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Relentless militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite

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

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

By Chris Hedges
Online Journal Guest Writer

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

From Wikipedia

Militarism - Wikipedia

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

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

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

Jingoism - Wikipedia

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

June 17, 2005  | DemocracyRising.US

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

War as a natural state of the USA since 1945


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

[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace

Professor Basevich

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thesis

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

Introduction: Slow Learner

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

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

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

This book aspires to

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

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

Ch. 1: The Advent of Semiwar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ch. 2: Illusions of Flexibility and Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ch. 3: The Credo Restored.

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

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

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

Ch. 4: Reconstituting the Trinity

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

Except from Macmillan

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

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

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

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

.... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 22, 2015 | fpif.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s this disconnect that defines the current crisis.

Acknowledging New Realities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short Memories and Persistent Delusions

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

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

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

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

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

Unexceptionalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Home Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bombs and Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding the Common Interest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making Space for the Unexpected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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


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[Jun 20, 2019] The Trump regime wants another pointless war by Ryan Cooper

Highly recommended!
A very good analysis. Trump essentially morphed into Hillary or worse. Essentially the same type of warmonger and compulsive liar.
Notable quotes:
"... The American people appear largely uninterested in this idea. But unless some real mass pressure is mounted against it, there is a good chance Trump will launch the U.S. into another pointless, disastrous war. ..."
"... At time of writing, the Washington Post has counted 10,796 false or misleading claims from Trump himself since taking office. Abject up-is-down lying is basically the sine qua non of modern conservative politics. ..."
"... Pompeo insists " there is no doubt " that Iran carried out the attacks -- the exact same words that Vice President Dick Cheney said in 2002 about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and his intention to use them on the United States, neither of which were true. (This is no doubt why several U.S. allies reacted skeptically to Trump's claims.) ..."
"... What's more, the downside risk here is vastly larger than tax policy. A great big handout to the rich might be socially costly in many ways, but it won't cause tens of thousands of violent deaths in a matter of days. War with Iran could easily do that -- or worse . ..."
"... Who else might have done the attacks? Saudi Arabia springs to mind. ..."
"... At a minimum, anybody with half a brain would want to be extremely certain about what actually happened before taking any rash actions. It's clear that Bolton and company, by contrast, just want a pretext to ratchet up pressure on Iran even further. ..."
"... On the other hand, sinking Iran's navy, as Stephens suggests in his column, would likely be a lot more dangerous than he thinks. Americans have long been fed a lot of hysterical nationalist propaganda from neocons like him about the invincibility of the U.S. military, and the ease with which any possible threat could be defeated. But while U.S. forces are indeed powerful, there is a very real risk that Iran's navy -- which is full of fast-attack boats, mini-subs, and disguised civilian vessels specifically designed to take out large ships with swarm attacks -- could inflict significant damage. Just a few lucky hits could kill thousands of sailors and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage. This is before you even get to the primary lesson of the Iraq War which is that an initial military victory is completely useless and probably counterproductive without a plan for what comes next. ..."
"... Finally, attacking Iran would be illegal. It would violate U.S. treaties , and thus the Constitution. The only justification is the claim that the 2001 authorization to attack Al Qaeda covers an attack on Iran . This is utterly preposterous -- akin to arguing it covers attacking New Zealand to roll back their gun control efforts -- but may explain Pompeo's equally preposterous attempt to blame Iran for a Taliban attack in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Pompeo and Bolton are clearly hell-bent on war. But Trump himself seems somewhat hesitant , sensing (probably accurately) that starting another war of aggression would tank his popularity even further. It's high time for everyone from ordinary citizens up to Nancy Pelosi to demand this rush to war be stopped. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | theweek.com

The Trump regime is attempting to gin up a war with Iran. First Trump reneged on Obama's nuclear deal with the country for no reason, then he slapped them with more economic sanctions for no reason, and then, pushed by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he moved massive military forces onto Iran's doorstep to heighten tensions further. Now, after a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman -- none of which were American -- that the administration blames on Iran, Pompeo says the U.S. is "considering a full range of options," including war. (Iran has categorically denied any involvement.)

The American people appear largely uninterested in this idea. But unless some real mass pressure is mounted against it, there is a good chance Trump will launch the U.S. into another pointless, disastrous war.

The New York Times ' Bret Stephens, for all his #NeverTrump pretensions, provides a good window into the absolute witlessness of the pro-war argument . He takes largely at face value the Trump administration's accusations against Iran -- "Trump might be a liar, but the U.S. military isn't," he writes -- and blithely suggests Trump should announce an ultimatum demanding further attacks cease, then sink Iran's navy if they don't comply.

Let me take these in turn. For one thing, any statement of any kind coming out of a Republican's mouth should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Two years ago, the party passed a gigantic tax cut for the rich which they swore up and down would " pay for itself " with increased growth. To precisely no one's surprise, this did not happen . Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was just one flagrant example of many who got elected in 2016 while lying through their teeth about their party's efforts to destroy ObamaCare and its protections for preexisting conditions.

At time of writing, the Washington Post has counted 10,796 false or misleading claims from Trump himself since taking office. Abject up-is-down lying is basically the sine qua non of modern conservative politics.

Republican accusations of foreign aggression should be subjected to an even higher burden of proof. The Trump regime has provided no evidence of Iranian culpability aside from a video of a ship the Pentagon says is Iranians removing something they say is a mine from an oil tanker -- but a Japanese ship owner reported at least one attack came from a " flying object ," not a mine. Pompeo insists " there is no doubt " that Iran carried out the attacks -- the exact same words that Vice President Dick Cheney said in 2002 about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and his intention to use them on the United States, neither of which were true. (This is no doubt why several U.S. allies reacted skeptically to Trump's claims.)

What's more, the downside risk here is vastly larger than tax policy. A great big handout to the rich might be socially costly in many ways, but it won't cause tens of thousands of violent deaths in a matter of days. War with Iran could easily do that -- or worse .

And though this may be a shock to Troop Respecters like Bret Stephens, the military's record of scrupulous honesty is not exactly spotless. It has lied continually about the state of the Afghanistan occupation, just as it did in Vietnam . It lied about the effects of Agent Orange on U.S. troops and Vietnamese civilians. It lied about Pat Tillman being killed by friendly fire. Military recruiters even sometimes lie about enlistment benefits to meet their quotas.

Who else might have done the attacks? Saudi Arabia springs to mind. False flag attacks on its own oil tankers sound outlandish, but we're talking about a ruthless dictatorship run by a guy who had a Washington Post columnist murdered and chopped into pieces because he didn't like his takes. And the Saudis have already been conducting a years-long war in Yemen with catastrophic humanitarian outcomes in order to stop an Iran-allied group from coming to power. It's by no means certain, but hardly outside the realm of possibility.

At a minimum, anybody with half a brain would want to be extremely certain about what actually happened before taking any rash actions. It's clear that Bolton and company, by contrast, just want a pretext to ratchet up pressure on Iran even further.

But let's grant for the sake of argument that some Iranian forces actually did carry out some or all of these attacks. That raises the immediate question of why. One very plausible reason is that all of Trump's provocations have strengthened the hand of Iran's conservative hard-liners, who are basically the mirror image of Pompeo and Bolton. "It is sort of a toxic interaction between hard-liners on both sides because for domestic political reasons they each want greater tension," as Jeremy Shapiro of the European Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times . This faction might have concluded that the U.S. is run by deranged fanatics, and the best way to protect Iran is to demonstrate they could choke off oil shipping from the Persian Gulf if the U.S. attacks.

This in turn raises the question of the appropriate response if Iran is actually at fault here. It would be one thing if these attacks came out of a clear blue sky. But America is very obviously the aggressor here. Iran was following its side of the nuclear deal to the letter before Trump reneged, and continued to do so as of February . So far the European Union (which is still party to the deal) has been unwilling to sidestep U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to threaten to restart uranium enrichment . So Iran is a medium-sized country with a faltering economy, hemmed in on all sides by U.S. aggression. Backing off the threats and chest-thumping might easily strengthen the hand of Iranian moderates, and cause them to respond in kind.

On the other hand, sinking Iran's navy, as Stephens suggests in his column, would likely be a lot more dangerous than he thinks. Americans have long been fed a lot of hysterical nationalist propaganda from neocons like him about the invincibility of the U.S. military, and the ease with which any possible threat could be defeated. But while U.S. forces are indeed powerful, there is a very real risk that Iran's navy -- which is full of fast-attack boats, mini-subs, and disguised civilian vessels specifically designed to take out large ships with swarm attacks -- could inflict significant damage. Just a few lucky hits could kill thousands of sailors and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage. This is before you even get to the primary lesson of the Iraq War which is that an initial military victory is completely useless and probably counterproductive without a plan for what comes next.

Taken together, these factors strongly militate towards de-escalation and diplomacy even if Iran did carry out these attacks, which again, is not at all proven. The current standoff is almost entirely our fault, and Iranian forces are far from defenseless. America has a lot better things to do than indulge the deluded jingoist fantasies of a handful of armchair generals who want lots of other people to die in battle.

Finally, attacking Iran would be illegal. It would violate U.S. treaties , and thus the Constitution. The only justification is the claim that the 2001 authorization to attack Al Qaeda covers an attack on Iran . This is utterly preposterous -- akin to arguing it covers attacking New Zealand to roll back their gun control efforts -- but may explain Pompeo's equally preposterous attempt to blame Iran for a Taliban attack in Afghanistan.

Pompeo and Bolton are clearly hell-bent on war. But Trump himself seems somewhat hesitant , sensing (probably accurately) that starting another war of aggression would tank his popularity even further. It's high time for everyone from ordinary citizens up to Nancy Pelosi to demand this rush to war be stopped.

[Jun 20, 2019] Bias, Lies Videotape Doubts Dog Confirmed Syria Chemical Attacks

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bias, Lies & Videotape: Doubts Dog 'Confirmed' Syria Chemical Attacks Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might've been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question. By Scott Ritter June 20, 2019

(By Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock) Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , which was assigned in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the "barbaric act" of using "banned chemical weapons" to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes . The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties," but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

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The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad's forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place," due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a "high probability" that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization's response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP) , OPCW director general Fernando Arias acknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to "stand by the impartial and professional conclusions" of the group's original report. He played down the role of the memo's author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they "pointed at possible attribution" and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW's fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) , a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who'd arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren't the first to arrive on the scene; they'd heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria's declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria's obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, "all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control," the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon "identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated."

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM's work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon "opposition representatives" to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the "security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM," including liaising "for the purposes of making available persons for interviews."

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an "alleged attack with chlorine" on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, "was welcomed by the opposition." When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from "presenting definitive conclusions," according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, "including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact," and public domain material, "lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks" against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into "confirmed," "credibly substantiated," and "comprehensively confirmed." Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous "comprehensively confirmed" tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were "were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence."

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their "implementing partner" Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as "friends and partners" in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and "assistance" to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated -- by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not -- and indeed would not -- have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule -- one lie, all lies -- that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

JPH 8 hours ago

The OPCW reaction clearly considering the investigation into the leak instead of apologizing for not publishing this report is revealing its bias.

There has been a push from 'the West' to have the OPCW also attributing responsibility. Given the bias already on display this will further politicize the OPCW.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk...

As soon as such organizations become propaganda tools their credibility goes into the wind.

Given what we know of the Skripal hoax and the Tories attitude to the truth with their government funded 'Integrity Initiative' through the Institute of Statecraft' that exactly what the British Intelligence intended.

https://medium.com/@tomseck...

One may note the specific personal links through Orbis/Steele/Miller between the 'Integrity Initiative' and the fake 'Trump Dossier' and one ought to be alarmed by 'services' of a British intelligence out of control, but given the FBI/CIA involvement and exploitation of that fake 'Trump Dossier' it looks that the US has a quite similar problem.

john 11 hours ago
Our government lied to start a war! When has that always happened.

[Jun 20, 2019] Bret Stephens, Warmonger

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Credit: MSNBC/YouTube Screenshot

The teaser for a recent Bret Stephens column in The New York Times accurately summarizes its contents: "If Iran won't change its behavior we should sink its navy."

We've done it before and, by golly, we can do it again. Stephens offers his readers this sanitized version of history to make his case: "On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter."

Stripped bare of context, that paragraph is factually correct. But stripping it of context, as Stephens does, transforms it into a form of untruth, not a blatant lie perhaps, but an exercise in sleight of hand. Indeed, the very purpose of his column is not to enlighten, but to deceive and manipulate.

Americans are susceptible to this sort of argument. We like to think that the Pearl Harbor attack came out of the blue, ignoring the years of escalating antagonism between the United States and Japan that preceded it. Our version of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis portrays it as an unprovoked act of aggression, conveniently forgetting U.S. efforts over the previous two years to overthrow or assassinate Fidel Castro. And we prefer to divorce decades of muddled U.S. policies in the Middle East from the heinous crime of 9/11, pretending that the former played no role in inspiring the latter.

Yet bad history leads to bad policy. Stephens implicitly suggests that the incident involving the Samuel B. Roberts was itself an unprovoked attack. In fact, the story is a bit more complicated and those complications deserve reflection today.

Here is just some of the context that Stephens chooses to leave out.

Item: In 1988, Iran was in the eighth year of a war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq; Saddam had initiated that conflict by invading Iran, an unprovoked and illegal act of aggression.

Item: Beginning in December 1983, the United States had thrown its support behind the Iraqi dictator, providing him with battlefield intelligence and various types of material support; starting in 1985, in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, the Reagan administration also began secretly providing arms to Iran.

Donald Trump Would Own a War With Iran Why Iran Could Launch a Limited Attack

Item: In 1984, Iraq had begun attacking ships involved in exporting Iranian oil; Iran responded in kind, attacking tankers belonging to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, countries that were bankrolling Saddam's war effort.

Item: On May 17, 1987, with the double-dealing of Iran-Contra having become public, an Iraqi fighter-bomber attacked the USS Stark, nearly sinking it and killing 37 American sailors; Secretary of State George Shultz blamed Iran for the incident, attributing it to a "basic Iranian threat to the free flow of oil and to the principle of freedom of navigation"; in fact, both Iran and Iraq were engaged in impeding the free flow of oil.

Item: That July, the U.S. Navy began escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf; the Pentagon also began preparing for offensive operations, concentrating additional combat assets in the region.

Item: On September 21, 1987, U.S. forces initiated a campaign of escalating attacks directed at Iranian mine-laying vessels and oil platforms; the United States had now effectively become a full-fledged ally of Saddam Hussein.

Item: Months later, the Samuel Roberts inadvertently wandered into a field of floating mines; the resulting U.S. fatalities were 37 fewer than those killed on the USS Stark but the incident provided the needed pretext for the United States to respond four days later on April 18, 1988 with Operation Praying Mantis, which decimated Iran's minuscule navy.

Item, a notable footnote that goes unmentioned in Stephens' column: Not long thereafter, on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes, a cruiser intruding into Iranian territorial waters, shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 civilians aboard; senior U.S. officials, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then lied about the circumstances leading to this incident; a U.S. Navy investigation charged Iran with "principal responsibility" for what it termed a "tragedy"; no apologies were forthcoming; Vice President George H.W. Bush said it best: "I will never apologize for the United States -- I don't care what the facts are."

Within weeks, the Iran-Iraq War ended in a UN-brokered ceasefire. The United States had enabled Saddam to survive. Two years later, America's erstwhile ally invaded and annexed Kuwait.

So, yes, in Operation Preying Mantis, U.S. forces did defeat the Iranian navy. Yet prevailing in this insignificant skirmish accomplished little apart from paving the way for further aggression by Saddam Hussein.

"Nobody wants a war with Iran," writes Stephens. Actually some people do want war, almost surely including President Trump's secretary of state and national security adviser. So, too, does Stephens himself. The deceptive history that he chooses to propagate can have no purpose except to promote armed conflict and to impede any understanding into America's role in planting the seeds of forever war.

Andrew Bacevich is 's writer-at-large.

stevek92 days ago • edited

Andrew is actually giving this story much more analysis than it deserves. Bret Stephens is a Zionist. What he writes is pure propaganda and has been for a long time. It's not worth 'analyzing', it's just more lies to convince Americans to destroy Israel's enemies.
chacmool2 days ago
For Bret Stephens, it is all about Israel. He doesn't mind the cost to the US of a war with Iran, if it benefits Israel.

[Jun 20, 2019] The Trump-Bolton Duo Is Just Like the Bush-Cheney Duo Warmongers Using Lies to Start Illegal Wars by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... [Definition: A 'false flag operation' is a horrific, staged event -- blamed on a political enemy -- and used as pretext to start a war or to enact draconian laws in the name of national security]. ..."
"... " Definition of reverse projection: attributing to others what you are doing yourself as the reason for attacking them ." John McMurtry (1939- ), Canadian philosopher, (in 'The Moral Decoding of 9-11: Beyond the U.S. Criminal State', Journal of 9/11 Studies, Feb.2013). ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca
[False flag operations:] "The powers-that-be understand that to create the appropriate atmosphere for war, it's necessary to create within the general populace a hatred, fear or mistrust of others regardless of whether those others belong to a certain group of people or to a religion or a nation." James Morcan (1978- ), New Zealander-born Australian writer.

[Definition: A 'false flag operation' is a horrific, staged event -- blamed on a political enemy -- and used as pretext to start a war or to enact draconian laws in the name of national security].

" Almost all wars begin with false flag operations ." Larry Chin (d. of b. unknown), North American author, (in 'False Flagging the World towards War. The CIA Weaponizes Hollywood', Dec. 27, 2014).

" Definition of reverse projection: attributing to others what you are doing yourself as the reason for attacking them ." John McMurtry (1939- ), Canadian philosopher, (in 'The Moral Decoding of 9-11: Beyond the U.S. Criminal State', Journal of 9/11 Studies, Feb.2013).

" That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices between nations, it becomes the more unpardonable ." Thomas Paine (1737-1809), American Founding father, pamphleteer, (in 'The Rights of Man', c. 1792).

" I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, and we stole . It was like -- we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." Mike Pompeo (1963- ), former CIA director and now Secretary of State in the Trump administration, (in April 2019, while speaking at Texas A&M University.)

***

History repeats itself. Indeed, those who live by war are at it again. Their crime: starting illegal wars by committing false flag attacks and blaming other countries for their own criminal acts. On this, the Donald Trump-John Bolton duo is just like the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney duo. It is amazing that in an era of 24-hour news, this could still going on.

We recall that in 2002-2003, the latter duo, with the help of U.K.'s Tony Blair, lied their way into a war of aggression against Iraq, by pretending that Saddam Hussein had a massive stockpile of " weapons of mass destruction "and that he was ready to attack the United States proper. On October 6, 2002, George W. Bush scared Americans with his big Mushroom Cloud analogy. -- It was all bogus. -- It was a pure fabrication that the gullible (!) U.S. Congress, the corporate media, and most of the American public, swallowed hook, line and sinker.

John Pilger: On the Dangers of Nuclear War

Now, in 2019, a short sixteen years later, the same stratagem seems to being used to start another illegal war of aggression, this time against the country of Iran. The masters of deception are at it again. Their secret agents and those of their Israeli and Saudi allies, in the Middle East, seem to have just launched an unprovoked attack, in international waters, against a Japanese tanker, and they have rushed to the cameras to accuse Iran. They claim that the latter country used mines to attack the tanker.

This time, they were unlucky. -- The owner of the Japanese tanker , the Kokuka Courageous, immediately rebuked that "official" version. Yutaka Katada , president of the Kokuka Sangyo shipping company, declared that the attack came from a bombing from above the water. Indeed, Mr. Katada told reporters:

Source: The Washington Post

" The crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They say something came flying toward them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the vessel ."

His company issued a statement saying that " the hull (of the ship) has been breached above the waterline on the starboard side ", and it was not hit by a mine below the waterline, as the Trump administration has insinuated. -- [N. B.: There was also a less serious attack on a Norwegian ship, the Front Altair.]

Thus, this time the false flag makers have not succeeded. But, you can be sure that they will be back at it, sooner or later, just as they, and their well financed al-Qaeda allies, launched a few false flag "chemical" attacks in Syria, and blamed them on the Syrian Assad government.

Donald Trump has too much to gain personally from a nice little war to distract the media and the public from the Mueller report and from all his mounting political problems. In his case, he surely would benefit from a "wag-the-dog" scenario that John Bolton and his friends in the Middle East could easily invent. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago, warmonger John Bolton was coincidently in the Middle East, in the United Arab Emirates, just before the attacks!

Besides the Japanese ship owner's denial, it is important to point out that at the moment of the attack on the Japanese tanker, the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe , was in Iran, having talks with the Iranian government about economic cooperation between the two countries about oil shipments. Since Iran is the victim of unilateral U. S. economic sanctions, to derail such an economic cooperation between Japan and Iran could have been the triggered motivation to launch a false flag operation. It did not work. But you can be sure that the responsible party will not be prosecuted.

Conclusion

We live in an era when people with low morals, sponsored by people with tons of money, can gain power and do a lot of damage. How our democracies can survive in such a context remains an open question.

International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book "The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles" , of the book "The New American Empire" , and the recent book, in French " La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018 ". He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © Prof Rodrigue Tremblay , Global Research, 2019

[Jun 19, 2019] War With Iran Would Make Trump A One-Term President The American Conservative

Jun 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As President Donald Trump was in Florida kicking off his bid for a second term, his national security team was in Washington hatching plans that make that prospect much less likely.

The architects of the failed George W. Bush foreign policy rightly derided by Trump as a "big, fat mistake" on the campaign trail today exercise undue influence inside this White House. The end result could be a war with Iran.

Just as their last turn at the wheel wrecked the Bush presidency and eventually left Barack Obama in power alongside three-fifths Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, the Republican Party's wildest hawks could now ensure that Trump is a one-term president. The president once understood this, telling Jeb Bush, "Your brother and his administration gave us Barack Obama . Abraham Lincoln couldn't have won."

Trump defeated Jeb, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio, running on a foreign policy of "America First" and repudiating a decade and a half of unwinnable wars. He then won in an upset over Hillary Clinton, who voted to invade Iraq, pushed "kinetic military action" in Libya, and otherwise hasn't seen a war she hasn't liked since Vietnam.

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Now Trump is on the precipice of ceding the war issue to his political opponents, as the border crisis metastasizes and the suburbs turn blue. Joe Biden would be the third Democratic presidential nominee to have voted for the Iraq war -- the exception, Obama, twice won the White House -- just as Chuck Schumer is the third straight Senate Democratic leader to have done so.

If Trump follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Bush retread national security advisor John Bolton into a preventive war with Iran, he will make Biden and Schumer look like Tulsi Gabbard -- and perhaps pave the way for a different Democratic nominee against whom the anti-Hillary playbook of 2016 will prove less useful.

The president began the year promising to end the war in Syria, which Congress never authorized in the first place, and wind down the war in Afghanistan. Alongside low unemployment, the job growth that followed deregulation and tax cuts, and remaking the Supreme Court in Antonin Scalia's image, keeping ISIS at bay without launching a new war in the Middle East -- though he has surely escalated some ongoing conflicts -- stands among his top accomplishments.

Perhaps that is the soft bigotry of low expectations, to use a Bush-era phrase, but in an era of forever war, it counts for something. That is, it will count for something until the Trump team invokes the congressional authorization of force used for the Afghan war to start a new one in Iran, a move too brazenly unconstitutional for even the Bush-Cheney contingent of old.

Donald Trump Would Own a War With Iran Bret Stephens, Warmonger

The cakewalk crowd has reemerged to assure us that pinprick strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities are possible and that the regime in Tehran will prove a paper tiger. But everywhere their promises have turned to ash. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or cheering throngs greeting America's finest as liberators. Groups ideologically similar to the Islamists who attacked us on 9/11 emerged from Iraq and Libya as more powerful, not less.

Iran has long been the unprincipled exception to Trump's opposition to Middle Eastern quagmires. His desire to undo the Obama presidency predisposed him to unraveling the nuclear deal and led him to folly in Yemen. Now it might prompt him to redo the foreign policy mistakes that toppled the Bush dynasty, paving the way for a socialist to become the next commander-in-chief.

Still, there remains a powerful voice inside the White House who could halt this march to war. "The president, who campaigned against getting the U.S. bogged down in unnecessary foreign wars, is considered the primary internal obstacle to a counterattack," Politico reports .

Not even Trump's opinion should matter most. The Constitution vests the power to declare war in Congress. To justify a new war based on an outdated resolution passed nearly 20 years ago to authorize retaliation against the 9/11 attackers would be an unconscionable power grab by the executive branch that lawmakers should not countenance. Yet time and again, Congress has shirked its constitutional duties.

The Democrats in the House have an opportunity to put their money where their mouths are . But maybe they won't. An Iraq-like war in Iran would go a long way toward accomplishing their main goal: making Donald Trump a one-term president.

W. James Antle III is the editor of .

[Jun 19, 2019] How John Bolton Controls The Administration And Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... There are two possibilities. Trump wants a war with Iran and what we see is a good cop, bad cop strategy in which Trump plays the good guy for his voters until some 'grave incident' happens that lets him says that he has no choice but to 'hit back' at Iran. The other scenario is that Trump is a fool and that the war hawks use him as their tool to implement their preferred policies. ..."
"... Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke says that the second scenario is the real one : ..."
"... Crooke describes how Bolton, and Netanyahoo behind him, outmaneuver the U.S. intelligence services over Iran. They stovepipe "intelligence" to the president and the media just like the crew of then Vice President Dick Cheney did in the run up to the war on Iraq: ..."
"... Bolton chairs at the NSC, the regular and frequent strategic dialogue meetings with Israel – intended to develop a joint action plan, versus Iran. What this means is that the Israeli intelligence assessments are being stovepiped directly to Bolton (and therefore to Trump), without passing by the US intelligence services for assessment or comment on the credibility of the intelligence presented (shades of Cheney confronting the analysts down at Langley). ..."
"... Bolton and Pompeo are representative of Trump's rabid evangelical base and Israel. The kabuki friction towards the shared goals is just that. To the degree that we are hearing shrillness from these folk reflects the increasing failure of their tactics to maintain control of the global narrative. ..."
"... I'm definitely of the good cop/bad cop belief. It fits with the entirety of his campaign and presidency: say one thing, do another, and blame somebody else. Trump wanted Bolton for NSA since the campaign. Both Bolton and Trump have had a position of confrontation with Iran for a long time ..."
"... Sheldon Adelson is Trumps biggest doner "Adelson's promotion of Bolton dates back at least to the days immediately after Trump's November 2016 election. According to The New York Times, Adelson strongly supported Bolton for the position of deputy secretary of state as Trump was putting together his cabinet" https://lobelog.com/trumps-choice-of-bolton-satisfies-his-biggest-donor/ So Trump could find it difficult to sack Bolton. ..."
"... It just seems like Iraq deja vu: GWB was the ignorant, dumb public face masking Lukidniks controlling US policy then, DJT the face masking the same now. ..."
"... US bombs falling on Iran seems awfully close to Moscow in my view. I cannot help wondering if one of Putin's cards is his own red line: not allowing Likudniks to subjugate US military power for their "interests" wrt Iran. ..."
"... It's about 1500 miles from Tehran to Moscow. That's about equal to the distance between Kansas City and San Francisco. ..."
"... As B (and many other media ) pointed out: the crew of the Japanese tanker all said the ship was hit by an air borne projectile. This was not a mine. Seems obvious if US was interested in the truth, they would recover and identify the projectile. ..."
"... IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists) ..."
"... Sadly, I find that I disagree with both of b's latest theories: the "Iranian stealth attack" theory and the "President Bolton" theory. IMO these are propaganda narratives. ..."
"... "As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron". ..."
"... Now look at the U.S., the tanker was sitting their in broad daylight for about 10hrs and we couldn't even get ONE decent picture of an unexploded bomb sitting on the side of hull. And when the IRGC finally did show up, even our high resolution pictures were a joke and we are the SIGINT champions with hi-tech drones. Also, this means that the IRGC was able to slip into a port on the other side of the Persian Gulf and attack mines to 4 tankers undetected. ..."
"... By minimizing the Oman Gulf incidents, maybe it is way for the White House under Bolton's control to show that it is not impressed nor feeling threatened. it is also encouraging the perpetrators of the attacks to do more provocations and ideally to kill an American... ..."
"... That Iranian seaman who is alleged to have pulled off a possibly unstable, unexploded mine wearing nothing but a rubber life jacket thus endangering his life and all his crew mates and survivors in the small boat is the action of a lunatic. Or maybe it never happened. ..."
"... There's been a shift in the dialogue, to some degree, to a discussion of the overall US role in the Gulf area. ..."
"... A broadening of the security mission in the Gulf area would be a positive step. Imagine the navies of China, India and Japan taking a role! The price would be a removal of Iran sanctions, because these countries want Iran oil! . . .I can dream. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jeff Bezos' blog, the Washington Post , has some bits on the discussion and infighting in the Trump administration about the march towards war on Iran. The piece opens with news of a new redline the Trump administration set out:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has privately delivered warnings intended for Iranian leaders that any attack by Tehran or its proxies resulting in the death of even one American service member will generate a military counterattack, U.S. officials said.
...
While such attacks were common during the Iraq War, Pompeo told Iraqi leaders in a message he knew would be relayed to Tehran that a single American fatality would prompt the United States to hit back.

That warning was sent in May when Pompeo visited Baghdad. The issue may soon become critical. Throughout the last days there were rocket attacks in Iraq against targets where U.S. personnel is present. The AFP correspondent in Baghdad lists six of them:

Maya Gebeily - @GebeilyM - 10:20 UTC - 19 Jun 2019

Timeline of attacks on US interests in #Iraq
Fri: Mortars hit Balad base, where US troops based
Sun: Projectiles hit #Baghdad mil airport
Mon: Rockets on Taji, where coalition forces based
Tues: Mortars on #Mosul ops HQ
Wed: Rockets on housing/ops center used by IOCs near #Basra

#IRAQ: @AFP learns there were at least *two* attacks near US oil interests in #Basra in last 24 hours - ExxonMobil + Baker Hughes, a GE Company Their senior staff are being evacuated.

At least some of these attacks came from areas where Islamic State underground groups are still active. The weapons used were improvised and imprecise.

That shows how stupid the red line is that Pompeo set out. He would attack Iran if an errant ISIS rocket by chance kills some U.S. soldier? That is nuts.

Back to the WaPo piece:

Speaking during a visit to U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa on Tuesday, Pompeo said Trump "does not want war" but stressed the United States would act if assaulted. "We are there to deter aggression," he said.

The U.S. violated the nuclear agreement and is waging an economic war on Iran. That was the aggression that started the conflict. Anything that follows from that was caused by the Trump administration.

Colonel Pat Lang thinks that Pompeo was in Tampa to bring the military in line with his aggressive policies:

Ole First in his Class is down in Tampaland today jawboning the leaders of CENTCOM (Mideast), and SOCOM (badass commandos worldwide). Why is he there? The Secretary of State has no constitutional or legal role in dealing with the armed forces. That being the case one can only think that there is push-back from senior commanders over the prospect of war with Iran and that Trump has been persuaded to let him do this unprecedented visit to wheedle or threaten his way into their acquiescence.

WaPo again:

The sudden departure Tuesday of Patrick Shanahan, who has served as acting defense secretary since January, could further sideline the Pentagon, which has campaigned to reduce the potential for hostilities. Shanahan's withdrawal followed revelations of a complicated domestic dispute.

The 'complicated domestic dispute ' is not so complicate at all and the case is undisputed. In a several years long process Shanahan's ex-wife went crazy and physically attacked him and their kids. Finally one of the kids hit back at her with a baseball bat. In court Shanahan argued for a mild punishment for the kid. All the kids, mostly grown up now, are with him and do not want to see their mother. All that was documented by the police and by courts. Shanahan is not guilty of anything in that case. It was not a reason to resign.

Pat Lang believes that the real reason was Pompeo's trip to Tampa:

Shanahan withdrew his name from confirmation process today. IMO he did it because DJT let Pomp circumvent his authority.

The Pentagon was the last hold out against the aggressive anti-Iran policy says WaPo :

Concerns about an escalation are particularly pointed at the Pentagon, where the absence of a confirmed secretary has fueled worries that hawks in the White House and State Department could push the military beyond its specific mission of destroying the remnants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, raising the potential for conflict with Iran.

It has been reported several times and by different outlets that Trump is somewhat isolated from anti-war opinions in his administration. All he sees and hears is Fox News , Bibi Netanyahoo and John Bolton. The WaPo piece again confirms that:

Administration officials interviewed by The Washington Post said that national security adviser John Bolton has dominated Iran policy, keeping a tight rein on information that gets to the president and sharply reducing meetings in which top officials gather in the White House's Situation Room to discuss the policy.
...
The intensification of [the "maximum pressure"] campaign has triggered internal debates over how best to execute the president's orders. At the State Department this spring, an argument among officials over how hard to squeeze Iran with sanctions ended with those favoring the toughest possible approach prevailing. In particular, hard-liners at the White House squelched waivers that would have allowed Iran to keep selling oil after a May 1 deadline. White House aides also ended waivers that allowed Iran to swap its enriched uranium for natural uranium, an integral part of the nuclear deal.
...
While State Department officials sought to achieve a "sweet spot" that would weaken Iran through sanctions but not push so hard that Iran would withdraw from the nuclear deal, others have argued that Trump's goal is to destroy the accord at any cost and pursue a more expansive policy that seeks to cripple Iran's proxy forces throughout the region.

Pentagon and State Department officials have complained, however, about the difficulty of getting an adequate hearing for these debates under Bolton. As a result, arguments about policy frequently are not aired and do not reach the president. The process is "very exclusionary, and Bolton has very sharp elbows," the senior administration official said.
...
At the Pentagon, officials have quietly voiced concerns for months that the current trajectory might make military conflict a self-fulfilling prophecy.
...
One person familiar with the recent discussions said that Pentagon officials, including Shanahan, have been "the ones putting the brakes" on the State Department and the White House. "DOD is not beating the drums of war," the person said.

One can quibble with that. It is the regional military commander who always asks for more troops. More ships and more troops increase the chance for "accidents" and make a war more likely. That is why John Bolton uses each and every small incident to send more troops to the Middle East:

"Does the president want to send more troops? No. Will he be convinced to do it? Yes," the senior administration official said.

Trump, in contrast to some of his advisers, has seemed to downplay the significance of Iran's actions. In an interview published Tuesday by Time magazine, he said the recent oil tanker attacks were "very minor."

Trump is the president. He hired those people and is responsible for what they do. But does he know what they do?

