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Relentless militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite

News Media-Military-Industrial Complex Recommended Links Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism Syria civil war Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA National Security State American Exceptionalism
New American Militarism American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Predator state Hillary wet kiss with neocons Anatol Leiven on American Messianism "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place How Dystopian Secrecy Contributes to Clueless Wars Wolfowitz Doctrine
War is Racket Libertarian Philosophy Populism Non-Interventionism Paleoconservatism Color revolutions Purple color revolution against Trump Military keysianism
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living  War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage Machiavellism Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism    
Obama: a yet another Neocon Madeleine Albright as a precursor of Hillary Clinton Samantha Power Robert Kagan Big Uncle is Watching You John Boyd Humor Etc

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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[Feb 22, 2018] McMaster, Kelly On Their Way Out Zero Hedge

Feb 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

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

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

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


Edgey...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump is refusing to start new wars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous post regarding McMaster...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016.

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 18, 2018] And, what about all the foreign nationals who post here in this forum on this blog? I daresay most offer opinions not complementary of the US government and its political menagerie.

"I swear that Russiagate is nothing more than trying to cover up the blatant corruption of the DNC, Hillary Clinton, the FBI, CIA and The Department of Justice. Keep everybody busy with Russiagate and don't allow the corruption (with the help of the press) to see the light of day. Otherwise, people in high places would be going to jail.
Notable quotes:
"... As many commentators have pointed out, we are a country of completely brain washed people now. Schiff, Schumer, Sanders . . . they are all cut from the same cloth. There is not one politician left in the country who will challenge the The Ruling Power Structure's narrative. Even in Russia, there are lot of opposition leadership voices who are making noises against the System they disagree with. ..."
"... They can't make "hacking" stick 'cause it's false. They can't make "Trump is a Putin puppet" stick 'cause it's false. So now the whole damn dumb show–regurgitated by either shameless war profiteers or straight-faced useful idiots–comes down to so-called Russian social media trolls exercising the same "speech" that we are supposedly so proud to call "free" in this country. ..."
"... The Thought Police use surveillance and psychological monitoring to find and eliminate members of society who challenge the party's authority and ideology. ..."
"... Anyone who has questioned the intelligence agencies narrative that Russians and Trump colluded to win the election are viewed with suspicion as potential enemies of the state. ..."
"... What is the end goal? The end goal is to prop up a long in the tooth multi-decade cold war with Russia to justify massive military spending. Do you want to know the answer to your question of whether or not the US defense industry and our intelligence agencies are trying to spark a war with Russia? ..."
"... The answer is yes they are. As crazy as that sounds, the hungry defense industry with its insatiable appetite for more weapons has decided to go for the ultimate win the lottery strategy and foment war with Russia. It had been happening under Obama and now it is happening under Trump. They are trying to box him into a corner where he will feel enough pressure to go against Russia. Perhaps they can goad him into attacking Russia which is what I believe they want to do. Our national media plays along and is in bed with the intelligence agencies as much as ever just like they spouted the lies of Chalabi in Iraq War II falsely believing his claims that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical and biological weapons. ..."
"... "Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia." ..."
"... The Russiagate affair has been going on for almost a year and I would think Mueller is under a lot of pressure to find something to stick. This indictment may be it. ..."
"... Once again, Russia's reputation will be taken down a few notches and made to suffer another humiliation. And the US will move on to the next allegation, "UK and US blame Russia for the malicious NotPetya cyberattack" (headline on BBC). ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

"Realist , February 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Essentially, all Mueller did yesterday was to indict a bunch of private Russian citizens for expressing their opinions about the candidates in the last presidential election via public media (mainly Facedbook and Twitter), and the individual Russians contacted by the press about it did not deny doing so. Mueller made no links to the Russian government, Putin, the FSB or even their alleged puppet Donald Trump. Just private individuals being persecuted for expressing an opinion on American politics in public because they are foreigners. Doesn't matter whether the opinions were true, false, complementary or disparaging because they were subjective just like anyone else's opinions (you know, opinions are like a-holes, everybody's got one).

So, if that move by Mueller is allowed to stand and serve as a precedent in American jurisprudence, doesn't that mean that journalists from foreign lands, like Caitlin herself, are at risk of being indicated at any moment by the US Justice Department if they express opinions that the insiders in the Deep State do not like? And, what about all the foreign nationals who post here in this forum on this blog? I daresay most offer opinions not complementary of the US government and its political menagerie. And, to be honest, many do so in order to either change minds or solidify shared beliefs with others, including great swirling drifts of snowflake Americans.

This free exchange of thoughts is now to be verboten because someone other than Uncle Sam may have an influence or even change the mind of a precious American citizen? This is madness. That the most educated and articulate amongst us do not see this, but rather participate in the feeding frenzy upon the carcass of what is left of our liberal democracy is absolutely stupifying. As I have been saying for some time now, someone or some force must be imposing a form of mass hypnosis upon the population and only a few of us (including most here) seem to be immune to its effects. Maybe something we consume acts as an antidote. Perhaps your Italian grandma's muffalettas or calzones, Joe? Or my mother's German rouladen?

Dave P. , February 17, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Realist –

"As I have been saying for some time now, someone or some force must be imposing a form of mass hypnosis upon the population and only a few of us (including most here) seem to be immune to its effects."

You are dead right on that. My wife was yelling and screaming last night that why I was not watching this "Russia trolls" show with her on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS; to learn how the Russians have destroyed our beautiful democracy. She had seen the World too, mostly for fun and experiences; she taught English in Malaysia – British colony until 1957 – as a peace Corps volunteer during 1960's. There you have it. As many commentators have pointed out, we are a country of completely brain washed people now. Schiff, Schumer, Sanders . . . they are all cut from the same cloth. There is not one politician left in the country who will challenge the The Ruling Power Structure's narrative. Even in Russia, there are lot of opposition leadership voices who are making noises against the System they disagree with.

Gregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

They can't make "hacking" stick 'cause it's false. They can't make "Trump is a Putin puppet" stick 'cause it's false. So now the whole damn dumb show–regurgitated by either shameless war profiteers or straight-faced useful idiots–comes down to so-called Russian social media trolls exercising the same "speech" that we are supposedly so proud to call "free" in this country. They not only take us for moronic fools, but they can't even see that that they are insulting us further by insinuating that our voting decisions are completely unsophisticated and easily swayed to the point that 13 Russians could have an impact amidst a sea of election season campaign "propaganda" from both major parties and an array of special interest influence peddling. Like the Clinton campaign didn't hire Facebook trolls!
Bye Bye First Amendment no one in the halls of power takes it seriously enough to defend it unless you're spouting groupthink right Bernie?

Zachary Smith , February 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Essentially, all Mueller did yesterday was to indict a bunch of private Russian citizens for expressing their opinions about the candidates in the last presidential election via public media (mainly Facedbook and Twitter), and the individual Russians contacted by the press about it did not deny doing so.

I'll echo Drew Hunkins in calling this a brilliant condensation of the issue. What worries me is what the morons-in-charge might have in mind as a follow-up to this lunacy.

CitizenOne , February 18, 2018 at 2:31 am

Perhaps we are entering into the Orwellian dawn of Thought Crimes which are any feelings or thinking a Citizen has which are counter to the State Propaganda put out by the Ministry of Truth. The Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak) are the secret police of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is their job to uncover and punish thoughtcrime. The Thought Police use surveillance and psychological monitoring to find and eliminate members of society who challenge the party's authority and ideology.

Anyone who has questioned the intelligence agencies narrative that Russians and Trump colluded to win the election are viewed with suspicion as potential enemies of the state.

It would appear to be allegations of thought crime because 15 foreign nationals posted things on social media. We have been under the perception that social media is a free forum for discourse but now, like China, we are seeing the formation of a witch hunt for foreign devils who have infiltrated the social mediascape and are on trial for the results of a national election.

We are literally burning some innocent teenager for the calamity we are convinced was not of our own making. We need to find a witch to brew some witchcraft to explain how our current situation has arisen.

Not sure if anyone alive today believes the Salem Witch Trials served justice and created a restoration of civil harmony. I'm fairly sure that everyone looks at those dark days as a travesty of justice.

Yes we are living in a time of universal deceit and the act of telling the truth has become a revolutionary act just as Orwell portrayed in his novel.

Thought crimes are fairly scary and they imply that our government is willing to indict the thoughts of whoever it deems to be an enemy of the state and bring the thinkers of thought crime as defined by the state as anyone who questions the official fake narrative of Russia Gate to "justice".

What is the end goal? The end goal is to prop up a long in the tooth multi-decade cold war with Russia to justify massive military spending. Do you want to know the answer to your question of whether or not the US defense industry and our intelligence agencies are trying to spark a war with Russia?

The answer is yes they are. As crazy as that sounds, the hungry defense industry with its insatiable appetite for more weapons has decided to go for the ultimate win the lottery strategy and foment war with Russia. It had been happening under Obama and now it is happening under Trump. They are trying to box him into a corner where he will feel enough pressure to go against Russia. Perhaps they can goad him into attacking Russia which is what I believe they want to do. Our national media plays along and is in bed with the intelligence agencies as much as ever just like they spouted the lies of Chalabi in Iraq War II falsely believing his claims that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical and biological weapons.

Even the analysis on North Korea which opines that NK will use all weapons first as a first strike in a scenario the USA has called the "Use it or Lose it" fell short and was proved a false scenario or that there were really no actual WMDs in Iraq as the UN claimed.

Either way, the likely outcomes of a WMD armed Iraqi leader facing imminent demise which would cause him to use all available weapons at his disposal did not happen. There are only two conclusions to the outcome. Saddam did not have these weapons or the likely scenario of "Use it or Lose it" is all wrong.

Either way the premise of the war was shown to be false.

Unfortunately in the aftermath of that war there was no US counterpart to the British Chilcot Report and the US went on to engage in regime change in other nations like Ukraine, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

There is no sense to it other than to destabilize nations, foment violence and create international tensions which have the effect of causing our elected leaders to pony up more money for defense to combat the new enemies we just created.

Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia.

I agree with her assessment that this is crazy. This is the most irresponsible thing yet but it has been enabled by a fake news press just as it was enabled by the fake news media all the times before.

I agree with you Joe that a form of mass hypnosis has gripped our democrat officials and a large segment of our population. We have been handed a leader they don't like and they are ready and able to make hay with the election outcome to persuade us by force to support more military adventures.

Dave P. , February 18, 2018 at 3:53 am

Citizen One –

"Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia."

I agree with her assessment that this is crazy. This is the most irresponsible thing yet but it has been enabled by a fake news press just as it was enabled by the fake news media all the times before."

Yes. This scenario is getting more and more likely. All steps point to that direction.

Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 11:10 pm

Unfortunately I'm not as confident. Here is the complete indictment at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43091945 . There are three counts (with almost 70 allegations): 1. Conspiracy to Defraud the United States 2. Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud And Bank Fraud and 3. Aggravated Identity Theft. It ends with a forfeiture allegation seeking property, real or personal from the defendants.

The Russiagate affair has been going on for almost a year and I would think Mueller is under a lot of pressure to find something to stick. This indictment may be it. Mueller will be the hero; Trump may be saved as the interference started in 2014, before his campaign began; the Hillary emails and Nunes memo will be cast aside; and the USA can say to the world "see I told you so."

Once again, Russia's reputation will be taken down a few notches and made to suffer another humiliation. And the US will move on to the next allegation, "UK and US blame Russia for the malicious NotPetya cyberattack" (headline on BBC).

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 18, 2018 at 1:15 am

If the allegations are true, they need to be put in perspective:
– what might be the rational behind? Eg tit-for-tat for Western meddling, arms race,
– do other nations engage in similar projects? What are the scale of those?

Starting in 2014 could it have been triggered by the Kiev coup and Nuland's was it five billion?

[Feb 18, 2018] Had Hillary Won What Now by Andrew Levine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Then Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, would be president of the United States, but the Senate, probably, and the House of Representatives, certainly, would have remained under Republican control.

In other words, had Hillary won, we would now have pretty much what we had when Barack Obama was president – but with the executive branch less competently led and more packed with Clintonite (neoliberal, liberal imperialist, shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later) officials, and with a Congress run by obstinate Republican troglodytes running roughshod over feckless, slightly less retrograde Democrats.

Radical impulses would, of course, continue to stir throughout the general population but notwithstanding widespread and deep popular support, to even less avail than before.

A Clinton presidency wouldn't make the blood of high-minded people boil, the way the Trump presidency has done, though, for anyone with the courage to face reality squarely, it would be nearly as painful to endure.

That pain would be much less constructive than the pain that is now so widely felt. Instead of sparking anodyne "resistance," it would be drowned out in a sea of acquiescence.

In a word, Clinton's first term would be what a third Obama term would have been – ratcheted down a few notches in the squelched "hope" and "change" departments.

By being African American, Obama stirred up plenty of hope and change illusions, especially at first, in many, maybe most, sectors of the population. In other sectors, Obama's race brought barely suppressed prejudices and resentments out into the open.

Because it soon became clear – not to everybody, but to everybody not willfully blind – that, under Obama, little, if any, good would come, Obamaphilia eventually faded away; the racism and nativism Obama's election boosted proved more durable.

Hillary, on the other hand, was anything but a beacon of hope – except perhaps to those of her supporters whose highest priority was electing a woman president. Hardly anyone else ever expected much good to come from her calling the shots.

In comparison with Obama, she wasn't even good at what she did. Despite a constant barrage of public relations babble about how experienced and competent she is, this was widely understood, even if seldom conceded.

She hadn't been much of a First Lady or Senator; among other things, she helped set the cause of health insurance reform back a generation, and she supported the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

Then, as Secretary of State, she was at least partly responsible for devastating levels of disorder and mayhem throughout North Africa (Libya especially), the Greater Middle East (not just Syria), and elsewhere (Honduras, for example). But for her tenure at Foggy Bottom, there would be many fewer refugees in the world today.

It is therefore a good bet that were she president now, Obama would be sorely missed – notwithstanding his fondness for terrorizing civilians with weaponized drones, and for deporting Hispanics and others with a zeal exceeding George Bush's.

Inasmuch as he did break a color line that seemed infrangible, it was impossible for persons of good will not to root for the man. That would be like not rooting for Jackie Robinson. But the fact remains: except in comparison to his rivals and to Trump, he was no prize.

Because it was clear to nearly everybody outside the Clinton propaganda circuit that, by 2016, there really was no "glass ceiling" holding women back, Hillary had nothing like that going for her.

There were and are plenty of people of all ages and genders who would have liked to see a woman elected president; the time for that is long past due. But, by the time Clinton became the Democratic standard bearer, hardly anyone could truly believe that patriarchal attitudes or rampant misogyny were significant factors standing in her way.

To be sure, the lingering effects of attitudes in place years ago have diminished the pool of plausible female candidates. But then so too did the idea that Clinton was somehow entitled to the office. Because that attitude was so deeply entrenched, few women wanted to cross her.

Nevertheless, there are women who, running on the Democratic line, could surely have defeated Trump. An obvious example is Elizabeth Warren.

I am not alone in thinking that had the Democratic National Committee not rigged the nomination process in Clinton's favor, Bernie Sanders would have become the party's nominee and then gone on to defeat Trump. Warren's chances of winning the election were better still – precisely because, she is a woman.

Clinton's problem was not her gender; it was her politics.

Even so, we would be a lot better off now had she won in 2016 -- not just because the evil we know (too well!) is easier to deal with than the blooming buzzing confusion we ended up with instead, but also because, despite her Russophobia and fondness for "military solutions," the likelihood that the United States would blunder into a nuclear Armageddon would now be significantly less.

Too bad therefore that she flubbed even more egregiously than those of us who saw through the public relations myths about her accomplishments and competence thought possible.

Needless to say, in the alternative universe that Democrats and their media flacks have concocted, they explain the election outcome differently. In their view, Hillary lost because "the Russians" subverted our democratic institutions.

Or was it because James Comey, then the Director of the FBI, tipped that election to Trump by refocusing attention on Clinton's emails as Election Day approached?

One would think that it would faze Democratic confabulators that, shortly after the election was over, Comey rose to the top of Donald Trump's shit list – and was unceremoniously fired. They really should get their story straight.

While they are sorting that out, they might also make an effort to be a tad less besotted with the FBI. It is, to say the least, unseemly, even for faux-progressives, to cozy up to the perennial scourge of every progressive tendency in the American body politic.

And it isn't just the FBI – Democrats nowadays are smitten with the entire national security state apparatus, including the CIA and the NSA.

Democrats have always been that way to some extent, but, in the pre-Trump era, Republicans were generally the more gung ho of our two semi-established parties.

