Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Andrew Bacevich on The New American Militarism

News Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Recommended Links The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept American Exceptionalism War is Racket
The Deep State Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Neocons Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA The Deep State Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich
Non-Interventionism Right to protect Bacevich Videos American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Mayberry Machiavellians Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism
American Exceptionalism Brexit revisited: Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as antidote to Neoliberalism Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Predator state War is Racket
Propaganda as creation of artificial reality Civil war in Ukraine Syria civil war Looting pays dividends to empire Co-opting of the Human Rights industry by the US to attack and embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism The Grand Chessboard
 National Security State Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization  Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Big Uncle is Watching You Humor Etc
  “As many frustrated Americans who have joined the Tea Party realize, we cannot stand against big government at home while supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility while spending trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world. We cannot talk about the budget deficit and spiraling domestic spending without looking at the costs of maintaining an American empire of more than 700 military bases in more than 120 foreign countries. We cannot pat ourselves on the back for cutting a few thousand dollars from a nature preserve or an inner-city swimming pool at home while turning a blind eye to a Pentagon budget that nearly equals those of the rest of the world combined.”

Ron Paul


Introduction

New American militarism is connected with the desire to establish global neoliberal empire ruled by the USA (the dream of total world dominance). It became official policy  since the collapse of the USSR  and involves "heliocentric" view on foreign policy, when the USA is the center of the world order and other states just rotate around it on various orbits. The US population is by-and-large-completely brainwashed into this vision.

Opposition to the US militarism is almost non-existent due contemporary US popular culture infused with the language of militarism and American exceptionalism. As Bacevich  noted:

In any Clancy novel, the international order is a dangerous and threatening place, awash with heavily armed and implacably determined enemies who threaten the United States. That Americans have managed to avoid Armageddon is attributable to a single fact: the men and women of America’s uniformed military and its intelligence services have thus far managed to avert those threats. The typical Clancy novel is an unabashed tribute to the skill, honor, extraordinary technological aptitude and sheer decency of the nation’s defenders. To read Red Storm Rising is to enter a world of ‘virtuous men and perfect weapons’, as one reviewer noted. ‘All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance and devotion to service and country. Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired. Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.’ Indeed, in the contract that he signed for the filming of Red October, Clancy stipulated that nothing in the film show the navy in a bad light.

The "New American militarism" or as it called "Neocon mentality" is not that different from the early Soviets militarism (of  Trotskyite variety), eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism toward other countries on the tips of bayonets.  Here the role of scientific socialism is played by neoliberal ideology. With the slogan "Transnational elite unite" and Davos style Congresses of the new   "Neoliberal International" of comprador elites. While converting other countries into neoliberal model using color revolution of direct military invasion or combination of both) are disguised as spread of "democracy".

In this new Crusade for world hegemony the key ideas of Trotsky Permanent Revolution remains intact -- a crusade for establishing new social system on all counties on the Earth. This is just Great Neoliberal Crusade, instead of Communist Crusade.  This new justification for Crusades has the same problems as two previous. But it does not matter as the key role of democracy here is the same as in quote "the goal justifies the means" 

Professor Andrew Bacevich wrote several short books on the subject. he avoids the term neoliberalism and did not try to explain new American militarism in terms of the quest for neoliberal empire expansion. But he is a very good observer and the books contain many insights into US elite thinking and blunders. Among them we can note two:

While all three books are excellent and raise important issues,  they overlap. Probably the most original and the most important on them is Washington Rules, were Bacevich attempts to explain "Permanent War for Permanent Peace" that the USA practice since the end of WWII. All three books have the same weaknesses: Bacevich does not see connection between Neoliberalism demand for economic expansion and "New American Militarism" and regime of permanent wars that the USA pursue since WWII.

He provide sharp critique of neocons, but never ask the question: which political forces brought those pathetic second or third rate thinkers to the forefront of formulation of the US foreign policy and maintain them for more then a decade after Iraq debacle.

He also mistakenly believe that American people (who were completely estranged from any influence on nation's policies) bear some guilt for the policy which was formulated to benefit the first hundred of the largest US corporations. In other words he does not understand that the USA is yet another occupied country.

Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War; War as a natural state of the USA since 1945

[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace

Professor Basevich

The foreign policy of the USA since 1945, but especially, after 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 new epidemic of the US militarism started after the dissolution of the USSR was called by Professor Bacevich (who is former colonel of the US army)  it New American Militarism.

Bacevich's book  Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War  describe the "sacred trinity" of global US-led neoliberal empire:

Professor Bacevich had shown that the main driver of the US militarism is neocons domination of the US foreign policy, and, especially, neocons domination in State Department regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. They profess that the US that is 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 Iraq. And that establishing and maintaining the neoliberal empire is worth the price we pay as it will take the USA into the period of unprecedented peace.

Bacevich scored 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 "perpetual war for perpetual peace".

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.

Lessons that President Obama is clearly never able to learn. In this sense his book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War is an excellent peace of research with sections that some may find very troubling as it suggest that the USA elite is suicidal and is ready to sacrifice the county for achieving its delusional goal of world domination.

Here is the summary from Bacevich - Washington Rules (2010) - Synopsis by Mark K. Jensen

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;

and (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). And the 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 "notretrenchment but reconfiguration" (147). The new mission was not American defense but facilitation of a new world order (148-50). After 9/11 this pretense was dropped and "[a]ctivism became the watchword" (150, emphasis in original;150-52). Resorting to war became "notably more frequent and less controversial" in 1980-2000, finding "its ultimate expression in the Bush Doctrine of preventive war" (152-53). Americans "passively assented" (154).

Behind the scenes, the shape this took was struggled over by the officer corps and civilian semi-warriors pushing RMA(Revolution in Military Affairs) (154-64).Initially, U.S. élites held that victory in Iraq demonstrated that speed could be substituted for mass in military campaigns (165-75). But the experience of the occupation revealed this to be a fantasy (175-81).

Ch. 5: Counterfeit COIN.

Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine, replacing "shock and awe" as "the Long War" replaced the "global war on terror," is the latest doctrinal effort to preserve the Washington rules (182-86). The so-called "surge" implicitly marked a quest for conditions allowing the U.S. to leave Iraq without admitting defeat (186-91).Gen. David Petraeus emerged as an advocate (and as salesman, through FM3-24, the manual he revised and which Bacevich insists is in its emphasis on narrative replete with postmodernism) of counterinsurgency doctrine as "a substitute [for warfare] suited to the exercise of great power politics in the twilight of modernity" (197; 191-97). Implicitly, the manual argues that "war as such . . . no longer worked" (198; 198-202). Petraeus took credit for progress in Iraq that he did not achieve (202-04).

The general with a Princeton Ph.D. was lionized with a view to normalizing war and lowering expectations, a view now embraced by the Obama administration(205-11). Proponents of global counterinsurgency (GCOIN) emerged, like John Nagl and Gen. Benet Sacolick (211-13). Obama embraced the GCOIN version of the Long War with Gen.Stanley McChrystal to carry it out in Afghanistan, forfeiting the opportunity to reassess American policy (213-21).

Ch. 6: Cultivating Our Own Garden.

Time-honored no-nonsense American pragmatism has turned into an absurdity-swallowing herd mentality (222-23). The problem set the U.S. faces has radically changed from the time of the early Cold War, but the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) that proposes to address them remains essentially the same (224-25).Eisenhower would have been appalled(225-26). The size of the Pentagon budget, the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and the extent of overseas military presence cannot be justified(226-27).

These persist because of the interests they serve, not the mission the fulfill, and are likely to do so for sometime (228-30). Bacevich invokes George Kennan, William Fulbright, and Martin Luther King Jr. in urging that the U.S. needs a new approach, to model freedom rather than impose it (231-37). First and foremost, America should save not the world but itself (237).

Bacevich proposes a new trinity:

  1. the purpose of the military is to defend the U.S. and its vital interests;
  2. soldiers' primary duty stations are on American soil;
  3. force should be used only as a last resort and in self-defense, in accord with the Just War tradition (238-41).

The American public must shoulder its complicity in what has happened, fostered by an all-volunteer force and debt-financed budgets (241-47). It is tragic that Barack Obama, elected to institute change, has lacked the courage to alter the Washington rules, instead "choosing to conform" (247-49). "If change is to come, it must come from the people"(249). The need for education "has become especially acute" (249; 249-50).

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 naíve 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.

Another useful review is from  Gerard De Groot -- Andrew Bacevich's Washington Rules and John Dower's Cultures of War  Here are some highlights:

"...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. "
September 12, 2010 | washingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON RULES: America's Path to Permanent War

This Story

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Metropolitan. 286 pp. $25

CULTURES OF WAR

Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq

By John W. Dower

Norton. 596 pp. $29.95

"We need some great failures," the muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens wrote in his autobiography. "Especially we ever-successful Americans -- conscious, intelligent, illuminating failures." What Steffens meant was that a people confident in righteousness need occasionally to be reminded of their fallibility. The past 50 years have produced failures aplenty -- the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam and Iraq among them. Unfortunately, as Andrew Bacevich and John Dower demonstrate, the light of failure has not penetrated the darkness of delusion. As a result, wars provide a repeating rhythm of folly.

"Washington Rules" and "Cultures of War" are two excellent books made better by the coincidence of their publication. In complementary fashion, they provide a convincing critique of America's conduct of war since 1941. Steffens would have liked these books, specifically for the way they use past failures to explain the provenance of our current predicament.

Read "Cultures of War" first. It's not an easy book, but it is consistently perceptive. Dower examines Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Sept. 11 and the second Iraq War, drawing disconcerting linkages. Pearl Harbor and Iraq, he feels, demonstrate how otherwise intelligent leaders are drawn toward strategic imbecility. Both attacks were brilliantly executed in the short term, but neither paid sufficient attention to the long-term problem of winning a war. More controversially, Dower pairs Hiroshima with Sept. 11, both acts of terror born of moral certitude. Osama bin Laden and Harry Truman justified wanton killing with essentially the same Manichean rhetoric. Motives, context and scale might have been different; methods were not. For both leaders, the ability to separate good from evil made killing easy.

In 1941, Americans drew comfort from the stereotype of the irrational Oriental. They assumed that the Japanese would be easily defeated because they were illogical -- as their attack upon Pearl Harbor proved. That attack was indeed illogical (given the impossibility of defeating the United States in a protracted war), but it was not peculiarly Japanese. As Dower reveals, the wishful thinking, delusion and herd behavior within the court of Emperor Hirohito was a symptom of war, not ethnicity. The same deficiencies, in 2003, convinced those in the Oval Office that invading Iraq was a good idea.

Since the culture of war encourages patterned behavior, folly proliferates. This is the essence of the Washington rules that Bacevich elucidates. The rules dictate that protection of the American way of life necessitates a global military presence and a willingness to intervene anywhere. Power and violence are cleansed by virtue: Because America is "good," her actions are always benign. 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.

The alternative, according to Bacevich, is not isolationism or appeasement, two politically loaded words frequently used to pummel those who object to Washington's behavior. He advocates, instead, a more level-headed assessment of danger, advice all the more cogent since it comes from a former soldier. Iraq and Afghanistan did not threaten America; in fact, those countries and the world have become more dangerous because of heavy-handed American intervention. Nor does North Korea pose a threat. Nor did Vietnam.

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.

The power of virtue is Bacevich's most profound message. Instead of trying to fix Afghanistan's Helmand Province, he insists, Americans should fix Detroit and Cleveland. Instead of attempting to export notions of freedom and democracy to nations that lack experience of either, America should demonstrate, by her actions, that she is still a free, democratic and humane nation. Her real strength lies in her liberal tradition, not in her ability to kill.

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.

Those unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions have now pushed the United States into a new quagmire. Despite that predicament, both Dower and Bacevich try to end positively. "If change is to come, it must come from the people," argues Bacevich. Dower agrees. But these feeble attempts at optimism are the least convincing parts of two otherwise brilliant books. 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.

Gerard De Groot is a professor of history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and author of "The Bomb: A Life."

 Andrew Feldman review (Review Washington Rules - FPIF)

Army-officer-turned professor Andrew Bacevich makes the realist case against American expansionism.

By Andrew Feldman, August 26, 2010.

Print

For his first 40 years, Andrew Bacevich lived the conventional life of an army officer. In the military world where success depended on conformity, he followed the rules and “took comfort in orthodoxy…[finding] assurance in conventional wisdom.” Comfort, that is, until he had a chance to peer behind the Iron Curtain, and was shocked to find East Germany more third-world shambles than first-rate threat.

That experience, combined with the introspection that followed his subsequent retirement from the army, led Bacevich to reevaluate the relationship between truth and power. After having taken his superiors at their word for decades, he slowly came to understand “that authentic truth is never simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high…is inherently suspect. The exercise of power necessarily involves manipulation and is antithetical to candor.”

Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War is Bacevich’s fourth book on the subject of American exercise of power. This time, he takes up the question of the political calculations that have produced the basic tenets of American foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War, examining how and why they came to exist and to survive all challenges to their supremacy.

Bacevich describes two components that define U.S. foreign policy.

These rules, Bacevich argues, are no longer vital to the existence of the United States, and have led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury. Rather, they are kept in place by individuals who derive personal benefit from their continuance. Bacevich does not hesitate to blame a Washington class that “clings to its credo and trinity not out of necessity, but out of parochial self-interest laced with inertia.”

This is a theme that runs throughout the book: that those who make the rules also benefit from them, and thus their demands should always be regarded skeptically.

While abstaining from questioning the patriotism of past leaders, Bacevich is not reluctant to point out how many policies that were later widely embraced were originally trumpeted by ambitious men who had as much to gain personally by their acceptance as did the country:

The story of foreign policy, then, is not so much different than any government bureaucracy through which vast sums of money flow, and is driven as much by officials jockeying for status than by genuine concern for policy outcomes. Whether in disputes between the Army and the Air Force or the Pentagon and the White House, and whether over money or over purpose, different sectors of the national security establishment propose and promote new doctrines that necessitate increasing their budgets and enhancing their importance.

But Bacevich is not content to only blame leaders. In contrast to George Washington’s ideal of the citizen who would consider it his duty to actively serve his country, Bacevich finds today’s Americans “greedy and gullible,” pursuing personal gain in the stead of collective benefit. Any solution, he argues, must come from an awakened people who demand change from the people they put in office.

As for what that change should look like, Bacevich proposes a new credo and trinity. As a new mission statement, he offers: “America’s purpose is to be America, striving to fulfill the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as reinterpreted with the passage of time and in light of hard-earned experience.”

As a new trinity, he suggests that “the purpose of the U.S, military is not to combat evil or remake the world but to defend the United States and its most vital interests…the primary duty station of the American soldier is in America…consistent with the Just War tradition, the United States should employ force only as a last resort and only in self defense.”

Bacevich writes in the short, clipped style with which he also speaks, presumably a legacy of his West Point education and decades in the military. His style allows for easy comprehension and neat packaging of his ideas, and readers will not get bogged down in flowery language.

Parts of Bacevich’s thinking require further scrutiny and remind readers of his self-identification as a conservative (lowercase “c”). Economically, he is no fan of stimulus spending, and socially he places blame on individual failings and personal flaws, choosing not to mention an unequal economic system that leaves tens of millions of Americans with barely the resources to take care of their families, much less have time to be informed and active citizens.

In fact, the emphasis throughout the book is on the fact that expansionism, at this particular moment, is not wrong but impossible. Bacevich is, after all, a realist when it comes to international relations theory, and though he happens to agree with liberal anti-imperials on many issues, it is often for different reasons.

However, debates over theory can wait for when the republic is in less immediate peril. This is the second work Bacevich has published under the auspices of the American Empire Project, a book series documenting America’s imperial adventures and their disastrous consequences. The contribution of conservative authors to this task is vital. They remind us that opposition to imperialism is hardly just a liberal cause, and in fact for much of American history was actually a rallying point for conservatives across the country.

Washington Rules is valuable for putting in print what those inside the military establishment don’t dare admit: that, even aside from moral concerns, U.S. international strategy is neither successful nor sustainable and maintained more by lies than by actual results. Bacevich can truly be said to be a realist in that he understand that leaders, when faced with the choice of admitting failure or lying, will almost always choose the latter.

Andrew Feldman is an intern with Foreign Policy In Focus.

 

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism

Here is one Amazon reader review of he first book (Amazon.com David R. Cook Dave Cook's review of The Limits of Power The End of American E...)

Cliche or not, this is a "Must Read" book

By David R. Cook on August 15, 2008

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is the bluntest, toughest, most scathing critique of American imperialism as it has become totally unmoored after the demise of the Soviet Communist empire and taken to a new level by the Bush administration. Even the brevity of this book - 182 pages - gives it a particular wallop since every page "concentrates the mind".

In the event a reader knows of the prophetic work of the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, you will further appreciate this book. Bacevich is a Niebuhr scholar and this book essentially channels Niebuhr's prophetic warnings from his 1952 book, "The Irony of American History". The latter has just been reissued by University of Chicago Press thanks to Andrew Bacevich who also contributed an introduction.

In essence, American idealism as particularly reflected in Bush's illusory goal to "rid the world of evil" and to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East or wherever people are being tyrannized, is doomed to failure by the tides of history. Niebuhr warned against this and Bacevich updates the history from the Cold War to the present. Now our problems have reached crisis proportions and Bacevich focuses on the three essential elements of the crisis: American profligacy; the political debasing of government; and the crisis in the military.

What renders Bacevich's critique particularly stinging, aside from the historical context he gives it (Bush has simply taken an enduring American exceptionalism to a new level), is that he lays these problems on the doorstep of American citizens. It is we who have elected the governments that have driven us toward near collapse. It is we who have participated willingly in the consumption frenzy in which both individual citizens and the government live beyond their means. Credit card debt is undermining both government and citizenry.

This pathway is unsustainable and this book serves up a direct and meaningful warning to this effect. Niebuhrian "realism" sees through the illusions that fuel our own individual behavior and that of our government. There are limits to American power and limits to our own individual living standards and, of course, there are limits to what the globe can sustain as is becoming evident from climate changes.

American exceptionalism is coming to an end and it will be painful for both individual citizens and our democracy and government to get beyond it. But we have no choice. Things will get worse before they get better. Bacevich suggests some of the basic ways that we need to go to reverse the path to folly. He holds out no illusions that one political party or the other, one presidential candidate or the other, has the will or the leadership qualities to change directions. It is up to American citizens to demand different policies as well as to govern our own appetites.

While this is a sobering book, it is not warning of doomsday. Our worst problems are essentially of our own making and we can begin to unmake them. But we first have to come to terms with our own exceptionalism. We cannot manage history and there are no real global problems that can be solved by military means, or certainly not by military means alone.

Without Exception
By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2008

This is one of those books you might find yourself sitting down to read chapter and verse over and over again, only because the writing is so intelligent and so profound. "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism," by Andrew Bacevich, is one of those works that will enthrall the reader with its insight and analysis.

According to the author, the US has reached its limit to project its power in the world. His rationale for this conclusion are three central crises we now face: economic and cultural, political, and military, all of which are our own making.

The first crisis is one of profligacy. Americans want more, whether it is wealth, credit, markets, or oil, without consideration for cost or how these things are acquired. There is complete apathy in what policies are being produced as long as they provide plenty.

The political crisis was born of our mobilization in World War II to meet the threat of tyranny, and from the Cold War to meet the challenge of the Soviet Union. Both gave rise to unprecedented presidential power, an ineffectual Congress, and a disastrous foreign policy. Bacevich contends that our legislature no longer serves their constituents or the common good "but themselves through gerrymandering, doling out prodigious amounts of political pork, seeing to the protection of certain vested interests" with the paramount concern of being re-elected. Our presidents have been willing accomplices in keeping the American dream or greed alive by using our military as part of a coercive diplomatic tool to feed and fuel the first crisis.

Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might. At the same time, the largest intelligence agencies in the world are created to afford us more security, but after seventy years are unable to defend our cities and buildings in the US while it worries about intrigues worldwide. Competition and rivalry lead to a lack of cooperation, intelligence, and security when it was needed most.

The third crisis is our military which has been employed to satisfy the neuroses of the first and second crises. The author puts much of the blame squarely at the feet of inept military leadership, which he believes has confused strategy with operations. Content with the resilience of the American fighting man or woman, he is scathing in his critique of their leadership finding them "guilty of flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud." He illustrates how improvised explosive devices that cost no more than a pizza have checked a military that is designed for speed and maneuver--that was considered invincible.

Andrew Bacevich contends that nothing will change as long as Americans are told to go to Disney World instead of making sacrifices, as long as the same one half percent of our population continue to populate the military that the president sees as his personal army, as long as an apathetic public and an ineffectual Congress continue to make periodic, grand gestures of curbing presidential power, the United States will have reached the limits of its power and exceptionalism.

This book profoundly moved me, and I was impressed by the insight that Professor Bacevich could bring in such few pages. Passages of this book should be plastered in the halls and offices of Congress, as well as the West Wing.

This book really stands out as a jewel in a sea of mediocre publications by radio and TV personalities who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to economics or geopolitics. The difference is that Andrew Bacevich does

--without exception.

Also Recommended:

The New American Militarism

There are several very insightful reviews of Bacevich latest book The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005) on Amazon. I strongly recommend to read them.

Bacevich argues that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of several social forces (and as such has significant social base):

For your convenience some of  them which I judge to be the most insightful are reproduced below:

Andrew J. Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans Are seduced By War, Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-19-517338-4, is the most coherent analysis of how America has come to its present situation in the world that I have ever read. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton. And he is retired military officer. This background makes him almost uniquely qualified to comment on the subject.

Bacevich admits to an outlook of moderate conservatism. But in ascribing fault for our plight to virtually every administration since W.W. II, he is even handed and clear eyed. Since he served in the military, he understands the natural bureaucratic instincts of the best of the officer corps and is not blinded by the almost messianic status that they have achieved in the recent past.

His broad brush includes the classic period, the American Revolution - especially the impact of George Washington, but he moves quickly to the influence of Woodrow Wilson and his direct descendants of our time, the Neoconservatives. The narrative accelerates and becomes relevant for us in the depths of the despair of Vietnam. At that juncture, neocon intellectuals awakened to the horror that without a new day for our military and foreign policy, the future of America would be at stake. At almost the same time, Evangelical Christians abandoned their traditional role in society and came to views not dissimilar to the neocons. America had to get back on track to both power and goodness. The results of Vietnam on American culture, society, and - especially - values were abhorrent to both these groups.

The perfect man to idealize and mythologize America's road back was Ronald Reagan. Again, Bacevich does not shrink from seeing through the surreal qualities brought to the Oval Office by Reagan to the realities beneath them. The Great Communicator transformed the Vietnam experience into an abandonment of American ideals and reacquainted America with those who fought that horrible war. Pop culture of the period, including motion pictures such as Top Gun and best selling novels by many, including Tom Clancy completely rehabilitated the image of the military.

The author describes how Evangelical leaders came to find common cause with the neocons and provided the political muscle for Reagan and his successors of both parties to discover that the projection of military might become a reason for being for America as the last century closed.

One of his major points is that the all volunteer force that resulted from the Vietnam experience has been divorced from American life and that sending this force of ghosts into battle has little impact on our collective psyche. This, too, fit in with the intellectual throw weight of the neocons and the political power of the Evangelicals.

Separate from but related to the neocons, Bacevich describes the loss of strategic input by the military in favor of a new priesthood of intellectual elites from institutions such as the RAND Corporation, The University of Chicago and many others. It was these high priests who saw the potential that technology provided for changing the nature of war itself and how American power might be projected with `smart weapons' that could be the equivalent of the nuclear force that could never be used.

So it was that when the war we are now embroiled in across the globe - which has its antecedents back more than twenty years - all of these forces weighed heavily on the military leaders to start using the force we'd bought them. The famed question by Secretary of State Madeline Albright to General Colin Powell: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" had to have an answer and the skirmishes and wars since tended to provide it.

Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.

It is in his prescriptions that the book tends to drift. The Congress must do its constitutionally mandated jobs or be thrown out by the people. Some of his ideas on military education are creative and might well close the gap between the officer corps and civilians that he points to as a great problem.

But it is the clearly written analysis that makes this book shine. It should be a must read for those who wonder how we got to Iraq and where we might be heading as a society. The nation is in grave danger, and this is a book that that shows how we got to this juncture. Where we go from here is up to us. If we continue as we are, our options may narrow and be provided by others.

READ THIS BOOK

===This review is from: The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Hardcover)

In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies." We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form. It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.

  1. After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
  2. Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
  3. Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
  4. Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
  5. Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
  6. Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.

Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hotile to republican liberty."

K. Johnson:

 Relevant and Objective, January 3, 2007

Author Andrew Bacevich has superb credentials on military, diplomatic, and historical issues. A Vietnam Veteran, 25+ year career in the Army and now professor of International Relations, Bacevich is one of the few that has the experience *and* knowledge to dissect what has been occurring in American socio-political culture and society for the last several decades. Bacevich notes the current focus on the military to solve the world's problems and to promote America's interests is not the sole work of a President and Congress, but the combination of culture, mentality, political, and now primarily economic, interests. This book has tons of footnoting, which allows you to delve further into these issues on your own.

The author astutely reinforces the fact that the Militarist Mentality won't change, regardless of which political party is in control of the Executive and Houses of Congress in the United States. Here only some examples out of many:

Entry of the U.S. military into the Middle East:

THE CARTER DOCTRINE:

The Carter Doctrine was prescribed at the State of the Union Address in 1980. Another civilian prescription utilizing the military as medicine to alleviate and even cure, political symptoms. This Doctrine began a new era of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, specifically using the American military to enforce its economic interests and lifestyle dependence on oil. The Carter Doctrine was a major shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. It specifically stated that use of the military can and will be used to enforce U.S. economic interests.

At his State of the Union Address, Carter stated:

"Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be declared as an assault on the vital interest of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force" (p. 181).

Worth noting is that the Carter Doctrine was declared during the Cold War, when there was a adversary to check U.S interests. Today, that rival is gone.

Some argue the so-called 'War on Terror' is merely a historical continuation of American foreign policy interests in using its military to promote its geo-political and economic interests.

WAR AS SPECTATOR SPORT:

War has been, and now is presented as a spectacle. No different than a spectator sport. Live reports, video display, and laymen presentations of new technology, usually via video, to the civilian public at press conferences.

One example of many are current U.S. newspaper reports: they don't use the term "wounded" when reporting about American soldiers in Iraq. They use the euphemistic term, "injured." "17 Iraqis 'wounded' and 3 American soldiers 'injured.'" Similar to a football game. Slogans such as "Shock and Awe, Support the Troops," and deck of cards identifying the most wanted Baath party members. "Freedom is not Free." Many American military personel (and civilians) have internalized this propaganda.

Using Hollywood To Enhance "Honor" and perpetuate myths:

Bacevich carefully details the planned and choreographed footage of George W. Bush dressed as a fighter pilot on the USS Abraham Lincoln. This was intentionally and specifically lifted from the movie "Top Gun." Immediately after this planned footage, an action figure doll was created and sold for $39.99. It was called the "Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush: U.S. President and Naval Aviator" (p. 31).

Well-dressed, handsome, and beautiful anchors report about the war in such series as "The Week in War." More simulation of the spectator sport of war in our pop culture. One segment in the "Week in War program" is called "The Fallen," where the photo of a soldier, his name, age, and hometown are presented, and the date of his death. Then the cameramen go to his family's home. Often a family picture of the "fallen soldier" is shown. Then, an interview with the somber, and at times tearful family in their living room, sitting on their couch: "He was a good kid. He always wanted to help people."

The "Fallen" is related to a concept that the Germans began about 300 years ago. This concept is called the "Cult of the Fallen Soldier." When a soldier is killed in war he is elevated to a higher status because of his death. He is placed on a pedestal, because somehow, and in some enigmatic way, he "sacrificed" for a noble cause that is often abstract or confusing to the public. To further simplify the confusion and sullenness resulting from the soldier's death, religion is often injected into the deceased soldiers elevation on a pedestal. You can see this Cult of the Fallen Soldier in Arlington, Virgina today, and in many military cemeteries around the world.