There are two possibilities. Trump wants a war with Iran and what we see is a good cop, bad cop strategy in which Trump plays the good guy for his voters until some 'grave incident' happens that lets him says that he has no choice but to 'hit back' at Iran. The other scenario is that Trump is a fool and that the war hawks use him as their tool to implement their preferred policies.

Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke says that the second scenario is the real one :

The consensus on 'no conflict' unfortunately, may turn out to have been overly sanguine. This is not because Trump consciously desires war, but because the hawks surrounding him, particularly Bolton, are painting him into a corner – from which he must either back down, or double down, if Iran does not first capitulate.

And here is the point: the main Trump misconception may be that he does believe that Iran wants, and ultimately, 'will seek a deal'.

Crooke describes how Bolton, and Netanyahoo behind him, outmaneuver the U.S. intelligence services over Iran. They stovepipe "intelligence" to the president and the media just like the crew of then Vice President Dick Cheney did in the run up to the war on Iraq:

Bolton chairs at the NSC, the regular and frequent strategic dialogue meetings with Israel – intended to develop a joint action plan, versus Iran. What this means is that the Israeli intelligence assessments are being stovepiped directly to Bolton (and therefore to Trump), without passing by the US intelligence services for assessment or comment on the credibility of the intelligence presented (shades of Cheney confronting the analysts down at Langley). And Bolton too, will represent Trump at the 'security summit' to be held later this month in Jerusalem with Russia and Israel. Yes, Bolton truly has all the reins in his hands: He is 'Mr Iran'.

'Mr Anti-Iran' is a more precise moniker. Or one may just call him President Bolton.

Posted by b on June 19, 2019 at 02:20 PM | Permalink


BraveNewWorld , Jun 19, 2019 2:39:12 PM | 2
The US is now saying that they will only protect ships in the gulf if the usual NATO suspects come along for the ride. If they do, then when the US attacks Iran they are committed for the regional war that follows. Bolton has done a great job of putting the band back together again.
so , Jun 19, 2019 2:45:26 PM | 3
Its all on Trump. No excuses. When the bodybags start to flow and the gas prices go to 8 or 9 dollars a gallon he will be toast. He'll never be able to show his face in public again without a small army around him. What a legacy.
Madison James , Jun 19, 2019 2:47:33 PM | 4
The similarities, to me, are a poor pantomime of Nixon and Kissinger. Milhaus was always the "madman" with his finger on the nuclear trigger which made the Nazi employment campaigner, Kissinger, seem like one to reason with if you didn't want nuclear annihilation.

There is an interesting book, "The Fire And The Fury", that has some insight into the administration. Trump never thought he would win and didn't intend to. He wanted to be "Crooked Hillary's" victim. Also, the book makes a great case for Israeli collusion, not Russia.

That said, the book makes a large showing of DJT's ignorance and indifference. Like many ignorant presidential hopefuls, I think DJT thought he could make a difference but we all know he's just a shill.

My favorite part of the book stated that DJT ate at Mickey D's because he's afraid of being poisoned, not because of a great love of fast food.

The present goobermint can run Donald up and down the flag pole and blame everything in the world on him and no one will know the difference.

ADKC , Jun 19, 2019 2:49:13 PM | 5
The war on Iran will be different to other US/Western wars.

Previously, it has only become apparent after the war has been going for some time (they never really end) that the war was a crime.

This time the whole of the US and the West knows full well that a war crime is being perpetrated. This will mean a definite end of the illusions that the West has held about it's self since WWII (or WWI). Can Empires and Civilisations continue if they no longer believe the stories they tell themselves?

Trump has not been fooled or misled, neither have the American people, neither the UK/European governments or peoples. We are destroying ourselves with this act.

Bolton has more brain cells than the entirety of the European peoples.

bjd , Jun 19, 2019 2:53:17 PM | 7
I bet soon we'll learn Shanahan was pushed out by the usual Bolton tactic of threats and extortion -- both on the personal and familial level.
Shanahan should blow the whistle -- soon!
uncle tungsten , Jun 19, 2019 2:54:09 PM | 8
Thanks b. Trump is likely both a fool and a barking mad President with a narcissistic personality. A dangerous mix open to malicious behaviour and vulnerable to manipulation. I have no doubt that he revels in the gravitas of it all, the Napoleonic pomp and ceremony etc. That the planet has to suffer this and Netanyahu and Pence Pentecostal ignorance is appalling.

There wont be any summit meeting between Iran and Trump, the insult would be intolerable and the outcome of no value to Iran. They know very well what the game is.

Bolton is just the killer for the job right where he is but will Trump find an equally malign player for his army? I am sure there is no shortage of 'suitable' candidates.

One bright side for the planet could well be a calamitous rise in oil price and a chaotic spin of global economic circumstances resulting in a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. On the dark side small pockets of survival.

bjd , Jun 19, 2019 2:56:57 PM | 9
@uncle tungsten (8)
One bright side for the planet could well be a calamitous rise in oil price and a chaotic spin of global economic circumstances resulting in a drop in greenhouse gas emissions. On the dark side small pockets of survival.

My thoughts exactly ;-)

psychohistorian , Jun 19, 2019 2:58:26 PM | 10
I am one of the supporters of the good cop/bad cop scenario.

While the existential question that has been on the table for some time is who owns the world of finance, here we are again following the spinning of the Iran plate by late empire.

Bolton and Pompeo are representative of Trump's rabid evangelical base and Israel. The kabuki friction towards the shared goals is just that. To the degree that we are hearing shrillness from these folk reflects the increasing failure of their tactics to maintain control of the global narrative.

Something stupid is coming and it will be sad.....very sad if is our extinction instead of difficult evolution.

james , Jun 19, 2019 3:04:49 PM | 11
thanks b... pompeo has the same agenda as israel with regard to attacks on the golan heights or americans - same messed up logic.. nothing like having your (usa-ksa-israel-uae) proxy army involved too.."these attacks came from areas where Islamic State underground groups are still active." the 500 lb gorilla is ''there to deter aggression''.. right!

as for trump.. the guy is a self serving twit and fool... perfect person to represent the usa at this point which is why so many hate him and like him, depending on where one lives.. whatever bolton does - it is on trump and the falling usa empire as i see it.. it can't fall soon enough..

Sorghum , Jun 19, 2019 3:10:30 PM | 12
I'm definitely of the good cop/bad cop belief. It fits with the entirety of his campaign and presidency: say one thing, do another, and blame somebody else. Trump wanted Bolton for NSA since the campaign. Both Bolton and Trump have had a position of confrontation with Iran for a long time. The fact that people still buy into the lies of *any* politician is a sad state of affairs. It sure does make the job of lying far easier.
Uncle Jon , Jun 19, 2019 3:16:20 PM | 13
@1 DG

Any tears for the Iranians or just like the Iraqis, their blood is not as red as the American soldiers?

Empathy: defined as getting our heads out of pseudo-patriotic asses and feel for the other side as well.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 19, 2019 3:18:17 PM | 14
Trump's tactical nukes mounted on Trident missiles will be ready in October - end of September according to the earlier news articles. I guess team Trump will be desperately trying to provoke a reaction from Iran so Trump can reluctantly use his nukes. (NPR specifically names Iran as a country that these may be used against). Good cop bad cop is Trump's game at the moment. He needs to be judged by the people he appoints and keeps on.
wagelaborer , Jun 19, 2019 3:23:21 PM | 15
DG @1
Don't feel too sorry for the American fatality. It will probably be a US soldier who volunteered to go overseas and kill for oil. Might be a female soldier. That would make for better press. Remember Nedā Āghā-Soltān? She was a beautiful Iranian woman, only 26 years old, shot in the head by a sniper in the 2009 Color (Green) Revolution attempt in Iran, a few blocks from the actual protests.

For some odd reason, a photographer was there to take pictures, and within a couple of hours, it was spread all over the world's media. We now call that "going viral". It takes a Mighty Wurlitzer to make a viral spread, I've noticed.

Uncle Jon , Jun 19, 2019 3:30:11 PM | 16
@15 wagelaborer

Neda Agha Soltan was shot in the chest.

karlof1 , Jun 19, 2019 3:40:10 PM | 18
"All he sees and hears is Fox News "

Tucker Carlson has interviewed Tulsi Gabbard several times and has generally been anti-war on many of his programs, and was certainly very anti-Russiagate. So, watching Fox News isn't as horrible as say CNN, NBC, MSNBC to name the three worst.

Yes, as I wrote on the last thread, Trump's boxed into several corners, Iran not being the only one. Really can't wait for the moment Pompeo clutches at his chest and crumples to the ground a la Morsi. Pompeo's clearly forgotten what Putin told him. Speaking of Putin, tomorrow he'll conduct the 17th edition of his Direct Line conversation with Russia's people and press. Information in Russian here :

"The programme will be broadcast live by Channel One, Rossiya 1, Rossiya 24, NTV, Public Television of Russia (OTR) and Mir TV, and by radio stations Mayak, Vesti FM and Radio Rossii."

Unfortunately, the start time isn't provided. Questions in Russian can be submitted at the above link.

For those that missed it, here's the Iranian limpet mine link I posted yesterday.

Would never have guessed there existed a Foundation for European Progressive Studies, but it does and its hosting a forum this Friday:

"On Friday #21June, #IAIEvent with @FEPS_Europe in #Brussels to mark the completion of our joint one-year research on #Europe-#Iran relations after the US withdrawal from the #JCPOA.

"With the participation of Seyed Sajjadpour, Deputy FM of Iran."

As far as the damage done to the two tankers, if an actual limpet mine of the sort Iran employs were used, the damage would be far more extensive than what was sustained. IMO, continuing attacks by the sort of kamikaze drones employed would be impossible to stop; and since the remains of the drone sink into the sea, virtually impossible to collect any evidence that might link Iran to the attack.

The Outlaw US Empire has no cards to play other than bluff and bluster.

Ma Laoshi , Jun 19, 2019 3:45:33 PM | 19
"That shows how stupid the red line is that Pompeo set out." Even b, one of the commenters I respect most, falls for the canard "Yanks R stoopid LOL". If you feverishly want an Iran war against the wishes of the majority of the planet, this is how it's done. Israel also drops some dud mortar shells into an empty patch on the Golan (itself or by proxy) any time it wants a mini casus belli in the Syria dossier.

I feel the Iranians have been pretty complicit propping up this image of Americans and Israelis as untouchable demigods, who only kill and can never be killed even once. The US should have gotten a steady stream of heroes coming home in boxes and wheelchairs the moment they crossed the Syrian border. Then the war fevers would've cooled considerably by now; that's how the Taliban made the orcs feel ... unwelcome in their slice of heaven. B opined at the time "This occupation is unsustainable", but nobody has properly contested it apart from a handful of ISIS holdouts. Eyes have been taken off balls it seems.

Pnyx , Jun 19, 2019 3:49:24 PM | 20
And again, no. That reminds of the old 'if the Führer knew'. No, Tronald is not - at least not in this sense - a fool. He has promoted these people now said to trick him into their respective position. Tronald is - and was - well informed about Boltons and Pompeo's views.

No, it's the first possibility that applies. Any moment now Act 3 is staged, an 'Iranian attack' on u.s. interests - and then Tronald will open Pandora's box - and suffer we will.

Laguerre , Jun 19, 2019 3:53:55 PM | 21
There were stories recently that Trump was about to sack Bolton. Whatever the truth of that, there's a fundamental problem that Trump doesn't want to spend his nights in the war room. He spends his time watching Fox News, tweeting, and his weekends at Mar-a Lago. A serious war is beyond him, and I think he'll say no, beyond a one night big bang.
murgen23 , Jun 19, 2019 3:56:40 PM | 22
May be the intention was never to sink the tanker - but just to draw attention with some heavy smoke. The limpet mines may exists in various size, so they may have intentionally used a small one for this. What were doing the IRGC along the tanker if not removing something from the hull. How do they even know there was something there of interest.
ken , Jun 19, 2019 3:57:37 PM | 23
The US has no leadership,,, just a bunch of mafioso hoods vying to be at the head of the Globalists table. The Europeons / West are little better going along to get a piece of the action... picture a Viking feast a few thousand years ago. Difference is we are the food they're devouring.

I am so happy 'b' explained the domestic violence attributed to Mr.Shanahan. I bit just like MSM wanted thinking he somehow abused his family. I imagine it was because it would have looked bad for the kind little woman.

Trump HAS drained the swamp,,, right into his administration. Look at what we in the US have to look forward to,,, tyrants on the left,,, tyrants on the right. I suppose we deserve this but it doesn't do well for my blood pressure.

Harry Law , Jun 19, 2019 3:57:50 PM | 24
Jeremy Hunt said that no other state or non state actor could possibly be responsible for the tanker explosions. That is the most ignorant statement any potential Prime Minister could make. There are so many potential culprits, any one of whom would find it more than tempting to take Pompeo at his word and lob a bomb at a US base. The same scenario applied to Syria, the US positively encouraged a gas attack by the head choppers by declaring such an attack would mean US intervention. Sheldon Adelson is Trumps biggest doner "Adelson's promotion of Bolton dates back at least to the days immediately after Trump's November 2016 election. According to The New York Times, Adelson strongly supported Bolton for the position of deputy secretary of state as Trump was putting together his cabinet" https://lobelog.com/trumps-choice-of-bolton-satisfies-his-biggest-donor/ So Trump could find it difficult to sack Bolton.
AriusArmenian , Jun 19, 2019 3:59:50 PM | 25
If this is mostly correct then the US is heading into a huge strategic catastrophe with epic blow back. That many millions in the MENA will suffer is as usual of no consequence to Americans but this time America will suffer a rapid irreversible decline and will deserve it.
jdmckay , Jun 19, 2019 4:00:57 PM | 26
b: Thanks for posting Lang's take on Shanahan being "outed" by Pompeo. Kind'a makes sense, given bigger picture you paint of Israeli "interests" being "stovepiped" through Bolton to DJT. Nothing I heard/read last night or this morning touched on this, it was all different takes on poor/no Shanahan vetting.

The irony of Shanahan being "dumped" for what the record seems to support: he did nothing wrong, maybe even showed noteworthy restraint vs. trump f***ing porn stars, stiffing sub-contractors for years (etc. etc.) is mind numbing.

...

Madison James @ Jun 19, 2019 2:47:33 PM

Also, the book makes a great case for Israeli collusion, not Russia.

More like CEDING Iran policy authority to hard line Likud hawks, as B describes in this post:

Bolton chairs at the NSC, the regular and frequent strategic dialogue meetings with Israel – intended to develop a joint action plan, versus Iran. What this means is that the Israeli intelligence assessments are being stovepiped directly to Bolton (and therefore to Trump), without passing by the US intelligence services for assessment or comment on the credibility of the intelligence presented ( shades of Cheney confronting the analysts down at Langley ).
(my emphasis)

It just seems like Iraq deja vu: GWB was the ignorant, dumb public face masking Lukidniks controlling US policy then, DJT the face masking the same now.

WRT war fears w/Iran: one little factoid rarely mentioned early on in Iraq "liberation"(did B write about this?): the PNAC crowd was openly advocating for a simultaneous military action towards Iran. Putin moved several battleships and destroyers right off the Iranian coast in a clear signal he would defend Iran. And that was the end of that.

Putin always holds his cards very close to his vest, but when he acts he does so decisively and with precision (aka his Syria military maneuvers). US bombs falling on Iran seems awfully close to Moscow in my view. I cannot help wondering if one of Putin's cards is his own red line: not allowing Likudniks to subjugate US military power for their "interests" wrt Iran.

ben , Jun 19, 2019 4:02:47 PM | 27
psycho @ 10 opined;"I am one of the supporters of the good cop/bad cop scenario."

Add me, to the believers column.

ADKC @ 5 said;"Trump has not been fooled or misled, neither have the American people, neither the UK/European governments or peoples. We are destroying ourselves with this act."

james @ 11 said;" it is on trump and the falling usa empire as i see it.. it can't fall soon enough.."

Yes, absolutely, to both above statements..

And I'll add another major player, to the joke, the U$A has become, the corporate MSM for it's failure to honestly inform the public of reality..

chu teh , Jun 19, 2019 4:16:07 PM | 28
...the IRGC along the tanker...
Could s/o kindly point-out a confirmation from Iran that [1] subject boat was operated/manned by the IRGC? I'll check back for your input; thanks in advance.
karlof1 , Jun 19, 2019 4:31:54 PM | 31
Magnier suggests watching this :

"This is a very balanced approach to the #US-#Iran crisis in the Gulf from an #EU point of view."

It links to a short CNN produced video. The few comments show the intensely high level of ignorance of my fellow Americans that are educational all by themselves.

Kristan hinton , Jun 19, 2019 4:37:46 PM | 32
It's about 1500 miles from Tehran to Moscow. That's about equal to the distance between Kansas City and San Francisco.

It is not in Russia's interest to have Iran attacked. Iran is a piece that offers a twofer to the Anglo Zio empire. It follows the edicts of the Yinon Plan and it antagonizes Russia.

joetv , Jun 19, 2019 4:38:38 PM | 33
If a war with Iran is orchestrated I will be very disappointed if Tel-Aviv is not destroyed. At some point in time Israel must pay for its' crimes.
I read today that an Egyptian news agency blamed Israel for the recent attacks on the 2 tankers. I find this heartening. However, I fear Israel is not beyond sinking an US naval vessel. re: USS LIBERTY. and albeit with Bolton's foreknowledge.
Shanahan was forced out. His family troubles pre-date today.
jdmckay , Jun 19, 2019 4:46:20 PM | 34
murgen23 @ Jun 19, 2019 3:56:40 PM:
May be the intention was never to sink the tanker - but just to draw attention with some heavy smoke. The limpet mines may exists in various size, so they may have intentionaly used a small one for this.

As B (and many other media ) pointed out: the crew of the Japanese tanker all said the ship was hit by an air borne projectile. This was not a mine. Seems obvious if US was interested in the truth, they would recover and identify the projectile.

Just for shits and giggles, a brief reminder of some of US "evidence" and false flags (all lies) in service of these "endeavors" previously:

- reading the several excellent books and released CIA docs of the CIA engineered Mosaddegh coup, among other things was CIA bombs set off in Mosques (this was before the Ayatollahs were political), then flooding media with "accesssments" Mosaddegh was responsable. Kermit Roosevelt literally boasted about this.

- Collin Powell's "clear and convincing" evidence of Sadam's mobile missile lauchers (aka mobile weather balloons). And the GWB admin's attempts to literally destroy Hans Blix' reputation, and as it turned out Blix was right about everything.

- Fake Satellite photos of Sadam's troops on Saudi border.

- "Incubator baby" lies to US Senate, swaying Desert Storm I approval by 1 vote (many senators said that fabrication was the difference in their vote). And this after Sadam's incursion into Kuwait was after 18 months of US vetoing Iraq UN resolutions seeking to condemn Kuwait's angle drilling into Iraq's largest southern oil fields.


That's just a few from memory. At what point do US lawmakers finally put all this together (especially given Bolton's association with those who drove GWB's Iraq invasion) and refuse to even consider the non persuasive evidence (not to mention contradictory... aka crew says air borne attack), remind their colleagues and America of the cost of these lies just in last 20 years, and DEMAND proof that can be verified with THEIR OWN EYES.

The surreal, Orwellian fog is descending again.

Jackrabbit , Jun 19, 2019 4:49:01 PM | 35
Judging from the headline and the quoting approvingly from "Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke", I'd say b believe in the "President Bolton" theory.

Like other commenters, I believe in the bad cop/good cop theory. In fact I wrote of this only yesterday ( here and here , and here ):

The media promote Doublethink ...
... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality... Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance -- thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.
... such that Trump is both peace-loving nationalist and empire-loving antagonist. Except that the latter is expressed as a positive: "staunch ally", "tough negotiator", "protector", etc instead of a negative. Some people fall for it (Kool-Aid drinkers) and MSM ignores those that talk about the meta issues of MSM complicity.

And it's not just Trump. Whenever a President does things that might cause cognitive dissonance, apologists and the feckless press explain it away as a positive or blame subordinates for "sabotaging" the hero President .

= = = =

IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists)

= = = =

I sense that there's now an effort to essentially 'shout down' or otherwise sideline those that argue that the attacks are more likely to be a false flag by an anti-Iranian organization (probably connected to Mossad or CIA) and question the efficacy of a Iranian strategy stealth attacks.

karlof1 and Peter AU 1 described the likely subterfuge of the US claim that Iran attached a "limpet mine". But I haven't seen much desire to discuss or spread their theory. Reporting by Israeli media (picked up worldwide) about USA plans to bomb Iran (really just rumors) have worked their magic and turned the page on the question of who attacked the ships. How convenient!

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Sadly, I find that I disagree with both of b's latest theories: the "Iranian stealth attack" theory and the "President Bolton" theory. IMO these are propaganda narratives.

Shakesvshav , Jun 19, 2019 4:50:45 PM | 36
Long article reproduced in Russia Insider includes reference to mysterious escalation in the northern part of the Persian Gulf: https://russia-insider.com/en/declassified-sino-russian-masterplan-end-us-dominance-middle-east/ri27290
joetv , Jun 19, 2019 4:50:58 PM | 37
there is some confusion amongst commenters here; as to what the Iranian boat was doing next to the tanker? The first thing one should ask is; what is the source of the video? and when was it taken? Next, the Iranians have been credited with rescuing the crew from at least 1 tanker, if not both. Which explains the large # of persons on a boat that usually operates with a crew of 5.
Jay , Jun 19, 2019 4:54:51 PM | 39
Except the 2007 "Iranian proxy" attacks on US forces illegally occupying Iraq were never proven. Meaning the fable of Iranians being behind attacks in Iraq is hardly new. The infamous Michael Gordon--the lead "reporter" on the "Judith Miller" fall 2002 Iraqi WMDs "reporting" in the NY Times--claimed that such "attacks" were proven in the pages of the NYT in March 2007. (He wasn't fired–only leaving the NYT after 30 years in 2017.)

Except his "reporting" made bogus claims like the Iraqis weren't able to follow armor penetrating shell designs that had been worked out in the 1920s.

In early 2007, there was a push by Cheney to strike Iran, the rumor is that W said "no". So Pompeo can't even lie as well as Cheney, in that the NY Times' main Pentagon reporter reported the 2007 events as fact at the time. (A secondary reporter, James Glanz also in Iraq in 2007, did manage to point out that the "Iranian" shells were marked in English and the US commanders provided nothing more than unsupported assertions regards the shells' origins. Glanz only writes for the NY Times about once every 6 months now.)

karlof1 , Jun 19, 2019 5:02:19 PM | 40
Houthis attack Jizan--on Red Sea just North of Yemen -- power plant with cruise missile causing large fire to erupt. Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman :

"There are big surprises coming soon, God willing, with higher sensitive impact on the Saudi regime, if its aggression continues."

Expect renewed attacks on oil infrastructure.

Not so long ago, it appeared the Saudi/UAE/Merc coalition had the initiative and was winning. That no longer appears to be the case with the invasion of Saudi territory by ground forces accompanied by missile and drone assaults that have reached as far as Riyadh. Earlier today, Southfront posted videos of two successful Houthi assaults that destroyed 11 armored vehicles and additional technicals--attacks Saudi appears incapable of stopping.

Apparently, Magnier knows more than he's written :

"In the coming days, I'll share more of #Iran's medium and long term plans to face the #US plans."

ben , Jun 19, 2019 5:04:42 PM | 41
Jrabbit @ 35 made this analogy;

"IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists)"

IMO, the perfect analogy. Maybe the U$A posters will "get it."

Lochearn , Jun 19, 2019 5:35:35 PM | 42
Bolton is Trump's Colonel House. House was influential in plucking Woodrow Wilson out of academia and getting him elected President in 1912 and then he moved into the White House with Wilson. He became in Wilson's words his "alter ego." House was right next to Wilson when he signed the Federal Reserve Act, something Wilson later said he bitterly regretted doing. House was a most shadowy figure – he wasn't even a real colonel -, having performed similar roles with various governors of Texas as if in preparation for his moment on the big stage – and a long moment it was with an allegedly decisive role in Versailles in 1919.

I saw warning signals back on the campaign trail when Trump was asked who he admired in politics and he replied after a pause John Bolton. Then I thought of Obama and Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff. It struck me that maybe all of us are susceptible to somebody who can get a hold on us, who can grasp our insecurities and ingratiate themselves into our thinking processes. The elites work on this. Jack Kennedy had his brother as his sort of alter-ego so there was no opportunity there – which is maybe why he got shot.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 19, 2019 5:38:47 PM | 43
Trump's father became so frustrated with Donald's bullying and reckless behavior that he packed him off to military academy to learn some manners and self-control. Legend has it that Trump thrived in that environment and graduated in 1964. He also studied economics and has a Law degree. One imagines that a military academy graduate must have learned something about governance, leadership, pecking orders, power plays and the US Constitution. Anyone who assumes DJT is stupid or naive probably needs to do some homework...
Harry Law , Jun 19, 2019 6:06:58 PM | 44
Hoarsewhisperer "Anyone who assumes DJT is stupid or naiive probably needs to do some homework". I think prospective Private Donald 'bone spurs' Trump would have made a good General, [too late now, he is too old] maybe one of the greatest Generals in history. If only he had signed up. /S
Seems Rex Tillerson was right about Trump and agrees with this HL Mencken quote.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron".

John Merryman , Jun 19, 2019 6:07:29 PM | 45
The Middle East a smoking ruin. Floods of Arab refugees pouring into Europe. Russia and China sitting back and waiting to pick up the pieces. Do those people actually think beyond the next step? I wouldn't want to be a European Jew for the next few decades. You can be burnt from the bottom up, as easily as from the top down. Lets just go kick the hornets nest, cause we are tough guys. Where. Are. The. Brain. Cells?
Don Bacon , Jun 19, 2019 6:10:31 PM | 46
TIME: President Trump Calls Alleged Iranian Attack on Oil Tankers 'Very Minor'
Ash , Jun 19, 2019 6:24:15 PM | 47
Does it really matter if the good cop/bad cop scenario is true or if Trump is just their useful idiot? Thus far, the difference is academic.
karlof1 , Jun 19, 2019 6:26:37 PM | 48
Promotion of War Crimes: Wheat as a Weapon : "A fellow at a think tank bankrolled by the US gov, NATO, and arms industry insists that 'wheat is a weapon' that can 'be used to apply pressure on the Assad regime.' "The impact this would have on civilians was not mentioned, of course."

Now we know what nation's responsible for the recent firing of wheat and other agricultural fields in Syria--The Outlaw US Empire of course: Never met a War Crime it didn't want to employ itself as current and historic evidence proves. Such people ought to be lobotomized.

Christian J Chuba , Jun 19, 2019 6:31:07 PM | 49
Iran did it, they are competent, we can't find our rear end

CENTCOM gave a scenario that finally made sense, they said that an IRGC boat approached the two tankers at night and attacked the 'mines'. This would explain why it was above the waterline and it would take great skill to do this with no injury and without being detected.

Now look at the U.S., the tanker was sitting their in broad daylight for about 10hrs and we couldn't even get ONE decent picture of an unexploded bomb sitting on the side of hull. And when the IRGC finally did show up, even our high resolution pictures were a joke and we are the SIGINT champions with hi-tech drones. Also, this means that the IRGC was able to slip into a port on the other side of the Persian Gulf and attack mines to 4 tankers undetected.

Prediction: if we do get into a fight with the Iranians we are in for a very rude awakening. All of this talk about their rusted out military is total BS. If ONLY that fool Tom Cotton would be the one to pay the price instead of some 20 yr old kid.

jared , Jun 19, 2019 6:33:55 PM | 50
Perhaps the admin senses that the end is approaching and are trying to wreak maximum havoc and damage while they are able. Like Bolton will serve in next admin.
Virgile , Jun 19, 2019 6:45:17 PM | 51
By minimizing the Oman Gulf incidents, maybe it is way for the White House under Bolton's control to show that it is not impressed nor feeling threatened. it is also encouraging the perpetrators of the attacks to do more provocations and ideally to kill an American...

It is an open invitations to whoever wants to harm Iran to come out more brutally.

AntiSpin , Jun 19, 2019 6:52:05 PM | 52
@ Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19, 2019 5:38:47 PM | 43

". . . [Trump] studied economics and has a Law degree."

He has a BA in economics and was given an honorary law degree from Liberty so-called "University," a diploma mill dedicated to churning out brain-dead, right-wing religious fanatics.

Jackrabbit , Jun 19, 2019 6:56:28 PM | 54
Ash @47: does it really matter?

Yes, it does matter. Millions of American are ready to send their loved ones to die for "freedom and democracy" that propaganda claims USA champions. Trump as "useful idiot" just means that they elected the wrong guy. Trump as complicit in the dog and pony show means there is no democracy.

Smart people have already described how the system is rigged so that we have a "managed democracy" that mostly works for the "those that matter". Research from Princeton economists have described America as a plutocracy with an "inverted totalitarian" form of government. I have written many times at MoA of a adjunct to that theory: the faux populist leadership model. Obama and Trump are the poster boys for this, though it was mostly developed in the Clinton years.

Harry Law , Jun 19, 2019 7:03:21 PM | 55
That Iranian seaman who is alleged to have pulled off a possibly unstable, unexploded mine wearing nothing but a rubber life jacket thus endangering his life and all his crew mates and survivors in the small boat is the action of a lunatic. Or maybe it never happened.
Jonathan , Jun 19, 2019 7:03:25 PM | 56
Hoarsewhisperer @43,

What is the particular childish naïveté of Americans who believe that learning a system inevitably leads to a willingness to support and uphold it instead of exploiting it for personal gain?

You have to go back.

wagelaborer , Jun 19, 2019 7:14:03 PM | 57
Uncle Jon @16
You are right. My apologies. The optics would be horrible in my version.
oglalla , Jun 19, 2019 7:30:33 PM | 58
>> Posted by: blues | Jun 19, 2019 6:52:22 PM | 53

Do tell!

With trillion dollar deficits pre-recession, the fiscal situation looks dire. Once recession hits, tax revenue will plummet. Then, either they QE even more trillions or they cut the MIC (measured in terms of purchasing power, if not nominally). Or both. But, the rest of the world will suffer nominally as well. So, the dollar might remain a "cleaner dirty shirt".

It's a difficult environment to invest in. Everything seems pricey. But, with currency depreciation via QE, everything might become even pricier.

karlof1 , Jun 19, 2019 7:38:28 PM | 59
Harry Law @55--

Life jackets aren't rubber! Try and get the story straight! Plus, you missed that the limpet mine comes with a cloaking device that once placed onto the deck of any Iranian boat it's rendered invisible! Honestly, we spend a lot of time dreaming up these narratives, so the very least you can do is copy/paste properly!

On a serious note, I scanned a great many pictures of small boats and didn't come up with one example of the one shown in the video. Finding one ought to be easy since it has numerous unique features, most of which I commented upon. Has USN released a complete undoctored video of the limpet removal yet? I thought not. As with the incident with the Russian ship where USN didn't release the entire video taken from the stand-off helo because it proved USN at fault, there won't be any release of this other video for the same reason--it proves zip, nada, nothing.

Otherwise, I'd like to get myself one of those Iranian boats, minus the machine gun, as it looks like an excellent fishing platform, although it lacks a cuddy and below deck stowage room.

Don Bacon , Jun 19, 2019 8:00:57 PM | 60
There's been a shift in the dialogue, to some degree, to a discussion of the overall US role in the Gulf area.

Speaking to TIME, Trump argued that the Gulf of Oman[sic] is less strategically important for the United States now than it used to be, citing China and Japan as nations that still rely on the region for significant proportions of their oil. "Other places get such vast amounts of oil there," Trump said. "We get very little. We have made tremendous progress in the last two and a half years in energy. And when the pipelines get built, we're now an exporter of energy. So we're not in the position that we used to be in in the Middle East where some people would say we were there for the oil." . . here

Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a roundtable that countries that benefit most from the movement of oil through the Gulf need to take an active role in its security. . . ."The circumstances are very different now than they were in the 1980s," Selva said. "If you think back to the reflagging operation, the 'Tanker War,' as it was nicknamed, where we reflagged and escorted tankers so that they could flow in and out of the Strait of Hormuz, we got a substantial amount of our oil from the Persian Gulf.. . ."We are now in a position where the bulk of that oil goes to countries in Asia, and none of those countries have shown any predilection to pressing Iran to stop what they are doing. What was true in the 1980s, is not true today. We are not wholly dependent on the movement of Saudi, Kuwaiti, Qatari and Emirati oil in and out of the Gulf to sustain our economy.". . here

A broadening of the security mission in the Gulf area would be a positive step. Imagine the navies of China, India and Japan taking a role! The price would be a removal of Iran sanctions, because these countries want Iran oil! . . .I can dream.

Jen , Jun 19, 2019 8:01:59 PM | 61
Hoarsewhisperer @ 43

". . . [Trump] studied economics and has a Law degree."

Hot damn! And Dubya attended and graduated from Yale University (Bachelor of Arts, majoring in history) and later Harvard Business School (MBA).

Helena C , Jun 19, 2019 8:05:58 PM | 62
In the current circs (esp after announcement of the latest Red Line) why write only about the possibility of an ISIS missile landing on a US position being that it wd be "errant"?
Jen , Jun 19, 2019 8:07:16 PM | 64
Wage Laborer @ 15, 57, Uncle Jon @ 16:

After reading WL's comments, I had a vision of the photographer contacting the sniper by mobile phone and berating the fellow for killing Neda Agha Soltan in the head and telling him to find another beautiful young Iranian woman protester and to shoot her in the chest.

[Jun 19, 2019] A Proactive Russia and China Could Prevent US War with Iran by Paul Craig Roberts

Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

There is so much disinformation that it is difficult to judge the Israeli news report below that the US is planning a military attack on Iran. Israel wants the US to attack Iran and the report could be an attempt to push events in that direction.

There is no valid reason for Washington to serve Israeli interests.

It would be extremely irresponsible for Washington to risk starting another war.

As Russian and Chinese interests could be threatened by a US war with Iran, the situation could become uncontrollable.

If there is a real prospect of a US attack on Iran, it would be a responsible action for Russia and China to block it in advance by taking a firm position.

U.N. officials: U.S. planning a 'tactical assault' in Iran

By SHLOMO SHAMIR/MAARIV ONLINE

06/17/2019

The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.

Is the US going to attack Iran soon?

Diplomatic sources at the UN headquarters in New York revealed to Maariv that they are assessing the United States' plans to carry out a tactical assault on Iran in response to the tanker attack in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.

According to the officials, since Friday, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to President Donald Trump.

The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.

"The bombing will be massive but will be limited to a specific target," said a Western diplomat.