For decades, Cold War anti-Communist paranoia endeared the FBI and the others to wide swathes of the general public and to Republicans and Democrats alike. When a dearth of real world Communists made that story line impossible to maintain, "Islamic terrorists" were on hand to take their place.

These obsessions pair well with the right's passion for law and order – in other words, for keeping the poor generally, and persons of color especially, down.

And so, being the more rightwing of the duopoly parties, Republicans, before Trump, were especially besotted with the forces of order – from local police (for whom, black lives don't really matter) on up (or is it down?).

Democrats have never had any real quarrel with any of this, but, being the "nicer" and more reasonable of the duopoly parties, they were less inclined to go overboard.

It grieves me to say anything good about Donald Trump, but, to his credit, he did force Republicans onto a less unreasonable track – not in general, but towards Russia, a country with a nuclear arsenal so formidable that only maniacs would want to mess with it unnecessarily.

In all likelihood, Trump's reasons are venal or otherwise nefarious, and have little if anything to do with common sense. But anything that holds back the Doomsday Clock is welcome.

It is likely, though, that, before long, Republicans will revert back to their old ways.

Indeed, this is already happening: witness Trump's new "defense strategy" – aimed at the old Cold War bugaboos, Russia and China.

The scare quotes are in order because there is no strategy there, and what Trump is proposing has nothing to do with defense. It has everything to do, however, with giving free rein to the Pentagon to squander monies that could be otherwise spent in socially useful ways, and with stuffing the pockets of death merchants ("defense contractors") and those who feed off the taxpayer money our political class throws their way.

***

Despite even this, Democrats remain the less odious duopoly party. On nearly all "issues," just about any Republican is worse than any Democrat; and the attitudes and instincts Republicans evince are more execrable by far.

It should be born in mind, however, that the Democratic Party is, if anything, even more responsible for Trump than the Republicans are.

Insofar as he has set political views and attitudes, they were forged in New York City, under the aegis of Democratic Party politicians. And the Clintonite (neoliberal) turn in the larger political culture created the conditions for the possibility of Trump, or someone like him, rising to national prominence.

Democrats pulled this off by malignly neglecting the working class – and therefore less well-off white voters, among others – and by euthanizing nascent left oppositions that showed promise of challenging the economic supremacy and political power of the so-called "donor class" and of capitalists generally.

Neoliberalism shifts power and resources from the state sector to private capital, it encourages the globalization of trade, and it facilitates the free flow of capital around the world.

Its nostrums are integral to a form of class struggle aimed at weakening working class opposition – largely, but not exclusively, by attacks on the labor movement.

The classical fascism of the interwar years took aim at workers' economic and political organizations too – more directly, through violent frontal assaults. Neoliberalism works more gently, through protracted wars of attrition. The consequences, however, are much the same.

The Clintons and Tony Blair and their counterparts in other countries make a show of their progressivism – limiting their efforts, however, to cultural issues that do not materially harm capitalists' interests.

Around election times, they even make nice with union leaders -- because they need the resources and manpower they can still provide. But it is all a ruse, as workers and others know well.

Real fascists set out to intimidate workers' organizations; they liked bloodying noses. Neoliberals take aim at workers' power in such subtle but far-reaching ways that they often don't even realize that they have been had.

In the early days of the Regan era, Bertram Gross famously introduced the notion of "friendly fascism." The GOP used to be the friendly fascist's natural home. These days, however, Republicans are a lot nastier than they were in Reagan's time.

In recent years, the Tea Party and then Trump and the miscreants he has empowered have accentuated the GOP's racist, nativist, and authoritarian side. It is not a fascist party in the traditional sense, but the resemblances are more than a little worrisome.

And so, Reagan-style friendly fascism has largely disappeared from the Republican fold. But for what has taken its place, this would be a reason to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the spirit of the "Reagan revolution" lives on in the other duopoly party –where, thanks to the Clintons and others like them, efforts to keep "the donor class up" and everyone else down continue in a seemingly more benign way.

The electoral consequences are predictable. The kinds of working class people whom Trump derides – basically, everyone who is not white, male and straight – are, of course, more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans. But they are more likely still not to vote at all.

Why would they when they have nothing to vote for ?

And, in large (mainly rural) swathes of the country, white working class men and the women who stand by them will vote for anyone, even an obviously incompetent billionaire buffoon whose policies will do nothing for them materially, provided only that he channels their resentments at Clintonite policies and people.

However, malign neglect of an important segment of the working class is only partly responsible for Trump. The absence of a genuine left is of far greater importance.

The reasons for its absence are many, and go far beyond the Democratic Party. Even so, Democrats have a lot to answer for.

As it became increasingly clear that the Bush-Cheney wars launched after 9/11 were responsible for enormous harm to people and to geopolitical stability, a peace movement took shape that, by 2006, had become a force to be reckoned with.

At the same time, in anticipation of the 2008 election, the leadership of the Democratic Party did its best to keep dissent in bounds. Their aim was to get Hillary Clinton elected president, and they feared that political turbulence would upset their plans.

At the very least, with the House back under Democratic control in 2006, Democrats could have initiated impeachment proceedings against George Bush; they had more than ample grounds. Whether or not he would then have been removed from office, he and his subordinates would have been impeded to some extent from doing at least some of the harm they went on to do.

But Nancy Pelosi and her co-thinkers in Congress put the kibosh on that idea. Their efforts did not stifle the growing peace movement entirely, but it did take some of the wind out its sails.

When it turned out that Obama was a stronger candidate than Clinton, and that the nomination would go his way, leading Democrats adapted. Hillary was their favorite, but Obama had been thoroughly vetted for corporate-friendliness and passed all the tests with flying colors. That was good enough for them.

And so it fell to the Nobel laureate to put the peace movement definitively down, even as he continued – temporarily even escalating -- the Bush-Cheney wars.

For too long and against too much contrary evidence, liberals took it for granted that Obama was on the side of the angels. They therefore let pass the murder and mayhem he was responsible for.

After eight years of that, what little semblance of a genuine left there had been within the Democratic Party's ambit found itself narcotized into oblivion.

An appetite for real opposition, even rebellion, existed within the general public; under the pressure of events it was growing all the time. But, with our debilitating duopoly party system in place, there was no political way out of the status quo.

Had Hillary won, that sad state of affairs would have continued, while the underlying maladies that Trump exploited for the benefit of himself and his class would have continued to fester.

And we would now likely be on the brink of even more appalling electoral outcomes than we suffered through in 2010 and 2014, and in 2016, when the Trump phenomenon defied all expectations.

Paradoxically, though, with Trump's victory, the prospects for a better mainstream politics actually improved. Trump is so manifestly unfit for the job he holds that his hold over the White House and the Republican Party actually harms the right more than it helps it.

His ever expanding docket of impeachable offenses and his crude misogyny are doing the work an organized left opposition would be doing, if only one existed -- creating space for popular movements to develop.

It started with the Women's March, immediately after Inauguration Day, and has been growing ever since; with women – black, brown, and white – leading the surge.

With midterm elections looming, the danger of cooptation is great -- Democrats, their media in tow, are working overtime to make that happen. But thanks to Trump, things have gone too far by now to be squelched entirely.

What Obama's victory did to the peace movement after 2008, a Hillary victory in 2016 would have done ten times over to the several (mainly woman-led) insurgencies that were beginning to take shape during the campaign.

With Trump in the White House, progressive women remain in the forefront of struggles to change the world for the better. With Clinton there instead, their best efforts would be swamped by anodyne campaigns led by well-meaning liberals of the kind that understandably rile up the Trump base.

All things considered, it would have been better (less catastrophically awful) had Hillary won. Even so, there is some reason to be grateful that she did not. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Andrew Levine

ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Feb 17, 2018] Russia condemned and defined as the enemy of America with laughably little evidence (effing Facebook posts being about the extent of it) .... not a word about JEWISH MONEY controlling the entire political system in the USA. When Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress should that not have triggered an FBI Investigation

Taking oil price to 30th or 40th is a strategic goal of the USA in relation to Russia. Listen at 3:30.
Notable quotes:
"... Appeasing interview with a shockingly cheap incompetent former CIA head Woolsey. If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years. ..."
"... You are exactly right. U$ politicians are uninformed, stupid, detached from reality, selfish and they think like schoolyard kids do. ..."
"... They are the product of the US society as a whole. ..."
"... Craig Murray nailed this issue stone dead for all time a few years ago, when he wrote:"[neo]liberal interventionism, the theory that bombing brown people is good for them". ..."
"... In the former The Ukraine, the Jewish Quisling oligarch dictator, Poroshenko, has been appointing foreigners to positions of power (SackOfShvilli is but one). He supported this by stating: "Ukrainians are too corrupt to rule themselves." When will we in America hear such a statement from our leaders to justify the appointment of Jews and paid Judaeophiles to all positions of power? ..."
"... I'm just waiting for Yevgeny Prigozhin to hold a press conference in Russia to claim that Hillary Clinton paid him to run the Internet Research Agency to besmirch her opponent- watch the fireworks :) It's all a hall of mirrors. ..."
"... The Internet Research Agency couldn't have possibly been more ineffective, which points to it's main purpose being to besmirch Trump (more more likely it was just an unimportant hobby of Prigozhin). ..."
"... Sure the United States has, they have been doing it since 1953 with the overthrow of Iran, to as recently as 2012 Russian Election, 2014 Ukraine Election, the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 on Brexit and currently trying to overthrow it this year. These are just a few and there is a very long list of other countries also. The United States in now in Russia and Hungry today meddling it their elections. Got to get the right people in office so they will cow-tow to the United States. ..."
"... What an admission! trump doesn't want more drilling for oil to Americans to use. It is for export and for foreign interference ..."
"... and if the price of oil would go down to 30/40$ that would make a unhappy input and so would be the saudis and you fracking industry would go down the toilet and thy will drag the banks with them. What a moron. And US oil companies would like that alot too ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | theduran.com

Gano1 , February 17, 2018 10:31 AM

The USA has lost all morality, they are so hypocritical it is risible.

Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 10:25 AM

What Russian expansionism??? Look at the US expansionism..........get a grip!

Ann Johns Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 2:51 PM

Another tiresome, butthurt yank/wank? Between the new One Belt, One Road Chinese initiative, the Russians taking control of ME oil production and the fact that america has NO answers to help it's declining empire, it would seem to the non-partisan observer that america is well and truly f***ed. You must be talking about their debt expansionism, $20 TRILLION and rising by the second.

Vera Gottlieb Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 2:29 PM

US expansionism...really? Where? 😜

Mario8282 Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 2:58 PM

Syria? Libya? Yemen? Africa, Afgh...

Vera Gottlieb Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 3:00 PM

And you left out Latin America...

Mario8282 Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 3:05 PM

This is why I left with the dots... The list would end up with America itself (an endless spree of false flags and deception schemes).

Patricia Dolan Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 6:11 PM

Thank you Mario......let's not forget Ukraine, Kosovo, Bosnia, the entirety of eastern Europe, the entirety of northern Africa, Rwanda, the Congo, Venezuela, Chili, Guatemala, Panama, Jeeeeeeeze etc......

Patricia Dolan Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 6:07 PM

get a grip......and turn your TV off!

Terry Ross Patricia Dolan , February 17, 2018 6:08 PM

'twas sarcasm Patricia.

Patricia Dolan Terry Ross , February 17, 2018 6:18 PM

I guess the WINKS need to be LARGER!!!! LOL

ThereisaGod , February 17, 2018 10:05 AM

Russia condemned and defined as the enemy of America with laughably little evidence (effing Facebook posts being about the extent of it) .... not a word about JEWISH MONEY controlling the entire political system in the USA. When Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress should that not have triggered an FBI "Investigation"? Nah ... nothing happening there. It is breathtaking that THIS is the Alice-In-Wonderland world we inhabit.

Ton Jacobs, Human Guardians , February 17, 2018 10:02 AM

Appeasing interview with a shockingly cheap incompetent former CIA head Woolsey. If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years.

christianblood Ton Jacobs, Human Guardians , February 17, 2018 12:32 PM

(...If this man seriously represents the intellectual level of the CIA, then the USA will implode even faster than in ten years...)

You are exactly right. U$ politicians are uninformed, stupid, detached from reality, selfish and they think like schoolyard kids do.

Jesse Marioneaux christianblood , February 17, 2018 12:43 PM

They are the product of the US society as a whole.

christianblood Jesse Marioneaux , February 17, 2018 12:57 PM

They indeed are! U$A! U$A! U$A!

tom , February 17, 2018 11:14 AM

Craig Murray nailed this issue stone dead for all time a few years ago, when he wrote:"[neo]liberal interventionism, the theory that bombing brown people is good for them".

journey80 , February 17, 2018 12:37 PM

Yeah, that's hilarious. Join the murdering creep in a giggle, Laura, that's cute. Here's a global criminal who should have been hung years ago for crimes against humanity. No one in their right mind would treat this creep with anything but contempt and horror, let alone find him funny.

Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:17 PM

In the former The Ukraine, the Jewish Quisling oligarch dictator, Poroshenko, has been appointing foreigners to positions of power (SackOfShvilli is but one). He supported this by stating: "Ukrainians are too corrupt to rule themselves." When will we in America hear such a statement from our leaders to justify the appointment of Jews and paid Judaeophiles to all positions of power?

journey80 Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:34 PM

We don't need to hear it, we're living it.

Franz Kafka journey80 , February 17, 2018 3:33 PM

My profound and sincere condolences. You are getting the 'Democracy Treatment' by the West. I hope some of you survive to tell the tale and take revenge.

Franz Kafka , February 17, 2018 12:09 PM

Are those ears or bat-wings? WOW! Yet another Jewe, pretending not be be. I guess he would say that the USA murdered all the Indians and enslaved Africans 'for their own good' as well.
Talmudo-Satanism is the pernicious underlying ideology of the people who have taken over, not just the USA, but, lets face it, the entire West.

Vera Gottlieb , February 17, 2018 2:28 PM

What a bunch of ingrates we are...not appreciating all that the CIA is doing for us. We must thank them instead of complaining.

Trauma2000 , February 17, 2018 5:30 PM

Lets not forget that the U.$.A. meddled in Australia's election of the Whitlam Government. (And several governments there after as soon as they realised they could get away with it an nothing would happen to them). The United States are a bunch of sick puppies; really sick puppies the way they have treated Australia.

So much for being allies. With allies like the United States you don't need enemies (Unless the U.$. doctors them up for you to force you to pay them more money for weapons and protection).

And it makes me sick that so many 'naive' people around the world keep falling for the SH*T that comes out of their mouths.

When dealing with the United States there are a few rules to follow. (Apologies to the innocent Americans out there but 'they' allow their government to do some unspeakable horrors to the world.)

And that goes for the entire planet no matter who the United States is speaking to.

End of story.

Shue Trauma2000 , February 17, 2018 5:51 PM

Worst part is the our Gov can't think ahead, if they keep antagonising China on behalf of the Seppo's China will eventually pull their mineral imports and our economy will crash overnight.

HappyCynic , February 17, 2018 4:31 PM

Yes, nobody doubts that the US interferes with elections in other countries - we're the good guys, so this is ok :)

I'm just waiting for Yevgeny Prigozhin to hold a press conference in Russia to claim that Hillary Clinton paid him to run the Internet Research Agency to besmirch her opponent- watch the fireworks :) It's all a hall of mirrors.

The Internet Research Agency couldn't have possibly been more ineffective, which points to it's main purpose being to besmirch Trump (more more likely it was just an unimportant hobby of Prigozhin).

John R Balch Jr , February 17, 2018 6:31 PM

Sure the United States has, they have been doing it since 1953 with the overthrow of Iran, to as recently as 2012 Russian Election, 2014 Ukraine Election, the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 on Brexit and currently trying to overthrow it this year. These are just a few and there is a very long list of other countries also. The United States in now in Russia and Hungry today meddling it their elections. Got to get the right people in office so they will cow-tow to the United States.

Graeme Pedersen , February 17, 2018 6:11 PM

I believe john Key was sent from the U$A (Merrill Lynch) to ruin our economy in New Zealand as well.

janbn , February 17, 2018 5:37 PM

What an admission! trump doesn't want more drilling for oil to Americans to use. It is for export and for foreign interference.

Aidi Deduction , February 17, 2018 4:51 PM

Frederick the Great concluded that to allow governments to be dominated by the majority would be disastrous: "A democracy, to survive, must be, like other governments a minority persuading a majority to let itself be led by a minority."

