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Relentless militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite

As large part of the US GDP (financial services part) is fake,
 the current level of military expenses can bankrupt the country

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War . . . the lie, about war, about ourselves, is imploding our democracy

By Chris Hedges
Online Journal Guest Writer

It is impossible to understand the current wave of the US militarism without understanding neoliberalism and, especially, Neoconservatism -- the dominant force in the US foreign policy since Reagan.

From Wikipedia

Militarism - Wikipedia

Militarism is the belief or the desire of a fascist government or a people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests; examples of militarist states include North Korea, the United States of America, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union, as well as most Imperial states, such as the Roman Empire.[1]

It may also imply the glorification of the military and of the ideals of a professional military class and the "predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state"[2] (see also: stratocracy and military junta).

Militarism has been a significant element of the imperialist or expansionist ideologies of several nations throughout history.

Jingoism - Wikipedia

Jingoism is nationalism in the form of aggressive foreign policy.[1] Jingoism also refers to a country's advocacy for the use of threats or actual force, as opposed to peaceful relations, in efforts to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others—an extreme type of nationalism.

June 17, 2005  | DemocracyRising.US

The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with words of courage and comradeship. They know the lies that permeate the thick, self-important memoirs by amoral statesmen who make wars but do not know war.

The vanquished know the essence of war—death. They grasp that war is necrophilia. They see that war is a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. They know how war fosters alienation, leads inevitably to nihilism, and is a turning away from the sanctity and preservation of life. All other narratives about war too easily fall prey to the allure and seductiveness of violence, as well as the attraction of the godlike power that comes with the license to kill with impunity.

But the words of the vanquished come later, sometimes long after the war, when grown men and women unpack the suffering they endured as children, what it was like to see their mother or father killed or taken away, or what it was like to lose their homes, their community, their security, and be discarded as human refuse. But by then few listen. The truth about war comes out, but usually too late. We are assured by the war-makers that these stories have no bearing on the glorious violent enterprise the nation is about to inaugurate. And, lapping up the myth of war and its sense of empowerment, we prefer not to look.

We see the war in Iraq only through the distorted lens of the occupiers. The embedded reporters, dependent on the military for food and transportation as well as security, have a natural and understandable tendency, one I have myself felt, to protect those who are protecting them. They are not allowed to report outside of the unit and are, in effect, captives. They have no relationships with the occupied, essential to all balanced reporting of conflicts, but only with the Marines and soldiers who drive through desolate mud-walled towns and pump grenades and machine-gun bullets into houses, leaving scores of nameless dead and wounded in their wake. The reporters admire and laud these fighters for their physical courage. They feel protected as well by the jet fighters and heavy artillery and throaty rattle of machine guns. And the reporting, even among those who struggle to keep some distance, usually descends into a shameful cheerleading.

There is no more candor in Iraq or Afghanistan than there was in Vietnam, but in the age of live satellite feeds the military has perfected the appearance of candor. What we are fed is the myth of war. For the myth of war, the myth of glory and honor sells newspapers and boosts ratings, real war reporting does not. Ask the grieving parents of Pat Tillman. Nearly every embedded war correspondent sees his or her mission as sustaining civilian and army morale. This is what passes for coverage on FOX, MSNBC or CNN. In wartime, as Senator Hiram Johnson reminded us in 1917, "truth is the first casualty."

All our knowledge of the war in Iraq has to be viewed as lacking the sweep and depth that will come one day, perhaps years from now, when a small Iraqi boy or girl reaches adulthood and unfolds for us the sad and tragic story of the invasion and bloody occupation of their nation.

I have spent most of my adult life in war. I began two decades ago covering wars in Central America, where I spent five years, then the Middle East, where I spent seven, and the Balkans where I covered the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. My life has been marred, let me say deformed, by the organized industrial violence that year after year was an intimate part of my existence. I have watched young men bleed to death on lonely Central American dirt roads and cobblestone squares in Sarajevo. I have looked into the eyes of mothers, kneeling over the lifeless and mutilated bodies of their children. I have stood in warehouses with rows of corpses, including children, and breathed death into my lungs. I carry within me the ghosts of those I worked with, my comrades, now gone.

I have felt the attraction of violence. I know its seductiveness, excitement and the powerful addictive narcotic it can become. The young soldiers, trained well enough to be disciplined but encouraged to maintain their naive adolescent belief in invulnerability, have in wartime more power at their fingertips than they will ever have again. They catapult from being minimum wage employees at places like Burger King, facing a life of dead-end jobs with little hope of health insurance and adequate benefits, to being part of, in the words of the Marines, "the greatest fighting force on the face of the earth." The disparity between what they were and what they have become is breathtaking and intoxicating. This intoxication is only heightened in wartime when all taboos are broken. Murder goes unpunished and often rewarded. The thrill of destruction fills their days with wild adrenaline highs, strange grotesque landscapes that are hallucinogenic, all accompanied by a sense of purpose and comradeship, overpowers the alienation many left behind. They become accustomed to killing, carrying out acts of slaughter with no more forethought than they take to relieve themselves. And the abuses committed against the helpless prisoners in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo are not aberrations but the real face of war. In wartime all human beings become objects, objects either to gratify or destroy or both. And almost no one is immune. The contagion of the crowd sees to that.

"Force," Simon Weil wrote, "is as pitiless to the man who possess it, or thinks he does, as it is to his victim. The second it crushes; the first it intoxicates."

This myth, the lie, about war, about ourselves, is imploding our democracy. We shun introspection and self-criticism. We ignore truth, to embrace the strange, disquieting certitude and hubris offered by the radical Christian Right. These radical Christians draw almost exclusively from the book of Revelation, the only time in the Gospels where Jesus sanctions violence, peddling a vision of Christ as the head of a great and murderous army of heavenly avengers. They rarely speak about Christ's message of love, forgiveness and compassion. They relish the cataclysmic destruction that will befall unbelievers, including those such as myself, whom they dismiss as "nominal Christians." They divide the world between good and evil, between those anointed to act as agents of God and those who act as agents of Satan. The cult of masculinity and esthetic of violence pervades their ideology. Feminism and homosexuality are forces, believers are told, that have rendered the American male physically and spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian Right, is a man of action, casting out demons, battling the Anti-Christ, attacking hypocrites and castigating the corrupt. The language is one not only of exclusion, hatred and fear, but a call for apocalyptic violence, in short the language of war.

As the war grinds forward, as we sink into a morass of our own creation, as our press and political opposition, and yes even our great research universities, remain complacent and passive, as we refuse to confront the forces that have crippled us outside our gates and are working to cripple us within, the ideology of the Christian Right, so intertwined with intolerance and force, will become the way we speak not only to others but among ourselves.

In war, we always deform ourselves, our essence. We give up individual conscience—maybe even consciousness—for contagion of the crowd, the rush of patriotism, the belief that we must stand together as nation in moments of extremity. To make a moral choice, to defy war's enticement, to find moral courage, can be self-destructive.

The attacks on the World Trade Center illustrate that those who oppose us, rather than coming from another moral universe, have been schooled well in modern warfare. The dramatic explosions, the fireballs, the victims plummeting to their deaths, the collapse of the towers in Manhattan, were straight out of Hollywood. Where else, but from the industrialized world, did the suicide bombers learn that huge explosions and death above a city skyline are a peculiar and effective form of communication? They have mastered the language we have taught them. They understand that the use of indiscriminate violence against innocents is a way to make a statement. We leave the same calling cards. We delivered such incendiary messages in Vietnam, Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq. It was Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara who in the summer of 1965 defined the bombing raids that would kill hundreds of thousands of civilians north of Saigon as a means of communication to the Communist regime in Hanoi.

The most powerful anti-war testaments, of war and what war does to us, are those that eschew images of combat. It is the suffering of the veteran whose body and mind are changed forever because he or she served a nation that sacrificed them, the suffering of families and children caught up in the unforgiving maw of war, which begin to tell the story of war. But we are not allowed to see dead bodies, at least of our own soldiers, nor do we see the wounds that forever mark a life, the wounds that leave faces and bodies horribly disfigured by burns or shrapnel. We never watch the agony of the dying. War is made palatable. It is sanitized. We are allowed to taste war's perverse thrill, but spared from seeing war's consequences. The wounded and the dead are swiftly carted offstage. And for this I blame the press, which willingly hides from us the effects of bullets, roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, which sat at the feet of those who lied to make this war possible and dutifully reported these lies and called it journalism.

War is always about this betrayal. It is about the betrayal of the young by the old, idealists by cynics and finally soldiers by politicians. Those who pay the price, those who are maimed forever by war, however, are crumpled up and thrown away. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they bring is too painful for us to hear. We prefer the myth of war, the myth of glory, honor, patriotism and heroism, words that in the terror and brutality of combat are empty, meaningless and obscene.

We are losing the war in Iraq. We are an isolated and reviled nation. We are pitiless to others weaker than ourselves. We have lost sight of our democratic ideals. Thucydides wrote of Athens expanding empire and how this empire led it to become a tyrant abroad and then a tyrant at home. The tyranny Athens imposed on others it finally imposed on itself. If we do not confront the lies and hubris told to justify the killing and mask the destruction carried out in our name in Iraq, if we do not grasp the moral corrosiveness of empire and occupation, if we continue to allow force and violence to be our primary form of communication, if we do not remove from power our flag-waving, cross-bearing versions of the Taliban, we will not so much defeat dictators such as Saddam Hussein as become them.

Chris Hedges has been a war reporter for 15 years most recently for the New York Times. He is author of "What Every person Should Know About War," a book that offers a critical lesson in the dangerous realities of war. He's also author of "War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning."

War as a natural state of the USA since 1945


"...These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended. "
"...One is reminded of John Winthrop, who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the recalcitrant. "
"...Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster. "
"...Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed. "

[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace

Professor Basevich

 

The foreign policy of the USA since the dissolution of the USSR was and is "open militarism". Recently  John Quiggin  tried to define militarism is came to the following definition (crookedtimber.org):

100 years after the Battle of the Somme, it's hard to see that much has been learned from the catastrophe of the Great War and the decades of slaughter that followed it. Rather than get bogged down (yet again) in specifics that invariably decline into arguments about who know more of the historical detail, I'm going to try a different approach, looking at the militarist ideology that gave us the War, and trying to articulate an anti-militarist alternative. Wikipedia offers a definition of militarism which, with the deletion of a single weasel word, seems to be entirely satisfactory and also seems to describe the dominant view of the political class, and much of the population in nearly every country in the world.

Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively[^1] to defend or promote national interests

This phenomenon of  New American Militarism was well analyzed by Professor Bacevich (who is a former colonel of the US army). Bacevich's book  Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War  describe the "sacred trinity" of:

 Professor Bacevich shows that neocons dominate the US foreign policy regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. They profess that the US in the only country uniquely qualified to take on the worldwide foes of peace and democracy, forgetting, revising, or ignoring the painful lessons of World War II, Vietnam, and beyond that might have taken the USA into periods of unprecedented peace, instead of numerous conflicts.

Bacevich scores a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual war. These assumptions take the form of the "credo" -- which holds that the United States has the unique responsibility to intervene wherever it wants, for whatever purpose it wants, by whatever means it wants -- and the supporting "trinity" of requirements for the U.S. to maintain a global military presence, to configure its military forces for global power projection, and to counter threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.

In other words they advocate permanent war for permanent peace. Lessons that the author shows President Obama is clearly in the midst of learning, using a modified sacred trinity. Written in engaging prose, his book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War is an excellent peace of research with sections that some may find very troubling. Here is the summary:

UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXXXVII: September 27, 2010, 7:00 p.m. 

Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, August 2010).

Thesis

The Washington consensus on national security policy that constitutes convention wisdom in American foreign policy began with the Cold War and survived, remarkably, the Vietnam War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, no longer serves American interests, but the failure of the Obama administration to alter it shows that change can only come from the American people.

Introduction: Slow Learner

The author's faith in orthodoxy began to crumble when visiting the BrandenburgGate in Berlin in the winter of 1990-1991(1-4). In October 1990 a visit to Jenarevealed the backwardness of EastGermany (4-6). During his years in the Army, Bacevich had kept down doubts; after the end of the Cold War he retired, and his loss of status freed him to educate himself (6-10).

"George W.Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition" (10). "This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom" (11). The past 60 years of American history shows continuity: a symbiotic "credo" (formulated by Henry Luce in 1941 as the "American Century") and a "sacred trinity" ("the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of  global interventionism") together define "the rules to which Washington adheres" (11-15).

In this book, "Washington" refers to the upper echelons of the three branches of government, the main agencies of the national security state, select think tanks and interest groups, "big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government" (15).

This book aspires to

  1. trace the history of the Washington rules;
  2. show who wins, who loses, and who pays under them;
  3. explain how itis perpetuated;
  4. show that the rules have lost what utility they might once have had;
  5. re-legitimate "disreputable (or 'radical') views to our national security debates" (16).

The American Century is ending, and it "has become essential" to devise an "alternative to the reining national security paradigm" (16-18).

Ch. 1: The Advent of Semiwar.

As president, Barack Obama's efforts to change the U.S.'s exercise of power "have seldom risen above the cosmetic"(20). He made clear he subscribes to the "catechism of American statecraft," viz. that 1) the world must be organized, 2)only the U.S. can do it, 3) this includes dictating principles, and 4) not to accept this is to be a rogue or a recalcitrant (20-21).

It follows that the U.S. need not conform to the norms it sets for others and that it should maintain a worldwide network of bases (22-23).

Imagine if China acted in a comparable manner (23-25). The extraordinary American military posture in the world (25-27). To call this into question puts one beyond the pale(27). James Forrestal called this a permanent condition of semiwar, requiring high levels of military spending(27-28).

American citizens are not supposed to concern themselves with it (29-30). As to how this came about, the "standard story line" presents as the result of the decisions of a "succession of presidential administrations," though this conceals as much as it reveals (30-32).

Eisenhower's 1961 Farewell Address on the "military-industrial complex" was a rare exception (32-34). More important than presidents were Allen Dulles [1893-1969] and Curtis Lemay [1906-1990] (34-36).

Bacevich attributes the vision for an American-dominated post-World War II world with the CIA playing an active role to the patrician Dulles (36-43). The development of the U.S. military into a force capable of dominating the world, especially in the area of strategic weapons, he attributes to the hard-bitten Curtis LeMay, organizer of the StrategicAir Command (SAC) (43-52). Dulles and LeMay shared devotion to country, ruthlessness, a certain recklessness (52-55). They exploited American anxieties and insecurities in yin (Dulles's CIA) yang(LeMay's SAC) fashion, leaving the mainstay of American military power, the U.S. Army, in a relatively weak position(55-58).

Ch. 2: Illusions of Flexibility and Control

Kennedy kept Dulles and LeMay to signal continuity, but there was a behind-the-scenes struggle led by Gen. Maxwell Taylor to reassert the role of the U.S. Army by expanding and modernizing conventional forces that was "simultaneously masked by, and captured in, the phrase flexible response " (60; 59-63).

This agenda purported to aim at "resisting aggression" but really created new options for limited aggressive warfare by the U.S. (63-66).

McNamara engaged in a struggle with LeMay to control U.S. policy on nuclear weapons, but he embraced the need for redundancy based on a land-sea-air attack "triad" and LeMay et al. "got most of what they wanted" (66-72).

In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy instituted the morally and legally "indefensible" Operation Mongoose," in effect, a program of state-sponsored terrorism" against Cuba (80; 72-82 [but Bacevich is silent on its wilder elements, like Operation Northwoods]).

U.S. recklessness caused the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to his credit Kennedy acknowledged this (albeit privately) and "suspended the tradition" in defusing the crisis (82-87).

Bacevich rejects as a romantic delusion the view that in the aftermath of this crisis Kennedy turned against the military-industrial complex and the incipient Vietnam war and shows no interest in Kennedy's assassination itself (87-92).

He sees a parallel between escalation in Vietnam and post-9/11 aggression as "fought to sustain the Washington consensus" (107; 92-107).

Ch. 3: The Credo Restored.

William Fulbright's The Arrogance of Power (1966) urged a rethinking of the Washington rules (109-15). A radicalized David Shoup, a Medal of Honor winner and former commandant of the MarineCorps, argued in "The New American Militarism" (Atlantic, April 1969) that the U.S. had become "a militaristic and aggressive nation" (120; 115-21). The 1960s Zeitgeist shift made LeMay "an embarrassment, mocked and vilified rather than venerated," which showed that the Washington rules had incurred serious damage in Vietnam; the Army was in dire shape (122; 121-27).

Yet astonishingly, in the subsequent decade the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) was "fully restored" (127). As in post-1918 Germany, élites looked for scapegoats and worked to reverse "the war's apparent verdict" (128). The Council on Foreign Relations 1976 volume entitled The Vietnam Legacy: The War, American Society, and the Future of American Foreign Policy is an expression of élite consensus that the Vietnam war was insignificant, an anomaly (129-34).

By 1980, Democrats and Republicans were again on the same page (134-36).Reagan's election "sealed the triumph of Vietnam revisionism" (136; 136-38). Andthe end of the Cold War posed no challenge to the Washington rules, as Madeleine Albright's pretentious arrogance exemplifies (138-45).

Ch. 4: Reconstituting the Trinity

 The period from 1980 to 2000 saw "not retrenchment but reconfiguration" (147). The 

Except from Macmillan

Introduction: Slow Learner Worldly ambition inhibits true learning. Ask me. I know. A young man in a hurry is nearly uneducable: He knows what he wants and where he's headed; when it comes to looking back or entertaining heretical thoughts, he has neither the time nor the inclination. All that counts is that he is going somewhere. Only as ambition wanes does education become a possibility.

My own education did not commence until I had reached middle age. I can fix its start date with precision: For me, education began in Berlin, on a winter's evening, at the Brandenburg Gate, not long after the Berlin Wall had fallen. As an officer in the U.S. Army I had spent considerable time in Germany. Until that moment, however, my family and I had never had occasion to visit this most famous of German cities, still littered with artifacts of a deeply repellent history. At the end of a long day of exploration, we found ourselves in what had, until just months before, been the communist East. It was late and we were hungry, but I insisted on walking the length of the Unter den Linden, from the River Spree to the gate itself. A cold rain was falling and the pavement glistened. The buildings lining the avenue, dating from the era of Prussian kings, were dark, dirty, and pitted. Few people were about. It was hardly a night for sightseeing. For as long as I could remember, the Brandenburg Gate had been the preeminent symbol of the age and Berlin the epicenter of contemporary history. 

Yet by the time I made it to the once and future German capital, history was already moving on. The Cold War had abruptly ended. A divided city and a divided nation had re united. For Americans who had known Berlin only from a distance, the city existed primarily as a metaphor. Pick a date— 1933, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1961, 1989—and Berlin becomes an instructive symbol of power, depravity, tragedy, defiance, endurance, or vindication. For those inclined to view the past as a chronicle of parables, the modern history of Berlin offered an abundance of material. The greatest of those parables emerged from the events of 1933 to 1945, an epic tale of evil ascendant, belatedly confronted, then heroically overthrown.

A second narrative, woven from events during the intense period immediately following World War II, saw hopes for peace dashed, yielding bitter antagonism but also great resolve. The ensuing stand-off—the "long twilight struggle," in John Kennedy's memorable phrase— formed the centerpiece of the third parable, its central theme stubborn courage in the face of looming peril. Finally came the exhilarating events of 1989, with freedom ultimately prevailing, not only in Berlin, but throughout Eastern Europe.

.... ... ...

Although commonly depicted as the most advanced and successful component of the Soviet Empire, East Germany more closely resembled part of the undeveloped world.

... ... ...

Briquettes of soft coal used for home heating made the air all but unbreathable and coated everything with soot. In the German cities we knew, pastels predominated—houses and apartment blocks painted pale green, muted salmon, and soft yellow. Here everything was brown and gray

... ... ...

Bit by bit, my worldview started to crumble. That worldview had derived from this conviction: that American power manifested a commitment to global leadership, and that both together expressed and affirmed the nation's enduring devotion to its founding ideals. That American power, policies, and purpose were bound together in a neat, internally consistent package, each element drawing strength from and reinforcing the others, was something I took as a given. That, during my adult life, a penchant for interventionism had become a signature of U.S. policy did not—to me, at least—in any way contradict America's aspirations for peace. Instead, a willingness to expend lives and treasure in distant places testified to the seriousness of those aspirations. That, during this same period, the United States had amassed an arsenal of over thirty-one thousand nuclear weapons, some small number of them assigned to units in which I had served, was not at odds with our belief in the inalienable right to life and liberty; rather, threats to life and liberty had compelled the United States to acquire such an arsenal and maintain it in readiness for instant use.2 I was not so naive as to believe that the American record had been without flaws. Yet I assured myself that any errors or misjudgments had been committed in good faith. Furthermore, circumstances permitted little real choice. In Southeast Asia as in Western Europe, in the Persian Gulf as in the Western Hemisphere, the United States had simply done what needed doing. Viable alternatives did not exist. To consent to any dilution of American power would be to forfeit global leadership, thereby putting at risk safety, prosperity, and freedom, not only our own but also that of our friends and allies.

The choices seemed clear enough. On one side was the status quo: the commitments, customs, and habits that defined American globalism, implemented by the national security apparatus within which I functioned as a small cog. On the other side was the prospect of appeasement, isolationism, and catastrophe. The only responsible course was the one to which every president since Harry Truman had adhered. For me, the Cold War had played a crucial role in sustaining that worldview.

Given my age, upbringing, and professional background, it could hardly have been otherwise. Although the great rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union had contained moments of considerable anxiety — I remember my father, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, stocking our basement with water and canned goods — it served primarily to clarify, not to frighten.

The Cold War provided a framework that organized and made sense of contemporary history. It offered a lineup and a scorecard. That there existed bad Germans and good Germans, their Germans and our Germans, totalitarian Germans and Germans who, like Americans, passionately loved freedom was, for example, a proposition I accepted as dogma. Seeing the Cold War as a struggle between good and evil answered many questions, consigned others to the periphery, and rendered still others irrelevant.

Back in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, more than a few members of my generation had rejected the conception of the Cold War as a Manichean struggle. Here too, I was admittedly a slow learner. Yet having kept the faith long after others had lost theirs, the doubts that eventually assailed me were all the more disorienting. Granted, occasional suspicions had appeared long before Jena and Berlin

My own Vietnam experience had generated its share, which I had done my best to suppress. I was, after all, a serving soldier. Except in the narrowest of terms, the military profession, in those days at least, did not look kindly on nonconformity. Climbing the ladder of career success required curbing maverick tendencies. To get ahead, you needed to be a team player. Later, when studying the history of U.S. foreign relations in graduate school, I was pelted with challenges to orthodoxy, which I vigorously deflected. When it came to education, graduate school proved a complete waste of time — a period of intense study devoted to the further accumulation of facts, while I exerted myself to ensuring that they remained inert.

Now, however, my personal circumstances were changing. Shortly after the passing of the Cold War, my military career ended. Education thereby became not only a possibility, but also a necessity. In measured doses, mortification cleanses the soul. It's the perfect antidote for excessive self-regard. After twenty-three years spent inside the U.S. Army seemingly going somewhere, I now found myself on the outside going nowhere in particular. In the self-contained and cloistered universe of regimental life, I had briefly risen to the status of minor spear carrier. The instant I took off my uniform, that status vanished. I soon came to a proper appreciation of my own insignificance, a salutary lesson that I ought to have absorbed many years earlier. As I set out on what eventually became a crablike journey toward a new calling as a teacher and writer—a pilgrimage of sorts—ambition in the commonly accepted meaning of the term ebbed. This did not happen all at once. Yet gradually, trying to grab one of life's shiny brass rings ceased being a major preoccupation.

Wealth, power, and celebrity became not aspirations but subjects for critical analysis.

History—especially the familiar narrative of the Cold War—no longer offered answers; instead, it posed perplexing riddles. Easily the most nagging was this one: How could I have so profoundly misjudged the reality of what lay on the far side of the Iron Curtain? Had I been insufficiently attentive? Or was it possible that I had been snookered all along? Contemplating such questions, while simultaneously witnessing the unfolding of the "long 1990s"— the period bookended by two wars with Iraq when American vainglory reached impressive new heights—prompted the realization that I had grossly misinterpreted the threat posed by America's adversaries. Yet that was the lesser half of the problem. Far worse than misperceiving "them" was the fact that I had misperceived "us." What I thought I knew best I actually understood least. Here, the need for education appeared especially acute.

George W. Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition. Claims that once seemed elementary—above all, claims relating to the essentially benign purposes of American power— now appeared preposterous. The contradictions that found an ostensibly peace-loving nation committing itself to a doctrine of preventive war became too great to ignore. The folly and hubris of the policy makers who heedlessly thrust the nation into an ill-defined and open-ended "global war on terror" without the foggiest notion of what victory would look like, how it would be won, and what it might cost approached standards hitherto achieved only by slightly mad German warlords. During the era of containment, the United States had at least maintained the pretense of a principled strategy; now, the last vestiges of principle gave way to fantasy and opportunism. With that, the worldview to which I had adhered as a young adult and carried into middle age dissolved completely. *

What should stand in the place of such discarded convictions? Simply inverting the conventional wisdom, substituting a new Manichean paradigm for the old discredited version—the United States taking the place of the Soviet Union as the source of the world's evil—would not suffice. Yet arriving at even an approximation of truth would entail subjecting conventional wisdom, both present and past, to sustained and searching scrutiny. Cautiously at first but with growing confidence, this I vowed to do. Doing so meant shedding habits of conformity acquired over decades. All of my adult life I had been a company man, only dimly aware of the extent to which institutional loyalties induce myopia. Asserting independence required first recognizing the extent to which I had been socialized to accept certain things as unimpeachable. Here then were the preliminary steps essential to making education accessible. Over a period of years, a considerable store of debris had piled up. Now, it all had to go. Belatedly, I learned that more often than not what passes for conventional wisdom is simply wrong. Adopting fashionable attitudes to demonstrate one's trustworthiness—the world of politics is flush with such people hoping thereby to qualify for inclusion in some inner circle—is akin to engaging in prostitution in exchange for promissory notes. It's not only demeaning but downright foolhardy. This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom in its most influential and enduring form, namely the package of assumptions, habits, and precepts that have defined the tradition of statecraft to which the United States has adhered since the end of World War II— the era of global dominance now drawing to a close. This postwar tradition combines two components, each one so deeply embedded in the American collective consciousness as to have all but disappeared from view.

The first component specifies norms according to which the international order ought to work and charges the United States with responsibility for enforcing those norms. Call this the American credo. In the simplest terms, the credo summons the United States—and the United States alone—to lead, save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world. In a celebrated manifesto issued at the dawn of what he termed "The American Century," Henry R. Luce made the case for this spacious conception of global leadership. Writing in Life magazine in early 1941, the influential publisher exhorted his fellow citizens to "accept wholeheartedly our duty to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." Luce thereby captured what remains even today the credo's essence.3 Luce's concept of an American Century, an age of unquestioned American global primacy, resonated, especially in Washington. His evocative phrase found a permanent place in the lexicon of national politics. (Recall that the neoconservatives who, in the 1990s, lobbied for more militant U.S. policies named their enterprise the Project for a New American Century.) So, too, did Luce's expansive claim of prerogatives to be exercised by the United States.

Even today, whenever public figures allude to America's responsibility to lead, they signal their fidelity to this creed. Along with respectful allusions to God and "the troops," adherence to Luce's credo has become a de facto prerequisite for high office. Question its claims and your prospects of being heard in the hubbub of national politics become nil. Note, however, that the duty Luce ascribed to Americans has two components. It is not only up to Americans, he wrote, to choose the purposes for which they would bring their influence to bear, but to choose the means as well. Here we confront the second component of the postwar tradition of American statecraft. With regard to means, that tradition has emphasized activism over example, hard power over soft, and coercion (often styled "negotiating from a position of strength") over suasion. Above all, the exercise of global leadership as prescribed by the credo obliges the United States to maintain military capabilities staggeringly in excess of those required for self-defense. Prior to World War II, Americans by and large viewed military power and institutions with skepticism, if not outright hostility. In the wake of World War II, that changed. An affinity for military might emerged as central to the American identity. By the midpoint of the twentieth century, "the Pentagon" had ceased to be merely a gigantic five-sided building.

Like "Wall Street" at the end of the nineteenth century, it had become Leviathan, its actions veiled in secrecy, its reach extending around the world. Yet while the concentration of power in Wall Street had once evoked deep fear and suspicion, Americans by and large saw the concentration of power in the Pentagon as benign. Most found it reassuring. A people who had long seen standing armies as a threat to liberty now came to believe that the preservation of liberty required them to lavish resources on the armed forces. During the Cold War, Americans worried ceaselessly about falling behind the Russians, even though the Pentagon consistently maintained a position of overall primacy. Once the Soviet threat disappeared, mere primacy no longer sufficed. With barely a whisper of national debate, unambiguous and perpetual global military supremacy emerged as an essential predicate to global leadership. Every great military power has its distinctive signature. For Napoleonic France, it was the levée en masse— the people in arms animated by the ideals of the Revolution. For Great Britain in the heyday of empire, it was command of the seas, sustained by a dominant fleet and a network of far-flung outposts from Gibraltar and the Cape of Good Hope to Singapore and Hong Kong. Germany from the 1860s to the 1940s (and Israel from 1948 to 1973) took another approach, relying on a potent blend of tactical flexibility and operational audacity to achieve battlefield superiority.

The abiding signature of American military power since World War II has been of a different order altogether. The United States has not specialized in any particular type of war. It has not adhered to a fixed tactical style. No single service or weapon has enjoyed consistent favor. At times, the armed forces have relied on citizen-soldiers to fill their ranks; at other times, long-service professionals. Yet an examination of the past sixty years of U.S. military policy and practice does reveal important elements of continuity. Call them the sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism. Together, credo and trinity—the one defining purpose, the other practice—constitute the essence of the way that Washington has attempted to govern and police the American Century. The relationship between the two is symbiotic. The trinity lends plausibility to the credo's vast claims. For its part, the credo justifies the trinity's vast requirements and exertions.

