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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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[Aug 22, 2019] Trump Doesn t Know How to Negotiate by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
The problem with Trump is that everything in him is second rate. Even bulling. and many americans were aware of that and voted for him just because that thought that Hillary was worse. Much worse.
Actually Madeleine (not so bright) Albright was of the same mold... Gangster style bulling and extortion as the only Modus operandi
And Daniel Larison is correct: when Trump faces strong backlash he just declare the partner in negotiation "terrible" and walks out and try to justify his defeat ex post facto.
Notable quotes:
"... As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation. ..."
"... The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender. ..."
"... he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up. ..."
"... "Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas." ..."
"... The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price. ..."
"... "Trump has always been a lousy negotiator." ..."
"... But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself. ..."
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Michael Hirsh reminds us that Trump has always been a lousy negotiator:

Michael D'Antonio, a Trump biographer who interviewed him many times, agrees with Lapidus that there is no discernible difference in the way Trump negotiates today, as president, compared to his career in business. "His style involves a hostile attitude and a bullying method designed to wring every possible concession out of the other side while maximizing his own gain," D'Antonio said. "As he explained to me, he's not interested in 'win-win' deals, only in 'I win' outcomes. When I asked if he ever left anything on the table as a sign of goodwill so that he might do business with the same party in the future he said no, and pointed out that there are many people in the world he can work with, one at a time."

As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation.

The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender.

He seems particularly obsessed with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) because the trade-off inherent in any agreement made with Iran was that they would regain access to frozen assets, and he ignorantly equates this with "giving" them money. The fact that the JCPOA heavily favored the U.S. and the rest of the P5+1 doesn't interest Trump. Iran was allowed to come away with something at the end, and even the little bit they were able to get is far too much for him. This is one reason he has been so closely aligned with Iran hawks over the last four years, and it helps explain why he endorses absurd, unrealistic demands and "maximum pressure" of collective punishment. He is doing more or less the same thing he has always done, and he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up.

Here is another relevant point from the article:

"Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas."

The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price.


JSC2397 8 hours ago

Pulling off that "greatest trick" was amazing easy, actually: all Trump and his creatures had to do was go on the assumption that most Americans will readily believe what they see on television. Especially when it jibes with their prejudices.
david 8 hours ago
"Trump has always been a lousy negotiator."

But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself.

Martin Ranger 6 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

While I agree with pretty much all of the article, let us not forget that a majority of Americans was not, in fact, fooled.

Zsuzsi Kruska 6 hours ago
He can negotiate, but the thugs in Wash. don't want to. They are doing everything they can to start a war somewhere.
me 5 hours ago
Americans are certainly paying a price Benjamin Franklin warned about. But as for other countries, theirs is due strictly to their own doing, for relying excessively on the goodwill of America and turning a blind-eye to our imperialism. Quite frankly, up to now, US allies have been enablers.
Gary Rosenberg 5 hours ago
Add to that, " When someone hits me, I hit them back ten times harder."
This is not what we teach our children. It is a miserable way to live, or to run a country. No wonder the President is longer referred to as "the leader of the free world." He gave up that title. These are sad days.
d_hochberg 3 hours ago
Yes, he is utterly incompetent on his main selling point, his supposed skill at negotiating. It is very inconvenient having Trump as our standard-bearer.
Alan Vanneman 3 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

Actually, the people who voted for Trump and who support him now love him for being a bully. That's what they want. They want a Tony Soprano as their president, a guy who will go out and beat up all the people they hate. They don't want "negotiation". They want a guy who has a baseball bat and knows how to use it. What's "interesting" is that despite all of Trump's appeals to violence, and his willingness to support violence (for example, Saudi Arabia), he largely shrinks from it himself. We've seen far fewer Tomahawks than one might have expected, particularly considering the great press he received the first time around. Will we continue to be lucky? I hope so, but it's hard to be optimistic.

[Aug 22, 2019] FBI Informant Fed Media Lies to Smear Flynn, Defamation Lawsuit Alleges

Aug 22, 2019 | www.theepochtimes.com

Halper

Halper has links to the CIA and MI6. He also served in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations.

Halper met with Carter Page, a volunteer adviser to the Trump campaign, at a Cambridge symposium held on July 11 and 12, 2016. Page had just returned from a trip to Russia a few days prior and said he remained in contact with Halper for a number of months after that.

Page's trip became the core subject of the Steele dossier -- a collection of unsubstantiated claims about Trump-Russia collusion put together by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele that was paid for by Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The dossier was used by the FBI as the core evidence to obtain from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court a warrant to spy on Page several weeks before the presidential election

On Sept. 2, 2016, Halper also contacted George Papadopoulos, another Trump campaign aide, and offered $3,000 and a paid trip to London to write a paper about a gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. Papadopoulos accepted the offer and flew to London, where he met Halper and his assistant.

On Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, 2016, Halper also met with Trump campaign co-Chairman Sam Clovis in Northern Virginia and offered help to the Trump campaign with foreign policy, The Washington Post reported .

Halper's concern about Lokhova is portrayed as feigned in her complaint, since he seemed to have shown no concern for about two years after the 2014 Flynn meeting, only showing concern after Flynn started to aid Trump.

In fact, Halper appears himself to be rather close to Russian intelligence, having invited Vladimir Trubnikov, former director of Russian intelligence, to teach at CIS at least twice -- in 2012 and in 2015 -- according to the complaint. Trubnikov obliged him both times.

Between 2012 and 2017, Halper was paid more than a $1 million by the Office of Net Assessment, a strategy think tank that falls directly under the U.S. secretary of defense.

Adam Lovinger, an analyst at the think tank, raised alarm about the contracts to Halper, but was punished for it , according to his lawyer.

Flynn

Flynn was one of the most consequential post-9/11 intelligence officials in the world.

"Mike Flynn's impact on the nation's War on Terror probably trumps any other single person as his energy and skill at harnessing the Intelligence Community into a focused effort was literally historic," wrote then-Brig. Gen. John Mulholland in Flynn's 2007 performance review.

At the time, Flynn headed intelligence at the Joint Special Operations Command.

Mulholland, himself a former special forces officer, called Flynn "easily the best intelligence professional of any service serving today."

In 2014, however, he was forced into retirement over disagreements with the Obama administration.

More than a year ago, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to two FBI agents about conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place when former President Barack Obama imposed additional sanctions on Russia in December 2016.

He also pleaded guilty to lying about asking Russia to vote against or delay the vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution.

Finally, he pleaded guilty to lying about his foreign lobbying disclosures regarding the extent to which his work benefiting the Turkish government was overseen by that government. Foreign lobbying paperwork violations are seldom prosecuted. Flynn said the work started in August 2016; he shut down his lobbying firm in November 2016.

In March, Flynn asked a federal judge to delay his sentencing to give him more time to continue in his cooperation with a case in Virginia against two of his former associates, who face charges for concealing that they lobbied in the United States on behalf of Turkey.

Flynn has extensively cooperated with government prosecutors on multiple investigations and further cooperation will give him yet more grounds to ask for a lenient sentence. Even before the delay, the prosecutors were asking for a lenient sentence, including no prison time, while the defense wanted no more than a year of probation and community service.

[Aug 22, 2019] Did Flynn Just Call Out Mueller on Under-the-Table Plea Deal by Petr Svab

What a comple net of lies we aive...
Jul 14, 2019 | www.theepochtimes.com
Share News Analysis

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn appears to have put the team of former special counsel Robert Mueller on the defensive, unraveling what had been suggested to be a possible unofficial deal with the prosecutors.

Flynn, former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count of lying to the FBI. The Mueller team recommended a light sentence for him, including no prison time, officially because of his contrition for the crime and extensive cooperation with multiple Justice Department investigations.

But it appears that another, unofficial, deal may have been in place.

Several weeks before Flynn signed his plea, NBC News reported , based on unnamed sources, that the Mueller team was trying to get Flynn's cooperation by threatening to indict his son, Michael Flynn Jr.

"If the elder Flynn is willing to cooperate with investigators in order to help his son it could also change his own fate, potentially limiting any legal consequences," the article stated.

This isn't how an official plea deal would work, according to former FBI agent and Epoch Times contributor Marc Ruskin.

"It would be done with a wink and a nod," he said in a previous phone interview, later adding that "it wouldn't be binding, but it would be like an understanding."

It's not clear whether any such deal was reached and if so, what specifically it entailed. But Flynn's case involves a number of peculiarities that suggest something was going on behind the scenes.

'Star Witness' Strzok

Flynn's statement of offense attached to his plea acknowledges that he lied to the FBI during a Jan. 24, 2017, interview.

However, the FBI agent that wrote the report from the interview was Peter Strzok, who was later kicked off the Mueller team after the revelation of his animus toward Trump in texts then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Strzok was later fired from the bureau, while Page left on her own.

"Michael Flynn would have faced no legal jeopardy at all if he just wouldn't have pleaded guilty because they would have never gotten a conviction with Peter Strzok as their star witness," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Dec. 4.

Lobbying Forms

Flynn's statement also included an admission that the forms submitted by lawyers for his now-defunct lobbying company, Flynn Intel Group (FIG), contained false and misleading statements.

Flynn was never charged with lying on the forms and neither was his son, who also worked for the firm.

The Mueller team simply used Flynn's admission to charge Flynn's former partner in FIG, Bijan Rafiekian, and Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman and FIG's client, with false statements on the lobbying forms and for conspiring to act as unregistered lobbyists for Turkey.

The lobbying involved an op-ed published in The Hill under Flynn's name about Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania who runs a group that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed for an attempted 2016 coup.

Flynn was supposed to testify on the case and has asked the court to delay his sentencing until after that matter is concluded.

Flynn's Move

Last month, however, Flynn made an unexpected move. He fired his lawyers -- the same lawyers he hired to do the lobbying paperwork for his firm. His new team includes Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor who is a critic of corruption in the Justice Department in general and of Mueller in particular.

Later that month, the Mueller team asked Flynn to testify that he signed the lobbying forms knowing about the false statements and intending for them. He refused , saying he only acknowledged the falsities with hindsight, but wasn't aware of them at the time.

This angered Brandon Van Grack, one of Mueller's main prosecutors, according to Flynn's lawyers.

'Retaliation'

Shortly after that, the Mueller team did several things that Powell called a "retaliation."

They called off Flynn's testimony and tried to put a gag order on him to stop him from disclosing that fact.

Then they tried to recast him as a co-conspirator in the lobbying case, despite earlier telling the court multiple times that he wasn't one.

They also had an FBI agent directly call and question Flynn Jr. "despite knowing that he was represented by counsel," Flynn's lawyers said in a court filing. "The Agent persisted in trying to speak with him even after he said to call his attorney."

Then, on July 11, they designated Flynn Jr. as a witness in the lobbying case, though he wasn't on the original witness list from the day before ( pdf ).

No Deal?

If Flynn is indeed being punished for reneging on the "wink and a nod" deal, the Mueller team seems to have the short end of the stick now because, officially, there is no deal.

The judge in the lobbying case made it clear that the government has yet to prove there was a conspiracy to begin with, not to mention that Flynn was a co-conspirator. Meanwhile, Powell told the judge in the Flynn case that the severity of his sentence shouldn't be affected because he's still cooperating with the government -- he simply clarified that what the Mueller team wanted him to say went beyond what he'd previously acknowledged and wasn't true.

If there was a deal, the Mueller team has by and large already delivered on its side of it. Whatever leverage it had over Flynn now appears about spent. Does Van Grack still have a card or two to play? And if so, does he really want to tip his hand?

New Questions

On July 12, the Mueller team handed a statement to Rafiekian's lawyers saying that the government has "multiple independent pieces of information relating to the Turkish government's efforts to influence United States policy on Turkey and Fethullah Gulen, including information relating to communications, interactions, and a relationship between Ekim Alptekin and Michael Flynn because of Michael Flynn's relationship with an ongoing presidential campaign without any reference to [Rafiekian] or FIG."

Rafiekian's lawyers seized on the statement, arguing that Flynn was "secretly acting on behalf of Turkey."

But they also acknowledged that they haven't seen any such evidence.

Powell seemed unimpressed.

"We have no idea what the government is talking about. It smacks of desperation," she said in a statement , highlighting that during Trump's presidential campaign "countless people" reached out to Flynn, who was an adviser to Trump.

"Whatever it is, it cannot be new information to the prosecution, and it was only a few months ago prosecutors recommended probation for him," Powell said. "As we have said in our recent filings, this can only be retaliation for his refusal to answer a question the way they wanted."

The Mueller team's claim raises more questions: How did it get this information? How long have they been sitting on it and why? If Alptekin reached out to Flynn on behalf of Turkey explicitly because Flynn advised Trump, why haven't we heard about it by now? Did Turkey reach out to the Clinton camp too? After all, it was Clinton who was widely expected to replace President Barack Obama, who already had an amicable relationship with Erdogan.

In fact, just days before Rafiekian and Alptekin engaged in talks about the Gulen job in July 2016, Obama called Erdogan "to deliver what a senior administration official described as a 'shout-out' for his resilience in the face of a failed coup attempt, and to express relief that the Turkish president and his family were safe," The New York Times reported .

Turkey was trying to make the Obama administration extradite Gulen, but why it would try to get help specifically from Flynn, who was known to be at odds with the Obama administration, remains unclear.

If the Obama administration, however, somehow learned that Flynn's firm, unregistered to boot, was working for Alptekin, who is known to have ties to Erdogan, it would have given it a perfect pretext to target Flynn for FISA surveillance as an "agent of a foreign power."

While it has been speculated that the FBI took out a FISA warrant on Flynn to spy on the Trump campaign, that hasn't been confirmed.

Update: The article has been updated to reflect that Michael Flynn continues to cooperate with prosecutors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Aug 20, 2019] Trump is a pig who is highly aggressive in foreign policy as long as he can get away with it: Trump fits well into an attempt by the most hawkish and revanchist elements in the US to destroy globalization and create a world of the jungle, where they estimate the US will have better chances

Notable quotes:
"... I see these actions as ... attempt to keep US hegemony for longer. ..."
"... Further US sanctions on Russia. Russian gdp growth is very low now, forecasts are about mere 1,2 % per anum, and thus Russia's share of world GDP is declining. ..."
"... Overall situation - the US share in the world economy is declining at slower rates than before, mainly due to the retarding of growth of everyone else, which means defacto slowing down multipolarity and the replacement of the US dollar. ..."
"... Take into account one more point: Trump personally can be a clinic idiot on the run form an asylum, it would not change much. Trump is a talking head for some movement, some semi-visible alliance, that managed to enthrone him against 1% election fraud, using pervasive MSM smear campaign and so forth. ..."
"... I think Trump, but not, let's say, Obama, fits well into an attempt by the most hawkish and revanchist elements in the US to destroy globalization and create a world of the jungle, where they estimate the US will have better chances. ..."
"... ok, I think I get it. So what Arioch and others are saying is that the U.S. empire uses the head choppers like attack dogs to do the dirty work and has some kind of indigenous recruiting stream that feeds the 'down and outs' from areas like western China, Chechnia, Arabia, Africa, Europe, America, etc, into a ragtag 'army'. ..."
"... sounds believable... ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , Aug 20 2019 11:18 utc | 67

OT

Sooo, "Trump the isolationist" who "wants to dismantle the US empire", as some in alt media claim.

Trump Privately "Obsessed" With Naval Blockade Of Venezuela

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-19/trump-privately-obsessed-naval-blockade-venezuela-report

Same thing with China trade war - it was Trump who demanded more tarrifs over the advise of most of his advisors.

Trump is a pig and he will be highly aggressive in foreign policy if he can get away with it.


Arioch , Aug 20 2019 11:31 utc | 68

> Same thing with China trade war - it was Trump who demanded more tariffs

This part fits well into "isolationist' bill actually.
This part can be interpreted as "controlled demolition of US foreign trade" - racing against uncontrollable catastrophic demolition by sudden USD collapse.

Passer by , Aug 20 2019 12:25 utc | 75
Posted by: Arioch | Aug 20 2019 12:08 utc | 71

So you are of the view that Trump is part of attempt to create a controlled demolition of the US Empire?

I do not agree with that. I see these actions as a Cold War and attempt to keep US hegemony for longer.

Interestingly enough, China overtaking the US in gdp MER has been postponed after the start of the trade war. The 2016 forecasts were about 2024, and the latest are about 2032. Developing countries growth is being downgraded as well.

This fits well into the view that the US is trying to sabotage the global economy and particularly developing countries in order to slow down emerging multipolarity.

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 12:51 utc | 76
> I see these actions as ... attempt to keep US hegemony for longer.

Good. So then show me a list of Team Trump actions in foreign policy, since he got enthroned, that enhanced US position as "world leader".

As for me, i do not see a single one. And i do not buy "coincidence theory" that Trump tried to win all the encounters but lost them all, with 100% efficiency, because he is a fool surrounded by idiots. Would it be so, then by shear probability they would win at least something at least sometimes. So, i seem Trump playing his idiocy card for the sake of plausible deniability.

Basically, if to employ the anthropic principle, what else can Trump do where he is (and especially where he was in 2016) to do his dismantling and kept his office, freedom and life?

Clueless Joe , Aug 20 2019 12:52 utc | 77
It is possible that Trump tries to ruin US' standing in the world, to break some alliances, and to piss off enough people that the US wouldn't be asked to help or intervene here and there (though he'd be delusional or hypocritical not to realize that, often, the US likes to be asked to meddle in other countries' business). That might be a way to ensure the US is far more isolationist, and therefore goes further into self-reliance.

In which either he doesn't see or doesn't care that it also means that a multi-polar world will come faster, because other powers will take over the room left by the US. We'd be back to a system of spheres of influence, more than a superpower acting as the world's hegemon.

Of course, that's trying to make sense of what might either be Trump not having a clue, or having totally different plans.

Passer by , Aug 20 2019 13:15 utc | 78
Good. So then show me a list of Team Trump actions in foreign policy, since he got enthroned, that enhanced US position as "world leader".

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 20 2019 12:51 utc | 76

Plenty.

Overall situation - the US share in the world economy is declining at slower rates than before, mainly due to the retarding of growth of everyone else, which means defacto slowing down multipolarity and the replacement of the US dollar.

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 13:21 utc | 79
Take into account one more point: Trump personally can be a clinic idiot on the run form an asylum, it would not change much. Trump is a talking head for some movement, some semi-visible alliance, that managed to enthrone him against 1% election fraud, using pervasive MSM smear campaign and so forth.

Focusing all the processes upon a single person and then glorifying or dehumanizing it is east to swallow, causes Hollywoodesque thrills and resonates with our animal instincts to see a biggest ape of the cave as natural leader (whether we would love or hate such a cave chief is another question). And that is why it is loved by propaganda. Stalin was godlike figure in USSR. And devil-like figure in the West, before and after WW2. And he was next door "Uncle Joe" with x-mas candies - during WW2.

Well, d'oh, did USSR as a nation or as ideology changed that much betweem 1932-1942-1952? Hardly so. Same thing about Syria - there is no such a land, there is no such a nation, there is only Assad the Dictator, and no one else there. Etc, etc.

Now in USA it is all about Trump the fascist wannabe, Trump the orange buffoon, Trump this and Trump that. Like he was the last leaving person left in USA.

Passer by , Aug 20 2019 13:34 utc | 80
Posted by: Arioch | Aug 20 2019 13:21 utc | 79

I think Trump, but not, let's say, Obama, fits well into an attempt by the most hawkish and revanchist elements in the US to destroy globalization and create a world of the jungle, where they estimate the US will have better chances.

michael , Aug 20 2019 13:41 utc | 81
ok, I think I get it. So what Arioch and others are saying is that the U.S. empire uses the head choppers like attack dogs to do the dirty work and has some kind of indigenous recruiting stream that feeds the 'down and outs' from areas like western China, Chechnia, Arabia, Africa, Europe, America, etc, into a ragtag 'army'.

sounds believable...

[Aug 20, 2019] Classic neoliberal globalisation means outsourcing, which weakens the US. It will be abolished under national neoliberalism regime

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , Aug 20 2019 17:34 utc | 103

Posted by: jared | Aug 20 2019 14:55 utc | 87

>You cite without irony that U.S. is enhancing it's position by hobbling it's erstwhile trading partners.
Not sure that's a formula for success.

Yes, point is to make others lose more that what you would lose. Thus you keep your relative power vis a vis others even if everybody is poorer.

As of now, it did have effect - it slowed down the US relative decline in economic terms, as the US share of the global economy was declining faster in 2010 or 2015 than today.