[Jun 19, 2019] Trump MIGA bellicosity: the president said a fight would mean "the official end of Iran"

Neocon donors ask Trump for favors and he can't refuse... Trump foreign policy is a direct continuation of Bush II and Obama foreign policy and is dominated by neocons, who rule the State Department. Pomeo is a rabid neocon, to the right of Condoleezza Rice, Hillary and John Kerry. Actually anti-Iranian and pro-Israeli bias was clearly visible even during 2016 campaign, but few voters paid any attention. Now they should.
It is clear that Trump is the most pro-Israel President after Johnson.
Notable quotes:
"... In contrast, in the Middle East the president has been extraordinarily bellicose. In April, the Administration revoked waivers that allowed certain countries to buy oil from Iran without violating U.S. sanctions [ U.S. Won't Renew Sanction Exemptions For Countries Buying Iran's Oil , by Bill Chappell, NPR, April 22, 2019]. In early May, the president imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, a direct threat to the regime's economic viability. ..."
"... The "maximum pressure campaign," as it has been called, puts Iran in the position of either accepting a humiliating surrender or striking out where it can [ Maximum pressure on Iran Means Maximum Risk of War , by Ilan Goldenberg, Foreign Policy, June 14, 2019]. ..."
"... Why Iran would do this is questionable, unless it's just a move of desperation. ..."
"... But did Iran actually do it? Washington has a credibility gap with the rest of the world and its own people thanks to the disaster of the Iraq War . There were, it turned out, no "Weapons of Mass Destruction." So now many Americans openly question whether Iran attacked these tankers. This includes some MSM reporters who trusted the "intelligence community" when it was attacking Trump but now want an "international investigation of the incident". [ Ben Rhodes, CNN, And Others Purposefully Fuel Pro-Iranian "False Flag Conspiracy Theories After Tanker Attacks , RedState, June 14, 2019] ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

The most optimistic explanation: Trump intends to use immigration as an election issue in 2020. Yet his fecklessness in office will be as unappealing to many voters as the Democrats' extremism. [ Trump Is Vulnerable to Biden on Immigration , by Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, June 11, 2019] After all, Trump began his campaign vowing to solve the immigration problem almost exactly four years ago -- but essentially nothing has been done.

Instead, the president has been reduced to asking Mexico to solve our problem for us. He supposedly cut a deal with the Mexican government after threatening tariffs , but even that is in dispute. [ Mexico denies Trump's claim of secret concessions in deal , by Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, and Maria Verza, Associated Press, June 10, 2019] The president left powerful negotiating tools on the side, including, most importantly, a remittance tax . As in his dealings with Congress, the president insists on negotiating from weakness in his dealings with Mexico.

In contrast, in the Middle East the president has been extraordinarily bellicose. In April, the Administration revoked waivers that allowed certain countries to buy oil from Iran without violating U.S. sanctions [ U.S. Won't Renew Sanction Exemptions For Countries Buying Iran's Oil , by Bill Chappell, NPR, April 22, 2019]. In early May, the president imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, a direct threat to the regime's economic viability. [ Trump sanctions Iranian metals, Tehran's largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue , by Amanda Macias, CNBC, May 8, 2019]

Later that month, the president said a fight would mean "the official end of Iran" [ Trump threatens Iran With 'Official End' by Kenneth Walsh, US News and World Report, May 20, 2019].

The "maximum pressure campaign," as it has been called, puts Iran in the position of either accepting a humiliating surrender or striking out where it can [ Maximum pressure on Iran Means Maximum Risk of War , by Ilan Goldenberg, Foreign Policy, June 14, 2019].

This has culminated in Iran's alleged attack on two tankers traveling in the Strait of Hormuz. [ Pompeo Says 'There's No Doubt' Iran Attacked 2 Tankers , by Daniella Cheslow, NPR, June 16, 2019] Congressman Adam Schiff, one of the president's most fervent opponents, agrees Iran is to blame [ Schiff agrees with Trump: 'No question' Iran attacked oil tankers , by Ronn Blitzer, Fox News, June 16, 2019], Senator Tom Cotton (who has a relatively strong immigration policy ) has gone so far as to call for direct military action. [ Senator Tom Cotton Calls For 'Retaliatory Military Strike,' Against Iran After Tanker Attacks, by Benjamin Fearnow, Newsweek, June 16, 2019]

Why Iran would do this is questionable, unless it's just a move of desperation.

But did Iran actually do it? Washington has a credibility gap with the rest of the world and its own people thanks to the disaster of the Iraq War . There were, it turned out, no "Weapons of Mass Destruction." So now many Americans openly question whether Iran attacked these tankers. This includes some MSM reporters who trusted the "intelligence community" when it was attacking Trump but now want an "international investigation of the incident". [ Ben Rhodes, CNN, And Others Purposefully Fuel Pro-Iranian "False Flag Conspiracy Theories After Tanker Attacks , RedState, June 14, 2019]

This is not the same country that re-elected George W. Bush in 2004. The trust in institutions is gone; America is war-weary.

And regardless of who did it, who cares? What American interest is at stake? The Iraq War made the region more unstable ; an Iran War would unleash sectarian warfare all over again. [ Attacking Iran Would Unleash Chaos on the Middle East , by Robert Gaines and Scott Horton, National Interest, June 15, 2019]

We can't even say it's "about the oil" -- the United States is now the world's biggest oil producer and may soon be the world's top exporter [ US will soon threaten to topple Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil exporter: IEA by Tom DiChristopher, CNBC, March 11, 2019]. Who cares about Iran's oil?

There is also a deeper fundamental question. Our country is crumbling. The border is non-existent; entire communities are being overrun. There's something perverse about even entertaining a dangerous and costly military intervention halfway around the world. It's akin to a Roman emperor declaring he will conquer India while barbarians are crossing the Rhine.

President Trump ran on a policy of non-intervention and promised it even after being elected. [ Trump lays out non-interventionist U.S. military policy , by Steve Holland, Reuters, December 6, 2016] He repeatedly pushed back against efforts to get more deeply involved in Syria. He must now resist efforts to get involved in Iran, especially from those who may hint it will win him re-election.

[Jun 19, 2019] Trump now and then

Oct 22, 2012 | www.unz.com

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected--be careful Republicans!

11:43 AM 22 Oct 12 Twitter Web Client

[Jun 18, 2019] Schr dinger's Cat view on Pompeo interview to Fox News Saturday

Jun 18, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com

Schrodingers Cat 10 hours ago

"There is no doubt," Pompeo told "Fox News Sunday,"

This, from Sec. Mike Pompous, to the Apparatchik arm of the Administration. As if the American public, or the world, would/could believe anything out of the mouths of these pathetic, bombastic, buffoons.

mcsmcs

...We are supposed to believe the intelligence community about this, but not anything else apparently.

BassHunter

The trifecta of ignorant bellicosity (ie Trump/Bolton/Pompeo) have no credibility because they constantly and consistently lie about everything all the time. It is a situation of their own making. The true surprise here is that THEY are surprised that others refuse to believe them...

[Jun 18, 2019] Iran, Trump -- and what the crisis says about his lack of credibility - The Washington Post

Jun 18, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com

13 hours ago Would someone please explain to me why anyone would attempt to remove an unexploded mine from the side of a ship, and take it on board their own vessel? Seriously. Is this a case of waste not, want not?

It doesn't matter much, though, even if it's true. Nobody believes a word coming out of this administration. We are a global laughing stock run by pathological liars. Like thumb_up 5 Reply Link link Report

mcsmcs 12 hours ago They would take it because it could be traced back to the country that made it and/or put it there.

But it they could have taken it off and let it fall to the bottom of the ocean. Like thumb_up 1 Reply Link link Report

longretired 10 hours ago The other question is why was the min attached above the waterline? Mrine mines are designed to explode underwater.
Like thumb_up 1 Reply Link link Report Patti C 14 hours ago Trump and Pompeo are abhorrent. They have destroyed our foreign policy. No one in their right mind should be voting for Trump for a second term. This administration has no credibility nationally and internationally. Americans who support Trump are ruining our country and are voting against their interests over and over again. Wake up! Republicans and Mitch McConnell should be punished for the amoral Trump Administration. Democrats need to dominate in the 2020 elections! Democrats need to work with all communities across the country to save our democratic republic. Vote Democrats across the nation in 2020. 10 hours ago About what? He actually said the Government has determined. And we all know how unreliable this government is.

The intelligence community always has lots of dat . Like the lies about the Iraq war start, it did not support their assertions. 15 hours ago Odd the only countries siding with the US version of this incident are the ones who stand to gain from continuing to isolate Iran.
Saudi Arabia especially is not a fair player, as exemplified by their behavior in Sudan as well. 15 hours ago Simple. Reread The Boy Who Cried Wolf. When you have a narcissistic president who cannot speak the truth and goes around naked in The Emperor's New Clothes, his sycophantic appointees say, "Oh yes, you are wearing the most Beautiful new robe." Like thumb_up 4 Reply Link link Report Portia1992 15 hours ago The U.S. has zero credibility and should never be trusted. We are warmongers controlled by U.A.E., Saudi Arabia & Israel.
22 hours ago (Edited) This is how stupid we've become: My fear is the real reason we pulled out of a deal that was very effective at both keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons and incentivizing them to behave (for greater economic opportunities) is that Trump hates the fact that Obama developed the deal.

He's forever spoke of developing "a better deal" with regard to everything Obama did. He wanted a "better" healthcare plan to replace Obamacare too. But the very folks that voted for Trump (especially in places like Kentucky) benefited too greatly from "Obamacare" and loudly demanded that Trump not touch it.

Here we go again with Trump trying to screw things up (even if it means risking American military lives in a conflict that was COMPLETELY unnecessary when Trump took office).

It was never truly about what Iran was doing. They were behaving so well that all of our European allies cheered the former peace deal (IT WAS WORKING VERY WELL). Some of this is about Trump's weird love for Saudi Arabia (a bitter enemy of Iran).

But most of this is in Trump's bigoted head. Put simply, we are on the brink of war with a very nasty adversary mainly because Trump hates Obama and everything he did. Even our closest allies (that loved Obama) are not treated as well as Putin (who hated Obama, too). Like thumb_up 9 Reply Link link Report BassHunter 12 hours ago Bingo! Like thumb_up 1 Reply Link link Report NormaLee10 22 hours ago (Edited) Report from my last trip to Iran. I just love the Chinese sneakers I bought in Ahwaz (sorry Nike) Love the Russian fur hat I bought in Tabriz((sorry Gap) The high speed train, built by the Chinese, was a wonderful ride. . Thank you to the Russian Crew inviting us to tour their ship in the port near the Caspian. I get compliments on my Turkish scarves , my Indian cotton dresses. The new boutique hotel, refurbished by a German chain was great.
Just think, if the Dump would have stayed and expanded on the Nuclear agreement,he could have sent Ivanka over to pick up where she left off, designing a hotel in Kazakhstan , or stolen some designs off Persian carpets.
23 hours ago The U.S. lost all credibility under W, who claimed that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Not a single person in a gubbmint office has learned a damned thing since. Like thumb_up 6 Reply Link link Report decaff 23 hours ago So we watched W. Bush get into a huge mess in Iraq (actually it was Cheney). Just imagine the mess that the Orange Clown may get us into with Iran. (which benefits his relationships with Saudi Arabia).
Like thumb_up 5 Reply Link link Report Ralph Carlson 23 hours ago Trump is and always has been nothing more than a bully
Like thumb_up 4 Reply Link link Report RGR 23 hours ago This guy came in on a wild horse ride, Mexicans are rapists, etc...Pull out of the Iran deal (even though it appeared to be working)....and how he is helping the military (while taking money out of their budget for 'the wall').

TURNS OUT...he is the wild horse, and this one is not one that should be allowed out of the barn...

He is a fool...how long does it take to figure this out...his district in NY only voted 10% for him...they knew! Like thumb_up 5 Reply Link link Report Citizen of the Planet 1 day ago You are now witnessing the manifestation of 2 years of Trump's chest pounding and bullying. No one trusts us. No one. Nobody. Like thumb_up 6 Reply Link link Report Al Terego Oz 1 day ago Interesting how quickly it's gone from being possibly a mine to definitely a mine. Like thumb_up 3 Reply Link link Report Bimberg 22 hours ago Very soon Trump will announce that "It's mine, mine, mine!"
Like thumb_up 1 Reply Link link Report Pinky_the_Cat 1 day ago The reason Trump can't make a case for this is that there is no evidence.

There is so little evidence that Trump had to buy propaganda from Heritage.org . That is how thin this

[Jun 18, 2019] Another neocon reshuffling in Trump administration

Notable quotes:
"... Acting totally mad and indicating you don't care is a good way to defeat those who is your equal. Isn't this is exactly how the US government has been acting lately? ..."
"... Interesting this WaPost op/ed totally trashing Trump/Pompeo foreign policy and their utter inability didn't generate any further comment on the previous thread. Sure, it came from BezosPost, but it surely represents some powerful faction that's totally at odds with the directionlessness of Trump and Pompeo. ..."
"... Its June and you know who loves blood to be spilled in June, and right before July 4 you know. Look for a limited aerial strike per PCR, and then they hope Iran retaliates and gives an excuse for them to escalate. ..."
"... Americans are so brainwashed into buying into US militarism and exceptionalism that Trumps approval ratings will go up. Anyone criticizing the military or war is labelled anti-American and censored by Social Media. ..."
"... Seems that Shanahan balked at being the scapegoat for the next war so they found another. Shanahan is said to be pretty smart (Masters and MBA from MIT). ..."
"... Has Trump been misled by his advisors, when he twitted about the infamous video shot in the dark by modern means that would surprise the Iranians?I Mean ,because now it turns out to be made in clear daylight with the newly published images. Is Trump angry about being cheated or did he play with the game and was his twitted remark kind of an inside joke? ..."
"... Previously we had G.Haspel showing non-pertinent to the matter camera shots of duck and children to convince him into expelling a max number of Russian diplomats. ..."
"... I am sure there are many Americans interested to know who is in charge at the USA.. ..."
"... ... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality... Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance -- thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction. ..."
"... Such that Trump is both peace-loving nationalist and empire-loving antagonist. Except that the latter is expressed as a positive: "staunch ally", "tough negotiator", "protector", etc instead of a negative. Some people fall for it (Kool-Aid drinkers) and MSM ignores those that talk about the meta issues of MSM complicity. ..."
"... IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists). ..."
"... In light of what the WaPost published I linked to above regrading the utter lack in confidence in both Trump and Pompeo to conduct a rational foreign policy, I seriously doubt the change at SecDef will provide optimism for improvement. Some apparently think such dissent is just shadowplay; IMO, they are mistaken. And I will again note the dissent isn't just about Iran; rather, it's about the conduct of overall foreign policy, especially Trade Policy, which is eating into corporate profitability. ..."
"... That would be a terrible miscalculation from US leadership. The one reason why Pearl Harbour wasn't a lasting disaster for the US is that the carriers survived. What if Iran actually manages to sink a carrier air group? I mean, nukes and nearly untouchable power projection through aircraft carriers are the two main reasons why the US is still the supreme superpower around. Show people that the carriers can be taken out and actually begin to take them out, and plenty of people and countries will begin to consider leaving that mad army parading as a country to itself - not to mention some will soon openly rebel. ..."
"... The US has 50,000 troops and a carrier strike group "protecting American interests" in the Persian Gulf area of the Middle East. Somebody in government ought to tell us what those "interests" are, which require such an investment. That would be nice. ..."
"... The Guardian-- The Iran crisis was created in Washington. The US must be talked down ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trump Fires Shanahan. Pompeo For Sec Def? Bolton To State?

Trump just fired his acting Secretary of Defense.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 16:59 UTC· 18 Jun 2019

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family....

....I thank Pat for his outstanding service and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense. I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job

On May 9 the White House announced that it would nominate Shanahan for the Secretary of Defense position. But it never sent the nomination request to Congress to have Shanahan confirmed. During the usual FBI background check before a confirmation, a 2010 domestic violence incident Shanahan was involved in came up . It seems that it now ended his short career at the Pentagon.

Shanahan had zero experience in the military. He is a former Boeing manager. A recent Politico portrait of Shanahan described him as weak leader who allowed the war hawks in National Security Council to directly talk with regional commanders without even informing him. He was no counterweight for Bolton and Pompeo who are eager to wage war on Iran.

Yesterday ABC News reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would meet with talk with the Central Command and Special Operations Command leaders without Shanahan being there. It was extremely unusual:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Florida on Monday to meet with leaders from U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command on Tuesday. The U.S. is considering "all options," including military force, to respond to Iran's reported attack on two oil vessels, Pompeo said on Sunday, raising concerns of a U.S. strike.
...
Pompeo will meet with CENTCOM and Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida on Tuesday to "discuss regional security concerns and ongoing operations," according to Ortagus, after calling several world leaders over the weekend to discuss America's evidence that Iran was behind last week's attacks.

There is no information what plans those talks were about.

Mark Knoller @markknoller - 16:45 utc - 18 Jun 2019

At @CENTCOM at @MacDill_AFB, @SecPompeo says he conferred with military commanders to coordinate State and Defense Dept policy on Iran.
Says US is serious about deterring Iran regime from further aggression in the region.
Says Pres Trump does not want war against Iran.

[Another very unusual sign is that the old war criminal Henry Kissinger visited the Pentagon yesterday and today .]

Trump already had difficulties to find a new Secretary of Defense. Shanahan was not his first choice. To now find a new candidate will be difficult.

It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place. Bolton and Pompeo obviously want a war on Iran and they try their best to instigate it. They need a new SecDef in place as soon as possible. Pompeo served five years as an officer in the U.S. army. He has extensive political experience. Would he want to become Secretary of Defense?

That would leave the Secretary of State position open for John Bolton to move in. The confirmation would be a bit difficult but the Senate is in Republican hands and might go with it. One of Bolton's cronies could then take over the National Security Advisor position. From the war-hawks' point of view it would be the ideal configuration to launch a big one.

Posted by b on June 18, 2019 at 02:03 PM | Permalink


Blue , Jun 18, 2019 2:11:15 PM | 1

Apparently, he is choosing Mark Esper https://sputniknews.com/us/201906181075942685-trump-mark-esper-shanahan-quits/
b , Jun 18, 2019 2:17:45 PM | 2
Esper was Trumps third choice for Secretary of Army. He only got the job after two preferred candidates did not want it.

He is now made acting Secretary because someone needs to do that job. But I doubt that Trump really wants him.

Bruce , Jun 18, 2019 2:30:23 PM | 3
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/12/john-boltons-long-goodbye/
John Kiriakou's sources indicate Bolton is on the way out. That would support speculation Trump is unhappy with a Sec of Def that cannot control Bolton/Pompeo.
Blue , Jun 18, 2019 2:35:34 PM | 4
@2 b,

Possibly true. I was only looking at this from Sputnick:

"The numerous US media stated that Secretary of the Army Mark Esper had been discussed as a possible alternative choice as defense secretary to Shanahan if Trump decided not to nominate him."

Jonathan Everett Gil , Jun 18, 2019 3:34:54 PM | 9
I have hard time believing that Bolton and Pompeo under consideration. Pompeo isn't gonna wanna leave his current job and as for Bolton John Kiriakou wrote last week that Trump is quietly working behind the scenes to find a replacement for him. If anything it might suggest that Trump is working to covertly reign in Bolton and Pompeo with another SecDef who can better control them.
b , Jun 18, 2019 3:38:38 PM | 10
Oh boy -
NYT
Besides Mr. Esper, who was confirmed as secretary of the Army in November 2017, officials said that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, and Richard V. Spencer, the secretary of the Navy, are on the short list for defense secretary.

... and I thought I was to far out speculative with the above.

Stever , Jun 18, 2019 3:40:28 PM | 11

Jimmy Dore - Mike Gravel Smashes War Machine With Facts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ByAkTiwQEw

Yul , Jun 18, 2019 3:48:57 PM | 13
@ b

WRT Henry the warmonger. He was attending this :

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/06/05/2019-11628/defense-policy-board-notice-of-federal-advisory-committee-meeting

Norwegian , Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 15
It is unlikely that the U.S. would launch a war without a Secretary of Defense in place.

Well, they are not exactly planning to defend themselves.

Ash , Jun 18, 2019 4:07:34 PM | 16
Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 18, 2019 3:52:24 PM | 14

Purely euphemistic of course, though it actually did used to be called the Department of War.

ralphieboy , Jun 18, 2019 4:07:46 PM | 17
"From the war-hawks' point of view it would be the ideal configuration to launch a big one." Gosh, and I thought that Hillary was the big warmonger...guess it would've only been worse under her.
KC , Jun 18, 2019 4:19:24 PM | 21
Obama didn't have a problem getting re-elected with all of his own secret foreign wars and dronings going on. If indeed Pimpeo and Bolt-On get their way, Trump will execute the same type of campaign against Iran except there will be no boots on the ground, even "advisors" given the relationship status of the countries surrounding Iran. The U.S. has exhausted its credibility and goodwill. So we'll be funding terrorists, perpetrating false flags, using drones to attack Iranian seagoing military vessels and launching the occasional "precision" cruise missile strike against alleged nuclear weapons and maybe even chemical weapons processing facilities.

If there is a land war, Israel will fight to the last American troop.

dus7 , Jun 18, 2019 4:31:33 PM | 23
Trump's list of Most Unsuitable Candidates for Higher Office is getting perilously short. Assuming our most famous U.S. billionaire capitalists are not interested, what are Cheney and Condoleezza doing these days? Erik Prince? Some aging Grand Wizard of the KKK? A random death row inmate? The mind boggles.
james , Jun 18, 2019 4:32:03 PM | 24
i said this on the last thread, but i would be curious for others feedback on it..

"think about it... is there going to be more money made and generated starting a war on iran, or not?? the choice is obvious for those into money... create mayhem and raise a lot of money off of it.. and what countries seem to excel at that??"

as for innocent people dying, that has never been a concern for those into money...

criag murray has a good article up from yesterday i read earlier today that is relevant..
The Broader View Reveals the Ugliest of Prospects

Clueless Joe , Jun 18, 2019 4:37:50 PM | 25
Just to see how far we've come, or how bad the situation is, I'd consider Kissinger going on his own to check things out with the top military brass to actually be a good sign. He's no fool and knows that war with Iran will only confirm to Russia and China that they have to stand together, strong, against the USA, and that they'd probably better back Iran up on this one. I wouldn't be surprised if Kissinger is back to his old ways, and that's it's a similar move to when he warned the generals to call him right away if Nixon ever gave the order to use nukes. The guy is slimy and ruthless, but knows the limits and doesn't plan to suicide half the planet.

Colonel Pat Lang assumes that Shanahan just resigns in disgust because Pompeo and Bolton are running the show without consulting with the military. Not sure which is right.

One can hope that the neo-con buddies overplayed their hands and that they just put Trump in such a shitty situation that he's going to tell them to go to Hell soon - hopefully before anyone does something *really* stupid. But right now, that's just that, hope.

NYT saying Pompeo is considered for SecDef might just be Pompeo and his neo-con buddies saying dumb shit and leaking false information to appear important, and trying to force Trump's hands. I really hope that's what happened - because then it would piss Trump off and he might be looking for a way of getting rid of him. If the leak is genuine, on the other hand, that's a terrible sign.

ken , Jun 18, 2019 4:46:16 PM | 26
@21 ADKC

Yes, I believe the US would use nukes if they think they could get away with it... that's how crazy works. Would the other nuclear powers step in,,, highly doubtful. If that happens then the US might even threaten them with annihilation. They would believe the US is sooo insane that it would really risk planet destruction and could decide to cave to the US wishes.

Acting totally mad and indicating you don't care is a good way to defeat those who is your equal. Isn't this is exactly how the US government has been acting lately?

Christian J Chuba , Jun 18, 2019 5:04:11 PM | 28
"I believe the US would use nukes if they think they could get away with it...that's how crazy evil works."

and Sean Hannity would say ... "never has a country had so much power and abused it so little, the Iranians [10 minute Litany of robotic talking point lies] left us no choice." Pompeo, Pence and Haley all declaring it the most righteous and justifiable act ever. Trump would close the border to any Iranian refugees and embargo any Iranians who survived just like he is doing to the Syrians and Venezuelans now.

These people are depraved.

ADKC , Jun 18, 2019 5:14:59 PM | 30
Isn't the Secretary of State the most senior member of the cabinet and regarded as more powerful that POTUS? The position where real power resides? How could a buffoon like Bolton even be considered for Secretary if State? Just another one of Trump's ricaldoodlelus appointments? What a lark!

Bolton graduated from Yale in 1970. I wonder if he is a member of the Skull & Bones? Or closely associated? If so, that makes him much, much more than a mere buffoon but, rather, the very embodiment of the Deep State's and neo-Con's war strategy; that would make Bolton a very, very dangerous person in a very, very powerful position.

Trump would appear to be nothing more than a facilitator.

Both George H.W & George W. Bush were bonesman. Cheney only went to Yale but didn't graduate. Far from Cheney being the controlling influence over George W. (as presented in media and movies) maybe Cheney was just following orders.

Marie Colville (did she ever really exist?) also appears to have been an alumni of Yale (was a fake background constructed?).

Supposedly, the Skull & Bones control Yale; what a very strange place. Anyone, associated with Yale (like Bolton) should be kept well away from power!

GeorgeV , Jun 18, 2019 5:16:30 PM | 31
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Just when you think the US of A's Generalissimo Bone Spur and President Chief Kaiser of Ignorance Arrogance, Stupidity and Hypocrisy (aka: Donald Trump) could not sink to any lower level of idiocy than he already has, he does so. What a country! Only in America!
fastfreddy , Jun 18, 2019 5:28:16 PM | 32
Shouldn't be difficult for Iran, if bmobed at all by US/NATO, to hit Israel - in a big way - from a number of geographic locations and a variety of methods. It would be major and catastrophic.

It poses too great a danger to good friends, with whom the USA maintains an "irrevocable bond", according to the US Congress, the Apartheid State of Israel.

wagelaborer , Jun 18, 2019 5:39:49 PM | 33
I guess Shanahan resigned so he could spend more time abusing his family. I find it interesting that one of the ships attacked, the Front Altair, had a crew of Russians and Filipinos. This was the crew saved by the Iranians. The US story is that they were picked up by a Dutch tanker and then kidnapped by the Iranians. Clearly, the Iranians still saved them, no matter who actually picked them up first.

If the Dutch had turned the crew over to the US, who believes that they would already be released? (The Iranians already released them).

I know that B thinks that this attack was from the Iranians, but the fact that one ship was Japanese, while Abe was in Tehran, and the other had a crew of Russians and Filipinos, both countries under attack from the US, makes me believe that those men were destined to be held for leverage.

Damn straight they were saved by the Iranians.

fx , Jun 18, 2019 5:40:11 PM | 34
For a preview of what things would look like with Pompeo and Bolton in those positions, I recommend a viewing of the movie Vice. (Vice, as in Cheney, working with Rumsfeld and narcissistic poodles such as Powell to start the current ME quagmire.)
Virgile , Jun 18, 2019 5:49:02 PM | 35
Trump went too far with Iran under the devilish advice and initiatives of Heckle and Jeckle... If he wants to stop the escalation with Iran, before it gets out of control, the only way is to move Pompeo to Sec of Defense where he will have to face the powerful and war-reluctant military. Trump would also simultaneously fire Bolton. Depending on the reactions of the neocons and Jewish lobby, he will then choose a new sec of state, 'brilliant' Jared Kushner?
wagelaborer , Jun 18, 2019 6:14:10 PM | 37
Sharon @ 36. I was going by this post....
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/todays-attacks-on-ships-in-the-gulf-of-oman-are-not-in-irans-interest.html#more

Posted by: paulll , Jun 18, 2019 6:16:14 PM | 38

I think the US has become very skilled at fighting wars without taking casualties. I think the air attacks in Syria - on Iranian forces - have made it pretty clear that Iran has no meaningful defense capabilities vs air attack. What Trump is probably counting on is a turkey shoot and I think that is exactly what it will be.
brian , Jun 18, 2019 6:16:25 PM | 39
What is Trump's motivation to be provocative with Iran?' Pelosi asks – and the answer is Adelson. Adelson called on the last president, Barack Obama, to nuke Iran in 2013 https://mondoweiss.net/2019/06/motivation-provocative-adelson/ its a war for israel
Harry Law , Jun 18, 2019 6:34:19 PM | 41
We should take heart from readers comments in the New York Times in response to an article by the NYT Editorial Board.
There were 473 of them before the Times closed the discussion, and we could not find a single one that is supportive of war or of U.S. efforts to continue pressure on Iran. So Bret Stephens gets to spur on a war in his Times column, but the paper's readers are universally against the idea. Moreover, they hold the Times responsible and see through the equivocations in the editorial. Several point out that the press was the handmaiden of the Iraq disaster. https://mondoweiss.net/2019/06/readers-newspaper-abetting/#comments

The US position is an attempt to keep hegemony over the region because both Israel and Saudi Arabia feel the US is losing it, and they are correct.

Trump walked away from the JCPOA at the behest of Israel with the accusation that it was a bad deal, the deal did in fact rule out enrichment of uranium above 3.5%, approx 90% enrichment is required to build a nuclear device.

The Ayatollah issued a decree to the effect that nuclear weapons were un-Islamic, therefore Iran should not have them.

The real reason Trump walked away was because Iran was in rapid production of highly accurate conventional ballistic missiles some of which would find their way to Hezbollah, the UN Resolution banned the building of missiles capable of carrying a nuclear payload, but not conventional warheads, to ban the latter would have rendered Iran defenseless, which was the whole idea of the Israeli and Saudi Arabian intervention.

Being incapable of defending itself is not something any state could countenance, that's why it will never happen, hence the stand off.

In my opinion there will be no war with Iran, too many losers, Saudi Arabia/UAE, Israel, the US fleet [in Bahrain] the US bases all over the Middle East, of course Iran and its friends could be destroyed [but at what cost?] The Strait of Hormus is bristling with Iranian anti ship missiles, the first sign of war would see the US fleet depart from Bahrain, the lumbering giant and vulnerable B52's based in Qatar would not get off the ground and US airbases in the region well within range if Iranian missiles would be reduced to rubble. As for any US carriers in the area and why US carriers are obsolete, especially in the Iranian situation here is an article by Gary Brecher from 10 years ago and very witty.. http://exiledonline.com/the-war-nerd-this-is-how-the-carriers-will-die/all/1/

karlof1 , Jun 18, 2019 6:39:05 PM | 42
Interesting this WaPost op/ed totally trashing Trump/Pompeo foreign policy and their utter inability didn't generate any further comment on the previous thread. Sure, it came from BezosPost, but it surely represents some powerful faction that's totally at odds with the directionlessness of Trump and Pompeo.

After so many fiascos, there seems to be very little appetite for armed conflict amongst the Vassals except for UK. There's lots of domestic uproar over Trump policies the tanker attacks have muted so far but won't go away anytime soon -- particularly the Concentration Camp charges, which are 100% correct, extremely damning and damaging.

Look at the situation from overseas. Escalating belligerency across the board aimed at enemies and allies alike is combined with visibly repressive, likely unconstitutional and, in the world's eyes, morally reprehensible actions toward vulnerable innocents from which horror stories occur on a daily basis. Oh, and don't forget Assange and the War against Truth. And your government is being asked to support TrumpCo's policies?! I bet plenty of leaders are biting their tongues. The G-20's in ten days.

Curtis , Jun 18, 2019 6:49:27 PM | 43
At least Gates resisted the Obama/Hillary mission to destroy Libya (worked with JCS to contact Gaddhafi's sons). Hillary put a stop to that. One wonders if Pompeo and Bolton are playing a multi-view game of picking a SecDef that they (and Kushner/Netanyau) approve of.
Curtis , Jun 18, 2019 6:55:29 PM | 44
Oops. It wasn't so much Gates as Kucinich leading that effort with the JCS. But Gates was hesitant in a TIME article about a meeting with Obama and KerryHillary to discuss possible military action against Iran. At the time, I figured it was posturing for Israel. I focused on the description of Kerry and Hillary as "interventionists."
Pft , Jun 18, 2019 7:01:27 PM | 45
This is rather ominous. Sounds a bit like cleaning house and removing potential witnesses who aren't will the program or may soon have a grudge to bear.

Its June and you know who loves blood to be spilled in June, and right before July 4 you know. Look for a limited aerial strike per PCR, and then they hope Iran retaliates and gives an excuse for them to escalate.

Americans are so brainwashed into buying into US militarism and exceptionalism that Trumps approval ratings will go up. Anyone criticizing the military or war is labelled anti-American and censored by Social Media. Declining IQ's and chronic illnesses due to vaccines and other environmental toxins will limit any protests. Besides, the military is the one way to get a free college education while getting paid to go to school. The young will continue lining up to serve and fight these threats to the American way of life. Shouting America First. MAGA. Waving their Made in China flag. God blesses US. Might makes right, etc

Puppet regimes in occupied Europe will go along. Fellow Fake wrestlers in China and Russia will make squeaky noises. So predictable

karlof1 , Jun 18, 2019 7:02:15 PM | 46
It dawned on me that those outside the Outlaw US Empire don't know about TrumpCo's Concentration Camps and the surrounding, escalating controversy. As I've written, conflation of Concentration with Death Camps and decades of propaganda are fueling the issue:

"'The Holocaust did not begin with the murder of six million Jews,' writer Bess Kalb tweeted in response to Cheney. 'It began with the same dehumanization, deportation, and internment we see today. You, sickeningly, invoke the Holocaust to minimize their suffering. Shame.'

As you might imagine given the level of Jewish/Zionist support, Cheney and the Republicans have made an enormous mistake.

Pft , Jun 18, 2019 7:07:54 PM | 47
Ort@27

"Come to think of it, unless Dick Cheney is busy with other priorities, he ought to be available for a reboot of Shock & Awe."

There are some who believe he is the unofficial President running things from his underground city built as part of the Continuity of Government that kicks in during National Emergencies such as the one declared 18 years ago and still in effect

Not 100% sure this is true but I suspect his voice is being heard

Don Bacon , Jun 18, 2019 7:08:32 PM | 48
President Trump made the announcement with a pair of midday tweets that Shanahan was withdrawing and that Army Secretary Mark Esper would take his place as acting Defense secretary

On Esper, in April Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced that the president nominated Army Gen. Mark Milley to serve as the next JCS chairman which would be effective in about September when General Joseph Dunford leaves after four years on the job. His predecessor was an Army general, so it was considered odd to select another Army general to be top dog.