General Kreeg , February 17, 2018 4:13 PM

Russian Trolls are all of a sudden the Russian Gov't.

fredd , February 17, 2018 3:18 PM

and if the price of oil would go down to 30/40$ that would make a unhappy input and so would be the saudis and you fracking industry would go down the toilet and thy will drag the banks with them. What a moron. And US oil companies would like that alot too

Mario8282 , February 17, 2018 2:56 PM

...and the US bombed half of the world's countries for their own good too. US made Libya a slave market for humanity's good as well. Oboomer even got the Nobel Peace Prize for it.

K Walker , February 17, 2018 2:55 PM

I would be greatly relieved if the USA government merely tweeted instead of invading and indulging in regime change.

Kevin S , February 17, 2018 12:55 PM

Talk about the pinnacle of hypocrisy!

[Feb 17, 2018] Trump has at least one thing right our post-9-11 wars have been a mistake by Andrew J. Bacevich

MIC controls Trump, not the other way around. That's why Trump deflated just three months after inauguration. He can tell all he wants, but his actions speak louder then his words. His actions are typical neocon actions.
Notable quotes:
"... However inadvertently, Trump has thereby bestowed on the American people a singular gift, putting a presidential imprimatur on a point that critics have been making for years, to no avail. Pointing out that our post-9/11 wars have resulted in a multitrillion-dollar waste of lives and treasure represents easily the greatest achievement of his young administration. ..."
"... Now let's look at the rest of the story. I will claim that most US military adventures, since Korea has been a failure often with unintended consequences, squandering taxpayer dollars while the national infrastructure and national psyche crumble. Involving ourselves in Vietnam after the French abandoned it was a horrific mistake with the loss of many lives and the expenditure of immeasurable political and economic capital. Somebody tell me again what Bay of Pigs and Grenada accomplished? There have been numerous other short term in-and-out deployments of troops and materiel since Korea. See Wikipedia's "Timeline of United States military operations." ..."
"... Let's face it. The military-industrial complex continues to lead the country into deeply unfortunate places and situations. Let's tie all this back to the recent school massacre in Parkland FL, one of many in recent years. Military surplus has been given away by the federal government to build up highly militarized SWAT teams in cities, armed with tanks, missile launchers and automatic weapons. Citizens easily and quickly arm themselves with semi-automatic weapons, seizing on loopholes that regulate the buying of hand guns but not AK-15s, all because the NRA owns too many members of Congress. ..."
"... Let's go beyond Trump's simplistic pronouncement. The United States has been and is a bellicose and violent nation. Unfortunately, President Trump's words have been equally bellicose, especially toward North Korea. I have little faith that our country will dial back its aggressiveness under the Trump regime. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com

In a typically offhand remark, President Trump the other day rendered his personal assessment of our various post-9/11 wars, interventions, and punitive expeditions. " Seven trillion dollars. What a mistake ," he said. "But it is what it is."

The seven trillion is merely a guesstimate, of course. No one, least of all the lords of the Pentagon, really knows how much our sundry military campaigns, large and small, have cost. Yet at this point, total expenditures certainly reach well into the trillions. And whatever the current tally, that sum will inevitably increase as our wars drag on and as downstream obligations – care for veterans, for example – pile up for decades to come.

That Trump himself should characterize those wars as mistaken represents a moment of plain speaking rare in today's Washington. After all, as the current commander in chief, he owns that mistake and its myriad consequences. We may doubt that the generals occupying senior positions in his administration share their boss's assessment. Nor, in all likelihood, does the national security establishment as a whole. Yet it qualifies as more than mildly interesting that the individual exercising supreme authority views the entire enterprise as misbegotten.

Imagine the head of Planned Parenthood declaring herself a pro-lifer. Imagine Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticizing the American penchant for conspicuous consumption. Imagine Tom Brady announcing that his son will never play a brutal and dangerous sport like football. A sitting American president characterizing ongoing American wars as mistaken is hardly less notable and ought to command widespread public attention.

Imagine the head of Planned Parenthood declaring herself a pro-lifer. Imagine Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticizing the American penchant for conspicuous consumption. Imagine Tom Brady announcing that his son will never play a brutal and dangerous sport like football. A sitting American president characterizing ongoing American wars as mistaken is hardly less notable and ought to command widespread public attention. Of course, Trump is an improbable source of truth. His many critics have become accustomed to dismissing his every word as either false or hateful or simply bizarre. Yet in this instance, I submit, he has uttered a genuine truth of profound importance.

Unfortunately, Trump's bottom line obscures the implications of that truth: "It is what it is." There are at least two ways of interpreting that remark. The first is fatalistic: We're stuck in a heckuva mess and there's no way of getting unstuck. The second is pragmatic: Here are facts that we dare not ignore.

... ... ...

In Hans Christian Andersen's familiar tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," a young child states the obvious: The monarch is naked. Now we have the emperor himself making a comparably self-evident point: Our wars aren't working.

However inadvertently, Trump has thereby bestowed on the American people a singular gift, putting a presidential imprimatur on a point that critics have been making for years, to no avail. Pointing out that our post-9/11 wars have resulted in a multitrillion-dollar waste of lives and treasure represents easily the greatest achievement of his young administration.

We tend to think that the story of that administration thus far has been one of ineptitude combined with persistent scandal. Yet the real scandal will occur if the American people and their elected representatives in Washington fail to treat Trump's verdict regarding our recent wars with the respect and seriousness it deserves.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your candor. If for nothing else, on this score, we owe you one.

Andrew J. Bacevich is the author, most recently, of "America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 16, 2018] The Pathetic Inadequacy of the Trump Opposition The American Conservative by Paul Brian

Notable quotes:
"... Dancing With The Stars ..."
"... The Washington Post. ..."
"... Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com . ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The hawks and internationalists who set our house on fire don't now deserve the contract to rebuild it.

While it may have significant popular support, much of the anti-Trump "Resistance" suffers from a severe weakness of message. Part of the problem is with who the Resistance's leading messengers are: discredited neoconservative poltroons like former president George W. Bush, unwatchable alleged celebrities like Chelsea Handler, and establishment Republicans who routinely slash and burn the middle class like Senator Jeff Flake. Furthermore, what exactly is the Resistance's overriding message? Invariably their sermonizing revolves around vague bromides about "tolerance," diversity, unrestricted free trade, and multilateralism. They routinely push a supposed former status quo that was in fact anything but a status quo. The leaders of the Resistance have in their arsenal nothing but buzzwords and a desire to feel self-satisfied and turn back to imagined pre-Trump normality. A president like Donald Trump is only possible in a country with opposition voices of such subterranean caliber.

Remember when Trump steamrolled a crowded field of Republicans in one of the greatest electoral upsets in American history? Surely many of us also recall the troupes of smug celebrities and Bushes and Obamas who lined up to take potshots at Trump over his unacceptably cruel utterances that upset their noble moral sensibilities? How did that work out for them? They lost. The more that opposition to Trump in office takes the same form as opposition to him on the campaign trail, the more hypocritical and counterproductive it becomes. Further, the resistance to Trump's policies is coming just at the moment when principled opposition most needs to up its game and help turn back the hands of the Doomsday Clock. It's social conservatives who are also opposed to war and exploitation of the working class who have the best moral bona fides to effectively oppose Trump, which is why morally phrased attacks on Trump from the corporate and socially liberal wings of the left, as well as the free market and interventionist conservative establishment, have failed and will continue to fail. Any real alternative is going to have to come from regular folks with hearts and morals who aren't stained by decades of failure and hypocrisy.

A majority of Democrats now have favorable views of George W. Bush, and that's no coincidence. Like the supposedly reasonable anti-Trump voices on their side, Bush pops up like a dutiful marionette to condemn white supremacy and "nativism," and to reminisce about the good old days when he was in charge. Bush also lectures about how Russia is ruining everything by meddling in elections and destabilizing the world. But how convincing is it really to hear about multilateralism and respect for human rights from Bush, who launched an unnecessary war on Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and left thousands of American servicemen and women dead and wounded? How convincing is it when former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who famously remarked that an estimated half a million Iraqis dead from our 1990s sanctions was "worth it," haughtily claims that she's "offended" by Trump's travel ban ? "Offended" -- is that so, Madame Secretary? I have a feeling millions of Muslims in the Middle East may have also been "offended" when people like you helped inflame their region and turned it into an endless back-and-forth firestorm of conflict between U.S.-backed dictators and brutal jihadists, with everyone else caught in between.

Maybe instead of being offended that not everyone can come to America, people like Albright, Kerry, and Bush shouldn't have contributed to the conditions that wrecked those people's homes in the first place? Maybe the U.S. government should think more closely about providing military aid to 73 percent of the world's dictatorships? Sorry, do excuse the crazy talk. Clearly all the ruthless maneuvering by the U.S. and NATO is just being done out of a selfless desire to spread democratic values by raining down LGBT-friendly munitions on beleaguered populations worldwide. Another congressman just gave a speech about brave democratic principles so we can all relax.

Generally, U.S. leaders like to team up with dictators before turning on them when they become inconvenient or start to upset full-spectrum dominance. Nobody have should been surprised to see John Kerry fraternizing in a friendly manner with Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad and then moralistically threatening him with war several years later, or Donald Rumsfeld grinning with Saddam Hussein as they cooperated militarily before Rumsfeld did an about-face on the naïve dictator based on false premises after 9/11. Here's former president Barack Obama shaking Moammar Gaddafi's hand in 2009 . I wonder what became of Mr. Gaddafi?

It's beyond parody to hear someone like Bush sternly opine that there's "pretty clear evidence" Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Even if that were deeply significant in the way some argue, Bush should be the last person anyone is hearing from about it. It's all good, though: remember when Bush laughed about how there hadn't been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2004? It's all just a joke; don't you get it? (Maybe Saddam Hussein had already used all the chemical weapons the U.S. helped him get during the 1980s on Iran in the Iran-Iraq War, which killed over one million people by the time the coalition of the willing came knocking in 2003). That's the kind of thing people like Bush like to indirectly joke about in the company of self-satisfied press ghouls at celebratory dinners. However, when the mean man Mr. Trump pals around with Russian baddie Vladimir Putin, mistreats women, or spews out unkind rhetoric about "shitholes," it's far from a joke: it's time to get out your two-eared pink hat and hit the streets chanting in righteous outrage.

To be fair, Trump is worthy of opposition. An ignorant, reactive egotist who needs to have his unfounded suppositions and inaccuracies constantly validated by a sycophantic staff of people who'd be rejected even for a reality show version of the White House, he really is an unstable excuse for a leader and an inveterate misogynist and all the other things. Trump isn't exactly Bible Belt material despite his stamp of approval from Jerry Falwell Jr. and crew; in fact he hasn't even succeeded in getting rid of the Johnson Amendment and allowing churches to get more involved in politics, one of his few concrete promises to Christian conservatives. He's also a big red button of a disaster in almost every other area as commander-in-chief.

Trump's first military action as president reportedly killed numerous innocent women and children (some unnamed U.S. officials claim some of the women were militants) as well as a Navy SEAL. Helicopter gunships strafed a Yemeni village for over an hour in what Trump called a "highly successful" operation against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A senior military official felt differently, saying that "almost everything went wrong." The raid even killed eight-year-old American girl Nawar al-Awlaki, daughter of previously killed extremist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, whose other innocent child, 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was also droned while eating outdoors at a restaurant in 2010 (with several friends and his 17-year-old cousin). The Obama administration dismissed Abdulrahman's death at the time as no big deal .

The list goes on with the Trump administration, a hollow outfit of Goldman Sachs operatives and detached industry and financier billionaires helping out their hedge fund friends and throwing a small table scrap to the peasants every now and then. As deformed babies are born in Flint, Michigan , Ivanka grandstands about paid parental leave . Meanwhile, Trump and Co. work to expand the war in Afghanistan and Syria. It's a sad state of affairs.

So who are the right voices to oppose the mango man-child and his cadre of doddering dullards? Not degenerate celebrities, dirty politicians of the past, or special interest groups that try to fit everyone into a narrow electoral box so mainline Democrats can pass their own version of corporate welfare and run wars with more sensitive rhetoric and politically correct messaging. Instead, the effective dissidents of the future will be people of various beliefs, but especially the pro-family and faith-driven, who are just as opposed to what came before Trump as they are to him. The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies. It's possible, for example, to be socially conservative, pro-worker, pro-environment, and anti-war. In fact, that is the norm in most countries that exist outside the false political paradigm pushed in America.

If enough suburbanite centrists who take a break from Dancing With The Stars are convinced that Trump is bad because George W. Bush and Madeleine Albright say so, it shows that these people have learned absolutely nothing from Trump or the process that led to him. These kind of resistors are the people nodding their heads emphatically as they read Eliot Cohen talk about why he and his friends can't stomach the evil stench of Trump or Robert Kagan whine about fascism in The Washington Post. Here's a warning to good people who may not have been following politics closely prior to Trump: don't get taken in by these charlatans. Don't listen to those who burned your town down as they pitch you the contract to rebuild it. You can oppose both the leaders of the "Resistance" and Trump. In fact, it is your moral duty to do so. This is the End of the End of History As We Know It, but there isn't going to be an REM song or Will Smith punching an alien in the face to help everyone through it.

Here's a thought for those finding themselves enthusiastic about the Resistance and horrified by Trump: maybe, just maybe , the water was already starting to boil before you cried out in pain and alarm.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy, and contributed to the Week, The Federalist, and others. He covered the fledgling U.S. alt-right at a 2014 conference in Hungary as well as the 2015 New Hampshire primary, and also made a documentary about his time living in the Republic of Georgia in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com .


Fran Macadam February 16, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Trump is definitely a castor oil antidote. But if not him, then them.
Frank , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Now this is TAC material!
Kent , says: February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm
"The future of a meaningful political alternative to the underlying liberalism, materialism, and me-first individualism on the left and right will revolve around traditionalists and pro-family conservative individuals who define their own destinies instead of letting themselves be engineered into destinies manufactured by multinational corporations and boardroom gremlins with diversity outreach strategies."

They will have to lose their faith in "Free Market God" first. I don't believe that will happen.

Aaron Paolozzi , says: February 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm
I enjoyed the heat. The comments made are on point, and this is pretty much what my standard response to reactionary trump dissidents are. Trump is terrible, but so is what came before him, he is just easier to dislike.

Keep it coming.

One Guy , says: February 16, 2018 at 3:16 pm
Even with inadequate opposition, Trump has managed to be the most unpopular president after one year, ever. I'm guessing this speaks to his unique talent of messing things up.
RVA , says: February 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm
Wow! Paul! Babylon burning. Preach it, brother! Takes me back to my teenage years, Ramparts 1968, as another corrupt infrastructure caught fire and burned down. TAC is amazing, the only place to find this in true form.

Either we are history remembering fossils soon gone, or the next financial crash – now inevitable with passage of tax reform (redo of 2001- the rich got their money out, now full speed off the cliff), will bring down this whole mass of absolute corruption. What do you think will happen when Trump is faced with a true crisis? They're selling off the floorboards. What can remain standing?

And elsewhere in the world, who, in their right mind, would help us? Good riddance to truly dangerous pathology. The world would truly become safer with the USA decommissioned, and then restored, through honest travail, to humility, and humanity.

You are right. Be with small town, front porch, family and neighborhood goodness, and dodge the crashing embers.

The Flying Burrito Brothers: 'On the thirty-first floor a gold plated door
Won't keep out the Lord's burning rain '

God Bless.

Donald , says: February 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm
I agree with Frank. This was great.

The depressing thing to me is how hard it is to get people to see this. You have people who still think Trump is doing a great job and on the other side people who admire the warmongering Resistance and think Hillary's vast experience in foreign policy was one of her strengths, rather than one of the main reasons to be disgusted by her. Between the two categories I think you have the majority of American voters.

[Feb 16, 2018] Is Donald Trump Morphing Into A Neocon Interventionist by Doug Bandow

One year later we can say with confidence, yes he morphed into a neocon in foreign policy.
What is especially bad is that Trump executed "bait and switch" maneuver as smoothly as Obama. Devastating.
Notable quotes:
"... So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? ..."
"... Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view. ..."
"... I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street. ..."
"... It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start... ..."
"... While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative. ..."
"... Stop those wars. They don't serve us. ..."
"... Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam. ..."
"... Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle! ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Why Is Trump Abandoning the Foreign Policy that Brought Him Victory The National Interest Blog

Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.

Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration "those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war." And he's generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.

Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: "unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct."

Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.

The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn't appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America's international responsibilities.

Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and H. R. McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss's unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish, or some combination of hawk and centrist-Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman.