> Also not sure why this leads you to believe that this has the affect of slowing transition from dollar.

Transition away from the dollar would have happened faster if the US just sat on its hands and did nothing, as current slowing growth rates in the developing world economy suggest. Plus not controlling the EU and Saudi Arabia means game over.

Posted by: anti_republocrat | Aug 20 2019 15:14 utc | 88

>Yes, US elites are successfully causing a slow-down, perhaps even a crash, in the world economy. What their hubris does not allow them to see is that they're causing the unification of much of the world against them.

See above

>and also that their weaponry and military might is of poor quality and obsolete. It can often be defeated by low-tech counter-measures like the unguided drones the Houthis used to attack Saudi oil infrastructure.

Yes, this is what happens under conditions of globalisation. A partial solution is to try to stop globalisation, but still this proccess can not be fully stopped.

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 20 2019 14:53 utc | 86

>But as of today (and as it was 10 years ago, and perhaps ever since USSR collapse) "globalisation" and "USA Hegemony" is the same! Now, of course in theory there can be Russian hegemony or Chinese hegemony or Islamic hegemony... Maybe there would. But in the world we live in today, USA Hegemony = globalisation. That is what we inherited form 1990-s.

It is not the same. Globalisation for example means outsourcing, which weakens the US. Then it means China working in Africa, or the BRI. Many benefit from globalisation, and i think that China can carry out globalisation on its own even if the US refuses to play. It also means things such as economic convergence, and knowledge and technology difussion around the world. Currently, it leads to the rise of the developing world, and the weakening of relative US power, which means that it is no longer in the US interest. See the current US attacks against the WTO, etc. It was definitely US led in 1990s, but it is no longer US driven now.

>Teamp Trump wants to "create a world of the jungle" ? But WHAT is jungle if not multipolarity? Tiger is challenging wolves, bulls are trumping the tiger, monkeys are throwing nuts at everyone while cobra and python are eating them monkeys, right?

You can have various types of multipolarity, for example cooperative multipolarity, or fragmented, walled, conflict ridden multipolarity.

The US would lose most in the first case (think about the rise of the developing world), and will preserve the most of its power in the second case.


casey , Aug 20 2019 17:41 utc | 104

"Slow down its decline as much as possible," yes, but to what end? The only point in slowing down the US decline, rather than transitioning away from Empire, would be if the US buys enough time to beggar other economies sufficiently through covert operations(kill the BRI, kill NS2 and TurkStream, ad nauseum) while keeping its own economy at slightly above beggaring.

That kind of process, given the fact that much of the world is now lining up in coalitions against the US, takes time. I have to agree with Orlov here, that it's taken 30 years for the Empire to drive itself right to the very edge of the cliff, where the least puff of wind can push it over.

[Aug 20, 2019] Leveraging US demand for geopolitical and trade advantage after decades of post-WW2 market building in devastated nations. This policy had overstayed its efficacy from an 'America First' standpoint.

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Full Spectrum Domino , Aug 20 2019 17:01 utc | 100

@ 71 & @75

"So you are of the view that Trump is part of attempt to create a controlled demolition of the US Empire?"

The 'controlled demolition of the US Empire' is an elaborate euphemism for re-nationalism, I suppose. To unfold in three concentric waves.

Step 1. Trade restructuring - close the NAFTA loophole, redirect production to the NA Trade bloc (and friendlier reciprocating markets - Laos, Vietnam, India, etc). Closer to home, Mexico will be a huge beneficiary. Redirected supply lines are no arid macroeconomic development. They mean the radical bestowal of prosperity in some countries and the revocation of prosperity in others. I liken the USMCA impending wage increase in Mexico to Fordism in turn-of-the century America. The $5 a day program minted the US middle class and averted the central crisis of capitalism, overproduction. Anybody can build factories, staff them with rural peasantry and create a tsunami of global deflation. Productive capacity's a cheap trick. What bestows today's prosperity? DEMAND. Trump is asserting the previously unasserted crown jewel of the global economy: a highly developed demand market that has long-since traversed the middle income trap, no small feat.

The Eurasian Century will not arrive soon enough to displace US demand, not for the CCP anyway. Hillary was to cement the terminus of the Managed Decline Arc. Woops. Xi misread Trump. It may sound trite, but Trump's not a politician. His resume 'moves backwards'. He's not a political class grifter who's gathering chits in career one to build a global foundation in career 2. This is the career trajectory the Chinese have been normalized towards. Their 11th hour adjustments in the first agreement would have been snatched by any craven US politician and heralded as a victory. Trump defied all expectations by walking away. There's no doubt this rattled the Chinese. Let's also not forget Trump picked this fight as he did NAFTA renegotiation. These were settled modes of business in line with globalist and corporatist agendas. The Eurasian Century (and belated domestic Chinese demand, the offsetting sponge the world needed in 1999 and should have insisted upon had Clinton not been bought off to WTO entry. This treachery, in the end, served no one except the political classes of both nations.) The ferocity of the present China-US struggle is a direct result of its criminal belatedness. WW3 is a possible outcome. Neither nation was well-served by this procrastination. (Google the 1996 United States campaign finance controversy).

Step 2. A significant resurgence of US domestic productivity collapses the Triffin Paradox which mandates structural trade deficits from the reserve currency nation. Main Street retakes the streets from Wall Street money-changers who were only too happy to abet the trade deficit (and make the $ the US' preeminent export) by shipping manufacturing overseas (it wasn't 'their' jobs after all) , hollowing out the soul of the country and creating a nation of opium-eaters. The US Chamber of Commerce (multinational mouthpiece) detests Trump. This will ultimately lead to a relinquishing of USD reserve currency status. It was going to happen anyway under the globalist regime, just more wrenchingly ala the Argentine Paradox.

Step 3. What is after all the US military's paycheck? The petrodollar. A full spectrum military answerable to a nationalized currency would hyper-inflate away overnight. The Empire military footprint is unsustainable with a trade-rebalanced and re-nationalized USD and absent the infinite flow of defended oil (hence the Oil Standard usurping the Gold Standard in 1973 - the peak household income year in the US incidentally). So a receding MIC is implicit in the Trump agenda, though too controversial to trumpet at this early juncture --back end of term 2 maybe? Natural attrition will be tagged with this outcome. We see Soros and Koch already joining forces to herald a new era of peace. Strange bedfellows.

In the broadest terms, the Trump theme is a tectonic and hyper-ambitious re-seating of Main Street as the driver of the American economy. This pits him against every vested interest on the planet. It's the ultimate counter-cycle to one-worldism and neoliberal financialization. The globalists were done with America and ready to toss the population to a fentanyl fog.

I prefer skirting Trump is a moron trope. Suffice to say SOMEBODY assembled the Navarro-Lighthizer-Ross-Mnuchin trade team - the only nucleus that matters for Step 1 above. want to sell into this market? There will be a kiosk fee. You want to call that a war? Well, that sounds a bit histrionic. But maybe it also conveys your fear. Leveraging US demand for geopolitical and trade advantage after decades of post-WW2 market building in devastated nations. This policy had overstayed its efficacy from an 'America First' standpoint.

[Aug 20, 2019] Team Trump is attempt by the most hawkish and revanchist elements in the US to destroy globalization and create a world of the jungle, where they estimate the US will have better chance

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 14:53 utc | 86

..attempt by the most hawkish and revanchist elements in the US to destroy globalisation and create a world of the jungle, where they estimate the US will have better chances.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 20 2019 13:34 utc

Bingo!!!

But as of today (and as it was 10 years ago, and perhaps ever since USSR collapse) "globalisation" and "USA Hegemony" is the same! Now, of course in theory there can be Russian hegemony or Chinese hegemony or Islamic hegemony... Maybe there would. But in the world we live in today, USA Hegemony = globalisation. That is what we inherited form 1990-s.

Teamp Trump wants to "create a world of the jungle" ? But WHAT is jungle if not multipolarity? Tiger is challenging wolves, bulls are trumping the tiger, monkeys are throwing nuts at everyone while cobra and python are eating them monkeys, right?


Arioch , Aug 20 2019 14:53 utc | 86

jared , Aug 20 2019 14:55 utc | 87
@ Posted by: Passer by | Aug 20 2019 13:15 utc | 78

You cite without irony that U.S. is enhancing it's position by hobbling it's erstwhile trading partners.
Not sure that's a formula for success.
Also not sure why this leads you to believe that this has the affect of slowing transition from dollar.
It's one thing to destroy and something more complex to create.
However I don't think that the world will be better-off for Trumps creative destruction.
I don't know if it's harder to believe that such incompetence was all an accident or that this was his intention.

anti_republocrat , Aug 20 2019 15:14 utc | 88
>Passer by | Aug 20 2019 13:15 utc | 78

Man does not live by bread (money) alone.

Yes, US elites are successfully causing a slow-down, perhaps even a crash, in the world economy. What their hubris does not allow them to see is that they're causing the unification of much of the world against them, and also that their weaponry and military might is of poor quality and obsolete. It can often be defeated by low-tech counter-measures like the unguided drones the Houthis used to attack Saudi oil infrastructure.

Much of US GDP is either the creation of these ineffective military assets, "services" that merely transfer wealth to the already rich or resource extraction (including the mining of top soil and other agricultural assets) that pollutes the homeland and must eventually be cleaned up.

Trump either understands none of this or as Arioch suggests, has no choice in which case his bosses have no clue. If he or they did, he wouldn't be doing what he's doing. Nobody wants to go down in history compared to Nero, Caligula or worse still, Honorius.

Pablo Novi , Aug 20 2019 15:15 utc | 89
This is just my 2nd post to MoA. I'm reprinting my first (made just a few minutes ago to the thread that chronologically preceded this one) as an self-introduction.

"Hi all supporters of the Syrian people and their government / SAA; and/or opponents of US Imperialism and Zionists & Sauds. I've been a long-time reader / follower of MoonOfAlabama; but I only just now found this site and thread. Great thanx to MOA and the many posters contributing to helping us better understand what is happening on the ground in Syria.

btw, born and raised in the US, I attended my first (of multiple hundreds of) demonstrations in 1965. It was Pro-Palesitnian, Anti-Zionist. I naively went there to OPPOSE them; and got 100% convinced of the justice of their cause. That afternoon, a female member of the Anti-Vietnam-War Movement educated me about the nature of that conflict - US Imperialism at its worst - and it was the combination of learning about Palestine and Vietnam that caused me to dedicate every free moment for the rest of my life to contributing to the struggle for peace and justice.

I than worked 40+ hours a week, 50+ weeks a year, 1965-1975 (20,000+ volunteer hours) to help end the US Gov slaughter of 2-3 million innocents in Vietnam. And, for the past 54 years have done all I can to support the Palestinians and oppose Zionism (and its US-billionaire sponsors).

Kudos to all the great work by so many of you here,
Pablo"
-------
My overall position: THE PROBLEM: vis-a-vis the whole world: Capitalism (since 1550~); Monopoly-Capitalism (since 1900~); Deathroes-Capitalism (since 2000~). vis-a-vis the US: The US Gov was never "great"; instead, just the opposite, with 227 out of 243 years (a HUMONGOUS SAMPLE SIZE) of wars of aggression; and 243 out of 243 years of the American super-rich getting richer and more powerful (at the expense of the American working and poor; but especially, at the expense of the workers and poor of the rest of the world.

CORRELARIES: Capitalism has never been reformable. Israel is one of dozens of 100%-dominated US puppet-states (same for Saudi Arabia ...). Israel does not run the US Gov (the 585 American billionaires do!); and Israel did not do 9/11; the American billionaires did 9/11 to: As A pretext to: Try to maintain, if not expand, their world-straddling empire THRU never-ending, ever-expanding: wars, police states and world-wide poverty: AGAINST all enemies (Chinese-Russian billionaires, other non-American billionaires; competing economies and militaries; and especially against the ever-more-united non-rich peoples of the world to liberate themselves.

N.B. I've been a 9/11 Truther since the late afternoon of 9/11 - the ENDLESS REPETITION (of the "2nd plane crash" and the Twin Tower's demolitions) finally made me remember that endless repetition is SOP for (US) Imperialism. It's aim is to sell the exact reverse of the truth (so we don't believe what really was going on) thru mass brainwashing.

I am the original author of the Leaflet:
"End ALL The Wars & Police States, NOW!" (aka: "The 9/11 Truth UNITY Manifesto") -

which can be found at the above-listed URL;

Facebook site: International 9/11 Fraud Awareness Week

[Aug 20, 2019] For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Aug 20 2019 18:26 utc | 107

"For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence.."
Not necessarily. The US is gambling that it will beat Venezuela. But if it doesn't, if Venezuela simply outlasts the imperialist sanctions, it will emerge much stronger.
In recent years there has been a drift towards compromise with the US in Venezuela. Chavez was always very generous towards his opponents and this has continued. As a result the old Creole ruling class has been relatively undisturbed. It has retained its power over the media, for example and left in a position to sabotage the economy through its control of supermarkets, banks and commerce. It has retained its landholdings and maintained its agribusiness.

And now, in cahoots with the imperialists, it has come out against the government and chavismo. Its racist, neo fascist propensities and its contempt for its own countrymen and women- the poor and the working class- have been revealed. While the people are fighting to defend themselves against imperialism, Guido and the Venezuelan right, the capitalist class have made their positions very obvious. Given any sort of opportunity they will smash the social security and food security networks that keep the poor from starvation. They will privatise- Honduras style- and death squads will roam the working class districts torturing and killing.
In short the people of Venezuela have been shown exactly what to expect if the US wins. And the allies of the US have been revealed to be the country's worst enemies: traitors and Quislings.

In the end, if the US does not replace the Maduro government, it will find itself much worse off. All its Fifth Columnist friends will be in exile or hiding. All their wealth will have been distributed to the poor or nationalised.


And the US will have one more sworn and permanent enemy, the people of Venezuela.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Walter a day ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great article, Mr. Masciotra.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They didn't. That should matter.

[Aug 20, 2019] Trump is about the agony. The agony of the US centered global neoliberal empire.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The current neoliberal order failed to suppress China development enough to block her from becoming the competitor (and the second largest economy.) ..."
"... That's why a faction of the USA elite decided to adopt "might makes right" policies (essentially piracy instead of international law) in a hope that it will prolong the life of the US-centered neoliberal empire. ..."
"... As much as Trump proved to be inapt politician and personally and morally despicable individual (just his known behavior toward Melania tells a lot about him; we do not need possible Epstein revelations for that) he does represent a faction of the US elite what wants this change. ..."
"... All his pro working class and pro lower middle class rhetoric was a bluff -- he is representative of faction of the US elite that is hell bent on maintaining the imperial superiority achieved after the collapse of the USSR, whatever it takes. At the expense of common people as Pentagon budget can attest. ..."
"... That also explains the appointment of Bolton and Pompeo. That are birds of the feather, not some maniacs (although they are ;-) accidentally brought into Trump administration via major donors pressure. ..."
"... In this sense Russiagate was not only a color revolution launched to depose Trump by neoliberal wing of Democratic Party and rogue, Obama-installed elements within intelligence agencies (Brennan, Comey, McCabe, etc.) , but also part of the struggle between the faction of the US elite that wants "muscular" policy of preservation of the empire (Trump supporters faction so to speak) and the faction that still wants to kick the can down the road via "classic neoliberalism" path (Clinton supporters faction so to speak.) ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> anne... August 04, 2019 at 04:14 PM

It is not about the strategy. It's about the agony. The agony of the US centered global neoliberal empire.

Trump and forces behind him realized that current set of treaties does not favor the preservation of the empire and allows new powerful players to emerge despite all institutionalized looting via World Bank and IMF and the imposition of Washington Consensus. The main danger here are Germany (and EU in general) and, especially, China.

The current neoliberal order failed to suppress China development enough to block her from becoming the competitor (and the second largest economy.)

That's why a faction of the USA elite decided to adopt "might makes right" policies (essentially piracy instead of international law) in a hope that it will prolong the life of the US-centered neoliberal empire.

As much as Trump proved to be inapt politician and personally and morally despicable individual (just his known behavior toward Melania tells a lot about him; we do not need possible Epstein revelations for that) he does represent a faction of the US elite what wants this change.

All his pro working class and pro lower middle class rhetoric was a bluff -- he is representative of faction of the US elite that is hell bent on maintaining the imperial superiority achieved after the collapse of the USSR, whatever it takes. At the expense of common people as Pentagon budget can attest.

That also explains the appointment of Bolton and Pompeo. That are birds of the feather, not some maniacs (although they are ;-) accidentally brought into Trump administration via major donors pressure.

In this sense Russiagate was not only a color revolution launched to depose Trump by neoliberal wing of Democratic Party and rogue, Obama-installed elements within intelligence agencies (Brennan, Comey, McCabe, etc.) , but also part of the struggle between the faction of the US elite that wants "muscular" policy of preservation of the empire (Trump supporters faction so to speak) and the faction that still wants to kick the can down the road via "classic neoliberalism" path (Clinton supporters faction so to speak.)

[Aug 19, 2019] Trump Privately Obsessed With Naval Blockade Of Venezuela Report

Aug 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Axios is calling it President Trump's Venezuela naval blockade "obsession" based on accounts of unnamed administration officials: "President Trump has suggested to national security officials that the U.S. should station Navy ships along the Venezuelan coastline to prevent goods from coming in and out of the country , according to 5 current and former officials who have either directly heard the president discuss the idea or have been briefed on Trump's private comments," according to a new report .

He's said to have repeatedly raised the idea in private as a way to finally deliver regime change in Caracas , after prior attempts - including a short-lived push for military coup - failed earlier this year. Supposedly, the plan would be to station US Navy ships along the coast such that all vessels would be blocked from entering or exiting the South American country.

While Trump has acknowledged to the press in recent weeks that it's "an option" that's being discussed, his private comments have been more pointed and extensive. Axios quotes one source as follows: "He literally just said we should get the ships out there and do a naval embargo," the source described upon hearing the president's comments. "Prevent anything going in," the official said.

Image via Checkpoint Asia

"I'm assuming he's thinking of the Cuban missile crisis," the source said further. Push back against the president's floating such a blockade have not been centered around the potential humanitarian disaster by further cutting off the already cash-deprived country as food and energy are already at crisis shortages.

Instead, the concern voiced focused on the feasibility from a US perspective of taking on such as massive enterprise as blockading a coastline that stretches more than 1700 miles .

Per Axios, an administration source argued it's unrealistic :

"But Cuba is an island and Venezuela is a massive coastline. And Cuba we knew what we were trying to prevent from getting in. But here what are we talking about? It would need massive, massive amounts of resources ; probably more than the U.S. Navy can provide."

While there's no official blockade in place yet, the US has recently made efforts to block individual vessels from getting to Venezuela in the context of new oil sanctions by the US Treasury.

That's a lot of coastline:

Early this summer, Trump appeared to have cooled on pursuing regime change against Nicholas Maduro; however, his alleged "obsession" means the standoff could become a front and center national security priority once again.

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

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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

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

Call it the diplomacy of coercion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"War on terrorism" turns into cold war against Russia

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

Originally published October 2, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Aug 19, 2019] Rest assured "The Great War" did not mean "The Splendid war"

Aug 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

It was the World's largest war at that time and surpassed WW II in many statistics, although probably not "tonnage of bombs dropped". That latter was WW II, not surpassed until the Gulf War when USAF used up all it's old arsenal (the better to let more contracts, my dear).
To be fair, military aviation was in its infancy then. The slaughter on the Western front broke England's Social Structure and paved the way for the destruction of the British Empire. Four other empire's died as a consequence of WW I (German, Austrian, Russian, and Turkish)
Note: "Kaiser" derives from "Caesar" which was an Imperial title of the late Roman Empire besides being Gaius Julius Caesar's family name). Promises made to both Arabs and Jews by the two-faced British Foreign Office paved the way for today's Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
It was a shattering event which tend to occur at 100 year intervals. The one previous was the Napoleonic Wars. I forget the one before that. War of the Spanish succession? And coincidentally, we are now living a hundred years later in the Middle east Forever war, which I fully expect to have similar consequences. The rights and civil liberties of free Americans are already a casualty.

The Great War set the stage for the Great Depression. I think a similar depression occurred after the War of 1812 (Napoleonic War in Europe). I'd have to consult a history text to see about others, but our 1970's economic travails were mirrored after the Civil war and the dot com bust is eerily similar to the Depression of 1890.

