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Hillary Clinton can change her views in an instant on trade, guns, gay marriage, and all sorts of issues, but she's consistent in this: she wants war. Washington Examiner
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Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Hillary Clinton as neocon warmonger
The key points
Here is one exchange from naked capitalism blog that can extend this summary brings several other interesting points (nakedcapitalism.com, Oct 05, 2016)
Oct 05, 2016 | www.James Kroeger October 5, 2016 at 8:02 amlikbez October 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm
So what's a voter to do?
Well, I would hope that informed voters who have a healthy fear of the military-industrial-political complex will vote to keep the scariest of the two re: nuclear war out of office. This particular concern is the reason why I will in all likelihood be voting for the man I've been ridiculing for most of the past year, simply because I am terrified of the prospect of Hillary Clinton as Commander-in-Chief.
Trump is a bad choice for a long list of reasons, but the most outrageous things he has proposed require legislation and I think it will be possible to defeat his essential sociopathy on that level, since he will face not only the opposition of the Dem Party, but also MSM and a significant number of people from his own party.
But when it comes to the President's ability to put American 'boots on the ground' vs. some theoretical enemy, no such approval from Congress is necessary. Hillary Clinton will be in a position to get us into a costly war without having to overcome any domestic opposition to pull it off.
What scares me is my knowledge of her career-long investment in trying to convince the generals and the admirals that she is a 'tough bitch', ala Margaret Thatcher, who will not hesitate to pull the trigger. An illuminating article in the NY Times revealed that she always advocates the most muscular and reckless dispositions of U.S. military forces whenever her opinion is solicited.
All of her experience re: foreign policy that she's been touting is actually the scariest thing about her, when you look at what her historical dispositions have been. The "No Fly Zone" she's been pushing since last year is just the latest example of her instinct to act recklessly, as it directly invites a military confrontation with Russia.
Her willingness to roll the dice, to gamble with other people's lives, is ingrained within her political personality, of which she is so proud.
Her greatest political fear-that she might one day be accused by Republicans of being "weak on America's enemies"-is what we have to fear. That fear is what drives her to the most extreme of war hawk positions, since her foundational strategy is to get out in front of the criticism she anticipates.
It is what we can count on. She will most assuredly get America into a war within the first 6-9 months of her Presidency, since she will be looking forward to the muscular response she will order when she is 'tested', as she expects.
How reckless is Trump likely to be? Well, like Clinton-and all other civilian Commanders-in-Chief, Trump be utterly dependent upon the advice of military professionals in deciding what kind of responses to order. But in the position of The Decider, there is one significant difference between Trump and Clinton. Trump is at least willing and able to 1) view Putin as someone who is not a threat to the United States and 2) is able/willing to question the rationality of America's continued participation in NATO.
These differences alone are enough to move me to actually vote for someone I find politically detestable, simply because I fear that the alternative is a high probability of war, and a greatly enhanced risk of nuclear annihilation-through miscalculation-under a Hillary Clinton Presidency.
Quite simply, she scares the hell out of me.James,
Excellent, really excellent summary. Thank you. Especially this observation:
"Her greatest political fear-that she might one day be accused by Republicans of being "weak on America's enemies"-is what we have to fear. That fear is what drives her to the most extreme of war hawk positions, since her foundational strategy is to get out in front of the criticism she anticipates."
I would like to add a few minor points:
1. Clinton might not have the intellectual capacity to discern critically important distinctions ( http://angrybearblog.com/2015/06/what-worries-me-most-about-clinton-that-she-may-not-have-the-intellectual-capacity-to-discern-even-critically-important-distinctions-even-glaring-ones.html ). From comments: "Hillary is phony as a 3-dollar bill. And I just watched FDR doing his thing on NPR's " The Roosevelts " , reminding me that in universes other than the one I occupy , it's possible to have an outstanding progressive , an outstanding candidate , and an outstanding human being , all in one."
2. She (like most sociopaths, although it is unclear whether she is one or not) is not able to apologize for mistakes. New York Times:In the end, she settled on language that was similar to Senator John Kerry's when he was the Democratic nominee in 2004: that if she had known in 2002 what she knows now about Iraqi weaponry, she would never have voted for the Senate resolution authorizing force.
Yet antiwar anger has festered, and yesterday morning Mrs. Clinton rolled out a new response to those demanding contrition: She said she was willing to lose support from voters rather than make an apology she did not believe in.
"If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from," Mrs. Clinton told an audience in Dover, N.H., in a veiled reference to two rivals for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.
Her decision not to apologize is regarded so seriously within her campaign that some advisers believe it will be remembered as a turning point in the race: either ultimately galvanizing voters against her (if she loses the nomination), or highlighting her resolve and her willingness to buck Democratic conventional wisdom (if she wins).
At the same time, the level of Democratic anger has surprised some of her allies and advisers, and her campaign is worried about how long it will last and how much damage it might cause her.
3. Due to her greed she and her close entourage represent a huge security risk. Emailgate had shown that as for computer security she is an absolute zero. Absolutely, horribly incompetent and absolutely, horribly greedy (the key idea of private server was to hide her "pay for play" deals related to Clinton foundation). The same level of computer security incompetence is prevalent in her close circle (Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, etc) .
4. She strongly believe in the neoconservative foreign-policy agenda by re-casting the neoconservatives' goals in liberal-interventionist terms. In reality the difference between "liberal interventionism" and Neoconservatism are pretty superficial (Kagan already calls himself liberal interventionalist) and Hillary's willingness to infest a foreign-policy establishment with neocons is beyond any doubt and comparable with Bush II.
As the recent Republican primary contest had shown neoconservatives have virtually no support among the US voters. Their base is exclusively military-industrial complex. So the reason she is reaching out to those shady figures is a deceptively simple: she shares common views, respects their supposed expertise, and wants them in her governing coalition. That means that "… today's Democrats have become the Party of War: a home for arms merchants, mercenaries, academic war planners, lobbyists for every foreign intervention, promoters of color revolutions, failed generals, exploiters of the natural resources of corrupt governments. …" ( http://crookedtimber.org/2016/09/27/donald-trump-the-michael-dukakis-of-the-republican-party/#comment-693421 )
5. She is completely numb to human suffering. She has a total lack of empathy for other people.
( Aug 01, 2017 , www.counterpunch.org )
Apr 21, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Timber Sycamore 20/04/2018 Timber Sycamore was a classified weapons supply and training program run by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and supported by various Arab intelligence services, most notably that of Saudi Arabia . Launched in 2012 or 2013, it supplied money, weaponry and training to rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War . According to U.S. officials, the program has trained thousands of rebels. President Barack Obama secretly authorized the CIA to begin arming Syria's embattled rebels in 2013.  However, the CIA had been facilitating the flow of arms from Libya to Syria "for more than a year" beforehand in collaboration with "the UK ( United Kingdom ), Saudi Arabia and Qatar ."
The program's existence was suspected after the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities website publicly solicited contract bids to ship tons of weaponry from Eastern Europe to Taşucu , Turkey and Aqaba , Jordan. One unintended consequence of the program has been to flood the Middle East's black market with weapons including assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. The U.S. delivered weapons via Ramstein – supposedly in breach of German laws.
In July 2017, U.S. officials stated that Timber Sycamore would be phased out, with funds possibly redirected to fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or to offering rebel forces defensive capabilities.
... ... ...
According to American officials, the program has been highly effective, training and equipping thousands of U.S.-backed fighters to make substantial battlefield gains. American officials state that the program began to lose effectiveness after Russia intervened militarily in the Syrian Civil War. David Ignatius, writing in The Washington Post, remarked that while the CIA program ultimately failed in its objective of removing Assad from power, it was hardly "bootless": "The program pumped many hundreds of millions of dollars to many dozens of militia groups. One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years."
... ... ...
U.S.-backed rebels often fought alongside al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front, and some of the U.S. supplied weapons ended up in the hands of the al-Nusra Front, which had been a major concern of the Obama administration when the program was first proposed.
... ... ...
The program remains classified, and many details about the program remain unknown, including the total amount of support, the range of weapons transferred, the depth of training provided, the types of U.S. trainers involved, and the exact rebel groups being supported. However, The Canberra Times reported that two thousand tons of Soviet era weapons were delivered to Aqaba as recently as April 2016.
Read more at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore
Apr 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
The father of Imran Awan - a longtime IT aide from Pakistan who made "unauthorized access" to the House computer network - reportedly transferred a USB drive to the former head of a Pakistani intelligence agency , alleges the father's ex-business partner, Rashid Minhas.
Minhas told the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) - which traveled to Pakistan to interview those involved - that Haji Ashraf Awan, Imran Awan's father, had been giving information to Rehman Malik - former head of Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and current senator. Malik was appointed to Interior Minister in early 2008, only to step down in 2013 after he lost a Supreme Court hearing over holding dual UK citizenship.
Minhas told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Imran Awan's father, Haji Ashraf Awan, was giving data to Pakistani official Rehman Malik, and that Imran bragged he had the power to " change the U.S. president. "
Asked for how he knew this, he said that on one occasion in 2008 when a "USB [was] given to Rehman Malik by Imran's father, my brother Abdul Razzaq was with his father ." - DCNF
"After Imran's father deliver (sic) USB to Rehman Malik, four Pakistani [government intelligence] agents were with his father 24-hour on duty to protect him," he said - however Minhas did not say what was on the USB.
[insert: Foreign_Secretary_in_Pakistan_(4727720266).jpg ]
The House watchdog, Inspector General Michael Ptasienski, charged in September 30, 2016 that data was being siphoned off of the House Network by the Awans as recently as two months before the US presidential election.
The Awan family had virtually unlimited access to Democratic House members' computers, including classified information.
Nearly Imran's entire immediate family was on the House payroll working as IT aides to one-fifth of House Democrats , and he began working for the House in 2004. The inspector general, Michael Ptasienski, testified this month that " system administrators hold the 'keys to the kingdom' meaning they can create accounts, grant access, view, download, update, or delete almost any electronic information within an office. Because of this high-level access, a rogue system administrator could inflict considerable damage ." - DCNF
According to Minhas - "Imran Awan said to me directly these words: ' See how I control White House on my fingertip ' He say he can fire the prime minister or change the U.S. president," Minhas said. " Why the claiming big stuff, I [didn't] understand 'till now ."
" I was Imran father's partner in Pakistan, " Minhas said, in two land deals in Pakistan so big that they are often referred to as "towns." In 2009, both men were accused of fraud , and Haji was arrested but then released after Imran flew to Pakistan , "allegedly exerting pressure on the local police through the ministry as well as the department concerned," according to local news. Minhas and multiple alleged victims in Pakistan also told TheDCNF Imran exerted political influence in Pakistan to extricate his father from the case . - DCNF
Minhas is currently sitting in US federal prison for fraud, and the Daily Caller says they can not confirm whether Minhas' claims about the USB is true. That said, Minhas says that neither the DOJ nor the FBI ever interviewed him about the Awans , which is odd considering that he's available and connected to Imran Awan.
He is also one of many people with past relationships with the Awans who have said they believe they are aggressive opportunists who will do anything for money . And parts of Minhas's story correlate with observations elsewhere. Haji's wife, Samina Gilani -- Imran's stepmother -- said in court documents that Imran used his IT skills to wiretap her as a means of exerting pressure on her.
Haji would frequently boast that Imran's position gave him political leverage, numerous Pakistani residents told TheDCNF. " My son own White House in D.C. ," he would say, according to Minhas. " I am kingmaker ."
Senator Malik has denied any relationship with the parties reportedly involved, saying "I am hearing their names for the first time. I am in public and people always do name-dropping."
Imran Awan's attorney Chris Gowen says Minhas's claims are "completely and totally false."
The Awans were banned from the congressional network on Feb 2, 2017 by House Seargant-At-Arms, Paul Irving - after the IG report concluded that the Awans had been making "unauthorized access" to House servers. The Awans were logging in using Congressional members' personal usernames , as well as breaching servers for members they did not work for. After several members fired them, the Awans continued to access their data , says the IG.
The behavior mirrored a "classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization," and "steps are being taken [by the Awans] to conceal their activity," reads the report.
Shortly before the 2016 election, the House Democratic Caucus server was breached by Awan - who authorities believe secretly moved all the data of over 12 House members' offices onto the caucus server.
The server may have been " used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information, " an IG presentation said. The Awans logged into it 27 times a day, far more than any other computer they administered .
Imran's most forceful advocate and longtime employer is Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who led the DNC until she resigned following a hack that exposed committee emails. Wikileaks published those emails, and they show that DNC staff summoned Imran when they needed her password . - DCNF
Shortly after the IG report came out, the House Democratic Caucus server - which the Awans were funneling data onto, was physically stolen according to three government officials. During the same period of time, the Awans were shedding assets at a rapid pace.
In January 2017 they took out a loan intended for home improvement, falsely claimed a medical emergency in order to cash out their House retirement account, and wired $300,000 overseas , according to an FBI affidavit. - DCNF
The FBI arrested Imran Awan at Dulles Airport in July 2017 while trying to flee to Pakistan with a wiped cell phone and a resume that listed a Queens, NY address. Imran and his wife, Hina Alvi, were indicted last August on charges of bank fraud - which prosecutors contend was hastened after the Awans had likely learned that authorities were closing in on them for various other activities .
That said, neither Imran nor Hina have been charged over the unauthorized access concluded by the House's own Inspector General, after reviewing server logs. Three other suspects, Jamal and Abid Awan, and Rao Abbas, have faced no charges whatsoever.
Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142
Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".
That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.
Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again
Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp
Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas
Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!
There's more but I won't belabor the point.
Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr
Ed Schultz: I was fired from MSNBC because I supported Bernie Sanders The former anchor claims the network was in the tank for Hillary Clinton
MSNBC anchor-turned-Russia Today host, Ed Schultz, told National Review Monday that he believes he was fired from the left-leaning cable news network because he openly supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary. The network, he claims, was in the tank for Hillary Clinton.
The interview itself is fascinating and a shocking look at the inner workings of MSNBC, even if Schultz isn't exactly a reliable narrator. Schultz claims that MSNBC took a heavy hand in dictating what went on air, and that he was often pushed in the direction of a story by higher-ups, even if he felt his audience wouldn't be interested.
Schultz says his trouble at MSNBC started when he informed his bosses that he planned to cover Bernie Sanders' campaign announcement live from Vermont, and that he would be airing the first, exclusive, cable network interview with the progressive presidential candidate. They objected, and even went so far as to tell Schultz to drop the story.
He refused. And was forced to cover a boring news story in Texas, he says.
Schultz is clear on whom he blames: Hillary Clinton.
" I think the Clintons were connected to [NBC's] Andy Lack, connected at the hip, " Schultz told NRO host Jamie Weinstein. " I think that they didn't want anybody in their primetime or anywhere in their lineup supporting Bernie Sanders. I think that they were in the tank for Hillary Clinton, and I think that it was managed, and 45 days later I was out at MSNBC. "
Schultz's stint at MSNBC came to a screeching halt in July 2015, just as the Democratic primaries were heating up. That same week, the network also axed other underperforming shows, but Schultz maintains that he was given the boot because they didn't want him speaking out against Clinton in the heat of the primaries.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/9PIOD4YwOwAsystem failure due to insufficient evolution? at 02:15
Apr 17, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Jack • 15 hours agoDid Comey throw Loretta Lynch under the bus?Karel Whitman -> Jack • 12 hours ago
"Here was material that I knew someday, when it's declassified, and I thought that would be decades in the future, would cause historians to wonder, "Hmm, was there some strange business going on there? Was Loretta Lynch somehow ... carrying water for the campaign and controlling what the FBI did?"' Comey said.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...No, doesn't feel like that to me, Jack.Fred -> Karel Whitman , an hour ago
I read his narrative as presented by the Daily Mail differently. He seems to try to explain his much criticized going public on the Clinton mail issue -- pretty unique for the FBI to do so, no? -- was the decision based on other matters going on at the same time. ....
As I read it, he seems to claim he didn't want the FBI to be connected to the Obama-Bill Clinton & Lynch on the tarmac conspiracy theme in the public eye. ....
It was a bizarre moment in US history anyway, from Benghazi to the Clinton mails right into the middle of an election campaign. With one of the candidates still under investigation.
Comey said Obama's meddling surprised him. 'He's a very smart man and a lawyer ... He shouldn't have done it. It was inappropriate,' Comey said.
'What I can say is the material is legitimate,' he said. 'It is real. The content is real. Now, whether the content is true is a different question. And again, to my mind, I believed it was not true. '
What he vaguely refers to can be related to one three categories. Matters that Juridical Watch's FOIA efforts around the Bill Clinton - Lynch tarmac meeting hasn't brought to the surface yet:
that said, how comes I doubt my ability in English grammar while reading the Daily Mail article vs the linked Washington Post one. Have to take a closer look at one passage were the use of tense puzzled me.LeaNder,
Let me help you with this. Democratic party advisor and former communications director for the white house under President Clinton interviewed a man complicit in stifling the Clinton - Hilary- email scandal by spending an hour deflecting attention from Comey' s conduct.
That truth about George's past neither lied about, they just refused to mention the blatant conflict of interest the interviewer had hoping nobody in America would remember.
Of course it is Trump's fault for coining the phrase "fake news" and sticking that truth on Stephanopoulos and the rest. Now they are just proving how right Trump is regarding the American press core.
Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr
Donald Trump's far-right loyal fans must be really pissed off right now after permanently switching himself to pro-war mode with that evil, warmongering triplet in charge and the second bombing against Syria. Even worse, this time he has done it together with Theresa May and the neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron.
We can tell that by watching the mind-blowing reactions of one of his most fanatic alt-right media supporters: Alex Jones. Jones nearly cried(!) in front of the camera, feeling betrayed from his 'anti-establishment', 'anti-interventionist' idol and declared that he won't support Trump anymore. Well, what did you expect, Alex? expect, Alex?
Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders. Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.
Then, Donnie sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008!
The only hope that has been left, was to resist against starting a war with Russia, as the US deep state (and Hillary of course) wanted. Well, it was proven to be only a hope too. Last year, Trump bombed Syria under the same pretext resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of confrontation with Russia. Indeed, a year later, Trump already built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish triplet.
And then, Donnie ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neo-colonial friends.
It seems that neither this strike was a serious attempt against the Syrian army and its allies. Yet, Donnie probably won't dare to escalate tension in the Syrian battlefield before the next US national elections. That's because many of his supporters are already pissed off with him and therefore, he wants to go with good chances for a second term.
Although we really hope that we are are wrong this time, we guess that, surrounded by all these warmongering hawks, Donnie, in a potential second term, will be pushed to open another war front in Syria and probably in Iran, defying the Russians and the consequent danger for a WWIII.
Poor Alex et al: we told you about Trump from the beginning. You didn't listen ...
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Last week, John Bolton ascended to the office of National Security Advisor, following in the hurried footsteps of Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster. Two peculiar characteristics set Bolton apart from most folks in D.C.: an unabashedly luxurious mustache and an unmatched penchant for unjustified preemptive violence.
At the University of Chicago in 2009, Bolton warned , "Unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran's program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future." Thankfully, Israel didn't take Bolton's advice and, as most predicted, Iran never lived up to his expectations. Similarly, in a 2015 op-ed in the New York Times , Bolton opined , "The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure . Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed." Three short months later, a non-proliferation deal wherein Iran agreed to a 98 percent reduction in its enriched uranium stockpile and a 15-year pause in the development of key weapons infrastructure was negotiated.
More recently in February, Bolton advised in the Wall Street Journal that "Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute . It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current 'necessity' posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first."
By this point Bolton's record of calling for war in every possible situation had lost the ability to shock. Still, the Founding Fathers would probably be appalled.
A comparatively irenic vision pervades the philosophy of the founders. James Wilson, in his Lectures on Law, wrote that when a nation "is under an obligation to preserve itself and its members; it has a right to do everything" that it can "without injuring others." In Federalist 4, John Jay advised that the American people ought to support steps that would "put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it." And in his Farewell Address, George Washington asserted that the United States should be "always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."
A preemptive nuclear strike justified on the flimsy basis of "gaps in U.S. intelligence" hardly seems concordant with such military restraint and "exalted justice." And lest it be thought these ideals were mere lofty notions, consider how, as American history proceeded, they became enshrined in American diplomacy.
In 1837, Canadian rebels sailing aboard the Caroline fled to an island in the Niagara River with the help of a few American citizens. British forces boarded their ship, killed an American member of the crew, and then set the Caroline ablaze before forcing it over Niagara Falls. Enraged, American and Canadian raiders destroyed a British ship. Several attacks followed until the crisis was at last ended in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. In the aftermath, the Caroline test was established, which stipulates that an attack made in self-defense is justifiable only when, in the words of Daniel Webster, the necessity is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." This principle remains the international standard, though some like Bolton think it's outdated.
With the Caroline test in mind, Bolton wrote while arguing in favor of a preemptive strike against North Korea, "The case against preemption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from prenuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times." In other words, Bolton believes that we can no longer afford to wait for the situation to be "instant" and "overwhelming," and makes an offense out of abstaining from immediate preemptive action, regardless of the potential costs involved.
Relatedly, one of Bolton's most colorful jabs at President Obama involved likening him to Æthelred the Unready, a medieval Anglo-Saxon king remembered for his tragic indecisiveness. Yet given the costs of groundless preemption, indecisiveness is often a midwife to careful contemplation and peace. Had Prime Minister Netanyahu or Obama been persuaded by Bolton's retrospectively warrantless calls for preemption in Iran, tragedy would have followed.
In that vein, it is Bolton who merits historical comparison: to Cato the Elder, a conservative-yet-eccentric Roman statesman who, according to Plutarch, would often and invariably call for the destruction of Carthage, even though the Carthaginian threat was neither imminent nor apparent. Eventually, Cato's words wended their way into the ears of power and hundreds of thousands of Carthaginians were pointlessly slaughtered. According to the Greek historian Polybius, Scipio Aemilianus, the young Roman General who led the attack, at seeing the carnage of a great people, "shed tears and wept openly."
In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood, Bolton should reconsider whether the flimsy merits of rash preemption truly outweigh the durable wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the lessons of history.
Michael Shindler is an Advocate with Young Voices and a writer living in Washington, D.C. Follow him @MichaelShindler .
Janwaar Bibi April 17, 2018 at 4:28 pmFrom the Wikipedia article for Bolton:connecticut farmer , says: April 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm
During the 1969 Vietnam War draft lottery, Bolton drew number 185. (Draft numbers corresponded to birth dates.) As a result of the Johnson and Nixon administrations' decisions to rely largely on the draft rather than on the reserve forces, joining a Guard or Reserve unit became a way to avoid service in the Vietnam War. Before graduating from Yale in 1970, Bolton enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard rather than wait to find out if his draft number would be called. (The highest number called to military service was 195.) He saw active duty for 18 weeks of training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from July to November 1970.
After serving in the National Guard for four years, he served in the United States Army Reserve until the end of his enlistment two years later.
He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost." In an interview, Bolton discussed his comment in the reunion book, explaining that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."
Why is it that the US leads the world in production of chicken-hawks? Even these mangy ex-colonial countries like the UK and France do not have as many chicken-hawks as we do.Cato the Elder: "Carthago dalenda est!" ("Carthage Must Be Destroyed!")Kent , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm
John Bolton: "Syria dalenda est!" "Iran dalenda est!" Russia dalenda est!" And etc etc.
Connecticut Farmer: "Bolton dalenda est!""In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood,"JonF , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm
That ship sailed awhile back.Comparing Obama to Athelred is absurd. Athelred's problem was not that he was indecisive, but rather that he refused to listen to advice from anyone (the moniker "Unready" actually meant "Uncounseled" in Old English) and that he was extremely impulsive and deeply bigoted. Hence he ordered a general massacre of the Danes in England. Luckily it was only carried out in a limited region, unluckily the victims included the King of Denmark's sister and her children, leading to an open blood feud war, and also cost Aethelred any support he might have had from his wife's kinsman, the Duke of Normandy. If anyone is a good match for old Aethelred, it's Donald Trump.
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comApril 16, 2018, 9:55 PM "Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria.' We convinced him it was necessary to stay."
Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, adding, "We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term."
Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian Civil War "for the long term"?
If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons will not again be used by Bashar al-Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.
Translation: whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump's commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is "inoperative."
The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:
The better U.S. strategy is to turn Syria into the Ayatollah's Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.
Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.
But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian, and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.
Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?
The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.
Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will."
The Journal 's op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon: "Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits."
And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force, or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?
Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?
Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.
We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMDs.
The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.
But where is the evidence for this?
What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?
As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post on Sunday dismissed this as "fatalistic" and "misguided." We have a vital interest, says the Post , in preventing Iran from establishing a "land corridor" across Syria.
Yet consider how Iran acquired this "land corridor." The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953. The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country. The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.
How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?
How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.
Apr 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
In fact, just how "ugly" the relationship has become is fast becoming a matter of public debate. During his March visit, Scaparrotti appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to give testimony on the challenges facing his command. While most members focused on Russia and cyberwar issues, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine explored the U.S.-Turkey dust-up, hinting that it might be time for the U.S. to dampen its YPG ties. Scaparrotti didn't disagree, while soft-pedaling the disagreements over the issue that he's had with Votel and Centcom. "Where do we want to be in a year, two years and five years?" he asked. "With a close NATO ally like Turkey, we know that we want to maintain and strengthen our relationship. So that's the long-term objective and if we look at the long-term objective, it can begin to inform what we're doing today with respect to NATO." The senior military officer with whom I spoke proved a willing translator: "What Scaparrotti is saying is that the real marriage here is between the U.S. and Turkey. The YPG is just a fling."
But convincing James Mattis of that is proving difficult, in part because Scaparrotti is outgunned. Every defense secretary surrounds himself with people he can count on and who he listens to. But for Mattis almost all of them have had experience in the Middle East -- and at Centcom. There's Mattis himself (a former Centcom commander), JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford (who served with Mattis in Iraq), Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Jr. (a Marine who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq), retired Rear Admiral Kevin M. Sweeney (the former Centcom executive officer), Rear Admiral Craig S. Faller (a Mattis advisor, and a Navy commander during both the Afghan and Iraq wars), and current Centcom commander General Joseph Votel -- the former commander of the U.S. Special Operation Command ("a trigger puller," as he was described to me by a currently serving officer). Votel is the most outspoken YPG supporter of any of them, and because he's the combatant commander, his support carries weight.
"This is clientism," the senior military officer with whom I spoke explains. "All of these guys have served together and trust each other. And, you know, this is the way it works. The U.S. Central Command has the Middle East as a client and the European Command has the Europeans and Turkey as clients. But if you take a look at Mattis and the people around him, well, you know, it's all Centcom. So Scaparrotti is worried, and he ought to be. We don't want to be sitting around 30 years from now reading historical pieces with titles like 'Who Lost Turkey?'"
Even someone as careful in his public utterances as Admiral James Stavridis, who once held Scaparrotti's command and is now the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, is raising concerns. While he waves off the "who lost Turkey" formulation as "a trope that is moving around the Internet," he told me in an email exchange that "it would be a mistake of epic proportions to allow Turkey to drift out of the transatlantic orbit" -- a repeat of the warning issued by Scaparrotti to Mattis in March. But like Scaparrotti, Staviridis is slow-rolling his disagreement. "This is a distinction without a difference," the senior officer and NATO partisan with whom we spoke says. "By drifting out of NATO, Stavridis means leaving. He's as worried as anyone else."