Trump appears to be most concerned with issues that have direct domestic impacts, and especially with economic nostrums about which he is most obviously wrong. He's long been a protectionist (his anti-immigration opinions are of more recent vintage). Yet his views have not changed even as circumstances have. The Chinese once artificially limited the value of the renminbi, but recently have taken the opposite approach. The United States is not alone in losing manufacturing jobs, which are disappearing around the world and won't be coming back. Multilateral trade agreements are rarely perfect, but they are not zero sum games. They usually offer political as well as economic benefits. Trump does not seem prepared to acknowledge this, at least rhetorically. Indeed he has brought on board virulent opponents of free trade such as Peter Navarro.

The administration's repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was particularly damaging. Trump's decision embarrassed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who had offered important economic concessions to join. More important, Trump has abandoned the economic field to the People's Republic of China, which is pushing two different accords. Australia, among other U.S. allies, has indicated that it now will deal with Beijing, which gets to set the Pacific trade agenda. In this instance, what's good for China is bad for the United States.

In contrast, on more abstract foreign policy issues President Trump seems ready to treat minor concessions as major victories and move on. For years he criticized America's Asian and European allies for taking advantage of U.S. defense generosity. In his March foreign policy speech, he complained that "our allies are not paying their fair share." During the campaign he suggested refusing to honor NATO's Article 5 commitment and leave countries failing to make sufficient financial contributions to their fate.

Yet Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have insisted that Washington remains committed to the very same alliances incorporating dependence on America. Worse, in his speech to Congress the president took credit for the small uptick in military outlays by European NATO members which actually began in 2015: "based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning" to "meet their financial obligations." Although he declared with predictable exaggeration that "the money is pouring in," no one believes that Germany, which will go from 1.19 to 1.22 percent of GDP this year, will nearly double its outlays to hit even the NATO standard of two percent.

Trump's signature policy initiative, rapprochement with Russia, appears dead in the water. Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America. Contrary to neocon history, Russia and America have often cooperated in the past. Moreover, President Trump's attempt to improve relations faces strong ideological opposition from neoconservatives determined to have a new enemy and partisan resistance from liberal Democrats committed to undermining the new administration.

President Trump also appears to have no appointees who share his commitment on this issue. At least Trump's first National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, wanted better relations with Russia, amid other, more dubious beliefs, but now the president seems alone. In fact, Secretary Tillerson sounded like he was representing the Obama administration when he demanded Moscow's withdrawal from Crimea, a policy nonstarter. Ambassador-designate Huntsman's views are unclear, but he will be constrained by the State Department bureaucracy, which is at best unimaginative and at worst actively obstructionist.


taavitheman , March 10, 2017 4:04 PM

"Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America."

I did my due diligence on the writer after this absolutely baffling argument that has no basis on certain fundamental laws of geopolitics. Referring to this: https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? Figures...

Eric Zuesse , March 14, 2017 8:24 AM

Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view.

Sarastro92 Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 11:43 AM

And other say you're a sap for believing a bunch of half-baked one-liners that Trump often contradicted in the same sentence... He never had a coherent policy on anything, no less foreign policy... so don't complain now that he's showing his true colors

tom Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 10:28 AM

The USA should FORCE other nations to use DIPLOMACY as a means to preventing wars. If they don't, they lose all support, financial and otherwise, from the USA. This would include Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The only thing Trump should take a look at in all this is the INHUMANE policies that previous administrations have used to placate the military/industrial clique's appetite for money and blood! If it's going to be "America First" for Trump's administration, it better start diverting this blood money to shore up America's people and infrastructures!

America2028 , March 12, 2017 1:19 PM

Most of these issues come down to the fact that President Trump doesn't have anything resembling a "grand strategy", or even a coherent foreign policy. His views are often at odds with each other (his desire to counter China economically and his opposition to the TPP, for example), and I suspect that most were motivated by a desire to get votes more than any kind of deep understanding of global affairs.

R. Arandas , March 10, 2017 9:36 PM

Most of his supporters, at least from what I can tell, are actually quite resolutely against entering a new war, and are strongly condemnatory of the neo-conservatism that involved the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In fact, according to the polls taken at the time, more Democrats favored military intervention in Syria than Republicans did.

olde reb R. Arandas , March 21, 2017 5:53 PM

I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street.

Ref. http://farmwars.info/?p=15338 . A FACE FOR THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT

mladenm , March 11, 2017 8:45 AM

It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start...

Mark Thomason , March 11, 2017 11:13 AM

While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative.

That does not excuse doing more of the same, but just asserts that we did get some of what we voted for/against.

We should get the rest of it. Stop those wars. They don't serve us.

richardvajs Guest , March 19, 2017 1:46 PM

There are similarities between Trump and Putin . The GOP and its rich corporate members have decided to use Trump as the oligarchs in Russia used Yeltsin. The oligarchs used a drunken Yeltsin to pry the natural resources out of the public commons for the grabbing by the oligarchs. Likewise, our rich are going to use an unwitting Trump to lower their taxes to nothing while delivering austerity to the 99%.
To the oligarchs' surprise and dismay, Yeltsin's incompetence led to Putin and his scourge of the oligarchs. So will Trump's incompetence lead to the end of our system of crony capitalism and the rebirth of socialism such as the New Deal, and higher taxes.
The crooked bastards can never be satisfied even with 3/4 ths of the whole pie, so no-one should pity them for being hoisted on their own petard.

Asia at War , April 30, 2017 12:52 AM

Trump forgot what he promised to the people. He sold his soul to the devil. I hope he doesn't send more of our children to die for the "Deep state."

Doug Nusbaum , March 21, 2017 5:17 PM

I'm sorry --- Trump had a foreign policy? As near as I can tell, he just said whatever the crowd in front of him wanted to hear. Or do you have evidence to the contrary? Remember that this is a man who can be shown, in his own words, to have been on all sides of almost every issue, depending on the day of the week, and the phase of the moon.

Stefan Reich , March 20, 2017 6:13 AM

You really take all that time to analyze the guy instead of just seeing he is a madman? Wouldn't that be faster?

gentry_gee , March 20, 2017 3:41 AM

He, they, the US, that is, must obey Israel. Israel wants Assad gone in the end for their territorial expansion. It also helps the oil companies and isolates Russia further into a geostrategic corner.

dieter heymann , March 19, 2017 11:58 AM

This headline is way over the top. The first and foremost foreign policy statement which brought numerous voters to Trump was the US-Mexico wall and at least some of that wall will be constructed. Hence it is the only promise which has not (yet) changed except for who will pay for it.

OBTUSEANGLE , March 19, 2017 9:39 AM

The truth can be buried, but eventually it will be exposed. Only a matter of time.

Harold Smith , March 19, 2017 12:34 AM

Why must we give Trump the benefit of the doubt and assume that his campaign presentations were made in good faith? That is a very generous assumption.

There's a simple and more logical explanation for what's going on with "foreign policy" in the "Trump" administration: Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam.

freewheelinfranklin543 , March 18, 2017 4:03 PM

Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle!

dieter heymann , March 18, 2017 9:35 AM

The fundamental problem of exonerating Trump and blaming this non-reversal on the non-existing "deep state" is believing that anything a candidate said on the campaign trail can be executed when that candidate becomes president. Such reversal has happened so frequently in our history that it is truly amazing that " he does not do what he promised" still has adherents.

There is no reversal. I see reality clashing with words. I do not blame Trump for reversals. I see some shift from unrealistic to more realistic. It is called learning on the job.

Elelei Guhring , March 11, 2017 8:06 AM

Every political position on the planet is stuck in the 80s. There is no one with a will to change what is happening, mostly because no one wants to get tarred and feathered once the:

a) economy implodes upon itself in the most glorious Depression to ever happen, and;

b) world war 3 erupts but engaging such a variety of opponents, from Islam to China and Russia and even minor trivial players such as North Korea, and;

c) civil disobedience in the western world rivals that of even third world revolutions as people revolt against a failure to protect them from Islamic violence, to preserve their standard of living and their perceived futures. Lots of change coming, but nothing that any politician is promising.

Politicians are dinosaurs. We are entering a world where large numbers of people will make things happen. It's called Democracy.

An Eastern European , March 11, 2017 2:10 AM

Trump will remain close to Putin ideologically and he might continue to admire the man as a strong leader BUT there is one thing that neither Putin nor Trump can change and it is that Russia and America are natural rivals. Geopolitics. Land vs Sea. Eurasia vs Atlantic. Heartland vs Outer Rim.

Trump is hawk, don't be mislead. You cannot have a great country if you're not willing to kill and die for it. Russia knows that. Which is why Putin made Russia great again after the horror of the Yeltsin years. Now America knows that too.

[Feb 16, 2018] A Dangerous Turn in U.S. Foreign Policy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It was President Bill Clinton who moved NATO eastwards, abrogating a 1991 agreement with the Russians not to recruit former members of the Warsaw Pact that is at the root of current tensions with Moscow. And, while the U.S. and NATO point to Russia's annexation of the Crimea as a sign of a "revanchist" Moscow, it was NATO that set the precedent of altering borders when it dismembered Serbia to create Kosovo after the 1999 Yugoslav war. ..."
"... And it was President Barack Obama who further chilled relations with the Russians by backing the 2014 coup in the Ukraine, and whose "Asia pivot" has led to tensions between Washington and Beijing. ..."
"... Certainly the verbiage about Russia and China is alarming. Russia is routinely described as "aggressive," "revisionist," and "expansionist." In a recent attack on China, US Defense Secretary Rex Tillerson described China's trade with Latin America as "imperial. ..."
"... Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war helped turn the tide against the anti-Assad coalition put together by the US. But its economy is smaller than Italy's, and its "aggression" is largely a response to NATO establishing a presence on Moscow's doorstep. ..."
"... China is, however, the US's major competitor and the second largest economy in the world. It has replaced the US as Latin America's largest trading partner and successfully outflanked Washington's attempts to throttle its economic influence. When the US asked its key allies to boycott China's new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with the exception of Japan, they ignored Washington ..."
"... Is this a new Cold War, when the U.S. attempted to surround and isolate the Soviet Union? There are parallels, but the Cold War was an ideological battle between two systems, socialism and capitalism. The fight today is over market access and economic domination. When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Latin America about China and Russia, it wasn't about "Communist subversion," but trade. ..."
"... For one, the big arms manufacturers -- Lockheed Martian, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics -- have lots of cash to hand out come election time. "Great power competition" will be expensive, with lots of big-ticket items: aircraft carriers, submarines, surface ships, and an expanded air force. ..."
"... This is not to say that the U.S. has altered its foreign policy focus because of arms company lobbies, but they do have a seat at the table. And given that those companies have spread their operations to all 50 states, local political representatives and governors have a stake in keeping -- and expanding -- those high paying jobs. ..."
"... Piling onto Moscow may have consequences as well. Andrei Kostin, head of one of Russia's largest banks, VTB, told the Financial Times ..."
"... Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The Trump administration's new National Defense Strategy is being touted as a sea change in U.S. foreign policy, a shift from the "war on terrorism" to "great power competition," a line that would not be out of place in the years leading up to World War I. But is the shift really a major course change, or a re-statement of policies followed by the last four administrations?

The U.S. has never taken its eyes off its big competitors.

It was President Bill Clinton who moved NATO eastwards, abrogating a 1991 agreement with the Russians not to recruit former members of the Warsaw Pact that is at the root of current tensions with Moscow. And, while the U.S. and NATO point to Russia's annexation of the Crimea as a sign of a "revanchist" Moscow, it was NATO that set the precedent of altering borders when it dismembered Serbia to create Kosovo after the 1999 Yugoslav war.

It was President George W. Bush who designated China a "strategic competitor," and who tried to lure India into an anti-Chinese alliance by allowing New Delhi to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Letting India purchase uranium on the international market -- it was barred from doing so by refusing to sign the NPT -- helped ignite the dangerous nuclear arms race with Pakistan in South Asia.

And it was President Barack Obama who further chilled relations with the Russians by backing the 2014 coup in the Ukraine, and whose "Asia pivot" has led to tensions between Washington and Beijing.

So is jettisoning "terrorism" as the enemy in favor of "great powers" just old wine, new bottle? Not quite. For one thing the new emphasis has a decidedly more dangerous edge to it.

In speaking at Johns Hopkins, Defense Secretary James Mattis warned, "If you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day," a remark aimed directly at Russia. NATO ally Britain went even further. Chief of the United Kingdom General Staff, Nick Carter, told the Defense and Security Forum that "our generation has become use to wars of choice since the end of the Cold War," but "we may not have a choice about conflict with Russia," adding "The parallels with 1914 are stark."

Certainly the verbiage about Russia and China is alarming. Russia is routinely described as "aggressive," "revisionist," and "expansionist." In a recent attack on China, US Defense Secretary Rex Tillerson described China's trade with Latin America as "imperial. "

But in 1914 there were several powerful and evenly matched empires at odds. That is not the case today.

While Moscow is certainly capable of destroying the world with its nuclear weapons, Russia today bears little resemblance to 1914 Russia, or, for that matter, the Soviet Union.

The U.S. and its allies currently spend more than 12 times what Russia does on its armaments–$840 billion to $69 billion -- and that figure vastly underestimates Washington's actual military outlay. A great deal of U.S. spending is not counted as "military," including nuclear weapons, currently being modernized to the tune of $1.5 trillion.

The balance between China and the U.S. is more even, but the U.S. outspends China almost three to one. Include Washington's allies, Japan, Australia and South Korea, and that figure is almost four to one. In nuclear weapons, the ratio is vastly greater: 26 to 1 in favor of the U.S. Add NATO and the ratios are 28 to 1.

This is not to say that the military forces of Russia and China are irrelevant.

Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war helped turn the tide against the anti-Assad coalition put together by the US. But its economy is smaller than Italy's, and its "aggression" is largely a response to NATO establishing a presence on Moscow's doorstep.

China has two military goals: to secure its sea-borne energy supplies by building up its navy and to establish a buffer zone in the East and South China seas to keep potential enemies at arm's length. To that end it has constructed smaller, more agile ships, and missiles capable of keeping U.S. aircraft carriers out of range, a strategy called "area denial." It has also modernized its military, cutting back on land-based forces and investing in air and sea assets. However, it spends less of its GDP on its military than does the US: 1.9 percent as opposed to 3.8 percent.

Beijing has been rather heavy-handed in establishing "area denial," aliening many of its neighbors -- Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan -- by claiming most of the South China Sea and building bases in the Paracel and Spratly islands.

But China has been invaded several times, starting with the Opium Wars of 1839 and 1856, when Britain forced the Chinese to lift their ban on importing the drug. Japan invaded in 1895 and 1937. If the Chinese are touchy about their coastline, one can hardly blame them.

China is, however, the US's major competitor and the second largest economy in the world. It has replaced the US as Latin America's largest trading partner and successfully outflanked Washington's attempts to throttle its economic influence. When the US asked its key allies to boycott China's new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with the exception of Japan, they ignored Washington .

However, commercial success is hardly "imperial."

Is this a new Cold War, when the U.S. attempted to surround and isolate the Soviet Union? There are parallels, but the Cold War was an ideological battle between two systems, socialism and capitalism. The fight today is over market access and economic domination. When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Latin America about China and Russia, it wasn't about "Communist subversion," but trade.

There are other players behind this shift.

For one, the big arms manufacturers -- Lockheed Martian, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics -- have lots of cash to hand out come election time. "Great power competition" will be expensive, with lots of big-ticket items: aircraft carriers, submarines, surface ships, and an expanded air force.

This is not to say that the U.S. has altered its foreign policy focus because of arms company lobbies, but they do have a seat at the table. And given that those companies have spread their operations to all 50 states, local political representatives and governors have a stake in keeping -- and expanding -- those high paying jobs.

Nor are the Republicans going to get much opposition on increased defense spending from the Democrats, many of whom are as hawkish as their colleagues across the aisle. Higher defense spending -- coupled with the recent tax cut bill -- will rule out funding many of the programs the Democrats hold dear. Of course, for the Republicans that dilemma is a major side benefit: cut taxes, increase defense spending, then dismantle social services, Social Security and Medicare in order to service the deficit.

And many of the Democrats are ahead of the curve when it comes to demonizing the Russians. The Russian bug-a-boo has allowed the Party to shift the blame for Hillary Clinton's loss to Moscow's manipulation of the election, thus avoiding having to examine its own lackluster campaign and unimaginative political program.

There are other actors pushing this new emphasis as well, including the Bush administration's neo-conservatives who launched the Iraq War. Their new target is Iran, even though inflating Iran to the level of a "great power" is laughable. Iran's military budget is $12.3 billion. Saudi Arabia alone spends $63.7 billion on defense, slightly less than Russia, which has five times the population and eight times the land area. In a clash between Iran and the US and its local allies, the disparity in military strength would be a little more than 66 to 1.