GLORIFICATION OF THE MILITARY THROUGH MOVIES:

Bacevich notes moves and their role. "Top Gun" had a tremendous impact in many ways. Pop culture, and Navy recruiting sky-rocketing. As for the flurry of "Vietnam war movies," again the noble concepts of "courage, honor, fear, triumph" are latently and explicitly reinforced to the public of all ages and socio-economic levels.

It took me a chapter or two to get used to Bacevich's writing style, but I grew to like it.

Chapters: 1) Wilsonians Under Arms 2) The Military Professions at Bay 3) Left, Right, Center 4) California Dreaming 5) Onward 6) War Club 7) Blood for Oil 8) Common Defense

"Support" for the military is often incorrectly linked with one's "patriotism." This faulty thinking is perpetuated by the electronic and print media in often subtle forms but extremely effective forms, and at times very explicit and in aggressive manners. The government intentionally steers the publics' focus to the 'Military aspects of war' to avoid attention to the more realistic and vital 'political aspects.' The latter being at the real heart of the motivation, manner, and outcome of most *political* conflicts.

Bacevich notes journalists: journalist Thomas Friedman complained that a Super Bowl half-time show did not honor the "troops." He then drove to the Command Center to visit and speak with the "troops." Soon after, he carried on with his own self-centered interests, like everyone else.

The military in and of itself is not dangerous nor pernicious. The military doesn't formulate foreign policy. The military just implements it, carrying out the orders and instructions of elitist civilians who have never served in the armed forces. It's not the military nor the men and women serving in it, we must be wary of. It's the civilians masters with vested interests in the governmental and corporate world who must be held accountable.

General Creighton Abrams wanted to diminish the influence of civilian control over the military after Vietnam. Civilians and politicians were making military decisions. It seems the situation is similar in 2007. Chairman of the JCS Peter Pace sounds political. History will be the judge.

This is a very insightful book for those interested in recent history as well as the current situation the United States is in. The troops should be supported for what they do. Because unfortunately they are the ones that pay the price for elitist decisions made by upper-class civilians from the Ivy League cliques that run the U.S. politically and economically.

Highly recommended and relevant to our contemporary times and our future.

Andrew Bacevich did excellent research and writing in this book. I'll think we'll be hearing a lot more of him. Hopefully He'll get more access to the public. If - the mainstream media allows it.

Robert S. Frey
An Informed, Insightful, and Highly Readable Account of American Foreign Policy Today, December 23, 2006

Andrew J. Bacevich's "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War," should be read and considered carefully by every member of the national political leadership in the United States as well as by adult Americans in general. Bacevich brings impeccable credentials to his work in this book--professor of history and international relations at Boston University, West Point graduate, and veteran of the Vietnam conflict. His writing is engaging, insightful, and historically well anchored. Importantly, this work is highly accessible and eminently readable. The level of documentation is very valuable as well. Finally, the book is not about fault-finding and finger-pointing toward any one national figure or group.

What I found most beneficial was that the book presented well-argued alternative historical "meta-narratives" that are much more closely aligned with post-World War II historical events and processes than the ones currently accepted as "conventional wisdom." A case in point is the periodization of World War IV beginning with President Carter's pronouncements regarding the Persian Gulf area in 1980 rather than with the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11. "The New American Militarism" carefully and credibly brings together the many seemingly disparate actions, decisions, and events of the past 60+ years (e.g., the atomic bombing of Japan, Vietnam, oil shortages of the 1970s and 80s, the end of the Cold War, the First Gulf War, etc.) and illustrates important patterns and trends that help to explain why United States' foreign policy is what it is today. Dr. Bacevich's book helps us understand and appreciate that the global projection of American military power today has deep roots in the national decisions and behaviors of the second half of the twentieth century.

Robert S. Frey, M.A., MBA, MSM
Adjunct Professor, History
Brenau University

Dr. Lee D. Carlson

Interesting, insightful, and motivating, October 21, 2006

Why is it that some people, including this reviewer, are reluctant to criticize the writings or verbalizations of those Americans that have been or are currently in the military? This is particularly true for those officers and soldiers who have served in combat. To be critical of someone is who has faced such horror would be a sacrilege. Their opinions on subjects, especially those related to war and the military, are given much higher weight than those that have never been in the military. What is the origin of this extreme bias and does it not thwart attempts to get at the truth in matters of war and politics? If a war is illegal or immoral, are not the soldiers who participate in it themselves war criminals, deserving the severest condemnation?

The author of this book sheds light on these questions and gives many more interesting opinions on what he has called the 'new American militarism.' If one examines carefully American history, it is fair to say that Americans have been reluctant to go to war, preferring instead to settle conflicts via negotiation and trade agreements. Americans have been led to the horrors of war kicking and screaming, and breath a sigh of relief when they are over. Historically, Americans have applied extreme skepticism to those politicians, like Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to participate in World War I to make the world "safe for democracy." So if Americans are "seduced by war", as the author contends they have been in recent decades, an explanation must be found. It is tempting to say that they have been merely "brainwashed", and contemporary neuroscience lends some credence to this claim, but one must still be open to alternative explanations, and let the evidence determine the proper interpretation. Once the causes have been identified, it becomes necessary to find methodologies and strategies to counter these causes, lest we find ourselves in another unnecessary and brutal conflict, initiated by some who do not directly participate in it, and have no intention ever to do so.

This book is not a scientific study, but instead is a collection of opinions, mostly supported by anecdotal evidence, to support the author's thesis. On the surface his opinions do seem plausible, but one must still apply to his writings the same level of skepticism applied to other studies of the same kind. It does seem reasonable to believe for example that current attitudes about war are governed by the American failure in Vietnam, Carter's supposed ineptitude in dealing with the resulting loss in "self-esteem" of the American populace, and Reagan's exploitation or correction of this loss. But more evidence is needed to set such a conclusion in stone.

The author though is intellectually honest enough to admit that he has not obtained the "definitive version of the truth" on the new American militarism within the pages of his book. His words are more "suggestive than conclusive" he writes, and he welcomes criticism and alternative interpretations. Vietnam, oil and energy considerations, 9-11, and the media all have a role to play in the current American attitudes about war he argues. Further analysis though is needed, and cognizance must be made that all readers, including this reviewer, are embedded in the same culture as the author, and subjected to the same ideological, historical, and media pressures. We must be extremely cautious in our acceptance of what we find in print and indeed in all information outlets. And we must learn that soldiers, active duty or otherwise, are not infallible and must be subjected to the same criticism as any other citizen. This is again, very difficult to do, and this difficulty is perhaps the best evidence for the author's thesis.

R. Albin:

 Exceptional Polemic; 4.5 Stars, October 19, 2006

This concise and well written book is the best kind of polemic; clear, well argued, and designed to provoke debate. Bacevich is definitely interested in persuading readers of the truth of his views but his calm and invective free prose, insistence on careful documentation, and logical presentation indicate that his primary concern is promote a high level of discussion of this important issue. Bacevich argues well that a form of militarism based on an exaggerated sense of both American mission and American power, specifically military power, has infected public life. He views this militarism as both leading to unecessary and dangerous adventures abroad, epitomized by the Iraq fiasco, and corrupting the quality of domestic debate and policy making. Beyond documenting the existence of this phenomenon, Bacevich is concerned with explicating how this form of militarism, which he views as contrary to American traditions, came to be so popular.

Bacevich argues well that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of actions by a number of different actors including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals. For a variety of reasons, these sometimes overlapping groups converged on ideas of the primacy of American military power and the need to use it aggressively abroad. Bacevich devotes a series of chapters to examining each of these actors, discussing their motivations and actions, often exposing shabby and inconsistent thinking. Some of these, like the role of neoconservative intellectuals and the Religous Right, are fairly well known.

Others, like the behavior of professional military over the last generation, will be novel to many readers. Bacevich's chapters have underlying themes. One is the persisent occurrence of ironic events as the actions of many of these groups produced events counter to their goals. The post-Vietnam professional military attempted to produce a large, vigorous military poised to fight conventional, WWII-like, combats. This force was intended to be difficult for politicians to use. But as these often highly competent professionals succeeded to restoring the quality of the American military, the temptation to use it became stronger and stronger, and control escaped the professionals back into the hands of politicians as varied as Bush II and Clinton. Another theme is that politicians seized on use military force as an alternative to more difficult and politically unpalatable alternatives. Jimmy Carter is described correctly as initiating the American preoccupation with control of the Persian Gulf oil supplies, which has generated a great deal of conflict over the past generation. Bacevich presents Carter as having to act this way because his efforts to persuade Americans to pursue sacrifice and a rational energy policy were political losers. Ronald Reagan is presented as the epitome of this unfortunate trend.

Bacevich is generally convincing though, perhaps because this is a short book, there are some issues which are presented onesidely. For example, its true that Carter began the military preoccupation with the Persian Gulf. But, its true as well that his administration established the Dept. of Energy, began a significant program of energy related research, moved towards fuel standards for vehicles and began the regulatory policies that would successfully improve energy efficiency for many household items. No subsequent administration had done more to lessen dependence on foreign oil.

Bacevich also omits an important point. As he points out, the different actors that sponsored the new militarism tended to converge in the Republican Party. But, as has been pointed out by a number of analysts, the Republican Party is a highly disparate and relatively unstable coalition. The existence of some form of powerful enemy, perceived or real, is necessary to maintain Republican solidarity. The new militarism is an important component of maintaining the internal integrity of the Republican party and at unconciously appreciated as such by many important Republicans.

An interesting aspect of this book is that Bacevich, a West point grad, former career Army officer, and self-described cultural conservative, has reproduced many of the criticisms put forward by Leftist critics.

Bacevich concludes with a series of interesting recommendations that are generally rational but bound to be controversial and probably politically impossible. Again, this is an effort to change the nature of the discussion about these issues.

Adam Bahner
How Permanent Military Deployment Became Congruent With World Peace, June 29, 2006

In The New American Militarism, Andrew J. Bacevich contends that American culture and policy since the end of the Cold War has merged a militaristic ethos with a utopian global imaginary. He notes that American militarism is a "bipartisan project" with "deep roots" that even garner support on the political margins, with some leftist activists seeing a humanitarian mission for U.S. global military hegemony. He traces these roots to the worldview of Woodrow Wilson, who envisioned a globe "remade in America's image and therefore permanently at peace." Yet Wilson's view was moderated by a public and policy perception of war as an ugly, costly, brutal, traumatic and unpredictable last resort. This is corroborated by the massive military demobilizations that followed U.S. involvement in both world wars. Bacevich also points to works of popular culture, from Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet On The Western Front to Oliver Stone's Platoon, that reflect on the inhumanity of war from World War I through Vietnam.

Bacevich sees a massive deviation from these historical trends after the end of the Cold War. While conceding that a permanent military mobilization was expected during the Cold War (from roughly NSC-68 to the fall of the Berlin Wall)--no significant demobilization followed. Forces slated for deactivation were quickly mobilized for Operation Desert Storm. No successful popular culture critiques of that war's brutality would emerge. The author sees the end of the cold war and Desert Storm as framing a period of "new American militarism" that breaks from historical precedent in several regards. He claims that since the 1988 presidential campaign, the character of the presidency has emphasized military more than civilian leadership. This contradicts previous presidents of military stature (e.g. Grant, Eisenhower) who obsessively positioned themselves as civilians. Post-Cold War military budgets have been dramatically larger despite no global adversary. The public has uncritically accepted a permanent military stance. The perception of war as ghastly and treacherous has been replaced with war as a clinical and technologically managed spectacle. The link between the covenant of citizenship and military service has been replaced by a specialized force of volunteers. The numbers of veterans serving in congress has steadily decreased since World War II. Bacevich correlates this with the shunning of military service by elites as the military has increasingly drawn from areas of the population that are poor and brown. Because of this, force is "outsourced" and in turn the stature of soldiers has dramatically increased through an infrastructure of praise by the majority who are not involved in military operations. Senior military officers have tremendous clout in politics, policy, and spending.

To understand this new militarism, Bacevich notes that it is point-for-point an inversion of Vietnam's military milieu. There, politicians up through the president framed themselves as civilians, officers felt out of touch with bureaucratic decisions, and war was perceived as carnal and bumbling. The book traces cultural responses to Vietnam that reformed the American relationship to militarism. As military leaders like Creighton Abrams sought to mandate broad political investment for military action by creating interdependence with reserves and to limit the criteria for deployment with the Weinberger doctrine, politicians like Ronald Reagan rehabilitated an American demoralization that peaked with Carter's failed Operation Eagle Claw by invoking popular culture mythologies like Rambo.

Bacevich is unabashedly religious. He ultimately couches America's outsourced and technocratic militarism as a departure from natural Gods in the pursuit of a scientistic idol that more perfectly regulates human affairs. He openly sees in this scientism the same flaw and outcome as Communism or Fascism. He suggests that affirmation of military service across economic privilege would raise the stakes of military engagements and help to contradict the cultural illusions that form the basis of American militarism. (That war is technical, distant, clinical, predictable, outsourced, humane, and everything contrary to what writers like Remarque tell us.) He meticulously synthesizes a new paradigm that relates the difficult subjects of military policy and popular sanction. In this regard, The New American Militarism is an exciting contribution to historical scholarship.

M. Ward:

The New American Militarism - A Bipolar Look at Todays State of Affairs, February 4, 2006

Andrew J. Bacevichs', The New American Militarism, gives the reader an important glimpse of his background when he wrote that, as a Vietnam veteran, the experience baffled him and he wrote this book in an effort to "sift through the wreckage left by the war." After the Vietnam War, the author stayed in the military because he believed being an American soldier was a "true and honorable" calling. Bacevich states he is a devoted Catholic and a conservative who became disillusioned with mainstream conservatism. He also states that he believes the current political system is corrupt and functions in ways inconsistent with genuine democracy.
Bacevich states that he tried to write this book using facts in an unbiased way. However, he cautions the reader that his experiences have shaped his views and that his views are part of this book. This is a way to tell the reader that although he tried to remain unbiased, his background and biases find voice in this book. I believe the authors warning are valid; he draws heavily upon his background and biases to support his thesis.

The book is about American militarism, which Bacevich describes as the "misleading and dangerous conceptions of war, soldiers, and military institutions" that have become part of the American conscience and have `perverted' US national security policy. According to Bacevich, American militarism has subordinated the search for the common good to the permanent value of military effectiveness that will bankrupt the US economically and morally. Bacevich supports this thesis by discussing issues that have contributed to this state of affairs.
Bacevich believes the current state of American militarism has roots dating back to the Wilson administration. Wilson's vision was to remake the world in America's image. God Himself willed the universal embrace of liberal democracies and Wilson saw the US as a `divine agent' to make the world a safe and democratic place. Today, with no serious threat to keep our military forces in check, we are now, more than ever, free to spread liberal democracy using military force, if necessary.
Considering the military, Bacevich makes the point that the militarism of America is also due, in part, to the officer corps of the US military trying to rehabilitate the image and profession of the soldier after the Vietnam War. Officers attempted to do this by reversing the roles of the soldiers and the politicians that was problematic during the Vietnam War. They tried to establish the primacy of the military over the civilians in decisions as to how to use the military. The Weinberger and Powell doctrines were the manifestation of this idea by spelling out conditions for the use of the US military in combat.

Neo-conservatives further enhanced the trend of militarism. They see US power as an instrument for good and the time was right to use the military to achieve the final triumph of Wilson's idea of spreading American liberal democracy around the globe.

Religion also played a role. According to Bacevich, evangelical Protestants see the US as a Christian nation singled out by God and Americans are His chosen people. These evangelicals believed the Vietnam War was not only a military crisis, but also a cultural and moral crisis threatening our status. Evangelicals looked to the military to play a pivotal role in saving the US from internal collapse due to the higher expression of morals and values found in the military. The military would become the role model to reverse the trend of godlessness and social decay.

Another set of actors that contributed to American militarism were the defense intellectuals whose main contribution was to bring the military back under civilian control. According to Bacevich, they laid the groundwork of our current policy of `preventative war' and reinforced American militarism.
Finally, Bacevich accuses politicians of deceiving the American public as to the true nature of American militarism by wrapping militarism in the comfortable trappings of nationalism. By using labels such as the Global War on Terrorism, politicians are using a political sleight-of-hand trick to hide our true militaristic nature in patriotic terms. Bacevich concludes his book with a list of recommendations to mitigate the current trend of American militarism.

Bacevich seems to create a mosaic of conspiracy perpetrated by sinister actors aimed at deceiving an unsuspecting public as to the true nature of American militarism. Until the last chapter where Bacevich tells the reader that there is no conspiracy, it is very easy to believe there might be one lurking in the shadows. I was shocked when I reached Bacevich's recommendations. The contrast between his recommendations and the rest of the book is astounding. I was expecting highly provocative recommendations that would match the tone of the rest of the book. However, his recommendations were solid and well thought out...delivered in the calm manner one would expect from a political scientist. Nevertheless, in the end, Bacevich's message leading up to his recommendations were hard to swallow. I believe he wrote this book not to enlighten but to be provocative in order to sell books and build his status in academic circles. If Bacevich's aim was to build a convincing argument on a serious subject, he needed to be less provocative and more clinical.

David Friedman:
What is militarism? What is it, particularly as applied to today's America? West Point educated Andrew Bacevich opens his book with a concise statement: "Today as never before in their history Amercans are enthralled with military power. The global military supremacy that the United States presently enjoys . . . has become central to our national identity." This is the basic premise of The New American Militarism. Anyone who does not accept the accuracy of this statement, or is unconcerned about its implications should probably not read this book--it will only annoy them. For those, however, who are concerned about how militarism is increasingly seeping into our core values and sense of national destiny, or who are disturbed by the current glaring disconnect between what our soldiers endure "over there", and the lack of any sacrifice or inconvenience for the rest of us "over here", this book is a must-read.

Refreshingly, Bacevich approaches the new American militarism as neither a Democrat nor Republican, from neither the left nor the right. No doubt, those with a stake in defending the policy of the present Administration no matter how foolish, or in castigating it as the main source of our current militarism, will see "bias" in this book. The truth though is that Bacevich makes a genuine effort to approach his subject in a spirit of open and disinterested inquiry. He has earned the right to say, near the end of his book, that "this account has not sought to assign or impute blame." As a result, he is not stymied by the possibility of embarrassing one political side or the other by his arguments or conclusions. This leads to a nuanced and highly independent and original treatment of the subject.

In chronicling the rise of American militarism, Bacevich rightly starts with Wilson's vision of American exceptionalism: an America leading the world beyond the slaughterhouse of European battlefields to an international order of peaceful democratic states. But where President Wilson wanted to create such a world for the express purpose of rendering war obsolete, Bacevich notes that today's "Wilsonians" want to export American democracy through the use of force. He follows this overview with an insider's thumbnail history of American military thinking from Vietnam to the first Gulf war. He explains how the military in effect re-invented itself after Vietnam so as to make it far more difficult "to send the Army off to fight while leaving the country behind." Today's highly professionalized and elite force is largely the result of this thinking. In turn this professional military presented to the country and its civilian leaders a re-invented model of war: war waged with surgical precision and offering "the prospect of decision rather than pointing ineluctably toward stalemate and quagmire." Gulf War I was the triumphant culmination of this model. The unintended and ironic consequence, of course, was that war and the aggressive projection of American military power throughout the world came to be viewed by some in our nation's leadership as an increasingly attractive policy option.

The body of the book analyzes how the legitimate attempt to recover from the national trauma of Vietnam led ultimately to a militarism increasingly reflected in crucial aspects of American life. In religion he traces how a "crusade" theory of warfare has supplanted the more mainstream "just war" theory. In popular culture he discusses the rise of a genre of pop fiction and movies reflecting a glamorized and uncritical idealization of war (he examines "An Officer and A Gentleman", "Rambo: First Blood Part II", and "Top Gun" as examples). In politics he identifies the neo-conservative movement as bringing into the mainstream ideas that "a decade earlier might have seemed reckless or preposterous"; for example the idea that the United States is "the most revolutionary force on earth" with an "inescapable mission" to spread democracy -- by the sword if necessary. Bacevich calls these ideas "inverted Trotskyism", and notes that the neo-conservative movement shares with Mao the assumption that revolution springs "from the barrel of a gun".

Bacevich concludes his book with a pithy ten-point critique offered as a starting point for "a change in consciousness, seeing war and America's relationship to war in a fundamentally different way." Among his points are greater fidelity to the letter and the spirit of the Constituional provisions regarding war and the military, and increased strategic self-sufficiency for America. Perhaps the most important points of his critique are those about ending or at least reducing the current disconnect between er how we might reduce

Patrick Connor

Careful observers will note the abolute claims that lie under the surface of these criticisms. If you criticize anything about the United States, you're automatically anti-Bush. If you question the wisdom of viewing the military as a first-option in handling international problems, you're even worse: a liberal anti-Bush peacenick. History supposedly demonstrates that diplomacy never works with any "tyrant" (whatever that is), while war allegedly always work. It's just one stark claim after another, with never any gray area in the middle.

If you read the book, this "you're either with us or with the terrorists, either dream war or hate President Bush" mentality should remind you of something. It very closely resembles the description Bacevich gives of neoconservatism, which he says engenders a worldview that is constantly in crisis mode. Things are always so dire for neocons, Bacevich explains, that only two feasible options present themselves at any given time: doing what the neocons want (usually deploying military force in pursuit of some lofty but unrealistic goal), or suffering irreversible and potentially fatal setbacks to our national cause.

Is it really surprising that the reviews of this book from a neocon mindset are also the reviews giving one star to a book that sytematically critiques and upends neoconservatism?

In actuality, as many have pointed out already, Bacevich is "anti-Bush" only insomuch as he is anti-neoconservative. Bacevich openly states that he throws his full weight behind traditionally conservative issues, like small government and lower taxes. Indeed, he is a devoutly religious social conservative who himself severed twenty years in the Army officer corps. This is why his exposee on America's new militarism has so much credibility.

Since he was in the military, he knows that sometimes the military is necessary to handle situations that develop in the world. However he also understands that the military is often grossly unfit to handle certain situations. This is the main theme of his book. At its core, the story is about how, in response to Vietnam, military leaders worked frightfully hard to rebuild the military and to limit the freedom of starry-eyed civilians to use the armed forces inappropriately.

Their most important objective was to ensure that no more Wilsonian misadventures (like Vietnam) would happen. The officer corps did this by carving out a space of authority for the top brass, from which they could have unprecedented input in policy decisions, and be able to guide strategy and tactics once the military deployed into action. After ascending to a position of greater prominence, they implemented the "Weinberger Doctrine," followed by the "Powell Doctrine," both specifically tailored to avoid Vietnam-style quagmires. The Gulf War, claims Bacevich, saw the fruition of fifteen years of hard work to accomplish these reforms. And they worked beautifully.

However, the end of the last decade saw the Neo-conservatives challenge the status quo. And with the election of W. Bush, they were finally in a position where their ideas could again have a disproportionate influence on foreign policy. What we now have in Iraq is another military quagmire, where the solution must be political, but where military occupation renders political solutions impossible.

This story is about how the military profession emerged from the post-Vietnam wilderness, dazzled the world during the first Gulf War, then once again lost its independent ability to craft related policies with the arrival of Rummie and the neocons.

It's a fascinating story, and Bacevich relates it skillfully.

Andrew S. Rogers:

 Baedecker on the road to perdition, December 5, 2005

I was sorry to see Andrew J. Bacevich dismiss Chalmers Johnson's 2004 The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project) quite as quickly as he did (on page 3 of the introduction, in fact), because I think these two books, taken together, provide probably the best -- and certainly the most historically-informed -- look at the rise and consequences of American empire. I endorse "The New American Militarism" as heartily as I did "The Sorrows of Empire."

Bacevich's capsule summary of Johnson's work notwithstanding, both these books take the long view of America's international military presence and are quick to grasp one key point. As Bacevich notes on page 205, "American militarism is not the invention of a cabal nursing fantasies of global empire and manipulating an unsuspecting people frightened by the events of 9/11. Further, it is counterproductive to think in these terms -- to assign culpability to a particular president or administration and to imagine that throwing the bums out will put things right."

In several insightful chapters, Bacevich traces the rise of militarism over the course of several administrations and many decades. A former Army officer himself, the author is particularly insightful in charting the efforts of the military's officer corps to recover from the stigma of Vietnam and reshape the *ethos* of the armed services as an elite intentionally separate from, and morally superior to, the society it exists to defend. But the officers are only one of the strands Bacevich weaves together. He also looks at the influence of the "defense intellectuals;" the importance of evangelical Christians and how their view of Biblical prophecy shapes their understanding of politics; the rise of (yes) the neo-conservatives; and even the role of Hollywood in changing America's understandings of the "lessons of Vietnam" and the re-glamorization of the military in films like "Top Gun."

The author is a sharp-eyed analyst, but also an engaging writer, and he gives the reader a lot to think about. I was intrigued, for example, by his discussion of how "supporting the troops" has become the *sine qua non* of modern politics and how doing so has replaced actual military service as an indicator of one's love of country. More fundamentally, his identification and analysis of "World War III" (already over) and "World War IV" (currently underway, and declared [surprisingly] by Jimmy Carter) struck me as a remarkably useful lens for interpreting current events.

In tying his threads together, Bacevich is not afraid to make arguments and draw conclusions that may make the reader uncomfortable. As the passage I quoted above makes clear, for example, someone looking for a straightforward declaration that "It's all Bush's fault!" will have to go someplace else. As a further implication of the above passage, Bacevich argues that the "defense intellectuals," the evangelicals, and even the neocons were and are doing what they believe are most likely to promote peace, freedom, and the security of the American people. "To the extent that we may find fault with the results of their efforts, that fault is more appropriately attributable to human fallibility than to malicious intent" (p. 207). Additionally, Bacevich is unashamed of his military service, holds up several military leaders as heroes, has some choice words for the self-delusions of leftist "peace activists," and even argues that federal education loans should be made conditional on military service.

This doesn't mean the president and his fellow conservatives get off much easier, though. Bacevich is roundly critical of Bush and his administration, including Colin Powell; dismisses the Iraq invasion ("this preposterous enterprise" [p. 202]); and in a move that will probably get him crossed off the Thayer Award nominations list, suggests officer candidates be required to graduate from civilian universities instead of West Point (his alma mater) or Annapolis -- intellectually-isolated institutions that reinforce the officer caste's separation from civil society.

So this book isn't one that will blindly reinforce anyone's prejudices. In part for that reason -- but mostly for its trenchant analysis, readable prose, and broad historical view -- I'm happy to list "The New American Militarism" as one of the best and most important books I've read in some time. Perhaps even since "The Sorrows of Empire."

Izaak VanGaalen:
 Militarism and Public Opinion, August 12, 2005

According to many of the custodians of public opinion, Andrew Bacevich has earned his right to a fair hearing. Not only is he a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative Catholic, he is a professor of international relations and a contributor to "The Weekly Standard" and "The National Review." Obviously, if he were a left-leaning anti-war Democrat and a contributor to, say, "The Nation," he wouldn't be taken seriously as a critic of American militarism - he would be merely another "blame-America-first" defeatist.

Bacevich sees militarism manifesting itself in some disquieting ways. Traditionally America has always gauged the size of its military with the magnitude of impending threats. After the Civil War, World War I and II, the military was downsized as threats receded. Not so after the fall of the Soviet Union. The military budget has continued to grow and the expenditures are greater - by some measures - than all other countries combined. American military forces are now scaling the globe and the American public seems quiet comfortable with it. And everyone else is growing uneasy.

