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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

News American Imperialism Recommended Links Predator state Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism IMF as a key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Provisional government as an instrument for Ukraine's debt enslavement "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Looting pays dividends to empire
Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Divide and conquer strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong ?
American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism The Grand Chessboard New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Iron Law of Oligarchy Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
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
Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions EuroMaidan The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Narcissism as Key American Value
Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Machiavellism Right to protect Big Uncle is Watching You Industrial Espionage
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

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 the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install), and use extraordinary powers to mandate austerity, burden them with debt 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 interest. 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).

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 civilise 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 imperial-ist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions. This ambitious power project centred 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 agenoa. limits the possibie 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" is close to the the plato,  financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  And they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability. So 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 can serve as a substitute for 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. Drop of standard of living of Ukraine to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population) is pretty instructive here.   That is the main domestic cost, as long as there as there is a common world price for fuels and minerals, consumer goods, food and even credit. As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced then directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages), 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 24 grivna to dollar or approximately 300%.

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” to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy.

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar is called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that looms as a grim reality. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender".

"the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender".

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

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, 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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[Feb 22, 2018] McMaster, Kelly On Their Way Out Zero Hedge

Feb 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In January, McMaster quashed rumors of his departure, telling reporters "I have a job and it is my intention to go as long and hard as I can in service of the President of the nation," adding that it was "a tremendous honor to do this job every day."

Trump's first National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned shortly after taking office amid a controversy over whether he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

On Thursday, the Pentagon directed all inquiries about McMaster to the White House. "General McMaster works for President Trump. Any decision with regards to staff, the White House will make those determinations," said chief spokesperson Dana White. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Tuesday that Trump "still has confidence in General McMaster."

A Source within the White House, leaking to CNN, reports that Trump can't stand McMaster's demeanor during briefings - and that the President considers his National Security Advisor to be "gruff and condescending."

He prefers the briefing style of someone like CIA Director Mike Pompeo or Defense Secretary James Mattis, who patiently answer his questions, regardless of the premise. McMaster, meanwhile, is the person who delivers the news that Trump doesn't want to hear on a daily basis, according to the senior Republican source.

The issue is not political but mostly stylistic, as McMaster and Mattis tend to discuss information before it is presented to the President, the same source added. - CNN

Kelly and McMaster both declined to comment, however Reuters' sources were quick to add that "tensions could blow over, at least for now, as have previous episodes of discord between the president and other top officials who have fallen out of favor."

4

LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

So much for the "military is behind Trump" meme. Kudos to Trump for telling this guy where he can shove it after repeating Deep State propaganda.

Sir Edge -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

Finally... 'Dereliction Of Duty' comes home to roost...


Edgey...

J S Bach -> Sir Edge Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

McSinister is the essence of Goldfinger in the old James Bond fiction. One couldn't envision a more stereotypical "worm-tonguesque" villain in charge of our armed forces and acting presidential "advisor".

GUS100CORRINA -> Normalcy Bias Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:57 Permalink

McMaster Finally Out? Pentagon Paving Way For Return To Military: Report

My response: Looks like the POTUS is prepping for the Return of General Flynn.

McMaster has some very suspicious associations and has been referenced in Q-ANON posts. He was an "OBOZO" plant.

Also, it appears that "OBOZO's" LEGAL problems are growing by the day.

"OBOZO" maybe the first POTUS in US history to be charged with TREASON. Also, KERRY is in a DEEP PILE OF SHIT as well. He directed the US State Department to provide 9 million dollars to her charity. This is ladies and gentlemen of ZH is BULLSHIT!!!!!!

CORRUPTION and CRIME as far as the EYE can see for the last four POTUS office holders. It make me ashamed of my nation at times.

May GOD bless, guide and protect President TRUMP and the TRUMP administration as they "DRAIN THE SWAMP".

Chupacabra-322 -> Luc X. Ifer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:21 Permalink

Flynn blew the whistle on Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopath Obama, the CIA & State Dept. arming, funding & training terror organizations.

The Criminal Deep State has had it for him ever since.

gatorengineer -> J S Bach Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:52 Permalink

Member of the council on foreign relations... Nough said? Trump sure likes Obama stooges for some reason

directaction -> gatorengineer Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:54 Permalink

Trump is refusing to start new wars.

That's annoying the deep state rats inside the military.

I sure wish Trump would stop all of Obama's wars, too.

gatorengineer -> directaction Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:58 Permalink

Boy you sure get a different news feed than I do.... Mine says we have heavy ground presence in Syria (didnt under Obowel), are on the verge of war with the NORKs after the Olympics, and our CIA has been stirring the shit pot in Iran....

Does your news coverage come before of after the episodes of My little pony?

The only difference between Trump and Hillary is Hillary has better hair. Follow what Trump actually does and not what he Tweets, HUGE difference. WE ARENT WINNING.

loveyajimbo -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:30 Permalink

McMaster is a Deep State maggot... but who on Trump's team is not??? Too many MIC Generals all begging for moar war for profit...

Sessions is the biggest maggot... he has overseen the total breakdown of the rule of law in America and should be tarred and feathered.

Navymugsy -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:40 Permalink

The military is an arm of the deep state. Congratulations West Point, Annapolis, etc.

squilmi -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

McMaster was NEVER with Trump. The military in general is.

New_Meat -> nmewn Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:31 Permalink

SecDef knows him (from in the sandbox) and might want/need him to fill a CinC slot. The pussified O crowd cut off the balls of many of the flag ranks and they need to be purged (Regan did that and brought in/up Starry and Papa Bear and Vuono and Art C-ski and the other knuckle draggers).

POTUS might be getting his foreign policy situation sorted out. McMaster hasn't ever been a smooth team player within the Army structure--that would also endear him to Jim, but not suit him to a staff/advisor role.

We can always blame it on Global Climate Change and the Rooskies--cover all the bases.

lurker since 2012 Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:26 Permalink

Fuck yea put him in Nork country. Fat boy and Monster McMaster can face off in the octagon.

Previous post regarding McMaster...

lurker since 2012 Tue, 02/20/2018 - 17:27 Permalink

Monster McMaster opening greeting to the Munich security conference, "I know OUR good friend John McCain can't be here, as unfortunately he can't, but he brings you good wishes"....Then he proceeded to outline Russian Election bullshit. Cyber bot farm meddling invading Georgia BLA BLA BLA. This is why war is plausible, McMaster is Military SWAMP.

Brazen Heist Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:37 Permalink

Oh boy, some oversized ego tripping....the sheer hubris of it all....fuckers cannot see or admit to the gross amount of meddling they have done to the world, and yet react like little bitches when allegations are merely cooked up.

I cannot believe that this is the lowly state of American political discourse in 2018 AD.

Just another Rome, only with a much bigger budget for bullshit and weaponry.

Dickguzinya Thu, 02/22/2018 - 20:50 Permalink

Fire him. Forget the fourth star. He is undeserving. Another scumbag trying to upend President Trump's agenda/objectives. The scumbag conveniently doesn't mention that the Russian Hacking didn't have an impact on the election. This untrustworthy piece of shit never should have been brought into the fold. And don't even think about allowing him back into the military. Fuck off you turncoat.

Green2Delta Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

This guy was the commanding officer of 3rd ACR while I was in. Only time I saw him in Iraq was when he flew down to tell us how sorry he was, or something like that, after we lost 1/3 of our platoon. The rest of the time he was in northern Iraq where it was safe. While those of us unlucky enough to be in 3rd Squadron were stuck down on the south side of Baghdad. If you read his bio they make it out like he personally did all kinds of Rambo shit. I guess that's they way it is for officers. Those guys will slit your throat for the next shiny thing to stick on their uniform.

Even back then my buddy SSG Judy, just talked to him an hour ago, told me McMaster was being groomed for bigger roles. He definitely nailed that one.

NoWayJose Thu, 02/22/2018 - 22:35 Permalink

These two and Mad Dog keep whispering "Evil Russia" at Trump and demanding US troops keep poking a stick at the bear - meanwhile Trump knows there is no collusion. How does that square up?

[Feb 20, 2018] Russia's Election Meddling Worse Than a Crime; a Blunder by Robert W. Merry

Feb 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Ukraine is crucial in this Russian sense of territorial imperative. It's a tragically split country, with part tilting toward the West and part facing eastward toward Russia. That makes for a delicate political and geopolitical situation, but for centuries that delicate political and geopolitical situation has been overseen by Russia. Now the West wants to end that. Upending a duly elected (though corrupt) Ukrainian president was part of the plan. Getting Ukraine into NATO is the endgame.

Note that the Ukrainian revolution occurred in 2014, which just happened to be the year, according to the U.S. indictments, that Russia initiated its grand program to influence America's 2016 elections. Kennan was right: Russia inevitably would react badly to the NATO encirclement policy, and then America's anti-Russian cadres would cite that as evidence that the encirclement was necessary all along. That's precisely what's happening now.

Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder. Given all that's happened in U.S.-Russian relations this century, there probably wasn't much prospect that those relations could ever be normalized, much less made cordial. But that is now utterly impossible.

Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of seeking better relations with Russia. After getting elected he repeatedly asserted in his first news conference that it would be "positive," "good," or "great" if "we could get along with Russia." Unlike most of America's elites, he vowed to seek Moscow's cooperation on global issues, accepted some U.S. share of blame for the two countries' sour relations, and acknowledged "the right of all nations to put their interests first."

This suggested a possible dramatic turn in U.S.-Russian relations -- an end to the encirclement push, curtailment of the hostile rhetoric, a pullback on economic sanctions, and serious efforts to work with Russia on such nettlesome matters as Syria and Ukraine. That was largely put on hold with the narrative of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and vague allegations of campaign "collusion" with Russia on behalf of Trump's presidential ambitions.

It doesn't appear likely that investigators will turn up any evidence of collusion that rises to any kind of criminality. But it doesn't matter now, in terms of U.S.-Russian relations, because these indictments will cement the anti-Russian sentiment of Americans for the foreseeable future. No overtures of the kind envisioned by Trump will be possible for any president for a long time. It won't matter that every nation does it or that America in particular has done it or that the West's aggressive encirclement contributed to the Russian actions. The U.S.-Russian hostility is set. Where it leads is impossible to predict, but it won't be good. It could be tragic.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C., journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His latest book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century , was released in September.

[Feb 20, 2018] Hillary Clinton If I m President, We Will Attack Iran We Would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them. Global Research - Cent

Notable quotes:
"... Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016. ..."
"... Hillary is Dangerous. She Means What She says? Or Does She? (M. C. GR. Editor) ..."
"... On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program." ..."
"... Stephen Lendman ..."
"... lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. ..."
"... His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." ..."
"... http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Hillary Clinton: "If I'm President, We Will Attack Iran We Would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them." By Stephen Lendman Global Research, February 19, 2018 Global Research 5 July 2015 Region: Middle East & North Africa , USA Theme: Militarization and WMD , US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: IRAN: THE NEXT WAR?

Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016.

Hillary is Dangerous. She Means What She says? Or Does She? (M. C. GR. Editor)

* * *

On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program."

Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world's chief sponsor of terrorism.

They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel.

We have to turn our attention to working with our partners to try to reign in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness.

Fact: US and Israeli intelligence both say Iran's nuclear program has no military component. No evidence whatever suggests Tehran wants one. Plenty indicates otherwise.

As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she addressed AIPAC's annual convention saying:

The United States stands with Israel now and forever. We have shared interests .shared ideals .common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security.

(O)ur two nations are fighting a shared threat" against Islamic extremism. I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense.

I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror.

No such campaign exists. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents.

Clinton repeated tired old lies saying Hamas' charter "calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran threatens to destroy Israel."

"I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."

She backs "massive retaliation" if Iran attacks Israel, saying at the time:

" I want the Iranians to know that if I'm president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that "keep the peace." She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems – first-strike weapons entirely for offense.

*

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

[Feb 20, 2018] Russophobia is a futile bid to conceal US, European demise by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
This is an old method to unite the nation against external enemy. Carnage (with so much oil and gas) needs to be destroyed. And it's working only partially with the major divisions between Trump and Hillary supporters remaining open and unaffected by Russiagate witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances. ..."
"... The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media. ..."
"... A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together." ..."
"... He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning." ..."
"... The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law. ..."
"... The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies? ..."
"... The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference". ..."
"... Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.

But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

[Feb 19, 2018] Poland opposes Nord Stream 2 - plans to build own pipeline - Fort Russ

Feb 19, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com

The Polish leadership intends to implement a project of its own with the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline - in face of the "Nord Stream - 2". This is reported by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung .

The Polish party "Law and Justice" decided to revive the Baltic Pipe project and connect to the Norwegian gas network. According to press releases, at the end of last year the Polish state oil and gas company PGNiG reserved the capacity of the gas pipeline for 15 years, at a cost of two billion dollars. It is assumed that the Polish project with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year will begin to function in 2022, but the final decision on this project will be taken later in 2018.

Poland actively opposes the construction of the Russian "Nord Stream - 2". Earlier, the Polish Prime Minister called on the US leadership to extend American sanctions for the implementation of this project. In addition, he said that European companies involved in the construction of the gas pipeline should be fined.

Germany has rebuffed such statements, stating that the project guarantees energy security for Europe.

Nord Stream -2 is a project worth 9.5 billion euros, which involves the construction of two lines of pipeline across the Baltic Sea from the coast of Russia to Germany. The total capacity will be 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

[Feb 17, 2018] Imperialism with a human face International Socialist Review

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The 700 Club ..."
"... Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean ..."
"... The Bottom Billion ..."
"... The Shock Doctrine ..."
"... Huffington Post, ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... New York Daily News ..."
"... International Socialist Review (ISR) ..."
"... Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politicsw of Containment ..."
"... The Forging of the American Empire ..."
"... The Uses of Haiti ..."
"... Haiti in the New World Order ..."
"... The Prophet and the Power ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
"... Haiti in the New World Order ..."
"... The Rainy Season ..."
"... Haiti's Predatory Republic ..."
"... Damming the Flood ..."
"... Dollars and Sense ..."
"... Damming the Flood ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
"... Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean ..."
"... Haiti Analysis ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
"... The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It ..."
"... Huffington Post ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Democracy Now! ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
"... Socialist Worker, ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Los Angeles Times ..."
"... Washington Times ..."
"... Washington Examiner ..."
"... Washington Times ..."
"... To See the Dawn ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | isreview.org

Haiti after the quake

By Ashley Smith Issue #70 : Features

THE EARTHQUAKE that shook Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince on January 12 is one of the worst disasters in human history. The quake flattened houses, hotels, and government buildings, including the National Palace and UN headquarters. By some estimates, 60 percent of Port-au-Prince's buildings collapsed. Even more damage struck some of the smaller towns near the capital like Leogane and Jacmel. At least 230,000 people were left dead, 300,000 in need of medical attention, 1.5 million homeless, and over 2 million bereft of food and water.

The Obama administration reacted immediately. "I have directed my administration to respond with a swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives," Obama told the nation in a speech he delivered the day after the quake. "The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States in the urgent effort to rescue those trapped beneath the rubble, and to deliver the humanitarian relief -- the food, water, and medicine -- that Haitians will need in the coming days. In that effort, our government, especially USAID and the Departments of State and Defense are working closely together and with our partners in Haiti, the region, and around the world." 1

This seemed a far cry from the reaction of the Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina, where tens of thousands of the city's poor, mostly Black, residents were left stranded and without help as Bush sent troops and Blackwater paramilitaries to police the city. The lack of a prompt humanitarian response prompted rap artist Kanye West to famously state, "George Bush doesn't care about Black people."

Yet while Obama said all the right things, the gap between his words and deeds has been immense. When all is said and done, the Haitian relief effort looks eerily like a replay of Katrina, only on a larger scale. A month into the disaster, the U.S. and UN were managing to feed only 1 million people, leaving more than a million people without relief aid. 2 Instead of mobilizing to provide water, food, and housing for the victims, the U.S. focused on occupying the country with 20,000 U.S. troops and surrounding it with a flotilla of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships.

This military effort actually impeded the delivery of urgent aid. In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Haiti: Obama's Katrina," three doctors who volunteered to provide emergency services wrote, "Four years ago the initial medical response to Hurricane Katrina was ill equipped, understaffed, poorly coordinated and delayed. Criticism of the paltry federal efforts was immediate and fierce. Unfortunately, the response to the latest international disaster in Haiti has been no better, compounding the catastrophe." After they describe the horrific conditions in Haiti's hospitals, the doctors continue, "The U.S. response to the earthquake should be considered an embarrassment. Our operation received virtually no support from any branch of the U.S. government, including the State Department . Later, as we were leaving Haiti, we were appalled to see warehouse-size quantities of unused medicines, food and other supplies at the airport, surrounded by hundreds of U.S. and international soldiers standing around aimlessly." 3

The U.S. government and media have covered up these realities with puff pieces about the supposed success of U.S. relief efforts. They have also wrongly portrayed this catastrophe as simply a natural disaster, ignoring the historical and social causes of Haiti's poverty -- principally the imperialist stranglehold over the nation -- that exacerbated the impact of the earthquake.

If the military flotilla is not there to deliver aid, why is it there? The Obama administration has used the cover of humanitarian aid to occupy the country in pursuit of several goals. First and foremost, after disastrous wars that have discredited U.S. interventionism, Obama hopes through the operation in Haiti to win back domestic support for military intervention. What better means to do that than to present a military invasion and occupation as a humanitarian relief effort?

With a flotilla of ships surrounding the country, the U.S. also aims to repatriate desperate Haitians and prevent a wave of refugees reaching Florida. Through this assertion of power, the U.S. aims also to reassert its dominance in the Caribbean and Latin America over regional rivals like Venezuela and international ones like China. Finally, the U.S. intends to impose a traditional neoliberal economic program on Haiti itself in the interest of U.S. multinational corporations and the Haitian ruling class.

Not just a natural disaster
Most of the media reported the earthquake as a natural disaster. While this is no doubt true, that is only part of the story. Certainly, there was talk of Haiti being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with over 80 percent of its population making about $2 a day. Media acknowledged that the Haitian state was completely unprepared and unable to respond to the crisis not only in Port-au-Prince, but throughout the country. However, the reason for these conditions -- the historical context -- is left out. The story of Haiti's poverty is merely an excuse to further justify why Haiti needs help from the United States, even though the "help" Haiti has received from the U.S. and other world powers is precisely the reason for Haiti's extreme poverty.

Some conservative commentators blamed Haitians for their situation. Pat Robertson on The 700 Club claimed that the disaster was the result of a pact that Haitians made with the devil during their revolution from 1791 to 1804. The devil was merely taking his revenge on Haitians more than 200 years later. 4 In a more polite, but no less racist manner, David Brooks argued that the root cause of the social problems in Haiti was their "progress-resistant" culture. He claimed,

There is the influence of the voodoo religion, which spreads the message that life is capricious and planning futile. There are high levels of social mistrust. Responsibility is often not internalized. Child-rearing practices often involve neglect in the early years and harsh retribution when kids hit 9 or 10. We're all supposed to politely respect each other's cultures. But some cultures are more progress-resistant than others, and a horrible tragedy was just exacerbated by one of them. 5

These are extreme versions of a dominant media story that essentially blames the victims of the earthquake. None of this answers the real questions. Why are the majority of Haitians so poor? Why according to the mayor of Port-au-Prince, were 60 percent of the buildings unsafe in normal conditions? Why is there no building regulation in a city that sits on a fault line? Why was the Haitian state so weak and disorganized before and after the earthquake? To answer these questions, we must delve into Haiti's history.

European slavery, revolution, and U.S. domination
The answer lies in Haiti's history of European conquest, slavery, resistance, and U.S. imperial domination. At every step, instead of aiding the Haitian majority, the U.S. has manipulated the country's politics and exploited its poverty in pursuit of profit, and used it as a pawn in its competition with regional and international rivals. In doing so the U.S. has reduced Haiti to abject poverty and incapacitated its government to manage the society and the current crisis. This history, a second and unnatural fault line, interacted with the natural one to make the earthquake so devastating.

Columbus set off the first tremors when he landed on the island he called Hispaniola in 1492. He proceeded to enslave the Taino natives, whose population was estimated to be more than half a million. The combination of European disease, massacre, and brutal exploitation led to the genocide of the native population. Spain ceded the western section of the island in 1697 to France, which renamed it San Domingue. Spain remained in control of the eastern section of the island, Santo Domingo, which would become the Dominican Republic. French merchants and planters turned their colony into a vast slave plantation and slaves from Africa replaced Indians and white indentured servants. The colony was a killing field where slaves were literally worked to death -- half the African slaves who arrived died within a few years. But it was an enormously profitable one. San Domingue was the richest colony in the new world; the slave plantations produced half of the world's coffee, 40 percent of its sugar, as well as a host of other commodities. 6

In 1791, Toussaint L'Ouverture, a literate freed slave, led the world's first successful slave revolution. Toussaint defeated the three great empires of the age -- France, Spain, and England -- which all attempted to defeat the great slave army. During the struggle, the French managed to kidnap Toussaint and jail him in France, where he died. His second-in-command, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, led the final victory and established the new nation of Haiti in 1804.

Haiti's very existence was a threat to all the empires and their colonies. They all lived off profits from plantation slavery. So the great powers quarantined the country, attempting to prevent the spread of slave revolution. France finally recognized Haiti in 1824, but on the condition that it pay reparations to France for the loss of its property -- its slaves. In today's terms this sum amounted to $21 billion. Thus France shackled Haiti with debt at its birth that it did not finish repaying until 1947, fundamentally distorting the nation's development. 7

Under the eagle
The U.S. was one of the last powers to recognize Haiti, finally doing so in 1862. It became interested in Haiti not to help it, but instead to plunder it. In the late nineteenth century the U.S. became an imperialist power, extending its talons to snatch control of the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific from potential rivals like Spain, Britain, and Germany. The U.S. launched its imperial conquest under the guise of liberating Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines from Spain. Puerto Rico and the Philippines became U.S. colonies -- U.S. marines killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to conquer the island -- while Cuba became a colony in all but name. The U.S. then policed the Caribbean as if it were an American lake. The number of occupations and invasions over the following decades is too many to list.

A leader of this conquest was Major General Smedley Butler, who became one of the most decorated marines in history. After he turned against U.S. imperialism later in life, he summed up his experience:

I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps . And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism . I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909–1912 . I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents. 8

The U.S. saw Haiti as one of the key sites to establish client governments to protect U.S. interests in the Caribbean. 9 In 1915 the U.S. used the pretext of political turmoil in Haiti to invade the country and occupy it until 1934. The U.S. plundered the island, forced it to repay its debts to the U.S., and established involuntary corvee gang labor to build roads. United States corporations, hoping to take advantage of Haiti's cheap labor, gained control of 266,000 acres of Haitian land, displacing thousands of Haitian peasants. Haitians rose up against this exploitation in a mass liberation movement, the Cacos Rebellion, led by Charlemagne Peralte. The U.S. slaughtered thousands of resistance fighters, crucifying Peralte in Port-au-Prince.

The U.S. also established one of the most reactionary institutions in Haitian society, the Haitian National Army. The U.S. designed that army not to fight foreign wars but to repress the country's peasant masses.

The neoliberal "plan of death"
While the U.S. ended its occupation of Haiti -- prompted in part by a renewed wave of protests and strikes by workers and students -- it continued to intervene in the country's politics and economics with devastating consequences. From 1957 to 1986, the U.S. supported the father-son dictatorship of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. The Duvaliers' dictatorship maintained power through the army and a vast network of death squads called the Tonton Macoutes. The U.S. backed them as a counterweight to Fidel Castro who had aligned Cuba with Russia in the Cold War struggle for Latin America and the Caribbean. Most observers believe that Papa Doc Duvalier's Macoutes killed tens of thousands. 10 The Duvaliers' economic vision for Haiti -- one that has continued to motivate U.S. plans for Haiti -- was to establish Haiti as low-tax, low-wage, non-union offshore assembly site for U.S. corporations.

Though half of Haitians lived in dire poverty, Haiti until the mid–1980s was self-sufficient in the production of rice, its most important staple. All this changed with the imposition of neoliberal policies, pushed by the United States, that required Haiti to slash tariffs, privatize state-owned industries, and cut the state's agricultural budget. Haitian activists would come to call it a "plan of death."

President Reagan pushed this plan as part of his Caribbean Basin Initiative that aimed to open up the area to U.S. corporations and U.S. agricultural products. Baby Doc opened up the Haitian market to a wave of U.S. agribusiness exports like rice and wheat, which are heavily subsidized. The Haitian peasants were simply unable to compete with these cheap, subsidized imports, and Haiti's rural economy gradually collapsed. Hundreds of thousands of peasants abandoned the countryside for the cities to seek some kind of employment. Deprived of their livelihood, peasants turned to cutting down trees to make charcoal for cooking fuel, leading to the massive deforestation of the country, and the further destruction of Haiti's already depleted soil. 11 As a result, Port-au-Prince, which had been a small town of 50,000 in the 1950s, exploded in size to nearly 800,000 in the 1980s and well over 2 million today. 12

Reagan and Baby Doc claimed that they would absorb these dislocated peasants into an enlarged sweatshop industry. But the various factories in the export processing zones only created about 60,000 jobs. As a result, the masses in Port-au-Prince gathered in slums, left to survive on remittances from relatives who had fled abroad and income scraped together in a highly unstable informal economy.

Finally, the U.S. tried to subject Haiti to the same tourist industry that swept the rest of the Caribbean. Baby Doc cut deals with Club Med and various hotel chains to offer the country's beaches for tourism. Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton first came to Haiti on their honeymoon as part of the jet set that Baby Doc welcomed into the swank resorts on the island. It would not be the last time the Clintons played around in Haiti.

Baby Doc took out $1.9 billion in loans from the U.S., other powers, and international financial institutions to bankroll this neoliberal "reform" of the country. 13 Meanwhile, Haitians suffered a calamitous drop in their standard of living; during the 1980s, absolute poverty increased by 60 percent -- from 50 to 80 percent of the population. 14 The dictator and his family joined the American and Haitian ruling class to party and profit at the expense of Haitian peasants, workers, and the urban poor.

Killing social reform
Peasants, workers, and the urban poor rose up against Baby Doc in opposition to this social catastrophe in a tremendous social movement called Lavalas (the Creole word for a cleansing flood). A young Catholic priest and advocate of liberation theology, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, became the spokesperson of the struggle. In 1986, Lavalas succeeded in driving Baby Doc from power. The U.S. whisked him away into exile in France along with $505 million stolen from the country. 15 Duvalier left behind a shattered country, shackled again with the odious debt accrued by a dictator to finance the neoliberal disaster.

Under pressure from the movement -- but also to stem the tide of impoverished Haitian refugees pouring out of the country -- the U.S. and Haitian governments finally agreed to hold elections in 1990. The U.S. spent $36 million to try to get their candidate, a former World Bank employee, elected. He received only 14 percent of the vote. Aristide defeated fourteen rivals, winning two-thirds of the vote, on a platform of extensive popular social reforms. The U.S. and the Haitian ruling class literally saw red. They thought that, in the words of a U.S. embassy official in Port-au-Prince, a "Marxist maniac" had been elected to the Haitian government. 16 President George Bush Sr. backed a military coup against Aristide in 1991 and tacitly backed the brutal regime that ruled Haiti from 1991 to 1994.

The military massacred thousands of Lavalas activists and drove 38,000 more out of the country. Bush Sr. and his successor President Bill Clinton repatriated most of these refugees and jailed others in Krome Detention Center in Florida and Guantánamo in Cuba. After an international outcry, the U.S. opted for a face-saving intervention to restore Aristide to power in 1994, but on the condition that he agree to the neoliberal plan of death. Aristide signed on to the deal but resisted its full implementation during his remaining two years in office. He did abolish the Haitian military in 1995 -- a great victory for the movement -- and implemented some reforms, but it was far from what he had promised during the struggle against Duvalier. "The author of a text entitled 'Capitalism is a Mortal Sin,'" wrote Paul Farmer at the time,

now meets regularly with representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and AID [U.S. Agency for International Development]. He was once the priest of the poor; now he's president of a beleaguered nation, run into the ground by a vicious military and business elite and by their friends abroad. Aristide finds himself most indebted to the very people and institutions he once denounced from the pulpit. 17

Aristide's Lavalas ally and successor, René Préval, implemented much of the U.S. neoliberal agenda during his term from 1996 to 2000. 18

Aristide would again run for and win the presidency in 2000, to the great irritation of Clinton and then-President George W. Bush. In his second term, Aristide implemented reforms such as raising the minimum wage and building schools. He also began to demand that France refund the $21 billion that it forced Haiti to pay from 1824 to 1947. 19 At the same time, however, Aristide backed new sweatshop developments in Ounaminthe and agreed to other neoliberal measures. 20 But the U.S. was not appeased and France was outraged.

Another coup and U.S. occupation
The U.S., France, and Canada used the pretext of charges that Aristide manipulated the parliamentary elections, something they usually tolerate with their own allies, to justify a destabilization campaign against Aristide and yet another coup. Bush, of course, had no ground to stand on as he himself had stolen the 2000 U.S. presidential election. Nevertheless, the U.S., Canada, and France imposed economic sanctions, mounted a vast propaganda campaign against Aristide, backed the ruling-class political opposition in the Group of 184, and aided the right-wing death squads. Finally, in 2004, as the death squads swept through the country, the U.S. kidnapped Aristide, whisked him out of the country to temporary exile in the Central African Republic and to final exile in South Africa. Thus, on the two hundredth anniversary of its declaration of independence, Haiti was occupied by the U.S., yet again.

Soon the U.S. delegated the occupation to the UN and its 9,000 mostly Brazilian troops, who continue to patrol the country to this day. This UN force, MINUSTAH, protected the U.S.-installed puppet regime headed up Gérard Latortue who they brought out of retirement from Boca Raton, Florida. The coup regime was utterly corrupt and brutal. With its death squad allies, the regime conducted a terror against the remnants of the social movements and Aristide's party, Fanmi Lavalas. The combination of death squad and UN repression killed an estimated 3,000 people. 21 The UN troops either joined the slaughter or stood aside while repression swept the island. 22

While the U.S. and UN allowed elections in 2006, they banned Aristide's party, the most popular party in the country. Aristide's former ally, René Préval, again won the presidency, but by this time he had become a servant for the U.S. political and economic agenda in Haiti. For example, Préval banned Fanmi Lavalas from running in elections and refused to sign a bill passed in the parliament to raise the minimum wage. 23 In fact, the real power was no longer in the hands of the Haitian government. The U.S.- backed UN occupation rules the country in colonial style, dictating policy to the Haitian government.

The occupation has completely failed to develop the country. It has done nothing to improve living conditions for Haitians, to rebuild the country's ravaged infrastructure, or to reforest the countryside. Before the earthquake, two rounds of natural disasters swept Haiti and exposed the U.S. and UN's callous neglect of the country. Hurricanes hit in 2004 and 2008, killing thousands. 24 The pattern of impoverishment, deforestation, and degradation of the country's infrastructure, which has accelerated in recent years, has rendered natural disasters in Haiti far more devastating than anywhere else. In what is perhaps the worst exposure of the result of U.S. and UN refusal to improve conditions in Haiti, the food crisis in Haiti spiraled out of control on their watch. Even before the food crisis in 2008, the urban poor were reduced to eating mud cakes flavored with salt as a regular meal. When capitalists speculated on the international food market, they drove up the prices of Haiti's imported staples, especially rice. In response Haitians rioted, only to be repressed by the UN troops. 25

Imposing a new plan of death on Haiti
During the UN occupation, the U.S. imposed the same neoliberal economic plan on Haiti in the interests of multinational capital and the Haitian ruling class. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Bill Clinton as special envoy to Haiti in 2009 and tasked him with revitalizing the country's economy. Clinton developed a new version of the plan of death along with Oxford economics professor and former research director for the World Bank, Paul Collier. Collier outlined their program in his paper, "Haiti: From natural catastrophe to economic security." 26 It advocated investment in the tourist industry, redevelopment of the sweatshop industry in cities, export-oriented mango plantations in the countryside, and construction of infrastructure to service that development.

As Polly Pattullo documents in Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean , the tourist industry is largely controlled by U.S. multinational corporations. She quotes one critic of the tourist industry who argues, "When a third world economy uses tourism as a development strategy, it becomes enmeshed in a global system over which it has little control. The international tourism industry is a product of metropolitan capitalist enterprise. The superior entrepreneurial skills, resources and commercial power of metropolitan companies enable them to dominate many third world tourist destinations." 27

Clinton has orchestrated a plan for turning the north of Haiti into a tourist playground, as far away as possible from the teeming slums of Port-au-Prince. He lured Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines into investing $55 million to build a pier along the coastline of Labadee, which it has leased until 2050. From there, Haiti's tourist industry hopes to lead expeditions to the mountaintop fortress Citadelle and the Palace of Sans-Souci, both built by Henri Christophe, one of the leaders of Haiti's slave revolution. 28

For the cities, Collier promotes sweatshop development. Without a hint of shame, he notes, "Due to its poverty and relatively unregulated labor market, Haiti has labor costs that are fully competitive with China, which is the global benchmark. Haitian labor is not only cheap it is of good quality. Indeed, because the garments industry used to be much larger than it is currently, there is a substantial pool of experienced labor." 29 Given the abolition of tariffs on many Haitian exports to the U.S., Haiti is primed, according to Collier, for a new sweatshop boom.

But this is no sustainable development plan in the interests of Haitian workers. At best, Collier promises 150,000 or so jobs. As anthropologist Mark Shuller argues, "subcontracted, low-wage factory work does not contribute much to the economy besides jobs. Being exempt from taxes, it does not contribute to the financing of Haiti's social services." 30 Moreover these jobs themselves do not even pay enough to support life -- they pay for transport and lunch at about $1.60 a day. The U.S. will want to keep these wages low, since that is the profitable basis for the investment.

For the peasant majority in the country, Clinton and Collier advocate the construction of vast new mango plantations. According to them, such new plantations will both create an export crop and aid the reforestation of the country. While it may create jobs for poor peasants, such plantations will not rebuild the agricultural infrastructure of the country so that it can return to the self-sufficient food system it had before the 1980s. As TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson told Democracy Now! , "That isn't the kind of investment that Haiti needs. It needs capital investment. It needs investment so that it can be self-sufficient. It needs investment so that it can feed itself." 31 Such self-sufficiency runs against the grain of U.S. policy to control the international food market with its subsidized crops.

Collier finally argues for investment in infrastructure -- airports, seaports, and roads -- not so much to meet people's needs as to service these new investments in tourism, sweatshops, and plantations. As a result, Collier's plan will actually increase infrastructural inequities; businesses will get what they need to export their products, while the Haitian masses' infrastructural needs, like navigable roads, will be left unaddressed. Even worse, Collier advocates increased privatization of Haiti's infrastructure, especially the port and the electrical system.

It is not incidental that Collier is also the author of The Bottom Billion , 32 a book that calls for outside intervention by wealthy nations such as the United States into what he calls "post-conflict" poor nations, combining targeted aid and economic restructuring under long-term military occupation. In a modern recasting of the old colonialist "civilizing mission," this is meant to lift these nations out of a vicious cycle of violence and poverty.

On his whirlwind tour of the country in 2009, Bill Clinton promised investors that Haiti was open for business with Aristide and Lavalas out of the way and the U.S. and UN in effective control of the country. "Your political risk in Haiti" he declared at a press conference "is lower than it has ever been in my lifetime." 33

Failing to deliver relief to victims
In the aftermath of the earthquake, the press has cooperated with the Obama administration in giving the impression that the U.S. military has been busy delivering aid to desperate Haitians. The facts don't bear this out. To begin with, Obama's promise of $100 million in aid to the country is a pittance -- less than the winnings of a Kentucky couple in a recent Powerball lottery. 34 It is a paltry amount compared to the hundreds of billions that the U.S. shelled out to American banks and the $3 trillion the U.S. will have expended on the Iraq War alone.

There were early warning signs that this humanitarian mission was not all it was cracked up to be. Obama's decision to appoint former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to oversee the collection of donations through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund displays incredible callousness toward the Haitian masses. Clinton imposed the plan of death on Lavalas. Bush let New Orleans get washed out to sea and backed the 2004 coup that overthrew Aristide. Appointing Bush is like putting Nero in charge of the fire department.

Aid was slow to arrive, and what did turn up was inadequate. Amid a crisis where the first forty-eight hours are decisive in saving people's lives, the U.S. and UN failed to come anywhere near addressing the needs of the 3 million people impacted by the earthquake. Every minute that aid was delayed meant more people died from starvation, dehydration, injury, and disease. It also meant that the hospitals and doctors desperately trying to help the victims were left stranded without the basics to heal the injured.

As Dr. Evan Lyon of Partners in Health, speaking from Port-au-Prince's main hospital just as heavily-armed U.S. troops were arriving, told Democracy Now! ,

In terms of supplies, in terms of surgeons, in terms of aid relief, the response has been incredibly slow. There are teams of surgeons that have been sent to places that were, quote, "more secure," that have ten or twenty doctors and ten patients. We have a thousand people on this campus that are triaged and ready for surgery, but we only have four working ORs without anesthesia and without pain medications. And we're still struggling to get ourselves up to twenty-four-hour care. 35

In the week after the quake, Partners in Health estimated as many as 20,000 Haitians were dying daily from lack of surgery. 36

The U.S. and UN used all sorts of technical alibis to justify the delay in meeting people's needs. They complained that the damage done to Haiti's airport, seaport, and roads impeded delivery of doctors, nurses, food, water, and rescue teams. Such claims are unconvincing. Clearly the means exist to deliver aid quickly to a country only 700 miles away from Miami, Florida, and only 156 miles from a fully functional international airport in the Dominican Republic. Other countries had no difficulty sending planes of aid and volunteers. China, from half way around the world, got a plane of aid to Haiti earlier than the United States. Iceland sent a rescue team within forty-eight hours of the quake. Cuba sent dozens of doctors to join the several hundred doctors already working the country.

This failure of the U.S. to respond produced a chorus of denunciations from relief experts. One official from the Italian government, Guido Bertolaso, who was acclaimed for his successful handling of the April 2009 earthquake in Italy, denounced the U.S. effort as a "pathetic failure." He declared, "The Americans are extraordinary but when you are facing a situation in chaos they tend to confuse military intervention with emergency aid, which cannot be entrusted to armed forces. It's truly a powerful show of force but it's completely out of touch with reality." 37

Guns over aid
As with Katrina, Obama prioritized the deployment of the U.S. military over provision of aid. He sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Haiti right away to get President Préval to secure emergency powers. "The decree would give the government an enormous amount of authority, which in practice they would delegate to us," she stated. 38 The U.S. has taken effective control of Haiti. It has secured control of the airport and seaport and deployed 20,000 U.S. troops to bolster the enlarged UN force of 12,500 already in the country. Thus, for the fourth time since 1915, Haiti is under a U.S. occupation.

How did the U.S. justify the fact that six days into the relief effort only a trickle of aid had gotten through to those who needed it? The U.S. government claimed that aid could not be delivered properly until security was first established. When asked why the U.S. hadn't used its C-130 transport planes to drop supplies in Port-au-Prince, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, "Air drops will simply lead to riots." 39 However, precisely the opposite is the case; people will riot because they lack food and water.

