“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.”
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
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
[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace
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
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
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
global interventionism is used to achieve those ends.
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.
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).
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:
the purpose of the military is to defend the U.S. and its vital interests;
soldiers' primary duty stations are on American soil;
force should be used only as a last resort and in self-defense, in accord with the Just War
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman
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.
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
substitute for an essential international climate treaty. There is a glimmer of hope also in
the U.S.-Russian joint action that
chemical weapons from Syria, and in negotiations with Iran, which continue despite
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
"...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
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
"...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. "
"We need some great failures," the muckraking journalist
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.
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
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
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."
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.”
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.
The first is what he dubs the “American credo,” which calls on “the United States — and the
United States alone — to lead save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world.”
Second is what he calls the “sacred trinity,” which requires that the United States “maintain
a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projections,
and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.”
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:
General Curtis LeMay, who built a massive nuclear arsenal as head of Strategic Air
Allen Dulles, who backed coups across the globe as CIA director;
General Maxwell Taylor, who rode the idea of “flexible response” from retirement to
the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Mayer, Jane, "The Dark Side, The Inside Story How The War on Terror Turned into a War on America's
Schlesinger, Arthur, "War and the American Presidency."
Mann, Thomas & Ornstein, Norman, "The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How
to Get It Back on Track."
Zinni, Tony (Gen. Ret.), "The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and
Niebuhr, Reinhold, "The Irony of American History."
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
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.
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.
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.
Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun
is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
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.
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
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."
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
The New American Militarism - A Bipolar Look at Todays State of Affairs, February
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
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.
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
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
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
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."
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
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. \
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
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
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:
Dick Cheney, who was becoming a comic-book churl by this stage of his public life;
Colin Powell, the loyal soldier, staffer, and diplomat whose "Powell Doctrine" and
entire life's work stood in opposition to the kind of war that he, with misguided loyalty, was
to play so central a role in selling;
Tony Blair, the crucial ally who added rhetorical polish and international resolve
to the case for war;
Donald Rumsfeld, with his breezy contempt for those who said the effort would be difficult
Paul Bremer, whose sudden, thoughtless dismantling of the Iraqi army proved so disastrous;
Condoleezza Rice, miscast in her role as White House national-security advisor;
George Tenet, the long-time staffer who cooperated with the "slam-dunk!" intelligence
assessment despite serious disagreement within the CIA;
and of course George W. Bush himself, whose combination of limited knowledge and strong
desire to be "decisive" made him so vulnerable to the argument that the "real" response to the
9/11 attacks should be invading a country that had nothing to do with them.
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
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
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.
"... It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.' ..."
"... Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox. ..."
"... Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. ..."
The other backstory being that NATO wanted to stick its nose in the Caspian Sea, but has been
pushed out. Not sure exactly what the pretext was. I have a piece in VZGLIAD that explains the whole
thing, but I haven't worked through it yet, will probably do a piece on my own blog in the
near future. But I have a couple of other projects in the queue first.
"Central Asian resources may revert back to the control of Russia or to a Russian led
alliance. This would be a nightmare situation. We had better wake up to the dangers or one
day the certainties on which we base our prosperity will be certainties no more. The
potential prize in oil and gas riches in the Caspian sea, valued up to $4 trillion, would
give Russia both wealth and strategic dominance. The potential economic rewards of Caspian
energy will draw in their train Western military forces to protect our investment if
Editor, U.S. News and World Report
"This is about America's energy security. Its also about preventing strategic inroads
by those who don't share our values. We are trying to move these newly independent countries
toward the West. We would like to see them reliant on Western commercial and political
interests. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian and it's important
that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."
Then-U.S. Secretary Energy (1998-2000)
It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these
were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty
of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not
long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because
it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have
control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.'
Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact,
Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not
support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the
White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations
to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial
and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important
tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox.
Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy
supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have
brought them closer to their dream. A pipeline network would have carried Caspian oil and gas
to Europe. Agreement among the Caspian nations was most definitely not in American interests,
and if you dig you will probably find American interventions to prevent that from coming
Ukraine has huge problems because far right nationalists while hate corruption, do not control economics and oligarchs who
control it do not intent to share their profits with the population, who is on the edge of starvation.
Breaking economic ties with Russia helped to relegate Ukraine to semi-colonial status as without cooperation with Russian
industries and access to Russian market (which they know very well) many Ukrainian manufacturing industries are less
Ukraine was already converted into debt-slave, and it is extremely difficult to climb out of this hole without default.
At the same time it serves are powerful anti-Russian force in the region and as such will be semi-supported by both the USA
and EU. for example attacks on Ukrainian currency probably will be avoided.
This is a variant of " don't cry for me Argentina" situation.
"... Notably that while the west is gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine – if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people – I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious Maidan. ..."
"... Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the 'Necessary' section was the elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state. ..."
"... You'll know there's no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future rebuilding. They've already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an even bigger payday is still in the offing. ..."
"... Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia. ..."
"... Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful ... nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They're happy enough at present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building. ..."
"... The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the crimes they say they are investigating. ..."
That is indeed an interesting piece – generally speaking, we most enjoy writing with
which we agree, and I mostly agree with it and feel the ring of familiarity, because some of
it is what we have been saying here for a couple of years. Notably that while the west is
gradually leaning toward dumping Ukraine and hoping Russia will solve the problem, the
warning signs are there that Russia has no intention of bailing out an exhausted Ukraine, and
that this time it is going to be allowed to fail all the way down. The west should be warned
that nobody is riding to the rescue and pouring their resources into stabilizing Ukraine
– if the west cannot do it, the alternative is collapse and draining emergency work to
keep the population from starvation. Prosperity is an impossible dream now, and the people
– I think – would be pretty happy to be back where they were before the glorious
Interestingly, something that was not touched upon in the 'Necessary' section was the
elimination of the oligarchy in Kiev and other major cities. I will declare frankly that I
have no idea how this might be achieved – as discussed before several times, the
Ukrainian oligarchs control something in the order of 70% of Ukrainian GDP, and are not about
to gift any of it back to the Ukrainian state.
But for so long as Ukraine continues to elect one oligarch after another to the office of
President, the oligarch of the moment will be far more occupied with increasing his/her
personal wealth and power, and settling scores with rivals, than with governance and
accountability. At the same time, there is no use hoping the President will be a poor man or
woman, because they generally do not have the worldly education to grasp the problem and
envision solutions while being simultaneously beset from all sides by the oligarchy, seeking
to retain its power and influence.
You'll know there's no more money in Ukraine when the oligarchs leave, and I see no
sign of that so far, while it is evident they intend to be a big part of any future
rebuilding. They've already successfully stolen most of the IMF money, and plainly think an
even bigger payday is still in the offing.
The United States has largely forgotten Ukraine, as it was only ever a pretext for a
full-court press against Russia anyway, and it now has enough Russophobia sustainment in its
ditzy population to press forward without the need to invoke sympathy for Ukraine. Europe is
still quite interested in a resolution, but only because of its fear that it is going to get
stuck with the booby prize, and be made to assume responsibility for getting Ukraine on its
feet somehow, perhaps even absorbing it. Eventually, if the USA is unsuccessful in
forcing the outbreak of another world war, the west will get around to either asking Russia
to help, or trying to dump Ukraine on Russia.
Whatever happens, the dream of Ukrainian nationalists to forge a great and powerful
... nation of Ukraine is always going to remain that – a dream. They're happy enough at
present scampering about in the ruins and glorying in their imagination of great power, but
they are kings of the dungheap without any clue of nation-building.
The few who both hated Russia and honestly aspired to a Great Ukraine – free of
corruption and able to pay its way through judicious management of its undeniable resources
and casting off the peasant mentality – have no influence, and operate at the pleasure
of the power-brokers; they are allowed to dabble at anti-corruption until their probing
becomes uncomfortable, and then they are discredited and fired, if not charged with the
crimes they say they are investigating.
Well said. Presumably, the Donbass will pull away from Ukraine and vote to joint Russia and
Russia will approve for any number of reasons but certainly including humanitarian,
ethnic/cultural connections and military considerations. Other regions such as Odessa could
jump aboard as well.
There may be a mass exodus from what is left – the grifter to the West and those
seeking a better life to the east. The Nazis will remain behind and may serve some purpose
such as providing a pool of mercenaries for CIA projects.
I, for one, do not think the Donbass will be an overwhelming economic burden in the long
run. The population has shown resolve and resilience. Given leadership and material aid, they
can rebuild fairly quickly I think.
Well Canada has rather upset the apple cart, hasn't it? On the one hand, western moralizing
and sermonizing other states about what they should do used to be only restricted to mostly
enemy states, preferably much less rich ones, on the other hand values only mean something if
you actually are willing to pay a literal price in either money, blood or both.
The financial papers are saying that this will damage SA's the confidence of foreign
investors, precisely those SA is trying to attract so that it can start to diversify its
economy away from petroleum based products, but we have yet to see if this will have a
noticeable effect, rather than just a wish effect.
The US has said Sweet FA, along with the rest of the sermonizing weapon selling west, so
Canada has very little support from its allies. So far. Germany should be an obvious
supporter but if pissing of the Saudis makes it more dependent on Russia ergo there are
plenty of reasons that can be wheeled out to keep treading lightly.
It looks to me as just another sign of the existing order breaking down, whether or not
Canada back tracks or not. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.
As for the so-called free and democratic media, well they only further discredit
Meanwhile, I just checked out the Canada headlines and this jumped out:
Global Affairs Canada would not say whether Canadian taxpayers are financing the sale, and
would not provide any other details about the arms deal
Few details are available about the proposed sale of weapons, as the Canadian
government says such information is commercially sensitive. It has declined to name the
company selling the guns or indicate how many rifles would be sent to Ukraine. However
Conservative MP James Bezan, who has been in contact with the Canadian company that has the
agreement to supply the rifles to Ukraine, confirmed the deal's likely timeline. He declined
to name the firm since the sale still has to be finalized.
Nicolas Moquin, a spokesman for the Canadian Joint Operations Command Headquarters,
said the Canadian military has been providing sniper and counter-sniper training to Ukraine's
security forces since September 2015. He said Canada is not looking at this time of providing
additional sniper training to coincide with the delivery of new weapons .
OR, is this just Canada selling sniper rifles that are not necessarily of Canadian
According the the video below with Canadian MP James Barazan, he says there are large
numbers of weapons such as assault rifles, sniper systems, mortar systems, counter battery
radar etc. sitting in warehouses in Jordan (& Toronto) that were supposed to go to
Yes,, the world order is falling apart. For some reason, this state of affairs reminds me of
the observation that married couples who are heading toward divorce are on that path not
because of a lack of communications but because they are now communicating for the first
Ukraine is awash in small arms – they could give them out with a box of tea at the
supermarket as a promotion, and it would still take months to work through their supply. The
last thing they need is more rifles. On the other hand, new ones will probably fetch a good
price on e-Bay.
Looks like the aim of US sanctions is to ratchet the hostility up with Russia to the level of
a full blown cold war. Ukraine can be a victim.
"... Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine pacified? ..."
"... Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US (as if anyone is willing to die for them). ..."
We'll need an anti-sanctions law regardless of whether or not we are going to invade.
Well, I'd say it's a precondition to invading Ukraine. If you're incapable of
making such a simple law, you're sure as hell incapable of invading Ukraine. And you do need
the law if you want to avoid the sanctions creating the perverse incentives inside Russia, like
the biggest banks not having branches in the Crimea. Decoupling from the US dollar is no help,
since US sanctions are extraterritorial, if you didn't notice, so they affect euro or even
Chinese yuan denominated transactions, too.
Eastern Europeans will never mobilise. What would mass mobilisation even look like in a
country like Hungary? Instead, they'll petition USA to station more of its troops in Eastern
Europe. A lot more, like hundreds of thousands more.
Within living memory, Hungary had armed forces of 150,000 troops and 1,500 main
battle tanks (admittedly, the majority were somewhat obsolete), with hundreds of fighter and
light bomber jets (MiG-21s and Su-22s etc.), and we were the slackers in the Eastern Bloc, not
spending on defense as much as other neighbors of us. Increasing defense spending to 2% of GDP
is what's the plan. If you invaded and occupied the whole of Ukraine, it could easily go up to
Of course, the Americans might come in numbers, too. But you're delusional here:
Doing so will impose costs on the USA. Actually, this is one of the few ways Russia could
impose tangible costs on USA: by stoking tensions in Eastern Europe.