The mindset of the current officer corps is dominant control in all areas "whether sea, undersea, land, air, space or cyberspace." In other words, supremacy in all theaters. Self-restraint has given way to the normalization of using military force as a foreign policy tool. From 1989 (Operation Just Cause) to 2002 (Operation Iraqi Freedom) there have been nine major military operations and a number of smaller ones. The end of the Cold War has given the US a preponderance of military strength (the proverbial unipolar moment) that has enamoured successive administrations with the idea of using military force to solve international problems. In earlier times, war was always an option of the last resort, now it is a preventative measure.

War, according to Bacevich, has taken on a new aesthetic. During World War I and II, and also Vietnam and Korea the battlefield was a slaughterhouse of barbarism and brutality. Now, with the advent of the new Wilsonianism in Washington, wars are seen as moments of national unity to carry out a positive agenda, almost as if it were international social work.

The modern soldier is no longer looked upon as a deadbeat or a grunt, but rather as a skilled professional who is undertaking socially beneficial work. In fact, in a poll taken in 2003, military personnel consider themselves as being of higher moral standards than the nation they serve.

In the political classes, the Republicans have traditionallly been staunchly pro-military, but now even Democrats have thrown off their ant-military inclinations. When Kerry was running for president he did not question Bush's security policies, he was actually arguing that Bush had not gone far enough. Kerry wanted to invest more in military hardware and training. Even liberal Michael Ignatieff argues that US military intervention should be used to lessen the plight of the oppressed and that we should be assisting them in establishing more representative government.

But superpowers are not altruistic; they are only altruistic to the extent that it serves their self-interest. That's probably why Ignatieff will not get much of a hearing and Bacevich will. This book should give us pause as to why the range of opinion in the America on the use of military force is so narrow. If there is one voice that stands a chance of being heeded, it is from this conservative ex-soldier. \

Douglas Doepke:

The US may have been an expansionist and aggressive power as history shows. But unlike European peers, the American public never really took to the seductions of militarism. That is, until now. This is an important and occasionally brilliant book that tells a forty-year tale of creeping over-reliance on the military. And a heck-of an important story it is. I like the way Bacevich refuses to blame the Bush administration, even though they're the ones who've hit the accelerator. Actually the trend has been in motion for some time, especially since 1980 and Reagan's revival of military glory, contrived though it was.

Each chapter deals with an aspect of this growing militariism movement. How intellectual guru Norman Podhoretz and other elites got the big engine together, how twenty million evangelical passengers abandoned tradition and got on board, and how a crew of enthusiastic neo-cons charted a destination -- nothing less than world democracy guaranteed by American military might. All in all, the ride passes for a brilliant post-cold war move. Who's going to argue with freeing up the Will of the People, except for maybe a few hundred million Sharia fanatics. Yet, it appears none of the distinguished crew sees any contradiction between dubious means and noble end, nor do they seem particularly concerned with what anybody else thinks. (Sort of like the old Soviets, eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism.) However, as Bacevich pounts out, there's a practical problem here the crew is very alert to. Policing the world means building up the institutions of the military and providing a covering mystique to keep John Q. Public supportive, especially with tax dollars and blood supply. In short, the mission requires sanitizing the cops on the beat and all that goes into keeping them there. It also means overcoming a long American tradition of minding-one's-own-business and letting the virtues of democratic self-governance speak for themselves. But then, that was an older, less "responsible" America.

Bacevich's remedies harken back to those older, quieter traditions -- citizen soldiers, a real Department of Defense, a revived Department of State, and a much more modest role in international affairs.With this book, Bacevich proves to be one of the few genuine conservatives around, (a breed disappearing even faster than the ranks of genuine liberals). Much as I like the book, especially the thoughtful Preface, I wish the author had dealt more with the economic aspects of build-up and conquest. But then that might require a whole other volume, as globalization and the number of billion-dollar servicing industries expands daily. At day's end, however, someone needs to inform a CNN- enthralled public that the military express lacks one essential feature. With all its hypnotizing bells and whistles, history shows the momentum has no brakes. Lessons from the past indicate that, despite the many seductions, aggressive empires make for some very unexpected and fast-moving train wrecks. Somebody needs to raise the alarm. Thanks Mr. Bacevich for doing your part.

Still his critique of neocons is a class of its own has value in itself as it comes from professional military officer. Professor Bacevich argues  that the US new militarism which emerged after the dissolution of the USSR is the result of a convergence of actions by a number of different groups including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals (see New American Militarism).

Andrew Bacevich has a wonderful essay, in the form of an open letter to Paul Wolfowitz, in the current Harper's. You have to subscribe to read it -- but, hey, you should be subscribing to any publication whose work you value. This essay isolates the particular role Wolfowitz had in the cast of characters that led us to war. As a reminder, they included:

But Paul Wolfowitz was in a category of his own because he was the one who provided the highest-concept rationale for the war. As James Galbraith of the University of Texas has put it, "Wolfowitz is the real-life version of Halberstam's caricature of McNamara" [in The Best and the Brightest].

Bacevich's version of this assessment is to lay out as respectfully as possible the strategic duty that Wolfowitz thought the U.S. would fulfill by invading Iraq. Back before the war began, I did a much more limited version of this assessment as an Atlantic article. As Bacevich puts it now, Wolfowitz was extending precepts from his one-time mentor, Albert Wohlstetter, toward a model of how the United States could maximize stability for itself and others.

As with the best argumentative essays, Bacevich takes on Wolfowitz in a strong rather than an oversimplified version of his world-view. You have to read the whole thing to get the effect, but here is a brief sample (within fair-use limits):

With the passing of the Cold War, global hegemony seemed America's for the taking. What others saw as an option you, Paul, saw as something much more: an obligation that the nation needed to seize, for its own good as well as for the world's....

Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.

In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter's Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue....In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.... The urgency of invading Iraq stemmed from the need to validate that doctrine before the window of opportunity closed.

Bacevich explains much more about the Wohlstetter / Wolfowitz grand view. And then he poses the challenge that he says Wolfowitz should now meet:
One of the questions emerging from the Iraq debacle must be this one: Why did liberation at gunpoint yield results that differed so radically from what the war's advocates had expected? Or, to sharpen the point, How did preventive war undertaken by ostensibly the strongest military in history produce a cataclysm?
 

Not one of your colleagues from the Bush Administration possesses the necessary combination of honesty, courage, and wit to answer these questions. If you don't believe me, please sample the tediously self-exculpatory memoirs penned by (or on behalf of) Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Bremer, Feith, and a small squad of eminently forgettable generals...

What would Albert [Wohlstetter] do? I never met the man (he died in 1997), but my guess is that he wouldn't flinch from taking on these questions, even if the answers threatened to contradict his own long-held beliefs. Neither should you, Paul. To be sure, whatever you might choose to say, you'll be vilified, as Robert McNamara was vilified when he broke his long silence and admitted that he'd been "wrong, terribly wrong" about Vietnam. But help us learn the lessons of Iraq so that we might extract from it something of value in return for all the sacrifices made there. Forgive me for saying so, but you owe it to your country.
 

Anyone who knows Andrew Bacevich's story will understand the edge behind his final sentence. But you don't have to know that to respect the challenge he lays down. I hope Paul Wolfowitz will at some point rise to it.

For another very valuable assessment of who was right and wrong, when, please see John Judis's piece in The New Republic.


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jun 18, 2018] ASSAD US and Israeli intervention prevents reconciliation in Syria (Interview) by Frank Sellers

Notable quotes:
"... Assad is adamant that the price demanded by the Americans, that of absolute US hegemony, is one that Syria will never pay ..."
"... For the Americans, there is a general principle they follow in dealing with any problem in the world. The only price they ask for is absolute hegemony, regardless of the issue and the place. Of course, we shall never provide that price; otherwise we wouldn't have fought this war for years . We have been fighting for the independence of Syrian decision-making, for the Syrian homeland, and for the unity of Syrian territory. As for Iran in particular, let me be very clear: the Syrian-Iranian relationship is a strategic one not subject to a deal in the south or in the north. This relationship, in terms of its implications and results on the ground, is linked to the present and future of the region ..."
Jun 18, 2018 | theduran.com

Assad is adamant that the price demanded by the Americans, that of absolute US hegemony, is one that Syria will never pay

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad revealed in a recent interview with Iranian media al-Alam TV that attempts at achieving non military resolutions to conflicts inside Syria via reconciliation is being actively prevented by intervention from Israel and the US. He is adamant that the price demanded by the Americans, that of absolute US hegemony, is one that Syria will never pay. Video of the interview is furnished below in English, courtesy of Press TV , followed by a transcript obtained from Syria 360 Internationalist News Agency . Added emphasis on certain statements is mine.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RbLONDCe3Ro

13 June، 2018
Damascus, SANA

President Bashar al-Assad affirmed that the Syrian south is in front of two options; reconciliation or liberation by force, indicating that at this point, there are no concrete results for a simple reason which is Israeli and American interference, for they put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution.

The President added in an interview given to Iran's Al-ALAM TV that the Syrian-Iranian relation is strategic not subject to a deal and it is linked to the present and future of the region , affirming that neither Syria nor Iran has floated this relationship on the international political bazaar for it to be subject to haggling.

President al-Assad affirmed that since the beginning of the war, particularly when it started to have a clear military nature on the southern front in particular, the Israelis used to shell Syrian forces continuously, and consequently provide direct support to the terrorists. Israeli artillery and aircraft are the terrorists' artillery and aircraft Despite Israeli support to the terrorists, we have been doing our job, and the Syrian Army is fighting its way towards the southern front, and has liberated a number of areas within the limits of its capabilities. So, with or without its approval, the decision is a Syrian one, and this is a national duty we shall carry out.

Following the full text of the interview;

Question 1: Mr. President, there are many issues which we will talk about, but in the light of the victories you have achieved, the main focus remains the south of Syria. What's happening exactly, or what is the nature of what is happening in the south of Syria?

President Assad: To put it simply, after the liberation of al-Ghouta, it was suggested that we should move south. We were faced with two options, as is the case in all other areas in Syria: reconciliation or liberation by force. At this point, the Russians suggested the possibility of giving reconciliation an opportunity, similar to what happened in other areas, in order to restore the situation that prevailed before 2011. In other words, for the Syrian Army to be deployed in that area, which is an area of confrontation with the Zionist enemy. And of course the terrorists should leave the area. This proposition suits us. Up till now, there are no concrete results for a simple reason which is Israeli and American interference; for they put pressure on the terrorists in that area in order to prevent reaching any compromise or peaceful resolution . That is how the situation stands now.

Question 2: So, it hasn't been decided whether to move towards a military operation or towards reconciliation?

President Assad: No, contacts are still ongoing between the Russians, the Americans, and the Israelis, while nobody is communicating with the terrorists, because they are mere tools, and they implement what their masters decide ultimately. This is what happened, i.e. there was an opportunity to reach reconciliation, but the American and Israeli interference prevented that possibility .

Question 3: Of course, this is the reality there. But on the other hand, there are those who talk about many things taking place in the south. Mr. President, is there a certain deal, what is the price? Is there really a price for concluding this deal in the south? Let me talk frankly about the issue of getting the Iranians to leave the southern region in return for al-Tanf, for example. What did the Americans demand, or let's say, what was the price the Americans asked to approve the reconciliation process in the south?

President Assad: For the Americans, there is a general principle they follow in dealing with any problem in the world. The only price they ask for is absolute hegemony, regardless of the issue and the place. Of course, we shall never provide that price; otherwise we wouldn't have fought this war for years . We have been fighting for the independence of Syrian decision-making, for the Syrian homeland, and for the unity of Syrian territory. As for Iran in particular, let me be very clear: the Syrian-Iranian relationship is a strategic one not subject to a deal in the south or in the north. This relationship, in terms of its implications and results on the ground, is linked to the present and future of the region. Consequently, it is not subject to the price tags of the international bazaar. Neither Syria nor Iran has floated this relationship on the international political bazaar for it to be subject to haggling. The proposition was made by the Israelis with the objective of provoking and embarrassing Iran. At the same time, this comes in line with the international propaganda campaign launched against Iran regarding the nuclear file. It is not a separate issue; for everything happening now is linked to Iran in order to create an international position against it. As for us in Syria, the decision concerning our land is an exclusively Syrian decision. We are fighting the same battle, and when we have a decision concerning Iran, we will talk about it with the Iranians and not with any other party .

Question 4: Of course, we will talk more about Iran and in more detail, but since we are talking about the southern front, let's explore it further. Practically, in the same context, there is the MOC which hasn't stopped its operations since the beginning of the war on Syria about eight years ago. It is working and is still active, and is directly linked to the Israelis. But we have noticed recently that it has been reactivated, and there are more communications. Mr. President, does this mean that the Syrian state is practically moving towards a military decisive action in the south regardless of the consequences, whether things reach a stalemate or not? Is a decisive action in the cards for the Syrian leadership?

President Assad: No, MOC has nothing to do with this decision. MOC has been linked to the presence and the role of the terrorists since the beginning of the war on Syria. That's why it existed: in order to lead them militarily. Consequently, the continued existence of this operations room means the continuation of the role given to these terrorists, i.e. they are equipped and prepared to carry out more terrorist acts. MOC is linked to the terrorists and not to the role of the Syrian state. Our role has nothing to do with it. Our decision has been clear from the beginning: we will liberate all Syrian lands. As to when to move south, north, east, or west, this is a purely military issue. But regardless of MOC, we have moved towards the south and we are giving the political process a chance. If that doesn't succeed, we have no other option but to liberate it by force.

Question 5: But there is a confrontation in the south, and the issue is not limited geographically to Syria in the larger political sense. There are the Americans, the Russians, the Iranians, the Israelis, and Hezbollah. All these parties are there in the area. What does that mean? How are you going to deal with this?

President Assad: You are talking about two axes: one supporting terrorism, and represented by the US, Israel, and some flunkies in the region including some Arab and non-Arab states, and an anti-terrorist axis. The first axis supports terrorism and seeks hegemony, while the second axis seeks independence. So, there can be only one result for this confrontation, i.e. the victory of one of these axes. At least, as far as the anti-terrorist axis is concerned, it will not give up the process of cleaning Syria and the region of terrorism and will not give up on the unity of Syrian territory .

As to the other axis, will it change as a result of the reality on the ground? Let's wait and see. But in terms of substance and convictions, it will not change, while in terms of the political practices dictated by reality and the facts on the ground, it might.

Question 6: Will the Americans leave al-Tanf?

President Assad: The Americans say they are ready, but everyone knows that the Americans are historically professional liars in politics. So why should we believe them? Also, we have to wait and see.

Question 7: Mr. President, what's happening now in Jordan? Is it linked to what's happening on the southern front in particular, i.e. is it linked to what is being plotted in that region, in your view?

President Assad: In fact, the only information we have is what we hear in the media. In any case, we wish Jordan stability, not chaos, because the latter will have a negative impact on us.

Question 8: Since we are talking about the south, let's close this file. Mr. President, what would make the Israeli occupation agree to the return of the Syrian Army to the borders, i.e. a return to the situation which existed at the beginning of 2011, after seven years of repeated Zionist attempts, directly and indirectly, to undermine the Syrian state, the regime in Syria, and stability in Syria. Why would it agree now to the return of the Syrian Army to the borders and to the occupied Golan?

President Assad: Certainly, neither conviction, morality, nor international law means anything to the Israelis. Since the beginning of the war, particularly when it started to have a clear military nature on the southern front in particular, the Israelis used to shell Syrian forces continuously, and consequently provide direct support to the terrorists. Israeli artillery and aircraft are the terrorists' artillery and aircraft. That applies to Jabhat al-Nusra of course . Nothing is going to change this Israeli approach. As far as we are concerned, Israel's approval had no role at all. Despite Israeli support to the terrorists, we have been doing our job, and the Syrian Army is fighting its way towards the southern front, and has liberated a number of areas within the limits of its capabilities. So, with or without its approval, the decision is a Syrian one, and this is a national duty we shall carry out.

Question 9: So, a return of the Syrian Army is better than having resistance in the Golan, for instance?

President Assad: For the Israelis?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad: I think the two options are bad for the Israelis. Both of them are bad. Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has repeatedly talked about Syria's relationship with the resistance and a Syrian role in the resistance. So, how would the Israelis choose between two bad things for them?

Question 10: As you said, Mr. President, Israel has financed, supported, and more dangerously was capable of enlisting a large number of Syrians, some of whom were treated inside occupied Palestine. They talked about it. In the future, how would you deal with this large number of Israeli agents? Maybe some of them were misled and Israel might have exploited the financial and living conditions of some; and some have chosen to side with the Israelis. How would you deal with them in the future?

President Assad: This is true; we cannot put everyone in the same basket. There are different reasons for moving in this wrong direction; and these people have wronged the homeland and every Syrian citizen. Ultimately, they are the children of this homeland, and we all bear responsibility for this problem, not only those who have done wrong. When crime, for instance, becomes widespread in a certain country, the whole society bears responsibility for this crime, not only the security agencies or the criminals themselves. The first thing that should be done is to accommodate these people. Second, we need to address the root causes which led to this case of weak patriotism. The causes here are many and complicated, and the scope of this interview doesn't allow for all of them to be mentioned.

Question 11: In the same context, while you are talking about restoring the Syrian air defense systems and confronting the Zionist occupation, statements have been made by leaders of the Israeli entity that they will strike at the depth of Syrian territory. How would you deal with that situation, particularly that balance has been achieved recently, i.e. balance between Israeli aggressions and Syrian responses?

President Assad: Basically, we haven't stopped responding. First of all, we haven't stopped fighting terrorists, and at the same time we haven't stopped responding to Israeli aggression within the capabilities available to us, militarily and technically. Moreover, the more these capabilities improve; the response will be better and higher. But in fact the strongest response to Israel now is to strike the Israeli army existing in Syria which consists practically of the terrorists .

Journalist: You consider them an Israeli army?

President Assad: Of course, for they are acting clearly and starkly in Israel's interest. The first acts they carried out were attacks against the air defense systems. What is the link between air defense systems and the terrorists acting as infantry on the ground? This was an Israeli order. It was an Israeli-American order because it is the same thing. So, they are Israel's army inside Syria; and the first strike against Israel, politically, militarily, and in every other area, is to strike Israel's terrorists inside Syria, whether they belong to ISIS, al-Nusra, or the other groups linked to the Israeli plan and strategy.

Journalist: If Israel escalates, are you prepared to respond more forcefully?

President Assad: This is what's happening. It is escalating, and we are responding. Ultimately, we are fighting the war within the capabilities available to us, and we are doing our best within these capabilities. A response does not need a political decision. I stress that responding or not responding is not a political decision. It is a national decision, and it was taken from day one. But implementing this decision depends on what we can do militarily and not politically.

Question 12: In terms of capabilities, there is one issue in the media which we are always following, i.e. the S300 Russian missiles. Russia says, "We will deliver these missiles", and then says, "We will not deliver them", which means that the issue is not clear. What is happening exactly? Why this Russian hesitation, in your view, in delivering the S300 missiles to Syria, while some other countries have been seeking S400, i.e. they are ahead of us in this regard.

President Assad: You know that military action and military considerations are part of political considerations. Consequently, a statement, even if it is of a military nature, carries at the same time political messages. So, why did the Russians say that they want to send or not send? This is a statement that the Russians should be asked about because it might be part of their political tactics. As to the military aspect of the statement, which concerns Syria, it's not our custom to talk about the weapon which will be delivered or not delivered. The evidence was that the weapons used in response to the last two aggressions, the tripartite aggression and after that the Israeli aggression, were not announced by Syria. We traditionally do not announce cases of a technical military nature.

Journalist: So, even the nature of the response is not linked to the issue of the S300 missiles?

President Assad: No. The same applies. Even if the S300 missiles will be provided or not provided, we will not say that they were delivered to Syria. A weapon is used when it must be used.

Journalist: Is there a possibility that you have developed certain weapons?

President Assad: This remains a possibility. In any case, the result is the same: weapons shouldn't be talked about until they are used. Weapons announce themselves only when they are used.

Question 13: Mr. President, let's return to the political aspect, since we are talking about the southern front. Regarding the general situation, in light of all that has been achieved on the Syrian arena today, the most prominent actor is the tripartite alliance, or what is being called the tripartite alliance. I mean Syria, Iran, and Russia. What is the nature of this alliance? Is it a temporary alliance, in the sense that it is linked to fighting terrorism or to certain developments on the Syrian arena? Recently, we have started to see – or let's say some have focused on certain points in order to show – a certain fracture in this alliance. What is your take on that and what is the actual reality of this alliance?

President Assad: If we talk first about the Syrian-Iranian part, for 40 years, and in the different conditions that the Middle East region has gone through, this alliance remained solid. So, there is no reason to say that it is temporary or otherwise. The new element in the war on Syria is the Russian element, and that's why this tripartite alliance came into existence. Our relationship with Russia is now about seven decades old. Despite the fluctuations and the fall of the Soviet Union, the rule of President Yeltsin, and the deterioration of these relations to a large degree for us, it has never reached the stage of reversing this relationship with Syria. Russia continued to deal with Syria as a friendly state, and we have imported everything from Russia, including weapons, during the different stages of the sanctions imposed on Syria. It is not in the nature of the Russians to build temporary or self-serving alliances or to sell out on relations in order to get deals done. The relationship is definitely a strategic one, but the political statements allowed for these speculations.

These statements also aim at sending messages in different directions. Maybe, sometimes the language or the choice of particular terminology might not be helpful and might take the statement in a different direction at odds with the content of the statement. This happens from time to time. However, these statements shouldn't be taken out of context: the Russian view of the relationship with Iran is a strategic one. As for Syria, the Russians do not interfere in Syrian affairs. If they have a certain opinion, they raise it with us and say that in the end, the decision is that of the Syrian leadership and the Syrian people. This is a constant principle for Russia. Therefore, the alliance is a strategic one, and if there are differences, such differences happen within the Syrian state, and you see differences within the Iranian state and within the Russian state. It is natural for us to differ on daily tactical details, for why conduct a dialogue if we agree on everything? We meet extensively in order to reach agreement.

Journalist: So, this tripartite alliance is being consolidated.

President Assad: Of course. This is dictated by reality, interest, and international changes that make it necessary for this alliance to be consolidated. As long as the other axis supports terrorism, and as long as we, together with Iran and Russia, feel the danger of terrorism, not only in Syria, but also on all these countries and on the whole world, and as long as Syria, Iran, and Russia realize the importance of abiding by international law, these facts make the existence of this alliance necessary.

Question 14: But there are those who say that Syria will get a price if the Iranians leave Syrian territories. Is there a certain political, moral, or military price in this regard?

President Assad: As I said in the beginning, as long as this relationship is not floated in the bazaar, they cannot offer a price, and the answer will be clear. That's why they don't dare suggest this price. This issue was raised by different countries, including Saudi Arabia for instance, at the beginning of the war, and not only at the beginning, but at different stages. The proposition was that if Syria cut its relationship with Iran, the situation in Syria will be normal. This principle is basically rejected by us.

Journalist: So, there were initiatives, so to speak, made in this regard by Saudi Arabia.

President Assad: During the war?

Journalist: Yes.

President Assad: Of course, more than once, and in a clear manner.

Journalist: Directly?

President Assad: Directly. The relationship with Iran was the basis for every proposition; and Saudi Arabia's position on this subject is public. I'm not revealing a secret.

Question 15: An issue is raised, whether in Syria, Iran, or Lebanon, about the nature of Iranian presence in Syria. Some call them Iranian advisors. Even the Syrian Foreign Minister used the same term. At the same time, we notice that there are Iranian martyrs. Frankly, Mr. President, what is the nature of Iranian presence in Syria now?

President Assad: The term adviser is sometimes used in a broad manner, i.e. these advisers have been with us, through the longstanding relationship with Iran, even before the war, because the military relationship is close. When a military formation moves to a fighting position, the adviser becomes a fighter. So, the word can be used in different senses. There are certainly Iranian advisers in Syria, and there are groups of Iranian volunteers who came to Syria, and they are led by Iranian officers. Iran has fought with and defended the Syrian people. It offered blood. That's why when we say "advisers" this is a generic term, but this doesn't mean that we are ashamed of any Iranian presence, even if it is official. But we use the word "advisers" because there are no regular Iranian fighting units in Syria.

Journalist: Full formations.

President Assad: Exactly. There are no battalions, or brigades, or divisions. First, we can't hide them, and then why should we be ashamed of that? When we invited the Russians legally to come to Syria, we were not ashamed of that. And if there were an Iranian formation, we would announce it, because such relations need agreements between the two states endorsed by parliaments. Such relations cannot be concealed.

Journalist: And you invited Iranian advisers to come?

President Assad: Of course, from the beginning we invited the Iranians, and then we invited the Russians. We needed the support of these countries, and they answered the call.

Journalist: Mr. President, you said more than once that there are no Iranian bases in Syria.

President Assad: That's correct.

Journalist: Why there are no Iranian bases, while we notice that there are a number of Russian bases?

President Assad: There's nothing that prevents the existence of such bases as long as Iran is an ally as is Russia.

Journalist: This means that if Iran requested the existence of such bases, you would agree?

President Assad: If we ask. We will ask them to agree. I mean that we could ask for the existence of such forces to support us. Iran has never asked and does not have an interest except in fighting terrorism. But the evolution of the war made it necessary to develop the nature of this presence.

This happened as far as the Russians are concerned. In the beginning, Russian support, like Iranian support, was different from what it is today. The support for terrorism has developed internationally and globally when the Syrian Army confronted those terrorists, and with that Russian and Iranian military presence developed. At a certain stage, we found – with the Russians of course – that the existence of air bases was necessary to provide air support to the Syrian Army. And now, if we find, in cooperation, coordination, or dialogue with the Iranians, that there is a need for Iranian military bases, we will not hesitate. But now, Iranian support in its present form is good and effective.

Question 16: Why haven't you visited Iran so far, although you visited Russia more than once?

President Assad: That's correct. In fact, there was a scheduled visit to Iran a few months ago, and it was postponed and not cancelled. It was postponed because of an emergency in Syria related to the development of battles. There is certainly no reason which prevents such a visit, and I'll visit Iran hopefully soon on the earliest opportunity. This is natural, but the issue is logistic, no more, no less.

Question 17: Mr. President, I move to another file. Last week, it was the Jerusalem International Day, and the Palestinian cause is going through its most difficult stages. We are talking about the "deal of the century", and moving the American Embassy to occupied Jerusalem. What do you have to say about Palestine? Is Syria still capable of supporting the Palestine cause? Basically, wasn't one of the most important objectives of the war on Syria to get Syria out of the axis of resistance and to prevent it from supporting resistance, whether in Lebanon or Palestine?

President Assad: The Palestine context, since 1948 up till now, has been a complicated one, because the regional context is complicated. Of course, it is complicated because the colonial West, which is particularly supportive of Israel, has always created elements which aim at one single thing. First, to drive to desperation the Arab citizen who is historically attached to the cause of Palestine and who has always considered it a pan-Arab cause that touched him even on the national level.

The other objective has been to distract the Arab peoples together with states or societies in general to marginal causes so that they do not have time to think about Israel. And they have succeeded to a great extent, most recently through the so-called Arab spring which has aimed at destroying the political, military, and psychological infrastructure of Arab societies.

Nevertheless, recent development have proven that the Arab people is still conscientiously attached to the cause of Palestine. As for Syria – since it has been part of these plots to undermine the Arab condition in general – first, for Syria to support the cause of Palestine, it should first of all destroy the Israeli army in Syria. Restoring stability in Syria, striking terrorism, and foiling the Israeli plot in Syria is certainly part of supporting the cause of Palestine. The support might be indirect with direct consequences, but these direct consequences are linked to the internal Palestinian condition. We shouldn't forget that the Palestinians are divided between groups which resist Israel and are genuinely linked to the cause of Palestine, and other groups which are against the resistance and support surrenderist and defeatist peace, while there are other groups which use resistance as a title in order to achieve their political objectives under the slogan of religion. This is of course the Muslim Brotherhood's approach.

Question 18: Are you prepared to offer whatever the resistance asks of you, whether in the form of political, military, or any other form of support?