There is a theory that wars and revolutions occur at two cycles of approximately 100 and 170 years based on temperature and rainfall cycles. Every 500 years they coincide in a 5-3 resonance and whole civilizations fall or are transformed. Toynbee's 1000 year cycles can be seen as two such resonances. Following his analysis, the first crisis turns the civilization inwards and autocratic. The second breaks it entirely. Religions change too. I forget how. My Toynbee is packed away. does anyone here know what were the religious changes? Interestingly, the next 500 year supercycle fell in 2000 AD, so we are now in the first major crisis of Western Technical Civilization? (my name for the Renaissance and beyond, usually prosaically called "Modern"). this should turn WTC inward and autocratic, eventually dying in the next event around 2500 AD which should entire the collapse of civilization and a great folk-wandering sparked by environmental collapse. (loss of Eurasian pasture in the case of 500AD, turning steppe peoples westward (China was having a civilization peak, no way were the Huns turning east. In fact, they were expelled from China.

Ain't history fun? unless you are living it.

[Aug 19, 2019] There Once Was a President Who Hated War. American elites used to see war as a tragic necessity. Now they're completely addicted to it by Stephen M. Walt

Notable quotes:
"... Stephen M. Walt ..."
"... Steven A. Cook ..."
"... Jeffrey Lewis ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | foreignpolicy.com
A statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his dog Fala are seen at the FDR Memorial September 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt is often hailed as one of the United States' greatest presidents. FDR gave Americans hope during the Great Depression, created key institutions like Social Security that remain broadly popular today, led the country to victory in World War II, and created a broad political coalition that endured for decades. He made mistakes -- as all presidents do -- but it's no wonder he's still regarded with reverence.

On Aug. 14, 1936 -- 83 years ago -- FDR gave a speech at Chautauqua in upstate New York, fulfilling a promise he had made at his inauguration in 1933. It is a remarkable speech, where FDR lays out his thoughts on the proper American approach to international affairs. He explains his "good neighbor" policy toward Latin America, along with his belief that although a more liberal international trade may not prevent war, "without a more liberal international trade, war is a natural sequence."

For me, the most remarkable feature of this speech is Roosevelt's blunt, vivid, and passionate denunciation of war, expressed with a candor that is almost entirely absent from political discourse today. After making it clear that "we are not isolationists, except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war," he acknowledges that "so long as war exists on Earth, there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war."

But then he goes on:

"I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line -- the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war."

Roosevelt then reminds his listeners that war can result from many causes (including, in a passage that surely speaks to us today, "political fanaticisms in which are intertwined race hatreds"). He hopes to preserve U.S. neutrality should conflict erupt elsewhere and warns against the few selfish men who would seek to embroil the country in war solely to reap war profits. To make sure the country does not foolishly choose profits over peace, he calls for the "meditation, the prayer, and the positive support of the people of America who go along with us in seeking peace."

Yet, for all that, FDR leaves no doubt that the American people will defend themselves and their interests if war is forced on them. In his closing paragraph, he declares: "If there are remoter nations that wish us not good but ill, they know that we are strong; they know that we can and will defend ourselves and defend our neighborhood." And it is precisely what Roosevelt ultimately did.

Seriously, can you think of a recent U.S. president who spoke of war and peace in similar terms, with equal passion and frankness?

Bill Clinton was no militarist, but he was so worried about being labeled a dove that he kept boosting defense spending, firing off cruise missiles without thinking, and blindly assuming that exporting democracy, expanding trade, and issuing open-ended security guarantees would suffice to bring peace around the world. And when he had a golden opportunity to broker a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace, he whiffed.

By contrast, George W. Bush was a swaggering frat boy who brought wars to several places and peace nowhere. He liked to pose in a nifty flight suit and give high-minded, tough-talking speeches, but the unnecessary wars he launched killed hundreds of thousands of people and severely damaged America's global position.

Barack Obama may have agonized over every targeted killing and major military decision, but he also ramped up the drone war, sent additional troops to Afghanistan to no good purpose, helped turn Libya into a failed state, and tacitly backed the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (!), his acceptance speech focused as much on defending America's role in the world -- including its widespread use of military force -- as it did on extolling the virtues of peace and the measures that must be taken to advance it.

Ironically, though Donald Trump loves military parades, flybys, and the other visible trappings of military power, he seems rather leery of war. Like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who sought and received five separate deferments from the draft during Vietnam, Trump (or his father) apparently saw military service as something that only less fortunate people ought to participate in. As president, he does seem to recognize that starting some new war could hurt him politically, even as his more hawkish advisors keep pushing him in that direction. And we've yet to hear him extolling the virtues of peace as candidly as Roosevelt did in 1936.

Look, you don't have to tell a realist like me that we live in an imperfect world and that perpetual peace is a pipe dream. But the difficulty of the task is precisely why it merits serious attention. Yet instead of embracing peace as a virtue, U.S. politicians go to great lengths to show how tough they are and how ready they are to send Americans into harm's way in order to take out some alleged enemy. But how often do they talk about trying to understand the complex origins of most contemporary conflicts? How often do they try to empathize with the United States' adversaries, not in order to agree with them but so as to understand their position and to figure out a way to change their behavior without resorting to threats, coercion, or violence? How often do prominent politicians say, as Roosevelt did, that they "hate war"?

As I've said before , the U.S. disinterest in peace isn't just morally dubious; it's strategically myopic.

The United States should not shrink from fighting if such fighting is forced on it, but it should be the country's last resort rather than its first impulse. The United States is remarkably secure from most external dangers, and apart from political malfeasance at home (see: the Trump administration), the only thing that could really screw things up in the short term is a big war. War is bad for business (unless you're Boeing or Lockheed Martin), and it tends to elevate people who are good at manipulating violence but not so good at building up institutions, communities, or companies. When you're already on top of the world, encouraging the use of force isn't prudent; it's dumb. Peace, in short, is almost always in America's strategic interest.

Which makes it even more surprising that the word has mostly vanished from Americans' strategic vocabulary, and here I think two big factors are responsible. First, fewer politicians (and especially presidents) have "seen war" in the way that Roosevelt had. Harry Truman did, and so did Dwight D. Eisenhower (obviously), John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush. Needless to say, none of the post-Cold War presidents ever saw war in the same way.

Equally important, both the political class and the public have been imbibing an intoxicating brew of militarist rhetoric, imagery, and argument for decades. Americans cheer the troops at baseball games, wave giddily at thunderous aerial flybys, and finance all of their military adventures by borrowing money so that no one has to make obvious sacrifices now.

In Roosevelt's era, Americans were still reluctant to "go abroad in search of monsters to destroy," but they fought with unexpected ferocity when attacked. They were slow to anger but united in response. The situation today is the exact opposite -- they are quick on the trigger provided that none of them have to do very much once the bullets are flying. Instead of seeing war as a tragic necessity that is to be avoided if at all possible, Americans regard it as a rather sanitary "policy option" that takes place in countries most of them cannot locate and is conducted primarily by drones, aircraft, and volunteers. Americans fight all the time but without clear purpose or firm resolve. As one would expect, they usually lose, although others often pay a much larger price than they do.

There are faint signs that this situation is changing, after nearly 25 years of mostly failed adventures abroad. The foreign-policy elite may have acquired a certain addiction to war , but longtime addicts sometimes decide to turn their lives around and kick the habit. As noted above, Trump hasn't started any new wars yet, and his various Democratic challengers aren't pushing for more war either. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Tulsi Gabbard have pretty fair ( but not perfect ) records on this broad issue, and each has been vocal in opposing U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Pete Buttigieg wants the United States to rely less on military force in some places (but not others), Kamala Harris has been mostly silent on the issue, and the other leading candidates have more mixed records. Don't forget that Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War, and both Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar lean in more hawkish directions.

I'm waiting for one of them to start talking openly and intelligently about peace. What is needed to promote it, and how can the United States use its still considerable power to keep itself out of war and to help others escape its destructive clutches? If any of the 2020 candidates decide to tackle this issue head-on, they might start by reading what a great president once said, 83 years ago.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. View
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Tags: Peace , U.S. Foreign Policy , United States , Voice , War

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  1. 1 China's South China Sea Militarization Has Peaked
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  3. 3 There Once Was a President Who Hated War
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  5. 5 Mattis's Successor Signals He Wants to End the Pentagon's Long Silence
Voices There Once Was a President Who Hated War Stephen M. Walt Erdogan Plays Washington Like a Fiddle Steven A. Cook A Mysterious Explosion Took Place in Russia. What Really Happened? Jeffrey Lewis ❌

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[Aug 18, 2019] The fundamental problem in politics is not the opposition of wickedness, but the restraint of righteousness. Hillary has always loved to kill people is distant lands

Aug 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

stevek , 18 minutes ago link

Hillary has always loved to kill people. Its in her (evil) blood.

Creative_Destruct , 22 minutes ago link

"This damn Serbian war is a symbol of all that is wrong with the righteous approach to the world and to problems within this nation."

Story of the last several decades (fill in the blank with your pick of the name of a US war or a SJW cause):

This damn _________ war is a symbol of all that is wrong with the righteous approach to the world and to problems within this nation.

Kissinger had many flaws, but he hit the nail on the head when he said:

"The fundamental problem in politics is not the opposition of wickedness, but the restraint of righteousness"

TheDayAfter , 1 hour ago link

We all know the Hypocrisy of that War. Clinton had to distract the masses from MonicaGate and Hillary had to prove to the MIC that she could be beneficial to them.

Result : Those Kosovo Albanians had a state handed to them, and instead of building it(with uncle Sam's and EU help) as prosperous country, they used their weapons and "expertise" in becoming the low level gangsters of Europe. Every Europol analysis points to the direction of Kosovo Albanians as the criminal thugs in prostitution and drug trade and protection rackets. The largest percentage of a single ethnic group in European jails is that of Albanians.

TeaClipper , 1 hour ago link

The most unjust and illegal of wars in the late 20c.

There was only one reason to bomb white Christian brothers in Serbia thereby aiding the Muslim of Kosovo and Albania, and that was Russia, which by that stage had got its act together and dealt with the traitorous oligarchs who had sold their country out to the west.

Hillary and her cronies no doubt lost a lot of money when the Russians shut their rat lines down.

I hope I live long enough to see those fuckers swing, and Tony Blair, Alistair Campnell and Peter Mandelson as well.

PKKA , 3 hours ago link

Again, your Muslims are to blame for everything. Muslims are all different. And it is necessary to separate the faithful Muslims from the bandits who are only covered by Muslim slogans.
NATO and your godless government are to blame!

An Afghan Freedom Fighter in Donbass - ENG SUBTITLE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc2KeSkl5H0

Joe A , 3 hours ago link

It happened at the time of the Lewinsky affair and the possible impeachment of Clinton. They needed a distraction.

Milosevic btw. agreed to all conditions imposed on the FR of Yugoslavia except for one condition that nobody would accept: the full and unhindered access to the territory of FRY by NATO troops. That effectively meant an occupation. Nobody would agree to that. NATO and Albright deliberately came up with that condition for they knew it was unacceptable. Even Kissinger said that condition was over the top. NATO and Albright wanted that war. Serbia btw. saved Albright twice when she was still a little Slovakian Jewish girl whose family found refuge twice in Serbia. Once they escaped the Nazis that way and the second time the communists.

NATO thought they would need 48 hours but they needed 78 days and Milosevic only gave in after NATO switched from hitting military targets to civilian targets: Hospitals, commuter trains, civilian industry, an open market, random houses in random villages. After Milosevic pulled out his troops out of Kosovo, the KLA started killing Serbs and moderate Albanians, not to mention engage in organ trafficking (...). As the article said, well over 200k Serbs, moderate Albanians, Roma and other minorities were ethnically cleansed from Kosovo.

The US also used cluster bombs and DU weapons. Of the 4000 Italian KFOR troops that went into Kosovo after the bombing, 700 are dead from cancer and leukemia with several hundreds more seriously ill. The American KFOR troops wore hazmat suits. The Italians did not have them and were not warned. Today, many people in southern Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo itself are sick and dying.

HoyeruNew , 3 hours ago link

yes just like USA tried to help Vietnam against communists... by killing 2 million Vietnamese. and tried to help Korea by killing 20 % of the population. and by helping Iraq get rid of "bad" Saddam Hussein by killing 2 million Iraqies.

Oh, the Americans are oh so helpfiul!

ItsDanger , 2 hours ago link

Not disagreeing with you but lets remember that communists were killing a lot of people in other areas not long before those wars in SE Asia. May have been a wash in the end.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

13 million gallons of agent orange dropped on Vietnamese forests was our way of saying we love you. The genetic deformities are still widespread.

So glad they kicked the US out of there.

Magnum , 3 hours ago link

That conflict led to hundreds of thousands of BOSNIANS moving to USA. Gotta keep the refugees flowing no matter what....

JoeBattista , 3 hours ago link

Bring back the draft. On the whole Americans have no idea what the carnage of combat produces. Combat vets do. And the ones that aren't natural psychopaths never want to experience it again. This volunteer army we have is over loaded with a them. A military draft will actually bring some sort civilian control.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

They killed the draft so they would no longer be embarrassed by student protests and having to mow them down.

It worked. Today's snowflakes don't care about slaughter , only mini verbal aggressions against perverts.

seryanhoj , 1 hour ago link

Such ********. Do the millions we kill have any human rights? It's been going on for 4000 years. Ruthless pursuit of empire and fabricating phony justifications.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 3 hours ago link

Hillary seems to enjoy killing people. If it wasn't Gaddaffi, it was all the people on her body bag count, and now it's known she encouraged killing people in Serbia. Someone needs to take that old cow out into the center of the town and burn her at the stake.

Red Corvair , 4 hours ago link

Partially true, otherwise as usually excellent Dr. Paul, ... The Pandora's box situation was opened years before Clinton's bombing of Serbia, which was part of a larger scheme started nearly a decade before.

That was when the US armed the religious extremists in Bosnia, in order to bring war, "civil war" and chaos, and disintegration, the way they more recently tried to do with Syria, or "succeeded" in doing in Libya, bringing chaos and open-air slave markets in a country that was one of the most developed on the African continent under Gaddafi (a truth that was so easily erased by propaganda).

And the whole neocon scheme started two decades before, with the Zbigniew Brzezinski doctrine, when the US started arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan, provoking the trap for the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was the real opening of US neocon's Pandora's box we are regrettably so familiar with by now. We've all fallen in that old neocon/military-industrial-congressional-complex trap by now. And there seems to be no end in sight to those eternal wars "for civilization" (the old colonial trope dressed under new fatigues). Unless serious societal and political changes take place in the US to put an end to the US "imperial" death drive.

[Aug 17, 2019] America s Benevolent Bombing of Serbia by James Bovard

By all measures Clinton is a war criminal... Hilary is a female sociopath or worse.
Notable quotes:
"... Hillary Clinton revealed to an interviewer in the summer of 1999, "I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?" ..."
"... The Kosovo Liberation Army's savage nature was well known before the Clinton administration formally christened them "freedom fighters" in 1999. ..."
"... Sen. Joe Lieberman whooped that the United States and the KLA "stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." ..."
"... Clinton administration officials justified killing civilians because, it alleged the Serbs were committing genocide in Kosovo. After the bombing ended, no evidence of genocide was found, but Clinton and Britain's Tony Blair continued boasting as if their war had stopped a new Hitler in his tracks. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | www.fff.org

Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton commenced bombing Serbia in the name of human rights, justice, and ethnic tolerance. Approximately 1,500 Serb civilians were killed by NATO bombing in one of the biggest sham morality plays of the modern era. As British professor Philip Hammond recently noted, the 78-day bombing campaign "was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called 'dual-use' targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorise the country into surrender."

Clinton's unprovoked attack on Serbia, intended to help ethnic Albanians seize control of Kosovo, set a precedent for "humanitarian" warring that was invoked by supporters of George W. Bush's unprovoked attack on Iraq, Barack Oba-ma's bombing of Libya, and Donald Trump's bombing of Syria.

Clinton remains a hero in Kosovo, and there is an 11-foot statue of him standing in the capitol, Pristina, on Bill Clinton Boulevard. A commentator in the United Kingdom's Guardian newspaper noted that the statue showed Clinton "with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when NATO started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999." It would have been a more accurate representation if Clinton was shown standing on the corpses of the women, children, and others killed in the U.S. bombing campaign.

Bombing Serbia was a family affair in the Clinton White House. Hillary Clinton revealed to an interviewer in the summer of 1999, "I urged him to bomb. You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?" A biography of Hillary Clinton, written by Gail Sheehy and published in late 1999, stated that Mrs. Clinton had refused to talk to the president for eight months after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. She resumed talking to her husband only when she phoned him and urged him in the strongest terms to begin bombing Serbia; the president began bombing within 24 hours. Alexander Cockburn observed in the Los Angeles Times,

It's scarcely surprising that Hillary would have urged President Clinton to drop cluster bombs on the Serbs to defend "our way of life." The first lady is a social engineer. She believes in therapeutic policing and the duty of the state to impose such policing. War is more social engineering, "fixitry" via high explosive, social therapy via cruise missile . As a tough therapeutic cop, she does not shy away from the most abrupt expression of the therapy: the death penalty.

I followed the war closely from the start, but selling articles to editors bashing the bombing was as easy as pitching paeans to Scientology. Instead of breaking into newsprint, my venting occurred instead in my journal:

The KLA

The Kosovo Liberation Army's savage nature was well known before the Clinton administration formally christened them "freedom fighters" in 1999. The previous year, the State Department condemned "terrorist action by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army." The KLA was heavily involved in drug trafficking and had close to ties to Osama bin Laden. Arming the KLA helped Clinton portray himself as a crusader against injustice and shift public attention after his impeachment trial. Clinton was aided by many congressmen eager to portray U.S. bombing as an engine of righteousness. Sen. Joe Lieberman whooped that the United States and the KLA "stand for the same values and principles. Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values."

In early June 1999, the Washington Post reported that "some presidential aides and friends are describing [bombing] Kosovo in Churchillian tones, as Clinton's 'finest hour.'" Clinton administration officials justified killing civilians because, it alleged the Serbs were committing genocide in Kosovo. After the bombing ended, no evidence of genocide was found, but Clinton and Britain's Tony Blair continued boasting as if their war had stopped a new Hitler in his tracks.

In a speech to American troops in a Thanksgiving 1999 visit, Clinton declared that the Kosovar children "love the United States because we gave them their freedom back." Perhaps Clinton saw freedom as nothing more than being tyrannized by people of the same ethnicity. As the Serbs were driven out of Kosovo, Kosovar Albanians became increasingly oppressed by the KLA, which ignored its commitment to disarm. The Los Angeles Times reported on November 20, 1999,

As a postwar power struggle heats up in Kosovo Albanian politics, extremists are trying to silence moderate leaders with a terror campaign of kidnappings, beatings, bombings, and at least one killing. The intensified attacks against members of the moderate Democratic League of Kosovo, or LDK, have raised concerns that radical ethnic Albanians are turning against their own out of fear of losing power in a democratic Kosovo.

American and NATO forces stood by as the KLA resumed its ethnic cleansing, slaughtering Serbian civilians, bombing Serbian churches, and oppressing non-Muslims. Almost a quarter million Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and other minorities fled Kosovo after Clinton promised to protect them. In March 2000 renewed fighting broke out when the KLA launched attacks into Serbia, trying to seize territory that it claimed historically belonged to ethnic Albanians. UN Human Rights Envoy Jiri Dienstbier reported that "the [NATO] bombing hasn't solved any problems. It only multiplied the existing problems and created new ones. The Yugoslav economy was destroyed. Kosovo is destroyed. There are hundreds of thousands of people unemployed now."

U.S. complicity in atrocities

Prior to the NATO bombing, American citizens had no responsibility for atrocities committed by either Serbs or ethnic Albanians. However, after American planes bombed much of Serbia into rubble to drive the Serbian military out of Kosovo, Clinton effectively made the United States responsible for the safety of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo. That was equivalent to forcibly disarming a group of people, and then standing by, whistling and looking at the ground, while they are slaughtered. Since the United States promised to bring peace to Kosovo, Clinton bears some responsibility for every burnt church, every murdered Serbian grandmother, every new refugee column streaming north out of Kosovo. Despite those problems, Clinton bragged at a December 8, 1999, press conference that he was "very, very proud" of what the United States had done in Kosovo.

I had a chapter on the Serbian bombing campaign titled "Moralizing with Cluster Bombs" in Feeling Your Pain: The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton–Gore Years (St. Martin's Press, 2000), which sufficed to spur at least one or two reviewers to attack the book. Norman Provizer, the director of the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership, scoffed in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, "Bovard chastises Clinton for an illegal, undeclared war in Kosovo without ever bothering to mention that, during the entire run of American history, there have been but four official declarations of war by Congress."