Together they provide the basis for an enduring consensus that imparts a consistency to U.S. policy regardless of which political party may hold the upper hand or who may be occupying the White House. From the era of Harry Truman to the age of Barack Obama, that consensus has remained intact. It defines the rules to which Washington adheres; it determines the precepts by which Washington rules. As used here, Washington is less a geographic expression than a set of interlocking institutions headed by people who, whether acting officially or unofficially, are able to put a thumb on the helm of state. Washington, in this sense, includes the upper echelons of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government. It encompasses the principal components of the national security state— the departments of Defense, State, and, more recently, Homeland Security, along with various agencies comprising the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities. Its ranks extend to select think tanks and interest groups. Lawyers, lobbyists, fixers, former officials, and retired military officers who still enjoy access are members in good standing. Yet Washington also reaches beyond the Beltway to include big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

With rare exceptions, acceptance of the Washington rules forms a prerequisite for entry into this world. My purpose in writing this book is fivefold: first, to trace the origins and evolution of the Washington rules—both the credo that inspires consensus and the trinity in which it finds expression; second, to subject the resulting consensus to critical inspection, showing who wins and who loses and also who foots the bill; third, to explain how the Washington rules are perpetuated, with certain views privileged while others are declared disreputable; fourth, to demonstrate that the rules themselves have lost whatever utility they may once have possessed, with their implications increasingly pernicious and their costs increasingly unaffordable; and finally, to argue for readmitting disreputable (or "radical") views to our national security debate, in effect legitimating alternatives to the status quo. In effect, my aim is to invite readers to share in the process of education on which I embarked two decades ago in Berlin. The Washington rules were forged at a moment when American influence and power were approaching their acme. That moment has now passed. The United States has drawn down the stores of authority and goodwill it had acquired by 1945. Words uttered in Washington command less respect than once was the case. Americans can ill afford to indulge any longer in dreams of saving the world, much less remaking it in our own image. The curtain is now falling on the American Century. Similarly, the United States no longer possesses sufficient wherewithal to sustain a national security strategy that relies on global military presence and global power projection to underwrite a policy of global interventionism. Touted as essential to peace, adherence to that strategy has propelled the United States into a condition approximating perpetual war, as the military misadventures of the past decade have demonstrated.

To anyone with eyes to see, the shortcomings inherent in the Washington rules have become plainly evident. Although those most deeply invested in perpetuating its conventions will insist otherwise, the tradition to which Washington remains devoted has begun to unravel. Attempting to prolong its existence might serve Washington's interests, but it will not serve the interests of the American people.

Devising an alternative to the reigning national security paradigm will pose a daunting challenge—especially if Americans look to "Washington" for fresh thinking. Yet doing so has become essential. In one sense, the national security policies to which Washington so insistently adheres express what has long been the preferred American approach to engaging the world beyond our borders. That approach plays to America's presumed strong suit—since World War II, and especially since the end of the Cold War, thought to be military power. In another sense, this reliance on military might creates excuses for the United States to avoid serious engagement: Confidence in American arms has made it unnecessary to attend to what others might think or to consider how their aspirations might differ from our own.

In this way, the Washington rules reinforce American provincialism—a national trait for which the United States continues to pay dearly. The persistence of these rules has also provided an excuse to avoid serious self-engagement. From this perspective, confidence that the credo and the trinity will oblige others to accommodate themselves to America's needs or desires — whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods—has allowed Washington to postpone or ignore problems demanding attention here at home.

Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland and Detroit. Purporting to support the troops in their crusade to free the world obviates any obligation to assess the implications of how Americans themselves choose to exercise freedom. When Americans demonstrate a willingness to engage seriously with others, combined with the courage to engage seriously with themselves, then real education just might begin.

In their article ‘The American Century’ Has Plunged the World Into Crisis. What Happens Now?" Conn Hallinan and Leon Wofsy outlined important reasons  of the inevitability of the dominance of chicken hawks and jingoistic foreign policy in the USA political establishment:

June 22, 2015 | fpif.org

U.S. foreign policy is dangerous, undemocratic, and deeply out of sync with real global challenges. Is continuous war inevitable, or can we change course?

There’s something fundamentally wrong with U.S. foreign policy.

Despite glimmers of hope — a tentative nuclear agreement with Iran, for one, and a long-overdue thaw with Cuba — we’re locked into seemingly irresolvable conflicts in most regions of the world. They range from tensions with nuclear-armed powers like Russia and China to actual combat operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

Why? Has a state of perpetual warfare and conflict become inescapable? Or are we in a self-replicating cycle that reflects an inability — or unwillingness — to see the world as it actually is?

The United States is undergoing a historic transition in our relationship to the rest of the world, but this is neither acknowledged nor reflected in U.S. foreign policy. We still act as if our enormous military power, imperial alliances, and self-perceived moral superiority empower us to set the terms of “world order.”

While this illusion goes back to the end of World War II, it was the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union that signaled the beginning of a self-proclaimed “American Century.” The idea that the United States had “won” the Cold War and now — as the world’s lone superpower — had the right or responsibility to order the world’s affairs led to a series of military adventures. It started with President Bill Clinton’s intervention in the Yugoslav civil war, continued on with George W. Bush’s disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and can still be seen in the Obama administration’s own misadventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and beyond.

In each case, Washington chose war as the answer to enormously complex issues, ignoring the profound consequences for both foreign and domestic policy. Yet the world is very different from the assumptions that drive this impulsive interventionism.

It’s this disconnect that defines the current crisis.

Acknowledging New Realities

So what is it about the world that requires a change in our outlook? A few observations come to mind.

First, our preoccupation with conflicts in the Middle East — and to a significant extent, our tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe and with China in East Asia — distract us from the most compelling crises that threaten the future of humanity. Climate change and environmental perils have to be dealt with now and demand an unprecedented level of international collective action. That also holds for the resurgent danger of nuclear war.

Second, superpower military interventionism and far-flung acts of war have only intensified conflict, terror, and human suffering. There’s no short-term solution — especially by force — to the deep-seated problems that cause chaos, violence, and misery through much of the world.

Third, while any hope of curbing violence and mitigating the most urgent problems depends on international cooperation, old and disastrous intrigues over spheres of influence dominate the behavior of the major powers. Our own relentless pursuit of military advantage on every continent, including through alliances and proxies like NATO, divides the world into “friend” and “foe” according to our perceived interests. That inevitably inflames aggressive imperial rivalries and overrides common interests in the 21st century.

Fourth, while the United States remains a great economic power, economic and political influence is shifting and giving rise to national and regional centers no longer controlled by U.S.-dominated global financial structures. Away from Washington, London, and Berlin, alternative centers of economic power are taking hold in Beijing, New Delhi, Cape Town, and Brasilia. Independent formations and alliances are springing up: organizations like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (representing 2.8 billion people); the Union of South American Nations; the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur; and others.

Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and our infrastructure crumbles. Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional.

Short Memories and Persistent Delusions

But instead of letting these changing circumstances and our repeated military failures give us pause, our government continues to act as if the United States has the power to dominate and dictate to the rest of the world.

The responsibility of those who set us on this course fades into background. Indeed, in light of the ongoing meltdown in the Middle East, leading presidential candidates are tapping neoconservatives like John Bolton and Paul Wolfowitz — who still think the answer to any foreign policy quandary is military power — for advice. Our leaders seem to forget that following this lot’s advice was exactly what caused the meltdown in the first place. War still excites them, risks and consequences be damned.

While the Obama administration has sought, with limited success, to end the major wars it inherited, our government makes wide use of killer drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and has put troops back into Iraq to confront the religious fanaticism and brutality of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) — itself a direct consequence of the last U.S. invasion of Iraq. Reluctant to find common ground in the fight against ISIS with designated “foes” like Iran and Syria, Washington clings to allies like Saudi Arabia, whose leaders are fueling the crisis of religious fanaticism and internecine barbarity. Elsewhere, the U.S. also continues to give massive support to the Israeli government, despite its expanding occupation of the West Bank and its horrific recurring assaults on Gaza.

A “war first” policy in places like Iran and Syria is being strongly pushed by neoconservatives like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain. Though it’s attempted to distance itself from the neocons, the Obama administration adds to tensions with planned military realignments like the “Asia pivot” aimed at building up U.S. military forces in Asia to confront China. It’s also taken a more aggressive position than even other NATO partners in fostering a new cold war with Russia.

We seem to have missed the point: There is no such thing as an “American Century.” International order cannot be enforced by a superpower alone. But never mind centuries — if we don’t learn to take our common interests more seriously than those that divide nations and breed the chronic danger of war, there may well be no tomorrows.

Unexceptionalism

There’s a powerful ideological delusion that any movement seeking to change U.S. foreign policy must confront: that U.S. culture is superior to anything else on the planet. Generally going by the name of “American exceptionalism,” it’s the deeply held belief that American politics (and medicine, technology, education, and so on) are better than those in other countries. Implicit in the belief is an evangelical urge to impose American ways of doing things on the rest of the world.

Americans, for instance, believe they have the best education system in the world, when in fact they’ve dropped from 1st place to 14th place in the number of college graduates. We’ve made students of higher education the most indebted section of our population, while falling to 17th place in international education ratings. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation, the average American pays more than twice as much for his or her education than those in the rest of the world.

Health care is an equally compelling example. In the World Health Organization’s ranking of health care systems in 2000, the United States was ranked 37th. In a more recent Institute of Medicine report in 2013, the U.S. was ranked the lowest among 17 developed nations studied.

The old anti-war slogan, “It will be a good day when schools get all the money they need and the Navy has to hold a bake sale to buy an aircraft carrier” is as appropriate today as it was in the 1960s. We prioritize corporate subsidies, tax cuts for the wealthy, and massive military budgets over education. The result is that Americans are no longer among the most educated in the world.

But challenging the “exceptionalism” myth courts the danger of being labeled “unpatriotic” and “un-American,” two powerful ideological sanctions that can effectively silence critical or questioning voices.

The fact that Americans consider their culture or ideology “superior” is hardly unique. But no other country in the world has the same level of economic and military power to enforce its worldview on others.

The United States did not simply support Kosovo’s independence, for example. It bombed Serbia into de facto acceptance. When the U.S. decided to remove the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi from power, it just did so. No other country is capable of projecting that kind of force in regions thousands of miles from its borders.

The U.S. currently accounts for anywhere from 45 to 50 percent of the world’s military spending. It has hundreds of overseas bases, ranging from huge sprawling affairs like Camp Bond Steel in Kosovo and unsinkable aircraft carriers around the islands of Okinawa, Wake, Diego Garcia, and Guam to tiny bases called “lily pads” of pre-positioned military supplies. The late political scientist Chalmers Johnson estimated that the U.S. has some 800 bases worldwide, about the same as the British Empire had at its height in 1895.

The United States has long relied on a military arrow in its diplomatic quiver, and Americans have been at war almost continuously since the end of World War II. Some of these wars were major undertakings: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya. Some were quick “smash and grabs” like Panama and Grenada. Others are “shadow wars” waged by Special Forces, armed drones, and local proxies. If one defines the term “war” as the application of organized violence, the U.S. has engaged in close to 80 wars since 1945.

The Home Front

The coin of empire comes dear, as the old expression goes.

According Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the final butcher bill for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars — including the long-term health problems of veterans — will cost U.S. taxpayers around $6 trillion. One can add to that the over $1 trillion the U.S. spends each year on defense-related items. The “official” defense budget of some half a trillion dollars doesn’t include such items as nuclear weapons, veterans’ benefits or retirement, the CIA and Homeland Security, nor the billions a year in interest we’ll be paying on the debt from the Afghan-Iraq wars. By 2013 the U.S. had already paid out $316 billion in interest.

The domestic collateral damage from that set of priorities is numbing.

We spend more on our “official” military budget than we do on Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Since 9/11, we’ve spent $70 million an hour on “security” compared to $62 million an hour on all domestic programs.

As military expenditures dwarf funding for deteriorating social programs, they drive economic inequality. The poor and working millions are left further and further behind. Meanwhile the chronic problems highlighted at Ferguson, and reflected nationwide, are a horrific reminder of how deeply racism — the unequal economic and social divide and systemic abuse of black and Latino youth — continues to plague our homeland.

The state of ceaseless war has deeply damaged our democracy, bringing our surveillance and security state to levels that many dictators would envy. The Senate torture report, most of it still classified, shatters the trust we are asked to place in the secret, unaccountable apparatus that runs the most extensive Big Brother spy system ever devised.

Bombs and Business

President Calvin Coolidge was said to have remarked that “the business of America is business.” Unsurprisingly, U.S. corporate interests play a major role in American foreign policy.

Out of the top 10 international arms producers, eight are American. The arms industry spends millions lobbying Congress and state legislatures, and it defends its turf with an efficiency and vigor that its products don’t always emulate on the battlefield. The F-35 fighter-bomber, for example — the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history — will cost $1.5 trillion and doesn’t work. It’s over budget, dangerous to fly, and riddled with defects. And yet few lawmakers dare challenge the powerful corporations who have shoved this lemon down our throats.

Corporate interests are woven into the fabric of long-term U.S. strategic interests and goals. Both combine to try to control energy supplies, command strategic choke points through which oil and gas supplies transit, and ensure access to markets.

Many of these goals can be achieved with standard diplomacy or economic pressure, but the U.S. always reserves the right to use military force. The 1979 “Carter Doctrine” — a document that mirrors the 1823 Monroe Doctrine about American interests in Latin America — put that strategy in blunt terms vis-à-vis the Middle East:

 “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

It’s no less true in East Asia. The U.S. will certainly engage in peaceful economic competition with China. But if push comes to shove, the Third, Fifth, and Seventh fleets will back up the interests of Washington and its allies — Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Australia.

Trying to change the course of American foreign policy is not only essential for reducing international tensions. It’s critically important to shift the enormous wealth we expend in war and weapons toward alleviating growing inequality and social crises at home.

As long as competition for markets and accumulation of capital characterize modern society, nations will vie for spheres of influence, and antagonistic interests will be a fundamental feature of international relations. Chauvinist reaction to incursions real or imagined — and the impulse to respond by military means — is characteristic to some degree of every significant nation-state. Yet the more that some governments, including our own, become subordinate to oligarchic control, the greater is the peril.

Finding the Common Interest

These, however, are not the only factors that will shape the future.

There is nothing inevitable that rules out a significant change of direction, even if the demise or transformation of a capitalistic system of greed and exploitation is not at hand. The potential for change, especially in U.S. foreign policy, resides in how social movements here and abroad respond to the undeniable reality of: 1) the chronic failure, massive costs, and danger inherent in “American Century” exceptionalism; and 2) the urgency of international efforts to respond to climate change.

There is, as well, the necessity to respond to health and natural disasters aggravated by poverty, to rising messianic violence, and above all, to prevent a descent into war. This includes not only the danger of a clash between the major nuclear powers, but between regional powers. A nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India, for example, would affect the whole world.

Without underestimating the self-interest of forces that thrive on gambling with the future of humanity, historic experience and current reality elevate a powerful common interest in peace and survival. The need to change course is not something that can be recognized on only one side of an ideological divide. Nor does that recognition depend on national, ethnic, or religious identity. Rather, it demands acknowledging the enormous cost of plunging ahead as everything falls apart around us.

After the latest U.S. midterm elections, the political outlook is certainly bleak. But experience shows that elections, important as they are, are not necessarily indicators of when and how significant change can come about in matters of policy. On issues of civil rights and social equality, advances have occurred because a dedicated and persistent minority movement helped change public opinion in a way the political establishment could not defy.

The Vietnam War, for example, came to an end, despite the stubbornness of Democratic and Republican administrations, when a stalemate on the battlefield and growing international and domestic opposition could no longer be denied. Significant changes can come about even as the basic character of society is retained. Massive resistance and rejection of colonialism caused the British Empire and other colonial powers to adjust to a new reality after World War II. McCarthyism was eventually defeated in the United States. President Nixon was forced to resign. The use of landmines and cluster bombs has been greatly restricted because of the opposition of a small band of activists whose initial efforts were labeled “quixotic.”

There are diverse and growing political currents in our country that see the folly and danger of the course we’re on. Many Republicans, Democrats, independents, and libertarians — and much of the public — are beginning to say “enough” to war and military intervention all over the globe, and the folly of basing foreign policy on dividing countries into “friend or foe.”

This is not to be Pollyannaish about anti-war sentiment, or how quickly people can be stampeded into supporting the use of force. In early 2014, some 57 percent of Americans agreed that “over-reliance on military force creates more hatred leading to increased terrorism.” Only 37 percent believed military force was the way to go. But once the hysteria around the Islamic State began, those numbers shifted to pretty much an even split: 47 percent supported the use of military force, 46 percent opposed it.

It will always be necessary in each new crisis to counter those who mislead and browbeat the public into acceptance of another military intervention. But in spite of the current hysterics about ISIS, disillusionment in war as an answer is probably greater now among Americans and worldwide than it has ever been. That sentiment may prove strong enough to produce a shift away from perpetual war, a shift toward some modesty and common-sense realism in U.S. foreign policy.

Making Space for the Unexpected

Given that there is a need for a new approach, how can American foreign policy be changed?

Foremost, there is the need for a real debate on the thrust of a U.S. foreign policy that chooses negotiation, diplomacy, and international cooperation over the use of force.

However, as we approach another presidential election, there is as yet no strong voice among the candidates to challenge U.S. foreign policy. Fear and questionable political calculation keep even most progressive politicians from daring to dissent as the crisis of foreign policy lurches further into perpetual militarism and war. That silence of political acquiescence has to be broken.

Nor is it a matter of concern only on the left. There are many Americans — right, left, or neither — who sense the futility of the course we’re on. These voices have to be represented or the election process will be even more of a sham than we’ve recently experienced.

One can’t predict just what initiatives may take hold, but the recent U.S.-China climate agreement suggests that necessity can override significant obstacles. That accord is an important step forward, although a limited bilateral pact cannot substitute for an essential international climate treaty. There is a glimmer of hope also in the U.S.-Russian joint action that removed chemical weapons from Syria, and in negotiations with Iran, which continue despite fierce opposition from U.S. hawks and the Israeli government. More recently, there is Obama’s bold move — long overdue — to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. Despite shifts in political fortunes, the unexpected can happen if there is a need and strong enough pressure to create an opportunity.

We do not claim to have ready-made solutions to the worsening crisis in international relations. We are certain that there is much we’ve missed or underestimated. But if readers agree that U.S. foreign policy has a national and global impact, and that it is not carried out in the interests of the majority of the world’s people, including our own, then we ask you to join this conversation.

If we are to expand the ability of the people to influence foreign policy, we need to defend democracy, and encourage dissent and alternative ideas. The threats to the world and to ourselves are so great that finding common ground trumps any particular interest. We also know that we won’t all agree with each other, and we believe that is as it should be. There are multiple paths to the future. No coalition around changing foreign policy will be successful if it tells people to conform to any one pattern of political action.

So how does the call for changing course translate to something politically viable, and how do we consider the problem of power?

The power to make significant changes in policy ranges from the persistence of peace activists to the potential influence of the general public. In some circumstances, it becomes possible — as well as necessary — to make significant changes in the power structure itself.

Greece comes to mind. Greek left organizations came together to form Syriza, the political party that was successfully elected to power on a platform of ending austerity. Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos Party — now the number-two party in the country — came out of massive demonstrations in 2011 and was organized from the grassroots up. We do not argue one approach over the over, but the experiences in both countries demonstrate that there are multiple paths to generating change.

Certainly progressives and leftists grapple with the problems of power. But progress on issues, particularly in matters like war and peace and climate change, shouldn’t be conceived of as dependent on first achieving general solutions to the problems of society, however desirable.

... ... ...

Conn Hallinan is a journalist and a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus. His writings appear online at Dispatches From the Edge. Leon Wofsy is a retired biology professor and long-time political activist. His comments on current affairs appear online at Leon’s OpEd.


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[Dec 14, 2019] Brexis and Trumpism

Dec 14, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

by John Quiggin on December 14, 2019

Now that Brexit is almost certainly going to happen, I'm reposting this piece from late 2016 , with some minor corrections, indicated by strike-outs. Feel free to have your say on any aspect of Brexit.

Since the collapse of faith in neoliberalism following the Global Financial Crisis, the political right has been increasingly dominated by tribalism Trumpism. But in most cases, including the US, this has so far amounted to little more than Trilling's irritable mental gestures . To the extent that there is any policy program, it is little more than crony capitalism. Of all the tribalist Trumpist groups that have achieved political power the only ones that have anything amounting to a political program are the Brexiteers.

The sustainability of tribalism Trumpism as a political force will depend, in large measure, on the perceived success or failure of Brexit. So, what will the day after Brexit (presumably, sometime in March 2019) look like, and more importantly, feel like? I'll rule out the so-called "soft Brexit" where Britain stays in the EU for all practical purposes, gaining some minor concessions on immigration restrictions. It seems unlikely and would be even more of an anti-climax than the case I want to think about.

Hidari 12.14.19 at 9:14 am (no link)

Doubtless one of the attractions of Brexit at least to those who thought it up (Farrage etc.) is that it is a completely token rebellion: it appears to change very much while in reality changing very little.

Only one thing:

'On the contrary, it seems pretty clear that all EU citizens will get permanent residence, even those who arrived after the Brexit vote.'

Are we completely sure about this?

'One thing that this post missed completely is that Brexit is an entirely English project, imposed on the Scots and Irish. That's become more and more evident, and looks sure to dominate the days after Brexit happens.'

I kept on putting this point forward in various CT threads, getting, for some reason, massive pushback*, despite the fact that it is obviously true and always has been. Perhaps a colour coded map of the 'new' UK (which shows, essentially, the entirety of England as blue, with the exception of larger conurbations), the Welsh speaking ('outer') parts of Wales as green, essentially the entirety of Scotland as yellow, and the majority of the North of Ireland as being green, will make that point for me.

*I'm not sure why, but I think it's something to do with an unwillingness to see that in all four sections of the 'United' Kingdom we are seeing an eruption of nationalism: the SNP in Scotland, Sinn Fein in NI, Plaid in Wales and of course the Tories in England, with the Tories now functioning as, so to speak, the political wing of UKIP, or, if you want, UKIP/the Brexit Party with the 'rough edges' shaved off.

'Liberal' intellectuals have always had a blind spot for nationalism, and have always tended to reason that because nationalism is 'irrationalism' or whatever, that no one could 'really' think that way and that, therefore, nationalism doesn't 'really' exist. It obviously does, as a 1 second glance at the 'new' UK map will demonstrate.

likbez 12.14.19 at 4:57 pm (no link)

Everything Trump does is consistent with regular conservatism

I respectfully disagree. It is not. Paleoconservatives hate Trump. Neocons for some strange reason also hate Trump, although it is not clear why -- he completely folded and conduct their foreign policy. Which is as far from classic conservatism as one can get.

I view Trumpism as specific for the USA flavor of "national neoliberalism" -- domestic neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization, or with globalization of a different type. The one based on bilateral treaties where stronger state can twist hands of the weaker state and dictate the conditions -- kind of neo-imperialism on steroids ( neoliberalism always was neo-imperial in foreign policy toward weaker states) .

The irony of Corbin defeat is that he was/is a critic of the EU imperialism, which by-and-large is Franco-German imperialism (EU role in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Greece) . The EU is not the dominant superpower, so it can't bully the US or China, or Russia. It can do it only when dealing with lesser powers. That's why it's difficult for anyone living inside a major EU-member to actually notice such a behavior: the desire to crush resistance of any lesser country and to force it to abide by its very own rules, whether the other countries want it or not.

The Blairites euphoria that the left was defeated, and neoliberalism still reins supreme is IMHO unwarranted. Neoliberalism as an ideology is dead and that means that Labour Party in its current form is dead as well. The same is true about the US Dems. They can achieve some tactical successes but they can't overturn their strategic defeat.

And Brexit means more close alliance with the USA (in a form of subservience) as alone GB can't conduct previous imperialist policies. It was punching above her weight within the EU (with Scripals false flag as the most recent example, see Tony Kevin take on the subject https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/08/a-determined-effort-to-undermine-russia ) , and this opportunity no longer exists.

[Dec 14, 2019] To date, not a single shred of actual evidence has ever been produced to prove Russian involvement or interference in the 2016 presidential election

Dec 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Md4 , 8 hours ago link

No reputable legal authority would fear ensuring due process for an accused, unless it had no evidence of an actual crime to justify prosecution...but DID have ulterior motives and nefarious purposes for doing so.

Let's be clear.

To date, not a single shred of actual evidence has ever been produced to prove Russian involvement or interference in the 2016 presidential election.

***.

Nada.

We have the opinion of domestic intelligence agencies, but we have no physical or direct evidence.

On the contrary, we have as much reason to believe some or all of them interfered in the Trump campaign, to orchestrate and execute a foreign interference hoax against Trump, before and after his election.

Daily, and throughout this sick prog left congressional abuse of power, we have repeatedly heard claims of an "ongoing war with Russia" in Ukraine.

Which war is this? Is this a continuation of the non-invasion of the Donbas in 2014? The specious and false claims of Russian troop concentrations, and tanks rolling, that even spy satellites didn't see? Are we still lying about this? If so, where are the media reports of Russian airstrikes, burning Ukrainian villages, or body bags?

In any "on-going" war with Russia, we would've been treated to near-constant news video of Russian armor all over eastern Ukraine. Have we? Perhaps this war they keep telling us about is like the Russian "invasion" of Crimea that didn't happen either.

We clearly remember the two Crimean-initiated referenda which put them back in their ancestral Russian homelands, but none of that had anything to do with invading Russians, who already had a substantial military presence in Crimea for decades.

No sir, Professor Turley. ​​​​​​

There is no basis whatsoever for Trump's impeachment.

There is mounting evidence of a continued coup against this president, and the substantial number of Americans who actually elected him.

We too are closely monitoring the actual situation...

[Dec 14, 2019] Warmongeing is the national sport for the neoliberal elite in the USA

As Tony Kevin reported (watch-v=dJiS3nFzsWg) at one small fundraiser Bill Clinton made an interesting remark. He said that the USA should always have enemies. That's absolutely true, this this is a way to unite such a society as we have in the USA. probably the only way. And Russia simply fits the bill. Very convenient bogeyman.
Notable quotes:
"... The experience of the USSR in that country should have sent up all kinds of red flags to the invading US military but it apparently did not. Both USSR and America lost thousands of military lives -- but nothing has changed in the country. Life in Afghanistan is actually worse now than before the multiple invasions. The only think which has improved is the cultivation of poppies and the export of opium. ..."
Dec 14, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Twolfe , 10 Dec 2019 16:30

One aspect of this report in the NYT is very troubling but not a great surprise to those who pay attention to Asian affairs.

The reports that US military leaders had no idea of what to do in Afghanistan and constantly lied to the public should rouse citizens in America to take a different view of military leaders. That view must be to trust nothing coming from the Pentagon or from spokespersons for the military. Included must be any and all secretaries of defence, and all branches of the military.

It is totally unacceptable that 1-2 trillion dollars and several thousand lives were spent by America for some nebulous cause. This does not include many thousands of civilians.

During the Vietnam disaster, it became obvious that American military was lying to the public and taking many causalities in an unwinnable war. Nothing was learned about Asia or Asian culture because America entered Afghanistan without a real plan and no understanding of the country or it's history.

The experience of the USSR in that country should have sent up all kinds of red flags to the invading US military but it apparently did not. Both USSR and America lost thousands of military lives -- but nothing has changed in the country. Life in Afghanistan is actually worse now than before the multiple invasions. The only think which has improved is the cultivation of poppies and the export of opium.

[Dec 13, 2019] Trump2016 vs Trump2020

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Freedom4Wessex , 10 Dec 2019 14:44

And this is where we must listen to the wisdom of Trump..

"As of a couple of months ago, we have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Seven trillion dollars. What a mistake. But it is what is," Trump said Monday at a White House meeting on with officials and lawmakers on infrastructure. "We're trying to build roads and bridges and fix bridges that are falling down, and we have a hard time getting the money. It's crazy."

"Think about it: As of a couple of months ago, $7 trillion in the Middle East and the Middle East is far worse now than it was 17 years ago when they went in and not so intelligently, I have to say, went in. I'm being nice.'' 2/13/18 Newsweek

''..when they went in and not so intelligently, I have to say, went in. I'm being nice...''

[Dec 13, 2019] Is there any book in JFK we can trust?

Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: Website December 12, 2019 at 11:58 am GMT

Is there anyone we can trust?

Perhaps not.

Is it just part of the human condition that as any writer or any publication gains a reputation for truth and revelation and dependability, that that reputation is sooner or later leveraged for gain or influence or access?

I can think of a number of examples where I'm almost certain that that is the case, although I'll avoid writing their names.

In the end, we are all of us really quite alone in the universe, enjoying only periods with the illusion of support and fellowship.

On the example of the Kennedys, the assassinations provide perhaps the greatest illustration of how things work.

I should say that I regard them as two chapters in one book. John's killers had to be Bobby's killers also because that intense younger man, once holding the powers of the presidency, would have relentlessly hunted down his brother's killers.

We know that he did not believe the Warren Commission, though he did not go around saying that. He even apparently had some idea of who the killers might be, never telling others any details of his suspicions.

Books have for decades been churned out by either the CIA or friends of the CIA or unwitting assets of the CIA arguing for the truth of the Warren Commission.

On the other hand, as someone with a long interest in the events, I believe that a great many of the books against the Warren Commission were also written by the same interests. Not all of them, but many.

Books especially that either are so preposterous or poorly written and edited that they effectively discredit those who do not accept the (absurd) findings of the Warren Commission.