President Assad: Politically, we haven't changed. The Palestinian question for us is still as it was ten years ago and decades ago. It hasn't changed. As to what we can offer, this has to do with two things: first, Syria's current capabilities; and there's no doubt that the priority is given now to cleaning Syria of terrorism. Second, it has to do with the Palestinian condition and the parties with which we can deal within the Palestinian arena.

Question 19: Since we are talking about resistance, there is the other side. In addition to some countries which stood beside Syria in fighting terrorism, there was also a role played by the resistance in Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah, which provided a great deal and contributed to fighting terrorism. What do you say, Mr. President, to resistance fighters and families of martyrs and the wounded?

President Assad: When all these groups of resistance get together to defend Syrian soil and Syrian citizens, including the Lebanese resistance and the brothers who came from Iraq some of whom reproached me for not mentioning them by name, I take this opportunity to stress that there are brothers from Iraq to whom we give the same weight of any resistance fighter who came from any other country.

There are also the families of resistance fighters who came from Iran and sacrificed their blood in Syria. We should put all these in the same basket next to the Syrian martyrs, fighters, and their families. To those I say that all the letters, the words, the sentences, and the whole of literature are much less than a single drop of blood. Therefore, words are of a much lesser value than what they have offered. What's more important is what history will write about them.

In fact, when we talk about writing history, we need to highlight that history needs a strategy and needs tactics, but the fact remains that strategy without implementation on the ground has no value. It remains mere thought which we might include in books and essays. But the reality is that these individuals in these countries, this group of resistance fighters, not politics, write history. I would like to use the answer to this question to express to them all my love, respect, and appreciation, and my reverence to the fighters, the wounded, and martyrs, and to all their families who are courage incarnated and who sent these individuals to Syria to defend it and fight terrorism, so that these families become models of morality and principles for present and future generations.

Question 20: Have you asked Hezbollah to leave Syria? A few days ago His Eminence Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah talked about this issue and said that nobody can get us out of Syria unless the Syrian leadership asked us to do so.

President Assad: The battle is long and ongoing. When we talk about this tripartite alliance – and if we consider it a quadruple alliance when we add Hezbollah, we talk about the tripartite alliance in terms of the states included, but in the end Hezbollah is a basic element in this war – the battle is long, and the need for these military forces will continue for a long time. When there is a need, and when Hezbollah, Iran, or others believe that terrorism has been eliminated, they will tell us that they want to go home. As Sayyed Hasan said, they have families and daily interests, which is normal, but it is still early to talk about this subject.

Question 21: Up till now, there are still areas under the control of terrorism and areas under occupation. At the same time, regretfully, some Arab countries, and here I am talking particularly about Saudi Arabia, announced that it is ready to send forcers to Syria. On the other hand, a few days ago popular tribal units were formed to resist occupation. Are these really popular resistance units? Do they receive support from the Syrian government? Does this mean that the army cannot liberate those areas, and that's why it is asking for the help of the tribes? What is the nature of this issue?

President Assad: There are different forms of this resistance which appeared a few years ago. In the beginning they were fighting ISIS before they started to fight the occupiers. They were against ISIS in the central and eastern regions, and there were cases where they appeared in other regions which were not given media coverage and about which we hear sometimes through information and indications.

Now, this situation has started to expand. So, it's not one single case. There are a number of cases which might be individual sometimes, or in the form of small groups not affiliated to an organization. In any case, our position as a state has been from the beginning to support any act of resistance, whether against terrorists or against occupying forces, regardless of their nationality, i.e. American, French, Turkish, or Israeli. We support these resistance forces based on our national role as a government.

Question 22: What about Saudi Arabia and sending Saudi forces to Syria?

President Assad: First, when we talk about a state, we should assume that such a state can take decisions independently. That's why we will not talk about the role of Saudi Arabia. You better ask me about the American decision on this issue.

Question 23: On the other hand, there are a number of Arab countries which we talk about and which had a role or contributed to the role or to the destruction of Syria. These countries are now trying to get to Syria through the reconstruction process. What do you say in this regard, particularly that these countries are the ones which have capital and huge financial power? How are you going to deal with that?

President Assad: Reconstruction in Syria is not a cause for concern for us. It needs two factors: first, the human factor which is more important than the financial factor. When a country like Syria possesses the human factor, the financial cost will be less when it comes to reconstruction. This is self-evident, and we possess all these factors despite the fact that many competent and qualified Syrians have immigrated because of the war.

But we still have the capability to start reconstruction. And the evidence is clear now, for the state is moving forward and reconstruction has begun. As to money, the Syrian people have financial capabilities, capital, most of which is not in Syria, but outside Syria. But there is capital waiting for reconstruction to begin, so it will begin investing. On the other hand, there are the friendly countries which have capabilities and have the desire; and we have the desire to have them participate in reconstruction, so that they benefit and we Syrians benefit from this process. In the end, we do not need those countries and we will never allow them to be part of reconstruction.

Journalist: Never?

President Assad: Absolutely.

Journalist: Not even if there was a need in this regard, I mean in terms of financial resources?

President Assad: Financial resources are not everything. As I said, this is available. There are different sources in the world and in Syria for capital.

Question 24: With these tough years, we are talking about the legendary steadfastness of the Syrian Army, the Syrian people, the Armed Forces. If you wanted to talk about two cases, the most difficult case or incident that you have encountered during these years, and on the other hand the best and most beautiful case.

President Assad: It is natural, at the heart of the military battle, for the best and worst cases to be linked to the development of the military battle. If I say that the worst cases were when terrorists used to control a certain area, this is self-evident, but it is related more to specific battles, particularly when the area is strategic or the city is big with a large population. Consequently, the impact will be much greater psychologically and in terms of morale.

But there was an ongoing situation which we are still living and we must think about: when a martyr or a group of martyrs fall, and this is ongoing on a weekly basis for us, we must think that a family lost a dear one who cannot be compensated. He might be compensated by achieving victory at a certain stage, but on the family, psychological and human level, you cannot compensate a dear one lost to a certain family, or maybe a friend. This is a very painful situation which we have lived and continue to live. This will not stop until the war itself stops. But there were painful cases at the beginning of the war, when you see this huge lack of patriotism. They were perhaps a minority, but a large minority, of individuals who were prepared to sell the homeland and trade it together with their principles, if they had ones, in return for money or a certain interest, in addition to a certain percentage of extremism.

On the other hand, there were victories, particularly when victories started in the city of al-Qsair in 2013, and culminated in the city of Aleppo in 2016, that was the beginning of the major victories. That was followed by Deir Ezzor, and today we are living the joy of liberating Damascus and its countryside. This is a situation we have all lived through, and you were with us, and I am sure you feel the same joy.

Question 25: Have you felt tired at a certain moment? Have you felt hesitant at a certain moment, in light of all the decisions you have taken, have you ever, even for a moment, thought of leaving? Haven't you said to yourself: let me save my family and resign, as some people did at a certain point in time?

President Assad: This question might be raised in a personal manner. When I am faced with a personal situation as an individual, I might feel despair after a few months. I might feel tired or bored or I might want to move to a different situation, or give up. That is possible.

Journalist: As an individual?

President Assad: Of course, as an individual, but the case you are proposing is not personal, it is national. Imagine yourself in a different condition, perhaps building something on your own. You feel tired, but when you see a large number of people helping you build it and share the same determination, you forget the tiredness.

Now we are in a national situation. We are talking about millions of Syrians. When you see a shell striking and victims falling anywhere in Syria, you feel frustrated. But when you see life being restored to the same area after one hour, your psychological condition changes. When you see that the electricity worker, the oil worker, the teacher, the employee, are moving side by side with fighters, moving without despair and without tiredness, how can you feel tired? This is a collective condition not related to me as a person. It has to do with our human condition when we are together as a society. How do we live? This defines whether you are tired or not. Would the Syrian society have arrived at this stage of despair and surrender, I would certainly have been with it. I would have surrendered because I do not have the necessary elements for steadfastness. This is self-evident.

Journalist: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for giving us this opportunity, and for your candidness in answering these questions. Thank you very much.

[Jun 18, 2018] The next year the strategic position of Ukraine might get worse

Jun 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

Beckow , June 16, 2018 at 12:24 am GMT

If Kiev wants to attack Donbas they better hurry. After World Cup, and definitely next year when the pipelines bypassing Ukraine will be ready, Ukraine's strategic situation will get worse. We are in a transition phase: sh..t happened in 2013-15 that is impossible to undo, but there were fortunately constraints on all sides that prevented a meltdown. In a year or two most of those constraints will be gone.

Saker is correct that EU countries will not work with Russia. Blaming it all on Washington was always stupid – there are forces in Europe, in all countries, who want a confrontation with Russia. Any event, real or fake, will be used to escalate. West cannot lose this one without another fight. And if they sit on their hands, they will eventually lose with a disillusioned Ukraine and slowly disintegrating EU. Populist energy needs to be re-directed eastward, and for that a more aggressive policy is required. This is not pessimism, there simply is no way for EU elite to climb down. How could UK make up with Russia without looking like complete idiots? Or Macron and Merkel? The hostility is at this point inherent in the situation – what started out as a badly thought-out attempt to get some quick goodies (bases in Crimea, Nato expansion, sell weapons) has evolved into a real death spiral.

We are one Franz Ferdinand moment away from a catastrophe. Let's enjoy the games while we still can. Trump knows this, so he is trying desperately to organize a summit or send some messages of conciliation. But he is powerless and it might be too late for that. Hubris never dissipates, it requires a disaster and an elite turnover to cure hubris.

Mattheus , June 16, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
Saker is once again completely wrong. His theories fall short to explain lots of real events. He got hooked on his "Anglo-Zionist" theory and "one Hegemon", which is far from explaining the reality on the ground. There is no one single hegemon, but two powerful interest groups in the west. One of the power centers is dominated by the Rothschilds from the City of London and the other ruled by the Rockerfellers which is based in the US.
The powers described above are sometimes working in collusion but sometimes work against each other (They were in collusion during the Soviet Afghan war for instance). Currently, we don't see a collusion but a war being waged in between these two groups. I think it is highly self evident, so much so that it is happening almost all in the open. In the modern history we haven't witnessed such a openly fought war ever before (between these two powers). All is at stake and the war in between these two is vicious. Thus you can explain Trump's attitude towards EU, everlasting character assasination of Trump by certain opposing circles in the US, high level resignations, the state of confusion of Nato and much more. If this theory is right (and I think it is much more viable than any other theory that I came across in the Alt-Med), this makes Russia firmly embedded into one of the camps. Unfortunately, the position that Russia took makes him not a sovereign power but on contrary puts him into a subservient role. The late actions of Russia, especially in Syria, is quite telling. I know people who admire Russia get quite frustrated when they hear such a scenario and outcome, but this is possibly the only way Putin believes that Russia can survive. Thus it explains his latest house clean-up of Euroasian integrists. Even worse, if you believe in this scenario, it brings Russia and China against each other especially in the long run. This scenario also put a full stop to the idealist Euroasian multi-polar world order.
Here is the link to an older video in Russian with English subtitles. The guy's name is Andrei Fursov and he has some interesting things to say regarding this subject. This interview was just before Obama was elected but is still quite relevent. His newer videos seems to have lost steam, possibly because he is working for some state connected Russian institutions and think-thanks and thus I think he is somewhat restricted. After all it is again the famous "Game Theory", isn't it?
byrresheim , June 16, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
As long as the Author keeps talking about Ukronazis, we know that he is not at all prepared to see any problems on the Russian side at all.

Which serves devalue his argument, even if there are a lot of valid points otherwise.

Beckow , June 17, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@Philip Owen

I don't think you realize that armies need supplies. To break into Donbas cities would be hard enough, but to re-supply them would be impossible. Civilians would mostly evacuate, so there would be little to 'hide in'. Kiev cannot win militarily as long as Russia opposes it. Russia can always blast their bases from air, or with missiles. Don't kid yourself, if Russia has the will, they will prevail.

Since you mentioned 2014, there was a perfect opportunity for Maidanistas to avoid this. All they had to do was to be friendly and accommodating to its Russian minority. Offer them autonomy, re-assure them, promise that trade and ties with Russia would continue. Kiev did the exact opposite, an extremely bad tactic. US kept on telling them to cool it, that one doesn't win by attacking before ready. But in Kiev emotions prevailed, and so we are where we are.

Sooner or later a more accommodating government in Kiev will try the 'let bygones be bygones' tactic on Russia. If we are lucky enough to make it that far.

[Jun 17, 2018] Ukraine as reflection of USA. When masters fall out their men get the clout by Mark Kravets

Dec 26, 2017 | medium.com

So-called Ukrainian 'maidans' have bored the world community to death. And the public has been taking the protests currently under way in Kiev for no more than traditional autumn and winter open-air parties, similar to the Parisian 'fire shows'. Meanwhile, much more significant confrontation has been taking place in Kiev, alongside with the circus of ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. An inner conflict between two anticorruption and power-wielding departments of the country is long overdue. In their relations with the media, both representatives of those organizations and members of various Verkhovna Rada fractions have been describing specific processes that are taking place in Ukraine as 'Makhnovshchina' or a war of all against all, literally speaking.

After returning from the international anti-corruption forum organized by the U.S. State Department, Nazar Holodnitsky, head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) of Ukraine, stated in an interview to TSN , the Ukrainian TV channel, that a standoff of law enforcement agencies may escalate into a war harmful to entire Ukraine. Thus, a conflict between the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) has evolved into a hybrid war with interrogations involving physical and mental pressure and mutual accusations of all sorts of evils. Delegates of both sides have simultaneously visited their U.S. sponsors and come back comforted with just another assurance of '1000% support'.

Such confrontation of the government institutions raises eyebrows, I must say. State Department has publicly been sympathized with both the corruption fighters and the General Prosecutor's Office upon condition of the settlement of conflict by legal means and punishment of officials guilty of criminal charges. Meanwhile, the FBI has also been drawn in this undeclared war. In June 2016, the FBI and NABU adopted the Memorandum of Understanding, which allows the FBI to assist NABU and SAP in the matter of investigations and implementation of anti-corruption actions. The Bureau's special agents and analysts have been working in NABU on a temporary rotational basis.

The mere presence of the FBI suggests an idea about another U.S. security service which has been standing invisibly by in Ukraine, since it gained independence. This is the CIA, a classic rival of the FBI. The very secret visit in 2014 of the former Central Intelligence Agency chief John O. Brennan preceded the beginning of active hostilities in Ukraine. The CIA stood behind the appointment of the recent Kiev government. It had also protected the acting president of the country from rivals, up to a certain time. For instance, they conduced to the resignation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former rather ambitious Prime Minister of Ukraine who was in conflict with Petro Poroshenko and running for his post.

That helps explain the real cause of furious intransigence of NABU and the General Prosecutor's Office throwing wild accusations at each other. They have virtually been used by power-wielding structures and political forces of another state for a showdown. A never-ending internal fighting in the American national security environment has become the talk of the town being eventually accreted with new dirty wash. It seems that it has become more acute, with the passing of time.

For example, the FBI dealt a hard blow to the CIA bringing 12-count charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, false statements, and other against Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate, Richard Gates. His other partner, Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager was involved as well. Manafort was renowned for his associations with the CIA and for consulting the Party of Regions which was led by Victor Yanukovych. It became clear who was he FBI's source of such detailed and valuable data after the statements by Artem Sytnyk , Director of NABU and Serhiy Leshchenko , a Ukrainian MP.

Nevertheless, the CIA won at this stage of confrontation, because Trump came to power. Even support to the current President of the USA prior to the elections wasn't of much assistance to the FBI Director Comey.

History has witnessed a number of episodes when Ukraine was a stage for showdown by political forces from other countries. It never ended peacefully. As far back as in the XVII century Ukrainian territory had become a theatre of operations owing to the bloody strife between Polish hetmans (high military commanders in the Army of the Kingdom of Poland) of Ukrainian and Cossack origin. As a result, lands of the Zaporizhian Host voluntarily pledged allegiance to Russia.

During World War II the Ukrainian people suffered much harder. At that time the Third Reich was intensely seeking for ways to weaken the USSR, even before it invaded Poland in 1939. It was decided to use the ancient divide-and rule tactics proven by Julius Caesar, involving gradual tearing away of territories with malcontent population. Ukraine was considered the most prospective area for fomenting disaffection.

However, there also was both ideological and political discord among the highest ranks of the Third Reich. Thus, Alfred Rosenberg, the main ideologue of Nazism, along with admiral Wilhelm Canaris (who was accused of 'spiritual instigation' of a plot against Hitler) were planning the establishment of Ukrainian buffer state controlled by the Third Reich. Using such promises they managed to recruit Andriy Melnyk, a central figure in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and notorious Stepan Bandera who, just like Mr. Yatsenyuk, was striving to lead the government in independent Ukrainian state. If the second one kept clinging to his aims all the time, Melnyk was good at matching to desires of his sponsors from Hitler's surrounding. When Himmler and Koch didn't recognize Rosenberg's ideas and wanted to weaken his power in the National Socialist Worker's Party, Melnyk was quick to assure them of his willingness to cooperate on any terms, especially when they let him know that Fuhrer didn't like the idea of a Ukrainian buffer state.

It is a paradox that those relations that had developed both within various branches of OUN-UPA and the Third Reich senior ranks coordinating them were similar to the recent situation in Ukraine. Ukrainian nationalist leaders were used not only for German purposes, but also for elimination of competitors in power. For instance, Rosenberg, after all, had to abandon his point of view. Many of his influential followers resigned just like chief Comey did to the delight of chief Pompeo, this May. Although NABU, the organization most thoroughly maintaining a steady U.S. course prepared for Ukraine, has been successfully continuing investigations, digging into Poroshenko who fell into disfavor for his poor record. And here you are, Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a close acquaintance of the U.S. president's national security advisor McMaster and Secretary of Defense Mattis has indirectly supported Saakashvili's demonstration. In September, Saakashvili hanged out happily with contenders of the recent president in future election Valentyn Nalyvaichenko and Andriy Sadoviy, in Lviv. Now a big friend of Senator McCain Yulia Timoshenko and a number of Verkhovna Rada MPs endorse him.

This mess of warring parties seems to be disordered and extremely headachy. The situation has been much worse for the number of competing forces and foreign organizations standing behind them in Ukraine was much greater during the Third Reich and it continues to be so at present. The recent Ukrainian bellum omnium contra omnes has been a reflection of competitive battle between various security and governmental agencies in the USA.

A single distinct and unequivocal fact is that being a neighbour of such a huge state as Russia, Ukraine was always suffering from those who wish to weaken that influential country. Over and over again throughout Ukrainian history the country was exploited, with nationalist sentiments artificially ignited and false promises made. Even 'humane' Rosenberg's scheme ascribed Ukraine the role of a mere supplier of raw materials and a buffer state between Germany and Eastern Slavic countries without any right to independence.

As such, the USA regards Ukraine as an administered territory which is useful for strategic and economic aims. They skillfully manipulate Kiev government with carrot and stick. Undesirable Ukrainian political puppet might be branded as corrupt and replaced by more manageable nominee, at any time. There is always a possibility to initiate another blood shedding Maidan with oppressions and civil war, in case of urgency. Today's Ukraine is no freer than it was in 1941, during the invasion of Nazi Germany. Melnyks, banderas, hetmans skoropadskies have been replaced by new 'heroes', who never changed their essence. For evanescent promises and artificially inflated ambitions they've been tearing the country apart without mercy either to each other, or their countrymen. Meanwhile, the world community has been watching with approval the beacon of democracy vigorously setting things to order in 'dark and ignorant' Ukraine. Each of them thinking, 'Better them than me.'

[Jun 16, 2018] The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain

Rumors about the death of the US global neoliberal empire are probably slightly exaggerated. Trump did damaged it, but the neoliberal system proved to be really resilient in 2008 and might prove this again.
Notable quotes:
"... The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader. ..."
"... However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family. ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. ..."
Jun 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT

@Rurik

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Rurik , June 14, 2018 at 10:43 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

some perhaps, but the middle class is dying (literally in the case of middle aged white men), and the working class is languishing. It's true the 1% are gorging on a frenzy of corruption and graft, and a no doubt there are a few who prosper by serving that class, but the Main Streets of America are not, in any way, profiting off the exploitation of Africa or S. America or anywhere else. Indeed, it is them that are being exploited.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey

no argument there!

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India.

India and China (and Ethiopia and Somalia and Mexico and Brazil and so many other places) are not poor due to the oppression of Americans. Sure, Goldman Sachs and a thousand other vultures and thieves have done a lot of damage, but no more that the leadership of those respective lands. Has India ever heard of birth control, (for God's sake!) Or Indonesia or a hundred other places, like Haiti, that overbreed their finite resources and limited space until their countries are reduced to shitholes.

If a coal miner in West Virginia is doing a little better than an Untouchable in India, then trust me when I tell you I'm not going to blame the miner (or janitor or mechanic) in America for the poverty in the corrupt and stupid third world.

As far as the suffering that the ZUSA has actually caused, and is causing in places like Syria and Yemen, none of that is being done on behalf of the American people, but rather the typical American is taxed to support these wars and atrocities on behalf of Israel or Saudi Arabia, respectively.

The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

recently I was ranting on the terrible folly of this very thing.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

Yes, they're just as selfish and greedy, but they aren't as filled with genocidal hatred.

It's because of Zionist Jews that Americans were dragged into both world wars.

It's because of Zionist Jews (and assorted corrupt Gentiles) that Israel (with help from the CIA and ((media)), did 9/11, in order to plunge this century into horrors writ large like the last Zio-century.

That there are legions of corrupt and soulless Gentiles willing and eager to jump on that gravy train, is a shame and a sin, but it doesn't excuse the people who are the motivation behind the wars.

The Kochs (and Chamber of Commerce and other Gentile scum) want massive immigration out of pure, raw, insatiable greed.

Whereas the Jewish supremacist Zionists want it out of genocidal tribal hatreds.

The typical American middle and working class are ground into the dirt between these two pillars of Satanic iniquity.

I agree with much of what you're saying, and it's true about the elites in general. But the ZUSA is completely controlled by Zionist Jews, and I think that's pretty obvious.

This man knew that 9/11 was going to happen, if he wasn't part of the planning. And yet look at how they abase themselves

[Jun 15, 2018] Putin, Donbass, emigration of Ukranians to Russia and US neocons foreign policy

An interesting point about refugees and emigration of Ukrainians to Russia.
Notable quotes:
"... Donbass is a civil conflict involving some Russian support for the rebels, who're overwhelmingly from the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. These individuals have a realistic basis to oppose the Kiev based regimes that came after the overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian president. ..."
"... During the American Revolution, most of the pro-British fighters were said to be colonists already based in America. Furthermore, the American revolutionaries received significant support from France. With these factors in mind, the Donbass rebels don't seem less legit than the American revolutionaries. ..."
"... Some Kiev regime elements positively reference the 1995 Croat ethnic cleansing of Krajina Serbs (known as Operation Storm) as a solution for ending the rebel position in Donbass. Russia doesn't seek a massive refugee problem in Donbass and some other parts of the former Ukrainian SSR. As is, a sizeable number of Ukrainian residents have fled to Russia. ..."
"... Putin isn't anti-US in the manner claimed by Peters. Moreover, Peters is clearly more anti-Russian (in a narrow minded way at that) than what can be reasonably said of how Putin views the US. Putin's obvious differences with neocons, neolibs and flat out Russia haters isn't by default anti-US. He was the first foreign leader to console the US following 9/11. The Russian president has been consistently on record for favoring better US-Russian ties (even inquiring about Russia joining NATO at one point), thereby explaining why he has appeared to have preferred Trump over Clinton. ..."
"... the Russians (by and large) prefer predictability. As a general rule this is otherwise true. However, Clinton's neocon/neolib stated views on Russia have been to the point where many Russians felt willing to take a chance with Trump, whose campaign included a comparatively more sympathetic take of their country. At the same time, a good number of Russians questioned whether Trump would maintain that stance. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Mikhail , Website June 14, 2018 at 10:28 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer

Peters has been hardcore anti-Russian and anti-Serb. His views are quite collapsible. Regarding one of his mass media appearances

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/07/17/dnc-kiev-regime-collusion-isnt-americas-best-interests.html

Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, received well deserved praise for taking to task the permeating anti-Russian biases. The highlight of Carlson's exchanges was his encounter with Ralph Peters, who for years has spouted grossly inaccurate propaganda against Russia. Antiwar.com and Russia Insider, are among the counter-establishment English language venues commenting on the Carlson-Peters discussion. The US foreign policy establishment realist leaning National Interest carried a lengthy piece on Carlson's challenge to the neocon/neolib foreign policy perceptions. For the record, more can and should be said in reply to Peter's comments.

Peters falsely claims that Russia hasn't made a concerted effort in confronting ISIS. In one of his more accurate moments, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said that the ISIS claimed shoot down of a Russian civilian airliner over Egypt, was in response to Russia's war against ISIS. You've to be either a liar or clueless to not recognize why Russia has actively opposed ISIS. The latter sees Russia as an enemy, while having a good number of individuals with roots in Russia and some other parts of the former USSR.

Peters' characterization of Russia targeting civilian areas is disingenuous. Over the years, the matter of collateral damage is something periodically brought up in response to those killed by US and Israeli military actions.

Peters offers no proof to his suspect claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin kills journalists. There're numerous anti-Putin advocates alive and well in Russia. That country does have a violence problem. Recall what the US was like in the 1960s thru early 1970′s. For that matter, Bernie Sanders isn't blamed for the pro-Sanders person who attempted to kill Republican lawmakers.

Given the situations concerning Kosovo and northern Cyprus, Peters is being a flat out hypocrite regarding Crimea. Donbass is a civil conflict involving some Russian support for the rebels, who're overwhelmingly from the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. These individuals have a realistic basis to oppose the Kiev based regimes that came after the overthrow of a democratically elected Ukrainian president.

During the American Revolution, most of the pro-British fighters were said to be colonists already based in America. Furthermore, the American revolutionaries received significant support from France. With these factors in mind, the Donbass rebels don't seem less legit than the American revolutionaries.

Some Kiev regime elements positively reference the 1995 Croat ethnic cleansing of Krajina Serbs (known as Operation Storm) as a solution for ending the rebel position in Donbass. Russia doesn't seek a massive refugee problem in Donbass and some other parts of the former Ukrainian SSR. As is, a sizeable number of Ukrainian residents have fled to Russia.

Putin isn't anti-US in the manner claimed by Peters. Moreover, Peters is clearly more anti-Russian (in a narrow minded way at that) than what can be reasonably said of how Putin views the US. Putin's obvious differences with neocons, neolibs and flat out Russia haters isn't by default anti-US. He was the first foreign leader to console the US following 9/11. The Russian president has been consistently on record for favoring better US-Russian ties (even inquiring about Russia joining NATO at one point), thereby explaining why he has appeared to have preferred Trump over Clinton.

Some (including Trump) disagree with that view, which includes the notion that the Russians (by and large) prefer predictability. As a general rule this is otherwise true. However, Clinton's neocon/neolib stated views on Russia have been to the point where many Russians felt willing to take a chance with Trump, whose campaign included a comparatively more sympathetic take of their country. At the same time, a good number of Russians questioned whether Trump would maintain that stance.

Steve in Greensboro , June 14, 2018 at 10:42 pm GMT
@Rurik

I suppose many of us saw the Tucker with Max Boot. Boot seemed unhinged, really emotionally overwrought by Tucker raising commonsensical challenges to his neocon orthodoxy. Sad, angry man.

[Jun 15, 2018] Ralph Peters as one of the nuttiest neocons around. But as far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson

Notable quotes:
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.) ..."
"... A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy". ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. ..."
"... However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money. ..."
"... Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job. ..."
"... The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.g2mil.com
AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Rurik

The US elites (neocons are just one type of servants they hired)

ah, so it was Dubya all along! What a clever little schemer he was! Pretending all that time to be dumb as a rock, and a tool of organized Zionism, while he was using the neocons to his own advantage! So while ((Wolfowitz and Feith and Pearl and Kristol)) were being schooled at the feet of ((Leo Strauss)), it was Dubya the college cheerleader all along who was the mastermind behind the Project for a New American Century and 9/11 !

