Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Andrew Bacevich on The New American Militarism

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

Ron Paul


Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace

Professor Basevich

The foreign policy of the USA since 1945, but especially, after the dissolution of the USSR was and is "open militarism". Recently  John Quiggin  tried to define militarism is came to the following definition (crookedtimber.org):

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

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

This new epidemic of the US militarism started after the dissolution of the USSR was called by Professor Bacevich (who is former colonel of the US army)  it New American Militarism.

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

Professor Bacevich had shown that the main driver of the US militarism is neocons domination of the US foreign policy, and, especially, neocons domination in State Department regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. They profess that the US that is uniquely qualified to take on the worldwide foes of peace and democracy, forgetting, revising, or ignoring the painful lessons of World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq. And that establishing and maintaining the neoliberal empire is worth the price we pay as it will take the USA into the period of unprecedented peace.

Bacevich scored a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive "perpetual war for perpetual peace".

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

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

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

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

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

Thesis

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

Introduction: Slow Learner

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

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

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

This book aspires to

(1) trace the history of the Washington rules;

(2) show who wins, who loses, and who pays under them;

(3) explain how itis perpetuated;

(4) show that the rules have lost what utility they might once have had;

and (5) re-legitimate "disreputable (or 'radical') views to our national security debates" (16).

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

Ch. 1: The Advent of Semiwar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ch. 2: Illusions of Flexibility and Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ch. 3: The Credo Restored.

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

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

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

Ch. 4: Reconstituting the Trinity

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

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

Ch. 5: Counterfeit COIN.

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

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

Ch. 6: Cultivating Our Own Garden.

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

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

Bacevich proposes a new trinity:

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

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

Except from Macmillan

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

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

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

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

.... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 22, 2015 | fpif.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s this disconnect that defines the current crisis.

Acknowledging New Realities

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short Memories and Persistent Delusions

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

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

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

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

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

Unexceptionalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Home Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bombs and Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding the Common Interest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making Space for the Unexpected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

"...These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended. "
"...One is reminded of John Winthrop, who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the recalcitrant. "
"...Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster. "
"...Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed. "
September 12, 2010 | washingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON RULES: America's Path to Permanent War

This Story

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Metropolitan. 286 pp. $25

CULTURES OF WAR

Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq

By John W. Dower

Norton. 596 pp. $29.95

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

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

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

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

Since the culture of war encourages patterned behavior, folly proliferates. This is the essence of the Washington rules that Bacevich elucidates. The rules dictate that protection of the American way of life necessitates a global military presence and a willingness to intervene anywhere. Power and violence are cleansed by virtue: Because America is "good," her actions are always benign. These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended.

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

One is reminded of John Winthrop, who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the recalcitrant.

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

Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster.

Those unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions have now pushed the United States into a new quagmire. Despite that predicament, both Dower and Bacevich try to end positively. "If change is to come, it must come from the people," argues Bacevich. Dower agrees. But these feeble attempts at optimism are the least convincing parts of two otherwise brilliant books. Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed.

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

 Andrew Feldman review (Review Washington Rules - FPIF)

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

By Andrew Feldman, August 26, 2010.

Print

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Feldman is an intern with Foreign Policy In Focus.

 

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism

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

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

By David R. Cook on August 15, 2008

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--without exception.

Also Recommended:

The New American Militarism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ THIS BOOK

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

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

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

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

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

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

K. Johnson:

 Relevant and Objective, January 3, 2007

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

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

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

THE CARTER DOCTRINE:

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

At his State of the Union Address, Carter stated:

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

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

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

WAR AS SPECTATOR SPORT:

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

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

Using Hollywood To Enhance "Honor" and perpetuate myths:

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

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

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

GLORIFICATION OF THE MILITARY THROUGH MOVIES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Lee D. Carlson

Interesting, insightful, and motivating, October 21, 2006

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

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

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

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

R. Albin:

 Exceptional Polemic; 4.5 Stars, October 19, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M. Ward:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick Connor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew S. Rogers:

 Baedecker on the road to perdition, December 5, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Douglas Doepke:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 1999

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[Jan 25, 2020] Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... It always goes to Iran ..."
"... But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And ..."
"... The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani " a total monster ." His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Whatever their elected governments say, we'll will keep our army in Syria to "take the oil," and in Iraq to well, to do whatever the hell we want. ..."
"... Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders. ..."
"... with nobody even noticing ..."
"... Christian Science Monitor ..."
"... under Trump's leadership ..."
Jan 24, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

"Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools."

Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

I've been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.

In June, in an essay entitled " Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back ," after the U.S. initiated its "maximum pressure" blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that "Iran considers that it is already at war," and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that "Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance."

In an October essay , I pointed out that Trump's last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as "catastrophic" and "a big win for Iran" by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, " The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran ." I said, with emphasis, " It always goes to Iran ," and underlined that Trump's restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a "veteran political consultant" that "The price of [Lindsey] Graham's support would be an eventual military strike on Iran."

And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it's "necessary to take Iran down now ," in "the next six months," before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason -- behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment -- that explains why Pelosi and Schumer "find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that."

So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.

But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.

Then there was the anxious anticipation about the Iranian response, which came surprisingly quickly, and with admirable military and political precision, avoiding a large-scale war in the region, for the moment.

That was the week that was.

But, as the man said: "It ain't over 'til it's over." And it ain't over. Recognizing the radical uncertainty of the world we now live in, and recognizing that its future will be determined by actors and actions far away from the American leftist commentariat, here's what I need to say about the war we are now in.

The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani " a total monster ." His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture.

It's virtually impossible to explain to Americans because there is no one of comparable stature in the U.S. or in the West today. As Iran cleric Shahab Mohadi said , when talking about what a "proportional response" might be: "[W]ho should we consider to take out in the context of America? 'Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob? 'All of their heroes are cartoon characters -- they're all fictional." Trump? Lebanese Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah said what many throughout the world familiar with both of them would agree with: "the shoe of Qassem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders."

To understand the respect Soleimani has earned, not only in Iran (where his popularity was around 80% ) but throughout the region and across political and sectarian lines, you have to know how he led and organized the forces that helped save Christians , Kurds , Yazidis and others from being slaughtered by ISIS, while Barack Obama and John Kerry were still " watching " ISIS advance and using it as a tool to "manage" their war against Assad.

In an informative interview with Aaron Maté, Former Marine Intelligence Officer and weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, explains how Soleimani is honored in Iraq for organizing the resistance that saved Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS -- and the same could be said of Syria, Damascus, or Ebril:

He's a legend in Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria. And anywhere where, frankly speaking, he's operated, the people he's worked with view him as one of the greatest leaders, thinkers, most humane men of all time. I know in America we demonize him as a terrorist but the fact is he wasn't, and neither is Mr. Mohandes.

When ISIS [was] driving down on the city of Baghdad, the U.S. armed and trained Iraqi Army had literally thrown down their weapons and ran away, and there was nothing standing between ISIS and Baghdad

[Soleimani] came in from Iran and led the creation of the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] as a viable fighting force and then motivated them to confront Isis in ferocious hand-to-hand combat in villages and towns outside of Baghdad, driving Isis back and stabilizing the situation that allowed the United States to come in and get involved in the Isis fight. But if it weren't for Qassem Soleimani and Mohandes and Kataib Hezbollah, Baghdad might have had the black flag of ISIS flying over it. So the Iraqi people haven't forgotten who stood up and defended Baghdad from the scourge of ISIS.

So, to understand Soleimani in Western terms, you'd have to evoke someone like World War II Eisenhower (or Marshall Zhukov, but that gets another blank stare from Americans.) Think I'm exaggerating? Take it from the family of the Shah :

Beyond his leadership of the fight against ISIS, you also have to understand Soleimani's strategic acumen in building the Axis of Resistance -- the network of armed local groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the PMF in Iraq, that Soleimani helped organize and provide with growing military capability. Soleimani meant standing up; he helped people throughout the region stand up to the shit the Americans, Israelis, and Saudis were constantly dumping on them

More apt than Eisenhower and De Gaulle, in world-historical terms, try something like Saladin meets Che. What a tragedy, and travesty, it is that legend-in-his-own-mind Donald Trump killed this man.

Dressed to Kill

But it is not just Trump, and not just the assassination of Soleimani, that we should focus on. These are actors and events within an ongoing conflict with Iran, which was ratcheted up when the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal (JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and instituted a "maximum pressure" campaign of economic and financial sanctions on Iran and third countries, designed to drive Iran's oil exports to zero.

The purpose of this blockade is to create enough social misery to force Iran into compliance, or provoke Iran into military action that would elicit a "justifiable" full-scale, regime-change -- actually state-destroying -- military attack on the country.

From its inception, Iran has correctly understood this blockade as an act of war, and has rightfully expressed its determination to fight back. Though it does not want a wider war, and has so far carefully calibrated its actions to avoid making it necessary, Iran will fight back however it deems necessary.

The powers-that-be in Iran and the U.S. know they are at war, and that the Soleimani assassination ratcheted that state of war up another significant notch; only Panglossian American pundits think the "w" state is yet to be avoided. Sorry, but the United States drone-bombed an Iranian state official accompanied by an Iraqi state official, in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, on a conflict-resolution mission requested by Donald Trump himself. In anybody's book, that is an act of war -- and extraordinary treachery, even in wartime, the equivalent of shooting someone who came to parley under a white flag.

Indeed, we now know that the assassination of Soleimani was only one of two known assassination attempts against senior Iranian officers that day. There was also an unsuccessful strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, another key commander in Iran's Quds Force who has been active in Yemen. According to the Washington Post , this marked a "departure for the Pentagon's mission in Yemen, which has sought to avoid direct involvement" or make "any publicly acknowledged attacks on Houthi or Iranian leaders in Yemen."

Of course, because it's known as "the world's worst humanitarian crisis," the Pentagon wants to avoid "publicly" bloodying its hands in the Saudi war in Yemen. Through two presidential administrations, it has been trying to minimize attention to its indispensable support of, and presence in, Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen with drone strikes , special forces operations , refueling of aircraft, and intelligence and targeting. It's such a nasty business that even the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. military involvement in that war, which was vetoed by Trump.

According to the ethic and logic of American exceptionalism, Iran is forbidden from helping the Houthis, but the U.S. is allowed to assassinate their advisors and help the Saudis bomb the crap out of them.

So, the Trump administration is clearly engaged in an organized campaign to take out senior Iranian leaders, part of what it considers a war against Iran. In this war, the Trump administration no longer pretends to give a damn about any fig leaf of law or ethics. Nobody takes seriously the phony "imminence" excuse for killing Soleimani, which even Trump say s "doesn't matter," or the "bloody hands" justification, which could apply to any military commander. And let's not forget: Soleimani was " talking about bad stuff ."

The U.S. is demonstrating outright contempt for any framework of respectful international relations, let alone international law. National sovereignty? Democracy? Whatever their elected governments say, we'll will keep our army in Syria to "take the oil," and in Iraq to well, to do whatever the hell we want. "Rules-based international order"? Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders.

The U.S.'s determination to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the explicit, unequivocal demand of the friendly democratic government that the U.S. itself supposedly invaded the country to install, is particularly significant. It draws the circle nicely. It demonstrates that the Iraq war isn't over. Because it, and the wars in Libya and Syria, and the war that's ratcheting up against Iran are all the same war that the U.S. has been waging in the Middle East since 2003. In the end is the beginning, and all that.

We're now in the endgame of the serial offensive that Wesley Clark described in 2007, starting with Iraq and "finishing off" with Iran. Since the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism, it has fallen to Iran to be the last and best source of material and military support which allows that resistance to persist.

And Iran has taken up the task, through the work of the Quds Force under leaders like Soleimani and Shahlai, the work of building a new Axis of Resistance with the capacity to resist the dictates of Israel and the U.S. throughout the region. It's work that is part of a war and will result in casualties among U.S. and U.S.-allied forces and damage to their "interests."

What the U.S. (and its wards, Israel and Saudi Arabia) fears most is precisely the kind of material, technical, and combat support and training that allows the Houthis to beat back the Saudis and Americans in Yemen, and retaliate with stunningly accurate blows on crucial oil facilities in Saudi Arabia itself. The same kind of help that Soleimani gave to the armed forces of Syria and the PMF in Iraq to prevent those countries from being overrun and torn apart by the U.S. army and its sponsored jihadis, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon to deter Israel from demolishing and dividing that country at will.

It's that one big "endless" war that's been waged by every president since 2003, which American politicians and pundits have been scratching their heads and squeezing their brains to figure out how to explain, justify (if it's their party's President in charge), denounce (if it's the other party's POTUS), or just bemoan as "senseless." But to the neocons who are driving it and their victims -- it makes perfect sense and is understood to have been largely a success. Only the befuddled U.S. media and the deliberately-deceived U.S. public think it's "senseless," and remain enmired in the cock-up theory of U.S. foreign policy, which is a blindfold we had better shed before being led to the next very big slaughter.

The one big war makes perfect sense when one understands that the United States has thoroughly internalized Israel's interests as its own. That this conflation has been successfully driven by a particular neocon faction, and that it is excessive, unnecessary and perhaps disruptive to other effective U.S. imperial possibilities, is demonstrated precisely by the constant plaint from non-neocon, including imperialist, quarters that it's all so "senseless."

The result is that the primary object of U.S. policy (its internalized zionist imperative) in this war is to enforce that Israel must be able, without any threat of serious retaliation, to carry out any military attack on any country in the region at any time, to seize any territory and resources (especially water) it needs, and, of course, to impose any level of colonial violence against Palestinians -- from home demolitions, to siege and sniper killings (Gaza), to de jure as well as de facto apartheid and eventual further mass expulsions, if deems necessary.

That has required, above all, removing -- by co-option, regime change, or chaotogenic sectarian warfare and state destruction -- any strong central governments that have provided political, diplomatic, financial, material, and military support for the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Iran is the last of those, has been growing in strength and influence, and is therefore the next mandatory target.

For all the talk of "Iranian proxies," I'd say, if anything, that the U.S., with its internalized zionist imperative, is effectively acting as Israel's proxy.

It's also important, I think, to clarify the role of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in this policy. KSA is absolutely a very important player in this project, which has been consistent with its interests. But its (and its oil's) influence on the U.S. is subsidiary to Israel's, and depends entirely on KSA's complicity with the Israeli agenda. The U.S. political establishment is not overwhelmingly committed to Saudi/Wahhabi policy imperatives -- as a matter, they think, of virtue -- as they are to Israeli/Zionist ones. It is inconceivable that a U.S. Vice-President would declare "I am a Wahhabi," or a U.S. President say "I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die" for Saudi Arabia -- with nobody even noticing . The U.S. will turn on a dime against KSA if Israel wants it; the reverse would never happen. We have to confront the primary driver of this policy if we are to defeat it, and too many otherwise superb analysts, like Craig Murray, are mistaken and diversionary, I think, in saying things like the assassination of Soleimani and the drive for war on Iran represent the U.S. " doubling down on its Saudi allegiance ." So, sure, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Batman and Robin.

Iran has quite clearly seen and understood what's unfolding, and has prepared itself for the finale that is coming its way.

The final offensive against Iran was supposed to follow the definitive destruction of the Syrian Baathist state, but that project was interrupted (though not yet abandoned) by the intervention of Syria's allies, Russia and Iran -- the latter precisely via the work of Soleimani and the Quds Force.

Current radical actions like the two assassination strikes against Iranian Quds Force commanders signal the Trump administration jumping right to the endgame, as that neocon hawks have been " agitating for ." The idea -- borrowed, perhaps from Israel's campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists -- is that killing off the key leaders who have supplied and trained the Iranian-allied networks of resistance throughout the region will hobble any strike from those networks if/when the direct attack on Iran comes.

Per Patrick Lawrence , the Soleimani assassination "was neither defensive nor retaliatory: It reflected the planning of the administration's Iran hawks, who were merely awaiting the right occasion to take their next, most daring step toward dragging the U.S. into war with Iran." It means that war is on and it will get worse fast.

It is crucial to understand that Iran is not going to passively submit to any such bullying. It will not be scared off by some "bloody nose" strike, followed by chest-thumping from Trump, Netanyahu, or Hillary about how they will " obliterate " Iran. Iran knows all that. It also knows, as I've said before , how little damage -- especially in terms of casualties -- Israel and the U.S. can take. It will strike back. In ways that will be calibrated as much as possible to avoid a larger war, but it will strike back.

Iran's strike on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a case in point. It was preceded by a warning through Iraq that did not specify the target but allowed U.S. personnel in the country to hunker down. It also demonstrated deadly precision and determination, hitting specific buildings where U.S. troops work, and, we now know, causing at least eleven acknowledged casualties.

Those casualties were minor, but you can bet they would have been the excuse for a large-scale attack, if the U.S. had been entirely unafraid of the response. In fact, Trump did launch that attack over the downing of a single unmanned drone -- and Pompeo and the neocon crew, including Republican Senators, were " stunned " that he called it off in literally the last ten minutes . It's to the eternal shame of what's called the "left" in this country that we may have Tucker Carlson to thank for Trump's bouts of restraint.

There Will Be Blood

But this is going to get worse, Pompeo is now threatening Iran's leaders that "any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response." Since Iran has ties of some kind with most armed groups in the region and the U.S. decides what "proxy" and "interests" means, that means that any act of resistance to the U.S., Israel, or other "ally" by anybody -- including, for example, the Iraqi PMF forces who are likely to retaliate against the U.S. for killing their leader -- will be an excuse for attacking Iran. Any anything. Call it an omnibus threat.

The groundwork for a final aggressive push against Iran began back in June, 2017, when, under then-Director Pompeo, the CIA set up a stand-alone Iran Mission Center . That Center replaced a group of "Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran," because "Trump's people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group." The purpose of this -- as of any -- Mission Center was to "elevate" the country as a target and "bring to bear the range of the agency's capabilities, including covert action" against Iran. This one is especially concerned with Iran's "increased capacity to deliver missile systems" to Hezbollah or the Houthis that could be used against Israel or Saudi Arabia, and Iran's increased strength among the Shia militia forces in Iraq. The Mission Center is headed by Michael D'Andrea, who is perceived as having an "aggressive stance toward Iran." D'Andrea, known as "the undertaker" and " Ayatollah Mike ," is himself a convert to Islam, and notorious for his "central role in the agency's torture and targeted killing programs."

This was followed in December, 2017, by the signing of a pact with Israel "to take on Iran," which took place, according to Israeli television, at a "secret" meeting at the White House. This pact was designed to coordinate "steps on the ground" against "Tehran and its proxies." The biggest threats: "Iran's ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon," and its activity in Syria and support for Hezbollah. The Israelis considered that these secret "dramatic understandings" would have "far greater impact" on Israel than Trump's more public and notorious recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli's capital.

The Iran Mission Center is a war room. The pact with Israel is a war pact.

The U.S. and Israeli governments are out to "take on" Iran. Their major concerns, repeated everywhere, are Iran's growing military power, which underlies its growing political influence -- specifically its precision ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which it is sharing with its allies throughout the region, and its organization of those armed resistance allies, which is labelled "Iranian aggression."

These developments must be stopped because they provide Iran and other actors the ability to inflict serious damage on Israel. They create the unacceptable situation where Israel cannot attack anything it wants without fear of retaliation. For some time, Israel has been reluctant to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon, having already been driven back by them once because the Israelis couldn't take the casualties in the field. Now Israel has to worry about an even more battle-hardened Hezbollah, other well-trained and supplied armed groups, and those damn precision missiles . One cannot overstress how important those are, and how adamant the U.S. and Israel are that Iran get rid of them. As another Revolutionary Guard commander says : "Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides if only one missile hits the occupied lands, Israeli airports will be filled with people trying to run away from the country."

This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of " praying for war with Iran " Christian Zionists Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together " urged " Trump to approve the killing of Soleimani. Pence, whom the Democrats are trying to make President, is associated with Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which paid for his and his wife's pilgrimage to Israel in 2014, and is run by lunatic televangelist John Hagee, whom even John McCain couldn't stomach. Pompeo, characterized as the "brainchild" of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. (Patrick Lawrence argues the not-implausible case that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper ordered the assassination and stuck Trump with it.) No Zionists are more fanatical than Christian Zionists. These guys are not going to stop.

And Iran is not going to surrender. Iran is no longer afraid of the escalation dominance game. Do not be fooled by peace-loving illusions -- propagated mainly now by mealy-mouthed European and Democratic politicians -- that Iran will return to what's described as "unconditional" negotiations, which really means negotiating under the absolutely unacceptable condition of economic blockade, until the U.S. gets what it wants. Not gonna happen. Iran's absolutely correct condition for any negotiation with the U.S. is that the U.S. return to the JCPOA and lift all sanctions.

Also not gonna happen, though any real peace-loving Democratic candidate would specifically and unequivocally commit to doing just that if elected. The phony peace-loving poodles of Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) have already cast their lot with the aggressive American policy, triggering a dispute mechanism that will almost certainly result in a " snapback " of full UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days, and destroy the JCPOA once and for all. Because, they, too, know Iran's nuclear weapons program is a fake issue and have "always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program." Israel can have all the nuclear weapons it wants, but Iran must give up those conventional ballistic missiles. Cannot overstate their importance.

Iran is not going to submit to any of this. The only way Iran is going to part with its ballistic missiles is by using them. The EU3 maneuver will not only end the JCPOA, it may drive Iran out of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Moon of Alabama says, the EU3 gambit is "not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict" and ratchet the war up yet another notch. The Trump administration and its European allies are -- as FDR did to Japan -- imposing a complete economic blockade that Iran will have to find a way to break out of. It's deliberately provocative, and makes the outbreak of a regional/world war more likely. Which is its purpose.

This certainly marks the Trump administration as having crossed a war threshold the Obama administration avoided. Credit due to Obama for forging ahead with the JCPOA in the face of fierce resistance from Netanyahu and his Republican and Democratic acolytes, like Chuck Schumer. But that deal itself was built upon false premises and extraordinary conditions and procedures that -- as the current actions of the EU3 demonstrate -- made it a trap for Iran.

With his Iran policy, as with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, what Trump is doing -- and can easily demonstrate -- is taking to its logical and deadly conclusion the entire imperialist-zionist conception of the Middle East, which all major U.S. politicians and media have embraced and promulgated over decades, and cannot abandon.

With the Soleimani assassination, Trump both allayed some of the fears of Iran war hawks in Israel and the U.S. about his "reluctance to flex U.S. military muscle" and re-stoked all their fears about his impulsiveness, unreliability, ignorance, and crassness. As the the Christian Science Monitor reports, Israel leaders are both "quick to praise" his action and "having a crisis of confidence" over Trump's ability to "manage" a conflict with Iran -- an ambivalence echoed in every U.S. politician's "Soleimani was a terrorist, but " statement.

Trump does exactly what the narrative they all promote demands, but he makes it look and sound all thuggish and scary. They want someone whose rhetorical finesse will talk us into war on Iran as a humanitarian and liberating project. But we should be scared and repelled by it. The problem isn't the discrepancy in Trump between actions and attitudes, but the duplicity in the fundamental imperialist-zionist narrative. There is no "good" -- non-thuggish, non-repellent way -- way to do the catastrophic violence it demands. Too many people discover that only after it's done.

Trump, in other words, has just started a war that the U.S. political elite constantly brought us to the brink of, and some now seem desperate to avoid, under Trump's leadership . But not a one will abandon the zionist and American-exceptionalist premises that make it inevitable -- about, you know, dictating what weapons which countries can "never" have. Hoisted on their own petard. As are we all.

To be clear: Iran will try its best to avoid all-out war. The U.S. will not. This is the war that, as the NYT reports , "Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for." It will start, upon some pretext, with a full-scale U.S. air attack on Iran, followed by Iranian and allied attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the region, including Israel, and then an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran -- which they think will end it. It is an incomprehensible disaster. And it's becoming almost impossible to avoid.

The best prospect for stopping it would be for Iran and Russia to enter into a mutual defense treaty right now. But that's not going to happen. Neither Russia nor China is going to fight for Iran. Why would they? They will sit back and watch the war destroy Iran, Israel, and the United States.

Happy New Year.

[Jan 25, 2020] It's Time to Get Out of Iraq by Daniel Larison

Jan 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
There are massive street demonstrations in Baghdad today calling for the exit of U.S. troops from the country. The demonstrations are in response to call for protests from Muqtada al-Sadr. Estimates of the crowd size vary, but it is a huge turnout of Iraqis that wants us gone:

100's of thousands protest in Baghdad, calling for all US troops to leave Iraq, close all bases & embassies, if they don't they will be considered an occupying force. pic.twitter.com/C3CqBqpxyD

-- Ali Arouzi (@aliarouzi) January 24, 2020

Some more photos of the march by Sadrists today in Baghdad, the turnout is huge by any measure, perhaps the largest in #Baghdad so far, and perhaps the most noticeable aspect is the lack of violence and troubles despite the scale of it #IraqProtests #Iraq #US pic.twitter.com/2xXGk2dSVY

-- Farhad Alaaldin (@farhad965) January 24, 2020

Baghdad today. pic.twitter.com/RlVU5K1RnP

-- мυнαммα∂ αℓ-ωαєℓι 🇮🇶 (@muhammadalwaeli) January 24, 2020

The Trump administration has violated Iraqi sovereignty earlier this month by taking military action inside Iraq against both Iraqis militias and the Iranian government without Baghdad's consent, and their government wants our forces out of the country. Sadr has considerable influence in Iraqi politics, and he has wanted U.S. forces out for a long time. When opponents of our military presence can organize such huge popular demonstrations, it is time for us to go. The U.S. should have withdrawn from Iraq years ago, and it would have been better to leave on our own terms. Now the U.S. cannot stay without provoking armed opposition from Iraqis to our continued presence.

So far the administration position has been to threaten Iraq with punishment for upholding its own sovereignty. That's a disgraceful and imperialist position to take, and it is also an untenable one. There have been enough American wars in Iraq. Trump should yield to the Iraqi government's wishes and bring these troops home before any more Americans are injured or killed as a result of his destructive Iran policy.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter . email

ZizaNiam a day ago

AP tried to downplay the protests, reporting only 'hundreds. There must be close to a million people out there (as reported by the Baghdad Chief of Police) and the fact that Sadr and the other Iraqi Shia militias can organize this massive demonstrations proves that the assassination of Soleimani, the protector of Syria and Iraq's Christians, did absolutely nothing to drive a wedge between the various Iraqi Shia militia groups, the vast majority of which are not Iranian sponsored but true Iraqi national patriots.
Barlaam of Weimerica a day ago
There is never a bad time to leave a country that we never should have invaded and occupied. Not that I expect wisdom, common sense,or basic morality from a foreign policy establishment that formulated a strategy for the Middle East, saw that it would entail the genocide of Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities, and decided, "That's a price worth paying."

[Jan 25, 2020] Trump opened a modern Pandora box in the Middle East

Jan 25, 2020 | www.theatlantic.com

In 1958, U.S. leaders stood at the threshold of an American era in the Middle East, conflicted about whether it was worth the trouble to usher in.

... ... ...