In lockstep, the corporate media's coverage shifted from its initial sympathy with victims of the disaster to churning out scare stories. "Marauding looters emptied wrecked shops and tens of thousands of survivors waited desperately for food and medical care," Reuters claimed. "Hundreds of scavengers and looters swarmed over wrecked stores in downtown Port-au-Prince, seizing goods and fighting among themselves." 40

These scare stories in turn became an excuse for not delivering aid. Writer Nelson Valdes reported,

The United Nations and the U.S. authorities on the ground are telling those who directly want to deliver help not to do so because they might be attacked by "hungry mobs." Two cargo planes from Doctors Without Borders have been forced to land in the Dominican Republic because the shipments have to be accompanied within Port-au-Prince by U.S. military escorts, according to the U.S. command. 41
The scare stories led relief workers and military personnel to treat Haitians in a dehumanizing fashion. Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman reported an incident where an aid helicopter refused to distribute food on the ground and instead dropped it on people. An angry Haitian compared the incident to "throwing bones to dogs." 42

Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), because of their close relation with the U.S., have adopted a paranoid obsession with security to the detriment of providing relief. Ecologist and human rights activist Sasha Kramer reported on Counterpunch,

One friend showed me the map used by all of the larger NGOs where Port-au-Prince is divided into security zones, yellow, orange, red. Red zones are restricted, in the orange zones all of the car windows must be rolled up and they cannot be visited past certain times of the day. Even in the yellow zone aid workers are often not permitted to walk through the streets and spend much of their time riding through the city from one office to another in organizational vehicles. The creation of these security zones has been like the building of a wall, a wall reinforced by language barriers and fear rather than iron rods, a wall that, unlike many of the buildings in Port-au-Prince, did not crumble during the earthquake. Fear, much like violence, is self-perpetuating. When aid workers enter communities radiating fear it is offensive, the perceived disinterest in communicating with the poor majority is offensive, driving through impoverished communities with windows rolled up and armed security guards is offensive . Despite the good intentions of the many aid workers swarming around the UN base, much of the aid coming through the larger organizations is still blocked in storage, waiting for the required UN and U.S. military escorts that are seen as essential for distribution, meanwhile people in the camps are suffering and their tolerance is waning. 43

Yet this disastrous "beware of the Haitian people" line is simply not borne out by reports coming from Haiti. "There are no security issues," argues Dr. Lyon:

I've been with my Haitian colleagues. I'm staying at a friend's house in Port-au-Prince. We're working for the Ministry of Public Health for the direction of this hospital as volunteers. But I'm living and moving with friends. We've been circulating throughout the city until 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning every night, evacuating patients, moving materials. There's no UN guards. There's no U.S. military presence. There's no Haitian police presence. And there's also no violence. There is no insecurity. 44

As the real nature of the U.S. operation became clear, an array of forces criticized the U.S. for imposing an occupation, not supplying relief. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez rightly declared on his weekly television show, "Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals -- that's what the United States should send. They are occupying Haiti undercover." 45

Impeding relief
The U.S. occupation actually prevented relief efforts. Once the U.S. was in charge of the airport it prioritized military flights over relief flights. Jarry Emmanuel, the air logistics officer for the World Food Program, complained, "There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti. But most of those flights are for the United States military. Their priorities are to secure the country." 46

Hillary Clinton herself brought relief missions to a halt when she flew into Port-au-Prince to seize emergency powers from Préval. The U.S. military shut the airport down for three hours, preventing the desperately needed delivery of aid. Outraged, Alain Joyandet, the French Cooperation Minister, called on the UN to investigate America's dominant role in the relief effort and protested: "This is about helping Haiti, not occupying it." 47

The chorus of complaints further escalated not only from governments but also from aid organizations. Richard Seymour reports that,

Since the arrival of the troops, however, several aid missions have been prevented from arriving at the airport in Port-au-Prince that the U.S. has commandeered. France and the Caribbean Community have both made their complaints public, as has Médecins Sans Frontières [MSF] on five separate occasions. UN World Food Program flights were also turned away on two consecutive days. Benoit Leduc, MSF's operations manager in Port-au-Prince, complained that U.S. military flights were being prioritized over aid flights. 48

The U.S. military has even turned back masses of health care workers who wanted to volunteer to provide needed medical care in Haiti. The National Nurses Union organized an emergency conference call to mobilize thousands of nurses to go to Haiti. More than 1,800 nurses called in and they proceeded to recruit 11,000 others to the project. Initially the U.S. military said that it would accept them, but then, inexplicably, they reversed themselves and told them that the U.S. had plenty of military personnel to address the health care disaster in Haiti. Nothing could be further from the truth. 49

The U.S. military, Florida's state government, and the Obama administration also colluded in one of the worst examples of the callous treatment of Haitian victims. They refused to allow landing of planes loaded with injured people in desperate need of medical treatment. The Obama administration and Florida's governor were locked in a battle over who would pay for the cost of the medical care. So for five days, the U.S. let injured people suffer in Haiti because budget battles mattered more than people's lives. 50

Al Jazeera captured the nature of the U.S. and UN military occupation in a January 17 report:

Most Haitians here have seen little humanitarian aid so far. What they have seen is guns, and lots of them. Armored personnel carriers cruise the streets. UN soldiers aren't here to help pull people out of the rubble. They're here, they say, to enforce the law. This is what much of the UN presence actually looks like on the streets of Port-au-Prince: men in uniform, racing around in vehicles, carrying guns. At the entrance to the city's airport where most of the aid is coming in, there is anger and frustration. Much-needed supplies of water and food are inside, and Haitians are locked out. "These weapons they bring," [an unidentified Haitian says], "they are instruments of death. We don't want them; we don't need them. We are a traumatized people. What we want from the international community is technical help. Action, not words." 51

Problems with the NGOs
Haiti has approximately 10,000 NGOs operating within its borders, one of the highest numbers per capita in the world. The international NGOs are unaccountable to either the Haitian state or Haitian population. So the aid funneled through them further weakens what little hold Haitians have on their own society. These NGOs have taken deep hold in Haiti at the very same time that the conditions in the country have gone from bad to apocalyptic.

Amid this crisis, some of the NGOs and their employees have tried valiantly to fill the vacuum left by the U.S. and UN. But most of them did not have real forces inside the country to respond to the disaster. The Red Cross, for example, only had 15 employees on the ground, but has received the bulk of donated money -- more than $200 million -- from people around the world. Add to this the reluctance of the big NGOs to act without "security," as mentioned above.

Moreover, as the British medical journal The Lancet argues, many of the international NGOs are engaged in a fierce battle for funds and have allowed that competition to distort their provision of food, water, medical aid, and services amidst the crisis. After calling aid an "industry in its own right," the Lancet noted that NGOs are

jostling for position, each claiming that they are doing the most for earthquake survivors. Some agencies even claim that they are "spearheading" the relief effort. In fact, as we only too clearly see, the situation in Haiti is chaotic, devastating, and anything but coordinated. Polluted by the internal power politics and the unsavory characteristics seen in many big corporations, large aid agencies can be obsessed with raising money through their own appeal efforts. Media coverage as an end in itself is too often an aim of their activities. Marketing and branding have too high a profile. Perhaps worst of all, relief efforts in the field are sometimes competitive with little collaboration between agencies, including smaller, grass-roots charities that may have better networks in affected countries and so are well placed to immediately implement emergency relief. 52

Repatriating and jailing refugees
As Haitians' needs continued unmet, the U.S. occupation devolved into policing the disaster, including preventing the flight of refugees from Haiti. It is true that activists finally compelled Obama to grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Obama's decision delayed the deportation of 30,000 Haitians and will make TPS available to 100,000 to 200,000 more. These provisions, however, have strict limitations.

First of all, the U.S. plans to exclude victims of the earthquake, offering TPS only to those who arrived in the U.S. without legal documents before January 12. Those who quality must prove they are indigent and at the very same time pay $470 in application fees. 53 Those Haitians who are granted TPS will only be allowed to stay in the U.S. for eighteen months before they must return to Haiti. If they do qualify for the program they will become known to the authorities and thus make themselves more vulnerable to repatriation. Moreover, given the scale of destruction in Port-au-Prince, there is no way that the city or country will be in better condition in a year and a half. So if the U.S. enforces this eighteen-month limitation, it will return Haitians to an ongoing disaster area.

To enforce the bar on Haitians coming to the U.S., a flotilla of military vessels has surrounded the country. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to spin this in humanitarian terms. "At this moment of tragedy in Haiti," she lectured, "it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere, but attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation." 54 In a far more blunt statement of the actual policy, Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Chris O'Neil, in charge of Operation Vigilant Sentry declared, "The goal is to interdict them at sea and repatriate them." 55

The U.S. made sure to broadcast this threat to Haitians. A U.S. Air Force transport plane spends hours in the air above Haiti every day, not ferrying food and water, but broadcasting a radio statement in Creole from Haiti's ambassador to the U.S., Raymond Joseph. "I'll be honest with you," Joseph says, according to a transcript on the State Department's Web site. "If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that's not at all the case. And they will intercept you right on the water, and send you back home where you came from." 56

To prepare for the eventuality that some Haitians may get through the military cordon around Haiti, Obama, like Bush and Clinton before him, has prepared jail space to incarcerate refugees at Krome Detention Center in Florida and at the U.S. military base in Guantánamo, Cuba. 57

Asserting who's boss in Latin America
Days after the quake, the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation posted an article detailing what it considered should be Washington's aims in occupying Haiti. The U.S. military presence, they argued, in addition to preventing "any large scale movements by Haitians to take to the sea to try to enter the U.S. illegally," also "offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti's long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region." At the same time, it argues, the U.S. military presence could "interrupt the nightly flights of cocaine to Haiti and the Dominican Republic from the Venezuelan coast and counter the ongoing efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to destabilize the island of Hispaniola." There is no evidence of Venezuelan cocaine flights or efforts to "destabilize" Haiti, but the point is clear: The U.S. sees Haiti as part of an effort to assert more control over the region and contain "unfriendly" regimes. 58

The military response to Haiti's crisis cannot be separated from Washington's regional interests. As Greg Gandin writes in the Nation ,

In recent years, Washington has experienced a fast erosion of its influence in South America, driven by the rise of Brazil, the region's left turn, the growing influence of China and Venezuela's use of oil revenue to promote a multipolar diplomacy. Broad social movements have challenged efforts by US- and Canadian-based companies to expand extractive industries like mining, biofuels, petroleum and logging. 59

Faced with such regional and international competition, the U.S. under Bush and now Obama is angling to launch a counteroffensive. The U.S. tried to topple Chávez in 2002, it succeeded in overthrowing Aristide in 2004, and last year backed the coup against President Zelaya in Honduras. As Grandin reports, the U.S. is actively promoting the right-wing opposition to the various reform socialist governments in the region. It is backing up this political initiative with an expansion of its military bases in the region, particularly in Colombia. "In late October," Grandin writes, "the United States and Colombia signed an agreement granting the Pentagon use of seven military bases, along with an unlimited number of as yet unspecified 'facilities and locations.' They add to Washington's already considerable military presence in Colombia, as well as Central America and the Caribbean." 60 Haiti is thus a stepping-stone for further U.S. interventions in the region.

"Shock doctrine" for Haiti
For Haiti itself, the U.S. is preparing to impose its old neoliberal plan at gunpoint. In The Shock Doctrine , Naomi Klein documents how the U.S. and other imperial powers take advantage of natural and economic disasters to impose free-market plans for the benefit of the American and native capitalists. The U.S., other powers, the IMF, and World Bank had their shock doctrine for Haiti immediately on hand. Hillary Clinton declared, "We have a plan. It was a legitimate plan, it was done in conjunction with other international donors, with the United Nations." 61 This is the Collier Plan, the same old plan of sweatshops, plantations, and tourism.

The U.S., a few other imperial powers, a few lesser countries, and the UN convened a meeting on January 26 in Montreal to profess their concern and promises to aid Haiti. The fourteen so-called "Friends of Haiti" made sure to include the Haitian prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, to at least give the illusion of respect for the country's sovereignty. But outside a protest organized by Haiti Action Montreal opposed the meeting with signs demanding "medical relief not guns," "grants not loans," and "reconstruction for people not profit."

In the Guardian , Gary Younge criticized the summit for failing to produce any solutions to the crisis in Haiti. "Even as corpses remained under the earthquake's rubble," he wrote, "and the government operated out of a police station, the assembled 'friends' would not commit to canceling Haiti's $1 billion debt. Instead they agreed to a 10-year plan with no details, and a commitment to meet again -- when the bodies have been buried along with coverage of the country -- sometime in the future." 62

By contrast, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and his Latin American and Caribbean allies assembled in the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) announced their opposition to America's shock doctrine. They denounced Washington's neoliberal plans, called for relief not troops and for the cancellation of Haiti's debt. Venezuela itself immediately cancelled Haiti's debt and began sending shiploads of relief offering over $100 million in humanitarian aid with no strings attached. 63

No such humanitarian motives animate the U.S., its capitalist corporations, and the international financial institutions. These vultures began circling above Haiti almost immediately. The Street, an investment Web site, published an article misleadingly entitled, "An opportunity to heal Haiti," that lays out how U.S. corporations can cash in on the catastrophe. "Here are some companies," they write, "that could potentially benefit: General Electric (GE), Caterpillar (CAT), Deere (DE), Fluor (FLR), Jacobs Engineering (JEC)." 64 The Rand Corporation's James Dobbins wrote in the New York Times, "This disaster is an opportunity to accelerate oft-delayed reforms." 65

Over the last few years, the U.S. has been trying to give a facelift to the international financial institution that it uses to impose its plans in Haiti. As Jim Lobe reports,

Last June, 1.2 billion dollars in Haiti's external debt, including that owed to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), was cancelled after the Préval government completed a three-year Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. Over half of that debt had been incurred by Haiti's dictatorships, notably the Duvalier dynasty that ruled the country from 1957 to 1986. But the cancellation covered debt incurred by Haiti only through 2004. In the last five years, the country has received new loans -- some of them to help it recover from the floods and other hurricane damage -- totaling another 1.05 billion dollars. 66

In other words, the U.S. and the financial institutions exchanged the old debts for new so-called "legitimate loans," trapping Haiti yet again in debt. Eric Toussaint and Sophie Perchellet call this "a typical odious debt-laundering maneuver." 67

In the wake of the crisis, the bankers were at Haiti's door yet again, ready, incredibly, to loan Haiti money with the usual conditions. The IMF offered Haiti a new loan of $100 million with the usual strings attached. As the Nation 's Richard Kim writes,

The new loan was made through the IMF's extended credit facility, to which Haiti already has $165 million in debt. Debt relief activists tell me that these loans came with conditions, including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage, and keeping inflation low. They say that the new loans would impose these same conditions. In other words, in the face of this latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to compel neoliberal reforms. 68

Debt cancellation activists like Jubilee pushed back against the IMF and scored a victory over it. "On Jan. 21," Lobe reports,

the World Bank announced a waiver of Haiti's pending debt payment for five years and said it would explore ways that the remaining debt could be cancelled. The IDB [Inter-American Development Bank] has said it is engaged in a similar effort and will present alternatives for reducing or canceling the debt to its board of governors. On Jan. 27, the IMF, which lacks the authority to provide outright grants, announced that it would give Haiti a 102 million-dollar loan at zero-percent interest and that would not be subject to any of the Fund's usual performance conditions. 69

The pressure even forced the U.S. to call for all new monies extended to Haiti to be in the form of grants, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for debt relief in the run up to the G-7 conference in February. 70

While activists can claim these concessions by the U.S. and the international financial institutions as victories that open up the possibility for even more progress in demanding full cancellation of Haiti's debt and all third world debt, no one should look at this situation through rose-colored glasses. The U.S. is using this promise -- and it is just a promise at this point -- to cover up its determination to implement the Collier Plan for tourism, sweatshops, and mango plantations to exploit Haiti's desperately poor workers and peasants. In fact, the U.S. does not need to use the leverage of debt to force Haiti to agree to the plan; it has secured colonial rule over the country and can impose its plans directly at gunpoint.

Resistance and solidarity
The left has a responsibility to cut through the propaganda of the Obama administration and the mainstream media. The U.S. is not engaged in humanitarian relief, but old-fashioned imperialism in Haiti. Humanitarianism has long been one of the means the U.S. uses to provide a cover story for its military actions abroad. But whether it was saving the Cuban people from Spanish brutality, sending the marines into Mogadishu in 1993 to feed starving Somalis, or overthrowing the Taliban to "liberate women," the real aims and practical results of these interventions diverged radically from their alleged noble intentions.

Humanitarian military intervention was heavily promoted in the 1990s during the latter part of the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration -- in particular during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Its purpose was to reestablish the legitimacy of U.S. military intervention in the wake of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, as part of a policy intended to erase what was known as the "Vietnam syndrome." It is being revived again in the wake of the unpopularity of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and weariness toward the "war on terror," for similar reasons. The U.S. hopes that it can re-legitimize its military as a force for good so that it can lay the groundwork for more U.S. interventions in the region and around the world.

Even if the U.S. gets away with its new plans for Haiti, it will inevitably breed resistance in the population and throughout the region where through bitter experience workers and peasants have learned to oppose U.S. designs on their countries. In Haiti, workers and peasants will find their way to organize in the countryside on the plantations, in the sweatshops, and in the shantytowns.

Already Haitian organizations have come out against the U.S. agenda. A statement issued on January 27 from the Coordinating Committee of Progressive Organizations announced:

We must declare our anger and indignation at the exploitation of the situation in Haiti to justify a new invasion by 20,000 U.S. Marines. We condemn what threatens to become a new military occupation by U.S. troops, the third in our history. It is clearly part of a strategy to remilitarize the Caribbean Basin in the context of the imperialist response to the growing rebellion of the peoples of our continent against neo-liberal globalization. And it exists also within a framework of pre-emptive warfare designed to confront the eventual social explosion of a people crushed by poverty and facing despair. We condemn the model imposed by the U.S. government and the military response to a tragic humanitarian crisis. The occupation of the Toussaint L'Ouverture international airport and other elements of the national infrastructure have deprived the Haitian people of part of the contribution made by Caricom, by Venezuela, and by some European countries. We condemn this conduct, and refuse absolutely to allow our country to become another military base. 71

The Haitian left has thus already started building opposition to the U.S. occupation and the Collier Plan. Every year since the U.S. coup in 2004, activists have marched on February 28 in Port-au-Prince against the UN occupation and to demand the end of Aristide's exile. Workers' organizations just last year protested in the thousands for an increase in the minimum wage that Préval opposed. Lavalas activists had protested before the earthquake against their exclusion from the scheduled parliamentary elections. Now amid crisis and occupation, Préval, who has proved to be a puppet for the U.S. agenda, thus losing what little political support he had, has cancelled those elections. No doubt Préval's behavior will provoke political opposition from below against his government's collaboration with the United States.
Outside Haiti, the left must build solidarity with that struggle and make several demands on the Obama administration. First, Obama must immediately end the military occupation of Haiti, and instead flood the country with doctors, nurses, food, water, and construction machinery. Second, the U.S. must also stop its enforcement of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's exile and the ban on his party, Fanmi Lavalas, from participating in elections. Haitians, not the U.S., should have the right to determine their government.

Third, the left must demand that the U.S., other countries, and international financial institutions cancel Haiti's debt, so that the aid money headed to Haiti will go to food and reconstruction, not debt repayment. More than that -- France, the U.S., and Canada, the three countries that have most interfered with Haiti's sovereignty -- should pay reparations for the damage they have done. France can start by repaying the $21 billion dollars that it extracted from Haiti from 1824 to 1947. Fourth, leftists must agitate for Obama to indefinitely extend Temporary Protected Status to Haitians in the U.S. -- and open the borders to any Haitians who flee the country. Finally, the left must direct all its funds to Haitian grass-roots organizations to provide relief and help rebuild resistance to the U.S. plan for Haiti.

Only through agitating for these demands can we stop the U.S. from imposing at gunpoint its shock doctrine for Haiti. In this struggle, the left must educate wider and wider layers of people, already suspicious of U.S. motives after Hurricane Katrina, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, that the U.S. state never engages in military actions for humanitarian motives. As the great American revolutionary journalist John Reed declared, "Uncle Sam never gives anybody something for nothing. He comes along with a sack stuffed with hay in one hand and a whip in the other. Anyone who accepts Uncle Sam's promises at their face value will find that they must be paid for in sweat and blood." 72


  1. "President Obama on U.S. rescue efforts in Haiti, www.America.gov .
  2. Bill Quigley, "Haiti: still starving 23 days later," Huffington Post, posted February 4, 2010.
  3. Soumitra Eachempati, Dean Lorich, and David Helfet, "Haiti: Obama's Katrina," Wall Street Journal , January 26, 2010.
  4. Rich Schapiro, "Rev. Pat Robertson says ancient Haitians' 'pact with the devil' caused earthquake," New York Daily News , January 13, 2010.
  5. David Brooks, "The underlying tragedy," New York Times , January 14, 2010.
  6. For an overview of the French colony and the slave revolution see Ashley Smith, "The Black Jacobins," International Socialist Review (ISR) 63, January–February 2009.
  7. Peter Hallward, Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politicsw of Containment (New York: Verso Books, 2007), 12.
  8. Quoted in Sidney Lens, The Forging of the American Empire (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2003), 270.
  9. For an overview of the history of U.S. imperialism in Haiti see Helen Scott, "Haiti under siege," ISR 35, May-June 2004.
  10. Paul Farmer, The Uses of Haiti (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), 108.
  11. Alex Dupuy, Haiti in the New World Order (New York: Westview Press, 1996), 37.
  12. For an analysis of Baby Doc's neoliberal plans see chapter 2 of Alex Dupuy, The Prophet and the Power (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007).
  13. Eric Toussaint and Sophie Perchellet, "Debt is Haiti's real curse," Socialist Worker , January 20, 2010.
  14. Regan Boychuck, "The vultures circle Haiti at every opportunity, natural or man-made," Znet, February 3, 2010.
  15. Dupuy, Haiti in the New World Order , 31.
  16. Quoted in Amy Wilentz, The Rainy Season (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 137.
  17. Quoted in Ashley Smith, "The new occupation of Haiti: Aristide's rise and fall," ISR 35, May–June, 2004.
  18. For an analysis of Lavalas after Aristide's restoration see chapter 5 of Robert Fatton, Haiti's Predatory Republic (Boulder: Lynne Reiner Publishers, 2002).
  19. For a perhaps overly generous portrait of Aristide in his second term see chapters 6 and 7 of Peter Hallward, Damming the Flood .
  20. Clara James, "Haiti free trade zone," Dollars and Sense , November/December 2002.
  21. Hallward, Damming the Flood , 155.
  22. See Bill Quigley, "Haiti human rights report," www.ijdh.org/pdf/QuigleyReport.pdf .
  23. Mo Woong, "Haiti's minimum wage battle," Caribbean News Net, August 25, 2009.
  24. See Ashley Smith "Natural and unnatural disasters," Socialist Worker , September 23, 2008.
  25. Mark Shuller, "Haiti's food riots," ISR 59, May–June 2008.
  26. Paul Collier, "Haiti: From natural catastrophe to economic security," FOCALPoint, Volume 8, Issue 2, March 2009.
  27. Quoted in Polly Pattullo, Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2005), 20.
  28. Jacqueline Charles, "Royal Caribbean boosts Haiti tourism push," Miami Herald , September 26, 2009.
  29. Collier, "Haiti from natural catastrophe to economic security."
  30. Mark Shuller, "Haiti needs new development approaches, not more of the same," Haiti Analysis , June 18, 2009.
  31. Quoted in Ashley Smith "Catastrophe in Haiti," Socialist Worker , January 14, 2010.
  32. Jacqueline Charles, "Bill Clinton on trade mission on Haiti," Miami Herald , October 1, 2009.
  33. Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
  34. Bill Quigley, "Too little too late for Haiti? Six sobering points," Huffington Post , January 15, 2010.
  35. "With foreign aid still at a trickle," Democracy Now! , January 20, 2010.
  36. Marc Lacey "The nightmare in Haiti: untreated illness and injury," New York Times , January 21, 2010.
  37. Quoted in Nick Allen "West urged to write off Haiti's $1 billion debt," Telegraph.co.uk , January 25, 2010.
  38. Mark Lander, "In show of support, Clinton goes to Haiti," New York Times , January 17, 2010.
  39. "U.S. military begins aid drops in Haiti," CBS News, January 18, 2010.
  40. Andrew Cawthorne and Catherine Bremer, "U.S., U.N. boost Haiti aid security as looters swarm," Reuters, January 19, 2010.
  41. Nelson P. Valdés, "Class and race fear: The rescue operation's priorities in Haiti," Counterpunch, January 18, 2010.
  42. Quoted in Lenora Daniels, "We are Haitians. We are like people like anybody else," Common Dreams, January 31, 2010.
  43. Sasha Kramer, "Fear slows aid efforts in Haiti: Letter from Port-au-Prince," Counterpunch, January 27, 2010.
  44. "Doctor: Misinformation and racism have slowed the recovery effort," Democracy Now! , January 19, 2010.
  45. "Chávez says U.S. occupying Haiti in name of aid," Reuters, January 17, 2010.
  46. Rory Carroll, "U.S. accused of annexing airport," Guardian (UK), January 17, 2010.
  47. Quoted in Giles Whittell, Martin Fletcher, and Jacqui Goddard, "Haiti has a leader in charge, but not in control," The Times (UK), January 19, 2010.
  48. Richard Seymour, "The humanitarian myth," Socialist Worker , January 25, 2010.
  49. "Union nurses respond to Haiti," Socialist Worker, January 27, 2010.
  50. Shaila Dewan, "U.S. suspends Haitian airlift in cost dispute," New York Times , January 30, 2010.
  51. The Al Jazeera report is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F5TwEK24sA .
  52. "The growth of aid and the decline of humanitarianism," Lancet , Volume 375, Issue 9711, January 23, 2010; 253.
  53. James C. McKinley Jr., "Vows to move fast for Haitian immigrants in the U.S.," New York Times , January 21, 2010.
  54. Richard Fausset, "U.S. to change illegal immigrants status," Los Angeles Times , January 16, 2010.
  55. "U.S. to repatriate most Haitian refugees, Washington Times , January 19, 2010.
  56. Curt Anderson, "U.S. prepares for Haitian refugees," Washington Examiner , January 19, 2010.
  57. Tom Eley, "Washington shuts door to Haitian refugees" Global Research, February 8, 2010.
  58. Jim Roberts, " Things to remember while helping Haiti ," The Foundry .
  59. Greg Grandin, "Muscling Latin America," Nation, January 21, 2010.
  60. Ibid.
  61. Nicholas Kralev, "Clinton says plan exists for Haiti," Washington Times , January 26, 2010.
  62. Gary Younge, "The West owes Haiti a big bailout," Guardian (UK), January 31, 2010.
  63. Magbana, "Venezuela cancels Haiti's debt," January 26, 2010.
  64. Quoted in Isabel McDonald, "New Haiti: Same old corporate interests," Nation, January 29, 2010.
  65. James Dobbins, "Skip the graft," New York Times , January 17, 2010.
  66. Jim Lobe, "Haiti: U.S. lawmakers call for debt cancellation," IPS, February 4, 2010.
  67. Eric Toussaint and Sophie Perchellet, "Debt is Haiti's real curse."
  68. Richard Kim, "IMF to Haiti: freeze public wages," Nation , January 15, 2010.
  69. Lobe, "Haiti: U.S. lawmakers call for debt cancellation."
  70. Ibid.
  71. Haiti After the Catastrophe, " What Are the Perspectives? Statement by the Coordinating Committee of the Progressive Organizations ."
  72. Quoted in John Riddell ed., To See the Dawn (New York: Pathfinder, 1993), 136.

[Feb 17, 2018] In Trump's 2019 Budget, Lockheed Looms Almost as Large as State Dept by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... Lockheed Martin, after all, gets nearly as much money from the US government as the State Department. CEO Marilyn Hewson is, by the reckoning of some analysts, as powerful as most US cabinet secretaries. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | news.antiwar.com
In great measure, the Pentagon runs on Lockheed Martin. The US armsmaker racked up $35.2 billion in sales to the US government last year, a preposterously large figure that positions them both as heavily reliant on the government for its profits, and gives them a level of influence unmatched.

Lockheed Martin, after all, gets nearly as much money from the US government as the State Department. CEO Marilyn Hewson is, by the reckoning of some analysts, as powerful as most US cabinet secretaries.

Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia has the gold medal quote on this – " diplomacy is out; airstrikes are in. " From the F-35 on, Lockheed is a key facilitator of airstrikes, and soaring demands for its products are leading to soaring revenue and rising profit margins.

Reports on the company brag about "juicy" shipbuilding deals, and the money pouring in from nuclear weapons upgrades. Lockheed Martin's status as a main seller of US arms and the US obsession with growing its military seem to ensure that the company will remain rich, and wildly influential, for years to come.

[Feb 17, 2018] Former CIA Chief Admits US Meddling In Foreign Elections For Their Own Good

Notable quotes:
"... How about Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa? Fuck Allen Dulles, Mike Pompeo, and everybody in-between! ..."
"... BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work. ..."
"... Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands. ..."
"... You can always spot a psychopathic liar by their predisposition to smile or laugh at questions that are not humorous. Laura Ingraham is a neocon mouth-peice for the establishment. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Former CIA chief James Woolsey appeared on Fox News to push the narrative of how dastardly 'dem Russkies' are in their meddling with the sacred soul of America's democracy.

Woolsey did his patriotic deep-state-duty and proclaimed the evils of "expansionist Russia" and dropped 'facts' like "Russia has a larger cyber-army than its standing army," before he moved on to China and its existential threats.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SpWai3kZ-gM

But then, beginning at around 4:30 , the real debacle of the conversation begins as Ingraham asks Woolsey,

"Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?"

Hes responds, surprisingly frankly...

"Oh probably... but it was for the good of the system..."

To which Ingraham follows up...

"We don't do that now though? We don't mess around in other people's elections?"

Prompting this extraordinary sentence from a former CIA chief...

"Well...hhhmmm, numm numm numm numm... only for a very good cause...in the interests of democracy"

So just to clarify - yes, the CIA chief admitted that Democracy-spreading 'Murica meddled in the Democratic elections of other nations "in the interests of democracy."

In case you wondered which ones he was referring to, here's a brief selection since 1948...

2016: UK (verbal intervention against Brexit)
2014: Afghanistan (effectively re-writing Afghan constitution)
2014: UK (verbal intervention against Scottish independence)
2011: Libya (providing support to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi)
2009: Honduras (ousting President Zelaya)
2006: Palestine (providing support to oust Prime Minister Haniyeh)
2005: Syria (providing support against President al-Assad)
2003: Iran (providing support against President Khatami)-
2003: Iraq (ousting of President Hussein)
2002: Venezuela (providing support to attempt an overthrow of President Chavez)
1999: Yugoslavia (removing Yugoslav forces from Kosovo)
1994: Iraq (attempted overthrow of President Hussein)
1991: Haiti (ousting President Aristide)
1991: Kuwait (removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait)
1989: Panama (ousting General Noriega)
1983: Grenada (ousting General Austin's Marxist forces)
1982: Nicaragua (providing support
1971: Chile (ousting President Allende)
1967: Indonesia (ousting President Sukarno)
1964: Brazil (ousting President Goulart)
1964: Chile (providing support against Salvador Allende)
1961: Congo (assassination of leader Lumumba)
1958: Lebanon (providing support to Christian political parties)
1954: Guatemala (ousting President Arbenz)
1953: Iran (ousting Prime Minister Mossadegh)
1953: Philippines (providing support to the President Magsaysay campaign)
1948: Italy (providing support to the Christian Democrats campaign)

(h/t @Yogi_Chan)


gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:18 Permalink

What?? No Ukrania ???

Stan522 -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:23 Permalink

obama sent in operatives into Israel to mess with Bibi....... They missed that one too....

skbull44 -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

It's always for the children...

https://olduvai.ca

TBT or not TBT -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Yeah, a little bit for the children, but primarily it's for the stockholders and upper management, with some serious trickle down to their children.

Looney -> TBT or not TBT Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

How about Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa? Fuck Allen Dulles, Mike Pompeo, and everybody in-between!

Looney

Mango327 -> manofthenorth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:01 Permalink

This Russia bullshit has gotta stop. For the love of God, it's been like two and a a half years now. If Vladimir Putin was as twice as evil as we're told, he still wouldn't be half as evil as the Clintons are on any given Thursday.

MUELLER IS A JOKE, ABOLISH the F.B.I.

https://youtu.be/wC_Ro80LlhE

SoilMyselfRotten -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

Democracy? Annnnnnnd it's gone! No wonder the rest of the world thinks we've collectively lost our minds. BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work.

marysimmons -> SoilMyselfRotten Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:16 Permalink

Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands.

The whole purpose of the Mueller indictment was to give the mainstream outlets something to report so idiot Americans will believe the crap put out about Russia since the Winter Olympics in Sochi and set the tone to justify a military conflict with Russia that won't end well for anyone, IMO

veritas semper -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:40 Permalink

And Victoria Nuland Kagan is now Senior Adviser in the Donald's Department of Defense. See, kids, how the swamp is drained?

New_Meat -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

mary, just a touch catty tonight, don't cha' think?

Zio-Nazi? How dat work?

Whole purpose of the Mueller indictments is to give the folks a show to prove that their money hasn't been wasted on a Trump collusion charge for collusion that started in 2014 when Trump was prolly out schlongin' some playmate or other..

TheSilentMajority -> Looney Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

They didu sumtin.

Deep Snorkeler -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:38 Permalink

America plays political-economic pranks on the rest of the world for the good of the system. It's worked out well.

Dumpster Elite -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

I kinda wondered why they missed that one, too. I've seen that list on here before. I guess messing with Israel's elections doesn't fit the ZH narrative?

Justin Case -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:36 Permalink

That anchor sounds like she would be a good candidate for a gender change, meat stick and tea bag.

Vilfredo Pareto -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:00 Permalink

They missed post war Greece too, Albania, and a ton of others.

Bastiat -> Vilfredo Pareto Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:18 Permalink

. . . and Australia: watch The Falcon and the Snowman, if you haven't.

TheSilentMajority -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:51 Permalink

Rothschilds at it again?

keep the basta -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:53 Permalink

No Australia? Whitlam dismissal 11/11/1975 even wiki lists it

dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink

The US is working hard to make banana republics look respectable

TBT or not TBT -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

We're The Most Interesting Banana Republic In The World.

Justin Case -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:45 Permalink

to make banana republics look respectable

Not like a shit hole?

Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink

I generally can't stand Laura, but that was a spot on question. America is the quintessential "do as I say and not as I do" government.

chunga -> Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:33 Permalink

Among the many things sorely lacking in uncle sam is simple humility.

rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Woolsey is an evil man. I doubt if he really believes. that the murders and tortures he presided over were for "their own good".

Ms No -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:55 Permalink

No way he believes it. One thing about people who lack human empathy is that they would NEVER fall for the same tricks that the empathy having population does. They will always see the angle. It's what their brain is devoted to. All the capacity that we use to be reflective, emotional or caring all goes to angling for advantage with them. He knows exactly why people are tortured and couldn't give a shit less. You are either shark or mutilated gold fish as far as he is concerned.

New_Meat -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:51 Permalink

Woolsey is an evil man, for a certainty. But, au contraire, I bet he does believe it is for their own good. Whoever "they" are that he's doin' shit to. Like the Jesuits in Andalusia, purging the non-believers.

- Ned

dizzyfingers Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

This repeats our own terrible history: Tom Landess on "The Dark Side of Abraham Lincoln," and the week in review at the Abbeville Institute.

serotonindumptruck Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

You can always spot a psychopathic liar by their predisposition to smile or laugh at questions that are not humorous. Laura Ingraham is a neocon mouth-peice for the establishment.

Dumpster Elite Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

It really would be a new dawn for this country if the entire Deep State were outed, and publicly executed. I know that sounds like tinfoil hat talk, but hey, I'm sure the NSA is all over me right about now. Too bad they can't seem to find serial killers that say they're going to shoot up a school online. Too busy trying to shut up those that don't like the Deep State.

Ms No Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:50 Permalink

They have always done this and every single other accusation that they have levied against other "tyrants". The crazy train continues to pick up speed.

OT: Wales may have had a fracking quake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM4Wcqe6s_s

This is pretty funny. "Footage" of quake. Fracking quakes usually are not that big but it did drop masonry off of buildings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEI4cSd4B38

Paracelsus Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

Ummm, Fidel Castro, Cuba, 1962 ? Leading up to Dallas? Which led to LBJ and ramp up of Indochina. If you look closely you will see that there was a huge little war going on in Laos, lots of bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail from fighter bombers based in Thailand.

Also, Australia. The 1972 Whitlam dismissal was a bloodless coup d'état. Whitlam recognized North Vietnam which pissed off a bunch of people in Langley. The pilots were on strike and they couldn't fly parts and crew into Alice Springs (Pine Gap Satellite facility). The Aussies have long memories and it will be a cold day in hell before they trust the Yanks like before. This is a country with a strong sense of injustice. The Aussies still talk about the "bodyline" cricket scandal with the Brits, and that happened in the 1930's....

[Feb 17, 2018] Iran is already being attacked from West and East in the North

Feb 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: ninel | Feb 11, 2018 3:59:15 PM

Here is an interesting article that points to the new American strategy with respect to Iran and central Asia. Iran is already being attacked from West and East in the North. And central Asia is next. This might force Iran to pull back some forces from Syria and Iraq.

No end to the wars.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/06/us-isis-nexus-afghanistan-becomes-hot-topic.html

[Feb 17, 2018] What s good for the Jews Stephen Miller by Marcus Alethia

Notable quotes:
"... Culture of Critique ..."
"... The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Young right-leaning Jews don't have many Jewish figures to look up to. Illustrious elder scholar and "alt right godfather" Paul Gottfried . Taki columnist and revisionist David Cole Stein . Brilliant neo-reactionary thinker and half-Jew Curtis Yarvin ( Mencius Moldbug ).

But thankfully we now have Stephen Miller, the 32-year old Trump advisor and immigration hard-liner recently blamed by Democratic senators for scuttling their desired amnesty deal for illegal immigrants. Transparently, the Dems are trying to spoil Trump's relationship with Miller, as they did with Bannon, by insinuating that Miller is pulling Trump's strings. Of course it is absurd to suggest that Trump is anything but his own man. But Miller is a crucially important figure in the Trump administration and his influence is, from what I can tell, entirely positive for the interest of Americans concerned with mass immigration and the very tangible threat of Europeans and people of European descent becoming minorities in their own countries.

Jews, and Americans overall, need more Stephen Millers. Brash, unafraid, quick-witted, verbally formidable, and unabashedly "America First," Miller is a powerful spokesman for economic nationalist positions , anti-globalism , and for preserving this country's original culture and people against the Democratic scheme to flood it with illegal and legal immigrants whose main gift to America will be their reliable Democratic votes in every future election. Miller is roundly despised by the establishment for his positions and rhetoric. Nancy Pelosi has called Miller a "White supremacist," while others on the left have compared him to Joseph Goebbels . He's the only Jew I can think of offhand that the mainstream media actively encourages the country to hate.

But we Jews should be honest: for every mensch like Miller, we have shmucks like Tim Wise , Noel Ignativ , Rob Reiner , Charles Schumer, and thousands of other high-profile Jews who seem to hate or fear White Christian Americans and seek to hasten their demise as the ethnic majority of this country. Yes, we Jews have Miller, but we also have the ADL and the SPLC -- powerful well-funded groups who conduct witch hunts against anyone who dares speak out against multiculturalism, open-borders, globalist doctrine, or who dares to criticize Jews. Jewish political influence in the US is still overwhelmingly negative, despite the great work of a few good Jews.