As the chaotic situation in post-war Kosovo became stark, it was easier to work in jibes against the debacle. In an October 2002 USA Today article ("Moral High Ground Not Won on Battlefield") bashing the Bush administration's push for war against Iraq, I pointed out, "A desire to spread freedom does not automatically confer a license to kill . Operation Allied Force in 1999 bombed Belgrade, Yugoslavia, into submission purportedly to liberate Kosovo. Though Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic raised the white flag, ethnic cleansing continued -- with the minority Serbs being slaughtered and their churches burned to the ground in the same way the Serbs previously oppressed the ethnic Albanians."

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

In 2014, a European Union task force confirmed that the ruthless cabal that Clinton empowered by bombing Serbia committed atrocities that included murdering persons to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts. Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared in 2014 that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in "unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites."

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

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

This article was originally published in the July 2019 edition of Future of Freedom .

Category: Foreign Policy & War

James Bovard is a policy adviser to The Future of Freedom Foundation. He is a USA Today columnist and has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New Republic, Reader's Digest, Playboy, American Spectator, Investors Business Daily, and many other publications. He is the author of Freedom Frauds: Hard Lessons in American Liberty (2017, published by FFF); Public Policy Hooligan (2012); Attention Deficit Democracy (2006); The Bush Betrayal (2004); Terrorism and Tyranny (2003); Feeling Your Pain (2000); Freedom in Chains (1999); Shakedown (1995); Lost Rights (1994); The Fair Trade Fraud (1991); and The Farm Fiasco (1989). He was the 1995 co-recipient of the Thomas Szasz Award for Civil Liberties work, awarded by the Center for Independent Thought, and the recipient of the 1996 Freedom Fund Award from the Firearms Civil Rights Defense Fund of the National Rifle Association. His book Lost Rights received the Mencken Award as Book of the Year from the Free Press Association. His Terrorism and Tyranny won Laissez Faire Book's Lysander Spooner award for the Best Book on Liberty in 2003. Read his blog . Send him email .

[Aug 17, 2019] Debunking the Putin Panic by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm not aware that Russia attacked Georgia. The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia.

So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east.

Now NATO is sitting on Russia's borders from the Baltic to Ukraine. So Russians aren't fools, and they're good-hearted, but they become resentful. They're worried about being attacked by the United States. In fact, you read and hear in the Russian media daily, we are under attack by the United States. And this is a lot more real and meaningful than this crap that is being put out that Russia somehow attacked us in 2016. I must have been sleeping. I didn't see Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and 2016. This is reckless, dangerous, warmongering talk. It needs to stop. Russia has a better case for saying they've been attacked by us since 1991. We put our military alliance on the front door. Maybe it's not an attack, but it looks like one, feels like one. Could be one.


Disturbed Voter , July 30, 2018 at 6:32 am

Real politik. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Don't start fights in the first place. The idea that American leadership is any better than mid-Victorian imperialism, is laughable.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am

Here's the RNN link to part one: The Russia "National Security Crisis" is a U.S. Creation .

integer , July 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

AARON MATE: We hear, often, talk of Putin possibly being the richest person in the world as a result of his entanglement with the very corruption of Russia you're speaking about

Few appear to be aware that Bill Browder is single-handedly responsible for starting, and spreading, the rumor that Putin's net worth is $200 billion (for those who are unfamiliar with Browder, I highly recommend watching Andrei Nekrasov's documentary titled " The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes "). Browder appears to have first started this rumor early in 2015 , and has repeated it ad nauseam since then, including in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 . While Browder has always framed the $200 billion figure as his own estimate, that subtle qualifier has had little effect on the media's willingness to accept it as fact.

Interestingly, during the press conference at the Helsinki Summit, Putin claimed Browder sent $400 million of ill-gotten gains to the Clinton campaign. Putin retracted the statement and claimed to have misspoke a week or so later, however by that time the $400 million figure had been cited by numerous media outlets around the world. I think it is at least possible that Putin purposely exaggerated the amount of money in question as a kind of tit-for-tat response to Browder having started the rumor about his net worth being $200 billion.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 11:39 am

The stories I saw said there was a mistranslation -- but that the figure should have $400 thousand and not $400 million. Maybe Putin misspoke, but the $400,000 number is still significant, albeit far more reasonable.

Putin never was on the Forbes list of billionaires, btw, and his campaign finance statement comes to far less. It never seems to occur to rabid capitalists or crooks that not everyone is like them, placing such importance on vast fortunes, or want to be dishonest, greedy, or power hungry. Putin is only 'well off' and that seems to satisfy him just fine as he gets on with other interests, values, and goals.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yes, $400,000 is the revised/correct figure. My having written that "Putin retracted the statement" was not the best choice of phrase. Also, the figure was corrected the day after it was made, not "a week or so later" as I wrote in my previous comment. From the Russia Insider link:

Browder's criminal group used many tax evasion methods, including offshore companies. They siphoned shares and funds from Russia worth over 1.5 billion dollars. By the way, $400,000 was transferred to the US Democratic Party's accounts from these funds. The Russian president asked us to correct his statement from yesterday. During the briefing, he said it was $400,000,000, not $400,000. Either way, it's still a significant amount of money.

JohnnyGL , July 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I hadn't heard about the revision/edit to the $400M, thanks!

Seems crazy to think how much Russo-phobia seems to have been ginned up by one tax-dodging hedgie with an axe to grind.

Procopius , July 31, 2018 at 1:11 am

There's something weird about the anti-Putin hysteria. Somehow, many, many people have come to believe they must demonstrate their membership in the tribe by accepting completely unsupported assertions that go against common sense.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

In a sane world we the people would be furious with the Clinton campaign, especially the D party but the R's as well, our media (again), and our intel/police State (again). Holding them all accountable while making sure this tsunami of deception and lies never happens again.

It's amazing even in time of the internetz those of us who really dig can only come up with a few sane voices. It's much worse now in terms of the numbers of sane voices than it was in the run up to Iraq 2.

CenterOfGravity , July 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Regardless of broad access to far more information in the digital age, never under estimate the self-preservation instinct of American exceptionalist mythology. There is an inverse relationship between the decline of US global primacy and increasingly desperate quest for adventurism. Like any case of addiction, looking outward for blame/salvation is imperative in order to prevent the mirror of self-reflection/realization from turning back onto ourselves.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

we're not to believe we're not supposed to believe we're supposed to believe

Believe whatever you want, however your comment gives the impression that you came to this article because you felt the need to push back against anything that does not conform to the liberal international order's narrative on Putin and Russia, rather than "with an eagerness to counterbalance the media's portrayal of Putin". WRT to whataboutism, I like Greenwald's definition of the term :

"Whataboutism": the term used to bar inquiry into whether someone adheres to the moral and behavioral standards they seek to impose on everyone else. That's its functional definition.

Rojo , July 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Invoking "whataboutism" is a liberal team-Dem tell.

Amfortas the Hippie , July 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

aye. I've never seen it used by anyone aside from the worst Hill Trolls.
Indeed, when it was first thrown at me, I endeavored to look it up, and found that all references to it were from Hillaryites attempting to diss apostates and heretics.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , July 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Eh, probably

John Oliver, whos been completely sucking lately with TDS, did a semi decent segment on Whataboutism.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

The degree of consistency and or lack of hypocrisy based on words and actions separates US from Russia to an astonishing level. That is Russia's largest threat to US, our deceivers. The propaganda tables have turned and we are deceiving ourselves to points of collective insanity and warmongering with a great nuclear power while we are at it. Warmongering is who we are and what we do.

Does Russia have a GITMO, torture Chelsea Manning, openly say they want to kill Snowden and Assange? Is Russia building up arsenals on our borders while maintaining hundreds of foreign bases and conducting several wars at any given moment while constantly threatening to foment more wars? Is Russia dropping another trillion on nuclear arsenals? Is Russia forcing us to maintain such an anti democratic system and an even worse, an entirely hackable electronic voting system?

You ready to destroy the world, including your own, rather than look in the mirror?

rkka , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

You're talking about extending Russian military power into Europe when the military spending of NATO Europe alone exceeds Russia's by almost 5-1 (more like 12-1 when one includes the US and Canada), have about triple the number of soldiers than Russia has, and when the Russian ground forces are numerically smaller than they have been in at least 200 years?

" to put their self-interests above those of their constituents and employees, why can't we apply this same lens to Putin and his oligarchs?"

The oligarchs got their start under Yeltsin and his FreeMarketDemocraticReformers, whose policies were so catastrophic that deaths were exceeding births by almost a million a year by the late '90s, with no end in sight. Central to Yeltsin's governance was the corrupt privatization, by which means the Seven Bankers came to control the Russian economy and Russian politics.

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

Central to Putin's popularity are the measures he took to curb oligarchic predation in 2003-2005. Because of this, Russia's debt:GDP ratio went from 1.0 to about 0.2, and Russia's demographic recovery began while Western analysis were still predicting the death of Russia.

So Putin is the anti-oligarch in Russian domestic politics.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

"While it's true that power corrupts"

I know of many people who sacrifice their own interests for those of their children (over whom they have virtually absolute power), family member and friends. I know of others who dedicate their lives to justice, peace, the well being of their nation, the world, and other people -- people who find far greater meaning and satisfaction in this than in accumulating power or money. Other people have their own goals, such as producing art, inventing interesting things, reading and learning, and don't care two hoots about power or money as long as their immediate needs are met.

I'm cynical enough about humans without thinking the worst of everyone and every group or culture. Not everyone thinks only of nails and wants to be hammers, or are sociopaths. There are times when people are more or less forced into taking power, or getting more money, even if they don't want it, because they want to change things for the better or need to defend themselves.
There are people who get guns and learn how to use them only because they feel a need for defending themselves and family but who don't like guns and don't want to shoot anyone or anything.

There are many people who do not want to be controlled and bossed around, but neither want to boss around anyone else. The world is full of such people. If they are threatened and attacked, however, expect defensive reactions. Same as for most animals which are not predators, and even predators will generally not attack other animals if they are not hungry or threatened -- but that does not mean they are not competent or can be dangerous.

Capitalism is not only inherently predatory, but is inherently expansive without limits, with unlimited ambition for profits and control. It's intrinsically very competitive and imperialist. Capitalism is also a thing which was exported to Russia, starting soon after the Russian Revolution, which was immediately attacked and invaded by the West, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet Russia had it's own problems, which it met with varying degrees of success, but were quite different from the aggressive capitalism and imperialism of the US and Europe.

Not every culture and person are the same.

BenX , July 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The pro-Putin propaganda is pretty interesting to witness, and of course not everything Cohen says is skewed pro-Putin – that's what provides credibility. But "Putin kills everybody" is something NOBODY says (except Cohen, twice in one interview) – Putin is actually pretty selective of those he decides to have killed. But of course, he doesn't kill anyone, personally – therefore he's an innocent lamb, accidentally running Russia as a dictator.

rkka , July 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

The most recent dictator in Russian history was Boris Yeltsin, who turned tanks on his legislature while it was in the legal and constitutional process of impeaching him, and whose policies were so catastrophic for Russians (who were dying off at the rate of 900k/yr) that he had to steal his re-election because he had a 5% approval rating.

But he did as the US gvt told him, so I guess that makes him a Democrat.

Under Putin Russia recovered from being helpless, bankrupt & dying, but Russia has an independent foreign policy, so that makes Putin a dictator.

Plenue , July 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

"Does any sane person believe that there will ever be a Putin-signed contract provided as evidence? Does any sane person believe that Putin actually needs to "approve" a contract rather than signaling to his oligarch/mafia hierarchy that he's unhappy about a newspaper or journalist's reporting?"

Why do you think Putin even needs, or feels a need, to have journalists killed in the first place? I see no evidence to support this basic assumption.

The idea of Russia poised to attack Europe is interesting, in light of the fact that they've cut their military spending by 20%. And even before that the budgets of France, Germany, and the UK combined well exceeded that of Russia, to say nothing of the rest of NATO or the US.

Putin's record speaks for itself. This again points to the absurdity of claiming he's had reporters killed: he doesn't need to. He has a vast amount of genuine public support because he's salvaged the country and pieced it back together after the pillaging of the Yeltsin years. That he himself is a corrupt oligarch I have no particular doubt of. But if he just wanted to enrich himself, he's had a very funny way of going about it. Pray tell, what are these 'other interpretations'?

"The US foreign policy has been disastrous for millions of people since world war 2. But Cohen's arguments that Russia isn't as bad as the US is just a bunch of whattaboutism."

What countries has the Russian Federation destroyed?

witters , July 31, 2018 at 1:30 am

Here is a fascinating essay ["Are We Reading Russia Right?"] by Nicolai N. Petro who currently holds the Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. His books include, Ukraine
in Crisis (Routledge, 2017), Crafting Democracy (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy (Harvard, 1995), and Russian Foreign Policy, co-authored with Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Longman, 1997). A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is the recipient of Fulbright awards to Russia and to Ukraine, as well as fellowships from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington,
D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. As a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State from 1989 to 1990. In addition to scholarly publications
on Russia and Ukraine, he has written for Asia Times, American Interest, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), The Nation, New York Times, and Wilson Quarterly. His writings have appeared frequently on the web sites of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and The National Interest.

I warn you – it is terrifying!

http://npetro.net/resources/Petro-FF+Spring+2018.pdf

Carolinian , July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

Thanks for so much for this. Great stuff. Cohen says the emperor has no clothes so naturally the empire doesn't want him on television. I believe he has been on CNN one or two times and I saw him once on the PBS Newshour where the interviewer asked skeptical questions with a pained and skeptical look. He seems to be the only prominent person willing to stand up and call bs on the Russia hate. There are plenty of pundits and commentators who do that but not many Princeton professors.

Thye Rev Kev , July 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

It has been said in recent years that the greatest failure of American foreign policy was the invasion of Iraq. I think that they are wrong. The greatest failure, in my opinion, is to push both China and Russia together into a semi-official pact against American ambitions. In the same way that the US was able to split China from the USSR back in the seventies, the best option was for America to split Russia from China and help incorporate them into the western system. The waters for that idea have been so fouled by the Russia hysteria, if not dementia, that that is no longer a possibility. I just wish that the US would stop sowing dragon's teeth – it never ends well.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

The best option, but the "American exceptionalists" went nuts. Also, the usual play book of stoking fears of the "yellow menace" would have been too on the nose. Americans might not buy it, and there was a whole cottage industry of "the rising China threat" except the potential consumer market place and slave labor factories stopped that from happening.

Bringing Russia into the West effectively means Europe, and I think that creates a similar dynamic to a Russian/Chinese pact. The basic problem with the EU is its led by a relatively weak but very German power which makes the EU relatively weak or controllable as long as the German electorate is relatively sedate. I think they still need the international structures run by the U.S. to maintain their dominance. What Russia and the pre-Erdogan Turkey (which was never going to be admitted to the EU) presented was significant upsets to the existing EU order with major balances to Germany which I always believed would make the EU potentially more dynamic. Every decision wouldn't require a pilgrimage to Berlin. The British were always disinterested. The French had made arrangements with Germany, and Italy is still Italy. Putting Russia or Turkey (pre-Erdogan) would have disrupted this arrangement.

John Wright , July 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

>which is oddly not easy to locate on its site

It appeared to me that Aaron Mate knew he was dealing with a weak hand by the end of the interview.

When Mate stated "it's widely held that Putin is responsible for the killing of journalists and opposition activists who oppose him."

There are many widely held beliefs in the world, and that does not make them true.

For example, It was widely held, and still may be believed by some, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the events of 9/11.

It is widely believed that humans are not responsible, in any part, for climate change.

Mate may have been embarrassed when he saw the final version and as a courtesy to him, the interview was made more difficult to find.

pretzelattack , July 30, 2018 at 11:35 am

iirc he didn't say it was true.

Elizabeth Burton , July 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

The Crimea voted to be annexed by Russia by a clear majority. The US overran Hawaii with total disregard for the wishes of the native population. Your comparison is invalid.

vato , July 31, 2018 at 3:37 am

"Putin's finger prints are all over the Balkan fiasco".How is that with Putin only becoming president in 2000 and the Nato bombing started way beforehand. It's ridiculous to think that Putin had any major influence at that time as govenor or director of the domestic intelligence service on what was going during the bombing of NATO on Belgrad. Even Gerhard Schroeder, then chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, admitted in an interview in 2014 with a major German Newspaper (Die Zeit) that this invasion of Nato was a fault and against international law!

Can you concrete what you mean by "fingerprints" or is this just another platitudes?

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

o Eager and uncritical ingestion and social-media regurgitation of even the most patently absurd MSM propaganda. For example, the meme that releasing factual information about actual election-meddling (as Wikileaks did about the Dem-establishment's rigging of its own nomination process in 2016) is a grave threat to American Democracy™;

o Recent-onset veneration of the intelligence agencies, whose stock in trade is spying on and lying to the American people, spreading disinformation, election rigging, torture and assassination and its agents, such as liar and perjurer Clapper and torturer Brennan;

o Rehabilitation of horrid unindicted GOP war criminals like G.W. Bush as alleged examples of "norms-respecting Republican patriots";

o Smearing of anyone who dares question the MSM-stoked hysteria as an America-hating Russian stooge.

[Aug 17, 2019] The Anti-Russia Inquisition Intensifies by Ted Galen Carpenter

Images and links to video removed.
The title sounds like it was written yesterday, despite the fact the article is two years ago. That suggest that Russophobia is the official policy of both parties. Why they are trying to remove Trump, who folded after thee month in power, is less clear. May be the crimes they committed are such that anybody in power then Clinton gang is very dangerous for them.
Please looks also at selected comments. They are definitely sounds as written yesterday.
Notable quotes:
"... Congressional Democrats and their media allies have renewed their offensive in the past two weeks. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) even argues that the evidence already amassed seems to be enough to warrant President Trump's impeachment. It was especially notable that no prominent Democrat denounced such an inflammatory accusation. Indeed, Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee appear to be escalating their concept of what constitutes a thorough investigation, now insisting that any contact by advisers to the Trump campaign with any Russian official be subject to scrutiny. ..."
"... They and their neoconservative allies also insist on a laser-like focus on the alleged misdeeds of the Trump people and nothing else. ..."
"... Such an outrageous accusation might have made even the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy blush. That it came from a prominent Republican also suggests that the current bout of Russophobia is not purely a partisan phenomenon. The broader implications are extremely worrisome. A campaign appears to be underway to intimidate and silence critics of the current policy toward Russia, and even policy regarding NATO. ..."
"... The track record on previous group think on such decisions as the military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya also confirms that it can produce truly tragic results. Creating a similar situation of stifling debate regarding U.S. policy toward a nation armed with thousands of nuclear weapons is the essence of folly. ..."
May 07, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

or a brief period in April, it appeared that the campaign that Democrats and neo-conservative Republicans were waging for a comprehensive investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election had peaked and was beginning to ebb. The Trump administration's decision to launch missile strikes against a Syrian air base despite Russian President Vladimir Putin vehement objections to the assault on his ally, quieted accusations that Trump was Putin's puppet. Indeed, hawks in both parties praised Trump for taking action in Syria, and the president's supporters at Fox News and elsewhere contended that the U.S. attack discredited the notion that he was guilty of appeasing Russia.

But the hiatus in the allegations of collusion was only temporary. Worse, the resurgent anti-Russia hysteria has broader, ominous implications for U.S. foreign policy and the health of political discourse in the United States.

Congressional Democrats and their media allies have renewed their offensive in the past two weeks. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) even argues that the evidence already amassed seems to be enough to warrant President Trump's impeachment. It was especially notable that no prominent Democrat denounced such an inflammatory accusation. Indeed, Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee appear to be escalating their concept of what constitutes a thorough investigation, now insisting that any contact by advisers to the Trump campaign with any Russian official be subject to scrutiny.

They and their neoconservative allies also insist on a laser-like focus on the alleged misdeeds of the Trump people and nothing else. The current scandal erupted full force when leaked reports from the U.S. intelligence community that newly installed National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign and discussed sensitive issues, including the ongoing U.S. economic sanctions against Russia, thus apparently undermining the Obama administration's policies. Flynn's action showed poor judgment, and his attempt to conceal the contact from Vice President Mike Pence, was even worse. A recent Washington Post article contends that Flynn went ahead with his meeting even though senior Trump campaign officials cautioned against it and warned him that it was almost certain that U.S. intelligence agencies were electronically monitoring Kislyak and all of his contacts.