After all, it was some CIA disinformation officer who came up with the term "conspiracy theorist" in the 1960s to discredit genuine critics of the Warren Commission, a term of such lasting power, it is still widely used, its application having spread to a large number of topics.

Those with power do tend to keep guiding events no matter how hard we struggle to understand and correct the course of affairs.

Power is a very real thing, almost physical in its presence, and it is rarely overturned by truth or justice or fairness.

It's not an inspiring view, but I fear it is reality.

[Dec 13, 2019] Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Thorton , 10 Dec 2019 15:03

Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does. The main points of what war does:

1. Transfers wealth from social services to the military industrial complex. Americans don't have education, infrastructure, or healthcare, but they do have a generation of soldiers with PTSD, national debt, worldwide hatred, and an ever increasing sense of exceptionalism.

2. Traps Americans in a cycle of fear and persecution. Americans don't need a bogeyman, but our corporate overlords do, its how they monetize the populace. Find some disparate population of brown people who want self autonomy, send in the CIA to fuck them up, and when they retaliate tell Americans that people who live in a 3rd world land locked country several thousands of miles away are a threat to their very existence and way of life because they don't like God and Walmart.


CourgetteDream , 10 Dec 2019 14:36

Sadly the US uses the MIC to keep a large chunk of its population under control, as well as providing a convenient coverup of the actual numbers of people who are unemployable or would be unemployed if it were'nt for the taxpayer funding humungous spending in the so-called defence sector, which needs a a constant supply of conflict to keep going. The frankly moronic 'thank you for your service' soundbite drives me insane but it shows how much the American public has been brainwashed.
jimbomatic -> Michael Knoth , 10 Dec 2019 14:36
For years my home state of Washington had a New Deal Democrat Senator named Henry Jackson, AKA the Senator from Boeing.
He did good things for the state & was hugely popular here. One reason being that because he brought the Federal pork back home.
IMO the things Gen. Butler wrote about in the 1920s are still the modus operandi of US foreign policy.
Rikyboy , 10 Dec 2019 14:11
If the Afghanistan war ends, the USA will go to war with someone else. You cannot spend so much on military & not be at war. America must have an enemy. And, don’t forget, they always have “God on our side!”
Mauryan , 10 Dec 2019 13:05
The neocons in power during 2001 were hell bent on taking out Saddam Hussein. When 9/11 happened, they were looking for avenues to blame Iraq so that they could launch the war on that nation. Since things could not be put together, and all evidence pointed to Afghanistan, they took a detour in their war plan with a half hearted approach.

In fact Afghanistan was never the problem - It was Pakistan that held Afghanistan on the string and managed all terror related activities. Everything related to 9/11 and beyond pointed directly at Pakistan. Whatever threat Bush and his cronies projected about Iraq was true in the case of Pakistan. The war was lost when they made Pakistan an ally on the war on terror. It is like allying with Al Capone to crack down on the mafia.

Pakistan bilked the gullible American war planners, protected its assets and deflected all the rage on to the barren lands of Afghanistan. They hid all key Al Qaeda operatives and handed off the ones that did not align with their strategic interests to the US, while getting reward for it. War in Iraq happened in a hurry because the Bush family had scores to settle in Iraq. Pressure was lifted on Afghanistan. This is when the war reached a dead end.

The Taliban knew time was on their hands and waited it out. Obama did understand the situation and tried to put Af-Pak together and tightened the grip on Pakistan. He got the troops out of Iraq. Pakistan is almost bankrupt now for its deep investment on terror infrastructure. The US has drained billions of dollars and lives in Afghanistan due to misdirected goals. I am surprised Bush and Cheney have not been sent to jail on lies to launch the Iraq war and botching the real war on terror.

[Dec 13, 2019] Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawal from Afghanistan and spoke to Trump in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11."

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Redswordfish , 10 Dec 2019 15:05

I read Bob Woodward's book, "FEAR: Trump in the White House" which has a section talking about a time when Trump wanted to withdraw a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan. Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawl and spoke to him in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11." Lindsey Graham was especially forceful about this. "If you withdraw those troops, then you're responsible for the next 9/11" he says [paraphrase].

This is the only section of the book where I actually found myself agreeing with Trump. How exactly does keeping troops in Afghanistan "prevent the next 9/11"? It seems like a bizarre non sequitur.

GalahadThreepwood , 10 Dec 2019 12:37
And this is a surprise because? There is a revolving door between Washington D.C. and defence contractors. When you have a multi trillion dollar industry making stuff that goes bang, the customers will want to use it. And the more the industry can encourage them to use it, the more money they make. Better still, when they have finished blowing a foreign country to hell, their friends in the civil engineering and construction companies can make more trillions rebuilding it all.

And if you then claim victory and withdraw enough of your troops, the incumbent Neanderthals can start slaughtering their own people all over again, giving the perfect excuse to go back in and blow it all to hell again.

With careful planning, you can maintain the cycle of profits for decades, if not centuries.

Next week - bears implicated in forest defecation scandal.

[Dec 13, 2019] Women have proven over the centuries that they can be just as bloodthirsty when in power

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Marygoal , 10 Dec 2019 14:03

... Women have proven over the centuries that they can be just as bloodthirsty when in power. Indeed one of them is busy in The Hague as we speak.

[Dec 12, 2019] Paul Singer Funded Washington Free Beacon Behind Initial Fusion GPS Trump Effort by Adam Shaw

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Examiner first reported Friday that lawyers for the Free Beacon -- a conservative outlet based in the nation's capital -- funded the project from fall 2015 to spring 2016, when it pulled its funding as Trump looked set to clinch the nomination. ..."
"... Washington Free Beacon ..."
"... After the Democrats took over funding of the operation in mid-2016, Fusion GPS would hire former British spy Christopher Steele and would lead to the production of the so-called "Trump dossier," filled with salacious but unconfirmed claims about how Trump was compromised by the Russians. ..."
"... The Free Beacon noted in its statement that it had "no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele." ..."
"... The Free Beacon is funded in large part by the New York hedge fund billionaire and major GOP donor Paul Singer. The New York Times reports that Singer initially supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for the Republican nomination, but later spearheaded a campaign to deny Trump the nomination even after Rubio dropped out of the race. ..."
"... While supporting Republican establishment favorites such as Rubio and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Singer was a major backer of Common Core and was the founder of a super-PAC that has the express purpose of turning the GOP pro-gay marriage. ..."
"... Kristol is also the founder of the Weekly Standard, which like the Free Beacon has a neoconservative foreign policy outlook. The Free Beacon was co-founded by two former Weekly Standard writers, chairman Michael Goldfarb and editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti. ..."
Oct 27, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

The Washington Free Beacon, funded by GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, was the original funder of Fusion GPS' research project that attempted to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump -- a project that would later be funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The Washington Examiner first reported Friday that lawyers for the Free Beacon -- a conservative outlet based in the nation's capital -- funded the project from fall 2015 to spring 2016, when it pulled its funding as Trump looked set to clinch the nomination.

Lawyers for the Free Beacon informed the House Intelligence Committee of its role in the funding on Friday. The outlet issued a statement standing by its decision to fund the project:

Since its launch in February of 2012, the Washington Free Beacon has retained third party firms to conduct research on many individuals and institutions of interest to us and our readers. In that capacity, during the 2016 election cycle we retained Fusion GPS to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton.

After the Democrats took over funding of the operation in mid-2016, Fusion GPS would hire former British spy Christopher Steele and would lead to the production of the so-called "Trump dossier," filled with salacious but unconfirmed claims about how Trump was compromised by the Russians.

Fusion has come under scrutiny for its alleged ties to Russia, including the fact that many of the claims originate from Kremlin sources -- meaning that the information came from inside the Russian government.

The Free Beacon noted in its statement that it had "no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele."

"The Washington Free Beacon has issued a statement asserting that it had no involvement with Christopher Steele or the dossier he compiled from Russian sources," Jack Langer, spokesman for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Breitbart News. "The Beacon has agreed to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee to help the Committee verify this assertion."

Yet, the revelation is likely to fuel questions about the role the so-called "Never Trump" movement played in an effort that would eventually inflict damage on President Trump, and that was possibly part of a Russian misinformation scheme.

The Free Beacon is funded in large part by the New York hedge fund billionaire and major GOP donor Paul Singer. The New York Times reports that Singer initially supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for the Republican nomination, but later spearheaded a campaign to deny Trump the nomination even after Rubio dropped out of the race.

While supporting Republican establishment favorites such as Rubio and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Singer was a major backer of Common Core and was the founder of a super-PAC that has the express purpose of turning the GOP pro-gay marriage.

The Examiner reports that the Free Beacon was originally part of the 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization -- the Center for American Freedom -- but in 2014 became a for-profit organization. The Center's original board of directors includes William Kristol, a prominent "Never Trump" activist.

Kristol is also the founder of the Weekly Standard, which like the Free Beacon has a neoconservative foreign policy outlook. The Free Beacon was co-founded by two former Weekly Standard writers, chairman Michael Goldfarb and editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti.

***Update***

"The Washington Free Beacon has issued a statement asserting that it had no involvement with Christopher Steele or the dossier he compiled from Russian sources," Jack Langer, spokesman for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Breitbart News. "The Beacon has agreed to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee to help the Committee verify this assertion."

TrumpAlways 2 years ago • edited I smell McCain. Anyone else smell McCain with a little bit of Bush in there...

[Dec 10, 2019] It is common knowledge that Congress, too, is corrupt and sells out the national interest in favor of their own political and personal interests on a daily basis. They have no moral credibility here by saying:

Dec 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

Clyde Schechter 6 hours ago

I agree with everything you say in the article, Mr. Larison. And yet, I have serious qualms about whether Congress should impeach and remove Trump.

From a purely legal perspective, they should. But impeachment is a blend of legalism and politics. And the politics here are murky at best. The problem is that Congress does not come to these issues with clean hands. It is common knowledge that Congress, too, is corrupt and sells out the national interest in favor of their own political and personal interests on a daily basis. They have no moral credibility here; who are they to judge the President? Neither the impeachment itself, nor the subsequent, apparently inevitable, acquittal by the Senate will be seen as legitimate, except by partisans of the respective acts. It is all the more problematic because an election is less than a year away.

Yes, I want Trump out of office, too. But unfortunately our Congress lacks the moral legitimacy to do this; the impeachment and trial will serve only to reinforce each party's views of the other as treasonous. The impeachment will be seen as an attempted coup, and the acquittal will be seen as a whitewash and cover-up. (If by some odd circumstance he is removed rather than acquitted, it will be seen as a successful coup, an undoing of the 2016 election.)

There are no really good outcomes from this scenario. It would, I think, be better for the the country were the Democrats to reverse course and leave the removal of Trump to the people next November. We have survived nearly three years of him, we can survive one more. I fear the fallout from impeachment and trial will create more problems than are solved.

likbez Clyde Schechter
I agree. I also respectfully disagree with Larrison's judgment and consider this development as very dangerous for the Republic. We need to weight our personal animosity toward Trump with the risks of his forceful removal on dubious charges.

Please remember that nobody was impeached for the Iraq war. That creates a really high plank for the impeachment. And makes any Dems arguments for Trump impeachment not only moot but a joke.

The fundamental question is: How is lying the country into the Iraq war not impeachable, and this entrapment impeachable?

The furor over Russian interference in the election, which was extremely minor, if existed at all, compared to what Churchill did in 1940, was primarily about excusing the corrupt and incompetent Clinton wing of Democratic Party leadership (Neoliberal Democrats.) Political "shelf life" for whom is over in any case as neoliberalism is dead as an ideology and entered zombie ( bloodthirsty ) stage. Hillary political fiasco taught them nothing. Russiagate was and still is a modern witch hunt, the attempt to patch with Russophobia the cracks in the neoliberal facade. Neo-McCarthyism, if you wish.

In view of the Iraq war, the impeachment of Trump means the absolute contempt for the plebs. Again, Trump's election happened because neoliberalism as ideology died in 2008, and plebs in 2016 refused to follow corrupt neoliberal democrats and decided to show them the middle finger. They will not follow the neoliberal elite in 2020, impeachment, or no impeachment. So the whole "Pelosi gambit" (and from the point of view of Nuremberg principles she is a war criminal like Bush II and Co ) will fail.

The House Democrats did not act as ethical prosecutors. They have failed to develop the evidentiary record, and provide the equality of procecutor and the defense in the process which is the fundamental part of the Due Process prior to filing charges. A large part of their witnesses (Karlan, Hill, Vindman) were just "true believers" (Karlan) or corrupt Deep Staters (Hill, Vindman) taking a stand to defend their personal well-being, which is based on warmongering. And protect their illegal role in formulating the USA foreign policy (actually based on the quality of Fiona Hill book alone, she should be kept at mile length from this area; she is a propagandist not a researcher/analyst)

Among State Department witnesses there could well be those who were probably explicitly or implicitly involved in the money laundering of the US aid money via Ukraine (Biden-lights so to speak)

The article of impeachment saying:

Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

opens a huge can of worms (this is essentially the Moscow show trials method of removing politicians.) This is equivalent to a change in the Constitution, introducing the vote of no confidence as the method removal of the top members of the executive branch.

Impeachment is always a political decision. And here I am not sure the "Pelosi gambit" will work. I think many independents, who would stay home or would vote for Dems in 2020 now will vote for Trump as a protest against the abuse of impeachment by the Neoliberal/Corporate Dems.

[Dec 10, 2019] The brats are spoilt beyond belief and 100% believe they're entitled to having Full Spectrum Dominance because of their exceptionalist ideology

Dec 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Dec 8 2019 22:32 utc | 45

To the Bar--

What I see is copious amounts of wailing from the usual sources about the demise of what was supposed to be an era of Unipolar dominance by the Evil Outlaw US Empire and blame being thrown in all directions hoping some sticks instead of directing it at themselves for they are he true authors of the Empire's decline--they being the Current Oligarchy and their Congressional, Administrative, and BigLie Media accomplices. The Empire's current "defense" doctrine calls for war to be waged against the nation(s) impeding the Empire's unilateralism. The brats are spoilt beyond belief and 100% believe they're entitled to having Full Spectrum Dominance because of their exceptionalist ideology--they've destroyed their own basic law to attain that goal; the impeachment derangement is just the most overt symptom being shown at the moment. Just look at the unanimity on the two recent anti-China votes--Congress is in almost 100% lockstep with Marco Rubio's insanity.

IMO, there were saner heads in 1962 than now, particularly in Congress. What's worse than an Evil Outlaw US Empire is it's becoming deranged.

[Dec 09, 2019] Why is it that whenever I find a US scholar talking about Eastern Europe, they have some kind of refugee from Communism pedigree?

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

john brewster , Dec 8 2019 18:34 utc | 18

This comment follows onto earlier comments about Ukrainian influence and media censorship.

I have always tried to keep politics out of science, in order to be able to focus clearly on the study of nature, instead of the opinions of people. Admittedly, some areas of science are completely political, such as climate change, ecology, and nuclear power. I also recognize that the so-called prestige press for science - journals such as Nature (UK) and Science (US) - are going to reflect the conventional, if not the corporate perspective.

Nevertheless, a book review in this week's (5 DEC 2019) issue of Nature really pissed me off. The book is about natural gas pipelines and their ability to overcome political differences:

The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe
by Thane Gustafson

Of course, such a topic is completely political and the author is a political scientist. Gustafson is Professor of Political Science at Georgetown University and Senior Director of Russian and Caspian Energy for HIS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, whose chairman and founder is Dr. Daniel Yergin, author of many best-selling books on the oil industry.

The offensive review is by Andrew Moracsik, whom I had never heard of. But, after a little googling, I discover that his wife is the appropriately named, Anne-Marie Slaughter. She of bomb Libya fame. (NOTE 1.) Andrew himself has quite the pedigree: educated at Stanford and Johns Hopkins (Nitze SAIS), professor at Harvard and Princeton. He is a prominent scholar of the EU and of Eastern Europe, and an editor at the journal Foreign Affairs.

Now to the review. Dr. Moracsik admits up front that:

(the book) offers a readable, intelligent, even-handed historical interpretation of this relationship.

In other words, he can't fault the book for inaccuracy. But his purpose is really to bring the non-stop villification of Russia to the pages of a scientific journal. Here are the unfounded, false, and weasel-worded assertions he makes:

Russia also provoked a series of interventions and conflicts in Georgia, Moldova, Syria, and Ukraine. The West responded by imposing sanctions...More recently, Russia has become involved in the disruption of elections in the West, and in cyberwarfare.

Andrew Moravcsik is professor of politics and international affairs, and director of the EU Program, at Princeton University in New Jersey.

-----

Why is it that whenever I find a US scholar talking about Eastern Europe, they have some kind of refugee from Communism pedigree? Well, the obvious answer is that that is the pedigree that gets you into the club of Russia hatred and gets you a free pass from criticism about bias. In an earlier comment at MoA, I mentioned how the fascist Ukrainian spy network of Reinhard Gehlen became the lens through which all CIA (and therefore US) foreign policy was seen.

In Moravcsik's case the pedigree runs through his father, Michael Julius Moracsik. Michael was a refugee from Hungary in 1948, who subsequently got a Ph.D in physics from Cornell. He eventually became a scientific fellow at NATO. (NOTE 2.)

Just to round out the players' pedigrees, the author, Dr. Gustafson has given papers at the Danyliw Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine, which describes itself as

"A unique forum for researchers from Canada, Ukraine and elsewhere open to all social science and humanities research topics touching on Ukraine."

(Ah, Canada, whose deputy prime minister is Chrystia Freeland, an unrepentant defender of her Banderite Ukrainian grandfather.) So, clearly Gustafson is a member of the club and hence, the acknowledgement of factual correctness by Moravscik.

-------

This book review in this journal has driven home to me how complete the propaganda bubble is in the Five Eyes countries. How does one have an impact in the face of such overwhelming institutionalized propaganda? We have certainly reached the point described by Hannah Arendt:

Equality of condition among their subjects is not sufficient for totalitarian rule because it leaves more or less intact certain nonpolitical communal bonds between subjects, such as family ties and common cultural interests. If totalitarianism takes its own claim seriously, it must come to the point where it has "to finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess," that is, with the autonomous existence of any activity whatsoever. The lovers of "chess for the sake of chess", aptly compared by their liquidator with the lovers of "art for art's sake", are not yet absolutely atomized elements in a mass society whose completely homogeneous uniformity is one of the primary conditions for totalitarianism. From the point of view of totalitarian rulers, a society devoted to chess for the sake of chess is only in degree different and less dangerous than a class of farmers for the sake of farming.

-p 322

So, I continue to read and post at MoA, but I have no expectation that it amounts to anything more than German's listening to the BBC in WW2 did. What I do expect is that, sooner or later, MoA will be blacklisted for simply relating true facts.


----


NOTE 1

Slaughter served on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School from 1989–1994

On 23 January 2009, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced the appointment of Slaughter as the new Director of Policy Planning under the Obama administration.

In July 2005, Slaughter wrote in the American Journal of International Law about the responsibility to protect (R2P).

Slaughter wrote a strong endorsement of Western military intervention in Libya. In this op-ed, Slaughter challenged the skeptics who questioned the NATO use of force in Libya,

On 25 August 2011, she was roundly criticized by Matt Welch, who sorted through many of Slaughter's prior op-eds and concluded that she was a "situational constitutionalist".

Clifford May on 15 October 2014 wrote a piece in which he drew a straight line between Annan and Slaughter's R2P "norm", and the failure in Libya. May noted that President Obama had cited the R2P norm as his primary justification for using military force with Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who had threatened to attack the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

In an 11 November 2014 piece entitled What Happened to the Humanitarians Who Wanted to Save Libyans With Bombs and Drones?, Glenn Greenwald denounced her and her policies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne-Marie_Slaughter


NOTE 2:

Michael Julius Moravcsik - Hungarian, American physics professor.
Recipient Derek de Solla Price memorial medal;
Scientists and Engineers for Economic Development grant, 1974,
Senior fellow in Science, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1974.

Background

Moravcsik, Michael Julius was born on June 25, 1928 in Budapest, Hungary.
Arrived in United States, 1948, naturalized, 1954.

Education

Student, University Budapest, 1946 -- 1948.
AB cum laude, Harvard University, 1951.
Doctor of Philosophy, Cornell University, 1956.

https://prabook.com/web/michael_julius.moravcsik/797937


John Gilberts , Dec 8 2019 16:43 utc | 10

Banderite lobby (Ukrainian World Congress) seeks to sabotage upcoming Normandy Four summit:

https://mailchi.mp/ukrainianworldcongress/uwc-expresses-condolences-on-death-of-osce-monitor-741073

"Ahead of the Normandy Four meeting in Paris, I once again highlight the key priorities of the Ukrainian World Congress position in support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We ask that Ukrainian communities around the world maintain and call upon their national leaders to maintain a clear and unequivocal position, specifically that..."

james , Dec 8 2019 20:27 utc | 34
@29 john brewster... here - let me ''react''.. you gave a few really great examples.. i don't know that anyone here would dispute how insipid all these russophobic articles are, or worse, that they all follow a constant theme running out of the 5 eyes central offices..

it is entirely predictable at this point and you're absolutely correct - 110% propaganda... y

ou've given another good example here with the treatment of stephen cohen... what i find shocking is the lack of embarrassment towards all of this..

people in the west seem to be devoid of any type of response to it all, other then us commenting on moa about it.. i don't know how any of it is going to change..

it seems to me the desire to protest all this is really low here in the west..

i admire the french for the protests they have been engaged in the past few months, which get very little msm coverage.. i wish we could protest about all the propaganda we are subject to here in canada or the usa, but we haven't reached a critical point in it all yet it seems..

jayc , Dec 8 2019 23:27 utc | 51

james #27 - " the drivel chris brown - regular columist for cbc posts.. and typically his drivel is not open to comments.. here is his latest bs - In an obliterated landscape, war-weary Ukrainians hope peace summit ends fighting for an insight into completely lopsided reporting"

Is it my fading memory, or was the CBC once a relatively professional source of international reporting? This piece is notably bad - not just from the skewed account of 2014's events, or the insistence on describing Donbass as "separatist", or the map which includes Crimea as part of Ukraine. How is it that the Minsk Accords no longer seem to exist in the corporate media, or the upcoming meeting in Paris properly described as a continuation of that process (alleged failure to "live up" to said accords was used as a stick against Putin for several years, and now their possible realization is vaguely referred to as something bad). Why does a Chatham House spokesperson get to define Ukraine's supposed "red lines", which are in reality the political position of the badly defeated former government? Why is Zelensky's oft stated policy position presented here as Russian-induced capitulation? Brown interviews four women of whom he says "none would tell us their last name out of fear of repercussions from local authorities" except they allowed for their photos to be taken and published. All of these story points result from conscious decisions, not sloppy errors.

[Dec 09, 2019] The Interagency Isn t Supposed to Rule in Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... I first heard of the interagency in Baghdad in 2009. I was there as part of a Council on Foreign Relations delegation to Iraq. As a U.S. Army general briefed us on how the war was being fought, he spoke of the interagency as the source of the strategy he was executing. Naively, I asked why he wasn't operating according to orders from his military superiors or the secretary of defense. ..."
"... He explained that American war-fighting was being guided by a "whole of government" philosophy. Incredibly, he explained that the war couldn't be won without, among other agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor. Iraq needed economic expansion, modern farming, business statistics, new hospitals, a working court system and workplace regulations. The strategy framed by the interagency was nothing less than a yearslong engagement in nation building -- precisely what President George W. Bush had rejected in his 2000 campaign. ..."
"... When the war on terror opened, with all the secret activity it required, professional cadres in the diplomatic corps, the military and the nation's many intelligence agencies were able to transform interagency cooperative agreements that had existed since the Cold War into a de facto agency -- a largely informal and virtual bureaucracy -- with the assumed power, if need be, to determine and execute a foreign policy at odds with the intent of the president and Congress. ..."
"... Last month's testimony before the Intelligence Committee shed light on this club whose members are a permanent shadow government credentialed by family histories, elite schools and unique career experiences. This common pedigree informs their perspective of how America should relate to the world. The dogmatists of the interagency seem to share a common discomfort with a president who probably couldn't describe the doctrine of soft power, doesn't desire to be the center of attention at Davos, and wouldn't know that Francis Fukuyama once decided that history was over. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | www.wsj.com

Enthusiasm over entrepreneurship is now found in every corner of society -- even, apparently, within the federal bureaucracy. Witness after witness in last month's House impeachment inquiry hearings referred to "the interagency," an off-the-books informal government organization that we now know has enormous power to set and execute American foreign policy.

The first to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, State Department official George Kent, seemed to conceive of the interagency as the definitive source of foreign-policy consensus. That Mr. Trump's alleged decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine deviated from that consensus was, for Mr. Kent, prima facie evidence that it was misguided.

Next up, Ambassador William Taylor told the committee that it was the "unanimous opinion of every level of interagency discussion" that the aid should be resumed without delay. Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council official, gave the game away by admitting how upset she was that Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, had established an "alternative" approach to helping Kyiv. "We have a robust interagency process that deals with Ukraine," she said.

What is the interagency, and why should its views guide the conduct of American diplomatic and national-security professionals? The Constitution grants the president the power to set defense and diplomatic policy. Where did this interagency come from?

I first heard of the interagency in Baghdad in 2009. I was there as part of a Council on Foreign Relations delegation to Iraq. As a U.S. Army general briefed us on how the war was being fought, he spoke of the interagency as the source of the strategy he was executing. Naively, I asked why he wasn't operating according to orders from his military superiors or the secretary of defense.

How Did Adam Schiff Get Devin Nunes's Phone Records? How did Adam Schiff get Devin Nunes's phone records? bb0282a3-e4cb-42ba-9988-2f3df57fd912@1.00x Created with sketchtool.

He explained that American war-fighting was being guided by a "whole of government" philosophy. Incredibly, he explained that the war couldn't be won without, among other agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice and Labor. Iraq needed economic expansion, modern farming, business statistics, new hospitals, a working court system and workplace regulations. The strategy framed by the interagency was nothing less than a yearslong engagement in nation building -- precisely what President George W. Bush had rejected in his 2000 campaign.

Interagency cooperative agreements have been around for decades. The Justice Department, for example, has opioid-interdiction programs that require it to work with the Department of Homeland Security. Today a dictionary of more than 12,500 official terms exists to guide bureaucrats in writing interagency contracts that repurpose federal funds appropriated to various executive departments. Often these interdepartmental initiatives devised by bureaucrats are unknown to Congress. It's hard to imagine that the legislative branch wouldn't object to these arrangements, if only it were aware of them.

When the war on terror opened, with all the secret activity it required, professional cadres in the diplomatic corps, the military and the nation's many intelligence agencies were able to transform interagency cooperative agreements that had existed since the Cold War into a de facto agency -- a largely informal and virtual bureaucracy -- with the assumed power, if need be, to determine and execute a foreign policy at odds with the intent of the president and Congress.

Last month's testimony before the Intelligence Committee shed light on this club whose members are a permanent shadow government credentialed by family histories, elite schools and unique career experiences. This common pedigree informs their perspective of how America should relate to the world. The dogmatists of the interagency seem to share a common discomfort with a president who probably couldn't describe the doctrine of soft power, doesn't desire to be the center of attention at Davos, and wouldn't know that Francis Fukuyama once decided that history was over.

The impeachment hearings will have served a useful purpose if all they do is demonstrate that a cabal of unelected officials are fashioning profound aspects of U.S. foreign policy on their own motion. No statutes anticipate that the president or Congress will delegate such authority to a secret working group formed largely at the initiation of entrepreneurial bureaucrats, notwithstanding that they may be area experts, experienced in diplomatic and military affairs, and motivated by what they see as the best interests of the country.

However the impeachment drama plays out, Congress has cause to enact comprehensive legislation akin to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which created more-efficient structures and transparent processes in the Defense Department. Americans deserve to know who really is responsible for making the nation's foreign policy. The interagency, if it is to exist, should have a chairman appointed by the president, and its decisions, much like the once-secret minutes of the Federal Reserve, should be published, with limited and necessary exceptions, for all to see.

Mr. Schramm is a university professor at Syracuse. His most recent book is "Burn the Business Plan."

[Dec 09, 2019] A Determined Effort to Undermine Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate. ..."
"... Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured. ..."
"... It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is. ..."
"... Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency). ..."
"... Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing. ..."
"... I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!) ..."
"... "From 1922 onwards the strategic purpose of the Soviet Union was to defend the Soviet Union not global domination, whereas the purpose of the "West" has always been global domination. " ..."
"... "At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause." ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Retired Australian diplomat Tony Kevin, in conversation with former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, says the West is unnecessarily determined to undermine Russia. A t an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause.

When Kevin said he returned to Russia after more than 40 years in 2016 he realized he "had to take sides" in the U.S.-Russia standoff when all Nato countries boycotted the Moscow celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

"I had to take a moral position that it is not right for the West to be ganging up on Russia," Kevin says in his conversation with the former Australian foreign minister.

The New Cold War can traced back to a broken promise made to Moscow on Nato expansion eastward. "London and Washington are orchestrating a disinformation" campaign today against Russia, as the New Cold War has heated up over Syria, Ukraine, NATO troops on Russia's borders and Russiagate.

Watch the hour-long in depth discussion which was filmed and produced by Consortium News' CN Live! Executive Producer Cathy Vogan.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dJiS3nFzsWg?feature=oembed


ElderD , December 9, 2019 at 15:03

Tony's (especially!) and Bob's sane and sensible view of this dangerous and destructive state of affairs deserve the widest possible distribution and attention.