However, in terms of disasters, even Iraq would pale before a war with Iran.

The most dangerous place in the world right now is the Korean Peninsula, where the Trump administration appears to be casting around for some kind of military demonstration that will not ignite a nuclear war. But how would China react to an attack that might put hostile troops on its southern border?

Piling onto Moscow may have consequences as well. Andrei Kostin, head of one of Russia's largest banks, VTB, told the Financial Times that adding more sanctions against Russia "would be like declaring war."

The problem with designating "great powers" as your adversaries is that they might just take your word for it and respond accordingly. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Conn Hallinan

Conn Hallinan can be read at dispatchesfromtheedgeblog.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

Implacable.

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

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

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

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

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


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

Mattis is coming to Turkey soon.

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

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

This is the main theme

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

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

IMHO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eric Neoconman the chief provocator.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 14, 2018] The Lies That Enable Perpetual War

Feb 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Damon Linker chides Americans for the lies we tell ourselves about our unending wars:

The honest and alarming truth that we seem all-too-eager to evade is that America is already at war around the world. Someone desperately needs to pay attention, demand accountability, and keep tabs on the steep monetary, human, and geopolitical costs.

Linker is right that Americans should pay attention to and demand accountability for the endless wars waged in their name, but he also acknowledges that most have no interest in doing so. Another alarming truth is that many Americans seem content to allow perpetual war to continue so long as the steep costs are borne mostly by people in other countries. Those costs tend to be ignored or mentioned only in passing when assessing the damage done, and even when they are acknowledged they are not given much weight in our policy debates. The hundreds of thousands that died because of the 2003 invasion of Iraq have practically been reduced to a footnote in subsequent debates over military intervention.

One reason for this indifference is that many of our leaders tell us other comforting lies about these wars: that they are necessary and waged in self-defense. The reality is that virtually none of the military interventions that the U.S. has carried out in the last thirty years was unavoidable or required for the defense of the United States and its allies. Our wars are usually wars of choice fought for reasons unrelated to defending ourselves or the nations we are obliged by treaty to protect, and they are typically fought in places where the U.S. has no vital interests at stake.

The U.S. is at war around the world because our government chooses to be at war around the world. For the most part, this was not forced on us, but rather it is something that our leaders and pundits have willingly embraced again and again. Perhaps the biggest lie of all is that the U.S. goes to war reluctantly and grudgingly. In fact, no other government resorts to the use of force in international affairs so often and so casually as ours has in the last twenty-five years. On the rare occasions when the public recoils from this, as they did in the 2006 midterms and again in 2013 at the prospect of attacking Syria, our leaders and pundits shake their heads and warn against the dangers of "retreat" from the world. Of course, the myth of retreat is another lie used to justify the next unnecessary war, and if that doesn't work then they tell us the lie that the rest of the world supposedly craves and demands U.S. "leadership" in its most destructive form.


Uncle Billy February 14, 2018 at 10:42 am

Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, but served as a bulwark against Iran and kept down Sunni fanatics as well. He was no threat to the US. Why did we go to war with Iraq and topple him? How have things gone in Iraq since the US invasion?

The whole concepts of premptive war and regime change is insanity. I want the United States to be a republic not an empire.

paradoctor , says: February 14, 2018 at 10:45 am
Nor do we ever win those forever wars; and this for one simple reason; those involved are not paid to win wars, just to forever wage them.
liberal , says: February 14, 2018 at 10:55 am
Adam Johnson has been good at pointing out all the times the US is being described as "accidentally" or "reluctantly" being pulled into a war somewhere.
Youknowho , says: February 14, 2018 at 11:11 am
We need to bring back the draft. Not until is it THEIR CHILDREN in the line of fire will the people of the US revolt. The draft was the reason why the war in Vietnam was so unpopular. After it was done with, war became a spectator sport, to be viewed from the comfort of ones couch.

The All-Volunteer arm (A.K.A. mercenaires) made perpetual war possible.

SDS , says: February 14, 2018 at 11:12 am
How many people voted for Trump because he was the only one of the bunch on either side saying anything other than "SYRIA/IRAN/ISRAEL/ RUSSIA/WIN"..??
Yes; we find(probably should have known) that he is a filthy low-life . but in desperation
I think a lot of us gave him a chance
Peter , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Justified to invade wretched Afghanistan, not nuclear Pakistan where he actually was.

And the war goes on and on forever

Someone in the crowd , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm
What is missing from this otherwise healthy and needed essay is a description of lies. Being cagey and silent is not the same as telling lies.

After all, the fact that we are engaged in persistent conflicts, these past few decades, is not being denied. I haven't heard the U.S. government say: 'We are at peace with all the world.' Saying so would indeed be a lie. But, to the contrary, the US government boldly announces that it is fighting -- in Syria, for example. Though ISIS is defeated, the Defense Dept. recently stated that U.S. army personnel are staying in Syria, with the goal of regime change, despite having no legal basis whatsoever to do so.

So here we have one example of a lie -- our government's earlier excuse for being in Syria ('to defeat ISIS'). What other lies of this sort has our government been telling us? THAT would be an article that warrants this essay's title.

b. , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm
The honest and alarming truth that we seem all-too-eager to evade is that America is violating its own Constitution, the UN Charter, and the ratified international order around the world. We all need to pay attention, demand the impeachment of Presidents, Senators and Representatives, and vote any incumbent that aided, abetted or authorized illegal acts of aggression out of office regardless of the cost.

Thank you for making a principled statement to refute a deeply misleading observation by Linker. If Linker's is the best published opinion can do, then we are still content to be cognitively captured by War Profiteers "R" US.

Given the exercise of collective punishment that the US engages in in Yemen and has engaged in elsewhere, this is on *us*, whether we accept it or not.

"Americans seem content to allow perpetual war to continue so long as the steep costs are borne mostly by people in other countries "

.. and states, and counties.

It is to the eternal shame of the Democratic Party that Trump apparently won additional votes in the districts across the nation where the military casualties and related "cost" of our wars for chosen profits are born the most.

The "National Securities" con is the textbook example of bipartisan comity and national unity that anybody could conceive. Why anybody would be asking for more "consensus" is beyond me.

b. , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm
Linker writes:

"Bacevich suggested a number of explanations for why the overwhelming majority of Americans, from elected officials on down to ordinary voters, display such indifference about our frenzied military actions abroad. They include: because casualty rates on our side are low; because, despite President Trump's rhetoric, no one really keeps track of and demands public accountability for just how much money is being spent, and wasted, around the world; because the wars are fought by an all-volunteer force in which a tiny percentage of the population serves, allowing most Americans to go about their lives without ever being touched by the human consequences; and because the threat of terrorism is hyped, and most people just want to feel safe. Voters want to be protected, and politicians want to avoid the blame either for a successful attack on the homeland or a humiliating defeat abroad. The result is that no war ever comes to a decisive end, the total number of wars increases over time, and we never speak of any of them."

Neither he nor Bacevich mention what I consider the most relevant aspects – many Americans benefit from these wars, and most are not taxed by the cost of debt-financed war and "defense" spending.

"Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of the its population . In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. This process cannot be a liberal or peaceful one."

George Kennan in a 1948 memorandum
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Memo_PPS23_by_George_Kennan

We are willingly sacrificing both living humans being and our unborn children for our own personal, immediate profit. How fitting for a nation born in tax evasion and collapsing by defunding itself in public-private partnerships for profit extraction.

War is never a conservative choice.

One Guy , says: February 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm
Think of all the jobs that are made necessary by endless wars. Somebody has to make the bullets, the tanks, they planes, helicopters, uniforms, etc. Americans don't care how many thousands of little brown people die, as long as Uncle Joe has a job at Boeing.
Someone in the crowd , says: February 14, 2018 at 3:05 pm
To clarify an earlier post (in case my first sentence is misinterpreted) -- of course the US government regularly lies, especially about its 'foreign policy', endless wars, etc. My point was simply that this article needed to focus on the nature of those lies and bogus justifications. It's an almost inexhaustible subject, enough to keep an army of journalists busy for many years.

The problem, of course, is not the need for such analysis: what could be more obvious? The problem is that digging too deep in that way is taboo. And taboos are enforced here. Ask Chuck Schumer.

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

Feb 14, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... .. ...

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

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

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

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

Feb 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

Implacable.

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 14, 2018] The FBI and the President – Mutual Manipulation by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The liberals and Democrats and their allies in the FBI, political police and other elements of the security state apparatus were deeply involved in an attempt to implicate Russian government officials in a plot to manipulate US public opinion on Trump's behalf and corrupt the outcome of the election. However, the FBI, the Justice Department and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have produced no evidence of collusion linking the Russian government to a campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton's candidacy in favor of Trump. This is despite thousands of interviews and threats of long prison sentences against former Trump campaign advisers. Instead, they focus their attack on Trump's early campaign promise to find common ground in improving economic and diplomatic ties between the US and Russia, especially in confronting jihadi terrorists. ..."
"... The liberal-progressive FBI cohort turned into rabid Russia-bashers demanding that Trump take a highly aggressive stance against Moscow, while systematically eliminating his military and security advisors who expressed anti-confrontation sentiments. In the spirit of a Joe McCarthy, the liberal-left launched hysterical attacks on any and every Trump campaign adviser who had spoken to, dined with or exchanged eyebrows with any and all Russians! ..."
"... The conversion of liberalism to the pursuit of political purges is unprecedented. Their collective amnesia about the long-term, large-scale involvement by the FBI in the worst criminal violations of democratic values is reprehensible. The FBI's anti-communist crusade led to the purge of thousands of trade unionists from the mid-1940's onward, decimating the AFL-CIO. They blacklisted actors, screen writers, artists, teachers, university academics, researchers, scientists, journalists and civil rights leaders as part of their sweeping purge of civil society. ..."
"... President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale. Trump's violation of international law includes collaboration and support for Saudi Arabia's tyrannical invasion and destruction of the sovereign nation of Yemen; intensified aid and support for Israel's ethnic war against the Palestinian people; severe sanctions and threatened nuclear first-strike against North Korea (DPRK); increased deployment of US special forces in collaboration with the jihadi terrorist war to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria; coup-mongering, sabotage, sanctions and economic blockade of Venezuela; NATO missile and nuclear encirclement of Russia; and the growing naval threats against China ..."
"... Domestically, Trump's response to the FBI's blackmail has been to replace the original political leadership with his own version; to expand and increase the police state powers against immigrants; to increase the powers of the major tech companies to police and intensify work-place exploitation and the invasion of citizens' privacy; to expand the unleash the power of state agents to torture suspects and to saturate all public events, celebrations and activities with open displays of jingoism and militarism with the goal of creating pro-war public opinion. ..."
"... Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order ..."
Feb 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Few government organizations have been engaged in violation of the US citizens' constitutional rights for as long a time and against as many individuals as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Seldom has there been greater collusion in the perpetration of crimes against civil liberties, electoral freedom and free and lawful expression as what has taken place between the FBI and the US Justice Department.

In the past, the FBI and Justice Department secured the enthusiastic support and public acclaim from the conservative members of the US Congress, members of the judiciary at all levels and the mass media. The leading liberal voices, public figures, educators, intellectuals and progressive dissenters opposing the FBI and their witch-hunting tactics were all from the left. Today, the right and the left have changed places: The most powerful voices endorsing the FBI and the Justice Department's fabrications, and abuse of constitutional rights are on the left, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and famous liberal media corporations and public opinion makers.

The recently published Congressional memo, authored by Congressman Devin Nunes, provides ample proof that the FBI spied on Trump campaign workers with the intent to undermine the Republican candidate and sabotage his bid for the presidency. Private sector investigators, hired by Trump's rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, worked with pro-Clinton operatives within the FBI and Justice Department to violate the national electoral process while flouting rules governing wiretaps on US citizens. This was done with the approval of the sitting Democratic President Barack Obama.

The liberals and Democrats and their allies in the FBI, political police and other elements of the security state apparatus were deeply involved in an attempt to implicate Russian government officials in a plot to manipulate US public opinion on Trump's behalf and corrupt the outcome of the election. However, the FBI, the Justice Department and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have produced no evidence of collusion linking the Russian government to a campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton's candidacy in favor of Trump. This is despite thousands of interviews and threats of long prison sentences against former Trump campaign advisers. Instead, they focus their attack on Trump's early campaign promise to find common ground in improving economic and diplomatic ties between the US and Russia, especially in confronting jihadi terrorists.

The liberal-progressive FBI cohort turned into rabid Russia-bashers demanding that Trump take a highly aggressive stance against Moscow, while systematically eliminating his military and security advisors who expressed anti-confrontation sentiments. In the spirit of a Joe McCarthy, the liberal-left launched hysterical attacks on any and every Trump campaign adviser who had spoken to, dined with or exchanged eyebrows with any and all Russians!

The conversion of liberalism to the pursuit of political purges is unprecedented. Their collective amnesia about the long-term, large-scale involvement by the FBI in the worst criminal violations of democratic values is reprehensible. The FBI's anti-communist crusade led to the purge of thousands of trade unionists from the mid-1940's onward, decimating the AFL-CIO. They blacklisted actors, screen writers, artists, teachers, university academics, researchers, scientists, journalists and civil rights leaders as part of their sweeping purge of civil society.

The FBI investigated the private lives of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, even threatening their family members. They illegally spied on and infiltrated civil liberties organizations, and used provocateurs and spies in anti-war groups. Individuals lives were destroyed, some were driven to suicide; important popular American organizations were undermined to the detriment of millions. This has been its focus since its beginning and continues with the current fabrication of anti-Russian propaganda and investigations.

President Trump: Victim and Executor

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

Domestically, Trump's response to the FBI's blackmail has been to replace the original political leadership with his own version; to expand and increase the police state powers against immigrants; to increase the powers of the major tech companies to police and intensify work-place exploitation and the invasion of citizens' privacy; to expand the unleash the power of state agents to torture suspects and to saturate all public events, celebrations and activities with open displays of jingoism and militarism with the goal of creating pro-war public opinion.

In a word: From the right to the left there are no political options to choose from among the two ruling political parties. Popular political movements and mass demonstrations have risen up against Trump with clear justification, but have since dissolved and been absorbed. They came together from diverse sectors: Women against sexual abuse and workplace humiliation; African-Americans against police impunity and violence; and immigrants against mass expulsion and harassment. They staged mass demonstrations and then declined as their 'anti-Trump' animus was frustrated by the liberal-democrats hell-bent on pursuing the Russian connection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on February 11, 2018 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PETER KUZNICK: My pleasure, Paul.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Chris , February 11, 2018 at 9:49 am

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

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

Tomonthebeach , February 11, 2018 at 1:03 pm

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

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

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

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

Moocao , February 11, 2018 at 8:09 pm

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

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

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

Duck1 , February 11, 2018 at 11:10 pm

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

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris , February 11, 2018 at 10:28 am

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

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

Summer , February 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

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

rd , February 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm

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

ObjectiveFunction , February 11, 2018 at 11:20 am

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

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

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

Here endeth my catechism.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 12:19 pm

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

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

Summer , February 11, 2018 at 12:48 pm

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

bob , February 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm

"The arc of history indeed bends toward justice"

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

oaf , February 11, 2018 at 6:57 am

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

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

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

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

Daniel Ellsberg with Daniel Bessner:
The Doomsday Machine

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

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

I am scared.

Massinissa , February 11, 2018 at 10:13 am

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

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

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:15 pm

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

Synoia , February 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm

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

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

Donald , February 11, 2018 at 3:07 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 5:32 pm

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

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

rfdawn , February 11, 2018 at 6:53 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excellent point about the missiles deployed in Turkey and Italy– and one I might have mentioned if I had remembered it, absent your prod.

Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 9:02 am

The Jupiter missile agreement was a secret at the time. Kennedy wanted to minimize the appearance of a quid-pro-quo. The subsequent presence of Pershings and Tomahawks in Europe (but not Turkey) was a reaction to the mobile IRBMs deployed by the Soviet Union. Which they still have. France and Britain have their own independent deterrents. Which is just as well, since the Pershings and Tomahawks were traded away as part of START/SALT.

The more recent escalation of NATO into E Europe, the Baltics and the Ukraine are a definite violation of the spirit of the Cuban Missile Crisis agreement, and are pure aggression against a Russia that was seen as too weak to do anything about it until they did do something about it in 2014.

An aggressive NATO is something I view with horror. One does not poke the bear. But Kissinger (the German) and Berzhinski (the Pole) are fanatically anti-Russian. They made up for the passing of Churchill.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Just recently Russia deployed more nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to the Kaliningrad enclave between Poland and Lithuania. Maybe something to do with all those special forces NATO keeps stationing on the Russian border?