More than half a century later, the future of the United States' military presence in the Middle East is once again up for discussion, as Iraq calls on the U.S. to end its roughly 5,000-strong troop presence in the country and Trump struggles to remove American forces from Syria and Afghanistan as well. U.S. politicians are now grappling with the possibility of a post-American period in the region.

... ... ..

And even if Trump doesn't get his way entirely, he will undoubtedly seize on additional opportunities to reduce the American military presence in the Middle East, as fed-up Americans and progressive presidential candidates push in the same direction. When Eisenhower elected to open that "Pandora's Box" back in 1958, his justification was that it would be "disastrous" if "we don't."

Perhaps nothing signals the coming post-American era in the Middle East more than the fact that so many U.S. leaders these days fear the disastrous consequences of leaving the box open.

[Jan 25, 2020] Obama's 2016 Warning: Trump Is a 'Fascist'

Fascism is a German form of national socialism. Trump is a "national neoliberal" not "national socialist".
Notable quotes:
"... Edward-Isaac Dovere ..."
Jan 25, 2020 | www.theatlantic.com

The newly revealed comment is one of the former president's strongest known critiques of his successor.

Edward-Isaac Dovere 4:44 PM ET

Barack Obama's private assessment of Donald Trump: He's a fascist.

That is, at least, according to Tim Kaine, the Democratic senator from Virginia and a friend of the former president. In a video clip from October 2016, Kaine is seen relaying Obama's comment to Hillary Clinton. The footage is part of the new Hulu documentary Hillary , which was obtained by The Atlantic ahead of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival today.

"President Obama called me last night and said, 'Tim, this is no time to be a purist,'" Kaine tells his then–running mate. "'You've got to keep a fascist out of the White House.'"

Clinton replies: "I echo that sentiment."

A representative for Obama declined to comment on the conversation. A representative for Kaine did not respond to requests for comment.

In an interview at Sundance today with Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic 's editor in chief, Clinton elaborated on her exchange with Kaine. "If you look at the definition [of fascist ], which I've had the occasion to read several times," Clinton said, "I think we can agree on several things: One, he has authoritarian tendencies and he admires authoritarian leaders, [Vladimir] Putin being his favorite. He uses a form of really virulent nationalism. He identifies targets: immigrants, blacks, browns, gays, women, whoever the target of the day or week is I think you see a lot of the characteristics of what we think of [as] nationalistic, fascistic kinds of tendencies and behaviors." Obama has been careful in how he's publicly discussed his successor. Campaigning against Trump in 2016, Obama said several times that "democracy is on the ballot," and he often portrayed the then–Republican nominee as an easily triggered hate-monger who couldn't be trusted with the presidency. The night before the November election, at a closing rally in Philadelphia with Clinton, Obama said that the presidency reveals people for who they really are, and that Americans should be worried about what Trump had revealed about himself. Since then, Obama has largely stayed away from offering specific criticism of Trump. But he campaigned in 2017 and 2018 to defeat the president's Republican allies, declaring, in a repeat of his 2016 message, that "our democracy's at stake."

Obama has never gone as far as using the word fascist in public, even though that's not an uncommon opinion, especially on the left. Journalists and academics who have lived in and studied fascist regimes regularly point to the traits Trump seems to share with those leaders, including demanding fealty, deliberately spreading misinformation, and adopting Joseph Stalin's slur that the press is the "enemy of the people." And that's not to mention Trump's apparent admiration for living authoritarians, such as Russia's Putin, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and North Korea's Kim Jong Un. "He speaks, and his people sit up at attention," Trump gushed about Kim in a 2018 interview on Fox & Friends . "I want my people to do the same."

In the footage from Hillary , Kaine seems to suggest that Obama wanted him to be more aggressive against Trump. "He knows me and knows I tend to" hold back, Kaine says. (This past November, Kaine referred to Trump as a "tyrant" in an interview on the Radio Atlantic podcast . )

In the Sundance interview, Clinton said that Obama had never used the word fascist in conversations with her about Trump. But, she said, what Obama "observed was this populism untethered to facts, evidence, or truth; this total rejection of so much of the progress that America has made, in order to incite a cultural reaction that would play into the fear and the anxiety and the insecurity of people -- predominantly in small-town and rural areas -- who felt like they were losing something. And [Trump] gave them a voice for what they were losing and who was responsible."

In the documentary footage, Clinton also notes that she is "scared" and suspicious of what Trump is up to. "His agenda is other people's agenda," she says. "We're scratching hard, trying to figure it out. He is the vehicle, the vessel for all these other people."

"[Paul] Manafort, all these weird connections," Kaine replies, referring to Trump's former campaign chair, who is now in prison after being convicted of financial crimes related to his international business dealings.

"[Michael] Flynn, who is a paid tool for Russian television," Clinton continues, referring to Trump's onetime national security adviser and former campaign surrogate. "The way that Putin has taken over the political apparatus " she starts to say. Then, a voice off camera interrupts her.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

<img src="https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/None/Dovere/200.jpg?mod=1543210752" alt="" itemprop="contentUrl">
Edward-Isaac Dovere is a staff writer at The Atlantic .

TheAtlantic.com Copyright (c) 2020 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.

<img src="https://atlanticmedia.122.2o7.net/b/ss/atlanticprod/1/H.22--NS/0" height="1" width="1" alt=""> <iframe src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-56LJR35" height="0" width="0"></iframe> <link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/static/a/frontend/dist/theatlantic/css/no-js.963e4e1f09fa.css">

[Jan 24, 2020] How Are Iran and the "Axis of the Resistance" Affected by the US Assassination of Soleimani by Elijah J. Magnier

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate? ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".

"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

[Jan 24, 2020] Trump Envoy Issues Death Threat to Soleimani Successor, Head of Iran's Quds Force

Jan 24, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

21st Century Wire Thursday January 23, 2020
undefined

Just when you thought that Washington could not sink any lower in the international diplomacy game, the Trump White House compounds its previous misdeed by issuing a public death threat against the successor of assassinated Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani.

Presidential US Special Envoy to Iran, Brian Hook, gave a statement to the Arabic language newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat , where he warned new General of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Esmail Ghaani, that he will end up like Soleimani should he be accused of killing any Americans, remarking that, "follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate."

Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike on January 3 , along with senior Iraqi PMU commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Hook continued saying,"We will hold the regime and its agents responsible for any attack on Americans or American interests in the region."

Hook also went on to boast that Washington's state-sponsored assassination of Soleimani has made the Middle East a safer place because it has "create a vacuum that the Regime will not be able to fill," inferring that Ghaani will not be able to marshal "Iran's agents in the region".

Hook also repeated the common talking point that Soleimani was the 'world's most dangerous terrorist' – a label which hardly corresponds with facts which clearly demonstrate that the Iranian military leader was leading the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.

In the interview, Hook also used the opportunity to reinforce another State Department narrative which still claims that Iran somehow launched the September attack on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil facilities – even though the likely culprit, Yemen's Houthi rebel forces, had already taken credit for the attack.

Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire .

[Jan 24, 2020] Trump adopts Biden's Iraq plan.

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties' attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

For Washington, the idea of carving out a Sunni region dates back to a 2007 proposition by Joe Biden, who is now vying to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

Biden's plan was actually an attempt to ethnically cleanse Iraq into three distinct enclaves (because an integrated, multicultural Iraq is anathema to the US colonial divide and conquer strategy).

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."

For all his brazen denials about his Iraq involvement, one wonders whether, if Joe Biden hadn't been selected Obama's Vice President, he might have eventually been named Iraq Viceroy.

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

Same as it ever was.... up 12 users have voted. --

Tom Steyer is my favorite billionaire. Let's eat him last.

OzoneTom on Fri, 01/24/2020 - 1:51pm

All of Iraq was a Sunni buffer zone before the invasion /nt

@Not Henry Kissinger

From the link in b's post.

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties' attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

For Washington, the idea of carving out a Sunni region dates back to a 2007 proposition by Joe Biden, who is now vying to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

Biden's plan was actually an attempt to ethnically cleanse Iraq into three distinct enclaves (because an integrated, multicultural Iraq is anathema to the US colonial divide and conquer strategy).

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."

For all his brazen denials about his Iraq involvement, one wonders whether, if Joe Biden hadn't been selected Obama's Vice President, he might have eventually been named Iraq Viceroy.

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

Same as it ever was....

[Jan 24, 2020] Trump doesn't want to be the president that lost Iraq

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Trump needs to claim victory over ISIS and get the hell out. Those one million peaceful protesters will turn into something really ugly, probably joined by parts or all of the Iraqi military. That will be far worse for him, with scenes of US diplomats being airlifted out of the embassy by helicopter. up 10 users have voted. --

Capitalism has always been the rule by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

[Jan 24, 2020] Dissociated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions. Iraqis are ready to fight and die to evict the US troups.

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 24 2020 13:32 utc | 11

Dissociated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions

mpn , Jan 24 2020 13:44 utc | 15

B - AP isn't the only outlet falsely reporting the protest. Please get screen shots from the other "reports" (like Bloomberg) and add them to this post to document the media manipulation.

Thanks for all your effort.

b , Jan 24 2020 15:32 utc | 29
Cultural competence (not) by the Washington Post

Iraqi demonstrators demand withdrawal of U.S. troops

Around Baghdad's Hurriyah Square, the streets were a sea of black, white and red, as protesters clutched Iraqi flags and wore shrouds around their shoulders to evoke the country's dead.

White shrouds around their shoulders do not "evoke the country's dead" but a a sign of willingness for martyrdom. Those guys ( vid ) are ready to fight and die for their aim.

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 15:38 utc | 30
It's a Shi'te motif, b, wearing a shroud. Ready for martyrdom, like the Shi'a Imams. They have a big thing about death.
Peter AU1 , Jan 24 2020 15:45 utc | 32
Cultural competence...

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-iraq/soleimani-killing-adds-dangerous-new-dimension-to-iraq-unrest-idUSKBN1ZL28K
"It is likely to end up at the gates of the U.S. Embassy, the seat of U.S. power in Iraq..."

A more recent article had the same wording "USembassy, seat of US power in Iraq" but it was changed a few hours ago. The article does however end with this "Outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, a sign read "Warning. Do not cross this barrier, we will use pre-emptive measures against any attempt to cross"."
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-sadr/no-no-america-iraq-protesters-demand-expulsion-of-u-s-troops-idUSKBN1ZN0RI

Virgile , Jan 24 2020 18:28 utc | 51
A separate Sunni state in West Iraq will be an ISIS haven financed by Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel.
Iran will never let this to happen..
Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 18:33 utc | 52
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2020 18:14 utc | 50

Yes, I was thinking about something along those lines, and was about to write a comment. There are conservative tribal leaders, who were at one point relatively favourable to the US, and who might be susceptible to this manoeuvre, and to Saudi persuasion. I was thinking in particular of Abu Risheh. However, unfortunately, their peoples along the Euphrates got flattened by the fighting during the Surge (after the period you're citing), so I don't know how enthusiastic they're going to be. It's a conventional problem, if the US makes a deal with a chief, indeed MbS is an example, they presume that they've got the whole people. They haven't.

psychohistorian , Jan 24 2020 18:55 utc | 53
Below is a BBC link with an embedded Reuters picture that shows not all of Western media is misrepresenting the march in Iraq.

Huge rally as Iraqis demand US troops pull out

div> please, do not try to search for US policy sense in the whole ME. all the moves there are done by the Israel firsters: destroy first then invent "senses". even the first Gulf War was lacking any policy consideration. I hope one day before she dies, to listen to what US Ambassador at that time, April Gillepsie, has to say about "her" entrapment of Saddam Hussein, a sort of McNamara hour of acknowledging.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 , Jan 24 2020 18:59 utc | 54

please, do not try to search for US policy sense in the whole ME. all the moves there are done by the Israel firsters: destroy first then invent "senses". even the first Gulf War was lacking any policy consideration. I hope one day before she dies, to listen to what US Ambassador at that time, April Gillepsie, has to say about "her" entrapment of Saddam Hussein, a sort of McNamara hour of acknowledging.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Jan 24 2020 18:59 utc | 54

Likklemore , Jan 24 2020 19:01 utc | 55
in the next 2 years, the U.S. will be leaving Iraq. It will not be safe to keep U.S. personnel on Iraqi soil.


First, it was "No injuries" resulting from Iran's retaliation
Then, it was only 11 "suffering headaches"

Now the Pentagon Says 34 Personnel Diagnosed With Concussions After Iran Strikes on Bases in Iraq


WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Thirty-four US service members have been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries after Iran conducted ballistic missile strikes on two bases in Iraq with half of them still undergoing medical treatment, Department of Defence spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a press briefing on 24 January.

"With regard to the number of recent injuries here is the latest update 34 total members have diagnosed with concussions and TBI [traumatic brain injury]", Hoffman told reporters.

Concussions or Headaches.? When it's serious we have to lie -

Paging Dr. Donald J. Trump

Paging any available Dr. or resident at Mayo Clinic

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 19:06 utc | 56
I wouldn't deny the US is capable of creating an Iraqi al-Tanf. The US is always capable of air-supporting isolated bases, as long as there is the determination to do so. It's been shown many times, from Vietnam to Afghanistan. More, I don't see. The Sunnis have seen the way the Syrian Kurds were abandoned, so nobody's going to be enthused. And the surge has not been forgotten.
Kooshy , Jan 24 2020 19:15 utc | 57
"The Shi'a can certainly get their people out - which by the way is why they have such effective militias. The Sunnis don't have similarly effective militias (though such would probably also be politically difficult)."

Wondering why ? Because the don't want to live as minorities any more, specially where they are the majority. There is need for a collective security across the Shia community throughout the Western Asia and has nothing to do with US. Because US and UK, historically and continually have supported and inspired Sunni clients against Shia uprisings
For equal rights, US and UK and their clients have become a common threat to Shia resistance. This resistance and sense of common security within Shia communities is so strong and imbedded that killing one leader here one commander there will not change the outcome. As an example Abbas Mussavie was assassinated by IDF in 1992 who replaced him that became more dangerous and kicked Israel out of Lebanon, one Hassan Nassrollah
US will end up leaving like in VM No matter what she does

Peter AU1 , Jan 24 2020 19:18 utc | 58
Laguerre

I was thinking along the lines of Saudi intermediaries doing deals with tribes as Mcgurk pulled off in the Raqqa meeting when he brought in a Saudi intermediary or envoy to do a deal with the tribes of Deir Ezzor. I see the tribe break down into clans, so suppose it would or may be the heads of clans that deals would have to be done with.

What strikes me about this though is that US are looking at retreating into the area ISIS have retreated to and where they arose - the Iraq Syria border regions.

nietzsche1510 , Jan 24 2020 19:19 utc | 59
the battle for the Green Zone will start the liberation of Iraq, that´s why the US embassy there has a lot of rooftops.
Willy2 , Jan 24 2020 15:47 utc | 33

- Muqtada Al Sadr is an iraqi nationalist. As long as he can get help from Iran he will take it. But when that help is no longer needed then he will try to reduce the "influence" of the iranians as much as possible. Prehaps the words "boot them out" is a bit "over the top".
- But the relationship will Always remain friendly. But he is "his own man".
- In this regard this a re-run of what happened in the year 2003 & 2004. Back then the US wanted to pick their own sock puppet but the shiites out-witted the US.

Yonatan , Jan 24 2020 19:32 utc | 61
A photo essay of the Iraqi protests - plenty of images showing the scale and also close up images.

https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/https/colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5590284.html

jayc , Jan 24 2020 19:33 utc | 62

Interesting that the number of US troops suffering concussive injuries from the Iran retaliatory strikes has been quietly reassessed to 44 persons. That seems significant in light of the extensive threats beforehand that any injury to a US person would ignite thunderous reprisal. It seems, then, the Americans have no plan, the Soleimaini hit was not thought through, and they are not in any way prepared for a necessary readjustment of their position in the region. Trump at Davos dismissed the protests and again threatened sanctions on Iraq - the fulcrum of US power has now visibly shifted from the military to the dominance of the reserve currency in the form of economic reprisals (sanctions). Reduced to imposing or threatening economic blockades on adversary populations is not a winning long-term strategy.

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 19:36 utc | 63

It is not only the MSM coordinated blackout on the important events developing in Iraq, notice also the scarce half hundred comments here in this thread on the same events by the usual and otherwise prolific regulars, who preferred to comment on so used Boeing or whatever old topic instead...

Meanwhile, those of us who wished to comment got banned, as they seemed to be some other who wanted to comment by other media, like Pepe Escobar in Facebook...

Elijah Magnier says,

Someone should write an article on how Main Stream Media and most reputable agencies either ignored what happened in #Baghdad #Iraq today or deliberately downplayed it because it calls for the #US to leave.

News is strikingly manipulated s since the war in #Syria 2011.

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1220758301266321408

[Jan 24, 2020] Apparently this is the new US policy in Iraq: US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 11:44 utc | 1

This seems more relevant here than on the open thread:

Apparently this is the new US policy in Iraq.

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Incredible, isn't it? A policy of parcellisation which has already failed twice, in Iraq and then again in Syria. And now Trump is going to do it again, according to reports which could well be right. They're sufficiently stupid. They're actually expecting the poor suffering Fallujans, who suffered through more than a month of being tortured by US troops, are going to stand up and fight for the US.

It's a complete misappreciation of the situation, not unusual in the US. It is of course true that the Sunnis suffer from the unthinking policies of the Shi'a, and are treated like an occupied country. But that doesn't mean that the Sunnis think they can stand up an independent state. They don't, particularly if the US only stations a handful of troops there.

The US could of course militarily occupy the area, but that's not Trump's plan, as it would be too politically intrusive back home.

By the way I hear we're about to receive Trump's overall peace plan for the Middle East. Given that the first rollouts fell totally flat, I wouldn't be too optimistic about its new reception in the Middle East.


Willy2 , Jan 24 2020 12:03 utc | 4

- Carving out a state in North-Western Iraq is part of "The Biden plan" of 2006 (/2007 ?). The Biden plan was to divide Iraq into 3 parts: Kurdistan, "Sumnnistan" and "Shia-stan".
- Was this the reason why the US "created" ISIS (in 2014) ??
Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 12:28 utc | 5
The Shi'a can certainly get their people out - which by the way is why they have such effective militias. The Sunnis don't have similarly effective militias (though such would probably also be politically difficult).

The US certainly doesn't have much idea how to tackle such a movement. The renewal of the plan for parcellisation just shows up the bankruptcy of US policy, nothing spoke to me so strongly of the failure of US thinking. For all the number of Washington think-tanks concentrating on the ME, they can't come up with workable ideas.

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 12:56 utc | 7
Posted by: Ernesto Che | Jan 24 2020 12:32 utc | 6

Al-Sadr is indeed an Iraqi nationalist, and not particularly pro-Iranian, others are more. He more profited from Iran's safe haven, than became pro-Iranian.

On the other hand, he's unlikely to become Prime Minister, as too extreme. The US, if it gets a say in the choice of the next PM, will veto. And he's a sort who is in permanent opposition to everything, rather than in government, much like Corbyn in Britain.

somebody , Jan 24 2020 13:17 utc | 9
Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 24 2020 11:44 utc | 1

Surely, this has become obsolete with Saudi needing an agreement with Iran?

I just checked. On January 22 this happened in Yemen :

On January 18, Houthi rebels targeted the al Estiqbal military training camp, used by the Saudi-led coalition and forces loyal to Yemen's UN-recognised government. The strikes resulted in at least 116 deaths and dozens (if not hundreds) of injuries. Those struck had reportedly just finished praying at the base's mosque. According to Saudi media, the Houthis used a combination of ballistic missiles and drones.
Sasha , Jan 24 2020 13:23 utc | 10
The fake media are trying to trasvesticize these protests as antigovernment protests in the eyes of the Waestern and American population, fortunately, the images are worth thousands words:

https://twitter.com/passenger_to/status/1220620900166520833

Love these arabs´humor when they protest...

bevin , Jan 24 2020 13:48 utc | 16
During the first of the various criminal attacks on Fallujah, Sadr famously promised to deploy the Mahdi Army there to defend the largely sunni community.
The US fears nothing more than nationalism in the middle east- all its policies are aimed at atomising communities and fostering sectarian division. It is a tactic that has worked well in the United States for centuries- preserving the absolute power of the capitalist oligarchy by setting black against white, catholic against protestant, settler against indigenous, migrant against native.
It is difficult to conceive of a more evil policy than that of encouraging shi'ites to bully sunnis and vice versa, while dissecting society into shreds of ethnic and sectarian entities , which are then armed and trained to fight and kill one another.
This was the basis of the surge under Petraus. Of course the British had established the practice themselves. Among other things they employed christian Assyrians as police.
bevin , Jan 24 2020 13:52 utc | 17
An interesting view.
https://journal-neo.org/2020/01/24/is-iraq-between-the-hammer-and-the-anvil/
Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:16 utc | 18
Al Mayadeen is reporting testimonies from all confesional sides on that this is an united clamor coming from the whole Iraqi society, who sees a clear link between occupation and corruption, in spite of their internal political differences, seeing no future while the US remains in the country corrupting and compromising Iraqi reconstruction and progress.

They are saying that the numbers seen demonstrating today in Iraq, in the anniversary of the other historical 1920 anticolonial demonstration, equates a popular referendum on the US illegal and forced presence in the country.

The representatives of the protesters are stating that there are being stablished diplomatic means for the US to go out, but, in case it refuses doing it by these means, the resistance will come into action. Thus a way of no return for the US is being delineated here...

Crowd demonstration against US military presence in Iraq


CarlD , Jan 24 2020 14:22 utc | 19
Slightly? off subject

Since the assassination drones cannot fly all the way from US territory to their intended targets,
any country that harbors the drones is actually complicit to the crimes of the US of A.

They must be made to understand that these assassinations will cost them eventually as accessories
to these crimes.

BM , Jan 24 2020 14:27 utc | 20
Possibly the most potent leverage Iraq can have on the US is for the Iraqi parliament to decree that all legal previously agreed immunity for US military guilty of crimes in Iraq is null and void. All US war criminals immediately liable to be tried in Iraq under Iraq law, unless the US commit to a prompt and orderly withdrawal. Right to prosecute still reserved in case of US non-compliance with any such commitment.

Whether or to what extent this could be made retrospective to the beginning of the current agreement (on the grounds that the agreement has been violated) I don't know. Maybe it might be possible to apply retrospectively at least to the first verifiable breech of the agreement by the US, I have no idea. Or maybe the agreement can only be deemed void with effect from a statement by the parliament, I have no idea. In any case, the US is now there illegally: any US soldier can legally be arrested and imprisoned at any time; and any US soldier from now on killing or injuring any person in Iraq is automatically a war criminal.

If it can so some extent legally be made retrospective, the US would automatically face a terrifying situation.

(Any prisons containing US prisoners in Iraq need full military protection though - I recall previously the US destroyed a prison with a tank where some soldiers were arrested).

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:28 utc | 21
@Posted by: Sasha | Jan 24 2020 14:16 utc | 18

The link from Al Mayadeen includes live stream with commentary in Arabic of the crowds gathering who seem in the sizes of Arbaeen pilgrimage...or more.....since multiconfessional...

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:37 utc | 22
Lesson to be learnt...on the future of the destroyers...
(CARTOON) The "Pax americana", in an image

"They made a desert and called it peace"
Tacit, in reference to "Pax Romana" after the destruction of Carthage.

https://twitter.com/Amor_y_Rabia/status/1219921555775467520

[Jan 24, 2020] They Killed King For The Same Reason They Killed Kennedy Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... Amidst all the anti-Russia brouhaha that has enveloped our nation , we shouldn't forget that the U.S. national-security establishment -- specifically the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI -- was convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist agent who was spearheading a communist takeover of the United States. ..."
"... State-sponsored assassinations to protect national security were among the dark-side practices that began to be utilized after the federal government was converted into a national-security state . As early as 1953, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual that trained its agents in the art of assassination and, equally important, in the art of concealing the CIA's role in state-sponsored assassinations. ..."
"... Why did they target Kennedy? For the same reason they targeted all those other people for assassination -- they concluded that Kennedy had become a grave threat to national security and, they believed, it was their job to eliminate threats to national security. ..."
"... After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy achieved a breakthrough that enabled him to recognize that the Cold War was just one great big racket for the national-security establishment and its army of defenseť contractors and sub-contractors. ..."
"... That's when JFK announced an end to the Cold War and began reaching out to the Soviets and the Cubans in a spirit of peace, friendship, and mutual coexistence. Kennedy's Peace Speech at American University on June 10, 1963, where he announced his intent to end the Cold War and normalize relations with the communist world, sealed President Kennedy's fate. ..."
Jan 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

Amidst all the anti-Russia brouhaha that has enveloped our nation , we shouldn't forget that the U.S. national-security establishment -- specifically the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI -- was convinced that Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist agent who was spearheading a communist takeover of the United States.

This occurred during the Cold War, when Americans were made to believe that there was a gigantic international communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world. The conspiracy, they said, was centered in Moscow, Russia. Yes, that Russia!

That was, in fact, the justification for converting the federal government to a national-security state type of governmental structure after the end of World War II. The argument was that a limited-government republic type of governmental structure, which was the national's founding governmental system, was insufficient to prevent a communist takeover of the United States. To prevail over the communists in what was being called a â€cold War, a€ť it would be necessary for the federal government, they said, to become a national-security state so that it could wield the same type of sordid, dark-side, totalitarian-like practices that the communists themselves wielded and exercised.

The conviction that the communists were coming to get us became so predominant, primarily through official propaganda and indoctrination, especially in the national's public (i.e., government) schools, that the matter evolved into mass paranoia. Millions of Americans became convinced that there were communists everywhere. Americans were exhorted to keep a careful watch on everyone else, including their neighbors, and report any suspicious activity, much as Americans today are exhorted to do the same thing with respect to terrorists.

Some Americans would even look under their beds for communists. Others searched for communists in Congress and within the federal bureaucracies, even the Army, and Hollywood as well. One rightwing group became convinced that even President Eisenhower was an agent of the Soviet government.

In the midst of all this national paranoia, the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA became convinced that King was a communist agent. When King began criticizing U.S. interventionism in Vietnam, that solidified their belief that he was a communist agent. After all, they maintained, wouldn't any true-blue American patriot rally to his government in time of war, not criticize or condemn it? Only a communist, they believed, would oppose his government when it was committed to killing communists in Vietnam.

Moreover, when King began advocating for civil rights, especially in the South, that constituted additional evidence, as far as the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon were concerned, that he was, in fact, a communist agent, one whose mission was to foment civil strife in America as a prelude to a communist takeover of America . How else to explain why a black man would be fighting for equal rights for blacks in nation that purported to be free?

The website kingcenter.org points out:

After four weeks of testimony and over 70 witnesses in a civil trial in Memphis, Tennessee, twelve jurors reached a unanimous verdict on December 8, 1999 after about an hour of deliberations that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. Mrs. Coretta Scott King welcomed the verdict saying, there is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband Martin Luther King Jr. The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal governments were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband.”