We have no military industry to speak of. Most of our neighbors do have some, but
even they are nowhere near self-sufficiency. You can guess who we'll buy our weapons from.
Poland recently offered to pay for an American base on its soil. So it won't be much of a cost
for the US, it might actually be quite beneficial.
Meanwhile, you'll get bogged down in Ukraine. You'll face tough choices (sanctions will
get North Korea-style quickly, and even Chinese sympathy will get questionable), like should
you spend your scarce resources on modern weaponry or a large security force to keep Ukraine
Mass deportations is the best part about occupying the Ukraine!
Stalin's USSR at the height of its power only deported much smaller populations.
You'd need a lot of people to achieve that. But let's assume you'll manage to do that. It will,
of course, create a huge backlash against Russia: popular opinion will get united against
Russians. (Defense spending quickly up to 5% of GDP or higher.) The Ukrainians in our countries
will of course enter the workforce and join anti-Russian ragtag militias to control the border.
Instead they would have to contend with an insurgency in Eastern Poland
So the people ethnically cleansed from their homes will rise up against NATO in
support of Russia. This is a seriously dumb idea.
Very few people in Russia would want Ukraine now. The consensus is: "good riddance". In
Ukraine, on the other hand, there are people who want Russia to invade. Some are waiting for
someone else to liberate them from Nazis (they apparently are not familiar with Protestant
wisdom that God helps those who help themselves), some pray for a pretext to invite NATO/US
(as if anyone is willing to die for them).
This reminds me of an old Russian joke.
An old hag sits on the bench and screams: "Help! They are raping me!"
Another one passes by and asks: "Have you gone completely mad?"
The first one answers: "Everyone is entitled to a pleasant dream!"
Don't worry about my IQ woes – they are non-existent. I am a stable genius –
just like Donald Trump. Your IQ issues are – on the other hand – very easy to
fix. All you have to do is admit that you are Russian and you immediately gain 20-30 IQ
points. Of course, this will come at the expense of Russia, but then again. everything you've
ever done in your history came at the expense of Russia. All the Russians ever wanted was to
have a brotherly nation in Ukraine. They have a brother all right, unfortunately that brother
has a Down syndrome.
Any Russian ruler who tries to return Crimea will be overthrown in no time. As Russia
gradually disengages from the US-dominated financial system, the costs will go down. Russia
has already created its own payment system similar to that of Visa and Mastercard, as well as
its own money transfer system similar to SWIFT. On the other hand, if Russia fails to
disengage from dollar-dominated system, the losses would be much greater than Crimea. It
might even turn into a shithole, like Ukraine.
Insurance is more often a scam than not: Lehman Brothers enjoyed pretty high ratings until
their crash. What's more, banks were insured against the risks of sub-prime mortgages they
held. Remember what happened in 2008?
As to the future, nobody has the crystal ball. Can you tell how much a Big Mac will cost
in the US five or ten years from now? $4? $40? $400? $4,000? Your guess is as good as mine.
Ponzi schemes have a habit of crashing and nobody worked out a way of predicting when exactly
the crash will occur.
This might be in the cards. The US sanctions actually squeezed Russian comprador (5th
column) oligarchs, who were always subservient to the West, sent their families there, and
are siphoning off their money offshore, more than anything. If Putin uses this to expropriate
their stolen riches, which he might do (98% of Russian population would be cheering; they'd
cheer even more if Putin hangs those bastards, but that's unlikely), these sanctions would be
yet another example of the US shooting itself in the foot. The US is getting pretty good at
that lately, always screaming that it hurts afterwards.
"... So will a good Christian like Mike Pompeo reconcile these obvious falsehoods, self deception. With every letter, he will be denying the very God he professes to believe in. ..."
"... Trump and his administration are the reveal of the true nature of modern American political Christianity. This is what it always was ..."
"... But The People are not exactly conscientious objector on the issue of Yemen and the crimes committed in our name either. The Republic might rot from the head, but the rot has certainly spread far and wide. ..."
A senior general urged Saudi officials to conduct a thorough investigation into an
airstrike that killed at least 40 children in Yemen, the Pentagon said Monday, an indication
of U.S. concern about allied nations' air operations against Houthi militants.
The general's request actually shows how little concern the U.S. has for how the Saudi
coalition conducts its war effort. If the U.S. were concerned with how the war was being
fought, our officials wouldn't be asking the perpetrators of atrocities to investigate their
own crimes. It is pointless to urge the Saudis to conduct an investigation into their own war
crime when we already know that they will find that they did nothing wrong. As the
Post article notes later on, the coalition's investigations predictably excuse their
According to Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director for Human Rights Watch, Saudi
investigators had cleared coalition military officials of legal responsibility in virtually
all investigations the JIAT had conducted.
The pattern of Saudi coalition conduct over the last three years is clear. Their forces
commit numerous documented war crimes, and then when they "investigate" those crimes they
determine that their forces are guilty of nothing. It would have been laughable to ask the
Saudis to investigate themselves back in 2015, and to do the same over three years later is
inexcusable. It is an invitation to whitewashing heinous, illegal acts. The U.S. will not
honestly call out the coalition members for their crimes against Yemeni civilians because our
deeply complicit in those crimes, and so we are treated to this pantomime farce where we
send officers to call for investigations whose results have been predetermined even before the
crimes were committed. The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone
ordered to participate in it.
There needs to be an independent, international inquiry into war crimes committed by all
sides in Yemen. All parties to the conflict are assuredly guilty of war crimes, and all parties
should be held accountable for what they have done to Yemen's civilians. As long as the U.S.
enables Saudi coalition crimes and then shields them from scrutiny, our government is
implicated in both the crime and the cover-up. Congress could put a stop to this if they
were willing to do their jobs and assume their proper responsibilities, but for more than three
years they have shirked their duties and acquiesced in a despicable and indefensible policy in
"The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to
participate in it."
For all that they're doing it at the order of even more disgusting civilians, this has got
a be a low point in the history of the American military. The word "Yemen" on a resume or CV
will make military people stink for the rest of their lives. Like "My Lai" or "Dishonorable
"The entire policy is a disgrace, and it brings dishonor on everyone ordered to participate
The higher the rank of the officers involving themselves in this – in following
unconstitutional orders to participate in an illegal campaign of aggressive war and
collective punishment – the worse it gets. It would be a heroic act for a private
– or even the officer piloting a refueling tanker – to speak out against this, a
general has much less of a claim to honor and acquiescence both.
If The People really supported those who serve, they would rally to every conscientious
objector – even the misguided ones – because anybody who has the honor and
integrity to question orders is preferable to those that pay no heed to the meaning of their
But The People are not exactly conscientious objector on the issue of Yemen and the
crimes committed in our name either. The Republic might rot from the head, but the rot has
certainly spread far and wide.
Good point. Save alot of shekkels too. Why just the other day I was standing in grocery line having an imaginary conversation
with my imaginary broker, on my fake phone! The conversation became quite heated. It was all going swell until I ran into the
door on my way out, fell over backwards, spilt the milk carton, and crushed a dozen eggs. No one even noticed ..
OSMand replaces google maps very nicely, and works perfectly fine completely off line (by GPS). It also doesn't have to allow
google to update its maps every 30 days to keep it working, download maps for anywhere in the world and just use them.
Lineage OS is a replacement for Android OS. I've had it in 2 phones so far, quite content with it. Open source, so lots of
eyes on it to make sure this sort of shit isn't happening. You can minimize or completely eliminate the google presence, your
Whether some deep-down shit is tracking me, I have no idea. I assume it is, and act accordingly.
This is an interesting analysis shedding some light on how the US intelligence services have gone rogue...
"... Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence. ..."
"... the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough. ..."
"... That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment. ..."
"... He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail? ..."
"... The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up." ..."
"... The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on. ..."
"... "What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task." ..."
"... "The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact." ..."
"... But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts. ..."
"... Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria. ..."
"... Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. ..."
In today's United States, the term "espionage" doesn't get too much
use outside of some specific contexts. There is still sporadic talk of industrial espionage,
but with regard to Americans' own efforts to understand the world beyond their borders, they
prefer the term "intelligence." This may be an intelligent choice, or not, depending on how you
look at things.
First of all, US "intelligence" is only vaguely related to the game of espionage as it has
been traditionally played, and as it is still being played by countries such as Russia and
China. Espionage involves collecting and validating strategically vital information and
conveying it to just the pertinent decision-makers on your side while keeping the fact that you
are collecting and validating it hidden from everyone else.
In eras past, a spy, if discovered, would try to bite down on a cyanide capsule; these days
torture is considered ungentlemanly, and spies that get caught patiently wait to be exchanged
in a spy swap. An unwritten, commonsense rule about spy swaps is that they are done quietly and
that those released are never interfered with again because doing so would complicate
negotiating future spy swaps.
In recent years, the US intelligence agencies have decided that torturing prisoners is a
good idea, but they have mostly been torturing innocent bystanders, not professional spies,
sometimes forcing them to invent things, such as "Al Qaeda." There was no such thing before US
intelligence popularized it as a brand among Islamic terrorists.
Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr.
Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own
spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They
poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no
There are unlikely to be any more British spy swaps with Russia, and British spies working
in Russia should probably be issued good old-fashioned cyanide capsules (since that supposedly
super-powerful Novichok stuff the British keep at their "secret" lab in Porton Down doesn't
work right and is only fatal 20% of the time).
There is another unwritten, commonsense rule about spying in general: whatever happens, it
needs to be kept out of the courts, because the discovery process of any trial would force the
prosecution to divulge sources and methods, making them part of the public record. An
alternative is to hold secret tribunals, but since these cannot be independently verified to be
following due process and rules of evidence, they don't add much value.
A different standard applies to traitors; here, sending them through the courts is
acceptable and serves a high moral purpose, since here the source is the person on trial and
the method -- treason -- can be divulged without harm. But this logic does not apply to proper,
professional spies who are simply doing their jobs, even if they turn out to be double agents.
In fact, when counterintelligence discovers a spy, the professional thing to do is to try to
recruit him as a double agent or, failing that, to try to use the spy as a channel for
Americans have been doing their best to break this rule. Recently, special counsel Robert
Mueller indicted a dozen Russian operatives working in Russia for hacking into the DNC mail
server and sending the emails to Wikileaks. Meanwhile, said server is nowhere to be found (it's
been misplaced) while the time stamps on the files that were published on Wikileaks show that
they were obtained by copying to a thumb drive rather than sending them over the internet.
Thus, this was a leak, not a hack, and couldn't have been done by anyone working remotely from
Furthermore, it is an exercise in futility for a US official to indict Russian citizens in
Russia. They will never stand trial in a US court because of the following clause in the
Russian Constitution: "61.1 A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of
Russia or extradited to another state."
Mueller may summon a panel of constitutional scholars to interpret this sentence, or he can
just read it and weep. Yes, the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule
against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough.
That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked
into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system
has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done
bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged
hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping
a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment.
He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC
officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie
Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian
hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So,
where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail?
Since there exists an agreement between the US and Russia to cooperate on criminal
investigations, Putin offered to question the spies indicted by Mueller. He even offered to
have Mueller sit in on the proceedings. But in return he wanted to question US officials who
may have aided and abetted a convicted felon by the name of William Browder, who is due to
begin serving a nine-year sentence in Russia any time now and who, by the way, donated copious
amounts of his ill-gotten money to the Hillary Clinton election campaign.
In response, the US Senate passed a resolution to forbid Russians from questioning US
officials. And instead of issuing a valid request to have the twelve Russian spies interviewed,
at least one US official made the startlingly inane request to have them come to the US
instead. Again, which part of 61.1 don't they understand?
The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the
traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance --
which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best
ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such
quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US
"intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit
The "intelligence" the US intelligence agencies provide can be anything but; in fact, the
stupider it is the better, because its purpose is allow unintelligent people to make
unintelligent decisions. In fact, they consider facts harmful -- be they about Syrian chemical
weapons, or conspiring to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders, or Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction, or the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden -- because facts require accuracy and rigor
while they prefer to dwell in the realm of pure fantasy and whimsy. In this, their actual
objective is easily discernible.