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:14 pm

And all the a -- -oles who Command and Rule, and most of the commentariat and punditry, all treat these affairs as if they are playing some Brobdingnagian Game of Risk ™, where as with Monopoly (which was originally intended to teach a very different lesson) the object of the game is all about TAKING OVER THE WHOLE WORLD, WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA an idiotic froth on top of an ever more dangerous brew of exponentially increasing,and largely ignored, mutual if often asymmetric, deadly vulnerability.

Stupid effing humans and their vast stupid monkey tricks

Carolinian , February 11, 2018 at 9:14 am

LeMay had suggested that we should perhaps wipe out the Soviet Union before they had the chance to catch up to us in nukes. It was an era ruled by fear of nuclear war–a fear that was unleashed by the use of the bomb in Japan. Truman and Byrnes (the latter in a meeting in his hometown–my hometown) rejected calls by some of the Los Alamos scientists to share the nuclear secrets with the Russians and forestall this arms race or so they hoped.

So no the crazy didn't start with Trump and Trump had even advocated we make nice with the Russians until the Dems, their remnants at State and Defense and the press forced him to change course (on threat of impeachment). The elites who have gained more or less permanent power over the direction of this country are a threat to us all.

Anyhow, thanks for the above post. Those who forget history ..

polecat , February 11, 2018 at 11:51 am

Let's not forget the little country that could with it's aggregated threat of 300+ undeclared
They're 'in-the-mix' too !

Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 12:02 pm

In so far as the US has moved away from the JFK view of nuclear deterrence to the LeMay view of nuclear first strike we are dead.

David , February 11, 2018 at 11:07 am

Different world. The first generation of nuclear weapons had yields (around 20-30Kt) that were comprehensible in terms of conventional bombing, which of course would have required many more aircraft but was also much more efficient per tonne of explosives. For the formative years after 1945, therefore, people thought of nuclear weapons as weapons in the classic sense and, at that time, nobody really knew that much about the effects of radiation and fallout. This all changed with the advent of the hydrogen bomb, but even then it took a long time for the likely catastrophic effects of the use of such weapons in large numbers to sink in. Nuclear technology, and both delivery and guidance systems, evolved far more quickly than rationales for their use could be found. Indeed, you can say that the Cold War was a period when nuclear powers found themselves acquiring weapons with technologies that couldn't actually be used, but couldn't be un-invented either. Enormous intellectual effort went into trying to provide post-hoc rationales for having these weapons, some of it very ingenious, most of it wasted.

Don't forget the role of paranoia either. NSC-68, the report that formalized US strategy during the Cold War, reads today like the ravings of a group of lunatics, seeing, almost literally, Reds under the beds. And if Stalin was dead, the Soviet leadership had just gone through a war which had cost them almost 30 million dead, and any, literally any, sacrifice was worth it to make sure that they prevented another war, or at least won it quickly.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 11:56 am

Dr. Strangelove has moved from the archive boxes of historical artifacts to being a "must see" movie again.

Baby Gerald , February 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

It never left the 'must see' list. Its just moved higher up the rankings in recent months, what with all this 'collaboration' conspiracy drivel.

From wikipedia :

US military casualties in WW2: 407,300
US civilian casualties in WW2: 12,100

USSR military casualties in WW2: estimated by various sources [see the footnotes] between 8,668,000 to 11,400,000.
USSR civilian casualties in WW2: 10,000,000 [plus another 6-7 million deaths from famine, a line in the table that is completely blank for the US]

Simply put, for every American that died, somewhere between a thousand to two thousand of their Russian counterparts were killed. And somehow people in the US were convinced and worried that Russia wanted to start yet another war when they still hadn't finished burying the dead from the last one.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 3:06 pm

1. Stalin made his pact with the devil that gave Hitler free rein to invade Poland and France. Hitler then invaded Russia from Poland as the jumping off point. Stalin miscalculated big-time.

2. Invaded countries always have many more civilian countries than un-invaded ones.

3. Germany started WW II only 20 years after the end of WW I that also slaughtered 2 million German soldiers. Past losses generally does not appear to impact the decision-making of dictators regarding new wars. So it would have been irrational for the West to think that the USSR had no intent to expand its borders. That was the blunder that France and Britain made in 1938-39. However, the paranoia did get extreme in the Cold War.

Yves Smith , February 11, 2018 at 6:03 pm

This isn't accurate. Stalin tried repeatedly and even towards the end, desperately, to sign a treaty with the Britain and France. They rebuffed him because [he was a] Commie. He signed up with Hitler only after those efforts had clearly failed. It was a self-preservation move. It probably did buy him less time than he thought. But let's not kid ourselves: Hitler's first move otherwise would have been to the East. What were later the Allies would have been delighted to see him take over the USSR. This was why British aristos were so keen on Hitler, that he was seen as an answer to Communism and therefore "our kind of man".

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm

The Poles have been the Germans and Russians chewtoy ever since it was completely partitioned. All the countries immediately around Russia have been horribly abused by Russia. Putin is doing his country no favors by reminding everyone of that. He can cow them into submission, but like the American government is finding, just because they are doesn't mean they cannot cause trouble. Heck, the current Great Game could be said to have started with the Soviet-Afghanistan War.

Going into the war every country was unprepared and unwilling to fight and had difficulty choices. The German military itself was not prepared. It was Hitler's choice to start when and where and by 1938 everyone knew it. Hitler was surprised that France and Great Britain honored their guarantee to Poland.

As evil as Stalin's regime was, and his invasion of Poland was just as bad as Hitler's at first, I don't think most people really understood just how evil the Nazis were and what they were planning on doing for Germany's living space. It was worse than anything that Stalin did and between the Ukrainian famine, the Great Purges, the takeover of the Baltic States, the invasion of Finland, etc he did serious evil.

Harold , February 11, 2018 at 3:17 pm

General LeMay was responsible for the death of a fifth (some say a third) of the North Korean population by saturation bombing with napalm, was he not? A third? Isn't that one in three?

xformbykr , February 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Additional books that shed light on both leaving the new deal behind and the Cuban missile crisis are (1) "The Devil's Chessboard" by Talbot and (2) "JFK and The Unspeakable" by Douglass. The first is mostly about Allen Dulles but has interesting chapters on McCarthy, Eisenhower, Nixon, etc. It is reasonably well foot-noted. The second is about the assassination and has loads of detail about the missile crisis and its power players. It is meticulously foot-noted.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm

For those with a shred of remaining optimism who want to be rid of it, might I suggest a book titled "With Enough Shovels" by Robert Scheer. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-scheer-4/with-enough-shovels-reagan-bush-and-nuclear-war/

I was going to post the text of the short review, but all I got at the moment is this blankety iPhone and its limits with cut and paste.

Not many read books anyway these days, and what sufficient moiety of them will form the groundswell that tips over the Juggernaut we are all pushing and pulling and riding toward the cliff?

I read this stuff mostly to sense which hand holds the knife and not to go down asking "What happened? What did it all mean?"

John k , February 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Trump has been bellicose re NK and Iran, but I see him as resisting the Syrian adventure, while cia plus military hawks pushing forward.
Dems today are real hawks, itching to confront Russia in both Syria and Ukraine the latter another place trump may be resisting hawks, the area has been quiet since the election, I.e. since dems were in charge.
It's an odd thought that in some theaters trump may be the sane one

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Yaas, nothing is happening in Ukraine, all is quiet on the Eastern Front of NATO: http://ukraine.csis.org/ Nuland has gone on to other conquests, and all that. The CIA and War Department have lost interest in that Conflict Zone. Nothing is happening. You are getting sleepy. Sleepy.

Yaas, nothing is happening. https://www.reuters.com/places/ukraine All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.

marku52 , February 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Yeah, the title of this post would lead one to believe that their is something uniquely horrible about Trump's foreign policy. From anything I can detect, her bellicose statement about a no-fly zone in Syria and her abject destruction of Libya, HRC's FP would have been even worse.

If she had been elected, we might already be in a ground war with the Russians in Syria. The only hopeful sign is that while Trump spends his day watching TeeVee, State, DOD, and CIA are all working at cross purposes and getting in each other's way.

Foreign policy? We have a foreign policy? If anybody finds it, will they please explain it to me?

William Beyer , February 11, 2018 at 1:20 pm

I almost never comment, although I rely on NC for most of my news and blood pressure control. You are a treasure.

May I recommend another book – "All Honorable Men" – by James Stewart Martin. Published in 1950 and shortly thereafter all bookstore copies were hoovered-up and burned by the CIA. It might have been referenced in one of the RNN segments, but I haven't slogged through all of them yet.

You can get a hardback at Amazon for a mere $298. An i-book is cheaper.

After reading "The Brothers," and "The Devil's Chessboard," I considered starting a non-profit using GPS technology – Piss-on-their-Graves.org.

J.Fever , February 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Forbidden bookshelf series $11.49 Barnes & Noble

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 2:47 pm

The Forbidden Bookshelf series by Open Media is fantastic. Sadly for dinosaurs like me, it is mostly ebooks, but they do the occasional hard copy reprints, and since much in the series would be out of print without Open Media, even the ebooks are great to have.

And it is interesting to see how many bothersome books just go away even without any "censorship" even with the First Amendment being the one right courts have consistently, and strongly, enforced.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Especially the right of corporate persons to one dollar, one vote speech..,

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 9:43 pm

I will take what I can get, even if as a college student, I don't have much "Free Speech."

:-)

shinola , February 11, 2018 at 4:07 pm

This article reminded me of an interesting/disturbing thing I saw on tv last night – a local news show had a bit on what to do in case of nuclear attack!

Boomers & older probably remember the drill: go to the basement or innermost room of the house, have 72 hours of food & water stashed & don't go outside for at least 3 days, etc. (yeah, that's the ticket).
Thought I was having a flashback to the 60's

Of course the best advice I ever heard on the subject was "Squat down, put your head between your knees & kiss your sweet [rear end] goodbye."

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 5:45 pm

Well, as I recall they were trying to give us the illusion of control so that we would not go all nihilistic or into a drunken fatalistic stupor. I don't know if telling people, like little JBird, that the bombs might start dropping anytime in which case you're just f@@@@d would have done any good.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Maybe they could digitally colourise and re-issue this old film again, you know, as a public service-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_1jkLxhh20

Of course, it took a long time till we learned that a nuclear attack would be more like this-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VG2aJyIFrA

Oregoncharles , February 11, 2018 at 4:41 pm

One interpretation of the Cold War, that I found revealing, was that the two "opposing" militaries colluded to magnify the threat so as to pump up their respective budgets. So both were essentially conning their own governments – and putting the whole world at risk in the process.

Of course, another big factor, equally obvious at the time, was (and is) that world "leaders," elected or not, can't resist the temptation to play chess with live pieces. They don't seem to care that people wind up dead, or that occasionally they put the whole world in danger.

Waking Up , February 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm

FYI: The first link to the Real News Network ends up at outlook.live.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author , February 11, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Fixed it. Thanks.

rkka , February 11, 2018 at 5:13 pm

It's SIOP, not PSYOP. SIOP stands for Single Integrated Operating Plan, which was what the first nuclear war plan was called. PSYOPS are Psychological Operations.

VietnamVet , February 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

Having served in the first Cold War, it simply is beyond my comprehension that the Democrats restarted it all over again. Even weirder are the neo-con proponents of a First Strike. If the USA wins, at least one or two major cities (if not all) will be destroyed. New Zealand becomes the sequel to "On the Beach". We are in the same position as Germany in the 1930s except we know that the world war will destroy us. Tell me, how in the hell, did a few thousand U.S. soldiers and contractors ended up in the middle of Eastern Syria surrounded by Russians, the Syrian Arab Army and Shiite militias at risk of attack by Turkey?

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Tell me, how in the hell, did a few thousand U.S. soldiers and contractors ended up in the middle of Eastern Syria surrounded by Russians, the Syrian Arab Army and Shiite militias at risk of attack by Turkey?

Why they are needed to fight the evil-doers of course! Anything to protect our Freedom and the American Way. Now, ifyou keep asking these inconvenient questions, then "they" might start asking if you support the terrorists.

It's like when my half blind aged mother, and her possibly weaponized cane, is scrutinized as a possible al-Qaeda terrorist with a super hidden weapon, and I ask why it's 9/11 and the very bad people might hurt us.

Max4241 , February 11, 2018 at 8:10 pm

Nuclear winter. How quaint. Soot and dust. Rapid cooling. Crop failures. Starvation. Billions -perhaps- dead.

But life, certainly, will find a way!

Not in my world. All-out thermonuclear war means 250 nuclear reactors melt down simultaneously and several hundred thousand tons of loosely stored nuclear waste becomes aerosoled.

The resulting radiation blast burns the atmosphere off and the earth becomes a dead planet.

We can never look the thing straight in the eye. Take North Korea. We have been told, repeatedly, endlessly, that they have 20,000 artillery pieces trained on Seoul!

Again, how quaint. How SCARY! What we should be reading about, are the priority targets, the game changers:

http://res.heraldm.com/content/image/2012/03/23/20120323001281_0.jpg

Light those five softies up and you can say good-bye to South Korea forever.

Bobby Gladd , February 11, 2018 at 8:19 pm

"People should study the lunacy of Project Plowshare."
__

Yeah. In 1992 my wife was serving as the QA Mgr for the Nevada Test Site (NTS) nuke remediation project contractor. In 1993 a successful FOIA filing unearthed the Alaskan "Project Chariot." One of the brilliant Project Plowshare ideas was the potential utility of nuke detonations to carve out deep water harbors (they now deny it), so they took a bunch of irradiated soil from NTS and and spread it around on the tundra 130 miles N of the Arctic circle on the coast of the Chukchi Sea to "study potential environmental impacts."

The nuke "dredging" idea went nowhere, so they just plowed the irradiated crap under the surface, where it remained secret until the FOIA revelation decades later. DOE told my wife's company "go clean this shit up" (Eskimo tribes were freaking after finding out), so off goes my wife and her crew to spend the summer and fall living in tents guarded by armed polar bear guards (they had to first plow out a dirt & gravel runway, and flew everyone and all supplies in on STOL aircraft). They dug the test bed area all up (near Cape Thompson), assayed samples in an onsite radlab, put some 30 tons of "contaminated" Arctic soil in large sealed containers, barged it all down to Seattle, loaded it on trucks and drove it all back down to be buried at NTS.

Your tax dollars.

She looked so cute with her clipboard, and her orange vest, steel toed boots and hardhat.

JTMcPhee, February 11, 2018 at 9:26 pm

Did she get stuck dealing with any of the impossibly intractable problems at the Hanford Reservation? Anyone who doubts the massive stupidity of humans, read this: http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2008/06/a_tour_of_the_hanford_reveals.html

Disaster tourism. "Buffy, can we do Fukushima next?"

The Rev Kev, February 11, 2018 at 9:50 pm

As a teenager I read in a newspaper a proposal to use nuclear blasts to form a canal that would bring the sea to the middle of Australia and form an inland sea from which water could be drawn. We already had nuclear weapon being tested here ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_tests_in_Australia ) so there was no appetite for ideas like this.

[Feb 11, 2018] Pentagon's Nuclear Doctrine Retrograde and Reckless

Feb 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

It is a fear-laden document, relentlessly portraying the world as fraught with existential danger to US national security.

Russia and China, as with two other recent strategic policy papers out of Washington, are again painted as adversaries who must be confronted with ever-greater US military power.

The latest NPR asserts that since the last such review in 2010, "America confronts an international security situation that is more complex and demanding than any since the end of the Cold War."

It is clear from reading the 74-page document that Russia and China are the main source of security concern for the Pentagon – albeit the reasons for the concern are far from convincing. Indeed one might say downright alarmist.

Washington accuses Russia and China of pursuing nuclear weapons development which is threatening. It accuses Russia in particular of violating arms controls treaties and threatening American allies with its nuclear arsenal. There are several other such unsubstantiated claims made by the Pentagon in the document.

Russia and China responded by condemning the aggressive nature of the Pentagon's latest doctrine, as they have done with regard to two other recent strategic papers published by the Trump administration.

It is deplorable that Washington seems to go out of its way to portray the world in such bellicose terms. The corollary of this attitude is the repudiation of diplomacy and multilateralism.

Washington, it seems, is a hostage to its own imperative need to generate a world of hostile relations in order to justify its rampant militarism, which is, in turn, fundamental to its capitalist economy.