Now, Esper is Army too and if he were nominated for SecDef that would shake some people. What about Air Force and Navy? What are they, chopped liver?

. . .more on Esper from The Hill:

Esper graduated from West Point in 1986 and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring. His Army career includes a combat tour in Iraq during the Gulf War. Several Republican senators have already said they'd support Esper should he be nominated.

. . .(but) Esper was a lobbyist at defense contractor Raytheon for seven years prior to becoming Army secretary. Esper's lobbyist past could bring up some of the issues that dogged Shanahan on potential conflicts of interest.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement that Esper "risk[s] being tainted by his previous work for a major defense contractor. The group's allegations against Shanahan in part prompted the inspector general investigation.

"While Esper may not have had sway over these types of deals as secretary of the Army, as acting secretary of Defense he will have potential influence over such deals, as well as over the controversial proposed merger of Raytheon and UTC to become the second largest defense company in the U.S.," Bookbinder said. "His ethics agreement -- and his ability to follow it -- will be something we will be watching closely." . . . here

Jackrabbit , Jun 18, 2019 7:11:25 PM | 49
SecDef: A Poisoned Chalice

Seems that Shanahan balked at being the scapegoat for the next war so they found another. Shanahan is said to be pretty smart (Masters and MBA from MIT).

Is it that he's not a strong manager or did he just play along to get his ticket stamped? I wouldn't be surprised if he's made the new CEO of Boeing (It's now clear that Boeing will have to do more to recover from their 737Max debacle) . Or perhaps he'll join a Defense-focused Private Equity firm, or simply sit on the Boards of several defense-related enterprises. Any of these will be better than accepting the Trump Administration's Poison Chalice.

Jackrabbit , Jun 18, 2019 7:11:49 PM | 50
SecDef: A Poisoned Chalice

Seems that Shanahan balked at being the scapegoat for the next war so they found another. Shanahan is said to be pretty smart (Masters and MBA from MIT).

Is it that he's not a strong manager or did he just play along to get his ticket stamped? I wouldn't be surprised if he's made the new CEO of Boeing (It's now clear that Boeing will have to do more to recover from their 737Max debacle) . Or perhaps he'll join a Defense-focused Private Equity firm, or simply sit on the Boards of several defense-related enterprises. Any of these will be better than accepting the Trump Administration's Poison Chalice.

willie , Jun 18, 2019 7:30:12 PM | 51
Has Trump been misled by his advisors, when he twitted about the infamous video shot in the dark by modern means that would surprise the Iranians?I Mean ,because now it turns out to be made in clear daylight with the newly published images. Is Trump angry about being cheated or did he play with the game and was his twitted remark kind of an inside joke?

Previously we had G.Haspel showing non-pertinent to the matter camera shots of duck and children to convince him into expelling a max number of Russian diplomats.

And much earlier it was pictures shown to Melania and him of dead or agonizing Syrian children that made him order missile attack on Syria. Is that the way he is being handled by his surroundings in his decision process? Is there a doctor around at the White House?

Peter AU 1 , Jun 18, 2019 7:33:05 PM | 52
Reading Harry Law's post @41, it looks like the US needs another Pearl Harbour to carry its people to war.
Plenty of Pearl Harbour type assets around the Persian Gulf. Problem for the US is getting Iran to react and hit some of these.
snake , Jun 18, 2019 8:06:12 PM | 53
Henry Law @ 41 and Peter Au 1 @ 52 might find the content of this link very interesting. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51773.htm

I am sure there are many Americans interested to know who is in charge at the USA..

Jackrabbit , Jun 18, 2019 8:17:51 PM | 54
willie @51: Has Trump been misled by his advisors ...

The media promote Doublethink

... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality... Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance -- thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

Such that Trump is both peace-loving nationalist and empire-loving antagonist. Except that the latter is expressed as a positive: "staunch ally", "tough negotiator", "protector", etc instead of a negative. Some people fall for it (Kool-Aid drinkers) and MSM ignores those that talk about the meta issues of MSM complicity.

And it's not just Trump. Whenever a President does things that might cause cognitive dissonance, apologists and the feckless press explain it away as a positive or blame subordinates for "sabotaging" the hero President.

TLDR: stop falling for MSM false narratives .

Jackrabbit , Jun 18, 2019 8:24:14 PM | 56
snake @53: I am sure there are many Americans interested to know who is in charge at the USA..

IMO President's are just members of the Deep State team. Presidents lead the team that's "on the field" - like a quarterback in American football. But the Deep State 'coach' calls the plays. And the 'coach' is, in turn, ultimately responsible to the owners (capitalists).

dltravers , Jun 18, 2019 8:38:10 PM | 57
They appointed a VP of Raetheon as Secretary of Defense which is appropriate because that is who is selling the US the missiles to demolish Iran.

US intelligence learns from a highly credible source that Iran's Revolutionary Guards have completed preparations for a large-scale assault on an important Saudi oil facility within days.

@DEBKA

You know this stuff is being fed to the military industrial congressional complex. It looks like they will start some limited bombing of Iran prior to the 2020 elections to get everyone waving their flags and shouting Hurahh.

Zachary Smith , Jun 18, 2019 8:50:30 PM | 58
@ Harry Law | Jun 18, 2019 6:34:19 PM #41

I hope there isn't a war, but there is one nation you didn't mention which doesn't figure it'll be hurt much by an outbreak of violence. A large number of goyim ending up dead doesn't bother them the least bit. I'd imagine the smashing of Iran would be worth receiving a few bombs on their stolen land. But not a lot, for if that happened they'd start waving around the nuke option and cause Trump to keep on till the job was done to their satisfaction.

Thanks for the old War Nerd link. If the situation with aircraft carriers was bad then, a 2019 update would show them to be even worse in the death-trap category. But we're still building them.

karlof1 , Jun 18, 2019 8:57:19 PM | 59
In light of what the WaPost published I linked to above regrading the utter lack in confidence in both Trump and Pompeo to conduct a rational foreign policy, I seriously doubt the change at SecDef will provide optimism for improvement. Some apparently think such dissent is just shadowplay; IMO, they are mistaken. And I will again note the dissent isn't just about Iran; rather, it's about the conduct of overall foreign policy, especially Trade Policy, which is eating into corporate profitability.

Which side will take the next move is the question now. Perhaps another Houthi attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, which present very soft, vulnerable targets. Perhaps a Houthi ballistic missile attack on UAE port facilities. The Idlib offensive will begin again after the non-ceasefire that saw continual al-Qaeda attacks and mounting Terrorist losses; perhaps, the long awaited push West from Aleppo will occur. But Syria is tangential to the Iranian confrontation. Maybe the EU will announce something significant that shows independent thinking? Time marches inexorably onward to the next event.

Clueless Joe , Jun 18, 2019 8:58:11 PM | 60
Peter AU1 - 52

That would be a terrible miscalculation from US leadership. The one reason why Pearl Harbour wasn't a lasting disaster for the US is that the carriers survived. What if Iran actually manages to sink a carrier air group? I mean, nukes and nearly untouchable power projection through aircraft carriers are the two main reasons why the US is still the supreme superpower around. Show people that the carriers can be taken out and actually begin to take them out, and plenty of people and countries will begin to consider leaving that mad army parading as a country to itself - not to mention some will soon openly rebel.

Grieved , Jun 18, 2019 9:11:23 PM | 61
@60 Clueless Joe - "..mad army parading as a country"

nice one. Good analysis too.

Don Bacon , Jun 18, 2019 9:18:28 PM | 62
The US has 50,000 troops and a carrier strike group "protecting American interests" in the Persian Gulf area of the Middle East. Somebody in government ought to tell us what those "interests" are, which require such an investment. That would be nice.
SharonM , Jun 18, 2019 9:18:37 PM | 63
Wagelaborer@37

I think that article is about Iran having a reason to do it, but I didn't read in it that "b" believed that Iran had done it. I took him as more musing about the possibility without believing it himself?

Don Bacon , Jun 18, 2019 9:24:03 PM | 64
The Guardian-- The Iran crisis was created in Washington. The US must be talked down
Unnecessarily aggressive, ill-considered – and deceptively presented – US policies have once again brought the Middle East to the brink of an accidental war very few want. America's European friends, including Britain, have an urgent responsibility to talk it down – and drag it back from the abyss.

[Jun 18, 2019] Sections

Jun 18, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Share Options Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Tumblr Comments 524 Link to homepage Resize Text Print Article

[Jun 18, 2019] Have the neoliberal ruling elite gotten lazy or stupid

Notable quotes:
"... The Gulf of Credibility - I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in https://t.co/P1wE1Y886i ..."
"... When the ruling elite wanted a war with Iraq they invented incubator babies and WMD programs that didn't exist. Their inventions were far fetched, but not unbelievable. However, the idea that the paranoid dictator Saddam was just going to hand over his most powerful weapons to religious fanatics that hated his guts, was laughably stupid. ..."
"... When the ruling elite wanted a war with Libya they invented a genocidal, Viagra-fueled, rape army. Their invention was far fetched, and bit lazy, but you could be forgiven for believing that the Mandarins believed it. ..."
"... This latest anti-Iran warmongering is just plain stupid. It's as if they don't really care if anyone believes the lies they are telling. For starters, look at the shameless liar who is telling these lies. ..."
"... Looking at this incident/narrative from any/every angle leaves one to conclude "false flag". ..."
"... As for the "most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime" that also happens to be "bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad". Because Mossad actually does that. ..."
"... If El Trumpo was going to drain the swamp, why did he take these cretins, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Abrams into his cabinet? Is the tail, wagging the dog as usual? ..."
"... The elite are both lazy and stupid. Even the Orange Man will not be sucked into another Douma style false flag operation. The reasons why this is a basic false flag is obvious. If anybody reading about this doesn't understand the culprits responsible weren't Iranian, then they should be interviewed for mental competency. ..."
"... But Pompous Mike and Bolt-on Bolt-off need to be removed from any semblance of governmental authority. I could go on but this whole affair is making me tired...I'm going back to my swamp. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 5:42pm

The Gulf of Credibility - I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in https://t.co/P1wE1Y886i

-- Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) June 14, 2019

When the ruling elite wanted a war with Iraq they invented incubator babies and WMD programs that didn't exist. Their inventions were far fetched, but not unbelievable. However, the idea that the paranoid dictator Saddam was just going to hand over his most powerful weapons to religious fanatics that hated his guts, was laughably stupid.

When the ruling elite wanted a war with Libya they invented a genocidal, Viagra-fueled, rape army. Their invention was far fetched, and bit lazy, but you could be forgiven for believing that the Mandarins believed it.

This latest anti-Iran warmongering is just plain stupid. It's as if they don't really care if anyone believes the lies they are telling. For starters, look at the shameless liar who is telling these lies.

You mean "Mr. We Lied, We Cheated, We Stole"? What a disgraceful character... pic.twitter.com/pMtAgKaZcG

-- Brave New World (@ClubBayern) June 13, 2019

Then there are the many problems of their "proof".

Where is the video of the Iranians PLACING explosives & detonating them? Removal would be prudent by any Navy/CG. Also location of explosives is VERY high off waterline ...Weird. It's not a limpet mine, it's a demo charge. Had to be put on by fairly high boat w/ a long gaff/pole https://t.co/3qzB7TrrYv

-- Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) June 14, 2019

The distress call went out at 6 am. So, according to CENTCOM's analysis of this video, they're suggesting that 10 hours after the tanker was hit, the IRGC just casually pulled up to the tanker to remove unexploded limpet mine in broad daylight?!

-- Rosalind Rogers راز (@Rrogerian) June 14, 2019

BREAKING: Owner says Kokuka Courageous tanker crew saw "flying objects" before attack, suggesting ship wasn't damaged by mines.

-- The Associated Press (@AP) June 14, 2019

The Japanese company that owns the ship has refused to cooperate in this false flag mission.

But in remarks to Japanese media, the president of the company that owns the ship said the vessel wasn't damaged by a mine. "A mine doesn't damage a ship above sea level," said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. "We aren't sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship," he said.

When the propaganda begins to fall apart and @realDonaldTrump tries to find another way to start a war to win an election. pic.twitter.com/r8Cp7BNQ7z

-- Bamboozll (@bamboozll) June 14, 2019

Looking at this incident/narrative from any/every angle leaves one to conclude "false flag".

Finally, there is the question of "why"?

What would Iran hope to accomplish by this? I found one establishment source that tried to rationalize.

Iran denied responsibility, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif descending to bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad.

If you're not inclined to believe the Trump administration – and such skepticism is entirely reasonable – most detectives would still tell you that the most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime.

To those seeking logic behind the attacks, though, it may be hard to see why Iran would do this – but that assumes that the regime in Tehran is a rational actor.

The Gulf of Oman attacks are especially hard to explain: targeting Japanese shipping on the very day that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on a well-publicized peace mission would seem extraordinarily counterproductive, even for a regime with an almost fanatical commitment to self-harm.

Have you ever noticed that everyone that we want to start a war with is crazy? Regimes that stand solid for generations under hostile conditions are always run by maniacs. You'd think that insanity would prevent them from taking power in the first place, but that seems to only be true with our allies.

As for the "most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime" that also happens to be "bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad". Because Mossad actually does that.

Since the U.S.'s tightening of sanctions has squeezed Iranian oil exports, nobody else's should be allowed to pass through waters within reach of the IRGC.

The Iranians know that these threats, if repeated, can lose their power if not followed with action. The attacks on the tankers, then, can be explained as a demonstration that Khamenei's attack dogs have some teeth.

There is another rationale. If Iran does eventually agree to negotiate with the U.S., it will want to bring some bargaining chips to the table – something it can exchange for the removal of sanctions. In the negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran was able to offer the suspension of its nuclear program. It doesn't have that particular chip now, although Tehran has recently threatened to crank up the centrifuges again.

Meanwhile, the regime may have calculated that the only way to secure some kind of negotiating position is blackmail: End the sanctions, or we take out some more tankers, and send oil prices surging.

This almost sounds logical, except for one thing: Iran tried that in 1988 and it didn't work. It only caused the one thing the U.S. was itching for: to kill some Iranians.
Do you think that they've forgotten? Or that the U.S. is less warlike? Oh wait. Iranians are crazy and can't be reasoned with, amirite?

US public radio @NPR does not mention it was Iranians who saved the crew. That's how terrible they are at journalism

-- boomerWithaLandline (@Irene34799239) June 14, 2019

The only real question is, why such a transparent lie? Has the ruling elite gotten lazy or stupid? Or do they think that we are that lazy and stupid? I have an alternative theory .

For the last two years, as you've probably noticed, the corporate media have been not so subtly alternating between manufacturing Russia hysteria and Nazi hysteria, and sometimes whipping up both at once. Thus, I've dubbed the new Official Enemy of Freedom "the Putin-Nazis." They don't really make any sense, rationally, but let's not get all hung up on that. Official enemies don't have to make sense. The important thing is, they're coming to get us, and to kill the Jews and destroy democracy and something about Stalin, if memory serves. Putin is their leader, of course. Trump is his diabolical puppet. Julian Assange is well, Goebbels, or something. Glenn Greenwald is also on the payroll, as are countless "useful idiots" like myself, whose job it is to sow division, discord, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism, anti-Hillaryism, collusion rejectionism, ontological skepticism, and any other horrible thing you can think of.

Their bullsh*t lies have gotten lazy and stupid because real effort isn't required to start a war and kill a lot of people.

WoodsDweller on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:18pm

I'm going to go with "desperate"

Something's happening to move up the time table, and it isn't the election, we're already in plenty of wars, another one won't help El Trumpo.

Sirena on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
Who is playing who?

That is the question, I ask thee? If El Trumpo was going to drain the swamp, why did he take these cretins, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Abrams into his cabinet? Is the tail, wagging the dog as usual?

TheOtherMaven on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
All of the above

Lazy, stupid, and desperate.

Alligator Ed on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:33pm
The answer to your title is YES

The elite are both lazy and stupid. Even the Orange Man will not be sucked into another Douma style false flag operation. The reasons why this is a basic false flag is obvious. If anybody reading about this doesn't understand the culprits responsible weren't Iranian, then they should be interviewed for mental competency.

My money, the little that I have, is on either the Saudis or the Israelis; maybe even both.

But Pompous Mike and Bolt-on Bolt-off need to be removed from any semblance of governmental authority. I could go on but this whole affair is making me tired...I'm going back to my swamp.

[Jun 18, 2019] The people in the USA are as good as anywhere, but only as trained as their culture tells them to be. Perhaps the future holds some spark of brightness for the people.

Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

Grieved on April 17, 2019 , · at 1:36 am EST/EDT

... ... ..

The US was always the way Orlov describes its future. It only ever belonged to those who could keep their heads above water. You go under, and you're gone forever, and very quickly forgotten. I don't recommend it as a social system, but that's the system.

But the people, within that system. the people are great people, with remarkable moral fiber, in situations they understand. Those who are breathing air and not water can rightfully enjoy the company of these others, even though many of those others might lately be breathing an air-water mixture – and perhaps even oneself.

It's a poignant thing, these United States. The people are as good as anywhere, but only as trained as their culture tells them to be. Perhaps the future holds some spark of brightness for the people. They were always a transcendent bunch, actually, in a culture founded on spiritual independence – despite all the overlay of consumerist crap. Somehow they uniquely evolved the means of ignoring that crap – playing the TV in the background, for example, while reading college studies – in order to live decent lives.

It's possible this long-remote karma of spiritual longing might still hold some embers. Perhaps the people of the US might rediscover the power of sincere prayer? The power of sincerity? Time alone will tell.

[Jun 18, 2019] Pompeo plays 'I've Got A Secret" during an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS Face The Nation, responding to a request for evidence that Iran was behind a Taliban attack on a US convoy in Afghanistan

Jun 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Jun 18, 2019 10:13:32 AM | 111

Pompeo plays 'I've Got A Secret" during an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS Face The Nation, responding to a request for evidence that Iran was behind a Taliban attack on a US convoy in Afghanistan. Pompeo had painted the Taliban-claimed attack as one of "a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests."
QUESTION: One of the things when you were at the podium at the State Department earlier this week you presented as a fact was an attack that was carried out in Kabul in May. The Taliban said they carried it out, but you blamed Iran for it. What evidence do you have that Iran was behind that attack?
SECRETARY POMPEO: We have confidence that Iran instigated this attack. I can't share any more of the intelligence, but I wouldn't have said it if the Intelligence Community hadn't become convinced that this was the case.
QUESTION: So there's more that you can't share with us to back that up?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. That's correct. . . here

Juan Cole, an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia, takes a look at that charge.
Once Again Pompeo Displays Hopeless Ignorance of Sunni & Shiite, Iran and Taliban
. . .Pompeo painted the incident as one of "a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests."
Pompeo's statement is so embarrassing as to be cringe-worthy. It is either a lie in the service of war propaganda or a display of such bottomless ignorance on the part of America's chief diplomat as to be grounds for impeachment (or perhaps just consignment to an asylum). . . here

Pompeo -- Liar, liar, pants on fire.

[Jun 18, 2019] The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

Notable quotes:
"... Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts. ..."
"... Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required). ..."
"... Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process? ..."
"... In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International . ..."
"... U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) ..."
"... the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction. ..."
"... Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results. ..."
"... Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. ..."
"... Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year. ..."
"... No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end. ..."
"... A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike. ..."
"... Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. ..."
"... Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. ..."
"... Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." ..."
"... Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense ..."
"... Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. ..."
"... Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute. ..."
"... Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war. ..."
"... all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results. ..."
"... War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, Libya to Somalia in Africa, Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, an American aerial curtain has descended across a huge swath of the planet. Its stated purpose: combatting terrorism. Its primary method: constant surveillance and bombing -- and yet more bombing.

Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts.

Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required).

Its reality for various foreign peoples: a steady diet of " Made in USA " bombs and missiles bursting here, there, and everywhere.

Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process?

For many of America's decision-makers, air power has clearly become something of an abstraction. After all, except for the 9/11 attacks by those four hijacked commercial airliners, Americans haven't been the target of such strikes since World War II. On Washington's battlefields across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, air power is always almost literally a one-way affair. There are no enemy air forces or significant air defenses. The skies are the exclusive property of the U.S. Air Force (and allied air forces), which means that we're no longer talking about "war" in the normal sense. No wonder Washington policymakers and military officials see it as our strong suit, our asymmetrical advantage , our way of settling scores with evildoers, real and imagined.

Bombs away!

In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International .

Meanwhile, since Donald Trump has become president, after claiming that he would get us out of our various never-ending wars, U.S. bombing has surged, not only against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq but in Afghanistan as well. It has driven up the civilian death toll there even as "friendly" Afghan forces are sometimes mistaken for the enemy and killed , too. Air strikes from Somalia to Yemen have also been on the rise under Trump, while civilian casualties due to U.S. bombing continue to be underreported in the American media and downplayed by the Trump administration.

U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) Today's air strikes are more limited than in those past campaigns and may be more accurate, but never confuse a 500-pound bomb with a surgeon's scalpel, even rhetorically. When " surgical " is applied to bombing in today's age of lasers, GPS, and other precision-guidance technologies, it only obscures the very real human carnage being produced by all these American-made bombs and missiles.

This country's propensity for believing that its ability to rain hellfire from the sky provides a winning methodology for its wars has proven to be a fantasy of our age. Whether in Korea in the early 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s, or more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction.

Such results are contrary to the rationale for air power that I absorbed in a career spent in the U.S. Air Force. (I retired in 2005.) The fundamental tenets of air power that I learned, which are still taught today, speak of decisiveness. They promise that air power, defined as "flexible and versatile," will have "synergistic effects" with other military operations. When bombing is "concentrated," "persistent," and "executed" properly (meaning not micro-managed by know-nothing politicians), air power should be fundamental to ultimate victory. As we used to insist, putting bombs on target is really what it's all about. End of story -- and of thought.

Given the banality and vacuity of those official Air Force tenets, given the twenty-first-century history of air power gone to hell and back, and based on my own experience teaching such history and strategy in and outside the military, I'd like to offer some air power tenets of my own. These are the ones the Air Force didn't teach me, but that our leaders might consider before launching their next "decisive" air campaign.

Ten Cautionary Tenets About Air Power

1. Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results.

2. Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. American air power pulverized both North Korea and Vietnam (not to speak of neighboring Laos and Cambodia ), yet the Korean War ended in a stalemate and the Vietnam War in defeat. (It tells you the world about such thinking that air power enthusiasts, reconsidering the Vietnam debacle, tend to argue the U.S. should have bombed even more -- lots more .) Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year.

3. No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end.

Consider, for instance, the "decapitation" strikes launched against Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein and his top officials in the opening moments of the Bush administration's invasion of 2003. Despite the hype about that being the beginning of the most precise air campaign in all of history, 50 of those attacks, supposedly based on the best intelligence around, failed to take out Saddam or a single one of his targeted officials. They did, however, cause "dozens" of civilian deaths. Think of it as a monstrous repeat of the precision air attacks launched on Belgrade in 1999 against Slobodan Milosevic and his regime that hit the Chinese embassy instead, killing three journalists.

Here, then, is the question of the day: Why is it that, despite all the "precision" talk about it, air power so regularly proves at best a blunt instrument of destruction? As a start, intelligence is often faulty. Then bombs and missiles, even "smart" ones, do go astray. And even when U.S. forces actually kill high-value targets (HVTs), there are always more HVTs out there. A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike.

4. Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. Fast-forward to our era and consider recent signals sent to North Korea and Iran by the Trump administration via B-52 bomber deployments, among other military "messages." There's no evidence that either country modified its behavior significantly in the face of the menace of those baby-boomer-era airplanes.

5. Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. Similarly, in the present moment, making operational and then maintaining Lockheed Martin's boondoggle of a jet fighter, the F-35, is expected to cost at least $1.45 trillion over its lifetime. The new B-21 stealth bomber will cost more than $100 billion simply to buy. Naval air wings on aircraft carriers cost billions each year to maintain and operate. These days, when the sky's the limit for the Pentagon budget, such costs may be (barely) tolerable. When the money finally begins to run out, however, the military will likely suffer a serious hangover from its wildly extravagant spending on air power.

6. Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." It can instead prove to be a kind of delusion, while war practiced in its spirit often becomes little more than an exercise in destruction. You simply can't negotiate a truce or take prisoners or foster other options when you're high above a potential battlefield and your main recourse is blowing up people and things.

7. Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense . As such, it fuels imperial ventures, while fostering the kind of " global reach, global power " thinking that has in these years had Air Force generals in its grip.

8. Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. Consider Vietnam again. In the early 1960s, the Air Force argued that it alone could resolve that conflict at the lowest cost (mainly in American bodies). With enough bombs, napalm, and defoliants, victory was a sure thing and U.S. ground troops a kind of afterthought. (Initially, they were sent in mainly to protect the airfields from which those planes took off.) But bombing solved nothing and then the Army and the Marines decided that, if the Air Force couldn't win, they sure as hell could. The result was escalation and disaster that left in the dust the original vision of a war won quickly and on the cheap due to American air supremacy.

9. Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute.

10. Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war.

The Road to Perdition

If I had to reduce these tenets to a single maxim, it would be this: all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results.

For this reason, precision warfare is truly an oxymoron. War isn't precise. It's nasty, bloody, and murderous. War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf.

Who doesn't know the old riddle: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Here's a twenty-first-century air power variant on it: If foreign children die from American bombs but no U.S. media outlets report their deaths, will anyone grieve? Far too often, the answer here in the U.S. is no and so our wars go on into an endless future of global destruction.

In reality, this country might do better to simply ground its many fighter planes, bombers, and drones. Paradoxically, instead of gaining the high ground, they are keeping us on a low road to perdition.


Joiningupthedots , 11 minutes ago link

All off that may be true BUT.......

The myth of Tomahawk has already been dispelled

Countries with reasonable to excellent A2D2 are seriously avoided.

The solution is for Russia to sell equipment and training packages of A2D2 to any country that wants then at BE prices.

Thousands of decoys with spoof emitters and......

Planes take like 3 years to build and pilots take at least 5-6 years to train.

Do the math!

107cicero , 17 minutes ago link

From a marketing/profit perspective , BOMBS are the perfect product.

Insanely expensive, used once.

Rinse and repeat.

Theedrich , 1 hour ago link

In December of 2017, Daniel Ellsberg published a book, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner" . Among many other things, he revealed the actual Strangelovian nature of our military establishment. Most enlightening is his revelation that many in the high command of our nuclear triggers do not trust, or even have contempt for, civilian oversight and control of the military. They covertly regard the presidential leadership as naïve and inept, though it would be professional suicide to admit such an attitude openly.

Comes now 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕹𝖊𝖜 𝖄𝖔𝖗𝖐 𝕿𝖎𝖒𝖊𝖘 with the revelation that the Pentagon's Cyber Command has attacked Russia's power grid with software "implants" designed to destroy that grid the instant a mouse click is given, thereby possibly initiating global war. Most alarmingly, the details of this secret action were kept from the President, lest he countermand the operation or leak it to the Russians.

So now we have a general staff that is conducting critical international military operations on its own, with no civilian input, permission or hindrances of any kind. A formula for national suicide, executed by a tiny junta of unelected officers who decide to play nuclear Russian roulette.

We seem to be ineluctably and irreversibly trapped in a state of national dementia.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 2 hours ago link

Just remember this: The U.S. had the technological advantage in Viet Nam, and blasted that country, along with Cambodia, and Laos, with 7.5 million tons of bombs, (more than the entire WWII campaign of 2.25 million tons), and the Vietnamese were still able to kick our *** out of the country by 1975.

Uskatex , 2 hours ago link

There is a 11th tenet: air force operations need airports or aircraft carriers, and these are very vulnerable to modern, high precision missiles. If the enemy has plenty of missiles, your fighters and bombers can be impeded to take off and land, or even be destroyed. Modern aircrafts need very sophisticated and working infrastructures to be operational.

In the case of a full war with Iran, I see all hostile bases and airports destroyed or damaged by Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian missiles. They have tens of thousand of them - it is 30 years they have been accumulating missiles in prevision of a possible forthcoming war.

Groundround , 44 minutes ago link

You are right. Also, there are many nations with subs and probably more countries have acquired nukes than are willing to admit. I strongly suspect Iran already has nukes. If North Korea has them, I see no reason that Iran wouldn't be even further ahead. They have been under threat of US attacks for my entire lifetime. Anyway, I would not put it past some other countries to hit US coastal cities and then deny any knowledge about who did it. There are many capable and many people have been made enemies by our foreign policy. Surely these people have treaties to help each other should be attack. And why would they make these treaties public and antagonize the US military further. I'm sure there are many well kept secrets out there. We must evolve, or the US and Israel could find it is us against the world.

Wantoknow , 3 hours ago link

War is hell. It has always been so. The failure here is that since World War II all US wars have been fatuously political. Actions have not been taken to win but to posture about moral greatness and the ability to force the enemy to deal without destroying his capacity to resist.

How can you say the US lost in Vietnam when the entire country could have been removed from the face of the Earth? Yes the price of such removal would have been very high but it could have been done. Do such considerations mean that if one withdraws one has lost?

The US won the war in the Pacific but it is now considered an excessive use of force that the US used nuclear weapons to conclude the war. Perhaps the US did not use enough force then to successfully conclude the Vietnam war? Perhaps, it failed to field the right kind of force?

The definition of lost is an interesting one. The practical answer is that the US did lose in many places because it was unwilling to pay the price of victory as publicly expressed. Yet it could have won if it paid the price.

So an interesting question for military types is to ask how to lower the price. What kind of weapons would have been needed to quickly sweep the enemy into oblivion in Vietnam let us say, given the limits of the war? Could the war have been won without ground troops and choppers but with half a million computer controlled drones armed with machine guns and grenades flying in swarms close to the ground?

The factories to produce those weapons could have been located in Thailand or Taiwan or Japan and the product shipped to Vietnam. Since only machines would be destroyed and the drones are obviously meant to substitute for ground troops then how about a million or two million of the drones in place of the half a million ground troops? Could the US, with anachronistic technology to be sure, have won the war for a price that would have been acceptable to the US?

The idea here is that one constructs an army, robot or otherwise, than can destroy the enemy it is going to fight at a price which is acceptable. This is actually a form of asymmetric warfare which requires a thorough understanding of the enemy and his capabilities. The US did not enter Vietnam with such an army but with one not meant to serve in Vietnam and whose losses would be deeply resented at home. The price of victory was too high.

But this does not mean that the US cannot win. It only means that the commitment to win in a poorly thought out war must be great enough to pay the price of victory. This may be a stupid thing to do but it does not mean that it cannot be done. One cannot assume that the US will never again show sufficient commitment to win.

wildfry , 5 hours ago link

Victory means you get to write your own ******** version of history.The most devastating civilian bombing campaign in human history is not even mentioned in this article. The US fire bombing of 30 major cities in Korea with the death toll estimated at between 1.2 million and 1.6 million. I bet most US citizens aren't even aware of this atrocity or that the military requested Truman to authorize the use of nuclear warheads which he, thankfully, declined to do.

herbivore , 5 hours ago link

What does the word "victory" mean? It means whatever the rulers want it to mean. In this case, "victory" is synonymous with prolongation and expansion of warmaking around the world. Victory does not mean an end to combat. In fact, victory, in the classic sense, means defeat, at least from the standpoint of those who profit from war. If someone were to come up with a cure for cancer, it would mean a huge defeat for the cancer industry. Millions would lose their jobs. CEO's would lose their fat pay packages. Therefore, we need to be clearheaded about this, and recognize that victory is not what you think it is.

sonoftx , 5 hours ago link

Talked with a guy recently. He is a pilot. He flies planes over Afghanistan. He is a private contractor.

The program began under the Air Force. It then was taken over by the Army. It is now a private contractor.

There are approx 400 pilots in country at a time with 3 rotations. He told me what he gets paid. $200,000 and up.

They go up with a NSA agent running the equipment in back. He state that the dumbass really does not know what the plane is capable of. They collect all video, audio, infrared, and more? (You have to sense when to stop asking questions)

I just wanted to know the logistics of the info gathered.

So, the info is gathered. The NSA officer then gets with the CIA and the State Dept to see what they can release to the end user. The end user is the SOCOM. After it has been through review then the info is released to SOCOM.

So with all of this info on "goatherders" we still cannot pinpoint and defeat the "enemy"? No. Too many avenues of profit and deceit and infighting. It will always be. May justice here and abroad win in the end.

Concentrate on the true enemies. It is not your black, or Jewish, or brown, or Muslim neighbor. It is the owners of the Fed, Dow chemical, the Rockefellers, McDonnel Douglas and on and on and on and on and on and on..............

ardent , 6 hours ago link

The ROAD to perdition passes through APARTHEID Israhell.

"It does not take a genius to figure out that the United States... has no vital interests at stake in places like Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq. Who is driving the process and benefiting? Israel is clearly the intended beneficiary... " – Philip Giraldi, Former CIA officer.

Boogity , 6 hours ago link

As Dubya famously said they hate us for our freedoms not because we've been dropping bombs on 'em for a couple of decades.

HideTheWeenie , 6 hours ago link

Bombing and war tech looks pretty cool in movies and controlled demonstrations. On reality, it doesn't get you too far. Never has.

Boots on the ground is what wins wars and all the generals know that. So do our enemy combatants.

On the ground, your chances of dying are 5-10% of your chances of getting maimed or permanently disabled, which are pretty high.

Maybe that's why we're letting in all the illegals, so they can fight our next war(s).

[Jun 18, 2019] Gina Haspel What to Know About the New Director of the CIA

May 08, 2019 | fortune.com
Gina Haspel is facing a Congressional grilling as her confirmation hearings for the CIA director's position get underway.

Should she overcome it, she'll be the first woman to hold the director's job. It's a high profile position, but Haspel has been a pretty low profile person up until this point. So who is Trump's nominee to run the government's spy agency?

Haspel, who would replace new secretary of state Mike Pompeo , has been with the agency since 1985, spending much of her career undercover. She has received several awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism and the Presidential Rank Award, the highest award in the federal civil service. She also has overseen the torture of some terror suspects , which is what critics and former ambassadors are worried about.

A 2017 New York Times report says Haspel, in 2002, oversaw the torture of two suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and later was involved in the destruction of videotapes documenting that torture.

One of those prisoners was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls , and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide, says the Times .

As a result of such torture, she was shifted out of her role as head of the CIA's clandestine service.

Haspel was picked to run the CIA's clandestine operations unit in 2013, but Senator Dianne Feinstein , who was the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, blocked the promotion because of Haspel's history of torture.

Within the agency, though, Haspel is reportedly widely respected – and has support from members of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Where she stands personally on issues such as extreme interrogation techniques is an unknown, as she has not offered any public comments on policy, as you would expect for an undercover officer.

