-wide Strait of Hormuz. Iran also has allies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah, which has an estimated 130,000 missiles and rockets in its own arsenal, Assad's battle-hardened military in Syria, Yemen's Houthis, and pro-Iranian forces in Shi'ite-majority Iraq.

The upshot could be a war drawing in half a dozen countries or more. A confrontation on that scale may seem inconceivable. But, then, war seemed inconceivable in the wake of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in June 1914.

Daniel Lazare is the author of "The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy" (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at D aniellazare.com .


Jeff Davis , August 20, 2019 at 12:42

America is Israel's b*tch.

The American experiment is over. A variety of corporate/neoliberal interests and foreign interests have hollowed it out, and soon, when every last bit of loot has been extracted, the dried up husk of the Empire will collapse. There is no saving it because the looters are still in control. Their control is unbreakable because buying Congress is such a minor and manageable expense for them, and the Congressmen/women are simply incapable of setting aside personal interest and personal ambition for the good of the country. Incapable, because if they ever chose country over their own careers , the "owners" -- ie donors/looters -- would find someone to replace them. There is no way out until it comes crashing down.

Don Bacon , August 20, 2019 at 11:33

Iran whipped the US in Syria, cementing the 'Shia crescent' from Tehran to Beirut, which gives Iran the mantle of ME leadership. Washington had to respond to that fact because it threatens the US and its Carter-Doctrine position as the predominate ME power. So don't blame Israel.

Zhu , August 20, 2019 at 05:44

You forgot to mention pressure from Religious Right Republicans, eager for the Rapture, the Return of Jesus, etv., etc. Christism Zionists in short.

Broompilot , August 20, 2019 at 01:19

I find it interesting that there is no mention of Netanyahu appearing before Congress or the U.N. drawing silly looking pictures of bombs. Or Netanyahu claiming he had jacked some new documents from Iran proving they had a nuclear weapons program. Or Netanyahu disrespecting Obama with his appearance in Congress. Or Bibi's landing in L.A. with a motorcade that screwed up traffic all over town to demonstrate who is really important in this country. Reading this piece you would think this is 95% about Saudis and has very little to do with Israel. There is no doubt that the gulf monarchies do not want successful representative governments breaking out on their borders and giving their citizens ideas, but I doubt they have anything resembling the Israeli lobbies and their influence operating in the U.S. with the power to influence Iran policy.

AnneR , August 20, 2019 at 08:23

True, Broompilot. And I too awaited throughout the article for Mr Lazare to discuss the really existing and marked part that Israel has played and is playing in all of the more recent destruction in neighboring countries, and that illegitimate state's huge influence on this country's politics, military actions (in the MENA countries when those actions might benefit Israel), administration decisions (not to mention the cooperation among US and Israeli secret services *and* electronic-internet companies which anyway themselves both derive from the military and remain closely entwined with it).

Most US presidents – and seemingly all US Congresses – since WWII have aided and abetted Israel and its appalling human rights record which never ends and continues with impunity. But Trump is perhaps more so than most if only because his daughter, a convert to Judaism, is married to an ardent Zionist, and buddy-buddy to Netanyahu. Lazare hints at Trump's pro-Zionism (whatever its basis) but leaves it there.

Marko , August 19, 2019 at 22:50

"Trump's Persian-Gulf Car Crash"

When you view foreign policy as a Demolition Derby competition , as Trump and the neocons do , this is called "Winning !"

Gregory Herr , August 19, 2019 at 20:44

The war of terrorism waged upon the people of Syria didn't come about because the U.S. was "possibly so over-extended that it was at the mercy of its ostensible clients", or because the "Obama administration was so anxious to smooth ruffled Saudi feathers and tone down criticism of the impending Iranian accord that it felt it had no choice but say yes to Saudi aggression."

Washington's Long War on Syria (Stephen Gowans) began well before Obama, Yahoo, Erdogan, and Petraeus set up rat lines of weaponry and training for terrorists in Jordan and Turkey. The current iteration of "topple thru terror" was in the offing, with or without Saudi "impetus".

Syria stands in the way of Greater Israel and Wall Street/central bank dominance.

Obama "went along" alright. But it wasn't the Saudis he was "appeasing".

Obama should have normalised relations with Iran and disavowed all the b.s. rhetoric about them. His "deal" had "made to be broken" written all over it because of his rhetoric. All done in bad faith with the Path to Persia kept open.

Jeff Harrison , August 19, 2019 at 18:30

The big problem is that the US is convinced that it knows what it's doing when, in fact, it is clueless. The US also is perpetually optimistic when it has nothing upon which to base said optimism. It's not as if we've actually defeated anybody in the Middle East. Revoltin' Bolton may think he's scaring people with aircraft carriers and B52s but you'll notice that Iran snatched the British tanker and the Iraqi tanker after the US moved it's carrier and bombers into the Gulf. They also shot down our drone in the same time frame.

We're playing a losing strategy.

Jeff Davis , August 20, 2019 at 12:11

We're playing a losing strategy because America is Israel's bitch.

The American experiment is over. A variety of corporate/neoliberal interests and foreign interests have hollowed it out, and soon, when every last bit of loot has been extracted, the dried up husk of the Empire will collapse. There is no saving it because the looters are still in control. Their control is unbreakable because buying Congress is such a minor and manageable expense for them, and the Congressmen/women are simply incapable of setting aside personal interest and personal ambition for the good of the country. Incapable, because if they ever chose country over their own careers , the "owners" -- ie donors/looters -- would find someone to replace them. There is no way out until it comes crashing down.

Don Bacon , August 19, 2019 at 18:29

"It was all nonsense. Rather than threatening the Jewish state, the treaty represented a landmark concession on Iran's part,. . ."

Calling the Obama agreement a treaty is nonsense, rather it was an agreement involving only the executive branch and not the Senate as required by the Constitution for treaties. Obama needed an achievement for his presidential library, so he waited until his term was almost over to do what he could have done, with Brazil and Turkey, in 2010. Therefore Trump had every right to overturn an agreement made by his hated predecessor, with the knowledge that the Senate never would have approved it since they are all corrupted.

This is another example (Bush-43 on Iraq withdrawal was another) of what the US has come to. This so-called "rules-based democracy" has become a stomping ground for the "commander-in-chief" to display his executive privilege and do any damned thing he takes a mind to, including war, with nary a peep from the so-called "checks and balance" folks who are supposed to be looking after US democracy, but aren't.

robert e williamson jr , August 19, 2019 at 16:18

I found this a Jeff Morely's Deep State Blog https://deepstateblog.org/2019/08/19/iraq-curbs-uk-s-flights-after-reported-israeli-attacks/#comment-1308

These actions by Israel should be expected as well as the Iranian response, which could very easily be war.

All the result of having an idiot at the wheel of the ship of state. Trump and his supporter will own it if it happens.

The Israeli government know no limits or no shame, a very dangerous group for the rest of the world to have to deal with.

Trump needs to be impeached no earlier than one month before the next presidential election and exiled to Israel like the turn coat he is.

Robyn , August 19, 2019 at 19:14

That link didn't work, try this one:

https://deepstateblog.org/2019/08/19/iraq-curbs-u-s-flights-after-reported-israeli-attacks/

Abe , August 19, 2019 at 15:45

"Trumpian isolationism was fleeting, if it ever existed at all."

It never existed.

A clueless Lazare has been repeatedly informed of the fact in the comments of his CN articles.

Now he's feebly wondering "if".

"Under intense pressure from neoconservatives, the Zionist lobby, and pro-Israel Democrats such as Russiagate attack dog Rep. Adam Schiff demanding stepped-up opposition with Iran, Trump did an about-face."

The pro-Israel Lobby owns both Republican and Democrat Russiagate enthusiasts and is the source of near hysterical demands for opposition with Iran.

Trump has never been under "intense pressure" and has not done "an about-face" because he has always been avowedly "1000 percent" pro-Israel.

A worse than clueless Lazare has been repeatedly informed of the fact in the comments of his CN articles.

Lazare apparently finds lots of things "hard to imagine", even "inconceivable".

But in June 1914, clearly there were multiple political and military leaders in Europe for whom war was far from inconceivable. War was simply a question of timing and so it would be better to have a war when the circumstances were most propitious. "I consider a war inevitable", declared senior German generals such as Helmuth von Moltke the Younger in 1912. "The sooner the better".

Current Israeli leadership holds such a view. The Trump administration foreign policy purchased by the pro-Israel Lobby reflects this view.

But for the obviously very well informed but perpetually clueless Lazare, it all somehow remains "inconceivable"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIP6EwqMEoE

Abe , August 19, 2019 at 16:56

Vigorous efforts by the pro-Israel Lobby keep the US committed to a succession of classic blunders:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmT0_hKSUrw

Abe , August 20, 2019 at 00:24

Trump has walked away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and has performed numerous other services, including threatening war on Iran, precisely because the Israelis wanted them done.

Don't confuse Trump's servility to the pro-Israel Lobby for "isolationism".

The arrogant aggression of the Trump-Bolton-Pompeo troika is bought and paid for by Israel.

Herman , August 19, 2019 at 14:39

Depressing. Having defended Trump because attacks were directed at the President of the United States, any president, it is hard to support a man whose every move is a political calculation. That such blatant and reprehensible behavior carries risks for everyone but mostly the targets of our barbaric behavior seems never to enter the President, his neocon handlers' and his rabid supporters' minds.

One comment in this depressing article caught my eye.

"If you ask why we're backing this, beyond the fact that the Saudis are allies and have been allies for a long time, the answer you're going to get from most people – if they were being honest – is that we weren't going to be able to stop it." That is unmitigated nonsense. Why not be honest. We don't want to stop it. The We, of course, being our decision makers and a too large segment of our brainwashed electorate.

Gregory Herr , August 19, 2019 at 19:52

To "stop it", Uncle Sam would have to first cease being a part of it. The bombing of Yemen came courtesy of U.S. mid-air refueling efforts, targeting "intelligence", and "made in America" weaponry. The blockade (starvation) of Yemen is also a duel accompaniment. It's supposed to look like a Saudi "thing", but in actuality, it's just more Uncle Sam doing his thing. Obama called it "leading from behind".

[Aug 20, 2019] When, If Ever, Can We Lay This Burden Down by Pat Buchanan

Pat lost its touch with reality " Around the world, America is involved in quarrels, clashes and confrontations with almost too many nations to count." That's what empires do. Why he can't understand this simple fact?
Aug 20, 2019 | www.unz.com
Pat Buchanan 800 Words 30 Comments Reply

Friday, President Donald Trump met in New Jersey with his national security advisers and envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is negotiating with the Taliban to bring about peace, and a U.S. withdrawal from America's longest war.

U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001, in a war that has cost 2,400 American lives.

Following the meeting, Trump tweeted, "Many on the opposite sides of this 19 year war, and us, are looking to make a deal -- if possible!"

Some, however, want no deal; they are fighting for absolute power.

Saturday, a wedding in Kabul with a thousand guests was hit by a suicide bomber who, igniting his vest, massacred 63 people and wounded 200 in one of the greatest atrocities of the war. ISIS claimed responsibility.

Monday, 10 bombs exploded in restaurants and public squares in the eastern city of Jalalabad, wounding 66.

Trump is pressing Khalilzad to negotiate drawdowns of U.S. troop levels from the present 14,000, and to bring about a near-term end to U.S. involvement in a war that began after we overthrew the old Taliban regime for giving sanctuary to Osama bin Laden.

Is it too soon to ask: What have we gained from our longest war? Was all the blood and treasure invested worth it? And what does the future hold?

If the Taliban could not be defeated by an Afghan army, built up by the U.S. for a decade and backed by 100,000 U.S. troops in 2010-2011, then are the Taliban likely to give up the struggle when the U.S. is drawing down the last 14,000 troops and heading home?

The Taliban control more of the country than they have at any time since being overthrown in 2001. And time now seems to be on their side.

Why have they persevered, and prevailed in parts of the country?

Motivated by a fanatic faith, tribalism and nationalism, they have shown a willingness to die for a cause that seems more compelling to them than what the U.S.-backed Afghan government has on offer.

They also have the guerrillas' advantage of being able to attack at times and places of their own choosing, without the government's burden of having to defend towns and cities.

Will these Taliban, who have lost many battles but not the war, retire from the field and abide by democratic elections once the Americans go home? Why should they?

The probability: When the Americans depart, the war breaks out anew, and the Taliban ultimately prevail.

And Afghanistan is but one of the clashes and conflicts in which America is engaged.

Severe U.S. sanctions on Venezuela have failed to bring down the Nicholas Maduro regime in Caracas but have contributed to the immiseration of that people, 10% of whom have left the country. Trump now says he is considering a quarantine or blockade to force Maduro out.

Eight years after we helped to overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is still mired in civil war, with its capital, Tripoli, under siege.

Yemen, among the world's humanitarian disasters, has seen the UAE break with its Saudi interventionist allies, and secessionists split off southern Yemen from the Houthi-dominated north. Yet, still, Congress has been unable to force the Trump administration to end all support of the Saudi war.

Two thousand U.S. troops remain in Syria. The northern unit is deployed between our Syrian Kurd allies and the Turkish army. In the south, they are positioned to prevent Iran and Iranian-backed militias from creating a secure land bridge from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut.

In our confrontation with Iran, we have few allies.

The Brits released the Iranian tanker they seized at Gibraltar, which had been carrying oil to Syria. But when the Americans sought to prevent its departure, a Gibraltar court ruled against the United States.

Iran presents no clear or present danger to U.S. vital interests, but the Saudis and Israelis see Iran as a mortal enemy, and want the U.S. military rid them of the menace.

Hong Kong protesters wave American flags and seek U.S. support of their demands for greater autonomy and freedom in their clash with their Beijing-backed authorities. The Taiwanese want us to support them and sell them the weapons to maintain their independence. The Philippines wants us to take their side in the dispute with China over tiny islets in the South China Sea.

We are still committed to go to war to defend South Korea. And the North has lately test-fired a series of ballistic missiles, none of which could hit the USA, but all of which could hit South Korea.

Around the world, America is involved in quarrels, clashes and confrontations with almost too many nations to count.

In how many of these are U.S. vital interests imperiled? And in how many are we facing potential wars on behalf of other nations, while they hold our coat and egg us on?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

[Aug 20, 2019] Tulsi A Living Reminder of Iraq s Liars and Apologists by David Masciotra

Notable quotes:
"... Gabbard calls out the betrayers; Dems try to forget their heroes Mueller and Biden are among them. ..."
"... The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion -- weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein's connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint -- remain "murky at best." That's a quote from the 9/11 Commission's conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden's group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history. ..."
"... As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion. ..."
"... Gore Vidal once christened his country the "United States of Amnesia," explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: "Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before." ..."
"... The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago, but it might as well have never taken place, given the curious lack of acknowledgement in our press and political debates. As families mourn their children, babies are born with irreversible deformities, and veterans dread trying to sleep through the night, America's political class, many of whom sold the war to the public, have moved on. When they address Iraq at all, they act as though they have committed a minor error, as though large-scale death and destruction are the equivalent of a poor shot in golf when the course rules allow for mulligans. ..."
"... As the Robert Mueller fiasco smolders out, it is damning that the Democratic Party, in its zest and zeal to welcome any critical assessment of Trump's unethical behavior, has barely mentioned that Mueller, in his previous role as director of the FBI, played a small but significant role in convincing the country to go to war in Iraq. ..."
"... Mueller testified to Congress that "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program poses a clear threat to our national security." He also warned that Saddam could "supply terrorists with radiological material" for the purposes of devising a nuclear bomb. Leaving aside any speculation about Mueller's intentions and assuming he had only the best of motives, it is quite bizarre, even dangerous, to treat as oracular someone who was wrong on such a life-or-death question. ..."
"... The former vice president now claims that his "only mistake was trusting the Bush administration," implying he was tricked into supporting the war. This line is not as persuasive as he imagines. First, it raises the question -- can't we nominate someone who wasn't tricked? Second, its logic crumbles in the face of Biden's recent decision to hire Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, as his campaign's foreign policy advisor. Burns was also a vociferous supporter of the war. An enterprising reporter should ask Biden whether Burns was also tricked. Is the Biden campaign an assembly of rubes? ..."
"... Instead, the press is likelier to interrogate Biden over his holding hands and giving hugs to women at public events. Criticism of Biden's "inappropriate touching" has become so strident that the candidate had to record a video to explain his behavior. The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war. ..."
Aug 02, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Gabbard calls out the betrayers; Dems try to forget their heroes Mueller and Biden are among them.

Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, toxicologist at the University of Michigan, has organized several research expeditions to Iraq to measure the contamination and pollution still poisoning the air and water supply from the tons of munitions dropped during the war. It does not require any expertise to assume what the studies confirm: disease is still widespread and birth defects are gruesomely common. Back home, it is difficult to measure just how many struggle with critical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion -- weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein's connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint -- remain "murky at best." That's a quote from the 9/11 Commission's conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden's group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history.

As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion.

Gore Vidal once christened his country the "United States of Amnesia," explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: "Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before."

The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago, but it might as well have never taken place, given the curious lack of acknowledgement in our press and political debates. As families mourn their children, babies are born with irreversible deformities, and veterans dread trying to sleep through the night, America's political class, many of whom sold the war to the public, have moved on. When they address Iraq at all, they act as though they have committed a minor error, as though large-scale death and destruction are the equivalent of a poor shot in golf when the course rules allow for mulligans.

As the Robert Mueller fiasco smolders out, it is damning that the Democratic Party, in its zest and zeal to welcome any critical assessment of Trump's unethical behavior, has barely mentioned that Mueller, in his previous role as director of the FBI, played a small but significant role in convincing the country to go to war in Iraq.

Mueller testified to Congress that "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program poses a clear threat to our national security." He also warned that Saddam could "supply terrorists with radiological material" for the purposes of devising a nuclear bomb. Leaving aside any speculation about Mueller's intentions and assuming he had only the best of motives, it is quite bizarre, even dangerous, to treat as oracular someone who was wrong on such a life-or-death question.

Far worse than the worship of Mueller is the refusal to scrutinize the abysmal foreign policy record of Joe Biden, currently the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Of the Democrats in the Senate at that time, Biden was the most enthusiastic of the cheerleaders for war, waving his pompoms and cartwheeling in rhythm to Dick Cheney's music. Biden said repeatedly that America had "no choice but to eliminate the threat" posed by Saddam Hussein. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his blustering was uniquely influential.

The former vice president now claims that his "only mistake was trusting the Bush administration," implying he was tricked into supporting the war. This line is not as persuasive as he imagines. First, it raises the question -- can't we nominate someone who wasn't tricked? Second, its logic crumbles in the face of Biden's recent decision to hire Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, as his campaign's foreign policy advisor. Burns was also a vociferous supporter of the war. An enterprising reporter should ask Biden whether Burns was also tricked. Is the Biden campaign an assembly of rubes?

Instead, the press is likelier to interrogate Biden over his holding hands and giving hugs to women at public events. Criticism of Biden's "inappropriate touching" has become so strident that the candidate had to record a video to explain his behavior. The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war.

Polling well below Biden in the race is the congresswoman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard. She alone on the Democratic stage has made criticism of American militarism central to her candidacy. A veteran of the Iraq war and a highly decorated major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, Gabbard offers an intelligent and humane perspective on foreign affairs. She's called the regime change philosophy "disastrous," advocated for negotiation with hostile foreign powers, and backed a reduction in drone strikes. She pledges if she becomes president to end American involvement in Afghanistan.

When Chris Matthews asked Gabbard about Biden's support for the Iraq war, she said, "It was the wrong vote. People like myself, who enlisted after 9/11 because of the terrorist attacks, were lied to. We were betrayed."

Her moral clarity is rare in the political fog of the presidential circus. She cautions against accepting the "guise of humanitarian justification for war," and notes that rarely does the American government bomb and invade a country to actually advance freedom or protect human rights.

Gabbard's positions are vastly superior to that of the other young veteran in the race, Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend recently told New York that one of his favorite novels is The Quiet American , saying that its author, Graham Greene, "points out the dangers of well-intentioned interventions."

Buttigieg's chances of winning the nomination seem low, and his prospects of becoming a literary critic appear even lower. The Quiet American does much more than raise questions about interventions: it is a merciless condemnation of American exceptionalism and its attendant indifference to Vietnamese suffering.

Americans hoping for peace won't find much comfort in the current White House either. President Trump has made the world more dangerous by trashing the Iran nuclear deal, and his appointment of John Bolton, a man who makes Donald Rumsfeld look like Mahatma Gandhi, as national security advisor is certainly alarming.

America's willful ignorance when it comes to the use of its own military exposes the moral bankruptcy at the heart of its political culture. Even worse, it makes future wars all but inevitable.

If no one can remember a war that ended merely nine years ago, and there's little room for Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary, how will the country react the next time a president, and the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declare that they have no choice but to remove a threat?

Norman Solomon, journalist and founder of the Institute for Public Accuracy, knows the answer to that question. He provides it in the title of his book on how the media treats American foreign policy decisions: War Made Easy .

David Masciotra is the author of four books, including Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky) and Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing).

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Walter a day ago

Where ae the people who told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Should they be tried for lying to the American public? 4500 troops killed and over $1.1 TRILLION wasted with no good results .With hundreds of thousands of Iraq's killed. .
Clyde Schechter Walter a day ago
Where are they, indeed? They are still running US foreign policy; that's where they are. They are pundits in all the major media; that's where they are.

I cannot even imagine what historians will say about the uncanny persistence of these charlatans' influence in this era after a consistent record of disastrous, abysmal misadventures.

JeffK from PA Walter 17 hours ago
You don't have to look too hard to find them. Bolton, Pompeo, and other neocons are hiding in plain sight. The Military Industrial Complex is embedded in our foreign policy like a tick on a dog.
Sid Finster JeffK from PA 13 hours ago
Why not start with Bush and Blair?
IanDakar Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Because you'd be knocking out a storm trooper instead of the emperor, at least as far as Bush goes. Same for why the focus is on Bolton rather than simply Trump.

I CAN see an argument that Trump/Bush knew what they were doing when they brought those people in though. f you feel that way and see it more of an owner of a hostile attack dog then yeah, you'd want to include those two too.

JeffK from PA Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Cheney. Pure evil.
Sid Finster Walter 13 hours ago
Nuremberg provides an instructive precedent. Start at the top with Bush and Blair keep going on down.
Disqus10021 Sid Finster 11 hours ago
Recommended viewing: the 1961 movie "Judgment at Nuremberg".
L Walter 12 hours ago
One might wonder where that intelligence was gathered, and then maybe we could find out why these wars have been happening.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) a day ago
Here stands Tulsi. A woman, who, unlike their conventional troupe, can win this election. They reject her because... what? Moar war? She's not the member of the Cult? Or it's simply some sort of collective political death wish?
Anonne Alex (the one that likes Ike) 12 hours ago
They reject her because she had the temerity to speak truth to power and supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race. She stepped down from her position as Vice Chair of the DNC to endorse Sanders. She has real courage, and earned their wrath. She's not perfect but she's braver and stronger than almost the entire field. Only Bernie is on par.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Anonne 9 hours ago
And Bernie is the one they also hate, maybe a little bit less openly. Thus they reject those who can win the election. It's either a self-destructiveness or they think that it's better to keep on losing than to rebuild the party into what it needs to be.
Nelson Alex (the one that likes Ike) 8 hours ago
What do you mean "they"? Anyone is free to support her campaign.
former-vet a day ago • edited
Democrats and the Republican establishment, both, love war. It wasn't a coincidence that Hillary Clinton chose Madeleine Albright to be a keynote speaker at "her" party convention ("we think the deaths of a half million children are worth it"). Liberals know that there isn't really any "free" free, and that taxing the rich won't match their dreams -- it is the blood and bones of innocent foreigners that must pay for their lust. Establishment Republicans are more straightforward: they simply profit off the death and destruction.

This is why Trump is being destroyed, and why Tulsi is attacked. If only "she" (the one who gloated over Khameni's murder) had been elected, we'd be in a proxy war with Russia now! A real war with Iran! This is what the American people want, and what they'll likely get when they vote another chicken-hawk in come 2020.

Sid Finster former-vet 13 hours ago
Agree, except that Trump is not governing as a non-interventionist.

About the only thing one can say is that his is a slightly less reckless militarist than what the political class in this country wants.

Nelson former-vet 8 hours ago
Khameni is still alive. You're thinking of Gaddafi.
Fayez Abedaziz a day ago
Tulsi, like Sanders is a 'danger' to everything Israel wants.
So, all...all the main 'news' networks and online sites don't like them and give more coverage to the same old Dem bull peddlers like ignorant Booker and the lousy opportunist low IQ Kamala Harris and Gillibrand.
TomG 17 hours ago • edited
Manafort and his ilk can be tried and convicted for their lies. I guess if the lie is big enough we grant a pass on any need for prosecution. Justice for all? I don't think so.

Max Blumenthal posted a powerful piece at Consortium News (7/31/2019) about Biden's central and south American mis-adventures. Biden still extols his own policies however disastrous. The hubris of the man is worse than nauseating.

Great article, Mr. Masciotra.

OrvilleBerry 14 hours ago
Whether one thinks Gabbard has a shot at the nomination or not, it's important to keep her on the stage in the next round of debates. Go to Tulsi2020.com and give her just one dollar (or more if you can)
so she has enough unique contributors to make the next round. And if you get polled,early on give her your vote.
Strawman 12 hours ago
The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war.

Perfectly encapsulates the collective puerility of the American electorate. Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave.

Disqus10021 12 hours ago • edited
The total US costs related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to be considerably larger than $1.1 trillion, according to this study:
https://www.hks.harvard.edu...
Try $4-$6 trillion, according to the author of the study.

Long after I, Andrew Bacevitch and Hillary Clinton have gone to our reward, there will still be thousands of wounded warriors from these US Middle East adventures dependent on VA benefits for their survival and competing with civilian seniors for government handouts. A war with Iran would make the US fiscal situation that much worse.

The religious folks who were so anxious to protect family values only a few years ago seem to have their heads in the sand when it comes to the financial future of today's young Americans.

A few weeks ago, I made a token contribution to Tulsi Gabbard's campaign to help her qualify for the July Democratic debates. She will need more new contributors to qualify for the next round of debates.

david 12 hours ago
"The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago,..."

Ahh..., really? So why do we still have over 5000 soldiers in Iraq?

christopher kelly police ret. 11 hours ago
Tulsi was marvelous in knocking out Harris.
Zsuzsi Kruska 10 hours ago
Tulsi hasn't a chance of the nomination, but she's exposing things and maybe more people will get a clue about what's really going on with American lives and taxes being squandered for the profit of the few who benefit from these atrocities and wars abroad, done in the name of all Americans.
Eric 10 hours ago
Donated my $3 to Tulsi yesterday. She's the only Democrat I would vote for and she needs to stay in this race as long as possible.
Steve Naidamast 10 hours ago
Being a supporter of Tulsi Gabbard for the very reasons that the author writes, has me agreeing with everything he has promoted in his piece.