George McGlynn , December 9, 2019 at 13:27

A quarter century has passed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and little has changed. Cold War patterns of thinking about Russia show no sign of weakening in America. The further we distance ourselves from the end of the Cold War, the closer we come to its revival. Hostility to Russia is the oldest continuous foreign policy tradition in the United States. It is now so much of a part of America's identity that it is unlikely to be ever cured.

peter mcloughlin , December 9, 2019 at 10:45

It is a dangerous miscalculation to think the "New Cold War" will end like the first. Russia (the USSR) had a buffer zone then, it doesn't today. For Moscow the coming war (world war) will be about survival. All that is left is the fall-back position of nuclear deterrence doctrine – annihilation. I don't think western capitals see how perilous the situation is.

AnneR , December 9, 2019 at 07:48

The latest efforts at attacking Russia via smear, allegation and Doublespeak have been, are via that US supported supposed oversight committee, WADA which has done what the US-UK wanted: banned Russia for four years from international sporting events including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and World Cup (Football – soccer to Americans).

Then there were allegations – of those "highly likely" (therefore one knows to be untrue and unadulterated propaganda to increase Russophobia) sort – about Russian hackers (always giving the impression that the "Kremlin" is behind itl) being the Labour Party's source of the Tory party's US-UK trade deal which would/will deliberately and finally destroy the NHS and replace it with (of course) US "health" insurance company profiteering.

(Always the Tory intention from the NHS's initiation in May of 1948; only its popularity among many Tory party supporters among the working and lower middle classes prevented them from a full-frontal killing off the NHS; the Snatcher's government began the undermining, via installing a top-heavy bureaucratization, siphoning off a sizable proportion of the funds that would otherwise have gone to medical care, demanding that hospitals not "lose" money – a concept completely beyond the remit of the NHS as originally conceived and constructed and like exactions.)

Then there are snide remarks about the meeting today concerning the Ukrainian Azov (Neo-Nazi) attacks on the Donbass (NOT how either the BBC or NPR speaks of this of course) in France. This struggle, between the Russian-speaking Donbass peoples and the neo-Nazis of western Ukraine, has killed many thousands of people (most likely mostly those of the Donbass). The Donbass fighters are spoken of as "Russian-supported" in an attempt to deny them and the reasons for their struggle *any* legitimacy (meanwhile the support for the neo-Nazis goes unmentioned, leaving the listener with the impression that they are the Ukrainian military, thus legitimately fighting a foreign funded and manned insurgency).

Someone even suggested that President Putin needed to be diplomatic. Really? From what I've read the man is the most diplomatic and intelligent politician (not just political leader) along with Xi Jinping and the Iranian government that exist on the world stage. None of them are hubristic, solipsistic, eager beaver killers of peoples in other countries. Unlike their western "world" political counterparts.

Jeff Harrison , December 8, 2019 at 18:30

Mad Dog Mattis spoke the truth when he said that an opponent wasn't defeated until they agreed they were defeated. The US merely assumed that Russia agreed that they were defeated and are doubling down when they now suddenly realize that Russia never said any such thing.

St. Ronnie's whole thing back in the 80's was to outspend Russia militarily and it worked well. We're trying to do it again but Russia isn't playing the same game this time and now it is the US that has a mountain of debt and Russia that doesn't. SIPIRI tags US military spending at $650B and Russian military spending at $62B. But we know that the $650B number is bogus because it doesn't include our in-violation-of-the-NNPT nuclear program which is in the energy department or our veteran's expenses which are in HHS. I don't know what's missing from Russia's $62B but I'll bet they can sustain that a whole lot better than we can sustain our $650B and rising bill.

Antonio Costa , December 9, 2019 at 13:17

Good point regarding Russia's downsizing the Soviet Union. From Gorbachev to Putin there was NEVER a surrender, intended in any way. The intent has been multilateral partnerships. For Russia the US/West won nothing at all except the opportunity to live and work in peace. (By the way this policy has a long Russian history.)

They gave up the Warsaw Pact and America with our worthless "word" expanded NATO.

The US foreign policy has lost even the semblance of sanity. Our naked aggression is clear as never before, a mad man throwing a global fit armed with megaton nuclear projectiles on trigger first strike alert. What could go wrong?

nondimenticare , December 8, 2019 at 15:56

If, magically, Consortium News/CN Live! were a mass-distribution network/magazine (hence universally consulted), allowing the light in for the mass of the viewing and listening public, it could change the world – both an exalting and despairing thought.

Lily , December 8, 2019 at 09:52

It is a great joy to listen to this conversation!

I am really sick of the smearing of Russia done by the US and UK. The Skripal as well as the MH17 case are plain ridiculus. Anybody can see through these silly plants. US and UK obviously don't feel obliged to respect any international rules any more. (The one person who is suffering most at the moment from the decline in respect is Julian Assange, an Australian citizen!)

I wish people would have the courage to break away from the group pressure originated by a nation which has been started by killing more than 90% of the indigenous people in their country and since then has turned the worl into a very insecure place.

Chapeau, Tony Kevin! Thanks to Bob Carr and Consortiums News.

Lily , December 9, 2019 at 01:18

It seems that some facts are beginning to be realized in the military department.

www(dot)zerohedge(dot)com/geopolitical/pentagon-alarmed-russia-gaining-sympathy-among-us-troops

Bob Van Noy , December 8, 2019 at 09:22

Simply, wonderful

OlyaPola , December 8, 2019 at 07:43

Words are catalysts of connotations and connotations are functions of expectations/framing..

Some conflate cause with purpose thereby limiting perception of cause and purpose.

Some understand that causation is interactive and in any lateral system the genesis of causation is difficult to determine.

Some understand that evaluation is a function of purpose and that purpose can be evaluated through such portals into wonderlands such as "What is the "United States of America" and how is it facilitated?"

As thumb-nailed in the comments section of the article Capitalism's suicidal trajectory – OlyaPola
December 6, 2019 at 07:46

"From 1922 onwards the strategic purpose of the Soviet Union was to defend the Soviet Union not global domination, whereas the purpose of the "West" has always been global domination. "

From 1922 onwards various tactics have been attempted by the "West" to facilitate their purpose, including attempts at "Orange revolution" in many areas which catalysed many lateral trajectories including the process of transcendence of the "Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation in the period from 1991 to 2005.

Consequently Mr. Suslov's observation re war of "The United States of America" can be extended into present times and hence no "New cold war" exists.

""What is the "United States of America"

An initial step through the portal is that "The United States of America" is – a regime of social relations to facilitate its purpose – the social relations not being restricted to the "nation state" presently self designated "The United States of America" but including classes in other "nation states".

Consequently alternative purposes and social relations pose an existential threat to "The United States of America"; this being perceived of lesser significance in regard to "The Soviet Union" and greater in regard to the Russian Federation.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , December 8, 2019 at 07:30

"At an event last week in Sydney, Kevin and Carr discussed how the West, led by the United States, has been on an aggressive campaign to destabilize Russia, without cause."

The American establishment's problem with Russia is simply that Russia is the only country on earth capable of obliterating the United States. Not even China has yet reached that capacity.

"Carthago delenda est"

Skip Scott , December 9, 2019 at 06:13

There is "cause." Russia was our latest vassal under Yeltsin. Putin stopped the looting, and worked to benefit average Russian citizens. Just watch "The Magnitsky Act, behind the scenes" to know the "cause".

Bruno DP , December 8, 2019 at 02:34

The West is ganging up on Russia? Replace "West" by "United States of America", and I will agree.

Much of the West (i.e. Germany) has been dragged by force into damage control mode. The Magnitsky Act monster, the election interference hysteria, are just 2 crying examples met with shock and disbelief across the pond. The Fiona Hill testimony was a very telling moment for the inner workings of a self perpetuating logic.

Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.

But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined.

Martin Schuchert , December 8, 2019 at 17:33

I'm German, living in the US, and I agree with your comment. I especially love the last two sentences:

"Russia is no lightweight by any means, and not always friendly.
But it has regularly done the right thing in international conflicts which the Kremlin seems to understand better than all of "the Western" intelligence combined."

[Dec 09, 2019] Does Trump masterfully trolling the Deep State or he is such an idiot that this occurred as a side effect of his idiotism?

Notable quotes:
"... The way I see it now he basically had the backing of big Jewish gangstas like Adelson plus his own charisma resonated with a lot of people plus the fact that what self-respecting human on earth could vote for the she-devil Hillary ? ..."
"... I think too a lot of people were sick of Obama who was clearly one of the greatest con artists of all time President Hopium, as Mike Whitney tagged him ..."
"... So other than his rich Jewish friends The Donald really is pretty much alone except for a very lot of regular folks and I mean right across the socio-economic spectrum it's not just the blue collar folks, but a lot of people I know in my own profession [and others] ..."
"... So all things considered, I think Trump has actually made some pretty spectacular plays considering he is a one-man football team LOL ..."
"... As for Trump I think he's going to be re-elected the 'resistance' is just making themselves look incredibly bad they are getting up everyone's fucking nose and even Pelosi, as she was standing there the other day announcing the 'impeachment' darn well knew it they are toast ..."
"... I too believe he isn't dumb, but the real question is whether he's playing the fool in furtherance of a plan, or whether it's just who he is and his successes are accidental. ..."
"... The Deep State's (aka: PFPE's) ongoing behaviour indicates that Trump's using buffoonery to work a plan that's anathema to their created realities, and their increasing shrillness indicates it's working. At every turn, he's managed to make unavailable the resources their reality called for. From the M.E., to the Ukraine to N. Korea to Venezuela, things just aren't working the way they're supposed to. In fact, they're invariably working out in a way that exposes the Deep State's ineptitude and malevolence, and maximizes its embarrassment. ..."
"... Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing. I guess we'll see if he abandons buffoonery when his opponents finally sink into the tar. ..."
"... Trump is a thief and an occupier in Syria, Afghanistan and many other countries. Only dummies think that he is a man of 'peace'. Only impostors spread lies that he wants to bring 'peace' but the 'deep state' does not allow. In fact the phony 'deep state' does not want war with Iran because knows that they will never win, only chaos. Israel wants war, and his servant Trump is pushing for one. ..."
"... I agree with you about all those examples Ukraine, Venezuela, even Iran seem to be a case of giving 'his' neocon 'team' enough rope to hang themselves while POTUS holds the hammer and ultimately gives a big NAY to going kinetic and then the whole thing crumbles into cracker crumbs ..."
"... On 1 May, Mosaddegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, canceling its oil concession (expired in 1993) and expropriating its assets. ..."
"... In March 1953, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was headed by his younger brother Allen Dulles, to draft plans to overthrow Mossadegh. On 4 April 1953, Allen Dulles approved $1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mosaddegh". Soon the CIA's Tehran station started to launch a propaganda campaign against Mossadegh. ..."
"... The zionized "progressives" have a new battle cry -- "Putin is new Hitler." Worked great for Hillary Clinton, this model of "humanitarian" interventionist. ..."
"... It does not do any good for your brains to read the Atlantic Council's idiotic propaganda. It is the same as the "Integrity Initiative" production, the dirty and poisonous brew made on orders by NATO/MIC/the Lobby. ..."
"... When Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher could get hanged at Nuremberg in 1946 for crimes against humanity, I wonder, why not the likes of Amanpour? Guess history is written by the winning side. ..."
"... Say hello to more than a century of perpetual war for profit. The Deep State, consisting of Jewish bankers and their hanger-ons, has been calling the shots since passage of the Federal Reserve Act in the closing hours of 1913, while most members of Congress were home on holiday recess. ..."
"... The current demonisation of China and Russia sets the stage for the real split that will happen in the 2020s. Gotta get the sheeple used to the notion so that they will accept, even demand, bringing the Bamboo Curtain down when the time comes. ..."
"... The PTB needs the people, not the other way around. People are happy to believe anything that makes them comfortable. Instilling Sino/Russo-phobia in their otherwise empty heads is but the prelude to splitting them off from demonic Eurasia/Eastasia, and also so they'll be happy with whatever they get in Oceania. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

FB says: Website December 7, 2019 at 2:36 am GMT 600 Words @Erebus

I had assumed that a real outsider couldn't have gotten to his position and that they had a plan and would make a stand against the Empire's nomenclatura to try to turn the ship of state to face the coming crisis head on.

Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the face.–'Iron' Mike Tyson

Yes indeed E I think PCR has commented at length about how Trump just doesn't have anyone in his corner and yes, it is kind of surprising

Now the funny thing is that I too thought for the longest time there must be some kind of establishment faction behind the scenes that was backing the Trump agenda of getting real and changing course from an obvious dead end path

But I'm not so sure about that anymore Trump may indeed be the guy that 'wasn't supposed to win' as far as all the invisible heavyweights behind the curtain are concerned

The way I see it now he basically had the backing of big Jewish gangstas like Adelson plus his own charisma resonated with a lot of people plus the fact that what self-respecting human on earth could vote for the she-devil Hillary ?

I think too a lot of people were sick of Obama who was clearly one of the greatest con artists of all time President Hopium, as Mike Whitney tagged him

So other than his rich Jewish friends The Donald really is pretty much alone except for a very lot of regular folks and I mean right across the socio-economic spectrum it's not just the blue collar folks, but a lot of people I know in my own profession [and others]

But at this point it becomes abundantly clear that what Prof Cohen says here is what everybody knows the ' permanent foreign policy establishment' which is quite out in the open and neither 'deep' nor secret

For me that 'Anonymous' oped in the NYT was the milestone event that they could be that brazen and open about basically ripping the wheel out of the president's hands I mean that's brass they even called themselves the 'steady state' not even worried one bit about what that says about this sham 'democracy'

It's like everyone knows right and is cool with it ?

Amazing

So all things considered, I think Trump has actually made some pretty spectacular plays considering he is a one-man football team LOL

I point to the Syria almost-withdrawal which is in reality almost as good as a full withdrawal since the SAA has regained almost its entire northern border and the remaining fleck of a US footprint is a logistical and political impossibility

Let's face it for all the complainers [and yes, we've all got a lot of legit beefs] who the fuck would have been able to do even this anyone else would have escalated a long time ago this is the die-hard imperialist mentality of the neocons

I remember reading how some of these very people named here [including I think the harpy Fiona Hill] were mouth-foaming freaking out at the SDF leadership and literally breaking pencils in their face to try to stop them from accepting the lifesaver offered by the Russians and SAA, with the Turks bearing down on them

I mean these people are just NUTS they are simply not rooted in reality at some point you run into a brick wall going 500 miles an hour that is what awaits this crowd

As for Trump I think he's going to be re-elected the 'resistance' is just making themselves look incredibly bad they are getting up everyone's fucking nose and even Pelosi, as she was standing there the other day announcing the 'impeachment' darn well knew it they are toast

In the second term watch out Trump is not as dumb as they think

Erebus , says: December 7, 2019 at 10:34 am GMT

@FB

the 'permanent foreign policy establishment'

AKA, the Imperial Staff.

In the days of Kissinger, Baker, et al the Imperial Staff were well coached in the Calculus of Power, knew the limits to Empire and thrived within them. Since the end of history, and the apparent end of limits, policy makers had no more need of realists and their confusing calculations and analyses.

The US had power, and no-one else had any. That's all they needed to know, and set about creating new, wonderfully intoxicating realities. As Rove famously inverted the MO they'll act first, creating realities and the analysis and calculation can come later. In awe of their creations, they failed to notice that while history may have ended in Washington, elsewhere it moved on to surround them with a reality where they found themselves in zugzwang, with no understanding how they got there. Flailing (and wailing) like a Mastodon in a tar pit, they've managed only to attract an unhelpful crowd of onlookers, fascinated by the abomination.

In the second term watch out Trump is not as dumb as they think

I too believe he isn't dumb, but the real question is whether he's playing the fool in furtherance of a plan, or whether it's just who he is and his successes are accidental.

The Deep State's (aka: PFPE's) ongoing behaviour indicates that Trump's using buffoonery to work a plan that's anathema to their created realities, and their increasing shrillness indicates it's working. At every turn, he's managed to make unavailable the resources their reality called for. From the M.E., to the Ukraine to N. Korea to Venezuela, things just aren't working the way they're supposed to. In fact, they're invariably working out in a way that exposes the Deep State's ineptitude and malevolence, and maximizes its embarrassment.

If that's so, his is the most extraordinary political performance I thought I'd ever see. Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing. I guess we'll see if he abandons buffoonery when his opponents finally sink into the tar.

Fascinating.

anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: December 7, 2019 at 5:54 pm GMT
The latest zionist plan designed by Donald Trump and associate to zionist stooges Pompeo and Brian Hook, intend to expand the war against Iran, has been failed. Trump ordered fomenting riots using the poor citizen of these countries who are under the Jewish mafia economic sanction in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon to create choas for the expansion of Jewish mafia and Israel in the region that he is a member of. Trump expanded the WAR against these counties, axis of resistance, using the US treasury runs by dual citizens pro Israel, and then supporting a US/Israel/Saudi proxies in these counties funded by the Saudi Arabia – to kill the citizens who are fed up with economic pressure force upon them by the criminal Tribe and its stooge Trump, and to burn buildings to create chaos so Trump can use it against Iran. This project was funded by the MBS Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Brian Hook, a U.S. Special Representative for Iran, has done everything to satisfy his masters, the Jewish mafia and made a big HOOK to bring down Iran, but he couldn't and now they are trying to go after Iran with FABRICATED news, spreading lies that Iran has killed up to 1000 people.

Trump must answer his own crimes against humanity FIRST and then shut up and focus on US interest NOT a Israel interests, because he will be viewed as a fifth column.

Trump is a thief and an occupier in Syria, Afghanistan and many other countries. Only dummies think that he is a man of 'peace'. Only impostors spread lies that he wants to bring 'peace' but the 'deep state' does not allow. In fact the phony 'deep state' does not want war with Iran because knows that they will never win, only chaos. Israel wants war, and his servant Trump is pushing for one.

... ... ...

https://www.globalresearch.ca/iranian-unrest-cover-up-mass-killings-infowar-conspiracy/5696826

FB , says: Website December 7, 2019 at 7:03 pm GMT
@Erebus

they failed to notice that while history may have ended in Washington, elsewhere it moved on to surround them with a reality where they found themselves in zugzwang , with no understanding how they got there.

Flailing (and wailing) like a Mastodon in a tar pit, they've managed only to attract an unhelpful crowd of onlookers, fascinated by the abomination.

LOL that is quote-worthy E

What can I add here you've pretty much nailed 'er down to the floor

I agree with you about all those examples Ukraine, Venezuela, even Iran seem to be a case of giving 'his' neocon 'team' enough rope to hang themselves while POTUS holds the hammer and ultimately gives a big NAY to going kinetic and then the whole thing crumbles into cracker crumbs

If that's so, his is the most extraordinary political performance I thought I'd ever see. Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing.

Yup the one-man football team and he's actually WINNING LOL

annamaria , says: December 7, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT
@National Institute for Study of the Obvious

"CIA runs your country." -- Correct. As a subsidiary of Mossad.

Rubicon , says: December 7, 2019 at 7:31 pm GMT
@Priss Factor Over the years that we've been reading Dr. Cohen who has written about Russia, the US, etc., we've become more and more convinced that Dr. Cohen, as a Jew, refuses to come out in bold-faced print to tell the real truths; in this case The Ukraine.

If he were to do so, his Jewish brethren, as seen in The Deep State and in Ukraine would simply destroy this man. In effect, he's a milquetoast figure of little importance.

annamaria , says: December 7, 2019 at 7:36 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

"Chinese will soon become a majority in swaths of Russia; why not let them vote to secede & join the Han motherland?"

-- You think by the zionists' rules, whether the rules are applied in Palestine or Ukraine. Just give some efforts to learning the history of Russia and the history of Ukraine. You might also need to refresh your knowledge of the history of the Middle East, for good measure.

annamaria , says: December 7, 2019 at 9:20 pm GMT
@NegroPantera Leave the ancient civilization of Persia alone. Тhe US that had been messing with democratic development in Iran in the 1950-s. The "chosen" behave like homicidal maniacs towards Iran and cannot wait to see Americans dying for Eretz Israel project.

On 1 May, Mosaddegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, canceling its oil concession (expired in 1993) and expropriating its assets.

"Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries have yielded no results thus far. With the oil revenues, we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence."

In March 1953, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was headed by his younger brother Allen Dulles, to draft plans to overthrow Mossadegh. On 4 April 1953, Allen Dulles approved $1 million to be used "in any way that would bring about the fall of Mosaddegh". Soon the CIA's Tehran station started to launch a propaganda campaign against Mossadegh.

Bill Jones , says: December 7, 2019 at 9:42 pm GMT
@refl The plan is the dissolution of Russia into half a dozen client states.
annamaria , says: December 7, 2019 at 9:45 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

The zionized "progressives" have a new battle cry -- "Putin is new Hitler." Worked great for Hillary Clinton, this model of "humanitarian" interventionist.

It does not do any good for your brains to read the Atlantic Council's idiotic propaganda. It is the same as the "Integrity Initiative" production, the dirty and poisonous brew made on orders by NATO/MIC/the Lobby.

Here are some of the Atlantic Council stars: Eliot Higgins (Bellingcat) and Anne Applebaum ("historian").

  • Eliot Higgins is no journalist -- his forte has been to manage sales of ladies underwear and to produce laughable and ignorant stuff about Ukraine and Syria. He has zero (0) training in engineering, military, sciences. He is a perfect useful idiot and successful war-profiteer.
  • Anne Applebaum is no journalist (and no historian) -- she is a propagandist-on-hire from a roster of presstitutes maintained by the "Integrity Initiative." https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-integrity-initiative-and-the-uks-scandalous-information-war/253014/

The exposing of the Integrity Initiative has just scratched the surface of what appears to be a much more sophisticated, insidious, and extremely online version of Operation Mockingbird.

You are on the wrong forum.

annamaria , says: December 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm GMT
@Erebus

"There are no patriots in Washington " -- So tragically true. Only profiteers.

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: December 7, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@Erebus TULSI2020

"There are no patriots in Washington "

Don't be so sure. Note that Trump congratulated Tulsi on Kamala's demise. If she isn't the nominee, her mere presence in the campaign is a boon to Trump because she exposes the rot in the DNC . and the Empire.

Dem Establishment can't control me and that scares the hell out of them

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IC98dmTAKbM?feature=oembed

Vojkan , says: December 7, 2019 at 11:16 pm GMT
@anonymous Because Israel is cautious not to cross a line beyond which Russia will have no choice but to retaliate. Contrary to Americans, Russians don't have a short fuse and don't feel the need to "pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world she means business". Since Russia got involved, Israel's actions have had exactly zero effect on the course of events in Syria. Russia's goal is not to further ignite the Middle East. Overreacting to Israel's gesticulations would be counterproductive.
annamaria , says: December 7, 2019 at 11:59 pm GMT
@anonymous "The zionist WHORE, Christian Amanpour "

-- Christiane Amanpour is a valuable presstitute and a quite successful war-profiteer (net worth about $12.5 mln). "The Bloviations of Christiane Amanpour, Queen of Fake News:" https://off-guardian.org/2017/09/14/the-bloviations-of-christiane-amanpour-queen-of-fake-news/

Scum like Amanpour operating from within anti-imperialist countries are the reason why those places ever needed laws curtailing the hallowed "freedom of the press." Words ARE weapons, and the West knows this

Comments:

When Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher could get hanged at Nuremberg in 1946 for crimes against humanity, I wonder, why not the likes of Amanpour? Guess history is written by the winning side.

"Anissa Naoui takes on CNN presstitute Amanpour: CNN heavily redacts RT host's interview:" http://robinwestenra.blogspot.com/2015/10/anissa-naoui-takes-on-cnn-presstitute.html

Carroll Price , says: December 8, 2019 at 12:07 am GMT
Say hello to more than a century of perpetual war for profit. The Deep State, consisting of Jewish bankers and their hanger-ons, has been calling the shots since passage of the Federal Reserve Act in the closing hours of 1913, while most members of Congress were home on holiday recess.

Read; The Creature From Jekyll Island

Erebus , says: December 8, 2019 at 5:50 am GMT
@denk Relax denk.

The world is simply re-bifurcating into 2 camps. More specifically, the Anglo-World is splitting away from whatever parts it can't bring into their sphere of dominance. They couldn't dominate the whole playground, so they're taking their toys and carving out a corner of it for themselves.

The current demonisation of China and Russia sets the stage for the real split that will happen in the 2020s. Gotta get the sheeple used to the notion so that they will accept, even demand, bringing the Bamboo Curtain down when the time comes.

What we're seeing now in Europe, the M.E., S. America etc is nothing more than the Anglo-World's attempt to bring more along with them, and the RoW's attempts to minimize their success.

With people like these, who needs the ptb ???

The PTB needs the people, not the other way around. People are happy to believe anything that makes them comfortable. Instilling Sino/Russo-phobia in their otherwise empty heads is but the prelude to splitting them off from demonic Eurasia/Eastasia, and also so they'll be happy with whatever they get in Oceania.

They'll be living in the Free World again! Smaller this time around, but Freeeee!!!

It worked the last time. It'll work this time too. One stands in awe of how easy it is.

Meimou , says: December 9, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
@FB BS

@Realist
True. If he appointed all these banksters and neocons by mistake, then there should have been a few who weren't neocons or banksters. Making a lot of mistakes could be seen as proof of stupidity. Making nothing but mistakes has to be by design

That pos said that those who commit "hate crimes" should get the death penalty without trail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=ep3A0HvcI8w

3d chess right?

[Dec 09, 2019] I have doubts that zionists were central to, or instigators of, the JFK coup, but the Jewish mob sure was in on it, and since they knew and were involved, as was Lyndon, that gave the zionists Mossad the blackmail they needed to put Lyndon in their pocket

Dec 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [627] Disclaimer , says: December 7, 2019 at 1:28 am GMT

@Dave from Oz Dietrich Doerner's Logic of Failure makes clear that decision makers consistently make grotesque errors based on faulty modeling of the world, incomplete feedback assumed to be complete, and so on. Even the data are often mistaken for deductive truths, but if one looks at, for example, the number of actual weather data points used to create those complex surface maps, it becomes obvious why the results are disappointing -- in that case possibly spoiling a picnic, but with the military, destroying a civilization.

You might recall the lessons of Longterm Capital Management's use of predictions based on PDE's, with results that should have been foreseen as being predictably as unreliable as weather forecasting, and for the same reasons -- that beneath all the fancy math lie guesses of all too fallible men.

Regarding a faulty worldview, could there possibly be a more distorted model of reality than America serving as Israel's footstool, the country that with its fifth column is responsible for Lavon, USS Liberty, JFK/RFK, and, not least, 9/11. In the world of probabilities, there is no standard of textual evidence evaluation or mathematical demonstration so low it won't give cover to the Pentagon's costumed bureaucrats and members of Congress to look the other way regarding Israel and its fifth columns' acts of war against the country they're all sworn to protect.

Jim Christian , says: December 7, 2019 at 5:21 am GMT
@Anonymous

JFK/RFK, and, not least, 9/11.

MLK became a problem when he joined RFK against Vietnam in early 1968. When he started counseling his young Black men against Vietnam, he had to go too. I'll never forget that. Hideous.

Why do they always shoot their rivals in the head? Never a miss back then, ever..

Walter , says: Next New Comment December 8, 2019 at 3:08 pm GMT
@Anonymous I have doubts that zionists were central to, or instigators of, the JFK coup, but the Jewish mob sure was in on it, and since they knew and were involved, as was Lyndon, that gave the zionists Mossad the blackmail they needed to put Lyndon in their pocket. They proved this when he covered up the Liberty affair. Since then the zionists have been free to do as they wished. I propose these changes were gradual, and that zionism has been curated as a MI6 intelop since the Balfour Declaration, in part to create the 5th column we have now. Looks like it got out of control, Golem-like. This is a pity, as it may result in the ruin of their own people, just as we see Semitic zionists shooting Semitic natives in a sort of turkeyshoot every Friday is it kosher to kill on Shabbos? I wonder.. . a kind of civil war, so we see a vast schism forming between Jews and nominally Jewish zionists.
ivegotrythm , says: Next New Comment December 8, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT
@Walter The Zionism Psy-Op began much earlier than the Balfour declaration. It was a result of losing sovereignty when Poland disappeared in 1772 and was partitioned between Prussia, Russia, and Austria. (Poland was a condominium with two governments, a Jewish one and a Polish one. The Jews had their own parliament, and the Poles theirs, plus a king. This evolved out of the original agreements the Khazars of the south made with the Lithuanians to be a mercenary army, police force, and tax collectors.) Having lost control of one country, Poland (through their own misuse of taxes), the High Command in Lithuania decided they needed another country. The propaganda was that the riots -- pogroms -- that began in Russia at the end of the 19th century were anti-Jewish riots; that the Czar was anti-Jewish, etc. And the big Psy-Op was the Dreyfus Affair, which was completely fake. Which is why the original written offer to sell "secrets" -- which were not secrets at all -- mysteriously disappeared before the Germans occupied France in 1940. But the phony Dreyfus Affair immediately led to the first Zionist Congress in Basel. Herzl was only a hired propagandist, and disposed off when he finished the job for which he was recruited as a journalist (as was Wilhelm Marr -- who popularized the term "Antisemitism"). World War I and the Balfour agreement to get America into the war on the British side delivered the goods.

[Dec 08, 2019] Karlan, US neocons and "The Russians Are Coming!" scare

Notable quotes:
"... When Bush and his allies used this rhetoric, they were trying to spin a war of aggression as an act of self-defense. Now it is part of an even more ludicrous effort to make supplying weapons and other military assistance to Ukraine seem as if it is vitally important to the U.S. Simply put, this is propaganda, and it isn't even very good propaganda at that. ..."
"... Obviously, we aren't going to be fighting the Russians "here" no matter what happens in this conflict. These are the sorts of irrational claims that we get after decades of irresponsible threat inflation and mistakenly assuming that every conflict in the world is somehow our business. ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Here is a congealing conventional wisdom around sending military assistance to Ukraine that is as absurd as can be, and it cropped up again this morning:

"Fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" was extremely stupid when applied to terrorism. It is much more stupid when applied to Russia, and shows how impoverished the FP thinking of even bright, engaged Americans is. My goodness.