As an American (first) and Jew (second) who supports Trump and Trumpism, the European New Right, and anyone concerned with the long-term impacts of mass immigration, I want to see more Jews, particularly younger, Generation Z Jews move to our ideological side. I have tried to explore my own motivations for this. Why do I find myself so far to the Right on the issue of immigration and of protecting European cultures and peoples? Why do I hope other Jews follow me on this ideological journey? And there is growing indication they are.

First of all, it has nothing to do with being "self-hating", a common but largely asinine Jewish slur used against Jews who step out of line. I neither hate myself or Jews collectively. Like many non-Jewish critics of Jews, I just want Jews to stop attacking Europeans and their descendants in their former colonies by pushing destructive ideologies and policies.

Secondly, I agree with the major criticism of Jews and certainly of Jewish activists: that they seek to do what they think is good for Jews, while hiding their ethnocentrism by pretending their interests are universalist. Self-interest is often disguised as "tikun olam," bringing light to the world.

Most importantly, accepting some of the recent critique of the JQ, or the Jewish role in the West's current situation -- without thinking the situation is simple, monocausal, or part of a grand conspiracy, I view it as important to think about what Jews can do positively in the current year.

It seems clear that ethnic Jewish activists in the 20 th century had a conscious or subconscious fear of European Christians maintaining their ethnic or cultural identities, and this manifested itself in the various movements MacDonald brilliantly analyzes in the Culture of Critique : the anthropology of race, psychoanalysis, communism, the Frankfort School and Cultural Marxism. When Jewish activists pushed through immigration reform in the US, the effects were absolutely transformative. Jews largely achieved their goals, or maybe even surpassed them. Now, more than 50 years later, we can re-examine the question: was this actually good for the Jews?

To me the answer to this question is a resounding NO. To look at just one simple factor: the people pouring into the US in recent years are no more Jew-friendly then the White Americans who made up almost 90% of the county in 1960 were. In fact, they are likely to be considerably less Jew friendly. Mexicans have no special relationship with Jews or with Israel. Neither do Somalis, or Syrians, or Afghans, or MS-13. Identity-politics obsessed leftist college activists have already made it quite clear that Jews who side against them are to be viewed as White s -- their Jewishness will not protect them. This trend will continue, and Jews will become Whites in the eyes of the many people who hate Whites. However different things may have looked to our parents' or grandparents' generation, there is no tangible benefit today to ordinary American Jews today from the importation of quarter of Mexico's population, or to ordinary French Jews from a million new Muslims. To think otherwise is to deny reality.

A main motivation for Jewish activism on immigration and other related issues was Jewish fear of being a major outgroup in American society. Perhaps these fears may have seemed real in the wake of the Second World War, or perhaps even then they were delusional. Today, they seem absurd. Maybe it is a generational thing, or maybe my Jewish identification is too weak, or maybe it was the context I grew up in; but I just can't understand American Jews having feelings of fear or hostility towards White Christian Americans in general. I grew up around White Christians; work with them; live amongst them; and count many as friends, neighbors, colleagues or teachers. Jewish neurosis or not, a generalized Jewish fear of American Whites is, in my view, insane. Granted, things could change in the future if we reach such a desperate state that American Whites begin to focus on some of the negative influence Jews have had in changing their society, and collectively determine to do something about it. But flooding the country with immigrants doesn't lessen the possibility that will happen. Quite the opposite, it increases it.

Given that, what is really best for the Jews? As American Whites slowly begin to wake up to the reality of their own ethnic interests, what kind of Jews do we want as our representatives in the public sphere: Stephen Miller or Charles Schumer?

From my point of view, what is "best for the Jews" is to realize that while Jewish elites have been pushing a corrosive and destructive agenda for 50 years or more, the rest of us are under no obligation to support it. Being Jewish doesn't mean one has to be a leftist or multiculturalist booster, or work to disenfranchise White majorities in traditionally White countries. Stephen Miller is proof of that.

But there is another response to the question "what is good for the Jews?" that is also worth serious consideration by American Jews. The response is: who cares? Seriously, look at the current state of Jews in America. Jews have an extremely disproportionate share of control over the media, entertainment industry, banking and financial sector, law, medicine, academia, and important policy-making institutions. Jews are the wealthiest ethnic group in the country. I don't allege any conspiracy here. Jews' tendency to position ourselves close to power is well described in Benjamin Ginsberg's The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State. Jews have high IQs and are excellent verbalists, and obviously Jewish nepotism exists as well. While I abhor the contemporary politicized notion of "privilege" that minority groups use to cover up their lack of rational argument, it would be dishonest to not admit that if there is a privileged ethnic group in the US today, that group is not Whites as a whole, but Jews.

It is impossible to look at the situation objectively and not see that generally things have been going very well for American Jews, and certainly for Jewish elites, for some time. There is thus no reason to spend time and energy thinking about what is good for the Jews. Even if things do go wildly wrong for diaspora Jews in the future, we have a viable ethnostate that we know will take us in; a luxury few other peoples in the world possess.

There are abundant reasons however to worry about the welfare of Europeans and people of European descent. The migration crisis in Europe and the reality of looming major demographic increases in Africa and the Middle East that could drive much larger waves of migrants are rapidly creating a potential future in which entire peoples could become minorities in their own countries. In the US, demographic changes due to migration and considerably higher fertility rates among immigrants will alter the country permanently unless drastic changes to immigration policies are made. Jews need to focus our "tikun olam" on the moral necessity of protecting ethnic homelands and cultures in Europe, and the neo-Europes. In Stephen Miller we see a Jew who seems to understand what needs to be done. There is no reason other American Jews can't follow his lead.

In my view, in 2018 what's good for the Jews is for us to stop thinking about what's good for the Jews and start thinking about the right to self-determination and survival for the people we live amongst: the people who have facilitated the most stunning successes of our tribe's history in diaspora to date, Americans, Europeans, and people of European descent. (Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)

[Feb 17, 2018] The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power by George Beebe

Notable quotes:
"... From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role. ..."
"... Note: this article is part of a ..."
"... included in the March/April 2018 issue of the ..."
"... George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest's intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union. ..."
Feb 13, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role. Tweet Share Share March-April 2018 Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

FEW QUESTIONS have greater import for the health and integrity of any republic than the question of whether important parts of its government's national-security apparatus are abusing their power for political purposes. This is particularly true in the United States, where the departments and agencies known collectively as the Intelligence Community (IC) have grown so large and capable, where faith in the integrity of our democratic institutions is so vital to the effective functioning of our system, and where suspicions about secret police and intelligence organizations are baked so deeply into our country's political culture.

The United States has faced this question several times in its recent history. The Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations all used -- or attempted to use -- the FBI and CIA to gather intelligence on U.S. citizens they suspected of collaboration with communist agents, with too little regard for statutory regulations and prohibitions of such practices, and too great a tendency to view their political enemies as national-security threats. Lyndon B. Johnson believed, without much justification, that the CIA had conspired against him at the 1960 Democratic convention to ensure that John F. Kennedy won the presidential nomination. Richard Nixon was equally convinced that the CIA had helped to swing the subsequent presidential election to Kennedy. These misperceptions barely surfaced in public at the time and did little to shake voters' faith in the outcome of the election, but they had significant implications for the working relationships of both Johnson and Nixon with the CIA once in office. Johnson's suspicions probably increased his inclination to side with the Defense Department's optimistic assessments of the Vietnam War over the CIA's more pessimistic -- and, in retrospect, more accurate -- analyses. Nixon's suspicions fueled his determination to build a small intelligence-gathering and covert-action group within the White House, which ultimately led to the Watergate break-in and cover-up that destroyed his presidency.

Investigations in the 1970s into various IC abuses, including efforts to collect intelligence on the political activities of U.S. citizens, led to the creation of specially designated congressional oversight committees -- the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- with the power and authorization to ensure that the CIA, NSA, FBI, and other IC bodies conduct their activities strictly within the bounds of law. The investigations also resulted in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, which imposed strict limits on the government's ability to surveil the communications and activities of U.S. persons, requiring warrants issued by a special FISA court based on probable cause to believe that the target is a foreign power or its agent. The act established "minimization" requirements for disclosing the identities of U.S. persons being surveilled, allowing for "unmasking" -- that is, revealing their names to authorized government officials -- only when there is strong reason to believe they have committed a crime or when their identities are necessary to understand the intelligence information.

The now-infamous Iraq WMD estimate of 2002 raised questions of the political misuse of intelligence in a different form. Seldom had intelligence figured more prominently in the public justifications for a decision to go to war, and seldom had it been proven more spectacularly wrong in retrospect. Years of efforts by the CIA to increase its relevance had paid off in an unprecedentedly close relationship to the White House, but its unique ability to provide policymakers with the skepticism of a disinterested party suffered. The reorganization and reform of the IC mandated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005 were designed less to prevent political abuses of intelligence than to make the IC less prone to such consequential errors. This required something new of intelligence overseers: not only to ensure that IC activities remained within the bounds of law, but also to encourage qualitative improvements to its analytic rigor, information sharing and collaboration.

In principle, no one disputes that intelligence operations should be conducted strictly within the bounds of law, and that intelligence and law-enforcement professionals should be guided solely by evidence and analytic rigor in producing their assessments. Human nature being what it is, however, two temptations will be a never-ending challenge: for the IC, to please its White House masters, and for the presidency, to conflate its political enemies with those of the country as a whole. Aspects of both these temptations are evident in the controversies over the 2016 presidential election.

The use of the IC's vast capabilities to gather intelligence on opposition political campaigns should occur only in the rarest of circumstances, justified by solid evidence of treasonous activities warranted by the FISA court. The so-called Steele dossier, a piece of Clinton-funded opposition research gathered from London through unsecure communications with unnamed contacts in Russia, does not meet that standard of evidence. If, as is alleged but not proven, the FBI relied on this unverified document to justify a FISA warrant for collecting intelligence on Trump campaign officials, then the Obama administration crossed an important ethical, though probably not legal, line. Is there a deep state in the United States? Yes, if that means that important parts of our national-security apparatus have the capability, albeit not the legal authority, to abuse intelligence to alter the outcomes of national elections or distort public-policy debates. But we have processes in place to minimize this danger if the oversight provisions established by our laws are properly implemented and our independent media play their informal oversight role effectively. The IC, Congress, judiciary and media all appear to have fallen short of the standards our country should expect.

George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest's intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union.


Alistar , February 14, 2018 9:00 AM

Mr. Beebe, crossed an ethical but probably not legal line??? Really, appalling. FBI/DOJ operatives using the national level intel services to spy against a political opponent? Corruption, deception, lying to judges? Then there's this little aspect of a "cover up." Remember Nixon and Watergate, the break in was small potatoes, it was the lying and cover up that cost Nixon the Presidency. These two questions MUST be asked: What did they know and when did they know it??? Lynch, Holder, Brennan, Comey, Panetta, Biden and especially Obama. The truth will come out, eventually.

Irakli Bokuchava , February 15, 2018 9:12 AM

CIA and Intelligence community in common are parts of the American political system;their successful functioning is basis of success and victory of the USA as civil country;its alpha and omega of practical politics!

enoch arden , February 14, 2018 9:33 AM

The American so-called "Intel community" is a very peculiar phenomenon. Including this very term. Any intelligence agency is a military organisation with a very strict discipline directly subordinated to the commander in chief. Its activity is strictly secret and the commander in chief is the only recipient of the intelligence they acquire.

The Chinese book of military strategy "Sun Tzu" says that if the information of an agent became known to anyone before it was reported to the superior commander, both the agent and the recipient must be executed: the former for his loose tongue, the latter for his inappropriate curiocity. This implies that a particular branch of the intelligence service cannot distribute the information even to the adjacent branches, leaving alone the media.

In the US these rules seems to be entirely foreign. The intelligence officers actively discuss everything both with each other and with the media so that the commander in chief is often the last receiving the information. In a normal country this behaviour would have been stopped by executing the first 100 caught in leaking. The rest would learn the lesson.

TrumpUup💪🏻 enoch arden , February 14, 2018 6:04 PM

I agree but i would say these people are obviously Obama lovers... We both know the realities of today wouldn't allow for executions but it would stop ot and i do agree... The only answer is smaller government but it's to late for that..

sr37212 , February 14, 2018 9:26 AM

I guess we should just ignore the Dulles boys and their using the government to advance their own worth by overthrowing governments.

Schlesinger's Zenith ElPrimero , February 14, 2018 6:02 AM

Another worthless article - how can you mention the Deep State and Nixon and not mention the mighty James Schlesinger and the Family Jewels? I think the Master Old Boy talked about peak oil in his later years too - nah, no such thing as the Limits to Growth eh boys?

Arkansas Traveler Schlesinger's Zenith ElPrimero , February 14, 2018 10:30 AM

The difference is that at one time, the deep state was on the side of the United States

[Feb 17, 2018] The Deep State Is No Supervillain by Michael Lind

Notable quotes:
"... Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author, with Robert D. Atkinson, of ..."
"... (MIT Press, March 2018). ..."
"... The rise of the power elite has long been a serious problem in many Western societies, but trying to forcibly overthrow it will only create a new and potentially more dangerous elite in turn. ..."
"... Information is the key to winning any war between the people and the elite ..."
"... Would have been nice to mention that all this was possible post-1991 because there was no longer a peer competitor to the US, and thus Western business elite no longer was constrained to be allied with Western workers. Since 2014, that has all changed. There are now two near-peer competitors to the US. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Political scientists often divide explanations of democratic politics in the United States and similar nations among theories of pluralism, state autonomy and elitism. The pluralist theory holds that the American elite, like the population, is divided among competing centers of power and authority with different values and interests. The state-autonomy theory holds that government agencies and military and intelligence organizations are independent actors in politics. The elitist theory holds that in most democracies most of the time, no matter how many political parties there may be, there is a dominant elite, which includes most of the leaders of politics, the economy and civil society and shares a broad consensus.

... ... ...

In my view, the elitist approach best explains the Trump phenomenon, along with contemporary populism on both sides of the Atlantic. Since the end of the Cold War, highly homogeneous social elites in North America and Europe have liberated themselves from the constraints of the institutions that restrained them between 1945 and 1989 -- institutions including strong labor unions, grassroots political parties and, in the United States, a distinct Southern oligarchy that by now has largely lost its identity and power and has been absorbed into the national ruling class.

Elites in the United States, Britain, Germany and other Western nations under post–Cold War leadership have deliberately weakened the bargaining power of workers in their nations by a combination of austerity-induced unemployment, offshoring, permitting Western-controlled corporations to play nation-states against one another and mass low-skilled immigration, creating a low-wage "reserve army of labor" in Western countries.

While restructuring the global economy to crush organized labor, transatlantic elites have simultaneously restructured government to minimize democratic accountability, by shifting decisionmaking from legislatures to executive and judicial agencies within the nation-state, and by enabling treaties and transnational agencies like the European Union, which are more insulated from voters, to replace or modify national statutory law. In both of the cases of anti-worker economic restructuring and de-democratization, American and European oligarchs have claimed that a mysterious, unstoppable force called "globalization" compelled them to do what they wanted to do anyway. This post–Cold War oligarchic revolution from above might be described as a conspiracy, but it is not a secret conspiracy perpetrated by the deep state. It was a program carried out in broad daylight by Bill Clinton and George Bush, Tony Blair and centrist European leaders. And it succeeded in its two goals of weakening the economic leverage and political power of the working-class majorities in the United States, the UK and other Western nations.

The populist rebellions of the second decade of the twenty-first century, which have been led by right-wing tribunes like Trump or left-wing demagogues like Sanders and Corbyn, can only be understood as a long-delayed reaction by populations to the replacement of the cross-class compromises of the post–World War II period by untrammeled oligarchy. America's newly empowered ruling class has closed ranks against Trump, but it would also close ranks against any other outsider president who challenged its post–Cold War dominance of American society, including Bernie Sanders. Deep divide? Yes. Deep state? No.

Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author, with Robert D. Atkinson, of Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business (MIT Press, March 2018).


Uniters.org Centrist EIC , February 13, 2018 7:36 AM

A bizarre misreading of history, though good points are made as well.

This is a classic example of a dishonest person analyzing something they disagree with, and instead of sticking to reality, they build a straw man bugaboo to assign blame to, and make their side into a victim:

"deliberately weakened the bargaining power of workers in their nations by a combination of austerity-induced unemployment, offshoring, permitting Western-controlled corporations to play nation-states against one another and mass low-skilled immigration, creating a low-wage "reserve army of labor" in Western countries"

He pretends that he isn't calling it a conspiracy, but that is exactly what he's doing, and some have done what he describes, but where he willfully jumps off the cliff of dishonesty is in claiming to know why ("deliberately") these actions were taken by so many people, over such a long period of time.

That's an obvious lie. Unless Mr. Lind is Professor X, using science fiction psychic magnifying machines to read thousands of minds, both past and present, there is no way anyone could honestly make that claim.

His use of conspiracy theory makes it doubly interesting in how he deconstructs the conspiracy theory many on the right are pushing about the 'deep state'.

Turn that skeptic's lens back on yourself, Mr. Lind.

R. Arandas , February 13, 2018 3:57 PM

The rise of the power elite has long been a serious problem in many Western societies, but trying to forcibly overthrow it will only create a new and potentially more dangerous elite in turn.

Information is the key to winning any war between the people and the elite.

Curt , February 13, 2018 1:59 PM

Would have been nice to mention that all this was possible post-1991 because there was no longer a peer competitor to the US, and thus Western business elite no longer was constrained to be allied with Western workers. Since 2014, that has all changed. There are now two near-peer competitors to the US.

[Feb 16, 2018] The Deep Staters care first and foremost about themselves.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Putin is evil, Putin kills, Putin steals, bla bla bla!!! Putin is only guilty for not being America's vassal. The Russia bashing in MSM will cease by miracle if it becomes America's client state. Putin and Russia are presumed guilty of everything bad that happens in the world. ..."
"... No evidence is needed, high confidence is enough!! It is almost funny that a country like USA which has a long records of meedling and intervention in others countries internal affairs worlwide, now is losing reason about alleged russia meedling. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

andrewp111 Guest , February 13, 2018 7:21 AM

For a very simple reason. The Deep Staters care first and foremost about themselves. They wanted Hillary to win, badly, but were not willing to risk too much for her. James Comey in particular cares about James Comey. Remember, this is a guy who views himself as a historical Religious Figure. He wanted to be able to serve out a full 10 year term. He wanted to please his Democratic masters enough to avoid being fired by either Obama or Clinton, but not too much to gain excessive ire from Congress. He was afraid that a Republican Congress under a future Clinton Administration would go after him tooth and nail if he "concealed" new evidence against Clinton prior to the election - especially since he promised the Congress that he would inform them of new developments. And Comey probably feared the worst as to what was in Wiener's email archive. When they finally went through that archive, and failed to find much that was new, he must have breathed a sigh of relief - only to see the wrong person win the election.

Tracy Crawford , February 13, 2018 8:21 PM

The political system in the US is a near complete failure. On one hand the massive levels of corruption legalized in Citizen's United give influence over political decisions to wealthy elites previously unseen outside of the deeply corrupted and criminal Russian oligarchy. On the other hand and synergistic with the previous point, the least informed and most easily influenced of people have votes equal in weight to highly informed, well-educated, expert and professional practitioners.

Rights guaranteed by a difficult-to-alter constitution combined with easily managed and easily created social media content based on opaque sources of emotionally charged, unverified and unverifiable information have gained control over public opinion (making alteration of our constitution even more difficult.)

And look at the fourth (Reagan, Bush, Bush, Trump) wave of Republican explosion of national debt under the banner of "fiscal responsibility."

It is astounding how "A" can be so successfully marketed as "B."

I am afraid that once control of public opinion has been so successfully attained in our form of democracy/legalized-corruption that there is no way to recover.

It is a sad state of affairs. I'd love to hear solutions.

Kurt Gayle , February 13, 2018 2:03 PM

An excellent description of the recent activities of the Deep State, Mr. Merry.

Thank you.

The trolls will now come after you full-bore.

WillDippel , February 12, 2018 9:08 PM

As shown in this article, Washington is completely ignoring the one issue of its own making that could create global chaos:

https://viableopposition.bl...

Washington's anti-Russia program is simply a distraction from its real problems.

Anti-Empire , February 14, 2018 12:48 PM

Great piece by Merry. Not new, but worthy of repetition when presented clearly like this.
It does not matter what you call it, Deep State or something else. What Merry says about the threat it poses to what remnants of democracy we have is true.
I prefer to call it the Imperial State since its highest priority is the US Empire, with domestic well-being simply an afterthought or of no cosequence at all.

Jamie , February 14, 2018 12:12 PM

"Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,"

- Cryin' Chuck Schumer

Steve JimmyD , February 14, 2018 1:29 PM

There is only ONE country that consistently "messes" in the politics of nearly every other country on the planet and that is not Russia.

It is the USA Deep State. I challenge you to research the evidence, "hidden in plain sight", of these examples:

1) US money that flowed into France and Italy elections after WW2;

2) overthrow of Greece elected pres in 1974 by US-friendly generals;

3) overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile 1973;

4) overthrow of Iran Mossadegh in 1953;

5) overthrow of neutral govt in Indonesia in early '60s;

6) the massive money that flowed into Russia in 1996 to get Yeltsin re-elected;

7) the money and attention US put into overthrowing legally elected govt in Ukraine in 2014.

That is just a VERY short list.

NO OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH HAS MAINTAINED THIS FRANTIC PACE OF MASSIVE INTERVENTIONS/MEDDLING/BRIBING/OVERTHROWING/BOMBING/INVADING/DEATH-SQUADing FOREIGN POLITICAL SYSTEMS FOR 70 YEARS LIKE YOUR "GOOD OLE USA", powered by it's un-elected Deep State.

kelly bako JimmyD , February 13, 2018 7:27 PM

Putin is evil, Putin kills, Putin steals, bla bla bla!!! Putin is only guilty for not being America's vassal. The Russia bashing in MSM will cease by miracle if it becomes America's client state. Putin and Russia are presumed guilty of everything bad that happens in the world.

No evidence is needed, high confidence is enough!! It is almost funny that a country like USA which has a long records of meedling and intervention in others countries internal affairs worlwide, now is losing reason about alleged russia meedling.

A troll, from Saint Petersburg.

Tracy Crawford kelly bako , February 13, 2018 10:50 PM

You're right, Kelly, about some of your points. Evil: check. Kill: check. Steal: check. Co-opting the largest per capita criminal network in the world: check.

kelly bako Tracy Crawford , February 14, 2018 2:01 AM

He forced Americans to vote trump to undermine your democracy : check

[Feb 16, 2018] The Deep State Is Very Real by Robert W. Merry

Notable quotes:
"... Note: this article is part of a ..."
"... included in the March/April 2018 issue of the ..."
"... Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is editor of ..."
"... . He is the author most recently of ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

February 12, 2018

Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

OF COURSE there's a Deep State. Why wouldn't there be? Even a cursory understanding of human nature tells us that power corrupts, as Lord Acton put it; that, when power is concentrated and entrenched, it will be abused; that, when it is concentrated and entrenched in secrecy, it will be abused in secret. That's the Deep State. James Burnham saw it coming. The American philosopher and political theorist (1905–87), first a Trotskyist, then a leading conservative intellectual, wrote in 1941 that the great political development of the age was not the battle between communism and capitalism. Rather, it was the rise of a new "managerial" class gaining dominance in business, finance, organized labor and government. This gathering managerial revolution, as he called it, would be resisted, but it would be impervious to adversarial counteractions. As the managerial elites gained more and more power, exercised often in subtle and stealthy ways, they would exercise that power to embed themselves further into the folds of American society and to protect themselves from those who might want to bust them up.

Nowhere is this managerial elite more entrenched, more powerful and more shrouded in secrecy than in what Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, augmented by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. That's where America's relentless drive for global hegemony meshes with defense manufacturers only too willing to provide the tools of dominance.

Now we have not only a standing army, with hundreds of thousands of troops at the ready, as in Cold War days. We have also permanent wars, nine of them in progress at the moment and not one with what could even remotely be called proper congressional approval. That's how power gets entrenched, how the managerial revolution gains ever greater force and how the Deep State endures.

Few in the general public know what really happened with regard to the allegations of Trump campaign "collusion" with Russia, or how the investigation into those troubling allegations emerged. But we know enough to know we have seen the Deep State in action.

We know that U.S. agencies released an "Intelligence Community Assessment" saying that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of embarrassing Democratic emails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency. But we also know that it wasn't really a National Intelligence Assessment (a term of art denoting a particular process of expansive intelligence analysis) but rather the work of a controlled task force. As Scott Ritter, the former Marine intelligence officer and arms-control official, put it , "This deliberate misrepresentation of the organizational bona fides of the Russia NIA casts a shadow over the viability of the analysis used to underpin the assessments and judgments contained within." Besides, the document was long on assertion and short on evidence. Even the New York Times initially derided the report as lacking any "hard evidence" and amounting "essentially . . . to 'trust us.'"

We have substantial reason to believe that an unconfirmed salacious report on Trump, paid for by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign (with the FBI eventually getting hold of it), was used in an effort to get a secret national-security warrant so the government could spy on the Trump campaign. We know that the FBI went easy on Clinton in its investigation of her irresponsible email practices, and then we find out that a top FBI official involved in both the Clinton and Trump/Russia investigations despised Trump, liked Hillary and expressed an interest in doing what he could to thwart Trump's emergence. We know he privately told his lover that, while he didn't think Trump could win, he nevertheless felt a need for an "insurance policy" because "I'm afraid we can't take that risk." We know these matters were discussed in the office of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

We know further that former FBI director James Comey used a cutout to leak to the press a rendition of an Oval Office conversation with the president that could be interpreted adversely to Trump. We know he did this to set in motion the appointment of an independent investigator, a potentially mortal threat to any president -- and perhaps particularly to this freewheeling billionaire developer.

Perhaps most significant, we know that all this had the effect of wrenching from the president the flexibility to pursue a policy agenda on which he had campaigned -- and which presumably contributed to his election. That was his promise to work toward improved relations between the United States and Russia. Prospects for such a diplomatic initiative now are as dead as the dodo bird. Trump lost that one. The Deep State won.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . He is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century .


grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 8:07 AM

I don't believe there is a secret 'deep state' controlling the USA from the shadows like some Bond villian.

What people call the deep state is in fact the interests of the business elite who have been granted nearly unprecedented political influence by the American people in the form or nearly unlimited campaign contributions to politicians who promote their interests, unregulated lobbying, control of the MSM and the funding of think tanks and other institutions that promote their interests.

When historians look back at this time it will be Madison Avenue and the revolution in persuasion that they study.

Paul Cressman grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 6:20 PM

1934 Major General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corp, was asked by US Industrialists to help them overthrow the government. Roosevelt was to remain as the figurehead of the US but the industrialists would be in charge. The industrialist would supply Butler with a 500,000 man army that he would be in charge of. Butler's father was a congressman in the 1920's and Butler told congress of the possible Coup. Read of The Committee of Foreign Affairs, CFA.

R. Arandas grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 4:02 PM

Yes, it is quite disturbing that 2% of the world's population control about 50% of its total wealth though:
https://www.theguardian.com...

JimmyD grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 9:24 AM

Teddy Roosevelt and the Presidents that followed him understood the dangers of the Robber-Barons buying the government. That's why they launched anti-trust, income tax and estate taxes to protect democracy.

[Feb 16, 2018] The March-April 2018 Issue The National Interest

Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

The Deep State Isn't What You Think

The problem is not that the "deep state" is thwarting Trump's policy agenda. It is his reliance on advisers who agree with the post–Cold War foreign-policy consensus.

Emma M. Ashford The Deep State Is a Distraction

When you hear the term "dark government," change the channel or turn off the radio; if you see an article, turn the page.

John Deutch Is There a Deep State?

A symposium on the "deep state" in today's Washington.

Jacob Heilbrunn The 'Deep State' Is No Supervillain

The encroaching "deep state" was a program carried out in broad daylight by Bill Clinton and George Bush, Tony Blair and centrist European leaders.

Michael Lind The Deep State Is Very Real

How the Deep State stopped better relations with Russia.

Robert W. Merry The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power

From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role.

George Beebe The 'Deep State' Conspiracy Is a Joke

From the Masons to UFOs, Americans have loved mysteries.

Gary Hart We've Seen This Deep-State Story Before

As a boy in the early 1950s, I learned about a widely feared attempt to take over America by communists. A few years later, it was just a myth.

John Despres Trump's War on the Deep State

This is why Donald Trump went to war against the entire political class.

Conrad Black America Has No Deep State

The fictitious idea of a deep state is doing more to politicize the bureaucracy than any real deep state ever did.

Paul R. Pillar How We Got Trump's Clash with the Deep State

Had the deep state gotten its way, Donald J. Trump would never have come close to the Oval Office, let alone be sitting in it.

Christopher A. Preble

[Feb 16, 2018] How We Got Trump's Clash with the Deep State by Christopher A. Preble

Notable quotes:
"... History informed his judgement. "The means of defense against foreign danger," he said, "have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." ..."
"... National Security and Double Government ..."
"... Christopher A. Preble is vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and the author of ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

AMERICA'S FOUNDERS anticipated how a sprawling national-security state could subvert the popular will, and even endanger the nation's interests. James Madison told his fellow delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty."

History informed his judgement. "The means of defense against foreign danger," he said, "have been always the instruments of tyranny at home."

George Washington agreed. In his Farewell Address, the general turned president advised his countrymen to "avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

Another general-president, Dwight Eisenhower, echoed these concerns. He worried that the evolving "military-industrial complex" would acquire "unwarranted influence" and "endanger our liberties or democratic processes." "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry," he continued, "can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Alas, the citizenry is neither alert nor knowledgeable.

Which means that the actual conduct of foreign policy falls to what Michael Glennon dubbed the Trumanites: "the network of several hundred high-level military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement officials within the executive branch who are responsible for making national security policymaking." And within that executive branch, Glennon concludes in his book National Security and Double Government , "The President . . . exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy."

Even if you don't buy Glennon's argument, it seems likely that the men and women responsible for executing U.S. foreign policy are uninterested in the views of the many Americans who actually pay for the nation's wars, and the few Americans who fight them.

Defenders of the status quo like to argue that it survives because it works. The public is wrong to doubt the wisdom of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the foreign-policy elite sees it, the American people can't be expected to understand why we defend wealthy allies, deploy hundreds of thousands of military personnel in numerous foreign countries and align ourselves with some of the world's most reprehensible autocrats.

Dean Acheson, Truman's secretary of state, presumably spoke for many elites (though perhaps too candidly) when he explained, "If you truly had a democracy and did what the people wanted, you'd go wrong every time."

In this sense, it isn't merely inertia that explains why U.S. foreign policy remains on autopilot, despite widespread public dissatisfaction with the status quo. Rather, it's the deep state, doing what the deep state does.

Donald Trump tapped into the resentment engendered by the establishment's contempt for the great unwashed. He has failed, so far at least, to dislodge the deep state and its policies. Then again, maybe he never intended to roll back American primacy. After all, he promised massive military spending increases, and expressed regret that we didn't take the Iraqis' oil. Even his claim to have always opposed the Iraq War was a taradiddle. So there were ample grounds for doubting that Trump would give the American people the foreign policy they wanted. Maybe the deep state didn't thwart him?

The deep state obviously isn't all-powerful. After all, had the deep state gotten its way, Donald J. Trump would never have come close to the Oval Office, let alone be sitting in it.

Now, given the power that we have erroneously invested in the office of the presidency, critics of the deep state should rethink their opposition to it, and members of the deep state should rethink their enthusiasm for a chief executive generally unencumbered by the Congress or the people. The deep state doesn't control the @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed. It cannot stop him from engaging in behavior that increases the risk of a catastrophic conflict. Perhaps we should wish that it could?

But we should never welcome a situation in which unelected officials distort or ignore public sentiments, or undertake policies that are demonstrably harmful to vital national interests.

Christopher A. Preble is vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and the author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free .

[Feb 16, 2018] Stephanie Savell The Hidden Costs of America's Wars by Tom Engelhardt

Feb 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

If anything, recent weeks have offered remarkable evidence of just how victorious this country's losingest commanders and their colleagues really are in our nation's capital. In the bipartisan style that these days usually applies only to the U.S. military, Congress has just settled on giving an extra $165 billion to the Pentagon over the next two years as part of a formula for keeping the government open. As it happens, the 2017 Pentagon budget was already as large as the defense spending of the next seven nations combined. And that was before all those extra tens of billions of dollars ensured that the two-year military budget (for 2018 and 2019) would crest at a total of more than $1.4 trillion .

That's the sort of money that only goes to winners, not losers. And if this still seems a little strange to you, given that military's dismal record in actual war-fighting since 9/11, all I can say is: don't bring it up. It's no longer considered polite or proper to complain about our wars and those who fight them or how we fund them, not in an age when every American soldier is a " hero ," which means that what they're doing from Afghanistan to Yemen , Syria to Somalia , must be heroic indeed.

In a draft-less country, those of us not in or connected to our military are expected to say " thank you " to the warriors and otherwise go about our lives as if their wars (and the mayhem they continue to generate abroad) were not a fact of global life. This is the definition of a demobilized public. If you happen to be that rarest of all creatures in our country these days -- someone in active opposition to those wars -- you have a problem. That means Stephanie Savell, who co-runs the Costs of War Project , which regularly provides well-researched and devastating information on the spread of those wars and the money continually being squandered on them, does indeed have a problem. It's one she understands all too well and describes vividly today.

[Feb 15, 2018] The US is interfering in Russia's elections.

Feb 15, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Bruno Bardorosso , February 2, 2018 2:09 PM

The US is interfering in Russia's elections. On behalf of Putin.

[Feb 15, 2018] Guardian's "Putin stealing election" shows new wave of Russia-hate being rolled out by Catte

Feb 15, 2018 | off-guardian.org

This appeared in the Guardian today (thanks to Peter in the comments for alerting us):

We won't bother doing an analysis of its lies, stupidities and racism. Simon Tisdall, author of the piece, could easily find out the reason Putin is virtually certain to return as president isn't because the election is rigged but because people in Russia overwhelmingly support him. Even Gallup admit that much. Even the more level-headed western outlets acknowledge it . It's a fact beyond dispute. Putin doesn't need to rig anything on order to win an election.

But Tisdall's brutish conviction is proof against facts. Any facts, even Western-backed facts. Instead of doing even basic research he prefers to riff for umpteen paragraphs on something that is a total, demonstrable lie .

Fact-based reality is not the one Tisdall and his peers live in any more. They don't see it. And when it's presented to them they think it's Kremlin propaganda. In the matter of Russia they have become over the last few years blind and deaf to reason and fact. They are the most dangerous of deceivers -- those who believe their own lies. Even the best of them now truly thinks anyone who questions their Russia=Evil narrative is a paid Kremlin agent. These well-paid supposedly well-educated people are on Twitter literally asking anyone who challenges them what the weather is like in St. Petersburg.

The sheer wanton deception, the outright, blunt and brutal propagandising is getting worse. It's attaining new heights of spittle-flying hate. And in concert the war drums are beating again in Syria and Ukraine.

And we can be sure this is going to continue up until and for some while after the Russian election is done.

Supposing any of us live that long.

Because, without unnecessary alarmism, we have to be aware xenophobia of this magnitude comes with a risk. In the past it has always been a prelude to war. And if this current case isn't an exception, humanity is not going to survive. Not even those Guardian journos snug in their cosy hubris. Hubris isn't bomb-proof sadly.

The Guardian allowed comments on this article for six whole hours. Long enough to make it clear the suicidal, fact-blind, cultist insanity ATL is not shared by most who read it. Yes there are predictable cries of "putinbots" and predictable agenda-setting claims such as that Corbyn needs to be tougher on Putin (look forward to this becoming a major facet of the next UK general election), but for all that it's the rational observations that get the most upvotes. And that's even after the mods have scoured and censored as is their wont.

Here are a couple of the best.

Nik2

Being Russian, residing in Moscow and having never before voted for V. Putin because he
was once chosen and promoted by B. Yeltsin and the oligarchs (so praised by Western
"liberals"), this time I am not so sure about my vote, and there is a chance I may vote for
V. Putin for the first time. There are some 2-3 reasons for me to vote for V. Putin (and
some - against him), and one of the strongest among pro-Putin stimuli - the writings of
Western "progressivists" like this article.

I do not like lies and fakes, and S. Tisdall presents many of such stuff.

1. How can V. Putin "steal" the victory if anyone knows he leads in opinion polls by a huge
margin? There are several services, doing monitoring of public opinion, including the
"Levada centre", officially designated as a "foreign agent" in Russia and generally well
accepted by Western colleagues.

2. To call Alexei Navalny the "most credible challenger" is to tell lies: it was always a
communist, coming second after Putin at all the previous presidential elections with
some 15% - 20% (30% in 2000) of votes, and this time P. Grudinin is taking the 2nd
position in the polls (and most likely in elections too).

3. To say that Putin's "political opponents are virtually invisible" is to spread obvious fake
news - see, for example, the results of monitoring TV-programmes by communists on
February 6, 2018: https://msk.kprf.ru/2018/02/08/37248/ (in Russian; in short, V. Putin
got 14 only positive mentions; P. Grudinin -13 mentions, with 69% negative ones; M.
Suraikin, hard-line communist and opponent of P. Grudinin -11 mentions with no negative
ones; V. Zhirinovsky -10 mentions with no negative ones, etc.).

The more anti-Putin writings of this kind appear in Western mass-media (and are covered
in Russia), the larger portion of Russians would vote for V. Putin because: first, people
remember well how they lived under Yeltsin's rule in the 1990's who was so generously
backed up by the West, and second - everyone can see what has happened with standards
of living (and with prospects of just staying alive) after Western-backed
"democratization" of the Ukraine, Libya, etc.

Pemulis 8h ago

"There are no presidential debates, no unsanctioned opinion polls."

Credible external polls indicate consistently high approval for Putin. Obviously this is
influenced by his stranglehold on information, but even Navalny's internal polling shows
a high level of approval for Putin.

thinlkandleap1234 6h ago

I am unable to take this nonsense about Putin and democracy seriously any longer, and
especially so when we have to endure it from outlets such as the Guardian and the BBC.

In July 2013, the Egyptian military staged a coup d'etat which overthrew a democratically
elected Government: Obama did nothing, other than to insult the intelligence of ordinary
Americans by disregarding the Federal Laws that required him to cut off military and
other forms of aid to democracy-suppressing regimes; the BBC did nothing, other than to
have the now disgraced former Prime Minister Blair on the Radio 4 Today programme
justifying the actions of al-Sisi and the Generals (and he followed this up with an article in
this very newspaper where he did the same thing); and the UN did nothing, other than to
arrange to have Ms Yousafzai mouth some empty platitudes about girls' education in
some children's forum at the headquarters of this tawdry and discredited institution. The
BBC and the EU and the other usual suspects whipped up dissent in the Ukraine in order
to bring about the overthrow of the lawful - and elected - government, and thereby
plunge that unhappy country into internal conflict akin to a civil war. As for the United
States, Hillary Clinton and her henchpersons in the DNC did a lot of chicanery to ensure
that Senator Sanders was denied the opportunity to go up against Donald Trump in the
November 2016 presidential election. We in the UK are even being sold the lie that Putin
swung the vote for Brexit in June 2016, although quite how he is supposed to have done
this is something that no one bothers to explain. All in all, the hypocrisy is appalling: so
perhaps we should just shut about it, and attend, here in the UK, to the problems
attaching to the failed and failing state that is our own country.

avenir 8h ago

So the guardian's Mi6 assets still want regime change. Im sure they'll supply you with a
rifle a one-way ticket to Finland and cooperation of a US multi billionaire nutcase to help.