However, to answer his own question as to why Americans are lured into commenting on such innocuous and foolish things in such an important election such as Biden's touching of women, is answered by the author's own prose.

He states that Americans are only provided such nonsense from the press that is monitoring the election process. What else can people talk about? And even if many Americans are clearheaded enough to understand the charade of the current Democratic debates, what or who will actually provide legitimate coverage with the exception of online sites as the American Conservative, among others?

If most Americans were actually thinking individuals, Tulsi Gabbard would be a shoo-in for the presidency in 2020. However, given the two factors of a highly corrupted mainstream press and too many Americans not studying enough civics to understand what is going on around them, it is highly unlikely that Tulsi Gabbard will even get close to the possibility of being nominated...

JeffK from PA 10 hours ago
Cheney, mentioned in the article, was pure evil. I voted for GB2 for two reasons. 1) He was a very good Texas governor. He actually got anti-tax Texas to raise taxes dedicated to support education, in return for stricter standards for teachers. A good trade since Texas public schools were awful. 2) Dick Cheney. I thought he was the adult in the room that would provide steady and reliable guidance for Bush.

Boy was I wrong about Cheney. "Deficits don't matter". Just watch the movie Vice. Christian Bale does an incredible job portraying the pure evil of Cheney and the Military Industrial Complex. The movie is chilling to watch. And it is basically true. Politifact does a good job of scoring the accuracy of Cheney's role in the Bush administration as portrayed in the movie.

https://www.politifact.com/...

Mccormick47 10 hours ago
The trouble is, Conservatives promoting Gabbard and Williamson as their preferred candidates poisons their chances of staying in the race.
Mark Thomason 9 hours ago
I remember a friend of mine, a proud Marine, saying before the Iraq War, "Well, they better find some WMD for all this."

They didn't. That should matter.

[Aug 19, 2019] Trump's Foreign Policy All Coercion, No Diplomacy

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump's Foreign Policy: All Coercion, No Diplomacy By Daniel Larison August 19, 2019, 1:54 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, President Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton at the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. [State Department photo/ Public Domain] Matt Lee reports on the Trump administration obsessive use of sanctions:

Call it the diplomacy of coercion.

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Many are questioning the results even as officials insist the penalties are achieving their aims.

It is true that the Trump administration is using economic coercion as its default approach to almost everything, but there doesn't appear to be any diplomacy involved. There is such a thing as "coercive diplomacy," but there is no evidence that Trump and his officials understand the first thing about it. An administration that genuinely wanted to secure lasting diplomatic agreements with other states would apply pressure only as a means to a specific, achievable goal, but with this administration they are waging purely destructive economic wars that the targeted states cannot end without capitulating. The "maximum pressure" description implies an unwillingness to relieve pressure short of the other side's surrender.

It is not just that it is a "combination of more sticks and fewer carrots." The Trump administration's policies are all punishment and no reward. In the case of Iran, it could hardly be otherwise when the administration chose to penalize Iran with sanctions for daring to comply with a multilateral nonproliferation agreement. Iran behaved constructively and acceded to the demands of the P5+1 four years ago, and in return for their cooperation they have been subjected to a grueling economic war despite fully complying with their commitments. When our government punishes another state for doing what previous administrations wanted them to do, no amount of punishment could force that state to trust our government a second time.

The administration approaches each case in the same way: they impose penalties, they make threats, they offer no incentives, and they make outrageous, far-fetched demands that no government would ever accept. Trump handles the trade wars in much the same way that he handles the "maximum pressure" campaigns against intransigent governments, and he fails every time because he can't conceive of a mutually beneficial agreement and therefore refuses to compromise. Trump's "diplomacy" is no diplomacy at all, but a series of insults, sanctions, tariffs, and threats that achieve nothing except to cause disruption and pain. Unsurprisingly, a pressure campaign that is aimed at toppling a government or forcing it to give up everything it has cannot be successful on its own terms as long as the targeted government chooses to resist, and the stakes for the targeted government will always higher than they are for the administration. In a contest of wills, the party that is fighting to preserve itself has the advantage.

[Aug 19, 2019] War Party Hates Putin Loves al-Qaeda by Justin Raimondo

Late Justin Raimondo was an astute analyst of events in Syria... This is his analysys from 2015. It is still cogent as of August 2019.
Notable quotes:
"... "War on terrorism" turns into cold war against Russia ..."
"... By the way, according to the Pentagon's own testimony before a congressional committee, only sixty "vetted" fighters were sent into Syria to take on both Assad and ISIS. And while they denied, at first, that their pet "moderates" betrayed Washington and handed over most of their weapons and other equipment to al-Qaeda in return for "safe passage," the Pentagon later admitted it . ..."
"... [I]t is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade ..."
"... It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them. ..."
"... "I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here? The recent incident where the most 'moderate' opposition group handed over their weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that. ..."
Oct 02, 2015 | original.antiwar.com

"War on terrorism" turns into cold war against Russia

Posted on August 19, 2019 August 18, 2019 In both Yemen and Syria, the War Party has found an ally that they can get behind, you know, one that really supports our values: al-Qaeda. From time to time they have even managed to get President Trump to go along with this nonsense – presumably due to the baleful influence of John Bolton. (See Ron Paul's recent discussion of recent developments.) It is worth a look back at an earlier high-points in this strange alliance between the West and al-Qaeda against Russia and Syria. Justin's column from four years ago (October 2, 2015) analyzes it in depth.

Originally published October 2, 2015

As Russian fighter jets target al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, the Western media is up in arms – and in denial . They deny the Russians are taking on ISIS – and they are indignant that Putin is targeting al-Qaeda , which is almost never referred to by its actual name, but is instead described as " al-Nusra ," or the more inclusive " Army of Conquest ," which are alternate names for the heirs of Osama bin Laden.

And there are no ideological lines being drawn in this information war: both the left and the right – e.g. the left-liberal Vox and the Fox News network – are utilizing a map put out by the neoconservative "Institute for the Study of War" to "prove" that Putin isn't really attacking ISIS – he's actually only concerned with destroying the "non-ISIS" rebels and propping up the faltering regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The premise behind this kind of propaganda is that there really is some difference between ISIS and the multitude of Islamist groups proliferating like wasps in the region: and that, furthermore, al-Qaeda is "relatively" moderate when compared to the Islamic State. Yes, incredibly, the US and British media are pushing the line that the al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, known as al-Nusra, are really the Good Guys.

Didn't you know that we have always been at war with Eastasia?

There is much whining , this [Thursday] morning, that a supposedly US-"vetted" group known as Tajammu al-Aaza has felt Putin's wrath – but when we get down into the weeds, we discover that this outfit is fighting alongside al-Qaeda:

"Jamil al-Saleh, a defected Syrian army officer who is now the leader of the rebel group Tajammu al-Aaza, told AlSouria.net that the Russian airstrikes targeted his group's base in al-Lataminah, a town in the western Syrian governorate of Hama. That area represents one of the farthest southern points of the rebel advance from the north and is therefore a crucial front line in the war. An alliance of Syrian rebel factions, including both the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and groups considered by Washington to be more moderate, successfully drove Assad regime forces out of the northern governorate of Idlib and are now pushing south into Hama."

By the way, according to the Pentagon's own testimony before a congressional committee, only sixty "vetted" fighters were sent into Syria to take on both Assad and ISIS. And while they denied, at first, that their pet "moderates" betrayed Washington and handed over most of their weapons and other equipment to al-Qaeda in return for "safe passage," the Pentagon later admitted it . Furthermore, we were told that these were the only "vetted" fighters actually in the field, but now we are confronted with "Tajammu al-Aaza," which – it's being reported – is deploying US-supplied missile guidance systems against Syrian government forces.

So a handful of "vetted" fighters suddenly turns into an entire armed force – one which, you'll note, has effectively merged with al-Qaeda.

The lies are coming at us so fast and thick in the first 24 hours of the Russian strikes that we face a veritable blizzard of obfuscation. They range from the egregious – alleged photos of "civilian casualties" that turn out to be fake – to the more subtle: a supposed Free Syrian Army commander is reported killed by a Russian air strike, and yet it appears that very same commander was kidnapped by ISIS last year . We are told that the town of Rastan, the site of Russian strikes, isn't under the control of ISIS – except it was when ISIS was executing gay men there .

The Russians make no bones about their support of Assad: in his speech to the United Nations, Putin stated his position clearly: "We think it's a big mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian authorities and government forces who valiantly fight terrorists on the ground." On the other hand, the objectives of the Western alliance in Syria aren't so clear: on the one hand, Washington claims to be directing the main blow against ISIS, but its claims of success have been greatly exaggerated . Yet we have spent many millions arming and training "vetted" rebels who have been defecting to ISIS and al-Qaeda in droves.

It's almost as if we're keeping ISIS around so as to put pressure on Assad to get out of Dodge. As Putin put it in his UN speech :

" [I]t is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade .

" It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.

"I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here? The recent incident where the most 'moderate' opposition group handed over their weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that. "

The reality is that there are no "moderates" in Syria, and certainly not among the rebel Islamist groups: they're all jihadists who want to impose Sharia law, drive out Christians, Alawites, and other minority groups, and set up an Islamic dictatorship. These are our noble "allies" – the very same people who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and against whom our perpetual "war on terrorism" was launched.

[Aug 19, 2019] The Deeper Meaning in a Lost War -- Strategic Culture

Aug 19, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

It's pretty clear. Saudi Arabia has lost, and, notes Bruce Riedel, "the Houthis and Iran are the strategic winners". Saudi proxies in Aden – the seat of Riyadh's Yemeni proto-'government' – have been turfed out by secular, former Marxist, southern secessionists. What can Saudi Arabia do? It cannot go forward. Even tougher would be retreat. Saudi will have to contend with an Houthi war being waged inside the kingdom's south; and a second – quite different – war in Yemen's south. MbS is stuck. The Houthi military leadership are on a roll , and disinterested – for now – in a political settlement. They wish to accumulate more 'cards'. The UAE, which armed and trained the southern secessionists has opted out. MbS is alone, 'carrying the can'. It will be messy.

So, what is the meaning in this? It is that MbS cannot 'deliver' what Trump and Kushner needed, and demanded from him: He cannot any more deliver the Gulf 'world' for their grand projects – let alone garner together the collective Sunni 'world' to enlist in a confrontation with Iran, or for hustling the Palestinians into abject subordination, posing as 'solution'.

What happened? It seems that MbZ must have bought into the Mossad 'line' that Iran was a 'doddle'. Under pressure of global sanctions, Iran would quickly crumble, and would beg for negotiations with Trump. And that the resultant, punishing treaty would see the dismantling of all of Iran's troublesome allies around the region. The Gulf thus would be free to continue shaping a Middle East free from democracy, reformers and (those detested) Islamists.

What made the UAE – eulogised in the US as tough 'little Sparta' – back off? It was not just that the Emirs saw that the Yemen war was unwinnable. That was so; but more significantly, it dawned on them that Iran was going to be no 'doddle'. But rather, the US attempt to strangulate the Iranian economy risked escalating beyond sanctions war, into military confrontation. And in that eventuality, the UAE would be devastated. Iran warned explicitly that a drone or two landed into the 'glass houses' of their financial districts, or onto oil and gas facilities, would set them back twenty years. They believed it.

But there was another factor in the mix. "As the world teeters on the edge of another financial crisis", Esfandyar Batmanghelidj has noted , "few places are being gripped by anxiety like Dubai. Every week a new headline portends the coming crisis in the city of skyscrapers. Dubai villa prices are at their lowest level in a decade, down 24 percent in just one year. A slump in tourism has seen Dubai hotels hit their lowest occupancy rate since the 2008 financial crisis – even as the country gears up to host Expo 2020 next year. As Bloomberg's Zainab Fattah reported in November of last year, Dubai has begun to "lose its shine," its role as a center for global commerce "undermined by a global tariff war -- and in particular by the US drive to shut down commerce with nearby Iran"".

An extraneous Houthi drone landing in Dubai's financial zone would be the 'final nail in the coffin' (the expatriates would be out in a flash) – a prospect far more serious than the crisis of 2009, when Dubai's real estate market collapsed, threatening insolvency for several banks and major development companies, some of them state-linked – and necessitating a $20 billion bailout.

In short, the Gulf realised MbS' confrontation project with Iran was far too risky, especially with the global financial mood darkening so rapidly. Emirati leaders faced off with MbZ, the confrontation ideologue – and the UAE came out of Yemen formally (though leaving in situ its proxies), and initiated outreach to Iran, to take it out of that war, too.

It is now no longer conceivable that MbS can deliver what Trump and Netanyahu desired . Does this then mean that the US confrontation with Iran, and Jared Kushner's Deal of the Century, are over? No. Trump has two key US constituencies: AIPAC and the Christian Evangelical 'Zionists' to 'stroke' electorally in the lead up to the 2020 elections. More 'gifts' to Netanyahu in the lead into the latter's own election campaign are very likely also, as a part of that massaging of domestic constituencies (and donors).

In terms of the US confrontation with Iran, it seems that Trump is turning-down the volume on belligerence toward Iran, hoping that economic sanctions will work their 'magic' of bringing the Islamic Republic to its knees. There is no sign of that however – and no sign of any realistic US plan 'B'. (The Lindsay Graham initiative is not one).

Where does that leave MbS in terms of US and Israeli interests? Well, to be brutal, and despite the family friendships 'expendable', perhaps? The scent of an eventual US disengagement from the region is again hanging in the air.

The deeper meaning in the 'lost Yemen war', ultimately, is an end to Gulf hopes that 'magician' Trump would undo the earlier Gulf panic that the West would normalise with Iran (through the JCPOA), thus leaving Iran as the paramount regional power. The advent of Trump, with all his affinity towards Saudi Arabia, seemed to Gulf States to promise the opportunity again to 'lock in' the US security umbrella over Gulf monarchies, protecting these states from significant change, as well as leaving Iran 'shackled', and unable to assume regional primacy.

A secondary meaning to Yemen is that Trump and Netanyahu's heavy investment in MbS and MbZ has proved to be chimeric. These two, it turned out were 'naked' all along. And now the world knows it. They can't deliver. They have been bested by a ragtag army of tough Houthi tribesmen.

The region now observes that 'war' isn't happening (although only by the merest hair's breadth): Trump is not – of his own volition – going to bomb Iran back to the 1980s. And Gulf States now see that if he did, it is they – the Gulf States – who would pay the highest price. Paradoxically, it has fallen to the UAE, the prime agitator in Washington against Iran, to lead the outreach toward Iran. It represents a salutary lesson in realpolitik for certain Gulf States (and Israel). And now that it has been learned, it is hard to see it being reversed quite so easily.

The strategic shift toward a different security architecture is already underway, with Russia and China proposing an international conference on security in the Persian Gulf: Russia and Iran already have agreed joint naval exercises in in the Indian Ocean and Hormuz, and China is mulling sending its warships there too, to protect its tankers and commercial shipping. Plainly, there will be some competition here, but Iran has the upper hand still in Hormuz. It is a powerful deterrent (though one best threatened, but not used).

Of course, nothing is assured in these changing times. The US President is fickle, and prone to flip-flop. And there are yet powerful interests in the US who do want see Iran comprehensively bombed. But others in DC – more significantly, on the (nationalist) Right – are much more outspoken in challenging the Iran 'hawks'. Maybe the latter have missed their moment? The fact is, Trump drew back (but not for the stated reasons) from military action. America is now entering election season – and it is fixated on its navel. Foreign policy is already a forgotten, non-issue in the fraught partisan atmospherics of today's America.

Trump likely will still 'throw Israel a few bones', but will that change anything? Probably, not much. That is cold comfort – but it might have been a lot worse for the Palestinians. And Greater Israel? A distant, Promethean hope.

[Aug 19, 2019] US Backs Xenophobia Mob Violence in Hong Kong Consortiumnews

Looks like the USA played Hong Hong population like Western Ukrainians... Differneces in history and interests with mainland china are easy to amplify given enough dollars and acess to free training of students. Who are the the core of this color revolution with oligarchs like Jimmy Lai concerned with the future of this fortunes under Chines control are real puppeteers of this show.
Like in case of EuroMaydan some concerns of citizens are real and deserve listening. But they serve are just a pretext for fueling violet actions against legitimate government.
Aug 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

But the protests continued even after the extradition law was taken off the table -- and these demonstrations degenerated into disturbing scenes. In recent days, hundreds of masked rioters have occupied the Hong Kong airport, forcing the cancellation of inbound flights while harassing travelers and viciously assaulting journalists and police .

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The protesters' stated goals remain vague. Joshua Wong, one of the most well known figures in the movement, has put forward a call for the Chinese government to "retract the proclamation that the protests were riots," and restated the consensus demand for universal suffrage.

Wong is a bespectacled 22-year-old who has been trumpeted in Western media as a "freedom campaigner," promoted to the English-speaking world through his own Netflix documentary, and rewarded with the backing of the U.S. government.

But behind telegenic spokespeople like Wong are more extreme elements such as the Hong Kong National Party, whose members have appeared at protests waving the Stars and Stripes and belting out cacophonous renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner. The leadership of this officially banned party helped popularize the call for the full independence of Hong Kong, a radical goal that is music to the ears of hardliners in Washington.

Xenophobic resentment has defined the sensibility of the protesters, who vow to "retake Hong Kong" from Chinese mainlanders they depict as a horde of locusts. The demonstrators have even adopted one of the most widely recognized symbols of the alt-right, emblazoning images of Pepe the Frog on their protest literature. While it's unclear that Hong Kong residents see Pepe the same way American white nationalists do, members of the U.S. far-right have embraced the protest movement as their own, and even personally joined their ranks.

Among the most central influencers of the demonstrations is a local tycoon named Jimmy Lai. The self-described "head of opposition media," Lai is widely described as the Rupert Murdoch of Asia. For the masses of protesters, Lai is a transcendent figure. They clamor for photos with him and applaud the oligarch wildly when he walks by their encampments.

Lai established his credentials by pouring millions of dollars into the 2014 Occupy Central protest, which is known popularly as the Umbrella Movement. He has since used his massive fortune to fund local anti-China political movers and shakers while injecting the protests with a virulent brand of Sinophobia through his media empire.

Though Western media has depicted the Hong Kong protesters as the voice of an entire people yearning for freedom, the island is deeply divided. This August, a group of protesters mobilized outside Jimmy Lai's house, denouncing him as a "running dog" of Washington and accusing him of national betrayal by unleashing chaos on the island.

Days earlier, Lai was in Washington, coordinating with hardline members of Trump's national security team, including John Bolton. His ties to Washington run deep -- and so do those of the front-line protest leaders.

Millions of dollars have flowed from U.S. regime-change outfits like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) into civil society and political organizations that form the backbone of the anti-China mobilization. And Lai has supplemented it with his own fortune while instructing protesters on tactics through his various media organs.

With Donald Trump in the White House, Lai is convinced that his moment may be on the horizon. Trump "understands the Chinese like no president understood," the tycoon told The Wall Street Journal . "I think he's very good at dealing with gangsters."

Born to Wealthy Mainland Parents

Born in the mainland in 1948 to wealthy parents, whose fortune was expropriated by the Communist Party during the revolution the following year, Jimmy Lai began working at 9 years old, carrying bags for train travelers during the hard years of the Great Chinese Famine.

Inspired by the taste of a piece of chocolate gifted to him by a wealthy man, he decided to smuggle himself to Hong Kong to discover a future of wealth and luxury. There, Lai worked his way up the ranks of the garment industry, growing enamored with the libertarian theories of economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, the latter of whom became his close friend.

Friedman is famous for developing the neoliberal shock therapy doctrine that the U.S. has imposed on numerous countries, resulting in the excess deaths of millions. For his part, Hayek is the godfather of the Austrian economic school that forms the foundation of libertarian political movements across the West.

Lai built his business empire on Giordano, a garment label that became one of Asia's most recognizable brands. In 1989, he threw his weight behind the Tiananmen Square protests, hawking t-shirts on the streets of Beijing calling for Deng Xiaoping to "step down."

Lai's actions provoked the Chinese government to ban his company from operating on the mainland. A year later, he founded Next Weekly magazine, initiating a process that would revolutionize the mediascape in Hong Kong with a blend of smutty tabloid-style journalism, celebrity gossip and a heavy dose of anti-China spin.

The vociferously anti-communist baron soon became Hong Kong's media kingpin, worth a whopping $660 million in 2009.

Today, Lai is the founder and majority stakeholder of Next Digital, the largest listed media company in Hong Kong, which he uses to agitate for the end of what he calls the Chinese "dictatorship."

His flagship outlet is the popular tabloid Apple Daily , employing the trademark mix of raunchy material with a heavy dose of xenophobic, nativist propaganda.

In 2012, Apple Daily carried a full page advertisement depicting mainland Chinese citizens as invading locusts draining Hong Kong's resources. The advertisement called for a stop to the "unlimited invasion of mainland pregnant women in Hong Kong." (This was a crude reference to the Chinese citizens who had flocked to the island while pregnant to ensure that their children could earn Hong Kong residency, and resembled the resentment among the U.S. right-wing of immigrant "anchor babies.")

The transformation of Hong Kong's economy has provided fertile soil for Lai's brand of demagoguery. As the country's manufacturing base moved to mainland China after the golden years of the 1980s and '90s, the economy was rapidly financialized, enriching oligarchs like Lai. Left with rising debt and dimming career prospects, Hong Kong's youth became easy prey to the demagogic politics of nativism .

Many protesters have been seen waving British Union Jacks in recent weeks, expressing a yearning for an imaginary past under colonial control which they never personally experienced.

In July, protesters vandalized the Hong Kong Liaison Office, spray-painting the word, "Shina" on its facade. This term is a xenophobic slur some in Hong Kong and Taiwan use to refer to mainland China. The anti-Chinese phenomenon was visible during the 2014 Umbrella movement protests as well, with signs plastered around the city reading, "Hong Kong for Hong Kongers."

This month, protesters turned their fury on the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, spray-painting "rioters" on its office. The attack represented resentment of the left-wing group's role in a violent 1967 uprising against the British colonial authorities, who are now seen as heroes among many of the anti-Chinese demonstrators.

Besides Lai, a large part of the credit for mobilizing latent xenophobia goes to the right-wing Hong Kong Indigenous party leader Edward Leung. Under the direction of the 28-year-old Leung, his pro-independence party has brandished British colonial flags and publicly harassed Chinese mainland tourists. In 2016, Leung was exposed for meeting with U.S. diplomatic officials at a local restaurant.

Though he is currently in jail for leading a 2016 riot where police were bombarded with bricks and pavement – and where he admitted to attacking an officer – Leung's rightist politics and his slogan, "Retake Hong Kong," have helped define the ongoing protests.

A local legislator and protest leader described Leung to The New York Times as "the Che Guevara of Hong Kong's revolution," referring without a hint of irony to the Latin American communist revolutionary killed in a CIA-backed operation . According to the Times , Leung is "the closest thing Hong Kong's tumultuous and leaderless protest movement has to a guiding light."

The xenophobic sensibility of the protesters has provided fertile soil for Hong Kong National Party to recruit. Founded by the pro-independence activist Andy Chan, the officially banned party combines anti-Chinese resentment with calls for the U.S. to intervene. Images and videos have surfaced of HKNP members waving the flags of the U.S. and U.K., singing the Star Spangled Banner, and carrying flags emblazoned with images of Pepe the Frog, the most recognizable symbol of the U.S. alt-right.

While the party lacks a wide base of popular support, it is perhaps the most outspoken within the protest ranks, and has attracted disproportionate international attention as a result. Chan has called for Trump to escalate the trade war and accused China of carrying out a "national cleansing" against Hong Kong. "We were once colonized by the Brits, and now we are by the Chinese," he declared.

Displays of pro-American jingoism in the streets of Hong Kong have been like catnip for the international far-right.

Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson recently appeared at an anti-extradition protest in Hong Kong, livestreaming the event to his tens of thousands of followers. A month earlier, Gibson was seen roughing up antifa activists alongside ranks of club wielding fascists. In Hong Kong, the alt-right organizer marveled at the crowds.

"They love our flag here more than they do in America!" Gibson exclaimed as marchers passed by, flashing him a thumbs up sign while he waved the Stars and Stripes.

Xenophobic Propaganda Such xenophobic propaganda is consistent with the clash of civilizations theory that Jimmy Lai has promulgated through his media empire.

"You have to understand the Hong Kong people – a very tiny 7 million or 0.5 percent of the Chinese population – are very different from the rest of Chinese in China, because we grow up in the Western values, which was the legacy of the British colonial past, which gave us the instinct to revolt once this extradition law was threatening our freedom," Lai told Fox News' Maria Bartiromo. "Even America has to look at the world 20 years from now, whether you want the Chinese dictatorial values to dominate this world, or you want the values that you treasure [to] continue."

During a panel discussion at the neoconservative Washington-based think tank, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Lai told the pro-Israel lobbyist Jonathan Schanzer,

"We need to know that America is behind us. By backing us, America is also sowing to the will of their moral authority because we are the only place in China, a tiny island in China, which is sharing your values, which is fighting the same war you have with China."

While Lai makes no attempt to conceal his political agenda, his bankrolling of central figures in the 2014 Occupy Central, or Umbrella movement protests, was not always public.

Leaked emails revealed that Lai poured more than $1.2 million to anti-China political parties including $637,000 to the Democratic Party and $382,000 to the Civic Party. Lai also gave $115,000 to the Hong Kong Civic Education Foundation and Hong Kong Democratic Development Network, both of which were co-founded by Reverend Chu Yiu-ming. Lai also spent $446,000 on Occupy Central's 2014 unofficial referendum.

Lai's U.S. consigliere is a former Navy intelligence analyst who interned with the CIA and leveraged his intelligence connections to build his boss's business empire. Named Mark Simon , the veteran spook arranged for former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin to meet with a group in the anti-China camp during a 2009 visit to Hong Kong. Five years later, Lai paid $75,000 to neoconservative Iraq war author and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to organize a meeting with top military figures in Myanmar.

This July, as the Hong Kong protests gathered steam, Lai was junketed to Washington, D.C., for meetings with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Cory Gardner, and Rick Scott. Bloomberg News correspondent Nicholas Wadhams remarked on Lai's visit, "Very unusual for a [non-government] visitor to get that kind of access."

One of Lai's closest allies, Martin Lee, was also granted an audience with Pompeo, and has held court with U.S. leaders including Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former Vice President Joseph Biden .

Among the most prominent figures in Hong Kong's pro-U.S. political parties, Lee began collaborating with Lai during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. A recipient of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy's "Democracy Award" in 1997, Lee is the founding chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, now considered part of the pro-U.S. camp's old guard.

While Martin Lee has long been highly visible on the pro-western Hong Kong scene, a younger generation of activists emerged during the 2014 Occupy Central protests with a new brand of localized politics.

Joshua Wong meets with Sen. Marco Rubio in Washington on May 8, 2017.