-- Justin Logan (@JustinTLogan) December 4, 2019

It is discouraging to see that one of the dumbest talking points from the Bush era has returned. "Fight them there" was always a silly justification for waging unnecessary wars in other countries, and now it is being repurposed to justify the questionable policy of throwing weapons at a conflict in Europe. When it was used in the context of Bush-era wars, it was an attempt to make what were clearly wars of choice seem as though they were unavoidable. When a government needs to defend a bad policy, it will usually claim that they have no choice but to do what they are doing.

When Bush and his allies used this rhetoric, they were trying to spin a war of aggression as an act of self-defense. Now it is part of an even more ludicrous effort to make supplying weapons and other military assistance to Ukraine seem as if it is vitally important to the U.S. Simply put, this is propaganda, and it isn't even very good propaganda at that.

I have written many times why I think it is a mistake to arm Ukraine. It just encourages escalation at worst and the prolongation of the conflict at best. Until recently, the arguments in favor of doing this have not been very compelling, but at least they weren't quite so mindless. Needless to say, Russia's conflict with Ukraine is a local one, and the U.S. doesn't have much at stake in that conflict. Ukrainians aren't fighting Russia and its proxies on our behalf or to prevent them from attacking someone else, but for the sake of their own country.

If Russia hawks insist on providing Ukraine with weapons and other assistance, they should at least be able to acknowledge that this is a peripheral interest of the United States. Exaggerating the importance of this policy to U.S. security just calls attention to how little it matters to U.S. security.

Obviously, we aren't going to be fighting the Russians "here" no matter what happens in this conflict. These are the sorts of irrational claims that we get after decades of irresponsible threat inflation and mistakenly assuming that every conflict in the world is somehow our business.

[Dec 08, 2019] Saudi Arabia - a family holding company, not a friend. - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Dec 08, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Donald Trump is driven by desire to sweeten the balance sheet of the US as well as a deluded belief in whatever it is that he thinks Israel stands for. Israel seeks to manipulate the medieval barbarism of Saudi Arabia to further its fantasy of regional hegemony. They should "wise up."

The Saudi who killed three people at Pensacola is representative of the breed.

It is time for a basic re-appraisal of our relationships in the ME. pl


blue peacock , 07 December 2019 at 09:33 PM

Col. Lang,

It seems the Gulf Arab sheikhs and the Al Saud family have been writing big checks to all the movers & shakers in the West, including the political and governmental elites, think tank sinecures, and of course many media personalities.

Tony Balir became a wealthy man with the money of the sheikhs. In an earlier thread you had posted, we read about the Lebanese man who was a conduit for Gulf arab money going to Hillary's campaign. Then there was the post-9/11 Republican administration of George Bush who along with the so-called liberal media and most members of Congress from both parties put a complete kibosh on investigating any Saudi role with respect to the 11 out of 15 terrorists of Saudi nationality.

We can see how Trump is already covering for the Saudis by saying the King was apologetic and will compensate all those killed and injured by the Saudi airman in Pensacola.

When American and western leaders are so easily purchased by the sheikhs, how can we have a re-appraisal of our relationships in the ME? The few who are calling for such a re-appraisal like Tulsi Gabbard are being smeared as Russian bots.

oldman22 , 08 December 2019 at 11:57 AM
Col Lang, you taught at West Point.
So I am wondering if you have a view of Tim Bakken's new book:
The Cost of Loyalty: Dishonesty, Hubris, and Failure in the U.S. Military
I am not trying to argue here, I have only been at West Point as an athlete competing against it.
Bakken book reviewed here:
https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/12/west-point-professor-builds-a-case-against-the-u-s-army/
Mathias Alexander , 08 December 2019 at 01:01 PM
If the USA withdraws support from the Saudis then the Saudis might stop pricing their oil only in dollars. What effect would this have on the value of the dollar? Then again how much oil is left in Saudi Arabia? The ARAMCO shares sell off doesn't seem to be doing great buisness, maybe the market understands the situation better.
Elora Danan , 08 December 2019 at 02:59 PM
Pat, could I ask you a question?

It is a bit off-topic. but not so...in the end...

Just finished viewing he three part series on CIA, The Company , and as you always tell the hell about current CIA situation...

HK Leo Strauss , 08 December 2019 at 05:40 PM
Col Lang,

Would you have been in a position at the time to know if there there were any Carter Doctrine contrarians within the FP/IC/DoD establishment in the late 70's? Curious how extensive the debate over deeper ME engagement was at the time, or if it was all just a knee-jerk reaction to Revolutionary Iran.

[Dec 08, 2019] About making stratinc decition by chichenhawks like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, none of whom had spent a day serving in cadre officer uniform

Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

JoaoAlfaiate , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:44 am GMT

From page 12 of Martyanov's RRMA, " people such as Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, none of whom had spent a day serving in cadre officer uniform "

Rumsfeld was in fact a Naval Aviator who flew ASW aircraft for a number of years and retired from the Navy Reserve as a full Captain.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 1:50 pm GMT
@JoaoAlfaiate

Rumsfeld was in fact a Naval Aviator who flew ASW aircraft for a number of years

A Tracker, in 1950s for a couple of years, while having a degree in Political Science. That sure qualifies him for making strategic decisions, right? Especially in the 21st century. Well, we all saw results, didn't we?

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 2:19 pm GMT
@Jim Christian Jim, a lot of truth in what you say. But especially this:

As for the military? A reflection of our society. When I went into the Navy in 1975, it was Stars and Stripes and we served in large part for Mom, Apple Pie and Chevrolet.

Here is a quote from one of Russian undercover intelligence assets which was outed when Anna Chapman was outed. Unlike her, however, this guy was a real deal. Here is what he had to say recently about US:

What is THEIR weakness? As enemies these guys are mediocrities, second rate. They overate. Their previous generation was stronger. They respected us, we respected them. We don't respect these ones,they didn't deserve it. They can bully, as for the real fight–we'll see about that They are enraged that soon they will have to live within their means.They forgot how to do so long time ago. That is why they want to solve a problem with us now, while others are still afraid of them.

here is an original in Russian, just in case.

https://vz.ru/opinions/2018/5/4/920955.html?utm_campaign=transit&utm_source=mirtesen&utm_medium=news&from=mirtesen

I remember 70s and 80s clearly, being myself a Cold Warrior, these were different times. many different people. Today, as you say, I see decay everywhere in everything, the country (the US) was literally robbed, people blinded and all for a reasons of bottom line in "business" and for Israel's, Saudi and corporate interests. The America I encountered in 1990s is gone.

Jim Christian , says: December 6, 2019 at 3:46 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

A Tracker, in 1950s for a couple of years, while having a degree in Political Science.

Rummy flew a Stoof? Git the farg outta here? I thought he only had balls with OTHER people's lives..

[Dec 08, 2019] The real threat of the Rome Statute to the USA is the universal obligation to prosecute or extradite war criminals and enemies of humanity.

Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Bailiff, Whack his Peepee , says: December 6, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT

There's one additional revolutionary factor:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/12/05/612858/international-criminal-court-investigation-US-war-crimes-Afghanistan?jwsource=cl

The threat to US official impunity panics the regime more than any number of Russian Sarmats or nuclear ramjets. The ICC is one very new judicial forum, and its halting efforts to get its institutional footing panicked the US into imposing illegal sanctions on accredited diplomats. The real threat of the Rome Statute is the universal obligation to prosecute or extradite war criminals and enemies of humanity.

An increasing number of the most influential US functionaries will be unable to travel freely. This is, in effect, pariah-state status more abject than North Korea's. This has been a mounting challenge for years – GW Bush fled Switzerland, scared off by a war crimes accusation from a single legislator.

And international criminal law is one jaw of a pincer. It complements the doctrine of state responsibility for internationally wrongful acts. State responsibility provides the civil equivalent of international criminal law, with the potential to impose restitution, reparation, satisfaction, and compensation with interest. Satisfaction articulates directly with international criminal law by providing for prosecution of designated criminals. The US faces insupportable liabilities for its internationally wrongful acts, and US functionaries know that any one of them could be sacrificed to get the regime off the hook.

Russian policy is to enforce this law at gunpoint. Iranian policy is to make its case in independent international courts. China is vocal about upholding rule of law, and as its deterrent improves, it will be increasingly active in applying it. The G-192 – 96% of the world's population – pitches in by withholding the "waterfall" of G-5 privileges. The UK recently got pushed off the ICJ bench for the first time ever for its lawless conduct. The US is next.

The US is an underdeveloped country ineffectually waving second-rate weapons. The world is leaving it behind.

[Dec 08, 2019] US Militarism Promotes More Turmoil Than Stability In The Middle East by Rami G. Khouri

Dec 06, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

For the past two centuries and, particularly the last three decades, direct foreign military intervention in the affairs of ostensibly sovereign and independent states has been perhaps the most consistent and destructive common denominator that shapes our region's worsening condition. Direct warfare by foreign powers almost always paves the way for decades, if not centuries, of continuing instability -- whether in the cases of Napoleon in 1798, the Soviet Union and the United States in Afghanistan in the decades after 1979, the U.S. in Iraq in 2003, or Russia, Iran, and seemingly half the world in Syria since 2015.

Direct foreign military attacks or other "security" activities inside Middle East lands inevitably create traumatic local power imbalances that portend chronic local ideological conflicts, and spark resentments and resistance to the foreign invader or to the invader's local ruling ally. Foreign invaders also create local authority vacuums that open the door for other states to intervene (see Iraq, Syria, and Libya), and also create the ideal spawning ground for radical, militant, resistance, or terrorist movements of all stripes. Israel repeatedly encountered this instinctive local resistance to its predatory militarism in Lebanon and Gaza, as did the U.S. and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and the U.S. and its allies in Iraq.

Almost nothing good emerges from direct foreign militarism in the Middle East, and even when the fighting stops surreptitious foreign support to local warring parties also perpetuates tensions and clashes, which only spur economic waste, corruption, collapse, and widespread poverty and suffering among the citizenry.

It is clear now that foreign militarism plays a destructive and sustained role in the two biggest problems that now tear apart much of the Arab region (and also touch on non-Arab Mideast states like Iran, Turkey and Israel). The first is mass pauperization that now sees over two-thirds of all Arab citizens living in poverty or vulnerability, in states that have reached or approach bankruptcy and allow citizens no meaningful political rights. This will get much worse because all prevailing economic trends that could counter it are flat or negative (trade, tourism, direct investment, remittances, job creation).

The second problematic big regional trend -- very much states' reactions to their citizens' helpless pauperization -- is the growing militarization and securitization of governance. This is evident in bloated military and security budgets that are controlled by a handful of unelected, unaccountable leaders, and expanded use of anti-terrorism laws since September 2011 to deter or imprison domestic political foes, or prevent any independent political expression by the public (see Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain). Foreign militarism since the 1940s has inevitably promoted local military rule within Arab states. The incompetence, autocracy, and corruption of Arab military rulers since the 1970s have driven economies into the ground, and sparked the nonstop street uprisings we witness today across the region.

The centuries of cumulative interventions by foreign powers inside Arab states reached a new peak in the past eight years in Syria, where dozens of foreign and regional actors that joined the fray inside the country charted new ground in the historical legacy that had mostly seen big power, usually Western and colonial, interventions in the region's affairs.

Of course Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Persian, and other imperial dominance in the region across time all played a role in defining the Middle East as a frontline battlefield in the recurring waves of global imperial dominance and cultural influence. Starting in the 19th Century, however, as imperial powers started to come to terms with their imminent historical demise, the British and the French mostly wrote the book on the ugly heritage of battling for strategic supremacy in our region. The 20th Century saw foreign powers fight at will in the Middle East, and also provide indirect political and "security" support to their favorite local partners, allies, surrogates, and stooges, who kept fighting it out inside Arab countries that proved to be only nominally sovereign and independent states.

The civil war in Syria that started in 2011 was the logical outcome of this legacy. It mirrors other states where authority and legitimacy collapsed in the eyes of their own people, and the sovereign control of their lands and resources succumbed to the many foreign actors that came in to save the dying beast or bite off pieces of its carcass. Syria offers one of the most important examples of this, given the wide variety of warring parties that joined its several overlapping local, regional, and global wars.

The fighters in Syria included dozens of Arab states and non-state armed groups, local militias and tribal forces, regional non-Arab powers like Iran, Turkey, Israel, and Hezbollah and their clients, wannabe regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, leading global powers like the U.S. and Russia, second-tier powers like the U.K. and France, and a few smaller countries around the world that joined directly or provided mercenaries mostly to win credits with bigger Arab or foreign powers.

The eight-year war in Syria is at once a consequence and a high-water mark of sustained foreign military interventions in the Arab region, and a harbinger of how such foreign and local militarism will operate there for years to come. We can already see in Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and scattered other corners of our troubled region several noteworthy legacies of today's foreign militarism in Syria and its antecedents since Napoleon.

Regional and foreign powers' rolling interventions in Syria have redefined how such powers engage across the region, where two opposing loose alliances, loosely allied with Saudi Arabia or Iran, now face off -- each comprises Arab states, regional Arab and non-Arab powers, global powers, and local non-state actors. The sheer number and variety of foreign forces that directly or indirectly fought in Syria portend badly for fragile states whose illusory sovereignty can collapse at any moment in the face of dozens of armed actors that pounce like wolves circling a dazed gazelle. The "international community" that actively joined and fueled the fighting also responded weakly to the alleged and real war crimes on both sides This suggests that the "international community" is something of a fiction, but also that, whatever it represents, it can live with the Middle East's continuing authoritarian, lawlessness, and violent political systems -- as long as the violence, refugees, terrorists, and turmoil remain in the Middle East.

Indeed, global and regional powers actively engage in cross-border militarism and neo-colonialism that we can see in several arenas: Washington's support for Israeli settlements expansion and annexations of occupied Arab lands, and its lingering presence in Syria and Iraq; Russian and American support for Turkish incursions into northern Syria; Saudi Arabian and Emirati moves to control parts of the south of Yemen for their own strategic aims; British and American direct involvement in the war on Yemen; and, French, Emirati, Russian, and Egyptian support for the rebel forces of Khalifa Haftar in Libya, to mention only the most obvious.

These are only the most current but ongoing consequences of over two centuries of non-stop foreign military and political interference that our region has experienced, with devastating long-term impacts. Internal and regional wars, in a climate of very high Arab military spending, continue to propel countries back into dilapidated or vulnerable conditions every few decades. The Arab examples of this only increase, including Lebanon, Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Jordan. Non-Arab Iran, Turkey, and Israel face their own challenges, as they simultaneously suffer the damages of external militarism and also engage in it themselves around the region.

It is time for all foreign and regional powers to start learning the hard lessons of these historical trends and instead seek non-violent diplomatic solutions to challenges they now mostly address with their guns blazing. A regional population of half a billion poor and powerless people held in check by hundreds of billions of dollars of military spending linked to foreign troops who enter our countries at will is probably a far greater real threat to their wellbeing than anything they can imagine today.

[Dec 08, 2019] WSJ Article Runs Through The Greatest Hits of a Dysfunctional Foreign Policy Debate

Notable quotes:
"... Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force. ..."
"... These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved. ..."
"... September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it. ..."
"... For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific." ..."
"... The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. ..."
"... This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com . ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The unrivaled and unchallenged exertion of American military power around the world, or what's known as "primacy," has been the basis for U.S. Grand Strategy over the past 70 years and has faced few intellectual and political challenges. The result has been stagnant ideas, poor logic, and an ineffective foreign policy. As global security challenges have evolved, our foreign policy debate has remained in favor of primacy, repeatedly relying on a select few, poorly conceived ideas and arguments. Primacy's greatest hits arguments are played on repeat throughout the policy and journalism worlds and its latest presentation is in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, written by its chief foreign policy correspondent, titled, "America Can't Escape the Middle East." The piece provides a case study in how stagnant these ideas have become, and how different actors throughout the system present them without serious thought or contemplation.

Hyping the threat of withdrawal

The WSJ piece trotted out one of the most well-worn cases for unending American military deployments in the region. "The 2003 invasion of Iraq proved to be a debacle," it rightly notes. However, there's always a "but":[B]ut subsequent attempts to pivot away from the region or ignore it altogether have contributed to humanitarian catastrophes, terrorist outrages and geopolitical setbacks, further eroding America's standing in the world."

Primacists often warn of the dire security threats that will result from leaving Middle East conflict zones. The reality is that the threats they cite are actually caused by the unnecessary use of force by the United States in the first place. For example, the U.S. sends military assets to deter Iran, only to have Iran increase attacks or provocations in response. The U.S. then beefs up its military presence to protect the forces that are already there. Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force.

These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved.

Terrorism safe havens

And how many times have we heard that we must defend some undefined geographical space to prevent extremists from plotting attacks? "In the past, jihadists used havens in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq to plot more ambitious and deadly attacks, including 9/11," the WSJ piece says. "Though Islamic State's self-styled 'caliphate' has been dismantled, the extremist movement still hasn't been eliminated -- and can bounce back."

The myth of the terrorism safe havens enabling transnational attacks on the United States has persisted despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and significant scholarly research that contradicts it. The myth persists because it provides a simple and comforting narrative that's easy to understand. September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it.

Terrorists don't need safe havens to operate, and only gain marginal increases in capabilities by having access to them. Organizations engage in terrorism because they have such weak capabilities in the first place. These movements are designed to operate underground with the constant threat of arrest and execution. The Weatherman Underground in the United States successfully carried out bombings while operating within the United States itself. The Earth Liberation Front did the same by organizing into cells where no cell knew anything about the other cells to prevent the identification of other members if members of one cell were arrested. Organizations that engage in terrorism can operate with or without safe havens.

Although safe havens don't add significantly to a terrorist groups' capabilities, governing your own territory is something completely different. ISIS is a commonly used, and misused, example for why wars should be fought to deny safe havens. A safe haven is a country or region in which a terrorist group is free from harassment or persecution. This is different from what ISIS created in 2014. What ISIS had when it swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014 was a proto-state. This gave them access to a tax base, oil revenues, and governing resources. Safe havens don't provide any of this, at least not at substantial levels. The Islamic State's construction of a proto-state in Syria and Iraq did give them operational capabilities they wouldn't have had otherwise, but this isn't the same as the possible safe havens that would be gained from a military withdrawal from Middle Eastern conflicts. The conditions of ISIS's rise in 2014 don't exist today and the fears of an ISIS resurgence like their initial rise are unfounded .

Credibility doesn't work how you think it works

For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific."

Most commentators have made this claim without recognition of their own contradictions that abandoning the Kurds in Syria would damage American credibility. They then list all the other times we've abandoned the Kurds. Each of these betrayals didn't stop them from working with the United States again, and this latest iteration will be the same. People don't work with the United States because they trust or respect us, they do it because we have a common interest and the United States has the capability to get things done. As we were abandoning the Kurds this time to be attacked by the Turks, Kurdish officials were continuing to share intelligence with U.S. officials to facilitate the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because both the United States and the Kurds wanted Baghdadi eliminated and only the United States had the capability to get it done.

Similarly, the idea that pulling out militarily in one region results in a direct chain of events where our adversaries move into countries or areas in a completely different region is quite a stretch of the imagination. Russia moved into Crimea because it's a strategic asset and it was taking advantage of what it saw as an opportunity: instability and chaos in Kiev. Even if we left troops in every conflict country we've ever been in, Russia would have correctly assessed that Ukraine just wasn't important enough to spark a U.S. invasion. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, did the United States invade Cuba? What alliance did the Soviets or Chinese abandon before the United States entered the Korean War? Assessments of credibility , especially in times of crisis (like that in Ukraine), are made based on what leaders think the other country's interests are and the capabilities they have to pursue those interests. There is no evidence to support -- in fact there is a lot of evidence that contradicts -- the idea that withdrawing militarily from one region or ending an alliance has any impact on assessments of a country's reliability or credibility.

Not all interests are created equal

Threat inflation isn't just common from those who promote a primacy-based foreign policy, it's necessary. Indeed, as the WSJ piece claimed, "There is no avoiding the fact that the Middle East still matters a great deal to U.S. interests."

The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. Vital interests are those that directly impact the survival of the United States. The only thing that can threaten the survival of the United States is another powerful state consolidating complete control of either Europe or East Asia. This would give them the capabilities and freedom to strike directly at the territorial United States. This is why the United States stayed in Europe after WWII, to prevent the consolidation of Europe by the Soviets. Addressing the rise of China -- which will require some combination of cooperation and competition -- is America's vital interest today and keeping troops in Afghanistan to prevent a terrorism safe haven barely registers as a peripheral interest. There are U.S. interests in the Middle East, but these interests are not important enough to sacrifice American soldiers for and can't easily be secured through military force anyway.

Consequences

Most of these myths and arguments can be summarized by the claim that any disengagement of any kind by the United States from the Middle East comes with consequences. This isn't entirely wrong, but it isn't really relevant either unless compared with the consequences of continuing engagement at current levels. We currently have 67,000 troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan and those troops are targets of adversaries, contribute to instability, empower hardliners in Iran, and provide continuing legitimacy to insurgent and terrorist organizations fighting against a foreign occupation. One article in The Atlantic argued that the problem with a progressive foreign policy is that restraint comes with costs, almost ironically ignoring the fact that the U.S.'s current foreign policy also comes with, arguably greater, costs. A military withdrawal, or even drawdown, from the Middle East does come with consequences, but it's only believable that these costs are higher than staying through the perpetuation of myths and misconceptions that inflate such risks and costs. No wonder then that these myths have become the greatest hits of a foreign policy that's stuck in the past.

This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com .

[Dec 08, 2019] Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Notable quotes:
"... Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider. ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: December 5, 2019 at 5:58 pm GMT

US political "elites" are generally appallingly incompetent in matters of war and are "educated" mostly through Hollywood and Clansiesque "literature". I am not even sure that they comprehend what Congressional Research Service prepares for them as compressed briefings. Neocon wing of US political elite is simply mentally inadequate.

Very true, especially the part about "Hollywood and Clansiesque 'literature.'" I used to read Clancy's books and, while entertaining, in retrospect they appear ridiculous, even childish. But they probably capture the popular notion of American military invincibility better than any other.

Most of Hollywood's output is garbage anyway, and its grasp of real war and military matters appears to be that of a not so precocious third grader.

Arioch , says: December 5, 2019 at 8:58 pm GMT
@joe tentpeg

> USSR Katyn forrest massacre (Poland), Afghanistan.

Katyn, whoever did it, was much before Cold War and before even first relatively small nuclear blast.

And if you want to go that far – why not remember crisis over West Berlin, where tank armees were watching one another, but no one pulled trigger?

Afghanistan was attacking one's own ally. Same as Prague 1968 and Hungary 1956. If you want to compare – that is like USA invading Panama to remove their no longer reliable puppet Norriega. Did American attack on their own Panama risk USSR going ballistic? Hardly so. There was no Soviet invasion into Pakistan nor there was Chinese/American invasion into India.

And looking away from purely military events, there was no attempt to arrest the whole embassy stuff them, neither in Moscow nor in DC. No killing Soviet ambassadors in NATO states during official events.

Those dirty games had red lines, both sides maintained. Today? Today USA even is no more an entity. You can not negotiate a thing with "America" because there is no such institution any more, but a hellish swarm of infighting spiders, each delightfully breaking anything negotiated by a rival spider.

> deploying conventional anti-ballistic missile defenses around their most important cities.

No, by then effective treaty both USSR and USA had only ONE region they were allowed to protect. Those were some nuclear launchpads in USA i guess, and one single city (Moscow) in USSR. No more.

> deterrence [did not] worked
> See the last phrase in bullet 2.

You suppose USSR killed itself trying to keep deterrence working. That does not show it did not work, already. That shows it worked so well (at least from Soviet perspective) that they gambled all they had on the futile effort of keeping that deterrence working into the future.

[Dec 07, 2019] Enough is enough. Viva Tulsi. Down with neocons. List of wars involving the United States

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , December 01, 2019 at 08:16 AM

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

List of wars involving the United States

[Only the listed war names and dates copied without all the references and details.]

  1. American Revolutionary War - (1775–1783)
  2. Cherokee–American wars - (1776–1795)
  3. Northwest Indian War - (1785–1793)
  4. Shays' Rebellion - (1786–1787)
  5. Whiskey Rebellion - (1791–1794)
  6. Quasi-War - (1798–1800)
  7. Fries Rebellion - (1799–1800)
  8. First Barbary War - (1801–1805)
  9. 1811 German Coast Uprising - (1811)
  10. Tecumseh's War - (1811)
  11. War of 1812 - (1812–1815)
  12. Creek War - (1813–1814)
  13. Second Barbary War - (1815)
  14. First Seminole War - (1817–1818)
  15. Texas–Indian Wars - (1820–1875)
  16. Arikara War - (1823)
  17. Aegean Sea Anti-Piracy Operations of the United States - (1825–1828)
  18. Winnebago War - (1827)
  19. First Sumatran expedition - (1832)
  20. Black Hawk War - (1832)
  21. Texas Revolution - (1835–1836)
  22. Second Seminole War - (1835–1842)
  23. Second Sumatran expedition - (1838)
  24. Aroostook War - (1838)
  25. Ivory Coast expedition - (1842)
  26. Mexican–American War - (1846–1848)
  27. Cayuse War - (1847–1855)
  28. Apache Wars - (1851–1900)
  29. Bleeding Kansas - (1854–1861)
  30. Puget Sound War - (1855–1856)
  31. First Fiji expedition - (1855)
  32. Rogue River Wars - (1855–1856)
  33. Third Seminole War - (1855–1858)
  34. Yakima War - (1855–1858)
  35. Second Opium War - (1856–1859)
  36. Utah War - (1857–1858)
  37. Navajo Wars - (1858–1866)
  38. Second Fiji expedition - (1859)
  39. John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry - (1859)
  40. First and Second Cortina War - (1859–1861)
  41. Paiute War - (1860)
  42. American Civil War - (1861–1865)
  43. Yavapai War - (1861–1875)
  44. Dakota War of 1862 - (1862)
  45. Colorado War - (1863–1865)
  46. Shimonoseki War - (1863–1864)
  47. Snake War - (1864–1868)
  48. Powder River War - (1865)
  49. Red Cloud's War - (1866–1868)
  50. Formosa expedition - (1867)
  51. Comanche Campaign - (1867–1875)
  52. Korea expedition - (1871)
  53. Modoc War - (1872–1873)
  54. Red River War - (1874–1875)
  55. Las Cuevas War - (1875)
  56. Great Sioux War of 1876 - (1876–1877)
  57. Buffalo Hunters' War - (1876–1877)
  58. Nez Perce War - (1877)
  59. Bannock War - (1878)
  60. Cheyenne War - (1878–1879)
  61. Sheepeater Indian War - (1879)
  62. White River War - (1879–1880)
  63. Pine Ridge Campaign - (1890–1891)
  64. Garza Revolution - (1891–1893)
  65. Yaqui Wars - (1896–1918)
  66. Second Samoan Civil War - (1898–1899)
  67. Spanish–American War - (1898)
  68. Philippine–American War - (1899–1902)
  69. Moro Rebellion - (1899–1913)
  70. Boxer Rebellion - (1899–1901)
  71. Crazy Snake Rebellion - (1909)
  72. Border War - (1910–1919)
  73. Negro Rebellion - (1912)
  74. Occupation of Nicaragua - (1912–1933)
  75. Bluff War - (1914–1915)
  76. Occupation of Veracruz - (1914)
  77. Occupation of Haiti - (1915–1934)
  78. Occupation of the Dominican Republic - (1916–1924)
  79. World War I - (1914–1918)
  80. Russian Civil War - (1918–1920)
  81. Last Indian Uprising - (1923)
  82. World War II - (1939–1945)
  83. Korean War - (1950–1953)
  84. Laotian Civil War - (1953–1975)
  85. Lebanon Crisis - (1958)
  86. Bay of Pigs Invasion - (1961)
  87. Simba rebellion, Operation Dragon Rouge - (1964)
  88. Vietnam War - (1955–1964[a], 1965–1973[b], 1974–1975[c])
  89. Communist insurgency in Thailand - (1965–1983)
  90. Korean DMZ Conflict - (1966–1969)
  91. Dominican Civil War - (1965–1966)
  92. Insurgency in Bolivia - (1966–1967)
  93. Cambodian Civil War - (1967–1975)
  94. War in South Zaire - (1978)
  95. Gulf of Sidra encounter - (1981)
  96. Multinational Intervention in Lebanon - (1982–1984)
  97. Invasion of Grenada - (1983)
  98. Action in the Gulf of Sidra - (1986)
  99. Bombing of Libya - (1986)
  100. Tanker War - (1987–1988)
  101. Tobruk encounter - (1989)
  102. Invasion of Panama - (1989–1990)
  103. Gulf War - (1990–1991)
  104. Iraqi No-Fly Zone Enforcement Operations - (1991–2003)
  105. First U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War - (1992–1995)
  106. Bosnian War - (1992–1995)
  107. Intervention in Haiti - (1994–1995)
  108. Kosovo War - (1998–1999)
  109. Operation Infinite Reach - (1998)
  110. War in Afghanistan - (2001–present)
  111. 2003 invasion of Iraq - (2003)
  112. Iraq War - (2003–2011)
  113. War in North-West Pakistan - (2004–present)
  114. Second U.S. Intervention in the Somali Civil War - (2007–present)
  115. Operation Ocean Shield - (2009–2016)
  116. International intervention in Libya - (2011)
  117. Operation Observant Compass - (2011–2017)
  118. American-led intervention in Iraq - (2014–present)
  119. American-led intervention in Syria - (2014–present)
  120. Yemeni Civil War - (2015–present)
  121. American intervention in Libya - (2015–present)

{ finis }

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:25 AM
This list tells quite a story. It deserves a name such as "US History Written in Blood," but more ironically and yet sufficient would be "An Inconvenient List." In any case, mass murder for fun and profit has defined war throughout the entire history of humankind. That in the modern era of late that the US has pioneered rentier capitalism as a means of extracting profits from the industrial war machine is a matter of the natural evolution of state sanctioned murder, far better at returning profits to investors than the mere slaughter of stone age natives to steal their land.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:45 AM
Neoconservatives in this context are traditionalists rather than some aberration of modern political thought.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 08:50 AM
OTOH, pacifism is indeed an aberration of political thought, not necessarily an unwarranted aberration, yet one that should be subject to close inspection for its bona fides. My Cherokee ancestors inform me to always be suspect of the good intentions of white men claiming that they despise war.
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 03, 2019 at 05:14 AM
Rome martyred Christians bc up to Constantine they were all "draft dodgers".
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 03, 2019 at 05:20 AM
Pacifism for me is individual. I was a cold warrior (pacifist not!) from '72 to '85 when I went from supporting operating weapons to the "dark side" in weapons development, which a lot was also nuclear related.
JohnH -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 02, 2019 at 07:59 AM
One of the first things that happened after Trump announced his withdrawal [not!] from Syria is that Pelosi hopped on a plane to Jordan:

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a group of American lawmakers on a surprise visit to Jordan to discuss "the deepening crisis" in Syria amid a shaky U.S.-brokered cease-fire."
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/20/nancy-pelosi-goes-to-jordan-for-vital-discussions-about-syria-crisis.html

I mean, what's with that?