And why not? Isn't it the duty of the U.S. national-security state to eradicate threats to national security? What bigger threat to national security than a person who is supposedly serving as an agent for the communists and also as a spearhead for an international communist conspiracy to take over the United States?

State-sponsored assassinations to protect national security were among the dark-side practices that began to be utilized after the federal government was converted into a national-security state . As early as 1953, the CIA was developing a formal assassination manual that trained its agents in the art of assassination and, equally important, in the art of concealing the CIA's role in state-sponsored assassinations.

In 1954, the CIA targeted the democratically elected president of Guatemala for assassination because he was reaching out to Russia in a spirt of peace, friendship, and mutual co-existence. In 1960-61, the CIA conspired to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, the head of the Congo because he was perceived to be a threat to U.S. national security. In the early 1960s, the CIA , in partnership with the Mafia, the worldâ's premier criminal organization, conspired to assassinate Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba, a country that never attacked or invaded the United States. In 1973, the U.S. national-security state orchestrated a coup in Chile, where its counterparts in the Chilean national-security establishment conspired to assassinate the democratically elected president of the country, Salvador Allende, by firing missiles at his position in the national palace.

The mountain of circumstantial evidence that has accumulated since November 1963 has established that foreign officials werenâ't the only ones who got targeted as threats to national security. As James W. Douglas documents so well in his remarkable and profound book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters , the U.S. national-security establishment also targeted President John F. Kennedy for a state-sponsored assassination as well.

Why did they target Kennedy? For the same reason they targeted all those other people for assassination -- they concluded that Kennedy had become a grave threat to national security and, they believed, it was their job to eliminate threats to national security.

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy achieved a breakthrough that enabled him to recognize that the Cold War was just one great big racket for the national-security establishment and its army of defenseť contractors and sub-contractors.

That's when JFK announced an end to the Cold War and began reaching out to the Soviets and the Cubans in a spirit of peace, friendship, and mutual coexistence. Kennedy's Peace Speech at American University on June 10, 1963, where he announced his intent to end the Cold War and normalize relations with the communist world, sealed President Kennedy's fate.

Thet's also what had sealed the fate of President Arbenz in Guatemala and what would seal the fate of President Allende in Chile. (See FFFâ's bestselling book JFKâ's War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated  by Douglas P. Horne, who served on the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s. Also see FFFâ's bestselling book The Kennedy Autopsy  by Jacob Hornberger and his recently published The Kennedy Autopsy 2 .”)

But what many people often forget is that one day after his Peace Speech at American University, Kennedy delivered a major televised address to the nation defending the civil rights movement, the movement that King was leading.

What better proof of a threat to national security than that â€" reaching out to the communist world in peace and friendship and then, one day later, defending a movement that the U.S. national-security establishment was convinced was a spearhead for the communist takeover of the United States?

The loss of both Kennedy and King constituted conclusive confirmation that the worst mistake in U.S. history was to abandon a limited-government republic type of governmental system in favor of a totalitarian governmental structure known as a national-security state. A free nation does not fight communism with communist tactics and an omnipotent government. A free nation fights communism with freedom and limited government.

There is no doubt what both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. would have thought about a type of totalitarian-like governmental structure that has led our nation in the direction of state-sponsored assassinations, torture, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, coups, alliances with dictatorial regimes, sanctions, embargoes, regime-change operations, and massive death, suffering, and destruction, not to mention the loss of liberty and privacy here at home.

[Jan 24, 2020] This shows how the steady stream of propaganda impacts.....

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/479795-poll-41-approve-of-trump-airst...

A new poll shows a plurality of Americans approve of President Trump's decision to order the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Forty-one percent of Americans agreed with the decision, according to the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday. Thirty percent disapproved and the remaining 30 percent were indifferent.

On Jan. 3 the U.S. killed Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. The move raised tensions in the Middle East and fears of a new war. Iran launched rocket attacks on two bases with U.S. personnel in Iraq days later.

[Jan 24, 2020] Lawrence Wilkerson Lambasts 'the Beast of the National Security State' by Adam Dick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states: ..."
"... America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is. ..."
"... We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it. ..."
"... That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war. ..."
Jan 13, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor who was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powel in the George W. Bush administration, powerfully summed up the vile nature of the US national security state in a recent interview with host Amy Goodman at Democracy Now.

Asked by Goodman about the escalation of US conflict with Iran and how it compares with the prior run-up to the Iraq War, Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states:

Ever since 9/11, the beast of the national security state, the beast of endless wars, the beast of the alligator that came out of the swamp, for example, and bit Donald Trump just a few days ago, is alive and well.

America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is.

We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it.

What we saw President Trump do was not in President Trump's character, really. Those boys and girls who were getting on those planes at Fort Bragg to augment forces in Iraq, if you looked at their faces, and, even more importantly, if you looked at the faces of the families assembled along the line that they were traversing to get onto the airplanes, you saw a lot of Donald Trump's base. That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war.

Wilkerson, over the remainder of the two-part interview provides many more insightful comments regarding US foreign policy, including recent developments concerning Iran. Watch Wilkerson's interview here:

Wilkerson is an Academic Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute Related

[Jan 23, 2020] If the U.S. can do it or rather, have been assassinating other countries Officials, so can others and eventually, they will retaliate.

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Beibdnn , Jan 23 2020 15:44 utc | 5

@Likklemore No 1.

If the U.S. can do it or rather, have been assassinating other countries Officials, so can others and eventually, they will retaliate. No U.S. official will be safe, even in the mainland U.S. An old saying applies here. You sew the wind and reap the whirlwind.
The world is rapidly tiring of the classless thuggery of the U.S.A.

xLemming , Jan 23 2020 16:25 utc | 15

Posted by: Beibdnn | Jan 23 2020 15:44 utc | 5

Excellent point... and furthermore, if Russia & others are capable of clandestine hits (as per the accusations against them, i.e. Skripal, MH17, Litvinenko) then why on earth would US invite such operations against themselves?

I'm sure if they (Russia/Iran/others) really wanted to, unfortunate mishaps, like traceless, self-inflected, nail-gun accidents are easily possible

Just when you think ZATO couldn't get any stupider...

[Jan 23, 2020] The Iraqi Shia, 66% of the 40 million Iraqi population, are expressing their hatred towards US forces in particular and all foreign forces in general.

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bruce , Jan 23 2020 18:02 utc | 38

"The Iraqi Shia, 66% of the 40 million Iraqi population, are expressing their hatred towards US forces in particular and all foreign forces in general. Iraq would like to see these forces depart for good, putting an end to US influence in Mesopotamia and West Asia. A massive protest has been organised for this Friday 24th January, led by Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr, who is warning the US of the consequences of ignoring this Parliamentary decision. It is expected to be the most massive protest in the history of Iraq. But this protest is only the beginning."
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/22/immediate-us-withdrawal-due-to-its-violation-of-the-agreement-and-iraq-sovereignty/

Likklemore , Jan 23 2020 15:29 utc | 1

The murder of Soleimani was not a one-off: it will be the policy to take out leaders and US vassals dare not speak up: Murder and Sanctions (aka "Financial Warfare" ) is what they do.


US Warns New Quds Force Commander Could 'Meet Same Fate' as Slain Predecessor.

[.]

The US will assassinate Quds Force Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani if he targets Americans, US special representative for Iran Brian Hook has warned.

"If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate," Hook said, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, in an interview published Thursday.

According to the US diplomat, President Trump has made it very "clear that any attack on Americans or American interests will be met with a decisive response, which the president demonstrated on January 2".

Hook also said he believed that "the Iranian regime" now "understands that they cannot attack America and get away with it".

Yes and soon.

Europe needs new instruments to be able to defend itself from licentious extraterritorial sanctions.

The World Looks to Abandon the Dollar as US Sanctions Tighten Their Grip

Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 18:36 utc | 46

Likklemore @1

Red line / Green light

USA has just but a bulls-eye on every American in Iraq and Syria.

Every anti-Iranian ideologue (starting with Netanyahu) will now start planning false-flag attacks.

Just another dog whistle like Obama's "red-line" farce.

PS Did any media confirm the death of the US translator that caused USA to bomb the Iraqi PMU? His name wasn't even released for a couple of week AFTER he was killed and AFAIK no one really knows who killed him.

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

Probably little happens until UN sanctions "snap-back". That will light the fuse and the fireworks start a number of weeks later but certainly before July (somebody wrote about Russia's being able to sell arms to Iran on the 5th-year anniversary of the JCPOA on July 14th).

Sadly, the false-flag needed to energize the masses with "war fever" (like after 9-11) is likely to require that many Americans are killed. And possibly not just military but civilians.

Aside: The cover of the 2015 Economist comes to mind. Two arrows on the lower right contain the numbers "11.5" and "11.3". The sand behind the arrows might represent the middle east. Do the two arrows represent a date range (European-like dates) of March 11th to May 11th? FYI: Persian New Year is March 21st, UN sanctions are likely to "snap-back" by mid-March.

The eleventh of the month has gained significance due to 9-11 and 7-11 (in England). Thus, 3-11, 4-11, and 5-11 would have symbolic value as for a "terrorist" incident.

How could the Economist have predicted such a date range? I've said many times that I thought that the JCPOA was a delaying tactic that was needed simply because Syrian regime change was taking longer than expected. From such a point of view, it's reasonable to assume that steps are taken to end the agreement and/or prompt strikes (symbolized by the arrows on the Economist's cover) prior to the end of the agreement or important anniversary milestones (like Ruissia's being able to sell arms after 5 years).

While some might say that such musings are irrational "conspiracy theory", I bring it up because neocons and other bad actors engage in long-term planning to achieve their goals. We are not suppose to notice such planning and then when things happen (like 9-11 and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis) it is quickly claimed that "no one could've foreseen" such things - which becomes an excuse for the bad actors to go unpunished.

!!

Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 18:36 utc | 46

3.11.2004 Madrid Atocha train station attacks happened...allegedly AQ autorship...

1.7.2015 Charlie Hebdo attack...IS/AQ autorship...allegedly...

1.7.2020 Soleimani´s muder...US autorship....confirmed....

Already exposed that IS/AQ is a byproduct of US

@

[Jan 23, 2020] The USA threatens with more extrajudicial killing of Iran officials

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 23 2020 15:29 utc | 1

The murder of Soleimani was not a one-off: it will be the policy to take out leaders and US vassals dare not speak up: Murder and Sanctions (aka "Financial Warfare" ) is what they do.


US Warns New Quds Force Commander Could 'Meet Same Fate' as Slain Predecessor.

[.]

The US will assassinate Quds Force Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani if he targets Americans, US special representative for Iran Brian Hook has warned.

"If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate," Hook said, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, in an interview published Thursday.

According to the US diplomat, President Trump has made it very "clear that any attack on Americans or American interests will be met with a decisive response, which the president demonstrated on January 2".

Hook also said he believed that "the Iranian regime" now "understands that they cannot attack America and get away with it".

Yes and soon.

Europe needs new instruments to be able to defend itself from licentious extraterritorial sanctions.

The World Looks to Abandon the Dollar as US Sanctions Tighten Their Grip

[Jan 23, 2020] Trump's Katyusha Conundrum

Jan 23, 2020 | original.antiwar.com

by William Walter Kay Posted on January 23, 2020 January 22, 2020 Katyushas are short-range, unguided artillery rockets typically fired in salvos from truck-mounted launch-tubes. Iraq's insurgents deploy three types.

The smallest is 107 millimeters in diameter and 1 meter long. Its 19 kilogram weight includes an 8 kg high-explosive, shrapnel-bearing warhead. The 107mm is often fired from a 12-tube launcher, however, infantry-portable single-tube tripods are common. An experienced crew with a standardized weapon can hit a 400 X 400 meter target from 8 kilometers away. During the Vietnam War the US Army considered the 107mm to be their adversaries' most formidable weapon.

The 122mm 'Grad' Katyusha is 3 meters long and weighs 75 kg. Its warhead spans a third of its length and weighs 18 kg. It has a 20-kilometer range and a 30-meter lethal radius.

220mm Katyushas hurl 100 kg warheads 30 kilometers.

Katyushas have advantages over mortars. They deliver the same payload twice the distance and they fire multiple ordnance more rapidly. The globally ubiquitous BM-21 Grad fires forty 122mm rockets in three minutes. Reloading takes 10 minutes. Thus, Katyushas excel at "shoot-and-scoot" operations. As well, Katyushas' flat trajectories permit line-of-sight attacks and their 700 meter-per-second velocities provide unique anti-building potential.

After helping suppress the ISIS-led insurgency (2014-17) US forces defaulted to their previous occupation plan. Central to this program are segregated compounds situated inside Iraqi Armed Forces bases. These installations, always near airstrips, contain mere hundreds (not thousands) of US and Coalition troops who ride herd over the Iraqi Army whilst grooming and directing Iraq's 15,000-strong Special Forces.

Embassies and consulates are integral to the occupation. The sprawling US Embassy compound dominates Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone" which also houses Coalition partners' embassies, and the headquarters of the many NGOs insinuated throughout Iraqi society.

The occupation facilitates local activities of American and European businesses. These require office blocks, oil-field infrastructure; and, gated communities for imported talent.

Pre-2011 Americans relied on bases containing thousands of troops. These were remotely located and allocated substantial resources to thwart indirect (mortar and rocket) attacks through: counter-artillery, drone surveillance, and fighting patrols. Despite this, indirect fire inflicted 3,000 casualties (including 211 fatalities) on American forces; many occurring inside 'secure' bases.

The US-led Coalition's current archipelago of military, diplomatic, intelligence, business and NGO installations are ill-equipped to defend themselves against indirect fire. Proximity to cities makes them sitting ducks.

In September 2018 persons unknown began targeting US installations with Katyushas. This list chronicles these attacks. * (A dozen mortar attacks are not listed; Katyushas being the weapon of choice.)

  1. September 8, 2018 – four rockets (three 107mms and one 122mm) fall near the Green Zone.
  2. September 8, 2018 – two salvos of 107mms land near the US Consulate beside Basra Airport.
  3. September 28, 2018 – three 107mms are fired at the Basra Consulate; two land on site.
  4. December 27, 2018 – two 107mms are fired at Al-Asad Airbase (160 kilometers west of Baghdad) during Trump's visit.
  5. February 2, 2019 – an attack on Al-Asad Airbase is aborted. Three ready-to-launch 122mms are captured.
  6. February 12, 2019 – three 107mms hit Q-West Airfield (an off-the-books base south of Mosul).
  7. May 1, 2019 – two 107mms hit Camp Al-Taji: a 'training' institute, 40 kilometers north of Baghdad.
  8. May 19, 2019 – two rockets land near the US Embassy.
  9. June 10, 2019 – rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  10. June 12, 2019 – rocket attack on a "northern air base" starts a fire.
  11. June 13, 2019 – rocket attack on Nineveh Command Headquarters (Mosul Presidential Palace).
  12. June 14, 2019 – a rocket lands near the US Embassy.
  13. June 17, 2019 – three rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  14. June 18, 2019 – Nineveh HQ is attacked by two 122mms; one hits, one misses.
  15. June 19, 2019 – rockets strike a gated community outside Basra (home to Exxon staff).
  16. September 23, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone; one lands near the US Embassy.
  17. October 30, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone, killing an Iraqi soldier.
  18. November 8, 2019 – seventeen rockets target Q-West Airfield.
  19. November 17, 2019 – rockets hit the Green Zone.
  20. November 29, 2019 – a rocket hits the Green Zone.
  21. December 3, 2019 – Al-Asad Airbase is "rocked" by five 122mms.
  22. December 5, 2019 – five 107mms hit Balad Airbase (80 kilometers north of Baghdad).
  23. December 6, 2019 – a 240mm rocket lands near Baghdad Airport (then housing a US base).
  24. December 9, 2019 – four 240mms strike Baghdad Airport killing 2, and wounding 5, Iraqi soldiers.
  25. December 11, 2019 – two 240mms land outside Baghdad Airport.
  26. December 27, 2019 – thirty-six 107mms hammer K1 Base (15 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk); killing an American translator and wounding several US troops.
  27. December 29, 2019 – four rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  28. December 29, 2019 – five rockets hit Al-Asad Airbase.
  29. January 4, 2020 – two rockets hit Balad Airbase.
  30. January 4, 2020 – several rockets hit the Green Zone. One lands near the US Embassy; another closes a major street.
  31. January 5, 2020 – six rockets are fired at the Green Zone; three hit the target.
  32. January 8, 2020 – two rockets hit the Green Zone.
  33. January 12, 2020 – eight rockets hit Balad Airbase, wounding several Iraqi soldiers.
  34. January 14, 2020 – a five-rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  35. January 20, 2020 – three rockets hit Green Zone. They were fired from Al Zafraniya (15 kilometers away).

Attacks are becoming more frequent and are trending toward bigger rockets and higher volume salvos.

The insurgents' strategy is working. Katyusha attacks shuttered the US Basra Consulate in September 2018. Attacks in May and June 2019 forced Exxon to evacuate much of its foreign staff. Throughout 2019 the US State Department extracted personnel and the Defense Department consolidated bases into more secure facilities. By late 2019 US authorities were begging Iraqis for help whilst threatening retaliation.

The last straw came December 27 when the barrage onto K1 Base killed an American translator. The US responded with airstrikes on five Kata'ib Hezbollah bases (90 casualties) and with the January 3 assassination of Iranian General Soleimani. (The decision to assassinate Soleimani – in the event of an American fatality – was made June 24, 2019 following a week of near daily Katyusha attacks.)

While Iran and Iran's Iraqi allies are blamed for these attacks; this is dubious. Reportage following attacks invariably drops the phrase " no one claimed responsibility " – which is notable because perpetrators often boast of such achievements. Ten years ago, when Kata'ib Hezbollah targeted US facilities with "lob bombs" (improvised rockets), they posted videos of their handiwork. They deny involvement in these recent attacks as do other Iranian-linked militias.

The reportage often describes the attacks as " mysterious " or as a " whodunit. " Authors relay US intelligence theories of Iranian involvement without evidence.

On several occasions insurgents abandoned launchers and/or launch vehicles after the attack, often with fail-to-launch rockets inside. Investigators also possess fragments of successfully fired rockets. Tellingly, US officials, renowned for straining at gnats for evidence of Iranian complicity, do not utilize this material to incriminate Tehran.

The launchers themselves are obviously manufactured by local artisans. Moreover, an article from Kurdistan24 describes the rockets as " locally made ." Even globalist-militarist instrumentalities like the Washington Institute, Long War Journal, and Center for Strategic and International Studies concede some Katyushas are manufactured in Iraq.

Iraq has a burgeoning steel industry and, due to the calamities of the past 20 years, an enormous scrap metal industry. Katyushas' cardinal virtue is their simplicity.

Circa 2014 twelve countries hosted non-state armed groups that deployed Katyushas. (Post-2014 Yemen's Houthis joined this list, then outdid the pack in innovation and output.)

During the 2003-11 era Iraqi insurgents looted Katyushas from local arsenals. Other Katyushas came from Iran (officially or via the black market) and possibly from any of 32 other countries manufacturing them. Experts bemoan the difficulty of determining a rocket's origin.

Circa 2008 Iraqi artisans manufactured a variety of launchers. A 2009 raid in Maysan Governorate discovered 107mm, 122mm and 220mm rail launchers; and 1,700 carjacks. (Jacks were affixed to the bottoms of stationary tripods to permit changes in launch angle.) Insurgents developed creative mobile launch platforms i.e. inside ice cream trucks or towed behind motorcycles etc. They debuted remote control triggers and GPS reconnaissance.

Circa 2011 poor quality of locally acquired rockets compelled insurgents to continue to rely on imports. The insurgents were, however, manufacturing "lob bomb" rockets and anti-armor mines; although Iran stood accused of being their sole supplier.

Post-2011 insurgents honed their craft. Remember: Hamas, operating inside Gaza with a tiny fraction of the resources of Iraq's insurgents, manufactures crude Katyushas.

Prime suspects in the Katyusha campaign are not pro-Iranian militias; but rather the milieu around Mahdi Army successor, the Promise Day Brigades (PDB). This political tendency, nominally led by Moqtada al-Sadr, is concentrated in Iraq's densely populated central and southern regions, but boasts a militant contingent in Mosul. This milieu overlaps the Saairun Alliance which includes Iraq's far left; who carry their own legacy of armed struggle.

The insurgency's Von Braun might be Jawad al-Tulaybani. An Iran-Iraq War veteran, al-Tulaybani possesses 40 years of combat rocketry experience. A war wound left him partially disabled. He appeared on US radar in 2008 after masterminding a barrage that wounded 15 US soldiers.

The org-chart of the Saairun/PDB/al-Sadr movement remains obscured. Notably, on January 8, 2020 al-Sadr counseled refrain from military actions. Four Katyusha attacks happened since.

What is clear is that this general political tendency is not particularly beholden to Iran. They appear nonsectarian, if not secularist, and they advance a left-nationalist agenda. Prior to the 2018 election (wherein Saairun emerged as the most popular bloc) Iran's Foreign Minister warned Iran would never tolerate an Iraq run by " liberals and communists " – meaning Saairun.

Then again, Trump's thrill kill of Soleimani (and Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units' Deputy Commander) completely reshuffled the deck, creating unprecedented unity amongst hitherto rivals.

As Katyushas veto pacification efforts, US forces return to square one. They must retreat to sprawling, remotely situated camps equipped to suppress indirect fire. This, however, means surrendering Iraq's political theater to adversaries who will marshal Iraqi Government resources against them.

Katyushas are driving the Trump Administration's Iraq policy. Prisoners of groupthink they react by doubling-down on the Big Lie that Iraq's national liberation movement consists only of "Iranian terrorists." In reality, their most effective opponents are as indigenous and legitimate as the French Resistance.

*Note on Sources

Data came from scanning 1,000 articles then parsing several dozen of them. Preference went to state media: i.e. Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Xinhua et al; although Military Times and Kurdistan-24 proved germane. Rogue Rocketeers: Artillery Rockets and Armed Groups (Small Arms Survey, Geneva Switzerland, 2014) is a must-read. Data on the first 7 Katyusha attacks was lifted without corroboration from Michael Knights' Responding to Iranian Harassment of U.S. Facilities in Iraq (Washington Institute, May 21, 2019). As Knights is the only analyst to grasp the seriousness of the Katyusha attacks. His reports are a trove. Being intimately connected to US and Israeli intelligence, he slavishly relays the anti-Iran party line.

Major attacks generate scores of reports. Lesser attacks are mentioned only in passing. Some articles tally the attacks but the numbers do not jibe. Certain attacks go unreported. Probably, 50+ mortar and Katyusha attacks hit US facilities between September 8, 2018 and January 14, 2020.

William Walter Kay is a researcher and writer from Canada. His most recent book is From Malthus to Mifepristone: A Primer on the Population Control Movement.

[Jan 23, 2020] The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone -- a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jan 23 2020 19:17 utc | 58

The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone -- a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-22/pentagon-racks-up-35-trillion-in-accounting-changes-in-one-year

[Jan 23, 2020] The Myth of Middle-Class Liberalism

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jan 23 2020 16:55 utc | 20

An excellent article (by NYT standards). Strongly recommend reading it:

The Myth of Middle-Class Liberalism

Only one correction: the historian (who's British) excludes the British and American middle classes from the reactionary group, but he's lying.

--//--

The end is nearing for the Asian Paper Tiger:

South Korea posts lowest growth in a decade

The article mentions Samsung dismal profit rates from last quarter (that I posted here a few weeks ago) and China-USA trade war. Both excuses are false; instead, South Korea is just the latest victim of the chronic falling profitability stage, a stage every fully developed capitalist nation will go through.

The South Korea Times was more sincere, it mentioned the country is entereing a "slow growth trap" (the bourgeois term to designate Marx's Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall).

--//--

The real reason the West is blocking Huawei:

Backdoored backup? Apple nixed iCloud encryption after FBI complained your data is a valuable resource

Apple was barred from offering customers encrypted iCloud storage because US intelligence agencies insisted on maintaining open access to users' files, their primary means of evidence-gathering, sources claim.

The FBI quashed a planned feature that would have allowed Apple users to encrypt their iCloud storage, claiming that it would cut the agency off from its best source of evidence against iPhone-using suspects, according to sources who spoke to Reuters on Wednesday. Apple reportedly went along with the agency , hoping to avoid being made an example of in the media or used as the test case for a draconian new anti-encryption law, and the program was put to bed two years ago – yet the crusading surveillance state has returned in the wake of the Pensacola naval air base shooting to demand still greater incursions on user privacy.

So, when the USA does it, it isn't "totalitarianism", but "national security".

[Jan 23, 2020] The ideology of the Empire is Exceptionalism and Zionism is a key pillar. Zionists take pains to draw parallels between USA and Israel as divinely-inspired settler states.

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 19:56 utc | 71

The Jewish Progressive Agenda According to Bernie Sanders
In his recent extended article titled How to Fight Antisemitism, published by the purportedly 'Left' Jewish Currents, Sanders takes up the same line you'd expect from an ADL spokesman, ticking every Hasbara box from the Jewish right of 'self determination 'to the primacy of Jewish suffering.

The ideology of the Empire is Exceptionalism and Zionism is a key pillar. Zionists take pains to draw parallels between USA and Israel as divinely-inspired settler states .

Both parties support the Empire's New World Order (NWO) and Bernie has no answer for the toxic empire-building fantasies that plague those who rule in the West . He blithely joins other Democrats in focusing on "bread and butter" issues of "ordinary Americans" so as to distract from the truth that EMPIRE skews everything and disadvantages all of us except the ideologues and their wealthy backers.

Bernie is part of the problem. His sheep-dogging for Hillary was not an aberration. The establishment has doubled-down yet again on EMPIRE. And whatever the outcome, we lose.

!!

[Jan 23, 2020] Weaponizing fascism for democracy

Can "corporate democrats" be viewed as modern day neofascists ? The fact that they do support remnants of Nazi coalition forces in eastern Europe is especially alarming.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Seer , Jan 23 2020 17:38 utc | 32
The Big Picture is unfolding... Great series start by Yasha Levine:

https://yasha.substack.com/p/weaponizing-fascism-for-democracy

When I launched Immigrants as a Weapon back in September, I argued that America had done more to promote the far-right around the world than any other country on earth. I wasn't exaggerating. America really is the biggest and most active player in the field -- the biggest by far.

Even a cursory look at modern American history shows that promoting nationalism and backing far-right emigre groups has been a major plank of American foreign policy going back to the very end of World War II. This mixture of covert and overt programs and initiatives was first deployed to fight the Soviet Union and left-wing political movements but has over the years touched down all over the globe -- wherever America has some sort of geopolitical interest, including modern capitalist states like Russia and China. One of these nationalism weaponization initiatives -- which targeted the USSR for destabilization in the 70s and 80s -- was how a Soviet kid like me ended up in San Francisco as a political refugee.

This history is important. Without it, it's impossible to understand the mechanics of our reactionary foreign policy today -- whether in China or with our "strategic partner" Ukraine, a country that's at the center of today's impeachment show.