And that's what Senators are hoping to learn more about as their questioning gets underway.

[Jun 18, 2019] More NSA Documents Released

May 07, 2019 | rightoftheright.com

By ROTR Team 6 Comments

Declassified documents show President John Kennedy in 1963 warned Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that U.S. support for the young country would be "seriously jeopardized" if Israel did not allow the United States periodic inspections of Israel's nuclear reactor to make sure Israel was not manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear material :

A telegram from Kennedy dated July 4, 1963, congratulates Eshkol on assuming the prime ministership after Ben Gurion's resignation and recounts talks between Kennedy and Ben Gurion about inspections at the reactor in Dimona.

"As I wrote Mr. Ben Gurion, this government's commitment to and support of Israel could be seriously jeopardized if it should be thought that we were unable to obtain reliable information on a subject as vital to peace as Israel's effort in the nuclear field," the telegram said.

The telegram was declassified in the 1990s but was not widely available until last week when the National Security Archives, a project affiliated with George Washington University, posted it on its website.

Kennedy who was otherwise close to Israel was furious with its ostensible nuclear weapons program, fearing that the Soviet Union could use it as leverage to maintain its influence in the Middle East.

Eshkol, caught off guard by the tone of the telegram, took seven weeks to assent, and the twice-yearly inspections continued until 1969 when President Richard Nixon ended them.

Also revealed in the trove of documents the NSA posted is the origin of Israel's oft-repeated credo that it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons -- a deliberately ambiguous statement that left Israel room to develop the weapons, but not arm them.

Shimon Peres, then the deputy defense minister who later would lead the country as prime minister for two stints and then become president, improvised the statement when he was surprised by Kennedy during a meeting Peres had scheduled with Kennedy's adviser, Myer Feldman, who also functioned as the administration's liaison to Israel and the U.S. Jewish community . Unbeknownst to Peres, Kennedy and Feldman had planned the "surprise" encounter.

According to a Hebrew-language Foreign Ministry of Israel account of the April 2 meeting, Kennedy asked Peres into the Oval Office for 30 minutes and questioned him on Israel's nuclear capacity.

"You know that we follow very closely the discovery of any nuclear development in the region," Kennedy said. "This could create a very dangerous situation. For this reason, we monitor your nuclear effort. What could you tell me about this?"

Peres improvised, "I can tell you most clearly that we will not introduce nuclear weapons to the region, and certainly we will not be the first."

[Jun 18, 2019] War With Iran Would Become 'Trump's War' by Patrick J. Buchanan

It is not a secret that the USA have a very powerful MIC lobby that by-and-large defines the USA foreign policy. Israel can be considered as a yet another MIC lobbyist. This lobby in interesting in launching the war (especially pro-Israel faction of the MIC lobby)
The USA can definitely crush Iran military, but the cost might be higher that in case of Iraq. Also without occupation of the country that will not be anything like a decisive victory. In Iraq, the USA was helped by the fact that military quickly crumbed and was undermined by betrayals of several high ranking generals. Whether the same will be the case in Iran is difficult to predict.
Theocratic regimes tend to became more fragile with time, so at that stage is Iran now is difficult to predict without being in the country. So counting on the fragility of the regime might be a valid consideration. But the war typically unites nations so to exploit those weaknesses with war is more difficult task, then just waiting for the regime collapse.
That USA has at least two firm allied in such a war: Israel and Saudis.
Notable quotes:
"... It would widen the "forever war," which Trump said he would end, to a nation of 80 million people, three times as large as Iraq. It would become the defining issue of his presidency, as the Iraq War became the defining issue of George W. Bush's presidency. ..."
"... Trump's repudiation of the treaty was followed by his reimposition of sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure. This was followed by the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "terrorist" organization. ..."
"... U.S. policy has been to squeeze Iran's economy until the regime buckles to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's 12 demands, including an end to Tehran's support of its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. ..."
"... Sunday, Pompeo said Iran was behind the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman and that Tehran instigated an attack that injured four U.S. soldiers in Kabul though the Taliban claimed responsibility. ..."
"... Tehran has denied any role in the tanker attacks, helped put out the fire on one tanker, and accused its enemies of "false flag" attacks to instigate a war. ..."
"... Writing in The Wall Street Journal Monday were Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon nest funded by Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson. In a piece titled, "America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran," the pair make the case that Trump should squeeze the Iranian regime relentlessly and not fear a military clash, and a war with Iran would be a cakewalk. ..."
"... "Iran's fragile theocracy can't absorb a massive external shock. That's why Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, for the most part, adhered to the JCPOA (the nuclear pact) and why he is likely angling for negotiation over confrontation with the Great Satan." ..."
"... This depiction of Iran's political crisis and economic decline invites a question: If the Tehran regime is so fragile and the Iranian people are so alienated, why not avoid a war and wait for the regime's collapse? ..."
"... Who wants a U.S. war with Iran? Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump's to extricate us from those wars. ..."
"... Should they succeed in Iran, it is hard to see how we will ever be able to extricate our country from this blood-soaked region that holds no vital strategic interest save oil, and America, thanks to fracking, has become independent of that. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | original.antiwar.com

War With Iran Would Become 'Trump's War'

Posted on June 18, 2019 June 17, 2019 President Donald Trump cannot want war with Iran.

Such a war, no matter how long, would be fought in and around the Persian Gulf, through which a third of the world's seaborne oil travels. It could trigger a worldwide recession and imperil Trump's reelection.

It would widen the "forever war," which Trump said he would end, to a nation of 80 million people, three times as large as Iraq. It would become the defining issue of his presidency, as the Iraq War became the defining issue of George W. Bush's presidency.

And if war comes now, it would be known as "Trump's War."

For it was Trump who pulled us out of the Iran nuclear deal, though, according to U.N. inspectors and the other signatories – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China – Tehran was complying with its terms.

Trump's repudiation of the treaty was followed by his reimposition of sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure. This was followed by the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "terrorist" organization.

Then came the threats of U.S. secondary sanctions on nations, some of them friends and allies, that continued to buy oil from Iran.

U.S. policy has been to squeeze Iran's economy until the regime buckles to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's 12 demands, including an end to Tehran's support of its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Sunday, Pompeo said Iran was behind the attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman and that Tehran instigated an attack that injured four U.S. soldiers in Kabul though the Taliban claimed responsibility.

The war hawks are back.

"This unprovoked attack on commercial shipping warrants retaliatory military strikes," said Senator Tom Cotton on Sunday.

But as Trump does not want war with Iran, Iran does not want war with us. Tehran has denied any role in the tanker attacks, helped put out the fire on one tanker, and accused its enemies of "false flag" attacks to instigate a war.

If the Revolutionary Guard, which answers to the ayatollah, did attach explosives to the hull of the tankers, it was most likely to send a direct message: If our exports are halted by U.S. sanctions, the oil exports of the Saudis and Gulf Arabs can be made to experience similar problems.

Yet if the president and the ayatollah do not want war, who does?

Not the Germans or Japanese, both of whom are asking for more proof that Iran instigated the tanker attacks. Japan's prime minster was meeting with the ayatollah when the attacks occurred, and one of the tankers was a Japanese vessel.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal Monday were Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a neocon nest funded by Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson. In a piece titled, "America Can Face Down a Fragile Iran," the pair make the case that Trump should squeeze the Iranian regime relentlessly and not fear a military clash, and a war with Iran would be a cakewalk.

"Iran is in no shape for a prolonged confrontation with the U.S. The regime is in a politically precarious position. The sullen Iranian middle class has given up on the possibility of reform or prosperity. The lower classes, once tethered to the regime by the expansive welfare state, have also grown disloyal. The intelligentsia no longer believes that faith and freedom can be harmonized. And the youth have become the regime's most unrelenting critics.

"Iran's fragile theocracy can't absorb a massive external shock. That's why Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, for the most part, adhered to the JCPOA (the nuclear pact) and why he is likely angling for negotiation over confrontation with the Great Satan."

This depiction of Iran's political crisis and economic decline invites a question: If the Tehran regime is so fragile and the Iranian people are so alienated, why not avoid a war and wait for the regime's collapse?

Trump seems to have several options:

One recalls: Saddam Hussein accepted war with the United States in 1991 rather than yield to Bush I's demand he get his army out of Kuwait.

Who wants a U.S. war with Iran? Primarily the same people who goaded us into wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and who oppose every effort of Trump's to extricate us from those wars.

Should they succeed in Iran, it is hard to see how we will ever be able to extricate our country from this blood-soaked region that holds no vital strategic interest save oil, and America, thanks to fracking, has become independent of that.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com .

[Jun 18, 2019] Why The Empire Is Failing The Horrid Hubris Of The Albright Doctrine

Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Doug Bandow via National Interest,

Albright typifies the arrogance and hawkishness of Washington blob...

How to describe U.S. foreign policy over the last couple of decades? Disastrous comes to mind. Arrogant and murderous also seem appropriate.

Since 9/11, Washington has been extraordinarily active militarily -- invading two nations, bombing and droning several others, deploying special operations forces in yet more countries, and applying sanctions against many. Tragically, the threat of Islamist violence and terrorism only have metastasized. Although Al Qaeda lost its effectiveness in directly plotting attacks, it continues to inspire national offshoots. Moreover, while losing its physical "caliphate" the Islamic State added further terrorism to its portfolio.

Three successive administrations have ever more deeply ensnared the United States in the Middle East. War with Iran appears to be frighteningly possible. Ever-wealthier allies are ever-more dependent on America. Russia is actively hostile to the United States and Europe. Washington and Beijing appear to be a collision course on far more than trade. Yet the current administration appears convinced that doing more of the same will achieve different results, the best definition of insanity.

Despite his sometimes abusive and incendiary rhetoric, the president has departed little from his predecessors' policies. For instance, American forces remain deployed in Afghanistan and Syria. Moreover, the Trump administration has increased its military and materiel deployments to Europe. Also, Washington has intensified economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, and even penalized additional countries, namely Venezuela.

U.S. foreign policy suffers from systematic flaws in the thinking of the informal policy collective which former Obama aide Ben Rhodes dismissed as "The Blob." Perhaps no official better articulated The Blob's defective precepts than Madeleine Albright, United Nations ambassador and Secretary of State.

First is overweening hubris. In 1998 Secretary of State Albright declared that

"If we have to use force, it is because we are America: we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

Even then her claim was implausible. America blundered into the Korean War and barely achieved a passable outcome. The Johnson administration infused Vietnam with dramatically outsize importance. For decades, Washington foolishly refused to engage the People's Republic of China. Washington-backed dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, and elsewhere fell ingloriously. An economic embargo against Cuba that continues today helped turn Fidel Castro into a global folk hero. Washington veered dangerously close to nuclear war with Moscow during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and again two decades later during military exercises in Europe.

U.S. officials rarely were prepared for events that occurred in the next week or month, let alone years later. Americans did no better than the French in Vietnam. Americans managed events in Africa no better than the British, French, and Portuguese colonial overlords. Washington made more than its share of bad, even awful decisions in dealing with other nations around the globe.

Perhaps the worst failing of U.S. foreign policy was ignoring the inevitable impact of foreign intervention. Americans would never passively accept another nation bombing, invading, and occupying their nation, or interfering in their political system. Even if outgunned, they would resist. Yet Washington has undertaken all of these practices, with little consideration of the impact on those most affected -- hence the rise of terrorism against the United States. Terrorism, horrid and awful though it is, became the weapon of choice of weaker peoples against intervention by the world's industrialized national states.

The U.S. record since September 11 has been uniquely counterproductive. Rather than minimize hostility toward America, Washington adopted a policy -- highlighted by launching new wars, killing more civilians, and ravaging additional societies -- guaranteed to create enemies, exacerbate radicalism, and spread terrorism. Blowback is everywhere. Among the worst examples: Iraqi insurgents mutated into ISIS, which wreaked military havoc throughout the Middle East and turned to terrorism.

Albright's assumption that members of The Blob were far-seeing was matched by her belief that the same people were entitled to make life-and-death decisions for the entire planet. When queried 1996 about her justification for sanctions against Iraq which had killed a half million babies -- notably, she did not dispute the accuracy of that estimate -- she responded that "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." Exactly who "we" were she did not say. Most likely she meant those Americans admitted to the foreign policy priesthood, empowered to make foreign policy and take the practical steps necessary to enforce it. (She later stated of her reply: "I never should have made it. It was stupid." It was, but it reflected her mindset.)

In any normal country, such a claim would be shocking -- a few people sitting in another capital deciding who lived and died. Foreign elites, a world away from the hardship that they imposed, deciding the value of those dying versus the purported interests being promoted. Those paying the price had no voice in the decision, no way to hold their persecutors accountable.

The willingness to so callously sacrifice so many helps explain why "they" often hate us, usually meaning the U.S. government. This is also because "they" believe average Americans hate them. Understandably, it too often turns out, given the impact of the full range of American interventions -- imposing economic sanctions, bombing, invading, and occupying other nations, unleashing drone campaigns, underwriting tyrannical regimes, supporting governments which occupy and oppress other peoples, displaying ostentatious hypocrisy and bias, and more.

This mindset is reinforced by contempt toward even those being aided by Washington. Although American diplomats had termed the Kosovo Liberation Army as "terrorist," the Clinton Administration decided to use the growing insurgency as an opportunity to expand Washington's influence. At the 1999 Rambouillet conference Albright made demands of Yugoslavia that no independent, sovereign state could accept: that, for instance, it act like defeated and occupied territory by allowing the free transit of NATO forces. Washington expected the inevitable refusal, which was calculated to provide justification for launching an unprovoked, aggressive war against the Serb-dominated remnant of Yugoslavia.

However, initially the KLA, determined on independence, refused to sign Albright's agreement. She exploded. One of her officials anonymously complained: "Here is the greatest nation on earth pleading with some nothingballs to do something entirely in their own interest -- which is to say yes to an interim agreement -- and they stiff us." Someone described as "a close associate" observed: "She is so stung by what happened. She's angry at everyone -- the Serbs, the Albanians and NATO." For Albright, the determination of others to achieve their own goals, even at risk to their lives, was an insult to America and her.

Alas, members of the Blob view Americans with little more respect. The ignorant masses should do what they are told. (Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently complained of public war-weariness from fighting in Afghanistan for no good reason for more than seventeen years.) Even more so, believed Albright, members of the military should cheerfully patrol the quasi-empire being established by Washington's far-sighted leaders.

As Albright famously asked Colin Powell in 1992:

"What's the use of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" To her, American military personnel apparently were but gambit pawns in a global chess game, to be sacrificed for the interest and convenience of those playing. No wonder then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell's reaction stated in his autobiography was: "I thought I would have an aneurysm."

When asked in 2003 about the incident, she said "what I thought was that we had -- we were in a kind of a mode of thinking that we were never going to be able to use our military effectively again." Although sixty-five years had passed, she admitted that "my mindset is Munich," a unique circumstance and threat without even plausible parallel today.

Such a philosophy explains a 1997 comment by a cabinet member, likely Albright, to General Hugh Shelton, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event -- something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough -- and slow enough -- so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?" He responded sure, as soon as she qualified to fly the plane.

For Albright, war is just another foreign policy tool. One could send a diplomatic note, impose economic sanctions, or unleash murder and mayhem. No reason to treat the latter as anything special. Joining the U.S. military means putting your life at the disposal of Albright and her peers in The Blob.

Anyone of these comments could be dismissed as a careless aside. Taken together, however, they reflect an attitude dangerous for Americans and foreigners alike. Unfortunately, the vagaries of U.S. foreign policy suggest that this mindset is not limited to any one person. Any president serious about taking a new foreign-policy direction must do more than drain the swamp. He or she must sideline The Blob.

* * *

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Jun 17, 2019] Averting a Disastrous War with Iran by Daniel Larison

Jun 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

There is a report that the Trump administration may be preparing an attack on Iran:

Diplomatic sources at the UN headquarters in New York revealed to Maariv that they are assessing the United States' plans to carry out a tactical assault on Iran in response to the tanker attack in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.

According to the officials, since Friday, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to President Donald Trump.

The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.

If this report is true, that would mean that the worst of the Iran hawks in the administration are prevailing once again. The report goes on to say that "Trump himself was not enthusiastic about a military move against Iran, but lost his patience on the matter and would grant Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is pushing for action, what he wants." If that is true, that is an absurdly casual way to blunder into an unnecessary war. Trump should understand that if he takes the U.S. into a war against Iran, especially without Congressional authorization, it will consume the rest of his presidency and it should cost him his re-election. Starting an unnecessary war with Iran would go down as one of the dumbest, most reckless, illegal acts in the history of U.S. foreign policy.

Congress must make absolutely clear that the president does not have the authority to initiate hostilities against Iran. Both houses should pass a resolution this week saying as much, and they should block any funds that could be used to support such an action. There is no legal justification for attacking Iran, and if Trump approves an attack he would be violating the Constitution and should be impeached for it.

The risk of war with Iran is greater than it was six months ago, and it is much greater than it was two and a half years ago when Trump took office. The U.S. and Iran are in this dangerous position solely because of the determined efforts of Iran hawks in and around this administration to drive our country on a collision course with theirs. Those efforts accelerated significantly thirteen months ago with the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the reimposition of sanctions, and things have been getting steadily worse with each passing month. It is not too late to avert the collision, but it requires the U.S. to make a dramatic change in policy very soon. Since we know we can't count on the president to make the right decision, Congress and the public need to make him understand what the political price will be if he makes the wrong one.

[Jun 15, 2019] When Oman Means Tonkin by Robert Fantina

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's National Security Advisor is the equally unhinged John Bolton. It is no secret that Bolton is itching for war with Iran, something even Trump has been hesitant to do. But what if a ship of the sacred United States, in an area of the world where it has no legitimate business to be, were to be attacked? Then, of course, U.S. retaliation would be swift and harsh. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | ahtribune.com

The world awoke today to the alleged 'news' that U.S. authorities were investigating attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman. For anyone paying attention, this is déjà vu all over again. Let's put this in the context of current world politics as directed through the skewed lens of that self-proclaimed stable genius, United States President Donald Trump. The man who so considers himself, and has commented in the past on his own good looks, has stated that, regardless of what his advisors tell him, he rules by his 'gut' feelings. In 2017, against the advice of all allies except Israel, and also against the advice of his closest advisors, he withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

This was an international agreement by which sanctions against Iran would be withdrawn, in exchange for Iran making adjustments to its nuclear program. By so violating this agreement, and threatening sanctions against the other signatories if they continued to abide by it, the U.S. basically nullified it, yet expected Iran to comply. Iran has done so for over a year, with the hope, if not the expectation, that the other parties to the agreement would figure out a way to bypass U.S. threats. This has not happened.

The U.S. wants Iran to return to the bargaining table; why on earth it would is beyond the comprehension of any reasonable person. If Iran signed another agreement with the U.S., Trump could decide in a month, or a week, or even a day, that that, too, was 'the worst deal ever'.

Trump's National Security Advisor is the equally unhinged John Bolton. It is no secret that Bolton is itching for war with Iran, something even Trump has been hesitant to do. But what if a ship of the sacred United States, in an area of the world where it has no legitimate business to be, were to be attacked? Then, of course, U.S. retaliation would be swift and harsh. MORE...

Recently, there was alleged sabotage against U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf. Nothing came of that smoke screen. But today, a new violation of U.S. sanctity is alleged. While time alone can tell how this will play out, it is not without deadly and devastating precedence. On August 4, 1964, a U.S. ship, the Maddox, was in the Gulf of Tonkin, off the coast of China and northern Vietnam. That night, instruments on the Maddox indicated that the ship was either under attack or had been attacked. The Maddox and another U.S. vessel, the C. Turner Joy, fired into the darkness with support from U.S. warplanes. The Navy notified Washington that naval vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin were being attacked. Washington launched Operation Pierce Arrow (where oh where do these stupid names originate?): sixty-four sorties from nearby aircraft carriers pounded North Vietnam that evening. When the so-called retaliatory attack concluded, President Lyndon Johnson appeared on American television to announce that "gunboats and certain supporting facilities in North Vietnam" had been attacked by American aircraft. Had U.S. ships actually been attacked? Personnel on both vessels soon " decided they had been shooting at 'ghost images' on their radar; the preponderance of available evidence indicates that there was no attack." [1] But this was just what Congress wanted, so its members could prove their anti-Communist credentials, as important than as anti-terrorism hubris is today; it was the perfect ploy to escalate the war. Yet like the personnel on the ships, U.S. government officials knew very quickly that there had been no attack. Just a few days later, Johnson, upon learning the truth said this: "Hell, those dumb, stupid sailors were just shooting at flying fish." [2] The truth did nothing to stop violent U.S. escalation. By the end of the following year, the number of U.S. soldiers invading Vietnam increased from 23,000 to 184,300. Eleven years later, with over 55,000 U.S. soldiers dead, hundreds of thousands wounded, and, by conservative estimates, 2,000,000 Vietnamese dead, the U.S. fled Vietnam in defeat. Fast forward fifty-four years, an eternity in terms of U.S. governance. An independent nation (Iran) is minding its own business, protecting its borders and assisting its allies (including Syria), but it refuses to kowtow to U.S. demands. The mighty U.S., whose actions are not to be questioned by any nation that wants to survive, must determine some reason to invade it that will fly with the U.S. public. In 1964, its desire to invade Vietnam was given legitimacy by the lies of the Gulf of Tonkin non-incident. In 2019, will its desire to invade Iran gain U.S. support because of the Gulf of Oman non-incident? If so, one can only hope that, unlike the devastation that the U.S. wrought on Vietnam before that country was victorious over the U.S., Iran will be able to defeat the U.S. more quickly, and with fewer Iranian casualties. There really isn't much that the United States needs to do to diffuse the tension between it and Iran. Simply abide by its own international agreement, the JCPOA. But in for this to happen, Trump would have to find some reason to say that the sanctions were successful; he will never admit to making a mistake. But the workings of his brain are a conundrum; it's possible he could invent and believe such a scenario. For the sake of the U.S., Iran, and much of the world that could easily be dragged into a major war should the U.S. invade Iran, it is to be hoped that Trump does, indeed, invent such a reason. Endnotes [1] Chambers, (John Whiteclay II. ED. 1999. The Oxford Companion to American Military History . New York: Oxford UP). Jian, Chen. China's Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation, P. 151. [2] Donald E. Schmidt, The Folly of War: American Foreign Policy, 1898-2005 (New York: Algora, 2005), 265. Gulf of Oman Incident

peter mcloughlina day ago ,

Where Oman differs from Tonkin is today we are facing a far more dangerous scenario. We could all 'be dragged into a major war should the US invade Iran'. Vietnam did not lead to nuclear Armageddon, nor did any other confrontation of the Cold War. There is much talk of a new Cold War. But the Cold War was the peace, a post-world war environment: we now live in a pre-world war environment. Humanity has experienced long periods of peace (or relative peace) throughout history. The Thirty Years Peace between the two Peloponnesian Wars, Pax Romana, Europe in the 19th century after the Congress of Vienna, to name a few. The Congress System finally collapsed in 1914 with the start of World War One. That conflict was followed by the League of Nations. It did not stop World War Two. That was followed by the United Nations and other post-war institutions. But all the indications are they will not prevent a third world war.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...

Blakea day ago ,

From Craig Murray:

I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in Tehran on economic cooperation that can help Iran survive the effects of US economic sanctions.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was holed above the water line. That rules out a torpedo attack, which is the explanation being touted by the neo-cons.

The second vessel, the Front Altair, is Norwegian owned and 50% Russian crewed (the others being Filipinos). It is owned by Frontline, a massive tanker leasing company that also has a specific record of being helpful to Iran in continuing to ship oil despite sanctions.

It was Iran that rescued the crews and helped bring the damaged vessels under control. That Iran would target a Japanese ship and a friendly Russian crewed ship is a ludicrous

[Jun 15, 2019] WATCH US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians. The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets. The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | off-guardian.org

WATCH: US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran "I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them might not come up." Admin

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

Many believe war with the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the dream of some hardcore neocons in Washington since at least 2001. Back in 2012 former employee of the IMF and current economist for the World Bank, Patrick Clawson , provided fuel for this belief when he was videoed obliquely advocating using covert violence so that the US president "can get to war with Iran."

In a startlingly frank speech, Clawson makes it clear he believes (and apparently approves) that the US has a history of seeking war for profit, and of using provocations to goad its perceived enemies into starting such wars. Clawson highlights in particular the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in 1861 , which, he says, was deliberately engineered by president Lincoln in pursuit of an excuse to launch a war on the Southern secessionist states.

In light of the recent alleged attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, timed to coincide with the visit of the Japanese prime minister to Iran, and in light of Secretary of State Capone Pompeo's precipitate and predictable claim the attacks were likely perpetrated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, this is an apposite time to recall this telling little incident.

Below see the transcript of Mr Clawson's remarks

Transcript

"I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough and it's very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming that the traditional way of America gets to war is what would be best for US interests

Some people might think that mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us in to the World War two as David mentioned. You may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor.

Some people might think mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War One. You may recall he had to wait for the Lusitania episode

Some people might think that mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam. You may recall they had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode.

We didn't go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded, and may I point out that mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call off the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.

So if in fact the Iranians aren't going to compromise it would be best if somebody else started the war

But I would just like to suggest that one can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them
might not come up.

Who would know why?

We can do a variety of things if we wish to increase the pressure. I'm not advocating that but I'm just suggesting that a it's this is not a either-or proposition of, you know, it's just sanctions has to be has to succeed or other things.


DunGroanin

Always follow the money they made lots instantly from the firework display, it aint rocket science!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-14/senators-switched-key-votes-bill-gulf-arms-ban-hours-after-tanker-attacks

mark
What do you expect from a Zionist Front like WINEP? They've been inciting wars for Israel for decades. "Getting the stupid goys to fight Israel's wars for decades."
Jen
If Patrick Clawson is typical of the kind of economist employed at the IMF and then promoted to a leading position at the World Bank, I dread to think of the calibre of people who also applied for his job in the past and were rejected. His speech is so garbled and full of unconscious slip-ups.
andyoldlabour
The US has convinced itself of its own so called "exceptionalism", where they can say anything out in the open, reveal their greatest desires, their unholy plans. There must be some "good" Americans who can stop this madness, or have they all become inflicted/infected with some hate virus?
Milton
Interesting that this Israeli-First traitor Clawson mentions Lincoln and Ft. Sumter. He finally admits what genuine historians of the Civil War long knew: Lincoln was a warmonger and tyrant, not an emancipator. The Civil war was fought to eliminate true freedom and equality in this country and it has been downhill ever since. The working class and soldier-class in America today are slaves in every sense of the word. Slaves to Zion. No wonder the certified warmonger and racist Lincoln is worshiped equally by Left and Right today, whilst genuine American patriots like Robert E. Lee have their legacy torn down. Lincoln was the proto-Neocon. Tom Dilorenzo summed up the real Lincoln when he wrote in Lincoln Unmasked:

"Imagine that California seceded from the union and an American president responded with the carpet bombing of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco that destroyed 90 percent of those cities. Such was the case with General Sherman's bombardment of Atlanta; a naval blockade; a blocking off of virtually all trade; the eviction of thousands of residents from their homes (as occurred in Atlanta in 1864); the destruction of most industries and farms; massive looting of private property by a marauding army; and the killing of one out of four males of military age while maiming for life more than double that number. Would such an American president be considered a 'great statesman' or a war criminal? The answer is obvious.

A statesman would have recognized the state's right to secede, as enshrined in the Tenth Amendment, among other places, and then worked diligently to persuade the seceded state that a reunion was in its best interest. Agreat statesman, or even a modest one, would not have impulsively plunged the entire nation into a bloody war.

Lincoln's warmongering belligerence and his invasion of all the Southern states in response to Fort Sumter (where no one was harmed or killed) caused the upper South -- Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas -- to secede after originally voting to remain in the Union. He refused to meet with Confederate commissioners to discuss peace and even declined a meeting with Napoleon III of France, who offered to broker a peace agreement. No genuine statesman would have behaved in such a way.

After Fort Sumter, Lincoln thanked naval commander Gustavus Fox for assisting him in manipulating the South Carolinians into firing at Fort Sumter. A great statesman does not manipulate his own people into starting one of the bloodiest wars in human history."

mathias alexand
Here's a man who holds a press conference to announce a secret plan. Only in America.
Gezzah Potts
False flags here, false flags there, false flags everywhere. All too further the aims of the 'masters of the universe'. We know who was responsible for the tanker attacks. Who are the 3 countries absolutely desperate to take Iran down and install a completely pliant puppet regime answerable to Washington, Tel Aviv and to a lesser extent Riyadh. And creatures like Clawson, and all the other vermin can only see $$$$. Thats all they care about. Opening up more markets to further enrich themselves. I echo the other commenters also. The evil men stoop to for greed, power and control. Psychopaths.
harry law
The Foreign Office issued a statement saying: "It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible."
Unbelievable, The UK vassal will use this to as one more reason to evade their responsibilities in implementing the JCPOA.
William HBonney
A Riyadh/Tel Aviv conspiracy. Genius!
Gezzah Potts
Er . just a rough guess Bill going on the belligerent foaming at the mouth by people in those places along with the likes of Bolton and Pompeo. In fact, you can probably go all the way back to about 1980 or so.
mark
I think the real giveaway was when all three rogue states openly stated their intention of doing this 1,000 times over the past 10 years. That was the crucial clue Sherlock Holmes was looking for.
Wilmers31
And who funds the Washington Institute? Last time I looked the International Crisis Group existed thanks to Soros and is usually treated like a serious organisation.

Many Europeans are not in love with the idea of war with Iran, just to achieve obedience to the US. 90 million people is bigger than Germany.

wardropper
These are the shysters, the spivs and the con men of bygone times. They are the ones who lurked at street corners, waiting for someone to come along who was gullible enough to buy the Moon from them.
But, for some reason, they are all in politics today.
Now how could that be?

Only because there are people whom it currently suits to use shysters, spivs and con men in order to create enough chaos for us to want to give up and just let those people have their way.

I agree with Rhys below. There is no more disgusting example of sub-humanity to be found on earth than these warmongers.
To deal with them, however, we will have to realize that their "philosophy", if you can call it that, runs very deep. It didn't just enter their heads last week.
They are reared and trained in it.

It will be a tough battle.

wardropper
I should add that, in bygone times, the police and the law were usually able to deal with the shysters, spivs and con men, since their lack of conscience often gave them away.
The modern version, however, which has moved into politics, was shrewd enough to use a few decades of bribery and threats in order to build around itself a nice little shell, through which the law simply cannot penetrate, except on special occasions, mainly for show.
Rhys Jaggar
There is a big cabal of warmongers who stoke the fuel but never see action. I find those people more disgusting than anyone on earth.

Draft dodgers, academics, 'historians' etc etc.

Ball-less pricks is what I call them .

mark
All fully paid up members of the Bill Clinton Light Infantry.
andyoldlabour
The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians.
The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets.
The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen.
William HBonney
The easiest, and perhaps best metric by which to judge a country, is 'do people aspire to live there? '.

I see you admire the Soviet Union, but at its dissolution, people were queuing to leave. And yet the US, and the UK, according to you, iniquitous places of tyranny, are oversubscribed. Could it be, that for all your implied erudition, you are merely a bellend?

BigB
Well, even as a pacifist: if that is his sentiment – I hope he has sons or daughters in the military stationed in CENTCOM in Qatar. I bet he hasn't, though.
Rhisiart Gwilym
He should be right there on the frontline himself. That would straighten the disgusting creep's ideas out about the 'usefulness' of deliberately provoking war

[Jun 15, 2019] The Bully Who Cried "Iran!" by Daniel Larison

Jun 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Ali Vaez rebuts Mike Pompeo's terse, evidence-free statement accusing Iran of responsibility for the two tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman:

Pompeo delivered his remarks without providing any evidence to support his accusations, and then walked off the stage without taking any questions. The Secretary of State's credibility has already been shot to pieces by his frequent lies and misleading statements on a range of issues touching on everything from North Korea to Yemen to Iran, so he needed to clear an even higher bar than usual to back up his accusations. He didn't come close. Aside from misleading the public and Congress about important issues, Pompeo's serial fabrications have a real cost in that no one believes a word he says about anything. It might be the case that Pompeo is telling the truth for once, but if so it would be extremely unusual for him. I made that point earlier today:

I have previously discussed Pompeo's complete lack of credibility , and it is worth revisiting part of that post now:

Pompeo is the chief representative of the United States abroad besides the president, so his habit of making things up out of thin air and telling easily refuted lies can only harm our reputation, undermine trust, and cause even our allies to doubt our government's claims.

Pompeo is the bully who cried "Iran!" so many times that we have no reason to trust his anti-Iranian claims now. The fact that he and the National Security Advisor are so clearly slavering at the possibility of increased tensions with Iran gives us another reason to be skeptical. We assume that they are trying to turn even the smallest incident into an excuse for escalation, and so we naturally look at their claims of Iranian responsibility with great suspicion. Vaez's thread goes through Pompeo's statement very carefully and points out the serious flaws and falsehoods, of which there are quite a few.

Once again, we see Pompeo's tendency to pin the blame for anything and everything that happens in the region on Iran, and many of these are no more than unfounded assertions or deliberate distortions. For example, the Houthi attacks on Saudi pipelines and airports are a result of the ongoing war on Yemen and the Saudi coalition bombing of Yemeni cities and towns. All indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets and infrastructure are wrong and should be condemned, but we also need to remember that these attacks are the direct consequence of belligerent and destructive policies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE backed by the United States. If the Saudis and Emiratis stopped bombing Yemen tomorrow, the missile attacks on Saudi targets would almost certainly cease thereafter. Just as Pompeo won't acknowledge the administration's role in goading and provoking Iran, he refuses to acknowledge the role of the Saudi coalition's war in provoking Yemeni retaliation. He desperately tries to make Iran the culprit of every crime, but instead of proving Iran's guilt it only calls into question Pompeo's judgment and honesty.

Probably the most galling part of Pompeo's statement was his declaration that "Iran should answer diplomacy with diplomacy." What diplomacy would Iran be responding to? Does Pompeo think his list of preposterous demands delivered as a diktat last year counts as diplomacy? Does he think that waging relentless economic war on a country of eighty million people qualifies as diplomatic? The Trump administration has chosen the path of provocation and confrontation for at least the last thirteen months, and then they have the gall to fault Iran for its lack of diplomacy. If the administration had not trashed the most important diplomatic agreement that our government had with Iran and proceeded to penalize them for keeping up their end of the bargain, our two countries would not be as dangerously close to war as they are now. The administration bears responsibility for creating the heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, and it is their obnoxious and destructive policy of collective punishment that has brought us to this point.