It's pretty obvious that Team Pelosi is more concerned with the affairs of the Empire, even though she has no constitutional responsibility. than for the welfare of the American people. The focus of the impeachment hearing on American policy in Ukraine is further evidence.

Meanwhile, I have gotten no answer to my basic question: what are the top 5 pieces of progressive legislation that Pelosi has passed--legislation that representations can brag about to their constituents when running in 2020? It's pretty obvious that their have been almost none.

Team Pelosi has gone rogue as has Trump.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to JohnH... , December 02, 2019 at 12:30 PM
Yet, I have been assured by others here at EV that our two party representative political system is not merely engaging in so much Kabuki theatre in order to appear relevant. Who knew?
kurt -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 02, 2019 at 05:02 PM
Outside of the fact that this fellow is a liar of monumental proportion - for instance, this post alone contains 3 different lies - it is fundamentally untrue that BOTH parties are just engaged in theater. One actually passes legislation to help people and to reduce the influence of $$$. The other - as former Republican party member Norm Orenstein has pointed out - is anti-democracy, pro-despotism and a insurgent danger with a propaganda arm.
ilsm -> kurt... , December 03, 2019 at 05:12 AM
Huh... all team Pelosi/Schumer of is rant against the US constitution, demean the congress, disdain the office of the President and make up things about the Donald.

See the continuing resolution good through 20 Dec because Pelosi who owns the House won't face the responsibility to try and run the US government's purse.

ilsm -> JohnH... , December 03, 2019 at 05:08 AM
Team Pelosi like the faux liberals are sponsored by the same owners of the swamp!

Never attribute to Trump derangement what can be explained by a criminal conspiracy.

JohnH -> EMichael... , December 05, 2019 at 05:13 PM
More selective outrage from EMichael, the partisan hack.

Sure, it's horrendous that Trump pardoned a war criminal. But let's not forget that Obama never even prosecuted torturers ... or closed Guantanamo as promised.

As usual for EMichael and his ilk, what's a horror when their party does something, it's perfectly acceptable when his party does it.

kurt -> EMichael... , December 06, 2019 at 11:18 AM
All these years of being a almost pacifist and now I am seeing the error in my ways. Sometimes - hopefully increasingly less often - good people must rise up and stomp out evil. The pardons were not just condoning war crimes - it was telling the nazi ahs in the ranks that they can do the same domestically. The right has an army within the US. Most of the officers are okay - but that said, they are tolerating nazis, white supremacists, oathkeepers and dominionists in their ranks. These exceptions are to let the other nazis know they can mass murder if the want.

[Dec 07, 2019] I wasn't sure how to characterize McMaster and Kelly. My sense was that they represented the foreign policy establishment consensus, ergo neocon by default.

Notable quotes:
"... It may be as simple as Trump does not really know what he's doing. He doesn't seem to understand the complexity and dynamics of foreign policy. The way he handled Israel is an example as well as some of the bombs he ordered dropped on Afghanistan and Syria. Was he behind that or was someone else? ..."
"... After Bolton came onboard, and then Eliot Abrams, the 24/7 Russia-gate suddenly stopped. That was also around the time USA was fomenting a Venezuelan coup. Was obvious that Russia-Gate was designed to control Trump. ..."
"... The US had power, and no-one else had any. That's all they needed to know, and set about creating new, wonderfully intoxicating realities. As Rove famously inverted the MO they'll act first, creating realities and the analysis and calculation can come later. In awe of their creations, they failed to notice that while history may have ended in Washington, elsewhere it moved on to surround them with a reality where they found themselves in zugzwang, with no understanding how they got there. Flailing (and wailing) like a Mastodon in a tar pit, they've managed only to attract an unhelpful crowd of onlookers, fascinated by the abomination. ..."
"... If that's so, his is the most extraordinary political performance I thought I'd ever see. Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing. I guess we'll see if he abandons buffoonery when his opponents finally sink into the tar. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | www.unz.com

gsjackson , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 3:44 am GMT

@Z-man I wasn't sure how to characterize McMaster and Kelly. My sense was that they represented the foreign policy establishment consensus, ergo neocon by default.

I share your optimism about Trump -- because it's the only strand of hope out there, and his enemies are so impeccably loathsome -- but am fully prepared to be proved wrong.

TellTheTruth-2 , says: Website Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 3:50 am GMT
The neocon communist warmongers have Trump all tied up. Trumping Trump: A Gulliver Strategy (right click) https://medium.com/everyvote/trumping-trump-a-gulliver-strategy-3fc96e4d5d93
renfro , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT

"How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump's national security adviser. But this doesn't explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees."

It started before Bolton came on board.

Believe Trump when he says "Loyalty to me first". And that begins with his son in law Jared .his former personal attorney Jason Greenblatt .his former bankruptcy attorney David Friedman and his largest donor Sheldon Adelson .

Trump is too stupid to see that his Zios have no loyalty to him. Trump doesn't appoint anyone, doesn't even know anyone to appoint to national security or foreign policy. He never had any associations or confidents in his business life in NY except the above Jews .

Ask yourself how a 29 year old Jewish boy (now gone) with zero experience got brought onto the WH NSC. He was recommended by Gen. Flynn who did it as a favor to Zio Frank Gaffney of Iraq fame, and Jared because he was a friend of Jared and Gaffney was a friend Ezra's family. ..getting the picture?

All Trumps appointments look like a chain letter started by Kushner and his Zio connections.

freedom-cat , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 5:51 am GMT
It may be as simple as Trump does not really know what he's doing. He doesn't seem to understand the complexity and dynamics of foreign policy. The way he handled Israel is an example as well as some of the bombs he ordered dropped on Afghanistan and Syria. Was he behind that or was someone else?

He's a walking contradiction.

After Bolton came onboard, and then Eliot Abrams, the 24/7 Russia-gate suddenly stopped. That was also around the time USA was fomenting a Venezuelan coup. Was obvious that Russia-Gate was designed to control Trump.

There was a lull in the attacks on Trump between the time they stopped the 24/7 Russia-gate garbage and start of Impeachment inquiry.

He did something else to tick them all off, so now impeachment is on front burner.

Erebus , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 10:34 am GMT
@FB

the 'permanent foreign policy establishment'

AKA, the Imperial Staff.

In the days of Kissinger, Baker, et al the Imperial Staff were well coached in the Calculus of Power, knew the limits to Empire and thrived within them. Since the end of history, and the apparent end of limits, policy makers had no more need of realists and their confusing calculations and analyses.

The US had power, and no-one else had any. That's all they needed to know, and set about creating new, wonderfully intoxicating realities. As Rove famously inverted the MO they'll act first, creating realities and the analysis and calculation can come later. In awe of their creations, they failed to notice that while history may have ended in Washington, elsewhere it moved on to surround them with a reality where they found themselves in zugzwang, with no understanding how they got there. Flailing (and wailing) like a Mastodon in a tar pit, they've managed only to attract an unhelpful crowd of onlookers, fascinated by the abomination.

In the second term watch out Trump is not as dumb as they think

I too believe he isn't dumb, but the real question is whether he's playing the fool in furtherance of a plan, or whether it's just who he is and his successes are accidental.

The Deep State's (aka: PFPE's) ongoing behaviour indicates that Trump's using buffoonery to work a plan that's anathema to their created realities, and their increasing shrillness indicates it's working. At every turn, he's managed to make unavailable the resources their reality called for. From the M.E., to the Ukraine to N. Korea to Venezuela, things just aren't working the way they're supposed to. In fact, they're invariably working out in a way that exposes the Deep State's ineptitude and malevolence, and maximizes its embarrassment.

If that's so, his is the most extraordinary political performance I thought I'd ever see. Even though I can't imagine a more effective single handed way to accomplish what he promised to do, that he's lasted this long and has been so effective is astonishing. I guess we'll see if he abandons buffoonery when his opponents finally sink into the tar.

Fascinating.

Pandour , says: Website Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
Decades old rhetorical question and answer-the indolent, indoctrinated and illiterate masses who only care about the Super Bowl and other sports,Disneyland and burgers. Twelve per cent of Americans have never heard of the Vice President Mike Pence - that is 30,870,000 American adults.
Johnny Walker Read , says: Next New Comment December 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm GMT
Who Is Making US Foreign Policy?

It is the same people who have been making it since the creation of central banks in America (all three of them).

Never in the history of America, probably never in the history of any country, had there been such open and direct control of governmental activities by the very rich. So long as a handful of men in Wall Street control the credit and industrial processes of the country, they will continue to control the press, the government, and, by deception, the people. They will not only compel the public to work for them in peace, but to fight for them in war. – John Turner, 1922

[Dec 07, 2019] We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.

Notable quotes:
"... As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , December 01, 2019 at 07:12 AM

We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/11/27/opinion/weve-turned-our-attention-latin-america-again-thats-bad-latin-america/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Stephen Kinzer - November 27

As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America.

The US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago are sometimes described as wars in which everyone lost. In an odd way, though, Latin America won those wars. For more than a decade, the US government focused so obsessively on the Middle East that it forgot about Latin America. Free of intervention from Washington, voters in several countries elected progressive or leftist leaders whom the United States would never have tolerated in an earlier era. That cycle is now ending. The United States is returning to its traditional role in Latin America, embracing retrograde regimes just as we did during the dark days of military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Bolivia, the landlocked heart of South America, the military deposed President Evo Morales on Nov. 10 after opponents charged that he had used fraud to secure his re-election three weeks earlier. Morales was Bolivia's first indigenous president and an outspoken socialist. He had nationalized the oil and gas industries. Some feared that he was preparing to limit foreign exploitation of his country's rich lithium deposits. His indigenous identity was a permanent affront to the white ruling class. The little-known politician who has installed herself as provisional president, Jeanine Añez, once tweeted: "I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rituals."

Morales may have -- manipulated election laws to give himself an extra presidential term. But in its first days, the new regime has shown little democratic impulse. Morales has been forced to flee the country. Senior members of his party have been attacked or arrested. If his masses of indigenous followers are pushed back into political isolation despite constituting the country's majority, many will feel disenfranchised and angry.

Their cousins in Honduras would know the feeling. Late one night in 2009, the elected Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, who like Morales had alienated both the United States and his own ruling elite, was pulled out of bed and put on a plane out of the country while still in his pajamas. In the decade since then, the new regime in Honduras has eagerly handed out mining and hydroelectric contracts to foreign corporations. It has abolished term limits for presidents -- the very sin for which we denounced President Morales in Bolivia. Mass protests have been harshly suppressed. Environmental activists are killed with impunity.

Last month in a New York court, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was convicted on charges of large-scale drug trafficking. A witness testified that the drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman had contributed $1 million to Hernandez's presidential campaign. Yet just a couple of days after the trial ended, the senior American diplomat in Honduras was photographed partying with President Hernandez. Hondurans who saw those pictures could hardly miss the message: the United States happily supports a Latin American government that holds power unconstitutionally, allows political killers to rampage freely, and is widely reported to be infiltrated by drug traffickers -- as long as it is friendly to the United States. How has Honduras showed that friendship? By keeping leftists out of power and agreeing to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The other Latin American country in which the United States is most assiduously wrecking prospects for democracy is Guatemala. Like neighboring Honduras, it has long been dominated by a clique of lavishly corrupt oligarchs. But over the last decade, a force has emerged that for the first time mounted a serious challenge to drug traffickers, larcenous politicians, organized-crime kingpins, and death squad leaders. In 2006, the government invited a squad of investigators and prosecutors assembled by the United Nations to come to Guatemala and build cases against powerful criminals. Since then the squad, known by the Spanish acronym CICIG, has secured more than 400 convictions and deeply shaken the political elite. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama recognized that this process might help stabilize Guatemala, and provided moral support and funding for CICIG.

This year, at the request of senior Guatemalan officials who seemed likely to be indicted for corruption, the State Department agreed to stop backing CICIG. That crippled the first serious effort in generations to confront the violent corruption that throttles civic life in Guatemala. What did President Trump ask in return? That Guatemala open an embassy in Jerusalem and agree to serve as a "safe haven" for Honduran and Salvadoran immigrants the United States doesn't want to accept -- a sick joke considering that Guatemala is plagued by violence and has one of the world's highest murder rates.

Bashing leftists in Latin America and embracing their quasi-fascist enemies is one of Washington's oldest habits. It feels good and pays electoral dividends in Florida. Bolivians, Hondurans, and Guatemalans might be forgiven for wishing that United States would once again plunge into all-consuming war somewhere far away. That might allow them to try shaping their societies as they see fit.

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 01, 2019 at 09:51 AM
Important and appreciated post.
Paine -> anne... , December 01, 2019 at 06:25 PM
Wait

The uncle LA policy
has nothing but continuity

Going back to 1979

Review moves made under Barry

joe , December 01, 2019 at 09:24 AM
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-25/boise-homeless-encampment-amicus-brief-supreme-court-appeal-cities

In addition to L.A., others in California submitting briefs include Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno, Riverside and Orange counties, as well as a slew of cities, including Sacramento, Fullerton, Torrance and Newport Beach. Several states including Idaho, Texas and Alaska have as well. Their reasons for doing so vary.

"We're saying that we agree with the central tenet of Boise that no one should be susceptible to punishment for sleeping on a sidewalk at night if there's no alternative shelter at that point," said Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer. "But the rationale sweeps too broadly ... It makes the opinion unclear and, therefore, the opinion raises more issues than are resolved. And so it leaves jurisdictions like us without the certainty that we need."
---
The ninth curt ruling specified that without enough shelters, public camping cannot be banned.

LA is spewing horse manure, claiming they want a humane solution, but they are filing to have the ruling overturned. LA wants to ban homeless camping and they make up a bunch of irrational horse manure because they had already invited the homeless to California with promises of shelter that does not exits. They re caught in a contradiction and end up talking out of the side of their mouth.

And no, more national debt to promise apartments for everyone just make inequality worse because we end up doing bad deals with the primary dealers. The evidence is in on that. Our ten year experiment of the '50 little hoovers' crowd has been proven fraudulent.

[Dec 07, 2019] The average demorat, aside from worshipping Ba'al and hating the constitution, is depraved, been such since crooked Hillary forgot that the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world.

Notable quotes:
"... Just war theory and military ethics crumble to dust on the battle field. We rarely fight because it is right, but rather because in some context it seemed necessary at the time. After 9/11 there was an imperative that the US military wage an extended war against any and every group of Muslims that defied US global hegemony in any way. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm -> JohnH... , November 29, 2019 at 09:05 AM

The average demorat, aside from worshipping Ba'al and hating the constitution, is depraved, been such since crooked Hillary forgot that the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , November 30, 2019 at 11:56 AM
"...the neocon, empire spreading, war mongering liberals living on the coasts do not run the world."

[Who says that they do not? Certainly, it is close enough to that for government work. Besides, in the end corporations and the interests of the donor class dictate the rules of engagement for both illiberal and unconservative politicians. How the dogs of politics fight over scraps thrown out for them should be of less interest to the wage class than who is throwing out the scraps to them.]

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , November 30, 2019 at 12:04 PM
Of course a former Air Force military hardware procurements officer likely knows no more about present day life among the wage class than a banker. That would be like thinking that a kid raised in poverty by the welfare state knew how to farm. Still, it is possible for either one to be haunted by guilt late in life.
ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , December 01, 2019 at 06:26 AM
I stand correct the closet cultural Marxists running with wall st centered on the left coasts forgot to fix the electoral college.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , December 01, 2019 at 06:35 AM
You are bound with your adversaries in ways known only to God, not a religious testimonial but merely a proxy for the abstraction of omniscience. Some things can be seen as clear as day and remain a complete mystery, to me at least.
ilsm -> EMichael... , November 29, 2019 at 09:08 AM
" Ethical military decision-making does not make us weak; it makes us strong. "

How does Obama busting up Libya, drone assassinating US citizens and arming up al Qaeda to give them Syria fit?

Trump has committed lesser war crimes than hios predecessors, and that gets hiom in trouble with the establishment....

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , November 30, 2019 at 12:15 PM
At the very least Trump is guilty of being Trump. So, if you believe the charges against Trump are Trumped up, then what else would you expect?

Just war theory and military ethics crumble to dust on the battle field. We rarely fight because it is right, but rather because in some context it seemed necessary at the time. After 9/11 there was an imperative that the US military wage an extended war against any and every group of Muslims that defied US global hegemony in any way.

The US Constitution was written and then rewritten repeatedly in blood going all the way back to Apr 19, 1775. That is what it means to be an American, son, my Cherokee ancestors notwithstanding.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , November 30, 2019 at 12:16 PM
We are all brethren, fellow sons of a bloody mother...

[Dec 06, 2019] Who Is Making US Foreign Policy by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A more plausible explanation is that Trump thought that by appointing such anti-Russian hard-liners he could lay to rest the Russiagate allegations that had hung over him for three years and still did: that for some secret nefarious reason he was and remained a "Kremlin puppet." Despite the largely exculpatory Mueller report, Trump's political enemies, mostly Democrats but not only, have kept the allegations alive. ..."
"... The larger question is who should make American foreign policy: an elected president or Washington's permanent foreign policy establishment? (It is scarcely a "deep" or "secret" state, since its representatives appear on CNN and MSNBC almost daily.) Today, Democrats seem to think that it should be the foreign policy establishment, not President Trump. But having heard the cold-war views of much of that establishment, how will they feel when a Democrat occupies the White House? After all, eventually Trump will leave power, but Washington's foreign-policy "blob," as even an Obama aide termed it , will remain. ..."
"... Listen to the podcast here ..."
"... War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate ..."
"... The John Batchelor Show ..."
"... Trump's anti-Iranian fever is every bit as ludicrous as the DNC's anti-Russian fever. There is absolutely nothing to support the anti-Iranian policy argument or the anti JCPOA argument. The only thing that is missing from all of this is Iranian hookers, and that would certainly be an explosive headline! ..."
"... You know why Rhodes called it the blob, right? Why he made it sound so formless and squishy? Ask yourself, how does a failed novelist with zilch for foreign-affairs credentials get the big job of Obama's ventriloquist? That's a CIA billet. It so happens that Rhodes' brother has a big job of his own with CBS News, the most servile of the Mockingbird media propaganda mills. ..."
"... It's not a blob, it's a precisely-articulated hierarchy. And the top of it is CIA. So please for once somebody answer this blindingly obvious question, Who is making US foreign policy? CIA, that's who. For the CIA show trial run by Iran/Contra nomenklatura Bill Barr and his blackmailed flunky Durham, Trump's high crime and misdemeanor is conducting diplomacy without CIA supervision. They come out and say so, pointing to the National Security Act's mousetrap bureaucracy. ..."
"... CIA runs your country. They've got impunity, they do what they want. We've got 400,000 academics paid to overthink it. ..."
"... We cannot trust that the people that destroyed the country will repair it. It is run by a Cult of Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths. If they were limited to just the CIA, America would be in far better shape than its in. The CIA is not capable of thinking or intelligence, so we should stop paying them. ..."
"... Drumpf has been a tool of the Wall Street/Las Vegas Zionist billionaires for many, many years. so his selection of warmongering Zio neo-con advisors should be no surprise. ..."
"... Perhaps part of the reason that Trump often seems to be surrounded by people who don't support his policies or values is, as Paul Craig Roberts suggested in 2016, that Trump would have real problems simply because he was an outsider. An outsider to the Washington swamp, a swamp that Clinton had been swimming in for decades. In short he didn't know who to trust, who to keep "in the tent" & who to shut out. Thus, we have had this huge churn in Secretaries & on so on downwards. ..."
"... Sociopaths are the ones that do the worst because they lack any concern or "Empathy", like robots. So I read that the socio's are some of the brightest people who often are very successful in business etc. and can hide the fact that they would soon as kill as look at ya, but cool as ice, all they want is to get what the hell they want! They don't give a rats petoot who likes likes it or not, except as . ..."
"... Trump hasn't fired any of the neocons, but he proved that he CAN fire defense executives. He fired the Sec of Navy for disagreeing with some ridiculous personal thing that Trump wanted to do. Since Trump hasn't fired any neocons, we have to conclude that he's fully on board. ..."
"... There are so many security holes in the constitution of the USA including that it was ratified by those who invented it, not by a vote put to the people that would be made to suffer being governed by it. Basically the USA is useless as a defender of human rights (one of which is the right to self determination). The so called bill of rights (1st 10 amendments) are contractual promises, but like all clauses in contracts if there is no way to enforce them, then there is no use for the clause except maybe propaganda value. ..."
"... In a normally functioning world you simply can't simultaneously argue that in one case West can bomb a country to force self-determination as in Kosovo, and also denounce exactly the same thing in Crimea. On to Catalonia and more self-determination ..."
"... Trump, among his other occupations, used to engage with the professional wrestling circuit. In that well-staged entertainment there is always a bad guy – or a ' heel ' – who is used to stir up the crowds, the Evil Sheik or Rocky's hapless movie enemies. It makes it ' real '. The ' heel ' is sometimes allowed to win to better manage the audience. But the narrative never changes. Our rational judgments should focus on what happens, and on outcomes – not on talk, slogans, speeches, etc Based on that, Trump is a classical ' heel ' character. He might even be playing it consciously, or he has no choice. ..."
"... To answer the question who runs ' foreign policy ', let's ignore the stadium speeches, and simply look at what happens. In a world bereft of enough profitable consumer things to do, and enough justifiable careers for unemployable geo-political security 'experts' of all kinds, having enemies and maybe even a small war occasionally is not such an irrational thing to want. Plus there are the deep ethnic hatreds and traumas going back generations that were naively imported into the heart of the Western world. (Washington warned against that 200+ years ago.) ..."
"... or maybe trump was a lying neocon, war-loving, immigration-loving neoliberal all along, and you and the trumptards somehow continue to believe his campaign rhetoric? ..."
"... The fact is Trump is not an anti-neocon (Deep State) president he only talks that way. The fact that he surrounded himself with Deep State denizens gives lie to the thought that he is anti-Deep State no one can be that god damn stupid. ..."
"... "TRUMP SUPPORTERS WERE DUPED – Trump supporters are going to find out soon enough that they were duped by Donald Trump. Trump was given the script to run as the "Chaos Candidate" .He is just a pawn of the ruling elite .It is a tactic known as 'CONTROLLED OPPOSITION' ". Wasn't it FDR who said "Presidents are selected , they are not elected " ? ..."
"... Trump selected the Neocons he is surrounded with. And he's given away all kinds of property that he has absolutely no legal authority to give. He was seeking to please American Oligarchs the likes of Adelson. That's American politics. "Money is free speech." Of course, there is another connection with foreign policy beyond the truly total corruption of American domestic politics, and that's through America's brutal empire abroad. ..."
"... Obama or Trump, on the main matters of importance abroad – NATO, Russia, Israel/Palestine, China – there has been no difference, except Trump is more openly bellicose and given to saying really stupid things. ..."
Dec 06, 2019 | www.unz.com
President Trump campaigned and was elected on an anti-neocon platform: he promised to reduce direct US involvement in areas where, he believed, America had no vital strategic interest, including in Ukraine. He also promised a new détente ("cooperation") with Moscow.

And yet, as we have learned from their recent congressional testimony, key members of his own National Security Council did not share his views and indeed were opposed to them. Certainly, this was true of Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Both of them seemed prepared for a highly risky confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, though whether retroactively because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.

Similarly, Trump was slow in withdrawing Marie Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer appointed by President Obama as ambassador to Kiev, who had made clear, despite her official position in Kiev, that she did not share the new American president's thinking about Ukraine or Russia. In short, the president was surrounded in his own administration, even in the White House, by opponents of his foreign policy and presumably not only in regard to Ukraine.

How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump's national security adviser. But this doesn't explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees.

A more plausible explanation is that Trump thought that by appointing such anti-Russian hard-liners he could lay to rest the Russiagate allegations that had hung over him for three years and still did: that for some secret nefarious reason he was and remained a "Kremlin puppet." Despite the largely exculpatory Mueller report, Trump's political enemies, mostly Democrats but not only, have kept the allegations alive.

The larger question is who should make American foreign policy: an elected president or Washington's permanent foreign policy establishment? (It is scarcely a "deep" or "secret" state, since its representatives appear on CNN and MSNBC almost daily.) Today, Democrats seem to think that it should be the foreign policy establishment, not President Trump. But having heard the cold-war views of much of that establishment, how will they feel when a Democrat occupies the White House? After all, eventually Trump will leave power, but Washington's foreign-policy "blob," as even an Obama aide termed it , will remain.

Listen to the podcast here . Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his most recent book, War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate , is available in paperback and in an ebook edition. His weekly conversations with the host of The John Batchelor Show , now in their sixth year, are available at www.thenation.com .


Curmudgeon , says: December 5, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT

because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.

In an otherwise decent overview, this sticks out like a sore thumb. It would be helpful to stop using the word annexation. While correct in a technical sense – that Crimea was added to the Russian Federation – the word comes with all kinds of connotations, that imply illegality and or force. Given Crimea was given special status when gifted to Ukraine for administration by the USSR, one could just as easily apply "annexation" of Crimea to Ukraine. After Ukraine voted to "leave" the USSR, Crimea voted to join Ukraine. Obviously the "Ukrainian" vote did not include Crimea. Even after voting to join Ukraine, Crimea had special status within Ukraine, and was semi autonomous. If you can vote to join, you can vote to leave. Either you have the right to self determination, or you don't.

Rebel0007 , says: December 5, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT
This is what is so infuriating, Stephen! These silent coups of the executive branch have been taking place for my entire life! Both parties are guilty of refusing to appoint cabinet members that the elected presidents would have chosen for themselves, because both parties are more interested in making the president of the opposing party look bad, make him ineffective, and incapable of carrying out policies that he was elected to carry out. That is the very definition of treason!

Things are a disaster. The JCPOA is at the heart of the issue and Trump and his advisors stubborn refusal to capitulate on this issue very well may cause Trump to lose the 2020 election. Trump's anti-Iranian fever is every bit as ludicrous as the DNC's anti-Russian fever. There is absolutely nothing to support the anti-Iranian policy argument or the anti JCPOA argument. The only thing that is missing from all of this is Iranian hookers, and that would certainly be an explosive headline!

The anti-Iranian fever has created so much havoc not only with Iran, but with every country on earth other than Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Germany announced that it is seeking to unite with Russia, not only for Gazprom, but is now considering purchasing defense systems from Russia, and Germany is dictating EU policy, by and large. Germany has said that Europe must be able to defend itself independent of America and is requesting an EU military and Italy is on board with this idea, seeking to create jobs and weapons for its economy and defense.

The EU is fed up with the economic sanctions placed on countries that the U.S. has black-listed, particularly Russia and Iran, and China as well for Huwaei 5G.

Nobody in their right mind could ever claim this to be the free market capitalism that Larry Kudlow espouses!

National Institute for Study of the O... , says: December 5, 2019 at 11:00 pm GMT
You know why Rhodes called it the blob, right? Why he made it sound so formless and squishy? Ask yourself, how does a failed novelist with zilch for foreign-affairs credentials get the big job of Obama's ventriloquist? That's a CIA billet. It so happens that Rhodes' brother has a big job of his own with CBS News, the most servile of the Mockingbird media propaganda mills.

It's not a blob, it's a precisely-articulated hierarchy. And the top of it is CIA. So please for once somebody answer this blindingly obvious question, Who is making US foreign policy? CIA, that's who. For the CIA show trial run by Iran/Contra nomenklatura Bill Barr and his blackmailed flunky Durham, Trump's high crime and misdemeanor is conducting diplomacy without CIA supervision. They come out and say so, pointing to the National Security Act's mousetrap bureaucracy.

CIA runs your country. They've got impunity, they do what they want. We've got 400,000 academics paid to overthink it.

follyofwar , says: December 5, 2019 at 11:53 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Pat Buchanan also uses the word "annexation" all the time.
Rebel0007 , says: December 6, 2019 at 4:31 am GMT
National Institute for the study of the obvious,

The CIA has no authority what so ever as defined by the supreme law of the land, the constitution. That would make them guilty of a coup which would be an act of treason, so if what you claim is true, why have they not been prosecuted.

It is a political game between to competing kleptocratic cults. The DNC and RNC are whores and will do what ever their donors tell them to do. That is also treason. This country is just a total wasteland.

Everyone has pledged allegiance to fraud.

Too big to fail, like the Titanic and the Hindenberg.