Oops that's the plot of billion dollar brain.

fragglerokk

Oh Simon! such hyperbole. There are many (and regular) independent polls conducted by
western polling firms and not one of them gets less than 80% support at home for Putin.
This kind of silly sabre rattling just diminishes the impact of anything the Guardian has to
say on Russia. Navalny is a no hoper and polling over the whole of Russia will be lucky to
get 5%, he'll fare better in Moscow but nowhere near enough. He's just another western
backed stooge, a stalking horse for the wests babe in arms Khordokovsky, sat patiently
waiting in Berlin. How about an in depth report on why Putin has ratings western leaders
would die for and how he manages to maintain them over such a long period? Something
interesting and meaningful not just the ill informed, alarmist pap that comes out of the
foreign office, the armed forces and govt backed 'institutes' like RUSI.

Comments

Jim Scott says February 12, 2018

The outstanding feature of the MSM and particularly the modern Guardian is that it will not under any circumstance allow an alternative view to be put by the pro Syrian side of the argument. They would not dare allow Eva Bartlett or Vanessa Beeley to use their own voices to reply to the fact free claims of Guardian journalists who happily promote the views of the terrorists through the perspective of the White Helmets and the UK based Muslim Brotherhood man who calls himself the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Can anyone recall the Guardian talking to the majority Syrian citizens who want Assad as President and who are not in terrorist controlled areas. There are many Syrians who have become refugees due to the illegal invasion but who never get interviewed, only the Al Qaeda terrorists get a voice.
This is today's Guardian a mish mash of propaganda, populism! and salacious click bait, while heavily restricting discussion on important issues. Shame on these cowardly traitors of truth.
Alan says February 10, 2018
Does Mr Tisdall claim to be a journalist as I see no evidence of this, unless being employed by a state organ qualifies one for such?
MichaelK says February 9, 2018
I have real Russians in my large and extended family, and they all admire and pretty much adore Putin, especially after the shameful years typified by Yeltsin.

One of the amusing things about Russia, is that the leadership have discovered and understood that they don't need to produce 'propaganda' about the West, like the old Soviets did, all they need to do is tell the truth about the West and use openly available western sources; which is somewhat ironic.

As an aside, sorry; I've just watched the movie 'Kill the Messenger' about the journalist Gary Webb who wrote a series of articles linking the CIA with gun-running and drug-running on a massive scale in the 1970's. Webb's
story, unfortunately, was to big to tell and the rest of the quality press turned on him and basically destroyed him and his career. What struck me about the movie was how closely Webb's story, what happened to him, the reaction of the rest of the press to his staggering revelations about massive criminality at the heart of government, echoes the way Assange has been savaged by the Guardian and the rest of them. Webb, like Assange became the story, diverting attention away from the information they gathered and released. There are so many parallels between what happened to Webb and the way Assange's reputation has been undermined and how both of them were taken 'out of circulation.'

In the movie Webb says that he was never fired by an editor and never told what to write because nothing he'd written really mattered or threatened any vested interests or powerful people or the state.

George Cornell says February 9, 2018
Simple Simon.
vexarb says February 9, 2018
Shock Poll: Most Countries Prefer Putin Over Trump – Forbes
https://www.forbes.com › 2017/08/16 › s

[I wanted t, present a similar global poll for PM May but could not find one]

vexarb says February 9, 2018
80% of Ukrainians would prefer Vovo to any of their current leaders.
https://www.google.co.il/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.globalresearch.ca/scandalous-poll-84-of-ukrainians-want-vladimir-putin-as-their-president/5556904&ved=2ahUKEwiC1ey8rZnZAhXJ5qQKHawDBWwQFjAAegQIDBAB&usg=AOvVaw1dJ8uM48Q5YLz033lQ05m1

Anyone done a poll in Britain?

mohandeer says February 9, 2018
Tisdale pukes lies and disinformation and Guardian readers choose not to swallow it – no wonder CiF was closed.
mohandeer says February 9, 2018
Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:

Excellent

MichaelK says February 9, 2018
One of the things that irritates me about the 'liberal' Guardian is how they simply love to preach and moralize about well, almost everything everywhere, as if they and the West represent so kind of 'moral civilization' superior to everyone a 'progressive vanguard' with a mandate from providence to lead the world in the right direction in all things. They truly believe that they are both 'right' and 'good' and have a duty to help and save other countries and peoples from their backwardness, ignorance and darkness. The Guardian's writers are innocent, to a degree that's staggering as well as being incredibly dangerous, because, fundamentally they are self-delusional and soaked in a form of 'liberal imperialist' dogmatism and faith that's been the mainstay of western thinking and beliefs for centuries, and allowed us to justify crimes we've committed on a vast global scale, wiping entire countries and civilizations off the map, holocaust after holocaust after holocaust. And now, since the fall of Soviet Russia we've been on a roll smashing state after state and leaving a great swathe of mass-destruction and mass-slaughter behind our military juggernaut, which the fools at the Guardian honestly believe isn't a giant killing machine covered in body parts and gore, red and monsterous to behold; but a gleaming, white ambulance covered in peace signs and slogans about 'peace' 'love' and 'human rights'.
shaksvshav says February 9, 2018
It is difficult to believe that crude and crazy Western propaganda convinces anyone in Russia: https://thesaker.is/re-visiting-russian-counter-propaganda-methods/
People here must by now be finding it increasingly tiresome and predictable.
jdseanjd says February 9, 2018
" Control the Media"
" Ruin the youth with sex & drugs"

These are 2 of the 25 points in a strategy for world domination drawn up by Adam Weishaupt, ex Jesuit professor of canon law, in 1773 for the Rothschilds Banksters.

This is dealt with in William Guy Carr's 1955 book: Pawns in the Game.
I first saw this book referenced in a 1 hr 4 mins youtube video by Ted L. Gunderson. Worth the hour.
Put in youtube search box: Ex Head of FBI Tells All.

John Doran.

MichaelK says February 9, 2018
I think it's a sign of terminal decline when the leading members of a ruling elite begin, seemingly and in public, to act like they actually believe in their own propaganda, regardless of how far it is from reality and truth.

They keep sermonizing like religious fanatics and they're increasingly dogmatic and aggressive in their utterances, clinging to their beliefs no matter what.

That there's more actual evidence that there was far more 'stealing' and 'rigging' in the last US presidential elections, especially inside the Democratic Party, doesn't bother them at all. That the US has a system that structurally allows electoral 'stealing' on a vast scale, where the will and votes of the people can be overturned and the candidate with the most votes 'loses', doesn't register with them. And what about the UK? Here magically a party with only 42% of the votes cast in an election, can be transformed into a powerful government with a huge majority over all the other parties combined! And this happens over and over again. 42% becomes a 'landslide' and a 'mandate' from the electorate, and this is called 'democracy' and gives us the right to lecture everyone else and the Russians?!

Jen says February 8, 2018
' "For years," the [US Senate minority report] said, "Vladimir Putin's government has engaged in a relentless assault to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the US. Mr Putin's Kremlin employs an asymmetric arsenal that includes military invasions, cyber-attacks, disinformation, support for fringe political groups, and the weaponisation of energy resources, organised crime, and corruption" '

Dear Mr Tisdall, are you sure the people who researched and compiled that report weren't hired hacks from Hollywood who normally write scripts for science fiction movies?

Has anyone else noticed that the arsenal Moscow supposedly employs to undermine democracy and the rule of law in Europe and the US is the very same arsenal (plus more, such as using other countries' impeachment laws to get rid of Presidents the US doesn't like, as in Brazil in 2016) that the US uses to erode and weaken democracy and stability across the world including Europe?

jdseanjd says February 9, 2018
Pots & Kettles Projection?
You have to wonder what they've got on him to make him put out such insane drivel?
John Doran.
Mikalina says February 8, 2018
"obviously rigged poll" – er, Honduras?

"screams of outrage from the West" – er, whimpers of 'where's that?' AND – isn't that where we sent an awful lot of electronic surveillance equipment to help that nice man we got into government last time?

You know, the one that let's us use the country for a military base – sopoooo strategically useful. Was a little worried there that closing down the computers when the opposition was obviously winning was a tad blatant, but, no.

That nice man has been endorsed by US and UN. Oh, you are worried about the UN delegation investigating the election fraud, er, sorry, result? One's from Guatemala, one's from El Salvador and one's from, yes, of course, the US. No problems there. I don't think anyone's reporting the riots in the streets, the protest marches and the 30 dead. Result.

Mikalina says February 8, 2018
Boris Johnson or Sergei Lavrov? End of .
rtj1211 says February 8, 2018
The easiest way to dismember this nonsense is to talk to ten real Russians. Real Russians were seriously alarmed by the 'nuke Russia' Hillarybilly psycho nonsense in 2016, not because they seriously believed it, but they worried that in a mad world, could they easily disregard it? Amazingly enough, real Russian people who hope to have babies do not want depleted uranium in their neighbourhoods.

These ordinary Russians have no interest in invading eastern Europe, bombing America and really have no desire for war with Ukraine. They are interested in things like going out with friends, having a nice holiday, meeting interesting people, finding a partner to marry and raise a family with. They are, in other words, exceedingly normal people.

They do not take kindly being told that the man they desire as President does not represent them. I can say with certainty that President Putin represents Russians considerably more diligently than the Washington patsies found in Western European offices of state. If I were a Russian citizen, I would vote for him, despite him not being either Jesus Christ MkII nor a drunken puppet of Western bankers.

As a UK citizen, I do not expect President Putin to agree to win-lose deals with the UK, his job as Russian President is to ensure that dodgy UK charlatans do not screw his country something chronic. I would consider him amenable to deals which benefits both parties. Watch Washington try and trash anything like that .

Mercifully, Russians take little notice of UK media. Hopefully they realise that fewer and fewer Brits do either

MichaelK says February 8, 2018
What I find grotesque, bizarre and frightening is the attitude of the journalists in relation to grooming the public to support war, as if they won't end up frying too like everyone else! They reallys seem immune to rational thought and the dangers of demonizing Russia and the seemingly inexorable momentum towards WW3. Do they believe they'll escape the nuclear holocaust 'cause they write for the Guardian? The way they appear to think is truly frightening and underneath the brittle liberal gloss their extraordinarily reactionary too. They are all, basically, neoconservatives with a dreadful, sanctimonious tone that's insufferably smug. They love putting their virtue on display and preen themselves like peacocks.
Don DeBar says February 9, 2018
I honestly think they are so ignorant of history, politics and human behavior generally that they cannot make the connection of cause to effect. They aren't afraid of being fried because it hasn't occurred to them that such a thing is even possible. It's pretty slow-going in the minds of the folks who live in imperially privileged fantasy-land.
Harry Stotle says February 8, 2018
Not just Gallup, The Pew Research Centre found high levels of confidence (amongst Russian citizens) in Putins leadership.
http://www.pewglobal.org/2017/06/20/president-putin-russian-perspective/

But as we all know, the Guardian long ago abandoned fact based journalism – its one of the reasons so many articles are evicerated BTL.

By the way, which leader is Tisdall referring to?
Does he seriously expect the laughing stock of Europe, or at least her own party, Theresa May, to make weighty pronouncements about a sovereign leader who enjoys the kind of national goodwill she can only dream about?

In contrast I can hardly wait for Zoe Williams next bout of tabloid style sycophancy for the horrific HRC.

The Cad says February 8, 2018
Odd that his diatribe against Russian elections is a description of British ones.
MichaelK says February 8, 2018
The Guardian is actually getting worse and worse when covering foreign policy and especially the West's official enemies, who are slammed in the dock, with the charges shouted at them, but rarely, if ever allowed to come with a word in their defence or even the opportunity to deny the charges or protest their innocence.

Let's face it, the western media is grooming the public for the next war WW3, yet the hacks at the Guardian seem strangely and frighteningly sanguine about the prospect. I often wonder, just how stupid does one have to be to write for the Guardian these days?

Don DeBar says February 9, 2018
Q. – "how stupid does one have to be to write for the Guardian these days?"
A. – Very.
Paul says February 8, 2018
The Guardian joins the BBC in attacks of all sorts on Russia, China and Syria. The BBC has been giving almost daily reports of child deaths in Gouta while never mentioning the mortar bombs that go the other way, unguided, into resedential areas of Damascus. No mention either of mass child deaths in Yemen which is being treated like a WW2 ghetto. The same goes for Idlip. Alongside such slanted coverage we also have the "analysts" who assure us "Yes! The Russians really are after our guts for garters. Believe me Old Boy!" The "experts" have never been more obviously run by the MoD, some are right out of the bunker. The recent intensity of this avalanche of propaganda suggests things are being geared up in preparation for War. Maybe there is something they haven't told us, like the date?
The Guardian has swung hard Right and can never recover it's reputation. Thank Goodness for sites like this!!
Captain Kemlo says February 8, 2018
Tried to read the original article but foundered after a few paragraphs. It wasn't so much the (de haut en bas) tone but the evidence free content. Tisdall is almost unreadable anyway.
argonut says February 8, 2018
You were fortunate not to reach the comments. Albion has become an albatross
Admin says February 8, 2018
There were lot of the usual – and possibly to some extent astroturf – Russophobic comments, but many intelligent ones as well. And, as Catte says, the latter tended to get more up-votes. And that is allowing for the moderator censorship.
argonut says February 9, 2018
I don't know. Apart from very few, I found the bulk of the comments initially infuriating but ultimately depressing. A disgraceful article, whose putrescence certainly drew the zombies – the guardian readership these days. I've abandoned it, and visit only on occasion, eg when highlighted by 'you'. The sooner its demise the better. Regards, an ex-pat who subscribed to the guardian for 15 yrs (20 yrs ago)
Francis Lee says February 10, 2018
The only Journos in the Graun that were ever worth reading were Jonathan Steele and Seamus Milne. Since their departure we are now left with cossetted, fanatical hacks from the Ministry of Truth telling us what to think. There is not a smidgen of compromise, diplomacy, or God forbid, 'peace' as an option from this chorus of jihadist neo-cons seemingly spoiling for a war.

Perhaps the only exception comes in the shape of Peter Hitchens who writes for the Mail on Sunday who adopts a high-Tory realist persective: namely, that war, particularly nuclear war, is bad and should be avoided at all costs, and it is not a good or even legal policy to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign states.

Oh, how utterly passe, intone the soi-disant enlightened ones. Now doubt we should – they have – adopted the position in International Relations as outlined by Mr Francis 'end of history' Fukuyama.

"Dictators and human rights abusers like Serbia's Milosevic could not hide behind the principle of sovereignty to protect themselves as they committed crimes against humanity, particularly in the multi-ethnic states like Yugoslavia where the borders of the sovereign state in question were themselves contested, under these circumstances outside powers, acting in the name of human rights and democratic legitimacy, had not just the right but the OBLIGATION to intervene." Yep, 'White Man's Burden' circa 1995.

I don't suppose it was of any import than Milosevic was acquitted of these 'crimes' by the International Court after his death in prison from a heart attack. But simply consider the sanctimonious bluster above and remember the old axiom, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions ' though truth to tell I am not convinced about the goodness or otherwise of the intentions.

There is a particular passage in Orwell's 1984 where Winston Smith and two of his co-workers are having their lunch when they overhear a defender of the faith describing the party's role in the elimination of the enemies of Oceania. From a nearby table a party member – like our Guardian journos – holds forth "what was horrible was that from the stream of sound that poured out of his mouth, it was almost impossible to distinguish one word. Just once Winston caught a phrase -complete and final elimination of Goldsteinsim – jerked out very rapidly , and as it seemed, all in one piece all like a line of type cast solid. For the rest it was just a noise, a quack-quack-quacking "

Winston's intellectual colleague sitting at the same table was wont to comment.

"There is a word in Newspeak' said Syme 'I don't know whether you know it: it is duckspeak, to quack like a duck. Applied to an opponent it is abusive, applied to someone you agree with it is praise"

Unquestionably Syme would be vaporised. (1984 p.62.63)

Prescient or what?

Duckspeak, the lingua franca of 'liberal journalists' – a group of propagandists not far from clinical schizophrenia

[ edited by Admin for typo ]

[Feb 15, 2018] If America Wasn't America, the United States Would Be Bombing It by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media . ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

February 13, 2018

On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled "It's Time to Bomb North Korea."

Luttwak's thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan's most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that 'the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan ' Adm. William "Bull" Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that 'the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . It was a mistake to ever drop it . [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it
A few months' prior, this rogue country's invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa's population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country's military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation's bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country's population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:

By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans."
This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has explained :
We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win 'hearts and minds' that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.
This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II . While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb Yugoslavia , Panama , and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq's entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children . Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were "worth it" as the "price" Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos . At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation's 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines .

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs , a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child's play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia's close ally, China, all the while threatening China's borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries "shitholes" – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting , "If we have nuclear weapons, why don't we use them?" and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn't directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups , creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done and that continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media .

[Feb 15, 2018] Trump's War on the Deep State by Conrad Black

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And the dossier, a pastiche of falsehoods from gossips in the Kremlin, has been exposed as a smear job paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee ..."
"... The hunters are the prey and Trump will prosecute, sack, or intimidate the deep state. But it is there, can arise quickly and can be very dangerous. Forewarned is forearmed. ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

...Donald Trump went to war against the entire political class: all factions of both parties, the bureaucracy, the national media, the lobbyists, Hollywood and Wall Street. He said the whole system was rotten and had failed the nation: hopeless wars that accomplished nothing except the wastage of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, the extension of Iranian influence and an immense humanitarian crisis, a flatlined economy, a shrinking workforce, increasing poverty and crime, oceans of debt, large trade deficits from trade agreements that exported unemployment to the United States and the unmonitored influx of millions of illiterate peasants from Latin America.

... ... ...

For the first nine months of the new administration, there was the constant confected threat of impeachment. The phantasmagorical imbecility that Trump had somehow colluded and connived with the Russian government to rig the election was the excuse of the hapless Clinton and her Trump-hating echo chamber in the national media for the election result.

The deep state was almost the whole state, and it pitched in to sabotage the administration. For nearly that long, the Republican leaders sat on their hands waiting to see if he would be impeached or not. His nominees were a long time in being confirmed. There were leaks of White House conversations, including with foreign leaders -- outright acts of insubordination causing Trump, a decisive executive, to fire some fairly high officials, including the malign director of the FBI, who then informed Congress that he had leaked a self-addressed memo (probably illegally, as it was technically government property), in order to have a special prosecutor named to torment the president over the fatuous Russian allegations, although Comey testified that Trump himself was not a target or suspect and the Russians had not influenced the outcome of the election. (This was a sober position compared to the wholesale fabrications of the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, that a thousand Russian agents had swarmed the key battleground states and had delivered Wisconsin to Trump.)

The president has strengthened the White House staff. The FBI and Justice Department have been ripped apart in their partisanship and misuse of the dossier on which the collusion argument and the surveillance of the Trump campaign were based. And the dossier, a pastiche of falsehoods from gossips in the Kremlin, has been exposed as a smear job paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, and the whole impeachment movement has collapsed. The hunters are the prey and Trump will prosecute, sack, or intimidate the deep state. But it is there, can arise quickly and can be very dangerous. Forewarned is forearmed.

Conrad Black is a writer and former newspaper publisher whose most recent book is Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full (PublicAffairs, 2007).

[Feb 15, 2018] Trump's Bankrupt Ultimatum Diplomacy by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The New York Times reports on the Trump administration's poor grasp of diplomacy:

American officials were more guarded, saying they were open to talks but not a full-fledged negotiation.

The United States, they said, would reiterate its demands that North Korea make concessions and did not plan to offer any in return.

This is being billed as the administration's willingness to "open the door" to holding talks with North Korea, but as we can see here there is no real interest in pursuing a diplomatic solution. If U.S. officials just want to deliver an ultimatum in person to North Korean officials, it is a pointless exercise that would make it harder to enter into real negotiations later. North Korea knows what the U.S. wants it to do, and it has said many times that it will never do that, so why would they agree to talks where the same demands will be put to them once again? The U.S. is not willing to make confidence-building gestures that might lead to more substantive negotiations down the road, and it has no intention of offering North Korea anything in exchange for any concessions it might conceivably make.

In the very unlikely event that North Korea agreed to a meeting with administration officials, they would have nothing to gain from the encounter and every incentive to stay away. The problem isn't just that the administration won't offer North Korea the tiniest of carrots, but that it doesn't accept the idea of using carrots in diplomacy in the first place. The administration's posturing is what a government does when it wants to feign support for diplomacy even as it rejects diplomacy at every turn. If people here at home can see through this ploy, North Korea will definitely take it as more proof of Washington's bad faith.

[Feb 15, 2018] Mattis is probably mentally ill. He'll gleefully kill millions more. I really can not see what Tillerson and Mattis have to offer Turkey other than threats.

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mattis is probably mentally ill. He'll gleefully kill millions more.

The terrorists are mentally ill. They would kill millions if they could.

Implacable.

Thus, the reason for the rise of Russia and the influence and respect for Putin. Russians will kill terrorists but embrace Islamic people who want peaceful cooperation.

Peace is a long way off. The Hegemon abhors Peace and has the means and ideology to create chaos, death and destruction anywhere on the globe.

The American economic system depends on MIC expenditures, debt, waste, corruption, and fiscal abuse.

Nothing much will change until multi-polar economic forces come into dominance and coerce the American changes. Those are a long way off, also, though a few of those forces are coming into view.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 12, 2018 12:21:31 PM | 2


ConfusedPundit , Feb 12, 2018 1:33:01 PM | 4

Mattis is coming to Turkey soon.

Pentagon statement today: 550 million dolar, 2018 budget, for PKK.
(Meaning: You can defeat terrorism, but you can't you beat our purse!)

There is a massive propaganda campaing targeting Turkey in the past 2-3 days. It's coming from international sources. BBC, AFP etc.

This is the main theme

"Turks, beware of Russia, Syria and Iran! They are your enemy. Israel is your friend! The USA is a superpower, obey!"

I believe nobody, no muslim targets America or ordinary American people for that mater! So any incident should be received as provocation.
Those who pull the strings in the USA, behind the doors, maybe under risk though.

IMHO

jsn , Feb 12, 2018 1:55:10 PM | 7
Mattis/Pentagon just doing business development for the MIC
nonsense factory , Feb 12, 2018 11:39:44 PM | 32
@colin 3, Yes, I used to try to update the wikipedia page on the TAPI pipeline and while some things remained on the site, most of it was edited away. Anything to do with Exxon, Chevron, US military actions along the pipeline route, Hillary Clinton's cheerleading for the project during the Obama era, actions taken by the US State Department in summer 2001 (pre 9-11) aimed at pressuring the Taliban into signing off on the deal (in exchange for handing over bin Laden, etc.) all gone. Not worth the bother; you're up against PR firms with full-time staff devoted to sanitizing everything.

@4 CP, the corporate media PR stream, it's something I can't even watch anymore (I follow it with Google News search just to see what the headlines are, but it's basically predictable content so that's enough). Here and there across the web there are some honest discussions though:
https://thewire.in/219467/russia-turkey-iran-triangle-economic-interests-paramount/

I really can't see what Tillerson and Mattis have to offer Turkey other than threats.

xaderp , Feb 13, 2018 3:47:05 AM | 35
I think you are reading Mattis's comments wrong.

The moment the USA pulls its troops out of the middle east, a bomb will go off at Times Square .

john , Feb 13, 2018 6:07:37 AM | 43
Yeah, Right says:

"If America Wasn't America, The United States Would Be Bombing It".
Damn, that's funny

yeah, i just read the article , and while the title is indeed humorous, the content is decidedly not. but it's a good synopsis of the unprecedented amount of death and destruction wrought on this undeserving planet by the US of Argh.

ConfusedPundit , Feb 13, 2018 12:12:09 PM | 49
What's this man talking about? US led NATO has been terrorising another member, Turkey.
By means of 3 Proxies: PKK, ISIS, Gulenists.

It's a misconception that the Turks and Americans want a war.
However, both Americans and Turks do want a war against the Neocons!

Perhaps it's time for a false flag nuke at Times Sq or Taksim Sq or Tiananmen Sq or Trafalgar Sq.

Eric Neoconman the chief provocator.

Turkey Is Out of Control.Time for the U.S. to Say So

Partisan , Feb 14, 2018 5:57:41 AM | 72
The West and in particular Amerikkans constantly use the Circular Argument in its public relation and propaganda statements. That kind of attitude works with an allies, nominal or otherwise, in the cases where sovereignty/national interest is threatened that kind of deception is treated just like that, deception.
Unfortunately Tayyip has been used as client state for long time, from Libya to Syria where he experienced sudden awakening.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/erdogan-slams-support-kurdish-ypg-fighters-180214070010174.html


The US has reiterated that it has no plans to withdraw its forces from Manbij.

Paul Funk, the commander of US forces in Syria and Iraq, made a recent visit to Manbij and said that the US and its partners in Syria would hit back if attacked.

"You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves," Funk said.

Erdogan took aim at that, saying: "It is obvious that those, who say they will 'give a sharp response' if they were hit, have not been hit by the Ottoman slap."

He, he, he....that would be something to see.

[Feb 15, 2018] How The Deep State Stopped Better Relations With Russia by Robert W. Merry

Feb 14, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

OF COURSE there's a Deep State. Why wouldn't there be? Even a cursory understanding of human nature tells us that power corrupts, as Lord Acton put it; that, when power is concentrated and entrenched, it will be abused; that, when it is concentrated and entrenched in secrecy, it will be abused in secret. That's the Deep State.

James Burnham saw it coming. The American philosopher and political theorist (1905–87), first a Trotskyist, then a leading conservative intellectual, wrote in 1941 that the great political development of the age was not the battle between communism and capitalism. Rather, it was the rise of a new "managerial" class gaining dominance in business, finance, organized labor and government. This gathering managerial revolution, as he called it, would be resisted, but it would be impervious to adversarial counteractions. As the managerial elites gained more and more power, exercised often in subtle and stealthy ways, they would exercise that power to embed themselves further into the folds of American society and to protect themselves from those who might want to bust them up.

Nowhere is this managerial elite more entrenched, more powerful and more shrouded in secrecy than in what Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, augmented by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. That's where America's relentless drive for global hegemony meshes with defense manufacturers only too willing to provide the tools of dominance.

Now we have not only a standing army, with hundreds of thousands of troops at the ready, as in Cold War days. We have also permanent wars, nine of them in progress at the moment and not one with what could even remotely be called proper congressional approval. That's how power gets entrenched, how the managerial revolution gains ever greater force and how the Deep State endures.

Few in the general public know what really happened with regard to the allegations of Trump campaign "collusion" with Russia, or how the investigation into those troubling allegations emerged. But we know enough to know we have seen the Deep State in action.

We know that U.S. agencies released an "Intelligence Community Assessment" saying that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of embarrassing Democratic emails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency. But we also know that it wasn't really a National Intelligence Assessment (a term of art denoting a particular process of expansive intelligence analysis) but rather the work of a controlled task force. As Scott Ritter, the former Marine intelligence officer and arms-control official, put it , "This deliberate misrepresentation of the organizational bona fides of the Russia NIA casts a shadow over the viability of the analysis used to underpin the assessments and judgments contained within." Besides, the document was long on assertion and short on evidence. Even the New York Times initially derided the report as lacking any "hard evidence" and amounting "essentially . . . to 'trust us.'"

[Feb 14, 2018] Trump's Massive Giveaway to the Pentagon by Daniel Larison

Feb 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Judah Grunstein dubs Trump "the generals' president" because of his total capitulation to whatever the current and former generals around him want:

Trump's generals have instead gone back to the future, restoring the model of a U.S. military that faces no fiscal or strategic constraints, while preparing for a conflict -- a conventional war with either or both of its nuclear-armed big power competitors -- that is not just unlikely, but unwinnable.

While it is true that Trump voiced some objections to foreign wars long after they were over or when it was no longer very risky to do so, it is important to remember that he was always in favor of throwing more money at the military from the beginning of his campaign. He seized on the nonsense talking point that the military had been "depleted" under Obama, and he has continued to use it until now, and he made undoing the imaginary "depletion" one of the main planks of his platform. Since Trump is a militarist, and since he now comes from the more hawkish of the two parties, it was more or less a given that he would waste huge sums on higher military spending while agreeing to the policies favored by Mattis, McMaster, et al. Add to this his fetish for "strength" and "greatness," and you have a recipe for massive wasteful spending on weapons and programs that the U.S. doesn't need. When there are already Pentagon agencies losing track of how they spend hundreds of millions of dollars , throwing more money at a huge department with inadequate oversight is pure folly.

The increase in military spending that Trump has endorsed reflects his impulse to give the military whatever they want. In addition to being completely unnecessary, higher military spending will indulge the Pentagon in all its worst habits:

The Pentagon budget request for 2019 puts the military on a course of spending unmatched since the Reagan-era buildup, boosting the number of troops, warplanes and bombs, according to documents and analysts.

But, defense analysts say, the $716 billion spending plan risks flooding too much money into a Defense Department that may not spend it wisely.

"The risk is that when the budget is flowing freely, policy makers are usually reluctant to make hard choices," said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a non-partisan think tank.

"While this is not a record increase, it comes on top of a budget that was already higher than the peak of the Reagan buildup when adjusted for inflation [bold mine-DL]," Harrison said.

The fantasy claim that the military budget suffered significant reductions in the last decade has been one of the standard hawkish criticisms of the previous administration, and Trump takes that falsehood as gospel. The truth is that an already bloated military budget has continued to grow, and Trump proposes to make it grow even faster. Everyone in Washington was so desperate to have the generals rein in Trump that most of them never thought through what it meant for Trump to be the military's unthinking yes-man.

[Feb 14, 2018] Donald Trump and the Generals by James Fallows

Feb 14, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

Oct 10, 2016 In last night's debate, the Republican nominee said, apropos military policy: "General George Patton, General Douglas MacArthur are spinning in their grave at the stupidity of what we're doing in the Middle East."

In most of his speeches Trump mentions those same two generals. Reader Marcus Hall assesses what the reliance on Patton and MacArthur might tell us about Trump:

It is easy to see why these two military legends are attractive to Trump:

1) Both were known as showmen and motivators. This is clearly Trump's modus operandi as well; he is most comfortable being the showman and motivator. When he isn't in the granted position of head of the dais, he looks, seems, and acts out of place. (For example, think back to the instance in Flint where the pastor takes the initiative to challenge him as a person.)

2) Both were known to take personal animus against rivals on their own side to extremes. Think of Patton's constant infighting with Montgomery, and his less than amicable relationship to Bradley after Sicily.

3) Both were known for strident aggressive stances against an enemy without consideration for larger picture effects. MacArthur's blunders with antagonizing the Chinese after Inchon, and Patton's immediate post-war desire to go to war with the Soviets before the armed forces and the country (or its non-Russian allies) could even recover from WWII.

4) Both faced disgrace at the hands of the media and at the hands of those who were better able to handle the larger context of events (Eisenhower for Patton, and Truman for MacArthur).

[Feb 14, 2018] President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale by James Petras

Notable quotes:
"... anti-Trump movements combined with critics of the liberal/democrat apparatus to build broader movements and especially oppose growing war-fever. ..."
"... Abroad, bi-partisan wars have failed to defeat independent state and mass popular resistance struggles for national sovereignty everywhere – from North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela and beyond. ..."
"... Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order. ..."
Feb 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The FBI and the President – Mutual Manipulation, by James Petras - The Unz Review

President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale. Trump's violation of international law includes collaboration and support for Saudi Arabia's tyrannical invasion and destruction of the sovereign nation of Yemen; intensified aid and support for Israel's ethnic war against the Palestinian people; severe sanctions and threatened nuclear first-strike against North Korea (DPRK); increased deployment of US special forces in collaboration with the jihadi terrorist war to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria; coup-mongering, sabotage, sanctions and economic blockade of Venezuela; NATO missile and nuclear encirclement of Russia; and the growing naval threats against China.

... .. ...

In the face of the national-political debacle local and regional movements became the vehicle to support the struggles. Women organized at some workplaces and gained better protection of their rights; African-Americans vividly documented and published video evidence of the systematic brutal violation of their rights by the police state and effectively acted to restrain local police violence in a few localities; immigrant workers and especially their children gained broad public sympathy and allies within religious and political organizations; and anti-Trump movements combined with critics of the liberal/democrat apparatus to build broader movements and especially oppose growing war-fever.

Abroad, bi-partisan wars have failed to defeat independent state and mass popular resistance struggles for national sovereignty everywhere – from North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela and beyond.

Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order.

[Feb 14, 2018] Instead of appreciating the opportunity provided by amerika and Japan to pollute their nation and turn the fuckers at the bottom into toxic, diseased slaves, those ungrateful Koreans were cuddling up to the 'stalinists' - Those fucking unappreciative parasites!

Feb 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

So Korean anger at Ramo's comments finally induced NBC to give him the flick . Unfortunately Ramo won't be sweating it as the article I linked to by Japanese academic Joseph Essertier points out. Ramo is thoroughly entangled with the DC political/intelligence elite. He is a former CEO of mercenary zionist lobby corp Kissinger Associates, ex-senior editor of Time magazine as well as a host of other elite gigs which doubtless came his way thanks to grandaddy who put the 'R' in TRW . It amazes me that many amerikans remain largely unaware of TRW, now a division of Northrop Grumman. TRW took a PR hit in the 70's when Christopher Boyce one of their operatives got caught hawking the communications between Langley and the amerikan embassy in Canberra that laid out the strategy for the 1974 coup against the Gough Whitlam government. Yeah yeah I know, ancient history - well that is certainly the way that all Oz politicians and media look at it but for some of us the rage will never subside. Amerikans's fixation with the JFK assassination, a pretty odd fixation since Kennedy was just another arsehole, comes close, but in the case of Gough he did have principles, acted on them, albeit reluctantly, and the smoking gun to the CIA is established.

TRW is interesting - well not really I got pissed with a bunch of mid-level TRW execs at the Frankfurt Hilton one night and what a boring bunch of straightlaced & unimaginative fuckwits. I had just arrived from Northern Thailand, was jonesing like fuck - I had staggered across to the joint and booked a room & hit the bar to get sorted for Europe. The Frankfurt Hilton is right by the airport.

This probably didn't help my sense of tolerance but honestly these guys had no class, it was a wonder they let them outta Cleveland. As standard the bar was chocka with German sex workers looking to make an earner. This was pre 1990 so they were mainly German, but I've never seen the like of these TRW blokes. The women were attractive in that painted manner certain amerikans prefer, no doubt about their beauty and skill, but they were the end result of amerikan post euro war imperialism - preying on victims has no interest. These idjits from TRW were obviously really attracted to the young women, so they were pulling all sorts of weird stunts to engage with the workers while seeming disapproving of their occupational choice. One even pulled out a bible! The women appeared to be well used to this nonsense, after all, a sex worker's primary training is in how to overcome humiliation and go home better than than she/he arrived, so on one level it was amusing.

AFAIK TRW has been winning contracts to provide 'clerical and communications support' to military and intelligence services since euro-war part 1. The communication stuff was beyond the abilities of the double entry bookkeepers; just like with the NSA, inviting smart imaginative fellows in proved their undoing.

This then is Ramo, an unimaginative trust-funder who has sold his soul to empire.

I have no doubt that he knew Koreans would react badly to the insult but that was of no concern. The point was to sow the seed among the great amerikan herd that Koreans are notorious for their ingratitude so one just shouldn't stress over their possible nuking - North or South Koreans. South Korea's kissy kiss to their friends and family in the North should be considered in that light, just another manifestation of that ingratitude.

There is no reason to suppose Ramo's handlers are incorrect in this assumption, after all the most egregious act of the post war amerikan-japanese war criminal conjunction, the proven rendition of Japanese biological warfare research scientists to Fort Dietrick and the subsequent use of germ warefare weapons containing bubonic plague, anthrax and smallpox on Koreans during the 1950 amerikan invasion is unknown to most amerikans and those who are aware, airily dismiss this horror as "propaganda".

In a lot of ways there is nothing at all noteworthy about any of this. Tune your discriminators correctly, and this manner of deliberately subjective, misleading dross comprises the majority of every 'news bulletin'. The difference here of course is that this wasn't a news bulletin, it was a sportscast, allegedly a celebratory sportscast. The celebration was meant to be congratulating South Korea on their capitalist victory over 'the stalinist' North. Nirvana by outproduction of disposable techno tat. Hmm.

Instead of appreciating the opportunity provided by amerika and Japan to pollute their nation and turn the fuckers at the bottom into toxic, diseased slaves, those ungrateful Koreans were cuddling up to the 'stalinists' - Those fucking unappreciative parasites!

We can analyse this stuff and see exactly how transparent it all is, but for the bloke relaxing into his couch with a beer looking forward to an evening trying to check out the latex enveloped skater's bods, political analysis is the last thing on their mind. The next time the subject comes up with the boys in the bar, they will know why 'we' have to stay intransigent - "those koreans are just ungrateful assholes - remember that family which had the 7-11 on Jefferson? Everything was overpriced and past its use-by".

That stuff works which is why the arseholes have been using it for centuries - and that is why the seeming nonsense such as "the Russkies stole the election" must be resisted - fought hard. The net has provided the world with a wide vista of alternative viewpoints - even though most of us hang where we see what we want to see, alternative points of view still slip thru in a way that they never did before. The arseholes are working that out now which is why this site like every other woke joint is subjected to an increasing barrage of lunatic nonsense - no wonder b needs some time off; not only are his threads getting congested with haters (ask yourself if MoA is so awful why do these derps hang around here like spare pricks at a wedding?) some site users are perpetuating the nonsense by engaging with them.
I dunno what to say unity doesn't come about by some little arsehole issuing orders, it happens when people decide for themselves to put the interest of a group asset ahead of their need to purge their liver at an obvious fuckwit. I realise that the concept of unity is alien to most amerikans and increasing numbers of non-amerikans, but of itself that should be considered objectively and the subtle indoctrinations which created that resistance considered before acting out.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 14, 2018 10:17:07 PM | 59

[Feb 14, 2018] Trump's Bankrupt Ultimatum Diplomacy The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Feb 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The New York Times reports on the Trump administration's poor grasp of diplomacy:

American officials were more guarded, saying they were open to talks but not a full-fledged negotiation.

The United States, they said, would reiterate its demands that North Korea make concessions and did not plan to offer any in return.

This is being billed as the administration's willingness to "open the door" to holding talks with North Korea, but as we can see here there is no real interest in pursuing a diplomatic solution. If U.S. officials just want to deliver an ultimatum in person to North Korean officials, it is a pointless exercise that would make it harder to enter into real negotiations later. North Korea knows what the U.S. wants it to do, and it has said many times that it will never do that, so why would they agree to talks where the same demands will be put to them once again? The U.S. is not willing to make confidence-building gestures that might lead to more substantive negotiations down the road, and it has no intention of offering North Korea anything in exchange for any concessions it might conceivably make.