Examining Flynn's behavior is appropriate, but even that investigation should focus not only on his questionable Russia contacts but on the leak of the intelligence report outing him. Indeed, an intelligence official's unmasking the identity of an American citizen in that fashion constitutes a felony. However, except for perfunctory statements from a few Democratic members of Congress that such an illegal leak also needed to be investigated, little interest has emerged in actually doing so.

Such an outrageous accusation might have made even the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy blush. That it came from a prominent Republican also suggests that the current bout of Russophobia is not purely a partisan phenomenon. The broader implications are extremely worrisome. A campaign appears to be underway to intimidate and silence critics of the current policy toward Russia, and even policy regarding NATO.

Attempting to enshrine Washington's group think on crucial issues is unhealthy for any democratic system. The track record on previous group think on such decisions as the military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya also confirms that it can produce truly tragic results. Creating a similar situation of stifling debate regarding U.S. policy toward a nation armed with thousands of nuclear weapons is the essence of folly.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of 10 books, the contributing editor of 10 books, and the author of more than 650 articles on international affairs.


nicksorokin 2 years ago ,

Mr. Carpenter makes the excellent point that political sobriety, rational thought and action, and responsible dialogue is missing from the cadre of drum beating anti-Trump die hearts, who are using the made-up Trump collusion story to destroy the Trump presidency.
Their kamikaze style political tactics will end badly for the democrats, who will be pulverized during the next election for neglecting the people’s business in favor of political scandal, turmoil and extremist partisan behavior.
Keep it up Chuck, you are working overtime to insure greater Republican gains.

RedBaron9495 2 years ago ,

Actually, I am an agent of all people who disapprove of Washington’s willingness to use nuclear war in order to establish Washington’s hegemony over the world, but let us understand what it means to be a “Russian agent.”

It means to respect international law, which Washington does not. It means to respect life, which Washington does not. It means to respect the national interests of other countries, which Washington does not. It means to respond to provocations with diplomacy and requests for cooperation, which Washington does not. But Russia does. Clearly, a “Russian agent” is a moral person who wants to preserve life and the national identity and dignity of other peoples.

RussG 2 years ago ,

Aren't people in the US getting tired of the Russia bashing? Really. And don't the Russia bashers know that the longer this goes on, without evidence, the public is slowly waking up to the truth. Now to blame Russia for the US failings in Afghanistan is beyond ridiculous. Keep it up, kiddies.

greg789 2 years ago ,

Neo-cons and Democrats - Traitors all.

dsafd asdfasdf 2 years ago ,

Russian troll! Carpenter paid by putin! Lock him up! Send him back to Moscow!

deliaruhe 2 years ago ,

The success of the web of lies that got 65 to 75 percent of Americans to believe that Saddam had WMD and was responsible for 9/11 only encourages these regime-change lunatics. All they have to do now is articulate the equivalent of Bush’s “We cannot wait for the smoking gun, which might come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” — i.e., we don’t need evidence, we just need to generate enough fear — and they’ll have all the public support they could possibly need to commence with their program of regime change at home, followed by regime change in Russia. That’s the diabolical beauty of governing a population through the politics of fear — which has been the practise since the beginning of the first Cold War.

johnnydavis1 2 years ago ,

It's interesting that the Democrats and the media didn't seem very interested in Hillary Clinton's foreign ties (and the money she received), or the potential blackmail that could have been tied to any of her "missing" emails that the Russians and others probably have.

toolateformost johnnydavis1 2 years ago ,

Its interesting that you are ignoring the traitor in the white house.
Trump will look great in orange

Wyrdless toolateformost 2 years ago ,

Do you have any evidence?

toolateformost Wyrdless 2 years ago ,

I can't share it with you because it's classified and I don't (unlike Trumps administration) believe in sharing sensitive information with Russian stooges.

Wyrdless toolateformost 2 years ago ,

LOL, love the sarcasm

Kizar_Sozay 2 years ago ,

The media is upset the Russians (allegedly) did what American journalists should have been doing.

St Reformed 2 years ago ,

Russia [aka Soviet Union] was simply a "red herring" (pun intended) during the Cold War days when the Left always blamed American first. Now post-Soviet autocratic Russia is a lethal menace behind every GOP trash can. The irony is so rich.

VoteOutIncumbents 2 years ago ,

I am old enough to have a conscious memory of the end days of the McCarthy smears. This seems a lot like that. Wild charges, no evidence. Senator McCarthy always "had" a list of 57, 95, or 212 active communists in the State Department, he just never got around to disclosing names. Evidence? The Democrats don't seem to need it. Just investigate, investigate, investigate. Anything to distract from the true reasons for Clinton's loss. The party of FDR wrote off the white working class. They thought they'd have enough minority and female voters to win. They didn't.

odys 2 years ago ,

Oh, oh. Mike Rogers, Obama's head of the NSA is testifying that the NSA did NOT have high confidence that the wusskies interfered to help Trump win. I wonder if Boris Badanoff and Natasha threatened him and his family?

odys 2 years ago • edited ,

Maybe we should call in moose and squirrel.

Look, Democrats just cannot bring themselves to accept the blame for their loss, no surprise, they truly believe they are on the right side of history, Cuba, North Korea, and venezuela not withstanding. But the aging cold warriors, like McNasty, pine for the days when people used to seek their opinion on the USSR.

dannyboy116 2 years ago ,

Thank you for an excellent article. Building a sense of hysteria against the one country in the world with as many nuclear weapons as us is truly foolish and dangerous.

Robert 2 years ago ,

And the best part in this fishing expedition of democRATS and politicized government agencies is that they have found NOTHING, only the daily, weekly and monthly fabrications cooked backstage by MSM and accomplices agents leaning or part of Obanus regime..

The Dead Rabbits 2 years ago ,

Really good piece. So why does DC go bonkers over Russia but not deeper and more problematic connections of politicians and public figures such as with Turkey, China, or Israel? It's all about the emails and Hillary's lame excuses.

R. Arandas 2 years ago ,

I find it ironic because during the Cold War, it was generally Republicans who opposed the Soviet Union and its foreign policy the most strongly, with both language and action, while Democrats favored conciliation with American rivals. Nowadays, however, conservatives seem more pro-Russia while liberals seem much more hostile.

Wyrdless 2 years ago ,

Let's be realistic, given the enormous number of leaks about Trump, if there was anything to this we would know by now.

That's why I say :. Bring on the investigation!

It will just end in the entire media/Dem establishment looking bad.

Also:. Why would Putin want a US president that has a very aggressive pro drilling stance and who wants a larger US military?

I would imagine it's the last thing he wants. Putin would probably *VASTLY* prefer Sanders who is anti-energy, anti-military and honeymooned in Moscow during the cold war as a political statement.

Drinas Philip K 2 years ago ,

Buhaha You assume that I am a russian/live in Russia because I dare (oh, by the Gods what a sacrilege!) to support russian foreign policy..
This alone is a good example of the delusional and zealot-like nature of russophobes such as you..
Learn my uneducated "friend" that I live in an EU country, born and raised here-and judging by the median US salary there is a great chance I make more $$ than you..But then again only a cretin would judge a country based solely on these metrics..(Well, a cretin and a russophobe in your case..)

Wakko 2 years ago ,

Americans don't see it, but this anti-russian craze is creating serious pressures in Europe, where voters more and more consider EU governments' blind following of U.S. foreign policy as dangerous to their interests. Contrary to U.S. establishment, we Europeans are not supremacists who believe that only their opinions and ways are the right ones and the whole world needs to bow down to them. Remember what is the basis of democracy? It's pluralism of opinions and civilised discussion. If Washington continues this ideological war for longer time, it may cause serious problems for NATO.

[Aug 17, 2019] Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome (PTDS)

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

[Aug 17, 2019] Unleashing country-wide epidemic of Russophenia and anti-Russian hysteria as well as stifling debate regarding the US policy toward a nation armed with thousands of nuclear weapons might be not such a huge folly as some think

Aug 17, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

RAP999 2 years ago ,

Look at the bright side. If the Russkies nuke Washington and NYC think how much better off the rest of the country will be.

[Aug 17, 2019] The Campaign Press: Members of the 10 Percent, Reporting for the One Percent

Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Our Famously Free Press

"The Campaign Press: Members of the 10 Percent, Reporting for the One Percent" [Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone ]. "Anyone who's worked in the business (or read Manufacturing Consent) knows nobody calls editors to red-pencil text.

The pressure comes at the point of hire. If you're the type who thinks Jeff Bezos should be thrown out of an airplane, or that it's a bad look for a DC newspaper to be owned by a major intelligence contractor, you won't rise.

Meanwhile, the Post has become terrific at promoting Jennifer Rubins and Max Boots. Reporters watch as good investigative journalism about serious structural problems dies on the vine, while mountains of column space are devoted to trivialities like Trump tweets and/or simplistic partisan storylines.

Nobody needs to pressure anyone. We all know what takes will and will not earn attaboys in newsrooms. Trump may have accelerated distaste for the press, but he didn't create it. He sniffed out existing frustrations and used them to rally anger toward 'elites' to his side.

The criticism works because national media are elites, ten-percenters working for one-percenters.

The longer people in the business try to deny it, the more it will be fodder for politicians. Sanders wasn't the first, and won't be the last."

• Yep. I'm so glad Rolling Stone has Matt Taibbi on-board. Until advertisers black-list "the One Percent," I suppose.

[Aug 16, 2019] One of the ways the Deep State undermines conspiracy theories is to plant evidence purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information

Notable quotes:
"... Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms . ..."
"... Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc. ..."
"... "A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed." ..."
"... "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. ..."
"... The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here. ..."
"... This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason. ..."
"... The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty. ..."
"... The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are . ..."
"... Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. ..."
"... The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity ..."
"... I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true" ..."
"... A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. ..."
"... One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense. ..."
"... For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down). ..."
"... 'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner. ..."
OffGuardian

Noam Chomsky has pointed out , the more educated we are, the more we are a target for state-corporate propaganda. Even journalists outside the mainstream may internalize establishment values and prejudices. Which brings us to Parramore's embrace of the term "conspiracy theory." Once a neutral and little-used phrase, "conspiracy theory" was infamously weaponized in 1967 by a memo from the CIA to its station chiefs worldwide.

Troubled by growing mass disbelief in the "lone nut" theory of President Kennedy's assassination, and concerned that "[c]onspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization," the agency directed its officers to "discuss the publicity problem with friendly and elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)" and to "employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose."

As Kevin Ryan writes , and various analyses have shown :

In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase 'conspiracy theory' appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week."
While it turns out that Parramore knows something about this hugely successful propaganda drive, she chose in her NBC piece to deploy the phrase as the government has come to define it, i.e., as "something that requires no consideration because it is obviously not true." This embeds a fallacy in her argument which only spreads as she goes on. Likewise, the authors of the studies she cites, who attempt to connect belief in "conspiracy theories" to "narcissistic personality traits," are not immune to efforts to manipulate the wider culture. Studies are only as good as the assumptions from which they proceed; in this case, the assumption was provided by an interested Federal agency. And what of their suggested diagnosis?

The DSM-5's criteria for narcissism include "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity a need for admiration and lack of empathy." My experience in talking to writers and advocates who -- to mention a few of the subjects Parramore cites -- seek justice in the cases of the political murders of the Sixties , have profound concerns about vaccine safety , or reject the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 , does not align with that characterization.

On the contrary, most of the people I know who hold these varied (and not always shared) views are deeply empathic, courageously humble, and resigned to a life on the margins of official discourse, even as they doggedly seek to publicize what they have learned. A number of them have arrived at their views through painful, direct experience, like the loss of a friend or the illness of a child, but far from having a "negative view of humanity," as Parramore writes, most hold a deep and abiding faith in the power of regular people to see injustice and peacefully oppose it. In that regard, they share a great deal in common with writers like Parramore: ultimately, we all want what's best for our children, and none of us want a world ruled by unaccountable political-economic interests. If we want to achieve that world, then we should work together to promote speech that is free from personal attacks on all sides. Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms.

Who will decide what is false and what is true? ... ... ...

President Kennedy said:

a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
Perhaps we should take a closer look at ideas that so frighten the powers-that-be. Far from inviting our ridicule, the people who insist that we look in these forbidden places may one day deserve our thanks.
John Kirby is a documentary filmmaker. His latest project, Four Died Trying, examines what John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were doing in the last years of their lives which may have led to their deaths.

George
I am responding to an earlier comment you made because, for some reason, I cannot reply to it in the proper place.

"The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here."

Wrong: secrets can be uncovered even if both of them are dead.

"The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked."

Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc.

"A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed."

Always a bad sign when you start to repeat "would have". Lots of presumption here.

"No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves .."

New facts can emerge all the time even regarding the most ancient of events.

" .or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported."

So you now have godlike omniscience?

"A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy "

There's no point in going much further here. You now devolve into psychobabble which, as always, is based on the dogmatic assertion that you are right. (cf. the formerly mentioned godlike omniscience)

Ragnar
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." These words are attributed to Joseph Goebbels.

-So, George, it would hardly make a difference whether the State is Marxist or Capitalist. It's either power or truth. They are inherently different and can not be reconciled. Ultimately, there is no bridge possible.

However, so-called "common" goals are of a lower order and cooperation here is possible, temporarily. These relationships are unstable and prone to breaking up precisely because they're ultimately not common at all. The principle are different and the personalities too. Ships Passing In The Night, like. -See?

George
We all have common goals. Basically the goals of life and health. And these are hardly goals "of a lower order". If that was true then we must be living in a state of "postmodernist relativity" where anyone can decide arbitrarily what matters. And that would certainly lead to your ships-passing-in-the-night scenario i.e. the ultimate divide-and-rule vision.

As for power, the late Marxist writer Ellen Meiksins Wood noted that, in modern times, we have an unprecedented degree of political freedom. But the reason for that is that power no longer lies in politics. It lies in economics. What is the point of having formal rights when your livelihood is gone?

William HBonney

The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here.

The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked. A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people – someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed. No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves, or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported.

A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy. Such people are unable to deal with the complexities of the world as it is, and therefore seek to make it a world of black and white, good and evil, heroes and villains. The internet, with its blurring of fantasy and fact enables them. This is why discussions like this get so polarised.

TFS

1. 9/11 and JFK are false because WILLIAM HBonney has declared it so.

Boom, thanks for watching kids.

2. In other news, some Conspiracy Theorists Imagined 747-E4Bs above Washington at the time of 9/11 and 25+second delay introduced into the Air Traffic Control System but the Official Conspiracy Account of 9/11 didn't discuss it because there was nothing to see.

3. In related news, HWB wack jobs go on one

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/no_author/new-york-fire-commissioners-call-for-new-9-11-investigation-about-pre-planted-explosives/

4. Corbett, goes off on one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXYswf3lzU8

5. And again, Corbett goes even more mental. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWLis-TVB2w

6. But it's ok kidz, because HWB wack jobs, like first responders, police, fire personnel architects, physicists, former military personnel, pilots, Nobel Peace Prixe winners, medical experts, etc etc all collectively asertained that the Official Conspiracy Theory of 9/11 is about as usefull as the Warren Commission Report.

7. HOWEVER, HWB THINKS YOU'RE A WACK JOB.

r. rebar
unless & until someone goes to jail -- there are no conspiracies & as silence is -- like any commodity -- only as good as the price paid to maintain it -- those who know have a real vested interest in not talking (it's not a secret if you tell someone)
roger morris
Ms Parramore is doing nothing more than her profession and tenure demands. Witting or un-witting. This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason.

It is the 'Great Wurlitzer' at full throat coinciding with extraordinary reductions in internet freedoms of information flow. The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty.

A read of the Cass Sunstein/Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule Paper describing 'Conspiracy theory' as a 'crippled Epistemology' and determining 'COINTELPRO' type strategies to counter the danger of their truth becoming certainty, will enlighten those in the dark of IIO methodology and expose Ms Parramore as a true MOCKINGBIRD.

The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are .

mathias alexand
Try this for conspiracy thinking

https://lorenzoae.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/part-2/

George
Good link. I like this bit:

"Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. Even the most outlandish "conspiracy theory" in existence -- that people like George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth are shape-shifting, extra-dimensional reptilians -- is closer to the truth than what liberals believe.

The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity "

I've often felt there is a lot of (metaphorical!) truth in David Icke's ravings, although the reptile image is unfortunate in that actual reptiles are amongst the most sedate and peaceful creatures.

Molloy
Eichmann and today's useful idiots; Hannah Arendt

(start Arendt quote)

Despite all the efforts of the prosecution, everybody could see that this man was not a "monster," but it was difficult indeed not to suspect that he was a clown. And since this suspicion would have been fatal to the whole enterprise, and was also rather hard to sustain, in view of the sufferings he and his like had caused so many millions of people, his worst clowneries were hardly noticed. What could you do with a man who first declared, with great emphasis, that the one thing he had learned in an ill-spent life was that one should never take an oath ("Today no man, no judge could ever persuade me to make a sworn statement. I refuse it; I refuse it for moral reasons. Since my experience tells me that if one is loyal to his oath, one day he has to take the consequences, I have made up my mind once and for all that no judge in the world or other authority will ever be capable of making me swear an oath, to give sworn testimony.

I won't do it voluntarily and no one will be able to force me"), and then, after being told explicitly that if he wished to testify in his own defense he might "do so under oath or without an oath," declared without further ado that he would prefer to testify under oath? Or who, repeatedly and with a great show of feeling, assured the court, as he had assured the police examiner, that the worst thing he could do would be to try to escape his true responsibilities, to fight for his neck, to plead for mercy -- and then, upon instruction of his counsel, submitted a handwritten document that contained a plea for mercy?

As far as Eichmann was concerned, these were questions of changing moods, not of inconsistencies, and as long as he was capable of finding, either in his memory or on the spur of the moment, an elating stock phrase to go with them, he was quite content.
(end quote)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1963/02/16/eichmann-in-jerusalem-i

Molloy
Chomsky dealing with the indoctrinated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLcpcytUnWU&app=desktop Why it is important to call out the so-called 'Global Elite' facilitators on here.

And why it is essential to understand what Eichmann was facilitating (and the madness that morphed into the same apartheid bigotry in the 21st century).

Better understand than be hanged.

Gary Weglarz

I appreciate the article, but the sentence below is offered with no logical or rational support – it is simply an evidence free assertion:

("But Parramore and many journalists like her are neither assets of an intelligence service nor unthinking tools of big media; ) – really?

It is quite clear that if someone "is" (an asset of an intelligence service) that they will certainly not be broadcasting this fact to the world or to friends and family. And for someone to assert that "conspiracies" don't exist in the real world requires a level of credulity that most intelligent and rational people the least bit familiar with the historical record would find rather difficult to muster up. I dare say it would be much easier in fact to prove the assertion that our Western history is simply the "history of conspiracies" given the oligarchic control of Western populations for millennia. This is hardly "rocket science" as they say. We do have a rather well documented historical record to fall back on to show the endless scheming of Western oligarchy behind the backs of Western populations.

wardropper
I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true"
John Thatcher
A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. Often people offer as fact conspiracies that only as yet exist as theories,with greater or lesser amounts of evidence to support.I have no doubt that interested parties who are the accused in these theories, will mount efforts to discredit any theory mounted against them or those they represent.

One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense.

Harry Stotle

Isn't it high time we had a term to describe those who always accept the official version of events after controversial political incidents no matter how implausible this account might be?

For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down).

'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner.

Anyway, here's a clip of Henry – the believers in everything the government say would never have considered the objections raised in the film – such questions are tantamount to mental illness according to these 'progressives'.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/YcxjJDlbnC4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Aug 16, 2019] According to Dr.Crenshaw who treated JFK at the Parkland Hospital Kennedy was shot once or twice from the front

Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

9/11 Inside job , says: August 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT

Need to investigate the role , if any , of Dr. Michael Baden in the Epstein and JFK autopsy cover-ups .

According to Dr.Crenshaw who treated JFK at the Parkland Hospital Kennedy was shot once or twice from the front and , therefore, Oswald could not possibly have been the killer. See " Trauma Room One , the JFK Medical Coverup Exposed . " By Dr. Michael Crenshaw .

[Aug 14, 2019] Russiagate as a smoke screen for the struggle between two powerful groups of the US elite

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 1, 2019 5:14:39 PM | 93 ">link

@ bevin #90

But that doesn't bother Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and their mob. They think quarter by quarter. Immediate gratification is the name of their game. They know that "in the long run we are all dead". And they don't care what happens then.