JR, says: June 14, 2019 at 2:24 am

Pompeo proudly stated "We lie, we cheat " and even thought funny too. Guess that's one of the rare moments his statement contained some truth at least.
JEinCA , says: June 14, 2019 at 4:09 am
This is fundamentally an internal Chinese dispute therefore it is none of our business just as our internal disputes are none of theirs.
Ken_L , June 14, 2019 at 4:49 am
You do have to admit, the blurred 30 second video of a boat next to the hull of a ship was absolutely DAMNING! It proved conclusively that the Iranians launched unprovoked attacks on helpless civilian oil tankers.

Innocent sailors would have left the limpet mines in place, so they could blow up and damage the tanker some more.

Christian J Chuba , says: June 14, 2019 at 8:26 am
It could have been Iran, I don't know. This would be an understandable response for a country under blockade. I would feel differently if people died.

People in Iran have died because of our illegal sanctions hindering flood relief and medical care while Pompeo and others laughs at them. This does not include the suffering imposed on the civilian population. I do not expect Iran to curl up into a ball and accept their punishment.

If this was an Iranian operation it demonstrates their competency as opposed to use wasting Jet fuel having F35's circling around.

This might be a shot over the bow, who knows?

Gary Williams , says: June 14, 2019 at 10:05 am
Iran means virtually nothing to the United States. They have nothing to do with our national interest. As far as the tankers being mined; I have to say my first thought is that we (i.e. the United States) did it so we could start a war. Very similar to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in the Viet Nam war.
Sid Finster , says: June 14, 2019 at 10:29 am
Deepfakes, hasn't there been a lot of talk about those lately?

And lies used to justify wars, haven't we heard those from the neocon crew before?

[Jun 14, 2019] Corrupt "good guys," Tax Justice Network kills podcast on Browder

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al June 7, 2019 at 1:42 am

I followed the 'J'accuse News' tweet in response to Barnes's mea post culpa and came across this:

Corrupt "good guys," Tax Justice Network kills podcast on Browder
https://www.thekomisarscoop.com/2019/05/corrupt-good-guys-tax-justice-network-kills-podcast-on-browder/

By Lucy Komisar
May 11, 2019

The Tax Justice Network, organized in 2003 to fight offshore tax evasion and corruption, has censored a podcast its founding director recorded when I spoke at the Offshore Alert Conference in November in London. I didn't write about this before now, because I though the TJN leaders might change their minds. But it turns out they are either cowardly or corrupt.
####

Browder's tentacles run far, but only as far as his backers allow him, which leads me to ask 'what would it take for them to drop him'? Browder has a shelf-life and at some point he will be surplus to requirement .

Mark Chapman June 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm
That's a very sad story. You can really only take on someone like Browder when you have nothing to lose – it seems that as soon as you attract interest at an organizational level, it turns out that organization is afraid of losing its funding, and bows to the power which threatens to take it away. Note that he was not able to intimidate Nekrasov into not making his film, but he was able to browbeat theatres into not showing it.

Sooner or later it will all come crashing down for Browder. But The USA will protect him until they have something to replace the Magnitsky Act so they can continue to legally discriminate against Russia. If Browder goes down, the act he worked so hard to get on the books will be revealed as partisan bullshit, and nobody in the west wants that.

[Jun 14, 2019] From Russian oil to rock'n'roll: the rise of Len Blavatnik

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al June 7, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Financial Crimes: From Russian oil to rock'n'roll: the rise of Len Blavatnik
https://www.ft.com/content/c1889f48-871a-11e9-a028-86cea8523dc2

He made a fortune in the chaotic world of 1990s Russian capitalism, then took a place at the heart of the British establishment

Striding the halls of an English stately home, dressed in full costume as Victorian prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, Len Blavatnik was celebrating his 60th birthday. Grammy-winner Bruno Mars sang. Guests -- some in frock coats, others dressed as Leo Tolstoy, Rasputin or Chinese emissaries -- mixed with rock stars, celebrities and business tycoons.

Themed as an imaginary conference chaired by Disraeli, the June 2017 party was emblematic of Blavatnik's extraordinary rise from his birth in Soviet Ukraine to one of the UK's richest people
####

A lot more at the link.

So why did Abramovic get the bum rush? He's kept his head down, not made waves, behaved himself and spent a lot of money in the UK (Chelsea FC) which the above FT article sniffs at as unworthy (snobs), but the Brit government still stiffed his visa and he hasn't been back to the UK even though he now also has I-sraeli citizenship that affords him visa-free entry to the UK. Is it because the UK and others need some oligarchs on the side just in case their dream comes true and they need to parachute in some reliable Russians? That wouldn't surprise me. Government in waiting. Maybe Abramovic said "No." Wrong answer.

moscowexile June 8, 2019 at 11:57 pm
Parachute in some reliable Russians ???

You mean "Sir" Leonard Blavatnik?

Леонид Валентинович Блаватник (Сэр Леонард Блаватник; англ. Sir Leonard Blavatnik или Len Blavatnik; род. 14 июня 1957, Одесса -- американский и британский предприниматель и промышленник еврейского происхождения. В 2015 году возглавил список богатейших людей Великобритании Russian Wiki

Leonid Valentinovich Blavatnik (Sir Leonard Blavatnik or Len Blavatnik); born 14 June 1957, Odessa – American and British entrepreneur and industrialist of Jewish ancestry. In 2015, headed a list of the richest people in Great Britain

[Jun 14, 2019] Our old acquaintance Crowdstrike has gone public, and in its IPO debut, the stock surged to a market cap of over $12 Billion

Notable quotes:
"... Surprisingly, Crowdstrike's CEO – George Kurtz – does not have a background in the national intelligence services, or none that is immediately apparent. He seems to have worked mostly in private security, having gotten into it fairly early on, and is an accountant by trade; he seems to be the public face of the firm, and to be mostly involved in marketing. ..."
"... However, their president of services, Shawn Henry, is a former executive assistant director of the FBI, and I imagine its employees include quite a few former government spooks and ideologues. ..."
"... The other co-founder, though, is Dmitry Alperovitch. ..."
"... He's a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, a direct adviser to the US Department of Defense, connected to Hillary Clinton and runs a new corporation whose startup cash came from Google. There's something even bigger than Google – corporations now seem more and more to be merging into what are essentially mini-states within the state itself – and it is called Alphabet Capital, Google's parent company. The Chairman of Alphabet Capital is Eric Schmidt, and he was actively working for Hillary Clinton during the last election when she spectacularly failed to make the cut. ..."
"... Google, allegedly, is becoming more and more an arm of the Democratic Party in the USA. ..."
"... Wheels within wheels, and connections seen and unseen. Several security professionals and software developers have alluded to Crowdstrike's reports on international hacking as being full of shit – but the American enforcement and intelligence services seem content to outsource their cyber work more or less exclusively to Crowdstrike. And the results of its IPO suggest high confidence on the part of investors that it is going to become ever-more-closely allied to the US government, font of government grants and funding which can be hard to trace. ..."
"... For what it's worth, the Crowdstrike story that Russian cyber-meddling had knocked out 80% of Ukrainian artillery systems was deemed bogus by several other sources, including the Ukrainian Army. At its most basic, artillery systems are large ballistic rifles that drop artillery shells on a predetermined position by looking the reference up on a gridded map and inputting corrections for elevation and azimuth; there is nothing computer-connected about them. Somewhere near the nearest elevated position in relation to the target there is a spotter, who notes the fall of shot and calls the corrections; "left two, up fifty", or "in line, on for range; fire for effect". The latter would be followed by a barrage on what the spotter had identified as a direct hit by the spotting rounds. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman June 12, 2019 at 10:31 am

Well, well; look at that. Our old acquaintance Crowdstrike has gone public, and in its IPO debut, the stock surged to a market cap of over $12 Billion – worth nearly as much as Symantec, which has been around for nearly 40 years. Up 83% in a single day. Gee; I wonder who's buying in? I guess we can look forward to more whispering about Russian cybercrime and internet invasion in the days to come. Stealing elections, even, maybe, hmmm?

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/12/crowdstrike-ipo-stock-starts-trading-on-the-nasdaq.html

Surprisingly, Crowdstrike's CEO – George Kurtz – does not have a background in the national intelligence services, or none that is immediately apparent. He seems to have worked mostly in private security, having gotten into it fairly early on, and is an accountant by trade; he seems to be the public face of the firm, and to be mostly involved in marketing.

However, their president of services, Shawn Henry, is a former executive assistant director of the FBI, and I imagine its employees include quite a few former government spooks and ideologues.

https://www.crowdstrike.com/about-crowdstrike/executive-team/george-kurtz/

The other co-founder, though, is Dmitry Alperovitch.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2017/01/06/dnc-russian-hacking-conclusion-comes-google-linked-firm/

He's a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank, a direct adviser to the US Department of Defense, connected to Hillary Clinton and runs a new corporation whose startup cash came from Google. There's something even bigger than Google – corporations now seem more and more to be merging into what are essentially mini-states within the state itself – and it is called Alphabet Capital, Google's parent company. The Chairman of Alphabet Capital is Eric Schmidt, and he was actively working for Hillary Clinton during the last election when she spectacularly failed to make the cut.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-24/what-crowdstrike-firm-hired-dnc-has-ties-hillary-clinton-ukrainian-billionaire-and-g

Google, allegedly, is becoming more and more an arm of the Democratic Party in the USA.

There is also another gap in play: The shrinking distance between Google and the Democratic Party. Former Google executive Stephanie Hannon is the Clinton campaign's chief technology officer, and a host of ex-Googlers are currently employed as high-ranking technical staff at the Obama White House. Schmidt, for his part, is one of the most powerful donors in the Democratic Party -- and his influence does not stem only from his wealth, estimated by Forbes at more than $10 billion.

Wheels within wheels, and connections seen and unseen. Several security professionals and software developers have alluded to Crowdstrike's reports on international hacking as being full of shit – but the American enforcement and intelligence services seem content to outsource their cyber work more or less exclusively to Crowdstrike. And the results of its IPO suggest high confidence on the part of investors that it is going to become ever-more-closely allied to the US government, font of government grants and funding which can be hard to trace.

Mark Chapman June 12, 2019 at 4:25 pm
Here's a colorful account of Crowdstrike's exploits and their alleged track record of coming up with convenient narratives on demand.

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-russian-collusion-delusion-in-a-nutshell/

For what it's worth, the Crowdstrike story that Russian cyber-meddling had knocked out 80% of Ukrainian artillery systems was deemed bogus by several other sources, including the Ukrainian Army. At its most basic, artillery systems are large ballistic rifles that drop artillery shells on a predetermined position by looking the reference up on a gridded map and inputting corrections for elevation and azimuth; there is nothing computer-connected about them. Somewhere near the nearest elevated position in relation to the target there is a spotter, who notes the fall of shot and calls the corrections; "left two, up fifty", or "in line, on for range; fire for effect". The latter would be followed by a barrage on what the spotter had identified as a direct hit by the spotting rounds.

Kaspersky Labs also took Crowdstrike apart,

https://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/kasperskys-war-on-crowdstrike-evangelist-dmitri-alperovitch/

and mention of Kaspersky reminded me the US government had used 'advice' from its security experts to determine Kaspersky products constituted a threat to US national security just like Huawei, a connection I have not seen made yet elsewhere.

Mmmm .I wonder if Crowdstrike is not being set up specifically to provide the US government with substantiation for banning technical products which have the potential to achieve dominant market share, but cannot be manipulated by Washington because they are owned by non-aligned countries?

[Jun 14, 2019] MI5 'unlawfully' handled bulk surveillance data, lawsuit reveals

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al June 11, 2019 at 8:05 am

SkyNudes: MI5 'unlawfully' handled bulk surveillance data, lawsuit reveals
https://news.sky.com/story/mi5-unlawfully-handled-bulk-surveillance-data-lawsuit-reveals-11739729

The security service is accused of breaking the law and documents state the "the task [of complying with it] was too large".

"The documents show extraordinary and persistent illegality in MI5's operations, apparently for many years," said civil liberties organisation Liberty, which is bringing the case.

"The existence of what MI5 itself calls 'ungoverned spaces' in which it holds and uses large volumes of private data is a serious failure of governance and oversight, especially when mass collection of data of innocent citizens is concerned."
####

Incompetent? No. Don't give a shit? Yes.

It won't make a blind bit of difference as the security service have broad brush surveillance powers and the 'National Security' exception behind them. At least they are not handing over that data to their terrorist sponsoring Gulf brothers Oh, hang on, can't rule anything out!

[Jun 14, 2019] By this stage I wonder if all Skripals neighbours aren't all "ex" spooks

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes June 9, 2019 at 11:24 pm

A real shame that Dr David Kelly took his own life. I'm sure he'd have been able to shed light on the latest news from Wiltshire:

https://www.rt.com/uk/461463-novichok-bb-skripal-house/

By this stage I wonder if all the neighbours aren't all "ex" spooks from hither and yon. Who else would tolerate the nonsense they've been subjected to without reaching out to their learned friends? Good luck with putting a house on the market with that circus going on.

Moscow Exile June 10, 2019 at 3:29 am
Such stringent measures would surely not be taken by HM govt and British security if they had no evidence that those evil Russians had attempted to kill the Skripals with Novichok.

Stands ter reason, don't it?

Mark Chapman June 10, 2019 at 8:15 am
The whole premise just becomes more and more ridiculous – the house is now completely shrouded in tarpaulins, the roof has been removed, it has undergone extensive 'decontamination' – all, all of it obviously for show, for the yokels, because for weeks afterward police personnel guarded the residence while standing just feet away from the door handle which was supposedly the locus of infection. No chemical-warfare protection whatsoever was apparent; they didn't even wear gloves unless it was cold.

They might at least have made up some story that the Deadly Door Handle had been replaced, or even the entire door. Because everyone who went in or out of that house, and there must have been many, touched that door handle, at least some of them with their bare hand. And what ever became of the intrepid detective, Nick what's-his-name? Wasn't the state going to buy his home as well, even though he had scarcely been in it and had gone more or less straight to the hospital after being 'infected'? Only to make a miraculous and complete recovery in days, and then drop off the public radar?

Stupidity abounds. Yet the press just can't let it go, and let it mercifully drop out of sight. It would just be too embarrassing to tacitly admit the British government made it up from start to finish, the entire operation. If the Skripals actually were poisoned with something, and not just acting a role for the British government, then that part must have been HM-government-supplied as well, because nobody who has any experience with police procedure is going to believe they had a culprit and a complete history of the crime in only a couple of hours after its discovery, and a foreign state was responsible.

Murdock June 11, 2019 at 8:14 am
I don't want to be an alarmist but if I had to guess I would say our good friend Officer Nick is probably partying it up with Sergei, Yulia, and their pets in Hades.
Mark Chapman June 11, 2019 at 8:43 am
You never know. He sort of dropped out of the public eye, and of all of them he seemed to be the one whose story would be picked apart first, although all of them were improbable. And I'm sure many, many were interested in interviewing him and questioning him further.

He was released from hospital with no apparent ill effects more than a year ago, on March 23rd, 2018. According to the Telegraph , here,

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/15/police-officer-nick-bailey-returns-active-duty-10-months-salisbury/

he returned to active duty the beginning of 2019, but the story has his Chief confirming this, it is not Bailey himself. That same story remembers that Dawn Sturgess "fell ill in Amesbury months after the incident and died in hospital in July after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack on the Skripals and then discarded." But the perfume bottle described as having been 'used in the attack on the Skripals' was brand-new and still in its store packaging, not to any appearance unusual except for that weird plastic aerator fastened to the bottle. Which, now that I think of it, was supposed to have been not attached to the bottle at all; Charlie Rowley's tale was that he broke the bottle trying to get the applicator on it, which is how he was exposed. But he still gave it to his paramour as a gift, and she was still apparently able to use it to spray herself.

Anyway, so far as I can make out, DS Nick Bailey returned to duty with his former police department last winter, and since then not a peep has been heard from him. The Skripals are still incognito, and Sergei has never been seen again since going into hospital.

Bailey's parents apparently threw a wobbler when the Beeb decided to run a two-part television drama on the attacks, which would doubtless reinforce and reconfirm the government line although it is meant to showcase the quiet courage and resourcefulness of 'ordinary heroes'.

https://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/17673661.parents-of-ds-nick-bailey-hit-out-at-bbc-over-novichok-drama/

No statement from Bailey himself. Meanwhile, he is scheduled to lead off a charity walk for the local hospital on July 7th. So we will see.

https://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/17697751.detective-sergeant-nick-bailey-to-start-stars-appeal-walk-for-wards/

[Jun 14, 2019] Molly McKew, the information-warfare goddess

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

The Mueller Report, recently released, tried its best to imply that there was collusion even as it stated baldly that the investigation had yielded no evidence of collusion. But what struck me with the most force was the manner in which the Democrats – and the entire crowd which has so much invested in having had an illegitimate president foisted upon them by the Godless Russians – simply shook its head, took a deep breath and went right on blathering the same lunatic narrative. The Russians interfered with our democracy. Nothing is safe. Russia is the enemy of democracy, and will not suffer a democracy to live. Get the kids and pack up enough food for traveling, Mabel; we're headed for the mountains – it's "Red Dawn", babycakes.

Amazing as it will sound, America has learned nothing.

Part of it, of course, is America's belief in its own omnipotence; if something came out differently from the way it was planned to come out, then America was tricked. Hoodwinked, by unscrupulous actors. It cannot be that America is subject to the same vagaries and pressures and caprices as the rest of the world; America decides, and so it shall be. Part of it is the diligent pick-and-shovel work that America's political forces do to preserve that illusion; that America is an unstoppable force, so much more than just a big rich country.

So, the premise endures. Russian trolls, acting on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin, generated a storm of hateful social-media messages on race relations in America, in a coordinated strike which included Russian release of Hillary Clinton's personal emails, and America faltered. It scratched its head in doubt, and Donald Trump slipped past the worthy – and oh, so wronged – Mrs. Clinton to seize the presidency with his soiled hands.

Matt Taibbi did some excellent work on the subject , which I admit grudgingly, as I hoped to get something out on America's inability to learn from its mistakes before the heavyweights. Taibbi's writing will make you wonder whether you should laugh or cry, as you wonder how an influential country could survive the embarrassment of the past couple of years, encapsulated by a journalistic mantra which holds that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Russia is guilty as sin, and you can take that to the bank, so the very fact that Mueller will not leak any proof to us must mean that his findings are so devastating, so jaw-dropping, so "shut up !!" that they would break the media. The one possibility which was not considered a possibility at all was that there was nothing, and that the accusations had been fabrication and desperate damage control from the first.

But the frustrated narrative of Russian collusion is the only component which has been discredited to the point that Democrats and Russophobes of all political persuasions must admit there is no happy ending to the promise that Donald Trump was going to be fired so high he would need to go on oxygen. Mueller – probably deliberately – continued to hint that Russia had 'meddled' in the 2016 election, and that the effect had been important enough that democracy is under attack. No longer listening to anyone outside the party-faithful echo chamber, the Democrats now insist that US Attorney-General William Barr resign , for 'misleading the American people about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia".

"Barr's news conference ultimately did nothing to help Trump, because the public has eyes. Americans could read the damning evidence of obstruction of justice and communications with Russians for themselves and make their own judgements."

Democrats continue to try to make up in volume and intensity for the fact that there is no evidence at all of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, nor of obstruction of justice by Trump. The Republicans shout that the Democrats are on a senseless witch hunt, that the report makes clear there was no collusion between Trump and the Russians but are perfectly happy to agree that Russia meddled in the election. For his part, Mueller is happy to drop hints that both obstruction and collusion probably took place – he just couldn't find any proof.

All are loony. Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election at all, at least no further than Europe did. A lengthy list of European political leaders and former leaders publicly expressed their support for Mrs. Clinton's election to the office of President of the United States. In 2008, just one is recorded as having done so ; Mona Sahlin, leader of Sweden's Social Democrats. Interestingly, in the same list of endorsements of Mrs. Clinton in 2008 – right after "Adult Entertainment Artists" – is this one: under "Well-Known Individuals", "Businessman and television personality, Future Presidential Candidate & Rival for the United States presidential election 2016, future President of the United States Donald Trump" .

There's gratitude for you.

The Presidents of Taiwan, Chile, France and Ukraine, the former Presidents of Mexico, France, Kosovo and Ecuador, the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, France, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden and former Prime Ministers of Sweden, the UK, Canada, Australia and France all openly expressed their hope that Mrs. Clinton would be elected President of the United States. None of this was considered meddling. I don't recall any official endorsement from Russia, although the international English-speaking media helpfully informed us that Putin hoped Trump would win, because he felt Trump would be more approachable for concessions and because he disliked Mrs. Clinton. When Trump did win, despite wrong guesses by just about every political analyst on the planet, it was considered 'additional evidence' that meddling had taken place, instigated by you-know-who.

Perhaps, in highlighting just how stupid America is making itself look with this painfully stubborn insistence that Russia rolled it in 2016, it would be useful to take another look at what American partisans claimed to already know, and could prove as easily as demonstrating that if you put your hand on a hot stove, you will burn it.

One of my favourite American partisans is the Duchess of Displacement, the Baroness of Bulk, Molly McKew . We took a look at her work a long time ago , on the old blog – just before Trump commenced his term, in fact – or perhaps I should say his first term, since the barking madness of the political landscape in today's America makes it entirely possible he will serve a second, unbelievable as that may sound. In that article, we closed out like this; "Look, we're getting close to the end of this, and it's time for plain speaking. Americans are confused and don't know fact from fiction because their own government feeds them bullshit with a side of spin day in, day out, and you're part of it. There was no Russian interference in the American elections, and you know it." My take on what happened has not changed a bit.

McKew is still regarded – highly, I should imagine, by her feeble-minded peers – as an 'information-warfare expert'. Hardly amazing that she sees information-warfare attacks everywhere. Here's what she claimed to know about Russian election interference and general friggin' in the riggin', a little over a year ago. She bases her conclusions on Mueller's Grand Jury indictment, which was issued more than a year in advance of his report – an indictment in which Mueller claimed the Defendants (a variety of Russian advertising and research agencies operating both in Russia and the United States) " knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."

You know the old quote about how easy it is to get a Grand Jury to indict someone or something.

Something McKew claims is now – meaning as of early 2018 – "undeniable" is that Russia had, and has "a broad, sophisticated system that can influence American opinion, which cost tens of millions of dollars spent over several years to build." She must be talking about RT , although I suggest her cost estimate is a little low. RT, which the west considers a 'propaganda network', cost $30 million to set up, in 2005. Its operating costs now are in the hundreds of millions annually, although 80% of the costs are incurred outside Russia, paying for partner networks who distribute its channels.

We kind of have to give her that one, because it is true that RT's coverage is often at odds with the bullshit du jour that CNN and NBC and FOX are spreading. Bullshit, for example, like CNN's non-stop yammering about the collusion that Mueller could find no evidence ever occurred, and said so. Bullshit like NBC News anchor Brian Williams' recollections about his helicopter being shot down in Iraq – echoes of Hillary 'sniper fire' Clinton – , which never happened . Williams is not a nobody; he was the nation's longest-serving and top-rated news anchor.

I submit, however, that the American people are not subjected to RT's 'propaganda and disinformation' about American propaganda and disinformation against their will; there is a button on the remote called "On/Off" that will free the American enslaved from malign Kremlin influence. Alternatively, they can switch to another channel. I would just point out, though, that if they switch to a popular US news channel, they are very likely to be listening to a broadcast which has been curated by its corporate owners, and who " are unlikely to report news that is broadly hostile to corporate capitalism and the American elite ." That's according to a report entitled "Corporate Control of the Media" (in the USA), printed in 2009.

Warming to her subject, McKew goes on to claim "The Russian efforts described in the indictment focused on establishing deep, authenticated, long-term identities for individuals and groups within specific communities. This was underlaid by the establishment of servers and VPNs based in the US to mask the location of the individuals involved. US-based email accounts linked to fake or stolen US identity documents (driver licenses, social security numbers, and more) were used to back the online identities. These identities were also used to launder payments through PayPal and cryptocurrency accounts. All of this deception was designed to make it appear that these activities were being carried out by Americans."

This might be a good point at which to suggest there is every reason to believe 'these activities' were carried out by Americans. Americans working for national intelligence agencies.

In March 2017, The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima had an article published which was entitled "WikiLeaks' latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations." It detailed, among other things, a cyber tool called "Marble Framework" . This could be used, it was claimed, to re-assign attribution of material posted on the internet so that it appeared, for forensic purposes, to have originated from a different source. Test samples, it was reported, were included in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.

The report which encouraged President Trump to ask his CIA Director – Mike Pompeo, at the time, who is currently the National Security Advisor – what he knew about this was co-authored by Skip Folden, who for 25 years was the IT Program Manager for IBM. I think it is safe to say he has some credibility in the field of cyber-forensics. The authors of the report contended that the 'hack' of the DNC's server was not actually a hack at all, but the at-source copying of data directly from the server using a storage device, probably a thumb drive. The data transfer rate, the authors claimed, was far too rapid to have occurred over the internet.

Since then I have seen a couple of 'rebuttals' which claimed that under certain conditions – like if nobody else was using the internet during that time – such copying from a remote source was possible. I never saw anything like proof. Like someone demonstrating how it could be done. Much like the old 'clean pee swap' the completely-discredited McLaren Report claimed the Russians performed on athletes' urine samples; he claimed to know how it was done, but never demonstrated it, and appeared to be unable to do so, as it would have strongly supported his allegations.

Having taken us such an eye-blurring distance on the blarney rollercoaster, Molly at last falls apart. "So anyone trying to tell you there was little impact on political views from the tools the Russians used doesn't know. Because none of us knows. No one has looked . Social media companies don't want us to know, and they obfuscate and drag their feet rather than disclosing information. The analytical tools to quantify the impact don't readily exist. But we know what we see, and what we heard -- and the narratives pushed by the Russian information operation made it to all of our ears and eyes" , she tells us.

So if you saw advertising by Black Lives Matter, or perhaps some other civil-rights organization, pushing a false narrative that blacks are second-class citizens in their own country, then you were exposed to Kremlin propaganda. And it affected how you voted, if you're an American. How much? Nobody knows. What everybody does know, or should, is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, although not the determinate vote in the electoral college – quite a trick for the Russians to manage.

Let's summarize. Americans were supposedly pushed into voting for Donald Trump by the misuse of stolen data which was all true. The DNC did conspire to rig the primary so that Clinton was the Democratic candidate rather than Bernie Sanders; the Chair of the DNC resigned in disgrace because of the revelations which came to light. Her replacement, Donna Brazile, admitted to having fed the primary debate questions to Clinton in advance , giving her an advantage over Sanders, who was unaware of them as he should have been. At its very core, the Democratic party is as corrupt as the Nigerian prince who keeps e-mailing me to help him hide his ill-gotten fortune. American intelligence and technical professionals with no discernible benefit in making their country look bad insist that no hacking of the DNC's server took place, and that the stolen information which kicked the Democrats' feet out from under them on the eve of the election was not hacked, but stolen by direct physical transfer from the server using a portable storage device. Wikileaks insisted the information it released did not come from the Russians. The serving American intelligence services at the time of the 2016 election had a secret program which was capable of mimicking the origin of posted information on social media so that forensic investigation would find traces of Russian authorship, or other non-American authorship. The CIA has vigorously denied any involvement whatsoever in various international events at the time they occurred, only to admit much later – when it would be pointless to punish it – that they did in fact play an influential role. Data from 2014 established that at that time, 27% of black Americans lived below the poverty line , compared with 11% of all Americans; 38% of black children lived in poverty compared with 22% of all American children. I have seen no compelling evidence that this situation has improved. According to the perfidious Kremlin mouthpiece RT, citing American sources, American blacks are incarcerated at a rate six times as high as the national average .

Molly McKew, the information-warfare goddess, tells us that it is 'undeniable' that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, by making Americans doubt the integrity of their political candidates. In the case of the Democrats – which is by no means intended to spare the Republicans – they were demonstrated by their own repeatedly-verified and admitted shenanigans to understand 'integrity' about as well as the average crab fisherman understands how to calculate the mass of the sun. Everything they were accused of doing, they did. Candidate Hillary Clinton unambiguously lied – as she has done on other occasions – about the security classification of her 'private' emails and completely fabricated consent of the State Department for her to maintain a private email server for the sending and receiving of official message traffic. America does have an uneven scale of justice, law enforcement and standard of living based on race. There is no proof at all which has so far been made public that any of those situations were reported, compelled, exacerbated or invented by Russia, or by anyone from Russia. According to persistent revelations from Kiev, the American Democratic party energetically sought dirt on candidate Trump from Ukrainian sources , not Russian. McKew closes her soliloquy on election interference by maintaining that while it is undeniable that Russian interference occurred, nobody knows the extent to which it influenced the vote, which resulted in a popular win for the candidate who lost the election.

Let me posit another reality. Russia played no part at all in the outcome of the 2016 election, although it certainly was a surprise to most. There is no proof even offered that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials of any description, and no proof which could not have been fabricated that any coherent social-media campaign originating with Russian operatives took place, or that any such imaginary social-media campaign had anything to do with Trump's victory. The Democrats, by sticking to their ridiculous and incredible narrative of Russian masterminds warping American democracy, are setting themselves up for having their headlights sucked out again by the passing Trump juggernaut in the next election, when they will be totally out of excuses if they do not wake up and do some serious retrenching.

But we are probably going to have to wait for history to teach that lesson to Americans.

[Jun 13, 2019] For those who still look in occasionally on what is happening with Nord Stream II, the Americans are still blustering about killing it with new sanctions targeted against pipelaying vessels and those who finance them, insure them, and so on. Its typical dog-in-the-manger pressure is applied with a view to supplying Europe itself, with 'freedom gas'.

Jun 13, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman June 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm

For those who still look in occasionally on what is happening with Nord Stream II, the Americans are still blustering about killing it with new sanctions targeted against pipelaying vessels and those who finance them, insure them, and so on. Its typical dog-in-the-manger pressure is applied with a view to supplying Europe itself, with 'freedom gas'. That, of course, is not using energy as a weapon – just so we're clear. It's trying to force Europe to buy higher-priced American gas by using economics as a weapon.

Anyway, Germany is getting pretty fed up with it. Mutti Merkel has let the Americans know that they are not going to be able to stop the project. She has let it be known that the project already has European approval 'in principle', and that she is aware this is all about Ukraine and forcing Russia to continue gas transit through it and supplement its budget with transit fees. Germany's Ambassador to the United States, Emily Haber, has allegedly been even more pointed than that.

"In particular, according to Bild, the German Ambassador to the United States, Emily Haber, has sent a letter to the US Congress urging them to stop threatening Russian companies PJSC NOVATEK and PJSC Gazprom, operating in Germany, with new sanctions. In her words, such actions jeopardize the energy security of Germany and of the entire European Union.

In her letter, Emily Haber points out that since countries of the European Union have adopted amendments to the Gas Directive, the issue of blocking the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline is closed for Europe: "All countries that criticized the Nord Stream-2 approved this document " . Given the situation, the German diplomat described any further steps that Washington might take in order to hinder the development of the project as counterproductive and potentially threatening the energy security of the EU."

https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/05/26/us-strives-to-supply-europe-with-its-own-gas/

Gosh; that reminds me – Chinese tariffs on American LNG more than doubled a couple of weeks ago. As of June 1st, the tariff went from 10% to 25%. Not having much of an effect, though – Chinese imports of American LNG have only dropped from 1.4 million tons during the first 4 months of last year to .3 million tons over the same period this year. The unclaimed LNG must be sold on the open market, and that drives the price down. Price has a direct effect on American production, and if it goes too low production must be reined in.

You're doing a great job, Mr. Trump – keep it up! Make America great again!

[Jun 13, 2019] A recent RAND Corporation research paper which delivers a detailed road map as to how the United States can destabilize Russia

Jun 13, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Warren June 13, 2019 at 9:02 am

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

Mark Chapman June 13, 2019 at 10:17 am
Astoundingly arrogant, not to mention immature. If Russia produced a study on how to destroy America, there would be screams of rage at the unmitigated evil which must motivate a national effort to wreck the economy of another, and cause misery and social collapse for millions of people who were completely innocent. But only the Exceptional Nation can discuss it impassively, as if the study were nothing more than a coffee-table book. Because, you know, it is destined to rule and to triumph over all. So many parallels to Rome, yes, yes.

Americans were blessed with a wonderful, rich and bountiful country. Instead of being content with it, the repellent US government has set its sights on world domination so as to draw upon global wealth to increase American personal wealth and influence. It really sees itself as sitting at the pinnacle of a global empire in which all other countries are either vassals or resources. And the American people, while you could not really call them complicit, are mostly sold on the notion that this is their birthright as Americans, and that anyone who tries to forestall its unfolding in this fashion is trying to upset the natural order of things. Americans cannot be content with simply having America – they have to own and control it all. Oddly enough, the very ambition which was attributed to the Communists.

Northern Star June 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm
Take a look at some of the most notable RAND members:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAND_Corporation#Notable_participants

I think that fairly well explains it

[Jun 13, 2019] The D-Day invasion came out of a protracted struggle between the US and Britain over the course of the war and the opening of a "second front," which the Soviet Union had called for over at least the previous two years

Jun 13, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star June 7, 2019 at 12:12 pm

@ME in particular:

Appears that wsws anticipated the concerns of you and others:

"The D-Day invasion came out of a protracted struggle between the US and Britain over the course of the war and the opening of a "second front," which the Soviet Union had called for over at least the previous two years.

One of the most striking features of the D-Day anniversary commemorations, in both the UK and France, was the deliberate exclusion of Russia from the events. Whatever the undoubtable role played by the Normandy invasion in the defeat of the Third Reich in World War II, the overwhelming sacrifices and impact of the Red Army, which was responsible for 80 percent of the casualties inflicted upon German forces is undeniable. While the combat deaths of nearly 300,000 US military personnel was staggering, their numbers pale in comparison to the unfathomable toll of 26 million Soviet dead, military and civilian.

It was the victories of the Red Army -- and behind it the antifascist resistance of the Soviet masses -- fighting along a front that extended over 1,000 miles, that pushed the US and Britain to carry out the D-Day invasion and finally open up the second front demanded by Moscow."