In the very unlikely event that North Korea agreed to a meeting with administration officials, they would have nothing to gain from the encounter and every incentive to stay away. The problem isn't just that the administration won't offer North Korea the tiniest of carrots, but that it doesn't accept the idea of using carrots in diplomacy in the first place. The administration's posturing is what a government does when it wants to feign support for diplomacy even as it rejects diplomacy at every turn. If people here at home can see through this ploy, North Korea will definitely take it as more proof of Washington's bad faith.

[Feb 14, 2018] Mattis is probably mentally ill. He'll gleefully kill millions more.

Feb 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mattis is probably mentally ill. He'll gleefully kill millions more.

The terrorists are mentally ill. They would kill millions if they could.

Implacable.

Thus, the reason for the rise of Russia and the influence and respect for Putin. Russians will kill terrorists but embrace Islamic people who want peaceful cooperation.

Peace is a long way off. The Hegemon abhors Peace and has the means and ideology to create chaos, death and destruction anywhere on the globe.

The American economic system depends on MIC expenditures, debt, waste, corruption, and fiscal abuse.

Nothing much will change until multi-polar economic forces come into dominance and coerce the American changes. Those are a long way off, also, though a few of those forces are coming into view.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 12, 2018 12:21:31 PM | 2

[Feb 14, 2018] UKRAINE'S NADRA YUZIVSKA AND SHELL ENTERED INTO SHALE GAS PRODUCTION PSA

Jan 24, 2013 | oilmarket-magazine.com

A production sharing agreement (PSA) between Royal Dutch Shell and Ukraine's Nadra Yuzivska for the development of Yuzivske shale gas deposits located in Ukraine's Kharkiv and Donetsk regions was signed in Davos on 24 January 2013 through the mediation of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte. The agreement was inked by Ukraine's energy and coal industry minister Eduard Stavitsky and Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser.

Prior to the signing ceremony Yanukovych told journalists that Ukraine would benefit from the agreement since it would allow attracting investments, which Ukraine could use to increase the domestic natural gas production thus creating jobs, raising the level of the country's economy as well as increasing the budget revenues and providing funds for social needs.

On 23 January Ukraine's cabinet of ministers approved a draft PSA between Shell Exploration and Production Ukraine Investments B.V. and Nadra Yuzivska for Yuzivske shale gas field (7,886m2 acreage) development.

Yuzivske field prognostic resources are estimated at 2-4trln m3 of gas, which can be a viable alternative for costly natural gas volumes Ukraine imports form Russia. In the meanwhile US Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimates Ukraine's shale gas potential at 1.2trln m3 in this way making the country's shale gas reserves the 4th largest in Europe after Poland, France and Norway. Totally consuming some 60bn m3 of natural gas annually, Ukraine has to import 40bn m3 of natural gas from Russia priced $430 per 1,000 m3 based on the terms of agreements inked in 2009.

Ukraine's prime minister Mykola Azarov stated earlier that Yuzivske field commercial development over the span of a decade could give Ukraine an additional 8-10bn m3 of gas annually.

As Eduard Stavitsky put it in Davos, Ukraine could possibly meet its domestic natural gas demand in full in about 5 years of shale gas production cooperation with Shell. "According to Shell's optimistic scenario about 20bn m3 of gas could be extracted annually; according to the pessimistic one, at the very least 7-8bn m3. If the top forecasts were fulfilled, we would tackle the gas shortfall problem in Ukraine or might even go into surplus", Stavitsky was quoted as saying. He stated earlier that Shell saw investments under the deal of at least $10bn under the most likely scenario and possibly as much as $50bn.

OILMARKET Info
In May 2012 Shell was chosen the successful bidder for 7,800km2 Yuzivske acreage (Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, Ukraine) development with projected reserves estimated at 4.054trln m3 of gas of various categories. The project calls for raising at least $20mn (UAH1.6bn) in investments for the geological study phase, and $3.75bn (UAH30bn) for the industrial production phase. The agreement envisages stage-by-stage exploration, development and hydrocarbons production. Both companies (Shell and Nadro Yuzivske) will hold a 50% participation stake, with Shell chosen the project operator responsible for carrying out works under the terms of agreement.

According to Shell press service, the mentioned PSA was signed for 50 years period. The initial geological study phase at Yuzivske field implies 2D and 3D seismics as well as 15 well drilling, which is expected to enable effective exploration and assessments of hydrocarbon deposits potential especially that of natural gas trapped in compacted sandstone. Yuzivske field development will be implemented in line with the highest international HSE standards. In this way Shell is to carry out comprehensive possible environmental, social and public health impact assessment of the project prior to launch.

[Feb 13, 2018] Rob Porter's First Ex-Wife Criticizes Kellyanne Conway for Defending Hope Hicks - Breitbart

Notable quotes:
"... State of the Union ..."
Feb 13, 2018 | www.breitbart.com

Conway appeared Sunday on CNN's State of the Union with Jake Tapper to address questions surrounding Porter's departure, which came last week after accusations that he had abused his two ex-wives.

Tapper asked about Porter's reported relationship with Hicks, and concerns expressed by Jennie Willoughby, Porter's second ex-wife, that Porter would abuse Hicks, too. Conway said that she did not worry about Hicks because she is "strong."

[Feb 12, 2018] Drug Wars, Missing Money, and a Phantom $500 Million by Nick Turse

Notable quotes:
"... Last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime noted that while West Africa "has long been a transit zone for cocaine and heroin trafficking, it has now turned into a production zone for illicit substances such as amphetamines and precursors" and that drug use "is also a growing issue at the local level." Meanwhile, heroin trafficking has been on the rise in East Africa , along with personal use of the drug. ..."
"... In the spring of 2001, American experts concluded that a ban on opium-poppy cultivation by Afghanistan's Taliban government had wiped out the world's largest heroin-producing crop. Later that year, the U.S. military invaded and, since 2002, America has pumped $8.7 billion in counternarcotics funding into that country. A report issued late last month by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction detailed the results of anti-drug efforts during CENTCOM's 16-year-old war: "Afghanistan's total area under opium cultivation and opium production reached an all-time high in 2017," it reads in part. "Afghanistan remains the world's largest opium producer and exporter, producing an estimated 80% of the world's opium." ..."
"... While AFRICOM and, to a lesser extent, CENTCOM have made changes in how they track counternarcotics aid, both seemingly remain hooked on pouring money into efforts that have produced few successes. More effective use of spreadsheets won't solve the underlying problems of America's wars or cure an addiction to policies that continue to fail. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

More troubling than the findings in the IG's report or CENTCOM's apparent refusal to heed its recommendations may be the actual trajectory of the drug trade in the two commands' areas of responsibility: Africa and the Greater Middle East. Last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime noted that while West Africa "has long been a transit zone for cocaine and heroin trafficking, it has now turned into a production zone for illicit substances such as amphetamines and precursors" and that drug use "is also a growing issue at the local level." Meanwhile, heroin trafficking has been on the rise in East Africa , along with personal use of the drug.

Even the Pentagon's Africa Center for Strategic Studies is sounding an alarm. "Drug trafficking is a major transnational threat in Africa that converges with other illicit activities ranging from money laundering to human trafficking and terrorism," it warned last November. "According to the 2017 U.N. World Drug Report, two-thirds of the cocaine smuggled between South America and Europe passes through West Africa, specifically Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania are among the countries that have seen the highest traffic in opiates passing from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Western destinations." As badly as this may reflect on AFRICOM's efforts to bolster the counter-drug-trafficking prowess of key allies like Kenya, Mali, and Nigeria, it reflects even more dismally on CENTCOM, which oversees Washington's long-running war in Afghanistan and its seemingly ceaseless counternarcotics mission there.

In the spring of 2001, American experts concluded that a ban on opium-poppy cultivation by Afghanistan's Taliban government had wiped out the world's largest heroin-producing crop. Later that year, the U.S. military invaded and, since 2002, America has pumped $8.7 billion in counternarcotics funding into that country. A report issued late last month by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction detailed the results of anti-drug efforts during CENTCOM's 16-year-old war: "Afghanistan's total area under opium cultivation and opium production reached an all-time high in 2017," it reads in part. "Afghanistan remains the world's largest opium producer and exporter, producing an estimated 80% of the world's opium."

In many ways, these outcomes mirror those of the larger counterterror efforts of which these anti-drug campaigns are just a part. In 2001, for example, U.S. forces were fighting just two enemy forces in Afghanistan: al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Now, according to a recent Pentagon report , they're battling more than 10 times that number. In Africa, an official count of five prime terror groups in 2012 has expanded, depending on the Pentagon source, to more than 20 or even closer to 50 .

Correlation doesn't equal causation, but given the outcomes of significant counternarcotics assistance from Africa Command and Central Command -- including some $500 million over just three recent years -- there's little evidence to suggest that better record-keeping can solve the problems plaguing the military's anti-drug efforts in the greater Middle East or Africa. While AFRICOM and, to a lesser extent, CENTCOM have made changes in how they track counternarcotics aid, both seemingly remain hooked on pouring money into efforts that have produced few successes. More effective use of spreadsheets won't solve the underlying problems of America's wars or cure an addiction to policies that continue to fail.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch , a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept . His 2017 Harper's magazine article, " Ghost Nation ," is a finalist for an American Society of Magazine Editors award . His website is NickTurse.com .

[Feb 12, 2018] Ike's Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Is Alive and Very Well by William J. Astore

Highly recommended!
160 billion plus 160 billion are pretty serious money. money that were stolen from ordinary Americans.
PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. (cited from The Age of Lunacy The Doomsday Machine naked capitalism )
Notable quotes:
"... The military talks about needing all these scores of billions to "rebuild." And, sure, there are ships that need to be refitted, planes in need of repairs, equipment that needs to be restocked, and veterans who need to be cared for. But a massive increase in military and war spending, perhaps as high as $320 billion over two years, is a recipe for excessive waste and even more disastrous military adventurism. ..."
"... Perhaps you've heard of the expression, "Spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave." Our military has been drunk with money since 9/11. Is it really wise to give those "sailors" an enormous boost in the loose change they're carrying, trusting them to spend it wisely? ..."
Feb 12, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

The new Congressional budget boosts military spending in a big way . Last night's PBS News report documented how military spending is projected to increase by $160 billion over two years, but that doesn't include "overseas contingency funding" for wars, which is another $160 billion over two years. Meanwhile, spending for the opioid crisis, which is killing roughly 60,000 Americans a year (more Americans than were killed in the Vietnam War), is set at a paltry $6 billion ($25 billion was requested).

One thing is certain: Ike was right about the undue influence of the military-industrial-Congressional complex.

The military talks about needing all these scores of billions to "rebuild." And, sure, there are ships that need to be refitted, planes in need of repairs, equipment that needs to be restocked, and veterans who need to be cared for. But a massive increase in military and war spending, perhaps as high as $320 billion over two years, is a recipe for excessive waste and even more disastrous military adventurism.

Even if you're a supporter of big military budgets, this massive boost in military spending is bad news. Why? It doesn't force the military to think . To set priorities. To define limits. To be creative.

Perhaps you've heard of the expression, "Spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave." Our military has been drunk with money since 9/11. Is it really wise to give those "sailors" an enormous boost in the loose change they're carrying, trusting them to spend it wisely?

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views . He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu . Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author's permission.

[Feb 12, 2018] The Age of Lunacy: The Doomsday Machine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The world had a great opportunity in March of 1953 to reverse course rather than this insane military spending that was beginning. On March 5th, 1953, Stalin died. The Soviet leaders reached out to the United States. They offered the Americans an olive branch. They talked about changing the direction of our relations. They talked about, basically, ending the Cold War. We could've ended the Cold War as early as March 5, 1953, taken a different route. Eisenhower and the others in his administration debate what to do, how to respond. Churchill, who was now re-elected and back in office in England, begged the United States to hold a summit with the Soviet leaders and move toward peace, rather than belligerence and hostility. Eisenhower doesn't say anything publicly in response for six weeks. Then he makes a speech. It's a visionary speech. It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there ..."
"... PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. ..."
"... two days later, John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, makes a speech reversing the whole thing. Instead of an olive branch, he gives the Soviets a middle finger and he accuses the Soviet Union of trying to overthrow every Democratic government in the world. The exact wrong message. ..."
"... Did Eisenhower speak for it or did Dulles speak for it? Was Eisenhower the militarist or was Dulles the militarist? In many ways, the '50s was a very, very dangerous time. And there were so many harebrained schemes that were going on. ..."
"... The great independent journalist I.F. Stone mentioned that the word for lunar, for moon, in Latin is Luna. And he said, we should have a new department in the cabinet and call it the Department of Lunacy because of the crazy ideas that were being promulgated at the time. ..."
"... Well, the Cuban Missile Crisis is very important because now we're going through the Korean Missile Crisis, and if Trump has his way, we'll also go through the Iranian Missile Crisis. And the last time we were this close to nuclear war was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. What happens there is that Khrushchev, in order to try to accomplish two things, or three things, really. ..."
"... And so, we were planning, we had the plans in place to overthrow the Cuban government, number one. Number two, Khrushchev wanted a credible deterrent. The Americans learned, Kennedy says, "Let's find out what the reality of the Missile Gap is." And he has McNamara do the study. We find out that there is a Missile Gap. By October of '61, we find out that there is a Missile Gap, and it's in our favor. The United States is ahead between 10 to 1 and 100 to 1 over the Soviet Union in every important category. ..."
"... He said, "We would've definitely destroyed Cuba and probably wiped out the Soviet Union as well." So, that's how close we came at this time. Which is again, as Robert Gates, another hawk, warns, "The United States should not invade Syria," he said. "Or should not bomb Syria because haven't we learned anything from Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, that whenever these things happen, you never know what the consequences are going to be. It's always the unintended consequences that are going to get you." ..."
"... It takes two to tango. The idea that the US is solely to blame for the continuation of the Cold War, or that the US is solely to blame for a revival is Soviet/Russian propaganda. Great powers are aggressive, and rarely circumspect. ..."
"... And given Churchill's anathema toward Communism in general, and the Soviet Union in particular, and given that he was the architect of the Cold War from the West I find the idea of him being a peacenik to be bizarre. ..."
"... They do not appreciate that there are different manifestations of both economic models. (Neoliberalism is eating us alive.) They do not appreciate that communism was probably the salvation of both post-war Russia and China. They conflate socialism with communism, view high taxes as communistic, and ignore that the countries with the highest standard of living are quite socialist. ..."
"... Ike was so right about the Military-Industrial complex, and yet we have only enabled it to grow to the point that it dominates every political decision – every law – every regulation in ways that ensure weapons are expended so more can take their place; and more weapons need to be developed because the boogeyman out there (pick a regime) probably, maybe, could be building an even nastier weapon. Make no mistake, Sputnik was viewed as evidence that the Russians already had better weapons and that they would take over "outer space" and we would thus be at their mercy. Back in the 60s the US did worry that communism was working better than capitalism, and that fear enabled a lot of foreign policy (gunboat diplomacy). ..."
"... Capitalism has fatal flaws, but we should all thank Communism died the way it did. ..."
"... not like capitalism didn't murder a few proletarians if murder is the standard, both are condemned ..."
"... the vast bulk of provocations and exacerbations in that now-reprised Cold War were a pas de deluxe, not mostly driven by our own insane US leaders, like the ones discussed in small detail in the post. Conveniently ignoring the whole escalation process of the Exceptional Empire doing the "policies" of the Dulleses and their clan, the craziness of stuff like the John Birchers and the McCarthy thing, and the madness of MAD (which I believe was a notion coined by that nest of vipers called RAND, that "we have to be understood to be insane enough to commit suicide, to kill the whole planet, for the 'deterrent effect' of Massive Retaliation (forget that the US policy and military structure very seriously intended a first strike on the Evil Soviets for quite a long time, and are now building "small nukes" for 'battlespace use' as if there are no knock-on consequences.) ..."
"... Russia suffered 20 million dead in WW II, pretty much won that war against fascism, and the leaders there get dang little decrepit for being (so far) so much more the "grownups in the room" in the Great Game Of RISK! ™ that our idiot rulers are playing. Go look up how many times, however, beyond that vast set of slapstick plays that led to the "Cuban Missile Crisis", the human part of the world skated up, by combinations of accident and error, to getting its death wish. And the main impetus for the nuclear "standoff" has been the US and the "policies" forwarded by "our" insane rulers and militarists. ..."
"... Guys, I generally treasure the NC comments section, and I am not singling anyone out, but some of the rhetoric here is starting to remind me of ZeroHedge doomp&rn. Let's please recover some perspective. ..."
"... Every year of human history since the expulsion from Eden will let us cherry pick overwhelming evidence that the lunatics were running the asylum. Or that every generation of our forebears gleefully built our civilization atop heaps of skulls of [insert oppressed groups here]. ..."
"... Such faith we have in ourselves, and such little evidence other than maybe a couple of world wars and long histories of the loonies playing stupid with whole populations, that we don't need to worry about the concentrated efforts of the sociopathic lunatics to rise to positions of great power and do stupid stuff. ..."
"... "It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there" Was he subsequently co-opted, or BSing? ..."
"... But that doesn't help the millions who would die on the peninsula. Further, whats known as a Nuclear Famine could still occur, which would be pretty damn devastating for civilization, even if mankind itself manages to survive. ..."
"... Science is about doubt and skepticism. That's what the scientific process is. Doubt a nuclear winter: Ok, I'll bite. We have examples – Large Volcanic eruptions, and we have the year without a summer sometime in the 1830s I believe – that is in recorded History. The we searched to archeological record for more evidence, and found large die-offs following a layer of volcanic dust. Again and again, I believe. Quoting scientists who "doubt nuclear winter" requires more examination: ..."
"... Humanity might survive as a species but not as an idea. Am about halfway through the Ellsberg book and, yes, it does make Dr. Strangelove look like a documentary. Current thinking does not seem much changed. ..."
"... Something missing from the sequence of events here is that the main reason that the Kremlin put nuclear missiles in Cuba was the fact that more than 100 Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles were deployed in Italy and Turkey in 1961 by the US, thus cutting down any reaction time by Moscow to minutes in case of a US attack. ..."
"... The main – unacknowledged – part of the climb down from the Cuba missile crisis was that as Russia pulled its nuclear missiles out of Cuba, the US would do the same in Europe. It cooled things down again until Reagan was electe ..."
"... I had forgotten that the 50s had just as many crazies as present times – the Dulles brothers, Curtis LeMay, Edward Teller, J. Edgar Hoover – really scary people and probably founding members of the deep state. ..."
"... The Jupiter missile agreement was a secret at the time. Kennedy wanted to minimize the appearance of a quid-pro-quo. The subsequent presence of Pershings and Tomahawks in Europe (but not Turkey) was a reaction to the mobile IRBMs deployed by the Soviet Union. Which they still have. France and Britain have their own independent deterrents. Which is just as well, since the Pershings and Tomahawks were traded away as part of START/SALT. ..."
"... The more recent escalation of NATO into E Europe, the Baltics and the Ukraine are a definite violation of the spirit of the Cuban Missile Crisis agreement, and are pure aggression against a Russia that was seen as too weak to do anything about it until they did do something about it in 2014. ..."
"... An aggressive NATO is something I view with horror. One does not poke the bear. But Kissinger (the German) and Berzhinski (the Pole) are fanatically anti-Russian. They made up for the passing of Churchill. ..."
"... LeMay had suggested that we should perhaps wipe out the Soviet Union before they had the chance to catch up to us in nukes. It was an era ruled by fear of nuclear war–a fear that was unleashed by the use of the bomb in Japan. Truman and Byrnes (the latter in a meeting in his hometown–my hometown) rejected calls by some of the Los Alamos scientists to share the nuclear secrets with the Russians and forestall this arms race or so they hoped. ..."
"... This isn't accurate. Stalin tried repeatedly and even towards the end, desperately, to sign a treaty with the Britain and France. They rebuffed him because [he was a] Commie. He signed up with Hitler only after those efforts had clearly failed. It was a self-preservation move. It probably did buy him less time than he thought. But let's not kid ourselves: Hitler's first move otherwise would have been to the East. What were later the Allies would have been delighted to see him take over the USSR. This was why British aristos were so keen on Hitler, that he was seen as an answer to Communism and therefore "our kind of man". ..."
"... General LeMay was responsible for the death of a fifth (some say a third) of the North Korean population by saturation bombing with napalm, was he not? A third? Isn't that one in three? ..."
"... Additional books that shed light on both leaving the new deal behind and the Cuban missile crisis are (1) "The Devil's Chessboard" by Talbot and (2) "JFK and The Unspeakable" by Douglass. The first is mostly about Allen Dulles but has interesting chapters on McCarthy, Eisenhower, Nixon, etc. It is reasonably well foot-noted. The second is about the assassination and has loads of detail about the missile crisis and its power players. It is meticulously foot-noted. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on February 11, 2018 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

Jerri-Lynn here: Lest anyone be deluded into thinking that the current lunacy of Trump foreign policy is unprededented and ahistoric, part eight of an excellent Real News Network series on Undoing the New Deal reminds us this simply isn't so.

That series more generally discuses who helped unravel the New Deal and why. That was no accident, either. In this installment, historian Peter Kuznick says Eisenhower called for decreased militarization, then Dulles reversed the policy; the Soviets tried to end the cold war after the death of Stalin; crazy schemes involving nuclear weapons and the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba put the world of the eve of destruction.

Three things I've seen recently made me think readers might appreciate this interview. First, I recently finished reading Stephen Kinzer's The Brothers , about the baleful consequences of the control over US foreign policy by Dulles brothers– John Foster and Alan. These continue to reverberate to today. Well worth your time.

Over the hols, I watched Dr. Strangelove again. And I wondered, and this not for the first time: why has the world managed to survive to this day? Seems to me just matter of time before something spirals out of control– and then, that's a wrap.

Queued up on my beside table is Daniel Ellsberg's The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner . Haven't cracked the spine of that yet, so I'll eschew further commentary, except to say that I understand Ellsberg's provides vivid detail about just how close we've already come to annihilation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3ejpFDjks9M

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network, I'm Paul Jay. We're continuing our series of discussions on the Undoing of the New deal, and we're joined again by Professor Peter Kuznick, who joins us from Washington. Peter is a Professor of History, and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University. Thanks for joining us again Peter.

PETER KUZNICK: My pleasure, Paul.

PAUL JAY: So, before we move on to Kennedy, and then we're going to get to Johnson, you wanted to make a comment about Eisenhower, who made a couple of great sounding speeches about reducing military expenditure but I'm not sure how much that actually ever got implemented. But talk about this speech in, I guess, it's 1953, is it?

PETER KUZNICK: Yes. The world had a great opportunity in March of 1953 to reverse course rather than this insane military spending that was beginning. On March 5th, 1953, Stalin died. The Soviet leaders reached out to the United States. They offered the Americans an olive branch. They talked about changing the direction of our relations. They talked about, basically, ending the Cold War. We could've ended the Cold War as early as March 5, 1953, taken a different route. Eisenhower and the others in his administration debate what to do, how to respond. Churchill, who was now re-elected and back in office in England, begged the United States to hold a summit with the Soviet leaders and move toward peace, rather than belligerence and hostility. Eisenhower doesn't say anything publicly in response for six weeks. Then he makes a speech. It's a visionary speech. It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there

PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

PETER KUZNICK: This is not a way of life at all. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.� What a great speech and the Soviets were thrilled. They republished this. They reprinted it. They broadcast it over and over, and then two days later, John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, makes a speech reversing the whole thing. Instead of an olive branch, he gives the Soviets a middle finger and he accuses the Soviet Union of trying to overthrow every Democratic government in the world. The exact wrong message.

And so, it's sort of like Trump, where Tillerson says something sane and then Trump will undermine it two days later when it comes to North Korea. The same thing happened in 1953 with Eisenhower and Dulles. We're really much more on the same page, but if you look at the third world response, you've got the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955, and the third world leaders are all saying, "We have to be independent. We have to be neutral." They say, "It is insane to spend all these dollars and all these rubles on the military when we need money for development."

PAUL JAY: So, what went on with Eisenhower, making that kind of speech? He's not known for any big increase in social spending domestically. He helps build, as you said, the military industrial complex, especially the nuclear side of it. So, what was that speech about, and then how does he allow Dulles to contradict him two days later?

PETER KUZNICK: That's one of the mysteries. That's why writing books on the debate, what was going on in that administration. Did Eisenhower speak for it or did Dulles speak for it? Was Eisenhower the militarist or was Dulles the militarist? In many ways, the '50s was a very, very dangerous time. And there were so many harebrained schemes that were going on.

We talked a little bit about Sputnik but one of the proposals after that was to blast a hydrogen bomb on the surface of the moon to show the world that we really are the strongest. And they talked about putting missile bases on the moon, and then the idea was to have the Soviets respond by putting their own missile bases on the moon. We could put ours on distant planets, so that we could then hit the Soviet bases on the moon. The great independent journalist I.F. Stone mentioned that the word for lunar, for moon, in Latin is Luna. And he said, we should have a new department in the cabinet and call it the Department of Lunacy because of the crazy ideas that were being promulgated at the time.

This comes across, really, with the nuclear policies. So, when McGeorge Bundy asks Dan Ellsberg in 1961 to find out from the Joint Chiefs what would be, how many people would die as a result of America's nuclear launch in the event of a war with the Soviet Union, the Pentagon comes back with the idea that between 600 and 650 million people would die from America's weapons alone in our first PSYOP. And that doesn't even account for nuclear winter, which would have killed us all, or the numbers who would be killed by the Soviet weapons. That includes at least 100 million of our own allies in Western Europe.

We are talking about a period the lunacy and insanity was captured best by Stanley Kubrick in Dr. Strangelove in 1964. That policy was so close to what was actually occurring at the time. Did Eisenhower speak for this? When Eisenhower wanted to, one of his visions was for planetary excavation using hydrogen bombs. People should study the lunacy of Project Plowshare.

PAUL JAY: They used to have tourism to go look at nuclear tests outside of Las Vegas and people would sit just a few miles away with sunglasses on.

PETER KUZNICK: And we sent American soldiers into the blast area, knowing that they were going to be irradiated. Yeah, the irrationality in these times. People are going to look back at the Trump administration and if we're here later, maybe they'll laugh at us. If we survive this period, they'll laugh. They'll look back and say, "Look at the craziness of this period." Well, if you look at the history of the '50s and early '60s, you see a lot of that same kind of craziness in terms of the policies that were actually implemented at the time, and the ones, for example, one of the ideas was to melt the polar ice caps using hydrogen bombs. We wanted to increase polar melting. We wanted to increase the temperature on the planet by exploding nuclear bombs.

PAUL JAY: And this was to do, to what end?

PETER KUZNICK: For what end? I'm not sure. I mean, one-

PAUL JAY: Well, they may get their way, the way things are heading right now. They may get that.

PETER KUZNICK: And one of the things from Trump's National Security speech was to not talk about, or to say that global warming is not a National Security concern as Obama and others had believed it was. But they wanted to actually redirect hurricanes by setting off hydrogen bombs in the atmosphere in the path of the hurricane, so they could redirect hurricanes. They wanted to build new harbors by setting off hydrogen bombs. They wanted to have a new canal across the, instead of the Panama canal, with hydrogen bombs and reroute rivers in the United States.

I mean, crazy, crazy ideas that was considered American policy. And actually, it was the Soviets who saved us because Eisenhower wanted to begin to do these programs, but the Soviets would not allow, would not give the United States the right to do that because there was a temporary test ban in the late 1950s. And Eisenhower would have had to abrogate that in order to begin these projects.

PAUL JAY: Okay. Let's catch up. So, we had just, the last part dealt with some of Kennedy. We get into the 1960s. Kennedy is as preoccupied with the Cold War, the beginning of the Vietnam War, Cuba, the Missile Crisis. And we had left off right at the moment of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Give us a really quick recap because I think on this issue of militarization and former policy, we kind of have to do a whole nother series that focuses more on that. We're trying to get more into this issue of the New Deal and what happened to domestic social reforms in the context of this massive military expenditure. But talk a bit about that moment of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

PETER KUZNICK: Well, the Cuban Missile Crisis is very important because now we're going through the Korean Missile Crisis, and if Trump has his way, we'll also go through the Iranian Missile Crisis. And the last time we were this close to nuclear war was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. What happens there is that Khrushchev, in order to try to accomplish two things, or three things, really.

One is to, he knows the United States is planning an invasion of Cuba. The United States had been carrying out war games, massive war games, 40,000 people participating in these war games. Like now, we're carrying out war games off the Korean coast. And the war game that was planned for October of '62 was called Operation Ortsac. Anybody who doesn't get it? Certainly the Soviets did. Ortsac is Castro spelled backwards.

And so, we were planning, we had the plans in place to overthrow the Cuban government, number one. Number two, Khrushchev wanted a credible deterrent. The Americans learned, Kennedy says, "Let's find out what the reality of the Missile Gap is." And he has McNamara do the study. We find out that there is a Missile Gap. By October of '61, we find out that there is a Missile Gap, and it's in our favor. The United States is ahead between 10 to 1 and 100 to 1 over the Soviet Union in every important category.

Still, the pressure was to increase America's missiles and so, the Strategic Air Command in the Air Force wanted to increase our missiles by 3,000. McNamara figures that the least number he can get away with is to increase our intercontinental ballistic missiles by 1,000 even though we're ahead 10 to 1 already at that point. The Kremlin interpreted that, and said, "Why is the US increasing its missiles when it's so far ahead of us?" They said, "Obviously, the United States is preparing for a first strike against the Soviet Union." That was the Kremlin interpretation. It needed a credible deterrent.

They knew that, initially they thought, "Well, the fact that we can take out Berlin will be a credible enough deterrent. The Americans will never attack." Then they realized that that wouldn't be a sufficient deterrent to some of the hawks in the American military, the Curtis LeMays, who had a lot of influence at the time. Or before that, the Lemnitzers. And so, they decide, "Well, we've got to put missiles in Cuba, which is a more credible deterrent."

And the third is that Khrushchev wanted to appease his hawks. Khrushchev's strategy was to build up Soviet consumer economy. He said, "The Soviet people want washing machines. They want cars. They want houses. That's what we need." And so, he wanted to decrease defense spending and one of the cheap ways to do that was to put the missiles in Cuba. So, they do that foolishly. It's a crazy policy because they don't announce it. It's very much like the movie Strangelove, where Khrushchev was planning to announce that the missiles were in Cuba on the anniversary of the Soviet Revolution. That was coming up in a couple-

PAUL JAY: You mean Dr. Strangelove, meaning what's the point of a doomsday machine if you don't tell people you've got it?

PETER KUZNICK: As Strangelove says, "Well what's the point of the doomsday machine if you don't announce that you have it?" And then, the Americans didn't, the Soviets didn't announce that they had the, if they had announced that the missiles were there, then the United States could not have invaded Cuba the way the military wanted. They could not have bombed Cuba. It would've been an effective deterrent, especially if they announced that also, that the missiles were there, that the warheads were there and that they also had put 100 battlefield nuclear weapons inside Cuba.

That would have meant that there was no possibility of the United States invading and that the deterrent would've actually worked. But they didn't announce it. And so, the United States plans for an invasion and we got very close to doing so. But again, the intelligence was abysmal. We knew where 33 of the 42 missiles were. We didn't find the other missiles. We didn't know that the battlefield nuclear weapons were there. We didn't know that the missiles were ready to be armed.

And so, the United States was operating blind. We thought that there were 10,000 armed Soviets in Cuba. Turns out, there were 42,000 armed Soviets. We thought that there were 100,000 armed Cubans. Turns out, there were 270,000 armed Cubans. Based on the initial intelligence, McNamara said, "If we had invaded, we figured we'd suffer 18,000 casualties, 4,500 dead." When he later finds out how many troops there actually were there, he says, "Well, that would've been 25,000 Americans dead." When he finds out that there were 100 battlefield nuclear weapons as well, he doesn't find that out until 30 years later, and then he turns white, and he says, "Well that would've meant we would've lost 100,000 American Troops." Twice as many, almost, as we lost in Vietnam.

He said, "We would've definitely destroyed Cuba and probably wiped out the Soviet Union as well." So, that's how close we came at this time. Which is again, as Robert Gates, another hawk, warns, "The United States should not invade Syria," he said. "Or should not bomb Syria because haven't we learned anything from Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, that whenever these things happen, you never know what the consequences are going to be. It's always the unintended consequences that are going to get you."

Which we learned in Cuba. We learned in Iraq and Afghanistan or we should've learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Obviously, Trump hasn't learned it and we had better learn before we do something crazy now in Korea.

PAUL JAY: All right, thanks, Peter. And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 5:28 am

It takes two to tango. The idea that the US is solely to blame for the continuation of the Cold War, or that the US is solely to blame for a revival is Soviet/Russian propaganda. Great powers are aggressive, and rarely circumspect. The existence of nuclear weapons, was what prevented either the US or the Soviet Union/Russia from attacking each other. Otherwise the sport of kings would have continued as usual.

And given Churchill's anathema toward Communism in general, and the Soviet Union in particular, and given that he was the architect of the Cold War from the West I find the idea of him being a peacenik to be bizarre.

Chris , February 11, 2018 at 9:49 am

It's always that word, "communism", isn't it? As long as that word is used, everything is justifiable. If you look at it closely, it would seem that the Russians have discovered that communism is every bit as susceptible to corruption as capitalism. Communism has been, in fact, MORE discredited than capitalism (for now.) With Russia on the other side of the planet, what would be the harm in letting whatever failed ideologies they have fail like Kansas failed? As Jesus might say, "Ah Ye of little faith."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2017/06/07/the-great-kansas-tax-cut-experiment-crashes-and-burns/

Tomonthebeach , February 11, 2018 at 1:03 pm

The vast majority of Americans today have no idea what communism is. Most cannot even thing about communism in terms of it being just another economic system different from capitalism. (No, it is slavery!) They do not appreciate that there are different manifestations of both economic models. (Neoliberalism is eating us alive.) They do not appreciate that communism was probably the salvation of both post-war Russia and China. They conflate socialism with communism, view high taxes as communistic, and ignore that the countries with the highest standard of living are quite socialist.

In many cases, Americans vote against their own interests just because some pol labels a new social program as communist so he can give his new bill and edge.

Ike was so right about the Military-Industrial complex, and yet we have only enabled it to grow to the point that it dominates every political decision – every law – every regulation in ways that ensure weapons are expended so more can take their place; and more weapons need to be developed because the boogeyman out there (pick a regime) probably, maybe, could be building an even nastier weapon. Make no mistake, Sputnik was viewed as evidence that the Russians already had better weapons and that they would take over "outer space" and we would thus be at their mercy. Back in the 60s the US did worry that communism was working better than capitalism, and that fear enabled a lot of foreign policy (gunboat diplomacy).

Trump is anything if he is not politically and strategically a dim wit. Thus he probably buys into the communist boogeyman scenario common in our culture. He is likely attracted to the economic stimulus that more guns and less butter offer in the short run. Our problems seems to hinge on leaders who limit their action to the short run, and the long run (ensuring survival of the human species?), well, they never get around to that.

Moocao , February 11, 2018 at 8:09 pm

I would not be so loving over the "communistic ideals". My great grandparents were murdered for the fact that one was a postal office manager, another was a sock factory owner. Believe what you want, but communism is far from just an economic theory.

Communism, once you force the politics into the economic theory, is this: equality of all men, regardless of abilities, and damn if you started off well because everything will be taken from you. Your life is not your own, your family is not your own, your work is not your own: it belongs to the state.

Capitalism has fatal flaws, but we should all thank Communism died the way it did.

Duck1 , February 11, 2018 at 11:10 pm

not like capitalism didn't murder a few proletarians if murder is the standard, both are condemned

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

Yaas, it's just Putin friendly propaganda, that's all. Let us persuade ourselves that the vast bulk of provocations and exacerbations in that now-reprised Cold War were a pas de deluxe, not mostly driven by our own insane US leaders, like the ones discussed in small detail in the post. Conveniently ignoring the whole escalation process of the Exceptional Empire doing the "policies" of the Dulleses and their clan, the craziness of stuff like the John Birchers and the McCarthy thing, and the madness of MAD (which I believe was a notion coined by that nest of vipers called RAND, that "we have to be understood to be insane enough to commit suicide, to kill the whole planet, for the 'deterrent effect' of Massive Retaliation (forget that the US policy and military structure very seriously intended a first strike on the Evil Soviets for quite a long time, and are now building "small nukes" for 'battlespace use' as if there are no knock-on consequences.)

How does one break the cycle of ever-increasing vulnerability and eventual destruction, that includes the extraction and combustion and all the other decimations of a livable planet? how to do that when the Imperial Rulers are insane, by any sensible definition of insanity? And the Russians sure seem to be wiser and more restrained (barring some provocation that trips one of their own Doomsday Devices that they have instituted to try to counter the ridiculous insane provocations and adventures of the Empire?

Maybe revert to "Duck and cover?" Or that Civil Defense posture by one of the Reaganauts, one T.K. Jones, who wanted Congress to appropriate $252 million (1980 dollars) for Civil Defense, mostly for SHOVELS: in the firmly held belief that "we can fight and win a nuclear war with the Soviet Union:"

Three times Mr. Jones – or someone speaking in his name – agreed to testify. Three times he failed to appear. The Pentagon finally sent a pinch-hitter, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. But the Senate wants Mr. Jones. It wants an authoritative explanation of his plan to spend $252 million on civil defense. Evidently, most of that money will go for shovels.

For this is how the alleged Mr. Jones describes the alleged civil defense strategy: "Dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors and then throw three feet of dirt on top. It's the dirt that does it."

Mr. Jones seems to believe that the United States could recover fully, in two to four years, from an all-out nuclear attack. As he was quoted in The Los Angeles Times: "Everybody's going to make it if there are enough shovels to go around."

Dig on, Senator Pressler. We're all curious.

Russia suffered 20 million dead in WW II, pretty much won that war against fascism, and the leaders there get dang little decrepit for being (so far) so much more the "grownups in the room" in the Great Game Of RISK! ™ that our idiot rulers are playing. Go look up how many times, however, beyond that vast set of slapstick plays that led to the "Cuban Missile Crisis", the human part of the world skated up, by combinations of accident and error, to getting its death wish. And the main impetus for the nuclear "standoff" has been the US and the "policies" forwarded by "our" insane rulers and militarists.

"Tu Quoque" is an especially weak and inapposite and insupportable argument in this context.

Chris , February 11, 2018 at 10:28 am

SPOT ON! IF Robby Mook and the gang can stir up a Russian frenzy from hell based on nothing more than sour grapes, and IF what we know about the deep state is only the tip of the iceberg, and IF the media is largely under the control of the 'Gov, THEN a logical human must at least be open to the possibility that there is also such a thing as American propaganda, must (s)he not?

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2018/01/08/hillarys-campaign-manager-the-russia-investigation-is-not-a-winning-strategy-n2429189

Summer , February 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Indeed, WWII was never a war against fascism, just particular fascists that ventured off the establishment reservation.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Yes. Nobody invaded Argentina when Juan Peron et al took over. Hitler and Mussolini could have died as dictators decades later if they had simply kept their armies home.

ObjectiveFunction , February 11, 2018 at 11:20 am

Guys, I generally treasure the NC comments section, and I am not singling anyone out, but some of the rhetoric here is starting to remind me of ZeroHedge doomp&rn. Let's please recover some perspective.

Every year of human history since the expulsion from Eden will let us cherry pick overwhelming evidence that the lunatics were running the asylum. Or that every generation of our forebears gleefully built our civilization atop heaps of skulls of [insert oppressed groups here].