The lamentable, even criminal, danger of this strategy is that it foments unnecessary tensions and animosity in world relations. Russia and China have repeatedly called for normal, multilateral relations. Yet, remorselessly, Washington demonizes the two military powers in ways that are retrograde and reckless.

The Pentagon's latest nuclear doctrine goes even further in its provocations. Based on dubious accusations of Russia's threatening behavior ("annexation of Crimea", "aggression in Ukraine"), the Pentagon has declared it will rely more on nuclear force for "deterrence".

That can be taken as a warning that Washington is, in effect, lowering its threshold for deploying nuclear weapons. It overtly states that it will consider use of nuclear weapons to defend American interests and allies from "nuclear and conventional threats". The language is chilling. It talks about inflicting "incalculable" and "intolerable" costs on "adversaries". This is nothing short of Washington terrorizing the rest of the world into conforming to its geopolitical demands.

Another sinister development is that Washington has now declared that it will be acquiring "low-yield" nuclear weapons . These so-called "mini-nukes" will again lower the threshold for possible deployment of nuclear warheads in the misplaced belief that such deployment will not escalate to strategic weapons.

What's disturbing is that the US is evidently moving toward a policy of greater reliance on nuclear force to underpin its international power objectives. It is also broadening, in a provocative and reckless way, what it considers "aggression" by other adversaries, principally Russia. Taken together, Washington is increasingly setting itself on a more hostile course.

Some 57 years ago, in 1961, then US President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address to the nation in which he issued a grave forewarning about the growing control of the "military-industrial complex" over American life. Back then, the American military-industrial complex could disguise its insatiable appetite with the pretext of the Cold War and the "Soviet enemy".

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

Today, the American federal government spends about $700 billion a year on military – over half its discretionary budget. The US spends more on military than at any time during the Cold War – in constant dollar terms.

The US military-industrial complex has become a voracious monster way beyond anything that Eisenhower may have feared. It is no longer a threat merely to American life. It is a threat to the life of the entire planet.

Objectively, the US has no foreign enemy endangering its existence; neither Russia nor China. Not even North Korea, despite its anti-American rhetoric, poses a direct threat to the US.

The Pentagon – on behalf of the military-industrial complex – is stretching credulity when it depicts the world as a more threatening place. Fingering Russia and China is absurd.

In order to try to shore up its scare-mongering with a semblance of credibility, the Pentagon is escalating the rhetoric about nuclear weapons and the need to deploy them. There is no objective justification for this nuclear posturing by the US, only as a way to dramatize alleged national security fears, in order to keep the military-industrial racket going.

The despicable danger from this retrograde Cold War strategy is that the US is recklessly pushing the world toward war and possibly nuclear catastrophe.

Fortunately, Russia and China have highly developed military defenses to keep American insanity in check. Nevertheless, American belligerence is pushing the world to combustible tensions.

The problem is that American rulers have become a rogue state. The American people need to somehow sack their rogue rulers and their military madness, and return the nation to a democratic function.

Until then, Russia and the rest of the world must be on guard.

[Feb 11, 2018] Fletcher Prouty's suspicions re Kennedy's assassination were later confirmed by Chauncey Holt before he died (there are several versions online). His recorded testimony proves the CIA/MAFIA connection(without knowing who gave the order).

Notable quotes:
"... the MSM deification of Mueller reminds me much of their similar glorification of J Edgar Hoover at that time. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Bob Van Noy , February 9, 2018 at 1:48 pm

For those unfamiliar with Fletcher Prouty, here is the link that I was reading

https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/GoD.html

BobH , February 9, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Fletcher Prouty's suspicions re Kennedy's assassination were later confirmed by Chauncey Holt before he died (there are several versions online). His recorded testimony proves the CIA/MAFIA connection(without knowing who gave the order). Historically the 9/11 Commission seems to mirror the same CIA infiltration as the Warren Commission did.

More on topic the MSM deification of Mueller reminds me much of their similar glorification of J Edgar Hoover at that time.

[Feb 11, 2018] Trump s Illegal War in Syria Is Getting More Dangerous by Daniel Larison

From comments: We are the new Roman Empire but far less honest about it. This is why we our military is grossly underfunded. It isn't about defense. It is about domination.
Notable quotes:
"... Those who great assurance and aplomb stated that McMaster and Mattis et al would serve as "the adults in the room" are fools. But then we knew that already, didn't we? Because those who said things like that about Mattis and McMaster were in many cases the same people who pushed us into stupid wars in Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. ..."
"... This is exactly how you find out if Trump is a dog and pony show ..."
"... Looks like Trump's foreign policy is the same as Hillary Clinton's would have been, endless war. ..."
"... I fear that we have developed a mentality where we fully expect to be able to exert military force in countries like Syria as if we are an auxiliary police force and expect the locals to behave. The day they actually shoot down a U.S. aircraft will be so shocking that the Hawks in this country will demand that we have to respond to an act of aggression and anyone who says otherwise will be dismissed as a traitor. We are the new Roman Empire but far less honest about it. This is why we our military is grossly underfunded. It isn't about defense. It is about domination. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
February 8, 2018, 8:28 PM Secretary Mattis claims not to understand why pro-regime forces advanced on U.S.-backed rebels in eastern Syria:

In Washington, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described the situation as "perplexing," and said he had "no idea why they would attack" the base. Both Russian and Syrian-aligned forces on the ground had long known the U.S. and allied forces were there, he said.

Perhaps Mattis is only feigning confusion here, but it isn't encouraging that the head of our Defense Department claims not to know why forces aligned with the Syrian government might want to attack a base where the enemies of that government are located. They attacked the base because they "had long known the U.S. and allied forces were there." They oppose the presence of "U.S. and allied forces" there. This should be clear by now. If our top leaders don't know something as basic as this about the situation they are putting our soldiers in, that is deeply troubling. Mattis also "denied that the attack and the U.S. response constituted American engagement in the Syrian civil war," but this is preposterous. By providing support to armed groups inside Syria and deploying our own forces alongside them, the U.S. is taking sides in the Syrian civil war whether our leaders want to acknowledge that involvement or not. By attacking pro-regime forces and killing dozens of their men, the U.S. has committed acts of war against another government on its own soil without Congressional or U.N. authorization.

As the threat of ISIS recedes, it becomes increasingly difficult use that threat to justify a U.S. military presence inside Syria. The pretense that an open-ended mission in Syria is solely aimed at opposing ISIS is not credible when U.S. officials explicitly state that an indefinite U.S. military presence is also intended to deny the Syrian government and its allies control over parts of Syria. The Syrian government and its allies did not try to stop U.S. intervention in Syria when it began in 2014, but they have never agreed to our military presence. As it happens, the Syrian government and its allies are correct when they describe our military presence there as illegal. Secretary Mattis isn't able to counter those claims because there is absolutely no legal justification for having our troops in Syria and there never has been.

The smart thing to do now is to remove U.S. forces from Syria as soon as possible to ensure that there are no further clashes like this. If the Trump administration doesn't do that, it will be inexorably pulled deeper into conflicts that serve no American interest.


non serviam February 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm

I mean, it's becoming really ludicrous isn't it? Mattis what is he even saying ? He sounds like a completely clueless buffoon.

Those who great assurance and aplomb stated that McMaster and Mattis et al would serve as "the adults in the room" are fools. But then we knew that already, didn't we? Because those who said things like that about Mattis and McMaster were in many cases the same people who pushed us into stupid wars in Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.

john , says: February 8, 2018 at 10:35 pm
Ridiculous, a burglar sitting in your living room and watching your TV doesn't get to "shoot you in self defense" should you object to his presence.
Joseph Ammons , says: February 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm
This is exactly how you find out if Trump is a dog and pony show
Eric , says: February 8, 2018 at 11:00 pm
Looks like Trump's foreign policy is the same as Hillary Clinton's would have been, endless war.
a spencer , says: February 9, 2018 at 1:41 am
I should have taken a picture: there was a Ford plant outside Damascus in Assad's Syria as late as 2008.

One time, coming out of Zahle and heading back to Damascus, there was a range of drivers available to cross the border. Of course, I chose the guy with the musclebound 70s Chevy. He floored it on the Syrian plain for the better part of an hour, relishing his love for American machinery in front of me, knowing how to drive it like every farm boy in the rural US Midwest.

Probably all gone now.

Realist , says: February 9, 2018 at 3:30 am
The silly machinations and pettiness of a dying nation are sad.
cwk , says: February 9, 2018 at 5:31 am
quite a contrast to Afrin:

"U.S. counter-attack in Syria included Air Force AC-130 gunships, F-15s, F-22s, Army Apache helicopter gunships and Marine Corps artillery killing 100 Russian and Assad-backed fighters in 3-hour battle beginning around midnight last night."

SteveK9 , says: February 9, 2018 at 6:43 am
Of course it doesn't serve America's interests, it serves Israel's and that is enough.
Christian Chuba , says: February 9, 2018 at 8:02 am
I question the veracity of the Pentagon's account but in any case what happens when the Syrian army fights back against U.S. forces in one of these 'unexpected' encounters?

I fear that we have developed a mentality where we fully expect to be able to exert military force in countries like Syria as if we are an auxiliary police force and expect the locals to behave. The day they actually shoot down a U.S. aircraft will be so shocking that the Hawks in this country will demand that we have to respond to an act of aggression and anyone who says otherwise will be dismissed as a traitor. We are the new Roman Empire but far less honest about it. This is why we our military is grossly underfunded. It isn't about defense. It is about domination.

March Hare , says: February 9, 2018 at 10:04 am
And the recent compromise funding bill now on Trump's desk contains extra funding for this kind of stuff.

Your taxing dullards at work

[Feb 11, 2018] None Dare Call It Treason by James Kirkpatrick

Notable quotes:
"... Trump: Democrats 'Un-American,' 'Treasonous,' During State of the Union ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Is Trump Serious about 'Treasonous' Democrats? ..."
"... But Trump's "joke" really should be taken seriously. The likes of Nancy Pelosi are traitors in the most literal sense -- in that they openly and explicitly oppose the interests of American citizens ..."
"... Pelosi is entranced by 3 million 'Dreamer' illegals, insults Americans' children ..."
"... This year kicks off the new 3.8 billion yearly to Israel up from 3.1 billion and another 775 million for Israel missile defense and undoubtly more incremental aid bills as the year goes on. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

President Trump, allegedly humorously, later described the [neoliberal] Democrats' behavior during his State of the Union speech as "treasonous" and "un-American," prompting the usual hysteria [ Trump: Democrats 'Un-American,' 'Treasonous,' During State of the Union , by Jessica Taylor, NPR, February 5, 2018].

The chutzpah is breathtaking considering how journalists and their pet elected officials in the Democrat party have waged a nonstop insurgency against the President of the United States since his inauguration , accusing him of being a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Indeed, as even Never Trump cuckservatives at National Review wearily pointed out, Democrats have habitually and quite seriously called Republicans not only traitors but " terrorists " for opposing their various policies. [ Is Trump Serious about 'Treasonous' Democrats? , by Dan McLaughlin, February 5, 2018]

But Trump's "joke" really should be taken seriously. The likes of Nancy Pelosi are traitors in the most literal sense -- in that they openly and explicitly oppose the interests of American citizens and advocate their replacement with foreigners. Pelosi's ludicrous claim that the Founding Fathers (who created the Naturalization Act of 1790 ) would support the mass influx of "Dreamers" and that illegals are "more American than Americans" is as definitive a statement of hatred for American citizens as can be imagined [ Pelosi is entranced by 3 million 'Dreamer' illegals, insults Americans' children , by Neil Munro, Breitbart, February 7, 2018].

renfro , February 9, 2018 at 8:46 am GMT

Hell, they are ALL traitors here is how they spend their time in congress

That's 376 bills, more than one a day and I haven't even gotten into the trade and appropriation categories where they bury other bills for Israel that would take several days of reading. This year kicks off the new 3.8 billion yearly to Israel up from 3.1 billion and another 775 million for Israel missile defense and undoubtly more incremental aid bills as the year goes on.

Hang them all and let God sort them out.

[Feb 11, 2018] Hope Hicks: Trump s confidante finds herself center stage in scandal

Feb 11, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Throughout Donald Trump's campaign and relentlessly chaotic presidency, the single constant presence at his side, outside of his family, has been the 29-year-old former Ralph Lauren model and White House communications director Hope Hicks.

While aides and advisers fall in and out of favor, Hicks has remained Trump's Oval Office gatekeeper, companion and sounding board, offering consistent loyalty.

But now Hicks has herself been cast into two plotlines currently playing out in the presidential daytime reality-soap.

In one, Hicks features as a likely target in the special counsel Robert Mueller's effort to acquire cooperating witnesses in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Hicks has reportedly been interviewed by Mueller's investigators.

In the other, her prized judgment is being called into question over Rob Porter, the senior White House aide accused of physically abusing two ex-wives and whom Hicks has reportedly been dating.

Publicly, Trump has offered his support for Hicks, saying: "Hope is absolutely fantastic. She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all."

But in private, the president is believed to have issued rare criticism of a woman who by some estimates is the most influential figure in the administration after Trump himself.

At issue is whether Hicks, who also served as communications director during the campaign, relaxed her judgment owing to her relationship with Porter.

White House officials have said Hicks knew that an ex-girlfriend of Porter's had informed aides that both of Porter's ex-wives had said he was violent. Hicks continued to see him and did not tell the president. Porter denies the allegations against him.

If the unfolding episode calls into question the maturity of Hicks' judgement, she clearly is invaluable as a personal assistant. In his campaign memoir, Let Trump Be Trump, Corey Lewandowski, the early campaign strategist – with whom, coincidentally, Hicks also had an affair – described her steaming Trump's suit while he is wearing it.

"She's really quite talented and able," Christopher Ruddy, a close friend of the president and chief executive of the conservative website Newsmax, told the Washington Post .

But her professional experience, especially where is comes to matters that carry potentially legal consequences, is limited. Hicks came to the Trumps through a PR firm that represented the Trump Organization. The family later hired her away to work exclusively for them, furnishing her with responsibilities that included working on Ivanka Trump's fashion line.

A GQ magazine profile in June 2016 described her: "She is a hugger and a people pleaser, with long brown hair and green eyes, a young woman of distinctly all-American flavor – the sort that inspires Tom Petty songs, not riots."

But her looks and fashion background can cause people to underestimate her. She has a background in PR and is a graduate of Dallas' Southern Methodist University.

[Feb 10, 2018] >The generals are not Borgists. They are something worse ...

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively. ..."
"... These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." ..."
"... If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains. ..."
"... In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them. ..."
"... Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers ..."
"... Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs. ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case. ..."
"... Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/ ..."
"... A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security? ..."
"... God help the poor people of Syria. ..."
"... thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass... ..."
"... Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups ..."
"... A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong. ..."
"... The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous. ..."
"... They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard. ..."
"... So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning ..."
"... Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well. ..."
"... I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc. ..."
"... This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well. ..."
"... Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks). ..."
"... In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix. ..."
"... That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group. ..."
"... "The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. ..."
"... Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards". ..."
"... Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII. ..."
"... We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes. ..."
"... I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

(Editorial Statement)

The Borgist foreign policy of the administration has little to do with the generals.

To comprehend the generals one must understand their collective mentality and the process that raised them on high as a collective of their own. The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively.

These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board."

If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains.

In Obama's time they were asked what policy should be in Afghanistan and persuaded him to reinforce their dreams in Afghanistan no matter how unlikely it always was that a unified Western oriented nation could be made out of a collection of disparate mutually alien peoples.

In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them.

Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers. pl


Jack , 09 February 2018 at 05:42 PM

Sir

IMO, this conformism pervades all institutions. I saw when I worked in banking and finance many moons ago how moving up the ranks in any large organization meant you didn't rock the boat and you conformed to the prevailing groupthink. Even nutty ideas became respectable because they were expedient.

Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs.

Fredw , 09 February 2018 at 06:26 PM
You remind me of an old rumination by Thomas Ricks:

Take the example of General George Casey. According to David Cloud and Greg Jaffe's book Four Stars, General Casey, upon learning of his assignment to command U.S. forces in Iraq, received a book from the Army Chief of Staff. The book Counterinsurgency Lessons Learned from Malaya and Vietnam was the first book he ever read about guerilla warfare." This is a damning indictment of the degree of mental preparation for combat by a general. The Army's reward for such lack of preparation: two more four star assignments.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/02/07/cmon-man-meathead-generals-and-some-other-things-that-are-driving-me-crazy-about-life-in-this-mans-post-911-army/

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 06:37 PM
"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case.
Anna , 09 February 2018 at 06:48 PM
Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/

" in 2000-2001 the Taliban government –with the support of the United Nations (UNODC) – implemented a successful ban on poppy cultivation. Opium production which is used to produce grade 4 heroin and its derivatives declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. The production of opium in 2001 was of the order of a meager 185 tons. It is worth noting that the UNODC congratulated the Taliban Government for its successful opium eradication program. The Taliban government had contributed to literally destabilizing the multibillion dollar Worldwide trade in heroin.