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/07/pers-j07.html

Moscow Exile June 7, 2019 at 12:46 pm
The largest offensive launched during WWII and which ended in a Soviet victory was Operation Bagration, 23 June to 19 August 1944., in which the Soviet Union deployed 1,670,300 combat and support personnel, approximately 32,718 artillery pieces and mortars, 5,818 tanks and assault guns and 7,799 aircraft against the Nazis and, by doing so, inflicted the biggest defeat in German military history in that the Red Army destroyed 28 out of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre and completely shattered the German front line, thereby liberating Belorussia and Polish territory from the invader.

Compare and contrast:


D Day landings, 6 june, 1944

5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participated in the landings. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on D-Day,with 875,000 men disembarking by the end of June.

By July 21, Caen, a major objective for the allies, had still not fallen.

If Bagration had not taken place or had not ended in a decisive victory, the Germans would have wiped the floor with the allies in Normandy.

The German army never recovered from the crushing defeat that resulted from Bagration. The materiel and manpower losses sustained during Bagration amounted to almost 25% of German Eastern Front manpower, exceeding even the percentage of loss at Stalingrad.

These Nazi losses included many experienced soldiers, NCOs and commissioned officers, which at this stage of the war the Wehrmacht could not replace. An indication of the completeness of the Soviet victory is that 31 of the 47 German divisional or corps commanders involved were killed or captured.

In short: a Soviet defeat in the east would have meant either no allied invasion from the west or, if such an invasion had taken place without the Red Army being victorious in the east, the Nazis would have made short work of any western allied landings.

Moscow Exile June 7, 2019 at 12:50 pm
Where's Bagration gone above?

Try again!

Moscow Exile June 7, 2019 at 9:43 pm
The BBc on D-Day and Putin:

D-Day anniversary: Putin says lack of invitation 'not a problem'
6 June 2019

With this comment by Rosenberg, the BBC man in Moscow:

Why does Russia see D-Day differently to the West?
Analysis by Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow

When countries argue about the present, they often disagree about the past, too. Take D-Day – British Prime Minister Theresa May called it the day that "determined the fate of generations to come". But Russia's Foreign Ministry sees things rather differently.

"The Normandy landings did not have a decisive impact on the outcome of World War Two," said its spokesperson Maria Zakharova this week. "It was inevitable after the Red Army victories at Stalingrad and Kursk."

Moscow Exile June 7, 2019 at 9:48 pm
Zakharova is not correct in saying that the allies were defeated in the Ardennes, though they suffered a temporary reverse there. There was no way, however, that the Ardennes offensive, the last in the West undertaken by the Nazis, would have resulted in victory for the Hitlerites.

The allies were defeated at Arnhem though.

A total cock up resulting through poor intelligence work.

Northern Star June 8, 2019 at 10:54 am
"Zakharova is not correct in saying that the allies were defeated in the Ardennes, "

Ahhhh ME..ya' beat me to it. I was just now upon reading her comment going to point that out!!
General Weather-Blue Skies-enabled the Allies to get their Fighter bombers up and able to wreak havoc on the SS panzer formations and supply vehicles some of which were stalled on the roads having run out of petrol.
https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/clear-skies-over-bastogne-pattons-prayers-answered/

Mark Chapman June 8, 2019 at 9:36 am
That implication that Russia might see things differently if it had not been insulted by Putin's not being invited was unworthy even of such a cheap-shot vehicle as the state-sponsored BBC. Western re-jigging of historical events to its own benefit and to assuming unto itself the role of modest hero relies on its readership being unable or unwilling to comprehend cause and effect. Naturally every citizen everywhere wants to believe his or her country was brave and resolute, and soldiers of the Allied nations indeed did fight bravely against the Nazis; it's brave just to show up and keep pressing forward when you know it is entirely possible and even likely that you will be killed. But there are plenty of western historical stipulations to the fact that the Soviet Union took the brunt of the Nazi attack, and was still taking it when the Normandy landings took place; during all that time, whilst the Allies were dithering and some were making their own pacts with Hitler, the Russians were getting pounded. Instead, the west and most offensively the British portray the German campaign against the Soviet Union as a falling-out among thieves, and squeak about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact until you can't hear anything else. Wartime leaders among the allies acknowledged the indispensable nature of the Soviet defense and counterattacks to the eventual victory. But we have seen a slow airbrushing-out of the entire Soviet role in the conflict. Which is cheap and unworthy. Once again, and mark my words, if it goers on it will result in a smug certainty among western leaders that the inheritors of the Soviet mantle are not really fighters, more sulkers, and would be a pushover in war. A cakewalk, you might say; everyone will be home in time for supper, done and dusted. And the world will learn to its grief, if it even survives such a cataclysm, where listening to bullshit led it.
Cortes June 7, 2019 at 2:16 pm
The incredible power of General Winter.

I just had another brief look at the Conclusions in David Glantz's "August Storm" in which General Winter again played a decisive role in Manchuria. Who can withstand the General's icy grasp?

Patient Observer June 7, 2019 at 3:17 pm
I had to look. There is a General Winter, Ormonde de l'Épée Winter.

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

Mark Chapman June 8, 2019 at 8:59 am
Ormonde "the sword" Winter. Sounds kind of like a child destined to be a soldier. Or a letter-opener.
Jen June 8, 2019 at 2:23 pm
At least as a letter opener he'd be pushing the envelope. 🙂
Mark Chapman June 8, 2019 at 10:27 pm
Ha, ha!!!
Patient Observer June 7, 2019 at 3:13 pm
Quite a bit of research has confirmed British resistance to opening a second front for the purpose of keeping Nazi pressure on the Soviet Union if not its outright defeat. Eisenhower was, in particular, disgusted by the British describing their effort as a betrayal to the allied war effort. The examples of British treachery are endless.

Top US military leadership to me seemed generally competent in WW II. Their abhorrence of the nuclear attack on Japan reflected well on their morality and character.

Cortes June 7, 2019 at 4:55 pm
The War Diaries of Allanbrooke (CIGS) are a good read.

The assessment of Stalin by Allanbrooke is worth wading through a load of nonsense about Mme Chiang Kai Shek &c. And his recollection of Wavell making a poem about "No Second Front in '43" aboard the flight back from Moscow.

Northern Star June 8, 2019 at 11:05 am
"Their abhorrence of the nuclear attack on Japan reflected well on their morality and character."

Now THAT.. I didn't know but appears as if you are spot on corrrect:

"Truman was advised not to use the atomic bombs by such figures as Adm. William D. Leahy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. We know from Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson's diaries and other documents that the rush to use atomic bombs quickly, rather than follow other available courses, was intimately connected with the desire to end the conflict before the Soviet Union entered it on Aug. 15, 1945, and with the hope that the bomb would help in disputed European negotiations.
.But the central point was probably best put in General Eisenhower's blunt formulation: "It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing." GAR ALPEROVITZ Washington, Oct. 4, 1988 The writer is author of "Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam."

https://www.nytimes.com/svc/oembed/html/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F1988%2F10%2F29%2Fopinion%2Fl-a-bombing-of-japan-was-unnecessary-393488.html

Jen June 8, 2019 at 2:41 pm
There have been theories and rumours over the decades that the US exploded the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a warning to the Soviet Union, and had little or nothing to do with Japanese refusal to surrender (itself a lie – the Japanese had been offering surrender to the US over previous months before August 1945, if they could keep Emperor Hirohito, and the US flat-out rejected these surrender offers because it would only accept surrender on the condition that Japan accept a total US makeover of its government including the abolition of the monarchy which would effectively turn Japan into a US colony) or the talk about a US invasion of Japan which might result in the deaths of several million US servicemen.

At the time the Soviets had just declared war on Japan and were busy driving the Japanese out of Manchuria. The Japanese Army collapsed before the Soviet forces (the Soviets had better tank technology and Japan mainly relied on its navy rather than its army as its major attacking and defence force) and it was this that led Japan to formally surrender.

Patient Observer June 8, 2019 at 4:23 pm
My take on the nuclear attack in the order of importance:
– Message to the Soviet Union
– Opportunity for a "medical" experiment
– Revenge/racism
Patient Observer June 9, 2019 at 9:05 am
Updated – My take on the nuclear attack in the order of importance:
– Message to the Soviet Union
– Induce Japan to surrender to the US rather than to the Soviet Union
– Opportunity for a "medical" experiment
– Revenge/racism
Patient Observer June 8, 2019 at 4:20 pm
That isn't even half of it. These military leaders expected that the nuclear attacks would be considers as among the most barbaric war crimes of WW II. The NYT, however, was one of the bigger cheerleaders on the attack. I wonder if the NYT will apologize for its 60 years of support of a horrific war crime. Wait, what was I thinking? Of course not.
davidt June 8, 2019 at 4:51 pm
Interestingly, Freeman Dyson claims that it was not the use of the bomb that forced the surrender of Japan. Instead, he claims that it was the Soviets' declaration of war on Japan that decided the matter. He discusses this about 10 minutes into this lecture.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zq4p2qbE684?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Warren June 7, 2019 at 1:32 pm

[Jun 13, 2019] Zelenskiy is Poroshenko Lite

Jun 13, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman, June 12, 2019 at 9:49 am

There appears to be no sense in further discussion of a possible softening of relations between Russia and Ukraine; it is evident from recent developments that Zelenskiy is only Poroshenko Lite, and while he might not have such a penchant for thieving and running businesses on the side – and might even make an honest effort to tackle domestic issues like corruption – when it comes to international affairs he is in lockstep with the US State Department.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/ukraine-panel-jurisdiction-hear-russia-case-63625398

Kuh-yiv is once again trying to drag international arbitrators into the situation, and to get a ruling that Russia is encroaching upon Ukrainian mineral resources and fishing rights in the Black Sea and 'other waters'. It is a pretty obvious attempt to get an international ruling on the legality of Russia's claim to territorial waters off Crimea and in the Kerch Strait. Ukraine and its western backers know very well Russia would not recognize any such ruling if it were made, but then the United States would get its rule-of-law feathers all a-ruffle, and we would take another step closer to war.

Zelenskiy has also appointed former Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius to the supervisory board of the state defence conglomerate Ukroboronprom. So that's the Lithuanians back in government in Ukraine – can we look forward to Madame Jaresko making a reprise?

https://www.nytimes.com/svc/oembed/html/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2Freuters%2F2019%2F06%2F12%2Fworld%2Feurope%2F12reuters-ukraine-president-defence.html

amb
Mark Chapman June 13, 2019 at 1:25 pm

I don't know that Zelenskiy is pursuing a 'Jewish agenda", and I saw no sign of it when he was just a performer; he did do that skit in leather pants and high heels, but it was pretty funny and I wouldn't say his public experiences with gender themes constituted a position on gay rights. Trudeau is obsessed with gay rights and human rights in general, to the extent that he outsources foreign policy to Chrystia Freeland, and I think we will notice pretty quickly if Zelenskiy starts acting too much like Trudeau.

I would agree, though, that Zelenskiy shows increasing comfort with being western-advised and directed. Consequently, I don't expect there will be any change in the enmity between Ukraine and Russia, although the nationalists seem to be quieter than they were under Poroshenko. Russia is certainly not going to give back Crimea and step aside while the eastern republics are forcibly re-integrated, and Zelenskiy claims he will accept nothing less.

The curious part is, Putin already stipulated that Moscow would not object to Ukraine joining the European Union. Oh, it was a different world then, and Ukraine was not a violent enemy embroiled in a civil war, of course. This was before the west's full-bore propaganda onslaught against Russia, when the possibility still existed that the EU and Eurasian Union could co-exist, trade and do business with one another, to mutual benefit and profit. That Portuguese prick Barosso shot that possibility dead, and now he has gone on to his earthly reward as non-executive Chairman of Goldman-Sachs International – another way of saying he has a job where he can do the crossword puzzle all day and still take home a paycheck that makes him wonder if he is dreaming. Who says crime doesn't pay? People who are afraid to try crime; that's who.

Anyway, Putin was cautious, but his words were not ambiguous – if the people of Ukraine genuinely want to join the EU, Russia, I think, would welcome this. And look where we are now: thousands of people dead, millions displaced, the Ukrainian economy in the toilet and new sanctions flying around every day, disrupting global supply chains and shutting off markets forever. Europe keeps signing on to another extension of sanctions, and Russia could not care less. Anything it has not already started up a domestic producer for, it has sourced elsewhere, and those markets are gone – European farmers are hopeful that sanctions will be lifted, but it will not make any real difference now if they are. European fruit growers and produce farmers are going to have to get used to the idea that the USA has pissed in their well, and those markets are not coming back.

Patient Observer June 13, 2019 at 1:48 pm
I disagree. The Anglo rulers employ the Zionist tribe as needed. Both are equally evil but not equally influential.

The new kid on the block is Asia; largely untainted by the Anglo world outside of Japan. The Anglos are a wily bunch and are plotting how to spread their cancer to Asia now that they have largely destroyed their current hosts. However, as I said before, China may have figured out how to tame money so the Anglos will have a tough time ahead. Moreover, Russia is finding new strength in its old values.

Warren June 13, 2019 at 4:11 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/7Luol5YNt9k?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Northern Star June 13, 2019 at 4:26 pm
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/12/mali-j12.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=sharpspring&sslid=MzM0MzIyNzE2NTUyBgA&sseid=M7SwtDA0MLYwNAQA&jobid=e12274cb-2208-4d70-b35e-ae32fe203a61

"The origins of the conflict must be sought most immediately in the 2011 NATO war in Libya, which, with the support of right-wing fundamentalist Islamist proxy forces, destroyed the government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The outcome of this war was the complete destruction of Libyan society. The country is now run by rival militia groups tied to the imperialist powers, who have kept the country in a state of civil war for nearly a decade since the NATO intervention.

Following the destruction of the Gaddafi regime, thousands of fighters poured out of Libya and across the Sahara, traveling to the Sahel region, including Mali. Various rival militias declared an independent or Islamic state in northern Mali.

Paris reacted in 2013 by launching a new war to occupy its former colony, one of the poorest countries in the world, to save the Bamako regime and destroy the northern Mali militias. For six years now, Paris has sunk deeper into a quagmire in Mali. President Emmanuel Macron has continued the war, codenamed Operation Barkhane, initiated by Socialist Party (PS) President François Hollande, involving an occupation force of 4,500 French troops and troops from five former French colonies in the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

As it rapidly moves to re-militarize its foreign policy, Berlin also approved military operations in support of the French only two months after the initial French invasion. Last month, the German parliament voted overwhelmingly to extend the military occupation of the country with 1,100 soldiers until 2020, at a yearly cost of 400 million euros.

These operations have nothing to do with protecting the local population from Islamist militias, which were armed and funded by US and European intelligence agencies in Libya. They are aimed at propping up the puppet government in Bamako, suppressing the resistance of the impoverished rural population and workers to the government, and maintaining their control over the resource-rich region.

The imperialist intervention in Mali led directly to the growth of ethnic tensions between the predominantly Muslim Fulani community and the Dogons. There are widespread suspicions of state involvement in the ethnic conflicts that are now erupting. The Malian government has utilized the Dogon militia in the French-led war against Islamist militias, which have recruited disproportionately among the Fulani."

Sounds as if what's needed is a galvanizing 21st Century 'Mahdi' around whom black Africans could unify to bring about a replay of Dien Bien Phu for the French in Africa.
The victory celebration festivities could conclude with a 'Gordon in Khartoum' reenactment using one of the (volunteer) captured French command officers as the General.

[Jun 13, 2019] Congress Investigates the Iran Hawks' Creepy Smear Campaign by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The department should also review its relationship with the contractor responsible for the smear campaign, because paying someone to do little more than harass political opponents because they are insufficiently hard-line is a waste of the public's money and serves no legitimate public interest: ..."
"... could it be the smear campaign is a feature and not a bug? And if so could it be a reflection of Pompeo's character and disposition. ..."
"... Take a look at previous secretaries of state - leading American foreign policy - Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton where the U.S. was lead into awful, nation destroying policies and mass deaths. The only recent person at that post that sincerely tried to actually do something for the sake of peace and the actual use of diplomacy was John Kerry, with the deal among the European nations and America and Iran. ..."
"... Terrible human beings they are and foe them it was all fun and games. Obama was too much of a weakling to take firm stands, except of course with the work of Kerry on the Iran deal. Ask yourself: do any of the three, Rice, Hillary or Albright give a damn about human life, including American troops dying? Ah no ..."
"... "Pompeo's State Department used government money, taxpayer money, to disinform the American public and smear American citizens. " ..."
"... It's worse than that. Our "America First" president's State Department hired foreigners to do this, foreigners who belong to a "former" terror gang that used to kill Americans. Hiring foreigners to lie to and smear Americans? There must be laws against it. Laws with serious consequences. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Negar Mortazavi and Borzou Daragahi report on the response in Congress to the scandal over State Department funding for the so-called Iran Disinformation Project:

United States officials say they are outraged by a government-funded troll campaign that has targeted American citizens critical of the administration's hardline Iran policy and accused critics of being loyal to the Tehran regime.

State Department officials admitted to Congressional staff in a closed-door meeting on Monday that a project they had funded to counter Iranian propaganda had gone off the rails. Critics in Washington have gone further, saying that the programme resembled the type of troll farms used by autocratic regimes abroad.

"It's completely unacceptable that American taxpayer dollars supported a project that attacked Americans and others who are critical of the Trump administration's policy of escalation and conflict with Iran," a senior Congressional aide told The Independent, on condition of anonymity.

The State Department's Global Engagement Center erred from the beginning by entrusting the effort to counter Iranian regime propaganda to an outside contractor with such hard-line views. There was clearly a failure to supervise what the contractor was doing with the funding provided by the department, and the result was outsourcing the department's work to self-serving ideologues. Had it not been for the public outcry and investigations by several of the people being targeted by this department-funded operation, the department might not have realized what was being done with its own resources until much later and it might not have acknowledged the error at all.

The department should also review its relationship with the contractor responsible for the smear campaign, because paying someone to do little more than harass political opponents because they are insufficiently hard-line is a waste of the public's money and serves no legitimate public interest:

E-Collaborative for Civic Education, co-founded by Iranian American activist Mariam Memarsadeghi, is a long-time State Department contractor.

It purports to promote democratic political life and empower civil society inside Iran, but it appears to have no presence inside the country and instead confines itself to engaging with Iranians in the Diaspora.

In this case, the engagement with Iranians in the diaspora amounted to shouting abuse at many of them and harassing those that didn't toe a certain ideological line. As the scandal proves, hard-line regime changers have a very warped idea of what qualifies as pro-regime rhetoric and who can be considered a regime supporter, and so it should come as no surprise that this operation turned its ire on the many Iranian-American professionals that didn't get with the hawkish program. This calls into question whether the department is capable of countering disinformation from foreign governments without indulging the worst and most hawkish people that want to use such efforts to settle scores against their fellow Americans. It is good that Congress is looking into how this particular scandal happened, but there have to be changes made to how the department runs the Global Engagement Center so that something like this can't happen again.

One of the absurdities of this smear campaign is that it has targeted the very journalists and analysts that have been far more effective in countering the Iranian government's false claims through their reporting and analysis. The Iran Disinformation Project went after these journalists and analysts because they refused to recite arguments in favor of regime change and war. They were targeted because they were independent and credible observers and critics of Iran and U.S. Iran policy, and that meant that they used their expertise and understanding of the country to question the wisdom and efficacy of sanctions and spoke out against the folly of military intervention. Iran hawks desperately need to discredit and smear people like this because they pose a major threat to the promotion of the hawks' agenda. Fortunately, their smear tactics aren't working very well these days.


Christian J Chuba , says: June 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm

How long before these Congressman are denounced as traitors by the likes of Tom Cotton. 'No one can challenge me, I was in Iraq, how dare they shoot at me, it's my country not theirs.'
Oleg Gark , says: June 11, 2019 at 6:22 pm
I think American citizens should engage their own State Department with lawsuits and criminal indictments. The legal discovery process should air the place out quite nicely.
Tourmaloony , says: June 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm
It's kind of odd that this is something that's being highlighted and looked into, considering the total lack of interest in charging Bolton, Dean, Giuliani, Ridge, and others for their material support to terrorists when they were promoting MEK when it was still on the FTO list.

Sorry, that was a long sentence.

Thanks for your efforts, Larison.

WorkingClass , says: June 11, 2019 at 9:08 pm
" .the department might not have realized what was being done with its own resources until much later and it might not have acknowledged the error at all."

Oh well. We all make mistakes. Or could it be the smear campaign is a feature and not a bug? And if so could it be a reflection of Pompeo's character and disposition.

Fayez Abedaziz , says: June 12, 2019 at 2:06 am
Take a look at previous secretaries of state - leading American foreign policy - Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton where the U.S. was lead into awful, nation destroying policies and mass deaths. The only recent person at that post that sincerely tried to actually do something for the sake of peace and the actual use of diplomacy was John Kerry, with the deal among the European nations and America and Iran.

The above three were truly terrible people to have representing the U.S. They bullied and gloated about the deaths in other nations: see Albright defending the deaths of children in Iraq due to sanctions and Hillary laughing at the deaths and mayhem in Libya.

Terrible human beings they are and foe them it was all fun and games. Obama was too much of a weakling to take firm stands, except of course with the work of Kerry on the Iran deal. Ask yourself: do any of the three, Rice, Hillary or Albright give a damn about human life, including American troops dying? Ah no

rayray , says: June 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm
To your point, what I enjoyed about John Kerry was his full throated effort to bring back the ideal of what the State Department is supposed to be doing that is, using the mechanisms of diplomacy to make peace and increase communication.

All the other Sec States felt like they wished they were part of the military.

Burn Bag , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:47 pm
Don't give me this "Global Engagement Center" crap. Pompeo? "Global Engagement"?

It's simple. Pompeo's State Department used government money, taxpayer money, to disinform the American public and smear American citizens. The next step is obvious. Find who did it and throw them in prison.

Loadbearing , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:52 pm
@Burn Bag says

"Pompeo's State Department used government money, taxpayer money, to disinform the American public and smear American citizens. "

It's worse than that. Our "America First" president's State Department hired foreigners to do this, foreigners who belong to a "former" terror gang that used to kill Americans. Hiring foreigners to lie to and smear Americans? There must be laws against it. Laws with serious consequences.

[Jun 12, 2019] Flynn Hires Sidney Powell - Mueller s Pit Bull Meets His Match, Again

Notable quotes:
"... Comey said in an interview that he used tactics he would not ordinarily use because the then fledgling Trump administration was unorganized at the beginning. Basically, he and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe discouraged Flynn from asking White House general counsel to sit in on the interview. Flynn, according to several source with knowledge, had no idea he was being targeted by the FBI for an investigation. ..."
"... Weissmann served as Mueller's second in command for the special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign, despite the fact that his tactics have been highly criticized by both judges and colleagues. He was called unscrupulous and has had several significant issues raised about how he operated during the Mueller inquiry into Trump campaign officials, including Flynn. ..."
"... Powell has openly stated in columns and on cable networks that Weissmann's dirty tactics of withholding exculpatory evidence and threatening witnesses to garner prosecutions should have had him disbarred long ago. ..."
"... Flynn plead guilty after Mueller [ Weissmann ] threatened Flynn's family, including his son Michael Jr. According to sources close to Flynn family, Mueller threatened Flynn on multiple occasions that if he did not plead guilty to lying to the FBI, Mueller would investigate other Flynn family members, including his son. ..."
"... I sent them. Something we've, I probably wouldn't have done or maybe gotten away with in a more organized administration," Comey said. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made a similar statement regarding Flynn, which was uncovered by congressional investigators. ..."
"... Five Ways "Dirty Cop Mueller" Played Americans For Complete Fools . . . https://youtu.be/-YYmSIoCp50 ..."
"... The world's greatest liars and scum prosecuting someone for telling a lie. Seth Rich https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/12/why-didnt-mueller-investigate-seth-rich/ ..."
"... Mark Meadows destroys The Mueller Coverup . . . https://youtu.be/iPgPgev7Yd4 ..."
"... Sidney Powell Rips Into Mueller https://youtu.be/udRqsEa2N9E ..."
Jun 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via SaraCarter.com,

Embattled Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has hired well known defense attorney Sidney Powell to represent him before his sentencing hearing in Washington D.C.'s federal court . Flynn, who fired his attorney's last week, will still fully cooperate with the government in all cases pending, Powell told SaraACarter.com.

Flynn's former legal counsel Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony offered no explanation for their abrupt dismissal telling SaraACarter.com they "decline to comment."

"He is and will continue to cooperate with the government in all aspects," Powell told SaraACarter.com.

"He and his family truly appreciate all the cards and letters of support from countless people and the contributions to the defense fund which are even more important now."

Powell noted that Flynn's case file, "is massive" and "it will take me at least 90 days to review it."

Kelner and Anthony submitted a two-page motion last week to the federal judge. Flynn's sentencing will be based on his 2017 guilty plea to special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors for one count of lying to the FBI.

The guilty plea has been a source of contention in news reports, after evidence and testimony surfaced that the FBI special agents that interviewed Flynn in January, 2017 didn't believe he was lying. Both former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka interviewed Flynn about his phone conversation with then Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The interview was conducted just as Flynn began his then role as National Security Advisor for Trump.

Former FBI Director James Comey joked about the bureau's interview with Flynn.

Comey said in an interview that he used tactics he would not ordinarily use because the then fledgling Trump administration was unorganized at the beginning. Basically, he and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe discouraged Flynn from asking White House general counsel to sit in on the interview. Flynn, according to several source with knowledge, had no idea he was being targeted by the FBI for an investigation.

"I sent them. Something we've, I probably wouldn't have done or maybe gotten away with in a more organized administration," Comey said. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made a similar statement regarding Flynn, which was uncovered by congressional investigators.

Flynn's attorneys said in the filing that they had been notified "he is terminating Covington & Burling LLP as his counsel and has already retained new counsel for this matter."

Powell is the author of the New York Times best seller and tell-all book Licensed To Lie, which exposed the corruption within the justice system. The book is based on the case Powell won against prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, when he was deputy and later director of the Enron Task Force.

Weissmann served as Mueller's second in command for the special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign, despite the fact that his tactics have been highly criticized by both judges and colleagues. He was called unscrupulous and has had several significant issues raised about how he operated during the Mueller inquiry into Trump campaign officials, including Flynn.

He prosecuted the accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP, which ended in the collapse of the firm and 85,000 jobs lost world wide. Maureen Mahoney took the case to the Supreme Court, and Powell consulted. Mahoney overturned Weissmann's conviction and the decision was reversed unanimously by the court.

Powell has openly stated in columns and on cable networks that Weissmann's dirty tactics of withholding exculpatory evidence and threatening witnesses to garner prosecutions should have had him disbarred long ago.

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Right Wing-Nut , 8 minutes ago link

Powell has openly stated in columns and on cable networks that Weissmann's dirty tactics of withholding exculpatory evidence and threatening witnesses to garner prosecutions should have had him disbarred long ago.

Flynn plead guilty after Mueller [ Weissmann ] threatened Flynn's family, including his son Michael Jr. According to sources close to Flynn family, Mueller threatened Flynn on multiple occasions that if he did not plead guilty to lying to the FBI, Mueller would investigate other Flynn family members, including his son.

Illegal , 44 minutes ago link

Weissmann is your typical pos attorney that is allowed to lie if it involves a goy.

frankthecrank , 2 minutes ago link

they are all allowed to lie with regard to anyone or anything.

Clycntct , 1 hour ago link

Wanted to come back and post this YouTube video of interview with pal by Mark Levin which is excellent primer on her background and intelligence.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-HFElf4H0t8

Silverado91 , 1 hour ago link

She's got more and bigger balls then a lot of the men participating in the Flynn hoax. He chose well...

quietdude , 1 hour ago link

What mental glitch would make ANYONE talk to law enforcement nowadays? Did this fool think he was Hillary or something?

Collectivism Killz , 47 minutes ago link

Good people tend to talk to law enforcement because they naively believe that people in government and LE have good intentions and follow the rule of law. A lot of people get screwed trying to legitimately help, sad as that is.

FreedomWriter , 1 hour ago link

I sent them. Something we've, I probably wouldn't have done or maybe gotten away with in a more organized administration," Comey said. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made a similar statement regarding Flynn, which was uncovered by congressional investigators.

Well Comeboy, we will keep that in mind when you are brought before a jury of your peers. Make sure you have a good lawyer.

What a piece of ****.

CAPT DRAKE , 1 hour ago link

******* incredible. Why on earth is our government so filled with sociopaths. What have we done to deserve this level of treatment? I hope the whole cabal ends up in jail.

TGDavis , 1 hour ago link

If you don't think treason matters, Weissman's games with Alaskan senator Ted Stevens caused a Democrat to get elected in a red state and was the 60th vote needed for Obama care.

The Goy Wonder , 1 hour ago link

Although I wasn't enamored with the amount of military personnel Trump initially chose for his cabinet, Flynn didn't feel like the same type as McMaster and Kelly. I hope he can get his name cleared

Goodsport 1945 , 2 hours ago link

Unless we drain the swamp, decent people will be discouraged from entering public service. They've dragged this man through the mud while conflicted high level bureaucrats, corrupt FBI types, the DNC, the Clintons, and all the other pieces of swamp crap are still basking in the sunshine.

Lanka , 2 hours ago link

Hiring Sidney Powell is 2 years too late.

LEEPERMAX , 3 hours ago link

Five Ways "Dirty Cop Mueller" Played Americans For Complete Fools . . . https://youtu.be/-YYmSIoCp50

whatamaroon , 3 hours ago link

She is a revered commentater on the Conservative Treehouse blog.

Cheap Chinese Crap , 3 hours ago link

Let's not forget the rabidly over-the-top military assaults on elderly people in the middle of the night. Although I doubt he ever tried that on some mafia guy. Just solid citizens.

thinkmoretalkless , 3 hours ago link

She now has the opportunity to knock him out.

commiebastid , 3 hours ago link

The world's greatest liars and scum prosecuting someone for telling a lie. Seth Rich https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/12/why-didnt-mueller-investigate-seth-rich/

messystateofaffairs , 41 minutes ago link

I don't mind, I live in a house. Wouldn't you be happy if food got cheaper?

Occams_Razor_Trader_Part_Deux , 3 hours ago link

The Cover Up Begins: Sorry "Q"

The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice says that the department declined to prosecute a deputy assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who made an illegal leak to the media.

In announcing that DOJ had declined to prosecuted this unnamed high-ranking FBI official, the inspector general also said that the case in question had been referenced in the IG's earlier report on the FBI's activities leading up to the 2016 election.

"The OIG investigation," said a summary released by the OIG , "concluded that the DAD engaged in misconduct when the DAD: (1) disclosed to the media the existence of information that had been filed under seal in federal court, in violation of 18 USC 401, Contempt of Court; (2) provided without authorization FBI law enforcement sensitive information to reporters on multiple occasions; and (3) had dozens of official contacts with the media without authorization, in violation of FBI policy."

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cnsnewscom-staff/ig-doj-declined-prosecute-deputy-assistant-director-fbi-who-made

Occams_Razor_Trader_Part_Deux , 3 hours ago link

The delusion of fairness?

The delusion that our Government knows right from wrong?

The delusion that people who break laws should be punished?

The delusion of equality in prosecution?

Which delusion?

The Persistent Vegetable , 3 hours ago link

The delusion that trump is going to be the man who fixes any of those things you mention. He IS the swamp.

SHADEWELL , 3 hours ago link

What the **** are you talking about?

I get that the DOJ punted, but Barr is going to fry his ***, so unlike the presentation you depict, they are still going after this ****

Nice attempt at deception

Occams_Razor_Trader_Part_Deux , 54 minutes ago link

"In announcing that DOJ had declined to prosecuted this unnamed high-ranking FBI official"

That's Barr's DOJ that decided to not prosecute an unnamed deputy assistant director of the FBI that was found to have leaked information which is misconduct! Unless that person is cooperating with the investigation- THAT'S ********!

LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link

Mark Meadows destroys The Mueller Coverup . . . https://youtu.be/iPgPgev7Yd4

Scipio Africanuz , 4 hours ago link

This is beautiful! A lot of legal luminaries will have the opportunity to bring their brilliant minds to the table, to help repair the laws of the Republic.. Let them tackle issues such as privacy, spying on citizens, the Patriot Act, unreasonable seizures and searches, police brutality, home/office invasions etc.

If such a battlefield is provided (legal battlefields), perhaps we might contrive a delay in "cessation" of dissemination.

Let Comey and the others lawyer up too, the hammer is gonna drop, and let the executive lawyer up as well, we're gonna restore the foundation of the Republic!

What took you so long Sidney Powell? Life is good, battle beckons!

Let's have at it, restoration of Law, that is, cheers...

LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link

Just in . . . Sidney Powell Rips Into Mueller https://youtu.be/udRqsEa2N9E

wolf pup , 4 hours ago link

I enjoy listening to Sidney Powell speak on this matter.

She's got guts, and with the smarts required to win against these criminals running everything. I hope she has good security. She's someone I'd not want to go up against in a courtroom.

Groundround , 4 hours ago link

How they treated Flynn was a disgrace. Just think of how law enforcement treats the average citizen with no power and no publicity to shine light on their cases. I hope they slam these guys. I would say that the judges in cases like these should be throwing cases like this out. The courts have become politicized and a lot of judges need to be shown the door as well.

Secret Weapon , 2 hours ago link

How they treated Flynn is how they will treat you and I. They deserve no mercy.

[Jun 11, 2019] Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism by Quinn Slobodian

The author is a very fuzzy way comes to the idea that neoliberalism is in essence a Trotskyism for the rich and that neoliberals want to use strong state to enforce the type of markets they want from above. That included free movement of capital goods and people across national borders. All this talk about "small government" is just a smoke screen for naive fools.
Similar to 1930th contemporary right-wing populism in Germany and Austria emerged from within neoliberalism, not in opposition to it. They essentially convert neoliberalism in "national liberalism": Yes to free trade by only on bilateral basis with a strict control of trade deficits. No to free migration, multilateralism
Notable quotes:
"... The second explanation was that neoliberal globalization made a small number of people very rich, and it was in the interest of those people to promote a self-serving ideology using their substantial means by funding think tanks and academic departments, lobbying congress, fighting what the Heritage Foundation calls "the war of ideas." Neoliberalism, then, was a restoration of class power after the odd, anomalous interval of the mid-century welfare state. ..."
"... Neoliberal globalism can be thought of in its own terms as a negative theology, contending that the world economy is sublime and ineffable with a small number of people having special insight and ability to craft institutions that will, as I put it, encase the sublime world economy. ..."
"... One of the big goals of my book is to show neoliberalism is one form of regulation among many rather than the big Other of regulation as such. ..."
"... I build here on the work of other historians and show how the demands in the United Nations by African, Asian, and Latin American nations for things like the Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, i.e. the right to nationalize foreign-owned companies, often dismissed as merely rhetorical, were actually existentially frightening to global businesspeople. ..."
"... They drafted neoliberal intellectuals to do things like craft agreements that gave foreign corporations more rights than domestic actors and tried to figure out how to lock in what I call the "human right of capital flight" into binding international codes. I show how we can see the development of the WTO as largely a response to the fear of a planned -- and equal -- planet that many saw in the aspirations of the decolonizing world. ..."
"... The neoliberal insight of the 1930s was that the market would not take care of itself: what Wilhelm Röpke called a market police was an ongoing need in a world where people, whether out of atavistic drives or admirable humanitarian motives, kept trying to make the earth a more equal and just place. ..."
"... The culmination of these processes by the 1990s is a world economy that is less like a laissez-faire marketplace and more like a fortress, as ever more of the world's resources and ideas are regulated through transnational legal instruments. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 16, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0674979524
ISBN-13: 978-0674979529

From introduction

...The second explanation was that neoliberal globalization made a small number of people very rich, and it was in the interest of those people to promote a self-serving ideology using their substantial means by funding think tanks and academic departments, lobbying congress, fighting what the Heritage Foundation calls "the war of ideas." Neoliberalism, then, was a restoration of class power after the odd, anomalous interval of the mid-century welfare state.