Yet during the Cold War, there were plenty of prominent people calling out the McCarthys and Lemays of the world as loons (and behind the Curtain, even Stalin was removed from key posts before his death). Guess what, sane generally wins out over the mad king. The arc of history indeed bends toward justice, though never without sacrifice and diligent truthseeking. The ones to worry about are the snake oil merchants, who pee on our shoes and tell us it's raining.
g.

Here endeth my catechism.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Keep whistling past the graveyard: http://nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/issues/accidents/20-mishaps-maybe-caused-nuclear-war.htm

Such faith we have in ourselves, and such little evidence other than maybe a couple of world wars and long histories of the loonies playing stupid with whole populations, that we don't need to worry about the concentrated efforts of the sociopathic lunatics to rise to positions of great power and do stupid stuff.

Summer , February 11, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Yes, this is what the world gets when technological advancement is combined with a socio-economic system that rewards sociopathic tendencies. A system advanced by propaganda (disguised as entertainment and education) backed up with the barrell of a gun and cameras everywhere.

bob , February 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm

"The arc of history indeed bends toward justice"

You're going to need some proof for that wild, completely baseless claim.

oaf , February 11, 2018 at 6:57 am

"It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there" Was he subsequently co-opted, or BSing?

Don Midwest , February 11, 2018 at 6:58 am

This article is not scary enough. Find out that in 1983 there was almost a nuclear war. Both sides have a first strike strategy and a Russian general thought that actions of Reagan were getting ready for the first strike and he was going to strike first. And during the Cuban missile crisis, Russian subs had nuclear weapons on them and we dropped low level depth charges on them and we didn't know that they were armed.

This is a very long interview of Daniel Ellsberg in Seattle on Jan 9, 2018.

Daniel Ellsberg with Daniel Bessner:
The Doomsday Machine

Now that everyone, except many in the USA, knows that when the USA changes a government that the country is ruined, this may have forced North and South Korea to get together.

Ellsberg says that any nukes used in the Korean Peninsula would result in at least 1 million dead and while 60 million in WWII were killed during the course of the war, with nukes that many cold be killed in a week. And then, nuclear winter would finish off the rest of us.

I am scared.

Massinissa , February 11, 2018 at 10:13 am

To be fair, there are now doubts among scientists that Nuclear Winter as classically described would even be a thing.

But that doesn't help the millions who would die on the peninsula. Further, whats known as a Nuclear Famine could still occur, which would be pretty damn devastating for civilization, even if mankind itself manages to survive.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Some scientists doubt global warming too. Got support for your assertion? https://www.popsci.com/article/science/computer-models-show-what-exactly-would-happen-earth-after-nuclear-war

Synoia , February 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Science is about doubt and skepticism. That's what the scientific process is. Doubt a nuclear winter: Ok, I'll bite. We have examples – Large Volcanic eruptions, and we have the year without a summer sometime in the 1830s I believe – that is in recorded History. The we searched to archeological record for more evidence, and found large die-offs following a layer of volcanic dust. Again and again, I believe. Quoting scientists who "doubt nuclear winter" requires more examination:

List them, together with their credentials and "donor$."

Donald , February 11, 2018 at 3:07 pm

You can google nuclear winter early enough. And yes, there are scientists who are skeptical for various reasons. The only group that has written a paper on it in recent years is composed of some of the same scientists who originally proposed it and they think it is real.

Reasons for skepticism include doubt about the amount of smoke that would be produced. And the volcano and asteroid comparisons are imperfect because the details are different. People used to talk about volcanic dust, and now it is mostly sulfuric acid droplets. With asteroids the initial thought was the KT boundary layer represented trillions of tons of submicron size dust and then Melosh proposed ejects blasted around the world heated the upper atmosphere and ignited global fires and created soot and then his grad student Tamara Goldin wrote her dissertation saying the heat might not be quite enough to do that and then people suggested it was ( I won't go into why) and others suggested the bolide hit sulfur layers .

The point is that there is not a consensus about the detailed atmospheric effects of either large asteroid impacts or of super volcanoes like Toba and yet we do have some evidence because these things happened. We don't have an example to study in tge geologic record where hundreds of cities were hit simultaneously with nuclear weapons.

I could go on, but I don't want to give the impression I have a strong opinion either way, because I don't. But I think the case for global warming is overwhelming because vastly more people are working on it and it is happening in front of us. It is not just computer models.

Sy Krass , February 11, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Forget possible nuclear winter, the economic effects alone would be worth 10 Lehman brothers (2008 meltdowns). And then the knock on effects would cause other knock on effects like other wars. Even without a nuclear winter, civilization would probably collapse within 18 months anyway.

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 5:32 pm

All this, while true, only change the details not the results. The Chicxulub impact almost certainly exterminated the majority of then living species, and the Toba Supervolcano probably almost caused our extinction. That suggest throwing massive amounts of anything into the atmosphere is not good.

As a student I would like to know the details, but in practice, it's like arguing whether a snow storm or a blizzard killed someone. Humanity as a species would probably survive a nuclear war okay, but many(most?) individuals as well as our planetary civilization would be just as dead. The numbers dying would be slightly different is all.

rfdawn , February 11, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Humanity might survive as a species but not as an idea. Am about halfway through the Ellsberg book and, yes, it does make Dr. Strangelove look like a documentary. Current thinking does not seem much changed.

Jer Bear , February 11, 2018 at 7:07 am

Trump, like everyone before him, will do what Kissinger advises him to do.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2018 at 8:11 am

Something missing from the sequence of events here is that the main reason that the Kremlin put nuclear missiles in Cuba was the fact that more than 100 Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles were deployed in Italy and Turkey in 1961 by the US, thus cutting down any reaction time by Moscow to minutes in case of a US attack.

The main – unacknowledged – part of the climb down from the Cuba missile crisis was that as Russia pulled its nuclear missiles out of Cuba, the US would do the same in Europe. It cooled things down again until Reagan was elected.

I had forgotten that the 50s had just as many crazies as present times – the Dulles brothers, Curtis LeMay, Edward Teller, J. Edgar Hoover – really scary people and probably founding members of the deep state.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author , February 11, 2018 at 8:26 am

Excellent point about the missiles deployed in Turkey and Italy– and one I might have mentioned if I had remembered it, absent your prod.

Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 9:02 am

The Jupiter missile agreement was a secret at the time. Kennedy wanted to minimize the appearance of a quid-pro-quo. The subsequent presence of Pershings and Tomahawks in Europe (but not Turkey) was a reaction to the mobile IRBMs deployed by the Soviet Union. Which they still have. France and Britain have their own independent deterrents. Which is just as well, since the Pershings and Tomahawks were traded away as part of START/SALT.

The more recent escalation of NATO into E Europe, the Baltics and the Ukraine are a definite violation of the spirit of the Cuban Missile Crisis agreement, and are pure aggression against a Russia that was seen as too weak to do anything about it until they did do something about it in 2014.

An aggressive NATO is something I view with horror. One does not poke the bear. But Kissinger (the German) and Berzhinski (the Pole) are fanatically anti-Russian. They made up for the passing of Churchill.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Just recently Russia deployed more nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to the Kaliningrad enclave between Poland and Lithuania. Maybe something to do with all those special forces NATO keeps stationing on the Russian border?

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:14 pm

And all the a -- -oles who Command and Rule, and most of the commentariat and punditry, all treat these affairs as if they are playing some Brobdingnagian Game of Risk ™, where as with Monopoly (which was originally intended to teach a very different lesson) the object of the game is all about TAKING OVER THE WHOLE WORLD, WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA an idiotic froth on top of an ever more dangerous brew of exponentially increasing,and largely ignored, mutual if often asymmetric, deadly vulnerability.

Stupid effing humans and their vast stupid monkey tricks

Carolinian , February 11, 2018 at 9:14 am

LeMay had suggested that we should perhaps wipe out the Soviet Union before they had the chance to catch up to us in nukes. It was an era ruled by fear of nuclear war–a fear that was unleashed by the use of the bomb in Japan. Truman and Byrnes (the latter in a meeting in his hometown–my hometown) rejected calls by some of the Los Alamos scientists to share the nuclear secrets with the Russians and forestall this arms race or so they hoped.

So no the crazy didn't start with Trump and Trump had even advocated we make nice with the Russians until the Dems, their remnants at State and Defense and the press forced him to change course (on threat of impeachment). The elites who have gained more or less permanent power over the direction of this country are a threat to us all.

Anyhow, thanks for the above post. Those who forget history ..

polecat , February 11, 2018 at 11:51 am

Let's not forget the little country that could with it's aggregated threat of 300+ undeclared
They're 'in-the-mix' too !

Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 12:02 pm

In so far as the US has moved away from the JFK view of nuclear deterrence to the LeMay view of nuclear first strike we are dead.

David , February 11, 2018 at 11:07 am

Different world. The first generation of nuclear weapons had yields (around 20-30Kt) that were comprehensible in terms of conventional bombing, which of course would have required many more aircraft but was also much more efficient per tonne of explosives. For the formative years after 1945, therefore, people thought of nuclear weapons as weapons in the classic sense and, at that time, nobody really knew that much about the effects of radiation and fallout. This all changed with the advent of the hydrogen bomb, but even then it took a long time for the likely catastrophic effects of the use of such weapons in large numbers to sink in. Nuclear technology, and both delivery and guidance systems, evolved far more quickly than rationales for their use could be found. Indeed, you can say that the Cold War was a period when nuclear powers found themselves acquiring weapons with technologies that couldn't actually be used, but couldn't be un-invented either. Enormous intellectual effort went into trying to provide post-hoc rationales for having these weapons, some of it very ingenious, most of it wasted.

Don't forget the role of paranoia either. NSC-68, the report that formalized US strategy during the Cold War, reads today like the ravings of a group of lunatics, seeing, almost literally, Reds under the beds. And if Stalin was dead, the Soviet leadership had just gone through a war which had cost them almost 30 million dead, and any, literally any, sacrifice was worth it to make sure that they prevented another war, or at least won it quickly.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 11:56 am

Dr. Strangelove has moved from the archive boxes of historical artifacts to being a "must see" movie again.

Baby Gerald , February 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

It never left the 'must see' list. Its just moved higher up the rankings in recent months, what with all this 'collaboration' conspiracy drivel.

From wikipedia :

US military casualties in WW2: 407,300
US civilian casualties in WW2: 12,100

USSR military casualties in WW2: estimated by various sources [see the footnotes] between 8,668,000 to 11,400,000.
USSR civilian casualties in WW2: 10,000,000 [plus another 6-7 million deaths from famine, a line in the table that is completely blank for the US]

Simply put, for every American that died, somewhere between a thousand to two thousand of their Russian counterparts were killed. And somehow people in the US were convinced and worried that Russia wanted to start yet another war when they still hadn't finished burying the dead from the last one.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 3:06 pm

1. Stalin made his pact with the devil that gave Hitler free rein to invade Poland and France. Hitler then invaded Russia from Poland as the jumping off point. Stalin miscalculated big-time.

2. Invaded countries always have many more civilian countries than un-invaded ones.

3. Germany started WW II only 20 years after the end of WW I that also slaughtered 2 million German soldiers. Past losses generally does not appear to impact the decision-making of dictators regarding new wars. So it would have been irrational for the West to think that the USSR had no intent to expand its borders. That was the blunder that France and Britain made in 1938-39. However, the paranoia did get extreme in the Cold War.

Yves Smith , February 11, 2018 at 6:03 pm

This isn't accurate. Stalin tried repeatedly and even towards the end, desperately, to sign a treaty with the Britain and France. They rebuffed him because [he was a] Commie. He signed up with Hitler only after those efforts had clearly failed. It was a self-preservation move. It probably did buy him less time than he thought. But let's not kid ourselves: Hitler's first move otherwise would have been to the East. What were later the Allies would have been delighted to see him take over the USSR. This was why British aristos were so keen on Hitler, that he was seen as an answer to Communism and therefore "our kind of man".

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm

The Poles have been the Germans and Russians chewtoy ever since it was completely partitioned. All the countries immediately around Russia have been horribly abused by Russia. Putin is doing his country no favors by reminding everyone of that. He can cow them into submission, but like the American government is finding, just because they are doesn't mean they cannot cause trouble. Heck, the current Great Game could be said to have started with the Soviet-Afghanistan War.

Going into the war every country was unprepared and unwilling to fight and had difficulty choices. The German military itself was not prepared. It was Hitler's choice to start when and where and by 1938 everyone knew it. Hitler was surprised that France and Great Britain honored their guarantee to Poland.

As evil as Stalin's regime was, and his invasion of Poland was just as bad as Hitler's at first, I don't think most people really understood just how evil the Nazis were and what they were planning on doing for Germany's living space. It was worse than anything that Stalin did and between the Ukrainian famine, the Great Purges, the takeover of the Baltic States, the invasion of Finland, etc he did serious evil.

Harold , February 11, 2018 at 3:17 pm

General LeMay was responsible for the death of a fifth (some say a third) of the North Korean population by saturation bombing with napalm, was he not? A third? Isn't that one in three?

xformbykr , February 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Additional books that shed light on both leaving the new deal behind and the Cuban missile crisis are (1) "The Devil's Chessboard" by Talbot and (2) "JFK and The Unspeakable" by Douglass. The first is mostly about Allen Dulles but has interesting chapters on McCarthy, Eisenhower, Nixon, etc. It is reasonably well foot-noted. The second is about the assassination and has loads of detail about the missile crisis and its power players. It is meticulously foot-noted.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm

For those with a shred of remaining optimism who want to be rid of it, might I suggest a book titled "With Enough Shovels" by Robert Scheer. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-scheer-4/with-enough-shovels-reagan-bush-and-nuclear-war/

I was going to post the text of the short review, but all I got at the moment is this blankety iPhone and its limits with cut and paste.

Not many read books anyway these days, and what sufficient moiety of them will form the groundswell that tips over the Juggernaut we are all pushing and pulling and riding toward the cliff?

I read this stuff mostly to sense which hand holds the knife and not to go down asking "What happened? What did it all mean?"

John k , February 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Trump has been bellicose re NK and Iran, but I see him as resisting the Syrian adventure, while cia plus military hawks pushing forward.
Dems today are real hawks, itching to confront Russia in both Syria and Ukraine the latter another place trump may be resisting hawks, the area has been quiet since the election, I.e. since dems were in charge.
It's an odd thought that in some theaters trump may be the sane one

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Yaas, nothing is happening in Ukraine, all is quiet on the Eastern Front of NATO: http://ukraine.csis.org/ Nuland has gone on to other conquests, and all that. The CIA and War Department have lost interest in that Conflict Zone. Nothing is happening. You are getting sleepy. Sleepy.

Yaas, nothing is happening. https://www.reuters.com/places/ukraine All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.

marku52 , February 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Yeah, the title of this post would lead one to believe that their is something uniquely horrible about Trump's foreign policy. From anything I can detect, her bellicose statement about a no-fly zone in Syria and her abject destruction of Libya, HRC's FP would have been even worse.

If she had been elected, we might already be in a ground war with the Russians in Syria. The only hopeful sign is that while Trump spends his day watching TeeVee, State, DOD, and CIA are all working at cross purposes and getting in each other's way.

Foreign policy? We have a foreign policy? If anybody finds it, will they please explain it to me?

William Beyer , February 11, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I almost never comment, although I rely on NC for most of my news and blood pressure control. You are a treasure.

May I recommend another book – "All Honorable Men" – by James Stewart Martin. Published in 1950 and shortly thereafter all bookstore copies were hoovered-up and burned by the CIA. It might have been referenced in one of the RNN segments, but I haven't slogged through all of them yet.

You can get a hardback at Amazon for a mere $298. An i-book is cheaper.

After reading "The Brothers," and "The Devil's Chessboard," I considered starting a non-profit using GPS technology – Piss-on-their-Graves.org.

J.Fever , February 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Forbidden bookshelf series $11.49 Barnes & Noble

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 2:47 pm

The Forbidden Bookshelf series by Open Media is fantastic. Sadly for dinosaurs like me, it is mostly ebooks, but they do the occasional hard copy reprints, and since much in the series would be out of print without Open Media, even the ebooks are great to have.

And it is interesting to see how many bothersome books just go away even without any "censorship" even with the First Amendment being the one right courts have consistently, and strongly, enforced.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Especially the right of corporate persons to one dollar, one vote speech..,

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 9:43 pm

I will take what I can get, even if as a college student, I don't have much "Free Speech."

:-)

shinola , February 11, 2018 at 4:07 pm

This article reminded me of an interesting/disturbing thing I saw on tv last night – a local news show had a bit on what to do in case of nuclear attack!

Boomers & older probably remember the drill: go to the basement or innermost room of the house, have 72 hours of food & water stashed & don't go outside for at least 3 days, etc. (yeah, that's the ticket).
Thought I was having a flashback to the 60's

Of course the best advice I ever heard on the subject was "Squat down, put your head between your knees & kiss your sweet [rear end] goodbye."

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 5:45 pm

Well, as I recall they were trying to give us the illusion of control so that we would not go all nihilistic or into a drunken fatalistic stupor. I don't know if telling people, like little JBird, that the bombs might start dropping anytime in which case you're just f@@@@d would have done any good.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Maybe they could digitally colourise and re-issue this old film again, you know, as a public service-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_1jkLxhh20

Of course, it took a long time till we learned that a nuclear attack would be more like this-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VG2aJyIFrA

Oregoncharles , February 11, 2018 at 4:41 pm

One interpretation of the Cold War, that I found revealing, was that the two "opposing" militaries colluded to magnify the threat so as to pump up their respective budgets. So both were essentially conning their own governments – and putting the whole world at risk in the process.

Of course, another big factor, equally obvious at the time, was (and is) that world "leaders," elected or not, can't resist the temptation to play chess with live pieces. They don't seem to care that people wind up dead, or that occasionally they put the whole world in danger.

Waking Up , February 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm

FYI: The first link to the Real News Network ends up at outlook.live.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author , February 11, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Fixed it. Thanks.

rkka , February 11, 2018 at 5:13 pm

It's SIOP, not PSYOP. SIOP stands for Single Integrated Operating Plan, which was what the first nuclear war plan was called. PSYOPS are Psychological Operations.

VietnamVet , February 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Having served in the first Cold War, it simply is beyond my comprehension that the Democrats restarted it all over again. Even weirder are the neo-con proponents of a First Strike. If the USA wins, at least one or two major cities (if not all) will be destroyed. New Zealand becomes the sequel to "On the Beach". We are in the same position as Germany in the 1930s except we know that the world war will destroy us. Tell me, how in the hell, did a few thousand U.S. soldiers and contractors ended up in the middle of Eastern Syria surrounded by Russians, the Syrian Arab Army and Shiite militias at risk of attack by Turkey?

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Tell me, how in the hell, did a few thousand U.S. soldiers and contractors ended up in the middle of Eastern Syria surrounded by Russians, the Syrian Arab Army and Shiite militias at risk of attack by Turkey?

Why they are needed to fight the evil-doers of course! Anything to protect our Freedom and the American Way. Now, ifyou keep asking these inconvenient questions, then "they" might start asking if you support the terrorists.

It's like when my half blind aged mother, and her possibly weaponized cane, is scrutinized as a possible al-Qaeda terrorist with a super hidden weapon, and I ask why it's 9/11 and the very bad people might hurt us.

Max4241 , February 11, 2018 at 8:10 pm

Nuclear winter. How quaint. Soot and dust. Rapid cooling. Crop failures. Starvation. Billions -perhaps- dead.

But life, certainly, will find a way!

Not in my world. All-out thermonuclear war means 250 nuclear reactors melt down simultaneously and several hundred thousand tons of loosely stored nuclear waste becomes aerosoled.

The resulting radiation blast burns the atmosphere off and the earth becomes a dead planet.

We can never look the thing straight in the eye. Take North Korea. We have been told, repeatedly, endlessly, that they have 20,000 artillery pieces trained on Seoul!

Again, how quaint. How SCARY! What we should be reading about, are the priority targets, the game changers:

http://res.heraldm.com/content/image/2012/03/23/20120323001281_0.jpg

Light those five softies up and you can say good-bye to South Korea forever.

Bobby Gladd , February 11, 2018 at 8:19 pm

"People should study the lunacy of Project Plowshare."
__

Yeah. In 1992 my wife was serving as the QA Mgr for the Nevada Test Site (NTS) nuke remediation project contractor. In 1993 a successful FOIA filing unearthed the Alaskan "Project Chariot." One of the brilliant Project Plowshare ideas was the potential utility of nuke detonations to carve out deep water harbors (they now deny it), so they took a bunch of irradiated soil from NTS and and spread it around on the tundra 130 miles N of the Arctic circle on the coast of the Chukchi Sea to "study potential environmental impacts."

The nuke "dredging" idea went nowhere, so they just plowed the irradiated crap under the surface, where it remained secret until the FOIA revelation decades later. DOE told my wife's company "go clean this shit up" (Eskimo tribes were freaking after finding out), so off goes my wife and her crew to spend the summer and fall living in tents guarded by armed polar bear guards (they had to first plow out a dirt & gravel runway, and flew everyone and all supplies in on STOL aircraft). They dug the test bed area all up (near Cape Thompson), assayed samples in an onsite radlab, put some 30 tons of "contaminated" Arctic soil in large sealed containers, barged it all down to Seattle, loaded it on trucks and drove it all back down to be buried at NTS.

Your tax dollars.

She looked so cute with her clipboard, and her orange vest, steel toed boots and hardhat.

JTMcPhee, February 11, 2018 at 9:26 pm

Did she get stuck dealing with any of the impossibly intractable problems at the Hanford Reservation? Anyone who doubts the massive stupidity of humans, read this: http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2008/06/a_tour_of_the_hanford_reveals.html

Disaster tourism. "Buffy, can we do Fukushima next?"

The Rev Kev, February 11, 2018 at 9:50 pm

As a teenager I read in a newspaper a proposal to use nuclear blasts to form a canal that would bring the sea to the middle of Australia and form an inland sea from which water could be drawn. We already had nuclear weapon being tested here ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_tests_in_Australia ) so there was no appetite for ideas like this.

[Feb 12, 2018] Israel's New Admirers The White Nationalist Right - FPIF

Notable quotes:
"... Harry Blain is a PhD student in political science at the Graduate Center, CUNY (City University of New York). ..."
Feb 12, 2018 | fpif.org

Israel's New Admirers: The White Nationalist Right

A famously anti-Semitic movement has come to admire modern Israel's "ethnonationalism." That speaks volumes about the ascent of the far right in the country.

By Harry Blain , February 6, 2018 .

Print Friendly, PDF & EmailPrint richard-spencer-israel-alt-right-racist

Richard Spencer (Photo: V@S / Flickr)

Much of the "alt-right" literature in the United States is exactly what you would expect.

Images of George Soros using his "globalist" tentacles to smite his political enemies. Thought pieces on a "white genocide" so devious that barely any white people have noticed it. Reflections on the "Islamification" of Europe .

However, there are some surprises.

Chief among them is the fact that Richard Spencer, one of the leading faces of the movement -- who led a Nazi-style salute to Donald Trump before a crowd of close-shaven, rapturous followers -- expresses great admiration for the one state in the world that calls itself Jewish. Other leading "alt-right" partisans, such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon , hold a similar view.

Why?

The Model "Ethno-State"

When Richard Spencer is asked about his preferred label, he sidelines "white supremacist" in favor of "identitarian" -- a term evoking flag waving and petitions rather than burning torches.

Like earlier proponents of an edgy yet "respectable" white supremacy , Spencer carefully dodges awkward questions about Hitler, Jews, and the Holocaust. Instead, he stays firmly on his own message: Multiculturalism has failed, civic nationalism is a sham, and the best solution for everyone is to live within self-contained, ethnically homogenous states.

It is here that Spencer finds a model in the state of Israel.

"You could say I am a white Zionist ," he told Israel's Channel 2 news in August 2017. He later described the Jewish state as "the most important and perhaps most revolutionary ethno-state" -- the "one that I turn to for guidance."

Many defenders of Israel reject the term "ethno-state" -- pointing, for instance, to the spirit of equality enshrined in the country's Declaration of Independence, and the right of its Arab citizens to vote and run for public office . There is also an academic debate on this question, split between those who describe Israel as an " ethnocracy " and, more sympathetically, as an " ethnic democracy ."

But, to find an answer, we only need to ask the people who run the country.

There's the prime minister who described the Arab citizens of Israel as a "demographic threat" ; the education minister who settled a cabinet debate by saying "I've killed lots of Arabs in my life and there's no problem with that"; or the justice minister who called Palestinian children " little snakes ."

"It doesn't matter what the nations of the world say," the public security minister said at the beginning of 2018. "The time has come to express our biblical right to the land."

Paranoia over the Israel's ethno-religious purity has never been confined to the right, either.

"Moderates" like the late Shimon Peres advocated a Palestinian state not out of any commitment to the principle of self-determination, but instead as the only way to ensure that the "demographic shadow" -- i.e., Palestinians inside Israel proper -- would "disappear."

Before the two-state idea, the early leaders of Israel's left-of-center Labor Party did things like reward Jewish " heroine mothers " who had more than ten children, and drafted " Absentee Property Laws " to make sure expelled Palestinians could never return to their homes.

It's worth underlining the fact that when Israeli leaders talk about a "demographic threat" -- otherwise known as the birth of a Palestinian -- they are often referring to fellow Israeli citizens : the 1.6 million Arabs who live within Israel's 1948 borders and make up 20 percent of its population.

What is their future within the Jewish State? Today, Israeli leaders give answers that Richard Spencer would be proud of.

"Peaceful Ethnic Separation"

Spencer and other American white nationalists always squirm when pressed on exactly how they plan to achieve their political vision for the United States. They are comfortable enough talking about limiting non-European immigration to stop what they call the " Third World invasion ," but they cannot escape the fact that around one in four Americans are not white. What's to be done with them?

The vaguely sinister solution is something they term " peaceful ethnic separation " -- an idea that has its roots in population "exchanges," such as between Greece and Turkey in 1923 , and more one-sided "transfers" like the expulsion of Germans from Central and Eastern Europe after the Second World War.

Supporters of Israel also like the idea.

" Transfer is not a dirty word ," the proud Zionist "intellectual" Ben Shapiro declared in 2003. Warning that "without drastic measures, the Arab dream will come true," Shapiro reassured his readers that "expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements."

Citing events in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II, Shapiro concluded that "if Germans, who had a centuries-old connection to the newly created Polish territory, could be expelled, then surely Palestinians, whose claim to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is dubious at best, can be expelled."

Israel's defense minister agrees. "There are many historical precedents for land and population swaps, and for the alteration of borders that enabled the creation of homogeneous states and the end of internal conflicts," he said in 2015 . Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while avoiding his colleagues' often bellicose language , has already flirted with such proposals, including by drawing up plans to "transfer" some Israeli Arabs into the West Bank and strip them of their citizenship .

Two points should be added here.

First, popular support for the most extreme form of "transfer" -- outright expulsion -- is widespread in Israel, often polling close to 50 percent among Jewish Israelis. Second, a similarly high proportion of Israeli Arabs not only don't want to leave Israel, but refer to themselves as " proud citizens ."

Thus, a large number of Israelis -- and their leaders -- want the Arabs to leave, and don't care whether it's voluntary or forced. They say as much openly and repeatedly. No wonder the American advocates of "White Zionism" are so impressed.

With Friends Like These

As Israeli politics and society continues its slide to the right, it will continue to find admirers like Richard Spencer. Aspiring "strong men" like Donald Trump will continue to flatter Israel's "tough-on-terrorism" politicians. Maybe Israeli flags will continue, somewhat surreally, to fly in the Protestant neighborhoods of Belfast.

But Israel's mask has slipped. Its leaders used to disguise their nastier solutions to the "Arab problem." Now they boast about them. They used to indulge the high rhetoric of liberal democracy. Now they hardly bother. They used to baulk at the "ethno-state" label. Now they embrace it.

What kinds of friends will this attract?

More Trumps, more Spencers, and whoever else emerges from the shadows of the far right across the world. A bleak picture for the self-proclaimed "sole democracy in the Middle East." Harry Blain is a PhD student in political science at the Graduate Center, CUNY (City University of New York).

[Feb 11, 2018] Western sanctions have been a net benefit to Russia over the last three years keeping capital in the country and giving the agricultural, food processing and light manufacturing industries some room to breathe and develop free from Western competition.

Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Peter Akuleyev , February 9, 2018 at 11:24 am GMT

Cohen is a Communist and reflexive hater of the United States in the Noam Chomsky mold. He is either naive or a fool if he believes half of what he is saying.

Russia never had a decent shot at democracy. The collapse of the Soviet Union was arranged by the Nomenklatura for their own benefit as a massive asset grab. The fight between Yeltsin and the Russian Parliament was basically a fight between two factions, and the Yeltsin/KGB faction beat the CPSU/Red Manager faction. Putin is very much a product of and continuation of the Yeltsin/KGB team (notice, for example, the role that Chubais continues to play in government policy), but the current team realizes how hated Yeltsin is and are smart enough to create plausible distance for public consumption.

For the most part the Putin years have been a failure, and these last two decades will be seen as squandered. Very little economic growth, continuing deterioration of the education and health systems, increasing dependence on China and massive transfers of wealth abroad. Those are Putin's primary achievements.

On the plus side, Western sanctions have been a net benefit to Russia over the last three years – keeping capital in the country and giving the agricultural, food processing and light manufacturing industries some room to breathe and develop free from Western competition.

[Feb 11, 2018] What We've Learned in Year 1 of Russiagate

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.thenation.com

One consequence of the Trump-Russia fixation is the overshadowing of the far-right agenda that Trump and his Republican allies are carrying out, including, inexorably, policies that undermine the narrative of Trump-Russian collusion. But as that narrative is also used as a cudgel against Trump's presidency, it is worth asking if some of those policies are now even a direct result.

In December, Trump authorized the sale of new weapons to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists. President Obama had rejected the arms shipments, "fearing that it would only escalate the bloodshed," as The New York Times noted in 2015. Trump had also opposed such a move during the campaign, but was swayed by lobbying from advisers and congressional neoconservatives . "Overall," observed Andrew Weiss , a Russia expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "I see this discussion [on Trump-Russia] as fitting within a broader effort by people within the national security bureaucracy to box Trump in on Ukraine."

The new weapons for Ukraine coincides with an increase in US troop deployments in the Baltic region on Russia's border, prompting Russia to accuse the United States of violating the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, and position nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in response.

[Feb 11, 2018] Justice department's No 3 official to take Walmart's top legal job

Feb 11, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Revolving door in action

Brand attracted interest because of her potential to assume a key role in the Trump-Russia investigation. The official overseeing the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, has been repeatedly criticized by Trump. If Rosenstein had been fired or quit, oversight would have fallen to Brand. That job would now fall to the solicitor general, Noel Francisco.

"She felt this was an opportunity she couldn't turn down," her friend and former colleague Jamie Gorelick said. Walmart sought Brand to be head of global corporate governance at the retail giant, a position Gorelick said has legal and policy responsibilities that will cater to her strengths.
"It really seems to have her name on it," Gorelick said.

[Feb 11, 2018] Pentagon's Nuclear Doctrine Retrograde and Reckless

Feb 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

It is a fear-laden document, relentlessly portraying the world as fraught with existential danger to US national security.

Russia and China, as with two other recent strategic policy papers out of Washington, are again painted as adversaries who must be confronted with ever-greater US military power.

The latest NPR asserts that since the last such review in 2010, "America confronts an international security situation that is more complex and demanding than any since the end of the Cold War."

It is clear from reading the 74-page document that Russia and China are the main source of security concern for the Pentagon – albeit the reasons for the concern are far from convincing. Indeed one might say downright alarmist.

Washington accuses Russia and China of pursuing nuclear weapons development which is threatening. It accuses Russia in particular of violating arms controls treaties and threatening American allies with its nuclear arsenal. There are several other such unsubstantiated claims made by the Pentagon in the document.

Russia and China responded by condemning the aggressive nature of the Pentagon's latest doctrine, as they have done with regard to two other recent strategic papers published by the Trump administration.

It is deplorable that Washington seems to go out of its way to portray the world in such bellicose terms. The corollary of this attitude is the repudiation of diplomacy and multilateralism.

Washington, it seems, is a hostage to its own imperative need to generate a world of hostile relations in order to justify its rampant militarism, which is, in turn, fundamental to its capitalist economy.

The lamentable, even criminal, danger of this strategy is that it foments unnecessary tensions and animosity in world relations. Russia and China have repeatedly called for normal, multilateral relations. Yet, remorselessly, Washington demonizes the two military powers in ways that are retrograde and reckless.

The Pentagon's latest nuclear doctrine goes even further in its provocations. Based on dubious accusations of Russia's threatening behavior ("annexation of Crimea", "aggression in Ukraine"), the Pentagon has declared it will rely more on nuclear force for "deterrence".

That can be taken as a warning that Washington is, in effect, lowering its threshold for deploying nuclear weapons. It overtly states that it will consider use of nuclear weapons to defend American interests and allies from "nuclear and conventional threats". The language is chilling. It talks about inflicting "incalculable" and "intolerable" costs on "adversaries". This is nothing short of Washington terrorizing the rest of the world into conforming to its geopolitical demands.

Another sinister development is that Washington has now declared that it will be acquiring "low-yield" nuclear weapons . These so-called "mini-nukes" will again lower the threshold for possible deployment of nuclear warheads in the misplaced belief that such deployment will not escalate to strategic weapons.

What's disturbing is that the US is evidently moving toward a policy of greater reliance on nuclear force to underpin its international power objectives. It is also broadening, in a provocative and reckless way, what it considers "aggression" by other adversaries, principally Russia. Taken together, Washington is increasingly setting itself on a more hostile course.

Some 57 years ago, in 1961, then US President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address to the nation in which he issued a grave forewarning about the growing control of the "military-industrial complex" over American life. Back then, the American military-industrial complex could disguise its insatiable appetite with the pretext of the Cold War and the "Soviet enemy".

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

Today, the American federal government spends about $700 billion a year on military – over half its discretionary budget. The US spends more on military than at any time during the Cold War – in constant dollar terms.

The US military-industrial complex has become a voracious monster way beyond anything that Eisenhower may have feared. It is no longer a threat merely to American life. It is a threat to the life of the entire planet.

Objectively, the US has no foreign enemy endangering its existence; neither Russia nor China. Not even North Korea, despite its anti-American rhetoric, poses a direct threat to the US.

The Pentagon – on behalf of the military-industrial complex – is stretching credulity when it depicts the world as a more threatening place. Fingering Russia and China is absurd.

In order to try to shore up its scare-mongering with a semblance of credibility, the Pentagon is escalating the rhetoric about nuclear weapons and the need to deploy them. There is no objective justification for this nuclear posturing by the US, only as a way to dramatize alleged national security fears, in order to keep the military-industrial racket going.

The despicable danger from this retrograde Cold War strategy is that the US is recklessly pushing the world toward war and possibly nuclear catastrophe.

Fortunately, Russia and China have highly developed military defenses to keep American insanity in check. Nevertheless, American belligerence is pushing the world to combustible tensions.

The problem is that American rulers have become a rogue state. The American people need to somehow sack their rogue rulers and their military madness, and return the nation to a democratic function.

Until then, Russia and the rest of the world must be on guard.

[Feb 11, 2018] In Afghanistan's Unwinnable War, What's the Best Loss to Hope For

Feb 11, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

After 16 years of war in Afghanistan, experts have stopped asking what victory looks like and are beginning to consider the spectrum of possible defeats.

All options involve acknowledging the war as failed, American aims as largely unachievable and Afghanistan's future as only partly salvageable. Their advocates see glimmers of hope barely worth the stomach-turning trade-offs and slim odds of success.

"I don't think there is any serious analyst of the situation in Afghanistan who believes that the war is winnable," Laurel Miller, a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, said in a podcast last summer, after leaving her State Department stint as acting special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This may be why, even after thousands have died and over $100 billion has been spent, even after the past two weeks of shocking bloodshed in Kabul , few expect the United States to try anything other than the status quo.

It is a strategy, as Ms. Miller described it, to "prevent the defeat of the Afghan government and prevent military victory by the Taliban" for as long as possible.

Though far from the most promising option, it is the least humiliating. But sooner or later, the United States and Afghanistan will find themselves facing one of Afghanistan's endgames -- whether by choice or not.

[Feb 11, 2018] Hope Hicks: Trump s confidante finds herself center stage in scandal

Feb 11, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Throughout Donald Trump's campaign and relentlessly chaotic presidency, the single constant presence at his side, outside of his family, has been the 29-year-old former Ralph Lauren model and White House communications director Hope Hicks.

While aides and advisers fall in and out of favor, Hicks has remained Trump's Oval Office gatekeeper, companion and sounding board, offering consistent loyalty.

But now Hicks has herself been cast into two plotlines currently playing out in the presidential daytime reality-soap.

In one, Hicks features as a likely target in the special counsel Robert Mueller's effort to acquire cooperating witnesses in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Hicks has reportedly been interviewed by Mueller's investigators.

In the other, her prized judgment is being called into question over Rob Porter, the senior White House aide accused of physically abusing two ex-wives and whom Hicks has reportedly been dating.

Publicly, Trump has offered his support for Hicks, saying: "Hope is absolutely fantastic. She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all."

But in private, the president is believed to have issued rare criticism of a woman who by some estimates is the most influential figure in the administration after Trump himself.

At issue is whether Hicks, who also served as communications director during the campaign, relaxed her judgment owing to her relationship with Porter.

White House officials have said Hicks knew that an ex-girlfriend of Porter's had informed aides that both of Porter's ex-wives had said he was violent. Hicks continued to see him and did not tell the president. Porter denies the allegations against him.

If the unfolding episode calls into question the maturity of Hicks' judgement, she clearly is invaluable as a personal assistant. In his campaign memoir, Let Trump Be Trump, Corey Lewandowski, the early campaign strategist – with whom, coincidentally, Hicks also had an affair – described her steaming Trump's suit while he is wearing it.

"She's really quite talented and able," Christopher Ruddy, a close friend of the president and chief executive of the conservative website Newsmax, told the Washington Post .

But her professional experience, especially where is comes to matters that carry potentially legal consequences, is limited. Hicks came to the Trumps through a PR firm that represented the Trump Organization. The family later hired her away to work exclusively for them, furnishing her with responsibilities that included working on Ivanka Trump's fashion line.

A GQ magazine profile in June 2016 described her: "She is a hugger and a people pleaser, with long brown hair and green eyes, a young woman of distinctly all-American flavor – the sort that inspires Tom Petty songs, not riots."

But her looks and fashion background can cause people to underestimate her. She has a background in PR and is a graduate of Dallas' Southern Methodist University.

[Feb 10, 2018] >The generals are not Borgists. They are something worse ...

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively. ..."
"... These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." ..."
"... If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains. ..."
"... In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them. ..."
"... Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers ..."
"... Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs. ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case. ..."
"... Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/ ..."
"... A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security? ..."
"... God help the poor people of Syria. ..."
"... thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass... ..."
"... Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups ..."
"... A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong. ..."
"... The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous. ..."
"... They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard. ..."
"... So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning ..."
"... Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well. ..."
"... I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc. ..."
"... This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well. ..."
"... Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks). ..."
"... In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix. ..."
"... That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group. ..."
"... "The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. ..."
"... Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards". ..."
"... Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII. ..."
"... We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes. ..."
"... I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

(Editorial Statement)

The Borgist foreign policy of the administration has little to do with the generals.

To comprehend the generals one must understand their collective mentality and the process that raised them on high as a collective of their own. The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively.