In 2017, the production of opium in Afghanistan under US military occupation reached 9000 metric tons. The production of opium in Afghanistan registered a 49 fold increase since Washington's invasion. Afghanistan under US military occupation produces approximately 90% of the World's illegal supply of opium which is used to produce heroin. Who owns the airplanes and ships that transport heroin from Afghanistan to the US? Who gets the profits?"

---A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security?

J , 09 February 2018 at 07:05 PM
Colonel,

There needs to be a 're-education' of the top, all of them need to be required to attend Green Beret think-school, in other words they need to be forced to think outside the box, and to to think on their feet. They need to understand fluid situations where things change at the drop of a hat, be able to dance the two-step and waltz at the same time. In other words they need to be able to walk and chew gum and not trip over their shoe-laces.

By no means are they stupid, but you hit the nail on the head when you said 'narrow thinkers'. Their collective hive mentality that has developed is not a good thing.

divadab , 09 February 2018 at 07:16 PM
God help the poor people of Syria.
james , 09 February 2018 at 07:30 PM
thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass...

i like what you said here "conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." - that strikes me as very true - conformist group thinkers... the world needs less of these types and more actual leaders who have a vision for something out of the box and not always on board... i thought for a while trump might fill this bill, but no such luck by the looks of it now..

David E. Solomon , 09 February 2018 at 07:50 PM
Colonel Lang,

Your description of these guys sounds like what we have heard about Soviet era planners. Am I correct in my understanding, or am I missing something?

Regards,

David

DianaLC , 09 February 2018 at 07:56 PM
As a young person in eighth grade, I learned about the "domino theory" in regard to attempts to slow the spread of communism. Then my generation was, in a sense, fractured around the raging battles for and against our involvement in Vietnam.

I won't express my own opinion on that. But I mention it because it seems to be a type of "vision thing."

So, now I ask, what would be your vision for the Syrian situation?

Bill Herschel , 09 February 2018 at 09:11 PM
This has been going on for a long time has it not? Westmoreland? MacArthur?

How did this happen?

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:40 PM
Bill Herschel

Westmoreland certainly, Macarthur certainly not. This all started with the "industrialization" of the armed forces in WW2. we never recovered the sense of profession as opposed to occupation after the massive expansion and retention of so many placeholders. a whole new race of Walmart manager arose and persists. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:48 PM
DianaC

The idea of the Domino Theory came from academia, not the generals of that time. They resisted the idea of a war in east Asia until simply ordered into it by LBJ. After that their instinct for acting according to guidance kicked in and they became committed to the task. Syria? Do you think I should write you an essay on that? SST has a large archive and a search machine. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:55 PM
David E. Solomon

I am talking about flag officers at present, not those beneath them from the mass of whom they emerge. There are exceptions. Martin Dempsey may have been one such. The system creates such people at the top. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:08 PM
elaine,

Your usual animosity for non-left wing authority is showing. A commander like the CENTCOM theater commander (look it up) operates within guidance from Washington, broad guidance. Normally this is the president's guidance as developed in the NSC process. Some presidents like Obama and LBJ intervene selectively and directly in the execution of that guidance. Obama had a "kill list" of jihadis suggested by the IC and condemned by him to die in the GWOT. He approved individual missions against them. LBJ picked individual air targets in NVN. Commanders in the field do not like that . They think that freedom of action within their guidance should be accorded them. This CinC has not been interested thus far in the details and have given the whole military chain of command wide discretion to carry out their guidance. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:12 PM
J

Thank you, but it is real GBs that you like, not the Delta and SEAL door kickers. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:24 PM
Gaikomainaku

"I am not sure that I understand what makes a Borgist different from a military conformist." The Borg and the military leaders are not of the same tribe. they are two different collectives who in the main dislike and distrust each other. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:27 PM
Anna. Their guidance does not include a high priority for eradicating the opium trade. Their guidance has to do with defeating the jihadis and building up the central government. pl
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:30 PM
Peter AU

Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:44 PM
james

Trump would like to better relations with Russia but that is pretty much the limit of his attention to foreign affairs at any level more sophisticated than expecting deference. He is firmly focused on the economy and base solidifying issues like immigration. pl

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 11:01 PM
The medical profession comes to mind. GP's and specialists. Many of those working at the leading edge of research seem much wider thinking and are not locked into the small box of what they have been taught.
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 11:16 PM
Peter AU

The GPs do not rule over a hierarchy of doctors. pl

J -> turcopolier ... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
Combat Applications Group and SEALS don't even begin to compare, they're not in the same league as 'real deal' GBs. The GBs are thinkers as well as doers, whereas Combat Applications Group and SEALs all they know is breach and clear, breach and clear.

There is more to life than breach and clear. Having worked with all in one manner or another, I'll take GBs any day hands down. It makes a difference when the brain is engaged instead of just the heel.

kao_hsien_chih -> Jack... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong.

The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous.

FB Ali , 09 February 2018 at 11:23 PM
Col Lang,

They are indeed "narrow thinkers", but I think the problem runs deeper. They seem to be stuck in the rut of a past era. When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now.

Of course, these policies ensure that they continue to be well-funded, even if the US is bankrupting itself in the process.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 01:03 AM
dogear

He is still the Saudi Mukhtar for the US and most of the generals are still narrow minded. pl

LondonBob , 10 February 2018 at 06:59 AM
They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard.
turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 07:55 AM
LondonBob

I think that is true but, they were able to talk him into that, thus far. pl

DianaLC said in reply to turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 09:23 AM
I've been reading this blog for some time. My question was facetious and written with the understanding of your statement about the generals not having a good grasp of "the vision thing" on their own.
Terry , 10 February 2018 at 09:25 AM
So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning. Chimps are on average more creative and have better short term memory than humans. We gave up some short term memory in order to be able to learn quickly by mimicking. If shown how to open a puzzle box but also shown unnecessary extra steps a chimp will ignore the empty steps and open the box with only the required steps. A human will copy what they saw exactly performing the extra steps as if they have some unknown value to the process. Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well.

I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc.

One nice feature of the internet allows creative thinkers to connect and watch the idiocy of the world unfold around us.

"A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216212049.htm

TV , 10 February 2018 at 10:18 AM
The military by definition is a rigid hierarchical structure. It could not function as a collection of individuals. This society can only breed conforming narrow leaders as an "individual" would leave or be forced out.
Barbara Ann , 10 February 2018 at 10:22 AM
That part of our brain responsible for the desire to be part of the 'in crowd' may affect our decision-making process, but it is also the reason we keep chimps in zoos and not the other way around. Or, to put it another way; if chimps had invented Facebook, I might consider them more creative than us.
Babak Makkinejad -> Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 10:30 AM
Do you think chimps are, per the Christian Docrine, in a State of Fall or in a State of Grace?
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 10:32 AM
This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well.

Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks).

In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix.

Homogeneity is the main culprit. A specialists tends to try to solve problems with the same knowledge-set that created these.

Not all (parts of) organizations and people suffer this fate. Innovations are usually done by laymen and not by specialists. The organizations are often heterogeneous and the people a-typical and/or eccentric.

(mainly the analytical parts of ) intelligence organizations and investment banks are like that if they are worth anything. Very heterogeneous with a lot of a-typical people. I think Green Berets are also like that. An open mind and genuine interest in others (cultures, way of thinking, religion etc) is essential to understand and to perform and also to prevent costly mistakes (in silver and/or blood).

It is possible to create firewalls against tunnel-vision. The Jester performed such a role. Also think of the Emperors New Clothes . The current trend of people with limited vision and creativity prevents this. Criticism is punished with a lack of promotion, job-loss or even jail (whistle-blowers)

IMO this is why up to a certain rank (colonel or middle management) a certain amount of creativity or alternative thinking is allowed, but conformity is essential to rise higher.

I was very interested in the Colonel's remark on the foreign background of the GB in Vietnam. If you would like to expand on this I would be much obliged? IMO GB are an example of a smart, learning, organization (in deed and not only in word as so many say of themselves, but who usually are at best mediocre)

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> gaikokumaniakku... , 10 February 2018 at 11:58 AM
Isn't the "Borg" really The Atlantic Council?
ISL , 10 February 2018 at 12:58 PM
Dear Colonel,

Would you then say that a rising military officer who does have the vision thing faces career impediments? If so, would you say that the vision thing is lost (if it ever was there) at the highest ranks? In any case, the existence of even a few at the top, like Matthis or Shinseki is a blessing.

ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to FB Ali ... , 10 February 2018 at 01:08 PM
FB Ali:
"When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now."
That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group.
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 02:03 PM
I forget an important part. I really miss an edit-button. Comment-boxes are like looking at something through a straw. Its easy to miss the overview.

Innovations and significant new developments are usually made by laymen. IMO mainly because they have a fresh perspective without being bothered by the (mainstream) knowledge that dominates an area of expertise.

By excluding the laymen errors will continue to be repeated. This can be avoided by using development/decision-making frameworks, but these tend to become dogma (and thus become part of the problem)

Much better is allowing laymen and allowing a-typical people. Then listen to them carefully. Less rigid flexible and very valuable.

kooshy , 10 February 2018 at 02:19 PM
Apparently, according to the last US ambassador to Syria Mr. Ford, from 2014-17 US has spent 12 Billion on Regime change in Syria. IMO, combinedly Iran and Russia so far, have spent far less in Syria than 12 billion by US alone, not considering the rest of her so called coalition. This is a war of attrition, and US operations in wars, are usually far more expensive and longer than anybody else's.

"The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD

J , 10 February 2018 at 02:49 PM
Colonel, TTG, PT,

FYI regarding Syria

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/sen-tim-kaine-demands-release-secret-trump-war-powers-memo-n846176

Richardstevenhack -> turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 02:56 PM
It may "demand" it - but does it get it? Soldiers are just as human as everyone else.

I'm reminded of the staff sergeant with the sagging beer belly who informed me, "Stand up straight and look like a soldier..." Or the First Sergeant who was so hung over one morning at inspection that he couldn't remember which direction he was going down the hall to the next room to be inspected. I'm sure you have your own stories of less than competence.

It's a question of intelligence and imagination. And frankly, I don't see the military in any country receiving the "best and brightest" of that country's population, by definition. The fact that someone is patriotic enough to enter the military over a civilian occupation doesn't make them more intelligent or imaginative than the people who decided on the civilian occupation.

Granted, if you fail at accounting, you don't usually die. Death tends to focus the mind, as they say. Nonetheless, we're not talking about the grunts at the level who actually die, still less the relatively limited number of Special Forces. We're talking about the officers and staff at the levels who don't usually die in war - except maybe at their defeat - i.e., most officers over the level of captain.

One can hardly look at this officer crowd in the Pentagon and CENTCOM and say that their personal death concentrates their mind. They are in virtually no danger of that. Only career death faces them - with a nice transition to the board of General Dynamics at ten times the salary.

All in all, I'd have to agree that the military isn't much better at being competent - at many levels above the obvious group of hyper-trained Special Forces - any more than any other profession.

dogear said in reply to Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 02:59 PM
That is well put.most important is the grading system that is designed to fix a person to a particular slot thereby limiting his ability to think "outside the box" and consider the many variables that exist in one particular instant.

Creative thinking allows you to see beyond the storm clouds ahead and realize that the connectedness of different realities both the visible and invisible. For instance the picture of the 2 pairs of korean skaters in the news tells an interesting story on many levels. Some will judge them on their grade of proffiency, while others will see a dance of strategy between 2 foes and a few will know the results in advance and plan accordingly

https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.nbcolympics.com/news/north-south-korean-figure-skating-teams-practice-side-side%3famp?espv=1

Mark Logan said in reply to Peter AU... , 10 February 2018 at 03:30 PM
Peter AU

"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. STEM is enormously useful to us but seems to be a risky when implanted in shallow earth.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:03 PM
Mark Logan

These narrow "but deep" thinkers were unable to grasp the nature of the Iraq War for the first couple of years. They thought of it as a rear area security problem, a combat in cities problem, anything but a popular rebellion based on xenophobia and anti-colonialism The IED problem? They spent several billion dollars on trying to find a technology fix and never succeeded. I know because they kept asking me to explain the war to them and then could not understand the answers which were outside their narrow thought. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:13 PM
ISL

War College selectees, the national board selected creme de la creme test out as 50% SJs (conformists lacking vision) in Myers-Briggs terms and about 15% NTs (intellectuals). To survive and move upward in a system dominated by SJs, the NTs must pretend to be what they are not. A few succeed. I do not think Mattis is an intellectual merely because he has read a lot. pl

outthere , 10 February 2018 at 05:19 PM
Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards".

My favorite example was a Japanese fisherman who recovered valuable ancient Chinese pottery. Everyone knew where an ancient ship had sunk, but the water was too deep to dive down to the wreck. And everyone knew the cargo included these valuable vases. And the fisherman was the first to figure out how to recover them. He attached a line to an octopus, and lowered it in the area, waited awhile, and pulled it up. Low and behold, the octopus had hidden in an ancient Chinese vase. The fisherman was familiar with trapping octopuses, by lowering a ceramic pot (called "takosubo") into the ocean, waiting awhile, then raising the vase with octopus inside. His brilliance was to think backwards, and use an octopus to catch a vase.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:24 PM
TV

By your calculation people like Joe Stilwell and George Patton should not have existed. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:31 PM
Adrestia

the original GBS were recruited in the 50s to serve in the OSS role with foreign guerrillas behind Soviet lines in th event of war in Europe. Aaron Bank, the founder, recruited several hundred experienced foreign soldiers from the likely countries who wanted to become American. By the time we were in VN these men were a small fraction of GBs but important for their expertise and professionalism. pl

ked , 10 February 2018 at 05:56 PM
Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII.

We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes.

I note many Borgs... Borgism if you will. An organizational behavior that has emerged out of human nature having difficulty adapting to rapidly accelerating complexity that is just too hard to apprehend in a few generations. If (as many commenters on STT seem to...) one wishes to view this in an ideological or spiritual framework only, they may overlook an important truth - that what we are experiencing is a Battle Among Borgs for control over their own space & domination over the other Borgs. How else would we expect any competitive, powerful interest group to act?

In gov & industry these days, we observe some pretty wild outliers... attached to some wild outcomes. Thus the boring behavior of our political industries bringing forth Trump, our promethean technology sector yielding a Musk (& yes, a Zuckerberg).

I find it hard to take very seriously analysts that define their perspective based primarily upon their superior ideals & opposition to others. Isn't every person, every tribe, team or enterprise a borglet-in-becoming? Everybody Wants to Rule the World ... & Everybody Must Get Stoned... messages about how we are grappling with complexity in our times. I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far.

Unfortunately, I would not be amazed if reckless, feckless leaders changed the status quo. I was particularly alarmed hearing Trump in his projection mode; "I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity, without a major event where people pull together, that's hard to do.

But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing." It strikes me that he could be exceptionally willing to risk a Major Event if he felt a form of unity, or self-preservation, was in the offing. I pray (& I do not pray often or easily) that the Generals you have described have enough heart & guts to honor their oath at its most profound level in the event of an Event.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
babak

As a time traveler from another age, I can only say that for me it means devotion to a set of mores peculiar to a particular profession as opposed to an occupation. pl

Barbara Ann -> outthere... , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
Great example outthere.

Another springs to mind: James Lovelock (of Gaia hypothesis fame) was once part of the NASA team building the first probe to go to Mars to look for signs of life. Lovelock didn't make any friends when he told NASA they were wasting their time, there was none. When asked how he could be so sure, he explained that the composition of the Martian atmosphere made it impossible. "But Martian life may be able to survive under different conditions" was the retort. Lovelock then went on to explain his view that the evolution of microbial life determined the atmospheric composition on Earth, so should be expected to do the same if life had evolved on Mars. Brilliant backwards thinking which ought to have earned him the Nobel prize IMHO (for Gaia). Lovelock, a classic cross-disciplinary scientist, can't be rewarded with such a box-categorized honor, as his idea doesn't fit well into any one.

Another example of cross-disciplinary brilliance was Bitcoin, which has as much to do with its creator's deep knowledge of Anthropology (why people invented & use money) as his expertise in both Economics and Computer Science.

This is they key to creative thinking in my view - familiarity with different fields yields deeper insights.