Concerns over Turkey are probably a surprise in the White House, given its almost daily crisis over the looming Russia-gate investigation, but they shouldn't be. The president has had extended telephone exchanges with Turkish President Tayyip Erodogan twice in the last three weeks. While the White House has refused to give details of these conversations, the Turkish official with whom we spoke told TAC that in both conversations (on March 23 and again on April 11), Erdogan emphasized three growing concerns he has that America's temporary and "transactional" support for the YPG is becoming permanent. This same official went on to note that, in his opinion, it's not a coincidence that Trump floated the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria ("I want to get out," he said. "I want to bring our troops home") -- a suggestion that did not go over well with Centcom partisans at the Pentagon.
On April 3, the same day Trump issued his let's-get-out statement, Joseph Votel and Brett McGurk appeared at the U.S. Institute of Peace, arguing that the U.S. needed to stay in. "The hard part, I think, is in front of us," Votel said, "and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting back to their homes. There is a military role in this," he went on to say. "Certainly in the stabilization phase."
The Votel appearance was exasperating for those worried about NATO's future, and for those concerned that the endless conflicts in the region are draining the defense budget of badly needed funds to rebuild U.S. military readiness. For them, a group that now includes a growing number of very senior and influential military officers, "stabilization" is not only a codeword for "nation building," it signals support for a mission that is endangering the future of NATO, the institution that has guaranteed peace in Europe for three generations.
"It's not worth it," the senior military commander who spoke with TAC concludes. "On top of everything else, it puts us on the wrong side of the political equation. This whole thing about how the enemy of my enemy is my friend is a bunch of bullshit. The enemy of my enemy is now making an enemy of our friend. I don't know who we think we're fooling, but it sure as hell isn't Turkey. And it isn't the American people either."
Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a contributing editor to The American Conservative, and the author of The Pentagon's Wars (2017).
Apr 16, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
"The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party in the way that manslaughter is slightly better than murder: It might seem like a lesser crime, but the victim can't really tell the difference." -- Michael Harriot
Apr 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit | Apr 15, 2018 5:57:58 PM | 105
To Trump apologists: Trump is the Republican Obama. The follow the same model of government: faux populist leader dogged by crazy critics that want to derail a righteous agenda.
Obamabots gave similar excuses. Real populists simply don't get have a chance of being elected in US money-driven elections.
Why was there only two populists running for President in 2016? Sanders, Hillay's sheepdog, destroyed the movement that would been the best check on the establishment and the rush to war. That movement was never going to be allowed to take root. Trump, a friend of the Clinton's was probably meant to prevail.
Rome had bread and circuses. We've got crumbs and tweets.
Apr 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU 1 , Apr 15, 2018 4:09:16 PM | 72From what I can make of Trump, he wants to return the US to its general prosperity that it has enjoyed in the past, a country with world leading infrastructure, were average workers are better of than workers of other countries. He is not interested in wars that are detrimental or costly to the US. If a war is profitable for the US, he may be interested.Anon , Apr 15, 2018 4:12:18 PM | 74
Like Erdogan in Turkey, Trump is heading for the multi-polar world. Personally I don't like the US culture of full blown capitalism and privatization that is US culture and gave rise to the neo-cons, but that is not the point. Trump wants the capitalism of the likes of Henry Ford whose innovation? of production line produced good quality cheap products but paid workers two to three times the going rate.
The neo-cons, with their never ending wars for total dominance are destroying the world and the US. It is starting to look like they will also destroy Trump.Peter AU1Peter AU 1 , Apr 15, 2018 4:28:53 PM | 79
Considering Trump kick out Tillerson and so forth and added many neocons one can't deny the reality of what is going on. Trump knows perfectly well what he is doing and did in Syria. He isn't pushed by anyone.A further thought to my post @72Peter AU 1 , Apr 15, 2018 4:31:07 PM | 80
The photographs of Trump with his arms folded and the general look. Defensive or beaten type look. In Trump's book, Art of the Deal, what he respects most is people that deliver what they promise. He uses hyperbole to sell a product, but above all he must deliver what the people want. He campaigned on pulling US out of foreign entanglements and useless expensive wars.
The choreographed attack on Shayrat airbase preempted the neocons and took the wind out of their sails. This latest strike, rather than being pre-emptive, was forced on him. He has not been able to deliver the product he promised and what people bought when they elected him.
The reaction of the likes of Alan Jones and other Trump supporters on Twitter and elsewhere is evidence of that failure.Anon 74ben , Apr 15, 2018 4:59:27 PM | 82
The neo-con world butters Tillerson's bread. I suspect he was a snake in the grass like Obama.Peter AU1 @ 79 said: "In Trump's book, Art of the Deal, what he respects most is people that deliver what they promise."
Trump must not respect himself much, because according to people who have followed his entire career say he never delivers things promised..
Apr 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
With the country's attention focused on James Comey's
book publicity galainterview with ABC at 10pm ET, the former FBI Director has thrown former President Obama and his Attorney General Loretta Lynch under the bus, claiming they "jeopardized" the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Comey called out Obama and Lynch in his new book, A Higher Loyalty , set to come out on Tuesday. In it, he defends the FBI's top brass and counterintelligence investigators charged with probing Clinton's use of a private email server and mishandling of classified information, reports the Washington Examiner , which received an advanced copy.
" I never heard anyone on our team -- not one -- take a position that seemed driven by their personal political motivations . And more than that: I never heard an argument or observation I thought came from a political bias. Never ... Instead we debated, argued, listened, reflected, agonized, played devil's advocate, and even found opportunities to laugh as we hashed out major decisions .
("Guys, LMAO, we totally just exonerated Hillary! My sides! Hey Andy, how's Jill's Senate race going?")
Comey says that multiple public statements made by Obama about the investigation "jeopardized" the credibility of the FBI investigation - seemingly absolving Clinton of any crime before FBI investigators were able to complete their work .
" Contributing to this problem, regrettably, was President Obama . He had jeopardized the Department of Justice's credibility in the investigation by saying in a 60 Minutes interview on Oct. 11, 2015, that Clinton's email use was "a mistake" that had not endangered national security," Comey writes. "Then on Fox News on April 10, 2016, he said that Clinton may have been careless but did not do anything to intentionally harm national security, suggesting that the case involved overclassification of material in the government."
" President Obama is a very smart man who understands the law very well . To this day, I don't know why he spoke about the case publicly and seemed to absolve her before a final determination was made. If the president had already decided the matter, an outside observer could reasonably wonder, how on earth could his Department of Justice do anything other than follow his lead." - Washington Examiner
Of course, Comey had already begun drafting Clinton's exoneration before even interviewing her, something which appears to have been "forgotten" in his book.
" The truth was that the president -- as far as I knew, anyway -- he had only as much information as anyone following it in the media . He had not been briefed on our work at all. And if he was following the media, he knew nothing, because there had been no leaks at all up until that point. But, his comments still set all of us up for corrosive attacks if the case were completed with no charges brought."
"Matter" not "Investigation"
Comey also describes a September 2015 meeting with AG Lynch in which she asked him to describe the Clinton email investigation as a "matter" instead of an investigation.
"It occurred to me in the moment that this issue of semantics was strikingly similar to the fight the Clinton campaign had waged against The New York Times in July. Ever since then, the Clinton team had been employing a variety of euphemisms to avoid using the word 'investigation,'" Comey writes.
" The attorney general seemed to be directing me to align with the Clinton campaign strategy . Her "just do it" response to my question indicated that she had no legal or procedural justification for her request, at least not one grounded in our practices or traditions. Otherwise, I assume, she would have said so.
Comey said others present in the meeting with Lynch thought her request was odd and political as well - including one of the DOJ's senior leaders.
" I know the FBI attendees at our meeting saw her request as overtly political when we talked about it afterward . So did at least one of Lynch's senior leaders. George Toscas, then the number-three person in the department's National Security Division and someone I liked, smiled at the FBI team as we filed out, saying sarcastically, ' Well you are the Federal Bureau of Matters ,'" Comey recalled.
That said, Comey "didn't see any instance when Attorney General Lynch interfered with the conduct of the investigation," writing "Though I had been concerned about her direction to me at that point, I saw no indication afterward that she had any contact with the investigators or prosecutors on the case."
In response, Loretta Lynch promptly issued a statement in which she said that if James Comey " had any concerns regarding the email investigation, classified or not, he had ample opportunities to raise them with me both privately and in meetings. He never did."
Apr 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comIt begins: Trump announces a series of joint air strikes on Syrian targets Friday. An explosion after an apparent US-led coalition airstrike on Kobane, Syria, as seen from the Turkish side of the border, near Suruc district, 24 October 2014, Sanliurfa, Turkey Shutterstock/orlok UPDATE 9 p.m.ET : President Trump announces joint air strikes with the UK and France against Syrian targets in retaliation for suspected chemical attack a week ago in Douma.
One year since the U.S. illegally launched 59 cruise missiles at Syrian government forces in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack, the Trump administration is preparing to take similar military action despite an increased risk of escalation that could lead to the start of a wider war.
The U.S., France, and Britain have been preparing to strike the Syrian government over the last several days, and Syria's Russian patron has threatened the "gravest consequences" in response to an attack. Russia didn't respond to last year's one-off airstrikes, but Moscow isn't likely to tolerate a larger U.S. attack carried out with other governments. Syria's government and its allies seem more willing to fight back than they were a year ago, and that should give the Trump administration and our European allies pause. There is a greater risk of great power conflict erupting in Syria than there has been at any time since the end of the Cold War, and if Russian military personnel are killed by U.S. or allied strikes there is no telling how quickly things could deteriorate there and in other parts of the world.
President Trump's public statements have strongly suggested that an attack will be happening soon, going so far as to taunt Russia on Twitter that they should "get ready" for the "new" and "smart" missiles that the U.S. would be using. Some members of Congress have insisted that the president lacks the legal authority to launch an attack on Syria without their authorization. As Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) put it , "[I]f this president can decide unilaterally to bomb Syria, I worry that he can make the same decision about North Korea or Iran or other nations. And these decisions are not supposed to be made without consultation and voting by Congress." Unfortunately, Congressional leaders have shown no signs of wanting to hold a debate or have a vote before the attack takes place.
The Trump administration has not offered a public legal justification for last year's strikes, and it seems unlikely to offer one this time. That is probably because there is no plausible interpretation of the law that permits the president to initiate hostilities against foreign governments on his own when the U.S. has not been attacked. There is no provision in international law that allows a U.S. attack on another government without explicit Security Council authorization, and we know that this authorization that will never be forthcoming in this case because of Russia's veto. While the attack is being sold as the enforcement of a norm against chemical weapons use, it isn't possible to uphold an international norm while violating the most fundamental rule of international law.
To date, the U.S. and its allies have presented no definitive evidence to support their claims against the Syrian government. It is entirely plausible that the Syrian government is guilty of using chlorine or sarin against its enemies and the civilian population, but there has been no real effort on the part of the U.S. and its allies to prove their accusation before deciding to act as executioners. Regardless, the U.S. and its allies have no authority to punish the Syrian government, and in doing so they may do significant harm to international peace and security.
A U.S.-led attack on the Syrian government could lead to war with Russia or Iran or both at once, and there is also a danger that it could help set off a war between Israel and Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week that Israel would not "allow" an Iranian military presence to be established in Syria. The prime minister's threat came on the heels of Israeli strikes inside Syria that reportedly killed seven Iranians serving alongside the Syrian regime's forces. Iran has threatened retaliation for the attack, and it has the ability through Hizbullah to make good on that threat if Israel carries out additional strikes. Israel might use a U.S.-led attack on Iran's allies in Syria as an excuse to strike more Iranian targets, and Iran might then respond in kind with missile attacks on Israel. Lebanese, Syrian, and Israeli civilians would all suffer if that happened, and it would make an already chaotic international situation even worse.
It is a measure of how divorced from U.S. and allied security our Syria policy has become that our government is seriously preparing to launch another illegal attack on a government that hasn't attacked us and doesn't threaten us or our allies. Attacking the Syrian government won't make the U.S. or any other country more secure, and it will likely weaken the government just enough to prolong Syria's civil war and add to the suffering of the civilian population. It is a perfect example of a military intervention that is being done for its own sake with no connection to any discernible interests or strategy. No one stands to gain from such an attack except for the ideologues that have incessantly demanded deeper U.S. involvement in Syria for the last six years.
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, Front Porch Republic, and The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago. Follow him on Twitter .
Apr 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
So what of these charges against Cohen and could they really hurt the president?
Federal election laws define a campaign contribution as "anything of value given to influence a Federal election." It is common knowledge that Mr. Cohen acknowledged that he paid porn star "Stormy Daniels" $130,000 two weeks before the 2016 election in exchange for her staying silent about her 2006 affair with Trump. No one pays for silence unless there is something to hide. The payment was made 10 years after the alleged dalliance.
The obvious purpose was to influence the outcome of the election by concealing damaging information about Mr. Trump's character. That made Mr. Cohen's payment an undisclosed campaign "contribution" to Mr. Trump vastly exceeding the individual statutory limit of $2,700.
Similarly, Democrat John Edwards was prosecuted (later acquitted) for soliciting and spending nearly $1 million in his 2008 presidential campaign to conceal his affair with Rielle Hunter, so this is not a crime normally brushed under the rug. The public record also establishes probable cause to believe Cohen was behind the payment of $150,000 to Playboy Bunny Karen McDougall to kill her story about a protracted extramarital relationship with Mr. Trump that could have torpedoed his presidential ambitions. The question remains, of course, how much this will implicate and hurt Trump, who has denied the affair with Daniels and any other "wrongdoing." Cohen said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket and was not reimbursed by Trump or the campaign.
JK April 13, 2018 at 1:52 pmJohn Edwards was acquited on one charge and a mistrial on five others w/o retrial. So there was no conviction there, these actions are not business as usual, and the DOJ lesson from that case should have been to cease such abusive prosecutorial misconduct, not to repeat it. These examples show why campaign finance restrictions are an unconstitutional burden on freedom of association. Trump is a rich man, so could afford to pay the hush money if he believed it necessary without it being a crime. As it appears, Cohen believed it important to pay w/o asking Trump, thinking he's helping a friend. Now what of Edwards? Maybe Edwards couldn't afford to pay hush money, so he needed and solicited help from friends. By making it a crime for friends to help him, the law favors rich candidates like Trump that can afford to do things others can't without breaking the law.curri , says: April 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm
There is zero chance of a jury conviction here, so DOJ shouldn't have pursued it given the incendiary effect of conducting raids on someone's attorney. Furthermore, there's zero chance of Muller getting jury convictions on the pile of horse manure prosecutions he's pursuing. The only convictions Muller is getting is from people buckling under the fiduciary extortion inherent in his tactics and copping a plea even though a jury would never convict them.So who do we believe, Dershowitz or Fein?
Similarly, Democrat John Edwards was prosecuted for soliciting and spending nearly $1 million in his 2008 presidential campaign to conceal his affair with Rielle Hunter, so this is not a crime normally brushed under the rug.
Maybe you should have picked an example where the defendant wasn't acquitted. It's easy to see how an expansive definition of the term "campaign contribution" could be dangerous.
Apr 13, 2018 | www.voltairenet.org
o the Western powers hope to put an end to the constraints of International Law? That is the question asked by the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergueï Lavrov, at the Moscow conference on International Security [ 1 ].
Over the last few years, Washington has been promoting the concept of " unilateralism ". International Law and the United Nations are supposed to bow to the power of the United States.
This concept of political life is born of the History of the United States - the colonists who came to the Americas intended to live as they chose and make a fortune there. Each community developed its own laws and refused the intervention of a central government in local affairs. The President and the Federal Congress are charged with Defense and Foreign Affairs, but like the citizens themselves, they refused to accept an authority above their own.
Bill Clinton attacked Yugoslavia, blithely violating Internal Law. George Bush Jr. did the same by attacking Iraq, and Barack Obama by attacking Libya and Syria. As for Donald Trump, he has never hidden his distrust of supra-national rules.
Making an allusion to the Cebrowski-Barnett doctrine [ 2 ], Sergueï Lavrov declared: " We have the clear impression that the United States seek to maintain a state of controlled chaos in this immense geopolitical area [the Near East], hoping to use it to justify the military presence of the USA in the region, without any time limit, in order to promote their own agenda ".
The United Kingdom also seem to feel quite comfortable with breaking the Law. Last month, it accused Moscow in the " Skripal affair ", without the slightest proof, and attempted to unite a majority of the General Assembly of the UN to exclude Russia from the Security Council. It would of course be easier for the Anglo-Saxons to unilaterally rewrite the Law without having to take notice of the opinions of their opponents.
Moscow does not believe that London took this initiative. It considers that Washington is calling the shots.
" Globalisation ", in other words the " globalisation of Anglo-Saxon values ", has created a class society between states. But we should not confuse this new problem with the existence of the right to a veto. Of course, the UNO, while it declares equality between states whatever their size, distinguishes, within the Security Council, five permanent members who have a veto. This Directorate, composed of the main victors of the Second World War, is a necessity for them to accept the principle of supra-national Law. However, when this Directorate fails to embody the Law, the General Assembly may take its place. At least in theory, because the smaller states which vote against a greater state are obliged to suffer retaliatory measures.
La " globalisation of Anglo-Saxon values " ignores honour and highlights profit, so that the weight of the propositions by any state will be measured only by the economic development of its country. However, over the years, three states have managed to gain an audience to the foundations of their propositions, and not in function of their economy – they are the Iran of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (today under house arrest in his own country), the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez, and the Holy See.
The confusion engendered by Anglo-Saxon values has led to the financing of intergovernmental organisations with private money. As one thing leads to another, the member states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), for example, have progressively abandoned their propositional power to the profit of private telecom operators, who are united in a " consultative committee ".
" Communication ", a new name for " propaganda ", has become the imperative in international relations. From the US Secretary of State brandishing a phial of pseudo-anthrax to the British Minister for Foreign Affairs lying about the origin of Novitchok in the Salisbury affair, lies have become the substitute for respect, and cause general mistrust.
During the first years of its creation, the UNO attempted to forbid " war propaganda ", but today, it is the permanent members of the Security Council who indulge in it.
The worst occurred in 2012, when Washington managed to obtain the nomination of one of its worst war-hawks, Jeffrey Feltman, as the number 2 of the UNO [ 3 ]. From that date onward, wars have been orchestrated in New York by the very institution that is supposed to prevent them.
Russia is wondering today about the possible desire of the Western powers to block the United Nations. If this is so, it would create an alternative institution, but there would no longer be a forum which would enable the two blocks to discuss matters.
Just as a society which falls into chaos, where men are wolves for men when deprived of the Law, so the world will become a battle-field if it abandons International Law. Thierry Meyssan
Apr 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Aren Haich , Apr 11, 2018 3:38:48 PM | 141It is long passed the time when any thinking person took Trump-Tweets seriously. Trump, himself doesn't take them seriously and considers them as 'negotiating tactics'. Remember the tweets: "Fire & Fury the World has Never Seen Before", "Little Rocket Man" and "Bigger Nuclear Button", which then ushered in the prospect of a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un?
This latest Trump-Tweet about "Russia to be ready for new, smart missiles raining down on Syria" is also a negotiating ploy and to save face. Stock markets, even in this volatile times, have hardly budged, and the gold price is where it has been for the past year.
There will probably be a well-restricted cruise missile attack on some Syrian-Iranian base with Russia pre-warned. The long-promised meeting between Trump and Putin will emerge in the news to discuss the future of Syria. Trump's desire to pull out of Syria will then come about naturally and as the result of consultations with Putin.
Apr 11, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comPresident Trump, Vice President Pence, and Defense Secretary Mattis. (DoD) On Sunday, President Trump announced his intention to make those responsible for an alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma, including the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies, pay a "big price" for their continued disregard for international law. The next day U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared that "The United States is determined to see the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian people held to account."
President Trump reinforced his call for action on Monday, noting that the United States would not sit back in the face of the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria. "It will be met, and it will be met forcefully," the president said, adding that those responsible for the attack will be held accountable, whether it was Syria, Russia, Iran or "all of them together." Trump noted that a decision to use military force would be made "over the next 24 to 48 hours."
The pronouncements of imminent military action by the United States are not made in a vacuum. Russia, which has considerable military forces deployed inside Syria, including advanced military aircraft and anti-aircraft missile batteries, has rejected the allegations of chemical weapons use by Syria as a "fabrication," and promised that any attack on Syria would result in "serious repercussions." Russian forces inside Syria have reportedly been placed on "full alert" as American naval vessels capable of launching cruise missiles have arrived off the Syrian coast.
The United States and Russia appear to be heading toward a direct military confrontation that, depending on the level of force used and the number, if any, casualties incurred by either side, carries with it the risk of a broader conflict. While Russian (and Syrian) claims of innocence regarding the alleged chemical weapons attack cannot be accepted at face value, the fact that the United States has not backed up its own claims with anything other than a recitation of accusations made by rebel groups opposed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad is problematic insofar as it shows a rush to judgement on matters of war. Given the potentially devastating consequences of any U.S.-Russian military clash over Syria, it would be better for all parties involved to wait for a full and thorough investigation of the alleged attack before any final decision on the use of force in response is made.
There are two versions of what happened in Douma, a suburb of Damascus home to between 80,000 and 150,000 people. The one relied upon by the United States is provided by rebel forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a non-profit organization comprised of various Syrian opposition groups funded by the Asfari Foundation and George Soros' Open Societies Foundation , at approximately 12 p.m. the Syrian Air Force attacked the vicinity of the Saada Bakery using munitions believed to contain "poisonous gas." The VDC cited eyewitness accounts from members of the Syrian Civil Defense, or "White Helmets," who described the smell of chlorine and the presence of numerous bodies assessed to have succumbed from gas sourced to a Syrian "rocket." Later, at 7 p.m., a second air strike struck an area near Martyr's Square, again using munitions assessed by eyewitnesses to contain "poisonous gas." Doctors from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) described symptoms that indicated that a nerve agent had been used. Images of victims in the locations allegedly attacked were released by a rebel-affiliated social media entity known as the "Douma Revolution" and the "White Helmets."
Douma is part of a larger district known as Eastern Ghouta which has, since 2012, been under the control of various militant organizations opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In early February 2018, the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, began operations to recapture the Eastern Ghouta district. The joint Syrian-Russian offensive was as brutal as it was effective -- by March, Eastern Ghouta had been split into three pockets of resistance at a cost of more than 1,600 civilian dead. Two of the pockets capitulated under terms which had the opposition fighters and their families evacuated to rebel-held territory in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Only Douma held out, where Salafist fighters from the "Army of Islam" (Jaish al-Islam) refused to surrender. On April 5, the situation had deteriorated inside Douma to the point that the rebel defenders had agreed to negotiations that would lead to their evacuation of Douma; the very next day, however, these discussions had broken down, and the Syrian military resumed its offensive. The air attacks described by the VDC occurred on the second day of the resumption of hostilities.
There is a competing narrative , however, provided by the Russian government and those sympathetic to its position. After the breakdown of negotiations between the Douma rebels and the Russian government on April 6, the story goes, the Syrian government offensive to liberate Douma resumed. The Douma rebels, faced with imminent defeat, fabricated the allegations of a chemical attack. Russia had warned of such a provocation back in March 2018, claiming the rebels were working in coordination with the United States to create the conditions for a massive American air attack against Syrian government infrastructure.
Shortly after the Syrian government resumed its offensive against Douma (and after the opposition forces publicized their allegations of Syrian government chemical weapons attacks), the rebel resistance inside Douma collapsed, with the fighters agreeing to be evacuated to Idlib. The Russian military was able to dispatch units to the sites of the alleged chemical weapons attacks and conduct a survey. According to the state-run Russian news, no evidence of a chemical weapons attack was discovered. Representatives of the Syrian Red Crescent who claim to have worked in Douma stated that they have seen no evidence of any chemical weapons use there, either.
Beyond providing a competing narrative, however, Russia has offered to open up Douma to inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons , or OPCW, for a full investigation. This offer was echoed by the Syrian government , which extended an official invitation for the OPCW to come to Douma. On April 10, the OPCW announced that it would be dispatching an inspection team "shortly" to carry out this work. The forensic technical investigatory capabilities of an OPCW inspection team are such that it would be able to detect the presence of any chemical agent used in Douma. While the investigation itself would take days to conduct and weeks to process, its conclusions would, under these circumstances, be conclusive as to the presence of any prohibited substance.
One major drawback to any OPCW investigation is its inability to assess responsibility for the presence of any banned substances detected. In prior investigations inside Syria, the OPCW was able to operate as part of the United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) , an entity specifically empowered by Security Council resolution to make such determinations. The mandate of the JIM was not extended , however, after Russia expressed its displeasure over what it deemed to be the inaccurate and politicized findings regarding previous allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government. The United States has submitted a resolution to the Security Council demanding that a new investigatory body be formed that would be able to provide attribution for any chemical weapons attack inside Syria; whether Russia would veto such a resolution or allow it to be passed has yet to be seen.
The bottom line, however, is that the United States is threatening to go to war in Syria over allegations of chemical weapons usage for which no factual evidence has been provided. This act is occurring even as the possibility remains that verifiable forensic investigations would, at a minimum, confirm the presence of chemical weapons (thereby contradicting the Russian claims that no such evidence was detected by its troops), and if the Security Council passes a resolution allowing for a properly mandated investigation team, actual attribution could be assigned.
Moreover, President Trump's rush to judgment on Syrian guilt is being done in a highly politicized environment, coming as it does on the heels of an FBI raid on the offices of the president's personal attorney . In times such as this, a president is often attracted by the prospect of "looking presidential" in order to offset personal problems (one only need to look at President Clinton's decision in August 1998 , at the height of the Lewinsky scandal, to launch cruise missile attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan.)
If America is to place its military in harm's way, it needs to be in support of a cause worthy of the sacrifice being asked of those who serve. Giving the OPCW time to carry out its investigation in Syria would allow a fact-based case to be made whether military force was justified or not, as well as support a determination of whether or not the risks associated with the use of force were warranted. Pulling the trigger void of such information, especially when Trump is distracted by personal political issues, is not something the American people, nor their representatives in Congress, should tolerate.
Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War .
Apr 06, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comInstead Donald Trump's team is inflating the threat, worried he'll rush away from war.
President Trump's unexpected pledge last week to pull U.S. troops out of Syria "very soon" has occasioned predictable wailing in predictable places .
The president also faced unsurprising pushback from his national security team, forcing him to clarify this week that the 2,000 troops there now will stay only until the mission to defeat ISIS, which is "coming to a rapid end," is finished. Of course his military advisors and many of his aides disagree.
A Pentagon spokesman has warned that ISIS is looking for " any opportunity to regain momentum ." Anonymous military officers speak of fumbling the ball " on the two yard line ." Officials tell reporters that while the group is "almost completely defeated," a string of renewed ISIS attacks could signal a resurgence.
Regardless of the outcome in Washington, Trump's instincts on Syria deserve discussion.
Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, the operation in Syria has cost us very little blood and treasure, at least so far. Special operations forces (SOF) and "other government agencies" ably partnered with our largely Kurdish proxies to break the back of ISIS's nascent state. The group's conventional military power has been destroyed. Howev er menacing officials make it sound, it's been estimated that the Islamic State has fewer than 1,000 fighters left on the battlefield. Mosul, its largest city, was retaken by Iraqi security forces, while its de facto capital Raqqa was conquered by the Kurds. Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor are back in government hands. Areas of ISIS control are tough to even find on a map of the Syrian conflict.
For all these successes, however, we have been walking a knife's edge in Syria ever since openly intervening there in 2014. Deconfliction with Russia has not been flawless: Turkey shot down a Russian plane in 2015 and U.S. firepower reportedly killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries earlier this year. That knife's edge has only gotten sharper over the past two months, as Turkish troops invaded the Afrin region of northern Syria. Turkey's "Operation Olive Branch" exposed the elephant in the room: America's only successful proxy, the Syrian Kurds, are linked to Turkey's PKK, which Turkey, the European Union, and the U.S. have declared a terrorist group. Our NATO ally is now openly at war with our Kurdish partner, as American advisors do their best to stay off the frontline. In 2008, Vice President-Elect Joe Biden bluntly told Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai: "Pakistan is 50 times more important for the United States than Afghanistan." The same obvious wisdom applies in spades to Turkey and Syria respectively.
What of the Kurds? If recent reports are to be believed, American Special Forces are incensed they are being told to abandon a valiant, reliable battlefield ally. Squeezed between a revanchist Turkey and a stabilized Syrian state, Syria's Kurds are not likely to keep their independent project of Rojava. The United States declined to intervene to protect Iraq's Kurds last year, when Iraqi forces quickly seized the Kurdish "Jerusalem," oil-rich Kirkuk, after an abortive independence referendum. To pretend we have a greater will or ability to protect Syria's Kurds is folly.
The Kurds should ask Vietnam's Montagnards how they fared as an American proxy, or question the Palestinians about what they've gained from an American mediator . Loathe though we may be to admit it, America has been a fickle friend for the majority of small nations and peoples that have looked to her as a protector. Even many of our Afghan interpreters who served in American uniforms and cashed American paychecks have been abandoned to their enemies . Like a serial philanderer we can pretend that this time will be different, but the reality is that America seldom has the patience or stomach for sustained non-existential military intervention outside our hemisphere, particularly when casualties mount. The victims of pretending otherwise are seldom Americans; they are Vietnamese, Somalis, Iraqi Marsh Arabs, and many others. The current state of political polarization in Washington and the primacy of the 24-hour news cycle have only hardened this long-standing reality.
Left to their own devices, Syria's Kurds can probably work out a modus vivendi with Assad's government, which has other battles to fight and foreign backers of its own who would like to draw down their commitments. Battles between the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces and Assad's Syrian Arab Army have been few. Turkey has tolerated a Kurdish autonomous region on its border with Iraq -- but it will not do so with Kurds who remain affiliated with the PKK.
Regardless of Rojava's fate, ISIS may well regenerate. It already has the local ties and financial network to thrive as an insurgency in western Iraq. That, however, is a governance and security problem for Iraqis and Syrians, not Americans. The United States maintains an unparalleled ability to project military power and destroy targets around the world, both with standoff firepower and by putting troops into battle via air and sea. Should ISIS or another Salafist successor build any real base of power again in the Levant we can rapidly deploy combat power to destroy it. But staying there any longer remains a fool's errand.
Gil Barndollar served as a Marine infantry officer from 2009 to 2016. His writing has appeared in the Marine Corps Gazette , the Journal of Military Operations , and the Michigan War Studies Review .
Wheeling philosophe April 7, 2018 at 7:46 pm"I don't like "abandoning an ally" like this, but that alliance was never going to be long lasting, and the Kurds have to have known that."SteveK9 , says: April 8, 2018 at 9:02 am
Yes. As a parting gesture, we could round up some of the louder-mouthed neocons and ship them over to "independent Kurdistan" to spend a few quiet hours with their erstwhile heroes. Let the Kurds vent their entirely understandable anger out on those who lied to and manipulated them with the same glib ease that they once lied to America about Iraq's WMDs.'Mosul, its largest city, was retaken by Iraqi security forces, while its de facto capital Raqqa was conquered by the Kurds. Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor are back in government hands.'
I'd like to correct a couple of things, ISIS was destroyed in Syria, by the Syrian Arab Army, and by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Mosuls and Raqqa were not 'retaken' or 'conquered'. They were utterly destroyed by aerial bombardment, which is about the only thing we are good at doing.
Apr 09, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The president tweeted this out this morning in response to reports of a new chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government:
If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!
-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
Trump's statement is a particularly stupid piece of revisionism on his part. Trump was opposed to Obama's threatened attack in 2013 , and then as president Trump ordered an illegal military attack on the Syrian government one year ago to punish it for an alleged chemical weapons attack. He had no authority to do this, the attack was a flagrant breach of the U.N. Charter, and it apparently failed to discourage the Syrian government from carrying out similar attacks later on. The president ordered the "unbelievably small attack" that Obama administration threatened to launch in 2013, and it made no meaningful difference to the course of the war or the regime's behavior.
Trump tweeted out earlier in the day that "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay." He didn't say what that "big price" was or how it will be "paid," but the fact that he thinks it is a good idea to make threats against the Syrian government's patrons bodes ill for the future of U.S. policy in Syria. The foreign policy establishment was beside itself last week when they thought that Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria, but they should be much more worried that he will launch an illegal attack and plunge the U.S. in even deeper.
The danger in having an ongoing illegal military presence in Syria is that it exposes U.S. forces to unacceptable and unnecessary risks and creates the possibility of escalation with the Syrian government and its allies. If Trump orders another illegal attack on the Syrian government or the forces of any of its supporters, it could easily trigger a larger conflict. Russia has given an explicit warning against a U.S. attack this time, saying that it could trigger "the gravest consequences." Even if it doesn't lead to a larger conflict with a nuclear-armed major power, it isn't worth taking the risk for the sake of policing the conduct of a foreign civil war.
If Trump were really interested in extricating the U.S. from war in Syria, he would not be engaged in mindless saber-rattling against the Syrian government and its allies. Unfortunately, Trump's bellicosity always seems to take over in these situations. That is what we get from Trump's anti-restraint foreign policy.
rayray April 8, 2018 at 2:32 pmIt's true that I'm no genius, but after reading as much as I can and thinking it over I still don't know who is the right horse to back, or what is the right side to be on in Syria. Assad is a brute, Isis are brutes, the other parties of opposition are useless, and etc., and none of it has anything to do with us anyway. To Daniel's point, we're keeping an army hanging around in a volatile and illegal situation for no discernible point.romegas , says: April 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm
Except to hate Iran.
The longterm on Syria doesn't look good for anyone. I'm guessing, because of his long history of ignorance and incoherence, Trump has no plan.
But the odd thing is, the most stable and invested country in the region is Iran. Crazy as it might sound to an Iran-hater-dead-ender, the country we should be chatting with about Syria is Iran. If we genuinely cared about anything humanitarian. The two countries with the most likely influence over Bashar with the aim of mitigating his violence would likely be Iran and Russia. If we wanted to actually accomplish something we could quietly and diplomatically arrange that chat and encourage some beneficial influence there.@rayrayb. , says: April 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm
If Assad is really the brute that the West portrays him to be he would have been toppled by now. That the Syrian population by and large has stood by him in 6 years of war should tell you something. I make a point to get most of the news about Syria from Christian organisations who live there – and they are all unequivocal. They are now beyond livid of what the US and its allies has allowed and even facilitated to happen there. Tthankfully for them they still have the Syrian Arab Army and Russia to protect them unlike their brethren in Iraq, one of the oldest Christian communities in existence which has been practically wiped out thanks to America's intervention."If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line "b. , says: April 8, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Interesting view. Obama imagined he drew a "red line" that Assad was not to cross, and allegedly did. Trump's tongue apparently wore a Freudian slip when he rubi-conned this phrase into twitter.
To make this a turn worthy of Croesumpus, let us just say that if Trump crosses that red line of his own, a great war criminal will be destroyed.
"In early March 2008, Abkhazia and South Ossetia submitted formal requests for their recognition to Russia's parliament shortly after the West's recognition of Kosovo to which Russia was opposed. [The] Russian ambassador to NATO, warned that Georgia's NATO membership aspirations would cause Russia to support the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
Clinton ignored the Russian objections to the West's unilateral recognition of Balkan breakaways. Bush, Saakashvili and the usual entourage of the neocon meddler travelling circus that nowadays haunts the Ukraine dismissed both the Russian warnings and the Russian military response. The result was utter failure.
Putin might never see an opportunity for a similarly deadly and promising "play" in the circle jerk of Syria free-for-all invasions – Gulf states, Turkey, US, Israel – but if he should ever see an opening, I would expect him to seek another object lesson. His hand might not be strong, but he appears to play it well.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish YPG and Syrian government troops ally against NATO partner Turkey, and the US military has repeatedly attacked Syrian regular military and boasts – by leak – about massacring Russian "private military contractors".
Iran demonstrated in Iraq that US ineptitude combined with impunitivism provides many openings to stabilize, in a sense, the region.
Apr 09, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Circe , Apr 8, 2018 3:59:20 PM | 93Putin really dropped the ball on the Libya No-Fly Resolution trusting the evil empire. Now the stakes
are even higher. The absolute worse news in all this is that Trump is bringing in Bolton as his lunatic
wing man at the worst possible time when things were looking like they were wrapping up in Syria.
Bolton is the male version of Hillary on steroids. Trump is going to hide behind Bolton's
mustache - you know, me good cop; Bolton bad cop; IOW, don't blame me for what needs to be done. Trump gifted
Jerusalem to Netanyahu, and now he's going to gift him Syria too. The Iran deal will
also get scrapped soon and that's more gasoline on a fire that's about to get out of control. Here's one way
to distract from the Mueller investigation; start a war and rally the county under
a common cause: war with Syria, ergo Russia and then Iran.
It's as I said from day one: Trump can't help himself; he's always been a Zio-con and Adelson
is getting his money's worth. It's all going to happen as I always said it would. Trump was the perfect puppet.
Trump will look like the savior of the realm; a role his big fat ego always dreamed of and won't resist.
Now, there still might be a way out of this potential catastrophe. Admit it, wouldn't it be nice if Putin
really was holding back something big regarding Trump?
*sigh* - if only! Very soon would be a good time to drop it. Manafort?
James , Apr 8, 2018 4:35:09 PM | 99Circe Medvedev was President
However the responsibility for what happened in Libya is with the western poweres of NATO
they. dropped the bombs and armed the jihadis.
The blame lies with them not Russia
As for the tone of the rest of your post-
War is not a pissing contest
It involves loss of life destruction of families, communities, countries.
Russia has a reason to be there - what is the agenda of the western powered beyond destroying a country like they did Libya
Apr 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
GOP is done April 6, 2018 at 12:20 amWhy are you giving trump so much credit ? Trump is Pro-Israel and will do their evil biddingpolistra , says: April 6, 2018 at 4:15 amTrump doesn't have any instincts. He's just playing the old DC game. Pretend that you want to do something, then act shocked after you didn't do it. Each party plays the game against the other party, each house of Congress plays the game against the other house, Presidents play it against Congress and the "courts".balconesfault , says: April 6, 2018 at 6:14 am
This game wouldn't work in real life.
I shout to everyone in the house, "I'm going to the store to get groceries."
One hour later, after sitting in the living room watching TV, making no move toward the car, I shout again:
"See what happens? I tried, but these evil other-party spirits wouldn't let me. You need to vote these evil other-party spirits out of the house so we can have food!"Huh you elect someone who says his military strategy will always be "listen to the Generals", and are then surprised when the Generals want to keep fighting?Stephen J. , says: April 6, 2018 at 7:25 am
Of course Trump will accede. He has no coherent and consistent policy just Fox News buzzwords spinning in his head. Now add John Bolton as his guiding light.Mr. Buchanan is correct the U.S. is: "in a country where we have no right to be "Michael Kenny , says: April 6, 2018 at 8:41 am
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The U.S. is in Syria illegally, and what is even worse it is reportedly supporting terrorists.
This is surely a crime, yet no charges have been laid. Why?
"Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.[i] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, December 8, 2016,Press Release.
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Much more evidence on this and other matters at link below.
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.htmlThe important point in Syria is that Putin is irreversibly bogged down there. He sinks or swims with Assad, which means, sooner or later, sinks. He's a sitting duck who can do nothing but sit there and wait until the US chooses to attack him. So there's no harm in leaving him to stew. John Bolton's bête noire has always been Iran, which is supposed to be Putin's ally. Going after Iran will put Putin on the spot. He has to decide whether to back his "ally" or leave Iran in the lurch. Thus, putting Syria on the back burner and concentrating on Iran forces Putin either to discredit himself by abandoning his "ally" or to bog himself down in yet another conflict. Heads, Ukraine wins, tails, Putin loses!Dan Green , says: April 6, 2018 at 9:59 amOur military complex is very key to our security. With that said they plan and like war.b. , says: April 6, 2018 at 10:00 amOn such hollow reed the imperial presidency, uneasily, rests.Stephen J. , says: April 6, 2018 at 11:25 am
The triad's synthesis: ISIS will never be "defeated".
Hubris, catharsis over is.More info on the treachery and criminality being enacted in SyriaAnthony Ferrara , says: April 6, 2018 at 12:02 pm
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"Our ally Kuwait has become the epicenter of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria."
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"Yes, folks, your tax dollars are going to support Islamist crazies in Syria. The same people who attacked Paris are being aided and abetted by the US – and if that isn't a criminal act, then there is no justice in this world." Justin Raimondo, November 25, 2015
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And much more info at the link below.
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/05/the-war-gangs-and-war-criminals-of-nato.htmlThe military industrial complex is nearly impossible to go up against in this country.One Guy , says: April 6, 2018 at 1:03 pmThe USA has hundreds of military bases overseas. We should close most of them. Trump is saying the right thing, unfortunately, we all know he doesn't follow through (that NRA thing, that DACA thing, that wall thing, that coal thing, that lock-her-up thing, etc. etc).Cynthia McLean , says: April 6, 2018 at 1:27 pm
Nothing will change.The War Party is intent on building a permanent military base in Syria to fulfill US aspirations of full-spectrum dominance.Fred Bowman , says: April 6, 2018 at 1:54 pmRest assure Pat that when "push comes to shove" that Trump will let the Generals have their way. To believe otherwise is foolishness.Patrick , says: April 6, 2018 at 3:16 pmIt seems that the failure in Syria is related to the classical policy verse strategy conflict. The military is once again put in a difficult position when the civilian leadership tries to use a military solution to solve a diplomatic problem. The military was given the task to destroy ISIS but that goal will be impossible without Turkey's cooperation and the leader of that country has chosen a path toward appeasement by the United States or confrontation.JK , says: April 6, 2018 at 4:05 pm
There seems to be credible evidence of Turkey's support for ISIS in the flow of combatants and military logistics into Syria as well as profiting from the sale and transport of ISIS controlled Syrian oil through Turkey. Now we are seeing Turkey invading Syria and ethnically cleansing our Kurdish allies from Syria's Northern Boarder. We still don't know what the Obama/Clinton CIA and State Department was up to in Benghazi, but it did seem to involve the flow of arms from Libya, and I have read reports that members of the Turkish government were meeting with the killed ambassador before the attack.
In Syria is appears that the Assad, Iranian and Russian alliance was more focused upon the rebels attempting to overthrow the government; rather than destroying ISIS. Once the United States leaves there may be greater tolerance for ISIS as long as the government is not threatened and ISIS may even be allowed to join that alliance to get some revenge against the Kurds who were allied with the U.S.
We saw the recent Russian test of US resolve using mercenaries with disastrous consequences. As long as the US remains in Syria there will be similar tests and what if is Turkey decides to test the resolve of US forces?
Our NATO partner Turkey seems to have become more of an enemy than a friend, and also more of a liability than an asset. Removing U.S. military assets from Turkey may be prudent, followed by its expulsion from NATO. Expelling Turkish citizens from other NATO countries and economic sanctions may be another strategy to make Turkey reconsider its continued belligerence.I don't recall anyone forcing Trump to appoint to top positions people who flat out refuse his orders and block him from carrying out policy he campaigned on. There is a limit on how much sincerity you can attribute to a man who says one thing, does the exact opposite, and defend him as fighting some Don Quixotic struggle tilting at windmills.
Apr 05, 2018 | www.wsws.orgThe lies of the imperialist powers over the Skripal affair unravel by Robert Stevens
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On Tuesday, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the UK's chemical weapons facility, the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, told Sky News that scientists had "not verified the precise source" of the material used in the attack in Salisbury on March 4. Aitkenhead's statement came on the eve of the convening at Moscow's request of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague, which would have exposed the UK government's case. But this resort to damage control only underscores the monstrous hoax perpetrated by the British and American governments and their European allies.
May told parliament on March 12 that Porton Down was "absolutely categorical" that the "nerve agent" used on the Skripals had come from Russia. "Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at Porton Down," she said, "the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible" for an "attempted murder" on British soil.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on March 20 that "the people from Porton Down" were "absolutely categorical" that the source of the nerve agent used against the Skripals was Russia. "I asked the guy myself," he said, "and he said 'there's no doubt.'"
So politically devastating is the exposure of Britain's lies that yesterday the Foreign Office deleted a text it sent out on March 22 declaring that the "analysis by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down made clear that this was a military-grade novichok nerve agent produced in Russia."
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The emergency session of the OPCW called at Russia's request received no answers to the serious questions Moscow insisted Britain had to address. Instead, the UK's representative said Russia could not take part in a joint investigation with Britain into the Skripal affair, as it was "a likely perpetrator." This was given unqualified backing by an EU spokesperson, who demanded that Russia respond to the UK's "legitimate questions" about its alleged continued production of novichoks.
No less implicated in this criminal affair is the corporate media, especially the New York Times, which has spent the past month disseminating the raw propaganda issued by London and Washington and baying for Moscow's punishment. At no point did the Times raise a single question about the reliability of the claims of the May government. And now its response to the refutation of the lies is to ignore and bury Aitkenhead's statement. The role of the corporate media in the Skripal provocation confirms the political purpose of the hysterical campaign it has been leading against "fake news," and its insistence that social media be regulated, restricted and monitored.
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Apr 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
'Ghost Wars' author on the secret war behind the war in Afghanistan
U.S-trained Afghan Army troops. Credit: USMC Cpl. John Scott Rafoss/public domain Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Steve Coll, Penguin Press, 784 pages
Twelve days after 9/11, on the night of September 23, 2001, the CIA's Islamabad station chief, Robert Grenier, received a telephone call from his boss, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet. "Listen, Bob," Tenet said, "we're meeting tomorrow at Camp David to discuss our war strategy in Afghanistan. How should we begin? What targets do we hit? How do we sequence our actions?"
Grenier later wrote in his book, 88 Days to Kandahar , that while he was surprised by the call he'd been thinking about these same questions -- "mulling them over and over and over," as he later told me -- so he was ready. President George Bush's address to the U.S. Congress just a few days before, Grenier told Tenet, was a good start: demand that Afghanistan's Taliban ruler, Mullah Omar, turn bin Laden over to the United States. If he refused, the U.S. should launch a campaign to oust him. Grenier had thought through the plan, but before going into its details with Tenet he abruptly stopped the conversation. "Mr. Director," he said, "this isn't going to work. I need to write this all down clearly." Tenet agreed.
Grenier set to work, and over the next three hours he laid out the battle for Afghanistan. Included in the paper was a detailed program of how the CIA could deploy undercover teams to recruit bin Laden's enemies among Afghanistan's northern Tajik and Uzbek tribes (an uneasy coalition of ethnic militias operating as the Northern Alliance), supply them with cash and weapons, and use them in a rolling offensive that would oust the Taliban in Kabul. With U.S. help, which included deploying American Special Forces teams (under CIA leadership) coupled with American airpower, the Northern Alliance (more properly, the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan) would start from its Panjshir Valley enclave in Afghanistan's far northeast and, recruiting support from anti-Taliban forces along the way, roll all the way into Kabul.
Grenier gave the eight-page draft paper to his staff to review, then sent it to Tenet in Washington, who passed it through the deputies committee (the second-in-command of each of the major national security agencies), then presented it to Bush. "I regard that cable," Grenier wrote, "as the best three hours of work I ever did in my twenty-seven-year career."
Three days after the Tenet-Grenier telephone conversation, on September 26, the CIA landed a covert-operations team in Afghanistan to recruit local allies in the hunt for bin Laden. The quick action was impressive, but then events slowed to a crawl. It wasn't until October 20 that the first U.S. Special Forces team linked up with anti-Taliban rebels, and it took another week for U.S. units to land in strength. But by early November al Qaeda was on the run and the Taliban's grip on the country was slipping away. On November 13, militias of the Northern Alliance seized Kabul. The Taliban was defeated, its badly mauled units fleeing south and east (its last bastion, in the south, fell on December 6), and into nearby Pakistan, while what remained of al Qaeda holed up in a series of cave complexes in the Spin Ghar mountain range of eastern Afghanistan.
By almost any measure, the CIA-led anti-al Qaeda and anti-Taliban offensive (dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom by George Bush) marked a decisive victory in the war on terror. The U.S. had set out a plan, marshaled the forces to carry it out, and then seen it to completion.
But this triumph came with problems. The first was that the offensive was hampered by Washington infighting that pitted the CIA against a puzzlingly recalcitrant U.S. military and a carping Donald Rumsfeld, who questioned George Tenet's leadership of the effort. This bureaucratic squabbling, focused on just who was responsible for what (and who exactly was running the Afghanistan war), would remain a hallmark of American efforts well into the Obama administration. The second problem was that Afghanistan's southern Pashtun tribes were only marginally included in the effort, and they remained suspicious of their northern non-Pashtun counterparts. The mistrust, CIA officers believed, would almost certainly plant the seeds of an endless inter-tribal Afghan conflict, embroiling the United States in an effort to prop up an unpopular Kabul government. The third problem was Pakistan -- or, more precisely, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the ISI, and the ISI's "Directorate S," responsible for covertly supplying, training, and arming Pakistan's Islamist allies, including the Pashtun-dominated Taliban.
The intractability of these variables, and America's 17-year effort (sometimes focused but often feckless) to resolve them, form the basis of Steve Coll's Directorate S , a thick but eminently readable account of America's Afghanistan misadventure. While Directorate S stands alone as a comprehensive exposition of the Afghanistan conflict dating from 9/11, it's actually a follow-on of Ghost Wars , Coll's Pulitzer Prize-winning 2004 narrative of America's efforts to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan following their invasion in December 1979. Given the breadth of Coll's dual treatments and the depth of his research, it's likely that these books will remain the standard exposition of the period for years to come.
While the focus of Directorate S is on Pakistan and its shady intelligence services, each of the obstacles that confronted the United States in Afghanistan from the moment the Taliban abandoned Kabul is embraced in detail. These obstacles included America's post-9/11 attention deficit disorder (the pivot away from al Qaeda to Iraq was being considered in Washington even as the Northern Alliance cleared the Afghan capital) and the deeply embedded antipathy toward the new Kabul government among Pakistani-supported southern tribesman. Thus, after the United States ousted al Qaeda and its Taliban supporters, it embarked on a program to strengthen the new Kabul government, anointing Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan's president and pledging billions in reconstruction aid. And so, or so it seemed, everything had gone as planned. The Taliban was routed; al Qaeda was on the run; a new anti-terrorism government was in place in Kabul; and the United States had signed Pakistan on as a willing accomplice. On May 1, 2003, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld declared an end to major combat operations in Afghanistan. The war was over. Won.
But of course it wasn't.
Coll's account provides a disturbing catalogue of the U.S. mistakes in the wake of the Taliban defeat. Almost all of them are well known: Hamid Karzai, the consensus choice of a grand assembly (a loya jirga) as Afghanistan's interim president, proved to be a weak leader. The monies appropriated for Afghanistan's postwar reconstruction were woefully inadequate for the task -- "laughable," as one U.S. official put it. American soldiers responsible for countering the Taliban's return (and hunting al Qaeda terrorist cells) were thinly and poorly deployed (and, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, of secondary importance in the Pentagon). Tentative Taliban efforts to engage the United States in political talks were summarily and unwisely spurned. Allegations of prisoner abuse at U.S. detention facilities consistently undermined U.S. legitimacy. American funds were funneled into Afghan ministries laced with corrupt officials. Afghani poppy production increased, despite faint-hearted U.S. eradication efforts. And U.S. counter-terrorism actions proved ham-handed and caused preventable civilian casualties, pushing Afghanis into a resurgent anti-Kabul resistance.
More crucially, Pakistan's unstinting support for America's Afghanistan efforts proved to be anything but unstinting. The reason for this was not only entirely predictable but was actually the unintended result of the American victory. When the Northern Alliance and U.S. airpower pushed what remained of the Taliban (along with the remnants of al Qaeda) out of Afghanistan, they pushed them into Pakistan, creating conditions that, as Coll tells us, "deepened resentment among Pakistan's generals, who would come to see their country's rising violence as a price of American folly . . ." Put simply, for the United States to seal the Operation Enduring Freedom victory, it had to ensure that its effects did not spill over into the one nation that could ensure that its victory would, in fact, be enduring. That didn't happen. The result was that the Taliban was able to rebuild and rearm its networks not only in Pakistan, and under the eyes of the ISI, but also in Afghanistan.
It might have been otherwise. During a series of discussions I had about America's intervention in Afghanistan in the months immediately following 9/11, a number of currently serving and former senior U.S. officials told me they believed that, given enough time, the Taliban might well have handed bin Laden over to the Americans, obviating the need for a full-on invasion. One of these officials was Milton Bearden, a famed CIA officer (his close friends refer to him as "Uncle Milty") who, during his time as a station chief in Pakistan, had helped to head up the CIA's war against the Soviets in the mid 1980s.
After 9/11, Bearden recharged his Pakistan and Afghanistan networks in an effort to convince the Taliban that turning bin Laden over to the Americans was a better option than the one they were facing. All the while, Bearden kept senior U.S. officials apprised of what he was doing, even as he was attempting to head off their rush to war. Bearden told me that, while his efforts had not reached fruition by the time the Bush White House had decided on a course of action, he believes the United States had not fully explored all of its options -- or thought through the long-term impact of its intervention. "I don't know what would have happened, I don't know," he says wistfully, "but I think we have a handhold in history. We should have seen what was coming." He notes that Alexander the Great "took one look at Afghanistan's mountains and decided against it. He thought his whole army could get swallowed up in there, and he wasn't going to take that chance. So, well, you tell me if I'm wrong, but Alexander was no slouch, right?"
Not everyone agrees with this, of course. The dissenters include Robert Grenier, the first drafter of what became the American war plan. Taliban leader Mullah Omar, he told me, was committed to his pledge to protect Osama bin Laden; he viewed it as a blood oath that could not be broken. Moreover, argues Grenier, "Omar viewed himself as a kind of world historical figure, a person on whom the axis of history would turn." One result was that he believed his fight against the Americans would be epochal.