Joshua Wong was just 17 years old when the Umbrella Movement took form in 2014. After emerging in the protest ranks as one of the more charismatic voices, he was steadily groomed as the pro-West camp's teenage poster child. Wong received lavish praised in Time magazine, Fortune , and Foreign Policy as a "freedom campaigner," and became the subject of an award-winning Netflix documentary called "Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower."

Unsurprisingly, these puff pieces have overlooked Wong's ties to the U.S. regime-change apparatus. For instance, National Endowment for Democracy's National Democratic Institute (NDI) maintains a close relationship with Demosisto, the political party Wong founded in 2016 with fellow Umbrella movement alumnus Nathan Law.

In August, a candid photo surfaced of Wong and Law meeting with Julie Eadeh, the political counselor at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, raising questions about the content of the meeting and setting off a diplomatic showdown between Washington and Beijing.

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The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong submitted a formal complaint with the U.S. consulate general, calling on the U.S. "to immediately make a clean break from anti-China forces who stir up trouble in Hong Kong, stop sending out wrong signals to violent offenders, refrain from meddling with Hong Kong affairs and avoid going further down the wrong path."

The pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao published personal details about Eadeh, including the names of her children and her address. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus lashed out, accusing the Chinese government of being behind the leak but offering no evidence. "I don't think that leaking an American diplomat's private information, pictures, names of their children, I don't think that is a formal protest, that is what a thuggish regime would do," she said at a State Department briefing.

But the photo underscored the close relationship between Hong Kong's pro-West movement and the U.S. government. Since the 2014 Occupy Central protests that vaulted Wong into prominence, he and his peers have been assiduously cultivated by the elite Washington institutions to act as the faces and voices of Hong Kong's burgeoning anti-China movement.

In September 2015, Wong, Martin Lee, and University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai Lee were honored by Freedom House, a right-wing soft-power organization that is heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and other arms of the U.S. government.

Just days after Trump's election as president in November 2016, Wong was back in Washington to appeal for more U.S. support. "Being a businessman, I hope Donald Trump could know the dynamics in Hong Kong and know that to maintain the business sector benefits in Hong Kong, it's necessary to fully support human rights in Hong Kong to maintain the judicial independence and the rule of law," he said .

Wong's visit provided occasion for the Senate's two most aggressively neoconservative members, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton, to introduce the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act," which would "identify those responsible for abduction, surveillance, detention and forced confessions, and the perpetrators will have their U.S. assets, if any frozen and their entry to the country denied."

Wong was then taken on a junket of elite U.S. institutions including the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank and the newsrooms of The New York Times and Financial Times . He then held court with Rubio, Cotton, Pelosi, and Sen. Ben Sasse .

In September 2017, Rubio, Ben Cardin, Tom Cotton, Sherrod Brown, and Cory Gardner signed off on a letter to Wong, Law and fellow anti-China activist Alex Chow, praising them for their "efforts to build a genuinely autonomous Hong Kong." The bipartisan cast of senators proclaimed that "the United States cannot stand idly by."

A year later, Rubio and his colleagues nominated the trio of Wong, Law, and Chow for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

While U.S. lawmakers nominate Hong Kong protest leaders for peace prizes and pump their organizations with money to "promote democracy," the demonstrations have begun to spiral out of control.

Protests Become More Aggressive

After the extradition law was scrapped, the protests moved into a more aggressive phase, launching "hit and run attacks" against government targets, erecting roadblocks, besieging police stations, and generally embracing the extreme modalities put on display during U.S.-backed regime-change operations from Ukraine to Venezuela to Nicaragua.

The techniques clearly reflected the training many activists have received from Western soft-power outfits. But they also bore the mark of Jimmy Lai's media operation.

In addition to the vast sums Lai spent on political parties directly involved in the protests, his media group created an animated video "showing how to resist police in case force was used to disperse people in a mass protest."

While dumping money into the Hong Kong's pro-U.S. political camp in 2013, Lai traveled to Taiwan for a secret roundtable consultation with Shih Ming-teh, a key figure in Taiwan's social movement that forced then-president Chen Shui-bian to resign in 2008. Shih reportedly instructed Lai on non-violent tactics to bring the government to heel, emphasizing the importance of a commitment to go to jail.

According to journalist Peter Lee , "Shih supposedly gave Lai advice on putting students, young girls, and mothers with children in the vanguard of the street protests, in order to attract the support of the international community and press, and to sustain the movement with continual activities to keep it dynamic and fresh." Lai reportedly turned off his recording device during multiple sections of Shih's tutorial.

One protester explained to The New York Times how the movement attempted to embrace a strategy called, "Marginal Violence Theory:" By using "mild force" to provoke security services into attacking the protesters, the protesters aimed to shift international sympathy away from the state.

But as the protest movement intensifies, its rank-and-file are doing away with tactical restraint and lashing out at their targets with full fury. They have thrown molotov cocktails into intersections to block traffic; attacked vehicles and their drivers for attempting to break through roadblocks; beaten opponents with truncheons; attacked a wounded man with a U.S. flag; menaced a reporter into deleting her photos; kidnapped and beat a journalist senseless; beat a mainland traveler unconscious and prevented paramedics from reaching the victim; and hurled petrol bombs at police officers.

The charged atmosphere has provided a shot in the arm to Lai's media empire, which had been suffering heavy losses since the last round of national protests in 2014. After the mass marches against the extradition bill on June 9, which Lai's Apple Daily aggressively promoted, his Next Digital doubled in value , according to Eji Insight.

Meanwhile, the protest leaders show no sign of backing down. Nathan Law, the youth activist celebrated in Washington and photographed meeting with U.S. officials in Hong Kong, took to Twitter to urge his peers to soldier on : "We have to persist and keep the faith no matter how devastated the reality seems to be," he wrote.

Law was tweeting from New Haven, Connecticut, where he was enrolled with a full scholarship at Yale University. While the young activist basked in the adulation of his U.S. patrons thousands of miles from the chaos he helped spark, a movement that defined itself as a "leaderless resistance" forged ahead back home.

Dan Cohen is a journalist and co-producer of the award-winning documentary, "Killing Gaza." He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine, Latin America, the U.S.-Mexico border and Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @ DanCohen3000 .

This article is from The Grayzone .

RBHoughton , August 19, 2019 at 22:14

Thank you for publishing this. I have lived in Hong Kong all my life and I despaired of reading anything in the English-language press that was vaguely fair about the riots here. All I see are Guardian style pejorative bias. Well done.

[Aug 19, 2019] Pepe Escobar weighs in on Hong Kong civil disobedience

Aug 07, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

'Hong Kong, Kashmir: a Tale of Two Occupations' Pepe Escobar, August 7 , 2019, strategic-culture.com (CC w/ attribution):

"Readers from myriad latitudes have been asking me about Hong Kong. They know it's one of my previous homes. I developed a complex, multi-faceted relationship with Hong Kong ever since the 1997 handover, which I covered extensively. Right now, if you allow me, I'd rather cut to the chase.

Much to the distress of neocons and humanitarian imperialists, there won't be a bloody mainland China crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong – a Tiananmen 2.0. Why? Because it's not worth it.

Beijing has clearly identified the color revolution provocation inbuilt in the protests – with the NED excelling as CIA soft , facilitating the sprawl of fifth columnists even in the civil service.

There are other components, of course. The fact that Hong Kongers are right to be angry about what is a de facto Tycoon Club oligarchy controlling every nook and cranny of the economy. The local backlash against "the invasion of the mainlanders". And the relentless cultural war of Cantonese vs. Beijing, north vs. south, province vs. political center.

What these protests have accelerated is Beijing's conviction that Hong Kong is not worth its trust as a key node in China's massive integration/development project. Beijing invested no less than $18.8 billion to build the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, as part of the Greater Bay Area, to integrate Hong Kong with the mainland, not to snub it.

Now a bunch of useful idiots at least has graphically proven they don't deserve any sort of preferential treatment anymore.

The big story in Hong Kong is not even the savage, counter-productive protests (imagine if this was in France, where Macron's army is actually maiming and even killing Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests). The big story is the rot consuming HSBC – which has all the makings of the new Deutsche Bank scandal.

HSBC holds $2.6 trillion in assets and an intergalactic horde of cockroaches in their basement – asking serious questions about money laundering and dodgy deals operated by global turbo-capitalist elites.

In the end, Hong Kong will be left to its own internally corroding devices – slowly degrading to its final tawdry status as a Chinese Disneyland with a Western veneer. Shanghai is already in the process of being boosted as China's top financial center. And Shenzhen already is the top high-tech hub. Hong Kong will be just an afterthought."

'Civil Disobedience in Hong Kong or US Color Revolution Attempt?', Stephen Lendman , Global Research, August 13, 2019

" As the saying goes, if it walks, talks, and quacks like a duck, chances are it is one.

What's been going on for months in Hong Kong has all the earmarks of a US orchestrated color revolution , aimed at destabilizing China by targeting its soft Hong Kong underbelly.

In calling for reunification of China in the early 1980s, then-leader Deng Xiaoping said Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic, financial and governmental systems, Taiwan as well under a "one country, two systems" arrangement.

The above would be something like what the US 10th Amendment stipulates, stating:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Each of the 50 US states has its own electoral system, governing procedures, and laws that may differ from federal ones.

China's soft underbelly in Western-oriented Hong Kong left it vulnerable to what's going on. US dirty hands likely orchestrated and manipulated pro-Western 5th column elements behind months of anti-Beijing protests.

Dubbed Occupy Central, China's leadership is well aware of what's going on and the high stakes. Beijing is faced with a dilemma.

Cracking down forcefully to end disruptive Hong Kong protests could discourage foreign investments. Letting them continue endlessly can destabilize the nation.

US war on China by other means aims to marginalize, weaken, contain, and isolate the country -- because of its sovereign independence, unwillingness to bend to US interests, and its growing political, economic, financial, and military development.

China's emergence as a world power threatens Washington's aim to control other countries, their resources and populations worldwide.

Its successful economic model, producing sustained growth, embarrasses the US-led unfair, exploitative Western "free market" system.

The US eliminated the Japanese economic threat in the 1980s, a similar one from the Asian Tiger economies in the 1990s, and now it's China's turn to be taken down.

Its leadership understands what's going on and is countering it in its own way. China is a more formidable and resourceful US adversary than earlier ones.

Its strategy includes taking a longterm approach toward achieving its objectives with plenty of economic and financial ability to counter US tactics.

It may become the first post-WW II nation to defeat Washington's imperial game, making the new millennium China's century in the decades ahead.

US strategies to control other nations include preemptive wars of aggression, old-fashioned coups, and color revolutions -- what appears to be going on in Hong Kong.

This form of covert war first played out in Belgrade, Serbia in 2000. What appeared to be a spontaneous political uprising was developed by RAND Corporation strategist in the 1990s -- the concept of swarming.

It replicates "communication patterns and movement of" bees and other insects used against nations to destabilize and topple their governments.

The CIA, (anti-democratic) National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National (undemocratic) Democratic Institute, and USAID are involved.

Their mission is disruptively subverting democracy and instigating regime change through labor strikes, mass street protests, major media agitprop, and whatever else it takes short of military conflict.

Belgrade in 2000 was the prototype test drive for this strategy. When subsequently used, it experienced successes and failures, the former notably in Ukraine twice -- in late 2004/early 2005, again in late 2013/early 2014.

US color revolution attempts have a common thread, aiming to achieve what the Pentagon calls "full spectrum dominance" -- notably by neutralizing and controlling Russia and China, Washington's main rival powers, adversaries because of their sovereign independence.

Controlling resource-rich Eurasia, that includes the Middle East, along with Venezuelan world's largest oil reserves, is a key US imperial aim."

'Hong Kong protests met with denunciations and threats', Peter Symonds, 14 August 2019 , wsws.org

"Yesterday, amid an occupation numbering in the thousands, the airport authority was compelled to halt all check-in services for flights after 4.30 p.m., resulting in the cancellation of some 300 departures. Clashes erupted between riot police in the evening after protesters seized a mainland Chinese man who they accused of being an undercover police officer.

According to the South China Morning Post , the riot police used pepper spray in the airport to drive out protesters. It reported that as of this morning only a small group of some 30 protesters remained.

The airport occupation has dramatically raised the stakes in the political confrontation that is now in its 10th week. The huge protests in June over planned legislation to allow extradition from Hong Kong to China have morphed into a protest movement making wider democratic demands , including action against police violence and free elections based on universal suffrage.

The city's administration, led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam and backed by Beijing, has adamantly refused to make any concessions to the protesters, other than to suspend the legislation. At a press conference yesterday, Lam denounced the "illegal activities" of the protesters, defended the violent actions of the police and warned that "riot activities [have] pushed Hong Kong to the brink of no return."

Lam's remarks echoed those of Hong Kong business leaders amid falling share prices and fears of an economic downturn, especially in the property sector. Swire Pacific, a wealthy family-owned business empire that owns the Cathay Pacific airline and an extensive property portfolio, issued a statement condemning "illegal activities and violent behaviour" and gave Lam and the police full support "in their efforts to restore law and order." Sun Hung Kai Properties, controlled by Asia's third richest family, also called on Tuesday for the restoration of social order and backed Lam.

Sections of the Hong Kong business elite, concerned at Beijing's encroachment on their interests, had initially supported the protests against the extradition bill but are now calling for an end to the protest movement. Property tycoon Peter Woo said in a statement on Monday that the protests had already forced the government to shelve the legislation and claimed that some people were using the issue to "purposely stir up trouble."

The huge social gulf between the handful of billionaires who dominate Hong Kong, economically and politically, and the vast majority of the city's population looms large. Low wages, economic insecurity, the lack of opportunities for young people, unaffordable housing, and threadbare welfare services are all fuelling discontent and anger."

'Violent Protests In Hong Kong Reach Their Last Stage; The riots in Hong Kong are about to end', August 14, 2019 , moonofalabama.org

The protests, as originally started in June, were against a law that would have allowed criminal extraditions to Taiwan, Macao and mainland China. The law was retracted and the large protests have since died down. What is left are a few thousand students who, as advertised in a New York Times op-ed , intentionally seek to provoke the police with "marginal violence":

Such actions are a way to make noise and gain attention. And if they prompt the police to respond with unnecessary force, as happened on June 12, then the public will feel disapproval and disgust for the authorities. The protesters should thoughtfully escalate nonviolence, maybe even resort to mild force, to push the government to the edge. That was the goal of many people who surrounded and barricaded police headquarters for hours on June 21.

The protesters now use the same violent methods that were used in the Maidan protests in the Ukraine. The U.S. seems to hope that China will intervene and create a second Tianamen scene . That U.S. color revolution attempt failed but was an excellent instrument to demonize China. A repeat in Hong Kong would allow the U.S. to declare a "clash of civilization" and increase 'western' hostility against China. But while China is prepared to intervene it is unlikely to do the U.S. that favor. Its government expressed confidence that the local authorities will be able to handle the issue.

There are rumors that some Hong Kong oligarchs were originally behind the protests to prevent their extradition for shady deals they made in China. There may be some truth to that. China's president Xi Jingpin is waging a fierce campaign against corruption and Hong Kong is a target rich environment for fighting that crime." [snip]

"Rents and apartment prices in Hong Kong are high. People from the mainland who buy up apartments with probably illegally gained money only increase the scarcity. This is one reason why the Cantonese speaking Hong Kong protesters spray slurs against the Mandarin speaking people from the mainland. The people in Hong Kong also grieve over their declining importance. Hong Kong lost its once important economical position. In 1993 Hong Kong's share of China's GDP was 27%. It is now less than a tenths of that and the city is now more or less irrelevant to mainland China."

'World is watching': US reaction points to Hong Kong as a 'color revolution', 12 Aug, 2019, RT.com

"One cannot help but recall that the same phrasing was used for Ukraine, during the Maidan protests of 2013 that culminated in a violent coup in February 2014 – and plunged that country into secession of Crimea and civil war in the Donbass, eastern Ukraine.

The impression is only reinforced by the images reminiscent of Kiev coming out of Hong Kong, showing helmeted protesters in black masks firing grenades and throwing firebombs at police – none of which has stopped the chorus of US media from calling the protesters
"pro-democracy."

OMG.

Hong Kong protesters in Hong Kong proudly sing US National anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner" O say can you see ... What so proudly we hailed ...brings tears to my eyes pic.twitter.com/CeM5zrA1Fe

-- Carl Zha (@CarlZha) August 10, 2019

"There is even nationalism, albeit of a xeno variety: some protesters have brandished flags of Hong Kong's former colonial master, the UK. Others have embraced the US flag, telling reporters it stands for "freedom, human rights and democracy ." [snip]

"Even though US President Donald Trump has steered clear of Hong Kong and made sure to describe is as an internal Chinese matter, focusing his diatribes entirely on trade, the Chinese public is becoming increasingly convinced that Washington is instigating turmoil in Hong Kong along the lines of "color revolutions" elsewhere."

And for a it of comic relief: ' Hong Kong phooey! Would you like any hypocrisy with that? , George Galloway, August 13, 2019 , RT.com

"Like a homing pigeon in reverse the entire UK media has flown like a bat out of hell away from France all the way to Hong Kong (as they had earlier flown to Caracas until the big protests turned into the wrong kind of protests).

There is nothing, except the shoe-sizes, of the demonstrators in Hong Kong that I don't know thanks to the veritable blizzard of in-depth analysis of the protestors there and their each and every demand. Protesters in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain can be executed, but we will never be told their names.

And the hypocrisy of the media is just for starters.

If a group of British protesters broke into the British Parliament and hung, for argument's sake, a Russian flag over the Speaker's chair it is " highly likely " that a commando force would quickly and violently overwhelm and arrest them accompanied by volleys of accusations about Russian interference.

If a crowd of British protestors occupied Heathrow Airport in such numbers and so disruptively that British Airways had to stop flights in and out of the airport, causing massive financial loss, dislocation, and personal inconvenience, I promise you that their protest would have been cleared out by the above mentioned commandos on the very first day of their protests.

If protesters in London were hoisting Chinese flags and singing the Chinese national anthem then, well, I'm sure you get my point.

The struggle between the government of China and its citizens is no more the business of the British than it is of the Slovakians. It's true that Hong Kong was a British colony for 150 years but the least said about the shame and disgrace of how that came to be, the better, I promise you.

Suffice to say that to acquire territory by force, followed by unequal treaty at gunboat-point to punish the actual owners of the land for resisting the British opium trade, is, even by British Imperial standards, extraordinary. So shameful is it you'd think the British would want to draw a veil over it. But not so."

On the other hand, and note sources and today's date :

'Chinese military personnel near Hong Kong border', Ambassador in London says China prepared to intervene 'if things get worse'; troops 7km from border, Jimmy Yee & AFP, asiatimes.com, August 15, 2019

"Thousands of Chinese military personnel waving red flags paraded at a sports stadium in a city across the border from Hong Kong on Thursday.

Armored vehicles were also seen inside the stadium in Shenzhen, as concerns build that China may intervene to end more than 10 weeks of unrest in Hong Kong.


Trucks and armoured personnel carriers are seen outside the Shenzhen Bay stadium in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong in China's southern Guangdong province, on August 15, 2019.

"Indeed, China's ambassador in London warned several hours later that Beijing was ready to intervene if the crisis gets worse.

"Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further the central government will not sit on its hands and watch," Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said at a news conference in the UK. "We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly. Their moves are severe and violent offenses, and already shows signs of terrorism."

China's state-run media reported this week that the elements of the People's Armed Police (PAP), which is under the command of the Central Military Commission, were assembling in Shenzhen.

Some of the personnel inside the stadium on Thursday had armed police insignias on their camouflage fatigues, according to an AFP reporter.

The security forces could be seen moving in formation inside the stadium and occasionally running, while others rode around outside on motorbikes.

Outside the stadium – which is around seven kilometers from Hong Kong – there were also dozens of trucks and armored personnel carriers.

The People's Daily and Global Times, two of the most powerful state-run media outlets, published videos on Monday of what it said was the PAP assembling in Shenzhen.

The Global Times editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, said the military presence in Shenzhen was a sign that China was prepared to intervene in Hong Kong.

"If they do not pull back from the cliff and continue to push the situation further beyond the critical point, the power of the state may come to Hong Kong at any time," Hu wrote.

US President Donald Trump also said Tuesday American intelligence had confirmed Chinese troop movements toward the Hong Kong border .

"I hope it works out for everybody including China. I hope it works out peacefully, nobody gets hurt, nobody gets killed," Trump said.

'Satellite images show China's military massing near Hong Kong border; A satellite photo has revealed a worrying threat, right on the border with Hong Kong. It indicates Beijing is losing patience', news.com.au, August 15, 2019

"Satellite photos show what appear to be Chinese armoured personnel carriers and other military vehicles across the border from Hong Kong.

Parked in a sports complex in the city of Shenzhen, the deployment has been interpreted as a threat from Beijing to use increased force against pro-democracy protesters.

The pictures, collected on Monday by Maxar's WorldView, show 500 or more vehicles sitting on and around the soccer stadium at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.

The military force is just across the harbour from the Asian financial hub that has been rocked by near-daily street demonstrations.

Hong Kong's 10-week political crisis, in which millions of people have taken to the streets calling for a halt to sliding freedoms, is the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of the semi-autonomous city since its 1997 handover from Britain." [snip]

"The state-run People's Daily did not comment on the purpose of the vehicles but noted that the People's Armed Police was in charge of "handling riots, turmoil, seriously violent, criminal activities, terrorist attacks and other societal security incidents".

(cross-posted from Café Babylon ) Comments


Pluto's Republic on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 6:45pm

Shenzhen is like a city of the future.

China looks so sleek and modern. But then, so do the futuristic skylines of many Asian and MiddleEast cities. Such economic opulence. Such energy in a rising and thriving middle class.

Sorry for the OT. Pepe Escobar is always a great read when he covers the CIA's activities throughout the world. A rare topic in the tattered old US. Thanks for bringing it.

wendy davis on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 9:14pm
it's not OT at all.

@Pluto's Republic

simply astounding buildings, and sleek, as you say. pepe's covered so many stories over the decades, and my guess is that he and lendman are altogether correct that this was a USAID, NED, cia prompted rebellion. and you?

now i haven't a clue about the alleged chinese troops massing at the border, nor about any of the attributed to the chinese quotes, but i had pinged: 'and who invented the game of chess?' as i discovered, few claim it was the chinese, most say east indians > persia, etc.

singing the amerikan national anthem? waving UK and US flags? RU kidding me?

thanks for reading and commenting, pluto.

China looks so sleek and modern. But then, so do the futuristic skylines of many Asian and MiddleEast cities. Such economic opulence. Such energy in a rising and thriving middle class.

Sorry for the OT. Pepe Escobar is always a great read when he covers the CIA's activities throughout the world. A rare topic in the tattered old US. Thanks for bringing it.

mweens on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:29am
@Pluto's Republic living in Shenzhen right

@Pluto's Republic living in Shenzhen right now.

China looks so sleek and modern. But then, so do the futuristic skylines of many Asian and MiddleEast cities. Such economic opulence. Such energy in a rising and thriving middle class.

Sorry for the OT. Pepe Escobar is always a great read when he covers the CIA's activities throughout the world. A rare topic in the tattered old US. Thanks for bringing it.

tle on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 8:01am
The U.S. empire continues to decline.

"It may become the first post-WW II nation to defeat Washington's imperial game, making the new millennium China's century in the decades ahead." As a citizen of the U.S., which will be devastated when the dollar is dropped as the reserve currency... I'm rooting for China.

I very much appreciate this piece. While I did experience a "ding!" moment when I saw the NED referenced, because I just watched a video on it yesterday, I was nevertheless pathetically oblivious to what the U.S. is doing.

wendy davis on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 10:42am
oh, good, mintpress news is

@tle

back up again today. you'll like the abundance of information and tweets alex rubenstein brought on june 13, 2019 :

' American Gov't, NGOs Fuel and Fund Hong Kong Anti-Extradition Protests '
It is inconceivable that the organizers of the protests are unaware of the NED ties to some of its members' (one outtake in a lengthy exposé):

As MintPress News previously reported :

"The NED was founded in 1983 following a series of scandals that exposed the CIA's blood-soaked covert actions against foreign governments. 'It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the CIA,' NED President Carl Gershman told the New York Times in 1986. 'We saw that in the Sixties, and that's why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that's why the endowment was created.'

Another NED founder, Allen Weinstein, conceded to the Washington Post's David Ignatius, 'A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.'"

UK media cheerlead Hong Kong protesters who fear China will use 'non-political crimes to prosecute critics'. The same media that's spent 9 years cheerleading persecution, torture of whistleblowing platform founder Julian Assange for non-political crimes https://t.co/KuYyF0L5dS

-- Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) June 12, 2019

this wasn't on alex's, but:

You'd think @RobertMackey might find the US government's huge role in organizing these protests worth reporting to his US American audience but he totally omitted that crucial information. Maybe he should've read @RealAlexRubi 's report: https://t.co/98Ykr856AR https://t.co/658mbQcjLN

-- Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) August 8, 2019

on edit : the subtweets under cohen's original are great! robert mackey was not amused....

now one thing to remember is that pierre omidyar was a deep contributor to centre ua, and either NED or USAID before maidan and the putsch in ukraine. i haven't read the intercept link, but mackey (i'm fairly certain) was one of the five 'fearless investigative journalists' who'd smeared julian assange while he was down.

glad you've found this compilation of value, tle; me too.

on second edit: i did remember correctly, as it turns out. from my recent diary on the crushing of julian assange (this via oscar grenfell):

An article by Robert Mackey in November, 2017 accused the WikiLeaks founder of a "willingness to traffic in false or misleading information," of "working on behalf of Trump" and of transforming "the WikiLeaks Twitter feed into a vehicle for smearing Clinton."

"It may become the first post-WW II nation to defeat Washington's imperial game, making the new millennium China's century in the decades ahead." As a citizen of the U.S., which will be devastated when the dollar is dropped as the reserve currency... I'm rooting for China.

I very much appreciate this piece. While I did experience a "ding!" moment when I saw the NED referenced, because I just watched a video on it yesterday, I was nevertheless pathetically oblivious to what the U.S. is doing.

wendy davis on Fri, 08/16/2019 - 8:12am
café commenter juliania

noted that commenter karlov1 had urged others to click into b's tianemen scene hyperlink, which goes to his own june 4, 2019 ' Tian An Men Square - What Really Happened (Updated)' (including grisly photos)

"Since 1989 the western media write anniversary pieces on the June 4 removal of protesters from the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The view seems always quite one sided and stereotyped with a brutal military that suppresses peaceful protests.
That is not the full picture. Thanks to Wikileaks we have a few situation reports from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing at that time. They describe a different scene than the one western media paint to this day."

he's also brought any number of tweeted descriptions of similar violence perpetrated by protestors on those they believe might be undercover police, and this telling paragraph:

""While the protests against the extradition bill may have been backed by some tycoons, it is obvious that there is also a large U.S. government influence behind them. It is the U.S., not some oligarchs, which is behind the current rioting phase.
In 1992 Congress adopted the United States–Hong Kong Policy Act which mandates U.S. government 'pro-democracy' policies in Hong Kong. Some Senators and lobbyists now push for a Support Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act which would intensify the interference. Before the June protests started Secretary of State (and former CIA head) Mike Pompeo met with the Hong Kong 'pro-democracy' leader Martin Lee and later with 'pro-democracy' media tycoon Jimmy Lai. The National Endowment for Democracy finances several of the groups behind the protests."

again, you can find it all here ; good job, b!

i have a few relevant tweets to embed in a bit.