Your viewpoint is the same as that of Jonathon Cook. He says "Russiagate" was a faction fight between two groups of the Power Elites.

One wanted to keep 'putting the lipstick on the pig' which is predatory Capitalism, and the other wants to let it all hang out and rape the planet NOW.

Just as there was a clueless "liberal" cheering group for Mueller, the Looters have a fan club among the "right". Both sets of the applauding groups are just puppets. And of course neither has recognized their true role in the unfolding dramas.

[Aug 14, 2019] Neocon Joe Biden and the USA involvement in Ukraine

Add to this his involvement in Ukraine...
Notable quotes:
"... “It would be contrary to our interests to give Moscow the impression,” Nixon wrote, “that we are prepared to help only as long as Russia remains on its knees. Russia is a great country that deserves to be treated with appropriate respect.” ..."
"... Nixon was either lying or was outright delusional. The collective West can not operate in terms of friendship. The only motive behind any western foreign policy has always been to gain absolute power with no limits or borders. It happens that Russia is viewed as the only nation that can stop that western culture of domination and offer a multi polar world order, respected national sovereignty and mutual trust. Therefore the animosity towards Russia is inevitable, no matter what, as long as Russia exists. Any other view is a sort of wishful thinking. ..."
"... The constantly escalated lie of America about Russia's aggression is needed to knock out 2% of the military budget from satellites for the purchase of actually American weapons, to support the American military industrial complex. ..."
"... Russia enjoys escalation dominance in its own sphere, all the way up to the use of nukes in defense. America cannot possibly justify using that same kind of escalation, which means America will be the first to blink and then withdraw. ..."
Aug 13, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton openly sided with opposition groups in Russia and expressed sympathy with mass anti-government demonstrations whose organizers made no secret of their objective to remove Putin from power. In March 2011, Vice President Joe Biden told Russian opposition leaders that it would be "bad for the country and for himself" if Putin attempted to run for president the following year, according to the later murdered Putin critic Boris Nemtsov. I have spoken with people who were present at Biden's meeting with the Russian opposition, and there was no question in their mind that Biden fully intended to pressure Putin not to run again. Biden and Clinton were not acting out of turn; the Obama administration put its money where its mouth was, giving millions of dollars to political opposition groups in Russia. Today, leading Democrats are demanding that Russia refrain from intervening in the 2020 elections, but what implications do such demands have for America's own willingness to take sides in Russian political disputes?

... ... ..

Last but not least, we must be willing to be clear that we are not beholden to shaping American policy exclusively to align with the whims of our allies. Relationships between former iron curtain states are remarkably complex and fraught with centuries of painful history, making them prone to conflict with one another. It is precisely these parochial European conflicts which George Washington strongly advised against being involved in, stating in his farewell address that America should be wary of entangling, "our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice."

WASHINGTON ALSO spoke about those, "ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens," who become so enamored with the causes of their favorite countries that they not only lose perspective of American interests, but are even prepared to accuse those who disagree with them of a lack of patriotism and, in modern times, of being a Putin lackey. One does not need to be a supporter of President Trump to understand that these pseudo-patriots do not serve American interests or American values well. In April 2019, 73 percent of the Ukrainian people rejected President Petro Poroshenko, who ran on a nationalist, anti-Russian platform. While few American and European experts were willing to acknowledge that the Poroshenko government was corrupt, inept, and, according to Ukrainian media, willing to use money to influence the American political process, they were suddenly willing to make such pronouncements as soon as the election results were solidified. America cannot allow the designation of an "ally" to make any states immune from disagreement or criticism. When the stakes are as high as nuclear war, America cannot afford to conduct foreign policy based on the whims of its domestic constituencies or the sentiments of those very "deluded" citizens about whom Washington warned.

Great American presidents of the past knew how to be loyal allies, but to do it in a calibrated and deliberative fashion. President Dwight D. Eisenhower fully understood the importance of the transatlantic alliance, having fought to preserve it in World War II, yet in 1956 he refused to support Britain and France during the Suez Crisis when doing so went against America’s national interest. Similarly, despite being a genuine friend to Israel, Ronald Reagan was willing to condemn it for going overboard in Lebanon in 1982. But today, to suggest that America is not obliged to support with blood and treasure the actions of our allies and friends is considered morally unacceptable. That is why whenever Baltic states, Georgia and Ukraine have any disagreement with Russia, America automatically denounces Russia as the aggressor, regardless of the historical background, geopolitical context, and even, as in the case of Russia’s war with Georgia in 2008, who attacked whose troops first.

America and Russia appear unlikely to resolve their hostilities any time soon. America has a long tradition of standing tall and being prepared to be ruthless in the defense of its interests, but also in being careful not to unnecessarily entangle itself in the conflicts of others. If the United States starts treating Putin’s Russia like it is Hitler’s Germany, moves from supporting Ukrainian and Georgian sovereignty to encouraging these states to conduct hostile policies towards Moscow, and strengthens NATO’s military position in the Baltics, Russia may feel confronted by an existential threat.

Dimitri K. Simes, publisher and CEO of the National Interest, is president of the Center for the National Interest.


minsredmash10 hours ago • edited ,

“It would be contrary to our interests to give Moscow the impression,” Nixon wrote, “that we are prepared to help only as long as Russia remains on its knees. Russia is a great country that deserves to be treated with appropriate respect.”

Nixon was either lying or was outright delusional. The collective West can not operate in terms of friendship. The only motive behind any western foreign policy has always been to gain absolute power with no limits or borders. It happens that Russia is viewed as the only nation that can stop that western culture of domination and offer a multi polar world order, respected national sovereignty and mutual trust. Therefore the animosity towards Russia is inevitable, no matter what, as long as Russia exists. Any other view is a sort of wishful thinking.

To save us all from the nuclear catastrophe it is important to remember what Putin once said:

""We are not interested in the world without Russia" (c)

Just don't make sudden moves.

Лайм Баюнa day ago ,

The constantly escalated lie of America about Russia's aggression is needed to knock out 2% of the military budget from satellites for the purchase of actually American weapons, to support the American military industrial complex. This lie began with the already proven European aggression of Georgia against South Ossetia. And the RETURN of the Crimea during the anarchy arranged by America coup in Ukraine. America uses Goebbels propaganda.

Kevin Blankinshipa day ago ,

Part of the problem is that the establishment Republicans got heady beginning in the early 1990s, thinking that America is omnipotent and can always get its way in the world. Nowhere was this sentiment stronger than the business elite. This arrogance continues in our foreign policy with those like John Bolton who figure that firepower is always the answer. The good news is that this sentiment peaked during the George W. Bush years, when Iraq taught the lesson that solutions are often not quick-and-easy.

Volodimir2 days ago ,

I think the proper title of the article should be "Russia continue to be delusional about Ukraine"

Dimitri's is the perfect example of how Russian propaganda wants to cast events in the Ukraine: " In April 2019, 73 percent of the Ukrainian people rejected President Petro Poroshenko, who ran on a nationalist, anti-Russian platform "

While it is obvious Ukrainians showed Poroshenko the location of the exit door, the main reason was not his so-called anti-Russian nationalistic platform, but corruption and inability to accelerate necessary reforms.

If the resentment against so called nationalism and anti-Russian policies were material, then the pro-Russian block will have significantly more votes than it managed to gain.

Dmitri here follows Russian dogma and equates pro Ukrainian to anti Russian. Any move in Ukraine to advance Ukrainian language, history and culture - in a sense a sort of affirmative action policy - equates to anti Russian nationalism.

And this delusion needed to be fixed in order for Russia to be able to start moving back towards normalcy in relationship with its neighbors.

VadimKharichkov Volodimira day ago ,

Volo, you don't know how public perception works - if you pour dirt on somebody who has wide respect and sound reputation - it backfires. By badmouthing Dimitri Simes you basically show how foolish you are. You may not feel like it in your little make-believe Ukranian banderite world - but this is how it is in reality.

Besides, Volo, we both know you're Poroshenko supporter and you supported him because of his nationalistic anti-Russian stance. So why pretend he's out because he's inefficient manager? Also, there is a so-called Fallacy of a Single Cause, which you seem to follow. Obviously, there were many reasons for Poroshenko's fall, yet chief among them being ultra-nationalism and administrative ineptitude

Yeap, educate yourself on the list of logical fallacies . As I've said, I'm glad I'm a good influence on you

Gary Sellars Volodimir2 days ago ,

"And this delusion needed to be fixed in order for Russia to be able to start moving back towards normalcy in relationship with its neighbors."

You can't have normalcy when Ukraine is still ruled on the streets by armed facist ultra-nationalist scumbags. Once these criminals are disarmed and jailed awaiting trial then normalcy will have a chance.

maxime begin Gary Sellarsa day ago ,

Seriously?! You really not see the reality... you swallow everything Putin told you... take time and learn a bit about history, stop to be the little good soldier and became a human!

Gary Sellars maxime begin19 hours ago ,

Yes, seriously. The armed nationalists are a damngerous force in Ukraine and the elected politicans are quite rightly scared of these radicals. People die in Ukraine if they speak out openly against the Nationalist militants, ask Oles Buzina... oh wait, we can't cuz they killed him.

Speaking out against the Ukro nationalists in 2019 is like speaking out against the Russian mafia in the 90s and 00s. It's a great way to get yourself killed.

Sean.McGivens Gary Sellars2 days ago ,

"Russia’s grievances, real or imagined, are not justifications for the United States abandoning the pursuit of its own interest and allowing Russian domination of Eurasia.

But the United States has no legitimate interests in the former Soviet Union. For the US to think otherwise is to be power drunk and blinded by imperial greed.

It scares to me see that so many of my ignorant countrymen in America seem to have a sense of manifest destiny regarding the former Soviet land mass. This myopic America policy is going to lead to disaster for the US. That's because Russia enjoys escalation dominance in its own sphere, all the way up to the use of nukes in defense. America cannot possibly justify using that same kind of escalation, which means America will be the first to blink and then withdraw.

Volodimir Sean.McGivens2 days ago • edited ,

" That's why Ukraine must absolutely ... "
It is amusing how Russians automatically assume authority to boss other people around.

Gary Sellars Volodimir2 days ago ,

It is amusing how Banderites always blame others for their own failures and utter irrelevance. You violently siezed Ukraine and proceeded to make a slaughterhouse and a basket-case out of her, but its always someone elses fault... what a good little empty-headed stormtrooper for Empire you are....

Gary Sellars2 days ago • edited ,

The author likes to write about US "defense of its interests" but what about when those "interests" are in direct opposition to the real interests of the nations and peoples in those distant lands? Why should the self-declared and often selfish desires of the US elites be used as justification for political, financial or outright military aggression? Are we really going to accept law-of-the-jungle in global relations where the strong & wealthy get to attack the weak & impoverished simply because doing so is ostensibly in their "interests"? A burglar ransacks your house while you're out and kills your dog in the process cuz its in his "interest', but that doesn't make it OK.

Somewhere we need to accept that morality and ethics should be the primary guide as to how we interact with others. Unfortunately the US elites have long since abandoned any such constraints or considerations as they aren't really compatible with building a global hegemony and crushing all resistance to their rule.

Gary Sellars3 days ago • edited ,

"Putin is not blindly militaristic, but always considers the consequences of his actions, even if he has not always managed to anticipate them correctly (as was the case with Russian interference in U.S. elections)."

"Russia’s interference in the American political process was serious and real"

Gimmee a break.... Russian "interference".... The author feels the need to insert this debunked shibboleth into his article? Surely there isn't a free-thinking individual alive who still belives this hogwash?

katzen777 Jesse Morelanda day ago ,

Yeah, he did. Biden bragged about it. Stop this "Russia's paranoia" nonsense, you keep on clinging to it until it's proven to be truth in some memoir of an ex-cia chief or US offical. Just like with NATO not expanding that was portrayed as a myth until it appeared they really promised it to Gorbachev.

Radical Pragmatist Jesse Moreland3 days ago ,

America and its European allies supported the ousting of Yanukovych in 2014

It was a lot more than simple "support". The U.S., led by State Department Nitwit Vulgarian Victoria Nuland and her barrel of CIA monkeys directly organized and enabled the Maidan coup debacle. All the U.S. had to do was wait for the next presidential election in Ukraine. But no, the Global Cop Gorilla had to stick its fat greasy thumb into someone else's soup yet again.

And the Russians knew that following the ham-fisted coup the U.S. would direct its new puppet President in Ukraine to eject them from their historic naval base in Sevastopol that Russia had occupied for more than 200 years. Ironically, no U.S. facilitated coup, no annexation of Crimea.

The Global Cop Gorilla wrecks everything that it touches. The one perverse benefit of the Trump presidency is that U.S. foreign policy pathology is now so visible to the rest of the planet

mal Sergey3 days ago ,

"At the next revolution, the present rulers would either give up power peacefully or follow the fate of Chaushesqu or Qaddafi."

You mean Russians want NATO to bomb Moscow so that Russian people could get the honor of being sold on the slave markets like Libyan people are today? https://www.reuters.com/art...

Qaddafi is indeed a cautionary tale, just not the one you think it is.

[Aug 13, 2019] Our Overly Militarized Foreign Policy Gets Even Worse

Aug 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Daniel Benaim and Michael Walid Hanna explain that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East hasn't changed much at all under Trump, but there has been a reduction in diplomatic engagement:

For all the headlines, the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is fairly consistent. Despite the administration's intention, laid out in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, to refocus the U.S. military on great-power competition, the U.S. footprint in the Middle East remains relatively constant, and seemingly permanent. Instead, what has changed is the scale of civilian effort that, in most previous administrations, would have accompanied such a military presence. The Trump administration has left numerous vacancies for key civilian positions unfilled for long stretches, slashed aid programs, and focused on high-level personal relations at the expense of broader ties. Altogether, its approach has not been typified by either retrenchment or interventionism but by what Barry Posen, writing in Foreign Affairs, has called "illiberal hegemony" -- military superiority shorn of diplomatic stewardship.

Benaim and Hanna are right about this, and their article is a welcome corrective to the many false claims that Trump is "retreating" from the region. The administration's disdain for diplomacy and aid has been impossible to miss over the last two and a half years, and they have combined that with more or less continuing the military deployments and missions that they inherited. What that means in practice is that the U.S. remains entangled in the affairs of the region, but our government's involvement leans even more heavily towards the military. That leaves every other kind of engagement underfunded, understaffed, and neglected. Since our foreign policy is already excessively militarized, this makes a bad problem worse. Benaim and Hanna note this later in the article:

This approach also exacerbates the long-standing problem of overreliance on the military as the central tool of U.S. Middle East policy. Even on a diplomat's best days, regional leaders are well aware of the "consul effect" -- the contrast between well-resourced American military commanders and their relatively impoverished diplomatic colleagues. Further marginalizing diplomats costs them influence, access, and bargaining power, while positioning the military and intelligence communities as the only effective U.S. institutional actors in the region.

Given the reality that the U.S. military presence hasn't been reduced, and has actually increased in some places over the last two years, how is it that we keep hearing about U.S. "retreat" and "withdrawal" as if these were happening? Client states have an incentive to whine about possible "abandonment" no matter what the U.S. does. Either they complain about an "abandonment" that has supposedly already happened, or they warn against a possible "abandonment" that might take place in the future. The whining serves the purpose of putting pressure on every administration to maintain existing commitments and then to add more. Then there are pundits and analysts at home that constantly fret about U.S. "withdrawal" as a way of agitating for increased involvement. Then there are the supporters of the president that want to pretend that the "withdrawal" is really happening in order to credit the president for doing something he hasn't done. Add them all up, and you get an unfounded consensus that the U.S. is "retreating" when virtually nothing has changed. In the case of Trump, there is an additional factor of taking the president's rhetoric at face value while ignoring what his administration is doing. Trump boasts about some things that never happened and never will happen, and for some reason he is blamed/credited for things he never does while his real policies often escape close scrutiny.

Put simply, U.S. military engagement in the Middle East is largely unchanged and has even escalated to some degree under Trump, but all other kinds of engagement get short shrift. Far from disentangling the U.S. from its excessive commitments in the region, Trump has embraced our worst clients and deepened our government's involvement in the worst way for the sake of arms sales and whipping up anti-Iranian sentiment. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening, and it is antithetical to a foreign policy that extricates U.S. forces from the region.

[Aug 13, 2019] Delusions About Russia by Dimitri K. Simes

Ukraine was a litmus test as for US relations with Russia. From that point for Russia the USA represent an eminent threat for the integrity of the country. In other words the most dangerous adversary which wants to put Russia on its knees by whatever means possible, although Putin politically and diplomatically calls it partner.
And the role Dick Cheney protégé Victoria Nuland played in this tragic for both countries (as well as Ukraine) event still need to be clearly analyzed.
It is now clear that Nuland and her neocon fringes in Obama administration sawed dragon teeth into very fertile ground...
Notable quotes:
"... "It would be contrary to our interests to give Moscow the impression," Nixon wrote, "that we are prepared to help only as long as Russia remains on its knees. ..."
"... As with every divorce, there are contrasting narratives about who bears what responsibility for the dissolution of this once promising relationship. However, it is clear that America's foreign policy establishment, including members of both Congress and the Trump administration, is currently plagued by the tension between its habitual desire to assume the worst of Russia and its simultaneous reluctance to respond to the magnitude of Moscow's challenge in a serious fashion. ..."
"... The same experts who are terrified of confrontation with North Korea, with its rudimentary nuclear arsenal, or Iran, which has no nuclear arsenal at all, take a remarkably cavalier approach towards the prospect of a clash with Russia. ..."
"... It also runs the risk of inadvertently creating a new danger in the form of providing additional incentives for Moscow and Beijing to cooperate with each other against America. As a recent Pentagon white paper observed, Russian president Vladimir Putin could try to play the "China card" to the detriment of America. ..."
Aug 13, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

TWENTY-SIX years ago at a national policy conference in Los Angeles co-hosted by his foundation, Richard M. Nixon observed that one of America's most fundamental foreign policy objectives was to build a new international order after the collapse of the Soviet Union which included the newly-democratic Russia as a partner. He stated,

In discussing Russia, it is first necessary to dispel a myth. The Russians did not lose the Cold War. The Communists did. The United States and our allies played a crucial role in containing communism and in rolling it back, but it was democratic Russia that gave the knockout blow to communism on December 14th in 1991. So therefore, we should treat Russia today not as a defeated enemy but as an ally and a friend who joined with us in defeating communism in Russia.

Nixon warned that if Russia's experiment with democracy and association with the West were to fail, Russia could fall victim to, "a more authoritarian, aggressive nationalism, which, shorn of the failed faith of communism, might be an even greater threat to the West than the old Soviet totalitarianism."

Subsequently, in the book Beyond Peace , which served as the last political message of his life, Nixon made a strong case that, while ending the Cold War on American terms was a historic accomplishment, the lasting legacy of this feat would be determined by America's success in incorporating Russia into the community of democratic free market nations. "It would be contrary to our interests to give Moscow the impression," Nixon wrote, "that we are prepared to help only as long as Russia remains on its knees. Russia is a great country that deserves to be treated with appropriate respect." Nixon's observations were prophetic. They make it clear that the turn that contemporary events have taken was not inevitable even if it was foreseeable. Nixon not only sought reconciliation with Russia, but was also convinced that given sufficient foresight and diplomatic tact Washington could achieve it.

TODAY, IT can be stated with certainty that America has failed at this task. America's new strategic doctrine views Russia as a major threat to the United States due to its military prowess, hybrid warfare capabilities, and global drive to undermine the American-led liberal world order. As with every divorce, there are contrasting narratives about who bears what responsibility for the dissolution of this once promising relationship. However, it is clear that America's foreign policy establishment, including members of both Congress and the Trump administration, is currently plagued by the tension between its habitual desire to assume the worst of Russia and its simultaneous reluctance to respond to the magnitude of Moscow's challenge in a serious fashion.

When I hear media pundits and members of Congress describe Russia as a major adversary and, at the same time, speak and act as though America is immune to the threat posed by the Russian military, I often wonder whether they know something that I do not. The same experts who are terrified of confrontation with North Korea, with its rudimentary nuclear arsenal, or Iran, which has no nuclear arsenal at all, take a remarkably cavalier approach towards the prospect of a clash with Russia. While this view is common among the national security establishment, it reflects a serious misunderstanding of Russia's military strength, its national character and, above all, the way its history continues to shape its foreign policy decisions. It also runs the risk of inadvertently creating a new danger in the form of providing additional incentives for Moscow and Beijing to cooperate with each other against America. As a recent Pentagon white paper observed, Russian president Vladimir Putin could try to play the "China card" to the detriment of America.