The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its
allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom
aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and
overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they
are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and
One major advancement in their state of the art has been in moving from real false flag
operations, à la 9/11, to fake false flag operations, à la fake East Gouta
chemical attack in Syria (since fully discredited). The Russian election meddling story is
perhaps the final step in this evolution: no New York skyscrapers or Syrian children were
harmed in the process of concocting this fake narrative, and it can be kept alive seemingly
forever purely through the furious effort of numerous flapping lips. It is now a pure
confidence scam. If you are less then impressed with their invented narratives, then you are a
conspiracy theorist or, in the latest revision, a traitor.
Trump was recently questioned as to whether he trusted US intelligence. He waffled. A
light-hearted answer would have been:
"What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They
were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to
claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped
lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available,
is an impossible task."
A more serious, matter-of-fact answer would have been:
"The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig
the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to
prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately
be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as
conspiracy theory, not as fact."
And a hardcore, deadpan answer would have been:
"The US intelligence services swore an oath to uphold the US Constitution, according to
which I am their Commander in Chief. They report to me, not I to them. They must be loyal to
me, not I to them. If they are disloyal to me, then that is sufficient reason for their
But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake
answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake
intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and
ultimately futile conflicts.
Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of
religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the
Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American
efforts in Iraq and Syria.
The total cost of wars so far this century for the US is reported to be $4,575,610,429,593.
Divided by the 138,313,155 Americans who file tax returns (whether they actually pay any tax is
too subtle a question), it works out to just over $33,000 per taxpayer. If you pay taxes in the
US, that's your bill so far for the various US intelligence "oopsies."
The 16 US intelligence agencies have a combined budget of $66.8 billion, and that seems like
a lot until you realize how supremely efficient they are: their "mistakes" have cost the
country close to 70 times their budget. At a staffing level of over 200,000 employees, each of
them has cost the US taxpayer close to $23 million, on average. That number is totally out of
the ballpark! The energy sector has the highest earnings per employee, at around $1.8 million
per. Valero Energy stands out at $7.6 million per. At $23 million per, the US intelligence
community has been doing three times better than Valero. Hats off! This makes the US
intelligence community by far the best, most efficient collapse driver imaginable.
There are two possible hypotheses for why this is so.
First, we might venture to guess that these 200,000 people are grossly incompetent and that
the fiascos they precipitate are accidental. But it is hard to imagine a situation where
grossly incompetent people nevertheless manage to funnel $23 million apiece, on average, toward
an assortment of futile undertakings of their choosing. It is even harder to imagine that such
incompetents would be allowed to blunder along decade after decade without being called out for
Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has
been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic
and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile
conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How
that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable
definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at
it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better
than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Google is actually tracking you even when you switch your device settings to Location
History "off" .
As journalist Mark Ames comments in response
to a new Associated Press story exposing Google's ability to track people at all times even when they explicitly tell Google
not to via iPhone and Android settings, "The Pentagon invented the internet to be the perfect global surveillance/counterinsurgency
machine. Surveillance is baked into the internet's DNA."
In but the latest in a continuing saga of big tech tracking and surveillance stories which should serve to convince us all we
are living in the beginning phases of a Minority Report style tracking and pansophical "pre-crime" system, it's now confirmed
that the world's most powerful tech company and search tool will always find a way to keep your location data .
The Associated Press sought the help of Princeton researchers to prove that while Google is clear and upfront about giving App
users the ability to turn off or "pause" Location History on their devices, there are other hidden means through which it retains
the data .
Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you've been. Google's
support page on the subject states: "You
can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."
For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on
Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are .
And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like "chocolate chip cookies," or "kids science kits," pinpoint your
precise latitude and longitude -- accurate to the square foot -- and save it to your Google account .
The issue directly affects around two billion people using Google's Android operating software and iPhone users relying on Google
maps or a simple search.
Among the computer science researchers at Princeton conducting the tests is Jonathan Mayer, who
told the AP , "If you're going to allow users to turn off something called 'Location History,' then all the places where you
maintain location history should be turned off," and added, "That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have."
Google, for its part, is defending the software and privacy tracking settings , saying the company has been perfectly clear and
has not violated privacy ethics.
"There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people's experience, including: Location History,
Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services," a Google statement to the AP reads. "We provide clear descriptions
of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time."
According to the AP, there is a way to prevent Google from storing the various location marker and metadata collection possibilities,
but it's somewhat hidden and painstaking.
Google's own description on how to do this as a result of the AP inquiry
is as follows :
To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not
specifically reference location information. Called "Web and App Activity" and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety
of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.
When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. But leaving "Web & App Activity" on and
turning "Location History" off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the "timeline," its visualization of your daily
travels. It does not stop Google's collection of other location markers.
You can delete these location markers by hand, but it's a painstaking process since you have to select them individually ,
unless you want to delete all of your stored activity.
Of course, the more constant location data obviously means more advertising profits and further revenue possibilities for Google
and its clients, so we fully expect future hidden tracking loopholes to possibly come to light.
Beginning in 2014, Google has utilized user location histories to allow advertisers to track the effectiveness of online ads at
driving foot traffic . With the continued
possibility of real-time tracking to generate billions of dollars, it should come as no surprise that Google would seek to make it
as difficult (or perhaps impossible?) as it can for users to ensure they aren't tracked.
"... "Most ironic of all, US and Saudi-backed sectarian extremists, including Al Qaeda in Yemen, had served as proxy forces meant to keep Houthi militias in check by proxy so the need for a direct military intervention such as the one now unfolding would not be necessary. This means that Saudi Arabia and the US are intervening in Yemen only after the terrorists they were supporting were overwhelmed and the regime they were propping up collapsed." ..."
"... "Indeed, the conflict in Yemen is a proxy war. Not between Iran and Saudi Arabia per say, but between Iran and the United States, with the United States electing Saudi Arabia as its unfortunate stand-in." ..."
"... "In reality, Saudi Arabia's and the United States' rhetoric aside, a brutal regional regime meddled in Yemen and lost, and now the aspiring global hemegon sponsoring it from abroad has ordered it to intervene directly and clean up its mess." ..."
"... Sanders won't say that and most media will simply blame it on the U.S. supplying weapons but they don't get into the why, typically blaming it on the MIC being the MIC. ..."
"... "Most ironic of all, US and Saudi-backed sectarian extremists, including Al Qaeda in Yemen, had served as proxy forces meant to keep Houthi militias in check by proxy so the need for a direct military intervention such as the one now unfolding would not be necessary. This means that Saudi Arabia and the US are intervening in Yemen only after the terrorists they were supporting were overwhelmed and the regime they were propping up collapsed." ..."
"... "By backing the Saudi coalition's war in Yemen with weapons, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance, the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place there." -- Sen. Bernie Sanders ..."
Like all wars, most media, including Common Dreams, either sugarcoat them or obfuscate the
real purpose. And of course the politicians do that even better, like Sanders, who just a few
years ago was begging Saudi Arabia to "get their hands dirty", just at the time that the U.S.
proxy war in Yemen heated up with their lapdog Saudi Arabia getting their hands dirty indeed.
The problem of course is that it's not just the U.S. supplying the bombs and military
guidance, it's that it's actually another U.S. proxy war using it's favorite terrorists and
terrorist supporting countries for it's imperialist agenda.
"Most ironic of all, US and Saudi-backed sectarian extremists, including Al Qaeda in
Yemen, had served as proxy forces meant to keep Houthi militias in check by proxy so the need
for a direct military intervention such as the one now unfolding would not be necessary. This
means that Saudi Arabia and the US are intervening in Yemen only after the terrorists they
were supporting were overwhelmed and the regime they were propping up collapsed."
"Indeed, the conflict in Yemen is a proxy war. Not between Iran and Saudi Arabia per say,
but between Iran and the United States, with the United States electing Saudi Arabia as its
"In reality, Saudi Arabia's and the United States' rhetoric aside, a brutal regional
regime meddled in Yemen and lost, and now the aspiring global hemegon sponsoring it from
abroad has ordered it to intervene directly and clean up its mess."
don't get the why/when for if they
ever do amerika won't be amerika anymore
and that could go both ways, for better
or for worse
and you're correct in Sanders won't say
it but Bernie shouldn't be the one stop
cure all, their need to be many more voices
but the crickets are most abundant.
Sanders won't say that and most media will simply blame it on the U.S. supplying weapons
but they don't get into the why, typically blaming it on the MIC being the MIC.
Like all wars, most media, including Common Dreams, either sugarcoat them or obfuscate
the real purpose. And of course the politicians do that even better, like Sanders, who
just a few years ago was begging Saudi Arabia to "get their hands dirty", just at the
time that the U.S. proxy war in Yemen heated up with their lapdog Saudi Arabia getting
their hands dirty indeed. The problem of course is that it's not just the U.S. supplying
the bombs and military guidance, it's that it's actually another U.S. proxy war using
it's favorite terrorists and terrorist supporting countries for it's imperialist
"Most ironic of all, US and Saudi-backed sectarian extremists, including Al Qaeda
in Yemen, had served as proxy forces meant to keep Houthi militias in check by proxy so
the need for a direct military intervention such as the one now unfolding would not be
necessary. This means that Saudi Arabia and the US are intervening in Yemen only after
the terrorists they were supporting were overwhelmed and the regime they were propping up
"Indeed, the conflict in Yemen is a proxy war. Not between Iran and Saudi Arabia per
say, but between Iran and the United States, with the United States electing Saudi Arabia
as its unfortunate stand-in."
"In reality, Saudi Arabia's and the United States' rhetoric aside, a brutal regional
regime meddled in Yemen and lost, and now the aspiring global hemegon sponsoring it from
abroad has ordered it to intervene directly and clean up its mess."
(the other so called progressive heroes) are saying,
"By backing the Saudi coalition's war in Yemen with weapons, aerial refueling, and
targeting assistance, the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place
-- Sen. Bernie Sanders
is basically propaganda. Clearly he's making it sound like the U.S. is supplying weapons
and some military assistance and therefore is complicit in the atrocities that Saudi Arabia
and it's "coalition" are perpetrating in "their" war, which in turn leads people to believe
(and the progressive hero politicians to propose) the U.S. simply needs to stop supplying
those weapons and military assistance, i.e., get out of Saudi's war. But that misses the
history of U.S. interest and involvement in Yemen, it's real role in the near genocide
happening there and the overall agenda of those controlling our government. And that is why
most Americans, including most progressives, don't know what is really going on in Yemen. Our
political "representatives" and the 90% owned by six rich bastard corporations oligarchy
media won't tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It's why people still
believe the war in Syria is a civil war. It's why people believe the Russia cold war
propaganda. That's all they hear and the only way to get the real truth is to dig for it and
try to make sense of the big picture along with the true history of this country and our
government and political system.
Not to mention he's a fucking hypocrite.
"Even worse, after the Saudis started bombing Yemen with U.S. government backing earlier
this year, killing thousands and leading to what the UN is now calling a "humanitarian
catastrophe," and suffering that is "almost incomprehensible," Sanders continued. In another
interview, again with Wolf Blitzer in May, Sanders did correctly note that as a result of the
Iraq invasion, "we've destabilized the region, we've given rise to Al-Qaeda, ISIS." But then
he actually called for more intervention: "What we need now, and this is not easy stuff, I
think the President is trying, you need to bring together an international coalition, Wolf,
led by the Muslim countries themselves! Saudi Arabia is the third largest military budget in
the world, they're going to have to get their hands dirty in this fight. We should be
supporting, but at the end of the day this is [a] fight over what Islam is about, the soul of
Islam, we should support those countries taking on ISIS."
(Note on Truthdig article: also propaganda inserted by both Sanders and the author by
insinuating the U.S. wars in the MENA "gave rise" to ISIS. That is not true, ISIS was
created, aided and abetted FOR the wars in the MENA and beyond.)
Marxism provides one of the best analysis of capitalism; problems start when Marxists propose
"... Such demand-compression occurs above all through the imposition of an income deflation on the petty producers, and on the working population in general, in the Third World. This was done in the colonial period through two means: one, "deindustrialization" or the displacement of local craft production by imports of manufactures from the capitalist sector; and two, the "drain of surplus" where a part of the taxes extracted from petty producers was simply taken away in the form of exported goods without any quid pro quo ..."