[Aug 19, 2019] In defence of Ukrainian far right nationalism

This guy definitely does not know the tem neoliberalism. and just scapegoating neoliberalism caused problems to Jews...
Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Adûnâi , says: August 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm GMT

"The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs."

Where are death camps for the Jews? Where are racial laws that expel non-Ukrainians? Where is the propaganda of eugenics and healthy lifestyle? Where are construction projects bringing in jobs, and state-subsidized recreation tours?

Ukraine is a Jew-driven shithole that has nothing to do with National Socialism. They don't even honour the sacrifice of the SS Galizien.

"but what they are genuinely fantasizing about is the territory, and only the territory. As for the 2 million-plus virulently anti-Nazi people currently living on these lands, they simply want them either dead or expelled)."

A lie. Currently, more than a half of those "expelled" have migrated inside Ukraine. A stark contrast to Croatia where the Serbs were driven out of the country, and their land given to Croats.

Again, Ukraine is suicidal and full of civic nationalism, nothing about it is blood-based.

"They and their Polish supporters want Russia to break apart in numerous small state-lets which they (or, in their delusional dreams, the Chinese) could dominate."

Why do you consider this as a negative for the Russian people? The current Russian state is in its death throes as much as the US and France – the ethnic Russians are dying out, fleeing and being replaced. Any alternative might prove out more hopeful.

"In contrast, the LDNR forces seem to be doing pretty well, and their morale appears to be as strong as ever (which is unsurprising since their military ethos is based in 1000 years of Russian military history)."

I have to remind you that the Donbass was colonized far more recently than Ukraine – in the 18-19th centuries. What "ancient" traditions?

"but Novorussia also is a never healing wound in the side of Nazi-occupied Ukraine"

The Donbass has never been part of Novorussia which is to the west, from Dniepropetrovsk to Odessa. Admittedly, Novorussia's colonists were mostly from Ukraine – it is clearly seen on the language maps.

"The problem with this slogan is that there is simply no way the (relatively small) Galician population can ever succeed in permanently defeating their much bigger (and, frankly, much smarter) Jewish, Polish or Russian neighbors."

Khmelnitsky managed to do just that – 100k dead Jews. And he's on the Ukrainian currency. Too bad modern "Nazi" Ukrainians have elected a Jew President. This is not the Khmelnitsky uprising, this is Kiev under the Khazar Khaganate before Oleg came from the North.

[Aug 18, 2019] Can Ukraine gradually put Western Ukrainian nationalists in it proper place

It's very sad that Ukraine is just a pawn in dirty geopolitical games of the USA, the EU and Russia.
Notable quotes:
"... In 3-5 years we could have an interesting scenario in Ukraine with land (its main wealth) owned by foreign investors and a large % of population with Russian or Polish and other EU passports. As always with ideology, the result is the exact opposite of what that ideology claims: the dictatorship of proletariat impoverished and killed proletariat, Nazis dramatically shrunk German lebensraum, liberals obsession with ' liberty and universal brotherhood ' is leading to censorship, suppression and group hostilities. But here we are and the ideological idiocy that Maidan-Ukrainians embraced might not be reversible. This is not good for anybody. ..."
"... For Ukraine these are all irreversible losses, but from Western perspective, these are little victories: Russia was forced to spend more. As the West does not give a hoot about Ukraine, the US and its vassals can freely celebrate these victories. ..."
"... So, it all depends on the point of view. The West never cared about aborigines, so their point of view does not come into its calculations. ..."
"... Currently prevailing mood in Russia is that Ukraine, whoever is the power there, gets nothing, nada, zilch. ..."
"... But Ukrainian authorities worked pretty hard to achieve it, and now Ukraine has to live with this new reality. It won’t be pretty. The US was simply following its standard policy: leave a pile of shit, declare victory, and leave, waiting for someone else to clean up. ..."
"... Now there is only one way Russia would clean up: if the EU pays full price for it. As this is unlikely, the aborigines are going to bear the brunt of the consequences. ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

Beckow , says: Next New Comment August 18, 2019 at 7:33 pm GMT

@Kiza

miscalculation that the rotten West will help them instead of use them to create a festering sore on Russian border for just a few billion dollars in loans.

A possibly a fatal miscalculation for Ukraine, but there is also an ideology involved. In Maidan-Ukrainians case that ideology is Ukrainian nationalism combined with a servile Western worship of almost cargo-cult level. An odd combination that has led to odd result.

West wanted Zelensky to win, the question is why. Tactically, Zelensky neutralized large Russia-leaning block of voters: the 70% vote would have gone somewhere and they were not going to vote for Poroshenko or Tymoshenko. So that misdirection was successful. But what was the point?

Let's look at what Zelensky is actually doing (not the throw-away comedy and rhetoric): he is trying to allow sale of Ukrainian land to foreign investors. My guess is that he will push it through and that will his main legacy. Buying up Ukrainian arable land has been a wet dream for many in the West since 1991. Zelensky could deliver on it, and then move on.

In 3-5 years we could have an interesting scenario in Ukraine with land (its main wealth) owned by foreign investors and a large % of population with Russian or Polish and other EU passports. As always with ideology, the result is the exact opposite of what that ideology claims: the dictatorship of proletariat impoverished and killed proletariat, Nazis dramatically shrunk German lebensraum, liberals obsession with ' liberty and universal brotherhood ' is leading to censorship, suppression and group hostilities. But here we are and the ideological idiocy that Maidan-Ukrainians embraced might not be reversible. This is not good for anybody.

AnonFromTN , says: Next New Comment August 18, 2019 at 9:39 pm GMT

Why does the Saker think that Ze had any choice? He is a puppet, a stuffed shirt brought to ”power” by Kolomoisky and allied oligarchs. The only goal was to chase Porky and allied thieves from the trough to be able to steal more.

Now, the people of Ukraine had choice. But they blew it again, like many times before: each Ukrainian “president” is worse than his predecessor. As the saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you…” Ukrainians let themselves be fooled six times already, so there is no doubt where the shame goes.

It was said that the nationalism is the last resort of a scoundrel. But it isn’t the only one. Nationalism, stupid unrealistic dreams to feed sheeple, fairy tales about aggression, and the war create perfect smokescreen for blatant thievery. It continues unabated, ever since 1991.

Russia does need to make its choice. But it is complicated by the role of Russian thieves (polite word is oligarchs) in current Russian state. Putin kicked some out. The remaining ones have enough brains to figure that they need a strong state to protect them, lest their loot be stolen by Western thieves. So, they are a step ahead of Ukrainian thieves who did not tumble even to this simple realization. But no more than one step ahead.

The economic reality is that Russian state does not have the resources to restore Ukraine, even if sane forces come to power there. So, Ukraine would likely keep festering, losing millions of working age people (like today), possibly losing chunks of territory (as the joke has it, whoever remains in Ukraine pays off the debt). The problems of that huge Somalia can only be solved by concerted effort of many European countries and Russia. This is not on the cards, at least not until Ukies create yet another Chernobyl. Then the EU might decide to send its US overlords to Hell and pay Russia to take the hand grenade away from the monkey. I don’t think Putin will live long enough to see that happen.

Beckow , says: Next New Comment August 18, 2019 at 11:04 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

…EU might decide to send its US overlords to Hell and pay Russia to take the hand grenade away from the monkey.

How would EU go against its overlord? Even if EU would try, the existential nihilism in Kiev will prevent compromise. Ideologues can’t admit that their ‘idea’ didn’t work, they prefer destroying everything around. West is also at this point incapable of admitting an error – they literally can’t do it, the lying has to go on. That means that even groundwork for any possible compromise can’t be put in place. This is all the way down with fireworks and it won’t be pretty.

There is such a thing as a catastrophic error and the last 5 years in Ukraine comes pretty close to it. That is not really fixable. The monkey night as well use the grenade.

AnonFromTN says: August 18, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT • 100 Words
@Beckow

Minsk agreement was an incredibly generous deal, if Poroshenko had half a brain he would had jumped on it and today Donbas would be a remote backwater with autonomy.

That would be true if Porky was interested in Ukraine. As it is, his only interest and loyalty was and is his personal loot. To keep stealing, he (and allied thieves) needed the smokescreen of war, fairy tales of “aggression”, and pipe dreams of “greater Ukraine” for the sheeple. He succeeded in his thievery for five years. Now another gang of thieves pushed his gang from the trough. End of story.

annamaria says: August 18, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMT • 100 Words

@Bardon Kaldian

Are you a teenager unaware of the history of the Maidan regime-change “revolution?”
Here are two most influential Ukranian parties-participants in the “revolution:”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)

The Svoboda Party was founded in 1991 as the Social-National Party of Ukraine … It is widely considered a fascist..party….

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Sector

Time has described it [the Right Sector Party] as a “radical right-wing group … a coalition of militant ultra-nationalists” with an ideology that “borders on fascism”.

Die Welt, The New York Times, and Le Monde Diplomatique have described some of Right Sector’s constituent groups as radical right-wing, neofascist, or neo-Nazi…

https://www.globalresearch.ca/conspiring-neo-nazi-parties-washington-eu-role-kiev-coup/5684545

AnonFromTN says: August 19, 2019 at 12:56 am GMT • 300 Words

@Beckow

You are a pessimist (or a fatalist). I agree that EU is shamefully subservient to the US, but when some of their core interests are at stake, even slavish EU can show some teeth. Just think of Nord Stream-2: the US is jumping out of its skin to damage this project, but Germany stands remarkably firm.

From Western point of view, Ukie provocation was not a complete failure (even though it’s a catastrophic failure from Ukrainian point of view): Russia had to spend a lot to develop the production of military things it used to import from Ukraine, like ships, ship engines, helicopter engines, spaceship control systems, etc.

Now that it acquired the capability to produce these things, there will be no going back regardless who rules Ukraine: it’s industries that used to export to Russia are doomed. These include such giants as Nikolaev shipbuilding plant, Motor Sich in Zaparozie, Antonov aircraft building plant in Kiev, etc. The same goes for transit.

It is not just natural gas transit everybody talks about. Russia used to transport ammonia to Odessa, where it was partially exported and partially converted into fertilizers. The plant that used to do that is dead.

Ukraine tried to sell it for $5 billion under Yanuk and got no takers, about a year ago it tried to sell it for 10% of that price, and got no takers again.

There also used to be substantial Russian payments for transport via the railway going across Eastern Ukraine.

Russia built an alternative bypassing Ukraine, so they might as well dismantle the rails on their route.

For Ukraine these are all irreversible losses, but from Western perspective, these are little victories: Russia was forced to spend more. As the West does not give a hoot about Ukraine, the US and its vassals can freely celebrate these victories.

So, it all depends on the point of view. The West never cared about aborigines, so their point of view does not come into its calculations.

AnonFromTN says: August 19, 2019 at 1:13 am GMT • 100 Words

@Andrei Martyanov

That’s true, when it comes to resources, there are always alternatives how to spend them.

Currently prevailing mood in Russia is that Ukraine, whoever is the power there, gets nothing, nada, zilch.

Considering how closely Ukrainians are related to Russians, this feat wasn’t easy.

But Ukrainian authorities worked pretty hard to achieve it, and now Ukraine has to live with this new reality. It won’t be pretty. The US was simply following its standard policy: leave a pile of shit, declare victory, and leave, waiting for someone else to clean up.

Now there is only one way Russia would clean up: if the EU pays full price for it. As this is unlikely, the aborigines are going to bear the brunt of the consequences.

[Aug 18, 2019] Ukie nationalism vs Otto von Bismarck by The Saker

Saker is naive and badly educated. It is stupid to call Ukraine an oligarchy. All countries on Earth are oligarchies. The real question is which group of oligarchs is in power. In case of Ukraine those are privatization sharks, the worst kind of neoliberal financial scum. Often real criminals.
Otto von Bismarck created a powerful German state which exists to this day. While vassal of the USA it is still a state now. And Merkel role in EuroMaidan definitely reminds Drang nach Osten in neoliberal packaging. Neocolonialism in its pure form
Ukraine is just a pawn in a bigger geopolitical game of the USA and EU against Russia. That explains in the current state of Ukrainian economics and the level of Ukrainian population sufferings. Ukrainian nationalist paradoxically served as the fifth column for the neoliberal oligarchy. The phenomenon similar to the US nationalists role under Trump.
At the same time despite dismally low standard of living Ukrainian population is showing great resilience in the current hardships and infrastructure while completely worn out still works. But Ukraine is now completely Latin-Americanized, which was the goal of the USA from the very beginning for all Soviet space. Ukraine now is a debt slave of the West which is completely opposite to any nationalist movement goals.
According to Wikipedia just 5% of population lives of less than $5.50 a day. That's baloney. In reality the percentage is probably two-three times times higher (average monthly pension is typically less then $1500 grivna which is less then $60) so most of pensioners live on less then $2 a day. 8 million of the approximately 12 million of Ukrainian pensioners were receiving the minimum pension of 1312 (around $50) while medium pension amounted to 1886 UAH (Pensions in Ukraine - Wikipedia) And 12 million is 28% of Ukrainian population (around 42-43 million total down from 45.55 before EuroMaydan ). It is declining around 200 persons daily. On average there are 462,052 births and 662,571 deaths in Ukraine per year.
While pensioners are definitely starving the situation at least stabilized with grivna around 25 per dollar (something like 300% after the EuroMaydan). So Nuland advantures cost dearly for average Ukrainian.
Notable quotes:
"... These guys are a minority, a pretty small one even, but they have enough muscle and even firepower to threaten any nominal Ukrainian leader. ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

As I have indicated in a recent article , the Ukraine is not a democracy but an oligarchy : ever since 1991 the most prosperous Soviet republic was mercilessly plundered by an entire class (in the Marxist sense of the word) of oligarchs whose biggest fear has always been that the same "horror" (from their point of view) which befell Russia with Putin, would eventually arrive at the Ukraine.

Here we need to make something clear: this is NOT, repeat, NOT about nationality or nationalism. The Ukrainian oligarchs are just like any other oligarchs: their loyalty is to their money and nothing else. If you want to characterize these oligarchs, you could think of them as culturally "post-Soviet" meaning that they don't care about nationality, and even though their prime language is Russian, they don't give a damn about Russia or Russians (or anybody else, for that matter!). Since many of them are Jews, they have a network of supporters/accomplices in Israel of course, but also in the West and even in Russia. In truth, these guys are the ultimate "internationalists" in their own, toxic, kind of way.

Some fine specimens of "ochlocrats"

The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs. Their power is not a democracy either, but an ochlocracy . These guys are a minority, a pretty small one even, but they have enough muscle and even firepower to threaten any nominal Ukrainian leader.


Korenchkin , says: August 15, 2019 at 7:42 am GMT

Can you stop with the Ukronazi crap, what kind of Nazi Government has a Jewish PM and Jewish President ?
Azov guys dying in Donbass and the street thugs in Kiev are just cannon fodder, they don't run shit

The majority of Ukranians don't want to be in this conflict, I don't see the point in demonizing all of them because of some fascist larpers

Malla , says: August 15, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT
People need to move on from the past and stop all that hating others for some past deeds. Polish or Western Ukrainian hatred for Russians, Russian hatred for Germans, Chinese & Korean hatred for the Japanese, Indian hatred for the British or the Chinese, Black South African hatred for Afrikaners. All these are counter productive for the people and are emotions which can be whipped up by the elites to have commoners die like cannon fodder at worst or to take away attention towards a past historic enemy to hide their own corruption/ incompetence at best.
People need to see things from the other side as well.

As far as the Satanic Zio elite pigs, they will use any ideology as long as it serves them. Democracy, Communism, anti-Communism, Islamic fundamentalism, anti-Islam, Jingoistic Nationalism, Anti-Nationalism/One Worldism, feminism, Hindutva, Buddhist fundamentalism (Sri Lanka BBS and the secret Zionist hand), Neo-Conservatism, Leftism, Colonialism, anti-Colonialism as long it suits them. They use them and discard them away when needed. But this seems to be the most extreme case ever. For the first time the Zio elites are using National Socialism as an ideology to serve them. The ideology which was probably the greatest enemy and threat to the Zio elites, in human history. Freakin crazy!!!

Mr. Hack , says: August 15, 2019 at 2:39 pm GMT
More grist for Saker's suckers. The Galicians (and Ukro-Nazi Jews) are behind everything. In Saker's simplistic mind the Galicians have infiltrated all of Ukrainian society and run the whole show, when in fact this is just a bunch of nonsense. Well, at least Saker is putting to use his favorite Ukrainian pejorative do I really need to repeat it again, ad nauseum?
Colin Wright , says: Website August 15, 2019 at 4:38 pm GMT
' Russia will always remain the reality check on their delusions. This was as true in the distant 13th century as it is nowadays '

It's nit-picking, but you might want to edit that sentence slightly.

In the thirteenth century, both the Ukrainians and the Russians faced more dire threats than each other.

Colin Wright , says: Website August 15, 2019 at 4:53 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack ' Ukro-Nazi Jews '

You have to admit that's an impressive combination.

Adûnâi , says: August 15, 2019 at 6:17 pm GMT
"The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs."

Where are death camps for the Jews? Where are racial laws that expel non-Ukrainians? Where is the propaganda of eugenics and healthy lifestyle? Where are construction projects bringing in jobs, and state-subsidized recreation tours?

Ukraine is a Jew-driven shithole that has nothing to do with National Socialism. They don't even honour the sacrifice of the SS Galizien.

"but what they are genuinely fantasizing about is the territory, and only the territory. As for the 2 million-plus virulently anti-Nazi people currently living on these lands, they simply want them either dead or expelled)."

A lie. Currently, more than a half of those "expelled" have migrated inside Ukraine. A stark contrast to Croatia where the Serbs were driven out of the country, and their land given to Croats.

Again, Ukraine is suicidal and full of civic nationalism, nothing about it is blood-based.

"They and their Polish supporters want Russia to break apart in numerous small state-lets which they (or, in their delusional dreams, the Chinese) could dominate."

Why do you consider this as a negative for the Russian people? The current Russian state is in its death throes as much as the US and France – the ethnic Russians are dying out, fleeing and being replaced. Any alternative might prove out more hopeful.

"In contrast, the LDNR forces seem to be doing pretty well, and their morale appears to be as strong as ever (which is unsurprising since their military ethos is based in 1000 years of Russian military history)."

I have to remind you that the Donbass was colonized far more recently than Ukraine – in the 18-19th centuries. What "ancient" traditions?

"but Novorussia also is a never healing wound in the side of Nazi-occupied Ukraine"

The Donbass has never been part of Novorussia which is to the west, from Dniepropetrovsk to Odessa. Admittedly, Novorussia's colonists were mostly from Ukraine – it is clearly seen on the language maps.

"The problem with this slogan is that there is simply no way the (relatively small) Galician population can ever succeed in permanently defeating their much bigger (and, frankly, much smarter) Jewish, Polish or Russian neighbors."

Khmelnitsky managed to do just that – 100k dead Jews. And he's on the Ukrainian currency. Too bad modern "Nazi" Ukrainians have elected a Jew President. This is not the Khmelnitsky uprising, this is Kiev under the Khazar Khaganate before Oleg came from the North.

AP , says: August 15, 2019 at 10:45 pm GMT
It's a of nonsense as usual. This piece is quickly refuted:

ever since 1991 the most prosperous Soviet republic

People who spread this myth are ignorant or liars. It's a common one, though.

In 1990 Ukraine's per capita GDP was $1570.

Russia's was $3485.
Belarus was $2124.

So in Soviet times, Ukraine was the poorest of the three Slavic Soviet Republics. It still is, the position hasn't changed. It's just fallen further behind.

::::::::

Everything else is just as nonsensical, I won't even bother to detail it, most of the commenters here are as dumb/ignorant/dishonest (take your pick) as the author pretends to be.

Curmudgeon , says: August 15, 2019 at 11:15 pm GMT
I don't know where Saker sources his history. Lenin had nothing to do with the creation of Ukraine.

I live in Western Canada, where Ukrainians come starting in the late 19th century. I'm not referring to the primarily German speaking Mennonites that left South Central Ukraine, in the 1870s, fleeing religious persecution. By WWI, more than 200,000 were in Western Canada from all parts of Ukraine. They considered themselves Ukrainians, not Russians, or Galicians. They were, and to a great extent, still are Ukrainian nationalists. There continues to be friction with Polish and German local populations, although prior to the "rebirth" of Ukraine, it had largely subsided. Recent Russian immigrants are shunned as much as the "Poles" and "Germans". Politically, they are generally left of center, and have been since their arrival, although in recent decades more have become "conservative" (whatever that means these days). A long ago former Russian Jewish co-worker who was a late 60s "escapee" from the USSR, told me that he would never vote for one of our political parties, because there were "too many Ukrainians" in the party. I asked a "Ukrainian" friend, who I had known since grade school, what that meant. His explanation was that there had always been tensions between Jews and Ukrainians, for centuries, because of what Ukrainians believed was exploitation by the Jews. Other "Ukrainians" and "Jews" have confirmed this.

The reality is, that most people in most countries just want to live their lives in peace, with a job good enough to provide a decent home and food for the family. That 70% of Ukrainians want that is not surprising, it's normal. That doesn't mean they aren't nationalists, and it doesn't mean they are Nazis. However screwed up they are in trying to do so, Ukrainians are struggling to retain their identity and culture. IMO, they are up against internationalist forces from all sides, and none are interested in letting that happen.

Beckow , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:22 am GMT
@Curmudgeon The Nazi name-calling is over the top, and not just with regard to Ukraine or Galicia. Historical grievances or revisions are not 'Nazism'. Too many people look at Ukraine and over-interpret the nostalgia for Bandera or simple national self-assertion.

But I think Saker is right about where this is going. Russian side has local dominance and that will not change. The only game in town for the last 5 years has been to see if the Western squeeze of Russia will work faster than the Russian squeeze of Ukraine. By now it is obvious that it won't.

Kiev has made some fatal mistakes. E.g. Minsk agreement was an incredibly generous deal, if Poroshenko had half a brain he would had jumped on it and today Donbas would be a remote backwater with autonomy . So? The state would be intact, taxes would be paid, passports centrally issued, etc The eastern European dynamic is that any population always ends up disliking its immediate rulers – how long before local leaders in Donbas would be challenged by some younger corruption fighters.

The whole Maidan thing was also terribly mismanaged – at its core it was about getting the best potential deal for Ukraine with EU (and Russia). In the middle of the negotiation suddenly Maidanistas decided that symbols are more important than reality and basically folded in front of EU. Consequently Russia walked. Thus Kiev got justa bout the worst possible combination on non-EU and deep hostility with Russia. Smarter guys would had handled it much better, playing both sides against each other – raising the stakes.

And let's not even get started on Crimea, while Ukies ate stale cookies, they lost overnight their most valuable possession – they couldn't anticipate it? Being able to anticipate is a key to intelligence and in playing any game.

So we can talk about what or who is driving modern Ukraine, oligarchs, Galicians, Jews, Kiev thugs, Canadians – it doesn't matter, what matters is that they are incompetent. From Yushenko to Zelensky they are amateurs driven by emotion and greed. There is no state-forming force, there is no true Ukrainian nationalism that would play up Ukraine's strengths and manage its weaknesses. Saker is basically right – they are in a no-win cul-de-sac, at this point any move will make their situation worse. Their best (only?) hope is a collapse of Russia. Now, how likely is that?

bevin , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:33 am GMT
@Korenchkin " what kind of Nazi Government has a Jewish PM and Jewish President ?"
Israel.
Felix Keverich , says: August 16, 2019 at 8:23 am GMT
@peterAUS This is not a real nation. There is no such thing as "genuine Ukrainian nationalists".

AP doesn't count – the dude lives in Canada! So Galician nutters is all you get.

Korenchkin , says: August 16, 2019 at 1:14 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Autism of this degree does not pop out of nowhere
You had Cossacks and Mercenaries from the Ukraine joining up with the Poles, Swedes, Napoleon, Germans and others. Calling diaspora nationalists stupid is all fine and dandy but the constant bickering between people in current Ukraine and in Russia stinks of divide and conquer (which is what Ukraine vs Russia conflicts always were)

Calling them stupid and calling their ethnicity fake(which they make an actual effort to preserve, such as it is) stinks of hypocrisy when so many Great Russians were willing to tear their country, religion and people apart in 1917 and join up with the Bolsheviks in the rape and pillaging

You'd probably get far more progress calling them a branch of Russian civilization, you can cite Belarus and Siberian Ukraine as examples
It's easy to dogpile on some poor Hohol since they will always be on the defensive, but it's much harder to understand him and admit your own faults while not backing down from your standpoint that you are both one people

Serbs often made the same mistakes with Montenegro, and the result is the modern day shitfest where both it and Ukraine are run by hostile US puppets

peter mcloughlin , says: August 16, 2019 at 3:58 pm GMT
The Saker is correct that reality and pragmatism are essential 'when trying to figure out what is going on and what might happen next.' It is a hard calculation to make in a world increasingly chaotic and dark. The Minsk Accord is probably the only glimmer of light for Ukraine, but then all the lights – across the world – are going out.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Andrei Martyanov , says: Website August 16, 2019 at 5:36 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon

However screwed up they are in trying to do so, Ukrainians are struggling to retain their identity and culture. IMO, they are up against internationalist forces from all sides, and none are interested in letting that happen.

What you posted is called a generic "to be against everything bad, for everything good". Living in a world of unicorns and having rainbows as result of bowel movement is, of course, a worthy aspiration but reality with Ukraine is a teeny-weeny bit more complicated than mere attempts to "retain their identity and culture". I'll give you a hint, vast swaths of Ukrainian population (including in the East Ukraine) believe, as an example, that Ukrainian civilization precedes a Sumerian one. Many, very many, also still believe that valiant Ukrainian Armed Forces still fight, for the 5th year in a row, mighty Russian Army in the East. We are talking here about down right mental breakdown on a national level, granted, as I always say, modern Ukraine did happen, that is coalesced, as a political nation.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website August 16, 2019 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Beckow

There is no state-forming force, there is no true Ukrainian nationalism that would play up Ukraine's strengths and manage its weaknesses

There is one–modern Ukraine is a "anti-Russia" project, that is also a foundation of its state ideology and, I may add, mythology.

mejohnr1 , says: August 16, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT

In the thirteenth century, both the Ukrainians and the Russians faced more dire threats than each other.

In the 13th century there were no Ukrainians or Ukraine. There was Russia though, Rus'. Imagine a US state becoming independent today, from the rest of the US.. like Ohio.. and people are going to say "the first man on the moon was an Ohioan (Armstrong), not an American. Sorry, doesn't work like that..