These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board."

If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains.

In Obama's time they were asked what policy should be in Afghanistan and persuaded him to reinforce their dreams in Afghanistan no matter how unlikely it always was that a unified Western oriented nation could be made out of a collection of disparate mutually alien peoples.

In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them.

Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers. pl


Jack , 09 February 2018 at 05:42 PM

Sir

IMO, this conformism pervades all institutions. I saw when I worked in banking and finance many moons ago how moving up the ranks in any large organization meant you didn't rock the boat and you conformed to the prevailing groupthink. Even nutty ideas became respectable because they were expedient.

Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs.

Fredw , 09 February 2018 at 06:26 PM
You remind me of an old rumination by Thomas Ricks:

Take the example of General George Casey. According to David Cloud and Greg Jaffe's book Four Stars, General Casey, upon learning of his assignment to command U.S. forces in Iraq, received a book from the Army Chief of Staff. The book Counterinsurgency Lessons Learned from Malaya and Vietnam was the first book he ever read about guerilla warfare." This is a damning indictment of the degree of mental preparation for combat by a general. The Army's reward for such lack of preparation: two more four star assignments.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/02/07/cmon-man-meathead-generals-and-some-other-things-that-are-driving-me-crazy-about-life-in-this-mans-post-911-army/

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 06:37 PM
"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case.
Anna , 09 February 2018 at 06:48 PM
Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/

" in 2000-2001 the Taliban government –with the support of the United Nations (UNODC) – implemented a successful ban on poppy cultivation. Opium production which is used to produce grade 4 heroin and its derivatives declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. The production of opium in 2001 was of the order of a meager 185 tons. It is worth noting that the UNODC congratulated the Taliban Government for its successful opium eradication program. The Taliban government had contributed to literally destabilizing the multibillion dollar Worldwide trade in heroin.

In 2017, the production of opium in Afghanistan under US military occupation reached 9000 metric tons. The production of opium in Afghanistan registered a 49 fold increase since Washington's invasion. Afghanistan under US military occupation produces approximately 90% of the World's illegal supply of opium which is used to produce heroin. Who owns the airplanes and ships that transport heroin from Afghanistan to the US? Who gets the profits?"

---A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security?

J , 09 February 2018 at 07:05 PM
Colonel,

There needs to be a 're-education' of the top, all of them need to be required to attend Green Beret think-school, in other words they need to be forced to think outside the box, and to to think on their feet. They need to understand fluid situations where things change at the drop of a hat, be able to dance the two-step and waltz at the same time. In other words they need to be able to walk and chew gum and not trip over their shoe-laces.

By no means are they stupid, but you hit the nail on the head when you said 'narrow thinkers'. Their collective hive mentality that has developed is not a good thing.

divadab , 09 February 2018 at 07:16 PM
God help the poor people of Syria.
james , 09 February 2018 at 07:30 PM
thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass...

i like what you said here "conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." - that strikes me as very true - conformist group thinkers... the world needs less of these types and more actual leaders who have a vision for something out of the box and not always on board... i thought for a while trump might fill this bill, but no such luck by the looks of it now..

David E. Solomon , 09 February 2018 at 07:50 PM
Colonel Lang,

Your description of these guys sounds like what we have heard about Soviet era planners. Am I correct in my understanding, or am I missing something?

Regards,

David

DianaLC , 09 February 2018 at 07:56 PM
As a young person in eighth grade, I learned about the "domino theory" in regard to attempts to slow the spread of communism. Then my generation was, in a sense, fractured around the raging battles for and against our involvement in Vietnam.

I won't express my own opinion on that. But I mention it because it seems to be a type of "vision thing."

So, now I ask, what would be your vision for the Syrian situation?

Bill Herschel , 09 February 2018 at 09:11 PM
This has been going on for a long time has it not? Westmoreland? MacArthur?

How did this happen?

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:40 PM
Bill Herschel

Westmoreland certainly, Macarthur certainly not. This all started with the "industrialization" of the armed forces in WW2. we never recovered the sense of profession as opposed to occupation after the massive expansion and retention of so many placeholders. a whole new race of Walmart manager arose and persists. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:48 PM
DianaC

The idea of the Domino Theory came from academia, not the generals of that time. They resisted the idea of a war in east Asia until simply ordered into it by LBJ. After that their instinct for acting according to guidance kicked in and they became committed to the task. Syria? Do you think I should write you an essay on that? SST has a large archive and a search machine. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:55 PM
David E. Solomon

I am talking about flag officers at present, not those beneath them from the mass of whom they emerge. There are exceptions. Martin Dempsey may have been one such. The system creates such people at the top. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:08 PM
elaine,

Your usual animosity for non-left wing authority is showing. A commander like the CENTCOM theater commander (look it up) operates within guidance from Washington, broad guidance. Normally this is the president's guidance as developed in the NSC process. Some presidents like Obama and LBJ intervene selectively and directly in the execution of that guidance. Obama had a "kill list" of jihadis suggested by the IC and condemned by him to die in the GWOT. He approved individual missions against them. LBJ picked individual air targets in NVN. Commanders in the field do not like that . They think that freedom of action within their guidance should be accorded them. This CinC has not been interested thus far in the details and have given the whole military chain of command wide discretion to carry out their guidance. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:12 PM
J

Thank you, but it is real GBs that you like, not the Delta and SEAL door kickers. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:24 PM
Gaikomainaku

"I am not sure that I understand what makes a Borgist different from a military conformist." The Borg and the military leaders are not of the same tribe. they are two different collectives who in the main dislike and distrust each other. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:27 PM
Anna. Their guidance does not include a high priority for eradicating the opium trade. Their guidance has to do with defeating the jihadis and building up the central government. pl
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:30 PM
Peter AU

Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:44 PM
james

Trump would like to better relations with Russia but that is pretty much the limit of his attention to foreign affairs at any level more sophisticated than expecting deference. He is firmly focused on the economy and base solidifying issues like immigration. pl

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 11:01 PM
The medical profession comes to mind. GP's and specialists. Many of those working at the leading edge of research seem much wider thinking and are not locked into the small box of what they have been taught.
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 11:16 PM
Peter AU

The GPs do not rule over a hierarchy of doctors. pl

J -> turcopolier ... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
Combat Applications Group and SEALS don't even begin to compare, they're not in the same league as 'real deal' GBs. The GBs are thinkers as well as doers, whereas Combat Applications Group and SEALs all they know is breach and clear, breach and clear.

There is more to life than breach and clear. Having worked with all in one manner or another, I'll take GBs any day hands down. It makes a difference when the brain is engaged instead of just the heel.

kao_hsien_chih -> Jack... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong.

The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous.

FB Ali , 09 February 2018 at 11:23 PM
Col Lang,

They are indeed "narrow thinkers", but I think the problem runs deeper. They seem to be stuck in the rut of a past era. When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now.

Of course, these policies ensure that they continue to be well-funded, even if the US is bankrupting itself in the process.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 01:03 AM
dogear

He is still the Saudi Mukhtar for the US and most of the generals are still narrow minded. pl

LondonBob , 10 February 2018 at 06:59 AM
They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard.
turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 07:55 AM
LondonBob

I think that is true but, they were able to talk him into that, thus far. pl

DianaLC said in reply to turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 09:23 AM
I've been reading this blog for some time. My question was facetious and written with the understanding of your statement about the generals not having a good grasp of "the vision thing" on their own.
Terry , 10 February 2018 at 09:25 AM
So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning. Chimps are on average more creative and have better short term memory than humans. We gave up some short term memory in order to be able to learn quickly by mimicking. If shown how to open a puzzle box but also shown unnecessary extra steps a chimp will ignore the empty steps and open the box with only the required steps. A human will copy what they saw exactly performing the extra steps as if they have some unknown value to the process. Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well.

I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc.

One nice feature of the internet allows creative thinkers to connect and watch the idiocy of the world unfold around us.

"A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216212049.htm

TV , 10 February 2018 at 10:18 AM
The military by definition is a rigid hierarchical structure. It could not function as a collection of individuals. This society can only breed conforming narrow leaders as an "individual" would leave or be forced out.
Barbara Ann , 10 February 2018 at 10:22 AM
That part of our brain responsible for the desire to be part of the 'in crowd' may affect our decision-making process, but it is also the reason we keep chimps in zoos and not the other way around. Or, to put it another way; if chimps had invented Facebook, I might consider them more creative than us.
Babak Makkinejad -> Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 10:30 AM
Do you think chimps are, per the Christian Docrine, in a State of Fall or in a State of Grace?
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 10:32 AM
This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well.

Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks).

In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix.

Homogeneity is the main culprit. A specialists tends to try to solve problems with the same knowledge-set that created these.

Not all (parts of) organizations and people suffer this fate. Innovations are usually done by laymen and not by specialists. The organizations are often heterogeneous and the people a-typical and/or eccentric.

(mainly the analytical parts of ) intelligence organizations and investment banks are like that if they are worth anything. Very heterogeneous with a lot of a-typical people. I think Green Berets are also like that. An open mind and genuine interest in others (cultures, way of thinking, religion etc) is essential to understand and to perform and also to prevent costly mistakes (in silver and/or blood).

It is possible to create firewalls against tunnel-vision. The Jester performed such a role. Also think of the Emperors New Clothes . The current trend of people with limited vision and creativity prevents this. Criticism is punished with a lack of promotion, job-loss or even jail (whistle-blowers)

IMO this is why up to a certain rank (colonel or middle management) a certain amount of creativity or alternative thinking is allowed, but conformity is essential to rise higher.

I was very interested in the Colonel's remark on the foreign background of the GB in Vietnam. If you would like to expand on this I would be much obliged? IMO GB are an example of a smart, learning, organization (in deed and not only in word as so many say of themselves, but who usually are at best mediocre)

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> gaikokumaniakku... , 10 February 2018 at 11:58 AM
Isn't the "Borg" really The Atlantic Council?
ISL , 10 February 2018 at 12:58 PM
Dear Colonel,

Would you then say that a rising military officer who does have the vision thing faces career impediments? If so, would you say that the vision thing is lost (if it ever was there) at the highest ranks? In any case, the existence of even a few at the top, like Matthis or Shinseki is a blessing.

ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to FB Ali ... , 10 February 2018 at 01:08 PM
FB Ali:
"When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now."
That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group.
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 02:03 PM
I forget an important part. I really miss an edit-button. Comment-boxes are like looking at something through a straw. Its easy to miss the overview.

Innovations and significant new developments are usually made by laymen. IMO mainly because they have a fresh perspective without being bothered by the (mainstream) knowledge that dominates an area of expertise.

By excluding the laymen errors will continue to be repeated. This can be avoided by using development/decision-making frameworks, but these tend to become dogma (and thus become part of the problem)

Much better is allowing laymen and allowing a-typical people. Then listen to them carefully. Less rigid flexible and very valuable.

kooshy , 10 February 2018 at 02:19 PM
Apparently, according to the last US ambassador to Syria Mr. Ford, from 2014-17 US has spent 12 Billion on Regime change in Syria. IMO, combinedly Iran and Russia so far, have spent far less in Syria than 12 billion by US alone, not considering the rest of her so called coalition. This is a war of attrition, and US operations in wars, are usually far more expensive and longer than anybody else's.

"The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD

J , 10 February 2018 at 02:49 PM
Colonel, TTG, PT,

FYI regarding Syria

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/sen-tim-kaine-demands-release-secret-trump-war-powers-memo-n846176

Richardstevenhack -> turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 02:56 PM
It may "demand" it - but does it get it? Soldiers are just as human as everyone else.

I'm reminded of the staff sergeant with the sagging beer belly who informed me, "Stand up straight and look like a soldier..." Or the First Sergeant who was so hung over one morning at inspection that he couldn't remember which direction he was going down the hall to the next room to be inspected. I'm sure you have your own stories of less than competence.

It's a question of intelligence and imagination. And frankly, I don't see the military in any country receiving the "best and brightest" of that country's population, by definition. The fact that someone is patriotic enough to enter the military over a civilian occupation doesn't make them more intelligent or imaginative than the people who decided on the civilian occupation.

Granted, if you fail at accounting, you don't usually die. Death tends to focus the mind, as they say. Nonetheless, we're not talking about the grunts at the level who actually die, still less the relatively limited number of Special Forces. We're talking about the officers and staff at the levels who don't usually die in war - except maybe at their defeat - i.e., most officers over the level of captain.

One can hardly look at this officer crowd in the Pentagon and CENTCOM and say that their personal death concentrates their mind. They are in virtually no danger of that. Only career death faces them - with a nice transition to the board of General Dynamics at ten times the salary.

All in all, I'd have to agree that the military isn't much better at being competent - at many levels above the obvious group of hyper-trained Special Forces - any more than any other profession.

dogear said in reply to Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 02:59 PM
That is well put.most important is the grading system that is designed to fix a person to a particular slot thereby limiting his ability to think "outside the box" and consider the many variables that exist in one particular instant.

Creative thinking allows you to see beyond the storm clouds ahead and realize that the connectedness of different realities both the visible and invisible. For instance the picture of the 2 pairs of korean skaters in the news tells an interesting story on many levels. Some will judge them on their grade of proffiency, while others will see a dance of strategy between 2 foes and a few will know the results in advance and plan accordingly

https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.nbcolympics.com/news/north-south-korean-figure-skating-teams-practice-side-side%3famp?espv=1

Mark Logan said in reply to Peter AU... , 10 February 2018 at 03:30 PM
Peter AU

"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. STEM is enormously useful to us but seems to be a risky when implanted in shallow earth.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:03 PM
Mark Logan

These narrow "but deep" thinkers were unable to grasp the nature of the Iraq War for the first couple of years. They thought of it as a rear area security problem, a combat in cities problem, anything but a popular rebellion based on xenophobia and anti-colonialism The IED problem? They spent several billion dollars on trying to find a technology fix and never succeeded. I know because they kept asking me to explain the war to them and then could not understand the answers which were outside their narrow thought. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:13 PM
ISL

War College selectees, the national board selected creme de la creme test out as 50% SJs (conformists lacking vision) in Myers-Briggs terms and about 15% NTs (intellectuals). To survive and move upward in a system dominated by SJs, the NTs must pretend to be what they are not. A few succeed. I do not think Mattis is an intellectual merely because he has read a lot. pl

outthere , 10 February 2018 at 05:19 PM
Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards".

My favorite example was a Japanese fisherman who recovered valuable ancient Chinese pottery. Everyone knew where an ancient ship had sunk, but the water was too deep to dive down to the wreck. And everyone knew the cargo included these valuable vases. And the fisherman was the first to figure out how to recover them. He attached a line to an octopus, and lowered it in the area, waited awhile, and pulled it up. Low and behold, the octopus had hidden in an ancient Chinese vase. The fisherman was familiar with trapping octopuses, by lowering a ceramic pot (called "takosubo") into the ocean, waiting awhile, then raising the vase with octopus inside. His brilliance was to think backwards, and use an octopus to catch a vase.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:24 PM
TV

By your calculation people like Joe Stilwell and George Patton should not have existed. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:31 PM
Adrestia

the original GBS were recruited in the 50s to serve in the OSS role with foreign guerrillas behind Soviet lines in th event of war in Europe. Aaron Bank, the founder, recruited several hundred experienced foreign soldiers from the likely countries who wanted to become American. By the time we were in VN these men were a small fraction of GBs but important for their expertise and professionalism. pl

ked , 10 February 2018 at 05:56 PM
Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII.

We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes.

I note many Borgs... Borgism if you will. An organizational behavior that has emerged out of human nature having difficulty adapting to rapidly accelerating complexity that is just too hard to apprehend in a few generations. If (as many commenters on STT seem to...) one wishes to view this in an ideological or spiritual framework only, they may overlook an important truth - that what we are experiencing is a Battle Among Borgs for control over their own space & domination over the other Borgs. How else would we expect any competitive, powerful interest group to act?

In gov & industry these days, we observe some pretty wild outliers... attached to some wild outcomes. Thus the boring behavior of our political industries bringing forth Trump, our promethean technology sector yielding a Musk (& yes, a Zuckerberg).

I find it hard to take very seriously analysts that define their perspective based primarily upon their superior ideals & opposition to others. Isn't every person, every tribe, team or enterprise a borglet-in-becoming? Everybody Wants to Rule the World ... & Everybody Must Get Stoned... messages about how we are grappling with complexity in our times. I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far.

Unfortunately, I would not be amazed if reckless, feckless leaders changed the status quo. I was particularly alarmed hearing Trump in his projection mode; "I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity, without a major event where people pull together, that's hard to do.

But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing." It strikes me that he could be exceptionally willing to risk a Major Event if he felt a form of unity, or self-preservation, was in the offing. I pray (& I do not pray often or easily) that the Generals you have described have enough heart & guts to honor their oath at its most profound level in the event of an Event.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
babak

As a time traveler from another age, I can only say that for me it means devotion to a set of mores peculiar to a particular profession as opposed to an occupation. pl

Barbara Ann -> outthere... , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
Great example outthere.

Another springs to mind: James Lovelock (of Gaia hypothesis fame) was once part of the NASA team building the first probe to go to Mars to look for signs of life. Lovelock didn't make any friends when he told NASA they were wasting their time, there was none. When asked how he could be so sure, he explained that the composition of the Martian atmosphere made it impossible. "But Martian life may be able to survive under different conditions" was the retort. Lovelock then went on to explain his view that the evolution of microbial life determined the atmospheric composition on Earth, so should be expected to do the same if life had evolved on Mars. Brilliant backwards thinking which ought to have earned him the Nobel prize IMHO (for Gaia). Lovelock, a classic cross-disciplinary scientist, can't be rewarded with such a box-categorized honor, as his idea doesn't fit well into any one.

Another example of cross-disciplinary brilliance was Bitcoin, which has as much to do with its creator's deep knowledge of Anthropology (why people invented & use money) as his expertise in both Economics and Computer Science.

This is they key to creative thinking in my view - familiarity with different fields yields deeper insights.

[Feb 10, 2018] US military is the second largest US employer after Wallmart

Notable quotes:
"... Walmart employs 1.4 million Americans. The military employs 1.3 million active duty soldiers. That's a problem. Peace can't be allowed to break out. And the best way to insure that it doesn't is to kill the minimum number of people and export the maximum number of arms to keep people fighting with each other around the world. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Bill Herschel -> turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 10:13 AM

Walmart employs 1.4 million Americans. The military employs 1.3 million active duty soldiers. That's a problem. Peace can't be allowed to break out. And the best way to insure that it doesn't is to kill the minimum number of people and export the maximum number of arms to keep people fighting with each other around the world.

That is all about as far as conceivable away from any notion of a professional soldier.

How do you stop this? Who will employ those 1.3 million... 1.3 million who have been brainwashed about "terrorism", "communism", "democracy", "muslims", etc. etc. etc.? Particularly in the context of the tsunami of social change that is about to hit with the advent of real artificial intelligence. Doctors? Their jobs are on the line and I suspect they don't know it. Lawyers? Even worse.

The following article was the start of an epochal change in medicine:

Lasko TA, Denny JC, Levy MA (2013) Computational Phenotype Discovery Using Unsupervised Feature Learning over Noisy, Sparse, and Irregular Clinical Data. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66341. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066341

Bill Herschel , 10 February 2018 at 10:17 AM
I guess I should add, although it should be obvious, that the one thing that absolutely cannot under any circumstances be allowed to happen is real war. Then you have to figure out how to employ both the soldiers and the Walmart employees. Those that are still alive. And of course if you look at the behavior of the U.S. in Syria you see that we are about as interested in real war as we are in the arts.

[Feb 10, 2018] I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It s Happening Again by LAWRENCE WILKERSON

Notable quotes:
"... That effort led to a war of choice with Iraq -- one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East. ..."
"... Just over a month ago, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that the administration had " undeniable" evidence that Iran was not complying with Security Council resolutions regarding its ballistic missile program and Yemen. Just like Mr. Powell, Ms. Haley showed satellite images and other physical evidence available only to the United States intelligence community to prove her case. But the evidence fell significantly short . ..."
"... It's a vivid reminder of Vice President Cheney's desperate attempts in 2002-03 to conjure up evidence of Saddam Hussein's relationship with Al Qaeda from detainees at Guantánamo Bay. It harks back to the C.I.A. director George Tenet's assurances to Mr. Powell that the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden was ironclad in the lead-up to his United Nations presentation. Today, we know how terribly wrong Mr. Tenet was. ..."
"... As I look back at our lock-step march toward war with Iraq, I realize that it didn't seem to matter to us that we used shoddy or cherry-picked intelligence; that it was unrealistic to argue that the war would " pay for itself ," rather than cost trillions of dollars; that we might be hopelessly naïve in thinking that the war would lead to democracy instead of pushing the region into a downward spiral. ..."
"... The sole purpose of our actions was to sell the American people on the case for war with Iraq. Polls show that we did. Mr. Trump and his team are trying to do it again. If we're not careful, they'll succeed. ..."
Feb 05, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Fifteen years ago this week, Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, spoke at the United Nations to sell pre-emptive war with Iraq . As his chief of staff, I helped Secretary Powell paint a clear picture that war was the only choice , that when "we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future."

Following Mr. Powell's presentation on that cold day, I considered what we had done. At the moment, I thought all our work was for naught -- and despite his efforts we did not gain substantial international buy-in. But polls later that day and week demonstrated he did convince many Americans. I knew that was why he was chosen to make the presentation in the first place: his standing with the American people was more solid than that of any other member of the Bush administration.

President George W. Bush would have ordered the war even without the United Nations presentation, or if Secretary Powell had failed miserably in giving it. But the secretary's gravitas was a significant part of the two-year-long effort by the Bush administration to get Americans on the war wagon.

That effort led to a war of choice with Iraq -- one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East.

Just over a month ago, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that the administration had " undeniable" evidence that Iran was not complying with Security Council resolutions regarding its ballistic missile program and Yemen. Just like Mr. Powell, Ms. Haley showed satellite images and other physical evidence available only to the United States intelligence community to prove her case. But the evidence fell significantly short .

It's astonishing how similar that moment was to Mr. Powell's 2003 presentation on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- and how the Trump administration's methods overall match those of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. As I watched Ms. Haley at the Defense Intelligence Agency, I wanted to play the video of Mr. Powell on the wall behind her, so that Americans could recognize instantly how they were being driven down the same path as in 2003 -- ultimately to war. Only this war with Iran, a country of almost 80 million people whose vast strategic depth and difficult terrain make it a far greater challenge than Iraq, would be 10 to 15 times worse than the Iraq war in terms of casualties and costs.

If we want a slightly more official statement of the Trump administration's plans for Iran, we need only look at the recently released National Security Strategy , which says, "The longer we ignore threats from countries determined to proliferate and develop weapons of mass destruction, the worse such threats become, and the fewer defensive options we have." The Bush-Cheney team could not have said it better as it contemplated invading Iraq.

The strategy positions Iran as one of the greatest threats America faces, much the same way President Bush framed Saddam Hussein's Iraq. With China, Russia and North Korea all presenting vastly more formidable challenges to America and its allies than Iran, one has to wonder where the Trump team gets its ideas.

Though Ms. Haley's presentation missed the mark, and no one other than the national security elite will even read the strategy, it won't matter. We've seen this before: a campaign built on the politicization of intelligence and shortsighted policy decisions to make the case for war. And the American people have apparently become so accustomed to executive branch warmongering -- approved almost unanimously by the Congress -- that such actions are not significantly contested.

So far, news organizations have largely failed to refute false narratives coming out of the Trump White House on Iran. In early November, news outlets latched onto claims by unnamed American officials that newly released documents from Osama bin Laden's compound represented "evidence of Iran's support of Al Qaeda's war with the United States."

It's a vivid reminder of Vice President Cheney's desperate attempts in 2002-03 to conjure up evidence of Saddam Hussein's relationship with Al Qaeda from detainees at Guantánamo Bay. It harks back to the C.I.A. director George Tenet's assurances to Mr. Powell that the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden was ironclad in the lead-up to his United Nations presentation. Today, we know how terribly wrong Mr. Tenet was.

Today, the analysts claiming close ties between Al Qaeda and Iran come from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies , which vehemently opposes the Iran nuclear deal and unabashedly calls for regime change in Iran .

It seems not to matter that 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11 were Saudis and none were Iranians. Or that, according to the United States intelligence community, of the groups listed as actively hostile to the United States, only one is loosely affiliated with Iran, and Hezbollah doesn't make the cut. More than ever the Foundation for Defense of Democracies seems like the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans that pushed falsehoods in support of waging war with Iraq.

The Trump administration's case for war with Iran ranges much wider than Ms. Haley's work. We should include the president's decertification ultimatum in January that Congress must "fix" the Iran nuclear deal, despite the reality of Iran's compliance ; the White House's pressure on the intelligence community to cook up evidence of Iran's noncompliance; and the administration's choosing to view the recent protests in Iran as the beginning of regime change. Like the Bush administration before, these seemingly disconnected events serve to create a narrative in which war with Iran is the only viable policy.

As I look back at our lock-step march toward war with Iraq, I realize that it didn't seem to matter to us that we used shoddy or cherry-picked intelligence; that it was unrealistic to argue that the war would " pay for itself ," rather than cost trillions of dollars; that we might be hopelessly naïve in thinking that the war would lead to democracy instead of pushing the region into a downward spiral.

The sole purpose of our actions was to sell the American people on the case for war with Iraq. Polls show that we did. Mr. Trump and his team are trying to do it again. If we're not careful, they'll succeed.


Recent Comments

TrueLeft February 7, 2018

We need a Chilcot Inquiry in this country. But it is unthinkable here.

Janice February 6, 2018

Too little, too late.

Roger Rabbit February 6, 2018

Mr. Wilkerson seems to have forgotten he was part and parcel of Powell's egregious lie. Details. Details.

[Feb 08, 2018] Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs

Notable quotes:
"... The whole situation with Russia, of which, be it her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people, is a monstrous empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this bubble. ..."
"... Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs, that is why this IC-academic-political-media "environment" in case of Russia prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with, thus Chalabi Moment is being continuously reproduced. ..."
"... Again, the level of "Russian Studies" in Anglophone world is appalling. In fact, it is clear and present danger since removes or misinterprets crucial information about the only nation in the world which can annihilate the United States completely in such a light that it creates a real danger even for a disastrous military confrontation. I would go on a limb here and say that US military on average is much better aware of Russia and not only in purely military terms. In some sense--it is an exception. But even there, there are some trends (and they are not new) which are very worrisome. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

SmoothieX12 -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 February 2018 at 11:28 AM

Another limitation on their understanding is that the last thing they are interested in his how the world outside the bubbles they prefer to inhabit operates, and they commonly have absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British or American. This can lead to political misjudgements.

It is not just "can" it very often does. The whole situation with Russia, of which, be it her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people, is a monstrous empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this bubble.

Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs, that is why this IC-academic-political-media "environment" in case of Russia prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with, thus Chalabi Moment is being continuously reproduced.

In case of Iraq, as an example, it is a tragedy but at least the world is relatively safe. With Russia, as I stated many times for years--they simply have no idea what they are dealing with. None. It is expected from people who are briefed by "sources" such as Russian fugitive London Oligarchy or ultra-liberal and fringe urban Russian "tusovka".

Again, the level of "Russian Studies" in Anglophone world is appalling. In fact, it is clear and present danger since removes or misinterprets crucial information about the only nation in the world which can annihilate the United States completely in such a light that it creates a real danger even for a disastrous military confrontation. I would go on a limb here and say that US military on average is much better aware of Russia and not only in purely military terms. In some sense--it is an exception. But even there, there are some trends (and they are not new) which are very worrisome.

[Feb 06, 2018] The sanctions list means that holding Western assets has become more risky for Russian oligarchs. They can iether remove Putin, reparticate assets back to Russa or defect to the West and lose Russian assets by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... The sanctions list means that holding Western assets has become more risky for Russian oligarchs. And because of precedent for Chinese, Arab, etc . They have three choices: (1) Remove Putin and co. and thus remove the risk; (2) Protect their wealth by shifting out of Western assets. (3) Defect to the West to protect assets in the West (and lose assets in Russia). ..."
"... They have some thinking to do. Very few will leave for the West, it is not clear how much of their wealth that would protect. But some will and they will get inordinate publicity. Option 1. seems very hard and unpredictable, and it would increase chaos. Chaos is not something the oligarchs want. The likely outcome is option 2. That strengthens Russia, and marginally hurts the West. ..."
"... When you are a global repository for safe assets and wealth – as US and West have been for 2-3 generations – the last thing you need is to put that safety haven status in doubt. Once people start doubting, things change. Saker is right, this policy is very stupid. ..."
"... "Now, at the same time, I want to be able -- because I think it's very important -- to get along with Russia, to get along with China, to get along with Vietnam, to get along with lots of countries, because we have a lot of things we have to solve. And, frankly, Russia and China in particular can help us with the North Korea problem, which is one of our truly great problems." ..."
"... I point this out, because some may imagine that expressions of such an intention on the part of Trump ceased long ago, perhaps at the point Flynn was let go. ..."
"... A simple explanation for the list of Russian persons who might potentially be sanctioned, is that Congress, as part of the law it passed six months ago, _required_ the production of such a list. So the Administration, through Treasury, produced such a list in answer to that requirement (crudely, as Saker points out) – but chose to not actually adopt any new sanctions, finding that they are not needed. And it appears that Trump is under new attack in the mainstream precisely for his minimalist compliance with the mandate from Congress. ..."
"... If Putin and the Russians are still baffled by American hostility, or rather (((American))) hostility, then it's time to question the collective IQ and wisdom of the Russian people. ..."
"... Jaish al-Nasr, a faction in the Free Syrian Army shot it down, .. Su-25 was shot down by a man-portable air-defense system" Is US trying to do an Afghanistan on Russia after successfully kicking the Vietnam Syndrome off it's "not talk list" but leaving it on the " do repeat lists " in ME theater ? Not a good sign . ..."
"... "I have come to the conclusion that the Empire is run by stupid, ignorant ideologues who live in a world totally detached from reality." ..."
"... State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. ..."
"... This idea is based on ideas from the British Jewish Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Which west goals ? I do not want USA world supremacy. At present Putin is the only man preventing this. ..."
"... As far as the "Russian interference" in the everyone's elections and everything under the sun is concerned, the German or British press, if anything, is worse than the US one. The Spanish press promptly accused Russia of engineering the Catalan independence movement. My sister told me that when she read a translation from Spanish about this in the Russian press she thought the Russians made it up, for it sounded so silly. But I read the original in El Pais and knew the Russian didn't make it up – the European media these days is such you truly can't make it up, try as you might. In fact, there's never been anything resembling proof in any of the stories, and all of them are completely nonsensical, which did not prevent the European media from spreading them far and wide. ..."
"... http://www.historycommons.org good resource it is collection of news reports, documents, books, time lines of events, etc just plug Iran or Israel or whatever subject into search that particular report is from Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project) by Robert Dreyfuss ..."
"... "I call this (informal) opposition the "Atlantic Integrationists" because what these pro-western globalists want is for the AngloZionist Empire to accept Russia as an equal partner and to have Russia fully integrate itself into the US-controlled international financial and security structures:" Absolutely. What the Saker calls the Anglo-Zionist Empire is what I call the self-righteous imperialism of WASP culture. And it is relentless. It is like Mordor and Sauron. It intends to secure and then use the One Ring to Rule Them All, and no body count matters. ..."
"... To the best of my knowledge, so far only one country used nukes against humans. And it wasn't North Korea. ..."
"... That the oligarchs made their money through connections, behind the scene deals, outright duplicity and so on, should have been obvious to anyone who studied the phenomenon for a short period of time. Does anyone really believe that all those (largely) Jewish oligarchs indulging in the Premier League and other forms of conspicuous consumption made their money like Henry Ford or Andrew Carnegie, by building industries and providing jobs for millions? ..."
"... The Russian billionaires all made their money by gaming the Russian system. There isn't a single new service or product that we can associate with these people. The question then arises: Why the belated outrage now? The answer is simple: The thieves in the US, have turned on some fellow thieves from overseas, having run out of ways to fleece the American people ..."
"... It will place a great deal of pressure on EU corporations not to do business with the Russians and, therefore, it will further place the EU and the US on a collision course. ..."
"... I would emphasize this aspect. German industrialists (but not only) are already upset with US interference in German – Russia trade, and actions like this will only make it worse. ..."
"... The paradoxical result from the US point of view, is that proposed sanctions serve more to build EU opposition to the US, rather than weaken Russia. Russia is a major market for the EU and the EU doesn't want US imposed sanctions. ..."
"... Group three. Ignore what he says. Consequences are secondary to neocons; rhetoric is primary. Instead, watch what he does (consequences). Qui bono ? http://www.oom2.com/f81-q-anon-archive-analytical-discussion ..."
Feb 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

Beckow , February 2, 2018 at 6:59 pm GMT

The sanctions list means that holding Western assets has become more risky for Russian oligarchs. And because of precedent for Chinese, Arab, etc . They have three choices: (1) Remove Putin and co. and thus remove the risk; (2) Protect their wealth by shifting out of Western assets. (3) Defect to the West to protect assets in the West (and lose assets in Russia).

They have some thinking to do. Very few will leave for the West, it is not clear how much of their wealth that would protect. But some will and they will get inordinate publicity. Option 1. seems very hard and unpredictable, and it would increase chaos. Chaos is not something the oligarchs want. The likely outcome is option 2. That strengthens Russia, and marginally hurts the West.

When you are a global repository for safe assets and wealth – as US and West have been for 2-3 generations – the last thing you need is to put that safety haven status in doubt. Once people start doubting, things change. Saker is right, this policy is very stupid.

Cyrano , February 2, 2018 at 7:29 pm GMT
Every aspect of human existence evolves around one basic (mis?)calculation: Am I better than someone else? Every second of every day individuals, organizations, political parties, companies, countries, religions (God knows why) are trying to prove the above – that they are better than the next in their respective category.

There are only 4 possible outcomes here:

  1. You are better than someone and you can prove it. – ideal outcome
  2. You are better than someone, but you can't prove it. – It sucks
  3. You are no better than someone, but you have the means to manipulate the outcome into appearing like you are better. – Probably the most unfair outcome.
  4. You are no better than someone and if you try to prove that you are, you prove the opposite.

The current state of affairs between US and Russia is that US are aware that number 1 doesn't apply, they believe that they can pull off a number 3, but I think that the most realistic assessment is number 4.

Andrei Martyanov , Website February 2, 2018 at 7:55 pm GMT
@Cyrano

they believe that they can pull off a number 3,

Yet, for some reason it always ends in Number Two, if you know what I mean.

Chet Bradley , February 2, 2018 at 8:20 pm GMT
@peterAUS

The underlying assumption of your comment is that applying pressure to Russia works in achieving the West's goals. But everything we have seen from Russia in at least the last decade shows that pressuring Russia doesn't work. Ergo your conclusions are wrong. Maybe it's time you start learning something from history.

Cyrano , February 2, 2018 at 11:36 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

OK, I got it. You are talking about delusions. Thanks for expanding my list. That should actually be number 5.

Norumbega , February 3, 2018 at 12:37 am GMT

"Now, at the same time, I want to be able -- because I think it's very important -- to get along with Russia, to get along with China, to get along with Vietnam, to get along with lots of countries, because we have a lot of things we have to solve. And, frankly, Russia and China in particular can help us with the North Korea problem, which is one of our truly great problems."

[....]

"And, you know, people don't realize Russia has been very, very heavily sanctioned. They were sanctioned at a very high level, and that took place very recently. It's now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and broken. Those are very important things. And I feel that having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world and an asset to our country, not a liability."

[....]

"President Obama wanted to get along with Russia, but the chemistry wasn't there. Getting along with other nations is a good thing, not a bad thing -- believe me. It's a good thing, not a bad thing."

The above quotations are excerpted from President Trump's response to a Fox news reporter during a joint press conference with President Quang of Vietnam on November 11, 2017. They suggest a continuing intention on Trump's part to get along with Russia despite the very strong pressures to enforce the New Cold War policies, including from within his Administration. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-president-quang-vietnam-joint-press-conference-hanoi-vietnam/

I point this out, because some may imagine that expressions of such an intention on the part of Trump ceased long ago, perhaps at the point Flynn was let go.

A simple explanation for the list of Russian persons who might potentially be sanctioned, is that Congress, as part of the law it passed six months ago, _required_ the production of such a list. So the Administration, through Treasury, produced such a list in answer to that requirement (crudely, as Saker points out) – but chose to not actually adopt any new sanctions, finding that they are not needed. And it appears that Trump is under new attack in the mainstream precisely for his minimalist compliance with the mandate from Congress.

KenH , February 3, 2018 at 1:05 am GMT

If Putin and the Russians are still baffled by American hostility, or rather (((American))) hostility, then it's time to question the collective IQ and wisdom of the Russian people. Putin is standing in the way of greater Israel and a Jewish world empire that is furthered by American military might. Despite his faults he is a strong nationalist leader who's preventing Jewish globalists from turning Russia into a global plantation like America and their economy into a revenue stream for Jewish robber barons like they have the American economy.

I'm baffled that a people who have had so much experience with Jews and their machinations can't recognize that America is now what they used to be when they were under Jewish management from 1917 until Jews began losing control in the 50′s and 60′s. Now the red diaper babies and their progeny loom large over America.

KA , February 3, 2018 at 7:33 pm GMT

http://www.businessinsider.com/syrian-rebels-reportedly-shoot-down-russian-su-25-pilot-unkown-2018-2 reports -Syrian rebels shot down a Russian Su-25 in Idlib province on Saturday,

Jaish al-Nasr, a faction in the Free Syrian Army shot it down, .. Su-25 was shot down by a man-portable air-defense system" Is US trying to do an Afghanistan on Russia after successfully kicking the Vietnam Syndrome off it's "not talk list" but leaving it on the " do repeat lists " in ME theater ? Not a good sign .

The Alarmist , February 3, 2018 at 8:00 pm GMT

"I have come to the conclusion that the Empire is run by stupid, ignorant ideologues who live in a world totally detached from reality."

Yeah, but the list is the product of a government dominated and staffed largely by hack lawyers.

renfro , February 4, 2018 at 6:06 am GMT

Interesting ..but I can see no reason for always claiming that the money laundering is done by the 'Russia State' instead of private individual actors .the only motivation I can see for the State doing it is to turn rubles into western dollars and English pounds .but since the dollar dominates in trade, for now anyway. the English pound isn't such a lure for Russia's holdings of foreign currencies.

UK promises to crack down on assets of corrupt oligarchs – The Times

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will use new powers to seize the assets of foreign criminals and corrupt politicians, The Times newspaper reported on Saturday quoting the security minister. Investors from Russia, China and the Middle East have poured billions into London, buying everything from luxury properties to entire companies, but the provenance of some of those funds has been questioned by transparency campaigners. It is unclear how much money is laundered through Britain, but the National Crime Agency has said calculations of between 36 billion pounds ($50.83 billion) and 90 billion pounds ($127.08 billion) are "a significant underestimate".

Security minister Ben Wallace told The Times that the government would use powers regarding unexplained wealth to freeze and recover property if individuals cannot explain how they acquired assets over 50,000 pounds ($70,000).

What we know from the Laundromat exposé is that certainly there have been links to the [Russian] state," he was quoted as saying. "The government's view is that we know what they are up to and we are not going to let it happen any more."

renfro , February 4, 2018 at 6:47 am GMT
@KenH

I'm baffled that a people who have had so much experience with Jews and their machinations can't recognize that America is now what they used to be when they were under Jewish management from 1917

I am fairly sure that those in Russia who need to know already know plenty about Jew/Isr led USA Russian policy ..they've been after Russia for a long time.