"... I mean by the term "imperialism" the arrangement that the capitalist system sets up for imposing income deflation on the working population of the Third World for countering the threat of inflation that would otherwise erode the value of money in the metropolis and make the system unviable. "Imperialism" in this sense characterizes both the colonial and the contemporary periods. ..."
"... The fact that the diffusion of capitalism to the Third World has proceeded by leaps and bounds of late, with its domestic corporate-financial oligarchy getting integrated into globalized finance capital, and the fact that workers in the metropolis have also been facing an income squeeze under globalization, are important new developments; but they do not negate the basic tendency of the system to impose income deflation upon the working population of the Third World, a tendency that remains at the very core of the system. ..."
"... any state activism, other than for promoting its own exclusive and direct interest, is anathema for finance capital, which is why, not surprisingly, "sound finance" and "fiscal responsibility" are back in vogue today, when finance capital, now globalized, is in ascendancy. Imperialism is thus a specifically capitalist way of obtaining the commodities it requires for itself, but which are produced outside its own domain. ..."
"... dirigiste regimes ..."
"... With the reassertion of the dominance of finance, in the guise now of an international ..."
"... Contemporary imperialism therefore is the imperialism of international finance capital which is served by nation-states (for any nation-state that defies the will of international finance capital runs the risk of capital flight from, and hence the insolvency of, its economy). The US, being the leading capitalist state, plays the leading role in promoting and protecting the interests of international finance capital. But talking about a specific US imperialism, or a German or British or French imperialism obscures this basic fact. ..."
"... Indeed, a good deal of discussion about whether the world is heading toward multi-polarity or the persistence of US dominance misses the point that the chief actor in today's world is international or globalized finance capital, and not US or German or British finance capital. ..."
"... US military intervention all over the world, in order to acquire a proper meaning has to be located within the broader setting of the imperialism of international finance capital. ..."
C.J. Polychroniou: How do you define imperialism and what imperialist tendencies do you detect as inherent in the
brutal expansion of the logic of capitalism in the neoliberal global era?
Prabhat Patnaik: The capitalist sector of the world, which began by being located, and
continues largely to be located, in the temperate region, requires as its raw materials and
means of consumption a whole range of primary commodities which are not available or
producible, either at all or in adequate quantities, within its own borders. These commodities
have to be obtained from the tropical and sub-tropical region within which almost the whole of
the Third World is located; and the bulk of them (leaving aside minerals) are produced by a set
of petty producers (peasants). What is more, they are subject to "increasing supply price," in
the sense that as demand for them increases in the capitalist sector, larger quantities of them
can be obtained, if at all, only at higher prices, thanks to the fixed size of the tropical
This means an ex ante tendency toward accelerating inflation as capital
accumulation proceeds, undermining the value of money under capitalism and hence the viability
of the system as a whole. To prevent this, the system requires that with an increase in demand
from the capitalist sector, as capital accumulation proceeds, there must be a compression of
demand elsewhere for these commodities, so that the net demand does not increase, and
increasing supply price does not get a chance to manifest itself at all.
Such demand-compression occurs above all through the imposition of an income deflation on
the petty producers, and on the working population in general, in the Third World. This was
done in the colonial period through two means: one, "deindustrialization" or the displacement
of local craft production by imports of manufactures from the capitalist sector; and two, the
"drain of surplus" where a part of the taxes extracted from petty producers was simply taken
away in the form of exported goods without any quid pro quo . The income of the
working population of the Third World, and hence its demand, was thus kept down; and
metropolitan capitalism's demand for such commodities was met without any inflationary threat
to the value of money. Exactly a similar process of income deflation is imposed now upon the
working population of the Third World by the neoliberal policies of globalization.
I mean by the term "imperialism" the arrangement that the capitalist system sets up for
imposing income deflation on the working population of the Third World for countering the
threat of inflation that would otherwise erode the value of money in the metropolis and make
the system unviable. "Imperialism" in this sense characterizes both the colonial and the
We recognize the need for a reserve army of labor to ward off the threat to the value of
money arising from wage demands of workers. Ironically, however, we do not recognize the
parallel and even more pressing need of the system (owing to increasing supply price) for the
imposition of income deflation on the working population of the Third World for warding off a
The fact that the diffusion of capitalism to the Third World has proceeded by leaps and
bounds of late, with its domestic corporate-financial oligarchy getting integrated into
globalized finance capital, and the fact that workers in the metropolis have also been facing
an income squeeze under globalization, are important new developments; but they do not negate
the basic tendency of the system to impose income deflation upon the working population of the
Third World, a tendency that remains at the very core of the system.
Those who argue that imperialism is no longer a relevant analytic construct point to the
multifaceted aspects of today's global economic exchanges and to a highly complex process
involved in the distribution of value which, simply put, cannot be reduced to imperialism. How
do you respond to this line of thinking?
Capitalism today is of course much more complex, with an enormous financial superstructure.
But that paradoxically makes inflation even more threatening. The value of this vast array of
financial assets would collapse in the event of inflation, bringing down this superstructure,
which incidentally is the reason for the current policy obsession with "inflation targeting."
This makes the imperialist arrangement even more essential. The more complex capitalism
becomes, the more it needs its basic simple props.
I should clarify here that if "land-augmenting" measures [such as irrigation, high-yielding
seeds and better production practices] could be introduced in the Third World, then,
notwithstanding the physical fixity of the tropical land mass, the threat of increasing supply
price -- and with it, [the threat] of inflation -- could be warded off without any income
deflation. Indeed, on the contrary, the working population of the Third World would be better
off through such measures. But these measures require state support and state expenditure, a
fact that Marx had recognized long ago. But any state activism, other than for promoting its
own exclusive and direct interest, is anathema for finance capital, which is why, not
surprisingly, "sound finance" and "fiscal responsibility" are back in vogue today, when finance
capital, now globalized, is in ascendancy. Imperialism is thus a specifically capitalist way of
obtaining the commodities it requires for itself, but which are produced outside its own
The post-decolonization dirigiste regimes [regimes directed by a central authority]
in the Third World had actually undertaken land-augmentation measures. Because of this, even as
exports of commodities to the metropolis had risen to sustain the biggest boom ever witnessed
in the history of capitalism, per capita food grain availability had also increased in those
countries. But I see that period as a period of retreat of metropolitan capitalism, enforced by
the wound inflicted upon it by the Second World War. With the reassertion of the dominance of
finance, in the guise now of an international finance capital, the Third World states
have withdrawn from supporting petty producers, a process of income deflation is in full swing,
and the imperialist arrangement is back in place, because of which we can see once more a
tendency toward a secular decline in per capita food grain availability in the Third World as
in the colonial period.
There is a third way -- apart from a greater obsession with inflation aversion and a yoking
of Third World states to promoting the interests of globalized finance rather than defending
domestic petty producers -- in which contemporary capitalism strengthens the imperialist
arrangement. It may be thought that the value of imports of Third World commodities into the
capitalist metropolis is so small that we are exaggerating the inflation threat from that
source to metropolitan currencies. This smallness itself, of course, is an expression of an
acutely exploitative relationship. In addition, however, the threat to the Third World
currencies themselves from a rise in the prices of these commodities becomes acute in a regime
of free cross-border financial flows as now, which threatens the entire world trade and
payments system and hence makes income deflation particularly urgent. Hence the need for the
imperialist arrangement becomes even more acute.
Not long ago, even liberals like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times were arguing that
"McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas" (that is, the US Air Force). Surely,
this is a crude version of imperialism, but what about today's US imperialism? Isn't it still
alive and kicking?
The world that Lenin had written about consisted of nation-based, nation-state-supported
financial oligarchies engaged in intense inter-imperialist rivalry for repartitioning the world
through wars. When [Marxist theorist] Karl Kautsky had suggested the possibility of a truce
among rival powers for a peaceful division of the world, Lenin had pointed to the fact that the
phenomenon of uneven development under capitalism would necessarily subvert any such specific
truce. The world we have today is characterized by the hegemony of international
finance capital which is interested in preventing any partitioning of the world, so
that it can move around freely across the globe.
Contemporary imperialism therefore is the imperialism of international finance capital which
is served by nation-states (for any nation-state that defies the will of international finance
capital runs the risk of capital flight from, and hence the insolvency of, its economy). The
US, being the leading capitalist state, plays the leading role in promoting and protecting the
interests of international finance capital. But talking about a specific US imperialism, or a
German or British or French imperialism obscures this basic fact.
Indeed, a good deal of discussion about whether the world is heading toward multi-polarity
or the persistence of US dominance misses the point that the chief actor in today's world is
international or globalized finance capital, and not US or German or British finance capital.
So, the concept of imperialism that [Utsa Patnaik and I] are talking about belongs to a
different terrain of discourse from the concept of US imperialism per se . The latter,
though it is, of course, empirically visible because of US military intervention all over the
world, in order to acquire a proper meaning has to be located within the broader setting of the
imperialism of international finance capital.
Some incidentally have seen the muting of inter-imperialist rivalry in today's world as a
vindication of Kautsky's position over that of Lenin. This, however, is incorrect, since both
of them were talking about a world of national finance capitals which contemporary capitalism
has gone beyond.
... ... ...
One final question: How should radical movements and organizations, in both the core and the
periphery of the world capitalist economy, be organizing to combat today's imperialism?
Obviously, the issue of imperialism is important not for scholastic reasons, but because of
the praxis that a recognition of its role engenders. From what I have been arguing, it is clear
that since globalization involves income deflation for the peasantry and petty producers, and
since their absorption into the ranks of the active army of labor under capitalism does not
occur because of the paucity of jobs that are created even when rates of output growth are
high, there is a tendency toward an absolute immiserization of the working population.
For the petty producers, this tendency operates directly; and for others, it operates through
the driving down of the "reservation wage" owing to the impoverishment of petty producers.
Such immiserization is manifest above all in the decline in per capita food grain
absorption, both directly and indirectly (the latter via processed foods and feed grains). An
improvement in the conditions of living of the working population of the Third World then
requires a delinking from globalization (mainly through capital controls, and also
trade controls to the requisite extent) by an alternative state, based on a worker-peasant
alliance, that pursues a different trajectory of development. Such a trajectory would emphasize
peasant-agriculture-led growth, land redistribution (so as to limit the extent of
differentiation within the peasantry) and the formation of voluntary cooperatives and
collectives for carrying forward land-augmentation measures, and even undertaking
value-addition activities, including industrialization.
Small Third World countries would no doubt find it difficult to adopt such a program because
of their limited resource base and narrow home market. But they will have to come together with
other small countries to constitute larger, more viable units. But the basic point is that the
question of "making globalization work" or "having globalization with a human face" simply does
The problem with this praxis is that it is not only the bourgeoisie in the Third World
countries, but even sections of the middle-class professionals who have been beneficiaries of
globalization, who would oppose any such delinking. But the world capitalist crisis, which is a
consequence of this finance-capital-led globalization itself, is causing disaffection among
these middle-class beneficiaries. They, too, would now be more willing to support an
alternative trajectory of development that breaks out of the straitjacket imposed by
"... "The currency of our country is targeted directly by the US president," ..."
"... "This attack, initiated by the biggest player in the global financial system, reveals a similar situation in all developing countries." ..."
"... "All of our action plan and measures are ready," ..."
"... "Together with our banks, we prepared our action plan regarding the situation with our real sector companies, including Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the sector that is affected by the fluctuation the most," ..."
"... "Together with our banks and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA), we will take the necessary measures quickly." ..."
"... "It is making an operation against Turkey Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down," ..."
"... "We have seen your play and we challenge you." ..."
Turkey has accused Donald Trump of leading an attack on its national currency. The lira lost
about 40 percent of its value against the US dollar this year and, to reduce its volatility,
Ankara has prepared an urgent action plan. "The currency of our country is targeted
directly by the US president," Finance Minister Berat Albayrak told the Hurriyet.
"This attack, initiated by the biggest player in the global financial system, reveals a
similar situation in all developing countries."
The Turkish lira took a massive hit against the dollar on Friday following Trump's decision
to double tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey to 20 percent and 50 percent.
Overall, the national currency lost roughly about 40 percent of its value this year.
To calm down the markets, the government instructed its institutions to implement a series
of actions on Monday. "All of our action plan and measures are ready," Albayrak said,
"Together with our banks, we prepared our action plan regarding the situation with our
real sector companies, including Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the sector
that is affected by the fluctuation the most," the minister
said . "Together with our banks and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency
(BRSA), we will take the necessary measures quickly."