There are all sorts of possible entry points into this story. I guess I could go all the way back to America's support for the White Russians against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. But for now I'd like to start at the very end of World War II -- when this approach was just beginning to crystalize as a distinct strategy inside America's foreign policy apparatus.

... ... ...

As Ira was made to understand, to fight the commies the Allies needed a strong, economically stable Germany. That's why denazification efforts had been scrapped and Allied military command was busy putting former Nazis back in charge of industry to "reconstitute the German economy as quickly as possible." This new war footing against the Soviet Union was also why military officials didn't want to seize German property for Jewish survivors. They thought giving Jews anything at the expense of German citizens strained relations and caused bad blood between them and a vital new ally.

And anyway, it wasn't like military command had much sympathy for the Jews.

General George Patton, who for a short time ran occupied Bavaria after the war, was infamous for his contempt for Jewish survivors. In his diary, he described Jews as "lower than animals" who would multiply like "locusts" if not kept under strict armed guard in their camps. "I have never looked at a group of people who seem to be more lacking in intelligence and spirit," he wrote. Patton refused to authorize the confiscation of German property to house Jewish survivors because, he explained, it was "against my Anglo-Saxon conscience to remove a person from a house." And when an underling had no choice but to move a few wealthy German families to make room for Jewish survivors, Patton confessed to his diary that he felt guilty -- like he was committing a crime.

He had been fired shortly before Ira came to Europe, but many in the US Army agreed with his views about the Jews and continued to follow his lead. The debased and broken conditions of Jewish survivors only confirmed people's worst antisemitic stereotypes. The Jews were a filthy and disgusting race unfit for cohabitation with the civilized. Why give them anything? Maybe the Germans were right in trying to wipe them out. And the Brits? Well, if anything, even more antisemitic.

It didn't take long for Ira, an American Jew, to realize that most of the top Allied military command was set against Jewish survivors. To them, these Jews were a liability and a nuisance.

And the non-Jewish displaced groups? Well, they were a different story.

Among them were thousands of hardcore anticommunists. They were hardened fighters with plenty of killing experience. They had lost their fascist wars. Their dream of building ethnically pure utopias on their home turf had collapsed. The communists had won. Now they had nothing left to lose and had an endless appetite for revenge. And, as it turned out, they also had the same goal as the Allies: to destroy the Soviet Union.

No one told Ira that this was happening, but they didn't have to.

As he toured the camps it became obvious to him that the Allies were maneuvering to, as he called it, "consolidate the forces of reaction." On the sly, they were whipping these fascists and Nazi collaborators into the nucleus of what they hoped would to be a new fighting force against the Soviet Union.

He saw this as the ultimate betrayal.

Ira was a bit naive about the nature of American liberalism. But on the question of weaponized fascism, he turned out to be right. Even as he toured the camps in 1946, Britain and America had already started working with Eastern European fascist groups for intelligence gathering and covert commando raids on Soviet territory -- including in Latvia and Ukraine. And by the time his book appeared in stores three years later, the weaponization of European fascist movements had become official American policy, secretly crafted by the most celebrated foreign policy brain of that generation: George Kennan.


Norwegian , Jan 23 2020 17:20 utc | 27

Posted by: A P | Jan 23 2020 16:57 utc | 22
To occupatio: We know that the US/ZATO is in the weaponized pathogen development business. The US has set up "plausible deniablility" black bio-weapons production sites in former Eastern Bloc countries, and the UK still runs Porton Downs, not far from the Skripal "poisoning" location.

They have been doing this for a long, long time at Porton Down. Not living in the UK, I first became aware of it in 1979 via a song called "Porton Down" by Peter Hammill. An excerpt from the lyrics gives it away

Won't hear a sound at Porton Down
The clear liquids keep their silence
Buried underground at Porton Down
The fast form of the final violence
Hurry on round about Porton Down
A quick glimpse of the future warfare
Hidden underground at Porton Down
Far too frightening to say what you saw there
corvo , Jan 23 2020 19:53 utc | 69
@tucenz #60:

>In the article you link to, Levine seems to use the Ira Hirschmann book,
> The Embers Still Burn, to reinforce the notion of the preeminence of Jewish suffering.

But of course: Hirschmann was very much a Zionist. But that need not compromise the validity of his observations regarding the US/UK's nurturing of Central and Eastern European fascisms.

[Jan 22, 2020] How Our Economic Warfare Brings the World to Heel

Jan 22, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How Our Economic Warfare Brings the World to Heel

Unprecedented hubris is drawing a global blowback that will leave America in a very dangerous place. Sorin Alb/Shutterstock

January 2, 2020

|

12:01 am

Doug Bandow Economic sanctions are an important foreign policy tool going back to America's founding. President Thomas Jefferson banned trade with Great Britain and France, which left U.S. seamen unemployed while failing to prevent military conflict with both.

Economic warfare tends to be equally ineffective today. The Trump administration made Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and North Korea special sanctions targets. So this strategy has failed in every case. In fact, "maximum pressure" on both Iran, which has become more threatening, and North Korea, which appears to be preparing a tougher military response, has dramatically backfired.

The big difference between then and now is Washington's shift from primary to secondary sanctions. Trade embargoes, such as first applied to Cuba in 1960, once only prevented Americans from dealing with the target state. Today Washington attempts to conscript the entire world to fight its economic wars.

This shift was heralded by the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which extended Cuban penalties to foreign companies, a highly controversial move at the time. Sudan was another early target of secondary sanctions, which barred anyone who used the U.S. financial system from dealing with Khartoum. Europeans and others grumbled about Washington's arrogance, but were not willing to confront the globe's unipower over such minor markets.

However, sanctions have become much bigger business in Washington. One form is a mix of legislative and executive initiatives applied against governments in disfavor. There were five countries under sanction when George W. Bush took office in 2001. The Office of Foreign Assets Control currently lists penalties against the Balkans, Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Nicaragua, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine-Russia, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. In addition are special programs: countering America's adversaries, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, cyber warfare, foreign election interference, Global Magnitsky, Magnitsky, proliferation, diamond trade, and transnational crime.

Among today's more notable targets are Cuba for being communist, Venezuela for being crazy communist, Iran for having once sought nuclear weapons and currently challenging Saudi and U.S. regional hegemony, Russia for beating up on Ukraine and meddling in America's 2016 election, Syria for opposing Israel and brutally suppressing U.S.-supported insurgents, and North Korea for developing nuclear weapons. Once on Washington's naughty list, countries rarely get off.

The second penalty tier affects agencies, companies, and people who have offended someone in Washington for doing something considered evil, inappropriate, or simply inconvenient. Individual miscreants often are easy to dislike. Penalizing a few dubious characters or enterprises creates less opposition than sanctioning a country.

However, some targets merely offended congressional priorities. For instance, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act Congress authorized sanctions against Western companies, most notably the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying venture Allseas Group, involved in the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project. GOP Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson threatened Allseas: "continuing to do the work -- for even a single day after the president signs the sanctions legislation -- would expose your company to crushing and potentially fatal legal and economic sanctions."

Penalizing what OFAC calls "Specially Designated Nationals" and "blocked persons" has become Washington sport. Their number hit 8000 last year. The Economist noted that the Trump administration alone added 3100 names during its first three years, almost as many as George W. Bush included in eight years. Today's target list runs an incredible 1358 pages.

The process has run wildly out of control. Policymakers' first response to a person, organization, or government doing something of which they disapprove now seems to be to impose sanctions -- on anyone or anything on earth dealing with the target. Unfortunately, reliance on economic warfare, and sanctions traditionally are treated as an act of war, has greatly inflated U.S. officials' geopolitical ambitions. Once they accepted that the world was a messy, imperfect place. Today they intervene in the slightest foreign controversy. Even allies and friends, most notably Europe, Japan, South Korea, and India, are threatened with economic warfare unless they accept Washington's self-serving priorities and mind-numbing fantasies.

At the same time the utility of sanctions is falling. Unilateral penalties usually fail, which enrages advocates, who respond by escalating sanctions, again without success. Of course, embargoes and bans often inflict substantial economic pain, which sometimes lead proponents to claim victory. However, the cost is supposed to be the means to another end. Yet the Trump administration has failed everywhere: Cuba maintains communist party rule, Iran has grown more truculent, North Korea has refused to disarm, Russia has not given back Crimea, and Venezuela has not defenestrated Nicolas Maduro.

Much the same goes for penalties applied to individuals, firms, and other entities. Those targeted often are hurt, and most of them deserve to be hurt. But they usually persist in their behavior or others replace them. What dictator has been deposed, policy has been changed, threat has been countered, or wrong has been righted as a result of economic warfare? There is little evidence that U.S. sanctions achieve much of anything, other than encourage sanctimonious moral preening.

Noted the Economist , "If they do not change behavior, sanctions risk becoming less a tool of coercion than an expensive and rather arbitrary extraterritorial form of punishment." One that some day might be turned against Americans.

Contra apparent assumptions in Washington, it is not easy to turn countries into America's image. Raw nationalism usually triumphs. Americans should reflect on how they would react if the situation was reversed. No one wants to comply with unpopular foreign dictates.

In fact, economic warfare often exacerbates underlying conflicts. Rather than negotiate with Washington from a position of weakness, Iran has threatened maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf, shut down Saudi oil exports, and loosed affiliates and irregulars on American and allied forces. Russia has challenged against multiple Washington policy priorities. Cuba has shifted power to the post-revolutionary generation and extended its authority private businesses as the Trump administration's policies have stymied growth and undermined entrepreneurs.

The almost endless expansion of sanctions also punishes American firms and foreign companies active in America. Compliance is costly. Violating one rule, even inadvertently, is even more so. Chary companies preemptively forego legal business in a process called "de-risking."

Even humanitarian traffic suffers: Who wants to risk an expensive mistake in handling relatively low value transactions? Such effects might not bother smug U.S. policymakers, but should weigh heavily on the rest of us.

Perhaps most important, Washington's overreliance on secondary sanctions is building resistance to American financial dominance. Warned Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in 2016: "The more we condition use of the dollar and our financial system on adherence to U.S. foreign policy, the more the risk of migration to other currencies and other financial systems in the medium-term grows."

Overthrowing the almighty dollar will be no mean feat. Nevertheless, arrogant U.S. attempts to regulate the globe have united much of the world, including Europe, Russia, and China, against American extraterritoriality. Noted attorney Bruce Zagaris, Washington is "inadvertently mobilizing a club of countries and international organizations, including U.S. allies, to develop ways to circumvent U.S. sanctions."

Merchant ships and oil tankers turn off transponders. Vessels transfer cargoes at sea. Firms arrange cash and barter deals. Major powers such as China aid and abet violations and dare Washington to wreck much larger bilateral economic relationships. The European Union passed "Blocking Legislation" to allow recovery of damages from U.S. sanctions and limit Europeans' compliance with such rules. The EU also developed a barter facility, known as Instex, to allow trade with Iran without reliance on U.S. financial institution.

Russia has pushed to de-dollarize international payments and worked with China to settle bilateral trade in rubles and renminbi. Foreign central banks have increased their purchases of gold. At the recent Islamic summit Malaysia proposed using gold and barter for trade to thwart future sanctions. Venezuela has been selling gold for euros. These measures do not as yet threaten America's predominant financial role but foreshadow likely future changes.

Indeed, Washington's attack on plans by Germany to import natural gas from Russia might ignite something much greater. Berlin is not just an incidental victim of U.S. policy. Rather, Germany is the target. Complained Foreign Minister Heiko Maas "European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the U.S." Alas, Congress thinks differently.

However, Europeans are ever less willing to accept this kind of indignity. Washington is penalizing even close allies for no obvious purpose other than demonstrating its power. In Nord Stream 2's case, Gazprom likely will complete the project if necessary. Germany's Deputy Foreign Minister Niels Annen argued that "Europe needs new instruments to be able to defend itself from licentious extraterritorial sanctions."

Commercial penalties have a role to play in foreign policy, but economic warfare is warfare. It can trigger real conflicts -- consider Imperial Japan's response to the Roosevelt administration's cut-off of oil exports. And economic warfare can kill innocents. When UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright was asked about the deaths of a half million Iraqi babies from U.S. sanctions, her response was chilling: "We think the price is worth it." Yet most of the time economic war fails, especially if a unilateral effort by one power applied against the rest of the world.

Washington policymakers need to relearn the meaning of humility. Incompetent and arrogant sanctions policies hurt Americans as well as others. Unfortunately, the resulting blowback will only increase.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire.


Fran Macadam 21 days ago

Under the official Full Spectrum Dominance policy of national security, the goal is that all other nations will be satrapies under U.S. jurisdiction. There are both punishments for using the U.S. dollar, and punishments for not using it.
Cesar Jeopardy MattMusson 20 days ago
I'm afraid it will be the U.S. that suffers. Other countries will no longer subordinate their interests to those of the U.S. I think the U.S. will have to fight all future wars, and accept all blow-back, on her own.
Gary Sellars 21 days ago
It's a waste of time trying to appeal to the commonsense of the Washington Elites. They are too arrogant and sociopathic to care, and lack anything that remotely resembles a moral compass.
Markus 21 days ago
Sanctions are ineffective because the effects don't fall on those making decisions that are adverse to the US. After fifty years of sanctions, Fidel died in bed in great comfort. Sanctions on top of the crazy Juche policies make life hard for the ordinary North Korean, but Kim doesn't appear to have lost any weight. Our officials pat themselves on the back for their militancy without checking for effectiveness.
Disqus10021 20 days ago
Would it be correct to say that the US embargo on oil exports to Japan in August 1941 led to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor a few months later (Dec. 7)? Was FDR trying to provoke a war with Japan at the time?
Comment-1 Disqus10021 20 days ago
Discuss 10021. Yes. I used to study East Asia and even reading standard collections of articles, on the article announcing the embargo of steel and oil, and from British controlled territories in East Asia, one's reaction would be, "This means war." (In like, Pres. Carter said if Saudi Arabia refused to sell oil to the US we would invade and take over oil fields.) Se our reaction was similar to that of Japan, though we would blame them and us doing the same would be good. The US military assessment was, I have forgotten exactly, but that Japan would be without heat, power, lighting, factories closed (no oil or steel) and they would be on the point of starvation within, I have forgotten, 9 months to 1 1/2 years. So they "had to do something".. Their war plan was not to invade the US but start a surprise war and strike quickly hoping to get forward bases in the Pacific and we would need to negotiate and turn on the spigot. Japanese assessment was if they did not achieve this by the end of 1942 they were finished. Interestingly, Hitler's assessment of Germany's war was if they had not defeated USSR and gone after United Kingdom by the end of 1942, they, also, were finished. If I recall the report, Eleanor Roosevelt had told on US writer the day the attack occurred, something like, "We thought they were going to attack, but we thought it would be in the Philippines, not Hawaii."
ask zippy Comment-1 19 days ago
So the sanctions had nothing to do with the invasion of French Indo-China? Who taught the class, Noam Chomsky
Robert Levine 20 days ago
Sanctions are now a form of virtue-signaling for both the right and the left.
BillSamuel 18 days ago
The hubris is overwhelming. All empires fall, and the USA certainly seems headed for a fall. However, we still have a choice. We could reject empire, stop all our illegal foreign wars, close all our foreign military bases, drastically reduce our military budget (it is NOT a "defense" budget; it is an offense military budget), end our campaigns of economic sanctions, and stop being the Big Bully of the world. The result would be to free enormous resources for our own country which ranks behind almost all other affluent nations - and sometimes many not-so-affluent nations - in almost all indicators of ecnomic and social well being. Replacing the military sector of our economy with civilian alternatives would be a big boon. Weapons are notable for not continuing in the economic cycle as civilian products do. There are many more jobs per dollars spent in the civilian sector than the military sector. Empire is killing our country even as it is killing other countries.
Gary Sellars BillSamuel 17 days ago • edited
Agreed, but the elites make BILLIONS from Empire & the associated militarism. Psychopaths don't care about the damage they inflict on others, even their own countrymen, and they won't willingly surrender the machinery that generates their wealth and privilege.

[Jan 22, 2020] UK elite resorted to typical neofascist provocation in case of Skripal false falg

Jan 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Jan 22 2020 16:32 utc | 108

This is a relevant quote from a commentary in NYT, March 26, 2018 by Kadri Liik (@KadriLiik) is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and the former director of the International Center for Defense Studies in Estonia.

"The world does not yet know the full details of the Skripal poisoning, but it does not feel like waiting, as the expulsions make clear. Too often in the past, Moscow has denied its involvement in cases that later end up being traced to the Kremlin or its proxies. The result is that its denials lack credibility. Now, the successful use of "plausible deniability" in all the previous cases collides with the Kremlin's current interests and contributes to the verdict: guilty until proven innocent."

Punishment before the proof, if you reverse the order you [do what Putin wants|make Putin happy], the outcome so ghastly that we cannot risk it. The truth has to be declared, and then, optionally, proven. Another option is to just repeat that, say, Qassim Suleimani was a terrorist. And punish.

Bombing of Barzeh as a punishment for un-investigated crime follows the template, duly approved by the sophisticated Europeans from a myriad of outfits like International Center for Defense Studies in Estonia. I would move all of them to Tiksi (check accuweather), a quiet and somewhat depopulated city on the shore of beautiful Arctic ocean, with an airport, a few thousand of empty apartments should accommodate them (if not, there are also former mining towns in the interior, although the may be colder). Cold Warriors should embrace the cold.

[Jan 22, 2020] Dissilution of the USSR turned the remnants of fascism into heroes

Notable quotes:
"... Many of those who sneaked out to Argentina and concealed themselves would have done better to have waited for Canada and the States to invite them to come and 'do their thing' in Cleveland, Chicago, Montreal and Edmonton, Alberta. ..."
"... Which leads me to the point I came here to make: the astonishing thing about the OPCW hearing is that Henderson was denied a visa. That really is shocking and a measure of how brutal, intellectually and actually, the US government has become. ..."
"... Not to mention the imposition of semi colonial hegemony over Europe. ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Jan 22 2020 15:38 utc | 103

somebody@94
Don't underestimate the transformation of residual 'blood and soil' themes in fascism into foundations of the Green movements. They were not simply dissenters within the communist tradition but rabid anti-communists. It was the intellectual traditions and the residual popular support among generations schooled in fascism-often literally schooled- which were preserved and amplified by the wave of anti-communism which came in from America. Like the legendary 'cavalry' rescuing the embattled settlers the US swooped into Europe, when all seemed lost, and turned the remnants of fascism into heroes.

Many of those who sneaked out to Argentina and concealed themselves would have done better to have waited for Canada and the States to invite them to come and 'do their thing' in Cleveland, Chicago, Montreal and Edmonton, Alberta.

Which leads me to the point I came here to make: the astonishing thing about the OPCW hearing is that Henderson was denied a visa. That really is shocking and a measure of how brutal, intellectually and actually, the US government has become. It has long been bad but things have reached the stage now where it has become clear that the likes Of Al Capone and the models for The Godfather movies, were babes in arms compared with the likes of Bolton or Pompeo.
When we consider Trump and the key, almost impossibly apt, fact that Roy Cohn was his mentor it is easy to forget that, in a sense, Roy Cohn was America's mentor. Cohn, who got the job of McCarthy's counsel, in competition with Bobby Kennedy, turned the Wisconsin Senator from a loose cannon into a guided missile against the residual American left and, a much easier target, the Intelligentsia.

And Cohn and McCarthy and the forces that they represented- the primordial forces of Capitalism- put the fear of poverty into them. It is impossible to understand the USA today, and its role in the world, without understanding that its intellectuals were intimidated into exile, silence, compromise, retreat and impotence as the new Imperialism set about its ruthless work. Look at the late forties, from Taft Hartley (and the crushing of the Unions)to such forgotten but signatory interventions as that in Guyana against Cheddi Jagan (repeated by JFK in 1960) Guatemala and Iran. Not to mention the imposition of semi colonial hegemony over Europe.

All these things have lasted. And Cohn's role in producing them was crucial-it was the bipartisanship of bigotry and brutality and Tammany gangsterism. (An old alliance that, between Jim Crow and the Machines.)

Trump is one of Cohn's kids but much more representative of them is Hillary Clinton, daughter of a John Bircher, a Goldwater girl, a 'feminist'-of the thoroughly sickening variety- and imbued with a hatred of Russia.


somebody , Jan 22 2020 21:00 utc | 118

Posted by: bevin | Jan 22 2020 15:38 utc | 103

Foundation members of the Greens were very diverse, for sure. The right wing ecofascist faction left them soon though - they were incompatible.

There is the elementary conflict between SPD/Linke voters and Greens though on industrial economic growth and consumerism.

karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 17:45 utc | 114

Bubbles @71--

The Soviet Union won the war, the United States won the peace... That didn't happen by accident.

The Outlaw US Empire immediately initiated the Cold War as soon as V-E day happened by collecting SS and Gestapo for redeployment into Eastern Europe to commit acts of terrorism, a preplanned exercise. It later held the farcical trials at Nuremburg. Walter's provided lots of nice insight into the aims of the Manhattan Project and real reason for murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese. The Great Evil that's today's USA got its start during WW2, but its philosophical underpinnings are as old as the Republic.

If History is going to be remembered correctly, then ALL of that History must be revealed--true and raw, just as Putin and the Russians propose to do with their historical memory project.

pretzelattack , Jan 22 2020 18:01 utc | 115
another benefit for the u.s., all those german scientists via operation paperclip. helped keep the mic running after it would normally ramp down postwar.
pretzelattack , Jan 22 2020 18:01 utc | 115 karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 19:02 utc | 116
bevin @103--

Yes, Standing Ovation!! So much of that's now swept under the rug. Henry Wallace was all too correct about US Fascism in his 1944 essay. During WW2, Charles Beard wrote a book that was initially serialized in Life magazine beginning on 17 Jan 1944, The Republic: Conversations on Fundamentals , which was read by and sold more copies than any of his works--ever--and was the last major book he produced. Yet, when you look at the short bibliography at Wikipedia or the one provided by its link to the American History Association, it is omitted--WHY? I used it as a teaching tool for both history and polisci because of its brilliant construction--the way in which Beard composed it as a series of conversations. This link provides a hint , or you can join the archive and "borrow" it as there's no open downloading of this book available--WHY? Lots of his other works are feely available. It's not hard to find used first editions for under $4, which attests to the number published. But it certainly seems like we're not supposed to know of this work as its airbrushing from his AHA bibliography suggests.

Maybe what Beard wrote about was too contrary to The Plan. Aha!! Beard wrote that it was his rebuttal to Henry Luce--the owner/publisher of Life and Time magazines--and his idea of an American Century meaning American Empire a la Rome/Britain--Pax Americana. The mystery gets deeper upon reading the introduction at the first link above. I wish I could copy/paste, but I'm barred from doing that, so you'll need to read it yourself. One can envision Bradbury's Firemen rushing out to eliminate just such a book with its heretical ideas about how the US federal government's supposed to operate and for whom.

But back to bevin and his recounting of a critical historical chapter that's also being airbrushed. Some of us barflies are akin to Bradbury's "Train People" from Fahrenheit 451 , but how confident are we that the stories we have to tell are being heard AND remembered so they don't vanish with us?

karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 20:04 utc | 117
116 Cont'd--

This is more for Bubbles @71, but applies to all. This is from 2017 upon the release of UN Holocaust files held back on request by the Outlaw US Empire and its vassal Britain as reported in an excellent article by Finnian Cunningham:

"In other words, the Cold War which the US and Britain embarked on after 1945 was but a continuation of hostile policy towards Moscow that was already underway well before the Second World War erupted in 1939 in the form of a build up of Nazi Germany. For various reasons, it became expedient for the Western powers to liquidate the Nazi war machine, along with the Soviet Union. But as can be seen, the Western assets residing in the Nazi machine were recycled into American and British Cold War posture against the Soviet Union. It is a truly damning legacy that American and British military intelligence agencies were consolidated and financed by Nazi crimes.

"The recent release of UN Holocaust files – in spite of American and British prevarication over many years – add more evidence to the historical analysis that these Western powers were deeply complicit in the monumental crimes of the Nazi Third Reich. They knew about these crimes because they had helped facilitate them. And the complicity stemmed from Western hostility towards Russia as a perceived geopolitical rival.

" This is not a mere historical academic exercise . Western complicity with Nazi Germany also finds a corollary in the present-day ongoing hostility from Washington, Britain and their NATO allies towards Moscow. The relentless build up of NATO offensive forces around Russia's borders, the endless Russophobia in Western propagandistic news media, the economic blockade in the form of sanctions based on tenuous claims, are all deeply rooted in history. [My Emphasis]
"The West's Cold War towards Moscow preceded the Second World War, continued after the defeat of Nazi Germany and persists to this day regardless of the fact that the Soviet Union no longer exists. Why? Because Russia is a perceived rival to Anglo-American capitalist hegemony, as is China or any other emerging power that undermines that desired unipolar hegemony.

"American-British collusion with Nazi Germany finds its modern-day manifestation in NATO collusion with the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine and jihadist terror groups dispatched in proxy wars against Russian interests in Syria and elsewhere. The players may change over time, but the root pathology is American-British capitalism and its hegemonic addiction.

"The never-ending Cold War will only end when Anglo-American capitalism is finally defeated and replaced by a genuinely more democratic system."

The picture becomes clearer as we begin to realize that today's monsters--Pompeo, Pence, Bolton, Abrams, Rove, and others--are the same as yesterday's monsters, although they've moved from one side of the Atlantic to the other. What's currently happening ought to make informed people think again about who the Arc of Resistance is actually defending and what message Trump's murder of Soleimani is meant to convey--it's TINA once again: Neoliberal Fascism. It should also be noted that the release occurred soon after Trump became POTUS, giving a strong secondary motive for Russiagate and the Skripals shortly afterward.


karlof1 , Jan 22 2020 23:51 utc | 123
Bubbles @122--

Thanks for your reply. Are you aware of Operation Unthinkable , Operation Sunrise from which the former sprang, and Allen Dulles's activities in Italy and Germany during 1945?

AntiSpin @121--

Good to hear from you! I had a hard time digging up a copy of Life to read Luce's screed on the American Century which I photocopied. Today, a quick search now finds it online here (PDF), while here's a dissection that sets up the conflicting outlooks of Beard and Luce that IMO's useful. Indeed, Luce's views are quite the read given what the USA's become--do note the political party that feared and predicted such an outcome. It's a great misfortune that a discussion of the two doesn't even enter into graduate seminars about WW2; at least my undergrads got some exposure and learned of the two essay's existence.

AntiSpin , Jan 22 2020 23:11 utc | 121
@ karlof1 | Jan 22 2020 19:02 utc | 116

Thanks much for the information on Charles Beard's "forgotten" book. I just ordered a copy.

[Jan 21, 2020] The first term of the Trump administration has revealed that the US war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus, not by President administration. Trump is simply a puppet.

Notable quotes:
"... Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda? ..."
"... Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Originally from: Opinion - The Angry Arab US Violated Unspoken Rule of Engagement with Iran

As'ad AbuKhalil analyzes the Trump administration's decision

to escalate hostilities with Iran and its regional allies.