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_KhlRzZj7HG8/SylVO1ygOeI/AAAAAAAAQ1s/2ms5qnctt4Y/s320/Dubya+phone.jpg

sure, Goldman Sachs and Hollywood get federal subsidies, but it's the (dying) American middle class that has been exploiting the world's poor!

The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain,
what's been going down the drain has been the blood and tears and future of working class Americans, forced to suit up their children to go slaughter innocent Arabs and others in a transparent and treasonous policy intended to bolster Israel - at the direct and catastrophic expense of America and the American people.

I wonder, as the American people are taxed to the tune of billions every year, to send to Israel as tribute, is that also a case of US elites using Israel to their own devices? As Americas roads and bridges crumble, and veterans are denied care?

Or, is it just possible, that the ((owners)) of the Federal Reserve Bank, have used that printing press as a weapon to consolidate absolute power over the institutions of the ZUSA?

Do you suppose that when France bombs Libya or menaces Syria, that they're doing it to benefit the French elite? And that Israel is their dupe, who give them a pretext for doing so? Or that the French (and British and Polish and Ukrainian, etc..) elite are getting their marching orders from Jewish supremacist Zionists who're hell bent on using Gentile Christians to slaughter Gentile Muslims while they laugh and count the shekels? Eh?

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Carlton Meyer says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT

Ralph Peters is one of the nuttiest neocons around, and Fox was smart to dump him. I recall an article long ago where he suggested that the US Govt. should address the drug addition problem in the USA by assassinating drug dealers on the streets in the USA.

He lives off scraps from neocons by selling his soul for BS talking points and collects a monthly check from Uncle Sam after 20 years of sitting at a desk doing BS intel work, as I once did for a year. It seems he missed his chance at killing commies in Nam by touring Europe, as Fred Reed explained:

https://fredoneverything.org/dulce-et-decorum-est-if-someone-else-has-to-do-it/

Mikhail says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 6:18 am GMT
Nothing new in the above article. That such people are elevated to the stature of cushy mainstream propping and ridicule by some non-mainstream others is a tell all sign on what's wrong with the coverage.

Regarding this excerpt:

A prime example of this comes in a recent volume authored by prominent Neocon journalist and homosexual activist (yes, the two traits often seem to go together), James Kirchick: The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, 2017). In his jumble of Neocon ideology and prejudice, Kirchick evaluates what for him seems to be happening ominously in Europe. He is deeply fearful of the efforts to "close borders" against Muslim immigrants from the Middle East. He blasts Marine Le Pen as a racist -- and most likely a subtle "holocaust denier!" -- and attacks the attempts in places like Hungary and Poland to reassert national traditions and Christian identity; for him these are nothing less than attempts to bring back "fascism."

Russia comes in for perhaps his harshest criticism, and the reason is unmistakable: Russia seems to be returning to its older national and pre-Communist heritage, to its age-old Orthodox Christian faith. Russians are returning by the millions to the church and the "old-time" religion. For Kirchick this can only mean one thing: the triumph of bigotry, anti-semitism, and "extreme right wing" ideology, and the failure of what he terms "liberal democracy and equality" (including, he would no doubt include, feminism, same sex marriage, across-the-board equality, and all those other "conservative values"!).

Kirchick's critique, shared by many of the leaders of the national Republican Party and dominating the pages of most establishment "conservative" publications and talk radio these days, joins him arm-in-arm with globalist George Soros in efforts to undermine the Russian state and its president all in the name of "democracy" and "equality." [See, "George Soros Aghast as Collapsing EU, while Russia Resurgent," January 19, 2018]

But, just what kind of "democracy" and what kind of "equality" do Kirchick and Soros defend?

JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.)

A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy".

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT • 100 Words
@Andrei Martyanov
As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.
As I always say -- as repulsive and debilitating Jewish influence on US body politic is, this influence, now transformed in almost complete "intellectual" dominance, it wouldn't have been possible without willing accomplices from radical Christian Zionists and a massive corruption in the highest echelons of power.

Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. The crisis is systemic and Jews are only one, however important, part of that. In the end, Bolton is a practicing Lutheran but look at him -- the guy is completely mad. And I mean this in purely psychiatric terms -- he has some real serious demons haunting him and I even have suspicion about what some of those are. Just an example.

Yes, sick ideology often attracts nutcases. I know a guy in Ukraine with a history of mental illness who is a staunch supporter of current "president" Poroshenko.

However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money.

Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job.

The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. The greatest sin of Russia and Putin is that they got in the way of thieves who wanted to loot the whole world but encountered resistance. Assad in Syria, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela committed the same sin: got between the thieves and their intended loot.

[Jun 14, 2018] Abuse of sanctions

Jun 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

As I pointed out in my last comment on the previous Korea thread, only the UNSC sanctions are legal--Outlaw US Empire sanctions have no legal force outside its borders and can be freely ignored. It's entirely possible Russia will use its position as UNSC President this month to introduce a resolution canceling or greatly scaling back UNSC sanctions.

That almost the entire Imperial Establishment has given the Finger to the entire affair isn't being ignored by the rest of the world, the EU in particular.

Although short, the Global Times link I provided has useful information as does the Black Agenda Report item I linked to in my comment previous to my last on that thread.

I very much approve of b's linking what was just accomplished with the NPT and hope other writers pick it up and help further broadcast his very important point.

As for 100% denuclearization of Korea, lots of nuclear power plants will need to be replaced and decommissioned, and that will likely take several decades to attain.

One can hope that an historical movement's begun to finally decolonize those nations occupied by the Outlaw US Empire upon WW2's end. Admittedly, the Asian nations will find such a process much easier than those in Europe. I doubt I'll live to see it, but somehow I can't find any reason for Germany to continue being occupied in 2045, a full century after the end of WW2. But if Germany is to become free, it cannot afford any more Merkels.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14, 2018 3:28:49 PM | 4

[Jun 13, 2018] The Roots of Argentina's Surprise Crisis

The root is neoliberal government that came to power in 2015
Notable quotes:
"... Why is any of this still "surprising" ..."
"... Economist Ha Joon Chang popularized the term "ladder kicking" to describe the way in which most developed countries used tariffs and trade restrictions to ascent to the top but are all for "free trade" now. ..."
"... Once again, so long as "Original Sin" is a reality, there is little hope. Keynes' BANCOR was the idea to begin to fix this, but short of some other global currency initiative, we're left to the International Finance Vultures as the primary arbiters of what's possible. ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Synoia , June 13, 2018 at 10:25 am

Early measures included the removal of exchange-rate and capital controls

How does a county manage what it does not control?

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Exactly see Trilemma .

Scott1 , June 13, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Thanks for the link. I will be spending some time thinking of what Argentina would best employ as best practices from where it is.
Would they be best off if they stopped issuing such high paying bonds? Should they pay them all off and stop with it. It does appear to me that issuing bond after bond is one of the single most dangerous things you can do.
It would appear to me to be a superior practice to sell what you produce for the best price you can get on the open markets and dictate the value of your currency.
I'll have to do some more study here.
Again, thanks for the link.

Lorenzo , June 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm

You're uttering the discourse of the most recalcitrant neo-liberal cum austerity-fundamentalists around.

The US doesn't tax soybean exports. Argentina needs to maximize its exports to earn foreign exchange.'

it's misleading to say the least to draw a comparison between how the US handles soybean exports and Argentina does it. They're around a quarter of the latter's exports, barely a hundredth of the latter's.

The US will never have forex issues, Argentina does have them, and they are very serious. You make it as if simply exporting commodities will fill the country's economy with USD, while in truth those dollars will be neatly parked in tax heavens. Eliminating tax and controls over Argentina's biggest exports -agricultural commodities- is in practice as if these commodities were produced not in this country but in some foreign territory over which only the very few who hold most of the land are sovereign. Which is what the current administration has been doing for the past two years.

You also make it as if the current situation where the value of the peso is given over completely to whatever short-term speculators feel like doing with it whenever LEBACs are due is more desirable than the capital controls imposed by the previous government. These prevented the hurtful rapid rise we're seeing in the exchange rate and reduced the negative consequences of the fiscal deficit thus allowing significant investment in and expansion of the real economy.

Addressing the fiscal deficit through increased value added and income tax is something that clearly benefits the owner over the working class and depresses private consumption. I can only sarcastically wonder who would want such a thing.

I don't feel the need or the duty to defend the previous government, but victimization of the Sociedad Rural is something I just lack the words to condemn strongly enough

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 9:15 pm

NP. You're welcome. See my comment below. Unfortunately, the only way to win this game is not to play (by the vulture established rules).

Mickey Hickey , June 13, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Argentina is probably the most self sufficient country on earth. It has everything, fertile land that produces an abundance of wheat, barley, oats, rye, wine grapes. As well as oil, gas. uranium, silver, gold, lead, copper, zinc. Foreigners are well aware of the wealth in Argentina and are more than willing to lend to Argentinian governments and companies. This is why Cristina Kirchner refused to give in to the US vulture funds as it dissuaded foreigners from believing that reckless lending would always be rewarded. Macri ponied up, restarting the old familiar economic doom cycle. As always its the old dog for the long road and the pup for the puddle. Macri is now in a place that he chose, the puddle. As long as foreig lenders remain reckless Argentina will remain mired in the mud, well short of its potential. I was last there in 2008 when the country was booming. When I heard of Macri's plan to pay the vulture funds I knew they were headed for disaster. This is just the beginning.

JTMcPhee , June 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Those "foreign lenders" can't be called "reckless." Some, maybe most among them always seem to profit from the looting, whether by "bailouts" or "backstops" from governments like the US that for "geopolitical reasons" facilitate that lending, or by extortion after the first-round lenders (who know the risks, of course -- they are big boys and girls after all) have been forestalled.

Call them "wreckers," maybe. Like early denizens of the Florida Keys, and other places, who set fires or put up lamps that resembled lighthouses to lure passing ships onto the sands and rocks where their cargoes and the valuables of their drowned passengers and crews could be stripped.

Wayne Harris , June 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm

"so-called vulture funds"?

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 8:33 pm

"so-called" Laughable

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Why is any of this still "surprising" to anyone?! Most countries in the world (non G7/G8) are forced to go into foreign debt in order to pursue their "development" initiatives. They are told they can export themselves out of trouble but the "free trade" (more like unfair trade!) mantra puts them at a distinct disadvantage – "unequal exchange" was the term Marx used for it.

Economist Ha Joon Chang popularized the term "ladder kicking" to describe the way in which most developed countries used tariffs and trade restrictions to ascent to the top but are all for "free trade" now.

Once again, so long as "Original Sin" is a reality, there is little hope. Keynes' BANCOR was the idea to begin to fix this, but short of some other global currency initiative, we're left to the International Finance Vultures as the primary arbiters of what's possible.

[Jun 13, 2018] Note on Us strategy

Notable quotes:
"... Erster General-Quartiermeister ..."
"... The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. ..."
"... Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

In truth, infinite war is a strategic abomination, an admission of professional military bankruptcy. Erster General-Quartiermeister Ludendorff might have endorsed the term, but Ludendorff was a military fanatic.

Check that. Infinite war is a strategic abomination except for arms merchants, so-called defense contractors, and the " emergency men " (and women) devoted to climbing the greasy pole of what we choose to call the national security establishment. In other words, candor obliges us to acknowledge that, in some quarters, infinite war is a pure positive, carrying with it a promise of yet more profits, promotions, and opportunities to come. War keeps the gravy train rolling. And, of course, that's part of the problem.

Who should we hold accountable for this abomination? Not the generals, in my view. If they come across as a dutiful yet unimaginative lot, remember that a lifetime of military service rarely nurtures imagination or creativity. And let us at least credit our generals with this: in their efforts to liberate or democratize or pacify or dominate the Greater Middle East they have tried every military tactic and technique imaginable. Short of nuclear annihilation, they've played just about every card in the Pentagon's deck -- without coming up with a winning hand. So they come and go at regular intervals, each new commander promising success and departing after a couple years to make way for someone else to give it a try.

... ... ...

Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: "Enough! Stop this madness!" Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation's gratitude and the support of the electorate.

Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity. No doubt Saudi and Israeli leaders will cheer, Europeans who remember their Great War will scratch their heads in wonder, and the Chinese will laugh themselves silly. Meanwhile, issues of genuinely strategic importance -- climate change offers one obvious example -- will continue to be treated like an afterthought. As for the gravy train, it will roll on.


Anon [323] Disclaimer , June 7, 2018 at 9:57 pm GMT

"The United States of Amnesia."

That's actually a universal condition.

unseated , June 7, 2018 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

1. WW1 had total casualties (civilian and military) of around 40M. WW2 had total casualties of 60M. So yes WW2 was more deadly but "pales in comparison" is hardly justified, especially relative to population.

2. Marshal Foch, 28 June, 1919: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years."
WW1 inevitably led to WW2.

c matt , June 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm GMT
"Enough! Stop this madness!"

The only politician with a modest national stage to have said that (and meant it) in the last 50 years was Ron Paul, who was booed and mocked as crazy. Trump made noises in that direction, but almost as soon as the last words of his oath echoed off into the brisk January afternoon, he seemed to change his tune. Whether he never meant it, or decided to avoid the JFK treatment, who knows.

No, as I believe Will Rogers said, democracy is that form of government where the people get what they want, good and hard.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , June 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
@c matt

Yes.

I supported Ron Paul in 2012. But after his candidacy was crookedly subverted by the Establishment (cf., Trump's) I vowed never to vote again for anyone that I believe unworthy of the power wielded through the public office. I haven't voted since, and don't expect to until the Empire collapses.

Carlton Meyer , Website June 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm GMT
Kirk Douglas starred in a great film about fighting in World War I: "Paths of Glory." I highly recommend the film for its accuracy, best described in Wiki by the reaction of governments:

Controversy

On its release, the film's anti-military tone was subject to criticism and censorship.

In France, both active and retired personnel from the French military vehemently criticized the film -- and its portrayal of the French Army -- after it was released in Belgium. The French government placed enormous pressure on United Artists, (the European distributor) to not release the film in France. The film was eventually shown in France in 1975 when social attitudes had changed.[17]

In Germany, the film was withdrawn from the Berlin Film Festival to avoid straining relations with France;[18] it was not shown for two years until after its release.

In Spain, Spain's right-wing government of Francisco Franco objected to the film. It was first shown in 1986, 11 years after Franco's death.

In Switzerland, the film was censored, at the request of the Swiss Army, until 1970.[18]

At American bases in Europe, the American military banned it from being shown.[18]

Mike P , June 8, 2018 at 4:33 pm GMT

No, it's not the generals who have let us down, but the politicians to whom they supposedly report and from whom they nominally take their orders.

I'd say both. The generals have greatly assisted in stringing along the trusting public, always promising that victory is just around the corner, provided the public supports this or that final effort. Petraeus in particular willingly played his part in misleading the public about both Iraq and Afghanistan. His career would be a great case study for illuminating what is wrong with the U.S. today.

As to the apparent failure of the Afghanistan war – one must be careful to separate stated goals from real ones. What kind of "lasting success" can the U.S. possibly hope for there? If they managed to defeat the Taliban, pacify the country, install a puppet regime to govern it, and then leave, what would that achieve? The puppet regime would find itself surrounded by powers antagonistic to the U.S., and the puppets would either cooperate with them or be overthrown in no time. The U.S. are not interested in winning and leaving – they want to continue disrupting the peaceful integration of East, West, and South Asia. Afghanistan is ideally placed for this purpose, and so the U.S. are quite content with dragging out that war, as a pretext for their continued presence in the region.

TG , June 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm GMT
An interesting and thoughtful piece.

I would disagree on one point though: "Today, Washington need not even bother to propagandize the public into supporting its war. By and large, members of the public are indifferent to its very existence."

This is an error. A majority of the American public think that wasting trillions of dollars on endless pointless foreign wars is a stupid idea, and they think that we would be better off spending that money on ourselves. It's just that we don't live in a democracy, and the corporate press constantly ignores the issue. But just because the press doesn't mention something, doesn't mean that it does not exist.

So during the last presidential election Donald Trump echoed this view, why are we throwing away all this money on stupid wars when we need that money at home? For this he was attacked as a fascist and "literally Hitler" (really! It's jaw-dropping when you think about it). Despite massive propaganda attacking Trump, and a personal style that could charitably be called a jackass, Trump won the election in large part because indeed most American don't like the status quo.

After the election, Trump started to deliver on his promises – and he was quickly beaten down, his pragmatist nationalist advisors purged and replaced with defense-industry chickenhawks, and now we are back to the old status quo. The public be damned.

No, the American people are not being propagandized into supporting these wars. They are simply being ignored.

Left Gatekeeper Dispatch , June 8, 2018 at 9:10 pm GMT
When are you going to stop insulting our intelligence with this Boy's State civics crap? You're calling on political leaders to stop war, like they don't remember what CIA did to JFK, RFK, Daschle, or Leahy. Or Paul Wellstone.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/tribute-to-the-last-honorable-us-senator-the-story-of-paul-wellstones-suspected-assassination-2/5643200

Your national command structure, CIA, has impunity for universal jurisdiction crime. They can kill or torture anyone they want and get away with it. That is what put them in charge. CIA kills anybody who gets in their way. You fail to comprehend Lenin's lesson: first destroy the regime, then you can refrain from use of force. Until you're ready to take on CIA, your bold phrases are silent and odorless farts of feckless self-absorption. Sack up and imprison CIA SIS or GTFO.

James Kabala , June 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Since Spain was smart enough to stay out of both World Wars (as was Switzerland, of course), I wonder what Franco was thinking when he banned the film. Anyway, the final scene may be the best final scene in the history of movies.

exiled off mainstreet , June 10, 2018 at 1:15 am GMT
This writer, a retired military officer whose son died in service to the yankee imperium seems to have as good a grasp as any if not a better grasp than any about the nature of the yankee system of permanent war.
smellyoilandgas , June 13, 2018 at 4:48 am GMT
@TG

While I agree the slave-American is ignored, I think the elected, salaried members of the elected government are also ignored.. The persons in charge are Pharaohs and massively powerful global in scope corporations.
Abe Lincoln, McKinnley, Kennedy discovered that fact in their fate.

Organized Zionism was copted by the London bankers and their corporations 1897, since then a string of events have emerged.. that like a Submarine, seeking a far off target, it must divert to avoid being discovered, but soon, Red October returns to its intended path. here the path is to take the oil from the Arabs.. and the people driving that submarine are extremely wealthy Pharaohs and very well known major corporations.

I suggest to quit talking about the nation states and their leaders as if either could beat their way out of a wet paper sack. instead starting talking about the corporations and Pharaohs because they are global.

Mr. Anon , June 13, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT
The yawning silence accompanying the centennial of the Great War is baffling to me. It was the pivotal event of the 20th century. It was the beginning of the unmanning, the demoralization of Western Civilization. It was the calamity that created the World we inhabit today.

I've heard nary a peep about it in the U.S. over the last four years. It's as if it were as remote in people's consciousness as the Punic Wars.

MarkinPNW , June 13, 2018 at 5:49 am GMT
The World Wars (I and II) can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading British Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, with the material, human, and moral cost of the wars actually accelerating the empire's demise.

Likewise, the current endless "War on Terra" can be seen as an increasingly desperate attempt of a fading American Empire to hold on to and maintain its power and hegemony, again with the material, human, and moral cost of this war actually accelerating its demise.

But in the meantime, in both examples, the Bankers and the MIC just keep reaping their profits, even at the expense of the empires they purportedly support and defend.

animalogic , June 13, 2018 at 8:14 am GMT
@Mike P

Good points Mike P.

Author says: "strategy has ceased to exist".

In a traditional sense the author is right. Strategy is the attainment of political goals, within existing constraints. (diplomatic, political, resources etc)
"Goals" traditionally means "victories". (WWI is a great example of the sometimes dubious idea of victory)
Has the US ceased to have a strategy ? No. (Their strategy is myopic & self destructive – ie it's not a "good" strategy)

The US strategy is based on two core principles: (1) Maintain – extend hegemony over whole world. (Resources, military etc etc) (2) Act as Israel's Golom. Afghanistan, at (relatively) minimal cost, US controls key land mass (& with possible future access to fantastic resources). Threaten, mess up Russian – Chinese ambitions in this area. Iraq: Israeli enemy, strategic location, resource extraction. Syria: Israeli enemy, strategic location, key location for resource transfer to markets (EU esp). Deny Russia an ally. Libya: who cares ? Gaddafi was a pain in the arse. Iran: Israeli enemy, fantastic resources, hate them regardless.

Of course this (very abbreviated) view of US "strategy" is open to the criticisms that it's both dumb & evil. As if US establishment cares. Compared to cost of traditional "war" it's pretty cheap ( which is funny, because it's such a yummy gravy train for the 1% sorry, actually, forgot the FIRST core principle of US strategy: enrich all the "right" people)

Tom Welsh , June 13, 2018 at 10:05 am GMT
'There has never been a just [war], never an honorable one–on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful–as usual–will shout for the war. The pulpit will– warily and cautiously–object–at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity.

Before long you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their secret hearts are still at one with those stoned speakers–as earlier– but do not dare to say so. And now the whole nation–pulpit and all– will take up the war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths will cease to open. Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception'.

- Satan, in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" (1908)

annamaria , June 13, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

European politicians, the war on terror, and the triumph of Bankers United: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/06/12/europe-brainwashed-normalize-relations-russia/
"Europe has not had an independent existence for 75 years. European countries do not know what it means to be a sovereign state. Without Washington European politicians feel lost, so they are likely to stick with Washington .

Russian hopes to unite with the West in a war against terrorism overlook that terrorism is the West's weapon for destabilizing independent countries that do not accept a unipolar world."

The world is ripe for barter exchange. Screw the money changers.

[Jun 13, 2018] If Only We'd Listened To Ike... - Inside The Deep State

Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Kevin Paul,

Many Trump supporters, and even some on the left, like to talk about the "Deep State" secretly having complete control of our government, thus rendering our elected leaders to be nothing more than meaningless figureheads. Let's investigate.

Long before the term 'Deep State' became popular, the term "Military Industrial Complex" was coined by President Dwight Eisenhower.

He gave his now famous Military Industrial Complex (MIC) speech on Jan 17, 1961.

During his ominous farewell, Ike mentioned that the US was only just past the halfway point of the century and we had already seen 4 major wars. He then went on to talk about how the MIC was now a major sector of the economy. Eisenhower then went on to warn Americans about the "undue influence" the MIC has on our government. He warned that the MIC has massive lobbying power and the ability to press for unnecessary wars and armaments we would not really need, all just to funnel money to their coffers.

Jump to Ike's warning about the "unwarranted influence... by the Military-Industrial Complex" at 8:41

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

His warning though proven correct, was sadly not heeded. Within a few years JFK was assassinated shortly after giving his "Secret government speech" warning the American people about "secret governments and secret organizations that sought to have undue control of the government.

JFK was in his grave for less than 9-months before Gulf of Tonkin incident which was a series of outlandish lies about a fictitious attack on a US naval ship that never happened, which caused the US to enter the Vietnam war.

President Johnson lied his way into a war with North Vietnam and within less than a year would joke that "maybe the attack never happened". By the time the war ended in 1973, Johnson's bundle of lies had killed 2.45 million people.

The MIC however, saw the Vietnam war as a great victory and a template for the future success to their objectives. Ever since the Vietnam War, the MIC has urged the government to enter into as many ambiguous and unwinnable wars as possible, since unwinnable wars are also never-ending. Never-ending wars equate to never-ending revenue streams for the war industry.

Eisenhower warned us about the concept of one particular industry taking control of our government, but sadly his predictions fell of deaf ears.

Since Eisenhower's time several other over "Industrial Complexes" have followed the MIC example and taken control of our government to suit their needs as well. Their objective is to buy out politicians in order to control the purse strings of Congress and they have been highly successful.

The list of these ÏC industries includes, but is not limited to the companies below:

1. The Drug Industrial Complex. (DIC)

The prescription drug industry has massive control of our government and our health care system. A recent Mayo Clinic study concluded that 70% of Americans are on at least one prescription drug.

The most tragic example is opioids, though similar arguments can also be made in reference to the anti-depressant epidemic, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

The sicker America is, the better it is for the DIC.

The drug lobby is 8x larger than the gun lobby and is indirectly responsible for the deaths of between 59.000 and 65,000 people in 2016 alone, but if we dig deeper, that number could easily be 2 or 3 times higher, Since deaths related to opioids from infection related to opioid related infections are extremely common Anti-depressants are being prescribed 400% more than they were in the 1990's. They are commonly prescribed to adolescent women and we live up to the name "Prozac Nation" when we realize that 1 in 5 women between the ages of 40 and 59 are taking antidepressants. The list of other prescription medicines to enhance the DIC revenue streams is extensive.

There are two primary industrial complex rules when it comes to prescription drug centric treatment:

Firstly, no curing is allowed, ever. Treatment of conditions with temporary benefits is allowed, but healing is not permissible, since it interrupts revenue streams.

And second, any and all "natural" or homeopathic treatment whether it be related to diet, supplements vitamins, anti-oxidants or physical exercise/meditation should all be relegated to "quackery." Doctors who do not adhere to the prescription drug method of treating patients should also be referred to as adherents to "quackery" and should be reprimanded, fined and in extreme cases have their medical licenses revoked.

2. Real Estate Industrial Complex. (RIC)

Goal: Keep housing prices rising as much as possible, year after year after year.

How this is implemented: Endorse the borrowing of money to entice people into buying excessively large homes in order to promote the "dream" of home ownership. Once people buy into this scheme, they are then saddled with massive home taxes to their city and the burden of the taxes utilities that go along with owning an excessively large home. Stigmatize anyone who is over the age of 25 and lives in the same domicile as a parent or grandparent.

Make sure all media channels repeat over and over incessantly that high real estate prices are "signs of a great economy," while ignoring the crippling effect high home prices have on working class families who can barely pay their mortgage.

3. College Industrial Complex (CIC)

The average tuition in 1971-1972 was $1832.00 and now it is officially over $31,000.00.

There are over 60 colleges and universities where the tuition has already exceeded $60,000.00 per/year.

A college education used to be something that people saved and paid cash for, but now there has been a cultural shift where students are expected to take out loans that are often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain a college degree.
Why is this all so expensive? When we look at our universities and colleges, we see an obsession with elaborate new buildings and sports stadiums, more than actual learning.

There are several emerging/innovative ideas to make a college education better, faster and far more affordable. Such concepts probably won't take hold until the inevitable collapse of the entire educational system takes place.

4. Health Insurance Industrial Complex (HIC)

Much of the US healthcare system is now governed by the "Healthcare Affordability Act" passed by the Obama administration in 2010.

The HIC proved how powerful they were when Congress was not allowed to read the legislation before voting for it, publicly displaying that the HIC who wrote the bill behind closed doors is more powerful than Congress itself.

What transparent public committees were behind this important legislation?

In reality, there was no transparency at all, this is stated clear as day by Healthcare Affordability Act primary architect Jonathan Gruber stated: "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage, Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical for the thing to pass."

The Speaker of the House at the time was Nancy Pelosi, who famously said from the leadership podium as House Speaker: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.'

Our elected officials were not allowed to read the most important legislation of the past 30 years before voting for or against it. There is no greater testimony to the level of dysfunction in Congress than the Healthcare Affordability Act, formed by secret committees and then not allowing Congress to read it before voting.

* * *

Let's think back to 1961 when Eisenhower warned us about what would become the Vietnam War. The American people's ignoring his warning caused arms manufacturers and big business to assume nearly complete control of US government.

If we had listened to Ike, millions of people would not have died in the wars of the last 57 years and we would have trillions of dollars less in debt. Perhaps we still have time to heed his warning before our entire country collapses under the weight of corruption, crippling debt and never-ending wars, let's hope so.