That said, Grenier believes America's foray into Afghanistan, and the mistakes that followed, might at least have been dampened by a more diligent focus on the inherent divisions of Afghan society. "We [at the CIA]," he told me several months ago, "were very aware that the march of the Northern Alliance into Kabul would likely create real difficulties in the south. And we tried to slow it, precisely for this reason. But events overtook us, and it just wasn't possible. So, yes, things might have been otherwise, but in truth we just don't know."
The value in Coll's Directorate S comes not from the elegant telling of a story not fully known, but from the dawning realization that Afghanistan is the kind of lock for which there is no key. There is no reason to believe that a different outcome would have ensued if other events had intruded -- for example, more personnel, money, focused diplomacy, or robust and disciplined enemy-defeating and nation building; or that our war there and the occupation that followed would have yielded the same results that we realized in, say, Japan after 1945. The real hubris here is not that we tried and failed but that we thought we could actually succeed. Afghanistan is simply not that kind of place.
There is a term of art for this in the military, which found its first usage in Iraq in 2009, when U.S. commanders adopted it as an appreciation of what could and could not be accomplished. Instead of focusing on defeating corruption, inefficiency, disunity, and poor leadership, the focus shifted almost exclusively to dampening violence, to keeping the doors to Iraq open even as its factions battled for its control. More importantly, the adoption of the phrase marked the abandonment of high expectations and an embrace of realism. The United States would have to yield the business of replicating a Western-style democracy on the banks of the Euphrates. That goal, if it was going to be accomplished at all, would have to be realized by the Iraqis.
Analyst Anthony Cordesman, one of America's premier military thinkers, adopted the phrase and applied to Afghanistan in 2012 in an essay he entitled, "Time to Focus on 'Afghan Good Enough.'" His plan was simply stated but had all the elegance of actually working: keep the Taliban out of Kabul and the major cities, preserve the central and provincial government even in the face of endemic corruption, and work to provide security to large numbers of Afghanis. Cordesman conceded that this was not the kind of victory that Americans had hoped for on September 12. And it was difficult to describe the outcome as even vaguely passable -- or "good." But it was far better than adopting goals that could not be realized or embracing an illusion that disappeared even as it was grasped. For the time being at least, it would have to be "good enough."
Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a contributing editor to The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon's Wars .
Apr 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper warn about the dangers that come from misperception on both sides of the standoff with North Korea:
If any U.S. strategy toward North Korea is to have a chance of succeeding (or even of just averting catastrophe), it must be guided by an accurate sense of how Kim's regime thinks, what it values, and how it judges its options. Washington must understand not just North Korean objectives but also how North Korean officials understand U.S. objectives and whether they consider U.S. statements credible.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is remarkably bad at understanding these things accurately. This is not just a Trump administration failing. Most American politicians and policymakers routinely misjudge the intentions and goals of our adversaries, and they often invent a fantasy version of the regime in question that leads them astray again and again. One reason for this is that it is simply easier to project our assumptions about what a regime must want than it is to make the effort to see things as they do. Another reason is that many of our politicians and policymakers mistakenly think that if they try to understand an adversary's views that must somehow mean that they sympathize with the adversary or condone its behavior. Instead of trying to know their enemy, our leaders would prefer not to for fear of being "tainted" by the experience. This lack of knowledge is compounded in some cases by the absence of normal diplomatic relations with the adversary. Our leaders are encouraged to take this self-defeating approach to international problems by a political culture that rewards the people that strike tough-sounding-but-ignorant poses about a problem and marginalizes those that seek to understand it as fully as possible.
The first step in correcting these failings is to accept that some of these regimes regard the U.S. as an "existential threat" and therefore view all U.S. actions with at least much suspicion and fear as our government views theirs. The next step would be to recognize that the main goal of any regime is its own preservation. We should be very wary of any explanation of their actions that claims that an adversary is irrationally suicidal. Another step would be to acknowledge that regime behavior that we regard as purely aggressive is very often the result of the adversary's belief that it needs to deter our aggression against them. Our politicians often talk about North Korea threatening the entire world with its nuclear weapons, but this misses that in their relative isolation and paranoia the North Korean regime sees the rest of the world, and especially the U.S., as a threat that needs to be defended against. Recognizing these things doesn't make their acquisition of nuclear weapons desirable and it doesn't mean that we approve of it, but it does make it understandable.
Our government's frequent inability to understand how an adversary thinks and what an adversary wants is usually bound up with our government's overestimation of its own power and a denial of the other state's agency. If many of our policymakers invent a fantasy version of the regime to serve as a foil, they come up with unrealistic demands that they think the U.S. can force the adversary to accept. Because we fail to understand what the adversary is trying to do, we make demands that we ought to know will never be accepted. Because our government fails to take the other side's agency into account, our policies are often crafted solely to punish and compel and rarely to give them an incentive to cooperate or compromise. We then claim to be surprised when this approach yields only intransigence and more of the behavior that we want the other state to stop.
Fran Macadam April 5, 2018 at 11:40 amAs long as official policy is Full Spectrum Dominance, nothing can change.Kent , says: April 5, 2018 at 11:47 amI really believe it would be absurd to think our highest government officials are that ignorant.Will Harrington , says: April 5, 2018 at 1:07 pmKentgrumpy realist , says: April 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm
Why do you think it would be absurd to think our highest government officials are that ignorant? Did our Presidents, who never have to prove merit, only popularity, ever appoint people based on reliably tested knowledge of their field? No. They tend to appoint their cabinet based on political calculation. Sometimes political calculation will raise up knowledgeable people, more often not.Welp, this is certainly a different kettle of fish from WWII, where the US government hired ethnologists like Ruth Benedict to analyze Japanese culture and thought patterns (resulting in her book "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.")Tyro , says: April 5, 2018 at 1:47 pm
We HAVE turned into a country of lazy bastards.I really believe it would be absurd to think our highest government officials are that ignorantDee , says: April 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm
Our highest officials are by design more ignorant than the rank and file. During the Iraq war aftermath, Arabic speakers were actively rejected from jobs within the Coalition Provisional Authority, because it was assumed their knowledge of the region would prejudice them against the W adninistration's vision for the Middle East, and they didn't want nay sayers telling them what they didn't want to hear.
This mindset is persistent, especially in republican administrations, and mirrors the Soviet Union -- people are selected on the basis of their willingness to toe the ideological line rather than their expertise.They are not ignorant, the politicians support these policies because their donors benefit.. They have sold out to greed over country.. I assume that some do it for the easy wealth that can be had, some of the wealthy ones for fame and never losing elections, but they have their reasons, our country is not high on that list.KXB , says: April 5, 2018 at 3:39 pmThe one exception to this would be Obama's approach to Iran. He had no illusions about the mullahs and IRGC, but he knew that it was simply impossible to perpetually diplomatically isolate and militarily surround a nation of 80 million in its own region. The nuke deal was a tradeoff – Iran gives up its nukes in exchange for being reintegrated with the world. Of course, this is the last thing that Israel or Saudi Arabia want.Fran Macadam , says: April 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm"The nuke deal was a tradeoff – Iran gives up its nukes in exchange for being reintegrated with the world."Fran Macadam , says: April 5, 2018 at 4:11 pm
It must have been a bad deal, since the benefits to the other side never actually happened.
It was de facto over from the moment it was signed."The nuke deal was a tradeoff – Iran gives up its nukes in exchange for being reintegrated with the world."Cynthia McLean , says: April 5, 2018 at 6:14 pm
Which nukes were those? Unlike North Korea, they didn't actually have any.
They didn't give anything up, and we didn't remove the sanctions. Sounds about equitable, nothing for nothing.Knowledge of History and Language would help enormously, but the US is so arrogant it expects other countries to merely accept US assertions and to speak in English, on the basis of its supposed Exceptionalism.
Apr 05, 2018 | independent.co.uk
Vermont Senator says business model of Democratic Party has been a failure for 15 years
Bernie Sanders has triggered a backlash by making comments interpreted as an attack on [Wall Street/CIA troll] Barack Obama on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. The senator for Vermont appeared to criticise the first black US President as he branded the Democratic Party a "failure".
Speaking in Jackson, Mississippi, he said Democrats had lost a record number of legislative seats. "The business model, if you like, of the Democratic Party for the last 15 years or so has been a failure,'' said the Vermont Senator...Mr Sanders's comments were quickly branded "patronising" and "deplorable".
Apr 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Fifteen countries voted against Russia's bid, while six voted for it and 17 abstained.
"Unfortunately, we haven't been able to have two-thirds of the votes in support of that decision. A qualified majority was needed," Russian ambassador Alexander Shulgin told reporters, adding " Russia as well as other states that are members of the Executive Committee have been pushed aside from this investigation ."
UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson brushed aside Russia's request, calling it a "ludicrous proposal" designed to "undermine" the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation.
"Russia has had one goal in mind since the attempted murders on UK soil through the use of a military-grade chemical weapon - to obscure the truth and confuse the public," Johnson said. " The international community has yet again seen through these tactics and robustly defeated Russia's attempts today to derail the proper international process ." Johnson also said that "none of us have forgotten" about the "barbaric" chemical weapons attack in Syria a year ago.
"After the OPCW-UN investigation found that the Syrian regime was responsible, Russia blocked that body from doing any more work," he said.
Russia wants to discuss a letter sent by UK Prime Minister Theresa May to the UN Security Council which says it's "highly likely" that Moscow was behind last month's nerve agent attack.
Meanwhile , as we reported yesterday , the chief scientist from the UK's Porton Down military laboratory facility, Gary Aitkenhead, told Sky News that they had been unable to prove that the novichok nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal came from Russia.
"We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade nerve agent," Aitkenhead said. " We have not identified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific info to government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions you have come to. "
**PAGING COLIN POWELL. IS THERE A MR. POWELL IN THE BUILDING?**
The Porton Down chief scientist said that establishing the Novichok's origin required "other inputs," some of which are intelligence based and which only the government has access to.
Aitkenhead added: " It is our job to provide the scientific evidence of what this particular nerve agent is, we identified that it is from this particular family and that it is a military grade, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured ."
So whose job is it to determine where the Novichok was manufactured?
That said, it was also noted that the nerve agent involved required "extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in the capabilities of a state actor," and that there is no known antidote to Novichok - nor was any administered to either of the Skripals.
Aitkenhead would not say whether the Porton Down facility had manufactured or maintained stocks of Novichok - long rumored to be the case.
" There is no way anything like that could have come from us or left the four walls of our facility ," said the chief.
Boris Johnson has come under fire since the Porton Down chief's statement, as Johnson lied, saying in an interview two weeks ago that Porton Down officials told him there was "no doubt" that the nerge agent came from Russia .
The Foreign Office told Sky News that Johnson "misspoke," which is apparently UK officialspeak for "he totally lied, but nobody will hold him accountable for it."
Perhaps Johnson "misspoke" in his rush to locate a hairbrush?
Sy Kloine Bee Wed, 04/04/2018 - 19:02 PermalinkGot The Wrong No -> Sy Kloine Bee Wed, 04/04/2018 - 19:07 Permalink
Nobody believes them anymore, and they know it. They just lie because they have to tell you something.Lost in translation -> Got The Wrong No Wed, 04/04/2018 - 19:09 Permalink
The British version of the Mueller investigationSlack Jack -> Pol Pot Wed, 04/04/2018 - 20:31 Permalink
Russia should wash its hands of OPCW - quit and never return.philipat -> EuroPox Wed, 04/04/2018 - 19:45 Permalink
The evil people, Theresa May, Stoltenberg, Trump and the rest, are damming Russia with obvious lies.
The Novichok nerve agents probably don't even exist.
HERE IS THE PROOF:
The Novichok nerve agents are supposedly much more toxic than the nerve gases VX or Sarin.
Mirzayanov's book, published in 2008, contains the formulas he alleges can be used to create Novichoks. In 1995, he explained that "the chemical components or precursors" of Novichok are "ordinary organophosphates that can be made at commercial chemical companies that manufacture such products as fertilizers and pesticides."
Basically, Mirzayanov claims that it is relatively easy to make the Novichok nerve agents.
So, some enterprising Arabs could buy a few chemists to make a few tons of it and then spray it all over the little Satan.
Do you really think that the Jews who run the United States would allow the publication of information that could lead to thousands of deaths in Israel?
Do you really think they would protect the publisher of such information by giving him residence in the United States?
Remember, Mirzayanov was given residence in the United States after he was kicked out of Russia.
There are also a number of "people who should know" that have stated that there is zero solid evidence for the existence of the Novichok nerve agents. For example: Robin Black in Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents (2016):
"In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, 'Novichoks' (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the 'Foliant' programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published."
And, Alexander Shulgin, Russia's representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2018):
"There has never been a 'Novichok' research project conducted in Russia,... But in the West, some countries carried out such research, which they called 'Novichok,' for some reason."
CONCLUSION: The Novichok nerve agents don't even exist.Killdo -> philipat Wed, 04/04/2018 - 20:22 Permalink
The use of the "projection" technique (essentially accusing your opponents of doing the very things you yourself are doing) in official circles has become widespread. It's biggest proponent is, of course, Shitlery who, as an example, recently accused Trump of using his position to enrich himself and his family (Um....?). Now BoJo has the chutzpah to accuse Russia of obfuscation and lies. Same technique. Specifically:
" Russia has had one goal in mind since the attempted murders on UK soil through the use of a military-grade chemical weapon - to obscure the truth and confuse the public," Johnson said. " The international community has yet again seen through these tactics and robustly defeated Russia's attempts today to derail the proper international process ."
And, of course, psychopaths actually believe their projections which allows them to speak with a straight face. And the MSM, naturally, just blindly "reports" what they say. The internet is the only source of real information and the true investigative journalism of any integrity. Which is, of course, why they are trying so hard to censor and close the sources of truth.JohnFrodo -> philipat Wed, 04/04/2018 - 20:24 Permalink
you can see here their modus operandi - one of the first NSA leaks by Snowden/Greenwald. There is a slide there called the Gambits For Deception - all the tricks are there - how to never admit when caught lying, how to cover the small move by the big one - basically all the BS this fat ugly clown is using are there:
scroll down and look for slides from 5 Eye meetings
projection is everything. America banned the Huwawie Chinese cell phone because they thought it was a threat. What are all those Apples in China? Not even to speak about domestic use.
Apr 01, 2018 | www.unz.com
Europe: My honor is solidarity!
"That tells you all you need to know about the difference between modern Britain and the government of Vladimir Putin. They make Novichok, we make light sabers. One a hideous weapon that is specifically intended for assassination. The other an implausible theatrical prop with a mysterious buzz. But which of those two weapons is really more effective in the world of today?".
Let's begin this discussion with a few, basic questions.Question one: does anybody sincerely believe that "Putin" (the collective name for the Russian Mordor) really attempted to kill a man which "Putin" himself had released in the past, who presented no interest for Russia whatsoever who, like Berezovsky , wanted to return back to Russia , and that to do the deed "Putin" used a binary nerve agent? Question two: does anybody sincerely believe that the British have presented their "allies" (I will be polite here and use that euphemism) with incontrovertible or, at least, very strong evidence that "Putin" indeed did such a thing? Question three: does anybody sincerely believe that the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats will somehow make Russia more compliant to western demands (for our purposes, it does not matter what demands we are talking about)? Question four: does anybody sincerely believe that after this latest episode, the tensions will somehow abate or even diminish and that things will get better? Question five: does anybody sincerely believe that the current sharp rise in tensions between the AngloZionist Empire (aka the "West") does not place the Empire and Russia on collision course which could result in war, probably/possibly nuclear war, maybe not deliberately, but as the result of an escalation of incidents?
If in the zombified world of the ideological drones who actually remain in the dull trance induced by the corporate media there are most definitely those who answer "yes" to some or even all of the questions above, I submit that not a single major western decision maker sincerely believes any of that nonsense. In reality, everybody who matters knows that the Russians had nothing to do with the Skripal incident, that the Brits have shown no evidence, that the expulsion of Russian diplomats will only harden the Russian resolve, that all this anti-Russian hysteria will only get worse and that this all puts at least Europe and the USA, if not the entire planet, in great danger.
And yet what just happened is absolutely amazing: instead of using fundamental principles of western law (innocent until proven guilty by at least a preponderance of evidence or even beyond reasonable doubt), basic rules of civilized behavior (do not attack somebody you know is innocent), universally accepted ethical norms (the truth of the matter is more important than political expediency) or even primordial self-preservation instincts (I don't want to die for your cause), the vast majority of western leaders chose a new decision-making paradigm which can be summarized in two words:"highly likely" "solidarity"
This is truly absolutely crucial and marks a fundamental change in the way the AngloZionist Empire will act from now on. Let's look at the assumptions and implications of these two concepts.
First, "highly likely". While "highly likely" does sound like a simplified version of "preponderance of evidence" what it really means is something very different and circular: "Putin" is bad, poisoning is bad, therefore it is "highly likely" that "Putin" did it. How do we know that the premise "Putin is bad" is true? Well -- he does poison people, does he not?
You think I am joking?
Check out this wonderful chart presented to the public by "Her Majesty's government" entitled "A long pattern of Russian malign activity":
In the 12 events listed as evidence of a "pattern of Russian malign activity" one is demonstratively false (2008 invasion of Georgia), one conflates two different accusations (occupation of Crimea and destabilization of the Ukraine), one is circular (assassination of Skripal) and all others are completely unproven accusations. All that is missing here is the mass rape of baby penguins by drunken Russian sailors in the south pole or the use of a secret "weather weapon" to send hurricanes towards the USA. You don't need a law degree to see that, all you need is an IQ above room temperature and a basic understanding of logic. For all my contempt for western leaders, even I wouldn't make the claim that they all lack these. So here is where "solidarity" kicks-in:
"Solidarity" in this context is simply a "conceptual placeholder" for Stephen Decatur 's famous " my country, right or wrong " applied to the entire Empire. The precedent of Meine Ehre heißt Treue just slightly rephrased into Meine Ehre heißt Solidarität also comes to mind.
Solidarity simply means that the comprador ruling elites of the West will say and do whatever the hell the AngloZionists tell them to. If tomorrow the UK or US leaders proclaim that Putin eats babies for breakfast or that the West needs to send a strong message to "Putin" that a Russian invasion of Vanuatu shall not be tolerated, then so be it: the entire AngloZionist nomenklatura will sing the song in full unison and to hell with facts, logic or even decency!
Solemnly proclaiming lies is hardly something new in politics, there is nothing new here. What is new are two far more recent developments: first, now everybody knows that these are lies and, second, nobody challenges or debunks them. Welcome to the AngloZionist New World Order indeed!The Empire: by way of deception thou shalt do war
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.
ORDER IT NOW
Over the past weeks I have observed something which I find quite interesting: both on Russian TV channels and in the English speaking media there is a specific type of anti-Putin individual who actually takes a great deal of pride in the fact that the Empire has embarked on a truly unprecedented campaign of lies against Russia. These people view lies as just another tool in a type of "political toolkit" which can be used like any other political technique. As I have mentioned in the past, the western indifference to the truth is something very ancient coming, as it does, from the Middle-Ages: roughly when the spiritual successors of the Franks in Rome decided that their own, original brand of "Christianity" had no use for 1000 years of Consensus Patrum . Scholasticism and an insatiable thrust for worldly, secular, power produced both moral relativism and colonialism (with the Pope's imprimatur in the form of the Treaty of Tordesillas ). The Reformation (with its very pronounced Judaic influence) produced the bases of modern capitalism which, as Lenin correctly diagnosed, has imperialism as its highest stage. Now that the West is losing its grip on the planet (imagine that, some SOB nations dare resist!), all of the ideological justifications have been tossed away and we are left with the true, honest, bare-bones impulses of the leaders of the Empire: messianic hubris (essentially self-worship), violence and, above all, a massive reliance on deception and lies on every single level of society, from the commercial advertisements targeted at children to Colin Powell shaking some laundry detergent at the UNSC to justify yet another war of aggression.
Self-worship and a total reliance on brute force and falsehoods -- these are the real "Western values" today. Not the rule of law, not the scientific method, not critical thought, not pluralism and most definitely not freedom. We are back, full circle, to the kind of illiterate thuggery the Franks so perfectly embodied and which made them so infamous in the (then) civilized world (the south and eastern Mediterranean). The agenda, by the way, is also the same one as the Franks had 1000 years ago: either submit to us and accept our dominion, or die, and the way to accept our dominion is to let us plunder all your riches. Again, not much difference here between the sack of the First Rome in 410, the sack of the Second Rome in 1204 and the sack of the Third Rome in 1991. As psychologists well know, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
Interestingly, the Chinese saw straight through this strategic psyop and they are now sounding the alarm in their very official Global Times : (emphasis added)
The accusations that Western countries have hurled at Russia are based on ulterior motives, similar to how the Chinese use the expression "perhaps it's true" to seize upon the desired opportunity. From a third-person perspective, the principles and diplomatic logic behind such drastic efforts are flawed, not to mention that expelling Russian diplomats almost simultaneously is a crude form of behavior. Such actions make little impact other than increasing hostility and hatred between Russia and their Western counterparts ( ) The fact that major Western powers can gang up and "sentence" a foreign country without following the same procedures other countries abide by and according to the basic tenets of international law is chilling. During the Cold War, not one Western nation would have dared to make such a provocation and yet today it is carried out with unrestrained ease. Such actions are nothing more than a form of Western bullying that threatens global peace and justice. ( ) It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations. Right now is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another. These nations need to establish a level of independence outside the reach of Western influence while breaking the chains of monopolization declarations, predetermined adjudications and come to value their own judgment abilities. ( ) The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was. The silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action.
As the French say " à bon entendeur, salut! ": the Chinese position is crystal clear, as is the warning. I would summarize it as so: if the West is an AngloZionist doormat, then the East is most definitely not.
[Sidebar: I know that there are some countries in Europe who have, so far, shown the courage to resist the AngloZionist Diktat . Good for them. I will wait to see how long they can resist the pressure before giving them a standing ovation]The modern Ahnenerbe' Generalplan Ost
The decision, therefore, lies here in the East; here must the Russian enemy, this people numbering two hundred million Russians, be destroyed on the battlefield and person by person, and made to bleed to death
(Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler)
Still, none of that explain why the leaders of the Empire have decided to engage in a desperate game of "nuclear chicken" to try to, yet again, force Russia to comply with its demands to "go away and shut up". This is counter-intuitive and I get several emails each week telling me that there is absolutely no way the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire would want a war with Russia, especially not a nuclear-armed one. The truth is that while western leaders are most definitely psychopaths, they are neither stupid nor suicidal, and neither were Napoleon or Hitler! And, yes, they probably don't really want a full-scale war with Russia. The problem is that these rulers are also desperate, and for good cause.
Let's look at the situation just a few months ago. The US was defeated in Syria, ridiculed in the DPRK, Trump was hated in Europe, the Russians and the Germans were working on North Stream, the British leaders forced to at least pretend to work on Brexit, the entire "Ukrainian" project had faceplanted, the sanctions against Russia had failed, Putin was more popular than ever and the hysterical anti-Trump campaign was still in full swing inside the USA. The next move by the AngloZionist elites was nothing short of brilliant: by organizing a really crude false flag in the UK the Empire achieved the following results:The Europeans have been forced right back into the Anglosphere's fold ("solidarity", remember?) The Brexiting Brits are now something like the (im-)moral leaders of Europe again. The Russians are now demonized to such a degree that any accusation, no matter how stupid, will stick. In the Middle-East, the US and Israel now have free reign to start any war they want because the (purely theoretical) European capability to object to anything the Anglos want has now evaporated, especially now that the Russians have become "known chemical-criminals" from Ghouta to Salisbury At the very least, the World Cup in Russia will be sabotaged by a massive anti-Russian campaign. If that campaign is really successful, there is still the hope that the Germans will finally cave in and, if maybe not outright cancel, then at least very much delay North Stream thereby forcing the Europeans to accept, what else, US gas.
This is an ambitious plan and, barring an unexpected development, it sure looks like it might work. The problem with this strategy is that it falls short of getting Russia to truly "go away and shut up". Neocons are particularly fond of humiliating their enemies (look at how they are still gunning for Trump even though by now the poor man has become their most subservient servant) and there is a lot of prestige at stake here. Russia, therefore, must be humiliated, truly humiliated, not just by sabotaging her participation in Olympic games or by expelling Russian diplomats, but by something far more tangible like, say, an attack on the very small and vulnerable Russian task force in Syria. Herein lies the biggest risk.
The Russian task force in Syria is tiny, at least compared to the immense capabilities of CENTCOM+NATO. The Russians have warned that if they are attacked, they will shoot down not only the attacking missiles but also their launchers. Since the Americans are not dumb enough to expose their aircraft to Russian air defenses, they will use air power only outside the range of Russian air defenses and they will use only cruise missiles to strike targets inside the "protection cone" of the Russians air defenses. The truth is that I doubt that the Russians will have the opportunity to shoot down many US aircraft, at least not with their long-range S-300/S-400 SAMs. Their ubiquitous and formidable combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system, the Pantsir, might have a better chance simply because it's location is impossible to predict. But the real question is this: will the Russians shoot back at the USN ships if they launch cruise missiles at Syria?
My strictly personal guess is that they won't unless Khmeimim, Tartus or another large Russian objective (official Russian compounds in Damascus) are hit. Striking a USN ship would be tantamount to an act of war and that is just not something the Russians will do if they can avoid it. The problem with that is this restraint will, yet again, be interpreted as a sign of weakness, not civilization, by the "modern Franks" (visualize a Neanderthal with a nuclear club in his fist). Should the Russians decide to act à la American and use violence to "send a message", the Empire will immediately perceive that as a loss of face and a reason to immediately escalate further to reestablish the "appropriate" hierarchy between the "indispensable nation" and the "gas station masquerading as a country". So here is the dynamic at work
Russia limits herself to words of protests ==>> the Empire sees that as a sign of weakness and escalates
Russia responds in kind with real actions==>> The Empire feels humiliated and escalates
Now look at this from a Russian point of view for a second and ask yourself what you would do in this situation?
The answer, I think, is obvious: you try to win as much time as possible and you prepare for war. The Russians have been doing exactly that since at least early 2015.
For Russia this is really nothing new: been there, done that, and remember it very, very well, by the way. The "western project" for Russia has always been the same since the Middle-Ages, the only difference today is the consequences of war. With each passing century the human cost of the various western crusades against Russia got worse and worse and now we are not only looking at the very real possibility of another Borodino or Kursk, and not even at another Hiroshima, but at something which we can't even really imagine: hundreds of millions of people die in the course of just a few hours.
How do we stop that?
Is the West even capable of acting in a different way?
I very much doubt it.The one actor who can stop the upcoming war: China
There is one actor which might, perhaps, stop the current skid towards Armageddon: China. Right now, the Chinese have officially declared that they have what they call a " comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation " later shortened to " strategic partnership ". This is a very apt expression as it does not speak of an "alliance": two countries of the size of Russia and China cannot have an alliance in the traditional sense -- they are too big and different for that. They are, however, in a symbiotic relationship, that both sides understand perfectly (see this White Paper for details). What this means in very simple terms is this: the Chinese cannot let Russia be defeated by the Empire because once Russia is gone, they will be left one on one with a united, triumphal and infinitely arrogant West (likewise I would argue that Russia cannot afford to have Iran defeated by the Empire for exactly the same reasons, and neither can Iran let the Israelis destroy Hezbollah). Of course, in terms of military power, China is a dwarf compared to Russia, but in terms of economic power Russia is the dwarf when compared to China in this "strategic community of interests". Thus, China cannot assist Russia militarily. But remember that Russia does not need this if only because military assistance is what you need to win a war. Russia does not want to win a war, Russia desperately needs to avoid a war! And here is where China can make a huge difference: psychologically.