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile slammed the US decision to impose new tariffs on
steel and aluminum imports.
"It is making an operation against Turkey Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in
every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down,"
in Trabzon on Sunday. "We have seen your play and we challenge you."
"... Coalition attacks on Yemeni markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never call them out for what they do. ..."
There was another Saudi coalition airstrike on a
crowded market in northern Yemen today. Dozens of civilians have been killed and dozens more
injured. Many of the dead and injured were children whose school bus was hit in the attack:
Coalition attacks on Yemeni
markets are unfortunately all too common. The Saudis and their allies know they can strike
civilian targets with impunity because the Western governments that arm and support them never
call them out for what they do. The U.S. continues to arm and refuel coalition planes
despite ample evidence that the coalition has been deliberately attacking civilian targets. At
the very least, the coalition hits civilian targets with such regularity that they are
procedures they are supposed to be following to prevent that. The weapons that the U.S.,
Britain, and other arms suppliers provide them are being used to slaughter wedding-goers,
hospital patients, and schoolchildren, and U.S. refueling of coalition planes allows them to
carry out more of these attacks than they otherwise could. Today's attack ranks as one of the
Saada has come under some of the most intense attacks from the coalition bombing campaign.
The coalition illegally
declared the entire area a military target three years ago, and ever since they have been
water treatment systems, and
hospitals without any regard for the innocent civilians that are killed and injured.
The official U.S. line on support for the war is that even more civilians would be killed if
the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition. Our government has never provided any evidence to
support this, and the record shows that civilian casualties from Saudi coalition airstrikes
increased over the last year. The Saudis and their allies either don't listen to any of the
advice they're receiving, or they know they won't pay any price for ignoring it. As long as the
U.S. arms and refuels coalition planes while they slaughter Yemeni civilians in attacks like
this one, our government is implicated in the war crimes enabled by our unstinting military
assistance. Congress can and must halt that assistance immediately.
Update: CNN reports on the
aftermath of the airstrike:
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that a hospital it supports in
Saada had received 29 dead bodies of "mainly children" under 15 years of age, and 40 injured,
including 30 children.
"(The hospital) is very busy. They've been receiving wounded and dead since the morning
and it is non-stop ," ICRC head of communications and spokesperson Mirella Hodeib told
Second Update: The Associated Press
reports that the death toll stands at 43 with another 63 injured.
Third Update: The death toll has reportedly risen to 50 . 77 were
The repetitive frequency and intensity of these attacks on hospitals, schools, markets and
other civilian gatherings, coupled with the indifference of the guilty national governments
and their international enablers, signals that the world and human species is passing through
a mass psychosis. This psychosis is playing itself out at all levels. Fascism, which is very
current as a national psychology, is generally speaking, a coping strategy for dealing with
nasty chaos. This coping strategy is designed around generating even more chaos, since that
is a familiar and therefore more comfortable pattern of behavior; and that does provide a
delusion of stability. A good example would be the sanctions just declared by the Trump
Administration on Iranian commerce. In an intrinsically connected global market, these
sanctions are so thorough that they qualify as a blockade, within a contingency plan for
greater global conflict. But those who destroy hospitals, schools, school buses and public
celebrations are not, otherwise, forward looking nice people. We are descending into a nasty
fascist war psychosis. Just shake it. Live. Long and well.
"even more civilians would be killed if the U.S. weren't supporting the coalition"
If we did not hand them satellite images, did not service, repair and refuel their planes,
and did not sell them the bombs, then they would . kill more civilians how? They could not
even reach their targets, let alone drop explosives they do not have.
What Would Mohammad Do? Buy bombs from the Russians? Who have better quality control and
fewer duds, hence more victims?
What Would Mohammad Do? Get the UAE to hire Blackwater to poison the wells across
How exactly do the profiteers in our country, that get counted out blood money for every
single Yemeni killed, propose that the Saudis and Emiratis would make this worse?
But, good to know that our "smart" and "precise" munitions can still hit a school bus.
Made In America!
The coverage in the media has been predictably cowardly and contemptible in the aftermath of
this story. I read articles from CNN and MSNBC and they were variations on "school bus
bombed", in the passive tense – with no mention of who did it or who is supporting them
in the headline, ad if the bombings were natural disasters.
Fox, predictably, was even worse and led with "Biblical relics endangered by war", which
speaks volumes about the presumed priorities of their viewership.
This, and not anything to do with red meat domestic politics, is the worst media
malpractice of our time. "Stop directly helping the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks drop
bombs on school children" should be the absolute easiest possible moral issue for our media
to take a stand on and yet they treat it like it's radioactive.
Speaking as someone who considers themselves a liberal I am infuriated by the Democrats
response. How can the party leadership not see that if they keep flogging the horse of
Russian trolls and shrugging their shoulders over American given (not sold – *given*)
bombs being dropped on schools and hospitals, no one is ever going to take the supposed
Democratic anti-war platform seriously again. The Republicans can afford to be tarde by
association with these atrocities. The Democrats can't.
I wonder how many Democrats are in the same boat as me right now: I may not like Trump or
the Christian conservatives but fights over the Supreme Court or coal plants or a healthcare
law look terribly petty compared to the apparent decision by Saudi Arabia to kill literally
millions. For the first time in my life I'm seriously wishing there was a third-party
candidate I could support and the congressional elections just so I could send a message on
"Following an attack this morning on a bus driving children in Dahyan Market, northern
Saada, (an ICRC-supported) hospital has received dozens of dead and wounded," the
organisation said on Twitter without giving more details.
In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the coalition called the strike
a "legitimate military action"
The Comment section:
"The US provides the in-flight refueling that makes these bombing sorties possible. The
"Five Eyes" provides the surveillance that picks the targets, and the navigation to hit
KSA is doing precisely what the AZ Empire requires of it. Just as the British Royals and
their banker sponsors dictated over a century ago, so does the Empire direct these heinous
If the Saud Royals ever did go "rogue," they'd be taken out just as the AZ [American
Zionist] Empire has done time and time again."
"There is also the documented presence of American forces and officers in the operations room
of the Saudi coalition." https://twitter.com/abcdaee198/status/1027649243568386055
"Why is it that the Zionist media were up in arms every time White Helmets were digging
Syrian children out of rubble or dousing them with hoses? Dozens of children were slaughtered
in Yemen, and many more maimed and injured and hundreds of thousands are being subjected to
famine but there's only deafening silence on the Zionist-run media."
"Imagine the reaction if the Russians or Syrians had blown up a busload of kids."
-- On the same topic: Israel demanded -- and BBC changed its headline. In a headline, BBC
claimed that "Israeli air strikes 'kill pregnant woman and baby.'" After some time, BBC
changed its title to "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child' after rockets hit Israel:
Obama spoke about mothers sending their children to school in his acceptance speech for
Nobel Peace Prize.
He contrasted reality vs hope
and we learned which one he would deliver.
Obama in Oslo, December 10, 2009,:
"Somewhere today, a mother facing punishing poverty
still takes the time to teach her child, scrapes together what
few coins she has to send that child to school
-- because she believes that
a cruel world still
has a place for that child's dreams.
Let us live by their example.
We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us,
and still strive for justice .
We can admit the intractability of deprivation,
and still strive for dignity.
we can understand that there will be war,
and still strive for peace.
We can do that -- for that is the story of human progress; that's the
of all the world; and at this moment of challenge,
that must be our work here on Earth.
Thank you very much.
One week later Obama shredded dozens of women and children in Yemen
and covered it up.
The pic provides an example of how the Outlaw US Empire implements its global population
control policy--all bombs, no kids. Twitterverse is madder than a wet hen. One went to
Trump's twitter to ask where's his outrage over these kid's real deaths, not the staged ones
he launched missiles at Syria over. It deserves to be retweeted millions of times.
Unfortunately, sadists are incapable of being shamed; they just grin at such pics while
congratulating themselves. Betcha the Trump dossier got it backwards--It was Trump who pissed
all over the Russian women.
Almasdarnews. Com. Are reporting a massive Israile army convoy heading for Gaza bigger than
enything seen since 2014 ! This looks serious ! The whole dam world picture is looking way
beyond serious !!!
kudos the exceptional nation in support of those other exceptional nations - ksa and
everyone else on the planet want to know when this horror will end...
Ahh, thats why. The Saudis are incompetent and vile, but trust the us to be
even more incompetent and even more vile and putrid.
This is horrible! I see it and can not really do much. It is a never ending story of innocent
people being killed off. But it does nurture a solid and hot hate to those people who are
architects of this. They feel safe and secured, but they are sitting on a volcano, and when it
goes, they will go too. Maybe a Gadaffi end.
Posted by: Den Lille Abe , Aug 9, 2018 4:42:25 PM |
Ahh, thats why. The Saudis are incompetent and vile, but trust the us to be even more
incompetent and even more vile and putrid.
This is horrible! I see it and can not really do much. It is a never ending story of innocent
people being killed off. But it does nurture a solid and hot hate to those people who are
architects of this. They feel safe and secured, but they are sitting on a volcano, and when
it goes, they will go too. Maybe a Gadaffi end.
Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Aug 9, 2018 4:42:25 PM |
Hate is a hefty spice; it can make you blind to reason, it can make you oblivious to truth,
and make you inoculated against love. But hate controlled, is also a drug that is powerful
and useful, hate nurtured and fed can move mountains and empires. Hate is good in manageable
doses and wrecking in large ones. But take it at own risk.
They are claiming these are legitimate military targets, they targeted 'militants', the
Houthis use 'child soldiers', and use human shields. I bet Nikki Haley still thinks they are
the most wonderful people ever, on the front lines, fighting against the real monsters,
@15 Nah, Christian, you are clearly wrong. Nikki would consider KSA to have the 2nd most
wonderful people ever, with the USA holding the Bronze Medal position. There is no doubt who
she holds as The Chosen People.
Don't let this stuff get normalised ! That's why they do it in plain site. It desensitises
the dumb public
i e trump supporters in u s, torys in uk. We should be feeling outrage and hatered towards
the people that
do this . Including our own governments.
No one is excusing Trump. The point that needs to be emphasized is that the War Party has
two wings: repubs and dems. Every last president since WWII has put the interests of imperial
conquest over the interests of the American people. Bill Clinton, Bush, Obama and now Trump
(as well as all of their wannabes Gore, Kerry, McCain HRC) were and are war mongers. They are
united in their lust for killing children (don't forget Madeline Albright with her "it was
worth it" over the 500,000 babies Clinton killed through sanctions).
Mark2 opines It desensitises the dumb public i e trump supporters
Are you serious? You should listen to my college educated colleagues (more than half with
professional degrees) most of whom are democrats and not one who voted for Trump. When it
comes to war against Syria, Libya, threats against Russia they are true blooded war mongers.
Actually worse than Trump supporters because they in general oppose those wars or war
Toivos @ 23
Dumb is as dumb does! They come in all shapes sizes and political party's . Trumps a greedy
pig puts children in cages and is a kkk racist don't make excuses he's a monster full
Don't give me eny of that o but, o but blah blah.!!!
It already is normalized. Go look at many of the comments on MSM (left and right) and so
called progressive sites. Hopefully those are all astroturfers but I suspect many are real
folks. Its luny tunes. They live in the Matrix and are blissfully unaware. Like something out
of 1984 during the 2 minute hate but its 24/7 , or maybe walking dead if the WD could type or
O Canada! Recently, I praised them as "New Trumpland". But why did they forget that silence
can be golden? Apparently, it dawned on PM that his party is called "liberal" and thus it
must make "liberal calls"*. But what cause should be selected? Massacres and starvation of
cute emaciated children? Conservative predecessor of current PM got ca. 7 G USD contract for
"vehicles" (motorized infantly?) for KSA, and Trudeau will not endanger precious Canadian
jobs. After leaving the task to the Foreign Minister (Freedland, Feminazi**), the plight of
women right activists in KSA with family members in Canada.