* * *

Kevin Paul is the founder of Alternativemediahub.com, which refers to itself as "The megaphone of independent journalism." Born in MA, he came within 2% of winning the R party nomination to oppose Ted Kennedy in 2006 and holds degrees in business and political science.

[Jun 11, 2018] The Silk Road fundamentally threatens British American power, which has depended on using the oceans to divide and rule the world

Jun 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

To my surprise, it seems that the majority of veteran MoA commenters are died in the wool anarchists. A main thrust of comments on this article ostensibly about the infighting and decadence of the G7 was to cast stones at the Silk Road.

Russia under Vladimir Putin and China under Xi Jinping may be fine but will their successors know not to abuse the power they may gain from the New Silk Road projects encompassing Eurasia and Africa? (Jen, 32)

or

If the West is dead and the East is the future, then why are so many Chinese buying houses and living part time in Canada, Australia, and the USA? Why is there so much emphasis put on Western education facilities by Asians? (rexl, 39)

or

I still don't get why so many humans believe anything good comes from chucking aside one greedy oppressive arsehole then replacing it with another. Sure the SCO has a founding document laden with flowery words and seemingly wonderful concepts but I say "So what" check out the UN charter or the amerikan constitution and you'll find the same .Swapping SCO for G7 will do SFA for them or anyone else unlucky enough to be living on top of whatever the current 'must have' is deemed to be. Anyone who imagines that it could is delusional. (Debsisdead, 52)

The Silk Road fundamentally threatens British American power, which has depended on using the oceans to divide and rule the world, to the point of giving free mandate to pirates (kind of Daesh, v1, if I'm not mistaken - though similar atrocities were committed in licenses to kill either Buffalo or Indians in the American West), by rebranding them as privateers ( 1540 to 1812 ).

Unlike anything which the G7, the US or the EU are proposing, the Silk Road really has potential to improve the lives of billions.

  1. Relatively free trade among neighboring and distant countries yet with relatively efficient transportation distances (distances are substantial but for the most part are not South China to NYC).
  2. Low cost of transportation ( rail is the least polluting of all major means of transportation). Sea freight seems to compete but there are many hidden factors in ocean pollution (waste and toxic dumping, tanker accidents, etc). Rail is at least four times more efficient and less polluting than road (see table 19 on p. 30 of the PDF linked above).
  3. Bringing previously landlocked countries development and trade opportunities.
  4. No easy way to bring military to bear on the weakest. US/British ocean based imperialism means that there are no countries to cross between San Diego and the Philippines or Portmouth and Argentina. In land wars, each country across across which a belligerent powers seeks transport troops or material has to accede to the movement. Hence the value of the EU and NATO to the US - we can no longer refuse military transports (I believe Austria tries, Czech Republic tried and failed).
  5. Sets up an alternative structure. The average age of poster/reader at MofA seems relatively high (we seem to be in our forties-fifties) so most of us will remember the so-called Cold War. It was a fantastic period for most of the world (South America was not spared the American lash, some countries in Eastern Europe still justifiably lament Soviet oppression. The tale of the tape leads to a different story though: Soviet casualties in satellites vs Imperialist (American) casualties in Satellites (1).

What mattered was that in a world with multiple hegemons, the West had to treat its workers well, maintain a free press and generally make living conditions appealing enough that no country would be attempted to follow the Yugoslavian route. It's no accident that Yugoslavia was the first victim of Pax Americana after the end of the Cold War.

No matter how you cut it, unless you are a British or US Imperialist (please take the Opium Wars, the North American Indian Genocide, the destruction of the Philippines, annihilation of the Maoris, the suppression of continental India and the rape of Africa on your conscience first), the Silk Road is a great benefit to Asia and Europe, facilitating trade and creating a two polar system. That two polar system will take us back to where we were before 1989: our would-be masters have to mind their manners and tread very carefully lest we switch sides. The Canadians and the Mexicans will remain more or less trapped. With a bit of luck they might enjoy the same benefits as the native US population as internal revolution will become a danger again.

Balance of power is the key to equal relations and a healthy middle class. Alas, the poor always suffer.

-----------

(1) Approximate casualties in repression of satrapies:

I'm omitting Viet Nam 1955-1975 (3 million+), Korea 1950-1953 (2.5million+), Philippines 1899-1902 (1 million+), Afghanistan (30000+, only violent deaths ) as wars rather than straight repression of satraps or outside of the period of interest (Cold War).

Post-Cold War, the US Imperialism has conducted the following punitive operations:

I note that the estimates of casualties for Imperialist (US) actions tend to ignore deaths among the displaced. Their invasions usually lead to many millions displaced (ethnic conflict fanned, whole parts of a country made unliveable via depleted uranium) so casualty estimates (Yugoslavia, Libya, Yemen are ridiculously low). The Iraq War received more attention so the statistics are more comprehensive if controversial with ( guess who ) consistently lobbying down the numbers.

It's worth noting that the US underestimates its own combat losses, really counting only killed and battlefield injuries. That's not nearly enough:

However, as of the year 2000, 183,000 U.S. veterans of the Gulf War, more than a quarter of the U.S. troops who participated in War, have been declared permanently disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. About 30% of the 700,000 men and women who served in U.S. forces during the Gulf War still suffer an array of serious symptoms whose causes are not fully understood.

Is it the depleted uranium or perhaps the psychological stress of murdering defenceless people (surrendered soldiers or simple civilians)? I don't know but would like to know why so many deployed US military end up as invalids.

Uncoy | Jun 10, 2018 10:10:26 AM | 78

et Al , Jun 10, 2018 11:34:13 AM | 79

Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires - in my opinion.

Up to 1999, the West looked unassailable. Then the attack on Serbia happened. It showed the limits of war on the 'cheap', i.e. bombing from the air but nothing to hold ground or willingness to risk soldiers lives. The Yugoslav army was expected to cower and run from 'shock and awe', the politicians to surrender 'after a few days of bombing'.

78 days later NATO had failed, the Yugoslav army unbeaten, but the axe fell from Moscow.

This snatching of victory from the jaws of defeat was not taken as a warning of the shifting sands that the 1999 attack showed. Rather, there was a brief mopping of brows before the self-congratulation and memory management kicked in and like a football match, a victory is still a victory, however they got their. If there were any lessons were learned, they were kept out of sight and thus quickly forgotten for all but a few.

1999 showed that effective resistance was possible. Others took note. The attack on Afghanistan was the tipping point of the cascade. Not that I would deny the obvious importance of other actors since on building blocks of resistance since, the trend has clearly been there, such as the developing world's refusal to accept the west's demands of fully opening up their markets in return for some beans at the Doha round of world trade talks, let alone the financial crisis.

That we are here now, is not a great surprise. How 'we' got here has been a real rock and roll ride over the bodies of many innocents. Their blood stains the souls of those involved and their cheerleaders and there is still a price to be paid.

The west is still working though the Kubler-Ross 'Five Stages of Grief' and it will take a long time to come to terms with reality as many of the greenhorns in the early 1990s are now in senior positions, not to mention that the multi-polar world is a fact and negotiation on a more equal level is all that remains. It might all still go wrong...

P.S. For those who ascribe to the 'Putin weak, Israel stooge etc.' rubbish, the Saker recently did a decent piece entitled 'Is Putin really ready to "ditch" Iran?'

fairleft , Jun 10, 2018 11:58:27 AM | 80
hopehely @4: Japan is most likely to follow the big EU countries, who for now will stay loyal to the US-centered financial/military duopoly of power.

I don't think (over the next 10-20 years) the vast expansion of the China export market will overcome the power of the financial borg and the military-industrial complex, both within Japan and throughout the 'West'. The 'people' need to do that, but they are weak.

[Jun 11, 2018] International law means so very little when there is a political agenda.

Jun 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

craigsummers | Jun 10, 2018 8:16:02 AM | 69

Before attending the summit Trump trolled his colleagues by inviting Russia to rejoin the G-7/G-8 format without conditions. Russia had been kicked out after Crimea voted to join its motherland . Merkel, who had negotiated the Minsk agreement with Russia, was furious. She wants to use such an invitation as an element of future negotiations. (It is stupid attempt. Russia is not interested in rejoining the G-7/G-8 format.

First of all, in 1991, a majority of Crimeans opted to join Ukraine (independence). So much for the motherland! Secondly, Russia recognized Crimea as a part of Ukraine when they signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994. Thirdly, Russia illegally invaded Crimea to secure the peninsula. Putin lied when he said there was no invasion. Murdered journalist and Russian politician, Boris Nemtsov, describes in his well sourced work on the Russian war in Ukraine exactly how the referendum in Crimea came about ("Putin. War"):

As for how "voluntary" the return [of Crimea] was, Igor Girkin, the former Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, recounted on January 22, 2015, on the program "Polit-Ring," broadcast by the online channel Neyromir-TV.

By his own account, Girkin arrived in Crimea on February 21, 2014. "I did not see any support from organizers of state power in Simferopol, where I was located. The militia gathered the deputies [of the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea], I don't know how else to say it. It was to force them into the building, so they would adopt it (a decision on conducting the referendum on the entrance of Crimea to the Russian Federation) ." We 23 note that the events described by Girkin (Strelkov) took place on February 27, 2014, immediately after a number of strategic objectives had been taken over by Russian Special Forces on the night of February 26- 27, including the parliament building, where, at gunpoint , with no media present and without the video broadcast of sessions as specified by law, the deputies supposedly voted to hold a referendum.

It's always interesting how international law means so very little when there is a political agenda.

Don Karlos , Jun 10, 2018 8:45:53 AM | 70
@70

Politicking aside, this is just 3/3 factually incorrect

(1) In 1991, Crimea was part of Ukrainian SSR. Referendum result was a vote for the Crimea to become an autonomous republic as part of USSR (in present terms that means independence from Ukraine, not from Russia). (Another all-USSR referendum of 1991 vote was for the preserving the USSR, 70 % yes) (2) There is not a single word in Budapest memorandum specifically on Crimea. It uses vague non-enforceable language (' reaffirm commitment' etc). It does talk about respect for 'existing territory of Ukraine', however this territory is nowhere defined. (+In any case, at present time international affairs are not conducted strictly to the letter of international laws in general) (3) large number of troops were there already on the Russian Navy bases, by prior arrangements. There was no 'invasion'. Subsequent referendum of 2014 on the whole was an adequate reflection of how people on the ground felt.

[Jun 10, 2018] Trump and National Neoliberalism by Sasha Breger Bush

Highly recommended!
This is prophetic article, no question about it. "National neoliberalism" and interesting term.
Notable quotes:
"... Political theorist Sheldon Wolin writes in Democracy, Inc. ..."
"... By contrast, in Trump's America -- where an emergent "national neoliberalism" may be gradually guiding us to a more overt and obvious totalitarian politics -- we can expect a similar fusion of state and market interests, but one in which the marketplace and big business have almost total power and freedom of movement (I think that labor will do poorly in this configuration). State and market in the U.S. will fuse further together in the coming years, leading some to make close parallels with European fascism. But it will do so not because of heavy handed government dictates and interventions, but rather because domestic privatization initiatives, appointments of businessmen to government posts, fiscal stimulus and the business community's need for protection abroad will bring them closer. Corporate interests will merge with state interests not because corporations are commanded to, but rather because the landscape of risk and reward will shift and redirect investment patterns to a similar effect. This may be where a budding U.S. totalitarianism differs most starkly from its European cousins. ..."
Dec 24, 2016 | www.commondreams.org
Originally published by Dollars & Sense

And why the world is about to get much more dangerous The election of Donald Trump "represents a triumph of neoliberal thinking and values." (Photo: Carlo Allegri/ Reuters) Many writers and pundits are currently framing Trump's election in terms of a dispossessed and disenfranchised white, male working class, unsatisfied with neoliberal globalization and the insecurity and hardship it has unleashed -- particularly across regions of the United States that were formerly manufacturing powerhouses (like the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, four states believed to have cost Hillary Clinton the election). While there is much truth to this perspective and substantial empirical evidence to support it, it would be a mistake to see Trump's election wholly in these terms.

"What Trump's election has accomplished is an unmasking of the corporate state."

Trump's election is in some ways a neoliberal apex, an event that portends the completion of the U.S. government's capture by wealthy corporate interests. While in my opinion Trump's election does not signal the beginning of a rapid descent into European-style fascism, it appears to be a key stage in the ongoing process of American democratic disintegration. American democracy has been under attack from large and wealthy corporate interests for a long time, with this process accelerating and gaining strength over the period of neoliberal globalization (roughly the early 1970s to the present). This time period is associated with the rise of powerful multinational corporations with economic and political might that rivals that of many national governments.

In terms of the political consequences of these trends in the U.S., certain thinkers have argued that the U.S. political system is not democratic at all, but rather an "inverted totalitarian" system. Political commentator Chris Hedges notes: "Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state." Citing the American political theorist Sheldon Wolin, Hedges continues, "Unlike the Nazis, who made life uncertain for the wealthy and privileged while providing social programs for the working class and poor, inverted totalitarianism exploits the poor, reducing or weakening health programs and social services, regimenting mass education for an insecure workforce threatened by the importation of low-wage workers." Our inverted totalitarian system is one that retains the trappings of a democratic system -- e.g. it retains the appearance of loyalty to "the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, [and] the independence of the judiciary" -- all the while undermining the capacity of citizens to substantively participate and exert power over the system.

In my view, what Trump's election has accomplished is an unmasking of the corporate state. Trump gives inverted totalitarianism a persona and a face, and perhaps marks the beginning of a transformation from inverted totalitarianism to totalitarianism proper. In spite of this, it makes no sense to me to call the system toward which we are heading (that is, if we do not stand up and resist with all our might right this second) "fascism" or to make too close comparisons to the Nazis. Whatever totalitarian nightmare is on our horizon, it will be uniquely American. And it will bear a striking resemblance to the corporate oriented system we've been living in for decades. Indeed, if the pre-Trump system of inverted totalitarianism solidified in the context of global neoliberalism, the period we are entering now seems likely to be one characterized by what I call "national neoliberalism."

Trump's Election Doesn't Mean the End of Neoliberalism

Trump's election represents a triumph of neoliberal thinking and values. Perhaps most importantly, we should all keep in mind the fact that Americans just elected a businessman to the presidency. In spite of his Wall Street background and billionaire status, Trump successfully cast himself as the "anti-establishment" candidate. This configuration -- in which a top-one-percenter real estate tycoon is accepted as a political "outsider" -- is a hallmark of neoliberal thinking. The fundamental opposition between market and government is a central dichotomy in the neoliberal narrative. In electing Trump, American voters are reproducing this narrative, creating an ideological cover for the closer connections between business and the state that are in store moving forward (indeed, Trump is already using the apparatus of the U.S. federal government to promote his own business interests). As states and markets further fuse in coming years, this representation of Trump and his administration -- as being anti-government -- will help immunize his administration from accusations of too-cozy relationships with big business. Trump's attempts to "drain the swamp" by imposing Congressional term limits and constraints on lobbying activities by former political officials will also help to hide this relationship. (Has anyone else noticed that Trump only addresses half of the "revolving door," i.e., he plans to limit the lobbying of former politicians, but not the political roles of businessmen?)

"Whatever totalitarian nightmare is on our horizon, it will be uniquely American."

Trump's Contract with the American Voter, his plan for the first 100 days in office, discusses policies and programs many of which are consistent with neoliberal thinking. (I understand the term "neoliberalism" to emphasize at its core the importance of private property rights, market-based social organization, and the dangers of government intervention in the economy.) Trump's plan redirects the activities of the U.S. government along the lines touted by neoliberal "market fundamentalists" like Milton Friedman, who advocate limiting government's role to market-supportive functions like national defense (defense stocks are doing very well since the election) and domestic law and order (Trump's proposals have a lot to do with altering immigration policy to "restore security"). Trump also plans to use government monies to revitalize physical infrastructure and create jobs. Other government functions, for example, health care provision and education as well as protecting the environment and public lands, are open for privatization and defunding in Trump's agenda. Under Trump, the scope of federal government activities will narrow, likely to infrastructure, national defense, and domestic policing and surveillance, even if overall government spending increases (as bond markets are predicting).

Trump also seems content to take neoliberal advice in regard to business regulation (less is best) and the role of the private sector in regulating itself (industry insiders understand regulatory needs better than public officials). Trump's plan for the first 100 days specifies "a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated." As of the time of this writing, his selection of cabinet appointees illustrate a broad willingness to appoint businesspeople to government posts. As of mid-December 2016, a Goldman Sachs veteran, Steven Mnuchin, has been appointed Secretary of the Treasury; billionaire investor Wilbur Ross has been appointed Secretary of Commerce; fossil fuel industry supporter and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been appointed as EPA administrator; and fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder has been appointed as Secretary of Labor. Trump's business council is staffed by the CEOs of major U.S. corporations including JP Morgan Chase, IBM and General Motors. To be fair, the "revolving door" between government and industry has been perpetuated by many of Trump's predecessors, with Trump poised to continue the tradition. But this is not to say that neoliberalism will continue going in a "business as usual" fashion. The world is about to get much more dangerous, and this has serious implications for patterns of global trade and investment.

Trump's Election Does Mean the End of Globalism

The nationalism, xenophobia, isolationism, and paranoia of Donald Trump are about to replace the significantly more cosmopolitan outlook of his post-WWII predecessors. While Trump is decidedly pro-business and pro-market, he most certainly does not see himself as a global citizen. Nor does he intend to maintain the United States' extensive global footprint or its relatively open trading network. In other words, while neoliberalism is not dead, it is being transformed into a geographically more fragmented and localized system (this is not only about the US election, but also about rising levels of global protectionism and Brexit, among other anti-globalization trends around the world). I expect that the geographic extent of the US economy in the coming years will coincide with the new landscape of U.S. allies and enemies, as defined by Donald Trump and his administration.

Trump's Contract with the American Voter outlines several policies that will make it more expensive and riskier to do business abroad. All of these need not occur; I think that even one or two of these changes will be sufficient to alter expectations in business communities about the benefits of certain cross-border economic relationships. Pulling the United States out of the TPP, along with threats to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and attempts to renegotiate NAFTA, is already signaling to other countries that we are not interested in international cooperation and collaboration. A crackdown on foreign trading abuses will prompt retaliation. Labelling China a currency manipulator will sour relations between the two countries and prompt retaliation by China. As Trump goes forward with his anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, he will alienate the United States' traditional allies in Europe (at least until Europe elects its own nationalist and xenophobic leaders) and communities across the Global South. The U.S. election has already undermined performance in emerging markets, and bigoted rhetoric and policy will only increase anti-American sentiment in struggling economies populated largely by people of color. Add to this the risk of conflict posed by any number of the following: his antagonizing China, allying with Russia, deploying ground troops to stop ISIS, and pulling out of the Korean DMZ, among other initiatives that seem likely to contribute to a more confrontational and violent international arena. All of this is to say that Trump will not have to intervene directly in the affairs of business in order to nationalize it. The new global landscape of conflict and risk, combined with elevated domestic spending on infrastructure and security, will bring U.S. business and investment back home nonetheless.

National Neoliberalism and State-Market Relations

Fascist states are corporatist in nature, a state of affairs marked by a fusion of state and business functions and interests, with an often significant role for labor interests as well. In the fascist states on the European continent in the 1930s and 1940s -- systems that fall under the umbrella of "national socialism" -- the overwhelming power of the state characterized this tripartite relationship. Political theorist Sheldon Wolin writes in Democracy, Inc. in regard to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (as well as Stalinist Russia), "The state was conceived as the main center of power, providing the leverage necessary for the mobilization and reconstruction of society".

By contrast, in Trump's America -- where an emergent "national neoliberalism" may be gradually guiding us to a more overt and obvious totalitarian politics -- we can expect a similar fusion of state and market interests, but one in which the marketplace and big business have almost total power and freedom of movement (I think that labor will do poorly in this configuration). State and market in the U.S. will fuse further together in the coming years, leading some to make close parallels with European fascism. But it will do so not because of heavy handed government dictates and interventions, but rather because domestic privatization initiatives, appointments of businessmen to government posts, fiscal stimulus and the business community's need for protection abroad will bring them closer. Corporate interests will merge with state interests not because corporations are commanded to, but rather because the landscape of risk and reward will shift and redirect investment patterns to a similar effect. This may be where a budding U.S. totalitarianism differs most starkly from its European cousins.

Of course it helps that much of the fusion of state and market in the United States is already complete, what with decades of revolving doors and privatization initiatives spanning the military, police, prison, healthcare and educational sectors, among others. It will not take much to further cement the relationship. © 2018 Dollars & Sense

Sasha Breger Bush is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado–Denver and author of Derivatives and Development: A Political Economy of Global Finance, Farming, and Poverty (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

[Jun 10, 2018] Trump and National Neoliberalism, Revisited by Sasha Breger Bush

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But if we take seriously the idea that Trump is a consequence of the disintegration of American democracy rather than the cause of it, this "blame game" becomes especially problematic. Partisan bickering, with one party constantly pointing to the other as responsible for the country's ills, covers up the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have presided over the consolidation of corporate power in the United States. To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance. But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans. ..."
"... All of this is to say that I'm considerably less excited about 2018 and 2020 than many others -- on what counts as the U.S. left -- appear to be. Democratic Party victories at the ballot box would certainly reduce some of the pressures on a variety of marginalized groups who are suffering mightily under President Trump. This is, of course, a good thing. But, Democratic victories will not "fix" the structural problems that underpin our current political crisis nor will they ensure a freer and more just future. ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.dollarsandsense.org

This article is from Dollars & Sense : Real World Economics, available at http://www.dollarsandsense.org

Last winter, in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, I wrote an article for Dollars & Sense in which I argued that Trump's election represented a transition toward "national neoliberalism" in the United States ("Trump and National Neoliberalism: Trump's ascendance means the end of globalism -- but not of neoliberalism," January/February 2017).

I argued that this emergent state of affairs would be marked by a completion of the takeover of the U.S. government by corporate interests. I saw the election of Trump -- a top one-percenter and real estate tycoon firmly rooted in the culture and logic of big business, who has somehow convinced many Americans that he is an anti-establishment "outsider" -- as an "unmasking" of the corporate state, a revelation of the ongoing merger between state and market that has arguably been ongoing since the 1970s. In short, I envisioned a movement away from "global neoliberalism," a state of affairs characterized by the increasing preeminence of transnational corporate capital in a relatively open global political-economic system, and towards "national neoliberalism," a state of affairs in which transnational corporate dominance is cemented in the context of an ever more fragmented and dangerous global system.

About ten years ago, political theorist Sheldon Wolin published Democracy Incorporated , diagnosing American democracy with a potentially fatal corporate disease. Referring to the specter of "inverted totalitarianism," Wolin writes in his preface:

Primarily it represents the political coming of age of corporate power and the political demobilization of the citizenry. Unlike the classic forms of totalitarianism [e.g. Germany, Italy], which openly boasted of their intentions to force their societies into preconceived totality, inverted totalitarianism is not expressly conceptualized as an ideology or objectified in public policy. Typically it is furthered by power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inactions. There is a certain heedlessness, an inability to take seriously the extent to which a pattern of consequences may take shape without having been preconceived. Wolin paints a picture of a gradual process of change in which many different actors, some wealthy and powerful and others not, unwittingly push the country's politics, bit by bit in piecemeal fashion, towards an undemocratic, corporate-controlled end. Many of these actors may have good intentions. Many of them may see themselves as champions of the people. Many of them may actually speak out against the very interests that they in other ways empower.

This framework for thinking about the plight of the United States, which has for me been legitimated over and over again during Trump's first year in office, conditions how I think about President Trump and the Republican Party, and how I think about our opportunities for nonviolent social transformation, freedom, and social justice. It's hard not to point to President Trump and blame him for our problems. He is a bigot who has struck out at immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, African-Americans, Mexicans, women, LGBT people, and disabled people. He lacks the basic knowledge of politics and foreign policy that are a necessary condition for competent leadership. He picked up a congratulatory call from the President of Taiwan in December 2016, disrupting relations with China, and called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un "short" and "fat." He is a paranoid and narcissistic demagogue who has scorned and marginalized journalists, and made the terms "fake news" and "alternative facts" household words. He is a corrupt businessman who is using the levers of power that he controls to enrich Big Business, as well as his cronies, his friends, and himself. I could go on.

It's also hard not to point to Republicans in Congress. After the election, there was hope that the "never Trump" Republicans would win out and that Trump's agenda would be blocked. This has not happened. While some in Congress, like Senators McCain (R-Ariz.), Corker (R-Tenn.), Collins (R-Maine), Flake (R-Ariz.) and Murkowski (R-Alaska) have defied Trump in certain contexts (e.g. on foreign policy), on many issues congressional Republicans have simply fallen in line (e.g. with tax reform). Today, the Republican Party is often discussed by liberals in the same breath as Trump, with everyone hoping for good news in 2018 and 2020.

But if we take seriously the idea that Trump is a consequence of the disintegration of American democracy rather than the cause of it, this "blame game" becomes especially problematic. Partisan bickering, with one party constantly pointing to the other as responsible for the country's ills, covers up the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have presided over the consolidation of corporate power in the United States. To paraphrase Ralph Nader, the U.S. corporate state is a two-headed beast. Sure, President Trump and the Republican Party are currently handing over public lands to oil and gas companies, eliminating net neutrality, introducing pro-corporate tax legislation, kowtowing to the military industrial complex, defunding the welfare state, and attempting to privatize education and deregulate finance. But let's not forget our recent Democratic presidents, for example, who are also guilty of empowering and enriching big business and disempowering and impoverishing ordinary Americans.

President Obama presided over the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, a process that President Trump is continuing. As William Hartung recently reported in Mother Jones , "There is, in fact, a dirty little secret behind the massive U.S. arsenal: It has more to do with the power and profits of weapons makers than it does with any imaginable strategic considerations." President Obama also helped corporations get richer and more powerful in other ways. He negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral trade deal that, if Trump had not withdrawn us, would have expanded U.S. corporate access to overseas markets and given multinational corporates new policy leverage over governments (via investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms). (See Robin Brand, "Remembering the 'Tokyo No'," Dollars & Sense , January/February 2015.) In 2012, as he was running for his second term, Obama proposed a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 28%, not much different from the bill just passed by Congress. He also lobbied Congress for the $700 billion Wall Street bailouts after the Great Recession, continuing on the policy path set by his Republican predecessor, President Bush. (Obama received huge campaign contributions from finance, insurance, and real estate.) In terms of income inequality, CNBC had to reluctantly conclude that the gap widened under Obama, in spite of all his powerful rhetoric about equity and equality.

President Clinton negotiated and signed NAFTA into law, a trade agreement that created hardship for millions of American manufacturing workers and farmers, and generated large profits for multinational industrial and agricultural corporations. Clinton also pushed for welfare reform, signing into law a "workfare" system that required recipients to meet strict job and employment related conditions. Millions of people became ineligible for payments under the new system, and poverty increased especially among households in which members were long-term unemployed. Clinton's 1997 tax proposal advocated cutting estate taxes and capital gains taxes, and did not favor lower-income Americans. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, "Analyses by the Treasury Department indicate that when fully in effect, the Clinton plan would give the 20 percent of Americans with the highest incomes about the same amount in tax cuts as the bottom 60 percent combined. This is an unusual characteristic for a tax plan proposed by a Democratic President."

All of this is to say that I'm considerably less excited about 2018 and 2020 than many others -- on what counts as the U.S. left -- appear to be. Democratic Party victories at the ballot box would certainly reduce some of the pressures on a variety of marginalized groups who are suffering mightily under President Trump. This is, of course, a good thing. But, Democratic victories will not "fix" the structural problems that underpin our current political crisis nor will they ensure a freer and more just future.

I plan to support third-party candidates at the ballot box in coming years, in the hopes of contributing to the creation of a new kind of political infrastructure that can help us to unmake the corporate state.