Yes, the Empire is currently taking on both Russia and China, but everybody, from its leaders to its zombified population, seems to think that these are two, different and separate foes. [We can use this opportunity to most sincerely thank Donald Trump for so "perfectly" timing his trade war with China.] They are not: not only are Russia and China symbionts who share the same vision of a prosperous and peaceful Eurasia united by a common future centered around the OBOR and, crucially, free from the US dollar or, for that matter, from any type of major US role, but Russia and China also stand for exactly the same notion of a post-hegemonic world order: a multi-polar world of different and truly sovereign nations living together under the rules of international law. If the AngloZionists have their way, this will never happen. Instead, we will have the New World Order promised by Bush, dominated by the Anglosphere countries (basically the ECHELON members, aka the "Five Eyes") and, on top of that pyramid, the global Zionist overlord. This is something China cannot, and will not allow. Neither can China allow a US-Russian war, especially not a nuclear one because China, like Russia, also needs peace.Conclusion
I don't see what Russia could do to convince the Empire to change its current course: the US leaders are delusional and the Europeans are their silent, submissive servants. As shown above, whatever Russia does it always invites further escalation from the Empire. Of course, Russia can turn the West into a pile of smoldering radioactive ashes. This is hardly a solution since, in the inevitable exchange, Russia herself will also be turned into a similar pile of smoldering radioactive ashes by the Empire. In spite of that, the Russian people have most clearly indicated by their recent vote that they have absolutely no intention of caving in to the latest western crusade against them. As for the Empire, it will never accept the fact that Russia refuses to submit. It therefore seems to me that the only thing which can stop Armageddon would be for the Chinese to ceaselessly continue to repeat to the rulers of the Empire and the people of the West what the wrote in the article quoted above: that " The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was" and "the silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action."
History teaches us that the West only strikes against those opponents it sees as defenseless or, at least, weaker. The fact that the Popes, Napoleon or Hitler were wrong in their evaluation of the strength of Russia does not change this truism. In fact, the Neocons today are making exactly the same mistake. So telling them about the fact that Russia is much stronger than what the western propaganda says and which, apparently, many western rulers believe (you always end up believing your own propaganda), does not help. Russian "reminders of reality" will do no good simply because the West is out of touch with reality and lacks the ability to understand its own limitations and weaknesses. But if China stepped in and conveyed that crucial message " The West is only a small fraction of the world " and that the rest of the world will prove this " through action " then other countries will step in and a war can be averted because even the current delusion-based "solidarity" will collapse in the face of a united Eurasia.
Russia alone cannot continue to carry the burden of stopping the messianic psychopaths ruling the Empire.
The rest of the world, led by China, now needs to step in to avert the war.
NoseytheDuke , March 30, 2018 at 6:49 am GMTThis plan for global dominance has been over 100 years in the making and has already cost over 100 million lives so far. How likely is it for them to back off now? The Chinese are far from stupid so it will be interesting to see how they view the situation and act.Anon  Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 7:16 am GMT
I've stated previously that the people who really can put a halt to it are Americans themselves but it won't be easy. The ideal situation would be a mass mutiny of US military personnel and the line, The Empire: by way of deception thou shalt do war should probably read, The Israeli Empire: by way of deception thou shalt do war. It would be useful to repeat this ad nauseam until it truly sinks in for US military personnel that the US is a supplicant to Israel and to understand who they will be fighting and dying for. A mass mutiny would be the best way to save their families and future.Again, not much difference here between the sack of the First Rome in 410, the sack of the Second Rome in 1204 and the sack of the Third Rome in 1991. As psychologists well know, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.yurivku , March 30, 2018 at 11:00 am GMT
But all three Romes were empires too filled with lies.Oh, appears it's China who should do something !Seamus Padraig , March 30, 2018 at 11:53 am GMT
But I think that if stupid westerners won't wake up, -- nobody will help. China is big and possibly can think that in world where no Russia, no Europe nor US/Canada are exist, some place will still be for China.
It's "higly posssible" a mistake, but if silly westerners will continue to munch their MSM grass their shadows will be printed on the walls of history.
Actually they deserve to be.Issac , March 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm GMT
"Solidarity" in this context is simply a "conceptual placeholder" for Stephen Decatur's famous "my country, right or wrong" applied to the entire Empire.
Kind of disappointed in the Saker here. Just like liberals, he omits the rest of Decatur's famous toast: "Our country -- in her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right , and always successful, right or wrong. [ Emphasis mine. ]" Decatur was not trying to encourage amoral behavior, such as that which we now see with the AngloZionists running Washington.
By the way, I've heard the Russians are now telling a joke about Boris Johnson: they're saying he was poisoned with durachok (bonehead)!China has deep ties to the western empire. Russians would be drinking too deeply from their own propaganda to miss this fact. Indeed, the latest crippling of Trumpist reform was lead by heavily Chinese invested men Ryan and McConnell. Israel has a strong grip on US foreign policy for obvious reasons, but Israel has no reason to see Russia bullied into submission. China does.Fran Macadam , March 30, 2018 at 5:22 pm GMT
It should be plain to any objective observer of global politics that the west is internally incoherent and will wane in power by the crush weight of demographic change alone. China observes this and realizes the only long-term competitor to their ascendant position, one generation hence, is an independent Russia. Far better for the Chinese that Russia is mortally wounded or harried into Chinese vassal status before the west breaks down into a third world non-entity.The real reasons for the expulsions is the revelation of Russia's next generation war weapons. It was taken up as an invitation to fight, not to make peace, and making it as hard as possible for Russians to either influence opinion or gather information.Boris M Garsky , March 30, 2018 at 6:18 pm GMT
Somebody wanted Skripal dead, and while it may be a useful false flag provocation, with his involvement with the Steele Dossier a possible trigger, it could be serving more than one purpose. As usual, we are assigning to the Russkies both more omnipotence and stupidity than is merited. I supoose it is our own elites who believe their omniscience in surveilling all of us means they are also smarter than the rest of us. MaybeWell said and accurate. There is no consensus among the hoipolloi with the neocon push for war. This will never come about. The west is desperate, no doubt, and will continue to beat its chest, much to its own detriment. If the west intended on war, it would have come about. Time is not on their side. The neocons have backed themselves into a corner and, therefore, must create chaos, camouflage, obfuscation, in order to bamboozle the world until they can safely go back into their holes. Most likely, they are looking for concessions. Remember the Wasserman-Schuiltz spy scandal? Remember the many deadly false flags being exposed to the public for what they are?Arioch , Website March 30, 2018 at 6:25 pm GMTFrankly, Saker reads too much into this Chinese article. It is not about Russia. It is not because Skrypal hoax dialed ritual Russophobia over eleven. It just is a coincidence. Yet before loosing the elections Hillary was promising military war with Russia. Yet before winning the elections Trump was promising economic war with China.JVC , March 30, 2018 at 6:42 pm GMT
USA ruling 1% was making a strategic choice year ago.
When Trump got elected he inherited the raging war. He could not stop it, obviously. Then he turned it overboard. He started demanding so many wars at once that US Army got overstretched and paralyzed. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Itan, Yemen, Korea, new European garrisons . Trump send Army to prepare to war everywhere and now Pentagon can not scratch together enough forces to attack anywhere specifically.
By his "clumsy and incompetent bravado" Trump neutralized the army, made and exposed it as incapable pretend-force.
Now Trump can switch to his programme -- economic war with China.
And that is why Chinese diplomats and media run crazy. Now it is their war, not Russia's. Now their tails are on the line. Now Russia mostly can move to backlines to lick wounds while China would exchange blows and collect bruises.
This turned recent Chinese statements so bald and pushing. This, and not a concern for Russia.something the Russians might consider -- immediately cutting off all gas to Europe and restoring such service for payment only in gold or the new "petrol yuan" . Europe depends heavily on that Russian Gas, and such a move would re-align some European thinking. Replacing it with US provided LPG would take far too long and be much more expensive having to be shipped by seaCARLOS231 , March 30, 2018 at 6:57 pm GMT
In fact, maybe if Russia, China, the other brics and aligned countries suddenly cut off all ties to the west, it would hasten the coming economic collapse of the EU and US, and that dreamed of multipolar world would arise from the ashes.
Better that than the ashes of a nuclear exchange I would think.China is too smart to show its hand yet, they are building their economic & military strength quietly, they don't want to scare the westerners yet with threats.Carlton Meyer , Website March 30, 2018 at 9:16 pm GMT
Russia`s biggest weakness is the incompetent, useless leaders they had from the 80`s to Yeltsin. The mess that the USSR left behind with unstable states on its borders with no treaty to prevent NATO expansion was a huge gift to the US that just keeps giving!!
I`ll go as far as saying this gift to the US might lead to Russia`s end as a country in its present form. You can hardly blame the US I mean in 1990 Russia agreed to basically throw the towel in and live in a US dominated world in practice. Whatever they say about promises at the time that lasted for as long as their breath was warm .How the East Can Save the WestSergey Krieger , March 30, 2018 at 9:50 pm GMT
A couple centuries ago the phrase "The White Man's Burden" was used to explain why citizens of Western nations must devote resources to civilize the world. Gore Vidal used "The Yellow Man's Burden" to explain why citizens of Asian nations were devoting so much wealth to keep the USA and much of Europe wealthy. If our citizens suddenly lost 30% of their annual income due to tax increases and spending cuts needed to truly balance our national budgets, they would be outraged. They might learn that this was the result of "free trade", which might result in revolution and wars. Those who have profited off "free trade" by selling out their citizens know its best to let the working class learn this truth slowly.
Trump's proclamation to pull out of Syria may be good news, but probably not. He hired psychopath Bolton, so we can assume the US military is just consolidating forces in Iraq to hold off attacks whilst they bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. The Iraqis aren't our allies, they just act to get free stuff, and they will know we are not bombing Iran to save Iranians. It might be wise to get our troops out of Iraq too!
Let's begin this discussion with a few, basic questions.
Question one (thru five): does anybody sincerely believe
Yes, this bimbo does, and she's the State Department spokesman. The State Department is still infected with Clinton-hysteria and uses sexy women to spin lies so the foreign press doesn't laugh and scorn absurd BS too loudly. The American press are just stenographers and eagerly copy her lies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL9UxED4uuIThe problem is that Russia/USSR submitted once and the West think it can be achieved again. Hence everything must be made clear. No partners word should be used and the West must be clearly warned that violence of unimaginable level will be used if they dare and what will follow if Russian force anywhere attacked and that any use of nukes against Russia means the end of humanity.myself , March 30, 2018 at 10:27 pm GMT
Unfortunately acting adequately and carefully Russia never was able to avoid war. It is in the books. Right now bets are life on earth hence being too careful and being perceived as weak is a bad thing. Russia IMHO must act boldly. Respond to USA and UK harassment by cutting diplomatic relations and giving straight terse warning.@Godfree RobertsMiro23 , March 30, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT
I think what disturbs China about this whole situation regarding the ENTIRE Western world (US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia) is not simply that it is an overreaction to Russia, but the whole idea that one particular people -- the Russian people -- have once again been SINGLED OUT for collective intimidation and eventually for possible dismemberment.
China has very long and very bitter experience of this itself. In the 19th century, the imperial powers, for some reason, ganged up on China.
In other parts of the world, the experience of other backward peoples was with but ONE particular Empire (ex. only the Americans vs the Amerinds, only the Spanish in South America, only Great Britain in India and Australia, only Russians in Central Asia and Siberia, and only Japanese in Korea. The British, French, Germans, Italians and Belgians each had separate RIVAL spheres in Africa, and ditto for South-East Asia.
But when it came to China, ALL these competing powers set aside their differences. It's as if they said to each other "Hey, China is so enormous and juicy, we should not fight among ourselves, there's enough for everyone!" Unbelievably vicious.
And now, we see the same pattern. the whole Western world against Russia. I think in this instance, the Han don't need anyone to tell them what to think -- it is 100% certain they do not approve of what the collective West is doing.Seamus Padraig , March 30, 2018 at 10:45 pm GMT
But if China stepped in and conveyed that crucial message "The West is only a small fraction of the world"
They can do better than this, and explicitly state that a nuclear war with Russia is a nuclear war with China -- just to make it clear -- and let the US do some more realistic calculations.@IssacSeamus Padraig , March 30, 2018 at 10:47 pm GMT
Israel has a strong grip on US foreign policy for obvious reasons, but Israel has no reason to see Russia bullied into submission.
Sure they do: Syria.@AriochMiro23 , March 30, 2018 at 11:06 pm GMT
"war is a path of deceit. When you are strong -- pretend weak ."
Am familiar with Sun-tzu a well. But what are you saying here? That the UK is stronger than Russia. I would definitely have to disagree with that proposition!@Issacmyself , March 30, 2018 at 11:15 pm GMT
It should be plain to any objective observer of global politics that the west is internally incoherent and will wane in power by the crush weight of demographic change alone. China observes this and realizes the only long-term competitor to their ascendant position, one generation hence, is an independent Russia.
Maybe, but the problem right now is the Imperial US (ruled from Israel). If it succeeds in destroying Russia, then the Chinese are irrelevant, and have nothing to say about anything.Something just occurred to me.myself , March 30, 2018 at 11:24 pm GMT
The recent THREATENED tariffs have an INTERESTING TIMING to them. It is being used by Washington to convince China to stay passive as the West takes down Russia. Conversely, if China "bends the knee", then the West promises that the threats won't materialize. (The West loves worthless promises). Washington calculates that the mere threat of tariffs will make China stand by as a neighbor is destroyed. Any turmoil in your neighbor's house, spills over into yours whether you want it to or not. A neighbor is a neighbor, period.
And THAT, IMHO, is why the protectionist threats are happening NOW. Don't get me wrong, the tariffs were going to happen anyway, eventually. China, whatever it does, cannot escape them.
But to threaten a trade war RIGHT NOW with the one power guaranteed to be Russia's economic lifeline (we know that China couldn't care less what Russia does in its backyard, in the Ukraine) while preparing to attack Russia itself? Well, the whole thing is WAY TOO OBVIOUS.
And if someone like me can see, so can a lot of other people in Moscow and Beijing. Washington thinks its being "smart", but they are so ridiculously easy to read.@Seamus PadraigMiro23 , March 30, 2018 at 11:26 pm GMT
No, not that UK is really stronger than Russia but appears weaker. It's that the West is actually not capable of defeating Russia but loudly shouts that it CAN defeat them easily, and tries to look powerful and intimidating to Russia. In this situation, the weaker-positioned West pretends to Russia that we are stronger, and we want Russia to believe us. That way, it won't come to actual war, and we think Russia will back down. It's an extremely risky plan.@peterAUSmyself , March 30, 2018 at 11:39 pm GMT
That could, perhaps, take minds of US citizens from shopping and social media to, perhaps, more serious matters.
Won't hold my breath.
Taking everything into account, I think the you're right. The US public are irretrievably useless and are going to have to go the whole way, with WW3 and/or an economic collapse, with the best bet being on WW3 (which they may well lose).In fact, it's very possible RUSSIA is NOT, at this time, the target of Western aggression. Sure, the West shall SURELY try to destroy Russia, but the urgency is not there YET. Maybe the real target right now is CHINA, shortly to have the world's largest economy in absolute terms. They must be destroyed NOW! The West is trying to cut a deal with Russia: "Stab China in the back, and bow down to us. You can live A LITTLE LONGER, before we come for you. Otherwise we get pissed and kill you TODAY".myself , March 30, 2018 at 11:47 pm GMT
An entirely plausible master-plan from Washington, London and Paris. Also a pretty transparent one, if it's the case. The problem with this "Divide and Conquer" plan, aside from being easy to read, is that it counts on both Russia and China to be dumb enough to believe they are not BOTH in the cross-hairs. How stupid does the West think China and Russia are?@Miro23Mikel , March 31, 2018 at 12:09 am GMT
It would have a psychological effect, at most. Russia has 5,000 warheads, China only admits to having around 500 or 600 strategic city-killers. They may have more, but if you don't admit something it doesn't count for deterrence. Maybe a decade from now, as China builds its arsenal, the statement could be much more effective.No, the Chinese are surely disgusted with this bullying behavior of the West (even many Europeans are, just read the comments to the news in the different media outlets) but China cannot seriously confront the West. That would make them lose trillions of dollars in exports and investments and put an abrupt end to their miraculous but still ongoing economic development. Not gonna happen anytime soon.Franklin , March 31, 2018 at 12:22 am GMT
The situation will continue to deteriorate until some sort of modus vivendi is reached (like at the beginning of the first Cold War). Or perhaps it's just been too long since the last World War and the time is ripe for the next one.
As for the Skripal murder attempt, it's hard to imagine Putin ordering it at this time and in that manner but it's not that hard to imagine someone from the Kremlin sewers being behind it.
In the somewhat less likely scenario of a false flag operation, I would consider an Israeli asymmetrical response to the recent downing of their jet by the Syrians with obvious help from the Russians. They have plenty of experience in extraterritorial assassinations and more than enough knowledge to fabricate a Russian-like nerve agent.@AnonJohann Ricke , March 31, 2018 at 1:01 am GMT
I respect and value Saker as a commentator on Russian and military affairs. Those are his areas of expertise and professional experience. I do not value him as a historian, because there enters into his writing a clear bias. I respect the fact of his commitment to his Orthodox faith, but I don't appreciate being almost hammerlocked into having to take a side in his prejudices.
He has a way of lumping 1,000 years of exceedingly complex history into what amounts practically to silly formulas that remind one of adolescent pique. West is characterized by "thuggery," whereas the "East," is presumably the source -- and is possibly the monopoly -- of the virtues Saker has in mind, while Western-like manifestations of military violence and conquest are unknown there.
And there is this pearl: "Scholasticism and an insatiable thrust for worldly, secular, power produced both moral relativism and colonialism " This is downright embarrassing in its silliness. Of course, after deep study of Aquinas or Bonaventure the light comes on: moral relativism! Clearly, subtlety and essential distinctions are not the Saker's strong points, to say the least, when it comes to registering his annoyance and bitterness in his 1000 year view of "the West," whereas sweeping and frankly spectacularly inept generalizations are. One is really tempted to accuse him of a lack of intellectual integrity when it comes to these matters.
At root, Saker is a highly emotional and touchy "rooter" for Orthodoxy. Fine, that's his right, but he is no scholar. One looks in vain either for impartiality, for breadth and depth of understanding and sympathy, and hence for generosity of spirit. Thankfully, there are many great scholars of history, East and West.@myselfmyself , March 31, 2018 at 2:06 am GMT
In the 19th century, the imperial powers, for some reason, ganged up on China.
That's the opposite of reality. If they had ganged up on China, each would have taken large piece for itself. In reality, they were overawed by China, and tried to preserve it much as they tried to preserve Ottoman rule against both breakup and dismemberment by Russia. The Ottomans were too far gone, so they failed in both respects. But they did manage to prevent China's breakup while failing to keep Russia from annexing a large chunk of Chinese territory.
Heck, they even helped China defeat the millenarian Taiping rebels who racked up a large body count during their rebellion. Note that when the Jurchens detected internal rebellion during the Ming dynasty, they waited until the imperial armies were occupied with rebel suppression before delivering the coup de grace to the Ming dynasty. The Western powers were too tied up competing with each other to really cooperate in anything more than avenging the honor of their envoys and getting trading posts set up on Chinese territory.@Johann RickeIssac , March 31, 2018 at 2:37 am GMT
By "ganging up" I refer to the way in which China was COLLECTIVELY FORCED to extend any and all concessions granted any single Imperial Power to ALL Imperial powers. And all the Imperial powers were on-board with this policy , again as a unified group.
For example, if Russia forced a railroad treaty on China, China by unequal, at-gun-point "Treaty" with the Eight Powers (at the time Great Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Russia, The United States, Austria-Hungary and Italy) would also have to grant EVERYONE railroad concessions in their respective zones.
Or say if China was forced to open trade relations by America, China would automatically be forced to open trade to EVERYONE ELSE , and even the instigators in that case, the United States, would force China to do it. All in the name of the relevant Treaties, of course.
Also by mutual agreement among the imperial powers, they would not support China in any efforts to get better terms in any negotiation with any other power . So Russia refused to, say provide support for Chinese efforts to fend off the Japanese, though normally it might have done so. This was because, both being part of the Imperial Powers grouping, Russia and Japan had agreed to co-exist in mutual exploitation of China.
It was all designed so that China would have no ability to shift its favor diplomatically from one power to another, but had to negotiate from a position of deliberately imposed weakness. Diplomacy was the only tool available to China in that execrably weak state, pathetic as that tool was. By collective agreement among the Empires, that tool was taken away.
In effect, exploitation of China became a COOPERATIVE project between such disparate rivals as Britain, France and Germany, or United States, Japan and Russia. Such a thing, of a coordinated desire to apportion one country among many, was not seen anywhere else in the Colonial Age .
That is my meaning when I referred to the Empires "ganging up" on China.@Miro23Anonymous  Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 4:03 am GMT
How absurd. The foremost producer of virtually all modern goods is irrelevant without Russia? A weakened Russia is a boon to Chinese expansion into their desired role as Eurasian leader state. The only irrelevant nations are in the West as their post-national suicide becomes all the more certain.@Issacmyself , March 31, 2018 at 8:13 am GMT
Ridiculous, China needs Russia as Russia is a perfect complement to Chinas weaknesses. In fact, neither China nor Russia could have picked a better strategic partner than each other as neither country could confront the West on it's own but together the West cannot topple either nation. No other combination between countries would provide near as much synergies.
China is not looking to expand into Russia. Why would they when they have a shrinking population. They are expanding into the SCS in order to keep their oil lines free.
The real strategic advantage Russia and China have with each other is the OBOR. This is key to everything and is the reason why the West is targeting Russia so aggressively.@Anonymousmyself , March 31, 2018 at 8:29 am GMT
If Mackinder's Heartland theory is at play, and you want to cut China off from Europe, taking down Russia would seem to be an enormous effort to accomplish that. There are much easier ways. Why not just lobby your European "allies" not to trade at all with China? Mission accomplished, and no war with Russia as a bonus. If the EU won't follow the Empire's orders, you need to take out not only Russia, but probably Pakistan, and all the Central Asian nations, plus Iran and Turkey. If not, and you only destroy one or a few of these, China's One Belt One Road reaches Europe anyway.
Also don't forget the outright blockade of China's maritime trade to be conducted by the U.S. Navy -- kind of an act of war in itself.
Seems far easier, if you want to slow China down, to just ORDER America's NATO allies to stop all trade with China. The rest of the world all together won't be able to fill the gap, not any time soon.
Voila, you lower China's GDP growth by some significant percentage, using just strong-arm diplomacy in Europe.
Buys America another full decade as number one economy, maybe.In the fevered dreams of Western strategists, they hope for Russia and China to turn on each other, sparing the Atlantic powers the trouble. Then, they come in and pick up the pieces. They hope to replicate the success of Britain in playing off France against Germany pre-World War One. The problem is they have in fact encouraged the Sino-Russian strategic alignment, not hindered it.Anon  Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 2:11 pm GMT
No matter, after all, there can never be such a thing, thought the British, of a long-term common interest between France and Germany -- a "European Union" will never come about. French and Germans naturally hate each other! Right?
And how did Britain make out with that thinking? How will America make out in coming decades? In geopolitics, not that well. Not as long as we are short-sighted.Herald , March 31, 2018 at 3:36 pm GMT
Those with the power, and the happily ruled, have always needed synonyms for "obedience." Solidarity is a choice in line with our social-mediatic times and the related communication standards.@myselfArioch , March 31, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT
As well as being extremely risky it's also bloody stupid and doomed to failure.@Seamus PadraigSean , March 31, 2018 at 5:35 pm GMT
I mean, like i said above, Johnson and other western politicians are not "boneheads" (intellectually weak) as you said, no, they are smart (intellectually strong) and pretending, faking their intellectual weakness (appearance of stupidity)Answers:-Arioch , March 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm GMT
One and two. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean there is no chance of a mistake, and the standard necessary for thinking Putin responsible is less than what would be needed for finding him guilty in a court of law. He cannot hide behind his country and diplomatic immunity while claiming the protection of British Law for evidence necessary to convict someone on trial for a capital offence.
Three. We want nothing from Russia , for indeed they have nothing to offer. To go away and shut up is the most they can do, and that is why are sending the worst of the Russian goons back were they came from, whether they want to go back or not (they would love to stay in London*).
Four. Punishment is essential, otherwise they will see weakness.
Five. No chance of nuclear war or any other kind or war. Russia is destined to become the lonely old man of Europe. It has nothing anyone wants at the price of being treated like an imbecile, and our diplomats dislike living there*).@TTVidi , March 31, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
Oh, we have a copypaste contest? Okay then, i'd copy here my reply at saker's blog too.
> China will be blackmailed into submission.
Wooop! Then it is not "existential threat" for China.
Clash for power, clash for sovereignty, clash fo prosperity -- but not for survival.
> Russia & China are working closely
Which does not mean China's role is making harsh diplomatic statements in favor of Russia. At least it was not so before today. So i think it is not today either. Also remember that Chinese social mindset is build upon idea of "indebting with gifts and aids" and then requesting payback when they need it. Which means Russia should be very wary about accepting any help from China unless it wishes to be seen by China as a deeply indebted beggar incapable of sustaining itself. And since diplomatic situation for Russia is not deadly critical I do not think Russia needed that newspaper article. If Russia would request China's support of the kind -- it would be in official diplomatic venues like UN.
> Russia needs to save Syria for its own skin
> Iran needs to save its skin
But is it so for China? Is China in critical need of sovereign and friendly Syria? I doubt it.
> China has been backing up with big cheque book for last few years, signing hundreds of billions deal with upfront payments to prop Russia economy for prolong war.
Which is very important, but is not diplomatic statements nor Chinese newspaper articles.
That is exactly the Chinese role in this fight like i said many times before -- economic and financial warfare is Chinese responsibility, while military and diplomatic warfare is Russian's.
> Global times news mostly reflected the China think tank policy that they wish to propagate to English speaking world.
And here we are getting back to the topic. Why such a harsh, explicitly worded article did appeared today? Was it because of Russia or of China itself? Was that article reaction to some new threat to Syria, to russia, or to China itself?
And i believe in the latter option. This article is not linked to any recent events around Russia, it is caused by Sino-American relations shift.
> China has sensed West is tightened noose around Russia to cut it off from world, seeing from Olympic & now the Skirpal circus
Skripal affair is much less than Olympics was. Even European states many did not jumped Skripal wagon. Additionally, if Russia would be "cut off from Western world" -- what the West did not dared to do even in 2014 on the height of Crimea and MH17 accusations and on the hopes of "gas station" imminent and fast collapse, so would hardly dare now just because some Skripal -- but if Russia would somehow gets politically isolated from the West, what bad is it for China? Russia would become more dependent on China, like many of the trade with West would had to go through Chinese "laundry". China gets more influence over Russia. Russia gets much more limited in its options. Good (for China) development, why hurry to cancel it before Russia even asked for ?