By As`ad AbuKhalil

January 21, 2020 " Information Clearing House " - S omething big and unprecedented has happened in the Middle East after the assassination of one of Iran's top commanders, Qasim Suleimani.

The U.S. has long assumed that assassinations of major figures in the Iranian "resistance-axis" in the Middle East would bring risk to the U.S. military-intelligence presence in the Middle East. Western and Arab media reported that the U.S. had prevented Israel in the past from killing Suleimani. But with the top commander's death, the Trump administration seems to think a key barrier to U.S. military operations in the Middle East has been removed.

The U.S. and Israel had noticed that Hizbullah and Iran did not retaliate against previous assassinations by Israel (or the U.S.) that took place in Syria (of Imad Mughniyyah, Jihad Mughniyyah, Samir Quntar); or for other attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese commanders in Syria.

The U.S. thus assumed that this assassination would not bring repercussions or harm to U.S. interests. Iranian reluctance to retaliate has only increased the willingness of Israel and the U.S. to violate the unspoken rules of engagement with Iran in the Arab East.

For many years Israel did perpetrate various assassinations against Iranian scientists and officers in Syria during the on-going war. But Israel and the U.S. avoided targeting leaders or commanders of Iran. During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the U.S. and Iran collided directly and indirectly, but avoided engaging in assassinations for fear that this would unleash a series of tit-for-tat.

But the Trump administration has become known for not playing by the book, and for operating often according to the whims and impulses of President Donald Trump.

Different Level of Escalation

The decision to strike at Baghdad airport, however, was a different level of escalation. In addition to killing Suleimani it also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a key leader of Hashd forces in Iraq. Like Suleimani, al-Muhandis was known for waging the long fight against ISIS. (Despite this, the U.S. media only give credit to the U.S. and its clients who barely lifted a finger in the fight against ISIS.)

On the surface of it, the strike was uncharacteristic of Trump. Here is a man who pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Middle East turmoil -- turmoil for which the U.S and Israel bear the primary responsibility. And yet he seems willing to order a strike that will guarantee intensification of the conflict in the region, and even the deployment of more U.S. forces.

Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda?

Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media

The first term of the Trump administration has revealed the extent to which the U.S. war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus. There is not much a president -- even a popular president like Barack Obama in his second term -- can do to change the course of empire. It is not that Obama wanted to end U.S. wars in the region, but Trump has tried to retreat from Middle East conflicts and yet he has been unable due to pressures not only from the military-intelligence apparatus but also from their war advocates in the U.S. Congress and Western media, D.C. think tanks and the human-rights industry. The pressures to preserve the war agenda is too powerful on a U.S. president for it to cease in the foreseeable future. But Trump has managed to start fewer new wars than his predecessors -- until this strike.

Trump's Obama Obsession

Trump in his foreign policy is obsessed with the legacy and image of Obama. He decided to violate the Iran nuclear agreement (which carried the weight of international law after its adoption by the UN Security Council) largely because he wanted to prove that he is tougher than Obama, and also because he wanted an international agreement that carries his imprint. Just as Trump relishes putting his name on buildings, hotels, and casinos he wants to put his name on international agreements. His decision, to strike at a convoy carrying perhaps the second most important person in Iran was presumably attached to an intelligence assessment that calculated that Iran is too weakened and too fatigued to strike back directly at the U.S.

Iran faced difficult choices in response to the assassination of Suleimani. On the one hand, Iran would appear weak and vulnerable if it did not retaliate and that would only invite more direct U.S. and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets.

On the other hand, the decision to respond in a large-scale attack on U.S. military or diplomatic targets in the Middle East would invite an immediate massive U.S. strike inside Iran. Such an attack has been on the books; the U.S military (and Israel, of course) have been waiting for the right moment for the U.S. to destroy key strategic sites inside Iran.

Furthermore, there is no question that the cruel U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran have made life difficult for the Iranian people and have limited the choices of the government, and weakened its political legitimacy, especially in the face of vast Gulf-Western attempts to exploit internal dissent and divisions inside Iran. (Not that dissent inside Iran is not real, and not that repression by the regime is not real).

Nonetheless, if the Iranian regime were to open an all-out war against the U.S., this would certainly cause great harm and damage to U.S. and Israeli interests.

Iran Sending Messages

In the last year, however, Iran successfully sent messages to Gulf regimes (through attacks on oil shipping in the Gulf, for which Iran did not claim responsibility, nor did it take responsibility for the pin-point attack on ARAMCO oil installations) that any future conflict would not spare their territories.

That quickly reversed the policy orientations of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which suddenly became weary of confrontation with Iran, and both are now negotiating (openly and secretively) with the Iranian government. Ironically, both the UAE and Saudi regimes -- which constituted a lobby for war against Iran in Western capitals -- are also eager to distance themselves from U.S. military action against Iran . And Kuwait quickly denied that the U.S. used its territory in the U.S. attack on Baghdad airport, while Qatar dispatched its foreign minister to Iran (officially to offer condolences over the death of Suleimani, but presumably also to distance itself and its territory from the U.S. attack).

The Iranian response was very measured and very specific. It was purposefully intended to avoid causing U.S. casualties; it was intended more as a message of Iranian missile capabilities and their pin point accuracy. And that message was not lost on Israel.

Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, sent a more strident message. He basically implied that it would be left to Iran's allies to engineer military responses. He also declared a war on the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, although he was at pains to stress that U.S. civilians are to be spared in any attack or retaliation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6yyC897UliI

Supporters of the Iran resistance axis have been quite angry in the wake of the assassination. The status of Suleimani in his camp is similar to the status of Nasrallah although Nasrallah -- due to his charisma and to his performance and the performance of his party in the July 2006 war -- may have attained a higher status.

It would be easy for the Trump administration to ignite a Middle East war by provoking Iran once again, and wrongly assuming that there are no limits to Iranian caution and self-restraint. But if the U.S. (and Israel with it or behind it) were to start a Middle East war, it will spread far wider and last far longer than the last war in Iraq, which the U.S. is yet to complete.

As'ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the "Historical Dictionary of Lebanon" (1998), "Bin Laden, Islam and America's New War on Terrorism (2002), and "The Battle for Saudi Arabia" (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhal

This article was originally published by " Consortium News " -

[Jan 21, 2020] Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jan 20 2020 22:07 utc | 45

BJD @ 39:

Russia's Lavrov, Iran's Zarif discuss Soleimani killing: statement

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone on Friday to discuss the killing of Iran's military chief Qassem Soleimani, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law."


Likklemore , Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Well, today Moscow Warns Iran Against Reckless Steps as Tehran Threatens to Quit Non-Proliferation Treaty
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said that Tehran continues to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the European powers' claims about Iran violating the deal were unfounded.

Moscow warns Tehran against making 'reckless steps' to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said. He added that Russia urges Iran to comply with its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, giving those who oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) further reasons for escalation is "counterproductive".

Is there a friend anywhere? Kim or Khan of Pakistan to ship one in.
Alternative, Moscow could declare its nuclear capabilities are extended to Iran. Just can't leave Iran hanging on a twig.

Bubbles , Jan 20 2020 22:29 utc | 53

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Maybe it's because trump has a history with Russian mobsters and money laundering?


Or maybe it's just smart to say that? What's to be gained by setting off man child trump and spurring yet another temper tantrum via twitter?

trump did lotsa bidnezz with the International cabal that plundered Russia after the disillusion of the USSR. They stole from the Russian people, and laundered their ill begotten gains with chumps, like trump.

[Jan 21, 2020] Goldstein 2.0 ISIS has a new big bad leader

Notable quotes:
"... For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil. ..."
"... There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil.

There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way.

Or, hell, maybe we'll return to the hits of the 90s and early 2000s, and Islamic jihadists will get back to work in Chechnya.

Whatever happens, ISIS are back baby. And that means that some way, somehow, Mr al-Salbi is about to make the foreign policy goals of the United States much easier.

That's what Goldsteins are for.

harry law ,

.... The US have used Islamic state against both Syria and Iraq, [the enemy of my enemy is my friend].

There can be no doubt that the US are going to use Islamic state to disrupt Iraq, just as they had no qualms about watching [from satellites and spotter aircraft] Islamic state travel 100's of kilometres from Syria to Northern Iraq [Mosul] across the desert, whipping up tons of dust in their Toyota jeeps to put pressure on the Iraqi government. Also as they watched on with equanimity when the Islamic state transported thousands of tanker loads of oil from Syria to Turkey, that is until the Russians bombed those convoys, the US must think everyone is as stupid as they are. If the Iraqis don't drive the US out using all means including violence, they deserve to be slaves.

"Sergey Lavrov earlier called the US-led coalition's refusal to combat al-Nusra "absolutely unacceptable."

"Iraqi security expert Kazim al-Haaj said "US Army troops are preparing and training the ISIL militants in al-Qadaf and Wadi al-Houran regions of Al-Anbar province with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks and restarting insecurity in Iraq." https://stephenlendman.org/2020/01/trump-regime-shifting-isis-terrorists-from-syria-to-iraq/

[Jan 21, 2020] $6.4 Trillion And Counting - How The Military-Industrial Complex Hijacked The War On Terror by Eric Margolis

Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Ike Was Right!

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society."

General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961

Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.

Illustrating Ike's prescient warning, Brown University's respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called 'wars on terror' in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.

The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that's a very conservative estimate.

Most of this money has been quietly added to the US national debt of over $23 trillion. Wars on credit hide the true cost and pain from the public.

As General Eisenhower warned, military spending has engulfed the nation.

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

A trillion annual military budget represents just about half the world's military expenditures. The Pentagon, which I've visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.

The combined US intelligence budget of some $80 billion is larger than Russia's total military budget of $63 billion. US troops, warplanes and naval vessels are stationed around the globe, including, most lately, across Africa. And yet every day the media trumpets new 'threats' to the US. Trump is sending more troops to the Mideast while claiming he wants to reduce America's powerful military footprint there. Our military is always in search of new missions. These operations generate promotions and pay raises, new equipment and a reason for being.

Back in the day, the Republican Party of General Eisenhower was a centrist conservative's party with a broad world view, dedicated to lower taxes and somewhat smaller government. It was led by the Rockefellers and educated Easterners with a broad world view and respect for tradition.

Today's Republican Party is a collection of rural interests from flyover country, handmaidens of the military industrial complex and, most important, militant evangelical Christians who see the world through the spectrum of the Old Testament. Israel's far right has come to dominate American evangelists by selling them a bill of goods about the End of Days and the Messiah's return. Many of these rubes see Trump as a quasi-religious figure.

Mix the religious cultists – about 25% of the US population – with the farm and Israel lobbies and the mighty military industrial complex and no wonder the United States has veered off into the deep waters of irrationality and crusading ardor. The US can still afford such bizarre behavior thanks to its riches, magic green dollar, endless supply of credit and a poorly educated, apathetic public too besotted by sports and TV sitcoms to understand what's going on abroad.

All the war party needs is a steady supply of foreign villains (preferably Muslims) who can be occasionally bombed back to the early Islamic age. Americans have largely forgotten George W. Bush's lurid claims that Iraqi drones of death were poised to shower poisons on the sleeping nation. Even the Soviets never ventured so deep into the sea of absurdity.

The military industrial complex does not care to endanger its gold-plated F-35 stealth aircraft and $13 billion apiece aircraft carriers in a real war against real powers. Instead, the war party likes little wars against weak opponents who can barely shoot back. State-run TV networks thrill to such minor scraps with fancy headlines and martial music. Think of the glorious little wars against Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya. Iran looks next.

The more I listen to his words, the more I like Ike.

[Jan 21, 2020] Trump is a bully who openly violates international law as well as basic constitutional norms and rules by Paul Street

I think Paul is wrong. Neo-fascist movements are based on far right party. Trump does not have its own party. He has a faction with the Republican Party, and this faction is not even a majority.
Notable quotes:
"... an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government, whether Léon Blum's or Barack Obama's, is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and "success." ..."
"... The idea that it can be bounded in by honest conservatives in a Cabinet or restrained by normal constitutional limits is, to put it mildly, unsupported by history ..."
"... Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014) ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

– Maya Angelou

"It's amazing," fellow CounterPuncher Eric Draitser recently wrote me, "that people ever thought a Trump administration would be something other than this."

"This" is the demented neofascistic Trump-Pence regime, which openly violates basic constitutional norms and rules while conducting itself in barefacedly racist, sexist, and eco-cidal ways.

The long record of this presidency's transgressions now includes the open dog-wagging assassination – on brazenly false pretexts – of a foreign military commander atop a state (Iran) with which the United States is not at war and without the permission of a government (Iraq) on whose soil the monumental war crime took place.

... ... ...

Another person likely unsurprised by Trump's horrifying presidency is New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik. "Trump," Gopnik wrote in July of 2016, summarizing elementary facts of Trump' life: "is unstable, a liar, narcissistic, contemptuous of the basic norms of political life, and deeply embedded among the most paranoid and irrational of conspiracy theorists. There may indeed be a pathos to his followers' dreams of some populist rescue for their plights. But he did not come to political attention as a 'populist'; he came to politics as a racist, a proponent of birtherism." As Gopnik had explained two months before, the correct description of Trump needed to include the world "fascist" in one way or another:

"There is a simple formula for descriptions of Donald Trump: add together a qualification, a hyphen, and the word "fascist." The sum may be crypto-fascist, neo-fascist, latent fascist, proto-fascist, or American-variety fascist -- one of that kind, all the same. Future political scientists will analyze (let us hope in amused retrospect, rather than in exile in New Zealand or Alberta) the precise elements of Poujadisme, Peronism and Huck Finn's Pap that compound in Trump's 'ideology.' But his personality and his program belong exclusively to the same dark strain of modern politics: an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government, whether Léon Blum's or Barack Obama's, is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and "success." It is always alike, and always leads inexorably to the same place: failure, met not by self-correction but by an inflation of the original program of grievances, and so then on to catastrophe. The idea that it can be bounded in by honest conservatives in a Cabinet or restrained by normal constitutional limits is, to put it mildly, unsupported by history (emphasis liberally added) ." [Adam Gopnik, "Going There With Donald Trump," The New Yorker , May 11, 2016].

Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

[Jan 19, 2020] Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington

Jan 19, 2020 | www.politico.eu

Ellie Geranmayeh is a senior policy fellow and deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She specializes in European foreign policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers and sanctions policy.

... ... ...

The response from Tehran could be immediate or more long term, ranging from military action in the region to cyber attacks inside the U.S. and heavy political pushback. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned that there would not be war with the U.S. and Iran has so far acted in a calculated and rational fashion to Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign. If this position holds, Tehran will attempt to manage the risk of direct conflict, continuing to deploy asymmetric tactics to undermine U.S. interests, albeit with the red lines now redrawn.

The gravity and scale of Iranian compliance will be influenced by the recent escalation with the U.S.

The extensive U.S. military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan means the U.S. is likely to bear the brunt of retaliation. Iran has deep ties to both state and non-state actors across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Yemen that can be utilized to inflict pain on America. Soleimani's death has already triggered a new decline in the Trump administration's relations with Baghdad that may extend to Kabul, and is also likely to heat up the long debate inside Tehran over how far to push U.S. military forces out of neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

... ... ...

If Tehran takes drastic steps on the nuclear file, it could mark the total collapse of the agreement.

... ... ...

In the space of six months, the U.S. and Iran have gone from targeting drones, oil installations and bases, to killing personnel. It is still unclear how and when Iran will choose to respond to Soleimani's assassination. But the new commander of the Quds Force -- appointed within 12 hours of Soleimani's death -- will no doubt be eager to demonstrate his willingness to exact revenge against America.

When that happens, neither the Middle East nor Europe will be isolated from the blowback.

[Jan 19, 2020] The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 10:57 utc | 104

The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq. Trump in so many ways represents the bad ruler Gilgamesh who is poorly advised in his conquest by Enkidu (Pompeo) and they brutally slay the guardian of the forest to steal the precious timber. Then they murder the sacred bull of heaven (Soleimani and al-Muhandis) for prowess and nothing more. This slaughter of the sacred bull enrages the gods and they slay Enkidu which breaks Gilgamesh heart. etc etc. (drastically simplified and likely contested).

This tale is deeply known throughout the lands of the Middle East in all manner of old and modern iterations.

Trump is so unwise and devoid of subtlety that he has ended any chance of salvation in that land and has started every chance of retribution on a scale he could not conceive. His assault on all culture and sacred leaders is bonded to the deepest sense of existential being that any further aggression will simply escalate the payback. The USA urgently needs some cooler heads to intervene but they are not yet impacting on him. Indeed Trump is so eager to pat himself on the back with his adrenalin rush of murdering other leaders that it is disgusting.

[Jan 19, 2020] ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

michael888 , Jan 19 2020 13:19 utc | 114

Almost all of the "terrorism" affecting the West has been Wahabbi Salafist Sunni driven. Iran, despite their religious head, is a more modern sectarian nation than Saudi Arabia. ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed. It is time to align with Iran and the Shia for a change. They also have oil! Would send a nice message to our "allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

Sasha , Jan 19 2020 13:23 utc | 115

Trump has given signals of opposition to the wisdom of the use of jihadi proxies,

@Posted by: BM | Jan 19 2020 11:09 utc | 107

Really?

Revealed: US moves IS leaders to Al-Anbar, Iraq

After only a week or so after this heinous crime, we are assisting already to a new campaign on whitewashing Trump at each of the US military blogs...SST at the head...as always...but following the rest...be it a editorial level, be it at commentariat level...

What part of Trump admitting he personally ordered the murder you have not understood?

What part of Soleimani and Al Muhandis being the main strategic heads of real anti-IS front have you not understood?

[Jan 19, 2020] They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14

What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15

I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?

[Jan 19, 2020] The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 11:21 utc | 120

The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge. Very small drones can fly autonomously and each can carry 2 Kg of cargo which can be explosives, chemical or bioweapons or a combination. They are cheap, easy to build and can operate autonomously. With only using relatively simple algorithms they can be made to fly in groups and track using already extant facial recognition software. I can envision a scenario where drones are flown to the top of a semi-trailer somewhere south to hitch a ride north on I-95 until they get into DC near Fort Belvoir or Andrews AFB. They could then lift off and loiter perched on transmission lines where they can easily recharge using rf energy and wait. Once a target arrives, say a President on the golf course or perhaps Air Force 1 taxiing on the runway or even perhaps perch outside a window, they can then lift off and conduct an attack either directly or as limpet mines. With swarming you can send a mass of drones all flying autonomously with varied patterns. It would be impossible to stop them. Because they are autonomous jamming won't work. They would be impossible to trace back to their origin and most could be 3D printed and use off the shelf parts. If I can think this way, I am certain others are as well. Snake drones would be particularly difficult to stop.

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 18:23 utc | 155

Old hippe @128.yes, but these were being guided remotely from a US Navy aircraft and somewhat controllable from remote which is what happened. I think inside the US they don't think that far ahead and jamming would interfere with wifi etc. so not palatable. I Ave in mind they would be sitting in the grass or on a nearby telephone pole waiting for the target and travel less than 100 meters to hit. Autonomous means flying without any external controls and would be committed once set out. One perched on a window with 2kg of C4 waiting for whatever executive to sit down next to it would be another scenario. A snake drone could navigate in the sewers up to an executive toilet. The possibilities are endless. It is just a matter of time.

[Jan 19, 2020] The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

The Trump administration sees the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.

The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an 'imminent threat' has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that 'it doesn't really matter' if there was such a threat or not.

In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by U.S. foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on U.S. targets.

In his speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.

The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example , makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear:

On the 3rd of this month, we took one of the world's deadliest terrorists off the battlefield for good.
...
But I want to lay this out in context of what we've been trying to do. There is a bigger strategy to this.

President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic. In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so.
...
And let's be honest. For decades, U.S. administrations of both political parties never did enough against Iran to get the deterrence that is necessary to keep us all safe.
...
So what did we do? We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence.
...
Qasem Soleimani discovered our resolve to defend American lives.
...
We have re-established deterrence, but we know it's not everlasting, that risk remains. We are determined not to lose that deterrence. In all cases, we have to do this.
...
We saw, not just in Iran, but in other places, too, where American deterrence was weak. We watched Russia's 2014 occupation of the Crimea and support for aggression against Ukraine because deterrence had been undermined. We have resumed lethal support to the Ukrainian military.

China's island building, too, in the South China Sea, and its brazen attempts to coerce American allies undermined deterrence. The Trump administration has ramped up naval exercises in the South China Sea, alongside our allies and friends and partners throughout the region.

You saw, too, Russia ignored a treaty. We withdrew from the INF with the unanimous support of our NATO allies because there was only one party complying with a two-party agreement. We think this, again, restores credibility and deterrence to protect America.

This understanding of 'deterrence' seems to be vague and incomplete. A longer piece I am working on will further delve deeper into that issue. But an important point is that deterrence works in both directions.

Iran responded with a missile strike on U.S. bases in Iraq. The missiles hit the targets they were aimed at . This was a warning that any further U.S. action would cause serious U.S. casualties. That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action. Iran also declared that it will expel the U.S. from the Middle East. How is Iran deterred when it openly declares that it will take on such a project?

Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounds as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might.

Russia and China already had no doubts that the U.S. is immoral and willing to commit war crimes. And while 'western' media avoid that characterization for the assassination of Soleimani there is no doubt that it was one.

In a letter to the New York Times the now 100 years old chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, Benjamin B. Ferencz, warned of the larger effects of such deeds when he writes :

The administration recently announced that, on orders of the president, the United States had "taken out" (which really means "murdered") an important military leader of a country with which we were not at war. As a Harvard Law School graduate who has written extensively on the subject, I view such immoral action as a clear violation of national and international law.

The public is entitled to know the truth. The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are all being bypassed. In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger unless we change the hearts and minds of those who seem to prefer war to law.

The killing of a Soleimani will also only have a short term effect when it comes to general deterrence. It was a onetime shot to which others will react. Groups and people who work against 'U.S. interests' will now do so less publicly. Countries will seek asymmetric advantages to prevent such U.S. action against themselves. By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicated.

Posted by b on January 18, 2020 at 19:28 UTC | Permalink


james , Jan 18 2020 19:52 utc | 1

next page " "And let's be honest." anyone who starts off with those words - run the other way when they say that.. pomparse is a real embarrassment to the usa on the world stage at this point... there is no international law that the usa will not completely bypass / lie / or obfuscate to push its uni-polar exceptional agenda at this point.. anyone paying any attention can see this clearly.
Soleimani's Ghost , Jan 18 2020 19:53 utc | 2
In terms of deterrence re Iran, these people don't seem to know much about the role of martyrdom in Shi'ism
lysias , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 3
Pompeo speaks as though he wants to provoke an assassination attempt on himself.
chet380 , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 4
If push comes to shove, the Iranians are well aware that the US would, by its bombing and missiles that the Iranians cannot completely withstand, cause many deaths and massive destruction to its cities and infrastructure ... BUT the Americans are very much aware that the Iranian response would be devastating -- all US ME military assets would come under massive fire resulting in many deaths; all Gulf State oil infrastructure would be destroyed; Tel Aviv and Riyadh would be attacked; the Strait of Hormuz would be blocked, and on and on.

It seems highly unlikely that the US would take such a risk -- let us call it Mutual Assured Destructiveness

exiled off mainstree , Jan 18 2020 20:00 utc | 5
It is interesting that the commentary closes with a letter by Benjamin Ferencz, perhaps the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor. As he indicates, the assassination is a war crime, and, in my view, even the threat of such an assassination is a serious breach of international law. Regimes following such a policy have gone rogue, and cabinet ministers making such a pronouncement that the assassination was carried out as a deterrent are, in effect, confessing to war crimes. In future the reach of the offending regime may be much less than it is now, and, if that occurs, the rogue minister better be careful if he travels outside of his home country.
1 , Jan 18 2020 20:02 utc | 6
Thanks B, for your continued articles that are never mentioned elsewhere. I completely agree with your assessment. War used to have rules. Any american army brass or higher ups in USA, Britain, Israel and allies will have to keep looking over their shoulder when they leave their own country. Israel already cancelled trips to Saudi Arabia over security concerns. The gloves are off and targeted assignation will hit allies of USA. The president family are fair game, People who sponsor the the orange prophet of misery, Pompous Pompeoo, Esper or any general will have a very paranoid time knowing that the rules of war that once protected them from targeted assignation no longer apply. After all if america can do this, what's stopping their adversaries from doing the same.
ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 20:05 utc | 7
Benjamin B. Ferencz, his touted Harvard Law School pedigree Nuremberg Trial experience have precisely ZERO persuasive value.

Ferencz was one of the most vicious and manipulative of the Nuremberg prosecutors. In a BBC interview he stated boldly that he threatened to kill detainees or their families unless they confessed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=jmFg_ZkKo8M

Interviewer: "In previous interviews you've described how in gathering testimonies you did resort to duress, for instance, lining up villagers and threatening to shoot them if they lied. Such methods now would amount to witness harassment of the most extreme order.

Ferencz: Perhaps it would. but it's only because the people who make allegations don't understand what war is about -- bring a room of 20 people together -- this is an actual case -- and say I want you all to write out what happened, what your role was, what others did. Anybody who lies will be shot.
"Oh, how can you do a thing like that!" You're threatening them, it's torture! What am I going to tell 'em? That you won't get your patty-cake tonight? ' Please be honest, please confess that you're a murderer. Please do that, I don't want to have to ____ you of anything.'
What are you talking about? There's a war going on! They will kill you if they could. They were killing some of their buddies before. So what am I going to do? I didn't shoot them. But I threatened to , and that's the only weapon I had. And if that be torture, then call me a torturer."

Moreover, Rabbi Stephen Wise, one of the key instigators of World War II and US involvement in it, recorded a Personal Letter he sent to his wife / daughter (probably) shortly after Germany's surrender. The Rabbi wrote that he and Nahum Goldmann had lunch with Justice Robert Jackson, and that

"Justice [Robert] Jackson. . . .has grand and spacious ideas on the Nuremberg trials in mid-October, with Weizmann, Goldmann or S.S.W. [Stephen S. Wise] as Jewish witnesses to present the Jewish Case –not permitted as Amicus Curiae!

In itself it becomes the greatest trial in history, with what Jackson calls its broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition.
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

If Ferencz has an ounce of integrity, he will condemn as "aggressive war-making" every person who voted for an illegal war against Iraq, and every person involved in imposing sanctions on Iran -- themselves acts of "aggressive war."

But he won't because he doesn't.

Piotr Berman , Jan 18 2020 20:06 utc | 8
"By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate."

USA is not exactly the sole economic superpower, but as long as the allies, EU, NATO, major allies in Asia and Latin America, behave like poodles, USA pretty much controls what is "normal". After Obama campaigns of murder by drone, now Trump raises it to a higher level, and Europe, the most critical link in the web of alliances, applauds (UK) or accepts and cooperates. That can be a useful clarification for US establishment.

So the bottom line is that while it is hard to show constructive goals achieved by raising murder policies to a more brazen level, nothing changes for the worse. Allies tolerate irrationality, cruelty etc. and to some extend, join the fun.