SASHA BREGER-BUSH is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado–Denver.

[Jun 09, 2018] Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... That did not prevent the "handpicked" authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing "high confidence" that Russian intelligence "relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks." Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say. ..."
"... The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to "show" that it came from a Russian hack. ..."
"... "No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA's Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.] ..."
"... "Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the "Marble Framework" program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as 'news fit to print' and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since . ..."
"... "More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report , Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a 'forensic attribution double game' or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi." ..."
"... The CIA's reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates "demons," and insisting; "It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia."Our July 24 Memorandum continued: "Mr. President, we do not know if CIA's Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review. [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this. Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ] ..."
"... Another false flag operation? Suddenly false flag operations have become the weapon of choice. Interestingly enough, they are nefariously (always) committed by the US or US allies. MH17 was a false flag with an SU-25 Ukraine jet responsible for downing the passenger jet (to blame Russia). All of the chemical attacks in Syria were false flag operations with the supply of sarin/chlorine made in Turkey or directly given to the "rebels" by the CIA or US allies. The White Helmets were of course in on all of the details. Assad was just simply not capable of doing that to "his" people. Forget that the sarin had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply. Next it was the snipers who used a false flag operation during the Maidan revolution to shoot protesters and police to oust Yanukovych. Only the neo-Nazis could be capable of shooting the Maidan protesters so they could take power. And then Seth Rich was murdered so he couldn't reveal he was the "real" source of the leak. This was hinted by Assange when he offered a reward to find the killers. ..."
"... The author tosses out that the DNC hack was (potentially) a false flag operation by the CIA obviously to undermine Trump while victimizing Russia. ..."
"... I don't seen any cause to say that any false-flag theory you don't like is merely "tossed out" propaganda. One cannot tell in your comment where you think the accounts are credible and where not. No evidence that the Syria CW attacks "had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply." ..."
"... There can be no doubt that counterintelligence tools would be pursued by our intelligence agencies as a means to create narratives and false evidence based on the production of false flags which support desired geopolitical outcomes. There would be a need to create false flags using technology to support the geopolitical agenda which would be hard or impossible to trace using the forensic tools used by cyber sleuths. ..."
"... Russia-gate is American Exceptionalism writ large which takes on a more sinister aspect as groups like BLM and others are "linked" to alleged "Russian funding"on one and and Soros funding on another ..."
"... (FWIW, this is a new neoliberal phenomenon when the ultra-rich "liberals" can quietly fund marches on Washington and "grassroots" networking making those neophyte movements too easy targets with questionable robust foundation (color revolutions are possible when anyone is able to foot the cost of 1,000 or 2000 "free" signs or t-shirts -- impecccably designed and printed. ..."
"... Excellent post. Thanks also for reminding me I need to revisit the Vault 7 information as source material. These are incredibly important leaks that help connect the dots of criminal State intelligence activities designed to have remained forever hidden. ..."
"... Actually, both Brennan and Hayden testified to Congress that only 3 agencies signed off on their claim. They also said that they'd "hand picked" a special team to run their "investigation," and no other people were involved. So, people known to be perjurers cherry picked "evidence" to make a claim. Let's invade Iraq again. ..."
"... Mueller is not interested in the truth. He can't handle the truth. His purpose is not to divulge the truth. He has no use for truthtellers including the critical possessors of the truth whom you mentioned. This aversion to the truth is the biggest clue that Mueller's activities are a complete sham. ..."
"... Thanks, Ray, for revealing that the CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate is the likely cause of the Russiagate scams. ..."
"... Your disclaimer is hilarious: "We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental." ..."
"... For whatever reason, Ray McGovern chose not to mention the murder of Seth Rich, which pretty clearly points to the real source of the leak being him, as hinted by Assange offering a reward for anyone uncovering his killer. The whole thing stinks of a democratic conspiracy. ..."
"... Ray, from what I have seen in following his writing for years, meticulously only deals in knowns. The Seth Rich issue is not a known, it is speculation still. Yes, it probably is involved, but unless Craig Murray states that Seth Rich was the one who handed him the USB drive, it is not a known. ..."
"... There is a possibility that Seth Rich was not the one who leaked the information, but that the DNC bigwigs THOUGHT he was, in which case, by neither confirming nor denying that Seth Rich was the leaker, it may be that letting the DNC continue to think it was him is being done in protection of the actual leaker. Seth Rich could also have been killed for unrelated reasons, perhaps Imran Awan thought he was on to his doings. ..."
"... Don't forget this Twitter post by Wikileaks on October 30, 2016: Podesta: "I'm definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it." https://www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/36082#efmAGSAH- ..."
"... Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians. Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump. Which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. Sure be interesting to see how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face? ..."
"... If they had had any evidence to inculpate Russia, we would have all seen it by now. They know that by stating that there is an investigation going on: they can blame Russia. The Democratic National Committee is integrated by a pack of liars. ..."
"... My question is simple, when will we concentrate on reading Hillary's many emails? After all wasn't this the reason for the Russian interference mania? Until we do, take apart Hillary's correspondence with her lackeys, nothing will transpire of any worth. I should not be the one saying this, in as much as Bernie Sanders should be the one screaming it for justice from the highest roof tops, but he isn't. So what's up with that? Who all is involved in this scandalous coverup? What do the masters of corruption have on everybody? ..."
Jun 09, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny . It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity -- including two "alumni" who were former National Security Agency technical directors -- have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the "emails related to Hillary Clinton" via a "hack" by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device -- probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.

On January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the "conclusions" of U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks were "inconclusive." Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA "Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections" of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct evidence of Russian involvement. That did not prevent the "handpicked" authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing "high confidence" that Russian intelligence "relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks." Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say.

Never mind. The FBI/CIA/NSA "assessment" became bible truth for partisans like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was among the first off the blocks to blame Russia for interfering to help Trump. It simply could not have been that Hillary Clinton was quite capable of snatching defeat out of victory all by herself. No, it had to have been the Russians.

Five days into the Trump presidency, I had a chance to challenge Schiff personally on the gaping disconnect between the Russians and WikiLeaks. Schiff still "can't share the evidence" with me or with anyone else, because it does not exist.

WikiLeaks

It was on June 12, 2016, just six weeks before the Democratic National Convention, that Assange announced the pending publication of "emails related to Hillary Clinton," throwing the Clinton campaign into panic mode, since the emails would document strong bias in favor of Clinton and successful attempts to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders. When the emails were published on July 22, just three days before the convention began, the campaign decided to create what I call a Magnificent Diversion, drawing attention away from the substance of the emails by blaming Russia for their release.

Clinton's PR chief Jennifer Palmieri later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets at the convention with instructions "to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton." The diversion worked like a charm. Mainstream media kept shouting "The Russians did it," and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves. And like Brer' Fox, Bernie didn't say nothin'.

Meanwhile, highly sophisticated technical experts, were hard at work fabricating "forensic facts" to "prove" the Russians did it. Here's how it played out:

June 12, 2016: Assange announces that WikiLeaks is about to publish "emails related to Hillary Clinton."

June 14, 2016: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: "Guccifer 2.0" affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the "hack;" claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with "Russian fingerprints."

The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to "show" that it came from a Russian hack.

Enter Independent Investigators

A year ago independent cyber-investigators completed the kind of forensic work that, for reasons best known to then-FBI Director James Comey, neither he nor the "handpicked analysts" who wrote the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment bothered to do. The independent investigators found verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of an alleged Russian hack of July 5, 2016 showing that the "hack" that day of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider -- the same process used by the DNC insider/leaker before June 12, 2016 for an altogether different purpose. (Once the metadata was found and the "fluid dynamics" principle of physics applied, this was not difficult to disprove the validity of the claim that Russia was responsible.)

One of these independent investigators publishing under the name of The Forensicator on May 31 published new evidence that the Guccifer 2.0 persona uploaded a document from the West Coast of the United States, and not from Russia.

In our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to President Donald Trump we stated , "We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI."

Our July 24 Memorandum continued: "Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

"No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA's Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.]

Marbled

"Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the "Marble Framework" program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as 'news fit to print' and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since .

"The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima, it seems, 'did not get the memo' in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: 'WikiLeaks' latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.'

"The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use 'obfuscation,' and that Marble source code includes a "de-obfuscator" to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

"More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report , Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a 'forensic attribution double game' or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi."

A few weeks later William Binney, a former NSA technical, and I commented on Vault 7 Marble, and were able to get a shortened op-ed version published in The Baltimore Sun

The CIA's reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates "demons," and insisting; "It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia."Our July 24 Memorandum continued: "Mr. President, we do not know if CIA's Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review. [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this. Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ]

We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC's Megyn Kelly he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today's technology enables hacking to be 'masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin' [of the hack] And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.

"'Hackers may be anywhere,' he said. 'There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? I can.'

New attention has been drawn to these issues after I discussed them in a widely published 16-minute interview last Friday.

In view of the highly politicized environment surrounding these issues, I believe I must append here the same notice that VIPS felt compelled to add to our key Memorandum of July 24, 2017:

"Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

"We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental." The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer before serving as a CIA analyst for 27 years. His duties included preparing, and briefing one-on-one, the President's Daily Brief.


ThomasGilroy , June 9, 2018 at 9:44 am

"More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a 'forensic attribution double game' or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi."

Another false flag operation? Suddenly false flag operations have become the weapon of choice. Interestingly enough, they are nefariously (always) committed by the US or US allies. MH17 was a false flag with an SU-25 Ukraine jet responsible for downing the passenger jet (to blame Russia). All of the chemical attacks in Syria were false flag operations with the supply of sarin/chlorine made in Turkey or directly given to the "rebels" by the CIA or US allies. The White Helmets were of course in on all of the details. Assad was just simply not capable of doing that to "his" people. Forget that the sarin had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply. Next it was the snipers who used a false flag operation during the Maidan revolution to shoot protesters and police to oust Yanukovych. Only the neo-Nazis could be capable of shooting the Maidan protesters so they could take power. And then Seth Rich was murdered so he couldn't reveal he was the "real" source of the leak. This was hinted by Assange when he offered a reward to find the killers.

The author tosses out that the DNC hack was (potentially) a false flag operation by the CIA obviously to undermine Trump while victimizing Russia. It must be the Gulf of Tonkin all over again. While Crowdstrike might have a "dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest", their results were also confirmed by several other cyber-security firms (Wikipedia):

cybersecurity experts and firms, including CrowdStrike, Fidelis Cybersecurity, Mandiant, SecureWorks, ThreatConnect, and the editor for Ars Technica, have rejected the claims of "Guccifer 2.0" and have determined, on the basis of substantial evidence, that the cyberattacks were committed by two Russian state-sponsored groups (Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear).

Then there was Papadopoulas who coincidentally was given the information that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. Obviously, they were illegally obtained (unless this was another CIA false flag operation). This was before the release of the emails by WikiLeaks. This was followed by the Trump Tower meeting with Russians with connections to the Russian government and the release of the emails by WikiLeaks shortly thereafter. Additionally, Russia had the motive to defeat HRC and elect Trump. Yesterday, Trump pushed for the reinstatement of Russia at the G-7 summit. What a shock! All known evidence and motive points the finger directly at Russia.

Calling everything a false flag operation is really the easy way out, but ultimately, it lets the responsible culprits off of the hook.

anon , June 9, 2018 at 11:28 am

I don't seen any cause to say that any false-flag theory you don't like is merely "tossed out" propaganda. One cannot tell in your comment where you think the accounts are credible and where not. No evidence that the Syria CW attacks "had the chemical signature of the Assad regime sarin supply."

CitizenOne , June 8, 2018 at 11:40 pm

There can be no doubt that counterintelligence tools would be pursued by our intelligence agencies as a means to create narratives and false evidence based on the production of false flags which support desired geopolitical outcomes. There would be a need to create false flags using technology to support the geopolitical agenda which would be hard or impossible to trace using the forensic tools used by cyber sleuths.

In pre computer technology days there were also many false flags which were set up to create real world scenarios which suited the geopolitical agenda. Even today, there are many examples of tactical false flag operations either organized and orchestrated or utilized by the intelligence agencies to create the narrative which supports geopolitical objectives.

Examples:

The US loaded munitions in broad daylight visible to German spies onto the passenger ship Lusitania despite German warnings that they would torpedo any vessels suspected of carrying munitions. The Lusitania then proceeded to loiter unaccompanied by escorts in an area off the Ireland coast treading over the same waters until it was spotted by a German U-Boat and was torpedoed. This was not exactly a false flag since the German U-Boat pulled the trigger but it was required to gain public support for the entrance of the US into WWI. It worked.

There is evidence that the US was deliberately caught "off guard" in the Pearl Harbor Attack. Numerous coded communication intercepts were made but somehow the advanced warning radar on the island of Hawaii was mysteriously turned off in the hours before and during the Japanese attack which guaranteed that the attack would be successful and also guaranteed that our population would instantly sign on to the war against Japan. It worked.

There is evidence that the US deliberately ignored the intelligence reports that UBL was planning to conduct an attack on the US using planes as bombs. The terrorists who carried out the attacks on the twin towers were "allowed" to conduct them. The result was the war in Iraq which was sold based on a pack of lies about WMDs and which we used to go to war with Iraq.

The Tonkin Gulf incident which historians doubt actually happened or believe if it did was greatly exaggerated by intelligence and military sources was used to justify the war in Vietnam.

The Spanish American War was ginned up by William Randolph Hearst and his yellow journalism empire to justify attacking Cuba, Panama and the Philippines. The facts revealed by forensic analysis of the exploded USS Maine have shown that the cataclysm was caused by a boiler explosion not an enemy mine. At the time this was also widely believed to not be caused by a Spanish mine in the harbor but the news sold the story of Spanish treachery and war was waged.

In each case of physical false flags created on purpose, or allowed to happen or just made up by fictions based on useful information that could be manipulated and distorted the US was led to war. Some of these wars were just wars and others were wars of choice but in every case a false flag was needed to bring the nation into a state where we believed we were under attack and under the circumstances flocked to war. I will not be the judge of history or justice here since each of these events had both negative and positive consequences for our nation. What I will state is that it is obvious that the willingness to allow or create or just capitalize on the events which have led to war are an essential ingredient. Without a publicly perceived and publicly supported cause for war there can be no widespread support for war. I can also say our leaders have always known this.

Enter the age of technology and the computer age with the electronic contraptions which enable global communication and commerce.

Is it such a stretch to imagine that the governments desire to shape world events based on military actions would result in a plan to use these modern technologies to once again create in our minds a cyber scenario in which we are once again as a result of the "cyber" false flag prepared for us to go to war? Would it be too much of a stretch to imagine that the government would use the new electronic frontier just as it used the old physical world events to justify military action?

Again, I will not go on to condemn any action by our military but will focus on how did we get there and how did we arrive at a place where a majority favored war.

Whether created by physical or cyberspace methods we can conclude that such false flags will happen for better or worse in any medium available.

susan sunflower , June 8, 2018 at 7:52 pm

I'd like "evidence" and I'd also like "context" since apparently international electoral "highjinks" and monkey-wrenching and rat-f*cking have a long tradition and history (before anyone draws a weapon, kills a candidate or sicc's death squads on the citizenry.

The DNC e-mail publication "theft" I suspect represents very small small potatoes for so many reasons As Dixon at Black Agenda Report put it . Russia-gate is American Exceptionalism writ large which takes on a more sinister aspect as groups like BLM and others are "linked" to alleged "Russian funding"on one and and Soros funding on another

https://www.blackagendareport.com/russia-gate-and-crisis-american-exceptionalism

(FWIW, this is a new neoliberal phenomenon when the ultra-rich "liberals" can quietly fund marches on Washington and "grassroots" networking making those neophyte movements too easy targets with questionable robust foundation (color revolutions are possible when anyone is able to foot the cost of 1,000 or 2000 "free" signs or t-shirts -- impecccably designed and printed.

Gary Weglarz , June 8, 2018 at 11:08 am

Excellent post. Thanks also for reminding me I need to revisit the Vault 7 information as source material. These are incredibly important leaks that help connect the dots of criminal State intelligence activities designed to have remained forever hidden.

Skip Scott , June 8, 2018 at 1:07 pm

I can't think of any single piece of evidence that our MSM is under the very strict control of our so-called intelligence agencies than how fast and completely the Vault 7 releases got flushed down the memory hole. "Nothing to see here folks, move along."

Realist , June 9, 2018 at 1:36 am

http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/dems-put-finishing-touches-on-one-party-surveillance-superstate/

Skip Scott , June 9, 2018 at 7:05 am

Mbob-

I don't think anyone can predict whether or not Sanders would have won as a 3rd party candidate. He ran a remarkable campaign, but when he caved to the Clinton machine he lost a lot of supporters, including me. If he had stood up at the convention and talked of the DNC skullduggery exposed by Wikileaks, and said "either I run as a democrat, or I run as a Green, but I'm running", he would have at least gotten 15 pct to make the TV debates, and who knows what could have happened after that. 40 pct of registered voters didn't vote. That alone tells you it is possible he might have won.

Instead he expected us to follow him like he was the f'ing Pied Piper to elect another Wall St. loving warmonger. That's why he gets no "pass" from me. He (and the Queen of Chaos) gave us Trump. BTW, Obama doesn't get a "pass" either.

willow , June 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm

It's all about the money. A big motive for the DNC to conjure up Russia-gate was to keep donors from abandoning any future
Good Ship Hillary or other Blue Dog Democrat campaigns: "Our brand/platform wasn't flawed. It was the Rooskies."

Vivian O'Blivion , June 8, 2018 at 8:22 am

An earlier time line.

March 14th. Popadopoulos has first encounter with Mifsud.
April 26th. Mifsud tells Popadopoulos that Russians have "dirt" on Clinton, including "thousands of e-mails".
May 4th. Trump last man standing in Republican primary.
May 10th. Popadopoulos gets drunk with London based Australian diplomat and talks about "dirt" but not specifically e-mails.
June 9th. Don. Jr meets in Trump tower with Russians promising "dirt" but not specifically in form of e-mails.

It all comes down to who Mifsud is, who he is working for and why he has been "off grid" to journalists (but not presumably Intelligence services) for > 6 months.

Specific points.
On March 14th Popadopoulos knew he was transferring from team Carson to team Trump but this was not announced to the (presumably underwhelmed) world 'till March 21st. Whoever put Mifsud onto Popadopoulos was very quick on their feet.
The Australian diplomat broke chain of command by reporting the drunken conversation to the State Department as opposed to his domestic Intelligence service. If Mifsud was a western asset, Australian Intelligence would likely be aware of his status.
If Mifsud was a Russian asset why would demonstrably genuine Russians be trying to dish up the dirt on Clinton in June?

There are missing pieces to this jigsaw puzzle but it's starting to look like a deep state operation to dirty Trump in the unlikely event that he went on to win.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Ms. Clinton was personally trying to tar Trump with allusions to "Russia" and being "Putin's puppet" long before he won the presidency, in fact, quite conspicuously during the two conventions and most pointedly during the debates. She was willing to use that ruse long before her defeat at the ballot box. It was the straw that she clung to and was willing to use as a pretext for overturning the election after the unthinkable happened. But, you are right, smearing Trump through association with Russia was part of her long game going back to the early primaries, especially since her forces (both in politics and in the media) were trying mightily to get him the nomination under the assumption that he would be the easiest (more like the only) Republican candidate that she could defeat come November.

Wcb , June 8, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Steven Halper?

Rob Roy , June 8, 2018 at 1:33 am

I might add to this informative article that the reason why Julian Assange has been ostracized and isolated from any public appearance, denied a cell phone, internet and visitors is that he tells the truth, and TPTB don't want him to say yet again that the emails were leaked from the DNC. I've heard him say it several times. H. Clinton was so shocked and angry that she didn't become president as she so confidently expected that her, almost knee-jerk, reaction was to find a reason that was outside of herself on which to blame her defeat. It's always surprised me that no one talks about what was in those emails which covered her plans for Iran and Russia (disgusting).
Trump is a sociopath, but the Russians had nothing to do with him becoming elected. I was please to read here that he or perhaps just Pompeo? met with Binney. That's a good thing, though Pompeo, too, is unstable and war hungry to follow Israel into bombing yet another innocent sovereign country. Thank, Mr. McGovern for another excellent coverage of this story.

MLS , June 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

"no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team"

Do tell, Ray: How do you know what the GOP Congress appointed Special Prosecutor's investigation – with its unlimited budget, wide mandate, and notable paucity of leaks – has and has not done?

strgr-tgther , June 8, 2018 at 12:14 am

MLS: Thank you! No one stands up for what is right any more. We have 17 Intelligency agencies that say are election was stolen. And just last week the Republicans Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnel and Trey Gowdy (who I detest) said the FBI and CIA and NSA were just doing there jobs the way ALL AMERICANS woudl want them to. And even Adam Schiff, do you think he will tell any reporter what evidence he does have? #1 It is probably classified and #2 he is probably saving it for the inpeachment. We did not find out about the Nixon missing 18 minutes until the end anyways. All of these articles sound like the writer just copied Sean Hannity and wrote everything down he said, and yesterday he told all suspects in the Mueller investigation to Smash and Bleach there mobile devices, witch is OBSTRUCTION of justice and witness TAMPERING. A great American there!

Rob Roy , June 8, 2018 at 1:48 am

strgr-tgther:

Sean Hannity??? Ha, ha, ha.

As Mr. McGoven wrote .."any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental."

John , June 8, 2018 at 5:48 am

Sorry I had to come back and point out the ultimate irony of ANYONE who supports the Butcher of Libya complaining about having an election stolen from them (after the blatant rigging of the primary that caused her to take the nomination away from the ONE PERSON who was polling ahead of Trump beyond the margin of error of the polls.)

It is people like you who gave us Trump. The Pied Piper Candidate promoted by the DNC machine (as the emails that were LEAKED, not "hacked", as the metadata proves conclusively, show.)

incontinent reader , June 8, 2018 at 7:14 am

What is this baloney? Seventeen Intelligence agencies DID NOT conclude what you are alleging, And in fact, Brennan and his cabal avoided using a National intelligence Estimate, which would have shot down his cherry-picked 'assessment' before it got off the ground – and it would have been published for all to read.

The NSA has everything on everybody, yet has never released anything remotely indicating Russian collusion. Do you think the NSA Director, who, as you may recall, did not give a strong endorsement to the Brennan-Comey assessment, would have held back from the Congress such information, if it had existed, when he was questioned? Furthermore, former technical directors of the NSA, Binney, Wiebe and Loomis- the very best of the best- have proven through forensics that the Wikileaks disclosures were not obtained by hacking the DNC computers, but by a leak, most likely to a thumb drive on the East Coast of the U.S. How many times does it have to be laid out for you before you are willing and able to absorb the facts?

As for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, (and Trey Gowdy, who was quite skilled on the Benghazi and the Clinton private email server investigations- investigations during which Schiff ran interference for Clinton- but has seemed unwilling to digest the Strozk, Page, McCabe, et al emails and demand a Bureau housecleaning), who cares what they think or say, what matters is the evidence.

I suggest you familiarize yourself with the facts- and start by rereading Ray's articles, and the piece by Joe diGenova posted on Ray's website.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 4:12 pm

The guy's got Schiff for brains. Everyone who cares about the truth has known since before Mueller started his charade that the "17 intelligence agency" claim was entirely a ruse, bald-faced confected propaganda to anger the public to support the coup attempted by Ms. Clinton and her zombie followers. People are NOT going to support the Democratic party now or in the future when its tactics include subverting our public institutions, including the electoral process under the constitution–whether you like the results or not! If the Democratic party is to be saved, those honest people still in it should endeavor to drain the septic tank that has become their party before we can all drain the swamp that is the federal government and its ex-officio manipulators (otherwise known as the "deep state") in Washington.

Farmer Pete , June 8, 2018 at 7:30 am

"We have 17 Intelligency agencies that say are election was stolen."

You opened up with a talking point that is factually incorrect. The team of hand-picked spooks that slapped the "high confidence" report together came from 3 agencies. I know, 17 sounds like a lot and very convincing to us peasants. Regardless, it's important to practice a few ounces of skepticism when it comes to institutions with a long rap sheet of crime and deception. Taking their word for it as a substitute for actual observable evidence is naive to say the least. The rest of your hollow argument is filled with "probably(s)". If I were you, I'd turn off my TV and stop looking for scapegoats for an epically horrible presidential campaign and candidate.

strgr-tgther , June 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm

/horrible presidential campaign and candidate/ Say you. But we all went to sleep comfortable the night before the election where 97% of all poles said Clinton was going to be are next President. And that did not happen! So Robert Mueller is going to find out EXACTLY why. Stay tuned!!!

irina , June 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Not 'all'. I knew she was toast after reading that she had cancelled her election night fireworks
celebration, early on the morning of Election Day. She must have known it also, too.

And she was toast in my mind after seeing the ridiculous scene of her virtual image
'breaking the glass ceiling' during the Democratic Convention. So expensively stupid.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Mueller is simply orchestrating a dramatic charade to distract you from the obvious reason why she lost: Trump garnered more electoral votes, even after the popular votes were counted and recounted. Any evidence of ballot box stuffing in the key states pointed to the Democrats, so they gave that up. She and her supporters like you have never stopped trying to hoodwink the public either before or after the election. Too many voters were on to you, that's why she lost.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Indeed, stop the nonsense which can't be changed short of a coup d'etat, and start focusing on opposing the bad policy which this administration has been pursuing. I don't see the Dems doing that even in their incipient campaigns leading up to the November elections. Fact is, they are not inclined to change the policies, which are the same ones that got them "shellacked" at the ballot box in 2016. (I think Obama must own lots of stock in the shellack trade.)

Curious , June 8, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Ignorance of th facts keep showing up in your posts for some unknown reason. Sentence two: "we have 17 intelligency (sic) agencies that say ". this statement was debunked a long time ago.

Have you learned nothing yet regarding the hand-picked people out of three agencies after all this time? Given that set of lies it makes your post impossible to read.
I would suggest a review of what really happened before you perpetuate more myths and this will benefit all.

Also, a good reading of the Snowden Docs and vault 7 should scare you out of your shell since our "intelligeny" community can pretend to be Chinese, Russian, Iranian just for starters, and the blame game can start after hours instead of the needed weeks and/or months to determine the veracity of a hack and/or leak.

It's past trying to win you over with the actual 'time lines' and truths. Mr McGovern has re-emphasized in this article the very things you should be reading.
Start with Mr Binney and his technical evaluation of the forensics in the DNC docs and build out from there This is just a suggestion.

What never ceases to amaze me in your posts is the 'issue' that many of the docs were bought and paid for by the Clinton team, and yet amnesia has taken over those aspects as well. Shouldn't you start with the Clintons paying for this dirt before it was ever attributed to Trump?

Daniel , June 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm

Actually, both Brennan and Hayden testified to Congress that only 3 agencies signed off on their claim. They also said that they'd "hand picked" a special team to run their "investigation," and no other people were involved. So, people known to be perjurers cherry picked "evidence" to make a claim. Let's invade Iraq again.

More than 1/2 of their report was about RT, and even though that was all easily viewable public record, they got huge claims wrong. Basically, the best they had was that RT covered Occupy Wall Street and the NO DAPL and BLM protests, and horror of horrors, aired third party debates! In a democracy! How dare they?

Why didn't FBI subpoena DNC's servers so they could run their own forensics on them? Why did they just accept the claims of a private company founded by an Atlantic Council board member? Did you know that CrowdStrike had to backpedal on the exact same claim they made about the DNC server when Ukraine showed they were completely wrong regarding Ukie artillery?

Joe Lauria , June 8, 2018 at 2:12 am

Until he went incommunicado Assange stated on several occasions that he was never questioned by Muellers team. Craig Murray has said the same. And Kim Dotcom has written to Mueller offering evidence about the source and he says they have never replied to him.