In hindsight, it is clear that the post-Soviet political order in Eastern Europe was never properly settled by Russia and the West, and that the agreements that emerged after the Cold War were too ambiguous to offer any real clarity. For instance, the 1994 Budapest Agreement, which both Russia and the United States signed, guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but also promised the protection of Ukrainian sovereignty, which Russia perceived as a commitment from the West not to interfere in Ukraine's internal political affairs. Therefore, when America and its European allies supported the ousting of Yanukovych in 2014, Russia viewed this as illegal Western interference, which provided Moscow with both the opportunity and the right to defend its interests in Crimea and Donbass.

In recent years, Putin has unveiled his Avangard hypersonic ICBM system and new RS-28 Sarmat heavy ballistic missile (both of which are allegedly capable of overcoming any U.S./NATO missile defenses), and warned that, if push comes to shove, Russia is prepared to stand against a military challenge from the West even if doing so meant escalating to nuclear war. These warnings were coupled with the deployment of new brigades to Ukraine's borders starting in 2014 and major improvements of Russia's military capabilities near the Baltic region. Yet again, these moves were treated as something requiring a vigorous response, but ultimately not increasing the risk of a military clash. NATO viewed its commitment to restraint as self-evident, so why would the Kremlin fear Western aggression? And if so, why would anybody seriously fear a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the West?

... ... ...

UNFORTUNATELY, THE threat of unintentional conflict escalation is not a hypothetical one. Russian and American troops often operate in the same areas of combat in Syria, and U.S. combat aircraft and personnel were involved in a devastating attack on Russian paramilitaries in 2018. In that particular case, Russia gave no advanced warning that Russian fighters were involved, and later downplayed the incident by noting the fundamental difference between the death of Russian private military contractors and an attack against its regular forces. But many experts on both sides privately acknowledge that this incident was a close call that easily could have resulted in rapid escalation. With more and more NATO ships and planes operating in close proximity to Russian territory and their Russian counterparts boldly challenging them to prove their own determination, the potential for a clash in the air or on the seas is becoming more and more real. Yet Congress has had no meaningful discussions about how the sinking of one ship or downing of one plane could result in accidental nuclear war between Russia and the United States.

... ... ...

This shift was marked by the growing disillusionment with both the West and democracy that became prevalent during the end of the Yeltsin era after the bitter experience of Russia's economic demise and NATO’s intervention in Yugoslavia. Tsipko writes, “I agree with those who believe that it is the very national character that is to some extent the cause of the militarization of conscience.” He adds, “It is important to understand that militarization of conscience brings the killing of the instinct of self-preservation. It is not just expecting death, but creating a cult of death, making it sacred.”

... ... ...

Nonetheless, Tsipko’s observations reveal much about how Russia might respond to a confrontation with America and its allies. If the survival of the country, dignity of the Russian civilization and, yes, legitimacy of the regime are at stake, Russia may be prepared to accept much higher risks and absorb much greater losses than would be acceptable to Western democracies.

Russia’s sense of isolation and victimhood are also rooted in an understanding of the collapse of the Soviet Union that differs wildly from the common Western narrative. Many Russians view their country as a modern equivalent of Weimar Germany, dismembered by victorious powers who are responsible for the economic catastrophe, human suffering and great humiliation of the Russian people. Most Russian citizens identify with Putin’s statement that, “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” and believe that, “for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.” While neither Putin nor the majority of Russians view the recreation of the USSR as either feasible or desirable, the wounds of the Soviet collapse clearly remain quite fresh and continue to influence attitudes towards the West.

... ... ...

Accordingly, most Russians deeply resented being treated as a defeated country by the West. After the Cold War, Russians anticipated that they would be viewed not as a vanquished adversary, but instead as a courageous ally who played an indispensable role in destroying the Soviet bloc to achieve a common victory in the Cold War. By repeatedly siding against Moscow in each of its post-Cold War disputes with its new neighbors, the West treated Russia like a defeated state that had accepted an unconditional surrender and was now trying, in disregard of its legal obligations, to establish hegemony over its neighbors. The Russian political elites, initially strongly pro-Western, felt betrayed and offended. They saw a diktat from the West.

Many Russians also hold that insidious actions by Western powers greatly contributed to the Soviet collapse. There is very little evidence to support this claim; as late as August 1991, President George H.W. Bush argued against Ukraine’s seeking full independence, stating that “Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aide those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.” Yet the Russian political class has increasingly persuaded itself that its country was intentionally destroyed by Western powers, masquerading as friends of the USSR during perestroika while secretly attempting to sabotage the Soviet state. It is through the prism of those beliefs that one must look to understand how Russia might act in the event of a military confrontation with the West.

[Aug 13, 2019] The new war is essentially economic; it is a war of sanctions and limiting free movement of ship movements around the globe. It is a war of tankers and oil platforms.

Aug 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Aug 12 2019 3:09 utc | 51

@2 BM

Wow, that is an outstanding tour d'horizon from Magnier you linked. This is a keeper to show others who may be amenable to learning about today's Middle East balance of forces, and how it has been arrived at.

Succinct yet very comprehensive, the piece not only catches up the histories of recent years, but provides an analysis of today and the near-to-mid-term future - both military and geopolitical. It speaks of the various lessons learned along the way, including the lessons being absorbed in real time today as the confrontation between Iran and the US has barely yet begun and yet racked up totally instructive scores.

The new war is essentially economic; it is a war of sanctions and limiting free movement of ship movements around the globe. It is a war of tankers and oil platforms. It is a starvation war where no one can threaten the enemy with a return to the "stone age" because the firepower is now universally available . Yemen is the best example: the threat of bombing Dubai forced the Emirates to seek Iranian mediation to prevent a missile attack against them. The Houthis, despite years of Saudi bombing of Yemen, have also managed to bomb Saudi airports, military bases and oil stations in the heart of Saudi Arabia, using cruise missiles and armed drones. [My emphasis]

And Hezbolllah has cemented its standing with nations in the region, expanded its skill from guerrilla and small-theater to nation-size theater, and this:

It has run intensive courses in the use of its drones, used its precision missiles with accuracy, produced thousands of highly trained Special Forces and it has fought an enemy (al-Qaeda) that is much more motivated to fight to the death than any Israeli Special Forces units. [My emphasis]

Israel is essentially paralyzed. Even to the extent, as Magnier relates, of being careful to warn Hezbollah drivers before bombing its supply trucks, because "Israel wanted to avoid human casualties among Hezbollah officers, fully aware of the price of retaliation. " My emphasis again.

The bad guys have fallen behind - as we know, but as Magnier illustrates so clearly in this appraisal, with his review of the initial western strategies just a few years ago and how they have all been rendered null. Even the US now is an antique target for modern missile and drone technology - and the battle-hardened skill with these weapons definitely resides with the Levant axis rather than with the imperialists and their dogs.

The future? This:

Gaza, along with Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad, are all highly equipped by Tehran with sufficient missiles to inflict real damage on Israel and on US forces deployed in the Middle East. Israel is playing around by targeting various objectives tactically but with no real strategic purpose- only for Netanyahu to keep himself busy and train his Air Force, and to gain publicity in the media. Soon, when Syria recovers and Iraq is stronger, the Israeli promenade will have to cease. Hezbollah in Lebanon may also find a way in the near future to keep its irregular but organised army busy by firing anti-air missiles against Israeli jets and imposing new rules of engagement.

Here's the link again:
From 2006 to 2019: after failures in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen, war is no longer an option for Israel

Great job, Elijah J. Magnier!

[Aug 11, 2019] Some government inspector in Texas had agreed to testify about the details of a gigantic corruption ring that was closely connected with LBJ. I can't remember the exact details, but not long afterward, he was found dead, shot seven times.

Notable quotes:
"... Malcolm Wallace and LBJ had been closely linked. In the early 50’s, LBJ had gone to great extents to save Wallace’s life after he shot down a professional golfer who was having an affair with LBJ’s alcoholic sister. Although guilty of murder, Wallace ended up with a minor sentence. ..."
"... Interestingly, a Wallace fingerprint was apparently found at the TSBD “Sniper nest” from where Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Probably some insurance taken against LBJ by his co-conspirators… ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ron Unz: August 10, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMT

This reminds me a little of a almost forgotten incident from the 1960s

Some government inspector in Texas had agreed to testify about the details of a gigantic corruption ring that was closely connected with LBJ. I can't remember the exact details, but not long afterward, he was found dead, shot seven times.

The local Texas court ruled it an apparent suicide and that's exactly how it was reported in the Washington Post and the other national newspapers

Iris : August 11, 2019 at 12:16

His name was Henry Marshall.

In 1984, Billie Sol Estes told a grand jury investigating the 1961 shooting death of Henry Marshall, an official with the Department of Agriculture, that LBJ’s associate Malcolm Wallace was Marshall’s murderer.

Malcolm Wallace and LBJ had been closely linked. In the early 50’s, LBJ had gone to great extents to save Wallace’s life after he shot down a professional golfer who was having an affair with LBJ’s alcoholic sister. Although guilty of murder, Wallace ended up with a minor sentence.

Interestingly, a Wallace fingerprint was apparently found at the TSBD “Sniper nest” from where Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Probably some insurance taken against LBJ by his co-conspirators…

lysias , says: August 11, 2019 at 1:34 am GMT

@Iris Shortly before he died, Estes collaborated with a French journalist on a book called “Le dernier temoin” (“The Last Witness”) in which Estes claimed that he had participated in a meeting with LBJ in which the JFK assassination was planned. The book was published in French (I have a copy), but no English translation has ever appeared.

[Aug 07, 2019] On Saker critique of Tulsi

Notable quotes:
"... The Saker also strongly criticized Milosevic for seeking an accommodation with the West after sustaining a brutal 70+ day all-out aerial assault by NATO and ground assault by Albania. He was silent on Russia's cowardly abandonment of Serbia leaving it to face the West utterly alone. ..."
"... The Saker can deliver a good analysis from time to time but can fail spectacularly as well. IIRC, he predicted that no one in Ukraine would lift a finger to stop Western domination (wrong), completely missed Crimea (just about everyone missed that in his defense) and that Russia would never intervene in Syria as it had no compelling national interest to protect (wrong again). He is right just enough to remain interesting. ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer August 6, 2019 at 6:30 pm

The Saker is back on his high horse – criticizing Gabbard for not going down in flames as she tries to navigate the myriad of traps laid out the the US Government and MSM.

http://thesaker.is/what-tulsi-gabbards-caving-in-to-the-israel-lobby-really-shows/

The Saker also strongly criticized Milosevic for seeking an accommodation with the West after sustaining a brutal 70+ day all-out aerial assault by NATO and ground assault by Albania. He was silent on Russia's cowardly abandonment of Serbia leaving it to face the West utterly alone.

The Saker can deliver a good analysis from time to time but can fail spectacularly as well. IIRC, he predicted that no one in Ukraine would lift a finger to stop Western domination (wrong), completely missed Crimea (just about everyone missed that in his defense) and that Russia would never intervene in Syria as it had no compelling national interest to protect (wrong again). He is right just enough to remain interesting.

[Aug 07, 2019] On September 13, 2018, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took to the floor of the House to rebuke the administration, accusing President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of protecting "al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria," all the while "threatening Russia, Syria, and Iran, with military force if they dare attack these terrorists."

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 2, 2019 at 6:09 am

East-West Committee via Antiwar.com: Re-posting: Interview with Tulsi Gabbard
https://eastwestaccord.com/re-posting-interview-with-tulsi-gabbard/

james carden

August 1, 2019

On September 13, 2018, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took to the floor of the House to rebuke the administration, accusing President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of protecting "al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria," all the while "threatening Russia, Syria, and Iran, with military force if they dare attack these terrorists."
####

Plenty more timely reminder at the link.

[Aug 07, 2019] Gabbard's sister is absolutely right

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star July 31, 2019 at 10:22 pm

https://www.foxnews.com/media/tulsi-gabbards-sister-hammers-biased-and-unfair-cnn-before-second-debate-even-gets-underway
Gabbard's sister is absolutely right.
Tulsi was more or less ignored by the CNN DNC programmed moderators throughout the Detroit debate last night.
It was clear that Biden was the senile soup du jour to be force fed down the vox populi throats of the
American electorate.
Northern Star August 1, 2019 at 4:38 am

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WMT5-C3igZ4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Tulsi v Copmala

Tulsi. 1
Copmala. 0

Patient Observer August 1, 2019 at 2:10 pm
https://www.rt.com/usa/465579-kamala-harris-destroyed-tulsi/

In under a minute, Gabbard shredded Harris to pieces for jailing more than 1,500 nonviolent marijuana offenders while admitting in a radio interview that she had smoked marijuana in college, and for her "tough-on-crime" stances. "She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row she kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor and she fought to keep the cash bail system in place," Gabbard continued, leaving Harris unable to counter.

The MSM is having a difficult time ignoring her. She may have a chance. I will make another donation to her campaign.

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 3:04 am
A careful detailed analysis of the Detroit debate TAB* put on Copmala by Tulsi:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WiDrd73kacY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

TAB: Total Ass Beating

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 2:44 pm
She beat Harris like a red-headed stepchild. Her monotonous reiteration "I'm proud of my record" reminded me of the Breakfast Moment in Happy Gilmour, when Shooter McGavin mocks Happy for daring to challenge him in golf.

Shooter: "Oh, you're on. But you're in big trouble, pal. I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast."

Happy: "You eat pieces of shit for breakfast??"

Shooter: "No".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/wMAhCCZDwtU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

thern Star August 2, 2019 at 4:31 am Very cogent..
A lot of the crucial but easily overlooked put on the table.
Never underestimate the significance of the obvious!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DBtKMo5PVH4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Like Reply August 2, 2019 at 5:05 am Shouda' seen this coming Tulsi is a Russian puppet!
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/01/progressives-say-kamala-harris-team-inventing-conspiracies-about-tulsi-gabbard

Like Reply August 2, 2019 at 4:44 pm I think a lot of people DID see that coming, to the extent that the only behavior acceptable today in the American political milieu is a rehash of that sophomore's question, "Can you say in one sentence or less what makes America the Greatest Country In The World?" The American media typically pleats that 'the system is broken', but not during election season. Then, America is the greatest and running on all cylinders, and the successful candidate is the one who will convince voters that, rather than fix the whatever system, he/she/ze/zir (it's only a matter of time) will take a system that is the best in the world and make itr squeeze out even more happiness and satisfaction for Americans. Anyway, if you go off-message with that, you are under the soulless influence of the Russians.

Anyway, it looks as if the democrats have gone to the well too often with that Russian bullshit, and people are starting to get impatient with the cop-out – it's just an excuse for having no good answer. You can always say, "X is because Russia". I think Harris just bit the dust, and will lose a lot of support over this and gradually drop out. I got a kick out of the "Gabbard is a non-issue, and won't even make the second debates" or something to that effect. Whoever smugly said that was apparently asleep when a Ukrainian comedian who plays a president on TV won the presidency in a landslide. The incumbent once thought it was safe to laugh politely at him, because he was a non-issue, too.

I saw this story also on the same site, although it was not necessary to click on it, for obvious reasons.

"A salute to the bravery of Olga Misik, 17, who during recent bloody protests for free Moscow elections sat before Putin's armed-to-the-teeth goons and calmly read aloud the Russian constitution, including Article 31 affirming the right to peaceful political assembly. She was later arrested and allegedly beaten. "Injustice always concerns everyone," said Olga, who takes the long view of repression. "Today the Moscow City Duma, tomorrow the governor of the region It is only a matter of time."

'Bloody protests for free Moscow elections'?? They were bloody? Really? and the issue was free Moscow elections? Not candidates being allowed to run despite having been disqualified for not reaching the signatory threshold? The game of coming up with enough signatures to demonstrate a valid support base is an old one, trawling the obituaries and all manner of dodges to come up with enough for people who don't really have any support, but want a soapbox from which to squawk their message and then say they were cheated of victory by the Kremlin. Putin's armed-to-the-teeth goons? Really? American police called to control demonstrations are unarmed? Since when? Does arming them make them goons? I can't see their teeth – how does the reporter know they are armed to the teeth? Olga takes the long view of repression, does she? From the jaded pinnacle of 17? I'm surprised they did not ask her views on gay sex – she's old enough. Just.

Embarrassing western hyperbole – a Russian review of the PISA tests that descended to the same level might read, "A salute to the simple-mindedness of the Amerikantsi 'students', who must have gone to school at a mental institution, or been taught by the homeless lunatics that abound in and around Amerikantsi cities. Once again they managed to score so poorly that one might reasonably wonder if they arrived at the testing institution by accident, thinking instead that they were being taken to see one of the violence-and-profanity-riddled Amerikantsi movies that pollute the television and cause the Amerikantsi schoolchildren to shoot each other as if they lived inside a video game where it is not real blood. It's difficult to imagine a sensible explanation for such a dismal performance, in which they finished below the OECD average in every category."

But you won't see anything like that in a Russian newspaper, or hear it on a Russian news program. Because they don't act like the country is run by hysterical 12-year-olds. However, if the Americans want to pin their new hopes for Putin's political immolation on some 17-year-old attention-junkie bint, they should knock themselves out. They are merely hardening Russian opinion against them, and they may not care but some day they will. And then they will wail, "Why do they hate us? It must be because of our freedom!"

I was particularly intrigued by the mention of the Democrats getting caught fabricating fake Russian troll accounts to pretend the Russians were trying to influence some state election or other, I forget what, supposedly reported in the Times. I didn't see that, and I don't recall anyone mentioning it here.

Like Reply Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 3:10 pm A very cogent argument for (a) keeping the debates agenda-free and independently managed, and (2) a less-insane democratic party.

[Aug 07, 2019] Taibbi via Antiwar.com: The rise and fall of superhero Robert Mueller

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 2, 2019 at 5:31 am

Taibbi via Antiwar.com: The rise and fall of superhero Robert Mueller
https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-rise-and-fall-of-superhero-robert

The testimony of Robert Mueller should have marked the end of a national nightmare. Instead, a new legend was born

This myth died on television .

Mueller on the stand was a potted plant. Reporters saw Moses and Jesus. If you need evidence we're in a religious mania, look no further. This was a pure exercise in restoring an idol for worship

In mid-March, just before Mueller's probe wrapped up, CNN found a whopping zero percent of Americans identified "Russian investigation" as their primary concern heading into 2020. The network wrote (emphasis mine):..,

ussiagate should be dead. Instead, it's gaining new life, with impeachment looking like the New Testament phase of the religion
####

Much, much more at the link.

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 5:11 pm
Every time I read a piece by Matt Taibbi, I ask myself, "Why don't you read Matt Taibbi more often?" By God, he can write – I nearly horked up a lung when he described John Brennan as a 'paranoid outpatient'. His descriptions of the frantic dissembling amongst the Democrats create passages in which you can actually smell the despair and incoherent rage, like burnt hair.

The whole Mueller testimonial dirge will turn out to have only divided Americans further. Republicans will chuckle with satisfaction at watching Mueller fly into a window like a careless jackdaw, while Democrats will sense that something crazy happened but that this is a time for blind loyalty. And never the twain shall meet. The fact that that was supposed to be East and West makes the irony but more pronounced.

[Aug 07, 2019] Gaslighting Americans with Russiagate

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

I figured that since 'gaslighting' is a relatively new term, and although I already had a general idea what it meant from context, it would be best to look it up. I was surprised to learn the concept of ' gaslighting ' has been around since 1938.

"a form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's belief."

In America's case, gaslighting – like charity – begins at home, and the full force of US government efforts to convince the skeptical that America is more powerful and influential than ever, is still kicking ass and taking names, is felt by Americans.


Mark Chapman July 31, 2019 at 10:40 am

I repeat the assessment of Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity (VIPS), to the effect that the hack – if you can call it that – could not have been carried out over the internet, as the data-transfer rate was far too high. In fact, it had all the fingerprints of a portable device such as a thumb drive, coupled directly to the server at a convenient USB port. And then Democratic staffer Seth Rich died, with no convincing explanation for his death. Conservative American techhies tried to explain it away with a barrage of bullshit about how that level of bandwidth could be realized over the internet and how various tags and suchlike proved it was the Russians, but the Russians certainly would know better by now than to leave those kinds of traces, and the US intelligence agencies are quite proud of their ability to insert identifiers to make a transmission appear to have originated someplace else. It's kind of like how Israel and the Ukrainian SBU destroyed people's faith in voice intercepts.