> Trade war will be too bloody for the world
Yes, but the said trade war is not having Russia as primary adversary -- Russian economy i not that significant to the western world, and for USA in particular it has but zero significance. The trade war we see igniting -- is the war against China. China can no more be "wise monkey up the trees", when USA moved their chaingun aim from Russia onto China. Now China is being shot at, and the article is Chinese response to China being attacked. Not to anything around Russia.
> You are silly self center viewer
Frankly, it is exactly the opposite here. It is you who claim Russia being behind that article in Global Time. It is me who claims Russia has no any relation to the timing and wording of that article.
> China special force is operating in Syria.
Maybe it is, but seems no one ever saw those operations.
> Lot of weapons supply to SAA.
Maybe they are, but can you name those Chinese weapons and show me where SAA is employing it?
> Lot of money pump in to sustain Syria war,
If they are, then China does it part of the fight, good. Like USA supplied money and material to fighting European states during WW2. However that has no relation with the Global Times article being discussed.
> always throwing allies under bus whenever possible,
.because Putin is evil and just enjoys every opportunity to do bad thing. Always. I wish i would hear somethign remotely creative from you.
> hence Russia deserve to be raped by West like 1990 is natural.
Oh, i see. Yet another russophobic preaching that "Russians should repent and repay, repay, and repent", then frustrated when Russia shrugs this lecture off.@Anonymous
And, as you said, the west has many ways of neutralizing China.
Don't forget that China has an enormous internal market too, which in time should be larger than the U.S. and EU combined. European countries that stay out of this vast and rapidly growing market will be cutting their own throats. Good luck convincing them to do that.
Jun 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com
It was during the spring of 2006 that I began this project. I wanted to investigate whether the growing volume of criticism toward Russia, sometimes by people who could hardly claim to be knowledgeable about the country, concealed a political agenda.
As I researched the subject, I discovered evidence of Russophobia shared by different circles within the American political class and promoted through programs and conferences at various think tanks, congressional testimonies, activities of NGOs, and the media. Russophobia is not merely a critique of Russia, but a critique beyond any sense of proportion, waged with the purpose of undermining the nation's political reputation.
... ... ....
Although a critical analysis of Russia and its political system is entirely legitimate, the issue is the balance of such analysis. Russia's role in the world is growing, yet many U.S. politicians feel that Russia doesn't matter in the global arena. Preoccupied with international issues, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, they find it difficult to accept that they now have to nego- tiate and coordinate their international policies with a nation that only yesterday seemed so weak, introspective, and dependent on the West. To these individuals, Russophobia is merely a means to pressure the Kremlin into submitting to the United States in the execution of its grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites. In the meantime, Russia has grown increasingly resentful, and the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 has demonstrated that Russia is prepared to act unilaterally to stop what it views as US unilateralism in the former Soviet region.
And some in Moscow are tempted to provoke a much greater confrontation with Western states. The attitude of ignorance and self-righteousness toward Russia tells us volumes about the United States' lack of preparation for the twenty-first century's central challenges that include political instability, weapons proliferation, and energy insecurity. Despite the dislike of Russia by a considerable number of American elites, this attitude is far from universally shared. Many Americans understand that Russia has gone a long way from communism and that the overwhelming support for Putin's policies at home cannot be adequately explained by high oil prices and the Kremlin's manipulation of the public-despite the frequent assertions of Russophobic observers.
Balanced analysts are also aware that many Russian problems are typical difficulties that nations encounter with state-building, and should not be presented as indicative of Russia's "inherent drive" to autocracy or empire. As the United States and Russia move further to the twenty-first century, it will be increasingly important to redefine the relationship between the two nations in a mutually enriching way.
Political and cultural phobias are, of course, not limited to those of an anti-Russian nature. For instance, Russia has its share of America-phobia -- a phenomenon that I have partly researched in my book Whose World Order (Notre Dame, 2004) and in several articles. Anti-American attitudes are strongly present in Russian media and cultural products, as a response to the US policies of nuclear, energy, and military supremacy in the world. Extreme hegemonic policies tend to provoke an extreme response, and Russian nationalist movements and often commentators react harshly to what they view as unilateral encroachment on Russia's political system and foreign policy interests. Russia's reactions to these policies by the United States are highly negative and frequently inadequate, but hardly more extreme than the American hegemonic and imperial discourse.
The Anti-Russian LobbyWhen the facile optimism was disappointed, Western euphoria faded, and Russophobia returned ... The new Russophobia was expressed not by the governments, but in the statements of out-of-office politicians, the publications of academic experts, the sensational writings of jour- nalists, and the products of the entertainment industry. (Rodric Braithwaite, Across the Moscow River, 2002)1
....Russophobia is not a myth, not an invention of the Red-Brovvns, but a real phenomenon of political thought in the main political think tanks in the West . .. [T]he Yeltsin-Kozyrev's pro-U.S. "giveaway game" was approved across the ocean. There is reason to say that the period in ques- tion left the West with the illusion that Russia's role was to serve Washington's interests and that it would remain such in the future. (Sergei Mikoyati, International Affairs /October 2006j)2
This chapter formulates a theory of Russophobia and the anti-Russian lobby's influence on the U.S. Russia policy. 1 discuss the Lobby's objec- tives, its tactics to achieve them, the history of its formation and rise to prominence, and the conditions that preserved its influence in the after- math of 9/11.1 argue that Russophobia has been important to American hegemonic elites in pressuring Russia for economic and political conces- sions in the post-Cold War era.
1. Goals and Means
The central objective of the Lobby has been to preserve and strengthen America's power in the post-Cold War world through imperial or hegemonic policies. The Lobby has viewed Russia with its formidable nuclear power, energy reserves, and important geostrategic location as a major obstacle in achieving this objective. Even during the 1990s, when Russia looked more like a failing state3 than one capable of projecting power, some members of the American political class were worried about the future revival of the Eurasian giant as a revisionist power. In their percep- tion, it was essential to keep Russia in a state of military and economic weakness-not so much out of emotional hatred for the Russian people and their culture, but to preserve American security and promote its val- ues across the world. To many within the Lobby, Russophobia became a useful device for exerting pressures on Russia and controlling its policies. Although to some the idea of undermining and, possibly, dismembering Russia was personal, to others it was a necessity of power dictated by the realities of international politics.
According to this dominant vision, there was simply no place in this "New American Century" for power competitors, and America was destined eventually to assume control over potentially threatening military capabilities and energy reserves of others. As the two founders of the Project for the New' American Century (PNAC), William Kristol and Robert Kagan, asserted when referring to the large military forces of Russia and China, "American statesmen today ought to recognize that their charge is not to await the arrival of the next great threat, but rather to shape the international environment to prevent such a threat from arising in the first place."4
Russia was either to agree to assist the United States in preserving its world-power status or be forced to agree. It had to either follow the U.S. interpretation of world affairs and develop a political and economic system sufficiently open to American influences or live as a pariah state, smeared by accusations of pernicious behavior, and in constant fear for its survival in the America-centered world. As far as the U.S. hegemonic elites were concerned, no other choice was available.
This hegemonic mood was largely consistent with mainstream ideas within the American establishment immediately following the end of the Cold War. For example, 1989 saw the unification of Germany and the further meltdown of the Soviet Union, which some characterized as "the best period of U.S. foreign policy ever."5 President Jimmy Carter's former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski envisioned the upcoming victory of the West by celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure."6
In his view, the Soviet "totalitarian" state was incapable of reform. Communism's decline was therefore irreversible and inevitable. It would have made the system's "practice and its dogma largely irrelevant to the human conditions," and communism would be remembered as the twentieth century's "political and intellectual aberration."7 Other com- mentators argued the case for a global spread of Western values. In 1990 Francis Fukuyama first formulated his triumphalist "end of history" thesis, arguing a global ascendancy of the Western-style market democracy.®
... ... ...
Marc Plattner declared the emergence of a "world with one dominant principle of legitimacy, democracy."9 When the Soviet system had indeed disintegrated, the leading establishment journal Foreign Affairs pronounced that "the Soviet system collapsed because of what it was, or more exactly, because of what it was not. The West 'won' because of what the democracies were-because they were free, prosperous and successful, because they did justice, or convincingly tried to do so."10 Still others, such as Charles Krauthammer, went as far as to proclaim the arrival of the United States' "unipolar moment," a period in which only one super- power, the United States, would stand above the rest of the world in its military, economic, and ideological capacity.11
In this context of U.S. triumphalism, at least some Russophobes expected Russia to follow the American agenda. Still, they were worried that Russia may still have surprises to offer and would recover as an enemy.12
Soon after the Soviet disintegration, Russia indeed surprised many, although not quite in the sense of presenting a power challenge to the United States. Rather, the surprise was the unexpectedly high degree of corruption, social and economic decay, and the rapid disappointment of pro-Western reforms inside Russia. By late 1992, the domestic economic situation was much worsened, as the failure of Western-style shock ther- apy reform put most of the population on the verge of poverty. Russia was preoccupied not with the projection of power but with survival, as poverty, crime, and corruption degraded it from the status of the indus- trialized country it once was. In the meantime, the economy was largely controlled by and divided among former high-ranking party and state officials and their associates. The so-called oligarchs, or a group of extremely wealthy individuals, played the role of the new post-Soviet nomenklatura; they influenced many key decisions of the state and suc- cessfully blocked the development of small- and medium-sized business in the country.13 Under these conditions, the Russophobes warned that the conditions in Russia may soon be ripe for the rise of an anti-Western nationalist regime and that Russia was not fit for any partnership with the United States.14
The mid-1990s saw the emergence of post-Soviet Russophobia. The Lobby's ideology was not principally new, as it still contained the three central myths of Sovietophobia left over from the Cold War era: Russia is inherently imperialist, autocratic, and anti-Western. This ideology now had to be modified to the new conditions and promoted politically, which required a tightening of the Lobby's unity, winning new allies within the establishment, and gaining public support.15
... ... ...
The impact of structural and institutional factors is further reinforced by policy factors, such as the divide within the policy community and the lack of presidential leadership. Not infrequently, politicians tend to defend their personal and corporate interests, and lobbying makes a difference in the absence of firm policy commitments.
Experts recognize that the community of Russia watchers is split and that the split, which goes all the way to the White House, has been responsible for the absence of a coherent policy toward the country. During the period of 2003-2008, Vice President Richard Dick Cheney formed a cohesive and bipartisan group of Russia critics, who pushed for a more confrontational approach with the Kremlin. The brain behind the invasion of Iraq, Cheney could not tolerate opposition to what he saw as a critical step in establishing worldwide US hegemony. He was also harboring the idea of controlling Russia's energy reserves.91
Since November 2004, when the administration launched a review of its policy on Russia,92 Cheney became a critically important voice in whom the Lobby found its advocate. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and, until November 2004, Colin Powell opposed the vice president's approach, arguing for a softer and more accommodating style in relations with Moscow.
President Bush generally sided with Rice and Powell, but he proved unable to form a consistent Russia policy. Because of America's involvement in the Middle East, Bush failed to provide the leadership committed to devising mutually acceptable rules in relations with Russia that could have prevented the deterioration in their relationship. Since the end of 2003, he also became doubtful about the direction of Russia's domestic transformation.93 As a result, the promising post-9/11 cooperation never materialized. The new cold war and the American Sense of History
It's time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin's Russia as an enemy of the United States. (Bret Stephens, "Russia: The Enemy," The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2006)
If today's reality of Russian politics continues ... then there is the real risk that Russia's leadership will be seen, externally and internally, as illegitimate. (John Edwards and Jack Kemp, "We Need to Be Tough with Russia," International Herald Tribune, July 12, 2006)
On Iran, Kosovo, U.S. missile defense, Iraq, the Caucasus and Caspian basin, Ukraine-the list goes on-Russia puts itself in conflict with the U.S. and its allies . . . here are worse models than the united Western stand that won the Cold War the first time around.
("Putin Institutionalized," The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2007) In order to derail the U.S.-Russia partnership, the Lobby has sought to revive the image of Russias as an enemy of the United States. The Russophobic groups have exploited important differences between the two countries' historical self-perceptions, presenting those differences as incompatible.
1. Contested History
Two versions of history
The story of the Cold War as told from the U.S. perspective is about American ideas of Western-style democracy as rescued from the Soviet threat of totalitarian communism. Although scholars and politicians disagreed over the methods of responding to the Soviet threat, they rarely questioned their underlying assumptions about history and freedom.' It therefore should not come as surprise that many in the United States have interpreted the end of the Cold War as a victory of the Western freedom narrative. Celebrating the Soviet Union's "grand failure"-as Zbigniew Brzezinski put it2-the American discourse assumed that from now on there would be little resistance to freedom's worldwide progression. When Francis Fukuyama offered his bold summary of these optimistic feelings and asserted in a famous passage that "what we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War... but the end of history as such,"3 he meant to convey the disappearance of an alternative to the familiar idea of free- dom, or "the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."4
In Russia, however, the Cold War story has been mainly about sovereignty and independence, rather than Western-style liberalism. To many Russians it is a story of freedom from colonization by the West and of preserving important attributes of sovereign statehood.
In a world where neocolonialism and cultural imperialism are potent forces, the idea of freedom as independence continues to have strong international appeal and remains a powerful alternative to the notion of liberal democracy. Russians formulated the narrative of independence centuries ago, as they successfully withstood external invasions from Napoleon to Hitler. The defeat of the Nazi regime was important to the Soviets because it legitimized their claims to continue with the tradition of freedom as independence.
The West's unwillingness to recognize the importance of this legitimizing myth in the role of communist ideology has served as a key reason for the Cold War.5 Like their Western counterparts, the Soviets were debating over methods but not the larger assumptions that defined their struggle.
This helps to understand why Russians could never agree with the Western interpretation of the end of the Cold War. What they find missing from the U.S. narrative is the tribute to Russia's ability to defend its freedom from expansionist ambitions of larger powers. The Cold War too is viewed by many Russians as a necessarily defensive response to the West's policies, and it is important that even while occupying Eastern Europe, the Soviets never celebrated the occupation, emphasizing instead the war vic- tory.6 The Russians officially admitted "moral responsibility" and apolo- gized for the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.7 They may be prepared to fully recognize the postwar occupation of Eastern Europe, but only in the context of the two sides' responsibility for the Cold War. Russians also find it offensive that Western VE Day celebrations ignore the crucial contribution of Soviet troops, even though none of the Allies, as one historian put it, "paid dearer than the Soviet Union for the victory. Forty Private Ivans fell in battle to every Private Ryan."8 Victory over Nazi Germany constitutes, as another Russian wrote, "the only undisputable foundation of the national myth."9
If the two sides are to build foundations for a future partnership, the two historical narratives must be bridged. First, it is important to recognize the difficulty of negotiating a common meaning of freedom and accept that the idea of freedom may vary greatly across nations. The urge for freedom may be universal, but its social content is a specific product of national his- tories and local circumstances. For instance, the American vision of democracy initially downplayed the role of elections and emphasized selection by merit or meritocracy. Under the influence of the Great Depression, the notion of democracy incorporated a strong egalitarian and poverty-fighting component, and it was not until the Cold War- and not without its influence-that democracy has become associated with elections and pluralistic institutions.10 Second, it is essential to acknowledge the two nations' mutual respon- sibility for the misunderstanding that has resulted in the Cold War. A historically sensitive account will recognize that both sides were thinking in terms of expanding a territorial space to protect their visions of security. While the Soviets wanted to create a buffer zone to prevent a future attack from Germany, the Americans believed in reconstructing the European continent in accordance with their ideas of security and democracy. A mutual mistrust of the two countries' leaders exacerbated the situation, making it ever more difficult to prevent a full-fledged political confronta- tion. Western leaders had reason to be suspicious of Stalin, who, in his turn, was driven by the perception of the West's greed and by betrayals from the dubious Treaty of Versailles to the appeasement of Hitler in Munich. Arrangements for the post-World War II world made by Britain, the USSR, and the United States proved insufficient to address these deep-seated suspicions.
In addition, most Eastern European states created as a result of the Versailles Treaty were neither free nor democratic and collaborated with Nazi Germany in its racist and expansionist policies. The European post-World War 1 security system was not working properly, and it was only a matter of time before it would have to be transformed.
Third, if an agreeable historical account is to emerge, it would have to accept that the end of the Cold War was a product of mutually beneficial a second Cold War, "it also does not want the reversal of the U.S. geopolitical gains that it made in the decade or so after the end of the Cold War."112 Another expert asked, "What possible explanation is there for the fact that today-at a moment when both the U.S. and Russia face the common enemy of Islamist terrorism-hard-liners within the Bush administration, and especially in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, are arguing for a new tough line against Moscow along the lines of a scaled-down Cold War?"113
Yet another analyst wrote "at the Cold War's end, the United States was given one of the great opportunities of history: to embrace Russia, the largest nation on earth, as partner, friend, ally. Our mutual interests meshed almost perfectly. There was no ideological, territorial, his- toric or economic quarrel between us, once communist ideology was interred. We blew it. We moved NATO onto Russia's front porch, ignored her valid interests and concerns, and, with our 'indispensable-nation' arrogance, treated her as a defeated power, as France treated Weimar Germany after Versailles."114
Apr 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.comby Srdja Trifkovic via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
There is a paranoid, hysterical quality to the public discourse on Russia and all things Russian in today's America. The corporate media machine and its Deep State handlers have abdicated reason and common decency in favor of raw hate and fear-mongering. We have not seen anything like it before, even in the darkest days of the Cold War.
The roots of Russophobia's emotional appeal to the left seem clear: It comes as a huge mental relief to the ultrasensitive liberal mind to be able to hate an outside group with impunity, and even to appear virtuous in the process . Of course, the object of that animus is a Christian and European nation that stubbornly refuses to be postmodernized, or become gripped by self-hate and morbid introspection; a nation not ashamed of its past and unwilling to surrender its future to alien multitudes; a nation where nobody obsesses over transgender bathrooms, microaggressions, and other "issues" indicative of a society's moral and intellectual decrepitude.
The liberals' ideological and emotional Russophobia has blended seamlessly with the bread-and-butter hostility to Russia shared by Deep State operatives in the intelligence and national-security apparatus, in the military-industrial complex, and in the congressional duopoly. The result is a surreal narrative that mixes supposedly unprovoked "Russian aggression" in Ukraine, hostile intent in the Baltics, serial war crimes in Syria, political destabilization in Western Europe, and gross interference in America's "democratic process". The result is an altogether fictitious "existential threat," which has made President Trump's intended détente with Moscow impossible. He may have been serious about turning over a new leaf, but the Deep State counterpressure proved just too great. A solid rejection front emerged, left and right, conservative and liberal, which extends even into his own team and finally inhibited him from making moves that could have appeared too friendly to Putin.
The Russophobes' narrative is unrelated to Russia's actual policies. It reflects a deep odium of the elite class toward Russia-as-such. That animosity has been developing in its current form since roughly the time of the Crimean War, when in his Letters From Russia the Marquis de Custine said that the country's "veneer of European civilization was too thin to be credible."
"No human beings, black, yellow or white, could be quite as untruthful, as insincere, as arrogant-in short, as untrustworthy in every way-as the Russians," President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in 1905. John Maynard Keynes, after a trip to the Soviet Union in 1925, wondered whether the "mood of oppression" might be "the fruit of some beastliness in the Russian nature." J. Robert Oppenheimer opined in 1951 that, in Russia, "We are coping with a barbarous, backward people." More recently, Sen. John McCain declared that "Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country." "Russia is an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics," Slate wrote in early 2014, even before the Ukrainian crisis reached its climax.
This narrative has two key pillars. In terms of geopolitics, we see the striving of maritime empires-Britain before World War II, and the United States after - to "contain" and if possible control the Eurasian heartland, the core of which is of course Russia. Equally important is the already noted cultural antipathy, the desire not merely to influence Russian policies and behavior but to effect an irreversible transformation of Russia's identity. Some of the most viscerally Russophobic stereotypes come from Russia herself, from those members of Moscow's "intelligentsia" who feel more at home in New York or London than anywhere in their own country. The late Anna Politkovskaya thus wrote in the Los Angeles Times 12 years ago that "it is common knowledge that the Russian people are irrational by nature." It is impossible to imagine a mainstream publication publishing a similar statement about Jews or Muslims.
The Russophobic frenzy comes at a cost. It further devalues the quality of public discourse on world affairs in the United States, which is already dismally low. It has already undermined the prospects for a mutually beneficial new chapter in U.S.-Russian relations, based on a realist assessment that those two powers have no "existential" differences - and share many actual and potential commonalities. It perpetrates the arrogant delusion that there is a superior, "Western" model of social and cultural thought and action that can and should be imposed everywhere, but especially in Russia.
Saddest of all, Russophobic mania prolongs the European civil war that exploded in July 1914, continued in 1939, and has never properly ended - not even with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It would be in the American interest, as well as Russia's and Europe's, for that conflict to end, so that the existential challenge common to all- that of resurgent jihad and Europe's demographic crisis - can be properly addressed.
francis soyer , Apr 23, 2017 7:28 PMBlue Balls -> francis soyer , Apr 23, 2017 7:35 PM
Cheesepopes be gaslightingRamesees -> Blue Balls , Apr 23, 2017 7:39 PM
Nothing give a NYC Wall Street banker more of a wet dream than the possibility of war between the goy. Oil, white slaves, truly a banker's dream come true.Lumberjack -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 7:40 PM
We don't have to go to war with Russia, but let's agree that Russia is, at a minimum, a rival.Ramesees -> Lumberjack , Apr 23, 2017 7:43 PM
Wrong. China is.knukles -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 7:46 PM
Russia has its own interests, just like the United States. Sometimes our interests align, more often they do not.
How is that any different than China, other than Russia's demographic death spiral that will eliminate them as a rival in 50-75 years?Dizzy Malscience -> knukles , Apr 23, 2017 8:16 PM
Why can't we all just get along?Volkodav -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 8:09 PM
..it seems like our foreign policy is like an angry poor, innocent "motorist", whacked out on amphetamines, speeding over 100 mph and destined to drown in his liberal negro lottery swimming pool.Centerist -> Volkodav , Apr 23, 2017 8:24 PM
missed fact Russian demographic is much improve
sure better than europeLumberjack -> Lumberjack , Apr 23, 2017 8:10 PM
Da, comrade. Russian demographic is much improve. Population shrink less fast now.malek -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 7:49 PM
Comment: why US allies Israel, Saudi Arabia are cosying up to China
The United States is closely watching a recent increase in piracy off the coast of Somalia, a senior U.S. military official said on Sunday as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited an important military base in Djibouti.
Hate to use huffpo but this is relevent...
Why China and Saudi Arabia Are Building Bases in Djibouti http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-braude/why-china-and-saudi-arabi_b_ ...
http://thediplomat.com/2017/02/the-chinese-navys-djibouti-base-a-support ...Centerist -> Ramesees , Apr 23, 2017 8:20 PM
"Russia is, at a minimum, a rival."
If I ignore your bullshit "but at the maximum..." implication:
So what do you conclude from that. Is it a bad thing to have rivals? Should we strive to turn every remaining rival into a vassal? Is there a limit on methods allowed toward a rival?Lumberjack -> Centerist , Apr 23, 2017 9:03 PM
I'll give you a green arrow to make up for the narrow-mindedness of the simpletons who all gave you red arrows.
We don't need a war with Russia, and the US won't instigate one, either. The juice wouldn't be worth the squeeze.
With all of that being said, Russia is a rival to the US in other parts of the world. The US isn't the only country with a desire for influence around the world.
As much as there is a "Russo-phobia" being perpetuated in the US, you can bet a buck that there is an "Ameri-phobia" being perpetuated out there.
The big difference is that in Russia, they don't have message boards full of people sh*tting on their own country.Centerist -> Lumberjack , Apr 23, 2017 9:17 PM
They will accomplish the war by proxy.monk27 -> Blue Balls , Apr 23, 2017 7:49 PM
Well, that is kind of how major powers compete for influence. It takes two to tango. We can't exactly engage in war by proxy if the Russians aren't involved in it, too.dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:29 PM
I hate to say it but the so called "elites", in charge of our beloved deep state controlling everything, are quite stupid -- This continuous news hysteria, against whatever subject du jour our intelligentsia decides to float publicly, proves beyond any reasonable doubt that said "elites" suffer from a combination of low IQ, partial education (at best !), and high self-delusion... We might get to witness nuclear war, just because our "elites" are too idiotic to realize what a nuclear war really is...Billy the Poet -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:34 PM
Yes ZH, tell us once again how wonderful and humane Putin's Russia is.
Don't forget the loving relationship he has with little Kimmy of NK.rccalhoun -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:39 PM
I see no such thing in this article. Can you provide quotes to support your criticism?Justin Case -> rccalhoun , Apr 23, 2017 7:47 PM
dsty-- ZH does promote putin too much (ZH bias), but ZH is correct in that the MSM has the full court press on to instigate
and insult russia in any way possible.
my question; why the fuck does the USSA stick their fucking nose into everything? if the USSA wants supreme power...then go
conquer these nations and see how that works out.Pure Evil -> Justin Case , Apr 23, 2017 7:59 PM
They stick their hook nose into everything because they want to own the whole 4th rock from the sun. These people are ill, very ill and as I read these comments it's obvious that some just don't get it yet.Implied Violins -> Pure Evil , Apr 23, 2017 9:03 PM
If we're the fourth rock from the sun, then the other three rocks between us and the sun are.......Venus, Mercury and ?knukles -> rccalhoun , Apr 23, 2017 7:48 PM
Nibiru. Or Wormwood. Nemesis? Planet X?? Ah fuck it.Brazen Heist -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 7:40 PM
Which tells us that since we all live rent free in Tyler's pro-Russian basement, that we're now on 2 different sets of lists? That's disturbing.Squid Viscous -> dsty , Apr 23, 2017 8:08 PM
Do tell us of that more loving butt-buddy relationship the US government has with the Wahhabi terrorist state.35 Whelen , Apr 23, 2017 7:39 PM
Dsty, dirty stinking tacky yid?Normalcy Bias , Apr 23, 2017 7:41 PM
"haven't seen anything like this since the darkest days of the cold war" ... that's because the media was by and large pro-Soviet.dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:42 PM
All of this B.S. Russophobia evolved from a convenient distraction from the CONTENT of the leaked DNC emails, and has been amplified because of the symbiosis with Neoconservative/Globalist strategies.Justin Case -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:49 PM
What amazes me is how well the propaganda seems to be working. There's a bunch of old farts (not that I'm really young!) at the gym every morning talking about how awesome it is that we bombed Syria and it'll show that bastard Putin we're tough and mean business. "America, Fuck yeh!" I wanted to ask them if they were mentally defective or just fucking retards...UncleChopChop -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:50 PM
Typical merica pie. Fuck tartsmonk27 -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:51 PM
sadReaper -> dilligaff , Apr 23, 2017 7:58 PM
Propaganda works very well with stupid subjects; the dumber the better...Reaper , Apr 23, 2017 7:42 PM
They "think/emote" alike, because each fears the others would otherwise discover their real ignorance.medium giraffe -> Reaper , Apr 23, 2017 8:02 PM
Hate = emote. Emote = antithesis of reason. Hate controls the hater. Ergo, the creators of the hate control the haters.Reaper -> medium giraffe , Apr 23, 2017 8:18 PM
Pretty much. Society has opted to run on emotion rather than fact, emotional manipulation being the key part of the most popular forms of entertainment. Sadly this bleeds into our dealings with each other which are increasingly emotional or insulting. Most of human behaviour and attitudes are due to fear, particularly the egoic fear of inadequacy. As a control mechanism, fear is a formidable tool. But fear is also a choice.aloha_snakbar , Apr 23, 2017 7:44 PM
Fear is less effective tool than respect, especially in diplomacy. http://www.businessinsider.com/dale-carnegie-on-habits-of-influential-pe...IranContra , Apr 23, 2017 7:50 PM
"Say Russia one more time... I DARE you"...Billy the Poet -> IranContra , Apr 23, 2017 7:56 PM
The Strategic Culture Foundation who published this piece has an evil agenda, and they are not even friends of Putin. They are very subtle warmongers. You will see when the time comes.