Realist , June 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Mueller is not interested in the truth. He can't handle the truth. His purpose is not to divulge the truth. He has no use for truthtellers including the critical possessors of the truth whom you mentioned. This aversion to the truth is the biggest clue that Mueller's activities are a complete sham.

Miranda Keefe , June 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm

MLS wrote, "How do you know what the GOP Congress appointed Special Prosecutor's investigation – with its unlimited budget, wide mandate, and notable paucity of leaks – has and has not done?"

Robert Mueller is NOT a Special Prosecutor appointed by the Congress. He is a special counsel appointed by the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, and is part of the Department of Justice.

I know no one who dislikes Trumps wants to hear it. But all Mueller's authority and power to act is derived from Donald J. Trump's executive authority because he won the 2016 presidential election. Mueller is down the chain of command in the Executive Department.

That's why this is all nonsense. What we basically have is Trump investigating himself. The framers of the Constitution never intended this. They intended Congress to investigate the Executive and that's why they gave Congress the power to remove him or her via impeachment.

As long as we continue with this folly of expecting the Justice Department to somehow investigate and prosecute a president we end up with two terrible possibilities. Either a corrupt president will exercise his legitimate authority to end the investigation like Nixon did -or- we have a Deep State beyond the reach of the elected president that can effectively investigate and prosecute a corrupt president, but also then has other powers with no democratic control.

The solution to this dilemma? An empowered Congress elected by the People operating as the Constitution intended.

As to the rest of your post? It is an example of the "will to believe." Me? I'll not act as if there is evidence of Russian interference until I'm shown evidence, not act as if it must be true, because I want to believe that, until it's fully proven that it didn't happen.

F. G. Sanford , June 7, 2018 at 8:22 pm

There must be some Trump-Russia ties.
Or so claim those CIA spies-
McCabe wants a deal, or else he won't squeal,
He'll dissemble when he testifies!

No one knows what's on Huma's computer.
There's no jury and no prosecutor.
Poor Adam Schiff hopes McCabe takes the fifth,
Special council might someday recruit her!

Assange is still embassy bound.
Mueller's case hasn't quite come unwound.
Wayne Madsen implies that there might be some ties,
To Israelis they haven't yet found!

Halper and Mifsud are players.
John Brennan used cutouts in layers.
If the scheme falls apart and the bureau is smart,
They'll go after them all as betrayers!

They needed historical fiction.
A dossier with salacious depiction!
Some urinous whores could get down on all fours,
They'd accomplish some bed sheet emiction!

Pablo Miller and Skripal were cited.
Sidney Blumenthal might have been slighted.
Christopher Steele offered Sidney a deal,
But the dossier's not copyrighted!

That story about Novichok,
Smells a lot like a very large crock.
But they can't be deposed or the story disclosed,
The Skripals have toxic brain block!

Papadopolis shot off his yap.
He told Downer, that affable chap-
There was dirt to report on the Clinton cohort,
Mifsud hooked him with that honey trap!

She was blond and a bombshell to boot.
Papadopolis thought she was cute.
She worked for Mifsud, a mysterious dude,
Now poor Paps is in grave disrepute!

But the trick was to tie it to Russians.
The Clinton team had some discussions.
Their big email scandal was easy to handle,
They'd blame Vlad for the bad repercussions!

There must have been Russian collusion.
That explained all the vote count confusion.
Guccifer Two made the Trump team come through,
If he won, it was just an illusion!

Lisa Page and Pete Strzok were disgusted
They schemed and they plotted and lusted.
If bald-headed Clapper appealed to Jake Tapper,
Brennan's Tweets might get Donald Trump busted!

There had to be cyber subversion.
It would serve as the perfect perversion.
They would claim it was missed if it didn't exist,
It's a logically perfect diversion!

Ray McGovern , June 8, 2018 at 1:03 am

BRAVO, F.G. and thanks.
Ray

Rob Roy , June 8, 2018 at 1:41 am

F.G., you've done it again, and I might add, topped even yourself! Thanks.

KiwiAntz , June 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

What a joke, America, the most dishonest Country on Earth, has meddled, murdered & committed coups to overturn other Govts & interfered & continues to do so in just about every Country on Earth by using Trade sanctions, arming Terrorists & illegal invasions, has the barefaced cheek to puff out its chest & hypocritcally blame Russia for something that it does on a daily basis?? And the point with Mueller's investigation is not to find any Russian collusion evidence, who needs evidence when you can just make it up? The point is provide the US with a list of unfounded lies & excuses, FIRSTLY to slander & demonise RUSSIA for something they clearly didn't do! SECONDLY, was to provide a excuse for the Democrats dismal election loss result to the DONALD & his Trump Party which just happens to contain some Republicans? THIRDLY, to conduct a soft Coup by trying to get Trump impeached on "TRUMPED UP CHARGES OF RUSSIAN COLLUSION"? And FOURTLY to divert attention away from scrutiny & cover up Obama & Hillary Clinton's illegal, money grubbing activities & her treasonous behaviour with her private email server?? After two years of Russiagate nonsense with NOTHING to show for it, I think it's about time America owes Russia a public apology & compensation for its blatant lying & slander of a innocent Country for a crime they never committed?

Sam F , June 7, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Thanks, Ray, for revealing that the CIA's Digital Innovation Directorate is the likely cause of the Russiagate scams.

I am sure that they manipulate the digital voting machines directly and indirectly. True elections are now impossible.

Your disclaimer is hilarious: "We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental."

Antiwar7 , June 7, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Expecting the evil people running the show to respond to reason is futile, of course. All of these reports are really addressed to the peanut gallery, where true power lies, if only they could realize it.

Thanks, Ray and VIPS, for keeping up the good fight.

mike k , June 7, 2018 at 5:55 pm

For whatever reason, Ray McGovern chose not to mention the murder of Seth Rich, which pretty clearly points to the real source of the leak being him, as hinted by Assange offering a reward for anyone uncovering his killer. The whole thing stinks of a democratic conspiracy.

And BTW people have become shy about using the word conspiracy, for fear it will automatically brand one as a hoaxer. On the contrary, conspiracies are extremely common, the higher one climbs in the power hierarchy. Like monopolies, conspiracies are central to the way the oligarchs do business.

John , June 8, 2018 at 5:42 am

Ray, from what I have seen in following his writing for years, meticulously only deals in knowns. The Seth Rich issue is not a known, it is speculation still. Yes, it probably is involved, but unless Craig Murray states that Seth Rich was the one who handed him the USB drive, it is not a known.

There is a possibility that Seth Rich was not the one who leaked the information, but that the DNC bigwigs THOUGHT he was, in which case, by neither confirming nor denying that Seth Rich was the leaker, it may be that letting the DNC continue to think it was him is being done in protection of the actual leaker. Seth Rich could also have been killed for unrelated reasons, perhaps Imran Awan thought he was on to his doings.

Unfettered Fire , June 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

Don't forget this Twitter post by Wikileaks on October 30, 2016: Podesta: "I'm definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it." https://www.wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/36082#efmAGSAH-

Unfettered Fire , June 8, 2018 at 10:47 am

" whether or not"?!! Wow. That's an imperialistic statement.

Drew Hunkins , June 7, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians. Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump. Which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. Sure be interesting to see how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face?

So sickening to see the manner in which many DNC sycophants obsequiously genuflect to their godlike Mueller. A damn prosecutor who was arguably in bed with the Winter Hill Gang!

jose , June 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm

If they had had any evidence to inculpate Russia, we would have all seen it by now. They know that by stating that there is an investigation going on: they can blame Russia. The Democratic National Committee is integrated by a pack of liars.

Jeff , June 7, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Thanx, Ray. The sad news is that everybody now believes that Russia tried to "meddle" in our election and, since it's a belief, neither facts nor reality will dislodge it. Your disclaimer should also probably carry the warning – never believe a word a government official says especially if they are in the CIA, NSA, or FBI unless they provide proof. If they tell you that it's classified, that they can't divulge it, or anything of that sort, you know they are lying.

john wilson , June 7, 2018 at 4:09 pm

I suspect the real reason no evidence has been produced is because there isn't any. I know this is stating the obvious, but if you think about it, as long as the non extent evidence is supposedly being "investigated" the story remains alive. They know they aren't going to find anything even remotely plausible that would stand up to any kind of scrutiny, but as long as they are looking, it has the appearance that there might be something.

Joe Tedesky , June 7, 2018 at 4:08 pm

I first want to thank Ray and the VIPS for their continuing to follow through on this Russia-Gate story. And it is a story.

My question is simple, when will we concentrate on reading Hillary's many emails? After all wasn't this the reason for the Russian interference mania? Until we do, take apart Hillary's correspondence with her lackeys, nothing will transpire of any worth. I should not be the one saying this, in as much as Bernie Sanders should be the one screaming it for justice from the highest roof tops, but he isn't. So what's up with that? Who all is involved in this scandalous coverup? What do the masters of corruption have on everybody?

Now we have Sean Hannity making a strong case against the Clinton's and the FBI's careful handling of their crimes. What seems out of place, since this should be big news, is that CNN nor MSNBC seems to be covering this story in the same way Hannity is. I mean isn't this news, meant to be reported as news? Why avoid reporting on Hillary in such a manner? This must be that 'fake news' they all talk about boy am I smart.

In the end I have decided to be merely an observer, because there are no good guys or gals in our nation's capital worth believing. In the end even Hannity's version of what took place leads back to a guilty Russia. So, the way I see it, the swamp is being drained only to make more room for more, and new swamp creatures to emerge. Talk about spinning our wheels. When will good people arrive to finally once and for all drain this freaking swamp, once and for all?

Realist , June 7, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Ha, ha! Don't you enjoy the magic show being put on by the insiders desperately trying to hang onto their power even after being voted out of office? Their attempt to distract your attention from reality whilst feeding you their false illusions is worthy of Penn & Teller, or David Copperfield (the magician). Who ya gonna believe? Them or your lying eyes?

Joe Tedesky , June 7, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Realist, You can bet they will investigate everything but what needs investigated, as our Politico class devolves into survivalist in fighting, the mechanism of war goes uninterrupted. Joe

F. G. Sanford , June 7, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Joe, speaking of draining the swamp, check out my comment under Ray's June 1 article about Freddy Fleitz!

Sam F , June 7, 2018 at 6:59 pm

That is just what I was reminded of; here is an antiseptic but less emphatic last line:
"Swamp draining progresses apace.
It's being accomplished with grace:
They're taking great pains to clean out the drains,"
New swamp creatures will need all that space!

Unfettered Fire , June 8, 2018 at 11:00 am

We must realize that to them, "the Swamp" refers to those in office who still abide by New Deal policy. Despite the thoroughly discredited neoliberal economic policy, the radical right are driving the world in the libertarian direction of privatization, austerity, private bank control of money creation, dismantling the nation-state, contempt for the Constitution, etc.

[Jun 09, 2018] Spooks Spooking Themselves by Daniel Lazare

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block " Siberian candidate " Trump. ..."
"... The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove , Halper's friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London's venerable Garrick Club, according to The Washington Post , Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous "golden showers" opposition research dossier, that Trump "reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin." ..."
"... Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn't work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal. Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as "The Walrus" for his impressive girth , other participants include: Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA. Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat. Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow. Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic. James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence. John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst). ..."
"... Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself "The Cambridge Security Initiative." Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt's international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor . ..."
"... Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale . In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump's future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd. ..."
"... As head of Britain's foreign Secret Intelligence Service, as MI6 is formally known, Dearlove played a major role in drumming up support for the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq even while confessing at a secret Downing Street meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the [regime-change] policy." When the search for weapons of mass destruction turned up dry, Clapper, as then head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, argued that the Iraqi military must have smuggled them into neighboring Syria, a charge with absolutely no basis in fact but which helped pave the way for US regime-change efforts in that country too. ..."
"... Brennan was meanwhile a high-level CIA official when the agency was fabricating evidence against Saddam Hussein and covering up Saudi Arabia's role in 9/11. Wood not only continues to defend the Iraqi invasion, but dismisses fears of a rising fascist tide in the Ukraine as nothing more than "a crude political insult" hurled by Vladimir Putin for his own political benefit. Such views now seem distressingly misguided in view of the alt-right torchlight parades and spiraling anti-Semitism that are now a regular feature of life in the Ukraine. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... describes Mifsud as "an enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia" and "a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, that Mr. Putin attends," which tried to suggest that he is a Kremlin agent of some sort. ..."
"... But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange later tweeted photos of Mifsud with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a high-ranking British intelligence official named Claire Smith at a training session for Italian security agents in Rome. Since it's unlikely that British intelligence would rely on a Russian agent in such circumstances, Mifsud's intelligence ties are more likely with the UK. ..."
"... Stefan Halper then infiltrated the Trump campaign on behalf of the FBI as an informant in early July, weeks before the FBI launched its investigation. Halper had 36 years earlier infiltrated the Carter re-election campaign in 1980 using CIA agents to turn information over to the Reagan campaign. Now Halper began to court both Page and Papadopoulous, independently of each other. ..."
"... The rightwing Federalist website speculates that Halper was working with Steele to flesh out a Sept. 14 memo claiming that "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and [are] considering disseminating it." Clovis believes that Halper was trying "to create an audit trail back to those [Clinton] emails from someone in the campaign so they could develop a stronger case for probable cause to continue to issue warrants and to further an investigation." Reports that Halper apparently sought a permanent post in the new administration suggest that the effort was meant to continue after inauguration. ..."
"... Notwithstanding Clovis's nutty rightwing politics , his description of what Halper may have been up to makes sense as does his observation that Halper was trying " to build something that did not exist ." Despite countless hyper-ventilating headlines about mysterious Trump Tower meetings and the like, the sad truth is that Russiagate after all these months is shaping up as even more of a "nothing-burger" than Obama administration veteran Van Jones said it was back in mid-2017. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has indicted Papadopoulos and others on procedural grounds, he has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for corruption, and he has charged a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency with violating US election laws. ..."
"... As The Washington Post noted in an oddly, cool-headed Dec. 2 article , 2, 700 suspected Russian-linked accounts generated just 202,000 tweets in a six-year period ending in August 2017, a drop in a bucket compared to the one billion election-related tweets sent out during the fourteen months leading up to Election Day. ..."
"... Opposition research is intended to mix truths and fiction, to dig up plausible dirt to throw at your opponent, not to produce an intelligence assessment at taxpayer's expense to "protect" the country. And Steele was paid for it by the Democrats, not his government. ..."
"... Although Kramer denies it, The New Yorker ..."
"... But how could Trump think otherwise? As Consortium News founding editor Robert Parry observed a few days later, the maneuver "resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very derogatory information about you that I'd sure hate to see end up in the press." ..."
"... It sounds more like CIA paranoia raised to the nth degree. But that's what the intelligence agencies are for, i.e. to spread fear and propaganda in order to stampede the public into supporting their imperial agenda. In this case, their efforts are so effective that they've gotten lost in a fog of their own making. If the corporate press fails to point this out, it's because reporters are too befogged themselves to notice. ..."
"... "Russiagate" continues to attract mounting blowback at Clinton, Obama and the Dems. Might well be they who end up charged with lawbreaking, though I'd be surprised if anyone in authority is ever really punished. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-02/fbi-spying-trump-started-london-earlier-thought-new-texts-implicate-obama-white ..."
"... I've always thought that the great animus between Obama and Trump stemmed from Trump's persistent birtherist attacks on Obama followed by Obama's public ridicule of Trump at the White House Correspondants' Dinner. Without the latter, Trump probably would not have been motivated to run for the presidency. Without the former, Obama would probably not have gotten into the gutter to defeat and embarrass Trump at all costs. Clinton and Obama probably never recruit British spooks to sabotage and provide a pretense for spying on the campaigns of Jeb, Ted or Little Marco. Since these were all warmongers like Hillary and Obama, the issues would have been different, Russia would not have been a factor, and Putin would have had no alleged "puppet." ..."
"... The irony is that Clinton and Obama wanted Trump as her opponent. They cultivated his candidacy via liberal media bias throughout the primaries. (MSNBC and Rachel Maddow were always cutting away to another full length Trump victory speech and rally, including lots of jibber jabber with the faithful supporters.) Why? Because they thought he was the easiest to beat. The polls actually had Hillary losing against the other GOP candidates. The Dems beat themselves with their own choice of candidate and all the intrigue, false narratives and other questionable practices they employed in both the primaries and the general. That's what really happened. ..."
"... I agree that Hillary wanted Trump as an opponent, thought she could easily win. I've underestimated idiot opponents before, always to my detriment. Why is it that they are always the most formidable? The "insiders" are so used to voters rolling over, taking it on the chin. They gave away their jobs, replaced them with the service industry, killed their sons and daughters in wars abroad, and still the American people cast their ballots in their favor. This time was different. The insiders just did not see the sea change, not like Trump did. ..."
"... Long-time CIA asset named as FBI's spy on Trump campaign By Bill Van Auken https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/21/poli-m21.html ..."
"... What the MSM really needed was a bait which they could use to lure more dollars just like a horse race where the track owners needed a fast underdog horse to clean up. I believe the term is to be "hustled". The con men of the media hustlers decided they needed a way to cause all of the candidates to squirm uneasily and to then react to the news that Donald Trump was "in the lead". ..."
"... Those clever media folks. What a gift the Supreme Court handed them. But there was one little (or big) problem. The problem was the result of the scam put Trump in the White House. Something that no conservative republican would ever sign onto. Trump had spent years as a democrat, hobnobbed with the Clinton's and was an avowed agnostic who favored the liberal ideology for the most part. ..."
"... The new guy in the White House with his crazy ideas of making friends with Vladimir Putin horrified a national arms industry funded with hundreds of billions of our tax dollars every year propped up by all the neocons with their paranoid beliefs and plans to make America the hegemon of the World. Our foreign allies who use the USA to fight their perceived enemies and entice our government to sell them weapons and who urge us to orchestrate the overthrow of governments were all alarmed by the "not a real republican" peace-nick occupying the White House. ..."
"... It is probable that the casino and hotel owner in the White House posed an very threatening alternate strategy of forming economic ties with former enemies which scared the hell out of the arms industry which built its economy on scaring all of us and justifying its existence based on foreign enemies. ..."
"... So the MSM and the MIC created a new cold war with their friends at the New York Times and the Washington Post which published endless stories about the new Russian threat we faced. It had nothing to do with the 0.02% Twitter and Facebook "influence" that Russia actually had in the election. It was billed as the crime of the century. The real crime was that they committed the crime of the century that they mightily profited from by putting Trump in the White House in the first place with a plan to grab all the election cash they could grab. ..."
May 31, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

As the role of a well-connected group of British and U.S. intelligence agents begins to emerge, new suspicions are growing about what hand they may have had in weaving the Russia-gate story, as Daniel Lazare explains.

Special to Consortium News

With the news that a Cambridge academic-cum-spy named Stefan Halper infiltrated the Trump campaign, the role of the intelligence agencies in shaping the great Russiagate saga is at last coming into focus.

It's looking more and more massive. The intelligence agencies initiated reports that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, they nurtured them and helped them grow, and then they spread the word to the press and key government officials. Reportedly, they even tried to use these reports to force Trump to step down prior to his inauguration. Although the corporate press accuses Trump of conspiring with Russia to stop Hillary Clinton, the reverse now seems to be the case: the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block " Siberian candidate " Trump.

The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove , Halper's friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London's venerable Garrick Club, according to The Washington Post , Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous "golden showers" opposition research dossier, that Trump "reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin."

Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn't work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal. Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as "The Walrus" for his impressive girth , other participants include: Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA. Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat. Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow. Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic. James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence. John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst).

In-Bred

A few things stand out about this august group. One is its in-bred quality. After helping to run an annual confab known as the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself "The Cambridge Security Initiative." Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt's international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor .

Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale . In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump's future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd.

Halper: Infiltrated Trump campaign

In December 2016, Halper and Dearlove both resigned from the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar because they suspected that a company footing some of the costs was tied up with Russian intelligence – suspicions that Christopher Andrew, former chairman of the Cambridge history department and the seminar's founder, regards as " absurd " as well.

As head of Britain's foreign Secret Intelligence Service, as MI6 is formally known, Dearlove played a major role in drumming up support for the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq even while confessing at a secret Downing Street meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the [regime-change] policy." When the search for weapons of mass destruction turned up dry, Clapper, as then head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, argued that the Iraqi military must have smuggled them into neighboring Syria, a charge with absolutely no basis in fact but which helped pave the way for US regime-change efforts in that country too.

Brennan was meanwhile a high-level CIA official when the agency was fabricating evidence against Saddam Hussein and covering up Saudi Arabia's role in 9/11. Wood not only continues to defend the Iraqi invasion, but dismisses fears of a rising fascist tide in the Ukraine as nothing more than "a crude political insult" hurled by Vladimir Putin for his own political benefit. Such views now seem distressingly misguided in view of the alt-right torchlight parades and spiraling anti-Semitism that are now a regular feature of life in the Ukraine.

The result is a diplo-espionage gang that is very bad at the facts but very good at public manipulation – and which therefore decided to use its skill set out to create a public furor over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

It Started Late 2015

The effort began in late 2015 when GCHQ, along with intelligence agencies in Poland, Estonia, and Germany, began monitoring what they said were " suspicious 'interactions' between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents."

Since Trump was surging ahead in the polls and scaring the pants off the foreign-policy establishment by calling for a rapprochement with Moscow, the agencies figured that Russia was somehow behind it. The pace accelerated in March 2016 when a 30-year-old policy consultant named George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as a foreign-policy adviser. Traveling in Italy a week later, he ran into Mifsud, the London-based Maltese academic, who reportedly set about cultivating him after learning of his position with Trump. Mifsud claimed to have "substantial connections with Russian government officials," according to prosecutors. Over breakfast at a London hotel, he told Papadopoulos that he had just returned from Moscow where he had learned that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails."

This was the remark that supposedly triggered an FBI investigation. The New York Times describes Mifsud as "an enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia" and "a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, that Mr. Putin attends," which tried to suggest that he is a Kremlin agent of some sort.

But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange later tweeted photos of Mifsud with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a high-ranking British intelligence official named Claire Smith at a training session for Italian security agents in Rome. Since it's unlikely that British intelligence would rely on a Russian agent in such circumstances, Mifsud's intelligence ties are more likely with the UK.

After Papadopoulos caused a minor political ruckus by telling a reporter that Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize for criticizing Trump's anti-Muslim pronouncements, a friend in the Israeli embassy put him in touch with a friend in the Australian embassy, who introduced him to Downer, her boss. Over drinks, Downer advised him to be more diplomatic. After Papadopoulos then passed along Misfud's tip about Clinton's emails, Downer informed his government, which, in late July, informed the FBI.

Was Papadopoulos Set Up?

Suspicions are unavoidable but evidence is lacking. Other pieces were meanwhile clicking into place. In late May or early June 2016, Fusion GPS, a private Washington intelligence firm employed by the Democratic National Committee, hired Steele to look into the Russian angle.

On June 20, he turned in the first of eighteen memos that would eventually comprise the Steele dossier , in this instance a three-page document asserting that Putin "has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years" and that Russian intelligence possessed "kompromat" in the form of a video of prostitutes performing a "golden showers" show for his benefit at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton. A week or two later, Steele briefed the FBI on his findings. Around the same time, Robert Hannigan flew to Washington to brief CIA Director John Brennan about additional material that had come GCHQ's way, material so sensitive that it could only be handled at "director level."

One player was filling Papadopoulos's head with tales of Russian dirty tricks, another was telling the FBI, while a third was collecting more information and passing it on to the bureau as well.

Page: Took Russia's side.

On July 7, 2016 Carter Page delivered a lecture on U.S.-Russian relations in Moscow in which he complained that " Washington and other western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change." Washington hawks expressed " unease " that someone representing the presumptive Republican nominee would take Russia's side in a growing neo-Cold War.

Stefan Halper then infiltrated the Trump campaign on behalf of the FBI as an informant in early July, weeks before the FBI launched its investigation. Halper had 36 years earlier infiltrated the Carter re-election campaign in 1980 using CIA agents to turn information over to the Reagan campaign. Now Halper began to court both Page and Papadopoulous, independently of each other.

On July 11, Page showed up at a Cambridge symposium at which Halper and Dearlove both spoke. In early September, Halper sent Papadopoulos an email offering $3,000 and a paid trip to London to write a research paper on a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean, his specialty. "George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?" Halper asked when he got there, but Papadopoulos said he knew nothing. Halper also sought out Sam Clovis, Trump's national campaign co-chairman, with whom he chatted about China for an hour or so over coffee in Washington.

The rightwing Federalist website speculates that Halper was working with Steele to flesh out a Sept. 14 memo claiming that "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and [are] considering disseminating it." Clovis believes that Halper was trying "to create an audit trail back to those [Clinton] emails from someone in the campaign so they could develop a stronger case for probable cause to continue to issue warrants and to further an investigation." Reports that Halper apparently sought a permanent post in the new administration suggest that the effort was meant to continue after inauguration.

Notwithstanding Clovis's nutty rightwing politics , his description of what Halper may have been up to makes sense as does his observation that Halper was trying " to build something that did not exist ." Despite countless hyper-ventilating headlines about mysterious Trump Tower meetings and the like, the sad truth is that Russiagate after all these months is shaping up as even more of a "nothing-burger" than Obama administration veteran Van Jones said it was back in mid-2017. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has indicted Papadopoulos and others on procedural grounds, he has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for corruption, and he has charged a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency with violating US election laws.

But the corruption charges have nothing to do with Russian collusion and nothing in the indictment against IRA indicates that either the Kremlin or the Trump campaign were involved. Indeed, the activities that got IRA in trouble in the first place are so unimpressive – just $46,000 worth of Facebook ads that it purchased prior to election day, some pro-Trump, some anti, and some with no particular slant at all – that Mueller probably wouldn't even have bothered if he hadn't been under intense pressure to come up with anything at all.

The same goes for the army of bots that Russia supposedly deployed on Twitter. As The Washington Post noted in an oddly, cool-headed Dec. 2 article , 2, 700 suspected Russian-linked accounts generated just 202,000 tweets in a six-year period ending in August 2017, a drop in a bucket compared to the one billion election-related tweets sent out during the fourteen months leading up to Election Day.

The Steele dossier is also underwhelming. It declares on one page that the Kremlin sought to cultivate Trump by throwing "various lucrative real estate development business deals" his way but says on another that Trump's efforts to drum up business were unavailing and that he thus "had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success."

Why would Trump turn down business offers when he couldn't generate any on his own? The idea that Putin would spot a U.S. reality-TV star somewhere around 2011 and conclude that he was destined for the Oval Office five years later is ludicrous. The fact that the Democratic National Committee funded the dossier via its law firm Perkins Coie renders it less credible still, as does the fact that the world has heard nothing more about the alleged video despite the ongoing deterioration in US-Russian relations. What's the point of making a blackmail tape if you don't use it?

Steele: Paid for political research, not intelligence.

Even Steele is backing off. In a legal paper filed in response to a libel suit last May, he said the document "did not represent (and did not purport to represent) verified facts, but were raw intelligence which had identified a range of allegations that warranted investigation given their potential national security implications." The fact is that the "dossier" was opposition research, not an intelligence report. It was neither vetted by Steele nor anyone in an intelligence agency. Opposition research is intended to mix truths and fiction, to dig up plausible dirt to throw at your opponent, not to produce an intelligence assessment at taxpayer's expense to "protect" the country. And Steele was paid for it by the Democrats, not his government.

Using it Anyway

Nonetheless, the spooks have made the most of such pseudo-evidence. Dearlove and Wood both advised Steele to take his "findings" to the FBI, while, after the election, Wood pulled Sen. John McCain aside at a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to let him know that the Russians might be blackmailing the president-elect. McCain dispatched long-time aide David J. Kramer to the UK to discuss the dossier with Steele directly.

Although Kramer denies it, The New Yorker found a former national-security official who says he spoke with him at the time and that Kramer's goal was to have McCain confront Trump with the dossier in the hope that he would resign on the spot.