1977-1981: Nationalities Working Group Advocates Using Militant Islam Against Soviet Union

In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter's National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. The Islamic populations are regarded as prime targets. Zionist Richard Pipes, the father of Daniel Pipes, takes over the leadership of the NWG in 1981. Pipes predicts that with the right encouragement Soviet Muslims will "explode into genocidal fury" against Moscow. According to Richard Cottam, a former CIA official who advised the Carter administration at the time, after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1978, Brzezinski favored a "de facto alliance with the forces of Islamic resurgence, and with the Republic of Iran." [Dreyfuss, 2005, pp. 241, 251 - 256]

November 1978-February 1979: Some US Officials Want to Support Radical Muslims to Contain Soviet Union

State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea "that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets." [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini.

This idea is based on ideas from the British Jewish Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an "arc of crisis" and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union.

Anonymous Disclaimer , February 4, 2018 at 7:28 am GMT
I've always appreciated your candid exposure of American hypocrisy and stupidity, Saker, especially as unfairly and dangerously directed at Russia. But explain to me why most Russian opinion columnists, such as yourself, have to make their pieces as long as a novel by Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? Something to do with the R1a haplotype perhaps? Many long introns amidst the essential exons perhaps? Or, just an inability to stop when having a good time?
jilles dykstra , February 4, 2018 at 8:05 am GMT
@Chet Bradley

Which west goals ? I do not want USA world supremacy. At present Putin is the only man preventing this.

renfro , February 4, 2018 at 9:02 am GMT
The US congress is such a freaking circus of idiots, clowns, whores for Israel, crooks, perverts and incompetents I don't think I can stomach keeping up with their malfeasance much longer.

But I will leave this snippet -- -the 'list' and idea to sanction Russian individuals was the work of former Russian hating State Dept Amb to Poland, uber Jew Daniel Fried working in conjunction with uber Jew Sen Ben Cardin of the Foreign Relations Committee.

That tells you all you need to know. ((They)) were delighted to seize on Hillary's Russian excuse for losing the election and may have even instigated it to Hillary.

It will be interesting to see if the oligarchs faced with the choice of Russia or Europe or US as a home for their billions ever meet with little boy Kushner who might guarantee them safe bank accounts in Israel for a fee of course lol.

Avery , February 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

{Two million German citizens died,}

Crocodile tears. ~15 million Soviet citizens were killed or murdered by Nazi invaders. Plus ~3 million Red Army POWs deliberately starved to death, or died to due deliberate neglect, withholding medical aid, etc by Nazi invaders. A total of ~10 million Red Army troops lost their lives to prevent the extermination of Slavic peoples by Nazi invaders.

DESERT FOX , February 4, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
The whole hate the Russians deal is a Zionist ploy as the Russians are defeating ISIS aka AL CIADA in Syria and since ISIS and all of its branches are a creation of the U.S. and ISRAEL and BRITAIN via the CIA and the MOSSAD and MI6 , the Zionists cannot accept defeat and are turning the U.S. against Russia .

If anyone doubts that Israel and the zionist neocons control the U.S. gov, just remember that ISRAEL and the deepstate did 911 and got away with it, that is control in spades.

headrick , February 4, 2018 at 2:11 pm GMT
The last week or so the left has been bombastically upset at Trump because he did not enact more sanctions against Russia, and were pleased at the action against the Russian Oligarchs though. – These people are always convinced that the government has the power to do things by fiat- take away guns, punish global warming skeptics, sanction politically incorrect speech – lets pass a law-. The right is not immune from this instinct either with drug wars .etc. This belief
that the direct application of force 180 degrees against the foe, never a thought to strategy or cause and effect or blowback or complex analysis, – brute force and ignorance- into the valley of death rode the 600. Those drunk with power grasp the reins and charge madly. The drunk are not great thinkers. Putin raises a glass to their return.
Michael Kenny , February 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm GMT
As always, simplistic pro-Putin propaganda buried in a mass of details so as to bog people down. The centrepiece is at the end: sanctions. The basic argument is always "lift the sanctions" then some pretext or other is trotted out to justify that pre-ordained conclusion. In today's serving, the sanctions are useless and the US should just surrender and "work with" Putin. What is interesting though is that the author claims to see opposition to Putin within the elite but (needlwss to say!) "the people" are solidly behind Putin. Reading between the lines, that suggests that sanctions are starting to bite.
RobinG , February 4, 2018 at 4:42 pm GMT
@renfro

" ..weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions." Same strategy is operating in US now. Some allege Soros is promoting this, but he's not the only one. [#Resist was/is underwritten by MeetUp! CEO.] Can you give citations for your quotes about Nationalities Working Group? Thanks.

Den Lille Abe , February 4, 2018 at 4:47 pm GMT
It is getting rather tiresome, the "The Russians did it" meme. Whatever happens that contradicts US perceptions of reality , "The Russians did it". Maybe the American public is gullible, but us Europeans are rather more reserved on this. It has has been dis proven that Russia meddled in the French and German elections, and while the Brexit vote is inconclusive , we still have not been exposed to the smoking gun.

There is no doubt that the US MSM is trying to steam roll all objections to this stance, but proof, where is it? The bought ads on Fakebook is laughable at best, and the new Dutch source is another "Flat earther theory". Has general American IQ deteriorated so much in the span of a decade ? I doubt it.

Anon Disclaimer , February 4, 2018 at 5:12 pm GMT
Anon from TN
The author did not need so many words to state the obvious: the US shot itself in the foot again, and now it's going to start complaining that it hurts. Anyone familiar with human history knows that dying empires invariably make maladaptive moves that speed up their demise. This was the scenario with Roman, Spanish, Ottoman, British, and French Empires. Look on the bright side, though: the US Empire follows in the footsteps of the greatest.
FB , February 4, 2018 at 5:14 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

' that suggests that sanctions are starting to bite '

What disneyland character are you portraying ? I'm guessing Dopey from the Seven Dwarfs. US has zero ability to influence the trajectory of Russia which is straight up like the Russian rocket launches that take Nasa astronauts into space for the last seven years. US sanctions have only been a blessing to Russia

For one thing they have driven a wedge between EU and the US especially Germany which is a natural Russian ally. For another they are helping Putin to clean up the remaining rotten apples in the Russian billionaire class by forcing them to bring their offshore money home or get the hell out of Russia and have whatever they leave behind confiscated by the Russian people. I have noticed you here as a monkey with a serious Russia chip on his shoulder

I'll be checking back to see what you are spouting as soon the US Ponzi scheme economy starts collapsing. The only thing holding up this house of cards is the petrodollar which is already in the frying pan. Russia and China along with other emerging powers like Iran and the Brics are working round the clock to dismantle the present US-based world financial order. The Brics already exceed the G7 in total GDP. Enjoy your coming poverty

Anon Disclaimer , February 4, 2018 at 5:19 pm GMT
@Den Lille Abe

Anon from TN: The Europeans will never appreciate to what extent the thinking and behavior of Americans is determined by the view that "this is not my problem". They would also never understand or believe how parochial and uninformed the people in the US are. Then again, the Europeans have nothing to be proud of: while the US elites are at least open about their ulterior motives, the Europeans fell into a trap of anti-Russian sanctions (which hurt them a lot more than the US, BTW) by virtue of pure hypocrisy.

bluedog , February 4, 2018 at 5:20 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Sorry I don't have the tea leaves to read between the lines, but I was reading that a number of business leaders from the EU was just in the Crimea, and I rather doubt they were there for a vacation, sanctions are a double edged sword and it would seem the EU are feeling them as much if not more than Russia .

EugeneGur , February 4, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Den Lille Abe

Maybe the American public is gullible, but us Europeans are rather more reserved on this.

Oh really? You Europeans just like to hide behind the US's back and pretend you are so-o-o European, so advanced and civilized, unlike the American barbarians, while behaving exactly the same – or worse.

As far as the "Russian interference" in the everyone's elections and everything under the sun is concerned, the German or British press, if anything, is worse than the US one. The Spanish press promptly accused Russia of engineering the Catalan independence movement. My sister told me that when she read a translation from Spanish about this in the Russian press she thought the Russians made it up, for it sounded so silly. But I read the original in El Pais and knew the Russian didn't make it up – the European media these days is such you truly can't make it up, try as you might. In fact, there's never been anything resembling proof in any of the stories, and all of them are completely nonsensical, which did not prevent the European media from spreading them far and wide.

So, it I were you, I'd first question the collective European IQ, before laughing at the Americans. The European policy towards Russia for the past 25 years has been unnecessarily confrontational and generally extremely stupid. After all, the US is far away, but Europe is right next door to Russia. If push comes to shove, you'd be the first to get a kick in your tender behind. It happened before, remember? Not only your IQ seems to have deteriorated, even assuming it was ever high, but your memory as well.

renfro , February 4, 2018 at 6:26 pm GMT
@RobinG

Its from ..historycommons

http://www.historycommons.org good resource it is collection of news reports, documents, books, time lines of events, etc just plug Iran or Israel or whatever subject into search that particular report is from Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project) by Robert Dreyfuss

Jake , February 4, 2018 at 6:56 pm GMT

"I call this (informal) opposition the "Atlantic Integrationists" because what these pro-western globalists want is for the AngloZionist Empire to accept Russia as an equal partner and to have Russia fully integrate itself into the US-controlled international financial and security structures:" Absolutely. What the Saker calls the Anglo-Zionist Empire is what I call the self-righteous imperialism of WASP culture. And it is relentless. It is like Mordor and Sauron. It intends to secure and then use the One Ring to Rule Them All, and no body count matters.

Jake , February 4, 2018 at 6:58 pm GMT

@EugeneGur

"Oh really? You Europeans just like to hide behind the US's back and pretend you are so-o-o European, so advanced and civilized, unlike the American barbarians, while behaving exactly the same – or worse."

That is funny because true.

renfro , February 4, 2018 at 7:09 pm GMT
@RobinG

Bottom line, destroy Russia has always been the Jews , (aided by some bought politicians and assorted psychopaths) and still is. You need to track them thru the decades to see how the US came to its Russia fear mongering. http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=western_support_for_islamic_militancy_202708

Context of '1977-1981: Nationalities Working Group Advocates Using Militant Islam Against Soviet Union'

[MORE]
Albert Wohlstetter, a professor at the University of Chicago, gathers a cadre of fiery young intellectuals around him, many of whom are working and associating with the magazine publisher Irving Kristol (see 1965). Wohlstetter's group includes Richard Perle, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Paul Wolfowitz. Wohlstetter, himself a protege of the Machiavellian academic Leo Strauss, is often considered the "intellectual godfather" of modern neoconservatism. Formerly an analyst at the RAND Corporation, Wohlstetter wielded a powerful influence on the US's foreign policy during the heyday of the Cold War.

The recently formed neoconservatives, bound together by magazine publisher Irving Kristol (see 1965), react with horror to the ascendancy of the "McGovern liberals" in the Democratic Party, and turn to conservative senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-WA) for leadership. Jackson calls himself a "muscular Democrat"; others call him "the Senator from Boeing" for his strong support of the US defense industry.Jackson assembles a staff of bright, young, ideologically homogeneous staffers who will later become some of the most influential and powerful neoconservatives of their generation, including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Abram Shulsky, and Paul Wolfowitz. Jackson's office -- Jackson's neoconservative disciples came of age either fighting two foreign dictators -- Stalin and/or Hitler -- or growing up with family members who fought against them. [Unger, 2007, pp. 35-41] Wolfowitz's father's family perished in the Holocaust; he will later say that what happened to European Jews during World War II "shaped a lot of my views." [New York Times, 4/22/2002] Feith will tell the New Yorker in 2005, "[My] family got wiped out by Hitler, and all this stuff about working things out -- well, talking to Hitler to resolve the problem didn't make any sense." Most neoconservatives like Feith and Wolfowitz tend to look to military solutions as a first, not a last, resort. To them, compromise means appeasement, just as Britain's Neville Chamberlain tried to appease Hitler. Stefan Halper, a White House and State Department official in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations, will say of the neoconservatives, "It is use force first and diplomacy down the line."
Former Trotskyites – On the other hand, many neoconservatives come to the movement from the hardline, socialist left, often from organizations that supported Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky (see Late 1930s – 1950s). Trotskyites accused Stalin of betraying the purity of the Communist vision as declaimed by Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. "I can see psychologically why it would not be difficult for them to become [conservative] hard-liners," says Harvard Sovietologist Richard Pipes, himself a hardliner whose son, Daniel Pipes, will become an influential neoconservative. "It was in reaction to the betrayal." Many neoconservatives like Stephen Schwartz, a writer for the Weekly Standard, still consider themselves to be loyal disciples of Trotsky. Richard Perle is a Trotskyite socialist when he joins Jackson's staff, and will always practice what author Craig Unger calls "an insistent, uncompromising, hard-line Bolshevik style" of policy and politics. Like Trotsky, Unger writes, the neoconservatives pride themselves on being skilled bureaucratic infighters, and on trusting no one except a small cadre of like-minded believers. Disagreement is betrayal, and political struggles are always a matter of life and death. [Unger, 2007, pp. 35-41]
After George H. W. Bush becomes the head of the CIA (see November 4, 1975 and After), he decides to break with previous decisions and allow a coterie of neoconservative outsiders to pursue the allegations of Albert Wohlstetter that the CIA is seriously underestimating the threat the USSR poses to the US (see 1965),
The neocon team of "analysts" becomes known as "Team B," with "Team A" being the CIA's own analytical team. It is unprecedented to allow outsiders to have so much access to highly classified CIA intelligence as Bush is granting the Team B neocons, so the entire project is conducted in secret.
Former CIA deputy director Ray Cline says Team B had subverted the National Intelligence Estimate on the USSR by employing "a kangaroo court of outside critics all picked from one point of view." Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says that B's only purpose is to subvert detente and sabotage a new arms limitation treaty between the US and the Soviet Union. [Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 4/1993; Common Dreams (.org), 12/7/2004; BBC, 1/14/2005; Quarterly Journal of Speech, 5/2006 ; Unger, 2007, pp. 53-57]
Although the entire "Team B" intelligence analysis experiment (see Early 1976, November 1976, and November 1976) is supposed to be classified and secret, the team's neoconservatives launch what author Craig Unger will call "a massive campaign to inflame fears of the red menace in both the general population and throughout the [foreign] policy community -- thanks to strategically placed leaks to the Boston Globe and later to the New York Times." Times reporter David Binder later says that Team B leader Richard Pipes is "jubilant" over "pok[ing] holes at the [CIA]'s analysis" of the Soviet threat. Team B member John Vogt calls the exercise "an opportunity to even up some scores with the CIA." [Unger, 2007, pp. 57]

In 1993, after reviewing the original Team B documents, Cahn will reflect on the effect of the B exercise: "For more than a third of a century, assertions of Soviet superiority created calls for the United States to 'rearm.' In the 1980s, the call was heeded so thoroughly that the United States embarked on a trillion-dollar defense buildup. As a result, the country neglected its schools, cities, roads and bridges, and health care system. From the world's greatest creditor nation, the United States became the world's greatest debtor -- in order to pay for arms to counter the threat of a nation that was collapsing." [Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 4/1993

polistra , February 4, 2018 at 7:46 pm GMT
Sanctions are almost always counterproductive. We should have learned this from Cuba, but we didn't. When US breaks connections with a country, we force the country to develop its own skills and products, or to do business with our enemies. Result: the sanctioned country gets stronger, our enemies get richer, and US loses business. Total loss for US, total gain for everyone else.

Justice.

bike-anarchist , February 4, 2018 at 7:54 pm GMT
@Cyrano

#1: I have to take a #2

bike-anarchist , February 4, 2018 at 8:01 pm GMT
@Jake

There already is the "Jewish Autonomous Oblast", known as Birobidzhan, in Eastern Siberia. It is much larger than the land mass of any configuration of the State of Israel, tons of fresh water, natural resources. And get this: they wouldn't have to behave like Nazis to benefit from a land ready for them.

Cyrano , February 4, 2018 at 8:02 pm GMT
@Avery

There is a monument on Mamayev Kurgan, called The motherland calls. Luckily, when the motherland called millions of Russians answered. The Russians not only like to answer the call of duty, but also the call of booty – as the Germans found out around 1945.

It's not like the Europeans haven't gone on a genocidal rampages before – Spanish and Anglo-Saxon massacres of native Americans comes to mind. The real genius of those monkeys – the Germans – is that they attempted to treat the Russians like they were American Indians. If anything, the Russians were too kind to those beasts.

bike-anarchist , February 4, 2018 at 8:19 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

Can Israel be trusted with nukes? They, like the U$A have exemptions from IAEA inspections. They have equal exclusiveness in their military doctrine. I recall an anon poster a couple weeks ago stating that Israel has positioned nukes in strategic locations, including continental U$A and Europe, influencing Israel-favourable decisions, explaining why Western countries make decisions that are NOT in their best interests.

I don't wish to believe in that scenario

Sergey Krieger , February 4, 2018 at 8:46 pm GMT
Well, Russia must not be baffled. After having so much baffling experience with partners being baffled is not a good thing especially after 2 consequitive Soviet and then Russia leaders basically gave to USA everything they wanted on a plate with blue stripe so to speak only to get baffled yet again by partners not giving an inch. This is zero sum game and relaxed attitude is not part of it. Every single opportunity must be used to undermine remaining pillars of USA might namely her currency status and international financial system which is built by as Sacker said uncle Shmuel for uncle Shmuel benefits. USA military is just an outgrowth which will collapse like sand cattle without massive cash infusions allowed only because those two pillars mentioned above still standing. Hoping that there will be some reasonable people in Washington with whom some detente is possible is dangerous illusion. There not going to be lasting detente between USA and Russia until USA is reduced to her natural state of regional northern American power with zero influence everywhere beyond Mexican and Canadian borders. Now I always wonder where indeed Putin is taking Russia. I am watching Russia tv and see sort of very ugly place which sole existence is to dumb down Russian people and destroy people morals and ethics. I wonder what kind of population and new generation of russians can grow watching this? I know there are still many people born and brought up in ussr to be immune to this garbage but what about young people? Where indeed Putin is taking Russia and does he need dumbed down American way population for this. Not to be forgotten is that people's strength is country strength. What is going on is quite simple. America is plainly hot bed of capitalism and capitalism is quite obviously in death throws. Exponential growth of debt around the world and continuous reduction of life standards and overall moral decay around the world is a proof of this and obviously Russia and other former socialist states did a very bad bet on capitalism. Results of the past 25 years are extremely disappointing and downright catastrophic for long term survival of the very people who adopted this dead end system which passed its prime long time ago and dying. Communism is not popular at the moment but I have no doubt it will come back because nothing in the past 25 years convinced me that capitalism is better.
Anon Disclaimer , February 4, 2018 at 9:06 pm GMT
@Cyrano

Anon from TN
Let me add a little vignette. In Stalingrad (now Volgograd), there are preserved ruins of one of only two buildings that remained semi-standing: Pavlov's house. Not only it was defended for 60 days against Wehrmacht (longer than France), Germans lost more solders there than they lost conquering France. That should explain to Europeans why Russians don't take Europe too seriously: they say that every 100 years or so the whole of Europe unites, makes war on Russia, gets beaten to pulp, and then licks its wounds for another century. There was Napoleon in the nineteenth century, there was Hitler in the twentieth century, there is NATO in the twenty first

jilles dykstra , February 4, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@Beefcake the Mighty

Was there no bravery on the German side ?After the Normandy invasion western generals expected the war to be over at Christmas, or even in September, when they tried to take the Dutch bridges, and failed miserably. It in my opinion is amazing how one country withstood GB, USSR and USA so long.

jilles dykstra , February 4, 2018 at 9:30 pm GMT
@Anon

Alas NATO seems to be planning a nuclear war. If this war comes, it will be the 'war that ends all wars', as Wilson said about WWI, because no human being will survive, as all bigger animals. Rats seem to have a chance.

Art , February 4, 2018 at 10:04 pm GMT
@Norumbega

A simple explanation for the list of Russian persons who might potentially be sanctioned, is that Congress, as part of the law it passed six months ago, _required_ the production of such a list.

Have heard that they went to a Forbes list to get the sanction names. This looks very very bad – it makes us look ridicules. Congress doing foreign policy is wrong. Of course, this is Jew business – AIPAC doings. America for America – NOT – America for Israel. Think Peace -- Art

Anon Disclaimer , February 4, 2018 at 10:29 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

Anon from TN. Yes, rodents, insects, and simpler life forms will inherit the Earth. The elites, if they start that war, won't survive, either. Poor consolation for the rest of us, though.

annamaria , February 4, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT
@peterAUS

"The Empire is simply, and logically, putting pressure on pro-Moscow Russian elites." – You need to re-read the article.

annamaria , February 4, 2018 at 10:40 pm GMT
@KA

Read the experts: http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/02/httpsenwikipediaorgwikiflanking_maneuver.html

Ilyana_Rozumova , February 4, 2018 at 10:40 pm GMT
@bike-anarchist

Can Israel be trusted with nukes?

Definite answer is Yes! Israeli government are not nuts like Kim. Wherever Israel did put their nukes, the only reason is that the responsibility and cost of maintenance they did put on some other suckers.
Israel has nothing to fear. If there would be some concentrated and dangerous attack on Israel US air force would be there in the matter of hours. Maybe even Russians would help with their air force.
To attack Israel is out of question. Maybe some terrorist attack is an option, but that is difficult to prevent

annamaria , February 4, 2018 at 10:55 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Actually, it is your ziocon propaganda that is simplistic: -- " the US should just surrender and "work with" Putin." -- An honest cooperation between the US and Russian Federation would be the best solution for humanity at large. But this cooperation would be the worst outcome for the bloody "chosen" dreaming of Eretz Israel and world dominance, while they can't stop whining about "eternal victimhood."
Since 1999, four million human beings, including a multitude of children, died in the Middle East because of your bloody mythological "promised land" of Israel.

Seraphim , February 4, 2018 at 11:02 pm GMT
@Jake

Probably they won't have any choice. The more that it would be in the heart of the new Eurasian economic configuration. But they still want Ukraine and Crimea. That's why you hear so much talk about the Khazars.

annamaria , February 4, 2018 at 11:06 pm GMT
@renfro

"From the world's greatest creditor nation, the United States became the world's greatest debtor -- in order to pay for arms to counter the threat of a nation that was collapsing."
And look at the corruption within the highest echelons of the US government and security apparatus -- the opportunists and ignoramuses have taken the upper hand. This is very convenient for Israel-firsters but deadly for the US. The hatred of ziocons towards Russia is boundless and irrational.

Anon Disclaimer , February 4, 2018 at 11:28 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

Anon from TN: To the best of my knowledge, so far only one country used nukes against humans. And it wasn't North Korea.

Twodees Partain , February 5, 2018 at 12:21 am GMT
@KenH

"If Putin and the Russians are still baffled by American hostility, or rather (((American))) hostility, then it's time to question the collective IQ and wisdom of the Russian people. "

Ken, I think that The Saker is just baffled on their behalf.

Cyrano , February 5, 2018 at 12:47 am GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

Ever heard of existential threat, sport? WW1 and the Crimean war were not existential threats to Russia. The minute they turned into such, the outcome would have been different.

headrick , February 5, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT
Here is what sanctions do. I recently saw a story about a German farmer/dairy expert who
went to Russia and jump started a large network of dairy farms in Russia. Before sanctions, Russia thought the could buy their dairy from Europe, but after the sanctions, Russian knew they needed domestic suppliers, and lo an behold, this German (Joint Russian German citizen actually and friend of Putin) was phonemically successful and now there is a robust local Dairy Industry in Russia. Now the people who are howling are the European Farmers who used to have a healthy export market for their products.
Astuteobservor II , February 5, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@Beckow

well, if shamir is right and the looted accounts of the old money is equal to 1 trillion usd. that is alot of money for the people in charge to not see green and only green. doubt long term consequences/effects would ever factor into the decision.

Ivan , February 5, 2018 at 1:54 am GMT

That the oligarchs made their money through connections, behind the scene deals, outright duplicity and so on, should have been obvious to anyone who studied the phenomenon for a short period of time. Does anyone really believe that all those (largely) Jewish oligarchs indulging in the Premier League and other forms of conspicuous consumption made their money like Henry Ford or Andrew Carnegie, by building industries and providing jobs for millions?

The Russian billionaires all made their money by gaming the Russian system. There isn't a single new service or product that we can associate with these people. The question then arises: Why the belated outrage now? The answer is simple: The thieves in the US, have turned on some fellow thieves from overseas, having run out of ways to fleece the American people

Miro23 , February 5, 2018 at 3:20 am GMT

Then look a step further and forget about the US for a second: Russia is trying hard to work with the Europeans on many join projects. What do you think the creation of such a list will have on joint ventures between EU and Russian businessmen? I predict two things:

1. It will place a great deal of pressure on EU corporations not to do business with the Russians and, therefore, it will further place the EU and the US on a collision course.

2. I would emphasize this aspect. German industrialists (but not only) are already upset with US interference in German – Russia trade, and actions like this will only make it worse.

The paradoxical result from the US point of view, is that proposed sanctions serve more to build EU opposition to the US, rather than weaken Russia. Russia is a major market for the EU and the EU doesn't want US imposed sanctions.

Anon 101 , February 5, 2018 at 3:45 am GMT
@Jake

Jake is a troll.

There is no subject that he doesn't derail by going on about Wasps his intent is to "divide and conquer" the building momentum against neocon foreign policy.

Talks-to-Cats , February 5, 2018 at 5:11 am GMT
Group three. Ignore what he says. Consequences are secondary to neocons; rhetoric is primary. Instead, watch what he does (consequences). Qui bono ? http://www.oom2.com/f81-q-anon-archive-analytical-discussion
Anti_republocrat , February 5, 2018 at 5:36 am GMT
@peterAUS

Selecting wealthy individuals at random regardless of political beliefs indeed makes no sense at all. Perhaps if you had read the rest of the article you would understand why. Then again, swine don't typically understand the value of pearls.

[Feb 06, 2018] The War That Never Ends (for the U.S. Military High Command), by Danny Sjursen - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... On Strategy : A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, ..."
"... In his own work, Summers marginalized all Vietnamese actors (as would so many later military historians), failed to adequately deal with the potential consequences, nuclear or otherwise, of the sorts of escalation he advocated, and didn't even bother to ask whether Vietnam was a core national security interest of the United States. ..."
"... A more sophisticated Clausewitzian analysis came from current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in a highly acclaimed 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty ..."
"... McMaster is a genuine scholar and a gifted writer, but he still suggested that the Joint Chiefs should have advocated for a more aggressive offensive strategy -- a full ground invasion of the North or unrelenting carpet-bombing of that country. In this sense, he was just another "go-big" Clausewitzian who, as historian Ronald Spector pointed out recently, ignored Vietnamese views and failed to acknowledge -- an observation of historian Edward Miller -- that "the Vietnam War was a Vietnamese war." ..."
"... The Army and Vietnam ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... A Better War : The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ..."
"... Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife : Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... David Petraeus and current Secretary of Defense James Mattis, co-authors in 2006 of FM 3-24, the first ( New York Times ..."
"... On Strategy ..."
"... Dereliction of Duty ..."
"... The Army and Vietnam ..."
"... Most of the generals leading the war on terror just missed service in the Vietnam War. They graduated from various colleges or West Point in the years immediately following the withdrawal of most U.S. ground troops or thereafter: Petraeus in 1974 , future Afghan War commander Stanley McChrystal in 1976 , and present National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in 1984 . Secretary of Defense Mattis finished ROTC and graduated from Central Washington University in 1971 , while Trump's Chief of Staff John Kelly enlisted at the tail end of the Vietnam War, receiving his commission in 1976 . ..."
"... Petraeus, Mattis, McMaster, and the others entered service when military prestige had reached a nadir or was just rebounding. And those reading lists taught the young officers where to lay the blame for that -- on civilians in Washington (or in the nation's streets) or on a military high command too weak to assert its authority effectively. They would serve in Vietnam's shadow, the shadow of defeat, and the conclusions they would draw from it would only lead to twenty-first-century disasters ..."
"... Meanwhile, President Trump's hearts-and-minds faction consists of officers who have spent three administrations expanding COIN-influenced missions to approximately 70% of the world's nations. Furthermore, they've recently fought for and been granted a new "mini-surge" in Afghanistan intended to -- in disturbingly Vietnam-esque language -- "break the deadlock ," "reverse the decline," and "end the stalemate " there. Never mind that neither 100,000 U.S. troops (when I was there in 2011) nor 16 full years of combat could, in the term of the trade, "stabilize" Afghanistan. The can-do, revisionist believers atop the national security state have convinced Trump that -- despite his original instincts -- 4,000 or 5,000 (or 6,000 or 7,000) more troops (and yet more drones , planes , and other equipment) will do the trick. This represents tragedy bordering on farce. ..."
"... The hearts and minders and Clausewitzians atop the military establishment since 9/11 are never likely to stop citing their versions of the Vietnam War as the key to victory today; that is, they will never stop focusing on a war that was always unwinnable and never worth fighting. None of today's acclaimed military personalities seems willing to consider that Washington couldn't have won in Vietnam because, as former Air Force Chief of Staff Merrill McPeak (who flew 269 combat missions over that country) noted in the recent Ken Burns documentary series, "we were fighting on the wrong side." ..."
"... Today's leaders don't even pretend that the post-9/11 wars will ever end. In an interview last June, Petraeus -- still considered a sagacious guru of the Defense establishment -- disturbingly described the Afghan conflict as " generational ." ..."
"... Vietnam lost in the end. Its greedy corrupt elites are now puppets of US. They allow open prostitution in Ho Chi Minh city. They allow Vietnamese women to be a bunch of hookers again. ..."
"... "America tends to gain from commerce what it thinks it will get by warfare. Not so much the other way around" Rather like 20th century Germany, don't you think? ..."
"... The Vietnam war killed the draft. The draft is involuntary servitude, slavery in a sense. For ordinary Americans this was the only positive thing to come from the war. ..."
"... Ultimately, the victory of WW2 due to sheer weight of industrial productivity ramp and hence massive output of planes, tanks, submarines, etc. made defense a large part of the US economy. Since that time, too many entrenched interests just never want the military to downsize. Hence, the US has to keep invented new demand for a product that otherwise would not have such demand, but keeps some major entrenched interests powerful. ..."
"... The BIGGEST lesson to come out of the illegal and immoral War against Vietnam is that the draft was impeding the MIC's effort to sell Americans on the idea of supporting endless war. ..."
"... The same generals who let 911 happen and started the Iraq war still run the show. All of them should have faced a firing squad for that, but instead, the grossly incompetent General Kelly runs the White House and the grossly incompetent Mattis runs the military. ..."
"... The warhawk imperialists – some of them Clausewtizians and most COINdinistas – rule everything. No matter how many lives are lost, no matter how much money is wasted, they demand we remain on the same path of playing world hegemon. George Washington fought the British Empire for our freedom, so our subsequent leaders, starting most importantly with Lincoln, could remake the country into the British Empire 2.0. ..."
"... No; it's psychotic, psychopathic mayhem and mass-murder. Lemma: At any crime-scene, there are one or more perpetrators, possibly accessories, apologists and/or 'idle' bystanders. It is incumbent upon *all* witnesses to attempt to a) restrain malefactors and where possible b) rescue victims from harm. *All* present and not in active resistance to the crime attract proportional guilt. Addendum: Any person profiting from crime also makes him/herself an accessory, like all residents in the 'illegitimate entity' and/or the puppet executives, manufacturers of the means and their enablers = the whole MIC[*] plus all their dependents, say. ..."
"... The US rogue regime = US-M/I/C/4a†-plex, with dog-wagging-tail, its illegitimate sprog the Zionist/Israeli rogue regime + Js = I/J/Z-plex, all components rife with corruption. ..."
"... Save the BS for your fellow geezer drunks at the VFW lounge. Vietnam featured a complete collapse of the conscripted US military, rampant drug use, fragging, insubordination, faked injuries, disintegration of the chain of command, mass murder of civilians, and finally TOTAL DEFEAT after turning tail and running following the negotiation of a charitable "decent interval" allowing the yanks to save some face. Pathetic. ..."
"... Wars fought to make countries like Vietnam open to big corporations to move American jobs there. Corporate money backed by the fist of the Marines has worked all their lives, all their parents' lives, and all the modern history of America. "Why not now?", the sheep ask. ..."
"... According to Bobbie McNamara, American efforts resulted in the murder of over 4 million Vietnamese and the maiming of millions of others .MOSTLY CIVILIANS. ..."
"... If the war mongers had had an all-volunteer army like the one they have today, they could have and would have kept the Vietnam War going indefinitely. But, since they didn't, draftees and their parents wised-up to the Pentagon's money-making scam and put a stop to it by refusing to participate. ..."
"... Very rich families and corporatists started their own think tanks after World War II. This is when the looting began for RAND. These are the bastards Eisenhower was afraid of. Abe Lincoln feared the large corporations born of business profiteering during the U.S. Civil War -- the military industrial complex of the day -- easily constituted the greatest threat to the American republic. ..."
"... Remember that Eisenhower's definition of the complex included among the bastards, not only the military defense industry corporations, but also right alongside them the news media and the university and private research establishments. ..."
"... That war was a cluster fuck and a crime against humanity. It's only purpose was to make a few rich men richer. The murder and destruction in the MENA is just more of the same. ..."
Feb 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

Vietnam: it's always there. Looming in the past, informing American futures.

A 50-year-old war, once labeled the longest in our history, is still alive and well and still being refought by one group of Americans: the military high command. And almost half a century later, they're still losing it and blaming others for doing so.

Of course, the U.S. military and Washington policymakers lost the war in Vietnam in the previous century and perhaps it's well that they did. The United States really had no business intervening in that anti-colonial civil war in the first place, supporting a South Vietnamese government of questionable legitimacy, and stifling promised nationwide elections on both sides of that country's artificial border. In doing so, Washington presented an easy villain for a North Vietnamese-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) insurgency, a group known to Americans in those years as the Vietcong.

More than two decades of involvement and, at the war's peak, half a million American troops never altered the basic weakness of the U.S.-backed regime in Saigon. Despite millions of Asian deaths and 58,000 American ones, South Vietnam's military could not, in the end, hold the line without American support and finally collapsed under the weight of a conventional North Vietnamese invasion in April 1975.

There's just one thing. Though a majority of historians (known in academia as the "orthodox" school) subscribe to the basic contours of the above narrative, the vast majority of senior American military officers do not. Instead, they're still refighting the Vietnam War to a far cheerier outcome through the books they read, the scholarship they publish, and (most disturbingly) the policies they continue to pursue in the Greater Middle East.

The Big Re-Write

In 1986, future general, Iraq-Afghan War commander, and CIA director David Petraeus penned an article for the military journal Parameters that summarized his Princeton doctoral dissertation on the Vietnam War. It was a piece commensurate with then-Major Petraeus's impressive intellect, except for its disastrous conclusions on the lessons of that war. Though he did observe that Vietnam had "cost the military dearly" and that "the frustrations of Vietnam are deeply etched in the minds of those who lead the services," his real fear was that the war had left the military unprepared to wage what were then called "low-intensity conflicts" and are now known as counterinsurgencies. His takeaway: what the country needed wasn't less Vietnams but better-fought ones. The next time, he concluded fatefully, the military should do a far better job of implementing counterinsurgency forces, equipment, tactics, and doctrine to win such wars.

Two decades later, when the next Vietnam-like quagmire did indeed present itself in Iraq, he and a whole generation of COINdinistas (like-minded officers devoted to his favored counterinsurgency approach to modern warfare) embraced those very conclusions to win the war on terror. The names of some of them -- H.R. McMaster and James Mattis, for instance -- should ring a bell or two these days. In Iraq and later in Afghanistan, Petraeus and his acolytes would get their chance to translate theory into practice. Americans -- and much of the rest of the planet -- still live with the results.

Like Petraeus, an entire generation of senior military leaders, commissioned in the years after the Vietnam War and now atop the defense behemoth, remain fixated on that ancient conflict. After all these decades, such "thinking" generals and "soldier-scholars" continue to draw all the wrong lessons from what, thanks in part to them, has now become America's second longest war.

Rival Schools

Historian Gary Hess identifies two main schools of revisionist thinking.

Both schools, however, agreed on something basic: that the U.S. military should have won in Vietnam.

The danger presented by either school is clear enough in the twenty-first century. Senior commanders, some now serving in key national security positions, fixated on Vietnam, have translated that conflict's supposed lessons into what now passes for military strategy in Washington. The result has been an ever-expanding war on terror campaign waged ceaselessly from South Asia to West Africa, which has essentially turned out to be perpetual war based on the can-do belief that counterinsurgency and advise-and-assist missions should have worked in Vietnam and can work now.

The Go-Big Option

The leading voice of the Clausewitzian school was U.S. Army Colonel and Korean War/Vietnam War vet Harry Summers, whose 1982 book, On Strategy : A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, became an instant classic within the military. It's easy enough to understand why. Summers argued that civilian policymakers -- not the military rank-and-file -- had lost the war by focusing hopelessly on the insurgency in South Vietnam rather than on the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. More troops, more aggressiveness, even full-scale invasions of communist safe havens in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam, would have led to victory.

Summers had a deep emotional investment in his topic. Later , he would argue that the source of post-war pessimistic analyses of the conflict lay in "draft dodgers and war evaders still [struggling] with their consciences." In his own work, Summers marginalized all Vietnamese actors (as would so many later military historians), failed to adequately deal with the potential consequences, nuclear or otherwise, of the sorts of escalation he advocated, and didn't even bother to ask whether Vietnam was a core national security interest of the United States.

Perhaps he would have done well to reconsider a famous post-war encounter he had with a North Vietnamese officer, a Colonel Tu, whom he assured that "you know you never beat us on the battlefield." "That may be so," replied his former enemy, "but it is also irrelevant."

Whatever its limitations, his work remains influential in military circles to this day. (I was assigned the book as a West Point cadet!)

A more sophisticated Clausewitzian analysis came from current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in a highly acclaimed 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty . He argued that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were derelict in failing to give President Lyndon Johnson an honest appraisal of what it would take to win, which meant that "the nation went to war without the benefit of effective military advice." He concluded that the war was lost not in the field or by the media or even on antiwar college campuses, but in Washington, D.C., through a failure of nerve by the Pentagon's generals, which led civilian officials to opt for a deficient strategy.

McMaster is a genuine scholar and a gifted writer, but he still suggested that the Joint Chiefs should have advocated for a more aggressive offensive strategy -- a full ground invasion of the North or unrelenting carpet-bombing of that country. In this sense, he was just another "go-big" Clausewitzian who, as historian Ronald Spector pointed out recently, ignored Vietnamese views and failed to acknowledge -- an observation of historian Edward Miller -- that "the Vietnam War was a Vietnamese war."

COIN: A Small (Forever) War

Another Vietnam veteran, retired Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Krepinevich, fired the opening salvo for the hearts-and-minders. In The Army and Vietnam , published in 1986, he argued that the NLF, not the North Vietnamese Army, was the enemy's chief center of gravity and that the American military's failure to emphasize counterinsurgency principles over conventional concepts of war sealed its fate. While such arguments were, in reality, no more impressive than those of the Clausewitzians, they have remained popular with military audiences, as historian Dale Andrad