Putin was duped by Iran in Syria, Iran got Syria, not Putin. Trump and Saudi can give Russia what it needs to survive, if Putin stops being duped by deceptive hegemonial Iran.earleflorida -> IranContra , Apr 23, 2017 8:39 PM
The Saudis gave us September 11 -- the gift that keeps on giving. But I doubt that Putin's jealous.sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:00 PM
"Iran approves six presidential candidates-- blocks Ahmadinejad"
have you any ideal how powerful this nutjob was? ahmadinejab was so powerful at one tyme he challenged the actual ayatollah position as last word! now, this guy was nuts!!! http://news.antiwar.com/2017/04/20/iran-approves-six-presidential-candidates-blocks-ahmadinejad/number06 -> sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:10 PM
This reminds me of when the ZerroHedge owners mentioned that Bloomberg article several months back that involved an interview of a former Zero Hedge writer blowing the lid off this place. He mentioned how pro-Russia the ZH owners were. This article suggests that he may have been right after all!stpioc -> sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:16 PM
Its pretty obvious many around here are in the superbowl ring stealing midgets pocketNeochrome -> stpioc , Apr 23, 2017 8:33 PM
Here is that article showing the Russiophile Zerohedgers:
Yea, we shouldn't be afraid of a country with nukes, that invades it's neigbours, has an uber crony economy the size of Italy's, dominated by oligarchs in mining and the obligation to keep friendly with the Kremlin or risk being put in jail and have your assets taken away on trumped up charges. The country that murders it's opponents and critics with nasty stuff like Polonium, even abroad, that interferes in others elections with misinformation campaigns and troll factories, that is on the side of the ayatolla's of Iran and the mass murderer in Syria, helping him by bombing hospitals and refugees, only to be "recognized as a player again on the world stage" A coutry of alcoholics with one of the lowest life expectancy in the developed world. Really, a model state.
As Paul Graig Roberts, the inhouse idiot here noted, Putin for the Nobel peace price!Volkodav -> sbenard , Apr 23, 2017 8:24 PM
Which of the above does NOT apply to US and even worse?momprayn , Apr 23, 2017 8:28 PM
maybe here is one few places balance from the foamy mouth MSM
ZH far more logic, reason informed visitorsVW Nerd -> momprayn , Apr 23, 2017 8:45 PM
Wikileaks has disclosed the tactic to blame Russia for the election results, Trump's collusion, etc. back to spring of 2016 --- I remember when they started making those "Russia" comments. They wanted to start the thoughts about him/his staff being in collusion with the Russians. That was to hopefully make more decide not to vote for him and in case he won, use it to prove election fraud, treason and somehow impeach him.
Those who know about the Globalists NWO agenda, Deep State, Neocons, etc. realize we've all been lied to about Russia (among all the other lies) since the end of the Cold War. for "their" agenda purposes - need for continuous wars for MIC, etc. also. Putin is not as portrayed at all. Russia is not the "big bad Commie" beast that wants to take over the world as they want us to believe to "justify" another war.
Putin is an Eastern Orthodox Chrsitian who protects Christians, hates and fights terrorists and Globalism. He is not a Globalist. We have those goals in common and Pres. Trump and Putin would be a fantastic duo that when united, terrorism and Globalism would finally be dealt death blows,
Our enemies within know that and therefore they're trying to do everything they can to hurt that relationship and not let it happen because it would mean finally - the end of their evil world order plan.Neochrome , Apr 23, 2017 8:34 PM
Excellent assessment. I'll have to share it with my sister. She's a Republican Russia/Iran/Syria hater.earleflorida -> Neochrome , Apr 23, 2017 8:51 PM
Amount of pressure applied commensurate to strength of a country in question. For some of them all it takes is a stern talk from the ambassador, Russia right now is safely beyond the US ability to apply the required pressure, including the threat of Nuclear War. What is happening instead is that world being interconnected the way it is, applying pressure at hardened point that is Russia is also increasing pressure at other weaker points as well, pretty much all over the world. EU and NATO are posturing against Russia in display of lunacy that is symptomatic for the West, it seems that God is taking away humans ability to reason. Day 1, Russia announces indefinite cuts of gas supplies to Europe, stocks crater, world economy craters, Russia and China who were hoarding gold watch the West collapse like a house of cards while passing the popcorn. The End.Spinkbottle , Apr 23, 2017 8:51 PM
"Where Empires go to Die?"?!?
Afghanistan is about to go full retard again, as taliban cuts ussa out of heroin billions--- as our afghan troops turn their weapons on their masters
seems, we bunker-busted the wrong cavity?
http://news.antiwar.com/tag/afghanistan/globalintelhub , Apr 23, 2017 8:55 PM
The Jewish media has been obsessed with this business about Russia allegedly influencing the recent 2016 U.S. election. This obsession has concealed the real problem with foreign influence over the American electoral system. It isn't Russian influence that's the problem, it is Israeli influence that's the problem.
Below is a list of stories showing how Israelis or Jews substantively connected to Israel have been subverting the American electoral process.
https://www.dailystormer.com/israel-is-the-main-foreign-power-subverting-the-american-election-system/Son of Captain Nemo , Apr 23, 2017 8:59 PM
Read it and weep www.splittingpennies.com
You know we will have turned the corner when Donald Trump gives the American people a "Fireside Chat" and tells the public the real reasons the media spearheads a constant barrage of hate filled anti-Russian LYING PROPAGANDA filled rhetoric... BECAUSE
A) THEY ARE THE WORLDS LEADER IN OIL PRODUCTION B) HAVE NO DEBT C) HAVE THERE OWN BALANCE OF PAYMENT CREDIT SYSTEM MIR THAT WILL REPLACE THE WESTERN CENTRAL BANK(S) SYSTEM "SWIFT"
And after he delivers that truthful message he will NEVER BE ALLOWED TO EVER AGAIN... He will probably be shot like HOWARD BEALE in the movie NETWORK... Or WWWIII will be LAUNCHED!!!
Apr 02, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Never Trump cabal can now claim total victory. Unsuccessful at preventing Trump from winning the nomination or the general election, they have instead co-opted his presidency for their own policies and programs.
With the nomination of John Bolton, Never Trump interventionists have installed one of the unrepentant architects of the catastrophic Iraq War to head the National Security Council.
In recent months, ignoring and rejecting his own party's convention platform, Trump has agreed to send lethal weapons to Ukraine. Besides accelerating the deaths of Ukrainians and ethnic Russians while laying waste to the civilian population of the Donbas, what advantage to the people of the United States does this military escalation provide?
Last summer, in one of the strangest speeches in American history, President Trump announced he would surge troop levels in Afghanistan -- and then in the same breath admitted it was a mistake and something he didn't really want to do. That should show the conflict here: Trump's instincts versus the establishment sorts around him.
Never Trumpers are not so secretly celebrating. They got the president they thought they didn't want. And now, pretending they still don't want him, they can hardly believe their good fortune.
Achieving their foreign policy goals is just the icing on the cake. They also got the president to implement the entire Wall Street agenda: lowering taxes on the super rich; advancing huge subsidies to the medical insurance industry; keeping the Export-Import Bank funded; re-authorizing the ivory trade; shrinking the size of national monuments so that multi-national corporations can turn our wilderness areas into strip mines and clear-cut wastelands.
Then, just this week, in a reckless act of generational theft, Trump endorsed the second biggest budget in U.S. history, caving in to every demand and desire of the UniParty and the K Street lobbyists whom they serve.
In the 18th century, the cry went "Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute!" Trump's cry is "Billions for defense, but not one penny for a wall!"
Trump justifies his signature on the omnibus bill by claiming it was necessary for national security. But that claim rings hollow when comparatively little is allocated for the protection of America's own borders and the defense of its homeland. Americans intuitively know that the real danger to their safety is not along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border; it's along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Trump's own laudable instincts have been neutered by the globalist, interventionist generals and policy wonks who now populate powerful positions at the White House and the departments of State and Defense.
Many reading this might now protest: what's wrong with passing the omnibus? Isn't it providing the funds necessary for making America great again? But Donald Trump did not run for office on a platform of bloating spending; he ran on opposition to massive debt increases and specifically to many of the programs they pay for. The budget can be summed up in a paraphrase of a Broadway musical hit tune: whatever crony wants, crony gets.
Has there been a fiercer critic of the Iraq war than Donald Trump? Yet he promotes to the head of the NSC perhaps that conflict's most vociferous apologist. Trump promised he would end the wars of choice, that he would refrain from taking sides in other nation's internal conflicts. He called for a reasonable rapprochement with Russia with the goal of making America and Americans safer. He specifically said he would wind down the military commitment in Afghanistan as quickly and safely as possible.
His only bellicose pledge concerned ISIS, which he promised to destroy. As we have seen, that was one of the few promises he kept. In most other policy areas he has reversed his campaign pledges. His foreign policy is no longer America First; it's evolved into the same, old, dangerous, meddling, interventionist program of the last quarter century. Trump has deepened U.S. involvement in Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, and Afghanistan without clearly defining the missions, the goals, and the risks. If voters had wanted this, they would have elected Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.
Yet of all the betrayals, the war on nature is the most grievous and shocking. As someone who supported Trump from day one in June 2015, who has seen virtually every one of his speeches, interviews, and tweets, I cannot recall a single word about the national parks or monuments.
Had Trump forecast during the campaign how he would govern on environmental issues, would he have been elected? Could those narrow margins of victory in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa have gone the other way? With his appointment of Ryan Zinke to the Department of the Interior, Trump needlessly and recklessly alienated tens of thousands of voters who might otherwise have supported him and who may indeed have voted for him in 2016. Although its hard to discern exactly why the president's poll numbers are as low as they are, it would be a mistake to discount the animus engendered by the unexpected assault on wilderness, open space, endangered species, and America's magnificent national monuments.
The only national monument that Trump has failed to shrink is the Beltway swamp. In fact, judging from the continuing spread of McMansions in Potomac, Maryland and Falls Church, Virginia, he has effectively widened its borders. It's as if the chants from all those packed stadiums during that long ago presidential campaign were "Fill that swamp! Fill that swamp!"
It is now abundantly clear why the Never Trumpers are tittering over their cocktails. Trump has staffed most departments of his government with establishment cronies and neoconservative zealots. He now presides over the implementation of their agenda. In effect, we're getting a variation on what could be called the third Bush presidency -- minus the decorum.
Trump's is also the all-talk presidency: talk tough on illegal immigration, but fail to build the wall; talk tough on sanctuary cities, but fail to cut federal subsidies; talk tough on illegal immigration, then push for the biggest amnesty since 1986; talk tough against the Export-Import Bank, then fund it; talk tough on Obamacare, then fund big insurance to keep the subsidies flowing; talk tough on reducing taxes, then screw millions of homeowners across America by actually raising their taxes; talk tough on trade, then tiptoe around Mexico and Canada on everything that really matters; talk tough on the deficit, then sign the second biggest boondoggle spending bill in U.S. history.
Still, it cannot be denied: President Trump has accomplished much -- for the establishment and their K Street lobbyists. They write the bills, Paul Ryan guides them through the House amendment-free, and Trump signs them in to law.
For those who packed those campaign rallies, who wore those red "Make America Great Again" caps, and for the rest of us mere plebs, Donald Trump's presidency is best summed up by The Bard: "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Ron Maxwell wrote and directed the Civil War motion-pictures Gettysburg , Gods & Generals , and Copperhead .
Apr 01, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
There is no doubt about it: Stormy Daniels is a formidable woman. Karen McDougal is no slouch either, though she is hard to admire after that riff, in her Anderson Cooper interview, about how religious and Republican she is; she even said that she used to love the Donald. Stormy Daniels is better than that.
How wonderfully appropriate it would be if she were to become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.
Even in a world as topsy-turvy as ours has become, there has to be a final straw.
To be sure, evidence of Trump's vileness, incompetence, and mental instability is accumulating at breakneck speed, and there are polls now that show support for him holding fast or even slightly rising. Trump's hardcore "base" seems more determined than ever to stand by their man.
But even people as benighted as they are bound to realize eventually that they have been had. Many of them already do, but don't care; they hate Clinton Democrats that much. This is understandable, but foolish; so foolish, in fact, that they can hardly keep it up indefinitely.
To think otherwise is to despair for the human race.
What, if anything, can bring them to their senses in time for the 2018 election?
Stormy Daniels says she only wants to tell her story, not bring Trump down. But her political instincts seem decent, and she is one shrewd lady. Therefore, I would not be the least surprised if that is not quite true. It hardly matters, though, what her intentions are; I'd put my money on her.
A recession might also do the trick. A recession is long overdue, and Trump's tax cut for the rich and his tariffs are sure to make its consequences worse when it happens.
To turn significant portions of Trump's base against him, a major military conflagration might also do -- not the kind Barack Obama favored, fought far away and out of public view, but a real war, televised on CNN, and waged against an enemy state like North Korea or Iran. It would have to go quickly and disastrously wrong, though, in ways that even willfully blind, terminally obtuse Trump supporters could not fail to see.
Or the gods could smile upon us, causing Trump's exercise regimen (sitting in golf carts) and his fat-ridden, cholesterol rich diet to catch up with him, as it would with most other sedentary septuagenarians. The only downside would be that a heart attack or stroke might elicit sympathy for the poor bastard. No sane person could or should hope for a calamitous economic downturn or for yet another devastating, pointless, and manifestly unjust war, especially one that could become a war to end all wars (along with everything else), on the off-chance that some good might come of it. And if the best we can do is hope that cheeseburgers with fries will save us, we are grasping at straws.
These are compelling reasons to hope that the accusations made by Daniels and McDougal and Summer Zervos – and other consensual and non-consensual Trump victims and "playmates" – gain traction. If the several defamation lawsuits now in the works can get the president deposed, this is not out of the question.
The problem for Trump is not that his accusers' revelations will cause his base to defect; no matter how salacious their stories and no matter how believable they may be. Trump's moral turpitude is taken for granted in their circles; and they do not care about the myriad ways his words and deeds offend the dignity of the office he holds or embarrass the country he purports to put "first." If any of that mattered to them, they would have jumped ship long ago.
Except perhaps for unreconstructed racists and certifiable sociopaths, white evangelicals are Trump's strongest supporters. What a despicable bunch of hypocrites they are! As long as Trump delivers on their agendas, his salacious escapades don't faze them at all. Godly folk have evidently changed a good deal since the Cotton Mather days.
What has not changed is their seemingly limitless ability to believe nonsense.
And in case light somehow does manage to shine through, Trump has shown them how to restore the darkness they crave. When cognitive dissonance threatens, all they need do is scream "fake news."
The problem for Trump is that what his accusers are saying puts him in legal and political jeopardy. They are claiming, in effect, that he has committed a variety of unlawful and impeachable offenses – from obstruction of justice to violations of campaign finance laws.
In this case as in so many others, it is the cover-up, not the underlying "crime," that could lead to his undoing – especially if the stories Daniels and the others are telling shed light upon or otherwise connect with or meld into Robert Mueller's investigation of (alleged) Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election.
Trump could and probably will survive their charges. His base is such a preternaturally obdurate lot that there may ultimately be no last straw for them. We may have no choice, in the end, but to despair for a sizeable chunk of the human race.
Stormy Daniels would not be any less admirable on that account. She took Trump on and came out on top. For all the world (minus the willfully blind) to see, she, the porn star, is a strong woman who has her life together, while he, the president, is a discombobulated sleaze ball who is leading himself and his country to ruin.
It was different with Monica Lewinsky, another presidential paramour who, almost two decades ago, also held the world's attention.
There was nothing sleazy or venal about Lewinsky's involvement with Bill Clinton; and, for all I know, unless chastity counts, she is as good and virtuous a person as can be. But personal qualities are not what made her affair with our forty-second president as historically significant as it turned out to be.
It would be fair to say that of all the women who have ever had intimate knowledge of that old horn dog's private parts, there is no one who did more good for her country. If only for that, if there were a heaven, there would be special place in it just for her.
The Clinton-Lewinsky dalliance led to a series of events that prevented Clinton from doing even more harm to our feeble welfare state institutions than he would otherwise have done.
Who knows how much progress he would have turned back had he and Monica never done the deed or at least not been found out. Building on groundwork laid down by Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush, he and his wife had already terminated Aid to Families With Dependent Children, one of the main government programs aimed at relieving poverty. This was to be just the first step in "ending welfare as we know it."
With their "donors" pushing for more austerity, those two neoliberal pioneers were itching to begin privatizing other, more widely supported social programs, including even Social Security, the so-called "third rail" of American politics.
The "Lewinsky matter" put the kybosh on that idea, leaving the American people forever in Monica's debt.
Back in the Kennedy days, Mel Brook's two-thousand year old man got it right when he said: presidents "gotta do it," to which he added – " because if they don't do it to their wives and girlfriends, they do it to the nation."
Stormy Daniels made much the same point ten years ago, while flirting with the idea of running against Louisiana Senator David Vitter. Vitter's political career had been almost ruined when his name turned up in the phone records of the infamous "DC Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Daniels told voters that, unlike Vitter, she would "screw (them) honestly."
What then are we to make of the fact that Trump screws both the nation and his wife (maybe) and his girlfriends (or whatever they are)?
Blame it on arrested development, on the fact that despite his more than seventy-one years, Trump still has the mind of a teenage boy, one with money and power enough to live out his fantasies.
The contrast with Bill Clinton is stark. Clinton is a philanderer with eclectic tastes, a charming rascal with a broad and mischievous mind. Honkytonk women from Arkansas appeal to him as much as zaftig MOTs from the 90210 area code.
Trump, on the other hand, goes for super-models, Playboy centerfolds, and aspiring beauty queens -- standard teenage fantasy fare.
He seems to have had little trouble living his dreams – not thanks to his magnetic face, form and figure, and certainly not to his refinement, wit or charm, but to his inherited and otherwise ill-gotten wealth.
It is money and the power that follows from it that draws women to his net.
Henry Kissinger understood; recall his musings on the aphrodisiacal properties of power. Even in his prime, that still unindicted war criminal (and later-day Hillary Clinton advisor) was even more repellent than Trump. But that never kept him from having to fight the ladies off.
This fact of life puts a heavy responsibility on the women with whom presidents hook up.
Consider Melania. She made a Faustian bargain when she agreed to become Trump's trophy bride; in return for riches and a soft life in a gilded tower, she sold her soul. She might have thought better of it had she taken the burdens she would incur as First Lady into account, but why would she? The prospect was too improbable.
She has, it seems, a very practical, old world view of marriage, and is therefore tolerant of her husband's womanizing. At the same time, as a mother and daughter, she is, like most immigrants, a strong proponent of old world "family values."
Too much of a proponent perhaps; insofar as her idea was to "chain migrate" her parents out of Slovenia and onto Easy Street, or to raise a kid who would never want for anything, there were less onerous ways of going about it. After all, there are plenty of rich Americans lusting after supermodels out there, and it is a good bet that many of them are less repellent than Trump.
She was irresponsible as well. She ought to have realized that the man she married had already spawned two idiot sons, along with other fruit from the poisonous tree, and that four bad apples in one generation are enough.
And so now she finds herself a single mother – not in theory, of course, but very definitely in practice. Unlike most women in that position, she is not wanting for resources. But it must be a hard slog, even so. To her credit, Melania seems to be handling the burden well. More power to her!
She also deserves credit for her body language when the Donald is around; the contempt she shows for him is wonderful to behold. Best of all is her sense of the absurd. The way she plagiarized from Michelle Obama had obvious comic validity, and making childhood bullying her First Lady cause – all First Ladies have causes -- was a stroke of genius.
On balance, therefore, it is hard not to feel sorry for her. Of all the women in Trump's ambit, she deserves humiliation the least.
The rumor mill has it that with all the publicity about Daniels and the others , she has finally had enough. This may be the case; the old world ethos requires discretion and a concern with appearances. That is not the Donald's way, however, and now she is paying the price.
What a magnificent humiliation it would be if she and Trump were to split up on that account. This could happen soon. I would expect, though, that through a combination of carrots and sticks, Trump and his fixers will find a way to minimize the political effects. More likely still, they will channel Joe Kennedy and Jackie O, and figure out a way to head the problem off.
Then there is poor forgotten Tiffany. Her Wikipedia entry lists her as both a law student and a "socialite." I hope her studious side wins out and that, despite the genes from her father's side, she is at least somewhat decent and smart.
I'd be more confident of that if she would do what Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patti, did: use her mother's, not her father's, name. Unless she is a sleaze ball too, a Trump in the Eric and Don Junior mold, that would be a fine way to make a political point.
It would also pay back over the years. With the Trump administration on its current trajectory, who, in a few years' time, would take a Tiffany Trump seriously? A Tiffany Maples would stand a better chance.
Her half-sister, the peerless Ivanka, the Great Blonde Hope, is, of course, her father's sweetie. Let's not go there, however. Her marriage to Jared Kushner is already enough to process.
What a pair those two make; and what a glorious day it will be when the law finally catches up with Jared, as it did with his Trump-like father, Charles. Perhaps he will take Ivanka down a notch or two with him. Despite an almost complete lack of qualifications, Trump made his son-in-law his minister of almost everything; a pretty good gig for a feckless, airhead rich kid. Among other things, Trump enabled him to become Benjamin Netanyahu's ace in the hole. Netanyahu is a Kushner family friend. Netanyahu has more than his share of legal troubles too. Let them all go down together!
Ivanka and Jared are well matched – they share a "business model." It has them exploiting their daddies' connections and money.
Jared peddles real estate; his efforts have gotten his family into serious debt, while putting him in solid with Russian and Eastern European oligarchs, Gulf state emirs, and Mohammad bin Salman – people in comparison with whom his father-in-law seems almost virtuous.
Ivanka sells trinkets and schmatas to people who think the Trump name is cool. There actually are such people; at two hundred grand a pop, Mar-a-Lago is full of them. Ivanka's demographic is made up mostly of their younger set.
Two other presidential women bare mention: Hope Hicks and Nikki Haley. Surely, they both have tales to tell, but it looks, for now, as if their stories would be of little or no prurient interest. Neither of them appear to have been propositioned or groped.
Even though Hicks is said to be like a daughter to the Donald – we know what that could mean! – it is a safe bet that there was nothing of a romantic nature going on between them. For one thing, Hicks seems too close to Ivanka; for another, she is known to have dallied with two Trump subordinates, Corey Lewandowski and Rob Porter. The don is hardly the type to let his underlings have at his women.
Haley had to quash a spate of rumors that flared up thanks to some suggestive remarks Michael Wolff made while hawking Fire and Fury . The rumor caught on because people who hadn't yet fully realized what a piece of work Trump is, imagined that something had to be awry inasmuch as her main qualification for representing the United States at the United Nations was an undergraduate degree in accounting. Abject servility to the Israel lobby also helped.
But the Trump administration is full of ambitious miscreants whose views on Israel and Palestine are as abject and servile as hers, and compared to many others in Trump's cabinet she is, if anything, over qualified. Think of neurosurgeon Ben Carson heading the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is qualified because, as a child, he lived in public housing.
With the exception of Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, Summer Zervos and whoever else comes forward with a juicy and credible tale to tell, the women currently in the president's ambit, though good for gossip and interesting in the ways that characters on reality TV shows can be, are of little or no political consequence.
This could change if any of them decides to "go rogue," to use an expression from the Sarah Palin days. But, while neither Melania nor Tiffany can yet be judged hopeless, it would be foolish to expect much of anything good to come from either of them.
Stormy, Karen, Summer, and whoever else steps forward are a better bet. They are the only ones with any chance of doing as much for their country and the world as Monica Lewinsky did a generation ago.
Among the president's women, they are a breed apart. This is plainly the case with Stormy Daniels; it is already clear that she deserves what all Trump's money can never buy – honor and esteem. To the extent that the others turn out to be similarly courageous, they will too.
Mar 30, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
"She Doesn't Have Any Policy Positions"
On the Friday after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and prior to the Tuesday on which the vicious racist and sexist Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Bernie Sanders spoke to a surprisingly small crowd in Iowa City on behalf of Hillary Clinton. As I learned months later, Sanders told one of his Iowa City friends that day that Mrs. Clinton was in trouble. The reason, Sanders reported, was that Hillary wasn't discussing issues or advancing real solutions. "She doesn't have any policy positions," Sanders said.
The first time I heard this, I found it hard to believe. How, I wondered, could anyone run seriously for the presidency without putting issues and policy front and center? Wouldn't any serious campaign want a strong set of issue and policy positions to attract voters and fall back on in case and times of adversity?
Sanders wasn't lying. As the esteemed political scientist and money-politics expert Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues Paul Jorgensen and Jie Chen note in an important study released by the Institute for New Economic Thinking two months ago, the Clinton campaign "emphasized candidate and personal issues and avoided policy discussions to a degree without precedent in any previous election for which measurements exist .it stressed candidate qualifications [and] deliberately deemphasized issues in favor of concentrating on what the campaign regarded as [Donald] Trump's obvious personal weaknesses as a candidate."
Strange as it might have seemed, the reality television star and presidential pre-apprentice Donald Trump had a lot more to say about policy than the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a wonkish Yale Law graduate.
"Courting the Undecideds in Business, not in the Electorate"
What was that about? My first suspicion was that Hillary's policy silence was about the money. It must have reflected her success in building a Wall Street-filled campaign funding war-chest so daunting that she saw little reason to raise capitalist election investor concerns by giving voice to the standard fake-progressive "hope" and "change" campaign and policy rhetoric Democratic presidential contenders typically deploy against their One Percent Republican opponents. Running against what she (wrongly) perceived (along with most election prognosticators) as a doomed and feckless opponent and as the clear preferred candidate of Wall Street and the intimately related U.S foreign policy elite , including many leading Neoconservatives put off by Trump's isolationist and anti-interventionist rhetoric, the "lying neoliberal warmonger" Hillary Clinton arrogantly figured that she could garner enough votes to win without having to ruffle any ruling-class feathers. She would cruise into the White House with no hurt plutocrat feelings simply by playing up the ill-prepared awfulness of her Republican opponent.
If Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Chen (hereafter "JFC") are right, I was on to something but not the whole money and politics story. Smart Wall Street and K Street Democratic Party bankrollers have long understood that Democratic candidates have to cloak their dollar-drenched corporatism in the deceptive campaign discourse of progressive- and even populist-sounding policy promise to win elections. Sophisticated funders get it that the Democratic candidates' need to manipulate the electorate with phony pledges of democratic transformation. The big money backers know it's "just politics" on the part of candidates who can be trusted to serve elite interests (like Bill Clinton 1993-2001 and Barack Obama 2009-2017 ) after they gain office.
What stopped Hillary from playing the usual game – the "manipulation of populism by elitism" that Christopher Hitchens once called "the essence of American politics" – in 2016, a year when the electorate was in a particularly angry and populist mood? FJC's study is titled " Industrial Structure and Party Competition in an Age of Hunger Games : Donald Trump and the 2016 Presidential Election." It performs heroic empirical work with difficult campaign finance data to show that Hillary's campaign funding success went beyond her party's usual corporate and financial backers to include normally Republican-affiliated capitalist sectors less disposed than their more liberal counterparts to abide the standard progressive-sounding policy rhetoric of Democratic Party candidates. FJC hypothesize that (along with the determination that Trump was too weak to be taken all that seriously) Hillary's desire get and keep on board normally Republican election investors led her to keep quiet on issues and policy concerns that mattered to everyday people. As FJC note:
"Trump trailed well behind Clinton in contributions from defense and aerospace – a lack of support extraordinary for a Republican presidential hopeful late in the race. For Clinton's campaign the temptation was irresistible: Over time it slipped into a variant of the strategy [Democrat] Lyndon Johnson pursued in 1964 in the face of another [Republican] candidate [Barry Goldwater] who seemed too far out of the mainstream to win: Go for a grand coalition with most of big business . one fateful consequence of trying to appeal to so many conservative business interests was strategic silence about most important matters of public policy. Given the candidate's steady lead in the polls, there seemed to be no point to rocking the boat with any more policy pronouncements than necessary . Misgivings of major contributors who worried that the Clinton campaign message lacked real attractions for ordinary Americans were rebuffed. The campaign sought to capitalize on the angst within business by vigorously courting the doubtful and undecideds there, not in the electorate " (emphasis added). Hillary Happened
FJC may well be right that a wish not to antagonize off right-wing campaign funders is what led Hillary to muzzle herself on important policy matters, but who really knows? An alternative theory I would not rule out is that Mrs. Clinton's own deep inner conservatism was sufficient to spark her to gladly dispense with the usual progressive-sounding campaign boilerplate. Since FJC bring up the Johnson-Goldwater election, it is perhaps worth mentioning that 18-year old Hillary was a "Goldwater Girl" who worked for the arch-reactionary Republican presidential candidate in 1964. Asked about that episode on National Public Radio (NPR) in 1996 , then First Lady Hillary said "That's right. And I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I don't recognize this new brand of Republicanism that is afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl."
It was a revealing reflection. The right-wing Democrat Hillary acknowledged that her ideological world view was still rooted in the conservatism of her family of origin. Her problem with the reactionary Republicanism afoot in the U.S. during the middle 1990s was that it was "not conservative in many respects." Her problem with the far-right Republican Congressional leaders Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay was that they were betraying true conservatism – "the conservatism [Hillary] was raised with." This was worse even than the language of the Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) – the right-wing Eisenhower Republican (at leftmost) tendency that worked to push the Democratic Party further to the Big Business-friendly right and away from its working-class and progressive base.
Of course, Bill and Hillary helped trail-blaze that plutocratic "New Democrat" turn in Arkansas during the late 1970s and 1980s. The rest, as they say, was history – an ugly corporate-neoliberal, imperial, and racist history that I and others have written about at great length. (I cannot reprise here the voluminous details of Mrs. Clinton's longstanding alignment with the corporate, financial, and imperial agendas of the rich and powerful. Two short and highly readable volumes are Doug Henwood, My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency [OR Books, 2015]; Diana Johnstone, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton [CounterPunch Books, 2015]. On the stealth, virulent racism of the Clintons in power, see Elaine Brown's classic volume The Condemnation of Little B: New Age Racism in America .)
What happened? Horrid corporate Hillary happened. And she's still happening. The "lying neoliberal warmonger" recently went to India to double down on her "progressive neoliberal" contempt for the "basket of deplorables" (more on that phrase below) that considers poor stupid and backwards middle America to be by saying this : "If you look at the map of the United States, there's all that red in the middle where Trump won. I win the coasts. But what the map doesn't show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic product (GDP). So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward" (emphasis added).
That was Hillary Goldman Sachs-Council on Foreign Relations-Clinton saying "go to Hell" to working- and middle-class people in Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia. It was a raised middle and oligarchic finger from a super-wealthy arch-global-corporatist to all the supposedly pessimistic, slow-witted, and retrograde losers stuck between those glorious enclaves (led by Wall Street, Yale, and Harvard on the East coast and Silicon Valley and Hollywood on the West coast) of human progress and variety (and GDP!) on the imperial shorelines. Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin had to go on television to say that Hillary was "wrong" to write off most of the nation as a festering cesspool of pathetic, ass-backwards, lottery-playing, and opioid-addicted white-trash has-beens. It's hard for the Inauthentic Opposition Party (as the late Sheldon Wolin reasonably called the Democrats ) to pose as an authentic opposition party when its' last big-money presidential candidate goes off-fake-progressive script with an openly elitist rant like that.
Whatever the source of her strange policy silence in the 2016 campaign, that hush was "a miscalculation of historic proportion" (FJC). It was a critical mistake given what Ferguson and his colleagues call the "Hunger Games" misery and insecurity imposed on tens of millions of ordinary working- and middle-class middle-Americans by decades of neoliberal capitalist austerity , deeply exacerbated by the Wall Street-instigated Great Recession and the weak Obama recovery. The electorate was in a populist, anti-establishment mood – hardly a state of mind favorable to a wooden, richly globalist, Goldman-gilded candidate, a long-time Washington-Wall Street establishment ("swamp") creature like Hillary Clinton.
In the end, FJC note, the billionaire Trump's ironic, fake-populist "outreach to blue collar workers" would help him win "more than half of all voters with a high school education or less (including 61% of white women with no college), almost two thirds of those who believed life for the next generation of Americans would be worse than now, and seventy-seven percent of voters who reported their personal financial situation had worsened since four years ago."
Trump's popularity with "heartland" rural and working-class whites even provoked Hillary into a major campaign mistake: getting caught on video telling elite Manhattan election investors that half of Trump's supporters were a "basket of deplorables." There was a hauntingly strong parallel between Wall Street Hillary's "deplorables" blooper and the super-rich Republican candidate Mitt Romney's infamous 2012 gaffe : telling his own affluent backers saying that 47% of the population were a bunch of lazy welfare cheats. This time, though, it was the Democrat – with a campaign finance profile closer to Romney's than Obama's in 2012 – and not the Republican making the ugly plutocratic and establishment faux pas .
"A Frontal Assault on the American Establishment"
Still, Trump's success was no less tied to big money than was Hillary's failure. Candidate Trump ran strangely outside the longstanding neoliberal Washington Consensus, as an economic nationalist and isolationist. His raucous rallies were laced with dripping denunciations of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, and globalization, mockery of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, rejection of the New Cold War with Russia, and pledges of allegiance to the "forgotten" American "working-class." He was no normal Republican One Percent candidate. As FJC explain:
"In 2016 the Republicans nominated yet another super-rich candidate – indeed, someone on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans. Like legions of conservative Republicans before him, he trash-talked Hispanics, immigrants, and women virtually non-stop, though with a verve uniquely his own. He laced his campaign with barely coded racial appeals and in the final days, ran an ad widely denounced as subtly anti-Semitic. But in striking contrast to every other Republican presidential nominee since 1936, he attacked globalization, free trade, international financiers, Wall Street, and even Goldman Sachs. ' Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache . When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing. For years, they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment.'"
"In a frontal assault on the American establishment, the Republican standard bearer proclaimed 'America First.' Mocking the Bush administration's appeal to 'weapons of mass destruction' as a pretext for invading Iraq, he broke dramatically with two generations of GOP orthodoxy and spoke out in favor of more cooperation with Russia . He even criticized the 'carried interest' tax break beloved by high finance" (emphasis added).
Big Dark Money and Trump: His Own and Others'
This cost Trump much of the corporate and Wall Street financial support that Republican presidential candidates usually get. The thing was, however, that much of Trump's "populist" rhetoric was popular with a big part of the Republican electorate, thanks to the "Hunger Games" insecurity of the transparently bipartisan New Gilded Age. And Trump's personal fortune permitted him to tap that popular anger while leaping insultingly over the heads of his less wealthy if corporate and Wall Street-backed competitors ("low energy" Jeb Bush and "little Marco" Rubio most notably) in the crowded Republican primary race.
A Republican candidate dependent on the usual elite bankrollers would never have been able to get away with Trump's crowd-pleasing (and CNN and FOX News rating-boosting) antics. Thanks to his own wealth, the faux-populist anti-establishment Trump was ironically inoculated against pre-emption in the Republican primaries by the American campaign finance "wealth primary," which renders electorally unviable candidates who lack vast financial resources or access to them.
Things were different after Trump won the Republican nomination, however. He could no longer go it alone after the primaries. During the Republican National Convention and "then again in the late summer of 2016," FJC show, Trump's "solo campaign had to be rescued by major industries plainly hoping for tariff relief, waves of other billionaires from the far, far right of the already far right Republican Party, and the most disruption-exalting corners of Wall Street." By FJC's account:
"What happened in the final weeks of the campaign was extraordinary. Firstly, a giant wave of dark money poured into Trump's own campaign – one that towered over anything in 2016 or even Mitt Romney's munificently financed 2012 effort – to say nothing of any Russian Facebook experiments [Then] another gigantic wave of money flowed in from alarmed business interests, including the Kochs and their allies Officially the money was for Senate races, but late-stage campaigning for down-ballot offices often spills over on to candidates for the party at large."
"The run up to the Convention brought in substantial new money, including, for the first time, significant contributions from big business. Mining, especially coal mining; Big Pharma (which was certainly worried by tough talk from the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, about regulating drug prices); tobacco, chemical companies, and oil (including substantial sums from executives at Chevron, Exxon, and many medium sized firms); and telecommunications (notably AT&T, which had a major merge merger pending) all weighed in. Money from executives at the big banks also began streaming in, including Bank of America, J. P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. Parts of Silicon Valley also started coming in from the cold."
"In a harbinger of things to come, additional money came from firms and industries that appear to have been attracted by Trump's talk of tariffs, including steel and companies making machinery of various types [a] vast wave of new money flowed into the campaign from some of America's biggest businesses and most famous investors. Sheldon Adelson and many others in the casino industry delivered in grand style for its old colleague. Adelson now delivered more than $11 million in his own name, while his wife and other employees of his Las Vegas Sands casino gave another $20 million.
Peter Theil contributed more than a million dollars, while large sums also rolled in from other parts of Silicon Valley, including almost two million dollars from executives at Microsoft and just over two million from executives at Cisco Systems. A wave of new money swept in from large private equity firms, the part of Wall Street which had long championed hostile takeovers as a way of disciplining what they mocked as bloated and inefficient 'big business.' Virtual pariahs to main-line firms in the Business Roundtable and the rest of Wall Street, some of these figures had actually gotten their start working with Drexel Burnham Lambert and that firm's dominant partner, Michael Milkin.
Among those were Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn (who had both contributed to Trump before, but now made much bigger new contributions). In the end, along with oil, chemicals, mining and a handful of other industries, large private equity firms would become one of the few segments of American business – and the only part of Wall Street – where support for Trump was truly heavy the sudden influx of money from private equity and hedge funds clearly began with the Convention but turned into a torrent "
The critical late wave came after Trump moved to rescue his flagging campaign by handing its direction over to the clever, class-attuned, far-right white- and economic- nationalist "populist" and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, who advocated what proved to be a winning, Koch brothers-approved "populist" strategy: appeal to economically and culturally frustrated working- and middle-class whites in key battleground states, where the bloodless neoliberal and professional class centrism and snooty metropolitan multiculturalism of the Obama presidency and Clinton campaign was certain to depress the Democratic "base" vote . Along with the racist voter suppression carried out by Republican state governments (JFC rightly chide Russia-obsessed political reporters and commentators for absurdly ignoring this important factor) and (JFC intriguingly suggest) major anti-union offensives conducted by employers in some battleground states, this major late-season influx of big right-wing political money tilted the election Trump's way.
The Myth of Potent Russian Cyber-Subversion
As FJC show, there is little empirical evidence to support the Clinton and corporate Democrats' self-interested and diversionary efforts to explain Mrs. Clinton's epic fail and Trump's jaw-dropping upset victory as the result of (i) Russian interference, (ii), then FBI Director James Comey's October Surprise revelation that his agency was not done investigating Hillary's emails, and/or (iii) some imagined big wave of white working-class racism, nativism, and sexism brought to the surface by the noxious Orange Hulk. The impacts of both (i) and (ii) were infinitesimal in comparison to the role that big campaign money played both in silencing Hillary and funding Trump.
The blame-the-deplorable-racist-white-working-class narrative is belied by basic underlying continuities in white working class voting patterns. As FJC note: " Neither turnout nor the partisan division of the vote at any level looks all that different from other recent elections 2016's alterations in voting behavior are so minute that the pattern is only barely differentiated from 2012." It was about the money – the big establishment money that the Clinton campaign took (as FJC at least plausibly argue) to recommend policy silence and the different, right-wing big money that approved Trump's comparative right-populist policy boisterousness.
An interesting part of FJC's study (no quick or easy read) takes a close look at the pro-Trump and anti-Hillary Internet activism that the Democrats and their many corporate media allies are so insistently eager to blame on Russia and for Hillary's defeat. FJC find that Russian Internet interventions were of tiny significance compared to those of homegrown U.S. corporate and right-wing cyber forces:
"The real masters of these black arts are American or Anglo-American firms. These compete directly with Silicon Valley and leading advertising firms for programmers and personnel. They rely almost entirely on data purchased from Google, Facebook, or other suppliers, not Russia . American regulators do next to nothing to protect the privacy of voters and citizens, and, as we have shown in several studies, leading telecom firms are major political actors and giant political contributors. As a result, data on the habits and preferences of individual internet users are commercially available in astounding detail and quantities for relatively modest prices – even details of individual credit card purchases. The American giants for sure harbor abundant data on the constellation of bots, I.P. addresses, and messages that streamed to the electorate "
" stories hyping 'the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another by the Russians miss the mark.' By 2016, the Republican right had developed internet outreach and political advertising into a fine art and on a massive scale quite on its own. Large numbers of conservative websites, including many that that tolerated or actively encouraged white supremacy and contempt for immigrants, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, or the aspirations of women had been hard at work for years stoking up 'tensions between groups already wary of one another.' Breitbart and other organizations were in fact going global, opening offices abroad and establishing contacts with like-minded groups elsewhere. Whatever the Russians were up to, they could hardly hope to add much value to the vast Made in America bombardment already underway. Nobody sows chaos like Breitbart or the Drudge Report ."
" the evidence revealed thus far does not support strong claims about the likely success of Russian efforts, though of course the public outrage at outside meddling is easy to understand. The speculative character of many accounts even in the mainstream media is obvious. Several, such as widely circulated declaration by the Department of Homeland Security that 21 state election systems had been hacked during the election, have collapsed within days of being put forward when state electoral officials strongly disputed them, though some mainstream press accounts continue to repeat them. Other tales about Macedonian troll factories churning out stories at the instigation of the Kremlin, are clearly exaggerated."
The Sanders Tease: "He Couldn't Have Done a Thing"
Perhaps the most remarkable finding in FJC's study is that Sanders came tantalizingly close to winning the Democratic presidential nomination against the corporately super-funded Clinton campaign with no support from Big Business . Running explicitly against the "Hunger Games" economy and the corporate-financial plutocracy that created it, Sanders pushed Hillary the Goldman candidate to the wall, calling out the Democrats' capture by Wall Street, forcing her to rely on a rigged party, convention, and primary system to defeat him. The small-donor "socialist" Sanders challenge represented something Ferguson and his colleagues describe as "without precedent in American politics not just since the New Deal, but across virtually the whole of American history a major presidential candidate waging a strong, highly competitive campaign whose support from big business is essentially zero ."
Sanders pulled this off, FJC might have added, by running in (imagine) accord with majority-progressive left-of-center U.S. public opinion. But for the Clintons' corrupt advance- control of the Democratic National Committee and convention delegates, Ferguson et al might further have noted, Sanders might well have been the Democratic presidential nominee, curiously enough in the arch-state-capitalist and oligarchic United States
Could Sanders have defeated the billionaire and right-wing billionaire-backed Trump in the general election? There's no way to know, of course. Sanders consistently out-performed Hillary Clinton in one-on-one match -up polls vis a vis Donald Trump during the primary season, but much of the big money (and, perhaps much of the corporate media) that backed Hillary would have gone over to Trump had the supposedly "radical" Sanders been the Democratic nominee.
Even if Sanders has been elected president, moreover, Noam Chomsky is certainly correct in his recent judgement that Sanders would have been able to achieve very little in the White House. As Chomsky told Lynn Parramore two weeks ago, in an interview conducted for the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the same think-tank that published FJC's remarkable study:
"His campaign [was] a break with over a century of American political history. No corporate support, no financial wealth, he was unknown, no media support. The media simply either ignored or denigrated him. And he came pretty close -- he probably could have won the nomination, maybe the election. But suppose he'd been elected? He couldn't have done a thing. Nobody in Congress, no governors, no legislatures, none of the big economic powers, which have an enormous effect on policy. All opposed to him. In order for him to do anything, he would have to have a substantial, functioning party apparatus, which would have to grow from the grass roots. It would have to be locally organized, it would have to operate at local levels, state levels, Congress, the bureaucracy -- you have to build the whole system from the bottom."
As Chomsky might have added, Sanders oligarchy-imposed "failures" would have been great fodder for the disparagement and smearing of "socialism" and progressive, majority-backed policy change. "See? We tried all that and it was a disaster!"
I would note further that the Sanders phenomenon's policy promise was plagued by its standard bearer's persistent loyalty to the giant and absurdly expensive U.S.-imperial Pentagon System, which each year eats up hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars required to implement the progressive, majority-supported policy agenda that Bernie F-35 Sanders ran on.
"A Very Destructive Ideology"
The Sanders challenge was equally afflicted by its candidate-centered electoralism. This diverted energy away from the real and more urgent politics of building people's movements – grassroots power to shake the society to its foundations and change policy from the bottom up (Dr. Martin Luther King's preferred strategy at the end of his life just barely short of 50 years ago, on April 4 th , 1968) – and into the narrow, rigidly time-staggered grooves of a party and spectacle-elections crafted by and for the wealthy Few and the American Oligarchy 's "permanent political class" (historian Ron Formisano). As Chomsky explained on the eve of the 2004 elections:
"Americans may be encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is a method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, 'That's politics.' But it isn't. It's only a small part of politics The urgency is for popular progressive groups to grow and become strong enough so that centers of power can't ignore them. Forces for change that have come up from the grass roots and shaken the society to its core include the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women's movement and others, cultivated by steady, dedicated work at all levels, every day, not just once every four years sensible [electoral] choices have to be made. But they are secondary to serious political action."
"The only thing that's going to ever bring about any meaningful change," Chomsky told Abby Martin on teleSur English in the fall of 2015, "is ongoing, dedicated, popular movements that don't pay attention to the election cycle." Under the American religion of voting, Chomsky told Dan Falcone and Saul Isaacson in the spring of 2016, "Citizenship means every four years you put a mark somewhere and you go home and let other guys run the world. It's a very destructive ideology basically, a way of making people passive, submissive objects [we] ought to teach kids that elections take place but that's not politics."
For all his talk of standing atop a great "movement" for "revolution," Sanders was and remains all about this stunted and crippling definition of citizenship and politics as making some marks on ballots and then returning to our domiciles while rich people and their agents (not just any "other guys") "run [ruin?-P.S.] the world [into the ground-P.S.]."
It will take much more in the way of Dr. King's politics of "who' sitting in the streets," not "who's sitting in the White House" (to use Howard Zinn's excellent dichotomy ), to get us an elections and party system worthy of passionate citizen engagement. We don't have such a system in the U.S. today, which is why the number of eligible voters who passively boycotted the 2016 presidential election is larger than both the number who voted for big money Hillary and the number who voted for big money Trump.
(If U.S. progressives really want to consider undertaking the epic lift involved in passing a U.S. Constitutional Amendment, they might want to focus on this instead of calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment. I'd recommend starting with a positive Democracy Amendment that fundamentally overhauls the nation's political and elections set-up in accord with elementary principles and practices of popular sovereignty. Clauses would include but not be limited to full public financing of elections and the introduction of proportional representation for legislative races – not to mention the abolition of the Electoral College, Senate apportionment on the basis of total state population, and the outlawing of gerrymandering.)
Ecocide Trumped by Russia
Meanwhile, back in real history, we have the remarkable continuation of a bizarre right-wing, pre-fascist presidency not in normal ruling-class hands, subject to the weird whims and tweets of a malignant narcissist who doesn't read memorandums or intelligence briefings. Wild policy zig-zags and record-setting White House personnel turnover are par for the course under the dodgy reign of the orange-tinted beast's latest brain spasms. Orange Caligula spends his mornings getting his information from FOX News and his evenings complaining to and seeking advice from a small club of right-wing American oligarchs.
Trump poses grave environmental and nuclear risks to human survival. A consistent Trump belief is that climate change is not a problem and that it's perfectly fine – "great" and "amazing," in fact – for the White House to do everything it can to escalate the Greenhouse Gassing-to-Death of Life on Earth. The nuclear threat is rising now that he has appointed a frothing right-wing uber-warmonger – a longtime advocate of bombing Iran and North Korea who led the charge for the arch-criminal U.S. invasion of Iraq – as his top "National Security" adviser and as he been convinced to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. Thanks, liberal and other Democratic Party RussiaGaters!
The Clinton-Obama neoliberal Democrats have spent more than a year running with the preposterous narrative that Trump is a Kremlin puppet who owes his presence in the White House to Russia's subversion of our democratic elections. The climate crisis holds little for the Trump and Russia-obsessed corporate media. The fact that the world stands at the eve of the ecological self-destruction, with the Trump White House in the lead, elicits barely a whisper in the reigning commercial news media. Unlike Stormy Daniels, for example, that little story – the biggest issue of our or any time – is not good for television ratings and newspaper sales.
Sanders, by the way, is curiously invisible in the dominant commercial media, despite his quiet survey status as the nation's "most popular politician." That is precisely what you would expect in a corporate and financial oligarchy buttressed by a powerful corporate, so-called "mainstream" media oligopoly.
Political Parties as "Bank Accounts"
One of the many problems with the obsessive Blame-Russia narrative that a fair portion of the dominant U.S. media is running with is that we had no great electoral democracy to subvert in 2016 . Saying that Russia has "undermined [U.S.-] American democracy" is like me – middle-aged, five-foot nine, and unblessed with jumping ability – saying that the Brooklyn Nets' Russian-born center Timofy Mozgof subverted my career as a starting player in the National Basketball Association. In state-capitalist societies marked by the toxic and interrelated combination of weak popular organization, expensive politics, and highly concentrated wealth – all highly evident in the New Gilded Age United States – electoral contests and outcomes boil down above all and in the end to big investor class cash. As Thomas Ferguson and his colleagues explain:
"Where investment and organization by average citizens is weak, however, power passes by default to major investor groups, which can far more easily bear the costs of contending for control of the state. In most modern market-dominated societies (those celebrated recently as enjoying the 'end of History'), levels of effective popular organization are generally low, while the costs of political action, in terms of both information and transactional obstacles, are high. The result is that conflicts within the business community normally dominate contests within and between political parties – the exact opposite of what many earlier social theorists expected, who imagined 'business' and 'labor' confronting each other in separate parties Only candidates and positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. As a result, in countries like the US and, increasingly, Western Europe, political parties are first of all bank accounts . With certain qualifications, one must pay to play. Understanding any given election, therefore, requires a financial X-ray of the power blocs that dominate the major parties, with both inter- and intra- industrial analysis of their constituent elements."
Here Ferguson might have said "corporate-dominated" instead of "market-dominated" for the modern managerial corporations emerged as the "visible hand" master of the "free market" more than a century ago.
We get to vote? Big deal.
People get to vote in Rwanda, Russia, the Congo and countless other autocratic states as well. Elections alone are no guarantee of democracy, as U.S. policymakers and pundits know very well when they rip on rigged elections (often fixed with the assistance of U.S. government and private-sector agents and firms) in countries they don't like, which includes any country that dares to "question the basic principle that the United States effectively owns the world by right and is by definition a force for good" ( Chomsky, 2016 ).
Majority opinion is regularly trumped by a deadly complex of forces in the U.S. The list of interrelated and mutually reinforcing culprits behind this oligarchic defeat of popular sentiment in the U.S. is extensive. It includes but is not limited to: the campaign finance, candidate-selection, lobbying, and policy agenda-setting power of wealthy individuals, corporations, and interest groups; the special primary election influence of full-time party activists; the disproportionately affluent, white, and older composition of the active (voting) electorate; the manipulation of voter turnout; the widespread dissemination of false, confusing, distracting, and misleading information; absurdly and explicitly unrepresentative political institutions like the Electoral College, the unelected Supreme Court, the over-representation of the predominantly white rural population in the U.S. Senate; one-party rule in the House of "Representatives"; the fragmentation of authority in government; and corporate ownership of the reigning media, which frames current events in accord with the wishes and world view of the nation's real owners.
Yes, we get to vote. Super. Big deal. Mammon reigns nonetheless in the United States, where, as the leading liberal political scientists Benjamin Page and Martin Gilens find , "government policy reflects the wishes of those with money, not the wishes of the millions of ordinary citizens who turn out every two years to choose among the preapproved, money-vetted candidates for federal office."
Trump is a bit of an anomaly – a sign of an elections and party system in crisis and an empire in decline. He wasn't pre-approved or vetted by the usual U.S. " deep state " corporate, financial, and imperial gatekeepers. The ruling-class had been trying to figure out what the Hell to do with him ever since he shocked even himself (though not Steve Bannon) by pre-empting the coronation of the "Queen of Chaos."
He is a homegrown capitalist oligarch nonetheless, a real estate mogul of vast and parasitic wealth who is no more likely to fulfill his populist-sounding campaign pledges than any previous POTUS of the neoliberal era.
His lethally racist, sexist, nativist, nuclear-weapons-brandishing, and (last but not at all least) eco-cidal rise to the nominal CEO position atop the U.S.-imperial oligarchy is no less a reflection of the dominant role of big U.S. capitalist money and homegrown plutocracy in U.S. politics than a more classically establishment Hillary ascendancy would have been. It's got little to do with Russia, Russia, Russia – the great diversion that fills U.S. political airwaves and newsprint as the world careens ever closer to oligarchy-imposed geocide and to a thermonuclear conflagration that the RussiaGate gambit is recklessly encouraging.
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Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)
Mar 29, 2018 | original.antiwar.com
This article originally appeared at TruthDig .
He knew war well -- well enough to know he hated it.
George McGovern was a senator from South Dakota, and he was a Democrat true liberals could admire. Though remembered as