Commentator Mike , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:10 am GMT
@Colin Wright

' Ukro-Nazi Jews '

You have to admit that's an impressive combination.

Yes, but it wasn't the Saker who invented it; it does seem to reflect what's going on there. My only criticism is that he has given more prominence to the Nazis than the Jews, unless we consider "oligarchs" as a synonym for Jews.

Bardon Kaldian , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:39 am GMT
When I see words like "Nazis" in relation to Ukrainians, I know that article is sh!t & not worth reading.
Commentator Mike , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:42 am GMT
@peterAUS

why he writes like that/we have such posts here?

Like you have said in the past he is taking the Russian side. I think it's a fairly good analysis of the situation if you go beyond his propagandistic terminology and what he leaves unsaid. Russia really doesn't want to engage directly in the conflict but its best policy would be to bide its time and to encourage more pro-Russian separatism in Odessa and all other regions along the coast so as to eventually cut off Ukraine from access to the sea altogether. That would serve Russian interests best and strengthen its position against NATO, the EU, and the rump Ukraine, for whatever is to follow. It's a shame for any real Ukranian nationalists but then they should have been smarter than to join all those colour revolutions on Maidan organised by the CIA, Soros, Jewish oligarchs, etc.

That's a frozen conflict for now. Let's have another article on UR about the latest from the US sponsored colour revolution in Hong Kong and what are the best measures that PR China can take to quell the riots. And it's about time they took back Formosa, but it won't be as easy as the Russian takeover of Crimea, unless they can send a million Red Army guards there disguised as tourists to stage a silent putsch.

Tom Welsh , says: August 18, 2019 at 10:38 am GMT
"As I have indicated in a recent article, the Ukraine is not a democracy but an oligarchy "

Like the USA, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India

None of those countries have ever been democracies in any sense of the word.

Robjil , says: August 18, 2019 at 11:24 am GMT
@Bardon Kaldian Neonazis is a good term for the people used in the Ukrainian ZUS coup. That is the people that was used to gain control of Ukraine for ZUS.

This coup in Ukraine, woke me up.

V. Nuland's war cry to bless the coup was "F–k The EU"

She used Neonazis to take over Ukraine.

Wait. She is Jewish. I guess the 6 million story must be bogus. She admitted it, since if the 6 million story was real. She would have a great fear of a tidal wave of anti-S'ism overcoming her and her people. She had no fear. Thus, the 6 million story was proved to be false by V. Nuland. Thanks V. Nuland for freeing the world of that nightmarish propaganda that has saddled humanity for seventy odd years.

Secondly, she told the world the reality of J. Supremacism by stating " F..k the EU". The world thought that ZUS loved the EU as its sister in world domination. I guess not. Would V. Nuland ever say "F..k Israel"? I think not.

Thanks V. Nuland. A new Queen Esther or Queen Victoria.

Robjil , says: August 18, 2019 at 11:37 am GMT
@Tom Welsh Yes, ZUS ukraine is being run just like the rest of us in the west.

The little people are considered "deplorable" and treated that way.

At least, ZUS ukraine is not be over run by people fleeing ZUS wars and coups.

I guess since ZUS ukraine is not in good shape for these fleeing people.

ZUS ukraine is in the same shape as the nations that the fleeing people come from.

So there is no reason for them to go to ZUS ukraine.

GMC , says: August 18, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
Yep, agree with Saker – I lived there before , during and now after the Maidan and he's spot on with most of everything – he has been, since the beginning. Zelinsky has a dozen or more bosses and he has Zero experience in what he's doing. . Zionist Bankers and their arms dealers, Nato, Banderas gang,Washington, US Navy, Monsanto/Bayer, Royal Dutch {shell oil }, Dupont, Lilly Pharma, Cargill, and the list could go on. He'll be lucky if he isn't in Diapers by the time his term is up, otherwise he will be rich. I see that Poroshanster is being called out for taking 8 billion bucks out of Ukie-Ville. I wonder how much Trump and his family will end up stealing?. Thanks Unz Review.
Kiza , says: August 18, 2019 at 1:10 pm GMT
@Beckow

Thus Kiev got justa bout the worst possible combination on non-EU and deep hostility with Russia. Smarter guys would had handled it much better, playing both sides against each other – raising the stakes.

As usual, you nailed it Beckow.
Also, Saker often misunderstands things but he is right that Ukraine is in a one way street mainly because of the out-of-this-World miscalculation that the rotten West will somehow help them instead of use them to create a festering sore on Russian border for just a few billion dollars in loans. It is the rest of Ukraine, excluding Donbas, that will have to pay off these war loans already stolen by the oligarchs.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: August 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/d2xCLqQnnjs?feature=oembed

Bill Jones , says: August 18, 2019 at 2:23 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike I recall that at the time of the Zionist coup (We do remember Ms Noodleman's : "fuck the EU" don't we?) Ukrainian Nazi's were a leading force in kicking things off.
Skeptikal , says: August 18, 2019 at 2:43 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack "In Saker's simplistic mind the Galicians have infiltrated all of Ukrainian society and run the whole show, "

This was not what I read.
The Saker said that oligarchs and Nazi militia groups have enough power to impose their will and their agenda on the rest of the population.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website August 18, 2019 at 3:22 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

When I see words like "Nazis" in relation to Ukrainians, I know that article is sh!t & not worth reading.

This is because you don't know what Raguli(stan) is and you cannot possibly know, because there are no "books" written yet which would encapsulate this whole phenomenon. Of course, Ukies have no relation to Fichte and Volkskrieg. Other than that you will find an attentive audience among local ignoramuses.

[Aug 18, 2019] The fundamental problem in politics is not the opposition of wickedness, but the restraint of righteousness. Hillary has always loved to kill people is distant lands

Aug 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

stevek , 18 minutes ago link

Hillary has always loved to kill people. Its in her (evil) blood.

Creative_Destruct , 22 minutes ago link

"This damn Serbian war is a symbol of all that is wrong with the righteous approach to the world and to problems within this nation."

Story of the last several decades (fill in the blank with your pick of the name of a US war or a SJW cause):

This damn _________ war is a symbol of all that is wrong with the righteous approach to the world and to problems within this nation.

Kissinger had many flaws, but he hit the nail on the head when he said:

"The fundamental problem in politics is not the opposition of wickedness, but the restraint of righteousness"

TheDayAfter , 1 hour ago link

We all know the Hypocrisy of that War. Clinton had to distract the masses from MonicaGate and Hillary had to prove to the MIC that she could be beneficial to them.

Result : Those Kosovo Albanians had a state handed to them, and instead of building it(with uncle Sam's and EU help) as prosperous country, they used their weapons and "expertise" in becoming the low level gangsters of Europe. Every Europol analysis points to the direction of Kosovo Albanians as the criminal thugs in prostitution and drug trade and protection rackets. The largest percentage of a single ethnic group in European jails is that of Albanians.

TeaClipper , 1 hour ago link

The most unjust and illegal of wars in the late 20c.

There was only one reason to bomb white Christian brothers in Serbia thereby aiding the Muslim of Kosovo and Albania, and that was Russia, which by that stage had got its act together and dealt with the traitorous oligarchs who had sold their country out to the west.

Hillary and her cronies no doubt lost a lot of money when the Russians shut their rat lines down.

I hope I live long enough to see those fuckers swing, and Tony Blair, Alistair Campnell and Peter Mandelson as well.

PKKA , 3 hours ago link

Again, your Muslims are to blame for everything. Muslims are all different. And it is necessary to separate the faithful Muslims from the bandits who are only covered by Muslim slogans.
NATO and your godless government are to blame!

An Afghan Freedom Fighter in Donbass - ENG SUBTITLE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc2KeSkl5H0

Joe A , 3 hours ago link

It happened at the time of the Lewinsky affair and the possible impeachment of Clinton. They needed a distraction.

Milosevic btw. agreed to all conditions imposed on the FR of Yugoslavia except for one condition that nobody would accept: the full and unhindered access to the territory of FRY by NATO troops. That effectively meant an occupation. Nobody would agree to that. NATO and Albright deliberately came up with that condition for they knew it was unacceptable. Even Kissinger said that condition was over the top. NATO and Albright wanted that war. Serbia btw. saved Albright twice when she was still a little Slovakian Jewish girl whose family found refuge twice in Serbia. Once they escaped the Nazis that way and the second time the communists.

NATO thought they would need 48 hours but they needed 78 days and Milosevic only gave in after NATO switched from hitting military targets to civilian targets: Hospitals, commuter trains, civilian industry, an open market, random houses in random villages. After Milosevic pulled out his troops out of Kosovo, the KLA started killing Serbs and moderate Albanians, not to mention engage in organ trafficking (...). As the article said, well over 200k Serbs, moderate Albanians, Roma and other minorities were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo.

The US also used cluster bombs and DU weapons. Of the 4000 Italian KFOR troops that went into Kosovo after the bombing, 700 are dead from cancer and leukemia with several hundreds more seriously ill. The American KFOR troops wore hazmat suits. The Italians did not have them and were not warned. Today, many people in southern Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo itself are sick and dying.

HoyeruNew , 3 hours ago link

yes just like USA tried to help Vietnam against communists... by killing 2 million Vietnamese. and tried to help Korea by killing 20 % of the population. and by helping Iraq get rid of "bad" Saddam Hussein by killing 2 million Iraqies.

Oh, the Americans are oh so helpfiul!

ItsDanger , 2 hours ago link

Not disagreeing with you but lets remember that communists were killing a lot of people in other areas not long before those wars in SE Asia. May have been a wash in the end.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

13 million gallons of agent orange dropped on Vietnamese forests was our way of saying we love you. The genetic deformities are still widespread.

So glad they kicked the US out of there.

Magnum , 3 hours ago link

That conflict led to hundreds of thousands of BOSNIANS moving to USA. Gotta keep the refugees flowing no matter what....

JoeBattista , 3 hours ago link

Bring back the draft. On the whole Americans have no idea what the carnage of combat produces. Combat vets do. And the ones that aren't natural psychopaths never want to experience it again. This volunteer army we have is over loaded with a them. A military draft will actually bring some sort civilian control.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

They killed the draft so they would no longer be embarrassed by student protests and having to mow them down.

It worked. Today's snowflakes don't care about slaughter , only mini verbal aggressions against perverts.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

Such ********. Do the millions we kill have any human rights? It's been going on for 4000 years. Ruthless pursuit of empire and fabricating phony justifications.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 3 hours ago link

Hillary seems to enjoy killing people. If it wasn't Gaddaffi, it was all the people on her body bag count, and now it's known she encouraged killing people in Serbia. Someone needs to take that old cow out into the center of the town and burn her at the stake.

Red Corvair , 4 hours ago link

Partially true, otherwise as usually excellent Dr. Paul, ... The Pandora's box situation was opened years before Clinton's bombing of Serbia, which was part of a larger scheme started nearly a decade before.

That was when the US armed the religious extremists in Bosnia, in order to bring war, "civil war" and chaos, and disintegration, the way they more recently tried to do with Syria, or "succeeded" in doing in Libya, bringing chaos and open-air slave markets in a country that was one of the most developed on the African continent under Gaddafi (a truth that was so easily erased by propaganda).

And the whole neocon scheme started two decades before, with the Zbigniew Brzezinski doctrine, when the US started arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan, provoking the trap for the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was the real opening of US neocon's Pandora's box we are regrettably so familiar with by now. We've all fallen in that old neocon/military-industrial-congressional-complex trap by now. And there seems to be no end in sight to those eternal wars "for civilization" (the old colonial trope dressed under new fatigues). Unless serious societal and political changes take place in the US to put an end to the US "imperial" death drive.

[Aug 18, 2019] The Anglo-American Origins Of Color Revolutions

Notable quotes:
"... Lee Stranahan gives the best explanation I have ever heard, on the color revolution that occurred in the Ukraine. He also demonstrates how that revolution overlaps in to the one happening in the United States right now: The very one that has been going on, ever since HRC conceded her Presidential bid to DJT, in her purple pantsuit. ..."
"... The west plays a mean game. The more they try to destabilize the east, the harder Xi,Putin & Erdogan have to crack down on dissidents resultng in harder condemnation of teh west and increased meddling :) ..."
"... "the vast web of NGOs" is a web or organizations which are not accountable to anyone except their money men. ..."
"... The NGO's distort the representative nature of a society. If anything their existence proves that representative democracy is a fraud and just a way for elites to control nations. The only thing to demand after that is direct democracy where all policies etc. have to be voted in by the population. ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Anglo-American Origins Of Color Revolutions

by Tyler Durden Sat, 08/17/2019 - 22:40 0 SHARES

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

A few years ago, very few people understood the concept behind color revolutions.

Had Russia and China's leadership not decided to unite in solidarity in 2012 when they began vetoing the overthrow of Bashar al Assad in Syria- followed by their alliance around the Belt and Road Initiative , then it is doubtful that the color revolution concept would be as well-known as it has become today.

At that time, Russia and China realized that they had no choice but to go on the counter offensive, since the regime change operations and colour revolutions orchestrated by such organizations as the CIA-affiliated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Soros Open Society Foundations were ultimately designed to target them as those rose, orange, green or yellow revolution efforts in Georgia, Ukraine, Iran or Hong Kong were always recognized as weak points on the periphery of the threatened formation of a great power alliance of sovereign Eurasian nations that would have the collective power to challenge the power of the Anglo-American elite based in London and Wall Street.

Russia's 2015 expulsion of 12 major conduits of color revolution included Soros' Open Society Foundation as well as the NED was a powerful calling out of the enemy with the Foreign Ministry calling them "a threat to the foundations of Russia's Constitutional order and national security". This resulted in such fanatical calls by George Soros for a $50 billion fund to counteract Russia's interference in defense of Ukraine's democracy. Apparently the $5 billion spent by the NED in Ukraine was not nearly enough.

In spite of the light falling upon these cockroaches, NED and Open Society operations continued in full force focusing on the weakest links the Grand Chessboard unleashing what has become known as a "strategy of tension". Venezuela, Kashmir, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjian (dubbed East Turkistan by NED) have all been targeted in recent years with millions of NED dollars pouring into separatist groups, labour unions, student movements and fake news "opinion shapers" under the guise of "democracy building". $1.7 million in grants was spent by NED in Hong Kong since 2017 which was a significant increase from their $400 000 spent to coordinate the failed "Occupy HK" protest in 2014 .

The Case of China

In response to over two months of controlled chaos, the Chinese government has kept a remarkably restrained posture, allowing the Hong Kong authorities to manage the situation with their police deprived of use of lethal weapons and even giving into the protestors' demand that the changes to the extradition treaty that nominally sparked this mess be annulled. In spite of this patient tone, the rioters who have run havoc on airports and public buildings have created lists of demands that are all but impossible for mainland China to meet including 1) an "independent committee to investigate the abuses of Chinese authorities", 2) for china to stop referring to rioters as "rioters", 3) for all charges against rioters to be dropped, and 4) universal suffrage- including candidates promoting independence or rejoining the British Empire.

As violence continues to grow, and as it has become an increasing reality that some form of intervention from the mainland may occur to restore order, the British Foreign Office has taken an aggressive tone threatening China with "severe consequences" unless "a fully independent investigation" into police Brutality were permitted. The former Colonial Governor of China Christopher Patten attacked China by saying "Since president Xi has been in office, there's been a crackdown on dissent and dissidents everywhere, the party has been in control of everything".

The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded saying "the UK has no sovereign jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong it is simply wrong for the British Government to exert pressure. The Chinese side seriously urges the UK to stop its interference in China's internal affairs and stop making random and inflammatory accusations on Hong Kong."

The British have not been able to conduct their manipulation of Hong Kong without the vital role of America's NGO dirty ops, and in true imperial fashion, the political class from both sides of the aisle have attacked China with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi making the loudest noise driving the American House Foreign Affairs Committee to threaten "universal condemnation and swift consequences" if Beijing intervenes. This has only made the photographs of Julie Eadeh, the head of Political Office at the American Consulate in Hong Kong meeting with leaders of the Hong Kong demonstrations that much more disgusting to any onlooker.

While both Britain and America have been caught red handed organizing this color revolution, it is important to keep in mind who is controlling who.

The Foreign Origins of the NED

Contrary to popular opinion, the British Empire did not go away after WWII, nor did it hand over the "keys to the kingdom" to America. It didn't even become America's Junior Partner in a new Anglo-American special relationship. Contrary to popular belief, it stayed in the drivers' seat.

The post WWII order was largely shaped by a British coup which didn't take over America without a fight. Nests of Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholars, Fabians and other ideologues embedded within the American establishment had a lot of work ahead of them as they struggled to purge all nationalist impulses from the American intelligence community. While the most aggressive purging of patriotic Americans from the intelligence community occurred during the dissolution of the OSS and creation of MI6 in 1947 and the Communist witch hunt that followed, there were other purges that were less well known.

As an organization which was beginning to take form which was to become known as the Trilateral Commission organized by Britain's "hand in America" called the Council on Foreign Relations and international Bilderberg Group, another purge occurred in 1970 under the direction of James Schlesinger during his six month stint as CIA director. At that time 1000 top CIA officials deemed "unfit" were fired. This was followed nine years later as another 800 were fired under a list drafted by CIA "spymaster" Ted Shackley. Both Schlesinger and Shackley were high level Trilateral Commission members who took part in the group's 1973 formation and fully took power of America during Jimmy Carter's 1977-1981 presidency which unleashed a dystopian reorganization of American foreign and internal policy outlined in my previous report .

Project Democracy Takes Over

By the 1970s, the CIA's dirty hand funding anarchist operations both within America and abroad had become too well known as media coverage of their dirty operations at home and abroad spoiled the patriotic image which the intelligence community then desired. While the internal resistance to fascist behaviour from within the intelligence Community itself was dealt with through purges, the reality was that a new agency had to be created to take over those functions of covert destabilization of foreign governments.

What became Project Democracy herein originated with a Trilateral Commission meeting in May 31, 1975 in Kyoto Japan as a protégé of Trilateral Commission director Zbigniew Brzezinski named Samuel (Clash of Civilizations) Huntington delivered the results of his Task Force on the Governability of Democracies . This project was supervised by Schlesinger and Brzezinski and presented the notion that democracies could not function adequately in the crisis conditions which the Trilateral Commission was preparing to impose onto America and the world through a process dubbed "the Controlled Disintegration of Society ".

The Huntington report featured at the Trilateral meeting stated: "One might consider means of securing support and resources from foundations, business corporations, labor unions, political parties, civic associations, and, where possible and appropriate, governmental agencies for the creation of an institute for the strengthening of democratic institutions."

It took 4 years for this blueprint to become reality. In 1979 three Trilateral Commission members named William Brock (RNC Chairman), Charles Manatt (DNC Chairman) and George Agree (head of Freedom House) established an organization called the American Political Foundation (APF) which attempted to fulfil the objective laid out by Huntington in 1975.

The APF was used to set up a program using federal funds called the Democracy Program which issued an interim report "The Commitment to Democracy" which said: "No theme requires more sustained attention in our time than the necessity for strengthening the future chances of democratic societies in a world that remains predominantly unfree or partially fettered by repressive governments. There has never been a comprehensive structure for a non-governmental effort through which the resources of America's pluralistic constituencies . .. could be mobilized effectively."

In May 1981, Henry Kissinger who had replaced Brzezinski as head of the Trilateral Commission and had many operatives planted around President Reagan, gave a speech at Britain's Chatham House ( the controlling hand behind the Council on Foreign Relations ) where he described his work as Secretary of State saying that the British "became a participant in internal American deliberations, to a degree probably never practiced between sovereign nations In my White House incarnation then, I kept the British Foreign Office better informed and more closely engaged than I did the American State Department It was symptomatic". In his speech, Kissinger outlined the battle between Churchill vs FDR during WWII and made the point that he favored the Churchill worldview for the post war world (And ironically also that of Prince Metternich who ran the Congress of Vienna that snuffed out democratic movements across Europe in 1815).

In June 1982, Reagan's Westminster Palace speech officially inaugurated the NED and by November 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy Act was passed bringing this new covert organization into reality with $31 million of funding under four subsidiary organizations (AFL-CIO Free Trade Union Institute, The US Chamber of Commerce's Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute and the International Democratic Institute) (2).

Throughout the 1980s, this organization went to work managing Iran-Contra, destabilizing Soviet states and unleashing the first "official" modern color revolution in the form of the Yellow revolution that ousted Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. Speaking more candidly than usual, NED President David Ignatius said in 1991 "a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA".

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the NED was instrumental in bringing former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO/WTO system and the New World Order was announced by Bush Sr. and Kissinger- both of whom were rewarded with knighthoods for their service to the Crown in 1992 and 1995 respectively.

Of course, the vast web of NGOs permeating the geopolitical terrain can only be effective as long as no one says the truth and "names the game". The very act of calling out their nefarious motives renders them impotent and this simple fact has made the recently announced China-Russia arrangement to formulate a proper strategic response to color revolutions so important in the current fight.


LibertyVibe , 7 hours ago link

Lee Stranahan gives the best explanation I have ever heard, on the color revolution that occurred in the Ukraine. He also demonstrates how that revolution overlaps in to the one happening in the United States right now: The very one that has been going on, ever since HRC conceded her Presidential bid to DJT, in her purple pantsuit.

Helg Saracen , 6 hours ago link

...The gold reserves of Ukraine the day after the coup were in New York...

StarGate , 7 hours ago link

Good article for clarifying the organizations with purpose to destroy USA Constitution and maintain British Royal control -

Rhodes Scholars (Buttigieg, Clinton, Halper, Maddow, Stephanopoulis etc)

Trilateral Commission/ CFR etc

And the purging of non-Brit operatives from US agencies (CIA, State Dept, FBI etc)

Helg Saracen , 11 hours ago link

There is a simple explanation for both the United Kingdom and the United States -- Bankers's "Zionism" ...

NAV , 9 hours ago link

Are you saying that the Israelis who vote en masse for Netanyahu and the Jews who donate the money for AIPAC and the ADL and the Jews who wrote America's 1965 Immigration Act, and the international Jews who created the Fed which allows the Jews to print free money for themselves to buy up control of all US industry and commerce and communications and the institutions that form American culture, and who support genocide of the Palestinians, are scapegoats? Are you saying that Banko-Warburg, the architect of the Fed and the main supplier of money for the Communist takeover of Russia in 1917 by Lenin and Trotsky (Max Warburg and Jacob Schiff), is a European-English-American banking family?

Seriously, what do you mean by European-English-American? Ehret has dodged the massive elephant in the room -- mainly Israeli control of American foreign policy, and now domestic policy. Is it the American-Anglo elite (?), or the Israeli-American Empire (Jews), that has the world in its grip?

schroedingersrat , 12 hours ago link

The west plays a mean game. The more they try to destabilize the east, the harder Xi,Putin & Erdogan have to crack down on dissidents resultng in harder condemnation of teh west and increased meddling :)

Boogity , 16 hours ago link

Trumpstein, Fatty Pompous, Bolthead, Bibi, and Soros are having old man circle jerks while planning colored revolutions together. But China may be a bridge too far...

Julot_Fr , 16 hours ago link

Color revolutions belong to city of london.. and their spy agency network.. as illustrated by russiagate, cia and fbi dont take orders from white house

St. TwinkleToes , 17 hours ago link

CIA-affiliated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Soros Open Society Foundations were originators of rainbow revolutions. Just pick a color and they were there, lock, stock, and barrel, at the center of it all.

Today you'll see their tentacles reaching from Antifa to ISIS, LGBTIQPWXYZ GlobalHomo to Open Border socialists, and most every place where there's chaos, wars, and instabilities.

Its one big new world order of hate, hate and more hate.

In fact, if you want to see the official USA version hate map, click here https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map

Warning: SPLC is a know propaganda outlet for government and special interest organizations. They are funded by rich globalist elites, Big Tech, and states known to be sponsors of state terrorism.

GreatUncle , 17 hours ago link

"Since president Xi has been in office, there's been a crackdown on dissent and dissidents everywhere, the party has been in control of everything".

You can say the same for many western nations as people for objecting to current policies are made outcasts and persecuted by their own governments. Just saying it is Xi in China or any other nation in the world is ******** ... the ever increasing censorship and suppression of objection so they can keep the ever increasing entitlements for the top flowing.

uhland62 , 17 hours ago link

"the vast web of NGOs" is a web or organizations which are not accountable to anyone except their money men.

Some rich people fund them as a hobby, others work for them for free - they obviously do not need to work for their daily bread or they wouldn't be in an NGO. These NGOs meddle in the politics without standing for elections.

What qualified Soros to give many countries good advice? His money! Just money! The German compensation schemes (Wiedergutmachung) were seed money for many. How lucky this Hungarian Soros was.

Noob678 , 17 hours ago link

What qualified Soros to give many countries good advice?

Soros is just a puppet no different from Wilbur Ross, Justin Trudeau, Cynthia Freeland, Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull, Zelenski, Poroshenko, Steve Mnuchin et al. Follow the money.

GreatUncle , 17 hours ago link

The NGO's distort the representative nature of a society. If anything their existence proves that representative democracy is a fraud and just a way for elites to control nations. The only thing to demand after that is direct democracy where all policies etc. have to be voted in by the population.

Direct democracy is possible with modern technology where the a motion is presented and you have 7 days to vote upon it.

Real easy that ...

[Aug 18, 2019] Hong Kong's Inevitable Showdown

Aug 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

yojimbo , 12 minutes ago link

Bluff to democracy as they have it - HK only became democratic because the AnZis could then use it to stir unrest against China. Funny how HK was never democratic while the Brits were still there.

Prolls still think representative democracy actually gives them anything more than a mirage.

americhinaman , 28 seconds ago link

Yes. HK had 0 votes under imperialist British rule, until near their departure. How many British Kings, err adminstrators, of HK were elected by the HK people?

The British seeded the idea of democracy as a "gift" to the people of China, with the specific intention of causing trouble down the line. Add a few dozen US NGO's to the mix, Soros' funding for the "colors"... all that's happened is that down the line has arrived. It's a politically expedient time to activate the colors.

But the era in which Britain and the US controlled all geopolitical change is over. It's not going to happen in HK either. China has specifically told the HK police to use no violence (imagine any of these protests happening in the USA and what would happen to the rioters there...). The first step will be to authorize HK police to defend themselves. There won't be a second step, as the protestors have the courage of chicken ****.

[Aug 18, 2019] US Bullies Its Way Into Dispute, Moves to Seize Iranian Tanker by Barbara Boland

Notable quotes:
"... "Designed to provoke Tehran: Just as #Iran-UK-#Gibraltar were set to have #Grace1 tanker released today, #Trump admin moves in to spoil the effort. Will become another source of tension in Europe-US relations over Iran policy," Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted . ..."
"... As TAC previously reported , the legal rationale for detaining the Iranian vessel and its crew is questionable, because Iran is not a member of the European Union and thus can not violate EU sanctions. ..."
"... "The UK had no legal right to enforce those sanctions," writes Gareth Porter, and the seizure "was a blatant violation of the clearly defined global rules that govern the passage of merchant ships through international straits." ..."
Aug 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

British Gibraltar ordered the ship's release to ease tensions. Washington wasn't having any of it.