Canada cannot yield to Saudi Arabia's deranged overreaction
The regime's reaction to a couple of tweets is more about snuffing out its own country's
voices of dissent
Iyad El-Baghdadi, Amarnath Amarasingam · for CBC News · Posted: Aug 09, 2018
4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: August 9
If Canada folds, some fear that a line would be drawn in the sand, and behind that line,
petty Arab dictators could do what they want with their activist communities, without as much
as a complaint from the world. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)
Of course Canada cannot yield. For starters, it is unclear what would appease the irate
Crown Prince. Perhaps Trudeau and Friedland coming together to KSA to submit to a public
flogging. But judging from the titles I have seen, Canadians cherish "delicate balance", and
they though that an occasional complaint that is not 100% aligned with USA and principal
customers of Canadian products should be safe.
Agreed. When it comes to knowing the Truth of the Outlaw US Empire's overseas deeds, most
people are illiterate/ignorant. They hang the flag aside their front porch and feel
righteous. The only reason we don't have multitudes of people saluting whoever's POTUS and
chanting Sieg Heil is because in the back of their tiny minds they somehow know that's
incorrect behavior but don't know why. Some provided feedback on Michael Hudson's going
autobiographical saying his upbringing seemed unreal--faked--thus showing how little they
know of WW2 Home Front US history when people were much more informed and politically
It seems safe to say that Animal Farm & 1984 have both put down
extensive roots within the Outlaw US Empire to the point where digging up and destroying
those weeds will cause major social damage. Can't make an omelet without breaking eggs is how
the saying goes. But a positive outcome isn't the only possibility.
The deliberate targeting of civilians is Outlaw US Empire policy since WW2 despite it
being a War Crime. Guernica was an outrage, but Powell had it covered up since spoke directly
to US actions since the paint dried in 1937. The School Bus was yet another of all too many
Guernicas that have occurred since. Someone mentioned desensitized. Yes, on an International
Scale. It was an act of Terror, but how many are describing it as such? BigLie Media? Not a
chance if they show/mention it at all.
I'm not sure we should generalize about Canadians. Trudeau is trying to satisfy his base
and presumably staying true to his own liberal convictions. But I've met Canadians who
dislike him intensely. They do not think gender politics, welcoming refugees, settling native
land claims, lecturing Saudi Arabia etc. is the best way to maintain a high standard of
Israel demanded - and BBC changed its headline. In a headline, BBC claimed that "Israeli air
strikes 'kill pregnant woman and baby.'" After some time, BBC changed its title to "Gaza air
strikes 'kill woman and child' after rockets hit Israel https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/250275
A good comment from HistoryHacker (Guardian web page), I thought I share it:
"Let's see: in 1913 the British grabbed Iranian oil and made it their property. Six
years later, Britain imposed another agreement and took over Iran's treasury and the army.
During the Second World War, Britain's requisitioning of food led to famine and widespread
disease. Shortly after that war, Iran's own efforts to establish its nascent democracy and
nationalize the oil industry were thwarted. And by whom? Eisenhower joined the systematic
British looting, and, sadly, by 1953, the blossoming Iranian democracy was completely
destroyed by the covert operation of the American CIA and British MI6, known as Operation
Ajax. In place of the democracy was installed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a US-British puppet, a
despot deeply hated by his own people.
America picked up the baton, and here's Trump going bat crazy!
What could Iranians possibly think?! What do you think?"
@36 I knew that PB. Excuse my inadequate attempt to emulate your tone.
But I think it's true that Canadians enjoy a high standard of living mainly because of
things like water, oil, minerals, wheat, lumber etc. and most prefer not to get involved in
Saudi Arabian politics.
I hope that Canada will finally lead heavy public condemnation of the Saudi-UAE coalition
murderous actions in Yemen. Canada has nothing to loose anymore, it is high time it take a
serious stand on the 3 years human rights abuse of the Yemenis.
It should indirectly send a dissaproval message to the USA on its complicity in these war
Maybe it is time for Canada, to reinstate diplomatic relation with Iran to snub the Saudis
and the USA, but I am dreaming...
"But I think it's true that Canadians enjoy a high standard of living mainly because of
things like water, oil, minerals, wheat, lumber etc. "
Not quite. It's because of water, oil, minerals, wheat lumber, etc., AND they don't breed
India has plenty of resources - adjusting for the cold climate in Canada, probably about
as much as Canada, effectively. It's just that these resources don't go that far split up 1.4
billion ways and counting.
And Yemen? With very little water, and one of the highest fertility rates in the world,
what do you expect?
But what most makes me feel sick is not that American commenters out there, well payed or
volunteer, insist after two years already on this cantinele, what takes me out of my nerves
is that the Russians insist...in throwing balls out with certain issues....
were a ruse as usual . Supposedly, a cease fire was in place but was broken as reported
at the link. Ongoing protests against the "Nationality Law" continue and go unreported as
usual. The continuing murder of Gazans serves as cover.
@37, "But I think it's true that Canadians enjoy a high standard of living mainly because of
things like water, oil, minerals, wheat, lumber etc. and most prefer not to get involved in
Saudi Arabian politics."
As a lifelong Canuckistani, my view is that Canada is the world's largest mine - and it is
the USA will perhaps suffer blowback, both at home and in many places 'strategic' to its
Empire, for generation or two to come, for all the horrible and savage war crimes perpetuated
by it and its allies on the poor people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia,
Palestine, and especially now Yemen, the poorest of the poor - the sorrows of Empire
CarlD, the purpose of sanctions is to hurt the citizens of a country enough that they will
rise up and revolt against their ruling class.
The AZ Empire has been striving for complete global dominance for a long time, and that
means either destroying Russia and China or at least installing "friendly" governments.
Hence, sanctions, "trade wars," and infiltration to foment "color revolutions."
Pence's new Space Command is a blatant telltale that the twice-hacked and never-audited
Pentagon has a massive hemorrhage of funds and Trump will be demanding ANOTHER $40B budget
increase for Pentagon to paper over a huge Deep Purple Hole in the Bucket.
So Saudis sanction Canada but will still let the oil flow to them (2billion a year) and the
US sanctions Russia but will still buy space rockets from them , and they will still sell
them to us. Trade war with China but they still buy US Treasuries to finance US debt. British
owned BBC rents out their studios to RT to help Russia with their propaganda
Woodrow Wilson : "Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me
privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and
manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized,
so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak
above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
Today some call them ruling or power elites, global elites for the most part. Elites is an
interesting word whose origins come from the french word for chosen and latin word for
1. Wealth from natural resources. This is a bit of mixed blessing, because with some
exceptions, mining is very capital intensive, so the profit margins are so-so, and job
creation is also so-so. Canada is blessed with nice mix of extracting industries,
agriculture, "normal" manufacturing, financial centers etc. They also have somewhat
reasonable spending in terms value for money in health and military sectors, saving ca. 10%
of GDP between the two compared with the less rational southern neighbor Perhaps this is
still short of 10%, but USA also wastes money and human resources on prison complex and other
2. Liberal Canada. Domestically, I do not know enough, but "harmonizing with USA" could
please some conservatives while being too expensive to implement. On foreign policy they
stick to the worst of liberalism, not standing much for anything, even for their beloved
Vilna Ukrayina, although converting Ukraine to land of milk and honey with capable military
and a reasonable level of corruption is beyond capacity of any foreign power. But they
implemented what used to be totally unjustifiable insult, "feminazi". That said,
conservatives learned from Trump to raise mind boggling issue and gain in polls, lately, how
to stop hordes of "deplorables" crossing the border. I guess a cheapish solution would be to
create a network of recreational trails with very confusing mapping (even GPS) and totally
confusing signage, and plant some smilax = green briar or other thorny plants to impede
hiking according to compass directions. A note on GPS maps based on satellite pictures:
software has very hard time telling dead ends from actually passable trail connections.
3. Populist-progressive Canada of my dreams. Declare the conflicts with KSA and Trump to
be matters of national dignity, punish KSA by stopping delivery of military vehicles per
Harper's contract and purchases of oil, replace the latter with Iranian. Would Trump dare to
impose secondary sanctions, fine American companies in Canada.
A little correction to Circe, Aug 9 11:18:38 PM. SELECTED Syrian children were newsworthy, a
recent massacre by ISIS in Sweida was newsworthy only as an example of a failure by "the
regime". An earlier example, when majority of people of Greater Aleppo lived in the western
part controlled by Damascus, "Aleppo" meant only the eastern part, controlled by the
"moderate" rebels, and victims of moderate massacres and shelling were totally un-newsworthy.
Natural resources drive 20 per cent of the economy -- and about 10 per cent of all the
jobs in Canada. These natural resources also help Canada attract manufacturing and value
added business that utilize domestically produced metals, fuel and timber (as opposed to more
expensive imports) Profit motive is overstated, large companies are focused more on income
growth and market share. The jobs that are produced are good paying jobs as well
I'd rather have more good paying capital intensive industries than low pay labour
intensive service and manufacturing industries that may generate more profits but which end
up mostly in CEO and top managements bank accounts
Frankly, the mystery is why America has not invaded Canada and taken over since we last
tried in 1812. :>)
Mark2 @ 31 said:"We need to remember this' the about left or right ! That's just devide and
rule. This about the 1% killing off the 99% "
Yep, bottom line statement. From austerity to all neoliberal policies, and the world-wide
wars now going on, are basically nothing more than class warfare directed at the 99% to
enrich the already rich.
Frankly, the mystery is why America has not invaded Canada and taken over since we last tried
in 1812. :>)
Posted by: Pft | Aug 10, 2018 12:06:44 AM | 61
Absorbing Canada could undermine political balance in USA leading to such calamities like
socialized medicine, legal marijuana etc. Keeping them on Puerto Rico status is not tenable
given the ethnic composition -- too many English speaking whites. If we could just annex
Bang on cue, TG @ 39 uses a comment about Canada's standard of living (brought about in part
by its governments' spending on transport infrastructure - in particular, transcontinental
railways - that stimulated job growth and enabled the agricultural and manufactured wealth of
the provinces to be spread across the nation and to be exported overseas) to push a racist
opinion about how poor countries are at fault for being poor because their people don't have
access to birth control measures made in rich countries.
..for all the horrible and savage war crimes perpetuated by it and its allies on the poor
people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, and especially now Yemen, the
poorest of the poor - the sorrows of Empire.
Posted by: michaelj72 | Aug 9, 2018 9:12:39 PM | 47
White man's burden...
A phrase used to justify European imperialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries; it is the title of a poem by Rudyard Kipling. The phrase implies that imperialism
was motivated by a high-minded desire of whites to uplift people of color.
Part of the targeting assurance happens by looking at unexpected "gaps" in electronic
communication signals. When there is a lot of cellphone communication noise" where is is
suddenly absent, despite presence of humans, indicated an interesting anomaly for target
To confuse the enemy, these "silent spots" should be mirrored in different locations. They
counter The selectief bias.
During WWII, RAF lost planes to German AAA. They wondered where armor them up?
Counterintuitively, the mathematician Abraham Wald explained that, if a plane makes it back
safely despite a bunch of bullet holes in its wings, it means that bullet holes in the wings
aren't very dangerous.
Where you really need the armor, are the areas that, on average, don't have any bullet
Why? Because planes with bullet holes in those places never made it back. That's why you
don't see any bullet holes there on the ones that do return.
Posted by: CarlD @ 51 "And who is behind all of this?"
Wouldn't you agree that the PTSB are, as Paul Simon wrote, A Loose Affiliation of
The way I see it, the pinnacle of the pyramid are members of the dynasties that have
controlled the finance system for centuries. Rothschilds, Warburgs, the Vatican, the European
Royal Families and such. They profit off of everything, since all revenues generated by all
industries pass through their sticky fingers, in addition to their Central Banking cabal that
almost every country on earth is fully beholden to.
They are not a monolith, in that they compete with one another, but they all share
interest in keeping this system in place.
Then, at the next level down there are the members of the Nouveau Riche, like the
Rockefellers and Carneigies whose wealth was only generated a couple generations ago, and the
even newer rich who do not have dynastic power (yet), but do wield enough wealth to influence
the actions of the Empire, like the MIC "Daddy Warbucks" and tech industry newcomers.
And of course, there are the upper-level managers of Empire like Kissinger, Brzezenski,
Posted by: Pft | Aug 10, 2018 12:06:44 AM | 61:
"Frankly, the mystery is why America has not invaded Canada and taken over since we last
tried in 1812. :>)"
Canada and the US are both members of the Five Eyes. Clearly, their roles in the great
chessboard are different. But the way I see it, the nation-states are fictions that serve the
charade of representative democratic self-rule.