William Gruff , Jan 18 2020 20:07 utc | 9
Pompeo: "In all cases, we have to do this."

In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that.

America disconnected from reality years ago. I rather doubt they could even find their way back if they were to somehow return to their senses.

Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:13 utc | 10
IMO, from what I understand of Shia mentality, after immoral assassination of general Soleimani the only thing can prevent a violent revenge against US military or political staff would be a Fatwa by a grand ayatollah to nullify a fatwa by any junior Ayatollah authorizing (sanctioning) specific action. It was an incalculably caster F* mistake that can last for a generation at least.
John Dowser , Jan 18 2020 20:16 utc | 11
"t̶h̶e̶ U̶.̶S̶.̶ Israel and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate"

Not if the purpose was more pressure by complication. The goal then to create a pretext: a pressure cooker which will cause military exchange or, especially after some limited violent exchange, increasing internal strife inside Iran which can't afford more war.

The conditions for this tactic would be clear: containing all the likely fall-out of the above unraveling, namely:

- contain China with the trade war no one can win but will make it near impossible for China to deal with Iran, Iraq and Syria.
- increased containment Palestine and Lebanon by Israel. Make very move there seem way too expensive for especially Hezbollah.
- prevent any kind of weapon transport or technology transfer to Lebanon which could break above containment.
- vastly improved border security and travel limitations
- increasing War on T̶e̶r̶r̶o̶r̶ Blow Back related powers for Homeland Security, NSA etc.

Russia is seen as less of a problem as any potential military support would be simply too costly and too little gain for Putin.

And make no mistake, Trump is fully ready to display nuclear might the moment Iran would demonstrate their own remarkable advances. And he would make it very clear that the US is willing. The new policy of deterrence is very simple and yet horrible: examples have to be made to demonstrate that "all options are still on the table". If he wants to keep declining America great but not have expensive wars and yet force others to still follow American lead: there's only one cold logical solution to that.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:19 utc | 12
The glaring fact of the matter is that the us president and his accomplices useld false allegations as an excuse to murder these men. They also did so in a cowardly manner, under a false invitation to negotiate (and, Yes I do believe that).
In my country, when a person orders someone to murder someone else in exchange for compensation (in this case salaries), the police call it murder for hire.
Paul Damascene , Jan 18 2020 20:20 utc | 13
Deterrence and decapitation strikes ...

Idle speculation on my part, but I am not alone in wondering if the Soleimani assassination accelerated Putin's restructuring agenda. (I'm not suggesting it was generated or even influenced in substance by the strike, just that the timing may have been.) Given the power of the President in Russia, as the CIA itself very well understands, there is perhaps no more tempting target for an overt military assassination strike than President Putin.

Of course, deterrence of rational actors is precisely what would prevent this, but I imagine Russian strategic thinkers have wondered whether or for how long the US remains a rational actor. Moreover, this would be the sort of thing that a fanatical faction could pull off. In some Strangelovean bunker somewhere, there may be those who would actually welcome a last gasp of large-scale warfare before the Eurasian Heartland is lost and the Petrodollar-fueled global finance empire, nominally sheltered in the US, dies away.

Creative destruction ... a last chance to shuffle the cards, and perhaps reset a losing game to zero.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14
What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.
Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15
I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:25 utc | 16
"This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything."
james , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17
yeah - mafia tactics as offered by trump /pompeo and etc is exactly what it is... and when Benjamin B. Ferencz calls it what it is, apologists show up to can ferencz @ 7.. so what will persuade you chasmark?? do i need to send a hit man over to your place?
Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

nietzsche1510 , Jan 18 2020 20:29 utc | 19
all this rhetoric says the obvious: the USA wants to destroy physically the Near East (Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, etc). either he destroys the whole region or he cannot be reelected or better he gets impeached in the Senate.
Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:49 utc | 22

Should have add to my earlier comment (10) , the missile attack on American bases on Iraq was Iran's military/ government response for killing General Soleimani, by no means was the Shia' response since that would need a Fatwa and not necessary by an Iranian cleric or even by Iranian Shia. Is now a religious matter for all believers.
El Cid , Jan 18 2020 20:51 utc | 23
Sooner or later, Saudi Arabia will make peace with Iran. It will improve relations with Russia and China, and will reduce ties with Israel. Soon, Turkey will be completely out of Syria, and Idlib will be entirely liberated. The US, in Iraq, will slowly be drained of vitality with a death of a thousand cuts. Medium range missile production in conjunction with Russian S-300 air defense will will spread throughout the Middle East, and Israel's air force will be neutralized. Then the pipeline from Iran to Syria will be completed.
Willy2 , Jan 18 2020 21:17 utc | 24
- I think that EVERYONE who is involved in the Middle East will think twice before one makes a (provocative) move. Tensions will remain high. But some people may (and will) do (deliberately) something (provocative) that will ratchet up tensions even more. With the intent of ratcheting tensions higher.
- There was someone who said that in 2020 World War III would start. For a long time I thought this person was nuts. But now I am not so sure anymore that this person was nuts.
- There were also people who said that we were "sleepwalking" into WW III, something along the lines of what happened before WW I. These persons were talking about a war between the US (+ NATO) and Russia. But now I think that if a war would break out that then not only Russia but also China and Iran are going to be part of that war. No, I am not sure anymore that this going to end well.

- I also think that everyone haas become (more) cautious. And that an act of A-symmetric warfare has become (more) unlikely.

psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

cirsium , Jan 18 2020 21:26 utc | 26
@William Gruff, 9
"In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that."

Maybe that's because
"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer." D H Lawrence

Zee , Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27
The most depressing thing about the assassination's aftermath is that Western Europe's leaders are as bad as America's - "It's the economy, stupid!" So, a threat to their auto manufacturers is a threat to jobs, and one has to consider the next election. They were already controlled thanks to the NSA's eavesdropping on their cell phones, a threat to individual politicians - no need for them to worry about physical elimination, then; Trump threatened via economics their parties' chances of reelection, meaning they have support for knuckling under. China, Russia and Iran are on their own - China was still working on its economic might, Russia was still working on building a strong political foundation, and Iran already has its hands full with internal and external threats. The fence-sitters (India, smaller Asian and African countries) will sit on the sidelines, working to improve their own economies and waiting to see who looks more powerful before joining one side or the other to break down or uphold the international norms and laws it took centuries to build. Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
cdvision , Jan 18 2020 21:33 utc | 28
Be careful what you wish for Mr Pompeo, the sword has 2 edges. I don't think turning the other cheek is in the Shia lexicon.
Curtis , Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29
Trailer Trash 20
The only reason I wouldn't be surprised at big media calling Soleimani's murder an "assassination" is how the media politics is played by party. Since the media tends to lean left, they want to be thorns in Trump's side. Neither party is against war; they want to be the instigators to get the glory (while shifting/limiting blame). Amid the media's stories on this were the talking points of Trump going too far by DEMs in congress.
Recall Libya. The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
blues , Jan 18 2020 21:39 utc | 30
Maybe I stupidly posted this in the wrong thread?

Trump is simply a third-rate Godfather type gangster, with a touch of the charm and a lot of the baggage. I think his murder of General Qassem Soleimani was not something he would have done if he had any choice. It was a very stupid move, and Trump is just not that stupid. I really think this was demanded by the 'churnitalists'. These churnitalists are probably the psychos of the predatory arm of the CIA, and their billionaire allies.

See, it all works like this:

These churnitalists (who supposedly provide us with 'protection', or 'security') are the real rulers (because everybody who defies them ends up dead). Now just ask your self: How does rulership actually really work? It's really kind of simple. The only actual way to establish rulership over other people is to prove, again and again, that you can force them to do stupid things, for absolutely no reason. This is called 'people-churning', and all you have to do is just keep churning out low-class 'history' by constantly forcing the weaker ones to do stupid things. Again and again. This happens constantly in a churnitalist gangster society. Even in schools and legislatures, and so on. Haven't you noticed it yet?

Ron , Jan 18 2020 21:41 utc | 31
Kali 15

Ten reasons why the US is the Beast of Revelation

james , Jan 18 2020 21:44 utc | 32
@ 24 willy2... i have been talking about war in 2020 for some time based off the astrology..i have mentioned it in passing here at moa a few times in the past couple of years.. see my comments in this skyscript link from june 2015..
ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35
@31 Ron

There are 2 beasts, the first is either America or NATO, or basically "The Empire" or The Neocon Oligarchy--all work well but America is a bit too broad since there are many good people in America. The second beast whose number is 666, is Trump. Search: Trump 666 and be amazed.

And of course The Pièce de résistance

les7 , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 36
Gruff @ 9

So sadly but profoundly true

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

Lurker in the Dark , Jan 18 2020 22:09 utc | 41
b: Usage or typo alert - about 2/3 of the way through your piece.
Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounce as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might...

The English language expression is "out of bounds" as in, of course, outside the bounding lines defining a field of play.

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?
Clueless Joe , Jan 18 2020 23:28 utc | 45
That's one of the good aspect of Trump administration, in the long run. With these psychos openly plagiarizing Grand Moff Tarkin ("Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."), it will be pretty had for any sane and sensible observer not to come to the conclusion that, deep down, the USA *is* an Evil Empire that has to be fought and brought down - and thankfully, this time, one saner Obama-like presidency, if it ever happens after Trump, won't be enough to change that perception.
Sunny Runny Burger , Jan 18 2020 23:47 utc | 46
I can only guess what Toynbee would think of the US now, it certainly looks like suicide to me and if the US actually had any friends left they would be busy trying to talk the US out of it. From this point of view the relative silence speaks loudly and says something quite different than at least some people think.

US NATO "allies" haven't exactly been enthusiastic. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking the UK came closest with Johnson's "not crying" remark, everything else seems to be tortured statements walking on eggshells. 2nd biggest NATO member Turkey cooperates with Iran and plenty of others in NATO have wanted and worked towards normal relations despite differences, some more publicly than others. It might not have amounted to anything but that's my impression at least.

Any support for war against Iran is microscopic. Against Russia? Except for the rarest of the worst of fools not a chance. Against China? People would have trouble comprehending the question itself due to how absurd the notion is.

ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 23:56 utc | 47
Dick | Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44

"Is it just me" who makes the argument reductio ad Hitlerum?

No, it's you and every other moron who gets his history from teevee and Hollywood.

If the compulsion to resort to WWII analogies is too compelling to overcome, flip the script:

US and Britain 'won' the war in Germany by deliberately firebombing civilian targets, over and over and over and over again.
United States Dept. of Interior records in detail how Standard Oil engineers, USAF, Jewish architects, and Jewish Hollywood studio set designers constructed and practiced creating firestorms with the stated goal of killing working class German civilians, including "infants in cribs."

In a discussion of his book, The Fire, Jörg Friedrich emphasized that Allied bombers dropped leaflets telling the Germans they were about to kill that their only recourse was to overthrow their government -- to topple or kill Hitler: the "greatest generation" killed civilians as "deterrents" to Wehrmacht's defensive actions against Allied invasion.

Since at least 1995 US tactics against Iran have been similar: Ed Royce spelled them out: US will sanction Iranian citizens in an effort to make life so miserable for them that they will riot and overthrow their government.

So yes, it IS "just like the Nazis" -- US-zionists are running a similar playbook as that used to prostrate Germany.
And Iraq.
And Libya.
And Syria.

Notice that wrt Syria, having reduced that ancient place to rubble, much like Allies reduced Germany's cultural heritage to rubble, US 'diplomats' are steadfastly refusing to allow Syria access to resources with which to finance its reconstruction, and are also blocking any other country's attempt to aid Syria in reconstruction: Destroying Syria was 'hi-tech eminent domain,' and now USA intends to be the only entity to finance and rebuild Syria -- or else US will continue the destruction of Syria.

Most Americans think Marshall plan was an act more generous than Jesus Christ on the cross, but in fact it was a cynical strategy to completely dominate Germany in saecula saeculorum. (US LOANED the money, and far more-- about 2.5 X more-- was committed to England -- relatively undamaged -- than to Germany, where 70% of infrastructure was rubble.)
You won't learn that from the Hollywood version of WWII.

Roberto , Jan 18 2020 23:58 utc | 48
the Nuremberg trials:

Was Nuremebrg trial a fair trial? Not, it was not. It was very unfair.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:10 utc | 49
I recall RT reported on December 31. 19 Trump warned

LINK

"This is not a Warning, it is a Threat," Trump declared in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, adding that Iran will "pay a very BIG PRICE" for the embassy siege earlier in the day."

They sure did. So who is next?

Yesterday Trump warned the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khameni:

'Be very careful with your words': Trump warns Iran's Khamenei after ayatollah delivers fiery sermon slamming 'American clowns'

US President Donald Trump has warned the supreme leader of Iran to watch his language, following a heated sermon in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slammed American leaders as "clowns."
Leading a prayer in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasted that Iran had the "spirit to slap an arrogant, aggressive global power" in its retaliation to the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, which he said struck a "serious blow" to Washington's "dignity" – triggering a response from the US president.

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump tweeted. "Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!"

In his sermon, Khamenei blasted "American clowns," who he said "lie in utter viciousness that they stand with the Iranian people," referring to recent comments by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

How dare he?


Pft , Jan 19 2020 0:28 utc | 50
Lets face it, assassinations are not a new thing. It became more organized with Lord Palmerstons gangs of thugs in the mid 19th century (one of which took out Lincoln) . Since the end of WWII the global mafia jumped across the pond and assassinations have been covert actions arranged by the CIA , with operations having a high degree of plausible deniability. But most higher ups had a pretty good idea who was behind it . Trumps just continued this but like Bush and Obama have made clear its their right to do so against terrorists . Of course the definition of terrorist has become rather broad. Trump recently said he authorized the hit because he said bad things about America. Maybe saying bad things about Trump can get you labelled the same. Watch out for those drones barflies.

So basically the main change is they no longer care about plausible deniability . They are proud to admit it. And nobody seems to care enough to express any outrage. Name any countries leader who has except in muted terms. Europe, Russia, China, etc everyone quiet as a mouse. China so outraged they signed a trade deal giving them nothing. UN? Might as well move it to Cuba , Iran or Venezuela for all the clout it has.

So you know, maybe the deterrence is working. Terrorism works both ways. The world seems terrorized and hardly anyone in the US dares criticize Trumps action without saying the general was evil and deserved it. Its not just drones they fear as financial terrorism (sanctions, denied access to USD) works quite well also (except in Irans case).

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 51
james | Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17

The argument is correct.
(Although the mafia label bespeaks a limited frame of reference and it's inappropriate in any event -- crime families do not have the reach or power of state assassination squads.)

Ferencz does not have the moral standing to make the argument.
It's like granting Ted Bundy credibility for criticizing police brutality.

mcohen , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 52
What a story.
Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:32 utc | 53
Posted by: Kali | Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35

The beast rises from the bottomless pit, it is written in the book you quoted!
How do you suggest a mere mortal and retard like trump does that?
The murcanized xtianity eschatology you have been reading is stupid and in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM Orthodox(Orthodox=Christian)

"ORTHODOXESCHATOLOGYdotBLOGSPOTdotCOM"
"orthodoxinfoDOTcom"
"preteristarchiveDOTcom"
You will find info that is not xtian but Christian @ those blogs..
The last one is a library with ancient and old texts about Christianity!
If you search "THEOSIS THE TRUE PURPOSE OF HUMAN LIFE" on orthodoxinfo you will also find a book WELL worth reading if you are/want to be Christian.

Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway

"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."

Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:36 utc | 54
Kali @35
i messed up and hit post b4 i pasted this..
"'The beast that thou didst see: it was, and it is not; and it is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go away to destruction, and wonder shall those dwelling upon the earth, whose names have not been written upon the scroll of the life from the foundation of the world, beholding the beast that was, and is not, although it is."
Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway
BLP , Jan 19 2020 0:40 utc | 55

several additions if i may:

first speculation. however it happened, "deep state" power or factions now have a jacket
on Trump. he can't disown what happened. Brennan and Stephen Schwarzman are safe.
the Money and the MIC get what they want. Trump's agenda of converting the common good
to corporate profit is acceptable. they can use Trump to defeat Sanders.

it's quite possible American power is unimpressed by the Russia-China alliance which has
just revealed it's limitations. i think this link has already run on this site:
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/05/fragmentation-in-the-axis-of-resistance-led-to-soleimanis-death/.

here's a welcome dose of realism from the Holy Russia Neverland to substantiate this view:
https://thesaker.is/battle-of-the-ages-to-stop-eurasian-integration/
3 comments from India by Anaam esp this one: Anaam on January 17, 2020 · at 10:32 am EST/EDT

and lastly this outlier from ibm.com. a new, more powerful battery made from sea water.
charges in 5 min. in California this means electricity off your roof for everything including
your car plus a surplus for export. how soon? doesn't say. oil dependent economies
want to know. and we won't need the "petro" for the petrodollar.
https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2019/12/heavy-metal-free-battery/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56
The truth of it is Trump murdered General Soleimani because the general was very effective in defeating ISIS - the U.S. created and funded - terrorists in Syria and Iraq. The neocons were none too pleased.

Release Jan.18 2020 21st centurywire audio Interview with Dr. Mohammad Marandi, Tehran University

America's Miscalculation with Iran

LINK

@ ChasMark 7 - not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?

How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips. Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?

How about the U.S. waterboarding and torturing Muslims at Gitmo? 19 years on with NO TRIALS!!! That's OK, right?

karlof1 , Jan 19 2020 0:58 utc | 57
As far as b's premise goes, he's proven it IMO. Looks like the CIA made the next move in Lebanon. IMO, Asia plus Russia & Belarus hold the geoeconomic and geopolitical deterrence cards. The Financial Parasite continues hollowing out what remains of US industry and retail helped along by Trump's Trade War. I presented the fundamental economic info and arguments on the prior threads, so I don't have anything to add.
pretzelattack , Jan 19 2020 1:08 utc | 58
the price of fake freedom is remaining ever vigilant to prevent peace breaking out. trump's as much a warmonger as any of them (which is to say impeachment won't make a bit of difference).
Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 1:27 utc | 59
F. William Engdahl asks,

Unintended Consequences: Did Trump just give the Middle East to China and Russia?

[Before] the US assassination of Soleimani, there were numerous back-channel efforts for détente in the costly wars that have raged across the region since the US-instigated Arab Spring between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran and Iraq. Russia and China have both in different ways been playing a key role in changing the geopolitical tensions. At this juncture the credibility of Washington as any honest partner is effectively zero if not minus.

[.] The US president just tweeted his support for renewed anti-government Iran protests, in Farsi. We are clearly in for some very nasty trouble in the Middle East as Washington tries to deal with the unintended consequences of its recent Middle East actions.[.]

Run home as fast as you can. In this election year, an observation; 10% of companies are losing money but thanks to the Feds, the Markets are making ATH ...all time highs. On main street Joe and Jane are in a well of hurt "it's the economy, stupid."

Copeland , Jan 19 2020 1:28 utc | 60
There is nothing ambiguous about Pompeo's statement. It is evidence of a profound psychotic break. It is a megalomaniac delusion of godlike power, a deterance not attainable on a human scale. "In all cases, we have to do this."

The masters of the universe will kill those who do not comply. The projection of their psychic power to intimidate the world goes well beyond Iraq and Iran, brushing aside all the little insubstantial nations that are constantly underfoot. Russia and China are to take heed now, it is they too who must sleep with one eye open. The deterrence necessary to keep us all safe means to go ahead and challenge those islands China built in the South China Sea.

The smiling villains do not accept that Crimea is part of Russia. Pompeo compares Soleimani to bin Laden. There are so many departures from reality in the speech amidst all the levity that it seems like someone has opened the doors of the Asylum.

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 1:50 utc | 61
Likklemore | Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56

Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted.

"not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?"
Neither.

"How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips."

U can't fool all of the people all of the time. I wasn't fooled by Ferencz's claim to righteousness based on Harvard when his Nuremberg activities were outrageous and the Nuremberg set-up itself was that of a kangaroo court.

"Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?"

Trump's war crimes are indefensible; the Nuremberg trials were not about "bringing Nazis to justice," they involved, as Rabbi Wise said, a largely Jewish exercise in revenge. If Nuremberg were about "justice," Wise himself would have been in the dock along with FDR (post mortem), Churchill, Stalin, and Truman + + +
If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

But that does not make the Nuremberg trials the model of justice: they were not: as Rabbi Stephen Wise wrote to his family, months before the trials began, they were set up by FDR's man Robert Jackson as a

" broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition. [in which]
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

Ferencz's co-ethnics participated in the creation of the kangaroo court that Ferencz himself utilized more to vent his spleen than to establish international models of justice.

That is why the so-called Nuremberg principles have not and cannot be properly applied to the war crimes committed by Bush (I and II), by Clinton (Bill & Hill), Obama, Trump -- not to mention FDR, Truman & Churchill.

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless: if they were effective bodies for meting justice, even the sanctions on Iran would be subject to judgment under United Nations Charter, along with Victoria Kagan Nuland's subversion of Ukraine and every other 'color revolution' US has engaged in: the UN Charter proscribes interference in the internal affairs of member states.

ak74 , Jan 19 2020 2:13 utc | 62
In the Orwellian value system of America, Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak for America's brazen war crimes, wars of aggression, and shredding of international law.

America is a mafia nation masquerading as a democracy.

And Donald Trump is a two-bit New York mafioso don in charge of this America Mafia state.

JC , Jan 19 2020 2:29 utc | 63
@El Cid 23

Hey you missed out Israel - "will be completely out of Palestine and return Golan Height to Syria"

Wishfool thinking !

james , Jan 19 2020 2:31 utc | 64
@51 chasmark.... thanks.. got it.. i don't much much of anything about the man..
Dr. George W Oprisko , Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
To ChasMark........

You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

So.........

You won't mind............ will you.............

IF someone chooses to put a hellfire missile up your ASS!!

INDY

Idland , Jan 19 2020 3:01 utc | 66
Just monitor any of Pompeo's HD presentations. Look for blink rate and eye micro movements, (saccades).Real evidence of lizard brain psycopathy.
Circe , Jan 19 2020 3:03 utc | 67
Trump recounts minute by minute details of Soleimani assassination at a fundraiser held at his Florida resort. Cause that's what normal people do; brag about murdering someone. I'll bet his fat cat Zionist friends emptied their coffers. SICK.

trump-brags-killed-2-for-price-of-1

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:09 utc | 68
ak74 @62: Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak ...

Exactly. And we might add:

"America First" means America is the Empire's Fist;

"Stand with the people of " is 'New World Order' psyop;

"Economic sanctions" is the economic part of hybrid warfare;

"War on terror" is the war on ALL enemies of the empire via terrorist destabilization;

"Russiagate" is McCarthyist war on dissent;

"Trump" is the latest dear leader whose flaws are blessings and whose 'gut instinct' is God's will. We know this because his fake enemies (like the Democrats, "fake news", and ISIS) always fail when they confront him.


!!
V , Jan 19 2020 3:12 utc | 69 Dr. George W Oprisko | Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

Are you sure you actually read Chasmark @ 61?
Nowhere does he; You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!
What Chasmark did, was to post the truth of the Nuremberg Trials.
They were an out and out sham...
You definitely need to up your reading comprehension and or, your knowledge of history...

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:22 utc | 70
And the other countries of the world whine, but do nothing. I'm afraid they've become as shallow and self-absorbed as most Americans, afraid to confront the world's bully.

Torches and pitchforks are needed, and we get marches. I'm afraid the depravity has to get worse before direct action is taken.

I only hope to live long enough to see the debacle that is inevitable, even if takes me with it.

Justice and truth demand a reckoning..

Sounds dark, I know, but these are very dark days.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 3:26 utc | 71
@ ChasMark 61 in reply to mine @ 56

Among some of very good points you made, I take issue:

"Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted."

Perhaps you should re-read my comment vs what you posited. Look to Gitmo; is it any different to your critique of Nuremberg where there was a trial, albeit with deficiencies, vs holding and torturing prisoners over 18 years without a trial? that was my point.

You continue to offer up Rabbi Wise who proffered the Nuremberg trials were [.] "a largely Jewish exercise in revenge"

I may add, they are also continuing to take out their revenge on Palestinians who had nothing to do with events in Germany. The once oppressed have become oppressors.

If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

Don't expect justice from Congress they are all too busy at the money trough to recognize war crimes.
War crimes are prosecuted by the ICC which the US and Israel do not recognize. US is not a state party; have threatened, denied visas and barred entry to ICC investigators of war crimes

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless:

Toothless! Perhaps but
Don't tell that to Africans or Slobodan Milosevic while ELITES residing on that sliver of the "occupied lands of Palestine" continue to roam free. Oh wait, they are the chosen ones who rule the world!

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:31 utc | 72
@71 said in part; "The once oppressed have become oppressors."

A succinct description of the Israelis..

fundas , Jan 19 2020 3:39 utc | 73
Pompeo's speech may just be an attempt to reduce the cost of a future false flag assassination that could be blamed on one of the enemies. If the enemy does what we do, no need for an all out war. There will be a range of response options including just firing a few missiles. Cost of war with the chosen enemy may be too high or the timing just not right.
snake , Jan 19 2020 3:41 utc | 74
William Gruff @ 9 Expressions of <=reality-disconnected human behavior=> describes victim response to rules, enforcement behaviors and media products that bathe the differentiation space that allows to produce human automatons. An examination of the forces at work inside of the nation state container (differentiation space) will likely reveal private and external forces that produce in these public containers, reality-disconnected human responders (human behavior is a function of its environment; all learning is a result of personal experience). No one can learn from another, but everyone can learn from the behaviors of that other.

The physical environment is nature's doing, but the non physical environment is man's doing. We can organize content as a product of the physical environment ( we build a home) or as a product of the virtual environment (we produce a movie).

Conscious physical man is a highly differentiated product of both environments. A person growing up in the jungles of Belize, will not learn to operate a sled designed to operate in snow, and a person in the cold north will not learn to survive in the topical jungles of the Amazon. Experience is the only teacher, human expression is the experience modified product of sets of expressed genes. Experience in both the physical environment and the virtual environment contribute to the human response to the challenges of life. The virtual environment is about knowledge, habit, privilege, opportunity and a host of other non physical components. see Law, Moral attitudes, and behavioral change, p. 243 ref and to be clear behavior has three components. ref 7

What is this virtual space (environment) that allows differentiated humans to be manufactured from genetic material in to adult automatons. How are these automatons programmed? Since is it rarely possible to modify the physical space; most human differentiation occurs in virtual space. How many such digital spaces are there? virtual content means<= the verbal and non verbal (ref.12) discourse that engages interactively with the mind (conscious and unconsciousness). Environments can be natural or manufactured. Environment then is the container space. The contents of the manufactured environment are psycho-econo-socio-metically designed, media engineered, sets of media products. Each nation state supports a different set of contents within its container space. The order, arrangement and time of environments presented controls the mental behaviors of the media connected humans who reside within the container space environment.