A ship approaches supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. – Iran demanded on July 5, 2019 that Britain immediately release an oil tanker it has detained in Gibraltar, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States. Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite eleventh hour efforts on the part of the U.S. to detain the Grace 1 Iranian oil tanker seized by the Royal Navy in July, the vessel was released Thursday. Gibraltar's Chief Minister said he had accepted a pledge from Iran that if the tanker was released, it would not be taken to Syria.

The Grace 1 was seized last month by the British Royal Navy for alleged European Union sanctions violations. The British claimed that Iran was using the tanker to ship oil to Syria.

Before the last minute U.S. legal action, authorities in Gibraltar had announced they would release the Grace 1 and drop legal actions against the ship's captain and crew in order to ease tensions.

The U.S. application was scheduled to be heard later on Thursday by the Gibraltar Supreme Court. The U.S. Department of Justice sought to extend the detention of the oil tanker, but the Gibraltar Supreme Court later dropped the detention order, essentially moving evaluation of the U.S. request to another government agency for consideration, according to CBS. In the mean time, the tanker is free to leave.

The U.S. filing seems to confirm reports that the U.S. urged the British detention of the Iranian ship in July.

" Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its #EconomicTerrorism -- including depriving cancer patients of medicine -- the US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas," tweeted Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. "This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin's contempt for the law."

After the British decision to detain the Grace 1 in July, Iran seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions with Tehran have escalated since the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and resumed economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Without citing specific evidence, the U.S. has blamed Iran for recent attacks on other oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

"Designed to provoke Tehran: Just as #Iran-UK-#Gibraltar were set to have #Grace1 tanker released today, #Trump admin moves in to spoil the effort. Will become another source of tension in Europe-US relations over Iran policy," Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted .

As TAC previously reported , the legal rationale for detaining the Iranian vessel and its crew is questionable, because Iran is not a member of the European Union and thus can not violate EU sanctions.

"The UK had no legal right to enforce those sanctions," writes Gareth Porter, and the seizure "was a blatant violation of the clearly defined global rules that govern the passage of merchant ships through international straits."

It is unclear whether UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will support Washington's maximum pressure campaign against Iran. But the American decision to pursue its case in Gibraltar's courts may indicate that Britain is unwilling to further escalate tensions with the Islamic Republic.

Barbara Boland is 's foreign policy and national security reporter. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC.

[Aug 18, 2019] The Destruction Is the Point [ of Trump policy toward Iran] by Daniel Larison

How current prices correlate with Pompeo statement that "We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market." ? Something really strange is happening here.
Notable quotes:
"... Given these statements, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Pompeo is not being entirely honest when he claims the maximum pressure campaign is succeeding. Rather than leveling with the American people and making an argument about why the administration is persisting with the policy in spite of the lack of progress, he has chosen to deceive the public in order to defend a dangerous policy. ..."
"... Pompeo has made a habit of deceiving the public as Secretary of State on a range of issues from Yemen to North Korea, but for the most part he has been allowed to get away with that. ..."
"... When Pompeo has been asked for proof that the sanctions are "working," he cannot point to any positive change in the Iranian government's behavior, and instead he boasts about the harm that has been done to Iran's economy and its people: ..."
"... We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market. ..."
"... Pompeo is deception, lies, absolute dishonesty. But of course that is the mark of the trump regime in general terms. ..."
Aug 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nicholas Miller has delivered a devastating response to Pompeo's pitiful propaganda op-ed from earlier this month:

Given these statements, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Pompeo is not being entirely honest when he claims the maximum pressure campaign is succeeding. Rather than leveling with the American people and making an argument about why the administration is persisting with the policy in spite of the lack of progress, he has chosen to deceive the public in order to defend a dangerous policy.

Pompeo has made a habit of deceiving the public as Secretary of State on a range of issues from Yemen to North Korea, but for the most part he has been allowed to get away with that. He probably thinks that there is no price to be paid for constantly lying and misrepresenting things to the public and Congress, and so he keeps doing it.

The more important reason why Pompeo keeps deceiving the public is that he is also eager to please the president, and so he has to keep claiming success for failing policies because reports of success are what the president wants to hear. When Pompeo's ridiculous op-ed came out last week, one of the common questions that many people asked was, "Who is the audience for this?" The point these people were making was that the "argument" in the op-ed was so facile and nonsensical that it can't possibly have been intended to persuade anyone, so the purpose of it had to be to placate Trump and reassure him that the policy "works."

Miller does an outstanding job picking apart Pompeo's various claims and using Pompeo's previous contradictory claims against him, and he shows that the Secretary's defense of "maximum pressure" is a joke to any minimally informed person. But as far as Pompeo is concerned, all that matters is that Trump sticks with the policy. When Pompeo has been asked for proof that the sanctions are "working," he cannot point to any positive change in the Iranian government's behavior, and instead he boasts about the harm that has been done to Iran's economy and its people:

I remember, David – I'm sure no one in this room, but many here in Washington said that American sanctions alone won't work. Well, they've worked. We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market.

Miller addressed Pompeo's use of economic damage as proof of the policy's success this way:

Using economic damage to gauge the success of sanctions is like using body counts to measure success in counter-insurgency -- it's an indicator that your policy is having an effect, but does not necessarily imply you're any closer to achieving strategic objectives.

For a hard-liner like Pompeo, continuing with a destructive and bankrupt policy is a matter of ideology and an expression of hostility towards the targeted country. It doesn't matter to hard-liners if the policy actually achieves anything as long as it does damage, and so they take pride in the damage that they cause without any concern for the consequences for the U.S. and Iran. Rational critics of this policy rightfully object that this is just aimless destruction, but the destruction is the point of the policy.


Sid Finster 3 days ago

The current administration, like its predecessors, is not merely incompetent, it is actively malicious.
Zsuzsi Kruska Sid Finster 3 days ago
It only appears incompetent until you discover who benefits, and it isn't the majority of Americans. Who has benefited so far? The Plutocrats, oligarchs, Israel, Saudi, MIC, Big Oil, Big Rx, immigration related services. This is just a partial list, but guess who it doesn't include?
maninthewilderness Sid Finster 3 days ago
Perhaps it's a precondition for being the administration.
Littleredtop 3 days ago
Any nation that allows "freedom of speech" has made the assumption that either everyone is honest or everyone is smart enough to know bull sh !t when they hear it.
Taras77 3 days ago
Pompeo is deception, lies, absolute dishonesty. But of course that is the mark of the trump regime in general terms.

[Aug 17, 2019] America s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia by James Bovard

By all measures Clinton is a war criminal... Hilary is a female sociopath or worse.
Notable quotes:
"... Hillary Clinton revealed to an interviewer in the summer of 1999, "I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?" ..."
"... The Kosovo Liberation Army's savage nature was well known before the Clinton administration formally christened them "freedom fighters" in 1999. ..."
"... Sen. Joe Lieberman whooped that the United States and the KLA "stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." ..."
"... Clinton administration officials justified killing civilians because, it alleged the Serbs were committing genocide in Kosovo. After the bombing ended, no evidence of genocide was found, but Clinton and Britain's Tony Blair continued boasting as if their war had stopped a new Hitler in his tracks. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | www.fff.org

Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton commenced bombing Serbia in the name of human rights, justice, and ethnic tolerance. Approximately 1,500 Serb civilians were killed by NATO bombing in one of the biggest sham morality plays of the modern era. As British professor Philip Hammond recently noted, the 78-day bombing campaign "was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called 'dual-use' targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorise the country into surrender."

Clinton's unprovoked attack on Serbia, intended to help ethnic Albanians seize control of Kosovo, set a precedent for "humanitarian" warring that was invoked by supporters of George W. Bush's unprovoked attack on Iraq, Barack Oba-ma's bombing of Libya, and Donald Trump's bombing of Syria.

Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo, and there is an 11-foot statue of him standing in the capitol, Pristina, on Bill Clinton Boulevard. A commentator in the United Kingdom's Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton "with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999." It would have been a more accurate representation if Clinton was shown standing on the corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the U.S. bombing campaign.

Bombing Serbia was a family affair in the Clinton White House. Hillary Clinton revealed to an interviewer in the summer of 1999, "I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?" A biography of Hillary Clinton, written by Gail Sheehy and published in late 1999, stated that Mrs. Clinton had refused to talk to the president for eight months after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. She resumed talking to her husband only when she phoned him and urged him in the strongest terms to begin bombing Serbia; the president began bombing within 24 hours. Alexander Cockburn observed in the Los Angeles Times,

It's scarcely surprising that Hillary would have urged President Clinton to drop cluster bombs on the Serbs to defend "our way of life." The first lady is a social engineer. She believes in therapeutic policing and the duty of the state to impose such policing. War is more social engineering, "fixitry" via high explosive, social therapy via cruise missile . As a tough therapeutic cop, she does not shy away from the most abrupt expression of the therapy: the death penalty.

I followed the war closely from the start, but selling articles to editors bashing the bombing was as easy as pitching paeans to Scientology. Instead of breaking into newsprint, my venting occurred instead in my journal:

The KLA

The Kosovo Liberation Army's savage nature was well known before the Clinton administration formally christened them "freedom fighters" in 1999. The previous year, the State Department condemned "terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army." The KLA was heavily involved in drug trafficking and had close to ties to Osama bin Laden. Arming the KLA helped Clinton portray himself as a crusader against injustice and shift public attention after his impeachment trial. Clinton was aided by many congressmen eager to portray U.S. bombing as an engine of righteousness. Sen. Joe Lieberman whooped that the United States and the KLA "stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values."

In early June 1999, the Washington Post reported that "some presidential aides and friends are describing [bombing] Kosovo in Churchillian tones, as Clinton's 'finest hour.'" Clinton administration officials justified killing civilians because, it alleged the Serbs were committing genocide in Kosovo. After the bombing ended, no evidence of genocide was found, but Clinton and Britain's Tony Blair continued boasting as if their war had stopped a new Hitler in his tracks.

In a speech to American troops in a Thanksgiving 1999 visit, Clinton declared that the Kosovar children "love the United States because we gave them their freedom back." Perhaps Clinton saw freedom as nothing more than being tyrannized by people of the same ethnicity. As the Serbs were driven out of Kosovo, Kosovar Albanians became increasingly oppressed by the KLA, which ignored its commitment to disarm. The Los Angeles Times reported on November 20, 1999,

As a postwar power struggle heats up in Kosovo Albanian politics, extremists are trying to silence moderate leaders with a terror campaign of kidnappings, beatings, bombings, and at least one killing. The intensified attacks against members of the moderate Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, have raised concerns that radical ethnic Albanians are turning against their own out of fear of losing power in a democratic Kosovo.

American and NATO forces stood by as the KLA resumed its ethnic cleansing, slaughtering Serbian civilians, bombing Serbian churches, and oppressing non-Muslims. Almost a quarter million Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other minorities fled Kosovo after Clinton promised to protect them. In March 2000 renewed fighting broke out when the KLA launched attacks into Serbia, trying to seize territory that it claimed historically belonged to ethnic Albanians. UN Human Rights Envoy Jiri Dienstbier reported that "the [NATO] bombing hasn't solved any problems. It only multiplied the existing problems and created new ones. The Yugoslav economy was destroyed. Kosovo is destroyed. There are hundreds of thousands of people unemployed now."

U.S. complicity in atrocities

Prior to the NATO bombing, American citizens had no responsibility for atrocities committed by either Serbs or ethnic Albanians. However, after American planes bombed much of Serbia into rubble to drive the Serbian military out of Kosovo, Clinton effectively made the United States responsible for the safety of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo. That was equivalent to forcibly disarming a group of people, and then standing by, whistling and looking at the ground, while they are slaughtered. Since the United States promised to bring peace to Kosovo, Clinton bears some responsibility for every burnt church, every murdered Serbian grandmother, every new refugee column streaming north out of Kosovo. Despite those problems, Clinton bragged at a December 8, 1999, press conference that he was "very, very proud" of what the United States had done in Kosovo.

I had a chapter on the Serbian bombing campaign titled "Moralizing with Cluster Bombs" in Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton–Gore Years (St. Martin's Press, 2000), which sufficed to spur at least one or two reviewers to attack the book. Norman Provizer, the director of the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership, scoffed in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, "Bovard chastises Clinton for an illegal, undeclared war in Kosovo without ever bothering to mention that, during the entire run of American history, there have been but four official declarations of war by Congress."

As the chaotic situation in post-war Kosovo became stark, it was easier to work in jibes against the debacle. In an October 2002 USA Today article ("Moral High Ground Not Won on Battlefield") bashing the Bush administration's push for war against Iraq, I pointed out, "A desire to spread freedom does not automatically confer a license to kill . Operation Allied Force in 1999 bombed Belgrade, Yugoslavia, into submission purportedly to liberate Kosovo. Though Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic raised the white flag, ethnic cleansing continued -- with the minority Serbs being slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground in the same way the Serbs previously oppressed the ethnic Albanians."

In a 2011 review for The American Conservative, I scoffed, "After NATO planes killed hundreds if not thousands of Serb and ethnic Albanian civilians, Bill Clinton could pirouette as a savior. Once the bombing ended, many of the Serbs remaining in Kosovo were slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground. NATO's 'peace' produced a quarter million Serbian, Jewish, and Gypsy refugees."

In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts. Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites."

The New York Times reported that the trials of Kosovo body snatchers may be stymied by cover-ups and stonewalling: "Past investigations of reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo have been undermined by witnesses' fears of testifying in a small country where clan ties run deep and former members of the KLA are still feted as heroes. Former leaders of the KLA occupy high posts in the government." American politicians almost entirely ignored the scandal. Vice President Joe Biden hailed former KLA leader and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010 as "the George Washington of Kosovo." A few months later, a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body-trafficking operation.

Clinton's war on Serbia opened a Pandora's box from which the world still suffers. Because politicians and pundits portrayed that war as a moral triumph, it was easier for subsequent presidents to portray U.S. bombing as the self-evident triumph of good over evil. Honest assessments of wrongful killings remain few and far between in media coverage.

This article was originally published in the July 2019 edition of Future of Freedom .

Category: Foreign Policy & War

James Bovard is a policy adviser to The Future of Freedom Foundation. He is a USA Today columnist and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New Republic, Reader's Digest, Playboy, American Spectator, Investors Business Daily, and many other publications. He is the author of Freedom Frauds: Hard Lessons in American Liberty (2017, published by FFF); Public Policy Hooligan (2012); Attention Deficit Democracy (2006); The Bush Betrayal (2004); Terrorism and Tyranny (2003); Feeling Your Pain (2000); Freedom in Chains (1999); Shakedown (1995); Lost Rights (1994); The Fair Trade Fraud (1991); and The Farm Fiasco (1989). He was the 1995 co-recipient of the Thomas Szasz Award for Civil Liberties work, awarded by the Center for Independent Thought, and the recipient of the 1996 Freedom Fund Award from the Firearms Civil Rights Defense Fund of the National Rifle Association. His book Lost Rights received the Mencken Award as Book of the Year from the Free Press Association. His Terrorism and Tyranny won Laissez Faire Book's Lysander Spooner award for the Best Book on Liberty in 2003. Read his blog . Send him email .

[Aug 17, 2019] Candidates Must Commit to Immediate US Withdrawal From Afghanistan by Marjorie Cohn

Aug 15, 2019 | truthout.org
In July 30, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the Afghan government and international military forces, primarily the United States , caused most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2019. That's more killings than those perpetrated in the same time period by the Taliban and ISIS combined.

Aerial operations were responsible for 519 civilian casualties (356 deaths and 156 injuries), including 150 children (89 deaths and 61 injuries). That constitutes a 39 percent increase in overall civilian casualties from aerial attacks. Eighty-three percent of civilian casualties from aerial operations were carried out by the international forces.

The targeting of civilians amounts to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

... ... ...

Team Trump's deadly actions are a continuation of the Bush and Obama administrations' commission of the most heinous crimes in Afghanistan. On April 12, the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber found a "reasonable basis" to believe that the parties to the Afghan conflict, including the U.S. military and the CIA, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, most of them occurring between 2005 and 2015. They include "the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the U.S. authorities."

The chamber, however, refused to open a formal investigation into those crimes, as recommended by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. In concluding that "an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice," the chamber questioned the feasibility of such a probe. An investigation would be "very wide in scope and encompasses a high number of alleged incidents having occurred over a long time period," the chamber wrote. It noted the extreme difficulty in gauging "the prospects of securing meaningful cooperation from relevant authorities for the future" and found "the current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited."

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

[Aug 17, 2019] Debunking the Putin Panic by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm not aware that Russia attacked Georgia. The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia.

So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east.

Now NATO is sitting on Russia's borders from the Baltic to Ukraine. So Russians aren't fools, and they're good-hearted, but they become resentful. They're worried about being attacked by the United States. In fact, you read and hear in the Russian media daily, we are under attack by the United States. And this is a lot more real and meaningful than this crap that is being put out that Russia somehow attacked us in 2016. I must have been sleeping. I didn't see Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and 2016. This is reckless, dangerous, warmongering talk. It needs to stop. Russia has a better case for saying they've been attacked by us since 1991. We put our military alliance on the front door. Maybe it's not an attack, but it looks like one, feels like one. Could be one.


Disturbed Voter , July 30, 2018 at 6:32 am

Real politik. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Don't start fights in the first place. The idea that American leadership is any better than mid-Victorian imperialism, is laughable.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am

Here's the RNN link to part one: The Russia "National Security Crisis" is a U.S. Creation .

integer , July 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

AARON MATE: We hear, often, talk of Putin possibly being the richest person in the world as a result of his entanglement with the very corruption of Russia you're speaking about

Few appear to be aware that Bill Browder is single-handedly responsible for starting, and spreading, the rumor that Putin's net worth is $200 billion (for those who are unfamiliar with Browder, I highly recommend watching Andrei Nekrasov's documentary titled " The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes "). Browder appears to have first started this rumor early in 2015 , and has repeated it ad nauseam since then, including in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 . While Browder has always framed the $200 billion figure as his own estimate, that subtle qualifier has had little effect on the media's willingness to accept it as fact.

Interestingly, during the press conference at the Helsinki Summit, Putin claimed Browder sent $400 million of ill-gotten gains to the Clinton campaign. Putin retracted the statement and claimed to have misspoke a week or so later, however by that time the $400 million figure had been cited by numerous media outlets around the world. I think it is at least possible that Putin purposely exaggerated the amount of money in question as a kind of tit-for-tat response to Browder having started the rumor about his net worth being $200 billion.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 11:39 am

The stories I saw said there was a mistranslation -- but that the figure should have $400 thousand and not $400 million. Maybe Putin misspoke, but the $400,000 number is still significant, albeit far more reasonable.

Putin never was on the Forbes list of billionaires, btw, and his campaign finance statement comes to far less. It never seems to occur to rabid capitalists or crooks that not everyone is like them, placing such importance on vast fortunes, or want to be dishonest, greedy, or power hungry. Putin is only 'well off' and that seems to satisfy him just fine as he gets on with other interests, values, and goals.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yes, $400,000 is the revised/correct figure. My having written that "Putin retracted the statement" was not the best choice of phrase. Also, the figure was corrected the day after it was made, not "a week or so later" as I wrote in my previous comment. From the Russia Insider link:

Browder's criminal group used many tax evasion methods, including offshore companies. They siphoned shares and funds from Russia worth over 1.5 billion dollars. By the way, $400,000 was transferred to the US Democratic Party's accounts from these funds. The Russian president asked us to correct his statement from yesterday. During the briefing, he said it was $400,000,000, not $400,000. Either way, it's still a significant amount of money.

JohnnyGL , July 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I hadn't heard about the revision/edit to the $400M, thanks!

Seems crazy to think how much Russo-phobia seems to have been ginned up by one tax-dodging hedgie with an axe to grind.

Procopius , July 31, 2018 at 1:11 am

There's something weird about the anti-Putin hysteria. Somehow, many, many people have come to believe they must demonstrate their membership in the tribe by accepting completely unsupported assertions that go against common sense.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

In a sane world we the people would be furious with the Clinton campaign, especially the D party but the R's as well, our media (again), and our intel/police State (again). Holding them all accountable while making sure this tsunami of deception and lies never happens again.

It's amazing even in time of the internetz those of us who really dig can only come up with a few sane voices. It's much worse now in terms of the numbers of sane voices than it was in the run up to Iraq 2.

CenterOfGravity , July 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Regardless of broad access to far more information in the digital age, never under estimate the self-preservation instinct of American exceptionalist mythology. There is an inverse relationship between the decline of US global primacy and increasingly desperate quest for adventurism. Like any case of addiction, looking outward for blame/salvation is imperative in order to prevent the mirror of self-reflection/realization from turning back onto ourselves.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

we're not to believe we're not supposed to believe we're supposed to believe

Believe whatever you want, however your comment gives the impression that you came to this article because you felt the need to push back against anything that does not conform to the liberal international order's narrative on Putin and Russia, rather than "with an eagerness to counterbalance the media's portrayal of Putin". WRT to whataboutism, I like Greenwald's definition of the term :

"Whataboutism": the term used to bar inquiry into whether someone adheres to the moral and behavioral standards they seek to impose on everyone else. That's its functional definition.

Rojo , July 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Invoking "whataboutism" is a liberal team-Dem tell.

Amfortas the Hippie , July 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

aye. I've never seen it used by anyone aside from the worst Hill Trolls.
Indeed, when it was first thrown at me, I endeavored to look it up, and found that all references to it were from Hillaryites attempting to diss apostates and heretics.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , July 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Eh, probably

John Oliver, whos been completely sucking lately with TDS, did a semi decent segment on Whataboutism.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

The degree of consistency and or lack of hypocrisy based on words and actions separates US from Russia to an astonishing level. That is Russia's largest threat to US, our deceivers. The propaganda tables have turned and we are deceiving ourselves to points of collective insanity and warmongering with a great nuclear power while we are at it. Warmongering is who we are and what we do.

Does Russia have a GITMO, torture Chelsea Manning, openly say they want to kill Snowden and Assange? Is Russia building up arsenals on our borders while maintaining hundreds of foreign bases and conducting several wars at any given moment while constantly threatening to foment more wars? Is Russia dropping another trillion on nuclear arsenals? Is Russia forcing us to maintain such an anti democratic system and an even worse, an entirely hackable electronic voting system?

You ready to destroy the world, including your own, rather than look in the mirror?

rkka , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

You're talking about extending Russian military power into Europe when the military spending of NATO Europe alone exceeds Russia's by almost 5-1 (more like 12-1 when one includes the US and Canada), have about triple the number of soldiers than Russia has, and when the Russian ground forces are numerically smaller than they have been in at least 200 years?

" to put their self-interests above those of their constituents and employees, why can't we apply this same lens to Putin and his oligarchs?"

The oligarchs got their start under Yeltsin and his FreeMarketDemocraticReformers, whose policies were so catastrophic that deaths were exceeding births by almost a million a year by the late '90s, with no end in sight. Central to Yeltsin's governance was the corrupt privatization, by which means the Seven Bankers came to control the Russian economy and Russian politics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semibankirschina

Central to Putin's popularity are the measures he took to curb oligarchic predation in 2003-2005. Because of this, Russia's debt:GDP ratio went from 1.0 to about 0.2, and Russia's demographic recovery began while Western analysis were still predicting the death of Russia.

So Putin is the anti-oligarch in Russian domestic politics.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

"While it's true that power corrupts"

I know of many people who sacrifice their own interests for those of their children (over whom they have virtually absolute power), family member and friends. I know of others who dedicate their lives to justice, peace, the well being of their nation, the world, and other people -- people who find far greater meaning and satisfaction in this than in accumulating power or money. Other people have their own goals, such as producing art, inventing interesting things, reading and learning, and don't care two hoots about power or money as long as their immediate needs are met.

I'm cynical enough about humans without thinking the worst of everyone and every group or culture. Not everyone thinks only of nails and wants to be hammers, or are sociopaths. There are times when people are more or less forced into taking power, or getting more money, even if they don't want it, because they want to change things for the better or need to defend themselves.
There are people who get guns and learn how to use them only because they feel a need for defending themselves and family but who don't like guns and don't want to shoot anyone or anything.

There are many people who do not want to be controlled and bossed around, but neither want to boss around anyone else. The world is full of such people. If they are threatened and attacked, however, expect defensive reactions. Same as for most animals which are not predators, and even predators will generally not attack other animals if they are not hungry or threatened -- but that does not mean they are not competent or can be dangerous.

Capitalism is not only inherently predatory, but is inherently expansive without limits, with unlimited ambition for profits and control. It's intrinsically very competitive and imperialist. Capitalism is also a thing which was exported to Russia, starting soon after the Russian Revolution, which was immediately attacked and invaded by the West, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet Russia had it's own problems, which it met with varying degrees of success, but were quite different from the aggressive capitalism and imperialism of the US and Europe.

Not every culture and person are the same.

BenX , July 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The pro-Putin propaganda is pretty interesting to witness, and of course not everything Cohen says is skewed pro-Putin – that's what provides credibility. But "Putin kills everybody" is something NOBODY says (except Cohen, twice in one interview) – Putin is actually pretty selective of those he decides to have killed. But of course, he doesn't kill anyone, personally – therefore he's an innocent lamb, accidentally running Russia as a dictator.

rkka , July 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

The most recent dictator in Russian history was Boris Yeltsin, who turned tanks on his legislature while it was in the legal and constitutional process of impeaching him, and whose policies were so catastrophic for Russians (who were dying off at the rate of 900k/yr) that he had to steal his re-election because he had a 5% approval rating.

But he did as the US gvt told him, so I guess that makes him a Democrat.

Under Putin Russia recovered from being helpless, bankrupt & dying, but Russia has an independent foreign policy, so that makes Putin a dictator.

Plenue , July 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

"Does any sane person believe that there will ever be a Putin-signed contract provided as evidence? Does any sane person believe that Putin actually needs to "approve" a contract rather than signaling to his oligarch/mafia hierarchy that he's unhappy about a newspaper or journalist's reporting?"

Why do you think Putin even needs, or feels a need, to have journalists killed in the first place? I see no evidence to support this basic assumption.

The idea of Russia poised to attack Europe is interesting, in light of the fact that they've cut their military spending by 20%. And even before that the budgets of France, Germany, and the UK combined well exceeded that of Russia, to say nothing of the rest of NATO or the US.

Putin's record speaks for itself. This again points to the absurdity of claiming he's had reporters killed: he doesn't need to. He has a vast amount of genuine public support because he's salvaged the country and pieced it back together after the pillaging of the Yeltsin years. That he himself is a corrupt oligarch I have no particular doubt of. But if he just wanted to enrich himself, he's had a very funny way of going about it. Pray tell, what are these 'other interpretations'?

"The US foreign policy has been disastrous for millions of people since world war 2. But Cohen's arguments that Russia isn't as bad as the US is just a bunch of whattaboutism."