There is truth to both of these explanations. Both presuppose a kind of materialist explanation of history with which I have no problem. In my book, though, I take another approach. What I found is that we could not understand the inner logic of something like the WTO without considering the whole history of the twentieth century. What I also discovered is that some of the members of the neoliberal movement from the 1930s onward, including Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, did not use either of the explanations I just mentioned. They actually didn't say that economic growth excuses everything. One of the peculiar things about Hayek, in particular, is that he didn't believe in using aggregates like GDP -- the very measurements that we need to even say what growth is.

What I found is that neoliberalism as a philosophy is less a doctrine of economics than a doctrine of ordering -- of creating the institutions that provide for the reproduction of the totality [of financial elite control of the state]. At the core of the strain I describe is not the idea that we can quantify, count, price, buy and sell every last aspect of human existence. Actually, here it gets quite mystical. The Austrian and German School of neoliberals in particular believe in a kind of invisible world economy that cannot be captured in numbers and figures but always escapes human comprehension.

After all, if you can see something, you can plan it. Because of the very limits to our knowledge, we have to default to ironclad rules and not try to pursue something as radical as social justice, redistribution, or collective transformation. In a globalized world, we must give ourselves over to the forces of the market, or the whole thing will stop working.

So this is quite a different version of neoliberal thought than the one we usually have, premised on the abstract of individual liberty or the freedom to choose. Here one is free to choose but only within a limited range of options left after responding to the global forces of the market.

One of the core arguments of my book is that we can only understand the internal coherence of neoliberalism if we see it as a doctrine as concerned with the whole as the individual. Neoliberal globalism can be thought of in its own terms as a negative theology, contending that the world economy is sublime and ineffable with a small number of people having special insight and ability to craft institutions that will, as I put it, encase the sublime world economy.

To me, the metaphor of encasement makes much more sense than the usual idea of markets set free, liberated or unfettered. How can it be that in an era of proliferating third party arbitration courts, international investment law, trade treaties and regulation that we talk about "unfettered markets"? One of the big goals of my book is to show neoliberalism is one form of regulation among many rather than the big Other of regulation as such.

What I explore in Globalists is how we can think of the WTO as the latest in a long series of institutional fixes proposed for the problem of emergent nationalism and what neoliberals see as the confusion between sovereignty -- ruling a country -- and ownership -- owning the property within it.

I build here on the work of other historians and show how the demands in the United Nations by African, Asian, and Latin American nations for things like the Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, i.e. the right to nationalize foreign-owned companies, often dismissed as merely rhetorical, were actually existentially frightening to global businesspeople.

They drafted neoliberal intellectuals to do things like craft agreements that gave foreign corporations more rights than domestic actors and tried to figure out how to lock in what I call the "human right of capital flight" into binding international codes. I show how we can see the development of the WTO as largely a response to the fear of a planned -- and equal -- planet that many saw in the aspirations of the decolonizing world.

Perhaps the lasting image of globalization that the book leaves is that world capitalism has produced a doubled world -- a world of imperium (the world of states) and a world of dominium (the world of property). The best way to understand neoliberal globalism as a project is that it sees its task as the never-ending maintenance of this division. The neoliberal insight of the 1930s was that the market would not take care of itself: what Wilhelm Röpke called a market police was an ongoing need in a world where people, whether out of atavistic drives or admirable humanitarian motives, kept trying to make the earth a more equal and just place.

The culmination of these processes by the 1990s is a world economy that is less like a laissez-faire marketplace and more like a fortress, as ever more of the world's resources and ideas are regulated through transnational legal instruments. The book acts as a kind of field guide to these institutions and, in the process, hopefully recasts the 20th century that produced them.


Mark bennett

One half of a decent book

3.0 out of 5 stars One half of a decent book May 14, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase This is a rather interesting look at the political and economic ideas of a circle of important economists, including Hayek and von Mises, over the course of the last century. He shows rather convincingly that conventional narratives concerning their idea are wrong. That they didn't believe in a weak state, didn't believe in the laissez-faire capitalism or believe in the power of the market. That they saw mass democracy as a threat to vested economic interests.

The core beliefs of these people was in a world where money, labor and products could flow across borders without any limit. Their vision was to remove these subjects (tariffs, immigration and controls on the movement of money) from the control of the democracy-based nation-state and instead vesting them in international organizations. International organizations which were by their nature undemocratic and beyond the influence of democracy. That rather than rejecting government power, what they rejected was national government power. They wanted weak national governments but at the same time strong undemocratic international organizations which would gain the powers taken from the state.

The other thing that characterized many of these people was a rather general rejection of economics. While some of them are (at least in theory) economists, they rejected the basic ideas of economic analysis and economic policy. The economy, to them, was a mystical thing beyond any human understanding or ability to influence in a positive way. Their only real belief was in "bigness". The larger the market for labor and goods, the more economically prosperous everyone would become. A unregulated "global" market with specialization across borders and free migration of labor being the ultimate system.

The author shows how, over a period extending from the 1920s to the 1990s, these ideas evolved from marginal academic ideas to being dominant ideas internationally. Ideas that are reflected today in the structure of the European Union, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the policies of most national governments. These ideas, which the author calls "neoliberalism", have today become almost assumptions beyond challenge. And even more strangely, the dominating ideas of the political left in most of the west.

The author makes the point, though in a weak way, that the "fathers" of neoliberalism saw themselves as "restoring" a lost golden age. That golden age being (roughly) the age of the original industrial revolution (the second half of the 1800s). And to the extent that they have been successful they have done that. But at the same time, they have brought back all the political and economic questions of that era as well.

In reading it, I started to wonder about the differences between modern neoliberalism and the liberal political movement during the industrial revolution. I really began to wonder about the actual motives of "reform" liberals in that era. Were they genuinely interested in reforms during that era or were all the reforms just cynical politics designed to enhance business power at the expense of other vested interests. Was, in particular, the liberal interest in political reform and franchise expansion a genuine move toward political democracy or simply a temporary ploy to increase their political power. If one assumes that the true principles of classic liberalism were always free trade, free migration of labor and removing the power to governments to impact business, perhaps its collapse around the time of the first world war is easier to understand.

He also makes a good point about the EEC and the organizations that came before the EU. Those organizations were as much about protecting trade between Europe and former European colonial possessions as they were anything to do with trade within Europe.

To me at least, the analysis of the author was rather original. In particular, he did an excellent job of showing how the ideas of Hayek and von Mises have been distorted and misunderstood in the mainstream. He was able to show what their ideas were and how they relate to contemporary problems of government and democracy.

But there are some strong negatives in the book. The author offers up a complete virtue signaling chapter to prove how the neoliberals are racists. He brings up things, like the John Birch Society, that have nothing to do with the book. He unleashes a whole lot of venom directed at American conservatives and republicans mostly set against a 1960s backdrop. He does all this in a bad purpose: to claim that the Kennedy Administration was somehow a continuation of the new deal rather than a step toward neoliberalism. His blindness and modern political partisanship extended backward into history does substantial damage to his argument in the book. He also spends an inordinate amount of time on the political issues of South Africa which also adds nothing to the argument of the book. His whole chapter on racism is an elaborate strawman all held together by Ropke. He also spends a large amount of time grinding some sort of Ax with regard to the National Review and William F. Buckley.

He keeps resorting to the simple formula of finding something racist said or written by Ropke....and then inferring that anyone who quoted or had anything to do with Ropke shared his ideas and was also a racist. The whole point of the exercise seems to be to avoid any analysis of how the democratic party (and the political left) drifted over the decades from the politics of the New Deal to neoliberal Clintonism.

Then after that, he diverts further off the path by spending many pages on the greatness of the "global south", the G77 and the New International Economic Order (NIEO) promoted by the UN in the 1970s. And whatever many faults of neoliberalism, Quinn Slobodian ends up standing for a worse set of ideas: International Price controls, economic "reparations", nationalization, international trade subsidies and a five-year plan for the world (socialist style economic planning at a global level). In attaching himself to these particular ideas, he kills his own book. The premise of the book and his argument was very strong at first. But by around p. 220, its become a throwback political tract in favor of the garbage economic and political ideas of the so-called third world circa 1974 complete with 70's style extensive quotations from "Senegalese jurists"

Once the political agenda comes out, he just can't help himself. He opens the conclusion to the book taking another cheap shot for no clear reason at William F. Buckley. He spends alot of time on the Seattle anti-WTO protests from the 1990s. But he has NOTHING to say about BIll Clinton or Tony Blair or EU expansion or Obama or even the 2008 economic crisis for that matter. Inexplicably for a book written in 2018, the content of the book seems to end in the year 2000.

I'm giving it three stars for the first 150 pages which was decent work. The second half rates zero stars. Though it could have been far better if he had written his history of neoliberalism in the context of the counter-narrative of Keynesian economics and its decline. It would have been better yet if the author had the courage to talk about the transformation of the parties of the left and their complicity in the rise of neoliberalism. The author also tends to waste lots of pages repeating himself or worse telling you what he is going to say next. One would have expected a better standard of editing by the Harvard Press. Read less 69 people found this helpful Helpful Comment Report abuse

Jesper Doepping
A concise definition of neoliberalism and its historical influence

5.0 out of 5 stars A concise definition of neoliberalism and its historical influence November 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase Anybody interested in global trade, business, human rights or democracy today should read this book.

The book follow the Austrians from the beginning in the Habsburgischer empire to the beginning rebellion against the WTO. However, most importantly it follows the thinking and the thoughts behind the building of a global empire of capitalism with free trade, capital and rights. All the way to the new "human right" to trade. It narrows down what neoliberal thought really consist of and indirectly make a differentiation to the neoclassical economic tradition.

What I found most interesting is the turn from economics to law - and the conceptual distinctions between the genes, tradition, reason, which are translated into a quest for a rational and reason based protection of dominium (the rule of property) against the overreach of imperium (the rule of states/people). This distinction speaks directly to the issues that EU is currently facing.

Jackal
A historian with an agenda

3.0 out of 5 stars A historian with an agenda October 22, 2018 Format: Hardcover Author is covering Mises, Hayek, Machlup in Vienna. How to produce order once the Habsburg empire had been broken after 1918? They pioneered data gathering about the economy. However, such data came to be used by the left as well. This forced the people mentioned to become intellectual thinkers as opposed to something else(??). I like how the author is situating the people in a specific era, but he is reading history backwards. The book moves on, but stays in Central Europe. Ordocapitalism followed after Hitler. It was a German attempt to have a both strong state and strong by market, which given Europe's fragmentation required international treaties. This was seen as a way to avoid another Hitler. Later, international organisations like IMF and TWO became the new institutions that embedded the global markets. The book ends in the 90s. So in reading history backwards, the author finds quotations of Mises and Hayek that "prove" that they were aiming to create intellectual cover for the global financial elite of the 2010s.

Nevertheless, the book is interesting if you like the history of ideas. He frames the questions intelligently in the historical context at the time. However a huge question-mark for objectivity. The book is full of lefty dog whistles: the war making state, regulation of capitalism, reproducing the power of elites, the problem [singular] of capitalism. In a podcast the author states point blank "I wanted the left to see what the enemy was up too". I find it pathetic that authors are so blatantly partisan. How can we know whether he is objective when he doesn't even try? He dismissively claims that the neoliberal thinkers gave cover to what has become the globalist world order. So why should we not consider the current book as intellectual cover for some "new left" that is about to materialise? Maybe the book is just intellectual cover for the globalist elite being educated in left-wing private colleges.

[Jun 10, 2019] America Falls Out of Love With Mitt Romney's Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... One of the major gripes from Democrats and many Republicans in Washington is that Trump doesn't care much for alliances. He treats friends like foes and foes like friends. This is a slogan tailor-made for a bumper sticker, but it's also what a significant swath of the establishment believes. ..."
"... Trump may deliver a speech in London and mouth nice words about the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom, but deep down he looks at everything as a transaction. He isn't the first commander-in-chief to fulminate in private about the stingy Europeans who don't provide their citizens with national defense capabilities befitting a Western power. But he is the first to openly, strongly, and repeatedly condemn them for it. ..."
"... The 45th president views trade predominantly as a balance sheet. South Korea, Mexico, Japan, the European Union -- it doesn't matter how long a country has been a friend to the United States. If the U.S. is running a trade deficit, then it must get tougher and demand fairer terms. ..."
"... Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists Robert Kagan's Jungle Book of Forever War ..."
"... The Washington establishment can't stand this approach. The president's critics and even some of his supporters regard it as overly simplistic, deliberately antagonistic, and plain rude. Romney is one of those people, and he said it outright on the Senate floor on June 4. ..."
"... Therein lies the Republican foreign policy dichotomy today. On one side are the Romneys, Marco Rubios, and Bret Stephenses of the world who continue to peddle stereotypical phrases like "U.S.-led liberal international order," and label any finger-wagging at U.S. allies as disrespectful, childish, and ultimately counterproductive. And then you have Trump, a far more nationalist figure who thinks the U.S. is being exploited by countries that should be thanking us for our help. ..."
"... Both sides, though, are also right in part. Mitt Romney correctly underscores that America's alliance system is one of our nation's greatest strengths. But Donald Trump is right that maintaining alliances for their own sake -- and without expecting anything tangible in return -- shouldn't be the objective, and may in fact perpetuate an unsustainable status quo. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Maria Dryfhout / Shutterstock.com When Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama in a presidential election that most Republicans believed was winnable, the former Massachusetts governor was quickly dismissed as an also-ran -- the GOP version of Michael Dukakis. He was no longer the handsome, older, savvy businessman who would turn the economy around, but a bumbling, privileged stiff who couldn't dislodge a vulnerable incumbent.

The stink of the 2012 defeat stuck to Romney during the 2016 GOP presidential primary, when then-candidate Donald Trump excoriated him for choking like a dog.

The tables have now turned slightly. Many Republicans now look at Romney not as a defeated nominee, but as a statesman of sorts. No doubt Never Trumpers like Bill Kristol and Rick Wilson are praying that Romney challenges the president in 2020 and brings the Republican Party back to the time when Trump was just another reality television star.

Romney, of course, already decided that a third presidential run wasn't worth it. Being a U.S. senator, however, was another story. So he ran for a seat in Utah and won overwhelmingly in 2018. Six months later, there he was on the Senate floor, giving his maiden address, subtly poking Trump in the ribs without saying his name.

He talked about everything you would expect him to talk about: morality, civility, decency, freedom, unity, free trade and alliances.

One of the major gripes from Democrats and many Republicans in Washington is that Trump doesn't care much for alliances. He treats friends like foes and foes like friends. This is a slogan tailor-made for a bumper sticker, but it's also what a significant swath of the establishment believes.

Trump may deliver a speech in London and mouth nice words about the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom, but deep down he looks at everything as a transaction. He isn't the first commander-in-chief to fulminate in private about the stingy Europeans who don't provide their citizens with national defense capabilities befitting a Western power. But he is the first to openly, strongly, and repeatedly condemn them for it.

The 45th president views trade predominantly as a balance sheet. South Korea, Mexico, Japan, the European Union -- it doesn't matter how long a country has been a friend to the United States. If the U.S. is running a trade deficit, then it must get tougher and demand fairer terms.

Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists Robert Kagan's Jungle Book of Forever War

The Washington establishment can't stand this approach. The president's critics and even some of his supporters regard it as overly simplistic, deliberately antagonistic, and plain rude. Romney is one of those people, and he said it outright on the Senate floor on June 4.

"It is in the United States' most vital interest to see a strong NATO, a strong Europe, stronger ties with the free nations of Asia and the subcontinent, and with every free country," the junior senator from Utah remarked . "We need to hold our friends closer, not neglect them or drive them away."

Therein lies the Republican foreign policy dichotomy today. On one side are the Romneys, Marco Rubios, and Bret Stephenses of the world who continue to peddle stereotypical phrases like "U.S.-led liberal international order," and label any finger-wagging at U.S. allies as disrespectful, childish, and ultimately counterproductive. And then you have Trump, a far more nationalist figure who thinks the U.S. is being exploited by countries that should be thanking us for our help.

Both sides have their faults. Trump's worldview is steeped in his decades-long career in real estate, marketing, and show business -- industries that prize the bottom lines of profit and ratings. This is reflected in his admiration for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a walking, talking diplomatic disaster if there ever was one. But outwardly, Salman exudes power and decisiveness -- and is more than happy to purchase tens of billions of dollars in U.S. military weapon systems with which to bomb his enemies.

Both sides, though, are also right in part. Mitt Romney correctly underscores that America's alliance system is one of our nation's greatest strengths. But Donald Trump is right that maintaining alliances for their own sake -- and without expecting anything tangible in return -- shouldn't be the objective, and may in fact perpetuate an unsustainable status quo.

There are few Republicans who have truly sought a happy medium between the Romney and Trump approaches on foreign policy. Most foreign policy on Capitol Hill is reflexive, hewing to shopworn internationalist talking points or hawkish posturing. In terms of what the American people want, however, Trump's preference for a greater degree of restraint and putting democracy promotion and regime change in the rear-view mirror appears to be winning out.

In the words of a February 2019 Eurasia Group Foundation report authored by New York University's Mark Hannah, the "desire for a more focused foreign policy is at odds with the more expansive role generally favored by foreign policy experts." The liberal hegemony Mitt Romney continues to preach like gospel on the Senate floor is fast becoming unpopular among the broader electorate.

It is clear now that there has never been a period in the modern era when the establishment Mitt Romney represents has lost so much of its appeal. It will be interesting to see whether Republican lawmakers, elected to represent their constituencies at home, begin to fall in line with the rest of America.

Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at Reuters , and a frequent contributor to .

Kent June 7, 2019 at 9:42 am

"It will be interesting to see whether Republican lawmakers, elected to represent their constituencies at home, begin to fall in line with the rest of America."

As someone deeply involved in Republican politics at the local level, I can tell you that this is far more difficult than the average person imagines. Running for Congress is vastly different than running for President. Here's how it works.

Suppose I'm Congressman Smith. A loyal vote for interventionist foreign policy, tax cuts, and globalism. I've been in Congress for 20 years and can summon unlimited amounts of campaign contributions from Lockheed, Raytheon, Goldman-Sachs and every private equity and hedge fund in the country. I also have a great relationship with the owners of my local newspaper and television stations, and key religious leaders in the region. They've all made a lot of money from me.

You want to run against me to help represent President Trump's views in Congress, which you strongly feel reflects the views of the community you desire to serve.

I am going to run unlimited advertising lying about my own views. I'm going to talk about how I strongly support Trump's views and highlight the few times I actually voted with him. You won't have the money to counter that. I'm also going to lie about your positions in every mass media outlet I can find, and you're not going to have the money to counter that either. Finally, I'm going to find a friend who is younger and better looking than you to run on YOUR platform. His sole purpose will be to split the vote for your platform, leaving me with a healthy plurality for a win.

In the one chance in a million you do win, all those powerful interests are going to make it far and away in your best interests to vote just like I did. Your unemployed brother is going to get a loan to take a big stake in a subcontractor to the F-35, where he will be given a vice-presidency for a million dollars a year. Your wife, the life-long homemaker, will suddenly become a very desirable and expensive asset to K-Street lobbyists. You'll be given a loan for that mansion on the beach, with the mortgage payments mysteriously being taken care of.

This is how our electoral system actually works. It's why you always seem stuck voting for the lesser evil. It's why nothing ever seems to change regardless of who you vote for. And the beauty of American style democracy is that you will play along with it every time.

Rossbach , , June 7, 2019 at 10:01 am
"But Donald Trump is right that maintaining alliances for their own sake -- and without expecting anything tangible in return -- shouldn't be the objective, and may in fact perpetuate an unsustainable status quo."

So, when is President Trump going to start acting as though he actually believes that? His foreign policy is almost as big a disaster as his immigration policy -- all talk and no action.

Dan Phillips , , June 7, 2019 at 12:49 pm
America's alliance system is not one of our greatest strengths. It is entirely a post-WWII contrivance. Prior to WWII, we had had only one formal treaty alliance, with France in the War for Independence. We don't need a happy medium between Romney and Trump. We need full throated nonintervention.

[Jun 09, 2019] Trump's Venezuela Hallucination The American Conservative

Jun 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump was eager to boast about Moscow's withdrawal of its troops from Venezuela, but it turned out that he or someone else in the administration just made it up:

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it didn't know where U.S. President Donald Trump had got the idea Moscow had removed most of its military specialists from Venezuela, who it said continued to work there.

Trump tweeted on Monday that Russia had told the United States it had removed "most of their people" from Venezuela, where Moscow has maintained close military and economic ties with socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country. It isn't surprising that he would try to spin any development in his favor, but in this case it seems that he just invented something out of thin air so that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless. He has no genuine successes that he can talk about, so he has to have pretend victories instead. The original tweet is still up:

Claiming that "Russia informed" him of this thing that didn't happen makes it even sillier, because it immediately prompted the Russian government to announce that they couldn't have informed Trump about something that hadn't occurred. Now that Russia has corrected the record, the president looks even more ridiculous than usual.

This episode isn't that important by itself, but it shows how easily Trump can be convinced of the reality of things that haven't happened and how readily he will accept any story, no matter how unfounded it may be, if it flatters him and bolsters his agenda. That makes him unusually easy to manipulate and provoke, and it makes him an exceptionally easy mark for misinformation. That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears.


Collin, says: June 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm

that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless.

Not a Trump fan, but is Trump's Venezuela policy feckless? Or just Trump somehow understands that it is not our problem and/or military intervention is just a bad investment. For the life of me, I don't understand why Russia desires to part of the Venezuelan mess, but most of their interference is minimal in nature and really has little impact on the situation. I get the Bay Of Bolton was half assed coup that probably did more damage to Guaido chances for new elections. (Guaido is being painted as the Trump Imperialism candidate which is not popular.)

The big question is why this is not China's problem? At this point, Venezuela is completely with them.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:42 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears."

Hmmmm . . . hard to challenge that.

rayray , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm
White House staff may have just taken Putin's name off the ship to make Trump feel better.
SteveM , says: June 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm
Re: "Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country."

Agree. But the larger subtext is that the U.S. now has zero credibility with anything . The assumption by every country on the planet has to be that the U.S. word is not worth squat.

Fat Pompeo with his big mouth, "We lie, cheat and steal" mind-dump says it all. The Russians are anything but saints, but they knew that the U.S. planned on having Russia ejected from its Crimean Naval Base in Sevastopol after the coup that Nitwit Nuland and her barrel of CIA monkeys engineered.

Similarly, the Russians know that if/when the U.S. puts sock puppet Guaido in power, they will ensure he stiffs the Russians out of all of their claims and assets in Venezuela.

The Russians don't want to wrestle with the Gorilla, but they have no other choice.

Myron K Hudson , says: June 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm
This new normal is frightening. The man has a tenuous grip on reality at best. Those profiting by it maintain that the Emperor has clothes.
Clyde Schechter , says: June 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Given the way the dealings with North Korea have gone, I expect that Trump will soon be announcing that Kim Jong-Un has destroyed all his nuclear weapons and pledged not to build any more. Needless to say, it will not have happened.

But, as they say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often.

Carnie Barquer , says: June 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears. "

And what a bunch those "advisers" are! Wackjobs, liars, convicted criminals, foreign agents and some are more than one of those things!

Mark Thomason , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
My guess is that Bolton lied to Trump, in order to make himself look better to Trump when pressed on his failures.

By the time that is known, events will have moved on so far even Trump doesn't care.

Kent , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
@Clyde Schechter,

"The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often."

I don't know that they do. I tend to think that they just hate what has happened to the country since Reagan and Clinton so much that they just want Trump to keep bashing Congress over the head, even with stupidity.

Not to mention that humans have an innate exploitable weakness: the desire to transfer someone else's perceived greatness on to themselves. Hence the inclination of sports fans and adoration of the military.

So "Team America" is great, therefore I am great, and Trump represents us, therefore Trump is great.

Bannerman , says: June 5, 2019 at 1:45 pm
One should not wish ill on any other human being, even though i have contemplated several slapstick scenarios involving certain politicians, however

Donald Trump is in the process of discovering that one cannot ignore Reality, since it Bites, that live is not a reality TV show (the most unreal thing on television), and that chickens do indeed come home to roost.

Unfortunately, it's been a difficult learning curve, and pathetic boasts to the contrary, he has managed to turn both the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party into a pile of smoking rubble.

It conservatism can be rebuilt in a score of years, it would be a miracle. More like, a generation.

Kevin Zeese , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:04 am
Trump's Venezuelan policy is a series of hallucination's. This article just describes the most recent. It begins with the hallucination that Maduro is a dictator, when in reality he won an election in May 2018 with 67% of the vote in an election that more than 150 international election observers unanimously agreed met all international standards for democratic elections. It follows with the hallucination that the Venezuelan military would join the US in rising up against their elected president rather than support the constitutional government. It continues with the hallucination that the people of Venezuela would join a US-inspired coup against the president they had just re-elected rather than join a 2 million person plus civilian militia to defend against a US attack. And, it continues with the hallucination that Juan Guaido is the interim president when his self-appointment violated the Venezuelan Constitution and the United Nations and Venezuelan law recognize Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

The antidote of these ongoing hallucinatory experiences is for Trump to no longer trust his advisors and end the US coup attempt, which has already failed multiple times in Venezuela. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Elliot Abrams have made Trump see hallucinations that are complete falsehoods. They have led the president into an embarrassing trap that he now needs to get out of. They have made Trump look like a fool.

It is time for Trump to take steps to normalize relations with Venezuela. That begins with a mutual Protecting Power Agreement between the US and Venezuela for Switzerland to be a Protecting Power of the US Embassy in Caracas and Turkey to be a Protecting of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. Following from that the US and Venezuela should negotiate the sale of Venezuelan resources, primarily oil, in return for the end of the illegal unilateral coercive measures (inaccurately called sanctions) against Venezuela. Negotiating with Venezuela will be less expensive than a war that will become a quagmire that will end in failure after costing more than $1 trillion and causing chaos in the region. Then, Trump and Maduro should meet to chart a course that begins with mutual respect for the independence and sovereignty of each nation and then determines where the two nations interests are consistent with each other. It is time to leave the hallucinations behind and come back to reality.

delia ruhe , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am
The ease with which Trump is manipulated and provoked can be added to the explanation of why Bibi is now in possession of Jerusalem and war against Iran is a high probability. That should terrify Americans.

[Jun 09, 2019] Romney Has Learned Nothing

Notable quotes:
"... Romney has learned that Trump came and Trump will go, but the neocons will still be there, firmly in control of Team R and Team D. Omnibelligerence they want, and omnibelligerence they shall have. ..."
"... Unfortunately, anti-Russian hysteria is now an article of faith among most Democrats as well. ..."
Jun 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It is strange that Romney chose foreign policy as the focus of his first floor speech as a senator. As a presidential candidate, Romney repeatedly humiliated himself by making ridiculous and brain-dead foreign policy arguments. His criticism of New START was breathtaking in how ill-informed it was, and his foreign policy was fairly described as "omni-directional belligerence" for a reason. He has not significantly improved since then. All of the reports on Romney's speech describe him as "subtly" attacking Trump, which suggests that his attacks were not all that subtle if they were obvious to everyone. Then again, no one should expect subtlety from the man who wanted to attack Obama for the former president's supposed "apology tour" and titled his campaign book No Apology .

Romney asserted during the presidential campaign that Russia was our "number one geopolitical foe." This wasn't true when he said it in the 2012 campaign, and it still isn't today. Romney chose that line of attack because he saw Obama's policy of engagement with Russia as a vulnerability to exploit. If it was a vulnerability, Romney completely failed to take advantage of it, because he had absolutely nothing better to offer. The senator still can't bring himself to acknowledge that he was wrong about Russia, but now he wants to warn us that China may take their place:

Romney, who argued that China is poised to become America's "No. 1 geopolitical adversary," urged American leaders to fortify the U.S. against future Chinese expansion and to take steps to slow China's rising power.

The senator's eagerness to attack Obama for being soft on Russia led him into serious error. I don't see how trying to do the same thing on China will produce better results. Even if one agrees that China is America's foremost adversary, it doesn't follow that the best course is to pursue an openly confrontational policy towards them. Romney is still stuck reciting hawkish platitudes and congratulating himself for his wisdom. The junior senator from Utah has learned nothing after all these years, and there is no reason to expect that he ever will.

Most of Romney's new remarks are little more than boilerplate. What the senator doesn't and maybe can't acknowledge in his speech is how similar Trump's foreign policy is to his own. Both wrongly faulted Obama for neglecting "allies" (read Middle Eastern clients), both embraced the deranged idea of maintaining "no daylight" with those same clients, and since becoming a senator Romney has been a reliable vote for the worst of Trump's policies abroad. When the time came earlier this year to vote on S.J.Res. 7 to demand an end to U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen, Romney voted in lockstep with most of the other Senate Republicans. Even though his fellow Utah Republican was one of the co-sponsors, Romney predictably sided with the morally bankrupt hawks. One of the biggest attacks on our allies has come in the form of Trump's Iran policy with the decision to renege on the JCPOA, but of course Romney has no problem with that policy or the damage that it is doing to our relations with Germany, Britain, and France. His past statements about the nuclear deal are cringe-inducing in their ignorance. Here is one from May 2018:

Brief as it is, Romney's statement is riddled with errors. Iran had no "nuclear weapon program" last year or at any point for the last 16 years, so there was and is nothing to eliminate. Just as he did with New START, Romney dismissed the JCPOA as a "bad deal" not because of the content of the agreement but only because it was an agreement negotiated and completed under Obama. Romney is smarter, more polished, and more urbane than Trump, but his foreign policy judgment is just as appalling as the president's. When we cut through the senator's unimaginative endorsements of alliances and trade, we will remember why most American voters chose someone else when Romney was the Republican nominee for president


Sid Finster, says: June 7, 2019 at 10:27 am

Romney has learned that Trump came and Trump will go, but the neocons will still be there, firmly in control of Team R and Team D. Omnibelligerence they want, and omnibelligerence they shall have.

To be fair, Romney probably knew this before 2012 as well.

Donald , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:37 am
Unfortunately, anti-Russian hysteria is now an article of faith among most Democrats as well.
liberal , says: June 7, 2019 at 12:15 pm
By "elimination of Iran's nuclear weapon program", a reasonable reading (given that Iran has no actual nuclear weapon program) is the elimination of Iran's nuclear industry .

IIRC this would be a complete violation of the NNPT. Quoting from Wikipedia on the "bargain" in the NNPT

the NPT non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and the NPT nuclear-weapon states in exchange agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals

[emphasis added]

Of course it's quite reasonable to argue that the US is in violation of the NNPT (apart from the Iran issue) because of that last part.

Taras 77 , says: June 8, 2019 at 12:21 am
The crux of the matter is not what romney believes or learned (or has not learned). It is what his neo con handlers want and will pursue. Romney is just a puppet, mouthpiece.

His 2012 campaign was controlled by the neo cons, as inept as it was. He played a large role in rapidly staffing trump admin with neo cons (see John Hay Initiative, founded by Brian Hook, pompeo's #2 currently).

Now, he is simply mouthing the neo con globalist line as directed.

swamp gas , says: June 9, 2019 at 9:04 am
There's really hardly anything left of the old GOP. It's now the party of Wall Street, Israel, permanent war, whopping deficits, outsourcing, cheap foreign labor, and executive branch bootlickers masquerading as congressmen. That's Romney to a t, the perfect profile for leading the GOP to final collapse, adding to the number of establishment conservative party wipeouts around the world.

[Jun 09, 2019] The looming 100-year US-China conflict by Martin Wolf

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Across-the-board rivalry with China is becoming an organising principle of US economic, foreign and security policies. ..."
"... An effort to halt China's economic and technological rise is almost certain to fail. Worse, it will foment deep hostility in the Chinese people. In the long run, the demands of an increasingly prosperous and well-educated people for control over their lives might still win out. But that is far less likely if China's natural rise is threatened. ..."
"... The tragedy in what is now happening is that the administration is simultaneously launching a conflict between the two powers, attacking its allies and destroying the institutions of the postwar US-led order. ..."
Jun 04, 2019 | archive.fo
The disappearance of the Soviet Union left a big hole. The "war on terror" was an inadequate replacement. But China ticks all boxes. For the US, it can be the ideological, military and economic enemy many need. Here at last is a worthwhile opponent. That was the main conclusion I drew from this year's Bilderberg meetings.

Across-the-board rivalry with China is becoming an organising principle of US economic, foreign and security policies.

Whether it is Donald Trump's organizing principle is less important. The US president has the gut instincts of a nationalist and protectionist. Others provide both framework and details. The aim is US domination. The means is control over China, or separation from China.

Anybody who believes a rules-based multilateral order, our globalised economy, or even harmonious international relations, are likely to survive this conflict is deluded. The astonishing white paper on the trade conflict , published on Sunday by China, is proof. The -- to me, depressing -- fact is that on many points Chinese positions are right.

The US focus on bilateral imbalances is economically illiterate. The view that theft of intellectual property has caused huge damage to the US is questionable . The proposition that China has grossly violated its commitments under its 2001 accession agreement to the World Trade Organization is hugely exaggerated.

Martin Wolf chart on US/China

Accusing China of cheating is hypocritical when almost all trade policy actions taken by the Trump administration are in breach of WTO rules, a fact implicitly conceded by its determination to destroy the dispute settlement system .

The US negotiating pos