"... Although he was a brilliant orator, Hitler's failures are too innumerable to list. [Link] He was certainly a failure as a painter and his General staff considered him an incompetent military strategist (fortunately for the Allies.) However, Hitler was merely the right man at the right time and place to achieve power. As Ross explains, Hitler was , "the result of a large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality." That sounds all too close to home, doesn't it? ..."
"... Enter Donald Trump; the right man at the right time and place. He's a brute, a bully, and a demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message to appeal to his base. ..."
"... I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump. ..."
"... After his first meeting with Trump, he wrote that Trump "saw every unknown person as a threat and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. 'He's like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don't show him deference he kills you.'" ..."
"... If everything is so awesome, why are Americans drinking themselves to death in record numbers?" [Link] ..."
We're told that great leaders make history. Like so much of what we are taught, that's a
load of bunk. Yes, great leaders make it into the history books, but they do not make history.
You make history. I make history. All we dirt people together make history. Government-run
schools don't teach us this because it makes us easier to control.
The "Great Man Theory" [Link] tells us that history can be
largely explained by the impact of great leaders. This theory was popularized in the 1800's by
the historian and social commentator Thomas Carlyle [Link] The Great Man Theory downplays the
importance of economic and practical explanations. It is an appealing theory because its
simplicity offers the path of least resistance. That should ring an alarm.
Herbert Spencer [Link] forcefully disagreed with the "Great
Man Theory." He believed that great leaders were merely products of their social environment.
"Before he can remake his society, his society must make him." Tolstoy went so far as to call
great leaders "history's slaves." However, this middle ground still misses the mark.
At the other extreme is "history from below" [Link] aka 'the people's history.'
"History from below" takes the perspective of common people rather than leaders. It emphasizes
the daily life of ordinary people that develop opinions and trends " as opposed to great people
introducing ideas or initiating events." Unfortunately, this too is only half the equation, and
it is no surprise that it appeals to Leftist and Marxist agendas.
Having studied politics and history ever since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963,
I determined that although history is partly the environments and individuals shaping each
other reciprocally, it is more than that. It is you and I who make history with every decision
we make, every dollar we spend, everything we learn, every vote we cast and every opinion we
voice. It's even what we don't do. It is mostly organic and cannot easily be explained in a
simple, linear fashion the way the aforementioned political philosophers tried.
Great leaders are merely the right person at the right time and place. However, they do not
lead so much as follow from the front. They stick their finger in the air to see which way the
wind blows. They may be brutes, bullies or demagogues, but they are sensitive enough to
understand the zeitgeist , the spirit of the times and so, they adjust their message
That is one reason Jimmy Carter was a failed President. He was a nice guy, but he did not
get an accurate reading of the times. Instead, he acted on the wishful thinking that is
characteristic of liberals.
One of the significant shortcomings of many political philosophers is their ignorance of
human nature. That is why Collectivism in all its forms appeals to the downtrodden. "Share and
share alike" is a beautiful ideal so long as you get other people's stuff, but the flip side of
the coin is not quite so appealing.
I heard a radio interview with a self-avowed Communist:
"So do you believe in 'share and share alike?"
"Yes, I do."
"And, if you had more than one house, you'd give them away and keep just one for
"Yes. I would."
"And, if you had more than one vehicle, you'd give them away and keep just one for
"Yes, I would."
"And, if you had more than one shirt "
"Whoa, wait a minute! I have more than one shirt."
I can't remember the rest of the interview as I was laughing too hard.
The Great Man Theory is one extreme, its critics are somewhere in the middle and 'the
history of the people' is at the other end of the spectrum. Despite this, we are still
fascinated by great leaders. That is human nature. Whether we are slaves at heart, or lack
self-confidence or some other explanation is endlessly debatable. However, the fact remains
that we are fascinated by great leaders and our inability to understand them further disproves
the accepted theories.
Adolph Hitler is the ultimate example of our fascination with a great man. According to Alex
Ross's "The Hitler Vortex," [Link]
tens of thousands of books have been written about Hitler. "Books have been written about
Hitler's youth, his years in Vienna and Munich, his service in the First World War, his
assumption of power, his library, his taste in art, his love of film, his relations with women,
and his predilections in interior design ('Hitler at Home')."
Tens of thousands of books failed to explain Hitler. Ross, too, does no better when he
writes, "What set Hitler apart from most authoritarian figures in history was his conception of
himself as an artist-genius who used politics as his métier. It is a mistake to call him
a failed artist; for him, politics and war were a continuation of art by other means." WTF? Are
we to believe Hitler was simply an artist who used the world as his canvas? Equally pointless
is the notion that, "Hitler debased the Romantic cult of genius to incarnate himself as a
transcendent leader hovering above the fray."
Although he was a brilliant orator, Hitler's failures are too innumerable to list.
was certainly a failure as a painter and his General staff considered him an incompetent
military strategist (fortunately for the Allies.) However, Hitler was merely the right man at
the right time and place to achieve power. As Ross explains, Hitler was , "the result of a
large protest movement colliding with complex patterns of elite self-interest, in a culture
increasingly prone to aggressive mythmaking and irrationality." That sounds all too close to
home, doesn't it?
Enter Donald Trump; the right man at the right time and place. He's a brute, a bully, and a
demagogue, but he understands the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times and he adjusts his message
to appeal to his base.
I have known many bullies; on the playground and in the boardroom. A bully may achieve
short-term gain, but for long-term pain. It is very easy to destroy corporate culture, but
extremely difficult, if not impossible, to mend a toxic workplace after the bully was
dismissed. Now, extrapolate this to the world under Donald Trump.
John Feeley is the former U.S. Ambassador to Panama portrayed in The New Yorker magazine
article "The Diplomat Who Quit the Trump Administration." [Link]After his first meeting with Trump, he wrote that Trump "saw every unknown person as a threat
and that his first instinct was to annihilate that threat. 'He's like a velociraptor. He has to
be boss, and if you don't show him deference he kills you.'"
Feeley fears that "the country was embracing an attitude that was profoundly inimical to
diplomacy 'If we do that we will become weaker and less prosperous.'" He is correct in that
regard. China is building a large, new embassy at the mouth of the Panama Canal visible to
every ship "as they enter a waterway that once symbolized the global influence of the United
Feeley is also correct in warning that the Trump administration's gutting the diplomatic
corps will have negative repercussions. Throughout Latin America, leftist leaders are in
retreat, and popular movements reject corrupt governance. Yet, America is losing "the greatest
opportunity to recoup the moral high ground that we have had in decades." Instead, the U.S. is
abandoning the region to China. Feeley calls it "a self-inflicted Pearl Harbor."
China is replacing U.S. influence in Latin America and Chinese banks "provided more than a
hundred and fifty billion dollars in loan commitments to the region In less than two decades,
trade between China and Latin America has increased twenty-seven-fold." Although that began
long before Trump, "We're not just walking off the field. We're taking the ball and throwing a
finger at the rest of the world."
Feeley says that he felt betrayed by what he regarded as "the traditional core values of the
United States." Sorry, Feeley, but America lost its core values long before Trump was elected.
Trump is not the cause; he is the symptom, the result of the declining American Empire.
Hunters know that one of the most dangerous animals is a wounded one. The same is correct
about failing empires because they are a danger not only to others but to their own citizens as
well. The elites are running out the clock in order to loot as much as they can before it hits
We dirt people will continue to suffer from stagnant wage growth while the so-called
increase in national wealth goes to a tiny minority.
Moreover, nobody wins a trade war that raises consumer prices even if Trump eventually
The economy staggers under the weight of phony wars, fake finances, fake GDP, fake CPI, fake
employment, fake pensions and fake everything.
[Link] The national debt increases $1 trillion every year, consumer debt is at an all-time
[Link] while the tax cuts benefit only the ultra-wealthy. Also, the fake news tells us
everything is wonderful. Don't believe it. "If everything is so awesome, why are Americans
drinking themselves to death in record numbers?"
It is said that every few generations, money returns to its rightful owners. That is what's
America emerged relatively unscathed from the Second World War whereas many other countries
were bombed back into the Stone Age. The Marshal Plan helped rebuild countries that were to
become both America's future customers and its competitors. America's busy factories
transformed from war production to consumer goods, the demand for which was created by "the
Father of Spin" Edward Bernays' marketing propaganda. [Link]
As well, the U.S. stole the gold that the Nazis had stolen from others, [Link]
and that wealth in addition to robust, productive capacity temporarily propelled the U.S. far
ahead of other nations. However, it would not last. Eventually, the undeserved prosperity of
the 1950's and '60's began to run out of steam as other nations rebuilt and competed with the
U.S. President Nixon defaulting on the dollar in 1971 by "closing the gold window" signaled the
end of America's good times . The subsequent debt creation now unconstricted by a gold basis
helped to cushion the blow for several decades, but wealth was now flowing to Asia along with
For 5,000 years, China was a world superpower with only a short, two-century hiatus that is
now ending as China again emerges as an economic superpower. Such a massive shift in wealth
cannot be attributed to either leadership or the people below. It is a painful reversion to the
mean. All the finger-pointing and wailing and gnashing of teeth not even bombastic Trump and
his tariffs can stem the tide and make America great again as money continues to flow back to
its rightful owners.
The USA is a declining, bankrupt, warmongering police state and most of its indoctrinated
citizens think they live in a free, peaceful country.
China is a corrupt police state, but most of its citizens know it.
We have met the enemy, and he is us. The future awaits.
A new excerpt
from a book by
C.J. Chivers, a former U.S. infantry captain and New York Times war correspondent,
tells the story of a young man from New York City who joined the U.S. army and was send to the
Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. While the man, one Robert Soto, makes it out alive, several of
his comrades and many Afghans die during his time in Afghanistan to no avail.
The piece includes remarkably strong words about the strategic (in)abilities of U.S.
politicians, high ranking officers and pundits:
On one matter there can be no argument: The policies that sent these men and women abroad,
with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures,
have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their
organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command. Astonishingly
expensive, strategically incoherent, sold by a shifting slate of senior officers and
politicians and editorial-page hawks, the wars have continued in varied forms and under
different rationales each and every year since passenger jets struck the World Trade Center
in 2001. They continue today without an end in sight, reauthorized in Pentagon budgets almost
as if distant war is a presumed government action.
That description is right but it does not touche the underlying causes. The story of the
attempted U.S. occupation of the Korengal valley, which Civers again describes, has been the
theme of several books and movies. It demonstrates the futility of fighting a population that
does not welcome occupiers. But most of the authors, including Chivers, get one fact wrong. The
war with the people of the Korengal valley was started out of shear stupidity and
The main military outpost in the valley was build on a former sawmill. Chivers writes:
On a social level, it could not have been much worse. It was an unforced error of occupation,
a set of foreign military bunkers built on the grounds of a sawmill and lumber yard formerly
operated by Haji Mateen, a local timber baron. The American foothold put some of the valley's
toughest men out of work, the same Afghans who knew the mountain trails. Haji Mateen now
commanded many of the valley's fighters, under the banner of the Taliban.
Unfortunately Chivers does not explain why the saw mill was closed. Ten years ago a piece by
Elizabeth Rubin touched on this:
As the Afghans tell the story, from the moment the Americans arrived in 2001, the Pech Valley
timber lords and warlords had their ear. Early on, they led the Americans to drop bombs on
the mansion of their biggest rival -- Haji Matin. The air strikes killed several members of
his family, according to local residents, and the Americans arrested others and sent them to
the prison at Bagram Air Base. The Pech Valley fighters working alongside the Americans then
pillaged the mansion. And that was that. Haji Matin, already deeply religious, became
ideological and joined with Abu Ikhlas, a local Arab linked to the foreign jihadis.
Years before October 2004, before regular U.S. soldiers came into the Korengal valley, U.S.
special forces combed through the region looking for 'al-Qaeda'. They made friends with a
timber baron in Pech valley, a Pashtun of the Safi tribe, who claimed that his main competitor
in the (illegal) timber trade who lived in the nearby Korengal river valley was a Taliban and
'al-Qaeda'. That was not true. Haji Matin was a member of a Nuristani tribe that spoke
Pashai . These were a
distinct people with their own language who
were and are traditional hostile to any centralized government (pdf), even to the Taliban's
The U.S. special forces lacked any knowledge of the local society. But even worse was that
they lacked the curiosity to research and investigate the social terrain. They simply trusted
their new 'friend', the smooth talking Pashtun timber baron, and called in jets to destroy his
competitor's sawmill and home. This started a local war of attrition which defeated the U.S.
military. In 2010 the U.S. military, having achieved nothing, retreated from Korengal. (The
sawmill episode was described in detail in a 2005(?) blog post by a former special force
soldier who took part in it. It since seems to have been removed from the web.)