What countries has the Russian Federation destroyed?

witters , July 31, 2018 at 1:30 am

Here is a fascinating essay ["Are We Reading Russia Right?"] by Nicolai N. Petro who currently holds the Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. His books include, Ukraine
in Crisis (Routledge, 2017), Crafting Democracy (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy (Harvard, 1995), and Russian Foreign Policy, co-authored with Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Longman, 1997). A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is the recipient of Fulbright awards to Russia and to Ukraine, as well as fellowships from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington,
D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. As a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State from 1989 to 1990. In addition to scholarly publications
on Russia and Ukraine, he has written for Asia Times, American Interest, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), The Nation, New York Times, and Wilson Quarterly. His writings have appeared frequently on the web sites of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and The National Interest.

I warn you – it is terrifying!

http://npetro.net/resources/Petro-FF+Spring+2018.pdf

Carolinian , July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

Thanks for so much for this. Great stuff. Cohen says the emperor has no clothes so naturally the empire doesn't want him on television. I believe he has been on CNN one or two times and I saw him once on the PBS Newshour where the interviewer asked skeptical questions with a pained and skeptical look. He seems to be the only prominent person willing to stand up and call bs on the Russia hate. There are plenty of pundits and commentators who do that but not many Princeton professors.

Thye Rev Kev , July 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

It has been said in recent years that the greatest failure of American foreign policy was the invasion of Iraq. I think that they are wrong. The greatest failure, in my opinion, is to push both China and Russia together into a semi-official pact against American ambitions. In the same way that the US was able to split China from the USSR back in the seventies, the best option was for America to split Russia from China and help incorporate them into the western system. The waters for that idea have been so fouled by the Russia hysteria, if not dementia, that that is no longer a possibility. I just wish that the US would stop sowing dragon's teeth – it never ends well.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

The best option, but the "American exceptionalists" went nuts. Also, the usual play book of stoking fears of the "yellow menace" would have been too on the nose. Americans might not buy it, and there was a whole cottage industry of "the rising China threat" except the potential consumer market place and slave labor factories stopped that from happening.

Bringing Russia into the West effectively means Europe, and I think that creates a similar dynamic to a Russian/Chinese pact. The basic problem with the EU is its led by a relatively weak but very German power which makes the EU relatively weak or controllable as long as the German electorate is relatively sedate. I think they still need the international structures run by the U.S. to maintain their dominance. What Russia and the pre-Erdogan Turkey (which was never going to be admitted to the EU) presented was significant upsets to the existing EU order with major balances to Germany which I always believed would make the EU potentially more dynamic. Every decision wouldn't require a pilgrimage to Berlin. The British were always disinterested. The French had made arrangements with Germany, and Italy is still Italy. Putting Russia or Turkey (pre-Erdogan) would have disrupted this arrangement.

John Wright , July 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

>which is oddly not easy to locate on its site

It appeared to me that Aaron Mate knew he was dealing with a weak hand by the end of the interview.

When Mate stated "it's widely held that Putin is responsible for the killing of journalists and opposition activists who oppose him."

There are many widely held beliefs in the world, and that does not make them true.

For example, It was widely held, and still may be believed by some, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the events of 9/11.

It is widely believed that humans are not responsible, in any part, for climate change.

Mate may have been embarrassed when he saw the final version and as a courtesy to him, the interview was made more difficult to find.

pretzelattack , July 30, 2018 at 11:35 am

iirc he didn't say it was true.

Elizabeth Burton , July 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

The Crimea voted to be annexed by Russia by a clear majority. The US overran Hawaii with total disregard for the wishes of the native population. Your comparison is invalid.

vato , July 31, 2018 at 3:37 am

"Putin's finger prints are all over the Balkan fiasco".How is that with Putin only becoming president in 2000 and the Nato bombing started way beforehand. It's ridiculous to think that Putin had any major influence at that time as govenor or director of the domestic intelligence service on what was going during the bombing of NATO on Belgrad. Even Gerhard Schroeder, then chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, admitted in an interview in 2014 with a major German Newspaper (Die Zeit) that this invasion of Nato was a fault and against international law!

Can you concrete what you mean by "fingerprints" or is this just another platitudes?

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

o Eager and uncritical ingestion and social-media regurgitation of even the most patently absurd MSM propaganda. For example, the meme that releasing factual information about actual election-meddling (as Wikileaks did about the Dem-establishment's rigging of its own nomination process in 2016) is a grave threat to American Democracy™;

o Recent-onset veneration of the intelligence agencies, whose stock in trade is spying on and lying to the American people, spreading disinformation, election rigging, torture and assassination and its agents, such as liar and perjurer Clapper and torturer Brennan;

o Rehabilitation of horrid unindicted GOP war criminals like G.W. Bush as alleged examples of "norms-respecting Republican patriots";

o Smearing of anyone who dares question the MSM-stoked hysteria as an America-hating Russian stooge.

[Aug 17, 2019] Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome (PTDS)

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

[Aug 17, 2019] Long Range Attack On Saudi Oil Field as a good news for Yemen and for oil producing nations in need of an oil price rise.

Notable quotes:
"... The field's distance from rebel-held territory in Yemen demonstrates the range of the Houthis' drones. U.N. investigators say the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 kilometers (930 miles). That puts Saudi oil fields, an under-construction Emirati nuclear power plant and Dubai's busy international airport within their range. ..."
"... The outcome was a forgone conclusion. The smash, destroy, and destabilize campaign in the region could have only come from the most powerful lobby in the US. We all know who that is. ..."
Aug 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Today Saudi Arabia finally lost the war on Yemen. It has no defenses against new weapons the Houthis in Yemen acquired. These weapons threaten the Saudis economic lifelines. This today was the decisive attack:

Drones launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked a massive oil and gas field deep inside Saudi Arabia's sprawling desert on Saturday, causing what the kingdom described as a "limited fire" in the second such recent attack on its crucial energy industry.
...
The Saudi acknowledgement of the attack came hours after Yahia Sarie, a military spokesman for the Houthis, issued a video statement claiming the rebels launched 10 bomb-laden drones targeting the field in their "biggest-ever" operation. He threatened more attacks would be coming.
New drones and missiles displayed in July 2019 by Yemen's Houthi-allied armed forces

bigger

Today's attack is a check mate move against the Saudis. Shaybah is some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) from Houthi-controlled territory. There are many more important economic targets within that range:

The field's distance from rebel-held territory in Yemen demonstrates the range of the Houthis' drones. U.N. investigators say the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 kilometers (930 miles). That puts Saudi oil fields, an under-construction Emirati nuclear power plant and Dubai's busy international airport within their range.

Unlike sophisticated drones that use satellites to allow pilots to remotely fly them, analysts believe Houthi drones are likely programmed to strike a specific latitude and longitude and cannot be controlled once out of radio range. The Houthis have used drones, which can be difficult to track by radar, to attack Saudi Patriot missile batteries, as well as enemy troops.

The attack conclusively demonstrates that the most important assets of the Saudis are now under threat. This economic threat comes on top of a seven percent budget deficit the IMF predicts for Saudi Arabia. Further Saudi bombing against the Houthi will now have very significant additional cost that might even endanger the viability of the Saudi state. The Houthi have clown prince Mohammad bin Salman by the balls and can squeeze those at will. There is a lesson to learn from that. But it is doubtful that the borg in Washington DC has the ability to understand it.

The outcome was a forgone conclusion. The smash, destroy, and destabilize campaign in the region could have only come from the most powerful lobby in the US. We all know who that is.


Jen , Aug 17 2019 20:45 utc | 3

I'm afraid the only lesson the Borg in Washington will learn is to continue squandering US resources and manpower on pursuing and inflicting chaos and violence in the Middle East. Clown prince Mohammed bin Salman will not learn anything either other than to bankrupt his own nation in pursuing this war.

Israel has driven itself into its own existential hell by persecuting Palestinians over 70+ years and doing a good job of annihilating itself while denying its own destruction. If Israel can do it, the Christian crusaders dominating the govts of the Five Eyes nations supporting Israel will follow suit in propping up an unsustainable fantasy. Samson option indeed.

Tonymike , Aug 17 2019 20:46 utc | 4
I am sure that the Suads will be looking to their zionist allies to supply them with the Iron Dome system that the US military just wasted millions of tax payer dollars and purchased several days ago. The irony of that system is that is was overwhelmed several times when the Palestinian freedom fighters launched a wave of home made rockets at Occupied Palestine. I hope the Sauds learn a lesson..doubt it though.
donkeytale , Aug 17 2019 20:53 utc | 6
This is good news for Yemen and...for oil producing nations in need of a price rise.
ebolax , Aug 17 2019 21:02 utc | 13
let me throw something out there. Israel has entrenched itself in the US political and media systems. There is no logical path to eliminate or reduce that influence, and thus perhaps the plan that has been hatched is to strengthen Iran to the point that it can confront Israel.
karlof1 , Aug 17 2019 21:07 utc | 14
I anticipated just this sort of event 2+ months ago to go along with the tanker sabotaging to expand on b's thesis about Iran having the upper hand in the current hybrid Gulf War. The timing of this new ability dovetails nicely with the recent Russian collective security proposal, with the Saudis being the footdraggers in agreeing about its viability due to its pragmatic logic. So, as I wrote 2 days ago, we now have an excellent possibility of seeing an end to this and future Persian Gulf Crises along with an idea that can potentially become the template for an entire Southwest Asian security treaty, whose only holdout would be Occupied Palestine. The Outlaw US Empire is effectively shutout of the entire process. And as I also wrote, it's now time for the Saudis to determine where their future lies--with Eurasia or with a dying Empire.
KC , Aug 17 2019 21:11 utc | 15
@Tonymike

So the U.S. bought the Iron Dome stuff from Israel? I guess that means we paid for it twice, eh? Glad to know my tax dollars are hard at work "keeping us safe."

Wonder what they might be planning for with that one?

karlof1 , Aug 17 2019 21:18 utc | 18
Ian Seed | Aug 17 2019 20:55 utc | 7--

The Yemenese military had lots of technological capabilities remaining from the Cold War along with factories, technicians and raw materials. For example, Yemen's aerospace forces allied with the Houthi and are the ones producing and shooting the missiles and drones. One doesn't need to import a complete drone; technical blueprints on a floppy, CD-ROM, DVD, thumb-drive, are all that's required. The humanitarian crisis due to food and medicine shortages played on the minds of people such that an image of a poor, backward, non-industrial capable society was generated that wasn't 100% correct.

Sasha , Aug 17 2019 21:47 utc | 24
What to say? Poetic justice!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGrUz-rdxxM

Ancient cultures are not so easy to erradicate so as to loot their resources.
A lesson the peoples without culture must learn.....

fx , Aug 17 2019 21:59 utc | 25
And of course, this makes the threat by Iran to hit back against military and industrial installations on the other side of the Persian Gulf that much stronger.
Really?? , Aug 17 2019 22:10 utc | 28
13

It would be rich indeed if Iran were to be the entity that ultimately manages to loosen the stranglehold that the Zionists have on the USA Congress, media, president, donors to political parties, etc.

Sasha , Aug 17 2019 22:31 utc | 33
A graphic idea of the distance in the map...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1162850455954874369

Photos of the Houthis drones and rockets arsenal...published last month...Someone possibly thought it was fake...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1147940696705392642

jerichocheyenne , Aug 17 2019 22:39 utc | 34
I can imagine the shale oil producers smiling right now...100 a barrel oil will be just what they need! Cost-push inflation leading to a return of bell bottoms and leisure suits. No wonder all these 70's band retreads are touring again :)
karlof1 , Aug 17 2019 23:11 utc | 37
Michael Droy | Aug 17 2019 22:40 utc | 35--

So, poor Yemen wasted via siege warfare waged by NATO since 2015 though its Saudi, UAE and terrorist proxies that came very close to success, finds the initiative to counterattack with what little it has at its disposal--All accusations of Iranian help have never been proven --and thanks to the Outlaw US Empire's threats against Iran force UAE to withdrawal and seek peace with Iran with Saudi soon to follow. And the situation is all Iran's fault?! Note the date above--it precedes Trump's election, his illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA and institution of the illegal sanctions regime against Iran.

Europe is on board with Russia's collective security proposal. Europe had representatives at the meet between Khamenei and the Houthi negotiator. Europe--even the UK--still working to salvage the JCPOA via the non-dollar trade conduit. And you conclude that the Outlaw US Empire "might actually get European support to attack Iran."

eagle eye , Aug 17 2019 23:21 utc | 38
First Afghanistan, then Yemen. Maybe the western media's imaging of these people as towel headed, sandal wearing primatives is just a tad misguided......

[Aug 16, 2019] Two key questions facing the nation is the unchecked power of MIC and financial oligarchy. Unless they are tamed the USA will follow the road of the USSR sooner or later

Notable quotes:
"... The election will be waged, like the primaries, around race-baiting. Biden will be the first victim. The other white candidates are running scared & becoming more shrill in their denunciations of whites in general by the hour. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

swamped , says: August 16, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT

"the Great Arsenal of Democracy was looted by" the military-industrial complex Arsenal & it's unending wars & nothing short of nuclear annihilation is going to change that. There is no Democrat who is willing to bet their chance at the presidency on pulling it down.

And the American public, by and large, is put to sleep by lengthy discussions of the intricacies of trade policy.

The election will be waged, like the primaries, around race-baiting. Biden will be the first victim. The other white candidates are running scared & becoming more shrill in their denunciations of whites in general by the hour.

There's no telling where it all may lead but it's becoming clearer day by day that the hostility will outlast the primaries & the general election will be a very ugly affair. There's no turning back to the soothing center now, it will be an us-vs.-them type election & hopefully, Pat Buchanan, still America's shrewdest pundit, will keep us fully apprised.

[Aug 16, 2019] Punishing the World With Sanctions by Philip Giraldi

Aug 16, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

August 15, 2019 © Photo: Flickr Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.

The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump's repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolving the conflict with Iran. One doesn't accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition's Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation's military.

American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the sanctions on Iran are intended to cause real pain, which, in fact, they have succeeded in doing. Pompeo and his accomplice in crime National Security Advisor John Bolton believe that enough pressure will motivate the starving people to rise up in the streets and overthrow the government, an unlikely prospect as the American hostility has in fact increased popular support for the regime.

To be sure, ordinary people in Iran have found that they cannot obtain medicine and some types of food are in short supply but they are not about to rebel. The sanctioning in May of Iranian oil exports has only been partially effective but it has made the economy shrink, with workers losing jobs. The sanctions have also led to tit-for-tat seizures of oil and gas tankers, starting with the British interception of a ship carrying Iranian oil to Syria in early July.

Another bizarre escalation in sanctions that has taken place lately relates to the Skripal case in Britain. On August 2 nd , Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a package of new sanctions against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March 2018. The order "prohibit[s] any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products." The ban also includes "the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance by international financial institutions," meaning that international lenders will also be punished if they fail to follow Washington's lead.

The sanctions were imposed under the authority provided by the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act adopted in 1991, which imposes penalties for use of chemical weapons. Novichok, which was reportedly used on the Skripals, is a chemical weapon developed in the labs of the Soviet Union, though a number of states are believed to currently have supplies of the agent in their arsenals. Russia can appeal the sanctions with 90 days by providing "reliable assurance" that it will not again use chemical weapons.

Russia has strenuously denied any role in the attack on the Skripals and the evidence that has so far been produced to substantiate the Kremlin's involvement has been less than convincing. An initial package of US-imposed sanctions against Russia that includes the export of sensitive technologies and some financial services was implemented in August 2018.

Venezuela is also under the sanctions gun and is a perfect example how sanctions can escalate into something more punitive, leading incrementally to an actual state of war. Last week Washington expanded its sanctions regime, which is already causing starvation in parts of Venezuela, to include what amounts to a complete economic embargo directed against the Maduro regime that is being enforced by a naval blockade.

The Venezuelan government announced last Wednesday that the United States Navy had seized a cargo ship bound for Venezuela while it was transiting the Panama Canal. According to a government spokesman, the ship's cargo was soy cakes intended for the production of food. As one of Washington's raisons d'etre for imposing sanctions on Caracas was that government incompetence was starving the Venezuelan people, the move to aggravate that starvation would appear to be somewhat capricious and revealing of the fact that the White House could care less about what happens to the Venezuelan civilians who are caught up in the conflict.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez condemned the move as "serious aggression," and accused the Trump Administration of trying to impede Venezuela's basic right to import food to feed its people.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the sanctions regimes that the United States is imposing is that they are global. When Washington puts someone on its sanctions list, other countries that do not comply with the demands being made are also subject to punishment, referred to as secondary sanctions. The sanctions on Iran's oil exports, for example, are being globally enforced with some few exceptions, and any country that buys Iranian oil will be punished by being denied access to the US financial and banking system. That is a serious penalty as most international trade and business transactions go through the dollar denominated SWIFT banking network.

Finally, nothing illustrates the absurdity of the sanctions mania as a recent report that President Trump had sent his official hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien to Stockholm to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. The Trumpster did not actually know the lad, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. The negotiator was instructed to tell Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be "negative consequences." Who can doubt that the consequences would undoubtedly have included sanctions?

It has reached the point where the only country that likes the United States is Israel, which is locked into a similar cycle of incessant aggression. To be sure Donald Trump's rhetoric is part of the problem, but the indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions, which punish whole nations for the presumed sins of those nations' leaders, is a major contributing factor. And the real irony is that even though sanctions cause pain, they are ineffective. Cuba has been under sanctions, technically and embargo, since 1960 and its ruling regime has not collapsed, and there is no chance that Venezuela, Iran or Russia's government will go away at any time soon either. In fact, real change would be more likely if Washington were to sit down at a negotiating table with countries that it considers enemies and work to find solutions to common concerns. But that is not likely to happen with the current White House line-up, and equally distant with a Democratic Party obsessed with the "Russian threat" and other fables employed to explain its own failings.

[Aug 15, 2019] Ukraine prepares gas facilities for possible transit supply cut, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

Aug 15, 2019 | economictimes.indiatimes.com

KIEV: Ukraine 's gas transport company Ukrtransgaz has upgraded several gas pumping stations so it can provide gas to eastern and southern regions of the country if there is a disruption in supply from Russia, the company said on Wednesday.

More than a third of Russia's gas exports to the European Union cross Ukraine, providing Kiev with valuable transit income.

Ukraine traditionally uses some of the gas pumped by Russia to European consumers for its own needs in eastern and central regions and then compensates for this by deliveries from gas storage located in the west of the country.

But the Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement is due to expire in January and Ukrainian energy authorities are worried that Moscow could stop gas supplies through Ukraine, leaving some Ukrainian regions without gas in winter.

"As of today, Ukrtransgaz has implemented all the necessary technical and regulatory solutions to create a reliable reverse scheme and it is ready for regular operation and can be activated immediately if necessary," Uktransgaz said in a statement.

It said Ukraine had already reversed gas flows in 2009 when Russian gas giant Gazprom halted gas supplies to Ukrainian consumers because of a price dispute.

Last month, Russian energy minister and several sources said Russia wanted to strike a short-term deal with Kiev on gas transit to Europe when the current 10-year agreement expires to buy time to complete pipelines that will bypass Ukraine.

But Kiev and its European allies want guarantees that Ukraine will remain a transit route for Russian gas to Europe.

In January, European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic floated a proposal for the two countries to agree a new 10-year transit contract, with a guaranteed minimum yearly transit volume of 60 bcm and 30 bcm of additional flexibility.

Ukraine's energy firm Naftogaz said last month Kiev was still counting on Sefcovic's proposal.

The potential for problems with the transit agreement, which brings Kiev around $3 billion revenue per year, prompted Ukraine to increase its winter gas reserves by 18% compared with last year to 20 billion cubic meters (bcm).

Naftogaz said this week Ukraine had stored 16.6 bcm of gas by Aug. 10, up from 13.38 bcm at the same time last year.

Ukraine consumed 32.3 bcm of gas in 2018, 10.6 bcm of which was imported from European markets outside Russia.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow plummeted after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014.

Ukraine halted its own purchases of Russian gas in 2015.

[Aug 13, 2019] Our Overly Militarized Foreign Policy Gets Even Worse

Aug 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Daniel Benaim and Michael Walid Hanna explain that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East hasn't changed much at all under Trump, but there has been a reduction in diplomatic engagement:

For all the headlines, the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is fairly consistent. Despite the administration's intention, laid out in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, to refocus the U.S. military on great-power competition, the U.S. footprint in the Middle East remains relatively constant, and seemingly permanent. Instead, what has changed is the scale of civilian effort that, in most previous administrations, would have accompanied such a military presence. The Trump administration has left numerous vacancies for key civilian positions unfilled for long stretches, slashed aid programs, and focused on high-level personal relations at the expense of broader ties. Altogether, its approach has not been typified by either retrenchment or interventionism but by what Barry Posen, writing in Foreign Affairs, has called "illiberal hegemony" -- military superiority shorn of diplomatic stewardship.

Benaim and Hanna are right about this, and their article is a welcome corrective to the many false claims that Trump is "retreating" from the region. The administration's disdain for diplomacy and aid has been impossible to miss over the last two and a half years, and they have combined that with more or less continuing the military deployments and missions that they inherited. What that means in practice is that the U.S. remains entangled in the affairs of the region, but our government's involvement leans even more heavily towards the military. That leaves every other kind of engagement underfunded, understaffed, and neglected. Since our foreign policy is already excessively militarized, this makes a bad problem worse. Benaim and Hanna note this later in the article:

This approach also exacerbates the long-standing problem of overreliance on the military as the central tool of U.S. Middle East policy. Even on a diplomat's best days, regional leaders are well aware of the "consul effect" -- the contrast between well-resourced American military commanders and their relatively impoverished diplomatic colleagues. Further marginalizing diplomats costs them influence, access, and bargaining power, while positioning the military and intelligence communities as the only effective U.S. institutional actors in the region.

Given the reality that the U.S. military presence hasn't been reduced, and has actually increased in some places over the last two years, how is it that we keep hearing about U.S. "retreat" and "withdrawal" as if these were happening? Client states have an incentive to whine about possible "abandonment" no matter what the U.S. does. Either they complain about an "abandonment" that has supposedly already happened, or they warn against a possible "abandonment" that might take place in the future. The whining serves the purpose of putting pressure on every administration to maintain existing commitments and then to add more. Then there are pundits and analysts at home that constantly fret about U.S. "withdrawal" as a way of agitating for increased involvement. Then there are the supporters of the president that want to pretend that the "withdrawal" is really happening in order to credit the president for doing something he hasn't done. Add them all up, and you get an unfounded consensus that the U.S. is "retreating" when virtually nothing has changed. In the case of Trump, there is an additional factor of taking the president's rhetoric at face value while ignoring what his administration is doing. Trump boasts about some things that never happened and never will happen, and for some reason he is blamed/credited for things he never does while his real policies often escape close scrutiny.

Put simply, U.S. military engagement in the Middle East is largely unchanged and has even escalated to some degree under Trump, but all other kinds of engagement get short shrift. Far from disentangling the U.S. from its excessive commitments in the region, Trump has embraced our worst clients and deepened our government's involvement in the worst way for the sake of arms sales and whipping up anti-Iranian sentiment. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening, and it is antithetical to a foreign policy that extricates U.S. forces from the region.

[Aug 13, 2019] The only area UAE and Saudi Arabia agree is "Yemen must be open to their (Sunni) type Islamist extremists".

Aug 13, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm , August 13, 2019 at 04:41 AM

Shaky UAE-Saudi Arabia alliance over Yemen:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/13/trumps-arab-allies-turn-each-other/?noredirect=on&utm_campaign=EBB%20081319&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Sailthru

The only area they agree is "Yemen must be open to their (Sunni) type Islamist extremists".

US is siding with big oil in the thousand odd year schism.

[Aug 13, 2019] Application of IMF policy in Argentina has brought what is in effect an economic collapse and astonishing poverty. While this was happening over the months, business news writers were applauding Argentinian austerity reforms

Aug 13, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , August 13, 2019 at 07:02 AM

Application of IMF policy in Argentina has brought what is in effect an economic collapse and astonishing poverty. While this was happening over the months, business news writers were applauding Argentinian austerity reforms. The data (as I repeatedly showed on Economist's View) were bad to grim, but business reporting found no problem.

[Aug 13, 2019] China Claims US 'Black Hand' Is Behind Hong Kong Protests

Aug 13, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , August 13, 2019 at 04:53 AM

China Claims US 'Black Hand' Is Behind Hong Kong Protests
https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-claims-u-s-black-hand-is-behind-hong-kong-protests-11565356245
WSJ - Eva Dou in Beijing and
Natasha Khan and Wenxin Fan in Hong Kong - Aug. 9, 2019

China ratcheted up its accusations of U.S. involvement in fomenting protests in Hong Kong, spotlighting a top diplomat in state media, as the restive city prepared for a 10th weekend of demonstrations under the threat that Beijing could step in.

Hundreds of black-clad protesters began a three-day sit-in at the city's international airport on Friday, while several demonstrations planned for the weekend were banned by the local police. That could give rise to further clashes, days after Beijing warned it could intervene directly if Hong Kong authorities were unable to quell the unrest on their own.

The protests come amid rising trade tensions between the U.S. and Beijing. Chinese officials have accused the U.S. of encouraging protesters to undermine the government, though the Trump administration has offered guidance to officials to maintain a measured response in an effort to avoid derailing U.S. efforts on trade talks. U.S. diplomatic representatives in Hong Kong have met with senior government officials.

On Thursday and Friday, Beijing-backed media outlets circulated a photo of Julie Eadeh, the political unit chief of the U.S. consulate general in Hong Kong, meeting in a hotel lobby with prominent members of the opposition, including 22-year-old Joshua Wong, a key figure in protests that rocked Hong Kong five years ago.

The reports, in the China Daily and other mainland outlets, pointed to the meeting as evidence that a U.S. "black hand" was behind the protests. Tai Kung Pao, a Beijing-backed newspaper in Hong Kong, called Ms. Eadeh an expert in subversion with experience in Iraq. It publicized the names of her children and husband, citing a church publication from her hometown. The narrative and some of the personal details were reposted on numerous mainland Chinese publications and websites.

State broadcaster CCTV said Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency was known for instigating "color revolutions," a reference to demonstrations that sprang up in former Soviet states during the previous decade. Beijing officials also said this week that the Hong Kong unrest had the markings of a color revolution.

What do you think is motivating Beijing to connect the U.S. with the protests in Hong Kong? Join the conversation below.
.
A spokesman for the U.S. consulate general in Hong Kong said Ms. Eadeh wasn't available for comment, and referred questions to Washington.

A State Department spokeswoman said on Twitter on Friday that the Chinese state media reports on the U.S. diplomat in Hong Kong had gone from irresponsible to dangerous and must stop. She earlier called China a "thuggish regime" for targeting Ms. Eadeh.

"Chinese authorities know full well, our accredited consular personnel are just doing their jobs, just like diplomats from every other country," she said in the tweet.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy denied that Washington was behind the protests, saying that the Hong Kong demonstrations reflected residents' concerns about eroding autonomy.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry's Hong Kong Commissioner's Office on Friday said the U.S. remarks revealed again the "dark and twisted side of U.S. psychology."