We cannot trust that the people that destroyed the country will repair it. It is run by a Cult of Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths. If they were limited to just the CIA, America would be in far better shape than its in. The CIA is not capable of thinking or intelligence, so we should stop paying them.

Haxo Angmark , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 6:01 am GMT
Drumpf has been a tool of the Wall Street/Las Vegas Zionist billionaires for many, many years. so his selection of warmongering Zio neo-con advisors should be no surprise.
Monty Ahwazi , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:03 am GMT
What kind of stupid question is this? You mean you don't know or asking us for confirmation? If you really don't know then why are you writing an article about it? If you do know then why are you asking the UNZ readers?
animalogic , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:21 am GMT
Perhaps part of the reason that Trump often seems to be surrounded by people who don't support his policies or values is, as Paul Craig Roberts suggested in 2016, that Trump would have real problems simply because he was an outsider. An outsider to the Washington swamp, a swamp that Clinton had been swimming in for decades. In short he didn't know who to trust, who to keep "in the tent" & who to shut out. Thus, we have had this huge churn in Secretaries & on so on downwards.
EdNels , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
@Rebel0007

It is run by a Cult of Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths.

That's ok but it's a bit unfair to Hedonistic Satanic Psychopaths After all most of the country is Hedonistic as hell, it sells commercials or wtf. Satanic is philosophical and way over the heads of these clowns, though if the be a Satan, then they are in the plan for sure, and right on the mark. As for psychopaths, those are criminals who are insane, but they can have remorse and be their own worst enemies, often they just go off and go psycho and bad things happen, but can be unplanned off the wall stuff, not diabolic.

Sociopaths are the ones that do the worst because they lack any concern or "Empathy", like robots. So I read that the socio's are some of the brightest people who often are very successful in business etc. and can hide the fact that they would soon as kill as look at ya, but cool as ice, all they want is to get what the hell they want! They don't give a rats petoot who likes likes it or not, except as .

So, once upon a time, a people got so hedonistic and they didn't watch the game and theier leaders were low quality (especially religeous/morals ) and long story short Satan unleashed the Socio's , Things seem to be heading disastrously, so will bit coin save the day? Green nudeal?

Jon Baptist , says: December 6, 2019 at 6:54 am GMT
The simple questions that beg to be asked are who are the accusers and what media agencies are providing the amplification to transmit these accusations?
https://forward.com/news/national/434664/impeachment-trump-democrats-jewish/
https://www.jta.org/2019/11/15/politics/the-tell-the-jewish-players-in-impeachment

There is also this link courtesy of Haass' CFR – https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/russia-trump-and-2016-us-election

While massive attention is directed towards Russia and the Ukraine, the majority of the public are shown the slight of hand and their attention is never brought near to the real perpetrators of subverting American and British foreign policy.

https://electronicintifada.net/content/watch-film-israel-lobby-didnt-want-you-see/25876
http://joshdlindsay.com/2019/04/the-israel-lobby-in-the-u-s-al-jazeera-documentary/
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polistra , says: December 6, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
Doesn't matter if he's surrounded. A president CAN make foreign policy, and a president CAN fire people who disagree with his policy. Trump hasn't fired any of the neocons, but he proved that he CAN fire defense executives. He fired the Sec of Navy for disagreeing with some ridiculous personal thing that Trump wanted to do. Since Trump hasn't fired any neocons, we have to conclude that he's fully on board.
sally , says: December 6, 2019 at 8:51 am GMT
@Rebel0007

The CIA has no authority what so ever as defined by the supreme law of the land, the constitution. That would make them guilty of a coup which would be an act of treason, so if what you claim is true, why have they not been prosecuted.

--
first off the supreme law of the land maybe the Constitution and to oppose it may be Treason, but the Law that is supreme to the Law of the land is Human rights law.. it is far superior to, and it is the TLD of all laws of the land of all of the Nation States that mankind has allowed the greedy among its masses, to impose.

There are so many security holes in the constitution of the USA including that it was ratified by those who invented it, not by a vote put to the people that would be made to suffer being governed by it. Basically the USA is useless as a defender of human rights (one of which is the right to self determination). The so called bill of rights (1st 10 amendments) are contractual promises, but like all clauses in contracts if there is no way to enforce them, then there is no use for the clause except maybe propaganda value.

If you note the USA constitution has seven articles..

Article 1 is about 525 elected members of congress and their very limited powers to control
foreign activities. Each qualified to vote member of the governed (a citizen so to speak) is allowed to
vote for only 3 of the 525 persons. so basically there is no real national election anywhere .

Article II grants the electoral college the power to appoint two persons full control of the assets,
resources and manpower of America to conquer the entire world or to make peace in the entire world.
Either way: the governed are not allowed to vote for either; the EC vote determines the P or VP.

Article III allows the Article II person to appoint yes men to the judiciary

Where exist the power of the governed to deny USA governors the ability to the use the powers the constitution claims the governors are to have, against the governed? <==No where I can find? Theoretically, the governed are protected from abuse for as long as it takes to conduct due process?

One person, the Article II person, is basically the king when in comes to constitutional authority to establish, conduct, prosecute or defend USA involvement in foreign affairs.

No where does the constitution of the USA deny its President the use of American resources or USA military power, to make and use diplomat appointments, or to use the USA to use the wealth of America and the hegemonic powers of the USA to make a private or public profit in a foreign land. <= d/n matter if the profit is personal to the President or if it assigned by appointment (like the feudal powers granted by the feudal kings to the feudal lords) to corporate feudal lords or oligarch personal interest.

AFAICT, the president can USE the USA to conduct war, invade or otherwise infringe on, even destroy, the territory, or a private or public interest, within a foreign sovereign more or less at will. So if the President wants to command a private or secret Army like the CIA, he can as far as I can tell, obviously this president does, because he could with his pen alone shut it down.

Seems to me the "NO" from Wilson's four points

  1. no more secret diplomacy peace settlement must not lead the way to new wars
  2. no retribution, unjust claims, and huge fines <basically indemnities paid by the losers to the winners.
  3. no more war; includes controls on armaments and arming of nations.
  4. no more Trade Barriers so the nations of the world would become more interdependent.

have been made the essence of nation state operations world wide.

IMO, The CIA exists at the pleasure of the President.

Beckow , says: December 6, 2019 at 9:29 am GMT
@Curmudgeon all of that, plus the Kosovo precedent.

In a normally functioning world you simply can't simultaneously argue that in one case West can bomb a country to force self-determination as in Kosovo, and also denounce exactly the same thing in Crimea. On to Catalonia and more self-determination

Beckow , says: December 6, 2019 at 9:52 am GMT
Trump, among his other occupations, used to engage with the professional wrestling circuit. In that well-staged entertainment there is always a bad guy – or a ' heel ' – who is used to stir up the crowds, the Evil Sheik or Rocky's hapless movie enemies. It makes it ' real '. The 'heel ' is sometimes allowed to win to better manage the audience. But the narrative never changes. Our rational judgments should focus on what happens, and on outcomes – not on talk, slogans, speeches, etc Based on that, Trump is a classical ' heel ' character. He might even be playing it consciously, or he has no choice.

To answer the question who runs ' foreign policy ', let's ignore the stadium speeches, and simply look at what happens. In a world bereft of enough profitable consumer things to do, and enough justifiable careers for unemployable geo-political security 'experts' of all kinds, having enemies and maybe even a small war occasionally is not such an irrational thing to want. Plus there are the deep ethnic hatreds and traumas going back generations that were naively imported into the heart of the Western world. (Washington warned against that 200+ years ago.)

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2019 at 10:47 am GMT
https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/majority-germans-wants-less-reliance-us-more-engagement-russia/ri27985

Macron said that NATO is " brain dead " :

https://www.economist.com/europe/2019/11/07/emmanuel-macron-warns-europe-nato-is-becoming-brain-dead

The more the US sanctions so many countries around the world , the more the US generate an anti US reaction around the world .

gotmituns , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:09 am GMT
Who Is Making US Foreign Policy?
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
Could it be israel?
DrWatson , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:20 am GMT
Trump should have kept Steve Bannon as his advisor and should have fired instead his son-in-law. Perhaps "they" are blackmailing Trump with photos like here: https://www.pinterest.com/richarddesjarla/creepy/

That would explain why Trump is so ineffective at making a reality anything he campaigned for.

Marshall Lentini , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:28 am GMT
@melpol Betas in power -- an underappreciated dimension of this morass.
propagandist hacker , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 11:29 am GMT
or maybe trump was a lying neocon, war-loving, immigration-loving neoliberal all along, and you and the trumptards somehow continue to believe his campaign rhetoric?
Realist , says: December 6, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT

An anti-neocon president appears to have been surrounded by neocons in his own administration.

The fact is Trump is not an anti-neocon (Deep State) president he only talks that way. The fact that he surrounded himself with Deep State denizens gives lie to the thought that he is anti-Deep State no one can be that god damn stupid.

Realist , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm GMT
@sally

IMO, The CIA exists at the pleasure of the President.

The CIA sees it differently; and they are part of the Deep State.

Realist , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm GMT
@propagandist hacker

or maybe trump was a lying neocon, war-loving, immigration-loving neoliberal all along, and you and the trumptards somehow continue to believe his campaign rhetoric?

That is my contention.

Sean , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:11 pm GMT
MICHAEL CARPENTER Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia from 2015 to 2017.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2019-11-26/oligarchs-who-lost-ukraine-and-won-washington

Halfway around the world from Washington's halls of power, Ukraine sits along a civilizational and geopolitical fault line. To Ukraine's west are the liberal democracies of Europe, governed by rule of law and democratic principles. To its east are Russia and its client states in Eurasia, almost all of which are corrupt oligarchies. [ ] In this war on democratic movements and democratic principles, Russia's biggest prize and chief adversary has always been the United States. Until now, however, Russia has always had to contend with bipartisan resolve to counter

No mention of China, and this is the problem with the whole foreign policy establishment not just the neocons. Russia is more of an annoyance than anything, but they are still operating assumptions on what is the Geographical Pivot of History , so they want to talk about Russia. Like an Edwardian sea cadet we are supposed to care about Russia getting (back) a water port in Crimea. Mahan's definition of sea power included a strong commercial fleet. After tearing their own environment apart like a car in a wrecking yard and heating up the planet China has taken time out from deforestation and colonising Tibet, to send huge container vessels full of cheap goods through the melting Arctic round the top of Russia all the better to get to Europe and deindustrialise it.

Western elites have sold out to China, seen as the future, so we hear about Russia rather than the three million Uyghurs in concentration camps complete with constantly smoking crematoria, and harvesting of organs for rich foreigners.

Who poses a greater threat to the West: China or Russia?
By the time the West finds itself in open conflict with Beijing, we will have lost our relative advantage. Brendan Simms and K.C. Lin [ ] The concept of China being a threat is harder to comprehend. In what way? Yes, its hacking and intellectual property theft is a headache. But is it worse than what Russia is up to? And don't we need Chinese investment, so does it really matter if China builds our 5G mobile networks? In London, ministers agonise over these issues -- not knowing whether to pity China (we still send foreign aid there), beg for its money and contracts (with prime ministerial trade trips), or treat it as a potential antagonist.

Aid ! They sent robots to the far side of the Moon

Beijing has been the beneficiary of liberal revulsion at the Trump presidency: if the Donald is against the Chinese, who cannot be for them? As a result, Trump's efforts to address China's unfair trade practices have so far missed the mark with the domestic and international audience. As Trump declares war on free trade, China -- one of the most protectionist economies in the world -- is now celebrated at Davos as the avatar of free trade. Later this month, China's Vice-President is likely to be in attendance at Davos -- and there is even talk of him meeting with Trump. Similarly, the messiness of American politics has made China's one-party state an apparent poster boy of political stability and governability.

9/11 Inside job , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:14 pm GMT
911endofdays.blogspot.com : "Sackcloth&Ashes – The 16th Trump of Arcana " :

"TRUMP SUPPORTERS WERE DUPED – Trump supporters are going to find out soon enough that they were duped by Donald Trump. Trump was given the script to run as the "Chaos Candidate" .He is just a pawn of the ruling elite .It is a tactic known as 'CONTROLLED OPPOSITION' ".
Wasn't it FDR who said "Presidents are selected , they are not elected " ?

JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: Website December 6, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT

Trump selected the Neocons he is surrounded with. And he's given away all kinds of property that he has absolutely no legal authority to give. He was seeking to please American Oligarchs the likes of Adelson. That's American politics. "Money is free speech." Of course, there is another connection with foreign policy beyond the truly total corruption of American domestic politics, and that's through America's brutal empire abroad.

The military/intelligence imperial establishment definitely see Israel as a kind of American colony in the Mideast, and they make sure that it's well provided for. That's what the Neocon Wars have been about. Paving over large parts of Israel's noisy neighborhood. And that includes matters like keeping Syria off-balance with occupation in its northeast. And constantly threatening Iran.

Obama or Trump, on the main matters of importance abroad – NATO, Russia, Israel/Palestine, China – there has been no difference, except Trump is more openly bellicose and given to saying really stupid things.

By the way, the last President who tried seriously to make foreign policy as the elected head of government left half of his head splattered on thec streets of Dallas.

Sick of Orcs , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:36 pm GMT
@propagandist hacker Or he was fooled, tricked, bribed, coerced by The HoloNose.

Don't get me wrong, the Orange Sellout is to blame regardless.

9/11 Inside job , says: December 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT
@Jon Baptist We have all been brainwashed by the propaganda screened by the massmedia ,whether it be FOX , MSNBC , CBS ,etc.. SeptemberClues.info has a good article entitled "The central role of the news media on 9/11 " :

"The 9/11 psyop relied foremostly on that weakspot of ours .We all fell for the images we saw on TV at the time we can only wonder why so many never questioned the absurd TV coverage proposed by all the major networks The 9/11 TV imagery of the crucial morning events was just a computer-animated, pre-fabricated movie."

Was "The Harley Guy" a crisis actor ?

geokat62 , says: December 6, 2019 at 1:00 pm GMT
@National Institute for Study of the Obvious

So please for once somebody answer this blindingly obvious question, Who is making US foreign policy? CIA, that's who.

Close. You got 4 of the correct letters, AIPAC. You were just missing the P.

CIA runs your country.

No, Jewish Supremacist oligarchs run America.

Herald , says: December 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm GMT
@follyofwar Pat inhabits a strange Hollywood type world, where the US is always the good guy. He believes that, although the US may make foreign policy mistakes, its aims and ambitions are nevertheless noble and well intentioned.

In Pat's world it's still circa 1955, but even then, his take on US foreign policy would have been hopelessly unrealistic.

[Dec 06, 2019] The Michael Flynn sentencing hearing is cancelled while the judge considers the issue of exculpatory material - Sic Semper Tyra

Dec 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Michael Flynn sentencing hearing is cancelled while the judge considers the issue of exculpatory material Michael_flynn_web

By Robert Willmann

New attorneys for Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) entered appearances in his court case in June 2019. He had signed a plea bargain agreement with the office of "special counsel" Robert Mueller on 30 November 2017, and under that agreement, a criminal charge consisting of a single count was filed. He pled guilty to it in court the next day. A sentencing hearing began on 18 December 2018, but went off the rails and was to be continued at a later date.

On 30 August 2019, Flynn's new lawyers filed a request (a motion) that the prosecutors for the federal government turn over exculpatory material that they likely had access to and had not disclosed to him earlier. The motion also asked the judge to issue an order that the prosecutors show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for not turning over the material that might be favorable and helpful to Flynn. Several papers were filed by both sides on the issue after that.

A sentencing hearing had been reset to 18 December 2019. However, as a result of the documents filed about the request for exculpatory material, Judge Emmet Sullivan decided not to have a court hearing on the motion, but instead would decide it on the documents that had been filed with the court clerk. The last paper was filed on the issue on 4 November 2019. Normally, both the prosecution and defense file memoranda about an upcoming sentencing hearing. Since 18 December was approaching, they filed a joint motion to reschedule the filing of memos and any sentencing hearing--

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/michaelflynn_abate_sentencing.pdf

This request was granted--

"11/27/2019 Minute Order as to Michael T. Flynn granting 140 Joint Motion to Modify Briefing Schedule. The Court hereby Suspends the briefing schedule for the supplemental sentencing memoranda. The Court hereby Vacates the sentencing hearing previously scheduled for December 18, 2019 until further Order of this Court. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 11/27/2019. (Lcegs1) (Entered: 11/27/2019)"

The request for disclosure of exculpatory material may or may not be granted. But the fact that a month has gone by, and now more time is needed, means that it is being given serious consideration.

[Dec 06, 2019] The USA is an occupied by neocon country

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Wellsir, I'm old enough to remember 2002, when the Bush administration and its allies built a case for the Iraq War, using the often-heard line, "We fight the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here." Seriously, young folks, look it up online. ..."
"... And now comes Prof. Karlan, using the same rhetoric to characterize the conflict between the US and Russia in Ukraine. She was there to talk about the legal aspects of impeachment, but she bizarrely tipped her hand by trashing Trump because he failed to play his part as a warmonger ..."
"... The American elites didn't learn a damn thing from Iraq ..."
"... On the contrary. They learned that, via deceptive rhetoric and on false pretenses, they could easily manoeuver the U.S. into fighting a war on behalf of another nation's interests rather than its own, and face no repercussions for committing such treason, no matter how many lives it costs and how much it impoverishes the U.S. (to say nothing of what bloodshed and chaos it will cause in the targeted nation -- because after all, destabilization is the point). ..."
"... Trump will never beat an actually decent candidate, he occupies the White House because Clinton was the worst candidate in American history. He's (probably) going to win again because his opponents are even more unpopular and incompetent than he is. ..."
"... No, they are only using the mendacious phrase "spreading democracy" as a cover for what they really want to spread: globalist neoliberalism. ..."
"... The left is shameless, duplicitous and disingenous in the extreme when it comes to Russia (and frankly anything else). To be honest it was my collegiate experiences in the 1980s, comparing the handwaving garbage with what my own eyes saw in the East Bloc, that made me a lifetime, permanent rightist. The left is bankrupt, full of liars and dissemblers and needs to be stopped at any cost. ..."
"... I'd highly recommend the films "Ukraine on Fire" and "Revealing Ukraine" (available on Amazon Prime w/o extra rental $) for a good basic primer on the Ukraine over the last 15 years, particularly of US interference and malfeasance in promoting the coup in 2014. And if anyone "interfered" in the 2016 election it wasn't Russia, but the Ukraine, particularly its very pro-Hilary President Poroshenko (illegitimate though he was and remains after the unconstitutional US-backed coup in against Yanukovich in 2014). ..."
"... NATO should have been moth-balled c. 1992. Instead it is hell-bent on aggressive expansion and antagonizing Russia, for no reason (other than to line the pockets of corrupt US and other officials, "business-men" i.e. oligarchs, etc.). ..."
"... The whole conflict was completely avoidable and is 100% due to America's and Western Europe's dumb actions since the fall of the USSR. ..."
Dec 06, 2019 | theamericanconservative.com

In the Year of Our Lord 2019, sixteen years after this nation launched the catastrophic Iraq War, the following words were spoken on Capitol Hill this week:

We have become the shining city on a hill. We have become the nation that leads the world in understanding what democracy is. And one of the things we understand most profoundly is it's not a real democracy, it's not a mature democracy, if the party in power uses the criminal process to go after its enemies. And I think you heard testimony - the Intelligence Committee heard testimony about how it isn't just our national interest in protecting our own elections. It's not just our national interest in making sure that the Ukraine remains strong and on the front line so they fight the Russians there and we don't have to fight them here, but it's also our national interest in promoting democracy worldwide.

This was not the second coming of the Wolfowitz-Cheney-Bolton brigade. This was Pamela Karlan, a Stanford law professor and Democrat called by her party to testify in this week's House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing.

Wellsir, I'm old enough to remember 2002, when the Bush administration and its allies built a case for the Iraq War, using the often-heard line, "We fight the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here." Seriously, young folks, look it up online.

And I'm old enough to remember these lines from President Bush's second inaugural address, in 2005:

There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

That didn't work out too well for us, for Iraq, or for the Middle East.

And now comes Prof. Karlan, using the same rhetoric to characterize the conflict between the US and Russia in Ukraine. She was there to talk about the legal aspects of impeachment, but she bizarrely tipped her hand by trashing Trump because he failed to play his part as a warmonger.


Loetzen 9 hours ago • edited ,
The American elites didn't learn a damn thing from Iraq

On the contrary. They learned that, via deceptive rhetoric and on false pretenses, they could easily manoeuver the U.S. into fighting a war on behalf of another nation's interests rather than its own, and face no repercussions for committing such treason, no matter how many lives it costs and how much it impoverishes the U.S. (to say nothing of what bloodshed and chaos it will cause in the targeted nation -- because after all, destabilization is the point).

The same thing will happen here. Lesson learned.

Fran Macadam Rod Dreher 8 hours ago ,

There are, as Victoria Nuland put it, 5 billion reasons for backing the CIA-led coup that overthrew an elected government and replaced it with leaders that the she and the rest of the Obama/Clinton State Department chose. It was the Democrats, since the nineties under another Clinton, that decided to move the American military right up to Russia's borders, interfere in the 1996 election to keep the puppet Yeltsin in power, and with Wall Street leaders to pillage the Russian economy with the stated end to break up Russia into smaller satrapies with governments appointed by the IMF.

Did Joe Biden brag about a quid proof not releasing funds to the Ukraine until it ended the probe into Burisma, which was paying son Hunter millions, and dismiss the investigators altogether? Does it turn out Ukrainian power brokers favored under Obama then sought to influence the American elections against Trump, viewed as wanting to make peace with Russia? Yes, and yes.

Augustine 9 hours ago ,

The US are not a democracy, since the people do not rule. Rather, it's an oligarchy, since a few influential groups do get their way all the time. Pamela is just shilling for one of these groups, the war party.

It does not matter who you vote for, you always get John McCain.

GoDawgs912 Rod Dreher 6 hours ago ,

Agreed, I hope the Republicans agree to impeach him immediately after Election Day if he does win (which I think he will due to the opposition candidates). I'd much prefer Mike Pence to represent us than freaking Trump. I voted third party last time, but even as bad as Trump is, he's not nearly as bad as every democratic front runner.

Why the Democratic Party doesn't back Tulsi Gabard is insane, she's the only candidate who everyone could be somewhat happy with.

Taking a "Unity-Party" angle this election and nominating an anti-war military Veteran who's also a super patriotic minority women would absolutely destroy Trump. She's also a religious conservative while simultaneously being a sane social liberal, she satisfies some of the concerns of literally every part of the electorate. A Tulsi Gabard/ Joe Manchin ticket would be an 84 level blowout. A Joe Biden/ Kamala Harris ticket is literally the best thing that has ever happened to Trump. Trump will never beat an actually decent candidate, he occupies the White House because Clinton was the worst candidate in American history. He's (probably) going to win again because his opponents are even more unpopular and incompetent than he is.

ask zippy Rod Dreher 5 hours ago ,

An article from someone I trust on that evidence which is not hearsay would be useful, any chance you would write one? I ask because impeachment is either political or legal. If it's political then it's just the normal noise from D.C., if it's legal then I want legal standards of evidence. The times I've paid attention the "evidence" has been at the level of someone told me they overhead a phone conversation or we all believed this, but Trump directly told me the opposite of what we all believed.

I'm looking for something like saying "I did not have sex with that woman" under oath as evidence of committing perjury.

TomD Rabiner 7 hours ago • edited ,

...OTOH, Trump's move against Hunter Biden could possibly be a "high crime and misdemeanor" worthy of impeachment, but given the existence of Acts of Congress against foreign corrupt practices and the New York Times investigation of Hunter Biden, it becomes hard to untangle Trump's motives. It would seem to be difficult to prove that an impeachable "high crime and misdemeanor" occurred if probable cause for a Hunter Biden investigation existed. If we prove (NOT assume, as the Dems currently are doing) that probable cause did not exist then impeachment would be a slam dunk. If we don't prove that then Trump's impeachment will not be seen as legitimate by large segments of the public. We really are teetering on the edge of something deep here.

Mitch Young Rabiner 6 hours ago ,

You think that finding out what the son of a sitting vice President, a VP who was also 'point man' for Ukraine, was doing getting millions from a corrupt Ukrainian entity is strictly 'personal gain'? You think that looking into Ukrainian influence into our election is 'personal gain'?

Max Rockatansky 9 hours ago ,

Oh the spreading of democracy worldwide nonsense again! Democracies are earned not given, that lesson cost us trillions and in blood! This sycophant also brought up Pres. Trumps son Baron into the proceedings for no good reason but to score points at tea time back at Stanford. What a demagogue.

Loetzen Max Rockatansky 7 hours ago • edited ,

It's always such a lie too, because it's never really about spreading "democracy" -- that is, they don't at all like the spread of true democracy when the people genuinely prefer and vote for Putin, Assad, Orban, etc., to say nothing of when democracy demonstrates the true will of the people in cases such as Brexit.

No, they are only using the mendacious phrase "spreading democracy" as a cover for what they really want to spread: globalist neoliberalism.

Seoulite Max Rockatansky 6 hours ago ,

Democracies are earned not given, that lesson cost us trillions and in blood!

Yes please give us more democracy, so the uniparty can sell our jobs to global capital and our children's future to foreigners. Nations have survived tyranny, despots, and brutal civil wars. It is not at all clear whether the nations of the West will survive your beloved democracy.

Jerry 8 hours ago ,

...Of course, anyone with a brain knows it's not about Ukraine, a country having no bearing at all on the vital interests of the United States. Rather, Ukraine is a handy pretext serving the interests of America's military-industrial complex and the enrichment of our Ruling Class.

... ... ...

sb • 8 hours ago ,

If Trump wanted to prove a really great president, he could forge a peace with Russia (which would entail getting a settlement with Ukraine). It is insane, and only to the benefit of woke liberal capitalists to frame Russia as a permanent enemy. Carving developed nations into 'us vs them', so the liberal elite can divide and rule us. They use this strategy on multiple fronts, to ensure success:

  • US vs Russia
  • US/UK vs EU
  • 'pseudo-Christian' west vs islam
  • 1st world vs multicutural diversity migration

Pragmatically, we will need an alliance with Russia (and possibly with a post-communist China) to stave off the invading colonisers looking to grift a free lunch in the 'rich' west (its only the 1% wealthy in the west who are really rich, not the >90% peasant class), not to mention the ideologically/religiously motivated muslims planning to implement the global sharia subjugation of the pseudo-Christian west demanded in the Koran.

Sadly, Trump does seem to be proving he lacks the organisational skills to drain the swamp - a virtually impossible task for any one person. A 'friendship pact' with Russia (perhaps swapping trade access to US for human rights, democratic and media freedoms in Russia) would be a big step forward to building a united free west. Perhaps bring Poland and Hungary in to to reassure Russia, and strengthen the protections for Christians and traditional family life. But for this to happen Trump needs to have a Secretary of State he trusts heavily.

Fun times to look forward to anyway...

Stefan • 8 hours ago ,

... Signify... whatever, anything, but please not too much thinking. Same with Washington's foreign policy blob. What matters is that the world's is forced to take America's opinions into account, no matter how bone-headed they are. If they put the world on fire that's called collateral damage (Ledeen Doctrine).

jeremyjanson 7 hours ago ,

What I find funniest about this whole "impeachment" shenanigan is how the Democrats honestly think anyone doesn't believe they're guilty of exactly what they're accusing Trump of. All Trump has to do is reveal seven such cases to the American people after this whole shenanigan is over and turn their own words against them and they are THROUGH! This might honestly be the biggest political mistake in the history of our Republic.

Brendan • 7 hours ago ,

The whole thing is nonsense. Democracy is particular to the West, and is frankly innately fragile and dying a proper death -- slowly, mind you, but dying it is, and thankfully so.

The whole Russia situation is hilarious and a thousand percent ideological. I sat next to these same assholes in college in the 1980s as they blithely handwaved "no true Scotsman" type arguments about the Soviet Union, and moral equivalency and so on, and then of course without their precious hearts skipping one single beat, they switched immediately to "Russia is evil and must be stopped at all costs" when Russia emerged with a nationalist/rightist government.

The left is shameless, duplicitous and disingenous in the extreme when it comes to Russia (and frankly anything else). To be honest it was my collegiate experiences in the 1980s, comparing the handwaving garbage with what my own eyes saw in the East Bloc, that made me a lifetime, permanent rightist. The left is bankrupt, full of liars and dissemblers and needs to be stopped at any cost.

Disqus10021 7 hours ago ,

My guess is that Russia has enough nuclear weapons and the capability to launch them at every major city in the US. Vladimir is no drunkard like Boris Yeltsin was. We should not provoke the Russian bear into lashing out at the US. The old Soviet Union lost some 20 million of its citizens in WWII and did the heavy lifting in defeating the Nazis. Hands up if you want to send your 19 year old son to fight the Russians in Sevastopol. Does the average American even know where Sevastopol is? More than likely, a war with Russia would result in the nuclear bombing of New York, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Houston for starters.

SatirevFlesti 7 hours ago ,

I'd highly recommend the films "Ukraine on Fire" and "Revealing Ukraine" (available on Amazon Prime w/o extra rental $) for a good basic primer on the Ukraine over the last 15 years, particularly of US interference and malfeasance in promoting the coup in 2014. And if anyone "interfered" in the 2016 election it wasn't Russia, but the Ukraine, particularly its very pro-Hilary President Poroshenko (illegitimate though he was and remains after the unconstitutional US-backed coup in against Yanukovich in 2014).

NATO should have been moth-balled c. 1992. Instead it is hell-bent on aggressive expansion and antagonizing Russia, for no reason (other than to line the pockets of corrupt US and other officials, "business-men" i.e. oligarchs, etc.).