Back to Chivers' otherwise well written piece. He looks at the results two recent (and
ongoing) U.S. wars:
The governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, each of which the United States spent hundreds of
billions of dollars to build and support, are fragile, brutal and uncertain. The nations they
struggle to rule harbor large contingents of irregular fighters and terrorists who have been
hardened and made savvy, trained by the experience of fighting the American military
Billions of dollars spent creating security partners also deputized pedophiles, torturers and
thieves. National police or army units that the Pentagon proclaimed essential to their
countries' futures have disbanded. The Islamic State has sponsored or encouraged terrorist
attacks across much of the world -- exactly the species of crime the global "war on terror"
was supposed to prevent.
The wars fail because they no reasonable strategic aim or achievable purpose. They are
planned by incompetent people. The most recent Pentagon ideas for the U.S. war on Afghanistan
depend on less restricted bombing rules. Yesterday one predictable and self defeating
was again visible:
An American airstrike killed at least a dozen Afghan security forces during intense fighting
with the Taliban near the Afghan capital, officials said Tuesday.
Shamshad Larawi, a spokesman for the governor, said that American airstrikes had been called
in for support, but that because of a misunderstanding, the planes mistakenly targeted an
Afghan police outpost.
Haji Abdul Satar, a tribal elder from Azra, said he counted 19 dead, among them 17 Afghan
police officers and pro-government militia members and two civilians.
In the first six months of this year, United States forces dropped nearly 3,000 bombs across
Afghanistan, nearly double the number for the same period last year and more than five times
the number for the first half of 2016. ... Civilian casualties from aerial bombardments have
increased considerably as a result, the United Nations says.
One argument made by the Pentagon generals when they pushed Trump to allow more airstrikes
was that these would cripple the Taliban's alleged opium trade and its financial resources.
But, as the Wall Street Journalreports
, that plan, like all others before it, did not work at all:
Nine months of targeted airstrikes on opium production sites across Afghanistan have failed
to put a significant dent in the illegal drug trade that provides the Taliban with hundreds
of millions of dollars, according to figures provided by the U.S. military.
So far, the air campaign has wiped out about $46 million in Taliban revenue, less than a
quarter of the money the U.S. estimates the insurgents get from the illegal drug trade. U.S.
military officials estimate the drug trade provides the Taliban with 60% of its revenue.
Poppy production hit record highs in Afghanistan last year , where they are the country's
largest cash crop, valued at between $1.5 billion and $3 billion.
More than 200 airstrikes on "drug-related targets" have hardly made a dent in the Taliban's
war chest. The military war planners again failed.
At the end of the Chivers piece its protagonist, Robert Soto, rightfully vents about the
unaccountability of such military 'leaders':
Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was
turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the
failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would
be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the
wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world. The human costs were past counting,
and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another,
including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to
create lasting success, and yet who kept rising . Soto watched some of them as they were
revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were
discredited and enemies retrenched.
Since World War II, during which the Soviets, not the U.S., defeated the Nazis, the U.S. won
no war. The only exception is the turkey shooting of the first Gulf war. But even that war
failed in its larger political aim of dethroning Saddam Hussein.
The U.S. population and its 'leaders' simply know too little about the world to prevail in
an international military campaign. They lack curiosity. The origin of the Korengal failure is
a good example for that.
are rackets , run on the back of lowly soldiers and foreign civil populations. They enriche
few at the cost of everyone else.
Wars should not be 'a presumed government action', but the last resort to defend ones
country. We should do our utmost to end all of them.
you know, it is just as easy to influence a foreign society by making movies (Bollywood in
this case) with a certain bent, the one you want people to follow. After a few years of
seeing the Taliban as villains, there would be no fresh recruits and mass desertion. But, the
weapons manufacturers wouldn't be making their enormous profits. This same effect can be seen
in American society, where the movies coming out of Hollywood started becoming very
aggressive in tone around the time that Ronald Reagan became president. Movies went from The
Deer Hunter to Rambo and Wall Street. Is it any wonder that even the progressive Left in the
USA thinks it is ok to attack their political adversaries and that violence is justified?
This is the power of movies and the media.
bjd @1 highlights an important truth similar to that exposed by Joseph Heller in
Cache-22 and by Hudson's Balance-of-Payments revelation he revealed yet again
this link I posted yesterday . Most know the aggressive war against Afghanistan was
already planned and on the schedule prior to 911 and would have occurred regardless since
after Serbia the Outlaw US Empire felt it could do and get away with anything. 911 simply
provided BushCo with Carte-Blache, but it wasn't enough of a window to fulfill their desired
destruction of 7 nations in 5 years for their Zionist Patron.
IMO, as part of its plan to control the Heartland, those running the Outlaw US Empire
never had any plan to leave Afghanistan; rather once there, they'd stay and occupy it just as
the Empire's done everywhere since WW2. The Empire's very much like a leech; its occupations
are parasitic as Hudson demonstrated, and work at the behest of corporate interests as Smedly
Butler so eloquently illustrated.
As with Vietnam, the only way to get NATO forces to leave is for Afghanis to force them
out with their rifles. Hopefully, they will be assisted by SCO nations and Afghanistan will
cease being a broken nation by 2030.
The Wall Street Journal article on the Taliban's ties to the local drug trade also the
reveals deliberate omission practiced by the MSM, which keeps its readers actively
misinformed. Estimating illegal drug revenues contribute as much as $200 million to the
Taliban, the article fails to put that in proper context: that figure represents merely
7%-13% of total production receipts (estimated at 1.5 to 3 billion dollars). Most informed
persons know exactly who reaps the rewards of more than 80% of the Afghan drug products, and
why this much larger effort is not the focus of "targeted airstrikes."
1. "The wars fail because they no reasonable strategic aim or achievable purpose........
Since World War II, during which the Soviets, not the U.S., defeated the Nazis, the U.S. won
no war. The only exception is the turkey shooting of the first Gulf war."
2 "U.S. wars are rackets, run on the back of lowly soldiers and foreign civil populations.
They enriche few at the cost of everyone else"
Your points in 1 ignore the reality expressed by 2. The real strategic aims and purposes
are not those provided for public consumption. Winning wars is not the objective, the length
and cost of wars is far more important than results. Enriching and empowering the few over
the many is the entire point of it all
And lets put an end to "US " responsibility for all evils. Its a shared responsibility.
None of this is possible without the cooperation of Uk and its commonwealth nations, EU,
Japan and the various international organizations that allow the dollar to be weaponized such
as IMF/World Bank and BIS not to mention the various tax havens which support covert
operations and looting of assets obtained in these wars (military or economic).
Until the rest of the world is prepared to do something about it they are willing
accomplices in all of this.
The global elites are globalists, they dont think in national terms. Its a global elitist
cabal at work that is hiding behind the cover of US hegemony.
Very interesting stories - especially re: the timber mill warlord competition.
Defoliants are still used in warfare - especially "by accident". Carpet bombing is still
legal. If NATO wanted to wipe out the poppies, it surely could do so.
Pft at 6, reminded me of this zinger:
The nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the
principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and
planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. -
The nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal
creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in
terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. - The Brzez
Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 8, 2018 6:18:02 PM | 9
This gem hides a deep truth. One has to replace "creative" and "far in advance", instead,
we have power relationships. And those power relationships resemble central planning of the
Communist states, concept that is attractive in abstraction, but centralization cannot cope
with complexities of societies and economies, in part because the central institutions are
inevitably beset by negative selection: people rise due to their adroit infighting skills
rather than superior understanding of what those institutions are supposed to control.
Ultimately, this proces leads to decay and fall. "Nation states" themselves are not immune to
such cycles and are at different stages of the cycle creative-decadent-falling. However,
international finance lacks observable "refreshing" mechanisms of nation states.
For some reason, when the US wars are admitted to be civil wars, no one questions whose side
did the US take until it is too late and so very few tune in. Incompetence is the excuse. It
reminds me of that adage to not blame on malice that which can be explained by stupidity but
stupidity has been used to excuse a lot of malice. It's one reason why "military
intelligence" resides at the top of oxymorons along with "congressional ethics" and
It is amazing to think that the US has been in Afghanistan for 17 years and supposedly
knows where the opium and its processors are and yet could not take it out. (The pix of
soldiers patrolling poppy fields is rich.) The initial excuse years ago was that the US
needed to support the warlords who grew/sold it. What is the excuse now? Incompetence,
The US likes the idea of opium products going into Iran and Russia ... who have protested
to no avail. A bit of indirect subversion.
The US likes opium products going into the US. It makes for broken citizens who lack zeal for
knowledge, and therefore, comprehension; and the will to organize against the PTB.
Importantly, being illegal, opiate use feeds the pigs who own the prison-industrial complex.
Given the current, longstanding dynamics within the Outlaw US Empire, I don't see any
possibility of the required reforms ever having an opportunity to get enacted. The
situation's very similar to Nazi Germany's internal dynamic--the coercive forces of the State
and its allies will not allow any diminution of their power. Within the Empire, thousands of
Hydra heads would need to be rapidly severed for any revolt to succeed, and that requires a
large, easily infiltrated organization to accomplish. Invasion by an allied group of nations
invites a nuclear holocaust I can't condone. I think the best the world can do is force the
Empire to retreat from its 800+ bases and sequester it behind the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
until it self-destructs or drastically reforms itself--Containment. But for that to work,
almost every comprador government would need to be changed and their personages imprisoned,
exiled or executed--another close to impossible task. Ideally, the ballot box would
work--ideally--but that requires deeply informed voters and highly idealistic, strongly
principled, creative, and fearless candidates, along with an honest media.
Yeah, writing can be good therapy. But I'm no more cheery than when I began. Must be time
The world does not need to force the Evil Empire to retreat from its 1,000 (and counting)
military bases around the planet.
All the world needs to do is trade with Iran, Venezuela or some other outsider nation. The
Evil Empire will be so busy trying to punish everyone who trades with these countries by
extending sanctions against the outsiders to their trading partners that the Empire
effectively ends up having sanctioned everyone away and it becomes the victim of its
The 1,000+ military bases around the globe are then effectively on their own and the
soldiers and administrators inside can either stay there and starve, throw in their lot with
the host nation's citizenry or beg to be allowed to return home.
thanks b... as long as the americans support the troops, lol - all will be well apparently...
jesus.. meanwhile - the support for the 1% bomb makers and etc continues... maybe it is the
mutual fund money that folks are concerned about maintaining..
"In the first six months of this year, United States forces dropped nearly 3,000 bombs
across Afghanistan." what is that? about 17 or 18 bombs a day or something? what about the
drones? they have to be put to use too... best to get someone who is involved in their own
turf war in afgan to give out the targets.. brilliant... usa war planning is mostly destroy
and destroy and honour the troops and wave their stupid american flag and that is about it...
sorry, but that is what it looks like to me..
its not so much they want to end the war on terror or the war on drugs.........they just want
to say one thing to cover their asses and do another thing completely..
no matter what there should of been one general who got it right.....but we see it was
never about peace .... it was always about war and its profits. anyone who didn't take orders
or even had a hint of the right strategy would be Hung like dirty boots to dry.
what is the right strategy? leave. just as other empires did. before you call on your
to be even more frank....its not even about the money as that is not as important than
having a nation of 300m regurgitate the news that they are there for 17 years to be the
police of the world. because USA are the good ones... that they need to buy the biggest
trucks which can't even fit in normal parking spaces because they have land mines(I mean
ieds...) to avoid and need to haul 5tons of cargo to their construction job all while
watching out for terrorists and trump Hillary divisions. is disorienting and it is
deliberate. just as having a war last without a reason is deliberate while they entertain the
masses with games..
@23dh... same deal here in canuckle head ville... people remain ignorant of what there money
is ''''invested'''' in... could be saudi arabia for all the canucks think... btw - thanks for
the laugh on the other thread... you made a couple of good jokes somewhere the past few days!
i don't have much free time to comment at the moment..