Mr. Wong said Friday that neither he nor his group receive any funding, supplies or advice from the U.S. government. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , August 13, 2019 at 04:58 AM
Protests Put Hong Kong on Collision Course With
China's Communist Party https://nyti.ms/2MfpdHo
NYT - Javier C. Hernández and Amy Qin - August 12

HONG KONG -- As anti-government demonstrations escalate in Hong Kong, each side is staking out increasingly polarized positions, making it difficult to find a path to compromise between the protesters and China's ruling Communist Party.

The demonstrations, which began as a fight against a bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited to the mainland, have more broadly morphed into a call for free elections, which largely do not exist in China. To Beijing, it would be a direct challenge to the leadership, tantamount to losing control of Hong Kong.

The once peaceful demonstrations have now intensified, coming into conflict with Hong Kong's reputation for order and efficiency. Protesters on Monday filled the airport, crippling one of the world's busiest transportation hubs.

Demonstrators returned again on Tuesday, with more flights canceled that day.

China is also projecting more power, raising the possibility of more intense and more frequent clashes with the police. An official in Beijing on Monday condemned the actions of the protesters last weekend, casting it as the first signs of "terrorism." The Chinese police also appeared to conduct large-scale exercises across the border from Hong Kong in Shenzhen, a city on the mainland.

"We are at a crossroads," said Martin Lee, a democracy advocate and former lawmaker. "The future of Hong Kong -- the future of democracy -- depends on what's going to happen in the next few months."

The unrest is exposing the inherent conflict in the political experiment that began when China reclaimed Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, an ambitious attempt to marry Beijing's brand of authoritarianism with a bastion of civil liberties.

China's top leader, Xi Jinping, wants to make Hong Kong more like a mainland city, using economic incentives to buy happiness and propaganda to win loyalty. The protesters, who represent a wide swath of Hong Kong, want a government that looks out for their interests, not just Beijing's, to help resolve problems like astronomical housing prices and low wages.

The two sides no longer seem to recognize each other's concerns. ...

Plp -> Fred C. Dobbs... , August 13, 2019 at 05:09 AM
High housing costs and inadequate wages

Are these the driving issues

Then they are resolved
by a George tax that is distributed as a wage supplement

Hong Kong's landlord class is the enemy

Plp -> Plp... , August 13, 2019 at 05:15 AM
Demands

"The complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill"

Obviously doable

"The government to withdraw the use of the word "riot" in relation to protests"

Yes

"The unconditional release of arrested protesters and charges against them dropped"

Normal

"An independent inquiry into police behaviour"

Always sensible

:Implementation of genuine universal suffrage"

Very very ambiguous


Where are the demands for higher wages and housing cost relief

This sounds like middle class college kid
Stuff

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , August 13, 2019 at 05:03 AM
Hong Kong Airport Suspends
Check-Ins as Protests Continue

Hundreds of people occupied parts of Hong Kong
International Airport, with some using luggage
trolleys to block travelers from reaching their gates.

The demonstration came hours after the city's
embattled leader pleaded for order following days
of escalating chaos and violent street clashes.

Hong Kong Airport Suspends Check-Ins in 2nd Day
of Disruptive Protests https://nyti.ms/2MekLsu
NYT - Mike Ives - August 12

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's airport suspended check-ins for a second straight day on Tuesday as protesters again disrupted its operations, hours after the city's embattled leader pleaded for order amid escalating chaos.

Hundreds of demonstrators occupied parts of Hong Kong International Airport's departures and arrivals halls on Tuesday, with some using luggage trolleys to block travelers from reaching their departure gates. The Hong Kong Airport Authority closed check-in services in the late afternoon, and it advised all passengers to leave as soon as possible.

It was the second day in a row that demonstrators had seriously disrupted operations at the airport, one of the world's busiest. On Monday, protesters effectively shuttered it after storming the arrivals and departures halls. As flight cancellations piled up on Tuesday, a few scuffles broke out between protesters and travelers. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , August 13, 2019 at 07:18 AM
China Says Hong Kong Protests Show 'First Signs of Terrorism'
https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-says-hong-kong-protests-show-first-signs-of-terrorism-11565604635
WSJ - Chun Han Wong - August 12

BEIJING -- Chinese authorities condemned violent weekend demonstrations in Hong Kong as "deranged" acts that marked the emergence of "the first signs of terrorism" in the semiautonomous city, vowing a merciless crackdown on the perpetrators.

The escalating rhetoric from Beijing followed a day of heated protests in Hong Kong, including the hurling of petrol bombs, and came as thousands of protesters gathered at Hong Kong's international airport on Monday, prompting officials to cancel all flights for the rest of the day apart from those already en route to the air-travel hub.

"Radical Hong Kong protesters have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers," a spokesman for the Chinese government's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told a news briefing on Monday, according to Chinese state media. "The first signs of terrorism are starting to appear."

On Sunday, police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds of protesters across Hong Kong, some of whom threw bricks and what police identified as Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs. Police said an officer was hospitalized with burns to his legs after being hit by a Molotov cocktail hurled by a protester.

The spokesman, Yang Guang, expressed "intense condemnation" for such "deranged and severe criminal activities committed without regard for the consequences." Such violence must be severely punished, "without leniency, without mercy," he said.

Mr. Yang also called on ordinary Hong Kong residents to oppose the violence. "Hong Kong has already reached an important juncture," he said. "All the people who care about Hong Kong's future should step firmly forward, and say no to all criminal activities and all violent elements."

Mr. Yang didn't indicate that Beijing has any imminent plans to intervene in the unrest. Instead, he reiterated the central government's firm support for Hong Kong's police and judiciary in their efforts to "decisively enforce the law" and punish wrongdoers as soon as possible.

Chinese state media, however, appeared to signal that mainland forces are ready to step in, if necessary.

On Monday, social-media accounts run by the Communist Party's flagship newspaper, People's Daily, and other leading state news outlets published footage of Chinese paramilitary forces arriving in the southern city of Shenzhen, which abuts Hong Kong, over the weekend.

The footage, dated Saturday, featured captions describing the columns of armored vehicles and trucks as a detachment from the People's Armed Police that may have been sent to participate in summer training drills.

The People's Daily, in a microblog post featuring the footage, cited a Chinese law outlining the armed police's powers, saying the paramilitary force can be used to deal with "riots, disturbances, severe violent criminal incidents, terrorist attacks and other public security incidents."

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , August 13, 2019 at 07:32 AM
Hong Kong's billionaires are
calling for order to be restored
CNN Business - August 13

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/13/business/hong-kong-protests-billionaires/index.html

Hong Kong -- Hong Kong's real estate billionaires are calling for an end to massive protests that have crippled local businesses and paralyzed the city's international airport.

Swire Pacific, one of Hong Kong's richest family-owned business empires, issued a strongly worded statement on Tuesday. The company condemned "illegal activities and violent behavior" and threw its support behind Hong Kong's beleaguered government.

"Swire Pacific is deeply concerned by the ongoing violence and disruption impacting Hong Kong," the company said in a statement, offering its full support for Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the city's police "in their efforts to restore law and order."

The company's CEO is billionaire Merlin Swire. The family's business empire dates back more than 200 years and has had roots in Hong Kong for much of that time. It owns luxury hotels, office towers and high-end shopping malls in the city.

Swire is also the largest shareholder in Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flagship airline that has become a high profile casualty of the turmoil. Swire said it fully supports the carrier's "strict implementation" of new restrictions on the airline handed down by China's aviation authority over the weekend.

The statement came as hundreds of protestors crowded into Hong Kong's international airport, disrupting flights for the second day in a row. ...

Property tycoon: Time to "think deeply"

Sun Hung Kai Properties, which is controlled by Asia's third richest family, the Kwoks, also called Tuesday for demonstrators to stop the violence. The real estate developer called for the restoration of social order and voiced support for Hong Kong's government ...

[Aug 13, 2019] "Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power."

Highly recommended!
Aug 13, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , August 12, 2019 at 11:15 AM

I need to learn how to use this as an Occam's Razor to cull candidates for PRES

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power."

Bertrand Russell

[Aug 13, 2019] To be fair, the US has a fantastic record of f***ing up countries with aerial bombs. The part which the Saudis failed to understand is that the US isn't next to any of these countries...

Aug 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Aug 12 2019 14:53 utc | 98

@JW #40
To be fair, the US has a fantastic record of f***ing up countries with aerial bombs. The part which the Saudis failed to understand is that the US isn't next to any of these countries...

Yemen has a population slightly lower than Texas. Imagine, Washington bombing Texas, only filled with Texans that have more and heavier weapons(?).
The question mark is because I am not entirely certain that Yemenis are more heavily armed than Texans, but certainly they're at least as fierce defending themselves.

[Aug 13, 2019] The new war is essentially economic; it is a war of sanctions and limiting free movement of ship movements around the globe. It is a war of tankers and oil platforms.

Aug 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Aug 12 2019 3:09 utc | 51

@2 BM

Wow, that is an outstanding tour d'horizon from Magnier you linked. This is a keeper to show others who may be amenable to learning about today's Middle East balance of forces, and how it has been arrived at.

Succinct yet very comprehensive, the piece not only catches up the histories of recent years, but provides an analysis of today and the near-to-mid-term future - both military and geopolitical. It speaks of the various lessons learned along the way, including the lessons being absorbed in real time today as the confrontation between Iran and the US has barely yet begun and yet racked up totally instructive scores.

The new war is essentially economic; it is a war of sanctions and limiting free movement of ship movements around the globe. It is a war of tankers and oil platforms. It is a starvation war where no one can threaten the enemy with a return to the "stone age" because the firepower is now universally available . Yemen is the best example: the threat of bombing Dubai forced the Emirates to seek Iranian mediation to prevent a missile attack against them. The Houthis, despite years of Saudi bombing of Yemen, have also managed to bomb Saudi airports, military bases and oil stations in the heart of Saudi Arabia, using cruise missiles and armed drones. [My emphasis]

And Hezbolllah has cemented its standing with nations in the region, expanded its skill from guerrilla and small-theater to nation-size theater, and this:

It has run intensive courses in the use of its drones, used its precision missiles with accuracy, produced thousands of highly trained Special Forces and it has fought an enemy (al-Qaeda) that is much more motivated to fight to the death than any Israeli Special Forces units. [My emphasis]

Israel is essentially paralyzed. Even to the extent, as Magnier relates, of being careful to warn Hezbollah drivers before bombing its supply trucks, because "Israel wanted to avoid human casualties among Hezbollah officers, fully aware of the price of retaliation. " My emphasis again.

The bad guys have fallen behind - as we know, but as Magnier illustrates so clearly in this appraisal, with his review of the initial western strategies just a few years ago and how they have all been rendered null. Even the US now is an antique target for modern missile and drone technology - and the battle-hardened skill with these weapons definitely resides with the Levant axis rather than with the imperialists and their dogs.

The future? This:

Gaza, along with Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad, are all highly equipped by Tehran with sufficient missiles to inflict real damage on Israel and on US forces deployed in the Middle East. Israel is playing around by targeting various objectives tactically but with no real strategic purpose- only for Netanyahu to keep himself busy and train his Air Force, and to gain publicity in the media. Soon, when Syria recovers and Iraq is stronger, the Israeli promenade will have to cease. Hezbollah in Lebanon may also find a way in the near future to keep its irregular but organised army busy by firing anti-air missiles against Israeli jets and imposing new rules of engagement.

Here's the link again:
From 2006 to 2019: after failures in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen, war is no longer an option for Israel

Great job, Elijah J. Magnier!

[Aug 12, 2019] Argentine president suffers crushing defeat in key primaries ahead of general election

Is this the end of the neoliberal counterrevolution in Argentina ? Moor did its duty moor has to go -- Macri converted Argentina into the Debt slave again and now to get out of this situation is nest to impossible.
Aug 12, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , August 12, 2019 at 05:52 AM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-08-12/Argentine-president-suffers-crushing-defeat-in-key-primaries--J5Ov4caLvi/index.html

August 12, 2019

Argentine president suffers crushing defeat in key primaries ahead of general election

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri suffered a crushing defeat as people voted in party primaries on Sunday ahead of October's general election.

Given that all of the recession-hit South American country's major parties have already chosen their presidential candidates, the primaries effectively served as a nationwide pre-election opinion poll.

Center-left nominee Alberto Fernandez led by around 15 points after partial results were revealed. Center-right Pro-business Macri admitted it had been "a bad election."
The first round of the presidential election will be held on October 27, with a run-off – if needed – set for November 24.

With 87 percent of polling station results counted, Fernandez had polled 47.5 percent with Macri on a little more than 32 percent and centrist former finance minister Roberto Lavagna a distant third on just 8.3 percent.

Macri had been hoping to earn a second mandate, but his chances appear all but over.

If Fernandez was to register the same result in October, he would be president as Argentina's electoral law requires a candidate to gain 45 percent for outright victory, or 40 percent and a lead of at least 10 points over the nearest challenger.

Inflation and poverty

"We've had a bad election and that forces us to redouble our efforts from tomorrow," said Macri, whose popularity has plunged since last year's currency crisis and the much-criticized 56 billion U.S.-dollar bail-out loan he secured from the International Monetary Fund.

"It hurts that we haven't had the support we'd hoped for," he added.

Argentina is currently in a recession and posted 22 percent inflation for the first half of the year – one of the highest rates in the world. Poverty now affects 32 percent of the population.

Backed by the IMF, Macri has initiated an austerity plan that is deeply unpopular among ordinary Argentines, who have seen their spending power plummet.

The peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year. The Buenos Aires stock exchange actually shot up eight percent on Friday amid expectation that Macri would do well in Sunday's vote.

anne -> anne... , August 12, 2019 at 06:22 AM
IMF loan of $56 billion:

Then;

Austerity,

Inflation rate 22% from January to June 2019,

Poverty rate 32%,

Peso lost 50% in value in 2018.

anne -> anne... , August 12, 2019 at 07:03 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=onpw

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico, 1992-2018

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=onpx

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico, 1992-2018

(Indexed to 1992)

anne , August 12, 2019 at 04:01 PM
An important task now is to understand why the IMF assistance to Argentina proved damaging to the economy from the beginning; the data showed the damage being done. However, there was almost no mention of the problems that developed outside Argentina and there was surprise when the failure of the economy was reflected in the serious vote against the current president.

Of course, Joseph Stiglitz watched the same sort of problems unfold in Argentina almost 20 years ago and was severely criticized for discussing them. How did the problems recur so readily now? Why is IMF national assistance seemingly so dangerous economically?

[Aug 12, 2019] Iran first, Russia second

Aug 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

This drive is being led by three nations in particular: namely Israel, Saudi Arabia and America. All three are seeking to portray Iran as the major threat to regional stability. They are also attempting to paint her as the major sponsor of anti-Western terrorism. This is particularly laughable, given the fact that not one of the major attacks – that have killed hundreds across the West in recent decades – can be traced back to her, which cannot be said for Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. or Qatar. The truth is that Iran is a major threat to the regional hegemony of these powers. After Russia, it is principally Iran and her allies in Hezbollah and the Houthi movement who have prevented the Americans, Israelis and Saudis from imposing their will upon the region and removing regimes considered hostile to their interests. At the same time, Iran is weaker than Russia and is probably regarded as a suitable first target for elimination, after which, deprived of her main regional ally, Russia might perhaps prove more 'amenable' to Western overtures.

Here in the West, the population, held captive by a deceptive media and a corrupt and cynical political class, can only watch these developments with the hope that they do not escalate further. However, if we at least attempt to apply logic and historical precedent to the situation, we may be able to discern the hidden hands that are stirring tension across the region. Then, perhaps, we can at least avoid being dragged into yet another foreign war in defence of somebody else's national interests.

Charlie O'Neill is a freelance writer specialising in History and Geopolitics.


Robert Dolan , says: August 12, 2019 at 5:01 am GMT

@Ghali All of the people in the western world are now Palestinians they just don't know it yet.
Alfred , says: August 12, 2019 at 6:41 am GMT
I think the idea that the USA and its few remaining allies are preparing to attack Iran is laughable. The idea that Saudi Arabia has become a more tolerant society ridiculous. It is all window-dressing.

The boot is now very much on the other foot. I suspect that Iran carried out the recent false flags against tankers close to the UAE. They are doing exactly what the USA used to do in order to initiate a war. They are not going to wait to be suffocated by the ongoing embargoes and sanctions. It is very much to their advantage to move the date of the inevitable hostilities forward. I suspect Russia and China are doing all they can to prevent them from doing so. American bases in the region are hostage to Iran.

The Iranians have made it clear that in the event they are attacked, Israel would be largely inoperable in 30 minutes. The Israelis have absolutely no ability to withstand any losses. They have inflicted pain on others for decades and have forgotten what it feels like. There would be a mass-exodus of the Jewish middle class – who mostly have 2nd passports.

Qatar, where the biggest US military base in the region is based, is already an ally of Iran in all but name. Bahrain, where the US navy is based, is a Shia stronghold. The UAE has sent envoys to Iran to apologise for allowing a US spy plane – the one that got shot down by the Iranians – to take off from one of their airfields. They are making peace-overtures to Iran and withdrawing their forces from Yemen. Currently, the Saudi proxies are fighting the Emirati proxies in Aden.

Here is something from the Irish Times – a paper that has yet to be bought up by Zionists.

Iran meeting may indicate UAE's intention to distance itself from Saudis

Here are the regional nations that have flipped to the side of Iran: Oman, UAE, Qatar, Iraq and Turkey. These countries know full well that the USA and Israel are a spent force. The Eastern province of Saudi Arabia – where the oil lies – is Shia. The Iranians have no intention of destroying Saudi oil installations – because they might soon control them.

The writer of this article would do well to peruse some local news sources and not rely so heavily on the mainstream media.

renfro , says: August 12, 2019 at 6:59 am GMT
Bad new for Trump, Netanyahu and Kushner's gang.
Crown Prince MbS is fading fast. His father the King has taken back some control. Other Arab leaders are pulling out of his Yemen war. King Salman has refused to accept any plans for Palestines except a 2 state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative offered before.

Mohammad bin Salman's Waning Influence
August 5, 2019Emile Nakhleh

https://lobelog.com/mohammad-bin-salmans-waning-influence/

Counterinsurgency , says: August 12, 2019 at 9:31 am GMT
So, Saudi Arabia is building its future by an alliance with women and Judaism. Good luck, they'll need it.

As to the overall picture, the disorganization of the US into ethnic groups under Obama and the continuation of that under Trump (who is, since the Federal government's permanent staff opposes him, a weak president) has most groups betting, world wide, that the US won't intervene in their local disputes. Consequently, they are fighting and cooperating as they see fit, and a new equilibrium is forming. Also, the sun rises in the morning.

This trend is long established [1], and I doubt it can be changed.

Even the change in Saudi Arabia has to do with this trend. Saudi Arabia is apparently betting that they can survive as a high income Arab state if they have a large qualitative and economic superiority over their much more poor neighbors. I really hope their efforts work better for them than did Russian efforts to Westernize.

Counterinsurgency

1] First mention of the trend I'm aware of:
Martin van Creveld, "The Fate of the State," _Parameters_, Spring 1996.
http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/Articles/96spring/creveld.htm

A.R. , says: August 12, 2019 at 10:27 am GMT
Unfortunately here in Europe most if not all politicians and media are simply following the U.S. line.
Large parts of european populations are also blindly trusting the mainstream narratives, though some do due to religious reasons instead of political ones.
Whenever there is some "official resistance" to these policies it is mostly symbolic.
It is a sad state of affairs. At this point in time when most people have access to unprecedented information recources, via the internet, there still seems to be not much interest in actually utilizing these resources.
People are too used to being force fed their information. There are no critical thinking abilities to speak of in the general population. The barrage of propaganda people are being subjected to ( from every direction and at all times ) is simply impossible to withstand for most.
Parts of the population that think of themselves as "woke", informed and as "The Resistance" are just as misinformed and deceived ( if not more ) as the sheeplike masses they claim superiority over
GeeBee , says: August 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm GMT
An excellent piece, but I was slightly surprised that it did not go on to examine the de facto alliance that appears to be growing between Iran and Russia. Everything surely depends on the scope and extent of this alliance. If it is firm and committed, then Zio-America is stirring up a hornet's nest by its sabre-rattling. And is the Trump administration really naïve, mad or stupid enough not to understand the consequences in the face of a strong Russo-Persian alliance? The US body count will dwarf the combined total of all its recent illegal and criminal undertakings on behalf of its puppet-masters. How will a six-figure sum of American dead be sold to its public, when 'only' 58,000 American military personnel died in the Vietnam conflict? Media control can only ever extend so far.
peter mcloughlin , says: August 12, 2019 at 12:15 pm GMT
Russia may be Iran's main regional ally: but Iran is also vital to Russia's strategic interests. It cannot allow Tehran to fall. That would destabilize Central Asia and the Caucasus, Moscow's backyard. In that sense they are equal partners. While the US is allied with Israel and Saudi Arabia in pursuit of regional hegemony, Washington has wider interests threatening to bring it into confrontation with Russia, and China, which also has core interests to protect. That confrontation will be a world, not a regional, war. The pattern of history shows there is already historical precedent for such events leading to world war – this time nuclear war.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
SolontoCroesus , says: August 12, 2019 at 12:51 pm GMT
Zionist organizations/ think tanks such as Brooking Institution are active in Saudi Arabia.
In 2002, Haim Saban bought a chunk of that formerly-esteemed American policy center
https://www.brookings.edu/news-releases/brookings-announces-new-saban-center-for-middle-east-policy/

"Made possible by a generous founding grant from Mr. Haim Saban of Los Angeles, the Saban Center will permit the Brookings Institution to dramatically expand its research and analysis of Middle East policy issues at a time when the region has assumed a dominant position on the U.S. foreign policy agenda.

"After September 11, American interests in countering terrorism, promoting peace, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and preserving regional stability all converged on the Middle East," Armacost noted. "The generosity of Haim Saban will enable Brookings to expand significantly its circle of experts who will conduct original research and develop innovative programs to promote a better understanding of the policy choices facing American decision-makers." "

A 2010 New Yorker magazine profile of Saban said:

His greatest concern, he says, is to protect Israel, by strengthening the United States-Israel relationship. At a conference last fall [2006] in Israel, Saban described his formula. His "three ways to be influential in American politics," he said, were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.

In 2007, Grant Smith, the Herculean head of Institute for Research: Middle East Policy (IRMEP), wrote of Saban's action:

11/21/2007 Excerpt from the book "Foreign Agents"
Why AIPAC took over Brookings
By targeting and taking over Middle East policy at Brookings in 2002, Saban and Indyk were able to "leapfrog" AIPAC messaging from second to last in the think tank market (WINEP had only 2%) to first place. Taking over Brookings also made it appear to Americans that there was now an "expert consensus" from "right to left" on the key Middle East policy issue of the year: the US invasion of Iraq on weapons of mass destruction pretexts. Brookings is often portrayed as a "centrist to left think tank" in the corporate news media. According to FAIR, "Progressive or Left-Leaning" media citations were a small but important segment of the marketplace of ideas, but combined with "centrist", they represented the majority. For Saban and Indyk, taking over Brookings Middle East policy in 2002 meant penetrating the 63% of the marketplace of ideas that was generally not beating a drum for war in Iraq.

Saban has supported Hillary Clinton financially and in other ways, probably since the Clintons were in the White House, but demonstrably once the Clintons bought their house in New York state in 2000 in preparation for Hill's successful run for the senate -- heavily backed by Saban money.
Team Clinton's Favorite Billionaire
https://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/haim-saban-hillary-clinton-donor-230711

Hillary has been Saban's creature throughout her-post Lewinsky life.

Sher glad we dodged that Hillary bullet & voted in tRump, say what.

Igor Bundy , says: August 12, 2019 at 12:56 pm GMT
Who will fight this war with iran? They wont go slowly into the night but fight tooth and nail. Remember Hezbollah never even called up its reserves and the entire war was fought with their regular forces already stationed there numbering a few thousand at most and only a few hundred directly being engaged.

Before Iran goes, they will make sure the world economy will for ever be changed. With regime changes in all ME and maybe even in other countries from unhappy populations.

RichardMunter , says: August 12, 2019 at 2:32 pm GMT
Is Iran really weaker than Russia?

Technologically, yes. It's also weaker economically.

OTOH, Iran has a rising population, totally different to Russia's ongoing demographic crisis. The Iranian population increase occurs against a backdrop of policies to curb it, which means that Iran could increase the increase to its population size (talking about the second derivative here) at the drop of a hat. Russia could not even dream of being in such a situation.

Unlike Russia, Iran is not officially a democracy either. Iran has a system of officially limited democracy yielding to the supreme authority of a clerical elite, guarded by aptly called revolutionary guards. This system has withstood decades of Western attempts to topple it. Iran is much better able to hold its liberal, Westernized middle class in check than Russia.

The biggest difference is the one in ideology. Iran has the Shia branch of Islam, what does Russia have? The Putin government tries to ally itself with the Russian Orthodox church, but the church has much less influence on Russian society than Shiite religiosity has on Iran. Iran is a Shiite country through and through. The Iranian regime can count on millions of committed followers to defend it to the death. Nothing of the same kind can be said about the Putin government.

Unlike Russia, Iran also has geography on its side. Russia can be invaded from all directions, Iran is a mountain fortress overlooking the straights of Hormuz to boot.

Russia and Iran have complementary strengths and weaknesses. Russia cannot allow Iran to fail, but you have to wonder whether Iran should not lend a helping hand to Russia in dealing with its fifth-column liberals.

Agent76 , says: August 12, 2019 at 5:05 pm GMT
Jun 4, 2019 WAR and DECEPTION

In reality, America is ruled by an oligarchy, America's 60 families, a de facto government according to Ferdinand Lundberg. This "shadow government" has controlled the top levels of the US government for most of our nation's history.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/auyu5LLQaqI?feature=oembed

May 18, 2019 The Truth-Teller: From the Pentagon Papers to the Doomsday Machine

The growth of the military-industrial complex poses an existential threat to humanity. Daniel Ellsberg, peace activist and Vietnam War whistleblower discusses with Tellus Senior Fellow Allen White the continuing existential threat posed by the military-industrial complex -- and what needs to be done about it.

https://greattransition.org/publication/truth-pentagon-papers-doomsday-machine

MARCH 13, 2019 'Imperialism on Trial' tour comes to Northern Ireland on March 19th and 21st

Next week, the Imperialism on Trial tour comes to Belfast, Northern Ireland, and will include an impressive line-up of speakers, including two former British Ambassadors, a former British soldier, an Irish Republican writer, and a veteran CIA analyst – each presenting their own analysis of world events, and interrogating the role played at home and abroad – by western powers.

https://21stcenturywire.com/2019/03/13/imperialism-on-trial-tour-comes-to-northern-ireland-on-march-19th-and-21st/

Curmudgeon , says: August 12, 2019 at 6:27 pm GMT