GoDawgs912 7 hours ago ,

I'm halfway cheering for Russia in their conflict with Ukraine. That's Russia's sphere of influence, Ukraine has no business in the EU or in NATO. Any sane American government would be courting Russia in the new Cold War that's obviously coming with The Chinese Communist Party. Instead we pulled all of the former European countries in the USSR into our sphere of influence. The whole conflict was completely avoidable and is 100% due to America's and Western Europe's dumb actions since the fall of the USSR.

[Dec 06, 2019] Endless War Degrades the Military

Dec 06, 2019 | www.shutterstock.com

krill_makarov/Shutterstock

December 5, 2019

|

12:44 pm

Daniel Larison TAC contributor Gil Barndollar calls attention to the damage that endless war is doing to the military:

The president has been rightly excoriated for these pardons, which dishonor the U.S. military and may degrade good order and discipline. But amid this uproar, Americans should note the bigger lesson: Endless wars, especially endless counterinsurgency or counterterrorism wars, slowly chip away at both a military's ethics and its critical war-fighting skills.

These wars are particularly corrosive because they cannot be conclusively won, and for every enemy that is destroyed it seems as if two or three more appear to replace it. Futile, open-ended wars contribute to breakdowns in discipline. Barndollar continues:

However, keeping their honor clean becomes harder and harder the longer these wars drag on. Wars among the people, as all our endless wars now are, are inherently dirty. When even senior members of the foreign policy establishment concede that we are not seeking victory in Afghanistan, it becomes harder for soldiers to make hollow mission accomplishment a higher priority than self-preservation. Treating U.S. soldiers like victims, as Trump implicitly does, also becomes more common.

When a war cannot be won, the rational thing to do would be to stop fighting it, but instead of doing that our political and military leaders treat endless war as a new normal that must not be questioned. It is bad enough when a government sends its soldiers to fight and die for a cause that it pretends can still be won when that isn't possible, but to keep sending them over and over again into war zones to fight a war they admit is futile has to be discouraging and frustrating. This also has to widen the division between the military and the civilian population. While military personnel are called on to go on multiple tours in pointless conflicts, most people back home mouth empty platitudes about supporting the troops and do nothing to bring the wars to an end. The public's failure to hold our political and military leaders accountable for these failed and unnecessary wars is bound to have corrosive effects as well.

At the same time, these wars degrade the military's ability to fight other adversaries:

Even more serious for American national security is the fact that endless small wars degrade a military's ability to fight and win big wars -- wars that have real consequences for our security and way of life.

Our endless wars have been enormously costly. It is estimated that all of the wars of the last twenty years will end up costing at least $6.4 trillion, and beyond that they have consumed our government's attention and resources to the detriment of everything else. Our political and military leaders perpetuate these wars, and the public has allowed them to do this, because they are still laboring under the faulty assumption that the U.S. is being made more secure in the process. The reality is that endless wars are undermining our security, weakening the military, and creating more enemies. They should be ended responsibly, but they must end. about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

[Dec 06, 2019] For whom Fiona Hill really work?

Col. Lang wrote an excellent post on 'Who "debunked" the Biden conspiracy theories?' . I would like to suggest a companion post on 'Who defines "the national interests of the United States" '.
Dec 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

J , 26 November 2019 at 08:08 PM

Colonel,

Fiona Hill appears to be part of the Borg, not really sure which part she's affiliated. Some have called her a 'sleeper agent', but a sleeper for whom? British Intelligence agent of influence? Or an Israeli agent of influence, or maybe a Daniel Pipes trained NEOCON agent of influence? Any way one spins it, Fiona Hill has been undermining POTUS Trump while she was part of his NSC and his advisory team. Why her intense hatred of Putin? Does he happen to know through his nation's intelligence exactly who she is and whom she may be working on behalf of? The Skripal incident showed just how much that the British Government and Crown hate Russia. But why the intense British hatred of Russia, why?

Questions, so many questions regarding Ms. Hill and who she really works for.

[Dec 06, 2019] So now when a President doesn't allow The Blob to dictate Ukraine policy it's an impeachable offense? Really?

Notable quotes:
"... Thanks again for making explicit what I have long known: To America, Ukraine is nothing but a weapon against Russia. The whole point of support for Ukraine is to make Russia bleed—doesn’t matter how many people die or suffer in the process or how much of Ukraine is destroyed. https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS/status/1202267180219478024 … ..."
"... So fomenting on a war on Russia's border is, it appears, self-evidently aids our national security. What's next? A war scare? Ramping up MH17? ..."
Dec 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"'Our Democracy Is at Stake.' Pelosi Orders Democrats to Draft Articles of Impeachment Against Trump" [ Time ]. With autoplay video. ""The President abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival." • So now when a President doesn't allow The Blob to dictate Ukraine policy it's an impeachable offense? Really? Yasha Levine quotes Democrat impeachment witness Karlan (see below) but the point is the same:

Yasha Levine ✔ @yashalevine

Thanks again for making explicit what I have long known: To America, Ukraine is nothing but a weapon against Russia. The whole point of support for Ukraine is to make Russia bleed—doesn’t matter how many people die or suffer in the process or how much of Ukraine is destroyed. https://twitter.com/BBuchman_CNS/status/1202267180219478024

So fomenting on a war on Russia's border is, it appears, self-evidently aids our national security. What's next? A war scare? Ramping up MH17?

"Read opening statements from witnesses at the House Judiciary hearing" [ Politico ]. "Democrats' impeachment witnesses at Wednesday's judiciary committee hearing plan to say in their prepared remarks that President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine were the worst examples of misconduct in presidential history." • So again, it's all about Ukraine. I feel like I've entered an alternate dimension. Aaron Maté comments:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/GkQDrYr4EZs

My very subjective impression: I've skimmed three, and read Turley. Karlan, in particular, is simply not a serious effort. Turley may be wrong -- a ton of tribal dunking on Twitter -- but at least he's making a serious effort. I'm gonna have to wait to see if somebody, say at Lawfare, does a serious effort on Turley. Everything I've read hitherto is and posturing and preaching to the choir. (Sad that Larry Tribe has so completely discredited himself, but that's where we are.)

While on Turley, see this from his testimony:

Hat tip to alert reader David in Santa Cruz for his early call on "inchoate":

Lambert, while Trump was unable to complete his attempt to extort the President of Ukraine, as someone who practiced the criminal law for 34 years, let me be the first to clue you in to the concept in the criminal law of the inchoate offense . This is criminal law, not contract law.

An inchoate offense includes an attempt, a conspiracy, and the solicitation of a crime. All focus on the state of mind of the perpetrator, and none require that the offense be completed -- only that a person or persons having the required criminal intent took material steps toward completing the crime. Such a person becomes a principal in the contemplated crime, and in the eyes of the law is just as guilty as if he or she had completed the attempted offense.

(The details of Trump's offense differ from what David in Santa Cruz said they would be.) "Inchoate" appears only in Turley's piece, indicating, to me, that his was the only serious effort.

[Dec 04, 2019] A Warning

Looks like a sequel to Wolff book
Dec 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

linda galella , November 19, 2019

"This may be our last chance to act to hold the man accountable..."

Well, that was "A Warning", for sure! The anonymous author of this tell all, Trump outter, goes on to proclaim "we must look deeper at the roots of the present disorder, which is why I have written this book."

Based on his/hers opening salvo, I proceeded with an open mind and hoped a first hand accounting of events would give me something more, something new, something unbiased...after reading every single word, I'm not sure what to think any more.

"A Warning", by Anonymous, is a well written political volume that speaks clearly, and authoritatively concerning the events that take place in the White House and with our president, Donald J. Trump. They have avoided all the histrionics that fill the tomes offered by most of the media members. There's plenty of passion and urgency behind what's being said it's just not crazed which for me, lends it an air of veracity. I'm settled for 60% of the discourse.

By chapter 5 my opinion of the author's recanting about the details of the POTUS's daily events has begun to become suspect and I'm starting to get that feeling that something is "off". I read on trying to keep my open mind, feelings at bay. It's not easy because the stories being told are starting to take on a schoolyard tenor such as: listing snippets of twitter tweets (only the "bad"parts), highlighting his inadequacies as a statesman/politician (DJT never claimed to be more than a businessman). It's not wrong to mention these things, it's the spirit in how it's done and the vacuum.

This is about the time that anonymous' logic becomes unfounded, for me; a Venn diagraming dilemma of if-then, WHAT?

Positing that POTUS has such a weakness for strong men that he would make egregious blunders of national security, as well as waffle on business and finance issues just doesn't make sense. Sorry. If for no other reason than his sheer business acumen, I'm rejecting this premise. Yes, he blunders on with lack of finesse in the deportment and statesman columns but...nope.

"A Warning" continues on pretty much in this manner, more and more juvenile until we end up firmly in the land of snark with chapter seven and "The Apologists" where the author in his anonymity proclaims how we can identify the various flavors of apologists, all they think and feel and all they need to do-to get , be and do better; presumptuous, IMHO. I'm sure snark wasn't the intended goal but it's how I arrived, for me.

All things considered, the writing and publishing are excellent. For the first half of the book, I was impressed with the author's ability to detail the story, taking the high road. The road got lonely along the way and anonymous veered to the access road, never joining yellow journalism highway to deliver "A Warning" 📚

Menkaure , November 21, 2019
Half-Hearted Epiphany

A lot of reviewers are saying "It's nothing we didn't already know," and at first, that was my conclusion as well: there's no bombshells here. But upon reflection, there actually is something that we didn't know. It answered a mystery that has perplexed me for the better part of 3 years, albeit I don't think the author knows it themselves. The million dollar question: how could anyone with any morality, dignity, patriotism, or merely a sense of self-preservation work in the Trump administration? 'A Warning' is not any kind of explosive insider expose on the workings of the current White House. It's far too vague and generalized, avoiding specifics on nearly every topic to the point of exasperation. What this book is, is an attempt by the author to justify their bad, and it must be said, weak choices. It's both a sub-conscious excuse and apology for what's clear the author has still not fully come to terms with themselves. Between the lines, you can almost see him/her trying to work it out, never quite grasping his/her own moral weakness in enabling a man they know to be dangerously incompetent. Everybody, anybody, who has ever worked for somebody else has faced this dilemma at some point in their career: when the boss is bad; you either stay for self-serving reasons (like your finances) or you make a stand before the boss damages the whole enterprise. The author is trying to make a stand, and failing at it. The alarming aspect in this instance, is the stakes are so much higher, the highest, in fact. This is a book written by somebody deep in denial, attempting to work it out but not quite willing, yet, to look themselves directly in the mirror. Chapter 7, "Apologists," is the most telling. The author is not just explaining the motivations of his/her co-participants, but is unwittingly addressing their self as well. Perhaps the most important question here, is WHO does Anonymous think they are "Warning?" at this point? For the Never-Trumpers this is all old news. For the Ever-Trumpers, they're never going to read anything unapproved by their Dear Leader. For those on the fence (if there are any) they're comatose and aren't capable of comprehension. This wasn't written for anybody but the author's own conscience, and even at that, it hedges, dances around itself, and avoids mirrors.

Amazon Customer , November 19, 2019
Discusses what is already known about Trump with little in the way of solutions.

The book tells readers what is already known and readily apparent about Donald Trump: his lack of empathy and curiousity, his volatility and impetuousness, his vengeful nature, the long-lasting damage he is doing to the country's institutions and norms.

The book does not delve into much, if any, new territory that has not been previously reported. Mentions of specific administration members and their individual actions are sparing and go little beyond general notions that many intitially thought Trump would turn his behavior around, are continually dumbfounded by him, try behind the scenes to keep the wheels of government on the road and fail due to his ADD, vanity, and pettiness, and that all know they are expendible to him.

The author devotes quite a bit of time discussing historical Greek democratic philosophy and examples to compare to the current situation. While interesting, it only serves to put Trump's personality and failings into yet another historical context which would surprise nobody who has paid any attention to this administration, government, politics, law, or history.

One of the largest problems with the author's arguments and solutions is that it ultimately lack individual courage. The author takes time to discuss the passengers aboard Flight 93 that fought back against the hijackers on 9/11. He/she even ends the book with the famous last words of one of the passengers who fought back: " Let's roll." While we do not know the identity of the author, his or her actions in publishing this book are not the same. The actions of passengers deciding to fight back against hijackers was not anonymous. They did not fail to show their faces. They met the danger head-on and with full knowledge of the consequences of failure. They did not try to leave it to others. The author gives the coda that the general public needs to wake up and do something, but then does not get in the aisle with the rest of the passengers to fight back. While the author's explanation of remaining anonymous is logical (that the message is more important than the messenger), the author ultimately falls prey to one of the flaws of everyone else who serves Trump: that he/she is not willing to speak truth directly to power regardless of the horrific consequences of not doing so. Former Senator Jeff Flake and Representative Justin Amash have made many of the same philosophical and logical points as the author regarding Trump's damaging actions publicly, to their own political demise. The reader cannot help but wonder if the author is still in the administration taking daily part in the passivity of those who know better but will not say it to Trump's face.

The book offers much in the way of problems but little in the way of solutions. The author suggests Americans be engaged in civics and politics at local and state levels. The author suggests that we find the political middle and return to civility. The author does not posit how the reader should, given such a dire warning, convince the many people to change course, who: 1) see what Trump really is and actually like it, 2) have been completely fooled about who Trump really is but will not respond to facts, logic, and/or self-interest, and 3) hold power to do something about Trump (i.e.: 53 Republican Senators) but remain passive due to a variety of personal, social, political, or economic factors.

Ultimately, the book puts forth an important analysis of Trump, the sycophants that surround him, and the damage he continues to do. But it doesn't come with the gravity of someone who is willing to risk his/her own skin in order to try to save the country that he/she seems to hold so dear. The message would mean more if the author was willing to risk all like the passengers of Flight 93.

joel wing , November 22, 2019
Disappointing Repeats major faults w/Trump without adding any new details

A Warning by Anonymous who claims to be a senior Trump administration official comes on the heal of previous tell all books such as Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury and Bob Woodward's Fear. Unfortunately, if one read those books or has paid attention to the news there is nothing really new in A Warning, which outlines the argument against the Trump presidency.

Anonymous' argument is that Trump is unfit for the presidency and most be voted out of office in the next election. The author's complaints are well known. The president knows nothing about how the government, the economy or foreign policy works which leads to endless problems as he makes pronouncements, Tweets, or asks his staff to do things that can't be done, and sometimes might even be illegal. He contemplated telling the National Guard that was deployed to the border with Mexico to shoot people trying to enter illegally as a deterrent. Trump isn't inquisitive, doesn't read, and is an avid consumer of conspiracy theories. Trump for example is so adverse to reading and has such a short attention span that his staff has been reduced to briefing him with just one graphic or one slide that represents one main issue, and to repeat that point over and over in the hopes that it will sink in with the chief executive. Many times that fails. Instead, Trump's main sources of information are cable news and a variety of conspiracy theories he hears or makes up himself. The president's language is divisive. Trump revels in smack talking, and one of his favorite times is to go to rallies where he can unleash a new line against his opponents. He enjoys being a rabble rouser and inciting his followers. The president came into office with a diverse cabinet of generals, politicians, and businessmen, but most of them have left. Not only that, but some of them were willing to stand up to the president and tell him things he didn't want to hear. The author considers himself part of this group. Now Trump is surrounded by people that only tell him what he wants to hear. All together that has led the White House into one crisis after another. Trump Tweets he wanted out of Syria without telling any of his staff beforehand. The White House had outlined a $2 trillion infrastructure bill with the Democrats, but then Trump got mad watching cable TV before a planned meeting and walked away from the deal. The author has one great characterization at an end of a chapter where he says the government is like one of Trump's companies. It's badly managed, a sociopath is at its head, there is infighting, lawsuits, debt, shady deals, and everything is focused upon the owner rather than the customers.

Anonymous does make one new argument you rarely hear, and that is Trump is not a conservative. He starts off with the fact that Trump has changed his party affiliation several times. He also has violated many of the hall marks of conservatism such as free trade, fiscal responsibility, and cutting the size of the federal government. Trump for example, has created a huge budget deficit with his tax cuts while continuing to increase public spending.

Again, the problem with the book isn't the message, it's just that his has all been said before. I was at least expecting some interesting stories to go along with this laundry list of faults, but was disappointed by the lack of them. In the end, if this is the first book you're thinking of reading about Trump you will get the main arguments against his presidency. If you've been following Trump and his faults, then there's little to see here.

E.M. Tennessen , November 21, 2019
Familiar info in a new package

"A Warning" confirms with additional anecdotes what we already know--useful if you don't want to go all over the web for "all the news" about the White House's inner workings and the President's behavior. It's well-written but would have been more compelling if the op-eds, snark and name-calling had been edited out. Clearly, not written (but possibly edited) by someone with a journalism background. The chapter on "character" was the most valuable as it serves as a reminder of what we are looking for in a leader of our country, or any leader, in fact--someone with integrity, honesty, service-minded, respectful of others, clear-thinking, etc. It's clear from what's written here that if the President is re-elected, it says more about our nation than it does about a 73-year-old man who clearly has attention deficit disorder, possibly a reading disability, and absolutely no experience with statecraft. (Nor does he care. I don't know what's worse.) I'm sure this book will become a part of our interesting historical record!

DalkasChris , November 22, 2019
Don't Bother

I purchased this book (against my better judgment) because I thought maybe the insights in this book would be enlightening. But I wish I hadn't spent the money. First, most of what was related in these pages, other than the opinion parts, were already well known through media, especially The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as other other media outlets.

Second, anyone paying attention would have anticipated Trump's actions. What made me want to vomit after finishing this book was the realization that the Republican party doesn't care and will continue to support Trump, regardless of the evidence that he is not fit to serve and the author despite issuing this "warning", doesn't have the guts or the patriotism to come out of the shadows.

I also take issue with the author's portrayal of "never Trumpers" as crazed haters. That's the farthest from the truth. Many of us recognized early on that Trump is agrifter and a liar and an unscrupulous opportunist. We are not crazed; we are sounding the alarm! We are sensible patriots who love our country and our Constitution, who do not want to see our discourse redown into tribal factions and, possibly, into civil war (hopefully, if such does occur it will be cyber rather than armed conflict).

Every single day we are asked to ignore what our eyes can clearly see and what our ears can clearly hear and our brains can easily deduce in order to allow Trump's reality to proceed unquestioned. He doesn't understand he is not a monarch and his children are not heirs to the throne. The lies are non-stop and getting worse and the people surrounding him, including the author, are doing NOTHING to reign him in.

Last, we are in the midst of an impeachment inquiry. I've read every deposition that has been released and watched every minute of direct testimony during the hearings. It is without contest that Trump attempted to extort and bribe Ukraine in order to have the newly inaugurated president of Ukraine announce an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden's involvement with Burisma. Sondland made it abundantly clear that no such actual investigation would be necessary, just the announcement of an investigation to tarnish Joe Biden's reputation and electoral standing. Trump's act was sleazy and wrong and illegal (check the statute about soliciting foreign involvement in domestic elections).

I'm infuriated by the author's insinuation that we who oppose such actions by any president are somehow deranged. The writer seems to think that impeachment and removal from office for such dirty tricks involving a foreign government should be somehow, beyond the pale for a civilized society. NO! Trump has obviously abused his office and put an ally in danger by withholding funding HE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO WITHHOLD, according to our Constitution. The author seems to think we should just cover our eyes to these transgressions and wait until the next election to vote Trump out.

What about all of the damage Trump can perpetrate on our democracy and on our foreign policy. He has done so much damage alrready, how can we allow him another year and keep our fingers crossed that it doesn't get worse? Also, since Trump was obviously trying to influence our upcoming elections with his dirty dealings, how can we allow him to remain in office knowing that he will do anything to cheat to win?

We anti-Trumpers (not never-Trumpers) are constantly accused of trying to perpetuate a "coup" by trying to remove Trump from office via either impeachment or through the 25th. That would only be true if Hilllary Clinton was installed in Trump's place. But If Trump leaves office before his first term is up, Mike Pence will assume the duties of president, not HRC. -- certainly not a "coup" to anyone who has half a brain and understands how our system works. It would still be a Republican administration and there would still be a Republican Senate. Certainly NOT a coup, just a Constitutional succession of the next in.line.

With regard to restoring a "climate of truth", that is impossible so long as alternative media (including FOX) exists. We Americans used to share a truth courtesy of the likes of Walter Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley and others. Now, there's "left" media and a "right" media and they both exist in their own realities. We no longer share the same reality. If we no.longer share the same immutable facts and truths, then how can we work out our differences and our needs so we can all come to a consensus?

This book left me feeling angry and afraid for the future of my country, especially because people like the "anomynous" author doesn't take his citizenship and patriotism a step forward and tell what he knows on the record.

Don't waste your money. The author is a coward and should never profit from his lack of courage.

World Traveller , November 22, 2019
Should Have Remained an Op Ed

This is not a very good book . I say this even though I was so looking forward to it , even buying it in pre-publication. On the publication date, I woke up early and started to read it, only to find it repetitious and general in nature.
Trump is described as amoral, indifferent, inattentive and impulsive – repeatedly. But with little background. The author is afraid of being identified as such so he deletes specific information that may later identify him. High ranking officials are identified as "high ranking officials". Important meetings are identified as "important meetings".
I did not read the original article that led to the book but It feels like the author took the article and padded it into a book. Disappointing: a waste of time; a waste of money.

Uh How How How , November 22, 2019
Self-aggrandizing, short on new info, long on whining written by a coward

I am a critic of this Administration.

First off, I really enjoyed the author's listing of every sleazy thing Trump has ever done (none of which are new or even greatly detailed), followed by snarky quips about Democrats taking power with too much zeal to investigate. That's the kind of 'logic' we are looking at here. The argument is that there is a lawless criminal in the White House but it's better to whine about him in print than do anything about it.

Secondly, there is no new information in this book. There is nothing here I have not heard before. There are no damning conversations or dramatic revelations. This book packages up the reporting of every news agency to date and just vomits it out at us. We've heard this all before. We had the author's level of indignation three years ago. We came to these conclusions three years ago. It is insulting that the author presents this material with a 'ta-daaa!' It's a scam.

Thirdly, Trump does what he does because weasels like the author of this 'book' let him. No matter what justifications this guy has for himself, he is still nothing but an enabler, and is complicit in the actions of this Administration. The author spends most of the book whining about the things Trump has done, takes no responsibility for anything, and does a LOT of "CYA." (cover your butt).

This is a 'nothing-burger.'

[Dec 04, 2019] Biden is trending steadily (but very slowly) downward. Sanders and Buttigieg are trending up, Sanders slowly and Buttigieg somewhat faster, while Warren is settling back to her long term average after a bump in October

Fake polls, fake trends, fake candidates
Dec 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ChrisPacific , December 3, 2019 at 3:57 pm

The poll graph without three day averaging is a great visual illustration of the margin of error concept. It's even clear in the averaged version. I guarantee people are NOT changing their minds that fast, and I'm sure all the issues Lambert highlighted are contributing to the inaccuracies.

That said, a few trends are clear. Biden is trending steadily (but very slowly) downward. Sanders and Buttigieg are trending up, Sanders slowly and Buttigieg somewhat faster, while Warren is settling back to her long term average after a bump in October. Harris' decision to withdraw looks like a good one. Undecided numbers are all over the place, and tend to spike up when other lines spike down, so I'm guessing that's down to differing polling methodologies and how hard people are pushed to make a call.

Mo's Bike Shop , December 3, 2019 at 9:04 pm

Are these pollsters reading all twenty names over the telephone? Or is the polled asked to name a candidate? I can't get my head around how to manage a list of this many candidates by voice without 'Name Recognition' being the first choice.

Lambert Strether Post author , December 4, 2019 at 7:17 am

> Are these pollsters reading all twenty names over the telephone?

That's a very good question. Is the list of names so long -- I don't think we've ever had one so long -- that it enables pollsters to game the polls in new ways? Could be such a simple and obvious mode of rigging that we did not see it.

Polling mavens?

dk , December 4, 2019 at 8:34 am

The short answer is yes, the full list of names is read at least once. But the number of candidates can vary between pollsters and polls.

For example in the Dec 1 polls:

HarrisX (C+)
Nov 30 – Dec 1
Sat – Sun
437 Reg'd
National
18 candidate names, plus "Other" and "Unsure" (not present in data source, derived in app)
Details here: https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/472629-bloomberg-overtakes-harris-in-new-poll

Morning Consult (B/C)
Nov 25 – Dec 1
Mon – Sun
15,773 Likely
National
16 candidate names, plus "Someone else" (not present in data source, derived in app)
Details here: https://morningconsult.com/2020-democratic-primary/

The differences are Joe Sestak and Steve Bullock in HarrisX but not MC, going to guess that MC decided not to list them because they dropped, and if they asked the names during the survey their report them in the conveniently names "Someone else" category.

Regarding ChrisPacific's point about Undecideds, yes, this is affected by methodology and whose polls came out on a particular day.

And more generally, we should expect to see noise in this data. These are minuscule samples compared to the actual voting universe of over 65 million. The "Margin of Error" / "Confidence Interval" claims are based on the assumption that all polls are distributed as a uniform bell curve. Arguably useful for getting the noise out of stats for physical observations of mechanical models, but absurd for human polling. Pollsters (who work mostly in marketing) use MoE/CI to convince clients spend money on small polls and then spin out reassuring MoE or CI (which scale to each other, bigger MoE = narrower CI). (Tangentially, on political campaigns, the tactical advantages to be found in population data come from looking into what's happening in the noise, not from smoothing it out and then assessing the distorted surface).

And as in most viscous media, quick changes tend to snap back to origin, slow ones push though. Consider also that a) these candidates are introducing themselves, impressions develop over time, and engagement is still low. Also, the context of US society may be gradually changing, but it would take a sudden shock (like 9/11 at the time) to change the background context and be reflected in a suddenly shift in Dem Primary polls.

anonymous , December 4, 2019 at 9:06 am

I participated in the last Des Moines Register/CNN Iowa poll. The pollster was required to read all of the names, even when I could name one immediately.

The call came on my cell phone from a restricted number. I asked for what company or candidate the poll was being conducted; the interviewer said that she was not given that information, but at the very end I was asked whether I would be willing to talk to a reporter from CNN or the DMR (I declined). She did tell me the research firm for which she worked, which I later saw was the name of the firm that had conducted the poll. When I saw the original release, I wondered whether I was correct that this was the poll, since I remembered a question about my preference for a health care system that wasn't in the original release. That result was released at a later date.
The M4A option for that question was simply M4A, without additional information or qualifiers. I, as is usual for me, couldn't simply answer a multiple choice question, but explained that I supported improved M4A, and that current Medicare is still expensive. The interviewer told me that she herself has trouble affording Medicare, and that she particularly has trouble paying for her medication. (We got a little chatty.)

The research firm was also contacting Republicans. She said that I had been the first Democrat that she had reached that day, and that Republicans got different questions. She did not know whom she was calling and, at the end, asked my first name so that her company could verify that she had reached the right individual.

I'll check back here in case there are any other questions about the poll that I might be able to answer. If anyone is interested in the questions themselves, those are already available online.

Why did I agree to participate? To have my support for Bernie counted, of course!

[Dec 04, 2019] There Has Been No Retrenchment Under Trump

Notable quotes:
"... A more compelling explanation for the persistence of a large global U.S. military footprint, and the concomitant creep of oversees commitments, is to be found in domestic politics. Trump's rhetoric can diverge sharply from reality without consequence because few in his party have an incentive to hold him accountable. In this hyper-polarized political moment, most voters will stick with their party regardless of how many campaign pledges are broken or foreign policy initiatives end in failure. With an all-volunteer military, flattening taxes, and deficit financing, the vast majority of Americans are insulated from the costs of American foreign policy. So long as most Americans want to look tough and influential without paying for it, politicians won't be punished for living in the same fantasy world as voters. ..."
"... The main reason why America's military commitments remain unchanged under Trump may simply be that the president doesn't really want to reduce them. ..."
Dec 04, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

aul MacDonald and Joseph Parent explain in detail that Trump hasn't reduced U.S. military commitments overseas:

But after nearly three years in office, Trump's promised retrenchment has yet to materialize. The president hasn't meaningfully altered the U.S. global military footprint he inherited from President Barack Obama. Nor has he shifted the costly burden of defending U.S. allies. To the contrary, he loaded even greater military responsibilities on the United States while either ramping up or maintaining U.S. involvement in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere. On practically every other issue, Trump departed radically from the path of his predecessor. But when it came to troop deployments and other overseas defense commitments, he largely preserved the chessboard he inherited -- promises to the contrary be damned.

MacDonald and Parent's article complements my earlier post about U.S. "global commitments" very nicely. When we look at the specifics of Trump's record, we see that he isn't ending U.S. military involvement anywhere. He isn't bringing anyone home. On the contrary, he has been sending even more American troops to the Middle East just this year alone. While he is being excoriated for withdrawals that never happen, he is maintaining or steadily increasing the U.S. military presence in foreign countries. Many Trump detractors and supporters are so invested in the narrative that Trump is presiding over "withdrawal" that they are ignoring what the president has actually done. Trump's approach to U.S. military involvement might be described as "loudly declaring withdrawal while maintaining or increasing troop levels." Almost everyone pays attention only to his rhetoric about leaving this or that country and treats it as if it is really happening. Meanwhile, the number of military personnel deployed overseas never goes down.

The authors offer a possible explanation for why Trump has been able to get away with this:

A more compelling explanation for the persistence of a large global U.S. military footprint, and the concomitant creep of oversees commitments, is to be found in domestic politics. Trump's rhetoric can diverge sharply from reality without consequence because few in his party have an incentive to hold him accountable. In this hyper-polarized political moment, most voters will stick with their party regardless of how many campaign pledges are broken or foreign policy initiatives end in failure. With an all-volunteer military, flattening taxes, and deficit financing, the vast majority of Americans are insulated from the costs of American foreign policy. So long as most Americans want to look tough and influential without paying for it, politicians won't be punished for living in the same fantasy world as voters.