The content of each nation state in the system is a set of environment variables operative in each human container. Two hundred and six different container spaces (the global nation state system=NSS) divides and separates the 8 billion humans in the world. Human differentiation is a product of the 206 different container environments. Your observation that "Pompeo is a psycho"; expresses the real problem for humanity; its leaders are the products of the physical and virtual content of the host nation state within the system of nation states. Each nation state is led by a few. I say to solve this always war condition it is necessary to control the humans that occupy the positions in the nation states or to eliminate the nation state system, and find some better way to address human need for governance.


1. VR empathy
2. self regulation in response to?
3. developing ideas into simulated experiences
4. regulated behavior
5. modify behavior
6. understanding conditions where regulation succeeds or fails to change underlying attitudes.
7. behavior has three components
8. drivers of behavior
9. basic-behavior-components/
10. learning to respond appropriately
11. genetic variables impacting responsive behavior
12. Communication is actually a constant flow of nonverbal and verbal details

The container space supports 24/7 digital presentations. humans animate the human containers, and the human containers constitution the nation states.

Pompeo is a victim of nation state programming, the question is, which nation state programmed him?

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:45 utc | 75
That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action.

Is USA really 'deterred' or just didn't want war at this time? USA is 'deterred' if the Iranian response actually stopped them in some way.

But they took Iran's 'slap' and RESPONDED (though not militarily) with more sanctions and even tried to turn the attack to their advantage by saying (initially) that Iran missed on purpose ( as I explained here ) and conducting Electronic Warfare/Info War that may have contributed to Iran's mistaken downing of a commercial airliner.

And, as bar patrons know only too well, Pompeo has refused to negotiate a USA exit from Iraq, saying that "USA is a force for good in the Middle East".

IMO USA wants to put on UN sanctions (now in progress) and, when war comes, USA will portray it as entirely Iran's fault. The claim will be that Iran is "lashing out" due to "sanctions imposed by the world community" .

!!

tjfxh , Jan 19 2020 3:54 utc | 76
Why does anyone gives either the president or US officials credence regarding what they say, especially Secretary Pompeo, not to mention POTUS? Taking Pompeo at this word and responding to it strikes me as a waste of time. These people are never going to say publicly what they are up to, which is world domination. Nor is it their own ideal. This has been the policy of the US elite at least since WWII, which was simply a transfer of the seat of power from London to Washington as the British Empire morphed into the Anglo-American Empire. Global domination through sea power was British policy for centuries and the US just recently joining the game, especially when the game expanded to air power as well. Arguably, this goes back to the end of WWI, if not the Spanish-American war that embarked the US on empire.
Idland , Jan 19 2020 4:00 utc | 77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 4:39 utc | 78
Deterrence, I guess is the politically correct term for what Trump is doing.
He sees that the Dollar hegemonic empire was crumbling same as most who don't rely on MSM for their news.
Trump believes US can hold its position in the world through pure military power, or the threat of military power.
He wants to regain what he calls importance from early 90s when US was sole undisputed superpower.
Iran though, he believes is a blot on USA's past that needs erasing.
Throughout the election campaign, Trump's big thing was rebuilding US military. He believes this will restore US power in the world. Ruling through the world fear rather than soft power and blackmail.
juliania , Jan 19 2020 4:54 utc | 79
Well said, dorje @ 43. That is how it is.

Today is Theophany in the Orthodox Christian Church, the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan:

Today Thou hast appeared to the universe
and Thy light, O Lord, hast shone on us,
who with understanding praise Thee:
Thou hast come and revealed Thyself
O Light Unapproachable!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 5:03 utc | 80
The 2000 page report about Afganistan sums up USA's criminal insanity. Further, Trump says the response attack from Iran did not harm troops nor do anything of significant damage. Indeed Iran's missiles are far superior than the USA's and the counter attack for the General's assassination. I have mused, that, perhaps the USA was/is set up in this scenario via Iran, Et Al.
ak74 , Jan 19 2020 5:09 utc | 81
The basis of the American Empire and its parasitic economy and Way of Life(TM) itself are premised on what should be called America's Dollar Dictatorship.

Because of the US Dollar, America is able to wage economic siege warfare (aka economic sanctions) on multiple nations around the planet--all in order to impose the Land of the Free's imperial dictates on them.

This is American global gangsterism in everything but name--and disguised behind the founding American deceptions of "Freedom and Democracy."

The vast majority Americans--including some fake "alternative media" shills--will attempt to spindoctor this issue by avoiding such blunt description of this system.

Instead, they prefer to employ Orwellian euphemisms about the "US PetroDollar" or the "US Dollar Reserve Currency" or how America's superpower status is dependent on this dollar syistem.

But former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accurately calls out this system for what it is: America's global dictatorship of the Dollar.

This is another reason why America has such hatred for Iran:

Dollar dictatorship the foundation of American empire - Iran's Ahmadinejad
https://www.rt.com/business/435310-dollar-us-empire-reorder-ahmadinejad/

America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East
https://michael-hudson.com/2020/01/america-escalates-its-democratic-oil-war-in-the-near-east/

Mike Javaras , Jan 19 2020 5:13 utc | 82
Best explanation I've seen yet of the 752 jet takedown. It was a false flag attack by the US or its allies intended to frame Iran. The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger and was several seconds from crashing anyway. The rich kids of Tehran were in the housing complex at 6 AM to film the Stinger shootdown by their terrorist buddies. They have properly been arrested. There have been other arrests too. I wonder what they will come up with.

This makes more sense than any other theory I have seen.

https://beyondhighbrow.com/2020/01/18/false-flag-flight-752-in-iran-was-shot-down-by-us-allies-with-a-stinger-missile-not-by-an-iranian-missile/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 5:20 utc | 83
@ Peter AU1 78

Tom Luongo, who frequently cites b, has coined a new word for Trump's and his minions tactics. Tom asks:

Does Gangsternomics Meet its End in the Iraqi Desert?

In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian IRGC General Qassem Soleimani a lot of questions hung in the air. The big one was, in my mind, "Why now?"

There are a lot of angles to answer that question. Many of them were supplied by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi who tried to let the world know through official (and unofficial) channels of the extent of the pressure he was under by the U.S.

In short, President Trump was engaged in months of what can best be described as gangsternomics in directing the course of Iraq's future economic and political development.[/]

Iraq's importance goes much farther than just protecting the petrodollar to the U.S. It is the fulcrum now on which the entire U.S. defense against Eurasian integration rests. The entire region is slipping out of the grasp of the U.S.


And this started with Russia moving into Syria in 2015 successfully. We are downstream of this as it has blown open the playbook and revealed it for how ugly it is.

Trump's crude gangster tactics in Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia and to a lesser extent in Syria cannot be hidden behind the false veil of moral preening and virtue signaling about bringing democracy to these benighted places.[/]

What began in Syria with Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and China standing up together and saying, "No," continues today in Iraq. To this point Iran has been the major actor. Tomorrow it will be Russia, China and India.

And that is what is ultimately at stake here, the ability of the U.S. to employ gangsternomics in the Middle East and make it stick.[.]

By the time Trump is done threatening people over S-400's and pipelines the entire world will be happy to trade in yuan and/or rubles rather than dollars.[.]


full article here

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 5:40 utc | 84
"...deterrence to protect America."

Pompeo omitted a crucial part of this sentence: "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America".

While this might be obvious to us, the narrative that US foreign policy is about protecting citizens, values and apple pie from 'bad guys' -- and indeed that the militaries of all Western countries are benign police forces preventing ISIS from burning your old Eagles albums and other violations of 'freedom' -- is such a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence. It always seemed strange to me that the post-ww2 cinematic template for war-movies, and by extension the basic plot of all reporting of western military activity in the media, always represented the enemy as evil precisely because they use militaries in an instrumental way (i.e for the purpose they were designed). The Germans, or for that matter the Persians in 300 , or any baddies in war films, seek to extend and protect their interests (real or imagined) by deploying armed forces. The good guys are always identifiable through this idea of 'deterrence': "hey man, all we want is just to live and let live, but you pushed us so we pushed back." Then one stirs in a little 'preemptive deterrence': you looked like you were going to push so we acted. If we 'accidentally' go too far, it's because there is a deranged C-in-C: Hitler, or Xerxes, or some other naughty boy who can be the fall-guy, scapegoat, etc. To get serious we need to go back a very long way, to, say, the Iliad , which, like all Greek (and Roman) literature, assumes as a premise (and it's tragedy) that the warrior's basic function is to kill, pillage, rape and occasionally protect others from the same. But mostly take by force . No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen. But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us."

Just once.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85
Patroklos 84
Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?
Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 86
Mike Javaras @82: The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger ...

MANPADs like Stingers are heat-seeking. They go after ENGINES. On a big plane like PS732, a MANPADs is unlikely to have stopped the transponder and communications.

Philip Giraldi points a finger at US/Israeli Electronic Warfare:

Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752?
Iran Shot It Down But There May Be More to the Story

Giraldi thinks the transponder was hacked. But the article he cites also talks about a device on board that would've allowed for EW. And he notes that Israel probably ALSO has the capability to have been responsible for the EW and/or device on board.

!!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 6:01 utc | 87
All sentinent beings are working on the evolution of our planet & humanity. Problem is the very worst of our species are incurably criminally insane.

Love your blog MOA

Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 6:05 utc | 88
Likklemore 83

Thanks. Gangsternomics seems a good term for Trump's vision of US world power. Trump is pragmatic or realist in that he knows there is no court or authority to hold the US to account.
As to US holding power purely through military power, that can only happen long term if he gets hold of a good chunk of the worlds energy reserves (as in Persian gulf and Venezuela oil). If he doesn't achieve that, then the US goes down. Iran needs to ensure it stays under Russia's nuclear umbrella as there are no rules.

V , Jan 19 2020 6:21 utc | 89
MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated there is unverified information that at least six American F-35 jets were in the Iranian border area at the time when Tehran accidentally downed Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 last week.

www.fortruss.com

krollchem , Jan 19 2020 6:27 utc | 90
Sickening series of Trump interviews and speeches demanding that Iraq pay America and its allies over a trillion dollars for liberating Iraq (time stamp 8:20 to 12:00).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWZfDJerI0o

This demonstrates that US attacks in Iraq over the last 30-40 years was mostly about the control (including transportation routes) and than profiting from its oil and gas reserves.

A secondary reason is to put troop on the border with Iran to further destabilize it via state terrorism to overthrow the government and then take its oil and gas too.

It will get interesting when a pro Iranian new Prime minister takes office and China offers Iraq a line of credit equivalent to the funds that would be frozen in Western bank accounts if Iraq actually demands the troops to leave.

"The Iran-linked Binaa parliamentary voting bloc has nominated Asaad al-Edani, a former minister and governor of oil-rich Basra province. Binaa's bloc is mostly made up of the Fatah party led by militia leader turned politician Hadi al-Ameri, who is close to Tehran."

The Kurdish President of Iraq has stated that "Out of an eagerness to spare blood and preserve civil peace, I apologize for not naming Edani prime minister," the letter continued. "I am ready to submit my resignation to parliament."
https://time.com/5755588/iraq-president-resignation/

Currently, the rival Sairoon bloc, headed by populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said it would not participate in the process of nominating a new premier."
https://www.ft.com/content/50f09fe4-27f4-11ea-9a4f-963f0ec7e134

However, "Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded that Iraqis stage a "million-man march" against the continued US military presence in the country"
https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981025000319

I close with a visionary French rock opera Starmania "story of an alternate reality where a fascist millionaire (read Trump) famous for building skyscrapers is running for president on an anti-immigration policy, and where the poor are getting more and more desperate for their voices to be heard."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78LytR-6Xmk


Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91
@hopehely | Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85

Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?

Assuming that your post was serious...

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;
2. Lebensraum was indeed a specific war aim of Hitler;
3. Under the Shah Anglo-American (not mention Dutch, French and other) interests skimmed all Iranian energy resources, kept the USSR under pressure on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and provided a key friendly power in the most important region of central Asia. Petro-dollar supremacy could not have been established without control of the Persian Gulf. The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

psychohistorian , Jan 19 2020 6:47 utc | 92
@ krollchem #90 with the Starmania link that is not working

I get the following error from Oregon, USA
"
Video unavailable
This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
"

Thanks for the rest of the comment and agree with the sickness of demanding Iraq pay for being invaded.

When will all this idiocy end? Soon I hope.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 7:08 utc | 93
Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;

That was in the movie 300. I guess you did not watch it. :-)

The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

Not just the elite. Persian middle class was pretty well off too. Spending vacation in Europe was easy, quite affordable. Not any more. I know I know, those dang sanctions... well that is what you get when you piss off the big dawg.

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 7:20 utc | 94
Idland #77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?

Odd that, and he seemed like such a trustworthy chap as indicated in his twitter feed.
Perhaps he has some Ciaramella connections that would make Trump uncomfortable. Or Trump is taking absolutely no more chances with any insider he has no control over when attending high level meetings.

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 7:34 utc | 95
@ hopehely 93

Are you talking about 'earth and water' ? The symbolic gesture of submission to the Great King? That's a very different thing altogether. You make it sound like 'water rights'... I did indeed watch the film I'm sad to say, but Xerxes was not after water.

I'd like to know what proportion of the pre-1979 population of Iran qualified as 'middle-class' and what that meant in real terms. Outside of Tehran, Shiraz, etc there probably weren't a lot of Iranians skiing in St Moritz.

Richard , Jan 19 2020 7:35 utc | 96
There are certain signs that nations exhibit when they slide into becoming 'regimes'...targeted, illegal assassinations of opponents is one of these; America's recent political trajectory has been from oligarchy to kakistocracy and now, it seems, to regime - banana republic next, perhaps?...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/01/14/welcome-to-the-american-regime/

arata , Jan 19 2020 8:22 utc | 97
Soleimani had delivered an speech on 2 August 2018 in Hamadan, in his speech he read 5 verses poems from Rumi the famous Persian poet lived on 13 century. You can watch and listen minute 35:45 of the film , if you know Farsi. He said let enemy pay attention to these poems.

He has selected 5 verses from two locations from Book3 of Masnavi.

How the lover, impelled by love, said "I don't care" to the person who counseled and scolded him.

Verse 3833 : Do not thou threaten me with being killed // For I thirst lamentably for mine own blood.

V-3838 : If that One of friendly countenance shed my blood, // dancing (in triumph) I will strew (lavish) my soul (life) upon Him.

Story of those who ate the young elephant from greed and because they neglected the advice of the sincere counselor.

V-96 : Men dance and whirl on the battle-field // They dance in their own blood.

V-97 : They clap a hand when they are freed from the hand of ego // They make a dance when they jump out from their own imperfection,

V-98: The inner musicians strike the tambourine // The Oceans burst into foam from their ecstasy

I think Soleimani selected last 3 verses from this story of baby elephant killer, and revenge of the mother elephant, without intending the content of story. But the coincidence is striking.

psychedelicatessen , Jan 19 2020 9:14 utc | 98
Peter AU1 @78

No fault in your reasoning, particularly when expressing this from Trump's point of view. I'd go a bit further and suggest he understands Iran, North Korea and Cuba are the only remaining nations without a Rothschild central bank. Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency. Upgrading hardware with a tactical nuclear weapon preference, isn't synonymous with rebuilding. What's neglected are the people operating any apparatus. As an example, there is no timely military action to counter mining of the Strait of Hormuz as illustrated by Death and Neglect in the 7th Fleet . A firsthand account from a U.S. Naval officer is eye opening (emphasis mine).

He'd seen his ship, one of the Navy's fleet of 11 minesweepers, sidelined by repairs and maintenance for more than 20 months. Once the ship, based in Japan, returned to action, its crew was only able to conduct its most essential training -- how to identify and defuse underwater mines -- for fewer than 10 days the entire next year . During those training missions, the officer said, the crew found it hard to trust the ship's faulty navigation system: It ran on Windows 2000.

Sonar which identifies dishwashers, crab traps and cars as possible mines, can hardly be considered a rebuilt military. The Navy's eleven minesweepers built more than 25 years ago, have had their decommissioning continually delayed because no replacement plan was implemented. I'll await the deeper understanding of 'deterrence' from b, even as I consider willingness to commit and brag about war crimes as beyond the point of no return.
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 9:32 utc | 99
psychedelicatessen "Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency."

I would be in agreement on the overall gist of your reply, but on Trump thinking he's successfully rebuilt the US military, I'm not so sure. He is a pragmatic gangster when it comes to world affairs which is why his Nuclear Posture Review lowered the threshold of first use of nukes. b's previous post on 'How Trump rebelled against the generals' also fits in with this line of thought.
I believe Trump needs to be thought of as a CEO brought in to pull a company back from the edge of bankruptcy. I think that is the way he sees himself, and as I have put in previous comments, there are no rules. I had thought Trump may be adverse to pure terrorism but depending on what comes of the Ukie airliner shootdown in Iran, there may be absolutely no rules as far as Trump is concerned.

ADKC , Jan 19 2020 9:33 utc | 100
Jackrabbit @86

The article linked by Mike Jarvis @86 makes observational comments about the behavior of the first missile strike in PS752 and that it must have been a stinger/manpad (and not a Tor). The same article also concludes that EW must also have been involved. Everything I have read indicates that the first missile strike behaved like a stinger/manpad - until this can be disproved it must remain a valid theory.

[Jan 19, 2020] The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters

Jan 19, 2020 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"The Marxist political parties, including the Social Democrats and their followers, had fourteen years to prove their abilities. The result is a heap of ruins. All around us are symptoms portending this breakdown. With an unparalleled effort of will and of brute force the Communist method of madness is trying as a last resort to poison and undermine an inwardly shaken and uprooted nation.

In fourteen years the November parties have ruined the German farmer. In fourteen years they created an army of millions of unemployed. The National Government will carry out the following plan with iron resolution and dogged perseverance. Within four years the German farmer must be saved from pauperism. Within four years unemployment must be completely overcome.

Our concern to provide daily bread will be equally a concern for the fulfillment of the responsibilities of society to those who are old and sick. The best safeguard against any experiment which might endanger the currency lies in economical administration, the promotion of work, and the preservation of agriculture, as well as in the use of individual initiative."

Adolf Hitler, Radio Appeal to the German People, February 1, 1933

"Both religion and socialism thus glorify weakness and need. Both recoil from the world as it is: tough, unequal, harsh. Both flee to an imaginary future realm where they can feel safe. Both say to you. Be a nice boy. Be a good little girl. Share. Feel sorry for the little people. And both desperately seek someone to look after them -- whether it be God or the State.

A thriving upper class accepts with a good conscience the sacrifice of untold human beings, who, for its sake, must be reduced and lowered to incomplete human beings,to slaves, to instruments... One cannot fail to see in all these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast, prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness."

Friedrich Nietzsche

"At a certain point in their historical cycles, social classes become detached from their traditional parties. In other words, the traditional parties, in their particular organisational bias, with the particular men who constitute, represent and lead them, are no longer recognised by their class as their own, and representing their interests. When such crises occur, the immediate situation becomes delicate and dangerous, because the field is open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic 'men of destiny' [demagogues].

The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters."

Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, 1930-35

"Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God. You agree? Good. Then go with my blessing. But I warn you, do not expect to make many friends. One of the awful facts of our age is the evidence that it is stricken indeed, stricken to the very core of its being by the presence of the Unspeakable."

Thomas Merton, Raids on the Unspeakable

"The more power a government has the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects."

R. J. Rummel, Death by Government: A History of Mass Murder and Genocide Since 1900

"This is as old as Babylon, and evil as sin. It is the power of the darkness of the world, and of spiritual wickedness in high places. The only difference is that it is not happening in the past, or in a book, or in some vaguely frightening prophecy -- it is happening here and now."

Jesse

"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Plunder, rape, and murder they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus

"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage.

And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun."

Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

"Day by day the money-masters of America become more aware of their danger, they draw together, they grow more class-conscious, more aggressive. The [first world] war has taught them the possibilities of propaganda; it has accustomed them to the idea of enormous campaigns which sway the minds of millions and make them pliable to any purpose.

American political corruption was the buying up of legislatures and assemblies to keep them from doing the people's will and protecting the people's interests; it was the exploiter entrenching himself in power, it was financial autocracy undermining and destroying political democracy. By the blindness and greed of ruling classes the people have been plunged into infinite misery."

Upton Sinclair, The Brass Check

"Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction."

Erich Fromm

"We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts, for it is impossible to live one way and pray another.

If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead."

William Law

[Jan 18, 2020] While the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of international barbarity, emblematic of the thuggish nature of US foreign policy, it was neither the only de facto act of war the United States has undertaken against Iran, nor the most harmful

Yankistan most potent weapon isn't military, it's economic, and through it the US government controls the world. That weapon is the US Dollar and ever since Nixon took it off the gold standard it has been used to further the Empire's imperial hold on the global economy.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
arby , Jan 16 2020 19:16 utc | 19
Stephen Gowans' latest'

https://gowans.blog/


"While the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of international barbarity, emblematic of the thuggish nature of US foreign policy, it was neither the only de facto act of war the United States has undertaken against Iran, nor the most harmful. Indeed, against the total embargo Washington has imposed on Iran with the intention of starving Iranians into submission or inducing them to overthrow their government, the killing of Soleimani is a act of little consequence, even if its significance in provoking widespread outrage and galvanizing opposition to US aggression is undoubted."

[Jan 18, 2020] events appear to have escalated from the 25 December killing of five PMF guys on the Syria-Iraq border by an unattributed drone or missile strike. Neoliberal MSM try to hide or obscure this fact.

Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

Swedish Family , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 8:28 pm GMT

@Oscar Peterson

Significantly, events appear to have escalated from the 25 December killing of five PMF guys on the Syria-Iraq border by an unattributed drone or missile strike. Our media is doing its best to obscure this event as the probable starting point. Two days later on 27 December, the rocket fire near Kirkuk killed the US contractor. Then came the strike on KH troops back out in the West and now the assassination of Soleimani et al.

[ ]

So the trigger was the 25 December attack, and all the timing flows from that, not from any great real estate developer savvy. Frankly, in my view, you give Trump way to much credit for systematic thought. I don't think he really does that at all.

This is also the view of the Middle-East veterans over at Patrick Lang's blog:

Last weekend, in response to a rocket attack on a base outside Kirkuk that left one US contractor dead and four US servicemen wounded, we launched drone strikes on five Iraqi PMU outposts in Iraq and Syria near Abukamal killing 25 members and wounding scores more of the Kata'ib Hezbollah brigades of the PMU.

We blamed Iran and the Kata'ib Hezbollah for the rocket attack near Kirkuk. That may be true, but the Kata'ib Hezbollah is not some rogue militia controlled out of Teheran. It is an integral part of the PMU, its 46th and 47th brigades and has been for years. The PMU is an integral part of the Iraqi military and has been for years. The PMU played a major role in defeating IS in both Iraq and Syria. Our attack on the Kata'ib Hezbollah outposts was an attack on the Iraqi military and government. We informed PM Abdul-Mahdi of our intended attacks. Abdul-Mahadi warned us not to do it, but, of course, we conducted the attacks despite his warning. We were proud of the attacks. The Pentagon even released footage of the attacks. It was supposed to be a clear message to Teheran.

Unfortunately for us, the message was also heard by Iraqis. After the funerals of many of the victims of our attacks on the PMU outposts, a large crowd of protestors headed for the US Embassy in the Green Zone. For weeks prior to this, Iraqi security forces kept protestors from entering the Green Zone and approaching the US Embassy. Not this time. The crowds, including mourners fresh from the funerals of their family members and many PMU soldiers, unarmed but in uniform, poured into the Green Zone right to the gates of the Embassy itself. A reception area was entered and burned. Iraqi security forces of the PrimeMinister's Counter Terrorism Command were among the protestors. I surmise that PM Abdul-Mahdi was sending his own message back to the US.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/our-embassy-in-baghdad-ttg.html

The protests at the American embassy, then, were over Iraqi servicemen murdered in American drone strikes

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian soldier. He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He met a soldier's destiny. It is being said that he was a BAD MAN. Absurd! To say that he was a BAD MAN because he fought us as well as the Sunni jihadis is simply infantile. Were all those who fought the US BAD MEN? How about Gentleman Johhny Burgoyne? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Sitting Bull? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Aguinaldo? Another BAD MAN? Let us not be juvenile.

The Iraqi PMU commander who died with Soleimani was Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. He was a member of a Shia militia that had been integrated into the Iraqi armed forces. IOW, we killed an Iraqi general. We killed him without the authorization of the supposedly sovereign state of Iraq.

We created the present government of Iraq through the farcical "purple thumb" elections. That government holds a seat in the UN General Assembly and is a sovereign entity in international law in spite of Trump's tweet today that said among other things that we have "paid" Iraq billions of US dollars. To the Arabs, this statement that brands them as hirelings of the US is close to the ultimate in insult.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/will-trump-welcome-the-ejection-of-the-us-from-iraq-he-should.html

and now the Americans went one better and murdered an Iraqi general.

[Jan 18, 2020] Ike's Military-Industrial Complex, Six Decades Later

So in retrospect Ike was one of the founding fathers of military industrial complex and the politics of Full Spectrum Dominance
Notable quotes:
"... Yet on January 17, 1961, Ike said: "Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea." He continued: "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government." ..."
"... In addition, Ike's America maintained substantial garrisons in Western Europe and Japan. At the same time, and more precariously, U.S. troops, advisers, and operatives fanned out across the globe, including to Lebanon, South Vietnam, and Iran. ..."
"... Then came the money sentences: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." ..."
"... In fact, we all need a phrase that captures the immensity of the military establishment. The budget of the Department of Defense (DoD) for fiscal year 2020 will be about $718 billion ; DoD directly employs 1.3 million men and women in active duty, as well as more than 700,000 civilian employees. (Another 800,000 serve in the National Guard and reserves.) ..."
"... Indeed, the huge Pentagon budget doesn't fully capture the true scale of the military-industrial complex. To get a better measure, we should also include portions of other agencies harboring substantial military elements, including the CIA, NASA, and the departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Energy (the last of which manages the nuclear stockpile). ..."
"... Six decades later, we must ask ourselves: is the Great Equation still in place? As a nation, are we maintaining all the components of power -- military, economic, and spiritual -- in proper balance? And as we search for the right answer, we might pause over one subtlety in the Eisenhower equation: per the rules of multiplication, if any one of the three components falls to zero, then the product is zero, regardless of the size of the other two components. ..."
"... Many argue that, in fact, U.S. policy has been reduced to just one component -- the military. That is, whom can we threaten, bomb, or occupy? ..."
"... This over-militarization of policy was ably chronicled in Dana Priest's 2003 ..."
"... , The Mission Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military ..."
"... . The author describes a Pentagon that had grown so powerful bureaucratically that it had overwhelmed the State Department -- and nowhere more so than in the Middle East. ..."
"... Gosh, but we still have to privatize, several economies (China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) for the benefit of Wall Street et. comp. How can we do that without DoD...? ..."
Jan 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

January 17 marks the 59th anniversary of President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell speech to the nation. After eight years in the White House, just three days before John F. Kennedy would be sworn in as his successor, Ike went on national television and touched on many topics, from promoting the economy to working with Congress.