Further musing, from the sublime

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-01/if-there-really-was-evidence-russian-hacking-nsa-would-have-it

To the attempt-to-have-one's-cake-and-eat-it, decidedly less sublime.

https://thefederalist.com/2017/03/21/russians-did-not-hack-election/

The latter reference, despite its hopeful headline, merely argues the election was not 'hacked'; it was 'meddled with', and since the Russians wanted Trump to win, they probably did get up to mischief, we're pretty sure.

This one even speculates that Russia wants American voters to know it can hack them anytime it likes.

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/election-cybersecurity/

The electorate is now so polarized, demoralized and witless with fear and fury that voting in America is merely a knee-jerk homage to democracy. Nobody will be remotely surprised if the winner is not who they voted for, even if everyone says "Hey! I voted for him/her too!!" They will just look at each other, nod significantly, and whisper "The Russians". And when you think about it, that's just about where the US government wants them, except for the part about their legitimacy being conferred by Vladimir Putin. That's going to be a hard one for the winner to spin away.

et Al August 1, 2019 at 4:27 am
US intelligence agencies are quite proud of their ability to insert identifiers to make a transmission appear to have originated someplace else. ..

Yes, the famous 'Vault 7' set of NSA tools that were leaked, including a reversing tool so that they can check if someone is trying to pass off their sneaky cyber stuff as American when it's not.

Northern Star July 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm
"PART II: Gaslighting
Author's Note: Because "NATO" these days is little more than a box of spare parts out of which Washington assembles "coalitions of the willing", it's easier for me to write "NATO" than "Washington plus/minus these or those minions".

Both Devastating .Absolutely spot on devastating: (Above is excerpt from the first link)

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/psychoanalysing-nato-projection-and-gaslighting/

"The majority of Americans accept mass murder under the pretext of the right to protect, because their ability to form rational and reasoned opinions has been engineered out of them. This is now the definition of US exceptionalism. It is their ability to manipulate the world into accepting their lawlessness and global hegemony agenda. In seeking to impose its own image upon our world the US has drifted so far from its founding principles, one wonders how they will ever return to them. They have employed a recognised form of torture to ensure capitulation to their mission of world domination which entails the mental, physical and spiritual torture of target civilian populations.

In conclusion, the US has indeed achieved exceptionalism. The US has become an exceptional global executioner and persecutor of Humanity. Imperialism is a euphemism for the depths of abuse the US is inflicting upon the people of this world."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47139.htm

Mark, Your piece is every bit as eloquent and relentless in denouncing the *absolutely* unredeemable, thus subject to that demanded by moral economy.

[Aug 07, 2019] Integrity Initiative forthcoming reviews of forthcoming Assange book: Luke Harding can be relied on to add his 2 cents' worth of conspiracy paranoid garbage, Shaun Walker will be parsing the book for dill references and non-Russia experts like Marina Hyde and Natalie Nougat-head will want a crack as well at reviewing the book.

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Jennifer Hor August 2, 2019 at 1:01 pm

Look out for the bad reviews from The Fraudian's writers: Luke Harding can be relied on to add his 2 cents' worth of conspiracy paranoid garbage, Shaun Walker will be parsing the book for dill references and non-Russia experts like Marina Hyde and Natalie Nougat-head will want a crack as well at reviewing the book.

Probably the only half-decent reviews will be from Mary Dejevski and Prof. Stephen Cohen but theirs will be buried in a back page or inaccessible behind an Error 404 wall.

[Aug 07, 2019] It's the 6th Division now!

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 2, 2019 at 3:48 am

It's the 6th Division now!

The Register: New British Army psyops unit fires rebrandogun, smoke clears to reveal I'm sorry, Dave
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/08/01/british_army_shows_us_its_cyber_ring/

This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardise it

6 (UK) Division is the new organisational home for the Army's "asymmetric edge", comprising all things "Intelligence, Counter-Intelligence, Information Operations, Electronic Warfare, Cyber and Unconventional Warfare".

Launched this morning, 6 Div is a rebranding of the formation formerly known as Force Troops Command, which covered a hotchpotch of Royal Signals, Intelligence Corps and other units, including the infamous 77 Brigade
####

Don't forget to hit the comments for hilarity!

Also, the timing of the announcement says plenty, i.e. slipping it in to the news stream when people have already gone on holiday and all the BREXIT and other bollocks. I've not seen this reported on the tv in the UK – which is currently facing severe flooding etc.

et Al August 2, 2019 at 4:07 am
Is it just me or is all the PPNN reporting that 'Putin's support has dropped to levels not seen since 2011!'. Of course they don't actually give you any numbers and cherry pick dodgy poll numbers but there really is this Pavlovian reaction anytime there is a demonstration in Russia, like undertakers gathering at an allegedly dangerous road crossing waiting for some cyclist to be dragged under a trash lorry so that they can tut tut and then profit from the cyclist's misfortune. Nix that, the PPNN are just professional versions of MacBeth's witches, something which they don't understand is a story .
Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 3:01 pm
Putin is in as much danger of being unceremoniously chucked out of office as he is of choking to death on his grandmother's knitting. The west is ever hopeful, and dutifully rallies to the glorification of every new dissident firebrand, but whether or not they know it, they are just going through the motions. The only group, and I mean the only one, that would benefit from Putin's overthrow would be the disaffected kreakliy and the poncy forgotten semi-intellectuals. They would be feted by the west as political visionaries, and perhaps given minor government positions to satisfy their vanity. But who else would make out like a bandit? The military? Hardly – the west, after years of giggling about Russia's decrepit military, lapsed into an uneasy silence on the subject just about the time that long-distance Kalibr cruise-missile attack took place from the Caspian Sea into Syria, and a west given meddling-room would want to disband the Russian military, if anything, down to a token force of absolutely-trustworthy sycophants who would probably be issued with American weapons. The oligarchs? Hardly – western business would be snapping up former state assets while simultaneously carrying out an 'anti-corruption drive' under the new President's imprimatur. Small businesses? Hardly – corporate interest would be in melding large state interests into the Corporate Borg, and their method is to squeeze out small business in order to expand market share. The people? Hardly – Russia would be a convenient place to move all the refugee immigrants from that entire hemisphere, while the stubborn loyalty of the population to Putin would not be forgotten.

It is no coincidence that it is always the same people who show up to bitch and carp about how dreadful Putin is, and how Russia needs American-style freedom and democracy and non-stop Pride parades and all the trappings of fresh admission to Club West. They are the only people who would stand to benefit from driving Putin out. Nobody else is interested.

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 4:50 pm
They're just trying to get some mileage out of Olga what's-her-name, and make it look like a drop in Putin's poll numbers happened exactly at the moment this young political firebrand emerged. Pretty sad, really, but you can't tell 'em, and it wouldn't make any difference. They have to try, it's the same instinct that makes a dog lick its nose if you smear cheese on it. The western media would rush to interview and endorse a talking Russian toad if it said "I hate Putin".

[Aug 07, 2019] Nut Yahoo put particular pressure on t-Rump to drop Turkey from the F-35 program because Turkey was 'no longer reliable and too close to the Russians'.

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 2, 2019 at 5:44 am

BTW, the i-Sreali papers are claiming that it was Nut&Yahoo who put particular pressure on t-Rump to drop Turkey from the F-35 program because Turkey was 'no longer reliable and too close to the Russians'.

This is curious because Nut&Yahoo (and others) valued Russian links but in the last few years others have spoken openly that Russia was more of a hindrance than a help. So it looks like the desperate 'election/no-election/election' Nut&Yahoo has shifted significantly his ground – or should that be burning his bridges . After all, if he and others cannot be bothered, then the calculation in Moscow changes too.

Which leads us to a stragtegic shift/realignment, i.e. heading in to the unknown which is quite a risky bet more so Tel Aviv/Washington than Moscow.

If you are interested in reading history, looking for clear events marking big shi(f)ts in international relations is part of the sothsaying and speculation. Is this one of them?

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 5:16 pm
That might well be true, but only a fucking retard would have listened to him unless he was proposing some kind of deal in which Israel would either buy another 100 F-35's (a joke in itself, since it buys most of its American-made 'defense' equipment with American taxpayers' money), or somehow otherwise make up for the financial loss. Not to mention that every F-35 cancellation – for whatever reason – increases the pressure on other uncertain buyers who have heard whispers about what a flying Coke machine it is to drop out. This is supposed to be America's front-line fighter for the next thirty years, allowing for upgrades. And they just lost a couple of Billion in sales, and made the undelivered future airframes more expensive, because the money realized from sold aircraft is supposed to go straight back into production.

[Aug 07, 2019] Snowden about litmus test of whether the country obey the rule of the law or is ruled by criminals

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

yalensis August 2, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Snowden: "When exposing a crime is treated as committing a crime, you are being ruled by criminals."

[Aug 07, 2019] X-37B space plane and evil Russians

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 2, 2019 at 6:05 am

National Interest via Antiwar.com: The U.S. Air Force's Secret X-37B Space Plane: A War Machine?
https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/us-air-forces-secret-x-37b-space-plane-war-machine-69861

The U.S. Air Force's Secret X-37B Space Plane: A War Machine?..

The fifth and latest X-37B mission could send the mini-shuttle over large portions of Russian territory for the first time

####

I don't like Axe and these NI clickbaity/excitable articles, but several things spring to mind. considering it flies lower than any satellited and takes advantage of aerodynamic drag to manoeuver (much more efficiently) quickly than any satellite and is testing thermal systems, is this also could be used in future as an Orbital Bomber, i.e. loaded up with nukes and dropped on new targets as needed and at short notice? It doesn't need to make economic sense if it adds capabilities and there is profit to be made by LM/Boeing/Whomever.

My other thought, is the USA dumb enough to fly this low over Russia which would be asking for it to be shot down? I doubt it, but stupid seems to be the rule rather than the except in the US. We've already seen over the Gulf of Hormuz that there is a de facto and recognized disctinction between shooting down an unmanned drone (Globalhawk) and a manned spy plane (P-8a), particularly near, by or over someone else's borders. The X-37 is certainly no satellite and even for most of the Cold War the US did not fly a spy plane over the Soviet Union (apart from when they had the Brits do it for them instead – sic Gary Powers).

Still, it's interesting that it's popped up now despite being in the news over the last few years, yet another news item treated as a curiousity rather noted by Defense correspondents as yet another potential US treaty violation Optics, innit?

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 6:34 pm
I'd like to see Russia put up a giant flying garage, maneuver the X-37B into it, close the door and take it. Keep it for about a week, and then send it back with a bear painted on the side, wrapped in a giant diaper, with a poster in the window that reads "Crazy Igor's Clearance Sale; Novichok Half Off! Everything Must Go!". And when the Americans opened the door to retrieve the payload, a concealed audio player would play "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" in farts. Trolled enough?

[Aug 07, 2019] The universal Mk.41 launchers can also fire nuclear capable Tomahawk cruise missiles at Russia from much closer ranges = less reaction time = reduced deterrence effect = increases the chance of nuclear first strike against Russia, and thus

Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 2, 2019 at 5:16 am

al-Beeb s'Allah: INF nuclear treaty: Nato 'to avoid arms race' after US-Russia pact ends
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49207281

####

Yet again, lying by omission . Their 'Defense Correspondent' Jonathan Marcus notes briefly that W. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty in 2002 and that Russia announce pulling out of it in 2007 but does not explain why, i.e. the combination of the following:

a) expanding these 'defensive' ABM sites to the lo-land of Po-land & also Romania

b) the universal Mk.41 launchers can also fire nuclear capable Tomahawk cruise missiles at Russia from much closer ranges = less reaction time = reduced deterrence effect = increases the chance of nuclear first strike against Russia, and thus

c) denied/refused Russia any means to verify the non-use of nukes for the launchers just saying 'Trust us!' which is complete bs considering all the previous promises made and not kept.

None of the linked articles therein mention Russia's objections. But then Marcus is only a 'Defence correspondent' (such small details clearly aren't important in the grand scheme of things) and he can always get a future job at NATO as a Spokesman like previous BBC journos Oana Lungescu & Mark Laity. In a fight between Jonathan Marcus & Mark Urban, who do you think would replace Oana? Or someone else? They all do sterling government service

et Al August 3, 2019 at 4:10 am
Oooh, looky here! The BBC inches itself up the line which if crossed would constitute journalism . Why don't they just jump on in? It's safe as long as your patrons – Da Gov – and the intelligence services don't go after you (Hello 'Guardian'!):

al-Beeb s'Allah: INF nuclear treaty: Trump says new pact should include China
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49213892

In an earlier statement, Russia's foreign ministry said the US decision to withdraw was "a grave mistake".

It also accused America of violating the treaty by deploying MK-41 launchers in Europe, capable of firing intermediate-range cruise missiles
####

So the plus is, above they actually link to the Russian Foreign Ministry statement, but no further. The big minus is that they wrote far, far more about Russia's 'violations'.

That t-Rump thinks Russia, let alone China is excited about joining a new deal, hahahahahahahah!

We also discover that go to and favorite 'defense expert' (MGU Candidate of Sciences Biology degree!) for the Pork Pie News Networks Pavel Felgenhauer is not dead!

[Aug 07, 2019] Neoliberals are promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! Which will huge help to Venezuela. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Notable quotes:
"... Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela? ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:14 am

Mega corrupt economic cockroach/ghoul/scavenger:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross
.
Pontificates on Venezuela's future

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:18 am
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-01/u-s-commerce-secretary-lays-out-sweeping-plan-to-help-venezuela
yalensis August 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm
"In a post-Maduro Venezuela, the U.S. will remove sanctions, foster pro-market and pro-business reforms and help rebuild confidence, Ross said. An immediate priority will be providing humanitarian aid, while a medium-term focus will be rolling back socialism, Ross said."

They are even promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! In the medium-term focus, of course. Immediate focus on reign of terror, while handing out tins of spam to the swarming masses. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 6:59 pm
Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela?

I hope somebody else will help them out. I'd dearly love to see Venezuela get on its feet without American assistance, and then tell the entire Yoo Ess of Aye to kiss its ass. No more heavy crude for your refineries, maybe you can turn them into basket shops, what say? No thanks; we'll buy our food elsewhere, if it's all the same to you. Oh, and Bolsonaro? Eat a bag of shit. Invite your Colombian buddy over for dinner

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:19 pm
IMF loan for Venezuela will make things 'all better' ? Really?
https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2018/08/imf-loans-can-be-debt-trap
Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:32 pm
What would more than likely be the outcome of the IMF solution for Venezuela according to the clown referenced in the link I posted (supra)
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/greece-bailout-imf-europe/567892/
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:29 am
Pertinent, bitter and frightening – thanks for posting it. A useful reference.
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:21 am
Yes, I meant to remark on that as well. It's funny that the western regime-change model relies on countries loaned huge amounts of money to be enslaved by their honesty, and actually pay it back.

[Aug 07, 2019] Poroshenko asked the USA help in fighting criminal cases against him in Ukraine

Notable quotes:
"... Poroshenko has previously been involved in eleven criminal cases, in particular, as regards his abuse of power and his official position in the distribution of posts in "Tsentrenergo", his treason in connection with the incident in the Kerch Strait, his usurpation of judicial power and his misappropriation of the TV channel "Direct", his falsification of documents in the formation of Deputy factions in 2016, and his illegal appointment of a government, and the seizure of power. ..."
"... In addition, as a witness, he was questioned about civilian deaths during the Euromaidan protests in 2014. ..."
"... I could see them having a quiet word with Zelenskiy, maybe leave the old man out of it, what do you say? But Washington is already accused – with substantial justification, I would say – of running the show in Ukraine, and there are limits to how much obvious interfering it can do; especially after Biden's bragging about getting the state prosecutor fired. ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile, July 31, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Порошенко попросил у США помощи с уголовными делами на Украине, пишут СМИ

Poroshenko has asked the US for help with criminal cases in the Ukraine, writes media
05:31
MOSCOW, 1 Jul – RIA Novosti.
The former President of the Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is in Istanbul, where he has turned to American companies to lobby for protection from criminal cases, reports " Ukraine News " with reference to sources.

It has been noted that in the Ukraine changes have been made as regards the criminal cases against Poroshenko. In particular, in May 2019, the former-president's lawyer Igor Golovan stated that these criminal cases would not entail any legal consequences, but now Poroshenko's entourage realizes that the criminal prosecution of the former president has noticeably intensified and may have consequences.

Therefore, according to the newspaper, in Turkey Poroshenko has started to lobbying U.S. companies, in particular, the BGR group, for assistance in resolving these cases.

"He is well aware that everything that happens in the RRG (State Bureau of investigation – trans. ed.) is taken very seriously, and he intends to defend himself against attacks. He can, for example, be expecting public support in Washington if there is an attempt made to arrest him", said the source.

In addition, the publication cites the words of Ukrainian political scientist Alexei Yakubin, who has noted that Poroshenko could repeat the "Saakashvili scenario".

"For example, he'll leave for treatment in London, where part of his entourage has entrenched itself. But this model complicates the public protection of his business assets within the country, which assets might be seized", he said.

The case against Poroshenko

Poroshenko has previously been involved in eleven criminal cases, in particular, as regards his abuse of power and his official position in the distribution of posts in "Tsentrenergo", his treason in connection with the incident in the Kerch Strait, his usurpation of judicial power and his misappropriation of the TV channel "Direct", his falsification of documents in the formation of Deputy factions in 2016, and his illegal appointment of a government, and the seizure of power.

In addition, as a witness, he was questioned about civilian deaths during the Euromaidan protests in 2014.

Poroshenko himself, speaking at the party congress of "European Business", said that he is responsible only before the Ukrainian people and is not afraid of persecution.

Mark Chapman August 1, 2019 at 2:44 am
Quite right, old man; keep your chin up. I daresay they're staying in quite prestigious digs in Istanbul, as befits visiting royalty. He seems to be labouring under a misapprehension that he is valuable somehow to Washington, whereas that would only be true if Washington were unwilling to work with Zelenskiy, and wanted him out of the way.

So far as I can see, Washington is quite satisfied with Zelenskiy, while the people would not countenance a Poroshenko return. So he's not really much use, is he? Especially if the USA wishes to publicly support Zelenskiy's supposed battle with official corruption.

I could see them having a quiet word with Zelenskiy, maybe leave the old man out of it, what do you say? But Washington is already accused – with substantial justification, I would say – of running the show in Ukraine, and there are limits to how much obvious interfering it can do; especially after Biden's bragging about getting the state prosecutor fired.

Mark Chapman August 1, 2019 at 5:34 pm
Yes, I was sort of getting at the probability that Clan Poroshenko is just installed in a very nice hotel. I doubt he will want to be plunking down money for an actual property so long as the status of his assets still in Ukraine is still up in the air. I should imagine the Ukrainian government will take steps, if it has not already, to prevent his simply withdrawing their cash value.
Moscow Exile August 1, 2019 at 8:52 am
Same story from TASS [Eng]:

1 AUG, 14:07
In Saakashvili's shoes? Poroshenko asks US lobbyists to shield him from criminal charges
According to Vesti Ukraine, the ex-president sought help from the BGR Group, whose senior adviser is US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker


Trust me!

yalensis August 1, 2019 at 4:24 pm
The thing about the pindosi, though, is that they always hedge their bets .
I vangize that they will pressure Zel to pardon Porky. So that they have a spare.
I hope I am wrong, but I don't think I am.
Mark Chapman August 1, 2019 at 5:45 pm
I doubt it, simply because it would kick the timbers right out from under Zelenskiy's anti-corruption platform, which is the issue on which he was voted in, and there would be no way to do it under the radar. The Ukrainian people must be following Porky's flight with great interest, and inferring that it means he has something to hide. Therefore an abrupt discontinuing of the pursuit, and a refocusing elsewhere, would tell them accountability is not attributed to the powerful and wealthy. Which is uhhh exactly the opposite of Zelenskiy's message.

[Aug 06, 2019] Half-d>ecent NYT article about Tulsi

I would not call this article decent. At best it is half-decent ;-) This is a typical NYT anti-Tulsi propaganda but it does make several relent observation buried in the sea of anti-Tulsi crapola.
Notable quotes:
"... “We should be coming to other leaders in other countries with respect, building a relationship based on cooperation rather than with, you know, a police baton,” she says. ..."
"... While she is the embodiment of this anti-interventionist message onstage, there is a much larger movement brewing. There is big money in peace. Two billionaire philanthropists from opposite ends of the political spectrum — George Soros and Charles Koch — came together this summer to fund the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a think tank to argue against American intervention abroad. ..."
Aug 06, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

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