Yet the heart of his speech was a finely chiseled critique of what he dubbed the "military-industrial complex." This criticism was all the more remarkable, of course, because Eisenhower had been a career military man. Having graduated from West Point in 1915, he had served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades, through two world wars, ultimately rising to the rank of five-star general.

Yet on January 17, 1961, Ike said: "Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea." He continued: "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government."

By then 70 years old, Ike was no born-again pacifist. He quickly added of the military's enlarging, "We recognize the imperative need for this development." That imperative, of course, was the Cold War, the seemingly permanent eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation of two countries, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., each glaring at the other with ideological hostility tipped with nuclear technology.

In response to the Soviet threat, Ike had maintained the Cold War structures he had inherited from his predecessor in the Oval Office, Harry Truman. In fact, throughout the 1950s, defense spending hovered around 10 percent of GDP (by comparison, the current percentage is less than four).

In addition, Ike's America maintained substantial garrisons in Western Europe and Japan. At the same time, and more precariously, U.S. troops, advisers, and operatives fanned out across the globe, including to Lebanon, South Vietnam, and Iran.

In his speech, Eisenhower made no apology for his role in the further freezing of the Cold War. Yet he still urged caution as to the potential ill effects of cold warring on the home front: "We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society."

Then came the money sentences: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

Those three key words, "military-industrial complex," rocketed through the national consciousness. Eisenhower had long been a popular figure on the center-right; in addition to his leadership role in World War II, he had written a best-selling memoir and had won two national landslides in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections -- even as the left had dismissed him. Yet now, with those three words, Eisenhower gained the proverbial "strange new respect" among intellectuals, who mostly leaned left. Indeed, the phrase "military-industrial complex" has become a favored catchphrase for leftists, anti-militarists, and anyone else looking for evocative shorthand.

In fact, we all need a phrase that captures the immensity of the military establishment. The budget of the Department of Defense (DoD) for fiscal year 2020 will be about $718 billion ; DoD directly employs 1.3 million men and women in active duty, as well as more than 700,000 civilian employees. (Another 800,000 serve in the National Guard and reserves.)

In addition, millions more work for the DoD as private-sector vendors, from those who build ships and airplanes to the contractor who was killed near Kirkuk, Iraq, on December 27.

Indeed, the huge Pentagon budget doesn't fully capture the true scale of the military-industrial complex. To get a better measure, we should also include portions of other agencies harboring substantial military elements, including the CIA, NASA, and the departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Energy (the last of which manages the nuclear stockpile).

As Eisenhower cautioned in his speech, "We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes." So yes, Eisenhower was a vigorous leader in the Cold War competition, yet at the same time he was a citizen before he was a soldier, rightfully concerned with protecting our small-r republican institutions from "unwarranted influence."

During his time in the White House, the 34th president demonstrated his prudence. As historian Walter M. Hudson recently noted in The American Interest , after the Russians launched their Sputnik satellite in 1957 -- thus opening up a newer and higher frontier to geopolitical competition -- Ike did not respond with a big defense buildup. He boosted NASA, of course, yet skipping past the Pentagon, he also pushed for a substantial increase in federal aid to education.

In other words, the old Army man was thinking about the future, when struggles, and perhaps wars, would be waged with spaceships and computers, as opposed to infantrymen and tanks. Hudson explains Ike's thoughtful budget priorities as follows: "Ike's decision was consistent with his 'Great Equation' strategy that long predated Sputnik's blips. Running for the presidency in 1952, he set forth the formula to his friend Lucius Clay: 'Spiritual force multiplied by economic force multiplied by military force is roughly equivalent to security. If any one of those factors fell to zero, or nearly so, the resulting product does likewise.'"

In Eisenhower's "Great Equation," we can see a strategic mind at work: American strength must rely on more than just weaponry; the nation needed to maintain as well its economic and spiritual health. Long before the term was coined, Ike was a believer in "soft power" -- as well as, of course, the "hard power" of firepower.

Six decades later, we must ask ourselves: is the Great Equation still in place? As a nation, are we maintaining all the components of power -- military, economic, and spiritual -- in proper balance? And as we search for the right answer, we might pause over one subtlety in the Eisenhower equation: per the rules of multiplication, if any one of the three components falls to zero, then the product is zero, regardless of the size of the other two components.

So today, as we think about the Greater Middle East, where the U.S. is involved in a half-dozen conflicts, are we satisfied that all of our equation components -- including the meta-component of wisdom -- are being properly understood and utilized?

Many argue that, in fact, U.S. policy has been reduced to just one component -- the military. That is, whom can we threaten, bomb, or occupy?

This over-militarization of policy was ably chronicled in Dana Priest's 2003 book , The Mission Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military . The author describes a Pentagon that had grown so powerful bureaucratically that it had overwhelmed the State Department -- and nowhere more so than in the Middle East.

This disparity starts with visuals: the generals arrive in style, swooping in on military aircraft, resplendent in their uniforms, greeted by the pomp and circumstance of salutes and reviews, bearing PowerPoints of cool new weapons systems to buy and perhaps use. By contrast, unadorned Foreign Service officers tend to plunk along on civilian flights, typically talking only of caution and mediation.

As a result, the center of policy gravity for the Middle East has shifted from Foggy Bottom to the five-sided building across the Potomac, and from there to Central Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, and from there to myriad Centcom outposts 7,000 miles distant. As they say, if you're a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail -- and the Pentagon is one big hammer.

We can observe that this militarization had been building up long prior to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which began two presidencies ago. Indeed, the militarizing process has been both deep-rooted and bipartisan. And this, of course, is the sort of long-term transformation that Eisenhower warned against.

The argument here is not for a cut in the Pentagon's budget or for an increase in the State Department's budget. Instead, we need something more fundamental -- a national conversation about true national security. As Ike said in that fabled address, "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Assuring that security and liberty "may prosper together" -- Eisenhower's message is as important today as it was then. about the author

James P. Pinkerton is a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a regular panelist on the Fox "News Watch" show, the highest-rated media-critique show on television. He is a former columnist for Newsday, and is the editor of SeriousMedicineStrategy.org. He has written for publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Review, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Fortune, The Huffington Post , and The Jerusalem Post . He is the author of What Comes Next: The End of Big Government--and the New Paradigm Ahead (Hyperion: 1995). He worked in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and in the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns. In 2008 he served as a senior adviser to the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. Married to the former Elizabeth Dial, he is a graduate of Stanford University.

kouroi 5 hours ago

Gosh, but we still have to privatize, several economies (China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) for the benefit of Wall Street et. comp. How can we do that without DoD...?

Chuckles John Achterhof 3 days ago

Just to be clear, it's documented that Ike's first draft had Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex; aides convinced him to cut that out, which is sad because it's key. Defense contractors always spread out their facilities to different states and
Congressional districts. Jobs!
David Naas 3 days ago
I Like Ike.

Always did, even as I recall when he was in the White House. In his time, the Right gnashed their teeth at his "liberalism", and the Left gnashed their teeth art his "conservatism".

His equation anchored on "spiritual". In Ike's view, America was an agency for Good, or at least aspired to be. Today, all of our "leaders" echo the words of Templeton (the Rat) in Charlotte's Web -- "What's in it for me?" And goodness is not even given the homage of hypocrisy.

polistra24 3 days ago
Thanks for bringing out the equation. I'd never heard of it before! Putin understands it and uses it. We lost it a long time ago.
Chuckles 3 days ago
Ike was likely familiar with General Smedley D. Butler (USMC) seminal work War is a Racket , and bought into at least some it.

[Jan 18, 2020] The Mission Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military Dana Priest 9780393010244 Amazon.com Books

Notable quotes:
"... Unfortunately, the book does little more to move into an analysis of US foreign policy decision making beyond the military's impact nor does it make recommendations for changes to better the current situation. The book seemed to be more of a compilation of "reports from the field" than an analysis of foreign policy decision making and the military's role in it. I suppose the author's goals and my expectations were decidedly different but I expected more from this book. ..."
Jan 18, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Hugh Claffey , December 9, 2012

Book published in 2003, still very relevant

I read David Halberstam's `War in a Time of Peace' and this seemed like a good continuation. Halbersam covers the Bush 1, Clinton period, in retrospect an idyllic period. This book transitions through 9/11, but really covers the development of the Combatant Commander for the US Military in the various areas of the world - Pacific Command, Central Command etc. It does cover the successful invasion of Afghanistan, it covers conflicts in Kosova, Columbia and relationships in the Middle East and Asia. It doesn't cover the Iraq invasion or subsequent failures.

I was particularly struck by the contrast between the resources available for the military commanders in various countries, and the US ambassadors to the same countries. The commanders can have transport and material resources which are an order of magnitude away from the civilians, and therefore the local politicians/dictators get the message that the US relationship is mainly a military one. Priest gives a good overview, especially in the Kosovo, of the power and limitations of the military-only relationship. She also concludes that even the military must take some part in peace-making and low level nation-building, but the bigger story in that the US, by virtue of its size and power, must take a nation-development role if it hopes to avoid having a low-level war with the developing world for generations to come. In fact the situation has probably got clearly since, and the current debate about leaving Afghanistan and non-intervention in Syria, makes this book appear prophetic.

Lastly there are remarkable portraits of Generals Zinni and Blair who were combatant commanders in the Central and Pacific commands during this time period. The contrast between their power and status when in the military and their post-military career is significant (though not mentioned in the book), Zinni was messed about when proposed but eventually not selected as ambassador to Saudia Arabia, Blair was later director of National Intelligence in the Obama White House, but was could not get along in that particular fishbowl and was fired in mid 2010.

Sir Charles Panther , February 27, 2006
An Adequate Overview, yet Factually Incorrect, Fundamentally Flawed

Overall, this book is a basic overview of the structure and operation of the US armed forces theater commands in the final days of their power and prestige, before the Bush administration centralized control, power, prestige, decision- and policy-making to Washington, DC. It is a view of the last great days of the regional Commanders-in-Chief, the CINCs, and their geographically-oriented theater commands of immense space, scope, power and influence.

My criticism of this book is straightforward and simple, yet speaks directly to the overall character and accuracy of this work: Dana Priest is grossly incorrect in her statements, and therefore in the conclusions she makes, specifically in Chapter Ten, "The Indonesian Handshake." I was intimately and directly involved in the entire episode, and it did not unfold as she describes.

I quote from page 230: "Meanwhile, since January 1998, seven intelligence analysts at the 'Joint Intelligence Center Pacific' (JIC), the world largest military-intelligence center, in a windowless concrete building near (US Pacific Command CINC, Admiral Dennis) Blair's headquarters in Hawaii, had tracked the movements of Indonesian military and militia forces in East Timor and Indonesia. The Indonesia desk in the JIC had grown from one to nine persons and maintained a round-the-clock 'crisis action' mode. Over the preceding year, the analysts had received a tenfold increase in imagery and a fivefold increase in electronic collection. It was actually too much to process."

First of all, Priest blows the name of the institution she's describing. It's the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, or JICPAC (now Joint Intelligence Operations Center, Pacific, or JIOC-PAC). Second, the "Indonesia desk" implies a single person monitoring this country. That was never the case, as a team of at least five analysts had always been assigned to maritime Southeast Asia. Suharto's 1998 fall had ramped up both Pacific Command's and JICPAC's attention to Indonesia, and the scheduled elections of mid-1999 and following East Timor referendum were anticipated months in advance, with commensurate analytical adjustments and assignments. Newly assigned to the Pacific Command intelligence directorate, I was detailed to JICPAC personally by the Pacific Command Director for Intelligence, Rear Admiral Rick Porterfield to assist in this effort.

I was one of two US Army Foreign Area Officers (FAOs) assigned to this issue. I had just completed five years of training in Southeast Asia, with an International Studies masters degree, both Indonesian and Malaysian language training, and attendance at the 1998 class of the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College. My partner was an Indonesian staff college graduate. We two Southeast Asia FAOs, both senior US Army majors, were the officers in charge. I was the Chief of the East Timor Crisis Cell for the entire period of the East Timor crisis, and I take immense pride in the work that I and especially my analysts performed during this period. This was the best analytical team I've ever worked with, experienced, highly intellectual, eager, motivated, and thoroughly familiar with the issue at hand, as well as all of the related regional and functional issues. They performed brilliantly in an extended crisis mode.

At no time was the information we were requesting and receiving "too much to process." Early on, Admiral Blair and Rear Admiral Porterfield recognized the potential for unrest and crisis, and supported all command activities to prepare for all possible outcomes, which we explored and analyzed continuously. I and my people updated both leaders daily with briefings, papers, and direct consultation, which increased in frequency, intensity and scope as events unfolded. We aggressively worked with all relevant and engaged national-level agencies and elements for our intelligence collection requirements, and based upon national-level reconciliation we were given what was available and appropriate to the situation. Yes, we were receiving increased collection and reporting, through all intelligence disciplines and channels, not merely the ones Priest cites. At no time was anything we were doing or being asked to do too much for us to process. At no time was the information that we were requesting from national-level intelligence collection too much for us to process. The support we received from the commanding officer of JICPAC, now Marine Major General Mike Ennis, was outstanding in every possible way. He supported our needs and actions personally and fully, a consummate professional and directly engaged commanding officer. Whatever resources and assets we requested, he personally attended to those needs, immediately.

I challenge Ms. Priest to name the source(s) who provided such grossly incorrect information. I was present in Hawaii as she did her research there, and at no time were either my FAO partner or I contacted to discuss our roles in the crisis.

I offer a highly telling anecdote which illustrates Ms. Priest's qualifications to write on this specific issue: Upon entering JICPAC for the very first time, Ms. Priest asked informally and good-naturedly of her escorts, "Why is the Australian flag flying outside?" Well, yes, both Pacific Command and JICPAC work very closely with our Australian partners, always have, and enjoy doing so immensely. But JICPAC does not fly a foreign flag from its quarterdeck. Of course, Ms. Priest had mistaken the Hawaiian flag with its Union Jack in the upper left corner as the Australian flag, telling the JICPAC intelligence specialists, researchers, and analysts more than enough about her familiarity with Pacific Command, showing a small yet true measure of the depth of expertise and background knowledge she brought to her work in the US Pacific Command theater.

Bottom Line: Take this book as a historical account of the now-gone days of the power and prestige of the theater commands, a late 90s snapshot. That being said, the book is fundamentally flawed and factually incorrect, at least as far as Chapter Ten reads. I cannot speak for the remainder of the work, but my direct and intimate experience with the events she grossly incorrectly describes here is more than enough for me to dismiss this book in its entirety.


Eric Johnson December 12, 2003

Mission Accomplished?
Format: Hardcover

Dana Priest is a well-respected journalist with the Washington Post and a frequent guest on NBC's "Meet the Press." She specializes on military and intelligence topics, so it was with great interest that I read her book "The Mission". Her thesis, that the US military is playing an ever increasing role in US foreign policy matters and that the nation is becoming dependent on the military's presence in foreign affairs, could not be more timely.
She presents her argument via a series of vignettes which cover senior military leaders as well as a broad spectrum of recent military operations. She primarily writes from the military's perspective and its impact on foreign policy. The profiles of the four, 4-star commanders provide the reader with a sense of the situation each commander faced in 1999 and how their ideals influenced not only their area of responsibility but also our foreign affairs. Priest chronicles our military activities with examples that range from major operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans, our covert drug war in South America, and the relatively unnoticed actions in Nigeria and Indonesia. Her stories capture the military's struggle to achieve success across the entire spectrum of operations.

She does a good job of stating her argument and offers varied examples of where the military is setting the foreign policy agenda. Unfortunately, the book does little more to move into an analysis of US foreign policy decision making beyond the military's impact nor does it make recommendations for changes to better the current situation. The book seemed to be more of a compilation of "reports from the field" than an analysis of foreign policy decision making and the military's role in it. I suppose the author's goals and my expectations were decidedly different but I expected more from this book.

I feel her point would have benefited from a comparison of the State Dept's and the DoD's role in US foreign policy making. She also needed to consider the contributions of non-governmental organizations to the foreign policy equation. Additionally, if the author thinks we are becoming reliant on the military to conduct foreign policy, she should include recommendations to counter that reliance. I enjoyed reading the well-written vignettes, thought this is a great introduction on the topic of political-military relations as it impacts foreign affairs, but would like to see more analysis and less story-telling.

A worthwhile read.

[Jan 18, 2020] Reinhard Gehlen: the Nazi father of the CIA

Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jan 18 2020 18:41 utc | 158

From those muds...these mires...

Reinhard Gehlen: the Nazi father of the CIA

[Jan 16, 2020] https://iadllaw.org/2020/01/iadl-condemns-us-assassination-of-gen-qassem-soleimani-as-an-illegal-act-of-aggression/

Jan 16, 2020 | iadllaw.org

In this sense Soleimani assassination opened such a huge can of worms that the results can be judged only in several years.

It exposes Trump and his cronies as one trick ponies who does not think strategically or are manipulated (for all practical purposes the hypothesis that Trump is a puppet is stronger that then the hypothesis that he is an independent player)

In some way It might well be that Trump put the final nail into the global, led by the USA,neoliberal empire and legitimized the existence of two competing economic blocks. That's a huge change, if true (the fact that China folded contracts that)

He also implicitly acknowledged that the USA no longer can attack on Iran military without the danger of suffering large losses and profound negative consequences itself. Including Russia and China support for Iran in such a war, which would make it the second Vietnam. That's another huge change -- the end of "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine as we know it. .

Now we known that Trump bullied EU threating auto-tariff to support him. That a clear return to the Wild West in international relations and it another nail into the empire coffin. Esper recently blabbed that the US has the right under Article II of its Constitution to attack Iranian territory in response to offensive action by Iranian-backed militia in Iraq. So UN does not matter, right ? The UN Charter was created to stop WWIII. Under Trump, it again became a real possibility with the USA taking the central the role in creating the conditions for unleashing it.

Here is an interesting quote from yesterday (Jan 15, 2020) article by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times (

https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/battle-of-the-ages-to-stop-eurasian-integration/

Retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2001 to 2005, cuts to the chase: "America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is. We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as Pompeo is doing right now, as Trump is doing right now, as Esper is doing right now and a host of other members of my political party, the Republicans, are doing right now. We are going to lie, cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it. And that's the agony of it."

Moscow, Beijing and Tehran are fully aware of the stakes. Diplomats and analysts are working on the trend, for the trio, to evolve a concerted effort to protect one another from all forms of hybrid war – sanctions included – launched against each of them.

For the US, this is indeed an existential battle – against the whole Eurasia integration process, the New Silk Roads, the Russia-China strategic partnership, those Russian hypersonic weapons mixed with supple diplomacy, the profound disgust and revolt against US policies all across the Global South, the nearly inevitable collapse of the US dollar. What's certain is that the Empire won't go quietly into the night. We should all be ready for the battle of the ages.

.P.S. To me it looks that Trump lost all antiwar republicans and independents , as well as a part of military who voted for him in 2016 (and who now are Tulsi supporters)

The Senate trial, if it materializes, now can become the leverage point to drive a wedge between moderate Republicans and Trump via his Iran policies.

[Jan 16, 2020] Impeachment, Soleimani and the Pull of the Swamp

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 15 2020 17:53 utc | 172

@ Carciofi 158

Observe how the West dances with Kim?

Pakistan should slip one across the border in a rail car of elephants.

We now shift the focus unto the Impeachment Trial. Shifty Schiff leads the prosecution. Should be interesting spectator sport. Never be too certain of the outcome. Some are positing Trump could be removed. Many Republicans are uneasy. The guy is unfit to have the nuclear codes, displays impaired emotion - schizophrenia. Others, Independent and Republican turncoats consider Trump embarrassing. Over the last days Trump's Sec. of Defense, Esper threw him under the bus.


This opinion piece should not be dismissed.

Impeachment, Soleimani and the Pull of the Swamp

[Because] Trump is going to be taken out.

The events of the past twelve days since Trump murdered IRGC General Qassem Soleimani prove this beyond any doubt. Impeachment was the leverage point to drive open a wedge between Republicans and Trump through Iran.

Pelosi slow-walking the articles of impeachment to the Senate was all part of the pantomime, folks. She gets what she wants: Congress asserting more power and the Democrats shoring up their base by taking out an eyesore in Trump.

She waits just long enough for Trump to do something questionable and for it to be made known publicly.[.]

The Swamp Strikes Back and puts Trump in a no-win situation.

The Wall St. Journal article from this weekend which intimated that Trump made the decision to kill Soleimani was motivated by shoring up his support in the Israeli Occupied Senate is further proof.

"Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said," the newspaper reported.[.]

kooshy , Jan 15 2020 18:22 utc | 173

@Lysander | Jan 15 2020 2:04 utc | 111

"That is why Trump's presidency is a blessing for Iran. "
It's real blessing to the entire world, otherwise how else the world would have come to see the real ugly face of Americans

@Rd | Jan 15 2020 1:01 utc | 98
This is now beyond government and oligarchy , and laws, this is now about a national/religious demand for revenge, on killing a true national shia muslim hero away from any political or difference in opinion.
IMO, the demand for revenge can not be even controlled by military and it's leaders, the order for revenge can even be sanctioned by a relative unknown cleric in a shia village.

@moon | Jan 15 2020 7:52 utc | 136
Thanks, PL banned me over a year ago , for calling US military (yeman) a mercenary force, Now Trump is proud he sold 3000 US trops to Bone saw for 1 billion.
I also believe that Iranian military has understood for some time now, that US (Military) is not willing to enter a war with Iran at this time, which makes me believe that a low intensity, long, covert attritional war across the western Asia will finally make US to leave. IMO pre announced without casualty attack on AalA US base by Iran Military was to allow any future covert low intensity attack by Iranian regional allies on US forces as non-sanctioned or related by Iranian government or military.
Which makes it hard to fight directly.

[Jan 16, 2020] Angry Bear " Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination

Jan 16, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination

Barkley Rosser | January 15, 2020 6:13 am

Journalism Politics Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination I wish to point out some matters not getting a lot of attention in the US media.

An important one of those was reported two days ago by Juan Cole . It is that apparently it has not been determined for certain that the initial attack that set off this current round of deaths when a militia in Iraq attacked an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk in which an American contractor was killed, almost certainly a matter of collateral damage although not recognized as such, was actually done by Kata'b Hezbollah, the group reported to have done it. That group was commanded by al-Mushani, who was also assassinated with Soleimani, with whom he was allied. But it is not certain that they did it. As it is, the Kirkuk base is dominated by Kurdish Pesh Merga, with whom it is not at all obvious the pro-Iranian militias like the Kat'b Hezbollah have hostile differences. This may have been cooked up to create an excuse for assassinating Soleimani.

Indeed, it has now been reported that seven months ago Trump had approved killing Soleimani essentially at the first instance there would be a good excuse for doing so. In fact it is now reported that although Trump had not heard of Soleimani during th 2016 election, within five minutes of his inauguration he suggested killing Soleimani. SecState Pompeo been encouraging and pushing this action, but it has been something Trump has been hot to do for some time. Going up for an impeachment trial looks like a really good time.

We have now seen quite a dance around reasons to justify this. We must keep clear that it is a matter of both US and international law that this sort of killing of a foreign national official such as General Soleimani is that there be an "imminent threat." I shall not drag through the various versions of what was supposedly the imminent threat was here, but it has finally become clear that there was none. And as of today both Pompeo and AG Barr have now pivoted to saying that it was done for "deterrence," but that leaves this assassination as illegal, with US troops in Iraq now declared to be"terrorists."

Now indeed the further followup has become quite a mess, although hopefully the escalation has stopped and war will not happen, despite getting very close to the brink. So Iran made its strike on two bases with US troops in Iraq. While it initially looked like the Iranians were going out of their way to avoid killing any Americans, local US commanders now say that it appears that the strikes were in fact aimed at killing some Americans, and some were in fact injured. I do not know if this is true or not, but it is disturbing and shows how close we have gotten to heightened war.

Then we had this disaster of the Iranians themselves shooting down a commercial Ukrainian airplane (oh, the irony), killing 176 civilians, mostly Iranians, Canadians, and Ukrainians, plus some others. With the admission by the regime, anti-government demonstrations have broken out at universities especially in Tehran where many of the Iranians on the plane were from, and many of the university students heading to Canada. Those demos have gone on for three days bringing forth a harsh put down from the government, but with news people quitting their jobs out of disgust. The government has now arrested some supposedly responsible for the erroneous shootdown under heightened alert status, which would not have come to pass without the illegal assassination. It is unclear if these arrests will bring an end to the demonstrations, but it should be kept in mind that these involve much smaller numbers of people than turned out in the aftermath of Soleimani's assassination.

Underlying this most recent uprising is the fact that Iran is suffering serious econoimic problems. Much of this is due to the Trump sanctions, but they also reflect entrenched corruption and spending on foreign adventures, such as support for foreign militias. These are difficult times, and let us hope that all sides step back and reduce the heightened tensions.

Barkley


  1. run75441 , January 15, 2020 12:23 pm

    Barkley:

    Good post and thanks for the follow-up.

    Normally when something happens in the Middle East, I head over to Informed Comment to see what Juan is saying about the situation. You have added information I was not aware of as I had not been over to Juan Cole's Informed Comment in several days. Also from a January 11th column of his:

    "Lest the Trumpies imply that only Obama de facto allied with Soleimani and his Iraqi Shiite militias, it should be pointed out that they played an important role in the defeat of ISIL at Mosul during Trump's presidency. Although they did not fight their way into the city, they fanned out to the west and north to prevent ISIL terrorists from escaping to Raqqa in Syria. That was why Kata'ib Hizbullah had a base at Qa'im, a checkpoint between Iraq and Syria, where they were preventing ISIL agents from going back and forth. Trump kicked off the current crisis by bombing his allies at Qa'im, killing some 26 militiamen. And then he droned his sometime ally Soleimani to death at Baghdad airport as Soleimani was about to begin covert peace talks with Saudi Arabia."

    All the Times the US allied with Gen. Soleimani against Common Enemies, giving him Air Support at Tikrit

Barkley Rosser , January 15, 2020 8:12 pm

I must walk back one speculation I made in this post. It is not the case that the base attacked near Kirkuk held Kurdish Pesh Merga. It indeed houses US and Iraqi national troops dedicated to fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Four US service people were injured along with two national Iraqi troops. The US citizwn killed was naturalized and born in Iraq.

It remains possible that it was IAIA/ISIL/Daesh carried out the attack as they are active in that area. However, most think it was Kata'b Hezbollah, enocuraged and suppliled by Soleimani.

run75441 , January 15, 2020 8:21 pm

Barkley:

Ok, so you missed some detail. The drone attack on Soleimani and others did not have to occur. Furthermore, it appears this was planned months earlier and just never carried through. To me, it is just another Trump distraction away from his impeachment.

[Jan 16, 2020] The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down

Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Carolinian , , January 14, 2020 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the shrewd analysis. The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down . You can't talk your way out of some mistakes. Trump is shrewd, but not very smart and like most bullies he's also weak. He gets by being such an obvious bluffer and blowhard but when you start assassinating people and expect to be praised for it it's no longer a game.